Philadelphia breaks into raucous celebration after Eagles' Super Bowl win

Published: Monday, February 05, 2018 @ 1:01 PM

WATCH: Ritz-Carlton Awning Collapses After Fans Celebrate Eagles Super Bowl Win

The Philadelphia Eagles won their first-ever Super Bowl Sunday night and their first NFL championship since 1960, and fans in the City of Brotherly Love celebrated — in some precincts with no mercy.

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Fans celebrated after the Eagles’ 41-33 victory over Tom Brady and the favored New England Patriots, who were shooting for the franchise’s sixth Super Bowl championship. Almost immediately after the win was secured in the game’s waning seconds, Philly fans filled the streets.

Videos and photos posted to social media showed how a city known for underdogs like Rocky Balboa and passionate sports fans party. 

>> Related: Philadelphia celebrates after Eagles win Super Bowl

It wasn’t always pretty.

Determined fans didn’t let the city’s strategy of greasing light poles with hydraulic fluid keep them from doing their thing. Fans climbed traffic light fixtures until the lights could stand no more, coming completely free from their moorings and falling to the street.

At the Ritz-Carlton, one daring man climbed atop the entry awning. Other fans followed suit, packing the awning with people until it could no longer hold. It collapsed to the ground.

As the midnight hour struck, things started to get a little out of control, the New York Post reported. Windows at the Macy’s near City Hall were smashed and a man hopped inside the window display to take a selfie with a mannequin. A T-Mobile store also had its windows smashed, according to the newspaper.

“This guy took a can of Bud Light and boom -- shattered the window,” Dustin Fisher, 19, told the Post.

>> Photos: Eagles beat Patriots to win Super Bowl 52

As a show of support for Philadelphia’s men and women in blue, the Boston Police Department -- who’ve dealt with a few of these citywide championship celebrations -- tweeted words of encouragement to their brothers and sisters: “From the men and women of @bostonpolice to our brother and sister officers of @PhillyPolice: ‘Congratulations to you and your city. Please be safe out there.’”

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George Zimmerman, unemployed, $2.5M in debt, gets public defender in latest legal battle

Published: Wednesday, May 23, 2018 @ 7:55 PM

George Zimmerman testified September 2016 about the man he said shot at him during an alleged road-rage incident in 2015. (Via WFTV.com)
George Zimmerman testified September 2016 about the man he said shot at him during an alleged road-rage incident in 2015. (Via WFTV.com)

A judge in Seminole County, Florida, has granted George Zimmerman a public defender to represent him in his latest legal battle.

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Zimmerman told the judge that he’s indigent, unemployed and has $2.5 million in debt and liabilities, according to court documents.

Zimmerman is facing a misdemeanor stalking charge that was filed by the Seminole County State Attorney’s Office earlier this month.

A sheriff's report said an investigator, Dennis Warren, contacted Zimmerman in September on behalf of Michael Gasparro, who is making a documentary on Trayvon Martin. The series is being produced by rapper Jay-Z.

Zimmerman allegedly told Gasparro, "Help Dennis out and give him a heads up. I'm going to find him. And I'm bringing hell with me."

He allegedly texted Gasparro and said, "Dennis is a (expletive) who bothered my uncle in his home. Local or former law officer, he's well on his way to the inside of a gator as well. 10-4?"

WFTV legal analyst Bill Sheaffer said the indigent applications are rarely scrutinized by the court because they are done under oath.

“As long as you can show your liabilities outweigh your assets, you are maybe entitled to a public defender and you are maybe entitled to the cost of defense,” Sheaffer said.

Zimmerman is scheduled to be in court May 30.

Zimmerman was acquitted in 2013 of the 2012 shooting death of Martin, an unarmed teenager. of unarmed teen, Trayvon Martin.

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Sandy Hook families sue Infowars' Alex Jones over hoax claims

Published: Thursday, May 24, 2018 @ 4:11 AM

Fast Facts about Radio Host Alex Jones

Family members of six victims of the deadly 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, and an FBI agent have filed a defamation lawsuit against Infowars' Alex Jones over his claims that the massacre was a hoax.

>> Sandy Hook parents accuse Alex Jones, Infowars of defamation, seek damages

According to The Associated Press, the suit, filed Wednesday in Bridgeport Superior Court, says the plaintiffs were harassed and threatened because of his claims. They seek "monetary and punitive damages, attorney fees and other costs," the AP reported.

This is just the latest legal action against the conspiracy theorist over his Sandy Hook statements. He is facing two similar lawsuits filed last month in Texas.

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Jones has not publicly commented on the most recent lawsuit, but said last month that even though he initially "questioned the PR and the talking points that surrounded the Sandy Hook massacre," he soon "began to believe that the massacre happened, despite the fact that the public doubted it."

Read more here.

– The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Sandy Hook parents accuse Alex Jones, InfoWars of defamation, seek damages

Published: Wednesday, April 18, 2018 @ 12:36 PM

Fast Facts about Radio Host Alex Jones

The parents of children who died in the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, have accused conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and InfoWars of defamation and seek damages in excess of $1 million.

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Two lawsuits filed on behalf of Neil Heslin, Leonard Pozner and Veronique De La Rosa allege that Jones and his media organization spread false information related to the tragedy.

One of the suits also names Jones’ employee, Owen Shroyer, as a defendant.

Heslin’s suit arose from accusations InfoWars made in 2017 that Heslin was lying about holding his son’s body and seeing a bullet hole in the child’s head.

“This heartless and vile act of defamation re-ignited the Sandy Hook ‘false flag’ conspiracy and tore open the emotional wounds that (Heslin) has tried so desperately to heal,” a petition filed in Travis County District Court said.

>> Related: Man sues Alex Jones, InfoWars for $1 million, says they defamed him in Fla. shooting

The second suit was filed after InfoWars aired programming that claimed an interview De La Rosa did with CNN was faked, and pushed it as “evidence” of a government cover-up.

“Those statements in 2017 were part of a long history of lies peddled by Jones,” said Mark Bankston, the attorney representing the plaintiffs. “Our clients have been tormented for five years by Mr. Jones’ ghoulish accusations that they are actors who faked their children’s deaths as part of a fraud on the American people. Enough is enough.”

The pair of lawsuits marks the third to be filed against Jones and his company in recent weeks.

>> Related: Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones apologizes for spreading fake 'Pizzagate' story

Marcel Fontaine is suing Jones for more than $1 million after he used an image of Fontaine that portrayed him as the shooter who killed 17 students and staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in February.

Fontaine is a Massachusetts resident with no ties to the deadly shooting.

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Rape victim wins $1 billion verdict in civil suit against security company

Published: Thursday, May 24, 2018 @ 2:11 AM

Hope Cheston (left) and lawyer, Chris Stewart, during a news conference after Cheston was awarded $1 billion in a civil lawsuit.
WSBTV.com
Hope Cheston (left) and lawyer, Chris Stewart, during a news conference after Cheston was awarded $1 billion in a civil lawsuit.(WSBTV.com)

A Georgia rape victim was awarded a $1 billion settlement verdict Tuesday by a Clayton County jury in a civil lawsuit, according to court documents.

Hope Cheston, who is now 20 years old, sued a security company whose employee, Brandon Lamar Zachary, was convicted of rape and sentenced to 20 years in prison. The rape occurred in October 2012 when Cheston was 14. 

Hope Cheston, who is now 20 years old, sued a security company whose employee, Brandon Lamar Zachary (pictured), was convicted of rape and sentenced to 20 years in prison.(Clayton County Sheriff's Office)

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s policy is to not name rape victims, but Cheston has chosen to speak out after the verdict. 

“Sexual assault is sexual assault,” Cheston said at a news conference Wednesday. “It’s not right, and it needs to be punished.”

She said the verdict was a pleasant surprise that validates her struggles and emotional pain.

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“For the longest (time), I thought it would be pushed under the rug and no longer mattered ... but come to find out 12 strangers feel like what I went through and my story and how I feel six years later is worth a billion dollars,” Cheston said.

She originally filed the civil suit against the apartment complex, HACC Pointe South Inc., the property management company, Hammond Residential Group, Inc., and the security company, Crime Prevention Agency Inc.

HACC Pointe South Inc. and Hammond Residential Group Inc. were eventually dismissed from the suit.

The State Court of Clayton County ruled in Cheston’s favor against the security company, handing her the huge settlement, according to a statement from her attorney. 

“This is a huge victory for women,” Cheston’s attorney, Chris Stewart, said at the news conference.

Stewart said Crime Prevention Agency Inc. has since changed its name to International Security Agency Inc., which he said has prompted a subsequent lawsuit.

“You can’t change names or try to hide from your responsibility,” Stewart said.

Zachary, who is now 28, was arrested on charges of rape, statutory rape and child molestation, according to the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office. 

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