Army LT. Traffic Stop Criminal Investigation Launched

11:11 AM PT -- A spokesperson for the Virginia State Police tells us the agency has launched a criminal investigation into the incident. Once completed, the cops will submit the findings to the Isle of Wight Commonwealth Attorney for possible charges, or it could go to a special prosecutor.

At this point, it does not appear to be a federal investigation.

The traffic stop of an Army Lieutenant has now become a criminal investigation ... this according to the Lt.'s attorney.

investigation's underway
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Attorney Jonathan Arthur said on "TMZ Live" Monday ... he had been contacted by either the feds, state prosecutors or both regarding the December incident. He would not say which agency or agencies contacted him, but he did say a criminal investigation is afoot.

The feds could file criminal civil rights violations ... similar to what happened in the Rodney King case years ago. There could also be a state investigation over excessive force. As we reported, Lt. Caron Nazario was pepper-sprayed 4 times as officers barked orders at him.

Arthur filed a civil lawsuit earlier this month, and the video of the incident surfaced this weekend.

REASON TO BE AFRAID
Windsor Police Department

Attorney Arthur says the officers' conduct was egregious ... allegedly lying on the police report and also apparently telling Nazario if he doesn't complain they won't destroy his military career.

Arthur says his client has received solid support from higher-ups in the Army.

WWE's Drew McIntyre Bad Bunny Will Crush 'WrestleMania' ... Screw the Haters!

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EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED
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Bad Bunny is ready to shut up all of his wrestling critics -- he's been busting his ass to get ready for WrestleMania ... and Drew McIntyre admits he's seriously impressed.

The WWE superstar says he's aware of some wrestlers in the company who aren't happy with Bad Bunny getting a prime match against The Miz during the biggest event of the year ... but those people need to get over it.

"Realistically, this is going to draw a lot of new eyes," McIntyre said on "TMZ Live" ... "He's not somebody that's just showing up for a paycheck. He doesn't have to. He's done pretty well in his chosen field of music, [he] won a Grammy."

Bad Bunny -- one of the biggest music stars in the world -- is a lifelong pro wrestling fan who's now in a major storyline with The Miz, which will come to a head this weekend at WrestleMania 37.

Some people have criticized Bunny's athletic ability. Others say he needs to work on his mic game.

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GETTING BAD
WWE

But, Drew says he's been working out like a maniac at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando ... and insists Bunny will "shock a lot of people" when he steps in the ring.

"He's there week in, week out. I've been observing him from afar, he has a genuine passion for this. He's putting the work in, he's training almost every single day."

The other major storyline for WrestleMania 37 has to do with WWE allowing 25,000 fans to attend the event at Raymond James Stadium in person each night.

McIntyre says Vince McMahon and his team have spared no expense to keep the venue safe.

"It's gonna be a phenomenal event. For the fans watching at home, this is really cool not just in the sense that it's WrestleMania, it's such a spectacle."

"It's gonna make you feel good that we're getting so close to being back to normal."

Demi Lovato DMX's OD Scared Her ... It Could Have Been Me

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SURVIVOR'S GUILT
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Demi Lovato was jolted when she learned of DMX's overdose ... a reminder of how lucky she is to still be alive.

Demi will be on "TMZ Live" Wednesday ... talking about her incredible documentary, 'Dancing With the Devil,' and her new album, "Dancing With The Devil...The Art of Starting Over."

She covered a lot of ground for the show, and one of the highlights was her very honest reaction to X's current state -- he's on life support and it does not look good. She sees the parallels in her own life and says she suffers from survivor's guilt. She knows she could have been in DMX's state or even worse.

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Demi's "Dancing With the Devil" album is autobiographical and, dare we say, spectacular. One thing clearly was NOT affected by the OD -- Demi's voice is better than ever.

Demi also talks about the way she's handling recovery, and it's not with abstinence ... she smokes weed and drinks alcohol in moderation. It's something her pal Elton John thinks is a big mistake, but Demi explains abstinence doesn't work for everyone, and she goes on to explain why "California Sober" works for her.

You can catch episode 4 of Demi's doc here and watch the full interview Wednesday on "TMZ Live."

Rapper Ralo Biden Admin to the Rescue??? Clemency Program in the Works

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Free Ralo
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Ralo may soon benefit from a clemency program currently in the works under the Biden administration ... according to activist Weldon Angelos, who's been pushing for the rapper's freedom.

Weldon, a cannabis and clemency advocate, joined "TMZ Live" Tuesday, and said the White House reached out to him about a clemency program it's putting together that would primarily focus on cases with harsh sentences for non-violent marijuana offenses.

Ralo -- whose real name is Terrell Davis -- could become a primary beneficiary of the program, if it comes to fruition. The rapper was busted in 2018 with 444 pounds of weed on a private plane. He's been locked up ever since ... and faces up to 8 years in prison on conspiracy charges.

Weldon's been actively calling on the powers that be to grant the rapper clemency, given the laws on weed have changed exponentially over the last decade. It's now legal, in some form, in more than half the states ... although it's still illegal federally.

And, Weldon's main point is this ... Ralo's being punished "for violating the same federal statute many entrepreneurs and corporations violate every day in 36 states across the country, who are not subject to federal prosecution."

Drake, 2 Chainz, T.I. and Killer Mike are others joining Weldon's push as well. In fact ... they all attached their name to a letter Weldon sent to the Biden admin asking for clemency.

Weldon's been exactly where Ralo is -- he got a 55-year sentence in 2004 for $900 of ganja, but President Obama granted him clemency in 2016. He's crossing his fingers Biden will do the same for Ralo and many others.

BTW, President Trump issued a full pardon for Weldon earlier this year ... due to his advocacy on behalf of others who got the shaft from the justice system.

Buttigieg on Biden Infrastructure Yeah It's Big, But Very Much needed ... And Major and I Are Good!!!

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ALL CLEAR!!
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Pete Buttigieg says his boss's big-ticket infrastructure plan is overdue for modern American life -- but he's got even more to say about his new gig and his first run-in with Major!

The Transportation Secretary will be on 'TMZ Live' Tuesday ... pushing President Biden's robust American Jobs Plan -- a $2.3 TRILLION proposal he just unveiled, which entails sweeping changes not just to roads and bridges ... but a heck of a lot more, including stuff you'd never think of as traditional "infrastructure."

Pete says folks shouldn't find this bill or its vaulted price tag too daunting ... because the definition of infrastructure for Americans in 2021 has evolved, and this plan reflects that.

We also got into his day-to-day on the job, and turns out ... he and other Biden officials just recently got together for their first cabinet meeting. Check out how Pete describes it -- beyond having to keep it COVID-friendly, it sounds inspiring.

Of course, we also had to ask Pete about the President's pooch ... Major, who's had a streak of bad luck lately with a couple biting incidents. He tells us he's actually interacted with the canine himself, and by his account ... there's nothing to fear!

Pete even showed us proof that he's still got all ten fingers in place -- so we'll take him at his word the German Shepherd can, in fact, be a good boy.

Marc Lamont Hill Mainstream Media Doesn't Serve Black People ... We're Fixing That!!!

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PROPER COVERAGE
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Marc Lamont Hill says traditional media has an unconscious white bias and does not properly cover black issues, but he has a solution ... a show called "Black News Tonight."

Marc's the host of the daily news show, which debuts Monday night on the Black News Channel, and he appeared Monday on "TMZ Live." He says there's a giant hole in the market when it comes to black issues -- CNN, MSNBC, FNC, ETC, he says largely caters to white folks, so there's a need to present issues and stories that directly impact the black community.

This is where it gets really interesting. Marc doesn't think his show puts a wall up between black and white communities. Quite the opposite ... he thinks black-focused media can help drive their stories to the mainstream and connect with both.

Check out the show ... sounds interesting.

WaPo Reporter John Woodrow Cox Gun Violence Is Ruining Kids' Lives

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IMPACTED FOR YEARS TO COME
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Schoolchildren across America are being scarred for life because of gun violence, but there are ways to fix the problem ... so says author John Woodrow Cox.

John hopped on "TMZ Live" Wednesday for a sobering conversation about the impact of guns on our nation's youth ... something he's as passionate about as he is knowledgeable.

John's new book -- "Children Under Fire: An American Crisis" -- chronicles the scope of the problem. For example, 4 million students were impacted by school lockdowns in one year, and these are not drills ... they're actually incidents involving guns on campus.

John says these lockdowns can really mess with kids' heads ... with many thinking they were going to die. He says he's poured over tons of text messages by children to their parents saying goodbye because they thought they were living their final moments.

While mass shootings subsided during coronavirus lockdowns, John points out there were two -- one in Colorado and another in Georgia -- as soon as restrictions were relaxed.

But, there is hope, despite 40,000 gun violence deaths piling up each and every year. John has some common-sense gun laws that could do wonders for our kids, IF lawmakers are willing to listen.

Kodak Black Trump's a 'Real One' for Pardoning Me ... And I Got a Song for Bey!!!

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PARDON BUDDIES
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Kodak Black's got a lot of love for Donald Trump ... who handed him a get out of prison card and other gifts, apparently, which he's not afraid to proudly display.

The rapper joined "TMZ Live" Tuesday and explained how he even got the hook up with the White House. Kodak called Trump "a real one" and claimed they're like brothers from another mother due to their zodiac signs -- but he also acknowledged the efforts of his attorney Bradford Cohen, or as KB calls him ... Pops.

Aside from commuting Kodak's 46-month prison sentence, Trump also sent him an autographed parting gift ... which he couldn't wait to show us.

You can't say he isn't making the most of that Presidential pardon either. Since getting out of prison, he's been on a very generous charitable streak ... but he's also been working on a lot of music.

With Pops by his side, Kodak told us he has more than 200 tracks ready to go, and he's looking for some big-name collaborators. You gotta watch his shoutout to Justin Bieber and even ... Beyonce.

Like they say ... aim high, right? Although, we're pretty sure the MAGA hat will not help him score points with Queen Bey. Just sayin' ...

Derek Chauvin Murder Trial Drug OD Defense is a Smoke Screen ... Says Attorney Ben Crump

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PRAYING FOR CHANGE
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Derek Chauvin's defense in his murder trial -- claiming George Floyd died from a drug overdose -- is similar to the tactic used in Rodney King's trial ... but civil rights attorney Ben Crump says it's a shameful attempt to distract jurors.

Ben joined "TMZ Live" on Monday and sounded not so surprised Derek Chauvin's defense zeroed in on Floyd allegedly being under the influence at the time he was killed ... rather than the ex-cop pressing his knee on Floyd's neck for more than 9 minutes.

Ben's adamant, whenever a white police officer kills a Black man in America the default strategy's to try every trick ... including assassinating Floyd's character.

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DRUG OD KILLED GEORGE FLOYD
Fox 9

You'll recall during King's federal civil rights case in 1993 ... the defense for the LAPD cops standing trial described King as a "PCP-crazed giant" who practically invited the beatdown. It's hard not to draw the parallel with what Chauvin's defense attorney laid out in court Monday morning.

Ben's hopeful America's grown up since King's senseless beating that sparked the 1992 L.A. riots. He's also hopeful that since Trayvon Martin and Eric Gardner's deaths America's now more conscious and aware of this issue of injustice based on the color of someone's skin.

And then, there's this ... Ben says this trial has an advantage over the King case, which is a diverse jury. What's more, he says Chauvin's case is NOT that complicated ... to him, it's all about the torture video.

'Seaspiracy' Producer Kip Andersen Oceanic Doomsday's Only 27 Years Away ... Not Too Late to Fix It!!!

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RUNNING OUT OF TIME
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Imagine a world where the oceans have ZERO fish -- that's pretty much doomsday for the planet, and it could happen by 2048 ... at least based on Kip Andersen's research while making "Seaspiracy."

The producer of the popular Netflix documentary joined TMZ Live and laid out the dangerous impact he says commercial fishing's having on our oceans. He claims it's, in essence, creating a seismic ripple effect on climate change.

Kip makes no bones about it ... the leading cause of the ocean's destruction is the fishing industry, and he says it's a damn shame its impact has been intentionally covered up. But, not anymore.

Kip, who also made 'Cowspiracy,' says his latest doc shines a light on the impact commercial fishing has on our oceans -- but adds the damage goes well beyond environmental. He claims social rights issues also plague the industry -- including allegations of slavery -- and they uncovered it while making "Seaspiracy."

Kip does offer solutions so we don't reach these catastrophic levels. But, if no one acts, he lays out the dire consequences -- if the oceans die, we die.

Evanston, IL Alderwoman City Reparations Not What They Seem ... We Have to Do Better!!!

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SETTING A BAD PRECEDENT
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Evanston, Illinois just made history by becoming the first U.S. city to offer reparations to Black residents, but one member of its City Council doesn't want its plan to be the way of the future ... because she thinks it misses the mark.

Alderwoman Cicely Fleming was the lone vote against the Chicago suburb's proposed reparations program, but not because she's against reparations ... she doesn't believe this program qualifies to be called that.

If ya don't know, the City Council voted 8-1 to distribute $400,000 to 16 qualifying Black households. Each can get up to $25k, but it must be used for home repairs or home down payments.

Fleming was on "TMZ Live" Wednesday and said she considers it more of a housing plan -- and a good one -- but it falls way short of being a precedent-setting reparations system for others to emulate. Watch the clip ... the alderwoman explained why all the strings attached to the program will end up benefitting the very banks that have harmed Black citizens by discriminating against them.

To sum it up ... Alderwoman Fleming agrees a first step needs to be taken toward proper reparations, but this isn't it ... and she suggests her city's plan is meant to appease white folks more than black.

Mama June Working to Win Back My Family ... After Expensive Addiction

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ONE STEP AT A TIME
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Mama June's got her work cut out for her as she tries to stay sober ... telling us it's an everyday struggle to stave off her addiction as she tries to repair her relationship with her family.

The reality star joined us Friday on "TMZ Live" for an uplifting conversation about how she's turning around her life after her astronomically expensive drug addiction. Not only did she temporarily lose her family, but it also cost her nearly $1 million ... the amount she says she and her BF Geno dropped on drugs in the year before they got clean.

June tells us she's got to stay patient in her fight to get back in the good graces of her children, and while she admits it's been hit and miss so far ... she's not letting that discourage her from staying present and keeping in touch.

Honey Boo Boo's mom says she and Geno entered rehab in January 2020, and they've been sober ever since -- but she says battling their addiction when they got out was complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

June explained how she used social media to hold herself accountable for her sobriety while coping with life in quarantine.

One more thing ... she's back on TV -- "Mama June: Road to Redemption" premieres Friday night on WeTV, but June says she's focused on her daily battles ... for sobriety and family.

Gotta say, it's really remarkable to see where June is today, compared to her low points in 2019. If you weren't rooting for her before, this just might change your mind.

Dr. Shola Mos-Shogbamimu Harry & Meghan Put Royals in Hot Seat ... Stop Pretending Racism Is Over!!!

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ROYAL RACISM
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The fact some Brits are tuning out Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's bombshell claims about race, is a sign of how ingrained racism is in the Royal family ... according to Dr. Shola Mos-Shogbamimu

The British women's rights activist joined us on "TMZ Live" Monday, and dug into the couple's biggest revelation to Oprah -- that one or more members of the Royals were concerned about Archie's skin color.

CONCERNS ABOUT ARCHIE'S SKIN
CBS

Dr. Shola squarely addressed Meghan and Harry's haters ... many of whom she says still deny racism is "structural" in the U.K.'s society.

It's a fascinating conversation ... and she also told us why Prince Charles should be the first Royal to respond to his son's interview. The way Dr. Shola sees it, the heir to the throne has a lot of explaining to do ... IF he wants to patch things up with Harry and Meghan.

As you know ... there's a worldwide guessing game over who voiced those skin-tone concerns to Harry. They wouldn't say, and the Palace remains silent about it.

Oprah did narrow the list of suspects Monday morning when she said Harry told her it was NOT Queen Elizabeth or Prince Philip.

Tekashi 6ix9ine Here's How I Gained So Much Weight ... And Dropped It ASAP!!!

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LOSING THE QUARANTINE 69
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Tekashi 6ix9ine has been on the rollercoaster of a lifetime, but his latest ups and downs are all about yo-yo'ing big time on his weight ... and we found out why.

6ix9ine got into the nitty-gritty of his recent weight gain/loss Wednesday on 'TMZ Live' -- where he dished on how exactly he ended up a full 70 pounds heavier within a few months of getting out of prison.

Ya might've heard ... Tekashi says he hit a whopping 204 lbs. during home confinement last year -- he was about 130 lbs. when he left the pen -- but miraculously dropped the poundage in record time ... something he alluded to recently on social media.

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He explains he was able to get himself back down to around 140 lbs., adding this in celebration ... "In the chaos of everything that is going on in your life, tell yourself 'I control what happens in my life' do NOT let anyone tell you that things you want it’s not possible, that’s FALSE!"

So many questions here, which Harvey and Charles dug into with Tekashi -- such as, what the hell was he eating to gain so much weight -- and perhaps just as important, how'd he lose it all so quickly???

Tekashi's got the answers ... and his solution might be a bit more primitive than any fad diet out right now. Turns out, the answer to tons of Chinese food is ... sweat and misery.

Oh, and gushers -- he's a big fan of those, it seems. Cake too, apparently 😅

Tekashi 6ix9ine on TMZ I'm Not a Snitch or a Rat ... These Guys Betrayed Me!!!!

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NO LOYALTY
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Tekashi 6ix9ine does NOT believe what he did in court to save his own skin was snitching ... and he laid out his argument Thursday on "TMZ Live."

As you know, Tekashi became the star witness in his 2018 RICO case by testifying against his fellow gang member buddies ... which resulted in their conviction.

Tekashi argues it all boils down to loyalty -- or a lack thereof. He makes a decent point about beefing with just about everyone from coast-to-coast and ultimately being targeted by his own crew in what amounted to a scary stick-up job.

You'll recall ... Tekashi was kidnapped by his own security team in the summer of 2018 -- part of which was captured on dashcam video and surveillance footage. He was taken for a ride around the block, where he was threatened at gunpoint, and ordered to fork over cash and jewels he had at his NYC pad ... an exchange ultimately carried out by his then-GF.

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TEKASHI ABDUCTED

In light of that, 6ix9ine explains he doesn't owe anything to those guys ... and even suggests what he did was wise. The Nine Trey Bloods almost certainly feel differently.

Of course, we also had to ask how he's holding up these days, and whether he fears for his life now that he's labeled a traitor with a violent gang. Fact is ... Tekashi was looking over his shoulder when the subject was raised ... but it ain't for the reason you'd think.

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Check it out ... sounds like 69's got a new guilty pleasure lately -- besides colorful diamond chains, that is. Fascinating convo all around though.

Murder Hornets Fight to Kill 'Em Off Ain't Over!!! Beekeeper Braces for Spring

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BEE CAREFUL OUT THERE...
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The pesky murder hornets that made it to North America last year are NOT all dead and gone -- in fact, a battle's being waged to contain the danger.

We spoke to renowned Washington state beekeeper Ted McFall Tuesday on "TMZ Live" about the new Discovery Channel documentary, "Attack of the Murder Hornets." He says enough have made it over here now to the point that different nests have developed.

THEY'RE HERE
WSDA

Pros like Ted are addressing the crisis now ... however, he fears if they don't get it under control quickly, the U.S. honeybee population could be in serious jeopardy -- which eventually impacts our food supply too.

You might not realize it, but honeybees are a HUGE part of what keeps a lot of our crops growing at the rate they do. Murder hornets can easily wipe out colonies of bees, and that's why they're such a menace.

You'll recall, scientists in Washington state set out on a weeks-long mission late last year to snatch up as many murder hornets as they could find in one woodsy section of Washington, right on the Canadian border.

They thought they'd gotten them all in that one fell swoop, but had to go back later to retrieve a lot more of these hornets ... including hundreds of queens!

MURDEROUS QUEENS
WSDA

Turns out, those weren't the only ones out there -- and now, a black (and yellow) cloud hangs over the area.

Check out what McFall says this may mean for the average traveler heading to British Columbia, Canada anytime soon. You *should* be fine, but beware ... these things CAN kill you. Yaks too, apparently 😬

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