- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Federal, metro governments settle immigration suit for $310K

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Five years after immigration agents and local police raided a south Nashville apartment complex, the federal and Nashville governments have agreed to pay $310,000 to 14 people who sued over constitutional violations.

Plaintiffs include 12 Hispanic immigrant men who were arrested, and an American woman and boy who were detained and questioned. As part of the settlement, deportation proceedings against eight of the plaintiffs were deferred for seven years.

Plaintiffs claimed in federal court that the immigration operation was intended to rid the Clairmont Apartments of Hispanic residents, at the request of management. Under the settlement, plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed the lawsuit against police and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers, which have denied any wrongdoing.

The settlement with the officers was announced Monday. A separate settlement with the apartment owners and management was reached earlier this year. Terms of that settlement were not disclosed.

Plaintiff Marvin Benjamin Lopez Raxcaco had been about to go to the store with some friends on Oct. 20, 2010, when their car was surrounded by immigration agents, according to the lawsuit. Although the agents had no warrants, they detained and questioned the men, then arrested them on immigration charges.

Raxcaco, speaking in Spanish, said Monday he was happy with the outcome of the lawsuit, “but the most important thing is that we hope now that this won’t happen again to anyone else.”


Massachusetts Marine killed in Tennessee called ‘exemplary’

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) - A Massachusetts Marine killed by a gunman in Tennessee this month was remembered Monday by the Roman Catholic Bishop of Springfield as “exemplary” and “a leader and a man of true courage.”

Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan, a 40-year-old Springfield native, was one of five service members killed by a gunman in Chattanooga on July 16. The gunman was killed by police.

“His deep love for his family, his selfless dedication to being a Marine and his solid faith in God helped Tommy through the many challenges that he faced in training for service, in his deployments to Iraq, in being a leader for his fellow Marines and facing the danger on July 16, when he and his brothers in service heroically thought of others above themselves,” Bishop Mitchell Rozanski said at the private funeral Mass.

The Mass at Holy Cross Church, the church Sullivan attended as a child, was attended by family, friends, active duty Marines and dignitaries, including Gov. Charlie Baker, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and U.S. Rep. Richard Neal.

Hundreds of Springfield residents lined the streets as the procession made its way from the funeral home to the church, many waving U.S. flags.

A bagpiper played the Marine Corps hymn outside the church.


Memphis’ Austin Nichols transfers to Virginia

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) - Memphis leading scorer Austin Nichols has transferred to Virginia.

Virginia coach Tony Bennett announced Nichols’ transfer Monday.

Bennett says Nichols is a “great fit for our program and system.”

Nichols averaged 13.3 points, 6.1 rebounds and 3.4 blocked shots per game as a sophomore with the Tigers.

The 6-foot-9 Nichols will have two years of eligibility remaining and must sit out the 2015-16 season due to NCAA transfer rules.

Memphis athletic director Tom Bowen granted Nichols a conditional release earlier this month.


2 prisons on lockdown for violence amid staffing shortage

TIPTONVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Two Tennessee prisons are on lockdown because of violence amid a severe shortage of correctional officers.

The Tennessean reports (https://tnne.ws/1LFyEJ7https://tnne.ws/1LFyEJ7 ) the Tennessee Department of Correction recently switched correctional officers from a traditional 40-hour-work week to a 28-day schedule to save $1.4 million in overtime costs.

As the new schedule has rolled out, officers have quit. Prison security has become so understaffed that correctional officers are working double shifts, and some are traveling across state to temporarily fill vacancies.

Meanwhile, the state agency expanded executive positions at higher salaries at its central office under the leadership of Commissioner Derrick Schofield, who started in 2011.

The new positions include a chief of staff making $125,352 a year and two additional deputy commissioners making $129,900 a year. Those deputy commissioners each earn $26,460 more annually than the salary of the one deputy commissioner on the payroll in 2010.

The agency also has four communications officers now, compared with one in 2010 according to payroll lists from the Tennessee Department of Human Resources. Neysa Taylor, the agency’s communications director, makes $86,400 a year - $17,880 more than her predecessor made in 2010.

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