Review Category : National News

Severe Weather Outbreak for Parts of the Country This Weekend

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Some 35 millions Americans from Texas to Mississippi to Kansas are at risk for tornadoes, large hail and damaging winds.

The widespread severe weather is expected to last into Saturday evening and a possible severe outbreak situation is expected to unfold going into the weekend.

Six states are all in the storm zone — Corpus Christi to New Orleans to Dallas, Tulsa and Wichita — but there are two pockets with an enhanced risk that brings more concern.

Heavy rain Friday morning in parts of Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas has already saturated the ground enough to spark flash flooding once additional rain moves through.

Much of the Southeast will see severe storms Saturday, even in the early morning, in Memphis, Jackson, Birmingham, Atlanta and Charleston. Damaging winds and large hail are the main threats in those cities, but isolated tornadoes can’t be ruled out.

By Saturday afternoon and evening, enhanced severe weather development is expected in the lower Ohio Valley, including Nashville, Bowling Green, Evansville and south of St. Louis.

Very large hail and a few, perhaps strong, tornadoes are possible.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Levee System in Pennsylvania Town Left Damaged By Groundhogs

ngevdmeeberg/iStock/Thinkstock(DANVILLE, Penn.) — A sign of spring has brought new problems to one Pennsylvania town, as officials say that groundhog holes have left an important levee system damaged.

Almost 70 holes dug by groundhogs were plugged with concrete on Friday after being filled with carbon monoxide gas earlier in the week, according to a report by ABC News affiliate WNEP-TV in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Borough officials told WNEP-TV the groundhog burrows have been showing up on the levee system for several years, but recently noticed damaged caused by the holes have weakened the flood control system.

Earlier this week, all of the holes dug by the animals were filled with carbon monoxide-producing cartridges to kill the groundhogs burrowed inside.

Eric Ebling of Danville told WNEP-TV he felt bad for the groundhogs, but was glad the work was done.

“We do need to keep the dike intact and keep the flood out, but maybe they could have relocated them or something if they had the opportunity,” Ebling said.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Baltimore Police Reveal New Details in Freddie Gray’s Death

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images(BALTIMORE) — Baltimore City Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said on Friday a “massive investigation” is looking at every aspect of the arrest of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, who died from a spinal injury a week after he was taken into custody.

Police released a new image of Gray on Friday as he was taken into custody, which showed him still talking, walking and breathing.

“We have ramped up a task force of 30 plus investigators, from various disciplines in this agency. Dozens of interviews have been conducted; many more remain,” Batts said.

The update comes as weekend protests are planned in Baltimore, where anger continues to simmer over Gray’s death. Batts said on Friday that problems have been few so far.

“The demonstrations have been largely peaceful and respectful, but there are some who characterize the protestors as wanting a confrontation or wanting a fight,” Batts said. “We know this simply isn’t true.”

Protesters have claimed Gray was the victim of what’s known in Baltimore as a “rough ride,” where police intentionally stopping short and drive erratically with the intention of causing injuries.

The department is facing a lawsuit from a woman over a similar incident, and has settled other cases.

“We know he was not buckled in the transportation wagon as he should have been, no excuses for that, period,” Batts said on Friday. “We know our police employees failed to get him medical attention in a timely manner multiple times.”

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Swedish Cops Stop NYC Subway Fight En Route to Broadway Show

Ray Casanova/YouTube(NEW YORK) — Four Swedish cops vacationing in New York City helped break up a fight between two straphangers on a 6-train subway Wednesday afternoon, the New York City Police Department confirmed Thursday.

New York City resident Raymond Casanova caught the incident on cellphone video and uploaded it to YouTube, he said.

“I was hopping on an uptown 6 train at the Bleecker Street subway station when I noticed the train was being delayed due to a commotion occurring at the first car,” Casanova told ABC News today.

He then went around and saw the four off-duty cops, who he later learned were from Sweden, he said.

“If you hear the audio carefully, you can even hear the [Swedish] cops asking the man they were restraining if he was OK several times,” Casanova said.

NYPD officers showed up a few minutes later, a spokesman for the department said.

“There was a physical fight between two gentlemen, and four off-duty Swedish cops were able to stop the fight and held the aggressive, irrational gentleman down,” a NYPD spokesman told ABC News Thursday. “No arrests were made, and the man acting irrational was taken to a hospital for evaluation.”

The Swedish cops who stepped in were reportedly Erik Näslund, 26, Samuel Kvarzell, 25, Makrus Åsberg, 25, and Eric Jansberger, 28, DNAinfo New York reported, adding that the four were on their way to see Les Miserables on Broadway.

“We’re just regular tourists,” Åsberg told DNAinfo. “Is this a big deal?”

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

New Video Shows Teen Slammed by Guard, Beaten by Inmates in Rikers Island Jail

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Newly released surveillance footage from Rikers Island, New York City’s 400-plus-acre prison complex, is raising concerns about alleged abuse and violence inmates face while behind bars there.

The footage, obtained by The New Yorker, appears to show New York City teen Kalief Browder being slammed to the ground by a Rikers Island guard in one incident and then being beaten by other inmates in another.

Browder, who turns 22 next month, spent three years at Rikers Island — two years in solitary confinement — while waiting for a trial over police accusing him of stealing a backpack in May 2010. Browder was released in June 2013 when the charges against him were dismissed.

In an interview last July, Browder told ABC News that he was held there for three years because his mother could not afford to pay his bail, set at $3,500, and a trial kept getting delayed.

“Only thing on my mind was that I gotta go home, I didn’t do this,” said Browder, who was 16 when he was first incarcerated at Rikers. “Now I’m in jail around these grown men and they’re, you know, they’re fighting each other. I don’t know. It was like hell on Earth.”

Browder said he was beaten, stomped on and hit with weapons by correction officers.

“They cuffed me to the back, and they were just beating on me while I was in the cell,” he said.

In the newly released security video, reportedly from Sept. 23, 2012, a guard can be seen arriving at Browder’s cell to escort Browder to the shower, The New Yorker reported.

After a few seconds, the guard appears to slam Browder, who is handcuffed, to the ground and then hold him down. Two more guards appear to run up to the guard and Browder.

The video is then followed by footage, reportedly from Oct. 20, 2010, after Browder punched a gang leader at Rikers who spat on him, according to The New Yorker. Browder was then beaten, the magazine reported.

A group of inmates can be seen on the video attacking Browder, who appears to be punched kicked to the ground. Two guards then appear in the video, and they seem to try unsuccessfully to stop the fight. After some time, the video shows Browder being put into another room, where he is seen walking around with his hands to his head.

After a few minutes, another inmate can be seen kicking in the door to the room Browder is isolated in, and the group is seen trying to beat him again. At the end of the footage, guards finally get the inmates out, and Browder kneels on the floor, facing the wall with his hands behind him, as armored officers walk in.

A spokesperson for the New York City Department of Correction said the agency’s commissioner is very troubled by what he saw on the footage of the guard apparently slamming Browder in 2012.

“He and Mayor [Bill] de Blasio have already adopted a 14-point anti-violence initiative to change the culture at DOC, and changes to the DOC’s Use of Force policy are already under way,” the spokesperson said. “Training curricula for officers will be revised to reflect these changes. The Department is re-training the officer involved.”

Browder’s lawyer, Paul Prestia, told ABC News Friday that a lawsuit against the city is pending, but was unable to immediately give additional information.

A spokesperson for the New York City Department of Law told ABC News on Friday, “Mr. Browder’s suit is currently under review.”

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Statue of Liberty Evacuated Following Bomb Threat

Getty Images(NEW YORK) — The Statue of Liberty was evacuated Friday after a caller made a threat stating that “they were going to blow up” the landmark, authorities said.

The National Park Service, which operates the landmark and island in New York City, said the call came in at 11 a.m. and everyone was “immediately evacuated and all personnel and visitors are safe.”

In a statement, the federal agency said, “United States Park Police personnel including two canine units swept the Statue. The canine units alerted on an area of interest near the lockers at the base of the statue. At this point … it was in best to evacuate the island. The island has been cleared of all visitors and personnel.”

The NYPD Bomb Squad was investigating what was believed to be a suspicious package indicated by a K-9 unit in a visitor’s locker, police sources said.

Police said the locker was inspected and found empty.

The four-hour closure also kept ferries from New York City and New Jersey from docking.

The evacuation and subsequent suspension in ferry service resulted in a backlog that forced the island to effectively close for most of the afternoon.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

SkyWest Passengers Who Fainted Sat in the Middle of the Plane

Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Why three people lost consciousness on a SkyWest Airlines flight this week remains a mystery, but they shared at least one thing: proximity.

The passengers who fainted were in two rows in the middle of the plane — rows 11 and 12 — over the wings on their flight from Chicago to Hartford, Connecticut, Wednesday.

But at least one expert doubts that’s relevant.

“The cabin is pressurized exactly the same from the front to the back,” ABC News aviation analyst John Nance said Friday. “The fact that they’re located [closely] simply means one person was noticed to be lethargic. … We don’t know what the rest of the cabin was like.”

SkyWest Airlines Flight 5622 — operating as United Express on behalf of United Airlines — had nearly 80 passengers on board when the first person fainted.

A passenger and nurse on board, Mary Cunningham, attended to two passed out passengers and saw a flight attended also get lightheaded.

“And at that point I was thinking, who else was going to be affected? Who’s next?” Cunningham said. “I myself started to feel lightheaded, dizzy, just — I thought I was going to pass out.”

The power of suggestion can be “very psychologically powerful on an airplane,” Nance, a former commercial and Air Force pilot, said, “where people are on-edge to begin with.”

“At the altitude they’re at, any exertion is going to make you woozy,” Nance said. “I’m sure that entire airplane was woozy, they just didn’t recognize it.”

While the Federal Aviation Administration says the pilot likely feared a potential cabin pressure problem and dropped the plane to get breathable air, SkyWest said there were no indications of a pressurization problem on the plane.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Shayna Hubers Convicted of Murder in Boyfriend’s 2012 Shooting Death

ABC News(NEWPORT, Ky.) — A 24-year-old Kentucky woman was convicted of murder Thursday in the 2012 shooting death of her on-again, off-again boyfriend.

Jurors deliberated for almost five hours before reaching a verdict.

Shayna Hubers shot attorney Ryan Poston six times, with prosecutors alleging she shot Poston out of anger after he tried to break up with her.

Hubers had argued that she shot him in self-defense.

After the verdict was reached, Poston’s paternal and maternal relatives released a statement to ABC News.

“While we wish that this trial could bring Ryan back to us, we understand that it can only provide justice. The same kind of justice that Ryan sought for his clients every day,” the statement from the Poston and Carter families reads. “Ryan believed in the legal system. And today it worked. Twelve hardworking Americans have listened to the legal arguments, reviewed the facts, deliberated, and discerned the truth. Ryan’s good name is now fully vindicated and the person responsible for this brutal act is now held accountable. We thank them for their service, insight, and leadership.”

Sentencing is scheduled to begin Friday morning.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Teen Suspended for Fake Bomb Vest Prom Proposal Stands by His Actions

Ibrahim Ahmad was suspended for five days from La Center High School in Washington after wearing a fake bomb vest for his prom proposal. Photo by: Ibrahim Ahmad (LA CENTER, Wash.) — The teen who donned a fake bomb vest to issue a prom proposal and received a five-day suspension for his actions told ABC News that he stood by his idea and believes the school’s punishment was unfair.

Ibrahim Ahmad, 18, of La Center, Washington, pulled the stunt Tuesday during lunch at La Center High School. It was witnessed by the principal and disciplinary action followed swiftly after, but Ahmad said his peers didn’t have a problem with the idea.

“The people that were in the cafeteria understood what was going on….I had a friend help me make the posters. Teachers even saw me make the posters,” he told ABC News.

Ahmad said he created the simulated device from a paint ball jacket and red tubes. Along with the vest he carried a sign that read: “I kno it’s a little late, but I’m kinda the bomb, Rilea will u be my date to prom?”

His proposal was well received, he said.

“They applauded. You know, it was funny. The cafeteria was just — it was a happy moment,” he said, adding that his intended date, Rilea Wolfe, accepted the proposal.

Since Ahmad can no longer attend the Saturday event — his suspension includes the prom — he and Wolfe will instead go to dinner and a movie, he said.

Ahmad said he was born in Seattle and is of Middle Eastern background. Asked whether he understood why his actions could be viewed with particular sensitivity given the current climate, he replied: “Well, wouldn’t that just be fueling, like, the stereotypes?”

“Being a Middle Eastern child, you’re growing up with all these bomb jokes. It’s kind of like it’s always a thing that’s there but … the people that were there, they understood the situation,” he added.

Ahmad, who plans to study biology in college, told ABC News that he wouldn’t change his prom proposal if he had the opportunity, and he believes the school’s actions were too harsh.

“I’m not allowed to go on the school property and I can’t do soccer right now because I’m suspended but I feel like it’s — five days is a bit much, ‘cause even kids that get into, like, fights, they get suspended for like a day and that’s something more serious,” he said. “What they said I did was I disrupted the learning environment of the study body. It was during lunch, so.”

Mark Mansell, the school district’s superintendent, did not respond to a message left for him by ABC News at his office Thursday, but in an interview published Wednesday in The Columbian newspaper he said the punishment was warranted.

“I want all my kids to feel safe and supported, but there’s a line,” Mansell told the newspaper. “Given the way the world is today and school safety, even if one parent or one student was upset about this, it causes issues.”

A short video on the newspaper’s website shows the vest-wearing Ahmad making his proposal while onlookers cheer.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Prosecution Rests in Penalty Phase of Tsarnaev Trial

FBI (BOSTON) — Prosecutors rested their case in the penalty phase of the trial against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the man convicted of the Boston Marathon bombings, by showing a dramatic video from the day of the explosions.

The video showed Denise Richard with her 8-year-old son Martin. Martin was killed in the bombings. A trauma surgeon testified that Martin did not die instantly, and that his injuries would have caused him pain.

The surveillance video that came near the end of the prosecution’s case shows Denise Richard rocking back and forth over her son’s body. Steve Woolfenden described witnessing the scene that day, saying he could hear Denise saying “please” and “Martin” repeatedly.

The trial will continue on Monday with Tsarnaev’s defense team’s case. There will be no court on Friday.

Prosecutors reserve the right to a rebuttal after the defense rests.

The same jury that convicted Tsarnaev earlier this month will decide whether to give him a life sentence or the death penalty.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →