Review Category : National News

Calls Renewed for Arrest of Ferguson Police Officer

Scott Olson/Getty Images(FERGUSON, Mo.) — The St. Louis County Police Department has been called upon to arrest Ferguson Police Office Darren Wilson for the Aug. 9 shooting death of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown following an altercation.

Since the incident a month ago, more witnesses have come forward to claim that Brown had his hands raised when Wilson fired his weapon, striking the teen six times, including a bullet to the head that killed him.

The racially-charged case resulted in nights of protests and civil unrest that was only calmed after a visit by Attorney General Eric Holder.

Members of the Ferguson chapter of the National Action Network were joined by Brown’s parents Tuesday in demanding that Wilson, who is now on administrative leave, be arrested, charged, photographed and indicted.

Because the Ferguson Police Department is no longer handling the case, and in fact, is being investigated itself by the Justice Department, community activists are urging the St. Louis County Police Department to put Wilson behind bars while a grand jury decides whether to indict him for the shooting.

Rev. Carlton Lee, National Action Network chapter president, told reporters, “We believe there is enough evidence to arrest Officer Darren Wilson. If probable cause is enough to arrest civilians, then it is enough to arrest police officers.”

In other developments, a group of protesters calling themselves the “Justice for Michael Brown Coalition” announced that they planned to shut down a stretch of highway in St. Louis as an act of civil disobedience Wednesday.

The group claims that it has a series of acts of civil disobedience planned, and that the first one will take place at 3 p.m. Wednesday near Interstate 70 and Hanley Road in St. Louis.

The organizers are planning a rally in a public parking lot, followed by a plan to block traffic at 4:30 p.m. That time is intended to symbolize the four and a half hours that Brown’s body was left on the street after he was shot and killed Wilson.

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Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones Sued for Alleged Sex Attack

Tom Pennington/Getty Images(DALLAS) — In yet another piece of bad publicity for the NFL, a 27-year-old Oklahoma woman has sued the Dallas Cowboys and Jerry Jones, claiming the owner sexually attacked her in 2009 and the team tried to cover it up.

Jana Weckerly alleges in her suit that Jones touched her inappropriately and forced her to watch him engage in other sexual acts. She says the Dallas Cowboys, rather than reporting the incident to police, coerced her to sign documents that nothing untoward occurred.

According to Thomas D. Bowers, Weckerly’s attorney, the amount of time between the alleged attack and when the lawsuit was filed is a “normal thing.”

In response, Levi McCathern, a lawyer for Jones, said in an email, “This is nothing more than an attempt to embarrass and extort Jerry Jones. This is a shakedown by a lawyer who is a solo practitioner just trying to make a name for himself.”

Weckerly wants $1 million in punitive damages. The NFL had no comment on the suit.

Jones, 71, has been the Cowboys’ owner and general manager since 1989. He is married with three grown children, who all work in the team’s front office.

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Ravens Owner Acknowledges ‘Mistake’ in Handling of Ray Rice Situation

Harry How/Getty Images(BALTIMORE) — Baltimore Ravens owner Stephen Bisciotti wrote a letter to the team’s fans and sponsors Tuesday, addressing the team’s handling of the Ray Rice situation and stating that the Ravens could have handled things differently.

“First, let us say that we did not do all we should have done and no amount of explanation can remedy that,” Bisciotti wrote in the letter, which was posted on the team’s website.

Rice and his then-fiancee, Janay Rice, were involved in a Feb. 15 altercation in an Atlantic City hotel elevator. The Ravens initially supported Rice following the incident, but terminated the running back’s contract Monday after a second video from the February assault emerged.

The newly-emerged video shows Janay Palmer, now Rice’s wife, being hit in the face in the elevator. Palmer then lunges at the running back before he delivers a blow that knocks her out. When the elevator doors open, Rice drags Palmer’s body outside, leaving her face down on the floor, her legs still inside the elevator.

A previous video only showed the scene outside the elevator.

The letter posted on the team’s website, addressed to Ravens stakeholders, begins, “You deserve an explanation.”

Bisciotti wrote that following the incident, team officials spoke to Rice, Palmer, the casino management, police and prosecutors.

“In March, the prosecutor dropped the case against Janay, but elevated the charge against Ray from simple assault to aggravated assault,” the letter says. “At this point, we decided to defer action until completion of the court proceedings. We stopped seeking to view or obtain a copy of the video. We halted our fact-finding. That was a mistake on our part.”

But the letter indicates that the team, like the NFL, was taking its lead from how law enforcement was handling the case, and police and prosecutors had seen the full video.

“In May, the prosecutor recommended, and the judge agreed, that Ray should be accepted into a pre-trial intervention program that will eventually have the assault charge dismissed from his record, pending a year of good behavior,” Bisciotti wrote in the letter.

“The police had seen video from inside the elevator,” it continues. “The prosecutor and the judge, who had also seen such video, allowed Ray into the program that would eventually clear him of the assault charge.”

Rice and Palmer met with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on June 16. Weeks later, Goodell announced that Rice would be suspended for the first two games of the season.

Seeing the video, however, “changed everything,” Bisciotti said.

“It is violent and horrifying,” he said. “I immediately came to the office and called a meeting with [team president] Dick Cass, [general manager] Ozzie Newsome, [coach] John Harbaugh and [senior vice president of public relations] Kevin Byrne. The meeting was relatively short. The decision to let Ray Rice go was unanimous. Seeing that video changed everything. We should have seen it earlier. We should have pursued our own investigation more vigorously. We didn’t and we were wrong.”

He said that Rice had “earned every benefit of the doubt” from the team because of his contributions on and off the field for six years.

“We took everything we knew and decided to support Ray Rice until we could not,” he said.

Spokesmen for the New Jersey state Attorney General and the Atlantic City Prosecutor’s Office declined to comment.

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‘Dirty Bomber’ Jose Padilla Re-Sentenced to 21 Years in Prison

DanHenson1/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Jose Padilla, known as the al-Qaeda “Dirty Bomber” was re-sentenced on Tuesday, receiving 21 years in prison for conspiracy to murder and providing material support to terrorists, after his original 17-year prison sentence was deemed too lenient.

Padilla was convicted in 2007 for conspiracy to murder, kidnap and maim individuals in a foreign country, conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, and providing material support to terrorists. His initial sentence was 17-and-a-half years in prison, significantly less than the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines of 30 years to life.

Padilla’s sentencing was remanded by the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, the Justice Department said Tuesday, after his conviction was upheld, but the sentence was deemed too light.

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Father of Five Missing Children Detained in Mississippi

John Roman/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(LEXINGTON COUNTY, S.C.) — The Lexington County Sheriff’s Department in South Carolina announced an investigation on Tuesday into the disappearance of five children from one family.

The children range in age from 1 to 8, and were reported missing on Sept. 3 after last being seen with their father. The father reportedly has joint custody of the children, and was detained on Sept. 6 in Mississippi.

The LCSD says the children’s mother reported them missing after being unable to contact her ex-husband.

The Butler County Sheriff’s Office in Alabama confirmed that five bodies were found late Tuesday afternoon. The father is suspected of bringing the children to Alabama and dumping their bodies.

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Father of Five Missing Children Detained in Alabama

John Roman/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(LEXINGTON COUNTY, S.C.) — The Lexington County Sheriff’s Department in South Carolina announced an investigation on Tuesday into the disappearance of five children from one family.

The children range in age from 1 to 8, and were reported missing on Sept. 3 after last being seen with their father. The father reportedly has joint custody of the children, and was detained on Sept. 6 in Alabama.

The LCSD says the children’s mother reported them missing after being unable to contact her ex-husband.

The Butler County Sheriff’s Office in Alabama confirmed that five bodies were found late Tuesday afternoon. The father is suspected of bringing the children to Alabama and dumping their bodies.

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Father of Five Missing Children Detained in Alabama

John Roman/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(LEXINGTON COUNTY, S.C.) — The Lexington County Sheriff’s Department in South Carolina announced an investigation on Tuesday into the disappearance of five children from one family.

The children range in age from 1 to 8, and were reported missing on Sept. 3 after last being seen with their father. The father reportedly has joint custody of the children, and was detained on Sept. 6 in Alabama.

The LCSD says the children’s mother reported them missing after being unable to contact her ex-husband.

The Butler County Sheriff’s Office in Alabama confirmed that five bodies were found late Tuesday afternoon. The father is suspected of bringing the children to Alabama and dumping their bodies.

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White House Disputes Claim Steven Sotloff Was ‘Sold’ by US Allies

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — The White House on Tuesday disputed claims made by a spokesman for the family of slain American journalist Steven Sotloff that he was sold as a hostage to ISIS by the so-called moderate Syrian opposition, the same forces President Obama is now seeking to fund and arm.

“As it relates to the specifics of this matter, based on the information that has been provided to me, I don’t believe that is accurate,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said in response to a question from ABC News’ Jonathan Karl.

Earnest said the incident remains under investigation by the FBI.

“This is something that they’re looking into all aspects of this, including how Mr. Sotloff may have come into the hands of ISIL,” or Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, he said.

Earnest suggested that the possibility that Syria’s moderate opposition may have been complicit in Sotloff’s disappearance does not give Obama pause about his decision to expand American support for the group.

Sotloff was kidnapped in Syria in August 2013. He was beheaded last week by a masked ISIS militant in a video posted online.

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Ray Rice in ‘Good Spirits’ and ‘Staying Strong for My Wife’

Rob Carr/Getty Images(BALTIMORE) — Disgraced running back Ray Rice said on Tuesday that he was in “good spirits” and trying to be “strong for my wife” despite being cut by the Baltimore Ravens and suspended indefinitely from the National Football League over a video showing him punching his then-fiancee in a hotel elevator.

Rice spoke with ESPN’s Josina Anderson hours after his wife, Janay Rice, put out a statement on Instagram defending her husband as “the man I love.”

Rice and his lawyers had made no public statements since TMZ posted a video Monday from inside the Revel Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey showing the couple in the elevator, a scene that ended with Janay Rice slumping to the floor after he punched her in the head.

“I have to be strong for my wife. She is so strong…We are in good spirits,” Ray Rice told ESPN. “We have a lot of people praying for us and we’ll continue to support each other.”

“I have to be there for [Janay] and my family right now and work through this,” he said.

Rice handed the phone to his wife who added, “I love my husband. I support him. I want people to respect our privacy in this family matter.”

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Minnesota Lottery Winner Going Back to Waiting Tables

Photodisc/Getty Images(MINNEAPOLIS) — A Minnesota couple who just won an $11.7 million lottery jackpot say their big plans to use the money include nothing “out of the ordinary,” with the wife even keeping her waitressing job.

“I actually really enjoy my job,” newly minted multimillionaire Rhonda Meath said of her job waiting tables at the Lake Elmo Inn in Lake Elmo, Minnesota.

“I have great friends here and a great boss, and it’s just really a fantastic place to work, so I have no plans of leaving,” she said.

Meath, 51, and her husband, Joe Meath of Bethel, Minnesota, came forward Monday as the winners of Saturday’s $11.7 million Hot Lotto jackpot.

The couple, who arrived at lottery headquarters Monday with three of their four children, will take home all of the $11.7 million because Hot Lotto pays the state and federal taxes, according to ABC affiliate KSTP-TV in Minneapolis-St. Paul.

“It was just a little shocking at first,” Rhonda Meath said.

The Meaths said they will splurge on a new car but, other than that, they plan to make some charitable contributions and keep their lives the same.

“Have to still mow the grass and get mail and put grandkids on the school bus,” Rhonda Meath told ABC News.

“We’re not going to do anything out of the ordinary,” said Joe, who is retired.

In terms of charity, Joe has promised to contribute to a college fund for the teenage clerk who sold him the winning ticket at a local gas station.

Rhonda, who spends much of her free time training therapy dogs, says she will donate some of the money to a local police K-9 foundation.

While their home life remains largely the same, Rhonda predicts she will see one difference on the job.

“Oh, I think the kitchen staff is going to be a little nicer to me,” she said.

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