TIME Law

Illinois Woman Files Trademark Application for ‘I Can’t Breathe’

The woman is not related to Eric Garner

An Illinois woman has filed an application to trademark Eric Garner’s dying words, “I can’t breathe” for use on hoodies and T-shirts.

Catherine Crump, 57, applied last Saturday for legal registration of the phrase that has become a rallying cry at protests across the country and has even been printed on t-shirts worn by celebrities like LeBron James.

Garner, an unarmed black man, died after being aggressively subdued by police officers in July. Video footage of his death shows Garner saying, “I can’t breathe” as a policeman grips him in an apparent chokehold. The words became a symbol of protests that began when a grand jury decided not to indict the police officer who tackled Garner. The officer, Daniel Pantaleo, has denied the move was a chokehold.

In her trademark application, Crump says she has been using the phrase commercially since August 18, one month after Eric Garner’s death. She told the Smoking Gun that she had not consulted with Eric Garner’s family before filing for the trademark but that she is not seeking to profit use of the phrase.

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TIME weather

Christmas Eve Storm to Bring Chaos to East Coast, Midwest

Some regions can expect a white Christmas, but most will get rain

The weather outside really is going to be frightful this Christmas.

A major storm is predicted to hit the East Coast and Midwest beginning Dec. 23 and building to a climax on Christmas Eve. While snow may accumulate from Wisconsin to Western Pennsylvania, regions to the east can expect heavy rain and thunderstorms.

Strong winds will bring turbulent flying conditions and treacherous driving conditions along the Interstate-95 corridor. AccuWeather recommends bringing forward Christmas travel to Monday or Tuesday to avoid getting stuck on the road or in an airport.

But if you’ve no place to go… you’ll probably be alright.

[AccuWeather]

TIME technology

Most American Kids Are Now Growing Up In a Home Without a Landline

The domination of mobile technology continues

Bad news for Luddites and nostalgics: for the first time ever, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that the majority of American children live in homes without landlines.

According to the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), 52.1 percent of all children — more than 38 million children — were living in a home with only cell phones, which is a five percentage point increase from the second half of 2013, reports Market Watch. Around 103 million adults — or 43.1 percent — had only wireless phones in their homes.

The decline in landlines could also spell trouble for the CDC. The survey was conducted because the NHIS tracks how many households are using cell phones and how many are using landlines, in order to determine how the CDC carries out its telephone surveys. According to the co-author of the report, Stephen Blumberg, associate director for science in the division of health interview statistics at the National Center for Health Statistics, mobile phones present a challenge when conducting surveys by telephone. Blumberg noted that mobile numbers cannot be electronically dialed, unlike landlines, which increases the “manpower” needed to conduct surveys. What’s more, cell phone numbers are not registered and it’s nearly impossible to determine which individual owns which number.

[Market Watch]

TIME Veterans

Army Says Captains Can Now Retire With Full Benefits

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel Travels To Mideast
U.S. troops listen to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel speak during a visit to Baghdad International Airport on Dec. 9, 2014, in Baghdad Mark Wilson—Getty Images

The officers were initially forced to retire with the benefits associated with sergeants

A change in U.S. Army policy this week means that captains being forced into retirement will be granted the full benefits associated with their ranks, instead of retiring with the benefits granted to sergeants as they initially would have had to.

Lawmakers who advocated for the added benefits said the policy change would give 120 soldiers an additional $1 million each over their lifetimes, the New York Times reported.

Since the officers served as captains for less than the required eight years for full benefits, they had been told they would be given benefits consummate with their previous enlisted rank.

“We fought and sacrificed and did well,” said Captain Tawanna Jamison, who is based at Fort Bragg, N.C. “This change restores honor and treats us right.”

The Army also notified 44 officers less than two years away from reaching the 20-year tenure required to receive full benefits that they would be allowed to keep their jobs instead of being forced to retire.

[NYT]

TIME Transportation

Uber Stops Its Operations in Portland for at Least Three Months

Uber At $40 Billion Valuation Would Eclipse Twitter And Hertz
The Uber Technologies Inc. logo is displayed on the window of a vehicle after dropping off a passenger at Ronald Reagan National Airport (DCA) in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014. Andrew Harrer—Bloomberg/Getty Images

Under a deal, Portland will legalize ride-sharing by Apr. 9, otherwise Uber can begin operating again

Portlanders won’t be able to call an Uber car for the next three and a half months while the city makes changes to its regulations. The ridesharing app arrived illegally in the Oregon city two weeks ago but has agreed to suspend its services until the city alters its laws.

Under their agreement with the city, if the changes are not in place by April 9, 2015, Uber can begin operating again, according to a post on the company’s site.

“Uber is dedicated to curating and continuing a valuable and constructive relationship with Portland’s lawmakers, working to create a regulatory framework that works for everyone,” the company said in the statement.

Portland filed a lawsuit and cease-and-desist order against Uber when it launched earlier this month. Before the suit had been filed, the city threatened fines of $1,500 against Uber, and up to $2,250 for the driver, each time a fare was picked up. With more than 10,000 rides being delivered in Portland during the weeks it functioned, according to the company, breaking the law was looking like a costly option.

Portland’s Mayor Charlie Hales said in a statement that he had created a new task force that would decide on regulations for accessibility, pricing, background checks on drivers, insurance requirements and other concerns.

TIME Crime

Investigators Say Arsonists Responsible for Massive L.A. Fire

The damage was estimated to be worth tens of millions of dollars

Federal investigators believe a fire that took down an entire apartment complex in downtown Los Angeles last week was set on purpose.

It took 250 firefighters an hour and a half to put out the blaze at the Da Vinci apartment complex after responding to an initial call at 1:09 a.m. on Dec. 10.

Local authorities will likely launch an arson investigation, the Los Angeles Times reports. Authorities say they are searching for two unidentified witnesses who were on the scene at the Da Vinci apartment complex, where the fire took 250 firefighters an hour and a half to put out. A surveillance video caught one man walking down the street near the building before the fire began, and the other was seen on news footage trying to get through a construction fence and move toward the building once the fire was burning.

Investigators said they determined that arson was likely given how quickly the complex burned. The fire consumed half the building before the firefighters arrived, despite the fact that the fire station was just a few hundred yards away, and the damage was estimated to be worth tens of millions of dollars.

[Los Angeles Times]

TIME Law

Nebraska and Oklahoma Are Trying to Kill Colorado’s Buzz

By suing over Colorado's legalization of marijuana

Two neighbors of Colorado filed suit against the state on Thursday, claiming its legalization of marijuana has pushed some of the drug over state lines and asking the Supreme Court to strike the law down.

Attorneys general in Nebraska and Oklahoma allege that Colorado’s legalization violates the Supremacy clause of the constitution, which specifies that federal law takes precedence over state law. “Marijuana flows from this gap into neighboring states, undermining Plaintiff States’ own marijuana bans, draining their treasuries, and placing stress on their criminal justice systems,” the suit alleges, according to the Denver Post.

Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning said at a news conference that pot from Colorado has been turning up at Nebraska’s border, which has led to an increase in arrest and prosecutions. “Nebraska taxpayers have to bear the cost,” Bruning said, according to the Omaha World-Herald, adding that “federal law undisputedly prohibits the production and sale of marijuana.”

Kevin A. Sabet, President of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, a bipartisan organization made up of mental and public health professionals, supports the lawsuit. “We support this action by the attorneys general of Oklahoma and Nebraska because Colorado’s decisions regarding marijuana are not without consequences to neighboring states, and indeed all Americans,” Sabet said said. “The legalization of marijuana is clearly in violation of the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and is not implemented in a vacuum.” Smart Approaches to Marijuana, or SAM, seeks a “middle road between incarceration and legalization” in dealing with pot offenses.

Colorado Attorney General John W. Suthers said in a statement that he plans to defend the state’s marijuana laws in court. “It appears the plaintiffs’ primary grievance stems from non-enforcement of federal laws regarding marijuana, as opposed to choices made by the voters of Colorado,” he said. “We believe this suit is without merit and we will vigorously defend against it in the U.S. Supreme Court.”

TIME Crime

NYC Rapper Pleads Not Guilty to Gun, Drug Charges

RB/Bauer-Griffin

(NEW YORK) — An up-and-coming rapper pleaded not guilty on Thursday to charges he moonlighted as a gun-toting member of a New York City street gang responsible for several shootings during turf wars over drug trafficking.

Ackquille Pollard, who performs under the name Bobby Shmurda, was ordered held on $2 million bail at a hearing in state Supreme Court in Manhattan. His attorney, Howard Greenberg, failed to convince a judge that his client should be released without bail because he was framed and had no reason to run.

“He is a legitimate entertainer,” Greenberg said. “He is rich. He is busy. He is always on tour.”

The Brooklyn-born Pollard is best known for the hit song “Hot Boy.” He also put out a music video that popularized a dance craze called the “Shmoney dance,” and reportedly signed a lucrative record deal with Epic Records.

Greenberg claimed Epic had agreed to help Pollard make bail. A spokesman for the label declined to comment.

Police arrested Pollard on conspiracy, reckless endangerment and gun possession on Wednesday after he left a recording studio near Radio City Music Hall. Police found two handguns and a small amount of crack cocaine in a car in which he was riding, authorities said.

An indictment naming Pollard charges more than 15 defendants with a variety of crimes including murder, attempted murder, assault and drug dealing. The gang’s gun play left one rival dead, injured an innocent bystander sitting on folding chair outside a Brooklyn home and caused pandemonium outside a nightclub in Miami Beach, Florida, authorities said.

Police seized 21 guns during the investigation, 10 of them while making arrests on Wednesday.

The case carries some “deeply disturbing themes: The gang members’ enthrallment with guns, and a cavalier disregard for human life,” Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan said at a news conference.

The hip-hop artist’s songs and videos were “almost like a real-life document of what they were doing on the street,” added James Essig, head of a New York Police Department unit that made the arrests.

The court papers allege that Pollard fired a gun toward a crowd of people outside a barbershop in Brooklyn earlier this year. They also say he was present last year during a confrontation between rival drug gangs outside a Brooklyn courthouse where shots were fired.

The evidence includes several recorded phone conversations, including some between Pollard and gang members serving time on Rikers Island, the indictment says. The gang used code words, referring to firearms as “tone,” ”socks” or “CDs,” narcotics as “crills,” and shootings as “sun tans,” it says.

During a conversation on April 28, Pollard bragged, “I am two socks Bobby right now,” the indictment says. Another defendant commented, “Bobby out here with two CDs on him like in the wild wild west or something.”

A “Hot Boy” video posted on YouTube in August has been viewed tens of millions of times, and Pollard performed the song for a national television audience this month on “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”

“My music is straight facts,” Pollard recently told New York Magazine. “There are a lot of gangsters in my ‘hood.”

Pollard’s criminal history included two arrests for gun and drug possession, authorities said. If convicted of conspiracy, he faces a maximum sentence of 8 to 25 years in prison.

___

Associated Press writer Colleen Long contributed to this report.

TIME Courts

Lawsuits Claim SXSW Organizers Negligent in Deadly Crash

Barricades stand near the scene of a deadly car accident at the South by Southwest Music, Film and Interactive Festival on March 13, 2014 in Austin.
Barricades stand near the scene of a deadly car accident at the South by Southwest Music, Film and Interactive Festival on March 13, 2014 in Austin. Michael Loccisano—Getty Images

4 killed, 20 injured as driver fled police in March

The first wave of lawsuits stemming from a March accident in Austin, Texas, when a driver fleeing police killed four people and injured 20 others, claim that the organizers of a music festival in the city were negligent.

All of the lawsuits, filed by eight victims who include the families of three who died from injuries, name the festival organizers, driver and a local engineering company that conceived South by Southwest’s traffic management plan as responsible parties, the Austin American-Statesman reports. The suits, which seek unspecified damages, allege that organizers should have considered the event might put pedestrians in danger as the city is known for a culture, of sorts, of public celebration.

The driver, Rashad Owens, was fleeing police March 13 when he crashed through a traffic barrier at a high speed and ran over pedestrians. Owens has already been charged with multiple counts of murder and aggravated assault.

[Austin American-Statesman]

TIME Sports

Road Racing Champion Receives 4-Year Doping Ban

Mo Trafeh will have to forfeit three of his U.S. championships

(COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.) — Road racing champion Mo Trafeh has received a four-year doping ban for using EPO and will have to forfeit three of his U.S. championships.

The Moroccan-born U.S. citizen announced his retirement earlier this year, saying he had purchased blood-boosting EPO but had never used it.

An investigation by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency concluded Trafeh had used the drug and had also evaded sample collectors. An independent arbitrator upheld the USADA ruling, meaning Trafeh will give up his 2012 national title and his 2013 titles in the half marathon and 25K.

The arbitrators called for the start of the four-year suspension to date retroactively, to January 2012. USADA is considering an appeal to make the official start date Dec. 2, 2014 — the day the arbitration panel issued the decision.

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