National Headlines
Subscribe To This Feed

ogolne/iStock(PARK HILLS, Ky.) -- Kentucky's Covington Catholic High School has reopened Wednesday after the school was closed in the wake of a controversy involving some students.

The school and its pupils came under scrutiny over the weekend when a group that had traveled to Washington D.C. to attend an anti-abortion protest were seen on video in a confrontation with Native American elders near the Lincoln Memorial.

After facing security concerns in the backlash to the incident, the school principal announced in a letter to parents that the school would reopen on Wednesday.

"Over the course of the last four days, we have spent a considerable amount of time consulting with local officials from surrounding cities and counties, homeland security, school administrators and other safety officials regarding the situation that took place in Washington DC and the subsequent events that have occurred," Principal Robert Rowe said in a letter sent to parents on Tuesday, Jan. 22.

The letter goes on to state that the start of school would be pushed back from 8:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., police officers would be stationed in and around the building throughout the day, and students and faculty members will be meeting "collectively and in individual classes to discuss these events and the plan going forward."

"Although we have done our due diligence in ensuring student safety, if you as a parent do not feel comfortable sending your son to CCH tomorrow or for subsequent days, please know that we understand this viewpoint during this difficult time period," Rowe wrote.

"Please continue to pray for our community," he added.

A series of videos of the incident, which took place on Sat. Jan. 19, showed various sides of the story, with some showing one student appearing to smirk while standing facing a chanting Native American man.

The students, many of whom were wearing the easily-identifiable "Make America Great Again" hats popularized by President Trump's campaign, have said that they were doing their own chants to drown out other protesters.

The debate over the videos reached a new peak Tuesday when Trump tweeted his support for the students, saying that they "have become symbols of Fake News and how evil it can be."

Nicholas Sandmann, the student at the center of the controversy, told The Today Show that he was confused by the Native American elder, subsequently identified as Omaha Nation elder Nathan Phillips.

"I wanted the situation to die down and I just wish he would have walked away, but I knew as long as I kept my composure and didn't do anything that he might perceive as aggressive or elevation of the conflict that it would hopefully die," Sandmann told Today in a segment that aired on Wednesday.

In an interview with Good Morning America on Tuesday, Phillips said that he felt the students were mocking Native American culture, and he questioned why their chaperones didn't take action to stop the teens.

"I wish those chaperones and those teachers would have said this is the wrong behavior for American students to be displaying in our nation’s capitol," he said. "Where were those teachers, those chaperones? Those kids shouldn't have been exposed to this backlash."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

imaginima/iStock(BOSTON) -- A Boston man is expected to appear in Charlestown Municipal Court Wednesday in connection with the alleged kidnapping of a 23-year-old woman.

Ahead of the scheduled arraignment, defense attorneys requested that suspect Victor Pena undergo a mental health evaluation, reported ABC Boston affiliate WCVB.

Pena, 38, was charged with kidnapping after authorities say he was found at his Charlestown apartment Tuesday with Olivia Ambrose, who disappeared Saturday night.

Detectives found Ambrose "standing next to Pena crying with a horrified look on her face," authorities said, according to ABC Boston affiliate WCVB.

Additional charges could follow, police said Tuesday.

Ambrose's nearly 48-hour disappearance started Saturday night after she left Hennessey's Bar in Boston with a man who has been identified and eliminated as a suspect, police said.

Ambrose was then engaged by two men, one of whom was identified as Pena, police said, citing surveillance video.

The other man seen on video has since been cleared by detectives, police said Wednesday.

Surveillance video showed Pena physically guiding Ambrose, according to authorities, who said the young woman wasn't going along willingly.

Ambrose's family reported her missing on Sunday, police said, prompting a massive search, and the investigation led authorities on Tuesday to Pena’s apartment.

Ambrose was taken to a hospital, police said. The 23-year-old then returned to her family's home Tuesday night, according to WCVB.

Police are investigating whether Ambrose and the suspect met at the bar or had a chance meeting on the street, authorities said.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

Maricopa County Sheriff(PHOENIX) -- Police in Arizona have made an arrest in connection with a woman who gave birth while in a vegetative state.

The 36-year-old suspect, Nathan Sutherland, was arrested after investigators obtained a DNA sample Tuesday, according to the Phoenix Police Department. Police said that they had determined that his DNA matched the baby’s DNA and he was booked into the Maricopa County Jail without bond on Tuesday after being charged with one count of vulnerable adult abuse and one count of sexual assault.

Authorities said he was responsible for caring for the woman at the time of the alleged abuse that appears to have resulted in the pregnancy, a spokeswoman for the Phoenix Police Department announced in a press conference Wednesday.

Sutherland had been a licensed practical nurse at Hacienda Healthcare in Phoenix since 2011, police said. It is unclear when he stopped working at the facility.

He was identified as a person who had access to the victim in the case, and investigators obtained a DNA sample from him yesterday using a court order, police said.

Sutherland was not working at the center at the time police retrieved the evidence.

In a statement released through their attorney on Tuesday, the family said they "would like to make clear that their daughter is not in a coma."

"She has significant intellectual disabilities as a result of seizures very early in her childhood," the statement read. "She does not speak but has some ability to move her limbs, head and neck. Their daughter responds to sound and is able to make facial gestures. The important thing is that she is a beloved daughter, albeit with significant intellectual disabilities. She has feelings, likes to be read to, enjoys soft music, and is capable of responding to people she is familiar with, especially family."

The difference between being in a coma and being in a vegetative state is that a patient in a coma is completely unresponsive, does not react to light or sound, cannot feel pain and whose eyes remain closed. Comas normally last for a finite period of time – days, weeks or even months, according to the non-profit American Hospice Foundation.

A patient in a vegetative state is still unconscious, but such a condition can be characterized by involuntary eye movement, teeth-grinding and facial expressions. Some patients in a vegetative state can remain so for years or indefinitely.

After the birth, Hacienda Healthcare released a statement describing the incident as “deeply disturbing,” saying it would fully cooperate with law enforcement in the investigation.

Officials at the facility released a new statement on Wednesday morning in response to the arrest

"Every member of the Hacienda organization is troubled beyond words to think that a licensed practical nurse could be capable of seriously harming a patient," the statement reads, in part. "Once again, we offer an apology and send our deepest sympathies to the client and her family, to the community and to our agency partners at every level.

"Nathan Sutherland, who held a current state of Arizona practical nurse’s license and who had undergone an extensive background check upon hiring – was terminated from Hacienda the moment our leadership team learned of his arrest."

"We will do everything in our power to ensure justice in this case," the statement continues.

Sources told Phoenix CBS affiliate KPHO, which first reported the incident, that the woman had been a patient at the facility for at least 10 years after a near-drowning incident left her in a vegetative state. None of the staff was aware that she was pregnant, a source told the station.

The woman gave birth to a healthy baby boy on Dec. 29, KPHO reported.

After the birth, the facility was mandated to increase security and staff presence during interaction with patients and increase monitoring of patient care areas, the Arizona state Department of Health Services told ABC Phoenix affiliate KNXV earlier this month.

Additionally, another person is required to be in the room when male health-care aides provide treatment to female patients.

On Wednesday, Hacienda Healthcare officials said as part of their statement that security measures have continually increased since news of the incident first surfaced.

It remains unclear whether Sutherland has retained a defense attorney. A spokesman for the Maricopa County Public Defender's office did not immediately respond to an ABC News request to determine whether Sutherland has been assigned a public defender.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

Chalabala/iStock(CRAVEN COUNTY, N.C.) -- Authorities are urging people to help them in "an emergency search" for a missing 3-year-old boy in North Carolina.

"We are doing everything we can to find this child," Craven County Sheriff Chip Hughes told reporters Tuesday night. "We are utilizing all resources at our disposal."

Casey Lynn Hathaway went missing from the backyard of his grandmother's home Tuesday afternoon, Hughes said, according to ABC New Bern affiliate WCTI.

NEW SEARCH FOR CASEY HATHAWAY AT 7:30 AM WEDNESDAY: The Craven Sheriff's Office is asking all interested volunteers to meet near intersection of Aurora & Toler roads in Ernul and check in with law enforcement for an assignment of an area to search. (From @DaishaJonesWCTI) pic.twitter.com/2SbQiFAtq0

— Merrilee Moore (@mmooreofficial) January 23, 2019

SEARCH FOR CASEY HATHAWAY:
Authorities remain on scene this morning off Toler Rd where 3-yr-old Casey Hathaway went missing. Craven Sheriff's Office says they are in an "emergency search." pic.twitter.com/zaIRjz89yH

— Merrilee Moore (@mmooreofficial) January 23, 2019

Casey was playing with two other children, and when those kids came inside without Casey, the grandmother and others spent 45 minutes searching before calling 911, authorities said, according to WCTI.

Authorities are asking people to check their property, cars and storage sheds for Casey, the sheriff's office said.

"We want these folks in the community -- the Cayton community, the Ernul community -- to certainly keep an ear out," the sheriff told reporters. "We've got well over 100 volunteers that have come here and we don't want to utilize all of these resources at one time if come tomorrow we're still having this search and rescue effort and we've run out of resources."

Casey has blonde hair and brown eyes. He stands at 28 inches tall and weighs 25 pounds, the sheriff's office said.

Anyone with information is urged to call the Craven County Sheriff's Office at 252-633-0498 or the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation at 919-662-4500.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

recep-bg/iStock(LOS ANGELES) -- The union representing striking Los Angeles teachers reached a deal with the school district Tuesday to end the strike and increase teachers' pay and shrink their class sizes. Teachers will head back to school on Wednesday.

"This is a good agreement. This is a historic agreement," Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said.

The mayor does not have authority over the school district, but urged the two sides to negotiate after more than 30,000 public school teachers walked out of classrooms and hit picket lines for the first time in 30 years. The strike entered its ninth day on Tuesday.

In addition to those top-line changes, an increase in the number of support staff like counselors, nurses and librarians were also a factor in the deal, Alex Caputo-Pearl, the president of the United Teachers of Los Angeles, said at a joint news conference.

Caputo-Pearl noted that preliminary numbers showed the agreement passing with a "vast super majority."

The exact details of the deal -- including the specifics of the pay increases and the decreasing class sizes -- were not discussed at the news conference but are expected to be confirmed after union members are informed. Garcetti did say that the reductions in class sizes would take place over time, and "every year for the next four years, they'll see reductions."

Caputo-Pearl said that the strike came after years of frustration.

"Educators and parents reached a boiling point ... about conditions in classrooms," he said.

Austin Beutner, the superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District, agreed that the frustrations had been building as a result of decades of budget issues.

"We can't fix 40 years of under-investment in a week," Beutner said at the joint news conference, but added that the tentative deal helps to build "a shared commitment to do even more."

"This is the start, not the end. This is the start," he said.

"The strike nobody wanted is now behind us," Beutner said at the joint news conference.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- A large storm that developed in the central U.S. is moving east on Wednesday and bringing snow, a wintry mix, severe weather and flooding rain.

The storm dumped over 17 inches of snow in the mountains of Colorado, and widespread 2 to 4 inches of snow from the Colorado Plains to the upper Midwest. Freezing rain also was reported in parts of Iowa, Illinois and Indiana on Tuesday night.

Locally heavy snow is moving through parts of the Midwest, including Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on Wednesday morning. In Chicago, a wintry mix, with some snow, is possible as colder air is being wrapped into the storm. However, most of the frozen precipitation will stay north and west of the city. A dangerous morning commute is likely in these areas.

Additionally, a wintry mix is likely across parts New York state Wednesday morning as precipitation is interacting with colder air.

There are numerous alerts being issued for this wide-ranging storm, including winter storm warnings and winter weather advisories from Kansas to Michigan to Maine. Since there is a threat for heavy rain in the Northeast, there are new flood watches being issued for the major cities, including New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. Additionally, there are alerts being issued for blowing snow in the Northern Plains in the storm’s wake.

A line of very heavy rain will extend through the Mississippi and Tennessee Valley late in the day Wednesday. Additionally, severe weather is likely across parts of the Gulf -- from New Orleans to Mobile, Alabama -- where damaging winds and brief tornadoes are possible. Since this cold front is very strong, it will also cause gusty winds over 35 mph in spots.

Out ahead of the cold front, very mild air will surge up the East Coast. Temperatures will be 10 to 20 degrees above average in the New York City area, where temperatures might be in the mid-50s Thursday morning. But the warmth will be brief.

Early Thursday morning, the heavy rain and strong winds will move into the southeast U.S. and toward Atlanta. By Thursday morning, the line of heavy rain, with some locally strong thunderstorms, will stretch along the entire East Coast. Very heavy rain will fall Thursday during morning rush hour in the major northeast cities. Locally, 1 to 2 inches of rain could cause flash flooding and strong gusty winds are possible.

An additional complication in parts of the Northeast is that the heavy rain, combined with mild temperatures, will cause last week's snow to rapidly melt and cause additional flooding concerns.

Chill behind the storm

Behind this storm, another frontal system will pass and deliver a cold blast. Wind chills on Friday in the Midwest will dip locally to minus 30 degrees. Chicago will feel like minus 21 on Friday morning.

Some of this cold air makes its way east, but moderates before reaching the major Northeast cities. It will not be as cold as last weekend.

However, another powerful blast of cold air will come in behind it over the weekend and wind chills approaching minus 50 are possible in parts of the upper Midwest by Sunday. Duluth, Minnesota will feel like minus 47 and Minneapolis like minus 29 on Sunday morning.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

spyderskidoo/iStock(NEW YORK) -- More than one-fifth of all states are falling behind on road safety laws, according to a new report released Tuesday by the group Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety.

The 16th annual Roadmap Report evaluates each state on its implementation of road safety laws the group recommends and found that 11 states, including Arizona, Florida and Virginia, fall "dangerously behind."

South Dakota scored the lowest in the group's rankings by implementing only two of the recommended laws, while Rhode Island received the highest grade by implementing 13 of 16 laws.

The report ranks states based on the strength of their laws in five categories: occupant protection, child passenger safety, teen driving laws, impaired driving and distracted driving. Only six states and the District of Columbia were given a green rating for showing significant advancement toward adopting the recommended laws.

Almost half -- 47 percent -- of passenger vehicle occupants killed were unrestrained, the group said.

In addition to the 16 recommended laws used for the rating system, the group's president, Cathy Chase, in a news conference Tuesday, cited that 406 laws are still “critically” needed in all 50 states as well as at the national level.

“Right now, we are mired in mediocrity when we should be boasting about bold leadership,” said Chase.

Thirty-three states were given a yellow rating indicating that there are still gaps with the recommended safety laws, while 11 were given a red rating for falling behind in their implementation.

Matt Gannon, the head of federal affairs for Farmers Insurance Group and a panelist for the 2019 Roadmap report, explained the importance of just implementing one of the 16 laws recommended by advocates.

“If every state enacted just one law this year, it would be great progress and many many lives would be saved”, he said.

Other notable findings in the report include that the annual total cost of motor vehicle crashes is approximately $242 billion.

Further, approximately 100 people are killed and more than 8,500 are injured every day on U.S. roadways. The number of deaths overall, however, decreased 1.8 percent in 2017 after increasing the two previous years.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

Moreno Valley Police Department(LOS ANGELES) -- Family and friends spent Tuesday doing all they could to help find Aranda Briones, the 16-year-old Southern California resident who hasn't been seen in 10 days.

Briones, a native of Moreno Valley, about an hour east of Los Angeles, was hanging out with friends on Jan. 13 when she never returned, according to authorities. She was reported missing the next day.

Her friends said Briones was dropped off at Moreno Valley Community Park around 6 p.m. that evening, but investigators were not able to see her on any nearby surveillance video, according to Los Angeles ABC station KABC-TV.

Uncle Matthew Horstkotte, who spent Tuesday handing out missing persons flyers picturing his niece, admitted she didn't always have the best choice in friends. Police have not said whether they expect foul play is involved.

"She did have a bad choice of friends, I'll be honest, you know everybody does," Horstkotte told KABC. "Everybody makes mistakes, but you know one thing I want? I just want her home safe."

Horstkotte pleaded for friends to come forward if they have any info and not cover for someone, saying, "Nowadays, you know teenagers want to cover up for a friend or someone says, 'I don't want to tell because I'm scared.' But just come forward."

Police continue to search for video in the area of the park where friends say they last saw her. Briones was using her phone to post on social media from Rubidoux, about 14 miles northwest of where she was last seen, on Jan. 13.

She has not posted on social media or responded to calls on her cellphone since.

"Over the past week, investigators have searched last known locations and spoke to several family and friends of Briones in an attempt to locate her," Moreno Valley police said in a statement. "Briones’ last known location is believed to be near Moreno Valley Community park located at 13380 Frederick Street in Moreno Valley."

Moreno Valley police said both their anti-human trafficking team and the FBI have been involved in the search. The Riverside County Sheriff's Office has also been involved in trying to locate Briones.

"Nine days on a missing person case -- obviously with each passing second, each passing minute, each passing day -- from a law enforcement standpoint, we don't like it," Riverside County Sheriff Sgt. Chris Willison told KABC.

Briones is about 5-foot-4 and 110 pounds with brown hair, hazel/green eyes and a pierced septum. She was wearing a white and blue jacket and dark jeans.

"We just want her home," her brother, Daniel Briones, told KABC earlier this week. "That's honestly all we really care about. We just want her home."

Carl Horstkotte, Briones' grandfather and legal guardian, told KABC, "It's been a living hell."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

Boston Police Department(BOSTON) -- Police arrested a suspect in Boston for allegedly kidnapping a young woman who vanished over the weekend and was found alive in the man's apartment Tuesday.

The arrest marked the end of an intense search for 23-year-old Olivia Ambrose, who disappeared Saturday night after leaving Hennessey's Bar in the North End area of Boston, according to police.

Police arrested 38-year-old Victor Pena on kidnapping charges Tuesday evening at his apartment in the Charlestown neighborhood of Boston, about 2 miles north of the bar where Ambrose was last seen.

Investigators with the Boston Police Department said they found evidence from Ambrose's cellphone that led them to the suspect's apartment. They did not have to force entry; the suspect opened the door and the officers saw the victim inside. She was taken to a local hospital for evaluation.

She appeared to be in good health, the police department said. Officials did not offer details about her emotional state.

"We are beyond happy to have Livy home," her mother Heather told Boston ABC affiliate WCVB-TV. "It's amazing. The Boston Police Department, as were the MBTA, the transit police, everybody. They couldn't have done more and we just want to say thank you. You can't describe it really, but just a huge relief, obviously."

Earlier this week, authorities released surveillance video from around midnight Sunday showing Pena with his arm around Ambrose as they left the Bunker Hill Community MBTA Station in Charlestown. They were seen walking together about 10 minutes later and the suspect appeared to be guiding her, police said.

"Today is a good day. Miss Ambrose was found alive," Boston Police Commissioner William Gross said at a press conference Tuesday. "It’s obvious from the surveillance video that she was not going along willingly."

Ambrose's family said they were overjoyed by news of the woman's safe recovery.

"The Ambrose family is so grateful for the monumental efforts of the Boston Police Department and the MBTA and Transit police who have worked tirelessly over the last three days to bring Olivia home," Gina Addis, a family spokesperson, said in a statement. "The Ambrose family is also so appreciative of all the efforts, prayers and good wishes of their friends, family and complete strangers who have helped in the efforts to find Olivia."

The family issued a special thank you to the Hennessey's Bar staff and Ambrose's co-workers "who sprang into action and were instrumental in getting the word out" about her disappearance.

The suspect is scheduled for arraignment on Wednesday and authorities said they could file additional charges against him, according to the department. It was not clear if he had obtained an attorney as of late Tuesday night.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

BlakeDavidTaylor/iStock(GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.) -- Three Michigan residents were arrested Monday afternoon for conspiring to support ISIS, federal authorities said.

Muse Abdikadir Muse, 20, was arrested by law enforcement officers during security screening at the Gerald R. Ford Airport in Grand Rapids, Michigan, after checking in for the first of a series of flights to Mogadishu, Somalia. His 23-year-old brother, Mohamud Abdikadir Muse, and their 26-year-old brother-in-law, Mohamed Salat Haji, were arrested in the airport terminal soon after, according to a criminal complaint filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan.

All three men are naturalized U.S. citizens who were born in Kenya and currently reside in Lansing, Michigan.

The family first came to the attention of the FBI in April 2016 when a review of Mohamud Abdikadir Muse's public Facebook page "revealed frequent posts of photos, videos, and statements and commentary that were pro-ISIS in nature and what can be described as violent, extremist propaganda," the complaint states.

An undercover FBI employee posing as an ISIS recruiter began communicating with the former Nebraska resident via Facebook in June 2017. Mohamud Abdikadir Muse said he wanted to join the terrorist group, was saving his money to travel to Syria and that he "planned to die with a gun in his hand fighting for ISIS," according to the complaint.

Search warrants later revealed that his younger brother, Muse Abdikadir Muse, and their brother-in-law, Haji, allegedly discussed with each other via Facebook "their desire to fight for ISIS and support for the killing of non-believers." The pair also allegedly talked about the possibility of using a car "as a weapon for a planned attack" here in the United States if they could not travel overseas to fight for the terrorist group, the complaint states.

Another undercover FBI employee posing as a man in Somalia started communicating with Muse Abdikadir Muse in the fall of 2018. Muse Abdikadir Muse said he planned to travel to Somalia and sent a video pledging his allegiance to ISIS, according to the complaint.

The undercover operative told Muse Abdikadir Muse that he presented the oath video to ISIS leadership in Somalia and it was accepted. Muse Abdikadir Muse later sent oath videos from his brother and brother-in-law, which the agent confirmed were also accepted by ISIS leadership, according to the complaint.

After Muse Abdikadir Muse requested $1,200 from ISIS to help pay for airfare to Somalia's capital, the funds were sent by the FBI -- posing as ISIS -- in increments to the three relatives as well as a third undercover FBI employee whom they believed planned to accompany them on the journey. Earlier this month, Muse Abdikadir Muse purchased his ticket to Mogadishu via a series of connecting flights, according to the complaint.

During a shopping trip at a Walmart in Lansing last week to prepare for the upcoming trip, Muse Abdikadir Muse and Haji told the undercover operative "that if they failed in their attempt to join ISIS, they would conduct an attack or martyrdom operation," the complaint states.

The two brothers traveled with Haji to the airport in Grand Rapids on Monday. Following their arrests, federal agents executed search warrants at the siblings' residence, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice.

All three men have been charged with engaging in a conspiracy to provide material support or resources to a designated foreign terrorist organization, which is punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

Broward County Jail(MIAMI) -- Police arrested a man in Miami on Monday after he yelled racial slurs and waved a gun at a group of black protesters, according to video posted online.

Mark Bartlett, who is white, was charged with carrying a concealed firearm after he allegedly pulled a gun on protesters blocking a Miami street as a part of a demonstration on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Video posted on social media showed Bartlett wielding a handgun and yelling the N-word repeatedly.

"Get in front of my car, you f---ing piece of s---. N------ suck," the man yelled from the window of his black SUV. He continued to swear and yell racial slurs as he exited his vehicle, brandishing his gun and causing some of the protesters to scatter.

One of the teens involved in the incident said Bartlett threatened him before the video was filmed.

"He pointed the gun at me first inside his car. He told me to come to the car. I said, 'No sir. No sir. I'm not coming,'" 18-year-old Deante Joseph told ABC affiliate WPLG-TV on Tuesday. "He said, 'Black n----r. You black n----r. Get away from my car. Get away from my car.' We were holding up signs for housing. That's all we were doing."

Bartlett, 51, admitted he had a gun at the time, but said he only pulled it out to protect his girlfriend, who was arguing with one of the teens.

"All I see is 15 people running across the street toward my girlfriend -- over the median, toward my girlfriend," he told WPLG. "My first reaction is I have a gun on me. Whether I have a gun on me or not, I'm running to see and to protect my family. I had a gun though. It wasn't loaded. I ran out there. You can see I never pointed it. I never threatened anybody. I just needed it in case something were to happen."

Bartlett was released on bond as of Tuesday evening, court records show, but community members said he should be hit with more serious charges.

“Assault with a deadly weapon and calling them n-----s sounds like a hate crime to me,” Miami City Commission Chairman Keon Hardemon said on Instagram. "Mark Bartlett was arrested but his charge doesn’t reflect his assault yet. Let’s see how our States Attorney's Office decides to file charges."

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez tweeted video of the incident and confirmed that a suspect had been arrested.

"I can confirm that the man in the video was arrested. His use of racist comments, especially on MLK Day, and threatening others with a gun will not be tolerated by anyone," Suarez wrote.

Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle also commented on the incident in a statement on Tuesday, promising to investigate the incident as a hate crime.

"I am outraged at the reported acts depicted in videos taken during the Brickell District incident on #MLKDay," she said. "I have assigned my Hate Crimes Unit Chief to handle this case & am committed to filing the appropriate charges & vigorously prosecute the case to fullest extent of the law."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

dkfielding/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- The Supreme Court on Tuesday -- by a 5-4 vote -- has granted the Trump administration's request to begin enforcing a ban, with some exceptions, on transgender military service members while legal appeals continue.

The move, which is temporary, reverses a lower court order that had put the policy on hold. The court said Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan would have denied the request to stay the lower court's order.

Separately, the court rejected the administration's request for an expedited review of the issue before lower appellate courts have weighed in.

Advocates estimate more than 15,000 transgender Americans are currently serving in the U.S. military and that more than 134,000 are veterans.

A memo from then-Defense Secretary James Mattis' last February memo cited 8,980 service members who identify as transgender, "and yet there are currently only 937 active duty Service members who have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria since June 30, 2016."

In 2017, President Donald Trump tweeted that he would no longer “accept or allow” transgender individuals to serve in the military, prompting the Pentagon to scramble to revise its policy and triggering legal challenges from critics who called the move discriminatory. The ban so far has never taken effect.

"As always, we treat all transgender persons with respect and dignity. DoD's proposed policy is NOT a ban on service by transgender persons. It is critical that DoD be permitted to implement personnel policies that it determines are necessary to ensure the most lethal and combat effective fighting force in the world," a Pentagon spokesman said Tuesday following the court's decision.

In a March memorandum, Trump concurred with the policy recommendations of then-Defense Secretary James Mattis that transgender individuals "with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria" are unable to serve except under limited circumstances. That policy was constrained by existing court orders that blocked earlier attempts to ban transgender troops.

“For more than 30 months, transgender troops have been serving our country openly with valor and distinction, but now the rug has been ripped out from under them, once again," said Lambda Legal Counsel Peter Renn. "We will redouble our efforts to send this discriminatory ban to the trash heap of history where it belongs.”

The Justice Department vowed to keep defending the Trump policy in the courts.

“We are pleased the Supreme Court granted stays in these cases, clearing the way for the policy to go into effect while litigation continues. The Department of Defense has the authority to create and implement personnel policies it has determined are necessary to best defend our nation," DOJ spokesperson Kerri Kupec said in a statement.

"Due to lower courts issuing nationwide injunctions, our military had been forced to maintain a prior policy that poses a risk to military effectiveness and lethality for over a year. We will continue to defend in the courts the authority and ability of the Pentagon to ensure the safety and security of the American people,” the DOJ statement continued.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

Evgen_Prozhyrko/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Four suspects are under arrest in upstate New York and charged with an alleged conspiracy to use improvised explosive devices and guns to attack an Islamic community about 170 miles away -- just outside of Binghamton.

Three of the individuals arrested were identified by police as Vincent Vetromile, 19, Andrew Crysel, 18, and Brian Colaneri, 20. Each was charged with three counts of first-degree criminal possession of a weapon and one count of fourth-degree conspiracy.

A fourth male, 16, was also arrested in the alleged plot but is not being named or identified by photo due to his age. The same charges have been filed against the teenager, according to Greece Police Department spokesman Sgt. Jared Rene.

All four of the suspects were in the Boys Scouts of America together -- two of them were Eagle Scouts, Greece Police Chief Patrick Phelan said at a Tuesday press conference, according to ABC News Rochester affiliate WHAM.

Phelan said the probe began when a student at a Greece high school called Odyssey Academy showed another student a picture of a third person on his cell phone and asked if the person in the photo looked like “the next school shooter.”

The student who was shown the picture alerted school security, which led to an investigation. Both the student with the phone and the person pictured on the phone – who is not a student -- were interviewed by police, authorities said.

Phelan said that five search warrants were approved by a judge and executed, one at each of the four suspects’ homes and one at the home of a fifth individual who has not been charged, according to WHAM. He said that three IEDs and 23 guns were recovered.

"There was a plan to attack this community with weapons," Phelan said at a press conference, WHAM reported.

"They had access to these weapons," Phelan said. "Some of them were their father's, some were their grandfather's, some of them I think they purchased themselves. So I think as far as ownership, I think that every spectrum is hit."

All three of the IED devices were recovered from the home of the 16-year-old, who is a student at Greece Central School District, Phelan said.

Authorities said that the suspects were engaged in a plot to attack Islamberg, New York –- a Muslim enclave 50 miles northwest of Binghamton in the Catskill Mountains in Delaware County, New York. The tiny town of about 200 people has long been the subject of unsupported claims of terrorist activity by right-wing media outlets and commentators.

According to court records reviewed by WHAM, each of the suspects is accused of having IEDs in cylinders or mason jars, packed with nails, BBs and black powder.

All three of the named suspects were arraigned and are being held in the Monroe County Jail on $50,000 cash bails or $100,000 bonds. The fourth suspect was arraigned in juvenile court and detained pending a $1 million bail. All four are scheduled to return to court on Jan. 23 at 11 a.m.

Authorities said the plot had been in the works for several weeks, and that further arrests or additional charges could result from the ongoing probe.

Islamberg was founded in the late 1980s by a Pakistani cleric named Mubarak Ali Gilani, largely to house African-American Muslims from Brooklyn. It has been a focus of unproven suspicion for years, according to local media reports.

Alex Jones’ website InfoWars sent a pair of staffers to Islamberg in 2015 to “look into reports that the area is a staging ground for Jihadist training,” according to the Infowars website.

In 2017, Robert Doggart of Tennessee was sentenced to nearly 20 years in prison for plotting to burn Islamberg down, according to Reuters. Doggart's attorneys have reportedly filed an appeal in his case.

At the press conference, Greece Central School District Superintendent Kathleen Graupman made a point to commend the student or students who reported the incident to authorities.

"As a school district and a community, we are deeply saddened and upset by what this investigation has revealed, but we are also incredibly grateful that young people refused to stand idly by,” she said, according to WHAM. “Students trusted their instincts and what they have learned from us in school…These students came forward with information - supporting the idea that if you see something, you should say something. Their actions changed the narrative."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

Central Division Air Operations(NEW YORK) -- Video has been released of two hikers being rescued by helicopter after getting trapped at Yosemite National Park.

The rescue took place on the morning of Jan. 16, after the pair got stuck in a crevasse on the North Dome the night before.

In a video posted on the California Highway Patrol Central Division Air Operations' Facebook page, the CHP H-40 helicopter can be seen flying through Yosemite Valley.

The video then shows the view from the helicopter looking down, with a rescuer lowering a rope and the stranded hikers being fastened and then pulled up and into the helicopter.

Then helicopter is later seen eventually landing in Ahwahnee Meadow, where other personnel were waiting.

A post on Yosemite National Park's Facebook page said dispatchers were called at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 15, but rangers and search-and-rescue personnel were unable to reach the hikers that night "due to darkness, rain, sleet, and fog, and the technical terrain."

The California Highway Patrol said the helicopter began searching in the last known location of the hikers on Jan. 16 before finding them in the crevasse on the east side of North Dome.

According to the California Highway Patrol, the hikers -- who CHP identified as two men from England in their mid-20s -- said they lost the trail in the snow while hiking into Yosemite Valley.

They became trapped in the crevasse and called 911 from a cell phone after being unable to continue further because of a 2,000-foot drop or go back because the path was too steep and covered in snow.

The two hikers were not injured, according to Yosemite National Park.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

dkfielding/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- As it concludes its January session, the Supreme Court is taking no action on cases involving the DACA program, leaving in place for at least several more months protections for 700,000 immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as children.

President Donald Trump moved to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals initiative in 2017, but several federal courts put the phase-out on hold as multiple legal challenges work their way through the court system. One district court judge called Trump’s justification for ending the Obama-era program “arbitrary and capricious.”

The Trump administration asked the Supreme Court for an expedited review of the policy even before all lower court cases have been resolved. The justices, so far, have not decided to weigh in.

If the justices do decide to take up the matter, the earliest it would be heard is in October, the court's next session. A decision would not be expected until sometime in 2020.

Meanwhile, in his shutdown standoff with congressional Democrats, Trump has proposed exchanging renewed DACA protections as part of a deal for border wall funding. The court's inaction, however, may weaken some of his leverage by effectively protecting the program until at least the fall.

“There is no reason for the Court to consider these cases right now, on a rushed timeline, and before many lower courts have had a chance to consider the cases," said Todd Schulte, president of FWD.us, a bipartisan immigrant advocacy group.

The Supreme Court's inaction on DACA means, in effect, that the program will remain in place through at least October. Roughly 700,000 immigrants, known as Dreamers, have received temporary protection from deportation and work permits under the policy.

“DACA covers a class of immigrants whose presence, seemingly all agree, pose the least, if any, threat and allows them to sign up for honest labor on the condition of continued good behavior,” federal District Court Judge William Alsup wrote in his opinion last year blocking the administration’s move.

"We have no doubt that the Administration will take extraordinary measures to end this program, and the Court could still agree to take up this case at a later date, so we urge Dreamers who are eligible to renew their DACA as soon as possible,” Schultz said. “We also continue to urge Congress to pass permanent protections for Dreamers, so that they can stop living from injunction to injunction and fully contribute to our country and economy.”

The Justice Department declined to comment when reached by ABC News.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Local News

WJTN News Headlines for Jan. 23, 2019

Many local and state government leaders are unhappy about Governor Andrew Cuomo's proposal to eliminate Aid and Incentives for Municipalities -- or AIM funding, for local towns and villages.... &n...

Read More


Join Us Online