News
Stephen White, victim in Greensboro attack. Source: qnotes

Stephen White, victim in Greensboro attack. Source: qnotes

The man found in a Greensboro hotel beaten and with burns on over 50 percent of his body has died from his injuries.

Stephen Patrick White, 46, died Saturday from the burns and injuries he sustained Nov. 9, when police believe Garry Gupton, 26, attacked White in a hotel room, according to QNotes, a Charlotte-based LGBT news publication.

White, an Army veteran, had been in critical condition at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, with burns over 50 percent of his body. Parts of both of his arms had been amputated following the Nov. 9 attack, according to the Associated Press.

White and Gupton were seen leaving Chemistry Nightclub, a gay club in Greensboro, hours before police and firefighters were called out to a hotel where White was found Nov. 9 with serious burns over 50 percent of his body.

Garry Gupton, suspect in attack. Source: Qnotes

Garry Gupton, suspect in attack. Source: Qnotes

Gupton, who works for the city of Greensboro’s water department, was arrested by police at the scene, and is expected to face a murder charge following White’s death Saturday.

Greensboro police do not believe the attack was a hate crime. Several national outlets had erroneously reported last week that Gupton went to the club that night intending to find someone to harm.

Greensboro police have refuted that, and said they don’t know why Gupton attacked White.

“He (Gupton) never verbalized to us that he intended to kill somebody,” said Susan Danielsen, a Greensboro police spokeswoman told N.C. Policy Watch Thursday. “There’s absolutely no evidence to indicate that this is a hate crime.”

The AP also spoke with Alex Teal, White’s longtime partner, who said White was injured in 2005 when he was working as a security contractor in Iraq. White had been in the Army in the 1980s, and also worked for U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Federal Air Marshal Service.

News

Winston-Salem attorney Mike Robinson, who challenged sitting Justice Cheri Beasley for her seat on the state Supreme Court, has asked the state Board of Elections for a recount of the votes cast in that race, according to the board’s public information office, Josh Lawson.

The latest posted results from the SBOE show Beasley ahead by 5,427 votes — with 1,239,217 votes to Robinson’s 1,233,790.

State law allows a candidate in a statewide race to request a recount when the difference between the votes cast is one-half of one percent (0.5%) or 10,000, whichever is less.

In an email Lawson added:  “We’ll be working on guidance to the counties so that they can have the recount completed by canvass next Tuesday.”

The board is expected to issue a statement on the recount shortly.

 

Commentary

UNCIn case you missed it over the weekend, ECU English professor Robert Siegel made a compelling case in Raleigh’s News & Observer for a more energetic resistance from the higher education community against the sustained attack being waged by the state’s conservative political leadership. In particular, Siegel faults UNC administrators — saying they’ve “confused access with influence.” He points to the way Wake County’s public education community fought back against the hostile takeover engineered by conservatives a few years back:

“When schools were attacked in Wake County, an outraged citizenry packed school board meetings, demonstrated on the streets of Raleigh and committed civil disobedience. That public outcry translated into door to door campaigning and phone calling that resulted in defeating five out of five board members and returning the schools to a mainstream course.”

He concludes this way:

“UNC administrators all the way up to the president and Board of Governors need to get out from behind their desks and get away from their interminable meetings. Talk to the people, not just students on your campuses. That’s preaching to the choir. Get out into the smaller towns and more rural counties. Hold town meetings. Explain to citizens the importance of higher education. Many of their sons and daughters are the first in their families to attend a college or university. Explain what this state will become if higher education fails.”

Now is the time to speak truth to power. Rent a bus and, in the spirit of great civil rights activists, speak truth to power. That would be a bus we would be proud to ride.

Read the entire op-ed by clicking here.

Commentary

Sen. Dan Soucek seems to think that allowing same-sex couples to get married is not about equality, but is giving them special rights—whatever that means. Here’s what Soucek told the Avery Journal over the weekend.

“I think the most disturbing thing about this is how it’s being stretched to not give some people fair privileges, but special rights. And how those rights are infringing on other peoples’ constitutional religious freedoms,” Soucek said.

According to Soucek, legally re-defining marriage to include same-sex unions falls under the definition of a special right.

“Marriage has always been defined throughout history one way and re-defining marriage is a special right. It’s not an equal right,” Soucek said. “Interracial marriage was an equal right because it was excluding a group. This is a redefinition. It’s a fundamentally different thing.”

So, allowing gay couples to have the same rights as other people is a “special right” because it infringes on other peoples’ freedoms?  Huh?

News

The State Ethics Commission will put a searchable database of economic interest forms back online in 2015, though without including the personal contact information of filers.

The Commission voted Friday to approve an amended version of the form – which doesn’t include home address and contact information – which will be made available  in 2015 to the public in an online searchable. A separate form with the filer’s contact information will still be considered a public record and available to the public upon request.

The state Ethics Commission began posting statements of economic interest for hundreds of public officials this summer, but took down the searchable database after fielding complaints from judicial branch officials worried about the easy accessibility of their personal information.

Statements of economic interest are required to be filed annually by state elected officials, some state employees in decision making roles and those who serve on many state boards. The forms require disclosures about sources of income, stocks and properties owned as well as information about individual’s spouses and immediate family members.

Gov. Pat McCrory was criticized earlier this year when he filed an ethics form misstating that he sold his Duke Energy stock in 2013, when the stock had been sold in the spring of 2014, after the coal-ash spill at a Duke-owned plant near the Dan River. McCrory filed an amended ethics form correcting the information, and has said his lawyer misunderstood what what time period the ethics disclosure form was inquiring about.

Also on Friday, the N.C. Ethics Commission ruled that the Academic Standards Review Commission is not considered a  covered board by the State Ethics Act, on the basis that the committee is advisory and academic standards board members are not making final decisions about policy. The academic standards group, which is meeting on Monday, is tasked with reviewing and making recommendations about replacing the state education system’s  Common Core State Standards.