CLEVELAND (AP) — A judge has dismissed all charges against an unarmed black motorist who was punched by a white police officer more than a dozen times during a traffic stop outside Cleveland.
Richard Hubbard III was charged with resisting arrest, driving without a license and a traffic signal violation following his August arrest in Euclid. Cleveland.com reports Hubbard’s girlfriend, 25-year-old Yolimar Tirado, also was charged with resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and allowing an unlicensed driver to operate her car.
Court records show a judge dismissed their charges on Tuesday.
Cellphone video of Hubbard’s arrest was viewed millions of times on Facebook and sparked outrage across the country.
Euclid Officer Michael Amiott was fired in October for use of excessive force and other rule violations.
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — A video game developed by a Michigan State University assistant professor supports “eco-terrorism” by enabling players to zap imaginary oil pipelines with lightning bolts, an industry group said Wednesday, although the designer countered that it’s not meant to incite violence.
“Thunderbird Strike” is based on an indigenous cultural figure called a thunderbird, said Elizabeth LaPensee, who led the project. It traces the bird’s path through areas of Canada and Michigan where oil production and transport have inspired protests. Players can earn points by firing lightning at snakelike pipelines, trucks and other oil industry structures.
It can be downloaded from a website that says players will protect the earth “with searing lightning against the snake that threatens to swallow the lands and waters whole.”
It may be just a game, but could lead to disaster if even one user is inspired to vandalize an actual pipeline, said Toby Mack, president of Energy Builders, a Washington, D.C.-based organization that advocates for builders of energy infrastructure.
“We call on Michigan State University to pull the plug immediately on this taxpayer-funded political campaign and reject any so-called educational program designed to encourage eco-terrorism or other bad behavior,” Mack said.
The game’s website previously said it had been developed “in affiliation with” the university’s Games for Entertainment and Learning Lab. The wording was changed Wednesday night to read, “With gratitude to Michigan State University.”
LaPensee said in a phone interview she deleted the reference to the lab to clarify that she and collaborators had produced the game independently, not as a university project. She said she began working on it a year before joining the university’s Department of Media and Information in 2016 and did not use the lab’s equipment or funds. The Arrowhead Regional Arts Council in Duluth, Minnesota, provided a grant that covered some of the costs, she said.
“Thunderbird Strike” is intended as a work of art and a tool for educating people about how oil development has damaged the environment, LaPensee said.
“It certainly is not encouraging anyone to commit eco-terrorism,” she said, adding that people should play it before passing judgment.
While players can hurl lightning at oil equipment, they also can target people and animal figures with the purpose of bringing them to life, LaPensee said.
“It’s optional whether or not you attack oil structures or you focus on activating animals and people,” she said. “The game never tells you what your choice should be.”
The game recently was named best digital media work at the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival.
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah school officials took “appropriate action” against teen girls shown on video yelling a racial slur while laughing, but a spokesman declined Tuesday to say exactly what they did.
State and federal privacy laws keep student punishment details from being publicly released, said Lane Findlay, the spokesman for Weber School District in the small city of Ogden, north of Salt Lake City.
The white high-school students, three of whom are cheerleaders, made the video about a year ago. One posted it on Instagram last week, Findlay said. It was shared from there and drew widespread online attention.
Findlay said the girls recorded themselves saying a nonsensical phrase and an app played the video backward to produce an expletive and the slur.
NAACP president Jeanetta Williams called the video appalling, particularly the girls’ laughter. Williams, who oversees the tri-state conference area of Idaho-Utah-Nevada, said she talked with the school principal and suggested anti-discrimination education for the girls in the video and the school as a whole.
Administrators have taken the situation seriously so far, she said, and told her there would be discipline for the students seen in the video.
The school district is considering launching a community anti-discrimination education program run by the Department of Justice, Findlay said.
“Obliviously when you have something like this, this inappropriate, this shocking, you have to question, ‘Why did this happen, how can we prevent this from ever happening again?'” he said.
Though the video was made while the school was on vacation and the girls were not on school property, administrators had to investigate because of the disruption the video caused, Findlay said.
Students who are involved in extracurricular activities like cheerleading are also held to a high standard and required to abide by a code of conduct that applies to their actions away from school.
The school district also took administrative action against a history teacher in 2016 after he used the same racial slur in a junior-high history class.
Teacher Douglas Barker said he used it for historical context, but a parent said her son no longer felt safe in class.
CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has made official what’s already widely known: He’s seeking re-election for a second term.
The wealthy Republican businessman turned politician has already put $50 million of his own money into his campaign fund and has traveled at the campaign’s expense. He released a video Monday saying he’s won some and lost some, but he chooses “to fight” instead of throwing in the towel.
The first-term governor is considered among the most vulnerable incumbents nationwide. He’s clashed with majority Democrats since he took office, including an unprecedented budget impasse that recently ended.
The video features Rauner riding a motorcycle. He reiterates campaign promises from his first run, including term limits.
The gubernatorial race could be the most expensive nationwide, with Democratic candidates including billionaire businessman J.B. Pritzker.
BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — A video has been released that reportedly shows 11 Mali soldiers being held hostage by an al-Qaida-linked extremist group.
MENASTREAM, a risk consultancy that monitors jihadist activity, showed screen grabs and analysis of the Oct. 1 video shared by the al-Qaida-linked Islam and Muslim Support Group. In it, the soldiers ask Mali’s government to find a solution for their release.
The soldiers were captured during jihadi attacks between July 2016 and March 2017.
The video could not be independently corroborated.
A Mali intelligence officer, speaking on condition of anonymity because he is not permitted to speak to press, said Mali’s government is discussing what can be done to free the soldiers.
Jihadist groups remain in northern Mali despite being pushed out from their strongholds by French-backed forces in 2013.
Azia takes you behind the scenes of her trip to Puerto Rico and shows you what you need to make your own carnival Vejigante mask. Watch the video and follow the step-by-step instructions.