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Second-Graders’ Ferguson Protest Sparks Controversy

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014 by

Posted in National News

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW BEDFORD, Mass.) — A protest put on by a group of second-graders in Massachusetts has sparked controversy, but the school says it was just teaching the kids a lesson in civics.

Second-graders gathered on the sidewalk outside of the school with signs, some that said “Honk for Justice,” after learning about the deaths of Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York, and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, both killed by police officers. The peaceful demonstration happened on Friday, a spokesman for the Alma del Mar Charter School in New Bedford told ABC News Tuesday.

“A group of scholars played on the playground while other scholars held their demonstration without incident,” Will Garner, the school’s executive director, said in a statement Tuesday.

But the protest went awry when a friend of a police officer, whose daughter attends the school, saw the students and alerted him that his 7-year-old daughter was taking part, the spokesman said.

That father, George Borden, told The Boston Globe he believed the event was anti-police and shouldn’t be condoned by the school.

While Alma del Mar says the protest was the students’ idea, Borden disagrees.

“I don’t think 7-year-olds can come up with the idea to go out and protest on the street,” he told the newspaper.

ABC News could not reach Borden for comment, but Borden’s father, who is also named George, said he agrees with his son.

“What second grader wants to give up recess to go stand on a busy street corner and chant, ‘We want justice’?” he said. “My son’s a cop, so he’s really upset, and after his daughter got in the car, she asked if he shoots people.”

The school says it sent students home with a note before the lesson about Garner and Brown, to give parents the chance to opt out. The protest, which was not mentioned in the note, was an idea the students came up with in class, the school spokesman said.

“We have spoken with the concerned officer and his family on several occasions and he has agreed to meet with both the teacher and school administrators to discuss his concerns and come up with productive next steps,” Will Garner said in a statement.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Hometown Headlines w/ Brad Barrett

Massachusetts Woman Rescued After Car Plunges into River

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014 by

Posted in National News

iStock/Thinkstock(TAUNTON, Mass.) — A dramatic 911 call shows the fear of a Massachusetts woman who was close to being swept away after her car crashed down an embankment into a river.

“Oh my God, the water’s coming in. It’s getting higher,” Debora Wrigley Dooley can be heard saying in the 911 call. “It’s too deep for me to get out and it’s rapid. It’s moving real fast.”

Authorities say Dooley was driving down a street in Taunton, Massachusetts, Monday when she swerved to avoid another car, according to local ABC News affiliate WCVB.

Dooley’s car was sent careening down an embankment into the Mill River. As water filled her car, Dooley described to the 911 dispatcher how her car was moving down the river.

“It’s stopped right now,” she said. “Every once in a while it moves a little but it stops.”

Rescuers used the car’s OnStar navigation system to track Dooley’s vehicle as it moved down the river.

Around four minutes after Dooley dialed 911, rescuers arrived and pulled her to safety.

“By the time we arrived…the current had taken her car 150 yards down the river,” said Taunton Fire Department Captain Steven Lavigne.

Dooley was taken to a local hospital, where she remained overnight. Her specific injuries are not known.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio



Search Intensifies for Shooting Spree Suspect in Pennsylvania

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014 by

Posted in National News

Montgomery County District Atty(SOUDERTON, Pa.) — A suspect in a deadly shooting rampage remains on the run outside of Philadelphia Tuesday morning, forcing residents to stay indoors and local schools to close as a precaution.

Bradley William Stone, 35, is suspected of killing six members of his ex-wife’s family at three separate locations in Montgomery County — allegedly killing his ex-wife, his former mother-in-law, former grandmother-in-law, sister-in-law, brother-in-law and 14-year-old niece.

His former nephew, 17, was wounded and taken to a hospital in Philadelphia for treatment. Stone took his two children to a neighbor’s home before the shootings began, Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri told reporters, and they are safe.

Stone is a former Marine reservist who served from 2002 to 2011. He had one deployment to Iraq, leaving with the rank of sergeant, according to a Marine spokesperson.

A man matching the description of Stone was spotted in Doylestown, Bucks County, Monday after a resident was confronted by the man with a knife, according to a statement from Doylestown Township.

The victim was walking his dog when a man, described as a white male approximately 5’10” wearing camouflage clothing, demanded his car keys.

The victim resisted and fell to the ground, but had a gun and fired multiple rounds at the suspect, according to the statement.

The man matching Stone’s description was last seen running into the woods.

Residents throughout Montgomery and Bucks counties were being told to stay in their homes and lock their doors as the search continued.

“Stone may be wearing military fatigues, in either sand or green color,” the district attorney’s office said in a statement posted to Facebook. Stone is known to use a cane or walker.

Matthew Schafte, who told ABC News that he’s known Stone for 20-plus years, says he broke down in tears when he heard about the shootings.

“I would describe him as a laid-back guy — loving his family, loving his country. I know he had issues with his children over a custody battle or something,” he said. “A decorated veteran, who would do anything for his country, anything for anybody.”

“I just broke down in tears. I couldn’t believe it, I couldn’t believe it, because this isn’t the Brad that I know.”

“A couple of months ago, I was hanging out with him, we sat down and had a drink,” he added. “We were just talking about old times, how everybody was doing, and he told me he was going through some things with his kids, but that’s about it.”

Earlier in the day, SWAT teams surrounded a home at Penn and Highland avenues in Souderton, Pennsylvania, where a suspect in the shootings was originally believed barricaded inside, police told ABC station WPVI-TV in Philadelphia.

Witnesses heard a loud boom shortly before an unidentified person was taken out of the house on a stretcher.

Police also surrounded another home in nearby Pennsburg.


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Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Loyal Listeners Club

Amazon Headquarters Evacuated Due to Threatening Note, Threat Not Deemed Credible

Monday, December 15th, 2014 by

Posted in National News

Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images(SEATTLE) — Amazon.com’s headquarters in Seattle was evacuated on Monday morning as police investigated a threatening letter found on campus.

“Out of an abundance of caution,” police said the complex was evacuated. Officers from the Seattle Police Department and Amazon security searched the area after a threatening note was found in a bathroom on the campus early Monday.

Arson and Bomb Squads were at the scene to investigate, but police said later Monday that there was no indication that the threat was credible.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio



Police Arrest 25 at Oakland Protest

Monday, December 15th, 2014 by

Posted in National News

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(OAKLAND, Calif.) — Twenty-five people were arrested on Monday morning outside the main Oakland Police Department building during a protest against the recent grand jury decisions not to indict police officers involved in the deaths of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and Eric Garner in Staten Island, N.Y.

According to a release from the OPD, “multiple groups of protesters blocked the main entrances of the building by chaining shut four of the building’s doors and then chaining themselves to the doors.” Police said that those actions crossed the line legally as they prevented the public from accessing police records, including inhibiting the reporting of crimes, obtaining public records, and accessing paperwork for vehicle impound releases.

Police estimated that about 150 to 200 people were present at the protest. One group of protesters connected themselves to each other and blocked the intersection of Broadway and 7th Street, prompting their arrest.

The OPD said the 25 arrests were for either obstructing or blocking a public building and obstructing or delaying a police officer.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Song of The Day

Jury Rules Against Boy Scouts of America in $7 Million Lawsuit

Monday, December 15th, 2014 by

Posted in National News

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A jury ruled against the Boy Scouts of America on Monday in a multi-million dollar lawsuit in which the organization was accused of keeping a secret file of scout masters who had been accused of abusing scouts during the 1970s.

The plaintiff in the case says that he was sexually assaulted by a scout master as a child. Despite winning the lawsuit, his attorney Paul Slager said that “it’s not the kind of situation that, as a person who represents victims of child sexual abuse, that I really see as a victory.” Instead, he said, “it’s more a validation and an important statement.”

The jury awarded the plaintiff $7 million. Slager said that award is “a very, very loud statement in recognition of the suffering that one man, one very courageous man here in Connecticut, has been through.”

The Boy Scouts of America provided a statement on the ruling to ABC News, in which the organization said it “[appreciates] the court’s time in the evaluation of this matter” though the Scouts “disagree with the findings” the organization says it will “…review the decision and comply accordingly.”

“Youth protection is of paramount importance to the Boy Scouts of America, and our organization has always focused on the best interests of our youth,” the statement read. “In the nearly four decades since these events took place we have continued to develop and enhance our efforts to protect youth, regularly consulting with experts from law enforcement, child safety, psychology, and other disciplines to ensure its efforts consistently evolve along with the ever-changing awareness of the dangers and challenges facing youth.”

The Boy Scouts of America also note that the group aims to prevent child abuse by combining education on the subject with a comprehensive selection process for leaders and criminal background and other checks.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio



LA Neighborhood Blames Waze App for Morning Traffic Jam

Monday, December 15th, 2014 by

Posted in National News

iStock/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) — Thanks to its pervasive use by drivers seeking a clear patch of road, the Waze traffic social app is being blamed for causing congestion in a once-quiet Los Angeles neighborhood.

Paula Hamilton, 80, who has lived at her home in Sherman Oaks for 35 years, told ABC News that morning traffic on her street took a turn for the worse two to three months ago.

“The traffic has never been this bad. It’s bumper-to-bumper traffic now in the morning. Cars move at 10 miles an hour,” she said. 

Hamilton said the congestion is so bad she won’t leave home from 6:45 a.m. to 8 a.m.

Mila Reeder, who lives five doors down the road from Hamilton, agrees that in the 30 years she has lived in her Sherman Oaks home, traffic has never been this heavy.

“There are no sidewalks on the narrow curvy streets near my home and with the number of cars driving by in the morning people are always about to be hit. It’s really dangerous,” Reeder told ABC News.

While complaints are being leveled at Waze for diverting freeway traffic to residential neighborhoods, Bruce Gillman, public information officer for the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, tells ABC News that it’s unfair to place all the blame on Waze.

“There is more than one traffic app out there and they all have similar functions,” said Gillman.

These apps give real-time traffic data to motorists by tracking the speed of those using the apps, then suggesting alternate routes, sometimes through residential areas.

Gillman, who said he uses traffic apps, noted that neighborhood roads are not off limits.

“Using these apps is a normal reaction. We try to navigate around traffic,” he said.

Julie Mossler, senior director of communications at Waze, tells ABC News that the allegations that Waze is causing neighborhood traffic in Los Angeles started around Thanksgiving this year.

“Waze draws the most attention because we have 50 million users worldwide. However, to say we’re causing bumper to bumper traffic is not accurate. This isn’t how the algorithm of Waze takes care of itself,” she said.

Mossler explained in a note to residents how the app works: “Waze finds open stretches of road and spreads cars across the grid of public streets, helping not only to alleviate congestion but promote a safer drive, as bumper-to-bumper traffic often means a greater risk of accidents and unsafe driving behavior. We have millions of drivers in Los Angeles who work together to warn each other about objects in the road, construction and more. In turn, avoiding these obstacles prevents further issues.”

“Also, I want to stress that we alternate which routes are used, based on real-time conditions, to avoid generating congestion of our own on a different set of roads — it simply wouldn’t be effective to route a large amount of Wazers down your street,” said Mossler in her note.

Mossler said in her letter that “Los Angeles is a powder keg of cars, construction and population that will only continue to get worse. With or without Waze, drivers will be looking for alternatives to major thoroughfares.”

Mossler told ABC News that Waze operates on a massive scale by helping to spread cars out.

“By doing that it certainly makes it easier for emergency vehicles to get through and improved your commute to the airport, for example,” she said.

Sherman Oaks residents have raised their complaints to their council member, Tom LaBonge.

“My field deputy met with them so we can find a solution to their problem. The collector streets in Los Angeles recommended by apps like Waze as alternate routes are not equipped to handle this amount of heavy traffic. Some of them are narrow, some are not properly divided, and some are unmarked for example,” LaBonge told ABC News.

LaBonge is working on a motion for the City Council addressing the safety of these apps.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Nugget of Knowldege

Families of Sandy Hook Victims Sue Gunmaker, Seller

Monday, December 15th, 2014 by

Posted in National News

Win McNamee/Getty Images(NEWTOWN, Conn.) — Nearly half of the 26 families who lost loved ones in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting two years ago have filed a lawsuit against the maker of the gun used in the shooting and where it was sold.

Ten families are suing Bushmaster, the manufacturer of the AR-15 rifle that gunman Adam Lanza used to kill their loved ones, children and adults.

In addition to Bushmaster, the families have named Camfour, a firearm distributor, and Riverview Gun Sales, the store where the Bushmaster rifle was purchased in 2010.  

The 10 families represent a mix of victims, students and teachers, and allege negligence and wrongful death in their suit.

They argue the AR-15 should never have been publicly sold because it’s a military style assault weapon.

“The AR-15 was specifically engineered for the United States Military to meet the needs of changing warfare,” said Josh Koskoff of Koskoff, Koskoff & Bieder, the Connecticut firm representing the families.  “In fact, one of the Army’s specifications for the AR-15 was that it has the capability to penetrate a steel helmet. This weapon was not designed for home defense or hunting. This weapon was designed to efficiently kill other human beings in combat.”

The suit says the AR-15 is legitimate for soldiers and police, but not for civilian use.

The filing was submitted to a court marshal on Friday.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio



Manhunt Underway for Suspect in Pennsylvania Shooting Spree

Monday, December 15th, 2014 by

Posted in National News

WPVI(SOUDERTON, Pa.) — A manhunt is underway in and around Pennsburg, Pennsylvania, for a suspect in an overnight shooting spree that left six people dead and wounded another, authorities said.

Officials identified the suspect as 35-year-old Bradley William Stone of Pennsburg. All of the victims at three separate locations in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, are related to Stone, police said.

According to a Marine spokesperson, Stone is a former Marine reservist who served from 2002 to 2011, with one deployment to Iraq, leaving with the rank of sergeant.

The suspect may be wearing military fatigues and should be considered armed and dangerous, according to the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office. Stone is known to use a cane or walker. Residents in the area were being told to stay in their homes and lock their doors as the search continued late Monday afternoon in the area 50 miles north of Philadelphia.

“Stone may be wearing military fatigues, in either sand or green color,” the district attorney’s office said in a statement posted to Facebook. “Stone should be considered armed and dangerous. Anyone with information about Stone’s whereabouts is asked to call 9-1-1 immediately. Do not approach him.”

Matthew Schafte, who told ABC News that he’s known Stone for 20-plus years, says he broke down in tears when he heard about the shootings.

“I would describe him as a laid back guy — loving his family, loving his country. I know he had issues with his children over a custody battle or something,” he said. “A decorated veteran, who would do anything for his country, anything for anybody.”

“I just broke down in tears. I couldn’t believe it, I couldn’t believe it, because this isn’t the Brad that I know,” Schafte said.

“A couple of months ago, I was hanging out with him, we sat down and had a drink,” he added. “We were just talking about old times, how everybody was doing, and he told me he was going through some things with his kids, but that’s about it.”

Police said they are conducting an extensive search in and around Pennsburg, at both known and outdoor locations where Stone may be located, the statement added.

“People in that area should remain indoors, keep their doors locked and call 9-1-1 if they think they have seen the suspect,” police said in the statement.

SWAT teams earlier surrounded a home in Souderton, Pennsylvania, where the suspect was originally believed barricaded inside, police told ABC News station WPVI-TV in Philadelphia. Witnesses heard a loud boom shortly before an unidentified person was taken out of the house on a stretcher.

Police also surrounded another home in nearby Pennsburg.

The first shooting was reported before 4 a.m. in Lower Salford Township, where police found a woman shot to death, WPVI reported.

More shootings occurred at a location in nearby Lansdale, with two people killed, WPVI reported.

Two more people were killed at a third scene in Souderton borough, according to the station.

It was not immediately clear where the sixth victim was killed.

Late Monday night, the search for Stone was expanded to Doylestown Township, after the victim of an attempted armed robbery provided a description of his attacker that was similar to the description of Stone.

Upper Perkiomen schools will be closed Tuesday while the manhunt continues.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Pet of the Week

Adrian Peterson Claims NFL Exec Promised Him Two-Game Suspension

Monday, December 15th, 2014 by

Posted in National News

Bob Levey/Getty Images(MINNEAPOLIS) — A newly revealed recording between Adrian Peterson and a top NFL executive raises questions about the star running back’s suspension over child abuse charges.

The Nov. 12 recording, obtained exclusively by ABC News from Peterson’s lawyers, features his talking with Troy Vincent, a former player and now the league’s executive vice president of football operations, according to Peterson’s lawyers.

In the conversation, Vincent promises the Minnesota Vikings’ running back a two-game suspension instead of the indefinite ban handed down by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell six days later.

“It will be two additional games, not time served?” Peterson asks during the conversation.

“No, no, no, no…it won’t…The one this weekend,” Vincent responds. “So really, it’s just next week and you…you…you…you will be back.”

During part of the conversation, Vincent acknowledges the potential for Peterson to gain reinstatement.

“Unless you want a different hearing, you want a proceeding go to another hearing,” Vincent says. “You will be reinstated and back with your club, you know, potentially the…you know, that next week.”

The six-time All-Pro, who pleaded no contest with no jail time for beating his 4-year-old son with a switch, lost his suspension appeal on Friday. But at that appeal hearing, his lawyers claimed the league retaliated against the former NFL MVP for failing to meet with the league days before he was suspended — a meeting his lawyers claimed was not required under league rules.

On the phone call, Vincent, a three-time All-Pro himself, seems to say that such a meeting was key.

Peterson, 29, asks whether his suspension would be lifted in two games.

“Yeah, that is it…but you cannot…you got…you’ve got to act. You gotta just go through the process,” Vincent, 44, said.

Later in the call, Vincent seems to make a plea to the suspended superstar.

“I gave you my word the other day. I think we looked at each other and in my heart, I’m praying that we can just get your family restored and get you back on this field so that you can continue to be the ballplayer, the citizen, the father, the husband that God’s called you to be,” Vincent said. “You’ve done a lot, paid…paid a price and I think everybody is…everybody understands that.”

At Peterson’s appeal, Vincent denied making promises, saying, “I didn’t promise Adrian anything. Never promised. Adrian needed to show up…all things were to be considered.”

Appeals officer Harold Henderson — appointed by Goodell — agreed, saying Vincent wasn’t speaking for the NFL, but trying to “help Peterson put this issue behind him and get back to his life, his family, and football.”

But now, Peterson, who told ESPN he considered quitting the game and trying out for the Olympics, reportedly feels let down by a league he says he can no longer trust.

ABC News reached out to the NFL for comment, and was sent the appeal officer’s decision, in which the officer ruled that there was not enough evidence to conclude that the suspension was retaliation against Peterson.

The players’ union, the NFLPA, filed a lawsuit on Peterson’s behalf against the league Monday.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio



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