Sixteen inmates charged in prison attack
Prosecutors have filed 109 criminal charges against 16 inmates for their alleged roles in the Jan. 10 attack on four correctional officers inside the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center, a melee that inmates and prisoner advocates allege spawned a wave of reprisal by authorities. The inmates were indicted on two counts of assault and battery causing serious bodily injury and four counts of assault and battery on corrections officers under the legal theory of joint venture, according to prosecutors. They will be arraigned in Worcester Superior Court in the coming weeks, they said. The correctional officers were taken to hospitals following the attack inside the state’s sole maximum security prison. The Department of Correction said in court documents that one officer suffered head trauma and a badly broken nose, while another had a broken jaw and broken vertebrae in his neck. Officials have said that the inmates tried to take an officer hostage by dragging him into a cell, but the officer broke free. The Correction Department has drawn criticism — and a lawsuit — from inmates and prisoner advocates alleging the state used illegally seized legal documents, wrongly blocked access to attorneys, and attacked inmates in response to the attack. In their lawsuit, inmates alleged they were attacked by armed correctional officers in their cells and suffered fist strikes, dog bites, and blows from stun guns. Their personal property was taken away after the attack, the lawsuit said, and inmates were locked in their cells with limited access to showers or ability to make phone calls.
Pelosi chosen as Smith College commencement speaker
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been chosen to deliver the 2020 commencement speech at Smith College. The private women’s school announced the selection Thursday, saying Pelosi’s “long and distinguished career in public service has helped shape and define women’s leadership.” The senior Democratic leader will also receive an honorary degree during the May 17 ceremony. Pelosi became the first woman elected speaker of the House in 2007 and is serving her third term in the role. She has become a chief antagonist to Republican President Trump and led his impeachment proceedings in the House before he was cleared by the Senate this month. She has represented San Francisco in Congress for more than 30 years. In Smith’s announcement, the school highlighted her role in passing the 2010 Affordable Care Act and in repealing the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, which prohibited gay men and women from serving openly in the armed forces. (AP)
Funeral services set for Air Force officer killed in Afghanistan
Services have been scheduled for an Air Force officer from New Hampshire who was killed in a plane crash in Afghanistan. A wake for Captain Ryan Phaneuf, of Hudson, is planned for Friday, Feb. 28, at Saint Kathryn Church from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. A funeral is scheduled for Saturday at 10 a.m. at the church. The Pentagon said Phaneuf, 30, was one of two Air Force officers killed in a crash last month of an electronic surveillance plane in Afghanistan. The crash is under investigation, but officials have said there’s no indication the plane was downed by hostile action. Phaneuf was assigned to the 37th Bomb Squadron at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D. In New Hampshire, he graduated in 2007 from Alvirne High School, where he was a member of the junior ROTC program. (AP)
LePage may seek governor’s office again
Former Maine governor Paul LePage told WAGM-TV on Thursday that he’s considering running for another term, after just a year of being out of politics. LePage said in an interview with the Presque Isle, Maine, Fox affiliate that he and his wife are in the process of reestablishing their Maine residency after moving to Florida, with an eye toward another run for governor in 2022. “The answer is yes. We’re working on it, and I want to see what happens this year with the election," LePage said, when asked if he would run again. LePage left office in January 2019 after serving two terms as governor. Maine law prevents governors from serving more than two terms consecutively, leaving the door open for LePage to run again after leaving office. The Republican governor was succeeded by a Democrat, Governor Janet Mills. LePage was embroiled in a number of political controversies during his time as governor, including when he made a number of comments about Black and Hispanic people that were widely condemned as racist. Throughout his term, he also attacked judges, temporarily withdrew judicial nominations, threatened to halt the certification of election results, and held up state funds to an independent state commission investigating religious discrimination at a Maine business. He joined out-of-state lawsuits fighting then-President Obama’s health care law and federal protections for transgender students and LGBT workers. He found himself in court over his moves to block voter-approved Medicaid expansion, halt new wind energy projects, censor critics from his Facebook page, close down a state prison overnight, and halt the flow of funds to publicly financed candidates, local job-training groups, and the state attorney general’s office. In 2016, the Portland Press Herald published an editorial apologizing to America on behalf of the state of Maine for electing and reelecting him. (Globe Staff and AP)