National Roundup

Bill asserts video evidence not always reliable

PHOENIX (AP) - Police unions in Arizona want officers involved in violent confrontations that are captured on body cameras to be read a notice explaining that such footage doesn't always mirror reality.

The Arizona Capitol Times reports that a proposal before the Arizona Legislature challenges the notion that video evidence in police shootings and fights is foolproof. The bill would have officers be read a notice that also tells them they are not obligated to explain any differences between their memories of the event and video.

Fraternal Order of Police Executive Director Jim Mann says the proposed law would only apply to officers in administrative investigations which check if officers violated department policy, not criminal probes.

Defense attorneys and civil rights groups say the proposed script would give officers a blueprint to explain away misconduct documented on video.

North Dakota
Backers to keep pushing for sexualdiscrimination bill

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Supporters of a bill that would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation are vowing to keep fighting for rights, despite the bill's rejection by North Dakota lawmakers for the fourth time in recent years.

About 50 of the bill's supporters watched Friday as the House bill was defeated 69-22.

Kevin Tengesdal, a member of the LGBT community and a gay rights activist in Bismarck, told the Bismarck Tribune he's saddened, but hopeful that the legislation will eventually pass in North Dakota.

Bismarck resident Vallie Needham, who is bisexual, said it's absurd that the bill failed and that she and her husband plan to leave the state in a few years for a career move - but that the legislators' decision will weigh into the decision.

"North Dakota definitely feels very hostile to the LGBT community," she said. Needham, who said she once was a staunch conservative, said she'll be watching the actions of her district legislators and will possibly be involved in next year's efforts to oust those who don't support the LGBT community.

Bill opponents have argued that the measure is unnecessary and could force businesses and religious organizations to go against their own convictions.

Christopher Dodson, executive director of the North Dakota Catholic Conference, said repeated attempts to pass legislation isn't the right way for the LGBT community to reach its goal.

"The right way to do it is by changing hearts and minds," Dodson said. "If more people treated people with respect, it wouldn't be an issue."

KKK leader's wife held on suspicion of his murder

LEADWOOD, Mo. (AP) - The wife of a Ku Klux Klan leader from Missouri who was found fatally shot over the weekend is jailed on suspicion of first-degree murder.

An official at the St. Francois County Jail told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Monday that 44-year-old Malissa Ancona is in custody. Charges have not been filed.

Her husband, 51-year-old Frank Ancona, was found fatally shot near the Big River Saturday. He had not been seen for several days. His vehicle was found Thursday on a forestry service road near Potosi.

Ancona called himself an imperial wizard with the Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. A website for the group includes an image of Ancona in a white hood and robe standing in front of a burning cross.

Questions raised about drunken defendant's trial

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - A public defender says someone should have stopped an Omaha hearing before a judge sentenced an apparently intoxicated woman who, minutes later, tested out 5½ times the legal limit to drive.

The Omaha World-Herald reports the judge gave Sarah Carr 90 days after she acknowledged violating probation by being arrested Oct. 25 on suspicion of drunken driving.

Her aunt told the judge that Carr was not at the Feb. 2 hearing because she was passed out drunk outside. A wheelchair soon was used to take Carr into the Omaha courtroom.

The judge told the World-Herald he couldn't be certain Carr was drunk at the hearing, but county Public Defender Tom Riley says the judge, the prosecutor or Carr's court-appointed attorney should have sought a delay until Carr was tested.

New Jersey
Judge won't throw out evidence in weapons case

JERSEY CITY, N.J. (AP) - A New Jersey judge on Monday announced her decision not to throw out evidence against three people who said they were on a rescue mission to help save a teenager from a New York heroin den when they were stopped with a cache of weapons outside of the Holland Tunnel last June.

John Cramsey, Dean Smith and Kimberly Arendt, all of Pennsylvania, have pleaded not guilty to weapons possession charges. They were stopped on their way to help a teen girl who had sent a message to Arendt, her former camp counselor, after a friend died of an overdose in a hotel room.

Judge Mitzy Galis-Menendez revealed her decision in court Monday after defense lawyers argued to suppress key evidence in the case. A Port Authority of New York and New Jersey police officer said he stopped the car over a windshield crack and objects hanging from the rearview mirror, but the defendants argued it's more likely they were pulled over because they were driving a truck adorned with crosshairs and pro-Second Amendment decals.

Galis-Menendez gave prosecutors until Friday to offer a plea deal to the defendants. She also rejected offering pretrial intervention to Cramsey.

The story already has ended tragically for the teen at the center of the case.

Jenea Patterson, 18, died of an apparent drug overdose last month at a hospital near Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, according to her father, James Patterson.

Patterson said the older of his two daughters had a good heart and enjoyed helping others, but started abusing prescription pills when she was 13. She later started using heroin and was sent to a program for troubled youth in 2014, where she met Arendt. But Patterson said his daughter got worse after leaving.

"I begged people, if you let that child on the street, she's going to die." Patterson said. "Here we are two years later, I'm burying my daughter."

Grief-stricken after the death of his daughter, Cramsey became an anti-drug crusader, starting a group of concerned parents and going on rescue missions to help addicts get into treatment. He owned a gun range in Pennsylvania but did not have a permit in New Jersey to transport five handguns, a shotgun and semi-automatic military-style rifle.

"I would tell the judge to let him go," Patterson said. "The man, all he was trying to do was to help a child. They just need to drop the charges. He's doing the job that (law enforcement) should be doing."

Published: Tue, Feb 14, 2017