Pepper-spraying campus police won't face charges

DAVIS, Calif. (AP) — The University of California, Davis police officers who doused students and alumni with pepper spray during a campus protest last November won't face criminal charges, prosecutors said Wednesday.

The chemical crackdown prompted widespread condemnation, campus protests and calls for the resignation of Chancellor Linda Katehi after videos shot by witnesses were widely played online. Images of an officer casually spraying orange pepper-spray in the faces of nonviolent protesters became a rallying point for the Occupy Wall Street movement.

But the Yolo County District Attorney's office said in a statement that there was insufficient evidence to prove the use of force was illegal.

A task force appointed by the university concluded in April that the Nov. 18 pepper-spraying was "objectively unreasonable" and could have been prevented.

In reaching their conclusion, prosecutors said they relied on facts included in the task force's report. Among them was the finding that the officers perceived they were dealing with a hostile mob and needed to spray the protesters to clear a path to safety.

John Pike, the police lieutenant who was shown in the videos pepper-spraying the protesters, told The Sacramento Bee (http://bit.ly/PrqZ1V0) he was relieved by the DA's decision.

Pike was fired on July 31 by the campus police chief who took over the university's police department after the chief who was in charge last fall stepped down.

The University of California's governing board last week reached a proposed settlement with 21 current and former students who sued after being hit with pepper spray. The terms of the settlement have not been publicly released because a federal judge still needs to approve the deal.

  • Under questioning, Barr says Trump's Bible photo op was 'entirely appropriate'
    Yahoo News

    Under questioning, Barr says Trump's Bible photo op was 'entirely appropriate'

    Attorney General William Barr said Thursday that it was “entirely appropriate” to forcibly remove protesters from the area surrounding the White House ahead of President Trump's seemingly impromptu photo opportunity in front of St. John's Church. “I think the president is the head of the executive branch and the chief executive of the nation and should be able to walk outside the White House and walk across the street to the church of presidents,” Barr said at a press conference when asked about regrets expressed Wednesday by Defense Secretary Mark Esper over the political implication of his appearance with the president at the church.

  • Coronavirus cases are climbing again in the South and the West. Will crowded protests spark bigger outbreaks?
    Yahoo News

    Coronavirus cases are climbing again in the South and the West. Will crowded protests spark bigger outbreaks?

    After infection, symptoms can take up to 14 days to present; testing positive or requiring hospitalization can take even longer. While the country has shifted its attention from the pathogen to the protests, and while COVID-19 infections have continued to decline in some of America's hardest-hit cities, cases have been climbing elsewhere — especially in the South and the West, and most of all in states that moved to reopen early. More than a month has passed since the first wave of reopenings — enough time to start to gauge the impact of looser restrictions, increased interaction and more relaxed attitudes toward social distancing.

  • Enraged New York driver who chased protesters with blades attached to arm is arrested
    NBC News

    Enraged New York driver who chased protesters with blades attached to arm is arrested

    An enraged New York driver who allegedly rushed a group of protesters with two long blades attached to his arm, then chased them in his SUV, was arrested Thursday on suspicion of menacing and other crimes, authorities said. Frank Cavalluzzi, 54, of Queens, faces multiple counts of reckless endangerment, menacing and criminal possession of a weapon, the New York Police Department said. Video footage of the June 2 incident showed the man speeding toward a small group of protesters on an expressway overpass in Queens.

  • Lawsuit aims to hold nebulous 'antifa' to blame for injuries
    Associated Press

    Lawsuit aims to hold nebulous 'antifa' to blame for injuries

    A conservative writer from Portland, Oregon, filed a lawsuit Thursday against purported elements of the nebulous, far-left militant groups collectively known as antifa, days after President Donald Trump blamed those groups for inciting violence at protests over police killings of black people. The suit was filed on behalf of Andy Ngo, who is known for aggressively covering and video-recording demonstrators. “I am hoping that this marks a turning point, that militants belonging to a criminal movement can no longer depend on the anonymity ... to get away with their crimes,” said Ngo, who previously was a writer with the online publication Quillette and now is with The Post Millennial.

  • Photos show thousands of Hong Kongers defying a police order to attend vigils memorializing the victims of the Tienanmen Square massacre
    Business Insider

    Photos show thousands of Hong Kongers defying a police order to attend vigils memorializing the victims of the Tienanmen Square massacre

    Hong Kong banned residents from memorializing the Tiananmen Square massacre for the first time, but thousands of protesters gathered on Thursday anyway. Hong Kongers came together to light candles, chant slogans, and honor those who died in the pro-democracy fight that China crushed in 1989. The Hong Kong government cited the coronavirus as the reason for the ban, but many believe it to be a direct act of suppression, after China passed a national security law to crush Hong Kong dissent.

  • Protests in Minneapolis turned violent: Officials first blamed outsiders, but that’s not what arrests show
    USA TODAY

    Protests in Minneapolis turned violent: Officials first blamed outsiders, but that’s not what arrests show

    Read this: Officials blame 'out-of-state' agitators but those at the heart of protests are homegrown Riot, violence, looting: Words matter when talking about race and unrest, experts say Leggat, the security consultant, said intelligence reports from his colleagues indicate most of the hard-core protesters in Minneapolis were far-left or anarchists, and that far-right groups have not yet made a significant appearance. He said looting is typically done by locals – usually people with no criminal record who just get caught up in the moment. But direct conflicts with authorities come from a mix of both locals and outside groups who see these conflicts as a core part of their mission.

  • Another Man Who Said 'I Can't Breathe' Died in Custody. An Autopsy Calls It Homicide.
    The New York Times

    Another Man Who Said 'I Can't Breathe' Died in Custody. An Autopsy Calls It Homicide.

    A black man who called out “I can't breathe” before dying in police custody in Tacoma, Washington, was killed as a result of oxygen deprivation and the physical restraint that was used on him, according to details of a medical examiner's report released Wednesday. The Pierce County Medical Examiner's Office concluded that the death of the man, Manuel Ellis, 33, was a homicide. Investigators with the Pierce County Sheriff's Department were in the process of preparing a report about the March death, which occurred shortly after an arrest by officers from the Tacoma Police Department, said the sheriff's spokesman, Ed Troyer.

  • Why Cristobal is a rare 'crossover' storm
    AccuWeather

    Why Cristobal is a rare 'crossover' storm

    Tropical Storm Cristobal already has claimed its fame as the earliest third named tropical storm system on record in the Atlantic basin. It also did something else that had AccuWeather Lead Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski saying, "This does not happen very often." Cristobal developed from the leftovers of Tropical Storm Amanda, the first named storm of the Pacific hurricane season.

  • Pentagon intelligence employees raise concerns about supporting domestic surveillance amid protests
    Yahoo News

    Pentagon intelligence employees raise concerns about supporting domestic surveillance amid protests

    The government's increasingly militarized response to nationwide protests has sparked concern among employees of a Pentagon intelligence agency, who fear they might be compelled to help conduct surveillance on Americans participating in demonstrations, sources tell Yahoo News. The May 25 killing of George Floyd, an African-American man, in Minneapolis police custody set off a series of nationwide protests, including in Washington, D.C. In response, the Trump administration has sent a wide range of law enforcement and military personnel to the nation's capital to help police the demonstrations. The use of military personnel has prompted questions about overreach, including now at the Defense Intelligence Agency.

  • Barr defends use of non-identified officers in D.C. as Democrats demand answers
    Yahoo News

    Barr defends use of non-identified officers in D.C. as Democrats demand answers

    Attorney General William Barr on Thursday defended the deployment of black-clad federal law enforcement officers who wear neither badges nor any other visible identification in response to protests in Washington, D.C. Barr and Bureau of Prisons Director Michael Carvajal said at a Thursday press conference that the officers were from the Bureau of Prisons Special Operations Response Team (SORT). Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker, along with House Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries and Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, wrote to Barr about the “the use of federal security forces to oversee protests without specific agency identifiers or badge numbers.”

  • Watch Lightning Strike the Washington Monument, Then Watch It Again
    Popular Mechanics

    Watch Lightning Strike the Washington Monument, Then Watch It Again

    Lightning causes a huge amount of damage every year, mostly to property much closer to the ground. The marble Washington Monument is topped with a set of lightning rods. A Washington, D.C. news channel captured astonishing footage of lightning repeatedly striking the Washington Monument on Thursday night.

  • Buffalo police officers resign from unit in protest of suspended colleagues who shoved man, 75, to ground
    NBC News

    Buffalo police officers resign from unit in protest of suspended colleagues who shoved man, 75, to ground

    Nearly five dozen Buffalo, New York, police officers, specially trained for civil unrest, resigned from their unit Friday after two colleagues were suspended for allegedly shoving and seriously injuring a 75-year-old protester, officials said. The members of the Buffalo Police Department's Emergency Response Team quit that task force after the fallout from Thursday night's incident, which was caught on video that went viral, according the Police Benevolent Association. Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz and Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown both said reinforcements from state police would be enough to keep the peace.

  • Alabama city removes Confederate statue without notice
    Associated Press

    Alabama city removes Confederate statue without notice

    Alabama's port city removed a statue of a Confederate naval officer early Friday after days of protests over the police killing of George Floyd, with the mayor saying the monument was a “potential distraction” to focusing on the city's future. The bronze likeness of Admiral Raphael Semmes, which stood in a middle of a downtown street near the Mobile waterfront for 120 years, had become a flash point for protest in the Gulf Coast city. Vandalized during a demonstration this week and then cleaned by the city, it was removed overnight without any public notice.

  • Mark Cuban commissioned a 3-way poll last month as he considered running as an independent against Biden and Trump in the 2020 presidential election
    Business Insider

    Mark Cuban commissioned a 3-way poll last month as he considered running as an independent against Biden and Trump in the 2020 presidential election

    Mark Cuban, the entrepreneur and owner of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks, revealed Thursday that he went so far as to commission a poll while exploring a presidential run in 2020. Cuban told political strategist David Axelrod that the poll featured a three-way matchup between President Donald Trump, former Vice President Joe Biden, and himself. "And what they found out was, I would take some votes away from Donald Trump, particularly with independents ... I dominated the independent vote," Cuban said.

  • Florida Highway Patrol trooper among 2 state employees fired for 'hateful, racist' comments about George Floyd protesters
    USA TODAY

    Florida Highway Patrol trooper among 2 state employees fired for 'hateful, racist' comments about George Floyd protesters

    A Florida Highway Patrol trooper and a Tallahassee employee of the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles have been fired for making "abhorrent" comments about George Floyd protesters, the department said. The two workers had directed “hateful, racist and threatening remarks” toward Florida demonstrators calling for better policing as part of nationwide protests in the wake of Floyd's death in police custody on Memorial Day in Minneapolis. Long-simmering tensions stoked by police tactics toward black men erupted over the weekend with marches and demonstrations by a diverse group of protesters, many in their teens and 20s, that blocked roadways in Florida cities and elsewhere in the country.

  • Corrupt Cop Linked to Trump Tower Lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya Exposes Russian Ops
    The Daily Beast

    Corrupt Cop Linked to Trump Tower Lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya Exposes Russian Ops

    LONDON—A corrupt former police officer who was caught working with Trump Tower lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya has revealed in a Swiss court how Russia's complex foreign influence campaign targets justice systems in Western countries. The former consultant to the Swiss Federal Prosecutor's Office was sacked and convicted after his entanglement with Veselnitskaya and the Russian prosecutor general's office was exposed. On the visit to the spectacular Kamchatka Peninsula and Lake Baikal, the official, who is identified only as Victor K., reportedly admitted that he spent a week fishing, enjoying the rugged countryside, and hunting for bear, including from a helicopter, with officials from the Russian prosecutor general's office.

  • Trump administration orders Marriott to close Cuba hotel
    Yahoo News Video

    Trump administration orders Marriott to close Cuba hotel

    The Trump administration has ordered Marriott International to wind down hotel operations in Communist-run Cuba, a company spokeswoman told Reuters, extinguishing what had been a symbol of the U.S.-Cuban detente.

  • In 1985, A Nuclear Submarine Explosion Contaminated Russia's Far East
    The National Interest

    In 1985, A Nuclear Submarine Explosion Contaminated Russia's Far East

    Here's What You Need To Remember: The explosion blew out the reactor's twelve-ton lid—and fuel rods—and ruptured the pressure hull. The reactor core was destroyed, and eight officers and two enlisted men standing nearby were killed instantly. A the blast threw debris was thrown into the air, and a plume of fallout 650 meters wide by 3.5 kilometers long traveled downwind on the Dunay Peninsula.

  • Al-Qaeda chief in north Africa Abdelmalek Droukdel killed - France
    BBC

    Al-Qaeda chief in north Africa Abdelmalek Droukdel killed - France

    France says it has killed the leader of al-Qaeda in north Africa, Abdelmalek Droukdel, in an operation in Mali. Defence Minister Florence Parly said Droukdel along with members of his inner circle had been killed in the north of the country on Wednesday. French forces had also captured a senior Islamic State group commander in Mali in an operation in May, she said.

  • Cars Most Likely to Need a Transmission Replacement
    Consumer Reports

    Cars Most Likely to Need a Transmission Replacement

    To understand how often such problems occur, we analyzed data on older models from our Annual Auto Surveys to see which major systems can lead to expensive repairs and identify the models that have a significant risk. Three problems areas stood out: Engines, head gaskets, and transmissions. With some models, these problems occur with surprising frequency at a certain age and mileage.

  • One of the officers charged in George Floyd's killing was hired despite having a criminal record and slew of traffic violations
    INSIDER

    One of the officers charged in George Floyd's killing was hired despite having a criminal record and slew of traffic violations

    Hennepin County Sheriff's Office Before he was hired as a Minneapolis police officer, Thomas Lane collected a laundry list of criminal charges and traffic citations, according to records obtained by Insider. Lane was fired on May 26, one day after George Floyd was killed in police custody. Lane has since been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.

  • Coronavirus live updates: Brazil records big surge as global deaths approach 400,000
    NBC News

    Coronavirus live updates: Brazil records big surge as global deaths approach 400,000

    Fears continue to grow over the growth of COVID-19 in Latin America, with the number of confirmed cases in Brazil passing that of Italy to make it the second worst-affected country, after the United States. Brazil recorded 1,349 deaths in a single day Thursday — only the U.S. and the U.K. have declared more COVID-19 related deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. President Jair Bolsonaro has been accused of minimizing the effects of the crisis.

  • CDC: People are calling poison control after rubbing themselves and their food with bleach to prevent the coronavirus
    Business Insider

    CDC: People are calling poison control after rubbing themselves and their food with bleach to prevent the coronavirus

    Monika Skolimowska/picture alliance via Getty Image The CDC has reported a sharp increase in calls to poison control from people trying to disinfect their homes. Out of a survey of 502 adults, 39% of them admitted to engaging in high-risk activities like inhaling bleach or putting bleach on food. The CDC recommended that there be more public messaging about the importance of reading labels and never mixing chemicals.

  • US planning to slash troops in Germany: report
    AFP

    US planning to slash troops in Germany: report

    US President Donald Trump has ordered the Pentagon to slash the number of troops it maintains in Germany by more than a quarter in the coming months, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday. The newspaper said the Defense Department would cut the number of military personnel by 9,500 from the current 34,500 permanently assigned to Germany postings. The Journal also said a cap of 25,000 would be set on how many US troops could be inside German at any one time, whether in permanent postings or temporary rotations, half of the current allowance.

  • California police officer under investigation, will be held 'accountable' for his actions against George Floyd protesters
    USA TODAY

    California police officer under investigation, will be held 'accountable' for his actions against George Floyd protesters

    A California police officer is under internal investigation after multiple viral videos showed his frivolous behavior toward demonstrators last week in the wake of George Floyd's death, according to local officials. San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo called the videos "disturbing" during a news briefing on Sunday, and Police Chief Eddie Garcia said the officer, Jared Yuen, would "be accountable for his actions and will have to deal with the consequences." Asked about Yuen's current status, a spokesperson for the San Jose Police Department told USA TODAY on Thursday that the agency "does not comment on personnel matters."