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Tracking Tropical Storm Fay: Where it's heading

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ABC NewsBy MAX GOLEMBO and EMILY SHAPIRO, ABC News

(NEW YORK) — Tropical Storm Fay is moving north on Friday, bringing pounding rains to the Jersey Shore as it nears New York City.

With winds of 60 mph, Fay is currently moving north at 12 mph. As of 11 a.m., the center was about 170 miles south of New York City.

Fay may reach 65 mph before making landfall on Friday afternoon.

 

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A tropical storm warning was issued from Delaware to Connecticut while a flash flood watch is in effect from Maryland to Massachusetts.

On Friday morning flash flooding struck Delaware, Maryland and the New Jersey shore, where some areas are seeing as much as six inches of rain.

 

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Tropical Storm Fay is forecast to make landfall along the New Jersey coast on Friday afternoon.

Fay will bring heavy rain into New York City by the afternoon.

The storm will then head north up the Hudson Valley and into Vermont on Saturday.

The biggest threat with Fay will not be damaging winds but flash flooding. In some areas, seven inches of rain is possible.

Winds will be gusty along the coast, 40 to 50 mph, but no major wind damage is expected.

Tornadoes cannot be ruled out in the Mid-Atlantic and the Northeast on Friday and Saturday.

Tropical Storm Fay is already the sixth named storm of the 2020 hurricane season, which is the earliest at this point in the year ever. In 2005, the busiest hurricane season on record, the sixth named storm was recorded on July 22.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Georgia activists seek to remove 'Stone Mountain', the 'granddaddy of Confederate monuments'

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Kirkikis/iStockBy JADE LAWSON and BRIANA STEWART, ABC News

(STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga.) — Stone Mountain Confederate Memorial often called “the granddaddy of all Confederate monuments ” and a former Ku Klux Klan meeting place is once again at the center of an ongoing debate over what some see as a symbol of southern heritage and American history and others see as a depiction of white supremacy etched into stone.

The fight over the monument, which is located in Dekalb County, Georgia and prior to COVID-19’s spread could get more than 4 million visitors in a year, is unfolding as the U.S. grapples with civil unrest following the recent Black Lives Matter protests. Cities across America are being forced to reckon with a dark history and are facing growing pressure to confront the racist past of confederate leaders honored in monuments across the country.

Though many statues and monuments have been quickly uprooted, both willingly by government officials or forcefully by protestors, some — like Georgia’s Stone Mountain— the largest confederate memorial in the country which was christened with a cross burning when the Ku Klux Klan initiated 700 new members in 1948–are almost indelible.

Calls for racial equality have swelled in Georgia following the death of Ahmaud Arbery and Rayshard Brooks. As part of the growing movement, state officials are once again facing pressure to remove the controversial carvings etched into the historic monument.

The Stone Mountain monument is a reminder of “white supremacy”, a “racist” history that cannot be cast simply as southern confederate heritage, said The Official Grand Master Jay, NFAC founder and lead organizer of a protest march over the July 4th weekend, told ABC News.

“The United States has allowed [Stone Mountain] to exist but it’s become a pain point. It’s gotten to the point where it’s more so fuel to the fire than it does to remind folks of their heritage. And of course, there are both sides to that, but I do believe that this particular monument is the pink elephant in the room,” he said.

Viral video of a protest caused a stir on social media on July 4, when nearly 200 marchers, armed with rifles, sought to bring national attention to the growing stand against the historic civil war monument. The peaceful demonstration, led by the Not F****** Around Coalition (NFAC), a self-proclaimed black militia group called for the removal of Confederate leaders carved into the monument.

Other organizations such as Black Lives Matter and the NAACP have also called for the removal of the monument.

Gerald Griggs, an African American civil rights attorney and vice president of the Atlanta NAACP, says the local chapter has marched on Stone Mountain over the last five years.

The organization spoke with the Stone Mountain Association on numerous occasions and has attempted to reach out to Gov. Brian Kemp about the possible removal of the Confederate monument, Griggs said.

“They don’t believe that Georgia has the appetite to remove those symbols,” he said, explaining that state resistance comes as local county officials have recently voted to remove confederate flags and symbols in their cities.

“Several other counties are in the process of removing, so I think that there’s a groundswell of support throughout the state to revisit this conversation,” Griggs added.

The “Granddaddy of Confederate Monuments”

The massive carving surrounded by a recreational theme park is just 19 miles outside of Atlanta, a major urban city where over 50% of the population is Black according to the U.S. Census.

In 1914, Helen Plane, a charter member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, fought for a Confederate memorial carving honoring Southern Civil Leaders after their defeat in the Civil War. Gen. Robert E. Lee, Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson and President of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis faces were carved detail-by-detail on horseback with hats over their hearts, according author and historian David Freeman, who detailed the timeline of Stone Mountain in his book “Carved in Stone: The History of Stone Mountain.” The sculpture is so grandiose it’s often compared to Mt. Rushmore National Park in South Dakota.

“They intended it to be the granddaddy of all Confederate memorials,” Freeman said.

Freeman, who considers the carving environmental vandalism, says the monument perpetuates Confederate culture.

“People wanted to exploit it, even the KKK wanted to attach their name and their organization to it,” Freeman told ABC News

Decades later, the monument completed in 1972 is now Georgia’s most visited attraction drawing nearly 4 million guests each year, according to the Smithsonian.

Griggs, a fifth generation Georgian, says America needs to reevaluate its history.

“We have to talk about [the monuments] in their historical context. And to have the largest shrine to the Confederacy in the world in DeKalb County, which is a fairly diverse County, just one county over from the birthplace of Dr. King and the birthplace of civil rights, speaks volumes to hypocrisy.”

While thousands have called for the monument’s removal, experts from the Atlanta Geological Society say, it would cost millions to obliterate the carving with explosives due to its size and location.

There are also legal complications since Stone Mountain Monument has been under Georgia preservation since 2001. Georgia law states that “the memorial to the heroes of the Confederate States of America graven upon the face of Stone Mountain shall never be altered, removed, concealed, or obscured in any fashion.”

Freeman considers the monument ‘a remarkable achievement’ and it’s unlikely it will be removed but suggests altering the nature of the park itself to contextualize the monument as a compromise.

“People of all races want to come to the park and enjoy it… and they can add a monument honoring the civil rights struggle to counterbalance the narrative,” he added.

However, Griggs says Georgians should not compromise their principles.

“When you talk about the enslavement of my forefathers, my ancestors, I’m not compromising,” Griggs said.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

'Unbelievable I'm alive': Woman survives after car swept away in flash floods

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Nathalia Bruno survived a flash flood after her car was swept away by the water. – WABCBy ELLA TORRES, ABC News

(NEW YORK) — A New Jersey woman survived a harrowing ordeal after her car was swept away in a flash flood, leaving her to be dragged through the waters.

Nathalia Bruno, 24, said that she was making a delivery for DoorDash on Monday when flash flood warnings were in place for multiple counties, including Passaic, where she was.

Bruno was driving her car when it got sucked into an underground viaduct, she told ABC New York station WABC.

“I didn’t even know what I was going through,” she told the station.

Bruno said she tried to exit the car, but was pulled under with it as the water dragged it towards the Passaic River.

“For me it was five minutes, all dark, trying to breathe, trying to put my feet on the ground, to pull me and get me some air,” Bruno said.

She said she thought of her boyfriend in those moments, unsure if she was going to make it.

“This is the last time he’s going to see me, gonna talk to me, and thinking about my mom,” Bruno told WABC.

Flash flood warnings were in place until 7 p.m. Monday in Passaic as thunderstorms slammed the area.

Gov. Phil Murphy had urged New Jersey residents in the affected areas to only travel when necessary.

DoorDash released a statement. “At DoorDash, we take the safety of our community extremely seriously, and our thoughts and sincerest condolences are with the Dasher who endured this frightening event. We have reached out to offer our support during her recovery and are providing her with financial assistance as well as occupational accident insurance to cover expenses incurred.”

Bruno said the harrowing ordeal ended when her car slammed into a support beam in the tunnel

She managed to swim into the Passaic River through the tunnel, coming out behind a house.

When her car was eventually pulled out, she said she saw the damage.

However, she could only think one thing: “Unbelievable, I’m alive.”

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Ghislaine Maxwell attorneys call federal indictment against her 'meritless'

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Paul Zimmerman/WireImageBy JAMES HILL, ABC News

(NEW YORK) — An attorney for Ghislaine Maxwell, the former companion of sex-offender Jeffrey Epstein, has issued the first on-the-record response to the criminal indictment against Maxwell for perjury and sex crimes against minors, calling the federal charges “meritless.”

“The United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York on June 29, 2020, caused a meritless indictment to be issued against Ms. Maxwell,” wrote Laura Menninger, a Colorado-based lawyer who represents Maxwell in both the criminal case and multiple civil lawsuits.

The court filing comes in Maxwell’s answer to a separate civil lawsuit brought against Maxwell and Epstein’s estate in January by an anonymous accuser, Jane Doe, who alleges that she was first approached by the pair in 1994 at a summer music camp in Michigan, when Doe was 13 years old.

“Jane Doe was their first known victim and was subsequently abused by Epstein and Maxwell for years as a young girl, suffering unimaginable physical and psychological trauma and distress,” her complaint alleges. “Maxwell also regularly facilitated Epstein’s abuse of Doe and was frequently present when it occurred.”

Maxwell was arrested by federal authorities last week in New Hampshire and is facing a six-count federal indictment alleging that she conspired with Epstein in a multi-state sex trafficking scheme involving three unnamed minor victims between 1994 and 1997. Prosecutors contend Maxwell not only “befriended” and later “enticed and groomed multiple minor girls to engage in sex acts with Epstein, through a variety of means and methods,” but was also, at times, “present for and involved” in the abuse herself.

The details in Doe’s lawsuit are substantially similar to the allegations pertaining to one of the three minor victims that are detailed in the federal indictment of Maxwell.

Maxwell’s attorney noted in the Thursday filing that Maxwell was answering Does’ complaint “to the extent that she can without waiving the right against self-incrimination under the United States and New York constitutions and otherwise will invoke that right.”

“Ms. Maxwell’s denials of factual allegations [in Doe’s lawsuit] shall be interpreted the same as pleading not guilty to the various counts in any criminal indictment,” Menninger wrote.

According to Doe’s civil complaint, “Epstein’s system of abuse was facilitated in large part by his co-conspirator and accomplice, Maxwell, who helped supply him with a steady stream of young and vulnerable girls – many of whom were fatherless, like Jane Doe, and came from struggling families.”

In the Thursday night court filing, Maxwell issued broad denials to nearly every allegation in Doe’s complaint and argued that whatever damages may have been suffered by Doe, they were not caused by Maxwell.

“[Does’s] damages, if any, were the result of her own conduct,” her attorney wrote, contending that Doe had “voluntarily or negligently assumed a known risk” and had “consented to the alleged conduct.”

Maxwell’s attorney contends that the case should be dismissed and is barred by statutes of limitations.

Doe’s attorney Robert Glassman told ABC News Thursday that “Ms. Maxwell is once again deflecting blame on the victims themselves for the significant role she played in causing the victims irreparable damage. We are disappointed that she is taking this position, but look forward to holding her responsible for what she did.”

Maxwell has not yet entered a plea to the criminal charges. She is currently being held at a federal jail in Brooklyn. Federal prosecutors argue that she is an extreme flight risk and should be held in custody until trial. A bail hearing is scheduled for July 14.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Sergeant involved in Breonna Taylor's death, her boyfriend recount details

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Louisville Metro Police DepartmentBy ENJOLI FRANCIS, STEVE OSUNSAMI, KELLY MCCARTHY, SABINA GHEBREMEDHIN and STEPHANIE WASH, ABC News

(LOUISVILLE, Ky.) — New audio has emerged from the investigation into the death of Breonna Taylor, who was shot at home by police during the execution of a no-knock warrant.

Newly released interviews with police and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, who spoke to authorities hours after he survived the encounter that killed Taylor at their home on March 13, reinforce that the couple had no idea who was attempting to break into the apartment that night.

Walker told Public Integrity Unit officials, who investigate officer-involved shootings, why he fired a shot inside their Springfield Drive apartment.

“It’s a loud boom at the door. First thing she said was, ‘Who is it?’ No response,” he said.

“We both get up, start putting on clothes, another knock at the door. She’s like, ‘Who is it?’ Loud, at the top of her lungs. No response,” Walker, 27, said. “I grab my gun, which is legal, like I’m licensed to carry, everything. I’ve never even fired my gun outside of a range. I’m scared to death.”

After another knock at the door, Walker said Taylor yelled “at the top of her lungs,” but there was “no response, no anything.” Walker added that he and Taylor put on clothes to answer the door, which then came “off the hinges.”

“I just let off one shot. Like, I still can’t see who it is or anything. So now the door’s, like, flying open,” he continued. “I let off one shot, and then all of a sudden there’s a whole lot of shots and we like we both just dropped to the ground.”

Taylor, 26, who worked for Louisville Metro Emergency Medical Services as a licensed EMT, was killed when police returned fire.

Officers had executed a no-knock entry “due to the nature of how these drug traffickers operate,” according to the arrest warrant obtained by ABC News.

Taylor was accused of accepting USPS packages for an ex-boyfriend whom police were investigating as an alleged drug trafficker who used her address, according to the warrant.

Newly released video showed the moment Walker was arrested in the parking lot of their apartment. Initially, authorities charged him with attempting to kill police officers, but those charges were dismissed.

On Thursday, ABC News obtained Walker’s audio statement to police from his attorney. His lawyer also released another audio interview, conducted March 25, with the highest-ranking officer who was at the couple’s front door when Taylor was shot to death.

In the audio, Walker could be heard expressing concern for the officer he shot. “[Is] the police officer that got hit OK?” he says in the audio.

At one point he says that he aimed down when he fired.

“Yeah, like, because I wouldn’t, of course … I don’t need to kill anybody. … If I could just get you out of here just by you hearing that,” he said.

When investigators asked Sgt. Jon Mattingly, who with officers Myles Cosgrove and Brett Hankison used a ram to break open the door and were involved in Taylor’s shooting, whether he could remember the name of the target on the search warrant, he said “not offhand.”

Mattingly also said during the interview, which happened 12 days after the fatal incident, that the officers did not initially announce who they were when they started banging on the door just after midnight.

“The first banging on the door, [we] did not announce,” he said. “I think after that we did. … After that, each one of them said, ‘Police, come to the door. Search warrant. Police, search warrant.'”

Walker, however, told police that he didn’t hear police saying this.

“All can hear is a knock at the door,” he said. “Even if somebody was saying something on the other side, you probably couldn’t hear them. But as loud as we were screaming to say who it is, I know whoever will be on the other side of the door could hear us.”

Once inside Taylor’s home, Mattingly recalled, “I could see enough to see a male on the right. A female on the left. Could identify their faces.”

“But I could actually see the handgun in his hand,” he said. “I remember seeing the barrel of that soon as we turned that corner.”

The lawsuit, filed in Jefferson District Court on April 27 by attorneys Sam Aguiar and Lonita Baker, seeks damages for battery, wrongful death, excessive force, negligence and gross negligence. Hankison, Cosgrove and Mattingly are named as defendants in the suit filed by Aguiar and Baker on behalf of Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer.

“The recorded statements of Kenny Walker and Sergeant Jonathan Mattingly released today clearly reveal that there has been a conspiracy to cover up Breonna’s killing since day one,” Aguiar, Baker and their co-counsel, renowned civil rights attorney Ben Crump, said in a statement Thursday. “They substantiate what we’ve maintained all along: that police did not announce themselves when they broke into the residence with a battering ram and released a shower of gunfire into the apartment, killing Breonna, that the warrant and its execution were based on erroneous information and that Louisville police actively worked to cover up Breonna’s brutal murder.”

Hankison, who fired the shots that killed Taylor, was terminated from the Louisville Metro Police Department in late June, with Police Chief Robert J. Schroeder writing in a letter that he “displayed an extreme indifference to the value of human life” by firing 10 shots upon entering Taylor’s home unannounced.

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