Archives
  • iStock/Thinkstock(COCOA, Fla.) -- Police in Florida are pursuing misdemeanor charges against five teenagers for failure to report a death after authorities say they recorded video of a man’s drowning and didn't intervene.The video, taken earlier this month in Cocoa, Florida, about 45 miles east of Orlando, shows a person's head bobbing up and down in a pond. The teenagers, who are between the ages of 14 and 18 and have not been named by police, are heard laughing and joking in the video, with one of them appearing to laugh and say, "He just died!"Cocoa Police Chief Mike Cantaloupe said the department learned of the recording last weekend and later reviewed it. Police identified and interviewed the five teens, he said.Police in conjunction with the State Attorney’s Office determined that charges of "failure to report a death under Florida Statute 406.12," a misdemeanor, will be pursued, the Cocoa police said in a statement Friday. Police said the charging document, case report and video evidence are being sent to the State Attorney’s Office for review, and a decision about whether the charges will be prosecuted.“When we initially reviewed this case it was determined there were no laws broken as the teens were not directly involved with the death,” Cantaloupe said in a statement Friday. "Further research of the statutes and consultation with the State Attorney’s Office yielded the decision to move forward with charges under this statute. It’s our belief that this law has never been enforced in a scenario like this, but we feel it could be applicable.”Cantaloupe added, “Pursuing criminal charges is a way to hold them accountable for their own actions.”Earlier, Cocoa police said that the five teenagers were not facing criminal charges after the State Attorney’s Office was consulted.“As horrible as this video is the laws in the State of Florida do not obligate citizens to render aid or call someone to render aid to a person in distress," Cantaloupe said on Thursday.The victim, 31-year-old Jamel Dunn of Cocoa, drowned July 9, police said. He was reported missing July 12 and authorities recovered his body July 14 after a passerby reported a body floating in the pond.Police said home surveillance video apparently captured Dunn jumping over a fence and willingly going into the water. "I don't think you can ever replace a lost life," Cantaloupe told ABC News Friday.He added, "I think what we look at is, the hope that what we do from here going forward, whether it be this charge or some new legislation, that another family doesn’t have to go through this. And that we work with our youth ... to instill these morals ... I would’ve never believed that somebody could watch somebody in distress and not do anything about it."Of the video recorded by the teenagers, Cantaloupe said in a statement Thursday, "There are no words to describe how utterly inhumane and cruel the actions of these juveniles were towards Mr. Dunn. ... I want to express my deepest condolences to Mr. Dunn’s family and friends."Cocoa Mayor Henry Parrish III released a statement Friday regarding the incident. "It saddens me to the core to watch video shot by a group of kids watching a man drown and doing nothing to help him. There just are no words to describe the lack of conscience within these young people," he said."I also would like to extend my deepest condolences to Mr. Dunn’s family and friends," he added. "My hope is we all come together to make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else."Parrish said of the decision to pursue charges, "While this in no way will bring justice for what occurred, it is a start.""In a case like this we struggle to understand how anyone could be so cold and heartless and then learn that there are no laws in Florida that obligate someone to render aid or call for someone to render aid for a person they see in distress," he said. "If this case
    Read more...
  • ABC News(LOVELOCK, Nev.) -- O.J. Simpson is now in protective custody at Lovelock Correctional Center in Nevada, having been moved to a separate part of the prison and removed from the general population, according to Nevada Department of Corrections spokesperson Brooke Keast.Keast confirmed to ABC News Friday that the 70-year-old former football star has been moved as a precautionary measure for his safety due to Simpson's notoriety and the attention given to his parole hearing Thursday.A group of four commissioners on the Nevada parole board granted parole to Simpson after he served the minimum nine years of his 33-year sentence for a 2007 kidnapping and armed robbery incident in Las Vegas. Simpson, who expressed both defiance and gratitude at the hearing, could be released as early as Oct. 1.Bruce Fromong, a victim in the robbery case who spoke in Simpson’s favor at Thursday's parole hearing, told ABC News' Good Morning America in an exclusive interview Friday that he believes Simpson "has served his time" and deserves parole."O.J. has served his time," Fromong told GMA. "I had told the [district attorney] at the time I had felt like one to three years was a proper sentence for it.""It wasn't O.J. who put the gun to my head," Fromong added. "He was also the one who said, 'Put the gun down, put the gun down.'".Before the parole board Thursday, Fromong admitted that the Las Vegas hotel room that was the site of the botched robbery attempt did contain items that belonged to Simpson, but said that on the day of the robbery, "Simpson was misguided."Fromong called Simpson his "friend."Simpson was sentenced to prison after he allegedly led a group of men into a hotel and casino to steal sports memorabilia at gunpoint. He contended the memorabilia and other personal items belonged to him, and he denied ever holding a gun or threatening the robbery victims.The Nevada parole board commissioners gave the following reasons Thursday for granting parole: Simpson has minimal to no prior convictions; he has stable release plans; he has community and/or family support; he has a positive institutional record; he participated in programs specific to addressing behavior that led to incarceration; and his victim is in support of his parole.Simpson, who appeared remotely at the hearing via video conference from Lovelock Correctional Facility, delivered a rambling account of the incident to the board Thursday, maintaining that he didn’t intend to steal anything that night and that he “wish[es] this would have never happened.”"I haven't made any excuses in the nine years that I've been here and I'm not trying to make an excuse now," Simpson told the board.In an interview on GMA Friday, Dr. Henry Johnson said Simpson, his longtime friend whom he visited in prison, is a "very strong man" and was "unjustly found guilty."Upon his release, Simpson is requesting to live in Florida, where he has family to serve as his support system, officials said Thursday.Officials said Friday that while Simpson would report to a Florida probation officer, Nevada is still the authority in his case -- so if he violated his parole, he would have to answer to Nevada officials.More than 20 years ago, Simpson went on trial for the killing of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ron Goldman. The two were stabbed to death on June 12, 1994, at her Los Angeles home.
    Read more...
  • STEPHEN MATUREN/AFP/Getty Images(MINNEAPOLIS) -- The attorney representing both the fiancé and family of the Australian bride-to-be who was fatally shot by a Minneapolis Police Department officer on Saturday says "the family wants justice in its largest sense."Justine Ruszczyk, 40, who went by her fiancé's last name, Damond, was killed by a police officer on July 15 after she called 911 to report what she believed was a sexual assault occurring near her home."I think Justine is the last person you’d expect to be killed by police," Robert Bennett, the attorney representing Justine Damond's family and fiancé, Don Damond, told ABC News."Of the cases that I’ve been involved in over the years she doesn’t fit any of the patterns," Bennett, who represented the family of Philando Castile, a black man who was fatally shot by Minnesota police in July 2016, said. "Her life’s intersection with the police is totally bizarre."Authorities said officers Matthew Harrity and Mohammed Noor responded to Justine Damond's 911 call, but never found a suspect. They were startled by a loud noise and then Justine Damond approached the driver's side of the car and Noor, who was on the passenger side, fired his gun through the open driver's side window, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.Harrity's attorney, Fred Bruno, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that it was "certainly reasonable" for the police officers to assume they could be the target of an ambush.Bennett said that the idea that Justine Damond could have been thought of as a threat is "patently, utterly, ridiculous.""If that’s the excuse they want to use to shoot people, I guess they can use any excuse they want, we’re all in danger," the attorney said.Bennett also called it "inexplicable" that there was no video or audio from the officer's body cameras, a sentiment echoed by Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges, who told ABC News earlier this week that a "key question" for investigators was why the officer's body cameras were not turned on when Justine Damond was shot and killed.Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau said in a news conference Thursday that Justine Damond "didn't have to die." She added that Mohamed Noor, the officer who shot Justine Damond, has not made any statement to investigators.Bennett said the "strangest part of the case," was that "someone so good, so peaceful, so pacifistic, gets shot by a police officer in her pajamas, in her ally, in a good neighborhood in south Minneapolis."
    Read more...
  • ABC News(NEW YORK) -- The father and sister of Ron Goldman said they found the decision to grant O.J. Simpson parole "very disappointing.""It was shocking," Kim Goldman, sister of Ron Goldman, said Friday on ABC News' Good Morning America about a Nevada parole board's granting Simpson parole for a 2007 botched robbery. "I think I expected that [Simpson] was going to come in with a script-- 'I did these crimes, I'm so sorry, I'm remorseful, I know that there was a gun in the room.'"Kim Goldman and Ron's father, Fred Goldman, spoke to GMA Friday about their reactions to the Thursday hearing and Simpson's comments to the parole board."I thought he was going to follow what I thought was going to be a very strategic plan for the day and then he went off-script," Kim Goldman said. "He became exactly who he normally is, and I started to panic a little and obviously like everybody else we watched them unanimously willing to release him and it was very disappointing."The Goldmans said Thursday on GMA that they do not expect to ever see justice for the 1994 killing of their family member, Ron Goldman.Simpson is expected to be released as early as Oct. 1.
    Read more...
  • iStock/Thinkstock(MINNEAPOLIS) -- Hundreds of people gathered Thursday night at the Minneapolis site of Justine Damond's fatal shooting, where they held a vigil before marching to a nearby park to continue their remembrance of the Australian expatriate.Damond, 40, called 911 on July 15 to report a suspected sexual assault outside her home. Once two officers -- identified as Matthew Harrity and Mohamed Noor -- arrived at the house, she approached the driver's side of the squad car, just after Harrity heard a loud sound near the car, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. Noor, who was sitting in the passenger seat, then fired his weapon through the open driver's side window, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety said.
    Read more...