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Black driver pulled over, handcuffed by white cops over ‘vegetation’ on his car

An African-American driver in Winfield, Kansas, was pulled over by two white police officers May 13 for “vegetation stuff” on his car window, according to a Facebook Live video posted by driver Rudy Samuel.

>> Read more trending news 

Samuel started recording the traffic stop soon after it happened, when one of the officers first told Samuel he was pulled over for failing to signal.

"Officer says I failed to put my signal light on within a hundred feet," Samuel said in the recording.

"And it wasn't a hundred feet, but whatever."

>> Related: Facebook video captures aftermath of officer-involved shooting of Philando Castile

Samuel handed over his valid driver’s license and registration and the officer returned to the squad car, but when he came back, he gave a different reason for pulling Samuel over.

"Hey Mr. Samuel, what caught my attention was this vegetation stuff right here," the officer said as he pulled something from the outside of the car.

Samuel indicated the vegetation was probably from a tree and said he doesn’t smoke.

The officer asked Samuel to get out of the car so police could search it. When Samuel refused, they pulled him out, handcuffed him and searched the vehicle anyway. They didn’t find anything and eventually let him go with two verbal warnings.

>>Trending: New York gang member found guilty of Atlanta student’s murder

Samuel believes the incident was racially motivated, a spokesman for the driver told CNN.

Peter Wright is with the grassroots group Freedom 1 Organization, which says it looks for fair ways to solve complaints against police and other companies, CNN reported.

"He kept saying 'test it.' They snatched him out of the car, handcuffed him and banged him around a little bit," Wright told CNN.

>> Related: CDC researcher Timothy Cunningham’s death ruled a suicide by drowning

The police chief of Winfield, Brett Stone, also told CNN the incident is “under review.”

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

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

>> Read more trending news

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.

Maker of Sweethearts candy message hearts, Necco Wafers sold for $18.83 million

The bankrupt maker of Necco Wafers, Sweethearts conversation hearts and other beloved American candies has a new owner.

>> Read more trending news 

The Ohio-based Spangler Candy Co. offered the winning bid of $18.83 million for the iconic New England Confectionery Co., the country’s oldest continuously operating candy company, at a federal bankruptcy auction in Boston Wednesday.

The acquisition ensures at least a short-term future for the candy maker better known as Necco.

Spangler Candy Co. and three other bidders all indicated they would keep Necco operating at its current location in Revere, just north of Boston, at least through the fall.

Spangler Candy Co. makes Dum Dums lollipops.

Interest in Necco has focused on its "sugar line" of chalky wafers and candy hearts. The fate of its chocolate Sky Bar and Clark bar remains unclear.

>> Related: 6 big name retailers who filed for bankruptcy in 2017

Necco filed for federal bankruptcy protection last month.

40,000 pounds of chicken feathers blocks freeway in Washington

Drowsy driving may have caused the driver of a semitrailer to hit a guardrail and roll his truck, dumping 40,000 pounds of chicken feathers onto Interstate 5 in Federal Way, Washington and causing a backup that stretched for miles.

Photos: Semi crash spills chicken feathers across I-5 (KIRO-TV)

The crash happened on northbound I-5 around 3:30 a.m. Wednesday. 

>> Read more trending news

Initially, four lanes were closed by the crash. All lanes were back open more than four hours later. At the height of the commute, traffic was backed up 17 miles. 

Washington State Department of Transportation crews had a big mess to clean up. Heavy equipment was brought in to scoop up mounds of feathers, which were heading to Canada for agricultural use, but some of the mess had to be cleaned up by hand.

Nine hours later, crews were still cleaning up feathers in the I-5 median.

There was also the matter of the rolled over semi. A heavy-duty tow truck had to be brought in to bring the crashed rig upright again and then tow it from the scene.

Guardrail repairs were also needed.

The driver did not hit any other vehicles and was not hurt, but the Washington State Patrol said he told troopers he felt drowsy before the crash. He also said he woke up when he hit the guardrail.

The driver is facing a negligent driving citation, but WSP says if someone had been hurt or killed in the crash, he would have faced a vehicular homicide or assault charge. 

The driver, his employer -- West Coast Reduction Ltd., out of Vancouver, B.C. -- or its insurance company will be billed for the guardrail damage and tow services, a trooper said.

Stormy Daniels Day: West Hollywood honors adult film star with key to city

The city of West Hollywood, California, proclaimed May 23 Stormy Daniels Day and is honoring the adult film star with a key to the city.

>> Read more trending news 

The city said in a Twitter announcement that it’s honoring Daniels for her leadership in the #Resist movement.

“In these politically tumultuous times, Daniels has proven herself to be a profile in courage by speaking truth to power, even under threats to her safety and extreme intimidation,” the statement said.

>> Related: Porn star Stormy Daniels sues Trump over hush agreement, says it’s void, reports say

Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, has been embroiled in a lawsuit she filed against President Donald Trump last year in California state court, claiming a “hush agreement” she signed over their alleged affair a decade ago is null and void.

>> Related: Trump confirms Cohen represented him in 'crazy Stormy Daniels deal'

She was paid $130,000 by Trump attorney Michael Cohen shortly before the 2016 presidential election in exchange for keeping silent about the alleged affair with Trump. But Daniels’ attorney argued the agreement was no good because Trump never signed it.

Cohen has admitted using his own money to pay off Daniels and, while records have revealed Trump made payments to Cohen, the president has denied any involvement with the porn star.

Daniels has said she wants to tell her story, like other women who have had alleged encounters with the president, but the hush agreement prevents her from legally doing that.

>> Related: Trump acknowledges he reimbursed Cohen, lawyer who paid Stormy Daniels

FDA warns some teething medicines are unsafe for babies

Federal health officials are warning parents to stop using over-the-counter teething products that contain the drug benzocaine, because it can cause rare but deadly side effects in children, especially those under two years old.

>> Read more trending news 

The FDA also sent letters to drug manufacturers Wednesday, asking them to stop selling the teething products.

According to the FDA, children who take medicine containing benzocaine are at a greater risk of developing methemoglobinemia, a serious condition that can cut off the amount of oxygen reaching the blood stream.

Symptoms include pale, grey or blue colored skin, light-headedness, shortness of breathing, fatigue and rapid heart rate.

Benzocaine-induced methemoglobinemia can be deadly if not treated properly, according to the FDA. And, more importantly, the FDA warns that it can fatal after only one use. 

Benzocaine is found in popular brands like Orajel and Anbesol, which are used to treat mouth sores in adults, CNN reports

New York gang member found guilty of Atlanta student’s murder

A New York gang member will serve a life sentence for the 2016 murder of a Clark Atlanta University student.

>> Read more trending news 

A Fulton County jury convicted Devin Kingdom, 24, of murder in the shooting death of 25-year-old Cierra Ford. Ford, a communications major at Clark Atlanta, was shot in the head when several accused gang members broke into her boyfriend’s Sandy Springs apartment in November 2016.

Ford was a California native who wanted to be a journalist. She was a good student and an inspiration to other young women, her brother said.  

“Cierra was intelligent, charismatic, and she had a vibrant sense of humor that resonated with her friends and family,” Clarence Ford said.

Her boyfriend, Tyrique Lobban, was shot three times and injured. Lobban was a leader of the same New York Gang, prosecutors said, and the men intended to kill him to remove him from his position.

Three accused gang members were arrested following Ford’s death and a fourth, Gregory Battle, is still on the run. Initially, police believed robbery was a motive. Kingdom was the first to be convicted.

>> Related: Clark Atlanta student killed in shooting outside condo

Malik Ortiz also stood trial last week and was acquitted of the homicide. The jury was unable to reach verdicts on the remaining 12 counts, according to the Fulton County District Attorney’s office. 

Joseph Clarke, another murder suspect, is still awaiting trial.

Prosecutors said the trouble started two years after the New York gang members relocated to Atlanta in 2014. They lived with Lobban in his apartment until infighting resulted in a leadership struggle.

“The dispute between Lobban and the other four men came to a head in October of 2016 when Lobban asked Clarke, Ortiz, and Battle to move out of the apartment,” said Chris Hopper, the spokesman for Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard Jr. “Once they moved out of the apartment, the men made a decision to kill Lobban and remove him from his leadership position in the gang.”

In the deadly coup, the four allegedly entered the Sandy Springs apartment through an unlocked door with weapons drawn, the jury heard at trial.

>> Related: 3arrested in Clark Atlanta student’s murder

They first encountered a roommate and another alleged gang member, Jabar Brady. Hopper said the men gave Brady, who was 19 at the time, a chance to live and he left the apartment.

Prosecutors intended for Brady to testify, but he killed himself in New York shortly before the trial, according to the DA’s office. He was considered one of the state’s key witnesses. 

“The gravity of these violent deaths never seems to end,” Howard said of Brady’s death.

Ford and Lobban were shot when the group kicked in the door to Lobban’s upstairs bedroom and found them in bed, prosecutors said. 

>> Trending: 7 young men facing murder charges in Georgia motel shooting

In addition to felony murder, Kingdom was found guilty of first-degree home invasion, aggravated assault, aggravated battery, first-degree burglary and possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony. 

He was sentenced by Superior Court Judge Kimberly M. Esmond Adams to life in prison plus 10 years. 

The jury apparently could not reach a conclusion on Ortiz’s involvement in the crime.

What You Need To Know: Ariana Grande

What You Need To Know: Ariana Grande

Lawyer apologizes for accusing Texas trooper of sexual assault after bodycam footage released

The attorney for a woman who accused a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper of sexual assault during a traffic stop is apologizing after DPS released body camera video of the full encounter, which appears to refute her claims.

>> Read more trending news 

Philadelphia attorney S. Lee Merritt said in a press release Wednesday that the video of the traffic stop early Sunday morning “directly conflicts with the accounts reported to my office.”

According to KWTX, Officer Daniel Hubbard pulled over Sherita Dixon-Cole around 1:30 a.m. Sunday on suspicion of drunken driving.

The Grapevine woman was taken to the Ellis County Jail and booked on suspicion of DUI.

Cole told the trooper she was headed to her fiancee’s home in Waxahachie from downtown Dallas and had one drink, KDFW reports.

Cole said the trooper offered to let her go in return for sexual favors and she accused him of fondling, groping and sexually assaulting her on the way to the jail, KWTX reports.

Hours after her arrest, New York activist Shaun King posted on Facebook and Twitter that Cole had been “kidnapped” and explained in detail Cole’s claims as explained by her and Merritt.

King also claimed the trooper threatened to shoot her fiancee, KDFW reports. The posts were shared thousands of times online, but have since been deleted.

The Texas Department of Public Safety responded late Tuesday night by releasing the trooper’s body camera footage in full after receiving approval from the Ellis County District Attorney’s Office.

According to DPS, the only parts that have been blurred or rendered inaudible are those where personal information is shared.

“The video shows absolutely no evidence to support the egregious and unsubstantiated accusations against the Trooper during the DWI arrest of the suspect,” DPS posted on YouTube

During the field sobriety test, the trooper in the video pours out two bottles of alcohol he says he found in Cole’s front seat.

He places her under arrest and asks her to sit in the front seat of his patrol car. 

Throughout the two-hour footage, the officer is shown helping the woman through the intake process. At one point, he asks her if she’d like for him to turn off her cellphone in order to save the battery so she can use it later.

At one point during the interview, they appear to have a friendly chat about college and Cole talks about getting her master’s degree.

“The Department is appalled that anyone would make such a despicable, slanderous and false accusation against a peace officer who willingly risks his life every day to protect and serve the public,” the department stated.

In addition to deleting his prior posts about the incident, King also issued a statement walking back his accusations on Twitter.

7 young men facing murder charges in Georgia motel shooting

Seven young men are facing murder charges in connection with a deadly shooting at a motel in Carroll County, Georgia, southwest of Atlanta.

>> Read more trending news 

Villa Rica police found the victim lying on a second-floor landing at the Fairbridge Inn Express on Ga. 61 around 7 p.m. Tuesday, Capt. K.L. Shaddix said early Wednesday in a news release.

Brian Cook, 28, of Villa Rica, was pronounced dead on the scene.

During the course of their investigation, police located and arrested five people. Warrants were secured for two more, Shaddix said.

It appears the victim was shot after an altercation in a motel room.

Police said Ramon Higgs, 29, also of Villa Rica, went to the motel and Cook accompanied him. Higgs was seen on video surveillance entering a second-floor room while Cook remained outside. A confrontation inside the room turned violent, according to police.

Higgs then ran from the room with several men chasing him, Shaddix said. 

>> Related: What is an ‘incel?’ A look at the anti-women movement behind multiple terror attacks

“As Cook began to run away, he was grabbed by the suspects and shot while on the second-floor landing where he died from the injuries,” Shaddix said in the release. “Higgs was also shot but was able to flee the scene.”

Investigators learned six Villa Rica men were inside the hotel room at the time of the shooting. Khaaliq Sims, 24, Isiah Roberts, 20, Alvin Doby, 20, and Kyron Doby, 23, were all located and arrested.

Two others, Briahious McPherson and Ricardo Joiner, both 19, have not been caught.

All six face two counts of aggravated assault and a single count of murder. Roberts was arrested on an additional charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Shaddix said police also charged Higgs with murder and aggravated assault as well as marijuana and weapons possession. Higgs was treated for a gunshot wound at Grady Memorial Hospital and released. 

The investigation resulted in two unrelated arrests, Shaddix said.

>> Trending: Teen died trying to shield class from Santa Fe High School shooter

Police contacted the occupants of the room next door to the shooting and reportedly located suspected marijuana. Two people, including a 16-year-old boy, were arrested on possession charges.

The other suspect, identified as 24-year-old Jaylon Stanton of Baton Rouge, La., was also charged with first-degree forgery after he was allegedly found in possession of a large amount of suspected drugs and counterfeit cash.

The search continues for the two remaining murder suspects.

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