<![CDATA[NBC 10 Philadelphia - National & International News]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/national-international http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC10_40x125.png NBC 10 Philadelphia http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com en-us Tue, 01 Dec 2015 13:35:14 -0500 Tue, 01 Dec 2015 13:35:14 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Chicago Police Chief Fired]]> Tue, 01 Dec 2015 13:04:09 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/garry+mccarthy+pensive.jpg

Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy was fired Tuesday, exactly one week after dash-cam video showing the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald was released.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he has asked McCarthy to step down from his position, saying the "trust and the leadership of the department has been shaken and eroded."

"Now is the time for fresh eyes and new leadership to confront the challenges the department and our community and our city are facing as we go forward," Emanuel said.

John Escalante has been named acting commissioner "until the police board has conducted a thorough search." 

"I have a lot of loyalty to what [McCarthy has] done and him, but I have a bigger loyalty to the city of Chicago's future and the strength of that future and no one person trumps my commitment and my responsibility to the city of Chicago and its future," Emanuel said.

The announcement came during an 11 a.m. press conference announcing Emanuel’s new task force on police accountability. Emanuel has said the task force was created in an effort to “strengthen the fabric of trust between the Chicago Police Department and the communities it protects.”

Emanuel and McCarthy have faced mounting criticism over the handling of the Laquan McDonald case, with many citing the 13 months it took to charge the officer involved and others questioning McCarthy’s leadership and credibility.

McCarthy has also been criticized for the handling of another police-involved shooting that killed Rekia Boyd, a 22-year-old unarmed woman. He revealed last week that he agreed to move to terminate the officer involved in that shooting "after a comprehensive review of the investigation,” but the move comes nearly three years after the incident.

In the days following the release of video showing McDonald’s fatal shooting, McCarthy maintained that Emanuel supported him and said "I've never quit anything in my life."

"I'm 56 years old," McCarthy said. "I don't expect that to change. What I will tell you is the mayor has made it very clear. He has my back."

McCarthy appeared on NBC Chicago Tuesday morning where he admitted that the initial press release on McDonald’s shooting was “mistaken” but added that there was little he could do once a federal investigation was launched.

“I didn’t have the authority to do what people thought I should do in this case, by law,” he said.

Most recently, the Chicago Sun-Times editorial board said McCarthy “should resign” and “If he does not, Mayor Rahm Emanuel should fire him.”

U.S. Senate candidate Andrea Zopp, who is the former president and CEO of the Chicago Urban League issued a statement Monday demanding McCarthy resign and asking for a special prosecutor in the case of Jason Van Dyke, the officer charged with shooting McDonald 16 times.

Last week, the City Council's Black Caucus convened for a press conference to publicly demand McCarthy's resignation for the second time in just a few months.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle also voiced her opinion that McCarthy should resign, saying she called Emanuel Friday morning to tell him she was joining members of the City Council who want McCarthy out.

Emanuel and Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez have also received heat from other politicians and activists for their roles in holding off on releasing the dash-cam video to the public and filing charges against Van Dyke.

Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder in the October 2014 shooting last week.

Dash-cam video of the shooting shows an officer shooting the teen several times as he appeared to walk away from police. The footage has sparked protests throughout the city and prompted an increase in calls for McCarthy to step down.

Prosecutors said in court last week that the shooting happened within 15 seconds, but for 13 of those seconds McDonald was on the ground. They added the video "clearly does not show McDonald advancing toward [Van Dyke]." 

Some have said that McCarthy's resignation isn't enough.

"It does very little if you change the head and you don't change the heart and infrastructure," said Rev. Jesse Jackson. "That's not enough."

Emanuel also addressed that concern during the Tuesday press conference.

"This is not the end of the problem, but it is the beginning of a solution to the problem," he said.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Defense Secretary: Special Ops Force to Iraq to Fight ISIS]]> Tue, 01 Dec 2015 11:41:37 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/AP_33139772362.jpg

Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Tuesday the U.S. is deploying a "specialized expeditionary targeting force" to help Iraqi and Kurdish forces fight Islamic State militants, NBC News reported. 

Carter told the House Armed Services Committee the "special operators will over time be able to conduct raids, free hostages, gather intelligence and capture" ISIS leaders.

Senior defense officials told by NBC News, the operations will follow the October special ops raid alongside Kurdish fighters in Northern Iraq that freed 70 prisoners being held by ISIS. One US Special Operations commando was killed in that raid.

Carter called the Paris massacre an "assault on the civilization we defend," and vowed that ISIS would be defeated. 

Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[ISIS Has 300 U.S. Ambassadors on Twitter: Report]]> Tue, 01 Dec 2015 10:53:22 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/217*120/AP_488488149961.jpg

A new report reveals that at least 300 Americans are acting as ISIS ambassadors on social media — spreading propaganda and searching for potential recruits to join the terror group, NBC News reported. 

Researchers at George Washington University's Program on Extremism said Twitter is the platform of choice for U.S. based sympathizers, many of them women.

Even though Twitter takes their accounts down, new ones are created within hours and are retweeted by others to regain followers. 

The report identified American ISIS supporters who acted as online "spotters" for ISIS, and the researchers who monitored those accounts for six months were able to watch recruitment of recently converted Americans unfold in real time. 

The report also looked at how U.S. jihadists meet and recruit in person, uncovering small groups of apparent ISIS sympathizers in a number of cities.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[December 1 Marks World AIDS Day]]> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 18:31:40 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/AP_47454168032.jpg

December 1 is recognized globally as World AIDS Day.

The World Health Organization (WHO) established the annual observance in 1988 as a way to offer communities the chance to unite to fight against the HIV/AIDS stigma, commemorate those who have lost the battle with AIDS, and also show support for those who are living with the disease.

Though new HIV infections have fallen by 35 percent and AIDS-related deaths have fallen by 24 percent since 2000, HIV continues to be a major global public health issue, claiming hundreds of thousands of lives a year, according to WHO.

This year's theme for World AIDS Day 2015 in the U.S., "The Time to Act is Now," demonstrates "the urgent need for action today," the White House announced last month.

"The global HIV epidemic requires a coordinated and united response," the Director of the Office of National AIDS Policy, Douglas M. Brooks, wrote in the White House blog. "In 2015, we know what it takes to prevent HIV infections and improve the lives of people living with HIV, and we are building on the success of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)."

PEPFAR has recently partnered with the Elton John AIDS Foundation to launch a $10 million initiative that will contribute grants to organizations working to provide HIV-related needs to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, including improving access to HIV services and helping to create "non-stigmatizing environments."

Organizations and groups around the world will hold events to celebrate World AIDS Day. Cities and famous landmarks will light up in red to honor those who have lost the battle with AIDS and to show support for those who continue to fight.

Here's some ways you can help:

Go (RED)

The red ribbon has become the universal symbol of awareness and support for those living with HIV. Purchase or make your own red ribbon to show your support for World AIDS Day.

Keeping with the red theme, in 2006, Bono and Bobby Shriver founded (RED), a non profit organization that partners with the private sector to raise awareness and funds to help eliminate HIV/AIDS in Africa.

(RED) partners like Coca-Cola, beats by dr. dre, Apple, Starbucks, Le Creuset, among many others, donate 50 percent of the profits from (RED) products to the Global Fund HIV/AIDS. The organization provides life-saving antiretroviral medication (ARVs) that works to keep the virus from multiplying and can prevent an HIV positive pregnant woman from transmitting the virus to her child.

Ticketmaster and Live Nation have also partnered with (RED). Between November 9 and December 20, the ticket sales companies will display a (RED) button on their websites allowing customers to donate $10 during purchases.

On Tuesday night, Bono is hosting a Shopathon on "Jimmy Kimmel Live." The the star-studded fundraising event will feature "once-in-a-lifetime-experiences" that can be won after donating at least $10 to (RED). Prizes include a bike ride with the U2 frontman or learning to pass a football with Tom Brady himself.

Uber rider's in more than 150 cities nationwide can help drive the effort towards an AIDS Free Generation. The ride-sharing company has partnered with (RED) and will enable drivers to donate $5 to the Global Fund at the end of their trip, Uber announced Monday. Uber cars around the world will turn red to raise awareness around the cause. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged to match all donations made on Dec. 1 to (RED) via the Uber app.


MAC cosmetics is donating 100 percent of the selling price of MAC VIVA GLAM lipstick and lipgloss to the MAC AIDS Fund. The company is featuring two new lip products named after the current VIVA GLAM spokeswoman Miley Cyrus: super-sexy bright orange and coordinating Lipglass gloss with pearl shimmer.

Join the Conversation:

The White House will host a live webcast of its World AIDS Day event highlighting President Obama's commitment to the sustainable development goals outlined by the United Nations. The livestream will begin at 1:00 p.m. ET. You can join the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #WAD2015.

A #TreatmentForAll

The #TreatmentForAll initiative aims to stem the AIDS epidemic in Africa by treating 28 million people by 2020. United Nations Assistant Secretary General, Ray Chambers, Emmy Award-winning television host Ricki Lake and digital influencers Wesley Stromberg, Sammy Wilkinson, Megan Nicole and Melvin Gregg kicked-off the campaign Monday with the first documentary film officially launched on Facebook. The video ends with a string of social media stars sharing the hashtag, asking viewers to do the same.

Get Tested:

The HIV Testing Sites & Care Services Locator is a first-of-its-kind, location-based search tool that allows user to search for testing services, housing providers and HIV-related health centers near your current location.

Use and share the HIV testing sites and care services locator.

Find HIV/AIDS Prevention & Service Providers

Enter your address, city and state, or ZIP Code:

For more information on this widget, please visit AIDS.gov.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Top News Photos of the Week]]> Tue, 01 Dec 2015 08:03:05 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/AP_323249355697-topnews.jpg View weekly updates on the very best photos in domestic and foreign news.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Sophia and Jackson Are Top Baby Names in U.S.]]> Tue, 01 Dec 2015 11:56:45 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/BabyRattle.jpg

Sophia and Jackson continue to be the most popular baby names, according to BabyCenter's Top 100 names list for 2015.

The list is compiled from data provided by 340,000 parents who shared their baby's name with the website.

An official government list for the prior year is usually released around Mother's Day, a Social Security Administration spokeswoman said. Last year, the names Noah and Emma were the top baby names indicated by Social Security's list.

According to BabyCenter, the names Emma and Olivia continue to be No. 2 and No. 3 for the fourth year in-a-row. Jackson is in its third year as the top name for boys, followed by Aiden, Liam, Lucas, Noah and Mason.

For girls' names, Mia swapped with Isabella at the fifth spot and Madison has fallen out of the list and was replaced by Madelyn at number 10. 

In the boys category, Logan is now in the ninth spot switching with Jacob to round out the bottom of the top 10.

BabyCenter combined names that sound the same but have multiple spellings in contrast to Social Security's method. The administration instead counts differently spelled names in distinct ranks.

BabyCenter's most popular names for girls:


BabyCenter's most popular names for boys:


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Carson: Welcoming Syrian Refugees 'Exposes Us to Danger']]> Tue, 01 Dec 2015 07:54:28 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/AP_873871501846.jpg

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson said Tuesday that admitting in tens of thousands of Syrian refugees "does not solve the problem" and "exposes us to danger."

Carson visited Jordan to tour Syrian refugee camps last week. He called the camps "really quite nice" and told "Today's" Matt Lauer on Tuesday that people are not giving enough money to support Jordan's efforts. He suggested the camps should serve as a long-term solution.

The retired neurosurgeon's standing in the polls has taken a hit recently, and he finds himself in third place in numerous polls, behind Donald Trump and either Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio.

"Poll numbers will go up and down. It's a marathon, not a sprint," Carson said.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Bland Probe Nearly Complete]]> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 18:28:12 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/sandra-bland-depresion.jpg

A team of special prosecutors has nearly completed its investigation of the arrest and subsequent death of a black woman in a Texas jail, and it plans to finish presenting its evidence to a grand jury by the end of December, one of the prosecutors said Monday.

Houston attorney Darrell Jordan was among five prosecutors tapped by the Waller County district attorney to review evidence after Sandra Bland was found dead in her Waller County jail cell on July 13. The Chicago-area woman was arrested three days earlier after a routine traffic stop turned contentious and ended with the white state trooper holding Bland on the ground.

The grand jury had its first meeting on Nov. 12, but prosecutors discovered they needed more information, Jordan said. Among the information sought -- but so far not found -- is the identity of the person who took a second video of the arrest that was posted online. The arrest also was record on the state trooper's dashcam.

"It would be helpful if we had the person who shot that video, if there were things that happened before the video recorded and after," Jordan said.

Sen. Royce West, a Dallas Democrat who has been a vocal leader in the case, released a statement earlier Monday saying investigations were wrapping up and it would soon "be up to a grand jury to decide whether the evidence presented warrants a criminal trial."

The 28-year-old woman's death came after nearly a year of heightened national scrutiny of police and their dealings with black suspects, especially those who have been killed by officers or die in police custody.

Shortly after Bland's death, West -- one of two black members of the Texas Senate -- met at Prairie View A&M University with the lieutenant governor, the director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, and other state and Waller County officials. They watched the dashcam video of the arrest. Bland had been pulled over for an improper lane change in Prairie View, where she went to interview and accept a job at the school.

West noted that several other investigations have been completed: The Texas Commission on Jail Standards concluded that Bland wasn't properly monitored while in the jail; the Texas Department of Public Safety has said the trooper who arrested Bland, Brian Encinia, didn't properly follow guidelines when he pulled her over.

The Texas Rangers have been handling the Department of Public Safety probe, the Waller County sheriff has said the results of an internal investigation could result in discipline against jail employees, and the FBI also has been asked to review the case.

Bland was unable to post about $500 bond after being arrested on an assault charge. A medical examiner ruled her death a suicide.

West's spokesman, Kelvin Bass, noted that some people initially questioned whether Bland had been killed by someone else, but said West accepted the medical examiner's findings.

Bland's mother has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the trooper who arrested Bland, the Texas Department of Public Safety, Waller County, the sheriff's department and two county jailers. Her attorneys didn't immediately respond to messages seeking comment Monday.

Photo Credit: TELEMUNDO LOCAL]]>
<![CDATA[HIV-Positive Doctor Says His Dog Saved His Life ]]> Tue, 01 Dec 2015 10:33:05 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WorldAids.jpg

Rob Garofalo was devastated. He'd built his medical and research career on helping young AIDS patients. Then he learned that he, too, was HIV-positive. The news came after he'd already survived kidney cancer and a breakup with his longtime partner.

Try as he might, the doctor could not heal himself, at least not emotionally.

"I couldn't afford myself the same compassion that I'd spent a career teaching other people to have," says Garofalo, who heads the adolescent medicine division at Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago. At first, he told almost no one about his HIV status — not even his own elderly mother, who sensed that her son was struggling mightily during a Christmas visit in 2010.

"You can tell me that everything is OK, but it's not," she said, cupping her hands around her son's face at the end of his trip to his native New Jersey.

Garofalo recalls crying on much of the flight home to Chicago in a catharsis that led him to an unexpected decision, one that helped him in ways no human could and ultimately led him to a new role in the HIV community.

He got a dog.

It was a little Yorkshire terrier he named Fred. And everything changed.

"I had this little bundle of, like, pure joy," Garofalo says. "He made me re-engage with the world."

The doctor, who's helped save many an AIDS patient, knows it sounds a little crazy that the companionship and simple needs of a pet could help him cope with his disease and pull him out of depression.

"But I'm not exaggerating when I say that he saved my life," says Garofalo, who'd considered suicide after his HIV diagnosis.

His journey back to life started with simple things. He had to leave the apartment where he'd isolated himself to buy food for Fred. He had to talk to the many people who wanted to stop and pet the little dog. Garofalo also found comfort when he'd awaken with one of his frequent night terrors and have Fred to snuggle.

Eventually, Garofalo sought counseling and told his mother and friends about his HIV status. As his energy level grew, he also started a charity using Fred's image to raise money for programs that help HIV-positive teens.

He continued to share his story, even with strangers on Fred's charity website. And Garofalo began to realize that he was far from the only person with HIV — or any number of other diseases — who'd been helped by a dog. And in that human-canine bond, he saw new purpose and an opportunity to grow his charity's reach.

He began a project called "When Dogs Heal," with the help of a dog photographer named Jesse Freidin and a Chicago-based writer named Zach Stafford. It tells the stories of HIV-positive people and their dogs in an exhibit launching in Chicago on Tuesday, Dec. 1, which is World AIDS Day, and also in New York City two days later.

Participants whose images are in the show include a young mother from Los Angeles who was born with HIV, a Chicago man who tested positive after he was gang raped, and an HIV-positive man in San Francisco who quit dealing drugs so he could provide a more stable life for himself and his newly adopted dog.

"I would be in bed and not want to get up, but this little doggy was whining, licking my neck and needed to get outside. I had to get up," says Lynnea Garbutt, the young mom. She says her wirehaired fox terrier, Coconut, eventually helped her muster the courage to leave an abusive relationship and also prepared her to care for her daughter, who recently turned 1. The child is not HIV-positive thanks to medical interventions that can now prevent the spread of the virus from mother to infant.

Though many participants' stories have difficult elements, Freidin, the photographer, said the exhibit also shows "something joyful."

Daniel Cardenas, an HIV-positive Chicagoan who'll appear in the upcoming exhibit with his dog, Loki, certainly sees that in his dog.

"He's really a symbol for me," Cardenas says, "a symbol of hope, of promise, of a future."

Hope is a relatively new chapter in the AIDS fight. In decades past, doctors, including Garofalo, were desperate to save people with HIV. Now, with new, less-complicated treatments, many people are living healthy, productive lives with the AIDS virus.

Stigma is still an issue, however.

Even a matter of months ago, and although he'd gone public with his HIV status, Garofalo did not want to talk about how he suspects he contracted the virus because he doesn't want to inadvertently imply that people who've gotten the virus through drug use or consensual sex deserve to be shamed.

He was sexually assaulted in November 2009 during a trip to Washington, D.C., and although he's not entirely sure he got the virus then, it fits with the timing of his diagnosis.

"I wasn't perfect. I could've gotten it another way," says Garofalo, who concedes that his sometimes self-destructive downward spiral had begun much earlier, when he was diagnosed with renal cell cancer a decade ago, just after he'd turned 40. "The truth is, I was a mess even back then," he says.

Having recently turned 50, and with all he's been through, he says he's grown a lot — and now sees his HIV patients in a much less academic manner.

"Now I approach it in a very different way because it comes from my soul," he says.

Even amid his personal distress, he says he somehow managed to keep his career on track. He now heads the Center for Gender, Sexuality and HIV Prevention at Lurie Children's Hospital.

"Rob is a hero," says the Rev. Stan Sloan, CEO of Chicago House, an organization that provides homeless services to HIV-positive people and others. "And Fred has been a critical part of that."

An HIV-positive teen in Los Angeles recently wrote Garofalo a letter to thank him and his Fred-inspired charity for providing money so he could buy a much-needed pair of shoes.

"The initiative you started because of a dream, a prayer and a dog has blessed me," the teen wrote.

Garofalo says he owes it all to Fred, whose portrait with his owner will appear in the exhibit. It is an impact his mom saw take hold almost immediately when her son visited with Fred in the spring of 2010, after that Christmas visit.

Even now, Garofalo gets emotional when he tells the story of coming downstairs to find his mother cradling the dog.

"My mom was telling him that he was a miracle," Garofalo says, his eyes reddening, "because he had brought her son back."



When Dogs Heal: http://wdhproject.org/about/ 

<![CDATA[France: 2,000 Raids, 210 Arrests Since State of Emergency]]> Tue, 01 Dec 2015 09:08:47 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/FrenchPoliceRaids.jpg

More than 2,000 raids have been carried out in France following the deadly terror attacks in Paris on Nov. 13, Prime Minister Manuel Valls told told radio station Europe 1 on Tuesday.

Police confiscated 300 weapons and taken 210 people into custody, Valls said, adding that the number of arrests indicated that the searches conducted after France declared a state of emergency "are not due to chance" and "allow support for objective suspicions."

As he was speaking, police in Italy and Kosovo arrested four Kosovars suspected of being part of a jihadi cell that spread propaganda and made threats against Pope Francis, judicial officials told Reuters.

According to Italian police, the four, three of whom were arrested in Italy and one in Kosovo, are suspected of "condoning terrorism" and "inciting racial hatred." 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[ISIS Leader's Ex-Wife Freed in Swap With Al Qaeda]]> Tue, 01 Dec 2015 09:56:48 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/PrisonersLebanon-AP_390019287265.jpg

The ex-wife of an ISIS leader was among 13 Islamists released in swap with al Qaeda's Syrian wing in exchange for Lebanese captives on Tuesday, NBC News reported. 

Saja al-Dulaimi, ex-wife of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was seen being taken to eastern Lebanon in a convoy in footage aired by the Al-Jazeera television channel. She was detained in Lebanon last year when she tried to cross the border illegally with her current husband, using forged identity cards.

She and 12 other prisoners were handed over to Syria’s al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front in exchange for 16 Lebanese security personnel who were held hostage since 2014, according to Lebanese security officials.

The Nusra Front and ISIS kidnapped 29 Lebanese policemen and soldiers last year. Four have been killed and nine will remain in captivity after Tuesday’s swap.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Newly Elected Mayor of Juneau, Alaska, Found Dead in Home]]> Tue, 01 Dec 2015 08:46:08 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/214*120/Fisk-151130-juneau-mayor-greg-fisk.jpg

Greg Fisk, the new mayor of Juneau, Alaska, was found dead in his home, according to police.

Officials say they received a 911 call that there was a dead person at Fisk’s residence.

Police wouldn’t comment on the cause of death, and haven’t determined whether his death was considered suspicious.

Juneau Police Department spokeswoman Erann Kalwara said in a statement that investigators were "aware of rumors that an assault occurred in connection with Fisk's death" but described them as "speculation."

Fisk, 70, was a longtime civic activist and served on numerous Juneau boards and commissions over the past decade. He was elected mayor of Juneau last month.

Photo Credit: City of Juneau, Alaska]]>
<![CDATA[Pilot Response to Malfunction Caused AirAsia Crash That Killed 162]]> Tue, 01 Dec 2015 06:58:27 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/AirAsia-GettyImages-499404518.jpg

A faulty rudder control system and the pilots’ response led to the crash of an AirAsia plane last year, NBC News reported.

The main flight control computer on the Airbus A320 had a cracked joint that caused it to malfunction repeatedly, according to Indonesia's National Transportation Safety Committee.

The pilots struggled to handle the influx of warning messages while the plane rolled, then climbed too high before crashing into the Java Sea.

According to the report, the midair emergency took place over two-and-a-half minutes. The plane plummeted at a rate of 20,000 feet per minute.

All 162 people on board the flight died when the flight went down last year.

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Hollywood Producer Who Worked on 'X-Men' Goes Missing ]]> Tue, 01 Dec 2015 11:42:46 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/11.30.15_Eric-Kohler-Missing.jpg

By all accounts, 27-year-old Eric Kohler loves what he does, producing visual effects for blockbusters like “The Avengers,” “San Andreas,” and “X-Men.”

But last Tuesday, he walked out of work in Gardena without his wallet, his laptop or his bag — and never came back.

Now his family is doing everything they can to find out what happened.

Night after night, Kohler’s desperate mother and father are posting fliers, hoping for any help in finding their missing son.

Kohler is an up-and-coming movie producer and his family said he is a workaholic and a responsible man who would never just disappear.

"I know my son would never do this," Sheryi Kohler said.

He was last seen leaving work, in the 1700 block of El Segundo Boulevard, last Tuesday in his new Range Rover. Phone records and surveillance video show he went to a Food 4 Less parking lot, but then soon after his phone appeared to have been turned off.

"And he literally disappeared,” said his father, Tony Kohler. “It's heartbreaking. It's damn heartbreaking."

Kohler is originally from Oakley, in Northern California, and relocated to Los Angeles after high school. Kohler moved to Los Angeles to work in the movie industry. Kohler responded to an ad for a receptionist job and worked his way to become a visual effects producer at HYDRAULX.

Since his disappearance, friends and family said they have been in agony. The Thanksgiving holiday came and went without any sign. So did a huge project deadline at work — the kind Eric's parents say he would never miss.

"He had big ambition to work hard and that's what he's been doing and something bad happened," said his mother.

Tony Kohler said they are praying Eric just needed to get away but said there are too many red flags. Eric left his wallet, bags and computer behind. There has also been no activity in his accounts for days.

Kohler was last seen wearing a light blue short-sleeved shirt, blue skinny jeans, brown suede shoes and a brown leather, chrome-plated watch.

Anyone with information on Kohler’s disappearance is asked to call the LAPD Missing Person Unit at 213-996-1800. After hours, please call LAPD’s RACR Division at 213-484-6700.

See LAPD's missing person flier here.

Photo Credit: Photo Courtesy LAPD]]>
<![CDATA[Trump Proposes $5 Million Ransom for Showing Up at CNN Debate]]> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 23:51:57 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/TrumpMacon-AP_45810125908.jpg

Donald Trump is threatening to change his joking-style because he says it results in him being misrepresented, NBC News reported.

The GOP frontrunner also said he’s putting a price tag on his appearance at the upcoming debate that will be hosted by CNN.

"I won't do the debate unless they pay me $5 million, all of which goes to wounded warriors or goes to vets,” he told a crowd in Macon, Georgia.

Trump also took jabs at eight of his Republican rivals, Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama, saying history would remember him as a “horrible president” who “didn’t know what the hell he was doing.”

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Colorado Officer Helps Stranded Driver, Is 'Viciously' Attacked]]> Tue, 01 Dec 2015 02:05:20 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/generic+caution+tape+vg.jpg

Police in Aurora, Colorado, say a man who appeared to be a stranded driver sliced an officer’s head open, stole his patrol car and led police on a high-speed chase, NBC News reported.

"I have absolutely no qualms in believing that this suspect meant to kill our officer,” Chief Nicholas Metz said, calling the attack “unprovoked” and “vicious.”

The officer spotted a vehicle near downtown Aurora. The assailant, who was not identified, “tackled him from behind and struck him with a sharp object,” according to Lt. Scott Torpen.

The man jumped into the officer’s vehicle and took off. Patrol cars responded, giving chase and striking the vehicle. Police fired several rounds at the man, who was pronounced dead at the scene.

The officer, who was also not named, is in hospital with a “very serious head injury,” Metz told reporters.

Photo Credit: Valeria Gonzalez]]>
<![CDATA[Debt Payment Due for Puerto Rico Tuesday As Congress Holds Hearing]]> Tue, 01 Dec 2015 06:37:36 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/PuertoRico-AP_888348017045.jpg

There’s been little relief since Puerto Rico’s governor declared the U.S. territory’s $72 billion debt unable to be paid, according to NBC News.

Backers of proposals to allow Puerto Rico to restructure its debt through a bankruptcy process often used by U.S. cities were to begin gathering in Washington, D.C.

A Senate committee was to hold another hearing on the crisis. Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla will be a witness at a 10 a.m. hearing held by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

As of Monday, Puerto Rico was undecided on whether to let the deadline pass without payment, thereby defaulting and possibly setting off a court battle. That decision would be made on Tuesday, NBC News reported.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[How Will You Give on #GivingTuesday?]]> Tue, 01 Dec 2015 07:04:29 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/GivingTuesday-AP_413927092449-%281%29.jpg

There’s a day for giving thanks, two days for cashing in on deals — and now there’s a day for to give back.

Giving Tuesday is observed internationally on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving. It’s meant as way to promote philanthropy and generosity.

The movement aims to bring people, businesses and charities together and facilitate change in their communities by giving them a give back during the holiday season.

If you’re feeling generous, you can open up your wallet and give to the charity of your choice. Or you can volunteer your time for a local organization by doing yard work, painting or decorating for the holidays.

The campaign was launched in 2012 by 92nd Street Y, a New York City-based cultural and community center, and the United Nations Foundation. The website says it “has engaged over 30,000 organizations worldwide, including Microsoft, PayPal and MSNBC.

Organizers urge those taking part to go on social media with the hashtag #GivingTuesday and show how they’re giving back.

Photo Credit: AP Images for JCPenney
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<![CDATA[Third Winter Storm Zeroes In on Minnesota, South Dakota]]> Tue, 01 Dec 2015 03:59:30 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Weather-AP_386874842728.jpg

More snow is likely to hit Minnesota and South Dakota on Tuesday, where some cities have declared snow emergencies, NBC News reported.

A new system is gathering over the northern Plains, centered over South Dakota and southern Minnesota.

While much of the country was clearing, in that area, "we've still got plenty of moisture to work with and certainly a lot of cold air," said Danielle Banks, a meteorologist for The Weather Channel.

Oklahoma was bracing for more snow accumulation, and is still cleaning up after freezing rain, ice and sleet began on Thanksgiving. The state is under a state of emergency. Parts of Kansas could also see more snow and ice through Tuesday.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Clinton Basks in Glow of Women Senators, With One Absence]]> Tue, 01 Dec 2015 00:08:39 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/ClintonFundraiser-GettyImages-499351056.jpg

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren was absent from Monday’s fundraiser for Hillary Clinton’s campaign, according to NBC News.

Warren was invited, but did not attend the event, one of the largest of Clinton’s 2016 campaign, as she is not yet backing Clinton or any candidate in the 2016 Democratic Party.

Clinton's backers are convinced she'll come on board eventually. "Elizabeth, I think in her course of time, she's going to come out for Hillary," California Sen. Barbara Boxer told MSNBC's Steve Kornacki Monday afternoon.

Despite Warren’s absence, there were 13 chairs lined up on stage behind Clinton’s podium Monday night, one for each Democratic woman in the Senate — all of whom already endorsed Clinton.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Accused Planned Parenthood Gunman Could Face Death]]> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 16:55:40 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/dear-AP_615109635980.png

The man accused of killing three people at a Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic made his first court appearance Monday, where he was told that he could face the death penalty, NBC News reported.

If convicted of first degree murder in the shooting, which left three dead and nine wounded, Robert Lewis Dear would face a minimum sentence of life in prison and a maximum of death, the judge said.

Dear, 57, allegedly held the Colorado Springs clinic under siege for five hours before surrendering Friday afternoon.

He said little as he spoke to the judge via closed circuit TV, answering the judge's yes-or-no questions in a raspy voice with his public defender at his side. Dear is due back in court Dec. 9.

Photo Credit: Daniel Owen/The Gazette via AP, Pool
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<![CDATA[Hero Guard Who Stopped Paris Bomber Speaks]]> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 18:04:52 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Paris-Guard-151130-salim-toorabally-211p_5e8d342d991d8e9a92b0bad6cbd36b52.nbcnews-ux-2880-1000.jpg

On the night he became an accidental French national hero, Salim Toorabally's daughter warned him to be "extra careful."

Toorabally said she was worried because an earlier bomb scare had forced the German team facing off against the French team at the Stade de France to evacuate their hotel. And this was his first time working security at the stadium, located in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis, NBC News reported.

And because he was careful, Toorabally is now being hailed as a lifesaver for preventing a suicide bomber from getting inside the stadium where French President Francois Hollande was among the thousands in the stands.

Toorabally, a 42-year-old Mauritian immigrant and devout Muslim, insists he's no hero.

"I was just doing my job," he said in French through an interpreter.

But the hard-working dad admitted that he was still rattled by his brush with baby-faced Bilal Hadfi, who killed himself on Nov. 13 when he detonated his suicide vest outside the stadium — but not the hundreds he was hoping to slaughter.

Photo Credit: NBC News]]>
<![CDATA[Accused Chicago Officer Posts Bond]]> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 23:46:59 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/AP_419124214860-VanDyke.jpg

A Chicago police officer charged with murder for fatally shooting a black Chicago teenager 16 times posted bond and was released from jail Monday hours after a judge ordered his bail set at $1.5 million.

Officer Jason Van Dyke appeared in court, shackled at his waist and feet, flanked on either side by burly officers from the Cook County Sheriff’s Emergency Response Team. A spokesman said due to the high tensions of the event, the officers were there for Van Dyke’s protection.

“He’s prepared to defend himself,” said defense attorney Dan Herbert. “He’s very scared about the consequences he’s facing. He’s concerned for his wife and children.”

Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder last Tuesday, more than a year after the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. That same day, officials released graphic dash-cam video of the shooting, prompting a series of protests throughout the city over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

The "disturbing" dash-cam footage was played in courtroom 101 during Van Dyke's bond hearing at Chicago's Criminal Court Monday. 

Judge Donald Panarese watched the video, then instructed attorneys to show it again for Van Dyke, and any courtroom spectators who wanted to watch.

The video shows McDonald apparently walking away from police with a small knife in his hand during the October 2014 incident when he was fatally shot 16 times by Van Dyke.

Prosecutors said in court last week that the shooting happened within 15 seconds, but for 13 of those seconds McDonald was on the ground. They added the video "clearly does not show McDonald advancing toward [Van Dyke]."

Prosecutor Bill Delaney asked that Van Dyke remain held without bond, but the judge rejected that, saying everyone is presumed innocent and set Van Dyke’s bail at $1.5 million. Five hours later, Van Dyke posted bond and walked out of jail.

Once again Monday, Van Dyke's attorney defended his client’s actions.

“When you see the video alone, it does not seem like a justifiable shooting,” Herbert said, noting that he has information from his client which paints the shooting in a different light. “It’s a case that’s absolutely defensible, and I’m prepared to present a defense.”

Police have said the shooting was in self-defense and that McDonald lunged at the officer with a knife while authorities were investigating car break-ins in a trucking yard.

Fraternal Order of Police President Dean Angelo also argued Monday that there is more to the shooting than the video reveals.

“You know,” he said, “we don’t get an officer Van Dyke view of that incident.”

An autopsy confirmed McDonald was shot a total of 16 times and had PCP in his system.

A GoFundMe page asking for donations for Van Dyke's bond last week was removed from the fundraising website after raising more than $10,000. The company cited a policy against campaigns for the defense of anyone alleged to be involved in criminal activity.

Shortly after the fundraiser was removed, a local branch of the Fraternal Order of Police created an account to raise bond money for Van Dyke.

Van Dyke is scheduled to return to court Dec. 18.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Tx. Deputy Risked Life in Flood]]> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 23:55:36 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Krystal+Salazar.jpg

The Texas deputy who nearly lost her own life trying to save a woman in raging floodwaters Friday is doing "some serious soul searching" because her effort was unsuccessful, Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson said Monday.

Deputy Krystal Salazar jumped into the water along Deer Creek in far South Fort Worth early Friday to try and save 76-year-old Zenola Jenkins, whose car was being swept away.

Firefighters recovered Jenkins' body on Monday a mile downstream.

Salazar nearly became a second victim. Rescuers found her clinging to a tree after two hours.

"She was literally fighting for her life for almost every moment of that two hours," Anderson said. "It was a heroic effort. She is to be commended for her bravery."

But Anderson said the 26-year-old deputy doesn't consider herself a hero because her effort to rescue the woman wasn't a success.

"She's doing some serious soul searching as far as what happened and wishing she could have done better," the sheriff said. "But, you know, talking to the victim's family, they're tremendously grateful for the effort she made."

The sheriff said Salazar told him she doesn't want any awards or recognition – not because of what she did but because of what she couldn't do.

"It's a tough spot to be in," Anderson said. "Most of us who have been in the business many years have tried to save someone and failed. And it's heavy on your heart."

Plus, the sheriff said Salazar has faced criticism on social media from people who weren't there, second-guessing what she did that night.

In a meeting on Monday, Anderson said he told her to ignore the criticism.

"I tried to explain to her that many of us have been through this and it's very, very difficult," he said. "It's hard to live with when you are that close to making a difference in someone's life and then that life is lost."

Salazar is taking some time off to deal with her physical and emotional wounds.

The sheriff said she'll get as much time as she needs.

Photo Credit: Tarrant County Sheriff's Department]]>
<![CDATA[Ct. Trooper Cares for Orphaned Deer]]> Tue, 01 Dec 2015 11:19:38 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Southbury+baby+deer+1200.jpg

A Connecticut state trooper stepped in to take care of two baby deer after their mother was killed.

The doe was killed in a crash on Interstate 84 West, near exit 9, in Newtown. When state trooper Ben Pagoni, from Troop A in Southbury, responded to a call, he found the mother left behind two babies.

With no rescues available, Pagoni obtained permission to take custody of the deer and cared for them at his home for three days with help from his family until a rescue became available.

"My fiancée, luckily, was off for a few days. She took care of them mostly. I helped, but if it wasn't for her, I don't think I could do it," he said.

The deer have since been taken to a rescue.

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police
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<![CDATA[$1,000 Reward for Stolen Violin]]> Tue, 01 Dec 2015 12:54:37 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/N5P+SF+STOLEN+VIOLIN+SOTVO+-+00003310.jpg

A Sunnyvale, California, family is offering a $1,000 reward to anyone who helps return a $23,000 violin that was stolen earlier this month.

Police say the antique instrument was stolen when thieves broke into a parked car at a San Francisco Safeway on Webster Street near Japantown.

The violin’s owner, Erica Buonanno, says a friend borrowed it for a college audition on the day it was stolen. She said she’s desperate to get it back, not for the money, but its sentimental value.

"I named it Elizabeth," Buonanno said. "It has a name. It’s really a member of this family."

The nearly 200-year-old violin was kept in a bright red case. The case alone is worth $3,000, Buonanno said.

"They might have thrown it out, because they couldn’t open the case," Buonanno said. "And that devastates me because it doesn’t give me an opportunity to get it back."

Buonanno says she’s hoping the thief will return the violin in exchange for the reward. And, if that happens, she plans to teach her own children how to play the violin one day.

Anyone who has seen the violin or its case is asked to contact San Francisco police.

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<![CDATA[Oregon Mountain Climber Dies After Falling Into Crevasse]]> Tue, 01 Dec 2015 00:36:00 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/MountJefferson-AP_070426050087.jpg

A 32-year old hiker died after falling into a crevasse in Oregon’s Cascade Mountains over the weekend, according to authorities.

Thomas Fountain and his wife, Alison, 29, were hiking the mountain, when he fell on Sunday, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office said in a release.

More than a dozen rescue climbers and a Coast Guard helicopter were dispatched to find them. The couple was stranded in difficult terrain.

By the time crews found Thomas on Monday morning, he died from injuries sustained from the fall. Alison, who was not injured, was airlifted from the mountain, NBC affiliate KGW reported.

<![CDATA[Deputy Recounts Moment He Found Abandoned Baby Girl]]> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 22:47:53 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/newborn+baby+riverside+riverbed+1128+2015.jpg

Los Angeles County Sheriff's officials are asking for the public's help to find the mother of a newborn baby girl who was found buried alive underneath a pile of debris and asphalt in Compton.

Detectives believe she was abandoned sometime Thanksgiving morning and spent several hours alone and cold before being rescued by a sheriff’s deputy who couldn’t believe what he was hearing.

"I know what I was hearing, a faint baby cry as I’m digging in the hole," Deputy Adam Collette said. "I still didn’t believe it."

When she was in his arms, Collette said he could immediately feel the baby calm down. It helped that he's a father of two young daughters and said he knows the difference between a cry of hunger and a cry of pain.

"The cry that I heard as a father was more of a cry for help. I’m hungry, but not like I'm injured," Collette said.

Sheriff's officials said the baby is doing well. Two women heard the baby crying and called 911 Thursday, and Collette and fellow Deputy David Perry were able to find her and pull her out of a two-foot-wide hole where she had been buried underneath a pile of debris.

"The hole was filled with loose dirt vegetation and two large pieces of asphalt," Sheriff Jim McDonnell said.

Detectives said they have gotten a lot of leads but they still need the public’s help. They still don’t know who the baby’s mother is, where she gave birth and why she didn’t take advantage of the law that allows for the safe surrender of newborns within 72 hours.

"Any fire station, any sheriff station, any hospital. Not in the parking lot, you have to cross the threshold," LA County Supervisor Don Knabe said, explaining the steps a parent can take.

There have been 16 safe surrenders in LA County so far this year, and 140 since the law was passed in 2001.

The blanket the baby was wrapped in appeared to be a hospital blanket, so detectives are checking area hospitals.

Deputy Collette said he’s thankful the baby was not hurt. Another hour or so and it would have been dark and no one thinks she could have survived the cold night.

Collette said he visited the baby at the hospital over the weekend. He calls her survival "a touch of God."

Photo Credit: Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department]]>
<![CDATA[Students Find New Hampshire's 'Dumbest Law']]> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 20:28:16 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/214*120/vlcsnap-2015-11-30-18h53m13s102.png

A group of students from a small town in New Hampshire have found the state's dumbest law.

Monday, Newport High School sophomore Timothy Poitras read necn the letter from state lawmakers informing him that his class won the New Hampshire's Dumbest Law contest.

"I was shocked," Poitras said.

Rollie Stapleton's sophomore advisory class chose RSA 207:48 the law that makes it illegal to collect seaweed off the beach after sunset. If you're caught, the violation could carry upwards of a thousand dollars.

"When I first read this, I was like you're saying I can't pick it up and plop it down on the beach," Poitras said. "I was like that's bogus!"

His classmate Kristopher Mampe shared Poitras' shock, saying, "Newport isn't really heard of, everyone thinks Manchester, Concord, all the bigger ones, but Newport being a bit smaller, won."

State Representative Max Abramson of Seabrook started the contest for students across the state last spring. He said there were more than 30 laws submitted. Some of the craziest ones had already been repealed.

"You can't tap your foot to music in a bar, that one was repealed a few years ago," Abramson said. "But the most ridiculous one and the one I wish someone had entered was you can't recycle milk jugs. You can go to jail for up to a year in New Hampshire for reusing a dairy container for water or anything other than dairy."

Abramson has already submitted a bill that would repeal the seaweed gathering law.

Stapleton said her students dedicated time and energy, and researched for weeks — proving that a contest to find the state's dumbest law was a really smart idea.

"Following through really is something all students in the U.S. and all over the world need to know how to do," Stapleton said. "It's a tough act to be able to do but Tim's demonstration might show our student that there are results when you follow through.

The Newport class is going to the statehouse at the beginning of next year to support the bill that would repeal New Hampshire's dumbest law.

Photo Credit: necn]]>
<![CDATA[Jury Selection in 1st Gray Case]]> Tue, 01 Dec 2015 09:26:33 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Officer+William+Porter+Stands+Before+Prospective+Jurors+Freddie+Gray+Case+113015.jpg

Seventy-five potential jurors were questioned by a judge in Baltimore Circuit Court Monday as the first trial in the death of Freddie Gray got underway.

Jury selection for Officer William Porter's trial began Monday. When asked by Judge Barry Williams, every juror called said they knew about the Freddie Gray case, were aware of the curfew imposed following the protests and knew about the $6.4 million settlement between the city and Gray's family. 

Gray, 25, suffered a mysterious injury in the back of a police transport van and died April 19, inspiring thousands to take to the streets to protest what they believed was the mistreatment by police of another young black man. On Monday, a handful of protesters gathered outside the courthouse and chanted, "All night, all day, we will fight for Freddie Gray." 

In the weeks following the unrest, six police officers were indicted in Gray's death. Porter is being tried first in part because prosecutors want to use him as a witness in the trials of several other officers.

The group of potential jurors was asked a number of questions to gauge their ability to be impartial. 

A dozen potential jurors said they or their family members or significant others were employed by a law enforcement agency, while 26 said they had "strong feelings" about manslaughter or other misconduct by police. Almost 40 potential jurors said they or a family member had been either a victim of a crime or been investigated, arrested, charged or convicted of a crime.

Two dozen potential jurors said they could not serve for reasons including a planned trip or or a medical condition preventing them from sitting for more than an hour. 

Judge Williams also read aloud more than 200 names of possible witnesses, including more than 100 Baltimore police officers, lawyers and prosecutors.

The judge then began meeting privately with 66 members of the pool, which continued until he dismissed court about 5:45 p.m. He told the pool to plan to return Wednesday, but some will be notified before then that they do not need to return, court spokeswoman Terri Charles said.

A new jury panel will report to court Tuesday.

Protesters outside the courthouse marched to Inner Harbor, the World Trade Center, the Baltimore Aquarium and City Hall before wrapping up Monday evening, promising they weren't done, the Baltimore Sun's Colin Campbell tweeted.

A verdict will likely set the tone for the city: If Porter is acquitted there could be protests and possibly more unrest. A conviction could send shockwaves through the city's troubled police department.

"Everything is at stake. The future of the city is at stake,'' Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said.

Porter faces charges of assault, manslaughter, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office. He is accused of checking on Gray during several stops the van made during its 45-minute trip from the Gilmor Homes in Sandtown-Winchester, where Gray was arrested, to the Western District station house, where officers found Gray unresponsive and he was taken to a hospital. He died a week later.

Gray was initially handcuffed. Later during his van ride, his legs were shackled and he was placed back in the van without a seatbelt, a violation of department policy, prosecutors have said.

Porter told police investigators arresting Gray "was always a big scene," according to a pretrial filing by defense attorneys. Porter indicated he knew of a previous arrest in which Gray allegedly tried to kick out the windows of a police vehicle.

"You know, so he was always, always, like, banging around," Porter said in the statement excerpted in the filing. "It was always a big scene whenever you attempted to arrest Freddie Gray."

Defense attorneys say that helps explain Porter's actions during Gray's arrest.

Judge Williams said a jury will be seated in a day or two.

The trial is expected to be complete by Dec. 17.

Photo Credit: Art Lien]]>
<![CDATA[NAACP: President Detained ]]> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 19:51:06 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/cornell+brooks.jpg

Ten people were detained outside Chicago's City Hall Monday afternoon during an NAACP demonstration urging police reform, including the president of the organization, according to an NAACP spokesperson.

NAACP officials said in a statement that President Cornell Brooks was arrested, along with nine members of the clergy described as seminarians and Chicago Sinai Congregation members, while "kneeling in prayer in the middle of the street." They were released a short time later.

According to Chicago police, the 10 protesters were not arrested, but instead issued citations during a "small gathering." Police would not confirm why they were given the citations, and did not identify who was cited.

NAACP spokeswoman Raquel Coombs later said in an email that she did not dispute the way police characterized the interaction, but noted that Brooks and the others were put in a police van. Brooks tweeted a picture from the van showing several other people.

The group protested outside City Hall as Officer Jason Van Dyke, who was charged with first-degree murder in the shooting of Laquan McDonald, made another court appearance, where he received $1.5 million bond.

The protesters marched while carrying coffins and chanted "What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now!" and "Stop the cover-up! Sixteen shots!" in reference to the number of times McDonald was shot by Van Dyke.

During a press conference held during the demonstration, Brooks spoke about police reform and reiterated the NAACP's demand for a formal investigation of the Chicago Police Department. Several members also asked for the resignations of Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez.

"We are here because we are, as a city, as a citizenry, as a nation, grieving the death, the senseless, tragic death, of Laquan McDonald," said Cornell Brooks, president and CEO of the NAACP. "We have before us a casket. Caskets carry the loved ones that we've lost to death, sometimes as a consequence of disease, illness, old age, but not one of us can imagine the heartbreak of losing a loved one to police misconduct. And we're not merely here to grieve the loss of a 17-year-old. We're here before this emblem of death, this casket, to bury police misconduct in the city of Chicago."

Van Dyke posted bond Monday afternoon after a Cook County judge ordered the bail upon reviewing video footage of the fatal shooting of McDonald. The judge also showed the video to Van Dyke and his attorney in the courtroom.

Prosecutors asked for no bail during the hearing, but Van Dyke's attorney argued that the officer is not a flight risk. The judge said after the ruling that he was not there to determine guilt or innocence. Officials confirmed Van Dyke had posted bond and was released around 5 p.m.

Photo Credit: NBC Chicago
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