Nationall Roundup

$1.2M sex discrimination lawsuit filed against hospital

BEND, Ore. (AP) — A former pharmacist is suing Central Oregon’s largest health care provider for $1.2 million saying the hospital maintained a hostile work environment that included gender discrimination and sexual harassment.

Darcy Martin filed the lawsuit against St. Charles Health System Thursday in Deschutes County Circuit Court, The Bulletin reported.

Martin worked for St. Charles s a staff pharmacist from March 2015 until she was fired in December 2019.

She says the work environment included jokes of a sexual nature, routine sexual innuendo, the showing of videos of partially clothed or nude women and the “comparison of bananas to penises,” the lawsuit states.

Martin claims she was subjected to different attendance standards than her male co-workers and was treated worse because she’s a woman. Martin claims that before she was fired, she “opposed, resisted and/or complained” about gender discrimination and sexual harassment.

She also says after she was terminated, St. Charles republished a false claim about her: that she provided a customer with incorrect information.

“We just received the lawsuit and are in the process of evaluating with counsel,” said hospital spokeswoman Lisa Goodman on Friday.

Court grants new trial after cop says Somalis tend to lie

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A Minnesota man of Somali descent who was convicted of opening fire on other Somalis will get a new trial after a detective improperly testified that Somalis often lie to police, a Wisconsin appeals court ruled Tuesday.

Ahmed Farah Hirsi was charged with multiple counts of attempted homicide and recklessly endangering safety in the January 2014 car-to-car shooting at the Spirit Seller liquor store in Hudson, Wisconsin, just across the state line from the Twin Cities. A jury convicted Hirsi in 2015 and he was sentenced to 35 years in prison.

According to court documents, the driver of Hirsi’s car testified in a plea deal that Hirsi pulled the trigger. But the victims who testified at trial said they either didn’t see the shooter or that it wasn’t Hirsi.
The driver of the victims’ car testified that he told police that the man who shot him was still out there.

Prosecutors called Tracy Henry, a detective from St. Paul, Minnesota, to the stand. Minnesota has the largest concentration of Somalis in America.

Henry testified that in her experience Somalis don’t trust police and prefer to handle disputes themselves. She added that Somali crime victims and witnesses tend to “fabricate” events to avoid retribution within their clans.

Hirsi argued on appeal that the judge never should have allowed the detective’s testimony because it impugns the credibility of another witness and it was improper because it was based on race or ethnicity.

The 3rd District Court of Appeals agreed and ordered a new trial. The court ruled unanimously that the testimony violated legal rules that prohibit one witness from commenting about the truthfulness of another witness’ testimony. The racial and ethnic aspect of Henry’s testimony raises “heightened prejudice concerns,” the court said. The relevance of group tendencies in predicting witness credibility is “extraordinarily weak,” the court said.

“This just underscores the danger of going into a courtroom and telling a jury that an entire ethnicity of people lies and it’s based on their culture, and using it to extrapolate that this individual is lying,” Hirsi’s attorney, Cole Ruby, said. “I don’t know if insensitive is the word but it’s very dangerous.”

The state Department of Justice is handling the appeal on behalf of local prosecutors, as it does in almost all felony appeals. The agency could ask the state Supreme Court to overturn the appellate decision. DOJ spokeswoman Gillian Drummond said the department was reviewing the ruling.

New Mexico
Teen pleads to impersonating  sheriff’s deputy

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico teen has pleaded no contest after being arrested for impersonating a sheriff’s deputy.

KRQE-TV reports Brenden Wysynski was sentenced to a year of probation following his arrest in last year.

Authorities say Wysynski pulled over a car in Albuquerque. An officer was driving by and noticed the situation didn’t appear right.

The officer found Wysynski was driving what looked like a police car and he also had a badge on his belt. He told police he was a Bernalillo County deputy.

Wysynski was arrested after the officer checked and found he was not with the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office.

Man sentenced to 33 years in prison term for crime spree

CLEVELAND (AP) — A man who sexually assaulted a woman and committed many thefts during a crime spree that occurred when he was a juvenile has been sentenced to 33 years in prison.

Michael Hutchins, 18, of Cleveland, was sentenced Monday. He had pleaded guilty earlier this month to numerous charges, including kidnapping, aggravated robbery and escape after his case was moved to adult court.

Hutchins’ crime spree began when he was 16 years old. Authorities have said he escaped from the Cleveland Christian Home in October 2018 and stole a woman’s cellphone the next month. He also committed many thefts during the next several months.

The sexual assault occurred in February 2019 in a parking garage. Authorities said he tried to drive away in the victim’s car after the attack, but crashed the vehicle into a wall in the garage.
Hutchins grew up in a home fraught with neglect and abuse that was both physical and sexual, according to his attorneys.

Man faces 15 years for fatal punch to the face

BARTOW, Fla. (AP) — A Florida man faces up to 15 years in prison for fatally punching another man in the face.

Travis Brian Barlow, 37, was found guilty of manslaughter last week in Polk County, the Ledger  reported. His sentencing is scheduled for April 30.

Barlow went to the Lakeland home of Adam Frank Hoffman, 38, in June 2018, the sheriff’s office said. Barlow was apparently angry that Hoffman had disrespected Barlow’s girlfriend earlier.

Barlow acknowledged to deputies that he hit Hoffman once, though other witnesses said Barlow hit the other man twice, officials said. The blows triggered a hemorrhage in Hoffman’s brain that led to his death.

Barlow was arrested the next day, deputies said.