NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Republican Tennessee lawmaker says getting a traffic camera ticket isn’t a problem — he just burns them.
State Rep. Andy Holt set such ticket ablaze on Wednesday and posted the video to Facebook. A news release issued in conjunction with the Facebook video urges others who are issued traffic camera tickets in Tennessee to ignore them.
“What do you do if you get one? Throw it in the trash. Personally, I prefer to burn mine,” he said.
Knoxville Police Chief David Rausch said in an email Thursday to the Knoxville News Sentinel (http://bit.ly/1TH1DkL) that might not be a good idea. He called Holt’s advice unsound.
“No one likes to be caught violating traffic offenses, regardless of how they are caught, but they have a legal obligation to properly address it. Burning a citation or throwing it away is an emotional response that may feel good, but it does not make the violation and accountability go away,” Rausch said.
Holt is a longtime critic of traffic camera tickets and has previously called for banning them. In this year’s legislative session, he sponsored a bill that requires citations to include the following statement: “Nonpayment of this (citation) cannot adversely affect your credit score or report, driver’s license, and/or automobile insurance rates.”
The bill passed both chambers and took effect on April 27.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Democratic National Committee will hold hearings around the country to develop a platform for the July convention in Philadelphia.
Supporters of Bernie Sanders hope to influence the platform at the convention, where Hillary Clinton is expected to become the Democratic presidential nominee.
A platform drafting committee will hold hearings in Washington, D.C., on June 8 and 9 and in Phoenix on June 17 and 18. The committee will discuss the platform in St. Louis on June 24 and 25; and hold a final meeting in Orlando, Florida, on July 8 and 9.
Democrats will be able to go online at www.demconvention.com to submit written or video testimony or request to testify in person.
The drafting committee will be chaired by Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings.
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — The University of Maryland’s president says campus officers’ use of pepper spray while breaking up a graduation party attended primarily by African-American students compels the school to confront the reality of bias that people of color face.
President Wallace Loh said in a statement Thursday that a routine review of the use of force is underway. Loh calls diversity “essential” to the university’s mission and says his staff met with students who were at the party and shared their “anguish.”
University police have said officers responded to a report of a fight Sunday and tried to get people to leave the party. Police say pepper spray was used when an officer was surrounded in a hallway and during a parking lot confrontation. Videos posted online show people screaming and coughing.
NEW YORK (AP) — Authorities say a driver trying to make a getaway sped down a busy New York City sidewalk, hitting a 9-year-old boy.
Video shows Brooklyn shopkeepers running after the car and throwing trash cans, trying to stop the driver, as pedestrians flee. The child’s injuries were not serious.
WABC (http://7ny.tv/20JNLoP ) says it started around 4 p.m. Thursday when two men went into several stores trying to use a $20 bill that appeared to be counterfeit.
A pharmacy worker called police. The suspects tried to drive away but were blocked by rush-hour traffic. That’s when they went onto the sidewalk.
One person is in police custody and a second was being sought.
Information from: WABC-TV, http://www.7online.com
LOS ANGELES (AP) — In an online sensation, police officers across the U.S. are dancing an updated version of the running man to a catchy 1990s hip hop song in videos that have included professional sports mascots, cheerleading squads and at least one explosion.
The videos, set to “My Boo” by Ghost Town DJ’s, began in early May after police in New Zealand issued the Running Man Challenge to the New York Police Department. The meme started with two teenagers in New Jersey and became viral after college basketball teams picked it up.
The police videos posted on the Internet have been steadily getting more elaborate and more popular, with even some police chiefs joining in.
Los Angeles officers filmed themselves dancing inside the Dodgers baseball stadium and at a popular hiking spot in the shadow of the Hollywood sign. Detroit officers did their dance after spilling out of a heavy-duty SWAT truck in front of a General Motors building, and Miami’s men and women in blue threw in some salsa moves to Gloria Estefan’s “Conga.”
The videos are about more than officers cutting loose. They come as police departments across the U.S. are facing increased scrutiny and public criticism in the wake of a series of officer-involved deaths of young, unarmed black people.
Many departments have been working to become more community-friendly and improve their image. That includes turning to the power of social media.
“Across this nation, there’s a lot of anti-police rhetoric,” Detroit police Chief James Craig told reporters this week. “Do you believe this might have a profound impact on reducing that? I mean, you talk about how many shares so far? People like it, they appreciate it, and this is a move in the right direction.”
In his department’s video, one of the most popular with seven million views since Tuesday, Craig busted moves underneath the city’s iconic Joe Louis fist. In a move parodying a mic drop, Craig then dropped a police belt and challenged Chicago, Philadelphia and Cincinnati, Ohio. He has also challenged New York and Los Angeles, indicating their videos aren’t good enough.
Police departments are smart to take on the challenge, said Robert Thompson, a Syracuse University professor and a leading authority on American pop culture.
“This is a rhetorical act of public relations. No question about it,” he said. “Having the police force, uniformed police especially, smiling and dancing with people within the context of these communities, is certainly a positive message.
“It’s what a Coca Cola ad does, what a propaganda film does, what a public relations campaign does — try to make us think differently about something,” he said.
The videos have drawn criticism from some who question the use of police resources. Mostly, the response has been positive.
“Just when I thought my faith in the police was over,” Los Angeles resident Trayvon Walker commented on the LAPD’s video. “They do a video like this that puts a smile on my face and makes me look at them and say, ‘They’re not so bad of people after all.'”
As a young, black man, Walker said he has experienced police discrimination and his view of officers has eroded in recent years. But he said the video reminded him that there are plenty of good cops.
“It doesn’t change my perception of the police, but I do think more of them in the community doing positive things will lead to more positive outcomes,” the 29-year-old court clerk said in a phone interview. “To be able to see LAPD, or just police in general, doing something that is good for our community — it’s pleasant to see.”
Follow Amanda Lee Myers on Twitter at https://twitter.com/AmandaLeeAP. Her work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/amanda-lee-myers.
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Presidential candidate Donald Trump, armed at last with a majority of the Republican Party’s delegates, is celebrating by shifting his attention toward the general election while his likely Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, remains locked in a divisive primary contest.
“Here I am watching Hillary fight, and she can’t close the deal,” Trump crowed Thursday during an appearance in North Dakota. “We’ve had tremendous support from almost everybody.”
Trump’s good news was tempered by ongoing internal problems, including the sudden departure of his political director and continuing resistance by many Republican leaders to declaring their support for his outsider candidacy.
At the same time, Clinton faced fresh questions about her use of a private email server while secretary of state, even as she fought to pivot toward Trump, who she warned would take the country “backward on every issue and value we care about.”
Campaigning before union workers in Las Vegas, she decried Trump’s anti-union comments and his proposal to deport millions of immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally. She said he is an “unqualified loose cannon” who should never be president.
Complicating her election challenge, Clinton’s Democratic rival Bernie Sanders embraced the possibility of a one-on-one debate with Trump. The Republican said he’d “love to debate Bernie,” but would want the debate to raise at least $10 million for charity.
Just 75 delegates short of her own delegate majority, Clinton remains on a path to clinch the Democratic presidential nomination, according to an Associated Press count. But Trump got there first.
The New York businessman sealed the majority by claiming a small number of the party’s unbound delegates who told The Associated Press they would support him at the national convention in July. Among them was Oklahoma GOP chairwoman Pam Pollard.
“I think he has touched a part of our electorate that doesn’t like where our country is,” Pollard said. “I have no problem supporting Mr. Trump.”
It takes 1,237 delegates to win the Republican nomination. Trump has reached 1,239 and will easily pad his total in primary elections on June 7.
At a rally in Billings, Montana, Trump offered new specifics on his general election strategy.
“What I’m going to do is I want to focus on 15-or-so states,” he said, that could go “either way.” Among those he mentioned: the Democratic bastions of California and New York, which he insists he can put into play.
Trump said during a news conference Thursday that he would “absolutely” end his habit of attacking fellow Republicans now that the nomination is effectively his. But that truce appeared to be short-lived.
Speaking later at the Billings rally, Trump said 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney, who has refused to endorse him, had “failed so badly.” His campaign also released a celebratory Instagram video that features a montage of former rivals, including Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz, saying he would never be the party’s nominee.
Trump’s pivotal moment comes amid a new sign of internal problems.
Hours before clinching the nomination, he announced the departure of political director Rick Wiley, who was leading the campaign’s push to hire staff in key battleground states. In a statement, Trump’s campaign said Wiley had been hired only until the candidate’s organization “was running full steam.”
Associated Press writers Steve Peoples in Washington, James Nord in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Marc Levy in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, James MacPherson in Bismarck, North Dakota, Lisa Lerer in Las Vegas, Catherine Lucey in Des Moines, Iowa, and Sean Murphy in Oklahoma City contributed to this report.