Roderick Arrington, a 7 year old from Las Vegas, passed away on November 30 after his mother and step-father beat him to death. What was the reason? He did not do his homework and lied about reading a bible passage. He was admitted to the hospital on November 29 for sever bruising and brain swelling. Roderick moved from Illinois where he was living with his father to Las Vegas with his mother Dina Palmer and step-father Markiece Palmer. Dina would let Markiece discipline her son and would join in if her son was no obeying their rules. Dina was involved in Roderick’s last beating and watched Markiece, “shake her son to death.” Roderick, had bruises on the back of his buttocks, thighs, and back from various objects.
William J. Drayton, also known as Flavor Flav was arrested in Las Vegas, Nevada. He was charged with assault with a deadly weapon and battery against Elizabeth Trujillo, his fiancée of 8 years, and her son. Drayton and Trujillo got into a verbal confrontation over the fact that he cheated on her. The argument allegedly escalated to a downstairs bedroom of their four-bedroom, 2, ½ bathroom house, where Drayton became physical with Trujillo.
Two court settlements have come down this week that shine light on the increasingly-common practice of videotaping police officers. In Las Vegas, Mitchell Crooks was beaten up by a police officer while videotaping a burglary investigation across the street from his house. In Boston, attorney Simon Glik was arrested and prosecuted under wiretapping laws for using his cell phone to record an arrest of another man. All charges were dropped in both cases, but both men also sued for violations to their civil rights. In both cases, they reached a settlement before going to court for a judgement, with Crooks receiving $100,000 and Glik receiving $170,000. Nearly 6 months ago, Glik’s case even went to the 1st Circuit Appeals Court, where they upheld the rights of citizens to record public police action in a landmark, often-cited decision.
A Las Vegas policeman has settled a lawsuit with the city for $40,000 and the right to wear a beard on the job. You read that correctly. Apparently, some police departments across the country still require policemen to show up to work clean-shaven, except for a moustache if preferred. Detective Ira Carter was given a medical waiver because of a skin condition called pseudofolliculitis barbae (warning: kind of gross pictures) that made a close shave dangerous and irritating. According to Wikipedia, the effect of a shave on a person with the condition causes rashes, redness, papules/pustules and sometimes scarring. In Febraury 2009, though, Carter’s supervisors ignored the waiver, requiring that he show up clean shaven from then on. When Carter came in the next day with the beard, they threatened discipline, despite the obvious and understandable aversion to shaving. Carter soon filed suit for discrimination, and today has established a new regulation in the city allowing an officer to wear a beard for medical or religious reasons.
I never thought the keeping of a beard would be such an issue. Especially in the case of a serious medical condition. Carter’s doctor apparently recommended that the detective remain unshaven for 6 whole months. Maybe if Carter had shown his supervisors a simple Google image search for the condition they would have been swayed (though I recommend against performing the search on your own — some of the images are unsettling). I guess it comes down to the idea of a brand. When you think of a policeman, you most likely picture a clean-shaven, blue-clad, straight-standing officer with his hands on his hips. Vary too far away from this, and the public no longer envisions a standard schema, which belays trust. I’d argue for the cause of beards, though, not only for freedom of personal expression which police are supposed to uphold, but also because I know from experience that beards are fun.
The pharmaceutical company Teva has set aside $285 million to settle lawsuits related to their anesthetic Propofol and an outbreak of Hepatitis C in Nevada. As reported by Bloomberg, litigants alleged that the company purposefully sold the drug in vials large enough to be reused and improperly labeled the containers, leading doctors to use drugs from the same vial on multiple patients. This practice leaves patients vulnerable to infection and led to the spread of a deadly virus to colonoscopy patients in Nevada, the litigants claimed. Hepatitis C is a viral liver infection and can be deadly if left untreated. More than 80 lawsuits have been brought against Teva, which hopes to settle with the majority of them.
We are reminded that modern pharmaceutical medicine is not guaranteed to be safe. The drugs we put in our bodies are not perfect and are, as anything, always vulnerable to human error as in this case. An understandable lack of foresight led to the distribution of too-large vials, which led to reuse, which led to a transmittal of disease. Though companies usually work to pull imperfect drugs from the public, as evidenced by the seemingly-frequent recall of children’s Tylenol, some things will always slip through the cracks. The best practice when dealing with chemicals and your body is to find a trustworthy doctor, take your time, and, of course, conduct your own research.