<![CDATA[NBC4 Washington - Top Stories]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/top-stories http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/WASH+NBC4+BLUE.png NBC4 Washington http://www.nbcwashington.com en-us Wed, 01 Apr 2015 00:44:23 -0400 Wed, 01 Apr 2015 00:44:23 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Escaped Prisoner Ordered Held Without Bond]]> Tue, 31 Mar 2015 23:19:17 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/217*120/2015-03-31_1209.jpg

A prisoner who escaped from a Northern Virginia hospital — and evaded capture for most of Tuesday morning — is back in the custody of U.S. marshals.

Wossen Assaye was found near Minnesota Avenue SE in Washington, D.C., following a massive manhunt that lasted about eight hours. He was taken into custody without incident about 11:15 a.m. after someone who saw Assaye's picture on social media spotted him getting off a Metrobus. The gun he was carrying was recovered.

Assaye appeared in federal court Tuesday afternoon and was ordered held without bond. He is charged with one count of escaping from federal custody and with one count of bank robbery.

Assaye was wearing a white plastic protective suit, which was open to his navel. He was not wearing socks or shoes, and he was surrounded by law enforcement in the courtroom.

He is in the custody of U.S. marshals, who are not commenting on his location. In a statement Tuesday night, the U.S. Marshals Service said, "Events such as today's escape will be investigated and reviewed. If changes are needed, they will be made."

"I'm thanking each and every community member in this region for apprehending a violent felon,'' Fairfax County Police Chief Col. Edwin C. Roessler Jr. said at a news conference.

Assaye, 42, was arrested by federal authorities last week in connection with a series of bank robberies in Northern Virginia. Assaye allegedly committed the robberies while on a bike, and is known to the FBI as the bicycle bandit.

While being held at the Alexandria City Jail, Assaye attempted to hang himself with a bedsheet and was taken to Inova Fairfax Hospital for medical treatment Friday. Deputies with the Alexandria Sheriff's Office guarded Assaye for the first 24 hours of his hospital stay before he was turned over to two Allied Protective Service guards, who were contracted by the U.S. Marshals Service.

At about 3:15 a.m. Tuesday, Assaye overpowered one of the guards while her partner used the restroom, taking her weapon. Assaye used the female contract guard as a shield as he fled down the hall and then released her and fled down a stairwell, U.S. Marshal Bobby Matheson said.

Police say one shot was fired, but no one was injured. It's not clear who fired the shot.

Assaye fled with the weapon and wearing only a hospital gown into a nearby neighborhood, where he broke into the truck of a resident's 2002 Toyota Camry. The driver got into the car to go to work, and during the commute, police say Assaye began to kick out the back seat from inside the truck. The driver crashed the car, and Assaye carjacked the vehicle. Police say they later found the Camry near Monterey Drive in Annandale.

At one point in the chase, Assaye drove into the garage of a home on Oak Court in Annandale owned by Lorraine Giovinazzo. Then he entered the almost-empty house, apparently by jimmying the handles on a set of glass doors.

Assaye left behind the hospital gown he had been wearing and took some of Giovinazzo's old clothes, Giovinazzo said.

"I'm just so grateful that we had just moved, because otherwise my mother would have been in there by herself, and that would have been terrifying," Giovinazzo said.

Assaye was on foot for a short time before stealing a 2008 gray Hyundai Elantra in the same area.

Police say they've also located the Hyundai Elantra.

Police searched neighborhoods in Annandale with helicopter and heavily armed officers for a portion of Tuesday morning. In one neighborhood, Spence Limbocker said he heard a helicopter, went outside and saw a massive police presence.

"They told me to get back in the house and lock all my doors ... It was a little scary,'' Limbocker said.

Assaye was arrested March 20 and charged with a robbery at Apple Federal Credit Union in Alexandria. In a court document, an FBI agent suggests that Assaye, of Arlington, is responsible for a string of 12 bank robberies in northern Virginia over the last year and a half.

In court documents about the robberies, the FBI agent said the robber seen in surveillance photographs and video recordings is "physically similar'' in the dozen robberies that end with the robbery of the Apple Federal Credit Union.

In all, the banks were robbed of about $32,000. In most cases, the agent said the robber entered the bank with a cellphone to his ear, demanded money and fled with cash on a bicycle.

According to a 2012 Virginia Parole Board document, Assaye has an "extensive criminal record" and "history of violence," indicating a "serious risk to the community," NBC News reports.

He has been charged with a variety of felonies — including breaking and entering in 1998 — with at least one conviction, for purse snatching in 1994, for which he was given a recommended maximum 12-month jail sentence.

The lockdown at the hospital, located in suburb just outside of Washington, D.C., lasted from 3:30 a.m. to 7:50 a.m., hospital officials confirmed.

During that time, no one could enter or leave the hospital. Emergencies were diverted to other emergency rooms. Patient care continued, though some elective surgeries had to be delayed.

Staff members inside the hospital told News4's David Culver that during the lockdown, some employees hid in backrooms and hallways for safety. 

Stay with News4 on-air and online for more on this developing story. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Prince George's Police Officer Accused of Hazing]]> Tue, 31 Mar 2015 21:49:00 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Corporal+Jesse+Stewart.jpg

A Prince George's County Police officer accused of hazing in a lawsuit has been suspended from the department.

Corp. Jesse Stewart is the second vice president of the Hyattsville-Landover alumni chapter of the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity. Its membership is mostly adult professionals.

A $2 million lawsuit alleges Stewart was hazing men who were pledging the chapter at his home in Upper Marlboro.

Complainant Harry Draughn Jr. said pledges were smacked on their buttocks six times.

“Afterwards, we were required to remove our pants and our socks and perform tasks around his home in our bare feet and underwear,” Draughn said.

Stewart is charged with misdemeanor reckless endangerment for a March 23 incident.

“When one of our officers is accused of wrongdoing, we take those allegations seriously,” read a statement from Chief Mark Magaw. “Our Special Investigation Response Team immediately launched an investigation upon learning of the allegation. The Prince George’s County Police Department holds our officers to high standards whether they are on or off duty.”

Stewart, who has been with the department for 21 years, is suspended pending the outcome of the lawsuit.

<![CDATA[Hero Boy Scout: "I Got to Save My Dad's Life"]]> Tue, 31 Mar 2015 23:43:18 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000009976887_1200x675_421005379911.jpg A Boy Scout was honored Tuesday for putting what he learned from scouting to use in saving his choking father. Shomari Stone reports.]]> <![CDATA[NY Music Promoter Sentenced to Life for Md. Man's Death]]> Tue, 31 Mar 2015 23:12:12 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/jail_generic_bars.jpg

A New York music promoter will spend the rest of his life in prison for killing a Maryland man more than a decade ago.

Kevin Clement Reynolds was sentenced to life plus 20 years.

He was convicted last month of shooting Wesley King in front of King’s young daughter in 2002 in Silver Spring.

Detectives linked Reynolds to the murder years ago through cellphone records and the testimony of King's daughter, but detectives lost track of him after he assumed a new identity as Dennis Graham and created a successful career in music in New York.

Reynolds maintains he was in New York at the time of the shooting.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Security Guard's Violent Takedown of Girl in School Investigated]]> Tue, 31 Mar 2015 23:07:21 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000009975462_1200x675_420921411512.jpg

A violent takedown of a girl at a Prince George’s County high school is under scrutiny after it was caught on video.

The teenager reportedly was being belligerent and not following orders after an altercation inside Laurel High School when she was picked up, slammed to the ground and forcibly taken to the principal’s office.

“The incident escalated and the security officer had to use force in order to protect himself and his students and staff around him in that area,” schools spokesperson Sherrie Johnson said.

The incident is under investigation to ensure proper protocol was followed, school officials said. They said there is more to the incident than what appears in the video, but that can’t be discussed due to confidentiality rules.

“I don’t think that much force is necessary for a high school student, especially when you have Prince George’s County Police officers in the building,” parent Torrance Scott told News4. “I think there are other ways you could handle that.”

<![CDATA[Man Dies in Police Custody]]> Wed, 01 Apr 2015 00:09:12 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Phillip-White.jpg

Officials are investigating the death of a New Jersey man who died while in police custody Tuesday.

"As many of you have already heard, earlier today a tragedy occurred involving Officers and a citizen," said Vineland Police Chief Timothy Codispoti. "Sadly, this call for service resulted in an “in–custody, non-shooting death” which is being investigated by the Cumberland County Prosecutor’s office"

The man, identified as Phillip White, was arrested at a home on the 100 block of Grape Street in Vineland, New Jersey around 11 a.m. Tuesday. He died shortly after while in custody.

Witnesses told NBC10 officers were extremely physical with White after he was already restrained and unconscious on the street.

"They punched him, stomped him, kicked him and then they let the dog out of the car," said Ricardo Garcia. "The dog bit him on his face and around his body. There's no call for that. Once a man is handcuffed and unconscious, you should have stuck him in the patrol car and take him to the police station. Instead they decided to beat him right here." 

A dog is heard barking on a police dispatch recording of the incident.

"118 West Grape," the dispatcher says in the recording. "Subject...hyperventilating. Officers out."

An officer is also heard on the recording.

"Slow all units down," the officer says. "Subject under...tried disarming me." 

The Cumberland County Prosecutor's Office is currently investigating the incident. A spokesperson for the office told NBC10 White was being arrested but they haven't revealed why.

White's aunt, Valerie White, told NBC10 she is desperate for answers.

"Why, what he was doing, I don't know," she said. "I'm trying to get answers and closure now. He lived a street life but he was a human being. Bottom line." 

While police have not yet released information regarding what led to the arrest or how White died,  Chief Codispoti expressed his condolences for his family.

"Our sincere thoughts and prayers are with the family of the deceased and with the Officers involved," he said. " I ask that everyone allow time for our justice system to now investigate this matter to its truthful conclusion. The Vineland Police Department is cooperating with the prosecutor’s office and I urge anyone with information regarding this incident to contact the prosecutor’s office with your information. At this time updates regarding the progress of this investigation are being released through the prosecutor’s office."

<![CDATA[Concerns About Age, Flying Time of Park Police Helicopter]]> Tue, 31 Mar 2015 20:25:23 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/20150331+Park+Police+Helicopter.jpg

The U.S. Park Police’s Eagle 2 helicopter -- which polices the most secure airspace in the nation, helps lead presidential motorcades -- should have been grounded two years ago, according to an internal study by the Park Police and the U.S. Department of Interior.

The News4 I-Team found that a 2012 analysis recommended replacing Park Police aircraft after 5,000 hours of operation. But Eagle 2 has flown more than 9,300 hours and is about 26 years old.

The I-Team’s investigation also found Eagle 2, a Bell 412 model, has been flown twice as much as the same model helicopter operated by the Miami-Dade County Fire Department and five times more hours than the same model helicopter operated by the Chicago Fire Department.

The I-Team found “Eagle 1”, also a Bell 412 model, has also surpassed 5,000 hours of operation. “Eagle 1” has flown at least 6,588 hours, according to US Park Police records.

“Eagle 1” was used Tuesday in the manhunt for a fugitive in Northern Virginia. It was also used to rescue a victim of the Navy Yard shootings in September 2013.

In its maintenance records, Bell Helicopter, manufacturer of the helicopter, recommends nearly all of the component parts have a lifespan of no more than 10,000 hours.

Ian Glick, a veteran U.S. Park Police Officer and president of its union, said rank and file officers are losing confidence in Eagle 2 and are lobbying Congressional leaders for a replacement.

“When you fly a helicopter, you’re not breaking the laws of physics, but you’re bending them," Glick said. "And if you’re bending them for an extended period of time on an airframe, it causes problems.”

The I-Team found no safety incidents involving the helicopter. Glick said Eagle 2 is currently safe to operate, but pilots are losing confidence in its airframe.

Glick said, “With a helicopter, should the engine go out, the helicopter is going straight down.”

The agency records obtained by the I-Team show US Park Police leaders recommended Eagle 2 be mothballed by 2013. The agency’s own internal analysis of its fleet said, “It’s only a matter of before their increasing age and flights hours significantly compromise flight readiness and operational safety.”

Though there have been multiple efforts by local leaders in Congress to provide funding for the purchase of a helicopter to replace Eagle 2, funding has not materialized and there is no timetable for purchase of a replacement. Estimates provided by lobbyists representing the US Park Police union show a replacement helicopter could cost approximately $14 million.

In a statement, U.S. Park Police spokeswoman Sgt. Lelani Woods said the helicopters are needed for a diverse set of missions, including rescues of the injured and surveillance patrols for Presidential motorcades.

“The National Park Service invests more than $3 million per year to equip and train the men and women who fly and maintain the unit’s three helicopters," Woods' statement said. "As we move forward and these aircraft age, we will continue to analyze the unit’s mission, the work it performs and choose new aircraft that fit those needs.

"The helicopters United States Park Police pilots fly remain safe and serviceable," the statement said. "The United States Park Police continues to work within the established acquisition process to identify flexibilities within base appropriations and leverage additional funding sources with the goal of replacing its aging helicopter with an aircraft of equivalent mission capabilities.”

<![CDATA[Couple Found With Chainsaw Wounds]]> Tue, 31 Mar 2015 23:47:26 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/178*120/Lower+Moreland+Home.JPG

A community is in mourning after a teen boy discovered his parents dead with wounds from a chainsaw inside a Montgomery County, Pennsylvania home Tuesday.

"It strikes home," said Eric Shallcross, a family friend. "It's unbelievable."

The 14-year-old boy told police he found his parents unresponsive inside their home on the 1100 block of Country Lane in Lower Moreland around 12:50 p.m. Investigators said the victims, a 48-year-old man and his 43-year-old wife, had lacerations from a chainsaw that was found lying nearby. 

Prosecutors confirmed one of the deaths was a homicide while the other is under investigation. Officials also say they are not searching for any suspects in the case.

Police are not identifying the couple pending the notification of all family members.

Aside from their 14-year-old son, the couple had two other children who were not in the home when they were found dead. Eric Carswell, the pastor of Bryn Athyn Church, was teaching religion class to one of the children when the school learned about the incident.

"This is not what we would wish for anybody," Carswell said. "I'm very grateful for a sense that the boys have an extended family that is really taking good care of them."

Friends of the victims gathered at Bryn Athyn Cathedral Tuesday night for a prayer vigil.

Friends also told NBC10 there were problems in the couple's marriage.

"I knew they had some complications with their marriage," Shallcross said. "But a lot of marriages do. Most marriages do I'm sure."

An autopsy on the couple will be performed Wednesday.

<![CDATA[Anne Arundel Medical Center Lockdown Lifted]]> Tue, 31 Mar 2015 21:59:26 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Police+Tape+Police+Generic+Trenton.jpg

An Annapolis, Maryland, hospital reopened Tuesday evening after being under a lockdown for most of the day.

Shortly after 12:30 p.m., the Anne Arundel Medical Center entered a modified lockdown after a family member of an emergency room patient became irate and made a violent threat against the hospital.

The medical center categorized the incident as a “Code Gold—Bomb Threat” and began lockdown procedures. Security officers were stationed at facility entrances and employees were forced to show their identification upon entering.

New emergency patients were rerouted to other emergency rooms during the lockdown.

The family member who made the bomb threat was described as a 50-to-60-year-old man with short gray hair and a well-trimmed, short, gray beard.

Police made contact with him in the early evening and determined the situation was no longer a threat to the hospital, ending the lockdown.

No one was hurt.

Photo Credit: NBC10.com]]>
<![CDATA[D.C. Economy Booming 20 Years After Control Board]]> Tue, 31 Mar 2015 20:20:21 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000009975541_1200x675_420929603515.jpg The booming economy in the district today is a far cry from the city's near bankruptcy 20 years ago, when Congress created a controverisal control board that took over city finances. News4's Tom Sherwood takes a new look at that troubled era with former Mayor Tony Williams.]]> <![CDATA[Pat Haden Refuses to Head to Indy]]> Tue, 31 Mar 2015 19:28:43 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/134210519.jpg

USC athletic director Pat Haden says he won’t be heading to Indianapolis this week for the College Football Playoff selection committee meeting in response to Indiana Gov. Mike Pence’s decision to sign the widely-protested “Religious Freedom” bill.

“I am the proud father of a gay son,” Haden wrote to his 17,000 followers on Twitter Tuesday. “In his honor, I will not be attending the CFP committee meeting in Indy this week. #EmbraceDiversity”

The law sparked outrage from many in Indiana's business community and others with ties -- established and planned -- to the Hoosier state.

The public-employee union known as AFSCME announced Monday it was canceling a planned women's conference in Indianapolis this year because of the law. The band Wilco said it was canceling a May performance.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe issued an open letter to Indiana corporations saying Virginia is a business-friendly state that does "not discriminate against our friends and neighbors," while Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel sent letters to more than a dozen Indiana businesses, urging them to relocate to a "welcoming place to people of all races, faiths and countries of origin."

Pence, on the other hand, says the bill he signed into law week has been "grossly mischaracterized" and subjected to "shoddy reporting," but on Tuesday announced that he and legislators have been working around the clock to draft new legislation to clarify its intent.

"We've got a perception problem here ... and we intend to correct that," Pence told reporters.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[WATCH: Woman Leads Police on Dramatic Chase in Va.]]> Tue, 31 Mar 2015 20:13:08 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/215*120/2015-03-31_0817.png

Three Fairfax County police officers were injured during a dramatic police chase that added to the chaos Tuesday morning in the suburb just outside of Washington, D.C .

Police say the chase began as a traffic stop near Route 50 and Fairview Park. The female driver, identified by police as 36-year-old Lakisha Tracy, refused to stop her silver pickup truck, leading police onto the Beltway and then Interstate 95.

At one point, a police cruiser clipped Tracy's truck, causing her to lose control. The truck spun out, allowing police to box her in and take her into custody.

The chase, which ended just before 8 a.m., is not related to the search for a prisoner who escaped custody at Inova Fairfax Hospital.

Tracy was wanted in Arlington County for credit card theft, forgery and other driving related offenses, a source told News4's David Culver.

All three officers were taken to an area hospital for injuries that are not life-threatening.

Watch the chase above. 

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<![CDATA[Planning for Potomac Yard Metro Reaches Milestone]]> Tue, 31 Mar 2015 18:35:59 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/011415Future_Potomac_Yard2.jpg

The environmental impact statement on the proposed Potomac Yards Metro station is now available to the public.

Alexandria held an open house Tuesday for the community to get a first view of the report.

The report is now available online or at several locations in Alexandria.

Also, two more open houses are planned.

One is on Wednesday, April 8, from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Charles Houston Recreation Center, 901 Wythe Avenue.

The other is Monday, April 13, from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Cora Kelly Recreation Center, 25 West Reed Avenue.

The Alexandria City Council is planning a public hearing on the plans for Saturday, May 16, at 10 a.m.

Construction on the Potomac Yard station is expected to begin next year and be completed by 2018.

<![CDATA[Driver Crashes Into Store; 1 Dead]]> Wed, 01 Apr 2015 00:07:29 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/TRUCK-SYLVIA.jpg

One person was killed and seven others were injured Tuesday after a driver crashed a truck into a store in Fort Worth while fleeing the scene of a hit-and-run crash, police say.

Officials investigating the crash said the driver, identified as 19-year-old Isaac Adams, was first involved in a minor crash at Riverside Drive and U.S. Highway 287.

“Yeah, he did stop,” said Bobby Washington, the driver into whom Adams reportedly first crashed. “At the time it seemed like they were on something, you know? It seemed they wasn’t in their right mind.”

After informing Adams he intended to call police, Washington said Adams and his passenger ran back to their truck and sped away.

As Washington called 911 and followed in an attempt to track the man down, Adams raced away on Riverside Drive at speeds of up to 100 mph, officials said.

Adams then lost control of his truck and crashed into the Star Food Mart near the intersection of Riverside Drive and East Lancaster Avenue, trapping several people.

Fort Worth firefighters arrived and began working to free the trapped victims while also stabilizing the building. At one point, firefighters used a fire truck to pull the pickup from the building, freeing a woman who was trapped.

Employees at neighboring businesses rushed to the scene to help the victims and worked to remove some of the debris. Nearby construction workers were able to quickly shut off the electricity to the building since electrical wires were exposed.

One of the eight injured was a woman trapped by the truck who had to be extricated by firefighters.

She has been identified as 24-year-old Sylvia Zazueta. She was transported to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth in critical condition, but did not survive her injuries.

Zazueta was married with three children.

Don Jones, a cook who was working in the back of the store preparing hot food, was able to walk away with barely a scratch.

“Just a big boom and glass shattering,” Jones said. “Then all I saw was dust and a truck sitting in the store.”

“I thought, ‘My God, what happened?’” Jones said.

Seven other patients were transported to area hospitals with minor injuries; three were transported to Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth and four to JPS. One of the injured was a passenger in the truck, the other was the driver who was transported to JPS for treatment.

Fort Worth police confirmed to NBC 5 they believe Adams was under the influence of a narcotic. He now faces several charges, including intoxication manslaughter.

Family of Victim Pulls Together

The mother of Sylvia Zazueta said Tuesday she’s devastated by the loss and what it means to her grandchildren.

Laticia Galdiano said she was with her daughter and two of her grandchildren inside the family’s car at the Star Food Mart, while Zazueta went inside to buy a drink for her son and pay for gas.

Galdiano said her daughter stayed home with the children — ages 8, 4 and 8 months — while her husband worked two jobs.

Zazueta’s daughter, 8-year-old Analisa, asked to speak to NBC 5 about her mother.

“She didn't leave us. Where ever she would go, she would take us,” said Analisa.

Zazueta’s grandfather, Elizardo Quinones, said she brought joy to the world.

With time, he says, he may forgive the driver responsible for the crash.

“We are all human beings. We make mistakes, and with time, I might forgive him. But now, I can't,” said Quinones.

NBC 5's Holley Ford, Chris Van Horne, Jocelyn Lockwood, Ben Russell and Bianca Castro contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Fort Worth Fire Dept. and Facebook
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Cop's Degrading Tirade Against Uber Driver Probed]]> Tue, 31 Mar 2015 18:49:23 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/uber+rant.jpg

The NYPD says the Civilian Complaint Review Board has taken over the investigation into a video that appears to show a police officer verbally abusing an Uber driver in an at-times xenophobic roadside tirade in the West Village Monday.

Police confirmed late Tuesday afternoon that the plain-clothed man seen screaming in the now viral video is a member of the NYPD, but they did not identify him. A spokesman said the department is "aware of the incident and video and it is under review."

The NYPD later said that the CCRB, an independent city agency with subpoena power, has taken over the investigation. 

The video was posted to YouTube by Sanjay Seth, one of the passengers in the Uber car. According to Seth's YouTube post, his Uber driver honked his car horn at the officer later seen screaming in the video because the officer was trying to park on a Sixth Precinct street in the middle of the afternoon without using any blinkers or hazard lights, and the Uber driver's path to a green light was blocked.

The officer, seen wearing a green tie and blue shirt at points in the passenger video, got out of his unmarked car, which had flashing blue and red lights on the dashboard, and flagged down the Uber driver.

The three-minute video begins as the officer approaches the Uber driver's window and starts yelling at the driver, raising his voice over the Uber driver's muted apologies and efforts to interject.

"Stop it with your mouth, stop it with your, 'For what, sir,'" the officer is heard saying in the video as he curses. "Stop it with that ... and realize the three vehicle and traffic law violations you committed."

"You understand me? I don't know what [epithet] planet you think you're on right now," the officer yells, making fun of the Uber driver's accent.

The officer then slams the hood of the Uber car and walks away; the Uber driver tries to apologize to his passengers, who tell him it was not his fault and inform him a video of the exchange was recorded. One of the passengers said it appeared the officer was on a "power trip;" the other called the man's behavior "really inappropriate."

The officer returns to the Uber car about 90 seconds after slamming the hood and storming off, the video shows, and continues to curse at and belittle the driver. The driver keeps trying to dissolve the situation with respectful apologies. Then the officer goes off on him. 

"I don't know where you're coming from or where you think you're appropriate in doing that," the man yells, apparently in reference to the car honk from earlier. "That's not the way it works. How long have you been in this country?"

"Almost how long? Two years?" the officer yells after the driver whispers a response. "I got news for you and use this lesson: Don't ever do that again. The only reason you're not in handcuffs going to jail and getting summonses in the precinct is because I have things to do."

"That's the only reason that's not happening, because this isn't important enough to me, you're not important enough," he says.

The officer turns toward the passengers in the back seat, asks if they are fares and says something about the Uber driver wasting their days, too. The officer hands the driver some kind of piece of paper that looks like a ticket and leaves as the passenger cellphone video pans to the flashing lights on the dashboard of his vehicle, parked behind the Uber car. 

Seth posted video of the exchange on multiple social media accounts. On his Facebook page, he wrote, "Our Uber driver, Humayun, was abused by a police officer today in New York. The rage, door slamming, throwing items into the car, threatening arrest without cause was bad enough -- but the officer's remarks at the end really took it to another level."

Seth wrote on Facebook that he reported the exchange to the Civilian Complaint Review Board. According to his profile, Seth works at a nonprofit in the city and used to work for the parks department.

Asked about the exchange by NBC 4 New York, Seth wrote, "This very unfortunate incident is between the driver, Uber, the officer, and the relevant authorities."

Uber called the behavior in the video "wrong" and "unacceptable," and said it appreciated the NYPD investigating.

"We are in touch with our driver-partner who was subjected to this terrible experience and will continue to provide any support he needs," Matthew Wing, a spokesman for the ride share company, said. 

The CCRB handles complaints about four kinds of alleged police misconduct: force, abuse of authority, discourtesy and offensive language. 

Photo Credit: Sanjay Seth]]>
<![CDATA[D.C. Mayor Bans Travel to Indiana After New Law]]> Tue, 31 Mar 2015 18:07:11 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Mike-Pence-Indiana-Gov.jpg

District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser issued an executive order Tuesday banning any District-funded travel to Indiana.

Bowser is the latest official in the country to ban travel to the state in the wake of its controversial “Religious Freedom Restoration Act." She said the Indiana law discriminates against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in a way that would not be tolerated in the District.

Councilman David Grosso had called for the ban Monday. "Discrimination has no place in the District of Columbia, and our public employees should not be forced to travel to a place that prides itself on fueling anti-LGBTQ animosity," Grosso said in a statement.

The mayors of San Francisco and Seattle have also banned city-funded travel to the state. So has Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy.

The bans are a reaction to Indiana's new Religious Freedom Restoration Act, signed by Gov. Mike Pence last week. The bill says the state government cannot prevent someone -- including a business owner -- from following religious beliefs. Indiana has no statewide anti-discrimination law, and so some have said that law allows businesses to legally refuse to serve gay people.

Business leaders and celebrities have blasted the new law. Tim Cook, Apple's CEO, said in an op-ed in the Washington Post that the new law was part of a "dangerous" "wave of legislation that ... would allow people to discriminate against their neighbors."

The hashtag #BoycottIndiana quickly trended on Twitter.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Man Carved Name on Girlfriend: DA]]> Tue, 31 Mar 2015 17:07:07 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/3-31-2015-Mendoza.jpg

A California man accused of using a razor blade to carve his name onto his girlfriend's chest was arraigned Monday on kidnapping and domestic battery charges, according to the Orange County District Attorney's Office.

Sergio Joaquin Mendoza, 25, was arrested after allegedly abusing the woman on numerous occasions between March 17 and 20, according to the Orange County District Attorney's Office.

The DA's office had first reported Mendoza was 39 years old but corrected his age to 25.

The Santa Ana man was charged with a felony count of kidnapping, a felony count of criminal threats, two felony counts of domestic battery with corporal injury, and a sentencing enhancement for personal use of a deadly weapon, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office said.

Mendoza allegedly got into multiple verbal fights with the victim and punched her on several occasions, prosecutors said. He is also accused of making her sit in his car while he was at work under the threat of violence.

On March 22, he allegedly tried to stop her from leaving a relative's house where he was staying, only allowing it on the condition she let him carve his name on her body, the DA's office said. Mendoza then used a razor blade to cut his first name on onto her chest, according to prosecutors. 

That evening he allegedly forced her into his vehicle, then drove around Santa Ana while threatening to hurt her if she tried to leave, according to the district attorney's office. The next day, he allegedly punched her on the head, attempted to strangle her and head-butted her in the face, prosecutors claim.

Eventually, she managed to escape, with an employee calling police after she ran into a local business. Mendoza was arrested March 26, prosecutors said.

Mendoza is being held on $100,000 bail and is scheduled for a pretrial hearing on April 8. He faces a maximum sentence of 11 years and eight months in state prison if convicted.

It was not immediately clear whether he obtained an attorney.

<![CDATA[Motorist Drives Off From Tow Truck]]> Tue, 31 Mar 2015 16:50:28 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/223*120/Tow+Truck.jpg

Chicago resident Tony Marengo says he is used to seeing vehicles get towed out of the Walgreen’s parking lot across from his River North apartment at Clark and Ontario – but never with a driver still behind the wheel of the car.

Marengo said he was at home around 8:30 p.m. Sunday when he heard loud yelling from outside. When he went to the window, he saw a tow truck traveling with a white jeep on the back.

Seems normal, but soon he noticed the yelling was coming from inside of the car being towed – the driver was still inside.

“We could hear the guy in the driver’s seat of the car yelling out of the window,” Marengo said.

“He was like, ‘Hey! Hey! Hey, buddy!’” he said of the frantic driver trying to get the tow truck operator’s attention.

Marengo says it was then that the tow truck finally pulled over to the side of the road. And once he did, he was the one in for the surprise – as the man behind the Jeep put his car in drive and sped off.

“It was crazy,” said Marengo, who is CEO and President of Chicago-based Company The MacTutor, Inc. “Then he was just sitting there, I imagine calling a supervisor or something.”

Marengo captured the whole ordeal on his phone and uploaded the video to his YouTube account. It has garnered nearly 10,000 views in less than 24 hours.

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<![CDATA[AP Exam Participation on the Rise for U.S. Public School Students: Report ]]> Tue, 31 Mar 2015 16:38:05 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/pencil-569703561.jpg

Already sharpening No. 2 pencils and flipping through those flashcards in anticipation of Advanced Placement exam season? You're not alone.

More than 1.4 million public school students took AP exams last year, a 3.8 percent increase from the previous year, according to figured released by the College Board. While the figures for public school population for 11th and 12th graders was not readily available, the College Board reports that roughly 3 million students graduated in 2013.

With the increase in participation came an uptick in students passing the exams, which cover subjects like physics, foreign languages and U.S. history. The success of the nation’s 11th and 12th grade public school students has doubled in the past decade, from 7.6 percent in 2004 to 13.2 percent in 2014, according to the College Board.

About 400,000 minority students took the exams last year, a 7 percent increase for a group that was historically underrepresented in the demographic breakdown of text-takers. Hispanic students are now participating in the AP program at almost the same rate as the nation overall — 19.1 percent of Hispanic students took an AP Exam in 2014, compared to a nationwide figure of 21.9 percent. 

Despite those gains, gaps are still evident for other minority groups. Only 12.9 percent of African American and 12 percent of Native American 11th and 12th grade public high school students took an AP test in May 2014, according to the College Board.

College Board also reported a rise in participation among low-income students. About 350,000 low-income students took an AP exam last year, a 7.3 percent rise. The number of students that use fee reductions in order to take AP exams has climbed as well, doubling from 2004 from 11.8 to 24 percent.

For 2014, Washington D.C. topped the charts for participation with 38.6 percent of students who took the AP exam. North Dakota came in last with only 8.1 percent. However, when it came to actually passing the exam, Maryland was the winner with 22 percent of their students gaining the college credit, while Mississippi was at the bottom of the list with only 3.2 percent of students passing. Overall, 15 states exceeded the national average of 13.2 percent.

A lot rides on a passing grade on an AP exam. A student who receives a passing grade may not have to take the same class in college, which can save money as college tuitions continue to rise.

On average, a student who passes two AP exams saves $1,779 at a public college and more than $6,000 at a private school, according to the 2013 College Board report “Trends in College pricing.” In order to pass an AP exam, a student has to score at least a 3 out of 5.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA["Stop Pooping" Along Trail]]> Tue, 31 Mar 2015 20:05:27 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/ss3-31-15-1.jpg

To whoever has been pooping on the public bike path in Hampton, Illinois – please stop, officials have asked.

“Stop pooping on bike path,” read two new signs along the trail. And no, it’s not a message directed towards pets.

Apparently joggers who poop along the path have been an increasing problem for Hampton over the past two years, the city’s Public Works supervisor Scott McKay told NBC station KWQC.

"When the individual does it, it does it right in the lane. It’s not on the center line. It’s not off on the grass," he said. 

McKay said there's certainty the act is done by a human and not an animal because the culprit adorns it with toilet paper and leaves the same footprints.

So now he's taken matters into his own hands. In case the runners were under the guise that it was okay to use Mother Nature’s open roadways as their personal toilet, they now have a friendly reminder educating them otherwise.

McKay said he hopes the signs solve the problem.

Photo Credit: Tiffany Liou/KWQC]]>
<![CDATA[Indiana Gov: We Intend to Fix "Perception" Problem of Law]]> Tue, 31 Mar 2015 14:55:30 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/pence-presser-468206814.jpg

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence on Tuesday said a bill he signed into law week has been "grossly mischaracterized" and subjected to "shoddy reporting," but said he and legislators have been working around the clock to draft new legislation to clarify its intent.

"We've got a perception problem here ... and we intend to correct that," Pence told reporters during a morning press conference from Indianapolis.

The Republican reiterated earlier comments that the intent of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act was not to discriminate but to protect religious freedom. The measure prohibits state laws that "substantially burden" a person's ability to follow his or her religious beliefs. The definition of "person" includes religious institutions, businesses and associations.

Gays and lesbians are not a protected class under Indiana’s civil rights laws, and critics of the law alleged it could provide some businesses the opportunity to refuse providing services or selling goods to some people based on religious grounds.

Pence said he found that claim "offensive," and called upon the state's General Assembly to address the issue.

"This law does not give businesses a right to deny services to anyone," he said. "The intent of the law was to give the courts in our state the highest level of scrutiny in cases where people feel that their religious liberty is being infringed upon by government action."

His comments Tuesday were a follow-up to an op-ed piece he penned for the Wall Street Journal that the law was not a "license to discriminate."

"I abhor discrimination," he wrote. "I believe in the Golden Rule that you should ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

The law sparked outrage from many in Indiana's business community and others with ties -- established and planned -- to the Hoosier state. The public-employee union known as AFSCME announced Monday it was canceling a planned women's conference in Indianapolis this year because of the law. The band Wilco said it was canceling a May performance. Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe issued an open letter to Indiana corporations saying Virginia is a business-friendly state that does "not discriminate against our friends and neighbors," while Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel sent letters to more than a dozen Indiana businesses, urging them to relocate to a "welcoming place to people of all races, faiths and countries of origin."

In a separate editorial with a clear message, Indiana's largest newspaper, the Indianapolis Star, stressed urgency: "Fix this now."

Photo Credit: Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Indiana's Religious Freedom Law: Who Opposes, Favors]]> Tue, 31 Mar 2015 14:45:36 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/mike-pence-protests-split.jpg

Indiana’s new religious freedom law provoked fierce reaction from both sides — critics who believe it provides a poorly disguised excuse to discriminate against gays and lesbians and supporters who say it protects religious beliefs.

Gov. Mike Pence signed the law last week and but the backlash was so widespread that on Tuesday he called for additional legislation this week to clarify that the law was not a license to discriminate.  He continued to insist that the bill had been mischaracterized and did not permit the denial of services to anyone, including gays and lesbians.

"Heavens no," he said, when he asked whether he expected the reaction.

The federal government and 20 other states have similar religious protection laws but some legal experts say the Indiana law broadened who could claim a religious burden and under what circumstances. Gays and lesbians are not a protected class under Indiana’s civil rights laws.

Here’s a look at who has been speaking out about the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Those Speaking Out Against the Law

The head of the NCAA told NBC News on Monday that he was "deeply concerned" about the Indiana law. Indianapolis hosts the Final Four in the National Collegiate Athletic Association's men's basketball tournament on Saturday.

The chief executives of nine major Indiana-based companies wrote to Pence on Monday saying they were worried about their own employees and the reputation of Indiana. Among the companies: Angie’s List, Anthem Blue Cross & Blue Shield, Eli Lilly and Co. and Roche Diagnostics.

Salesforce, the cloud computing company, said it was canceling all company travel to Indiana and in a Washington Post op-ed, Apple CEO Tim Cook, who is gay, called the new wave of legislation dangerous.

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce called the law unnecessary.

AFSCME, the country’s largest public-employee union, said it would move a planned women's conference out of Indianapolis this year because of the law.

Among politicians, Hillary Clinton, widely expected to run for the Democratic 2016 presidential nomination, tweeted: "Sad this new Indiana law can happen in America today."

Gov. Dannel Malloy of Connecticut signed an executive order banning state-backed travel to Indiana, and called the law “disturbing, disgraceful, and outright discriminatory.” Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the mayors of San Francisco and Seattle also restricted government-sponsored travel to the state.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent, told Fusion that Pence was on the wrong side of history.

Entertainers also took stands against the law.

The band Wilco said it was canceling a May performance.

"Parks and Recreation" star Nick Offerman canceled a comedy show in Indianapolis in May, citing the new law. But he said he would go forward with a show Wednesday at Indiana University and donate the proceeds to the Human Rights Campaign.

Supporting Indiana's Law

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, a candidate for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, said Pence was protecting religious liberty. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who is weighing a run for the Republican nomination for the presidency, said on Fox News that he thought people should be allowed to live out their religious faith.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, another likely Republican candidate, said the law would allow people of faith to express their beliefs. Speaking on the Hugh Hewitt radio show, he said that once the facts were established, he thought people would see that the law was not discriminatory.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[WATCH: Indiana Gov. Addresses Law Controversy]]> Tue, 31 Mar 2015 10:56:48 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Mike-Pence-Indiana-Gov.jpg

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence said in a Tuesday op-ed in the Wall Street Journal that a controversial bill he signed into law last week is not a "license to discriminate."

"I abhor discrimination," he wrote. "I believe in the Golden Rule that you should ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’ If I saw a restaurant owner refuse to serve a gay couple, I wouldn’t eat there anymore."

"As governor of Indiana, if I were presented a bill that legalized discrimination against any person or group, I would veto it," he continued.

His published remarks are an attempt to quell the firestorm that's brewed since he affixed his signature to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act last Thursday. The measure prohibits state laws that "substantially burden" a person's ability to follow his or her religious beliefs. The definition of "person" includes religious institutions, businesses and associations.

Gays and lesbians are not a protected class under Indiana’s civil rights laws, and critics of the law maintain it could allow some businesses to refuse providing service or selling goods to some people based on religious grounds.

That's sparked outrage from many in Indiana's business community and others with ties -- established and planned -- to the Hoosier state. The public-employee union known as AFSCME announced Monday it was canceling a planned women's conference in Indianapolis this year because of the law. The band Wilco said it was canceling a May performance. Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe issued an open letter to Indiana corporations saying Virginia is a business-friendly state that does "not discriminate against our friends and neighbors," while Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel sent letters to more than a dozen Indiana businesses, urging them to relocate to a "welcoming place to people of all races, faiths and countries of origin."

Republican legislative leaders said they are working on adding language to the law to make it clear it does not allow discrimination against gays and lesbians.

In a separate editorial with a clear message, Indiana's largest newspaper, the Indianapolis Star, stressed urgency: "Fix this now."

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA["I'm Not Running": Warren Shuts Down 2016 Buzz Again]]> Tue, 31 Mar 2015 09:36:50 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP868875334282.jpg

Sorry, "Elizabeth Warren for President" holdouts.

The U.S. senator from Massachusetts on Tuesday dealt another blow to supporters — and rivals on the right — hoping she'll enter the 2016 race, repeating her intention to stay on the sidelines. 

"No, I am not running and I’m not going to run," she told NBC's Savannah Guthrie in an interview.

"I'm not running. I'm not running," she repeated when asked again whether there was any room to hedge.

Warren, who has gained a national profile as a vocal critic of Wall Street, has insisted for months that she does not plan to run against likely candidate and frontrunner Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Democratic primary. On Tuesday, as she appeared on the "Today" show to promote her new memoir, she said serving in the U.S. Senate is the best platform for fighting for changes on financial regulation, student loans and more.

“I’m in Washington and I’ve got this really great job and a chance to try to make a difference on things that really matter," she said.

The senator's own words haven't stopped supporters on the left from continuing a draft-Warren effort to lay groundwork and generate support for a run. Republicans have also used the buzz surrounding a possible Warren bid to rally their base — citing the progressive Democrat in fundraising emails and other appeals for support.

Even as she rejected the speculation surrounding her own plans, Warren sidestepped a question about whether Clinton is the best messenger on issues embraced by the party's liberal wing.

“I think we need to give her a chance to decide if she’s going to run and declare and to lay out what she wants to run on," she said. "I think that's her opportunity to do that.”

Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Three Men Charged With Sexual Assault of 9-Year-Old Girl]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 17:09:33 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/20150330+Prince+William+Sex+Assault.jpg

Three different men were charged with sexually assaulting a Prince William County girl, starting when she was five years old.

Douglas Vladimir Monge Baires, 39, of Manassas; Walter Antonio Canales Reyes, 31, of Manassas; and Santos Andres Flores Rios, 47, of no fixed address; were charged with taking indecent liberties with a child, police said.

Monge Baires and Canales Reyes were also charged with multiple counts of rape, and Monge Baires with two counts of object sexual penetration.

According to detectives from the Special Victims Unit, the girl was sexually assaulted by all three men while they resided at the victim’s home. The three men were not known to one another and stayed at the residence at different times.

The assault was reported after the victim, now 9 years old, disclosed information to her family members about the sexual encounters. The family members then notified the Department of Social Services and police.

They were all held without bond. Court dates are pending.

<![CDATA[Drunken Mom Abandons Child: Police]]> Tue, 31 Mar 2015 00:05:06 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/alicia-carroll.jpg

A mother has been charged with endangering her 7-year-old daughter after getting drunk and leaving her "hiding" in a trash bin overnight in a "high crime" area, Dallas police say.

Dallas police said 28-year-old Alicia Carroll called them Sunday morning alleging the person she left her daughter with Saturday night refused to return her.

Carroll told police she left the King Spa and Sauna on Royal Lane to clear her head at about 10 p.m., leaving her child inside with an acquaintance. A spa employee told NBC 5 that Carroll was drunk when she, along with her daughter, left a party at the spa Saturday night.

After the call Sunday morning, Dallas police began searching for Carroll's daughter by air and ground. The young girl wasn't found until about 11:15 a.m. when two passers-by flagged down an officer and asked if they were looking for a small black girl in a yellow shirt and shorts.

With the tip, officers quickly found the missing girl, describing her condition as hungry and thirsty, filthy, wearing no shoes and suffering from several cuts and scrapes to her arms and legs.

The girl told police she and her mother left the spa and were walking down the street when her mother started running. The girl said her mother told her they were being followed by the police and that they would have to hide.

Police said Carroll helped her child into the trash bin and then left her there alone in a "high crime area ... by a creek and wooded area." The child eventually fell asleep in the trash bin and woke up about 10 hours later. After exiting the bin, she began walking down Royal Lane toward the spa.

Carroll later admitted to police that she became intoxicated after having two vodka drinks in the parking lot and didn't remember much after that until the next morning when she couldn't locate her daughter. Police said Carroll also eventually remembered leaving the spa with her child and that they had been talking about the day, but then couldn't remember anything else.

The child was taken to a nearby hospital for an evaluation and then released to a family member, according to police. Child Protective Services was notified.

Police said they arrested Carroll Sunday afternoon and charged her with endangering a child. She is being held on $25,000 bond.

Carroll works as a daycare teacher, according to Dallas police.

Carroll's sister and neighbor both tell NBC 5 she is a good mother who loves her daughter very much. The family had no explanation for what occurred Saturday night. They would also not go on camera.

As of Monday evening, there was no attorney information listed for Carroll.

NBC 5's Todd L. Davis and Ray Villeda contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
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<![CDATA[D.C. Bicycle Shop Credited With Helping Catch Thief]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 22:38:38 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000009959621_1200x675_420367427706.jpg A man who was robbed of his bicycle at gunpoint in Adams Morgan now has his favorite bicycle shop to thank for getting the ride back. News4 Transportation reporter Adam Tuss reports on the unusual way the suspect was caught.]]> <![CDATA[World Bipolar Day: Battling Bipolar Disorder]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 20:09:50 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000009961204_1200x675_420379715690.jpg Local woman Christine Anderson details her journey with bipolar disorder and her struggle to find a healthy balance.]]> <![CDATA[Athletes Can Thank Falls Church High School Senior for Fancy Footwork]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 20:05:59 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000009961208_1200x675_420379203516.jpg A Falls Church High School senior invents and patents a new type of cleat.]]> <![CDATA[Mayor Bowser Promotes Deals for Developers]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 19:47:21 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000009960541_1200x675_420356163592.jpg Mayor Muriel Bowser introduces a half dozen new development projects as part of her plan to create jobs and opportunities for D.C. residents and small businesses. Protesters say the city and Bowser are giving away city land.]]>