Tag Archives: arrested

Wisconsin lawmaker arrested for drunken driving

A police report says a Wisconsin lawmaker arrested for drunken driving told an officer he had “five or six beers.”

Greenfield police on Oct. 31 released the dash cam video and the report about Rep. Josh Zepnick. The Milwaukee Democrat was stopped around 8:20 p.m. on Oct. 29.

The Journal Sentinel reports the video shows Zepnick’s car being pulled over after an officer saw him go through a red light. The video then shows Zepnick undergoing field sobriety tests, which police say he failed.

According to the police report, Zepnick refused to take a breath test. 

Zepnick’s sister, Jamie Lynn Zepnick, was struck and killed by a drunken driver while riding her bicycle in 1990.

Zepnick on Oct. 30 apologized for his deciding to drive under the influence. His attorney had no comment on Oct. 31.

Police: Florida woman live streams while driving drunk

Authorities say 911 calls from concerned viewers led to the arrest of a Florida woman who was streaming live video of herself while driving drunk.

Lakeland police report 23-year-old Whitney Beall was using the social media app Periscope as she was driving over the weekend. The video shows her saying several times that she was drunk. She also said she had a flat tire and didn’t know where she was.

Other users messaged her urging her to stop driving before she caused a crash. Some called the police.

An officer logged onto the service and located Beall’s car, and officers pulled her over.

A news release says Beall failed a field sobriety test and refused to take a breath test. She was arrested and charged with driving under the influence. She was later released on $500 bail. Jail records didn’t list at attorney. Lakeland is about 35 miles east of Tampa.

Florida man charged with 2 deaths in Tampa’s LGBT community

Authorities say a southwest Florida man charged in the shooting death of a transgender woman has been charged in a second killing.

Keith Lamayne Gaillard, 18, is currently being held on a first-degree murder charge in the death of 25-year-old India Clarke. Officials say Gaillard’s DNA was found under Clarke’s fingernails. Detectives also reported finding a condom with Gaillard’s DNA inside Clarke’s car, which was found nearby. Her body was found July 21.

About a week later, Tampa police say Gaillard shot 46-year-old Tyrone Sean Davis in the back of the head. Davis’ family said they think he was gay.

Gaillard was charged late last week in the second slaying.

Police said they found the suspect’s fingerprints in Davis’ car.

The Tampa Bay Times reports a witness told police that Gaillard admitted killing Davis.

George Zimmerman arrested for domestic violence — again

George Zimmerman, whose acquittal of murdering an unarmed black teen in 2013 made him a hero on the political right and a symbol of what’s wrong with so-called “stand your ground” laws on the left, was arrested on Jan. 9 for allegedly throwing a wine bottle at his most recent girlfriend.

The incident is the latest in a series of domestic violence charges that Zimmerman has faced.

The Associated Press reported that Zimmerman, 31, was arrested for aggravated assault at his home in Florida’s Seminole County about 10 p.m. on Friday. He was released on a $5,000 bond Saturday afternoon.

At a court appearance earlier today, he was ordered to avoid contact with the woman, who was not identified. Judge John Galluzzo also ordered Zimmerman to stay out of Volusia County, where the woman lives, and to pack up any personal belongings his girlfriend might have left at his home and give them to his lawyer.

Zimmerman, who wore blue scrubs and handcuffs, appeared calm during the brief hearing. At one point, he laughed and joked with an officer as he signed paperwork.

Although the incident didn’t involve a firearm, the judge ordered Zimmerman to surrender any weapons in his possession. Zimmerman is scheduled to appear back in court on Feb. 17.

Zimmerman was acquitted in 2013 of a second-degree murder charge for shooting an unarmed teenager, Trayvon Martin.

Since his acquittal, Zimmerman has had several brushes with the law, including:

• He was arrested on charges of aggravated assault, battery and criminal mischief after his then-girlfriend said he pointed a gun at her face during an argument, smashed her coffee table and pushed her out of the house they shared. Samantha Scheibe decided not to cooperate with detectives and prosecutors didn’t pursue the case.

• Zimmerman was accused by his estranged wife of smashing an iPad during an argument at the home they had shared. Shellie Zimmerman initially told a dispatcher her husband had a gun, though she later said he was unarmed. No charges were ever filed because of a lack of evidence. The dispute occurred days after Shellie Zimmerman filed divorce papers.

• Zimmerman has also been pulled over three times for traffic violations since his acquittal.

Feeding the homeless: Act of charity or a crime?

To Arnold Abbott, feeding the homeless in a public park in South Florida was an act of charity. To the city of Fort Lauderdale, the 90-year-old man in white chef’s apron serving up gourmet-styled meals was committing a crime.

For more than two decades, the man many call “Chef Arnold” has proudly fired up his ovens to serve up four-course meals for the downtrodden who wander the palm tree-lined beaches and parks of this sunny tourist destination.

Now a face-off over a new ordinance restricting public feedings of the homeless has pitted Abbott and others with compassionate aims against some officials, residents and businesses who say the growing homeless population has overrun local parks and that public spaces merit greater oversight.

Abbott and two South Florida ministers were arrested this fall as they served up food. They were charged with breaking an ordinance restricting public feeding of the homeless. Each faces up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.

“One of the police officers said, `Drop that plate right now,’ as if I were carrying a weapon,” Abbott recalled.

The arrests haven’t deterred Abbott, and pastors Dwayne Black and Mark Sims.

In fact, on a recent evening, Abbott and Black went back out for a feeding along Fort Lauderdale beach as police videotaped them serving up fresh-cooked entrees: a chicken-and-vegetable dish with broccoli sauce and a cubed ham-and-pasta dish Abbott said he topped with a “beautiful white onion celery sauce.”

Nearly 100 mostly homeless people and volunteers cheered his arrival in the park.

“God bless you, Arnold!” some in the crowd shouted.

 “Thank God for Chef Arnold. I haven’t eaten all day. He feeds a lot of people from the heart,” said 56-year-old Eddie Hidalgo, who described himself as living on the streets since losing his job two years ago.

At one point, an Associated Press staffer said she watched as Abbott was called over beside a police car by officers where an officer wrote up something and handed Abbott a copy as he stood by.

Police spokeswoman DeAnna Greenlaw late told The Associated Press by email that Abbott was issued a citation on a charge of breaking the ordinance. She said no one else was cited and police had no further comment.

“I’m grateful that they allowed us to feed the people before they gave us the citation,” Abbott said afterward. He has said feeding the homeless is his life’s mission.

Fort Lauderdale is the latest U.S. city to pass restrictions on feeding homeless people in public places. Advocates for the homeless say that the cities are fighting to control increasing homeless populations but that simply passing ordinances doesn’t work.

In the past two years, more than 30 cities have tried to introduce laws similar to Fort Lauderdale’s, according to the National Coalition for the Homeless. The efforts come as more veterans face homelessness and after two harsh winters drove homeless people southward, especially to Florida.

Mayor Jack Seiler said he thinks Abbott and the two pastors have good intentions, but that the city can’t discriminate in enforcing the ordinance. He said it was passed recently to ensure that public places are open to everyone and stressed that the city was working with local charities to help with the root causes of homelessness.

“The parks have just been overrun and were inaccessible to locals and businesses,” Seiler said.  

Black, a local pastor, noted that the ordinance passed after a long meeting after midnight, when many people had gone home. But he said he’s willing to stand up to the measure, even at the risk of arrest.

Fort Lauderdale’s ordinance took effect this fall, and the city passed a slew of other laws addressing homelessness in recent months. They ban people from leaving their belongings unattended, outlaw panhandling at medians, and strengthen defecation and urination laws, according to Michael Stoops, director of community organizing for the National Coalition for the Homeless.

“I think cities have grown tired of the homeless situation, and businesses and residents complain about the homeless population,” Stoops said, citing the conflict between business needs and the needs of the homeless.

Fort Lauderdale police have said that the men were not taken into custody last weekend and that they were given notices to appear in court from that encounter, adding the matter will ultimately be decided by a judge. The police spokeswoman Greenlaw said those charged “were well aware of the changes to the ordinance and its effective date.”

Other cities are conducting routine homeless sweeps while some have launched anti-panhandling campaigns, according to the coalition. And many laws continue to target public feedings.

In Houston, groups need written consent to feed the homeless in public, or they face a $2,000 fine. Organizations in Columbia, South Carolina, must pay $150 for a permit more than two weeks in advance to feed the homeless in city parks.

In Orlando, an ordinance requires groups to get a permit to feed 25 or more people in parks in a downtown district. Groups are limited to two permits per year for each park. Since then, numerous activists have been arrested for violating the law. The arrests have drawn national attention, with some focusing on the contrast between the vacation destination of the Orlando area and the poverty in some surrounding areas.

Bush, Reagan, Nixon books burned at Washington library

Biographies of George Bush, Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon accounted for most of the dozen books burned in a fire at the main public library in Tacoma, Washington.

However, library workers don’t think the motive for the Oct. 18 fire was political. It was set in the American History section.

KING reported that Sharon Sailly of Tacoma pleaded not guilty on Oct. 20 to an arson charge and was ordered jailed on $500,000 bail.

Court papers say she poured lighter fluid on the books and started the fire because she had an issue with a librarian.

The fire forced about 250 patrons to evacuate the downtown library. 

U.S. Marine suspected of killing transgender Filipino

Philippine President Benigno Aquino III said this week that a murder investigation focused on a U.S. Marine should have no bearing on the two countries’ relations, while U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Washington seeks no “special privilege” for the suspect but only protection of his rights.

Pfc. Joseph Scott Pemberton, one of thousands of American and Philippine military personnel who took part in joint exercises earlier this month, is suspected in the killing of Jennifer Laude, a 26-year-old transgender Filipino. Philippine police and witnesses said the two met at a disco bar in the city of Olongapo on Oct. 11, then went to a motel room where Laude’s body was later found in the bathroom. She had apparently been drowned in the toilet, according to police Chief Inspector Gil Domingo.

Pemberton is being held on the USS Peleliu at the Subic Bay Freeport, about 50 miles northwest of Manila, and U.S. authorities have ordered the ship to stay there until the investigation is completed.

The Visiting Forces Agreement, which allows U.S. forces to conduct military drills in the Philippines, says that the Philippines can prosecute American service members, but that the U.S. has custody over them “from the commission of the offense until completion of all judicial proceedings.” The Philippine Supreme Court, however, ruled in 2009 that convicted U.S. personnel must serve any sentence in Philippine detention.

The killing has drawn protests, typically small, by opponents of the U.S. presence in the Philippines, as well as by LGBT civil rights groups that have described the killing as a hate crime. The nations signed an accord in April that allows greater U.S. military access to Philippine military camps, part of Washington’s pivot back to Asia, where it wants to counter China’s rising might.

Aquino defended the Visiting Forces Agreement and said Pemberton’s case would not affect it.

“Why would we abrogate the VFA? I mean, name me any place that doesn’t have a crime. And the sin of one person should be reflective of the entire country? I don’t think so,” Aquino said. He said the important task was to gather all the details that would pin down the killer “so we will get justice.”

Kerry, on a brief stop in Jakarta, Indonesia, for the inauguration of President Joko Widodo, said Pemberton’s rights must be protected under the law and existing accords.

“It is very important for our agreements to be upheld, it is very important for the rule of law to be upheld, for his rights to be protected but for the process to unfold appropriately,” Kerry said in the Indonesian capital, where he met his Philippine counterpart, Alberto del Rosario. “We will indeed uphold our agreements with our friends in the Philippines. They deserve nothing less.”

Accompanied by local police, Laude’s family filed a murder complaint against Pemberton with Olongapo prosecutors.

Late last week, Philippine authorities served a subpoena at the U.S. Embassy for Pemberton and four other Marines, who were sought as witnesses, to appear this week before prosecutors in Olongapo in a preliminary investigation. The prosecutors will decide if there is enough evidence for charges to be filed in court.

American investigators have worked with local police, but have not made public any details surrounding the case.

The U.S. Embassy said Sunday that prosecutors had met with the four witnesses. The embassy said it was up to the suspect whether to appear, depending on the advice of his Philippine lawyers.

3 charged in beating of gay couple in Philadelphia

Three people are charged in connection with an attack on a gay couple outside a Philadelphia restaurant earlier this month.

The assault, which resulted in hospitalization for the gay men, became a focus for amateur investigators who responded via social media to requests for leads from Philadelphia police.

Early Sept. 25, authorities announced charges against three young adults, who released on bail the same day.

They are 24-year-old Philip Williams of Warminster, 24-year-old Kathryn Knott of Southampton and 26-year-old Kevin Harrigan of Warrington.

Court records allege that the three individuals committed criminal conspiracy and two counts each of aggravated assault, simple assault and reckless endangerment.

They are accused assaulting a gay couple on the street outside a restaurant near Philadelphia’s popular gay neighborhood. The three allegedly held the two men on the ground and beat them, while hurling anti-gay slurs.

One man suffered an orbital fracture, which required his jaw to be wired.

Philadelphia, in the past decade, has made an effort to position the city as an eastern U.S. mecca for LGBT tourists.

German gay rights activist beaten, suffers brain injuries

A German gay rights activist suffered life-threatening brain injuries from a beating in Belgrade, Serbia on Sept. 13.

Authorities said they arrested three people suspected of being involved in the attack on the man, who was attending a gay rights conference in Belgrade.

A spokesperson for an LGBT group in Europe said the attack took place early on the Saturday morning, and that a group of young men beat the man with a glass ashtray. The spokesperson also said the assailants shouted about foreigners.

The man suffered internal bleeding and head injuries that news reports described as serious.

Far-right groups have long promoted anti-LGBT violence in Serbia, where the government has repeatedly vowed to protect human rights in its requests to join the European Union.

The most recent violence led to a pro-LGBT demonstration in Belgrade.

Mississippi man shot after reporting cross burning in yard

A Mississippi sheriff says a man was beaten and shot two weeks after calling authorities to report a cross burning in his yard, and investigators are trying to determine whether the attack was prompted by people being upset that the man was visited by his mixed-race grandchildren.

Deputies were called to a disturbance late last week in a rural community outside Raleigh. Craig Wilson, 45, had been shot in the stomach and beaten and was taken to University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, said Smith County Sheriff Charlie Crumpton. He was in fair condition on Aug. 19, a hospital spokesman said.

Investigators heard numerous reports from relatives about what might have started a confrontation between Wilson and 37-year-old Jeff Daniels, Crumpton said. Among other things, the sheriff said investigators were checking whether it might have been connected to people being upset about visits from Wilson’s mixed-race grandchildren. The children’s mother — Craig Wilson’s daughter — is white, and their father is black, the sheriff said.

Crumpton said Daniels was arrested and booked with aggravated assault. He was released on Aug. 18 on $20,000 bond.

Wilson and Daniels are both white. The victim is the boyfriend of the arrested man’s mother, Crumpton said.

Crumpton said he doesn’t know whether there’s a connection between the cross burning and the shooting. He said Wilson called the sheriff’s department and investigators went to see the burned cross, but Wilson didn’t press charges.

The cross burning and the shooting and beating took place in the Cohay community of Smith County, about 45 miles southeast of Jackson, where Wilson and Daniels are neighbors, the sheriff said.

Wilson and relatives were having a cookout when a confrontation erupted, witnesses said. Wilson’s sister, Julie Wilson, told WLBT-TV that Daniels and his son, who’s a minor, showed up at Craig Wilson’s home and a confrontation erupted.

“They called him some severe names and then they told him to leave and they chased him off his porch around his house and beat him with brass knuckles and then shot him with his own gun,” Julie Wilson told the TV station.

Wilson’s sister-in-law, Anita Wilson, told AP on Aug. 19 that she talked to Craig Wilson the night the cross was burned in the yard of the home he shares with Gaylene Daniels. Craig Wilson has three grandsons who are 4, 5 and 6 and a granddaughter who’s 3, and Anita Wilson said the grandsons were visiting the couple and inside the home when the cross was burned. She said Craig Wilson told her that Jeff Daniels had yelled a racial epithet about children, saying they shouldn’t be at the home.

Anita Wilson said the children were not at the home the night of the shooting. She considers the shooting a hate crime, but the sheriff said the district attorney told him Mississippi’s hate-crime law could only apply if both the shooter and the victim are not of the same race.

“How do they not understand it’s a hate crime when it was over the kids?” Anita Wilson said.

The state hate-crimes law was enacted in 1994 but has seldom been used to prosecute cases.

Crumpton said a case against Daniels could be presented to the grand jury, probably in October.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether Daniels has an attorney.