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Good Afternoon, News: Proud Boy Found Guilty, Study Supports Portland Street Response Expansion, and Wheeler Recall Seems Unlikely

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by Isabella Garcia

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A man holding a paintball gun

Alan Swinney during the August 22, 2020 rally. Nathan Howard / Getty Images

Are you stumped on what to eat for dinner this week? Never fear, The Mercury’s Wing Week is here!

In local news:

• A jury found self-proclaimed Proud Boy Alan Swinney guilty of assault, menacing, and unlawful use of a weapon during two protests in August 2020 on Tuesday. Swinney shot paintballs, sprayed bear mace, and pointed a gun at counter-protesters during a rally on August 22 last summer, when Proud Boys and antifa protestors clashed for hours downtown without police intervention. While Swinney claimed his actions were in self-defense, prosecutors described him as a “vigilante cowboy” who came to Portland with the intent to fight antifascist protestors. A sentencing date has yet to be set.

• A new study from Portland State University researchers recommends the city expand Portland Street Response after finding the program is effective at resolving non-violent 911 calls. The study reveals that the unarmed first responder team reduced the number of police responses in Lents—the neighborhood it currently serves—by 5 percent. Alex Zielinski has the full story.

• The campaign to recall Mayor Ted Wheeler filed a lawsuit in US District Court yesterday, arguing that Oregon’s 90-day limit for recall petitions to collect signatures infringes on political speech protected by the First Amendment. The suit is a Hail Mary for the campaign, which has only gathered 40 percent of the signatures it needs to place a recall of Wheeler on the ballot ahead of Wednesday’s 90-day deadline.

• If you’re looking to refresh your playlists for fall, look no further than bluesy, Portland-based No One of Consequence’s debut album, Believable Dream.

In national news:

• Former Facebook data scientist Frances Haugen spoke to a Senate subcommittee today about the company’s reluctance to address misinformation and content that’s harmful to children on the site because the recommended changes could hurt its profits. Haugen recommended greater government oversight over the company, as well as some easy fixes—like returning to chronological social feeds and adding one more click before users can share content—which she believes would reduce misinformation. “A lot of the changes that I’m talking about are not going to make Facebook an unprofitable company, it just won’t be a ludicrously profitable company like it is today,” Haugen said.

• Johnson & Johnson asked the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to approve the vaccine maker’s booster shots Tuesday. If approved, the boosters would be authorized for people 18 and older who received their single-dose of the vaccine two to six months prior. After approving Pfizer booster shots last month, the FDA is convening an advisory group next week to evaluate data on booster shots for both the J&J and Moderna vaccines.

• French clergy of the Catholic Church abused an estimated 216,000 children over the past 70 years, an investigation by an independent commission found. Most of the victims were boys between the ages 10 and 13. A leader of the French bishops asked for forgiveness and vowed action, but did not specify if the church would adopt the report’s recommendations of instituting background checks for anyone in the church interacting with children, providing priests with training, and financially compensating all identified victims of abuse.

• The oil spill off the coast of Southern California this weekend was caused by a pipeline that was split open and dragged more than 100 feet along the ocean floor, possibly by a ship’s anchor, officials announced Tuesday. The spill released an estimated 126,000 gallons of heavy crud oil into the ocean and onto the shore of Huntington Beach.

• And finally, shout out to the teachers!

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