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Crime - The Huffington Post

Crime news and blog articles from The Huffington Post
  • Mar 25, 2017 12:09:18 PM

    Hell that no fury like a teenager denied their cell phone.


    A 15-year-old boy in southern Spain reported his mother to police after she confiscated his device in a bid to get him to study for a test.


    The mom, 37, asked her son to hand over his phone at their home in El Ejido, near Almeria, on Feb. 28, La Voz De Almeria newspaper reports.






    When he refused, she forcefully took it from him and allegedly scratched him in the resulting struggle, according to national El Pais newspaper.


    The youngster denounced his mother for “mistreatment.” Appearing in court in Almeria this month, prosecutors called for the mother to be jailed for nine months over the incident. 


    But the judge, Luis Miguel Columna, dismissed the case. He ruled she was well within her rights” to seize the cell and had taken “the correct action.”


    type=type=RelatedArticlesblockTitle=Related Coverage + articlesList=589325a7e4b0bf5206e64506,56950496e4b086bc1cd51dec,58413871e4b017f37fe402f7

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  • Mar 25, 2017 10:02:11 AM

    March 25 (Reuters) - The Bellagio Resort and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip was put on lockdown early on Saturday after an armed burglary of a high-end jewelry store sent panicked guests and gamblers running for the exits, local media reported and police said.


    Early reports on social media of shots being fired at the busy casino and hotel were false and there were no injuries, the Las Vegas Police Department said on Twitter.






    “There is no shooting at the Bellagio. There is a burglary of a high-end jewelry store. No shooting,” a police spokesman said in a text to Reuters.


    The incident, shortly after midnight local time, sent guests hiding under casino tables and scurrying to exits and out on to the bustling Las Vegas Strip as police arrived at the famed casino and began searching for suspects, according to reports and photos on social media.


    Bellagio officials were not immediately available for comment. (Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee; Editing by Mark Potter)

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  • Mar 25, 2017 4:49:04 AM





    U.S. federal agents have confiscated 40,000 items that consumers hope are never fake: condoms. The counterfeits were seized in San Juan, Puerto Rico, officials said.


    The condoms were manufactured in China, according to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection statement Thursday.


    They were seized over a period of five days by Food and Drug Administration and Homeland Security officials and Immigration and customs agents.


    Federal officials warned that counterfeit condoms will likely not protect against pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, and the materials they are made with can also cause health problems.


    “Counterfeit condoms, as well as cosmetics and beauty products, unlike legitimate brands, are not subject to strict quality controls and may contain substances that could lead to long-term health problems,” said the statement from customs. “In the past, seized cosmetics have been found to contain hazardous substances including cyanide, arsenic, mercury, lead, urine and rat droppings.”


    Ricardo Mayoral, a special agent who oversees Homeland Security investigations throughout Puerto Rico and the U.S., added, “The trafficking of counterfeit goods is simply illegal, and in some cases, as this, it becomes a problem of public health.”


    In 2013  a massive international underground ring of counterfeit condom manufacturers was shut down in China after almost 5 million condoms with fake brand names were found as they were about to be shipped out of China, reported ABC News. 


    That same year, 110 million counterfeit condoms shipped to Ghana from China were confiscated.


    At least 1 million had been delivered to Ghana’s health agency to distribute, The Guardian reported.


    “When we tested those condoms, we found that they are poor quality, can burst in the course of sexual activity, and have holes which expose the users to unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease,” a Ghana official told The Guardian.


    type=type=RelatedArticlesblockTitle=Related Coverage + articlesList=58242883e4b0aac6248928f4,58b911e0e4b0b99894167584

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  • Mar 24, 2017 11:17:54 PM

    WASHINGTON ― Last week, The Huffington Post and other news outlets published stories about the number of missing black and Latinx teenagers in the nation’s capital. In the time since, Washington’s Metropolitan Police Department has tried to address concerns about the rate of missing teens.


    During a March 16 press conference, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said that the yearly rate of people reported missing in the District has remained constant since 2014, meaning the latest reports don’t constitute an uptick. She added that there’s no evidence to suggest the recent missing-person reports are somehow related to human trafficking.


    Bowser’s remarks didn’t do much to reassure D.C. locals or social media users. On Wednesday, tensions between the police and the predominantly black residents of Ward 8 flared during a town hall held to further address concerns. D.C.’s interim police Chief Peter Newsham, who at times seemed slightly dismissive of residents’ concerns about trafficking, was interrupted several times by attendees who wanted more concrete answers from the department. One woman told the panel that while the current cases of missing teens may not be linked to human trafficking, that doesn’t mean it’s not happening in general.


    In truth, this is a complicated issue. MPD’s stance is that more kids aren’t being reported missing, there’s no evidence of human traffickers taking these teens and police are actively doing their best to make sure all the teens come home safely. But some members of the community aren’t convinced that the police are as concerned about the missing teens as them. There are also questions about which missing kids get Amber Alerts, what the department is doing to combat the stigma surrounding runaways and why no one seems to know the precise number of missing teens.


    The Huffington Post is going to answer some of these questions for you. If you have any questions not addressed here that you’d like answered, please submit them using this Google form. We’ll update this post if we can provide an answer.



    How many juveniles are missing in D.C. right now?


    Twenty-two as of March 22, according to MPD.


    Is that number going to change?


    Almost certainly ― the number fluctuates quite a bit. MPD closes 95 percent of missing-person cases, and there’s no minimum waiting period if someone wants to report a kid missing. So the department might tweet about a missing child on Tuesday, for example, but by Wednesday the child will have been located.


    At least 501 out of 774 people reported missing in D.C. this year are juveniles. MPD has closed 95 percent of missing persons cases this year, Newsham said, and he assured the public that most teens reported missing are ultimately located or returned home. The department is also making an effort to publicize information about every missing person deemed “critically missing.”


    MPD has faced criticism for not updating the public in a timely manner once a missing kid has been found. They have begun taking steps to change this, including launching a webpage with the most recent missing-persons information. And Bowser is expected to announce a task force to help find missing juveniles and determine what social programs runaway teens have a need for.


    Why aren’t Amber Alerts issued for all of these teens?


    According to federal activation criteria, in order for an Amber Alert to be issued, an abduction of a person under the age of 18 must be confirmed. Law enforcement officials have to make the case that the juvenile is at risk of serious bodily harm or injury. Sufficient descriptive information ― such as what the child was wearing or a license plate number for the abductor ― must also be available.


    Most missing-person cases don’t fit these criteria. But some people argue that the criteria should be expanded to include runaways. A teen who technically left home willingly, but who was actually lured away by a trafficker, wouldn’t fall under the heading of a “confirmed abduction” ― and thus the case wouldn’t get the same police or media attention as a full-fledged Amber Alert.


    “When you have a teenager who is groomed by a potential trafficker, who’s lured away, that would fall under the runaway category because they were not physically abducted,” said Mary Graw Leary, a law professor at the Catholic University of America and a co-author of Perspectives on Missing Persons Cases. “But I think we’d all agree that that has a different scenario to it than the child who doesn’t like home and runs away.”


    Why do kids run away from home? And what about human trafficking?


    Human trafficking remains a huge community concern. The current missing-person cases haven’t been confirmed as evidence of trafficking, but speaking generally, it does go on in the District. Confirmed sex trafficking victims are overwhelmingly female, and 40 percent of them are black, based on data from a 2013 Justice Department report. Meanwhile, Latinx people account for 56 percent of confirmed labor trafficking victims.


    Juveniles are reported missing for a number of reasons. It’s typically because they failed to check in at home, work or school for innocuous reasons. But there are cases that revolve around conflicts at home. When a younger child is reported missing, they could have been taken by a relative during a custody battle. Missing teenagers are more likely to be running away from physical or sexual abuse.


    Black and Latinx teens are more susceptible to the type of abuse that causes a teen to run away from home because they’re more likely to live in a high-risk environment. Risk factors that could lead to a child being trafficked for sex include parental substance abuse and physical or sexual abuse at home. Teens in the LGBTQ community and kids in foster care are at an even greater risk, Leary said.


    Some kids run away because they have a behavioral or mental illness. April, a mom who spoke at Wednesday’s town hall, told the crowd that her daughter is a chronic runaway due to a mental illness. She claims she didn’t hear from MPD for 72 hours after filing a missing-person report for her daughter. April eventually found her daughter on her own in an abandoned building.


    What does MPD do when a kid is returned home?


    When a missing juvenile is found, MPD completes an evaluation of his or her family circumstances once he or she returns home. “If there’s any indication that the child could be in any kind of danger, then we’ll take appropriate action,” Newsham said. “If necessary, we will get social services involved.”  


    What role have the stereotypes of black and Latinx girls played in the media coverage?


    A huge one. This is evident in the case of Relisha Rudd, an 8-year-old who went missing in D.C. in 2014. The only major national news outlet to cover her disappearance extensively was The Washington Post. Cable news shows did not aggressively cover Relisha’s disappearance like they did for Natalee Holloway, Elizabeth Smart and Caylee Anthony. The media suffers from what is often called “missing white woman syndrome,” meaning that when a story concerns a missing person of color, most news outlets give it only a fraction of the attention they would give a story about a missing white woman.


    Hillary Potter, a professor of ethnic studies at the University of Colorado Boulder, says this disparity in mainstream media coverage is rooted in the idea that black and brown girls are inherently less valuable. This would explain why MPD appears to use mug shots for missing persons who have arrest records instead of using family photos. (MPD did not immediately respond to a request for comment on its use of mug shots.) The relative lack of coverage also helps perpetuate the myth that black and brown girls aren’t victimized. And when these cases are covered, it’s not uncommon for news outlets to incorporate one or more common stereotypes about black and Latinx girls (that they’re angry, promiscuous, lawbreaking, etc.).  


    “We have to consider how, generally, blackness is devalued,” Potter said. “There doesn’t seem to be as much of a care if something happens to us.”



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  • Mar 24, 2017 7:51:17 PM





    A Florida mother had the scare of her life when an intruder attempted to break into her home. But she turned the tables when she showed up at the door with her trusty shotgun.


    The woman, who has asked not to be identified, was in her Miami Gardens home March 4 with her two children when she had a surprise visitor, WPLG TV reports.


    Read the full report on Local10.com.


    Surveillance video shows a man in a red shirt banging down the door to get inside the home.



    The woman told the station she grabbed her shotgun from the bedroom and rushed to the door.


    Then she greeted the intruder with the barrel of her gun.



    ”He was running for his life and kept looking back, making sure I wasn’t going to shoot him in the back,” the woman told the outlet.


    The intruder ran to a Mercedes Benz parked on the lawn. Police said the vehicle was stolen, but was later recovered in Miami.


    The woman said she didn’t shoot because she didn’t want to traumatize her kids.


    The Miami Gardens Police Department told HuffPost they were unable to comment on the case because the investigation is ongoing.


    The suspect remains at large, but police hope the video helps identify him. Anyone with information is asked to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS.


    This woman is the latest example of someone who will do anything to protect their children.


    Last April, a woman in Normandy, France, fought off an armed robber while she was holding a baby. She did make sure to hand the baby over to his parents before hitting the robber over the head with the same bag he planned to use to hold his money.


    And in May 2014, Christina Simoes of Haverhill, Massachusetts, saved the life of her 18-month-old son by jumping out of a burning building while holding him.

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  • Mar 24, 2017 6:53:29 PM

    Black legislators are urging the Department of Justice to help police find the children who have gone missing in Washington, D.C.


    Of this year’s 501 cases of missing juveniles, many of them black or Hispanic girls, 22 cases were unsolved as of Wednesday, according to The Associated Press


    On Tuesday, Congressional Black Caucus chairman Cedric Richmond (D-La.) and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton of the District of Columbia sent a letter, obtained by the AP, calling on Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director James Comey to “devote the resources necessary to determine whether these developments are an anomaly or whether they are indicative of an underlying trend that must be addressed.”


    In the letter, Richmond also criticized the lack of attention the cases received. 


    “Ten children of color went missing in our nation’s capital in a period of two weeks and at first garnered very little media attention. That’s deeply disturbing,” he said.


    Nearly 40 percent of children reported missing in the United States are black, according to the Black and Missing Foundation. Black and Missing Foundation co-founder Derrica Wilson told The Huffington Post authorities rarely send out Amber Alerts for these cases. 


    The missing children have only made national headlines recently. This is largely due to social media users, including @BlackMarvelGirl, who initially called attention to them in two viral tweets, stressing the urgency of their cases. Twitter users have been using the trending hashtag #MissingBlackGirlsDC to express their frustration over the lack of media coverage and call for actionable steps toward finding the girls.


    People also noted that the lack of media attention and Amber Alerts isn’t a new phenomenon when it comes to missing black and Hispanic people. 














    Rapper LL Cool J tweeted President Donald Trump using the hashtag, urging him to call attention to the missing children. He also mentioned Beyoncé, Russell Simmons, Diddy, Eminem and several media outlets in his tweets about the missing girls. 






    The number of missing persons cases in the Washington metropolitan area hasn’t spiked, acting Police Chief Peter Newsham told USA Today. Over the past five years, an average of 200 people have gone missing each month, the outlet reported. In the first few months of 2017, there have been 190 cases on average.


    But whether there’s an uptick shouldn’t be the focus and the facts are still alarming, Wilson told the AP. “If we have one missing child, that’s one too many,” she said. 


    There has also been speculation that these cases may be linked to human trafficking, especially since 40 percent of sex trafficking victims are black and 56 percent of labor trafficking victims are Hispanic. At a March 16 press conference, Mayor Muriel Bowser said that authorities had “no indication young girls in the district are being preyed upon by human traffickers in large numbers.”


    Wilson said she’s still concerned that trafficking could play a role in the cases, citing the case of Relisha Rudd, an 8-year-old who went missing in D.C. in 2014. She told the AP that traffickers prey on the homeless, low-income children and runaways. Relisha, who is still missing, reportedly faced physical abuse, filthy living conditions and a lack of food, and was consistently absent from school. Wilson told Ebony at the time that she believed the young girl had been trafficked. 


    In his letter, Richmond said he hopes to meet with Sessions about the issue, but no meeting is currently scheduled. He said that it’s urgent that the DOJ and FBI help find these missing children.


    “Whether these recent disappearances are an anomaly or signals of underlying trends,” he said, “it is essential that the Department of Justice and the FBI use all of the tools at their disposal to help local officials investigate these events, and return these children to their parents as soon as possible.”

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  • Mar 24, 2017 5:42:51 PM





    WASHINGTON ― A conspiracy-driven man who fired his assault rifle inside a D.C. pizza restaurant pled guilty on Friday to federal and local charges.


    Edgar Welch, 28, reportedly entered the local Comet Ping Pong on Dec. 4, 2016, wielding his rifle and threatening the restaurant’s employees and customers. On Friday, he pled guilty to a federal charge of interstate transportation of a firearm and ammunition as well as a local charge of assault with a dangerous weapon.


    Under a plea agreement, the government agreed to recommend a reduction in his sentence if Welch “clearly demonstrates acceptance of responsibility.” His plea agreement indicates that Welch was previously convicted of driving while impaired in his home state of North Carolina.



    When he’s sentenced in June, he’ll likely received 18 to 25 months on the federal charge and 18 months to five years on the local charge. Welch will also pay restitution in the amount of $5,744.33 and will give up his shotgun, his semi-automatic rifle and his revolver.


    As part of the plea agreement, Welch admitted that he was “motivated, at least in part, by unfounded rumors about a child sex-trafficking ring that was being perpetrated at Comet and that involved nationally-known political figures,” according to a court filing.


    “The defendant had begun to focus on those rumors (known collectively as ‘Pizzagate’ rumors) on Dec. 1, 2016, principally by watching YouTube videos and reviewing related internet content,” the agreement stated. The fake conspiracy theory held that Hillary Clinton and her campaign chairman ran a secret child sex trafficking ring in a hidden part of the restaurant. As a result of the conspiracy theory, Comet Ping Pong received a number of threats.


    Welch told friends he was “sacraficing [sic] the lives of a few for the lives of many” and “standing up against a corrupt system that kidnaps, tortures and rapes babies and children in our own backyard,” according to the agreement. Welch pointed his weapon at a restaurant employee and fired at a locked door, but no one was injured in the incident. 


    Michael Flynn Jr., a former member of Trump’s transition team and the son of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, helped spread fake news stories about “Pizzagate.” 


    In an interview with The New York Times after his arrest, Welch said he regretted how he handled the situation and said his “intel” wasn’t “100 percent.”

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  • Mar 24, 2017 5:40:01 PM

    A New York City agency that investigates police misconduct forced an employee to resign this week after the worker leaked information about the officer who killed Eric Garner with a banned chokehold.


    The unidentified employee of the Civilian Complaint Review Board handed over grievance documents filed against Daniel Pantaleo, revealing that the officer had four substantiated complaints on record before his fatal encounter with Garner in 2014, but received next to no punishment. The complaints were published Tuesday by ThinkProgress.


    The New York Police Department immediately decried the leak and sought a culprit. Top brass cited a 40-year-old law that allows it to keep disciplinary records under wraps ― and that the department suddenly started relying on last year. The employee resigned Thursday rather than get fired, according to the New York Daily News. The employee had never worked on investigations into Pantaleo’s wrongdoing.


    The paperwork (embedded below) shows that Pantaleo faced at least seven complaints containing 14 allegations over his career. The review board had recommended disciplinary action against him in the years prior to the Garner case. But Pantaleo’s worst punishments involved extra training and the loss of two vacation days.


    ThinkProgress reports:



    According to the records, the agency had sufficient evidence of an abusive vehicle stop and search by Pantaleo in 2011, which resulted in a two-part complaint. The agency also substantiated allegations about an abusive stop and frisk in 2012, which resulted in another two-part complaint that was reported by DNAinfo in April 2016.



    Of course, Pantaleo’s biggest disciplinary windfall came after he put Garner in a fatal chokehold in Staten Island, as Garner was being arrested for selling untaxed cigarettes. The chokehold had been banned by the NYPD, but a grand jury chose not to indict him. Pantaleo was relegated to desk duty after the investigation.







    The employee who leaked Pantaleo’s files may not get off that easy. Patrick Lynch, union president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, called for an investigation and, “if necessary,” prosecution in the case, the Daily News reports.


    It’s unclear if charges will be filed, but NYPD officials argued the leak was illegal under New York state law 50-A, which makes disciplinary reports against officers and other public employees confidential.


    Critics of the department’s storied history of transparency failures quickly pointed out the hypocrisy in New York’s justice system.


    “They’re going to fire a CCRB leaker before they will fire a man who killed an unarmed man on duty as a police officer,” Cynthia Conti-Cook, a lawyer for New York’s Legal Aid Society, told The New York Times. “It’s pretty troubling.”


    The NYPD has long resisted releasing information on its officers and, more generally, being transparent with the public. It has a history of denying access to reporters and has yet to fulfill a 2013 court order demanding that it start a body camera pilot program within the ranks.


    READ THE COMPLAINTS:




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  • Mar 24, 2017 5:38:40 PM

    If you ever get a craving for pancakes, here’s a pro tip: You probably shouldn’t eat them in the middle of traffic.



    A Florida man is facing charges of placing an obstruction in the roadway and disrupting the free flow of traffic after allegedly eating breakfast in the middle of a busy Lakeland street Tuesday morning.


    Eyewitnesses photographed 21-year-old Kiaron Thomas sitting in a chair in the crosswalk with a small “TV” table in front of him, according to the Lakeland Police Dept.


    The suspect is seen wearing green pajama pants and fuzzy slippers. 


    The table in front of him holds a bottle of syrup, and a plate containing a complete breakfast of bacon, eggs and, of course, pancakes.


    Officers were called to the scene, but apparently Thomas fed and fled ― he was gone by the time they arrived. However, they were able to identify Thomas after someone tagged him in a Facebook video forwarded to the department.


    The video appears below and the filmmaker can’t stop laughing while commenting how “that shit looks good.”





    Officers determined Thomas lived approximately 100 yards south of the intersection and paid him a visit on Thursday.


    Thomas allegedly admitted he ate the pancakes in traffic as a prank.


    Officers charged Thomas with the traffic obstruction charges, but he was not arrested. He is due in court on April 25.


    Hopefully, he will eat before entering the court room.

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  • Mar 24, 2017 5:02:29 PM






    After designing a controversial billboard that appeared in Phoenix, Arizona, last week, artist Karen Fiorito has received a lot of death threats.


    Her billboard, on view since March 17, features President Donald Trump’s visage surrounded by swastika money signs and twin nuclear mushroom clouds. On the backside, it showcases an image of five hands signing “unity,” but that’s not the part of the billboard that’s provoked critics, who have suggested over phone, email and social media that Fiorito sleep with a gun under her pillow.


    “You are a sick, disgusting person to compare President Trump to anything like this,” one Facebook user commented on Fiorito’s page, referencing her Nazi imagery.


    “Regarding your SWASTIKA billboard in my town [...] I’m going to tell you that no, they symbolize hate and anti-semitism. Shame on you,” another wrote.







    The billboard space was provided by owner Beatrice Moore, who, according to local outlet 12 News, will keep Fiorito’s divisive image up for the remainder of Trump’s presidency. Despite the torrent of harassment she’s experienced, Fiorito is on board. In fact, she has plans to make more billboards ― trolls be damned.


    “I think a lot of people are feeling this way and I’m just trying to express what I think is on a lot of people’s minds these days,” explained the artist, who’s also responsible for a series of 12 billboards addressing California’s drought. “Something that really concerned us was this idea of a dictatorship where things were going in a certain direction.”


    “There are people who say, ‘Well, it’s offensive,’” she added, “but the current administration ― its policies, the people that are put in power ― are offensive to me.” 


    We checked in with Fiorito not long after her billboard went viral to discuss the wave of backlash she’s encountered and her persistent desire to make more billboards. It’s safe to say Americans will probably be seeing other Nazi-themed Trump billboards in the future.





    Can you elaborate on the kinds of death threats you’ve received from critics of the billboard?


    There are some people telling me I should die, or they are “coming to get me.” Others say that I’m “disgusting,” “not an artist,” a “traitor,” a “Nazi,” a “Communist,” a “Feminist,” and my favorite, “Fake News.” Most are just the uneducated insults, and there is a lot of crass and vulgar language so I can’t really say much more than that. 


    When someone says, “You should sleep with a gun under your pillow” or, “Me and my boys are coming to get you,” it’s a little scary. What’s scarier is when they have your home address, email and phone number. I know most of this is hot air, but it only takes one crazy person. I am not too afraid, but my family members are afraid for me.



    Have the threats been lodged anonymously, or are individuals or groups using their names or other information to identify themselves? Are they happening online, or via other forms of communication?


    I’ve gotten hundreds of phone calls and emails. I’ve gotten hundreds of threats on every page I have on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube. They tried to hack my accounts (Facebook, Gmail) and my social security number. They never identify themselves unless it is on social media. Many have called from blocked or “anonymous” numbers and emails. I have kept a call log of every number along with its corresponding message and am reporting them to the police, just in case. 


    KPNX claimed that you did expect “blowback” from Trump supporters before installing the billboard. Was the reaction in line with what you expected?


    This is not my first political artwork. I have a history of political posters and billboards. I did an anti-Bush billboard in 2004 and an anti-Fox News billboard in 2005. Each of these caused me to receive many death threats and hate. [People] also hacked my email and posted my personal information online. These are their tactics. They will do anything to scare and intimidate you because they know you are right. They want me to be silent. They want me to live in fear and take the billboard down. That is not going to happen.


    What has been the general local response to the billboard in Phoenix? 


    I heard ― I am in California ― from the owner that there has been a line to take selfies with it every day and a line of traffic around the block all day. People have been traveling from all over Arizona and California to visit it. People are hanging signs around it and leaving candles. It’s been very popular.


    Are you planning on installing anymore billboards?


    Yes. We are compiling a list of cities right now and doing research on costs, etcetera. We will be announcing something soon!


    Have you received commissions for more?


    I have had many people ask me to put it up in their home town or city, even some who have offered me money, but nothing confirmed yet.


    What is your advice to artists who wish to resist Trump, but might be afraid of potential retribution from Trump supporters?


    Join a group or local organization against Trump and his policies. Lots of artists are forming groups, and there is power in numbers. If you are still afraid, do what I wish I would have done: remain anonymous (like Banksy).





    Every Friday, HuffPost’s Culture Shift newsletter helps you figure out which books you should read, art you should check out, movies you should watch and music should listen to. Sign up here.

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  • Mar 24, 2017 4:54:17 PM

    In less than a week, at least two men in America have allegedly threatened to shoot Muslim women who were in public with their children. 


    San Francisco police announced Thursday that they had arrested Joshua Ruano, 27, for allegedly threatening to shoot a woman wearing a hijab on March 17. Ruano allegedly approached the woman, who was playing with her child in a park, and made anti-Muslim remarks. (A police spokeswoman wouldn’t elaborate on those remarks.) He then threatened to shoot her, according to police.


    The woman and her child fled the park and contacted police. Ruano was arrested a short time later. 


    A spokesman for the San Francisco district attorney’s office confirmed that Ruano was arraigned this week on charges of making criminal threats with a hate crime enhancement, and other unrelated crimes.



    On March 21 in Charlotte, North Carolina, a Muslim woman wearing a hijab and an abaya says she was breastfeeding her 1-month-old baby in a parking lot when a man in a pickup truck pulled up next to her car, according to The Charlotte Observer.


    The woman says the man stared at her for several minutes before taking out a long rifle and pointing the barrel directly at her. 


    “‘I’m not going to sit here and let him shoot me,’” the woman recalled thinking. She clutched her baby and ran inside a store. The man ― white and balding, in his 40s or 50s, she said ― sped away. 


    “We ask law enforcement authorities to use all resources available to apprehend the alleged perpetrator and to bring all appropriate charges, including that of ethnic intimidation,” Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said in a statement this week. 


    The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.


    The two sets of horrifying allegations come amid an apparent surge in such hate crimes across the country.


    In recent months, America has seen the fatal stabbing of a black man in New York City by a white supremacist; the shooting of two Indian men in Kansas, one of whom died; the shooting of a Sikh man in Washington; the burning of at least four mosques; the vandalism of gravestones in Jewish cemeteries; and the destruction of Qurans in an Arizona mosque and a New Mexico library. There have also been more than 100 bomb threats against Jewish community centers, synagogues and Anti-Defamation League offices across the country; instances of racist graffiti in Connecticut and Oregon; assaults of Latinos in California and New York; and the killings of at least seven transgender women of color. 


    The list goes on. 



    The Southern Poverty Law Center tracked more than 1,000 bias-related incidents in the month after the Nov. 8 election, a surge they attributed to the hateful speech of President Donald Trump. The SPLC stated that in some 37 percent of those incidents, the perpetrators directly referenced the president, his campaign slogans or his comments about sexual assault. 


    Earlier this month, more than 150 civil rights groups ― including the SPLC, Amnesty International, the Anti-Defamation League, the NAACP, Muslim Advocates and the National Bar Association ― signed an open letter accusing the president of fostering an atmosphere of hate and being to slow to condemn hate crimes when they happen. 


    Hate crime data in the U.S. is woefully inadequate. The FBI counted 5,479 hate crimes in 2015 ― a 7 percent increase from the year before, driven largely by a 67 percent increase in anti-Muslim hate crimes ― but another government report estimates that number to be much higher. A survey by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics found that the number of hate crimes in America each year probably approaches a staggering 260,000 ― or about one every two minutes.


    The disparity between the FBI’s figures and the BJS’ estimation exists largely because police departments in the U.S. aren’t required to report hate crimes to the FBI, and many hate crimes go unreported to police in the first place.


    That’s why The Huffington Post has partnered with ProPublica, a nonprofit news organization dedicated to investigative journalism, and with other news outlets to help make a national database of reported acts of hate and bias. 


    CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story mistakenly described the fatal stabbing of a black man in New York City as a fatal shooting.


    America does not do a good job of tracking incidents of hate and bias. We need your help to create a database of such incidents across the country, so we all know what’s going on. Tell us your story.

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  • Mar 24, 2017 2:53:51 PM

    Authorities in South Carolina are searching for a 12-year-old girl who disappeared after going for a walk.


    Zoey Carles was last seen at around 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, walking away from her Clinton home toward a barn on the premises. Clinton is located about 45 miles southeast of Greenville.


    Her family reported her missing about 11:00 p.m. Officials have dispatched search dogs and an aviation unit to find the child, according to the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office.



    “Other emergency personnel and volunteers have been contacted to conduct a more detailed search as the morning approaches,” the sheriff’s office said in a Friday morning press release. No additional details have been released.


    The search for Carles comes amid criticism over the lack of mainstream media coverage directed at the disappearance of at least 10 African-American and Latino teenagers in D.C. According to the Black and Missing Foundation, there is an widespread belief that missing black and Latino teens do not need media attention.


    “How often do you see an Amber Alert for a missing black or brown kid?” Derrica Wilson, the co-founder and chief executive of the organization, told HuffPost Black Voices. “They like to classify our kids as runaways [and] runaways do not get the Amber Alert.”


    Wilson said 40 percent of missing persons in the United States are people of color.


    Carles is described as an African-American girl, approximately 5 feet tall and 115 pounds, with brown eyes.


    Anyone with information about the teen’s whereabouts is asked to call the sheriff’s office at 864-984-2523.


    David Lohr covers crime and missing persons. Tips? Feedback? Send an email or follow him on Twitter.


    type=type=RelatedArticlesblockTitle=Related Coverage + articlesList=57c71d9ce4b0e60d31dcd052,566b0708e4b0f290e522f3bd

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  • Mar 24, 2017 1:19:01 PM





    By Michael Holden


    BIRMINGHAM, England (Reuters) - Before he killed at least four people in Britain’s deadliest attack since the 2005 London bombings, Khalid Masood was considered by intelligence officers to be a criminal who posed little serious threat.


    A British-born Muslim convert, Masood had shown up on the periphery of previous terrorism investigations that brought him to the attention of Britain’s MI5 spy agency.


    But the 52-year-old was not under investigation when he sped across Westminster Bridge on Wednesday, plowing down pedestrians with a hired car before running into the parliamentary grounds and fatally stabbing an unarmed policeman.


    He was shot dead by police.


    Although some of those he was involved with included people suspected of being keen to travel to join jihadi groups overseas, Masood “himself never did so”, said a U.S. government source, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity.


    “Our investigation focuses on understanding his motivation, his operation and his associates,” Britain’s senior counterterrorism police officer, Mark Rowley, told reporters.


    “Whilst there is still no evidence of further threats, you’ll understand our determination is to find out if either he acted totally alone, inspired perhaps by terrorist propaganda, or if others have encouraged, supported or directed him.”


    Islamic State claimed responsibility for Masood’s attack, although it was unclear what links - if any - he had with the militant group. Police said there had been no prior intelligence about his intent to mount an attack.


     


    BRITISH-BORN KILLER


    Born Adrian Russell Ajao in Kent to the southeast of London on Christmas Day in 1964, he moved though several addresses in England, although he was known to have lived recently in Birmingham in central England.


    The Daily Mail newspaper said he was brought up by his single mother in the town of Rye on England’s south coast, later converting to Islam and changing his name. Other media reports said he was a married father of three and a former English teacher who was into bodybuilding.


    Known by a number of aliases, he racked up a string of convictions, but none for terrorism-related offences. His occupation was unclear.


    It was as long ago as November 1983 that he first came to the attention of authorities when he was found guilty of causing criminal damage, while his last conviction came 14 years ago in December 2003 for possession of a knife.


    Little detail has officially been given about the man and what might have led him to carry out Wednesday’s attack, the deadliest in Britain since the London suicide bombings of 2005 by four young British Islamists, which killed 52.


    “Our working assumption is that he was inspired by international terrorism,” said Rowley.


    Rowley said detectives were questioning nine people in custody, having made two further “significant” arrests in central and northwest England.


    A former neighbor from Birmingham said: “When I saw the pictures on TV and in the papers of the man who carried out the attack, I recognized him as the man who used to live next door.”


    “He had a young child, who I’d think was about 5 or 6 years old. There was a woman living there with him, an Asian woman. He seemed to be quite nice, he would be taking care of his garden and the weeds,” Iwona Romek, 45, told reporters at her home.


    In December, she said, he suddenly moved out.


     


    BIRMINGHAM CONNECTION


    Birmingham has been one of the hotbeds for British Islamists. According to a study by the Henry Jackson think tank earlier this month, 39 of 269 people convicted in Britain of terrorism offences from 1998 to 2015 came from the city.


    Among those plots was one to kidnap and behead a British soldier. In December, two men were found guilty of planning to give 3,000 pounds ($3,750) to Brussels bombing suspect Mohamed Abrini - widely known as “the man in the hat”.


    There are over 213,000 Muslims in Birmingham, making up over a fifth of the population, according to the 2011 census, and there has been growing concern about divisions in the diverse city.


    The car Masood used in Wednesday’s attack had been hired from rental firm Enterprise’s Spring Hill branch in Birmingham, suggesting he still had connections to the area.


    Since the attack in London, police have raided a number of addresses across the city, arresting five men and two women on suspicion of preparing terrorist acts.


    Masood may have rented an apartment close to the Edgbaston area of Birmingham, not far from the Enterprise offices, and that was one of the properties raided by armed officers.


    On the eve of the attack that Prime Minister Theresa May cast as an attack on democracy, Masood spent his last night in a budget hotel in Brighton on the south coast where he ate a takeaway kebab, the Sun newspaper said.


    “An act of terrorism tried to silence our democracy,” May told parliament. “He took out his rage indiscriminately against innocent men, women and children.”


     


     


    (Additional reporting by Mark Hosenball; Editing by Guy Faulconbridge and Ralph Boulton)

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  • Mar 24, 2017 11:37:16 AM



    “I’m auditioning for the role of JonBenet Ramsey,” says a child actress in the trailer for Netflix’s upcoming retrospective. Innocently dressed as the 6-year-old pageant star, she asks, “Do you know who killed JonBenet Ramsey?” 


    In “Casting JonBenet,” which documentary filmmaker Kitty Green debuted at Sundance earlier this year, actors from around the Boulder, Colorado, area where the Ramsey family once lived ostensibly audition for the roles of various players in the unsolved murder ― including JonBenet’s parents, Patsy and John, and her brother Burke. The actors are also asked to share their personal feelings on whodunnit as they recount details of the case. In the trailer, their voices are woven together into a darkly entertaining narrative marked by swirling suspicion.


    “In cases like that, it’s always somebody you know,” one actor muses.


    “I think he’s the innocent one.”


    “There’s no way a 9-year-old could pull off a murder like this.” 


    Per The Hollywood Reporter, the full film also asks the actors to share meditations on why the murder still seems to resonate with them so many years later. They’re not the only ones who can’t let it go ― reflecting a nationwide fascination with the morbid story, the film follows several other projects that aired last fall around the 20th anniversary of JonBenet’s Christmas 1996 death.


    Catch the full trailer above. “Casting JonBenet” debuts on Netflix April 28.

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  • Mar 24, 2017 10:49:54 AM

    CAIRO (Reuters) - Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian president overthrown in 2011 and the first leader to face trial after the Arab Spring uprisings that swept the region, was freed on Friday after six years in detention, his lawyer said.


    He left the Maadi Military Hospital in Cairo where he had been detained, heading to his home in Heliopolis.


    “Yes, he is now in his home in Heliopolis,” Mubarak’s lawyer, Farid El Deeb told Reuters when asked if Mubarak had left the hospital. Heliopolis is an upscale neighborhood where the main presidential palace from which Mubarak once governed is located.


    The 88-year-old was cleared of the final murder charges against him this month, after facing trial in a litany of cases ranging from corruption to the killing of protesters whose 18-day revolt stunned the world and ended his 30-year rule.


    Mubarak was initially arrested in April 2011, two months after leaving office, and has since been held in prison and in military hospitals under heavy guard.






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