Nov 16

Mayor confirms he will not be attending 2016 Pride Parade

The Saskatoon Pride Festival is just weeks away, and in the past Saskatoon Mayor Don Atchison’s absence from the Pride parade had people talking. Once again, scheduling will keep the mayor from attending the event.

READ MORE: Letters ask mayor to apologize for lack of pride week support

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  • Charlie Clark launches bid to become next mayor of Saskatoon

  • Saskatoon’s Parcel YY approved for tax incentives

  • Saskatoon Mayor Don Atchison talks new arena, moving rail in speech

    Mayor Atchison told Global News that though he will be unable to attend the 2016 Pride Parade, he will be present at other festival events such as the Gaybourhood family barbecue. “We attend some of their events,” said Mayor Don Atchison, adding “we can’t make it to everything.”

    This year Saskatoon’s Pride Parade falls on Saturday June 11, a day Atchison says he will be celebrating his father’s 90th birthday.

    “I think there are a lot of priorities in life,” says Atchison, “and as a matter of fact I can tell you right now my father is celebrating his 90th birthday, and I think my dad’s 90th birthday takes priority over everything.”

    “And if people have a problem with me celebrating my dad’s 90th birthday, too bad for them. Because my dad’s a special guy, he’s 90 years old and I don’t know how much longer he’ll be with us. He’s a great man and he deserves to have that day too.”

    Atchison says there are priorities throughout the city of Saskatoon.

    “I find it interesting, people who don’t show up to the Friendship Inn Christmas lunch, they don’t serve there so does that mean they don’t like people who can’t get Christmas dinner at home?”

    WATCH: Mayor Don Atchison joins Global News Morning after yesterday’s council meeting

    The Saskatoon Pride Festival runs from June 3 to 11.

    May city council meeting

    Tuesday’s city council meeting also came with a bombshell announcement that veteran Coun. Tiffany Paulsen will not be seeking re-election.

    Mayor Atchison has a number of fond memories of serving alongside Paulsen.

    “Tiffany was great to work with, and she was very astute. She kept the administration on its toes.”

    This leaves Ward 9 open in the upcoming civic election.

    READ MORE: Saskatoon city councillor to retire after 16 years of service

    Civic election

    This year’s civic election falls on Oct. 26. So far, two candidates have officially announced they are running for mayor: Don Atchison and Charlie Clark.

    At this time, Atchison does not have much to say about the race, saying “we’re still trying to run the city,” adding “there are sidewalks to fix, roads that we are looking after.”

Nov 16

Penny-pinching restaurateur jailed after peanut allergy customer dies from ‘no nuts’ dish

A British man was convicted of manslaughter after a customer at his Indian restaurant died because of a peanut allergy.

Restaurant owner Mohammed Zaman, 53 was sentenced to six years in prison on Monday for the death of Paul Wilson, 38, a highly allergic bar manager who died after eating chicken tikka masala.

Wilson had reportedly told the staff at Zaman’s restaurant Indian Garden in North Yorkshire, England, about his allergy to peanuts.

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But police say despite ordering a nut-free meal — the lid of the takeaway dish was clearly marked “no nuts” — it was later determined that the dish contained very high levels of peanuts.

READ MORE: Peanuts for babies? Starting early may prevent allergies later on: study

Prosecutors had argued that Wilson’s death was the result of Zaman swapping out almond powder for a cheaper, peanut-based mix. The court heard that he even ignored another customer’s near-death experience.

“Time and again he ignored the danger and did not protect his customers,” prosecutor Richard Wright told a jury in Middlesbrough in northeast England, according to the Daily Mail.  Zaman had “put profit before safety, and he cut corners at every turn.”

Prosecutors say Zaman’s conviction, the first of its kind in Britain, sets an example around the world: restaurant owners should be held accountable for not meeting allergy needs.

“Paul’s death was avoidable and the outcome of this case sends a clear message to those who operate similar businesses that if they choose to operate in such a grossly negligent way, they are liable to prosecution as well as having to live with the potential deadly consequences,” North Yorkshire Detective Shaun Page said in a statement.

Wilson was found dead on the bathroom floor by his roommate. He went into severe anaphylactic shock. The barely eaten curry dish was found on the kitchen table.

Zaman had immigrated to England from Bangladesh at the age of 15 before getting into the restaurant business. Throughout his career, he’s owned half a dozen award-winning Indian restaurants.

Mohammed Zaman, 53 was sentenced to six years in prison on Monday after the death of Paul Wilson. (Credit: North Yorkshire Police)

North Yorkshire Police

READ MORE: Did dated recommendations contribute to spike of food allergies in kids?

His kids reportedly went to private schools and prestigious universities.

But police say Zaman started pinching his pennies. He began employing undocumented workers and swapping ingredients with cheaper imitation ingredients to save money.

Consequently, police say Zaman’s cutting corners had led to the death of a man who was always extremely careful with his peanut allergy.

“Nothing can bring Paul back but it is our sincere hope that his death will raise awareness in the food industry so that this never happens again. We also ask anyone with a food allergy to always be aware,” Wilson’s parents Margaret and Keith Wilson said in a statement.

With files from the Associated Press

Nov 16

Baltimore police leader acknowledges flaws exposed by Freddie Gray case

BALTIMORE – The trial of an officer cleared in the arrest of a young black man who died from injuries suffered in police custody has exposed deep systemic problems within the Baltimore Police Department: Officers are inadequately trained and routinely ignore rules and regulations designed to keep people safe.

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The police commissioner acknowledged the failings Tuesday and announced a new program to help make sure officers read and understand general orders and policies. The announcement came less than 24 hours after a judge acquitted Officer Edward Nero of assault, reckless endangerment and misconduct charges in the arrest of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old man who died a week after being critically injured in a police van.

READ MORE: Baltimore prosecutor criticized after 2nd cop acquitted in Freddie Gray death

“Are we aware of administrative shortcomings that have existed in the Baltimore Police Department? Yes,” Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said. “Are we aware of circumstances that have highlighted those deficiencies? Absolutely. And we’re reacting to that responsibly by making improvements.”

In his verdict, Baltimore Circuit Judge Barry Williams said Nero played little role in Gray’s arrest and wasn’t responsible for the failure to buckle him into the police van where he suffered a broken neck. Gray’s death in April 2015 set off protests and rioting throughout the city.

It was the second straight setback for prosecutors. A manslaughter trial for Officer William Porter ended in December with a hung jury. It also exposed troubles within the police department.

Prosecutors plan to retry Porter in September. Prosecutors have not commented; they are under a gag order.

Critics who believe prosecutors were overzealous with charges against six police officers say the state is using the individual officers as a way to indict an entire police department.

WATCH: Latest coverage in trial of police in death of Freddie Gray

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“The benefit of this is, it’s bringing attention to a real problem in policing: There are too many arrests and they lack probable cause, and individuals are stopped and frisked without reasonable suspicion,” said David Jaros, an assistant law professor at the University of Baltimore. “The problem is, I don’t think you use an individual to make that point.”

Gray’s neck was snapped sometime during a 45-minute ride in the back of police van, with his hands in cuffs and ankles in shackles.

On Monday, Baltimore Circuit Judge Barry Williams ruled that Nero, who was there when Gray was detained and placed in the wagon, was simply doing his job, even when he made a choice not to buckle Gray into a seat belt.

Prosecutors tried to convince the judge that Nero was reckless for not buckling Gray in, an action required by an updated seat belt policy Nero’s attorney insists the officer never read.

The judge said his decision was influenced by a slew of witnesses who testified that Nero wasn’t trained properly, and didn’t understand the rules that applied to him. What’s more, the judge said Nero was reasonable in believing that the wagon driver, or his immediate supervisor who was also on scene, would belt Gray before the van drove away.

READ MORE: Baltimore cop acquitted of all charges in Freddie Gray case

Among the witnesses was Sgt. Charles Sullivan, Nero’s field training officer who told the judge that the policeman’s hands-on training module was cut short for some reason, but couldn’t explain why. He said he never trained Nero on prisoner transport policies even though it was required.

Tessa Hill-Aston, the president of the Baltimore chapter for the NAACP, said after Nero’s acquittal that the trial proved more than anything else the deep failings of the police department. But even so, she said it isn’t enough for an officer to assume his supervisor will follow the rules.

“It speaks to the lack of police knowing their own rules and regulations,” she said. “It speaks to a lack of training, lack of protocol, lack of police officer being able to see that Freddie should have been buckled into the seat regardless of what their position is and who’s in charge. That’s where the system failed Freddie.”

Davis said Tuesday the new Power Document Management System, which will be rolled out July 1, will require officers to take quizzes based on information contained in general orders before signing their names at the bottom. Under the new system, officers who fail to review their policies could face administrative disciplinary measures.

Davis added that the department is also updating its use of force policy for the first time since 2003.

Asked if officers will now be unable to argue that they didn’t read or understand a policy they failed to follow, he was unequivocal in his answer.

“It will not be possible,” he said.

The Death of Freddie Gray | Graphiq