Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. EDT
ALARM TRIPPED-HOMEOWNER HANDCUFFED
Black man handcuffed after home alarm accidentally tripped
(Information from: WTVD-TV, http://abclocal.go.com/wtvd/)
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Police in North Carolina say they’re investigating the actions of officers who handcuffed a black man in his boxer shorts after his burglar alarm was accidentally tripped.
ABC 11 reported Sunday that Kazeem Oyeneyin is seeking an apology for the Aug. 17 incident.
The 31-year-old said a friend stayed over and unknowingly tripped the alarm when he left. Oyeneyin disengaged the alarm and returned to bed.
Oyeneyin said he soon heard screaming. He grabbed his gun and encountered police downstairs. He complied with orders to drop his gun, for which he had a permit. He tried to explain that he had just spoken to the alarm company.
Oyeneyin believes he was handcuffed because of his skin color. Raleigh police said they’re investigating but have repeatedly failed to reach Oyeneyin to discuss the incident.
RACIAL JUSTICE ACT-HEARINGS
NC death row prisoners to argue sentences tainted by race
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s highest court is to hear from six death row inmates who say a repealed law on race and capital punishment should still let them be resentenced life without parole.
The state Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments Monday and Tuesday in the cases of four death row inmates who briefly were resentenced to life without parole when legislators approved the Racial Justice Act in 2009. Legislators repealed the law in 2013.
Justices also are to hear from attorneys for two other death row prisoners whose Racial Justice Act claims weren’t decided before the law’s repeal.
Under the act, condemned men and women could seek a life sentence by using statistics to show that race tainted their trials.
Of the 142 people on North Carolina’s death row, about 36% are white.
Deal reached to do away with more standardized testing in NC
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina legislators have reached a compromise on doing away with more standardized testing in public schools.
The House and Senate hammered out an agreement between competing bills and scheduled final votes on the measure on Monday evening. If approved, the agreement would go to Gov. Roy Cooper’s desk.
The legislation would end more than 20 end-of-course exams covering mostly high school subjects next school year. State law currently doesn’t require these “North Carolina Final Exams,” which had been used to comply with previous federal mandates.
The bill directs school districts to review local testing requirements periodically and reduce them if they exceed the statewide average. And local boards can’t require students to complete graduation projects unless they agree to reimburse disadvantaged students up to $75 of project expenses.
NC deputies: Truck hauling stolen watermelons gets stuck
ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. (AP) – Sheriff’s deputies in North Carolina say they responded to a call of a possible crop theft to find a suspect stuck in the middle of a field trying to haul off a truckload of stolen watermelons.
The Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post that a deputy and a sergeant responded to a call about the possible fruit heist about 60 miles (96 kilometers) outside Raleigh on Friday. That’s when they found Michael Anthony Bryant and his pickup stuck in the middle of a field with dozens of reportedly stolen watermelons in the back.
Officers arrested Bryant and charged him with misdemeanor larceny.
He was given a $500 bond and placed in a detention center.
TVA POWER PLAN
Tennessee Valley Authority envisions no major new plants
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – The Tennessee Valley Authority board of directors has approved a 20-year plan that includes no new major generating plants.
The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports the plan approved last week envisions getting more power out of existing nuclear, gas and hydroelectric units. It also includes more solar, backed up by improved energy storage and other new technologies.
TVA will also continue studying the possibility of building small modular nuclear reactors.
Environmental groups are disappointed with the plan. The Southern Environmental Law Center’s Amanda Garcia says it doesn’t do enough to encourage rooftop solar and efficiency.
She says, “TVA is missing a huge opportunity to chart a different course.”
TVA is the nation’s largest public utility, providing power to more than 10 million people in parts of seven Southern states.
Wrongly convicted man celebrates freedom
(Information from: The Daily Reflector, http://www.reflector.com)
GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) – A man who went to prison as a teenager convicted of murder and came out as a grandfather with no charges against him says he’s getting to know the family that’s new to him.
The Daily Reflector in Greenville reports a celebration was held Friday for Dontae Sharpe, the 44-year-old man released from prison the day before.
Sharpe was 19 when he was sent to prison for the 1994 murder of 33-year-old George Radcliffe. He maintained his innocence throughout, and the NAACP argued for his release for years.
He was released from a Pitt County courtroom when a judge ordered a new trial at the end of a hearing. The prosecutor then said she wouldn’t pursue a retrial.
SHERIFF’S SERGEANT SENTENCED
Former sheriff’s office sergeant sentenced for firearms
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A former sergeant with a sheriff’s department in North Carolina has been sentenced to four years behind bars following an investigation found that he stole firearms and drugs.
U.S. Attorney Robert Higdon said in a news release earlier this week that an investigation found that 35-year-old Brandon Scott Hawks of Ayden stole firearms and drugs when he was a sergeant with the Gates County Sheriff’s Office. In February, Hawks pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of a stolen firearm.
The State Bureau of Investigation led the probe, which found the drugs and firearms were stolen between roughly 2014 and 2017. It also found that Hawks stole or mishandled illegal drugs, including heroin and crack cocaine.
After he’s released from prison, Hawks will be on supervised release for three years.
Trump criticizes North Carolina governor on immigration bill
President Donald Trump has criticized North Carolina’s governor for vetoing a bill that would have required the state’s sheriffs to recognize requests by federal immigration agents to hold jail inmates believed to be in the country illegally.
Trump tweeted Saturday that Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto was “a terrible decision.” He tweeted that the North Carolina Democrat “should reverse his decision and get back to the basics of fighting crime!”
Cooper described the measure as unconstitutional and politically motivated.
The detainers ask that a suspect be held up to 48 hours for pickup. They aren’t arrest warrants, so currently they can be ignored. The bill’s Republican sponsors said sheriffs should work with ICE.
Trump is in France for an international summit.