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The rent's on me, Powerball winner Pedro Quezada tells his Passaic, N.J., neighbors
Mar-31-2013 515 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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May-03-2015 40 0
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake on Sunday morning lifted the curfew that has been in place across the city for nearly a week..

The emergency curfew, which required all Baltimoreans stay indoors between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., was put in place as riots overtook West Baltimore in the wake of the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody last month. The curfew began last Tuesday night and had been set to last a week.

The mayor came under criticism for keeping the curfew in place even after State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced Friday charges against six city police officers in Gray's death. Protests that were once rowdy and violent turned peaceful and celebratory leading up to and after the announcement.

"My number one priority in instituting a curfew was to ensure the public peace, safety, health and welfare of Baltimore citizens," Rawlings-Blake said. "It was not an easy decision, but one I felt was necessary to help our city restore calm."

A spokesman for Gov. Larry Hogan said the Maryland National Guard will gradually draw down its presence in the city over the coming days.

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Melissa Chan May-03-2015 62 0
The half-dozen Baltimore cops charged Friday in Freddie Gray's homicide are being "thrown like red meat" to satisfy an angry mob hungry for justice, a Wisconsin police sheriff said.

State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby "gleefully" rushed to file criminal charges against the six police officers in connection with the death of the 25-year-old black man to please protesters and make a political statement, Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke fumed on Fox News.

"I'm not going to silently stand by and watch my brother officers, offered up as human sacrifices, thrown like red meat to an angry mob, just to appease this angry mob," Clarke said on the "Your World with Neil Cavuto" show after the city's top prosecutor handed down the announcement.

"This is George Zimmerman and the Duke Lacrosse case all over again."

Clarke, a veteran homicide detective with the Milwaukee Police Department, said it takes several days to sift through hundreds of pages of reports and gather evidence and witnesses.

"She just got this case yesterday. This is political activism," he said. "She'll never prove this beyond a reasonable doubt."

Mosby swiftly announced the charges one day after her office received both the autopsy report, which ruled Gray's death while in police custody a homicide, and the results of an internal Baltimore police probe.


"To the people of Baltimore and the demonstrators across America: I heard your call for 'No justice, no peace,' " she said. “Your peace is sincerely needed as I work to deliver justice on behalf of this young man.”

But the pledge is premature and "probably in violation of her code of ethics as a lawyer," Clarke charged, adding that the emotionally involved Mosby should recuse herself from the case.

"Her job is to tune that out. She said, 'I hear the voices.' She's not supposed to hear anything as she reviews this case," he said.

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May-03-2015 108 0
An assistant prosecutor in Detroit, Mich. resigned from an eight-year career after brazen comments — calling for the death of Baltimore rioters — surfaced.

“Simple. Shoot em. Period. End of discussion,” Teana Walsh, formerly of Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, took to Facebook at the peak of the city’s unrest.

“I don't care what causes the protesters to turn violent ... what the 'they did it because' reason is ... no way is this acceptable. Flipping disgusting,” she continued in her comment.

She quickly deleted the friends-only remark late Monday night as looters busted into Baltimore businesses and police wrangled at least dozens of protesters into custody. But like most things on the Internet, it lived on in the form of a screenshot captured by a defense attorney.

“When a member of law enforcement seeks, not to enforce the law, but to execute its judgment without due process, they have become part of the animal kingdom themselves,” Cliff Woodards wrote of Walsh’s comments he found on Facebook.

Both Walsh and Woodards were, at the time, Facebook friends.

Her resignation on Friday followed undisclosed disciplinary action, according to the Detroit News.

As violent protests took over Baltimore after Freddie Gray’s funeral on Monday, Detroit prosecutor Teana Walsh said they should be put to death.

In light of Walsh’s violent solution to protests that overran areas of Baltimore over the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, fellow prosecutors defended Walsh.

“During her tenure in the office, Teana Walsh has been known for her great work ethic and her compassion for victims of crime and their families," Maria Miller, an assistant prosecutors also with Wayne County, said in a statement to the Detroit News.

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Nicole Hensley May-03-2015 89 0
One of the six Baltimore police officers charged in Freddie Gray’s death believed the shackled 25-year-old had fallen ill with “jailitis,” investigators said.

The officer, who is not identified, made light of Gray’s numerous pleas for medical attention during the 45-minute “rough ride,” which included a request for an inhaler, according to an exclusive Baltimore Sun report.

The paper was given several days of access to the internal investigation into Gray’s death. They agreed to wait to reveal the latest bombshell findings until after Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced charges against the six officers on Friday.

Officers Caesar Goodson Jr., William Porter, Edward Nero, Garrett Miller, Lt. Brian Rice and Sgt. Alicia White all face criminal charges in the wake of Gray’s death, one week after they played a role in his arrest and transport to the Western District Station.

Investigators recreated several aspects of Gray’s capture to debunk any theories behind the severed spine, including how Officers Miller and Nero restrained him on the sidewalk near Gilmore Homes and the lack of restraint in the back of a paddy wagon.

The investigation led by Maj. Stanley Brandford of the department’s Homicide Unit was separate from Mosby’s own independent probe.


The mystery behind Gray’s injured spine falls onto whatever happened between the arrest and his arrival at the Western District Station. His spine could not have been injured while he was being restrained by Miller and Nero, Dr. David Higgins, an orthopedic surgeon, has concluded.

Separately, medical expert Dr. David Samadi, of Lenox Hill Hospital, believesGray could not have injured himself, he told the Daily News.

To test what happened during Goodson’s route through a zig-zag of west Baltimore streets, plainclothes investigators pretended to be city surveyors with a $250,000 laser imaging system to map potholes and cracks in the street, the Sun added.

The brunt of the charges fell on Goodson, the van’s driver who's accused offailing to help Gray during at least five stops the morning of April 12, Baltimore’s top prosecutor explained on Friday morning.

“Despite Mr. Gray’s seriously deteriorating medical condition, no medical assistance was rendered or summoned for Mr. Gray at that time by any officer,” Mosby said.


It’s not clear how Freddie Gray injured his spinal cord during a trip to a police station, but medical experts have said it could not have happened during the initial arrest or have been his own doing.
Alex Brandon/AP

It’s not clear how Freddie Gray injured his spinal cord during a trip to a police station, but medical experts have said it could not have happened during the initial arrest or have been his own doing.


During a stop at Dolphin St. and Druid Hill Ave., Gray had said he could not breathe, a plight seemingly disregarded by the officers, who also included Sgt. White.

It was only at the police station that a paramedic examined Gray, but the young man was already in cardiac arrest. He died one week later, sparking days and nights of unrest in Baltimore and numerous metropolitan cities.

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EDGAR SANDOVAL May-01-2015 394 0
Baltimore’s mayor vowed that "there will be justice" while announcing that five of six police officers are in custody facing charges for the death of Freddie Gray.

"There will be justice for Freddie Gray, there will be justice for his family, there will be justice for Baltimore," Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said at a Friday press conference.

The mayor's words follow the city’s top prosecutor similarly promising justice for Gray, announcing criminal charges against six city cops involved in the arrest of the man who suffered a fatal neck injury while in police custody.

“Mr. Gray’s death is a homicide,” State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced Friday during a dramatic press conference.

Mosby said the three cops who initially detained 25-year-old Gray had no cause to arrest him on April 12. He was repeatedly denied medical attention and suffered a neck injury while handcuffed and in ankle restraints in a police van. Cops placed him face-down on the floor of the van — without the benefit of a seatbelt — as they drove around, the prosecutor said. When the police van arrived at the Western District police station, Gray wasn’t breathing, Mosby said.

“To the people of Baltimore and the demonstrators across America: I heard your call for ‘No justice, no peace.’” she said. “Your peace is sincerely needed as I work to deliver justice on behalf of this young man.”
Celebrations erupted in the streets after Mosby, just four months on the job, revealed the charges.

Meanwhile, President Obama weighed in, saying it was “absolutely vital” that the truth comes out.

“What I think the people of Baltimore want more than anything else is the truth,” he said.
Before the charges were announced, a union representing Baltimore cops said the six officers were not responsible for Gray’s death.

"As tragic as this situation is, none of the officers involved are responsible for the death of Mr. Gray," Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 3 President Gene Ryan wrote in a letter to Mosby. "To the contrary, at all times, each of the officers diligently balanced their obligations to protect Mr. Gray and discharge their duties to protect the public."

Ryan also asked Mosby to hand the case to a special prosecutor. She declined.

Freddie Gray is pictured being arrested by Baltimore City Police in this video screen grab.
PreviousNextFreddie Gray is pictured being arrested by Baltimore City Police in this video screen grab. Freddie Gray is pictured being arrested by Baltimore City Police in this video screen grab. Freddie Gray is pictured being arrested by Baltimore City Police in this video screen grab. Freddie Gray is pictured being arrested by Baltimore City Police in this video screen grab. Enlarge
Freddie Gray is pictured being arrested by Baltimore City Police in this video screen grab.

Gray’s death prompted street protests that still show no sign of stopping, with Trayvon Martin’s mom arriving Friday for a 3 p.m. rally led by a prominent local pastor.

After Monday’s destructive demonstrations — which led to buildings and cars being burned and at least 20 police officers getting injured — each night has seen increasingly peaceful protests, save for a brief flare-up between protesters and police Tuesday night.

“Given the extraordinary circumstances this week, we are paying our Baltimore employees for their regularly scheduled hours,” said spokeswoman Erin Britt.

On Thursday night, the streets were quiet and calm by curfew time, with reporters on the streets appearing to outnumber protesters. New York Knicks player Carmelo Anthony, a Baltimore native, walked with protesters Thursday and urged his hometown to “rebuild.” Some police officers were seen hugging protesters.

Authorities released 101 demonstrators from jail Thursday without charging any of them.

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May-01-2015 184 0
The state’s attorney of Baltimore, in a unexpected announcement, said Friday that she had probable cause to file homicide, manslaughter and misconduct charges against the police officers in the death of Freddie Gray, who died after sustaining a spinal cord injury while in police custody.

In a news conference, the state’s attorney, Marilyn J. Mosby, described repeated mistreatment of Mr. Gray. She said that time and again police mistreated Mr. Gray, arresting him with no grounds, violating police procedure by putting him in cuffs and leg cuffs in the van without seat belting him and then repeatedly failing to get him medical attention. She said that when he was removed from the wagon, “Mr. Gray was no longer breathing at all.”

The death, Ms. Mosby said, is believed to be the result of a fatal injury to Mr. Gray while he was riding in the van without a seat belt. As she announced the charges, there was cheering from people in the crowd.

All six officers were charged, one with second-degree murder. Ms. Mosby said warrants had been issued for the officers’ arrests; she did not know if anyone was in custody.

“We have probable cause to file criminal charges,” Ms. Mosby said. As Ms. Mosby spoke outside the War Memorial here, dozens of police officers dressed in riot gear stood nearby.

From the start the police mistreated him according to her account. She said that the knife Mr. Gray was carrying was not a cause for arrest. “The knife was not a switchbladed and it is lawful.” She said officers “failed to establish probable cause for an arrest.”

The announcement came a day after the Police Department completed its initial investigation into Mr. Gray’s death and also handed its findings to Ms Mosby’s office.

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Thomas Tracy May-01-2015 162 0
A child's hair-pulling stunt led to a shooting on Long Island, cops said Thursday.

A 28-year-old Long Island man was arrested for wounding the grandfather of a child he claimed had pulled his 6-year-old daughter's hair, officials said.

Anthony Franklin is facing assault charges for the Tuesday afternoon shooting, which took place in front of his victim's North Amityville home, officials said.

Police said Franklin heard that his daughter's classmate had yanked his child's hair during a bus ride to school.

He went over to the home of the boy he believed was responsible and had words with Wilson McWilliams, the child's grandfather.

During the dispute, Franklin pulled a gun and shot McWilliams twice, cops said.

McWilliams was transported by police helicopter to Stony Brook University Hospital, where he was in stable condition Thursday.

Investigators arrested Franklin on Wednesday night.

His arraignment was pending Thursday, officials said.

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May-01-2015 187 0
The second prisoner loaded into the Baltimore police van carrying a shackled Freddie Gray claims "it was a smooth ride" and all he heard was a "little banging for about four seconds."

Donta Allen, speaking to WBAL-TV Thursday, said that by the time they arrived at the police station on April 12 "they said he didn't have no pulse or nothing."

"They called his name, 'Mr. Gray, Mr. Gray.' And he wasn't responsive," Allen, 22, recalled to the station.

Throughout the trip Allen, who was picked up on a suspicion of stealing after Gray's arrest, said he was unable to see Gray because of a partition in the police van.

When he first got into the vehicle he said it was so quiet that he didn't realize another person was inside.

That calm description comes in stark contrast to a police report that was published by the Washington Post Wednesday.

In it, Allen said the 25-year-old was "banging against the walls" and "was intentionally trying to injure himself" in the van.

On Thursday a local TV station reported that Gray's neck was snapped at some point while he was riding in the van — by whom or how remains unclear.

Police say Gray had been picked up for making eye contact with officers and then running away. When they caught him after a foot chase he was placed in the back of the van and later into iron leg shackles but without the security of a seat belt.

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jason silverstein Apr-30-2015 462 0
Freddie Gray was unconscious by the time he arrived at a police station on April 12 and died a week later. The only other prisoner in the police car claimed Gray was trying to hurt himself.
The only other prisoner who witnessed Freddie Gray’s ride to a Baltimore police station claims the man who died from a mysterious spinal cord injury “was intentionally trying to injure himself” in the van.

The unidentified prisoner, who was separated from Gray by a partition and never saw him during their six blocks in the vehicle together, said the 25-year-old was “banging against the walls” and put himself at risk in back of a police van, according to a police report obtained by the Washington Post Wednesday.

The prisoner’s account of Gray allegedly attempting to harm himself has not been backed up by evidence or other sources. The prisoner and the Baltimore Police Department did not comment on it.

One of the lawyers for Gray’s family, Jason Downs, said they “disagree with any implication that Freddie Gray severed his own spinal cord.”

Gray was arrested April 12 after fleeing from police officers, and was unconscious by the time the police wagon brought him to a station half an hour later. He suffered a severe spinal cord injury and a crushed voice box, and died a week later in a hospital. It’s still unclear how and when his fatal injuries happened, and Baltimore police are expected to finish their investigation into the death on Friday.

That report will not be released to the public and instead will be forwarded to the state attorney’s office for review. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake on Thursday morning called the procedure “a continuation in a process towards justice.”

“What we’ve said very clearly is, we have a duty to protect the justice process so Freddie Gray’s family can have the justice that they want,” she said on CNN’s “New Day.” “They don’t want any information to go out that will undermine their ability to get justice for Freddie Gray. They’ve said it loud and clear and we’re going to protect that.”

Officers have said that Gray was unruly in the car, to the point where they needed to put him in leg irons. But Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts acknowledged that police ignored Gray’s pleas for medical help and failed to buckle him up, despite several stops on the way to the station.

The prisoner, who is 38 and still behind bars for violating a protective order, only entered the car when it was six blocks away from the station, the Post reported.

Another report Wednesday that raised doubts about Gray's injuries, which supposedly said he was in a car accident and had spinal surgery shortly before his death, was completely debunked by the Baltimore Sun.

Court records from last December show the case related to Gray and his sister Fredericka claiming they were exposed to lead paint, and there are no references to any car accidents or surgeries. That case was dismissed when the Gray siblings failed to show up in the court, the Sun reported.

Peaceful protest in BaltimoreStudents peacefully protest in BaltimoreProtesters march to City Hall in BaltimoreStudents march in peaceful protestVIEW GALLERY
Peaceful protesters in the wake of Baltimore riots
After the protests inspired by Gray’s death peaked with violent riots Monday night, tensions were somewhat tamed by a city-wide curfew Tuesday and Wednesday, even as massive demonstrations stretched into other major cities, including New York.

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