December 2023: A Month Full of Brickbats

After the city of Atlanta demolished Everett Tripodis’ house without properly informing him, city officials sued him to recoup the $68,000 they claim to have spent tearing it down. The city wants to force the sale of the lot to pay for the demolition retroactively. A local TV station found that Tripodis’ house was on Lawton Street; the city building inspector’s office sent warning letters to Lawton Avenue, in a different zip code.

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell vetoed a bill that would order a city-owned apartment to be rented out at market rate. The unit was supposed to be used by visiting elected officials, but the city discovered last year that Cantrell had been staying there without paying rent. After the city council overrode her veto, Cantrell called it “shameful” that the city would not lease a suite in Caesars Superdome, home of the New Orleans Saints.

The British Advertising Standards Authority found that the retailer Boots illegally advertised infant formula through Google ads. To promote breastfeeding, the British government has banned advertising formula for infants under six months. Boots said the ads were in error, generated by an algorithm linked to its website that promotes items on sale.

A pregnant Montgomery County, Tennessee, inmate called for help at 11:31 a.m. A nurse examined her and then left to consult with other medical staff. Another nurse then came to examine her, but she left to order more tests. A deputy came back at 12:41 p.m. to check on the woman only to find she’d since given birth, alone in her cell.

St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones has proposed banning AR-15s, AK-47s, and similar weapons from city streets. Jones has also called for banning people convicted of insurrection or hate crimes from possessing firearms in the city.

In Columbia County, Arkansas, Tina Hight called 911 for what she described as a domestic violence situation.

Bodycam video shows when she opened the door for sheriff’s deputies, her dogs got out, including a small Pomeranian that ran barking toward Deputy Brian Williams. Williams seemed to panic, threatening to kill the dog and firing an apparent warning shot before firing another shot toward the dog. That shot missed but hit Hight, who was standing on her porch. When Hight screamed that she had been shot, Williams denied shooting her and claimed the dog had scratched her. More than a year later, the bullet is still lodged in Hight’s shin.

For over six months, Chicago officials refused to release public records showing how they spent more than $100 million caring for foreign migrants. The city denied a Freedom of Information Act request from a local television station, saying there were no such records, as well as requests for the same records from the Illinois Attorney General’s Office and a city council member. It finally released the records after a local CBS affiliate aired a story highlighting its refusal.

The Kenosha, Wisconsin, police department said it is investigating an incident in which officers were caught on video apparently punching a man inside a local Applebee’s. The officers believed the man was involved in a hit-and-run crash. He was not: They later found the actual suspects in the Applebee’s restroom. The man they punched faces charges of resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, and obstructing an officer; a woman who was with him faces the same charges plus possession of marijuana.

The government of Victoria, Australia, agreed to pay about 5 million Australian dollars (approximately $3.2 million) to settle a lawsuit brought by Melbourne public housing residents who were forced into a hard 14-day COVID-19 lockdown with no warning in July 2020. Some 3,000 people may be eligible for compensation. Despite the settlement, the government still refuses to apologize to the residents.