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New California law eliminates ‘gay panic’ as a defense for attacks on LGBT people

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On Tuesday, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill into law that would outlaw so-called “gay panic” and “trans panic” defenses in court for offenders who commit acts of violence against LGBT people.

The East Bay Express reported that Assembly Bill No. 2501 outlaws the use by defendants of a victim’s sexual orientation or gender status as a defense for attacking or killing someone.

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Defense attorneys have successfully used the defense in the past, getting reductions in their clients’ sentences for hate crimes because the victims supposedly “came on” to their attackers or made unwelcome advances, causing the defendant to react violently.

Attorneys for teenager Brandon McInerney successfully used the ploy to get a reduced sentence for the killing of high school freshman Lawrence King, a gay youth who McInerney shot twice in the back of the head in a Los Angeles classroom.

Jezebel blogger Kat Callahan noted that a group of men who attacked and killed trans woman Gwen Araujo in Newark, California in 2002 were unsuccessful at getting their charges and sentences reduced by falling back on the “trans panic” defense.

The measure passed in a 50 to 10 vote in the state Assembly on Tuesday. Equality California’s executive director John O’Connor told the East Bay Express, “We’re glad that the Assembly Public Safety Committee agreed that this manufactured defense that plays upon homophobia and transphobia has no place in California’s justice system. The law should not treat victims of crime any differently because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, and that includes eliminating anti-LGBT bias as a ‘reasonable’ basis to mitigate the punishment for violent crimes against them.”


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Spurs coach Gregg Popovich unloads on ‘unfit’ Trump — calls Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham cowards for refusing to act

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In an interview with The Nation, legendary San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich railed against President Donald Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC).

“The thing that strikes me is that we all see this police violence and racism, and we’ve seen it all before, but nothing changes," he told The Nation. "That’s why these protests have been so explosive. But without leadership and an understanding of what the problem is, there will never be change. And white Americans have avoided reckoning with this problem forever, because it’s been our privilege to be able to avoid it. That also has to change.”

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‘He was literally in the bunker’: Kayleigh McEnany faces heat in briefing over Trump inaction on George Floyd

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White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany faced questions on Monday about why President Donald Trump seemed to be "hiding" in the White House bunker instead of addressing America's racial wounds.

"There is the perception that the president is hiding in the bunker on the racial protests issue," one reporter told McEnany at Monday's briefing. "He was literally put in a bunker on Friday night by the Secret Service. I mean, would you agree that he's hiding out on this issue? And is that a good posture to be?"

"I would not agree with that at all," McEnany replied, noting that she had spoken to the president by phone "at least a half of dozen times yesterday. And every time I talk to him, he was telling me about a different action he had taken."

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Minneapolis cops used neck restraints 237 times since 2015, police records show

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The Minneapolis Police Department has used neck restraints at least 237 times since 2015, according to an analysis of police records by NBC News.

This article was published by Salon

Minneapolis officers rendered at least 44 people unconscious with neck restraints during that time, which police experts said was "unusually high." About three-fifths of those rendered unconscious were black. In most cases, there was no apparent underlying violent offense. Half of those who lost unconsciousness were injured.

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