Entries in Arrests (16)


Sierra Club President Arrested During Keystone XL Protest

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Sierra Club President Allison Chin was arrested Wednesday outside the White House while leading members of her organization in protest for the first time in the group’s history.

Chin wrote on her blog Wednesday that protesters hoped to pressure President Obama to back up the lip-service he gave to take action on climate change Tuesday night in his State of the Union address and oppose the Keystone XL pipeline, which Chin claimed, “would enable extraction of some of the dirtiest oil on the planet.”

The move to protest was a historic one for members of the environmental advocacy group.

“This call for climate action is important enough that, for the first time in our 120-year history, we have suspended the Sierra Club’s long-standing policy that prohibits civil disobedience,” Chin wrote. “Today is a one-time event to face arrest in order to elevate discussion about a critical issue.”

Members of the Sierra Club and other anti-Keystone activists handcuffed themselves to the fence outside the White House and held a banner that read “Lead on Climate Change Reject KXL Pipeline” under a logo similar to President Obama’s. They cheered the names of each protester and thanked them as they were led away from the group by police.

Many environmental groups oppose the pipeline  that would bring crude oil from Canada to Texas, saying the product it conducts will contribute to pollution and climate change. But conservatives argue it will bring much-needed jobs to America and safely transport oil for fuel.

During his State of the Union address last night, President Obama called for Americans to combat climate change, "for the sake of our children and our future."

“If Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will,” the president said. “I will direct my cabinet to come up with executive actions we can take, now and in the future, to reduce pollution, prepare our communities for the consequences of climate change, and speed the transition to more sustainable sources of energy.”

But Obama’s message on methods like the pipeline was mixed. On the one hand, he vowed to support clean energy initiatives. Yet he also promised to, "keep cutting red tape and speeding up new oil and gas permits," which would imply the deregulation of energy production.

Also arrested as part of the protest Wednesday were actress Daryl Hannah, Bobby Kennedy, Jr. and his son, Connor, famous for his short-lived relationship with pop princess Taylor Swift.

Hannah, famous for her roles in Splash, Blade Runner, and the Kill Bill movies, has been arrested on several occasions for protesting the pipeline -- most recently just a month before the 2012 presidential election.

President Obama's opponents claim his opposition to the pipeline -- which would transport oil from Canada into Texas -- not only costs the country hundreds of thousands of potential jobs, but makes the U.S. more dependent on oil from the unstable Middle East.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Alleged Shooters of Chicago Teen Hadiya Pendleton, Arrested, Charged

Obtained by ABC News(CHICAGO) -- Chicago Police believe they have solved last month's murder of a high school student who played with her marching band in Washington, D.C. during the inaugural ceremonies.

First-degree murder charges were filed Monday against two men for the shooting death of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton. Authorities say the suspects, Kenneth Williams, 20, and Michael Ward, 18, are gang members.  Ward was on probation, according to Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy.

"He was arrested in 2011 for UUW, unlawful, unlawful use of a firearm, and if mandatory minimums existed in the state of Illinois, Michael Ward would not have been on the street to commit this heinous act," McCarthy said Monday.

Pendleton, an honors student, was shot and killed Jan. 29 while standing with a group of friends in a park located about one mile from the Obama family's Chicago residence on the city's South side.

"They [the suspects] were attempting to retaliate for a previous shooting where Williams was shot in July of [2012], and just to kind of complete the circle, in that shooting we made an arrest," McCarthy said. "Williams refused to prosecute that arrest."

McCarthy added that Michael Ward has confessed to the shooting, but noted that Ward indicated that Pendleton was not the intended target.

After First Lady Michelle Obama traveled to Chicago Saturday to attend Pendleton's funeral, the fallen teen's parents have been invited to be present in the House chamber for President Obama's State of the Union address.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio 


Fired Utah State Trooper Accused of Falsifying DUI Arrests

Thinkstock/Getty Images(SALT LAKE CITY) -- A class-action lawsuit has been filed against a former Utah Highway Patrol trooper and her superiors alleging that she filed false DUI charges during her career.

The department fired Lisa Steed in November for alleged misconduct related to her duties.

Attorney Michael Studebaker, who is one of the lawyers leading the class-action lawsuit, says he has been contacted by at least 40 people claiming Steed wrongfully arrested them on DUI or drug charges.

"Culture of corruption.  The stories are just rampant," said Studebaker, who filed the lawsuit on Dec. 14 in District Court in Salt Lake County.

Lawyers have yet to determine exactly how much the plaintiffs will seek in monetary damages.

One of the alleged victims was Michael Choate, who says Steed pulled him over for speeding with his wife in the car.

"She said she clocked me at 73.  I was going about 50, 52 at most," Choate said.

Choate was arrested and charged with DUI, but the charge was reduced to having an open container of alcohol in the car after a blood test showed he was not drunk.  Choate says he was forced to pay $3,000 in fines to get his car back.

Choate was also upset that his wife was forced to find her own way home after his arrest.

"They dropped her off at a Burger King," he said.  "She didn't have any money, she didn't have her cellphone with her.  She had to borrow a quarter from a lady to make a phone call."

Steed and her attorney have not responded to requests for comment.  Utah Highway Patrol says it cannot comment on pending litigation.

Steed is under investigation by the FBI.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


One Dead, Three Arrested After Hotel Wedding Brawl in Philadelphia

Photodisc/Digital Vision/Thinkstock(PHILADELPHIA) -- Philadelphia police are investigating a violent brawl inside a hotel between the guests of two different wedding parties that left one man dead from an apparent heart attack, and three others arrested.

Dozens of police officers responded to the violent clash in the lobby of the Sheraton Society Hill in Philadelphia Sunday around 2 a.m. At one point, the fight got so chaotic that police used batons on those who resisted their efforts to break up the fight.  One person had to be subdued with a Taser.  Police said the use of such force was justified.

A 57-year-old man was found apparently undergoing a heart attack on the street outside the hotel and later died at a nearby hospital.  His name has not been released by police, but he was reportedly the uncle of one of the brides, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Police arrested three people following the brawl, including the man who was Tasered.  Police said he would be charged with assault on a police officer, according to ABC News affiliate WPVI-TV.

The entire melee was captured on video and posted on YouTube by hotel guest Max Schultz, who was awakened by the ruckus.

"There were tons of people, probably 75 to 100 people," he said.

Police said that the fight began as a confrontation between relatives and friends attending the wedding held at the hotel earlier Saturday night.  When people attending a second wedding held elsewhere arrived at the hotel bar, police said the original confrontation escalated.

Police told WPVI that alcohol fueled the fight as rising tempers took over.

In the video, an officer can be seen trying to hold back one of the brides while a man in a tuxedo was thrown to the floor.

Schultz, who was in town celebrating his 15th birthday with his family, can be overhead in the video asking, "Did they just deck the bride?"

"They started shoving each other and at that point I had started fumbling with my camera," said Schultz.

Schultz's video is now evidence, and police continue to review it to determine if additional people will face charges for their actions at this wedding reception that unexpectedly became a real bash.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


DEA Makes 90 Arrests in War on Synthetic Drugs

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Less than a month after President Obama banned the sale, production, and possession of the synthetic drugs known as bath salts, the Drug Enforcement Agency announced Thursday that it has made 90 arrests in a nationwide “synthetic drug takedown.”

Law enforcement agents also seized $36 million in cash and 19 million packets of synthetic drugs, including bath salts (a powder hallucinogen) and spice (also known as fake marijuana). The DEA collaborated with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and several other federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies in a project called Operation Log Jam to affect the arrests.

“This enforcement action has disrupted the entire illegal industry, from manufacturers to retailers,” said DEA administrator Michele Leonhart.

The largest number of arrests were in Albuquerque, but the most significant synthetic drug activity was in Tampa, DEA spokeswoman Barbara Cerrano told ABC News. Part of Operation Log Jam included serving search warrants to gather evidence in addition to the arrests, she said.

“The criminal organizations behind the importation, distribution and selling of these synthetic drugs have scant regard for human life in their reckless pursuit of illicit profits,” said James Chaparro, the Acting Director of ICE’s Office of Homeland Security Investigations. “ICE is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to bring this industry to its knees.”

The synthetic marijuana starts as a powder that’s illegally imported from overseas and is mixed with acetone and plant material before it can be packaged and sold, then used and abused, Cerrano said.

The bath salts are also imported as a powder and sold at head shops under names like “Ivory Wave” and “Bliss,” according to the DEA.

The difference between a synthetic drug and any other drug is that a synthetic drug is made in a lab, said Scott Basinger, chairman of the Substance Abuse Committee at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. Although people have used natural drugs by smoking marijuana or chewing cocaine leaves going back thousands of years, synthetic drugs are only 30 or 40 years old, and they probably started with LSD, he said.

“There’s a certain sense that new synthetics that are common on the market are more dangerous because we don’t have the background on how to handle them,” Basinger told ABC News. “For a cocaine overdose or an opioid overdose, we know exactly what to do with them in the ER.”

The drugs have been linked to bizarre behavior including an instance in which a Texas man allegedly attacked, killed and then ate his friend’s dog while high on synthetic marijuana.

Sasha McLean, who heads a school for adolescents recovering from substance abuse, told ABC News there’s been more synthetic drug use in the last two years where she lives in Houston, even among the homeless population. She said she’s seen firsthand what bath salts can do to teens and adults and called it “horribly dangerous.”

“It literally looked like he’d lost his mind,” she said of a 16-year-old who suffered from auditory and visual hallucinations. “He was yelling and screaming at things that didn’t exist, and it was very, very scary.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Protest Over California Shootings Turns Violent; Five Arrested

Photodisc/Digital Vision/Thinkstock(ANAHEIM, Calif.) -- At least five people were arrested in Anaheim, Calif., Tuesday night after clashes broke out between protesters and police, according to officials.

Between 100 and 200 demonstrators were gathered near City Hall to protest two police officer-involved shootings that occurred in the city over the weekend.

ABC News affiliate KABC-TV reports 100 officers from Anaheim and at least six other southern California police departments responded to the scene.  The station says pepper-spray projectiles and bean bag rounds were fired at the rowdy crowd.

Those arrested were detained for resisting arrest, fighting with other protesters, attacking police officers and lighting fires.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Pennsylvania Councilman Charged in Lover's 1979 Death

Comstock/Thinkstock(BEAVER COUNTY, Pa.) -- A Pennsylvania councilman has been arrested and charged with strangling his young lover in a cold case that has haunted investigators for more than three decades.

Bridgewater Councilman Gregory Scott Hopkins, 65, was arrested Sunday in connection with the 1979 death of Catherine Janet Walsh, then 23, in Beaver County, Pa. about 30 miles northwest of Pittsburgh.

Investigators said they were able to use DNA technology, which was unvailable at the time of the crime, to link Hopkins to evidence from the scene.

Walsh's father, Peter Joseph Caltury Sr., went to his daughter's house on Sept. 1, 1979 when he was unable to reach her. He discovered "Ms. Walsh's dead body lying face down on her bed with her hands bound with a white rope behind her back and a light blue bandana ligature tied around her neck," according to a criminal complaint.

Caltury immediately called police, who came and collected evidence that included the bed sheets, a light-blue nightgown, the white rope and the blue bandana. An autopsy determined her cause of death to be strangulation and the death was ruled a homicide.

Authorities interrogated Hopkins the same day.

"Mr. Hopkins told police that he was involved in a consensual sexual relationship with Ms. Walsh," according to the criminal complaint. "However, he went on to explain that this relationship did not involve any sexual contact with Ms. Walsh at her residence for about one month prior to her death."

Investigators from multiple agencies toiled over the case for years, but were never able to identify a suspect or motive.

Then, in 2010, persistent investigators resubmitted the evidence to a crime lab for forensic analysis. Hopkins' DNA was identified on Walsh's bed sheets, nightgown and the rope binding from the crime scene.

"This was a generational case and what I mean to define that is that generations, literally, of investigators worked on this case for the sum of 30 years that led to the filing of charges [Sunday] and the arrest of Mr. Hopkins," Beaver County District Attorney Anthony Berosh said at a news conference Monday.

"The road has finally come to an end," he said. "A promise was kept to Pete [the father] and his family and a secret now is revealed."

Walsh's elderly father and brother were on-hand for the announcement.

"Because of your dedication, professionalism and your relentless pursuit of justice, today has brought a measure of comfort, relief and satisfaction to our family," Walsh's brother, Francesco Caltieri, 52, said at the news conference.

A woman answered the phone at Hopkins' home, but hung up abruptly.

Hopkins' attorney maintains his client's innocence and says Hopkins' good-standing in the community does not line up with the accusations made against the building contractor.

"This gentleman has lived his entire life in Beaver County," Hopkins' attorney James Ross told ABC News. "For 32 years, he has operated a reputable business, he's a member of a bureau council and has had no involvement with the criminal justice system."

Ross says Hopkins is a well-liked community member, who is married with children and step-children.

"Mr. Hopkins' character traits and background do not lend itself to this type of crime. We intend to fully investigate the matter and defend him," Ross said.

Hopkins is being held in the Beaver County Jail without bond. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Monday.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Four FAMU Students Dismissed Following Hazing Arrests

Scott Cunningham/Getty Images(TALLAHASSEE, Fla.) -- Four students have been expelled from Florida A&M University Monday after being arrested and charged with hazing offenses.

The expulsions come two months after drum major Robert Champion died on a school bus following a football game. Police have said they believe hazing contributed to his death.

The four band members expelled in the latest hazing incident were identified as Denise Bailey, 22, Brandon Benson, 23, Hakeem Birch, 21, and Anthony Mingo, 22. They were arrested on Thursday for allegedly attacking five clarinet players as part of a hazing ritual for a group of the school's famed marching band, the "Marching 100."

An arrest report said that "the hazing created a substantial risk of physical injury or death."

Five FAMU students and band members were identified in the arrest report as the victims of the hazing: Elijah Brown, Riva Nance, La'Nesia Smith, Sychiquita Stokes and Shantivia Conley.

The students were pledging to become members of the "Clones," a group within the clarinet section of the band. Three or four initiation meetings had been scheduled for the Clones, beginning around Sept. 1, 2011.

"During the scheduled initiation meetings, the pledges were forced to exercise, play music, and were either punched, prepped (slapped with both hands on back) or paddled," according to the arrest warrant.

After the meeting, the students discussed their experiences and showed each other their injuries. Conley took photos of her bruising and quit the pledge process after the first meeting.

The meetings were coordinated by Bailey or Benson, according to the warrant, and took place at the off-campus home of Birch and Benson.

The FAMU Police Department did not respond to requests for comment.

Last week's arrests were the latest in a hazing scandal that has marred the school and its famous marching band.

Since Champion's death in November, the school has stepped up its efforts to stamp out hazing, which has long been a surreptitious tradition within its band.

Champion, 26, was a member of the college's Marching 100 band when he collapsed and died Nov. 19 on a bus parked outside an Orlando, Fla., hotel after a football game. His death was ruled a homicide, but no charges have been brought.

Four students dismissed by the university in Champion's case were reinstated while authorities continue to investigate.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Alaska Cops Arresting Drunks in Bars

Photodisc/Digital Vision/Thinkstock(ANCHORAGE, Alaska) -- Cops in Alaska have started enforcing a statute that makes it illegal to be drunk in a bar, and have been sending plainclothes officers into bars to identify and arrest suspects.

"It's fairly logical, but it does sound fairly comical at the outset," Anchorage Police Department Lt. Dave Parker told ABC News. "Alaska has a huge, huge alcohol problem. Most people in jail, whatever they did, their decision-making process was affected by alcohol."

"There are three problems in Alaska: alcohol, alcohol and alcohol," Parker said.

Though the law prohibiting a drunken person from being on licensed premises has been in existence for years, it is only in the past month that police have been aggressively enforcing it.

Plainclothes police officers enter bars and look for people who are what they call "drunk-plus."

"We're not dealing with a person who's simply mildly intoxicated or out having a good time. We're dealing with people who are so intoxicated that they can't care for themselves," Parker said. "The bartender or person selling is making money off of them and they either become the victim or the perpetrator of a crime."

If the plainclothes officers spot someone excessively intoxicated -- falling off their barstool, vomiting or engaging in overly rowdy behavior, for example -- they call in uniformed officers to make an arrest. After the sobering experience of being arrested, the suspects are cited and then released.

After checking 26 Anchorage bars recently, four had employees that were out of compliance and 19 "highly intoxicated" patrons were cited.

Alaska rates number one in the United States in sexual assault reports per capita, Parker said. In about 86 percent of those assaults, alcohol is a factor. In Anchorage, a town of roughly 270,000 people, almost one percent of the population is arrested every year for driving while intoxicated.

Parker said that it is too soon to tell whether the strategy is working to reduce other crimes.

"It's a little early to tell, but we anticipate it will," he said. "Anytime we start aggressively enforcing alcohol laws, we see a reduction in crime. People are being more responsible because they know they can get in trouble."

Bar owners have mixed feeling about the police action.

Darwin Biwer is the owner of downtown Anchorage bar Darwin's Theory. He is also the board chairman of the Alaska Cabaret, Hotel, Restaurant and Retailer's Association.

"None of us bar owners have a problem with the police coming through. We've encouraged that for years," Biwer said. "But you can't tell me the cops know better who's drunk on premises [than we do]."

Alaska requires servers to be trained to recognize people who have too much to drink and stop serving them. Under the law, servers and bartenders can also be arrested and cited for over-serving.

While most states have laws against over-serving and public intoxication, Parker said he did not know of any other states that enforced sobriety rules inside bars.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Several Arrested After Fights Break Out at Mall of America

TIMO GANS/AFP/Getty Images(BLOOMINGTON, Minn.) -- At least nine people were arrested Monday night following a melee that broke out at the Mall of America in Minnesota.

Witnesses say the fighting originated in the food court and involved more than 50 people.  Those involved were throwing tables and chairs in what appeared to be a girl fight.

"Well, these girls were taking off on this other girl, and I guess she was getting jumped.  She got hit in the head with a chair and she like, she was knocked out for a second," says Xavier Townsend, who witnessed the brawl.

Following that incident, approximately 10 other scuffles erupted throughout the mall.

Police say it took about 30 police officers over an hour to control the situation.  No one was seriously injured, according to officials.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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