Review Category : National News

Court Denies Injunction to End Philly Transit Strike Before Election Day

DigitalVision/Thinkstock(PHILADELPHIA) — The largest city in the battleground state of Pennsylvania may have no mass transit running on Election Day.

Philadelphia transit workers remain on strike, after a judge in state court on Friday evening declined the transit agency’s request to issue an injunction to force an end to the work stoppage for Election Day.

But the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, or SEPTA, will have another chance to press its case for the injunction when the hearing resumes Monday.

Pennsylvania is a battleground state, and Philadelphia, the state’s largest city, votes overwhelmingly Democratic.

The transit agency has said that Philadelphia’s elderly, disabled and ill are most at risk from the loss of subway, bus and trolley services during the strike.

“We are not going to lie down while they can’t resolve this strike, and just watch our passengers suffer. Not going to do it,” Gino Benedetti, a lawyer for SEPTA, told ABC News’ affiliate 6-Action News.

But Jamie Horwitz, a spokesman for the Transportation Workers Union Local 234 has told ABC News that the union does not expect the strike to affect voter turnout in the city.

“Our members are really solid; nothing is moving in this city,” he said of the workers’ unity and the strike’s effect on bus, subway and trolley transportation.

Horwitz told ABC News that while talks have progressed between SEPTA and the union, no agreement has been reached.

“There’s been movement on all issues, but there’s no tentative agreement on anything,” Horwitz said.

Horwitz said the primary disagreements between the two sides focused on the scheduling of workers, who he said were frequently not given adequate time to eat, rest between shifts or take bathroom breaks.

In addition to the issues over scheduling, the union is fighting on issues over pensions and health care. The strike began at midnight Oct. 31.

Megan Sweeney, a spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Republican Party, told ABC News last week that its staffers are monitoring the transportation strike but haven’t taken any specific actions yet to accommodate voters who might be hindered by it.

“We always have a really aggressive plan to make sure people get to the polls, and we always have contingency plans,” she said, adding that she believed that enthusiasm for Donald Trump in the traditionally Democratic-leaning city appeared “very strong.”

ABC News has reached out to the Pennsylvania Democratic Party but has not received a response.

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf urged both sides to keep a dialogue open until an agreement can be reached.

“Hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvania residents rely on SEPTA to travel each day to and from work and school, and the inability of TWU and SEPTA to reach an agreement is devastating for many of these individuals and their families,” Wolf said in a statement last week. “This will create extreme hardships for the city and for businesses.”

The most recent previous strike by the union, in November 2009, lasted six days before being resolved.

Vice President Joe Biden campaigned for Clinton in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania, and stressed the importance of the state to the Democrats retaining the White House.

“If we win Pennsylvania, we win this election,” Biden said.

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Trump Protester at Center of Security Scare Says He Held a ‘Simple Sign’

ABC News(RENO, Nev.) — The man whose protest at a Donald Trump rally in Nevada led the Secret Service to rush the GOP nominee offstage said he went to the event “with a simple sign” to “voice my displeasure with the nominee that the party picked.”

Austyn Crites, who said he is a registered Republican, said in an interview Sunday with ABC News’ Good Morning America that he held up a sign proclaiming “Republicans Against Trump” at the rally in Reno on Saturday.

After he raised the sign, “of course there was the booing going on around me,” Crites told GMA. “Then a couple of guys started trying to violently rip the sign out of my hand, grabbing my arm, grabbing the sign … then all of a sudden I just got tackled by several people at once … eventually the police came, and I was thankful for that.”

At some point, someone in the crowd apparently yelled “gun,” according to a statement by the Secret Service, whose officers then rushed Trump offstage.

“Immediately in front of the stage, an unidentified individual shouted ‘gun,'” the statement said. “Secret Service agents and Reno police officers immediately apprehended the subject. Upon a thorough search of the subject and the surrounding area, no weapon was found.”

Crites, a Nevada resident, refuted claims that he went to the Trump rally as “a plant” for the Clinton campaign.

“I’m an independent guy just doing what I believe is right,” he said. He said he decided to go to the rally after receiving a last-minute email announcing the event.

“I just feel very strongly that this guy’s dangerous for the country and I want to show people that there are other Republicans in Nevada and elsewhere who just do not support him,” Crites said.

Crites said he has no relationship the Clinton campaign, but said he has donated money to the campaign and done some door-to-door canvassing recently “because I think Trump is a disaster for the country.” He said he has already voted for Clinton in early voting.

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Three Men Connected with Anti-Capitalist Protest Arrested in Incidents Near White House, FBI, Trump Hotel

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — At least three men connected with the Million Mask March were arrested in Washington, D.C., on Saturday in separate incidents.

On Saturday morning, D.C. Metro Police arrested two men for vandalizing several buildings along Pennsylvania Avenue, including the FBI Building and the Trump Hotel, as well as a police vehicle. Hours later, U.S. Secret Service arrested a third protester carrying a firearm near the White House, prompting a brief lockdown.

The Million Mask March has become an annual anti-capitalist demonstration hosted in cities around the world, featuring protesters wearing Guy Fawkes masks.

During the march, police observed damage at the FBI Building, the Trump International Hotel, and to a police cruiser.

In a press release, D.C. police identified the men as 27-year-old Eric Roberts, of Florida, and 35-year-old Danny Hamilton, of Louisiana. Roberts was arrested and charged with defacing government property at the FBI Building. Hamilton was arrested and charged with destruction of D.C. government property for damaging a police cruiser. Both men were charged with resisting arrest.

In a separate incident, a uniformed U.S. Secret Service arrested a man carrying a firearm near the White House. “The officer confronted the subject, a brief struggle ensued, and the subject was subsequently arrested,” read a statement from the Secret Service. The man was handed over to D.C. police and charged with carrying a firearm without a license and committing a crime while wearing a mask, among other charges.

The disturbance prompted a brief lockdown at the White House. The president was golfing at Joint Base Andrews at the time of the incident.

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Body Found on South Carolina Property Identified as Charles Carver

iStock/Thinkstock(ANDERSON CITY, S.C.) –A body found on the South Carolina property of kidnapping suspect Todd Kohlhepp where missing woman Kala Brown was found has been identified as her boyfriend Charles Carver, officials said.

Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright made the announcement at news conference this evening, but declined to say why Kohlhepp was brought back to the property today.

County Coroner Rusty Clevenger said the body was identified based on information from Carver’s family and the sheriff’s office.

The cause of death was multiple gunshot wounds to the upper extremities, and was ruled a homicide, he said.

Investigators are still scouring the 100-acre property where Brown, who — along with Carver — had been missing for two months, was found Thursday with a chain around her neck inside a metal storage container.

A tip led investigators to the large plot of land in Woodruff, South Carolina. They began combing through the property Thursday morning when they heard “banging” coming from a padlocked container measuring about 30 feet by 15 feet. A woman, identified as the 30-year-old Brown, was being held against her will inside, “chained up like a dog,” Wright said.

Kohlhepp, 45, was arrested Thursday at 10:45 a.m. and is in the detention center, where he is being held on one charge of kidnapping as the investigation continues. He could face more charges, depending on the outcome of the investigation, officials said.

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This Cop Is Using Skateboarding and Music to Build Trust Between Police and the Community

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A police officer in Bellevue, Washington, is using unconventional ways to do outreach and build trust in his community.

Officer Craig Hanaumi skateboards with children and teens at a local indoor skate park and plays the trombone with students involved in the local school district’s music program.

“It’s just a very organic way to build positive relationships without having a scripted sit-down,” Hanaumi told ABC News. “I enjoy it, the kids seem to enjoy it — and the best part is that it doesn’t feel artificial, forced or anything like that.”

Hanaumi documents a lot of his interactions on Instagram, where he’s amassed over 8,600 followers.

“Unfortunately, a lot of the negative stuff about our profession has been overshadowing a lot of the good things that happen,” he said. “So I wanted to have visual evidence of the good things that are happening within our department.”

Hanaumi said he and the other officers of the Bellevue Police Department “also feel so lucky” to be able to work in a city “that embraces diversity and supports us.”

“It’s also definitely in our best interest to keep it that way,” he added. “Community support makes every aspect of our job easier. It’s easier to investigate, solve and prevent crimes — plus it makes life more enjoyable for everyone, officers and civilians alike.”

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What to Know About the Man Accused of Kidnapping Kala Brown and the Ongoing Investigation

Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office(WOODRUFF, S.C.) — Investigators are still scouring the 100-acre property in South Carolina where a woman who has been missing for two months was found with a chain around her neck inside a metal storage container.

A tip led investigators to the massive plot of land in Woodruff, South Carolina. They began combing through the property Thursday morning when they heard “banging” coming from a padlocked container measuring about 30 feet by 15 feet. A woman, identified as 30-year-old Kala Brown, was being held against her will inside and “chained up like a dog,” said Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright.

A suspect has been arrested but officials said the investigation is not over. Here’s what we know about the man in custody as well as the victim and the ongoing search.

The Suspect

Officials said Todd Kohlhepp, 45, is the owner of the land where they are searching. He was on the property when a search warrant was served. Kohlhepp was arrested Thursday at 10:45 a.m. and is in the detention center, where he is currently being held on one charge of kidnapping as the investigation continues. He could face more charges, depending on the outcome of the investigation, officials said.

Kohlhepp had a bond hearing this afternoon, but bond was not set and the judge said it will be passed on to a circuit court, officials said. He is scheduled to appear back in court Jan. 19. ABC News was not able to reach Kohlhepp and it was unclear if he has an attorney.

According to South Carolina’s sex offender registry, Kohlhepp was required to register as a sex offender after he was arrested for a kidnapping in Arizona in 1987. According to 7th Circuit solicitor Barry Barnette, Kohlhepp was convicted of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl when he was a teenager. He allegedly tied her up during the assault and, afterward, threatened to kill her and her family if she told anyone.

“This individual is a very, very dangerous individual,” Barnette said of Kohlhepp.

Barnette said Kohlhepp was the last person to speak to Brown before she went missing.

According to ABC affiliate KTRK, South Carolina Labor, Licensing and Regulation says Kohlhepp is listed as “broker in charge” at TKA Real Estate and TKA Real Estate Greenville. According to the company’s website, TKA Real Estate has over a dozen employees with offices in Greenville and Spartanburg. Employees at the firm could not be immediately reached for comment.

In what appears to be his biography on the company website, Kohlhepp says he’s a licensed pilot and has degrees in business and computer science from University of South Carolina and Central Arizona College.

Lindsey Mayson, a friend of Brown, told ABC affiliate WJBF-TV that Brown cleaned houses for Kohlhepp. Mayson said she met the man briefly when she helped Brown on the job one day.

“We went by his house to get a key before we went by his house to clean. Didn’t seem like a person who would do anything to anybody. He seemed down to earth,” Mayson told WJBF-TV.

The Search

Sheriff Wright called it “divine intervention from God himself” that led investigators to Brown’s location and “good investigative work” that brought them out to the stretch of land in the first place.

The Anderson Police Department received information that Brown’s phone had been tracked to Kohlhepp’s property on Woodruff Road, according to Barnette. After receiving the tip, investigators launched a search on Kohlhepp’s property around 8:30 a.m. Thursday. Numerous officers, police dogs, digging equipment and a helicopter were on the scene.

The vehicle that Brown and her boyfriend, Charles Carver, were seen in after disappearing in late August was located in a wooded area on the property. Carver is still missing.

“We don’t have any indication either way. We’re certainly praying for the best outcome,” Wright said at a press conference Thursday.

According to a court solicitor, at least one body was found on Kohlhepp’s property Friday.

Investigators said they have also recovered multiple weapons and ammunition from the property.

What’s Next for Kala Brown

Wright said Brown was found “chained up like a dog with a chain around her neck” in the container and she told investigators she had been there for two months. She was transported to a hospital for treatment.

Brown told officials she had been fed regularly, but the Spartanburg County sheriff said it was “the grace of God that she was found alive.” Wright described Brown as “alive and well” when she was found but “obviously traumatized.”

When asked again about her condition Thursday night, Wright told reporters Brown “was in good spirits” and “looked good” considering her ordeal.

Brown told investigators that Kohlhepp took her and her boyfriend’s phones. Phone pinging indicated that their phones were near Greenville. Brown also said she witnessed the suspect shoot Carver, according to Barnette.

Other Victims

The Spartanburg County sheriff said investigators may be dealing with a possible serial killer and there could be multiple bodies on the vast property.

“We’re trying to make sure that we don’t have a serial killer on our hands,” Wright said Thursday. “It very possibly could be what we have.”

According to Wright, Brown “told us that there may be four people on this property.”

“We’re going back as far as we can for every piece of property this man has ever had to find what we need,” he added.

As the search continued this morning, Wright said cadaver dogs alerted investigators to some spots on the property. The remains of at least one person was found Friday and investigators believe there are more bodies on Kohlhepp’s property, according to Barnette.

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Multiple People Shot Outside Oakland Nightclub, Police Say

iStock/Thinkstock(OAKLAND, Calif.) — At least five people were injured during a shooting early Saturday morning outside a nightclub in Oakland, California, police said.

Oakland Police said two male suspects, ages 17 and 21, were arrested in connection with the downtown Oakland shooting that happened just after midnight, according to ABC News affiliate KGO-TV.

The two suspects were injured in the shooting, but both were in stable condition, Oakland Police said according to KGO-TV.

There were six other victims that suffered gunshot wounds and several were transported to area hospitals, police said.

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Tribe Leader Calls for Peace at Pipeline Protest: ‘Respect Our Lands, Our People, Our Rights’

Evan Simon/ABC News(MANDAN, N.D.) — The chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has called for peace, justice and focus as he leads hundreds of Native American groups and environmentalists pushing to block the four-state Dakota Access Pipeline near the tribe’s reservation.

“The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has always maintained the position that we’re about protecting our water. We’re about protecting our sacred places. We’re about protecting our sovereignty. We’re about protecting the future, our future generations, the children who are not yet born. We have always opposed this pipeline, not for any other reasons, those are our reasons,” Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II told ABC News.

“There’s all these things that happened to tribes over time that were unjust, that were not right. And nobody stood up,” Archambault said. “Today, we’re saying no. Don’t put this pipeline here. Enough is enough. Respect our lands, respect our people, respect our rights.”

Archambault outlined a long history of injustices that have been committed against indigenous people spanning back generations, the effects of which he says are still palpable to this day.

“We didn’t ask to be the highest poverty rate in the nation. … And we didn’t do that to ourselves. It’s all the wrongs that took place,” Archambault said.

Archambault added that they were not trying to entirely block the 1,172-mile pipeline, and said the tribe would be happy with a reroute away from culturally sacred sites and far from the reservation’s water supply, saying a “reroute is a solution that recognizes tribal sovereignty, that recognizes tribal rights.”

“We live with so many broken promises,” Archambault told ABC News. “Even if they just say, ‘We’re going to reroute this pipeline out of your territory,’ that’s huge for indigenous people. … We can reroute this and it’s a win that recognizes our rights, our lands.”

Kelcy Warren, the CEO of Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind Dakota Access Pipeline, wrote in an internal memo to staff in September that “concerns about the pipeline’s impact on the local water supply are unfounded,” and that “multiple archaeological studies conducted with state historic preservation offices found no sacred items along the route.”

Archambault urged the hundreds of demonstrators who have convened in Cannon Ball, North Dakota, to remain nonviolent, reiterating calls for peace.

“We’ve always asked that this be peaceful and prayerful,” Archambault said. “We don’t condone violence from law enforcement and we don’t condone violence from our water protectors.”

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At Least 5 People Shot Outside Oakland Nightclub: Police

iStock/Thinkstock(OAKLAND, Calif.) — At least five people were injured during a shooting early Saturday morning outside a nightclub in Oakland, California, police said.

The shooting occurred after midnight in downtown Oakland.

“Upwards of five people were shot,” said an Oakland Police Department spokeswoman about two hours after the shooting, adding that there were no fatalities.

The spokeswoman said no one had been arrested yet.

The type of firearm used was unknown.

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St. Paul Police Release Video of Man Bitten By K9 and Kicked by Officer

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Police in St. Paul, Minnesota, have released a video from an incident this summer when a black man was bitten by a K9 and kicked by a police officer.

The victim, 52-year-old Frank Baker, suffered bites to his leg, multiple broken ribs and collapsed lungs, his attorney Robert Bennett told The Associated Press. Bennett said Baker was hospitalized for a couple weeks for the injuries.

The incident captured on police video happened June 24 after officers responded to calls about a fight, St. Paul police said.

The responding officers were told one person had a gun and they found a man who they believed matched the description of the person with a gun, police said. When an officer told the man to put his hands in the air, the man raised one hand, police said. The officer repeated the command but the man was slow to respond, police said.

An officer released a K9 to apprehend the man, and the dog made contact with the person who then fell to ground, police said.

Police said officers told the man to keep his hands visible, but when he did not one officer kicked the man in the ribs three times.

The man was handcuffed, the K9 taken off him and paramedics were called, police said.

No gun was found, police said.

“I’m disappointed and upset by what the video shows,” Police Chief Todd Axtell said at a press conference this afternoon when the video was released. “The content of this video does not reflect the way we strive to do our job, day in and day out.”

He added that he released the video “because it’s the right thing to do.”

The chief said every incident involving use of force by an officer is reviewed by the police department and that the officer involved who had the interaction with Baker was suspended for 30 days, more than what was required.

Representatives for the St. Paul’s police union defended the officers involved, saying Baker had matched the description given to officers that day of a man with a gun and that he “ignored numerous commands to put his hands in the air … he refused to comply.”

St. Paul Police Federation representatives also said the responding officers had “legitimate and reasonable fear” that the man had a weapon, adding that the incident happened in a dangerous area.

The police union representatives said the officers helped the man afterward by making sure he was comfortable, getting him water and calling medics, but that this is not shown on the video.

The two officers involved are both “exemplary officers with clean records” who have strong reputations, morals and work history, the federation representatives said.

Axtell said he met with Baker while he was in the hospital and assured him that a full review was being conducted. The police chief said he met with the victim again today in his office and offered an apology on behalf of the department.

“As a result of this incident we have increased our training for officers,” Axtell said. “When we don’t get things right we have to own it … and we have to apologize.”

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