Barr urges quick death penalty for mass murder or killing police

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department is seeking legislation to allow quick death sentences for people who carry out mass murder or kill a law enforcement officer, Attorney General William Barr said Monday.

“We will be proposing legislation providing that in cases of mass murder or in cases of murder of a law enforcement officer there will be a strict timetable for judicial proceedings that will allow the imposition of the death sentence without undue delay,” Barr said in a speech at a law enforcement conference in New Orleans.

“Punishment must be swift,” Barr said adding that he plans to offer the legislative proposal next month, when Congress returns from its summer break.

The attorney general offered a conservative’s response to the mass shootings that killed 31 people in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton Ohio, as gun control advocates press for a ban on assault rifles and expanded background checks for gun buyers.

President Donald Trump has said he wants “meaningful background checks” for firearm purchases but that he’ll ensure that the National Rifle Association’s views are “fully represented and respected” in discussions with Congress on legislation.

Barr’s proposal is part of his aggressive agenda toward policing, fighting violent crime, stopping illegal immigration and combating dangerous drugs. He also warned that violence toward police officers won’t be tolerated, including resisting police orders.

— Bloomberg News

Judge to delay decision on venue change in Amber Guyger’s murder trial

DALLAS — The judge in fired Dallas police Officer Amber Guyger’s murder case says she is delaying her decision on the defense’s request to move the trial out of Dallas.

In a court order filed Monday, Texas District Judge Tammy Kemp said that the ruling should not come until after voir dire — the questioning of prospective jurors — is finished or it is apparent during the voir dire process “that a fair and impartial jury cannot be selected in Dallas County due the pervasive publicity in this case.”

Guyger, 31, fatally shot 26-year-old Botham Jean in his apartment on Sept. 6 while she was off-duty but still in uniform. She told authorities that she mistook his apartment, which was above hers at the South Side Flats, for her own and thought he was a burglar.

Guyger turned herself in to authorities in Kaufman County three days later and was charged with manslaughter. She was fired Sept. 24, the day of Jean’s funeral, and in November a Dallas County grand jury indicted her on a murder charge.

Her attorneys — citing nearly 300 news articles — said last month in a motion to change the trial’s venue that the “media hysteria” surrounding the case has been prejudicial, asking that court proceedings be moved to Collin, Ellis, Fannin, Grayson, Kaufman or Rockwall county.

Dallas County prosecutors objected to that motion two days later, arguing that Guyger could receive a fair trial in Dallas County. They recommended that Kemp hold a hearing about changing the venue.

— Dallas Morning News

5 Democratic 2020 hopefuls to headline Atlanta conference with black church leaders

ATLANTA — Five Democratic presidential hopefuls will converge on Atlanta later this week for a forum with African American church leaders and thousands of black millennials.

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker; South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg; and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro are slated to speak at the Young Leaders Conference on Friday at the Georgia International Convention Center.

U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders will be interviewed onstage a day later, according to Black Church PAC, which is co-hosting the event.

The conference is expected to draw 5,000 African American millennials and will be live-streamed on social media, organizers said.

Black Church PAC said two of its co-founders, the Rev. Leah Daughtry of Washington, D.C., and Pastor Michael McBride of Berkeley, Calif., will seek to “gauge the candidates’ plans for engaging and communicating with black churchgoers, ensuring diversity among campaign staff, consultants and vendors and the campaigns’ efforts to engage black voters around gun violence, mass incarceration, immigration and other key issues.”

Black Church PAC is made up of historically African American church denominations and seeks to elect “progressive leaders committed in ridding us of mass incarceration, voter suppression and gun violence,” according to its Twitter page. It endorsed Democrat Stacey Abrams ahead of last year’s gubernatorial race in Georgia.

Mark Moore, Jr., the Atlanta-based pastor who is hosting the conference, said having five presidential candidates in attendance “demonstrates the inherent power and potential of our black church millennials and the unique appeal of our gathering.”

— Journal-Constitution

Thwarted shooter in Norway mosque attack shows up for court with black eyes

The suspect who attempted to shoot up a Norwegian mosque over the weekend showed up to court with a pair of black eyes Monday.

Norway’s state-run news outlet NRK reported that Philip Manshaus, an alleged 21-year-old white supremacist wearing full body armor, was overpowered Saturday by an unarmed 65-year-old Muslim worshipper, who used a chokehold to detain the gunman until police arrived. State authorities would not confirm the shooter’s identity.

The failed suspect tried to livestream his attempted shooting spree on Facebook, but that effort was also unsuccessful.

It’s unclear exactly how the suspect’s face was bruised prior to his Monday appearance, where prosecutors asked that he be kept in isolation as they investigate his case.

Manshaus’ teenage stepsister was reportedly found dead in his home after the botched mosque attack.

Prior to his arrest Saturday, Manshaus appeared to have posted rhetoric on internet message boards praising a racist gunman who killed 51 Muslims in New Zealand in March. He also gave a shout-out to the anti-immigrant shooter who slaughtered 22 people in El Paso earlier this month.

— N.Y. Daily News