News Roundup for July 26, 2011

A man accused of sending several threatening letters to chapters of the NAACP and black churches was released to a mental health facility yesterday. Jeffery Smith, 46, was sent there as part of a plea bargain in which Smith was credited for time served and then moved to the facility in exchange for pleading guilty to charges of making threats to destroy property. Prosecutors say Smith threatened to burn down various offices.

Two Miami Beach police officers were fired for allegedly beating and falsely arresting a man as he reported the beating of another man. Officers Frankly Forte and Eliut Hazzi have been under investigation for a 2009 incident in which the victim called authorities over two policemen kicking and beating a suspect. The man, who did not know the policemen were undercover agents, was then beaten by the officers in retaliation for his call while they used anti-gay slurs. Prosecutors have declined to press charges against the officers.

Four California individuals pleaded not guilty in the case of a cross burning. The group stands accused of stealing a cross from a nearby church and then setting it ablaze in front of the house of a biracial family.

Wilmington, N.C., police are searching for suspects in the assault of a gay college student who was beaten by a group of men using a gay slur. The victim has alleged that he was beaten so severely he lost consciousness for nearly 20 minutes. Officers have been reprimanded for not following up more seriously on the case.

Dillian Joseph Cashman, 21, has been arrested in Portland, Ore., for assaulting a man after earlier hurling anti-gay slurs at him. The victim has alleged that Cashman and another man verbally harassed him as he walked with his partner in a park. The victim and his partner left the area, but later saw the suspect, who then allegedly beat the victim.