News Roundup

Afternoon Briefs: DOJ civil rights nominee defends letter; lawyer charged in triple murder

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Kristen Clarke

Kristen Clarke. Photo from Getty Images.

DOJ civil rights nominee defends satirical letter

Kristen Clarke, the president of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, defended her past statements and writings Wednesday during a hearing on her nomination to lead the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division. Republicans are troubled by a 1994 letter that Clarke co-wrote to the Harvard Crimson that responded to the book The Bell Curve, which examined racial differences in IQ scores. Clark said her letter—asserting that melanin gives Black people better mental, physical and spiritual abilities—was satirical. “What I was seeking to do was to hold up a mirror and put one racist theory alongside another,” Clarke said. (Courthouse News Service, the Washington Post, USA Today)

Former lawyer and client are accused of murder

Suspended Oklahoma City lawyer Keegan Kelly Harroz and her husband, Barry Titus II, a former client, are facing murder charges in a triple murder. The couple is accused of killing Titus’ ex-girlfriend and her parents in September 2019. Both have denied the allegations. (The Oklahoman, the Tulsa World)

Wrongly arrested man sues over facial recognition tech

A Michigan man has sued Detroit police for wrongly arresting him after facial recognition technology misidentified him as a shoplifting suspect. The lawsuit filed by Robert Williams of Farmington Hills, Michigan, said the technology has a poor record of identifying Black people, especially in cases such as his, when the store surveillance video used in the matching process was grainy. (Courthouse News Service, the Associated Press, American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan press release, the April 13 lawsuit)

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