Indiana man Anthony Hopkins, 27, is both in jail and in the news today after he reportedly spit blood into a police officer’s face and told the officer he had Hepatitis C.
The incident took place on April 12, as Hopkins was in the process of being arrested after he fought another person and fled from police. When police finally found Hopkins in a nearby basement crawl space, they had to call in a K9 officer to get him out.
After coming out of the crawl space, Hopkins reportedly said “F-ck you, I hope you die” to an officer. Then, as the officer was leading Hopkins out of the basement, the man resisted the officer and the two went tumbling down the stairs. It was then that Hopkins spit blood into the mouth and face of the officer.
Upon arriving at the squad car, Hopkins said “You know I have Hep C. I hope you get Hep C and give it to your wife and kids. Once I get out of here I am going to kill you and your family.”
Officers found Hopkins had a BAC level of 0.16 after testing him, which is twice the legal driving limit. He is being charged with bodily waste, intimidation, resisting law enforcement, and disorderly conduct. It has not yet been confirmed if he truly has Hepatitis C.
Since 2007, Hopkins has been convicted of burglary, battery, receiving stolen property, and driving while intoxicated.
A sheriff in a small town in Indiana says dozens of county correction and patrol officers are leaving to work in factories and fast food restaurants because he’s unable to pay them more.
Sheriff Brad Rogers of the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department says a spending freeze is causing a staffing crisis that will ultimately impact emergency services.
"We've cut over $1 million out of the sheriff's department's budget over the past 5 or 6 years. It comes to the point where if we need to cut anymore, it's gonna cut into personnel,” Rogers told the Elkhart Truth.
Rogers pleaded with the Elkhart County Council on April 12 to amend an ordinance so he could increase officer pay.
“In 2008 the county council basically froze all raises, so for the last five years we’ve not been able to keep up,” he explained.
Pay at the department is the lowest in the region. In the last several years, dozens of staff have left to find better wages.
“That complicates issues when our public expects the sheriff’s department to be at a level of service and provide them with professionalism in responding to calls and violent situations,” Rogers said.
County Commissioner Mike Yoder claims the county is $9 million underfunded this year and it’s only going to get worse if taxes aren’t increased.
"The County Council will have to look at some sort of an income tax increase for 2015,” Yoder told Fox 28.
Rogers said his biggest fear would be cutting major services to the public.
“My main concern is to run the jail and to protect the citizens as much as I possibly can, but I can’t do it all myself,” Rogers said. “That could include reducing lobby hours for people visiting inmates. It could mean that we don’t respond to certain types of calls."
The fate of the department lies in the hands of the county council.
“One of the questions is whether or not they’re going to take this seriously and whether to prioritize the pots of money that are within county government to make sure that county service is maintained,” he said.
Signaling possible changes on the horizon for marriage equality in Indiana, a federal judge ruled Thursday that the state must recognize the out-of-state marriage between two women. The decision only applies to the marriage of Niki Quasney and Amy Sandler who were married in Massachusetts.
Quasney has stage 4 ovarian cancer and the couple asked U.S. District Court Judge Richard L. Young to issue a temporary restraining order that would force Indiana to recognize the marriage. Young agreed.
“We are so thankful that we can move forward and concentrate on being with each other. Our time together and with our daughters is the most important thing in the world to me,” Quasney said in a statement quoted in the The Journal Gazette of Ft. Wayne, Ind.
The couple’s attorney, Paul Castillo of Lambda Legal, a national gay rights group, said the judge likely issued the ruling because of Quasney’s terminal illness.
“No one can determine for sure how much time Niki has left. And it was certainly important to the couple to be recognized as married during the time she has remaining,” he said. “It was more of an urgency issue.”
The restraining order was sought because that process moves faster than others according to Castillo.
The quick decision though won’t affect the other lawsuits regarding gay marriage already pending in the state. Indiana law currently defines marriage as between one man and one woman.
That shouldn’t be the case according to Midori Fuji, an Indiana woman who lost her wife to ovarian cancer a few years ago. Although the couple had been married in Los Angeles in 2008 Indiana wouldn't recognize their marriage. Fuji had to pay $300,000 in estate taxes after her wife’s death — something a heterosexual widow would not have had to do. She filed a lawsuit against the state with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union in March and wrote a letter telling her story for the legal organization’s website.
Fuji’s case was one of three lawsuits regarding gay marriage filed in Indiana that month according to the Indianapolis Business Journal. The state’s Attorney General Greg Zoeller said he would defend against all challenges to the state’s marriage laws.
The restraining order issued for Quasney seems unlikely to change that. Spokesman for the attorney general’s office, Bryan Corbin, said as much in a statement after the ruling.
“County clerks still are prohibited by law from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples,” he said.
It is unclear when decisions will be written for the pending cases.
The FBI has reportedly started to seize artifacts from a 91-year-old Indiana man’s home that they say are of extreme cultural value.
Don Miller says he’s been collecting rare artifacts for years and has traveled to 200 countries to get his hands on the items, but now, an FBI investigation revealed that he may have collected artifacts in violation of a number of different treaties.
"Over the last several months, an FBI investigation has determined that Mr. Miller may have knowingly and unknowingly collected artifacts, relics and objects of cultural patrimony in violation of several treaties federal and state statutes,” said Special Agent in Charge Robert Jones.
Reports claim that the historic relics are kept in several buildings on Miller’s central Indiana property and that once agents determine which artifacts need to be confiscated, they will begin the process of getting them back to where they came from.
“[It is] our duty to ensure they are properly identified, safeguarded, collected and stored in a manner that allow us to eventually to return them to those Native American and other nations and cultural groups who have legitimate rights to ownership,” said Jones.
Authorities aren’t able to confirm exactly how many artifacts there are in the storage spaces, but they do say that their value goes beyond any sort of monetary amount.
"The exact number of artifacts in the collection is unknown at this time, but it's believed to be in the thousands," said Jones. "The monetary value of the entire collection and of its individual pieces is yet to be determined; however, the cultural value of these artifacts is immeasurable."
Despite the FBI’s claims, Miller vehemently maintains that he is the rightful owner of every single item and that he obtained them completely legally.
“He is being cooperative, and so far, everything is going well,” said FBI spokesman Paul Bresson.
Those who have met Miller and viewed his artifacts said they were shocked that the 91-year-old was being investigated by the FBI.
“I’m just thinking about this wonderful man that I had met three years ago, and I’ll never forget him and all the stories he told us,” said Melissa Kleiman. “I just can’t imagine him doing anything wrong on purpose.”
The FBI investigation is ongoing, and so far, agents have yet to comment on the progress they’ve made since starting to go through the artifacts.
Just days after announcing that a leak, which spilled oil into Lake Michigan, had been stopped and the oil contained, British Petroleum doubled its estimate of the size of the spill.
The leak was discovered Monday, according to a Chicago Tribune story, and cleanup crews went into action to contain the spill.
NPR quoted a BP press release describing the cleanup efforts.
"Lines of boom have been deployed to contain the oil and wind has blown oil toward the shore, where crews are vacuuming it out of the water and cleaning the limited quantities that have reached land between the refinery's wastewater treatment plant and a nearby steel mill," the statement said.
Original estimates put the volume of the spill at 18 barrels but new estimates now put the quantity at 39 barrels, or 1,638 gallons of crude oil.
This is the first spill from the refinery, located in Whiting, Ind., and it comes on the heels of BP’s completion of a contested $4 billion overhaul of the facility. Those upgrades were undertaken to help BP refine oil from the heavy tar sands being delivered from Canada.
Senators Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Mark Kirk, R.-Ill. wrote a letter to John Minge, the top U.S. official for BP, asking for a meeting to discuss the facility in the leak’s aftermath.
“This spill raises questions about the long-term safety and reliability of BP’s new, expanded production at Whiting,” the letter read. “It is in all of our best interests … to ensure that this greater processing capacity will do no harm to Lake Michigan.”
The spill raised particular concerns for nearby Chicagoans. Lake Michigan supplies drinking water to 7 million residents of the city.
“There was a leak the other day, and they’re calling it minor,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel said Wednesday according to the website ThinkProgress. “I expect a full accounting to the public and the city of Chicago of the damage that was done, how much, what the cleanup efforts were, how comprehensive they have been and what actions the company will take to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”
The leak occurred just eight miles southeast of the freshwater intake for the city.
According to the Chicago Tribune, no Indiana officials have commented on the spill.
A malfunction at a BP refinery in Whiting, Ind., spilled crude oil into Lake Michigan before it was discovered.
The malfunction was found around 4:30 p.m. on Monday, according to BP spokesman Scott Dean.
The problem caused oil from the Whiting Refinery’s “cooling water outfall” to spill into the cove between the wastewater treatment plant and the steel mill.
It is unclear how much crude oil was spilled. No one was injured.
"The discharge has stopped," Dean said, "and BP and its response team have deployed boom, containing the oil to a cove."
Dean said “a couple of booms” were put in the water and the oil sheen was no longer visible in the water early Tuesday.
He said BP promptly reported the incident to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management and the U.S. Coast Guard.
State and federal environmental officials are at the scene as cleanup is reportedly underway.
Another spill cleanup is underway off the coast of Texas after an oil barge collided with a ship in Galveston Bay Saturday spilling over 150,000 gallons of tar-like oil.
A study from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration published Monday shows the affects of oil on fish in the wake of the 2010 BP oil spill off the Coast of Louisiana, when the Deepwater Horizon oilrig exploded and oil spewed into the Gulf for 87 days.
Researchers tested embryos exposed to the same concentration of oil and found "severely malformed and malfunctioning hearts.”
Midori Fujii married her wife, Kris Brittain, in Los Angeles in 2008. Three years later, Brittain died of ovarian cancer. Because that marriage was not recognized in the couple’s home state of Indiana, Fuji is being forced to pay $300,000 in inheritance tax on the property that was left to her by her partner.
The American Civil Liberties Union hopes to change that. On Friday, the organization filed a lawsuit on behalf of Fuji in Indiana. Had the state recognized the couple’s marriage, Fuji would not have been required to pay any inheritance tax, said her attorney, Sean Lemieux.
"When you've spent your lives together, saving, building assets, protecting yourself, to have that then go into taxes because your marriage is disrespected is not only emotionally insulting but financially harmful," he said in a recent Associated Press story.
In a letter posted on the ACLU’s website, Fuji detailed the couple’s story.
“The state’s refusal to recognize my marriage to Kris is about more than economic hardship and logistical burdens,” she wrote. "My best friend, the woman I loved with all my heart, died. In my grief, I am denied the comfort and dignity of being acknowledged as Kris' wife, and now widow."
Fuji’s lawsuit is one of three federal lawsuits filed in Indiana last week challenging the state’s ban on gay marriages. One of the suits seeks to extend pension funds to same-sex spouses who are married to police officers or firefighters. The third suit was filed on behalf of two same-sex couples, married in another state, who are now in the midst of divorce.
In a statement quoted in USA Today, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller said he would defend the Indiana statute.
"When plaintiffs who disagree with an Indiana statute file a challenge in court, I have a duty as Indiana's attorney general to defend our state and the statute the legislature passed to the best of my skill and ability — and will do so here, both now and on any appeal," the statement read.
The statement likely reinforces Lemieux’s concerns. He said recently that “the government is a powerful teacher of discrimination.”
"There is no justification for Indiana to treat these families as second-class citizens,” Lemieux added.
The Mounds Mall in Anderson, Ind. has posted signs at entrances that instruct shoppers to lower their hoodies.
The signs state, "For the safety and well-being of everyone, please lower your hoodie” (video below).
“It was requested by local law enforcement," Mounds Mall general manager Braun Roosa told the Herald Bulletin. "It is for security and ID purposes only. We don’t ask them to remove the hoodie, just lower it.”
Roosa said the new rule is just like banks that ban sunglasses. He added that the hoodie rule has been in effect since 2004.
That came as news to shoppers, some of whom are offended by the hoodie signs.
“It is mainly the younger generations that wear hoodies,” mall shopper Ranny Hinton Jr. told INC Now. “I don’t think they should have it on there at all. There ain’t nothing on there about ski masks or beanies. Why does it matter about hoodies?”
Hoodies made headline news last year when unarmed black teen Trayvon Martin, who wore a hoodie, was shot and killed by George Zimmerman.
The mall also does not allow firearms, gang-related items or backpacks.
“It makes me question the security and what prompted them to put those kinds of signs up and what has this place turned into,” shopper Cynthia Potter stated. “They are being ‘hoodie’ specific. That is what the younger kids wear all the time.”
A 25-year-old Indiana mother pleaded guilty this week to selling her baby eight different times so a man could have sex with the infant.
Natasha Hillard faces a minimum of 30 years in prison for renting out her baby, who was between 4 and 16 months old at the time, for sex to 40-year-old Christopher M. Bour.
Hillard, who has two daughters, was reportedly in the room for seven of the eight sexual encounters. The eighth time she allowed the man to sexually abuse the infant without her supervision.
Federal officers were tipped off by a masseuse, who said she saw child pornography in Bour’s Gary home. He later asked the masseuse to take picture of him having sex with the infant, which he said he had Hillard’s permission to do.
"I was just seeing if u would hold the camera," he texted the woman, according to the indictment.
He described in graphic detail the sexual perversions he had planned and wrote the woman, “It’s the best sex I ever had.”
Hillard met Bour through a dating service in 2011, the New York Daily News reported. Federal authorities say she also let Bour take sexual photographs of her 3-year-old daughter.
Bour is expected to plead guilty at a federal court appearance on Thursday.
Josh Duggar, one of the 19 children of Jim and Michelle Duggar, first became known to the public on his family's reality TV show “19 Kids and Counting."
These days, the 25-year-old works as an Executive Director at the pro-Christian, anti-gay Family Research Council (FRC).
Duggar recently announced on the FRC's radio show "Washington Watch" that he would be hosting the program from the Indiana state capitol on Monday, one day before lawmakers vote on the Marriage Protection Amendment (audio below).
According to Reuters, the Marriage Protection Amendment would put gay marriage up for a statewide vote in November.
Indiana State Rep. Eric Turner (R) claims that his amendment would provide additional protection from court challenges (assumming the conservative state votes against gay marriage).
GoodAsYou.org notes that on "Washington Watch" today, Duggar tried to rally his listeners to support the anti-gay amendment in the friendliest way possible (audio below).
"I'll be hosting Washington Watch live from Indianapolis Monday," said Duggar. "We're going to be talking with a number of people about some really good things that are going on and ways you can be involved."
"We have a very important vote coming up at the Indiana state house," added Duggar. "And we want you to be aware of what you need to do."
But the FRC press release was a bit more bold, warning against "activist judges" and the "detrimental impact" marriage equality would have against wedding vendors and other religious folks:
The (FRC) news conference will feature national and state leaders who will call on legislators to support the amendment, unchanged, and protect the definition of marriage from activist judges. The leaders will speak to the consequences of redefining marriage and its detrimental impact on the freedoms and livelihoods of wedding vendors and those in other professions who for religious or moral convictions will not recognize the redefinition of marriage.