IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Police say a black University of Iowa student lied about being the victim of a racially motivated beating and that he instigated at least one of several alcohol-fueled fights.
Marcus Owens told police that he was attacked April 30 by three white men who hurled racial slurs as they damaged his eye socket and knocked out his front teeth. The alleged hate crime stoked safety concerns and distrust among some minority students in the university.
But police said Tuesday that his report was false. Investigators obtained surveillance video showing Owens had been a participant and instigator of fights that started inside a bar and continued outside.
Owens will not be charged, and police won’t seek restitution to cover the cost of the investigation. He and his family issued an apology.
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A gay Texas pastor who sued Whole Foods alleging that a cake he bought from the grocer had an anti-gay slur written on it in icing has dropped his lawsuit.
Jordan Brown of Austin issued an apology on Monday, saying he was “wrong to pursue this matter and use the media to perpetuate this story.”
Whole Foods vigorously denied the allegation when Brown first came forward in April. The Austin American-Statesman reports (http://atxne.ws/1XeUCHh ) that the company released surveillance video that it said showed Brown was lying and filed a counter suit against him.
The company said in a statement Monday that given Brown’s apology and public admission his story was false, it sees “no reason” to move forward with its lawsuit.
Information from: Austin American-Statesman, http://www.statesman.com
EAST POINT, Ga. (AP) — Police in the Atlanta area have identified four people seen fighting in a video of a Mother’s Day brawl that went viral.
East Point police Capt. Cliff Chandler tells local news outlets that 26-year-old Devecc Bilingslea, 25-year-old Zacarli Dalcoe, 26-year-old Willis Jumario Hall and 21-year-old Demonte Harrison were cited for disorderly conduct in connection with the May 8 fight at Kiku Japanese Steakhouse.
A police report says Harrison, a busboy, was cleaning tables when a female customer berated him for smiling. Harrison replied that it was his job to smile, and a male customer got up and punched Harrison. The fight escalated from there.
Attorney Charles Webb is representing Hall, Billingslea and Dalcoe. He says the video of the fight doesn’t tell the whole story, and that he believes his clients will be exonerated.
It’s unclear if Harrison has an attorney.
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A bison calf that tourists loaded into their vehicle at Yellowstone National Park because they were concerned for its welfare could not be reunited with its herd and had to be euthanized, park officials said Monday as they reasserted the importance of avoiding wildlife.
The incident last week and several other recent cases led to fresh warnings that park rules require visitors to stay at least 25 yards from all wildlife and 100 yards from bears and wolves.
Visitors brought the newborn calf to a park facility on May 9, which officials called a dangerous move because adult bison are protective and will attack to defend their young. Rangers took the animal back to where it was picked up, but they could not get it back with the herd after several tries.
“The bison calf was later euthanized because it was abandoned and causing a dangerous situation by continually approaching people and cars along the roadway,” the park said in a statement.
The visitors were cited for touching park wildlife and fined $110, Yellowstone spokeswoman Charissa Reid said. She declined to name the visitors or issue a copy of the citation amid the investigation.
In another recent high-profile case, a woman was seen on video trying to pet an adult bison as it rested on the boardwalk around Old Faithful. In another, tourists posed for photos dangerously close to bison that had caused a traffic jam on a road.
Five visitors were seriously injured last year after getting too close to the massive animals.
Approaching wildlife also can affect their well-being and survival, possibly causing mothers to reject their offspring, park officials said.
Such reminders are included on Yellowstone’s website, in information handed to visitors as they come in and on signs throughout the park, Reid said.
“This year we’ve added translations of the safety signage and provide park newspaper translations in a number of different languages,” she said in a statement.
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama said Monday he believes the Senate has a constitutional obligation to vote on a president’s nomination to the Supreme Court, staking out a position at odds with Republicans and some legal scholars.
Obama made the claim in an online video interview about his stalled nomination of U.S. Circuit Court Judge Merrick Garland. Asked if he thought the Constitution’s language about “advice and consent” meant the Senate had an obligation to hold a vote, Obama told BuzzFeed News: “I do.”
The Constitution says the president “shall” appoint judges to the Supreme Court “with the advice and consent of the Senate.” Senate Republicans have maintained they are fulfilling their constitutional duty by choosing not to consider Garland at all.
The GOP has pointed out that in 2005, Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid argued that the Constitution doesn’t say the Senate has a duty to vote on presidential nominees.
Months of efforts by the White House to build up political pressure on Republicans to relent and hold a vote have so far been ineffective. Although a number of Republicans have met with Garland and a few have expressed openness to hearings, GOP leadership has stood firm behind their insistence that the next president should get to choose a replacement for the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
Obama also tried to use Donald Trump’s ascent as the presumptive GOP presidential nominee as another reason why a Scalia replacement shouldn’t wait. With many Republicans openly questioning Trump’s temperament and principles, Democrats have said it’s too risky to let Trump pick the next justice if he’s elected in November.
“Precisely because this election year has been so crazy, because we have a number of Republicans say that they’re concerned about their nominee, it shows why you can’t politicize a Supreme Court vacancy,” Obama said.
In the interview, Obama said erroneously that Garland had been “confirmed unanimously” by the Senate to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Garland was confirmed on a vote of 76-23 in 1997.
Associated Press writer Josh Lederman contributed to this report.
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — It’s 100,000 laps around Earth and counting for the International Space Station.
The space station reached the orbital milestone — 17 ½ years in the making — Monday morning. NASA said these 100,000 orbits are akin to traveling more than 2.6 billion miles. That’s equivalent to 10 round trips to Mars, or almost one way to Neptune.
Each orbit takes about 90 minutes; 16 orbits comprise a station day.
Astronauts have been living continuously aboard the 250-mile-high complex since 2000. Construction began two years before that. Since then, 222 people have lived or visited there, the vast majority of them— 189 — men, according to NASA. Altogether, there have been 47 permanent crews representing the U.S., Russian, Canadian, Japanese and European space agencies.
Two Americans, three Russians and one Englishman currently call the space station home. They recently achieved a photographic milestone, snapping the 3 millionth picture taken over the years from the scientific outpost.
“One-hundred-thousand orbits, the journey continues,” NASA astronaut Jeffrey Williams said in a celebratory video from space.