Sunday, July 31, 2016
RadioOnFire.com - For some horrifically saddening reason there seems to be this epidemic in the United States, and around the world, where shooting has become more common these past few years. Early this morning, fear arose in the city of Austin, Texas where someone was firing a weapon into a crowd. Saddening news arise that an ‘active shooter’ in Austin, Texas left at least one dead and four others wounded early Sunday morning.
Witness reports that someone was ‘firing a weapon into a crowd’ in busy E. 6th Street which was followed by a 911 phone call minutes later.
Police took to social media like Twitter to warn the people of the city to ‘stay away from downtown’ and update them on exactly what was occurring ‘active shooter’, ‘multiple victims’.
Five people were struck by the shooter, which included a woman aged in her 30s who was pronounced dead at the scene.
The shots were being said to have been fired at a parking garage.
However, investigations later determined that there were “two unrelated incidents that occurred in close proximity both in location and time”, Manley said (Austin Police Chief of Staff Brian Manley).
One of the scenes was in the vicinity of the Friends Bar.
RadioOnFire.com - Heavy rains on Saturday night caused flooding in Ellicott City and parts of Baltimore City.
Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman confirms one woman died in the flooding, and more than 100 people were rescued.
Kittleman told WBAL NewsRadio 1090 that a woman's body was found in the Patapsco River overnight on the Baltimore County side of the river.
Kittleman describes the damage as "devastating," and worse than the damage in 1972 from Tropical Storm Agnes.
Governor Larry Hogan toured the damage this morning and declared a State of Emergency in Howard County, allowing officials to get aid quicker.
WBAL-TV 11 Weather meteorologist John Collins reported 6 inches of rain had fallen in Ellicott City in 2-3 hours.
Part of Main Street collapsed in the flooding.
Kittleman said there was damage to buildings and cars in Ellicott City.
"We've had severe damage in the lower part of Ellicott City on Main Street," Kittleman told 11 News. "There's severe damage in Ellicott City and a lot of road closures in that area."
Kittleman said the Department of Recreation and Parks has opened the Roger Carter Community Center at 3000 Milltowne Drive for anyone who needs shelter.
"We've had some water rescues. I have not heard of any serious injuries, thankfully," Kittleman said.
There were thousands of power outages reported, particularly in Howard County, where BGE reported as many as 8,400 outages at one point.
RadioOnFire.com - Lottery officials say only one winning ticket was sold in Saturday night's $478-million Powerball drawing.
The winning ticket was sold in New Hampshire.
The winning numbers were 11-17-21-23-32, Powerball 5, Power Play 2x.
CLICK HERE for a complete list of Powerball results.
Saturday, July 30, 2016
RadioOnFire.com - A knife-wielding man was shot outside of a Costco in Modesto, California on Thursday [July 28], after pacing the store with the weapon, then refusing to comply with the orders of an off-duty officer. Gary Harlan Scott, 61, is said to have just been discharged from a mental health facility, when at around 5 pm, Modesto police were dispatched to Pelandale Avenue, near Sisk Road, where Scott appeared to be provoking an encounter. The plain-clothed cop bore significant period of restraint before firing off, putting Scott in critical condition.
RadioOnFire.com - State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby's office is contradicting reports they simply approached and did not use the assistance of Maryland State Police during their investigation of Freddie Gray's death.
Mosby also dismissed some of the claims made by former police commissioner Anthony Batts about how police handled their investigation, and spoke against structures she said make it hard to hold police accountable. She and Chief Deputy State's Attorney Michael Schatzow were in studio with C4 Friday.
Mosby reiterated the decision was one she grappled with, but that proceeding with the three likely bench trials to follow was sure to be fruitless, with the same evidence and the same trier of fact, Judge Barry Williams.
"His rationale, he didn't believe the state's theory of the case and he's well within his right to do so, he's the judge," Mosby said.
However, Mosby and Schatzow defended the legitimacy of the charges, which they said was affirmed in ruling after ruling denying motions for acquittal which Williams based on the fact there was enough evidence for a juror to reasonably convict.
She also spoke more about the obstruction, she, Schatzow and fellow lead prosecutor Janice Bledsoe have spoken of since the charges were dropped. Mosby blames it not on Baltimore police generally, but a few detectives who failed to execute warrants and one, Dawnyell Taylor, who prosecutors say fabricated notes that contradicted Gray's autopsy. Mosby's investigators do not have police power. While their investigation was done in cooperation with sheriff's deputies, she said that relying on police to investigate police creates unavoidable conflicts.
"If I'm prosecuting my brother, I would be recused from doing so. Why don't we hold the police to that same standard," Mosby said. "You have the police that come in and they recant their statements. They don't want to testify against their brothers."
They also said that comments made by then-police commissioner Anthony Batts were also little help. They accused him of spreading misinformation and other investigatory details prosecutors did not want made public.
"The fired former commissioner was having press conferences every day and disclosing inf that shouldn't be disclosed," Schatzow said. "He told me he would not go on to give any information without passing it through me and 45 minutes later, he was having another press conference."
The Baltimore Sun reported this week that Mosby's office, in the course of investigating Gray's death, approached state police but didn't actually use their help. That's not the full story, Schatzow said.
Mosby declined to directly respond to Batts' comments this week assailing Mosby's competency and prosecution.
"I think there's a reason why he's no longer the commissioner," she said.
RadioOnFire.com - Federal officials said a hot air balloon carrying at least 16 people caught on fire and crashed in Central Texas on Saturday.
Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office said there doesn't appear to be any survivors.
"The balloon was occupied and it does not appear at this time that there were any survivors of the crash," Caldwell County Sheriff Daniel Law said in a statement. "Investigators are determining the number and the identities of victims at this time."
Lynn Lunsford with the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement that the accident happened about 8:40 a.m. near Lockhart when the hot air balloon crashed into a pasture. Lockhart is about 30 miles south of Austin.
Friday, July 29, 2016
Thursday, July 28, 2016
RadioOnFire.com - The day after State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby dropped charges against the six officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray, the two lead prosecutors in the trials to this point sat down with reporters to discuss the case publicly for the first time.
Janice Bledsoe and Michael Schatzow shed light on the timing of the decision, moves made during the case, and certain claims made by Mosby during her statement Wednesday in Sandtown-Winchester, the Baltimore neighborhood where Gray's fateful arrest took place.
Much was made in the wake of Mosby's public statement about her effectively accusing individual detectives of sabotage and fabricating notes. Schatzow confirmed one of those detectives was Dawnyell Taylor, the lead detective on the case who was later called as a defense witness in the trial of Officer Caesar Goodson.
Taylor testified about two interviews with Dr. Carol Allan, the assistant medical examiner who performed Gray's autopsy, in which Allan, as Taylor wrote in her notes, called Gray's death a "freakish accident that no human hands could cause." That contradicted Allan's own testimony.
"She was doing things without notifying us and doing things that were counter to what a primary detective should be doing on a case and she was doing them on her own, so we brought this to the attention of the police department," Schatzow said.
Furthermore, they said police neglected to execute warrants for text exchanges from the officers' cell phones.
"The Baltimore Police Department did not execute those warrants in the correct amount of time and they expired," Bledsoe said. "There was an explanation given as to why, which was not given by command. It was sort of more by lower command."
She referred questions as to why those warrants were not executed to police. For their part, spokesman Lt. Jarron Jackson said Commissioner Kevin Davis' Wednesday statement would be all said by police on the matter.
"We will not engage in public banter with our criminal justice system partners, nor will we entertain media requests that seek responses to remarks made by persons now offering retrospective opinions," Jackson said in an email.
The charges were dropped at the start of what's called a Kastigar hearing in the case against Officer Garrett Miller. Miller was compelled to testify in other cases under a form of limited immunity, as a result of a ruling affirmed by the state Court of Appeals. The state would have had to prove no evidence from Miller's prior testimony would be used against him in his own trial. However, Schatzow said the timing of the move to drop charges had nothing to do with any worries about clearing that high bar, and that one of the remaining trials, that of Sgt. Alicia White, didn't involve such a hearing.
He said the state's attorney's office had a "clean team" that was not exposed to the immunized testimony and a "filter team" ensuring the former wasn't exposed to any evidence derived from that testimony.
"We need to talk to them and we do talk to them, but no immunized testimony was ever disclosed to the clean team by the filter team, by us or by anybody else," Schatzow said.
He also offered a retort to claims made by a defense attorney Wednesday that the decision to prosecute was in contrary to the findings of a police task force.
"One of the things to keep in mind is that the police investigation prior to the death of Mr Gray was done by the [Force Investigation] Team," Schatzow said. "This big task force they put together, they did not put together until after Gray's death."
Rather, Schatzow and Bledsoe said, they began meeting with police as early as the day after Gray's April 12, 2015 arrest and injury, and continued to work with the force investigation team and review evidence through the week that followed. Many critics of Mosby have said the charges were rushed after Gray's death, but Schatzow disputed that.
"I don't think that we felt that we were rushing," Schatzow said. "I don't think we felt that there was material that was overlooked. I think much of the evidence was in the statements of officers who gave statements and much of that was in by Apr 17," two days before Gray died, Schatzow said.
He also talked about the knife in Gray's possession and the questions of whether it was legal or illegal and, therefore, whether Gray's arrest was legal or illegal. They sent out an investigator to find out.
"She came back with this advertisement in the police headquarters," he said. "They were advertising with a BPD insignia on it, the very knife that Freddie Gray had in his possession. Our theory is that Freddie Gray was arrested before the knife was found. The defendants filed motions to keep out of evidence whether the knife was legal or illegal."
He said their theory to file charges for involuntary manslaughter and, in Goodson's case, second-degree murder, was based on footage of Gray at the van's prior stops that showed Gray bearing his weight. Schatzow said that indicated, in consultation with Allan and an outside neurosurgeon, something happened to Gray after that point. He said that while court precedent bars charging police for violating standing orders, police are still responsible for the safety of those in their custody, and actions taken and not taken on Gray's behalf constituted violations.
He said he and Bledsoe were ready to continue pursuing the cases, but that Mosby "correctly determined" it would have been a fruitless endeavor with little new evidence to present to Judge Barry Williams, and defendants likely set to opt for bench trials in front of the same judge who has already acquitted three in the same case.
"If this was his view, and I''m not questioning the propriety of the view...he had every right to find the verdicts that he found, and he found them," Schatzow said.
Schatzow also acknowledged there are those who want to know definitively what happened to Gray, but said that a criminal trial may not be the ideal venue for that as he echoed Mosby's call for changes to police policy.
"We can't know what happened to Freddie Gray unless the people involved tell us what happened to Freddie Gray," he said. "Now they have told us some things and maybe they have told us everything they know. The trial is not about answering broad questions...The fact that people have lingering concerns and lingering questions simply reflects a limitation on the process to answer those questions.
RadioOnFire.com - Baltimore County Police say an officer was struck and injured by a car in Dundalk.
The officer was hit at Aldworth and Manchester roads around 11:30 a.m. Thursday and taken to Shock Trauma with non-life-threatening injuries, police spokesman Cpl. John Wachter said. It's not yet known whether the officer's car was marked or unmarked.
A car involved has been found, but it's since been determined it was not the car that struck the officer. Two are in custody.
This story is developing.
RadioOnFire.com - Shortly after the charges were dropped against the remaining officers charged in the police in-custody of Freddie Gray, Baltimore City State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby gave an impassioned speech in front of the Freddie Gray Memorial in west Baltimore.
Mosby defended her decision to charge the officers in May 2015. Mosby told WBAL-TV 11 News the decision to drop the charges was not an easy one for her and her team.
While many may look at it as a loss for her, she told 11 News in a one-on-one interview that she sees it a different way.
"I have decided not to proceed on the case against Officer Garrett Miller, Sgt. Alicia White or relitigate the case against William Porter," Mosby said.
In the Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood where Gray was arrested and with a mural of his memory behind her, Mosby announced she will not try the three remaining cases surrounding Gray's death, saying the deck was stacked against her. She cited the following reasons: a judge did not see the evidence that her office did and push back from the Baltimore City Police Department.
"There was a reluctance and an obvious bias consistently exemplified, not by the entire Baltimore police force, but by individuals within the Baltimore Police Department at every stage of the investigation," Mosby said.
During 11 News' one-on-one interview, Mosby said, "We are up against a system that, unfortunately was against us."
Mosby explained why she and her office made the decision, which she said was a difficult one.
"We're ready to proceed in these cases, and it was a matter of, 'Is this in the best interest of the city? Is this in the best interest in justice for Freddie Gray?'" Mosby said.
Ultimately, Mosby and her staff felt dropping the charges would still be the best way to continue reforms within the police department despite not getting a conviction.
Mosby was asked about her critics that said all along that she made a rush to judgement. She said the evidence in the medical examiner’s report was the tipping point.
"When she came back and determined that it was a homicide, that's all that we needed. We had all the officers' admissions, so we had a story and a timeline as to how the incident occurred. There was nothing else that they found, even after the fact the charges were filed the counter what we did initially," Mosby said.
Mosby also said things are a lot more transparent in the police department than when this all started, citing new protocols when it comes to arrests, the implementation of body cameras and training wagon drivers.
"There are so many things. Although we did not get the verdict, we still were able to pursue justice, and we were in a much better place than we were 14 months ago. That's not to say that it's the best, but we have a lot of work to do, and now is the time to do it," Mosby said.
Mosby also wanted to make it clear that she felt the current police administration led by Commissioner Kevin Davis has been cooperative to work with going forward.
She also still stood by her original statement 14 months ago that she believes Gray’s death was a homicide.
Wednesday, July 27, 2016
RadioOnFire.com - Prosecutors have dropped the remaining charges against Baltimore police officers in the death of Freddie Gray, bringing an end to the case without a conviction.
State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby is set to hold a press conference Wednesday morning. The defense attorneys have not yet set a time for their own press conference.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, in Philadelphia for the Democratic National Convention, has yet to release any statement on the decision to drop charges, nor has there been any comment yet from Baltimore police Commissioner Kevin Davis.
Gray was a black man who was critically injured in the back of a police van in April 2015.
Prosecutors' decision Wednesday comes after a judge had already acquitted three of the six officers charged in the case, including the van driver and another officer who was the highest-ranking of the group. A fourth officer had his case heard by a jury, who deadlocked and the judge declared a mistrial.
Prosecutors had said Gray was illegally arrested after he ran away from a bike patrol officer and the officers failed to buckle Gray into a seat belt or call a medic when he indicated he wanted to go to a hospital.
The death added fuel to the growing Black Lives Matter movement and caused turmoil in Baltimore, including large protests and the worst riots the city had seen in decades.
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