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HEAR THIS HOUR'S UPDATE

Wednesday
Mar042015

DOJ Will Not Charge Darren Wilson in Michael Brown Shooting

Brown Family / Facebook(WASHINGTON) -- The Department of Justice announced on Wednesday that former Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson will not be charged in the death of Michael Brown.

"There is no evidence upon which prosecutors can rely to disprove Wilson's stated subjective belief that he feared for his safety," the DOJ criminal report said.

According to the report, Wilson "saw Brown reach his right hand under his t-shirt into what appeared to be his waistband."

Accounts that Brown put his hands up are "inaccurate because they are inconsistent with the physical and forensic evidence," the report says.

Witness accounts were "inconsistent" and "changed over time," it also said.

The department also released its investigation of the Ferguson police, which found a pattern and practice of discriminatory policing.

The report includes seven racist emails sent by Ferguson officers. In its review, the Justice Department found 161 use of force complaints against the Ferguson police from 2010 to 2014. Only one case was founded and no officer was disciplined.

Those conclusions come nearly seven months after a confrontation with Wilson left Brown, 18, dead. In the wake of the controversial slaying of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin, Brown’s death reignited a national debate over race in America and sparked protests across the country.

With its findings now public, the Justice Department is likely to seek agreement from the Ferguson Police Department to implement serious changes to its practices. But if negotiations fail, then the Justice Department would likely file a civil lawsuit against the police force, hoping a federal judge will force the police department to enact appropriate changes.


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Wednesday
Mar042015

Detroit Bus Driver to Be Charged After Alleged On-Duty Doze Leads to Crash

iStock/Thinkstock(DETROIT) -- After a four-month investigation, authorities said on Wednesday that the driver of a city bus who police said fell asleep at the wheel and then slammed into eight vehicles in suburban Detroit will be charged.

The 65-year-old driver, whose name has not been released, faces a charge of a 93-day misdemeanor, a moving violation causing serious impairment of bodily function. The driver was expected to turn himself in and be arraigned Wednesday afternoon.

Police said in October the SMART bus crashed into a Ford Explorer in West Bloomfield Township before plowing into seven other vehicles. Cameras on the bus caught the heart-pounding moment.

Police said there was one passenger on the bus at the time. That passenger was not injured. The driver said he'd fallen asleep, according to police, and had tried to brake and then swerved before the accident. Authorities called it the longest crash of West Bloomfield history.

"This accident, the crash scene was actually a half-a-mile long," West Bloomfield police Det. Lt. Curt Lawson told ABC News affiliate WXYZ-TV in Detroit.

"It was one of the biggest accidents that we have ever investigated in West Bloomfield history. It took four months to complete this investigation. ...We've very fortunate no one was killed during this incident,” he said.

A man and a woman, both age 79, who were riding in the Ford Explorer, were seriously injured in the accident. Several passengers in the other vehicles suffered minor injuries.

Authorities examined camera footage and the bus' recording device, as well as the victims' hospital records. The bus' brakes and mechanics were also investigated and the accident was reconstructed.


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Wednesday
Mar042015

Trial of Boston Marathon Bombing Suspect Gets Underway Wednesday

FBI(BOSTON) — The defense team for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev made a stunning admission at the beginning of the accused Boston Marathon bomber’s trial today: “It was him.”

“We’re all going to come face to face with unbearable grief, loss and pain caused by a series of senseless, horribly misguided acts carried out by two brothers, 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his younger brother, 19-year-old Dzhokhar,” defense attorney Judy Clarke told the court. “We do not and will not at any point in this case sidestep or attempt to sidestep Dzhokhar’s responsibility for his actions. We think the question of ‘why’ is important.”

Clarke said it was that facet, the motive behind the deadly bombing, where the defense disagrees with the prosecution. Tamerlan Tsarnaev, Clarke said, was the one “who self-radicalized” and the defense plans to show evidence that Dzhokhar was “enlisted” by his older brother. The defense team gave a hint of a similar potential strategy a year ago when they filed motions to obtain information the attorneys believed would show that between the brothers, Tamerlan was an “all-powerful force who could not be ignored or disobeyed.”

Earlier the judge seemed to strike a blow to such a defense, telling the court that whether Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is more or less culpable than his late brother is not relevant.

Dzhokhar has pleaded not guilty to the 30 counts against him, including charges of using a “weapon of mass destruction resulting in death.” The most serious of the charges could put him on death row if he's convicted.

The trial comes just under two years after twin explosions ripped through the crowd near the finish line of the Boston Marathon in April 2013, killing three people – including an eight-year-old boy – and injuring some 260 others. More than a dozen of those injured lost limbs.

Prosecutors say Dzhokhar and his older brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev were responsible for the death and destruction, and that the two were photographed dropping backpacks holding the bombs before the blasts. The city of Boston was paralyzed for days during an intense manhunt, during which the pair allegedly gunned down an MIT police officer.

Tamerlan was eventually killed in a shootout with police days after the attack in the Boston suburb of Watertown.

Dzhokhar was caught hours after that shootout, bloody and hiding in a dry-docked boat. While hiding, Tsarnaev penned an anti-American missive on the wall of the boat, saying, "The U.S. government is killing our innocent civilians, but most of you already know that.”

"We Muslims are one body. You kill one of us, you hurt [unintelligible] us all,” another section of the note read.

After opening statements, the prosecution will immediately force jurors to relive the emotional pain of the marathon attack. The first three dozen witnesses are expected to be bombing victims: amputees and others who were maimed along with the father of Martin Richard, the eight-year-old killed when Dzhokhar Tsarnaev allegedly planted a backpack containing a pressure cooker bomb at the boy’s feet. Their testimony will be followed by others impacted by the blasts, including Marathon organizers and business owners along Boylston Street where the finish line was.

While prosecutors focus today on Dzhokhar, authorities told ABC News they’re also investigating whether Tamerlan’s wife, Katherine Russell, knew of the deadly plot beforehand.

Russell is suspected of being the woman who accompanied Tsarnaev to a Macy’s in Boston two months before the April 2013 attack where the couple bought five pressure cookers – two of which were allegedly used to make the bombs placed at the marathon finish line. In an affidavit to search the Tsarnaev’s home, FBI agents said they were looking for clothing consistent with those seen on a security video at Macy’s.

Both lawyers for Russell and federal prosecutors declined to answer ABC News questions about Russell’s status, but a senior law enforcement official said she could face charges of misprision of a felony, or failing to notify authorities of a crime about to happen.

Days after Tamerlan was identified as one of the suspected bombers, Russell’s attorney, released a statement saying Russell was assisting the investigation into the bombing and was not aware of the plot beforehand.

“As a mother, a sister, a daughter, a wife, Katie deeply mourns the pain and loss to innocent victims, students, law enforcement officers, families and our community,” the attorney, Miriam Weizenbaum, said then.


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Wednesday
Mar042015

LA Girls' Basketball Team Won't Be Disqualified for Wearing Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness

Thomas Cordova/Daily Breeze(LOS ANGELES) — A girls' high school basketball team won't be penalized because it wore pink letters and numbers on its jerseys to support breast cancer awareness. But the coach is banned for the rest of the season.

Nathaniel Narbonne High School's team in the Harbor City area of Los Angeles appealed a decision that forced it to forfeit a 57-52 playoff win on Saturday against View Park Preparatory Accelerated Charter High School because the pink on the uniforms was not an approved color, according to a league governing body.

On Tuesday, a three-person appeals panel said the team won't have to forfeit the win, but coach Victoria Sanders is out for the rest of the season, the Los Angeles Times reported. In addition, the team will be on probation through next season and the school can't host a girls' playoff game next year.

"Our biggest push was to just let the girls finish out the season, so we were glad they got their season back," Narbonne's athletic director, Kyla Berman, told ABC News. "The coach was OK with the decision that she wasn’t able to finish out the season."

Now that the top-seeded team's disqualification has been overturned, it will play in the championship game on Saturday with the approved colors of green, gold and black.

But Sanders won't be allowed in the arena. Instead, the boys' basketball coach, who Berman said already closely works with Sanders, will guide the girls' team.

"I can accept it," Sanders told The Times of the punishment.

Berman said the team players were "speechless" about the panel's decision to let them play.

"They were so excited. They and the parents were disappointed, of course, Vicki won’t be there," Berman told ABC News. "But Vicki just kept telling the girls, 'Just play.' They’re ready. She’s confident they will do what they need to do."

The California Interscholastic Federation's Los Angeles City Section, which initially disqualified Narbonne's team, did not respond to a request for comment from ABC News Tuesday.


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Wednesday
Mar042015

1,400 Security Badges Lost, Stolen at Atlanta Airport

iStock/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) -- More than 1,400 security badges used by workers at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport that offer access to private baggage areas, tarmacs and other secure locations reportedly have been lost or stolen, according to an investigation by ABC News station WSB.

The badges went missing between 2012 and 2014.

Airport officials said the badges alone wouldn’t be useful -- a personalized PIN number, specific to each employee, is also required in order for the badges to work.

“Due to those safeguards, we do not believe that lost or stolen badges pose a significant security threat to the airport,” Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport said in a statement.

Stephen Ganyard, a former Marine Corps fighter pilot and ABC News consultant, said the report is concerning.

“The airport said, ‘Well, they would have to have a PIN to get through a gate, they’d have to have a picture,’ but everybody knows they’ve been around places when somebody has a security badge and they say, ‘Oh, he has a badge, we’ll just let him in,’ or they can follow me through the door,” Ganyard said.

According to the WSB report, Atlanta’s airport does not use biometric screening for employees, which would include fingerprint or eye checks.

The Transportation Security Administration has refused to release statistics on missing airport badges across the country, citing security concerns.


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Wednesday
Mar042015

LAPD Shooting: Homeless Victim Stole French Man's Identity, Authorities Say

Ventura County Sheriff's Office(LOS ANGELES) — The homeless man fatally shot by Los Angeles police officers in a Sunday confrontation was living in the United States under the assumed identity of a French national, authorities told ABC News Tuesday.

The LAPD had identified the man as Charley Saturmin Robinet, a convicted bank robber who carried a French passport.

But Astrid le Moine, Press Attaché for the Consulate General of France in Los Angeles, said the French consulate later notified police of the usage of the stolen identity.

Arnaud Guillois, the press counselor at the French Embassy in Washington, told ABC News that the homeless man killed on Skid Row "is not French." French officials do not know the man's nationality at this time, Guillois said.

A call to the LAPD Tuesday seeking comment wasn't immediately returned.

Court documents confirm that the man who used the name Charley Saturmin Robinet was released from federal prison on May 12, 2014 after serving 14 years in prison.

A law enforcement source confirmed to ABC News that Robinet was 39 at the time of his death.

A 2005 court document notes that a state psychiatrist examined him and determined that he had a "mental disorder or defect" but it was unclear if he received treatment.

Witnesses at the shooting scene told KABC that the man was called "Africa" by people who knew him. The shooting took place on the city's Skid Row, a stretch of Central Los Angeles where many of the city's homeless congregate.

Footage obtained by ABC News shows Robinet entering his tent on the sidewalk shortly before police arrive at the scene.

At least two investigations into the shooting are underway.


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Wednesday
Mar042015

Ohio Suspect Turns Himself In After Facebook Exchange with Sheriff's Office

Butler County Sheriff's Office/Facebook(BUTLER COUNTY, Ohio) — Authorities in Ohio are crediting social media for their latest arrest.

The Butler County Sheriff’s Office posted an alert on Facebook Tuesday about Andrew Dale Marcum, 21, who was wanted on a range of charges, including burglary (safe-cracking), abduction, assault and domestic violence.

Residents commented on the post. So did Marcum, apparently.

“I ain’t tripping half of them don’t even know me,” Marcum wrote from his Facebook account.

The sheriff’s office responded: “If you could stop by the Sheriff’s Office, that’d be great.”

County Sheriff Richard K. Jones also weighed in, posting a photo on Twitter showing a jail cell.

“Hey Andrew Marcum we’ve got your room ready…” Jones wrote.

 

 

Later in the day, Marcum relented, turning himself into authorities. Marcum appears glum, his eyes red in the booking photos posted following his arrest.

“Andrew Dale Marcum will be off Facebook temporarily, because there is no social media access in the Butler County Jail. He's turned himself in,” the office wrote in a new Facebook post. “Thanks to our Facebook and Twitter friends for helping turn up the heat.”


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Wednesday
Mar042015

Suspect in Custody After Maryland Shooting Incidents, FBI Says

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — A suspect is in custody, believed to be involved in a string of recent shooting incidents in the Baltimore-Washington D.C. area, an FBI spokesperson told ABC News.

A shooting incident happened Tuesday on the Inter-County Connector in Laurel, Maryland, with shots fired at a tree service truck. Damage was also reported to a nearby National Security Agency building in Fort Meade.

“We believe the subject responsible for shooting incidents on the ICC, near Fort Meade Army installation and other locations around the Baltimore-Washington metro area in the last two weeks is in custody,” Amy J. Thoreson, Public Affairs Specialist with the FBI’s Baltimore Division, told ABC News in a statement.

Other previous shootings were reported in Hanover, Maryland last week, as well as Laurel in Prince George’s County and Columbia in Howard County Monday.

Police confirm that the suspect was found in a dark Lincoln Town Car -- the same vehicle that police had been looking for in relation to a Feb. 24 shooting incident seen on security camera video posted by the Anne Arundel County Police.

The shooting incidents, sources say, do not appear to have national security implications.

The suspect’s identity has not been released.


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Wednesday
Mar042015

Chicago Cubs Hold the Keys to the “Back to the Future” DeLorean Car

Volo Museum(CHICAGO) -- If the Chicago Cubs win the 2015 World Series this fall, as predicted in Back to the Future Part II, you could be the proud new owner of a DeLorean time machine, the famous hover car featured in the film.

Volo Auto Museum in Illinois is hosting the giveaway for the 1981 exhibition model estimated to be worth $85,000.

"The car is fully functional. It's a running and driving car," museum director Brian Grams told ABC News on Tuesday. "Though we don't guarantee time travel with the car, its flux capacitor and other board lights light up just like the movie's car."

But, of course, you'll have to rely on the Cubs -- who famously haven't won a World Series since 1908 and haven't even appeared in one since 1945. They finished dead last in their division in 2014.

Some superstitious fans believe the team is cursed. The Cubs famously were five outs away from locking up a World Series berth in 2003 when a fan reached out and deflected a ball that appeared headed for a Cubs player's glove. The Cubs then blew a three-run lead to lose, lost another game after that and missed the World Series.

The DeLorean was acquired from a custom car builder who built various original car props for movies, including the original Batmobile for the TV series, Grams said. The car has been on display at the museum since the late '90s.

The museum encourages Chicago Cubs and Back to the Future fans from all over the world to register beginning March 21, Grams said.

To enter the raffle, you can visit the museum with more than 400 eccentric cars in Volo, Illinois, and register on-site or online using your wristband ticket's number.

If the museum is too far for you to visit, just send it a self-addressed, stamped envelope, Grams said, and the museum will then mail you back an eligible registration number.

 

 

This is the museum's first car giveaway, Grams said. He said he hopes the Cubs finally win, so the car will go to a fan.

And if the Cubs drop the ball, there's a consolation prize, Grams said.

"We keep the car, but the giveaway winner will win the museum's hoverboard prop," he said.


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Tuesday
Mar032015

Ferguson Shooting: Federal Investigation Expected to Show Pattern of Discrimination at Police Department 

Scott Olson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The Department of Justice is expected to release its finding on the investigation into the Ferguson Police Department as early as Wednesday, sources tell ABC News.

According to a law enforcement official, the report will say the Ferguson Police Department’s conduct routinely violated the constitution and federal law due to a combination of racial bias and a focus on generating revenue.

According to the findings, African-Americans make up 67 percent of the population of Ferguson, but were subject to 85 percent of traffic stops, 90 percent of citations and 93 percent of arrests.

In essence they accuse the Ferguson police department of a pattern and practice of discrimination.

The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division found multiple examples of police and municipal court officials exhibiting racial bias in emails sent on official Ferguson accounts.

Examples include a November 2008 email, which stated that President Barack Obama would not be president for very long because “what black man holds a steady job for four years.”

Another racist email from May 2011 stated: “An African-American woman in New Orleans was admitted into the hospital for a pregnancy termination. Two weeks later she received check for $5,000. She phoned the hospital to ask who it was from. The hospital said, ‘Crimestoppers.’”

From April to September 2014, 95 percent of people held at the Ferguson jail longer than two days were African American.

African Americans accounted for 95 percent of all “Manner of Walking in Roadway” -- essentially jaywalking -- charges, 94 percent of “failure to comply” charges and 92 percent of all “peace disturbance” charges.



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