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The rent's on me, Powerball winner Pedro Quezada tells his Passaic, N.J., neighbors
Mar-31-2013 446 0


Powerball winner Pedro Quezada is hosting a rent party — for his entire block.

A close friend of the newly minted megamillionaire said Quezada promised to temporarily cover the housing costs for residents in the Passaic, N.J., neighborhood that housed his bodega.

“He said he’s going to pay the rent for everybody here on this block for at least a month or two months,” the friend said Saturday outside Quezada’s Apple Deli Grocery. “He’s such a good guy.”

Word of Quezada’s magnanimous gesture left several of his neighbors stunned.

“God bless him, and thank you,” crowed Richard Delgado, 45, after learning of the pledge.

John Koblarz’s eyes lit up when he heard Quezada had offered to cover his neighbors’ rents.

But then the 78-year-old landlord came to his senses.

“Oh, he can't afford to pay mine,” Koblarz said. “Mine is $20,000. I own the building!”

Neighbors were stunned over Quezada's kind gesture. Above, Pedro hoists his $338 million check.

Quezada, whose generosity is now the stuff of legend, was nowhere to be found Saturday, five days after he claimed the $338 million Powerball jackpot. But the Dominican immigrant was still the talk of the neighborhood.

Residents said the hardworking Quezada, 45, is considered a local hero.

“He’s somebody who needs it, not like the people who had millions already and won it,” said Delgado.
Cheech Rivera, 57, said he hardly ever saw Quezada or his wife because they were always too busy working to attend summer block parties.

“They struggled. They are always constantly working,” said Rivera. “They don’t really have time to get together with us.”

Piles of mail were stacked outside Quezada’s home, including a letter from a Morgan Stanley adviser with a handwritten note on the envelope.

“I want to help you,” it read.

Quezada put his bodega up for sale just two days after scoring the fourth-largest Powerball payout in history. The freshly retired Quezada opted for a lump-sum payout that will provide a $152 million payday.

And he’s already taken care of the $29,000 he owed in child support, according to his friend.

Officials in Passaic County said Saturday that a child-support warrant was stayed until 1:30 p.m. on Monday, when Quezada is due to appear in court.

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AP Jul-30-2014 106 0
An 8-year-old boy who was sleeping early Wednesday died after a bullet fired from outside went through the home's wall and into his bedroom, hitting him, Detroit police said.


The child was struck once about 1:15 a.m. Wednesday at the Brewster Homes complex on Detroit's east side, Officer Adam Madera said, and pronounced dead about 45 minutes later at Children's Hospital of Michigan.

"He was sleeping in his room and gunshots were fired from outside," Madera said.

No arrests were immediately made, but Detroit police were speaking with a "person of interest" in the case, Madera said. An autopsy is scheduled Thursday, Wayne County medical examiner's office spokeswoman Mary Mazur said.

The boy's name wasn't released by police, but The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press identify him as Jakari Pearson.

Grief-stricken relatives declined to be interviewed by The Associated Press. But next door neighbor Tenesha Higgins said there were "five or six" very loud booms — something she said is common in the public housing complex several miles northeast of downtown.

"I was just laying down to sleep," said Higgins, 30. "I heard the gunshots. It sounded like it was literally in front of the house. I waited, then I heard screaming and police sirens.

"I opened the door and the boy was laying in the street," she said, adding it appeared the mother's boyfriend was trying to rush him to the hospital.

"He was a good boy," Higgins said. "He liked to play baseball."

Neighbors and passers-by started a makeshift memorial of stuffed bears, dogs and other toy animals on the front porch of the home. Propped on the toys were handwritten cardboard signs that read: "CHILDREN ARE THE FUTURE!" ''GIVE OUR CHLDREN A CHANCE" and "UNITED WE STAND ... STOP THE VIOLENCE!!!!"

Jakari's slaying follows the July 1 shooting death of a 2-year-old girl in Inkster, southwest of Detroit. Police in that case have said KaMiya Gross was killed in front of her father as retaliation from an earlier shooting. Two men are charged in her death.

Late Wednesday morning, police still were at Jakari's home, a corner unit of several attached row houses. The shots appeared to have been fired behind the home toward the second floor. One tore through an upstairs window, while another appeared to cleanly pass through the exterior brick wall two feet beneath the window.

Jakari was to enter the fourth grade at Spain Elementary this year, friends said.

Higgins is fed up with the crime that has been creeping over the past decade or so into the neighborhood. She's lived there about 15 years.

"It can get very dangerous," Higgins said. "These guys get away with a lot of stuff. There have been numerous break-ins.

"I haven't been to sleep. I don't feel safe at all. I didn't go to work today. I didn't want to leave my baby."

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Jul-30-2014 80 0
ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith will be warming the bench this week.

The sports network suspended Smith for one week on Tuesday for televised remarks he made last week seeming to suggest that victims of domestic abuse sometimes shared responsibility for physical assault.

“Stephen A. Smith will not appear on First Take or ESPN Radio for the next week,” ESPN said in a brief statement. “He will return to ESPN next Wednesday.”

On Saturday, the Daily News reported that Smith is already planning to leave ESPN radio for Sirius XM’s Mad Dog Radio channel, where he will host his own show.

Smith has apologized several times for comments he made Friday on the sports debate show First Take, where Smith and fellow ESPN personality Skip Bayless discussed the two-game suspension the NFL levied on Ravens running back Ray Rice. Surveillance cameras from an Atlantic City casino showed Rice dragging his unconscious bride-to-be, Janay Palmer, out of an elevator, days before their marriage.

“Let’s make sure we don’t do anything to provoke wrong actions,” Smith said. “If we come after somebody has put their hands on you, it doesn’t negate the fact that they already put their hands on you. So let’s try to make sure that we can do our part in making sure that that doesn’t happen.”

In a long and sometimes confusing soliloquy, Smith went on to concede that Rice “probably deserves more than a two-game suspension.” Then Smith said “we also have to make sure that we learn as much as we can about elements of provocation.”

The comments prompted an immediate deluge of criticism, led by Smith’s ESPN colleague Michelle Beadle, who called him out on Twitter, saying “violence isn’t the victim’s issue, it’s the abuser’s.”

Smith tried to quell the outrage in a series of posts on Twitter, then in a longer statement, and finally in an on-air apology broadcast on Monday morning. After ESPN’s decision, Smith (@stephenasmith) tweeted out: My apology on @ESPN_FirstTake Monday morning speaks for itself. I accept ESPN’s Decision. See you all next Wednesday. God Bless!

Smith had made similar comments in 2012, when NFL receiver Chad Johnson was charged with domestic battery following a dispute with his then-wife, Evelyn Lozada. In response to that news, Smith suggested Lozada was exaggerating the incident and that “her actions have been completely glossed over.”

“I am sick and tired of men constantly being vilified and accused of things and we stop there,” Smith said. “I’m saying, ‘Can we go a step further?’ Since we want to dig all deeper into Chad Johnson, can we dig in deep to her?’ ”

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Jul-30-2014 77 0
The NYPD cops who shot and killed a 16-year-old Brooklyn boy who was allegedly armed — sparking mini street riots — will not face a criminal prosecution, the Daily News has learned.

Lawyers for the family of Kimani Gray, who died in an East Flatbush street on March 2013, notified a federal judge Tuesday that prosecutors informed them “that they are not pursuing criminal charges against the (officers) and will not be presenting case to the grand jury,” a court document shows.

The decision came after a recently-completed investigation ordered by Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson, sources said.

A DA spokeswoman confirmed the office will not present the case to a grand jury.

Police have said Gray pointed a loaded .38-caliber handgun at the officers and claimed he was ordered to drop it.

But his family and lawyers noted that out of seven bullets that struck the teen, three entered from his back, suggesting he was running away.

Dozens were arrested in subsequent protests, including Kimani’s sister, and at least two officers were lightly injured in the fracas.

The kid’s parents have filed a federal lawsuit naming the two cops involved in his death: Sergeant Mourad Mourad and Officer Jovaniel Cordova.




NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpi
Carol Gray (l.) lost her son, Kimani Gray, in the March 2013 shooting.
Fatimah Shakur speaks during a vigil held for Kimani Gray in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, on March 13, 2013.

Police officers arrest a demonstrator during a march after a vigil for Kimani Gray on March 13, 2013.



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NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpi.
Demonstrator Fatimah Shakur speaks during a vigil held for Kimani "Kiki" Gray in the East Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn, Wednesday, March 13, 2013, in New York. The 16-year-old was shot to death on a Brooklyn street last Saturday night by plainclothes police officers who claim the youth pointed a .38-caliber revolver at them. (AP Photo/John Minchillo).
Police officers arrest a demonstrator during a march after a vigil held for Kimani "Kiki" Gray in the East Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn, Wednesday, March 13, 2013, in New York. The 16-year-old was shot to death on a Brooklyn street last Saturday night by plainclothes police officers who claim the youth pointed a .38-caliber revolver at them. (AP Photo/John Minchillo).
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Julia Xanthos/New York Daily News

Lawyers of the defendants and the city recently asked a judge to put a stay on the suit until the conclusion of a potential criminal case.

One of the Grays attorneys, Michael Hueston, cited the DA opting to punt when asking to deny that request.

Insiders have described the chances of a grand jury action as slim all along.

“It’s what I’ve expected,” another family lawyer, Kenneth Montgomery, said of the DA’s decision. “I’m going by how long it has taken and the police’s initial statement that the shooting was justified.”

A DA spokeswoman did not immediately confirm the office’s determination.

“We’re going to make the results of police shooting cases known” after concluding investigations and meeting with victims’ relatives, Thompson said.

The issue of prosecuting police officers came into sharper focus recently when father-of-six Eric Garner died this month after an arresting officer put him in a chokehold. The Staten Island DA is probing that incident.


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Rebecca Lopez Jul-29-2014 111 0
For three-and-a-half minutes, Joe Wesson can be heard screaming and groaning in pain in a recording of his arrest.

The video was shot by a passerby who saw Wesson being arrested in June 2014.

You can hear the passerby commenting on the tape, “Damn, that is unnecessary."

Wesson is pictured already handcuffed and not resisting arrest. Officer Jesus Martinez stays on top of him and yanks Wesson's arm over his head several times.

"He actually was kneeing me in my back and pulled both my arms in the air like he was trying to break both of them," Wesson said.

According to an arrest affidavit, Martinez said Wesson was panhandling, and resisted arrest by swinging at the officer with closed fists and grabbing the officer's uniform, causing it to rip.

The officer said he had to use pepper spray but that was not captured on video, and Wesson disputes the account.

"I am 57 years old. I'm not thinking that it's that serious for a cop to really take that much force on one guy," Wesson said.

The officer did radio for assistance, but remained on top of Wesson even after other officers arrived. He eventually left Wesson lying on the concrete.

"Clearly, we have an issue here in the City of Dallas, and something needs to be addressed," said Daryl Kevin Washington, Wesson’s attorney.

Wesson was charged with resisting arrest.

The Dallas Police Department declined comment, saying there are ongoing internal and criminal investigations into the officer's actions.

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Jul-29-2014 101 0
The parents of a south Georgia teenager found dead inside a rolled-up gym mat at school have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against school administrators.

The parents of 17-year-old Kendrick Johnson of Valdosta sued Monday in Superior Court. Their lawsuit blames the Lowndes County school board for allowing Johnson to die "at the hands of one or more students" while at his high school during school hours.

Classmates found Johnson's body inside a rolled-up mat propped in a corner of the gym Jan. 10, 2013.

Sheriff's investigators concluded that he died in a freak accident, having fallen into the mat and gotten stuck upside down.

Johnson's parents insist that someone killed him.

The school board's attorney, Warren Turner, did not immediately return a call Tuesday from The Associated Press.

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Jul-29-2014 191 0
A Liberian government official who succumbed to the Ebola virus had family living in Minnesota and was set to return to the U.S. next month, his grieving kin said.

Patrick Sawyer died Friday after suffering extreme bouts of vomiting and diarrhea on a flight from Liberia to Nigeria, leading to fears he may have spread the virus to fellow passengers.

Health workers were scrambling to track down any passengers or flight crew who may have been in contact with the 40-year-old as he flew from Liberia to Ghana to Togo before arriving in Lagos, where he was quarantined and eventually died.

His wife, Decontee Sawyer, said her husband had planned to return to their Coon Rapids home in August to attend two of his three daughters' birthdays, Minnesota's KSTP-TV reported.

The grieving widow said she hoped her husband's death served as a wake-up call about the global threat of the virus, which has already killed more than 670 people in West Africa.

"It's a global problem because Patrick could've easily come home with Ebola," Decontee Sawyer told the station.

"It's close, it's at our front door. It knocked down my front door."

Health experts said it was unlikely Sawyer infected others because Ebola spreads through body fluids such as urine, blood or saliva. Unlike the flu, it does not travel through the air.

So far, Nigerian authorities identified 59 people who came into contact with him, including airline employees and health workers, and tested 20 of them. None of them were positive, The Associated Press reported.

Still, the fact that he was able to board a plane while ill — coupled with the fact his sister recently died from Ebola — raised questions about passenger screening and the risk of the disease spreading through air travel, officials said.

Two other American aid workers in Liberia have fallen ill with the disease and were being cared for by doctors there.

Dr. Kent Brantly, 33, and his colleague Nancy Writebol spent months fighting Ebola in that country before becoming sick themselves.

Brantly's wife and two young children lived with him in Liberia until recently, when they left to attend a wedding in the U.S.

They are now in Abilene, Tex., and were being monitored for signs of the disease, officials said.

Sawyer lived in Minnesota for about a decade before returning to Liberia in 2008 to work as a finance minister, KSTP-TV reported.

His wife said he was beloved in their local Liberian community. They planned to honor him with a memorial in September.

Liberian health workers in protective gear on the way to bury a woman who died of the virus in Foya, Lofa County, earlier this month. More than 670 people have died from the disease since its outbreak in February.

Decontee Sawyer said she was left cold by the thought of another family losing their loved one to the disease and hoped African health officials were doing all they can to fight the outbreak.

"I have three girls who will never get to know their father," she told KSTP-TV.

"This can't happen anymore," she added. "I don't want any more families going through what I'm going through.

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Jul-29-2014 173 0
Police are investigating whether a cop put a seven-months-pregnant woman in a chokehold while busting her for illegal grilling in Brooklyn — an incident caught on film.

Photos released Monday by an East New York advocacy group show Rosan Miller, 27, struggling with a cop who appears to have his arm around her neck.

Officers went to the home over the weekend because Miller was grilling on a public sidewalk in violation of local law, cops said. But a melee broke out that ended with her, her brother and husband all in handcuffs.

The brother, John Miller, was charged with harassment and obstruction of justice. Her husband, Moses Miller, 34, was charged with resisting arrest and obstruction. Rosan Miller got a summons for disorderly conduct.

When former city councilman Charles Barron heard, he called cops to complain and "expedite" the Millers' release, he said.

"This was all over a grill," Barron said. "This is about grilling in front of her house."

Former city councilman Charles Barron points out the woman's daughter can be seen watching her mother's arrest.

The seven-months-pregnant Rosan Miller struggles over the weekend.

The advocacy group, People Organizing and Working for Empowerment and Respect, released the photos.

Barron pointed out that the woman's daughter can be seen in the photo watching her mother being arrested.

Barron said one of the cops, a lieutenant, went to the building at 594 Bradford St. Thursday about a domestic incident involving another resident, returned on Saturday and encountered the grilling.

A case in which a man died while in an apparent chokehold has led to outcry in the city recently. Eric Garner, 43, of Staten Island, died July 17 after a confrontation with cops who were arresting him for selling loose cigarettes.

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Joel Landau Jul-29-2014 173 0
Police are searching for an overprotective father who assaulted a man for looking at his daughter.

The Upper Darby Police Department in suburban Philadelphia has released a picture of the man and his daughter who were in a Wawa convenience store Sunday when police said the man did not approve of how another male was looking at his child.

The suspect, dressed in a red polo shirt, punched the man in the face, police said. He then left the store.

The victim suffered serious injuries from the assault, police said.

Police did not release any additional information regarding the victim or suspect.

This guy's not an overprotective father ... That's just his excuse for thumping the guy.

"If somebody's looking at your daughter, why don't you confront him instead of punching him?" Upper Darby police Superintendent Michael Chitwood told Philly.com. "This guy's not an overprotective father ... That's just his excuse for thumping the guy."

Anyone with information can call 610-734-7693.


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Jul-28-2014 226 0
The night before 8-year-old M.L. Lloyd III was taken to River Parishes Hospital, his stepfather, Errol Victor Jr., along with three other children, whipped and punched the child for stealing ice cream, according to a recorded statement that one of M.L.'s brothers gave to investigators. That recording is expected to be shown in court Monday as the second-degree murder trial of Victor and his wife resumes in Edgard.

The brother, who is scheduled to testify later in the trial, told an interviewer in 2008 that Errol Victor made him and another child hold down M.L. by the arms while the beating was administered. The jurors in St. John the Baptist Parish's 40th Judicial District Court were shown several video recordings on Saturday, and later they requested transcripts and asked that the volume be adjusted because it was difficult to hear.

Errol and Tonya Victor are charged with killing M.L., Tonya Victor's biological son, on April 1, 2008. The couple had a total of 13 sons living at their house in Reserve, where authorities say the beating took place. When they met, Tonya Victor had five sons from previous relationships, and Errol Victor had six sons. The couple later had two sons together.

The recordings were played in court during a 2009 bond hearing. At the time, Tonya and Errol Victor disputed the child's testimony, calling him troubled and a "perverted liar."

Now, however, the use of those recordings comes on the heels of several days of testimony from doctors, one of whom is a considered an expert in child abuse pediatrics. They say M.L.'s death resulted from a beating -- not asthma, as the defendants have suggested. Jurors also have heard from an emergency room nurse, who said Errol Victor told him that the child had been whipped from stealing.

Prosecutors maintain that M.L. was severely whipped and beaten before his parents took him to the LaPlace hospital, where he was pronounced dead. They are focusing their case on second-degree murder as it relates to cruelty to a juvenile, in which there doesn't have to be an intent to kill or inflict great bodily harm.

The Victors are representing themselves in court, although neither has any formal legal training. They have vigorously denied the prosecution's account and say that the boy died as the result of a severe asthma attack. If convicted they face life in prison.

The Victors have produced medical records that show M.L. was diagnosed with asthma as an infant and was treated at the emergency room several times for respiratory problems while he lived in Hammond with Tonya Victor and his biological father, M.L. Lloyd, Jr.

Judge Mary Hotard Becnel, who is presiding over the trial, has said she expects the proceedings to last seven to 12 days. The jury of nine women and three men, with four alternates, began hearing testimony Thursday.

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