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State rules against Shaw in discrimination complaint

Delvin Lamont Shaw scored a victory when North Dakota Supreme Court judges ruled Wednesday he deserved a new murder trial, but other judges and administrators have ruled against him when he claimed agencies violated his civil rights and used raci...

Delvin Lamont Shaw scored a victory when North Dakota Supreme Court judges ruled Wednesday he deserved a new murder trial, but other judges and administrators have ruled against him when he claimed agencies violated his civil rights and used racial motivation to discredit him.

Shaw, 32, filed a human rights complaint against the Herald, which reported on his involvement in the murder of 24-year-old Jose Luis "Joe" Lopez. In a discrimination complaint dated Aug. 25, 2015, Shaw, who is black, claims the Herald made a false report because of his race.

"(The Herald) made the false statement to discredit me in the eye of the public, because of my race/African American, and color/Black," he said in the one-page complaint to the North Dakota Department of Labor and Human Rights.

He was referring to a June 18, 2015, report which stated Grand Forks Detective Steve Conley said investigators never found a murder weapon.

"Conley said they did find a handgun at the home of Shaw's uncle, where Shaw left some of his belongings, but the handgun was the wrong caliber for the shell casings found at the crime scene," the article reads.

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Shaw's accusations were false, Herald Publisher Korrie Wenzel said in a Sept. 22 letter to the Labor Department, adding Shaw either misinterpreted or misstated news reports. Wenzel defended the journalist behind the article, former Herald reporter Sarah Volpenhein, stating she did not have a history of writing incorrect information.

"(S)he especially has never been accused before of being discriminatory in her reporting," he said.

The department dismissed the claim Aug. 22 due to lack of jurisdiction.

"The evidence does not demonstrate an article in a newspaper, whether true or not, falls within the scope of the definition of 'public accommodation,' " the Labor Department stated in its ruling, adding evidence did not show the Herald denied Shaw services or gave "adverse, unlawful or unequal treatment of him."

Shaw also has filed several complaints in federal court against law enforcement officers. He claimed Conley and police officer Mike Jennings asked Shaw's co-defendant Dametrian Marcel Welch to lie on the stand during the murder trial. He also claimed Jennings altered a recording of a phone call played during the trial.

Shaw claimed his Sixth and 14th Amendment rights were violated, adding he wanted "justice for his pain and suffering."

The U.S. District Court dismissed those claims.

Another case shows Shaw filed a lawsuit against the Grand Forks County Correctional Center, but that case was terminated in October after Shaw failed to file proper documentation in time.

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One federal lawsuit regarding Shaw remains open. He claims Shannon Shell, a corrections officer who used a Taser on him while he was incarcerated at the jail, caused injuries resulting in scars on his neck and stomach.

"Muscles are jumping all over now, and (my) heart rate (is) much faster," he said in the complaint.

When asked what he wanted in the lawsuit, Shaw only wrote the word "justice."

A jury trial is scheduled for June 20.

Related Topics: CRIME
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