Dershowitz: The Age of Consent Must Be Lowered, ‘Statutory Rape Is An Outdated Concept’

Alan Dershowitz, who stands accused of having sex with multiple alleged Jeffrey Epstein victims, says “statutory rape is an outdated concept” and there should be “Romeo and Juliet exceptions” to statutory rape law.

The age of consent should be lowered to as young as 14 because “voluntary sex is so common in their age group“, according to Dershowitz who published an op-ed titled “Statutory Rape Is An Outdated Concept” in the late 90s.

Years later, Dershowitz defended the column on Twitter, at an awkward time: Dershowitz was a member of the team that got convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein a plea deal that sent him to prison for 18 months in 2007, a sentence that was described as “the deal of the century” amid claims he should have received a much longer sentence.

This raises a fundamental question about the continuing legitimacy of statutory rape laws at a time when sex involving teenagers is so rampant and prosecution for statutory rape so selective,” Dershowitz wrote in the op-ed. 

It is obvious that there must be criminal sanctions against sex with very young children, but it is doubtful whether such sanctions should apply to teenagers above the age of puberty, since voluntary sex is so common in their age group.

Dershowitz then suggests that the age of consent should be lowered to 15, or perhaps even 14. Facing a barrage of criticism — for his handling of the Epstein plea deal, for the allegations against him and now for this column — Dershowitz has remained unapologetic. 

He told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency last year that “I have no misgivings and I will continue to represent controversial people. That’s what I do. If I’m in a case, my job is to get the best possible result.

He similarly defended the controversial 1997 op-ed in a series of tweets. 

According to Dershowitz, there should be “Romeo and Juliet exceptions” to statutory rape.

I stand by the constitutional (not moral) argument I offered in my controversial oped,” he wrote. “[I]f a 16 year old has the constitutional right to have an abortion without state or parental interference, how could she not have the constitutional right to engage in consensual sex? … I did not suggest that it is moral to have sex with a 16 year old, but rather that the issue presents a constitutional conundrum worthy of discussion.”

Dershowitz, a prominent defense lawyer and emeritus Harvard University law professor, is now facing accusations of sexual abuse from two of Epstein’s alleged victims — Virginia Roberts Giuffre and Sarah Ransome. He denies the accusations against him.

How Many Black Women Are Among Jeffrey Epstein’s Accusers?

Ladies,  Jeffrey is dead and we’re all thinking conspiracy (as in did the Administration do away with the guy…?) But, let’s step back and ask ourselves: How many Black women are among Jeffrey Epstein’s accusers?  As Black women and/or women of color we want to know how many of “us” got caught up in all of this. How many…?

None.

As far as SuzyKnew! knows there have been no Black women who have come forward to accuse Jeffery Epstein of sexual assault or inappropriate behavior.

Why?  Because Epstein didn’t date Black women.

That’s right. Jeffrey didn’t do Black women.

Virginia Roberts, one of Jeffrey Epstein’s accusers, told her lawyers, ” There was a constant influx of girls coming in and going out. And we were all very young… Young, pretty, you know a fun personality. {But,} they couldn’t be Black…”

Jeffrey didn’t appreciate Black beauty.  Virginia goes on to explain that Epstein would date non-white women, who were exotic and pretty. They just couldn’t be Black.

How many of us have encountered men like Epstein on dating sites? Men that are open to dating every type of

women, even women who are old enough to be their grandmothers as long as they’re not Black?

It’s a slap in the face. An insult.

But, we have to acknowledge that sometimes this ugly truth – that there are many men out there who do not want to date Black women – protects us. Sistas’ have escaped being abused and ravaged by Epstein.

Ironic, right?

Of course, only time will tell. As more and more women feel confident to come forward to testify what Epstein did to them, following his death, maybe there will be a Black woman among them.

We’ll see.

DR. DRE Answers Wife’s Divorce Petition …REVEALS PRENUP

Dr. Dre just filed his answer to his wife’s divorce petition, and he revealed something she didn’t – there’s a prenup.

Dre’s wife, Nicole Young, filed for divorce on June 29, citing irreconcilable differences. She is asking for spousal support and a division of property.

Dre says in his answer, filed by Disso Queen Laura Wasser, that he’s fine paying Nicole spousal support but he says any distribution of property should be governed by their prenuptial agreement.

Nicole made no mention of a prenup in her petition … and sources connected with her told TMZ there was no prenup. That is not the case.

As for the prenup … Dre’s estimated worth is $800 million.

There are no issues relating to child support or custody … their 3 kids are all adults.

Dre lists the date of separation as March 27, 2020 … just weeks after the coronavirus lockdown began.

The couple married in 1996.

Stella Immanuel’s theories about the relationship between demons, illness and sex have a long history

Matfre Ermengaud’s ‘Temptation by Lechery’ from a 14th-century manuscript. The British Library

President Donald Trump has a new favorite doctor

On July 27, the president and his son Donald Trump, Jr. tweeted a viral video featuring Dr. Stella Immanuel, in which the Houston pediatrician rejected the effectiveness of wearing face masks for preventing the spread of COVID-19 and promoted hydroxychloroquine to treat the disease.

Journalists quickly dug into Immanuel’s background and found that she’s also claimed that having sex with demons can cause illnesses like cysts and endometriosis.

These beliefs don’t come out of thin air, and she’s far from the only person who holds them.

As a scholar of biblical and apocryphal literature, I’ve researched and taught how these beliefs have deep roots in early Jewish and Christian stories – one reason they continue to persist today. 

Hints of demons in the Bible

As in many religions, demons in Judaism and Christianity are often evil supernatural beings that torment people.

Although it’s difficult to find a lot of clarity about demons in the Hebrew Bible, many later interpreters have understood demons to be the explanation for the “evil spirit” that haunts King Saul in the first book of Samuel.

Another example appears in the book of Tobit. This work was composed between about 225 and 175 BCE and isn’t included in the Hebrew Bible or accepted by all Christians. But it is considered part of the Bible by religious groups like Roman Catholics, Orthodox Christians, Beta Israel and the Assyrian Church of the East.

Tobit includes a narrative about a young woman named Sarah. Although Sarah doesn’t suffer any physical affliction, Asmodeus, the demon of lust, kills every man betrothed to her because of his desire for her.

The Christian gospels are full of stories linking demons and illness, with Jesus and several of his early followers casting out demons who afflict their victims. In one of the most prominent stories told in the Gospel of Mark, Jesus encounters a man possessed by a group of demons who call themselves “Legion” and sends them into a nearby herd of pigs who stampede off a cliff.

Demon lore spreads far and wide

Demons pervade biblical apocrypha, which are stories about biblical subjects that were never included in the canonical Bible and include various associations between demons, illness and sex. 

The early Christian text “Acts of Thomas” was likely composed in the third century and became hugely popular, as it was eventually translated into Greek, Arabic and Syriac. It tells the story of the apostle Thomas’ travels to India as an early Christian missionary. Along the way, he encounters a number of obstacles, including people who have been possessed by demons.

In the fifth act, a woman comes to him and pleads for help. She tells the apostle how, one day at the baths, she encountered an old man and talked to him out of pity. But when he propositioned her for sex, she refused and left. Later that night, the demon in the guise of an old man attacked her in her sleep and raped her. Although the woman attempted to escape the demon the next day, he continued to find her and rape her every night, tormenting the woman for five years. Thomas then exorcises the demon.

Astaroth rides a winged beast and clutches a snake.
A 19th-century drawing of Astaroth. Louis Breton

Another demon story is found in the “Martyrdom of Bartholomew,” which probably dates back to the sixth century. Bartholomew also travels to India, where he finds that the inhabitants of a city worship an idol named Astaroth who has promised to heal all of their illnesses. But Astaroth is actually a demon who causes afflictions that he then pretends to cure in order to gain more followers. Bartholomew reveals the farce and performs several miracles to prove his own spiritual prowess. After forcing the demon to confess to his deceit, Bartholomew drives him into the wilderness.

Apocrypha like the “Acts of Thomas” and “Acts of Bartholomew” were popular in the medieval period, and even those who couldn’t read or write knew these stories. They also helped fuel the “witch craze” of the 16th and 17th centuries, in which zealous Christian leaders persecuted and killed thousands of people – mainly women – for their beliefs, often concocting claims that they consorted with demons.

Beliefs that persist today

It’s clear that Immanuel has profited from her beliefs in the supernatural, especially in right-wing and religious circles. She has over 9,000 followers on Facebook and over 94,000 on Twitter, with a dedicated platform as a pastor. In fact, she casts herself as a prophet and destroyer of demons.

It isn’t difficult to find other modern Christians who connect demons, sex and health issues. The conservative Christian magazine Charisma published a story claiming that sex with demons causes homosexuality. And researchers recently were able to show that belief in supernatural evilcould predict negative attitudes toward abortion, homosexuality, premarital sex, extramarital sex and pornography. 

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Meanwhile, many evangelical Americans believe that Trump is God’s chosen one, who has been tasked with fighting actual demons. Trump’s personal minister, Paula White, is just one conservative figure known to espouse these views.

If anything, the coronavirus pandemic has shown how many on the religious right continue to rely on faith over scienceStudies have already emerged showing how the tension between faith and science has influenced many conservative Christians to resist the use of masks and other public health responses to the pandemic.

With many conservative Christians sharing some of the same views about demons as Immanuel – and conservative Christians forming a core base of support for the president – Trump’s promotion of the doctor’s beliefs makes perfect sense. 

He’s preaching to the choir.

NEW BOOK CALLED ‘THE MICHELLE OBAMA TRANSGENDER GUIDE’ GIVES ACCOUNTING OF HOW BARACK OBAMA EMPOWERED THE TRANSGENDER COMMUNITY, SO WHY IS IT NAMED AFTER MICHELLE?

NEW BOOK CALLED ‘THE MICHELLE OBAMA TRANSGENDER GUIDE’ GIVES ACCOUNTING OF HOW BARACK OBAMA EMPOWERED THE TRANSGENDER COMMUNITY, SO WHY IS IT NAMED AFTER MICHELLE? by Geoffrey Grider for Now The End Begins

Now a new book called ‘The Michelle Obama Transgender Guide’ takes us through the hundreds of pieces of legislation created by the Obama’s to empower the LGBTQ+P for Pedophile community in general, and the transgender community in particular. But to me it is rather curious why this book would be dedicated to Michelle Obama instead of her husband Barack, really doesn’t make much sense. Or does it?

The Michelle Obama Transgender Guide: Compiled by Richard Saunders with publicly accessible documents from the President Obama Administration.

Many times people will write in to us asking where did all this transgender stuff come from all of a sudden? One moment no one is talking about it, the next they have become the latest media sensation, so what happened? The answer is very simple, really. When Barack Obama and his wife Michelle were in the White House, they were the champions of the transgender movement, and passed all sorts of orders and signed all kinds of bills to create laws to protect them.

“The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.” Deuteronomy 22:5 (KJV)

Now a new book called ‘The Michelle Obama Transgender Guide’ takes us through the hundreds of pieces of legislation created by the Obama’s to empower the LGBTQ+P for Pedophile community in general, and the transgender community in particular. But to me it is rather curious why this book would be dedicated to Michelle Obama instead of her husband Barack, really doesn’t make much sense. Or does it?

For years the conspiracy theory community has said that Michelle Obama is actually a transgender named Michael LaVaughn Robinson. Before you have any type of reaction to what I just said, consider the following. Comedian Joan Rivers famously ‘outed‘ Michelle by saying that ‘everyone in Hollywood knows that Michelle is a trannie‘, only to die under mysterious circumstances during routine throat surgery just a short time later.

“WE ALREADY HAVE A GAY PRESIDENT WITH OBAMA, SO LET’S JUST CALM DOWN,” SHE SAID. “YOU KNOW MICHELLE IS A TRANS.” WHEN ASKED TO FURTHER EXPLAIN RIVERS SAID, “A TRANSGENDER. WE ALL KNOW IT.”

Then there is the curious phenomenon of there not existing one, single photo of Michelle being pregnant with either of her daughters, not one. Then in 2018 it was revealed that she was impregnated in a laboratory, and not by Barack.

Now do you see why calling this book the ‘Michelle Obama Transgender Guide’ may actually be a wink and a nod from the transgender community to one of their own at the highest possible level? I don’t know how else to view her being “honored” in this way when it was her husband that actually signed all the bills. Shouldn’t the book be named after him? 🤔

The Michelle Obama Transgender Guide

The following is a review of the book.

This book reflects on the historic steps the former First Lady and this last Administration have taken to afford greater protections for this minority community. During the last 8 years

  • President Obama signed numerous Executive Orders, such as one on LGBT Workplace Discrimination,
  • Obama declares June to be LGBTQ Pride Month,
  • the CDC announced $185 million for grant opportunities for HIV prevention among transgender people and gay and bisexual men,
  • the Department of Housing and Urban Development issued new guidance for LGBT Americans seeking a home loan, and
  • former Attorney General Eric Holder announced the Department of Justice’s new position against sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

These are just a few of the efforts, with the support of the press, to raise awareness of this social situation. (Hopefully, these orders, memos, and regulations will not be as easily canceled or reverted.)

What Does It Mean to Be Transgender?

Transgender people feel that the gender to which they were born, or assigned at birth, does not fit them. Transgender people include people born female who identify as male (female-to-male) and people born male who identify as female (male- to-female). Transgender people also include those who identify as “genderqueer,” gender neutral, and/or gender-free—people who may not identify as either male or female.

Gunman Kills NJ Judge Esther Salas’ Son, Wounds Her Husband Days After Taking Epstein Finances Case

U.S. District Judge Esther SalasStar-Ledger file photo

The son of a federal judge was killed and her husband was shot at their home in Middlesex County Sunday evening, officials said.

Mark Anderl, 63, a criminal defense attorney and husband of U.S. District Judge Esther Salas, and their son, Daniel, 20, were shot in an attack at their home in North Brunswick. Salas was not injured in the shooting.

North Brunswick Mayor Francis “Mac” Womack said the judge’s husband was in critical condition and underwent surgery and is now in stable condition. He said the couple’s son had died.

Chief U.S. District Court Judge Freda Wolfson told The Associated Press that the couple’s son was killed and Mark Anderl was wounded in the shooting.

The gunman may have been dressed as a FedEx deliveryman, two law enforcement sources told NJ Advance Media.

The FBI said they were searching for one subject, and asked for help from the public.

Mark Anderl in a file photo.Noah K. Murray

Anderl served as an assistant prosecutor in Essex County before entering private practice.

Judge Salas, who is based in Newark, was the first Hispanic female to be appointed to the U.S. District Court in New Jersey.

Salas, 51, has handled cases involving members of the Grape Street Crips, in connection with a long-running drug-trafficking network that was taken down by the FBI in 2015. She was also the judge who sent Real Housewives stars Joe and Teresa Giudice to prison.

Salas was nominated by President Obama as a U.S. District Court judge in December 2010. She was confirmed by the Senate in June 2011.

Anyone with information for investigators can call the FBI at 973-792-3001.

Investigators at the shooting scene at Judge Esther Salas’ home in North Brunswick Sunday, July 19, 2020.(Avalon Zoppo | NJ Advance Media)

Florida homeowner shoots and kills two ‘extremely violent’ burglars and injures another after they broke into his house during the night

 

  • Two suspects, 21-year-old Luis Casado and 21-year-old Khyle Durham, were killed as they broke into a home near Tampa, Florida
  • A third suspect managed to survive after the homeowner’s gun suddenly jammed 
  • Suspect Jeremiah Trammel, 19, will face second-degree murder charges because he was committing a felony in which two people died
  • Casado and Durham were revealed to have violent criminal pasts
  • Trammel ran from the home during a break in the shooting but was stopped by another neighbor with a gun and held until the police arrived

A teenager is facing charges for a would-be armed home invasion robbery in Floridain which his two accomplices were shot and killed and he was wounded.

Jeremiah Trammel, 19, was shot after his accomplices, Luis Casado, 21, and Khyle Durham, 21, had already been shot dead during the alleged break-in.

The person who shot the two men was the homeowner who was using a gun to defend himself in Wesley Chapel, near Tampa.

The two intruders who were shot and killed by a Wesley Chapel homeowner were identified by the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office as Luis Casado, left, and Khyle Durham, both 21.

 

Casado and Durham were shot dead as they were walking along a narrow hallway towards the owner of the house.

Both had their faces covered with black masks and had guns drawn according to Fox35.

According to Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco, Trammel was then able to make a quick escape from the home after the homeowner’s gun suddenly jammed allowing for a pause in the shooting.

Trammel was caught by a next door neighbor who also had a gun and held him on the spot until the police arrived.

He was taken to hospital where he was treated for a gunshot wound.

Casado and Durham were ‘extremely violent’ criminals, according to Sheriff Nocco, while Trammel had a previous arrest for other charges.

‘The victim in this case was exercising his Second Amendment right to protect himself in his home,’ Nocco said.

The homeowner who was alone at the time and playing video games realized something was amiss after hearing glass smash.

30666728-8514275-image-a-44_1594533045719Casado and Durham were ‘extremely violent’ criminals, according to Sheriff Nocco, while Trammel had a previous arrest for other charges. Durham is pictured here

30666724-8514275-image-a-45_1594533051366Further investigation revealed Trammel, Casado and Durham knew the homeowner personally and he knew them, although no more details were revealed. Casado is pictured here 

He grabbed his gun and went to investigate.

The sheriff believes that the owner may have been targeted because he had recently posted pictures of a large gun collection he owned on social media.

Further investigation revealed Trammel, Casado and Durham knew the homeowner personally and he knew them, although no more details were revealed.

Trammel has been charged with home invasion robbery but also faces the murder charges for the deaths of Casado and Durham.

 

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U.S. TURNING TO COMMUNISM: Cuban Defector WARNS President Trump Of Democrats Efforts

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The first Black Lives Matter wave led to 2K extra black homicides — but new wave will be worse

Hundreds of Occupy City Hall demonstrators await the legislator’s budget vote to cut the NYPD annual budget by $1 billion on Tuesday.

It took several months for the first iteration of the Ferguson Effect to become obvious. Michael Brown was fatally shot by a Ferguson, Missouri, police officer in August 2014, triggering local riots and a national narrative about lethally racist police. Officers backed off proactive policing in minority neighborhoods, having been told that such discretionary enforcement was racially oppressive. By early 2015, the resulting spike in shootings and homicides had become patent and would lead to an additional 2,000 black homicide victims in 2015 and 2016, compared with 2014 numbers.

Today’s violent-crime increase — call it Ferguson Effect 2.0 or the Minneapolis Effect — has come on with a speed and magnitude that make Ferguson 1.0 seem tranquil. George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police in late May was justly condemned — but the event has now spurred an outpouring of contempt against the pillars of law and order that has no precedent in American history. Every day, another mainstream institution — from McDonald’s to Harvard — denounces the police, claiming without evidence that law enforcement is a threat to black lives.

To be sure, the first manifestation of the Black Lives Matter movement had a mouthpiece in the Oval Office, lacking now. It doesn’t matter. Presidential imprimatur or no, the reborn Black Lives Matter has gained billions of dollars in corporate support, more billions in free round-the-clock media promotion, and a ruthless power to crush dissent from the now-universal narrative about murderous police bigots.

During the two weeks of national anarchy that followed the death of George Floyd, cops were shot, slashed, and assaulted; their vehicles and station houses were firebombed and destroyed. American elites stayed silent. Since then, police have continued to be shot at and attacked; the elites remain silent. Monuments to America’s greatest leaders are being defaced with impunity; anarchists took over a significant swathe of a major American city, including a police precinct, without resistance from the authorities. And a push to defund the police gains traction by the day.

The rising carnage in the inner city is the consequence of this official repudiation of the criminal-justice system. The current tolerance and justification for vandalism and violence; the silencing of police supporters; and police unwillingness to intervene, even when their own precincts are assaulted — all send a clear message to criminals that society has lost the will to prevent lawlessness. In Minneapolis, shootings have more than doubled this year compared to last. Nearly half of all those shootings have occurred since George Floyd’s death, according to a Minneapolis Star Tribune analysis. On Father’s Day, a mass shooting on a crowded street uptown struck 11 people. The next day saw a chain of retaliatory shootings — the first next to a park filled with children, the next, 90 minutes later, on a notorious gang-dominated street intersection. In nearby St. Paul, reported firearms discharges have more than doubled. The same gangbangers are getting shot repeatedly. One 17-year-old boy has been shot in four different events over the last month and a half.

In Chicago, 18 people were killed and 47 wounded in drive- and walk-by shootings last weekend. The fatalities included a one-year-old boy riding in a car with his mother (the gunman drove up alongside and emptied his gun into the vehicle) and a 10-year-old girl struck in the head inside her home; a group of youth on the street outside her house had started shooting at another group of youth nearby. The previous weekend in Chicago, 104 people were shot, 15 fatally. The deceased included a 3-year-old boy riding in a car with his father on Father’s Day — his gangbanger father was the intended victim — and a 13-year-old girl shot in her head in her home.

New York City’s homicide rate is at a five-year high; the number of shooting victims was up over 42 percent through June 21 compared with the same period in 2019. The number of shootings in the first three weeks of June was over twice that of the same period in 2019, making this June the city’s bloodiest in nearly a quarter century, according to The New York Times. At 4 a.m. last Sunday, a 30-year-old woman was shot in the head in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn, at a house party. On Saturday afternoon, a man and a woman were shot to death outside a Brooklyn home. Early Friday morning, a 19-year-old girl was shot to death in the heart of Manhattan, near Madison Square Park, on East 26th Street.

Milwaukee’s homicides have increased 132 percent. “In 25 years, I’ve never seen it like this,” a Milwaukee police inspector told the Police Executive Research Forum, referring to the violence and the low officer morale. Shootings are spiking in Indianapolis. Other cities will show similar increases once their crime data are published.

By now, these drearily mindless gang shootings echo one another. Another 3-year-old boy was shot in Chicago with his gangbanger father on another Father’s Day, this one in 2016; the boy is paralyzed for life. The young children recently shot inside their homes also recall Ferguson 1.0 incidents.

In August 2016, a nine-year-old girl was shot to death in Ferguson on her mother’s bed while doing homework. The gunman was a 21-year-old felon on probation from a robbery conviction who deliberately shot at least six bullets into the home, located near a memorial for Michael Brown. But the pedigree of these domestic drive-bys is longer and more ominous. In New York, children used to sleep in bathtubs before Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Police Commissioner William Bratton began restoring lawfulness to the city in 1994; we are fast returning to that pre-Giuliani era.

So far this year, more people have been killed in Baltimore than at this point in 2019, which ended with the highest homicide rate on record for that city. June’s killings, which eclipse those of June 2019, include a 23-year-old woman who was eight months pregnant and her three-year-old daughter. They were gunned down in their car by the father of the woman’s unborn child, according to the police.

The victims in these shootings are overwhelmingly black. So far this year, 78 percent of all homicide victims in Chicago are black, though blacks are less than a third of the population. But the defund-the-police advocates and the Democratic establishment have said nothing about the growing loss of black lives.

Instead, the Black Lives Matter movement is tweeting about police defunding, last weekend’s gay pride marches and NASCAR’s Bubba Wallace, the subject of yet another hate-crime hoax. DeRay Mckesson, an early BLM organizer in Ferguson, is retweeting about whether homophobes are secretly gay.

Activist Shaun King, who recently called for vandals to destroy stained-glass windows portraying the Baby Jesus and Mary, is retweeting that Mount Rushmore is an act of vandalism. Ja’Mal Green, a Black Lives Matter organizer in Chicago who was arrested in 2016 for assaulting and attempting to disarm an officer, offered a $5,000 reward on Saturday for information on the killing of the 1-year-old boy in Chicago, but coupled that offer with another call to defund the police. Since then, Green has been tweeting about abortion rights and the extradition of President Trump to Iran. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is tweeting about abortion rights, gay pride and Trump’s culpability for the coronavirus epidemic. The Vera Institute for Justice, a liberal criminal-justice think tank, announced on Monday that “now is the time to spend less on policing” in order to “create safer communities for Black people.”

Actually, now would seem not to be the time to spend less on policing, with gunslingers retaking control of urban streets. The timing of the defund movement was always a puzzle, coming as it did after weeks of destructive riots during which law enforcement was wildly overmatched. Such a demonstration of the violence that lies just beneath the surface of civilization would not, one might think, be the best opening pitch for an argument to shrink police manpower and resources further.

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Four Toledo City Council members, all Democrats, arrested by FBI on bribery charges

The FBI has been investigating for two years

Four members of the Toledo City Council, all Democrats, were arrested and charged in a bribery scheme by federal law enforcement authorities on Tuesday.

Federal prosecutors alleged that Tyrone Riley, Yvonne Harper, Larry Sykes, and Garrick Johnson, were involved in a scheme that extorted money from business owners in the Ohio city in exchange for favorable council votes. The FBI began its investigation into the council members in early 2018.

Each of the accused members could face up to 10 years in prison for the bribery charges, and up to 20 years on the extortion charges.

Also charged in the scheme was an attorney who is accused of helping orchestrate the crimes.

Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz issued a statement calling it a terrible day for the city.

“I am shocked and heartbroken by today’s arrests. This is a terrible day for Toledo — and for everyone who believes in the good that can be accomplished through public service,” Kapszukiewicz said.

“I have no tolerance for public officials who abuse the trust of the citizens,” he added. “I encourage all Toledoans to say a prayer for our city and for the hope that justice will be done in this case.”

Kapszukiewicz went on to remind Toledo citizens that the accused are innocent until proven guilty.

Mark Wagoner, the chair of the Lucas County Republican Party, called for the resignation of all four Democrats.

“Democrat domination of Toledo city politics has consequences, and today we see them. Lucas County Republicans have long pointed to the culture of corruption within the City of Toledo and have put forward quality candidates to end Democrat domination,” he said.

Councilwoman Harper is reportedly the executive director of the Lucas County Democratic Party.

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