October 2, 2013

Charles Oliver: Boys can't play cops and robbers anymore

Charles Oliver

— • Bonnie Bennett wants officials at Florida’s Harmony Community School to remove a suspension from the record of her 8-year-old son Jordan. The boy was suspended for pretending he had a gun while he and another boy played cops and robbers.

• The Social Security Administration had money withheld from Florida resident Gilbert Stokes’ recent tax refund to pay back an $895 overpayment it made. It didn’t make the overpayment to Stokes but to his late mother. It made the overpayment in 1971. Government officials have told Stokes that if he thinks the money was improperly taken from him, he’ll have to file paperwork requesting that it be returned.

• The National Park Police placed barricades around the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday because of the government shutdown. If you can’t figure out why people can’t walk around in a park while the government is closed you aren’t alone. Later that day, a group of World War II veterans and their families came to the mall to see the National World War II Memorial. When they saw the barricades, they didn’t turn around. Instead, led by a man playing bagpipes, they just removed the barricades and entered the mall while cops looked on helplessly.

• Nikki Bailey came home to find that everything in her house was missing. She discovered that a repossession company had taken all of her belongings to the dump. She also discovered that the company was supposed to go to a house on Godby Heights in Chapmanville, W.Va. Bailey lives on Godby Street in Logan, W.Va., about 14 miles away. A prosecutor told a local TV station that the moving company didn’t do anything illegal. “It’s a lot like taking someone’s luggage at the airport. If I take a black bag, a black piece of luggage, get home and realize this is not my bag — that’s not a crime. That’s an accident,” Kanawha County Prosecutor Mark Plants said. Plants did say Bailey might be able to sue the moving company.

• Members of the Amalgamated Transit Union are protesting the Washington (D.C.) Metropolitan Transit Authority because it performs criminal background checks on new employees and on employees returning from extended leave. Union officials say some of their members have lost their jobs because they had criminal records. They also say the background checks are unfair to blacks because they are more likely to have criminal records. One protester held a sign that read, “Doing time is not a crime.”

• Eighteen people in Minnesota have sued Wabasha County and the state government after finding that county workers improperly accessed their personal information hundreds of times. The people who have filed suit note that employees searched government databases on them after they wrote critical letters to the editor about the county government, or spoke out in county board meetings or filed to run for office. They say the employees were looking for information that could embarrass critics of the county government.

Charles Oliver is a staff writer for The Daily Citizen.