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Friday
Jul222016

Austin Police Chief ‘Sickened and Saddened’ at Arrest of Breaion King

Austin Police via KVUE-TV(AUSTIN, Texas) -- Two Austin Police Department officers are now under investigation after dash-cam video shows one of the officers throwing a black woman to the ground during a traffic stop. A second video taken from inside the police car after the woman was arrested shows another officer suggesting to the woman that black people have "violent tendencies" and that’s "why a lot of white people are afraid of them."

Although the incident occurred in June 2015, Austin's police chief Art Acevedo said that it only came to his attention on Tuesday, when Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg called him and advised him that a reporter from the Austin American-Statesman was working on a story on the incident.

Video from the traffic stop, publicly released by police Friday, shows the woman, identified by police as 26-year-old Breaion King, stepping out of her car. An officer, identified as Austin officer Bryan Richter, then commands her to get back in her vehicle.

"Okay ma’am you’re being pulled over right now, so I need you to take a seat back in the car," Richter says.

“Are you serious?” King responds.

“Yes, ma’am, I’m not joking,” Richter replies. King appears to go back into her car, leaving the driver's door open.

Richter then tells King he needs to see her driver’s license and explains that she was stopped for speeding. He then asks her to put her feet in the car.

King asks Richter if he can "please hurry up," and Richter then tells her to "stand up" and he appears to try to pull her out of her car.

King starts screaming and says, “No! Why are you doing this to me? Oh my God!"

Richter tells her to "stop resisting" and an altercation ensues. He then yells, "Get out of the car!"

King responds, "I’m getting out, let me get out. Do not touch me."

Richter appears to forcibly pull King up and throw her down to the ground. On the ground, King yells, “Oh my God!” and Richter tells her she was "resisting."

Richter then appears to struggle handcuffing King, who asks him, "Why are you doing this to me?"

King attempts to stand up but Richter throws her back down to the ground before handcuffing her and escorting her into the police car.

On a different piece of video, inside the police car, King seems to calmly converse with another officer identified by police as Austin police officer Patrick Spradlin.

He asks King if she believes racism goes both ways, and she says, "I do," but "I believe that the Caucasian class has more supremacy over black people, just to be honest. They have more rights." She adds that a lot of people are “afraid of black people."

Spradlin then asks her why she thinks a lot of people are afraid of black people, and King replies, "That's what I want to clear out."

Spradlin then says, "I can give you a really good idea why it might be that way -- violent tendencies. And I want you to think about that. I'm not saying anything. I'm not saying it's true. I'm not saying I can prove it or nothing. But 99 percent of the time, when you hear about stuff like that, it's the black community that's being violent. That's why the white people are afraid, and I don't blame them."

He later adds, "By no means am I saying that there is no racism, because I know there is and everybody knows there is. Black people tend to be violent and that’s why a lot of white people are afraid, and I don’t blame them."

According to the police report, obtained by ABC affiliate KVUE-TV, Richter wrote that he acted quickly because he "was increasingly concerned with King's "uncooperative attitude." He added that King "began reaching for the front passenger side of the vehicle." He noted that he was unaware if there was a weapon in the vehicle and that King resisted by pulling her arms away from him and wrapping “her hands and arms around the steering wheel.”

King told KVUE-TV on Thursday that she was "genuinely fearful" for her life during the incident and that she "literally didn't understand what was happening."

She added that she wanted something done and that she had "become afraid of the people who are supposed to protect me and take care of me."

"If you’ve wronged someone and you haven’t been reprimanded, then how do you know that you’re wrong?” King asked.

At a news conference evening, Acevedo said his "heart was sickened and saddened" when he first learned about the two videos.

"First and foremost, let me just say this to Breaion King, her family, her friends, her neighbors, her supporters: 'I’m sorry that on the day that you were stopped for going 15 mph [above the speed limit], you were approached in a manner and then treated in a manner that is not consistent with the expectations of this police chief," Acevedo said. "There’s a way to do this job, and that day, we did not approach it anywhere near the way we should’ve approached it."

Acevedo said that "the chain of command" who reviewed Richter's use of force in the incident determined that "the incident was not consistent with the expectations of the department." Richter was told to attend training and counseling.

The chief added that the incident was never brought to his attention nor the attention of other executive members of the department and that an administrative inquiry has now been launched "into the chain of command decision-making process."

As for the second video showing Spradlin suggesting to King that black people have "violent tendencies," Acevedo claimed that the no one in the department had ever uncovered that video before until the District Attorney's Office brought it to the department's attention.

When asked by a reporter at the news conference if he thought Spradlin's comments were "racist," Acevedo replied, "Yes."

"This is not, I believe, reflective of the quality of this organization that we run," he said. "I want you to listen to that conversation and tell me that we don’t have social issues in this nation, issues of violence, issues of racism, issues of people being looked at differently because of their color."

The police chief said that his department has opened investigations into the incident and into the conduct of Richter and Spradlin. He added that both have been placed on paid administrative leave.

Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg has also requested the Austin Police Department's Special Investigations Unit to "conduct a criminal investigation of the arresting officer’s actions that are well documented on that video," so she can decide whether or not to present the case to a grand jury and decide whether Richter's conduct rises to a criminal offense," Acevedo said. He added that Lehmberg's office has since dropped the charges of resisting arrest against King.

King told ABC affiliate KVUE-TV Friday that she appreciated the chief's public apology and that she believed what happened to her "is an opportunity to make things better and to change things for the better."

An Austin Police Department public information officer referred ABC News' questions Friday to the Austin Police Association.

A representative from the Austin Police Association told ABC News it was not immediately clear if Richter and Spradlin "have obtained outside council but all officers are represented by the Combined Law Enforcement Association of Texas (CLEAT).

CLEAT did not immediately respond to ABC News' requests for information. The Travis County District Attorney's Office also did not immediately respond to ABC News' requests for additional information and comment.

The Austin Police Association's vice president, Anthony Nelson, added in a statement to ABC News that the association understood "the public’s reaction to Officer Richter’s response to resistance" and that the association believed "Officer Spradlin’s comments were wrong and not reflective of the values and beliefs of the men and women who serve this community."

"We recognize how incidents such as these can divide our city and cause mistrust," Nelson added. "We have met with community stakeholders and begun a dialogue. We hope that the conversation will lead to substantive changes that will help bridge that divide."

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Friday
Jul222016

Injured Penguin Gets Back on Her Feet With Special 3-D-Printed Boot Designed by Middle Schoolers 

3D Systems(MYSTIC, Conn.) -- A penguin with an injured left foot is now back on her feet at an aquarium in Connecticut after receiving a custom 3-D-printed boot designed by middle school students with the help of engineers.

Purps the penguin injured her left foot about five years ago after getting into "a little bit of a spat with another bird on exhibit" at the Mystic Aquarium in Mystic, Connecticut, said Dr. Jen Flower, the aquarium's chief clinical veterinarian, in a video showing how Purps' new boot came to be.

Purps had torn her flexor tendon, which is equivalent to a person's Achilles heel, Flower said. The tear caused her pain and made her walk with a limp.

As a temporary fix, veterinary staff at the aquarium made handmade a boot for Purps that immobilized but protected and supported her damaged foot, according to Flower. However, that handmade boot constantly needed to be replaced, so earlier this year, Flower proposed looking to 3-D-printing a more durable boot for Purps.

Help came from an unlikely source -- the local middle school.

Kelly Matis, the aquarium's vice president of education and conservation, had been on a community board that had recently bought a 3-D printer for Mystic Middle School. She reached out, and a mission was launched to help Purps.

"Working as a team, Mystic Aquarium, ACT Group and the middle school students came together to design and 3-D print a new boot for Purps," said 3D Systems in a news release. 3D Systems manufactured the printer, scanner and software the students used for the project, and ACT Group is a local 3D Systems partner.

The learning curve was sharp, and it took months to finish the final product, according to Sue Prince, library media specialist for Mystic Middle School.

But it was all worth it in the end, the students said.

The kids joined aquarium staff in June to officially give Purps her new boot.

The penguin "took off across the exam room, looking very comfortable in her new boot and walking much more like a normal penguin should walk," said Flower.

Matis, the aquarium's vice president of education and conservation, added that "it's been truly amazing" to see everything come together "in order to make a real benefit to the health of one of our endangered species."

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Friday
Jul222016

Police Put an End to 'Running of the Bulls Baltimore Edition' After Slaughterhouse Escape

@rockstar_fly/Instagram(BALTIMORE) — Two bulls escaped from a slaughterhouse in Baltimore this morning and had a few hours of freedom before being corralled about a block from where they were initially spotted on Pennsylvania Avenue, police said.

The bulls, first reported as roaming the streets around 6:30 a.m., were captured at Penn Square apartments around 8:30 a.m. There were no reported injuries or property damage, police said.

 

 

"Accidents happen," said T.J. Smith, Baltimore Police media relations director. "Hopefully this is it for the running of the bulls Baltimore edition," he said on Periscope.

The bulls found their way out of the Old Line Custom Meat Company slaughterhouse at 2639 Pennsylvania Ave. and wandered about a block away to Penn Square apartments before employees from the meat processing plant and police sectioned them off, keeping them contained until they were put in custody, police said.

Shawnkia Carroll of Baltimore was dropping her son off when she came across the commotion. The complex where her son lives was blocked off and the bulls were “running back and forth” in the area, she said.

The bulls and the meat processing plant are both owned by George Ruppersberger and Sons, a company that has been in the meat industry and the area for five generations.

 

 

 

 

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Friday
Jul222016

Rielle Hunter on Her Relationship with John Edwards Today, Their Life with Their Daughter Quinn

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Rielle Hunter became the most vilified woman in America when she had an affair with married presidential hopeful John Edwards and gave birth to his child, and in an interview with ABC News, Hunter said she still loves Edwards and that he’s very much a part of her life and the life of their daughter, Quinn.

“I view him as family. I mean, he's family. I absolutely love him,” Hunter told ABC News’ Amy Robach. “We’re very, very good friends. And great co-parents. And we have the same goals. We want the best for Quinn. We get along great.”

Hunter was full of praise for Edwards' attention to his daughter.

“Oh God, he loves her so much it's cute. I think he has a real soft spot for her. He does. He gets very choked up by her, it's sweet,” she said.

Quinn, who is now 8 years old, agreed that her father was “great.” Asked how often she got to see him, the girl replied: “As often as I can.”

Hunter, then an unknown actress and movie producer, began her affair with the then-U.S. senator from North Carolina in 2006 as he traveled the country ahead of his 2008 campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. The affair continued even when Edwards' wife, Elizabeth, had a recurrence of breast cancer.

Tabloid rumors of the affair persisted until 2010, when Edwards admitted to having fathered a child with Hunter. That child, Quinn, was born in 2008.

The fallout was intense. Edwards was later indicted for allegedly using more than $900,000 in campaign funds to hide his mistress, but he was acquitted on one count and a mistrial was declared on the other counts.

Elizabeth Edwards died in 2010 after a six-year battle with breast cancer.

Hunter, 52, has enjoyed her time out of the spotlight.

“The last few years have been great. Very filled with joy, and I as a mom, like, everything I do now is based upon being a mom first, and my choices, how they are going to impact Quinn,” she said.

Their shared activities include a love or horseback riding. Hunter rode as a child and her daughter is following in her footsteps. The child recently qualified for the finals of a pony riding competition.

Quinn chatted with Robach about her horse named Howie.

“He thinks he's a fancy show horse and he's just a pony,” Quinn said, adding that the horse “taught me how to be a better rider and how to find happiness.”

Mother and daughter are sharing their passion in a new children’s book. Howie Do It: Finding Happiness Right Now was written by Hunter and illustrated by Quinn.

Hunter’s happiness has come after having endured extreme scrutiny and criticism. Robach asked her whether she was concerned that the book’s release and its attendant publicity would force her to relive the past.

“I think you can't go away, you know, when you make a mistake, when you have bad things going on you have to take responsibility for it, say you’re sorry, forgive yourself and then move on,” she said.

It’s a lesson she’s managed to impart to her child. When Robach asked Quinn what she had learned from her mother, the girl replied: “That it’s okay to make mistakes. And not to be hard on myself.”

'I'm With Her'

Hunter told Robach that what bothered her the most about the time after the affair was exposed was the “meanness” to which she was subjected.

“You know the lack of compassion and understanding that happens when people make mistakes ... everyone judges and jumps so fast,” she said.

He experiences appear to have had an impact on her choice of presidential candidate.

“Part of what I love so much about Hillary Clinton is she has had everything thrown at her but the kitchen sink, and maybe even the kitchen sink ... she doesn't ever give up and I admire that,” she said.

When Robach asked whether Hunter would be voting for Clinton, she laughed as replied: “As a mom, she’s a great role model ... I’m with her.”

She then leaned over to her daughter and said “We’re with her.”


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Friday
Jul222016

Student Uses Twitter to Return Ivanka Trump’s Missing Earring from the RNC

ABC News(CLEVELAND) — A College of Wooster student found an earring Wednesday night at the Republican National Convention that looked like one of Ivanka Trump’s.

Annabelle Hopkins, 19, found the earring on the convention floor in Cleveland and, after realizing its rightful owner, cleverly took to Twitter, creating a hashtag in an attempt to reach a member of the Trump family to return the piece of jewelry.

The hashtag eventually caught the attention of one of Ivanka's aides.

The pair met at the Trump family's hotel, where Hopkins reunited Donald Trump's daughter with her once-lost earring.

 

 

 

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Friday
Jul222016

Colorado Town's Water Tests Positive for THC, Active Ingredient in Marijuana

iStock/Thinkstock(HUGO, Colo.) — Officials have urged residents in a small Colorado town not to consume their water after several wells tested positive for THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.

So far no illnesses have been linked to the water in Hugo -- a town of around 700 people located roughly 100 miles southeast of Denver -- according to officials.

The announcement comes after a local company was testing its own water and got a positive result. Local law enforcement was then notified and further testing in other locations took place, which revealed additional positive results, reports ABC Denver affiliate, KMGH.

"At this point we're not taking anything off the table," Captain Mike Yowell with the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office told KMGH. "We're looking at all angles here."

Investigators said during a press conference Wednesday evening that six of the ten water samples taken had tested positive for THC.

While officials said their field tests weren't able to show how much THC was in the water -- only that the chemical was present -- they have urged residents to stay clear.

"As a precaution until we know more about the levels of contamination in the water, Hugo residents may want to consider other sources of water for drinking and cooking," the Department of Public Health and Environment released in a statement.

"The water is considered safe for bathing, showering, brushing teeth, washing hands, watering yards, washing dishes, cleaning, and laundry," the statement added.

The FBI and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation were called in to help with the case.

Local police will begin distributing bottled water starting Friday morning.


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Friday
Jul222016

Coast Guard Rescues Dolphin After It Lands in Boat off Florida Coast

Purestock/Thinkstock(BACK BAY, Fla.) -- The U.S. Coast Guard rescued a distressed dolphin Thursday after it landed in a boat off the coast of Back Bay, Florida.

Video of the rescue shows the dolphin in a small pool of water on the floor of a boat before Coast Guard crew members carefully lifted it back into the water.

"Just keep sliding him back!" one of the crew members can be heard yelling in the video before the dolphin enters the water and makes a splash.

"The Coast Guard coordinated with a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission marine biologist who determined the dolphin should be placed back into the water as quickly as possible to ensure the dolphin's survival," the Department of Defense said in a statement.

There were no details about how the dolphin landed inside the boat or about the dolphin's current condition.

The crew members who completed the rescue were from the Fort Myers Beach Coast Guard station.

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Friday
Jul222016

Chicago Police Officer Shot and Injured, Suspect Killed

SE Innovation/iStock/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) — A Chicago police officer was shot and injured Thursday night, police said.

The suspect was killed, Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said during a press conference following the shooting, which occurred in the city's Near South Side neighborhood.

Supt. Johnson said the gunshot wound was to the officer's thigh, and is not life-threatening.

The altercation with the suspect began after the officer and his partner approached a man talking on a cell phone and asked the man to hang up so they could talk to him. At that time, Supt. Johnson said, the man pulled a gun out of a backpack and opened fire.

Multiple officers returned fire, Supt. Johnson said, shooting and killing the suspect. Supt. Johnson said he was not sure if the suspect died at the scene or en route to the hospital.

"It's another example of too many guns, too many people willing to use them," Supt. Johnson said. "But it also demonstrates how Chicago police officers put their lives on the line every day to keep people safe."

The injured officer had received medical training and applied a tourniquet to his leg, while his partner applied pressure to help slow the bleeding. He was transported by squad car to Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

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Thursday
Jul212016

Mayor Draws Ire After Hanging Black Lives Matter Banner on City Hall

Michele McPhee for ABC News(SOMERVILLE, Mass.) -- Controversy over a Black Lives Matter banner affixed to the front of City Hall in the blue collar suburb of Somerville, Massachusetts, continued to rage Thursday as Mayor Joseph Curtatone announced that the sign would stay despite a request from the police union’s president to replace it with a banner that says "All Lives Matter." Curtatone's decision has prompted both outrage and praise in the community.

“The mayor has clearly chosen a side, and it’s not to support law enforcement,” Somerville Police Employees Association President Michael McGrath told ABC News.

The Black Lives Matter banner has hung near the entrance of Somerville City Hall since last August after Curtatone met with Black Lives Matter members who were upset at the arrests of protesters after they blocked a major Boston area highway during a Black Lives Matter protest in January, 2015. Those arrested became known as "the Somerville 18." Most of them avoided jail time, instead receiving sentences of 60 hours of community service.

The public controversy about the banner began this week when McGrath sent a letter to Curtatone that said police officers were “deeply troubled” and found it “demoralizing” that the city had allowed the sign to remain hanging in support of this movement “while standing silent over the seemingly daily protest assassinations of innocent police officers around the country."

“The Association is opposed to the misuse of excessive force, including deadly force, as are the well-intentioned members of BLM,” McGrath wrote.

Curtatone released a statement Wednesday that said while he supported his officers, the city will continue to take a stand against what he called “systemic racism in our nation.”

“The City of Somerville stands against all violence and all injustice, which is why a Black Lives Matter banner hangs at City Hall and why a banner in honor of the slain officers is hanging at Somerville Police Headquarters where it would provide the most moral support to our officers -- both on my order. Both banners will remain hanging," Curtatone's statement read.

Curtatone's decision was applauded outside of Somerville City Hall Thursday and supported by Somerville Police Chief David Fallon who said that he recognizes that “there is a problem” if anyone in his community feels excluded.

“When I hear the hashtag or see the banner 'Black Lives Matter,' it just brings to my mind personally that we have to be inclusive," he told reporters.

Somerville resident Buddy Keenan, 60, told ABC News that Curtatone “works for the everyday people. Here we are pretty peaceful…but I can understand how the black people feel they are being killed off in other parts of the country by the police."

But others, like retired police officer Bob DeNapoli, called the Black Lives Matter banner “reprehensible.” DeNapoli was shot six times during a 2011 burglary in nearby Woburn, suffering permanent injuries that forced him off the job.

“Why not hang a banner that reads ‘We All Matter?’" DeNapoli told ABC News.

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Thursday
Jul212016

Video of Deadly Police-Involved Shooting in Houston Released

iStock/Thinkstock(HOUSTON) -- Video was released Thursday of a deadly police-involved shooting of a black man in Houston.

Mayor Sylvester Turner said he wanted to release the videos to show that the man was armed and "debunk" social media reports that he was unarmed.

"The videos speak for themselves," Turner said. "The facts are what they are."

Houston police said Alva Braziel, 38, was armed when he was fatally shot by Houston police officers on July 9.

"This was not a case of an unarmed person that was shot down by the police," Turner said Thursday.

Braziel's family has seen some of the videos, Turner said at a news conference Thursday afternoon.

The deadly encounter began when two officers saw Braziel standing in an intersection in moving lanes of traffic, police said. The officers saw Braziel wave his hands in the air and then point a gun "directly at the officers," police said.

The officers took cover behind the open doors of their patrol car and told Braziel to put the gun on the ground, police said.

"Braziel ignored repeated commands and instead raised his arms up, pointed the pistol upward and moved into different aggressive stances, as if getting ready for a fight," the Houston Police Department said in a statement on July 11. "Braziel then lowered his weapon and again pointed it directly" at the officers, police said.

The officers discharged their duty weapons, "fearing for their lives," police said.

Braziel died at the scene, police said.

The officers were identified by police as L. Lopez and E. Macias. The case is being investigated by the HPD Homicide and Internal Affairs Divisions and the Harris County District Attorney's Office, ABC's Houston station KTRK reported.

Turner said he contacted Braziel's family to let them know that video would be released Wednesday -- to give them an opportunity to see it first -- but the family never did, KTRK said.

The mayor said the family hired an attorney, who then contacted the city on Wednesday, "saying it would be insensitive to release the video before the family saw it," KTRK reported. The mayor then said the video would be released Thursday, KTRK said.

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