Black Prosecutor Found Dead On Florida Beach

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Police are investigating the mysterious death of a federal prosecutor whose body was found washed up on a beach in Hollywood, Fla., Wednesday, May 24.

Police identified the deceased man as 37-year-old Beranton Whisenant Jr., who authorities said might have suffered a head wound caused by a gun shot or other type of trauma, the Miami Herald reported. His death is being investigated as a crime.

“The investigation is still very preliminary,” Hollywood Police Department spokeswoman Miranda Grossman told reporters, adding that detectives and Broward County’s medical examiner’s office are “still looking at it.”

Whisenant, a graduate of the University of Florida’s law school, joined the major crimes unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Miami earlier this year, according to the newspaper. Court documents showed that he’d been working on visa and passport fraud cases before his death and taught a paralegal program at the University of Miami.

Colleagues, family and friends were shocked to hear of the prosecutor’s passing.

“The U.S. Attorney’s Office family was deeply saddened and shocked to learn of Beranton’s death,” Acting U.S. Attorney Benjamin Greenberg said. “He was a great lawyer and wonderful colleague, and we will miss him deeply. Our thoughts are with Beranton’s family and friends.”

Lawyer Michael Feiler, a friend of Whisenant, described his pal as the “epitome of a gentleman and possessed an exceptional legal mind.” Feiler added that the husband and father of two was motivated by public service and planned to become a judge someday.

The exact cause of the prosecutor’s death is still being investigated.

 

Neo-Nazi National Guardsman charged with possession of explosives

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A man from Tampa Bay, Florida, has been charged with possessing an unregistered destructive device and unlawful storage of explosive material.

Tampa Bay police found the explosive devices in the Tampa Palms apartment of 21-year-old Brandon Russell, a self-proclaimed neo-Nazi and Florida National Guardsman, after responding on May 19 to reports of a double homicide.

According to a Justice Department news release, the two deceased men, Russell, and the alleged shooter, 18-year-old Devon Arthurs, had been living together at the apartment.

Previously on May 19, police had arrested Arthurs at nearby Green Planet Smoke Shop after receiving a call regarding a male who was possibly armed at the shop, according to a Tamp Bay Police press release.

Officers then interrogated Arthurs, who admitted to killing two of his roommates. Arthurs said he and his roommates had previously shared neo-Nazi beliefs and that Russell often threatened to kill people and bomb infrastructure in online neo-Nazi chat rooms.

The Tampa Bay Times reported Arthurs told police he had converted to Islam and killed his two roommates, identified as 22-year-old Jeremy Himmelman and 18-year-old Andrew Oneschuk, for not respecting his faith.

While searching the apartment, police found a cooler containing the explosive HMTD (hexamethylene triperoxide diamine), as well as a number of explosive precursors nearby, including potassium chlorate, potassium nitrate, nitro methane and more than a pound of ammonium nitrate.

Russell also possessed Nazi and white supremacist propaganda in his bedroom, including a framed photograph of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.

Police arrested Russell in Key Largo on May 21. During questioning, Russell admitted to manufacturing the HMTD in his garage and to being a national socialist and member of the white supremacy group Atomwaffen, which is German for “atomic weapons.”

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are investigating the case, with assistance from the Tampa Police Department and the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.

 

 

 

 

Texas House passes measure to allow guns in school parking lots

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Texas House passes measure to allow guns in school parking lots

Lawmakers in the Texas House of Representatives have passed a measure that would allow school employees to keep guns in their cars while parked on school property.

The Austin American-Statesman reported the provision was added Tuesday to Senate Bill 1566, legislation regarding school boards. It was then passed on Wednesday by the House on a 138-4 vote.

A full bill similar to the amendment had been proposed in the House but did not make it to the floor for a vote.

The measure would allow teachers and other school employees with concealed carry permits to store guns in their cars while on school property.

The bill now heads to the Senate, which is expected to approve the changes.

Detroit-area firearms instructor accidentally shoots student

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Police are investigating a Detroit-area firearms instructor who accidentally shot and injured a student Saturday.

CBS Detroit reported that Livonia Police Capt. Robert Nencarini indicated the accidental shooting occurred while the 44-year-old Farmington Hills man was teaching a concealed pistol license class at the Firearms Exchange in Livonia, Michigan.

“I’m not sure what he was demonstrating,” Nencarini said, “but he pulled his handgun out of his holster and aimed it at a door and fired a round, which ended up going through the door.”

A 39-year-old Detroit man was hit while taking a class next door and suffered gunshot wounds to both of his thighs.

Nencarini said the instructor was in the middle of demonstrating to his students what not to do when he fired his handgun.

“I’m assuming he thought his gun was unloaded,” Nencarini said. “But you can never be too safe and you have to check and recheck before you squeeze the trigger on a gun. … They sure got an eye-opener in that class.”

The police captain said prosecutors are considering a warrant request and that negligent discharge of a firearm would be the most likely charge if any were pressed.

The instructor’s name has not yet been released

Gun control group welcomes news Facebook hires content reviewers

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Groups supported by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Thursday applauded news that the social network is beefing up its policing efforts.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Wednesday that, in the wake of a series of suicides and murders posted to the site, he is adding 3,000 new employees to the force of 4,500 on the company’s community operations team which review reported posts and videos.

“These reviewers will also help us get better at removing things we don’t allow on Facebook like hate speech and child exploitation,” said Zuckerberg. “And we’ll keep working with local community groups and law enforcement who are in the best position to help someone if they need it — either because they’re about to harm themselves, or because they’re in danger from someone else.”

Zuckerberg went on to detail that the network is also moving to make it simpler to report problems in a way that makes it faster for reviewers to address flagged posts, and alert law enforcement if needed.

While the Facebook boss made no mention of gun sales or firearms in his 320-word announcement, gun control advocates Moms Demand Action and Everytown for Gun Safety quickly released a statement welcoming the news.

“Moms are grateful for Facebook’s announcement signaling a strong commitment to their effort to end all unlicensed gun sales arranged on their platforms,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, in a statement. “This increase in staffing affirms Facebook’s leading industry role in gun violence prevention – and shows its commitment to preventing gun violence.”

In 2014, the groups ran a campaign against Facebook and sister site Instagram for allowing individual users to post guns for sale, claiming it circumvented gun background checks and allowed criminals to buy illegal weapons. Facebook followed up by moving to block sales between private parties attempting to transfer a firearm to a felon, minor or across state lines without an FFL. At the time, the National Rifle Association claimed victory for the move as well.

Continued pressure ultimately resulted in a more widespread ban on private, person-to-person sales of guns in 2016, but posts by licensed gun dealers are allowed, a change for which the gun control groups took credit.

Tennessee House passes bill to allow suppressors

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The Associated Press reported the measure, Senate Bill 921, was passed Monday on a 74-18 vote, while the Senate approved the bill last month on a 28-1 vote.

The bill, also called the Tennessee Hearing Protection Act, was drafted to protect sportsmen’s hearing and would remove suppressors from the banned weapons list in Tennessee.

Republican sponsors, Rep. Tilman Goins and Sen. Steve Southerland, said they had no intentions other than hearing protection when proposing the measure.

The bill now heads to Republican Gov. Bill Haslam for signature.

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