Blog Posts by Jason Sickles, Yahoo

  • Ebola evacuations to US greater than previously known

    Transports have included patients exposed to virus, air ambulance operator says

    An airplane transporting a doctor infected with the deadly Ebola in West Africa lands near Atlanta on Tuesday.  (AP Photo/David Tulis)An airplane transporting a doctor infected with the deadly Ebola in West Africa lands near Atlanta on Tuesday. (AP Photo/David Tulis)
    An undisclosed number of people who’ve been exposed to the Ebola virus  not just the four patients publicly identified with diagnosed cases  have been evacuated to the U.S. by an air ambulance company contracted by the State Department.

    “We moved a lot of other people who had an exposure event,” said Dent Thompson, vice president of Phoenix Air Group. “Many times these people are just fine, they just had an exposure. But you have to treat it as though the disease is present.”

    How many exposed patients have been flown from West Africa to the U.S.? Thompson said medical privacy laws and his company’s contract with the State Department prevent him from revealing the figure.

    “I’m not avoiding it,” Thompson told Yahoo News. “I’m just not allowed to talk about it.”

    Five weeks ago, medical missionary Dr. Kent Brantly became the first Ebola patient to be treated in the U.S. He and fellow missionary Nancy Writebol were nursed back to health in a special isolation unit at Emory University

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  • Attorney: Ferguson Officer Darren Wilson roughed up drug suspect

    Arrest earned policeman an award for “extraordinary effort in the line of duty”

    A suspected drug dealer alleges that the Ferguson, Mo., policeman who killed Michael Brown used excessive force against him last year in an arrest that earned him commendation from the police department, the man’s attorney told Yahoo News.

    Officer Darren Wilson arrested Christopher Brooks on Feb. 28, 2013, after catching him and another man allegedly packaging marijuana to sell while sitting in a car in Brooks’ grandmother’s driveway.

    Yahoo News obtained the full police report from Brooks’ lawyer, Nick Zotos, after the Ferguson department refused to release an un-redacted version.

    According to the report, the men exited the car but Brooks wouldn’t give up his keys so the officer could search the locked PT Cruiser.

    “Brooks slapped my hand away,” Wilson wrote. “Brooks was consistently yelling for his cousin, who was now on the front porch, to help him and asking him to ‘get me.’ ”

    The officer took control of Brooks’ wrist and arm, but he “was resisting all control and refused to follow

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  • Dr. Rick Sacra identified as third American missionary infected with Ebola

    Aid group "exploring all opportunities," including bringing patient to U.S.

    Dr. Rick Sacra treating patients in an undated photo taken in Liberia. (SIM)Dr. Rick Sacra treating patients in an undated photo taken in Liberia. (SIM)
    The third American health worker infected with Ebola in Africa has been identified as Dr. Rick Sacra, a missionary group announced on Wednesday.

    The diagnosis came just two days after Sacra wrote about the unprecedented Ebola epidemic on his personal blog.

    His dispatch from West Africa last weekend started with a humble salutation: "Dear Praying Friends."

    The 51-year-old Massachusetts resident told of arriving in Monrovia, Liberia, less than a month ago to work at a mission hospital. The Ebola outbreak has thrust the capital city’s health care system into chaos, and medical emergencies are mounting, Sacra wrote.

    A man reads a warning about Ebola on a van door in Liberia. (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)A man reads a warning about Ebola on a van door in Liberia. (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)"Please continue to pray!" he requested. The Christian specifically asked for strength, safety, and protection for patients and medical staff.

    Shortly after publishing the blog entry, Sacra began feeling Ebola symptoms and immediately quarantined himself, according to Bruce Johnson, president of SIM USA, a charity based in Charlotte, North Carolina, that sponsor’s the doctor’s

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  • Another American medical missionary has Ebola

    A man reads an Ebola warning on a van door in Monrovia, Liberia. (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)A man reads an Ebola warning on a van door in Monrovia, Liberia. (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)
    An American doctor working in West Africa has tested positive for the Ebola virus, a missionary group announced on Tuesday.

    The unidentifed doctor is the third U.S. medical missionary to contract the deadly disease in the past six weeks.

    SIM USA, an international Christian aid organization, said the doctor was treating obstetrics patients at the group’s hospital in Monrovia, Liberia, when he felt Ebola symptoms and immediately quarantined himself.

    The group said the doctor has since been transferred to an Ebola isolation unit and is “doing well and is in good spirits.”

    The group, based in Charlotte, North Carolina, didn’t reveal the doctor’s age or how long he had been working in West Africa. It said specifics on how the doctor contracted the virus haven’t been determined.

    Two American medical missionaries contracted Ebola in Monrovia in late July and were eventually evacuated to an Atlanta hospital, marking the first time a patient with a known case has been treated in the United

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  • Experts: More facts needed on purported audio recording of Michael Brown shooting

    Potential new evidence seems to indicate that at least 10 shots were fired

    Two of the nation’s leading experts on the use of deadly force by the police are warning against overreaction to an audio recording that purportedly captures the sound of the gunshots that killed Michael Brown.

    The newly surfaced recording, which has not been publicly verified by investigators, was first broadcast by CNN.

    On the 12-second clip, it is possible to hear a series of what appears to be quick pops, followed by a brief pause and then another succession of rapid shots. St. Louis attorney Lopa Blumenthal and her client, who wishes to remain anonymous to the public, took the recording to the FBI on Monday. Blumenthal says she counted 11 shots fired.

    “There's that pause, which is what gave me pause, when I first saw it,” Blumenthal told Yahoo News. “It was a pause so there was time to think about it and deliberate. That doesn't mean that I'm saying it helps one side or the other. But I do know that in a 12-second tape, where eight seconds of it is a shooting, a three-second

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  • ACLU: Ferguson police report on Michael Brown's death violates law

    Heavily redacted document omits key public information

    Theo Murphy, left, and his brother Jordan Marshall, 11, light candles at a memorial where unarmed Michael Brown was fatally shot by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson. (AP/Post-Dispatch, Christian Gooden) Theo Murphy, left, and his brother Jordan Marshall, 11, light candles at a memorial where unarmed Michael Brown was fatally shot by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson. (AP/Post-Dispatch, Christian Gooden)

    A police report on the death of Michael Brown is missing key information and violates Missouri open records laws, an ACLU attorney told Yahoo News on Friday.

    The two-page document, which the Ferguson Police Department released only after pressure from journalists and civil liberties advocates, is largely redacted or left blank. The most egregious omissions are the victim’s name and a description of the offense — the fatal shooting of Brown.

    “They are breaking the law,” said Tony Rothert, legal director of the ACLU of Missouri.

    The report, obtained by Yahoo News through the Missouri Sunshine Law, lists only the date, time and location. Fields for the type of incident, name of the complainant, and a summary of the circumstances are redacted.

    “I’ve never seen an incident report that didn’t contain a description of the incident, at least on some basic level,” said Don Tittle, a veteran Texas civil and criminal attorney. “It makes you wonder if they don’t want to commit to a story.”

    Click image to read entire report.Click image to read entire report.

    The

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  • Video: Ferguson officer lauded for struggle with previous suspect

    Records related to the February recognition remain withheld

    The Ferguson, Missouri, police officer facing possible charges for recently killing an unarmed young man was commended earlier this year for wrestling and restraining another suspect.

    Officer Darren Wilson received the commendation for his “extraordinary effort in the line of duty” at a Feb. 11 City Council meeting.

    Darren Wilson and Michael Brown. (Facebook/AP Photo)Darren Wilson and Michael Brown. (Facebook/AP Photo)

    New video turned over by the city under Missouri's open records law shows Wilson being presented his award and shaking hands with Police Chief Thomas Jackson.

    Jackson tells the packed council chamber that Wilson earned the award “in recognition of outstanding police work while investigating a suspicious vehicle call.

    “Acting alone you struggled with one subject and was able to gain control of the subject and his car keys until assistance arrived,” Jackson said.

    No other details of the incident are known. On Monday, Yahoo News requested police reports and any other documentation related to the February commendation. An attorney for the city said on Wednesday that the city

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  • Blue porch lights, Darren Wilson T-shirts part of growing support for Ferguson officer

    Some residents across the U.S. are leaving their porch lights on to show support for Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson. (Facebook)Some residents across the U.S. are leaving their porch lights on to show support for Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson. (Facebook)

    Porch lights — many of them illuminating blue — are being left on in St. Louis and across the country in a show of support for the Missouri police officer who shot and killed an unarmed young man 10 days ago.

    Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson receiving an award in February (Facebook)Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson receiving an award in February (Facebook)

    “Walmart in Desoto, Mo was out of blue bulbs,” Brian Christopher commented on the Support Darren Wilson Facebook page. “I'll take this as a magnificent sign of support!”

    While protests and unrest sparked by the death of Michael Brown have captured the nation’s attention, grass-roots campaigns backing the officer who killed him are gaining ground.

    At least a half-dozen pro-Wilson pages have popped up on Facebook in recent days. Combined, the pages are approaching 100,000 likes. An online campaign to help the Wilson family with “any financial needs they may have including legal fees” has taken in nearly $40,000 in two days.

    I Support Officer Wilson surpassed 39,000 Facebook likes on Tuesday. The page was launched by the wife of a Missouri police officer who said it could have been

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  • Live blog: Police and protesters clash again Monday night in Ferguson

    Demonstrators have again taken to the streets in Ferguson, Mo., to protest the death of Michael Brown, the unarmed 18-year-old fatally shot by a police officer nine days ago. There is no curfew in Ferguson tonight, but Gov. Jay Nixon has called in the state’s National Guard to help maintain order.

    Yahoo News is following the latest developments, retweeting the observations of journalists and others  in Ferguson, and taking your comments in the chat player below.

    Editor’s note: Some live video may contain colorful language or violent images. Viewer discretion is advised.

    Live Blog Ferguson protests over the death of Michael Brown

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  • Photos: Ferguson Officer Darren Wilson earned police honor before fatal shooting

    Patrolman’s father recently sought prayers for a ‘very challenging’ family situation

    Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson (Screen shot via Facebook)Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson (Screen shot via Facebook)
    FERGUSON, Mo. — Six months before he shot and killed an unarmed teenager, police Officer Darren Wilson earned a commendation for his “extraordinary effort in the line of duty.”

    Yahoo News confirmed the award through the February 11 Ferguson City Council meeting minutes and photos Wilson’s father posted to his Facebook page.

    “Very proud of my son, Darren Wilson on his receiving a Commendation from his Police Department,” John Wilson wrote on February 11. “Congratulations Son.”

    One image shows Wilson shaking hands and receiving the commendation from Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson. In a second photo, the tall and slender Wilson brandishes smile as he returns to his seat with his honor.

    Details of what the 28-year-old officer did to earn the commendation weren't immediately available. (The Facebook page for the officer's father appears to have been deactivated shortly after Yahoo News first published this story on Saturday morning.)

    Yahoo News tried to reach John Wilson by phone late

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