Posts by Jason Sickles, Yahoo

  • LaVoy Finicum’s family questions shooting despite FBI video

    Jason Sickles, Yahoo at Yahoo News 6 days ago

    The FBI’s aggressive move to release video evidence which they say shows anti-government protester LaVoy Finicum reaching for a gun before being shot and killed by police apparently did little to persuade the dead man’s family.

    “LaVoy was not ‘charging’ anyone,’” his survivors said Friday afternoon in a statement released through their attorney. “He appears to have been shot in the back, with his hands in the air.”

    Their comments, first reported by Reuters, come a day after the FBI took the unusual step of making a 26-minute surveillance video public two days after Finicum was killed. The aerial video, which the bureau published to its YouTube page, had more than 1.5 million views in less than 24 hours.

    A state trooper shot Finicum, 54, Tuesday when a team of law enforcement officers set up a traffic stop to arrest several leaders of the month-long protest over federal control of ranch lands.

    Finicum’s family isn’t convinced by the aerial footage.

    “A first-hand eyewitness account presents reasonable cause for arrest while the investigation takes place,” the statement reads.

  • Oregon occupiers’ live video stream shows suspense among holdouts

    Jason Sickles, Yahoo at Yahoo News 8 days ago

    An intermittent video live stream by one of the remaining occupiers is offering a unique perspective to the holdouts’ angst, resolve and confusion in their final days.

    “We’re all at peace with our decision,” one man said as some of the group sat around a campfire Wednesday night. “We feel like there’s going to be a miracle here. And we’re praying for it.”

    The FBI and the Oregon State Police said that three protesters left the refuge and turned themselves in at a checkpoint Wednesday afternoon. Authorities wouldn’t reveal the number of remaining occupiers, but a man on one of the YouTube videos said Thursday morning that four members remained after a fifth left during the night.

    “That’s the difference with this group,” a man said at the Wednesday campfire. “We don’t do what we’re told. We kind of hunker down and we see a window down the way, and when we get there we make our stand.”

    “But we’re probably going to end up dead,” said Fry, a bespectacled man with long dark hair. “Doesn’t that bother you? The world that is. I can’t live in that world.”

    “Amen, David, that was beautiful,” a woman’s voice answered.

    “We’re asking them to just drop the charges,” Fry said. “And nobody dies.”

  • Michigan Gov. Snyder on Flint: ‘Terrible decisions’ were made

    Jason Sickles, Yahoo at Yahoo News 14 days ago

    Embattled Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder said Friday he takes responsibility for the Flint water crisis, but shouldered the blame on “career civil service people” who didn ’ t use common sense.

    High levels of poisonous lead have been detected in Flint’s water since April 2014, when the city began drawing from the Flint River instead of the  Detroit municipal system  to save money. Snyder and other government agencies have come under fire for downplaying the issue while it worsened.

    “What is so frustrating and makes you so angry about this situation is you have a handful of quote-unquote experts that were career civil service people that made terrible decisions, in my view,” Snyder said.

    The second-term governor blamed bureaucracy for the public health failure.

    “That’s part of the problem here,” Snyder said. “We actually had outside experts raising the question that people in two of our departments didn’t see the issue. They actually came back and said , ‘W e don’t agree with them . We believe we’re OK with respect to lead.’

    SLIDESHOW – Water crisis in Flint, Michigan >>>

  • Lottery veterans question Tennessee family’s behavior before claiming Powerball winnings

    Jason Sickles, Yahoo at Yahoo News 20 days ago

    The 50-somethings may have been Average Joes a day ago, but not after Friday morning when they revealed themselves on national television as big time winners in this week’s record-breaking lottery.

    The Robinsons’ decision to make a 1,500-mile round trip to appear on NBC’s “Today” show hours before claiming their stake in the Powerball jackpot left some lottery veterans uneasy about the couple’s exposure.

    “It’s a good example of what not to do,” said Jason Kurland, a New York attorney who has represented several jackpot winners.

    “I definitely would not have recommended that — very ill-advised for a number of reasons,” Karen Gerstner, a Houston attorney who has worked with 48 lottery winners, said in an email. “Now, every long-lost relative and friend will approach them with a sob story, asking for money, and all the ‘financial crooks’ will come after them.”

    RELATED – Should lottery winners’ names be secret? States debate issue >>>

    “Today” anchor Savannah Guthrie even seemed surprised by the Robinsons’ desire to make a big splash.

    “... and ask that our privacy is respected,” Lisa added.

  • Who killed Amber Hagerman? Murder case that inspired Amber Alerts remains unsolved 20 years later

    Jason Sickles, Yahoo at Yahoo News 23 days ago

    ARLINGTON, Texas — Unlike terror bulletins or weather warnings, the mayday for missing children has a namesake: Amber.

    “It’s a shame my daughter had to be butchered and had to go through what she went through for us to have the Amber Alert, but I know she would be proud of it,” Donna Williams said during a recent visit at her home.

    On Wednesday, two decades will have passed since a stranger snatched 9-year-old Amber Hagerman off her bicycle from a vacant supermarket parking lot in broad daylight and drove away in a black pickup truck.

    “She screamed once and was kicking,” Jimmie Kevil, the only witness to ever step forward, told me in 1996, when I covered Amber’s abduction as a young reporter for the Dallas Morning News.

    The case of the brown-haired, blue-eyed Girl Scout abducted shortly after Christmas quickly gripped the country. A national TV audience watched as Amber’s parents, then-Donna Whitson and Richard Hagerman, held a near-constant vigil, pleading that her captor let her go.

    But near midnight on Jan. 17, the nude body of a child with her throat slashed was found in a creek behind an apartment complex less than 5 miles from where Amber went missing.

    How Amber Alert started

  • From Ferguson to Minneapolis: Crisis of confidence plagues police in wake of deadly officer-involved shootings

    Jason Sickles, Yahoo at Yahoo News 2 mths ago

    Authorities say 24-year-old Jamar Clark, a suspect in a domestic assault, was interfering with paramedics who were trying to treat his alleged victim early last Sunday when he scuffled with Minneapolis officers and was shot. Clark, who was unarmed, died one day later. Police have denied the accounts of some eyewitnesses who say that Clark was handcuffed before being shot once in the head.

    The hashtag #Justice4Jamar took off nearly immediately on social media. Later that afternoon, hundreds of demonstrators led by the local Black Lives Matter chapter were marching through the streets. Protesters demanded that police immediately name the officers involved, make public any video of the shooting and request a federal investigation.

    “We have been saying for a significant amount of time that Minneapolis is one bullet away from Ferguson,” Jason Sole, chair of the Minneapolis NAACP's criminal justice committee, told a reporter.

    “That bullet was fired last [Sunday]. We want justice immediately.”

    It’s the kind of discord on the minds of police chiefs across the country.

    ‘No comment’ doesn’t cut it, said Cunningham, adding that the IACP plans to develop a checklist for police departments.

  • Florida department fires officer accused of fatally shooting Corey Jones

    Jason Sickles, Yahoo at Yahoo News 2 mths ago

    Corey Jones, 31, a public-housing inspector and part-time musician, was waiting for a tow truck at about 3 a.m. on Oct. 18 when he was shot multiple times by officer Nouman Raja, who could still face charges in the case.

    The shooting is the latest fatal incident across the country involving police and black men in recent years. National civil rights activists renewed calls for greater law enforcement transparency after local officials were slow to release details about Jones’ death.

    Raja, who was in his sixth month with the department, had been conducting surveillance on suspected car break-ins and was wearing plainclothes when he approached Jones on a highway off-ramp. A confrontation ensued, and Raja fired six shots, hitting Jones three times, authorities said.

    Palm Beach Gardens police chief Stephen Stepp said Raja, 38, told them he was “suddenly confronted by an armed subject” and fatally shot Jones.

    But attorneys for the Jones family say investigators told them that Raja never displayed his badge after pulling up in an unmarked white van with no police light.

    (This story has been updated since it originally published.)

  • Corey Jones death: New questions about the latest police shooting in Florida

    Jason Sickles, Yahoo at Yahoo News 3 mths ago

    The victim, Corey Jones, 31, a public-housing inspector and part-time musician, was waiting for a tow truck about 3:15 a.m. on Oct. 18 when he was shot multiple times by Palm Beach Gardens officer Nouman Raja.

    Palm Beach Gardens chief Stephen Stepp said Raja, 38, told them he was “suddenly confronted by an armed subject” and fatally shot Jones.

    Jones was licensed to carry a concealed gun and likely never knew he was being confronted by a police officer, said Benjamin Crump, a civil rights attorney who has represented the families of several slain African-Americans including Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown.

    Raja, who pulled up in an unmarked van and got out wearing jeans, a T-shirt and a ball cap, never displayed his badge, Crump said last week after Florida’s 15th judicial circuit state attorney briefed him and the Jones family.

    Chief Stepp told reporters last week that Raja, who was in his sixth month with the department, had been conducting surveillance on suspected burglaries.

    According to the policy, all surveillance must be coordinated through the department’s Investigation Bureau and that Chief Stepp and other top brass be briefed when necessary.

  • Police expert: Florida undercover officer should had known to ID himself before fatal confrontation

    Jason Sickles, Yahoo at Yahoo News 3 mths ago

    Palm Beach Gardens officer Nouman Raja was working undercover trying to catch burglars when he stopped to check out what he thought was an abandoned vehicle along a dark South Florida highway entrance ramp.

    But attorneys for the family of 31-year-old Corey Jones said Thursday that Raja pulled up to the scene in an unmarked white van with tinted windows, and wore jeans, a T-shirt and a ball cap as he approached Jones, a public-house inspector and part-time musician who was waiting on a tow truck.

    “Corey never saw a badge,” said Benjamin Crump, a civil rights attorney who has represented the families of several slain African-Americans including Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown. “He doesn’t know if he’s about to be mugged, if he’s about to be robbed, if he’s about to be killed. Corey went to his grave not knowing he was killed by an officer. ”

    Palm Beach Gardens police chief Stephen Stepp didn’t immediately respond to messages on Thursday seeking a response to allegations that officer Nouman Raja didn’t display a badge as he approached Jones off Interstate 95 around 3 a.m.

    But the city did release a statement in an email Thursday afternoon:

  • Oregon community college gunman sympathized with Virginia TV shooter, shared Newtown school shooting documentary

    Jason Sickles, Yahoo at Yahoo News 4 mths ago

    On the same website, Chris Harper-Mercer, using the handle “Lithium_Love,” also expressed sympathy for Vester Flanagan, the disgruntled former television reporter who shot and killed two Virginia journalists on live TV in August.

    “People like him have nothing left to live for, and the only thing left to do is lash out at a society that has abandoned them,” Harper-Mercer wrote in a blog post on Aug. 31. “His family described him as alone, no partner/lover.

    “On an interesting note, I have noted that so many people like him are all alone and unknown, yet when they spill a little blood, the whole world knows who they are. A man who was known by no one is now known by everyone. His face splashed across every screen, his name across the lips of every person on the planet, all in the course of one day. Seems the more people you kill, the more you’re in the limelight.”

    An agitated Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin offered little detail about the gunman at a news conference Thursday evening.

    Public records show that the gunman lived with his mother, a licensed nurse, two miles from the college.