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  • Man hurt in Pitt County duck hunting accident

    By WCTI Staff
    Published On: Nov 26 2014 12:50:09 PM CST
    Updated On: Nov 26 2014 12:55:38 PM CST
    PITT COUNTY -

    A man was injured in a duck hunting accident in Pitt County Wednesday morning.

    The accident happened near the intersection of Highways 264 and 43, said Gary Harrison with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.

    Harrison said a hunter had wounded a duck and fired a second shot at the bird. But after he fired, some of the pellets ricocheted off the water and hit the hunter's friend in the cheek. One pellet grazed the man while another went in, Harrison explained.

    The victim went to a hospital and is expected to be okay. Harrison said no charges will be filed.

  • Kohn: When white people riot

    By By Sally Kohn CNN Political Commentator
    Published On: Nov 20 2014 11:30:31 AM CST
    Updated On: Nov 20 2014 04:57:31 PM CST
    (CNN) -

    When black people protest against police violence in Ferguson, Missouri, they're thought of as a "mob."

    But when white people got up in arms at the Pumpkin Festival in Keene, New Hampshire, a few weeks ago -- for apparently no reason whatsoever -- they were merely accused of "disruptive behavior."

    The two situations -- protests in Ferguson and drunken violence in Keene -- are not equivalent. However, it's revealing how the two groups are perceived differently by society and and the media. How is it that the bad behavior of some black people is used to condemn an entire community, while the bad behavior of some white kids is excused and explained away? Maybe this is why residents of Ferguson protested in the first place.

    A grand jury will decide any day now whether to indict a police officer, Darren Wilson, who shot Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, this past August. In anticipation of possible violence, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has preemptively declared a state of emergency. It will last for 30 days unless Nixon extends it.

    Nixon is taking the precaution in light of the mass protests this summer over how the investigation into the shooting was being handled. The protests were largely peaceful, but there were some looters and other troublemakers. The police were widely criticized for their over-the-top militaristic response, including riot cops in tanks with automatic rifles pointed at the protesters.

    Police aggression made the protests worse. Slate's Jamelle Bouie, who was on the scene, tweeted, "This has been the consistent pattern. Unilateral police escalation prompts minor response from more volatile elements, justifying crackdown."

    Still, most protesters maintain an iron-clad commitment to nonviolence, which the New York Times noted in a detailed report.

    Yet, many on social media and some in the mainstream media continue to use the isolated actions of a small number of bad protesters to smear the entire community. The smears often carry a subtle, racially tinted message. "Stunning Photos From Violent Protests in Ferguson, Mo." read a headline on the conservative Daily Caller website, adding "Is This America?" "Ferguson Thugs Harass, Verbally Abuse Police Officers," read a headline on the conservative website RightScoop. "We know now that thugs are thugs," conservative radio host Laura Ingraham offered on Fox News.

    Now, let's turn to white protesters: In mid-October, during the annual Pumpkin Festival in the small New England town of Keene, New Hampshire, some white college kids apparently had too much to drink and turned violent. They were hurling broken glass and rocks at police (as well as, apparently, pumpkins). At least a dozen people were arrested and 30 injured, with 20 taken to area hospitals. The troublemakers seemed to revel in the chaos and damage they caused, with one telling a local newspaper, "It's just like a rush. You're revolting from the cops. It's a blast to do things that you're not supposed to do."

    "It demeans Ferguson and St. Louis to compare them to Pumpkin Fest," Professor Donna Murch of Rutgers University told CNN. Which is true -- and makes the contrast between how society perceives black and white behavior all the more striking. The protesters in Ferguson were airing legitimate grievances through mostly peaceful means and yet were denigrated, while the rioters in Keene were merely part of a party that "spun out of control" -- never mind that those in Keene were reportedly drunk and dangerous and disproportionately violent.

    The discrepancy is so jarring that none other than Twitchy, the notoriously lock-jawed right wing website, while managing to contort the incident to bash the supposedly liberal media, agreed, "Critics of the media do have a valid point. There probably are a lot of reasons for the difference in coverage, racial bias among them."

    Just days after the Pumpkin Fest, riots erupted in the largely white town of Morgantown, West Virginia. Why? Because West Virginia University's team beat Baylor at football. The rioters "lit fires, pushed over street lights and threw rocks, beer bottles and other items at police," reported the local news. Police and fire vehicles were damaged. Eight people were arrested.

    Were the riot police, the National Guard, or a state of emergency declared? No. the city is just considering a law to ban upholstered furniture from outdoor areas, since the "tradition" of setting fire to couches apparently fueled the protests.

    Could you imagine a news story about a black community with a "tradition" of burning couches? The media would be pointing out how they're "destroying their own community" and the right would make assertions about black people not deserving public assistance.

    And there's more. Earlier this year, students at the University of Minnesota rioted after their team lost the hockey championship. In 2013, Michigan State students rioted after their team won the Big Ten. The same year football fans at the State University of New York in Cortland rioted even before the game started. And in 2011, after the University of Connecticut won the national basketball championship, students rioted in the streets.

    These occurred in places with mostly white people. In these instance there were injuries, property damage and arrests. Why aren't we talking about the epidemic of sports-induced violence among white people? Why aren't we calling on state and federal agencies to crack down on their clearly destructive lifestyles?

    We don't yet know what the grand jury in Ferguson will decide and how the community will respond. But residents want a public trial with transparency and accountability. If the grand jury decides not to indict Officer Darren Wilson, protests can be expected. When that happens, let's think about the real pain that residents of Ferguson feel.

    And if there's any violence from a few angry demonstrators, let's keep things in perspective considering the marauding bands of rowdy white football fans and rioting Pumpkin kids.

  • Ferguson grand jury: What the witnesses said

    By By Emanuella Grinberg CNN
    Published On: Nov 25 2014 08:34:38 PM CST
    Updated On: Nov 26 2014 09:22:55 AM CST
    Michael Brown, Darren Wilson

    CNN

    (CNN) -

    Did Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson shoot Michael Brown dead as he staggered to the ground, hobbled by gunshot wounds? Or, did the 18-year-old aggressively charge at Wilson even after the officer ordered him to stop?

    A St. Louis County grand jury heard both versions and many more from dozens of witnesses who gave accounts of what happened on August 9, the day Wilson shot Brown to death in the middle of the street outside an apartment complex as dozens of people watched.

    The panel of nine white and three black members heard 70 hours of testimony from 60 witnesses and three medical examiners before declining to indict Wilson Monday in Brown's death. Their decision touched off riots and looting in the streets of Ferguson and St. Louis, and protests nationwide.

    After the decision was announced, the St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney's Office released transcripts of the proceedings, offering a rare glimpse into the closed-door hearing. It may have been a gesture of transparency, but the conflicting witness accounts, redacted police statements and contradictory autopsies only seemed to leave a murkier picture of what happened.

    When the grand jury first convened on August 20, St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch told panelists that he hoped to wrap up proceedings by mid-October. Instead, the panel sat for 25 days over three months as multiple jurisdictions investigated Brown's death. In that time, a grassroots social justice movement coalesced online, Brown's parents addressed the United Nations, and Wilson got married in secret.

    Some sticking points are beginning to emerge as CNN reviews the transcripts. What follows is a work in progress as we continue to read.

    When did Wilson start shooting?

    In Wilson's David-against-Goliath-like portrayal of the events, the six-year veteran of the force told the grand jury that he called for backup before he got out of his car. He feared for his life against the 6'4, 290-lb. Brown, likening the match-up to "a 5-year-old holding onto Hulk Hogan."

    Whether it was a tussle, a wrestling match, witnesses said they saw a confrontation between Brown and Wilson while Wilson was in his police SUV. Accounts varied regarding who was the aggressor, and not everyone heard gunshots that Wilson fired, by his own admission. But everyone saw Brown suddenly take off running east behind the car.

    What happened after Wilson stepped out of his car is unclear. Several witnesses testified that Wilson began shooting while Brown was running away from him.

    One witness claimed to watch from a bedroom window as Wilson shot at Brown as he ran in the opposite direction (volume 7, page 18). By the time the witness ran outside for a better look, Brown was "bent down" and facing Wilson with his arms tucked on his stomach, "so I'm thinking now he's shot," the witness told the jury.

    Another witness supported that claim, saying in an audio recording played for the grand jury that Wilson immediately began shooting after emerging from his vehicle (volume 7, page 86). The witness also said that a bullet appeared to strike Brown, "jerking his body."

    A different witness testified that Wilson got out of the vehicle with his gun drawn but did not point it at Brown until Brown turned around to face him (volume 6, page 166).

    Did Brown raise his hands in surrender?

    What happened after Brown turned around is also hotly disputed. Were his hands up -- as in clearly raised up and out -- in surrender? Or were his palms up, meaning was he looking at his body with his arms near his sides, not necessarily in a conciliatory gesture? Or, did he put his hand in the waist of his pants, as if moving toward a gun, as Wilson testified?

    The same witness who said Wilson did not open fire on Brown as he ran away also said that Brown made absolutely no motion to surrender.

    "He stopped. He did turn, he did some sort of body gesture," the witness testified. But, "it was not in a surrendering motion."

    "I could say for sure he never put his hands up after he did his body gesture, he ran towards the officer full charge. The officer fired several shots," the witness told the grand jury (volume 6, pages 166-167). In an earlier police statement, the witness admitted that his version differed from what others claimed to see, as bystanders traded stories on the street in the immediate aftermath.

    The same witness who claimed to see Brown's body jerk from a gunshot said Brown turned around and put his hands up.

    "And, the officer walks up to and continues to just shoot, shoot him until he falls to the ground," the witness said.

    "Even though his hands were up?" a detective asks on the recording.

    "Yes."

    Did Brown charge at Wilson?

    Wilson testified Brown came at him after turning around to face him.

    "As he is coming towards me, I tell, keep telling him to get on the ground, he doesn't. I shoot a series of shots," he told the grand jury.

    At least one witness agreed with Wilson, the one who said Brown ran toward the officer "full charge." Those who testified that Brown already had been wounded said the charge was more like a wounded stagger.

    "He was going down definitely," said the witness watching from the balcony. "And, the officer just let out a few more rounds to him and he hit the ground and that's when I seen blood." [volume 7, page 21]

    As he was taking small steps "like he was stumbling," the officer "lets out some more shots and that's when he hit the ground," the witness testified.

    Another witness said Brown made it about 25 to 30 feet when he turned to face the officer, who had exited his vehicle by then, and Brown raised his hands, "but he didn't raise them all the way up."

    As Wilson yelled "stop," Brown took two to three steps forward and "pow, pow," the witness said in a police statement that was read aloud to the grand jury.

    Wilson staggered forward with the "weirdest look on his face," the witness told police -- not a menacing look, but "like he's coming to him like to plea with him stop."

    Wilson continued yelling "stop," but Brown stumbled forward "real slowly," hunched forward and rocking back and forth as if he were in pain.

    Wilson fired again, the witness said. "And as he was going, he kept firing. He kept firing. Until he hit the ground."

    That last set of rounds was what set off everyone who was watching, the witness said. Brown was already down. Did Wilson have to keep shooting?

    "He was, to me and I'm going to say it, he was executed," the witness said of Brown. "Maybe he got caught up in the heat of the moment or whatever was his intention I cannot read that officer's mind, but he did not have to fire that last volley."

    Was Wilson credible?

    This grand jury had something most grand juries don't get -- the man who fired the fatal bullets. Michael Brown, the best witness to cast doubt on his version of events, was dead.

    In the end, it came down to whether jurors believed Wilson's self-defense claim -- or if they could find a reason to disbelieve him. Wilson did say he was afraid another blow to the face would knock him out; he also feared Brown would take his gun and shoot him.

    As weeks dragged on jurors appeared to understand that the public was getting impatient.

    "My concern is that everybody is saying 'hurry up, hurry up, hurry up,' from what I'm hearing. Hurry up, make a decision, hurry up and get this done, hurry up and get that done," one juror said on September 30.

    "I think everybody needs to ratchet it down a little bit and let us do what we can do. I have faith and trust in everybody in here, to make the decision that's appropriate. I'm not saying it is the right decision, I'm not saying it is the wrong decision, but make the decision that's appropriate based on the facts. But is that being disseminated by these groups or whatever to the people there?"

    "Do they not understand the process?" another juror said. "Is that the problem, or is there a way to bypass this because it seems to me that we're doing what needs to be done and we're doing what's right and people are not seeing that."

  • Pedestrian crash under investigation in Jacksonville

    By WCTI Staff
    Published On: Nov 26 2014 06:51:20 AM CST
    1223caution
    JACKSONVILLE, ONSLOW COUNTY -

    According to officials, a pedestrian was hit by a car in Jacksonville. Officials say it happened around 6 p.m. Tuesday on Waters Road.

    Officials with Highway Patrol say Richard Miller told them he was walking down the side of the highway when a car crossed over the grass and hit him. But officials say there is no evidence the car veered off the road.

    The driver, 73-year-old Bruce Knipp, was charged with a learner's permit violation.

    The cause of the crash is under investigation.

  • Ex-Tar Heels basketball player faces rape charge

    By Associated Press
    Published On: Nov 25 2014 10:40:09 PM CST
    DURHAM COUNTY -

    A former University of North Carolina men's basketball player has been charged with second-degree rape.

    Melvin Scott, 32, of Durham, North Carolina, was arrested Friday, according to a warrant. He was originally held under a $500,000 secured bond but was later released when the bond was reduced to $200,000 after his first court appearance.

    His attorney, John C. Fitzpatrick, says Scott "is very anxious for the opportunity to defend his character" in court. His next appearance is scheduled for Dec. 16.

    In an email, Durham police spokeswoman Kammie Michael said the charge involved "a female acquaintance."

    Scott played for the Tar Heels from 2001-05 under coach Matt Doherty and later Roy Williams. He was a reserve on the school's 2005 national championship team under Williams.

  • Obama pardons Thanksgiving turkey

    Following tradition, President Barack Obama pardoned the Thanksgiving turkey today at the White House.

  • Duplin County monitors registered sex offenders with new program

  • Jacksonville firefighters use burning home to train

    A home caught fire in Jacksonville, but no one was upset by its loss. In fact, it was donated by the owner so it could burn and train firefighters in the process. NewsChannel 12's Jaime McCutcheon reports.

  • Stranded manatee rescued off Texas

    A manatee that was stranded in Texas coastal waters is now on the mend thanks to rescuers.

  • Autistic 3-year-old missing in Arkansas

    Police and volunteers enter day three of a desperate search for an autistic 3-year-old missing in Arkansas.