National Roundup

Florida
Drunk man took taxi to rob bank

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Authorities say an intoxicated man arrived by taxi to rob a Tallahassee, Florida, bank.

Police say 47-year-old Stanley Geddie demanded $100,000 from a bank manager Wednesday afternoon at the Capital City Bank, claiming he had a .357 handgun and C4 plastic explosives.

Officers say when they first arrived at the bank the cab driver told them Geddie had not paid his $25.50 fare. Officers then found Geddie in the bank manager's office, appearing "very intoxicated and spaced out." They say Geddie wouldn't follow their commands, prompting them to Taser him. No gun or explosives were found.

The Tallahassee Democrat reports that Geddie was arrested and charged with robbery, petty theft and resisting an officer. He was also being held on two probation violations.

Jail records didn't list an attorney.

New Jersey
School can fire guard over 'black thugs' post

VINELAND, N.J. (AP) - A federal judge ruled a New Jersey school district was within its rights to fire a security guard who posted on Facebook describing two men accused of killing a police officer as "black thugs" and suggesting "all white people should start riots and scare the hell out of them."

U.S. District Judge Joseph Irenas ruled Thursday that Mary Czaplinski is not likely to win a lawsuit against the Vineland Public Schools asserting that the district violated her freedom of speech.

The decision does not throw out her overall suit, though. She is seeking monetary damages from the district.

The guard was fired earlier this month for conduct unbecoming a public employee after a post about the shooting in Philadelphia. She also wrote that she was "praying hard" for the slain police officer, who was black. Her lawyer says she made a series of posts about the slaying when she was off work and at home.

The district noted the student population in Vineland is diverse and questioned the guard's ability to be an "unbiased arbiter."

The judge agreed, saying her statements "can reasonably be presumed to impede her proper performance of her daily duties as a security guard."

Pennsylvania
Transit system won't appeal order to allow Hitler bus ads

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Philadelphia's transit system says it won't appeal a federal judge's order that it must accept provocative ads that include a 1941 photograph of Adolf Hitler with a former Arab leader.

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority said Thursday a pro-Israel group requested advertising space before an agency policy change allowing it to reject offensive ads.

The American Freedom Defense Initiative's proposed ads carry the tagline: "Jew Hatred: It's in the Quran."

The ads will appear on the side of 84 buses. One features a 1941 photograph of Adolf Hitler and supporter Hajj Amin al-Husseini, a Palestinian Arab nationalist.

SEPTA says it changed its policy last October so it can reject ads without violating free speech rights. It says attempts to vandalize the ads or deface vehicles won't be tolerated.

Wisconsin
Jury: deputies not negligent in use of police dog

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) - A federal grand jury has found in favor of Pierce County sheriff's deputies who used a police dog during an arrest in 2011.

The News Tribune reports the jury deliberated for less than an hour this week before deciding that the deputies were not negligent when they sent Oni the police dog after Ronald Jones.

Jones sued the county for damages. He claimed he was hospitalized after being attacked by the dog.

The county argued during the trial in U.S. District Court in Tacoma that the deputies were trying to apprehend a potentially dangerous man.

They sent Oni after Jones when he tried to flee.

Arkansas
Judge tosses bias lawsuit byex-softball coach

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A federal judge has tossed a lawsuit by a former college women's softball coach that accused the university of gender and sexual orientation discrimination.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports the judge dismissed the case Thursday without prejudice, meaning Gidget Pambianchi can't refile it. Pambianchi had coached for Arkansas Tech University in Russellville.

Pambianchi, who is a lesbian, says she was fired in April 2012 after she moved to fire a male assistant coach for having a relationship with a player. She contends that assistant had accused her in March 2012 of sexual harassment.

Pambianchi had argued she was treated less favorably than her male peers by the university in assessing penalties. The college countered that the men hadn't been accused of sexual harassment.

Pambianchi's attorneys didn't return messages seeking comment.

Alabama
Lawsuit over adoption by gay couple dismissed

MOBILE, Ala. (AP) - The federal judge who overturned Alabama's ban on same-sex marriage has dismissed a lawsuit accusing a county probate judge of violating her ruling.

The couple whose lawsuit led U.S. District Judge Callie Granade to knock down the ban filed a new lawsuit last month against Mobile County Probate Judge Don Davis.

Davis had issued an "interlocutory decree" granting Cari Searcy temporary parental rights to the son she shares with Kim McKeand. But he said he would not issue a final adoption order until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on the marriage cases before it.

Searcy on Tuesday filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, saying Davis had removed disputed language from his order and recused himself from her case.

Granade issued an order Thursday dismissing the lawsuit.

Published: Mon, Mar 30, 2015

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