United passengers describe scene as man dragged off flight

Published: Tuesday, April 11, 2017 @ 8:08 AM

United Flight Interviews w/sound

Other passengers who watched as Chicago Department of Aviation security officers boarded a United flight and dragged a man away from the plane are speaking up about what they saw.

“None of us believed that it could get to that point of violence,” said John Klaassen, an instructor at Boyce College in Lousiville. “When the police came on, they were just determined to take him off of the plane. There was no negotiating.”

Passengers watched, and filmed, as officers pulled  a man from his seat on Kentucky-bound United Flight 3411 on Sunday and dragged him up the aisle toward the plane’s door as others shouted in protest.  He continued to resist, and ran back onto the plane with a bloody face.

The Courier-Journal has identified the passenger as David Dao, a doctor from Elizabethtown, Ky.

“He hit his face when they initially dragged him off, as you guys saw,” said passenger Jayse Anspach in a CNN interview. “It was 10 minutes later, he comes running back in and runs to the back, his face bloody, and just clings to the post in back and just saying, ‘I need to go  home, I need to go home, I need to go home.”

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The incident began when United asked for four volunteers to give up their seats to allow four crew members to travel to work another flight in Louisville. No one volunteered, so the airline was forced into an “involuntary de-boarding situation,” according to a United statement.

“Once they dragged the guy off, the United employees come on the plane,” said passenger Tyler Bridges. “The other passengers were just berating the employees, saying things like ‘You should be ashamed of yourself. You should be embarrassed to work for this company.’”

An internal email from United CEO Oscar Munoz circulated to employees said he “emphatically” stands behind them, that the man who was removed from the flight was “disruptive and belligerent” and that United would be conducting a detailed review of what happened.

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Huber Heights man accused in federal hate crime case

Published: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 @ 10:44 PM

Huber Heights man accused in federal hate crime case

A 32-year-old Huber Heights man was arrested Wednesday on a charge accusing him of committing a hate crime when federal authorities said he attacked a man outside a Cincinnati restaurant because the man identified himself as Jewish. 

Izmir Koch -- also under indictment in Montgomery County involving a June 2016 fight on Valley Street in Dayton -- remains in federal custody following his arrest on one count of committing a hate crime under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, punishable by up to 10 years in prison. 

Koch already has appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephanie Bowman, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio. 

OTHER LOCAL NEWS: Dayton firefighters rescue person in house fire

According to a federal indictment unsealed Wednesday, Koch was outside a restaurant with others on Feb. 4, 2017, when he allegedly yelled out asking if anyone outside the restaurant was Jewish. 

A victim responded that he was Jewish and it is alleged that Koch then ran to the man and punched him in the head. When the victim fell to the ground, Koch and others continued hitting and kicking him. 

The victim suffered injuries from the attack, including rib contusions and a fracture of his orbital floor - the bottom portion of an eye socket. 

"Physically attacking someone because you think he's Jewish or Christian or Muslim or any other religion is a federal crime," U.S. Attorney Benjamin Glassman said in the prepared statement. "This office prosecutes hate crimes." 

According to one Cincinnati media report, the victim was not actually Jewish, Glassman said at a news conference. 


A check of Montgomery County online court records shows that Koch was indicted in July 2016 on two counts of felonious assault (deadly weapon and serious harm). The status of the case is labeled "reopened" and a motion in the case was filed Tuesday. 

In that motion filed by the Montgomery County Prosecutor's Office, Koch and at least five other men accused of assaulting a man in a fight and stabbing June 7, 2016, outside SMS Trucking, 1602 Valley St., are claiming self-defense.

RELATED: 6 indicted in Valley Street fight, stabbing

The fracas involved men of Russian descent, police have said. 

One of the co-defendants claimed to a police detective that they committed the assault because the man "made disparaging comments about their mothers, and their culture does not permit such comments." 

The co-defendant also told the detective they all fought with the man because "they were not scared of him and they needed to handle the situation on their own." 

The prosecutor's office has asked the trial judge to compel the co-defendant to testify as to those statements. 

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Clipper-type system could bring snow to area this weekend

Published: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 @ 10:08 PM

Another storm system will threaten the Miami Valley with more snow as we head into the first weekend of Spring. It is too early to know the exact impact, or how much snow will fall, but our Storm Center 7 meteorologists say there is a chance for accumulation late Friday night into Saturday.

Those ready for spring weather likely won’t like this forecast.

A clipper-type system looks to spread snow into the region this weekend, Storm Center 7 Chief Meteorologist Eric Elwell  said.

The storm system looks to arrive late Friday night or into Saturday morning. The current forecast track would bring snow across much of the Miami Valley during the day Saturday.

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“Snow accumulation, perhaps heavy, would be likely along and north of the Ohio River should the current forecast track hold,” Elwell said, “but a lot can still change.”

If the system adjusts north, then the threat will be for more of a mix or perhaps even more rain than snow, Elwell said.

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However, the system could escape to the south with little to no local effect.

“We’ll know a lot more on the potential threat of this system by late Thursday. Stay tuned!” Elwell said.

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7 things to know about 'Sex in the City' star Cynthia Nixon, candidate for NY gov.

Published: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 @ 10:02 PM

Getting To Know Cynthia Nixon

Former “Sex and the City” star Cynthia Nixon announced her run for New York Governor Monday after flirting with the idea for several months.

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"I love New York, and today I'm announcing my candidacy for governor," she revealed on Twitter.

According to her campaign press release, Nixon will be spending the coming weeks traveling across the state to hear from voters.

She will challenge 60-year-old Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a two-term incumbent, in New York’s Democratic primary in September.

She was born and bred in New York.

Nixon, 51, was born on April 9, 1966 and raised in the Upper West Side with her mother. In her campaign video, Nixon said she grew up “in a one-bedroom fifth floor walk-up.”

She later attended Hunter College High School and Barnard College before breaking out into her Broadway career primarily to save money to support herself through college, she told the New York Times in 2012.

Nixon, who identified herself as bisexual in 2012, was in a relationship with David Mozes from 1988 to 2003. The couple have two children together.

In 2004, Nixon began dating activist Christine Marinoni and they eventually married in 2012. They have one child together.

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Nixon is a Tony, Grammy and Emmy Award-winner.

For her role as lawyer Miranda Hobbes on “Sex and the City,” Nixon was awarded an Emmy Award in 2004 for outstanding supporting actress, and a Screen Actors Guild Award in 2002 and 2004 for outstanding performance by an ensemble in a comedy series.

Nixon made her Broadway debut in 1980 in the revival of “The Philadelphia Story” and later earned Tony Awards for her foles in “Rabbit Hole” (2006) and “The Little Foxes” (2017).

She was awarded a Grammy in 2009 for her “An Inconvenient Truth” spoken word album.

Explore her full list of awards at IMDb.com.

She’s a survivor of breast cancer.

In 2006, Nixon was diagnosed with breast cancer and admitted to  Good Morning America in 2008 that she initially wanted to keep the news to herself but later became the official spokeswoman for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation.

"I want them [women] most to hear me saying that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. So the only thing to really be afraid of is if you don't go get your mammograms, because there's some part of you that doesn't want to know, and that's the thing that's going to trip you up. That's the thing that could have a really bad endgame," she said.

Nixon’s cancer was caught at an early stage and required a lumpectomy and radiation, but no chemotherapy.

She’s a longtime activist. 

Nixon first made political headlines during the 2011 campaign to legalize same-sex marriage in New York. During that campaign, she lobbied state lawmakers in Albany and was later honored by GLAAD and the Human Rights Campaign with its Visibility Award for her work advocating for marriage equality.

In January, Nixon was also among a group of celebrity activists that came together for "the People's State of the Union,” an alternative event to President Donald Trump's first State of the Union speech.

She has in the past been very vocal about women’s health care and on education issues, serving on de Blasio's advisory board for the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City.

>> Related: Georgia Senate advances adoption bill called anti-LGBT

As a spokesperson for the Alliance for Quality Education, Nixon recently spoke out against Gov. Cuomo’s proposed education budget.

Actor and activist Cynthia Nixon speaks onstage during IFP's 27th Annual Gotham Independent Film Awards on November 27, 2017 in New York City.  (Mike Coppola/Getty Images for IFP)

“Governor Cuomo had a chance today to put the next generation of New Yorkers first,” she said in a January 2018 AQE statement. “Instead, he proposed yet another budget that will keep New York at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to educational equity and justice. Governor Cuomo claims he has provided record increases in education funding, but in reality, he has created a record spending gap between the wealthiest and poorest school districts.”

If elected, she would make history.

Nixon would become the first female governor and first openly gay governor in New York history.

About her platform

“We are now the most unequal state in the entire country, with both incredible wealth and extreme poverty,” Nixon said in a video posted on Twitter announcing her candidacy.

According to her campaign website, Nixon’s state platform focuses on income inequality, renewable energy, access to health care, concerns about mass incarceration, passing the DREAM Act and “fixing our broken subway.”

She also emphasizes strengthening and renewing expiring rent laws to avoid “raising rents, and forcing people out of their homes.”

“Andrew Cuomo has given massive tax breaks to corporations and the super rich while starving the state and its cities of the most basic services and decimating our infrastructure,” Nixon wrote on her campaign site. “His inhumane budgets have been passed on the backs of our children, our working and middle class, and our elderly.”

“Together,” she added, “we could show the entire country and the world that in the era of Donald Trump, New Yorkers will come together and lead our nation forward.”

Read more at cynthiafornewyork.com.

Chances against Cuomo

“Her campaign may test the appetite of New Yorkers for a celebrity leader in the age of President Trump, a deeply unpopular figure here among Democrats,” the New York Times reported.

But Nixon has her work cut out for her. A Siena College poll released Monday showed Cuomo leading her 66 percent to 19 percent among registered Democrats, and by a similar margin among self-identified liberals, AP reported. The poll of 772 registered voters was conducted March 11-16. The margin of error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Cuomo, whose approval ratings have dropped below 50 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University Poll released in February, recently mocked the celebrity status the Grammy, Emmy and Tony winner could bring to the race.

"Normally name recognition is relevant when it has some connection to the endeavor," Cuomo said earlier this month. "If it was just about name recognition, then I'm hoping that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie and Billy Joel don't get into the race."

Jefrey Pollock, pollster and political adviser to Cuomo and other prominent Democrats, told AP that celebrity isn't likely to trump governing experience in the voting booth.

"Over and over in our research, Democratic primary voters say they're not looking for an outsider because they look to Washington, D.C., and see what the outsider has meant to this country," Pollock said.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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‘This is on my bucket list!’ says top winner of Dayton Dragons National Anthem tryouts

Published: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 @ 10:32 PM

The singer chosen to lead “The Star-Spangled Banner” before the Dayton Dragons Opening Day game can check one big item off her bucket list.

“I always wanted to sing the national anthem at a sporting event at a big level,” Yolanda Drake of Jefferson Twp. said. “This is on my bucket list!”

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More than 200 people auditioned to perform at one of 70 home games. Drake took the top spot on Opening Day and will sing the national anthem in front of a sell-out crowd April 7 at Fifth Third Field. The Dragons will host the Bowling Green Hot Rods at 7 p.m. as they open their 19th season in Dayton. The Dragons are the Midwest League affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds.

Drake isn’t new to winning singing contests. She also won the Dayton Soul Singer search and performed in January with the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra at the Schuster Performing Arts Center.

On most weekends, Drake performs alongside her husband, Lamar “Marty” Drake in their band LYD, which stands for Live Your Dream. They sing at festivals, top restaurants and private functions across the country, and have opened for musical legends including Chuck Berry, Sister Sledge, Alex Bugnon and a host of others, she said.

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She has experience singing the national anthem. She was often asked to perform before football and basketball games, and even graduation, for Jefferson Township High School, where her three sons graduated.

“Music is a universal language,” Drake said. “I’m going to do it as long as I can do it, as long as I’m able.”

Look for a more in-depth interview with Drake closer to the Dragons Opening Day. 

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