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For all the kicking and screaming that the Baltimore Fraternal Order of Police directed at Marilyn Mosby today after six of their brothers were indicted for their role in the death of Freddie Gray, they seem to have missed one thing.  The indictment came down less than 24 hours after Mosby got the case from Baltimore police.  You know what that tells me?  Police commissioner Anthony Batts knew that a crime had been committed.

Batts has already said that the six officers who handled Gray broke police procedure by not responding to his requests for medical attention and not buckling him in when they put him in the police wagon.  However, given how fast the indictment came, I suspect that Batts concluded that Gray's death was a criminal act, not merely a violation of procedure.

The picture I'm getting here is that Batts wanted to have all arrested then and there--only to have a judge tell him to let the state's attorney's office take a look at the case.  I immediately thought about something that happened in 2013, when a Dallas cop was arrested for an unprovoked shooting of a mentally ill man.  Cardan Spencer claimed he'd been forced to shoot the man when he lunged at him with a knife.  However, after a video came out showing Spencer shooting the man with his arms at his sides, the police chief wanted him charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.  However, the judge insisted that the case be taken to the grand jury.  

Several of the commenters in the diary I wrote about it suggested that the judge didn't want the blowback from the cops with whom he had to work on a regular basis.  That may have been what happened here--let Mosby and her team churn it through the system.  Apparently Mosby came to the same conclusion as Batts--literally hours after getting the medical examiner's report, she rolled out the indictments.

The system worked exactly the way it was intended to work--just a lot faster than even the most optimistic among us expected.

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Many of you know that nine years ago, my ex-wife falsely accused me of making a girl watch X-rated movies and threatening to beat her up if she told anyone about it.  So when I found out about a similar ordeal a Georgia man had to endure, I took it personally.  John Blue spent seven months in jail on false charges that he assaulted a social worker--and even though he was acquitted in the time it takes to pour a cup of coffee, his life is still ruined.

Back in June, John Blue was pulling into his driveway with his sons, 10-year-old Zailan and 14-year-old Jaquez, when a woman pulled up out of nowhere.  She pounded on his window and yelled, "You can’t go nowhere with these kids–I need to talk to them."  Blue thought the woman was some kind of "junkie," so he drove off.  The woman rammed into his van before he could get to safety.

Later on, after taking his sons to his grandparents' house in Greenville, South Carolina, Blue was stunned to hear that he was a wanted man.  That woman who accosted him earlier was a social worker with the Gwinnett County Division of Family and Child Services who had arrived to take the kids into state custody due to an allegation of abuse.  However, she never identified herself as a social worker.

After finding out that there was a Levi's Call (Georgia's version of an Amber Alert) for the boys, Blue turned himself in--and was promptly tossed in jail on charges of aggravated assault.  It turned out the social worker had falsely claimed Blue had rammed into her when she tried to block him in.  Blue's sons and girlfriend insisted that Blue was innocent--but to no avail.

Blue sat in jail without bond for seven months.  When the case went to trial, however, a jury needed only 45 minutes to find him innocent of all charges.  However, he lost his home, his interior design business, and most of his possessions.  At last report, he was living out of his car.

In the time since WSB-TV and WGCL-TV covered this, there was virtually nothing to mention about this travesty until Raw Story mentioned it yesterday.  I really hope this is because Blue and the state are in settlement talks.  After all, the negligence is so obvious--and criminal--that the only question is how many zeroes will be in the final reward.

One condition ought to be non-negotiable.  That woman should personally apologize to Blue--after she is fired. I find it hard to believe that this woman's behavior wouldn't be a firing offense.  Blue only wants her charged for ramming his car.  He's being extremely kind.  Perjury?  Child endangerment?  False reporting?

At last report in January, this woman was still on the payroll at DFCS.  If she's still drawing a paycheck now, someone has a lot of explaining to do.

Discuss

Late yesterday, Tulsa County DA Stephen Kunzweiler revealed that he is so alarmed by the revelations contained in an internal investigation of how Robert Bates' training and behavior were handled that he's already in touch with outside law enforcement agencies with a view toward conducting an independent investigation of the Tulsa County sheriff's office.  But we already know one thing without the need for further investigation.  Tulsa sheriff Stanley Glanz is manifestly unfit for his post, and must resign--yesterday.

For those who haven't read the report of the 2009 internal review of the Bates affair, it found that chief deputy Tim Albin and captain Tom Huckeby had given Bates preferential treatment by directing employees to forge Bates' training records.  They also created an atmosphere in which any complaints about Bates' behavior on the field was not tolerated.  This amounted to an announcement in capital letters that Albin and Huckeby should have been fired.  But Glanz not only kept them on, but promoted them.  Albin is now Glanz' second-in-command, while Huckeby heads the unit Bates was on during the ill-fated raid that resulted in Eric Harris' death.

I know that some law enforcement agencies are notorious about protecting bad cops.  But in what world can two members of the rank who direct outright forgery of records not only keep their jobs, but win promotions?  Apparently in Tulsa County.  In light of this, there is no defensible reason for Glanz to keep his job.  He needs to go now while he can still go decently.  And if he isn't willing to resign, he needs to be removed--either by recall or by Governor Mary Fallin removing him.  I'm not sure how to remove a sheriff in Oklahoma, but if someone can provide details, it's petition time.

Discuss

Let's assume just for the sake of argument that Walmart really did decide to close five stores due to widespread plumbing problems and not--as the UFCW alleges on behalf of employees of one of the stores--to muzzle activist workers.  I don't think anyone has really considered this, but if Walmart is telling the truth, the world's largest retailer has a severe case of systemic dysfunction.

Think about it, folks.  If Walmart is telling the truth, it didn't even bother to get permits for this kind of work in advance.  According to WFTS-TV in Tampa, there is nada, zip, zero evidence that anyone obtained permits for the five stores in question.  Indeed, when a building inspector went to one of the closed stores--in Midland, Texas--offering to help with the permits, he was actually turned away.

If you believe Walmart's account, officials in Bentonville knew about these problems for some time, didn't bother to address them until now, and only gave their employees six hours' notice.  If that's the case, then if Walmart is telling the truth, it has tacitly admitted to a level of dysfunction that should never be tolerated out of any publicly-traded company, let alone a Dow component.  Even though the Waltons have controlling interest, they wouldn't be able to blow off the demands for heads to roll.

Of course, it's obvious that Walmart is lying to cover up the real story--though it's not clear exactly what that story is yet.  But I thought I'd point out that this wouldn't end well for Walmart even if it were telling the truth.

Discuss

possible triggers follow

For the last week, I've found it impossible to get a horrible case of child abuse in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, out of my head.  Even though Brandy Kangas and Scott Suggs left their kids locked in a room 24-7 and fed them through a gate, they got a suspended six-year sentence.  According to Spotsylvania County Commonwealth's Attorney William Neely, an independent who has held the post since 1988, Virginia law gave him no other option but to ask for a suspended sentence because he didn't think he could prove the kids were physically harmed since they appeared well-nourished--and under Virginia law, you supposedly have to prove a child is physically harmed in order to win a child abuse conviction.  Never mind they've had no contact with the outside world, and show signs of PTSD--especially around locked doors.

This is as craven an act by a prosecutor as I've ever seen.  Fortunately, there's a chance to hold Neely to account.  While gathering research for a petition demanding Neely's resignation, I found out that Neely has an opponent in this November's election--Travis Bird.  He posted a response to Neely's explanation of his actions on his Facebook page.

At the end of the day, by placing blame on the laws as written, the impression that is left on our citizens and most certainly on those who would abuse children is that Virginia, and more specifically Spotsylvania, is soft on child abuse. Our job is not always easy and it does require tough decisions; however, I cannot and do not agree with the outcome of this case. As your Commonwealth's Attorney, I would be a zealous advocate for the enforcement of these laws and for any changes that need to be made to these laws.
Based on his Twitter feed, Bird is a Republican.  But from what I've been able to dig up, Spotsylvania County is crimson-red.  For those who don't know, it's halfway between Richmond and Washington, and completely surrounds the sapphire-blue city of Frdericksburg.  It's gone Democratic in a presidential election exactly ONCE since 1948.  In other words, it's not likely a Democrat will win here.

But if there is any area in which partisanship shouldn't matter, it's protecting children.  Simply put, Neely's failure to ensure two monsters go to prison where they belong is a firing offense.  The most meaningful way to protest this is to support the guy running against him.

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Mark Regnerus' study that suggested kids raised by same-sex parents don't turn out well has been discredited several times over in the last three years.  Well, now you can add Regnerus' employer, the University of Texas, to the list.  UT's student newspaper, the Daily Texan, got its hands on an internal review of Regnerus' work which confirmed what we already know--it was so badly flawed that it's completely unreliable.

Regnerus' normal six-year post-tenure review took an interesting turn when the then-chairwoman of UT's sociology department, Christine Williams, objected to the review committee giving Regnerus an "exceeds expectations" rating.  Williams was concerned about the poor methodology Regnerus used in his New Family Structures Study.  Per the policy of the College of Liberal Arts, this triggered a college-level review.

The college's senior associate dean for student affairs, Mark Musick, prepared a report as part of that review. Musick found that the Regnerus study's methodology was "fundamentally flawed"--largely echoing the review by Social Science Research, who originally published the study.  Specifically, Musick wrote, there was no link between the parents’ sexuality and whether kids who are raised by same-sex parents fare worse than their counterparts who are raised by straight parents.

Musick also found that Regnerus violated a number of ethical standards set by the American Sociological Association.  Specifically, his testimony as an expert witness for religious right groups and the fact he looked the other way while religious right groups used it to bolster their arguments even though he himself denied the study dealt with marriage equality.  He also suggested that by not disclosing that the link between same-sex relationships and unstable families had been designed into the study, Regnerus may have committed scientific misconduct.

When the post-tenure review committee met again, it found that since the link had been included by design, "it is not possible to conclude that the different life outcomes between the two groups were caused by the parental relationship variable."  When the college's dean, Randy Diehl, read this, he concluded that the study was so flawed that "no policy implications about same-sex parenting should be drawn from the study."  Translation--it shouldn't be used as a resource for lawmakers on this topic.

Despite this, nothing was said about the ethical concerns Musick raised.  This was because Diehl didn't think a post-tenure review was an appropriate venue to debate ethical matters--a suggestion that most of the academics here would find laughable.  He asked two vice presidents for research for their opinion, and they concluded there was no scientific misconduct.

While it's good that UT has seen this study as the steaming pile of nonsense that it is, it's disappointing that it didn't address what appear to be egregious ethics violations by Regnerus.  The Daily Texan isn't happy about it either; in a scathing editorial, it decries Diehl's inaction on Regnerus' "reckless misuse of his study."  I have to wonder if Diehl was afraid of angering the state legislature.  But when Regnerus himself says that his study really didn't say anything at all about gay parenting, I would think Diehl would have had an out to put Regnerus through the wringer.

Discuss

Surprised no one's mentioned this, but late yesterday the Columbia School of Journalism completed its review of Rolling Stone's highly controversial article on campus rape.  Specifically, the account of a violent gang rape at a University of Virginia frat house in 2012.  The verdict?  It was so badly flawed that it should have never been published.

Rolling Stone's repudiation of the main narrative in "A Rape on Campus" is a story of journalistic failure that was avoidable. The failure encompassed reporting, editing, editorial supervision and fact-checking. The magazine set aside or rationalized as unnecessary essential practices of reporting that, if pursued, would likely have led the magazine's editors to reconsider publishing Jackie's narrative so prominently, if at all. The published story glossed over the gaps in the magazine's reporting by using pseudonyms and by failing to state where important information had come from.
While the three-person review team, led by journalism school dean Steve Coll, found no evidence Jackie made the whole thing up, it did fault writer Sabrina Dubin Erdely and editor Sean Woods for running the story despite making no effort to corroborate Jackie’s account beforehand.

The most egregious error, in the Columbia team's eyes, was Erdely's failure to contact three of Jackie's friends who supposedly talked her out of going to the authorities.  However, the three friends maintained they said no such thing, and had Erdely bothered to interview them they would have told her the same thing.  Instead, Erdely relied solely on Jackie's account of the conversations.  From my journalism major's perspective, that's just one step away from a slam-dunk libel suit.  The only sticking point would be that it would be hard to determine whether the three friends were identified.  Nonetheless, as I mention at Liberal America, this should have been a firing offense--though for now, Erdely will keep her post.

The sharpest criticism of the story at the outset was Jackie's insistence that Erdely not contact any of the guys who raped her, including "Drew," the ringleader who was Jackie's date that night.  It turns out no such demand was made.  In fact, Jackie actually suggested that Erdely check the fraternity's roster to find him. Erdely did indeed try to find him, but ran into dead ends every time.  She finally decided to use a pseudonym to get around contacting him.  The story apparently went to press even though Erdely and Woods hadn't been able to confirm he even existed.

As it turns out, the story started coming unraveled just a few days before the print version was due to go to press.  During a phone conversation on the day before Thanksgiving, Erdely persuaded Jackie to give her "Drew's" real name.  But Jackie couldn't recall how the last name was spelled.  Erdely was alarmed enough to do what she should have done beforehand--cross-reference the name.  She couldn't find any evidence he worked at the same pool as Jackie, was a member of the fraternity or had any connections to Jackie.  Another phone conversation didn't make her feel any better.  The result was an editor's note backpedaling from the way this story was reported.  To my mind, though, it doesn't begin to make up for Erdely including negative comments from private people she didn't even bother to interview.  That is unforgivable--and Erdely should have been fired.

Discuss

As we all know, one of the biggest arguments against mass incarceration is that so many people are packed off to prison for nonviolent offenses that it doesn't leave room for people who really have forfeited the right to live among us.  

Quite possibly the worst example of this is what happened to James Aneckstein, an apartment manager in Manchester, New Hampshire who oversaw an older building that used lead paint.  I learned about this case on Forensic Files; the full episode is available on YouTube.  He never told his tenants that the lead in the paint exceeded current limits, as required by law.  He got caught in 2000 when Sunday Abek, a three-year-old refugee from Sudan, died from eating paint chips on the porch that she thought were candy.  Toxicology tests revealed that she had 40 times the lethal amount of lead for a child in her system--the first such death in the United States in 10 years.  

When Aneckstein found out about Sunday's death, he tried to cover himself by cutting and pasting his tenants' signatures from other documents onto federally required disclosure forms.  But it turned out that her mother, Mary Alorout, could barely write English, so Aneckstein forged her signature.  For all of this, he only got 15 months in federal prison and a $40,000 fine.  Woefully inadequate, I say.  He knew that families with children were living there, and failed to notify them.  That's the definition of depraved-heart murder.

I was reminded of this in two recent cases where people who horribly abused children got outrageously light sentences.  In my neck of the woods, Wanda Larson, the former child protection worker who abused several kids under her care, only got 17 months in prison and five years' probation after pleading guilty.  Even worse, since she had been in jail awaiting trial for almost two years on half a million dollar's bond, with credit for time served she could go home as early as Wednesday.  This for a woman who allowed a boy under her care to be chained outside in freezing weather with a dead chicken around his neck, and kept kids in a house with feces on the floor and no running water.  As I've said several times, that isn't a sentence--indeed, it's barely a phrase.

And just last week, Brandy Kangas and Scott Suggs, a couple near Fredericksburg, Virginia pleaded guilty to child neglect charges after they left their three kids in a locked room for 24 hours a day and fed them through a locked gate.  When Spotsylvania County detectives and social workers rescued the kids, they found feces and urine stains on the carpet and a foul smell in the room.  The kids also had rashes on them.  They were sentenced to six years in prison--but at the request of prosecutors, that sentence was suspended.  Why?  According to Spotsylvania County Commonwealth's Attorney William Neely, since the kids weren't physically abused and appeared to be well-nourished, they weren't physically abused--so therefore, it wasn't technically abuse under Virginia law.  Anyone who works with children would laugh at that argument.  In what world is this not something that merits jail time?

There is something fundamentally wrong when relatively minor offenses get you years in jail, but monsters like Aneckstein, Larson, Suggs and Kangas are able to get slaps on the wrist.

Discuss

Earlier this week, I told you that Wanda Larson, the social services child protection supervisor from Union County, North Carolina--just south of my home in Charlotte--got an outrageously light "sentence" after pleading guilty to abusing several kids under her care.  Among them was an 11-year-old boy who was chained to the porch in cold weather with a dead chicken around his neck.  Larson was "sentenced" to 17 months in prison and five years' probation.  If that isn't outrageous enough, with credit for time served while awaiting trial for almost two years, she is due to go home as early as Wednesday.

That doesn't sit well with a lot of people around here.  Indeed, Jeremy Bess, a member of the board of the Justice for All Coalition, a child advocacy group in the area, told WCNC-TV in Charlotte that his group is openly hoping for federal intervention.

The Union County District Attorney's office says it didn't send the case to trial for the victim's sake, so he wouldn't have to relive the abuse.

But Bess believes not going to trial is even worse, and now he hopes federal authorities will step in.

"You had a chance to protect the children and you did not do it. Now's the time to give them justice, not to protect them. You can't protect them," he said.

Believe it or not, there actually may be something to this.  One of the reasons people are outraged that Larson got so little jail time is that prosecutors seemed to overlook the appalling conditions in which those kids lived.  When sheriff's deputies rescued the kids, they found feces on the floor of Larson's house, and no running water.  Indeed, the smell was so awful that it still lingered two days later.  

Prosecutors believe that Larson's boyfriend, Dorian Harper, was the primary abuser, and that Larson knew about the abuse and did nothing.  Larson admitted as much; one of the charges to which she pleaded was willful dereliction of her duties as a child-protection worker.  But you can't blame the squalor in which those kids had to live solely on Harper.  Apparently Bess thinks that since Larson was a DSS worker, allowing such conditions to exist amounted to a violation of the kids' civil rights by a state government employee.  This seems to be a question worth asking.  If a child protection worker knows or has reason to know about this kind of abuse and willfully ignores it--or worse, actively contributes to it--does that rise to the level of a civil rights violation?  

I'm reminded of the tragic case of Jeremiah Oliver, the Massachusetts toddler who disappeared in September 2013.  However, nobody knew about it until December.  It turns out that the social worker assigned to Jeremiah's case received a blizzard of phone calls expressing concern for Jeremiah, but nothing was done.  Jeremiah's remains were finally discovered last April.

One thing gives me pause about going this route.  First, will it address the larger systemic dysfunction present in so many child protection agencies?  All too often, these agencies are chronically understaffed, and the case workers are severely underpaid.  If you do make a federal case out of this, you'd have to have pretty ironclad proof that the negligence was willful, and not just a case of being overloaded.  Still, it's an idea worth considering.

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You may remember that two years ago, an 11-year-old boy in Union County, North Carolina--south of Charlotte--was found shivering in 20-degree weather while chained to a porch with a dead chicken around his neck.  The boy was under the guardianship of Wanda Larson, a county child protective services worker.  It turned out that Larson made the boy and four other kids under her care live under appalling conditions--no running water, feces on the floor.  Well, yesterday Larson pleaded guilty for her role in the abuse. In light of all that happened, her sentence was--wait for it--only 17 months in prison.

Before sentencing on Tuesday, Larson expressed remorse for failing to protect the boy and four other children in her home from her live-in boyfriend, co-defendant Dorian Harper.

“I just want to tell the children how sorry I am I couldn’t have protected them better,” Larson said. “There’s no excuse. I should have done more ... and I apologize.”

As part of the deal, Larson, 58, pleaded guilty to four child abuse-related charges that carried a maximum penalty of 37 months. She was sentenced to less than half of that. Two other felonies and several misdemeanor charges were dropped.

If that isn't outrageous enough, Larson is just a few days away from getting out of prison.  As I mentioned at Liberal America, she's been in jail for almost two years on half a million dollars bond.  With credit for time served, she could be released as early as next Wednesday.  She was also sentenced to 5.5 years' probation, during which she can have no contact with any children under 15.

Larson's live-in boyfriend, Dorian Harper, pleaded guilty last month for his role in the abuse and was sentenced to six to ten years in prison.  Prosecutors believe Harper was the primary abuser; among other things, he kept the now 15-year-old boy handcuffed most of the day, twisted his fingers with pliers, and burned his face with live electric wires.  Larson's main sins were knowing about the abuse and doing nothing about it.

Local DA Trey Robison said he agreed to the deal in order to spare the kids the trauma of testifying.  Apparently Robison forgot about the appalling conditions in which these kids lived.  When deputies rescued the kids, they found that Larson's home had feces on the floor and no running water.  The odor was so strong that it was still present two days after the kids were rescued and Larson and Harper were arrested.  What human being would make anyone, let alone kids, live in those conditions?

About the only way I could see this sentence making any sense is if Larson was in a Hedda Nussbaum situation.  But there's no evidence of this--and even her own lawyer was at a loss to explain her (in)actions.  However, he must be one helluva talker.

The area DA, Trey Robison, says he agreed to the deal to spare the kids the trauma of testifying.  But how in the world could he ignore the appalling conditions in that house?  Moreover, the kids were reportedly tortured for years, and are so far behind in school after being homeschooled for just over a year that they may never catch up.  Seen in this light, 17 months isn't really a sentence at all.  Indeed, it may not even be a phrase.

I perused the Facebook pages of several Charlotte outlets, and the sentiment is almost unanimous--this sentence would be a bad joke if not for what those kids had to endure.  Even Larson's own daughter-in-law thinks this was too light.  Fortunately, there's a way for area residents to make their feelings known.  There's a protest planned for Saturday at noon at the Union County Courthouse.  I'm planning to go--and anyone from the Charlotte area should come along too.

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Recently, I learned about a gut-wrenching story regarding a former football player at my alma mater, Carolina.  Ryan Hoffman, an offensive lineman for the Tar Heels from 1994 to 1997, has been on a downward spiral over the last two decades.  There are very strong indications that it's due to brain damage from concussions Hoffman suffered during his playing days.  Click here to help him.

My sophomore year at Carolina saw the football team have its greatest season in almost half a century.  They went 11-1 and finished with their highest ranking in a major poll since the days of Choo Choo Justice in the 1940s.  Hoffman was a major cog in that team; he played left tackle--the guy who protected the blind side of quarterbacks Chris Keldorf and Oscar Davenport.  However, he went undrafted in 1998, and it's been downhill ever since.  For more details on his ordeal, read here.  

Hoffman has been unable to hold down a job due to severe cognitive problems, and has been homeless since August.  He told the NYT that he's certain football caused his current ordeal.  His family agrees; they think he may have chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a brain disorder caused by repeated hits to the head.  There's no way to diagnose CTE in a living person, unfortunately.

Well, there's some good news.  In the days after the NYT broke this, many people and organizations have reached out to help him.  The NCAA--as if it had a choice--gave Carolina the green light to provide him with what athletic director Bubba Cunningham describes as basic human necessities.  Carolina professor Kevin Guskiewicz, a concussion expert, has offered to evaluate Newman at his center in Chapel Hill.  He's also gotten offers to go into rehab from two different groups.

However, Newman is having a lot of trouble processing it all, and is somewhat reluctant to accept that help.  His sister, Kira Soto, says that she hasn't heard from him since March 10.  To understand why he's having a hard time grasping everything, consider that this is a guy who may have suffered numerous concussions in an era before head injuries were well understood.  The numerous concussion protocols in place at nearly every level of football were written specifically to prevent repeats of what happened to Hoffman.

One of Hoffman's former teammates has started a drive at Greatest Fan, a sports version of GoFundMe, to raise $25,000 to help Hoffman get back on his feet.  If there was ever a case of a guy needing a hand up, this is it.  https://my.greatestfan.com/Ryanhoffman>Click here.

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For those who missed it yesterday, several alumni of the University of Oklahoma's now-shuttered chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon have retained Tim McVeigh's former lawyer, Stephen Jones, to help them consider where to go next legally after the chapter was given the bum's rush by both the national headquarters and school president David Boren for a horribly racist video. Jones has let it be known that a lawsuit is his last option--he prefers to negotiate with school officials in order to provide "a teachable moment" for something that he (and his clients) condemned as "despicable."  However, as I mentioned yesterday at Liberal America, Boren can do something that can give him a significant boost in any negotiations.  He should disclose when the video of those kids declaring there would "never be a n***r SAE" was first uploaded.  The answer to that question will determine whether I can wholeheartedly applaud the decision to expel the ringleaders of the chant.

For those who missed it, a student organization, Unheard, was alerted about the video and posted it online.  The $64,000 question in this case, as I see it, is whether the video was online before Unheard got wind of it.  As a state university, OU doesn’t have a lot of latitude to punish students merely for speech–even speech as abhorrent as this.  If the first time it went online is when Unheard posted it, then the issue becomes somewhat dicey.  While I believe that Boren had no other choice both morally and legally but to give the left foot to the SAE chapter, expelling the students now before a full investigation takes place is still debatable.  Had the video first gone online with Unheard's post, you could argue there were less heavy-handed ways to deal with this--make those responsible publicly apologize, complete community service, ban them from ever taking part in extracurricular activities at OU again, etc.

If, however, the video was online beforehand, however, it completely changes the dimensions of the debate.  As I've said numerous times since this story broke, putting a video like that online is really no different from hanging a noose on a tree.  If hanging a noose around the James Meredith statue was an expellable offense, how would putting a video like that online not be grounds for expulsion as well?

There's a chance that the latter scenario may be the case.  As Catte Nappe mentioned in a comment yesterday, Unheard first learned about the video when someone texted the video to them.  So where did that person find the video?  Was it on Facebook or Instagram already?  Or did the girl who shot the video (who is cooperating with the investigation) text it to them?  Boren needs to answer that question soon.  It would not only strengthen OU's hand in negotiations with Jones, but appease the concerns of people who abhor racism, but are worried about First Amendment issues as well.

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