• iStock/Thinkstock(BATON ROUGE, La.) --  Black Lives Matter hosted a candlelight vigil for Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge Wednesday night, one day after the 37-year-old was shot and killed by two police officers.A crowd of mourners chanted "We love Baton Rouge" outside the convenience store where Sterling was killed, with people holding up balloons and signs pleading for justice.The hashtag #AltonSterling was trending on Twitter as the vigil was held, with nearly 69,000 people tweeting about his death. One mourner free-style rapped about keeping the peace in wake of injustice in front of the hundreds who gathered from all over the state of Louisiana.  A moderator mentioned Sterling's son before leading the crowd in a prayer. The crowd then passed lit candles around to hold up in a moment of silence for Sterling. Mourners were asked to recall their last memory of Sterling.After a count of three, the crowd released balloons and said in unison, "Alton Sterling's life mattered." Following an eruption of cheers, people sang along and swayed to gospel music playing in the background.Sterling was killed early Tuesday after an altercation with police in the parking lot of a convenience store. The Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice is leading an investigation into Sterling's death, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards announced Wednesday.Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The Georgia Supreme Court rejected a state appeal of a lower court decision Tuesday, ruling in favor of the Ku Klux Klan and its right to free speech -- and to pick up litter on the side of a highway through a government program.The opinion, written by Justice Keith R. Blackwell, stated, however, that the appeal was dismissed because it was filed incorrectly, leaving Georgia's highest court without jurisdiction.The ACLU Foundation of Georgia filed a lawsuit in 2012 on behalf International Keystone Knights of the Ku Klux Klan (IKKK) against the State of Georgia after the IKKK's application was rejected by the state's Adopt-A-Highway program.Georgia's Adopt-A-Highway website states that it "provides recognition for participating companies and organizations" in return for removing litter from state roadsides.When the IKKK applied to clean up a stretch of State Route 515, the Department of Transportation rejected its application partially because, "The impact of erecting a sign naming an organization which has a long-rooted history of civil disturbance would cause a significant public concern," according to the Georgia Supreme Court's opinion.But the decision to reject the application violated free speech and due process guaranteed by the Georgia Constitution, according to the ACLU Foundation of Georgia.“The fundamental right to free speech is not limited to only those we agree with or groups that are inoffensive. The government cannot pick or choose who is protected by the Constitution,” Debbie Seagraves, the former Executive Director of the ACLU Foundation of Georgia, said in a statement at the time the lawsuit was filed. “There will always be speech and groups conveying hateful messages that are distasteful to some. That is why the First Amendment protects free speech for all.”Years of litigation followed as the Georgia Department of Transportation attempted to get the lawsuit dismissed, in part citing "sovereign immunity," because it is a state agency, according to the opinion published yesterday. The case eventually made its way to the Georgia Supreme Court, which ruled in favor of the IKKK on the technicality."The ACLU and my law firm did this to protect the freedom of speech, so it's a big victory," Alan Begner, an attorney for the KKK group, told ABC News today. "The next step is to go to work picking up litter."Begner added that he wished the Georgia Supreme Court would have discussed the issue of sovereign immunity in more depth.The Georgia Department of Transportation and the state attorney general’s office did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(DALLAS) -- Two pilots are dead after an experimental helicopter crashed during a test flight near Dallas on Wednesday, the maker of the chopper confirms.According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the twin-engine Bell Helicopter B525 crashed just before noon."It’s with incredible sadness for us to confirm the tragic loss of two pilots during a flight test today in the Bell 525," Bell tweeted. "Our deepest sympathies are with their family and friends and we ask that you join us in sending thoughts and prayers. We’re working with relevant authorities to determine the cause of the accident and will provide further details as they come available."The FAA said the aircraft was "destroyed" during what Bell called "developmental flight test operations."According to Bell, company representatives are headed to the site to assist authorities there. The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board are also sending investigators.Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(CHATHAM, Mass.) -- A rare orca sighting off the coast of New England has caught the attention of marine researchers because the killer whale is usually spotted closer to Canada.Charter fishing boat captain Bruce Peters spotted the killer while about 12 miles off Chatham, Massachusetts, on Monday, according to ABC affiliate station WCVB-TV.Officials at the New England Aquarium used photos provided by Peters to confer with colleagues in Canada and determine the whale is likely an orca nicknamed “Old Thom.”“The way you can identify the individual is they have a very distinctive dorsal fin and ‘Old Thom’ has probably close to a six-foot tall dorsal fin and he’s got a notch near the top of that dorsal fin,” the New England Aquarium’s Philip Hamilton told WCVB.“Old Thom” is typically spotted in the waters off Labrador and Newfoundland, according to Tony LaCasse, a spokesman for the New England Aquarium. LaCasse described Monday’s “Old Thom” sighting as “way outside of what’s his normal range.”Peters, owner of Capeshores Charters, has said he spotted the orca alone in the water. Hamilton said “Old Thom” could have traveled to New England to mate, but because he is alone he is most likely there for food.“The main drivers are often food and reproduction and given the fact that he seems to be alone most of the time, I would bet on food, so probably a fish population would be my bet,” Hamilton said.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(BATON ROUGE, La.) -- The 15-year-old son of Alton Sterling, a black man who was shot and killed during a confrontation with police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, wept uncontrollably Wednesday morning as his mother spoke to the media about the slaying."He [her son Cameron Sterling] had to watch this, as this was put all over the outlets," Quinyetta McMillan told reporters. "As a mother, I have now been forced to raise a son who is going to remember what happened to his father."Alton Sterling, 37, was killed early Tuesday in a shooting that was captured on cellphone video. In the video, which authorities have not yet confirmed shows the incident, two officers appear to struggle with Sterling and slam him to the ground. One man seems to yell "gun." Then at least two shots are fired while the officers are close to Sterling."The individuals involved in his murder took away a man with children who depended upon their daddy on a daily basis," McMillan said. He "simply tried to earn a living to take care of his children."Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards later called for unity at a news conference Wednesday morning, as he announced that the investigation will be led by the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division.He said the Louisiana U.S. Attorney's office and the FBI will assist with the investigation and the state police will assist as necessary."I have very serious concerns," the governor said. "The video is disturbing to say the least."He also urged protesters to "remain peaceful.""Another violent act ... is not the answer," he said.Before the governor's announcement, Edmond Jordan, an attorney for Sterling's family, called for the investigation to be taken out of the hands of the Baton Rouge police and handed over to the Louisiana State Police."We're praying that the truth ultimately comes out from this," Jordan said. "We think with an independent investigation, we can get down to that. And that's what the family wants."Mike McClanahan, the local NAACP leader, called for the firing or resignation of Baton Rouge Chief of Police Carl Dabadie Jr.Baton Rouge police said the incident began when uniformed officers responded to a disturbance call from someone who said a black man who was selling CDs threatened him with a gun.Officers approached Sterling in the parking lot of the convenience store, and "an altercation between Sterling and the officers ensued," police said. He was shot during the altercation and died at the scene, police said.The coroner for East Baton Rouge Parish said Sterling died from multiple gunshot wounds to his chest and back.As the video circulated online, public outrage exploded. In Baton Rouge, crowds gathered to protest, and on Twitter, #AltonSterling was the No. 1 hashtag in the United States.The two Baton Rouge officers involved were placed on administrative leave, per standard procedure, the police said.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Muhammed al-Qawli was at home in his village in eastern Yemen spending time with friends on the night of Jan. 23, 2013, when he heard the explosion that he said killed his younger brother Ali and his cousin Salim.He told ABC News that at around 9 that night, he, along with other villagers, followed the sound of the blast through the dark and cold until they joined a crowd of onlookers who had formed a circle around a burning pickup truck.He said his heart sank when he recognized the vehicle as his cousin's. Salim, a student who earned extra money by running a taxi service with the truck, had used it to take Ali to a nearby market that afternoon, al-Qawli later learned from witnesses. They picked up a group of strangers to transport them between villages, and between destinations, al-Qawli said the witnesses told him, a suspected U.S. drone strike hit the truck.Al-Qawli said what he saw that night still haunts him: The splintered body parts of eight passengers lay scattered in the flames, the smell of burning flesh hanging heavy in the air.Ali's body was so mangled, he had to be identified by his teeth, al-Qawli said. Ali was 33 years old and left behind a wife and three children. Salim, 22, was identified by the pants that he wore, according to al-Qawli. Neither of them, al-Qawli said, were terrorists.On Friday the White House announced that 64 to 116 civilians have died from U.S. airstrikes outside "areas of active hostilities" during President Barack Obama's term, but it is unknown whether Salim and Ali are part of that official tally, because the names of victims were not included in the report. The estimate also does not cover drone strikes in Afghanistan, Iraq or Syria, where there are active hostilities, under the administration's definition.In addition to the statistics, the administration issued an executive order that called on the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to publish annual reports on civilian and combatant casualties resulting from counterterrorism operations in nations where where Congress has not approved military action, as well a mandate for increased training of the military personnel involved in such operations and other policies, in an effort to reduce civilian casualties.It is unclear whether future presidents will abide by the order.Friday’s announcement came after pressure placed on the administration from a number of organizations, including the ACLU, which has filed a series of Freedom of Information Act lawsuits in an effort to learn more about the Obama administration's drone strike program.Jameel Jaffer, a deputy legal director of the ACLU, told ABC News that the organization wants to remove the layer of secrecy that covers the subject of drone strikes, which are a major part of Obama's foreign policy legacy.
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