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US and World News

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    At least two people were arrested after tensions flared in a small San Diego suburb Thursday night as demonstrators gathered for a third night of protests over the shooting death of an unarmed black man.

    Police said between 50 to 75 protesters blocked traffic at the intersection of Broadway and Mollison, yards from the parking lot where Alfred Olango was fatally shot by an El Cajon officer.

    Frustrated motorists tried to drive through the crowd and some, angry over blocked traffic, got out of there car to confront protesters. The confrontation became heated and some protesters broke car windows and in one case pushing a man off his motorcycle, police said.

    The exchange prompted police and sheriff's deputies in riot gear to move in closer to the protesters. Law enforcement officials ordered the crowd to disperse at approximately 8 p.m. 

    According to police, protesters began throwing water bottles and beers cans at officers and refused to leave. Officers on scene then deployed pepper-spray balls.

    A 19-year-old man and a 28-year-old man were arrested for taking part in an unlawful assembly. Their names were not released.

    The Thursday evening protests were a shift from activity during the day, when a few small groups were congregating near the Broadway Plaza Shopping Center where Olango was shot dead Tuesday afternoon. 

    A family member called police to help Olango as he was undergoing, what was described as an emotional breakdown, but shot him when he pulled out an electronic cigarette device and took a "shooting stance." He died later that evening.

    On Wednesday large crowds marched through El Cajon streets, chanting "no justice, no peace," in mostly peaceful protests. In the evening, demonstrations became heated and several protesters on Wednesday night threw water bottles at a car, and a news photographer had his camera forcibly taken from him, police said.

    Thursday afternoon, the site of a shooting had become a memorial filled with handwritten signs paying tribute to Olango and calling for justice.

    In a statement, El Cajon police said they continue to support the community’s right to voice their opinions in a peaceful manner.

    A group of religious leaders who met on Thursday called on the community to join together to create one peaceful voice.

    “If we go and loot, if we go and tear neighborhoods, we’re in the same position they are,” said Pastor Russell Bowman of Righteous Living Ministries. “So we’re trying to gather around those emotions and calm the storm before it actually breaks out.”

    Several protests have been planned for the weekend and a march is scheduled to take place at an area college next month. A demonstration led by local religious leaders will take place at 10 a.m. Saturday in downtown El Cajon at the Prescott Promenade.

    A second rally on Saturday is planned for 3 p.m. at the San Diego Convention Center.

    Next month, a third event, called a “March for Reparations,” is scheduled for Oct. 15 at 11 a.m. at San Diego City College.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.

    Police arrest a protester who tried to stand his ground after an unlawful assembly was declared on a street near the site where an unarmed black man, Alfred Olango, 38, had been shot by police earlier this week on September 29, 2016 in El Cajon, California.Police arrest a protester who tried to stand his ground after an unlawful assembly was declared on a street near the site where an unarmed black man, Alfred Olango, 38, had been shot by police earlier this week on September 29, 2016 in El Cajon, California.

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    The volunteer group known as the White Helmets are not immune to the tragedies they face while trying to save civilians in Syria, NBC News reported.

    Aleppo has been the target of airstrikes and bombs, transforming the city into a rubble-filled battleground. The video, which was filmed Thursday in the Idlib province, shows emotional volunteers after the hours-long rescue of a baby.

    Doctors Without Borders reported that from Sept. 21 through Sept. 26, more than 278 people, including 96 children, have been killed from the attacks. U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power has condemned the Syrian government and Russia for “unleashing a savagery” against people they’re labeling terrorists.

    “Children are not terrorists,” she said. “Rescue workers are not terrorists. Hospital workers are not terrorists.”



    Photo Credit: Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets via AP
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.

    In this file photo provided by the Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets, men stand in rubble after airstrikes hit eastern Aleppo, Syria, Friday, Sept. 9, 2016. The White Helmets released a video of emotional volunteers after an hours-long rescue of a child.In this file photo provided by the Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets, men stand in rubble after airstrikes hit eastern Aleppo, Syria, Friday, Sept. 9, 2016. The White Helmets released a video of emotional volunteers after an hours-long rescue of a child.

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    Twenty-three giant panda cubs made their public debut at a panda base in Southwest China on Thursday, offering the cutest scene one can imagine. The baby pandas, aged one to four months, were all born at the Chengdu research base of giant panda breeding this year. This year, experts from the base also witnessed the birth of another four pandas overseas, raising the total number of base's newborn pandas to 27, a rare record since the establishment of the base. The number of this year's newborn pandas at the base has almost doubled that last year. experts attribute this to the improvement in breeding technology. Among the 27 newborn pandas there are ten pairs of twins, accounting for 74 percent of the total. Since its establishment nearly 30 years ago, the base has bred 176 giant pandas, the world's largest artificially-bred giant panda population.

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    Former Israeli president Shimon Peres was remembered as a "great man" as scores of world leaders attended his funeral Friday, NBC News reported.

    President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton were among 90 delegations from 70 countries paying their respects to Peres, who died Tuesday while hospitalized for a major stroke. He was 93.

    "Even in the face of terrorist attacks, even after repeated disappointments at the negotiation table, he insisted that as human beings, Palestinians must be seen as equal in dignity to Jews and must therefore be equal in self-determination," Obama said.

    Clinton said Peres was Israel's "biggest dreamer" and called him a "wise champion of our common humanity."

    After the ceremony, the casket was led to the gravesite carried by eight members of an honor guard and led by soldiers carrying wreaths. Netanyahu and Obama chatted along the way, also talking with Peres' family.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    President Barack Obama touches the coffin of Shimon Peres after delivering his eulogy during the funeral at Mount Herzl Cemetery on Sept. 30, 2016, in Jerusalem, Israel. World leaders and dignitaries from 70 countries attended tthe state funeral of Israel's ninth president, Shimon Peres, in Jerusalem on Friday, after thousands of Israelis paid their last respects to the elder statesman who died on Wednesday.President Barack Obama touches the coffin of Shimon Peres after delivering his eulogy during the funeral at Mount Herzl Cemetery on Sept. 30, 2016, in Jerusalem, Israel. World leaders and dignitaries from 70 countries attended tthe state funeral of Israel's ninth president, Shimon Peres, in Jerusalem on Friday, after thousands of Israelis paid their last respects to the elder statesman who died on Wednesday.

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    For the first time in 34 years, USA Today's editorial board declared sides in a presidential race, calling Trump “unfit for the presidency,” NBC News reported. 

    The board encouraged voters to “resist the siren sound of a dangerous demagogue.”

    The editorial made it clear, however, that it was not endorsing Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton for president.

    Other historically-conservative newspapers have denounced Trump, including The Detroit News, Arizona Republic, The Cincinnati Enquirer, Dallas Morning News and Houston Chronicle. For most, it was the first time they would not endorse the Republican nominee.

    Trump blasted the papers in a Friday morning tweet: "The people are really smart in cancelling subscriptions to the Dallas & Arizona papers & now USA Today will lose readers! The people get it!"



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks at a rally on Sept. 29, 2016 in Bedford, New Hampshire. For the first time in 34 years, USA Today's editorial board declared sides in a presidential race.Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks at a rally on Sept. 29, 2016 in Bedford, New Hampshire. For the first time in 34 years, USA Today's editorial board declared sides in a presidential race.

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    The engineer aboard the NJ Transit train that plowed through walls at the century-old Hoboken Terminal Thursday morning has no infractions, medical episodes or criminal history, sources familiar with situation told NBC 4 New York.

    Three sources said that according to a preliminary review, engineer Tommy Gallagher had no "red flags" in his history prior to the crash that killed one woman and injured 108 others.

    Preliminary reports suggest the crash was either accidental or caused by operator error, law enforcement officials said. They stressed that it is early in the investigation. 

    The National Transportation Safety Board has been called in to conduct an inquiry into the crash.

    Gallagher was seriously injured in the crash but was released from the hospital. He has been cooperating with authorities, according to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. 

    NTSB Vice Chairwoman T. Bella Dinh-Zarr said investigators will be interviewing him. 

    Gallagher's father told NBC 4 New York he wasn't sure about the condition of his son until after he saw a breaking news banner on TV telling him that the train's operator had survived.

    "We're very upset with this whole matter," the man said.

    The engineer's father said that the man had been with NJ Transit since he was 19 years old and had also served as a station master, a part-time track worker, and accident investigator. He said his son is a dedicated worker who doesn't call in sick.

    Editors note: This story has been updated to say Tommy Gallagher has been working for NJ Transit since he was 19 years old.

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    Photo Credit: AP/NBC 4 NY

    Thomas Gallagher (inset), the engineer in the fatal New Jersey Transit train crashThomas Gallagher (inset), the engineer in the fatal New Jersey Transit train crash

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    Like the old adage, “It takes a village to raise a child,” the same could be said about the staff that supported the 2016 NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers.

    Cavaliers’ owner Dan Gilbert has announced that the entire staff of Quicken Loans Arena will receive a championship ring, along with the team.

    Typically, the rings are only for the winning team’s players and coaching staff, but the franchise wants to acknowledge "The Q" staff. From vendors to seat ushers and security guards, those behind the scenes of the team for every home game of the season are getting to partake in the glory.

    The arena has over 1,000 full and part-time employees. The conservative estimate for distributing the rings to all employees is over $1 million. 

    The report was confirmed by the Cleveland Plain Dealer earlier this week. The paper reported that the rings received by the arena staff will not be the same diamond-covered rings that are given to the Cavs team, but they will nonetheless be tokens for the staff who can say they worked for the 2016 champions.

    This idea follows the Lake Erie Monsters' announcement to award all employees rings after they clinched the American Hockey League's Calder Cup in June. The Monsters also play at Quicken Loans Arena. 

    The Cavaliers rallied from a 3-1 deficit in the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors to win the series in June. They were the first team to ever come back from a three-game deficit to win in seven. It was the first championship win for the franchise and the first win for a Cleveland-based team since 1964.



    Photo Credit: NBAE/Getty Images

    In this file photo, Dan Gilbert owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers gives a speech during the Cleveland Cavaliers Victory Parade And Rally on June 22, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Cavaliers announced that the supporting staff of the Quickens Loans Arena will also receive a version of the championship rings.In this file photo, Dan Gilbert owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers gives a speech during the Cleveland Cavaliers Victory Parade And Rally on June 22, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Cavaliers announced that the supporting staff of the Quickens Loans Arena will also receive a version of the championship rings.

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    A man suspected of stealing a purse from a Florida woman's car in a viral video has been arrested, authorities said. He is also accused of stealing an SUV with a baby inside in North Lauderdale days later, according to an arrest warrant.

    When a local television station aired surveillance footage of a woman jumping on the hood of a car driven by a man who stole her purse, several people called Broward Sheriff’s Office detectives to identify him, county officials said.

    Three people told officers that they "were certain" the bald man seen in the Mobil Gas Station video grabbing a purse and driving off was Frederick Mordon Jr., a convicted felon, according to an arrest warrant released Thursday.

    Mordon’s parole officer also said the suspect "appeared to be his client," a detective wrote in the warrant.

    The 35-year-old was arrested Thursday in connection to the Sept. 17 incident. Cameras captured Mordon pulling up to the gas station in a light-colored car, opening a woman's driver side door while she pumped gas, and then taking her purse. The victim jumped on his car, falling off when he sped away.

    According to the Florida Department of Corrections, he was released from prison June 18 after an 11-year jail sentence for grand theft, burglary of a dwelling and reckless driving. Acquaintances who recognized Mordon in the viral video had advised him to turn himself in, but he refused, saying he was scared and "didn't want to go back to prison," the warrant said.

    Authorities said that Mordon was also connected to a car theft at a shopping plaza in North Lauderdale on Sept. 24. A two-month-old infant was inside the Nissan Murano when it was stolen as the baby's mother spoke to a store manager nearby.

    The SUV was later found abandoned nearby, with the unharmed baby still inside.

    Mordon was booked into jail Thursday evening and was being held without bond on charges charges including burglary, strong arm robbery, kidnapping, child neglect, grand theft auto, and violation of parole, Broward Sheriff's Office officials said.



    Photo Credit: Broward Sheriff's Office

    Inset, Frederic Mordon, 35.Inset, Frederic Mordon, 35.

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    Universal Studios Florida was hit by a power outage Friday morning, prompting the Orlando Fire Department to help remove passengers from two rides before hour was restored, NBC affiliate WESH reported

    The Orlando Fire Department said on Twitter that the outage impacted the Transformers and Men in Black rides and there were "no reports of distress." 

    Eleven people were taken off the Transformers ride in a "routine rescue," and OFD was "checking elevators for anyone who may be stuck," the department wrote in a follow-up tweet. 

    The park-wide outage was reported before 10 a.m. and Transformers riders were still being helped off an hour later, WESH reported. 

    Universal's Islands of Adventure did not lose power, the station said.

    The theme-park said on Twitter at 11:55 a.m. that power had been restored and all rides would be operational "soon." 

    Comcast Corporation is the parent company of both Universal Orlando and this site. 



    Photo Credit: AP
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    In this Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015, file photo, park guests relax at Universal Studios City Walk in Orlando, Florida.In this Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015, file photo, park guests relax at Universal Studios City Walk in Orlando, Florida.

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    Paul Worley from the North Carolina Department of Transportation shared with the "Today" show's Jeff Rossen a handful of suggestions on how to minimize the danger if you're involved in a train crash.

    Among the tips: sit in the middle of your train because the worst damage in a derailment is likely to be in the front and back cars; sit facing backwards so that if the train stops short or crashes you'll be pushed back instead of thrown forward; and the best way out in a emergency could come from removing an emergency window or popping out a door manually.



    Photo Credit: Today.com

    A photo from inside a train.  Paul Worley from the North Carolina Department of Transportation shared with the A photo from inside a train. Paul Worley from the North Carolina Department of Transportation shared with the "Today" show's Jeff Rossen a handful of suggestions on how to minimize the danger if you're involved in a train crash

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    With Congress trying to figure out Mylan's business model for the EpiPen, a medical technologies expert and a Seattle doctor have been physically taking apart the auto-injectors to find out exactly how the device has changed since Mylan acquired it, NBC News reported.

    Mylan CEO Heather Bresch testified last week that it invested more than $1 billion enhancing the product, which is one of the reason the Epipen's price has risen from $100 to $600.

    After a Seattle doctor cut open EpiPens from before and after Mylan's upgrades, NBC News sent versions of the epinephrine auto-injectors to a medical technology consulting firm. Despite seeing safety and graphics upgrades, both found the devices shared a similar "core."

    After NBC News sent the firm's results to Mylan, a spokesman for the drugmaker said it was "not familiar with the research referenced in your email" but contended that "anyone who has used the product knows, the epinephrine auto-injector we have in the market today is substantially different than the one we acquired."



    Photo Credit: James Cheng / for NBC News

    Dr. Julie C. Brown, a University of Washington School of Medicine pediatric emergency physician, holding two EpiPens, the new design at left and the old at right.Dr. Julie C. Brown, a University of Washington School of Medicine pediatric emergency physician, holding two EpiPens, the new design at left and the old at right.

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    One Albuquerque, New Mexico mother got the shock of a lifetime when she turned around just in time to see a complete stranger running away with one of her children.

    Quick thinking and protective, the mother was able to chase down 29-year-old Dustin Sherman and wrestle her child from his arms.

    "He was carrying her like he was carrying his own child," the mother said. "He was holding her close you know trying to hold her really close to him and that bothered me really bad."

    Sherman was arrested, and authorities say he has a criminal history that includes battery on a peace officer as well as domestic violence charges.Read more from KOB here.



    Photo Credit: KOB

    An Albuquerque woman said a complete stranger tried to take one of her children and run off when she wasn't looking.An Albuquerque woman said a complete stranger tried to take one of her children and run off when she wasn't looking.

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    A nudist retreat nestled below the Santa Cruz Mountains is opening its door to all Loma Fire refugees and their animals "until the fire’s out.”

    Lupin Lodge CEO Lori Stout told NBC Bay Area on Friday that many shelters aren’t allowing displaced Santa Clara and Santa Cruz county residents to bring their animals, like horses, to stay with them as Cal Fire crews battle the fire, which as of Friday, had scorched 4,300 acres and destroyed eight homes.

    So, Stout decided to invite the evacuees and their pets – including farm animals - to her Los Gatos retreat on Aldercroft Heights Road, which boasts to have been “freeing the nipple for 82 years.”

    And the offer gets better: The stay is open to any of the cabins, yurts, dormitories and 100 campsites, for free. Prices vary, but a typical yurt costs $125 a night.

    “Hey, we got lots of room,” she said.

    Stout said she came up with the idea on Thursday, but has not yet received occupants. 

    But if history is any indication, the guests, clothed and not, will come.

    During the 2015 Lake County Valley Fire, Stout invited the staff at the Harbin Hot Springs in Middletown, Calif., to stay at the lodge. During the Corralitos Fire near Watsonville last year, the lodge also opened its doors to evacuees, some of whom decided to try the nudist colony out. And in the 1980s, she said more than 1,000 firefighters stayed on the 112-acre property during the Lexington Fire and 1989 earthquake. Her retreat has been open since 1935.

    Stout and her late husband, Glyn Stout, was accused last year of diverting water from a nearby waterfall during the drought; a topic she didn't want to discuss on Friday. She pleaded no contest to trespassing charges, and was sentenced to probation and 100 hours of community service, along with a fine of $9,800 to the Midpenninsula Regional Open Space District, the Mercury News reported.

    Stout told NBC Bay Area that she plead no contest because her husband had died unexpectedly, but that she never actually trespassed.

    As for making sure she doesn’t get duped or taken advantage of, Stout said that all guests have to undergo screening, including a database check through the Megan’s Law sex offenders list. They also have to provide a license plate number and driver’s license, which will show where they live. Only local residents will be approved, she said, and determining when it’s time for a guest to leave will be on a case by case basis.

    “They can stay until the fire’s out,” she said.

    Stout said evacuees looking for help should call the retreat at 408-353-9200 or email relax@lupinlodge.org.



    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area

    Lupin Lodge in Los Gatos.Lupin Lodge in Los Gatos.

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    Police in Lorain, Ohio, are defending themselves against brutality claims raised by a man whose head was slammed into a cruiser with enough force to shatter the windshield. The incident took place in September of 2014 and the video was recently obtained.

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    A Tennessee Marine returning from deployment met his newborn son for the first time Thursday.

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    Video of Donald Trump giving a deposition in a case involving one of his hotels was released Friday. The case is part of Trump’s ongoing legal feud with celebrity chef and restauranteur Geoffrey Zakarian.

    Zakarian and another chef pulled out of deals to open restaurants at a new Trump hotel in Washington, D.C., NBC News reports, after Trump’s 2015 speech in which he referred to “rapists” crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, “bringing crime” to the United States.

    “All I’m doing is bringing up a statement that is very real about illegal immigration, and I think most people think I’m right,” Trump testified under oath.

    He further defended his speech on-camera and objected to the chefs being “politically correct” and “grandstanding.”



    Photo Credit: NBC News
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.

    In this video still, GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump is shown giving a deposition in a case involving one of his D.C. hotels.In this video still, GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump is shown giving a deposition in a case involving one of his D.C. hotels.

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    The El Cajon Police Department (ECPD) released two video clips Friday showing the controversial deadly police shooting of an unarmed black man that has fueled days of protests in the community in San Diego's East County.

    ECPD Chief Jeff Davis said the decision to release the video of the Tuesday shooting of Alfred Olango, 38, was due in part to a concern for public safety.

    One video was captured by a witness's cellphone as she worked her shift at a nearby taco shop, while the other comes from one of the shop's surveillance cameras. They show two ECPD officers, Richard Gonsalves and Josh McDaniel, approaching Olango. Olango's sister, wearing nurse's scrubs, can also be seen near the officers in one of the clips.

    Olango appears to move in the moment before the shooting takes place. Gunshots are audible in the cellphone video, followed by a woman's piercing scream.

    Police have said Olango pulled out a 4-inch-long vaping device of his pocket and held it in a "shooting stance." McDaniel deployed a Taser while Gonsalves fired multiple rounds from his gun at the man, critically striking him.

    "For the sake of the wellbeing of the community, the decision was made to show you this video," Davis said, calling the event tragic. "It is that vital, we felt, to present it today to show what we have at this point."

    Olango was shot and killed by two officers with the ECPD on Tuesday in the parking lot of a shopping center in the 800 block of Broadway.

    According to the ECPD, Olango was reported to be “acting erratically,” walking in and out of traffic, and did not follow orders to remove his hands from the pockets of his pants when approached by two officers.

    Earlier this week, Wells promised a complete and transparent investigation into Olango's shooting. He was joined by San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis and El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells as they released the footage for the first time at an afternoon news conference.

    The high-profile case has prompted uproar in the community and several days of protests, some of them peaceful, some violent.

    Davis discussed the timeline of those protests and their impact on those who live and work in El Cajon.

    He said the protests began peacefully Tuesday hours after the shooting and continued Wednesday morning. That day, the crowd grew to about 400 demonstrators who later blocked intersections and shut down traffic on Broadway.

    Davis said some protesters threw bottles at officers and deputies. At one point, a civilian was assaulted in the crowd, and a freelance news photographer had his camera stolen amid the protest.

    "These events marked a change in the protesters from peaceful to more aggressive behavior," Davis said.

    He said a demonstration Thursday evening grew even more heated, with protesters blocking traffic again. This time, some protesters stopped cars and broke windows. Davis said his department was flooded with 911 calls reporting the disturbances stemming from those Thursday night protests.

    Civil rights leaders, including Rev. Shane Harris of the San Diego chapter of the National Action Network, have pushed for police and District Attorney's office to release the full video, saying the single still image of Olango does not tell the full story and, in Harris' words, serves to "shape the narrative" of the police department.

    Recently, Dumanis issued new protocols for the disclosure of officer-involved shooting video evidence in San Diego. The new practice states agencies will release video "as soon as it’s appropriate to do so."



    Photo Credit: El Cajon Police Department
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    The El Cajon Police Department released the full video of the shooting of Alfred Olango on Sept. 30, 2016.The El Cajon Police Department released the full video of the shooting of Alfred Olango on Sept. 30, 2016.

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    Arnold Palmer’s family spread his ashes at his country club in Pennsylvania on Thursday and locals took solace in several rainbows, which they said reminded them of the golf great. 

    Palmer died on Sept. 25 due to heart complications. His former assistant Doc Giffin said that a rainbow appeared at 9:55 a.m. at Latrobe Country Club, one hour before his intimate funeral.  

    Steelers Radio Network host Gerry Dulac tweeted a photo snapped by a friend to commemorate the moment.

    “When Arnold Palmer wants to play through, you let him,” Dulac said in the caption. 

    That wasn't the only rainbow connection on that day. At 3:50 p.m., Duane Stein captured another image of a rainbow, this time framing Palmer’s statue where he works at Laurel Valley Golf Club, in Ligonier, about 11 miles southeast of Latrobe.

    The photo he shared on social media was unfiltered and unedited, as Stein isn’t especially tech-savvy, he said.

    "It’s a moment you’ll never forget," Stein said. "Kind of like he was looking down on us."

    He was one of many to pull out a phone and flash a pic there.

    Chris Mcknight, head golf professional at Laurel Valley, took a nearly identical image to Stein's that was shared on Twitter by the Tri-State PGA as an homage to Palmer. 



    Photo Credit: Duane Stein

    A rainbow hovered over an Arnold Palmer statue at Laurel Valley Golf Club, in Ligonier, on Sept. 29. Another rainbow appeared hours earlier at Latrobe Country Club that day.A rainbow hovered over an Arnold Palmer statue at Laurel Valley Golf Club, in Ligonier, on Sept. 29. Another rainbow appeared hours earlier at Latrobe Country Club that day.

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    A man suing a northeast Ohio police department alleges his rights were violated by an officer who slammed his head into a cruiser's windshield with enough force to crack the glass.

    Dashcam video of the September 2014 arrest, obtained by NBC affiliate WKYC, shows 32-year-old Pele Smith, being escorted to the patrol car by four Loraine police officers while handcuffed. Smith's head then violently hits the windshield. The glass cracks from the impact.

    "Why are you doing this to me?" Smith is heard saying as he is held on the car’s hood.

    He was treated at Mercy Regional Medical Center for facial injuries, WKYC reported.

    Smith was later charged with "tampering with evidence, obstructing official business and resisting arrest. In a plea deal with prosecutors, Smith pleaded guilty and received probation," according to court records WKYC reviewed.

    Last month, Smith filed a civil rights lawsuit against the city and several officers.

    In his lawsuit, Smith says that Lorain Officer Zachary Ferenec, who was walking Smith to the cruiser and pushed him into the windshield, used excessive force during a 2014 arrest that he claims was warrantless.

    "It’s unbelievable. It’s sad. It’s frightening that an individual while in handcuffs has something like that happen to them,” Mark Petroff, an attorney representing Smith, told WKYC.

    Smith also alleges that three other Lorain officers at the scene did not intervene and that one of the officers, identified in the lawsuit as Michael Gidich, got in the back of Ferenec’s cruiser and “began to taunt and insult the bleeding [Smith]” while being transported in the patrol car for treatment.

    The video does not show the beginning of the traffic stop.

    Lorain police Capt. Roger Watkins said Smith swallowed suspected drugs and struggled with officers during the arrest, The Associated Press reported. He says the slamming of Smith's head into the windshield was unintentional.

    In a statement, Lorain Police Chief Cel Rivera said "During the arrest and Mr. Smith’s active resistance, he was placed on the hood of the police unit to gain control and conduct a search, as per policy." Rivera called Smith a "violent drug trafficker" and said the cautioned "observers to not rush to judgment relative to the actions of the police on scene."

    But according to the Lorain County Clerk of Courts website, Smith has no felony convictions for violent crimes. He has prior convictions for drug offenses and possessing a firearm.

    WKYC says it has requested all records associated with Smith’s arrest and any subsequent internal investigations. Lorain police have not provided any records related to the incident, the station says.



    Photo Credit: WKYC

    Video of Pele Smith's arrest in Sept. 2014, obtained by WKYC, shows the 32-year-old being taken into custody by a group of four officers and walked towards a patrol car before he is suddenly thrust towards the windshield, which cracks.Video of Pele Smith's arrest in Sept. 2014, obtained by WKYC, shows the 32-year-old being taken into custody by a group of four officers and walked towards a patrol car before he is suddenly thrust towards the windshield, which cracks.

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    Asian American boy band "The Slants" is headed to the nation's highest court and the fate of the Washington Redskins' name could hang in the balance, too.  

    The Supreme Court agreed Thursday to hear the case involving The Slants' controversial name choice in the question of whether the group should be allowed to trademark it. The case could have implications for the Washington Redskins’ trademark status by setting a precedent on the matter of free speech in trademarks, according to The New York Times.

    In 2011, band founder Simon Tam filed for a protected trademark for The Slants with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) but the office denied it. The band is still allowed to use the name, but without the trademark they are not able to prevent others from using the same name, according to the Los Angeles Times.

    The band saw a major victory last year when a federal appeals court backed the band, calling the PTO’s rejection of an offensive trademark a violation of the right to free speech. The Obama administration has asked the Supreme Court to overturn that ruling.

    In February the appeals court categorized the band’s name as “private speech” and called the rejection of the trademark a result of the government’s own disapproval of the message. The First Amendment can protect even hurtful speech. Lawyers for Tam have said that the PTO has been inconsistent on when it deemed names “offensive,” citing the 1980s hip-hop group N.W.A. as an example. That group was allowed to trademark their name. 

    In response to the appeals court, the Justice Department said that a trademark is in fact a government benefit, not private speech, and therefore could be seen as an endorsement. In a dissent on The Slants’ name, the Justice Department argued that granting a trademark “would convey that the United States regards racial slurs as appropriate,” Los Angeles Times reported. 

    The Slants, originally from Portland, Oregon, was formed in 2006. The self-proclaimed “Chinatown dance rock” group has released four albums under an independent label.

    The Supreme Court has so far declined to hear the Washington Redskins case. The team has had a history of controversy over its name. In 2014, the PTO canceled the team’s six trademarks, including the team’s logo, following the years-long complaints from Native American groups. The team name has been called offensive, as the term “redskin” is a derogatory term for Native Americans. President Obama has called on numerous occasions for the D.C. team to change its name, citing a need to “break stereotypes.”

    Tam, for his part, has called the Redskins a racial slur against Native Americans. He has said that the difference lies in the fact that The Slants does not intend to offend anyone and is not an inherent racial slur.

    The court is not expected to rule on the issue for several months.

    The Slants has not returned NBC’s request for comment.



    Photo Credit: AP

    This file photo shows the Asian-American band The Slants, from left, Joe X Jiang, Ken Shima, Tyler Chen, Simon Tam and Joe X Jiang. The Supreme Court announced Thursday it will hear the band's case to trademark its controversial name.This file photo shows the Asian-American band The Slants, from left, Joe X Jiang, Ken Shima, Tyler Chen, Simon Tam and Joe X Jiang. The Supreme Court announced Thursday it will hear the band's case to trademark its controversial name.

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