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Deputy threatens to shoot high school student in truancy flap

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iStock(NEW YORK) — Authorities are investigating body camera video from a deputy in Florida in which he is heard threatening to shoot a high school student attempting to leave campus.

The confrontation between the officer, student and school employee occurred on Dec. 17 on the grounds of River Ridge High School in New Port Richey.

According to Nedra Miller, her son — a high school student — was trying to go to an orthodontist appointment after dropping off another student at the school, when he encountered the officer and another employee, whom Pasco County schools identified as Cindy Bond.

Officer Amanda Hunter with the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office told ABC News that the video had been released by Miller, after she’d put in a Freedom of Information Act request for it. The video was then released on Miller’s Facebook page on Jan. 30.

In the body camera footage, the incident appears to have already started. Bond and the officer are in a golf cart and seem to be blocking the student’s pickup truck from leaving the parking lot. Bond tells the student that he needs to get a parent on the phone and then she’ll let him go.

“You have to have permission from a parent to leave,” Bond tells the student.

The teen inches his truck forward, and never gives the officer a reason for why he was leaving school, according to the video.

“You’re truant,” says the officer, whom the department would not identify. “You’re gonna get shot, you get another f—— foot closer to me. You run into me, you’ll get f—— shot.”

The officer never draws his weapon.

“You’re not holding me here, right? But you’re standing in the way so I can’t leave,” the student says.

“This is my campus, brother,” the officer says.

Later, the officer tells the student again that he’s truant. “You’re trying to leave campus, that’s what truant is,” he says.

“No, I’m not truant,” the student says. “I’m allowed to leave campus. I am old enough to leave. Are you holding me here against my will right now?”

“You’re defying Ms. Bond, using profanities,” the officer says.

Before the video ends, Bond tells the student to take an early vacation and not return for the rest of the school week.

“You’re a high enough authority to do that right?” the student asks.

“Yes, I am,” Bond says.

Neither side budges on the video for several minutes until the student eventually leaves his vehicle and goes back into the school.

“It’s actually so funny because I’m leaving to go do something, like, legitimate. … So when I come back with, like, an excuse paper that says I was allowed to leave, it’s, like, so funny,” the student says.

“There is no excuse,” the officer says.

“There is an excuse,” the student says. “I’m not gonna tell you.”

Linda Cobbe, a spokeswoman for the Pasco County Schools, said that the video did not capture the entire incident. Because of the ongoing investigation into the incident, the sheriff’s department said it would not be releasing any of the officer’s body camera video. Cobbe said the student was in 11th grade at the high school.

Cobbe told ABC News that Bond was a discipline instructions assistant whose tasks included keeping parents from entering the student parking lot to drop children off as well as stopping students from skipping school. Cobbe said that Bond had been “dealt with,” but that she was still working for the district.

“All three were acting like children and all three are wrong,” Miller said in a Feb. 7 Tampa Bay Times article. “But the cop more so. He’s just flat out not OK to be around children. I was shocked that an officer of the law working with children would speak to my son that way.”

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Defense witness testifies Weinstein's rape accuser called him a 'spiritual soulmate'

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iStock(NEW YORK) — Heading into the third and final week of testimony in Harvey Weinstein’s rape and sexual assault trial, the Hollywood mogul’s defense attorneys presented a trio of witnesses Monday who sought to challenge the state’s case.

The defense witnesses attempted to raise doubt about three key witnesses — Annabella Sciorra, Lauren Young and the unnamed woman Weinstein is charged with raping in a Manhattan hotel room in 2013 — though only one witness struck at an accuser’s core accusations of violent sexual assault.

ABC News is not naming the rape accuser because she says she is a sexual assault victim and — unlike some of the other accusers — has not publicly identified herself. Weinstein is charged with five felony counts and has pleaded not guilty to all of them. He has denied ever engaging in nonconsensual sex.

The rape accuser had portrayed her former roommate and friend, Brazilian actress and model Talita Maia, as the driving force behind the two young women’s early interactions with Weinstein — portraying Maia on the witness stand as needy, pushy and anxious for the Hollywood mogul’s attention.

But over hours of testimony Monday, Maia served to reinforce the defense’s argument that the rape accuser’s relationship with Weinstein was consensual.

The actress, who was subpoenaed by the defense, testified that despite being roommates and friends the rape accuser had never spoken ill of Weinstein, and only once expressed a desire not to see him.

“She said a few times that he was like her spiritual soulmate,” Maia said at one point.

“She said he was the most wonderful person,” she testified at another point.

Maia had breakfast with the rape accuser, Weinstein and another man the morning that Weinstein is charged with raping her at the Doubletree Hotel in midtown Manhattan in March 2013.

Asked if the rape accuser seemed upset at the breakfast, Maia replied that “she seemed normal.”

Asked if Maia was trying to pitch a script to Weinstein at the breakfast meeting, as the rape accuser testified, she denied it.

Under cross examination, prosecutor Joan Illuzzi asked Maia if she had “a very, very bitter falling out” with the rape accuser in 2016 and she denied any disdain for the woman.

“I don’t dislike [her],” Maia said. “[She] did things in my life that impacted my life in a very negative way and … I don’t hate her or anything.”

The second defense witness called to the stand on Monday was the longtime superintendent of a Grammercy Park co-op where Sciorra briefly subleased the apartment where she said she was raped by Weinstein.

Prosecutors have struggled to explain how Weinstein could have gotten past the doorman and up to Sciorra’s 17th-floor apartment without her explicit permission.

Superintendent Nelson Lopez testified stringent building guidelines would not allow uninvited visitors beyond the building’s entranceway. Sciorra testified that Weinstein surprised her by showing up at her apartment door and pushing his way in to rape her after he’d dropped her off out front in a limousine sometime in late 1993 or early 1994.

Even under relentless pressure from prosecutors to acknowledge the possibility that a staffer could have been bribed for entry by Weinstein, Lopez was unflinching in his defense of his staff and explained at length how unlikely that was.

He testified that in 31 years on the job, he had never fired a doorman for breaching protocol.

Monday’s final witness for the defense was Claudia Salinas, a Mexican actress and model who was accused by Young of luring her into a hotel suite bathroom where Weinstein allegedly sexually assaulted Young as Salinas lingered just outside the door, according to Young.

Salinas flatly denied on the witness stand ever accompanying Young and Weinstein up to a hotel suite.

Defense attorney Damon Cheronis kicked off her questioning by launching into a rapid set of exchanges with Salinas that initially seemed compelling.

“I’m going to cut right to it,” Cheronis began. “Have you ever seen Harvey Weinstein run out of a bathroom suite naked?”

“No,” she responded.

“Ever seen him naked under any circumstances?” Cheronis continued.

“No, never,” Salinas replied.

“Did you ever lure Lauren Young into a bathroom w Harvey Weinstein?”

“No.”

“Did you ever lock Lauren Young in a bathroom with Harvey Weinstein?”

“No.”

Displaying prosecution photos of the California hotel room where Young testified that Weinstein sexually assaulted her, Cheronis asked, “Do you ever recall following Lauren Young down that hallway as Mr. Weinstein was in front of her?”

“No, that never happened,” Salinas said.

“Did you ever close that door on Lauren Young while she was in a bathroom with Harvey Weinstein?” Cheronis asked at another point.

“No.”

Asked to explain how she was so certain, she replied that “if I had done that, I would remember that. I never closed a door behind anybody ever.”

Under similarly rapid cross-examination by prosecutor Meghan Hast, Salinas acknowledged that she had initially told investigators last year that it was “possible” Young and Weinstein ended up together in the bathroom — and that she couldn’t recall much about that night — but insisted that if it did happen she wasn’t there.

“What’s true is that I wasn’t there in a bathroom scenario,” Salinas said. “It could have happened, but it didn’t mean I was there.”

She also acknowledged that she was something of a conduit between Weinstein and her physically attractive young friends.

“Did you introduce other women to Harvey Weinstein?” Hast asked.

“I didn’t introduce other women … he met some of my friends because I would always come with a friend,” Salinas replied. “Harvey was always asking me to bring my better-looking friends.”

Salinas was pressed repeatedly on the point by a relentless prosecutor who kept asking, “But you did always bring your better-looking friends to … Harvey Weinstein?”

The witness finally took a breath, looked Hast straight in the eye, and generated laughter across the courtroom when she calmly volunteered her answer.

Several more defense witnesses are expected to testify on Tuesday before the defense rests its case. Closing arguments could be completed by the end of the week.

If you or someone you know experienced sexual assault and is seeking resources, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Female sportscasters reflect on their love for the job for Black History Month

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iStock(NEW YORK) — Four sports broadcasters whose names have been celebrated everywhere from the sidelines to the studio have a few things in common when it comes to their rise through the ranks of sports journalism and what they have learned along the way.

Pam Oliver, Lisa Salters and Maria Taylor joined ESPN SportsCenter host Sage Steele for ABC News’ Black History Month speaker series to discuss of how each has navigated the intricacies of the sports broadcasting landscape and honed their craft.

Oliver, a Fox NFL sideline reporter who is widely considered to be a trailblazer in sports media, started as a reporter covering agriculture and science before tackling football.

“I just wanted to be a reporter; not necessarily a sports reporter,” Oliver said. “Plus I took the jobs that came along — for the first nine years of my career — and I wouldn’t change anything about that.”

Oliver remembered a former news director who told her the move from news to sports would be “the biggest mistake” of her career. Looking back now, she said, “it worked out perfectly for me.”

Similarly, Salters said that after she made it to the network for ABC News before turning 30 years old, people would tell her that a switch to sports would be “career suicide.”

“ESPN kept calling saying, ‘Hey we’d like you to come here,’ and I kept saying ‘no,'” she said. “Two years go by and I thought, ‘OK I’ll give it a try. If I don’t like it I’ll go right back to ABC’ — I kick myself now for waiting those two years to not make the move sooner.”

Salters continued, “It was the best decision that I ever made and I have never, for a second, regretted it,” Salters continued, adding that she’d only wished she’d done it sooner.

Taylor, who was a dual sport Division 1 athlete at University of Georgia, rose through the ranks to become an analyst and host for ESPN and the SEC Network rather quickly. She said, in part, that women like Oliver and Salters had paved her path to success by creating a “tangible” blueprint.

“Growing up saying I wanted to be a sideline reporter wasn’t out of the ordinary,” she said.

Taylor said she “really felt like it was possible” despite the fact that professors would tell her she’d “never make money in sports. It’ll never work out.”

All three broadcasters spoke about how they’ve learned to stay grounded, especially given the current atmosphere in which both positive and negative feedback fill social media feeds almost constantly.

Taylor, who started with ESPNU calling college football games, admitted that she failed in her first on-camera report due to a mishap with a button on the microphone.

“I just have to leave them thinking, ‘yeah, she messed up, but she bounced back really well,'” Taylor said. “The biggest thing was just not letting that one mistake define the rest of the entire game.”

Steele and Salters both added that they always have to think about the next game and bounce back.

“There’s no such thing as a perfect broadcast or perfect report,” Steele said, adding that it’s about staying ready and level for what’s to come.

“We don’t have time to think that we’re cute,” Salters said. “Because if I’m thinking about what the last game was like — ‘Oh, I rocked that game’ — I would be humbled in a heartbeat.”

Oliver explained that she doesn’t rely on outside influences to keep her humble.

“I’m grateful to be in this position to do something I’ve always wanted to do,” she said.

Taylor shared an inspirational quote that she said has stuck with her through her grind: “If you live for the sound of applause then you’ll die from the lack of it.”

“When that stops happening, we won’t be good at our job or we might get depressed or fall into a place that we don’t want to be in,” Taylor added. “We’re so internally motivated and the external factors can’t affect you that much. But we are black women on TV and people are looking at us, so there is a level of responsibility.”

Salters, who has been on some of the most memorable football and basketball game sidelines throughout her career, also said that what they do “is not unlike what the athletes do” and that “the preparation is always the same.”

“One motto that I’ve always had is ‘don’t believe the hype.’ You’re never as good as they say you are and you’re never as horrible as they say you are,” Salters explained. “You know who you are. There’s no need for me to read Twitter or Instagram.”

And while there will always be circumstances beyond their control — such as inclement weather — Oliver said it has never deterred her from appreciating her love for the job.

“It’s kind of ‘do what you love and the rest will follow,’ but we’re very, very lucky women,” she said.

Success and game faces aside, Steele also explained how the human aspects of their world can have a heavy impact on their reporting, such as the death of Kobe Bryant.

Salters spent the formative years of her career covering, working with and watching the Los Angeles Lakers legend from the sidelines. She admitted that when she heard the tragic news 15 minutes before her Pro Bowl broadcast, she couldn’t handle it well.

Although Salters went on-air, she said “it was really hard.”

“I’ve never been on television in tears before,” she said. “I’ve never had to have an athlete console me before and after an interview before like Drew Brees had to do. It was just really difficult.”

Salters said Bryant was one of the first to congratulate her after she’d gotten assigned to work from the NBA sidelines. Before a Miami Heat vs. Lakers Christmas Day game, she said she’d gone to the Lakers practice-turned-holiday party to “get the lay of the land.” Bryant, who was dressed as Santa Clause, had asked to speak to her.

“I went over and he said, ‘I’m really happy that they picked you for this job. I mean…they could’ve picked a lot of people and they did the right thing. You’re gonna be great at it.'”

Taylor, who wrote a personal essay on Bryant’s involvement with the Mamba women’s and youth basketball teams, fondly remembered that Bryant “always came to women’s basketball events. He was like the guy who validated our game.”

“Just the outpouring of love and support, she added, “you can’t make up how much this man was loved.”

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Cop shooting suspect charged with attempted murder

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iStock(NEW YORK) — The man who shot a New York City police officer Saturday night and then wounded another during a shooting spree inside a Bronx precinct 12 hours later was arraigned on several charges for what was described as premeditated “assassination attempts” against cops.

Robert Williams, 45, pleaded not guilty to the criminal counts, including 14 attempted murder charges, for the two incidents and was remanded into custody. Officer Paul Stroffolino was struck in the neck in the Saturday shooting and Lt. Jose Gautreaux was struck in the arm in the precinct incident.

Attorney information for Williams was not immediately available.

Gautreaux left Lincoln Hospital on Monday to the cheers and salutes of his fellow NYPD comrades. Stroffolino had a similar crowd of officers cheer him on when he left the hospital Sunday.

“This is a really good day. We were very lucky,” Police Commissioner Dermot Shea told reporters at a news conference following Gautreaux’s release from the hospital.

Although Shea cited recent anti-police rallies and rhetoric as a factor behind this weekend’s attacks, which he called “assassination attempts,” Williams’ alleged motive was not immediately clear, according to the complaint. Police sources told ABC News he may be holding a grudge against the NYPD over a 2018 DWI arrest where he was allegedly found behind the wheel with PCP, according to the criminal complaint from that incident.

Williams allegedly claimed he was struck with a stun gun during the 2018 arrest and shouted “they tasered me” when officers took him into custody Sunday, according to police sources. While being treated at a hospital after Sunday’s arrest, Williams allegedly told one of the officers watching him, “I’m going to shoot you when I get out,” according to sources.

Shea noted that Williams was arrested in 2002 and convicted on attempted murder charges in an incident that involved a carjacking and shooting with cops. He went on parole in 2017, according to the commissioner.

Williams allegedly walked up to a marked police van around 8 p.m. Saturday and asked for directions before opening fire at Stroffolino, who was in the driver’s seat, the complaint said. Stroffolino was struck in the neck and chin and taken to Lincoln Hospital by his partner while Williams escaped.

Around 8 a.m. Sunday, Williams allegedly walked into the 41st Precinct, not too far from the crime scene, and opened fire at officers and a civilian employee, hitting Gautreaux in the arm, according to the complaint. Officers apprehended Williams when he ran out of bullets, Shea said.

A woman who allegedly dropped Williams off at the precinct was questioned by police and released later in the day. She is being treated as a witness, according to police.

The shooting reignited concerns among law enforcement officials and tensions between them and the city’s leaders. In a memo to officers obtained by ABC News, Shea asked officers to remain safe and be vigilant.

“I am aware of the dangers you face each and every day you put on that uniform. We have a tough and dangerous job, I appreciate it,” the memo read.

Other NYPD leaders, however, had harsher sentiments, particularly at Mayor Bill de Blasio. The Sergeants Benevolent Association, the union representing 13,000 active and retired NYPD sergeants, tweeted at the mayor Sunday evening, blaming him for the shootings.

“Mayor DeBlasio [sic] the members of the NYPD are declaring war on you!” the tweet said.

Freddi Goldstein, a spokeswoman for de Blasio, dismissed SBA President Edward Mullins and the tweet, calling it “absolutely reprehensible.”

“He clearly has forgotten his oath to protect and serve. While he threatens violence, the mayor remains focused on the safety of our officers and communities,” she said in a statement.

Shea defended de Blasio Monday afternoon and said Mullins’ statement didn’t reflect the voice of the NYPD.

“When you look at what the mayor does for this city, he’s been extremely supportive of this NYPD,” he told reporters at the Monday news conference.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Cam unveils cover art for new single, "Till There's Nothing Left"

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ABC/Image Group LACam has announced the name and release date of her next single. 

The singer is set to release “Till There’s Nothing Left” on February 13. She unveiled the news by posting the cover art on Instagram, showing her dressed in purple jeans and a glittery top as she perches against a vintage Mustang Fastback, against a backdrop of a purple, black and orange sky decorated with stars. 

Cam teased that new music would be coming soon in a January 22 social media post, encouraging fans to pre-save the song.

“Till There’s Nothing Left” serves as Cam’s first single release since “Road to Happiness” in 2018. She performed the song live during her 2019 tour. 

The powerhouse singer broke onto the music scene in 2015 with “Burning House,” the chart-topping hit off her sophomore album, Untamed. 

She and husband Adam Weaver welcomed daughter Lucy in December 2019. While she handles her mom duties, Cam’s also working on a new album that’s scheduled for release this year.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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