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Ohio megachurch ‘stalked’ elderly dementia patient — then swindled her out of $340,000: lawsuit

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A new lawsuit is accusing a megachurch in Ohio of swindling an elderly woman who is suffering from dementia out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

CBS Chicago reports that Grace Cathedral, a megachurch based in Akron, Ohio, is being sued for allegedly coercing 76-year-old Illinois resident Bridget Pollard into sending them a $340,000 check by telling her that she would be get to spend eternity in paradise if she sent them money.

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The lawsuit against the church is being brought by the Cook County Public Guardian, which has been tasked with caring for Pollard and which is trying to recoup her money.

“She was basically stalked by church to give money,” Dawn Lawkowski-Keller of the Public Guardian’s Office explained to CBS Chicago. “The literature talks about how you’ll go to heaven if you give this money.”

Pollard, who lives in a nursing home on the North Side of Chicago, has been diagnosed by doctors with bipolar disorder and dementia, who also say that she lacks the capacity to make financially sound decisions.

Pollard’s niece, Bridget Johnson, tells CBS Chicago that she’s appalled that anyone could take advantage of an elderly woman with a mental illness this way.

“I’m very sad for my aunt, that she spent all these years she thought she had a good friend, and a church she believed in, and this was all done in the name of God,” she said.

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Cleveland.com reports that Grace Cathedral was also sued last month for $3 million for a defaulted loan that was taken out by the church’s broadcasting network.

Specifically, the suit alleges that Grace Cathedral Pentecostal evangelist Ernest Angley promised the Beck Energy Corporation that his church would personally repay them if the church’s WBN network was unable to repay a $3.6 million made in 2013. Despite Angley’s assurances, however, the company never received any payments from Grace Cathedral even after WBN defaulted on the loan.

Watch CBS Chicago’s report on the lawsuit below.

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Buffalo has a long history of protecting cops from criminal charges: report

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On Saturday, The Daily Beast documented the recent history of use of force in the Buffalo Police Department, which is reeling from controversy as two officers face assault charges for shoving a 75-year-old protester to the ground.

"As shocking as this all may be to outsiders, the shoving of demonstrator Martin Gugino and the defiant response of officers to an effort to discipline two of their own is indicative of the state of police affairs in Buffalo," wrote Jim Heaney. "Has been for a long time, not that you have to go back too far to find other episodes of brutality that have been captured on video."

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Internet disgusted after Buffalo first responders cheer cops charged with assaulting 75-year-old protester

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Commenters on Twitter expressed both contempt and disgust for Buffalo firefighters and police officers who turned out in front of Buffalo City Court to support two suspended police officers with applause and cheering.

Moments after officers Aaron Torglaski and Robert McCabe were charged with second-degree assault and then released without having to post bail, they were greeted as heroes outside the courthouse.

After a video was posted showing the celebration, commenters on Twitter vented at cops and firefighters for defending the two officers who assaulted the 75-year-old man who had to be rushed to a hospital after they shoved him to the ground where he sustained a head injury.

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Donald Trump’s lurch toward fascism is backfiring spectacularly

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Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.

During the 2016 campaign, as Donald Trump railed against "Mexican rapists" and other "criminal aliens," pollsters found that the share of Americans who said that immigrants worked hard and made a positive contribution to our society increased significantly, and noticed a similar decline in the share who said they take citizens' jobs and burden our social safety net. After Trump was elected and began pursuing his Muslim ban, the share of respondents who held a positive view of Islam also increased pretty dramatically. I'm not aware of any polling of the general public about transgender troops serving in the military before Trump decided to discharge them, but Gallup found that 71 percent of respondents opposed his position after he did.

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