Category Archives: civil rights

Remembrance, Celebration The Loving Couple and The Pulse

Thanks for this post. We should never, ever, forget history.

Nel's New Day

Two anniversaries make this a bitter-sweet day.

Fifty years ago, the Supreme Court made interracial marriage the law of the United States in its ruling in Loving v. Virginia. The 1967 unanimous decision came nine years after Mildred Jeter, a black woman who later identified as Native American, married Richard Loving, a white man, and the couple was threatened with prison if they didn’t leave Virginia. Justice Anthony Kennedy cited Loving v. Virginia in the Supreme Court ruling that legalized marriage equality, a case in which four of the nine justices—John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia, and Clarence Thomas—supported bigotry.

On the 40th anniversary of Loving v. Virginia, one year before Mildred Loving died in 2008, she talked about her support for marriage equality:

“I believe all Americans, no matter their race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry. Government…

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The Face Of Evil … Jeremy Joseph Christian

Filosofa's Word

On Friday, 35-year-old Jeremy Joseph Christian, of north Portland, Oregon, boarded a light rail MAX train in Northeast Portland.  He apparently had a chip on his shoulder and, for no discernable reason, began berating two women, one of whom was wearing a hijab.  He began ranting and shouting, telling them to “Get off the bus, and get out of the country because you don’t pay taxes here”.  Fearing that his rants were escalating, at least three other passengers acted to try to calm Mr. Christian and protect the two women.  Two of the three men are now dead, the third is in the hospital being treated for non-life-threatening injuries, and Mr. Christian is being held without bond in police custody on two counts of aggravated murder, one count of attempted murder, two counts of intimidation in the second degree and one count of possession of a restricted weapon…

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Black and Blue: Not Funny

My blog is dedicated to advocating equality and equal justice for all. We are currently following the trial of police officer Betty Shelby who killed Terence Crutcher in Oklahoma.

Free The Truth

A guy and a girl get ready to go on a blind date, both nervous and worried. The guy is hoping that his date won’t be fat and ugly. The girl is hoping she won’t be raped or killed.

That’s a joke I remember hearing when I was a teenager, laughing and thinking to myself, “How true.”

The other day I thought of one like it that I wanted to share.

A black kid and a white kid go to a gas station, both nervous and worried.  The white kid is afraid his parents will find out he stole money from the coin jar and bought candy. The black kid is afraid a police officer will mistake his candy bar for a gun and shoot him.

Not funny? What? Did you laugh at the first one?

All right, I will try one more that I told the other day.

Raise…

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Man Mistaken for 13-Year Old Sues Police And City

Kameron Teel is a substitute teacher.  He is also a former high school soccer star. Kameron set a record for goals scored at Gloucester Catholic High School in Gloucester City and he also played at Immaculata University. Kameron was a scholarship soccer player for La Salle University, as well as a judo and soccer coach/trainer.

On June 24, 2016 in Glassboro, New Jersey, 26-year old Kameron was riding his bike through a borough park.  Glassboro Police Sargent Dan Eliason yelled for Kameron to get on the ground.   What happened next led to a lawsuit filed by Kameron.

NJ.com reports:

“The suit claims that Kameron was laying on the ground, complying to police orders, when Eliason put his knee on Teel’s back, making it difficult for Teel to breathe and causing extreme pain. 

Teel allegedly yelled “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe. They are trying to kill me and I don’t want to die.” 

Teel alleges he was pepper-sprayed and handcuffed. After leading him to a police vehicle, an unidentified police officer allegedly “slammed” Teel’s head into the hood. After seeing the damage to the vehicle, the officer allegedly told Teel he would be charged with destruction of governmental property.

Teel was also injured when he was bitten numerous times on his legs and hands by the police K-9, he claims in the lawsuit.”

Photos of Kameron Teel’s injuries were included as exhibits accompanying the lawsuit.

At the time of his arrest, police were seeking a suspect in the park for drug activity.  The suspect was described as a Black male, approximately 13 years old.

The police say that they mistook the 26-year old with a full facial beard for the 13-year old suspect.  

Kameron’s lawsuit alleges malicious prosecution, false arrest, false imprisonment, excessive force and assault, and failure to supervise, train,  adopt needed policy, and violation of Kameron’s civil rights. According to Courier Post, the suit seeks damages of more than $150,000.

Kameron had no prior arrests and the charge of destruction of government property was dismissed.

Kameron is represented by lawyer D. Wesley Cornish of Philadelphia, who says that the borough has not provided police video of the incident.

Read the rest of this entry

On This Day You Made it To the Mountaintop, Remembering Dr. King

Thanks for the reminder and Dr. King’s encouraging words.

Nikki Skies

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968

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Martin Luther King Jr. was an American Baptist minister and activist who was a leader in the Civil Rights Movement.

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Former Chief of Police Vetted At JFK When Returning From Paris

Hassan Aden

Hassan Aden is a former Police Chief of Greenville, North Carolina.  He is currently senior policy advisor at the Vera Institute of Justice.  Prior to his appointment as Chief of Police for the Greenville, NC Police Department, he served in the Alexandria, Virginia Police Department for 26 years rising to the rank of deputy chief of police.

Aden is a United States citizen who traveled to Paris, France to celebrate his mom’s 80th birthday.

On March 13, 2017, Aden was held for an hour and a half at the JFK airport by Customs and Border Agents.  On his Facebook page, Aden wrote:

“My freedoms were restricted, and I cannot be sure it won’t happen again, and that it won’t happen to my family, my children, the next time we travel abroad.”

“This experience has left me feeling vulnerable and unsure of the future of a country that was once great and that I proudly called my own. This experience makes me question if this is indeed home. My freedoms were restricted, and I cannot be sure it won’t happen again, and that it won’t happen to my family, my children, the next time we travel abroad. This country now feels cold, unwelcoming, and in the beginning stages of a country that is isolating itself from the rest of the world – and its own people – in an unprecedented fashion. High levels of hate and injustice have been felt in vulnerable communities for decades-it is now hitting the rest of America.”

Read the rest of this entry

Walker, Louisiana Police Officer Resigns After Found Placing Noose In Squad Room

An unnamed, high-ranking Walker Police officer, who was employed by the department for about a decade, has resigned after he was suspended for placing a noose inside the squad room of the department.  He was originally suspended for 3 days without pay.  A meeting to review the officer’s conduct and consider disciplinary action was scheduled, but was cancelled after the officer announced his resignation.

Louisiana law RS 14:40.5 prohibits a noose in a public place. Anyone convicted faces up to a $5,000 fine and one year in prison or both.  The Walker police Investigative Unit has asked Attorney General Jeff Landry’s Office to investigate for criminal charges.  The case has been handed over to the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office for criminal investigation.

Police Chief David Addison is new to the job.  The assistant chief is an African American.  A lieutenant, who is also Black, found the noose.  Security camera footage recorded the officer leaving the noose hanging in the department’s squad room.

Paperwork says that it was reported,
“You informed me that you fashioned the noose, or as you called it, the ‘slip knot,’ to pick with an arrestee that you had in custody…It was revealed to me via our department’s video cameras, that there was no arrestee present when you fashioned and displayed the cookie and noose in the squad room.”

Chief Addison is reported saying:

“Whether they’re white, black or oriental, we have a mixture here in Walker.  Everyone, I don’t care if you’re white, black, oriental, you will be treated fairly by my officers. This will not be tolerated period. This was poor judgment, bad character. It will not be tolerated with the Walker Police Department.”

WBRZ has a video and more on this story.

 

 

Have You Heard of Former Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Conrad Hafen?

Conrad Hafen

Conrad Hafen was raised in Roy, Utah.  He served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, then attended Weber State University where he graduated in 1983 with a Bachelor of Science in Political Science.  He was accepted into Brigham Young University’s Public Administration Masters Program.  In 1985, he enrolled in the University of Idaho School of Law, graduating in 1988.

After law clerking and working as an associate attorney with a private law firm concentrating in insurance defense and products liability, Conrad Hafen accepted a position with the Humboldt County Nevada District Attorney’s Office.  Within several months, he was promoted to Chief Deputy District Attorney and served in that capacity for 10 years.

Hafen lost a race for district judge in 2006, and when the Las Vegas Justice Court Department was looking for a judge for one of its specialty courts, Hafen threw his hat in the ring.  During his campaign, Hafen said, “When people come before me … they’ll know my decision is based on the law and is a fair and just resolution.”

Saying what citizens want to hear, in 2010, Hafen was elected as a Justice of the peace in Nevada.  Those judges hear misdemeanor cases and hold preliminary hearings to determine if there is enough evidence to move felony cases to state courts for trial.

Hafen’s career in the Nevada judicial system has now involuntarily ended and he is back in Utah.  This is how it happened …

Deputy Public Defender Zohra Bakhtary

Zohra Bakhtary is a deputy public defender, and while advocating for one of her clients, Judge Hafen did not want her to speak.  He had Bakhtary handcuffed and seated with inmates who were awaiting their hearings.  After Hafen sentenced Bakhtary’s client, Daniel Fernandez, to six months in jail, he had court security remove her handcuffs and said, “I think she’s learned a lesson.”

District Judge Rob Bare released Fernandez and the petty theft conviction was later thrown out after a ruling that Fernandez was deprived of assistance of a lawyer when he was sentenced. Read the rest of this entry

Dylann Roof Wants a New Federal Trial – Argues Lack of Jurisdiction

Victims at AME ChurchABC reports that Dylann Roof, who was convicted for murdering 9 people in Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church in June 2015, has asked for a new federal trial.  Roof was sentenced to death.  Roof’s argument is that federal prosecutors lacked jurisdiction to bring their case against him.

Represented by attorneys, they claim that the federal government failed to prove that Roof’s use of the internet, the highways, and a gun manufactured out of state, were sufficient links to allow religious obstruction charges.  A similar argument was made in July 2016 as a part of Roof’s plea bargain that if the government took the death penalty off the table, that he would plea guilty as charged.  The court denied Roof’s motion.

A federal grand jury found that Roof violated subsections of federal law 18 U.S.C. 247 in that he intentionally obstructed, by force, the enjoyment of free exercise of religious beliefs.  That section requires that the circumstances takes place in or affects interstate or foreign commerce.

Roof is currently in custody in the Charleston County jail awaiting trial in state court.

 

Acting Attorney General Sally Yates Fired By Donald Trump. What It Means For America.

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Acting Attorney General Sally Yates

There’s so much in the news regarding President Trump’s Executive Order banning Muslims from 7 countries from entering the United States, that following it is almost like putting a jig saw puzzle together.  There are many, many pieces that make the whole.

On Saturday, a U.S. District Court judge placed a temporary injunction on Trump’s Executive Order.  A hearing is scheduled for next month.  That means that the federal judge is giving the United States (Trump) time to prepare and file a defense as to why the Executive Order is not in violation of the constitution.  It has now been reported that four federal judges have temporarily enjoined the Executive Order.

Earlier this evening, cable news reported that the acting Attorney General, Sally Yates, was not going to defend Trump’s Executive Order.  According to the New York Times;

“At present, I am not convinced that the defense of the executive order is consistent with these responsibilities, nor am I convinced that the executive order is lawful,” Ms. Yates wrote in a letter to Justice Department lawyers.

Raw and other sources now report that President Donald Trump has “relieved” acting Attorney General Sally Yates of her duties as reported by White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer.

Spicer made the announcement via Twitter, writing: “@POTUS has named Dana Boente, US Attorney for the Eastern District of VA as Acting Attorney General. Sally Yates has been relieved.”

The Danger In Trump’s Firing of Yates

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Breaking News: Brooklyn Judge Stops Trump’s Immigration Ban

A cheer and toast to the ACLU! When it comes to the constitution, they know their stuff. I read the petition and among their arguments is that Trump is in violation of the Immigration and Naturalization Act which does not allow for discrimination based on country of origin. If Trump is going to ban the entry of non-citizens, he has to ban all and not just citizens of 7 countries.

Gronda Morin

donald-trump-signing-orders1485289256441On Friday, Mr. Trump issued an executive order banning immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries from being able to enter the USA (including even green card holders) under the auspices of national security. On Saturday, Mr. Trump was hit with a class-action lawsuit by the ACLU, which argued that this executive order was unconstitutional.

About an hour ago, Judge Ann Donnelly from the Eastern District of New York (federal court in Brooklyn) agreed with the ACLU, and issued a national injunction staying enforcement of Trump’s unconstitutional order anywhere in the country. Under this injunction, no one can be removed from the United States solely by virtue of President Trump’s Executive Order, and the Government must even provide the ACLU with a list of names of people who have been affected.

President Trump’s unconstitutional move was meant to please his followers despite the fact that there have been no refugees from any of…

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Marches Across America and The World Standing In Solidarity Against Donald Trump

I’ve spent most of today watching and reading the news about the  “Women Marches” happening today.   It is reported that in America alone, the numbers are over a million participating.

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Photo credit: (Meredith Blake/Los Angeles Times)

Teresa Shook of Hawaii is given credit for starting the march.  She invited her Facebook friends to join her in a march in Washington, D.C. and what began with 40 of her friends grew to 10,000.  Today, there is an estimated 500,000 in attendance in D.C.

In Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. Rep. John Lewis,  kicked off the proceedings.

“We all came to this land in different ships but we’re all in the same boat now,” Lewis told the crowd, to loud whoops and cheers. “Got on your marching shoes? Let’s do it!”

Others are marching in New York, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Los Angeles,  Portland.  Women and men  around the world are also marching in solidarity and in opposition to the bigotry and hate that  Trump represents.   There are marches in  Sydney, Berlin, London, Paris and Cape Town, South Africa.

 

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Los Angeles, California

 

For about 2 hours now, MSNBC and CNN have reported that Trump’s press secretary is suppose to give a statement.

 

Department of Justice Investigative Findings Of The Chicago Police Department

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Photo credit (Jose Osorio / Chicago Tribune)

The United States Department of Justice completed a probe of the Chicago Police.  Its investigation was conducted over a period of 13 months. They found that the Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) used biased techniques to investigate officers and a consistent unwillingness to probe or dispute officers’ statements.

The Chicago police force is one of the nation’s largest, with 12,000 officers.

The DOJ also found that the police received insufficient training in de-escalation techniques and poor training on all levels.

The investigation also found Constitutional violations, and violations of federal law by officers in the use of force, racial disparities and other systemic problems.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports;

“The Justice Department and City Hall have hammered out a pact, called a “statement of agreement,” which will detail remedies the city has already or will be taking to address problems that have ruptured relations between police and the people they serve, particularly minority communities.”

Attorney General Loretta Lynch will be out of office on January 20, 2017, and wanted to complete DOJ investigations in Baltimore and Chicago before the new administration takes over.  Read the rest of this entry

Dylann Roof Sentenced to Death

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Dylann Roof, found guilty of the murder of nine people, and sentenced to death.

The jury began their deliberations early this afternoon.   It did not take them long to decide that Dylann Roof, the murderer of nine people, receive the death penalty.

At closing argument, Roof reminded the jury that its decision must be unanimous.  Apparently, he was looking to impress upon just one juror not to sentence him to death.

Also during his closing argument, Roof told the jury,  “I still feel like I had to do it.”

It is reported that every member of the jury looked directly at Roof as he spoke for about 5 minutes.

The prosecutor’s closing argument included;

“They welcomed a 13th person that night … with a kind word, a Bible, a handout and a chair,” Richardson said during his closing argument. “He had come with a hateful heart and a Glock .45.”

 

Fourteen Year Old Charged With Cyber-harassment and Ethnic Intimidation

(Cross posted from Flightattendantfailures)

After an approximate 3-month investigation, a 14-year-old Northampton, PA student has been charged with cyber harassment and ethnic intimidation.  The 14-year old took a video of a 16-year old student eating lunch and posted it on Snapchat.  The 14-year old is White.  The 16-year old is Black.

Northampton County District Attorney, John Morganelli, said of the video;

“I reviewed the video today and I find it to be highly offensive and reprehensible. It depicts the 16-year-old minding his own business eating chicken wings while the 14-year-old records him and narrates it by describing the scene as ‘a N-word eating chicken.’

“The video demeans the 16-year-old with numerous uses of the N-word and references to being broke and on welfare. As bad as that is, the 14-year-old published the offensive video on social media including Snapchat that was viewed by numerous students as well as the 16-year-old male, …”

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Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli at a news conference on Jan. 3, 2017. (Rudy Miller)

However, the District Attorney did not know of the video until after the 16-year old Black student was arrested and charged with simple assault, harassment and disorderly conduct.  That’s because while at a football game attended by both student, the Black student retaliated by opening a can of whoop-ass on the 14-year old.

Neither teen has been publicly identified by authorities.

D.A. Morganelli will allow the 14-year-old to seek an “informal adjustment” in juvenile court. If he completes the probationary requirements, he will not be charged with the crimes.

The 16-year old Black student will also be allowed an “informal adjustment.”  Morganelli said the black student had previously been the subject of discrimination from a group of students calling themselves “the rednecks.” He said he had a confederate flag thrown on him when he transferred to the school from out of state. Read the rest of this entry

Dylann Roof Convicted

The jury in Dylann Roof’s federal trial deliberated less than 2 hours, and convicted him on all counts of hate crimes, obstruction of religion and weapons charges.

The panel of nine Whites people and three Blacks  will reconvene on January 3, 2017 to decide whether Roof is sentenced to death or life in prison without parole.

Minutes after the verdict was read, Roof told U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel he wanted to represent himself during the penalty phase.

Fox news reports; Read the rest of this entry

International Concern Over Killing of Arab Law Student By Police

I had no plans on writing any posts involving police use of excessive force for the rest of this year.   We are currently following the trial of Dylann Roof, who murdered 9 people in their church.  That came on the heels of following the trial of Michael Slager, who shot an unarmed running Walter Scott in the back.  The jury hung.  Slager’s trial came on the heel of the trial of Ray Tensing, who shot unarmed Sam Dubose in the head while he was sitting in his car.  That jury hung.

It’s not only the subject matter, but the judicial results that can be a burden on the heart and mind.  This afternoon, I threw off the burden when learning about another unarmed person killed by the police.   He was a human being.  He has a family. There are people who love him.  He will be missed.

The reason for this post is because I did not hear of the incident through major news sources when it happened.  There was no ticker across the bottom of the screen on CNN nor MSNBC.  (I don’t watch Fox News.)

Because I look for professional views regarding cases in court, I subscribe to Law.com in Practice.  Their Newsletters generally focus on what is happening in cases in courts and case decisions.  So, it was interesting when reading in their Newsletter about a dash cam video and a law student being shot dead by a police officer in Ohio.

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Saif Nasser Mubarak Alameri

This incident is one to watch because it involves another country that is interested in how the State of Ohio is conducting its investigation into the death of Saif Nasser Mubarak Alameri.

Saif Nasser Mubarak Alameri was 26-years old.  He was a student at Case Western Reserve University School of Law .  Saif obtained a bachelor’s in law at the United Arab Emirates University. He was in the United States on a student visa and academic scholarship.

There are scant details.  According to the National Law Journal and Arab news sources, the Ohio State Highway Patrol received a call about an erratic driver on Sunday, December 4, 2016.  Alameri was driving on the Ohio Turnpike about 2:46 p.m. when he sideswiped another vehicle and flipped his vehicle, according to Hudson police.  He then climbed out of his car and fled the scene before the Ohio State Highway Patrol arrived.

Nearly one hour later, Officer Ryan Doran, a Hudson, Ohio police officer, found Alameri in a nearby wooded area off of Hudson-Aurora Road. Read the rest of this entry

Victory at Standing Rock

Nel's New Day

CANNON BALL, ND - DECEMBER 04:  Fireworks fill the night sky above Oceti Sakowin Camp as activists celebrate after learning an easement had been denied for the Dakota Access Pipeline near the edge of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation on December 4, 2016 outside Cannon Ball, North Dakota. The US Army Corps of Engineers announced today that it will not grant an easement to the Dakota Access Pipeline to cross under a lake on the Sioux Tribes Standing Rock reservation, ending a  months-long standoff.  (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images) CANNON BALL, ND – DECEMBER 04: Fireworks fill the night sky above Oceti Sakowin Camp as activists celebrate after learning an easement had been denied for the Dakota Access Pipeline near the edge of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation on December 4, 2016 outside Cannon Ball, North Dakota. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Protesters across the United States celebrated today after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that it would “explore alternate routes” for the Dakota Access Pipeline instead of granting an easement the pipeline. Over 2,000 U.S. military veterans had joined the thousands of protesters at the site to protect them from the authorities, and federal officials had given them until tomorrow to leave the site .

Native American tribes began last April to block the part of the current 1,172-mile-long pipeline’s $3.8 billion project designed to cross under Lake Oahe in North Dakota at the confluence…

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Baton Rouge Settles Case With Black Lives Matter Protesters

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Activist Deray McKesson arrested in Baton Rouge. AP Photo/Max Becherer

In response to the killing of Alton Sterling on July 5, 2016, Black Lives Matter protesters gathered in the streets of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.   Police arrested 92 protesters.  East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore III said his office would not prosecute the protesters.  However, those arrested incurred bond, administrative fees and court costs in order to be released.  To have those arrests expunged requires more money.

Activist DeRay McKesson was among those arrested.

A federal class-action lawsuit was filed alleging that the militarized police were aggressive in their response to protesters and used “unconstitutional tactics” to infringe upon the protesters’ First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and assembly.  Fewer than 10 percent of the protesters in the class-action lawsuit were from out of town. Read the rest of this entry

Prejudice, Bigotry and the Safety Pin

safety-pinWhite people wearing a safety pin has become a symbol of being a safe person against racist, sexist, xenophobic, Islamophobic, and other hateful ideologies.  An idea behind the pin is that it’s a public pledge that the wearer will help de-escalate situations where the marginalized are under attack, whether verbally or physically.

Because of its controversy, yesterday I read as much as I could about the symbol of wearing a safety pin.  Christopher Keelty, a White bisexual man, wrote for the Huffington Post that the safety pin is an embarrassment for White people.

The general criticism is that it’s more of a sign of White-guilt.  There are articles which in summary, say how dare White people think that they can say what solidarity with minorities, immigrants and others should be; should look like.

Yes, I read allot yesterday and I also talked with others.  Nothing satisfied me one way or the other.  Then a light-bulb moment happened.

What is it that I believe?  I believe in equality for all.  On that foundation, I asked why Blacks, Muslims, LGBT, immigrants, Brown, Yellow and Red people cannot be safe for others who are subject to cruelty since the election of Donald Trump?  In fact, those who voted for Donald Trump who do not share in the phobias of hate might be safe people. Read the rest of this entry

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