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The Geauga County commissioner has reportedly demanded the superintendent’s resignation over the ban

An Ohio school district is banning “thin blue line” flags after a high school football player carried one onto the field to honor local first responders, including a coach who is also a police officer.

“This display will not be a part of future pre-game activities at Chardon athletic contests,” Chardon Local Schools Superintendent Michael P. Hanlon Jr. wrote in a statement Monday. “In addition, measures will be put in place by our athletic director to review any planned pre-game displays for possible connections to any form of discrimination or particular political views.”

After the game last Friday, members of the community stirred up a debate over whether the display was an innocent move in support of local first responders or of it had racial connotations, prompting some residents to reach out to district administrators directly, according to Hanlon.

He said that running out onto the field with the flag “could be interpreted as a racially motivated action” and he also noted that district policy “does not permit engagement in political activity.”

Hanlon also acknowledged the schools’ close ties with first responders after a shooting at Chardon High School eight years ago left three students dead and injured two, including one who became paralyzed.

“It does not appear that this action was motivated by racism, rather a show of support for one of our coaches who serves as a police officer, as well as for the first responders in our community who have developed a special relationship with our school and students in the wake of our school tragedy of February 27, 2012,” Hanlon wrote.

Frank Hall, a former assistant football coach and teacher at the school, received national praise after he charged at the gunman and later prayed with the victims. Days after the shooting, he pushed back at the attention and said the real heroes were the emergency responders who rushed to the scene.

“I only wish I could have done more,” he said in 2012. “I’m not a hero. Just a football coach and a study hall teacher.”

The shooter, T.J. Lane, was 17 years old at the time. He was sentenced to life in prison.

Hall is credited with chasing him away and potentially saving more students from the gunfire.

In response to the district’s move to ban the flag, Geauga County Commissioner Ralph Spidalieri demanded Hanlon’s resignation, according to Cleveland-based 19 News.

“Your letter sickens me and so many others that have reached out to me and expressed the same disgust with your inability to stand up and recognize their patriotism,” Spidalieri wrote in reference to the players who ran out alongside the flag.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Author: Michael Ruiz

Source: Fox News: Ohio school district bans ‘thin blue line’ flags after football player carried one to honor coach

The nine suspects face a total of 26 charges, including sex offender violations

A two-week mission to rescue endangered and missing children in Georgia led to the recovery of 39 juveniles and the arrests of nine suspects, the U.S. Marshals Service announced Thursday.

“The message to missing children and their families is that we will never stop looking for you,” Donald Washington, the director of the Marshals Service, said in a statement.

“Operation Not Forgotten” led to the rescue of 26 missing children and the safe location of 13 more, according to authorities.

The nine suspects face a total of 26 charges, including sex offender violations.

The Marshals assisted state and local authorities in a number of separate cases during the operation. The federal authorities periodically assist police with federal resources to help clear separate missing persons cases in a single operation.

Authorities said the missing children were at high risk of child sex trafficking, exploitation and abuse – and some suffered from medical and mental health conditions.

The 2015 Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act gave the Marshal’s broader authority to assist state and local police departments tracking down missing children, regardless of whether fugitives or sex offenders are involved in the case, officials said.

Just last year, the Marshals helped recover almost 300 missing children, according to authorities.

Human trafficking, also known as modern-day slavery, occurs in every state – victimizing mostly children and women.

Authorities said the missing children were at high risk of child sex trafficking, exploitation and abuse – and some suffered from medical and mental health conditions. (Photo by: Shane T. McCoy / US Marshals)

“When we track down fugitives, it’s a good feeling to know that we’re putting the bad guy behind bars,” said Darby Kirby, chief of the Missing Child Unit. “But that sense of accomplishment is nothing compared to finding a missing child.”

“Operation Not Forgotten” involved months of planning before it began, authorities said. Other agencies involved include the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Georgia’s Office of the Attorney General, the state’s departments of Family and Children Services and of Juvenile Justice, the FBI and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

There were 417 human trafficking cases in Georgia last year, according to the National Human Trafficking Hotline.

(Photo by: Shane T. McCoy / US Marshals)

In neighboring Florida, which has roughly double Georgia’s population, there were 896 human trafficking cases in 2019.

On the federal level, the Justice Department (DOJ) secured convictions against 475 human traffickers in 2019, according to the State Department’s annual Trafficking in Persons Report. Of those, 454 involved sex trafficking, and only 21 involved labor.

Anyone who suspects human trafficking can call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at (888) 373-7888.

Author: Michael Ruiz

Source: Fox News: US Marshals find 39 missing children in Georgia in ‘Operation Not Forgotten’

A 25-year-old Tacoma woman was arrested Thursday for allegedly lighting five unmarked Seattle police vehicles on fire during riots at the end of last month.

Margaret Aislinn Channon faces federal arson charges in connection with the incident, according to U.S. Attorney Brian Moran.

“This defendant was captured by multiple cameras using an accelerant, lit like a blowtorch, to start fires in five vehicles,” Moran said in a statement.

The alleged arsons happened on May 30 around the area of Sixth Avenue and Pine Street in downtown Seattle. Local police abandoned the nearby East Precinct building, at 12th Avenue and Pine Street, earlier this week following violent protests that followed the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25. Demonstrators have moved in to the surrounding neighborhood and declared it a “cop-free” area that they call the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone.”

But investigators with the Seattle Police Department, the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms saw Channon in multiple videos taken in the area over a two-day span from May 29 to 30.

The criminal complaint said Channon’s eyebrows helped police link her to a masked woman shown lighting fires in security video. (DOJ)

Images included in the criminal complaint show a masked woman torching vehicles.

A separate image shows a woman raising her hands across from police – and in it tattoos on her knuckles are visible. Authorities said that the comparison of photos of the alleged arsonist on May 30 with photos of Channon on May 29 matched features in other known photos of her from official documents and her social media accounts.

A separate image shows a woman raising her hands across from police – and in it tattoos on her knuckles are visible. Investigators said those tattoo matched ones they found on Channon when they searched her home. (DOJ)

While executing a search warrant at her home, authorities said they confirmed the tattoos and found clothing and other accessories that she was allegedly wearing in the videos.

“The First Amendment guarantees Americans the right to express their opinions and peacefully protest,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Raymond Duda of the Seattle Field Office. “What it does not provide is the right to invoke violence under the guise of free speech.”

Federal arson charges carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison if convicted. Channon is due in court Friday afternoon.

Author: Michael Ruiz

Source: Fox News: Washington state woman arrested, accused of setting 5 police vehicles ablaze in George Floyd riots

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