Review Category : Top Stories

Police in Oklahoma Search for Suspect After 2 Officers Shot

iStock/Thinkstock(WELLSTON, Okla.) — Two police officers were shot in Wellston, Oklahoma, Sunday night, according to the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office.

The officers suffered non-life threatening injuries when they responded to a report of a shooting in the rural area around 6:30 p.m., officials said.

The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office said the suspects fled the scene in a white Lincoln Town Car with a blue top. One suspect is in custody, but another subject named Michael Vance is still at large, according to officials.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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‘Yoga Pants Parade’ Held in Protest of Rhode Island Man’s Complaint

iStock/Thinkstock(BARRINGTON, R.I.) — A Rhode Island community held a parade on Sunday afternoon in protest of a local man’s complaint about women wearing yoga pants.

In a letter to the editor of the Barrington Times last week, Alan Sorrentino said the athletic pants were “the absolute worst thing to ever happen in women fashion,” and they “do nothing to compliment a women over 20 years old.”

“To all yoga pant wearers, I struggle with my own physicality as I age,” he wrote. “I don’t want to struggle with yours.”

In response, about 300 people, including many women wearing yoga pants, hit the streets of his Barrington, Rhode Island, neighborhood for a “Yoga Pants Parade.”

One of the event’s organizers, Jamie Burke, said according to the Providence Journal that the issue was beyond the writer and “women are fed up with the policing of our wardrobe.”

Sorrentino has since said the letter was written in five minutes and supposed to be a joke. He said that he received death threats because of it.

“If I were a woman and a group of men were doing that to me, the men would be arrested,” he said in response to the parade.

A large sign that said “FREE SPEECH” hung on Sorrentino’s house during the parade, according to the Providence Journal.

The protest parade was peaceful, with many people donating diapers and hygienic products to the women’s shelter Sojourner House in Providence. Gina Baxter, a spokeswoman for clothing line Dear Kate, said the company would donate 100 yoga pants to the shelter as well.

“To celebrate women and celebrate our products, our design to empower women and instill confidence in women,” she said of the donation.

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At Least 13 Killed, 31 Injured in California Bus Crash, CHP Says

iStock/Thinkstock(DESERT HOT SPRINGS, Calif.) — At least 13 people were killed and 31 injured after a tour bus crashed into a big rig Sunday in Desert Hot Springs, California, according to California Highway Patrol (CHP).

Shortly after 5 a.m., 44 passengers were returning from a trip to the Red Earth Casino near the Salton Sea when the bus, operated by Los Angeles-based USA Holiday, slammed into a freight truck with a trailer, CHP Chief Jim Abele said.

“The speed of the bus was so significant that when it hit the back of the big rig, the trailer itself entered about 15 feet into the bus,” Abele said at a news conference on Sunday.

The bus driver was also killed in the crash, but it was not immediately clear if drugs, alcohol or fatigue played a role in the incident, according to CHP.

“In almost 35 years I’ve never been to a crash where there were 13 fatalities, so it’s tough, it’s tough for all of us,” Abele said. “The fire department who handles it, CHP personnel who handle it, it’s not an easy thing.”

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Bullet-Riddled Memorial to Emmett Till Prompts Talk of Still ‘So Much Hatred’

Bettmann / Getty Images(GLENDORA, Miss.) — Bullet-Riddled Memorial to Emmett Till Prompts Talk of Still ‘So Much Hatred’ Vandals in Mississippi apparently shot up a memorial to Emmett Till, an African-American teen whose murder in 1955 became a touchstone of the civil rights movement.

The defacing of the memorial drew notice Oct. 15, when Facebook user Kevin Wilson Jr. posted an image of the damage to the marker of the site where the 14-year-old Till, accused of whistling at a white woman, was killed.

“I’m at the exact site where Emmett Till’s body was found floating in the Tallahatchie River 61 years ago. The site marker is filled with bullet holes. Clear evidence that we’ve still got a long way to go,” Wilson wrote in the post.

Till was a kid from Chicago visiting relatives in Mississippi when his body was found with a bullet hole in his head, barbed wire wrapped around his neck and a cotton gin fan weighing him down. His mutilated body was sent home to Chicago where his mother, Mamie Till Mobley insisted on an open-casket funeral. The shocking image of her son’s body heightened calls for racial justice and civil rights.

The vandalism of the memorial prompted some African-American leaders in Tallahatchie County to consider that work toward racial tolerance isn’t done.

“This child died in 1955 and people still have so much hatred,” Robert E. Huddleston, a state representative from the area and member of the local chapter of the NAACP, told ABC News. “Why do they feel the need to keep on killing him again and again?”

Huddleston said this is the second time this particular memorial had been defaced and that the original version of the marker is believed to have been dumped into the river.

He and Johnny B. Thomas, the African-American mayor of Glendora, Mississippi, said they will work to make sure the memorial is rebuilt.

“When I see hatred like this it makes me want to work that much harder to rebuild it, begin healing, and get members of the Caucasian community to join us in that effort to heal,” Thomas told ABC News. “When the descendants of those who perpetrated slavery here and Jim Crow laws stand up against this sort of vandalism it means so much more … When they join in rejecting this we can move forward.”

ABC News reached out to the Tallahatchie County Sheriff’s Office for information about any investigation into the vandalism but did not immediately receive a response.

Thomas, whose black father may have had some connection to some connection Till’s death and who is involved with tours of spots associated with the murder, said there is a long record of racial tension in the area and that those with family ties to the history of strife could help to promote healing.

Thomas said that people could donate toward Till memorials by contacting the Village of Glendora, Mississippi.

The Emmett Till Memorial Commission put up eight markers in Tallahatchie County in 2008, according to The Clarion Ledger, who noted that the sign near the river where Till’s was found has been a repeated target of vandals, along with other prominent civil rights markers in the region.

The paper noted that a sign marking the Emmett Till Memorial Highway, dedicated to him in 2006, was spray-painted with the letters “KKK.”

Huddleston said such memorials are important to mark the battle for civil rights, regardless of who may oppose them.

“What we are doing now is trying to raise money to replace the sign,” Huddleston said.

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More Than 80 People Arrested for Protesting Dakota Access Pipeline

Leigh Vogel/FilmMagic via Getty Images(MANDAN, N.D.) — At least 83 people were arrested for protesting construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, according to authorities in North Dakota.

The Morton County Sheriff’s Department said 300 protesters trespassed on private property 3 miles west of State Highway 1806 along the pipeline right-of-way.

“Today’s situation clearly illustrates what we have been saying for weeks, that this protest is not peaceful or lawful,” Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier said in a statement. “It was obvious to our officers who responded that the protesters engaged in escalated unlawful tactics and behavior during this event. This protest was intentionally coordinated and planned by agitators with the specific intent to engage in illegal activities.”

Protesters have been demonstrating against construction of the 1,172-mile pipeline in support of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, which has said the project would affect water supply and culturally sacred sites on the North and South Dakota border.

Last week, actress Shailene Woodley was arrested for alleged criminal trespass and allegedly engaging in a riot during a protest of the pipeline.

A warrant was issued for the arrest of Amy Goodman, host of Democracy Now!, last month, but a North Dakota judge found there was not probable cause to support a riot charge.

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Minneapolis Police Officers Cleared in Shooting Death of Jamar Clark

iStock/Thinkstock(MINNEAPOLIS) — Two white Minneapolis police officers involved in the shooting death of a black man last year have been cleared after an internal investigation, according to the Minneapolis police chief.

Jamar Clark, 24, was killed in November 2015 after a confrontation with the two officers. His death sparked weeks of protests in Minneapolis.

Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau said at a news conference Friday that video confirmed he was not handcuffed when police responded to an alleged assault by Clark, and DNA showed he had grabbed an officer’s gun. She added that the use of deadly force was warranted and said she supported the actions of the two officers involved.

“These officers did not dictate the outcome of this incident,” she said Friday.

An attorney for the Clark family said they were disappointed with the decision, and a civil suit would be filed on behalf of the family in the coming weeks, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

In June, the Justice Department announced that an independent federal investigation into the shooting did not find sufficient evidence for federal criminal civil rights charges against the two Minneapolis police officers.

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Eagle-Eyed Boy Finds Lost Wedding Band in River and Tracks Down the Owner

Monkey Business/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — After losing his wedding band two months ago in a rushing river during an end-of-summer work outing, Matt Dooyema never thought he’d see his sentimental gold band again. All that changed on Monday, however, when he received a Facebook message that he admittedly almost deleted, but is so grateful he didn’t.

“I packed all my important stuff up — keys, cell phone and wallet– but I didn’t think to take my ring off,” Dooyema, of St. Cloud, Minn., told ABC News of the fateful day at Two Rivers Campground in Royalton. “I never take it off. I shower with it, sleep with it.

“My hands got wet and the river that day had quite a fast current and I didn’t brace myself and I fell and lost my tube,” he explained. “I chased after my tube and somewhere in that base area where you get into the river my ring must have flung off and fell amongst rocks.”

Dooyema realized the ring was missing about 10 minutes down the river when he and his colleagues reached the first sand bar.

“I looked down and I see my wedding ring is gone. I was crying,” he recalled. “We thought about trying to look for it but the current was too heavy to go against. I had to come to grips with the fact that I’d never see my ring again.”

When he received the Facebook message from a woman named Jennifer Ortloff regarding a ring, he wasn’t sure what to think at first.

“I clicked on it and it’s a woman named Jennifer Ortloff who said, ‘My family and I were recently vacationing in Royalton, Minnesota,’” Dooyema said of the message. “‘We just found a ring that we believe belongs to you. My little boy found the ring and he’s been adamant about getting it back to you.’

“I didn’t believe it,” he said after realizing it could be the perfect match.

He provided the detailed inscription that was engraved in his wedding band which included his wedding date, his initials and his wife’s initials. It had been those clues that helped Ortloff and her son, Matthew, narrow down the search results to find Dooyema on a Minnesota wedding registry site called the Minnesota Official Marriage System.

“We were going on a tube trip down the river and I thought I saw a shiny rock and I picked it up and it was a mens wedding band,” young Matthew, 8, said of spotting the ring two weeks after Dooyema had lost it. “I said, ‘I need to get that back to the owner.’”

Matthew’s mom said her son was so concerned about the ring the whole way down the river that he’d check on it at every stop.

Now they can both rest easy knowing it’s been returned to its rightful owner. Dooyema and Ortloff met on Tuesday to safely get the ring home.

“Shock is pretty much the prevalent emotion I feel,” said Dooyema. “Disbelief. I had it set in my mind that I’d never see this again, almost as a way to not beat myself up any more about it. I was in shock, but also have a general feeling of gratitude and some reinforcement in my belief in people. It is very serendipitous, but it comes back to the fact that people are generally good. There are good people in this world who are willing to go above and beyond what’s right.”

As for how little Matthew feels about finally finding the owner?

“It’s awesome,” he said.

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Two Workers Killed in Boston As Water Main Break Floods Trench

Photo by Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Images(BOSTON) — Two workers were killed on Friday when a water main break flooded the trench they were working in.

The Boston Fire Department used a large vacuum to help remove water the trench, which ABC affiliate WCVB says was estimated to be 12- to 15-feet deep. The BFD said that the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office and the Occupational Health Safety and Health Administration will investigate was caused the incident.

WCVB says the two victims were workers for Atlantic Drain Services.

The bodies of both victims were recovered on Friday night.

BFD Commissioner Joe Finn tweeted his thanks to the first responders and to Boston Water and Sewer workers, National Grid and Eversource crews and others who assisted in the recovery.

Boston Police Commissioner William Evans told The Boston Globe that when the pipe burst, the workers “weren’t able to get themselves out of a hole.” Other workers, he said, were able to escape the trench.

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Pennsylvania Police Officer Used Excessive Force When Kicking a Man During Arrest: Lawsuit

Allentown Police Department(ALLENTOWN, Pa.) — A man who was kicked by a Pennsylvania police officer is suing Allentown city officials and members of its police department, alleging that arresting officers violated his civil rights when they used excessive force during the 2015 incident and that city and police officials attempted to cover it up.

On May 30, 2015, Allentown police officer Joseph M. Iannetta kicked Hector Medina-Pena in the head as he was on the ground on all fours after the car he was riding in was stopped by police, the lawsuit alleges. The incident was captured on dashcam video, which was obtained by ABC News.

In a statement, current Allentown Police Chief Keith Morris said Medina-Pena matched the description of an armed robbery suspect who had held up a strip club that day before getting into a car with three other individuals and driving off. “A detailed description of the getaway vehicle and the criminal suspect who displayed the weapon was broadcast, and due to diligent police work the vehicle was quickly located with the four suspects inside,” Morris said.

After the car was stopped, Medina-Pena “repeatedly refused to comply” with Iannetta’s orders and reached into the area of his waistband several times, Morris said. “Concerned about this suspect, who was reported by the victims to be armed, Officer Iannetta took action to protect himself … [taking the] later-convicted robber into custody by using the minimal amount of force necessary.”

Medina-Pena later pleaded guilty to robbery and was sentenced to up to 10 years in state prison.

The suit states Medina-Pena was riding in the left rear seat of a Ford Explorer with three other people in the car when police signaled for the driver to pull over. Once the car was stopped, Medina-Pena “immediately” complied with Iannetta’s instructions to show his hands and exit the car, according to the complaint. He then “got down on his knees and raised his hands over his head in plain view of all police officers on scene” while the driver and other passengers did the same, the suit states.

Medina-Pena was “defenseless” when Iannetta approached him with his gun drawn and performed a “WWE”-style kick to the right side of his head and face, causing him to crumple to the ground “in extreme pain,” according to the complaint.

The kick was in “full view” of at least one of the other police officers on the scene, the suit states. As Medina-Pena lied “immobile” on the ground, officer Patrick Bull, also named in the complaint, then positioned himself on top of him, with his left knee pressing into Medina-Pena’s back and his gun pointing at the other two passengers, who were lying on the sidewalk with their hands showing, according to the complaint.

Iannetta then approached the driver of the Explorer, “who had his hands displayed as requested,” and pointed his gun at the driver’s face before “violently” ripping him out of the car and throwing him to the ground, the complaint states. Iannetta then jumped on the driver and rolled on top of him while continuing to point his gun at his face, according to the suit.

Neither Medina-Pena nor the driver resisted arrest “in any way,” the complaint states. While Medina-Pena was still on the ground with Bull on top of him and his hands pinned behind his back, Iannetta allegedly “threw his body down, knee first, directly onto the back of [Medina-Pena’s] head and face” using “all his weight and as much force as he could muster,” the lawsuit states.

“It was immediately apparent to any observer that the Plaintiff, who now laid motionless, bleeding and seriously injured, presented no threat, provided no resistance and was completely defenseless before these unwarranted criminal assaults were inflicted by Defendant Iannetta,” according to the complaint.

According to the suit, once on the ground, Medina-Pena “was immediately searched, and found not to be in possession of any weapons or contraband.”

Paramedics arrived at the scene after Medina-Pena had lain motionless on the ground for several minutes and observed “obvious and significant” injuries to his head and face, the lawsuit states. It also alleges that he suffered a fractured jaw and had three teeth knocked out, which were only held in place due to his recently installed braces. Medina-Pena was hospitalized for three days following the incident, the complaint states.

Medina-Pena will continue to require medical treatment in the future and faces some possibly permanent issues, according to the complaint.

The complaint also alleges that Iannetta had a history of violence that the Allentown Police Department was aware of, pointing specifically to a 2013 incident in which Iannetta’s partner allegedly threw a man head-first into concrete, knocking him unconscious; Iannetta then allegedly stomped and kicked the man. Iannetta was a defendant in a civil rights lawsuit from that incident, according to Medina-Pena’s suit. The city paid $350,000 to settle that case, according to Allentown newspaper The Morning Call.

Dashcam video of the incident shows police approaching the dark-colored SUV with their guns drawn as a woman walks her bike on the sidewalk next to them. Medina-Pena is seen getting out of the car with his hands up and a fanny pack at his waist. He looks back at police and appears to nod to an officer as he is given instructions, then gets on all fours on the ground.

The lawsuit accuses Bull of failing to intervene after Iannetta delivered the kick to Medina-Pena’s head. It also accuses Iannetta and Bull of filing false police reports — in which they allegedly “omitted facts” to cover up the “assault” — and accuses the police department’s internal affairs division of assisting in the alleged coverup.

Other unnamed officers referred to as John/Jane Doe were also named in the lawsuit, as well as former Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald, Allentown Mayor Edwin Pawlowski and the City of Allentown.

The officers involved in the incident were “entrusted to protect the Constitutional rights of those he encountered,” the complaint, filed Thursday in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, states. Mayor Pawlowski was named in the lawsuit because he “either does, or has failed to, promulgate and enforce laws, rules and regulations concerning the operations of the Allentown Police Department,” according to the complaint.

Neither Pawlowski nor Fitzgerald conducted an “appropriate investigation” or issued discipline against the officers after the incident, according to the complaint, which also states that officers are provided “inadequate training” pertaining to the appropriate use of force and that officers “routinely” use excessive force. In addition, the complaint accuses the City of Allentown of “systematically” under-reporting citizen complaints on police abuse.

Medina-Pena is seeking an amount in excess of the $150,000 limit for arbitration in the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, according to the suit.

Iannetta is a 14-year veteran of the Allentown Police Department and has training “far and beyond” what is required, said Allentown City Solicitor Susan Wild, adding that Iannetta is “highly decorated for merit and bravery.”

Iannetta’s actions have been “thoroughly reviewed” by police and city officials and were found to be appropriate under the circumstances, she said. The office of the mayor did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.

Police Chief Morris also said in the statement: “In today’s society, where officers are routinely being criticized for their use of firearms in encounters with suspects, this is an incident where an officer (based on his training) used a reasonable amount of force in response to the report of an armed suspect and necessitated by Mr. Medina-Pena’s criminal actions, and took a felon into custody with minimal risk and injury to all involved.”

Medina-Pena’s suit is the latest in a string of civil rights lawsuits brought against the Allentown Police Department in the last five years, according to The Morning Call. The city has paid out $650,000 to seven of those lawsuits so far.

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‘Prime Target’: NSA Contractor to Be Detained Before Trial

Nabble / Harold Martin(WASHINGTON) — The NSA contractor accused of stealing a gargantuan amount of sensitive and classified data from the U.S. government is a flight risk and has been ordered to remain in custody ahead of his trial, a Maryland judge said Friday.

Harold Martin, III, a Navy veteran, was arrested in late August after FBI agents discovered a treasure trove of government documents and data, in stacks of paper and on removable data storage devices, strewn around his house, his car and an outdoor shed. It was a theft, prosecutors said, “that is breathtaking in its longevity and scale” — enough to fill some 500 million pages of documents containing images and text.

The material included some documents marked Secret, Top Secret and in some cases Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information (TS/SCI), the highest classification level. Martin allegedly had been taking the information home with him from as many as seven different contracting jobs for the government since 1996. He first received his security clearance during his service in the Navy Reserve.

Ahead of the hearing Friday, prosecutors argued in a court filing that Martin should remain in detention as he would be a “prime target” for foreign spies should he be released on bail.

“Given the nature of his offenses and knowledge of national secrets, [Martin] presents tremendous value to any foreign power that may wish to shelter him within or outside the United States,” prosecutors wrote in a court filing Thursday.

Prosecutors said Martin had been in communication with others online in “languages other than English, including Russian” and apparently had been learning Russian.

Prosecutors also argued that Martin could be a danger to himself, citing Martin’s wife who purportedly told investigators she was concerned he might try to take his own life.

Martin’s attorneys, however, said in their own court filing Thursday that there is still no evidence he “intended to betray his country” and argued that he was not a flight risk. All the talk of foreign spies and potential getaway plans, the defense said, were “fantastical scenarios.” They said Martin didn’t even have a valid passport.

In court Friday Martin’s defense attempted to paint him as a hoarder with mental issues.

In the end, the judge sided with the prosecution and declared Martin a flight risk.

Martin’s attorneys, James Wyda and Deborah Boardman, told reporters that Martin and his family were “disappointed with [Friday’s] ruling.”

“We do not believe Hal Martin is a danger to the community or to his country. Hal is no risk of flight. Hal Martin loves America. And he trusts our justice system. This is an early step in a long process. We anticipate filing an appeal shortly,” the attorneys said.

After the hearing Martin’s wife told reporters simply, “I love him.”

Martin is currently accused of the theft of government property, but prosecutors said that they expect to bring more serious charges under the Espionage Act.

As of a couple weeks ago, investigators were still trying to figure Martin out. Senior officials told ABC News then that he appeared to be “more weirdo than whistleblower,” and it’s unclear why he appears to have hoarded 20 years of government material in his home and vehicle. Online postings and public academic work apparently by Martin indicate he was deeply involved in the technical world of computer security, and Martin allegedly told investigators he was taking his work home with him only to improve his own knowledge and skills.

But prosecutors see something more sinister, based on some sophisticated software tools and the number of firearms discovered at Martin’s residence, and one from under the front seat of his vehicle.

“If the Defendant stole this classified material for his own edification, as he has claimed, there would be no reason to keep some of it in his car, and arm himself as though he were trafficking in dangerous contraband,” prosecutors wrote in the filing Thursday.

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