Schizophrenic Woman Tased To Death In Virgina Prison

Details Released in Death Investigation of Alexandria WomanA mentally ill woman died after a stun gun was used on her at the Fairfax County jail in Virginia last February.  Fairfax County sits next to Washington, D.C.

Natasha McKenna was restrained with handcuffs behind her back, leg shackles and a mask when a sheriff’s deputy shocked her four times, according to incident reports, states The Washington Post.

McKenna initially cooperated with deputies, placed her hands through her cell door food slot and agreed to be handcuffed, the reports show.

But McKenna, whose deteriorating mental state had caused Fairfax to seek help for her, then began trying to fight her way out of the cuffs, repeatedly screaming, “You promised you wouldn’t hurt me!” the reports show, states The Washington Post.

Six members of the Sheriff’s Emergency Response Team – including two supervisors – were dressed in white full-body biohazard suits and gas masks, and placed a struggling 130-pound McKenna into full restraints, states Patch.com.

“But when McKenna wouldn’t bend her knees so she could be placed into a wheeled restraint chair, a lieutenant delivered four 50,000-volt shocks from the Taser, enabling the other deputies to strap her into the chair, the reports show,” stated the Washington Post.

Attorney Harvey J. Volzer said doctors have told the family that the 37-year-old woman was stunned as many as five times during an encounter with sheriff’s deputies as they prepared to transfer her to Alexandria to face a charge stemming from a fight with police there, states The Washington Post.

According to Patch.com, the Fairfax County Police Department, in conjunction with the Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office, released the following details Thursday regarding the current in-custody death investigation of Alexandria resident Natasha McKenna:

“On Tuesday, Jan. 20, the Alexandria City Police Department obtained a felony warrant against Natasha McKenna for assaulting a law enforcement officer(Code of Virginia §18.2-57). The assault occurred during an encounter they had with her on Thursday, Jan. 15.

On Sunday, Jan. 25, McKenna called the Fairfax County Department of Public Safety Communications Center reporting that she had been assaulted. The arriving Fairfax County police officer then assisted her with making the report and she agreed to be examined at a local hospital for her alleged injuries. Detectives from the Fairfax County Police Department’s Major Crimes Division and Crime Scene Section also responded to conduct a follow-up investigation.

While at the hospital with McKenna, detectives and a victim services specialist assisted with the investigative efforts. During the course of the investigative efforts, McKenna elected to no longer pursue the investigation and declined further police services. During the course of the investigation, a record check revealed McKenna had the outstanding arrest warrant for assaulting a law enforcement officer in Alexandria City.

On Monday, Jan. 26, shortly after 1 a.m., McKenna was transported from the hospital to the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center (ADC), where the warrant was served and she was remanded to the custody of the Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office, as directed by a Fairfax County magistrate. The Sheriff’s Office made contact with Alexandria at approximately 7:40 a.m. to inform them that they were holding an inmate with an Alexandria City charge.

On Saturday, Jan. 31, McKenna physically assaulted a Fairfax County deputy sheriff while incarcerated at the ADC.

On Tuesday, Feb. 3, the Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office, pursuant to its protocols for managing combative inmates, made a decision to have the Sheriff’s Emergency Response Team (SERT) remove McKenna from her cell for transport to the detention center in the City of Alexandria as related to her charge that originated in the City of Alexandria. As the SERT attempted to secure McKenna in her cell and restrain her for transport, she physically resisted the deputies and refused their commands. The SERT consisted of six deputy sheriffs, which included two supervisors.

During the struggle to restrain McKenna, a member of the SERT deployed a conducted energy weapon (Taser) on McKenna. While being restrained, deputies placed a spit net (which is designed to restrict and prevent spitting) on McKenna. A nurse from the ADC medical staff was present at that time to check on her prior to transport and cleared her for transport. Deputies attempted to put her in a medical transport chair, but McKenna continued to be combative and was moved to a restraint chair for transport to a vehicle transfer area, commonly known as a sally port.

A Fairfax County deputy sheriff was assigned to record the deployment of the SERT and the video is currently retained as evidence by detectives from the Fairfax County Police Department and will not be released at this time.

Deputies escorted McKenna from the cell area to the sally port where the transport vehicle was waiting. Once at the sally port, medical personnel from the Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office checked McKenna and determined she was experiencing a medical emergency. The spit net and restraints were removed and medical staff and deputies from the Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office administered CPR and an automated external defibrillator (AED) while awaiting rescue personnel from the Fairfax City Fire Department. McKenna was then transported to the hospital by ambulance and after life support was removed, died on Sunday, Feb. 8.

There were reports from outside sources that alluded to McKenna suffering an amputated finger. However, the investigation by detectives from the Fairfax County Police Department affirmed that McKenna had a pre-existing injury (missing the tip of her ring finger on her left hand), which was noted during the arrest booking on Monday, Jan. 26.

To date, detectives from the Fairfax County Police Department have conducted an extensive number of comprehensive interviews, and the in-custody death investigation is active and on-going. When complete, detectives from the Fairfax County Police Department’s Major Crimes Division will present their entire investigation, which will include any video and data from the conducted energy weapon, along with the findings of the Office of the Medical Examiner (still awaiting report), to the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office for an independent review to determine if there is any criminal liability under the Code of Virginia.

All information provided in this release is based on the ongoing investigation and may be subject to revision as the investigation continues. The Fairfax County Police Department and the Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office continue to work together to release information and complete a swift, thorough investigation. The Fairfax County Police Department will provide further updates within the next 30 days or as soon as additional information becomes available.”

More here:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/crime/woman-died-violently-at-hands-of-fairfax-county-sheriffs-lawyer-says/2015/02/14/09f4c84a-b3be-11e4-886b-c22184f27c35_story.html

(Updated post)

New Play Depicts Scalia As Supreme Court’s ‘Originalist’

There is a new play out by John Strand called “The Originalist,” about the Supreme Court.  It takes a look at one of its real-life stars – Justice Antonin Scalia.

“Drama, suspense, monologues, arguments – what could be more theatrical than the U.S. Supreme Court?” asks NPR.

According to Wikipedia, Antonin Gregory Scalia (born March 11, 1936) is an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. As the longest-serving justice currently on the Court, Scalia is the Senior Associate Justice. He was appointed to the Court by President Ronald Reagan in 1986, and has been described as the intellectual anchor for the originalist and textualist position in the Court’s conservative wing.

Scalia is also known for his acerbic dissents.

He is, as the play’s title suggests, an “originalist” – He believes that the court should follow the original meaning or intent of the framers of the Constitution, which we see time and again in his decisions.

The Supreme Court justice is also a devout Catholic, a lover of opera and a man who likes a good debate.

The play shows the jurist both in and out of the courtroom.

It will premiere at the Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., this week.

(Updated post)

Washington D.C. Legalizes Marijuana, House Republicans Promise A Fight

The new mayor of the nation’s capital was hoping to get along with Republicans on Capitol Hill.

Instead, they’ve threatened her with prison and she has accused them of acting like bullies in a showdown over legal pot that could end up costing District of Columbia residents.

Democratic Mayor Muriel Bowser defied threats from Congress by implementing a voter-approved marijuana initiative on Thursday, making the city the only place east of the Mississippi River where people can legally grow and share marijuana in private.

More here:

http://chicago.suntimes.com/politics/7/71/399185/washington-d-c-legalizes-marijuana-republicans-vow-fight

DC Legalizing Pot, Ignores Warnings From House: CNN

Washington D.C. to defy GOP, implement marijauna law

Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser says she’ll defy congressional Republicans and implement D.C.’s new local law allowing its residents to smoke marijuana starting on Thursday, according to CNN.

In implementing the new pot laws, Bowser is rebuffing two influential House Republicans who’d warned her that she’d be breaking federal law — and risking retribution.

Muriel Bowser

“We would encourage the Congress to not be so concerned with overturning what seven out of 10 voters said should be the law in the District of Columbia,” Bowser said at a news conference Wednesday afternoon.

Allen St. Pierre, executive director of NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, called the new legal framework “depenalization” since sales were still barred, and said it was unlikely to unseat a thriving black market, according to Yahoo News.

Bowser and Washington police are implementing a measure approved by D.C. voters in November allowing Washington residents to possess up to two ounces of pot.  The allowance applies only to those over 21. In addition, D.C. residents could grow up to six pot plants in their own yards. Buying and selling pot would still be illegal, as would smoking in public places.  People could transfer up to one ounce to another person — just not for money.

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) said in a letter Tuesday that the city would be violating federal laws if it went forward with Bowser’s plan to implement the new measure Thursday.

“We strongly suggest you reconsider your position,” the two wrote to Bowser in a thinly-veiled suggestion that there would be consequences for ignoring them.  They pointed to House rules that give Chaffetz’s panel broad investigative authority.

Bowser brushed Chaffetz and Meadows back on Wednesday, saying they should worry about bigger problems — like funding the Department of Homeland Security, which is set to shut down at week’s end if Congress doesn’t act.

She took a shot at Republicans who have suggested she could wind up in jail for breaking federal law — and claimed that Congress has no powers to prosecute her.

More:

http://news.yahoo.com/legal-pot-arrives-district-columbia-amid-wrangle-congress-060848259.html

Hillary Clinton Reportedly Seeks The Favor Of Elizabeth Warren: NYT

Hillary Rodham Clinton held a private, one-on-one meeting with Senator Elizabeth Warren in December at Mrs. Clinton’s Washington home.  It was a move by the Democrats’ leading 2016 contender to cultivate the increasingly influential senator and leader of the party’s left-wing economic populist movement.

The two met at Whitehaven, the Clintons’ Northwest Washington home, without aides and at Mrs. Clinton’s invitation, according to the New York Times.

Mrs. Clinton reportedly asked for policy ideas and suggestions from Ms. Warren, according to a Democrat briefed on the meeting.   Mrs. Clinton, who has been seeking advice from a range of scholars, advocates and officials, did not ask Ms. Warren to consider endorsing her likely presidential candidacy.

Aides to Mrs. Clinton did not immediately respond to requests for comment, and aides to Ms. Warren could not be reached, according to the NYT.

The conversation occurred at a moment when Ms. Warren’s clout has become increasingly evident.  After the November election, Senator Harry Reid, then still the Majority Leader, appointed Ms. Warren, a to a leadership role in the Senate.

She led a high-profile effort to strip a spending bill of rules sought by large banks.  Also, a patchwork of liberal groups began a movement to draft her into the presidential race.