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Navy sailor faces desertion charge after having baby

Ana Lucia Gnecco, a U.S. Navy sailor, has been jailed in Florida for allegedly deserting her post after giving birth to her daughter. She was arrested at her parents’ home Saturday and is on military hold in a Broward County jail.

Gnecco is a seaman quartermaster who welcomed her daughter into the world in August and was due back to her post in Portsmouth, Virginia, on Jan. 14. However, she never showed up to work.

>> Read more trending news

The arrest was the last resort,” Christina Johnson, a Navy public affairs officer for the medical center, said. “You’re going to want to try and work with the sailor to get them back because the consequences for desertion are serious. She was in contact with her command and the Navy’s arm that would bring her back to duty. All efforts were made to get her back to work, but she chose to stay there.”

The Navy considers any failure to return after 30 days to be desertion. Gnecco enlisted in 2014 and is on contract until 2019. Her father Armando Rodriguez is unsure of the reason why she didn’t return to work but assumes it revolves around her baby.

“The baby could be the reason, We could assume that having a baby might not go well with serving in the military,” he said. “I hope that she goes back up there and they have a hearing and she is released. There is no point in keeping her.”

28 injured when car crashes into New Orleans parade crowd

A driver careened through a crowd during a parade Saturday, injuring at least 28 people, police say.

>> Read more trending news

A suspected drunken driver ran a gray truck through the Krewe of Endymion parade around 6:45 p.m., according to The Advocate.

"Initial reports show so far about a dozen people are in critical condition," police spokeswoman Ambria Washington told The Times-Picayune. "That number could increase as the investigation is ongoing."

Twenty-one people were hospitalized, five in critical condition. Seven other people declined treatment.

The crash comes during the final weekend of Carnival at one of the city's largest parades.

NOPD arrest made at Carrollton and Orleans. Several injured after car crashes into people by parade. @WWLTV pic.twitter.com/mBbg6SmLIh— David Hammer (@davidhammerWWL) February 26, 2017

<script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

NOPD is investigating a crash where a vehicle ran into a crowd of people at the Orleans and Carrollton.#NOPDAlert pic.twitter.com/Ll8YeVI7ru— NOPD (@NOPDNews) February 26, 2017

Thanks to our first responders for the care you provided to the victims and others watching the parade.pic.twitter.com/b926KBX7iv— Mitch Landrieu (@MayorLandrieu) February 26, 2017

Muhammad Ali Jr. reportedly detained, grilled on religion by U.S. customs agents

Muhammad Ali Jr., son of the late boxing great, reportedly was detained at the Fort Lauderdale airport and grilled about his religion upon arriving from a trip to Jamaica, USA Today reports.

Ali and his mother “were pulled aside while going through customs because of their Arabic-sounding names, according to family friend and lawyer Chris Mancini,” the newspaper reported. 

Ali was questioned for about two hours during the incident Feb. 7. Khalilah Camacho-Ali, his mother, was let go after showing officials a picture with her late husband. The elder Ali died last year at 74 after decades of dealing with Parkinson’s disease.

>> Read more trending news The incident follows the confusion and protests spurred by President Donald Trump’s hastily assembled and announced temporary ban on some immigrants and refugees, and travelers from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Earlier this month, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals announced it will not reinstate the 90-day ban. The Trump administration had been seeking a stay of a temporary restraining order that halted the president’s executive order. Acting Attorney General Sally Yates had directed Justice Department attorneys not to defend it, saying in a letter that Trump’s campaign calls for a “Muslim ban” were an issue, noting that a previous, in-house review did “not take account of statements made by an administration or it surrogates close in time to the issuance of an executive order that may bear on the order’s purpose. “And importantly, it does not address whether any policy choice embodied in an executive order is wise or just,” wrote Yates, who was quickly fired by Trump. Mancini, the Ali family friend and attorney, said Ali Jr.’s ordeal at the airport “is directly linked to Mr. Trump’s efforts to ban Muslims from the United States,” and said they are contemplating legal action. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection responded to USA Today’s query about the matter with this statement: “Due to the restrictions of the Privacy Act, U.S. Customs and Border Protection cannot discuss individual travelers; however, all international travelers arriving in the U.S. are subject to CBP inspection.” Ali’s publicly accessible Facebook page doesn’t mention the incident. “I am stress free and happy allahu Akbar,” a post from Feb. 15 reads. In January, he posted a message that paid tribute to his father and challenged others. “Don’t let my fathers death be in vain black people,” he wrote. “Unite, trust each other, love each other, respect each other. Come Together and rise like Maya Angelou … free your minds and become free from the shackles that has kept you down for so long and rise a new human one that’s not held down by anything but making time for things that are important to better yourself and those around you that you love and respect.”

Trump tweets he won't attend White House correspondents' dinner

Amid growing tension with the media, President Donald Trump said Saturday that he will not attend this year’s White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner. The format for the event typically devolves into a roast between media members who closely cover the president and the highest elected official in the country. >> Read more trending news “I will not be attending the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner this year,” Trump tweeted. “Please wish everyone well and have a great evening.” I will not be attending the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner this year. Please wish everyone well and have a great evening!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 25, 2017 <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> Trump has called the media the enemy of the people on multiple occasions since becoming president and said this week he intends to “do something about” the media. Earlier in the week, some members of certain media outlets including The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and CNN were not allowed to attend a press briefing with administration spokesman Sean Spicer. This came on the heels of White House chief strategist Steve Bannon saying attacks on the “corporatist globalist media” would continue. Trump’s cancellation also comes as multiple media groups are scrubbing plans to host parties surrounding the event. Vanity Fair, Bloomberg and The New Yorker, which all typically host events attended by celebrities, politicians and media members, opted out this year, according to Deadline. The White House Correspondents’ Association still plans to have the dinner April 29. “The WHCA takes note of President Donald Trump’s announcement on Twitter that he does not plan to attend the dinner, which has been and will continue to be a celebration of the First Amendment and the important role played by an independent news media in a healthy republic,” Jeff Mason, association president, said in a statement. WHCA statement on 2017 White House Correspondents' Dinner pic.twitter.com/mMOXaozwHj— Jeff Mason (@jeffmason1) February 25, 2017 <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

The price of mentoring? Why this Florida teacher is being fired

Samantha Major is a teacher whom a supervisor once dubbed “an absolute powerhouse of compassion, kindness, thoughtfulness, professionalism and excellence.”

Now she’s been banished from the classroom, relegated to months of paperwork duties in a school bus depot, targeted for criminal investigation and slated for termination. The county school board will consider the proposal to fire her Wednesday.

>> Read more trending news

Her dizzying reversal of fortunes is, in large part, a story of the pitfalls that await teachers who make extended efforts to aid troubled students.

It is also one of how public schools push teachers to make extra efforts, often with little guidance or preparation, and then leave them to face the fallout.

Read the full story here.

Florida woman accused of abandoning 'Baby Willow' pregnant again, officials say

The woman accused of abandoning her newborn child in 2016 near an Orlando apartment complex is once again pregnant, state officials said.

Susan Richardson was the subject of a massive search after she gave birth to a baby girl at or near the Willow Bend apartment complex.

The girl was named “Baby Willow” by police, after the apartment complex where she was born.

>> Read more trending stories 

Timeline: The disappearance of Baby Willow

She told investigators that she abandoned the baby, but couldn’t remember exactly where.

A clerk at a 7-11 convenience store said Richardson regularly stops by the business.

Since she was released from jail in November after pleading guilty to charges of neglect and desertion, the clerk told Channel 9 that she had asked Richardson what happened to the child.

“She says the baby’s in heaven,” Marjorie Lowe said.

Richardson, who has been living with her longtime boyfriend Johnnie Bryant, was charged with violation of probation in late January, which is when officials learned of her pregnancy.While her probation requires Richardson not have any unsupervised contact with her current children, there is nothing preventing her from getting pregnant again.The Florida Department of Children and Families is unable to do anything for the child, Channel 9 legal analyst Belvin Perry said.

“Currently, unborn children have no rights, so the government cannot step in and order her to do certain things for the well being of the unborn child,” he said.

When contacted by WFTV, Bryant would not say if he believed Richardson’s unborn child was his.

When pressed about any concerns he might have about her being pregnant again, considering the Baby Willow case, he became belligerent.

“You concerned, (expletive)?” he quipped to WFTV’s Janine Reyes.

While the baby who went missing in February has never been found, the Baby Willow case was closed when Richardson pleaded guilty to the neglect and desertion charges.

The Florida DCF issued the following statement concerning how it handles situations like this:

"Any individual who is concerned about the safety of a child upon his or her birth (or at any time) is required to call the Florida Abuse Hotline, including medical personnel who are professionally-mandated reporters.

The department does not have jurisdiction over unborn children but the safety and security of every child is our top priority.

If there is an occurrence of childbirth, and a report to the Child Abuse Hotline is created, DCF would then have jurisdiction to investigate and intercede.To that end, we will do whatever it takes to shelter vulnerable kids from crisis and help them live a normal life free from abuse or neglect."

Democrats select Tom Perez as DNC chair

UPDATE: After two ballots, the Democratic National Committee has selected former U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez as the party's new leader.

Former Labor Secretary Tom Perez is the new #DNCChair— Greg Bluestein (@bluestein) February 25, 2017

Read the original report below.

The uneasy clash between grass-roots activists and establishment figures at the Democratic National Committee meeting in Atlanta isn’t hard to spot. It’s on display at caucus meetings, panel discussions and the maneuvering behind Saturday’s vote to elect a new party leader.

And for a party struggling to find a balance between the liberal wave of outrage at Donald Trump and its leaders trying to corral that energy into electoral action, the attempts to strike a tentative truce will define their fight against the president.

It won’t be easy. Democrats of all stripes have united in a Trump “resistance” movement, but even the most outspoken elected officials struggle to match the ferocity of the Trump opposition that’s filled the streets with protesters and town hall meetings with newly energized activists.

>> Read more trending stories

And the same divisions that cleaved the party during last year’s election — namely, the progressive bloc led by Bernie Sanders supporters pitted against more mainstream party factions that supported Hillary Clinton — continues to dog Democratic leaders who desperately want to put the 2016 election behind them.

“We didn’t win, but the revolution is very much in this room,” said Winnie Wong, who co-founded the People for Bernie group and helped create the #FeeltheBern hashtag. “And you folks need to pick up the mantle. We can’t stop now, we have to do everything that we can in this party to be a part of this political revolution.”

The groundswell of frustration undercuts the other dominant theme of the three-day conference that started Thursday — a constant drumbeat of calls to unify behind a common opponent. Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed made a personal plea to Democrats to stay focused on Trump — and not their own internal fissures.

“This is going to end up being unity weekend in the city of Atlanta and unity weekend in the state of Georgia and unity weekend in the Democratic Party,” Reed said. “It’s going to be the end of that presidency of Donald Trump.”

The party has a long way to go. Republicans control the White House, both chambers of Congress and almost three dozen governor’s mansions. In Georgia, the party faces an even more daunting climb: Republicans control every statewide office and hold commanding majorities in the state Legislature.

Democratic leaders are intent on turning the explosive protests into votes, but they also risk the same wave of primary challenges and infighting that the tea party movement triggered in the GOP after Barack Obama’s 2008 election as president.

“There are people who feel like the Democratic Party has stopped listening to young people. Especially us young people,” Nelini Stamp said. “We have ideas and we’ve changed the country in the last six years. We need to work together and we need to push each other better.”

Stamp is a founder of the Resist Trump Tuesdays movement, and her organization is one of a surge of new groups that have sprung up after the November election.

Strikingly, though, one of the first targets of the group’s protest was a Democrat: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Thousands of protesters wound up on the doorstep of his Brooklyn office, urging him to defy Trump at all costs.

Rita Bosworth has also not endeared herself to party leaders. After starting Sister District Project, which matches donors in deep blue districts to help candidates run in more conservative areas, she said a California Democratic official pressed her on whether she was secretly coordinating with Libertarians.

“We are trying to reconnect with the people,” said Christine Pelosi, another California activist. “People do not trust us to fight for them. They do not trust us to put their interests first. That’s what every single listening tour that all of us have gone on shows us.”

That fight is spilling over into the fight to pick the party’s next chairman. Sanders and other leaders in the party’s progressive wing are backing U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison’s bid for DNC chairman, while former U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez has support from allies of Clinton’s and Obama’s.

The odds seem to favor Perez — his supporters whisper he is nearing the votes needed to win outright — but Ellison boasts an impressive network. And a dark horse contender could emerge. Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., hopes a late charge could make him the party’s next face.

The winner will try to bridge the divide between veteran operatives more accustomed to the halting progress of politics and newfound activists who demand immediate action and results. Xavier Becerra, California’s new attorney general, urged Democratic veterans to act more like the grass-roots demonstrators.

“Get in the way — be a hitter and be authentic and be real every day,” Becerra said. “Continuously prove to every hardworking American that we have your back.”

Some of the upstart operatives are putting the political class on notice. Andrea Litman helped start Run for Something, which encourages left-leaning candidates to run for public office, after Trump’s victory made her “angry at the system” that she said benefited older, affluent white male attorneys.

Thousands of candidates have already signed up through her website to run for higher office. And she’s more than willing to encourage them to run against contenders favored by the establishment wing.

“If we have a young progressive candidate and you have someone you picked,” she said, “we’re going to go after you.”

Report: Florida deputy fired after woman he met on Tinder admits on-the-clock rendezvous

A Florida deputy was fired this month after an internal investigation found he had lied about spending several hours on the clock with a woman he met on Tinder.

Deputy David Patterson was facing allegations of violating the Marion County Sheriff’s Office code of conduct, providing incorrect information on time sheets and dereliction of duty.

The internal investigation substantiated all three claims against Patterson.

>> Read more trending stories 

The incident laid out in the investigation happened on Dec. 5 between noon and 3 p.m. at a Marion County home.

In uniform and driving his unmarked Sheriff’s Office cruiser, Patterson stopped at the house and spent between two and three hours with the woman who lived there the investigation said.

The woman told Patterson’s sergeant about the encounter on Dec. 21, when he went to her home to serve an eviction notice, the investigation said.

“(The woman) stated she met Deputy Patterson on a dating website and wanted to know if he was a ‘good guy,’” an investigative report said.

The woman reportedly told the sergeant that she and Patterson "hooked up," but that they didn’t have sex.

“She stated while Deputy Patterson was at her residence they talked and kissed,” the report said. “She stated Deputy Patterson also touched her breast over her clothes.”

After the encounter, the deputy also allegedly sent the woman a photo of his genitals while he was working and still wearing his uniform, officials said.

Patterson, who was scheduled to work from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. with an hour for lunch, claimed on his time sheet that he worked the full eight hours, the investigation said.

When interviewed, the deputy admitted to the allegations, the investigation said.

“Due to these actions, Deputy Patterson has brought discredit to himself and the agency while on duty,” the report concluded.

Same boy kidnapped in 2014 returns home safely again

The Atlanta Police Department has found the 12-year-old boy who was last seen leaving his home.

His mother said that Willie Myrick,12, left his home on Confederate Court at 10 p.m. Friday.

 >> Read more trending news

UPDATE: Willie Myrick has returned home safely. ______________________________________JUST IN: The missing...Posted by WSB-TV on Saturday, February 25, 2017

Officers immediately canvassed the area but Willie was not located on Friday. However, police successfully found him on Saturday morning. 

Willie is the same boy who was kidnapped in 2014. 

A lover of gospel music, Willie reportedly started singing the song “Every Praise” until his kidnapper threw him onto the street and drove away.

“Every praise is to our God,” the gospel song begins. “Every word of worship with one accord.”

Willie said he was afraid that the man was going to kill him. The man drove Willie around for nearly three hours, police said.

“He was cursing at me telling me to shut up and didn't want to hear a word from me," Willie said. “He said if I told anyone he would hurt me, like in a bad way.”

The boy went to several homes in that East Point neighborhood asking for help. One person actually turned him away, but an elderly man let him in and called the police and his godmother.

Willie said he was not harmed during the ordeal. His godmother said the boy was taken to a hospital for examination.

 

 

Apple investigating iPhone7 that caught fire

This is not the kind of hot smartphone Apple wants to publicize.

>> Read more trending news

The company said it is looking into an incident involving an iPhone 7 Plus that caught fire, Hollywood Life reported. Brianna Olivas, 18, from Arizona, posted video on Twitter of the device unleashing a steam of smoke.

The incident was reminiscent of Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 issues, in which defective batteries caused some of those phones to catch fire.

It’s not clear what might have caused the fault. Olivas told Gizmodo that she’d only been using the official Apple charger with the phone and that she hadn’t had any trouble with the device until this week. After the device failed to switch on, she said she took it to an Apple store where employees ran diagnostic tests but found no faults.

"The next morning I was asleep with my phone charging next to my head, my boyfriend grabbed the phone and put it on the dresser," Olivas told Mashable. “He went to the restroom ... and from the corner of his eye he saw my phone steaming and [heard] a squealing noise. By the time he got over to the phone it had already caught fire, he quickly grabbed the phone and threw it in the restroom ... as soon as he threw it in the restroom it blew up and more smoke started coming out of the phone."

Olivas says she gave the phone to Apple and the company issued her a replacement device. She said that Apple representatives told her they are conducting tests and expect to know more information in a week.

So my IPhone 7 plus blew up this morning 🤗 was not even using it, literally no explanation for this pic.twitter.com/sQ8CJt4Y69 — Bree✨ (@briannaolivas_) February 23, 2017
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