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2020 Presidential debate – Live REACTION after Trump and Biden row over Covid, climate and racism in final head-to-head


DONALD Trump and Joe Biden went head-to-head for the last US Presidential Debate ahead of November’s crucial election.

The pair were scheduled to meet on October 15, days after the President’s coronavirus diagnosis, but he pulled out after being told the head-to-head would have to be held virtually.

The televised clash, filmed live in Nashville, was the last chance for each nominee to get their thoughts across ahead of Election Day on November 3rd.

The debate was a more civilised affair with each hopeful discussing issues around coronavirus and immigration – but accusations of the Biden family accepting overseas donations dominated the middle portion of the 90-minute event.

Follow our live election blog below for all the latest reactions and news in the race for the White House.





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Stars praised for sharing their experiences of racism in Channel 4’s The Talk



Stars including Little Mix’s Leigh-Anne Pinnock, The Saturdays’ Rochelle Humes and Walking Dead actor Lennie James have been praised for sharing their experiences of racism in The Talk.

he hard-hitting documentary featured celebrities explaining how black parents have to warn their children about the discrimination they can face because of their skin colour.

Pinnock, who was joined on the show by her parents John and Deborah, revealed she was nine years old when a boy at school wrote her nationality as “jungle”.

She said: “I had a little incident in primary school. I had a boy write on a piece of paper, name – Leigh-Anne, age – nine, nationality – jungle. And I saw it and my heart just dropped.

“I knew it was racism – I was nine years old – I knew it was racism and I was just distraught by it.”

Humes, who was seated next to husband Marvin Humes, broke down in tears as she recalled not being invited to a birthday party “because she was black”.

The incident led to her trying to “scrub her skin off”. Humes, who is expecting her first child with Marvin, added: “I’m not upset for me.

“I’m upset because my little girl is the same age and I just don’t know how I would handle that.”

And James, 54, revealed he was 11 and riding his bike on the pavement when a police officer called him the n-word.

“And it just knocked me for six,” the actor said. “I’d love to meet that guy and just ask him what the f*** did he think he was thinking?  What was he doing?  Who did he see?”

Other stars to take part in The Talk included England rugby player Maro Itoje, rapper Tinie Tempah and singer Emeli Sande.

Viewers shared their support on Twitter. TV presenter Jake Humphrey is the co-founder of production company Whisper, which made The Talk.

He said he has “never been prouder” of the company and added: “We need to create a version of this heartbreaking show to be played to every school kid in the country.”

One viewer said it was “such an eye opening programme,” adding: “Thank you to everyone who took part & everyone who created this.”

Another tweeted: “That was so powerful. I really hope everyone has learnt something tonight and let’s make a change in society.”

And another said The Talk is a “must watch,” adding it is a “powerful way to educate yourselves on growing up as a black person in the UK”.

PA Media





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Ontario non-profit tackling racism in justice system through education, enhanced reporting


A newly launched not-for-profit organization is embarking on a mission of tackling anti-Black and systemic racism in the justice system by working to directly support those impacted during the sentencing process and to better educate the legal community.

Faisal Mirza, a criminal trial and appeals lawyer, is one of three directors who recently launched The Sentencing and Parole Project.

The initiative, which has been in the works for months, has three focus areas: Addressing the over-representation and mistreatment of racialized residents in correctional facilities; proving education as it relates to anti-Black and systemic racism to all those involved in the justice system; and providing courts with enhanced pre-sentence reports.

READ MORE: Minorities over-represented in Canadian prisons, report finds

“You have systemic discrimination into society intersecting with systemic discrimination in the justice system, so they don’t live in silos,” Mirza told Global News in an interview.

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“In society, you will have a disproportionate number of racialized people living in the lower socio-economic conditions they will experience … which numerous studies have now documented.”

Indigenous, Black inmates disproportionately in Canadian correctional facilities

According to the Office of the Correctional Investigator’s (OCI) 2018-2019 annual report, Indigenous and Black inmates were over-represented in Canada’s corrections system.

While the 2016 Census found that approximately 4.9 per cent of Canada’s population is Indigenous, the OCI report said 28 per cent of those in custody were Indigenous — an 11 per cent overall increase compared to 10 years earlier.

Census data estimated Black residents make up almost 3.5 per cent of Canada’s overall population, but the OCI report found eight per cent of those in custody are Black — an overall one per cent increase compared to 10 years earlier and a two per cent decrease compared to three years earlier.


READ MORE:
Canada’s prison watchdog disturbed by ‘Indigenization’ of correctional system

Issues have been raised about mistreatment in correctional facilities. The report noted “though still low,” discrimination complaints appeared to be trending upward. The OCI said reports of discrimination from Black inmates represented 37 per cent of all complaints between 2008 and 2018.

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The OCI report also noted there has been a disproportionate increase of inmates who identify as being Muslim, noting there has been a 74 per cent increase over 10 years — now representing 7.73 per cent of the overall population. The report said the reason for this increase was unclear.

Meanwhile, the OCI found there was a “relative and proportional decline” in the total number of white inmates. As of 2018-2019, 52 per cent of those in custody are white — down overall by 14 per cent. 2016 Census data estimated almost 73 per cent of Canada’s population is white.

Pre-sentence reports and the call for enhanced information

Mirza said when it comes to the justice system and addressing systemic racism, an area that needs immediate attention is the pre-sentence report process.

Pre-sentence reports are often requested of probation officers by judges in cases where someone has been found guilty of a serious criminal offence. The specific policies and use of pre-sentence reports vary by province and territory. Judges are not bound by pre-sentence reports and can potentially use the reports as one of multiple factors in sentencing.

“The problem with the conventional pre-sentence report is that it is insufficient and inadequate, and over the past several decades we’ve relied on those conventional pre-sentence reports to provide essential information about offenders and the reality is that they fail to do so,” he said, noting while some submitted reports are decent others have just basic biographical details with limited background information.

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READ MORE:
Ontario judge chastises Quebec over ‘useless’ and ‘inflammatory’ sentencing report

“What we’ve tried to do is address that gap in information because we think it’s critical for judges to have that information in order to fairly sentence people — in order to get to the right determination.”

In Ontario’s pre-sentence report process, information gathered by a probation and parole officer includes factors relating to personal and family details, education and employment history, substance use and addictions, character and behaviour, a response to community supervision, an overall assessment and recommendations for the court. The officer can potentially gather information from interviews with the person charged, family members and police sources.

At the Sentencing and Parole Project, an enhanced pre-screening report prepared for the court is written by a clinician or an expert with medical training. They too can potentially conduct interviews with the person charged as well as with family and friends.

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The enhanced report more broadly considers the person’s social history — how they identify, background on their family, their social environment, their social relationships, education, lived experiences with anti-Black racism, work history, jail conditions, substance use and addictions, their character and behaviour, and an overall assessment and summary. The enhanced report may also include more detailed interview notes and contacts.

“It’s very difficult for an individual over the span of a single interview that lasts a few hours to tell them about what it was like to grow up in an impoverished neighborhood, what it was like to have significant police presence and negative experiences with the police, what it was like to be streamed in the education system and be subject to unfairness,” Mirza said, noting systemic disadvantages have affected the ability to get employment for many.

“So it’s very hard for a probation officer to get that information from an individual because they don’t have the resources, they don’t have the time, they don’t have the training, and they don’t seem to be able to develop the trust relationship in order to pull that information out.

“If you can’t identify what the person has gone through, got them up to that point, then you can’t really figure out what programs that they should be put into and then that’s where you get the problems and the jails.”

Mirza said the enhanced pre-sentence report process is newer in Ontario, noting it took quite a bit of time to get the first test case report done. He said The Sentencing and Parole Project can now potentially file an enhanced report between 60 and 90 days, a time period consistent with conventional reporting.

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‘Level the playing field’

While Mirza said the enhanced pre-sentence report process is newer in Ontario, he cited “pioneering” work in Nova Scotia by social worker Robert Wright.

He said courts in Nova Scotia aren’t waiting for defence lawyers to get legal aid funding and that enhanced pre-sentence reports are routinely ordered by judges.

Mirza said some lawyers have brought that approach to Ontario, adding over-representation of racialized residents in the justice system is a major concern.

READ MORE: UN council to discuss report calling on Canada to address anti-Black racism

“[The reports] provide the type of information that’s required for fairness, for decisions to be based on accurate information, so they’re evidence-based decisions. [It’s} no different than if somebody had a mental health issue — you would want the judge to know the particulars of that mental health issue so that they could use that information to determine what the right disposition is and what the right programs are for the individual,” he said.

“When they receive a report, it’s not an ‘aha’ moment. It’s an, ‘I understand. I get it. I’ve been exposed to this,’ right? And I can connect the dots so that when the individualized information is presented, they move away from the one-size-fits-all approach.”

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READ MORE:
Increasing calls for Ontario government to declare anti-Black racism public health crisis

Mirza said providing access to enhanced reports helps “level the playing field” for those who are marginalized and don’t have money to get privately funded pre-sentence reports prepared by social workers and doctors.

“They provide that information and the courts will look at that and say, ‘you know, this is a good person who did something wrong.’ And then the filter through which those people are examined is entirely different,” he said.

“This is a very important piece of the puzzle and we think that there needs to be a recognition that these better pre-sentence reports are required for everyone, and in particular for people who are over-represented, to understand their experiences with racial inequality and poverty.”

Educating the legal community, calls for other measures

When it comes to tackling systemic discrimination, Mirza said the provincial and federal governments have a lot of work to do and need to make investments.

He said education and government action needs to start at the earliest levels of education, citing recent reports of allegations of racism at the Peel District School Board.


READ MORE:
Is the Liberal government’s promise to repeal mandatory minimum sentences dead?

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As for other justice system reforms, he called for mandatory anti-Black racism training for all those in the justice system, improved use of force and de-escalation training, and scrapping mandatory minimum sentences.

“Anti-Black racism is at the forefront right now because of the social movement that’s going on and it presents an opportunity for us to do some inflection and look at what are the deficiencies in our justice system.”

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© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.





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Beverly Hills police chief retires after lawsuits alleging racism, anti-Semitism, harassment



Beverly Hills Police Chief Sandra Spagnoli announced her retirement Saturday, marking the end of a rocky tenure that saw the city pay out millions to settle lawsuits alleging that she had made racist remarks to subordinate officers and engaged in acts of harassment.

Spagnoli’s last day will be May 15, though she will be taking vacation time between now and that date, according to an internal department e-mail reviewed by The Times.

“During the Chief’s tenure, crime was reduced while the department increased diversity, public outreach, best practices and advancements in technology,” Beverly Hills City Manager George Chavez said in a statement. “We thank Chief Spagnoli for her service to our community and her three decades of public service in law enforcement.”

Spagnoli became the first female police chief in Beverly Hills history in 2016. A board member for the International Assn. of Chiefs of Police who previously led the San Leandro and Benicia police departments in Northern California, she received praise upon her hiring and even drew a glowing write-up in Vogue. The positive press was much needed and came on the heels of the controversial retirement of the city’s former chief, David Snowden, who stepped aside amid questions that he was drawing a second salary from a private-sector job.

But starting in 2018, a torrent of litigation surfaced, accusing Spagnoli of making racist comments, retaliating against officers and showing favoritism toward subordinates she had sexual liaisons with. All told, there were at least two dozen claims lobbed at Spagnoli in the past two years alone, records show. As the lawsuits piled up, the city hired Michael Sitrick, the crisis public relations specialist whose previous clients included Harvey Weinstein.

In late 2018, the city spent $2.3 million to settle a claim from Mark Rosen, a former police captain who was the highest ranking Jewish member of the department, who had accused the chief of denying him promotional opportunities based on his religion and making anti-Semitic remarks.

Other claims against Spagnoli previously reviewed by The Times included allegations she had referred to the yarmulkes worn by observant Jews as “funny little hats,” asked if she had to “dress Mexican” when invited to dinner at a Latino employee’s home and reacted with revulsion when informed that an employee was gay. Some court documents contain allegations that Spagnoli had sex with subordinate officers who were later rewarded with promotions.

Last summer, a jury awarded more than $1 million in damages to a group of lieutenants who had accused Spagnoli of workplace harassment and retaliation for giving depositions that were favorable to Rosen’s lawsuit.

Asked if there was any connection between the mounting litigation — records show another civil claim was filed against Spagnoli on March 30 — and Spagnoli’s decision to step down, city spokesman Keith Sterling said the “Chief notified [the] City Manager of her intention to retire.”

In a 2018 interview with The Times, Spagnoli denied the allegations of improper sexual relationships, but stopped short of denying the allegations about racist remarks. Less than 24 hours after the interview, the city settled Rosen’s lawsuit.





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Ben Shapiro: Sanders wants us to believe in alternate realities, while Bloomberg wrongly accused of racism


In 1966, there were 654 murders in New York City. The next year, that number increased by about 100. Then 200. By the mid-1970s, nearly 1,700 people were being murdered every year in New York City. That insane level of violence maintained until the early 1990s.

Then, in 1994, the level of murders in New York City began to decline. It declined from approximately 2,000 people killed in 1993 to 289 in 2018 – a level not seen since the end of World War II. Needless to say, on a per capita basis the murder rate had never been that low. 

What, exactly, happened in the early 1990s? New York City residents were simply tired of living in a crime haven. They elected Rudy Giuliani mayor, and Giuliani pledged to enforce the so-called broken windows theory to clean up so-called quality-of-life crimes.

BLOOMBERG TOUTS CONGRESSIONAL BLACK CAUCUS ENDORSEMENTS AMID STOP-AND-FRISK CONTROVERSY

Giuliani stated: “It’s the street tax paid to drunks and panhandlers. It’s the squeegee men shaking down the motorist waiting at a light. It’s the trash storms, the swirling mass of garbage left by peddlers and panhandlers, and open-air drug bazaars on unclean streets.”

In April 1994, Giuliani’s New York Police Department implemented Compstat, a data-driven program designed to deploy police to the highest-crime areas, preemptively targeting criminality, rather than reacting to it.

Chris Smith of New York Magazine gushed, “No New York invention, arguably, has saved more lives in the past 24 years.”

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The NYPD also began to employ the “stop, question and frisk” policy, designed to allow police officers to spot people suspected of criminally carrying weapons and frisk them for those weapons after questioning.

New York turned from a mess into a haven. But now Michael Bloomberg – Giuliani’s mayoral successor beginning in 2002 – is paying the price for a successful anti-crime record that followed in Giuliani’s footsteps.

Bloomberg has defended NYPD policies as non-racially biased. In 2015 he told The Aspen Institute that supposedly disproportionate “targeting” of minorities was not disproportionate but based on criminal conduct and description thereof.

In crude and insensitive but statistically accurate terminology, Bloomberg pointed out that “Ninety-five percent of your murders and murderers and murder victims fit one M.O. … They are male minorities 15 to 25.”

This may have been a slight exaggeration, but only a slight one. In 2008, for example, 88.6 percent of murder and non-negligent manslaughter victims in New York were black or Hispanic, and 92.8 percent of murder and non-negligent manslaughter suspects were black or Hispanic, according to New York government statistics.

And black and Hispanic suspects were actually under-arrested: By these same statistics, just 83.9 percent of arrestees for murder and non-negligent manslaughter were black or Hispanic.

Nonetheless, Bloomberg was widely blasted as a racist for his comments. That criticism came from both left and right. Bloomberg quickly apologized for his five-year-old comments, saying: “By the time I left office, I cut it back 95 percent, but I should’ve done it faster and sooner. I regret that and I have apologized.”

But Bloomberg should have stood up on his hind legs and defended one of his only successful policies.

Unfortunately, we live in a world where the counterfactual can be entertained without reference to reality. Thus, we are informed that broken-windows policing, Compstat, and stop and frisk should never have been employed – and we are blithely told that even without those policies, crime would have precipitously dropped over the course of two decades.

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There is precisely zero evidence to support this supposition, but that’s the beauty of writing alternative histories: No evidence is necessary.
The same is true in the world of economics, where Bernie Sanders can spend his days living off the largesse of capitalism – the man has a lake house – while decrying the evils of capitalism.

It’s easy to proclaim adherence to socialistic redistribution while living high on the hog of the free market. It’s shockingly easy to get away with maintaining that American prosperity would not have been undercut by policies precisely the opposite of the policies that have driven American prosperity for centuries.

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The joy of alternative realities is that they can’t be disproved. We can never disprove the supposition that without anti-crime measures, crime would have dropped anyway; we can never disprove the supposition that without the free market, America would have prospered even more greatly than it has.

The acid test of reality never applies to a world in which bad ideas were rejected for more effective ones. Which is why Bernie Sanders, who has produced zero things of consequence for decades but has successfully mooched off the public dime for nearly that entire period, may become president, while Michael Bloomberg, who has produced thousands of jobs and presided over a massive decline in crime in New York City, is in the hot seat.

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