In the Media: Korryn Gaines Vigil Friday at City College; Md. ACLU Questions Fed Immigration Policy
A digest of Baltimore news from local sources.
From the Baltimore Sun: Vigil planned for Korryn Gaines at Baltimore City College Friday
"A candlelight vigil is planned Friday night for Korryn Gaines, the Randallstown woman shot by Baltimore County police during an hours-long standoff earlier this week.
"The vigil is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Baltimore City College, according to a Facebook post. Organizers of the event have asked mourners to bring a candle and 'pink lipstick or lip gloss to show love for Korryn #PinkKissesForKay.'
"'This is a time of mourning so please come with peace and respect for her, her family & her friends, the post said.
"Gaines' five-year-old son was also shot in the arm during the standoff but police said on Thursday they continue to investigate whether Gaines or police injured the boy.
"Gaines' family has questioned whether the department could've taken different actions to prevent her death. Police Chief Jim Johnson has said the agency followed procedures, and worked for hours to end the standoff peacefully. He said the officer only fired when Gaines held her gun in a ready position and threatened to kill the officers. Gaines returned fire. No officers were injured.
"The department is withholding the name of the officer who shot Gaines, citing 'an unprecedented number of threats' against specific members of the department. The department typically releases last names of officers involved in shootings after 48 hours.
"Gaines captured part of the confrontation on cellphone videos she took and posted online. Police requested Facebook deactivate her social media accounts during the standoff after they said other users were encouraging Gaines to ignore police negotiators. Some have criticized the social media site for complying with the department because Gaines' video offered a record of the confrontation.
"Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, has kept two of Gaines' videos offline. A company spokeswoman said they violated the site's terms of service.
From the Baltimore Sun: British insurance company accused of preventing payments to Baltimore lead poisoning victims
"State officials are investigating an allegation that a British insurance company is conspiring to prevent lead poisoning victims in Baltimore from recovering damages.
"The Maryland Insurance Administration said it launched an 'active investigation' into the London-based CX Reinsurance Co. after officials received a complaint from the Law Offices of Peter T. Nicholl.
"Lawyer Scott E. Nevin accused CXRe of pressuring landlords to rescind insurance policies so they don't have to pay potential judgments from cases filed by the families of lead-poisoned children in Baltimore.
"Nevin and other area lawyers say the company's actions could put the cases of at least 100 families in jeopardy because smaller landlords typically don't have enough cash or assets to cover damages awarded to families in lead poisoning lawsuits.
"'I am writing this complaint to inform you of facts that support the existence of a conspiracy to commit fraud,' Nevin wrote in a complaint to state officials. 'The fraudulent activity seeks to prevent my client from recovering personal injury damages in a lead paint poisoning case. It also affects many other victims of lead poisoning in Baltimore City who have similar claims.'
"CXRe has filed 15 lawsuits in federal court over the past two years seeking to rescind the insurance policies of landlords who are accused of exposing their tenants to poisonous lead chips and dust.
"In court documents, the company accuses the landlords of not disclosing lead paint violations in the 1990s. It says it wouldn't have sold them the insurance plans had it known of the lead problems.
"Saul Kerpelman, a Baltimore lawyer whose firm has filed lawsuits against landlords on behalf of poisoned children, called the insurance company's actions 'ridiculous.'
"'They took these landlords' premium payments for 25 years,' Kerpelman said. 'Now the insurance company is going to bail on them?'
"Ed Ruberry, an attorney for the company, said the insurance firm 'categorically rejects the allegations' in Nevin's complaint. He said the company stands by its belief that Baltimore-area landlords fraudulently failed to disclose lead violations when purchasing insurance policies."
From the Washington Post: Maryland ACLU questions federal policy that detains immigrants without bond
"A federal policy that requires immigrants with certain criminal convictions to be detained without bond while they wait for their cases to be heard is excessive, costly and has resulted in lengthy and unnecessary detentions of immigrants in Maryland, according to a report by the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland.
"In a report released Thursday, the ACLU said that the practice of mandatory detention has had 'draconian consequences”'for many immigrants who ultimately won their cases after months in detention.
“'The current system of mandatory detention is heavily stacked against immigrants who have never made any mistake, and unnecessarily and unlawfully results in the detention of many who should be eligible for bond,' said Sirine Shebaya, a writer of the study and a former attorney at the ACLU. 'Excessive use of no-bond detention appears designed to discourage people from pursuing their cases, because fighting a court battle while detained for long periods of time becomes too difficult and unbearable — even for those with strong challenges to deportation.'
"A spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said she could not comment until she reviewed the report.
"The findings on mandatory detention in Maryland mirror what is happening across the country, Shebaya said. 'This is pretty consistent . . . with what advocates say they are seeing,' she said.
"There are 34,000 immigrant detainees being held on any given day across the United States, according to the report. The total — which includes all immigrant detainees, not just those in mandatory detention — reached a high of almost 478,000 in 2012.
"The report, which was also written by Robert Koulish, a government and politics professor at the University of Maryland, tells the stories of six detainees. The report reviewed 96 cases of immigrants detained without bond.
"Shebaya and Koulish said they hope the report demonstrates that many who are being held without bond are not dangerous offenders and that it leads to changes in the law.
"Their initial interviews were done in early 2015. By the release of the report, four of the six detainees had won their immigration cases and returned to their families. One obtained an administrative closure of his case after two years in detention, and the other was deported."