Subscribe To This Feed

Nabble / Harold Martin(WASHINGTON) -- The NSA contractor accused of stealing a gargantuan amount of sensitive and classified data from the U.S. government is a flight risk and has been ordered to remain in custody ahead of his trial, a Maryland judge said Friday.

Harold Martin, III, a Navy veteran, was arrested in late August after FBI agents discovered a treasure trove of government documents and data, in stacks of paper and on removable data storage devices, strewn around his house, his car and an outdoor shed. It was a theft, prosecutors said, "that is breathtaking in its longevity and scale" -- enough to fill some 500 million pages of documents containing images and text.

The material included some documents marked Secret, Top Secret and in some cases Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information (TS/SCI), the highest classification level. Martin allegedly had been taking the information home with him from as many as seven different contracting jobs for the government since 1996. He first received his security clearance during his service in the Navy Reserve.

Ahead of the hearing Friday, prosecutors argued in a court filing that Martin should remain in detention as he would be a "prime target" for foreign spies should he be released on bail.

"Given the nature of his offenses and knowledge of national secrets, [Martin] presents tremendous value to any foreign power that may wish to shelter him within or outside the United States," prosecutors wrote in a court filing Thursday.

Prosecutors said Martin had been in communication with others online in "languages other than English, including Russian" and apparently had been learning Russian.

Prosecutors also argued that Martin could be a danger to himself, citing Martin's wife who purportedly told investigators she was concerned he might try to take his own life.

Martin's attorneys, however, said in their own court filing Thursday that there is still no evidence he "intended to betray his country" and argued that he was not a flight risk. All the talk of foreign spies and potential getaway plans, the defense said, were "fantastical scenarios." They said Martin didn't even have a valid passport.

In court Friday Martin's defense attempted to paint him as a hoarder with mental issues.

In the end, the judge sided with the prosecution and declared Martin a flight risk.

Martin's attorneys, James Wyda and Deborah Boardman, told reporters that Martin and his family were "disappointed with [Friday's] ruling."

"We do not believe Hal Martin is a danger to the community or to his country. Hal is no risk of flight. Hal Martin loves America. And he trusts our justice system. This is an early step in a long process. We anticipate filing an appeal shortly," the attorneys said.

After the hearing Martin's wife told reporters simply, "I love him."

Martin is currently accused of the theft of government property, but prosecutors said that they expect to bring more serious charges under the Espionage Act.

As of a couple weeks ago, investigators were still trying to figure Martin out. Senior officials told ABC News then that he appeared to be "more weirdo than whistleblower," and it's unclear why he appears to have hoarded 20 years of government material in his home and vehicle. Online postings and public academic work apparently by Martin indicate he was deeply involved in the technical world of computer security, and Martin allegedly told investigators he was taking his work home with him only to improve his own knowledge and skills.

But prosecutors see something more sinister, based on some sophisticated software tools and the number of firearms discovered at Martin's residence, and one from under the front seat of his vehicle.

"If the Defendant stole this classified material for his own edification, as he has claimed, there would be no reason to keep some of it in his car, and arm himself as though he were trafficking in dangerous contraband," prosecutors wrote in the filing Thursday.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) --  The writer of the widely criticized Rolling Stone article “A Rape on Campus” testified Thursday that her depiction of an administrator at the University of Virginia, who is suing her, was fair and accurate, despite the story’s numerous errors.

“She still works at the university, she still got a pay raise,” Sabrina Rubin Erdely said under direct examination by plaintiff Nicole Eramo’s attorney in federal court in Charlottesville.

Eramo, the former associate dean of students who used to head up UVA’s Sexual Misconduct Board, alleges she was negatively portrayed in Erdely’s November 2014 article as being indifferent to the plight of an alleged gang rape victim that the article referred to as “Jackie,” and that she discouraged her and other alleged survivors from filing complaints with the university, which Eramo has denied.

Eramo is suing Erdely and Rolling Stone on the grounds of defamation for a total of nearly $8 million.

“I’m sure that her feelings were hurt,” Erdely testified in her own defense, but the defamation lawsuit “… seems to me that it has more to do with her being personally found in violation of Title IX and nothing to do with [my story].”

Erdely reported in her article that “Jackie” was gang raped by several men at a frat house party in 2012 during her freshman year at UVA, a top-tier college campus known for its so-called party atmosphere.

But Charlottesville Police Department officials launched a five-month investigation and concluded that they could not find “substantive basis to support the account alleged in the Rolling Stone article.” The fraternity where the rape allegedly occurred, Phi Kappa Psi, denied any wrongdoing. Friends and confidants told different versions of events.

 The article was eventually retracted after a report by the Columbia Journalism Review that called into question numerous errors Erdely and Rolling Stone had made, saying it was “a story of journalistic failure that was avoidable.”

Rolling Stone agreed that errors were made, but it is fighting Eramo’s lawsuit.

“We made journalistic mistakes with respect to Jackie's story and we have learned from them, but these mistakes do not support Dean Eramo's lawsuit,” the publication said in a statement to ABC News Thursday.

“The depiction of Dean Eramo in the Article was balanced and described the challenges of her role. We now look forward to the jury's decision in this case."

U.S. district Judge Glen Conrad has ruled that Eramo will be considered a “limited purpose public figure” in the case. Under legal standards, it means she must demonstrate that Rolling Stone and Erdely published defamatory falsehoods about her knowing they were false or with “reckless disregard” for their truth.

Erdely declined ABC News’ request for an interview before the trial began, citing the ongoing defamation suits.

A few weeks after the publication of “A Rape on Campus,” Erdely told the jury Thursday, she said she was concerned that Jackie was no longer credible. She fired off an email early in the morning of Dec. 5, 2014, to her editors with the subject line “OUR WORST NIGHTMARE” and called for a retraction of her story.

Later that same day, Rolling Stone added a note to the story to acknowledge its reporting errors with an apology to those injured by Erdely’s story, including UVA administrators.

Eramo was later removed from her position as an associate dean of students and as head of UVA’s Sexual Misconduct Board, but is still employed with the university.

Erdely broke down several times answering questions about the way she handled her four-month investigation into Jackie’s claims.

“I stand by everything in the article that did not come from Jackie,” Erdely said.

’We Love Dean Eramo’

The jury listened to audio recordings from Erdely’s taped interviews with Jackie, who is heard repeatedly exclaiming her admiration for Eramo but also fearful that Eramo would be blamed for the university’s handling of rape cases once the story was published. As an associate dean, Eramo served as the intake person for sexual assault victims and advocated in their behalf.

“I feel like it would be really f---- up if they decide that it’s Dean Eramo who’s giving them bad publicity and they kick her in the bucket when the problem’s not her,” Jackie said to Erdely in the taped interview. “It’s people above her, they’re the problem, and she just does what she can.”

Excerpts from their conversations reviewed Thursday illustrate Erdely's concerns about Eramo.

“I know you love her but it’s not clear she’s not doing right by you or by the university in this scenario. … I think this situation is probably being mishandled … and she may be putting the community at risk,” Erdely said.

In another exchange with Jackie, Erdely is recorded as saying: “So why, why isn’t Dean Eramo f------ doing anything?” Erdely says. “This makes me so mad, actually.”

Eramo has said that she did everything to investigate the case but that Jackie never wanted to report the alleged rape.

“I wasn’t talking about any particular dean in this instance,” Erdely said in defense of her story. “This article is not about Dean Eramo.”

A Reporter's Nightmare

Erdely admitted Thursday in court that many mistakes were made in her reporting of the story.

“I wish that Jackie had not been in my story,” Erdely said. “It wasn’t a mistake to rely on someone emotionally fragile. It was a mistake to rely on someone intent to deceive me.”

Eramo’s lawyer Libby Locke peppered Erdely with questions about the 9,000-word story, revealing the gaping holes in her reporting, the vague sourcing and erroneous assumptions, which Erdely agreed had happened.

Emails were shown in court from Erdely’s editor, who raised questions about the publication‘s inability to track down any of the men who Jackie had said allegedly raped her.

During her investigation of the story, Erdely testified Thursday, she heard several versions from other sources of what they had been told by Jackie happened the night she said she was raped. Some say Jackie told them it was five men who had raped her, while others said they were told it could have been up to 10, she testified.

Jackie had told various people she had been raped by a broken beer bottle, and others told Erdely that it was with a hanger, Erdely testified.

“It had never occurred to me that details were inconsistent,” she said. “I have an understanding of trauma victim behavior. … Yes, the details had changed over time … as is typical of trauma survivors.”

Locke said, “You only elected to tell the story that Jackie had been thrown over a table and vaginally raped by seven men.”

“Yes,” Erdely replied.

And she admitted relied heavily on hearsay.

“It’s embarrassing to say it,” Erdely said. “I’m not proud of that. This is not an excuse, this is an explanation. I was taking so many reporting avenues. I was thinking about so many other things.”

As Locke listed Erdely’s inability to verify key details of the story, Erdely broke down in tears.

Her testimony resumes Friday.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

Mark Makela/Getty Images(NEWARK, N.J.) -- "Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee."

Bridget Kelly, who wrote that infamous email as the deputy chief of staff to Gov. Chris Christie (R-New Jersey), took the stand Friday to testify in the Bridgegate case. Federal prosecutors allege the event was a plan for revenge against a mayor who would not endorse the governor for re-election.

According to Kelly, she was not aware that the 2013 plan for the George Washington Bridge closures was allegedly politically-motivated, and the email to former Port Authority staffer David Wildstein wasn't sinister, but sarcastic. She said she told the governor about the plan a month before it happened.

“I said Governor, by the way, I spoke to Wildstein today," she recalled in court Friday. "Apparently the Port Authority is going to be doing a traffic study in Fort Lee.  I explained the access lanes to him.  He said ‘OK when are they doing this?’ I said, [Wildstein] did say there's going to be a tremendous traffic problems in Fort Lee."

Kelly added that she did not know at the time who Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich was, and that the bridge closures were allegedly part of a revenge plan against the Democrat for not endorsing Gov. Christie for re-election.

When asked by her attorney, Michael Critchley, how the governor reacted, she said, "He really didn’t react. He said, 'That's fine.' He said, 'How’s our relationship with Mayor Sokolich?'"

Gov. Christie has not been charged in the Bridgegate case and has repeatedly denied he had any knowledge of the plan. He fired Kelly and campaign manager Bill Stepien in January 2014 after the scandal gained nationwide coverage.

“As the Governor has said since January 9, 2014, the Governor had no knowledge prior to or during these lane realignments, and he had no role in authorizing them," a statement from Brian Murray, Gov. Christie's press secretary, said Friday. "Anything said to the contrary is simply untrue.” 

Kelly also testified that she and Gov. Christie attended a meeting in Seaside Heights, New Jersey, after the September 2013 boardwalk fire.  She said that when she asked the governor if he could introduce some people at the meeting, he became irate and threw a water bottle at her. 

She cried several times while testifying and was asked by Critchley if she was afraid of the governor.

"Yes. Yes," she said in tears.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

Allentown Police Department(ALLENTOWN, Pa.) -- A man who was kicked by a Pennsylvania police officer is suing Allentown city officials and members of its police department, alleging that arresting officers violated his civil rights when they used excessive force during the 2015 incident and that city and police officials attempted to cover it up.

On May 30, 2015, Allentown police officer Joseph M. Iannetta kicked Hector Medina-Pena in the head as he was on the ground on all fours after the car he was riding in was stopped by police, the lawsuit alleges. The incident was captured on dashcam video, which was obtained by ABC News.

In a statement, current Allentown Police Chief Keith Morris said Medina-Pena matched the description of an armed robbery suspect who had held up a strip club that day before getting into a car with three other individuals and driving off. "A detailed description of the getaway vehicle and the criminal suspect who displayed the weapon was broadcast, and due to diligent police work the vehicle was quickly located with the four suspects inside," Morris said.

After the car was stopped, Medina-Pena "repeatedly refused to comply" with Iannetta's orders and reached into the area of his waistband several times, Morris said. "Concerned about this suspect, who was reported by the victims to be armed, Officer Iannetta took action to protect himself ... [taking the] later-convicted robber into custody by using the minimal amount of force necessary."

Medina-Pena later pleaded guilty to robbery and was sentenced to up to 10 years in state prison.

The suit states Medina-Pena was riding in the left rear seat of a Ford Explorer with three other people in the car when police signaled for the driver to pull over. Once the car was stopped, Medina-Pena "immediately" complied with Iannetta's instructions to show his hands and exit the car, according to the complaint. He then "got down on his knees and raised his hands over his head in plain view of all police officers on scene" while the driver and other passengers did the same, the suit states.

Medina-Pena was "defenseless" when Iannetta approached him with his gun drawn and performed a "WWE"-style kick to the right side of his head and face, causing him to crumple to the ground "in extreme pain," according to the complaint.

The kick was in "full view" of at least one of the other police officers on the scene, the suit states. As Medina-Pena lied "immobile" on the ground, officer Patrick Bull, also named in the complaint, then positioned himself on top of him, with his left knee pressing into Medina-Pena's back and his gun pointing at the other two passengers, who were lying on the sidewalk with their hands showing, according to the complaint.

Iannetta then approached the driver of the Explorer, "who had his hands displayed as requested," and pointed his gun at the driver's face before "violently" ripping him out of the car and throwing him to the ground, the complaint states. Iannetta then jumped on the driver and rolled on top of him while continuing to point his gun at his face, according to the suit.

Neither Medina-Pena nor the driver resisted arrest "in any way," the complaint states. While Medina-Pena was still on the ground with Bull on top of him and his hands pinned behind his back, Iannetta allegedly "threw his body down, knee first, directly onto the back of [Medina-Pena’s] head and face” using "all his weight and as much force as he could muster," the lawsuit states.

"It was immediately apparent to any observer that the Plaintiff, who now laid motionless, bleeding and seriously injured, presented no threat, provided no resistance and was completely defenseless before these unwarranted criminal assaults were inflicted by Defendant Iannetta," according to the complaint.

According to the suit, once on the ground, Medina-Pena "was immediately searched, and found not to be in possession of any weapons or contraband."

Paramedics arrived at the scene after Medina-Pena had lain motionless on the ground for several minutes and observed "obvious and significant" injuries to his head and face, the lawsuit states. It also alleges that he suffered a fractured jaw and had three teeth knocked out, which were only held in place due to his recently installed braces. Medina-Pena was hospitalized for three days following the incident, the complaint states.

Medina-Pena will continue to require medical treatment in the future and faces some possibly permanent issues, according to the complaint.

The complaint also alleges that Iannetta had a history of violence that the Allentown Police Department was aware of, pointing specifically to a 2013 incident in which Iannetta's partner allegedly threw a man head-first into concrete, knocking him unconscious; Iannetta then allegedly stomped and kicked the man. Iannetta was a defendant in a civil rights lawsuit from that incident, according to Medina-Pena's suit. The city paid $350,000 to settle that case, according to Allentown newspaper The Morning Call.

Dashcam video of the incident shows police approaching the dark-colored SUV with their guns drawn as a woman walks her bike on the sidewalk next to them. Medina-Pena is seen getting out of the car with his hands up and a fanny pack at his waist. He looks back at police and appears to nod to an officer as he is given instructions, then gets on all fours on the ground.

The lawsuit accuses Bull of failing to intervene after Iannetta delivered the kick to Medina-Pena's head. It also accuses Iannetta and Bull of filing false police reports -- in which they allegedly "omitted facts" to cover up the "assault" -- and accuses the police department's internal affairs division of assisting in the alleged coverup.

Other unnamed officers referred to as John/Jane Doe were also named in the lawsuit, as well as former Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald, Allentown Mayor Edwin Pawlowski and the City of Allentown.

The officers involved in the incident were "entrusted to protect the Constitutional rights of those he encountered," the complaint, filed Thursday in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, states. Mayor Pawlowski was named in the lawsuit because he "either does, or has failed to, promulgate and enforce laws, rules and regulations concerning the operations of the Allentown Police Department," according to the complaint.

Neither Pawlowski nor Fitzgerald conducted an "appropriate investigation" or issued discipline against the officers after the incident, according to the complaint, which also states that officers are provided "inadequate training" pertaining to the appropriate use of force and that officers "routinely" use excessive force. In addition, the complaint accuses the City of Allentown of "systematically" under-reporting citizen complaints on police abuse.

Medina-Pena is seeking an amount in excess of the $150,000 limit for arbitration in the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, according to the suit.

Iannetta is a 14-year veteran of the Allentown Police Department and has training "far and beyond" what is required, said Allentown City Solicitor Susan Wild, adding that Iannetta is "highly decorated for merit and bravery."

Iannetta's actions have been "thoroughly reviewed" by police and city officials and were found to be appropriate under the circumstances, she said. The office of the mayor did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.

Police Chief Morris also said in the statement: "In today’s society, where officers are routinely being criticized for their use of firearms in encounters with suspects, this is an incident where an officer (based on his training) used a reasonable amount of force in response to the report of an armed suspect and necessitated by Mr. Medina-Pena's criminal actions, and took a felon into custody with minimal risk and injury to all involved."

Medina-Pena's suit is the latest in a string of civil rights lawsuits brought against the Allentown Police Department in the last five years, according to The Morning Call. The city has paid out $650,000 to seven of those lawsuits so far.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

ABC News(FULSHEAR, Texas) -- Residents and police in Fulshear, Texas, recently helped free a deer that was found tied up with rope behind a house under construction.

The deer, whom neighborhood kids nicknamed "Hank," was initially found by a group of residents this past Tuesday, according to ABC station KTRK-TV in Houston. They cut the deer loose and called police.

When Fulshear Police Officer Kevin Zieschang arrived on the scene, Hank was still on the back porch with nylon rope tangled around its antlers.

Footage from Zieschang's body camera shows him cutting the rope and trying to guide Hank back into the woods. However, the stubborn deer kept coming back and trying to follow him.

"I tried to spook him to get him to run back out into the woods, but he wasn't having it," Zieschang told KTRK-TV. "He wanted to hang out with us."

Though Hank eventually ran off, locals in the area said he's come back multiple times -- including once on Thursday while KTRK-TV had been filming Zieschang at the house construction site.

"Sir, is that him right there?" someone can be heard asking Zieschang on the video from KTRK-TV.

"He came back to see me!" Zieschang says.

Though police and residents fell in love with Hank, saying he's the friendliest deer they've ever seen, many were worried for his safety.

In response, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) sent out a game warden to the construction site this morning, according to TPWD News Manager Steve Lightfoot.

"The deer was tranquilized and relocated to a preserve," Lightfoot told ABC News Friday, adding Hank is "doing fine."

It's not clear why the deer was tied up, but police are investigating, according to KTRK-TV. The Fulshear Police Department did not immediately respond to ABC News' requests for additional information Friday.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- An elementary school in Connecticut has decided to eliminate Halloween celebrations this year, citing the “safety and exclusion of students.”

The principal of Lillie B. Haynes elementary school in Niantic, Connecticut, announced the policy change in a letter sent to parents on Oct. 19. The letter, which was provided to ABC News, said students will no longer be able to wear Halloween costumes to school.

The school also canceled its Halloween parade, choosing instead to hold classroom celebrations that will be “Fall themed, not Halloween.”

“With increasing societal safety concerns, the number of adults who attend this event, some in costumes, poses a potential safety threat,” the letter from principal Melissa DeLoreto reads in part. “Also, in the past students have been excluded from participating due to religion, cultural beliefs etc.”

The elementary school serves more than 300 students from kindergarten through fourth grade. School district officials and the PTA president of Lillie B. Haynes did not respond to ABC News' request for comment.

Lillie B. Haynes is not the first school to change its Halloween policy this year.

Miller Elementary School in Canton, Michigan, told school parents earlier this month it would be canceling its longtime Halloween parade tradition. Instead, the school is hosting Haunted Hallways next week inside the school.

“In lieu of the Halloween Day Parade of the past, collaboration with feedback from staff and families led to a decision to allow students to come to school in costume on Halloween Day, during which students will have fun doing various curricular-based activities related to Halloween throughout the school day,” Miller Elementary Principal Blair Klco told ABC News in a statement.

Some schools have also reportedly taken the extra step this year of asking students and parents not to dress in clown costumes due to the recent surge of clown threats and clown sightings.

The scary clown craze prompted Target to remove clown masks from its shelves just weeks before Halloween. The decision was made out of "sensitivity to the issue at hand," a Target representative told ABC News this week.

The widespread clown craze has even led the White House to say it is a situation that should be taken "quite seriously."

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

Sterling Correctional Facility(WESTMINSTER, Colo.) -- Christopher Waide, who is serving a 48-year prison sentence for the murder of a Colorado teenager, told ABC News' 20/20 in an exclusive prison interview that tarot cards convinced him to confess.

“The cards were saying to me that my guilt over that would destroy me unless I let it out,” Waide told 20/20.

Lea Porter was 19 years old when she went missing on June 3, 2014, in Westminster, Colorado. Her body has never been found.

Waide, now 26, claims Porter attacked him with a knife in his apartment and he tried to stop her but ended up choking her to death but police don't believe his story. Porter was a petite, 98-pound woman, and when asked why he didn’t try to call the police or try take the knife away from her or thrown her on his bed, or run away -- anything short of killing her -- Waide told 20/20, “I will admit that that is what I should have done.”

One big issue with Waide’s story is that even before he was arrested he confessed twice to killing her. The first time was after Porter had been missing for about a week and her brother, Maxx Porter, came to Waide looking for answers. When Maxx Porter got Waide to admit to killing his sister, he punched him in the face, called 911 and forced Waide to confess to the 911 operator.

“I’d like to confess to a murder,” Waide is heard telling the operator.

Waide, who is obsessed with tarot cards, told ABC News he confessed to Maxx Porter because of what the cards had shown him and because he wanted to unburden himself to Lea Porter's family. Waide never told police or Maxx Porter this, but he said his plan was to commit suicide.

“The reason that I didn’t commit suicide was that Lea’s spirit came to me and told me not to,” Waide said.

After he confessed to the 911 operator, police bought him in for questioning, during which Waide confessed to the killing a third time. Waide told detectives he had put her body in a duffle bag and placed it in a dumpster near his apartment.

Authorities have searched a landfill for 40 consecutive days but have not yet found Lea Porter’s body. But they did find a pillowcase containing her cell phone, wallet, ID and her clothes. Waide maintains that he’s telling the truth.

“I’ve told police what I did with her body, which was to throw it in the dumpster,” he said.

Although authorities don’t believe Waide’s self-defense story, they were hesitant to take the case to jury without a body so prosecutors offered him the plea deal of second-degree murder in exchange for giving prosecutors information about what happened to Lea Porter.

Today, Waide is known at Colorado’s Sterling Correctional Facility as Prisoner #170598.

Prior to the murder, Waide was majoring in criminal justice at a college near Denver because he wanted to become a police officer. He denied studying criminology to learn how to commit murder, but said his classes did help him some in the interrogation room.

“In that, I kind of knew what to expect from -- in their line of questioning,” Waide said.

Robert Wells, one of Waide’s professors and mentor, believes Waide learned how to manipulate a crime scene from his class.

“His efforts to clean and purge the crime scene, those are things he could have learned right there in my class,” Wells told ABC News.

For two years, Lea Porter’s mother, Rene Jackson, has not given up on finding her daughter. She is still searching for her in the dusty mountain trails of central Colorado.

“It’s devastated me,” Jackson told 20/20. “I struggle to live with this every day, and so, you know, I look forward to the day that I get to meet my daughter. And until then I’m going to try and find her.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

ABC News(NEW YORK) --  Residents of Atchinson County, Kansas, were told to shelter in place Friday morning after a chemical spill in the area forced evacuations and sent several individuals to the hospital.

The spill, which happened shortly after 8 a.m. local time, covers a 4-block radius near Main Street, according to officials from the Atchinson County Emergency Management Agency.

"At 8:02 this morning two chemicals were inadvertently mixed together at MGP," said Trey Cocking, public information officer for the city of Atchinson. "That caused a gaseous plume to develop. That plume covered good portions of the city of Atchinson [and] we have 18 people being treated for respiratory discomfort."

MGP Ingredients is a supplier of premium distilled spirits and specialty wheat proteins and starches.

Of the 18 people who were treated in the hospital for respiratory issues, five are city employees.

"All injuries are minor, they are being kept for observation," Cocking told reporters at a press conference.

Chemicals were mixed together "inadvertently in the delivery process" when one chemical was put in the wrong holding tank, according to Cocker. It was not clear which two chemicals had been mixed.

Cocking said that by 11 a.m. local time the heavy plume had mostly lifted.

"Right now the cloud has dissipated, we're beginning to assess the situation," Cocking said, adding that local government officials were still waiting on state and federal officials to respond.

Thousands of students at local schools were evacuated in addition to staff at the county courthouse. By 11 a.m. officials from the Emergency management Services said students were returning to the schools as the plume continued to dissipate.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

KGO-TV(SAN FRANCISCO) — Two people have been arrested in connection with Tuesday's shooting incident outside a pair of San Francisco high schools which left four students injured, police said Thursday evening.

"#SFPD has made two arrests in connection to the #JuneJordan High School shooting incident. This is an active & ongoing investigation," the San Francisco Police Department tweeted.

The shooting incident occurred Tuesday around 3:15 p.m., when four teenage students were shot in the shared parking lot of two San Francisco high schools, the June Jordan School for Equity and City Arts and Technology High School.

The shooting left one of the injured, a female student, in critical condition. Police said she may have been targeted, adding that the incident was "not a random shooting."

Police did not release any further details about the arrests, but according to ABC-owned KGO-TV in San Francisco, one of the suspects was arrested Thursday in Fairfield, a city located about 50 miles northeast from where the shooting happened. The second suspect was arrested Tuesday night, according to KGO-TV.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

WABC-TV(NEW YORK) --   The 66-year-old woman with schizophrenia who was killed by an NYPD sergeant Tuesday had written a poignant essay in 2012 about living with mental illness in which she expressed that police are ill-equipped to deal with the mentally ill.

In the six-page essay titled "Living With Schizophrenia," Deborah Danner wrote about a 1984 police encounter eerily similar to the way in which she eventually died. A Bronx woman named Eleanor Bumpurs, whom Danner mistakenly characterized as "Gompers," was fatally shot after she waved a knife at officers who were evicting her from her apartment, according to The Associated Press. The officer who fired the fatal shot was acquitted of all charges and the city paid her family.

Police shot Bumpurs because she was "a threat to the safety of several grown men who are also police officers," Danner wrote. "They used deadly force to subdue her because they were not trained sufficiently [on] how to engage the mentally ill in crisis."

Like Danner, Bumpurs was a black woman in her 60s with a history of mental illness, The New York Times reported. Danner said Bumpurs' case was "not an isolated incident." ABC News reached out to the NYPD for comment on Danners’ claim the police officers involved with Bumpurs were insufficiently trained to deal with the mentally ill in crisis, but the NYPD did not respond.

A uniformed NYPD sergeant shot Danner twice Tuesday as she attempted to strike him with a baseball bat, police said. Danner first brandished a pair of scissors at him, but the officer, Sgt. Hugh Barry, was able to convince her to put them down, police said.

On July 7, shortly after the police-involved shooting deaths of Philando Castile in Minnesota and Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Danner expressed support for the Black Lives Matter movement on Twitter and accused police of targeting people based on the color of their skin.

Point of the Conversation: How'd U like to move about w/a TARGET on you because of the color of your skin? BLACK LIVES MATTER!

— Deborah Danner (@DeborahDanner01) July 8, 2016

Police have a "very difficult job to do" when they intervene in situations involving a mentally ill person, said Michael B. Friedman, a professor of mental health policy at Columbia University's School of Social Work.

While Friedman said it's necessary to continue to improve training for all police officers on how to deal with an emotionally disturbed or psychotic person, he added that it may be better to have crisis teams specifically trained to effectively deal with the mentally ill.

"There is no question that people with serious mental illnesses sometimes suffer in our society in ways that they shouldn't suffer," Friedman said. "Sometimes they have encounters with people from law enforcement that are not well done."

 Most medium- to large-sized police departments have some sort of mental health training for their officers, said Dr. Laurence Miller, a clinical and forensic psychologist in South Florida. But, while the training is "good in the abstract," it may not prevent a tragedy from happening when dealing with a mentally ill person.

"Mental illness can make the situation more dangerous," Miller said, adding an emotionally disturbed person can be unpredictable or unstable, and may not obey typical commands.

Miller said ordinary household items such as a knife, club, brick, lamp or potted plant could become a deadly weapon in the hands of a mentally ill person, and Friedman cautioned the public from rushing to judgment on whether the police officer in question was justified in his use of force before the investigation is complete.

In a press conference Wednesday, New York City Police Commissioner James O'Neill said the NYPD "failed" Danner when they responded to a neighbor's 911 call for a "person in crisis."

"That's not how it's supposed to go," O'Neill said. "It's not how we train. Our first obligation is to preserve life -- not to take a life when it can be avoided."

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio corroborated O'Neill's statement, saying that Barry did not follow his police training.

The Sergeants Benevolent Association said: "Being forced to shoot a civilian under any circumstances is traumatic for police officers, but to be immediately vilified based on innuendo and the social and political climate only compounds the tragedy."

Barry has been put on administrative leave while the NYPD conducts an internal investigation into why he used deadly force rather than deploying a Taser.

ABC Breaking News | Latest News Videos

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(SEATTLE) -- Thousands of teachers donned "Black Lives Matter" t-shirts in Seattle Wednesday to show support for students of color in their community, according to the union.

"We have the fifth-largest opportunity gap between our African-American and our white students in the country," Phyllis Campano, the president of the Seattle Education Association told ABC News, "So we know, as educators, that we need to show our kids that we believe in them, and we set high expectations for them."

"It's not really about Black Lives Matter as a movement, but about how black lives matter in our schools," Campano said, "it is not about the t-shirts, it is about how we support our students of color in our community."

Campano said that they are still trying to finalize numbers, but she estimates a few thousand teachers in about 80 schools donned t-shirts yesterday to show support for Seattle's black students. In addition to wearing the t-shirts, many schools also held workshops after school and events to discuss issues of racism and civil rights, but these events varied school-to-school.

"With our scores on education being put out there, everyone keeps saying we are failing the black kids in our community," Campano said, "What do we need to do? We need to come together, we need to show support."

Campano said that the feedback they received from the community was overwhelmingly positive, although she says they did receive a few negative emails from a few community members. A law enforcement group, Blue Lives Matter, wrote in a statement on its website that they disagreed with the "political message" that is being promoted in schools.

"The t-shirts were a catalyst to the conversation, and the conversation in our schools is how do we make education better for our children of color? It should be a national conversation," Campano said.

Campano said she hoped that events such as this one will help students of color feel like they are a part of the schools they are in.

"They don't see themselves in curriculum or the histories, and we need more educators of color," Campano said, "but in the meantime we need to make kids feel like they are truly included, and a part of the school."

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

Max Golembo/ABC News(NEW YORK) --  Thursday NOAA's Climate Prediction Center issued the U.S. Winter Outlook, saying that La Nina is expected to influence winter conditions this year.

The Climate Prediction Center said La Nina is likely to develop in late fall or early winter, but it is expected to be weak and short-lived.

With the possible weak La Nina, we are expecting more arctic outbreaks for the Northern Plains and the Great Lakes. With colder air moving over relatively warm Great Lakes, lake-effect snow could be heavier than normal especially early in the winter months, said Mike Halpert, deputy director, the Climate Prediction Center. Cities like Bismarck, Minneapolis and Green Bay could see colder than normal conditions, while Chicago, Cleveland and Detroit could see a snowier winter.

Also, snowier conditions are expected in the northern Rockies, so if you have a winter break trip planned to Sun Valley, Idaho, or Big Sky Resort, Montana, you might be in luck for some champagne powder.

A pacific jet stream aimed at Washington State and Oregon will likely deliver wetter and cooler weather for Seattle and Portland, increasing chances for flooding and mudslides.

 As far as the Northeast goes, most of the area will see near-normal snowfall and temperatures for winter, save for northern New England, where conditions might be warmer than normal. Having said that, last winter was one of the warmest winters on record in the Northeast, so the near-normal temperatures forecast for this winter could feel much colder.

For the megalopolis of the Northeast, it looks like winter will be more rainy than snowy. During a typical La Nina winter, the jet stream curves north into eastern Canada keeping the coldest arctic air away from the immediate East Coast, leaving the coastal cities mostly with rain or a mix precipitation. Further inland, it could be a different story.

If you want a warmer and drier than normal winter this year, you better head south. From Los Angeles to Dallas to Atlanta, the Climate Prediction Center said to expect less severe winter storms and warmer than average temperatures. Of course, this is bad news for Southern California, which has been dealing with an exceptional drought the last five years.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) --  The Environmental Protection Agency had the power and enough information to issue an emergency order to protect the people of Flint, Mich. from lead-contaminated water as early as 7 months before they did, the EPA's inspector general said Thursday.

“Federal law provides the EPA with emergency authority to intervene when the safety of drinking water is compromised," said EPA Inspector General Arthur A. Elkins. "Employees must be knowledgeable, trained and ready to act when such a public health threat looms.”

Flint's drinking water was contaminated after the city switched its supply in April 2014, exposing many of the city's nearly 100,000 residents to elevated lead levels in the water.

State regulators failed to ensure water was being properly treated.

#WaterContamination in #Flint, Michigan, Shows Need to Clarify #EPA Authority to Issue Public Protection Orders.

— U.S. EPA OIG (@EPAoig) October 20, 2016

Hundreds of children have been found to have elevated levels of lead in their blood, doctors found.

Lead is a known neurotoxin and is particularly harmful to young children whose neurological systems are still developing. Early lead exposure can have a lifetime of consequences, including lowered IQ, behavioral issues and developmental delays among others, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Federal, state and local officials have pointed fingers for over two years since the water crisis began.

So far, three state officials are facing charges.

The Safe Drinking Water Act, Section 1431 provides emergency authority to the EPA. According to the IG, the EPA has its own internal guidance since 1991 about what it can do in the event of an emergency situation like Flint.

“These situations should generate a greater sense of urgency,” said the inspector general.

The EPA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

Ingram Publishing/iStock/Thinkstock(LOUISVILLE, Ky.) -- Police in Louisville, Kentucky, say three children remain in the hospital after an SUV hit them as they prepared to board a school bus.

Officer Dwight Mitchell of the Louisville Metro Police Department said around 8 a.m. Thursday officers responded to a 911 call about a vehicle collision involving pedestrians.

In a statement, police said the Cadillac Escalade was traveling in the same direction as the school bus when the bus stopped suddenly.

According to police, the driver of the SUV swerved to avoid hitting the school bus and went up on the sidewalk, to the right of the bus, striking three children waiting to board.

Police said the driver did not see the three children. Two of the children were said to be ages 9 and 10. The third child's age was unknown.

The bus, bound for Dixie and Englehard Elementary Schools, was empty at the time except for the driver.

"I saw this little girl was up under the car," one resident told ABC affiliate WHAS-TV in Louisville. "So it was about seven or eight of us -- I don't know how many it was -- we was trying to raise the car up. So when we got it up high enough, the police pulled a kid from under the car. And boy, I was so thankful that we could get her out but she was in bad shape. She was bleeding real bad. So EMS, they started working on her."

WHAS-TV said two of the children were brother and sister. The third child was not related to the other two.

Mitchell said the children were taken to the hospital, with two in critical condition and the third with serious injuries. He said the driver of the SUV had also been taken to the hospital.

So far, according to police, the driver of the SUV is expected to be charged with having no insurance or registration. Mitchell said police were still investigating the accident.

"It's a very tragic situation that's happened," he said. "The driver did stay but was injured. ... Our prayers are with these children that they recover. That's the main thing."

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

NSA via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — One of the reforms designed to rein in the surveillance authorities of the National Security Agency has perhaps inadvertently solved a technical problem for the spy outfit and granted it potential access to much more data than before, a former top official told ABC News.

Before the signing of the USA Freedom Act in June 2015, one of the NSA's most controversial programs was the mass collection of telephonic metadata from millions of Americans — the information about calls, including the telephone numbers involved, the time and the duration but not the calls' content — under a broad interpretation of the Patriot Act's Section 215. From this large "haystack," as officials have called it, NSA analysts could get approval to run queries on specific numbers purportedly linked to international terrorism investigations.

The problem for the NSA was that the haystack was only about 30 percent as big as it should've been; the NSA database was missing a lot of data. As The Washington Post reported in 2014, the agency was not getting information from all wireless carriers and it also couldn't handle the deluge of data that was coming in.

On the technical side, Chris Inglis, who served as the NSA's deputy director until January 2014, recently told ABC News that when major telecommunications companies previously handed over customer records, the NSA "just didn't ingest all of it."

"[NSA officials] were trying to make sure they were doing it exactly right," he said, meaning making sure that the data was being pulled in according to existing privacy policies. The metadata also came in various forms from the different companies, so the NSA had to reformat much of it before loading it into a searchable database.

Both hurdles meant that the NSA couldn't keep up, and of all the metadata the agency wanted to be available for specific searches internally, only about a third of it actually was.

But then the USA Freedom Act was signed into law, and now Inglis said, all that is "somebody else's problem."

The USA Freedom Act ended the NSA's bulk collection of metadata but charged the telecommunications companies with keeping the data on hand. The NSA and other U.S. government agencies now must request information about specific phone numbers or other identifying elements from the telecommunications companies after going through the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court and arguing that there is a "reasonable, articulable suspicion" that the number is associated with international terrorism.

As a result, the NSA no longer has to worry about keeping up its own database and, according to Inglis, the percentage of available records has shot up from 30 percent to virtually 100. Rather than one internal, incomplete database, the NSA can now query any of several complete ones.

The new system "guarantees that the NSA can have access to all of it," Inglis said.

NSA general counsel Glenn Gerstell made a brief reference to the increased capacity in a post for the Lawfare blog in January after terrorist attacks at home and abroad.

"Largely overlooked in the debate that has ensued in the wake of recent attacks is the fact that under the new arrangement, our national security professionals will have access to a greater volume of call records subject to query in a way that is consistent with our regard for civil liberties," he wrote.

Mark Rumold, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told ABC News he doesn't have much of a problem with the NSA's wider access to telephone data, since now the agency has to go through a "legitimate" system with "procedural protections" before jumping into the databases.

"Their ability to obtain records has broadened, but by all accounts, they're collecting a far narrower pool of data than they were initially," he said, referring to returns on specific searches. "They can use a type of legal process with a broader spectrum of providers than earlier. To me, that isn't like a strike against it. That's almost something in favor of it, because we've gone through this public process, we've had this debate, and this is where we settled on the scope of the authority we were going to give them."

Rumold said he's still concerned about the NSA's ability to get information on phone numbers linked to a number in question — up to two "hops" away — but he said the USA Freedom Act "remains a step in the right direction."

The trade-off of the new system, according to Inglis, is in the efficiency of the searches. Whereas in the past the NSA could instantaneously run approved searches of its database, now the agency must approach each telecommunications company to ask about a number and then wait for a response.

In his January post Gerstell acknowledged concerns that the new approach could be "too cumbersome to be effective" and said the NSA will report to Congress on how the arrangement is working. A representative for the NSA declined to tell ABC News if any problems have been encountered so far, and Rumold noted there has been no public evidence of any issues.

Inglis said he isn't terribly concerned if the searches are a little slower. It's a small price to pay, he said, for what he called an "additional safeguard" that could increase the public's confidence in what the NSA is and how it operates.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


God Bless America & Our Home Louisiana

970 KSYL On Air Now
Kim Komando
Kim Komando
9:00am - 12:00pm
Kim Komando
He's Back!

Week Nights 8 to 11

KSYL 970am / 100.3 HD3

Kim Komando

Click For Kim Komando's Daily Tip!!

The Best Of The 60's & 70's

Now On Air At 100.3 HD2

Or Click The Logo Above

To Listen.


State Wire
North Rapides Business & Industry Alliance



All Weekend Long

It's a

Political Free Zone!

Good Food Project


LinkedUpRadio Envisionwise Web Services