HUMBLE, Texas (AP) — Court records show a Houston-area woman is accused of placing a plastic bag over the head of her 1-year-old son and sending video of the abuse to relatives because she was upset that the child’s father had a new girlfriend.
Twenty-three-year-old Jamelle Peterkin of Humble (UHM’-buhl) appeared in court Monday on a charge of endangering a child and was freed on $15,000 bond.
The boy’s aunt, Ra’Neicha Broadnax, told KTRK-TV (http://abc13.co/2oPAGkt ) that in recent days she received videos and pictures from Peterkin also showing the child being slapped.
Broadnax said Peterkin indicated she was angry about the father’s new girlfriend. Records show Peterkin also placed a plastic bag in the boy’s mouth.
The current condition of the child wasn’t detailed in the report.
Online records don’t list an attorney for Peterkin.
Information from: KTRK-TV, http://abclocal.go.com
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CHICAGO (AP) — Video of police officers dragging a passenger from an overbooked United Airlines flight sparked an uproar Monday on social media, but United’s CEO defended his employees, saying they followed proper procedures and had no choice but to call authorities and remove the man.
As the flight waited to depart from Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, officers could be seen grabbing the screaming man from a window seat, pulling him across the armrest and dragging him down the aisle by his arms. United was trying to make room for four employees of a partner airline on the Sunday evening flight to Louisville, Kentucky.
Other passengers on Sunday night’s United Express Flight 3411 are heard saying, “Please, my God,” ”What are you doing?” ”This is wrong,” ”Look at what you did to him” and “Busted his lip.”
Passenger Audra D. Bridges posted the video on Facebook. Her husband, Tyler Bridges, said United offered $400 and then $800 vouchers and a hotel stay for volunteers to give up their seats. When no one volunteered, a United manager came on the plane and announced that passengers would be chosen at random.
“We almost felt like we were being taken hostage,” Tyler Bridges said. “We were stuck there. You can’t do anything as a traveler. You’re relying on the airline.”
Oscar Munoz, CEO of United Airlines’ parent company, apologized first in a written statement and then in a letter to employees Monday evening.
Munoz said he was “upset to see and hear about what happened” at O’Hare. He added, however, that the man dragged off the plane had ignored requests by crew members to leave and became “disruptive and belligerent,” making it necessary to call airport police.
“Our employees followed established procedures for dealing with situations like this,” Munoz told employees. “While I deeply regret this situation arose, I also emphatically stand behind all of you, and I want to commend you for continuing to go above and beyond to ensure we fly right.”
Munoz said that the airline might learn from the experience, and it was continuing to look into the incident.
The flight was operated for United by Republic Airline, which United hires to fly United Express flights. Munoz said four Republic employees approached United’s gate agents after the plane was fully loaded and said they needed to board. He said the airline asked for volunteers to give up their seats, and then moved to involuntary bumping, offering up to $1,000 in compensation.
The passenger who refused to leave told the manager that he was a doctor who needed to see patients in the morning, Tyler Bridges said.
“He was kind of saying that he was being singled out because he’s a Chinese man” when speaking to the manager, who was African-American, Bridges said.
“You should know what this is like,” the man said, according to Bridges.
The AP was unable to confirm the passenger’s identity.
Two officers tried to reason with the man before a third came aboard and pointed at the man “basically saying, ‘Sir, you have to get off the plane,'” Bridges said. That’s when the altercation happened.
One officer involved has been placed on leave, the Chicago Aviation Department said.
After the passenger was removed, the four airline employees boarded the plane.
“People on the plane were letting them have it,” Bridges said. “They were saying, ‘You should be ashamed to work for this company.'”
A few minutes after the employees boarded, the man who was removed returned, looking dazed and saying he had to get home, Bridges said.
In a video, the man can be seen standing in the aisle near what appears to be the rear of the aircraft. Blood is on his mouth, chin and cheek as he said, “I want to go home.”
Officers followed him to the back of the plane. Another man traveling with high school students stood up at that point and said they were getting off the plane, Bridges said.
About half of the passengers followed before United told everyone to get off, he said.
The man who was originally dragged down the aisle was removed from the plane again, and United employees made an announcement saying they had to “tidy up” the aircraft, Bridges said.
Bridges’ wife told him she saw the man taken away on a stretcher, he said.
After a three-hour delay the flight took off without the man aboard, Bridges said. A United employee apologized to passengers, he said.
Airlines are allowed to sell more tickets than there are seats on the plane, and they routinely overbook flights because some people do not show up.
It’s not unusual for airlines to offer travel vouchers to encourage people to give up their seats, and there are no rules for the process. When an airline demands that a passenger give up a seat, the airline is required to pay compensation of double the passenger’s one-way fare, up to $675, if the passenger can be placed on another flight that arrives one to two hours later than the first flight, or four times the ticket price, up to $1,350, for longer delays.
When they bump passengers, airlines are required to give those passengers a written description of their compensation rights.
United spokesman Charles Hobart declined to say how the airline compensated the passengers who were forced to leave the plane, saying he did not have those details from employees on the scene.
Bridges said United should not have boarded the flight if it was overbooked.
“The man handled it wrong,” he said. “The police were kind of put in a bad spot. There’s a lot of ways United could have handled it, and that was not one of the good ways.”
Associated Press writer Don Babwin contributed to this report.
CAIRO (AP) — An Egyptian professor could face dismissal over a video posted on Facebook showing her belly dancing on her rooftop, which sparked an investigation by her college in the Red Sea port city of Suez.
In the video, which was later shared widely online, Mona Prince was not wearing the kind of revealing outfit normally worn by belly dancers, but rather a loose and modest gown. However, many on social media viewed the English literature professor’s behavior as unbecoming of a university teacher.
Images purporting to show Prince in a bikini have since surfaced on social media, adding to allegations of immorality in conservative Muslim-majority Egypt.
Belly dancing is widely practiced by Egyptian women, but mostly in private. Professional belly dancers perform in weddings and at night spots.
Prince was already in trouble with the Suez University before the video surfaced. She was suspended in February over alleged poor performance. However, she told The Associated Press on Thursday that the video was being used as an excuse to push ahead with her “persecution” and later dismissal over the unconventional teaching methods she uses.
Maher Mesbah, the head of Suez University, said his decision to suspend her fell within his rights, but he would leave it up to members of faculty investigating her to decide her fate.
A statement by the Ministry of Higher Education said it guarantees the personal freedom of teaching staff, but added that it should not come “at the expense of university norms and ethics.”
“Good reputation is the basis” of hiring college teachers, said the statement, published by local media.
Prince is threatening legal action if she is dismissed.
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WASHINGTON (AP) — The public does not have a right to see graphic videos of a former Guantanamo Bay inmate being force-fed during a hunger strike because they are classified and could harm national security, a federal appeals court ruled Friday.
The Associated Press and 15 other news organizations had sought release of the videos, arguing that they were part of the public record.
But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said any First Amendment right to see the videos is outweighed by concerns their release could endanger troops and fuel global hostilities against the U.S.
“The government’s interest in ensuring safe and secure military operations clearly overcomes any qualified First Amendment right of access,” Judge A. Raymond Randolph said.
The court overturned the ruling of a federal district judge who had ordered the videos released with redactions to protect the identities of U.S. personnel. That order was on hold pending appeal.
The videos show military personnel removing former Guantanamo Bay prisoner Abu Wa’el Dhiab from his cell, strapping him to a restraining chair and force-feeding him meals through a tube to keep him alive during his hunger strike, according to court documents.
The Syrian native was held at Guantanamo for 12 years before being released in 2014 and resettled in Uruguay with five other detainees. During his last four years in detention, he joined other detainees in a hunger strike to protest their confinement.
Dhiab filed a lawsuit seeking to stop government officials from force-feeding him, a process he describes as torture. The government sent Dhiab’s lawyer copies of video recordings of his client being force-fed, and the lawyer put those recordings into the record under seal.
Media organizations argued that the public has a strong interest in seeing the videos to know how their government treats terror suspects held at the detention facility.
But the court agreed with the government that release of the videos “would likely impair national security” in several ways.
It could encourage other detainees to provoke or resist the guards. And release of the videos could provide “terrorist elements with propaganda to fuel their continued global hostilities against the United States,” Randolph said.
While the three-judge panel considering the case agreed on the outcome, they disagreed over how to apply the First Amendment when it comes to court records. Randolph said the public’s First Amendment right to see court records applied to criminal proceedings, but not civil proceedings like Dhiab’s in which he was challenging the terms of confinement.
But Judge Judith Rogers wrote separately to say the First Amendment would guarantee access to records in such cases because they are similar to criminal proceedings. Judge Stephen Williams said the First Amendment law was not clear, but agreed that “the security interests invoked by the government are compelling.”