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Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity indicted for hazing after 2016 incident at University of Houston

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By Brittany Martinez

iStock/Thinkstock(HOUSTON) — The Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity was indicted on Thursday for a 2016 hazing incident in which pledges were allegedly deprived of adequate food, water and sleep, according to prosecutors.

A grand jury in Harris County, Texas, indicted the Tennessee-based Pi Kappa Alpha International Fraternity Inc. following concurrent investigations by the Harris County District Attorney’s Office and the University of Houston. The indictment does not charge any individual criminally, but it subjects the fraternity to a fine of up to $10,000 as well as conviction for hazing, including mental and physical abuse.

An official representative for the fraternity will have to be present for court hearings, prosecutors said.

“Brotherhood and collegiate good times should be safe and hazing is not,” Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said in a statement announcing the charge. “It is also illegal and that should be recognized by the dozens of fraternities and sororities on college campuses all over the Houston area.”

The Pi Kappa Alpha International Fraternity Inc. did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment Thursday.

Thursday’s indictment focuses on the treatment of one student at the University of Houston who was allegedly abused, like others, during a “brutal three-day rite” while pledging the fraternity in November 2016, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said the pledge was forced to roll around in vomit, spit and feces and go without food, drink and sleep throughout much of the ordeal. At one point, the pledge was ordered to run across a rural stretch of land in the darkness while holding a glow stick in what was apparently known as a “green light game,” prosecutors said.

The pledge was then unexpectedly tackled by fraternity members, who were dressed in dark clothing and lying in wait, prosecutors said. He was later hospitalized for a lacerated spleen.

In July, the University of Houston placed the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity under interim suspension pending an investigation. In October, the university suspended the fraternity for activities that violate the school’s hazing policy after a months-long probe revealed violations that occurred off campus.

“Today we are grateful that our county partners have delivered a stern message through the grand jury’s decision against the fraternity, that such behavior, which jeopardizes the well being of our students, will not be tolerated,” the University of Houston said in a statement reacting to the indictment Thursday.

The Harris County district attorney praised the university’s efforts in the wake of the 2016 incident.

“The University of Houston showed resolve in conducting a thorough investigation and holding the fraternity accountable,” Ogg said.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Source:: National News

      

Beverly Hills anesthesiologist charged with murder in patient's overdose death

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By Brittany Martinez

iStock/Thinkstock(BEVERLY HILLS, Calif.) — A anesthesiologist in Beverly Hills has been charged with murder in connection with a patient’s fatal overdose, Los Angeles prosecutors announced Thursday.

Stephen Kyosung Kim, 53, was working at the Rodeo Drive Plastic Surgery Center on Sept. 26 when he allegedly administered the medicine to the patient, 71-year-old Mark Greenspan, to help sedate him, according to a press release from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

Proseuctors accuse Kim of injecting himself with drugs during the procedure and then later giving Greenspan a lethal dose of Demerol, a narcotic used to treat pain, while he was in the recovery room.

Greenspan then went into cardiac arrest and died, according to the district attorney’s office.

Kim was arrested Wednesday by the Beverly Hills Police Department and booked into a Los Angeles County jail, court records show. He was released after he posted a $1 million bail.

Kim is expected to be arraigned today at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center in downtown Los Angeles, prosecutors said. It is unclear whether he has entered a plea or retained an attorney.
If convicted, Kim faces 25 years to life in a state prison.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Source:: National News

      

Governor Abbott Meets With Texas Military Leaders Following 2017 Texas Military Summit

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By lauren.mccanse@gov.texas.gov Governor Greg Abbott today met with commanders of U.S. military installations in Texas following the Texas Military Summit hosted by the Texas Military Preparedness Commission (TMPC).

Governor Greg Abbott today met with commanders of U.S. military installations in Texas following the Texas Military Summit hosted by the Texas Military Preparedness Commission (TMPC). During the meeting, the Governor shared his strong and unwavering commitment to enhance and protect the 15 major military installations in Texas and their surrounding defense communities. The Governor also expressed his gratitude for the commanders’ leadership and service to the state and the nation.

“It is one of my top priorities as Governor to make sure we are doing everything possible to support the mission of the military as well as our men and women in uniform and the communities they serve,” said Governor Abbott. “Today’s discussions are a critical component of the state’s forward-thinking and aggressive approach to ensure that our military installations continue to add unmatched value. I thank all of our military and community leaders for participating, and I will continue to make sure they receive our full support.”

TMPC’s Texas Military Summit is being held for the second time under Governor Abbott. The event brings together defense community members, military installation commanders and local elected officials to discuss ways that communities can support their local installations. This event also serves to share best practices and projects with other communities to increase public-private partnerships and bring in new missions and jobs to communities.

Critical for the defense of the nation, the 15 major military installations in Texas add $136.6 billion to the state’s economy and support, directly and indirectly, more than 800,000 jobs in communities across Texas.

The TMPC is part of the Governor’s Office and advises the Governor and the Legislature on defense and military issues and ways to strengthen the position of Texas military installations in preparation for a potential BRAC and other defense-related issues. The commission is composed of 13 members serving 6-year staggered terms, typically representing an installation in their community.

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Source:: Office of the Governor

      

Harvard admissions investigation prompts mixed reactions from Asian-American students

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By Brittany Martinez

iStock/Thinkstock(CAMBRIDGE, Mass.) — To achieve an exceptional college application has become seemingly more and more difficult — at least for certain groups of students.

Ben Huynh, a Vietnamese-American born to immigrant parents and raised in Chicago, received a 2400 on his SAT, had perfect grades, held leadership positions and was very involved in his passion for music, all elements of an impeccable application by most standards.

With his outstanding résumé, one would expect him to get into at least one of his top schools, but was rejected from most of them, including Harvard.

“I was a little disappointed,” Huynh said, adding he never once blamed under-represented minorities as part of the problem.

Despite his initial frustration, he said he remains a firm advocate of affirmative action. Though flawed, he said, the policy provides a level of balance that plays only a part in what is a complex and multifaceted admissions process.

Huynh ended up accepting a full ride to University of Chicago and is happy with how things turned out.

“I don’t think I’d do anything differently,” he said. “I didn’t see the point to racialize myself, there are other more important factors to address.”

Huynh’s response is one of many mixed reactions from the Asian-American community to the ongoing debate about college admission practices, an issue brought back to light when the Department of Justice launched an investigation into the use of race in Harvard University’s admissions practices.

In November, the DOJ demanded Harvard to turn over admissions records as part of its investigation to examine whether Harvard is in violation of Title VI, which “prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin” in Federal funded programs.

The investigation began as the national conversation about the controversial practice of affirmative action continues. The concern that top universities like Harvard may be limiting the numbers of Asian-Americans it admits in favor of other minorities as a way to create a diverse student body is mirrored by other lawsuits like the one filed by the Student for Fair Admissions in 2014.

That suit alleges Harvard intentionally discriminates against Asian-Americans by limiting the number of Asian students who are admitted.

Edward Blum, president of Student for Fair Admissions and the legal strategist behind the 2014 lawsuit, formed the non-profit organization with the goal to eliminate racial preferences in college admissions.

Blum praised the investigation as a “welcomed development,” in a statement.

“In order to create true diversity there are far better ways to go about it without raising the bar for some and lowering for others,” Blum told ABC News.

However, some Asian-American students don’t see it that way. As a Chinese-American student at Harvard, Raymond Tang said he understood the need for policies like affirmative action and the innate selectivity in elite colleges, especially Ivy League schools.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if I didn’t get into Harvard, because I expect it to be hard to get in,” Tang told ABC News.

With a 2340 SAT score, six Hong Kong national medals in figure skating and numerous other successes in academia and the arts, Tiffany Lau is also a student with impeccable qualifications.

Now a 20-year-old History & Literature and Theater, Dance & Media major at Harvard, she too, emphasized the expected competitiveness in college admissions. Lau said she believes any applicant, regardless of race, should be expected to have “more than just great scores and impressive resume.”

In order to examine a person as a whole, she said, one must evaluate the components that make up the person’s identity. And that’s why she would not support a race-blind admissions process, “as an individual’s race is a central part of how they navigate the world, how they grew up and who they are,” said Lau.

Similarly, Tang said he believes schools are justified to accept students for different reasons.

“If there wasn’t a way to accommodate different experiences, they’ll end up with a homogeneous pool of students,” he said.

Others hold similar opinions to Blum and accept the current system as an ugly truth.

Michael Paik, a senior at the University of Pennsylvania who scored over 2300 on the SAT and was a straight A student, remembered consciously shaping his application to differentiate himself from other applicants who may be perceived as more “traditional” Asian-American students.

Paik said it’s a “commonly known thing” among Asian American households, since as a group, children tend to be raised in a culture where academic excellence is prioritized, making their application pool more competitive.

Even his non-Asian friends, some who are at the opposite end of the affirmative action spectrum, admitted that his applications will have to be much stronger to be considered, Paik added.

Between the myriad of variables at play and the limited spots available he recognized the complexity the issue warrants; however, he said although the process “is difficult and unpredictable” he still felt like “it’s unfair” at times.

His mother, Michelle Paik, felt more strongly about what she saw as “an unjust system,” especially having five children with two of her eldest sons in college and three more on their way.

“I was absolutely shocked when both of my sons got into their top choices, even though they were both top of their class,” said Mrs. Paik. She said it wasn’t for the lack of confidence in their abilities, but the unfortunate reality she and all of her children were acutely aware of — that Asian Americans are held to a higher standard.

She didn’t want to discourage her children but she did warn them, “you may have all the qualifications but you are an Asian boy …read more

Source:: National News

      

Standoff ensues after 2 police officers shot near St. Louis

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By TJH

ABCNews.com(ST. LOUIS) — Two police officers were shot in the chest Thursday morning in a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri, but their bulletproof vests appeared to have saved their lives, officials said.

In the wake of the shooting the suspect barricaded himself in the house where he was believed to live, and police haven’t made contact with him since.

The uniformed members of the Bellefontaine Neighbors Police Department were injured in an encounter with a gunman around 7:15 a.m. local time, but expected to survive, according to Sgt. Shawn McGuire of the St. Louis County Police Department.

McGuire said the incident began when the department received a call Wednesday night about shots fired in the suburb. Police were unable to locate the person related to the report, but they remained in the area overnight near a residence where they thought the shots potentially came from.

In the morning, police received a call from a neighbor who saw someone leave the house. Two officers located the individual, a 37-year-old man, walking down the street and tried to have a dialogue with him, according to McGuire.

The officers ultimately attempted to take the man into custody and a scuffle ensued. At some point, the man took out a firearm and shot the officers, McGuire said.

Ballistic vests worn by the officers blocked the rounds of gunfire but they still suffered some injuries. Both were hospitalized for treatment and evaluation, according to McGuire.

St. Louis County Police Department spokesman Benjamin Granda said the vests appear to have been “instrumental” in limiting the officers’ injuries.

One of the officers is a 44-year-old sergeant with 22 years of law enforcement experience who has been a member of the Bellefontaine Neighbors Police Department for eight years. The other is a 25-year-old woman who has served with the department for three years, according to Granda.

The firearm used to shoot the officers has not yet been recovered, McGuire said. The St. Louis County Police Department was on scene assisting with the barricaded suspect.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Source:: National News

      

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