Stated reports 2 more deaths linked to vaping, 3 overall

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — State health officials are reporting two more state residents have died of severe lung injuries linked to vaping.

The new deaths reported Thursday by the Indiana State Department of Health brings the total number of vaping-related deaths in the state to three since Sept. 6.

The agency says the deaths occurred in adults and were confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. No additional details about the patients were provided.

The CDC Thursday reported the number of vaping-related illnesses in the U.S. has reached about 1,300 with at least 26 deaths. Most who got sick said they vaped products containing THC, the marijuana ingredient that causes a high, but others said they vaped only nicotine.

The CDC is advising Americans to refrain from using any vaping products.

Ex-employee accuses car dealership of discrimination

LAFAYETTE (AP) — A black former sales manager at a Mercedes-Benz dealership in northern Indiana is suing the business, saying he was fired in retaliation for complaining about the owner's repeated use of racist language and his boasts about overcharging African American customers.

Jeffrey Turner filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday against Mike Raisor Auto Group's Mercedes-Benz dealership in Lafayette.

Turner started working for Mercedes-Benz of North America in about 1987 and moved to Raisor's dealership in 2011, becoming sales manager in 2015, the suit said. The company twice named him "Best of the Best."

The lawsuit said Turner was subjected to a hostile work environment.

The owner crowed about charging black customers more than the going rate for vehicles on his lot, and commonly referred to African Americans using racist language — including Turner, to his face.

When other employees at the Mercedes-Benz dealership heard Raisor talk this way, they made excuses for him, saying "he's old and he was raised in a different generation than we are. He didn't mean anything by it," Turner said.

Raisor's personal attorneys dispute the grievances but confirmed he used racist language during a meeting that Turner attended.

Turner instead reported Raisor's behavior to corporate, and Raisor fired him in 2017.

An attorney for the dealership has declined to comment.

Turner's suit seeks damages and a trial by jury.

Indianapolis man gets 53 years for murder of 1-year-old girl

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — An Indianapolis man has been sentenced to 53 years in prison for the fatal shooting of a 1-year-old girl and the wounding of her 19-year-old aunt.

Twenty-eight-year-old Darrin Banks learned his punishment Wednesday after being convicted of murder and battery by means of a deadly weapon.

Banks and 30-year-old Brian Palmer were charged with murder in the March 29, 2018, shooting that killed Malaysia Robson and wounded her aunt.

Authorities allege in court documents that the men fired about 20 shots from a vehicle at a house when the victims and 10 other people were inside. Police say the shooting followed a dispute that started on social media.

Palmer faces a jury trial in November.

Officer who resigned amid racial bias claims gets new job

JEFFERSONVILLE (AP) — A white Kentucky police officer who resigned amid allegations of racial bias has now been hired as an officer at a department in Indiana.

News outlets report Jeffersonville police have hired former Louisville Metro police officer Kevin Crawford, who quit in June after being heavily criticized over a 2018 traffic stop of a black man.

Body camera video showed Crawford stopping Tae-Ahn Lea for making a wide turn and then forcing the 18-year-old out of the car. Lea was frisked and handcuffed while his car was searched by a drug-sniffing dog and officers. Nothing was found and a related citation was ultimately dismissed.

Three racial profiling lawsuits are pending against Crawford. Jeffersonville police Chief Kenny Kavanaugh, who is black, says he stands behind hiring Crawford.

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