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Screen grab: YouTube/Local News 33

Hundreds of parishioners ignored a ban on large public gatherings to attend morning services at Life Tabernacle Church in a Baton Rouge, Louisiana suburb on Sunday.

Church officials ordered the news media to leave church property as entire families arrived at the church.

1,265 attended morning services on church grounds in the state of Louisiana, where 3,500 residents tested positive for the Covid-19 virus that can cause a potentially fatal pneumonia in men, the elderly, people with chronic medical conditions, and smokers.

Pentecostal preacher Tony Spell, 42, stood in defiance of the governor's ban on large public gatherings amid the coronavirus pandemic.

He leaped into the pews and embraced and laid hands on worshipers' foreheads in prayer. "We're free people. We're not going to be intimidated," Rev. Spell said. "We're not going to cower. We're not breaking any laws."

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Screen grab: YouTube/Local News 33

Seven people were baptized on Sunday, and 10 parishioners were filed with the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues. Tears streamed down their faces as they accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards banned gatherings of more than 50 people earlier this month. He issued a stay-at-home order on March 22. Most churches and synagogues complied with the orders, but Rev. Spell continues to hold services at Life Tabernacle.

Only about 10% stayed away from services on Sunday, including Rev. Spell's own 90-year-old father who in self-quarantine at home.
 

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Screen Grab: Instagram.com

The Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office said one of its deputies did not plant drugs on a Black suspect after a viral video sparked outrage on social media this week.

The video allegedly showed a sheriff's deputy planting evidence on a suspect during an arrest in Bridge City on Monday, March 16.

Photo by Robin L Marshall/Getty Images

The video went viral after rapper Tip "T.I." Harris posted the clip on his Instagram page and told his 12 million followers:

"The Jefferson Parish PD planting crack on this Man... You should all be ashamed of yourselves,fired,& indicted!!! Listen to the pig at the end talking about "Your Phone Is Evidence!!!" Yeah you right... the evidence we need against YOU!!! Fuckin Dork!!!"

The video was viewed over 3 million times, leading to calls of police misconduct and threats of rioting.

But after an internal investigation, the JPSO determined the white baggie was indeed taken from the suspect's pocket, according to Nola.com.

During a press conference on Tuesday night, Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joseph Lopinto said his department found no wrongdoing.

"The drugs that were on the scene were previously confiscated from the suspect's pocket before that video started to play," Lopinto said.

Lopinto thanked the suspect, Dominique Griffin, 26, of Bridge City, who admitted he was in possession of the drugs, which tested positive for crystal methamphetamine.

Griffin told investigators the deputy did not plant the baggie on him, according to Lopinto.

"He understands the gravity of the situation with the accusations that were being made," Lopinto said of Griffin.

Griffin was booked on two counts of drug possession.
 


 

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