Review Category : National News

Ferguson-Inspired Course Teaches Cops to ‘Win with the Media’

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(ST. LOUIS) — A media relations course citing the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, as a “case study” is being offered for St. Louis law enforcement.

The “continuing education” course, called “Officer-Involved Shooting — You Can Win With The Media,” is scheduled for Oct. 24 through the St. Louis County and Municipal Police Academy.

A flier for the course touts the benefits of understanding how to deal with media when it comes to fielding questions about officer-involved shootings.

“In addition to the Ferguson case study, this fast-paced class is jam-packed with the essential strategies and tactics, skills and techniques that will help you WIN WITH THE MEDIA! It is practical training, not theoretical,” the flier reads.

The police academy holds similar media relations courses as part of its ongoing education offerings “pretty much annually,” Lt. Matt O’Niell told ABC News.

The updated course overview, however, notes a number of recent shootings, including “Managing the Media When Things Get Ugly (think Ferguson)” and ‘”Managing the Media in a Crisis (including lessons learned from the Newton, CT school shooting).”

The timing of the course and the repeated mentions of the handling of the Ferguson case come as no coincidence, O’Niell said. “It had a lot to do with it,” he said.

“We make mistakes all the time. We learn from our mistakes,” O’Niell said. “Obviously, there’s a community relations issue and this plays into it.”

The course will be taught by public relations consultant Rick Rosenthal, who is contracted out by the police academy for the day-long event that will include up to 80 participants.

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Second Michael Dunn Murder Trial Begins in Florida

iStock/Thinkstock(JACKSONVILLE, Fla.) — A second trial for loud-music shooter Michael Dunn begins Monday in Florida.

Back in February, jurors found the Florida software developer, who was accused of shooting 17-year-old Jordan Davis to death after he asked the teen and his friends to turn down their music, guilty of attempted murder and firing a gun into a car. But they could not agree on whether Dunn was guilty of murder.

Dunn maintains he feared for his life the night of Nov. 23, 2012, when he opened fire on the teens in a Jacksonville convenience store parking lot.

He will be retried on a first-degree murder charge in Davis’ death.

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Second Michael Dunn Murder Trial Begins in Florida

iStock/Thinkstock(JACKSONVILLE, Fla.) — A second trial for loud-music shooter Michael Dunn begins Monday in Florida.

Back in February, jurors found the Florida software developer, who was accused of shooting 17-year-old Jordan Davis to death after he asked the teen and his friends to turn down their music, guilty of attempted murder and firing a gun into a car. But they could not agree on whether Dunn was guilty of murder.

Dunn maintains he feared for his life the night of Nov. 23, 2012, when he opened fire on the teens in a Jacksonville convenience store parking lot.

He will be retried on a first-degree murder charge in Davis’ death.

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Police ‘Close’ to Accused Cop Shooter Eric Frein

Pennsylvania Department of Transportation(CANADENSIS, Pa.) — A police dragnet through the woods of Pennsylvania has narrowed for the suspect in the shooting of two state troopers thanks to some “very credible” tips, police said at a press conference Monday.

“I do believe that we are close to him at this point,” State Police Lt. Col. George Bivens said.

Bivens said they are focused on the northern end of Monroe County, near the border of Pike County in eastern Pennsylvania, not far from where suspect Eric Frein is accused of ambushing the Blooming Grove police barracks Sept. 12, killing one officer and critically injuring another.

“We’re following up on tips, we believe they’re very credible. And yes, there is a lot of police activity. It’s been ongoing throughout the night,” Bivens said.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett, also at the press conference, said that Frein’s issue is with police, not civilians.

“He had the opportunity to shoot civilians at the Blooming Grove barracks at the same time that he shot the police officer… and he chose not to shoot them,” Corbett said.

Officials Sunday found a Kalashnikov-style rifle and two AK-47 clips in the dense Pennsylvania forest near the barracks where Eric Frein allegedly killed Cpl. Bryon Dickson, 38, and critically wounded Trooper Alex Douglass.

“We are pushing him hard, he is no longer safe and I am confident that he will be apprehended,” State Police Lt. Col. George Bivens said in a news conference Sunday. “Both dogs and human trackers are getting indications that we are on the right trail.”

Bivens said trackers discovered the items Frein hid or abandoned in the woods they believe he had been carrying while on the run. Authorities did not yet know whether the recovered weapon had been used in the Sept. 12 ambush at the state police barracks.

Bivens said Frein, who has since been placed on the FBI’s Most Wanted List, had been planning a confrontation with law enforcement for months, if not years.

“We know that Frein has prepared and planned extensively for months, and maybe years,” Bivens said. “He planned his attack and his retreat.”

Police say they have not seen the 31-year-old self-described survivalist, but hundreds of officers are chasing every possible lead.

Roman Kamensky, who used to perform military re-enactments with Frein, says he may be thinking like a solider at war.

“If he wants to kill more cops he’s probably waiting for them to walk into his kill box,” Kamensky said.

Police reiterated Sunday they believe Frein isn’t after civilians and have since lifted a shelter-in-place order for thousands of residents in the area. Residents are still being told to stay alert and avoid wooded areas.

“The suspect is still considered armed and dangerous,” Bivens said. “We ask and remind residents to lock all doors as well as their vehicles. At night, keep the exterior of their homes well lit.”

Residents in the area are keeping track of the manhunt by listening to police scanners.

The search is focusing on a several-square-mile area on the border of Pike and Monroe counties around the nearby village where Frein grew up, Bivens said.

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Report: Ray Rice Suspension Appeal Will Claim Videotape Edited

Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Ray Rice is appealing his indefinite suspension by the NFL, and sources tell ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter the former Baltimore Ravens running back will argue that the league extended his punishment on the basis of an edited videotape.

According to the ESPN report, legal sources have told Schefter that the TMZ tape of Rice hitting his then-fiancée was a condensed version of the events that took place in the Atlantic City casino elevator last February.

Sources say Robert Mueller, the former FBI director who has been appointed by the NFL to investigate the league’s handling of the Rice case, is expected to have access to the contents of the full elevator security video, not just the edited version.

Rice was originally handed a two-game suspension for his domestic violence case. After TMZ released the videotape on September 8, the two-game ban drew widespread criticism of the NFL’s policy on domestic violence, prompting the Ravens to release Rice and the league to suspend him indefinitely.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell admitted he didn’t get the suspension right and later instituted a new domestic violence policy that includes a six-game suspension for a first offense and a lifetime ban for a second offense.

According to ESPN’s Outside the Lines, several Ravens executives had a detailed account of the elevator incident hours after it took place and “began extensive public and private campaigns pushing for leniency” for Rice on several fronts, including the judicial system in Atlantic County, New Jersey, where Rice faced assault charges, and Commissioner Goodell. According to Outside the Lines, others in the Ravens organization, however, argued “immediately after the incident that Rice should be released.”

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Three Afghan Military Officers Go Missing in US

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Three Afghan national army officers have gone missing while in the United States for a joint military training exercise at Joint Base Cape Cod, U.S. military and law enforcement officials said.

They arrived in the country on Sept. 11, and were reported missing by base security personnel late Saturday. They were last seen at the Cape Cod Mall in Hyannis, Mass.

A Centcom official told ABC News there is no indication that the Afghan men reported missing pose any threat to the public. Officials said all the Afghan military personnel were fully vetted before they arrived.

Base and local police and state authorities are working together to locate the three Afghans. There are still approximately a dozen Afghan soldiers still participating in the exercise, which ends Sep. 24.

A National Guard spokesman told ABC News that officials are trying to piece together the missing Afghanistan National Army senior officers’ movements.

“It’s tough to say what they were doing at the mall. We are gathering all of the information we can on the officers’ now,” spokesman James Sahady said.

Massachusetts State Police spokesman David Procopio said the investigation is being run by the FBI and the Department of Justice, but Massachusetts state troopers are assisting in “putting the word out” and searching the area around Camp Edwards.

The three officers were participating in Central Command’s Regional Cooperation exercise, an annual command-post exercise. This year’s exercise runs Sept. 17-24 and includes representatives from five different nations and more than 200 participants.

Just last weekend, two Afghan policemen in Washington, D.C., for a DEA training program at Quantico, Va., also went missing while on a sightseeing trip to Georgetown.

The two men, who were part of a group of 31 Afghan police officers in the U.S. for the multi-week program, were found safe somewhere outside of D.C., but officials would not say exactly where, ABC affiliate WJLA-TV reported.

According to WJLA-TV, the DEA said the two men left the group because they did not want to go back to Afghanistan.

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Here’s Your Eye-Popping, Leaf-Peeping Fall Foliage Forecast

ABC News (NEW YORK) — Fall 2014 begins Monday at 10:29 p.m. ET, and here’s your leaf-peeping forecast. With less daylight and cooler nights, trees begin to change color.

By late September and early October, areas in the United States that see leaves change color are mostly in the northern Great Lakes near the Canadian border, northern New England and in the higher elevations of the Rockies and northern Appalachian Mountains.

By the middle of October, the colorful carpet of leaves begins to slide further south into most of the Midwest, lower elevations of the West and all the way along the southern Appalachians in the East. Major cities that see peak color at this time are Denver and Chicago.

By late October, fall colors slide even further south and ocean-moderated cities that are on the coast in the Northeast such as Portland and Boston begin to see colors peak. Also, the Mid-Mississippi Valley around St. Louis and Kansas City begin to experience colors peak.

In the West, lower elevations in the Sierra Nevada Mountains begin to see color, just outside of Sacramento, California, and up into the Pacific Northwest, Cascade Mountains from Portland to Seattle.

Finally, by Halloween and into early November, leaves peak from New York City to the Carolinas and into Atlanta. Trees in the Southern Plains around Dallas will be getting close to their peak colors as well.

Trees along the Gulf Coast, Florida and coastal California don’t really change color because the majority of them are palm trees. There is a small percentage of deciduous trees that do grow in such tropical areas and can change color throughout winter time, but the majority stay green.

If you are wondering what the forecast is for autumn 2014, here is the official NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) and CPC (Climate Predictions Center) forecast.

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Warmer and drier-than-normal weather will continue for the entire West Coast including cities such as Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Also, milder-than-normal conditions are possible for most of the Midwest, the Great Lakes from Chicago to Cleveland and the East Coast from NYC to Miami.

Wetter and cool-than-normal conditions will continue for the parts of the Southwest and into Texas. Also, Florida could see a wetter-than-normal fall season.

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Thousands March in New York City to Fight Climate Change

Spencer Platt/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — More than 300,000 people turned out Saturday for the People’s Climate March in New York City, making it the largest recorded demonstration calling for a response to climate change. The marchers just hope someone was paying attention.

“It was a really inspiring experience,” Gideon Wolf, 21, of Washington D.C. said. “I hope politicians see what we did here.”

Wolf and the other thousands of marchers gathered early Sunday morning along New York’s Central Park West. Organizers instructed marchers to line up to 86th Street, but the larger-than-expected attendance had some would-be marchers waiting on the side streets.

“It was packed with so many people,” said Laura Maranto, 22, of New York, New York. “Even when the front of the march had reached the end, there were still people waiting, they hadn’t even begun to march.”

The march began with a silent protest as thousands of marchers walked through Times Square with their fists in the air without making a sound.

Activists were organized into community groups and carried signs and chanted.

Actor Leonardo DiCaprio, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio were also among the marchers.

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Arrest Warrant Issued for Person of Interest in Missing UVA Student Case

iStock/Thinkstock(CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.) — An arrest warrant has been issued for a person of interest in the disappearance of University of Virginia student Hannah Graham, but he is not being sought for activity related to the disappearance.

Charlottesville, Virginia, police said Sunday they are looking for Jesse L. Matthew, 32, on two counts of reckless driving, because he sped away from the police station Saturday after showing up there and asking for a lawyer.

Matthew is still a “person with whom we would like to talk to about the whereabouts of Hannah Graham,” Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy Longo said.

The chief has reiterated that police are not calling Matthew a suspect, just someone who could have useful information about what happened to Graham.

Nearly a thousand volunteers spread out through Charlottesville on Saturday to help in the search, one week after the student was last seen.

The chief would not say whether he believed Graham was still alive.

“I will always be hopeful until we find Hannah,” he said.

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Arrest Warrant Issued for Person of Interest in Missing UVA Student Case

iStock/Thinkstock(CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.) — An arrest warrant has been issued for a person of interest in the disappearance of University of Virginia student Hannah Graham, but he is not being sought for activity related to the disappearance.

Charlottesville, Virginia, police said Sunday they are looking for Jesse L. Matthew, 32, on two counts of reckless driving, because he sped away from the police station Saturday after showing up there and asking for a lawyer.

Matthew is still a “person with whom we would like to talk to about the whereabouts of Hannah Graham,” Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy Longo said.

The chief has reiterated that police are not calling Matthew a suspect, just someone who could have useful information about what happened to Graham.

Nearly a thousand volunteers spread out through Charlottesville on Saturday to help in the search, one week after the student was last seen.

The chief would not say whether he believed Graham was still alive.

“I will always be hopeful until we find Hannah,” he said.

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