<![CDATA[NBC Bay Area - Top Stories]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/top-stories http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/nbc_bayarea_blue.png NBC Bay Area http://www.nbcbayarea.com en-us Fri, 04 Sep 2015 14:32:21 -0700 Fri, 04 Sep 2015 14:32:21 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Family, Community Holds Rally After Inmate's Death]]> Fri, 04 Sep 2015 12:59:49 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/web_jail_rally2.jpg

Families of Santa Clara County jail inmates, community groups and police critics held a rally Friday outside the main jail to advocate for safer jails and to end guard violence after the death of an in-custody inmate, 31-year-old Michael Tyree.

A group of about 50 people came out holding signs that read "Our Jail is a Crime Scene," "Murder in Uniform," and "Protect our People." Organized by groups such as the NAACP, Silicon Valley De-Bug, the Coalition for Justice and Accountability, the group called for systemic changes to prevent tragedies - such as beating deaths - in the jail.

"My son also struggled with mental health," said a man who only wanted to be identified as William and who said he has a son being held at the jail. That could have been him."

The rally comes a day after three sheriff’s correctional deputies - Jereh Lubrin, 28, Matthew Farris, 27, and Rafael Rodriguez, 27 - were arrested on suspicion of murder, conspiracy and assault resulting from Tyree’s Aug. 27 death. Tyree was schizophrenic, the family's attorney said, and had battled mental illness most of his adult life.

At a news conference on Thursday, Sheriff Laurie Smith laid out the timeline of his death and her profound sadness at what transpired.

“The disappointment and disgust that I feel cannot be overstated,” Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith said at a news conference Thursday. “Because our investigation has concluded that three correctional deputies…are the reason for this brutal murder of Michael Tyree.” (Watch the sheriff's press conference in its entirety.)

What Smith outlined was this: Tyree was housed on the sixth floor in the 6B wing of the Main Jail, which is a spot for inmates placed in protective custody or special needs. Tyree had already served his 5-day sentence on misdemeanor theft and drug possession charges. He had agreed to enter a residential treatment program, the Momentum Crisis Residential Treatment Center, a nonprofit for substance abuse. And he was waiting for a slot to open up. The family's attorney said that authorities felt it was safer to keep him in a cell, than send him out on the streets.

On Aug. 26, the correctional deputies were conducting a routine clothing search of inmates’ cells. They entered the cell of Tyree, who was alone at the time. Twenty minutes later, they left the cell, Smith said. An hour after that, Lubrin re-entered the cell to check again. At this point, it was Aug. 27. Lubrin at that point called to report a “man down.” His incident report shows that Tyree’s body was found in the cell, naked and covered in feces and vomit, Smith said. Rodriguez came to drag the body out of the cell. The deputies tried to perform CPR, Smith said. Paramedics came and he was later declared dead.

Smith said that sheriff’s investigators began to believe Tyree’s death was “suspicious” and that he “may not have died from natural causes.” They suspected “foul play,” Smith said, and that the three deputies were possibly involved. The three were removed from the main jail and placed on administrative leave.

On Aug. 31, Santa Clara County Medical Examiner Dr. Joseph O’Hara determined that Tyree had died of internal bleeding due to blunt force trauma. At the news conference, O’Hara said Tyree also had severe cuts to his liver and spleen.

The deputies were arrested on Thursday. They are being held without bail. They were moved from the jail where they worked to Santa Rita in Alameda County. According to Smith, each refused to make a statement. Their attorney also declined comment.

Tyree, who spent his early years in Louisiana, has long struggled with mental illness, family attorney Paula Canny said at the sheriff’s news conference, marking the unusual invitation by the sheriff.

"He struggled with mental illness most of adult life, schizophrenia and being bipolar,"  Canny told NBC Bay Area in a separate interview. "He had a very difficult life. A hard, crummy life."

In the last stretch of his adult life, Canny said that Tyree was in "full-blown fear-base. He was struggling way to keep the voices at bay." She said he often found himself in jail for petty theft and drug use, but "he wasn't an evil, or bad person. He was a kind and sweet guy who struggled with mental illness. But there are no warm and flowery stories to tell."

Tyree's full criminal history wasn't made public, but he had been held in Maricopa County Jail in Arizona in 2012, for failure to appear on a trespassing charge.

Tyree's father was a civil engineer, a career military officer, who moved the family around a lot, and Tyree had been in California on-and-off for the last eight years, mostly in the San Jose area, as a transient, Canny said. His two sisters live on the East Coast.

His father died in 2014. His mother, a homemaker, died in 2013. Tyree finished high school, Canny said, but did not think he graduated college, and he nevr had a professional career.

Canny personally thanked the sheriff for inviting her and for moving so swiftly and for taking responsibility.

“I am so grateful for the recognition for when someone does a wrong thing, a bad thing, even if they are a deputy to be held to the same conduct as you and I.”

“This is a tragic sad heartbreaking event,” Canny said. “And that Michael Tyree, even though he was an inmate in jail, he was a  person of value and inmates are to be respected. Michael was somebody's brother, somebody's son, somebody's cousin, somebody's nephew.”

NBC Bay Area's Damian Trujillo and Stephen Stock contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: Michelle Roberts
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<![CDATA[Protecting a Pope Who Takes Selfies With the Crowds]]> Fri, 04 Sep 2015 09:22:17 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP_62440492205.jpg

Protecting Pope Francis when he travels to the United States this month will be a particularly arduous task for the Secret Service and other security officers given this pontiff’s spontaneity and propensity to plunge into crowds.

"He's a guy that has challenged the bad guys, ISIS, people like that,” said Steven Bucci, a national security expert at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. “There are people who just don’t like Catholics. There’s a whole bunch of potential threats that the pope faces.”

But vigilance has to be balanced against allowing access because Francis’ purpose in visiting is to interact with the people who throng to see him, Bucci and others say.

He is the spiritual leader for the world's 1.2 billion Catholics and has been known to pose for selfies with fans on occasion. 

"For the pope not to go into crowds, not to see people, is a no-go," said Andreas Widmer, who as a member of the Swiss Guard served Pope John Paul II and is now at Catholic University in Washington, D.C. "You could make the pope 100 percent secure by putting him in a bunker somewhere but then he's not the pope any more."

Francis is expected to draw millions of people over five days beginning Sept. 23 when he visits Washington, D.C., New York and Philadelphia. More than one million alone are expected to attend one of the main events, an outdoor Mass on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia to conclude the World Meeting of Families around which his visit was planned. At his Philadelphia events, selfie sticks will be banned for security reasons. 

He will also address Congress and the U.N. General Assembly, deliver a speech on immigration at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, take part in two processions along Benjamin Franklin Parkway, attend a multireligious service at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum in New York, and travel through Central Park, a late addition to his itinerary to allow even more people to see him.

AN "UNPRECEDENTED" CHALLENGE

His visit to New York City will come as the 70th session of the U.N. General Assembly gets underway, a meeting attended by more than 160 world leaders. New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton told NBC New York that the challenge of guarding the pope would be unprecedented. New Yorkers could see gridlock, closed subway stations, additional vehicle checkpoints and other security measures, police warned.

"We won't shut down New York during this — business continues, people come and go," John Miller, the New York Police Department's head of counterterrorism, told The Associated Press. "It's going to be unprecedented, but we're going to make it work."

The pope’s visit has been designated a national security special event, meaning the U.S. Secret Service is in charge of planning for his security while working with the FBI and local agencies. The Secret Service has met multiple times with Vatican security officials in Washington and in Rome to learn more about Francis' interactions with crowds, the AP reported. Philadelphia police also traveled to the Vatican.

Francis travels with his own detail of security agents and with the bulletproof Popemobile, which will be a Jeep Wrangler already in Secret Service hands.

He has been famously reluctant to embrace some security measures, comparing the Popemobile to a sardine can and telling the Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia that if something did happen to him at his age he did not have much to lose.

A DIFFERENT APPROACH TO SECURITY

Widmer said the Swiss Guards take a fundamentally different approach to security than other security agencies. They are trained in close hand-to-hand combat, to use their bodies as shields as they protect a religious figure with whom the crowds want to touch or speak. Even if someone threatens the pope, a gun is not always the best response, he said.

"We’re protecting the pope so the first reaction is not violence," he said. 

He added that Swiss Guards "have 500 years of experience, and we do things very discretely."

New York and Washington, D.C. frequently are called on to protect presidents, prime ministers and other dignitaries so more attention has focused on how well Philadelphia is doing as it gets ready for the pontiff. Adding to the city’s difficulty: Francis’ appearances in Philadelphia will be larger and more exposed.

Fences and metal detectors will go up around security zones at the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and Independence Hall, schools and courts will be shut and traffic will be restricted downtown. Twenty-five miles of highway and the Benjamin Franklin Bridge will be closed to vehicles. The National Guard and 1,000 state troopers will be brought in to help, the AP reported.

Access to the pope will be restricted by tickets, which have been allocated to Catholic parishes throughout the Philadelphia region. Even at the large outdoor events, spots closest to the pontiff will require tickets. But the Archdiocese of Philadelphia emphasized that the vast majority of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway would be open to everyone.

NO SPECIFIC THREATS

Philadelphia’s preparations were plagued by weeks of rumors and then criticism that the city was going overboard compared to New York and Washington, D.C. Scott White, a former Canadian security officer and now a professor of homeland security at Drexel University in Philadelphia, was among the security experts who told The Philadelphia Inquirer last month that traffic restrictions and other measures seemed disproportionate.

But as more information was released, White said that only those in charge of the security arrangements and familiar with threats received would know whether preparations were appropriate.

“There’s a vast array of potential threat to anybody who is a high profile individual so I wouldn’t really want to speculate," White said when asked who might pose the greatest threat to Francis.

The AP reported authorities have reported no specific threats related to Francis' visit, but also noted that when Pope Benedict XVI visited the United States in 2008, security officials warned that terrorists could focus on targets such as hotels, restaurants or trains.

Last month, when Francis was asked whether he approved of unilateral U.S. airstrikes on militants from the Islamic State or ISIS, he said it would be permissible to stop an unjust aggressor. Earlier in the year, ISIS made threats against Italy and the Vatican, with a photo showing its flag flying above the obelisk in St. Peter’s Square and the headline, “The failed crusade.”



Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Whole Foods Suspends Guard After Bloody Altercation]]> Fri, 04 Sep 2015 14:27:15 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/whole-crop.jpg

Editor's Note: The photographs posted on this page are graphic in nature.

Whole Foods has suspended a security guard at one of its Oakland locations after photographs of a bloody altercation between a customer and the guard surfaced on Facebook.

Zoe Marks, a fellow at Edinburgh University, was visiting Oakland, when she posted an eyewitness account Thursday of what she described as a “horrific” incident at the Whole Foods Market near Lake Merritt. Marks said the customer "was trying to buy groceries with his EBT card and ended up in a stretcher."

An EBT or Electronic Benefit Transfer card is a replacement for paper food stamps and checks.

“I just saw a young man violently assaulted by an armed security guard at Whole Foods, slammed repeatedly against concrete pillars, put in a chokehold, restrained, and suffocated until he was thrown face down on the pavement unconscious. The guard locked him out of the store despite the fact he was immobile," Marks wrote.

Her photographs show an unidentified man with a black jacket lying on the floor bleeding. Paramedics can be seen attending to the man in another photograph. According to Marks, not a single employee at Whole Foods called the paramedics. It is not immediately clear what events took place right before the altercation. According to Marks: “He was trying to buy groceries with his EBT card and ended up in a stretcher."

Marks wrote she spent an hour giving a written statement to Oakland police officers who showed up at the scene. Requests for comment from Oakland police were not immediately returned.

“I'm sorry for more graphic images of violence against black citizens, but I was here and spoke to the victim (to keep him conscious), perpetrator, several bystanders, and cops,” Marks wrote. “Armed private guards cannot be tolerated in our grocery stores and communities when this is what they do to paying customers. Whole Foods needs to be held accountable — security is NOT selective, it is collective.”

Whole Foods responded on their Facebook page Friday, admitting “there was an altercation that escalated to violence.”

“The graphic images circulating on Facebook and Twitter are disturbing to say the least,” the statement said. “Whole Foods Market considers the safety and security of all team members, customers and members of our community a top priority. The security guard involved in the incident has been suspended, and we are actively investigating the details with our security firm. While we move swiftly to gather the facts, we want to make it clear that Whole Foods Market takes a zero tolerance approach to violence.”

Marks also posted a one-star review of the 230 Bay Place Whole Foods Market on Yelp: "It's time to disarm your guards and put customers first. This young man was violently assaulted by an aggressive security officer while trying to buy groceries with EBT," her comment, which included the graphic photographs, said.

"Horrified customers stayed on the scene for hours," she wrote, adding that they demanded calls to paramedics and "shouted they would never shop at Whole Foods Oakland again."

"I hope that Whole Foods does reveal their fact finding with transparency," Terry De Grace-Morris wrote on Whole Food's Facebook page. "This kind of behavior by law enforcement personnel is no longer tolerated or excused."

In Oakland less than four hours and I just saw a young man violently assaulted by an armed security guard at Whole Foods...

Posted by Zoe Marks on Friday, September 4, 2015



Photo Credit: Zoe Marks via Facebook]]>
<![CDATA[Brush Fire Burns Off I-280 Near Highway 92 Interchange]]> Fri, 04 Sep 2015 12:53:43 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/web-280-fire.jpg

Two lanes of northbound I-280 were shut down Friday morning so crews could battle a brush fire burning near the Crystal Springs Reservoir and Highway 92 interchange in San Mateo County.

The fire broke out about 10 a.m. and spread to about 15 acres, authorities said.

Belmont police said, as of 11 a.m., the fire was contained and no structures were ever threatened.



Photo Credit: @montiebroeck/Twitter
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<![CDATA[Dog Dies After Swimming in Russian River]]> Fri, 04 Sep 2015 12:27:27 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/russian-river.jpg

Sonoma County public health officials are considering whether to urge people to avoid the Russian River - just ahead of Labor Day weekend - after a golden retriever died while swimming in the water, which likely contains a lethal toxin produced by blue-green algae.

The department of health issued a warning Aug. 21 citing that "small amounts of cyanobacteria," or blue-green algae were detected along the Russian River and likely led to the death on Thursday after a dog died, possibly of toxic algae, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reported.

Toxic algae has been a problem in other waterways in the recent past, as officials point to the drought as the likely culprit.

It's common for toxic algae blooms to break out in warm weather, but the park rangers have said that the drought is likely making the situation worse. Warmer temperatures prevent water from mixing, allowing algae to grow thicker and faster. Also, warmer water is easier for small organisms to move through and allows algae to float to the surface faster. And algal blooms absorb sunlight, making water even warmer and promote more blooms.

Oakland's Lake Temescal has been closed all summer, for example, and Quarry Lakes in Fremont was also closed this summer because of a toxic algae bloom.

And in some cases, the algae has been deadly for pets, including three dogs who died in January and February at Lake Chabot in Castro Valley. A porpoise who was found dead this week in the Russian River, also likely died from toxic algae, the Napa Valley Register reported.

Officials were expected to announce Friday whether they would consider telling the public to avoid certain parts of the river this weekend.
 



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[French Hero Spencer Stone Welcomed With Gusto]]> Fri, 04 Sep 2015 00:28:32 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/186*120/spencer+stone+returns.jpg

One of three Sacramento-area men – hailed as heroes for thwarting a terror attack aboard a high-speed European train last month – returned home to California on Thursday.

U.S. Air Force Airman Spencer Stone was aboard a flight that touched down at Fairfield-based Travis Air Force Base around 8 p.m. The 23-year-old has previously worked in David Grant USAF Medical Center’s pediatric department for a year.

Military personnel and family members lined up for the chance to take pictures and shake hands with Stone who helped stop a gunman and saved the life of a passenger on a France-bound train on Aug. 21.

Stone and his two childhood friends — Anthony Sadler, 23, a Sacramento State University student, and Oregon National Guardsman Alek Skarlatos, 22 — subdued Ayoub El-Khazzani, a man with ties to radical Islam who was carrying a handgun and an assault weapon on the train.

The first to tackle the gunman, Stone was slashed in the neck and his thumb was nearly sliced off. He underwent rehab in Germany before returning to the United States.

On Thursday, people cheered for Stone while other waved flags and children held up signs reading, "Airman Stone is our hero."

Stone’s former coworker Jeffrey Copple said: "I think it was great what he did. He stepped up and did his job. He had great training in the Air Force – I guarantee it."

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson plans to host a parade to honor the heroic tree on Sept. 11. French President Francois Hollande has given the three men France's highest award, the Legion of Honor. 



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Boy Fatally Shoots Teenage Intruder During Home Invasion]]> Fri, 04 Sep 2015 05:40:25 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/police+lights+generic+crop.jpg

An 11-year-old St. Louis-area boy fatally shot a 16-year-old who entered his home during an alleged home invasion Thursday, police said.

Two people had approached the home twice before Thursday, and on the third attempt entered the house through the front door, police said. The 11-year-old, who lives in the home, shot the 16-year-old intruder in the head, St. Louis County police said in a statement.

Police found the shot teenager dead in the foyer, and a second person who fled was caught nearby.

Police were working to verify the second person's identity Thursday afternoon. The names of those involved, and a possible motive in the suspected home invasion, were not released.



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[VTA ‘Ready’ for 49ers’ Regular Season Traffic ]]> Fri, 04 Sep 2015 00:51:27 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/11P+NEW+LEVIS+TRAFFIC+PKG+-+00004220.jpg

The 49ers played their final preseason game against the San Diego Chargers Thursday night.

It was a final tune-up for the players before the regular season starts and a chance for coaches to find room for improvement. Outside the stadium, transportation agencies like VTA were making similar adjustments.

The 49ers will host two weekday games this season. One is the season opener against the Minnesota Vikings on Sept. 14. The other against the Seattle Seahawks is Oct. 22.

VTA employees could be seen monitoring the light rail platforms, and monitoring the foot traffic.

More than 8,200 people rode VTA to Thursday’s game. That's slightly less than the 10,000 average riders for regular season games. For weekday games, those fans are in addition to the 36,000 people who commute on VTA.

"It was easier parking over there [and riding here] than trying to get through traffic over here so, it only took me about 10 minutes," Darrell Gutierrez said.

Danny Odgers agreed.

"I [rode VTA] to be able to leave and get home sooner because it takes a while to get out of here," he said. 

VTA spokeswoman Brandi Childress says the agency has increased game-day efficiency since last season. VTA will have extra trains for fans and commuters during the 49ers' two upcoming weekday games.

"We have our operation plan down and know what to expect with a full season under our belts. So we're ready for the 2015 season," Childress said.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Trump Slams Conservative Radio Host After Fumble]]> Fri, 04 Sep 2015 10:04:33 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/trump20.JPG

A day after exposing gaps in his knowledge of foreign affairs during a radio show interview with Hugh Hewitt, Donald Trump labeled the conservative host a "third rate radio announcer,” NBC News reported.

During the Thursday interview, Hewitt asked Trump about Quds Force commander Ghasem Soleimani. Trump responded by saying how Kurds have been “mistreated.”

After he was told the Quds force was Iranian, and not Kurdish, Trump said: ”Oh, I’m sorry, I thought you said Kurds.”

When Hewitt suggested that a future commander-in-chief should be knowledgeable about world affairs and leaders, Trump accused Hewitt of asking “gotcha questions.”

"Every question was do I know this one and that one? It was like he worked hard on that," Trump further explained Friday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."



Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Teen Drowns in Oakland's Lake Temescal]]> Fri, 04 Sep 2015 09:27:41 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/laketemescal1.jpg

A Concord 19-year-old  with autism drowned Thursday night after he lost his footing on a trail and fell into Oakland’s Lake Temescal, authorities said.

Oakland Sgt. Terrence Cotcher said the teen, who was walking with his older sister, fell about 7 p.m. His sister tried to rescue him, but the pair both began having trouble, he said. A passerby saw what was going on and ending up saving the sister, Cotcher said.

East Bay Regional Park Park officers and firefighters arrived and pulled him out of the water and performed CPR, police said. But he was pronounced dead later at the hospital.

The lake has been closed all summer because of a toxic algae bloom, and has yellow tape closing off passage into the water.
 



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Hillary Clinton: 'Sorry' for Email Confusion]]> Fri, 04 Sep 2015 09:26:49 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/hillary+clinton3.JPG

Hillary Clinton told NBC's Andrea Mitchell she was "sorry" there had been so much confusion over her private email server. But Clinton declined to apologize for having used it.

"At the end of the day, I am sorry that this has been confusing to people and has raised a lot of questions, but there are answers to all these questions," the Democratic presidential hopeful said. "And I take responsibility and it wasn't the best choice."

Asked about rising poll numbers of those who consider her untrustworthy, Clinton said, "certainly, it doesn't make me feel good."



Photo Credit: FILE-AP]]>
<![CDATA[Fight to Claim 'Chip' the Bay Bridge Chicken]]> Fri, 04 Sep 2015 14:20:02 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/CHICKENBAYBRIDGE.jpg

About half a dozen people are squawking that they own the chicken who was trying to cross the road, er, the Bay Bridge, this week.

"We've had about five people call to say they were the owners, plus a couple of rescue groups interested in adopting her," Oakland Animal Shelter manager Tiana Scott said on Friday. "But no one has been able to prove ownership through pictures or vet records or even a story of how she ended up on the Bay Bridge."

Hopefully the chicken - nicknamed "Chip" by the California Highway Patrol after she was found wandering on the Bay Bridge Wednesday - will find its rightful home, Scott said. But if not, she added, the shelter will try to find a rescue center that will take her.

As for Chip, she seems to be doing just fine. In fact, after the whole ordeal - including being put in the back of a CHP patrol car - she laid an egg.

"She's been a great chicken thus far," Scott said. "She felt comfortable enough to lay an egg. She has two little Bantam rooster friends next to her keeping her company."
 



Photo Credit: Jeff Chu]]>
<![CDATA[Jobless Rate Hits 7-Year Low]]> Fri, 04 Sep 2015 07:48:35 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/help+wanted+sign.JPG

The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 5.1 percent in August for a seven-year low, though hiring was the lowest it's been in five months with 173,000 jobs created for the month, The Associated Press reported.

Still, the economy has generated a strong 221,000 jobs a month from June through August, according to government revisions.

Steady hiring could encourage the Fed to raise interest rates for the first time in a decade at a meeting later this month.

But that's not a sure thing with a low inflation rate and sluggish growth in China complicating the decision, according to the AP.

[[306268701, C]]



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Biden Says Family Will Decide on Presidential Run]]> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 20:03:10 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP_129386530074.jpg

Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday night he "will not hesitate" to run for president next year — but only if his family is up to it.

"I'll be straightforward with you: The most relevant factor in my decision is whether my family and I have the emotional energy to run," Biden said during an appearance at a synagogue in Atlanta.

Biden's son Beau, the former attorney general of Delaware, died of brain cancer in May at age 46.

Biden said that while other issues were a concern — particularly whether he could build a strong campaign and raise money — the only question that matters is, "Can my family undertake an arduous commitment they would be proud to undertake under ordinary circumstances?" 



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Drowned Aylan, 3, Laid to Rest in Home City]]> Fri, 04 Sep 2015 05:12:29 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/aylan+dad+funeral.JPG

The 3-year-old Syrian boy Aylan Kurdi, whose drowning has shined a spotlight on the plight of thousands of migrants and refugees from war-torn countries trying to get to Europe, was buried Friday alongside his brother and mother in the family's hometown of Kobani, NBC News reported.

Dozens of mourners attended the burial of Aylan, his 5-year-old brother Galip and mother Rehan, 35, two days after a photograph of Aylan face-down in a Turkish beach went viral.

"I want from Arab governments — not European countries — to see (what happened to) my children, and because of them to help people," said Aylan's father Abdullah Kurdi, the family's sole-survivor.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Investigators Hope Video Holds Clues in Fox Lake Manhunt]]> Fri, 04 Sep 2015 12:50:22 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/177*120/GettyImages-486245570.jpg

Officials on Friday are expected to review home surveillance video a resident claims may aid in a search for three suspects believed to have killed a veteran Fox Lake police officer this week. 

News of the video first surfaced during a Thursday press conference when officials said that the "significant" footage had been turned over to the Department of Homeland Security for verification.

Details surrounding what was on the footage weren't immediately clear, but Lake County Major Crimes Task Force Commander George Filenko said the resident who turned it in claimed it is consistent with the story about three suspects. 

A press conference was held at 12:30 p.m. Friday, where a "change in strategy may be discussed," according to Detective Christopher Covelli with the Lake County Sheriff's office.

Authorities announced an FBI-led tip line (1-800-CALLFBI) and website (www.fbi.gov/foxlake) have been set up for tips in the search. Police said Motorola Solutions is offering a $50,000 reward for any tip that leads to the apprehension of the suspects.

Filenko said the three suspects accused of killing Lieutenant Charles "Joe" Gliniewicz are believed to still be in the area, about 60 miles north of Chicago, and authorities say they've made "significant progress" in their search.

"Obviously we have a lot of transportation means in this area — trains, cars, buses — we’re still working off the fact that we’re presuming there’s a good probability that they are still somewhere in the area," Filenko said. "Now whether they're in Fox Lake or any of the surrounding border communities that remains to be seen."

Filenko confirmed the officer’s gun was recovered, but he didn't say if it was retrieved at the scene, or used in the shooting.

The gunmen are described as two white men and one black man, but further details on their descriptions have not been made available.

Officials expect lab results on evidence gathered at the crime scene to be released as early as Friday morning.

More than 100 officers were canvassing the Fox Lake area Thursday, revisiting areas and searching new territories.

The updates came after a "disappointing" night for authorities, when more than 100 officers spent about five hours searching an area following a tip that was determined to be fake.

"[Wednesday] night was an unfortunate incident," Filenko said. "It tied up a number of resources, including my detectives."

Covelli said the response shows the Fox Lake community that officers are working to keep them safe. 

"It really shows that we are here and we are active in this community," he said. "We are active to keep the residents in this community safe... Things will never be quite normal here in Fox Lake with the death of Lt. Gliniewicz."

Residents, family members and officers from Fox Lake and surrounding communities gathered Wednesday night for an emotional vigil to honor Gliniewicz, a 30-year veteran of the police force affectionately called "G.I. Joe." A funeral has been scheduled for Monday in Antioch, Illinois. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Hayne -- Who Else? -- Steals the Show for 49ers]]> Fri, 04 Sep 2015 01:01:20 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/172*120/jhaynevscharg.jpg

Earlier this week, 49ers head coach Jim Tomsula told reporters that former Australian rugby star Jarryd Hayne had not yet locked in a spot on the team’s 53-man roster.

Though Hayne had been a sensation as a punt returner and ballcarrier, Tomsula said he still wanted to see Hayne improve in some areas.

After Thursday night’s final exhibition game, a 14-12 victory over the San Diego Chargers, however, there can be no doubt that Hayne will be a 49er when San Francisco opens its season on Monday night, Sept. 14 against the Minnesota Vikings.

Hayne – and several other 49ers – had big nights against the Chargers in their final preseason audition at Levi's Stadium.

Hayne carried the ball 10 times for 58 yards, including a 19-yarder, showed he can catch the ball out of the backfield with two catches for 17 yards – finishing off one run by lowering his shoulder to knock a would-be tackler to the turf – and had a 28-yard punt return.

Apparently, Hayne gave Tomsula everything he wanted to see.

Wrote the Sacramento Bee’s Matt Barrows on Twitter: “Jarryd Hayne showing off his cut-back ability again, also squaring his shoulders at the line of scrimmage, which was an issue previously.”

Meanwhile, wide receivers Bruce Ellington and rookie undrafted free agent DeAndrew White stated their cases. Ellington caught three passes for 86 yards – 70 coming on a touchdown pass from rookie Dylan Thompson – while also returning a punt 26 yards. And White – who looks more and more likely to be on the final roster -- had two catches for 67 yards, three punt returns for an average of 23 yards, and a 26-yard kickoff return.

Following Thursday night’s game, the 49ers will have some decisions to make. The team must get down to 53 players by 1 p.m. Pacific time Saturday.

 

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<![CDATA[Jobseekers Warn of Fake Resumes from Fremont Staffing Firm]]> Fri, 04 Sep 2015 00:36:56 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/main-logo9.jpg

Two former trainees of Fremont-based Beta Soft Systems say the staffing company fabricated resumes and instructed them to lie to prospective employers in job interviews.

The 10-year-old, $20 million company has advertised that it has trained and placed workers in information technology jobs at Fortune 500 companies across the nation.

But some jobseekers are warning that Beta Soft takes deposits for career training, crafts fake resumes for trainees and instructs them to lie to potential employers about their work experience.

“It’s not honest and it’s unethical,” said Laila Rahman, who signed up for the training program last winter.

The 31-year-old part time yoga instructor was seeking her first tech job after earning a certificate in business administration and posting her resume on Monster.com.

She said a Beta Soft recruiter told her that after she received about a month of training, her new skills would be marketed to prospective employers. In the past, Beta Soft has claimed on its website that it has deployed workers to major companies including Google, Apple, and Bank of America, for jobs in web development, internet marketing and quality assurance.

“I’m thinking that this is going to be a good opportunity,” she said. “Having a staffing agency with training would be really helpful.”

So Rahman plunked down a $1,000 deposit for six weeks of training. Near the end of her training, she says she stopped cold when her trainer handed her a version of her resume she didn’t recognize.

“All the experience there—it’s all fake” she said.

She said the company added seven years of fabricated experience to her resume including skills she never learned and jobs she never had in cities she never visited.

Move the slider below to see Laila Rahman's original resume compared to the one Beta Soft made for her. See the full resume here.

Beta Soft’s version of Rahman’s resume included jobs as business analysts at JP Morgan Chase in Delaware; Allstate Insurance in Illinois; North Shore Bank of Commerce in Minnesota and Central Mortgage Company in Arkansas.

According to the resume, her duties included acting as a liaison between developers and businesses, resolving conflicts between business and technical teams and reviewing and approving business requirement documents.

Rahman said her trainer told her she wouldn’t be able to get tech jobs without the experience. Her real two-page resume lists her actual experience as an English tutor, online academic coach and yoga instructor.

“I was surprised that they would want us to talk about these things in an interview with an employer,” Rahman said. “They want us to act like we actually had the experience and know the knowledge that we’re supposed to. Enough to really pretend we did those things in a job.”

Earsell Lewis, a 35-year-old job seeker who wants to become a software engineer, shares a similar experience. But he says Beta Soft wasn’t the first company to provide him with a fake resume.

“It’s pretty common nowadays. Companies from all over the U.S. are using this practice,” Lewis said. “It’s easy to convince entry level people that this is what you have got to go through.”

Last October, Lewis took a chance and moved to the Bay Area from Wake Village, Texas. He paid a $500 deposit and spent six weeks in training. He says Beta Soft paid for a Fremont apartment he shared with four other trainees for six months while the company marketed the resume they created for him.

“I would say only 10 percent of it is true,” he said.

The Beta Soft resume included jobs as a quality analyst engineer at Blackhawk Network, Inc. in Pleasanton and five years as a quality analyst at FedEx in Memphis.

“I haven’t been there before,” Lewis said. “I don’t even know anybody who has been there before.”

He said the Beta Soft employees trained him in mock interviews to “defend his resume.” But after several failed interviews, Lewis decided to tell his story to warn other jobseekers about the risks of doing business this type of staffing company.

“I’d be crazy to do this again,” Lewis said. “What happens if my information gets out there and I bomb this completely? I’m pretty much committing career suicide with this.”

The Investigative Unit found that in many online reviews, Beta Soft appears to have defenders. There are plenty of five-star reviews on sites such as My Visa Jobs, Glassdoor. In March, a reviewer posted on My Visa Jobs that Beta Soft “was able to place me in a position that utilized all of my job skills.” In a Glassdoor review from March 2013 a person commented, “They have exceptional marketing staff, training and provide great support.”

But NBC Bay Area found other reviewers on those sites, as well as in the recommended reviews on Yelp http://www.yelp.com/biz/beta-soft-systems-fremont-2, who gave Beta Soft a one or two-star rating. Complaints that mention fake resumes date back to 2011.

The Better Business Bureau says it has received four complaints about Beta Soft in the past three years, two of which mention fake resumes. One complaint sent to the BBB in February includes “Beta Soft Systems wanted to plagiarize my resume with false information to send out to companies to employ me as a business analyst.”

Lori Wilson, the president and CEO of the Golden Gate BBB called the complaint “very serious.”

“It’s very concerning that a company would encourage them to falsify information or even ask them to,” she said.

In Oregon, the Department of Justice is investigating Beta Soft for alleged unlawful business practices in connection with its recruiting services. The company’s attorney, Harmeet Dhillon, said she expects the company will be able to successfully answer all questions in that investigation.

NBC Bay Area has extended multiple interview requests to Beta Soft since April to better understand the company’s business practices, but no one from Beta Soft would speak on the record.

Allegations of fake resumes extend beyond Beta Soft. Online reviewers of other IT staffing companies also warn of “fake documents” and “fake work experience.”

“I think what we’re seeing at this point in time is a result of the hyper environment of [Silicon] Valley,” said Kirk Hanson, director of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University.

Hanson says with a shortage of manpower and skilled workers in the Bay Area, “there’s a greater temptation today than maybe five years ago to misrepresent the capabilities of the employees you are placing.”

He explained that staffing companies receive fees when they contract a worker out to a client company for a short or long-term project.

“I worry about the young people whose first experience with business is to get trained by a firm which then asks them to falsify their resume,” Hanson said. “Such a firm is playing on their naiveté.”

Rahman said she finally received a refund of her $1,000 deposit only after she emailed Beta Soft to inform the company she filed a complaint with the Santa Clara County District Attorney.

Lewis never got his money back. Both are still searching for IT jobs.

“It’s just time and money lost,” Lewis said. “At this point I am back where I started.”

If you have a tip for the Investigative Unit email theunit@nbcbayarea.com or call 888-996-TIPS.

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<![CDATA[Folsom Lake Water Level Dangerously Low]]> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 21:21:13 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/FOLSOM+SETUP+VO+-+00001704.jpg

California’s historic drought has taken a toll on Folsom Lake.

The lake, which supplies water to nearly half a million people, is nearing the so-called dead pool level. That means that its water level is nearly too low for water to be pumped out.

However, a fix is in the works.

Government-hired contractors are building 10 car-sized barges in the deepest part of Folsom Lake.The barges will be used to pump drinking water to residents if water dips below the original pumps.

Starting Friday, federal officials also plan to halve the amount of water flowing out of the lake.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Caltrain Board Honors Heroic Sheriff's Deputies]]> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 21:07:06 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/Rhea+CALTRAIN+TO+HONOR+HEROES+SOTVO+-+22241726.jpg

Caltrain officials on Thursday honored two sheriff's deputies who pulled a man out of a car mere seconds before a train slammed into it.

Lance Whitted and Erik Rueppel received certificates of recognition at Caltrain’s monthly board meeting for saving a suspected drunk driver’s life on Aug. 3 before a train plowed into his car, which was stuck on the tracks in Sunnyvale.

Caltrain also recognized Redwood City station security guard Dell Thompson who coaxed a suicidal woman off the tracks and out of harm's way.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Arizona Teen Arrested for Snapchat School Shooting Threat]]> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 18:34:13 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-463785456.jpg

An Arizona high school student was arrested after posting a Snapchat image of a crowded school hallway with the message "planning the school shooting," police said.

The 16-year-old student, who was not identified by police because he is a minor, posted two photos to his Snapchat account of a crowded school hallway on Aug. 31, one with the text "Planning the school shooting" along with several smiley faces and another with the caption "In the office again," the Phoenix Police Department said in a statement.

Kaylee, a high school student in Colorado, saw the first message on the popular social media app, but said she did not know who the student was.



Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Here's How to Help Refugees Like Aylan Kurdi]]> Fri, 04 Sep 2015 00:34:02 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP_67588503749.jpg

Aylan Kurdi was the Syrian toddler in the photo of a small lifeless body on a Mediterranean beach that sent shock waves around the world, according to NBC News

The photo was emblematic of the desperate and deadly struggle refugees face to reach Europe.

A friend of the family, Mustafa Ebdi, told NBC News he had spoken to the boys' grieving father, Abdullah. Ebdi said Abdullah told him the family was trying to cross to Greece on Tuesday when their boat capsized and that his wife and two of their children — Aylan and Ghalib — had perished. Abdullah survived. The family was from the countryside outside of Syria's city of Kobani, Ebdi added.

"The things that happened to us here, in the country where we took refuge to escape war in our homeland, we want the whole world to see this," Abdullah told reporters, according to Reuters. "We want the world's attention on us, so that they can prevent the same from happening to others. Let this be the last."

Here's a list compiled by Today.com of organizations trying to help refugees like Alyan Kurdi as the crisis in Europe escalates:

The UN Refugee Agency: Provides cash for medicine and food, stoves and fuel for heating, insulation for tents, thermal blankets and winter clothing.

Save the Children: Supplies food for Syrian kids and supports education in Syrian refugee camps.

Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders: MSF is operating three rescue ships in the Mediterranean Sea that can carry hundreds of people to land.

Unicef: Delivers vaccines, winter clothes and food for children in Syria and neighboring countries. The agency is working to immunize more than 22 million children in the region following a polio outbreak.

International Rescue Committee: The group's emergency team is in Greece, where nearly 1,000 people are arriving per day.

World Food Programme: The agency says it is struggling to meet the urgent food needs of millions of displaced Syrians.

Mercy Corps: Refugees are most in need of clean water, sanitation services, temporary shelter and food, the agency says.

Aylan Kurdi & Syria's Child Victims of War: A new fund named after Aylan himself. Money goes to "Hand In Hand For Syria," a U.K. based organization that works with the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Killed Inmate Wasn't Supposed to Be in Jail]]> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 18:27:49 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/jail-death.jpg

When Michael Tyree was allegedly beaten to death in Santa Clara County Jail, he wasn't even supposed to be in jail. He had already served his time.

As the NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit has reported, Tyree had a history of mental illness, and appeared before the mental health court on various misdemeanor charges many times.

When Tyree died last week, he had already served his five day jail sentence. He was being kept in the special needs section of Santa Clara County Jail while waiting to be transferred to a residential mental health hospital nearby.

"The public defender and the judge who sentenced him, everybody else thought Michael would be safer in jail than out on the street," said Paula Canny, Tyree's family's attorney. "And the sad fact was that that was a true fact."

Thursday, the coroner's autopsy report showed Tyree died of blunt force trauma at the hands of another person. It confirms what the Investigative Unit reported two days ago, that tyree was beaten so hard he had lacerations to his liver and his spleen leading to internal bleeding.

All three officers involved in the death have been arrested and held in a facility outside of Santa Clara County.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Judge Orders Clerk Blocking Gay Marriages to Jail]]> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 10:22:12 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/kim+davis+mugshot.jpg

A federal judge has ordered a defiant Kentucky clerk to jail on Thursday after she defied the U.S. Supreme Court's gay marriage ruling by refusing to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples, NBC News reported.

U.S. District Judge David Bunning told Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis that she would stay in jail until she complied with his order to issue the licenses. Davis replied "thank you" before she was led out of the courtroom.

Lawyers for four couples who sought marriage licenses from her but were turned down urged the judge "to impose financial penalties sufficiently serious and increasingly onerous to compel Davis' immediate compliance without further delay."

Davis stopped issuing marriage licenses a few hours after the Supreme Court handed down its ruling in June, saying she's following "God's word" and that granting licenses to gay couples would violate her religious convictions.


 



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Elk Fire at 670 Acres, 25 Percent Containment]]> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 20:53:46 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Rhea+NEW+ELK+FIRE+VO+-+000000001.jpg

A fire burning in the hard-hit Lake County has grown to 670 acres as of Thursday.

According to Cal Fire officials, the Elk Fire is 25 percent contained. No evacuations are in the pipeline and people who were displaced from their homes Wednesday have been allowed to return, they said.

The blaze was reported at 2:57 p.m. Wednesday off Elk Mountain and Mount Dinger roads north of Upper Lake, officials said. 

Cal Fire said that 270 firefighters are battling the flames with the assistance of 21 fire engines, four helicopters, seven dozers and three water tenders.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, officials noted.

The Rocky and Jerusalem fires combined have burned nearly 100,000 acres in this area over the summer.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[Guatemalan President Detained in Corruption Probe]]> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 16:11:13 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP_367309903356.jpg

A Guatemalan judge has issued an unprecedented order to detain President Otto Perez Molina in a fraud scandal that has engulfed his government, dealing the most serious blow yet to entrenched political corruption in the Central American country.

The order is not for arrest, but for Perez Molina to declare before Judge Miguel Angel Galvea, who granted the request Wednesday from Attorney General Thelma Aldana, she told Canal Antigua television.

The president will have to appear on accusations of illicit association, fraud and receiving bribe money in a customs fraud scandal that has already led to the jailing of his vice president and the resignation of some Cabinet ministers.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Legal Mistake: U.S. Citizen Misses Mom's Funeral ]]> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 06:25:02 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/N11P+ICE+DETAINEE+CONFUSION+PKG+-+00001000.jpg

It took a lot of mistakes -- by the victim’s parents, by attorneys and a big one by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

Add it all up and you have an American citizen facing deportation to Mexico.

Ricardo Salazar on Wednesday walked out of the West County Detention Facility in Richmond. Despite being free for the first time in four months, he is broken hearted after missing his mother’s funeral in June.

"It was hard because I didn’t get to say goodbye to her," he said.

In a tragic irony, Salazar's trouble began in May when he left his home in south Texas to travel to Mexico to buy less expensive medicines for his ailing mother.

But when he tried to return home, Salazar, who was born in Mexico but whose mother was a U.S. citizen, was only carrying his green card.

His mother made mistake number one when the family reentered the United States shortly after he was born.

"What they should've done is apply for him as a citizen," Salazar's attorney Joseph LaCome said. "What they did is apply for the entire family as lawful permanent residents."

Customs officials saw an arrest record with the most recent entry six years ago. That would not have been a problem for a U.S. citizen but posed a hurdle to Salazar because he was carrying just his green card.

Salazar told any ICE agent who would listen that he is an American citizen, but nobody listened.

"I keep telling them, 'My mom's a U.S. citizen, she was born in Texas, in Corpus Christi,'" Salazar said. "They ignored me."

That was mistake number two.

"They are supposed to interview the person, record it and take sworn testimony," LaCome said.

Meanwhile, the third mistake was made by Brownsville-area attorneys who conjured up a defense based on Salazar's green card status.

But since jails on the U.S.-Mexico border are overcrowded, Salazar was bussed to Richmond.

"I was able to figure it out in 15 minutes," said LaCome, adding that he contacted Salazar's family and got a hold of documents that proved his citizenship and helped him go home.

"The first thing I have to go see is my mom's grave," said Salazar, adding that he is considering filing a lawsuit.

In an email to NBC Bay Area, ICE officials said they take "very seriously claims of U.S. citizens being improperly detained" and have "stringent safeguards to protect against the possibility that a citizen is detained or removed."



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Ex-Tesla Employee Posted Confidential Docs From Manager's Email Online: FBI]]> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 15:01:59 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Tesla_Kalbasi_ComputerCrimes.jpg

A former Tesla engineer is facing charges for allegedly accessing his former manager’s work email, then posting confidential information from the account online, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Nima Kalbasi, 28, a former mechanical engineer with the Palo Alto-based company, appeared in federal court in Northern California for the first time on Thursday. He was indicted on two counts of felony computer intrusion.

After gaining access to the manager’s account, Kalbasi, a Canadian citizen, shared confidential employee evaluation forms with employees and on a public site, authorities said. Kalbasi then "tried to harm Tesla’s reputation and credibility by making false and misleading comments," according to a news release.

If convicted, Kalbasi could face a maximum of five years in prison for the felony charges.

Kalbasi was arrested in Derby Line, Vermont, by Customs and Border Protection as he crossed the border into the United States on August 24. 

A lawyer for Kalbasi declined to comment to Reuters, NBC News reported. 


 



Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Mexico Crackdown on Central American Child Migrants Increasing]]> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 14:23:24 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP_320345412805.jpg

The Migration Policy Institute reports that Mexico's apprehensions of child migrants from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador - collectively known as the northern Triangle - are expected to increase, while such apprehensions by the U.S. are dropping sharply.

Meanwhile, Mexico's deportations of Central American child migrants - greater than the U.S. for a number of years _ also are growing so that this year Mexico deportations of Central American children are expected to be 12 times those of the U.S., compared to double in 2014, institute researchers said.

As a result, migrants who in the past made it to the U.S. border and appeared in U.S. apprehension data, are now intercepted and show up in Mexico's statistics. Mexico includes all children in its data not just those that are unaccompanied, which the U.S. tracks as a separate category. 



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Cop Made Up Shooting Story]]> Fri, 04 Sep 2015 09:08:34 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/Bryan+Johnson+Millis+Police.jpg

A part-time police officer who claimed to have taken gunfire Wednesday before getting into a fiery car accident with his cruiser completely fabricated the story, police in Massachusetts said Thursday.

The officer, identified by sources as Bryan Johnson of Millis, was scheduled to begin training as a full-time officer. He is now being fired, however, according to police, who have not released the officer's name pending formal charges.

"We have determined that the officer's story was fabricated," said Millis Police Sgt. Bill Dwyer.

Dwyer said other than shots fired by the officer into his own cruiser, no ballistic evidence was recovered at the scene. Based on that and other evidence, it was determined that the officer lied about being shot at by a man in a pickup truck.

Police won't say whether or not he torched his own cruiser, saying that is still under investigation.

"I was totally shocked," said Bruce Miccile, who says he knows Johnson's family well. "No idea why it was done or why he did it."

Miccile says that Johnson grew up with his children. According to Miccile, Johnson seemed "nervous and anxious" Wednesday when he stopped by his house to talk about what had happened.

"I guess he usually stops and asks someone on the side of the road if they need help," he said. "He was going to ask them if they needed help, and all of a sudden two shots were coming through his windshield."

Miccile said he had "no reason" not to believe Johnson, but had to sit down when he heard the news Thursday.

Other neighbors say Johnson lives at a Millis home in a quiet neighborhood with his parents.

"We've lived here for 19 years, and they're just a really really nice family, can't say anything bad about them," Donna O'Brien said.

"They're fabulous people," said Jennifer McPhee. "They've been wonderful neighbors and I think people jump to conclusions very quickly."

Police won't say if Johnson admitted to the alleged plot, but say ballistics evidence from Forest Road shows the shots weren't ever fired by a suspect, and that there never was a gunman around town.

Officials are also not commenting on a possible motive or the officer's prior job performance.

They say he was currently training to become a full-time officer.

Police also say there was two threats called into the Millis Middle School Wednesday, including a bomb threat.

At this time, Millis Police say they don't know if that threat is related to the fabricated shooting report.

Johnson is not in custody at this point. He was not at has his house when necn attempted to reach out for comment. Officials say they are determining what charges may be filed against him.

The incident remains under investigation.



Photo Credit: Facebook]]>
<![CDATA[Indian Prime Minister's Visit Stirs Controversy]]> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 15:16:05 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/456268758.jpg

University professors across the country have cautioned the South Bay community about Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's upcoming visit later this month.

One-hundred-twenty-five academics from different disciplines, including professors from Stanford, Santa Clara University, UC Berkeley, and UC Santa Cruz, published a "faculty statement" on Modi's visit on Academeblog on Aug. 27.

The statement pointed out questions surrounding Modi's alleged involvement with violence in Indian state Gujarat before he became Prime Minister: "We remind Mr. Modi’s audiences of the powerful reasons for him being denied the right to enter the U.S. from 2005-2014, for there is still an active case in Indian courts that questions his role in the Gujarat violence of 2002 when 1,000 died."

Modi’s first year in office as the Prime Minister has been marked by "well publicized episodes of censorship and harassment of those critical of his policies, bans and restrictions on NGOs leading to a constriction of the space of civic engagement, ongoing violations of religious freedom, and a steady impingement on the independence of the judiciary."

Also at issue is Modi's "Digital India" initiative, which the signees found problematic due to its lack of privacy safeguards for and increased potential for surveillance of Indian citizens.

"We urge those who lead Silicon Valley technology enterprises to be mindful of not violating their own codes of corporate responsibility when conducting business with a government which has, on several occasions already, demonstrated its disregard for human rights and civil liberties, as well as the autonomy of educational and cultural institutions."

Modi has scheduled a speaking engagement at SAP Center on September 27. The 18,500 attendees were given a free ticket based on a lottery system.
According to SiliconBeat, Modi's visit also includes a stop at Google and a meeting at Adobe.

“Everyone signed the [first] letter for slightly different reasons,” Stanford history professor Priya Satia told the publication. “For me the point was to provoke some kind of productive, constructive debate about Prime Minister Modi and his visit and the purposes of his visit. Before this came out, there was just uncritical fanfare.”

followup statement posted to Academeblog Wednesday responded to critics of the first letter, clarifying that it was addressed not to Silicon Valley CEOS, as has been reported in the media, but to Modi's "audiences in Silicon Valley, which includes Silicon Valley industries."

It concluded with one fundamental question: "What does 'Digital India' look like given the Modi administration’s intolerance of dissent, its poor record on freedom of expression in general, and on freedom of religion in particular?"



Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>