<![CDATA[NBC New York - Top Stories]]>Copyright 2018 https://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/top-stories http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/4NY_Horizontal.jpg NBC New York https://www.nbcnewyork.com en-usSun, 23 Sep 2018 07:01:43 -0400Sun, 23 Sep 2018 07:01:43 -0400NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Woman Charged With Attempted Murder in Baby Stabbings]]> Sat, 22 Sep 2018 22:36:21 -0400 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/day+care+1.png

A Queens woman was charged Saturday with stabbing five people, including three baby girls, at a maternity center.

Yu Fen Wang, 52, of Flushing, has been charged with five counts of attempted murder, police said. 

Wang allegedly stabbed a 13-day-old girl and a 1-month-old girl in the stomach inside the center on 161st Street shortly before 4 a.m. on Friday. 

She also allegedly stabbed a 22-day-old girl, cutting her ear, chin and lip. All three babies were in critical but stable condition Friday, authorities said. 

A 31-year-old father of a child at the center and a 63-year-old woman who worked there were also stabbed, according to police. Both were in critical but stable condition after the attacks. 

Police found Wang unconscious on the basement of the center with her wrist slashed — a self-inflicted wound. As of Saturday morning, she was still hospitalized for her injuries, according to police.

Officials said Wang was undergoing a psychiatric evaluation in addition to receiving treatment.

Authorities said Wang may have attacked the worker before turning on the father after he tried to intervene. 

She then allegedly started stabbing the children before two people called 911.

Police said both a butcher knife and a meat cleaver were found at the scene.

Elected officials in the area said the apparently unlicensed facility provided a place for mothers and their babies to convalesce for a month after birth — a Chinese tradition. Authorities originally described the maternity center as an overnight daycare.

Nine babies and an unspecified number of parents were in the house at the time of the attack. A spokeswoman for the state’s Office of Children and Family Services told News 4 New York the center’s address did not come up as an OCFS-licensed or regulated childcare program.

“OCFS is saddened by this horrific situation and investigating it as a possible illegal operation,” she said in a statement Friday.

Police haven't yet identified a motive for the attacks. 

Wang's attorney information wasn't immediately available Saturday.

Photo Credit: News 4]]>
<![CDATA[Car and Motorcycle Crash in Brooklyn; 1 Dead, 5 Hurt: NYPD]]> Sat, 22 Sep 2018 23:19:32 -0400 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/motorcycle-crash-9-22.jpg

A motorcycle crashed into a car that was pulling a U-turn in Brooklyn on Saturday, killing the driver of the motorcycle, police said. 

Five other people were taken to hospitals for minor injuries, police said. 

The vehicles crashed at Belmont Avenue and Mother Caston Boulevard in Brownsville shortly after 4 p.m., police said. 

A 47-year-old man was driving a Suzuki motorcycle when it struck a Nissan that was making a U-turn in the intersection, police said. 

No one has been arrested. The investigation is ongoing. 

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York ]]>
<![CDATA[20 People Overcome by Pepper Spray on Subway: NYPD ]]> Sat, 22 Sep 2018 23:18:01 -0400 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/pepper-spray-flatbush-922.PNG

A person used pepper spray during a dispute on the subway on Saturday evening and 20 people on the train were overcome by it, officials said. 

Two people had an argument on the 2 train in East New York when one of them sprayed the substance, the NYPD said. 

At least 20 people were overcome by the pepper spray, firefighters said. All the injuries were minor. 

No one was arrested, police said. 

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York ]]>
<![CDATA[Signs, Garage in NJ Vandalized With Swastikas, Graffiti]]> Sat, 22 Sep 2018 23:53:36 -0400 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/swastki-garage.jpg

Vandals spray painted hateful graffiti early Saturday on a political yard sign, a garage door and more in New Jersey, police and the homeowner said. 

A swastika was painted on Adam Stolarsky's garage in Newton, he told NBC 4 New York. A speed limit sign nearby was also vandalized with a swastika, Stolarsky said. 

Two political signs supporting Josh Gottheimer for Congress were covered graffiti including the words "Vote MAGA," "Libs Suck," "Go to Cali Dems" and a phallic drawing. 

Days earlier, someone drove up onto the lawn, kicked down the yard sign, then drove off, Stolarsky said. 

Stolarsky said he believes his home was targeted due to politics and his support of the congressman. He said his family is religiously mixed. 

New Jersey State Police said the vandalism was being investigated as a bias crime. 

Gottheimer thanked law enforcement for their response. 

"There’s no place for white supremacists or anti-Semitism in our broader community, and this vile hate-motivated crime certainly does not reflect the values of the people of Sussex County," he said in a statement. 

His opponent, John McCann, denounced racism and anti-Semitism in a statement that also accused Nancy Pelosi and Maxine Waters of spreading "messages of hate." 

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<![CDATA[Teen Fatally Shot on Basketball Court Loved the Sport: Dad]]> Sat, 22 Sep 2018 15:32:06 -0400 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/214*120/TIMOTHY+OYEBOLA.jpg

A 16-year-old boy shot dead on a basketball court in Brooklyn was a “highly intelligent” kid who loved the sport, his father said.

Timothy Oyebola, of Queens, was shot in the head while playing basketball on a court behind P.S. 396 in Brownsville after school on Friday.

His father, David Oyebola, remembered him as a calm, focused student.

“My son is highly intelligent, God-fearing… very focused. He loved basketball,” he said. “They cut his life short. They cut his life short." 

Police say Timothy wasn’t the intended target of the shooting.

“He was a really good kid,” NYPD Chief Michael Kemper said. “This is a very unfortunate act.”

Timothy’s father said he’d asked him to stop playing basketball. “‘What are you getting from it?’” he recalled asking his son.

But the honor-roll student said he didn’t want to give up the sport.

“‘No, no, I love basketball, dad, I will not disappoint you. I am good in my academics,’” his father recalled Timothy saying.

Police are now searching for two men who were seen fleeing the scene after the shooting. On Saturday, they were posting fliers seeking the killer.

Timothy’s father hopes police will be able to find whoever shot Timothy.

“I want justice to be done. I want them to find that person,” he said. “I want them to find that person.”

<![CDATA[Shooting in NJ Injures 2 Men: Police ]]> Sat, 22 Sep 2018 20:55:23 -0400 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/082218+police+sirens.jpg

Two men were shot in Newark on Saturday, police said. 

One of the victims was in critical condition, Newark police said. The other was in stable condition. 

The men were shot at Ridgewood Avenue and Avon Avenue, police said. 

The shooting is under investigation. No arrests have been made. 

<![CDATA[LIRR Train Hits Car on Tracks on Long Island, Officials Say]]> Sat, 22 Sep 2018 23:00:11 -0400 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/LIRR+Generic+V2+Resized.jpg

An LIRR train struck a car on the tracks near Bethpage on Saturday afternoon, police and the railroad said. 

Police said no one was injured, but the MTA said one passenger on the train complained of a neck injury. 

Service was temporarily suspended in both directions of the Ronkonkoma Branch between Hicksville and Ronkonkoma, the LIRR said. Service was restored by about 7 p.m.

The train hit a stalled car on the tracks shortly after 4 p.m., the railroad said. 

The car was stalled on the Merritts Road crossing between Farmingdale and Bethpage, the MTA said. 

There was no damage to the train or track, the MTA said. 

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York ]]>
<![CDATA[35-Year-Old Man Stabbed to Death in Manhattan, Police Say]]> Sat, 22 Sep 2018 12:26:25 -0400 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/generic+police+vg.jpg

A 35-year-old man was stabbed to death in Manhattan on Saturday, police said.

Police responding to a 911 call found the man lying on the ground at the intersection of West 176th Street and Haven Avenue in Washington Heights around 6:43 a.m., the NYPD said.

The man had several stab wounds to his torso and was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

Police are holding the man’s name pending family notification.

No one had been arrested in connection with the stabbing as of Saturday afternoon. An investigation is ongoing.

Photo Credit: Valeria Gonzalez]]>
<![CDATA[Impaired Driver Arrested in Cyclist Death: Police]]> Sat, 22 Sep 2018 15:32:59 -0400 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Suffolk_County_Police_LI_Stabbing.jpg

A 56-year-old cyclist was struck and killed by an impaired driver who veered out of his lane on Long Island, police said.

Vincent Rienze Jr., 27, of Miller Place, was driving a 2011 Mitsubishi Lancer west on Route 25, in Middle Island, around 4:20 a.m. Saturday when he veered out of his lane and hit a cyclist and a telephone pole, Suffolk County police said.

The cyclist, 56-year-old Stephen Salzman of Ridge, was pronounced dead at the scene, according to police.

Rienze was taken to Stony Brook University Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries, police said.

He’s been arrested and charged with driving while ability impaired by drugs, according to police. It wasn’t immediately clear what drug or drugs Rienze was impaired by.

Rienze is expected to appear in court on Sunday.

<![CDATA[Deer Hunter Injures Head Falling Into NJ Drain, Police Say]]> Sat, 22 Sep 2018 10:04:32 -0400 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/siren-generic-3-cc.png

A hunter fell into a drain and injured his head after shooting a deer in New Jersey, police said. 

The 47-year-old man, of Hackettstown shot a deer in a wooded area near the intersection of Old Alamuchy Road and Route 517 around 8:17 p.m. on Friday, Hackettstown police said.

When the man and his hunting companion went to retrieve the deer, the man fell into an open sewer drain, according to police.

Emergency responders managed to rescue the man from the drain, and he was taken to Morristown Medical Center with a head injury, police said.

It wasn’t immediately clear how severe his injury was, or whether the two were allowed to be hunting in that area. 

<![CDATA[Equipment Malfunction Leaves Thousands in NJ Without Power]]> Sat, 22 Sep 2018 16:51:36 -0400 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/AP_0308270537-power-outage-generic.jpg

An equipment malfunction left nearly 14,000 customers without power for hours in New Jersey early Saturday, gas and electric utility PSE&G said.

The malfunction at an East Orange substation knocked out power shortly before 6 a.m., a PSE&G spokeswoman told News 4 New York.

More than 7,400 customers lost power in Newark, more than 3,400 lost power in East Orange, and more than 1,200 lost power in Irvington, according to PSE&G.

As of around 8 a.m., power had been restored to approximately 12,000 customers, and only around 1,600 were still waiting for power to be restored, the company said. 

The power has since been restored to the remaining customers. 

<![CDATA[Cop, EMT Brothers End Up on Same 911 Call, Deliver Baby]]> Sat, 22 Sep 2018 09:58:43 -0400 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/42247248_10156511028020729_940893791135465472_o.jpg

Two brothers, one an NYPD cop and the other an FDNY EMT, responded to the same call for a woman in labor in Times Square and together helped deliver her baby.

NYPD officer Yan Poon was among the first cops responding to the 911 call from a hotel on West 43rd Street just after 12:30 p.m., according to police. In the room, he and officers Zhan Ren and Nicole Davis found Kristen Smith and her 35-year-old wife, Heather Smith, who was in active labor.

"When we got to the scene, it was a little chaotic, and I knew I needed to be the one to keep everyone calm," Poon said in a statement. "I instructed her to breathe and push." 

By the time EMS arrived, Heather Smith had given birth. 

"We arrived on scene, and I saw my brother in the hotel room with the patient," said EMT Yan Hao Poon. "The baby was already out, so my brother and I went to work assessing both patients, keeping the baby warm and providing oxygen." 

The brothers both work out of the Times Square area, and they happened to be working the same shift Friday: "We end up on the same call at least once a week," said officer Poon. 

Officer Poon went in the ambulance with the Smiths and their new baby, and all three are doing well at the hospital, according to the FDNY. 

"The FDNY would like to congratulate Heather and Kristen Smith on the birth of their baby, Jackson," they said. 

Photo Credit: FDNY
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<![CDATA[Teen Shot, Killed While Playing Basketball in NYC Park: NYPD]]> Fri, 21 Sep 2018 23:23:23 -0400 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/chester+playground+shooting+9+21.png

A 16-year-old boy has died after he was shot in the head while playing basketball at a Brooklyn playground just after school let out Friday, and police say it appears he wasn't the intended target.

The teen is believed to have been an innocent bystander when he was shot on the basketball court behind P.S. 396 in Brownsville, just a few minutes after school let out, according to police. 

The teen, identified as Timothy Oyebola of Queens, was taken to Brookdale Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

James Moultre of Brownsville Community Justice Center said he knew Oyebola: "He's a very powerful young man," he said.  

"He was a really good kid," added NYPD Chief Michael Kemper. "This is a very unfortunate act." 

Two men were seen fleeing the scene on Chester Street after firing the shots from about 150 feet away. Police said it's possible one of the other three teens playing basketball was the intended target, but they're still working to figure out a motive. 

"It's sad, it's devastating," said Prince Mapp of Brownsville. "To live in a neighborhood where kids cannot even come to the park -- there's a church here, pedestrians right there, shopping area on the corner. It's terrible." 

Police were still investigating Friday night, interviewing witnesses and collecting video surveillance. 

Photo Credit: News 4 NY]]>
<![CDATA[GOP Aide on Kavanaugh Case Resigns; Accused of Harassment]]> Sat, 22 Sep 2018 10:49:29 -0400 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/juez-brett-kavanaugh-mujer-acusa-abuso.jpg

A press adviser helping lead the Senate Judiciary Committee’s response to a sexual assault allegation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has stepped down amid evidence he was fired from a previous political job in part because of a sexual harassment allegation against him. 

Garrett Ventry, 29, who served as a communications aide to the committee chaired by Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, had been helping coordinate the majority party's messaging in the wake of Christine Blasey Ford’s claim that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her 36 years ago at a high school party. In a response to NBC News, Ventry denied any past "allegations of misconduct." 

After NBC News raised questions about Ventry's employment history and the sexual assault allegation against him, Judiciary Committee Spokesman Taylor Foy replied in a statement: "While (Ventry) strongly denies allegations of wrongdoing, he decided to resign to avoid causing any distraction from the work of the committee." 

Republicans familiar with the situation had been concerned that Ventry, because of his history, could not lead an effective communications response.

Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Maryland Teen Missing After Going to NYC With Boyfriend]]> Sat, 22 Sep 2018 21:10:46 -0400 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/092118+janee+deville.jpg

An honors student from Maryland has been missing since early September, and the search for the teen is growing more urgent by the day.

Fifteen-year-old Janee Monique DeVille disappeared from DuVal High School in Lanham on Sept. 4. She took a bus to New York City with her boyfriend, who was the last person to see her, police say. The 17-year-old boyfriend returned to Maryland, but she did not.

"Janee, if you see this, we love you, we miss you and we want you back home," her father, Joseph DeVille, told News4, with tears in his eyes.

Police say DeVille left school with her boyfriend on Sept. 4 and headed to Queens, New York, by bus. Surveillance video footage shows the two leaving from D.C.'s Union Station and arriving in New York, Cmdr. Robert Harvin said.

Prince George's County police upgraded her status to that of a critically missing person on Sept. 19, after her 17-year-old boyfriend returned. Officers traveled to New York to put up signs and check shelters, but there still was no sign of DeVille.

"Our actual concern is that she has no financial means to support herself," Harvin said.

According to police, DeVille's boyfriend said she refused to go home. He said he didn't know where she was.

Her father said he thinks his daughter's boyfriend knows more.

"He was the last one with her. He was the last one to see her, so only he really has the answer to what really happened," Joseph DeVille said.

The 17-year-old told the father that while he and his daughter were in New York, they slept in parks. Joseph DeVille said he found that odd; DeVille is severely allergic to mosquito bites and didn't often spend time outdoors.

DeVille stands 5-foot-6 and weighs 120 pounds. Anyone with information on her whereabouts is asked to call police at 301-772-4911.

A prayer circle for DeVille was held at Saturday at the Good Luck Community Center. Her family hosted a barbecue and made signs 

Photo Credit: Prince George's County Police Department; courtesy of family]]>
<![CDATA[Top Moments: Cruz, O'Rourke Face Off in Texas Senate Debate]]> Fri, 21 Sep 2018 23:01:58 -0400 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Cruz-ORourke.jpg

Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz had a chance to show off his often praised debating skills tonight in his first match-up against Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke, the El Paso congressman running a strong campaign against him.

Cruz is trying to win a second term in the U.S. Senate in a race that the Cook Political Report on Friday rated a toss-up. New polls show the competition tightening with a Reuters-Ipsos poll on Wednesday giving O’Rourke a two-point lead in a typically reliable red state. Countering those indications is a Quinnipiac poll had Cruz ahead by nine points.

O’Rourke is a three-term congressman. He has raised more money than Cruz, a presidential hopeful in 2016 against now President Donald J. Trump, drawing national attention to the race.

O’Rourke, who became an El Paso city councilman in 2005, is hoping to become the first Texan elected to the Senate since 1988.

Tonight’s hourlong debate is the first of three the men are scheduled to participate in. Here are some of the evening’s highlights.

“This is why people do not like Washington, D.C.”
A particularly sharp exchange between the two men came as they addressed police shootings of unarmed black men, one of which occurred about two weeks ago when a white off-duty Dallas police officer shot her black neighbor, Botham Jean, to death in his own apartment. Police Officer Amber Guyger, who has been charged with manslaughter, has told investigators that she mistook his apartment for hers.

Cruz accused O’Rourke of calling police officers modern-day Jim Crow, a reference to local laws that enforced racial segregation in the South, and deemed the description offensive.

“That is not Texas,” he concluded.

“What Senator Cruz said is simply untrue,” O’Rourke responded. “I did not call police officers modern-day Jim Crow.”

Video of O’Rourke’s town hall on Wednesday at Prairie View A&M University, a historically black college in Prairie View, Texas, shows him talking about a system that he said suspects a person based solely on the color of their skin, that searches, stops or shoots someone based on the color of their skin.

“It is why some have called this, and I think it is an apt description, the new Jim Crow,” he said.

Cruz, when asked whether he thought the police shootings a problem, said that everyone’s rights should be protected, but blamed irresponsible and hateful rhetoric for shootings of police officers — among them the killing of five Dallas police officers in 2016. He accused O’Rourke of repeating things he knew were not true, including accusing white police officers of shooting unarmed African American children, and said that The Washington Post had fact checked the claim and found it to be untrue.

“This is why people do not like Washington, D.C.,” O’Rourke said. “You just said something that I did not say and attributed it to me.”

“What did you not say?” Cruz asked.

“I’m not going to repeat the slander and mischaracterization,” O’Rourke said.

“You’re not going to say what you did say?” Cruz asked.

“This is your trick in the trade, to confuse and to incite based on fear and not to speak the truth,” O’Rourke said. "This is a very serious issue."

The Washington Post did examine a quote from O’Rourke but did not rate it given varying interpretations that were possible. The quote: “Black men, unarmed, black teenagers, unarmed, and black children, unarmed, are being killed at a frightening level right now, including by members of law enforcement without accountability and without justice.”

Cruz's dignity and President Trump
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump attacked Cruz viciously, suggesting that Cruz’s father had been involved in the assassination of President John Kennedy and tweeting an unflattering photograph of Cruz’s wife, Heidi, and threatening to “spill the beans” on her.

How did Cruz, who later endorsed Trump and praised him, respond to critics who said he had lost his dignity.

Cruz called his father his hero and his wife his best friend and the most beautiful woman on the planet.

After the election, he faced a choice and decided to work with the president on cutting taxes and regulations and creating new jobs.

“So yes, I could have chosen to make it about myself, to be selfish and say, ‘You know what, my feelings are hurt so I’m going to take my marbles and go home.’ But I think that would have been not doing the job I was elected to do.”

O’Rourke said that how Cruz responded when the president attacked him personally was his business. But the congressman also raised allegations that Trump had colluded with Russia to win the 2016 election and said he had attacked the country’s institutions.

“We need a U.S. senator who will stand up to this president, “ O’Rourke said.

“True to Form”
When the men were asked what they admired about their opponent, O’Rourke said he knew how hard Cruz worked, the time he had spent away from his children and the sacrifices he had made. He said he had no question that despite their differences, Cruz wanted to do the best for America.

“So I thank you Sen. Cruz for your public service,” O’Rourke said.

Cruz agreed that the time away from their children was a sacrifice for both men and that O’Rourke was passionate, energetic and believed in what he was fighting for. Then Cruz compared O’Rourke to Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who he said advocated socialism, higher taxes and expanding government.

“You’re fighting for the principles you believe in and I respect that,” Cruz said.

“True to form,” O’Rourke responded.

“Thoughts and prayers”
The men clashed over how to protect students from shootings in school, both referring to the killings at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas, in May.

Cruz called for more armed police officers in school, and rejected any new gun control measures.

“There is something deeply wrong that we have these shootings. There are a lot of things behind it that have nothing to do with government. They have things to do with things like removing God from the public square, like losing the moral foundation of much of our society, like losing the binds of community and family.”

O’Rourke argued that bringing a firearm into a classroom would not make students safer.

“Thoughts and prayers, Sen. Cruz, are just not going to cut it anymore,” he said. “The people of Texas, the children of Texas, deserve action.”

“More armed police officers in our schools is not thoughts and prayers,” Cruz answered. “I”m sorry you don’t like thoughts and prayers. I will pray for anyone in harm’s way but I also will do something about it.”

Differing Views on Drugs
On drugs, Cruz said that O’Rourke, while on the El Paso City Council, had called for a national debate on legalizing all narcotics, including heroin and cocaine.

“There is consistent pattern when it comes to drug use that in almost every single instance Congressman O’Rourke supports more of it,” Cruz said.

Cruz said that the issue was personal; his older sister died of a drug overdoes.

O’Rourke, who was arrested for drunken driving in 1998, said that he wanted to end the war on drugs and to end the prohibition on marijuana.

“To be clear, I don’t want to legalize heroin and cocaine and fentanyl,” he said.

Photo Credit: Tom Fox-Pool/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Woman Who Chased, Hit Subway Groper: 'I Just Went After Him']]> Fri, 21 Sep 2018 23:23:41 -0400 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/woman+attacked+speaks.jpg

The woman seen on surveillance video chasing the man who grabbed her buttocks in the subway is speaking out about her alleged attack, describing her instinct to go after him and helping to make sure it doesn't happen to anyone else.

Chantal Castanon, 26, was heading home to Staten Island through Grand Central on Aug. 31, in a good mood after getting off work early -- until she felt the stranger's hand on her behind. 

"He did it with such a firm grip that I still felt him -- and he was all the way over there already," she told News 4 New York Friday. 

Castanon's angry reaction was caught on camera: "I just put the phone in the bag, I didn't even think about it. I just went after him, I just kept hitting him." 

Subway surveillance video showed her hitting the alleged groper over and over, even chasing the man down a corridor. 

"I still was willing to take whatever punches or whatever he was willing to throw back at me," she said.

Unafraid of getting hurt, Castanon said she was terrified by the man's "relaxed" demeanor after sexually assaulting her, a stranger.

"Like this was normal for him," she said. "And that scared me the most." 

Castanon said fellow subway riders came to her aid. Some tried to help her catch the man and even went to the police station with her to file a report.

Castanon said she wanted to speak out in the hopes of getting her attacker off the streets. She believes if he's done it once, he'll do it again. 

She added that she wants to help make sure what she says happened to her doesn't happen to anyone else.

"We don't want to have another generation of young women growing up, fearing walking the streets by themselves," she said. 

The suspect is about 20 to 30 years old, 5-foot-6 to 5-foot-8, about 225 pounds with eyeglasses. Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS. 

SEXUAL ASSAULT HELP: The National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673) provides 24-hour help to people who have experienced sexual assault or know someone who has.

Photo Credit: News 4 NY
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<![CDATA[Chilling 911 Calls Reveal Terror in NYC Newborn Stabbings]]> Fri, 21 Sep 2018 19:00:53 -0400 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/day+care+1.png

In the middle of the night, a 52-year-old woman working at a maternity center in Queens allegedly knifed a colleague eight times in the stomach, stabbed a father who tried to intervene and then began attacking days-old babies.

Two people called 911. And those calls, made shortly before 4 a.m. Friday, revealed abject terror.

"Help, help, help," the first call began. "Hurry up, because my baby's already been stabbed twice. Someone came in and stabbed my baby twice."

The dispatcher asked to be sure -- "Someone stabbed her baby, she said?"

"Yes," the caller said. There was crying. "I don't know this person ... I don't know where this person came from." 

Shortly thereafter, there was a second call. 

"I'm sleeping ... and then I heard somebody yelling ... and then they are killing people," the second caller said. "I just saw the blood on the floor ... and that somebody got hurt." 

The dispatcher asked if the killer was still in the house. 

"I don't know. I don't know. I cannot go out to check," the caller said. "I'm afraid." 

The 911 callers' connections to the maternity center weren't immediately revealed. In total, five people were stabbed: three of them were baby girls no older than one month; one was a female worker, the other a father of one of the nine children who happened to be in the center at the time. It wasn't clear if his child was among the three girls stabbed.  

Neither the name of the suspect, who cops say tried to kill herself in the basement of the Flushing facility, nor the names of the victims have been released. Charges are pending against the suspect. 

No possible motive has been revealed. Police said they received one 311 call there years ago -- a call about children screaming in 2011. 

Photo Credit: News 4]]>
<![CDATA[Top Pop-Ups Around NYC This Weekend]]> Fri, 21 Sep 2018 20:31:53 -0400 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Secret+Beach+pop-up+bar.jpg

New York never seems to run out of fun things to do, and aside from the endless bars, restaurants and museums, pop-ups have quickly become a part of New York culture. These temporary shops sprung up in the early 2000s, and now, almost 20 years later, you will find no shortage of them throughout the city. 

Here are three happening in the city this weekend -- from pictures to puppies to praying summer stays just a tad bit longer, there’s something for everyone on this list. 

1. Humans BF

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Get ready for puppies galore. At Humans BF in the West Village, you and your pup can bond over chew toys, ball pits and even a doggy diner. Don’t have a dog? Don’t worry—Humans BF has partnered with animal rescue organizations around the city to bring you rescue dogs available for adoption and play. The pop-up will run until November 12. 

2. Photoville 

Brooklyn’s seventh annual pop-up, Photoville, features a work from over 600 artists in 90 exhibits in a massive visual event this weekend. In the heart of Brooklyn Bridge Park, the outdoor exhibit provides an open space for the public to experience entertaining and challenging stories from a wide variety of talented artists. The pop-up is free for all ages and open through September 23.

3. Secret Beach Pop-Up

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Summer is coming to a close but this Upper West Side hotel is extending it for another month. NYLO New York City Hotel opened a secret beach pop-up on the sixteenth floor of their hotel, where you can dip your toes in seagrass and sip on beach-inspired specialty cocktails. But get there quick—the hotel will close the pop-up on October 27.

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<![CDATA[3 Babies Stabbed at Maternity Center; Cleaver Found at Scene]]> Sat, 22 Sep 2018 10:16:39 -0400 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/day+care+scene+3.png

A 52-year-old woman allegedly stabbed five people, including three baby girls no more than a month old, at a maternity center in Queens early Friday, and cops say they found a butcher knife and meat cleaver at the scene. 

A 13-day-old girl and a 1-month-old girl were stabbed in the stomach; a 22-day-old girl had a laceration to her ear, chin and lip. All are in critical but stable condition, authorities said. Two other people, a father of a child at the center and another woman who worked there, were also stabbed at the Flushing center just before 4 a.m. Friday. The woman was stabbed eight times in the torso. 

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Police say the suspect, 52-year-old Yu Fen Wang, of Queens, was found unconscious on the basement floor of the center on 161st Street with her left wrist slashed in what police say was a self-inflicted wound.

Wang was is in police custody at a hospital as of Friday; officials said she had regained consciousness. She was undergoing a psychiatric evaluation as she was treated for her injuries. 

On Saturday, she was charged with five counts of attempted murder.

Authorities say it appears the stabbing spree at what was initially described as an overnight daycare started with an attack on the adult female. The 31-year-old father who was injured intervened and was stabbed in the leg; then the attack on the children began. Two people called 911 -- and those calls revealed abject terror.  

It wasn't clear whether the stabbed father's child was one of the infants stabbed. He, along with the 63-year-old worker stabbed in the torso, are hospitalized in critical but stable condition.

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Nine babies -- five girls, four boys -- were in the house at the time. Police say some other parents were there as well. It wasn't clear whether the facility was licensed or why it had so many newborns there at the time of the stabbing; state records indicate there was a registered business at the location.

An official briefed on the investigation tells News 4 it was a maternity center. Mothers would go there with their newborns and workers would help take care of the babies. Foreign mothers could also have their babies here, the official said, and then receive help at the center processing paperwork to get those babies citizenship.

Local elected officials said it appeared it was an unlicensed facility for new mothers and their babies to convalesce for a month, in keeping with Chinese tradition.

A mother of one of the baby girls stabbed tells News 4 she is from Brooklyn but decided to bring her daughter to the facility for her 30-day rest; it costs $4,600 for a monthlong stay, she said. Her 13-day-old daughter was stabbed in the left side of her body but will "thankfully" be OK, the mother told News 4 at the hospital. 

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A spokeswoman for the state's Office of Children and Family Services says the center's address is not an OCFS-licensed or regulated childcare program. Programs regulated by the agency are by regulation prohibited from caring for infants younger than 6 weeks unless they have prior OCFS approval.

"OCFS is saddened by this horrific situation and investigating it as a possible illegal operation," the statement said.

No possible motive has been revealed. Police said they received one 311 call there years ago -- a call about children screaming in 2011. 

Video from the scene showed a heavy police presence, with dozens of law enforcement vehicles and officers swarming the scene. Later, officers accompanied by cops in white biohazard suits were seen carrying large bags to a specialized crime scene unit truck. 

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Photo Credit: News 4]]>
<![CDATA[Beto O'Rourke and Ted Cruz Square Off in First Debate]]> Fri, 21 Sep 2018 21:04:37 -0400 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/DIT_NAT_BETO_CRUZ_DEBATE_092118-153757785852600002.jpg

U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke and Sen. Ted Cruz faced each other in the first of three planned debates Friday in what has become a neck and neck race for the Texas senate seat.

<![CDATA[Questions Over Warning System Breakdown Before Maria]]> Fri, 21 Sep 2018 19:34:01 -0400 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Questions_Over_Warning_System_Breakdown_Before_Maria.jpg

Officials in one part of Puerto Rico are looking into the breakdown of the flood warning system before Hurricane Maria. Gaby Acevedo reports.

<![CDATA[Wrongfully Convicted Man Takes Legal Action]]> Fri, 21 Sep 2018 18:46:25 -0400 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Wrongfully_Convicted_Man_Takes_Legal_Action.jpg

Last week, Josiah Galloway walked free after more than a decade behind bars for a crime he did not commit. Now he's demanding his own justice. Greg Cergol reports.

<![CDATA[Milano, Judd Open Up After Trump Asks Why Ford Didn't Report]]> Fri, 21 Sep 2018 17:21:13 -0400 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/milanojuddsplit1.jpg

Some of the most vocal proponents of the #MeToo movement and droves of other women have come to the defense of Christine Blasey Ford after President Donald Trump questioned her credibility and wondered why she didn’t report her sexual assault at the time she said it happened.

In a slew of unrestrained tweets Friday, Trump contended that if the attack Ford said happened at the hands of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was “as bad” as she claims, she would have “immediately” reported it to local authorities. He asked her to produce the report to prove the details of her alleged assault and wondered, “Why didn’t someone call the FBI 36 years ago?” 

The president's brazen comments sparked the birth of a new trending hashtag, #WhyIDidntReport, and inspired victims to reveal their own stories of assault and share their reasons for not telling anyone about the violence.

One of those victims was Alyssa Milano, who has helped propel the #MeToo movement into the national spotlight in the last year. She threw her support behind Ford and told Trump to pay attention to the stories being told.

“I was sexually assaulted twice. Once when I was a teenager. I never filed a police report and it took me 30 years to tell [my] parents,” the actress wrote on Twitter.

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#WhyIDidntReport jumped to the top of Twitter’s trends in the wake of Trump's claims, with social media users challenging the president’s assertions.

Several women shared incidents they said happened when they were young children, saying they didn’t know what had happened to them at the time. Others said they felt ashamed or embarrassed about their role in the situation, thinking they “asked for” the assault or didn’t do enough to stop it themselves.

Others described feeling powerless against their attacker, saying they felt they had no one to report the assault to, that those they did tell didn’t do anything or that they would suffer further harm if they spoke out. 

Ford has accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were teens in the 1980s. She said he pinned her on a bed, groped her, tried to undress her and held his hand over her mouth when she tried to scream. Ford said in her interview with The Washington Post that she didn't tell anyone about the incident until 2012, when she was in therapy sessions with her husband.

Kavanaugh has denied the claims, but the allegation has halted his confirmation proceedings. 

Trump himself has been accused of sexual assault and harassment as well, by at least 19 women. One of those known accusers, Jessica Leeds, claimed Trump groped her breasts and put his hand up her skirt on an airplane in the early 1980s. She told The New York Times she did not report the incident at the time because she had experienced that behavior from men before in the 70s and 80s. 

"We accepted it for years,” she told the Times of the behavior. “We were taught it was our fault.”

The White House has said the allegations against Trump are "false."

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But the #WhyIDidntReport testimonies being shared on social media fall in line with national statistics on sexual violence. 

About two out of every three sexual assaults go unreported to police, according to the anti-sexual violence non-profit RAINN, which stands for Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network. Reasons for not reporting the assault to police include fearing retaliation, believing police would not do anything to help, believing it was a personal matter, having already reported it to a different official and believing it was not important enough to report. 

The organization also operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800-656-4673)

The Bureau of Justice Statistics also reports that a majority of rapes and other sexual assaults aren't reported to police. Between 2006 and 2010, an average of about 211,200 rapes and sexual assaults went unreported each year. 

But even if a victim does report their assault, the likelihood that the perpetrator will be held accountable is slim, according to RAINN. Out of every 1,000 rapes, only 57 cases lead to an arrest and 11 cases will be referred to prosecutors. Only seven cases will lead to a felony conviction.

Ashley Judd, who accused disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment and claimed he hurt her career after her rejections, also tweeted her own #WhyIDidntReport.

“The first time it happened, I was 7. I told the first adults I came upon. They said “Oh, he’s a nice old man, that’s not what he meant.” So when I was raped at 15, I only told my diary. When an adult read it, she accused me of having sex with an adult man,” Judd wrote.

Men shared the hashtag too, supporting women victims and also offering their own stories. Many said they feared they wouldn’t be believed if they came forward with their accusation.

One out of every 10 rape victims is male, according to RAINN.

And nearly half of transgender people are sexually assaulted in their lifetime, according to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey.

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Sexual assault can leave long-term effects on victims, including post-traumatic stress disorder, severe anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts, according to the Joyful Heart Foundation, an anti-sexual assault group founded by "Law and Order" actress Mariska Hargitay.

Most women who are raped — 94 percent — experience symptoms of PTSD in the two weeks following the rape, according to RAINN. And 30 percent experience symptoms in the nine months after.

About 70 percent of sexual assault victims experience moderate to severe distress, a larger percentage than for any other violent crime, according to RAINN.

Ford, in her Post interview, said she has suffered "long-term effects" from the assault and has sought treatment for it.

One Twitter user named Kirsten King, a writer, reminded readers that those participating in the #WhyIDidntReport hashtag are "reliving their trauma to try and teach folks to extend long overdue empathy and protection. The folks posting are only a drop in the bucket – so many people aren't (and may never be) ready to relive that trauma." Her tweet garnered more than 3,800 likes by Friday evening.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 provides people in distress, or those around them, with 24-hour support. The Crisis Text Line allows people to text 741-741 to connect with crisis counselors.

Photo Credit: AP Images, Files]]>
<![CDATA[Student Commits Ultimate Blunder on College Paper]]> Fri, 21 Sep 2018 18:17:48 -0400 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/215*120/essay1generic.JPG

An Ohio University student made a mortifying impression on her college professor after submitting a paper where she accidentally referred to him as “Professor whats his nuts.”

Zoey Oxley, a newly-arrived freshman at OU, took to Twitter on Thursday afternoon to share her utter embarrassment at calling her professor John Hendel the wrong name.

“A series of unfortunate events,” Oxley tweeted, along with photos of the paper, a frantic email she sent to her professor after realizing the mistake, and worst of all, a tweet by her professor calling her out for her mistake that went viral.

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In her email, Oxley apologized profusely, stating that she had just typed in anything because at the time she couldn’t remember his last name, but clearly forget to change it before pressing the submit button.

“I am writing this email very embarrassingly. As I began writing out my paper, I wrote out the template. Unfortunately I could not remember your last name so I filled it with something completely unprofessional,” Oxley wrote. “It was my intention to change the name before submission but it completely slipped my mind. I am so very sorry for the lack of respect that was used and again I apologize for this mistake.”

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It seems Professor Hendel took it in his stride though, tweeting that he hadn’t even realized what had happened until she pointed it out.

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Editor's note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the university Oxley attended.

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<![CDATA[Rosenstein Joked About Secretly Recording Trump: Officials]]> Fri, 21 Sep 2018 16:46:15 -0400 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/rosenAP_18143696932747.jpg

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was joking when he discussed wearing a wire to secretly record President Donald Trump and does not believe Trump should be removed from office through the use of procedures outlined in the Constitution's 25th Amendment, according to sources familiar with his conversations.

The sources were responding to a New York Times report that Rosenstein, in the tumultuous spring of 2017, had discussed with other Justice and FBI officials the possibility of recruiting members of Trump's Cabinet to declare him unfit for the job and that he offered to wear a recording device during conversations with the president, NBC News reported.

In a May, 16, 2017 meeting at a secure facility at the Justice Department — one week after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey — Rosenstein argued with Andrew McCabe, then the acting director of the FBI, about the president, according to a senior Justice Department official.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Woman Dies After 911 Call, Cop Hurt as Ex Opens Fire in NYC]]> Fri, 21 Sep 2018 20:37:48 -0400 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/yonkers+cop+involved.png

A 31-year-old woman who called 911 desperate for help was found dead of a gunshot wound to the head, her boyfriend, a 43-year-old off-duty Yonkers cop badly wounded in a Queens apartment early Friday, authorities say.

A 47-year-old man thought to be an ex-boyfriend, Nelson Giron, was also found dead in the second-floor apartment on 77th Street, near the Ditmas-East Elmhurst border, before 7 a.m. A firearm that belonged to the off-duty officer, who owns several weapons, according to police, was found near Giron's body. 

NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea said the woman, identified as Regan Smith, screamed to the 911 dispatcher, "I've been shot by my boyfriend!" then the call dropped. The line was left open though, and Shea said 911 dispatchers could hear loud noises. 

Responding officers walked up to the apartment door and found it locked. They could hear what appears to have been up to 10 shots, Shea said -- and secured the perimeter as they called for backup and emergency services. 

Once police got inside, they found Smith dead of at least one gunshot wound to the head. The Yonkers officer, a five-year veteran of the force, had a gunshot wound to the shoulder and two additional wounds to the back, though Shea said it wasn't clear if those were stab wounds or gunshot wounds. The cop was undergoing surgery Friday and was expected to live. 

According to Shea, both men and the woman may have served in different branches of the military, though it's not clear if they knew each other from their service. The backstory of the relationship wasn't clear, but Shea said Friday wasn't the first time cops were called -- police responded to several calls in the vicinity on Monday about a keyed car situation involving all three of them. 

Neighbor Carmela Lojudice knew the woman and said she was a "nice, nice person."

"My daughter's crying," said another neighbor, Josephine Cahill. "She has a dog, the owners  talked together." 

The Yonkers Police Department issued a statement confirming an incident involving an off-duty police officer that has over four years of service.

"The Yonkers Police Department offers its sincere condolences to the families of the victims and their colleagues," the police department said, adding that they are making all their resources available to the NYPD to assist in their investigation of the case.

Photo Credit: News 4]]>
<![CDATA[Florence Extreme 3-Day Rainfall is a 0.1% Probability Event]]> Sat, 22 Sep 2018 05:01:45 -0400 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/florenceGettyImages-1036975356.jpg

Hurricane Florence’s 3-day rainfall was a less than .1% probability, "1000-year" event, analysis from The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Weather Service found.

"The fact that this event was greater than 1-in-1000 in such a large area is unusual," said Mark Glaudemans, Geo-Intelligence Division Director at NOAA’s National Weather Service Office of Water Prediction. "It’s one thing to have a heavy storm over your backyard or a parking lot in town. Heavy storms happen all the time in very small areas. But to have a heavy storm that’s this heavy over such a large area is an extreme event."

This event is not unprecedented, Kevin Trenberth, Distinguished Senior Scientist in the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, told NBC. "A thousand year event is based upon the idea that the climate isn’t changing," Trenberth said. "A lot of what used to be 1000 year events are now 100-year events or seventy-year events or maybe even fifty-year events, in the case of places like Houston," he added.

Texas’ Hurricane Harvey from last year had some areas with "1-in-500- year" or "1-in-1000-year event" rainfall, NOAA reported. Hurricane Matthew, which made landfall in South Carolina as a Category 1 hurricane, also had areas with greater than 0.1% probability events, though they cover less of the map. The NOAA data in the Atlas 14 map is compared to data from up to 2004.

Glaudemans clarified the misleading "1000 year event" terminology. The probability is based on the three-day worst case period, and compares the observed precipitation with the expected probability of future precipitation. Simply put, this event has "a one in one thousand chance of occurring in a given year at a given location," he said, noting it does not mean this event will only occur once in a thousand years. "Next year, it can happen all over again," he explained.

"An event like Florence is extremely rare because you do not normally see tropical cycles with such an intensity, with so much precipitation, make landfall somewhere along the coast," said Dr. Jill Trepanier, associate professor in the Geography and Anthropology Department at Louisiana State University, expertise is hurricane climatology. "However, that rare event can still happen every year and then that rare event no longer becomes rare anymore. With a changing climate, what is rare now will shift."

North Carolina saw 8.04 trillion gallons of rainfall, NWS Raleigh tweeted on Tuesday. NWS Greensville-Spartanburg responded by noting that for three counties, the estimates for rain are too low. Emergency managers issued a new evacuation order in South Carolina Friday morning, AP reported. Hurricane Florence has caused 42 deaths since it made landfall last Friday.

"[These 1-in-1000 year events] are becoming increasingly common, unfortunately," Trenberth explained. "They occur in different places, in different times, and the phenomenon is always a bit different. But the fact is, the environment is warmer, it holds more moisture, and so the risk of these heavy rainfall events is going up."

"When it rains, it rains harder than it used to," he said.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Website Pulls Sexy 'Handmaid's Tale' Costume After Backlash]]> Fri, 21 Sep 2018 15:13:23 -0400 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/handmaidsexycostume.jpg

If Halloween is approaching, then it must be time for another retailer to pull its Halloween costume for bad taste.

This year the early offender is an online lingerie store that has removed a sexy “Handmaid’s Tale” costume from its website after receiving massive backlash on social media.

The show, which was based on the book by Margaret Atwood, was set in a dystopian America where women were forcefully used as surrogates and sex slaves.

The product description for Yandy’s “Brave Red Maiden” costume makes a direct reference to the critically acclaimed Hulu drama, USA Today reported.

"An upsetting dystopian future has emerged where women no longer have a say," the description reads. "However, we say be bold and speak your mind in this exclusive Brave Red Maiden costume."

Many social media users commented on the misogynistic aspect of selling a costume about female oppression. Some also noted the irony that this product was removed when many stores continue to sell offensive race- and culture-inspired costumes. 

This is not the first time that Yandy has marketed a Halloween costume that might provoke backlash.

Last year, the company began selling its “Reality Star in the Making” costume for $59.95 with a product photo featuring a pregnant Kylie Jenner look-alike in a short, tight white dress.

The description promises to “boost your show’s ratings” with the help of a "faux pregnant belly."

Yandy’s questionable product choices are a part of a long retail Halloween tradition of selling controversial costumes.

In 2017, Walmart and several other retailers took down a “World War II Evacuee” costume, which included a green beret, a blue dress and a satchel. The item caused an outrage because of its resemblance to Jewish Holocaust victim Anne Frank. Amazon, however, continues to carry the product on its website.

Walmart also had to pull its $4 “Razor Blade Suicide Scar Wound Latex Custom Makeup” kit in 2016 after receiving complaints that the kit supported self-injury.

In the same year, online retailer Costumeish faced a social media outcry in 2016 after posting a “Parisian Heist” costume parodying Kim Kardashian’s robbery in Paris. The listing sported a bound and gagged model who looked like Kardashian dressed in a white bathrobe and wearing a huge ring.

Time reported that social media users also accused the Disney online store of racism in 2016 after it attempted to sell a costume of a character from the “Moana” movie. The Maui costume included a brown bodysuit and tattoos, which would make the wearer dress up as a person of color. Disney later apologized and quickly took the costume off its website.

Like those companies, Yandy seems to be reflecting on its decision to sell the handmaid costume after the retailer said it received many “sincere, heartfelt response, supported by numerous personal stories.”

A statement on Yandy’s site, which has since replaced the red cape, mini dress and bonnet ensemble, apologized for the offensive costume. The company called the incident “unfortunate” and said it was not their “intention on any level.”

“Over the last few hours, it has become obvious that our 'Yandy Brave Red Maiden Costume' is being seen as a symbol of women's oppression, rather than an expression of women's empowerment,” the statement reads. “Our initial inspiration to create the piece was through witnessing its use in recent months as a powerful protest image.” 

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Hulu
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<![CDATA[NJ Sheriff Taped Making Racist Remarks Resigns Amid Uproar]]> Fri, 21 Sep 2018 18:58:58 -0400 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/michael+saudino.png

The New Jersey sheriff who was recorded making racist remarks about black people and the state’s Sikh attorney general has resigned. 

The resignation of Bergen County Sheriff Michael Saudino is effective immediately, according to a release sent out at 3 p.m. Friday. Four undersheriffs -- George Buono, the executive undersheriff, Robert Colaneri, Brian Smith, Joseph Hornyak -- also submitted their resignations effective immediately.

Gov. Phil Murphy and other elected officials had called for Saudino’s resignation after WNYC obtained a recording on which the sheriff can be heard making remarks about black people, as well as the state’s Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, after Murphy’s inauguration on Jan. 16.

“He talked about the whole thing, the marijuana, sanctuary state… better criminal justice reform,” Saudino said of Murphy’s inauguration speech in the recording.

“Christ almighty, in other words let the blacks come in, do whatever the f--- they want, smoke their marijuana, do this, do that, and don’t worry about it. You know, we’ll tie the hands of cops,” he reportedly said.

Saudino went on to say that Murphy only appointed Grewal because of “the turban,” WNYC reported.

He also wondered aloud whether Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver was gay "because she's never been married."

Saudino, who was in his third term as Bergen County sheriff, initially released a statement Thursday evening acknowledging that he'd made the "insensitive recorded remarks that were made public today."

"These remarks are not representative of the person that I am and they are in no way consistent with the manner in which I have conducted my life personally and as a law enforcement professional with over 46 years of service to the residents of Bergen County," Saudino said in that statement.

Murphy denounced Saudino's comments as "appalling," adding that "anyone using racist, homophobic and hateful language is unfit for public office."

Grewal and Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco also called for Saudino's resignation, as did Assemblyman Gordon Johnson (D-Bergen) and the Bergen County Democratic Chairman Lou Stellato.

The president of the local police union, Chris Weston, also called on Saudino to resign Friday morning and said the sheriff was "just sorry he got caught."

Despite calls for him to resign after the recording came to light, Saudino initially said he would be reaching out to community leaders to apologize and repair the damage to the "friendships" he has built with those communities.

"Going forward I will continue to treat everyone with the respect and dignity that is deserved by all and to be diligent in my duty to protect and defend the rights of all our residents," he originally said.

Pending the appointment of an interim sheriff by Murphy, Sheriff's Office Chief Kevin Pell will be the officer-in-charge of the department's operations. Bergen County Sheriff's Office Warden Steve Ahrendt will be the officer-in-charge of the Bergen County jail's operations, the statement from the sheriff's office said.

In a statement following Saudino's resignation, Murphy said in part: “With the resignation of Sheriff Saudino, we can now begin the process of restoring faith in the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office after so much of it was so quickly eroded. And, we can begin the process of ensuring that the bigoted beliefs displayed by the former Sheriff are not given shelter in any corner of the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office – now or in the future."

“I fully intend to appoint an interim sheriff who can rebuild the public’s trust, Murphy's statement continued.

Grewal shared similar sentiments, saying that Saudino's resignation "is an important first step in repairing the relationship between the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office and the diverse communities it serves."

Grewal also said that "the fact that a top official could make racist comments about the African-American community – and that no one in the room would challenge or correct him – raises serious concerns." 

However, Grewal added: "At the same time, we cannot allow the actions of a few officials to taint the entire law enforcement community. The overwhelming majority of law enforcement officers in Bergen County and across New Jersey are honorable public servants who care deeply about the work they do and the way they do it."

<![CDATA[Chunk of Subway Station Ceiling Collapses on Platform in NYC]]> Fri, 21 Sep 2018 14:31:27 -0400 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/atlantic+subway.jpg

A section of crumbling subway ceiling fell onto a subway platform in a Brooklyn station Friday morning.

The incident occurred around 8:18 a.m. in the Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center station and involved a 2- to 3-foot section of plaster surface material.

Video on social media shows off-white plaster material scattered across the platform floor as straphangers walk by, while a gaping hole is seen above.

Engineering, maintenance, cleaning, train service delivery and customer service personnel were deployed immediately and the cause is currently under investigation.

The entire platform ceiling was inspected and returned to service, while the other platforms and the ceiling above the tracks will also be inspected Friday.

The crumbling plaster forced the 4 and 5 express trains to bypass the station until 11:11 a.m. and has prompted New York City Transit Authority president Andy Byford to order a systemwide inspection of similar ceilings.

“A small amount of plaster fell from the ceiling on a platform, and out of an abundance of caution we are checking the entire station. President Byford has also ordered a systemwide inspection of similar ceilings. We thank our personnel for their quick response and our customers for their patience while we address this,” MTA spokesman Shams Tarek said in a statement.

It is unclear if anyone was injured in the collapse.

<![CDATA[Bird Boards United Plane Bound for NJ, Flies Around Cabin]]> Fri, 21 Sep 2018 14:16:48 -0400 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/bird_on_plane_1280x720_1326065219574.jpg

This bird wanted to go higher than he'd ever been before. Or maybe he just wanted to try the inflight snacks.

Either way, an avian stowaway was filmed flapping around on a United Airlines plane as it boarded to fly to Newark on Friday morning.

A passenger shot video on United Flight 1796 from San Francisco as the bird did a length of the plane while it was sitting on the runway. About 15 passengers who boarded early were already on the plane, the witness said.

"The flight was delayed shortly for a “maintenance issue” -- turns out the issue was a bird was on the plane," the passenger said.

"The flight crew caught the bird with a hat and then proceeded to let the rest of the passengers board."

United Airlines said the bird appeared to have flown on board from outside.  

"Our employees safely removed the little bird who apparently wanted to check out our big metal bird in San Francisco," a spokesperson said.

He was captured and released outside, they said.

<![CDATA[Ex-Wife of Cubs' Russell Details Alleged Abuse in Blog Post]]> Fri, 21 Sep 2018 14:36:39 -0400 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-694219534.png

NOTE: NBC Chicago will offer a live feed as Cubs manager Joe Maddon speaks to the media Friday afternoon. Watch live above and read more on the Cubs' reaction here

For the first time since their divorce, the ex-wife of Chicago Cubs shortstop Addison Russell is speaking out about what she described as emotional and physical abuse she says she suffered at the hands of her then-husband. 

In a lengthy blog post published this week, Melisa Reidy-Russell detailed allegations of physical mistreatment and "emotional and verbal abuse."

"The first time I was physically mistreated by my spouse, I was in shock," Reidy-Russell wrote. "I couldn’t wrap my head around what just happened…Why did he get so angry? What did I do for him to want to put his hands on me? Of course I forgave him & assumed it would never happen again."

In wake of the post, Major League Baseball placed Russell on administrative leave Friday, saying it "takes all allegations of Domestic Violence seriously." 

The Cubs said the team supports that decision.

“We take allegations of domestic violence seriously and support the League’s decision to place Addison Russell on administrative leave given new details revealed today," the team wrote in a statement. "We will continue to cooperate with the League’s investigation so the appropriate action can be taken.”

The post, titled "You no longer have a secret, you have a story," marks the second time such allegations have surfaced against the Cubs star. 

Just before the couple filed for divorce, Reidy-Russell published a highly-publicized Instagram post accusing her husband of infidelity. Though the post was eventually deleted, a comment from one of her friends alluded to domestic violence allegations.

At the time, Russell denied the accusations.

“Any allegation I have abused my wife is false and hurtful,” Russell said after the first Instagram post was published.

MLB launched an investigation into the claims in June 2017, but said Reidy-Russell declined to cooperate "at that time." The investigation has remained open since, according to the league.  

"We are hopeful that this new information will allow us to complete the investigation as promptly as possible," the league wrote in a statement Friday.

Russell has not publicly commented on the latest allegations, but Cubs President Theo Epstein said he saw the post late Thursday and "immediately reached out to the league's investigative body."

He called the post "disturbing" and said he and Cubs owner Tom Ricketts met with Russell Friday morning to tell him he would be placed on administrative leave. 

"Timing or inconvenience doesn't play into it," Epstein said. "What matters is getting to a just and fair resolution."

According to Reidy-Russell, the Cubs star cheated on her "with so many different women" and emotional and verbal abuse was "an everyday thing."

"Being blamed for just about anything that went wrong, name calling, intimidating me with personal force, manipulating me to think I was the problem, destroying my personal things, threatening me to 'send' me & our son home to my parents as if I was privileged to be living in our home," she wrote. "Basically, I felt like I was nothing, a nobody & I was nothing without him, & I couldn’t do anything without him."

Reidy-Russell wrote the abuse grew worse over time and "grew to new levels."

"Friends would express their concerns with me but I would assure them that I was okay, he lost his temper & wasn’t himself," she wrote. "Everyday began to be a struggle to fake the convincing smile of a happy wife I grew accustomed to."

Reidy-Russell wrote she decided to leave after Russell "betrayed" her again in April 2017. 

"About a month after leaving, I returned for a visit so my son could see his father, also in hopes that maybe, just maybe I’d see a change in my husband," the post read. "But, as I expected our visit was a nightmare, I swore to myself it would be the last time he’d lay his hands on me & it would be that last time I’d let my son be a witness to it. A week after flying home, I finally made the call and took legal action to start our separation."

Reidy-Russell's attorney announced in June 2017 that she had filed for divorce, noting that it was "her desire to pursue a resolution that is, first and foremost, in the best interest of the parties' son, and which occurs in a swift, amicable, and private fashion." 

The Tribune reports the couple's marriage was officially dissolved in a Florida court Aug. 30. 

"If you are reading this and you can relate, please know & never forget how loved you are," Reidy-Russell wrote. 

If you or someone you know is in need of assistance, the National Domestic Violence Hotline is 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) and more resources can be found at thehotline.org.

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