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May 11, 2021

Prosecutors will seek the death penalty for Robert Aaron Long, the suspect in March's shooting at three Atlanta-area spas, CNN reports.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis filed a notice Tuesday indicating she will seek the death penalty and enhanced hate crimes charges for Long, according to the report. Eight people were killed in the shootings, six of whom were women of Asian descent.

In the filing, Willis said that Long allegedly "targeted some of the victims because they were of Asian descent," The New York Times writes. This case will be the "first test" of a Georgia hate crimes law passed last year, under which suspects can face enhanced penalties if victims were targeted for their race, gender, or sexual orientation, CNN notes. The Cherokee County Sheriff's office said in March that Long claimed to investigators "the crimes were not racially motivated."

Long has reportedly been indicted on 19 counts, including four charges of felony murder. Brendan Morrow

April 15, 2021

A Chicago police watchdog group released body camera footage on Thursday that showed an officer fatally shooting 13-year-old Adam Toledo.

Last month, a Chicago police officer chased Toledo down an alley after responding to a call of shots fired, and saw what appeared to be a gun in his hand, reports NBC News. After the officer yelled "police, stop," Toledo turned and raised his hands, neither of which appeared to be holding a weapon, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Less than one second later, footage made public by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability shows, the officer, identified as Eric Stillman, shot Toledo in the chest. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The teen's family, who viewed the video before it was made public, said it was "extremely difficult and heartbreaking for everyone present" to watch. John Catanzara, president of the Fraternal Order of Police, said the officer was justified because Toledo "still turned with a gun in his hand."

Before the footage was released, Stillman had reported that Toledo "did not follow verbal commands, fled, posed an imminent threat, used force likely to cause death or great bodily harm, and that he was armed with a semi-automatic pistol," reports BuzzFeed News, writing that some of those claims "do not appear to be borne out by the body worn video."

Prosecutors previously said Toledo turned toward the officer with a gun in his hand, but shortly before the video was released, the Cook County State's Attorney's Office said the attorney who asserted that "failed to fully inform himself before speaking in court," per BuzzFeed.

Toledo's death has already sparked protests in Chicago, and Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Thursday urged calm as COPA completes further investigation. Stillman has been placed on administrative duties for 30 days.

Read more at the Chicago Sun-Times and BuzzFeed News. Summer Meza

April 14, 2021

No charges will be brought in the fatal shooting of Ashli Babbitt during the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, the Justice Department announced.

The DOJ said Wednesday that the Capitol Police officer who fatally shot Babbitt during the riot will not face charges, as an investigation determined "there is insufficient evidence to support a criminal prosecution."

Babbitt was a part of the mob that stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 as Congress was meeting to certify President Biden's election win. Rioters tried to break through a set of glass doors that officers had barricaded outside of the Speaker's Lobby, and when Babbitt tried to climb through one of the doors, she was shot once in her left shoulder by a Capitol Police officer, according to the DOJ. Babbitt died from her injuries after being taken to Washington Hospital Center.

Prosecutors said there was not evidence establishing that the officer "did not reasonably believe that it was necessary to do so in self-defense or in defense of the Members of Congress and others evacuating the House Chamber," and prosecutors announced the closing of the investigation while "acknowledging the tragic loss of life and offering condolences to Ms. Babbitt's family."

According to The Washington Post, given the circumstances of the shooting and the "high bar" necessary to meet to establish that an officer in such a case "willfully" used more force than necessary, this outcome "was not unexpected" by experts. Brendan Morrow

April 14, 2021

Kim Potter, the white Minnesota police officer who shot and killed 20-year-old Daunte Wright, has reportedly been arrested and will be charged with second-degree manslaughter.

The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension confirmed to the The New York Times that Potter was taken into custody on Wednesday morning, and Washington County prosecutor Pete Orput told the Times the complaint will be filed later in the day.

This comes after Potter resigned on Tuesday after she fatally shot Wright, a Black man, during a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. Tim Gannon, the Brooklyn Center Police chief who has since announced his resignation, said that Potter appeared to have had the "intention to deploy" her Taser, but "instead shot Mr. Wright with a single bullet."

Police also released video of the incident, which showed Potter shouting "Taser" and saying, "Holy s---. I just shot him." Wright's killing has sparked three nights of protests around police headquarters in Brooklyn Center.

According to the Star Tribune, the charge Potter is facing carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. Brendan Morrow

April 14, 2021

Bernie Madoff, the former Wall Street financier who was convicted of carrying out a massive Ponzi scheme, died in prison on Wednesday morning at age 82, a Bureau of Prisons spokesperson told The Daily Beast.

Madoff was carrying out his sentence at the Federal Medical Center in Butner, North Carolina, due to a terminal kidney disease. His death was of natural causes, The Associated Press reports, and is not believed to be COVID-19 related. In 2009, Madoff pleaded guilty and admitted to "swindling thousands of clients out of billions of dollars in investments over decades," writes AP. He was sentenced to 150 years in prison. Madoff said he was "deeply sorry and ashamed."

His scheme, considered the largest in U.S. history, nabbed an estimated $17.5 billion from investors, and "around $13 billion has been recovered since his conviction," reports The Daily Beast. The Week Staff

April 8, 2021

Former NFL player Phillip Adams has reportedly been identified as the suspect in a deadly shooting in South Carolina.

The former NFL star allegedly shot and killed five people in South Carolina and died by suicide on Thursday, The Associated Press reported, citing a source briefed on the investigation.

A prominent doctor, Dr. Robert Lesslie, was killed in the shooting, as was his wife and their two grandchildren and a man who was working at the home, officials said. A sixth person was also reportedly hospitalized with gunshot wounds. According to The Daily Beast, the shooting took place on Wednesday at Lesslie's home outside of Rock Hill, South Carolina, and the suspect was found following an eight-hour manhunt.

Adams, who had reportedly been treated by the doctor, played for six teams over five seasons in the NFL, including the New York Jets and the Atlanta Falcons. York County Sheriff’s Office's spokesperson Trent Faris told AP that Lesslie was "one of those people that everybody knows" in Rock Hill.

"It is impossible to imagine the grief that the extended Lesslie family must be feeling, including and especially their adult children," Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.) said Thursday. "Please join me in lifting them up in prayers, and wrapping them in the same love and support they've shown many of us over the years." Brendan Morrow

February 25, 2021

Lady Gaga is reportedly offering a reward of $500,000 for the return of her two French bulldogs after they were stolen and her dog walker was shot.

The pop star's dog walker was shot on Wednesday night while walking her three bulldogs in Hollywood, "and the gunman made off with two of the dogs," Koji and Gustav, TMZ reports.

Gaga's dog walker was reportedly taken to a hospital and is expected to make a full recovery, while the third dog has been recovered, the report says.

Police say that a "male suspect took the two bulldogs from the victim, used a semi-automatic handgun and fled the scene in a white sedan," CNN reports. Gaga, who TMZ says is in Rome working on a movie, is reportedly offering a reward of half a million dollars for the return of the dogs and asking anyone who might have them to email KojiandGustav@gmail.com. It reportedly isn't clear if the suspect specifically targeted Lady Gaga's dogs.

"French bulldogs are in demand and expensive," TMZ writes, "so our sources say it's possible the gunman did not know the dogs were owned by Lady Gaga." Brendan Morrow

February 23, 2021

Tiger Woods has been hospitalized after sustaining injuries in a car accident.

The legendary golfer was involved in a "single vehicle roll-over traffic collision" on Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said. The vehicle sustained "major damage," and Woods was extracted from the wreck by firefighters and paramedics with the "Jaws of Life," according to the department.

Woods, who was the vehicle's only occupant, was taken to a local hospital for his injuries, officials said. TMZ notes he was in the area for the Genesis Invitational golf tournament.

According to CNN, the Los Angeles County Fire Department described his injuries as "moderate to critical." Woods' agent told Golf Digest he "suffered multiple leg injuries" in the accident and "is currently in surgery." The agent added, "We thank you for your privacy and support." Brendan Morrow

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