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NYPD Officers to Begin Body Camera Training

NYPD Officers to Begin Body Camera Training

r_drewek/iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Training will begin on Wednesday for New York Police Department officers to wear body cameras.The decision to implement body cameras comes in the wake of both the Aug. 9 shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and more locally, allegations that an NYPD officer fatally placed an unarmed man, Eric Garner, in a choke hold this past summer. Choke holds are banned by NYPD policy. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said that 27 officers in three precincts will begin wearing the cameras this weekend, including in the Staten Island area where the incident involving Garner occurred.

He also noted that the cameras "are one of the ways to create a real sense of transparency and accountability, and one of the ways that we can bring police and community closer together."New York Police Commissioner William Bratton said on Tuesday that "in the midst of so much of the controversy, so much of the rhetoric and so much of the issues that we're dealing with, we lose sight of [that] the department has been moving forward in many ways, retraining, technology."

A grand jury could vote on possible charges for the officers involved in Garner's death as soon as Wednesday.

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Eric Garner Case: Five Things to Know About Grand Jury

Eric Garner Case: Five Things to Know About Grand Jury

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A grand jury in New York City is close to announcing a decision on whether to indict a white police officer in the case of Eric Garner, a black man who died after being put in a chokehold by the cop this summer.Here are five things you need to know:Location:The case is being heard by a grand jury on Staten Island, officially known as Richmond County.The District Attorney's office is well-regarded, but remains the smallest of the five D.A.’s offices in New York City. It is also the only office headed by a Republican, Daniel Donovan. Staten Island is the only borough of NYC where the Republican Party has any real presence whatsoever.Historically, police officers from nearby boroughs such as Brooklyn and Queens live or have lived on Staten Island.Process:The grand jury is made up of 23 people, led by a foreperson. All 23 do not need to appear for every day of testimony.An indictment is voted by majority of the total grand jury, meaning 12 grand jurors must agree regardless of how many are present in the room when the vote is called. Once 12 vote for indictment, the voting stops.No one ever knows if an indictment was unanimous. The voting is done by a show of hands and no record is ever kept of the vote. The rest of the grand jury’s minutes is recorded and given to the judge but only segments of it are ever released at trial.Charges:The grand jury votes on a menu of charges for each potential defendant. The list of charges is decided solely by the D.A. The list of possible defendants is also decided solely by prosecutors.In this case, the possible charges have not been announced but prosecutors who do this work tell ABC News the range is going to include: second-degree manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, felony assault, and reckless endangerment. Prosecutors could ask for first-degree manslaughter, but it's doubtful they could get it.As the list of charges is considered by the grand jury, questions could arise about facts of the case and how they should be considered. The grand jury could seek more info or additional witnesses. They are in total control.Decision:Once the decisions on indictments are made by vote, the grand jury’s work is over. But the D.A. has to go through the mechanics of transforming a voted set of charges into a formal indictment, which requires a signature by the court clerk. The signature is what makes it public. The D.A. could, therefore, sit on the unofficial set of charges and wait until the next day to turn them into an official indictment. This happens all the time.Possible IndictmentIf there’s an indictment, the defendant would be tried in Staten Island. In addition to the D.A., the FBI and Justice Department are “monitoring” the case and could open a formal civil rights probe.Indictment or not, Garner's family has also indicated that they plan to sue the city for $75 million for wrongful death.

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Feds Arrest Man for Alleged Threats to Kill Ferguson Ex-Cop Darren Wilson

Feds Arrest Man for Alleged Threats to Kill Ferguson Ex-Cop Darren Wilson

iStock/Thinkstock(SEATTLE) -- The FBI has arrested a Kirkland, Washington, man for making threats to kill former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. According to a criminal complaint filed in federal court in Seattle, Jaleel Tariq Abdul-Jabbaar, made numerous threats against Wilson and his family on his Facebook page.Abdul-Jabbaar’s Facebook page described in court papers contains numerous posts calling for Wilson to be killed. A news report reposted his page with the headline, “ANONYMOUS Posts Information on Officer Darren Wilson’s Location and His Friend,” Abdul-Jabbaar allegedly comments, “We the oppressed people need to kill this white cop.”In a September 15 Facebook post which included a photo of Darren Wilson and the headline, “Wanted for Murder of Mike Brown,” Abdul-Jabbaar allegedly writes, “This dude needs his house sprayed.” Another post on November 11 from Abdul-Jabbaar states, “Are there any REAL BLACK MEN that would love to go down to Ferguson Missouri to give those bullets that Police Officer Darren Wilson fired into the body of Mike Brown. If we’re unable to locate Officer Wilson then we’ll return them to his wife and if not her then his children.”Abdul-Jabbaar’s rage-filled posts reach a boiling point after the grand jury investigating the August 9 shooting death of Michael Brown at the hands of then-Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson declined to indict Wilson. On November 24, Abdul-Jabbaar posted a news article with the headline, “Ferguson Grand Jury Verdict has Just Been Reached.” His comments, “Ready to go and kill some cops,” and “We need to kill this white motha f---- and anything that has a badge on.”Though not mentioned in the complaint, Abdul-Jabbaar’s Facebook page includes several sympathetic references to ISIS and uses an image of the ISIS flag as the cover photo.Acting United States Attorney Annette L. Hayes said in a statement, “Although we each have the right to express our views about the decision reached by the state grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri, we cannot tolerate violence or threats of violence that are intended to intimidate, and ultimately silence debate. Such threats are crimes, and the individuals who make them must be held to account.”Abdul-Jabbaar is charged with three counts of making interstate threats and faces up to five years in prison.A phone message and email sent to Abdul-Jabbaar’s attorney, a federal public defender, weren't immediately returned.

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Two Children and One Adult Killed in School Bus Crash

Two Children and One Adult Killed in School Bus Crash

iStock/Thinkstock(EAST KNOXVILLE, Tenn.) -- Two children and one adult died when two school buses crashed Tuesday afternoon in East Knoxville, Tennessee, authorities said.

The names and ages of the victims have not been released, but law enforcement officials confirmed that the adult was an aide on the bus.

"This is an unspeakable tragedy," Knox County Schools superintendent Jim McIntyre said at a press conference, calling the incident "just a terrible accident."

At least 20 other children were injured, Knox County school officials said.

The injured students were taken to East Tennessee Children's Hospital. Dr. Ryan Redman said that all of the injuries were non-life-threatening.

All of the injured children have reunited with their parents, but hospital officials say it is too soon to tell if any will have to stay overnight.

School officials confirmed to ABC News that one of the buses was carrying children from Chilhowee Intermediate School and that the other served Sunnyview Primary School.

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Grand Jury Expected to Vote in NYPD Chokehold Death Case

Grand Jury Expected to Vote in NYPD Chokehold Death Case

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The Staten Island grand jury hearing testimony in the summertime chokehold death of Eric Garner is expected to vote on whether to charge NYPD cops as early as Wednesday, ABC News has learned.

That vote could be delayed. The grand jury could very well want more legal information or to hear from more witnesses. The grand jury is in total control of this closed-door process.

There is no word on when an announcement of the decision will come, though officials are expecting it by the end of the week – perhaps as early as Wednesday. The case is being watched closely since the grand jury in Ferguson last week declined to indict a Missouri cop who shot and killed unarmed teen Michael Brown, touching off violence and protests.

The grand jury has focused on, among other things, the conduct of Officer Daniel Pantaleo, who was seen in a video using a chokehold to bring Garner to the ground after confronting him for selling loose cigarettes. The move was termed a chokehold by Police Commissioner Bill Bratton – a move specifically banned by NYPD policy as well as by police regulations around the country.

Pantaleo’s lawyer, Stuart London, expects the special grand jury to vote whether to indict on Wednesday.

Pantaleo testified last month. “My client was gratified that they took the time to listen to everything he said and he knows his future is in their hands,” London said.

Pantaleo’s partner, Justin D’Amico, testified after being granted immunity from prosecution.

The NYPD had no comment on Tuesday, but Bratton said in response to a question about possible protests from this case that "people have a right to march and protest. If they engage in actual criminal activity like vandalism and crime, they will be arrested quite simply."

Staten Island District Attorney Dan Donovan, during an unrelated news conference, would not discuss the grand jury’s work, but said, “Regardless of what the decision is, I expect there will be some demonstrations.”

Pantaleo is on suspension and was stripped of his gun and badge, pending the outcome of the case.

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Washington Woman Survives After Car Plunges into Canal

Washington Woman Survives After Car Plunges into Canal

iStock/Thinkstock(YELM, Wash.) -- A woman who survived after her car plunged into a Washington state canal said she has car-safety equipment at hand since the accident and that she recommended other drivers get some too.

“[But] don’t leave it in the trunk,” Colette Smith told ABC News affiliate KOMO-TV.

Smith was on her way home from Yelm, Washington state, early Sunday morning when her car hit a patch of ice and fell into the Centralia Canal.

“I didn’t have a plan,” she said. “I didn’t know what I was going to do.”

Smith called 911 at 2:30 a.m. Sunday from her partially submerged 2013 Chevy Cruze.

“I hit some black ice,” she tells the 911 dispatcher on the taped call. “I was going home from Yelm and then I went off the road.…I’m in a big puddle and my car’s filling up with water. I don’t even know where I am.”

The 30-year-old told the dispatcher she was OK but could not get the car door open. It was reportedly pinned shut against an embankment.

“The water’s up to my knees,” she says. “The car’s sinking.”

After attempting to break the window several times with her keys, Smith was rescued by two police officers who broke the back window and helped her crawl out before the car sank into 12 feet of water.

“I was so panicked I didn’t even feel the cold,” she said, according to KOMO-TV. “I was more freaked that there was water coming into my car.”

Smith was treated at the hospital for minor injuries.

“I guess I’m lucky,” she said. “Somebody up there is looking out for me.”

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MLB Umpire Dale Scott Comes Out as Gay

MLB Umpire Dale Scott Comes Out as Gay

Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Longtime Major League Baseball umpire Dale Scott recently came out as gay -- saying the feedback he's received has been "all positive."

Scott, an umpire for the past 29 seasons and the first openly gay male official of a major U.S. sports league, was profiled this past October in Referee magazine.

When the magazine asked Scott to submit non-game photos, Scott decided to send a photo with his husband, according to an Outsports.com article published Tuesday with the headline, "MLB Umpire Dale Scott Comes Out as Gay in Quietest Way Possible."

When asked by ABC News about the growing reaction in social media so far, he said, "If it’s something that could possibly help somebody who reads this story and wants to pursue an umpire career and needs a little encouragement, it’s well worth the effort."

The baseball community, including former pitcher Curt Schilling, have reacted via Twitter:

 

@outsports @BMcCarthy32 @MLB @SBNation Dale Scott might be one of the nicest guys I've ever met, and was a HELL of an umpire.

— Curt Schilling (@gehrig38) December 2, 2014

 

 

I guess Dale Scott threw himself out http://t.co/RzTVgcy1Qy

— Mattheim Sussroller (@suss2hyphens) December 2, 2014

 

Scott married Michael Rausch last November, though they have been together for 28 years.

"I realize this is kind of a big deal, but it’s kind of funny to me," Scott said. "Like I said in the article, Major League Baseball, the umpires, staff and my peers who I’ve been working with for years -- many of them have met and know Mike. In a way, I’m not surprised at the reaction, because I guess it is a big story. But in baseball and as far as the people I work with, it’s not news quite frankly."

For now, Scott said he is enjoying the offseason from his homes in Portland and in Palm Springs, California.

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How a Virginia Man Can Bulletproof Your Child’s Backpack

How a Virginia Man Can Bulletproof Your Child’s Backpack

iStock/Thinkstock(ROANOKE, Va.) -- A Virginia man has developed an armored plate that he says can turn any child’s backpack into a bulletproof shield.

Norvell West, founder and co-owner of CW Armor in Roanoke, said he started making small plates that can fit into backpacks after a friend in law enforcement asked whether there were better ways to create portable bulletproof surfaces.

The armor is used to protect doors or rooms, but West cut it down to a size that can fit almost anywhere.

West said his friend and others also started to ask what could be done to protect children in school shootings. While the subject came up off and on for years, it took on greater urgency after the 2007 mass shooting at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg that left 33 dead.

“It was a kind of a culmination,” West said of the decision to create the small armor pieces.

While bulletproof whiteboards or specially designed backpacks have existed for years, West’s armor, which costs from $100 to $160, can be used almost anywhere and easily fits into a briefcase or messenger bag for adults.

“All of [the school shootings] are a national tragedy,” West said, adding that his son and daughter now carry armored backpacks. “None of us can seem to come up with an answer, so this is just our answer.”

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Reality TV Star Helps California Cops Catch Suspected Car Thief

Reality TV Star Helps California Cops Catch Suspected Car Thief

iStock/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- A Southern California car chase ended in a very real way for the alleged car thief when the star of a reality TV show cut him off, allowing cops to arrest him.The suspect, who was not immediately identified, went on the run on Monday in Van Nuys, California, after allegedly stealing a BMW sedan, according to Los Angeles ABC News station KABC.The suspect got out of the car and tried to get away on a skateboard, running through traffic, when a red pickup truck made a hard right turn and blocked him.The driver of the pickup truck was Lou Pizarro, the star of the reality TV show, Operation Repo."I seen the guy running with a skateboard in his hand, and he's running from the cops, they're like right on him, there's about six or seven cops, and he got on his skateboard and he started moving,” Pizarro, who drives the same red pickup on the show, told KABC."It was just instinct just to block the guy off, slow him down a little bit,” he said. "That's all I could do.”No injuries were reported and the suspect was immediately arrested, according to KABC.

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See the Biggest Live Nativity Scene in the World

See the Biggest Live Nativity Scene in the World

File photo. (iStock/Thinkstock)(PROVO, Utah) -- More than 1,000 people dressed up as angels in an event that broke the world record for the largest live nativity re-enactment.Rock Canyon Park in Provo, Utah, was turned into a scene from the Bible Monday night as 1,039 volunteers turned out to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.The park became "a concourse of angels; it was just like heavenly hills of angels,” Derral Eves, one of the event's producers, told ABC News.Volunteers also dressed up as other key characters in the biblical scene, including Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, the three kings and four shepherds."We had the idea four weeks ago on Monday and we had the idea and we really felt like this was something we needed to do," Eves said."There's so many people out there that would really like to share with the world the true meaning of Christmas,” he said. “Its’ not about materialism; it’s really about Jesus Christ. I think this was just a bold statement we wanted to make.”The non-denominational Christian ceremony was run by The Radiant Foundation, a multifaith organization, and they enlisted the help of YouTube stars like The Piano Guys and The Mormon Tabernacle Choir.More than 1,900 people had signed up to participate in the event, although the actual headcount on Monday was just above 1,000, Eves said. That was enough, however, because the previous Guinness World Record included only 898 people.The volunteers began arriving around 2 p.m. and the re-enactment ended at 4:30 p.m., with the entire event wrapping up after 11:00 p.m. because the crowd stayed to record a new rendition of “Angels We Have Heard on High.”"What we've seen,” Eves said, “is just miracles left and right.”

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Detroit Power Outage Closes Schools, Snarls Traffic

Detroit Power Outage Closes Schools, Snarls Traffic

iStock/Thinkstock(DETROIT) -- Detroit struggled to restore power Tuesday after a cable snafu knocked out power to much of the city beleaguered city, prompting early dismissal from schools, knocking out traffic lights, and even preventing one firehouse from being able to open its doors.Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said the failure was caused by the aging infrastructure of a city that just emerged from bankruptcy. He said when one power cable failed, power was rerouted to a second cable which also failed. In order to not overload the power grid, Duggan said the entire system was shut down.The cable belonged to Detroit Public Lighting, according to Homeland Security officials. Detroit Edison provides power to much of the Detroit area, but the older downtown grid is operated by Detroit Public Lighting.A third of power had been restored to customers within a few hours and the remaining power was expected to be restored to customers by later Tuesday night, the mayor said.Multiple buildings including the City County Building, the Joe Louis arena where the Detroit Red Wings play, and the Detroit City Airport have been affected, according to ABC News affiliate WXYZ-TV in Detroit.The Detroit Fire Department said all firehouses are using backup generators and are able to respond to calls, according to Lt. Theresa Halsell. One firehouse, was unable to open its doors, officials said.Halsell said a few people were temporarily stuck in elevators, but they were quickly evacuated and Duggan praised firefighters who carried some people down stairs.Nearly all Detroit public schools -- 87 of 97 -- lost power. All schools dismissed students early due to the power outage.Traffic lights were out and 100 officers were dispatched to the busiest intersections to keep traffic moving safely.At Wayne State University, classes were still running even though a couple dozen buildings were without power, according to Wayne State University spokesman Rashida Williams.All classes on the main campus and all evening events were cancelled, according to Wayne State University's Twitter account.

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Adrian Peterson Fights NFL Suspension with Appeal

Adrian Peterson Fights NFL Suspension with Appeal

Bob Levey/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Adrian Peterson is fighting back against his indefinite suspension from the National Football League for disciplining his 4-year-old son by hitting the boy with a switch.The Minnesota Vikings running back pleaded no contest to misdemeanor reckless assault last month and will face no jail time, but the NFL took a harder line when it came to his punishment.The NFL suspended Peterson for the rest of this season, but Peterson is in New York Tuesday to appeal the suspension.Peterson's team is hoping that the NFL's decision to overturn their indefinite suspension against Ray Rice, the Baltimore Ravens star who was suspended indefinitely for hitting his wife in an elevator, is an indicator that Peterson has a chance of getting his decision reversed.There are some major differences in the two cases, however.The first is that Rice was given an initial punishment of a two-game suspension and he had served that. The NFL later added a more drastic punishment of indefinite suspension pertaining to the same incident. An arbitrator threw out the second and more severe punishment by declaring it was a form of double jeopardy and Rice had not misled the NFL with his initial statements about the incident.That type of double jeopardy situation is not true in Peterson's case because his suspension was the first and only punishment he received from the league.While Rice faced a former federal judge with no NFL affiliation, Peterson is making his appeal case to Judge Harold Henderson, a longtime counsel to the NFL.Peterson’s camp believes he was given certain assurances about his punishment by a league official. USA Today reported that Peterson allegedly has taped conversations with an NFL executive who said that Peterson could only be suspended for two games.The alleged conversation between Peterson and NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent could play a major role in the appeal hearing.The appeal will be held behind closed-doors and it is unclear how long it will last.Rice and Peterson are not the only star football players facing punishment for domestic assault incidents. Florida State University quarterback Jameis Winston's long-delayed code of conduct hearing is scheduled to begin on Tuesday, almost two years after he allegedly sexually assaulted a female student.Tuesday's hearing comes as the season is winding down, though FSU will face Georgia Tech on Saturday and the team could also end up playing in a playoff game as well.Winston had claimed he is innocent and he was cleared of criminal charges earlier this year.

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Oath Keepers Guard Ferguson’s Businesses, Draw Police Opposition

Oath Keepers Guard Ferguson’s Businesses, Draw Police Opposition

ABC News(FERGUSON, Mo.) -- When night falls on Ferguson, Missouri, Sam Andrews gets to work.Andrews -- dressed in full camouflage and armed with an assault rifle and handgun -- climbs to the roof of a dentist’s office to begin his nightly surveillance. He’s a member of the Oath Keepers, a group taking up armed positions on the streets and rooftops with the intent of protecting local businesses.He says he’s here to defend “The best part of America, the creative part, the small businesses, the hardest working people in the United States of America. To defend them from arson.”While some business owners are embracing the presence of Andrews and other do-it-yourself patrolmen with the Oath Keepers, many others -- including police -- are uncomfortable with the group’s mission.The group was founded in March 2009 by Stewart Rhodes, a Yale-educated attorney and former army paratrooper. The Oath Keepers claim to have active chapters in all 50 states, as well as an estimated 40,000 members -- which would make it one of the fastest growing far-right organizations in the world.The Oath Keepers’ arrival comes at a sensitive time for police in the St. Louis suburb. A grand jury last week declined to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the Aug. 9 shooting death of unarmed black teen Michael Brown.Following the grand jury announcement, nights of unrest followed in Ferguson, with violent protests erupting and at least 17 stores vandalized and burned to the ground.Natalie DuBose’s bake shop, “Natalie’s Cakes and More,” was broken into and looted.“I didn’t have the extra savings or extra money to replace everything that was destroyed,” she told ABC News following the vandalism. “The threat of not being able to take care of your children makes you feel like less than a human being.”DuBose’s story caught Andrews’ attention. He was watching the news at home 40 miles away.“I can’t even imagine a governor that would leave a woman like this and her business to burn, like they did,” Andrews said. “But I value this woman as much as anything I’ve ever seen in my life.”So Andrews came to Ferguson and put out a call online for more volunteers such as himself. The Oath Keepers’ presence hasn’t been met by full support, Andrews said.“They were calling us the KKK, they were calling us the police. We were saying ‘We’re not the police, we’re here to defend you. We’re here to defend your rights,’” Andrews told ABC News.While the unrest in Ferguson has dissipated since last week, Andrews and his fellow volunteers say they will continue to protect the bake shop, as well as the nearby dentist’s office.

Marilyn Crider, who manages Ferguson Dental, is thankful for the support.“I don’t know where they came from, but I have to thank God they showed up,” Crider said. “We wouldn’t be standing here working today. We wouldn’t have a building.”What separates the Oath Keepers from other militia groups is that they recruit men and women of the military and law enforcement -- vowing to disobey “unconstitutional orders” from what the group sees as an increasingly tyrannical president and government.Many, including the police, have concerns with the Oath Keepers and their mission. Oren Segal, director of the Anti-Defamation League Center on Extremism, called the Oath keepers an “extremist, anti-government group.”“Everything that they say that stand for is based on this notion that the world and the government is going to become a dictatorship to try to prevent Americans from having their freedoms,” Segal said.Ferguson is not the first time the Oath Keepers have made headlines. This past spring, after federal agents clashed with members of a Nevada cattle ranching family over the removal of a herd from federally-managed land, Oath Keepers and like-minded followers descended on the ranch to show their support.Critics such as Segal have concerns with the group’s structure and viewpoints.“When you believe that you have to arm yourself in order to protect the people from the government, and you’re such a loosely-organized group that anybody can join you, that’s a combination that can potentially create violent incidents in the future,” Segal said.St. Louis County Police declined an interview with ABC News, but confirmed that it is investigating whether the Oath Keepers are breaking the law by providing security without a license.But Andrews says the Oath Keepers plan to stay in Ferguson for the time being. He said hundreds of volunteers -- of all races -- have passed through the St. Louis suburb in recent weeks. But many of them wish to remain anonymous, preferring not to show their faces.“We will be here just as long as it takes,” he told ABC News. “That is just the way it is.”

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FBI Joins Search for Missing College Student in Philadelphia

FBI Joins Search for Missing College Student in Philadelphia

Courtesy Montgomery Family(PHILADELPHIA) — The FBI is now involved in the search for a college student who mysteriously vanished Thanksgiving morning after leaving a Philadelphia bar, with authorities increasing a reward in the student’s disappearance to $25,000.Philadelphia police are scouring the city -- even canals -- for any sign of Shane Montgomery, 21, a student at nearby West Chester University.His disappearance is so baffling that the FBI has joined the case. Montgomery was out with friends and his cousin at Kildare’s Irish Pub, a bar in Philadelphia’s Manayunk neighborhood, on the early-morning hours of Thanksgiving, Nov. 27. Police say he left the bar on foot, and hasn’t been heard from since.Eyewitnesses say Montgomery wasn’t drunk, but that he left the bar after bumping into a table. They say he left without incident before 2 a.m.His cellphone sent a final ping at 2:30 a.m. by a nearby CVS Pharmacy less than a mile away.A bar bouncer says he saw and spoke with Montgomery nearby. But police say Montgomery has yet to show up on any surveillance footage from the area.“There’s not even one person that we are keying on at this point,” First Deputy Police Commissioner Richard Ross said.Montgomery’s relatives are shocked by his disappearance.“I wish that Shane would come walking in the door any minute,” his mother, Karen Montgomery, said. “There had to be people in the neighborhood. There had to be people to see something.”

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St. Louis Police Union Meets with Football Team After Players’ Gesture References Michael Brown Shooting

St. Louis Police Union Meets with Football Team After Players’ Gesture References Michael Brown Shooting

Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images(ST. LOUIS) -- Representatives from the St. Louis Police Officers Association and the St. Louis County Police Association met on Monday with leadership from the St. Louis Rams football team after police organizations had criticized some Rams players for displaying a gesture referencing the Michael Brown shooting.Prior to Sunday's game against the Oakland Raiders, a handful of Rams players entered the field giving the "hands-up-don't-shoot" gesture popularized by protesters in the aftermath of Michael Brown's shooting death at the hands of St. Louis-area police officer Darren Wilson.

The talks were called "productive but very preliminary," by police representatives. SLPOA Business Manager Jeff Roorda, who criticized the Rams players on Sunday, said that he believes "they better understand our perspective and the perspective of the law-abiding citizens that support law enforcement."On Sunday, Roorda had said that, "I know that there are those that will say that these players are simply exercising their First Amendment rights. Well I've got news for people who think that way, cops have first amendment rights too, and we plan to exercise ours. I'd remind the NFL and their players that it is not the violent thugs burning down buildings that buy their advertisers' products. It's cops and the good people of St. Louis and other NFL towns that do. Somebody needs to throw a flag on this play. If it's not the NFL and the Rams, then it'll be cops and their supporters."On Monday it was announced that the Rams players would not face fines from the team or the NFL for the display.

The Fraternal Order of Police wrote a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Monday, expressing, "profound disappointment with the recent decision of the [NFL] not to discipline or apologize for the actions of some St. Louis Rams players who took the field on Sunday using the 'hands up, don't shoot' gesture employed by those deluded individuals who believe that Michael Brown was deliberately shot and killed by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson."

Despite the ubiquity of the "hands-up" gesture in protests of the shooting, a grand jury agreed with forensic evidence and Wilson's own testimony that Brown was attacking, not surrendering at the time he was shot.

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Woman Bites $3,000 Purple Pearl in Clam Shell

Woman Bites $3,000 Purple Pearl in Clam Shell

Photo Courtesy: Joe Morelli(VIRGINIA BEACH, Va.) -- A Virginia Beach woman who picked up a couple bags of clams from a seafood shack was shocked when she discovered a rare, purple pearl inside one of the clam shells."I bit down on it and I pulled it out and said, 'Look at this,'" Kathleen Morelli told the Delmarva Daily Times.She bought the clams at the Great Machipongo Clam Shack in Nassawadox, according to the newspaper.Morelli thought the pearl was pretty, but didn't think much of it until her husband started researching."From what I've read, one in 5,000 clams will grow a pearl," Joe Morelli told the Delmarva Daily Times. He said his wife's pearl could fetch $3,000."Which is not bad for a $15 bag of clams," Kathleen Morelli said.

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University of Virginia President Addresses Students on Sexual Assault Following “Rolling Stone” Article

University of Virginia President Addresses Students on Sexual Assault Following “Rolling Stone” Article

Photo by Norm Shafer/For the Washington Post(CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.) -- University of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan addressed the school's students on Monday as part of the university's continued response to a recent Rolling Stone magazine article that detailed a student's accusation of an on-campus rape and the way in which the investigation into that accusation was handled.Sullivan noted that the story raised questions in her own mind and that the university will work to learn the answers to the questions. Among those questions, Sullivan specifically asked rhetorically, "Do we do everything possible to protect every student at UVA?", "Have we provided the proper emphasis on both supporting survivors and encouraging reporting?", "What is the role of alcohol?", and "What is the role of Greek life?""Let me say emphatically that how we answer these questions is not about protecting the University's reputation," Sullivan said Monday. "It is about doing the right thing, and the reputation I care about the most is not being afraid to follow the truth wherever it may lead. We will not be doing business as usual in spring 2015. We will fearlessly examine ourselves and our culture, while we also cooperate fully with the independent investigation underway."Sullivan said her goal is to identify any "subculture that hurts any UVA students or exploits any of our fellow Wahoos" and "find out where it hides and root it out." "UVA is too good a place to allow this evil to reside," Sullivan declared, aiming to "make this school a safe and welcoming place for all."Sullivan also discussed the necessity for the university to continuously improve its handling of rape cases, properly affording victims the support they need while also valuing and supporting the reporting of sexual assault. Sullivan also said on Monday that she would authorize the funding and hiring of an additional trauma counselor for the school's Women's Center, at the request of both the Women's Center and student organization One Less, which aims to prevent sexual assault.The university must continue to take steps to prevent rape, which Sullivan called "a national problem," she added. "We will not stop until every student feels safe and secure and free to learn and live and grow."

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People Walk Out of Work, School in Ferguson Protests

People Walk Out of Work, School in Ferguson Protests

Andrew Burton/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Protesters across the country walked out of jobs or school on Monday to honor Michael Brown, the unarmed teenager killed this summer by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri.Many of the walkouts happened at 12:01 p.m. CT, the exact time Brown was shot on Aug. 9. The movement gained steam on social media with the hashtag #HandsUpWalkOut, and organized protests happened in dozens of cities.At universities from New York to Los Angeles, students marched holding signs saying "Black Lives Matter" and demanding "justice" for Brown.In some parts of the country, the protesters even included middle school students.Writer Shaun King told ABC News his 12-year-old daughter walked out during her lunch period at her Orange County, California middle school to join the protest."She had gotten an email from her Harry Potter Hogwarts club saying they were going to cancel their lunch meeting so they could do this walkout together," he said, noting that his daughter, Kendi, had already expressed interest in participating."It was something she wanted to do," he added. "And something her peers wanted to do. It was clear they were affected by Michael Brown's death and what they believe was an injustice. It's powerful to see them thinking for themselves. I'm really proud of her and kids all over the country who have taken these actions."The protests come one week after a grand jury decided not to bring any charges again police officer Darren Wilson in Brown's death.

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NTSB Says Short Circuit Caused Dreamliner Fires, Points Some Blame at Boeing, FAA

NTSB Says Short Circuit Caused Dreamliner Fires, Points Some Blame at Boeing, FAA

Martin_Petit/iStock/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- The National Transportation Safety Board on Monday released a report on the Jan. 7, 2013 incident involving a fire in the battery case of a Japan Airlines plane.The fire caused the grounding of all of Boeing's 787 "Dreamliner" jets while the agency looked into the cause of the fire. The incident in Boston was followed days later by a similar incident in Japan, at which point the fleet of 787s was grounded for about three months while the batteries were redesigned.

The fire, the NTSB says, was caused by a short circuit within the plane's lithium-ion battery.

The agency also noted that the company that manufactured the batteries was partially responsible for allowing defects that could lead to short circuiting. The NTSB said that Boeing "failed to incorporate design requirements...to mitigate the most severe effects of a cell internal short circuit." Additionally, the Federal Aviation Administration failed to pick up on the design vulnerability.The Dreamliner was introduced in 2011 and was considered technologically advanced. The plane was the first airliner to make large-scale use of lithium-ion batteries.

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Black Friday Was Big Day for Gun Background Checks

Black Friday Was Big Day for Gun Background Checks

David De Lossy/Photodisc/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The FBI confirmed on Monday that last Friday was the second-biggest day in U.S. history for gun background checks.The bureau told ABC News that they processed 175,754 background checks for gun purchases on Black Friday. That figure is second only to Dec. 21, 2012, when 177,170 such background checks were run.FBI Spokesman Stephen G. Fischer said that nearly 75 percent of background checks on Friday were run through E-Check, a secure Internet connection.

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