Posts by Jason Sickles, Yahoo

  • Ferguson father delivers plea for peace ahead of grand jury decision on Officer Darren Wilson

    Jason Sickles, Yahoo at Yahoo News 1 day ago

    “No matter what the grand jury decides, I do not want my son’s death to be in vain — I want it to lead to positive change,” a very somber Brown says in a public service announcement released late Thursday. “I thank you for lifting your voices to end racial profiling and police intimidation, but hurting others or destroying property is not the answer.”

    Brown’s son and namesake, 18-year-old Michael Brown Jr., was gunned down by a Ferguson police officer, Darren Wilson, on Aug. 9.

    Anxiety over the ruling has the St. Louis region on edge, as the public waits to see if the case of a white police officer fatally shooting an unarmed black teenager will result in an indictment.

    A grand jury has been hearing evidence in the case for three months and will decide if there is probable cause to charge Wilson, 28, with a crime. The officer could face up to life in prison if the case proceeds to trial.

    Jason Sickles is a reporter for Yahoo News. Follow him on Twitter (@jasonsickles).

  • As Ferguson waits on edge for Michael Brown ruling, Officer Darren Wilson remains invisible

    Jason Sickles, Yahoo at Yahoo News 1 day ago

    While the world awaits the grand jury’s decision in the death of teenager Michael Brown, the police officer who shot him also remains somewhat of a mystery.

    Wilson has been seemingly invisible since the controversial Aug. 9 shooting. He reportedly testified before the grand jury last month, but has made no public statements.

    “I talk to him every other day, he’s doing OK,” a close friend of the officer told Yahoo News this week.

    The friend declined to elaborate. “Maybe after the grand jury ruling,” he said.

    That decision is expected any day. The grand jury convened Aug. 20 to begin hearing evidence in the case. It will decide if Wilson avoids being charged or faces the possibility of up to life in prison. 

    A representative with the St. Louis Police Officers' Association said he met with Wilson on Thursday. The officer has been under a lot of pressure and stress but seems confident in the outcome of the grand jury investigation, Jeff Roorda, the union's business manager, told the AP.

  • Video shows Ferguson Officer Darren Wilson leaving for the hospital after shooting Michael Brown

    Jason Sickles, Yahoo at Yahoo News 6 days ago

    Wilson, wearing an untucked white T-shirt, is seen walking out of the building at 2:08 p.m., a little more than two hours after Brown’s death. He was accompanied by his union lawyer and other officers.

    At 4:30 p.m., surveillance cameras at the Ferguson Police Department capture Wilson and the other men returning from the hospital.

    The surveillance videos — obtained through the state’s open records law — were published late Friday in a story by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

    Wilson, who has not been seen in public since being put on paid leave, is under investigation for shooting the unarmed 18-year-old multiple times in broad daylight in the middle of a residential street.

    “He almost lost consciousness,” the source said of the officer’s account. Wilson described the 6-foot-4, 289 pound teen as “incredibly strong.”

  • Chief: Ferguson Officer Darren Wilson ‘immediately’ returns if cleared in Michael Brown's death

    Jason Sickles, Yahoo at Yahoo News 7 days ago

    Officer Darren Wilson has been on paid leave since the controversial shooting in early August.

    He would come back to a “not yet determined assignment,” the chief writes in an email.

    If the grand jury charges Wilson, Jackson said the officer would “most likely” be terminated “if it is a felony.”

    Attorneys representing the officer did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment. Wilson, a Ferguson officer for three years, has not spoken publicly since the shooting. It is unknown if the 28-year-old Wilson wants to return to the force.

    “I would be surprised if they put him back on the streets at least in the near future,” said Bob Gorsky, a Dallas attorney who has represented Texas police officers for nearly 40 years.

    Gorsky said the amount of backing Wilson gets from the Ferguson Police Department will likely play a big role in the officer's decision to return.

    “He’s always going to be dealing with the emotional scars of the event itself, not to mention the scrutiny he’s gone through,” Gorsky said. “It’s going to be a tough situation for him. Hopefully the department will support him if he’s not charged with a crime.”

  • Ferguson's neighbor warns residents to prepare for the worst

    Jason Sickles, Yahoo at Yahoo News 8 days ago

    “The grand jury decision regarding the Ferguson police officer shooting of Michael Brown is expected this month — rumored as the middle of November, possibly this week,” warned the “News Alert” from town officials.

    “It is important that we all plan ahead in the event that conditions warrant each of us to stay at or very close to our homes for several days,” stated the flier, which Berkeley distributed to 3,000 homes this week.

    Berkeley, a bedroom community with 9,000 residents, borders Ferguson, where the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager on Aug. 9 triggered protests and riots and sparked a nationwide debate on race, policing and justice.

    With few businesses in Berkeley, residents like Colburn do their shopping in neighboring Ferguson.

    “It is very sad that we have to live in this fear,” Colburn told Yahoo News by email.

    No date has been set for the grand jury’s ruling, but St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch has said he expects an announcement in mid- to late November.

    Hoskins said feedback on the town’s decision has been mostly positive.

  • America all clear of Ebola — for now

    Jason Sickles, Yahoo at Yahoo News 10 days ago

    DALLAS — For the first time in nearly 10 weeks, no Ebola patient is being treated for the deadly disease in the United States.

    America’s all-clear came Tuesday morning when Dr. Craig Spencer was declared virus-free and released from a New York City hospital.

    Spencer contracted the disease while treating Ebola patients in Guinea, but didn’t become ill until he returned home late last month. He had been in isolation at Bellevue Hospital Center since he was diagnosed with the virus on Oct. 23.

    “My recovery from Ebola speaks to the effectiveness of the protocols in place for health staff returning from West Africa at the time of my infection,” Spencer, a volunteer with Doctors Without Borders, said in a written statement.

    “I am a living example of how those protocols work, and of how early detection and isolation is critical to both surviving Ebola and ensuring that it is not transmitted to others,” he said.

    Nurses Nina Pham, 26, and Amber Vinson, 29, then contracted the virus while caring for Duncan at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas.

  • U.S. was ill-equipped to handle Ebola rescues, State Dept. contract reveals

    Jason Sickles, Yahoo at Yahoo News 11 days ago

    Yahoo News has learned the U.S. government spent millions last decade to develop and build two of the world’s only isolation chambers for flying contagious patients — but as the epidemic raged in West Africa this summer and American aid workers there needed evacuating, the medical inventions were packed away in a small-town Georgia warehouse.

    The troubling lack of preparedness by federal agencies forced the State Department to put up $4.9 million as part of a rushed contract to employ a commercial aviator to safely evacuate Ebola-infected Americans from West Africa.

    The Aeromedical Biological Containment System (ABCS), a tent-like structure that allows caregivers to treat a single patient in flight without infectious germs escaping, was engineered by the Centers for Disease Control, Department of Defense and a private flight company, Phoenix Air Group, between 2007 and 2010 after the scare over SARS, severe acute respiratory syndrome.

    By late July this year — with CDC workers and American aid volunteers in West Africa and the Ebola outbreak nearing its eighth month — the health agency had made no inquiries into its expensive life-saving equipment.

    Scramble to save Brantly, Writebol

  • Ebola outbreak over in Dallas, but other Texans still being monitored

    Jason Sickles, Yahoo at Yahoo News 14 days ago

    DALLAS — Six weeks after the deadly Ebola virus was diagnosed here, health officials on Friday declared Dallas’ outbreak to be finally over.

    Monitoring of an unidentified hospital staffer who handled infected waste on Oct. 17 ended Thursday night. That person is the last of 177 people to be pronounced healthy after having contact with at least one of three Texas Ebola patients. Those in the group — which included health care workers, patients' families, first responders and even a dog — have all reached the 21-day mark, the longest incubation period.

    “Thanksgiving comes early,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said in a written statement. “It’s a time to reflect on the sacrifices of our hometown heroes and the city, county, and school district employees that worked so hard, along with our state and federal partners, to keep us safe during the Ebola crisis.”

    “It’s been a challenge, and there have been moments of frustration throughout this difficult process,” Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said in a statement on Friday. “I’m proud of the citizens of Dallas for learning the facts about Ebola and staying calm.”

  • Ebola-free nurse Amber Vinson discharged from Atlanta hospital

    Jason Sickles, Yahoo at Yahoo News 25 days ago

    DALLAS – A wide-eyed and smiling Amber Vinson walked out of Emory University Hospital in Atlanta Tuesday afternoon, becoming the seventh Ebola patient to beat the deadly disease after treatment in the United States.

    “I'm so grateful to be well,” Vinson said during a news conference. “I sincerely believe that with God, all things are possible.”

    Vinson, 29, was one of two Texas nurses to contract Ebola while treating Thomas Eric Duncan earlier this month in Dallas.

    She was admitted to Emory's serious communicable disease unit on Oct. 15 and was declared free of the deadly virus last week.

    “After a  rigorous course of treatment and testing, we have determined that Ms. Vinson has recovered,” said Dr. Bruce Ribner, the unit's medical director. “She can return to her family, her community, and to her life without any concerns about transmitting this virus to any other individuals.”

    Vinson, wearing a gray suit and pink blouse, was accompanied at the news conference by her grandparents and an aunt and uncle. At the podium, Vinson was flanked by the team of Emory health care workers who helped in her recovery.


  • Washington school shooter Jaylen Fryberg's personal struggles revealed on social media

    Jason Sickles, Yahoo at Yahoo News 28 days ago

    Social media posts penned by the shooter in Friday’s rampage at a Washington State high school portray a head-over-heels teenager who grew more and more tormented when the relationship fell apart.

    Authorities have identified the gunman as Jaylen Fryberg. Fryberg’s Facebook page shows him living in Tulalip Bay, nine miles from Marysville-Pilchuck High School where police say two students were killed — including the gunman — and at least four others injured in the Friday morning tragedy.

    “I can't believe I just witnessed a shooting,” Austin Joyner, a student at the school, said on Twitter. “Kid came into the cafeteria and walked over to a table and pulled out the gun and shot 4-6 shots at students sitting down.”

    The Seattle Times reported that several students told them that Fryberg, a freshman, was responsible. Kobe Baumann, 14, told the paper that he was with Fryberg in English class shortly before the shooting, and that he appeared to be kind of nervous.