Lawyers reached a plea deal recently for Christopher Beatty, the North Carolina veteran arrested after a law enforcement officer thought his Arizona Iced Tea was filled with alcohol.
In case you aren’t familiar with Beatty’s story, here is what took place. On April 27, 2013, Beatty was outside of a North Carolina ABC store while waiting for a friend to arrive. He was drinking an Arizona Iced Tea. As he was outside, an undercover law enforcement officer approached Beatty and asked if there was alcohol in his iced tea can. The officer failed to show his badge before asking Beatty the question.
Beatty refused to let the officer take his can. He and a friend recording the incident insisted that the can was just a can of iced tea and that, accordingly, they were under no obligation to prove otherwise to the officer.
The officer apparently didn’t like Beatty’s response. He took him to the ground and handcuffed him for trespassing.
Now, almost a year later, attorneys involved in the case are proposing a plea deal to Beatty. They want him to accept misdemeanor charges of trespassing and resisting an officer. The charges would place Beatty on probation for a year and order him to perform 24 hours of community service, undergo a mental health assessment, and be subject to warrantless searches and drug testing. His charges would then be dropped after one year.
Beatty, who maintains he never did anything wrong, is in a bind. The charges already cost him his job, he says. If he doesn’t accept the plea deal, the trial and his charges will remain open for another year. This will further prevent him from finding a new job.
"It would get it dismissed at the end, but I would still have to take responsibility for my actions, and I felt like I did nothing wrong," Beatty said.
“I did too much for my country for this to happen to me,” he said in an interview. “I served over five years in the military. I went to Afghanistan. It’s time for somebody to stand up and do what’s right for me and everybody else that this happens to.”
A registered sex offender in North Carolina was arrested for posing as a podiatry student and sucking a woman’s toes at a Lincolton Walmart.
Michael Brown, 31, was charged with misdemeanor assault after he was caught on surveillance video approaching 37-year-old Erika Porras.
Brown allegedly said he was training to become a podiatrist and asked if he could help her try on shoes.
"He said, ‘Follow me to shoe department,'” Porras told WCNC-TV.
Porras believed he worked at the store.
"He said, ‘I need to take a picture for research,’ and when he did, he stuck her foot in his mouth,” Porras’ daughter told the station.
When she jerked away, Brown apologized and offered to buy Porras’ groceries.
"I said, 'What's wrong with you?'" Porras recalled.
She ran away to find her husband and call police.
In 2001, Brown was convicted of breaking into a house and sucking a woman’s toes. Previous charges also include separate assaults on females.
A hunter in North Carolina just bagged himself a year’s worth of bacon.
Jett Webb shot and killed a 500-pound boar on Feb. 28. Webb tracked the beast for well over a month before he was able to kill it.
"It was very surreal,” Webb told WSPA. “It was a shock. It was very humbling to say the least, when you walk up on a beast that big and you say, 'Oh my gosh. I had no idea that there could be something that big running around the woods of Eastern North Carolina.’"
Webb first spotted the huge pig in January. According to White Oak Ranch Hunting Club President Mike Mansell, hunters from the club have tracked the hog for over six years.
“We have pictures of him going back to 2011. He was a hard one to get on the ground for he moved around a great deal,” Mansell said. “These hogs are smart; we stay scent free, watch the wind and hunt from elevated stands.”
Webb immediately recognized the boar after spotting it.
"The Mohawk down the back,” Webb describes, “the tusks, really lean, the muscular big front end. This is far from a domesticated docile pig that we're used to."
Webb opted to harvest the meat of his behemoth kill. He estimates the hog will feed his family for a year or so.
"We’re not going to waste anything,” Webb says. “So that pig will provide food for me and my family for a good year."
The huge boar weighed at least 500 pounds. Webb says the pig bottomed out a scale with a 500-pound max. The scale maxed out while the boar's head and shoulders were still on the floor.
Boar hunting is legal year-round in North Carolina. The animals are an invasive species in the area that wreak havoc on native wildlife and agriculture. Mansell estimates that the problematic species is doubling its population in the state each year.
As massive as Webb’s boar is, it’s no world record. In 2007, an 11-year-old boy in Alabama killed a boar weighing in at over 1,000 pounds.
Check out these pictures of the beast:
11Sheriff Sent Cops Violent Video Game Premised On Shooting Mexican Children, Pregnant Women, DOJ Says
Federal prosecutors say a North Carolina sheriff accused of illegally targeting Latino drivers also shared a bloody video game with employees where players shot Mexican children, pregnant women, and other “wetbacks” who attempted to cross the border.
After a year-long investigation, the Department of Justice found that Alamance County Sheriff Terry S. Johnson sent his subordinates a link to a game “premised on shooting stereotypical Mexican figures, including pregnant women and children, as they attempt to cross the U.S. border.”
“Blood splatters on the screen as the figures are shot, and the final screen of the game shows how many ‘wetbacks’ one has killed,” the government motion said.
Johnson and his staff are accused of a long list of racist policies including ticketing, arresting and searching Latinos for more often than others.
“After a stop is made, Latinos are 250 percent more likely to receive a citation, 50 percent more likely to face arrest, and 20 percent more likely to be searched than comparable drivers from other ethnic backgrounds. Infra at 12. And Latinos comprise 37 percent of drivers stopped at ACSO’s checkpoints despite making up less than 9 percent of the driving population,” the motion stated.
The DOJ says several deputies and supervisors shared the link to the violent game along with racist jokes.
“Sergeant Darryl Myers and Lieutenant Wesley Anderson each forwarded an email joking that when Davey Crockett saw ‘hordes of Mexicans’ approaching the Alamo, he asked ‘are we having landscaping done today?’” the court filing said.
In another email training officer Richard Longamore complained about temporary visas being given to foreign nationals when they are victims of violent crimes like rape, incest and torture.
Johnson is not charged with a crime and the federal court has no way to remove an elected official from office.
Johnson is currently seeking re-election to another four-year term this November.
American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina staff attorney Raul Pinto says Johnson should settle the federal suit and take any recommended sanctions.
“The abhorrent and unconstitutional practices outlined in this motion should not be tolerated in our state and cannot be allowed to continue,” Pinto said. “All residents of Alamance County deserve fair and equal treatment from their law enforcement officers.”
Alamance County Sheriff's Department deputies in North Carolina shared a racist video game called Border Patrol via email, claims the U.S. Justice Department.
The U.S. Justice Department says the video game is part of an ongoing pattern of racism by Sheriff Terry S. Johnson's department, which has allegedly been detaining and arresting Hispanic drivers without probable cause, noted WMFY News 2 (video below).
The game encourages players shoot Mexican people entering the United States illegally, including children and pregnant women.
“Captain Mario Wiley emailed several other ACSO employees a link to a game premised on shooting stereotypical Mexican figures, including pregnant women and children, as they attempt to cross the U.S. border," the Associated Press reports that the U.S. Justice Department stated. "Blood splatters on the screen as the figures are shot, and the final screen of the game shows how many ‘wetbacks’ one has killed.”
The U.S. Justice Department also claims Johnson failed to discipline Wiley in an example of "a total lack of discipline for expressing anti-Latino sentiment."
In December 2013, the U.S. Justice Department filed a lawsuit against Johnson after two studies found that Hispanic drivers were six times more likely to be stopped by law enforcement in Alamance County.
The feds also state that deputies told each other racist jokes via email while discussing the video game.
A child abuse case so shocking that it changed North Carolina law books is coming to a close. On Wednesday, closing arguments for the Joshua Houser – Kilah Davenport case took place in North Carolina court.
Houser is accused of slamming the young Davenport’s head into a wall “like a battering ram” in a May 2012 attack. Davenport was just three years old at the time. She is left with permanent brain damage. Her brain was so swollen following the alleged attack that doctors had to remove large portions of her skull.
Houser was Kilah’s step-father at the time of the incident. According to prosecutors, the 24-year-old man lost his temper after Kilah soiled herself. They claim he picked Kilah up and rammed her head into a sheetrock wall. Kilah nearly died from the incident and remains severely impaired to this day. She is confined to a wheelchair and cannot speak.
But according to Houser and defense attorney Miles Helms, Houser never smashed the girl’s head into a wall. Helms claims Kilah accidentally fell down the stairs. When he called 911 after her fall, Houser says the operator couldn’t understand the address he was giving them so he punched the wall in frustration.
In response to the state’s claims, Houser said “I didn’t do it. I won’t admit to something I know I didn’t do.”
Helms asked prosecutors why, if Houser did slam the child into the wall, there was there no drywall residue in her hair. He also asked why no hand marks were found on the girl following the attack.
“It’s impossible this occurred the way the state said it occurred,” Helms argued.
Prosecutor Anne Reeves called Houser’s story far-fetched at best.
“You all are not fools,” she told the jury. “His story is ridiculous.”
Prosecutors pointed out that two strands of Kilah’s hair were found in the wall she was allegedly slammed into. Doctors examining Kilah’s injuries say they closely resemble those a child would suffer after being ejected from a car.
After Houser’s arrest, Kilah’s family and supporters pushed legislators for what is now known as “Kilah’s law.” The law, signed by North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory last April, increases punishments for people convicted of felony child abuse in the state. Prior to Kilah’s law, felony child abuse was punishable with 44-123 months in prison. Now, the offense is punished with a 125-201 month prison sentence.
“This is no doubt probably the most emotional bill I’ll sign as governor,” McCrory said at the signing. “Kilah, you’re beautiful. Thanks for helping us out.”
In the Bible, Jesus states in Matthew 25: 35-36, "For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me."
However, a sculpture outside St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Davidson, N.C. depicting a "Homeless Jesus" sleeping on a bench has offended some local Christians (video below).
The sculpture was created by Timothy P. Schmalz and was blessed by the Pope Francis in November 2013, reported CTV.
The sculpture shows Jesus wrapped in a blanket, with his wounded feet from the crucifixion showing.
"It's Jesus representing the most marginalized of society," Rev. Doctor David E. Buck, the rector at St. Alban's, told WCNC. "We're reminded of what our ultimate calling is as Christians, as people of faith, to do what we can individually and systematically to eliminate homelessness. Part of a faith commitment is to care or the needy."
However, local resident Cindy Castano Swannack is offended by the sculpture and called the police because she thought it was a real homeless person.
"Jesus is not a vagrant, Jesus is not a helpless person who needs our help," Swannack told WCNC. "We need someone who is capable of meeting our needs, not someone who is also needy."
Rev. Buck has no plans to move it and told DavidsonNews.net, “It’s here because it’s wonderful art that reminds, with this beautiful [church] here, that our faith is expressed through our concern and care for the homeless. We think it’s the perfect place for it.”
While North Carolina deals with unprecedented winter storms that have already caused a huge amount of problems (most notably the cancellation of the Duke vs. UNC basketball game), a group of high school students in the state are struggling with a different issue.
Teens of varying class levels at Pisgah High School in Waynesville, N.C., wanted to form a group for secular students. When they approached the school administration with the idea, however, assistant principal Connie Weeks responded that she was unable to find a faculty sponsor for the group. She also claimed that the group wouldn’t “fit in” with the rest of the clubs at the school.
Although the students were denied the opportunity to form their group at the local level, they do have support from national non-profit organizations. The Secular Student Alliance (SSA) exists in order to provide support for non-religious students, encouraging them to form communities at their local schools.
When the students discovered that they would not be allowed to form the group, they contacted the SSA. The organization, along with other groups like the American Civil Liberties Union and the Freedom From Religion Foundation, has publicly voiced support for the students. Despite sending letters to the school district, neither the students nor the organization has heard any news regarding their ability or right to start the group.
SSA representative August E. Brunsman IV explained that the organization would consider taking legal action if the school district does not respond.
“We always attempt to resolve situations like this by amicably informing the administrators of the rights of their secular students,” Brunsman said, according to Raw Story. "However, in this case, the administrators were entirely unresponsive. We have reached out to our partners at the Freedom From Religion Foundation to get the aid of their legal team in making sure secular students at Pisgah High School don’t face unequal treatment and discrimination."
Cash Wilson, the father of one of the students attempting to found the group, also claimed that he stood by his child’s efforts.
“As both a parent and secular activist, I am inspired by the tenacity of these teenagers who didn’t cower in their corners but instead contacted their friends and advocates at the SSA," Wilson said. "A secular club is a welcome addition to any school, but especially a school here in the zealous mountains of North Carolina. It will help secular students no longer feel alone and ostracized. My full respect and admiration to the student activists, the fine folks at SSA, the FFRF legal team, and the North Carolina ACLU."
The North Carolina students have eerily similar counterparts across the pond, as a group of British students was recently blocked by its university from displaying an image of the Flying Spaghetti Monster at a school fair.
A 17-month-old North Carolina girl is expected to recover after being shot by her 3-year-old brother on Thursday morning.
The weapon used was a .9-millimeter handgun, which belongs the children’s father, Justin Carper, who writes a parenting column for the Shelby Star.
Renovations were being made to the family’s home and the gun was sitting on a dresser. The 3-year-old allegedly climbed the dresser to retrieve the gun and shot his sister.
Their mother called 911 around 11:30 a.m., but when first responders arrived they found she had already rushed the child to Cleveland Regional Medical Center in Shelby.
The girl was hit in the arm, and no major bones or organs were injured.
“She’s a tough little girl,” Carper told the Gaston Gazette. “My mind is pretty much blown.”
Carper was not arrested or charged with any crime on Thursday night, WSOC-TV reported.
The incident is still under investigation by the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies said they will contact the district attorney.
“We’re compiling the case and will present the case to the D.A. to determine if any charges will be filed for failure to secure a firearm,” said Cleveland County Sheriff’s Capt. Joel Shores.
“Regardless of the outcome, the parents have been punished more than any criminal justice system can do to them by this happening,” Shores added.
Carper says his daughter was already using the injured arm to feed herself in the hospital.
“It went through the top of her shoulder,” he said. “She was feeding herself using that shoulder, using that arm. The bullet went straight through. You wouldn’t even know. Doctor after doctor have told us that there’s nowhere else the bullet could have gone that would have ended up with this story.”
The family expects her to be released from the hospital Friday.
A North Carolina police officer was indicted on manslaughter charges Monday for shooting and killing a mentally ill teen just 70 seconds after arriving on the scene.
Southport Police Officer Bryon Vassey allegedly told two other officers at the Brunswick county home “we don’t have time for this” when he Tasered and fatally shot 18-year-old Keith Vidal in front of his family on Jan. 5.
Three officers, all from different precincts, responded to a mental health call made by Vidal’s family. His stepfather, Mark Wilsey, can be heard on the 911 call stating that Vidal was trying to fight his mother and was carrying a screwdriver.
"We wanted him to put the screwdriver down because he does have schizophrenia and we didn't know if he was gonna hurt himself," said his mother, Mary Wilsey.
The family says two other officers arrived before Vassey and had restrained the 90-pound teen and calmed him down.
Anthony Owens, a spokesman for the family, said Vidal was “becoming more rational.”
Then Vassey arrived at 12:48 pm, and 70 seconds later a Brunswick County EMS unit standing by advised that shot were fired.
"An officer from another town (Vassey) entered the residence and instructed the officers to stop talking and tase Vidal," Owens said in a statement. "As Vidal tried to flee into the bathroom adjacent to where he was standing, the two officers simultaneously shot him with their Tasers."
His stepfather says the teen was reaching for the screwdriver when the other two cops, Boiling Spring Lakes Officer John Thomas and Brunswick County Sheriff’s Deputy Samantha Lewis, leapt on top of him.
Then Vassey shot into the pile, fatally wounding Vidal in the chest.
The Brunswick County grand jury indicted Vassey Monday. His bond is set at $50,000.
Southport Police Chieg Jerry Dove said the nine-year veteran had no prior disciplinary actions taken again him. He’s been on paid administrative leave since the incident.
He has until Wednesday to surrender, according to a press released from District Attorney Jon David’s office.