Suicide among teens and young adults reaches the highest level since 2000

The rate of U.S. adolescents and young adults dying of suicide has reached its highest level in nearly two decades, according to a report published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

In 2017, there were 47 percent more suicides among people aged 15 to 19 than in the year 2000. Overall, there are 36 percent more people aged 20 to 24 living in the U.S. today than at the turn of the century.

With more than 6,200 suicides among people aged 15 to 24, suicide ranked as the second-leading cause of death for people in that age group in 2017, trailing behind deaths from unintentional motor vehicle accidents, which claimed 6,697 lives.

To study the change, a team from Harvard Medical School pulled data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which tracks deaths and their “underlying cause” nationwide.

Suicide rates among females have been on the rise for several years in this time period, with the rates for 15- to 19-year-olds rising more quickly after 2009. An even more noticeable spike has occurred in suicides for adolescent and young adult males since 2014.

The researchers said that trend might be connected to the opioid crisis, because of the added stressors that come with addiction, said Oren Miron, a research associate at Harvard Medical School and one of the report’s authors.

Social media, as well as a reduced stigma for parents and coroners to report a child’s death as suicide (rather than as an accident), could also be playing a role in the increase, the researchers suggested.

But Miron cautioned that the study did not identify causes. Instead, they say that now the upward trend has been identified, more research can be done to pinpoint the factors contributing to the deaths.

The researchers found there were 11.8 deaths per 100,000 adolescents — aged 15 to 19 years — in 2017. That’s up from 2000 when there were eight deaths per 100,000.

For young adults aged 20 to 24 years old, the suicide rate was 17 per 100,000 in 2017, an increase from 12.5 per 100,000 in 2000.

A leap in the suicide rate “is not a predetermined curse that comes with modernization,” said Miron, noting the fluctuation from year to year.

The CDC has linked increased drug use to suicides and recommends a number of prevention measures, including encouraging adults to limit access to prescription drugs in the home. And experts in suicide prevention say paying attention to changes in lifestyle can help parents determine if their child is at risk.

For adolescents, using social media in a way that detracts from face-to-face interactions could be particularly detrimental to mental health. said Victor Schwartz, chief medical officer at suicide prevention nonprofit The Jed Foundation.

Yet while social media can facilitate bullying and lead to more anxiety and depression among young people, it can also be used to help those who are struggling with depression and can help loved ones pick up on warning signs early on.

“Dramatic changes are a sign,” said Schwartz. “Looking for changes in sleep, in social relationships — any of these big areas should start to raise big flags. Changes in substance use, even in the use of social media might suggest something is going on.”

 

Fake Uber driver gets 30 years for sexually assaulting teen

Image result for fake uber driver in florida gets 3o years

FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — A Florida man who pretended to be an Uber driver to sexually assault a college student has been sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Willie Foust pleaded guilty to sexual battery after the victim testified at his trial.

The woman was an 18-year-old Florida Gulf Coast University freshman when she summoned an Uber car to take her back to her dorm from a bar during a rainstorm.

Authorities say the 35-year-old Foust saw the woman and pulled up. She asked him if he was her Uber driver and he said yes. She got in and he drove her to a parking lot, where he assaulted her.

The State Attorney’s Office announced Monday that the sentencing happened last week.

Bill Cosby calls himself ‘America’s Dad’ in Father’s Day post on Social Media

Image result for bill cosby

Bill Cosby has earned backlash after a Father’s Day message referring to himself as “America’s dad” was shared on his social media channels.

The comedian, who is currently serving a prison sentence for aggravated indecent assault, shared the message on Saturday on Twitter and Instagram.

“Hey, Hey, Hey…It’s America’s Dad…” the message begins, in reference to Cosby’s former nickname.

“I know it’s late, but to all of the Dads… It’s an honor to be called a Father, so let’s make today a renewed oath to fulfilling our purpose – strengthening our families and communities.”

On both platforms, the message is accompanied by a video of Cosby in the 1968 CBS documentary Black History: Lost, Stolen or Strayed.

“After slavery was over, America kept breaking up the black man’s family,” Cosby says in the archive clip.

“And that’s some awful history to teach. Now, if you want to look history right straight in the eye, you’re going to get a black eye.”

He used several hashtags on Twitter and on Instagram, including #RenewedOathToOurCommunity, #AmericasFavoriteDad, and #FarFromFinished.

Cosby’s decision to call himself “America’s dad” was met with outraged reactions on social media.

“Just stop. This is awful,” one person wrote, while many others expressed their disagreement in gifs.

ADVERTISING
FB_IMG_1531742966734.jpg

Cosby was sentenced in September last year to three to 10 years behind bars.

He was found guilty in April that year of three counts of aggravated indecent assault in a landmark trial.

 

Attorney Chris Darden To Stop Representing Nipsey Hussle’s Accused Killer Eric Holder

Image result for eric holder

Christopher Darden, the attorney for Eric Holder, the man accused of killing rapper Nipsey Hussle, recently announced plans to withdraw from the case, the Los Angeles Times reported.

In a Facebook post published Friday morning, Darden, who was on the prosecution team for the famed 1995 murder trial of O.J. Simpson, wrote that he was on his way to appear in People v. Holder for “the last time.”

“I filed a Motion to Withdraw from the case,” he wrote. “I thought I should tell you, my friends, first & before anyone else. As for my reasons for withdrawing I don’t know whether I will disclose them later or not.”

Darden received criticism from some people on social media for representing Holder, who was charged last month with murder and two counts of attempted murder in relation to the fatal shooting of Hussle on March 31. Holder pleaded not guilty to the murder and attempted murder charges.

Hussle, a Grammy-nominated rapper born Ermias Asghedom, was lauded for his community activism and efforts to revitalize the South Los Angeles community where he was raised.

Chris Darden appearing in court on April 4, 2019 in Los Angeles.
“As for my reasons for withdrawing I don’t know whether I will disclose them later or not,” the lawyer wrote on Facebook.

Darden addressed the criticism he has received in his Facebook post, noting that it is his “duty to protect the rights of my clients even in the face of threats or angry mobs.”

He continued, “But allow me to say this; After centuries of a history of black men hung from trees without trial, or after the thousands of cases of black men tried, convicted and executed without counsel; after Gideon v. Wainwright & Powell v. Alabama, I cannot understand why in 2019 some people would deny a black man his 6th Amendment right to counsel of his choice.”

The attorney added that he and his family had received threats after he began representing Holder. He called the backlash reminiscent of 1995, an apparent reference to the response to his role in trying Simpson.

“These days these cowards don’t send letters instead they sit anonymously behind keyboards threatening a man’s mother and children. And some folks think that’s funny. It isn’t and I won’t ever forget it.”

A spokesperson for The Los Angeles District County Attorney’s Office confirmed to HuffPost via email that Holder is being represented by the public defenders’ office.

Darden told the Times that he has been practicing criminal defense for years and that he represents “regular people.”

Dennis Rodman is a possible accomplice in theft at yoga studio.

He’s more of an accomplice.

Dennis Rodman is being accused of theft, along with three other men, after some very luxurious yoga clothes went missing..yea, yoga clothes. Sounds unbelievable but the whole thing was caught on tape. Video from VIBES Hot Yoga studio in Newport Beach show Rodman acting as a distraction to the employees while a female in his entourage stuffed items in her purse. At one point, he even shielded her from view while she put more items in her purse.

A male in the group broke a $2,500 art piece after stating they intended to buy it. The entire group eventually left with the broken art piece and refused to pay for it. At 57-years-old, Dennis Rodman doesn’t need another stint in jail (as he is currently on probation). No word on what charges he and the group will face as of now. But…

Suburban Chicago woman posts R Kelly’s $1 million bail. The 47-year-old woman is described as a “friend” of Kelly”

A 47-year-old woman from suburban Chicago paid the entirety of R Kelly’s bail, allowing the embattled R&B singer to be freed from jail as he awaits his trial on sexual abuse charges.

According to The Chicago Tribune, the unidentified woman — described as “a friend” of Kelly’s — posted the bail — 10% of the $1 million bond set by a judge on Monday.

Since his arrest on Friday, Kelly struggled to come up with the funds to cover his bail. His lawyer, Steve Greenberg, told the judge that the singer’s finances are a “mess” due to his ongoing legal issues.

After learning of Kelly’s financial plight, some of his female fans reportedly reached out to the county clerk offering to cover the cost of his bail.

Upon his release last night, a seemingly unfazed Kelly made a beeline to his favorite McDonald’s — a place where he previously found himself in trouble after picking up an underage girl on her prom night.

Kelly is due back in court on March 22nd. If convicted of the charges in Chicago, he faces between 40-70 years in prison.

Attorney General Kwame Raoul ‘reviewing’ Van Dyke sentence

Image result for kwame raoul

Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul’s office says it is reviewing the legality of the sentence handed down last week to former Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke for the murder of Laquan McDonald.

“We are going to do a careful review of the record and the law and make a determination based on our review,” Maura Possley, a spokeswoman for the office, said Wednesday afternoon.

Raoul, sworn in as attorney general this month, would not say whether he believes Van Dyke’s punishment is fair.

Cook County Judge Vincent Gaughan last Friday sentenced Van Dyke to 81 months in prison — less than half of what prosecutors had sought. Van Dyke could be released in three years.

Outside the courtroom, Special Prosecutor Joseph McMahon said he was “satisfied” with the sentence.

van_dyke_laquan_mcdonald_hearing-e1547334727807

“We achieved our goal of justice and holding Jason Van Dyke accountable for his actions,” McMahon said.

But many police-accountability activists viewed the sentence as a setback.

A jury in October convicted Van Dyke of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm, one for each shot into McDonald.

Some legal experts say the best way to challenge Van Dyke’s sentence would be to seek a “mandamus” order from the Illinois Supreme Court. That court could find Gaughan violated the law by basing the punishment on the second-degree murder count, a Class 1 felony, instead of the battery counts, which carry a more serious designation, Class X.

A spokesman for McMahon on Wednesday said the special prosecutor is “still reviewing” the sentence. The spokesman would not say whether McMahon asked McDonald’s mother, Tina Hunter, for her view on whether the sentence should be challenged.

McDonald’s great uncle Rev. Marvin Hunter, the family’s spokesman, said “justice was not served” and accused Gaughan of treating Van Dyke as if the crime were a “minor drug offense.”

A staffer in Gaughan’s chambers on Wednesday said the judge declined to comment on the sentencing.

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx did not answer what she thinks of the sentence or whether she would play a role in challenging it. A consideration for Foxx is her predecessor Anita Alvarez’s recusal of the office from the case after civil-rights groups accused her of pro-police bias.

Locke Bowman, an attorney who led the push for a special prosecutor in the case, said the Supreme Court has authority to toss out Gaughan’s “illegal” ruling that second-degree murder is the greater offense.

“If you turned the tables and if a young African-American man had regrettably fired 16 shots at a Chicago police officer and killed him,” Bowman said, “the judicial system would impose a massively punitive sentence.”

On Thursday, Van Dyke’s attorney slammed Raoul for reviewing the sentence.

“Another politician has chosen to exploit the tragic death of Laquan McDonald for his own political gain,” the attorney, Dan Herbert, said in a statement. “The judge in this case carefully considered the arguments made and issued the correct ruling under the law.”Van Dyke’s defense team says it is exploring its own options for challenging the sentence as well as the conviction.

Van Dyke began shooting McDonald, 17, as the teen carried a knife and walked away from officers on a South Side road in 2014. Many of the 16 shots hit the teen after he had collapsed to the pavement.

A police dashcam video contradicted reports by officers that McDonald was attacking Van Dyke.

Cook County Judge Domenica Stephenson last week acquitted three officers of charges they covered up for Van Dyke

Chicago inspectors find code violations at R. Kelly’s studio

CHICAGO — Chicago building inspectors have found code violations at R. Kelly’s recording studio, including evidence the industrial space was used as a residence.

Building Department spokesman Gregg Cunningham says the agency will list the violations during a court hearing next week. He says the inspectors were looking at plumbing, electrical systems and carpentry.

Kelly’s attorney, Steve Greenburg, says no one was living at the studio and it should not be surprising that it included places for sleeping or taking breaks.

Kelly has been hit in recent weeks with sexual misconduct allegations. The Lifetime documentary series “Surviving R. Kelly” recently drew fresh attention to the allegations and the #MeToo and #MuteRKelly movements have held protests outside the studio demanding promoters stop booking his concerts.

Greenburg says the inspectors didn’t find anything supporting misconduct by Kelly.

Jason Van Dyke, ex-Chicago officer, sentenced to 6 years, 9 months for killing Laquan McDonald

Image: us-crime-chicago-police-trial

The former Chicago police officer convicted in the murder of a black teenager who was shot 16 times as he walked away was sentenced Friday to 6 years, 9 months.

Jason Van Dyke’s punishment was far less than the minimum of 18 years that prosecutors were seeking, although state sentencing guidelines allowed for as many as 96 years or more — the equivalent of six years served consecutively for each shot.

A jury in October found Van Dyke, 40, guilty of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery in the death of Laquan McDonald, 17.

On the night of the shooting in October 2014, Van Dyke and other officers were responding to reports that McDonald was carrying a knife and breaking into cars in the city’s Southwest Side. Van Dyke at his trial testified that he feared for his life when he encountered the teenager, who was holding a folded knife.

But dashcam footage showed that Van Dyke was moving closer toward McDonald, while the teenager was veering away from officers in the middle of the street.

McDonald’s death sparked racial tensions, a federal investigation and political upheaval in the city, and the video was released following intense public pressure and calls from activists for police accountability.

The last time a Chicago police officer was convicted of murder for an on-duty killing was more than 50 years ago.

Van Dyke’s defense team had requested probation for the 13-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department, and submitted more than 100 letters from family, friends and co-workers who noted he had no prior criminal record and deserved leniency.

At the sentencing hearing, the Rev. Martin Hunter, McDonald’s great uncle, spoke on behalf of the family and read a letter that was written as if McDonald had penned it.

“Please think about me and about my life when you sentence this person to prison,” Hunter read. “Why should this person be free, when I am dead forever?”

The prosecution also highlighted complaints against Van Dyke for allegedly using excessive force and featured testimony from minorities who claimed he abused their civil rights during arrests.

Edward Nance, who won a $350,000 civil judgment after his arrest by Van Dyke and his partner during a 2007 traffic stop, cried on the stand as he explained how he was manhandled and remains “in constant pain, every day” from the incident.

Despite about 20 complaints against him, Van Dyke was never disciplined during his career.

His sentencing came a day after three Chicago police officers were found not guilty of conspiring to protect him following the shooting — a case that drew attention to a “code of silence” that has long plagued the department.

%d bloggers like this: