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Records tied to ex-officers beating of black man subpoenaed
(Information from: The Asheville Citizen-Times, http://www.citizen-times.com)
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – The U.S. Attorney’s Office has subpoenaed records related to former Asheville Police Officer Chris Hickman’s beating of a black pedestrian.
The Asheville Citizen Times reports city officials handed over those records to federal prosecutors and a grand jury, which met Tuesday.
The earliest subpoena was on March 5, five days after the Citizen Times published leaked police body camera footage that showed Hickman choke and strike city resident Johnnie Rush while holding him on the ground after shocking him with a Taser.
Federal prosecutor R. Andrew Murray told Police Chief Tammy Hooper in a letter on March 6 that the U.S. Department of Justice was investigating “the possible deprivation of rights under color of law” involving officers.
Hickman was arrested two days later on charges including felony assault by strangulation.
CLINIC STAFFING SHORTAGE
Staffing shortages briefly close some N Carolina clinics
(Information from: The Charlotte Observer, http://www.charlotteobserver.com)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Staffing shortages forced a pair of Atrium Health urgent care clinics to close in North Carolina on April 1.
The Charlotte Observer reports that Atrium says this is the first time in three years it was unable to cover shifts at urgent care locations.
The closed clinics in Huntersville and Davidson are usually open every day. Atrium says its clinics are open 365 days a year, leaving 11,000 shifts to be covered. It says that out of last week’s 210 shifts, five shifts went uncovered “largely due to spring break in the Charlotte area.” It says it tries to offset temporary closures with online reservations at nearby locations and telehealth options, such as virtual visits.
According to Atrium’s website, it has 30 urgent care clinics in the Charlotte metro area.
BUSINESS I-40 PROJECT
Soil testing to cause closures on Business Interstate 40
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Ground testing related to the Business 40 Improvement Project is going to lead to alternating lane closures next week.
The N.C. Department of Transportation says contractors will alternate closing the eastbound and westbound lanes near Peters Creek Parkway beginning next Sunday. The alternating closures will continue through Wednesday, April 11.
NCDOT resident engineer Mezak Tucker said the soil testing is a critical part of determining the safety of the foundation along the construction site.
ORPHANED BEAR CUB
Orphaned bear cub found in N Carolina to get new home
(Information from: Times-News, http://www.blueridgenow.com)
SALUDA, N.C. (AP) – An orphaned bear cub is getting a new home after a hiker and his dog found it malnourished and alone.
Former Henderson County Extension Director Marvin Owings tells the Hendersonville Times-News that he and his 2-year-old black Lab Boomer were hiking Sunday evening when they found the cub. Owings says he left the cub alone hoping its mother would return.
But the cub was still alone when he and Boomer returned 30 minutes later. Owings says he doesn’t know what happened to the cub’s mother.
North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission game warden Toby Jenkins took the cub, which seemed to have gone days without eating. The 4-pound (1.81-kilogram) female cub was on its way to a wildlife rehabilitation facility Tuesday afternoon, and it had already gained more than a pound.
1 dead after police chase leads to crash in North Carolina
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – Authorities in North Carolina say one person is dead after a car being driven by a 15-year-old collided with another one at an intersection.
Fayetteville police tell local news outlets that a Cumberland County sheriff’s deputy was trying to stop a Kia with five people in it, but the car didn’t stop and collided with a Hyundai.
A statement from police said the Kia came to rest against a wooden fence and underneath a cross mounted on a building.
Two people in the Kia were thrown from the vehicle, including the one who died Tuesday at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center. Police said the second passenger was airlifted to UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill and was in critical condition
The wreck happened at 9:03 p.m. on Monday.
Lawsuit blames pork giant for noxious farm smells
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The world’s largest pork corporation is facing the biggest threat in decades to its low-cost, high-volume method of raising animals by discharging liquefied waste over croplands.
A hearing began Tuesday on a federal lawsuit that could force changes on the hog production division of Virginia-based Smithfield Foods. It’s the first of several nuisance lawsuits by more than 500 neighbors of industrial-scale hog operations in North Carolina, the country’s No. 2 pork-producing state.
Neighbors’ attorney Mark Kaeske (KAS-kee) says the contracts North Carolina farmers signed with Smithfield obligate them to use the inexpensive but smelly waste-disposal method. He says new, less-odorous technologies that have been adopted by the company at its location in Missouri.
Smithfield attorney Mark Anderson says the farmers who work for the company never faced complaints until out-of-state lawyers showed up.
POLICE SHOOTING-DOMESTIC-NORTH CAROLINA
Police identify suspect, officer in North Carolina shooting
GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) – Police have released the name of the suspect and a police officer in a shooting during a domestic dispute in North Carolina.
Greenville Police spokeswoman Kristen Hunter said in a news release that 41-year-old Brian Bellamy was shot and killed early Sunday by an officer who responded to the call of a woman who said a man attacked her with a knife.
Hunter said Antonio Webb was confronted by Bellamy, whom he ordered to drop the knife. Police said earlier when the suspect refused to drop the knife, the officer backed away. Investigators said the officer fired when the suspect continued to approach.
Webb was not hurt. He is black, as was Bellamy.
Hunter said 39-year-old LaKeysha Johnson, remains hospitalized in Greenville.
Webb is on leave. State police are investigating.
Warrant: Mom admits she put marijuana blunt in child’s mouth
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A search warrant says a North Carolina mother confessed to letting her 1-year-old child smoke pot in a social media video that went viral.
The warrant released Monday allows police to take pictures of the Raleigh apartment where investigators say 20-year-old Brianna Ashanti Lofton helped her daughter inhale marijuana.
A version of the video that’s received millions of views shows the hand of an adult off-screen holding a cigarillo to the child’s lips. The child coos and appears to inhale before letting out a puff of smoke.
Police say Facebook users alerted them to the smoking child videos.
Lofton is charged with child abuse, marijuana possession and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Her lawyer didn’t return an email seeking comment.