Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Officer recorded in Texas pool party incident resigns; chief calls actions ‘indefensible’

McKINNEY, Texas (AP) — A white police officer in suburban Dallas has resigned after he was recorded on video pushing a black teenage girl to the ground outside a pool party and brandishing his gun at other teens.

Officer David Eric Casebolt’s actions were “indefensible,” though he was not pressured to quit, McKinney Police Chief Greg Conley said at a press conference after the officer submitted his resignation.

A teenager at the party posted a video online showing Casebolt’s interactions with the teens as officers responded last Friday to calls about the gathering at a community-owned swimming pool in McKinney. The 41-year-old former Texas state trooper and 10-year veteran of the McKinney force was put on administrative leave after the incident. His lawyer, Jane Bishkin of Dallas, confirmed Tuesday he had quit the force.

Conley said a review of the video showed that “our policies, our training and our practices do not support his actions.”

Twelve officers responded to the report of fights and a disturbance at the Craig Ranch North Community Pool in an affluent area of McKinney, which is north of Dallas. “Eleven of them performed according to their training,” Conley said. Casebolt did not, he said.

‘They will never break me:’ Last of ‘Angola 3’ inmates waits for decision on possible release

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Albert Woodfox once told a friend after languishing for decades in isolation that he would not be broken — but friends and supporters worry about the toll it has taken on his mind and body.

The 68-year-old Woodfox is the last member of the “Angola Three” still locked up in a case that has highlighted the use of solitary confinement in U.S. prisons.

“Realistically, I thought Fox was dead,” said Parnell Herbert, a 66-year-old New Orleans playwright and boyhood friend of Woodfox, describing his thoughts after learning in 2001 of his friend’s solitary confinement. But Woodfox told Herbert, “They will never break me.”

Woodfox’s case took a dramatic turn Monday when a judge ordered his immediate release and barred the state from seeking his retrial on charges that he murdered a prison guard in 1972.

But the state is appealing the ruling and on Tuesday won an emergency stay of his immediate release, meaning he is likely to remain in jail until at least Friday.

Former Speaker Dennis Hastert enters not guilty plea during 1st court appearance

CHICAGO (AP) — Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert has pleaded not guilty to charges that he violated banking rules and lied to the FBI about promising to pay $3.5 million in hush money to conceal misconduct from his days as a high school teacher.

On Tuesday, during his first court appearance since he was indicted, the 73-year-old stood motionless, his hands folded and eyes downcast at the floor, as his attorney entered the plea on his behalf. When the judge asked if he understood he had to submit a DNA sample and could go to jail if he violated any conditions of his release, the man who was once second in the line of succession to the presidency answered quietly, “Yes, sir.”

Hastert has not spoken publicly about the accusations that emerged two weeks ago and quickly raised questions about possible sexual abuse by the once-powerful Republican legislator from Illinois. Neither he nor his attorneys commented after the hearing.

The politician-turned-lobbyist is accused of evading federal banking laws by withdrawing hundreds of thousands of dollars in smaller amounts and lying about the money when questioned.

At the start of Tuesday’s hearing, Hastert reached into a coat pocket and pulled out his passport, handing it to his attorney, who turned it over to a court official. Surrendering foreign travel documents is a standard condition of release.

Sweep in small town for 2 escaped killers comes up empty; increased police presence in area

WILLSBORO, N.Y. (AP) — Reports of two men walking along a road brought hundreds of law enforcement officers to a small town in the Adirondack foothills for a sweep that seemingly turned up no signs of two killers who escaped from a maximum-security prison, but state police said leads continued to be generated and there would be an increased police presence in the area.

The hunt that began over the weekend focused Tuesday on Willsboro, close to Lake Champlain, after residents reported seeing a couple of men walking on a road late Monday during a driving rainstorm.

Authorities have fielded numerous tips since the breakout Saturday from the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, about 20 miles from the Canadian border, but appeared to have focused most on this one.

Searchers walked shoulder-to-shoulder, wearing bulletproof vests and carrying sidearms as they went through hilly woods, fields and swamps, checking every home, garage, shed and outbuilding, then yelling, “Clear!” when there were no signs of the inmates.

By early evening, it appeared the sweep had come up empty, and there was no confirmation from police that the escaped convicts had been there. New York State Police issued a statement Tuesday saying that more than 400 corrections and other law enforcement officers were in the area and planned to go door to door, checking homes and seasonal camps.

NYC Health Department proposes high-sodium warning on menus; would be 1st US city to do so

NEW YORK (AP) — New York City’s Health Department wants all chain restaurants to warn customers about products that are high in salt.

The department is proposing at a meeting of the Board of Health on Wednesday that all chain restaurants add a salt-shaker-like symbol on menus next to products that contain more than the recommended daily limit. That’s 2,300 milligrams of sodium, about 1 teaspoon of salt.

If the city Board of Health votes to consider the proposal, a final vote could come as soon as September and the warnings by December.

Overconsumption of sodium increases the risk of high blood pressure, which can lead to heart attack and stroke. The average American consumes about 3,400 milligrams of sodium each day; only about one in 10 Americans meets the 1 teaspoon guideline.

New York City would become the first U.S. city with the labels if the measure passes.

Questions surround murder charges against Georgia woman who ended pregnancy with pill

Even opponents of abortion say it may be hard for Georgia authorities to follow through with prosecuting a woman who was charged with murder because she took a pill to terminate her pregnancy.

“I have been involved in the pro-life movement for well over 20 years, and I’m not aware of a situation like this ever,” said Genevieve Wilson, a director of the anti-abortion group Georgia Right to Life. “I’m very surprised by it.”

Kenlissia Jones, 23, of Albany was being held at the Dougherty County jail on charges of malice murder and possession of a dangerous drug. Albany is about 180 miles south of Atlanta.

District Attorney Greg Edwards said Tuesday evening he’s reviewing the case and is unsure whether he’ll ultimately prosecute Jones, though he said that “as of right now she’s still charged.”

Jones was arrested Saturday after a county social services worker called police to a hospital, according to an Albany police report. A hospital social worker told police that Jones said she had taken four pills she purchased over the Internet “to induce labor” because she and her boyfriend had broken up.

Putin visits Italy, pope as US seeks greater Vatican criticism

MILAN (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin was meeting Wednesday with Italian officials and Pope Francis as the U.S. sought to encourage the Vatican to join the West in condemning Moscow’s actions in Ukraine.

Putin was to speak with Premier Matteo Renzi in Milan before heading to the Vatican, fresh from his latest snub by the Group of Seven developed nations, which reaffirmed sanctions against Moscow at a summit this week.

While the pope has deplored the loss of life in Ukraine and called for all sides to respect the cease-fire, he has not publicly placed any blame on Russia in an apparent bid to not upset relations with the Orthodox Church.

The United States, NATO and European leaders have blamed Moscow for supplying rebels with manpower, training and weapons. Russia denies the claims.

On Tuesday, the U.S. ambassador to the Holy See, Kenneth Hackett, said the United States “would like to see the Vatican increase its” concern about what is happening in Ukraine during the pope’s meeting with Putin.