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Drone Footage Captures Workers in Hazmat Suits Burying Rows of Coffins on NYC’s Hart Island

Shocking drone footage has surfaced showing bodies being buried in mass graves on Hart Island.



Hart Island
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(TMU) — It’s no secret that New York City morgues are running out of room amid the coronavirus pandemic that has completely transformed The City That Never Sleeps. Refrigerated trucks line the streets surrounding some hospitals in the city as nearby residents watch body after body being brought out from the chaotic hospitals and into the cold trucks in an eerie illustration of the sharp contrast between the fight for one’s life and losing the battle.

After death, bodies are typically held in refrigerated storage for up to 30 days as they await being claimed by family. But now, according to its website, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) will hold remains for only 14 days in what is yet another clue as to just how overwhelmed the city truly is.

Unclaimed or unidentified remains are buried on New York City’s Hart Island with the present situation reportedly being of no exception.

Disturbing rumors swirled on Monday after the chairman of the New York City Council health committee, Mark D. Levine, said on Twitter that temporary mass graves in public parks were being considered as an option. Levine’s tweet followed statements made by Mayor Bill de Blasio at a Monday news conference indicating that temporary burials were being considered in the event that city and hospital morgues became completely overwhelmed.

If we need to do temporary burials to be able to tide us over to pass the crisis, and then work with each family on their appropriate arrangements, we have the ability to do that,” de Blasio said. “We may well be dealing with temporary burials so we can deal with each family later.”

New York City’s mayor emphasized on Monday that rumors of using city parks for burials were “totally false,” adding, “There will never, ever be anything like ‘mass graves’ or ‘mass internment’ in New York City ever.”

However, OCME’s website states: If a decedent has not been claimed within 14 days, the decedent will be transferred for temporary interment at City Cemetery.” According to Business Insider, hospitals can determine their own time limits for storage of unclaimed bodies, leaving room for even shorter storage times.

City Cemetery is located on Hart Island, an island located in Bronx with an unsettling and long history. While the island may be small, measuring in at about 1 mile long and 0.33 miles wide, the remains of more than one million people are buried there.

Throughout its history, Hart Island has served as the location for United States Colored Troops training grounds, a prison camp, a tuberculosis sanatorium, a homeless shelter, a psychiatric institution, a jail, a drug rehabilitation center, a potter’s field, and more. The first burials recorded on the island occurred during the American Civil War. During World War II, the island’s prison population was moved to Rikers Island where it continues to be housed today.

The cemetery originally occupied one third of the island. Today, the cemetery occupies 131 acres in what is one of the largest mass graves in the United States and the largest tax-funded cemetery in the country.

Inmates from Rikers Island are paid 50 cents per hour to bury bodies in trenches on Hart Island. Babies, who are buried in coffins, are placed in groups of 1,000—around 20 rows that are five coffins deep. Adults are buried in pine boxes that are placed in groups of 150—two rows that are three coffins deep. Amputated body parts are also buried on the island.

The potter’s field was run by the New York City Department of Correction until last year when jurisdiction was transferred to the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation.

A March 31 report from the Intercept claimed that Rikers prisoners were being offered $6 an hour and personal protective equipment (PPE) to dig graves on the island. According to the report, a spokesperson for the office of the mayor confirmed the claim but called the arrangement not “Covid-specific.” However, the sharp increase in hourly pay and promise of PPE paints a different picture.

In 2008, the OCME selected Hart Island as a site for mass burials in the event of a flu pandemic. The 2008 Pandemic Influenza Surge Plan For Managing In- and Out-of-Hospital Deaths notes that the OCME will hold bodies “for approximately 14 days before directing a City burial, which is typically conducted at Hart Island.”

The plan also indicates that the OCME “will arrange to have Body Collection Points (BCPs) placed at eligible HCFs, to temporarily increase their storage capacity.” Which is not unlike what we are seeing in New York City right now. The plan notes that “a significant number of decedents will not have a known identity.”

According to the plan, the OCME “will direct temporary interment at the Hart Island Cemetery” when RSFs are at or near capacity and additional cold storage units are unavailable. As of 2007, the island had two sites able to accommodate 19,200 bodies as well as undeveloped sites if needed.

The third tier approach involves utilizing public and private cemeteries for temporary burials using the Department of Defense’s temporary mass burial method.

As the pandemic continues to wreak havoc across much of the world, stressing some hospitals to the breaking point, drone footage has surfaced showing bodies being buried in mass graves on Hart Island. While it remains unclear whether these burials are as a result of the novel coronavirus pandemic, it isn’t a stretch to assume a connection despite de Blasio’s previous statement that “there will never, ever be anything like ‘mass graves’,” especially considering the sharp increase in burials from the usual 25 per week to about 24 per day.

The chilling footage shows pine boxes being buried in a trench by workers wearing what appear to be hazmat suits. Despite previous reports, the city has hired contract laborers rather than employ Rikers Island inmates to do the work.

Jason Kersten, a spokesman for the Department of Correction, said:

They added two new trenches in case we need them.

For social distancing and safety reasons, city-sentenced people in custody are not assisting in burials for the duration of the pandemic.”

On Thursday a refrigerated truck containing about 24 bodies was seen arriving to the island on a barge.

Also on Thursday, New York City reported its 4,778th death, an increase of 12% over the previous day.

By Emma Fiala | Creative Commons |

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Man Who Spent Decades in Prison Gets $6 Million After Cop Found to Have Faked Evidence



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A North Carolina man who spent decades in prison was awarded $6 million in damages by a federal jury after it was found that he was wrongfully convicted thanks to evidence fabricated by a detective.

Darryl Howard languished in prison for over 20 years on double murder and arson charges in 1995 for killing a woman and her teen daughter in 1991. Last Wednesday, a jury in Winston-Salem found that former Durham police detective Darryl Dowdy simply faked the evidence that resulted in his conviction.

In 2016, Howard’s 80-year sentence was stricken down by a Durham County judge who cited the misconduct of police and prosecutors. The $6 million award was the result of a 2017 federal civil rights lawsuit filed by Howard, reports the News & Observer.

Dowdy, 65, denied the accusations in the lawsuit. The former detective was a 36-year veteran of the Durham Police Department before he retired in 2007.

Howard and his legal team have expressed satisfaction that the jury recognized the grave injustice he faced, but are disappointed that the $6 million is a mere fraction of the $48 million in damages they requested.

Attorney Nick Brustin, who represented Howard, said that Dowdy’s defense attacked Howard for his past gunshot wounds and history of selling and using drugs.

“I think to some extent the racist defense that they have been implementing since the beginning of the ligation has in some ways succeeded,” Brustin said. “I think the verdict doesn’t value the suffering that Darryl went through.”

Howard himself noted that the heavy damage dealt by his long incarceration have completely altered his life.

“I am happy about the verdict, but I am kind of upset about the damages,” Howard told the News & Reporter.

“Just imagine, 23 years I stayed in prison,” he added.

Brustin also highlighted the systemic nature of the injustice his client suffered as a result of Dowdy’s police work.

“The kinds of misconduct are pattern misconduct,” he noted, adding that Durham police need to review other cases handled by the crooked cop.

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Happy Holidays? Billionaire CEO Fires 900 Workers in Zoom Call



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The boss of an online mortgage lending company has come under fire as callous and heartless after he unceremoniously fired about 900 staff members in the run-up to the holidays – all on one single Zoom call.

Vishal Garg, the chief executive of New York-based mortgage firm, didn’t mince words in the call, telling employees:

“This isn’t news that you’re going to want to hear … If you’re on this call, you are part of the unlucky group that is being laid off. Your employment here is terminated effective immediately.”

Adding that he did “not want to do this,” he explained that “this is the second time in my career I’m doing this … The last time I did it, I cried.” 

While the 43-year-old CEO claimed that the mass sacking was a painful ordeal, he also noted that the “market has changed” and the company required streamlining to deal with the cool-off in the recent housing boom.

However, Garg neglected to mention that the company recently received $750 million from investors just last week.

According to Fortune, the chief executive also was the anonymous author of a blistering blog post to professional network Build that put his own employees on blast.

“You guys know that at least 250 of the people terminated were working an average of 2 hours a day while clocking 8 hours+ a day in the payroll system?” Garg wrote, adding that “they were stealing from you and stealing from our customers who pay the bills that pay our bills. Get educated.”

Garg also has come under fire for his poor management approach and history of abusing workers after an email he sent to employees was published by Forbes last year.


Regardless of his personal frustrations with employees, social media users were stunned by news of the mass firing, calling the move “cold,” “a horrible move,” and “harsh” – especially with Christmas around the corner.

Employment law and business experts have also lambasted Garg’s actions, noting that such mass firings run counter to the law in most countries, and are not only abusive but destructive toward morale, despite being perfectly legal in the United States.

“Existing employees will look to how the company treats people as a signal to how it will treat them in the future,” Gemma Dale of the Liverpool John Moores University in the UK told the BBC.

“There are ways to do these things which, even in difficult conditions, are empathetic and decent,” she added. “There is a right way to do these things both morally and legally.”

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China Was Just Caught Literally Changing The Weather For Communist Party Celebration: Study



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In recent years, China has made a number of head-turning and downright dazzling technological advances. Now, according to a new study, the East Asian giant has successfully managed to literally change the weather.

According to a recent report from the South China Morning Post, scientists at Tsinghua University say that during the 100-year anniversary of the Communist Party of China, authorities succeeded in modifying the weather in Beijing to clear the sky and improve air quality for the masses gathered to celebrate the party’s centenary in Tiananmen Square.

The large-scale operation involved lacing the clouds above the capital with chemicals to usher in rainfall over suburban parts of Beijing before the July 1 centennial event. According to the Tsinghua researchers, eyewitnesses report rockets being launched from mountains outside the city in the run-up to the event.

The Beijing researchers claim that the artificial rain managed to reduce the level of PM2.5 air pollutants by over two-thirds, bringing air quality to “good” conditions from “moderate” levels per World Health Organization Standards.

The use of chemicals to modify weather conditions is a practice that dates back to at least the 18th century, when European states used gunfire to shoot at storms in hopes to prevent hail from harming crops.

By the turn of the 20th century, dozens of hail cannons were deployed for commercial purposes despite the unproven nature of such primitive geo-engineering methods.

Fast forward to the 2020s, and the People’s Republic of China has reportedly invested vast resources into weather modification programs that will be tested in a region spanning 5.5 million square miles by the year 2025. The impact of such geo-engineering efforts could lead to regional tensions with China’s increasingly nervous neighbors.

Meanwhile, as the potential for a new cold war with the people’s republic continues to grow, professional China skeptics have stoked fears that the ruling Communist Party could use its newfound ability to manipulate the weather for military purposes. However, it’s worth noting that the United States military has been hoping to weaponize the rain since at least 1967.

However, with arid conditions and extreme drought threatening the food security of populations across the globe, the ability to literally make rain fall may not be as frightening as some make it out to be.

Additionally, some researchers have claimed that geoengineering could play a role in mitigating the impact of rampant climate change. However, it remains far too early to know the long-term impact of lacing skies with chemicals on a widespread, regular basis.

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