National News

Ferguson Grand Jury 'Unfair,' Michael Brown Family Lawyer Says


Credit: Frances Twitty/Getty Images(FERGUSON, Mo.) -- A lawyer for the family of the black 18-year-old fatally shot by a white police officer said Sunday the grand jury process playing out in Missouri is unlike anything he's seen before and is unfair.The St. Louis County prosecuting attorney, Robert McCulloch, has said that, unlike with a typical grand jury, he would present to this grand jury all the evidence gathered in the police investigation and offer the jurors the opportunity to hear from any witness with relevant information.The target of the investigation, Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson, was among those who testified.A spokesman for McCulloch has indicated that the prosecutor's office will not likely make a specific recommendation about charges, but would give the grand jurors a range of charges to consider, from involuntary manslaughter up to first-degree murder.The grand jury investigating the killing of Michael Brown by Wilson is not meeting this weekend and will reconvene Monday, sources told ABC News."When you think about it, if this prosecutor is saying we're just going to be fair, we're not going to recommend any charges, that's different from anything he's done in his past 28 years with grand juries," attorney Benjamin Crump said Sunday on This Week."So, now are we going to say he was unfair to all those people and he's going to be extra fair, get a police extra rights?" said Crump, who also represented the family of Trayvon Martin. " Why can't it be equal justice?"ABC News chief legal affairs anchor Dan Abrams said there is precedent for prosecutors presenting cases to grand juries without recommending charges, particularly high profile, controversial cases."I'm not going to dispute with you on the facts, but let's talk about the process and the law, which is that there are a lot of high profile cases, and I've seen them, where prosecutors say, 'You know what, I'm going to hand this one to the grand jury. I want the political cover on this one. I want to let them decide so I'm not the one who takes the heat on this decision,'" he said."So it is not sort of out of left field that in a high profile case a prosecutor hands it off to a grand jury to make that decision," he said.Speculation that a decision on whether to indict Wilson in the shooting was coming soon has increased tensions in a town that already was on edge.Federal, state and county officials have been ramping up their readiness in case there is a fresh wave of angry and, at times, violent protests over the jury's decision. Protesters have been demanding that Wilson be charged with murder for the Aug. 9 shooting of Brown.The Saint Louis County Police Department switched their officers to 12-hour shifts on Saturday.Metal and concrete barricades have been erected in areas around the St Louis County government buildings in Clayton, where the grand jury has been meeting. The justice center there also houses the prosecutor's office, the St. Louis County Police Department headquarters and the circuit courts.Preparations are being made there for specific areas for anticipated protests.There also appeared to be some minor increase in activity behind the strip mall in Jennings, the town next to Ferguson, where the Unified Command will be operating once they are notified a decision has been reached.Many stores have boarded up their windows for fear of destructive protesters. The manager of Beauty Town Plus, a salon on West Florissant Avenue where much of the protests centered during the summer, told ABC News that they decided to board up because their windows were broken three times following Brown's death.Law enforcement have taken the threat of violence seriously as well as two federal officials confirmed to ABC News that more than 100 FBI personnel are being sent to the St. Louis area to join those already in the area and opened an intelligence center to head up operations.On Friday, federal authorities in Missouri charged two men with lying on forms to purchase guns ahead of the grand jury decision.Olajuwon Davis and Brandon Baldwin faced only those charges as of late Friday, but sources told ABC News that authorities were looking into whether they tried to acquire ready-made explosives and other weapons ahead of the decision, which is expected soon.The two men are suspected of being associated with the New Black Panther party, said sources briefed on the arrests. The charges that were filed were intended to "take them out of the rotation," according to one source.Both Attorney General Eric Holder and Michael Brown Sr., the slain teenager's father, have released videos urging protesters to remain peaceful when the grand jury's decision is handed up.Follow @ABCNewsRadio!function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Boy Shot by Cleveland Police Dies


Credit: Adam Kazmierski/Getty Images(CLEVELAND) -- A 12-year-old boy who was shot by Cleveland police officers while carrying a replica gun in a park playground has died, hospital officials said Sunday.The boy, who hasn't been identified, died at MetroHealth Medical Center after he was taken there for surgery Saturday afternoon.Officers were called to the Cudell Recreation Center after receiving reports of the boy waving a gun and pointing it at people, the Cleveland Division of Police said in a statement.Two officers found the boy in the playground and ordered him to raise his hands, but he instead reached for what the officers thought was a gun in his waistband, police said.The officers fired twice, hitting the boy in the torso.Officers learned the gun was fake after the shooting, police said. Made to resemble a semi-automatic pistol, the orange safety indicator had been removed from the "airsoft" replica gun the boy was holding.“We are not rushing to judgment," said Timothy Kurcharski, an attorney for the boy's mother. "The police are investigating the matter and we are waiting for the result of that investigation."The two officers involved in the shooting have been put on administrative leave, which is standard protocol.Follow @ABCNewsRadio!function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Ferguson Grand Jury to Reconvene Monday


Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images(FERGUSON, Mo.) -- The grand jury investigating the killing of Michael Brown by Ferguson, Mo., police Officer Darren Wilson is not meeting this weekend and will reconvene Monday, sources told ABC News.Speculation that a decision on whether to indict Wilson in the shooting was coming soon has increased tensions in a town that already was on edge.Federal, state and county officials have been ramping up their readiness in case there is a fresh wave of angry and, at times, violent protests over the jury's decision. Protesters have been demanding that Wilson be charged with murder for the Aug. 9 shooting of Brown.The Saint Louis County Police Department switched their officers to 12-hour shifts on Saturday.Metal and concrete barricades have been erected in areas around the St Louis County government buildings in Clayton, where the grand jury has been meeting. The justice center there also houses the prosecutor's office, the St. Louis County Police Department headquarters and the circuit courts.Preparations are being made there for specific areas for anticipated protests.There also appeared to be some minor increase in activity behind the strip mall in Jennings, the town next to Ferguson, where the Unified Command will be operating once they are notified a decision has been reached.A lawyer for the Brown family described the city Friday as "nervous, on edge, scared" as people awaited the grand jury's decision."The city is really in a panic at this moment," attorney Anthony Gray said.Many stores have boarded up their windows for fear of destructive protesters. The manager of Beauty Town Plus, a salon on West Florissant Avenue where much of the protests centered during the summer, told ABC News that they decided to board up because their windows were broken three times following Brown's death.Law enforcement have taken the threat of violence seriously as well as two federal officials confirmed to ABC News that more than 100 FBI personnel are being sent to the St. Louis area to join those already in the area and opened an intelligence center to head up operations.On Friday, federal authorities in Missouri charged two men with lying on forms to purchase guns ahead of the grand jury decision.Olajuwon Davis and Brandon Baldwin faced only those charges as of late Friday, but sources told ABC News that authorities were looking into whether they tried to acquire ready-made explosives and other weapons ahead of the decision, which is expected soon.The two men are suspected of being associated with the New Black Panther party, said sources briefed on the arrests. The charges that were filed were intended to "take them out of the rotation," according to one source.Both Attorney General Eric Holder and Michael Brown Sr., the slain teenager's father, have released videos urging protesters to remain peaceful when the grand jury's decision is handed down.The DA is trying to present a case that if there is no indictment, they can say, 'Look, it was them,'" said ABC News chief legal affairs anchor Dan Abrams.Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs"); Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

University of Virginia Suspends Fraternity Activities Following "Rolling Stone"


Photo by Visions of America/UIG via Getty Images(CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.) -- University of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan announced on Saturday that all fraternities and related activities would be suspended through at least Jan. 9.The action comes after a week in which a Rolling Stone magazine report detailed a sexual assault that allegedly occurred on the university's campus in 2012 that it says was handled improperly. Sullivan said in a letter to members of the university community that she has asked the Charlottesville Police Department to investigate the incident. "We can demand that incidents like those described in Rolling Stone never happen and that if they do, the responsible are held accountable to the law," Sullivan added. "this will require institutional change, cultural change and legislative change, and it will not be easy," the admitted, adding "we are making those changes."The university's Inter-Fraternity council said Saturday that all fraternities would voluntarily suspend social activities for the weekend, but Sullivan decided that was only a first step, deciding instead to suspend the organizations through the beginning of the Spring semester.In a letter sent to parents on Friday night, Sullivan said that sexual assault "has no place in our society, much less in an academic community characterized by freedom and civility."Follow @ABCNewsRadio!function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Boy Wakes Up From Coma After Surviving 225-Foot Fall From Cliff


Credit: CZQS2000 / STS/Getty Images(SAN FRANCISCO) -- A 4-year-old California boy has awakened from an induced coma after he was injured in a 225-foot fall onto rocks from an ocean-side cliff, according to ABC News station KGO-TV in San Francisco.Jamie Guglielmino told ABC News that her son, Sebastion Johnson, woke up from the induced coma Wednesday, more than a week after he fell. The fall reportedly occurred on the evening of Nov. 10."All he knows is that he’s in pain and mommy’s there," said Guglielmino. "He looks at me. ... I can tell in his eyes, like, 'Where am I mommy?'"Guglielmino said her son had multiple broken bones, including two broken hips, and a broken leg, arm and jaw."He’s definitely in the arms of angels right now," Guglielmino told ABC News. "It’s been real touch and go, but he’s on the road to recovery."Sebastion was with Guglielmino, throwing rocks over a cliff in Bodega Bay, California, when he slipped and fell last week, according to KGO-TV. Sebastion's father and sister were also in the area and ran over after seeing him fall.“He just misstepped and the ground gave and he just flew right down,” Sebastian's father, Daryl Johnson, told KGO-TV. “The incident that happened was my worst nightmare.”Johnson said he could not see his son on the rocks, but a firefighter who rappelled down was able to spot Sebastian near the water, according to KGO-TV."He wasn't really talking, but I said, you know, 'If you like Spider-man or superheroes, you know, just try and think of them,' and just tried to keep him awake and moaning," firefighter Marcos Barros told KGO-TV.The boy was put into an induced coma after arriving at Children’s Hospital Oakland. After coming out of the coma, he was listed in fair condition by the hospital.Sebastion's family has created an online fundraiser to help deal with medical expenses from the accident."He’s very stubborn and a little fighter," said Johnson in an earlier interview with KGO-TV. "That’s why I’m a proud of him."An official with the California Department of Parks and Recreation said the area where Sebastion was injured can be dangerous and difficult for people who are unfamiliar with it.Follow @ABCNewsRadio!function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

John Sheridan's, Wife's Deaths Lead to Investigation by NJ Attorney General


Credit: Tetra Image/Getty Images(TRENTON, N.J.) -- The New Jersey attorney general's office is launching an investigation into the mysterious deaths of a couple who were close friends with Gov. Chris Christie.Police found the bodies of John Sheridan and his wife Joyce Sherwood inside their home last September when a neighbor called police to report a suspicious fire."I believe my neighbor's house may be the beginnings of a fire," the neighbor told a 911 dispatcher.The deaths were initially deemed a murder-suicide, but a source close to the investigation told ABC News that the Sherdians were stabbed several times with at least three different weapons.Police have only retrieved two of those weapons, according to the source.The investigation by the attorney general's office will be parallel to the police's investigation. The office has sent investigators to provide "additional manpower and expertise" to local police amid concerns over the progress detectives have made, officials said."They sense and know and understand there's a lot of frustration and people feel like we should just know," said family spokesman Tom Wilson. "They understand that this isn't for lack of trying on the part of law enforcement."Follow @ABCNewsRadio!function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

At Least Three Protesters Arrested in Ferguson Friday Night, Activist Groups and


JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images(FERGUSON, Mo.) -- At least three protesters were arrested in Ferguson on Friday night during demonstrations in advance of a possible grand jury decision related to the August shooting of Michael Brown by local police officer Darren Wilson.According to the Saint Louis County Police Department, the three individuals were identified as Kenny Thomas, 55, David Rodriguez, 26, and William Morales, 23. Each of the three faces charges of unlawful assembly after they refused to leave the roadway when officers urged them to do so. The demonstrators, police say, were wearing "Anonymous" masks, and one of the demonstrators was using a bullhorn with a siren on it to shout profanities. On Friday, state and local officials had announced an agreement with activist groups on how police should respond to protesters once they grand jury decision is made on whether or not to indict Wilson. The so-called "rules of engagement" aim to prevent the tensions and violence that boiled over during protests over the shooting earlier this year.A U.S. delegation that reported to the United Nations Committee against Torture last week sent a letter to the U.N. on Friday calling for special rapporteurs to be sent to document possible human rights violations, should protests grow violent again.Also on Friday evening, the American Civil Liberties Union announced that it had signed an agreement with the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the County of Saint Louis and the City of Ferguson to affirm the rights of protesters to record law enforcement officers, an agreement that the ACLU of Missouri's legal director Tony Rothers called protection of the First Amendment rights of journalists.Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs"); Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Three Protesters Arrested in Ferguson Friday Night, Activist Groups and Local Au


JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images(FERGUSON, Mo.) -- Three protesters were arrested in Ferguson on Friday night during demonstrations in advance of a possible grand jury decision related to the August shooting of Michael Brown by local police officer Darren Wilson.According to the Saint Louis County Police Department, the three individuals were identified as Kenny Thomas, 55, David Rodriguez, 26, and William Morales, 23. Each of the three faces charges of unlawful assembly after they refused to leave the roadway when officers urged them to do so. The demonstrators, police say, were wearing "Anonymous" masks, and one of the demonstrators was using a bullhorn with a siren on it to shout profanities. On Friday, state and local officials had announced an agreement with activist groups on how police should respond to protesters once they grand jury decision is made on whether or not to indict Wilson. The so-called "rules of engagement" aim to prevent the tensions and violence that boiled over during protests over the shooting earlier this year.A U.S. delegation that reported to the United Nations Committee against Torture last week sent a letter to the U.N. on Friday calling for special rapporteurs to be sent to document possible human rights violations, should protests grow violent again.Also on Friday evening, the American Civil Liberties Union announced that it had signed an agreement with the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the County of Saint Louis and the City of Ferguson to affirm the rights of protesters to record law enforcement officers, an agreement that the ACLU of Missouri's legal director Tony Rothers called protection of the First Amendment rights of journalists.Follow @ABCNewsRadio!function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio