What To Know Today

Michigan man gets six years in first sentencing of plot to kidnap governor. Ty Garbin, 25, is the only one of 14 people charged in federal and state courts to have pleaded guilty in the alleged conspiracy to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. Prosecutors said his testimony and cooperation were indispensable in filling out details about the plot and the motivations of the other plotters, many of whom were linked to a Michigan anti-government militia group. The sprawling domestic terrorism case will see five other men begin federal trial in October. Their lawyers argue that there was never an active plot; rather, they were entrapped by government informants. The other eight men charged with assisting the other alleged plotters will be tried in two state courts.

Three officers are the latest in a long line to sue Sig Sauer over a misfiring handgun. Brittney Hilton, a veteran detective in Texas who calls herself “very pro-gun,” is suing the gunmaker after she says her service weapon — which was holstered in her purse — went off in December and narrowly missed her. Similarly, Walter Collette, Jr., a veteran cop in Massachusetts, filed a suit in federal court this week after he said his gun went off in July 2019 while he was carrying it in his gym bag. Both incidents follow a similar case and lawsuit brought by an officer in Florida earlier this month, and are among numerous others to be lodged against Sig Sauer for its P320 model, which is widely used in police agencies across the country. “They’re the most goddamn unsafe thing on the planet,” a gun expert told Vice News earlier this month about the flurry of misfiring cases. The company, which has routinely denied liability in the cases, announced a “voluntary upgrade” for the P320 in 2017 to remedy the risk that the guns may fire when dropped. (Hilton, for one, says her gun was an upgraded version.)

The citizen journalist using Instagram to report on violence in D.C. Derrick, 30, tells DCist about his killmoenews Instagram account, which started as a hobby and has morphed into a community forum and reporting site with 37,000 followers. (As of late Wednesday, the Instagram page was unavailable.) The man, who would only identify himself by his first name, has been hot on the trail of rising homicides and other crimes. He often arrives at the scene before news outlets do. In one recent case, he caught officers repeatedly punching a suspect they had restrained, sparking public outrage. The account is largely self-sustained, though he recently received a $5,000 grant from Building Blocks D.C., the city’s new gun violence prevention initiative. A broader — and divisive — trend: Killmoenews is just one of several popular social media-based violence-tracking operations in the city. And while some praise the real-time coverage and transparency, others have pointed to the harms of police blotter-style coverage, re-traumatizing survivors, and focusing on negative news that largely affects Black communities.

Boogaloo believer pleads guilty to obstruction in the fatal shooting of a federal officer. Robert Blancas, 34, and three others were part of a four-member militia group under the umbrella of the extreme anti-government Boogaloo ideology. The members included Steven Carillo, who was an active Air Force sergeant when he was charged in the May 2020 killing of a Department of Homeland Security officer in Oakland during a protest. Blancas admitted to a conspiracy with the other members to destroy group chats and messages.

Federal appeals court unanimously upholds death sentence for Charleston church shooter. In 2017, the white supremacist gunman was the first person sentenced to die for a federal hate crime after his 2015 murder of nine Black parishioners of Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. “No cold record or careful parsing of statutes and precedents can capture the full horror of what the perpetrator did,” a three-judge panel for 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals wrote, rejecting an appeal claiming incompetence to stand trial.

Data Point

22 — the number of people who have been charged with murder for the fatal use of force committed by a police officer since 2010. In 13 states, prosecutors can charge people with murder if their alleged criminal actions are considered to have precipitated fatal force by a third party. [BuzzFeed News]