La. cops stun, shoot and kill Alton Sterling for selling music – New York Daily News

It’s happened again.

Chilling cell phone video surfaced Tuesday of two Louisiana cops killing a 37-year-old man selling music outside a Baton Rouge convenience store after an anonymous caller claimed he had a gun.

The police gunfire sparked impassioned protests that continued past midnight outside the store — 24 hours after authorities shot Alton Sterling during a fatal 12:35 a.m. encounter. More than 100 demonstrators shouting “no justice, no peace” clogged the street, setting off fireworks and blocking an intersection to protest Sterling’s death.

Alton Sterling, 37, was shot and killed by police in Baton Rouge, La. on Tuesday.

Alton Sterling, 37, was shot and killed by police in Baton Rouge, La. on Tuesday.


The grim 48-second cell phone video of the killing outside Triple S. Food Mart shows two police officers tackling and wrestling a heavy-set man in a red shirt against the hood of a car before throwing him to the pavement.

“He’s got a gun,” one officer cries while the pair pinned Sterling to the ground.

“You f—–g move, I swear to God,” the other cop yells, before the two draw their weapons. The terrified bystander turns the camera phone away as five shots ring out — two of which a coroner said struck Sterling in the chest and back.


Protestors gather at the intersection of N. Foster and Fairfields after Sterling’s death.

(Hilary Scheinuk/AP)

“They shot him?” a man’s startled voice says in the video. “Yes,” a woman replies between sobs.

Officers responded to the store about 12:35 a.m. Tuesday after an anonymous caller said a man selling CDs and wearing a red shirt threatened him with a gun, said Baton Rouge Cpl. L’Jean McKneely.

In Louisiana, gun owners are allowed to carry weapons without a permit as long as they’re over 18 and not felons.

It’s unclear how Sterling obtained the weapon. His rap sheet dates back two decades with several drug, firearm, theft and assault arrests. He was sentenced to five years to prison for marijuana and weapon possession in 2009, the Advocate reported.

The owner of the store had no knowledge of an argument outside his store that led to the initial 911 call.

He later saw officers pull a gun from Sterling’s pocket after the shooting and acknowledged Sterling bought the firearm days earlier for protection after learning other disc sellers in the region had been robbed.

Abdullah Muflahi owns the store where Alton Sterling was shot and witnessed the event.

Abdullah Muflahi owns the store where Alton Sterling was shot and witnessed the event.

(Maya Lau / The Advocate)

“He was screaming, ‘What did I do,’ ‘What’s going on,” Triple St. Food Mart owner and witness Abdullah Muflahi told the Daily News.

Police confiscated the store’s surveillance footage that Muflahi said would have captured every second of the violent death outside his store.

Muflahi watched police kill Sterling, a father of three children and his friend of six years, he said. Sterling died steps from where he allowed him to peddle music daily.

“His hand was not in his pocket, nor did he have the gun in his hand,” he said, defending Sterling’s final moments.

A cop was seen on video using a stun gun on Sterling before the shooting. 

A cop was seen on video using a stun gun on Sterling before the shooting. 

“While he was laying there dying, the cop went inside his pocket to pull the gun out.”

Police have not confirmed whether Sterling was in possession of a gun.

“I think they really handled it the wrong way,” Muflahi added.

The officers were wearing body cams during the shooting, but the recording devices apparently came loose and were dangling from their chests during the incident, Baton Rouge police spokesman Cpl. L’Jean McKneely told the Advocate, a Baton Rouge newspaper.

At least one dashcam caught the killing on tape.

Sterling’s death at the hands of police comes almost two years after Staten Island resident Eric Garner died after being placed in a police chokehold.

Garner, 43 and black, was allegedly selling loose cigarettes on July 17, 2014, when white cop Daniel Pantaleo put the asthmatic man in a banned chokehold and he died after saying he could not breathe. The sickening takedown was captured on video obtained exclusively by the Daily News.

Demonstrators shouted “no justice, no peace” in the wake of Sterling's shooting.

Demonstrators shouted “no justice, no peace” in the wake of Sterling’s shooting.

(Travis Spradling / The Advocate)

The death of Garner and other black men in police custody has given rise to protests around the country, as well as the Black Lives Matter movement.

Baton Rouge police officials said two uniformed officers involved were placed on administrative leave following the killing, which is standard procedure in shootings.

“It just didn’t make sense for someone to become so angry that’s suppose to protect our lives and take this young man’s life,” Vereta Lee, a family friend of Sterling’s, told WAFB. “It just doesn’t make sense.”

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Trump's feud with the RNC reaches a striking new level – MSNBC

Donald Trump is coming to a striking realization: it’s possible, if not likely, that he’s going to reach the Republican National Convention this summer with the most pledged delegates, the most votes, and the most state victories – and the party will nominate someone else anyway.
It’s not because the system is rigged against him. The problem is the Trump campaign has failed miserably to do the necessary follow-through at Republican conventions, where Ted Cruz’s superior field operation has repeatedly filled delegate slates with its allies. On the first ballot, many of these delegates will be required to vote for Trump, but if the New York developer fails to reach a majority, many of those same delegates will quickly shift their allegiance. After the first ballot, Trump would likely to discover a Republican convention where he has few real friends.
And as this fact sinks in, Trump is beginning to lash out angrily at the process he’s never fully understood or taken the time to study. At a New York rally the other day, Trump condemned the “corrupt” system and “crooked shenanigans.”
Yesterday, he went further, insisting that the RNC created a system that’s been deliberately “stacked against” him. “The Republican National Committee, they should be ashamed of themselves for allowing this kind of crap to happen,” Trump said. In an interview with The Hill, the candidate added that the process is a “scam” and a “disgrace.”
Ordinarily, RNC officials have bit their tongues and allowed Trump to launch into tirades like these without interference, but conditions have changed.
[Last night] RNC chairman Reince Priebus battled back against Trump’s criticism.
“Nomination process known for a year + beyond. It’s the responsibility of the campaigns to understand it. Complaints now? Give us all a break,” he tweeted.
This represents a clear shift in tone and posture for the Republican National Committee, which has remained neutral. This is easily the most forceful criticism, albeit oblique and without anyone being named specifically, Priebus has made at any point in the cycle.
The RNC chairman also happens to be correct.
The oddity of Trump’s whining is his inability to recognize the root problem. There was nothing stopping Trump and his campaign operation from getting organized, recognizing the significance of the delegate-selection process, and lining up supporters at state, district, and local conventions. Team Cruz isn’t cheating, so much as it’s playing the game by the rules.
When Trump complains about corruption, what he’s effectively saying is, “My team and I didn’t realize we had to worry about all of that other stuff.” To which Reince Priebus is understandably responding, “Give us all a break.”
It’s not the RNC’s fault Team Trump, an amateurish operation led by a first-time candidate, didn’t do its homework.
Why is the RNC pushing back now after months of irresponsible Trump rhetoric? The difference is Trump is currently questioning the legitimacy of Republican process itself. The candidate – the ostensible frontrunner – is now eagerly telling the country that the way in which his party chooses a presidential candidate has been corrupted, and the eventual nominee, if it’s not him, is a thief who didn’t legitimately earn the honor. That’s not true and Priebus has a vested interest in setting the record straight.
It’s worth emphasizing that all of this may prove to be a moot point. As we discussed the other day, Trump may very well get to 1,237 pledged delegates – the estimable Steve Kornacki believes it’s actually quite likely – before the start of the Republican National Convention in July, at which point Cruz’s success at state conventions almost certainly won’t matter, and Trump will prevail on the first ballot.
But the odds are roughly as good that Trump won’t reach that threshold and his amateurish understanding of the rules will end up costing him dearly.

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2 Years of Mystery: What Happened to Missing Plane MH370 and the 239 People Onboard? – ABC News

It’s been exactly two years since Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 vanished, leaving the families of its 239 passengers and crew devastated — and desperate for answers.

They may never get them.

Investigators remain perplexed about what happened on the Boeing 777, which Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has said likely “ended” in the Indian Ocean.

What he can’t say is how — or why — it got there.

The jet, bound for Beijing, took off from Kuala Lumpur International Airport shortly after midnight, at 12:41 a.m. local time.

About 26 minutes into the flight, at 1:07 a.m., the plane sent its final automated data transmission. Sometime between 1:07 and 1:37, when the next transmission was scheduled, the automated data system was shut off.

At 1:19 a.m. came the final radio transmission: “Goodnight , Malaysian three seven zero.”

Two minutes later, at 1:21 a.m., the jet’s transponder, which communicates location information, was also switched off.

Those two separate actions — turning off the data transmission system and the transponder — suggest that someone may have been alive and conscious inside the cockpit.

Bolstering this hypothesis is radar data, which shows that four minutes after the transponder shut off, the plane deviated from its planned route, doubling back on itself and flying back over Malaysia, then north along the Malacca Strait, until it eventually dropped off Malaysian radar.

According to rudimentary satellite data — the only data available, since the data system and transponder had been shut off — the aircraft continued flying for about six hours, until it likely ran out of fuel over the Indian Ocean at just after 8:19 a.m. Malaysia time.

In the frantic days following the plane’s disappearance, first responders began scanning the South China Sea, then widened the search zone to a staggeringly large 23,000-square-mile swath of land and sea centered around Malaysia. Eventually, after a more thorough analysis of satellite data, the search was expanded to a 46,000-square-mile swath of the Indian Ocean, where investigators scoured the sea for “pings” from the jet’s black box, which records audio from the flight deck and data from the flight computers.

At the request of the Malaysian government, Australian authorities are now leading the search for the missing plane and its 239 occupants.

The search area includes depths of over six miles amid underwater mountain ranges, some of the world’s most inhospitable terrain.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak called the search “the most challenging in aviation history.”

The black box has long since run out of battery, but searchers equipped with high-tech detection equipment continue to comb tens of thousands of square miles.

The underwater search has turned up a 200-year-old shipwreck, but no signs of the missing airliner.

The first piece of debris, a barnacle-encrusted flaperon, washed ashore on a small French island near Madagascar in July 2015, almost a year and a half after the ill-fated jet disappeared. It was later sent to Toulouse for forensic analysis and confirmed to be part of MH370 by Malaysian authorities.

According to investigators, the location of the debris, coupled the patterns of the Indian Ocean’s currents, confirm that the Australians are likely searching in the right place.

Six months later, an American blogger discovered a piece of what appears to be a Boeing 777 on a sandbar in Mozambique. Officials are working to confirm that the piece comes from MH370, the only missing Boeing 777 in that part of the world.

Investigators are set to complete the investigation of the search zone this summer, when the funding runs out. But if they fail to unearth the plane, authorities from Malaysia, Australia and China will hold a meeting on how to move forward.

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The US vs. Apple: Does the FBI Have a Case? – Fortune

It’s the biggest tech case of the year, and maybe the decade. Taking place in a California federal court, the case pits Apple against the U.S. government over control of the iPhone, with terrorism and privacy as the backdrop. The outcome will ripple across the entire technology sector and influence governments around the world.

So who is right? Does the FBI, which wants to force Apple AAPL to override the iPhone’s encryption features, have a legal right to do so? Here’s a plain English guide to the legal issues, including constitutional questions, and what will happen next.

Why is the federal government suing Apple over the iPhone?

The government is frustrated with new iPhone security features that make it near impossible for the FBI or Apple or anyone else (except the phone owner) to crack the password. Now, the feds are asking a federal judge in California to force Apple to write special software that will override those encryption features in order to peer into the iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino terrorists.

The technical facts of the case are important because the FBI wants to go beyond what it has done before. It’s different than forcing a phone company to place a wiretap or making an Internet company hand over emails. If you want to understand the encryption issue — including what Apple can and can’t do to unlock a phone — read this very well-written blog post.

Also note the Justice Department isn’t fighting over just this iPhone. Law enforcement agencies across the country are being thwarted by Apple’s encrypted devices, and the FBI likely chose this case—which involves an infamous terrorist—as its best chance to force Apple to change course.

Why is the U.S. using a 227-year-old law to make Apple obey?

The Justice Department already has a search warrant, but the warrant is doing little good. That’s because Apple says the iPhone’s encryption features mean it can’t access the phone or provide the information the FBI is seeking. In response, the government is citing a 1789 law called the “All Writs Act” to force Apple to comply.

The law itself isn’t as strange as it sounds. According to Stephen Scott, a constitutional law professor at McGill University, the original point of the law was to ensure courts in colonial America had the same traditional powers as those in England. Many of those powers came in the form of old writs (you can think of writs as “royal commands”) we still use today: writs of habeas corpus, certiorari, and so on.

The Justice Department does not refer to a specific type of writ in its court petition (it just cites the All Writs Act), but that doesn’t really matter. The feds just want the court, like courts have on many other occasions, to use its power under the Act to get Apple to comply with the search warrant. But, as noted below, there are two catches.

For more on Apple, watch:

Why does Apple think the “All Writs Act” doesn’t apply?

Apple hasn’t filed its legal brief yet (it will in the next few days) so we don’t know for sure, but we can anticipate its objections. The first of these has to do with limits put on the All Writs Act by the Supreme Court.

Specifically, the court won’t order Apple to act if it concludes the company is “so far removed from the underlying controversy” or if would place an “unreasonable burden” on Apple. It’s a safe bet Apple will make the “burden” argument but, according to lawyer Alexander Abdo of the ACLU, the company could also claim it’s too far removed for the investigation:

“The All Writs Act doesn’t allow government to conscript a company into service if the company doesn’t have the information … If the FBI is doing an investigation, it can’t force the local locksmith to help it break into a house,” said Abdo.

So a court might find the limits on the All Writs Act apply to Apple. Or it might conclude the Act doesn’t apply at all—that’s what a U.S. magistrate judge in Brooklyn suggested last year in another case involving iPhone encryption. Specifically, the judge pointed the Justice Department to another law called CALEA, which is about assisting law enforcement, and suggested the feds couldn’t fall back on the older law instead. (The Brooklyn judge hasn’t issued a final ruling, but his preliminary comments could help Apple).

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What About the Constitution?

No matter what the All Writs Act means, the Justice Department will not be able to make Apple comply if doing so would violate the Constitution. This opens another can of worms.

First, there is the Fourth Amendment’s search and seizure rules. While the FBI obtained a valid warrant, it must still execute the search in a reasonable manner—and forcing Apple to break encryption might not qualify. According to Abdo of the ACLU, Apple has a claim based on the Fifth Amendment too: it could argue that the process would deprive it of liberty without due process of law.

Finally, law professor Ryan Calo of the UW School of Law suggested on Twitter that the FBI’s proposed order violates free speech rights. The reason is that forcing Apple to write new software may amount to “compelled speech” that contravenes the First Amendment.

So Who Will Win—Apple or the FBI?

It’s way too early to say. For now, it’s clear that Apple has compelling legal arguments to support its claim that it shouldn’t be forced to decrypt the phone, but that doesn’t mean it will prevail. Meanwhile, the Justice Department, as it points out in its brief, has used the All Writs Act to prevail in numerous other cases, including ones where companies had to turn over passwords.

What happens next?

Apple will submit its legal brief to the California magistrate judge in the next few days. A ruling will come weeks, or possibly months, later. Then the appeals will begin: to a district judge, to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and, in all likelihood, to the Supreme Court. If that occurs, the case probably won’t get resolved till 2017 at the earliest.

In the meantime, look for an intense PR war to keep brewing. On Tuesday, an open letter by Apple CEO Tim Cook warned customers that the FBI demand was a threat to data security and would set a dangerous precedent. Then, on Thursday, the While House tried to assuage fears by saying it only wanted to decrypt the one device, and did not want Apple to “create a new backdoor to its products.”

Meanwhile, Apple’s nominal rivals in Silicon Valley — including Google GOOG and Facebook FB — are signaling support for the iPhone maker. As for the Justice Department, it has Donald Trump on its side, who called Apple “disgraceful” on Wednesday.

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Viewer's Guide: Trump drama, closing arguments before Iowa – Washington Post

By Laurie Kellman | AP,

WASHINGTON — It’s one thing to attack Donald Trump when he’s standing on the presidential debate stage. But what about when he’s not?

It’s a complicated question for the seven presidential candidates in the seventh prime time Republican presidential debate, who expect a no-show from the front-runner who has eclipsed the contest for months — on the brink of Monday’s Iowa caucuses.

Trump has declared that because of what he calls unfair treatment by the network hosting the debate, Fox News Channel, he’ll have his own event at the very same time about two miles away at Drake University.

His absence puts the rivals in a tough position while opening potential opportunity — do they go after him and give him even more attention? Or ignore him and fill the vacuum with their best possible closing arguments, grabbing attention that’s been tough to come by when Trump and his big personality fill the air time?

Also in a delicate spot is the network, which has engaged in a fraught relationship with Trump for months after he tangled with moderator Megyn Kelly in the first debate in August. Fox News Channel has refused to remove Kelly from the question panel and issued a sarcastic statement mocking Trump for demanding they do so. The standoff poses a challenge for the network, which is popular with conservatives, over how it handles its relationship with the GOP presidential front-runner in real time — especially in his absence.

The main debate stage will once again feature Rand Paul, who was bumped to the undercard debate last time. Also appearing: Sen. Ted Cruz, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Sen. Marco Rubio and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson.

Here are some things to watch for during the debate:



Trump’s debate boycott tests whether any word or action by the billionaire can dent his support among a core of conservative voters who want a change in Washington. Trump has predicted that Iowans won’t care whether he attends the debate, and even if he did, he wouldn’t be talking to the nation anyway. He’d be speaking to Iowans who will caucus Monday, using every moment to win the contest at hand. “Being second is terrible,” he has said. Another advantage to holding his own event: no moderators or rivals to challenge him.


The Texas senator and national debate champion held his own against Trump in past debates as the two have competed for the lead in Iowa. Without Trump on the stage, does Cruz adopt the posture of the de facto debate leader? That could risk looking presumptuous when a sizable percentage of Iowans say they could change their minds about whom they support. Cruz has been testing some humor, with an edge. “Apparently, Megyn Kelly is really, really scary, and Donald is a fragile soul,” Cruz said. “If she asks him mean questions, I mean, his hair might stand on end.”


Look for someone on the panel of moderators to acknowledge the elephant that’s not in the room. But whether moderators will spend more time than that on Trump, who has spent months in a spat with Kelly over what he says is unfair treatment, is a delicate question. Late Wednesday, Trump tweeted that it was Fox’s mocking press release that inspired him to skip the debate, more so than Kelly. She has been adamant about playing the dispute straight, and has the firm backing of news executives.


Jump ball!

The debate gives the field-minus-Trump more of a chance to make the most powerful closing arguments possible in the final face to face, televised meeting before the caucuses. Candidates such as Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who is looking past Iowa for a strong finish in next-up New Hampshire, have had little speaking time in past debates. The opportunity also is ripe for Rubio, who is seeking a strong finish in Iowa to claim the establishment mantle if outsiders Trump or Cruz falter. Look, too, for Bush to try to make gains.


Follow Laurie Kellman on Twitter at

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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