National News

National News at a Glance

Posted December 31, 2017 9:49 p.m. EST
Updated December 31, 2017 9:51 p.m. EST

Activists Exploit Effort to Expose Sex Harassment

As the #MeToo movement to expose sexual harassment roils Washington, political partisans are exploiting the moment, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars to support accusers who come forward with charges against President Donald Trump and members of Congress. As accusations take on a partisan tint, activists and lawyers fear that such an evolution could damage the movement. “There is a danger in this environment that unsophisticated individuals who have been abused by powerful people could be exploited by groups seeking partisan advantage, or by lawyers seeking a moment in the limelight,” said Debra Katz, a Washington lawyer.

Courts Must Better Police Themselves on Harassment, Chief Justice Says

In his year-end look at the state of the federal judiciary, Chief Justice John Roberts addressed reports of sexual misconduct by an appeals court judge. It was an unmistakable reference to the retirement of Judge Alex Kozinski recently after a report that 15 women had accused him of sexual harassment. Roberts said a task force would examine whether the court system’s procedures for addressing inappropriate conduct were adequate. The young lawyers who serve as law clerks may require special attention, he said.

5 Deputies Shot, 1 Fatally, by a Colorado Gunman, Officials Say

It began as a pre-dawn call Sunday for the police to a disturbance at an apartment complex in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, a Denver suburb. It ended, officials said, in a fusillade of more than 100 rounds fired by a barricaded gunman who shot five law enforcement officers, killing one of them. The gunman was killed by officers. Killed in the attack was Zackari Parrish, a 29-year-old deputy who had worked for the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office for seven months. Sheriff Tony Spurlock described Parrish as a “smiley kid” who was eager to serve. Authorities on Sunday night identified the gunman as Matthew Riehl, 37.

In Kansas, a Deadly Prank Provokes a Question: Who Is to Blame?

When police surrounded a house in Wichita, Kansas, late Thursday, they expected to find a gunman who told a 911 dispatcher he was holding his mother and brother at gunpoint after shooting his father. But no crime had been committed, and the man who was fatally shot by an officer was not the person who had called. The suspected caller was in Los Angeles. Police and the man in the house were pawns in a hoax called “swatting,” in which people report made-up crimes to get a SWAT team deployed. The ruse raised the question of who bears responsibility for an innocent man’s death in a prank gone horribly wrong.

Louisiana Man Charged in ‘Nigerian Prince’ Scheme

Michael Neu of Slidell, Louisiana, was charged with 269 counts of wire fraud and money laundering in connection with a “Nigerian prince” scheme, the police said. Neu is suspected of being the middle man in hundreds of financial transactions designed to con money from victims across the United States by phone and online, with some of that money wired to co-conspirators in Nigeria, Detective Daniel Seuzeneau of the Slidell Police Department said. The police did not say how many people Neu was accused of swindling.

Overwhelmed by Generosity, From Near and Far, for New York Fire Survivors

A collection drive organized by New York's police and fire departments after the deadliest fire in a quarter-century in the city turned into an outpouring of support that was ended after just one day because of the overwhelming response. The fire killed 12 people, displaced dozens and destroyed an apartment building in the mostly immigrant Belmont neighborhood of the Bronx. “Support from the Bronx and beyond is a sign that the victims are not alone,” the Rev. Cosme Fernandes at St. Martin of Tours Roman Catholic Church said Sunday.