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Orlando cops stop only black state attorney; it was perfectly legal so what is her problem?

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It would be interesting to find out if Ayala was ever stopped before, and if it was by white, or African-American officers.

The Orlando police department pulled over Aramis Ayala, the only black state attorney elected in Florida’s history. The stop was incident-free, professional, courteous, and quick.

It was also completely lawful. Here’s the video, from the Orlando PD.

“Although the traffic stop appears to be consistent with Florida law,” Ayala told CNN. “[My] goal is to have a constructive and mutually respectful relationship between law enforcement and the community.”

There was no evidence in the video of personal disrespect.

As expected, the Orlando Police Department defended its officers–what they needed defense from is unclear.

The Orlando Police Department allows the running of tags “for official business only,” a practice “done routinely on patrol,” the agency said in a statement.

“In regards to the video, which was released by the Orlando Police Department last month, the officers stated the tag did not come back as registered to any vehicle. As you can see in the video, the window tint was dark, and officers would not have been able to tell who, or how many people, were in the vehicle,” the agency said.

The Tampa Bay Times checked with a local attorney, who said “I didn’t see anything wrong.” He added:

…If had to defend the case, he would have a hard time there was any type of discrimination against Ayala. He said the briefness of the interaction, as well as the explanation of the stop, shows that the officers acted reasonably, and previous U.S. Supreme Court cases have held it’s “objectively reasonable” for officers to run tags.

“It would be very difficult for me to argue that this was an illegal stop,” he said.

So, legally–and Ayala is a lawyer–there was nothing wrong. So Ayala must be referring to something else. Something deeper.

I believe the deeper thing is African-Americans being stopped for no reason, no allegation of wrongdoing, and approached by officers in their car. There’s a moment of uncertainty there. Is this going to go well or poorly? Is this going to be a Philando Castile situation?

The police are also dealing with their own private internal debate. A nondescript car with a tag that comes back “blank.” It could have been a computer data glitch. It could have been something nefarious. Police never know–it’s a hazard of the job.

“What was the tag run for?” Ayala asked. And that’s routine. Legally, police have every right to pull anyone over for anything dealing with their license plate and registration. If the color doesn’t match, or the officer thinks the tag has been moved to a different vehicle, or there are warrants on the owner, they can stop someone.

(In an aside, the officer’s “really dark” window comment was unnecessary and likely spoken out of fear of being accused of an illegal stop. Better to have too many reasons, but in this case, he had more than enough.)

No harm no foul.

But there is always potential harm, and a potential foul. Say, for instance, Ayala was armed and her pistol became visible while she was handing her license over. State attorney or not, officers might have a reason to be spooked. Or should they?

The experience of African-Americans in America dealing with police (especially white police) officers is one of tension. Sometimes imperceivable, sometimes in-your-face. I think it’s right for Ayala to work with officers, and with the African-American community, to reduce that tension.

But is she doing that, or just taking advantage of a situation that was bound to eventually happen in her job. It would be interesting to find out if Ayala was ever stopped before, and if it was by white, or African-American officers.

Her stated goal of a “constructive and mutually respectful relationship between law enforcement and the community” is one we should all agree with. That there have been instances where that relationship has been neither constructive nor mutually respectful is beyond argument.

Ayala said, “I look forward to sitting down to have an open dialogue with the Chief of Orlando Police Department regarding how this incident impacts that goal.”

But why didn’t Ayala tell CNN that she also wanted to sit down with her community in an open conversation? She handled the stop well, but many in a similar situation might react poorly.

In her 2016 campaign for the 9th Judicial Circuit State Attorney position, Ayala told Orlando-Rising,

As a state attorney, I will be serving the entire circuit. We live in a very multi-cultural community,” she said. “I want to be the best candidate.”

Also, this:

Ayala is basing her campaign in part on her belief that the Office of the State Attorney needs to do more than prosecute criminals, it needs to step out into the community and be a voice, an advocate and a bridge to close any gaps between people and police.

It seems “the people” aren’t the ones she feels need a bridge.

In the end, maybe Ayala needs to accept two things: that stopping vehicles for a variety of reasons and with a diversity of drivers and uncertainty is a hazard of their job; and that having a confidential registration might get her stopped–that’s a hazard of her job.

It would be better if Ayala used the influence of her position in the African-American community in addition to her hinting that the problem is all on law enforcement’s end.

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Guns and Crime

Why isn’t Katie Brennan’s #MeToo accusation getting national attention?

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It’s the type of story that should have received national attention immediately. It was sourced by a respected major news outlet, the Wall Street Journal. Both the accuser and the accused are high-ranking public official in New Jersey’s government. The accused stepped down two weeks ago when approached by WSJ for comment. Katie Brennan’s story is a major newsworthy scandal.

As of Monday morning, a day after the story officially broke and four days after it was leaked to other major news outlets, both mainstream media and the #MeToo movement are essentially silent.

That will change soon, possibly today. Brennan, a prominent volunteer for Phil Murphy’s gubernatorial campaign and current Chief of Staff at the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency, released this statement:

On April 8th, 2017, Al Alvarez raped me. On April 9th, 2017 I learned that the system is broken.

I have pursued every form of justice available. But it has become clear that this system is not built for survivors.

The details of the assault portrayed in reporter Kate King’s Wall Street Journal report published today are accurate. But to date, I have received no justice.

I decided to come forward because I know that Al Alvarez, and all perpetrators, must be held accountable, must never rape again, and the justice system needs a complete change with regard to sexual violence.

New Jersey residents are only given a two-year window to file a civil suit. After spending an entire year pursuing a criminal case before hitting a dead end, I am left with less than one year to pursue civil action.

It is clear that leadership from the Murphy administration is needed to create meaningful policy change on several levels to make sure future victims do not have to endure what I have. I urge Gov. Murphy and the Attorney General’s Office to eliminate the statute of limitations on civil action related to sexual assault, and to direct prosecutors to be more aggressive in taking on these criminal cases. Further, the Murphy administration and the General Assembly should pursue legislation to ensure New Jersey’s police and other first responders are better trained to handle sexual assault victims.

Finally, sexual predators like Al Alvarez are only able to stay in power when those around them do nothing. Several senior level members of the Murphy administration were aware of my assault and failed to take meaningful action. Al Alvarez remained employed at a senior level in the Murphy administration until just a few weeks ago, when he knew the Wall Street Journal article was coming out and opted to resign. The failure of members of Gov. Murphy’s staff to respond in an aggressive, proactive fashion is unacceptable.

To other sexual assault survivors in New Jersey, I urge you to join me in coming forward if you are able. I will stand with you, because when we stand together, we are safer and stronger. Our voice is our power. Together, we can finally receive the justice we all deserve.

Murphy has not commented other than saying Alvarez should not have been hired. He was made aware of a “sensitive matter” that needed to be discussed by Brennan in June and claimed his staff would set up a meeting. That was the last Brennan heard from Murphy.

Gov. Phil Murphy’s handling of aide sex assault allegation questioned

https://www.northjersey.com/story/news/new-jersey/governor/2018/10/14/murphys-handling-sexual-assault-allegation-called-into-question/1642517002/His accuser, Katie Brennan, was a Murphy campaign volunteer who said she spent more than a year seeking action against Alvarez for the alleged sexual assault before directly emailing Phil and Tammy Murphy in June. Phil Murphy responded within the hour, according to the Journal.

“Hang in,” he wrote. “We are on it.”

But Alvarez remained in his $140,000-a-year position until October. The alleged assault happened in April 2017.

Standards set by the #MeToo movement dictate that credible accusations should be believed. Brennan appears to be extremely credible, having reported her rape immediately after it allegedly occurred. Alvarez offered a $15,000 settlement that would have been attached to a non-disclosure agreement, which Brennan refused.

Where is MSNBC? Where is CNN? Where is Alyssa Milano?

Social media is starting to take notice. In particular, they’re going after Murphy and his wife for speaking out in support of Christine Blasey Ford’s accusations against Brett Kavanaugh.

Katie Brennan

My Take

I am a strong proponent for what the #MeToo movement once promoted and how it started. The original intent was to embolden women who had experienced sexual misconduct at the hands of men in power over them. The goal was to give courage to those who were in very tough situations.

Recently, the #MeToo movement has been weaponized. I’m not going to draw comparisons between accusations against Kavanaugh and Alvarez. That would be unfair to Ford since Brennan’s accusations against Alvarez are much more recent and have the benefit of an immediate report to the authorities. Nevertheless, it’s worth noting that as of now, either the story hasn’t reached the right people or the right people have chosen to ignore it.

We can’t let them.

It’s not as if this is a political hit job against Democrats. Brennan’s image was used in Murphy’s campaign handouts and she was outspoken as a “Young Democrat of the Week” in New Jersey as a result.

Katie Brennan NJ Democrat

I don’t like when something as heinous as rape gets politicized, but silence from mainstream media and the #MeToo movement is deafening. Would they be avoiding the story if Brennan had accused a Republican?

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Culture and Religion

Katherine Timpf on fighting political correctness

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Katherine Timpf on fighting political correctness

National Review reporter and Fox News contributor Katherine Timpf often discusses political correctness. She talks about it so often that one might think it’s a subject she enjoys, but in reality it’s simply a problem she passionately wants to solve.

In American society, it is way too easy to offend. People do not want to hear that their perspectives are wrong. That’s apparently some form of violence. They don’t want to hear an opposing viewpoint. That’s allegedly a form of oppression. Many on the left feel entitled to express their opinions in any way they see fit and also to prevent others from sharing their opinions if there’s a difference in worldviews.

The hypocrisy of political correctness is thick.

As Timpf recently pointed out on National Review, it’s a problem that doesn’t have an easy solution, but trends are pointing to positive movement against the specter of political correctness.

Political Correctness: Study Finds 80 Percent of Americans Think It’s a Problem

https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/10/political-correctness-problem-according-to-80-percent-of-people/I could go on for pages and pages, but you get the point: Writing about political correctness sometimes makes me feel as if everyone has gone mad, and I’m very glad to see that this doesn’t seem to be the case. Instead, a strong majority of people apparently agrees with me. A strong majority believes that political correctness has gone too far, and probably would agree that we need to be careful to protect our ability to speak freely in this country.

That’s certainly encouraging, but it still doesn’t make me feel entirely better. After all, the small, PC-obsessed mob can sometimes be very powerful. Once it decides that someone or something is racist or sexist, that conclusion can carry a lot of weight. It can ruin careers and lives. It can remove perfectly good, innocuous words from acceptable speech, because even the people who might not see a problem with those words don’t want to risk being accused of racism or sexism for using them. The only answer is to keep fighting, to keep exposing and mocking such overreach when it occurs — and to take solace in the fact that so many people have awoken to its dangers.

Keep fighting the good fight, Ms. Timpf.

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Entertainment and Sports

Man who identifies as transgender woman wins Cycling World Championships

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Man who identifies as transgender woman wins Cycling World Championships

Rachel McKinnon. a transgender woman who was born male and possesses all the physical advantages of a man, won the 2018 UCI Masters Track Cycling World Championships in Los Angeles. It’s the latest event that draws questions about the fairness of biological males competing in female events.

Despite outcry by biological females and men alike, it is being billed by some as a victory for the LGBTQ community and transgender men or women around the world. Critics point out that biological males have an unfair advantage over biological females when it comes to activities that require physical strength, speed, or endurance. That doesn’t seem to deter those competing in these events.

Biological Male Wins World Championship Event in Women’s Cycling

https://www.dailysignal.com/2018/10/14/biological-male-wins-world-championship-event-in-womens-cycling/McKinnon celebrated the victory on Twitter, writing: “First transgender woman world champion … ever.” Later, the professor responded to criticism from “transphobic bigots” by tweeting:

Allowing biological males who identify as transgender women to compete in women’s athletic events has been a controversial subject, as critics argue that it puts female competitors at an inherent disadvantage.

My Take

Unlike some of my colleagues, I have no problem with transgenderism. What I have a problem with is the unfairness of women’s competitive sports being infiltrated by those who have clear and scientifically demonstrable biological advantages over their competitors.

If performance enhancing drugs are frowned upon in sports, what could be more performance-enhancing than growing up with the musculature and hormone advantage of a man, then competing in women’s sports?

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