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Chicago Cop Indicted In Death Of Black Teen Enters Plea At Arraignment

Source: Scott Olson / Getty

Laquan McDonald’s Killer, Jason Van Dyke, Hired By Chicago Police Union As Janitor

Jason Van Dyke, the Chicago police officer charged with killing Laquan McDonald, has been recently hired as a janitor for the Chicago Police Union. According to the Associated Press, Van Dyke was given the job three weeks and was given the job because he has been in a “very difficult situation, financially.”

Dean Angelo, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Chicago, said that the union “would do the same for any Chicago officer.” Apparently, Van Dyke lost his other jobs and the public has threatened to close down his wife’s business. 

Van Dyke is facing first-degree murder charges in the death of 17-year-old McDonald, who was unarmed at the time of his killing. The murder of the unarmed teen was part of an alleged larger cover up that may have involved higher-ups in the police department, assistant attorney’s office and other government officials. It’s unknown if Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel had direct knowledge of the cover up.

The shooting was caught on a squad-car video and prompted numerous investigations, including a federal civil rights probe of the Chicago Police Department, the AP noted. (The Associated Press)

#PrayForFlint: Kids’ Lead Blood Levels Could Rise in Summer Because of Soil

Michigan National Guard To Help Flint With Lead Contamination In Water Supply

Source: Bill Pugliano / Getty

As if Flint need more bad news.

Health officials predict that the city’s residents could be exposed to even more pollution and contamination in the upcoming summer months. But not for its water, instead for the town’s soil, USA Today writes.

Researchers from Michigan State University claim that during warmer weather, the toxicity in the soil can be inhaled. But Richard Sadler, an assistant professor, noted that this is typical to happen during the summer for Flint and other larger cities.

“It’s easy to draw that relationship to water being the culprit,” when the issue this summer could be lead in the soil, Sadler said Wednesday. Officials should find that the increase in blood lead levels this summer is lower than it was in the summers of 2014 and 2015, when residents were drinking Flint River water that was not properly treated with corrosion-control chemicals, Sadler said.

Sadler hopes that this higher lead level doesn’t lead to public confusion since residents  have been told that the water is safe to drink, USA Today noted. (USA Today)

Say It Ain’t Flow! Planned Parenthood Launches New Period App

Need help tracking your period? Well there’s an app for that, thanks to reproductive health justice organization Planned Parenthood. The group recently launched Spot On, which helps users track their period and manage their birth control, says Mobile Health News.

“At Planned Parenthood, we understand that your period is a normal — if not always welcome — part of life, and we hear pretty much every question in the book about periods and birth control,” said Dr. Raegan McDonald-Mosley, Chief Medical Officer at Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

“This led us to create a resource to help every person understand their own unique cycle and body. We’re thrilled to introduce the Spot On app, and hope it empowers users to take control of their period, their birth control, and their overall sexual health,” she added. 

The app, which also offers users discreet birth control reminders and offers personalized advice, is available for iPhone on the App Store here, with an Android version coming soon. (Mobile Health News)

And Another One…Mississippi Passes Anti LGBT Bill

On Wednesday, the Mississippi Senate voted in favor of an anti-LGBT religious freedom bill, NBC reported.

In a 31-17 vote, state lawmakers passed the “Protecting Freedom of Conscience From Government Discrimination Act,” which allows for businesses, social workers and public employees are legally allowed to deny services of they believe that marriage is between a man and a woman or that “sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage,” NBC noted.  The bill also allows for people to discriminate against transgender individuals if they believe that “gender is determined at birth.”

Republican Sen. Chris McDaniel defended the vote.

“Why not preserve the first amendment? Why not preserve the civil liberties that should have always been preserved, not necessarily by individual actors but by state action, limit the power of the state, control those passions?” he asked.

However, the ACLU bashed the bill, stressing that “legislators have gone out of their way to stigmatize and marginalize same sex couples by pushing this legislation. The Mississippi State Legislature should look for ways to bring Mississippians together, not divide us along religious lines.” (NBC News)

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