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  1. Louisiana officer convicted of manslaughter in 6-year-old autistic boys deathSat, 25 Mar 2017 04:01:57 +0000
    MARKSVILLE, LA.: A Louisiana law enforcement officer was convicted Friday on a lesser charge of manslaughter in a shooting that killed a 6-year-old autistic boy, a gruesome encounter captured on tape by another officer’s body camera.Jurors found Derrick Stafford guilty of manslaughter and attempted manslaughter charges, multiple news outlets reported. He had faced charges of second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder in the case.Stafford, 33, and another deputy city marshal opened fire on a car — killing Jeremy Mardis and critically wounding his father — after a 2-mile car chase in Marksville on the night of Nov. 3, 2015.Video from a police officer’s body camera shows the father, Christopher Few, had his hands raised inside his vehicle while the two deputies collectively fired 18 shots. At least four of those bullets tore into Jeremy, who died within minutes.Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said in a statement that his office is happy with the verdict,“As we have said all along, our goal in this case was to get justice for Jeremy Mardis, his family, and the people of Louisiana. Today, that happened,” the statement said.Stafford’s sentencing is set for next week.The Advocate reports (http://bit.ly/2oe880h ) that Stafford testified Friday that he shot at the car because he feared Few was going to back up and hit the other deputy, Norris Greenhouse Jr.“I felt I had no choice but to save Norris. That is the only reason I fired my weapon,” Stafford said.Greenhouse, 25, faces a separate trial on murder charges later this year.Stafford cried when a prosecutor showed him photographs of the slain first-grader. He said he didn’t know the boy was in the car when he fired and didn’t see his father’s hands in the air.“Never in a million years would I have fired my weapon if I knew a child was in that car. I would have called off the pursuit myself,” Stafford said.Two other officers at the scene — a third deputy city marshal and a Marksville police officer — didn’t fire their weapons that night. Prosecutors said the officers weren’t in any danger and shot at the car from a safe distance, with none of their bullets hitting the front or back of Few’s vehicle.Jurors heard testimony that Stafford fired 14 shots from his semi-automatic pistol. Stafford said Greenhouse stumbled and fell to the ground as he tried to back away from Few’s car.Stafford and Greenhouse are black. Few is white, and so was his son.Defense attorneys accused investigators of rushing to judgment, arresting the officers less than a week after the shooting. One of Stafford’s attorneys has questioned whether investigators would have acted more deliberately if the officers had been white.Stafford’s attorneys tried to pin the blame for the deadly confrontation on Few. They accused the 26-year-old father of leading the four officers on a dangerous, high-speed chase and ramming into Greenhouse’s vehicle before the gunfire erupted.During the trial’s opening statements, defense attorney Jonathan Goins called Few “the author of that child’s fate.” Goins also said Few had drugs and alcohol in his system at the time of the shooting.But prosecutors said none of the father’s actions that night can justify the deadly response. Marksville Police Lt. Kenneth Parnell, whose body camera captured the shooting, testified that he didn’t fire at the car because he didn’t fear for his life.Few testified on Tuesday that he never heard any warnings before two officers fired. He said he learned of his son’s death when he regained consciousness at a hospital six days after the shooting, on the day of Jeremy’s funeral.A prosecutor, Matthew Derbes, asked Few if he regrets not stopping his car when he saw the blue lights from an officer’s vehicle.“Most definitely,” Few said. “Every day.”But he insisted he was driving safely and wasn’t trying to escape. Few said he kept driving in hopes of catching up with a girlfriend in a van ahead of him, so that she could take care of his son if he got arrested.“The whole reason there was even a chase was for his well-being,” he said.Stafford, a Marksville police lieutenant, and Greenhouse, a former Marksville police officer, were moonlighting on the night of the shooting.Before the shooting, Stafford and Greenhouse both had been sued over claims they had used excessive force or neglected their duties as police officers. The Marksville Police Department suspended Stafford after his indictment on rape charges in 2011, but reinstated him after prosecutors dismissed the charges. More...
  2. Cavaliers 112, Hornets 105: LeBron James free-throw shooting helps Cavs survive frightening moments and clinch Central Division titleSat, 25 Mar 2017 03:28:24 +0000
    CHARLOTTE, N.C.: For a Cavaliers team that on Wednesday got its injury-plagued starting five back on the court together for the first time since Dec. 17, the scary moments just keep on coming.J.R. Smith, Kevin Love and LeBron James survived a blindsiding pick, a rebound entanglement and an eye poke, respectively, as the defending champions fought and scrapped against the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night in the Spectrum Center.Although they found the effort they had been lacking in the previous game, the Cavs went down to the wire with the 11th-place team in the Eastern Conference before pulling out a 112-105 victory.With the triumph, coupled with the Indiana Pacers’ 125-117 loss to the Denver Nuggets, the Cavs clinched the Central Division title for the third consecutive season and for the sixth time in franchise history.James totaled 32 points, nine rebounds and 11 assists, including going 14-of-16 from the free-throw line. Kyrie Irving contributed 26 points and seven assists and Love added 15 points and 12 rebounds. James made 5-of-6 of his free-throw attempts in the final 1:56.But there were times when Cavs coach Tyronn Lue had to be holding his breath in hopes that his team would leave Charlotte unscathed.With 5:24 left in the second quarter, Smith was knocked down by a Cody Zeller pick that left Smith motionless on the court for a few seconds. But after Smith walked to the bench to be checked during a timeout, he remained in the game.With 1:55 left in the third quarter, Love got his right shoulder and arm entangled with the arms of Marvin Williams as the two went for a rebound. Love went to the bench and remained there with a towel draped over the shoulder before returning in the fourth quarter. The play was reminiscent of the Celtics’ Kelly Olynyk’s yank on Love’s left shoulder during the 2015 playoffs.With 31.2 seconds to go in the third quarter, James was poked in the eye by Jeremy Lamb as James drove for a layup and was fouled. James called a timeout and was attended to by a Hornets eye doctor before returning to make the free throw.“If Coach decides to give me a game off it’s not because I’m resting,” James said. “I’m banged up.”With 6:49 left in the game, James hit the deck again, this time on a foul by Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.Before Friday’s shoot-around, Lue held a film session to point out the Cavs’ breakdowns in their loss Wednesday to the Nuggets. Lue said the Cavs were “ticked off,” and hoped they would channel some of that anger hours later.A dramatic defensive improvement was one thing Lue sought, and the Cavs expended much more effort against the Hornets. After allowing their last three opponents to shoot over 51 percent from the field, the Cavs held the Hornets to 42.2 percent shooting, 26.3 percent from 3-point range.But the Cavs showed why they need the remaining 11 games to develop rhythm and find the best rotations for the postseason. They will have to do it with a grueling schedule as Friday’s game was their first of three in four days. It also marked the end of a four-game, three-city road trip on which they went 2-2.Fans weren’t crammed into the Spectrum Center, and those who stayed away missed a spectacular showdown of two of the league’s best point guards.As a young boy held a sign reading “LeBron You Ain’t the King in Kemba’s Queen City,” Hornets star Kemba Walker hit his first three 3-point attempts in the opening five minutes. He turned that hot start into a 28-point night, hitting 10-of-20 from the field and 5-of-10 from long range.Irving matched Walker’s show, pouring in 17 first-half points and hitting 11-of-22 for the game, 2-of-6 from 3-point range.The Cavs took the season series with the Hornets 4-0 and won for the 10th time in the last 11 games against them.Marla Ridenour can be reached at mridenour@thebeaconjournal.com. More...
  3. Francisco Lindor, Andrew Miller relish WBC experience upon return to Indians campSat, 25 Mar 2017 03:28:04 +0000
    MESA, Ariz: Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor, catcher Roberto Perez and relief pitchers Andrew Miller and Joe Colon all returned to camp in Goodyear, Ariz., after the conclusion of the World Baseball Classic in which the United States beat Puerto Rico 8-0 in the title game.Lindor, representing Puerto Rico, and Miller, representing the U.S., each relished their experiences in the WBC and have already said they’d like to play in it again. That’s especially not surprising from Lindor, who normally looks like he’s having the most fun on the diamond in a regular setting anyway. Playing for Puerto Rico and in a Ryder Cup-like atmosphere was right up his alley. “The whole run, it was unreal,” Lindor said. “It was like Game 6, Game 7 every single day. It was fun. ... You’re playing for a country. You’re not playing for a city. You’re playing for a whole country. That’s different. It means a lot. I love my country. We gave it our best.“I grew up wanting to play for Team Puerto Rico. I grew up idolizing my coaching staff. They were playing back in the day. This was fun. I grew up watching [Yadier Molina] and [Carlos] Beltran playing, so I wanted to be in it. I wanted to be part of something special like that. I’m glad I was.”The atmosphere and the crowds quickly became some of the bigger stories of the WBC. Lindor would like to bring some of that excitement back to Cleveland for regular-season games.“I would love to see it,” Lindor said. “And it could be like that almost every day, when you have fans at the games. It could be like that. When the fans don’t show up, it’s going to be nowhere near that. Once the fans are there, you get pumped up. ... Once the fans are at the games, I’m sure it gets us going. That’s why we play.”Much of the atmosphere from the crowds was generated by the fan support for the Puerto Rican and Dominican teams. Miller saw it from the other side.“It was unique,” Miller said. “We played in pretty big games last year. Even the biggest, wildest crowds we saw last year were different from what we saw in this tournament. I think a lot of that’s cultural stuff. It’s a unique experience for me. The crowd against the Dominican and Puerto Rican teams were incredible in the fact that they never let off.“It didn’t matter if the pitcher was getting ready to deliver a pitch or whether their teams were down, they never seemed out of it. There was a point where we were up a handful of runs against the Dominican [Republic] the first time and you would have thought they were up by 15 runs the way their crowd was cheering and making noise. I think that was unique to the experience.”Miller returns a World Baseball Classic champion for the U.S., but one who — by his own admission — still has work to do to get ready for the Indians’ opener on April 3 against the Texas Rangers. The WBC leaves managers worrying about their pitchers and how they’re used in the tournament. The Indians were comfortable with the communication from the U.S. coaching staff, even with Miller throwing high-intensity innings much earlier than he normally would have. Now, the final week is about rounding into form, though Miller is comfortable with his current position. “I have to fine-tune a lot of stuff. That’s not necessarily unique to this year,” Miller said. “There have been years where I haven’t felt good until the last outing. The whole point is you’re getting ready for the season, which we still have time. “I’d love to tell you I’m executing everything like I was in August of last year, but I’m not there and I don’t think you can always expect to be this time of year.”Ryan Lewis can be reached at rlewis@thebeaconjournal.com. Read the Indians blog at www.ohio.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/RyanLewisABJ. More...
  4. Cavaliers notebook: Kevin Love cleared to play in back-to-backsSat, 25 Mar 2017 03:27:50 +0000
    CHARLOTTE, N.C.: All-Star Kevin Love has been cleared to play in back-to-backs, the next hurdle in his return from arthro­scopic surgery on his left knee on Valentine’s Day.Cavaliers General Manager David Griffin said Love can play 25 or 26 minutes a game at this point. That opened the door for Love to start in Friday night’s game against the Charlotte Hornets at the Spectrum Center and Saturday night’s home game against the Washington Wizards.Friday was Love’s fourth game since his return. His unavailability in back-to-backs was one of the reasons Cavs coach Tyronn Lue sat the Big Three in Saturday night’s nationally televised game against the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center that created a national controversy. With Kyrie Irving also experiencing tightness in his left knee, Lue held out those two and LeBron James so they could play together against the Lakers.Odd man out?Derrick Williams was the odd man out of the rotation as Kyle Korver returned from a sore left foot Wednesday night against the Denver Nuggets at Pepsi Center.Lue said he spoke to Williams about his playing time. In his 16 games with the Cavs going into Wednesday, Williams averaged 21.6 minutes per game. But he played only six against the Nuggets, all in the fourth quarter.“I talked to him in Denver and he was great about it,” Lue said of Williams. “He said, ‘Coach I’m just glad you communicated with me. I’m fine. Whatever you want to do, I’ll be ready.’“That’s good when you’ve got communication with your players to let them know when they’re going to play and when they’re not going to play or when you’re trying to look at new things. He was totally fine with it. Communication is a big thing.”Averaging 7.9 points and 2.8 rebounds in 17 games with the Cavs going into Friday, Williams said he appreciated the straight talk from Lue.“For sure. I know we have a lot of injuries, guys coming back. We want to get everybody ready for the playoffs,” Williams said. “I don’t look at it as I’m playing bad and all of a sudden they put me on the bench.“Like I said when I got here, I’m not worried about scoring 15, 20 points. Whenever I’m in the game, I want to be productive, bring energy, effort and efficiency. I feel like I’ve done that every single game I’ve played. It’s coach’s decision. Whether I’m playing 20, 25, 30 minutes a night or I’m not playing, it’s OK as long as we get the win.”Williams sat out against the Utah Jazz on March 16 with a right quad contusion and did not play against the Lakers. He’s said he’s put in extra work since then to be ready when called upon.Fast friendsLue played for Hornets coach Steve Clifford when Clifford was an assistant for the Houston Rockets in 2003-04 and Orlando Magic in 2008-09, and they remain close.Lue said he never picked Clifford’s brain because “really I didn’t because I didn’t think I would ever coach.”“I just loved him as a person,” Lue said. “He was just great every single day. The same person every day, win, lose or draw. Great energy. I respect him and I wish the best for him. We still have a relationship. It’s good to see him doing a good job.”Asked what he respected about Lue, Clifford said: “Even then you knew if he wanted to coach he would be a terrific coach. He’s talented. He’s very bright, he’s a great communicator, like with his teammates, he could get along and develop the right type of relationship with anybody.“At Orlando at the end of his career, when he was much more there for leadership, for culture, he wasn’t playing a lot, we went to the Finals that year and he was a huge part of it, helping the younger players, talking to guys about what it took to win. So I’m not at all surprised at what he’s done as a coach.”NotesBig man Larry Sanders, trying to make a comeback in the league after two years away, was called up from the D-League’s Canton Charge on Thursday, but Lue said he had no plans to play him against the Hornets. … Assistant coach James Posey walked into the locker room for shoot-around saying, “Xavier,” after his alma mater upset Arizona on Thursday night in the NCAA Tournament. A Cleveland native, Posey played at Xavier from 1996-99. The Cavs have three Arizona products — Channing Frye, Richard Jefferson and Williams.Marla Ridenour can be reached at mridenour@thebeaconjournal.com. Read her blog at www.ohio.com/marla. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MRidenourABJ. More...
  5. High school scores, summaries and schedules March 24Sat, 25 Mar 2017 03:27:19 +0000
    REPORTING 
SCORESSchools are encouraged to report scores by email at bjsports@thebeaconjournal.com, by fax at 330-996-3629 or by phone at 330-996-3800. Please report scores from home and away games and from wins and losses and include statistics from both teams. Let your athletic director and coach know if you do not see your school’s result.NOMINATE 
ATHLETESCoaches are encouraged to submit nominations for the High School Spotlight by noon on Mondays. Please email bjsports@thebeaconjournal.com with the nominee’s name, school, grade, accomplishments for the week and, most important, a color headshot (a jpeg image).BASKETBAllBOYSState Tournament Scoreboard(All games at Schottenstein Center, Columbus)Friday’s ResultsDivision III SemifinalsCleveland Villa Angela-St. Joseph 73, Proctorville Fairland 50St. Bernard Roger Bacon 68, Archbold 43Division I SemifinalsCincinnati Archbishop Moeller 57, Pickerington Central 47Jackson 75, Lakewood St. Edward 64———Thursday’s ResultsDivision II SemifinalsWauseon 42, Col. Eastmoor Academy 35St. Vincent-St. Mary 62, Trotwood-Madison 60Division IV SemifinalsCleveland Heights Lutheran East 50, Delphos St. John’s 25Columbus Wellington School 68, Lima Perry 47Scoring SummaryDivision I State Semifinal
JACKSON 75,
LAKEWOOD ST. EDWARD 64Jackson 15 18 20 22 — 75St. Edward 9 12 20 23 — 64JACKSON (27-2) — Nicolas 4-1-11, Pallotta 3-1-7, Stanislawski 1-1-4, Young 10-4-25, Hill 3-5-11, Mazzeo 0-2-2, Shatrich 0-1-1, Dingler 3-1-8, Zitney 1-0-2, Shew 2-0-4. Totals: 27-46 16-34 75.ST. EDWARD (23-6) — Sullivan 2-0-6, Schmock 8-7-23, Huffman 3-1-7, Calhoun 1-0-2, Blanton 1-0-2, Manno 1-0-2, Dowell 1-0-3, Chambers 2-2-6, Terry 2-1-5, Henry 3-0-6, Foster 1-0-2. Totals: 25-61 11-18 64.3-point goals: Nicolas 2, Sullivan 2, Stanislawski, Young, Dingler, Dowell. Fouls: STE, 27-19. Rebounds: Jac., 30 (Pallotta 10); STE, 40 (Henry 7). Turnovers: STE, 14-11.State Tournament ScheduleSaturday’s GamesDivision II FinalWauseon (27-1) vs. St. Vincent-St. Mary (24-5), 10:45 a.m.Division IV FinalCleveland Heights Lutheran East (19-9) vs. Columbus Wellington School (22-7), 2 p.m.Division III FinalCleveland Villa Angela-St. Joseph (22-6) vs. St. Bernard Roger Bacon (24-4), 5:15 p.m.Division I FinalCincinnati Archbishop Moeller (28-0) vs. Jackson (27-2), 8:30 p.m.TENNISBOYSCOPEY 4, LAKE 1Singles: Drummond (L) d. Moore, 6-0, 6-0; Du (C) d. Kelley, 4-6, 6-0, 6-4; William Yang (C) d. Stalker, 6-4, 6-3.Doubles: Burch-Merthige (C). d. Hoover-Camacho, 6-1, 6-1; Brucken-Shinn (C) d. Kelley-Heakin, 6-1, 7-6, 7-2.Records: Copley 1-0; Lake 0-1.BASEBAllBOYSScheduleSaturday’s Games(All games 4:30 p.m., unless noted)St. Thomas Aquinas at Manchester, 11 a.m.University School at Twinsburg, 11 a.m.Youngstown Cardinal Mooney at North Canton Hoover, 1 p.m. More...
  6. Indians notebook: Corey Kluber on pace to start Opening Day; Lonnie Chisenhall leaves game with shoulder injurySat, 25 Mar 2017 03:18:08 +0000
    MESA, Ariz: There was little doubt who would take the mound for the Indians on Opening Day in a perfect world, but with the full 162-game regular season in mind, the club wanted to be cautious after ace Corey Kluber’s heavy workload last postseason.Kluber pitched 215 innings during the regular season, finishing third in Cy Young voting, and then tacked on an additional 34⅓ innings in the postseason. Thus, the Indians wanted to wait to see where he stood at the end of March before outright naming him Opening Day starter April 3.Following Kluber’s last Cactus League start, the Indians and manager Terry Francona have their message: Kluber’s ready.“I asked [pitching coach Mickey Callaway], I said, ‘Do you think [Opening Day] is realistic?’ ” Francona said. “He goes, ‘He’s ready.’ He’s already talking about scaling back on [Kluber’s] next outing. There’s no doubt in his mind he’s pitching Opening Day. That’s good enough for me.”Bumps and bruisesOutfielder Lonnie Chisenhall left Friday’s Cactus League game against the Chicago Cubs with a right shoulder injury.In the second inning, Chisenhall crashed into the wall while tracking a fly ball. He’ll be evaluated Saturday morning.“The way it was explained was it’s a slight-to-mild strain,” Francona said after the game. “We’ll know more when he shows up tomorrow, seeing how stiff he is. We’ll have to see.”Utility infielder Erik Gonzalez left in the eighth inning after being hit on the right hand with a pitch. Per Francona, Gonzalez has a bruise and might only miss Saturday’s game. Gonzalez is currently vying for a spot on the Opening Day roster either at third base or second base. He’s also in the mix for the utility job off the bench.Indians 4, Cubs 2Starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco threw three innings on Friday. He allowed just one hit, walked two and struck out two.Carrasco has been behind the rest of the Indians’ starting pitchers in terms of workload and being stretched out for the season as he dealt with elbow inflammation earlier this spring. This week, he pitched two innings in a minor league game on Monday and then flew to and from Florida for the birth of his son, Noah.Friday’s start was a step in the right direction.“That was a huge difference on Monday, when I pitched in the minor leagues,” Carrasco said. “Now, here, it’s way different. But I think I’m happy for it, because I’m able to control my fastball today in and out, both sides of the plate. And my breaking pitch, too. Most important right now is getting my work done.”The Indians know they might be without Carrasco in his normal spot in the rotation to start the year. There just isn’t time to get him properly stretched out. The bigger picture is ensuring Carrasco’s arm is healthy for the rest of the season.“When he says that, we have more peace of mind, too,” Francona said. “I think he had a disjointed week. His arm felt really good. I know his body was jet-lagged, but he fought through it, which is good. “He was supposed to go three [innings] and he did and he got them out. It’s something to build off of. As long as he’s healthy it’s going to continue to go this way, which is good.”Ryan Lewis can be reached at rlewis@thebeaconjournal.com. Read the Indians blog at www.ohio.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/RyanLewisABJ. More...
  7. Indians, Jose Ramirez agree to four-year contract extension, per reportsSat, 25 Mar 2017 03:18:08 +0000
    MESA, Ariz: The Indians and Jose Ramirez are in agreement on a contract extension that could keep him in Cleveland through the 2023 season, per multiple reports. The club has not yet confirmed the agreement. The four-year deal, first reported by Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports and Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports, will kick in next season and is reportedly worth $26 million guaranteed. It also includes club options for the 2022 and 2023 seasons valued at $11 and $13 million, respectively, per Passan. If both options are picked up, the extension could be worth $50 million over six years. Ramirez, 24, burst onto the scene last season, hitting .312 with a .363 on-base percentage, 11 home runs, 46 doubles, 76 RBI and 22 stolen bases while filling in first for Michael Brantley in left field and then for the departed Juan Uribe at third base. Per FanGraphs, he posted a WAR of 4.8, which tied Jason Kipnis for second on the team among position players and only behind Francisco Lindor (6.3). Considering the Indians’ need for production in those spots, Ramirez was arguably one of the team’s most valuable players last season and during the run to the World Series. Ramirez was headed for arbitration after this upcoming season. The contact extension would eat up all three arbitration years and 1-3 years of free agency, depending on the Indians’ decisions with the club options. This deal follows suit with the front office’s blueprint as to how they have built this current club. Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Jason Kipnis, Yan Gomes and Carlos Santana all signed contract extensions at similar times along their careers. The Indians recently have chosen to be aggressive with their young talent, taking a gamble on their development but finding value in potentially locking up core players to cheaper contracts than they’d find on the free-agent market. Many of these deals have also included club options, providing further value and control to the club. Ramirez has the everyday job at third base locked up but could open the season at second base with Kipnis headed to the disabled list. More...
  8. Things to Do, March 25: Rubber City Beer Fest; Wayne Newton at Rocksino; Kathy Griffin in Cleveland; baseball movies on big screenSat, 25 Mar 2017 03:11:03 +0000
    Get your laugh on with Kathy Griffin’s ‘Celebrity Run-Ins’ tourComedian and self-proclaimed “D-List” celebrity Kathy Griffin brings her “Celebrity Run-Ins” tour to the State Theatre at Playhouse Square at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10-$65 at 216-241-6000 or www.playhousesquare.org.Event boasts 30-plus breweries The Rubber City Beer Fest, organized by the Society of Akron Area Zymurgists (SAAZ) homebrewing club, runs 3 to 7 p.m. at Lock 3 in downtown Akron. It will feature 30-plus breweries and meaderies, all from Ohio. Tickets are $33 and will be limited to 400 people. For more details or to buy tickets, go to: tinyurl.com/zg4asr8. Wayne Newton in the houseYou’ll be singing Danke Schoen after a night of old-school entertainment by Vegas stalwart Wayne Newton at the Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park, beginning at 8 p.m. Tickets are $45-$59.50 at 800-745-3000, www.ticketmaster.com.See classics at science centerGet in the mood for baseball season with two classic movies showing on the Great Lakes Science Center’s gigantic screen: The Sandlot at 6 p.m., followed at 8 p.m. by A League of Their Own. Beer, wine and other concessions are available during the screenings. Tickets are $10 for one movie, $18 for both. http://GreatScience.com, 216-621-2400. More...
  9. Police chief calls racism accusations bulls*** as protesters rally after shooting of black man over dirt bikeSat, 25 Mar 2017 02:48:56 +0000
    Akron Police Chief James Nice took issue with protesters who alleged on Friday that the city’s police discriminate against black residents.About 45 protesters demanded harsher charges against William Knight, a 63-year-old white man who on Monday night told police dispatchers he shot and killed Keith Johnson, a 24-year-old unarmed black man.Knight was charged with involuntary manslaughter and felonious assault.Cynthia Blake, a concerned citizen, said the lack of a murder charge proved black lives don’t matter as much as white lives. “That’s bulls***,” Nice said twice in an interview Friday afternoon. “I’m not going to tolerate that nonsense or even get involved in it.” The shooting happened during a confrontation over a dirt bike, which was stolen from Knight’s son-in-law in February 2016. Johnson’s family said he bought the bike from an acquaintance last year and didn’t know it was stolen. When Knight’s son-in-law found the bike for sale online, the family asked police to accompany them to retrieve it. They said police had to 
respond to another call, but the family went to meet Johnson anyway.When a confrontation erupted, Johnson tried to flee the scene. Knight’s son-in-law grabbed hold of the bike to stop Johnson from fleeing, and Knight — who has a license to carry a concealed handgun — shot Johnson, according to police. Knight told a dispatcher he thought Johnson was going to run over his son-in-law or his daughter, who was also at the scene.Authorities said Friday that the charges against Knight might change as the case moves through the court system. The charges someone is arrested on are often less serious than what they face in court. Initial charges are designed to keep a suspect in jail while police complete their investigation.In a Facebook post, Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh said the case has not reached her office.“When the Akron Police Department has completed their investigation, we will receive the file for grand jury, and the more serious charge of murder could be considered,” she said. “I intend to seek justice.”But protesters alleged it’s a slight against Akron’s black residents not to levy murder charges from the start.“The grand jury process is totally different from the arrest,” Blake said. “He should have been charged with murder from the beginning.”She said the lesser charges against Knight are part of the broader issue of systemic racism. “We’ve got to get away from this thought that it’s OK to kill black people because we can get away with it,” she said.Ray Greene Jr., a spokesman for the Akron Organizing Collaborative, agreed that race plays a major part in the case.“If this was a black family, the entire family would be charged in relation to the crime,” he said.Contacted after the protest, the police chief dismissed the allegations.“Just to throw that outrageous statement out there is not true and just baloney,” Nice said. He insisted his officers don’t treat the city’s black residents any differently than they treat its white residents. The chief, like the prosecutor, said the charges might become more severe as the investigation proceeds.Protesters demanded Nice resign and that supervisors at the scene be reprimanded. Nice refused both demands.While the investigation continues, Knight remains in the county jail on $500,000 bond. He did not have an attorney listed in court records Friday afternoon. Johnson’s father and brother were among the protesters. His father, Shawn Johnson, said the family has been struggling to make sense of his death.“I just want justice for my son,” he said.Johnson’s brother, Brandon Ward, declined to comment.Another family member, cousin Sheneka Barnhart, couldn’t attend the protest but said Johnson’s death has torn her apart.“My cousin did not deserve to die,” she said. “It’s not right for him to be gone over a dirt bike.”Nick Glunt can be reached at 330-996-3565 or nglunt@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @NickGluntABJ  and on Facebook @JournoNickGlunt . More...
  10. More clues emerge about dead Lafayette Township trustees office, where blood was found after his disappearanceSat, 25 Mar 2017 02:48:49 +0000
    In the weeks following the mysterious disappearance of Lafayette Township Trustee Bryon Macron, officials hired firms to replace the carpet and repaint the walls and ceiling in his office — where authorities say they found blood.Investigators have been close-lipped about where and how much blood they found in Macron’s disheveled township office on Dec. 16. They also have refused to say whether they suspect foul play and where blood was located in his vehicle, which was discovered that day, next to the lake where his body was found floating two months later.The township records, requested by the Akron Beacon Journal/Ohio.com, show the walls in Macron’s former office were repainted and the carpet was apparently replaced after investigators collected evidence at the scene. Trustees also hired an agency that specializes in crime scene cleanup.Township trustees Lynda Bowers and Mike Costello did not return several requests for comment over three days this week. Marty Warchola, who was selected earlier this week to replace Macron on the board of trustees, did not have contact information that was publicly listed.According to the records, the township hired four agencies after Macron’s disappearance. The agencies replaced carpet and locks, repainted walls and cleaned the scene. The township repainted and replaced carpet in other parts of the building too. Locks also were replaced at the fire department.In total, the township paid $7,947.51 in replacements and repairs since Dec. 16. It’s unclear how much was spent on Macron’s office specifically.The cleaning agency, Servpro of Medina County, declined to comment when contacted this week, citing confidentiality concerns.A spokesman for National Carpet Mill Outlet said this week there was no blood by the time his crews were called to replace the carpet.“Servpro tends to have everything clean by the time we get there to replace things,” the spokesman said.Though the township’s records don’t detail the severity of blood at the scene, they do provide clues that investigators have been unwilling to share. It remains unclear where investigators found blood in his vehicle.Macron disappeared on Dec. 16. His body was found floating in Chippewa Lake on Feb. 21.Macron’s cause of death has not been released, and officials have denied journalists access to coroner records, despite an Ohio law that specifically allows reporters to inspect them.Macron, whose funeral was held March 7, is survived by wife, Victoria, and three daughters. He worked as a national sales representative for a jewelry wholesaler and once served in the U.S. Marines. He had been a trustee in the township of 5,000 people in Medina County since 2010.Nick Glunt can be reached at 330-996-3565 or nglunt@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @NickGluntABJ  and on Facebook @JournoNickGlunt . More...
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