Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 p.m. EST
Groups using Super Bowl in push against Confederate statues
ATLANTA (AP) – A coalition of civil rights groups in Atlanta is using this year’s Super Bowl to help kick off a renewed “war on the Confederacy,” in a fight to remove Confederate monuments around the nation.
The groups on Thursday announced a planned Feb. 2 rally on the eve of the championship football game being hosted in the city.
Gerald Griggs of Georgia’s NAACP chapter said the coalition intends to bring its message to fans from around the world who will pour into Atlanta for Super Bowl 53 on Feb. 3.
The Southern Poverty Law Center says there are 1,747 Confederate symbols and 722 monuments in the U.S. It says Virginia, Texas and Georgia lead the nation in having the most Confederate symbols.
N. Carolina officer shot, wounded; 2 suspects in custody
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Police in North Carolina say an officer was shot several times while trying to take a suspect into custody.
Raleigh Police say the male officer was wounded Wednesday night and hospitalized. Police Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown said Thursday morning the officer was out of surgery but didn’t elaborate on his condition.
One suspect was arrested Wednesday night, while the other was caught hours later after a manhunt that shut down a nearby highway and neighborhood.
A police news release said Cedric Jamal Kearney, 24, faces charges including attempted murder and assault on a law enforcement officer with a firearm. A second suspect, Antonio Dequan Fletcher, 21, was charged with possessing a stolen firearm. It wasn’t clear if they had attorneys; phone listings for them couldn’t be found in an online search.
Sheriff: North Carolina deputy shot, wounded suspect
MORGAN, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina sheriff’s office says a deputy has shot and wounded a suspect during a fight in Rutherford County.
County Sheriff Chris Francis tells news outlets the deputy was also wounded in the Wednesday night fight. Authorities didn’t immediately release the identities or conditions of those involved.
He says the deputy confronted the occupants of a suspicious vehicle near Morgan and learned of active warrants against one of the occupants. It’s unclear what charges the suspect is wanted on.
The sheriff says the suspect then fled with the deputy in pursuit. He says the two fought, and the suspect tried to grab one of the deputy’s weapons and was shot.
The state Bureau of Investigation is investigating.
Ex-officer accuses chief, city of slander in police beating
(Information from: The Asheville Citizen-Times, http://www.citizen-times.com)
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – An ex-North Carolina police officer says Asheville and its former police chief used her as a scapegoat during the case of a white officer filmed beating a black pedestrian.
The Asheville Citizen-Times reported Wednesday that former Sgt. Lisa Taube is suing Asheville and former police Chief Tammy Hooper for slander and libel.
Hooper publicly criticized and disciplined Taube for her response to the August 2017 beating of Johnnie Jermaine Rush, who was accused of jaywalking.
Former officer Christopher Hickman is charged with felony assault in the beating, which was recording by police body cameras. The city settled for $650,000.
Taube was Hickman’s supervisor. Then-city manager Gary Jackson said Taube didn’t immediately review body camera video or share case notes.
The city has said Taube doesn’t have a viable case.
Venomous Portuguese men-of-war appear on N Carolina beach
EMERALD ISLE, N.C. (AP) – Police say venomous Portuguese men-of-war have washed up on a North Carolina beach.
News outlets report the creatures often mistaken for jellyfish have appeared on popular beaches in the state over recent days. Officials in the town of Emerald Isle are warning people that even dead men-of-war can sting.
Emerald Isle police said Wednesday on Facebook that beachgoers shouldn’t touch the stranded men-of-war strewn on the sand. The department posted a photo showing more than a dozen of the critters scattered across several feet of shoreline.
According to National Geographic, the Portuguese man-of-war floats on the ocean surface and its tentacles are used to kill fish and other small prey. A man-of-war sting is very painful but rarely deadly to humans.
2 arrested for squatting in vacant home worth $2 million
DAVIDSON, N.C. (AP) – Police arrested two people who they say moved into a vacant $2 million home that once belonged to a North Carolina mayor and claimed to own it.
News outlets report Davidson Police Chief Penny Dunn said in a statement that 29-year-old Turmaine Tyron Thorne and 34-year-old Taqiyah Barber found a key to get into the house, unloaded personal items and furniture from a 26-foot truck, and moved in last Friday. They were arrested without incident.
Police said the two claim allegiance to the Moorish Nation, whose followers claim immunity from many federal and state laws.
Property records show the home is owned by the family of Russell Knox, a 14-year Davidson mayor who died in 2002.
Thorne and Barber are free on $2,000 bond after charges were filed against them.
SESSION OPENS-THE LATEST
The Latest: Hunt leaving to others to decide on ballot probe
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A new North Carolina House member says it’s up to election officials to decide whether more investigation is needed of mail-in absentee ballots cast in her close legislative race last fall.
Democratic Rep. Rachel Hunt of Mecklenburg County was seated Wednesday with the other legislators who won in November. A conservative Christian group late Tuesday had asked the chamber and Speaker Tim Moore to prevent her from taking her seat after providing documentation about what it called ballot “irregularities” in the 103rd House District. Hunt defeated incumbent Republican Bill Brawley by just 68 votes.
GOP Rep. David Lewis said Hunt was seated because she was duly certified as the winner by the state elections board and secretary of state. Lewis said there are procedures to remove a member if investigations later show the election was significantly tainted.
Hunt is the daughter of former four-term Gov. Jim Hunt
Ethics complaint filed against N Carolina speaker dismissed
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – An ethics complaint filed against North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore involving his business interests and interactions with state environmental regulators has been dismissed.
Moore released Wednesday last month’s dismissal from the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement. The board’s decision is generally confidential, but involved parties may disclose documents.
The head of the nonprofit Washington-based Campaign for Accountability filed the complaint last March. Daniel Stevens accused Moore of working to delay penalties against his company involving underground fuel tanks at an old poultry plant site the company was trying to sell, contributing to monetary gain.
The dismissal says board staff found relatively quick action by Moore’s company to address environmental problems, combined with the company’s failure to file a document, caused miscommunication over whether a delay was appropriate.