Tuesday News: Bully in a uniform

VANCE COUNTY SHERIFF FIRES DEPUTY WHO BODY-SLAMMED 11 YEAR-OLD: A North Carolina sheriff said Monday that he has fired a school resource officer seen on surveillance video violently slamming a middle school student to the ground twice and then dragging the boy off camera. Vance County Sheriff Curtis Brame issued a statement Monday that the deputy is no longer employed by his office. The deputy hasn't been named. It wasn't clear if the deputy would face charges. The district attorney didn't immediately respond to an email seeking comment. “Law enforcement officers are frequently brought in to schools to handle routine school discipline and this far too often is the result—an outrageously excessive use of force on young children. This must end. Our children deserve better," said Karen Baynes-Dunning, interim CEO and president of SPLC.

UNC BOG CHOSE $74,999 PAYOFF TO AVOID NC AG OVERSIGHT: The documents note that in exchange for the $74,999, “SCV agreed that it will not display any Confederate flags, banners, or signs before, after, or in conjunction with any group event, meeting, or ceremony on the campus of or property controlled by the UNC System ... for five years.” Doucette also said the specific dollar amount was intentional. When state institutions try to resolve potential litigation using public money they need approval from N.C. Attorney General Josh Stein’s office if the amount hits the $75,000 mark. This payment was just $1 under that threshold. “The BOG can sneak that through without any accountability,” Doucette said. The UNC System’s release of documents late Monday afternoon came nearly three weeks after the Silent Sam settlement was reached. The documents shed some light on the process that was conducted behind closed doors with a timeline of events.

JUDGE RULES ON COAL ASH DISPOSAL PERMITS ISSUED IN CHATHAM AND LEE COUNTIES: Environmental groups are praising a decision on permits for coal ash landfills in Chatham and Lee counties. On Friday, a judge ruled the Department of Environmental Quality exceeded its authority and failed to use proper procedure by issuing permits for the Brickhaven and Colon mine sites, according to the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League. The initial lawsuit was brought in 2015 by BREDL and other local groups, including Chatham Citizens Against Coal Ash Dump and EnvironmentaLEE. In June, the DEQ issued a letter about groundwater contamination to Charah, the company hired to dump Duke Energy's coal ash at the Brickhaven site. The letter mimicked concerns the community and environmental groups had for months. Such groups believe coal ash should be disposed of above ground and isolated from the environment on utility company land.

RICK GATES WILL SERVE NO JAIL TIME DUE TO COOPERATION WITH INVESTIGATORS: “Under exceedingly difficult circumstances and under intense public scrutiny, Gates has worked earnestly to provide the government with everything it has asked of him and has fulfilled all obligations under his plea agreement,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Molly Gaston wrote in a sentencing recommendation this month. Gates voluntarily admitted to criminal conduct that prosecutors did not previously know of and pledged to keep cooperating “in several ongoing matters” after his sentencing, prosecutors said. During a 2018 trial of Manafort in Virginia, Manafort’s defense attorneys hammered Gates’s credibility, pressing him to admit to jurors that he had embezzled from Manafort, kept mistresses and doctored tax returns. But Gates’s testimony proved crucial, leading the Virginia jury to convict Manafort, who later pleaded guilty in another federal case in Washington. Manafort was sentenced early this year to 7½ years in prison in both cases for conspiring to defraud the United States by concealing $30 million of what he earned while working for a Russia-backed political party in Ukraine; conspiring to tamper with witnesses; and committing bank and tax fraud to buy properties and support his lavish lifestyle.

SATELLITE DETECTED MASSIVE METHANE LEAK FROM OHIO FRACKING SITE: The first satellite designed to continuously monitor the planet for methane leaks made a startling discovery last year: A little known gas-well accident at an Ohio fracking site was in fact one of the largest methane leaks ever recorded in the United States. The findings by a Dutch-American team of scientists, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, mark a step forward in using space technology to detect leaks of methane, a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming, from oil and gas sites worldwide. Scientists also said the new findings reinforced the view that methane emissions from oil installations are far more widespread than previously thought. The blowout, in February 2018 at a natural gas well run by an Exxon Mobil subsidiary in Belmont County, Ohio, released more methane than the entire oil and gas industries of many nations do in a year, the research team found. The Ohio episode triggered about 100 residents within a one-mile radius to evacuate their homes while workers scrambled to plug the well. The satellite’s measurements showed that, in Ohio in the 20 days it took for Exxon to plug the well, about 120 metric tons of methane an hour were released. That amounted to twice the rate of the largest known methane leak in the United States, from an oil and gas storage facility in Aliso Canyon, Calif., in 2015, though that event lasted longer and had higher emissions overall.