Review Category : National News

Mayor Draws Ire After Hanging Black Lives Matter Banner on City Hall

Michele McPhee for ABC News(SOMERVILLE, Mass.) — Controversy over a Black Lives Matter banner affixed to the front of City Hall in the blue collar suburb of Somerville, Massachusetts, continued to rage Thursday as Mayor Joseph Curtatone announced that the sign would stay despite a request from the police union’s president to replace it with a banner that says “All Lives Matter.” Curtatone’s decision has prompted both outrage and praise in the community.

“The mayor has clearly chosen a side, and it’s not to support law enforcement,” Somerville Police Employees Association President Michael McGrath told ABC News.

The Black Lives Matter banner has hung near the entrance of Somerville City Hall since last August after Curtatone met with Black Lives Matter members who were upset at the arrests of protesters after they blocked a major Boston area highway during a Black Lives Matter protest in January, 2015. Those arrested became known as “the Somerville 18.” Most of them avoided jail time, instead receiving sentences of 60 hours of community service.

The public controversy about the banner began this week when McGrath sent a letter to Curtatone that said police officers were “deeply troubled” and found it “demoralizing” that the city had allowed the sign to remain hanging in support of this movement “while standing silent over the seemingly daily protest assassinations of innocent police officers around the country.”

“The Association is opposed to the misuse of excessive force, including deadly force, as are the well-intentioned members of BLM,” McGrath wrote.

Curtatone released a statement Wednesday that said while he supported his officers, the city will continue to take a stand against what he called “systemic racism in our nation.”

“The City of Somerville stands against all violence and all injustice, which is why a Black Lives Matter banner hangs at City Hall and why a banner in honor of the slain officers is hanging at Somerville Police Headquarters where it would provide the most moral support to our officers — both on my order. Both banners will remain hanging,” Curtatone’s statement read.

Curtatone’s decision was applauded outside of Somerville City Hall Thursday and supported by Somerville Police Chief David Fallon who said that he recognizes that “there is a problem” if anyone in his community feels excluded.

“When I hear the hashtag or see the banner ‘Black Lives Matter,’ it just brings to my mind personally that we have to be inclusive,” he told reporters.

Somerville resident Buddy Keenan, 60, told ABC News that Curtatone “works for the everyday people. Here we are pretty peaceful…but I can understand how the black people feel they are being killed off in other parts of the country by the police.”

But others, like retired police officer Bob DeNapoli, called the Black Lives Matter banner “reprehensible.” DeNapoli was shot six times during a 2011 burglary in nearby Woburn, suffering permanent injuries that forced him off the job.

“Why not hang a banner that reads ‘We All Matter?'” DeNapoli told ABC News.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Fuel Leak Prompts Evacuation of Airplane at Palm Beach International Airport

Zoonar RF/Thinkstock(PALM BEACH, Fla.) — A fuel leak at Palm Beach International Airport prompted one flight to be evacuated via emergency slides on Thursday afternoon.

According to the airport, an American Airlines plane was on a taxiway when fuel leaked from the bottom of the aircraft. The Federal Aviation Administration says that no one was injured in the incident, and that passengers were being taken back to the terminal by bus.

The flight was scheduled to leave Palm Beach for Philadelphia International Airport at 3:10pm ET. It was not clear when it would be rescheduled.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Video of Deadly Police-Involved Shooting in Houston Released

iStock/Thinkstock(HOUSTON) — Video was released Thursday of a deadly police-involved shooting of a black man in Houston.

Mayor Sylvester Turner said he wanted to release the videos to show that the man was armed and “debunk” social media reports that he was unarmed.

“The videos speak for themselves,” Turner said. “The facts are what they are.”

Houston police said Alva Braziel, 38, was armed when he was fatally shot by Houston police officers on July 9.

“This was not a case of an unarmed person that was shot down by the police,” Turner said Thursday.

Braziel’s family has seen some of the videos, Turner said at a news conference Thursday afternoon.

The deadly encounter began when two officers saw Braziel standing in an intersection in moving lanes of traffic, police said. The officers saw Braziel wave his hands in the air and then point a gun “directly at the officers,” police said.

The officers took cover behind the open doors of their patrol car and told Braziel to put the gun on the ground, police said.

“Braziel ignored repeated commands and instead raised his arms up, pointed the pistol upward and moved into different aggressive stances, as if getting ready for a fight,” the Houston Police Department said in a statement on July 11. “Braziel then lowered his weapon and again pointed it directly” at the officers, police said.

The officers discharged their duty weapons, “fearing for their lives,” police said.

Braziel died at the scene, police said.

The officers were identified by police as L. Lopez and E. Macias. The case is being investigated by the HPD Homicide and Internal Affairs Divisions and the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, ABC’s Houston station KTRK reported.

Turner said he contacted Braziel’s family to let them know that video would be released Wednesday — to give them an opportunity to see it first — but the family never did, KTRK said.

The mayor said the family hired an attorney, who then contacted the city on Wednesday, “saying it would be insensitive to release the video before the family saw it,” KTRK reported. The mayor then said the video would be released Thursday, KTRK said.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

NY Woman Ticketed for Using ‘Phony Passenger’ to Drive in HOV Lane

Suffolk County Police(NEW YORK) — A New York woman was ticketed after police pulled her over for driving with a “phony passenger” in the HOV lane on the Long Island Expressway Thursday morning, according to Suffolk County Police.

Highway Patrol Officer Andrew Spina became suspicious of the front seat passenger in a Subaru Outback cruising in the HOV lane while on patrol.

“When Officer Spina pulled over the vehicle, he observed that the driver, Candice Breen-Warren, had piled clothing, topped by a baseball hat, and a briefcase in the passenger seat in an attempt to resemble a person,” Suffolk County Police said in a statement.

HOV lanes are reserved for buses and vehicles with two or more occupants during early morning and evening hours, according to the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office.

Breen-Warren, 61, was issued summonses for HOV occupancy violation as well as driving an unregistered and uninspected vehicle, according to Suffolk County Police.

Breen-Warren did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Man with Hands Up Shot by Cop: There’s ‘No Justification,’ Lawyer Says

Hilton Napoleon(MIAMI, Fla.) — An unarmed black man was shot and injured by police in Florida while he had his hands in the air — a shooting that had “no justification,” the injured man’s attorney said Thursday.

The attorney released video of the Monday incident showing Charles Kinsey, 47, a behavioral therapist at an assisted living facility, on his back, lying on the ground with his hands in the air. The man at his feet in the video is a man with autism who ran away from the home, Kinsey’s attorney said.

In the video, Kinsey tells police “all he has is a toy truck in his hand.”

“I am a behavior therapist,” Kinsey says in the video. Kinsey also tells the man with autism, “Please be still.”

Hilton Napoleon, Kinsey’s attorney, said Thursday morning, “The video clearly shows him laying on his back. The video clearly shows him with his hands as high in the air as he can possibly get them.”

“And he also explains to the police that the instrument in the autistic guy’s hand is a toy truck,” Napoleon said. “When you look at the video, there is no argument that can be made that that is a gun. The appearance of it is rectangular, it’s white, it’s not shiny, it’s not painted, and it’s not even shaped like a gun.”

North Miami Police said they had received a 911 call of a man with a gun threatening to commit suicide.

“At some point during the on-scene negotiation” with the two men, one of the officers fired, striking Kinsey, police said. Video of the shooting was not released by the attorney. He was hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries.

No gun was recovered, police said Thursday.

Napoleon said Thursday Kinsey is physically “doing OK.”

“I think one of the biggest hurdles that’s going to be tough for him in the long run is the mental aspect of it because he feels he really did everything he could do to cooperate and go over and beyond to show police that he’s not armed and that he’s trying to help de-escalate a situation with a mental health individual,” Napoleon said. “It’s going to be a long haul to make sure that he gets over that fear.”

“There is no justification for shooting an unarmed person who is talking to you and telling you that they don’t have a gun and that they’re a mental health counselor,” Napoleon said. “I just don’t understand it.”

The North Miami Police Department said the Florida Department of Law Enforcement has taken over the investigation. The state attorney’s office is also looking into the case, police said.

The officer involved was placed on administrative leave, police said.

When ABC News asked U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch about the shooting Thursday morning, she said, “I am aware of it, and we’re trying to gather all the facts about it so we can determine essentially how that matter will be handled or reviewed.”

“We obviously want to gather as much information as we can so that we can make informed decisions,” Lynch said.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Small Plane Crashes into House in Illinois

iStock/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) — A small aircraft has crashed into a house in a Chicago suburb, the Federal Aviation Administration and Joliet Fire Department confirmed on Thursday.

According to the FAA, there are no reports of injuries to anyone on the ground. It’s unclear what happened to the passengers and pilot in the aircraft.

Photos posted on Twitter appear to show the house engulfed in flames.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Video of Deadly Police-Involved Shooting in Houston Expected to Be Released

iStock/Thinkstock(HOUSTON) — Video is expected to be released Thursday of a deadly police-involved shooting of a black man in Houston.

Houston police say Alva Braziel, 38, was armed when he was fatally shot by Houston police officers on July 9.

The deadly encounter began when two officers saw Braziel standing in an intersection in moving lanes of traffic, police said. The officers saw Braziel wave his hands in the air and then point a gun “directly at the officers,” police said.

The officers took cover behind the open doors of their patrol car and told Braziel to put the gun on the ground, police said.

“Braziel ignored repeated commands and instead raised his arms up, pointed the pistol upward and moved into different aggressive stances, as if getting ready for a fight,” the Houston Police Department said in a statement on July 11. “Braziel then lowered his weapon and again pointed it directly” at the officers, police said.

The officers discharged their duty weapons, “fearing for their lives,” police said.

Braziel died at the scene, police said.

The officers were identified by police as L. Lopez and E. Macias. The case is being investigated by the HPD Homicide and Internal Affairs Divisions and the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, ABC’s Houston station KTRK-TV reported.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said he wanted to release video to eliminate what he called false reports that Braziel wasn’t armed, KTRK reported.

Turner said he contacted Braziel’s family to let them know that video would be released Wednesday — to give them an opportunity to see it first — but the family never did, KTRK said. The mayor said the family hired an attorney, who then contacted the city on Wednesday, “saying it would be insensitive to release the video before the family saw it,” KTRK reported.

The mayor then said the video would be released Thursday, KTRK said.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Police Who Fled from Times Square with Suspicious Device Hailed as Heroes

WABC-TV(NEW YORK) — Two New York Police Department officers are being hailed as heroes after a hoax bomb device was thrown at their vehicle in Times Square late Wednesday night. The officer and sergeant — who at the time did not know if the device was a hoax — held onto it and immediately sped away from the packed tourist area.

“We were scared, we thought we were gone,” Officer Peter Cybulski said Thursday morning at a news conference. “But we weren’t going to put others in danger.”

When the suspicious package landed on the vehicle’s dashboard, Cybulski turned to Sgt. Hameed Armani and said, “Boss, this is a bomb,” Armani recalled.

“I looked around, saw a lot of kids, a lot of young people,” said Armani, who emigrated from Afghanistan to the U.S. 10 years ago.

“We’re gonna go, but I’m not gonna have anybody else go with us,” Armani said.

Cybulski was holding the device in his hands as they drove “as fast as possible” to a secluded location.

“If it happens it happens, but I’m not gonna stop here,” Armani said.

After Cybulski and Armani drove a block and a half away from Times Square, they put the package on the sidewalk.

It turned out to be a red candle and a battery-operated lantern wrapped in tin foil. The object was covered in a white shirt.

“We come to work … quite literally not knowing what’s going to be thrown at us,” said Cybulski, a 3-year veteran of the NYPD. “We’re not gonna let this take out someone else with us.”

“I was happy no one got hurt,” Armani said. “My job is safety.”

The man suspected of throwing the suspicious package was taken into custody Thursday morning at Columbus Circle, about 10 blocks north of Times Square, after a standoff with police from inside his van.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Largest Pokemon Go Event Takes over San Francisco Streets

iStock/Thinkstock(SAN FRANCISCO) — The wildly popular mobile app taking the country by storm amassed thousands of “Pokemon Go” players in San Francisco on Wednesday.

“Pokemon Go” is an augmented reality treasure hunt in which players walk around in real life to capture virtual characters as they pop up on their smartphone screens.

What started as a Facebook event for friends turned into the biggest Pokemon event yet. Thousands gathered at the Embarcadero and Dolores Park with the goal of catching as many Pokemon as possible while socializing during the seven-hour event that spanned 3.5 miles.

“When I say Pokemon you say Go!” #POKECRAWLSF pic.twitter.com/7SdV8AORvu

— Alexandra Mosher (@MosherNews) July 21, 2016

The Golden City transformed into a gold mine for hunting Pokemon.

“I don’t see why you wouldn’t be playing it,” Scott Olofsen told ABC News.

With so many players involved in the event, servers struggled to meet demands. Persistent crashes on the app left many players frozen with an error message for hours.

Hackers took credit for the server crash on social media.

Frustrated players who experienced frozen screens rejoiced once the game was back in action.

The app has proven to be extremely distracting for some players.

A Baltimore police body camera caught a distracted “Pokemon Go” driver crashing into a parked police patrol car early Monday morning. An officer followed the driver, who eventually stopped to show the game on his cellphone.

“That’s what I get for playing this dumb [a–] game,” the driver told the officer, in the nearly 90 second video.

No injuries were reported. The driver wasn’t identified in the video and police did not say if he was facing any charges.

With rising safety concerns around the game, police in San Francisco made sure to have extra patrols out to keep players away from harm during the event on Wednesday.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Man Who Threw Suspicious Package at NYPD Van in Custody After Standoff

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A man who is suspected of throwing a suspicious package into an NYPD van in Times Square has been taken into custody, police said Thursday morning. The man had been sitting in a parked SUV, prompting the closure of New York’s Columbus Circle and surrounding streets earlier Thursday.

The suspect was initially reported to be wearing a red helmet and was moving around in the vehicle, according to police.

Large numbers of police responded, closing Columbus Circle to pedestrians and traffic. Police have sent in a robot to get a closer look.

Police were looking into whether the man in the SUV is the person wanted for throwing a suspicious package into an NYPD van parked in Times Square hours earlier.

The suspicious package landed on the dashboard of an NYPD van just before 11:35 p.m. Wednesday.

Police said the package was wrapped up and was making some kind of ticking noise.

The sergeant in the van immediately drove out of Times Square to a safer location, police said. The package was placed on the ground and away from pedestrians. The NYPD Bomb Squad was called to the scene, police said.

After examining the package, it was found to be a red candle and a battery-operated lantern, wrapped in tin foil. The object was wrapped in a white shirt.

All clear by the bomb squad after a suspicious object was thrown at a police car. @NYPDMTN pic.twitter.com/yOsg14RTl7

— J. Peter Donald (@JPeterDonald) July 21, 2016

The scare prompted a citywide search for the SUV.

ABC Breaking News | Latest News Videos

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →