Things That Matter

Here’s What Is Going On With The LAPD Officer Who Filed A False Police Report

At the beginning of 2019, Empire actor Jussie Smollett famously reported that he had been the victim of a hate crime. About three weeks later, Smollett was charged with disorderly conduct and filing a false police report—it had been discovered that the attack was staged, and that Smollett himself had planned the whole thing. Although the charges against Smollett were dropped, he was all over headlines last year, earning a national reputation as a liar and ultimately being fired from his role on Empire.

In August of 2019, a similar situation arose within the Los Angeles Police Department, when a sheriff’s deputy falsely claimed that he was shot by a sniper outside the Lancaster police station. After days of searching for the alleged gunman, it became clear that Angel Reinosa had fabricated his story. He had not been shot, after all—instead, he had used a knife to create fake bullet wounds in his uniform, asserting that his bulletproof vest had saved his life.

“There were many things that didn’t add up,” said Sheriff’s Capt. Kent Wegener. No bullets had been recovered from the scene, and they had no leads on a suspect—they searched a nearby apartment building, assuming that the shooter was inside, but of course they found nothing.

But this didn’t exactly surprise investigators and colleagues, who were suspicious of Reinosa’s story from the very beginning. A number of sheriff’s officials told the LA Times that “his radio call about the incident was too calm even for a veteran, a hole in his shirt too big for the minor wound he claimed to have suffered.”

The LA Times also reported that by the end of the day that Reinosa made the report, the search for the suspected gunman had been halted. Homicide detectives, assisted by forensic experts, instead turned their attention to Reinosa. And by 9:30 PM, Reinosa’s involvement in the case was considered highly suspect. Not long after, he admitted to the police that he had fabricated the incident, though he didn’t reveal his motives for doing so.

In the case of Jussie Smollett, Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said in a press conference that the motive for feigning the hate crime was fiscal in nature. He claimed that “Smollett took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career, because he was dissatisfied with his salary.” Folks have speculated that Reinosa’s situation was rather similar—it had to do with a certain dissatisfaction at work.

Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris said that sheriff’s officials had divulged details about Reinosa’s difficulties with his first year in the field. Typically, the first year constitutes a probationary training period that all deputies must complete before becoming deputies, and Reinosa was struggling to keep up.

“He was not advancing through the training program at an adequate pace,” Parris said. “There had been a lot of attention on him.”

And just a few days ago, Reinosa was taken into police custody when he was served an arrest warrant during a traffic stop. He was arrested for insurance fraud and for filing a false police report, and he was transferred to Los Angeles County Jail. His bail was set at $40,000, and unlike Smollett, Reinosa was not able to immediately settle his case with a payment.

Authorities say that the charges of insurance fraud are related to the workers comp claims Reinosa made after the incident. If he is convicted of these charges, he could face up to five and a half years in county jail.

As soon as authorities discovered that the shooting had been a hoax, they called an 11 PM press conference to address the situation. In an interview, Sheriff Alex Villanueva confirmed the desire to ensure that Reinosa’s actions were met with what they deemed the appropriate legal response.

“We are all appalled and disappointed. We took the deputy at his word at first,” Villanueva said. “We intend to hold the individual responsible for breaking the law and most importantly for betraying the community.”

Similar sentiments were expressed by authorities in Smollett’s case, as well as Smollett’s fellow Empire cast members. Lee Daniels, the creator of Empire, referred to the “pain and anger and sadness and frustration” that he and his cast endured, adding that he and his team “really [didn’t] know how to deal with it.”

He also said that Empire “was made to bring America together” and to “talk about the atrocities that are happening right now in the streets”—a message that was in direct contrast with Smollett’s actions.

The Lancaster sheriff’s website expressed a similar sense of disappointment, yet also emphasized the importance of community in situations like these:

“We are saddened by the outcome of the investigation, but are so grateful to our community for their cooperation on Wednesday and your ongoing support everyday. The actions of one individual are not indicative of who Lancaster Sheriff’s Station Deputies are.”

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A 14-Year-Old Girl Won A $25K Prize After Making A Discovery That Might Lead To A Covid-19 Cure

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A 14-Year-Old Girl Won A $25K Prize After Making A Discovery That Might Lead To A Covid-19 Cure

JOSEPH PREZIOSO / Getty

Since the report of its first case from China to the World Health Organization (WHO), the coronavirus has claimed more than 1.1 million lives across the globe. In the United States alone, there have been more than 219,000 deaths according to the Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering. So of course, scientists and doctors across the globe are on the hunt for a coronavirus treatment. Amongst them includes 14-year-old Anika Chebrolu.

The student from Frisco, Texas recently won the 2020 3M Young Scientist Challenge for a discovery that could prove helpful in giving potential therapy to Covid-19.

Chebrolu won the 2020 3M Young Scientist Challenge for a design that utilizes in-silico methodology “to discover a lead molecule that can selectively bind to the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.”

“The last two days, I saw that there is a lot of media hype about my project since it involves the SARS-CoV-2 virus and it reflects our collective hopes to end this pandemic as I, like everyone else, wish that we go back to our normal lives soon,” Chebrolu told CNN in an interveiw.

The Indian American teen submitted her project when she was in 8th grade, initially not intending at all for it to be centered on finding a cure for Covid-19. According to CNN, her initial goal had been to use in-silico methods to identify a lead compound that would attach to a protein of the influenza virus.

“After spending so much time researching about pandemics, viruses and drug discovery, it was crazy to think that I was actually living through something like this,” Anika explained.”Because of the immense severity of the Covid-19 pandemic and the drastic impact it had made on the world in such a short time, I, with the help of my mentor, changed directions to target the SARS-CoV-2 virus.”

Speaking to CNN, Chebrolu explained that she had been driven to find cures to viruses after learning about the 1918 flu pandemic and discovering that nearly 2 million people die from the flu despite annual vaccinations and anti-influenza drugs.

“Anika has an inquisitive mind and used her curiosity to ask questions about a vaccine for Covid-19,” Cindy Moss, a physician and judge for the 3M Young Scientist Challenge, told CNN. “Her work was comprehensive and examined numerous databases. She also developed an understanding of the innovation process and is a masterful communicator. Her willingness to use her time and talent to help make the world a better place gives us all hope.”

In addition to winning the 3M Young Scientist Challenge, Chebrolu won a $25K prize.

According to CNN, she enjoys dancing Bharatanatyam, which is an ancient Indian dance, and says her efforts have just begun.

“My effort to find a lead compound to bind to the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus this summer may appear to be a drop in the ocean, but still adds to all these efforts,” she told CNN. “How I develop this molecule further with the help of virologists and drug development specialists will determine the success of these efforts.”

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Kamala Harris Ruffles Republican Feathers With Her Dancing And Proves GOP Wouldn’t Know Fun If It Threw Them A Party

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Kamala Harris Ruffles Republican Feathers With Her Dancing And Proves GOP Wouldn’t Know Fun If It Threw Them A Party

Nic Antaya / Getty

Right-wing conservatives really don’t know how to have a good time.

You may remember about a year ago the GOP was up in arms when 30 seconds of a 4-minute, 20-second video that featured a then-freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez dancing in a video filmed at her alma mater Boston University. The video saw Ocasio-Cortez, who graduated from BU in 2011 with a degree in economics and international relations, imitating dance scenes from popular 1980s films and upset conservatives because she was… dun. DUN. DUNNN.

Dancing.

Now it seems the GOP are startled again, this time after seeing Sen. Kamala Harris breakout some moves of her own.

In a recent post published by The Washington Street Journal, author Peggy Noonan revealed that she took umbrage with Harris’s dance moves.

Noonan, a former speechwriter for Ronald Reagan and past winner of a Pulitzer Prize for commentary, spent her time scrutinizing Harris’ recent appearance at a recent campaign rally in Jacksonville, FL. For her appearance, Harris wore Converse sneakers and danced in the rain.

Noonan remarked that the senator’s “giddy” appearance was unserious. “She’s dancing with drum lines and beginning rallies with ‘Wassup, Florida!” Noonan remarked. “She’s throwing her head back and laughing a loud laugh, especially when nobody said anything funny. She’s the younger candidate going for the younger vote, and she’s going for a Happy Warrior vibe, but she’s coming across as insubstantial, frivolous.” Noonan also called Harris’s moves “embarrassing.” 

“Kamala Harris is running for vice president of the United States in an era of heightened and unending crisis,” she went onto write. “The world, which doubts our strength, our character, and our class, is watching. If you can’t imitate gravity, could you at least try for seriousness?”

Of course, in this piece, Noonan had nothing to say about Trump’s attempts at dancing which are in fact deeply embarrassing.

Many have been quick to highlight Noonan’s criticism and the double standard which she applied to Harris’ behavior in her piece.

“Peggy Noonan attacks Senator Harris b/c white supremacy dictates black women should stay in their place: quiet, subservient, and obedient,” one Twitter commented. “This is 2020. You don’t dictate Kamala Harris’s existence. You can’t take Kamala Harris’s joy.”

“This is the joy that so triggered Peggy Noonan that she wrote a column about how Senator Harris comes off as ‘insubstantial, frivolous,’” African American Policy Forum commented. “Black joy is something they feel the need to attack.”

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