TIME Australia

Australians Outraged by Revelations of Greyhounds Trained With Live Baiting

Greyhound racing,dogs in red and black/whites striped coats
Bob Thomas—Getty Images

Live animals were filmed being tied to lures and torn apart by the dogs

Animal lovers are in uproar after a television report in Australia showed racing greyhounds trained using live animals as bait.

Secret footage aired on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Four Corners program Monday showed live piglets, possums and rabbits being fixed to a mechanical lure and flung around the track, as dogs chased and ultimately killed the animals. One possum was used as bait for almost an entire hour.

Governing body Greyhounds Australasia has begun an urgent review of animal welfare and has suspended more than 20 trainers, owners and trial-track operators in the past week.

“I am appalled at some of the footage shown on the Four Corners program. The use of live animals to train greyhounds is disgusting, illegal, unethical and totally rejected by the industry,” Scott Parker, CEO of Greyhounds Australasia, said in a statement.

If found guilty of using live bait, the accused will face heavy fines and up to five years in jail.

Live baiting is outlawed but some trainers continue with the practice, believing it improves the performance of dogs.

Caution: The below clip contains graphic images that some viewers may find distressing.

TIME Transportation

New York Train Collision Investigation ‘Will Take One Year’

Details are emerging about the deadly crash

The New York passenger train that collided with a car Tuesday moved the vehicle 1,000 ft. and ripped up 400 ft. of rail, with a lethal inferno resulting from the car gasoline’s interaction with the electrified rail, government investigators said Wednesday. The incident is the worst in Metro-North Railroad’s history, killing six people and injuring a dozen in Westchester County.

According to officials at the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the electrified rail pierced the car “behind and below the driver’s seat” and then plowed into the train. The rail cut up into 80-ft. pieces, at least one of which ripped through a second rail car, the New York Times reported.

Investigators are looking at why a car was on the tracks, why so many passengers died, and whether warning signals did not go off. Officials plan to scrutinize crossing arms and rail traffic and highway signals to analyze if warning alarms malfunctioned.

NTSB official Robert L. Sumwalt said that a complete investigation would take approximately a year, but examining the scene would be done within a week.

[NYT]

TIME Crime

News Corp. Will Not Be Prosecuted in U.S. Over Graft Allegations

Rupert Murdoch, Executive Chairman News Corp and Chairman and CEO 21st Century Fox speaks at the WSJD Live conference in Laguna Beach
Lucy Nicholson—Reuters Rupert Murdoch, Executive Chairman News Corp and Chairman and CEO 21st Century Fox speaks at the WSJD Live conference in Laguna Beach, California October 29, 2014.

The media giant has been at the center of a phone-hacking scandal in the U.K.

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. will not be prosecuted in the U.S. over allegations of corruption.

Officials were investigating whether News Corp., a U.S. company that controls entities such as the Wall Street Journal and Fox News, broke anti-bribery laws over alleged payments to British police by journalists, the BBC reports.

The U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement Monday that it was ending its “investigation into News Corp. regarding possible violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act concerning bribes allegedly paid for news leads.”

The media giant has been embroiled in a hacking scandal in the U.K., which caused its Sunday tabloid the News of the World to cease operations in 2011.

Several of the paper’s journalists have been prosecuted in the U.K. over the tapping of phones of public and private figures and illicit payments to officials.

If new information comes to light, the Department of Justice says it can reopen the inquiry.

[BBC]

TIME Canada

Nine People Have Been Found Dead in a Mass Murder in Canada

Edmonton Deaths
Jason Franson—AP Police investigate the scene where multiple deaths occurred overnight in Edmonton, Alberta, Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2014.

Police are calling it an act of domestic violence

The bodies of nine people, including two children, have been found at three separate crime scenes in the Canadian city of Edmonton, Alberta in what police are calling a “mass murder.”

Seven bodies — including three women, two men and two young children — were found in the same house, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The body of a middle-aged woman was found at another residence in the city.

The suspect’s body was found in a restaurant in Fort Saskatchewan. He is believed to have killed himself.

Edmonton’s police chief Rod Knecht said the killings were related and that there was no risk to the general public.

[L.A. Times]

TIME Crime

Florida Cops Suspected of Deleting Internal Files Won’t Face Charges

Policeman
Luiz Felipe Castro—Getty Images

Accused of deleting computer records for officers who were under investigation by Internal Affairs

Two Florida cops suspected of deleting internal police department reports involving themselves or their friends won’t face criminal charges.

Hollywood Assistant Police Chief Ken Haberland and Maj. Norris Redding were accused of deleting computer records for officers who were under investigation by the police department’s Internal Affairs division, the Florida Sun Sentinel reports.

The records, deleted in December 2010 and January 2011, were meant to be kept public in accordance with state law. The officers apparently only deleted the electronic records but failed to get rid of the physical copies.

The two officers have admitted to violating state law and will have to pay a $500 civil fine, as well as to the Broward State Attorney’s Office for the investigation into their actions.

The two officers, initially relieved of duty with pay, won’t return to the Hollywood police department until an internal investigation is completed.

[Sun Sentinel]

TIME Crime

Justice Department Finds Cleveland Police Guilty of Excessive Use of Force

U.S. Acting Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta for the Civil Rights Division, right, makes a statement during a news conference on Dec. 4, 2014, in Cleveland.
Tony Dejak—AP U.S. Acting Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta for the Civil Rights Division, right, makes a statement during a news conference on Dec. 4, 2014, in Cleveland.

Investigation found that officers excessively used deadly force, unnecessarily used Tasers and chemical sprays, and used unwarranted force against mentally ill people

The U.S. Department of Justice has told the Cleveland police department to conduct an internal shake-up after a federal probe found its officers systematically and routinely used excessive and unreasonable force.

A 21-month-long investigation into the practices of the Cleveland Division of Police concluded Thursday that officers excessively use deadly force, unnecessarily utilize tools like Tasers and chemical sprays, and use unwarranted force against people who are mentally ill.

The report is a damning portrayal of a department that has been criticized by the American Civil Liberties Union and others within Cleveland for years over its conduct.

(MORE: Attorney General Eric Holder Plans ‘Institute of Justice’ to Address Protest Concerns)

The federal government began investigating the department in March 2013 after the officer-related shooting deaths of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams following a high-speed car chase. On Nov. 29, 2012, more than 100 Cleveland police officers were involved in trying to apprehend Russell and Williams, both of whom were black and unarmed. Officers eventually fired 137 shots at the car. Almost all of the officers who fired were white.

The department has come under scrutiny again in recent days after a black 12-year-old boy, Tamir Rice, was shot dead on Nov. 22 by a white police officer in a Cleveland park, who apparently mistook a toy pellet gun for a real firearm.

Cleveland police have agreed to an independent monitor who will oversee a series of reforms within the department.

TIME Israel

The ICC Won’t Prosecute Israel for Its Deadly 2010 Gaza Flotilla Raid

Netherlands International Court Israel
Associated Press This May 22, 2010 photo provided by the Cyprus-based Free Gaza Movement shows one of the human rights group's ships, the Mavi Marmara, as it sets sail from Turkey carrying aid and hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists to the blockaded Gaza Strip.

"An investigation into this incident would not be of ‘sufficient gravity’ to justify further action"

The International Criminal Court (ICC) will not prosecute Israel for its raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla in 2010 that killed nine Turkish activists.

ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said there was a “reasonable basis to believe war crimes … were committed,” but she would not pursue an investigation because the case was not of “sufficient gravity.”

“I have concluded that the potential case(s) likely arising from an investigation into this incident would not be of ‘sufficient gravity’ to justify further action by the ICC,” Bensouda said in a statement.

The nine activists were killed when Israeli forces boarded the largest of the six participating ships, the Mavi Marmara, as it tried to breach an Israeli blockade.

The flotilla’s stated aim was to deliver humanitarian aid to Palestine.

Israel said the complaint was “politically motivated;” lawyers who brought the case say they plan to launch an appeal.

TIME Military

Bowe Bergdahl Questioning on Disappearance Set to Begin

Bergdahl Being Treated At U.S. Military Hospital In Germany
U.S. Army—Getty Images UNDATED - In this undated image provided by the U.S. Army, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl poses in front of an American flag. U.S. officials say Bergdahl, the only American soldier held prisoner in Afghanistan, was exchanged for five Taliban commanders being held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, according to published reports. Bergdahl is in stable condition at a Berlin hospital, according to the reports. (Photo by U.S. Army via Getty Images)

Army investigators are expected to probe allegations of desertion from Wednesday

Army investigators will begin questioning Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl on Wednesday about the circumstances leading up to his disappearance from an Afghanistan observation post and eventual capture by Taliban militants in 2009.

Bergdahl’s attorney, Eugene Fidell, told NBC News that Bergdahl will report to Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Tex., where he will face questioning about his motivations to leave his encampment, which led to five years of captivity at the hands of Taliban militants.

The Obama administration negotiated Bergdahl’s release in May in exchange for five senior Taliban prisoners. Some soldiers that served with Bergdahl in Afghanistan, including his former squad leader, have accused Bergdahl of deliberately abandoning his post. Investigators will determine whether the allegations are substantial enough to file charges of desertion.

Fidell, in a previous interview with TIME, cast doubt on the assertion that Bergdahl left his post with the intention of staying away, and even then, would not necessarily face charges of desertion. “It’s utterly discretionary as a matter of clemency, a matter of judgment, and indeed even as a matter of politics,” he said.

[NBC News]

TIME Civil Rights

Report: Teenage Inmates at Rikers Island Face Institutionalized Brutality

Barbed wire fences surround a building on Rikers Island Correctional Facility in New York on Dec. 24, 2013.
Lucas Jackson—Reuters Barbed wire fences surround a building on Rikers Island Correctional Facility in New York on Dec. 24, 2013.

Correctional officers at New York City's Department of Correction use excessive brute force on teenage inmates, many of whom have mental illnesses, according to report

A report released by the federal government on Monday accused the New York City Department of Correction of failing to protect adolescents, citing a two-and-a-half-year Justice Department investigation that revealed correctional officers at three Rikers Island juvenile jails inflicted brutal force on male inmates between 16-18 years old.

The 79-page-report by the U.S. attorney in Manhattan, Preet Bharara, found that between 2011-2013 officers used excessive violence to punish inmates. In October 2012, 44% of the male teenage population had been subjected to brute force at least once. The report also found that correctional officers lacked accountability for their extreme use of force. When investigations were conducted, they were customarily untimely and incomplete. A “powerful code of silence” between staff allowed egregious offenses to go by unpunished, the Justice Department found.

One inmate said that he was heavily beaten by four officers in the hallway for cursing in the middle of a class, according to the report. A teacher told investigators that he could hear the inmate “crying and screaming for his mother” during the altercation, but failed to report the incident to avoid conflict with fellow staff members.

The findings also revealed that the most inexperienced officers were assigned to deal with inmates who had behavioral disorders and mental illnesses. Last year, over half of the 489 teenage inmates reportedly had mental illnesses. Many were sent to solitary confinement as a punitive measure, with inmates being kept by themselves from 23 hours to several months, the New York Times reports.

The report presented to Mayor Bill de Blasio and two other officials concluded, “a culture of excessive force persists, where correction officers physically abuse adolescent inmates with the expectation that they will face little or no consequences for their unlawful conduct.”

Federal attorneys offered a list of corrections to be made at Rikers, including compulsory reporting of use of force and more thorough training for all staff.

Joseph Ponte, New York City’s new correction commissioner, said in a statement that he would work to improve safety for the teenage inmates, adding that he was committed to redrafting the use of force policy to “bring it into the 21st century,” Huffington Post reported.

TIME Crime

Shooter Kills 1 at Pennsylvania Hospital

Hospital Shooting
AP Investigators work the scene of a shooting Thursday, July 24, at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, Pa.

The suspect is in custody and injured.

A shooter opened fire in the psychiatric unit of Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, Pennsylvania on Thursday, killing one female employee and injuring a doctor, authorities said.

The suspected shooter was also shot and is in critical condition, Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan said in a press conference Thursday afternoon. Whelan said the suspects’ injuries were not believed to be self-inflicted, but it’s still unclear who shot him.

Whelan added that the shooter had “psychiatric issues,” though police are still investigating the motive for the attack.

Mercy-Fitzgerald Hospital, a teaching hospital, is part of a regional Catholic healthcare network, Mercy Health System. It’s located several miles south of downtown Philadelphia.

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