Review Category : Top Stories

Three Teen Girls Charged in Fatal Delaware School Restroom Fight

iStock/Thinkstock(WILMINGTON, Del.) — The Delaware Department of Justice has filed criminal charges against three students at Howard High School of Technology in Wilmington, Delaware following a fight last month that led to the death of another student.

The medical examiner ruled that Amy Joyner-Francis died due to sudden cardiac trauma because of a pre-existing condition.

Three girls were charged and all are minors. One teen, who was identified as the only girl to hit Joyner-Francis in the planned confrontation, was charged with criminally negligent homicide. The other two girls were charged with third degree criminal conspiracy in connection with the incident.

ABC News is not identifying any of the three girls as they are minors. The Delaware DOJ said in a statement it was seeking permission to try the teen charged with criminally negligent homicide as an adult “because of the severity of her offense.”

The Delaware DOJ also said while Joyner-Francis did not suffer any serious internal or blunt force injuries from the assault, “the cardiac incident would not have occurred if she had not been assaulted.”

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Man Confirmed Dead as Swirling Tornado Touches Down in Oklahoma

Courtesy Ben Flora(ELMORE CITY, Okla.) — A swirling tornado was caught on video after it touched down near Elmore City, Oklahoma, Monday afternoon. The twister then moved east across I-35 toward Joy, Oklahoma.

The Garvin County Office of Emergency Management confirmed that an elderly man was confirmed dead and several homes were damaged, some destroyed.

And the threat is not over. The National Weather Service issued a tornado emergency for the Hickory and Roff, Oklahoma, areas, where a large and dangerous tornado was approaching.

Dramatic footage shows massive tornado on the ground in Garvin County, Oklahoma; NWS urges residents to seek shelterhttps://t.co/47kf2p6Mlg

— ABC News (@ABC) May 9, 2016

A tornado watch had been issued earlier in the afternoon for parts of Oklahoma, Arkansas and northeastern Texas. The watch is in effect until 9 p.m. CT.

A severe thunderstorm watch was issued for parts of Oklahoma and Kansas, also in effect until 9 p.m. CT Monday.

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Ferguson Swears in First Black Police Chief Delrish Moss

iStock/Thinkstock(FERGUSON, Mo.) — A veteran Miami police officer was sworn in Monday as the first black police chief of Ferguson, Missouri.

Delrish Moss replaces Tom Jackson, who resigned last year after a Justice Department report cited racial bias in Ferguson’s criminal justice system.

After he was sworn in, Moss said it’s the department’s task to bring “nobility” back to police work.

To the city’s police officers, he said: “If you work hard, if you stay honest and committed, if you maintain respect for the community and do your job well, we will get along just fine.”

He also thanked the city’s elected officials for “having faith in me” and the people of Ferguson for “giving me this opportunity.”

The new leadership comes in the wake of protests and riots that overtook the city in the summer of 2014 after Michael Brown, an 18-year-old unarmed black teen, was shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer. A St. Louis County grand jury and the Department of Justice declined to indict the officer.

As Moss takes on this new role, he said he hopes to diversify the police department.

“The department now has very few females in sworn positions,” he recently told The New York Times. “There’s, I think, a total of 54 police officers, and I think three or four African-Americans.”

Moss said he also aims to increase the positive interactions between police and youth — he told the New York Times that Ferguson has seen “an uptick in crimes committed by younger people.”

“I want to start a mentoring program,” he told the newspaper. “I want to start a Police Athletic League. I have been talking to the Do the Right Thing director here in Miami about Do the Right Thing [a youth program] coming to Ferguson. We’re going to do stuff like staff walks, so the staff gets out there and knocks on doors and talks to business owners and residents.”

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NC and Department of Justice Sue Each Other Over State’s ‘Bathroom Bill’

iStock/Thinkstock(RALEIGH, N.C.) — North Carolina and the U.S. Justice Department sued each other Monday amid escalating tension over a controversial law that critics have called “anti-LGBT.”

North Carolina first filed a lawsuit Monday against the Department of Justice in an effort to push back against a warning that House Bill 2 violates the Civil Rights Act. The law bans people from using bathrooms that don’t match the sex indicated on their birth certificate.

The Justice Department then filed its own saying “transgender individuals seeking access to covered facilities have suffered and continue to suffer injury, including, without limitation, emotional harm, mental anguish, distress, humiliation, and indignity as a direct and proximate result of compliance with and implementation of HB2.”

The DOJ lawsuit asks the court to “issue a preliminary and permanent injunction to prevent further violations of federal law,” which would block North Carolina from enforcing the HB2 law.

The DOJ Friday sent a letter to the state informing the government that the state’s HB2, also known as the “bathroom bill,” violates the Civil Rights Act. The department gave the state until Monday to respond to the letter “by confirming that the State will not comply with or implement HB2.”

“This action is about a great deal more than just bathrooms,” Attorney General Loretta Lynch said during a news conference on Monday. “This is about the dignity and respect we accord our fellow citizens and the laws that we, as a people and as a country, have enacted to protect them – indeed, to protect all of us.”

Lynch reiterated that her department retains the option of curtailing federal funding to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety and the University of North Carolina as this case proceeds.

Gov. Pat McCrory, along with fellow plaintiff Frank Perry, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, accused the DOJ of a “radical reinterpretation” of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and wrote that the federal government position was “a baseless and blatant overreach,” according to the state’s declaratory judgment action filed Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina.

“This is an attempt to unilaterally rewrite long-established federal civil rights laws in a manner that is wholly inconsistent with the intent of Congress and disregards decades of statutory interpretation by the Courts,” the complaint states.

McCrory and Perry also argue that transgender status is not a protected class under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

During a news briefing this afternoon, McCrory said he filed the suit to gain “clarity” on federal anti-discrimination laws.

“We believe a court, rather than a federal agency, should tell our state, our nation and employers throughout the nation, what the law requires,” he said.

He also criticized the DOJ’s tight deadline.

“This was a substantial request with very serious implications and the U.S. government gave us a mere three businesses days to respond,” he said.

McCrory said the DOJ would only extend the deadline if he made a public statement agreeing with the government’s interpretation with federal law.

The complaint makes no mention of the DOJ’s interpretation of Title IX. The DOJ Friday also sent a letter to the University of North Carolina, declaring that the school system was in violation of Title IX of the Higher Education Act.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which includes North Carolina, ruled in April that a Virginia high school policy banning a transgender student from using the boys’ restrooms was discriminatory.

The North Carolina law, which critics say is anti-LGBT because it discriminates against gay and transgender residents, has been the source of controversy since it was first introduced. But supporters argue the law defends religious liberty and protects girls in public restrooms.

HB2 was signed into law by Gov. McCrory in March, and directs all public schools, government agencies and public college campuses to require that multiple-occupancy bathrooms and changing facilities, such as locker rooms, be designated for use only by people based on their “biological sex” stated on their birth certificate. Transgender people can use the bathrooms and changing facilities that correspond to their gender identity only if they get the biological sex on their birth certificate changed.

The law also declares that state law overrides all local ordinances concerning wages, employment and public accommodations.

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Justice Department Sues NC After NC Governor Files Lawsuit Over Challenge to ‘Anti-LGBT’ Bathroom Law

iStock/Thinkstock(RALEIGH, N.C.) — The Justice Department has now filed its own federal lawsuit against North Carolina.

In the lawsuit, the Justice Department says that part of the state’s controversial bathroom law “constitutes a pattern or practice of employment discrimination on the basis of sex in violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.”

North Carolina filed a lawsuit Monday against the Department of Justice in an effort to push back against a warning that House Bill 2, a controversial law that critics have called “anti-LGBT,” violates the Civil Rights Act.

On Friday, the DOJ sent a letter to the state informing the government that the state’s HB2, also known as the “bathroom bill,” violates the Civil Rights Act. The department gave the state until Monday to respond to the letter “by confirming that the State will not comply with or implement HB2.”

Gov. Pat McCrory, along with fellow plaintiff Frank Perry, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, accused the DOJ of a “radical reinterpretation” of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and wrote that the federal government position was “a baseless and blatant overreach” in the state’s declaratory judgment action filed Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina.

“This is an attempt to unilaterally rewrite long-established federal civil rights laws in a manner that is wholly inconsistent with the intent of Congress and disregards decades of statutory interpretation by the Courts,” states the complaint.

McCrory and Perry also argue that transgender status is not a protected class under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

During a press briefing Monday afternoon, McCrory said he filed the suit to gain “clarity” on federal anti-discrimination laws.

“We believe a court, rather than a federal agency, should tell our state, our nation and employers throughout the nation, what the law requires,” he said.

He also criticized the DOJ’s tight deadline.

“This was a substantial request with very serious implications and the U.S. government gave us a mere three businesses days to respond,” he said.

McCrory said that DOJ would only extend the deadline if he made a public statement agreeing with the government’s interpretation with federal law.

The complaint does not make mention of the DOJ’s interpretation of Title IX. On Friday, the DOJ also sent a letter to the University of North Carolina, declaring that the school system was in violation of Title IX of the Higher Education Act.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which includes North Carolina, ruled in April that a Virginia high school policy banning a transgender student from using the boys’ restrooms was discriminatory.

The North Carolina law, which critics say is anti-LGBT because it discriminates against gay and transgender residents, has been the source of controversy since it was first introduced. But supporters argue the law defends religious liberty and protects girls in public restrooms.

HB2 was signed into law by Gov. McCrory in March, and directs all public schools, government agencies and public college campuses to require that multiple-occupancy bathrooms and changing facilities, such as locker rooms, be designated for use only by people based on their “biological sex” stated on their birth certificate. Transgender people can use the bathrooms and changing facilities that correspond to their gender identity only if they get the biological sex on their birth certificate changed.

The law also declares that state law overrides all local ordinances concerning wages, employment and public accommodations.

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Maryland Shooting Suspect’s Gun Was Purchased Legally Before Protective Order, Says State’s Attorney

Prince George’s County Police Department(BETHESDA, Md.) — The firearm used by a man police say killed his wife before going on a deadly shooting spree in the Maryland suburbs late last week was purchased legally before the killings took place. It was not turned over to law enforcement, despite a protective order and the seizure of some of his other guns last month, said Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy Monday outside court.

Eulalio Tordil, who is facing first-degree murder and other charges, will be held without bond, a judge ruled. Tordil appeared for the first time Monday in court via video in a blue button-down shirt with his hands handcuffed behind his back.

McCarthy argued that Tordil was a flight risk, saying that his alleged victims Friday were “completely random” and killed during alleged attempted carjackings.

Suicide notes that were apparently written in March and mentioned a shootout with police were obtained by law enforcement prior to Tordil’s arrest Friday, according to McCarthy.

License plate readers around the Washington, D.C., area showed that Tordil “drove all over the place” between the Thursday shooting of his wife and Friday’s shootings, according to McCarthy. No immediate reason is known as to why.

McCarthy said that Tordil’s Glock was purchased legally in Las Vegas in 2014, before a protective order was filed by his wife.

According to police, the shooting spree began Thursday when Eulalio Tordil, 62, followed his estranged wife, Gladys Tordil, when she went to pick up her daughter at High Point High School in Beltsville in Prince George’s County. Police said Tordil fatally shot her and shot and injured a Good Samaritan who rushed to help her.

Tordil, an officer with the Federal Protective Service, which helps secure federal buildings, had been placed on administrative leave after a court order demanded that he stay away from his wife, who had accused him of beating her. Due to that court order, he was not supposed to possess any firearms.

The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office seized some of his firearms because of that court order. McCarthy said that authorities believe there are other guns floating around that were not recovered in the home search, but did not specify how many or what kind.

On Friday, as the manhunt for Tordil continued, Tordil allegedly tried to carjack a woman at Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda, and two men rushed to help her. Tordil allegedly shot all three of them, one fatally, police said.

“These two men acted selflessly and heroically,” said Montgomery County police Assistant Chief Russ Hamill. “Not only coming to her aid, but likely saving her life.”

Shortly after the mall shooting, another shooting outside of a grocery store left a woman dead. Police believe it was another allegedly botched carjacking attempt by Tordil.

Tordil’s next hearing will be June 3. He is being represented by a public defender and has not yet entered a plea to the charges against him.

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ACLU Sues Mississippi over Controversial ‘Anti-LGBT’ Law

iStock/Thinkstock(JACKSON, Miss.) — The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Mississippi filed a lawsuit Monday challenging HB 1523, a controversial piece of legislation that critics say enables religious organizations and businesses the ability to discriminate against LGBT people based upon their sexual orientation.

According to the law, Mississippi residents are permitted to decline products and services to LGBT people, and can also set standards of practice that would permit them to decide “whether or not to hire, terminate or discipline an individual whose conduct or religious beliefs are inconsistent” with their beliefs.

“We’ve had a long history in Mississippi of bigotry and discrimination, and House Bill 1523 brings that back to life,” said Oliver Diaz, a former state Supreme Court justice who filed the lawsuit Monday in U.S. District Court in Jackson.

The ACLU released a statement via Twitter, saying that the organization was using “all avenues available to us to ensure that rights are protected here in Mississippi.”

A spokesman for the Mississippi governor’s office did not immediately respond to a requests for comment about the lawsuit.

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NC Governor Files Lawsuit Against DOJ over Challenge to ‘Anti-LGBT’ Bathroom Law

iStock/Thinkstock(RALEIGH, N.C.) — North Carolina filed a lawsuit Monday against the Department of Justice in an effort to push back against a warning that House Bill 2, a controversial law that critics have called “anti-LGBT,” violates the Civil Rights Act.

Gov. Pat McCrory is expected to respond publicly Monday after an agreement to postpone his reply could not be reached.

On Friday, the DOJ sent a letter to the state informing the government that the state’s HB2, also known as the “bathroom bill,” violates the Civil Rights Act. The department gave the state until Monday to respond to the letter “by confirming that the State will not comply with or implement HB2.”

The governor, along with fellow plaintiff Frank Perry, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, accused the DOJ of a “radical reinterpretation” of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and wrote that the federal government position was “a baseless and blatant overreach” in the state’s declaratory judgment action filed Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina.

“This is an attempt to unilaterally rewrite long-established federal civil rights laws in a manner that is wholly inconsistent with the intent of Congress and disregards decades of statutory interpretation by the Courts,” said the complaint.

McCrory and Perry argue that transgender status is not a protected class under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. The complaint does not make mention of the Justice Department’s interpretation of Title IX.

On Friday, the DOJ also sent a letter to the University of North Carolina, declaring that the school system was in violation of Title IX of the Higher Education Act.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which includes North Carolina, ruled in April that a Virginia high school policy banning a transgender student from using the boys’ restrooms was discriminatory.

McCrory, speaking to Fox News Sunday, spoke in discordant terms about the DOJ’s warning, calling the federal government “a bully”.

“[They are] trying to define gender identity, and there is no clear identification or definition of gender identity,” McCrory said to host Chris Wallace.

He asserted that the law only pertained only to government offices, universities and road-side rest stops, and did not affect private businesses.

McCrory also said that he doesn’t have the legal authority to change laws and that the expectation that he can is “unrealistic.”

The law, which critics say is anti-LGBT because it discriminates against gay and transgender residents, has been the source of controversy since it was first introduced. But supporters argue the law defends religious liberty and protects girls in public restrooms.

HB2 was signed into law by Gov. McCrory in March, and directs all public schools, government agencies and public college campuses to require that multiple-occupancy bathrooms and changing facilities, such as locker rooms, be designated for use only by people based on their “biological sex” stated on their birth certificate. Transgender people can use the bathrooms and changing facilities that correspond to their gender identity only if they get the biological sex on their birth certificate changed.

The law also declares that state law overrides all local ordinances concerning wages, employment and public accommodations. So, the law bars local municipalities from creating their own rules prohibiting discrimination in public places based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

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Yearbook Photo Misnames Student in Hijab as ‘Isis,’ Sparks Outrage

Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA)(RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif.) — A high school is facing backlash after a caption below a yearbook photo misidentified a student wearing a hijab as “Isis.”

The student at Los Osos High School, located in Rancho Cucamonga, California, posted the photo Friday evening on Twitter and Facebook. The caption didn’t have her name but instead identified her as “Isis Phillips.”

“I am extremely saddened, disgusted, hurt and embarrassed that the Los Osos High School yearbook was able to get away with this,” the student, who is not being identified because her family requested privacy, wrote. “Apparently, I am ‘Isis’ in the yearbook. The school reached out to me and had the audacity to say that this was a typo. I beg to differ, let’s be real.”

Trevor Santellan, one of the students who worked on the yearbook, said there actually was a student named Isis Phillips at Los Osos who transferred earlier in the year, according to ABC News’ Los Angeles station, KABC-TV.

The school’s yearbook account tweeted an apology, stating that the misidentification was not intentional.

Principal Susan Petrocelli also apologized for the error and said they were investigating the “regrettable misprint.”

“We are investigating to figure how this happened and we are certainly sensitive to the young lady. We have been in contact with the family and will continue to work with them to determine how this could happen and how we can remedy the situation,” The Chaffey Joint Union High School District said in a statement.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) also called for a thorough investigation in a statement released Sunday.

“We join with the family in their concern about a possible bias motive for this incident and in the deep concern for their daughter’s safety as a result of being falsely labeled as a member of a terrorist group,” said CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush. “No student should have to face the humiliation of being associated with a group as reprehensible as ISIS.”

The girl’s family and the Council on American-Islamic Relations will meet with school administrators Monday.

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Carnival Ride Accident Leaves 11-Year-Old Girl in Critical Condition

iStock/Thinkstock(OMAHA, Neb.) — An 11-year-old girl is in critical condition after a horrifying accident on a carnival ride at a local Cinco de Mayo Festival in Omaha, Nebraska, on Saturday.

Elizabeth Gilreath was on the spinning “King’s Crown” ride with friends when her hair got caught in the machinery of the ride, leaving her screaming and bleeding on the floor awaiting help.

Observers stepped in upon seeing the chaos to quickly get to Elizabeth’s aid.

“Somehow I stopped it with both my hands, I just knew that a child needed my help,” Jolene Cisneros, an eyewitness from the scene, recalled. “I looked at her and I told her, ‘It’s going to be okay.’”

The young girl was taken to Nebraska Medicine with a head injury.

Virginia Cooksey, the girl’s mother, was in shock when she heard what happened.

“I just wanted to get to my daughter. I wanted to know she was okay and that she was taken care of well” Cooksey said. “I wouldn’t recommend any parent to put their child on a carnival ride.”

The carnival told ABC News in a statement, “Thomas D. Thomas Shows values the safety and health of our guests above all else, and we are saddened by this accident.”

Elizabeth is in intensive care, but is expected to recover.

“We are not seeing major injuries to her brain or her spine or elsewhere in her body,” Dr. TJ Schenarts, chief of trauma surgery at Nebraska Medicine, told ABC News. “We are pleased she is doing so well.”

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