‘Whatâ€™s Going to Happen When Your House Burns Down and We Donâ€™t Send Out the Fire Trucks?’
A gay man has filed a federal lawsuit charging months of homophobic and racist abuse againstÂ him, his husband, and their son.Â Randy Gamel-Medler saysÂ officials in his small Oklahoma town conspired to force the family out and at one point even refused to even allow him to file a police report. TheÂ lawsuit names nine defendants.
â€œWe were terrorized, murder threats were made against our seven year-old African-American son,” Randy Gamel-Medler, who worked as the town clerk, told HRC. “Town officials conspired to run us out of office, all while local law enforcement ignored our pleas for help. We are now left with the last 27 years of our life literally erased.Â What do we do now?”
The family moved from Texas toÂ Blaine County, Oklahoma and bought a fixer-upper inÂ Hitchcock.
“Gamel, 59, suggests in a federal lawsuit filed this week in Oklahoma City that community leaders tried to force him out because he was gay and because he and his partner brought a black child into the nearly all-white town,” the AP reports. “Others, including a sheriffâ€™s official named in the lawsuit, say it was Gamelâ€™s behavior, not homophobia or racism, that led to problems. A criminal investigation into the fire is pending.”
The allegations of abuse are stunning.
“Gamel-Medler, a white gay man with a seven year-old African-American son, was first threatened in September 2016 at a town council meeting only one month after moving to Hitchcock, Oklahoma.” HRC says. “Upon learning that Gamel-Medler had an African-American son, defendant Meradith Norris, a town of Hitchcock Trustee, asked, ‘Whatâ€™s going to happen when your house burns down and we donâ€™t send out the fire trucks?’ In response, Gamel-Medler filed a police report, but no criminal action was taken.”
Earlier this year, according to the HRC report, another incident occurred:
“In early May 2017, Gamel-Medler was performing his duties as town clerk by clearing an obstruction from the road when he was assaulted by defendant Jonita Pauls Jacks, who tried to enter Gamel-Medlerâ€™s truck and then after realizing it was locked began shaking the truck, called him a ‘f***ing queer,’ and stated, ‘Iâ€™m going to grab your little boy, rip his n***er head off, and sh** down his throat.’ When Gamel-Medler attempted to file a police report after this incident, he was informed that the mayor had already described this incident to the police. The Deputy Sheriff refused to take a report, said that this is just how these folks are, and characterized the incident as free speech.”
In May, when his house burned down,Â Gamel-Medler says townspeople including the mayor, “sat and watched with his family in lawn chairs.”
Over the next several weeks, the complaint states that one or more of the defendants threw gravel several times at Gamel-Medlerâ€™s home, posted a sign outside of the post office stating that â€œthe town clerk is a â€œf***ing queer,â€ and attempted to run a friend of Gamel-Medlerâ€™s off of the road.
OnÂ May 28, the complaint notes that Gamel-Medler heard the sound of glass breaking in his garage and called the Sheriffâ€™s office to report a burglary. He then saw a fire in his garage and called the fire department. Despite the fire department being located one block away from Gamel-Medlerâ€™s home, the fire department failed to arrive until the house had burned to the ground. While the house was burning, a number of the named defendants watched it burn, including Mayor of Hitchcock Rick Edsall, who sat and watched with his family in lawn chairs.
Local Oklahoma station News 9 reported on the lawsuit (video above) and notes the mayor disputes the allegations.
â€œOur fire department –Â a volunteer fire department –Â was at the fire within six minutes, putting the water on it,â€ he said. â€œI was in my robe, fixing to go to bed when I heard the ruckus, and I went down there and grabbed a hose and started spraying.â€Â
Freedom Oklahoma Executive Director Troy Stevenson issued a statement via Facebook:
“We must not forget that after years of progress, crimes of bias still exist. The allegations in Hitchcock are horrific, and show the intersection of hate aimed at the both the African-American and LGBTQ Communities. Freedom Oklahoma stands with all victims of bias, and will work vigilantly to ensure the state of Oklahoma passes Bias-Crime Protections for all Oklahoman.”
â€œThe horrific treatment of this man and his child are a terrible reminder of how hatred and bigotry feed off of each other,â€ Mark Hammons, Gamel-Medlerâ€™s attorney, said in a statement. â€œI hope this lawsuit will bring justice for him and social awareness for everyone.â€
â€œNo family should live in fear or have to endure harassment and threats based on racism and homophobia,â€ Shannon Price Minter, the legal director at the National Center for Lesbian Rights, said in a statement. â€œWe must hold those government officials, members of law enforcement, and others accountable.â€
Hat tip: On Top
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Ethics Complaint Against Sinema Urges Investigation Into Staffers’ Duties and Her Possible ‘Abuse of Taxpayer Dollars’
If you are hired to work in Senator Kyrsten Sinema‘s office on Capitol Hill there is a 37-page memo you’ll want to read detailing all the responsibilities her staffers are required to perform, from getting her groceries, calling Verizon and going to her D.C. home to wait for a repair person if the internet goes out, scheduling massages, and ensuring her very detailed airplane requirements are met.
“It is your job to make her as comfortable as possible on each flight,” the memo says, as The Daily Beast first reported in December.
But now a group of 13 non-profit organizations have joined to file an ethics complaint against Senator Sinema (I-AZ), a new Daily Beast report reveals Friday, including details from that 37-page memo which the newly-independent lawmaker directed to be drawn up. Dated Thursday, the complaint is titled: “Letter to Senate Ethics Committee Regarding Reports of Sinema Abusing Taxpayer Dollars.”
“Senate Ethics guidelines stipulate that staff should not be asked to perform personal errands for members. This is an unambiguous ethical boundary,” the group’s complaint reads.
It also points to that 37-page memo, which it says, “indicates that staff are required, as a condition of their jobs, to carry out numerous tasks that are outside the scope of public employment, including doing personal errands for the Senator, carrying out household tasks at her private residence, and advancing their own funds for her personal purchases. It makes unreasonably precise scheduling demands, and former staff have confirmed some of the allegations.”
The allegations continue.
“And, most troubling, it calls on staff members, who are employed and paid by the public and explicitly barred from campaign activity, to schedule and facilitate political fundraisers and meetings with campaign donors, presumably during the workday while they are on the clock and physically on federal property.”
“Senate staff are prohibited under your guidelines from engaging in political activity ‘on Senate time, using Senate equipment or facilities.’ While you have not prohibited campaign activity outside work hours, the plain language of the memo clearly implies that Sen. Sinema expects her staff to carry out these scheduling tasks during the workday. And these tasks may separately violate Senate Rule 41.1, which explicitly prohibits Senate employees from ‘solicit[ing]’ campaign funds.”
The complaint also alleges that “Sen. Sinema required her staff to schedule three physical therapy and massage sessions a week related to her training for athletic competitions, and to tightly manage her dietary schedule — while allotting only a 30-minute period on Wednesdays for meetings with the constituents she represents.”
The carefully-worded complaint adds, “the allegations paint a picture of a Senator who is not only unresponsive to her constituents, but also disrespectful and even abusive to her employees and wholly unconcerned about her obligations under the law.”
The Daily Beast has posted a copy of the complaint here.
You can read The Beast’s full report here.
Santos May Owe Thousands in Unpaid Traffic Violation Fines and Fees Across Two States: Report
When he left for Washington, D.C., U.S. Rep. George Santos also appears to have left a string of unpaid traffic violation fines and fees in two states, including red light, double parking, and overtime parking citations totaling thousands of dollars.
The embattled serial liar and freshman New York GOP lawmaker “may owe more than $3,400 in unpaid citations, according to records from New York City and Florida,” CBS News reports.
Included in that total is $1,299.10 from Florida for toll violations that “racked up late fees and were ultimately sent to collections agencies.”
It appears that in November of 2016, as soon as he got his New York driver’s license after having one in Florida, a car previously ticket via a red light camera whose plates match one registered to Santos “began piling up citations in New York City — 29 in the next two and a half years, according to city government records, which do not identify the drivers of vehicles being ticketed.”
“More than $1,800 in payments were made for 17 citations, but another 12 remain unpaid, with $2,142.61 still due, according to city records.”
CBS News also points to a New York Post report from January revealing “a Nissan Rogue driven frequently by Santos in recent months had been issued speeding tickets at least five times since he was elected on Nov. 8, ‘including four times in school zones.'”
Santos is under numerous state and federal investigations that span the gamut from campaign finance to allegedly stolen charity funds donated to save the life of a veteran’s service dog. The dog died after the vet could not afford to pay for the operation.
‘Bioweapons? FFS’: House Oversight Chairman Mocked for Pushing Unfounded Balloon Conspiracy Theories
House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer is pushing baseless conspiracy theories about the Chinese high-altitude surveillance balloon floating over the United States – currently, over Montana – that the Pentagon is tracking, and he’s being widely mocked for his unfounded fear-mongering.
Fox News host Harris Faulkner set the stage perfectly for the far-right Republican from Kentucky, declaring the balloon is “the size of three buses” and that “China says was taken by wind – wind that we can’t substantiate.”
The Kentucky congressman who has falsely described President Biden as “compromised,” and stated he is going to target and investigate him, told Faulkner, “I have concern this is going to be another example of the Biden administration’s weakness on the national scale.”
Comer, 50, a former agriculture commissioner, lamented about Biden’s handling of the withdrawal from Afghanistan, claiming it hurt the reputation of America’s military and Commander in Chief.
The balloon, he said, should “never have been allowed” to cross over into the United States.
“My concern is that the federal government doesn’t know what’s in that balloon. Is that bioweapons in that balloon? Did that balloon take off from Wuhan?” he asked, pushing unfounded theories while echoing the far-right’s false claims the COVID-19 virus was developed as a bioweapon and escaped the lab in Wuhan, China.
After suggesting it might have bioweapons, he then said it was “very concerning” the balloon was not shot down before reaching the U.S. – which could have spread the alleged bioweapon.
Faulkner, seen by some as a propagandist, then jumped in to exhibit her surprise that “people on Capitol Hill were not briefed” about the balloon.
“Calling for the president to ‘shoot down’ the craft,” The Daily Beast’s Justin Baragona adds, “some in the GOP called the president ‘Beijing Biden’ while claiming this is further proof that ‘Communist China’ doesn’t ‘fear or respect’ Biden.”
House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer to Fox News: “My concern is that the federal government doesn’t know what’s in that balloon. Is that bioweapons in that balloon? Did that balloon take off from Wuhan?” pic.twitter.com/0r9JmBl4zo
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) February 3, 2023
“Honestly,” communications strategist Doug Gordon noted, “just surprised he didn’t find a way to include Hunter’s laptop into that conspiracy theory.”
“Actually, he did later on,” Baragona replied.
National security expert Denver Riggleman, the Republican former U.S. Congressman from Virginia who assisted the Select Committee on the January 6 Attack, tweeted: “Bioweapons? FFS”
Referring to Comer’s unfounded bioweapons claim, one Twitter user observed, “Isn’t that more reason not to shoot at it? I’m not saying I know what to do, but logic would dictate ‘don’t shoot at balloons full of bioweapons.’ Right?”
Another noted that the Oversight Chairman should have been listening to the Pentagon’s briefing “taking place now instead of running to get on Fox to talk about something he has no expertise in.”
Another, mocking Comer, noted: “If they were sending a bio weapon, why would they park it over sparsely populated Montana? *rolls eyes*”
Watch the video above or at this link.
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