America potentially lost track of 4 times as many migrant children as it originally said

America potentially lost track of 4 times as many migrant children as it originally said

The government didn’t really lose 1,500 migrant children after they left federal custody.

It may be four times that.

McClatchy reviewed U.S. government data and found that during the Trump presidency, the government appears to have lost track of nearly 6,000 unaccompanied immigrant minors. The widely reported smaller number referred only to a three-month span last fall.

Yet contrary to assumptions that sparked outrage last month, an untraceable child could be better off. The Office of Refugee Resettlement couldn’t get ahold of 1,475 resettled immigrant children 30 days after their release after placing a single phone call, per policy. But those families often have a good reason for not picking up, New York Civil Liberties Union lawyer Paige Austin told WNYC’s On the Media last month: Families may wish to cut ties with the government in an effort to protect other undocumented immigrants they may be living with. Ninety percent of resettled children end up with a family member, per ORR data, and those people may or may not have legal status.

The number of actually lost children gets trickier to solidify, seeing as some families did answer and confirmed a child was gone, McClatchy says. And the numbers are only from 2017. Things could fluctuate further now that children and parents are being separated at the border, leaving more children unaccompanied and more immigrants afraid of authorities. Read more at McClatchy.

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Modern Family showrunner leaves Fox Studio over Fox News’ coverage of the child separation policy

Modern Family showrunner leaves Fox Studio over Fox News’ coverage of the child separation policy

Modern Family showrunner Steve Levitan is leaving Fox Studio in response to Fox News’ coverage of the Trump administration’s policy of separating immigrant parents from their children at the border, CNN reports.

Levitan expressed his anger with Fox News late Monday night, responding to Laura Ingraham calling the child detention centers “essentially summer camps.” “Let me officially join Seth MacFarlane in saying I’m disgusted to work at a company that has anything whatsoever to do with Fox News,” tweeted Levitan. “This bulls–t is the opposite of what #ModernFamily stands for.” He added in a subsequent tweet: “I have no problem with fact-based conservatism (such as [The Wall Street Journal]), but [Fox News’] 23-hour-a-day support of the NRA, conspiracy theories, and Trump’s lies gets harder to swallow every day as I drive onto that lot to make a show about inclusion.”

Levitan’s remarks followed calls by Judd Apatow and Seth MacFarlane to speak out against the company. “I haven’t worked with Fox since 2002,” Apatow had tweeted. “That family promotes evil ideas and greed and corruption. We all choose who to work with. I understand why that is easier for some than others but many powerful people are powerful enough to speak up to their bosses at a moment like this.”

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DHS agencies received hundreds of civil rights abuse complaints that they didn’t even bother to investigate

DHS agencies received hundreds of civil rights abuse complaints that they didn’t even bother to investigate

The Department of Homeland Security received hundreds of complaints about civil rights violations last year that it did not investigate, Motherboard reported Tuesday.

Official records show that there were thousands of reports of detainees, prisoners, and suspects who suffered civil rights abuses in 2017, but because of “limited investigative resources,” several hundred were left untouched. The complaints across all DHS agencies, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Transportation Security Administration, and the Coast Guard, alleged sexual and physical abuse as well as discrimination and general mistreatment.

“The number of complaints that apparently went uninvestigated is quite surprising and it demands a closer look,” Steven Aftergood from the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists, told Motherboard.

The DHS’s watchdog office marked hundreds of cases as “closed not converted,” which means that they were not fully investigated before being considered a closed case. In other cases, allegations against DHS employees were called “unsubstantiated.” A DHS representative told Motherboard that the agency focuses much of its investigative efforts on cases that allege “corruption or criminal misconduct on the part of DHS employees or contractors, misconduct by high-level DHS employees, [or] use of force by DHS law enforcement officers,” so it is “unable to investigate” many of the civil rights-related cases. Read more at Motherboard.

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Governors called back their National Guard members from the border to protest immigrant family separations

Governors called back their National Guard members from the border to protest immigrant family separations

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) announced on Tuesday that he would refuse to deploy any National Guard members to aid in border control efforts until President Trump’s administration ends its practice of separating immigrant children from their parents.

“I ordered our 4 crewmembers & helicopter to immediately return from where they were stationed in New Mexico,” said Hogan on Twitter. The federal government called for an increased National Guard presence in April to assist in Customs and Border Protection efforts, requesting around 4,000 troops to be sent to border states.

Hogan joined Massachusets Gov Charlie Baker (R), who also said on Monday that his state would no longer send troops to aid the federal effort. Protesting “the inhumane treatment of children,” Baker rescinded his offer of equipment and personnel.

Democratic governors have also vowed not to help the Trump administration, reports The Washington Post. Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) said that she hadn’t received a request for troops, but she promised that she would certainly refuse any future request. “Children should be with their families, not trapped in cages, sobbing and calling our for their parents,” said Raimondo. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said the same. Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) banned the stated from sending any troops, equipment, or money that would help enforce the policy of separating immigrant families, and Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy (D) denounced the administration while pledging not to use military efforts to condone the “inhumane practice.”

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WHO drops transgender from its mental disorders list

WHO drops transgender from its mental disorders list

The World Health Organization’s international list of diseases is getting an update.

In its revised International Classification of Diseases released Monday, the WHO removed transgender identity as a mental health disorder and added gaming disorder to the list. Recategorizing transgender as a sexual health condition is aimed at cutting stigma and improving quality of care, says the WHO.

The WHO first considered declassifying “gender incongruence” in July 2016, The New York Times reports, but didn’t make the change officially until the Monday release of the ICD-11, the WHO’s first revision to its list of diseases in 28 years. Over the past few decades, transgender identity has hopped from a “sexual deviation” to “gender dysphoria” in the DSM mental disorder handbook used by psychologists. Now, it’s only considered a disorder, per 2013’s DSM-5, if a transgender person experiences distress or dysfunction.

Gaming disorder, characterized as an addiction to gaming, also made the WHO’s new list. A version called internet gaming disorder first appeared in the DSM-5.

The ICD-11 goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2022, so health professionals can use the next few years to get ready for the switch. But the world isn’t required to and probably won’t adopt the new classifications immediately, says the WHO. Some countries are still stuck on the eighth and ninth editions of the ICD, and the U.S. didn’t switch to the ICD-10 until 2015.

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The Supreme Court is not coming to the rescue

The Supreme Court is not coming to the rescue

The Supreme Court had the opportunity on Monday to address the constitutionality of partisan gerrymandering. Instead, it decided not to decide. In cases involving gerrymandering in Wisconsin and Maryland, it declined to reach a decision on the merits, in the former instance returning the case to the lower courts and in the latter upholding a lower court decision that held Maryland’s congressional map unconstitutional. As a result, some egregiously gerrymandered maps will remain in place for the 2018 midterms.

This reflects an unfortunate pattern: Desperate Republicans trying to keep people away from the ballot box to stay in power, and the Supreme Court collaborating in these efforts.

As Richard Hasen of the U.C. Irvine Law School explains, the Supreme Court’s decision to punt on Wisconsin’s gerrymander comes down to one man: Anthony Kennedy. The Supreme Court justice is unwilling to join his conservatives colleagues and hold that gerrymandering is a “political question” that cannot be resolved by the courts. But he is also unwilling to join the Court’s liberal wing and create a rule to evaluate the constitutionality of partisan filibusters. And so the issue remains unresolved.

This is a deeply regrettable outcome. Wisconsin’s gerrymander is extreme — in 2012, for example, Democrats got 51.4 percent of the vote but received only 39 of 99 seats in the state legislature. But the 2018 elections will be fought with the map in place, and the Supreme Court continues to refuse to address the question because of Kennedy’s indecision. As Justice Elena Kagan pointed out in her concurrence, while partisan gerrymandering goes back to the earliest day of the republic, computer technology has made the problem much more dire. Democrats could win the popular vote in the upcoming midterms by 6 or 7 points and still not gain control of the House — an outcome that is obviously unacceptable in a democracy. The Supreme Court had a chance to act and failed to.

And yet it could be worse. In other decisions related to voting rights, Kennedy has simply joined his Republican colleagues to undermine them.

Last week, the Supreme Court issued a ruling, Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute, that upheld Ohio’s draconian voter purge law. The Ohio law presented a potential conflict with the National Voter Registration Act, which makes it illegal to use a failure to vote as a reason to remove voters from the rolls. As Justice Breyer noted in his dissent, the Ohio law — which wipes a voter off the books if she fails to respond to a mailed warning about inactivity — effectively reads this prohibition out of the law. And as Justice Sotomayor noted in her own dissent, the Ohio law ignored the core purpose of the NVRA — to prevent the disenfranchisement of minority and low-income voters — and indeed strengthened a law that will disproportionately suppress such voters. But Kennedy joined his fellow Republicans to uphold it.

And Kennedy has joined an even more egregious attack on voting rights. In the 2013 case Shelby County v. Holder, the Supreme Court cut out the heart of the Voting Rights Act, the most important civil rights statute passed since Reconstruction. Congress, under authority explicitly granted by the 15th Amendment, required jurisdictions with a history of discrimination to pre-clear any changes to their voting laws with the Department of Justice. Roberts struck down the coverage formula enacted by Congress, under the theory that racism is no longer the pressing issue it was in 1965. As Justice Ginsburg pointed out in her unanswerable dissent, “throwing out preclearance when it has worked and is continuing to work to stop discriminatory changes is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet.”

And Roberts’ contention that voter discrimination is no longer a serious issue has proven to be laughably false. Several states enacted vote suppression laws in the immediate wake of Shelby County. One passed in North Carolina, for instance, was found by a federal judge to have “target[ed] African Americans with almost surgical precision.” Now North Carolina is trying to resurrect part of the law that was struck down by a lower federal court, eliminating the last day of Saturday voting, which has been used disproportionately by African Americans. Note that there isn’t even the pretext that such a change is necessary to prevent voter fraud; making it harder for African Americans to vote is the sole purpose of the change.

These Republican attacks on democracy, in other words, are one of the many and increasing number of areas in which the Republican establishment and President Trump are in complete agreement. Chief Justice John Roberts, the ur-establishment Republican, has been exploring ways to use the law to undermine voting rights since he was an official in the Reagan administration. In theory, the Supreme Court is supposed to be the institution that stops attacks on the most fundamental rights of minorities. In practice, Republicans on the Supreme Court have not merely permitted the attacks but exacerbated them.

Monday’s irresponsible punt is merely the latest example of a corrosive trend.

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Japan tops Colombia 2-1 in group stage, making World Cup history

Japan tops Colombia 2-1 in group stage, making World Cup history

Japan sunned Colombia on Tuesday in the World Cup, with the heavy underdogs winning the match 2-1. The victory made Japan the first Asian country to beat a South American nation in World Cup history, CBC reports.

The upset began within the first 10 minutes of the game, when Carlos Sanchez used his hand to block midfielder Shinji Kagawa’s shot. Sanchez received a red card and Kagawa scored on the penalty. Playing with just 10 men, Colombia’s Juan Quintero managed to score the equalizer on a free kick in the 39th minute, but Japan pulled ahead again in the 73rd minute thanks to striker Yuya Osako.

Colombia, which lost 2-1 to Brazil in the World Cup quarterfinals in 2014, and are stuck at 0 points in the Group H stage due to their loss Tuesday. In a preview of the match, The Washington Post had observed that Japan “looked inconsistent and confused in the qualifications, partly a result of shifting managers. We’ll know if this team is for real after this tough early test.” Certainly they’ve proven themselves — FiveThirtyEight now gives Japan a 76 percent chance of advancing to the Round of 16.

Watch Japan’s game-opening goal below.

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It is the anniversary of Mike Pence adorably geeking out over Garfield on the House floor

It is the anniversary of Mike Pence adorably geeking out over Garfield on the House floor

It’s June 19, and you know what that means: It is Garfield’s birthday. But not “President Garfield,” as then-Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) told the House during a charming floor speech 15 years ago, “but probably someone more famous in this day and age than that. A large, orange, slovenly, lazy cat born in the mind of an Indiana native by the name of Jim Davis.”

Standing with a poster featuring a cartoon Garfield bursting out of a chocolate cake, Pence told his colleagues that “it’s said people relate to Garfield because Garfield in many ways is them.” The man who would one day be vice president of the United States observed that Garfield “loves TV and hates Mondays, he’d rather pig out than work out — in fact, his passion for food and sleep is matched only by his aversion to diet and exercise. A cat after my own heart.”

Watch Pence’s adorable tribute to Garfield here, or below beginning at 8:17:14.

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Trump and the Senate’s cold war over ZTE is about to turn hot

Trump and the Senate’s cold war over ZTE is about to turn hot

At this point, the battle lines over President Trump’s trade policies are pretty hardened: Trump and his White House team are the bomb-throwing nationalists, provoking conflicts with China as well as Western allies. Meanwhile, the old hands of the Washington establishment — often represented by the Senate — have emphasized global cooperation and trade.

But on at least one issue, that script is about to get flipped.

The question at hand is what to do about ZTE, a major Chinese telecommunication company and the fourth largest supplier of mobile phones here in America.

You might remember when ZTE got itself in the news back in May: A White House investigation, which began all the way back in 2012, concluded that ZTE had violated various economic sanctions against selling parts to Iran or North Korea. The company also violated the terms of an initial settlement that fined it $1.19 billion in 2017 for this same behavior. So the Commerce Department reimposed a seven-year ban on ZTE doing any business with American companies.

This essentially amounted to a death sentence for the company. Since ZTE employs around 70,000 people and had $17 billion in sales in 2017, the Chinese government did not take this lying down. Their officials reportedly threatened there would be no trade deal with the U.S. if ZTE wasn’t spared. And in mid-May, the normally anti-China, America-first Trump tweeted that he had told Commerce to find a fix and get ZTE back in business. (Plenty of observers are also suspicious about a $500 million loan that Chinese banks made to a Trump real estate project in Indonesia just before the president’s reversal.)

Earlier this month, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said an agreement had been reached with ZTE: In exchange for allowing the company to trade with America again, ZTE would pay a $1 billion fine, replace its management, and allow U.S. officials to conduct oversight of its operations.

This is where things get interesting.

Reaction to the deal from politicians on both sides of the aisle was angry and immediate. And it was the Senate, normally a staid and sober institution, that reacted the most forcefully: Sens. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), along with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), got an amendment added to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would scuttle Commerce’s deal and resurrect the ban on doing business with ZTE. It would require Trump to certify that ZTE is in compliance for a full year before lifting the bans. Cotton’s involvement is especially noteworthy since he’s been a long-time Trump ally. The senators also have support from other conservative stalwarts, like Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), the Republicans’ second-in-command in the chamber.

In fact, they went further. The amendment not only went after ZTE, it also banned the U.S. government from doing any business with or giving loans to an even bigger Chinese telecommunications firm called Huawei. The latter is the world’s third-largest supplier of smartphones, it brought in over $90 billion in 2017, and it employs 180,000 people. For years, suspicions have swirled that heavy American reliance on Huawei’s products could allow the Chinese to spy on U.S. communications. The government hasn’t nailed down evidence of misbehavior by the company the same way it has with ZTE, but previous reports at least raised concerns from industry experts and former Huawei employees that it’s falling afoul of various U.S. laws.

The Senate passed the NDAA with the amendment Monday night.

Of course, support for the amendment is not universal in the Senate or the House, so it’s conceivable the language could get watered down or eliminated in conference before it reaches Trump’s desk. But the NDAA bill is considered must-pass legislation, which shows how serious the senators are about cracking down on both ZTE and Huawei: Should the amendment turn into a sticking point, or if the White House threatens to veto the NDAA over the amendment, the controversy would force a massive funding bill for U.S. defense back to the drawing board. “I talked to my colleagues on the Intelligence Committee and they are pretty dug in on this,” said Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.).

Ross went to Congress to lobby against the amendment. But it’s unclear if the White House would actually go to the mat and threaten a veto over it. “I don’t think the president cares about ZTE. Someone told me that he gave them a wink and a nod and told them he didn’t care,” Corker added. “I think [Trump] did what he did for the Chinese leader but doesn’t really care what Congress does.”

Nationalism has always played a big role in Republican politics. But cutting taxes and regulations for corporations is equally, if not more, important. The GOP has generally shied away from expressing nationalism through aggressive U.S. trade policies, and has instead focused on national security issues. That’s certainly where the Republican senators amassed against ZTE and Huawei are coming from.

Trump, on the other hand, has been happy to deploy economic policy in defense of nationalism as well. Indeed, to the extent he’s used laws meant for national security to slap tariffs on China and other countries, it’s been a rather obvious pretext for starting trade fights in the name of jobs. But he also wants to be seen as America’s dealmaker-in-chief, so if he ultimately forces other countries to the bargaining table — as seemed to happen with China on ZTE, initially — he’s fine with that too.

All of which is how we’ve arrived at the odd impasse of the normally laissez-faire Senate trying to pick a trade fight with China, while the Trump administration pushes for comity and the cessation of hostilities.

The only remaining question is whether Trump will actually fight to preserve the ZTE deal. If the president is comfortable with showboating, and he certainly seems to be, he could just blame the Senate for scuttling the deal. Or if he’s worried about losing face on the international stage, he could just veto the NDAA and denounce the Senate for trying to tie his hands in negotiations.

Either way, like most things in Washington these days, it all comes down to Trump.

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10 things you need to know today: June 19, 2018

10 things you need to know today: June 19, 2018


President Trump on Monday defended his administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policies against growing outrage over the separation of migrant children from their parents. Trump said tough action against illegal immigration was critical for U.S. security and sovereignty, declaring that he would not let the country “be a migrant camp” on his watch. Trump also said the policy was “the Democrats’ fault” for lenient policies that made the U.S. a magnet for migrant families. Nearly 2,000 children have been separated from their parents under the policy in the last six weeks. Evangelical leaders and four former first ladies have joined lawmakers from both parties in condemnation, with many of the critics calling images of children in fenced pens a national disgrace.
[The Associated Press]


North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrived in China on Tuesday for a two-day visit, his third trip since March. Kim is expected to brief Chinese President Xi Jinping on his recent summit with President Trump. Kim and Trump agreed to work together toward the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Trump also offered to guarantee the security of the North Korean regime and promised to end “war games” with South Korea, which both North Korea and China have criticized as provocative. The long-reclusive Kim also is expected to use the clout he gained from his meeting with Trump to push for relief from tough international economic sanctions.
[The New York Times, Reuters]


Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday that despite his scathing review of the FBI’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation, there was no “documentary evidence” that agents were influenced by political bias. Horowitz said, however, that bad decisions by Justice Department and FBI leaders seriously damaged the reputations of both institutions, as did negative references to President Trump in text messages between senior FBI counterintelligence agent Peter Strzok and bureau attorney Lisa Page. FBI Director Christopher Wray said the FBI was following up on misconduct allegations against people mentioned in the report, but that, “Nothing in the report impugned the reputation of the FBI as a whole.”
[USA Today]


President Trump on Monday threatened to impose tariffs on another $200 billion worth of Chinese goods unless Beijing gives in to his demands, which he says will make trade between the two countries more fair. Trump last week finalized tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese imports in retaliation for levies China slapped on U.S. goods after Trump’s first round of levies. Trump threatened to go even further if China takes another shot in an escalating trade war. “This latest action by China clearly indicates its determination to keep the United States at a permanent and unfair disadvantage,” Trump said Monday. China said Trump’s threat violated “market laws” and the terms of previous negotiations. U.S. stock futures plunged ahead of Tuesday’s open on the rising tensions.
[The Washington Post, CNBC]


President Trump said Monday that he would have the Defense Department create a new “Space Force” as an independent sixth branch of the armed forces. Trump mentioned the idea in March, at first saying it was a joke, but now says he wants a force that is “separate but equal” to the Air Force, which has already conducted secret tests of an unmanned space plane, the X-37B. “It is not enough to have an American presence in space, we must have American dominance in space,” Trump said, adding that he didn’t want the U.S. to fall behind “China and other countries.” The U.S., China, and Russia all have signed the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, which prohibits testing weapons and establishing military bases in space.
[The Washington Post]


The Supreme Court on Monday declined to rule on two key challenges to partisan gerrymandering, delaying a final decision on whether it is unconstitutional for state legislatures to design voting districts to give one party more political power. The court unanimously said the plaintiffs in a challenge to a Republican redistricting plan in Wisconsin had not shown that they suffered direct injury, necessary to give them standing to sue. The justices sent that case back to a trial court. The Supreme Court also unanimously found that Republican challengers to a Democratic redrawing of a Maryland congressional district in 2011 had waited too long to try to block it. The moves left the door open to future challenges against gerrymandering.
[The New York Times]


The Senate on Monday passed a bill seeking to reimpose a ban on Chinese telecommunications giant ZTE. The defense spending bill was passed by a vote of 85-10, and must still be reconciled with the House version. A provision of the measure would prohibit the U.S. government from buying or subsidizing equipment from ZTE and another Chinese telecom company, Huawei, among other penalties. U.S. lawmakers consider ZTE a national security threat, and are concerned that its equipment could be used to spy on the U.S. and carry out cyberattacks. In April, the Commerce Department enacted a seven-year ban on American companies doing business with ZTE, but President Trump in May tweeted that he was working to keep ZTE afloat because “too many jobs in China” were being lost. ZTE shares dropped by nearly 24 percent on the news.
[Politico, CNBC]


U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson on Monday struck down Kansas’ proof-of-citizenship voter registration law in a ruling that included blistering criticism of Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. Before she blocked it with a preliminary injunction, Robinson wrote that the state’s effort to make voters show proof of citizenship during registration prevented “tens of thousands of eligible citizens” from registering to vote and violated the Constitution and the National Voter Registration Act. She ordered Kobach to take six extra hours of continuing legal education that “pertain to federal or Kansas civil rules of procedure or evidence.” Kobach, who is running for governor, says large numbers of noncitizens have voted in U.S. elections, although there is no evidence of widespread fraud.
[The Hill]


President Trump criticized Germany for allowing a surge of migration, tweeting that the country’s crime rate was “way up” because of the influx of people “who have so strongly and violently changed their culture!” Trump’s underlying claim of sky-high crime, however, was wrong. Official crime statistics released last month showed that crime dropped by nearly 10 percent in Germany last year to its lowest level in a quarter century, with 5.8 million total criminal cases in 2017 compared to 6.4 million in 2016. “Germany is more secure,” said Horst Seehofer, the country’s top security official, although “there’s still a lot to do.” Trump was correct, however, in noting that publicity about crimes involving immigrants has eroded support for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government.
[The Associated Press]


Rapper XXXTentacion, whose real name was Jahseh Onfroy, was shot and killed outside a motorcycle dealership in Deerfield Beach, Florida, on Monday. He was 20. Onfroy surged in popularity over the last year and a half, with the breakout hit “Look at Me!” and a No. 1 album. He also faced allegations of violence against his pregnant girlfriend. On Monday, he reportedly was approached by two armed suspects in an apparent robbery attempt, and at least one of them fired on him before the assailants fled in a dark SUV. Videos taken at the scene showed him slumped in the driver’s seat of a black BMW sports car as a bystander tried to take his pulse.
[TMZ, The New York Times]

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