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February 22, 2016

Say hello to Melody Ellison, the newest American Girl doll.

Like the other dolls in the BeForever historical line — including wealthy orphan Samantha Parkington from 1904, gentle Josefina Montoya from 1824, daughter of Jewish Russian immigrants Rebecca Rubin from 1914 — Melody has a story: She is a nine-year-old growing up in Detroit during the 1960s civil rights era. She loves to sing, and has her own recording studio that plays Motown music (sold separately).

Melody is the third African American American Girl doll, and Julia Prohaska, vice president of marketing for the company, told CBS News there's a reason why she is coming years after the introduction of the Addy Walker doll (a young girl who escaped from slavery in 1864). "We do approach every character very thoughtfully so this isn't something we rush into," she said. "We're not looking to address critical demand — we're looking to tell stories in the most authentic and genuine way that we possibly can."

A six-person advisory board was formed to develop Melody, including historians, educators, and the late civil rights activist Julian Bond. They worked with a designer and Mark Speltz, a senior historian, who wanted to ensure that Melody embodied the movement that was "driven by average, ordinary Americans." American Girl is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, and since 1986, has sold more than 29 million dolls and 153 million books. Melody will go on sale (for $115) later this summer. Catherine Garcia

9:52 a.m. ET
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A police officer named Michael Kelley from Prairie View, Texas — the small town where Sandra Bland died under disputed circumstances — says he was forced to suppress evidence of departmental wrongdoing pertaining to Bland's death.

By Kelley's account, the top Waller County prosecutor refused to let him testify before a grand jury to share observations Kelley believes could have helped produce an indictment. In a recorded phone conversation, Kelley describes threats of retaliation including loss of his career should he speak out about having observed marks on Bland's forehead after the traffic stop as well as debates among fellow officers about how to charge Bland after she had already been arrested.

Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis categorically denied all Kelley's allegations. When the grand jury deliberations concluded in December of 2015, no one was indicted in connection with Bland's death. Meanwhile, Kelley himself is now suspended from the police department after he was caught on camera using a stun gun on a local city official who, like Bland, was African-American. Bonnie Kristian

9:45 a.m. ET

Not only have the Democrats squashed the Republicans in TV ratings, it looks like they've just taken the lead on Instagram, too. This photo, from the Democratic convention, is not just Clinton's most-liked Instagram picture of all time, but the most-liked photograph of all of the candidates in the entire 2016 presidential race:

We love you back, President Obama.

A photo posted by Hillary Clinton (@hillaryclinton) on

It's easy to see why. Awwww. Jeva Lange

9:42 a.m. ET
Marc Piscotty/Getty Images

Hillary Clinton got massive applause Thursday night at the Democratic convention when she said this about her election rival, Donald Trump: "A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons."

Naturally, Trump responded Friday morning via Twitter by slamming Clinton's speech, claiming, "Crooked Hillary Clinton made up facts about me, and 'forgot' to mention the many problems of our country, in her very average scream!"

The Democratic convention's TV ratings were higher across the board than the viewership for the Republican gathering last week — sometimes by several million people — which prompted Trump on Thursday to implore his supporters not to watch Clinton's nomination acceptance speech. Jeva Lange

8:36 a.m. ET
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Animal behavior specialists are bewildered by an incident at the Zoological Garden of Rabat, in Morocco, in which a female elephant picked up a stone and threw it at the crowd, striking and killing a 7-year-old girl.

"The behavior … of any animal is very complex and wild animals are unpredictable," said Abderahim Salhi, the zoo's veterinarian. "We are all surprised. We don't yet understand."

The elephant threw the stone, which was about half the size of a brick, more than 33 feet, over a ditch and a wooden barrier; it struck the girl in the head. "In my opinion, it's unlikely the elephant was directly targeting the girl but exhibiting frustration," Phyllis Lee, the scientific director of the Amboseli Trust for Elephants, told the BBC.

The Rabat zoo defended its enclosure, which it said met the international standards, and called the incident "rare, unpredictable, and strange."

"We are very sad at what happened, but it would be wrong to blame the elephant. This was not premeditated," Salma Slimani, in charge of zoo administration, told The Associated Press. Jeva Lange

8:10 a.m. ET

Hillary Clinton's historic nomination on Thursday night was somewhat bittersweet, as one can't help but wish that the thousands of women who fought to get America to this moment could have seen her on that stage. Luckily, Stephen Colbert owns a time machine and he used it to beam in Josephine Henley and Abitha Whitmore from the night of July 4, 1776.

Never mind the uncanny resemblance the female delegates have to Broad City's Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer — Henley and Whitmore are pretty excited to hear the good news about Hillary Clinton. Well, that is until they realize they misheard Colbert say the date by 200 years.

The two have a pretty big scolding for America taking its sweet time to nominate a woman, and you can get a hilarious earful, below. Jeva Lange

8:06 a.m. ET
Ken Levine /Getty Images

One San Diego police officer was killed and another injured when a gunman opened fire on them late Thursday night. After the shooting, authorities urged people in the surrounding area to stay inside as police helicopters searched for a suspect. Police said they had one person in custody, although they did not immediately identify the suspect. Investigators also did not say what could have been the gunman's motive.

The city and others around the country have been on high alert since gunmen ambushed and killed police in Dallas and Baton Rouge. Harold Maass

7:40 a.m. ET

Photos of Hillary Clinton gazing out across the Democratic convention or noticing with childlike glee the fireworks at the end of her speech will be saved in the files of American history for many, many a decade to come as she became the first female presidential nominee selected by a major party since the founding of the nation. Naturally, it was important for her to look great:

But for women, the choice of what to wear has always been a political act, something that Clinton did not forget. Her white pantsuit — possibly selected with the help of Vogue editor Anna Wintour — was the perfect choice for the historic moment:

[The outfit] carried the symbolic weight of more than a century of American feminist history.

Women in the suffrage movement, which fought for decades to secure a woman's right to vote around the turn of the 20th century, were often encouraged to wear white during parades and demonstrations. Historians believe it likely represented purity and the movement's elevated ideals. [Quartz]

Geraldine Ferraro, who was the first woman to accept the vice presidential nomination of a major party, also wore white during her acceptance speech in 1984 as a conscious nod to the suffragettes. Jeva Lange

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