By Victoria Cavaliere SEATTLE (Reuters) - A big rally was planned in Seattle on Wednesday over the fatal police shooting of an unarmed Mexican immigrant who ran from officers in Washington state after throwing rocks at them, and whose death has prompted calls for a federal probe. The Feb. 10 slaying of Antonio Zambrano-Montes in Pasco, a city of about 68,000 people, half of whom are Hispanic, in largely agricultural southeastern Washington, has drawn condemnation by the Mexican government. Protesters have gathered in Pasco for the past week, accusing the police department of excessive force and heavy-handed tactics when dealing with the Hispanic community, many of whom immigrated to the area to work as agricultural laborers. Zambrano-Montes, a 35-year-old orchard worker from Mexico's Michoacan state, was unarmed when he was shot dead by three officers whom he had pelted with rocks before fleeing in an incident captured on video, law enforcement said.
(Reuters) - A prosecutor went to court on Wednesday to try to block Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf's temporary reprieve of a convicted murderer who is set to be executed on March 4, part of the governor's recent moratorium on the death penalty. The petition that Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams filed with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court said Wolf's reprieve of Terrance Williams "is unconstitutional, illegal and should be declared null and void." The Democratic governor declared a moratorium on the state's death penalty on Feb. 13 and said he awaited a report from a 2011 legislative task force studying the effectiveness of capital punishment.
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The top prosecutor in Philadelphia filed a legal challenge Wednesday to Gov. Tom Wolf's death penalty moratorium, telling Pennsylvania's highest court that the action was illegal and unconstitutional.
By Shelby Sebens SALEM, Ore. (Reuters) - Liberal Democrat Kate Brown was sworn in as Oregon governor on Wednesday, pledging to restore trust in government after an influence-peddling scandal led to the resignation of her predecessor. Brown replaced fellow Democrat John Kitzhaber, who stepped down as his administration faced federal and state corruption investigations because of allegations that his fiancée, Cylvia Hayes, used her role in his office for financial gain. Brown, 54, who had been secretary of state, took the oath of office during a ceremony in the state House of Representatives in Salem, Oregon's capital, making her the nation's first openly bisexual governor. "Oregon has been in the national news for all the wrong reasons.
FARIBAULT, Minn. (AP) — A former nurse from Minnesota who admitted going online and encouraging people to kill themselves is out of jail.
WILKES-BARRE, Pa. (AP) — Man convicted of strangling pharmacist, girlfriend gets life in prison; bodies in his yard.
NEW YORK (AP) — The co-creator of sophisticated BlackShades malware pleaded guilty Wednesday to a criminal charge after authorities said his product infected over a half-million computers in more than 100 countries.
A road-rage incident that led to the killing of a Las Vegas woman began when her 15-year-old daughter honked at a speeding car, touching off an angry confrontation and armed pursuit between the two vehicles, police say. The latest account by police of the moments leading up to the death of Tammy Meyers paints a frightening picture of a running altercation between the suburban mom and her unknown assailant, who remains at large. "I would never say that anybody went looking for trouble and unfortunately I can't ask Tammy what was in her mind at time of her actions," Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Lieutenant Ray Steiber told reporters on Tuesday in describing the encounter.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A fire sparked by a train derailment in southern West Virginia smoldered for a third day Wednesday, keeping federal and state investigators at bay and leading residents near the site worrying about the long-term water quality of a nearby river.
By David Beasley ATLANTA (Reuters) - Atlanta’s ex-fire chief sued the city on Wednesday, seeking to get his job back after being ousted for writing a book critical of homosexuality, claiming he was terminated in violation of his rights to freedom of religion and speech. Kelvin Cochran's case has become a rallying point for conservatives and same-sex marriage opponents, who see his firing as an attack on religious freedom. In a 2013 book, he called homosexuality “vulgar” and “the opposite of purity.” “I was fired simply because of what I believe,” Cochran told reporters on Wednesday. “It’s unjust and it’s unconstitutional.” In the lawsuit, Cochran says the city violated his First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and religion.
A U.S. military appeals court on Wednesday threw out the conviction of Australian David Hicks on a terrorism-related charge, saying the activity for which he was convicted did not become a crime until years after he was captured in Afghanistan. Hicks, 39, pleaded guilty in 2007 to providing material support to terrorism after acknowledging he had trained at an al Qaeda camp in Afghanistan and met al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Hicks was repatriated to Australia in 2007 shortly after pleading guilty. Army Lieutenant Myles Caggins, a Pentagon spokesman for military commissions, said Hicks successfully appealed before the U.S. Court of Military Commissions Review on the grounds that a superior court had previously ruled the charge of providing material support to terrorism could not be used against people whose actions took place before 2006.
A building encased in ice after a fire in West Philadelphia will have to be torn down.
The county judge who appointed a special prosecutor to look into grand jury leaks told the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Wednesday that "the truth is crying to be heard."
Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams filed a legal challenge Wednesday to Gov. Tom Wolf's death penalty moratorium.
DENVER (AP) — Snowpack in the mountain valleys where the Colorado River originates was only a little below normal on Wednesday, marking one of the few bright spots in an increasingly grim drought gripping much of the West.
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) — A threatening letter that disparages black police officers has been found stuffed in mailboxes at a police department.
The largest U.S refinery workers strike since 1980 entered its 18th day on Wednesday as union and oil company representatives prepared to renew face-to-face negotiations over pay and safety, after a week's hiatus. Face-to-face talks between representatives of the United Steelworkers union (USW) and lead oil company negotiator Royal Dutch Shell Plc have been on hold as the company compiled a reply to an information request from the union and weighed a counterproposal from the union.
By Jarrett Renshaw NEW YORK (Reuters) - Exxon Mobil Corp's fluid catalytic cracker at its refinery in Torrance, California, was shut down following an explosion Wednesday, and will remain down while investigators determine the cause, regulators said. The California Department of Industrial Relations opened a probe into the cause of the blast, agency spokeswoman Julia Bernstein said Wednesday. The agency issued an order prohibiting Exxon Mobil from operating the 100,000-barrel-per-day fluid catalytic cracker - a central gasoline-producing unit - until the investigation is complete, Bernstein said. The company has not detailed the extent of the damage, if any, to the fluid catalytic cracker or to any other unit at the facility.
By Nichola Groom TORRANCE, Calif. (Reuters) - An explosion and fire ripped through a gasoline processing unit at an Exxon Mobil refinery in Torrance, California, near Los Angeles on Wednesday, slightly injuring four workers and shattering windows of surrounding buildings, authorities said. Investigators were trying to determine the cause of the blast, which occurred shortly before 9 a.m. PST (12 p.m. ET), but there was no evidence of foul play, according to Torrance Fire Captain Steve Deuel. "All personnel have been accounted for," Exxon Mobil said in a statement. "Four contractors have been taken to Long Beach Medical Center for evaluation for minor injuries." Torrance Mayor Patrick Furey told local television station KNBC in an interview that people who live near the refinery should take precautions.
BILOXI, Miss. (AP) — Rapper Afroman punched a female fan on stage during a concert and was charged with simple assault, police said.