Cops, Witnesses Back Up George Zimmerman’s Version of Trayvon Martin Shooting

Two police reports written the night that George Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin said that Zimmerman had a bloody face and nose, according to police reports made public today.

The reports also note that two witness accounts appear to back up Zimmerman’s version of what happened when they describe a man on his back with another person wearing a hoodie straddling him and throwing punches.

It has been such a contentious case that even the evidence is being disputed.

The police report states that Trayvon Martin’s father told an investigator after listening to 911 tapes that captured a man’s voice frantically callling for help that it was not his son calling for help.

But Tracy Martin, Trayvon’s father, claims that is not true. The Martin family lawyer Ben Crump told ABC News that Tracy Martin initially listened to a distorted version of the 911 calls and said he could not identify the voice. But when he listened to a second tape that had been “cleaned,” “He immediately broke down in tears because he knew it was his son calling for help,” Crump said.

The new information is part of a trove of documents released by the Florida State Attorney today in the case against Zimmerman, who is charged with second degree murder for the Feb. 26 killing of Martin, an unarmed 17-year-old African American male.

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Terrifying Video Shows Young Saudi Arabian Man Auctioned Off as ‘Sacred Sacrifice’

Church Receives Violent Threats From Liberal Activicts

St. Francis Xavier in Acushnet, Massachusetts, isn’t afraid to insert its voice into the contentious gay marriage debate. The church, which posted a controversial sign voicing its disapproval of gay marriage, is reportedly receiving violent threats as a result of it’s anti-gay marriage messaging.

“Two men are friends, not spouses,” read the contentious sign, which was clearly intended to drive home the church’s view that marriage is an institution that should be reserved for men and women, exclusively.

Monsignor Gerard O’Connor, the head of pastoral services, said that the message was posted to reiterate the Catholic Church’s views on the sanctity of marriage. Additionally, he claimed that the original intention was for the church to offer a response to President Barack Obama’s recent gay marriage endorsement.

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‘Outrageous’: Cuban-Americans Voice Anger After Daughter of Cuban President Is Granted a U.S. Visa

Mariela Castro, 50, is a gay rights advocate. Coincidentally, she’s also the daughter of Cuban President Raul Castro. The first daughter raised some eyebrows today after news broke that she is being granted a U.S. visa to attend an academic conference in San Francisco, California.

The outspoken advocate is, of course, the niece of former president Fidel Castro — a factor that is creating a bit of angst among Cuban-Americans who stand opposed to her family’s rule.

Mariela received a visa from the U.S. State Department and will chair a panel on the politics of sexual diversity at a gathering in San Francisco next week organized by the Latin American Studies Association, an official at her institute told The Associated Press. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because she was not authorized to discuss the matter. The Web site of the New York Public Library says Castro is also scheduled to talk there on May 29.

The U.S. State Department declined to comment, saying rules prohibit discussion of individual visa applications. A diplomat at the U.S. Interests Section in Cuba also had no comment.

Reaction among the Cuban-American community to the news has been strong. Sen. Robert Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey, derided the government’s choice to allow Mariela into the U.S. He characterized her as someone who opposes democracy and advocates for Cuba’s repressive regime.

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Obama‘s 1991 Literary Agency Described Him as ’Born in Kenya and Raised in Indonesia and Hawaii’ on Thursday published part of what it says is a 1991 promotional booklet from Barack Obama’s then-literary agency, describing the the future president as “born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii.”

The 36-page Acton & Dystel booklet was reportedly distributed to “‘business colleagues’ in the publishing industry,” according to Breitbart, and includes a short biography of Obama and 89 other authors. Obama’s biography features a brief mention of his anticipated first book, “Journeys in Black and White,” which he never completed:

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Authorities Criminally Charge Tuberculosis Patient for Not Taking Meds

It’s a difficult legal situation. A person has an infectious disease. Taking medication is not only beneficial to them, but it can help stop the spread of said disease. When it’s found the patient is not taking these medications, the authorities arrest them and institute a measure that will ensure the patient is at a certain place where administration of the medication can be monitored.

This exact situation is what has happened with Armando Rodriguez who has tuberculosis, but some public health officials think the authorities went too far.

Rodriguez was warned several times to continue taking his tuberculosis medicine. At one point, authorities said, he told his case officer he stopped the treatment out of concern for his liver while binging on alcohol and methamphetamine.

On Tuesday, authorities arresting Rodriguez and charged him with refusing to comply with a tuberculosis order to be at home at certain times and make appointments to take his medication.

It’s a move that divides public health officials.

“I think it’s an error to confine someone in the criminal justice system for a public health crime,” said Lawrence Gostin, a Georgetown University public health law professor who drafted a model law adopted by several states struggling with the issue. “The whole intention is to protect the public’s health. It’s not to lay blame on someone.”

Health officials say Rodriguez, 34, of Stockton has active pulmonary tuberculosis, which can include coughing up blood or phlegm and can spread through the air.

Rodriguez has been noncompliant with his treatment and could become contagious as a result, Ginger Wick, nursing director for San Joaquin County, said in a letter requesting a warrant for Rodriguez’s arrest.

After failing one time to give himself the drugs, Rodriguez told a nurse he had gone on an alcohol binge and taken methamphetamine and didn’t want to hurt his liver, Wick said in her letter.

Rodriguez was arrested Tuesday and is expected to be arraigned Thursday on two misdemeanor counts. Each charge against Rodriguez carries a maximum penalty of a year behind bars.

read more here.

‘black youth mobs’

A Baltimore County delegate said Wednesday that the governor should send in the Maryland State Police to control “roving mobs of black youths” at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, prompting a colleague to label the message “race-baiting.”

Del. Patrick L. McDonough, a Republican whose district includes part of Harford County, distributed a news release with the headline: “Black Youth Mobs Terrorize Baltimore on Holidays.” In it, McDonough said he had sent a letter to Gov. Martin O’Malley urging him to use the state police to help prevent attacks and to declare the Inner Harbor area a “no-travel zone” until safety can be guaranteed.

McDonough’s message, which came on the last day of a General Assembly special session, offended some colleagues who thought it gratuitously highlighted the issue of race.

“It’s a throwback to the ’50s and ’60s, and it’s obviously race-baiting,” said Del. Keiffer J. Mitchell Jr., a Baltimore Democrat who offered to take McDonough on a guided tour of the Inner Harbor on a weekend night.

McDonough, a radio talk-show host, is best known in the legislature for his relentless and sometimes confrontational efforts to crack down on illegal immigration in Maryland.

“I’m not surprised at this inappropriate behavior,” said Del. Ana Sol Gutierrez, a Montgomery County Democrat. She said that in her 10 years in the legislature, she hadn’t seen such a racially tinged statement released by a colleague.

McDonough refused to back down, saying he had heard from police that the crowds involved in several recent incidents were all black. Failing to mention the race of the participants, he said, would be “political correctness on steroids.”

McDonough said his statement was prompted by several recent problems, including a St. Patrick’s Day disturbance and a recent incident in which he and his wife witnessed a fight involving about 100 youths at Pratt and Calvert streets.

The lawmaker said that his statement has brought attention from out-of-town news media and that he planned to give national television interviews warning visitors against traveling to the Inner Harbor. “A no-travel zone is an action that needs to be taken to protect lives,” he said.

Read more here.

‘Ex-Patriot Act’

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has a status update for Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin: Stop attempting to dodge your taxes by renouncing your U.S. citizenship or never come to back to the U.S. again.

In September 2011, Saverin relinquished his U.S. citizenship before the company announced its planned initial public offering of stock, which will debut this week. The move was likely a financial one, as he owns an estimated 4 percent of Facebook and stands to make $4 billion when the company goes public. Saverin would reap the benefit of tax savings by becoming a permanent resident of Singapore, which levies no capital gains taxes.

At a news conference this morning, Sens. Schumer and Bob Casey, D-Pa., will unveil the “Ex-PATRIOT” – “Expatriation Prevention by Abolishing Tax-Related Incentives for Offshore Tenancy” – Act to respond directly to Saverin’s move, which they dub a “scheme” that would “help him duck up to $67 million in taxes.”

The senators will call Saverin’s move an “outrage” and will outline their plan to re-impose taxes on expatriates like Saverin even after they flee the United States and take up residence in a foreign country. Their proposal would also impose a mandatory 30 percent tax on the capital gains of anybody who renounces their U.S. citizenship.

The plan would bar individuals like Saverin from ever reentering the United States again.

Read more here.

D.C. Police to Allow Sikh Officers to Wear Full Beards and Turbans on the Job

Sikh American police officers in Washington, D.C. are now allowed to wear turbans and full beards on the job under a uniform policy change announced Wednesday.

The written change is said to be the first of its kind for a major metropolitan police force, though other law enforcement agencies have less formal arrangements, according to the Associated Press.

Under the new rules, Sikh officers are permitted to tie their beard in a knot and tuck it beneath their chin and wear a uniform-matching turban at all times unless it conflicts with duty requiring them to wear a helmet, such as when responding to a riot. The policy will also allow officers to wear other religious items such as steel bracelets around their wrists and small decorative swords under their clothing, the Washington Post reported.

“I think it’s a step forward not only for civil rights and religious freedom, I think it’s a step forward for law enforcement,” said Jasjit Singh, executive director of the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund.

Under the new policy, Sikhs won’t have to make a “false choice” between their faith and earning a living, he said.

There are no active-duty Sikh officers currently working for the D.C. police department, so the change will have minimal immediate practical implications. The department’s only Sikh officer is a reserve preparing to graduate from the police academy, according to the Post.

D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier called the policy a “common-sense decision” and said it‘s important for the police force to have representation from all communities across the nation’s capital.

“I have to remind myself sometimes that in my lifetime women were not allowed to ride in patrol cars along with men, and now I’m chief,” Lanier said during a news conference.

Sikhism is a monotheistic faith founded in South Asia more than 500 years ago. With more than 25 million adherents around the world, observant Sikhs do not shave their beards or cut their hair, covering their heads with turbans instead. They have sometimes faced harassment in the U.S. in the wake of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, with some mistaking them for Muslims.

Read more here.