October 16, 2013

Charles Oliver: School officials toss penalty flag on Confederate covering

• Tahoma High School, in Maple Valley, Wash., suspended two teens, who weren’t named by media, for wearing Confederate flags to school. The two wore the flags after another student was allowed to wear a gay pride flag to school for two weeks. School officials have refused to explain why wearing one flag is a violation of the school dress code and wearing the other isn’t.

• In Iowa, Judge James Richardson barred a reporter from the Daily Times Herald from taking notes during a vehicular homicide trial. Richardson said jurors could be influenced if they see the reporter taking notes and think that if he is writing something down, it must be important.

• A Davidson County, Tenn., grand jury has indicted former Nashville police officer Gerald McShepard for official misconduct for allegedly using his resources as a cop to try to get his ex-girlfriend fired from her job. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation says McShepard sent an anonymous letter to the woman’s employer saying she was involved in prostitution and pornography.

• A Justice Department report found that the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives lost 420 million cigarettes between 2006 and 2011 during investigations of illegal sales. The report also found that the agency allowed informants to keep millions of dollars generated by illegal sales of cigarettes during these investigations.

• Rose Bogaert and her husband ran a metal straightening business in Detroit for 28 years, but fed up with high taxes and soaring crime, they moved their company to Dearborn Heights 15 years ago. But Detroit keeps sending them property tax bills for property in the city they no longer own. A local publication tried calling the number on the latest bill they received, from the city finance department, but found that no one ever answered the phone. They then called the city finance director, only to get a message that her voice mailbox was full.

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