August 21, 2013

Charles Oliver: LeBron going the other way

Charles Oliver

— • Miami-Dade County Police Department officials say that, after thinking it over, it probably wasn’t a good idea to give NBA player LeBron James an official escort to a Justin Timberlake/Jay Z concert. Patrol cars turned on their lights and sirens and drove James the wrong way down a one-way street to get him through heavy traffic so he wouldn’t be late for the concert at Sun Life Stadium.

• Seattle’s Office for Civil Rights has warned city employees that the terms “citizen” and “brown bag” may be offensive. It suggests they use the word “resident” instead of citizen and instead of talking about a “brown bag lunch” say “sack lunch” instead.

• The U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled an Illinois law barring people from recording police officers is unconstitutional, and the Supreme Court has declined to overturn that ruling. So that means no one can be prosecuted under that law now, right? Not according to Morgan County prosecutor Robert Bonjean. He says he will continue to decide whether to prosecute people for recording the police on a “case by case” basis.

• Johnathan Montgomery spent four years in prison after being convicted of raping Elizabeth Paige Coast. He was freed only after she admitted she made the story up and lied during his trial. A Virginia judge recently sentenced her for perjury in that case. She’ll spend 60 days in jail, to be served on weekends, and must pay $90,000 to Montgomery.

• For some two decades, Venus DeMars has made her living solely from music, painting and other artistic endeavors. She admits she hasn’t made much money at it, but she still considers herself a professional artist. The Minnesota Department of Revenue disagrees. It says she is a hobbyist and therefore can’t deduct any professional expenses on her income taxes. And it says she owes the state $3,535 because of illegal deductions she made in the past. Among the reasons it cited for saying that she isn’t a professional are that she seems to enjoy her work too much and that the profits from her work aren’t large enough.

• French police have confiscated 60 tons of tiny Eiffel Towers. They say that without their diligent efforts those replicas would have been sold to tourists by unlicensed vendors, hurting the sales of those who are authorized to sell miniature Eiffel Towers.

• During a SWAT training exercise at an empty apartment in a housing project, Albany, N.Y., police ordered some residents of the Arbor Hill neighborhood to remain in their homes. They threatened to arrest others for trespass for trying to return to their homes. And they left many of them complaining about noise and tear gas. Residents did not find out until it was over that the raid was just a practice exercise.

• Washington, D.C., Mayor Vincent Gray disinvited gospel singer Donnie McClurkin from a concert honoring the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s march on the city. Gay rights activists had objected to McClurkin’s participation because he says God “delivered” him from the homosexuality he had struggled with after being molested as a child.

Charles Oliver is a staff writer for The Daily Citizen.