Meet the Two Turkeys Up for Obama's Pardon

sergeyparys/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The National Turkey Federation is allowing the Internet to vote to decide which of two turkeys President Obama will pardon in an annual Thanksgiving tradition.

Obama will announce the name of the turkey he will pardon on Wednesday, but until he does, fans can vote for either "Honest" or "Abe." The National Turkey Federation took to Twitter to introduce each of the candidates, showing off not just their stats, but their personalities.

Each turkey likes to listen to country music, according to the NTF. Honest is the slightly larger bird.

The NTF has a Twitter poll going, with more than 3,000 votes as of Wednesday morning.

In reality, neither turkey is killed, both turkeys up for consideration for the presidential pardon live out their days on a Virginia farm.

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Protests Erupt in Chicago After Police Shooting Video Released

iStock/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- Protesters took to the streets Tuesday night in the wake of the release of dash cam footage showing police shooting a teen being shot by police, chanting "16 shots" for the number of times the officer allegedly shot him.

Chicago police said there were a few minor injuries during the rallies.

The dash cam video, released by police a day ahead of a court-ordered deadline, shows officers confronting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, who later died at a hospital, as he walked down the street on Oct. 20, 2014.

Chicago police officials said they were responding to a report of a person walking down the street with a knife and that McDonald refused to drop the knife when ordered.

The video shows puffs of smoke coming from the ground at some points, which court documents said were caused by bullets.

A prosecutor at Officer Jason Van Dyke's hearing said that McDonald did not step towards the officer, but the officer allegedly took at least one step towards him.

Van Dyke was charged with first degree murder and stripped of his pay and policing powers, police officials said today. He was held without bond.

"It's certainly everyone's right to make a judgment about it but I would just state that the judgment made by individuals who have viewed this tape from the comfort of their living room, on their sofa ... it's not the same," Van Dyke's lawyer, Dan Herbert said.

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Dash Cam Video Shows Teen Shot by Chicago Police Officer

WLS-TV(CHICAGO) -- The dash cam video showing a Chicago police officer allegedly shooting a teenager to death has been made public for the first time.

Video of the fatal Oct. 20, 2014 shooting of Laquan McDonald, who later died at a hospital, was shown this evening a day ahead of the court-ordered deadline and as reported by ABC News affiliate WLS-TV.

The video, obtained by WLS-TV, shows the 17-year-old walking down the middle of a Chicago street as he is confronted by several police officers at a distance.

The video was taken from the dash camera of a responding police car. The WLS-TV version of the video contains faint audio, but the Chicago Police Superintendent, Garry McCarthy, said the footage police were releasing contained no sound.

There are several instances where puffs of smoke can be seen coming from McDonald's body, as he is on the ground. He was later declared dead at the hospital.

"These clouds of smoke were later identified as clouds of debris caused by fired bullets," according to court documents filed by the State's Attorney's office earlier on Tuesday.

Jason Van Dyke, the police officer who allegedly shot McDonald a total of 16 times in 14 to 15 seconds, was arrested today and charged with first-degree murder.

McDonald's family issued a statement earlier today reiterating that they "would prefer" that it not be made public and urging "calm" when and if it was made public.

McCarthy said Van Dyke was stripped of his police powers immediately and was no longer being paid by the department.

"Every day in this city, you see thousands of officers performing admirably and making a difference of the lives of the people of Chicago," McCarthy said.

"We are not the least bit pleased about this."

Mayor Rahm Emanuel echoed McCarthy's sentiments: "This moment does not speak to who we are and what we can become."

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Chicago Cop Who Allegedly Shot Teen Laquan McDonald 16 Times Charged With Murder

Stockbyte/Thinkstcok(CHICAGO) -- A Chicago police officer has been charged with murder after fatally shooting a teen in 2014, allegedly hitting the teen 16 times and firing shots after he had already hit the ground, authorities said Tuesday.

Officer Jason Van Dyke turned himself in at the Cook County Courthouse Tuesday morning and prosecutors charged him with first-degree murder. He is being held without bond and will be back in court on Monday, Nov. 30, authorities said.

Van Dyke is accused of shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald on Oct. 20, 2014. The white officer reportedly shot the black teen 16 times.

Dash cam footage of the incident shows that McDonald was on the ground for 13 of the 14 to 15 seconds that Van Dyke was shooting, prosecutors said Tuesday.

A judge has ordered that the video be released by the end of the day Wednesday, and the judge at Van Dyke's bond hearing on Tuesday said that the footage should be shown in court at Van Dyke's Nov. 30 hearing.

A prosecutor at Van Dyke's hearing described the footage, detailing how Van Dyke started shooting 6 seconds after getting out of his squad car. He fired 16 shots in the span of 14 to 15 seconds, the prosecutor said, noting that the video shows that McDonald never made a move toward Van Dyke, but Van Dyke did take at least one step toward McDonald, who was armed with a knife with a 3-inch blade.

The release of the video will likely prompt public outrage, Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez said Tuesday afternoon.

"To watch a 17-year-old young man die in such a violent manner is deeply disturbing and I have absolutely no doubt that this video will tear at the hearts of all Chicagoans," Alvarez said at a news conference.

Court documents released on Tuesday detail how officers saw "puffs of smoke" when bullets hit McDonald's body while he was on the ground.

"These clouds of smoke were later identified as clouds of debris caused by fired bullets," the document reads.

The police squad car dash cam video from October 2014 allegedly shows McDonald walking away from a group of police officers with a small knife in his hand, according to lawyers for Laquan's family who said they have a copy of the video.

The police squad car dash cam video from October 2014 allegedly shows McDonald walking away from a group of police officers with a small knife in his hand, according to lawyers for Laquan's family who said they have a copy of the video.

Chicago police officials have said officers were responding to a call about a person walking down a street with a knife, and that McDonald refused to drop the knife when ordered to do so by officers.

Van Dyke had been put on paid administrative leave since the shooting, police said.

Van Dyke's attorney Dan Herbert gave a statement after the bond hearing, saying that he anticipates that people will form opinions "about the split-second actions of my client."

"It's certainly everyone's right to make a judgment about it but I would just state that the judgment made by individuals who have viewed this tape from the comfort of their living room, on their sofa ... it's not the same," Herbert said.

The attorneys representing McDonald's family released a statement thanking people for the "outpouring of love and support" but urging calm when the video is released. The family reiterates that they "would prefer" the video not be released.

"No one understands the anger more than us but if you choose to speak out, we urge you to be peaceful. Don’t resort to violence in Laquan’s name. Let his legacy be better than that," attorneys Michael D. Robbins and Jeffrey J. Neslund said in a statement.

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Meet Honest and Abe: Which Will Be the National Thanksgiving Turkey?

Janet Weinstein/ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Gobbling underneath the podiums of a press conference are two big, white turkeys: Honest and Abe.

They were chosen by chairman Jihad Douglas of the National Turkey Federation to be “pardoned” by President Obama this week –- a decade’s old tradition performed at the White House before Thanksgiving every year.

Monday's press gaggle -- or, press gobble -- is not only to introduce the turkeys to the world, but also to help condition them to being in front of big crowds and on display.

Until their big day at the White House on Wednesday, they’ll be staying in a room at the Willard InterContinental hotel in downtown Washington, D.C.

“We wanted them to be comfortable,” Douglas told ABC News. “I think it’s a better room than mine!”



Voting is now open on Twitter for which Turkey, Honest or Abe, you think should be the National Thanksgiving Turkey.

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Traffic Deaths Up 8% in First Half of 2015, Feds Say

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- American roadways saw a small decline in traffic deaths in 2014, but National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator Mark Rosekind warned Tuesday that the number is expected to rise in 2015.

Last year saw a record low fatality rate of 1.07 deaths per million miles traveled, since FARS -- the Fatal Analysis Reporting System -- began in 1975, according to new U.S. Department of Transportation data released on Tuesday.

However, projections for the first half of 2015 show that an estimated 16,225 people died in car crashes. This is an increase of about 8.1 percent as compared to the first half of 2014, according to the DOT.

“These numbers troubling,” Rosekind said during a conference call with reporters on Tuesday. “It really is time for our nation to get serious about the epidemic of death that is on our roadways.”

When asked why the downward trend may be reversing, he said, “nobody knows at this point.” He suggested it may be a result of more drivers on the road, partially due to lower gas prices.

Rosekind offered another statistic to encourage drivers to operate their vehicle more safely: 94 percent of car crashes are due to human error and human decision.

“The increase in smartphones in our hand is so significant,” Rosekind said. “There's no question that has to play some role.”

And he’s asking people to help get the word out.

“Don't drink and drive, put the cell phone down, wear your seatbelt, don't speed or drive recklessly. Your life and the lives of people you care about depend on it," he said.

Half of those who die in traffic accidents were not restrained at the time of the crash, Rosekind noted. NHTSA is pushing for expanded national seat belt laws and motorcycle helmet laws.

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Arrests Made in Minneapolis 'Black Lives Matter' Protest Shooting 

iStock/Thinkstock(MINNEAPOLIS) -- Minneapolis police took two more men into custody Tuesday afternoon in connection with the multiple shootings at a Black Lives Matter protest Monday night.

The men, who police said were both white, one 26 and the other 21, turned themselves in voluntarily around 2:30 p.m., and were being interviewed by investigators.

Earlier, police said they had arrested two other men: a 23-year-old white male and a 32-year-old Hispanic male. The 32-year-old has since been released, after investigators determined he was not at the shooting scene.

Police have not released the names of any of the individuals in custody, and said their names would not be released unless charges are filed, police said.

The FBI confirmed it is "coordinating with the Minneapolis Police Department and participating in a review of the incident to determine if further federal action is necessary," according to a statement from FBI Minneapolis spokesman Kyle Loven.

A Facebook event page, hosted by the Minneapolis chapter of Black Lives Matter and promoting Tuesday afternoon's planned protest, alleges that "4 White Supremacists shot 5 unarmed protesters" Monday night. There has been no independent confirmation that white supremacists were involved.

ABC News made multiple attempts to contact Minneapolis police for comment on those accusations but received no immediate response.

Five people were shot at the Monday night protest outside Minneapolis’ 4th Police Precinct, which had been organized in response to a police shooting of Jamar Clark, a 24-year-old man who died Nov. 16. Police said that all of the injuries were non-life threatening.

Clark's family released a statement early Tuesday morning calling for the planned protests to be canceled as a result of Monday night's shooting, but there is still another protest scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.

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Indianapolis Pastor Doesn't Know 'How to Do Life' Without His Slain Wife

ABC News(INDIANAPOLIS) -- The Indianapolis pastor whose wife was fatally shot in an alleged home invasion says he’s “relieved” that two men have been arrested in connection to her slaying.

The arrests of Larry Jo Taylor and Jalen Watson have prompted mixed emotions as he grapples with the Nov. 10 attack on his wife, Davey Blackburn told ABC News' "Good Morning America" today.

"In some ways, it actually makes it harder because there's actually a face and a name to the events," Blackburn said of the arrests, though adding that he and his relatives "certainly feel relieved that these people aren’t going to be able to inflict the kind of pain that they did on us to anyone else."

Taylor, 18, faces 13 charges in connection to the slaying of 28-year-old Amanda Blackburn in an alleged home invasion that turned deadly, and his alleged accomplice, Jalen Watson, 21, faces nine similar charges, including murder, court documents show.

Both appeared this morning in an Indianapolis court where a judge entered not guilty pleas on their behalf. Public defenders were assigned to both men, whose only words in court were their "yes" and "no" answers to the judge's questions.

"I think up to this point, the hardest point is thinking about tomorrow and the next day and the next day and the next day for a couple reasons,” Blackburn said. “One is, I honestly don't know how to do life without Amanda.”

Amanda Blackburn, who was pregnant at the time of the attack, was at home with the couple's year-old child when the suspects allegedly entered their home after seeing Davey, 30, leave to go to the gym.

Davey Blackburn, who is the head of the Resonate Church that he founded with his wife when they moved to Indiana, told ABC News that it's "difficult to think about the 10 years that we shared and thinking about the next 10 years where it's going to look totally different."

"Everything goes in waves. There'll be one minute that we feel angry and one minute we feel lonely and one minute I feel despair and one minute I feel hope and one minute I feel joy," Blackburn said.

"Almost everything I see and experience reminds me of her and so there'll be something that will just trigger sadness.”

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Indiana Governor Being Sued over Refugee Refusal

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(INDIANAPOLIS) --  Indiana Governor Mike Pence is being sued over his refusal to accept Syrian refugees in the state.  

The American Civil Liberties Union Indiana is suing the governor, after his order to refuse Syrian refugees arriving in his state over security concerns.  

The ACLU is filing the lawsuit on behalf of Exodus Refugee Immigration for an injunction to the Governor's order, claiming the Governor is violating civil rights and equal protection by singling out Syrian refugees.  

Pence and a state agency have already turned away families set to be resettled in Indiana.  

"The family was asked the question, why did they invite is if they didn't want us," Carleen Miller with Exodus Refugee Immigration said about one of the families rejected by the state.

The family was later diverted to Connecticut.  

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Homegrown Extremists Could Seek to Replicate Paris, FBI and DHS Say in Joint Bulletin

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — The FBI and Department of Homeland Security have issued a joint bulletin reviewing the tactics and techniques used by terrorists in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, sharing their assessment of the potential for similar attacks to occur in the United States.

The bulletin states that homegrown violent extremists, either inspired or directed by Syria-based operatives, represent the most likely ISIL threat to the homeland. Sent to more than 18,000 law enforcement agencies around the country, the bulletin warns that such extremists, "could seek to replicate the effects of the Paris attacks using similar weapons and tactics, although on a smaller scale."

Authorities believe the Paris attackers practiced a "high degree of operational security" and may have planned their attack in Belgium "outside the purview of French security services," and that a cell phone found by French authorities likely associated with an attacker contained encrypted applications, "likely intended to make it difficult for security services to exploit the contents."

Soft targets in the U.S. continue to be a vulnerability ISIL may try to exploit, according to the joint assessment. "We judge ISIL will almost certainly consider a diverse selection of soft targets for attacks in the West - including in the United States - that extend beyond targeting government, military, and law enforcement officials and facilities, based on the target selection in the attacks and other recent plots in the West."

Officials remain concerned about people from the U.S. who connect with violent extremists overseas because they "could gain combat skills...and possibly become further radicalized or persuaded to conduct organized or lone offender violent extremist-style attacks, potentially targeting the United States and US interests abroad," according to the bulletin.

ISIL supporters "who may be located in the Homeland continue to have the ability to conduct relatively unsophisticated attacks with little to no warning," the document states.

The document also shares the assessment that ISIL plots involving multiple teams of operatives with members who have trained in Syria or Iraq are "more likely to occur in Europe and other overseas locations than in the United States," due to to geographic and societal factors.

ISIL, the document states, "may expand efforts to conduct attacks against soft targets based on the success of the Paris attacks," but authorities are "unaware of any intelligence indicating any active, credible ISIL plots of the type seen in Paris targeting the Homeland."

The social media messaging campaign praising the Paris attacks and encouraging new attacks like in videos released in the past week referencing targets such as Times Square and Washington, D.C., are expected to continue, though the bulletin states similar videos released previously were deemed "aspirational in nature."

The bulletin calls for increased vigilance by state, local and private sector partners and the difficulty of detecting pre-operational indicators or behaviors which might indicate planning for an attack. "We face an increased challenge in detecting in-progress terrorist plots by individuals or small groups acting quickly and independently or with only tenuous ties to foreign handlers."

The document makes reference to a foiled attack in which police in Germany disrupted a possible plot against a sporting event because of a tip by an alert hardware store clerk. The clerk called police after he noticed a couple had purchased an unusually large amount of hydrogen peroxide, a chemical used to make the powerful explosive TATP, according to the bulletin.

The document reminds authorities to be aware of suspicious activities such as people who appear to be conducting surveillance, expressing unusual interest in security or a sharing media glorifying violent extremist acts.

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