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Victoria NASCAR driver suspended for social media post – Times Colonist

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Driver/owner Josh Reaume of Victoria, one of the few Canadians to motor into the rarefied world of NASCAR, has been suspended indefinitely by the auto-racing organization.

NASCAR said it was for a social-media post that violated its conduct policy.

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NASCAR did not specify the contents of Reaume’s social-media transgression, a photo of a late-night snack. But auto-racing news website Kickin’ the Tires, citing a source, reported icing on the snack to be in the shape of a swastika.

“I put some icing on a strudel and took a picture of it under a caption ‘ready to eat,’ ” Reaume told the Times Colonist from North Carolina. “It was a thoughtless, meaningless post. There was no intent or symbolism meant. It was taken out of context. But I own it and I apologize to anyone who found it offensive.”

The backlash, some of it threatening, has taken Reaume aback.

“It is shocking the number of people who jump on the bandwagon about what a bad person I am,” he said. “I have deleted my Twitter account.”

Reaume said his family, friends and fans on the Island know differently.

“I drove at Western Speedway and I worked there as well at All Fun Park in Langford,” said the 30-year-old former Highlands resident.

“Anyone on the Island who knows me, knows this [incident] is not something I represent and it is not the person I am. I come from a multi-ethnic background and the team which I own has some of the most diverse and multi-ethnic drivers and staff in NASCAR.”

NASCAR cited section 12.8.1.e for the suspension.

The section includes “public statements and/or communication that criticizes, ridicules another person based upon that person’s race, colour, creed, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, religion, age or handicapping condition.”

NASCAR has ordered Reaume to take sensitivity training next week.

“That is something I fully support doing,” said Reaume.

He is expected to be reinstated in January.

Reaume is a driver and co-owner of Reaume Brothers Racing team in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series. He placed 39th in the recently-concluded 2020 season with 12 starts. He also had two starts in the NASCAR Xfinity Series during this pandemic-affected season.

Reaume had an average finish of 28.2 in the truck series. He has one top-10 finish in 52 career truck starts. He has also run 35 career races in the Xfinity Series.

Among Canadian drivers, only Stewart Friesen and Trevor Boys have more all-time NASCAR starts than Reaume.

Reaume began at Western Speedway, racing Go-Karts, and turned pro in 2009 as a driver and was hailed an heir to a proud Victoria auto-racing tradition that includes Billy Foster, the first Canadian to race in the Indianapolis 500, and three-time and top-10 Daytona 500 racer Roy Smith.

Reaume, a University of Victoria mechanical engineering graduate, knows the intricacies of engines more that most drivers. He began in NASCAR as an engineer at age 23 for Tri-Star Motorsport of Charlotte, North Carolina. He later drove for Obaika Racing, the first African-owned racing company to contest in NASCAR.

The former Islander was born in Redlands, California. Reaume spent 13 years in Nigeria, where his parents did humanitarian work, before coming to the Island when he was 15.

“It’s a bit of an unusual background for car racing and I’ve had to come a long way in order to do this,” Reaume said in a 2014 interview with the Times Colonist.

“Vancouver Island is known all over for having a huge motor-sport community. Because of the cost of getting off the Island to race, you have to provide the racing here for yourself [at places like Western Speedway]. The mechanical engineering degree from UVic has given me a better understanding of cars than most drivers.”

cdheensaw@timescolonist.com

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Judge at Toronto van attack trial suggests media should stop naming killers but courts should not – National Post

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Article content continued

Her words on Friday, born of exasperation, described it as having a “gun to my head” and being handed “a ransom demand” for her kidnapped child.

The evidence from Westphal and his team is the only expected expert testimony directly supporting Minassian’s mental state defence.

“All of Mr. Minassian’s eggs are in this particular basket,” Molloy said in her ruling.

A screengrab of Alek Minassian’s booking video. Photo by Toronto Police Service

After all, Minassian has admitted he purposely rented a van on April 23, 2018, and drove it down a busy sidewalk with the planned purpose of killing as many people as he could.

Because Westphal is in the United States and the trial is being held online due to COVID-19, Molloy cannot do what she has done before, which is send police to corral a witness and bring them to court, where refusal to testify could lead to imprisonment.

“The devastation wrought by Mr. Minassian cannot be overstated. However, he is entitled to a fair trial in our courts, and to call a defence supported by evidence. That evidence exists, but is in the control of Dr. Westphal,” she concluded.

Molloy’s words on not naming killers rekindles the debate over what to do in the wake of violence that was raised by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau after the Nova Scotia rampage.

In Trudeau’s first public address after the Nova Scotia mass shooting during which 22 people were killed in April, he asked that the killer’s identity not be included in media coverage of the tragedy.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau comments on the mass shootings in Nova Scotia during a news conference on April 20, 2020 in Ottawa. Photo by Dave Chan/AFP via Getty Images

“I want to ask the media to avoid mentioning the name and showing the picture of the person involved,” he said as part of his prepared remarks. “Do not give him the gift of infamy. Let us instead focus all our intention and attention on the lives we lost and the families and friends who grieve.”

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Social media 'out of control,' says Norfolk mayor – Simcoe Reformer

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Port Rowan man pleads guilty to threatening Chopp

Norfolk County Mayor Kristal Chopp. File photo

File photo / Simcoe Reformer

Norfolk County Mayor Kristal Chopp says harassment and even threats of violence have been part of her job since being elected in 2018.

“I’m pretty tough, but the constant barrage of abuse that some find amusing has affected my psychology,” the mayor said in an interview last week.

Earlier this month, a 57-year-old Port Rowan man was sentenced after he pleaded guilty to uttering a threat to cause death or bodily harm to Chopp.

Dana Robert Dargie was placed on house arrest for 30 days and put on probation for 18 months, during which he is banned from communicating with or going near the mayor. He also can’t go to the municipal building or attend any Norfolk council meetings. And he was directed to get counselling for anger management.

“It’s my understanding that he was warned once to stop and he didn’t,” Chopp said of Dargie.

But Dargie is just one of many people who lash out on social media against the mayor, who has faced controversy over council’s decisions to cut services and staff, among other things.

At a Norfolk council meeting last Tuesday, the mayor was accused by her council colleagues of using bullying tactics and intimidation as the politicians aired their feelings and grievances. Chopp refused to participate in the meeting, gathering her things and leaving.

Along with emails and negative online comments, Chopp is mocked through a parody account on Twitter, which often compares her to U.S. President Donald Trump. She said a members-only Facebook site with 3,000 members seems to have been formed specifically to discuss and denigrate her work and that of Norfolk CAO Jason Burgess, who is the municipality’s fifth CAO in just over a year.

She said she regularly receives inappropriate emails, including some from a “dirty old man,” who has sent dozens of messages, including half-naked photos of himself.

“I never used to believe in blocking people but that has changed in recent times. Social media has become too out of control, too offensive, too damaging and too harassing.”

And that harassment has extended to her family.

Chopp said her parents’ Hamilton-area farm was visited last year by bylaw officers looking for illegal cannabis.

“They realized they had been sent on a wild goose chase the second they stepped onto the farm but said they had so many phone calls and emails telling them to check it out that they finally went.”

A spokesperson for the City of Hamilton confirmed bylaw officers visited the farm and found no violations.

Chopp said that incident is still under investigation and included a “22-page manifesto” from someone named “Harry Smith,” who mailed his allegations to major media organizations in Canada and to Chopp’s employer, Air Canada, where she works as a pilot. The “manifesto” said the mayor is a narcissistic dictator and psychopath, who owns her own plane and runs a marijuana business.

“I think there’s a reason why women, in particular, don’t want to get involved in politics,” she said. “I can give you a list of more than a dozen men I’m allegedly sleeping with. And, if they don’t get off on that one, they call me a lesbian.”

Chopp said she has pondered taking civil action against some of the harassers as the abuse intensifies

She said she hopes Dargie’s conviction will stop others.

“But I don’t think it will,” she said. “Social media has taken on a life of its own and the facts don’t seem to matter.

“Ignoring the keyboard warriors is difficult but I will do my best to soldier on.”

SGamble@postmedia.com

@EXPSGamble

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The Debate – France, security and the media: Does the new global law go too far? – FRANCE 24

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Issued on: 23/11/2020 – 20:17

France is caught in a row over the right to film police officers in the course of their duty. It is a controversy that has brought demonstrators on to the streets. A new law on the Security of France goes to a final vote on Tuesday. The Bill with a controversial amendment has been passed for a first time by the National Assembly by a margin in 146 to 24. Article 24 concerns the right to film the police. It raises fears and concerns among many media here in France about the right to report and inform.

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This evening with our panel we discuss the issues. Police officers have a tough job. But freedom to report is a foundation of democracy

Produced by Alessandro Xenos, Juliette Laurain and Imen Mellaz.

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