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Raynette Turner’s Family seeks Answers in Jail Death

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Herman Turner is still seeking answers, and justice, after his wife, Raynette Turner, was found dead in a police holding cell. The 42-year-old mother of eight died Monday at police headquarters while awaiting arraignment on a shoplifting charge, and her husband of 23 years said he hasn’t been able to get additional information about the circumstances leading to her death.

“Sounds like a cover-up to me,” he said Tuesday evening in the Gramatan Avenue office of his attorney, Osvaldo Gonzalez. “If they [Mount Vernon police] did their job she would still be alive.

“I want somebody’s head to roll on this. I am not going to rest until I get some type of justice for my wife. That’s the bottom line.”

Officials in this city and beyond are trying to determine how Raynette Turner died Monday.

State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has sent investigators from his new team tasked with probing police-involved deaths to Westchester County, spokesman Eric Soufer said. The case is one of the first Schneiderman’s office has examined since Gov. Andrew Cuomo named him special prosecutor earlier this month, granting him the power to investigate and — if necessary — prosecute police officers involved in the death of an unarmed civilian.

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Herman Turner, Raynette Turner’s husband, speaks at his attorney’s office Tuesday. (Photo: Matt Spillane/The Journal News)

It’s not yet clear whether Schneiderman will launch a full investigation. Soufer said that’s what investigators are trying to determine.

Cuomo’s July 8 executive order requires Schneiderman to investigate “certain matters involving the death of an unarmed civilian, whether in custody or not, caused by a law-enforcement officer.”

In Mount Vernon on Tuesday, Turner’s camp and city officials gave accounts of what happened to Turner that differed on some key points.

Herman Turner, 49, said he wasn’t sure whether his wife had been arrested on Friday or Saturday, but Mount Vernon Deputy Police Commissioner Richard Burke said that Turner was arrested Saturday afternoon after allegedly stealing crab legs from Restaurant Depot at 650 S. Columbus Ave. Burke said she was found a few blocks away from the store.

Herman Turner went to City Court on Monday to await his wife’s arraignment and was told there she would likely be released without bail, said Gonzalez, his attorney. He then was told she had been complaining that she was not feeling well, which he believed had delayed her arraignment.

The family did not learn of Turner’s death until Tuesday morning when two detectives came to their home to break the news, Gonzalez said.

“We know she was requesting medical treatment and it seems that, at some level, the system and the protocols that the city was following failed,” he said.

Mount Vernon officials, speaking at a news conference Tuesday afternoon, said Turner was taken into custody Saturday sometime after 3 p.m. on a petty larceny charge, after she allegedly shoplifted from the wholesale food store.

Restaurant Depot, a restaurant supply store at 650 S. Columbus Ave. in Mount Vernon. Police said Raynette Turner was arrested for shoplifting at the store. (Photo: Seth Harrison/The Journal News)

Restaurant Depot, a restaurant supply store at 650 S. Columbus Ave. in Mount Vernon. Police said Raynette Turner was arrested for shoplifting at the store. (Photo: Seth Harrison/The Journal News)

City officials said it was Turner’s third shoplifting arrest in recent weeks, though Herman Turner said that is “nothing but a bald-faced lie.”

He said his wife had been on probation for five years and had not been arrested during that time.

After her arrest, she was put in a holding cell to await arraignment at the start of the week, according to Burke and Capt. Edward Adinaro.

While she was still awaiting arraignment, Turner was taken by TransCare ambulance to Montefiore Mount Vernon hospital between 7:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. Sunday after complaining that she did not feel well, police said. She was treated for hypertension — high blood pressure — and returned to the cell by ambulance shortly after 10 p.m., they said.

She was the only person being held in the cell at the time; one of about 20 to 24 at the station, police said.

The cell block is monitored by video and people being held there are checked hourly, officials said. Turner was last seen awake between noon and 1 p.m., they said. She was found dead at 2 p.m. when officers tried to wake her for her arraignment.

Herman Turner said he sat in court all day Monday until about 4 p.m. waiting for his wife’s arraignment.

“No one said anything to me about my wife was downstairs, dead,” he said. “They just let me sit in the courtroom all day long, waiting for her to come and be seen by the judge.”

Herman Turner also said that he went to the hospital and that it had no record of his wife being there.

“I’m angry,” he said. “Very angry. Somebody needs to pay. Somebody really needs to pay for this. I’m sorry, I’m not going to let this rest.”

Turner said funeral arrangements are still being made with the help of his sister, Elizabeth Turner-Parks.

Autopsy results are pending.

“It’s a tragedy when anyone dies in police custody,” Burke said, but: “There is no foul play suspected.”

“Unfortunately the woman had a history of bariatric problems. She had bariatric surgery. She also had hypertension.”

Gonzalez, however, said Turner was healthy and feeling very well after undergoing weight-loss surgery a year ago.

Herman Turner, with his sister, Elizabeth Turner-Parks, speaks in his attorney’s office about the death of his wife, Raynette Turner. (Matt Spillane/The Journal News)

“She was a nice lady, a sweet, loving mother and a good person,” Gonzalez said. Her children range in age from 8 to 21.

Mayor Ernie Davis, at the news conference, extended his condolences to Turner’s family.

Turner’s death should be a wake-up call to many local police departments that need to update their antiquated protocols for dealing with inmates, said Damon Jones, New York representative for Blacks in Law Enforcement of America.

“I hope that there are some policies and procedures that will be put into place when you’re dealing with people that are ill,” he said, “to make sure that these incidents will not happen.”

Corey Stoughton, a senior staff attorney with the New York Civil Liberties Union, said Turner’s death in police custody has echoes of the death earlier this month of Sandra Bland, a Chicago woman who was found dead in a Texas holding cell after an arrest on a minor traffic violation.

The home of Raynette Turner at 211 S. Second Ave in Mount Vernon. Turner, a mother of eight, was found dead in a Mount Vernon police holding cell Monday. (Photo: Seth Harrison/The Journal News)

The home of Raynette Turner at 211 S. Second Ave in Mount Vernon. Turner, a mother of eight, was found dead in a Mount Vernon police holding cell Monday. (Photo: Seth Harrison/The Journal News)

Both were arrested for minor charges and put in a holding cell over the weekend, she noted. An autopsy ruled Bland’s death was a suicide but her family has disputed that account.

“After incidents like this you should have the local governments that operate holding cells question the wisdom of holding people arrested for minor crimes over the weekend,” Stoughton said. “You have to ask why someone accused of petty theft has to spend three days in jail before even seeing a judge.”

Supervisors of holding cells have the same responsibility as prisons to provide adequate medical and mental health care, she said.

Montefiore Mount Vernon sees inmates from Mount Vernon on a case-by-case basis but has no formal agreement with the city to care for people held in the lockup, a spokeswoman for the hospital said.

Community leaders said they want answers.

“It’s deeply troubling that this lady died in our custody,” said city Councilman Richard Thomas, a candidate for mayor. “We need full transparency so we know what happened.”

Community activist Ronnie Cox warned against jumping to conclusions before all the facts are known. But referencing Bland, she added, “We have to be very concerned about any individual who passes away in jail.”

The Westchester County District Attorney’s Office is assisting in the probe into the death, spokesman Lucian Chalfen said.

 

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80 Million Stimulus Check Direct Deposits Have Been Processed. When Will They Arrive?

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80 Million Stimulus Check Direct Deposits Have Been Processed. When Will They Arrive?

Americans will start to see their stimulus payments this week, a centerpiece of the $2.2 trillion rescue package meant to provide a buffer against the coronavirus pandemic that’s shuttered much of the U.S. economy.

The Internal Revenue Service has begun sending $1,200 payments to middle and lower income adults, plus $500 for their minor children, though it could take until September for every eligible person to get the money.
The first payments “should be deposited directly into individuals’ bank accounts; the precise date you will see payments in your account depends on how long individual banks typically take to process direct deposits,” according to a press release from House Ways and Means Committee Republicans.

The IRS will first send the money to individuals for whom the agency has direct deposit information. The remainder will be mailed as checks. That process is expected to begin April 20 but could take until the fall to complete.

The IRS processed more than 80 million payments on Friday that should be available in bank accounts early this week, Sunita Lough, the IRS deputy commissioner for services and enforcement, said in a video conference Monday.

Payments will be made first to those earning the least.

The IRS has launched a tool for non-tax filers, such as those who had income under $12,200 last year and weren’t required to file a federal return, to enter direct deposit information to get their payments.

The agency plans to have a second website up by April 17 that will show people the status of their payments, including the date the money is scheduled to be deposited or mailed. That tool will also let people who’ve typically gotten their tax refund in the mail to provide their bank account details to get their stimulus payment more quickly.

The IRS is using information from 2018 and 2019 tax returns to process the payments. It says taxpayers who’ve yet to file a return this year should do so as soon as possible, and elect to receive the refund via a direct deposit. The information can then be used to distribute the stimulus payments. Social Security and disability recipients will receive their payments automatically.

The tax deadline was extended to July 15 from April 15 to give people more time to file and pay during the pandemic.

Taxpayers who don’t need extra time and who expect to get a stimulus payment should file as soon as possible so the agency has their most up-to-date details on file, said Christina Taylor, head of operations for Credit Karma Tax.

“The quicker, the better,” she said.

Americans earning $75,000 or less, or $150,000 and below as a couple, are eligible for the full $1,200 payout per adult, plus $500 for each child under 17. Those amounts are reduced for people with higher incomes, and people who make $99,000 or more in earnings (or $198,000 for a couple) get nothing, even if they have children. Individuals must have a Social Security number to receive a payment.

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A Case of Hantavirus Has Been Reported in China. Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Worry.

A man who died in China Monday reportedly tested positive for a hantavirus, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should worry another pandemic is coming…

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A Case of Hantavirus Has Been Reported in China. Here's Why You Shouldn't Worry.

A man who died in China Monday reportedly tested positive for a hantavirus, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should worry another pandemic is coming.

Hantaviruses are a family of virus that spread through rodents, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In Yunnan Province, a man died on his way back to Shandong Province, according to Global Times, an English-language Chinese news outlet.

“He was tested positive for #hantavirus. Other 32 people on bus were tested,” the news outlet tweeted.

The tweet, sent amid a pandemic caused by a new coronavirus, has been shared more than 15,000 times.

Though countries across the globe are on high alert due to uncertainty around the coronavirus, there is no indication that the hantavirus poses a global public health threat.

According to the CDC, hantavirus cases are rare, and they spread as a result of close contact with rodent urine, droppings or saliva.

Certain kinds of rats and mice in the United States can carry the virus, which is transmitted when someone breathes in contaminated air.

“The hantaviruses that cause human illness in the United States cannot be transmitted from one person to another,” the CDC says on its website. Rare cases in Chile and Argentina have seen person-to-person transmission when a person is in close contact with someone sickened by a type of hantavirus called Andes virus, the CDC says.

In the U.S., the virus can cause hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, a severe respiratory disease that can be fatal. Symptoms include fatigue, fever, muscle aches, headaches, dizziness, chills, and abdominal problems. Coughing and shortness of breath can occur later in the disease as the lungs fill with liquid, the CDC says,

Hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome, found mostly in Europe and Asia, can also occur, which causes pain, fever, chills, nausea, and blurred vision, the CDC says. More serious symptoms include acute kidney failure.

Cases in the United States have typically been concentrated in the western and southwestern states.

From 1993 to 2017, there were only 728 confirmed hantavirus cases in the United States, with most being non-fatal, according to CDC data. In comparison, since late January, when the first known coronavirus case was identified in the U.S., there have been 46,805 confirmed coronavirus cases nationwide, according to a Johns Hopkins University tracker.

In May 1993, a hantavirus outbreak occurred in an area between Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah. A 2012 outbreak in Yosemite sickened 10 people. In seven states, 17 people were infected in a 2017 outbreak.

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Developments in Presidential Race, Trump does Terribly at Forum as Clinton shines

November is lurking around the corner and will be here before you know it, so my question to you is, have you decided who you will vote for? I have, and I proudly say my choice is Hillary Rodham Clinton. I am informing you all that there are ample development in the race for the presidency of the United States…

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November is lurking around the corner and will be here before you know it, so my question to you is, have you decided who you will vote for? I have, and I proudly say my choice is Hillary Rodham Clinton. I am informing you all that there are ample development in the race for the presidency of the United States.

First of all, Donald Trump, according to Kristina Vong’s article at Thehill.com, wrongly corrected a veteran Marine during a forum. The veteran, a woman named Rachel Fredericks, asked Mr. Trump how he plans to stop 20 veterans from committing suicide, daily. Trump tried to correct the woman, who needed no correction. He said it is actually 22, trying to emerge correct, when he was essentially incorrect.

Mr. Trump also does not have a real plan to defeat ISIS, as “his plan is to have a plan” according to Igor Bobic at the Huffington Post. He also insulted military leaders calling them embarrassments to the country when they were under President Obama. He wants to give the generals 30 days to come up with a plan to defeat ISIS.  Of course, this even makes it more obvious that Mr. Trump does not have a plan to defeat ISIS. Why, then did he call our current president the founder of ISIS? How can you give your vote to someone so unprepared and unfit for the presidency that constitutes a whole country? Sorry to say, but Donald Trump is not someone to vote for, at least not as US President!

According to Sean Colarossi at PoliticusUSA.com, a presidential forum highlighted how prepared Trump and Clinton are compared to each other, with Clinton appearing as the more prepared one, very easily. Clinton was engaged with questions, expressed gratitude, and was very prolific and intelligible in her responses. To reiterate, Trump has not a plan to defeat ISIS, where Hillary has a well thought-out plan. She outlined her plan, entailing it could take any form and she iterated and supports the idea that terror suspects should not be able to purchase firearms. Clinton also covered issues like mental health, illuminating the fact that it is overlooked, and mental health should no longer be stigmatized and victims of mental disorders should have access to resources. On the other hand, Trump gave generic answers like that he knows what is going on in the world. Also according to Colarossi’s article, Trump showed as an “empty suit” and “showed he is not prepared to be commander-in-chief” and that the contrast between him and Clinton could not be clearer”; this essentially means Clinton showed to be immensely more prepared to lead and did not focus on attacking others, like Trump’s approach does.

Lastly, Donald Trump has insulted women, children, ethnic groups, religious groups, his opponent, our current president, the military, and the list goes on. He is patronizing and unprepared to preside over our country as well. He constantly attacks others, with no action in mind. Consider if you want to have him as president, seriously!

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