Monday Headlines: Allentown video sparks fury, Florida COVID-19 record

AP PA Headlines 7/13/20

ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) — Video posted on social media that shows a Pennsylvania police officer with his knee on a man’s neck while trying to restrain him has prompted protests — and a demand from the local Black Lives Matter group to suspend the officers involved.  The video shot Saturday night from a passerby’s vehicle shows Allentown officers restraining a man on the ground outside the emergency room of the Sacred Heart Campus of St. Luke’s Hospital. An officer has his elbow on the man’s neck before switching to a knee to hold him down while other officers restrained his arms.

The man does not appear to be resisting during the video.  Allentown Police released a statement last night saying the interaction is being investigated and additional videos are being reviewed.  The department released its use of force policy earlier this month, five weeks after a white Minneapolis police officer put his knee on George Floyd’s neck for several minutes, even after he stopped responding. Floyd’s death sparked protests around the world calling for an end to police brutality and systemic racism.  The Allentown policy prohibits neck restraints and chokeholds. It says that officers should only use the amount of force necessary to control the situation.  Police have not released the name or race of any individuals seen in the video.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Philadelphia Historical Commission says it needs more time to decide the fate of a closed 19th-century church after the New Jersey developer who bought it earlier this year asked to demolish it. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the panel heard Friday from structural engineers who disagreed about the stability of St. Laurentius in Fishtown, which neighbors and former parishioners have been campaigning to save for years. The panel then referred the demolition application to its architecture committee for review later this month. Commissioner David Perri of the Philadelphia Department of Licenses and Inspections said he considered the demolition application an urgent matter.

READING, Pa. (AP) — Authorities say a car belonging to two men helping a couple fix a flat tire on an eastern Pennsylvania road was struck by another vehicle, killing two men and critically injuring two other people. Police in Ontelaunee Township Police said a man and woman heading south on Route 222 got a flat and pulled to the side of the road near Route 61 shortly before 10 p.m. Friday. Two men were helping when their vehicle was struck by a third vehicle, killing 22-year-old Kenneth Ortiz of Laureldale and 26-year-old Kevin Ortiz of Muhlenberg Township and critically injuring a 25-year-old man and a 27-year-old woman.

LANCASTER, Pa. (AP) — Prosecutors say a man has been charged with kidnapping an Amish woman who disappeared in Pennsylvania several weeks ago and remains missing. Investigators believe 18-year-old Linda Stoltzfoos “was harmed following her abduction.” The Lancaster County district attorney’s office announced Saturday that 34-year-old Justo Smoker of Paradise was arrested Friday and charged with a felony kidnapping count and a misdemeanor count of false imprisonment. Authorities say Stoltzfoos has been missing since June 21, when she was last seen walking home from church. Court documents don’t list an attorney representing Smoker and a telephone number listed in his name had been disconnected.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania state lawmakers could vote on legislation this week that provides millions of dollars in tax breaks to turn natural gas into fertilizer and other chemicals, emerging from closed-door negotiations after Gov. Tom Wolf vetoed a similar bill earlier this year. The replacement legislation differs in some ways from what Wolf vetoed in March after saying that the Republican-controlled Legislature had not negotiated it with him. The newer version puts limits on how much each facility could reap in tax credits, for instance. A spokesman said Sunday the House Republican majority leadership will share the new version with rank-and-file members this week to gauge support for it.

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PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — With the United States grappling with the worst coronavirus outbreak in the world, Florida hit a grim milestone yesterday, shattering the national record for a state’s largest single-day increase in positive cases. Deaths from the virus have also been rising in the U.S., especially in the South and West, though still well below the heights hit in April, according to a recent Associated Press analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University.

University of Florida epidemiologist Dr. Cindy Prins,  “I really do think we could control this, and it’s the human element that is so critical. It should be an effort of our country. We should be pulling together when we’re in a crisis, and we’re definitely not doing it.” Adm. Brett Giroir, a member of the White House coronavirus task force, called mask-wearing in public, which has been met with resistance in some U.S. states, “absolutely essential.”

Giroir, the assistant secretary at the Health and Human Services Department, told ABC’s “This Week” that “if we don’t have that, we will not get control of the virus.’’  President Donald Trump wore a mask in public for the first time Saturday, something Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said yesterday showed he has “crossed a bridge.”  Pelosi told CNN’s “State of the Union” she hopes it means the president “will change his attitude, which will be helpful in stopping the spread of the coronavirus.”

WASHINGTON (CBS) — Pictures of President Trump in a mask now exist. The President has not been seen in public with a face covering since the pandemic began. But during a trip over the weekend to Walter Reed Hospital to visit wounded soldiers, President Trump followed recommended safety measures. He said he believes wearing a mask is appropriate in certain situations.  The President previously said he wore a mask during part of a tour of a Ford plant in May. But it was in an area where the press wasn’t allowed.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former special counsel Robert Mueller is sharply defending his investigation into ties between Russia and Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. Mueller writes in a newspaper opinion piece Saturday that the probe was of “paramount importance” and asserts that Trump ally Roger Stone “remains a convicted felon, and rightly so” despite the president’s decision to commute his prison sentence. The op-ed in The Washington Post marks Mueller’s first public statement on his investigation since his congressional appearance last July. It’s his firmest defense of the two-year probe whose results have come under attack and even been partially undone by the Trump administration.

DALLAS (AP) — An unopened copy of a vintage Super Mario Bros. video game has been sold for $114,000 in an auction that underscored the enduring popularity of entertainment created decades ago. A bidder who wished to remain anonymous snapped up an early version of the pioneering Super Mario Bros. game released in 1985 for Nintendo’s NES console during an auction conducted Friday by Dallas-based Heritage Auctions. The $114,000 price eclipsed Heritage Auctions’ previous record amount for a video game, which was a $100,150 bid made early last year for an unopened copy of the same game.

ATLANTA (AP) — In a presidential election year, there’s always a push to get people registered to vote. For one Atlanta family, that push got a little interesting. Ron Tims said he checked his mail Wednesday and found a voter registration application addressed to Cody Tims _ his cat, who died 12 years ago. The Secretary of State’s Office says the application  didn’t come from them. They said third-party groups often use mailing lists to get names and addresses. The office says it will investigate. Meanwhile, it says, even if Cody were still alive and showed up at the polls, he wouldn’t have been allowed to vote because he doesn’t have a license or state ID.

LOS ANGELES (CBS) – Actress and former model Kelly Preston died. Her husband, John Travolta confirmed the news on Instagram. Travolta wrote, “it is with a very heavy heart that I inform you that my beautiful wife Kelly lost her two-year battle with breast cancer.” Preston was best known for her roles in ‘Mischief,’ ‘Twins,’ and ‘Jerry Maguire.’ She was 57. Previously John Travolta told Entertainment Tonight that the church of Scientology helped him get through the loss of his son Jett who died at the age of 16 back in 2009.

WASHINGTON (CBS) — The NFL team in Washington DC could announce a new name as soon as today. On Saturday, a Senior NFL Reporter for Yahoo! Sports said the team was expected to make the announcement in 24-48 hours. There have been many rumors about what the name could be. They include Redtails, Warriors, Veterans, and Monuments. However, today’s announcement might just be the team making it official that they *will* change their team name. But we may need to wait longer to find out what the actual name is.

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