20 May, 2024
2 mins read

Attorney General Charity Clark: A data privacy law for all of us | Opinion

Last week, the Vermont Legislature voted out one of the most impactful consumer bills seen in decades, H.121, an act relating to enhancing consumer data privacy and the age-appropriate design code. I am proud to say that I was one of the original authors of H.121 – and humbled to say that the final bill that passed was much, much better. In the bill, consumer protections for our data privacy are balanced with protections for small businesses, and the beneficiaries are all of us: consumers, the marketplace, businesses, and children.

First, let’s talk about the consumer protections of the bill. In essence, the bill creates mechanisms for data minimization and empowers consumers to be able to request that a company destroy their data. It also creates robust protections for sensitive data, such as biometric data (such as your face, your fingerprint, or your DNA) or your Social Security number. In an increasingly online marketplace, these protections are essential to preserving Vermont’s ethos of privacy.

The protections for small businesses are profound and, in some cases, novel. First, small businesses are completely removed from the scope of the bill. The bill does not apply to businesses and other holders of consumer data who hold data for fewer than 25,000 consumers. Also, consumers may bring a lawsuit if their privacy rights are violated only against data holders that process the data of 100,000 consumers or more annually and only if the violation involves sensitive data. And, even then, only after a 60-day “cure period” lapses, during which time a data holder in violation of the law may correct the breach of the law.

In addition, the bill contains groundbreaking protections for children in Vermont. If passed, Vermont will join a small group of states leading the effort to establish specific and meaningful

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Mica Miller news: Sheriff’s office brings in FBI, US attorney to help with death investigation of South Carolina pastor’s wife

MYRTLE BEACH, SC — There is an unexpected twist in the death of a South Carolina pastor’s wife after the sheriff announced the FBI and US attorney are assisting in the Mica Miller investigation.

The 30-year-old was found dead of an apparent suicide in April.

However, investigators say she called 911 moments before she was found dead at a state park in North Carolina, which was about an hour north of where she lived in Myrtle Beach.

Mica’s death came just days after she told a police officer “she was scared for her life” after finding a GPS tracker on her car and a razor blade in her tire.

She and her husband John Paul Miller were also in the process of separating.

He was a pastor at a local church but has since been released from his duties.

I even tried to raise her from the dead

“I went down about four times this week but each time it still didn’t hit me,” he said at a memorial service about his wife. “[I] thought she was going to wake up. I even tried to raise her from the dead.”

Now, new images released by authorities show Mica on the day of her death as she was leaving her house, buying a gun, stopping at a gas station near the park and then making that 911 call.

“Are you able to trace the location of my phone,” she asked the dispatcher on that 911 call.

Authorities are not releasing any other information about the investigation at this time.

This, as some friends and family are left with questions and refuse to believe Mica took her own life.

“We were talking about her coming to church Sunday,” said Mica’s friend, Angela Clark. “Just life stuff, just moving forward.”

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US attorney’s office responds to APD’s path to DOJ reform

ALBUQUERQUE, NM – There’s no denying there’s been a lot of progress from use-of-force incidents to civilian oversight of PPE. But leaders say now comes the next challenge of not only keeping that progress, but building on it.

“I always say things with a little asterisk because I’m an attorney. But I do think it’s a good day,” said Executive Assistant US Attorney Aja Brooks.

Brooks signed on to the office in 2022 and quickly became familiar with APD’s ongoing Court Approved Settlement Agreement, or “CASA.” She agrees Monday marked major progress in reaching the end of that agreement.

“APD has definitely made some positive progress. “They have some definite things that they should be proud of, and that we should be proud of as a community,” said Brooks.

According to the report filed Monday, APD is 100% compliant in policies and training protocols, and 96% compliant in using those policies in the field.

“It is notable to mention that 96% operational compliance is the highest level of compliance that APD has ever reached during this process. And so it is something that is a true achievement,” Brooks said.

Brooks also points to data about use-of-force. There were a total of 484 uses of force in the DOJ monitor’s 2020 report. There were 276 in the report released Monday.

“Numbers that, you know, are very obvious and that everyone should be proud of,” said Brooks.

But the US attorney’s office knows the work is not done yet.

“The work is constant. And we will work with the police and the community to ensure that the progress that we’ve seen continues,” said Brooks.

Brooks has personally focused on the civilian oversight and community policing parts of the agreement. According to the report, those still need work in training and reporting to

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Body camera video shows fatal shooting of Black airman by Florida deputy in apartment doorway, attorney says

FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla. (AP) — A Florida sheriff released body camera video Thursday showing a deputy outside an apartment door and firing immediately when it was opened by a Black man carrying a handgun pointed downward, a killing the family denounced as “unjustifiable.”

Okaloosa County Sheriff Eric Aden presented the video hours after the family of US Air Force Senior Airman Roger Fortson and their attorney held a news conference in which they disputed that the deputy acted in self-defense. Aden rejected assertions made by civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who is representing Fortson’s family, that the deputy had gone to the wrong apartment, covered the door’s peephole and did not announce himself.

The video shows the deputy arriving at a Fort Walton Beach apartment building on May 3 and speaking to a woman outside who described someone hearing an argument. The deputy then went up an elevator and walked down an outdoor hallway.

Chantimekki Fortson, mother of Roger Fortson, a US Navy airman, holds a photo of her son...
Chantimekki Fortson, mother of Roger Fortson, a US Navy airman, holds a photo of her son during a news conference regarding his death, with Attorney Ben Crump, right, Thursday, May 9, 2024, in Ft. Walton Beach, Fla. Fortson was shot and killed by police in his apartment on May 3, 2024. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)(AP)

The video shows the deputy banging on the door and stepping aside, apparently out of view of the door. Twice he shouted: “Sheriff’s office! Open the door!”

Fortson opened the door and could be seen holding what appeared to be handgun pointed down toward the floor. The deputy shouted, “Step back!” and fired off shots. He then shouted, “Drop the gun! Drop the gun!”

“It’s over there,” Fortson said.

“Drop the gun!” the deputy shouted back.

“I don’t have it,” Fortson said, lying on the ground.

The deputy then called

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US airman shot, killed in Florida was from Atlanta

11Alive confirmed Wednesday night that Roger Fortson was from Atlanta and graduated from McNair High School in DeKalb County.

ATLANTA — A Black United States Air Force airman shot and killed in Florida by deputies at his off-base apartment complex was from metro Atlanta, according to attorney.

Senior Airman Roger Fortson, a 23-year-old US service member, was fatally shot on May 3 after the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office claimed a deputy responding to a call about a disturbance in progress “reacting in self-defense after he encountered a 23 -year-old man armed with a gun.”

11Alive confirmed Wednesday night from attorney that Fortson was from Atlanta and graduated from McNair High School in DeKalb County. Following graduation, Fortson enlisted in the Air Force, where he was based at the Special Operations Wing at Hurlburt Field — right near Fort Walton Beach.

Fortson can be seen below on graduation day at McNair High School:


Civil rights attorney Ben Crump said in a statement that Fortson was on a FaceTime call with a woman at the time of the encounter.

According to Crump, the woman, whom Crump didn’t identify, said Fortson was alone in his apartment when he heard a knock at the door. He asked who was there but didn’t get a response. A few minutes later, Fortson heard a louder knock but didn’t see anyone when he looked through the peephole, Crump said, citing the woman’s account.

The woman said Fortson was concerned and went to retrieve his gun, which Crump said was legally owned.

As Fortson walked back through his living room, deputies burst through the door, seeing that Fortson was armed and shot him six times, according to Crump’s statement. The woman said Fortson was on the ground, saying, “I can’t breathe,” after he was shot, Crump said.

Fortson

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Police release bodycam footage in deadly officer-involved shooting that killed US airman

Attorney Ben Crump held a news conference Thursday regarding the officer-involved shooting that killed Air Force airman Roger Fortson, calling the 23-year-old a “patriot” and saying officers responded to the wrong apartment. Police have pushed back on that claim and released bodycam footage showing the moments leading up to the incident.

Fortson – who entered active duty in 2019 – was stationed at Hurlburt Field. He was assigned to the 4th Special Operations Squadron. He was shot and killed by an Okaloosa County deputy on May 3 at his apartment on Racetrack Road in Fort Walton Beach.

The Fortson family hired Crump as their attorney in this case.

For whatever reason, they thought he was a bad guy, but he was a good guy. He was a great guy. He was an exceptional guy,” Crump said during a news conference Thursday morning. “They took a patriot from us.”

Crump also called the shooting an “unjustifiable killing.”

The circumstances surrounding Roger’s death are both distressing and in need of urgent investigation,” Levin Papantonio Rafferty said in a news release. “Heartbreakingly, Roger’s last words, ‘I can’t breathe,’ echo a chilling familiarity with similar cases of injustice and police brutality that has plagued our nation.”

The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office held a news conference Thursday afternoon to discuss the case and release the bodycam footage.

In a previous news release, OCSO said a deputy acted in self-defense after hearing sounds of a disturbance inside Fortson’s apartment and encountering him armed with a gun.

We are aware of a press release and other comments that falsely state our deputies entered the wrong apartment and imply that they burst through the door into Mr. Fortson’s residence,” said Okaloosa County Sheriff Eric Aden. “The statements are inaccurate as shown on

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Progressive law firm asks US attorney to investigate GOP staff over Souls to the Polls texts

Rally to promote voting with Voces, Souls to the Polls by MTEA via Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0

A progressive law firm has requested the US Attorney’s office to investigate two Republican Party staff members over texts they sent prior to the 2020 presidential election.

In a letter sent Wednesday to US Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin Gregory Haanstad, Law Forward attorney Chris Donahoe alleged that two people who worked for former President Donald Trump’s campaign targeted a Milwaukee voting rights group during the campaign.

Last month, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that Andrew Iverson, the new executive director of the Wisconsin Republican Party, and Carlton Huffman, the former head of Trump Victory, texted about plans to “wreak havoc” with Souls to the Polls, an organization that drives voters to poll places on Election Day .

The texts between Iverson and Huffman show them discussing plans to flood the organization with requests for rides from Trump voters who may not even be planning to vote. Souls to the Polls does not ask people who they plan to vote for, although it operates in the Democratic stronghold of Milwaukee.

Iverson has said the texts were jokes, but in the letter, Donahoe argues they may have violated federal civil rights laws. Donahoe writes that the texts may have violated the Ku Klux Klan Act, which banned conspiracies to interfere with federal elections, the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act.

“As the Ku Klux Klan Act, Voting Rights Act, and Civil Rights Act illustrate, Black voters had to fight for their constitutional right to vote and sufficient protection to safely exercise that right,” the letter states. “Voters who Souls to the Polls serve, namely voters from marginalized communities and especially Black voters, still face disproportionate threats of disenfranchisement and greater

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US Attorney Hurwit highlights success of fentanyl distribution prosecution efforts in eastern Idaho – LocalNews8.com

POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI) – On Friday, US Attorney Josh Hurwit announced the results of six separate distribution of fentanyl cases in eastern Idaho.

“The case results announced today reflect stellar work by our prosecutors and staff in our Pocatello branch office,” US Attorney Hurwit said. “Together with our law enforcement partners in the region, our office is rising to meet the challenge that fentanyl trafficking poses to communities in Eastern Idaho. The partnerships that drive these cases will continue to make all of Idaho a terrible place for drug dealers to do business.”

The first was a Pocatello man sentenced to 121 months for conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute fentanyl.

25-year-old Donny Ray Moreno was sentenced by Chief US District Judge David C. Nye to 121 months in federal prison for conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute fentanyl.

According to court records, law enforcement began investigating Moreno for distributing controlled substances in January 2021. The investigation culminated on November 2, 2021, when law enforcement attempted to stop Moreno in Downey, Idaho. Moreno fled from law enforcement in his vehicle at a high rate of speed. During the 45-minute pursuit, Moreno threw 97 grams of fentanyl and a handgun out of his car window. Law enforcement eventually stopped Moreno and later recovered the fentanyl and other items that had been thrown from Moreno’s vehicle.

Judge Nye also ordered Moreno to serve three years of supervised release following his prison sentence. Moreno pleaded guilty to the federal charge in January 2024.

US Attorney Hurwit thanked the Idaho State Police, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the BADGES Task Force for their investigation.

The second was a California man sentenced to 70 months for possession with intent to distribute fentanyl.

40-year-old Andrew Haney of Torrance, CA, was sentenced by Chief US

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California man accused of threatening Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis

A California man was indicted by a federal grand jury in Atlanta on threatening charges of Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, the US Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia announced Friday.

Mark Schultz, 66, of Chula Vista, made his first court appearance in California on Friday. He was indicted on April 24 and will be arrested in Atlanta in June, according to the Department of Justice.

According to court documents, Schultz repeatedly posted comments on YouTube livestream videos in October that threatened Willis with violence, including one that said he, “will be killed like a dog.”

The detailed threats Schultz made, including, “FANI WILLIS WILL BE DEAD IN 2024,” and other threats using racial slurs.

Willis is leading one of the four major criminal cases against former President Donald Trump and has charged him with felony racketeering and conspiracy charges for working to overturn the 2020 presidential election results in Georgia. She has faced racism threats since her office began its investigation of Trump.

“Threats of violence against government officials, specifically, threaten the very fabric of our democracy,” said Keri Farley, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Atlanta field office.

In a statement released by Willis’ office, she referenced GOP state Sen. Bill Cowsert, who is leading an investigation of Willis’ office.

“On the same day Senator Bill Cowsert had the audacity to question whether an elected African American female District Attorney deserved protection from death threats, the United States Attorney and the FBI announced another indictment of someone who threatened my life,” Willis said in the statement .

She added, “I thank US Attorney Ryan Buchanan, his staff and the FBI for believing the life of an African American elected official has value and for their diligent efforts in ensuring the safety of myself,

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US attorney vows to keep fighting illegal marijuana grows in Maine

The top federal prosecutor in Maine has vowed to keep up the crackdown on illegal marijuana operations in the state.

In a Friday statement, US Attorney Darcie N. McElwee said that more than 40 illegal marijuana operations have been shut down in recent months, while approximately 100 more may continue to be operating in Maine.

“We expect this law enforcement action to continue until the individuals operating the illegal grows come to understand that Maine is not a safe or hospitable place for such activity,” McElwee said.

Since the beginning of the new year, police have been active in busting these large operations, which have been found all over rural Maine, from Guilford and Sangerville in Piscataquis County, to Corinna, Eddington and Passadumkeag in Penobscot County, to Turner in Androscoggin County , to Cornville, Harmony, Madison, Mercer, Norridgewock, Ripley and Skowhegan in Somerset County, to Jay in Franklin County, to Belgrade, China and Chelsea in Kennebec County, to Jefferson and Whitefield in Lincoln County, to Belmont in Waldo County.

These operations received greater scrutiny after the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Office found an illegal marijuana grow house in Carmel, where police seized 3,400 plants and 111 pounds of processed marijuana in late June. As 2023 dragged on, police uncovered other large illegal marijuana operations in Dexter, Wilton, Machias and other communities.

A leaked federal government memo, first obtained by the conservative Daily Caller and published last August, estimated Maine has 270 large-scale illegal marijuana grows connected to organized crime groups in China. The memo’s authors noted that the money may be used to further crime in the US or be sent back to China. These operations generate an estimated $4.37 billion in revenue.

“The possibility that organized criminal enterprises with alleged ties to China are using Maine properties to profit from

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