The week at a glance ... United States
Police kill 7-year-old: Detroit police raiding a home killed a 7-year-old girl this week, throwing a flash-bang grenade that burned her and then firing a shot that hit her in the neck. Aiyana Jones, 7, was sleeping on the sofa after midnight when officers searching for a murder suspect threw a flash-bang device into her home and entered, guns drawn. Police said one officer collided with the child’s grandmother, causing his gun to go off by accident. “They blew my granddaughter’s brains out,” said the grandmother, Mertilla Jones. “I watched the light go out of her eyes.” Police arrested a man in the separate, upstairs unit of the duplex home, saying he was wanted for questioning in a homicide. Assistant Police Chief Ralph Godbee called the incident “a tragedy of unspeakable magnitude.” The Jones family is suing the police for negligence and misconduct.
‘Family values’ advocate resigns: Rep. Mark Souder, an evangelical Christian and outspoken advocate of abstinence before marriage, resigned his seat this week after admitting to an extramarital affair with a staffer. Souder, who is 59 and married, had served in Congress since 1994. Multiple sources have identified the staffer involved as Tracy Jackson, a married woman who worked part time in his district office and made pro-abstinence advertisements with him at a local Christian radio station. Souder said he would focus on repairing his relationship with his wife and family, away from what he called the “poisonous atmosphere” of Washington. Indiana will hold a special election to fill Souder’s seat.
Doctor accused of doping: A Canadian sports doctor who has treated golfer Tiger Woods and baseball star Alex Rodriguez was indicted this week on charges of providing professional football players with illegal performance-enhancing drugs. Prosecutors said Anthony Galea gave human growth hormone to an unnamed retired NFL player and another drug to a current NFL player. Galea denied the allegations. Authorities began looking into the doctor’s cases last year, after his assistant, Mary Anne Catalano, was stopped at the U.S.-Canada border with a supply of human growth hormone. She is cooperating with prosecutors. Galea, who lives in Toronto, also faces charges in Canada. Woods, Rodriguez, and other pro players Galea has treated denied receiving HGH, saying he provided other therapies to help them recover from injuries.
Assassination word problem: An Alabama high school teacher has been suspended after using the hypothetical assassination of President Barack Obama as a way to teach angles to his geometry students. Senior Joseph Brown told the Birmingham News that his teacher, Gregory Harrison, “was talking about angles and said, ‘If you’re in this building, you would need to take this angle to shoot the president.’” Harrison was questioned by the Secret Service, which said he would not be charged with a crime, but he has been placed on leave from Corner High School. Saying Harrison exercised “extremely poor judgment,” Jefferson County Schools Superintendent Phil Hammonds promised to have “a long conversation with him about what’s appropriate.”
Transfer student fools Harvard: A former Harvard senior was indicted this week on charges of defrauding the school of more than $50,000 in scholarships and awards by doctoring his academic record to show a straight-A average and perfect SATs. Harvard authorities say Adam Wheeler, 23, claimed to have attended the exclusive Phillips Andover prep school and MIT when he transferred to Harvard in 2007. In fact, he attended neither school, instead spending two years at Maine’s Bowdoin College before leaving amid plagiarism accusations. He left Harvard after being accused of plagiarizing the work of a professor there, and was trying to transfer to Yale, falsely claiming a 4.0 average at Harvard, a host of nonexistent awards and scholarly papers, and mastery of three dead languages. Wheeler’s alleged deception was uncovered only when his parents were contacted by an admissions officer at Yale and insisted he come clean. He has pleaded not guilty.
Flap over service record: Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal’s campaign to succeed Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd hit a pothole this week when it was revealed that Blumenthal made misleading statements about serving in Vietnam. In a 2008 speech, Blumenthal said, “We have learned something important since the days I served in Vietnam.” He also spoke of remembering “the taunts, the insults, even the physical abuse” inflicted on veterans “when we returned.” In fact, Blumenthal received five draft deferments before joining the Marine Corps Reserve and never saw action overseas. Appearing at a news conference flanked by former Marines, Blumenthal said that he took full responsibility for what he called “a few misplaced words,” but said he intends to remain in the Senate race.