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Sunday
Apr212013

Boston Mayor Hopes Feds 'Throw the Book' at Boston Bombing Suspect

Robin Young, Here & Now(BOSTON) -- With Dzhokhar Tsarnaev lying under heavy guard at a Massachusetts hospital awaiting charges, Boston's mayor said he hopes federal authorities "throw the book at him," which would include the possibility of execution.

The Boston Marathon bombing suspect, 19, could face charges at the state and federal levels, but Massachusetts has no death penalty.

"I hope that the U.S. attorney takes him on the federal side and throws the book at him," Mayor Thomas Menino said on This Week on Sunday. "These two individuals held this city hostage for five whole days."

"They should not do that -- that's what these terrorist events want to do, hold the city hostage and stop the economy of the city."

Tsarnaev, 19, is being treated at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, where he is listed in serious but stable condition, with wounds to the neck and throat area, according to sources. Investigators said he is unable to communicate because of his injuries that might include wounds from an earlier gunfight.

Menino said he agreed with the decision to shut down the city Friday because of multiple events, including the discovery of a pipe bomb unrelated to the marathon attack.

"At that time we found a pipe bomb at another location in our city of Boston," he said. "Another individual was taken into custody."

Menino did not elaborate on the pipe bomb incident.

He said he believed the Tsarnaev brothers acted alone when they allegedly set off two bombs at the Boston Marathon finish line.

He also said he thought that Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, who died after a gun battle with police, "brainwashed or manipulated" his 19-year-old brother, who was taken into custody Friday.

It's unclear when Dzokhar Tsarnaev will be able to talk, but a special interrogation team is at the ready, sources said.

He apparently knows that his brother died after a Thursday night gun battle with police, sources say.

Authorities had launched a manhunt for Tsarnaev, who managed to escape one block outside a police perimeter, on Friday. Residents of greater Boston were told to stay in doors, as police hoped to find and apprehend Tsarnaev alive.

Authorities zeroed in on a boat in a Watertown, Mass., backyard after they received a tip from homeowner George Henneberry, who saw something was amiss.

An infrared camera with a bird's-eye view of the moments before Tsarnaev's capture gave authorities an idea of what to expect as they methodically closed in on the Boston Marathon bombings suspect.

Police believe Tsarnaev was initially wounded Thursday night in the gun battle that ended in his brother's death. Police said they found blood in a car he abandoned and blood at a house.

The thermal-imaging camera showed Tsarnaev was able to move around inside the boat, as the FBI SWAT team brought in a robotic device to approach the boat and peel back a tarp, giving authorities a clear view of the suspect.

At least two flash grenades were thrown into the boat, designed to disorient Tsarnaev, who authorities feared might have been wearing a suicide vest.

They were then able to move in, rushing Tsarnaev to Beth Israel medical center for treatment, where he has remained under heavy guard. He was not wearing a vest.

It was unclear whether he was hit by a final exchange of gunfire Friday.

Tsarnaev is in the same hospital where his brother, Tamerlan, 26, was brought early Friday after a shootout with police. Tamerlan died of his wounds.

Investigators, possibly including the country's elite counterterrorism unit, are hoping that Tsarnaev survives because they are intent on determining what triggered his and his brother's alleged involvement in the attack and whether they had any help.

The bombing killed three, including a young boy, and wounded about 170. An MIT officer was allegedly killed by the duo Wednesday night and a Boston transit cop was badly wounded in a subsequent shootout.

One focus of the probe is a six-month trip Tamerlan Tsarnaev took to the semi-autonomous Russian province of Dagestan in 2012. Dagestan has become a hotbed of militant Islamic activity.

The FBI acknowledged that it had interviewed Tamerlan Tsarnaev at the request of Russian authorities, but after looking at his phone records, websites he visited and associates, the FBI found he had no ties to terror.

Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, the suspects' mother, said her sons couldn't be responsible for the Boston Marathon bombings because Tamerlan had been on the FBI's radar.

"My son would never do this. It is a set up," she said. "He was controlled by FBI like for five, three, five years. They knew what my son was doing."

After Tamerlan Tsarnaev had been checked out, FBI officials said the monitoring had to stop by law because they found nothing incriminating.

"There are too many people in this country just like him that are touching extremist websites that are espousing things that aren't particularly kind to Americans. But that's not against the law here," ABC News consultant and former FBI special agent Brad Garrett said.

After a week of tragedy, terror and living on edge, the greater Boston area is finally breathing a sigh of relief.

"We got our guy and very proud of it and we want Watertown to go back to normal; we want Boston to go back to normal," Watertown Chief of Police Edward Deveau told ABC News.

At a Red Sox game on Saturday, fans filled Fenway Park with their voices, singing "The Star-Spangled Banner" in unison.

They applauded for law enforcement, they mourned the victims of the bombings and they showed their resilient spirit.

"We are one. We are strong. We are Boston. We are Boston strong," the announcer said to an eruption of cheers.

The Red Sox later pulled out a spirit-boosting win.

And America hasn't forgotten about David Henneberry, the man who tipped police off that Tsarnaev was hiding in his boat.

Bullets riddled the blood-stained vessel during a final volley of gunfire between Tsarnaev and law enforcement. Henneberry is being regarded as a hero, and people around the country are sending him checks to put toward a new boat.

Deborah Newberry, 62, of Orlando, Fla., told ABC News that she mailed a $25 check to Henneberry's home.

"Just listening to his coolness and how he handled the situation, it was like OK, that is a man who needs to have his boat restored," she said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Dec052012

Cory Booker Faces Challenges in First Days on Food Stamp Budget

Cindy Ord/Getty Images(NEWARK, N.J.) -- Chickpeas and lettuce. No coffee. That’s what Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker had for breakfast on his second day living on the food budget of an average American receiving benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

From Dec. 4 to Dec. 12, Booker has agreed to eat only what he could buy with just under $30 – about $4 per day – and with fewer than two days completed, Booker’s already faced challenges.

 

Politico tried to help the mayor out by suggesting low-cost meals, but Booker rejected their meat-laden ideas, tweeting, “Not helping much. I’m a vegetarian.”

On his first day, Booker ran into scheduling troubles and had to go for a long stretch with nothing to eat since he did not have access to any of the groceries he bought Monday.

Booker told constituents about his first day on the SNAP challenge in a fireside-chat-style video posted to WayWire, the social media site he co-founded.

The Newark mayor agreed to document his experience taking the SNAP challenge on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and WayWire. Booker, known for his social media savvy, has tweeted photos of his grocery receipt and his breakfast so far this week.

Talking with Elizabeth Reynoso, Newark food policy director, in a video posted to WayWire at the beginning of the challenge, Booker said he’s excited “to help people understand these programs aren’t perfect, and we need to start thinking of policy issues in a bigger standpoint.”

“I’ve heard this ignorance sort of spouted about how people just take this money and are buying bad food – it’s just a poverty program that people are taking advantage of,” Booker said. “That’s not what I see on a daily basis as I shop in my low-income community.”

The idea for the mayor’s challenge bloomed out of a Twitter spat with a woman who said nutritional programs weren’t the government’s responsibility.

Another obstacle Booker will tackle this week is the loss of his usual java jolt.

One tweeter asked Booker where he would buy his coffee this week, to which he replied, “It isn’t in the budget. Day one, no caffeine… ”

In his video log, Booker said it was the first time he could remember that he would go a week with no coffee or caffeinated soda.

Almost a decade ago Johns Hopkins Medicine recognized caffeine withdrawal as a disorder that can cause headaches, tiredness, trouble concentrating and even flulike symptoms – hardly conducive to running a city of 278,000 people.

Michael Strahan of Live! with Kelly & Michael is also taking on the SNAP challenge. He kicked off his week tday tweeting a photo of a breakfast much heartier than Booker’s.

“Largest meal of the day,” Strahan tweeted, “three eggs, black beans, and sweet potato.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov282012

NYC Mayor Pushes for Sandy Relief Funds in Washington

Michael Loccisano/FilmMagic(WASHINGTON) -- Trying to inject some urgency into getting new federal aid for victims of Hurricane Sandy, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg met with several lawmakers in Washington Wednesday.

"Our reception was very good. Everyone I met with understands the severity of the damage and the importance of helping," Bloomberg said after meeting with members of Congress.

New York State officials think Hurricane Sandy inflicted $42 billion worth of damage in the state, with nearly half of that in New York City.  Mayor Bloomberg hopes others will spring into action to help New York recover as they have in the past.

"America's come to New York's assistance before and I think New York has an admirable record in trying to come to assistance of other people around this country. We're all Americans. This is not a partisan thing," he said.

But one lawmaker calls it a "hard sell," especially since Congress is wrestling with the nation's budget. New York Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer says the appropriations requests should be substantial.

"We want the first to be as large as it can be, as large as the damage we know we already have…and that number will grow," Schumer said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Jun232012

NJ Mayor Cory Booker Shows Up at Accident Scene… Again

Cindy Ord/Getty Images(NEWARK, N.J.) -- Mayor Cory Booker has a knack for being in the right place at the right time.

The mayor of Newark, N.J., who some have called a superhero, helped out at the scene of an accident on Friday, just two months after he rescued his neighbor from her burning home.

“God bless my residents. Pulled up on pedestrian/vehicle accident. We got man stabilized & into ambulance. He’ll b OK. Thanx 2 all who helped,” Booker tweeted.

Although the mayor was one of several Samaritans to help, the real hero was an Essex county police detective who was the first person at the scene and called 911, Booker’s spokesperson said. The detective is credited with wiping blood from the victim’s face, pouring water on his wounds and helping him remain stable until paramedics arrived, the Star-Ledger reported.

In April, Booker made headlines for rescuing his neighbor from her burning home.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Apr112012

Bloomberg Blasts NRA over ‘Stand Your Ground’ Laws

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg called for the nationwide reform or repeal of Stand Your Ground laws Wednesday at an event in Washington, D.C. to announce the Second Chance on Shoot First campaign.

The campaign is intended to prevent killings like that of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, and Bloomberg blamed the National Rifle Association for the Florida law that many feel empowered George Zimmerman to shoot the unarmed Martin.

“In reality the NRA’s leaders weren’t interested in public safety. They were interested in promoting a culture where people take the law into their own hands and face no consequences for it. Let’s call that by its real name, vigilantism,” he said. "The NRA should be ashamed of themselves. This has nothing to do with gun owners' rights. It has nothing to do with the Second Amendment.”

Bloomberg, who was joined by civil rights leaders and Florida State Sen. Chris Smith, said the laws had undermined the justice system and have done harm to public safety.

“They justify civilian gunplay and invite vigilante justice and retribution with disastrous results,” he said.

ABC News reached out to the NRA for comment, but it has yet to respond.

Two dozen states have enacted laws similar to the one in Florida, and while the laws vary from state to state, most grant varying degrees of immunity to anyone who uses deadly force in self-defense.

Bloomberg cited statistics from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to show an increase in justifiable homicides after the Stand Your Ground laws went into effect.

In Florida, he said, justifiable homicides increased from 12 per year to 36 per year when the five years before and after the passage of the law were compared.

Bloomberg was also joined by former Army Major Jon Soltz, the chairman of VoteVets.org. Soltz said that U.S. soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan had a higher standard of when to use deadly force than Americans who lived in states with Stand Your Ground laws.

“There is no shoot first law for our troops in Iraq or Afghanistan. We cannot just shoot somebody because they have a hijab on in Iraq and kill them and say we’re scared. Everybody in Iraq has a weapon and all U.S. forces are always scared,” Soltz said. "This is a legal protection in these states that is actually afforded to Mr. Zimmerman that is not afforded to our troops in combat. Unless I’m wrong I didn’t think Florida was a war zone.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb282012

Lap Dance Extortion Plot Rocks New Mexico Mayoral Election

Medioimages/Photodisc/Thinkstock(SUNLAND PARK, N.M.) -- Two city hall employees in Sunland Park, N.M. are wanted in an alleged blackmail investigation of a mayoral candidate that has already snared the city's acting mayor and city manager.

Dario Hernandez, the Sunland Park public works director and Martah Alonda Lozano, a human resources assistant, are wanted in connection with the alleged extortion of mayoral candidate Gerardo Hernandez, who is not related to Dario Hernandez.

Last week, a video of Gerardo Hernandez surfaced, which appeared to show him receiving a lap dance at his office.

According to District Attorney Amy Orlando, who has been investigating the case, Gerardo claimed that the video had been a set up by his political rivals and that he had been approached prior to the video's release and told to drop out of the mayoral election or risk having the video go public.

On Saturday, New Mexico State Police arrested Sunland Park's Mayor Pro-Tem Daniel Salinas and Jaime Aguilera, the city manager.  They are being charged with extortion, conspiracy to commit extortion, tampering with evidence and conspiracy to tamper with evidence for the alleged blackmailing of Gerardo Hernandez.

The pair were jailed at Dona Ana County Correctional Center, each on $50,000 cash-only bond.

Their arrests came five days after the New Mexico State Police executed a search warrant at the Sunland Park City Hall.

According to the arrest affidavit released by Orlando, as the police were executing that search, surveillance video captured Dario Hernandez telling Aguilera, "They are coming, get rid of the video."

After the search, according to New Mexico State Police Public Information Officer Robert McDonald, investigators found footage of Gerardo Hernandez with a nude woman that was being manipulated with editing software on Aguilera's computer.

In addition to Dario Hernandez warning Aguilera, Lozano was seen by police running towards the mayor's office as they entered the building.  Lozano allegedly then locked the door, before quickly leaving out of a separate exit.

The arrest affidavit stated that once police were able to access the mayor's office, they found his desk "in disarray, computer cables were left exposed."  In addition, they believed at least one computer was missing.

Orlando said New Mexico law enforcement were working with the Texas police on apprehending Lozano and Dario Hernandez, since both staffers are residents of El Paso, Texas.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jan262012

After Latino Remarks, Connecticut Mayor to Get 500 Tacos

Hemera/Thinkstock(EAST HAVEN, Conn.) -- After the mayor of East Haven, Conn., quipped that he would rebuild relations with his town’s Latino community by having tacos for dinner, an immigration rights group on Thursday said it will help those inflammatory dinner plans come true. 

Reform Immigration for America in Washington, D.C., will deliver 500 tacos to Mayor Joseph Maturo’s office at 1 p.m. Thursday afternoon. The group launched a “text for taco” campaign Wednesday, asking people to text “Taco” to 69866 to show support for the East Haven Latino community and condemn Maturo’s comments.

The mayor’s remarks followed news that four of the town’s cops had been charged with abusing the rights of Latinos.

“We want to make it very, very clear that the mayor’s language is not only offensive but it is inappropriate,” said Henry Fernandez, the local spokesman for Reform Immigration for America.

The mayor’s “taco” remarks on Tuesday came just hours after three East Haven police officers and one sergeant were arrested for allegedly racially profiling and discriminating against Latinos following a three-year-long FBI investigation. They have been charged with “conspiracy against rights” for conspiring to, “injure, oppress, threaten, and intimidate” Latinos, conducting illegal searches and making false arrests, according to the indictment.

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By Thursday morning more than 2,200 people had texted their support to send the mountain of tacos to Maturo. Despite the group’s pledge to send one taco for every text, Fernandez said they capped the delivery at 500, the “sheer capacity” of which “will make the point.”

Maturo has apologized for the remarks multiple times over the past two days, but stood by his officers, saying they are innocent until proven guilty.

Maturo declined to comment on Thursday’s taco delivery.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio