Shouting epithets from the picket line doesn’t warrant firing
It may be bad behavior, but a striking worker who shouted “fried chicken and watermelon” to black replacement workers didn’t deserve to be fired from his job, the U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled. In a case that tested a National Labor Relations Board decision, Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. insisted it had a right to fire the worker for his racially insensitive yelling, but the NLRB said the firing was a violation of the National Labor Relations Act.
Weekend haul: 1,500 pounds of drugs and 17 fugitives
U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents at ports of entry along California’s border with Mexico intercepted 1,500 pounds of narcotics and apprehended 17 fugitives over the last weekend. The haul included 470 pounds of methamphetamine, 72 pounds of cocaine, 1,000 pounds of marijuana and 11 pounds of heroin. Among the arrested fugitives was Carlos Beltran, 33, who is wanted by the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department for attempted murder. He was escorted by Mexican authorities through the San Ysidro pedestrian entry.
Federal worker sentenced for bribery and impersonation
John Theis, 40, of Sparrows Point, Md., was sentenced to 15 months in prison for accepting bribes and impersonating a U.S. immigration officer, the Department of Justice said. Theis was employed during 2015 as an Immigration Services Officer by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and worked with a co-conspirator in an immigration assistance business. DOJ said Theis made presentations to prospective clients while wearing clothes that identified him as an immigration officer.
Mortgage servicer fined for false claims
PHH Corp. of Mount Laurel, N.J., and its mortgage lending subsidiaries PHH Mortgage Corp. and PHH Home Loans will pay $74.5 million to resolve False Claims Act allegations brought by a whistleblower who will receive $9.1 million as her share of the settlement. The Department of Justice said the company originated and underwrote mortgages insured by the Departments of Housing and Urban Development and Veterans Affairs, and purchased by the Federal National Mortgage Association and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. that did not meet applicable requirements.
ISIS supporter indicted by federal grand jury
Nelash Das, 25, a Bangladesh national and permanent U.S. resident who lived in Landover Hills, Md., was indicted by a federal grand jury for providing support to the radical Islamic terrorism cult known as ISIS, the Department of Justice said. Das was also charged with attempting to murder a federal employee, and using a firearm during a crime of violence. DOJ said Das planned to murder a service member who was identified on an ISIS website.
Eclipse will draw record crowds to western parks
National Park Service workers are girding for record-setting crowds that will pack Yellowstone and Grand Teton parks to witness a rare solar eclipse on August 21. The Wyoming parks are not on the path of total eclipse, but visitors will get a partial look at the celestial show when the moon passes between the sun and earth. NPS warned visitors to come loaded with patience and expectations of heavy traffic, bring plenty of food, and pack proper viewing glasses and solar filters for cameras, binoculars, and telescopes.
Court-sanctioned extortion faces legal challenge
The American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Poverty Law Center accused criminal court officials in Baton Rouge, La., of allowing a private company to collect monthly fees from people awaiting trial while free on bond. The suit claims the company, Rehabilitation Home Incarceration, colluded with East Baton Rouge Parish officials to detain people awaiting trial and not release them until coerced into paying fees. ACLU attorney Brandon Buskey said “this could not happen without the court and the jail enabling this scam, and ignoring the rights of those charged and presumed innocent.” SPLC legal director Sam Brooke called it “a disturbing example of our justice system being twisted beyond recognition by a scheme to make money.”
Advocacy groups ask FCC to deny tv merger
Public Knowledge urged the Federal Communications Commission to block Sinclair Broadcast Group’s proposed acquisition of Tribune Media. If the sale goes through, the addition of Tribune’s 42 stations would enable Sinclair to reach 72% of U.S. households, significantly more than the nationwide audience cap of 39% set by Congress, Public Knowledge said.
Rip ‘n Read is a daily compilation of press releases found on hundreds of websites that are maintained by the federal government, think tanks, watchdog groups and national advocacy organizations. Press releases selected for this feature are, in the opinion of the editor, exceptionally newsworthy, interesting or just plain curious.
The press releases and documents linked to this report were posted on their websites on Tuesday, August 8