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Georgia officials dismiss 89 cases linked to fired officers shown kicking, punching motorist

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By Kelly Terez

The Gwinnett County Police Department(ATLANTA) — Days after two officers in suburban Atlanta were fired when videos surfaced showing them kicking and punching a motorist, authorities have reportedly dismissed nearly 90 cases involving the pair.

The Gwinnett County Solicitor said she is dropping all cases in which Robert McDonald or Michael Bongiovanni were either the principal officer or a necessary witness. Sixty-three cases were dismissed in Gwinnett County Recorder’s Court and 26 in Gwinnett County State Court, according to ABC affiliate WSB-TV in Atlanta.

All were misdemeanor or traffic offenses, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

McDonald and Bongiovanni were fired Thursday after videos emerged online showing a man being punched and kicked during a traffic stop, police said.

The Gwinnett County Police Department in Lawrenceville, Georgia — about 30 miles outside of Atlanta — called the videos “shocking” and “disturbing” and announced today that two officers had been fired and that criminal investigations had begun.

The first video to surface shows an officer, identified as McDonald, kicking a handcuffed man in the head as he lays in the middle of a major roadway during a traffic stop.

A second video discovered by police, taken by a witness from a different angle, “shows the man getting out of the car with both hands up,” according to police. “As he stands with his hands up, [Sergeant] Michael Bongiovanni strikes the man in the face,” the police said in a statement.

Bongiovanni was hired in 1999 while McDonald joined the department in 2013.

Gwinnett County Police Chief Butch Ayers said of McDonald: “This officer and his actions do not represent the men and women of this police department who put their lives on the line.”

He said McDonald apologized for what occurred and for embarrassing the department.

“It shouldn’t have happened,” Ayers said McDonald told him.

The Gwinnett Police Department said in a press release that it has launched a criminal investigation that will be handed over to the District Attorney’s Office.

Bongiovanni and McDonald did not immediately respond to ABC News’ requests for comment.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Source:: National News

      

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Boston Celtics star Isaiah Thomas' sister killed in car accident

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By Kelly Terez

Phil Ellsworth / ESPN Images(SEATTLE) — The sister of Boston Celtics star Isaiah Thomas was killed in a one-car accident on Saturday, according to Washington State police.

Police said Chyna Thomas, 22, died at the scene after her vehicle went off Interstate 5 in Federal Way, striking and landing on a barrier and hitting a pole.

A source told ESPN the NBA star found out about his sister’s death after participating in team practice Saturday afternoon.

In a statement Saturday, the Celtics said, “We are terribly saddened by the tragic loss of Chyna Thomas. The thoughts & prayers of the entire organization are with Isaiah & his family.”

The NBA also extended condolences to Thomas and the Celtics in a statement.

“The NBA family mourns the tragic passing of Chyna Thomas and we send our deepest condolences to Isaiah, his family and the Celtics organization during this difficult time,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Slain Massachusetts jogger's hands held DNA that led to suspect's arrest

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By Kelly Terez

iStock/Thinkstock(BOSTON) — Police have made an arrest in connection with the killing last summer of a 27-year-old Google employee as she was out jogging in broad daylight in Massachusetts.

Vanessa Marcotte went for a jog on Aug. 7 near her mother’s home in the town of Princeton, about 60 miles west of Boston.

She never returned, and her body was found that night in a wooded area about a half mile from her mother’s house.

Authorities announced at a press conference Saturday afternoon that they had arrested 31-year-old Angel Colon-Ortiz in connection with the crime.

“We got him,” Worcester County District Attorney Joseph Early Jr. said, followed by applause. “This has been a roller-coaster all along.”

A DNA sample from Ortiz matched that found on Marcotte’s hands, Early said.

Investigators said previously that Marcotte may have struggled with her attacker, and that whoever killed her received scratches, scrapes and bruises during the struggle.

After information was put out to the public recently about a possible suspect, a state trooper noticed a driver of a dark SUV in Worcester, Massachusetts, who matched the description of the suspect, Early said at the press conference Saturday.

The trooper wrote the license plate number on his hand, which led to Ortiz’s arrest late Friday.

Early said initial evidence suggests Ortiz is from Worcester.

Ortiz is being held at Massachusetts State Police barracks in Millbury and is expected to be arraigned in district court on Tuesday. He is facing charges of aggravated assault, aggravated assault and battery as well as assault with intent to rape, Early said, noting that a murder charge is also expected to be added.

Police have said Marcotte was likely attacked between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. local time on Aug. 7.

Police sources have told ABC News there were signs Marcotte was sexually assaulted and that there were burns on parts of her body.

Early has said Marcotte, an account manager at Google in New York, frequently visited Massachusetts and was planning to return to New York City on the day of her death.

A Google representative described Marcotte in a statement as “a much loved member of the Google team” who was “known for her ubiquitous smile, passion for volunteer work and love of Boston sports. We are deeply shocked and saddened, and our thoughts are with her family and friends.”

Her alma mater, Boston University, has paid tribute to her as well. “We’re so terribly sad for her family and friends,” Colin Riley, the executive director of media relations at Boston University, told ABC News in August. “They’re in our thoughts and prayers.”

Marcotte was murdered just five days after another female jogger was killed in the New York City borough of Queens. Police said Karina Vetrano, 30, was strangled to death on Aug. 2, while out for a jog along a path she often ran with her father.

Authorities in New York and Massachusetts do not believe the murders of two young women are related, but police in both states have been working together to solve the mysteries surrounding their deaths.

Early has said, “we haven’t ruled anything out,” in regard to the similarities in the two cases.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Source:: National News

      

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More than a dozen arrested after pro-Trump and anti-Trump protesters clash in Berkeley

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By Kelly Terez

KGO-TV(BERKELEY, Calif.) — At least 15 people were arrested after supporters and opponents of President Trump clashed in Berkeley, California.

According to Berkeley Police Officer Byron White, the rally started on Saturday with an event called “Patriots Day,” created online by pro-Trump demonstrators. The event at Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park was met by anti-Trump protesters, and soon violence began to break out.

Fireworks were set off in the park and major brawls erupted, with some of the fighting moving to an adjacent street. According to police, several people suffered minor injuries.

There were reports of different gases, but police said they believe it was pepper spray set off by demonstrators clashing in the street.

“A member of the crowd released some kind of gas into the air and that gas…one of our officers was exposed to it and the officers have since put on gas masks to protect themselves,” White said. “That officer has been treated and released at the scene.”

Police said they seized several prohibited items from the protesters including, flagpoles, signs attached to poles, a knife, and a stun gun, according to ABC station KGO-TV.

In March, Berkeley experienced similar brawls after several of the same groups planned rallies to protest and counterprotest. KGO-TV reports 10 people were arrested then and police are still trying to identify suspects.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Source:: National News

      

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Scoreboard roundup — 4/14/17

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By Michelle Boncardo

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Here are the latest scores and winners:

INTERLEAGUE
N-Y Yankees 4 St. Louis 3

AMERICAN LEAGUE
Baltimore 6 Toronto 4
Detroit 7 Cleveland 6
Tampa Bay 10 Boston 5
Chi White Sox 2 Minnesota 1
Kansas City 7 L.A. Angels 1
Houston 7 Oakland 2
Seattle 2 Texas 1

NATIONAL LEAGUE
Pittsburgh 4 Chi Cubs 2
Washington 3 Philadelphia 2, 10 Innings
Miami 3 N-Y Mets 2
Milwaukee 10 Cincinnati 4
Atlanta 5 San Diego 2
L.A. Dodgers 7 Arizona 1
San Francisco 8 Colorado 2

NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE PLAYOFFS
Pittsburgh 4 Columbus 1
Final OT Montreal 4 N-Y Rangers 3
St. Louis 2 Minnesota 1
Edmonton 2 San Jose 0

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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