Matt Reynolds

16 Men Say They Were Tortured in San Bernardino Jail While Awaiting Trial

LOS ANGELES (CN) - Sixteen inmates claim in court that San Bernardino County Sheriff's officers tortured them with Tasers in the county jail.

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U.S. Has Illegal Muslim 'Blacklist,' ACLU Says

LOS ANGELES (CN) - The United States violates its own immigration laws through an under-the-radar "blacklist" that denies citizenship, green cards and political asylum to thousands of people, including innocent people placed a terrorist watch list, longtime legal-resident Muslims claim in Federal Court.
     Lead plaintiff Reem Muhanna, et al. claim that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service has consistently denied their applications for citizenship and lawful permanent residence after secretly blacklisting them as "'national security concerns,'" though they pose no threat to the United States.
     The ACLU filed the lawsuit on July 31 against the USCIS, the Department of Homeland Security, and a slew of their national and regional officers.
     The plaintiffs claim that the Citizenship and Immigration Service uses obscure rules, under a program known as the Controlled Application Review and Resolution Program (CARRP), to delay or deny applications.
     "Under this unfair and unconstitutional program, the government has blacklisted their applications without telling them why and barred them from upgrading their immigration status in violation of the immigration laws," ACLU attorney Jennie Pasquarella said in a statement.
     The plaintiffs ask the court to order Uncle Sam to judicially settle their applications for citizenship and permanent residence, as required under the Immigration and Nationality Act.
     The executive branch of the government does not have the authority to set rules on citizenship and permanent residence, the plaintiffs say.
     "Since 2008, however, USCIS has used CARRP - an internal policy that has neither been approved by Congress nor subjected to public notice and comment - to investigate and adjudicate applications deemed to present potential 'national security concerns.' CARRP prohibits USCIS field officers from approving an application with a potential 'national security concern,' instead directing officers to deny the application or delay adjudication - often indefinitely - in violation of the INA [Immigration and Nationality Act]", the lawsuit states.
     The ACLU claims says the CARRP program uses "expansive" and "overbroad" criteria, including "deeply flawed" data from the government's Terrorist Watch List .
     "The CARRP definition casts a net so wide that it brands innocent, law-abiding residents, like plaintiffs - none of whom pose a security threat - as 'national security concerns' on account of innocuous activity and associations, and characteristics such as national origin," the complaint states.
     The ACLU claims that as many as 1 million names are the Terrorist Watch List or Terrorist Screening Database - "many of whom present no threat to the United States."
     A person can end up on the list based on a vague association with a person the government suspects of terrorist activity, or sometimes because of human error.
     "In 2013 alone, the watchlisting community nominated 468,749 individuals to the TSDB [Terrorist Screening Database], and the TSC [Terrorist Screening Center] rejected only approximately one percent of those nominations. In 2009, the Government Accountability Office found that 35 percent of the nominations to the TSDB were outdated, and that tens of thousands of names had been placed on the list without an adequate factual basis," the complaint states.
     The U.S. government will neither confirm nor deny if a person is on the list. The ACLU says that some people learn of their inclusion while traveling.
     Airplane boarding passes for watch list subjects include an "SSSS" identifier, according to the lawsuit, and subjects are often subjected to inspections during travel.
     "Such individuals are also often unable to check in for flights online or at airline electronic kiosks at the airport," the complaint states.
     The ACLU says that it can't be sure how many applications are denied or delayed based on the criteria. But it says the immigration service's own data from fiscal years 2008 to 2012 make clear that 19,000 people's applications went through the resolution program.
     The subjects were all from Muslim nations or regions, according to the complaint.
     The government may deny an application based on charitable donations to organizations that finance terrorist activities or groups, even if a person does not know that his or her contribution is being used for that purpose, the ACLU says.
     Applications are denied if a person's name appears in law enforcement or intelligence agency file - "even if they were never the subject of an investigation," according to ACLU.
     The lawsuit adds: "For example, an applicant's name could appear in a law enforcement file in connection with a national security investigation because he or she once gave a voluntary interview to an FBI agent, he or she attended a mosque that was the subject of FBI surveillance, or he or she knew or was associated with someone under investigation."
     The plaintiffs want the government enjoined from using the CARRP program, and declaratory judgment that it violates the Fifth Amendment guarantee of due process. 

Heinz Knowingly Sold Dog Food Laced With Rubber, Suit Claims

Heinz knew that processed sheep lungs it sold to a pet food company were adulterated with rubber that could choke dogs, a shareholder of Natural Balance Pet Foods claims in court.

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LAPD Officer Raped Woman and then Dept. Tried to Bury Case, Threatened her with Jail

Los Angeles strung along and tried to bury the case of a woman who was sexually assaulted by a police officer while his partner stood watch, the woman claims in court.

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Narcotics Cop Allegedly Forces Woman to Buy Him Drugs and Have Sex With Him

LOS ANGELES (CN) - A San Luis Obispo police detective forced a woman to buy and sell drugs for him and forced her to have sex with him under threat of arrest, the woman and her boyfriend claim in court.

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Police Beat and Taser an Innocent Deaf Man

LOS ANGELES (CN) - Clueless Hawthorne police beat and Tasered a deaf man as he signaled to them that he was deaf and his friend had loaned him the snowboard he was carrying, the man claims in court.

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Man Claims Sheriff's Deputies Roasted His Genitals With a Taser Gun

LOS ANGELES (CN) - L.A. sheriff's deputies Tasered a young black man's genitals until he could "smell his flesh burning" after fining his father, who has nerve damage in one hand, $1,000 for dropping a cigarette on the street outside their home, the son claims in court.

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Gay Asylum Seeker Illegally Deported to Torture and Death, Mother Says

 LOS ANGELES (CN) - The United States illegally deported a gay asylum-seeker to months of torture and death in a Honduran prison, his mother claims in court.
     Ana Lopez sued the United States and Immigration and Customer Enforcement "Officer Garcia" for the death of her son, Nelson Javier Avila-Lopez, in Federal Court.
     Lopez claims her son had a stay of deportation, through counsel, but ICE deported him anyway to Honduras, where he was "thrown, without formal charges, into the notorious Comayagua prison ... where he suffered unspeakable torture for nearly four months alongside the sadistic criminals that he sought to escape."
     Her son died in Comayagua prison on Valentine's Day 2012, in a fire that killed 357 other prisoners with him, his mother says.
     Lopez, who is under temporary protected status, says her son was 17 when he fled to the United States after seeing the Central American gang, Mara 13, kill his friend and another man. Nelson fled Honduras in 2008 after gang members told authorities that Nelson was behind one of the killings. Nelson feared for his life, she says, because gays in Honduras face persecution and death.
     Nelson applied for asylum in the United States but missed his court hearing because his lawyer did not tell him when to show up in court, his mother says. An immigration judge him deported in March 2010 when failed to appear.
     ICE arrested him and put him in deportation proceedings. A new attorney filed a motion to reopen his case, placing an automatic stay on his removal; defendant Garcia was the deportation officer.
     ICE knew Nelson had a stay of deportation when his case was reopened, his mother says. But on Oct. 19, 2011, ICE deported him anyway.
     Upon arriving at a Honduras airport in ICE shackles, Honduran authorities arrested him without charge and threw him into Comayagua prison, his mother says.
     "In the last four months of Nelson's life in this prison, Nelson was brutally tortured, including being held down to be tattooed on each arm - one by the Maras and the other by a rival gang - forever marking him as a traitor for all inmates to see," his mother says. "Nelson, as young but brave as he was, refused to tell his mother the horrible conditions he encountered, but asking for money from her so that he could pay off the gangs so that he could use the prison bathroom."
     Nelson burned to death in prison just before his 21st birthday.
     "Nelson's charred body was found clinging to another inmate. His mother flew back to Honduras to claim the body, but it could only be identified through DNA testing," she says.
     Lopez seeks damages for negligence, wrongful death and due process violations.
     She is represented by Joseph Huprich of Pasadena.
     Illegal deportations are not unusual in the ICE system. 

Man Accuses Discovery Channel of Broadcasting a Vicious Assault on Him by Reality TV Show Cast

SAN DIEGO (CN) - The Discovery Channel let cameras roll as cast members of the biker reality show "The Devils Ride" beat a man in a bar brawl, and then broadcast the assault without his consent, the man claims in court.

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Elderly Man Allegedly Dies in Court Fighting Wells Fargo 'Wrongful' Foreclosure

An elderly man "succumbed to the pressure" of losing his home to Wells Fargo and died at a court hearing fighting the bank's wrongful foreclosure, his estate claims in court.

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Nestle and California Pizza Kitchen Being Sued for "Deliberately Poisoning Their Consumers"

SAN DIEGO (CN) - Nestle and California Pizza Kitchen are "deliberately poisoning their consumers" with "trans fat pizzas" containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, a "toxic carcinogen," a woman claims in a $5 million class action.

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