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Friday
Nov282014

Ray Rice Wins Appeal, Indefinite Suspension Lifted

Kenneth K. Lam/Baltimore Sun/MCT via Getty Images(BALTIMORE) -- Former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice won his appeal against the National Football League on Friday, overturning his indefinite suspension for striking his then-fiancée in the elevator of an Atlantic City, N.J. hotel in February.

Rice was initially suspended for two games, but when video from within the elevator surfaced publicly in September, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell made the suspension indefinite. Shortly thereafter, the Baltimore Ravens released Rice from his contract.

With the suspension overturned, the NFL said that Rice was "eligible to play upon signing a new contract."

Judge Barbara Jones heard the appeal and said in her decision that "the sole issue in this matter is whether what Rice told the Commissioner and other League representatives about the assault at their June 16, 2014 meeting was 'a starkly different sequence of events' than what was captured on the 'inside the elevator' video." Jones was only charged with determining the validity of the suspension, not Rice's actions on the night in question.

Rice had argued that by extending the suspension, Goodell had unfairly punished him twice for the same incident.

Jones said in her decision that because the story Rice told at the June meeting was not significantly different, "the imposition of a second suspension based upon the same incident, and the same known facts about that incident, was arbitrary."

"I do not doubt that viewing the video in September evoked horror in Commissioner Goodell as it did with the public," Jones said, "but this does not change the fact that Rice did not lie or mislead the NFL at the June 16 meeting."

Jones notes that, had Goodell imposed an indefinite suspension in the first place, "an arbitrator would be hard pressed to find that the Commissioner had abused his discretion," but by implementing a shorter suspension and than extending it, he had unfairly imposed two punishments based on the same incident and the same information about that incident.

Jones did mandate that the other aspects of the initial punishment -- continued use of counseling and other professional services -- still stand.


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Friday
Nov282014

Suspected Gunman Dead After Officer-Involved Shooting in Austin, Texas

Twitter/hanskpaap(AUSTIN, Texas) -- A gunman in Austin, Texas, tried to burn down the Mexican consulate and fired more than 100 rounds at city buildings and at a police officer early Friday before dying of a bullet wound.

It was not immediately clear whether the shooter, identified by ABC News as Larry Steven McQuilliams, 49, was killed by police or shot himself, authorities said.

Austin Police Department Assistant Chief Raul Munguia, speaking at a news conference, said residents reported hearing shots at 2:22 a.m., and calls continued to come in as the suspect was “attacking government facilities.” Police said the timing of the attack was especially dangerous because bars were closing in downtown Austin, sending potentially thousands of people onto the streets.

After an officer fired at the suspect, police noticed that he was wearing a vest, and a bomb squad was called to the scene, Munguia said. No police officers were injured, but Austin’s Police Department headquarters was evacuated.

The suspect tried to set the Mexican consulate ablaze and successfully ignited a fire, but it extinguished before the consulate was significantly damaged, police said. He also unleashed a barrage of bullets at the Austin Police Department, a federal courthouse and a downtown bank, authorities said.

While he was firing “a lot of bullets” at police headquarters, an officer saw him and returned fire, according to police. McQuilliams died at the scene.

Authorities executed a search warrant at his apartment Friday and have reviewed his social media accounts, but so far a motive is still unclear.

The FBI is “assisting” with the investigation, police said.

McQuilliams was arrested in 1992 by the Austin Police Department for aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon, but the case was dismissed, according to public records.

 
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Friday
Nov282014

Search On for Missing Ohio State Football Player

Kirk Irwin/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- An Ohio State football player hasn't been seen since going out for a walk late Tuesday night and his family and friends are concerned that something may be wrong.

Ohio State University football player Kosta Karageorge left his apartment about 2 a.m. Wednesday morning, according to his family. His sister Sophia told the Columbus Dispatch that his roommate said that he left to take a walk.

As of 6 p.m. ET Thursday, a family member told ABC News that the search so far has yielded no clues to the college senior's whereabouts.

Karageorge, a defensive tackle who is also on the Ohio State wrestling team, had no vehicle, wallet or ID when he left, the sister told the newspaper.

"He had some extenuating circumstances that night that lead us to believe he was upset," she said.

 

 

The reserve defensive lineman didn't show up for football practice Thursday morning, ABC affiliate WSYX-TV in Columbus reported. The Buckeyes are set to play Michigan on Saturday.

Karageorge, 22, is a white male, 6 feet, 3 inches tall, and weighs about 270 pounds. He was last seen wearing black sweatpants over jeans, black Timberland boots, and a black hoodie with FOC on it.

"He never misses practice," Sophia told the Dispatch. "I've seen him go to wrestling practice with a broken foot. I've seen him sick as a dog go to practice. He's always on schedule. He always has somewhere where he checks in."

She said that Karageorge has a history of sports-related concussions and the family is worried that might be disoriented because of one he suffered a month ago.

Anyone with information about Karageorge's whereabouts can call 614-747-1729.

A call to the Columbus police about the case wasn't immediately returned.


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Friday
Nov282014

Texas Homeowner Uses Facebook to Find Thief

iStock/Thinkstock(HARRIS COUNTY, Texas) -- A Texas homeowner turned to social media after a teen allegedly snatched a package off his front doorstep.

Jeff Turner, who lives in Harris County, said he witnessed the incident on his home video surveillance. The FedEx package had just been delivered when someone swooped in, with a sweatshirt covering his face. The person can be seen looking back and forth before grabbing the package and running off.

“It was bold,” Turner said. “The more I thought about it, the kind of madder I got, and I thought, ‘You know what, I’m going to post this to a social media site.’”

Turner turned to his Facebook friends, posting screen-grabs of the surveillance footage on his neighborhood watch Facebook page to see whether anyone recognized the person.

It didn’t take long for neighbors to identify a local teen who was allegedly responsible.

But Turner took mercy and didn’t go to police, and the stolen item – a Houston Rockets sweater – was returned to Turner’s son, Jared.


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Friday
Nov282014

Florida Mom Goes Viral With 'Handmade Ugly Tacky Christmas Sweaters' 

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Christmas sweaters are the "ugly" trend that everyone loves to hate, but no one may really love the sweaters more than Deb Rottum.

The 45-year-old mother of three from Tampa has become a viral star thanks to the Christmas sweater creations she hand crafts and then posts to her eBay store,"Deb's Handmade Ugly Tacky Christmas Sweaters."

“It takes me about two hours to make a sweater,” Rottum told ABC News.

It’s not just the detailed design that is gaining Rottum Internet fame. It is the way in which she displays the sweaters online, by posing in them herself in an arms-wide-open stance.

“I put my arms out so people can see what I’ve done to the sleeves of the sweater,” Rottum said.


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As for the seemingly crazed expression that Rottum has on her face in each picture, Rottum says that is a strategic move as well.

“My goofy face was just [to say], ‘Hey, have fun. Come buy my sweater,” Rottum said, laughing.

Commenters on Rottum’s eBay page are sometimes horrified and sometimes not amused.

“She scares me,” one commenter wrote.

“My kid seen that face and will not sleep alone,” wrote another.

Even with detractors, Rottum is watching sales of her sweaters skyrocket. Her sales have quadrupled and her designs are gaining worldwide attention.

“I had a girl from the U.K. want a sweater with skunks because she has pet skunks,” Rottum said. “I did one with a shark, a Hello Kitty and a duck just this week.”

“I love it,” she said. “I think it’s so much fun when people comment and tell me how much fun they had with a sweater I made.”


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Friday
Nov282014

Here's Proof Pigs Actually Do Fly (Almost) 

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- They say pigs don't fly, but this one came close.

A pig landed on a US Airways flight out of Connecticut on Wednesday, but was taken off the plane after it became disruptive, a spokesperson told ABC News.

Jonathan Skolnik, a professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a passenger on the flight, told ABC News he thought the woman with the pig was carrying a duffel bag when she got on the plane and headed straight for the empty seat next to him.

"But it turns out it wasn't a duffel bag. We could smell it and it was a pig on a leash," he said. "She tethered it to the arm rest next to me and started to deal with her stuff, but the pig was walking back and forth."

"I was terrified, because I was thinking I'm gonna be on the plane with the pig," Snolnik added, saying he guesses the pig weighed between 50 and 70 pounds.

But the flight didn't take off with the pig. The woman and the animal eventually deplaned.

American Airlines, the parent company of US Airways, confirmed to ABC News that a passenger brought the pig aboard as an emotional support animal. After the pig became disruptive, she was asked to leave, a spokesperson said.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Nov272014

More than 250,000 Still Without Power on Thanksgiving Afternoon

Andrejs Jegorovs/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- More than 250,000 are without power this Thanksgiving after Wednesday's storms knocked out power lines along the East Coast.

The storm system grounded hundreds of flights and clogged up highways on Wednesday. Over 350,000 electric customers lost power.

Thursday afternoon, when most families would prefer to be cooking turkeys or watching football, at least 251,175 power customers are in the dark. That total includes homes in 10 states, from Maine to Virginia.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Nov272014

Ferguson Officer Darren Wilson Confident Federal Probe Will Clear Him Too

ABC News(FERGUSON, Mo.) -- The Ferguson police officer cleared of charges by a Missouri grand jury in the killing an unarmed black teenager says he’s confident a federal criminal probe into his actions will find “nothing” and clear him too.

In an exclusive interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, Officer Darren Wilson insisted he carried no racial bias when he fatally shot 18-year-old Michael Brown, and Wilson said he’s never been accused of acting in a racist manner during his entire law enforcement career.

“I did my job and followed my training,” Wilson said. “The training took over.”

The U.S. Justice Department is now conducting two probes sparked by Wilson's fatal confrontation with Brown on Aug. 9.

A criminal investigation will try to determine whether Wilson used unreasonable force and intentionally violated Brown’s civil rights when he shot the teenager. The second probe - though not criminal in nature – will look more broadly into whether the Ferguson police department has routinely engaged in a "pattern or practice" of unlawful and discriminatory policing.

Training will be one of several “priority areas" scrutinized by the federal probes, Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday.

In his interview this week with Stephanopoulos, Wilson said he’s worried about being caught in the crosshairs of a federal criminal investigation, but is confident investigators will find “nothing” to suggest he broke the law.

“I stand by what I did,” he said. “I stand by my training, and just have to wait and see what they determine.”

Stephanopoulos asked Wilson: “You're confident that no charges will be brought?”

Wilson responded simply, “Yeah.”

During its criminal investigation into Wilson, the Justice Department will be analyzing his past record, but “racial animus” is not something federal prosecutors have to prove to bring charges, according to William Yeomans, a former top civil rights prosecutor who spent 26 years at the Justice Department.

Investigators would have to show Wilson shot Brown with the specific intent to violate Brown’s civil rights and “use more force than was reasonably necessary under the circumstances,” Yeomans said. Reaching that threshold “can be very difficult” when there are conflicting eyewitness accounts and few pieces of physical evidence, according to Yeomans.

“It's difficult to prove what was going on in his head,” Yeomans said.

In his interview this week, Wilson acknowledged that – while the Ferguson community is predominantly black – the police force there is overwhelmingly white. But he said that didn’t create any inherent mistrust or tension between him and those he encountered while on patrol.

Testifying before a St. Louis County grand jury two months ago, however, he described his beat in Ferguson as “an antipolice area for sure.”

“That community doesn’t like the police,” he testified.

Holder echoed that sentiment Tuesday, saying, “Michael Brown's tragic death has revealed a deep distrust between some in the Ferguson community and its police force.”

Holder said the Justice Department will conduct an “intensive review” of the “priority areas" identified by the broader probe into the entire Ferguson police department, including a look at how officers handled searches and traffic stops of black drivers.

According to data released by the Missouri state government, about 67 percent of the Ferguson population is black, but last year 86 percent of those stopped by police were black, and 92 percent of those searched were black.

In addition, according to the same data, Ferguson police were twice as likely to search a black individual than a white individual, but they were significantly less likely to actually find contraband on black individuals compared with when they searched white individuals.

“There are obvious ways the police department needs to be reformed,” Yeomans said. “And I am confident that once this process is concluded, it will be a significantly different police department.”

Holder vowed that the two federal probes will be “conducted rigorously and in a timely manner” so that federal authorities can begin “to restore trust, to rebuild understanding and to foster cooperation between law enforcement and community members.”


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Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Nov272014

Several Arrests Made Near Thanksgiving Day Parade

Reptile8488/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Seven protesters were arrested near the route of the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City on Thursday. The arrests came amid rumblings on social media about disrupting the parade and Black Friday to protest a Missouri grand jury’s decisions not to indict the police officer who shot Michael Brown to death.

An estimated 50 protesters gathered a block away from the parade route at the New York Public Library. Several people were arrested when they started trying to interrupt the parade, including vandalizing, breaking windows and knocking over barricades, police said.

The parade was not interrupted, and the rest of the protesters returned to the library where they are now "peacefully" protesting, according to police.

“We will not tolerate, under any circumstances, any effort to disrupt this parade,” Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said before the arrests. “This is a national event, a historic event. Anybody who would seek to interrupt it would be callous, indeed, on this very special day.”

Hashtags such as #stoptheparade were trending Thursday morning. The NYPD was aware of the Internet conversations calling for demonstrations on Thanksgiving, Bratton said.

On a larger scale, a movement to boycott Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday has been gaining steam on social media, asking people to sit out Thanksgiving and Black Friday events to protest the grand jury's decision to not charge Officer Darren Wilson for killing the unarmed teen.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Nov272014

Cash Pours In to Fix Bakery Damaged in Ferguson Riots

ABC NEWS(FERGUSON, Mo.) -- A Missouri woman whose business was vandalized in Ferguson riots is busy pushing out pies and cakes at her bakery on Thanksgiving, despite broken windows and damage to the store.

Supporters raised more than $200,000 in two days to help Natalie DuBose, the owner of Natalie's Cakes & More. DuBose said her bakery, which she opened this summer, was damaged when protesters rioted following news that police officer Darren Wilson had not been indicted in the shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown.

"My main windows were smashed and bakery damaged," she wrote on a GoFundMe page launched on Tuesday. "I'm beside myself, but with the holidays, can't stop working.

"I'm truly mixing batter right now.”

Rioters smashed windows, burned down businesses and set police cars on fire late Monday in Ferguson after the grand jury's decision to not indict Wilson was announced.

DuBose was in tears Tuesday after learning the violence had reached her shop.

An employee who answered the phone at the bakery Thursday told ABC News the staff is busy delivering orders, despite the damage.

Kristine Froeba, a supporter who's helping run the bakery's social media pages, said DuBose is hard at work.

"She's backed up with her Thanksgiving orders, she's baking around the clock, the phone is ringing off the hook," Froeba said. "She's so busy."

DuBose says she's grateful for the financial support.

"I am truly and humbly blessed," she wrote on the GoFundMe page early Thursday.


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