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New Jersey sheriff resigns following racist comments on state's Sikh attorney general

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By Leighton Schneider

Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — The New Jersey sheriff who was purportedly heard in voice recordings making multiple controversial comments — including racist remarks about the state’s Sikh attorney general — has resigned.

The Bergen County Sheriff’s Office announced Friday that Sheriff Michael Saudino has submitted his resignation after public radio station WNYC published multiple recordings the day before.

Saudino allegedly made the statements during a conversation on Jan. 16 following the inauguration of New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, which he attended, according to WNYC.

In the recording, Saudino was discussing whether Murphy had made any appointments from Bergen County when an undersheriff mentioned that Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, who is Sikh American and wears a turban because of his religious beliefs, was from Bergen County.

“He didn’t do that because of Bergen County,” Saudino purportedly said. “He did that because of the turban.”

Saudino was also purportedly heard in the recordings criticizing Murphy’s remarks on policing at his inauguration on topics such as marijuana and better criminal justice reform.

“Christ almighty. In other words, let the blacks come in, do whatever the f— they want, smoke their marijuana, do this, do that, and don’t worry about it,” Saudino purportedly said. “You know, we’ll tie the hands of cops.”

In another recording, Saudino purports to question whether Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver is gay, asking, “Is she gay? ‘Cause she’s never been married.”

Grewal responded in a tweet Thursday, saying he has developed a “thick skin” after being called “far worse,” but denounced the comments on the Black community and the lieutenant governor.

The statement from the sheriff’s office did not address whether it was, in fact, Saudino’s voice in the recordings.

After the recordings were released, Murphy issued a statement urging Saudino to resign. Now that he has, the state can “now begin the process or restoring faith in the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office” and “begin the process of ensuring that the bigoted beliefs by the former Sheriff are not given shelter,” Murphy said in a statement.

“I fully intend to appoint an interim sheriff who can rebuild the public’s trust,” Murphy said. “The Bergen County Sheriff’s Office is home to countless dedicated officers who no doubt were as horrified and disappointed by their former boss’s comments as we were. This is an opportunity for our Administration to work with them, and with the community, to instill new leadership that upholds our shared New Jersey values of inclusion and respect for all.”

Grewal said in a statement that Saudino’s resignation is an “important first step in repairing the relationship between the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office and the diverse communities it serves” but expressed concern that none of Saudino’s subordinates challenged him.

“The fact that a top official could make racist comments about the African-American community – and that no one in the room would challenge or correct him – raises serious concerns,” Grewal said.

At least two undersheriffs were also in the room at the time of the conversation, which took place in a county office building after Murphy’s inauguration, according to the source who provided the recordings to WNYC.

Four undersheriffs have also submitted their resignations, the sheriff’s office said. Bergen County Sheriff’s Chief Kevin Pell will serve as officer-in-charge until Murphy appoints an interim sheriff, according to the statement.

Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco described Saudino’s comments as “indefensible,” but added that he does not think they reflect the “values of the men and women” of the sheriff’s office.

“It was clear he could no longer serve the people of Bergen County effectively,” Tedesco said in a statement. “We cannot and must not tolerate discrimination from anyone, let alone our elected officials. Bergen County’s diversity is our strength and my administration works every day to ensure inclusion within county government and throughout our 70 municipalities. “

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Source:: National News


Massachusetts man used toddler to steal prizes from claw machine at mall: Police

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By Michael Dobuski

Salem New Hampshire Police Department(SALEM, N. H.) — A father who was captured on video allegedly using his toddler to steal toys and prizes out of a claw machine at a New Hampshire mall is now facing several charges.

Anthony Helinski turned himself into police Wednesday after a warrant was issued for his arrest. Helinski was subsequently charged with criminal theft, trespassing and child endangerment, according to police.

The 34-year-old, who is a middle school teacher employed by Andover Public Schools, has since been placed on administrative leave, ABC News affiliate WCVB-TV reported.

“One of our teachers at the Doherty Middle School was involved in an incident in Salem, New Hampshire last week,” a spokeswoman for Andover Public Schools said in a statement released to WCVB-TV. “Andover Public Schools is fully cooperating with authorities.”

Witnesses observed the crime at the Mall at Rockingham Park on Friday and recorded video as Helinski helped his daughter climb through the bottom slot of the KeyMaster game, according to WCVB-TV.

The video shows Helinski’s daughter grabbing items from the game and handing them to her father.

Police sought the public’s help to identify Helinski by circulating the video online in a Facebook post.

Helinski has since been released on bail and is scheduled to make a court appearance on Oct. 29 in Salem, Massachusetts.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Source:: National News


She was in the 'happiest moment' of her life,' says mother of slain DC jogger Wendy Martinez

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By Michael Dobuski

WJLA(WASHINGTON) — Wendy Karina Martinez, the woman who was stabbed to death in an unprovoked attack in Washington, D.C., was living the “happiest moment” of her life, her mother said Thursday.

The 35-year-old Martinez had just gotten engaged to her longtime boyfriend, Danny Hincapie, last week and was looking forward to planning her wedding, her mother, Cora Martinez, said.

“She was very excited when she found out she was going to be engaged. So, as soon as she had the engagement ring, she let me know. She said, ‘Mom!! Look at this! I got it!’ I said, ‘No, you got him,” the mother said Thursday. “Wendy lived the happiest seven days of her life. She was in the happiest moment.”

Cora Martinez said she had gone with her daughter to shop for a wedding dress.

“When I saw her in that dress I never figured … that was the dress for her burial,” the mother said, adding that her daughter and Hincapie were planning two weddings, one in the United States and another in Colombia, where her family is originally from.

Martinez was attacked and stabbed to death Tuesday night while jogging in the Logan Circle neighborhood of the nation’s capital.

“This is incredibly unfair and senseless,” Martinez’s friend, Kristina Moore, said. “She was taken from us too soon.”

Martinez lived about two blocks from where she was allegedly killed by Anthony Crawford, 23, who randomly targeted and stabbed her repeatedly, said Police Chief Peter Newsham of the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police Department.

Crawford was taken into custody in a Washington, D.C., park on Wednesday night following 24-hour manhunt. He was arrested and charged with first-degree murder early Thursday, Newsham said.

Though brokenhearted, Cora Martinez expressed sympathy for the man accused of stabbing her daughter seven times.

“I feel relieved, in peace,” she said. “I have forgiven him completely. My heart has no room for hate, resentfulness. So, I just said, ‘We believe in the greatest judge, the ultimate person that is going to give what is deserved.’ So, I am asking my family to do the same. Just let it go. Wendy is happy, she is in peace.”

Hincapie described Martinez as “our sunshine.”

“She radiated love. She was full of energy. She was so excited,” Hincapie said. “She’s the representation of a lot of things we want to be: Kindness, helpfulness, how to be a friend, how to be a partner. I think that’s her representation of who she was, her legacy, and how she is living. She’s here with us.”

He said Martinez was also an avid runner and that they met while competing in a half-marathon.

“She gave me some advice, printed a copy of her tips and she wrote a couple of extra notes, and she actually ran the race with me,” said Hincapie.

He said she had competed in marathons and was thinking of running in the Boston Marathon.

“One of the last things she did was train me for my first full marathon,” he said. “So, I would like to keep that [up]. I would like to keep running.”

The family planned to attend a community vigil for Martinez Thursday night in Logan Circle, near where she was killed.

“I know she will be looking down smiling on us,” Hincapie said. “We want to keep our heads up and stay strong, and still remember her.”

Martinez also lived in the Logan Circle neighborhood for about eight years and felt comfortable jogging daily in the area, her friends and relatives said.

Cora Martinez said her daughter was a devout Christian and driven professional.

Martinez worked as the chief of staff for FiscalNote, a software, data and media company headquartered in Washington.

“Wendy was an invaluable member of our team and a vibrant member of the community,” the company said in a statement.

On Aug. 29, Martinez posted a message on Facebook saying how much she loved her job.

“Two years ago today since I entered a new space that significantly changed my professional trajectory,” Martinez wrote. “Two years of pushing me outside of my comfort zone, while teaching me about the inner workings of building a company, and what it takes to reach success. This is my B-school, hustling and working with a team driven by the same purpose and goal to connect the world to its governments.”

She was a 2012 graduate of Georgetown University, where she majored in Latin American studies.

“Wendy was not only beautiful and not only brilliant and a hard worker … she was joyful, funny, loving and always there,” said Moore, adding that Martinez was “just determined to live out the American Dream.”

Martinez’s brother, Juan Carlos Martinez, said he and his family have been touched by the outpouring of support they have gotten from the community and civic leaders.

“Wendy was cherished and loved by a lot of people,” the brother said. “Wendy was a fantastic human being.”

D.C. Mayor Murial Bowser said community residents are “outraged” by Martinez’s death.

“We do expect safety in our neighborhoods, any and all neighborhoods,” Bowser said. “Whether in Logan Circle or Wellington Park, we want people to feel safe going about their normal activities. And a woman jogging on our streets is a normal activity.”

Martinez was also a volunteer at the Central American Resource Center, or CARECEN, a nonprofit organization that provides legal services to Latinos.

“Wendy gave back to the immigrant community by enthusiastically tutoring students as they prepared for the U.S. naturalization exam,” the organization said in a Facebook post. “Wendy will be missed by the CARECEN community but will live on through the students she helped to achieve U.S. citizenship.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Source:: National News


California woman shot with paintball gun worries about safety of her attackers if she calls cops

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By Michael Dobuski

KGO/ABC News(OAKLAND, Calif.) — A 24-year-old woman who says she was shot by a man using a paintball gun hesitated at first to call the police because she claimed she was worried officers might mistake his paintball gun for the real thing and fatally shoot him.

The victim, who does not want to be identified, was riding her bike in Oakland, California, on Sunday night when she says she was shot at close range from a car with two men inside.

“I looked up and saw a kid leaning out of a car window shooting at me,” she said. “It looked kind of like a machine gun.”

A surveillance video showed the woman riding a bike at 6:50 p.m., and, then, 24 seconds later the footage revealed there was a white vehicle following behind her. The woman confirmed to ABC station KGO-TV that the car in the video belonged to the shooter.

The two men, who she said appeared to be in their late teens or early 20s, were inside the white car when she said the man shot her without saying a word.

“I looked down and I had paint and blood on my leg and had been hit a few times on my back,” she said.

When she realized she was going to be fine, she hesitated at first to call the police.

“It looked like they were young people carrying a big gun that could have easily been seen as a real gun,” she said.

She says she called Oakland Police on Sunday night but was not able to reach the department. KGO-TV was told by Oakland police that the department would like to investigate the incident.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Source:: National News


3 infants, 2 adults stabbed at home-operated daycare; suspect in custody: Police

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By Michael Dobuski

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Three babies were among five people stabbed at a private daycare facility in New York City early Friday, police said.

The victims were found just before 4 a.m. inside the home-operated daycare in the Flushing neighborhood of the city’s borough of Queens, police said.

There were nine infants inside the house, three of whom had been stabbed, including a baby girl who is just three days old, police said.

“Three of the injured were infants ranging from the age of three days to 1-month-old,” Juanita Holmes, assistant chief of the New York City Police Department, said at a press conference later Friday morning.

A man and a woman were also found inside the house with stab wounds. All five victims were rushed to local hospitals in critical but stable condition, police said.

The suspect, identified by authorities as a 52-year-old woman, was found unconscious in the basement of the home with what appeared to be a self-inflicted slash wound to her left wrist, police said. She was subsequently taken into custody and treated for non-life threatening injuries, police said.

Two knives — a butcher knife and a meat cleaver — were recovered from the scene, police said.

Investigators believe the home served as an informal neighborhood daycare center, where the suspect is an employee.

The investigation into the incident and a motive is ongoing, police said.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Source:: National News


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