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Trump: Hellbent Democrats to Eliminate ‘ God-given self-defense rights ‘



Trump: Hellbent Democrats to Eliminate ' God-given self-defense rights '

President Trump slammed “radical” Democrats for attempting to remove weapons from law-abiding Americans.

During his rally in New Mexico on September 16, 2019, Trump warned of hellbent “radical left democrats” pushing laws, greater taxes, and free speech limitations.

He also advised that “Left Democrats want to confiscate your weapons and eliminate your God-given right to self-defense.” “As your president, I will never allow them to take away your freedom, your dignity,… and I will never, ever, enable them to take away your sacred right to bear weapons,” added Trump.

Reports from Breitbart News reported Trump’s warning on September 15, 2019 that Democrats want weapons to be “confiscated.”

CBS News quoted Trump as stating, “Democrats want to confiscate weapons from law-abiding Americans.” He added that any Democrat achievement in the confiscatory push means law-abiding people will be “completely defenseless when someone goes home with a gun.” On September 12, 2019, Breitbart News quoted Democrat presidential candidate Robert “Beto” O’Rourke as stating, “Hell yes, we’re going to bring yo with us.

Rajesh is a freelancer with a background in e-commerce marketing. Having spent her career in startups, He specializes in strategizing and executing marketing campaigns.

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Saints top Iowa, take 2-1 series lead



Saints top Iowa, take 2-1 series lead

The Saints had to feel good about their chances entering Friday’s game against the Iowa Cubs at CHS Field.

Starting pitcher Charlie Barnes began the night with a 3-0 record against the Cubs this season, to go with a 2.11 earned-run average.

The everyday presence of infielder Jose Miranda, one of the premier hitters in minor-league baseball, tends to promote confidence, too.

Neither disappointed.

Barnes limited the Cubs to one run over four innings, and Miranda hit a three-run home run as the Saints beat the Cubs, 3-1 to take a 2-1 lead in their five-game Final Stretch series.

The third star of the game goes to Saints reliever Beau Burrows, who shut out the Cubs over the final five innings to earn the victory.

Interestingly, Major League Baseball has decided to use pre-tacked baseball’s in the select Triple-A games during the Final Stretch, and a source confirmed that Cubs pitchers used the balls on Thursday and Saints pitchers used them on Friday.

Pre-tacking, which improves the grip, is seen as a way to deter pitchers from using illegal substances. If the results are positive, MLB could introduce the ball next season.

In Barnes’ case, the type of ball didn’t seem to matter.

“He’s been good for us all year,” said Saints manager Toby Gardenhire. “I feel good about him going up against everybody.”

Barnes was lifted after four innings due to a pitch count. Burrows made sure the decision didn’t come back to haunt the Saints.

“He was great tonight,” Gardenhire said. “That was about as good as I’ve seen him throw. He was throwing strikes the whole time, attacking people. And for him to go out there and finish it like he did, that’s hard to do.

“Usually I’d get somebody else in there to close the game out, somebody (the opponent) hasn’t seen yet. But the way Burrows was throwing, we were like, ‘Let him roll, let him finish it.’ ”

The Saints trailed 1-0 when Drew Maggi led off the bottom of the third with a double to center field. Sherman Johnson then walked, and one out later Miranda delivered his 16th homer of the season.

This season will be remembered for it being the first for the Saints as the Twins’ Triple-A affiliate, but also for the outstanding season that Miranda has put together. His .338 batting average is the best in the Triple-A East. Since being promoted from Double-A Wichita on June 29, he leads all of baseball with 105 hits.

“It’s been a heck of a year,” Gardenhire said. “It’s not over yet, but he’s done some impressive things this year.”

And when it comes to debuts, not many can top Miranda’s first game in St. Paul. He went 5 for 6 with three home runs, including a grand slam, and six runs batted in.

Gardenhire managed him in the lower minors, and was pleasantly how Miranda had grown as a hitter. when he arrived in St. Paul. The “new” Miranda has carried through to the end of the season.

“He is laying off the tough pitches; he seems to know the strike zone better,” Gardenhire said. “He knows what pitchers are trying to do to him and he counters it. That’s what good hitters do.”

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High school football: Simley goes to the ground late to beat South St. Paul



High school football roundup: Brakes’ late touchdown leads White Bear Lake past Mounds View

Traditionally, it has been South St. Paul breaking its opponent’s spirit with long, physical drives that drain both time and energy to seal games late.

On Friday night, Simley returned the favor.

Leading 20-14 early in the fourth quarter, the Spartans took over in their own territory after the Packers turned the ball over on downs.

Simley’s offense — which usually featured a heavy dose of passes — proceeded to largely keep the ball on the ground, feeding Gavin Nelson and Landon DuVal with one carry after another. DuVal ended the drive with a 9-yard rushing score — his second of the game — to put Simley up  two scores with 4 minutes, 41 seconds to play, all-but sealing the Spartans’ 26-14 homecoming victory over their South Metro rivals.

“We just ran it down their throat,” Simley senior left tackle Justin Faherty said. “It’s teamwork. We were the bigger team, and we were the better team. It’s a different culture at Simley now. We’re not losing to them.”

Drives like that, Faherty said, “make me so happy.” They aren’t frequent for the Spartans. Simley head coach Chris Mensen noted he’s a run-first guy, but it can be difficult to avoid the temptation of going to the air when you get behind the sticks.

“I give (my coaches) all the props, because they said, ‘Coach, we’ve been grinding. Keep running,’ ” Mensen said. “We trust each other, so that’s kind of what we did. Our O-line, I’ve got to give it up to those guys, too. They’ve had a great last couple games.”

Alonzo Dodd got the scoring started Friday with a breakaway 70-yard rushing score to put the Packers (1-3) up 7-0. But that accounted for half of the Packers’ scoring production, and the Spartans’ defense eventually put the clamps down.

Mensen said that unit has been playing “lights out.”

“What they’ve been doing is trusting the system,” he said. “We’ve got a good game plan week after week. They trust it, they do their jobs and they know that, if they do that, we should be able to have some success.”

Simley responded to the early deficit with a pair of its own rushing scores — one by running back Landan DuVal, the other from quarterback Caden Renslow — to take a 14-7 lead into the half. Simley rushed for 126 yards as a team.

It was a balanced night for the Spartans, with receiver Latayvion McCoy also tallying 123 yards receiving.

South St. Paul re-knotted the game at 14-14 midway through the third quarter with a drive that featured nothing but runs — Packers old-school football at its finest — capped by an 8-yard touchdown run from Dodd. Dodd finished with 102 yards rushing and a pair of scores. When South St. Paul got into long-yardage situations, Dodd would split out and serve as the team’s top receiving threat.

“He’s pretty versatile. He can do a lot of things,” Packers coach Manuel Spreigl said. “Really, it’s a matter of what he can handle, and he’s got a really competitive spirit, and he’s one helluva teammate for everybody. I really admire that. He works really hard.”

On defense, Dodd tallied an interception late in the first half that looked like it was going to set the Packers up with possession in Simley territory. But he fumbled on the ensuing return, and the Spartans recovered to regain possession. It was those types of mistakes that Spreigl said hampered the Packers all night.

“We had miscues and things that we didn’t take care of,” Spreigl said. “No disrespect, but we’re a more complete football team than they are, but they took care of details.”

Another example of that came in the third quarter, with the game tied at 14-14. South St. Paul’s defense was set to get off the field and get the ball back to its offense. But a roughing the passer penalty on third-and-long extended Simley’s drive. On the next play, Renslow hit McCoy for a 52-yard scoring strike to put the Spartans on top for good.

Spreigl told his team Friday was “rock bottom,” but the Packers look forward to a potential return trip to Simley later in the season for a postseason rematch.

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Bailey Ober, Twins spoil homecoming for José Berríos



Bailey Ober, Twins spoil homecoming for José Berríos

José Berríos’ homecoming started with a tribute on the videoboard and a large ovation from the Target Field crowd on Thursday. It’ll conclude with catered food for himself and his teammates on Sunday from a favorite local restaurant.

But amid a nice welcome back to the Twin Cities, Berríos’ former teammates denied him what he was looking for on Friday night: a win.

He can thank rookie Bailey Ober in large part for that. Ober threw 5 1/3 innings of one-run ball in the Twins’ 3-1 win over the Blue Jays on Friday night at Target Field, sending the former Twins ace to the loss despite his own quality start.

“It’s pretty awesome to pitch on the same day as him when we were teammates just a couple months ago,” Ober said. “It’s pretty special going against a guy like that with his character and his stuff, his baseball IQ. It was an honor to go against him.”

While Berríos is an important part of the Twins’ recent past, Ober figures to be an important part of their near future, and Friday’s outing was another example why.

Ober held a potent Blue Jays offense — one which he faced just last weekend — to just four hits. The one run Toronto (85-69) scored came in the sixth on Marcus Semien’s 42nd home run of the season. Semien was the last batter Ober faced before the Twins (69-85) turned it over to the bullpen, which did not allow a hit the remainder of the game.

A stingy effort by relievers Jorge Alcala, Juan Minaya, Tyler Duffey and Alexander Colomé helped the Twins to their fourth straight victory.

“It’s hard to put into words just how dangerous this lineup is that we’re facing,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “In a heartbeat, the game can go from having a lead to being well behind if you do not go out there and execute a good, well-thought-out plan and make good pitches, but our guys made good pitches from beginning to end. There were very few mistakes.”

There were few mistakes on Berrios’ end, but there were just enough for the Twins to capitalize on.

Berrios walked Andrelton Simmons to lead off the sixth inning. Luis Arraez followed, tripling him home for the first run of the game. And then, Berríos’ longtime teammate Byron Buxton — both were drafted in 2012 — hit a two-run home run that disappeared over the center-field wall to give the Twins a three-run lead.

“I felt really good tonight. Obviously in that third inning, I walked a guy. That’s our enemy always, when you walk some guy,” Berríos said. “No matter how, they’re going to score, so that’s what happen. And then that homer, I left a pitch right in the middle with Buck, but other than that, I feel good how I throw the ball … tonight.”

While Berríos said it felt different pitching at Target Field against the Twins — he beat the Twins on Sunday at Rogers Centre — he said it was “amazing” competing against the team that gave him an opportunity to be a big leaguer.

Well, amazing besides the loss.

Though Berríos finished out six strong innings, striking out 10, that three-run inning was just enough to spoil the on-field part of Berrios’ homecoming.

“José took the ball on their end. He was very sharp. His stuff was electric. He pitched very, very well,” Baldelli said. “Our guys just pitched better today, and that’s really all it came down to.”

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Man killed, another critically injured in shooting in St. Paul’s Payne-Phalen neighborhood



Man killed, another critically injured in shooting in St. Paul’s Payne-Phalen neighborhood

A shooting in St. Paul killed a man and critically injured another, police said Friday night.

Officers responded to multiple 911 calls in the Payne-Phalen area just before 7 p.m. and found a man who had an apparent gunshot wound and was unresponsive.

The man was in the hallway of an apartment building on Westminster Street north of Maryland Avenue. Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene.

Soon after, police found out that someone dropped another man off at Regions Hospital. He was in surgery with life-threatening injuries from the shooting as of Friday night, according to police.

No one was immediately under arrest and police asked anyone with information to call them at 651-266-5650.

“We have more questions than we have answers right now, and it’s really in the early stages of this investigation,” however investigators don’t believe it was a random act, said Sgt. Natalie Davis, a police spokeswoman.

The homicide was the 29th of the year in St. Paul. It came on the heels of a fatal shooting in the city on Thursday afternoon and a quadruple homicide on Sept. 12. There were 34 homicides in St. Paul last year, which matched the record that was set in the city in 1992.

“We’ve lost six human lives in less than two weeks in our city,” said Davis, who said she can’t imagine the sorrow their families are feeling. She said the only reassurance she can offer is that homicide investigators will work “around the clock … to bring justice.” Charges have been filed in the killing of the four people this month, and Thursday’s homicide.

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Justin Morneau ready for Twins Hall of Fame induction



Justin Morneau ready for Twins Hall of Fame induction

Justin Morneau came to Minnesota as a teenager — 14 or 15 — for a hockey tournament. He stayed at the University of Minnesota and, with his time off, he attended a Twins game at the Metrodome, sitting in left field.

At the time, he still thought he was going to be a hockey player. He could never have imagined then that he would one day play for the Twins, much less that he would one day be inducted into the team’s hall of fame.

But here he is, at age 40, about to experience just that. The ceremony will be held ahead of Saturday night’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Target Field after COVID-19 postponed it for more than a year.

“This is a franchise with a long, proud history and great players, lots of numbers retired up on the wall, lots of National Baseball Hall of Famers,” Morneau said. “To be in a Hall of Fame that includes Rod Carew and Bert Blyleven, Harmon Killebrew, Kirby Puckett — if you go down the list of the greatest Twins in history, to be amongst them is a very special, humbling honor.”

Morneau will have plenty of friends and family in attendance when he becomes the 34th person ever to be inducted into the Twins Hall of Fame. He saw his father for the first time in nearly two years on Friday, enjoying a golf outing with him. His mother, who had only been in town once in the last year and a half, will also be on hand.

He’s excited for his five kids, especially the younger ones who don’t remember his playing days, to have a chance to see him on the field again. And he’s looking forward to sharing it all with friends, former teammates and mentors from throughout his life and playing career.

“They said that I invited more former players and the longest guest list they’ve ever had for this thing,” Morneau said. “I figured about half the people would say yes and show up. I guess a lot more people are more bored than that. … It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to share a  moment like this in a stadium full of people.”

Twins starting pitcher Michael Pineda is one of just 32 pitchers who can boast that they faced both Vladimir Guerrero and his son, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. It’s a fact that says more about a pitcher’s longevity than anything.

Guerrero retired after the 2011 season — and has since been inducted into the Hall of Fame — and Guerrero Jr., the Blue Jays’ star, debuted in 2019 and is an American League Most Valuable Player candidate.

“I faced the Vladdy Daddy and the Vladdy Junior. This, for me, is a great thing in my career and in my life,” Pineda said. “It’s a great moment when facing Vladdy Junior, with the numbers he has this season. This is, for me, wow. I enjoy the moment.”

So, which Vlad is harder to face? For most pitchers, Pineda included, both are a challenge.

Vlad Sr. finished his career 2 for 3 against Pineda.  Vlad Jr. is 2 for 5 against Pineda with a home run, as well as a walk.


Manager Rocco Baldelli said rookie starter Joe Ryan has left the team to fly back to California to deal with a family-related matter. The Twins will be placing him on the family medical/bereavement list, which he must stay on for a minimum of three days. … In the corresponding move, the Twins plan to activate John Gant (abdominal strain) from the injured list on Saturday. He will start Saturday night against the Blue Jays. … Max Kepler was out of the starting lineup with a non-COVID-related illness after being removed early from Thursday night’s game for the same reason. Baldelli said it’s possible Kepler might not start on Saturday, either, as the Twins give him time to recuperate.

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As his Seahawks prepare for game in Minnesota, Pete Carroll recalls ‘important’ years as a Vikings assistant



As his Seahawks prepare for game in Minnesota, Pete Carroll recalls ‘important’ years as a Vikings assistant

In early 1985, Pete Carroll had just been let go as a Buffalo Bills assistant after one year in the NFL. At age 33, he was worried about his future.

That’s when Carroll got a call from Bud Grant, the legendary Vikings coach who was returning to the sideline after a one-year try at retirement. He hired Carroll as a defensive backs coach.

“Bud found me,” Carroll said Friday. “I don’t know how he did it. I had gotten fired after my first year in the league, which has always been kind of the curse that you’ll never get back once you’re in and bounced out. But I was like the last guy in the league hired late in the spring, and so it meant the world to me. … It was something I really cherish.”

The move turned out well for all involved. Carroll was a Vikings assistant from 1985-90, spending his final five years under Jerry Burns after Grant decided to retire for good after the 1985 season. Carroll went on to become a head coach with the New York Jets, the New England Patriots and USC and is now with Seattle Seahawks.

On Sunday, Carroll, who won Super Bowl XLVIII with the Seahawks after the 2013 season and took them to Super Bowl XLIX the next season, will be back in Minnesota. The Seahawks will face the Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium, and memories figure to be flowing for Carroll on how his experiences in the Twin Cities helped shaped him as a coach.

“Those years were really important because I’d only had one year prior to that in the NFL, and so I was so fortunate to wind up with that staff and guys that had been around the league forever,” said Carroll, who turned 70 on Sept. 15. “I was one of the young pups on the staff and those guys kind of looked after me. … It was really a great place to start.”

In addition to Grant and Burns, Carroll mentioned assistants John Michels and Bob Hollway as mentors.

“I can’t say he was a guarantee when he was hired but I used my instincts and my knowledge, and it was a good hire,” Grant said of bringing Carroll to the Vikings. “His enthusiasm was very evident. He liked to coach, liked working out. He was not hyperactive, but he was a very active guy.”

After Grant retired, Burns was Minnesota’s coach from 1986-91. Carroll left to be the Jets’ defensive coordinator before the 1991 season and then applied for the Vikings head coaching position when Burns retired.

Grant said he recommend Carroll for the job before then-Vikings president Roger Headrick decided instead to hire Dennis Green.

“Headrick came to me and said he had it down to a couple of people, and asked, ‘What do you think?’ ” Grant said. “I said, ‘Well, I don’t know Dennis Green that well but I do know Pete Carroll a lot better. I can tell you right now that Pete would be a great hire because of his enthusiasm and his knowledge and experience.’

“It was nothing against Dennis because I didn’t know Dennis that well, but I did know that Pete would be the perfect hire because he’s been here and knows the situation and he’s a great communicator. When I hung up the phone (with Headrick), I thought Pete was going to be hired. But Dennis had a good record and did a good job, and Pete would have done a good job, too.”

Green was Minnesota’s coach from 1992-2001, a tenure that included two trips to the NFC Championship Game. Carroll became the Jets’ head coach in 1994 and New England’s coach from 1997-99 before emerging in the new century as one of the greatest coaches ever.

While coaching USC from 2001-09, Carroll won two national titles, although one since has been vacated. He has been with the Seahawks since 2010.

Meanwhile, his time in Minnesota hasn’t been forgotten.

“I give a whole lot of credit in my career to (Carroll),” said Carl Lee, a Vikings cornerback from 1983-93 who made all three of his Pro Bowls when Carroll was his position coach. “With the things he taught me, making the Pro Bowl, I’m not sure I would have done it without him.”

Lee remembers Carroll as being a “player’s coach.”

“He was like your friend,” Lee said. “He was so much fun. He was always walking around happy, and bouncing around. He never had a bad day. And we had a little gym at Winter Park, and he used to play H-O-R-S-E with the players. I can tell you I was never going to play basketball with Bud or Burnsie.”

Lee said he hasn’t seen or talked to Carroll for a long time, but that he did send him a message wishing him a happy 70th birthday. Grant also reached out Carroll on his birthday.

“We probably talk three or four times a year,” said Grant, who won’t be able to make it to Sunday’s game. “He’s a good friend.”

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Kamala Harris ‘View’ interview delayed after two hosts test positive for COVID-19



Kamala Harris ‘View’ interview delayed after two hosts test positive for COVID-19


NEW YORK (AP) — Vice President Kamala Harris’ live interview on “The View” was abruptly delayed Friday after two hosts of the talk show learned they had tested positive for COVID-19 moments before Harris was to join them on the set.

Cohost Sunny Hostin and guest host Ana Navarro were at the table for the start of the show, but then were told to step off the set. Hostin and Navarro had been vaccinated, their colleagues said.

Harris, who was to be seated there as well, instead was later interviewed remotely from a different room in the ABC studio in New York. She did not have any contact with either host who tested positive, according to a White House official.

Cohosts Joy Behar and Sara Haines remained on set and conducted the truncated interview.

“Sunny and Ana are strong women and I know they are fine,” said Harris when she made her delayed appearance. “But it also really does speak to the fact that they are vaccinated and vaccines make all the difference because otherwise we’d be concerned about hospitalization and worse.”

The moment underscored the ever-present dangers of COVID-19 and provided a sobering reminder of the virus’ reach.

It also threatened to overshadow the Biden administration’s efforts to show progress in battling the virus. Just a few hours earlier, President Joe Biden urged those now eligible for COVID-19 booster shots to get the added protection a day after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention endorsed the doses for millions of older or otherwise vulnerable Americans.

“Ana and Sunny, at the last minute we realized they have tested positive for COVID so they have been taken off of the show,” said a stunned Behar, who made the announcement after the show hurriedly went to a commercial when the two hosts were pulled off seat. Behar said Harris was removed to a separate location because “they don’t want to take a chance.”

“It’s very important we keep her healthy and safe,” Behar said. “The Secret Service is doing things to make her feel safe.”

Both the show and aides from the vice president’s office wanted to go ahead with the interview and contact tracing was quickly done to make sure Harris would not be exposed to anyone who might have had contact with Navarro and Hostin, officials said. The Secret Service then signed off on using a separate location in the studio.

The vice president carried on with her day after the TV appearance, meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison in Washington.

Before Harris was connected for “The View” interview, Behar and Haines vamped to fill the time and took questions from the audience.

“Sara and I are doing a little tap dancing,” Behar said.

At one point, an audience member asked what moments stood out in her many years on “The View.”

“This one is definitely,” Behar replied. “One thing about working in television, is there’s never a dull moment. … But this is a new one.”

None of the hosts were masked but members of the studio audience were wearing face coverings.

Biden was elected on the central promise of managing the nation’s response to the pandemic and received high early marks for quickly moving to distribute the vaccines. But over the summer, the highly contagious delta variant sent cases skyrocketing again, causing a number of jurisdictions to reinstitute mask mandates.

The president has grown increasingly frustrated at the Americans who have refused the vaccine and endangered the nation’s recovery. More Americans, according to polling, have also begun to sour on his handling of the pandemic.

“The refusal to get vaccinated have cost all of us,” Biden said earlier Friday. “It is not hyperbole: it is literally a tragedy. Don’t let it be your tragedy.”

Biden applauded the recommendation by CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky — who overruled an advisory panel — to include approval of boosters for health-care workers or have another job that puts them at increased risk of being exposed to the virus. The panel had limited approval to those over 65 years old and those with underlying health conditions.

The positive cases also stepped on what was to be a moment in the spotlight for Harris, who had participated in only a handful of televised interviews since taking office. She has come under some scrutiny after some uneven performances in other interviews, and as the administration has taken sharp criticism of images of Border Patrol agents using aggressive tactics against Haitian migrants at the Texas border.

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Rochester police release video timeline of events leading to Daniel Prude encounter



Rochester police release video timeline of events leading to Daniel Prude encounter

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The Rochester Police Department on Friday released a 23-minute timeline of Daniel Prude’s activity leaving Chicago and leading up to his encounter with Rochester police on March 23.

This video was edited by the Rochester Police Department, cut from around 4 hours of raw footage. With more than 3 hours of footage omitted from the edit, it does not depict a complete sequence of events before, during, or after the department’s March 23 encounter with Daniel Prude.

The video shows Daniel Prude with his brother Joe Prude, Daniel Prude is placed under Mental Hygiene Detention, police say because he said “I been wanting to die,” and “kill me.”

“Take care of my brother,” Joe Prude says.

From there, Daniel Prude is sent to Strong Memorial Hospital. No footage of that trip is shown in the video.

Prude was released later that evening.

Body worn camera footage from an officer then shows Joe Prude explaining that his brother was on a drug that made him hallucinate when he ran out into the cold. Footage from Rochester’s Blue Light Cameras and surveillance cameras shows Daniel Prude wandering the area.

A bystander who saw Daniel Prude in the street livestreamed the encounter on Facebook. Prude is naked in this portion of the video, shouting and chasing the car the bystander is in. The bystander tells Prude not to get close, and asks if he wants him to call anybody for help.

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1632560319 967 Rochester police release video timeline of events leading to Daniel
RPD map of Daniel Prude’s walk

The video then cuts to the previously released body worn camera footage from police at the scene of the incident on Jefferson Avenue.

One of the Rochester police officers involved in the incident, Mark Vaughn, was charged with Unnecessary and/or Excessive Force, and Discourteous/Unprofessional Conduct Thursday. Those are departmental charges.

Vaughn was the officer seen leaning on Prude’s head and neck area in police body camera video of the encounter. Attorneys for the officers said the “segmenting” technique was performed in accordance with the latest training.

The department said Thursday it “fully supports Officer Vaughn’s right to due process and to defend himself against the charges, of which no pre-determined outcome has been put in place.”

Watch the full video

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GOP review finds no proof Arizona election was stolen from Trump



GOP review finds no proof Arizona election was stolen from Trump

PHOENIX (AP) — A Republican-backed review of the 2020 presidential election in Arizona’s largest county ended Friday without producing proof to support former President Donald Trump’s false claims of a stolen election.

After six months of searching for evidence of fraud, the firm hired by Republican lawmakers issued a report that experts described as riddled with errors, bias and flawed methodology. Still, even that partisan review came up with a vote tally that would not have altered the outcome, finding that Biden won by 360 more votes than the official results certified last year.

The finding was an embarrassing end to a widely criticized, and at times bizarre, quest to prove allegations that election officials and courts have rejected. It has no bearing on the final, certified results. Previous reviews by nonpartisan professionals that followed state law have found no significant problem with the vote count in Maricopa County, home to Phoenix.

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Still, for many critics, the conclusions reached by the firm Cyber Ninjas and presented at a hearing Friday, underscored the dangerous futility of the exercise, which has helped fuel skepticism about the validity of the 2020 election and spawned copycat audits nationwide.

“We haven’t learned anything new,” said Matt Masterson, a top U.S. election security official in the Trump administration. “What we have learned from all this is that the Ninjas were paid millions of dollars, politicians raised millions of dollars and Americans’ trust in democracy is lower.”

Other critics said the true purpose of the audit may have already succeeded. It spread complex allegations about ballot irregularities and software issues, fueling doubts about elections, said Adrian Fontes, a Democrat who oversaw the Maricopa County election office last year.

“They are trying to scare people into doubting the system is actually working,” he said. “That is their motive. They want to destroy public confidence in our systems.”

The review was authorized by the Republican-controlled state Senate, which subpoenaed the election records from Maricopa County and selected the inexperienced, pro-Trump auditors. On Friday, Senate President Karen Fann sent a letter to Republican Attorney General Mark Brnovich, urging him to investigate issues the report flagged. However, she noted the review found the official count matched the ballots.

“This is the most important and encouraging finding of the audit,” Fann wrote.

Trump issued statements Friday falsely claiming the results demonstrated “fraud.”

Despite being widely pilloried, the Arizona review has become a model that Trump supporters are pushing to replicate in other swing states where Biden won. Pennsylvania’s Democratic attorney general sued Thursday to block a GOP-issued subpoena for a wide array of election materials. In Wisconsin, a retired conservative state Supreme Court justice is leading a Republican-ordered investigation into the 2020 election, and this week threatened to subpoena election officials who don’t comply.

None of the reviews can change Biden’s victory, which was certified by officials in each of the swing states he won and by Congress on Jan. 6 — after Trump’s supporters, fueled by the same false charges that generated the audits, stormed the U.S. Capitol to try to prevent certification of his loss.

The Arizona report claims a number of shortcomings in election procedures and suggested the final tally still could not be relied upon. Several were challenged by election experts, while members of the Republican-led county Board of Supervisors, which oversees elections, disputed claims on Twitter.

“Unfortunately, the report is also littered with errors & faulty conclusions about how Maricopa County conducted the 2020 General Election,” county officials tweeted.

Election officials say that’s because the review team is biased, ignored the detailed vote-counting procedures in Arizona law and had no experience in the complex field of election audits.

Two of the report’s recommendations stood out because they showed its authors misunderstood election procedures — that there should be paper ballot backups and that voting machines should not be connected to the internet. All Maricopa ballots are already paper, with machines only used to tabulate the votes, and those tabulators are not connected to the internet.

The review also checked the names of voters against a commercial database, finding 23,344 reported moving before ballots went out in October. While the review suggests something improper, election officials note that voters like college students, those who own vacation homes or military members can move to temporary locations while still legally voting at the address where they are registered.

“A competent reviewer of an election would not make a claim like that,” said Trey Grayson, a former Republican secretary of state in Kentucky.

The election review was run by Cyber Ninjas CEO Doug Logan, whose firm has never conducted an election audit before. Logan previously worked with attorneys and Trump supporters trying to overturn the 2020 election and appeared in a film questioning the results of the contest while the ballot review was ongoing.

Logan and others involved with the review presented their findings to two Arizona senators Friday. It kicked off with Shiva Ayyadurai, a COVID-19 vaccine skeptic who claims to have invented email, presenting an analysis relying on “pattern recognition” that flagged purported anomalies in the way mail ballots were processed at the end of the election.

Maricopa County tweeted that the pattern was simply the election office following state law.

“’Anomaly’ seems to be another way of saying the Senate’s contractors don’t understand election processes,” the county posted during the testimony.

Logan followed up by acknowledging “the ballots that were provided for us to count … very accurately correlated with the official canvass.” He then continued to flag statistical discrepancies — including the voters who moved — that he said merited further investigation.

The review has a history of exploring outlandish conspiracy theories, dedicating time to checking for bamboo fibers on ballots to see if they were secretly shipped in from Asia. It’s also served as a content-generation machine for Trump’s effort to sow skepticism about his loss, pumping out misleading and out-of-context information that the former president circulates long after it’s been debunked.

In July, for example, Logan laid out a series of claims stemming from his misunderstanding of the election data he was analyzing, including that 74,000 mail ballots were recorded as received but not sent. Trump repeatedly amplified the claims. Logan had compared two databases that track different things.

Arizona’s Senate agreed to spend $150,000 on the review, plus security and facility costs. That pales in comparison to the nearly $5.7 million contributed as of late July by Trump allies.

Maricopa County’s official vote count was conducted in front of bipartisan observers, as were legally required audits meant to ensure voting machines work properly. A partial hand-count spot check found a perfect match.

Two extra post-election reviews by federally certified election experts also found no evidence that voting machines switched votes or were connected to the internet. The county Board of Supervisors commissioned the extraordinary reviews in an effort to prove to Trump backers that there were no problems.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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12-year-old charged for bomb threat aimed at Hackett Middle School



12-year-old charged for bomb threat aimed at Hackett Middle School

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A 12-year-old student was arrested after making a bomb threat at a local middle school.

Police were called to Hackett Middle School around 1 p.m. Friday after a male had called the school and indicated there was a bomb inside.

Police said a 12-year-old student communicated with a third party through instant messaging, and during the conversation, encouraged the third party to call in a bomb threat to his school.

Albany Police K-9, with the assistance of the New York State Police, cleared the school and deemed that the building was safe and that there was no device.

The student was charged with Conspiracy in the Fifth Degree and is scheduled to appear in Albany County Family Court in October.

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