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U.S.

Mormon church officials to announce new leadership Tuesday

SALT LAKE CITY – The Mormon church plans to announce its new leadership on Tuesday, acting in the wake of the death of President Thomas S. Monson.

A statement issued Wednesday by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints says the announcement will be made by President Russell M. Nelson, who is the faith's senior apostle.

The church's statement says Nelson will address church members via live broadcast at 9 a.m. MST from Salt Lake City on satellite feeds and the church's social media and online channels.

Monson died Jan. 2 at age 90 after nearly a decade leading the church. Approximately 11,000 people attended a funeral Friday.

UCSD DACA Student in ICE Custody After Taking Wrong Turn Into Mexico

The University of California, San Diego senior is among the people waiting to see what happens in the battle over the immigration program for those who entered the U.S. as minors.

 

A University of California, San Diego senior faces deportation after his roommate made a wrong turn at the U.S.-Mexico border crossing south of San Diego.

Orr Yakobi, 22, is an Israeli citizen who is in the U.S. under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status. The immigration program allows those who entered the U.S. as minors to stay in the U.S. with some restrictions including traveling outside of the country.

Yakobi and his friend, Ryan Hakim, were shopping at an outlet mall in San Ysidro Sunday when the pair got on southbound Interstate 5 instead of northbound Interstate 805.

"Once we got onto the ramp, we couldn't turn around. We couldn't pull over," Ryan Hakim said. "We were forced into Mexico."

Hakim was behind the wheel and said they had no intention of crossing the border.

"We're freaking out about his documentation. How is he going to get back in? How are we going to get back in," Hakim said.

When the men attempted to return to the U.S, officials with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection stopped the vehicle and checked Yakobi's documentation.

Under the DACA program, he is permitted to stay in the U.S., but cannot leave the country.

As a result, Yakobi was detained at the San Ysidro Port of Entry. Now he's in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement-- detained in Otay Mesa and facing deportation.

"It’s very political. Depending on what the mood of the government is right now, what ICE is willing to do,” Immigration Attorney Jacob Sapichnick said.

His attorney is negotiating his release and getting support from state and federal lawmakers, among others.

“It is unbelievable. In 24 hours we've got Todd Gloria, we've got Scott Peters, we got people from other states," Sapochnick said.

Yakobi, a math and computer science major, was well on his way down the road to success. He was just two classes from graduating and already working as a freelance programmer.

Yakobi was brought to the U.S. by his parents when he was 5 years old.

Yakobi is in good spirits and remains hopeful. Meanwhile, his classmates are garnishing support on campus from students, faculty and administration.

"I want to see Orr back at home. We all just want to give him a big hug," Hakin said. "We want to see him do what he wanted to do with his career. I want to see him achieve his dreams."

Yakobi 's DACA status expires in March. The student was detained because he didn't have a travel permit to leave the country.

His attorney is hoping to bond him out of detention so he might finish school while the case makes its way through the courts.

On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge William Alsup granted a request by California and other plaintiffs to prevent Trump from ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program while their lawsuits play out in court.

President Donald Trump says the U.S. court system is -- in his words -- "broken and unfair."

James Franco's accusers detail allegations

In this Jan. 7, 2018 file photo, James Franco arrives at the 75th annual Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills, Calif. Facing accusations by an actress and a filmmaker over alleged sexual misconduct, James Franco said on CBS’ “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” on Tuesday the things he’s heard aren’t accurate but he supports people coming out “because they didn’t have a voice for so long.” (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)

 

NEW YORK — Several women have made further claims of inappropriate sexual behaviour against James Franco in a Los Angeles Times article .

In the report published Thursday, two former student actresses described negative on-set experiences with the actor-filmmaker while being directed by him. Sarah Tither-Kaplan said in a nude orgy scene three years ago, he removed plastic guards covering the actresses’ groins while simulating sex.

Former students spoke of an unprofessional culture at Franco’s now-closed acting school Studio 4, where he taught a sex scenes class. Two women said Franco became angry shooting a strip club scene when no actresses, who were masked, would go topless. One topless scene filmed during class with Tither-Kaplan was uploaded to Vimeo, she said.

Violet Paley said that during a consensual relationship, Franco once pressured her to perform oral sex in a car and that the “power dynamic was really off.”

On Wednesday night’s “Late Night With Seth Meyers,” Franco said the tweets by Paley and Tither-Kaplan were “not accurate” but he supported the women’s right to express their perspectives. A lawyer and publicist for Franco didn’t respond to queries Thursday. Franco’s attorney, Michael Plonsker, disputed the allegations to the Times.

“There are stories that need to get out, people that need to be heard. I have my own side of this story but I believe that these people have been underrepresented getting their stories out enough that I will hold back things that I could say just because I believe in that so much,” said Franco to Meyers. “If I have to take a knock because I’m not gonna, you know, try and, you know, actively refute things then I will because I believe in it that much.”

Paley and Tither-Kaplan earlier tweeted about their past encounters with Franco after the actor wore a pin supporting the “Time’s Up” initiative for gender equality at Sunday’s Golden Globes. He won the award for best actor in a comedy or musical for “The Disaster Artist.”

Actress Ally Sheedy also said in a since-deleted tweet that Franco was an example of why she left the movie business. Franco on Tuesday told Stephen Colbert on “The Late Show” that he had “no idea” why Sheedy said that. He directed her in a 2014 off-Broadway play.

In 2014, Instagram messages showed Franco apparently trying to hit on a 17-year-old Scottish fan. Afterward Franco said he was “embarrassed” and said social media is “tricky.” ”I used bad judgment and I learned my lesson,“ the actor said then.

Tyler Barriss charged with involuntary manslaughter in Wichita swatting

The man accused of making a false report to Wichita police that ended in an officer fatally shooting a 28-year-old man was charged with involuntary manslaughter, reporting a false alarm and interference with a law enforcement officer in his first court appearance in Wichita.

His bond was set at $500,000.

Bennett says investigation into police officer in swatting case still ongoing

District Attorney Marc Bennett talks on Friday about the charges filed against Tyler Barriss over the alleged swatting call he made to Wichita police last month. Barriss was charged with involuntary manslaughter and made his first appearance in a Kansas courtroom after being extradited from California earlier this week. (Jan. 12, 2018)

Tyler Barriss, 25, was arrested in South Los Angeles on Dec. 29, less than 24 hours after someone called Wichita police claiming there was a homicide and hostage situation at 1033 W. McCormick. A man inside the home — identified by his family as Andrew Finch — opened his door to see why police were outside and was shot by an officer who was in a driveway across the street.

Barriss waived extradition to Kansas last week. He was booked into the Sedgwick County Jail on Thursday afternoon. On a financial affidavit filed Friday, Barriss wrote that he had no address, is unemployed and has not worked in the past 6 months.

During his second short court appearance since his arrest, Barriss was asked to confirm his identity. Asked if he had any questions after his charge was formally read, Barriss answered, “no, I don’t.”

Barriss’ next court appearance will be later this month.

Asked what is happening with the other investigation in the case, involving the shooting, District Attorney Marc Bennett said it’s “still under review by me.”

“Once I make a determination, that will be made public either through charges or through a press conference like I normally do,” he said.

There’s no timeline for when a decision determining if the officer’s action were reasonable will be made, he said.

The case, Bennett said, has been unique and there’s not a lot of previous case law to reference. For that reason, the investigation remains ongoing and the charges against Barriss could be modified.

“I’ll continue to analyze this case,” he said. “While it seems like it’s been in the news now for a long time, hashed and rehashed, in reality, the homicide investigation is still in the early stages.”

The media interest in the story speaks volumes of its uniqueness, Bennett said. A journalist from Germany was at the hearing Friday.

Wichita Police Department has no policy, specific training on ‘swatting,’ chief says

Reports say Barriss was called by someone after a feud between two Call of Duty players broke out over a virtual “friendly kill” during a game on Dec. 28. There was a $1.50 wager over the game.

One of the players allegedly called Barriss and requested he “swat” another player. A man claiming he was responsible for the swatting said he was given an address on McCormick Street by another player, he said during an interview with the DramaAlert channel on YouTube.

There hasn’t yet been a decision on if those players could face charges, Bennett said.

Swatting is the term when someone calls police with a fake story of a serious ongoing crime – like a killing, hostage situation or bomb threat – in an effort to draw a large police presence to an address. It has gained traction in recent years among online gamers.

Police went to the address, expecting to find a homicide victim and two hostages. Instead, Finch opened his front door when he saw police lights outside and didn’t know why. Wichita police say he was given commands to keep his hands raised, but he reached toward his waistline multiple times, police have said.

When he reached his hands up suddenly, police say a officer who was standing in a driveway across the street from Finch shot him. The shooting is still under investigation, police said.

Tyler Barriss at a hearing in Los Angeles on Jan. 3. Tyler Barriss at a hearing in Los Angeles on Jan. 3.

 

Steven Seagal accused of raping teenage actor in 1993

Regina Simons, who worked as an extra on the film On Deadly Ground, becomes latest woman to allege sexual misconduct against Hollywood star
‘I was completely caught off guard. Tears were coming down my face,’ said Regina Simons of her encounter with Steven Seagal. Photograph: Kristina Nikishina/Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia
The actor and producer Steven Seagal has been accused of rape by an extra who worked on his film On Deadly Ground.

Regina Simons, who was 18 when shooting the film in 1993, told the Wrap that Seagal assaulted her after he invited her to a party at his house. On arrival, she discovered that no one else was there and says she “froze” when Seagal began to have sex with her. Simons said: “I think because of the situation I was completely caught off guard. Tears were coming down my face and I know that it hurt. He was three times my size.”

Simons, a Mormon, also said that after confiding in a bishop, she decided not to come forward at the time due to the stigma that would be attached to the incident in the Mormon community – but had reported it to the police a month ago.

Steven Seagal accused of harassment by Arrested Development actor Portia De Rossi
Read more
Simons’ allegation is the latest in a string of misconduct accusations against Seagal, many of which were reported in November 2017. Actors Portia de Rossi, Julianna Margulies and Rae Dawn Chong all claimed that Seagal had behaved inappropriately at so-called “auditions” in his hotel room or office.

In the wake of these reports, the Dutch former model Faviola Dadis claimed in an Instagram post that Seagal had groped her during a 2002 audition. Dadis said she was told that a female casting director would be present, yet arrived to find only Seagal and a male security guard in the room. According to Dadis, Seagal asked to “act out a romantic scene” before groping her. Dadis said she recently reported the incident to police.

Seagal has not yet responded to any of the allegations made against him.

New York Police Union Sues to Stop Release of Body Camera Videos

Patrick J. Lynch, president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association in New York City, said the Police Department was violating state law by releasing footage from officers’ body cameras. Credit Gregg Vigliotti for The New York Times
When a New York City police officer shoots a civilian, should the public see video of the shooting captured on police body cameras? Or should that footage be shielded the same way that performance evaluations and disciplinary actions are?

The issue is at the heart of a lawsuit filed on Tuesday in State Supreme Court in Manhattan by the city’s largest police union, the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association. As the city moves ahead with its plan to equip all patrol officers with body cameras by the end of 2019, the union, which represents nearly two-thirds of the city’s 36,000 officers, is seeking to stop the Police Department from releasing the resulting footage without a court order.

The Police Department considers releasing body camera video of “critical incidents,” like police shootings, on a case-by-case basis. The police commissioner makes the final decision after consulting with the district attorney in the borough where the shooting took place.

So far, the Police Department, under Commissioner James P. O’Neill, has released edited footage of three police shootings, including two that were fatal. But in the lawsuit, union lawyers argue that the videos — raw or edited — are personnel records shielded from public disclosure by Section 50-a of the state Civil Rights law, a statute that also protects officers’ performance evaluations and disciplinary records.

Patrick J. Lynch, the union president, said in a statement announcing the lawsuit that the releases were arbitrary and illegal.

“This footage has serious implications not only for the safety and due process rights of police officers, but for the privacy and rights of members of the public, as well,” he said. He accused Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Police Department of showing "reckless disregard” for those concerns and for state law.

The issue of what the public is permitted to see runs through the national debate over body cameras, as police departments, officers’ unions, lawmakers and watchdog organizations wrestle over what makes for the best policy.

The 50-a statute was intended to protect officers from exploitation and abuse. The city’s interpretation has expanded under Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat elected on promises of police reform, and the state’s highest court has affirmed the broader interpretation.

The Police Department has cited the 50-a statute as the reason for refusing to turn over body camera video to journalists who have requested it under the state Freedom of Information Law. But in statements confirming that the city was reviewing the lawsuit, officials stood by the decision to release some videos to the public.

“The mayor and the police commissioner have spoken to the need for increasing transparency into the way our city is policed,” Austin Finan, a spokesman for Mr. de Blasio, said. “The release of body camera footage, when possible, is an important extension of that commitment.”

 

Robert J. Freeman, the executive director of the state Committee on Open Government, who has called for the 50-a statute to be amended or repealed, said the lawsuit was an attempt by the union to further shield police officers from public accountability.

“You have this myth that the disclosure of information relating to the performance of the duties of a public employee in some way relates to that person’s personal privacy,” he said. “Not so. Not so. The record that indicates my salary is about me, but it’s not personal. It’s about me as a public employee.”

The police union, like others in Boston and Seattle, has resisted body cameras for its officers. Officials considered taking legal action against the city during contract negotiations last year until the city agreed to give a raise for officers who would be required to wear them.

While the police union would rather not see the videos released at all, prosecutors prefer that decision to be made after they have completed investigations and decided if criminal charges are warranted. And police-reform advocates have pushed for a standardized process that would allow more videos to be made public.

Darius Charney, the lead lawyer in a 2008 lawsuit that challenged the Police Department’s stop-and-frisk tactics and led to a court-ordered body camera pilot, said the videos should be considered official reports, no different from what officers file each time they conduct a stop, arrest or other enforcement action.

Richard M. Aborn, the president of the Citizens Crime Commission of New York City, a criminal justice policy nonprofit, said that whether the statute applies to body camera video may depend on whether the Police Department plans to use it to evaluate officers’ performances or make disciplinary decisions.

“What is crystal clear is the right of the public to see these videos and hear reports from the government about what happened in these shootings is paramount, and the courts have got to find a way to expeditiously resolve any dispute and allow the dissemination of this information,” he said. “So to me, this is about speed.”

Getting video released quickly, or explaining why it is being withheld, is crucial to quelling public skepticism, he said.

Alain Delaquérière contributed research.

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