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Tag: Crime

White man pulls gun in confrontation with black Florida A&M students, police investigating

Tallahassee Police are investigating an incident that allegedly occurred Saturday night in which four black Florida A&M University students said they were harassed by a white man who brandished a gun at an off-campus apartment complex.

The altercation, which was captured in a social media video, shows a man in a baseball cap denying the students entry to the building and elevator in the Stadium Centre residence before pulling out a gun.

According to the police report filed on Saturday afternoon, the incident occurred at 12:30 a.m. Saturday and is being investigated as an aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, without intent to kill.

Isaiah Butterfield, a junior at Florida A&M and who filmed the incident, told NBC News that he and his friends were waiting to be let into the building by their other friend, a resident of the complex, when the man approached them.

“He walked past us and opened the door and he told us we weren’t getting into the building unless we had a key,” said Butterfield. “We were thinking, ‘Why would he even say anything to us?’ We were confused.”

After the man approached the students a second time, Butterfield decided to start recording.

“In Tallahassee, there’s a lot of people with their own racial opinions,” said Butterfield. “It doesn’t sound like a place where people of color are invited or welcomed.”

The video posted on Butterfield’s Twitter account begins with a shirtless white man, who Butterfield and his friends identified as “Chad,” confronting the man on behalf of the students. The two have an altercation, with Chad asking the man, “What’s your problem? You’re not just man enough to go about your day?”

“We literally met Chad that night. We didn’t really know Chad like that,” said Butterfield. “He was there and heard what was going on, and he stepped up. I commend him for that.”

Inside the building, the man tells the students to find another elevator, declaring to them, “this is my elevator.” As the altercation escalates, the man pulls out his gun and keeps it by his side.

“He made sure that we saw the gun,” said Butterfield. “He was holding his arm in a way to emphasize.”

One of the students, Fitzroy Rhoden, is heard in the video asking the man, “Sir, you bring out your gun. What’s your purpose for that?” which the man then apologizes and puts the gun in his back pocket.

Despite the weapon being out, Butterfield wasn’t concerned the man would shoot at them, saying he thought it was more of a “if you make me use it, I’m going to use it” kind of threat.

The students began to ask the older man if he is a resident of the building, considering the apartments were predominately rented by college students.

“My friend asked him, ‘Do you even live here, where’s your key?’” said Butterfield. The video then shows the man respond, pulling out keys and a gun.

In an email shared by Butterfield, Stadium Centre management addressed the situation, stating “We are cooperating with the police during their investigation and it has been determined that the person in the elevator is not a resident. Firearms are prohibited on our property and we take this matter very seriously.”

Tallahassee police spokesman, Damon Miller Jr., told NBC News the department is still conducting interviews for the ongoing investigation.

Many on social media are identifying the man in the video as the general manager of Baymont Inn & Suites Tallahassee Central. On Tuesday, Baymont Tallahassee released a statement on their Instagram account confirming they were aware of the situation and that the general manager has since been fired.

Instagram Photo

The man identified in reports did not respond to request for comment from NBC News on Wednesday.

After the incident, Butterfield says he felt embarrassed and singled out by the man, but recognizes the altercation as being bigger than a local issue.

“There are people out here targeting young black males to retaliate in a violent way just so they can retaliate also and use deadly force and be protected by the law due to Stand Your Ground,” said Butterfield. “And that’s a set up.”

New lawsuit alleges Larry Nassar drugged, raped and impregnated teen at Michigan State

A new lawsuit alleges that Michigan State University officials were made aware of a videotaped rape of an underage girl by Dr. Larry Nassar but covered it up, told a coach who reported it to resign, and stripped the victim of a scholarship.

The federal suit, filed in Michigan Monday on behalf of Erika Davis of California and other plaintiffs whose names were not revealed, says Davis was given a pill by Nassar during an exam in the spring of 1992, when she was 17, and raped as a video camera captured the attack.

Davis, a scholarship field hockey player at MSU who was referred to Nassar by her coach, told her coach what happened, and the coach in turn went to Nassar’s office, demanded the video, and received it, according to the suit.

But when she complained about the doctor to then-athletic director George Perles, “she was forced to return the video, resign and sign a non-disclosure agreement,” the suit claims.

The filing says the coach retained a copy of the video. Perles is now a trustee of MSU but he was not named as an individual defendant.

Perles did not return requests for comment to NBC News and has not spoken publicly or to any media about the Nassar case since January when he and other MSU trustees apologized to victims.

“We’re awful sorry for the trouble we’ve caused those poor women. And we will make sure to do everything in our power to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” Perles said at the time, according to NBC affiliate WOOD.

On Tuesday, the university apologized in general for Nassar’s behavior over the years but said they were still investigating the specific allegations in the new lawsuit.

“We are deeply sorry for the abuses Larry Nassar has committed, and for the trauma experienced by all sexual assault survivors,” the university said in a statement issued Tuesday. “Sexual abuse, assault and relationship violence are not tolerated in our campus community. While the protocols and procedures mentioned in this lawsuit do not reflect how sexual assault claims are handled at MSU, we are taking the allegations very seriously and looking into the situation.”

Defendants in the case include the school, its board of trustees, Nassar, USA Gymnastics, former MSU gymnastics coach Kathie Klages, and other individuals and organizations for allegations that include helping to cover up Davis’ claim, failing to prevent Nassar’s attacks when they had the chance, and misrepresenting Nassar’s professional suitability to treat young women.

NBC News reached out to multiple attorneys representing MSU, USA Gymnastics and other defendants but they did not immediately respond.

Nassar was the team doctor for USA Gymnastics, a onetime U.S. Olympics gymnastics team physician, and an MSU sports medicine doctor. More than 156 women have accused him of sexual impropriety, molestation and assault committed mostly under the guise of his medical authority, and in January he was sentenced to 40 to 175 years behind bars.

Davis was examined twice, with the first examination, videotaped by a third party, ending after Nassar fondled and licked her breasts, the filing alleges.

“During this time, the cameraman was filming Defendant Nassar’s sexual abuse of Plaintiff Erika,” the suit states.

Nassar asked the victim to return for a “full exam” about a week later, and that’s when the rape, with the aid of an unknown drug, took place, the lawsuit claims.

“Eventually, she could not keep her eyelids open and got very woozy,” it states.

Davis was a virgin, the suit says, so when she realized she was pregnant she had no doubt who had impregnated her. She eventually miscarried, the document states.

After the miscarriage she went to university police, who advised her that this was a matter for MSU’s athletics department.

“Plaintiff Erika explained that the athletic department already dismissed it and the Sergeant responded that [former athletic director] George Perles is a ‘powerful man,’ and she should just drop it.”

“Thereafter,” the suit claims, “Plaintiff Erika’s Field Hockey NCAA scholarship was taken away from her.”

With great detail the lawsuit claims that school officials and some of the other defendants were informed of allegations against Nassar in the 1990s and beyond — including accusations by other women — and did nothing.

“Because MSU took no action to investigate the 1997 or 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2001 or 2002, and 2004 complaints and took no corrective action, from at least 1997 to 2016, under the guise of treatment, the other Plaintiffs, many of whom were minors, were also sexually assaulted, abused, and molested by Defendant Nassar,” the suit claims.

The filing seeks unspecified damages greater than $75,000 for each plaintiff for allegations including sex discrimination in an educational setting, civil rights violations, negligence, assault and battery on the part of Nassar and, against USA Gymnastics, “fraud and misrepresentation that Nassar was a competent and safe physician.”

Doorbell Videos Ignite Human Trafficking Conversation

Doorbell cameras are capturing some disturbing sights across the countries which officers said could be linked to human trafficking.

The video below shows a woman ringing the doorbell of a Houston home early in the morning. She’s barefoot, looks confused and appears to be wearing restraints.

Police confirmed she was a victim of domestic assault. Her boyfriend had a self-inflicted gunshot wound when police arrived but it’s still unconfirmed whether the woman was being trafficked or not.

This video shows a Toronto woman ringing a home’s doorbell. A man drives up and drags her away by the hair.

“Her telling him that she feels like she’s gonna die, somebody who loves you and cares about you, that would be a statement that you’d react to much differently than in an abusive manner or even threatening violence against someone,” Kristen Dolan, Women United Coordinator, said.

Human trafficking is defined as “compelling or coercing a person to provide labor or sex acts. The coercion can be subtle or overt, physical or psychological, and may involve violence, threats, lies or debt bondage.”

California has the highest number of human trafficking cases reported, according to Polaris. The state had 1,305 human trafficking cases reported in 2017, with the majority being sex trafficking.


“The most common I’ve seen is sex trafficking of females minors,” Dolan said.

The average age 12 years old. While the crime is present in the valley, it doesn’t always look like the videos. Traffickers systematically manipulate their victims, Dolan said.

“You’re going to want to look for changes in behavior, changes in clothing and it doesn’t mean that the clothing becomes skimpier, sometimes it means that the clothing becomes more covered,” she said.

Dolan urges everyone to be mindful of possible trafficked victims.

“You really want to make sure that you’re paying attention to that stuff and talking to kids that are younger which I know is uncomfortable for some people,” she said. “Educating them and getting them the tools to recognize healthy relationships and when somebody is being manipulative is important.”

If you or someone else you know is a victim of human trafficking, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888.

Judge dismisses charges against New Mexico compound suspects; 2 face new counts

The father of a 3-year-old boy found dead in a filthy New Mexico compound pleaded not guilty Wednesday to new charges of child abuse resulting in death as lesser charges were dismissed against him and other members of his extended family because prosecutors missed a deadline.

The dead boy’s father, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, and his partner, Jany Leveille, who is charged with the same crime, remained silent as pleas were entered on their behalf. The charges could carry life sentences in the death of Abdul-ghani Wahhaj.

Their pleas followed a decision by a judge to dismiss initial child neglect charges against them. Another judge made the same decision Wednesday in the cases of the other three defendants.

The five were arrested this month at a remote desert compound where 11 children were found living in filth and the body of the 3-year-old boy was discovered.

Authorities say Wahhaj and Leveille denied the boy proper medicine and health care as he died in December 2017 during a religious ritualaimed at casting out demonic spirits.

Prosecutors had pressed to keep the group behind bars and planned to present new evidence of an anti-government plot and talk of jihad and martyrdom among some members of the extended Muslim family.

Defense attorneys say their clients have no record of criminal convictions and pose no risk to the public. Federal immigration authorities say Leveille, a native of Haiti, has been in the United States unlawfully for 20 years after overstaying a visitor visa.

Siraj Ibn Wahhaj and Leveille could be held for up to five days while awaiting a hearing on whether they can be held without bond pending trial.

A judge ruled the other three defendants could be released as early as Wednesday, depending on what action prosecutors take.

Prosecutor John Lovelace said no decisions have been made on how the district attorney’s office will proceed.

Prosecutors have other options for pursuing charges against the three, including seeking indictments from a grand jury.

Prosecutors said in court filings they have discovered a hand-written document called “Phases of a Terrorist Attack” that was seized from the compound and includes vague instructions for “the one-time terrorist” and mentioned an unnamed place called “the ideal attack site.”

Prosecutors wrote in court filings that new interviews with some of the children removed from the compound revealed that one of the adults, Lucas Morton, stated he wished to die in jihad as a martyr and that Leveille and Subhannah Wahhaj joked about dying in jihad.

The new charges of child abuse resulting in death against Siraj Ibn Wahhaj and Leveille are tied to an extensive account of Abdul-ghani’s death in a journal that prosecutors attribute to Leveille.

The boy’s mother initially reported the boy missing last year from Jonesboro, Georgia, after Siraj Ibn Wahhaj said he was taking the child to a park and never returned. Forensic medical investigators have not yet identified the cause and manner of the boy’s death.

Police: Father shoots, kills son during argument over cleaning room

A Milwaukee man is charged with first-degree reckless homicide after shooting his son in the back of the head during an argument over cleaning his room, according to authorities.

Police were called to the apartment Randall Wright shared with his 21-year-old son Jakari Wright on Saturday.

Wright said the two argued when he told his son to “clean up his room” after he found “dirty cereal bowls and other food items” in it.

The argument escalated when the father got his gun to emphasize the point, but he claimed his son wouldn’t back down.

“We started wrestling for the gun, and it went off,” Wright said.

Jakari Wright was shot in the back of the head. Police found him in a hallway just inside the entryway.

Wright’s lawyer Thursday argued for a low bail, calling the shooting a tragic accident. He remains jailed on $65,000 bail.