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Cory Booker Would Be Front-Runner In Prospective 2014 New Jersey Senate Race, Poll Finds
Nov-29-2012 402 0


Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D) would likely fare well in New Jersey's 2014 Senate race, according to a poll released Thursday by the Democratic-leaning firm Public Policy Polling.

If Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) doesn't run for reelection, 48 percent of Democrats would support Booker, putting him far ahead of potential rivals Rob Andrews and Frank Pallone, PPP found. Nearly six in 10 Democrats said they'd rather see Booker run than Lautenberg, while 22 percent would rather see the current senator stay in place.

Lautenberg, who is 88, has refused to comment on his 2014 plans. His spokesman told NJ.com that he is focused on rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy, and that "retirement is the last thing on his mind."

In the general election, Booker would defeat one possible Republican candidate, Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno, 52 percent to 29 percent, PPP found. Lautenberg would win 48 to 33 percent against the same opponent.

“Democrats will likely hold onto their Senate seat in New Jersey regardless of their 2014 candidate,” said Dean Debnam, PPP's president.

Booker would face longer odds if he entered the 2013 gubernatorial race against New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), whose approval ratings have shot up since his handling of the storm. A Quinnipiac poll found Christie leading Booker by 18 points in a hypothetical matchup. Lautenberg recently told the Philadelphia Inquirer that he's not sure any Democrat could win against Christie.

The PPP polled surveyed 600 New Jersey voters between Nov. 26 and Nov. 28, and had a 4 percent margin of error. An oversample of 300 Democratic primary voters had a 5.6 percent margin of error.

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Oct-30-2014 45 0
Disturbing Halloween decorations depicting the hanging of what appears to be a black family have been removed from a yard on a Kentucky military base after neighbors complained.

A picture of the scene at the Fort Campbell Army base shows effigies of three people, two adults and a child, hanging from a tree, fake blood splattered across their shirts.

All have their hands tied behind their backs, while one has a sign hanging from its neck and the child has a knife stuck in its back.

The display was put up on Lutwin St. in the base, which sits just above Kentucky’s border with Tennessee some 60 miles northwest of Nashville.

Several people complained of the over-the-top display and the homeowner, who never meant to offend, took down the ghoulish decorations, ClarksvilleNow.com reported.

The homeowner apologized, a Fort Campbell public affairs officer said in a statement.

“The Fort Campbell leadership remains committed to maintaining a community that reflects our Army values and a family-friendly environment for Fort Campbell employees and residents and is reminding residents to ensure that all outdoor displays are consistent with these standards,” Rayna Holley said.

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Nicole Hensley Oct-30-2014 48 0
The Indiana man suspected of killing 13-year-old Kobe Jones hated neighborhood kids, according to court documents.

Khanji Fairley intended to “spray up the whole block” with bullets, according to court documents obtained by the Chicago Tribune, and later gunned down the teen on the porch of his Gary, Indiana home, police believe.

Witnesses said Jones laughed at Fairley after the 30-year-old accused the teen of breaking into his home the afternoon of Oct. 24.

“He didn’t deserve this,” the child’s stepmother, Starr Jones, repeatedly said to WXIN-TV. “How are you that angry that you kill a 13-year-old boy?”

An enraged Fairley shouted belligerently at his neighbors.

“I see them laughing over there ... I know they did it,” Fairley allegedly said. He settled down, but waited until evening to confront Kobe, the documents allege.

The Tribune reports Fairley crept through the alley next to the teen’s Polk St. home and opened fire while Jones was on the porch steps. Police told WXIN Kobe was shot nine times.

He drove off in a black Camaro but was charged Monday in Kobe’s murder.

The teen died after crawling back inside his home.

“My son was laughing at him. I mean he didn’t deserve it,” Kaunda Jones told the TV station. “It hurts when somebody brings it up or asks what happened.”

His son did not have insurance, so the Joneses are crowdsourcing funds for Kobe’s funeral on GoFundMe.

The teen is survived by his family, which includes 14 siblings.

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Nicole Hensley Oct-30-2014 81 0
For the past 28 years, a Detroit man has owed child support for a child he never fathered.

Paternity tests confirm Carnell Alexander is not the father of a child born in 1987, even though paperwork initially filed for welfare assistance by his ex-girlfriend declared him the baby daddy.

“I had to turn to welfare to get assistance to take care of them and I had to put him down as the father. That was the only way I could get into the system,” the child’s unnamed mother told WXYZ-TV.

That paperwork followed Alexander for two decades, racking up more than $69,000 in child support debt. He didn't learn of the child until 1991, when a police officer called him a “deadbeat dad” during
“I knew I didn’t have a child, so I was blown back,” Alexander told the TV station. “I feel like I’m standing in front of a brick wall with nowhere to go.”

He could have learned of the child sooner, but a summons failed to reach Alexander. He was in jail for an unrelated charge when a process server stopped by his home with a summons. But the process server reported back that Alexander refused to sign it, according to WXYZ-TV.

The child’s mother admits “everything is my fault,” she told the TV station. “He shouldn’t have to pay it at all. I want everything to go away for him so he can get on with his life.”

The judge eventually forgave the debt owed the child’s mother, but not half of the original sum owed to the state of Michigan.

If Alexander does not payback $30,000 in welfare support the state provided, he faces legal consequences unless he fights it in court, the TV station added.

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Oct-29-2014 155 0
Dramatic and graphic new video has emerged of a homeless Michigan man being gunned down in a hail of bullets fired by Saginaw police officers in 2012.

Martin Hall, 49, was facing eight screaming officers in a parking lot. A K-9 unit dog was lunging and barking at the homeless and mentally ill man, who was holding a pen knife.

Officers fired 46 times as Hall collapsed and died on the pavement.

Local and federal authorities declined to file charges against the officers, despite a flurry of protests from across the country.

On Monday, the ACLU released violent footage of the incident from a dashboard camera as part of its presentation to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in Washington.

Included in the presentation was footage from an interview with his mother, Jewel Hall, who said her son’s blood was “running down the street like water. And he wasn’t a threat, I mean, he had a little pen knife. He had no idea that those policemen would do that to him.”

The police had responded to a call from a shopping center merchant who had gotten into some kind of argument with Hall.

The ACLU obtained the video, taken by a police cruiser dashcam, from the Hall family, whose attorneys had requested it.

In declining to prosecute, the cops and U.S. Department of Justice said investigators did not find evidence the officers had demonstrated “willful misconduct.”

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Deborah Hastings Oct-29-2014 152 0
A 17-year-old high school football player in Florida lost his right leg after his knee was injured during a game.

Leshawn Williams, a defensive lineman, went down during a play, and at first seemed to have a serious, but fairly routine, injury to his MCL (medial collateral ligament), which is an inner knee ligament.

But days after the Friday night game, surgeons were forced to remove the 6-foot, 330-pound teen's right let from above the knee.

"I don't think he's grasped it all yet. He's still recovering," said his mother, Bonita Copeland. "We're all trying to understand it," she told the Tampa Bay Times.

The high school game was stopped for nearly 30 minutes while medical workers examined Williams' leg, trying to determine if he had broken it or was suffering ligament damage, the paper said.

Copeland then said it looked like damaged ligament.

"When I first looked at it, it looked like he had an MCL. Every time he lifted his knee he had pain. Then you could see the blood clot in the back of his knee."

Doctors spent the weekend trying to return circulation in the teen's leg, but were unsuccessful. They decided to amputate on Sunday night.

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Evan Perez Oct-28-2014 146 0
The police chief in Ferguson, Missouri, is expected to step down as part of the effort by city officials to reform the Police Department, according to government officials familiar with the discussions ongoing between local, state and federal officials.

Under the proposed plan, after Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson leaves, city leadership would ask the St. Louis County police chief to take over management of Ferguson's police force.

The announcement could come as soon as next week. It would be one step in what local officials hope will help reduce tensions in the city as the public awaits a decision on whether the St. Louis County grand jury will bring charges against Officer Darren Wilson in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown.

Jackson said Tuesday he is not being pushed out.

"Nobody in my chain of command has asked me to resign, nor have I been terminated," he said on the phone to CNN.

Jackson had faced criticism over his department's handling of the Brown shooting and the protests in its aftermath.

Last month, weeks after the Justice Department announced it was investigating Ferguson police, Jackson told CNN he would not step down despite calls for his ouster.

Asked Tuesday whether there is a plan in place for the police chief to step down, Ferguson Mayor James Knowles responded "no."

When asked whether the federal government was pressuring the city to force out the police chief, he told CNN: "People have been saying that for months, I mean for him to step down. But we've stood by him this entire time. So there is no change on that."

In an interview with CNN on September 29, Jackson said of the job and the fallout over the Brown shooting that "this is mine, and I'm taking ownership of it."

The Justice Department is conducting a pattern and practice inquiry of the Ferguson police. That complicates plans expressed by some officials who want to dissolve the entire Ferguson Police Department and turn over law enforcement to county police.

In an interview with CNN last week, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said the Justice Department was looking at the leadership of the Police Department as part of its ongoing investigation of the department's practices.

"We have an ongoing -- having a practice investigation into the Ferguson Police Department. And we're looking at a whole variety of things, including the leadership of that department, the practices that the department engages in, the nature of the interaction between the department and the community that it is supposed to serve," Holder said. "So I think it's a little premature for me at this point to comment on the leadership of the Ferguson Police Department. That is certainly something that we are looking at."

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Nncy Dillon Oct-28-2014 124 0
The former "Scandal" actor was slapped with another bench warrant when he missed a mandatory hearing in his felony battery case related to an alleged bar fight last March.

The Los Angeles County Superior Court judge who issued the warrant also revoked the actor's prior bond and doubled his bail, Short's lawyer said.

The lawyer said Short tried to make the hearing but was bumped from a flight in Atlanta.

"His failure to appear was due to circumstances beyond his control," lawyer Michael Levin told the Daily News.

He said Short was still trying to make his way to California late Monday but was worried the warrant might kick in quickly and cause him to be arrested before boarding a flight in Atlanta.
Levin said Short was considering "alternative transportation" to get to the Los Angeles courtroom without being taken into custody in another jurisdiction.

Short, 32, recently spent several days in jail for an earlier bench warrant issued Aug. 21 over a prior missed appearance in the felony case.

He was a no-show because a different judge at another courthouse had deputies place in handcuffs the morning of Aug. 21 when he arrived late for an unrelated misdemeanor domestic violence case involving his estranged wife Tanee McCall.

He copped a plea deal in the misdemeanor case hours later and was sentenced to three years probation, 30 days of community labor and counseling.

He recently told The News he wants another crack at the domestic abuse case, claiming he only pleaded no contest because he was under duress and wanted to race across town for the felony appearance.

"I took a deal when I didn't really know what was going on. It was so rushed. I was in custody, and I was trying to make it to the courthouse (for the felony case)," he told The News.

"That day was hell," he said.

Short was adamant he never hurt McCall.

"I've never touched a woman, never touched a woman like that in my life," Short claimed in an exclusive interview.

Short, meanwhile, has pleaded not guilty to the felony battery of alleged victim Felton Hyche III.

Hyche claims Short "viciously lunged" at him after they had a verbal disagreement outside an engagement party at Gabe's Bar and Grill.

The 37-year-old resident of San Bernardino, Calif., claimed Short knocked him to the ground with a "cowardly" sucker punch.

"I'm going to fight this all the way," Short said of the felony case last month.

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Jason Molinet Oct-27-2014 227 0
A Missouri woman was indicted by a grand jury after her 10-week-old son suffocated to death while she was drinking and smoking marijuana, authorities allege.

Jordan Danielle Glenn, 24, of Wentzville, Mo., was indicted by a St. Charles County grand jury last week on felony counts of abuse or neglect of a child and endangering the welfare of a child, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Glenn was arrested Oct. 22 and released on $50,000 bail.

Glenn drank alcohol and was high on pot and pain killers when she failed to check on her child, identified only as A.H., police said.

She also didn’t feed the baby for more than 16 hours and left the boy sleeping on his abdomen in an adult bed, police said.

The child suffocated and died May 4, an autopsy revealed, Westplex Daily News reported.

Two other children in the home at the time were removed and placed in protective custody.

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AP Oct-27-2014 192 0
The family of a black man shot 14 times by a white police officer in a Milwaukee park marks the spot where he died with red spray paint before starting a rally and marching through city streets.

“Shame on you. People of color are people, too,” protesters chant while carrying signs declaring, “Black Lives Matter.”

The rallies are one way Dontre Hamilton’s family has kept his name in the news in the six months since his death. Smaller and more orderly than those in Ferguson, Mo., the protests have not drawn national attention but have produced results.

The man who shot Hamilton was fired, the first Milwaukee officer in decades to face such discipline in a fatal on-duty shooting. Now the family wants more: criminal charges for the officer, and improvements in the way mentally ill people — Hamilton had schizophrenia — are treated by police and social service programs.

“They messed with the wrong family. ... I’m not going to back down,” said Nate Hamilton, Dontre Hamilton’s brother.

Hamilton’s family participated in a vigil days after his April 30 death but then said little publicly as they waited out an investigation into the shooting.

They wanted details about what happened and the officer disciplined. They were frustrated months later, when protests erupted in Ferguson following the shooting of a black 18-year-old, Michael Brown, by a white officer.

“We tried to be accepting and respectful of the way the system works. ... Until it got to the point where the Mike Brown thing happened,” Nate Hamilton said. “Now, you know who this police officer is, you’re seeing them get information, and in Milwaukee, we’re not getting no information.”

The family joined a Milwaukee demonstration organized to support those in Ferguson, and attention quickly focused on the similarities between the Brown and Hamilton cases.

Nate Hamilton acknowledged some missteps, such as when protesters blocked a freeway exit ramp or became disruptive at a Police and Fire Commission meeting. But overall, the protests have been peaceful, which Nate Hamilton said is crucial to building support for the family’s goals.

While the protests have highlighted that Manney is white and Hamilton was black, Hamilton’s family is focusing on broader issues, including mental health.

Police Chief Edward Flynn promised more training for officers dealing with people with mental illness and, on Oct. 15, fired Officer Christopher Manney for instigating the fight that led to the shooting. Manney has appealed.

Hamilton’s family wants to see Manney charged. The district attorney’s office has delayed a decision until it gets a recommendation from a national use-of-force expert.

The Hamiltons have been studying the law and police policy to better advocate for changes. They’re also finding other ways to channel their grief. Hamilton’s mother is organizing a support group for women whose sons died in police shootings or custody and hopes to address shortcomings in mental health and social service programs.

Maria Hamilton had struggled to get her 31-year-old son care after insurance problems caused him to miss his medication last winter. Until then, he had been doing well, living in group housing and working.

Without the drugs, he became paranoid and began moving from place to place, eventually ending up in the park, where he was sleeping when Manney responded to a call from a nearby business about him.

“Had he had that medication, he might still be sitting here with us,” Maria Hamilton said.

Nate Hamilton and another brother, musician Dameion Perkins, wrote a song expressing their grief, anger and frustration. The song describes their “worst fear” — a brother “shot 14 times, didn’t do no wrong. Laying in the park, really I don’t see no harm. The investigation is still going on.”

Proceeds from the song sold on iTunes will benefit a foundation established in Hamilton’s memory.

“We can’t bring Dontre back,” Perkins said, “but what we can do is help somebody along the way.”

Perkins and Nate Hamilton remain bothered by police descriptions of their brother as homeless and violent. They describe Hamilton as fearful, but not dangerous. He checked into a hotel two days before the shooting and had almost $150 in cash on him when he died.

“He wasn’t dressed bummy, he was still dressed well, he had some Air Jordans on his feet ... so we just felt like that was uncalled for,” said Nate Hamilton, who followed his brother into the roofing business before starting a remodeling company.

Maria Hamilton moved her sons from Gary, Ind., to Milwaukee in 1995 to escape growing gang violence. She raised them to work hard, have faith and look out for one another.

But Perkins said the shooting showed them that they had to be leaders.

“It’s taught us,” he said, “to use our minds on a broader scale.”

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