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NFL's Richard Sherman 'deeply remorseful' after arrest

NFL's Richard Sherman 'deeply remorseful' after arrest

SEATTLE — Former Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers star Richard Sherman said Friday that he is “deeply remorseful” following his arrest on accusations of drunkenly crashing his SUV in a construction zone and trying to break in to his in-laws’ suburban Seattle home this week.Sherman tweeted a statement before appearing in court and pleading not guilty to drunken driving, criminal trespassing, resisting arrest and other charges.“I behaved in a manner I am not proud of,” Sherman said. “I have been dealing with some personal challenges over the last several months, but that is not an excuse for how I acted. The importance of mental and emotional health is extremely real and I vow to get the help I need.”Sherman, who was released from jail Thursday, was arraigned on five criminal charges that also include reckless endangerment of road workers and malicious mischief. They are all misdemeanors, punishable by up to 90 days in jail, or gross misdemeanors, punishable by up to one year.Sherman was belligerent, had been drinking heavily and spoke of killing himself when he left his home in the Seattle suburb of Maple Valley late Tuesday, according to police reports. His wife, Ashley Sherman, called 911 to try to have police stop him.Police said he crashed his car in a construction zone early Wednesday along a busy highway east of Seattle and then tried to break in to his in-laws’ home in the suburb of Redmond. Workers said the driver entered the closed construction zone at 60 to 70 mph (97 to 113 kph) and sped off after being confronted, shooting sparks from a wheel, then abandoned the disabled vehicle nearby.Sherman’s father-in-law, Raymond Moss, told officers that he armed himself with a handgun and fired pepper-spray at the NFL cornerback to protect his family as Sherman tried to bust in the door of Moss’ home with his shoulder.Another of Moss’ daughters pleaded with a 911 operator for officers to arrive quickly and told her children to hide in a bathroom behind a shower curtain, according to audio of the call released Thursday.“The family began to yell in fear,” Raymond Moss told police. “I used pepper spray on Sherman’s face through the partially opened door as he was still banging and attempting to gain entry. I told him to stop. I armed myself with my handgun at this time fearing for the safety of myself and my family.”Officers were cautious about arresting Sherman because of his size, strength and belligerence, according to police reports. After trying to deescalate the situation, they decided to use less-lethal force after warning Sherman that they would if he didn’t comply with their orders.They could not use a Taser because they worried about igniting whatever chemical Sherman’s father-in-law had sprayed him with and could not fire a bean-bag round because they were too close to him. Instead, they released a police dog, which bit his ankle and caused a minor cut, as other officers wrestled with him on the ground, the reports say.In February, King County prosecutors and the sheriff obtained an “extreme risk protection order” for Sherman, which barred him from having guns after a judge determined he posed a danger to himself or others. Details of the case were sealed, and it was not immediately clear if any weapons had been seized from him.Ashley Sherman told police her husband had been on anti-depressants and was receiving mental health counseling.The arrest was Sherman’s first known involvement with the criminal justice system. In his statement, he thanked community members and his family for supporting him.At a court hearing Thursday, Sherman’s attorney, Cooper Offenbecher, did not contest that probable cause existed for the arrest. But he said Sherman should be released without bail and noted his good works in the community, including founding the Blanket Coverage Foundation, a charity that provides low-income students with school supplies and clothes.Sherman, 33, became a Seattle sports legend during seven seasons with Seahawks. The cornerback was a star in their run to a 2014 Super Bowl victory, making a game-saving play to deflect a pass in the NFC Championship Game against the 49ers.He left the Seahawks after the 2017 season and played three seasons with San Francisco. He is now a free agent.

Father-in-law says he pepper-sprayed NFL's Richard Sherman

Father-in-law says he pepper-sprayed NFL's Richard Sherman

A police report obtained by The Associated Press says Richard Sherman’s father-in-law armed himself with a handgun and fired pepper-spray at the NFL cornerback to protect his family as Sherman tried to bust in the door of his in-laws’ homeBy GENE JOHNSON Associated PressJuly 15, 2021, 7:16 PM• 4 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleSEATTLE — Richard Sherman’s father-in-law armed himself with a handgun and fired pepper-spray at the NFL cornerback to protect his family as Sherman tried to bust in the door of his in-laws’ home, according to a police statement obtained by The Associated Press.Sherman was arrested early Wednesday after police said he crashed his car in a construction zone and then tried to break into his in-laws’ home in the Seattle suburb of Redmond.Sherman remained in jail Thursday and was expected to make an initial court appearance in the afternoon. It was not clear if he had an attorney who might speak on his behalf.According to the police report, which had not been made public, Sherman’s father-in-law, Raymond Moss, told investigators that the former Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers star partially broke in the door by repeatedly ramming it with his shoulder. Sherman called out, “Come through, Ray!” in a hostile and threatening tone, Moss said.“The family began to yell in fear,” Moss told police. “I used pepper spray on Sherman’s face through the partially opened door as he was still banging and attempting to gain entry. I told him to stop. I armed myself with my handgun at this time fearing for the safety of myself and my family.”Sherman’s wife, Ashley Moss, called 911 late Tuesday to report that he was being belligerent, had threatened to kill himself and was driving away after drinking two bottles of hard alcohol.“At this time, we’re going to make no statements, except he didn’t harm anybody,” she told The Seattle Times on Wednesday. “My kids were not harmed in the incident. He’s a good person and this is not his character. We’re doing all right, just trying to get him out. I want people to know no one was injured.”In February, King County prosecutors and the sheriff obtained an “extreme risk protection order” for Sherman, which barred him from having guns after a judge determined he posed a danger to himself or others. Details of the case were sealed, and it was not immediately clear if any weapons had been seized from him.Sherman was booked into jail Wednesday in Seattle on suspicion of resisting arrest, malicious mischief and residential burglary. The Washington State Patrol said it also would recommend charges of driving under the influence and hit-and-run.The burglary allegation is a felony that includes a domestic violence component because it was the home of relatives. Sherman did not enter the home, strike or try to hit any family members, authorities said.Shortly before 1:30 a.m. Wednesday, the Washington State Patrol received a 911 call from a construction crew working along a freeway east of Seattle. The caller said an apparently intoxicated driver had entered the closed construction zone. As the vehicle left the area, it struck a barricade, causing significant damage on the driver’s side, Patrol Capt. Ron Mead told reporters.The vehicle soon became completely disabled, Mead said.Just before 2 a.m., Redmond police received a 911 call from the in-laws’ home, reporting that Sherman was trying to break in, Police Chief Darrell Lowe said.It initially seemed to work, but Sherman’s demeanor changed when the officers told him he was under arrest, Lowe said. He began walking away rapidly and fought as police tried to take him into custody, and a K-9 officer released the dog to subdue him.Sherman got minor cuts to his lower leg and was treated at a hospital before being taken to jail. At his first court hearing, a judge will determine if there is probable cause to believe he committed a crime.Sherman, 33, became a Seattle sports legend during seven seasons with Seahawks. The cornerback was a star in their run to a 2014 Super Bowl victory, making a game-saving play to deflect a pass in the NFC Championship Game against the 49ers.He left the Seahawks after the 2017 season and played three seasons with San Francisco. He is now a free agent.

NFL's Richard Sherman jailed on domestic violence allegation

NFL's Richard Sherman jailed on domestic violence allegation

Former Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers star Richard Sherman has been arrested after authorities said he tried to force his way into a family member’s home in suburban Seattle and fought with officersBy GENE JOHNSON Associated PressJuly 14, 2021, 7:37 PM• 2 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleSEATTLE — Former Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers star Richard Sherman was arrested Wednesday after authorities said he tried to force his way into a family member’s home in suburban Seattle and fought with officers, who used police dogs to apprehend him.Sherman was booked into the King County Correctional Facility in Seattle just after 6 a.m. on suspicion of so-called burglary domestic violence, according to online records.It wasn’t immediately clear if Sherman had an attorney who could speak on his behalf. His initial court hearing wasn’t expected until Thursday.A resident called 911 just before 2 a.m., saying someone was trying to force his way into a home in Redmond, Washington, police said.A statement from police says officers found Sherman outside the home and he fought with them while being taken into custody, “resulting in a Redmond K9 team being deployed to assist in gaining control.”Police said the Washington State Patrol also was investigating a hit-and-run crash tied to Sherman. Before arriving at the home, he is suspected of striking a cement barrier on a busy state highway in the area and running away from his severely damaged vehicle.The NFL said in a statement about Sherman that it “investigates any incident involving law enforcement and if there is a violation of the personal conduct policy the player would be facing discipline.”Sherman become a Seattle sports legend during seven seasons with Seahawks. The cornerback was a star in their run to a 2014 Super Bowl victory, making a game-saving play to deflect a pass in the NFC Championship Game against the 49ers.He left the Seahawks after the 2017 season and played three seasons with San Francisco. The 33-year-old is now a free agent.The NFL Players Association said the union was monitoring the situation.“We were made aware of an arrest last night of one of our player leaders for an alleged domestic violence incident and have activated our domestic violence crisis protocol for the protection and support of everyone involved,” a union statement said.Sherman would likely make an initial court appearance Thursday afternoon, said Casey McNerthney, a spokesman for the King County Prosecutor’s office.Police in Redmond have scheduled a 1:30 p.m. news conference.

Nigerian IT worker charged in multistate unemployment fraud

A Nigerian information technology worker has been indicted on federal wire fraud and identity theft charges, after authorities said he and his co-conspirators filed false claims for pandemic-related unemployment benefits in 17 statesBy GENE JOHNSON Associated PressJune 24, 2021, 10:34 PM• 3 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleSEATTLE — A Nigerian information technology worker has been indicted on federal wire fraud and identity theft charges, after authorities said he and his co-conspirators filed false claims for pandemic-related unemployment benefits in 17 states.Chukwuemeka Onyegbula, using the name “Phillip Carter,” was linked to at least 253 fraudulent filings for unemployment benefits, according to an indictment unsealed Thursday in Seattle.Onyegbula has been detained in Nigeria, but prospects for his extradition to the U.S. were unclear. Onyegbula works for Pan Ocean Oil Corporation Nigeria Limited, according to the Seattle U.S. Attorney’s Office. Court documents did not list an attorney who might comment on his behalf.Washington, Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Nevada, Rhode Island, Texas and Wisconsin paid out a total of nearly $290,000 on claims related to the case. Additionally, the federal Small Business Administration paid out $54,000 in COVID-19 economic disaster claims filed by Onyegbula and his co-conspirators, prosecutors said.Washington state was severely victimized by fraudulent claims for pandemic-related benefits. It likely paid out more than $647 million in such fraudulent claims, though $370 million was recovered, according to state officials.Onyegbula is the second Nigerian national charged with such fraud in U.S. District Court for western Washington. Abidemi Rufai, 42, a suspended Nigerian government official, has been accused of stealing $350,000 from Washington. He also sought to bilk the Internal Revenue Service of nearly $1.6 million, according to federal prosecutors.Rufai was arrested May 14 as he tried to travel from New York to Nigeria. A federal court in New York ordered him released on bond pending trial, but federal prosecutors in western Washington have been seeking to make sure he remains in custody, saying he poses a severe flight risk, is facile with fake identities, and that he’s unlikely to ever be extradited if he makes it back to Nigeria.A hearing is set for Friday to determine whether Rufai might be released pending trial. In a court filing Wednesday, assistant U.S. attorneys said that a recorded conversation between Rufai and his brother revealed that Rufai did not really know a woman who had offered to act as his custodian should he be released.The recorded conversation also suggested that Rufai had significantly more money than he led the court to believe, prosecutors said.In a response filed Thursday, one of Rufai’s attorneys, Michael C. Barrows, called the government’s reading of the conversation “an absolute fabrication.”The family friend who offered to act as custodian attended the christening of Rufai’s son five years ago, Barrows said. Rufai often visited her when he traveled to New York, and nothing in the conversation — which occurred in English, Rufai’s second language — could be understood to mean he didn’t know her, Barrows said.Further, the comments Rufai made about money referenced the fact that he could raise funds for his bond from friends and supporters — not that he had hidden assets, Barrows said.

Uber pays $3.4M for Seattle gig worker leave law mistakes

Uber has agreed to pay more than $3.4 million to 15,000 drivers after making mistakes regarding Seattle’s pioneering paid sick leave law covering gig workersBy GENE JOHNSON Associated PressJune 24, 2021, 8:13 PM• 3 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleSEATTLE — Uber has agreed to pay more than $3.4 million to 15,000 drivers after making mistakes related to Seattle’s pioneering paid sick leave law covering gig workers.Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Seattle City Council last year temporarily extended sick and safe leave protections to gig workers, who previously didn’t qualify because many companies treat them as independent contractors.The law allows the workers to accrue and take paid days off — based on their average daily compensation, including tips — to care for themselves or family members who get sick. The idea was to reduce the financial pressure on them to keep working, possibly spreading the virus, at a time when people were becoming more reliant on gig workers to perform tasks like grocery delivery.It also allows them them to take paid time off for other reasons, such as to seek help in domestic violence cases or to care for children whose schools were closed because of the pandemic.Seattle’s Office of Labor Standards began investigating after drivers complained that they were not receiving the benefits from Uber as required.The office said in a news release Thursday that Uber conducted several audits after the investigation began. The company discovered that technical glitches prevented some drivers from being able to access their paid-time-off accounts on the app; some had time-off requests inadvertently canceled; some had incorrect time-off balances in their accounts; and some had been required to wait until the day after their time-off request to take it.The company voluntarily fixed those issues, the office said.The agreement includes nearly $1.3 million in back pay, interest, damages and civil penalties for 2,329 workers, as well as nearly $2.2 million in advance payment of unused paid time off to 15,084 workers.The company said it had already set aside the latter amount for drivers who accrued sick time. Under the settlement, it is simply paying one of those days to each eligible driver now rather than later.Uber did not admit liability in the settlement agreement.“Having access to paid sick days during this pandemic means we can keep our customers and our families safe and healthy,” one of the drivers, Jamel Jara, said in the news release.Harry Hartfield, Uber’s public affairs manager, said in the news release that the company worked over a few weeks to build a new payment system to comply with the new law.”While the vast majority of workers claimed their Paid Sick and Safe Time without an issue, we’re grateful that the Office of Labor Standards worked in partnership with us as we improved our systems to ensure accurate and prompt payments,” Hartfield said.The paid sick leave protections for gig workers expire 180 days after the end of the civil emergency declared by public officials in response to the pandemic.

Uber pays $3.4M for Seattle gig worker leave law mistakes

Uber pays $3.4M for Seattle gig worker leave law mistakes

Uber has agreed to pay more than $3.4 million to 15,000 drivers after making mistakes regarding Seattle’s pioneering paid sick leave law covering gig workersBy GENE JOHNSON Associated PressJune 24, 2021, 8:13 PM• 3 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleSEATTLE — Uber has agreed to pay more than $3.4 million to 15,000 drivers after making mistakes related to Seattle’s pioneering paid sick leave law covering gig workers.Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Seattle City Council last year temporarily extended sick and safe leave protections to gig workers, who previously didn’t qualify because many companies treat them as independent contractors.The law allows the workers to accrue and take paid days off — based on their average daily compensation, including tips — to care for themselves or family members who get sick. The idea was to reduce the financial pressure on them to keep working, possibly spreading the virus, at a time when people were becoming more reliant on gig workers to perform tasks like grocery delivery.It also allows them them to take paid time off for other reasons, such as to seek help in domestic violence cases or to care for children whose schools were closed because of the pandemic.Seattle’s Office of Labor Standards began investigating after drivers complained that they were not receiving the benefits from Uber as required.The office said in a news release Thursday that Uber conducted several audits after the investigation began. The company discovered that technical glitches prevented some drivers from being able to access their paid-time-off accounts on the app; some had time-off requests inadvertently canceled; some had incorrect time-off balances in their accounts; and some had been required to wait until the day after their time-off request to take it.The company voluntarily fixed those issues, the office said.The agreement includes nearly $1.3 million in back pay, interest, damages and civil penalties for 2,329 workers, as well as nearly $2.2 million in advance payment of unused paid time off to 15,084 workers.The company said it had already set aside the latter amount for drivers who accrued sick time. Under the settlement, it is simply paying one of those days to each eligible driver now rather than later.Uber did not admit liability in the settlement agreement.“Having access to paid sick days during this pandemic means we can keep our customers and our families safe and healthy,” one of the drivers, Jamel Jara, said in the news release.Harry Hartfield, Uber’s public affairs manager, said in the news release that the company worked over a few weeks to build a new payment system to comply with the new law.”While the vast majority of workers claimed their Paid Sick and Safe Time without an issue, we’re grateful that the Office of Labor Standards worked in partnership with us as we improved our systems to ensure accurate and prompt payments,” Hartfield said.The paid sick leave protections for gig workers expire 180 days after the end of the civil emergency declared by public officials in response to the pandemic.

Mistrial halts case on minimum wage for immigrant detainees

Mistrial halts case on minimum wage for immigrant detainees

SEATTLE — A trial over whether the GEO Group must pay minimum wage — instead of $1 a day — to immigration detainees who perform tasks like cooking and cleaning at its for-profit detention center in Washington state has ended with a hung jury.U.S. District Judge Robert Bryan in Tacoma declared a mistrial Thursday after the nine-person jury indicated they could not reach unanimous agreement following a two-week trial and about two days of deliberation.“Nobody’s happy, but nobody lost,” Bryan told the attorneys afterward.Democratic Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson sued the Florida-based GEO Group in 2017, saying the company had unjustly profited by running the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma — now known as the Northwest ICE Processing Center — on the backs of captive workers.A separate lawsuit filed on behalf of detainees was also filed that year, seeking back pay. The judge, who rejected several attempts by GEO to dismiss the lawsuits, consolidated the cases for trial, which he conducted via Zoom because of the pandemic.The judge said he expected that the cases would be set for a new trial.“GEO, a multi-billion-dollar for-profit prison corporation that is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange, pays workers $1 a day or less to perform essential services necessary to maintain the Northwest ICE Processing Center,” Ferguson said in a written statement Thursday. “A hung jury allows us to re-try the claim again in front of a new jury.”GEO maintained that the detainees were not employees under the Washington Minimum Wage Act. Even if they were, the company said, it would be unlawfully discriminatory for Washington to require GEO to pay them minimum wage — now $13.69 an hour — when the state doesn’t pay minimum wage to inmates who work at its own prisons or other detention facilities.The jury indicated it could not reach agreement on either question before it: whether the detainees were employed by GEO, and, if they were employed, if the law discriminated against the company.The definition of “employee” in Washington’s minimum wage law is broad — it includes anyone who is permitted to work by an employer, without regard to immigration or legal work status. The law says residents of “a state, county, or municipal” detention facility are not entitled to minimum wage for work they perform.The detention center didn’t fit that exemption because it’s a private, for-profit facility, not a “state, county or municipal” one, attorneys for the state and for the detainees argued. At one point in their deliberations, the jurors sent a question to the judge, asking if “municipal” meant the same thing as “federal.” The judge responded that no, “municipal” referred to a city or town, not the federal government.The Northwest detention center houses people who are in custody while the federal government seeks to deport them or reviews their immigration status. It can hold up to 1,575 detainees, making it one of the nation’s largest immigration jails, though as of early this month its population was just 216, largely due to the pandemic.U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement requires the company to operate a “voluntary work program” in part to keep the detainees occupied. It requires them to be paid at least $1 per day for work that includes cleaning bathrooms, showers and industrial kitchens; washing and folding laundry; sweeping and buffing floors; preparing and serving food; and cutting hair.GEO acknowledged it could pay detainees more if it wanted. In 2018 the company made $18.6 million in profits from the facility; it would have cost $3.4 million to pay the minimum wage to detainees.Despite the broad definition of “employee” in the law, the case is complex. GEO’s contract with ICE requires it to comply with applicable state and local law — which, the state says, includes the Washington Minimum Wage Act.But other provisions forbid GEO from hiring anyone who doesn’t have legal status in the U.S. “The contract spells it out: The detainees are not employees,” GEO attorney Joan Mell said. “They can’t be.”In her closing argument, Mell accused the state and detainee advocates of using the lawsuits to attack the immigration detention system “without ever having to go to Congress.” GEO has operated the detainee work program for more than a decade, and the state made no effort to get the company to pay the minimum wage until 2017, amid a flurry of lawsuits Ferguson filed against the Trump administration.Washington appears to be the only state suing a private detention contractor for not paying minimum wage to immigration detainees. But similar lawsuits have been brought on behalf of immigration detainees in other states, including New Mexico, Colorado and California, seeking to force GEO and another major private detention company, CoreCivic, to pay minimum wage to detainees there.The Colorado and California cases are pending, but a federal judge rejected the lawsuit brought by former detainees of CoreCivic’s Cibola detention center in New Mexico — a decision upheld by a federal appeals court panel in March.“Persons in custodial detention — such as appellants — are not in an employer-employee relationship but in a detainer-detainee relationship,” the panel wrote.In a separate effort, Washington is trying to close the detention center entirely. This spring Gov. Jay Inslee signed a law that would ban for-profit detention centers in the state. GEO has sued to block it.