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George Floyd: Prosecutors seek tougher sentences for accused cops | US & Canada News

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Minnesota state prosecutors have filed a motion to seek longer sentencing beyond the current state guidelines for the four officers involved in the death of George Floyd.

The 46-year-old died after police office Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes during an incident in Minneapolis on May 25.

Video recordings of Floyd telling the officers he could not breathe before going silent have sparked national and international condemnation and protests against racial injustice and police brutality.

The charges against Chauvin include unintentional second-degree murder and three other officers – J Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao – have been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.  

‘That same fight’: DC civil rights march commemorates MLK’s dream

The reasons given by prosecutors to justify the longer sentencing include that Floyd was “particularly vulnerable” because he was already handcuffed and had been placed “chest down on the pavement”. 

They also said the fact that officers did not respond to Floyd’s pleas that he could not breathe represented “particular cruelty”, that the officers abused their authority, that they acted in a group, and that they “committed the crime in the presence of multiple children”.

Call for dismissal

In a separate court filing, lawyers for Chauvin called for the second-degree murder charges against the former police officer to be dismissed.

In the documents filed on Friday, Chauvin’s lawyers argued there was not enough evidence to prove the officer intended to kill Floyd.

In the court filings, the defence lawyers also charged that Floyd died from an overdose of fentanyl combined with other drugs and pre-existing health conditions, not from Chauvin’s actions, while adding that Chauvin was following police training during the death.

“What Mr Chauvin saw was a strong man struggling mightily with police officers, which seemed contradictory to Mr Floyd’s claims about not being able to breathe,” said the filing.

“Mr Chauvin could not have known about Mr Floyd’s underlying issues when he arrived on the scene,” said the filing, which cited a June autopsy report conducted by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner and a conversation between the medical examiner and the prosecutors in support of the claim.

How should US police forces be reformed? | Inside Story

In a statement for the Wall Street Journal, Ben Crump, a lawyer representing the Floyd family, called the request for dismissal a “desperate attempt with charlatan tactics” and cited the results of an independent autopsy requested by the family that showed the cause of death to be “asphyxia from the compression of his neck and back”.

Chauvin’s lawyers also argued that a fair trial could not be held in the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area, which includes Minneapolis and Saint Paul, as the “jury pools have surely been tainted” by local and international coverage of the protests, “riots and lootings” in the area following Floyd’s death.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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Another blow as Judge throws out Kiggundu’s lawyer Muwema

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When court sat on Friday to hear the Kiggundu’s application to stop independent audit, he did not have a written application, and Justice Henry Adonyo instead ordered the plaintiff’s lawyer Fred Muwema to go make a written application seeking court to dismiss the audit and return to court on September 30 for a hearing of the application. But this adds more pressure on Kiggundu who is choking with the loans.

On 31 August, the judge ordered the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda (ICPAU) to carry out and independent audit into the accounts of the businessman and financial statements exchanged between the two parties, and present a report to court.

When asked by journalists why he has filed for an application seeking dismissal of the audit, Fred Muwema had this to say. “We are saying that let the validity and legality of those credit facilities (loans) be decided first before you can audit” He said.

The ruling on the application of the main suit to determine whether the businessman owes loan arrears to the bank is set for 5th October 2020, after which a date for hearing of the case will be set.

Background

Hamis Kiggundu through his companies Ham enterprises and Kiggs International (U) ltd sued DTB branches in Kenya and Uganda for deducting money from his accounts something which the bank contends and said they only acted as per the loan agreement of deducting 30% from Kiggundu’s accounts to recover the credit facilities rendered to him between February 2011 and September 2016

But Court documents filed by the bank in their defense shows that Kiggundu, between February 2011 and September 2016, was granted various credit facilities by the said DTB Banks.

First, via Ham Enterprises Limited, Kiggundu obtained a loan of $6,663,453 and another Sh2.5bn from the DTB (U) to finance his projects in the real estate business.

Later, according to New Vision, he got a facility worth $4.5m through Kiggs International (U) Limited from DTB (K) and mortgaged his properties, which include Plot 328 located at Kawuku on Block 248 Kyadondo, three plots that include 36, 37 and 38 on Folio 1533 Victoria Crescent II situated in Kyadondo and land on Makerere Hill Road on LRV 3716 Folio 10 Plot 923 Block 9.

Documents show that as of January 21, 2020, Kiggundu was in default on payment obligations of $6.298m on the loan facility of $6.663m, as well as sh2.885b on the demand overdraft facility of sh1.5b and the temporary demand overdraft facility of sh1b.

The banks say that Kiggundu was in default on the payment of another $3.662m out of a total loan facility of $4m and another $458,604 on a loan facility of $500,000, as of January 21, 2020.

The DTB consequently served him with a demand notice to either pay up or lose the assets that he submitted as collateral security. The bank threatened to attach a plot on Makerere Hill Road and other prime commercial properties.

Analysts says that Kiggundu’s lawyer is playing delaying tactics aimed at stopping the independent audit as ordered by the court earlier. Kiggundu had wanted court to believe his own audit of loan transactions, but that would amount to injustice to the banks that gave him money-DTB Uganda and DTB Kenya.

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Minister Rukutana charged with attempted murder, remanded

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The state minister for Labour, Gender and Economic Development Mwesigwa Rukutana has been remanded to Kyamugorani prison in Mbarara district.

Rukutana appeared before Ntungamo Grade One magistrate Nazifah Namayanja this afternoon from where he was charged with seven offences related to attempted murder, assault, malicious damage, and threatening violence.

Rukutana was captured in a video that went viral on social media showing him grabbing a gun from one of his bodyguards and started shooting at a vehicle belonging to supporters of his political rival Naome Kabasharira. At the time of the incident, Rukutana had just lost the Rushenyi country NRM flag to Kabasharira.

The prosecution alleges that on September 5, 2020, at Kagugu village in Ntungamo district, Rukutana and others still at large assaulted Julius Niwamanya and threatened to kill or injure him together with three others. The others are Stuart Kamukama, Dan Rwibirungi, and Moses Kamukama. 

It is also alleged that Rukutana also willfully and unlawfully damaged a motor vehicle registration number UAR 840X Toyota Rav 4 type which belongs to Moses Muhumuza.

According to the Judiciary public relations officer, Jameson Karemani, Rukutana has not taken a plea of these charges against him since they can only be tried by the chief magistrate who was not in court today.

As a result, the magistrate decided to send him to Kyamugorani, awaiting his return to court on Tuesday.      





Source – observer.ug

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Lira district headquarters closed over COVID-19

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Lira district headquarters have been closed after one staff tested positive for COVID-19 last week. 

On Monday morning, district staff were blocked at the gate with only the deputy chief administrative officer, his secretary and the receptionist allowed access to their offices. 

Paul Samuel Mbiiwa, the deputy chief administrative officer says that only heads of department will be allowed at the headquarters while the rest will work from home. He adds that the restriction will help to curb the spread of the virus.

“You see corona is not a joke. We have taken a step at fighting it and that is why you are seeing the staff outside. Even in my office here I do not want people to come if there is anything we can discuss on the phone.”

Francis Okello Olwa, a senior community development officer who doubles as the district spokesperson says that the entire district offices will be fumigated and closed for two days.

Health authorities in the district are planning to take samples from all the staff because they could have interacted with the one who tested positive. Currently, there are 19 COVID-19 patients under treatment at Lira regional referral hospital.     

On Sunday four health workers at the hospital tested positive for COVID-19. Dr Patrick Odongo, a senior medical officer at the hospital also succumbed to the virus.  





Source – observer.ug

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