KKK's request to burn cross on Stone Mountain denied

Published: Wednesday, August 16, 2017 @ 5:16 PM

Joseph Andrews, one of a small group with the Rock Stone Mountain rally, waves a confederate battle flag towards a mass of counter-protesters more than 100 yards away at Stone Mountain Park on Saturday afternoon April 23, 2016 where a white power protest and two counter protests were scheduled.
Ben Gray/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Joseph Andrews, one of a small group with the Rock Stone Mountain rally, waves a confederate battle flag towards a mass of counter-protesters more than 100 yards away at Stone Mountain Park on Saturday afternoon April 23, 2016 where a white power protest and two counter protests were scheduled.(Ben Gray/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

The Stone Mountain Memorial Association this week denied a Ku Klux Klan request to burn a cross at the park in Dekalb County, Georgia, citing the trouble at a “pro-white” rally last year.

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Joey Hobbs, a Dublin man with the Sacred Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, wanted to hold a “lighting” ceremony on Oct. 21 with 20 participants, according to the application. This would have been to commemorate the KKK’s 1915 revival, which began with a flaming cross atop Stone Mountain on the evening of Thanksgiving.

“We will light our cross and 20 minutes later we will be gone,” wrote Hobbs, who couldn’t be reached for comment Wednesday, in an application dated May 26. It wasn’t immediately clear if Hobbs holds a formal position with the group.

>> Related: George H.W., George W. Bush condemn ‘racial bigotry’ in Charlottesville statement

“We don’t want any of these groups at the park, quite frankly,” John Bankhead, spokesman for the association said Wednesday, referring to white nationalists groups and the KKK. “This is a family-oriented park.” 

But since it’s a public park, the association created a permit process to consider each application individually.

In a statement, the memorial group, which oversees the park, said it “condemns the beliefs and actions of the Ku Klux Klan and believes the denial of this Public Assembly request is in the best interest of all parties.”

>> Related: Trump again blames ‘both sides’ for violence in CharlottesvilleWriting to deny Hobbs, CEO Bill Stephens cited the trouble at the “Rock Stone Mountain” rally of April 23, 2016. The park had to close that day as white power revelers, including KKK members, clashed with counter-protesters.

Stephens said an event like Hobbs’ would require public safety resources beyond what park police could provide, and thus, would put guests, employees and public safety workers in danger. 

Besides creating a potentially-dangerous scene, the cross-burning would’ve also been an act of intimidation, Bankhead said.

>> Related: University of Florida denies request for white nationalist Richard Spencer to speak

“I think anybody who knows about cross burning knows why it’s used,” Bankhead said, recalling the KKK’s track record of setting crosses on fire to intimidate African Americans. “We’re just not going to allow that.”

Georgia's terroristic threats and acts statute also specifically bars the practice when it’s done with the intent to “terrorize.” The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2003 that states can ban cross-burning, though it warned that the intent to intimidate must be proven in each case.

Whatever Hobbs’ intent, the Stone Mountain Memorial Association CEO said the event would violate its ordinances against disruptions to the park and actions that present a “clear and present danger.”

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Florida police officer shot in deadly standoff is breathing on his own, sources say

Published: Thursday, June 21, 2018 @ 4:54 AM

Kevin Valencia, an Orlando police officer who was shot in the head during a deadly standoff at an apartment complex, is now breathing on his own, sources say.
Orlando Police Department
Kevin Valencia, an Orlando police officer who was shot in the head during a deadly standoff at an apartment complex, is now breathing on his own, sources say.(Orlando Police Department)

An Orlando, Florida, police officer who was shot in the head earlier this month during a deadly standoff at an apartment complex is now breathing on his own, sources told WFTV.

>> On WFTV.com: Judge approved deal that kept man in deadly Orlando standoff out of prison, records show

Police said Gary Lindsey Jr. shot Officer Kevin Valencia, who has been hospitalized since the June 10 shooting. During a 20-hour standoff, Lindsey shot and killed four children – two of whom were his own – before killing himself, police said.

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A Mass will be celebrated at Orlando's St. James Cathedral on Saturday for the children, who ranged in age from 1 to 12. The Mass is open to the public.

Click here to donate to Valencia’s family.

Click here to donate to the children’s family.

>> On WFTV.com: Long criminal past, rocky relationship led up to shooting of officer, four kids' deaths

4 Children, Suspect in Police Shooting Dead After Standoff

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'A very tragic, sad ending': No survivors after family standoff

Published: Tuesday, June 12, 2018 @ 5:08 PM

4 Children, Suspect in Police Shooting Dead After Standoff

The four children taken hostage by a man accused of shooting an Orlando police officer have died after a standoff that lasted for about 20 hours, police said.

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Orlando police Chief John Mina announced early Tuesday morning that suspect Gary Lindsey shot and killed the children -- two of whom were his own -- and then killed himself.

On Tuesday, the attorney representing the family posted a GoFundMe page and released photos and the names of the young victims.

Click here to donate to the family's funeral expenses

"We had been working very hard during this long day to bring this situation to a peaceful resolution. Unfortunately it has a very tragic and sad ending,” Mina said. “Our hearts go out to the family of those four children."

Mina said negotiators lost communication with Lindsey around 8:30 p.m. Monday because of a poor connection. When SWAT team members moved in to bring him a phone, they could see that one of the children was dead. Lindsey's body was found in a closet.

The children ranged in age from 1 to 11 years old. Orlando police have not released the names of the children. Neighbors told Eyewitness News Monday that two of the children belonged to the suspect, and the other two were a girlfriend’s.

The standoff started late Sunday night when police said Lindsey beat an ex-girlfriend, who called police to report a domestic dispute at the Westbrook apartment complex on Eaglesmere Drive, just north of Universal Studios.

WFTV’s helicopter was over the scene of the standoff late Monday. The windows of the apartment appeared to be broken and there were no lights coming from the apartment. 

Lindsey opened fire when officers arrived, shooting Officer Kevin Valencia, police said. Sources said that Valencia was shot in the eye. Fellow officers rushed Valencia to Orlando Regional Medical Center where he underwent surgery early Monday morning. Mina said Valencia suffered “very significant injuries,” but is expected to survive.

“Everyone is sending prayers for Kevin and his family,” Mina said.

Police evacuated residents from the Westbrook apartment complex shortly after the standoff started. Many of them spent Monday morning at a McDonald’s, before police relocated them to a nearby Holiday Inn. Police started to allow residents back into their homes Tuesday morning. 

Court records show Lindsey had an extensive criminal history. Paperwork shows three arrests since 2004. In 2009, Lindsey pleaded no contest to charges of arson and fleeing or attempting to elude a law enforcement officer after investigators said he set an Orange County home on fire after an argument with his girlfriend.

Records show he received 35 years of community supervision, and while under supervision, he has been picked up for a series of probation violations, culminating in 2012 with an aggravated battery and aggravated assault charge in Orange County, stemming from a fight with another girlfriend.

Lindsey was released when the state couldn't file charges after 30 days.

Court records show Lindsey had an extensive criminal history. Paperwork shows three arrests since 2004. In 2009, Lindsey pleaded no contest to charges of arson and fleeing or attempting to elude a law enforcement officer after investigators said he sent an Orange County home after an argument with his girlfriend.

Records show he received 35 years of community supervision, and while under supervision, he has been picked up for a series of probation violations, culminating in 2012 with an aggravated battery and aggravated assault charge in Orange County, stemming from a fight with another girlfriend.

Lindsey was released when the state couldn't file charges after 30 days.

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Man arrested after trying to pay waitress with her own stolen credit card, police say

Published: Thursday, June 21, 2018 @ 2:26 AM

Shamon West was arrested after Shannon's Restaurant waitress Flora Lunsford went to swipe the credit card and noticed her own name on it, police in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, said.
AhmadArdity / Pixabay.com
Shamon West was arrested after Shannon's Restaurant waitress Flora Lunsford went to swipe the credit card and noticed her own name on it, police in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, said.(AhmadArdity / Pixabay.com)

A suspected thief is behind bars after police say he handed an Arkansas waitress her own stolen card while paying his bill at a Pine Bluff restaurant.

According to The Associated Press, Shamon West, 21, was arrested Tuesday after Shannon's Restaurant waitress Flora Lunsford went to swipe the credit card and noticed her own name on it. She called police, who searched West and found Lunsford's Social Security card and driver's license, as well, the AP reported.

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The arrest came two days after someone took Lunsford's purse from her car, which was parked outside a gas station two blocks from the restaurant, KATV reported.

West now faces charges of theft by receiving and forgery.

Read more here or here

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WATCH: Thieves steal kiddie pool from family's backyard on Father's Day

Published: Thursday, June 21, 2018 @ 3:56 AM

File photo of a swimming pool.
PublicDomainPictures / Pixabay.com
File photo of a swimming pool.(PublicDomainPictures / Pixabay.com)

A pair of thieves made off with a Nebraska family's inflatable kiddie pool on Father's Day – and the bizarre backyard incident was caught on camera.

>> Click here to watch

Case of the Kiddie Pool Caper

SUMMER STOLEN! My exclusive story tonight at 10 on KETV NewsWatch 7 is going to make your blood boil! It's the case of the kiddie pool caper! And it's all caught on camera. Police need your help tracking down these women. This one leaves you scratching your head. @Omaha Police Department Omaha Crime Stoppers

Posted by Michelle Bandur KETV on Tuesday, June 19, 2018

According to KETV, Brandon Turner of Omaha said he and his two children were at the zoo Sunday afternoon when he received an alert from his home security camera. He then watched live from his phone as two women drained and dragged the kids' inflatable pool from the Turners' backyard.

>> Man arrested after trying to pay waitress with her own stolen credit card, police say

Turner's youngest, 5-year-old Alex, had a message for the thieves.

"Give my swimming pool back!" he exclaimed, watching the footage in dismay.

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Turner was shocked and disappointed to see people stealing from children.

"Really? Really?" he told KETV. "That's all I could think of – really?"

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