4 years ago

Alabama lawmaker pushes bill that would make it a hate crime to attack cops

Democrats and Republicans are uniting in defense of law enforcement. (Photo: Flickr)
Democrats and Republicans are uniting in defense of law enforcement. (Photo: Flickr)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — In the wake of numerous attacks in which law enforcement officers were targeted and killed, one Alabama lawmaker is urging his colleagues to pass a bill that would categorize such heinous acts as “hate crimes.”

Hate crimes are prejudice-motivated acts targeting an individual because they are part of a group, such as a certain race or religion. The U.S. Department of Justice says that “hate crimes are most likely to create or exacerbate tensions, which can trigger larger community-wide racial conflict, civil disturbances, and even riots.”

Identifying a group as a potential victim of hate crimes often triggers stiffer penalties when they are targeted by criminals.

“It is a hate crime because it attacks a certain class of individuals: police officers,” explained Rep. John Rogers (D-Birmingham). “And it’s not over. You got copy cats.”

Other states have similar laws applying to law enforcement personnel and first responders. Rogers plans to introduce the bill next legislative session.

The idea has some similarities to the Thin Blue Line Act, which Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) has introduced at the federal level. The bill would enforce harsher penalties on individuals targeting police officers and first responders. Sessions worked closely with federal, state and local law enforcement officials for years as Alabama Attorney General and before that as a U.S. Attorney.

Sessions first introduced the legislation in response to the surge of attacks on police officers, which have occurred in various cities around the country.

In one local example last August, an Alabama cop was pistol-whipped with his own gun. Instead of lending a helping hand, a crowd of bystanders posted photos on Facebook and Twitter that included some anti-police captions. Later, the officer said he didn’t try to shoot his attacker because he didn’t want the media to label him as a racist.

In more recent examples, law enforcement officers in Dallas, Texas, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, were gunned down by killers specifically targeting police.

“The alarming spike in violence directed against the men and women entrusted with ensuring the safety and order of our society must be stopped,” Sen. Sessions said last year after introducing his bill. “The Thin Blue Line Act will help protect our officers by bringing harsher penalties to criminals committing these vile acts and by extending the protections afforded to federal officers to our local police and first responders. This legislation honors the message sent by law-abiding Americans that we cannot stand idly by as attacks are waged upon those who serve and protect our communities.”

(h/t WBRC)

5 mins ago

ANHA president: 31 nursing homes in Alabama have reported COVID-19 cases

Alabama Nursing Home Association (ANHA) CEO Brandon Farmer said Monday that the Yellowhammer State has 31 nursing homes where someone has tested positive for coronavirus.

In some of the homes, it was a staff member who tested positive, and in others, it was a resident of the facility.

Farmer said the cases were “both at nursing homes in rural and urban locations,” adding, “These nursing homes are following the reporting guidelines and implementing isolation procedures.”


According to ANHA, Alabama has 231 nursing homes that care for approximately 24,500 elderly Alabamians and employ about 31,000 workers.

“Our members have taken the threat of COVID-19 seriously from the start. Most restricted or stopped visitation and began screening employees before state and federal government agencies required it,” promised Farmer.

According to CDC data, 4-11% of those 65 and older perish when contracting the virus. That number rises to 10-27% for anyone 85 and older.

Farmer added that the members of his association are still experiencing delays in getting test kits and test results, which is endangering the residents at the facilities.

“I predict the number of nursing homes with cases will grow as more tests are administered and the results are returned,” commented Farmer.

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95.

Get back on the road to recovery — $350 billion is now available to small businesses

Business Council of Alabama is the go-to resource to ensure your small business gets its share of the relief funds.

Join Business Council of Alabama president and CEO Katie Boyd Britt and a panel of experts Thursday night for the Small Business Exchange on Alabama Public Television.

They’ll take your phone calls and answer your questions.

“We have to make sure that Alabama’s small businesses get the loans and support they deserve in these tough economic times,” Britt emphasized. “The first step in getting Alabama back to work is to get this loan money flowing to our businesses.”

The Small Business Exchange will air Thursday on APT from 7:00-8:00 p.m. Call 1-833-BCA4BIZ (1-833-222-4249) from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Thursday and from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Friday to talk to a small business expert.

Let our experts help you get back on the road to recovery. We’re all in this together.

1 hour ago

7 Things: Coronavirus’ effect on the Alabama economy, unemployment claims cost big money in Alabama, death projections get better and more …

7. UK leader is in the ICU

  • British Prime Minister Boris Johnson previously tested positive for the coronavirus and has now been moved to an intensive-care unit due to his symptoms worsening, but his office said that he hasn’t needed ventilation.
  • Just one day before being moved to ICU, Johnson had been admitted to the hospital for tests that his office claimed were routine. His team maintains that Johnson has remained in charge of the government despite his hospital stay.

6. Governor Cuomo agrees with Trump on hydroxychloroquine 


  • The American media has shifted to criticizing President Donald Trump for investing in a mutual fund that invests in a pharmaceutical company that manufactures a brand name version of hydroxychloroquine after one of the coronavirus pandemic’s media darlings, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D), made it clear that the anti-malaria drug was working and was being recommended for treatment of this illness.
  • One day after Trump ally Rudy Giuliani urged him to lift restrictions on using the drug, Cuomo touted the results it is having and called for more usage, declaring, “There has been anecdotal evidence that it is promising; that’s why we’re going ahead.”

5. President Trump and 3M make nice

  • A week after President Donald Trump and the CEO of 3M manufacturing publicly sparred over the availability of N95 face masks, a deal was reached to produce 165.5 million of the masks with the president’s use of the Defense Production Act being a key to the negotiation.
  • The president noted that the company and the government “reached an agreement, very amicable, with 3M for the delivery of an additional 55.5 million high-quality face masks each month.” He added that “the 3M saga ends very happily.”

4. Coronavirus found in 31 Alabama nursing homes

  • The coronavirus has been found in 31 nursing homes across 17 Alabama counties, but the names of the facilities and how many residents or staff members infected have not been released by the Alabama Nursing Home Association.
  • The association had previously reported that there’s a backlog of over 1,000 tests of residents and staff that were awaiting results last week. President and CEP of the Alabama Nursing Home Association Brandon Farmer said that they’re expecting the number of cases to “grow as more tests are administered and the results are returned.”

3. A flattening curve in NY, lower death rate in Alabama

  • America’s hotspot is actually seeing fewer infections, which gives hope to a world that is shut down by showing that social distancing worked. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo notes the healthcare system hasn’t collapsed, stating, “Have we saved everyone? No. Have we lost anyone because we didn’t have a bed, didn’t have a ventilator, didn’t have healthcare staff? No. The people we lost were the people we couldn’t save. Not for lack of trying, as a society, as a healthcare system. For the extent we can find peace in that, that helps me.” 
  • Things also look better in Alabama. University of Washington’s Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation previously had a model that projected Alabama will be 21st in deaths per capita and 16th in deaths overall with a projected 378-1,996 coronavirus deaths. The death rate has fallen to less than two people for every 10,000. 

2. $6 million already paid in unemployment

  • Even with hopes to reopen the economy in early May, the cost of unemployment is just starting to be felt as the Alabama Labor Department paid over $6 million in unemployment benefits to 22,646 employees impacted by the coronavirus. 
  • Alabama Labor Department Secretary Fitzgerald Washington said that they’ve seen an “overwhelming” amount of people filing for unemployment, adding they are working to fix the issues others have seen with trying to apply for benefits. 

1. Alabama’s economy might not get hit too hard

  • Moody Analytics has released data on how much each state’s economy could be affected by the massive shutdowns seen due to the coronavirus, based on exposure, tourism, demographics, trade and travel distribution, commodities and finance. 
  • States that will be hit the hardest economically will likely be places like Hawaii and Nevada because of the decrease in tourism and New York and Washington due to the volume of cases they’ve seen, but Alabama, Mississippi and West Virginia are in a better situation for economic recovery because those with fewer cases could recover faster. 

3 hours ago

U.S. Rep. Brooks: Democrats putting America’s interests ‘behind their quest and thirst for political power’ on coronavirus

In recent days, there has been a push for House Democrats to launch an investigation into President Donald Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The media and even some congressional Democrats have not been shy about the possibility of convening a panel for such an inquiry. However, U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) said such a maneuver would be par for the course for Democrats.

In an interview that aired Monday on Huntsville WVNN’s “The Jeff Poor Show,” Brooks slammed his Democratic Party colleagues, accusing them of putting political ambitions ahead of the public amid the coronavirus pandemic.


“It’s very clear that the socialist Democrats will use every crisis they can to try to maintain the power they have or grab more power,” he said. “And unfortunately, they are putting the interest of Americans second behind their quest and thirst for political power. Hopefully, the curtain has been pulled where the American people can better see what exactly the Democrats are doing.”

The Huntsville GOP lawmaker likened Democrats’ efforts to investigate the Trump administration to those investigations into alleged Russian interference and Russia-Trump 2016 presidential campaign collusion, as it pertained to the 2016 presidential election.

“They did this with the fake Russian collusion argument that went amuck for over two years,” he said. “They did this with the sham impeachment effort, and now they’re going to try to blame these deaths on Donald Trump. If you want to blame somebody, blame the Chinese Communist Party. If you want to blame somebody, the Democrats should blame themselves to some degree because to a very large degree, all media eyes and eyes in Washington were focused on the impeachment proceeding that had been ongoing for a number of months and had reached ahead this year.”

“And I had warned the public that this impeachment proceeding by the Democrats was a total and complete sham, and it was diverting our attention away from a lot of other serious public policy issues that we needed to address — things like border security, things like deficit and debt, things like the battle between free enterprise and socialism,” Brooks added. “At the time, I did not realize it was diverting public attention, and for that matter, elected official attention from the threat posed by this coronavirus. But that turns out to also be an effect of the sham Democrat impeachment that the Democrats foisted on the American people for more than six months.”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Alabama, the editor of Breitbart TV, a columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly and host of Huntsville’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 2-5 p.m. on WVNN.

3 hours ago

Food companies serve free meals, treats to those in need and front-line workers during pandemic

Mary Drennen said she didn’t really understand the far-reaching effects of the COVID-19 pandemic until she and others handed out free meals March 30 on Birmingham’s Southside.

“It’ll tear your heartstrings up,” the Nourish Foods co-owner said. “It’s a greater purpose that we didn’t even realize that we could serve until this disease came about, or virus, however you call it. It is certainly rewarding for us to know that our business can step in and provide something for people that they literally have no access to.”

Nourish Foods is one of several companies – local and national – that have stepped in to help where they can to support those who are on the front lines in the battle against the coronavirus.


1918 Catering helping others during COVID-19 pandemic from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

Drennen and her business partner, Tiffany Davis, have connected with students who are not attending school for the rest of the year.

“Now that they’re without that one or two meals that they would have gotten at school, that’s obviously not an option,” she said. “We’re trying to work through that problem with Avondale, Woodlawn, Gate City areas in particular. Those are the first ones that we’re working with to find a solution for that.”

And they’re not alone. Every Monday, Krispy Kreme is giving a dozen doughnuts to each healthcare worker who visits.

Brittney Payne, a sterile surgical technician at UAB Highlands, said the sweets give healthcare providers their due.

“It’s nice,” the wife and mother of three said, “because healthcare workers don’t get enough credit for the things they do, especially when you work and go home to your family.”

Cristin Buentello said it’s not uncommon for her to pick up a dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts on her way to or from her job at Brookwood Hospital and Women’s Center.

The 12 glazed rings she picked up this week at the Hoover Krispy Kreme location were for her co-workers.

“It helps us all out and gives us a little treat,” said Buentello, a surgical assistant. “Any little thing is nice, like food, getting water. Everything’s helping us right now: a little pick-me-up.”

Starbucks is giving a free tall brewed coffee – hot or cold – to front-line responders through May 3. In addition, the Starbucks Foundation is donating $500,000 to support front-line responders.

The $500,000 comes in equal donations to Direct Relief to support the delivery of personal protective equipment and essential medical items, and to Operation Gratitude to deliver 50,000 care packages and handwritten letters to first responders and health care workers.

Similarly, companies and volunteers have rolled up their sleeves to help people who have been adversely affected by the pandemic, including children who might not otherwise be fed because their schools have closed for the school year.

Nourish Foods is among companies offering gifts for healthcare providers at UAB. Some community philanthropists are donating money to be used at area restaurants to provide food for health care workers.

UAB’s Food Services staff is organizing this project through its Meals For Heroes link.

Full Moon Bar-B-Que established its Feed a Friend program, accepting nominations for families to receive a free meal. That program was to have ended this week but is being extended indefinitely until the shelter-in-place order is lifted.

The barbecue restaurant chain’s Tuscaloosa location gave 180 lunches to staffers at Druid City Hospital, while its Montgomery restaurant gave 500 lunches to schoolchildren through the Mercy House nonprofit. The company also gave 100 lunches to the Levite Jewish Community Center and served lunches at the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.

“Serving our communities is always a top priority at Full Moon Bar-B-Que and we are dedicated to providing meals in this trying time,” co-owner Joe Maluff said in a prepared statement. “Now more than ever, people need hope and we believe a warm meal can do just that. Full Moon Bar-B-Que aims to serve the communities surrounding each of our locations the best way we can throughout this pandemic.”

Last week, J&R Bar & Grill – formerly Peyton Place Restaurant – gave free lunches to first responders. On April 2, 1918 Catering gave free lunches to healthcare workers with ID at its location in Homewood.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)