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Ethics complaint filed against Gwinnett commissioner

Embattled Gwinnett County Commissioner Tommy Hunter, who called Congressman John Lewis a “racist pig” on social media, now faces a formal ethics complaint.

Attorneys Christine Koehler and Helen Ho filed the complaint on behalf of an Atlanta woman who says she was offended after going onto Hunter’s personal Facebook page and reading his remark and numerous others.

“Nancie Turner is somebody who happened to be on Facebook, heard the rumblings, and went on and began looking at his page and found many of his Facebook posts to be quite offensive,” Koehler tells WSB’s Sandra Parrish.

She says a complainant does not have to live in Gwinnett to file such a complaint which will first go before a hearing officer to determine if it moves forward to a five-member ethics board.

The board would be made up of members appointed by the District Attorney’s Office, the Board of Commissioners, the president of the Gwinnett Bar Association, the Association of County Commissions of Georgia and Hunter, himself.

Hunter’s spokesman Seth Weathers points to the fact that because anyone can file a complaint, it’s nothing more than a political ploy.

“The ethics complaint that was filed is purely political.  It has no legal standing and will be thrown out,” he says.

Weathers says Hunter has apologized for his remarks and has agreed to meet with the NAACP at its meeting next week.

Koehler will accept nothing less than Hunter’s resignation and will also ask Gwinnett Solicitor Rosanna Szabo to look into criminal charges.

“It’s maleficence, mistrust... it’s really acting inappropriately while holding office.  And if she determines that there’s enough for an accusation, then she can act on it.  And he can be charged with violation of Georgia law and charged with misdemeanors,” she says.

Weathers laughs at the mention of criminal charges.

“I would not even dignify such nonsense with a response,” he says.  “It’s truly hilarious.”

 

 

 

 

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  • The organ transplant of a 2-year-old boy who was born without a kidney will likely be stalled for months. The reason? His father’s latest arrest. Anthony Dickerson, 26, is no stranger to the criminal justice system. He has been in and out of jail on misdemeanor theft charges and a first-degree forgery charge since 2011, according to Gwinnett County jail records. Just this month, he was released on a $2,600 bond on charges of fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer and possession of a firearm or knife during the commission of attempted felonies. But Dickerson promised that his son would be the one thing he did right in his life, the child’s mother, Carmellia Burgess, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. So when he found out he was a match to donate his kidney to Anthony Jr., he jumped at the chance to help. The family was “hysterical” when they found out the day of the planned surgery Oct. 3 that Emory University Hospital had changed the plan. “They’re making this about dad,” Burgess said. “It’s not about dad. It’s about our son.” In a letter The AJC obtained from Burgess, a hospital official said the surgery would be pushed back until Dickerson could provide evidence he has complied with his parole officer for three months. “We will re-evaluate Mr. Dickerson in January 2018 after receipt of this completed documentation,” the hospital representative said in the letter. Emory officials refused to answer The AJC’s questions about the decision or its policies, and Gwinnett law enforcement agencies have not responded to requests for comment. Janet Christenbury, an Emory spokeswoman, said in a statement the hospital is committed to the highest quality of care for its patients.  “Guidelines for organ transplantation are designed to maximize the chance of success for organ recipients and minimize risk for living donors,” Christenbury said. “Because of privacy regulations and respect for patient confidentiality, we cannot share specific information about our patients.” Burgess said news of the hospital’s decision caught her by surprise because Emory had earlier been supportive of the dad being the donor. The hospital even requested Dickerson’s temporary release from jail, according to a letter from Emory’s Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Program to the Gwinnett County jail where Dickerson was being held. “If Mr. Dickerson could be escorted to Emory for blood work and a pre-operative appointment tomorrow, September 29, we will be able to continue with the scheduled surgery,” an Emory official said in the letter dated Sept. 28. Even though jail records show Dickerson was released Oct. 2, the child’s surgery has not been rescheduled for this year. Burgess created a web petition to urge the hospital to allow the surgery sooner. It has garnered more than 18,400 signatures, but Burgess said she doubts the petition will make a difference. A GoFundMe page also was set up with a $1,000 goal. “I’m just taking it day by day,” she said. “That’s all we can do.” In other news:
  • British police are investigating three new allegations of sexual assault against film producer Harvey Weinstein, all made by the same woman. In another blow to the Hollywood titan after he was ejected from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, France's president said Sunday he was working to rescind Weinstein's prestigious Legion of Honor award. In the new British allegations, London's Metropolitan Police force said Sunday that the woman reported being assaulted in London in 2010, 2011 and 2015. The force said officers from its Child Abuse and Sexual Offenses Command are investigating. The woman's name has not been made public. The force also did not name Weinstein, in keeping with its policy of not identifying suspects who have not been charged. But it said the allegations involve a man against whom another accusation was made Wednesday. That alleged assault — reported to have taken place in west London during the late 1980s — also is being investigated. British actress Lysette Anthony says she reported to police on Wednesday that Weinstein raped her in her west London home in the late 1980s. Anthony, 54, who appears on the British soap opera 'Hollyoaks,' told the Sunday Times newspaper that Weinstein raped her in the late 1980s after showing up at her London home. She said she was left feeling 'disgusted and embarrassed' after the attack. 'It was pathetic, revolting,' she was quoted as saying in a Thursday interview. 'I remember lying in the bath later and crying.' Dozens of women have made allegations of sexual harassment and assault against the movie mogul in recent days, some dating back decades. Weinstein denies non-consensual sexual activity. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences took the almost unprecedented step Saturday of revoking Weinstein's membership. It said it did so 'to send a message that the era of willful ignorance and shameful complicity in sexually predatory behavior and workplace harassment in our industry is over.' Weinstein, who backed many British movies including 'Shakespeare in Love' and 'The King's Speech,' also has been suspended by the British film academy. The fallout from the multiplying accusations against Weinstein also reverberated in France on Sunday. French President Emmanuel Macron said he had 'started the procedures' to revoke Weinstein's Legion of Honor award. Rescinding the honor is rare, although it also happened to another American: disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong. Weinstein was given the prestigious French award in 2012 by then-President Nicolas Sarkozy after the French film 'The Artist' won multiple Oscars. Weinstein's company produced the film, and he predicted in an interview with The Associated Press at the time that it would augur a new 'golden age' of French cinema. French actresses are among those who have accused Weinstein of sexual wrongdoing, notably during his multiple appearances at the Cannes Film Festival. Macron said he wants to speed up procedures for investigating and prosecuting sexual harassment in France to encourage more women to come forward. ___ Angela Charlton in Paris contributed.
  • The Latest on the explosion in Somalia's capital (all times local): 7:30 a.m. Qatar's foreign minister says his country's diplomatic mission in Somalia was hit by the massive truck bombing in Mogadishu. Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said on Twitter early Monday morning: 'The attack on (hashtag)Qatar diplomatic mission in Mogadishu will not deter our support for (hashtag)Somalia's democracy, security and stability.' He did not elaborate. It was unclear if any Qataris were hurt in the blast. Officials in Doha did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Somalia has found itself torn by the boycott by four Arab nations of Qatar. Saudi Arabia is the Somali government's biggest benefactor, while the United Arab Emirates has trained the country's military and launched a high-profile aid appeal this year. Somalia has meanwhile allowed Qatari aircraft to increasingly fly through its airspace as Arab nations have closed theirs off. A Somali state in September broke with Somalia's central government in Mogadishu, saying it backed the boycotting nations. ___ Jon Gambrell in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. ___ 12:45 a.m. Somalia's information minister Abdirahman Osman says the death toll from Saturday's truck bombing in Mogadishu has risen to 276, with about 300 people injured. It is the deadliest single attack in Somalia's history. The toll is expected to rise. Somalia's government has blamed the al-Shabab extremist group, which has not yet commented. ___ 12:40 a.m. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says he is 'sickened' by the deadliest single attack in Somalia's history. Guterres in a tweet Sunday night urged 'unity in the face of terrorism.' Saturday's truck bombing in Mogadishu killed at least 231 people. Another 275 are hurt. Somalia's government has blamed the al-Shabab extremist group, which has not yet commented. Officials fear the death toll will rise. ___ 10:05 p.m. The United States is condemning 'in the strongest terms' the deadliest single attack in Somalia's history. The State Department statement expresses condolences to victims and wishes a quick recovery for the injured. Saturday's truck bombing in Mogadishu killed at least 231 people. Another 275 are hurt. The U.S. calls the attack 'senseless and cowardly' and says it will stand with Somalia in its fight against extremism. ___ 6:35 p.m. Qatar says its embassy was 'severely damaged' in the deadly truck bombing in Somalia's capital. A foreign ministry statement Sunday says the embassy's charge d'affaires was 'slightly injured in the explosion but he is now in a good health, and the rest of staff are fine.' Saturday's blast killed at least 231 people. It is the deadliest ever attack in the Horn of Africa nation. ___ 5:50 p.m. The United Nations special envoy to Somalia calls the deadly truck bombing in the capital 'revolting' and says an unprecedented number of civilians have been killed. A statement from Michael Keating says: 'I am shocked and appalled by the number of lives that were lost in the bombings and the scale of destruction they caused.' Saturday's blast struck a densely populated neighborhood of Mogadishu. The death toll has risen to 231. It is the deadliest ever attack in the Horn of Africa nation. Keating says the U.N. and African Union are supporting the Somali government's response with 'logistical support, medical supplies and expertise.' ___ 5:45 p.m. The U.S. Africa Command says U.S. forces have not been asked to provide aid following Saturday's deadly attack in Somalia's capital. A U.S. Africa Command spokesman tells The Associated Press that first responders and local enforcement would handle the response and 'the U.S. would offer assistance if and when a request was made.' A Somali senator says the death toll from the massive truck bomb blast in Mogadishu has risen to 231, with 275 people injured. It is the deadliest ever attack in the Horn of Africa nation. ___ 5:35 p.m. Angry protesters have taken to the streets in Somalia's capital a day after a massive truck bomb killed at least 231 people. The protesters who gathered at the scene of the blast are chanting against the attack, the deadliest ever in the Horn of Africa nation. The government has blamed the Somalia-based al-Shabab extremist group for what it calls a 'national disaster.' Al-Shabab has not commented but often targets Mogadishu with bombings. ___ 5:20 p.m. A senator says the death toll from a massive truck bomb blast in Somalia's capital has risen to 231. Abshir Abdi Ahmed says 275 others were injured. He cites doctors at hospitals he has visited in Mogadishu. Saturday's blast is the single deadliest attack ever in the Horn of Africa nation. Many of the bodies in hospital mortuaries are yet to be identified. ___ 3:05 p.m. Local journalists say one freelance journalist was killed in Saturday's massive bombing in Somalia's capital and several were injured. Voice of America says one of its reporters, Abdulkaidr Mohamed Abdulle, is among the injured. Police and hospital sources say the death toll from the truck bomb in Mogadishu has risen to 189 in what is the single deadliest attack ever in the Horn of Africa nation. — Abdi Guled in Mogadishu. ___ 2:35 p.m. The death toll from a massive explosion in Somalia's capital has risen to 189 with over 200 others injured, police and hospital sources say, making it the single deadliest attack ever in the Horn of Africa nation. Doctors are struggling to assist hundreds of horrifically wounded victims, with many burnt beyond recognition. Somalia's government has blamed Saturday's truck bombing in Mogadishu on the al-Shabab extremist group, which has not commented. — Abdi Guled in Mogadishu. ___ 1:25 p.m. The United States is joining the condemnation of Saturday's massive truck bombing in Somalia's capital that left scores dead. A statement by the U.S. mission to Somalia says that 'such cowardly attacks reinvigorate the commitment of the United States to assist our Somali and African Union partners to combat the scourge of terrorism.' The U.S. military this year has stepped up drone strikes and other efforts this year against the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab, which is based in Somalia and often targets Mogadishu. ___ 1:20 p.m. The International Committee of the Red Cross says four volunteers with the Somali Red Crescent Society are among the dead after a huge truck bombing in Somalia's capital. A statement Sunday says 'this figure may rise as there are a number of volunteers still missing.' Security and medical sources say at least 53 people are dead after what Mogadishu residents call the largest explosion they've ever witnessed. Officials have pleaded for blood donations. More than 60 people are injured. Somalia's government has blamed the al-Shabab extremist group, which has not commented. ___ 10:45 a.m. Security and medical sources say the death toll from Saturday's truck bomb blast in Somalia's capital has risen to 53 as hospitals struggle to cope with the high number of casualties. More than 60 others are injured. Police Capt. Mohamed Hussein says many victims died at hospitals from their wounds. Somalia's government has yet to release the exact death toll from an explosion many called the most powerful they had ever witnessed in Mogadishu. Ambulance sirens still echo across the city as bewildered families wander in the rubble of buildings. President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed has joined thousands of people who responded to a desperate plea by hospitals to donate blood for the wounded victims. The al-Shabab extremist group often targets high-profile areas in the capital with bombings.
  • A new study inspired by Boston's early experiments with self-driving cars finds that the technology could ease congestion, but might also lead to more cars on the road and further encourage urban sprawl. The report, released Tuesday by the Boston Consulting Group and the World Economic Forum, is a mostly optimistic take on how autonomous vehicles could change cities. Three companies are now testing self-driving cars in Boston's Seaport District. One of them, NuTonomy, has also partnered with ride-hailing service Lyft to research how passengers book and route a self-driving car. The consulting group's study included a computer simulation of how downtown Boston traffic would change with the advent of self-driving taxis, buses and private cars. It would likely add vehicles to roads while simultaneously reducing traffic time.
  • U.S. and Japanese diplomats agreed Tuesday to maximize pressure on North Korea to resolve tensions over its nuclear program, while citing the need to be prepared for the worst if diplomacy failed. U.S. Undersecretary of State John Sullivan, after meeting his Japanese counterpart, Shinsuke Sugiyama, told reporters that the focus at the State Department is still on diplomacy to solve the problem and to eventually denuclearize the Korean Peninsula. 'We must, however, with our allies in Japan and South Korea and elsewhere, be prepared for the worst should diplomacy fail,' he said. The U.S. must be prepared to defend itself and its allies, he said. Sugiyama, briefing reporters separately, reiterated Japan's support for President Donald Trump's policy of keeping all options, but stressed the need for a diplomatic solution by bolstering cooperation among Japan, U.S. and South Korea, as well as via cooperation with China and Russia. The two diplomats will join their South Korean counterpart in Seoul for further talks Wednesday on North Korea. The talks come as the U.S.-South Korea hold joint naval drills this week. They regularly conduct joint exercises, though North Korea condemns them as an invasion rehearsal. North Korea's deputy U.N. ambassador warned on Monday that the situation on the peninsula 'has reached the touch-and-go point and a nuclear war may break out any moment.' Kim In Ryong told the U.N. General Assembly's disarmament committee that North Korea has been subjected to a direct nuclear threat from the United States and has the right to possess nuclear weapons in self-defense. He pointed to military exercises and what he called a U.S. plan to stage a 'secret operation aimed at the removal of our supreme leadership.' Kim's speech follows increasingly tough U.N. sanctions. Russian President Vladimir Putin said his country is curtailing economic, scientific and other ties with North Korea in line with U.N. sanctions, and the European Union announced new sanctions as well.
  • Attorneys are set to make their final pitches to jurors in the case of a man accused of participating in a plot to behead conservative blogger Pamela Geller. Closing arguments in David Wright's trial are expected Tuesday in Boston's federal courthouse. Prosecutors say Wright plotted with his uncle and a third man to kill Geller on behalf of the Islamic State group after she organized a Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest in Texas. Prosecutors say Wright encouraged his uncle to instead go after police officers. Wright's uncle was killed after he approached officers with a knife in 2015. Wright testified that he shared Islamic State propaganda online because he was desperate for attention, but insists that he didn't support the terror group. Wright said discussions about attacks were just 'trash talk.