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Police: FL day care owner arrested after leaving baby girl hot van, killing her

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Arpad Benedek/iStock(JACKSONVILLE, Fla.) — A Florida day care owner was arrested on child neglect charges on Wednesday after a baby girl died in a scorching hot van outside of the facility.

Police arrested 56-year-old Darryl Ewing, co-owner of the Ewing’s Love & Hope Preschool and Academy in Jacksonville, where an employee found the infant unconscious inside of a blazing hot van, authorities said Wednesday evening.

The baby girl, who police said was just a few months old, had been in the vehicle for nearly five hours, Jacksonville Sheriff’s Assistant Chief Brian Kee said at a news conference.

It’s believed she suffered a “heat-related injury,” Kee said. Her name was not released. No other children were hurt, Kee said, adding that interviews were ongoing.

The temperature reached 92 degrees in Jacksonville on Wednesday. The baby had been in a van outside the day care from about 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Kee said.

ABC News’ call to the day care was not immediately returned.
The Department of Children and Families in Duvall County has begun the process of issuing an emergency suspension order to cease operations at the facility, the agency said in a statement. The facility has been licensed with DCF since 2016.

“We are all just beyond devastated,” Amber Rollins, director of the national nonprofit KidsAndCars.org, told ABC News on Wednesday.

The group is advocating for mandatory alarm technology in cars.

“We have to do more,” Rollins said. “This cannot continue to happen week after week, year after year when the solution is right at our fingertips.”

Hot car deaths reached a record level last year with at least 52 children killed, according to KidsAndCars.org.

Just this week, a 2-year-old boy was rescued after he was left in a hot car in Georgia.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wanted man says he'll turn himself in if he gets 15K Facebook likes: Police

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Torrington Police Department(TORRINGTON, Conn.) — Authorities in Connecticut are asking for the public’s help in capturing a suspect who teased police officers online with an unusual deal to turn himself in.

Police in Torrington, Connecticut, said Jose Simms, 29, reached out to the town’s lieutenant on Facebook earlier this week, saying he’d turn himself in if a Facebook post with his wanted poster received at least 15,000 likes.

Simms has four arrest warrants for first-degree failure to appear in court and three warrants for second-degree failure to appear, police said. They did not offer details on any additional charges against him.

The Torrington Police Department shared the wanted poster on Facebook early Wednesday morning, asking followers to help by liking and sharing the post.

The department said Simms initially asked for 20,000 likes, but “negotiated” to bring him down to 15,000.

“It will be difficult but is doable,” the department wrote in a light-hearted post. “So please, ‘like’ this post, and while you’re at it share it, Tweet it, Instagram it, Snapchat it, WUPHF it … or use whatever other platforms are out there that I don’t know about.”

Social media users took the challenge to heart and the post had more than 17,000 Facebook reactions, including a few “ha ha” reactions, within 13 hours.

Simms was still on the run as of late Wednesday.

The department issued an updated statement in the wake of the overwhelming response Wednesday night, thanking those who helped to spread the word.

“We are getting a lot of inquiries as to if Mr. Simms has turned himself in yet. As of now he has not,” the department said. “We will update the post again when he does turn himself in. Thank you to everyone who liked the post and messaged us with info. It’s all appreciated.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

State abortion bans in 2019: Many signed, none in effect

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Casimiro/iStock(NEW YORK) — A wave of new abortion bans in states like Alabama and Georgia, and a long list of subsequent lawsuits challenging them, has led to confusion about where the law stands from state to state.

The confusion over the laws comes as little surprise, given how many have appeared in recent months.

More than 350 pieces of legislation that would restrict abortion access have been introduced in states across the country this year, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive rights research group that was initially formed under Planned Parenthood but has been operating separately for years.

So far in 2019, 17 bans have been signed in 10 states — but every type of bans is facing a legal challenge, and none of the laws have been enacted. In addition, while the passage of so-called “heartbeat” bans have received much attention in recent weeks, none of those laws are currently in effect.

Abortion remains legal in every state. State laws that restrict abortion are almost always challenged in court, and the 1973 landmark Supreme Court ruling, Roe v. Wade, remains the law of the land for deciding if those state laws are constitutional.

In recent history, states have tried to chip away at Roe by passing restrictive new rules, like a requirement that abortions are performed in ambulatory surgical centers. But that law was struck down by the Supreme Court in 2016, and the court has responded similarly to other challenges. But more recently, with the ascent of more conservative judges to the high court, anti-abortion lawmakers have pushed through much more restrictive measures — criminalizing abortion altogether, or blocking abortion after certain gestational periods, or specific abortion procedures or for certain reasons.

But an introduced bill is not a passed bill, and a passed bill is neither necessarily signed nor enacted. It’s nuances like that that cause confusion over abortion rights.

Outright Ban


On May 15, Gov. Kay Ivey signed a bill into law that would ban almost all abortions in Alabama, the only exception being in cases where the mother’s health is at risk.

The law — the most restrictive signed this year — would make it a felony for a doctor to perform any abortion where the mother’s life is not at risk, with the threat of a 99-year prison sentence if they do.

Much of the controversy stems from the fact that common exceptions, such as for rape or incest, were not included in the law.

The authors of the bill have said they expected the law to be dismissed by lower courts and that they hope it is taken up by the U.S. Supreme Court as a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade.

‘Heartbeat’ Bans


On May 7, Georgia became the latest state to ban abortions after the detection of a fetal heartbeat, which can come as soon six weeks into a pregnancy. Like all of the so-called “heartbeat” bans signed into law this year, the Georgia law immediately prompted a legal challenge.


Republican Gov. Mike DeWine signed a so-called “heartbeat” ban in April, meaning that abortions after roughly six weeks would be outlawed if the law went into effect. Because the law was almost immediately challenged by the state’s chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, the law will not immediately take effect.

Similar bills had been proposed in Ohio in the past, but they were vetoed by the state’s last Republican governor, John Kasich, who said they were unconstitutional.


When Kentucky’s Republican governor, Matt Bevin, signed a similar “heartbeat” ban in March, the law included an “emergency” declaration. The idea was that the ban would take effect immediately, but that didn’t last long. As in other states, the law was immediately challenged in court, and a district judge issued a temporary restraining order against the bill, The Courier Journal reported.


A little over a week after the Kentucky ban was signed, Mississippi’s state legislature passed a similar “heartbeat” ban, which was then signed into law by Republican Gov. Phil Bryant.

Again, the law was challenged in court, and the sponsors said they hoped it would end up before the Supreme Court.

The legal process is still unfolding. The state’s court had previously shot down a 15-week ban in late 2018, making abortion rights advocates optimistic that the same court would reject this even more restrictive bill.


A “heartbeat” ban has passed through the state legislature in Louisiana and Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat who has been vocal about his anti-abortion beliefs throughout his political life, has said he plans to sign it.

The law has exceptions for cases where the mother’s health is at risk, but no exceptions for cases of rape or incest. The law is expected to be challenged in court. Even if that wasn’t the case, the Louisiana law is tied to a law passed in Mississippi.

According to USA Today, the Louisiana bill was amended to say that it would only be implemented if the Mississippi law is upheld by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Expected: MISSOURI

The bill passed by the Missouri state legislature is slightly different from other “heartbeat” bills in that it would ban abortions after eight weeks — rather than six weeks — into a pregnancy. The abortion ban was one in a series of bills that was passed in the state’s governing body. They also passed a trigger law, which would “trigger” an automatic ban on all abortions if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

In addition, the legislature tweaked the existing parental notification law so that it now requires the consent of both parents, rather than just one, and approved an abortion ban in cases where the reason for the procedure is a Down Syndrome diagnosis or the race or sex of the child.

Republican Gov. Mike Parson has not signed the bill yet, but has said that he plans to. Like in all of the other states with similar laws, it is expected to be challenged in court if it becomes a law.

18-week bans


Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed an 18-week abortion ban this spring. The ACLU of Arkansas said in a statement after Hutchinson’s signing in March that they’d see him in court.

In terms of an 18-week ban’s precedent in court, laws banning abortion at under 20 weeks have been found unconstitutional by courts, and in March, a federal judge in North Carolina ruled a 20-week ban unconstitutional.


In March, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert signed a bill banning abortions after 18 weeks and then a second bill that banned the procedure in cases where the reason for the procedure was a Down syndrome diagnoses.

The ACLU of Utah and Planned Parenthood Association of Utah filed a lawsuit against that state’s law. The Utah attorney general issued a preliminary injunction to keep the ban from taking effect, per The Salt Lake Tribune.

Dilation and Evacuation Bans

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum both signed bills banning the dilation and evacuation (D&E) abortion procedure, which is the primary procedure used for second-trimester abortions, in April. These laws effectively ban second-trimester abortions.

The ACLU challenged the Indiana bill, the Indianapolis Star reported in April. A preliminary injunction was issued, blocking the bill from being enacted, and the case is ongoing.

The Red River Women’s Clinic in Fargo, the only abortion provider in North Dakota, said they would wait for a decision in an Arkansas case before deciding if they’ll sue over the law, USA Today reported.

That’s not the only ongoing legislation: the Kansas Supreme Court ruled their version of a D&E ban unconstitutional in a late April ruling.

Discrimination Bans

Some states have begun attempting to ban abortions based on the reason that patients choose to get them. Anti-abortion lawmakers refer to these as abortion “discrimination.”

This year, such bills were signed in Arkansas and Kentucky. Arkansas Gov. Hutchinson signed a bill banning abortions done on the basis of a Down syndrome diagnosis.

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin signed a bill that bans abortions done on the basis of the gender, race or disability diagnosis of a fetus. The ACLU challenged that law and it has been blocked from going into effect. The case is ongoing.

“Trigger” Bans

Meanwhile, some states have enacted preemptive bans. So-called “trigger” laws have been put in place in Arkansas, Kentucky and Tennessee this year that would make abortion illegal in those states should Roe be overturned on the federal level.

Supreme Court Possibilities

While this year’s bills are just beginning to face legal challenges, others have already started down the pipeline, with the possibility of reaching the Supreme Court and impacting federal precedent.

The main contenders for cases that could end up before the Supreme Court include bills from Kentucky, Louisiana and Indiana.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Atlanta cop fired after video shows him slamming, deploying stun gun on woman

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Atlanta Police(ATLANTA) — A white Atlanta police sergeant was fired after a cell phone video surfaced showing him allegedly yanking a black woman from her car, slamming her to the ground, punching her in the face and deploying a stun gun on her during an arrest this month in front of her 4-year-old daughter.

All charges against the woman, Maggie Thomas, are expected to be dropped after a cell phone video surfaced of the incident earlier this month and demands from the woman and her attorney that Sgt. James Hines be fired.

In a statement released to ABC News on Wednesday, Atlanta police officials said they were made aware of the incident on May 10, and launched an investigation that led to the sergeant’s dismissal and a recommendation from police to prosecutors to drop the charges against the woman.

“Accordingly, the Chief of Police directed the Office of Professional Standards to immediately begin investigating the circumstances surrounding this incident,” the police statement reads. “Following its investigation, the Office of Professional Standards determined that the force used during the arrest was unnecessary and inconsistent with Atlanta Police Department training. Subsequently, Sergeant Hines was dismissed from employment on May 17, 2019.”

Thomas said the episode unfolded on May 1 when Hines approached her car as she and her child sat inside and began questioning her. The incident, according to her attorney, quickly escalated into police brutality.

“A recommendation has been made to the City Solicitor that consideration be given to the dismissal of the charge against Ms. Thomas,” the police department’s statement reads.

Thomas’ attorney, Gerald Griggs of Atlanta, told ABC News that Thomas was arrested on a traffic warrant that he said was issued in error and disorderly conduct.

In an incident report released by police, Hines wrote: “I asked Ms. Thomas if the car was hers and she said it was. I then told her that the car had no insurance and to make sure that she did not drive it.”

Hines wrote that Thomas became “agitated” and told him, “There shouldn’t be a white officer harassing her” and asked for the name of his supervisor.

He claimed that he gave Thomas the name of his supervisor and left the scene.

“As I got a block or so away I began to wonder why she became so agitated at my mere presence and ran her name,” he wrote.

Hines wrote that a warrant came back on Thomas for failing to appear in court for a speeding ticket.

Hines, according to his report, went back to Thomas’ car and demanded to see her driver’s license and the incident quickly escalated.

He wrote that Thomas refused to cooperate and that when he attempted to take her into custody, a struggled ensued.

“I then took Ms. Thomas to the ground and she still refused to give me her right hand. I took out my Taser and drive-stunned her in the back,” Hines wrote. “She then began to comply and I eventually was able to get both hands cuffed.”

He wrote that as he was walking Thomas to her car, she began struggling with him again and “bent over and bit my right hand.”

“I immediately punched her in the face and she fell to the ground,” Hines wrote.

Hines could not be reached by ABC News for comment.

Griggs said Thomas never bit the officer’s hands, and that the circumstances of the episode did not warrant such brutal force.

“She wasn’t driving. She hadn’t been driving and he made contact with her twice,” Griggs said of the officer.

When the officer approached Thomas the second time and asked for her name, she told him, according to Griggs, “‘I just gave you my name when you ran everything the first time.'”

“She starts asking him what’s the warrant for and then her baby, the 4-year-old, latches onto her and he Tasers her,” Griggs said.

In a cell phone video Griggs shared with ABC News, the officer is seen slamming Thomas to the ground, and punching her in the face before he deploys a stun gun on her and places her in handcuffs.

Griggs said Thomas was punched in the left eye during the encounter.

“She still has headaches. You can still see the bruising,” Griggs said. “She’s getting counseling for the traumatic effects of this incident and her daughter is getting counseling as well.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

2-year-old boy rescued from hot car in moment caught on video

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ChiccoDodiFC/iStock(ATLANTA) — A 2-year-old boy was rescued from a scorching hot car in a Walmart parking lot on Tuesday in a moment caught on video.

Video obtained by ABC Atlanta affiliate WSB-TV shows shoppers at the Georgia Walmart spot the little boy inside the parked car.

When officers raced to the scene in McDonough, outside Atlanta, they found the little boy in a locked car which was turned off and with the windows rolled up, according to the McDonough Police Department.

Officers forced their way into the car, removing the 2-year-old, said police. Video also showed the concerned citizens and officers comforting the little boy once he was rescued.

The 2-year-old was taken to Henry Piedmont Hospital and later released, said police.

The boy’s father, Christopher Urgent, was arrested for cruelty to children, according to police.

The temperature climbed to 86 degrees near McDonough on Tuesday. With sunny skies, the inside of the car could have heated up to 104 degrees in just 10 minutes, according to ABC News meteorologists.

It’s not clear how long the boy was locked inside the car, according to police.

Amber Rollins, director of the national nonprofit KidsAndCars.org, said the citizens’ and officers’ “quick action quite literally could have been the difference between life and death for this young child.”

“If you see a child or animal alone in a car, do something,” Rollins told ABC News. “If they are in distress, you need to get them out immediately and begin to cool them.”

Hot car deaths reached a record level last year with at least 52 children killed, according to KidsAndCars.org.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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