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Indian American Police Officer Janak Amin Fired, Charged for Aiming Gun at Handcuffed Black Man

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An Indian American Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office sergeant in Tampa, Florida, has been fired and charged with a felony for aiming his handgun near a handcuffed black man’s head and threatening to kill him.

Sgt. Janak Amin, a 21-year veteran with the sheriff’s office, escalated to pulling out his gun when the handcuffed man refused to give him his name, according to Sheriff Chad Chronister, the Washington Post reported.

Amin was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon July 10 for threatening the life of the unarmed black man on July 9, Chronister said at a July 10 news conference, the Post reported.

Chronister called Amin’s behavior “despicable,” saying the man under arrest was not being aggressive with officers in any way.

He was only quiet — apparently enraging Amin, Chronister said at the news conference, according to the report.

“I assure you, he wasn’t being uncooperative,” the sheriff said of the victim, whom the sheriff declined to identify. “The bottom line is there is no reason, no rationale or justification why anyone had to point a gun at his head and threaten his life simply because he refused to identify himself.”

According to a tampabay.com report July 15, Amin’s attorney, Paul Sisco, told the Tampa Bay Times that Amin followed proper protocols during the arrest and that other witnesses will contradict the allegations Sheriff Chronister outlined at the news conference last week.

“This was a political opportunity in search of a set of facts and I am hugely disappointed by the sheriff’s premature actions and defamatory press conference,” Sisco is quoted as saying in the report.

The victim was under arrest in the first place because employees at the Hillsborough County Jail had accidentally released him, the Post report said.

Chronister said the man had been “inadvertently” transferred to DACCO Behavioral Health, a treatment facility in Tampa for those with substance-abuse or mental-health issues, where he was not supposed to be, the publication said.

He then left the facility.

Once the sheriff’s office realized the mistake, they went looking for him. They found him hiding behind a trailer, Chronister said in the report.

When officers confronted the man and put him in a “prone position” — lying flat on his stomach on the ground — the handcuffed man would not give his name, Chronister said, according to the report.

So Amin knelt down next to him. He drew his firearm and pointed it inches from the man’s head, the sheriff added.

Then, he told the man that if he refused to give his name, he would “splatter his brains all over the concrete,” the Post report said.

“He said those words,” Chronister said at the conference.

The victim said in a statement later that he didn’t give his name because he was “scared to death,” Chronister added in the report.

Chronister said he did not believe “this had anything to do” with the victim’s race.

The sheriff applauded the deputies on scene who reported Amin to the command staff immediately after witnessing his behavior.

He said they were following recent training requiring them to intervene when they witness excessive force by colleagues, according to the report.

That policy has been newly implemented at police departments across the country in the aftermath of George Floyd’s killing in Minneapolis on May 25, the report added.

 

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Two Indian-Americans have been named as Biden’s domestic policy advisers

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New York: A day after US President Joe Biden joked that Indian-Americans were taking over the US, he appointed two of them as special assistants for advising him on domestic policies.

The White House on Friday released the announcement by Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris appointing Chiraag Bains and Pronita Gupta to those positions on the Domestic Policy Council. Both of them had served in the administration of former President Barack Obama, when Biden was the Vice President.

Bains will deal with criminal justice while Gupta will deal with labour and workers.

The duo joins more than 20 Indian-Americans who have been appointed by Biden to senior positions in his administration. They will not require Senate confirmation as they will be on the President’s staff.

Bains worked in the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, first as a prosecutor of civil rights crimes and then as senior counsel to the assistant attorney general.

He was one of the investigators and prosecutors in the federal case against the city of Ferguson for civil rights violations over the shooting of an African American teenager by a white police officer in 2014 that led to nationwide protests and riots.

He was recently the director of legal strategies at Demos, a national public policy organisation, where he led voting rights litigation. Before that, he was a senior fellow at the Harvard Law School and a clerk for a federal judge.

A key component of Biden’s election manifesto is criminal justice reform to ensure that minorities are not treated unfairly by laws and law enforcement agencies.

Gupta was the deputy director of the Labour Department’s Women’s Bureau in the Obama administration.

She was recently the director of job quality for the Center for Law and Social Policy.

Her previous jobs included stints as research director for Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy and for the Living Wage Campaign at the LA Alliance for a New Economy.

While congratulating Swati Mohan, the NASA engineer who guided the Mars rover Perseverance to a soft landing on the planet, Biden had said on Thursday, “Indian-descent Americans are taking over this country — you, my vice president, my speechwriter Vinay (Reddy). But I tell you what, thanks. You guys are incredible.”

On Wednesday, Biden had announced the appointment of a Pakistani American, Dilwar Syed, to be the deputy director of the Small Business Administration.

Biden has a track record of working with Indian-Americans and other Asians to promote their participation in US politics.

He is the co-founder with Shekhar Narasimhan of the AAPI (Asian American Pacific Islander) Victory Fund, which is a political action committee that encourages and helps Asian Americans to run in elections, besides raising funds and mobilising voters.

He is the president and CEO at Lumiata, an Artificial Intelligence company in the healthcare field.

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Roman Orthodox Church rejects demands for baptism changes after infant’s death

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The leadership of the Romanian Orthodox Church has decided not to change its ancient practice of full-immersion baptism of babies despite public outrage that followed the recent death of an infant during christening.

The denomination’s decision-making body, Holy Synod, has announced that the baptism ritual will remain and that it will only urge priests to be more careful when they perform the ritual, according to Radio Free Europe.

“We do not demand the [end] of the practice of baptism but its modification so [babies] are prevented from unnecessary and even absurd risks!” reads an online petition that had gathered over 65,500 names as of Saturday.

The petition, arguing that the tradition involves brutality and should be abolished, was launched by a teacher, Vladimir Dumitru, in response to the death of a 6-week-old baby on Feb. 1 after suffering cardiac arrest while being baptized in a church in the northern town of Suceava.

The priest, identified as Alexandru Mazarache, fully immersed the baby in the water three times in the baptismal font, DW reported earlier. The child first cried, then became still, then the infant’s lips turned blue. The baby was taken to a hospital, where he died a few hours later.

The priest is a suspect in the investigation on charges of involuntary manslaughter. His lawyer, Marcel Balatchi, was quoted as saying that the priest had “performed the ritual according to church canons.”

Romania’s ombudsman has suggested some health and safety measures to the church, including increasing the age of the child for baptism.

A spokesperson for the Orthodox Church, Vasile Banescu, earlier suggested the churches could sprinkle holy water over babies instead of immersing them.

“It is, without a doubt, a tragic case, a case that will have to be investigated. Let’s not imagine that a child can be put in water without covering his nose, mouth and ears,” Banescu told Antena 3. “There is a technique that an experienced priest always uses. This is how a baptism is celebrated with the utmost care.”

Teodosie Petrescu, the archbishop of Tomis in the country’s southeast, had rejected calls for babies to be sprinkled with water. He was quoted as saying earlier that the tradition of immersing a child three times during baptism has carried on for 2 millennia and will continue.

“There’s no way for the ritual to change. These canons of faith will be available for another 1,000 years. That is why we will not change. We’re not intimidated,” Petrescu said.

The archbishop added that babies should be immersed in cold water, which not only “sharpens” their spirituality, but is also suitable for their health.

Over 80% of Romanians are Orthodox Christians.
Sources:Christian Post

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