National Roundup

Alabama
Ex-officer pleads not guilty in clash with Indian man

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) - A former Alabama police officer says he is innocent of violating the rights of an Indian man during a violent confrontation.

Alabama media outlets report that Eric Sloan Parker entered a plea of not guilty during a brief appearance in federal court in Huntsville on Tuesday.

Parker is free on $5,000 bond. A judge scheduled his trial for June 1.

The 26-year-old Parker is accused of using unreasonable force against 57-year-old Indian grandfather Sureshbhai Patel in February.

Patel was walking in suburban Madison where he was visiting family when a resident called police about a suspicious man.

Police video captured images of an officer slamming Patel to the ground face-first. He's still recovering from injuries.

Parker also faces a state assault charge. A hearing in that case is set for May 13.

Kentucky
Prosecutors: Nine nabbed for theft of bourbon

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Nine people were indicted Tuesday on charges of spiriting away what Kentucky authorities say was more bourbon whiskey than one person could drink in a lifetime.

Prosecutors say the scheme led by rogue distillery workers lasted for years and involved tens of thousands of dollars' worth of whiskey but began to unravel when whiskey barrels were discovered behind a Franklin County shed.

The theft targeted the Buffalo Trace and Wild Turkey distilleries, they said, and included some of the most prestigious brands in the business, including pricey Pappy Van Winkle bourbon. It had been going on since 2008 or 2009, officials said.

Sheriff Pat Melton estimated the recovered whiskey alone is worth at least $100,000.

All nine are charged with engaging in organized crime as members of a criminal syndicate.

The indictments tied together the theft of heavy barrels of Wild Turkey whiskey earlier this year and the disappearance of Pappy Van Winkle bourbon.

The hard-to-get Pappy Van Winkle brand is made at the Buffalo Trace Distillery, using a Van Winkle family recipe that traces back to the 1800s.

Kentucky is home to about 95 percent of the world's bourbon production, according to the Kentucky Distillers' Association.

Connecticut
$3M settlement in lawsuit over domestic killing

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - A Connecticut city where police officers and dispatchers were accused of negligence and ethnic discrimination in the response to what became a murder-suicide in 2010 has agreed to settle a lawsuit by the victim's family for $3 million.

The estate of Turkish immigrant Shengyl Rasim (SHEN'-jill rah-SEEM') sued West Haven and its police department in federal court in 2011. The estate's lawyer, Joel Faxon, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that a settlement has been reached and is pending probate court approval.

The 25-year-old Rasim was fatally shot by her husband, 42-year-old Selami Ozdemir (Seh-lah-mee OHZ'-deh-meer), hours after Ozdemir was arrested on a domestic violence complaint and posted bail. Ozdemir then killed himself.

The city's lawyer didn't return a message Tuesday.

The case spurred changes in state domestic violence laws.

Kansas
Man pleads not guilty to federal terrorism charges

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) - A 20-year-old Kansas man pleads not guilty to federal charges accusing him of trying to bomb an Army installation in support of a terrorist group.

John T. Booker Jr. appeared Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Kansas, wearing an orange jumpsuit and his legs in shackles. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports Booker politely responded to Judge James P. O'Hara's questions as he entered his plea.

He's charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction, attempting to damage property by means of an explosive and attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State group.

The Topeka man was arrested near Junction City on April 10 by FBI agents who say he was trying to arm a fake car bomb he planned to detonate at Fort Riley.

Delaware
Suspect in Arkansas killing fights extradition

DOVER, Del. (AP) - The attorney for a Delaware man accused in a 1967 Arkansas killing says his client is being held illegally as he fights extradition.

In court papers filed this week, the public defender for James Leon Clay of Georgetown says Clay was arrested on March 10 and has been incarcerated beyond the permitted 30 days, with no extension sought by or granted to state authorities.

In arguing that Clay should be released from custody, his attorney also says an Arkansas sheriff's affidavit seeking an arrest warrant is not validly sworn because the space for a notary's signature is blank.

The 67-year-old Clay is the subject of an Arkansas warrant charging him with first-degree murder in the shooting death of 27-year-old James Ricks, whose remains were found in 1967.

California
LA attorney, 73, who challenged chokeholds, dies

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Michael R. Mitchell, an attorney who challenged the Los Angeles Police Department's use of chokeholds and won an injunction temporarily banning their use, died Friday at his Los Angeles home. He was 73.

His wife told the Los Angeles Times that he had pancreatic cancer.

In 1981 the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals issued an injunction banning the LAPD from using chokeholds after Mitchell's high-profile cases. However the Supreme Court rejected his arguments two years later.

Mitchell was born in Orangeburg, South Carolina and grew up in Kentucky and North Carolina. He received a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Kentucky's Transylvania University and a master's in mathematics from the University of North Carolina. He graduated from Harvard Law School in 1968.

He leaves his wife, Barbara, and six daughters.

Published: Wed, Apr 22, 2015

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