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UVA Student Martese Johnson Makes First Court Appearance

UVA Student Martese Johnson Makes First Court Appearance

Zach Gibson/Getty Images(CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.) -- University of Virginia student Martese Johnson entered no plea Thursday to charges stemming from his bloody arrest last week.Johnson was expected to enter a not guilty plea, but the prosecution asked for a continuance so the investigation could continue.Martese and lawyer Daniel Watkins agreed to this and his next appearance will be May 28. Attorneys hope that the Virginia State Police investigation will be done by then.Nearly 100 supporters showed up to the Charlottesville District Court, all dressed in black in a show of unity. The court appearance lasted all of 90 seconds.Johnson, 20, was bloodied during an arrest near the campus last week, sparking protests on the campus over alleged police brutality as well as a state investigation of the incident. He was arrested outside a Charlottesville bar by state Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) agents who are charged with enforcing alcohol laws in Virginia.In Virginia, there is no legal requirement that customers entering a restaurant where alcohol is served must be over the age of 21. Therefore Johnson had every right to attempt to enter Trinity so long as he was using his lawful identification. Trinity’s decision to enact a 21-and-over policy after 10 p.m., for busy evenings, did not make Johnson’s attempt to enter illegal.

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National Guardsman and His Cousin Arrested for Trying to Join ISIS

National Guardsman and His Cousin Arrested for Trying to Join ISIS

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The FBI has arrested two men -- one of them a current member of the Illinois National Guard -- for allegedly trying to join ISIS, the terrorist group wreaking havoc in Syria and Iraq, authorities said Thursday.Army National Guard Specialist Hasan Edmonds, 22, was arrested Wednesday at Chicago Midway International Airport as he was trying to fly to Egypt, according to authorities. His cousin, Jonas Edmonds, 29, was arrested at his home.Both men are from Aurora, Illinois, and appeared in federal court on Thursday. They were formally charged with conspiring to provide material support to a known foreign terrorist organization. They face a maximum penalty if convicted of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.Hasan Edmonds first came onto the FBI’s radar in late 2014 as he hatched a plan for him to join ISIS overseas while Jonas Edmonds launched an attack inside the United States, according to the Justice Department.This comes a week after a former U.S. Air Force veteran was indicted by federal authorities for allegedly trying to join ISIS.Tairod Nathan Webster Pugh, 47, who is from New Jersey but had been living overseas for years, was secretly arrested two months ago after being deported back to the United States.On his laptop, FBI agents allegedly discovered more than 180 jihadist propaganda videos and noticed he had been conducting online searches for such phrases as "borders controlled by Islamic state," "kobani border crossing," and "who controls kobani."Last month, three New York City men were arrested on charges they allegedly conspired to join ISIS but also expressed willingness to carry out attacks on the terror group's behalf in the United States. The men had planned to travel to the Middle East and had also pledged to launch attacks in this country, including one on President Obama or planting a bomb in Coney Island, Brooklyn, federal officials said.Over the past 18 months, about 30 people have been charged with joining terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq or trying to do so.

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Houston Road Rage Victim Recounts Her Terrifying Experience

Houston Road Rage Victim Recounts Her Terrifying Experience

Courtesy Hadford Family(HOUSTON) -- A Houston woman who was shot in the head in a road rage incident said the fact that she's alive must be torture for her attacker -- and she has a message for aggressive drivers.Kay Hafford, 22, was on her way to work in Houston Friday morning when she honked at a driver of a white Chevy Tahoe who cut her off, she said.Police said that minutes later the driver pulled up right next to Hafford's car, fired a single shot through her passenger-side window and then took off.Despite being shot in the head, Hafford managed to pull over and call the authorities -- only realizing she was hit when she was on the phone."When I heard Siri, that's when I cried." she said. "When I heard her say, 'Who do you want to call?' I said 911 and a 911 operator picked up. That's when I lost it."Hafford was transported to a hospital where she had bullet fragments removed from her skull. She's expected to make a full recovery."His mission, although it was to kill me and I'm still living, I know that is killing him," she said.Hafford said her worry now is the fact that the gunman is still on the run. But, she has forgiven him."I forgave him right away," she told ABC News. "When I looked in his eyes, I knew there was something wrong with him."She added, "All I ask is for him to have a heart and turn himself in."Hafford urged other aggressive drivers to be more cautious on the road."As much as you want to retaliate, think twice," she said, "because you may be in the situation like I am, but you might not make it."

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Astronaut Scott Kelly Prepares for a Pioneering Year in Space on ISS

Astronaut Scott Kelly Prepares for a Pioneering Year in Space on ISS

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Astronaut Scott Kelly is poised to break the record for time in space for a U.S. Astronaut when he launches to the International Space Station this week.That’s a year with no hot showers, cold beers or the touch of his family. Kelly’s girlfriend Amiko Kauderer said she can’t call him, but he can call her, so will keep her cell phone close. It will be tough, but she said the reunion when he comes back will be special."For me it’s like the most romantic long-distance relationship ever," Kauderer said.There are some amenities on the space station -- the views are out of this world, zero gravity gymnastics, and being an astronaut is still an elite job. Kelly knows that duty on the space station can mean fixing the toilet one week and being out on a spacewalk the next week.Scott, 51, and his twin brother, retired astronaut Mark, will both be human guinea pigs. NASA will be comparing what happens to Scott’s body and brain to those of his brother Mark, while Mark is on the ground.Mark said this will double what we know about spaceflight and the human body. "Maybe there is a little cliff out there that you fall off with regards to the radiation, bone mass, bone density, those type of things, so, I am all in," Mark said.Scott admits it will be a tough year -- and he should know. He has pulled one six-month stint on the space station already. After "about four months, you start thinking, you know, there is a lot of stuff I miss on Earth. I feel like I have accomplished everything I need to, and I am sorta ready to go home.”On a year-long mission, the intense yearning to go home could come later, he said, noting he hopes that yearning comes about "two-thirds of the way into the mission.""I am kinda hoping it occurs then," Scott said.Flight surgeon Dr. Stevan Gilmore is overseeing the research for this year in space. He knows how tough zero gravity is on the human body, and what NASA needs to know before they send humans off on a three-year round trip mission to Mars. This, he said, is an important step.“We want to understand, is there anything that pops up between the six- and twelve-month duration so that we know if there are any large barriers out there for new missions," Gilmore said.NASA really wants this to lead to a Mars mission. That’s why Mark Kelly agreed to the research."We need to figure out how people are going to live in space for really long periods of time, especially if we want to send somebody to Mars. We want to one day build a base on the Moon. Our experience with long-duration flight is six months," Mark said.Despite all the possible dangerous side effects, the twins said they believe they are blazing a path that will take humans into space. Mark admits he has the easy job saying on earth, but noted that without taking risks, "we don’t go anywhere, we don’t learn anything, we don’t get better at anything. So, risk-taking has always been a part of the space program and always will, but in this case there is extra risk.”What will Scott miss when he is in space for a year? All the holidays, his children’s birthdays, and good food, he said.“The menu of food [in space] is not as large a variety as you would like, even though the weather inside the space station is generally perfect, you miss the rain, the breeze, the change of seasons," Scott said.Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Va. Gov. McAuliffe Signs Executive Order for Increased Training, Accountability of Alcoholic Beverage Control

Va. Gov. McAuliffe Signs Executive Order for Increased Training, Accountability of Alcoholic Beverage Control

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images(RICHMOND, Va.) -- Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe on Wednesday signed an executive order that would implement more stringent training and oversight of the state's Alcoholic Beverage Control. The decision to sign the order comes in the wake of an investigation into ABC agents who arrested University of Virginia student Martese Johnson earlier this month. The agents allegedly slammed Johnson's head into the ground. Johnson was apparently rejected entry from a bar on University Avenue, when agents approached him and the arrest occurred.The executive order requires training for ABC agents in areas including "use of force, cultural diversity, effective interaction with youth and young adults, and community policing," improved accountability and oversight, and improve cooperation and communication with local communities.

 

Governor McAuliffe signs Executive Order 40 to improve law enforcement at @VirginiaABC. http://t.co/TrbnxuutOs

— Terry McAuliffe (@GovernorVA) March 25, 2015

 

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Deadly Tornadoes, Storms Sweep Through Oklahoma

Deadly Tornadoes, Storms Sweep Through Oklahoma

David Schliepp/iStock/Thinkstock(TULSA, Okla.) --  At least one person was killed as tornadoes and severe storms swept through northeast Oklahoma Wednesday evening. One person was killed and several others injured at a mobile home park in Sand Springs, about seven miles west of Tulsa, after a possible tornado formed nearby, said the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office. Some 36,500 power outages had been reported in northeast Oklahoma as of 3:30 a.m. Thursday morning local time.The tornado went by Tulsa and was headed for Inola at about 7 p.m. local time, ABC affiliate KOCO reported.

The National Weather Service had issued tornado warnings as a severe storm headed towards Tulsa, Oklahoma, Wednesday.People in the Tulsa area captured photos and videos of what was believed to be a tornado. One had formed near Westport, Oklahoma, fewer than 30 miles west of Tulsa, and was moving east at 45 mph, the National Weather Service reported.

 

Tornado just west of Tulsa OK! Seek Shelter Immediately. Photo courtesy of Brandon Ivey. #okwx pic.twitter.com/HJr23dpuOr

— Twisted Sky Media (@TwistedSkyMedia) March 25, 2015

Tornado coming in 😳 pic.twitter.com/ZIZb48VhKp

— Cameron Drackett (@cdrackett13) March 25, 2015

Outside my office right now... #tornado

A photo posted by Joe Steinhafel (@joe_steinhafel) on Mar 25, 2015 at 3:03pm PDT

The National Weather Service reported the sighting of a possible tornado moving at about 45 mph near Peggs, which is about 60 miles east of Tulsa. Some 67,800 power outages had been reported in northeast Oklahoma as of 7:50 p.m. local time.Another tornado briefly touched down in Moore, about 11 miles south of Oklahoma City, reports KOCO. A radio tower was toppled and a few roofs were taken off homes, but no injuries were immediately reported, said a spokesperson for the city.

The Storm Prediction Center had warned that a clash of warm and cooler air masses could lead to severe storms.The Tulsa County Sheriff's Office confirmed that one person was killed at the Sand Springs Mobile Home Park. There were also an unconfirmed number of injuries.

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Former University of Oklahoma Fraternity Member Apologizes, Admits Words Were ‘Mean, Hateful and Racist’

Former University of Oklahoma Fraternity Member Apologizes, Admits Words Were ‘Mean, Hateful and Racist’

ABC News(NORMAN, Okla.) -- Former University of Oklahoma student and Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity member Levi Pettit offered a public apology on Wednesday for his role in leading the racist chants that were captured on video earlier this month.

"Let me start by saying I’m sorry, deeply sorry. I’m so sorry for the pain that I’ve caused and I want you to hear that directly from me. Even though I don’t deserve it I would like to ask for your forgiveness," Pettit said, standing beside about a dozen community leaders.In front of reporters on Wednesday, Pettit read from a letter he had written to university President Dave Boren shortly after the video was posted online. In the letter, he acknowledged that while he had "never thought of myself as a racist and never even considered it a possibility," the words he uttered "were mean, hateful and racist."Pettit said that he has since met with student leaders in an effort to apologize for his actions. "I'm so sorry for all the pain that I've caused," Pettit said, "and I want you all to know that directly from me."Speaking at a Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, Pettit declined to discuss where he had first heard the racist chant or what had specifically happened on the bus.

State Sen. Anastasia Pittman, a Democrat, University of Oklahoma alum and chairwoman of the Oklahoma Black Caucus, hosted the press conference at Oklahoma City's Fairview Baptist Church, The Dallas Morning News reported. Before the event, Pettit was expected to spend an hour behind closed doors with pastors, politicians and African-American community leaders, according to the newspaper.“I received an apology from him, and I believe it’s sincere,” Pittman told The Dallas Morning News. “But I told him it’s not about me, and that community leaders would need the same courtesy, so if he’s going to apologize to me, I’d rather he apologize to civic leaders, pastors, people who resonate with the pain."Pittman did not respond to a request for comment from ABC News.

Pettit and one other member of the SAE fraternity were expelled earlier this month after video of them leading the racist chant on a party bus appeared online. The video, posted by a group describing itself as "an alliance of Black students organized for change within campus administration and atmosphere," showed students chanting "there will never be a [racial epithet] at SAE."

When asked by reporters if he knew the meaning of the words, Pettit said, "I knew they were wrong, but I didn’t know how or why they were wrong.""I’m not here to talk about the chant or where I heard it," Pettit said. "The truth of the matter is that the chant is disgusting."The university expelled two students on March 10 in connection with the incident. A university spokesman, Corbin Wallace, told ABC News Wednesday that the university can't specify the students' names, citing the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. The university, according to Wallace, declined to comment about Wednesday's press conference. The university's investigation is still ongoing regarding the incident.Brandon Weghorst, a spokesman for the national Sigma Alpha Epsilon organization, said all of the University of Oklahoma members are still suspended and awaiting hearings by the national organization, which disbanded that chapter.

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Bowe Bergdahl charged with desertion, lawyer says

Bowe Bergdahl charged with desertion, lawyer says

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- American soldier and former Taliban captive Bowe Bergdahl has been charged with desertion for allegedly walking off his post in Afghanistan in 2009, Bergdahl's attorney told ABC News Wednesday.Bergdahl was freed after five years in Taliban captivity in a controversial deal last year in which the U.S. agreed to release five mid- to high-level Taliban figures from detention in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. President Obama called it a "good day" when Bergdahl was freed, but critics, including some high-ranking Republicans, loudly denounced the deal, likening it to negotiating with terrorists. Also, lawmakers complained that Congress had not been consulted about the exchange, as they said the law requires.After Bergdahl's dramatic return to the U.S., the Army launched an investigation into whether the soldier willfully left his post in Afghanistan before he was taken by the Taliban in 2009, as some Afghan war veterans alleged.

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Philadelphia Says It Needs 10,000 Volunteers for Pope Francis’ Visit

Philadelphia Says It Needs 10,000 Volunteers for Pope Francis’ Visit

Buda Mendes/Getty Images(PHILADELPHIA) -- The Archdiocese of Philadelphia says it needs 10,000 volunteers or more for Pope Francis’ visit there in September.In his weekly column, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput wrote that advance teams from the Holy See have already visited the city.Francis will attend the final two days of the World Meeting of Families on Sept. 26 and 27.For comparison, the BBC reported the London Olympics required 70,000 volunteers for the two-week Olympiad.All volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years old. Chaput wrote that registration will soon be open on the event’s website.Organizers are expecting up to two million people to attend the Pope’s closing mass. That’s 500,000 more than the population of the city.

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Boston Marathon Bombing: Tale of the Gun

Boston Marathon Bombing: Tale of the Gun

DOJ(BOSTON) -- Three days after the deadly 2013 Boston Marathon explosions, investigators say bombing suspects Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev used a Ruger 9mm semi-automatic handgun to murder MIT police officer Sean Collier, carjack a young businessman and, hours later, to fire on police in a vicious gunfight.

Now, with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on trial, witnesses and court documents have shed new light on the pistol’s curious path through a criminal underground and purportedly into the hands of the brothers who were once the most wanted men in America.The gun’s serial number was “obliterated” by the time U.S. law enforcement got to it, but federal investigators were able to forensically “raise” the numbers and trace its purchase to a gun store more than three years ago and 100 miles from Boston.In November 2011, Los Angeles native Danny Sun Jr. bought the 9mm Ruger P95 at a Cabela’s hunting and fishing store in South Portland, Maine as part of a “multi-gun” purchase, law enforcement officials and a Cabela manager told ABC News. Sun Jr. later told police that at some point over the next year, he gave the weapon to Biniam “Icy” Tsegai.When Tsegai, an Eritrean immigrant, received the gun, federal prosecutors in Maine said he and others were the target of a multi-agency federal investigation into crack dealing out of Portland hotel rooms. Tsegai would plead guilty to drug charges in 2014.But back in 2012, Tsegai handed the gun off to 21-year-old Merhawi “Howie” Berhe, according to recent testimony from Stephen Silva, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s “best friend.” Berhe is also Eritrean and was arrested in South Portland on a burglary charge last year, according to a police log.

It remains unclear how Berhe, a Cambridge, Massachusetts resident, knew Tsegai. An attorney for Berhe declined to discuss specifics of his case with ABC News and an attorney for Tsegai did not respond to request for comment.Silva testified that he then took the gun from Berhe, who he said was “a friend of mine from my neighborhood.”“He asked me if I could do him a favor and hold down a firearm for him because he needed to get it out of his house,” Silva testified, adding that Berhe's “mother had searched his room.”Berhe was charged earlier this month possessing a firearm with an “obliterated” serial number, presumably the same one he gave to Silva and would eventually end up in Tsarnaev’s hands.

Berhe has pleaded not guilty and was released on $10,000 bond on March 17, the same day Silva outlined from the witness stand in Tsarnaev’s trial how the gun made it from a ceiling panel in his apartment where it was secreted in a tube sock, to the accused marathon bombers.Silva described the gun as “black…looked a little rusty…the serial number was obliterated on a silver panel and it said ‘P95’ on top slide and it also says Ruger on the side of the gun.”While he had it, Silva decided to make use of the gun himself, he said, and ripped off buyers in a drug deal in Cambridge, Massachusetts later in 2012.Dzhokhar Tsarnaev allegedly first saw the gun after Silva brought it to a New Year’s Eve party that same year. Tsarnaev asked about borrowing the gun, Silva testified, but Silva didn’t get around to giving it to him until February 2013.

Silva testified that Tsarnaev wanted the gun to “rip some URI students,” presumably referring to the University of Rhode Island, which is close to his college dorm at University of Massachusetts/Dartmouth. Tsarnaev also demanded bullets, asking Silva for the “food for the dog,” Silva said.Over the next few weeks, Silva said he was annoyed with Tsarnaev because he refused to return the gun, always “coming up with excuses,” up until the first week of April when he last saw Tsarnaev and allegedly sold him marijuana.The Marathon bombs exploded on April 15, 2013 and three days later, MIT police officer Sean Collier was murdered in his patrol car, allegedly with six bullets fired from the Ruger.

Tsarnaev’s attorney Judy Clarke admitted in her opening arguments that the Tsarnaev brothers were responsible for the 27-year-old officer’s murder.

Prosecutors said Collier was shot three times in the head and three times in the hand, by the Tsarnaev brothers, though it’s unclear which one pulled the trigger.A short time after Collier’s death, Tamerlan knocked on the window of a young businessman, Dun Meng, and pointed the Ruger at his head several times during a harrowing carjacking and robbery, Meng testified. Meng was able to escape when the brothers stopped at a gas station.A few miles and hours later after Meng escaped, the Tsarnaevs became pinned in by police and engaged in a firefight. Police say Tamerlan fired the Ruger until it was empty and then threw the handgun at the officers.

Massachusetts State Police Lt David Cahill testified on Tuesday that the Ruger was fired 56 times in Watertown during the Tsarnaevs’ crime spree.Tamerlan died after being shot in the firefight, and then run over by his brother as Dzhokhar fled the scene, according to witness testimony. Dzhokhar managed to elude capture for 16 hours before being pulled off a dry-docked boat in a Watertown, Massachusetts backyard.The Ruger was recovered at the scene of the firefight in Watertown and now serves as a key piece of evidence in the trial against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty to 30 counts related to the bombing, Collier’s murder, and the businessman’s carjacking.

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Body Cam Footage Shows Police Sergeant Rescuing Child from Fire

Body Cam Footage Shows Police Sergeant Rescuing Child from Fire

Denniro/iStock/Thinkstock(GRIFFIN, Ga.) -- A Georgia police officer’s body camera showed his heroic rescue of a 3-year-old boy in a burning house.Told by the home's occupant that her young grandchild was inside the house on March 16, Sgt. Joe Hudson, a 14-year veteran of the Griffin Police Department, ran into the house and started to search for the child.His rescue effort can be seen in the body camera footage below.

“I got a little panicked for a second," he said. "The smoke was so thick so I grabbed clothes off the bed and put them in front of my face.”When Hudson couldn’t find the child, he ran back to the front of the house and the occupant, identified on a police incident report as Lynne Brown, told him that there was another room in the back out the house.Hudson made his way back through the thick smoke that filled the home. He tried searching for the boy again, and finally saw him lying on a bed.“I was definitely relieved to see him there," Hudson said. "I grabbed him, and another officer opened up a side door for me. We ran outside.”Hudson said that the child was “scared” after the ordeal. Hudson, who has three kids of his own, wanted to calm him down, so he decided to make the boy laugh by putting his glasses on his head. The boy’s grandmother gave Hudson a “big hug and kiss” and thanked his for rescuing her grandchild, he said.Initially, Hudson did not want speak about the rescue, but decided to open up about it after reflecting on recent events involving police officers.“After talking with some of my co-workers who pointed out everything that’s been going on nowadays with police, I wanted to," he said. "It’s good for people to see we are human and we have children of our own. Ninety-nine percent of us aren’t trying to arrest people. We are trying to protect people and take care of our community.”

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#CardsForCops Project Aims to Heal ‘Broken’ Relationship Between Police, Civilians

#CardsForCops Project Aims to Heal ‘Broken’ Relationship Between Police, Civilians

Shaddrack Boakye/The Truth Urban Theater Group(NEW YORK) — One activist theater group in Long Island, New York, is hoping to repair what they see as the "beaten and broken relationship between law enforcement and civilians."Their tool? Thank you cards to police officers."We were very angry and frustrated after the non-indictment of Darren Wilson for killing Michael Brown in Ferguson," Truth Urban Theater Group's co-founder Shadrack Boakye told ABC News Wednesday. "But rather than constantly arguing about it, we decided we needed to do something."The group, which performs on issues that affect urban youth, Boakye said, was inspired by the Martin Luther King, Jr. quote, "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that."That's when they came up with the idea of #CardsForCops after brainstorming positive ways to get a dialogue started between cops and civilians, Boakye said."We had kids in our community make thank-you cards, and we went out to the streets of New York City the Sunday after the Million March," Boakye said. "We thought it'd be the best time to go because they'd probably really be on guard from the protests." 

A big thanks to @thetruthutg for visiting our cops today on #UpperEastSide #UES #PoliceandCommunity #CardsforCops http://t.co/hDIjxvRkmt

— NYPD 19th Precinct (@NYPD19Pct) March 11, 2015

Boakye added that the members of the group talked about their fear of going up to cops doing this and the "very real possibility someone could be misunderstood and get hurt or shot" while doing the project.

"We were fearful for our lives," Boakye said. "The first cop we went up to seemed very apprehensive, and we could feel tension, but then when they realized what we were doing, there was a complete transformation."The cop said what we were doing was amazing and couldn't believe it," Boakye said. "We could feel the love at that moment."The Urban Truth Theater Group has gone out to hand out thank you cards several more times since then, Boakye said, adding he's even bringing along children from their community sometimes.“These children were also scared at first," Boakye said, “but once they saw the positive reaction from the officers, their eyes lit up, they smiled and there was a connection.”After a YouTube video of the #CardsForCops project went up, Boakye said they got a lot of positive response from the community and got in touch with city officials.

"We’re going to hold a public dialogue in Brooklyn [on] May 2,” Boakye said. “The focus will be on the idea of a trigger -- what triggers the officers and what triggers a civilian to help us better understand each other.” 

Thank You For This Amazing Article! This is only the beginning. Let's Do It People! #theTruthUTG #CardsForCops http://t.co/JrvNjUXo7g

— The Truth UTG (@TheTruthUTG) January 5, 2015

The Urban Truth Theater Group also plans to drive down to Ferguson and expand their project there.

“The fact is that there are officers out there that do not know how to do their jobs well or know how to communicate with civilians and vice versa,” Boakye said. “What we want is to facilitate better communication with each other to rebuild trust and unity within our communities.”Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Teen Drivers: Nearly 60% of Crashes Involve Distractions

Teen Drivers: Nearly 60% of Crashes Involve Distractions

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Distracted driving is far more prevalent among teens than previously believed, a new study out Wednesday finds.The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety analyzed nearly 1,700 videos of teen drivers, focusing on the six seconds leading up to a crash. Researchers found that distractions were a factor in 58 percent of all the crashes they studied.That's "four times higher than the official government estimate," points out Peter Kissinger, the foundation's president and CEO.He says the leading distraction for teen drivers is other passengers."If you add a second teen passenger to a teen driver in the car, that doubles the risk typically of being, that person being in a crash," Kissinger says.Cellphones are the second biggest distraction, representing about 12 percent of the cases the foundation studied, he notes.Kissinger says states should consider tougher restrictions for teens with phones and passengers in cars, and hopes the findings encourage parents to get more engaged.

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California Cop Fatally Shot by Suspect Threatening Suicide

California Cop Fatally Shot by Suspect Threatening Suicide

iStock/Thinkstock(SAN JOSE, Calif.) — A San Jose, California, police officer was fatally shot Tuesday night by a man threatening to kill himself, officials said, adding that the suspect was later found dead inside his home.Police officers responded to a call at about 6:45 p.m. local time of a man with a gun threatening to kill himself, city officials said in a news conference Tuesday night.When officers arrived at the man’s home, they were met with gunfire, and 14-year veteran officer Michael Johnson was shot and pronounced dead at the scene, police said.Police evacuated neighbors late Tuesday, as the suspect was believed to still be in his residence, San Jose Police Chief Larry Esquivel said.Police identified the suspect as Scott Dunham, 57. They also said the call to police was made by a relative of Dunham's who was worried about him."This has been San Jose's darkest hour," San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said in the same news conference.Officials did not say whether Dunham was killed by police or died by his own hand. Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wisconsin State Trooper, Bank Robbery Suspect Killed in Shootout

Wisconsin State Trooper, Bank Robbery Suspect Killed in Shootout

iStock/Thinkstock(FOND DU LAC, Wis.) — A Wisconsin state trooper was shot and killed Tuesday in the town of Fond du Lac after pursuing a man suspected of robbing a bank in the village of Wausaukee earlier that day.  Officials say the suspect, who had exchanged gunfire with the state trooper, was located in his vehicle with fatal gunshot wounds, according to the Fond du Lac Reporter. Authorities also believe the suspect fatally shot a man in his 60s near the town of Wausaukee, Wisconsin, the newspaper reports.The incident began when police received reports that a man had robbed the State Bank of Florence and fled the scene after firing a shot from a handgun, according to the Fond du Lac newspaper.

Police did not immediately find the suspect, but instead discovered the body of another man who had been shot and a vehicle nearby that was apparently connected to the bank robbery.

The bank robbery suspect later traded gunfire with a state Trooper in Fond du Lac. Police believe the suspect was shot in the exchange of gunfire with the state trooper.The investigation has been turned over to the Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation.Police have not publicly identified any of the victims, but said more information could be released Wednesday.Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

‘No Evidence’ California Physical Therapist Was Abducted, Say Police

‘No Evidence’ California Physical Therapist Was Abducted, Say Police

ABC News(VALLEJO, Calif.) -- Police in Vallejo, California, have found "no evidence to support the claims" that a physical therapist was abducted from a home there before she was found alive two days later and more than 400 miles away.Denise Huskins was found in Huntington Beach, California, Wednesday morning, police said. Her father, Mike Huskins, told ABC News that his daughter called him from Huntington Beach to say she was safe.Vallejo police said that, through family members, Huskins had promised to speak with investigators but as of late Wednesday they were unable to contact her or her family. Police said she has since retained an attorney.The FBI, which assisted Vallejo police in its investigation, had arranged for a jet to bring her from Huntington Beach to Northern California for the interview, said police."There is no evidence to support the claims that this was a stranger abduction or an abduction at all," read a statement from the Vallejo Police Department. "Given the facts that have been presented thus far, this event appears to be an orchestrated event and not a kidnapping."Huskins, 29, was reported missing at 1:55 p.m. Monday by what police described as a 30-year-old man who called to report the alleged kidnapping and claimed he witnessed it. Police previously said that Huskins was abducted from the home where she was staying in Vallejo, California, hours earlier, at about 3:30 a.m.The home from where Huskins was reportedly taken belongs to 30-year-old Aaron Quinn, ABC News has learned. Huskins' family describes him as her boyfriend and says he is the man who called 911 hours after her abduction.Vallejo police said in its statement that it would request either state or federal charges "if evidence indicates that either Ms. Huskins or Mr. Quinn have committed a criminal act.""The Vallejo Police Department would like to ensure the public that there is no indication that this was a random act of violence," police said in its statement.The San Francisco Chronicle on Wednesday reported the contents of an email it says it received the day before from an "anonymous person claiming to be holding Denise Huskins."The newspaper reported the email said that Huskins "will be returned safely (Wednesday)" and that "any advance on us or our associates will create a dangerous situation for Denise."The e-mail was also reported to include an audio file of a woman identifying herself as Huskins who referred to Tuesday’s plane crash in southern France and identified the first concert she had attended in her life, the name of a childhood friend she attended the concert with, and the name of the friend's mother as proof of her identity.“That was her. The tape recording was her. That I know. They said they were going to drop her off and they did,” Mike Huskins told the Chronicle after being played the audio recording. “I’m relieved. You have to expect the worst — but in my heart, I knew she was still alive."

Police in Vallejo said they received the same email and audio file but did not confirm its contents.

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Elephants Help Rescue Stuck 18-Wheeler in Louisiana

Elephants Help Rescue Stuck 18-Wheeler in Louisiana

Courtesy Natchitoches Parish Sheriff''s Office(NATCHITOCHES PARISH, La.) — A pair of elephants helped rescue the truck they were riding in when it got stuck in the mud on a trip from New Orleans to Dallas.It all began on Tuesday at 7:03 a.m. when the 18-wheeler transporting three elephants pulled off the road on Interstate 49 near the Powhatan exit in Louisiana and got stuck in the mud, the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff's office said in a statement."When deputies arrived on scene, they were astounded to find two elephants keeping the eighteen wheeler from overturning," the sheriff's office said.

Courtesy Natchitoches Parish Sheriff''s OfficeThe elephants on the truck were being transported to Frisco, Texas, for a circus.A wrecker service arrived and was able to free the truck, relieving the elephants of their burden.No citations were issued, police said.

Courtesy Natchitoches Parish Sheriff''s OfficeFollow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Coed Allegedly Went to Robert Durst’s Store the Day She Disappeared

Coed Allegedly Went to Robert Durst’s Store the Day She Disappeared

HBO(NEW YORK) -- A Middlebury College student went to Robert Durst's Vermont health food store the day she disappeared in 1971, police said on Tuesday. Middlebury police are now looking for tips as they investigate any potential connection between Durst and the 1971 cold case disappearance of 18-year-old Lynne Schulze. The real estate heir moved to Vermont in 1971, Middlebury police said at a press conference Tuesday, and his wife Kathleen Durst joined him later. Durst spent no more than two years in the state, police added. On Tuesday the police confirmed that Schulze purchased dried prunes from Durst's health food store called All Good Things the day she went missing. But authorities cannot confirm if Durst was working that day. It's unknown if Durst and Schulze ever had any personal contact, according to police. Last year police searched Durst's former property in the area, but didn't find anything of interest in Schulze's case, they said Tuesday. Schulze's body was never found, police said. On Monday the department said in a statement, "We are aware of the connection between Robert Durst and the disappearance of Lynne Schulze." But Tuesday the police said they haven't received any tips since Monday's release and they are looking to talk to anyone with information. The police are working with other agencies and the investigation is still open, the police said Tuesday. On March 14, Durst was arrested in connection with the death of his friend Susan Berman in Los Angeles in 2000. Durst's attorneys have said Durst is innocent. "Bob Durst didn't kill Susan Berman and he doesn't know who did," Dick DeGuerin, his attorney, said last week. While Durst has denied killing Berman, some believed he had a motive, allegedly wanting to silence her about the 1982 disappearance of his first wife, Kathleen Durst. Kathleen Durst was officially declared dead in 2001, and Durst has said he has no idea what happened to her. Durst was also charged in the 2001 killing of a neighbor in Galveston, Texas, but he claimed self-defense and was later found not guilty. Durst is also being examined in connection with the 1997 disappearance of 16-year-old Karen Mitchell in Eureka, California. Mitchell's body was never found. Durst is currently being held in New Orleans on weapons charges.

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First Egg Belonging to Viral Bald Eagles Captured on Webcam Hatches

First Egg Belonging to Viral Bald Eagles Captured on Webcam Hatches

Pennsylvania Game Commission(HANOVER, Pa.) -- After a cold and snowy winter, a pair of bald eagles at a Pennsylvania State Park have welcomed a new addition to their nest.The first egg belonging to the viral couple at Corodus State Park hatched on Tuesday, and was captured on a webcam set up by the Pennsylvania Game Commission.The birds have attracted the attention of viewers from around the globe, especially when they were spotted sheltering their eggs in the snow in early March.  As snow had piled up on the birds’ nest, one of the eagles placed its body over the eggs.

 

Breaking #HanoverEagletNews: An eaglet has hatched at the Hanover, Pa. nest! Watch live: http://t.co/3fVWKLYEMa pic.twitter.com/YolWoEkGxz

— PA Game Commission (@PAGameComm) March 24, 2015

The first egg had appeared on Valentine’s Day, and the second egg was laid three days later on Feb. 17, according to the Pennsylvania Game Commission. As of late Tuesday, the second egg has yet to hatch. Besides becoming stars online, the birds have attracted an audience much closer to their nest. Residents at the Country Meadows retirement facility in York, Pennsylvania, have been watching the eagles in their nest for months, according to a report by ABC News affiliate WHTM-TV. “It was great to see it because I’ve never seen one before like that,” resident Martha Orner told WHTM-TV.Bonnie Gesinger, director of community life at the facility, told the television station that residents have been watching the eagles since December. “Residents come knock on my door. They say, ‘When are you putting the eagles up?’” Geisinger told WHTM-TV. Now that at least one of the eggs has hatched, all eyes will be focused on watching the fledgling grow until it is expected to leave the nest in late June or early July, according to the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

 

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Meet the Most Interesting HOV Lane Violator in the World

Meet the Most Interesting HOV Lane Violator in the World

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(FIFE, Wash.) -- A Washington State man violated the High Occupancy Vehicle lane laws in a most creative way. "He couldn't have used a more recognizable face," State Patrol Officer and Public Information Officer Guy Gill told ABC News. A Washington State Patrol trooper pulled over the driver Monday afternoon on Interstate 5 near the City of Fife after spotting a prop which had the face of actor Jonathan Goldsmith in the passenger seat.

 

I don't always violate the HOV lane law...but when I do, I get a $124 ticket! We'll give him an A for creativity! 👮👍 pic.twitter.com/hNbQDuBWfc

— Trooper Guy Gill (@wspd1pio) March 24, 2015

 

Goldsmith plays "The Most Interesting Man in the World" for the beer brand of Dos Equis. "The trooper and the driver had a good laugh about it but he was cited anyway...Our trooper give him a $124 ticket for violating HOV lane laws," said Gill. In his 12 years of service with the state patrol, Gill has seen many bizarre violations. "We've seen people use duffel bags, mannequin heads...but we've given this guy an 'A' for creativity," said Gill. Stay out of the HOV lane, my friend.

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