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City of Chicago declares climate crisis after storms cause millions of dollars in damage to Lake Michigan shoreline

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Scott Olson/Getty Images(CHICAGO) — Officials in Chicago have declared a climate crisis after a round of severe storms last month caused millions of dollars in damage to the city’s already disappearing shoreline on Lake Michigan. In addition to the storms, record-high water levels in Lake Michigan during January also caused erosion on the lakefront, ABC Chicago station WLS reported. After Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot declared a local disaster for the portions of the destroyed beaches last week, the City Council environmental committee passed a resolution Monday to declare a climate crisis to seek resources to repair the damage, according to WLS. The resolution does not require the city to take any action but pledges that the council will work with Lightfoot to develop a budget to promote “urgent climate action,” the Chicago Tribune reported. The City Council also called on Lightfoot to re-establish a municipal Department of the Environment, which was eliminated by former Mayor Rahm Emanuel when he took office in 2011 to cut costs. “I think that we need a dedicated aspect of our city bureaucracy that’s focused

Student's parent charged with sex trafficking, forced labor at Sarah Lawrence College

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Stephanie Keith/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — A 60-year-old man has been accused of targeting students at Sarah Lawrence College in Yonkers, New York, and subjecting them “to sexual and psychological manipulation and physical abuse,” according to an indictment released Tuesday. Lawrence Ray was charged with sex trafficking, extortion, forced labor and other offenses regarding his alleged criminal actions, some of which he went on with for nearly a decade, according to the indictment from federal prosecutors in Manhattan. He is believed to have laundered about $1 million from his victims, most of whom were teens and young adults that participated in so-called therapy sessions he put on to purportedly help with psychological problems, prosecutors said. Sarah Lawrence College said in a statement to ABC News that the school “just learned of the indictment,” but called the charges “serious, wide-ranging, disturbing, and upsetting.” “We have not been contacted by the Southern District of New York, but will of course cooperate in their investigation to the full extent of the law if invited to do so,” according to the statement. Ray’s alleged criminal

16th inmate dies in troubled Mississippi prison system

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rawf8/iStock(JACKSON, Miss.) — A 54-year-old inmate died this week at Mississippi’s most notorious penitentiary, the 16th prisoner since late December to perish in the state’s correctional facilities, where living conditions have been called inhumane and which have been beset by cellblock murders, suicides, riots and escapes. James Allen Brown, 54, a convicted murderer serving a life sentence at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman, died on Monday, according to the Sunflower County Medical Examiner’s Office. Heather Burton, the county coroner, said there’s no evidence of foul play, telling ABC affiliate station WLOX-TV in Biloxi that Brown, who began his term in 1993, “was in the inpatient department and had been receiving treatment for a terminal illness.” The cause of Brown’s death is pending autopsy results. The death comes less than a week after the Department of Justice announced its Civil Rights Division’s Special Litigation Section is launching an investigation into conditions at four Mississippi prisons, including Parchman. DOJ officials said the investigation will focus on whether the Mississippi Department of Corrections adequately protects prisoners from physical harm by other prisoners

Sex assault suspect who binds, possibly stalks victims on the run: Police

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Houston Police(HOUSTON) — Houston authorities are searching for a man linked to three sexual assaults and who’s believed to be on the run. Brandon Jay Carter, 28, is accused of three aggravated sexual assaults from June 2019 to January, police said. Carter is “very brutal to his victims,” Houston police Detective Reagan Daniel said at a news conference Tuesday. Armed with a gun, he covers victims’ eyes and “uses ties to bound them during the sexual assaults,” Daniel said. “He also takes property.” “He’s very, very methodical about not leaving evidence at the scenes,” Daniel said. “However, in most cases, there’s a mistake. And that’s how we got the lead.” With one victim, Carter allegedly caught her as she was leaving her apartment and then — at gunpoint — forced her back inside where he “made her cover her head,” Daniel said. Carter allegedly sexually assaulted her, Daniel said. He then allegedly took her property and used a debit card, which Daniel said gave police a lead. Police believe Carter may be stalking victims, Daniel said. In another attack, Carter

Missouri police officer told to 'tone down your gayness' reaches $10 million settlement, gets promotion

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simpson33/iStock(ST. LOUIS) — A gay Missouri police officer who won a “historic” $20 million judgment in a sexual orientation discrimination lawsuit alleging he was told to “tone down your gayness” by a police commission board member has reached a settlement with St. Louis County for half the amount a jury awarded him. The settlement in the discrimination case filed by Lt. Keith Wildhaber was announced just hours after St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said he will retire. “I think it’s really important for those of us in St. Louis County to recognize this is a tough time for the county, but we have to recognize that discrimination isn’t right. By settling this lawsuit, the county recognizes that what Lt. Wildhaber went though was not right,” St. Louis County Executive Sam Page said at a news conference Monday evening. Page said the county plans to sell bonds to cover the $10.25 million settlement it hammered out with Wildhaber and his attorneys. According to the settlement papers filed Tuesday morning in a St. Louis County court, Wildhaber is to receive

Window bars trapped 6 children and their mother inside an 'accidental' fire: Officials

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MattGush/iStock(CLINTON, Miss.) — A deadly house fire in Clinton, Mississippi, in which six children and their mother perished has been ruled an accident, but bars on the outside of a bedroom window and inoperable smoke detectors lessened their chances for escape, officials said. Brittney Presley and her six children — Lane, Lawson, Grayson, Malcom and Felicity Presley and Landon Brookshire — died inside their home near the corner of Old Vicksburg and Hobby Farms Roads early Saturday morning. The children’s father escaped the blaze. He remains hospitalized and is expected to have skin grafting surgery, said Clinton Fire Chief Jeff Blackledge at a press conference on Tuesday. Officials with the state’s fire marshal determined on Monday that the fire was an electrical fire that was an accident. Fire Marshal Mike Chaney said in a statement that the fire started in the attic and there were no working smoke alarms inside the single family home that was a rental property for the Presley family. “Without smoke alarms, there was no early detection and it may have prevented the victims from getting

Denver repeals 30-year-ban on pit bulls

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sanjagrujic/iStock(DENVER) — After 30 years, pit bulls will soon be allowed to walk the streets of Denver. The Denver City Council on Monday voted to amend a code that banned pit bulls entirely from the Colorado capital. The amendment passed 7-4 and will take effect 90 days after Mayor Michael Hancock signs it into law. Yet the change comes with numerous qualifications. To own a pit bull, residents must register with Denver Animal Protection, have no more than two, and get the dog a “breed-restricted license,” according to the city council. A license application includes the name and address of where the dog will primarily reside, two emergency contacts, an accurate description of the pit bull, an annual fee and proof that the dog was microchipped, received a rabies vaccination and was either spayed or neutered. If an owner doesn’t apply, he or she could face administrative and/or criminal penalties, according to city council. If the pit bull shows good behavior after three years, Denver Animal Protection will remove the requirement for a breed-restricted license and the owner could then

Hundreds searching for 6-year-old girl who vanished while playing outside her home

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Evgen_Prozhyrko/iStock(CAYCE, S.C.) — More than 250 officers are searching Tuesday morning for a 6-year-old South Carolina girl who has been missing since Monday. First-grader Faye Swetlik was last seen at about 3:45 p.m., after she got off the school bus and was playing in front of her home in Cayce, just outside of Columbia, according to the Cayce Department of Public Safety.   Please contact the Cayce Dept of Public Safety with any information at 803-205-4444. This is a dedicated hotline just for calls about #FayeSwetlik #PrayforFaye @wis10 @WLTX @wachfox @abc_columbia @thestate pic.twitter.com/3r2UFd1f4S — Cayce Public Safety (@Cayce_DPS) February 11, 2020   Authorities said they plan to go door-to-door through the neighborhood on Tuesday. Area residents have offered to help search, said Sgt. Evan Antley of the Cayce Public Safety Department.   The home in Cayce where 6-yr-old Faye Swetlik disappeared from yesterday afternoon. There’s crime scene tape on the door, and a huge search involving hundreds of people. pic.twitter.com/xVpGAWzdoX — Greg Suskin (@GSuskinWSOC9) February 11, 2020   The FBI is now helping with the search, authorities said. The Lexington

Women sought for targeting men, stealing expensive watches: Police

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Los Angeles Police Dept.(LOS ANGELES) — Los Angeles police have released images of two young women they’re looking to find after they allegedly targeted two men, stole expensive watches and left one of them unconscious. The two women, both believed to be in their 20s, met the two men at an “exclusive” Los Angeles restaurant on Oct. 28, 2019, the Los Angeles Police Department said on Monday. The suspects and the men then went to the home of one of the victims, where the women allegedly mixed alcoholic drinks “which were later consumed by the victims,” said police. One of the women, described as having blonde hair, stayed inside with one of the men as the second woman, who was wearing a red wig, went outside with the other victim, police said. The second suspect then went inside to use the restroom, and when she didn’t come back, the second victim went inside to check on her, police said. That’s when he realized both women were gone and his friend was lying unconscious in a bedroom, police said. The victim

Jackson State University president resigns following arrest in prostitution sting

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GoodLifeStudio/iStock(JACKSON, Miss.) — The president of Jackson State University resigned following his arrest in a prostitution sting at a Mississippi hotel. William Bynum Jr., 57, of Jackson, Miss., was arrested over the weekend and charged with procuring services of a prostitute, false statement of identity and simple possession of marijuana. He was among 17 people busted in a two-day undercover operation by the Clinton Police Department. Detectives made contact with the alleged offenders online through “dark web” sites, where services and a meeting place at a local hotel were agreed upon, police said. The suspects were taken into custody on a total of eight felony charges at the hotel in the town of Clinton, about 8 miles from Jackson. Detectives “did not identify any patterns or activity to suggest that prostitution or human trafficking is prevalent in Clinton,” police said. Another Jackson State University employee was also arrested in the sting. Shonda McCarthy, 46, of Jackson, Miss., was charged with procuring services of a prostitute and possession of marijuana while operating a motor vehicle, according to police. She is the