faces court challenge
A 24-year-old nonprofit worker wept on the witness stand Tuesday as he described an unnerving episode of being handcuffed near his home while an officer took his keys and went inside his building.
Nicholas Peart, who is black, is one of about a dozen New Yorkers expected to testify about being stopped, questioned and frisked by officers in a federal trial challenging how police use the tactic. About 5 million stops have been made in the past decade, mostly of black and Hispanic men.
The suit challenges the constitutionality of some of the stops, with lawyers arguing that the policy unfairly targets minorities.
City attorneys said officers operate within the law and do not target people solely because of their race.
Peart testified that he was stopped four times, starting on his 18th birthday. But it was a stop in 2011 that reduced him to tears. He testified that he was walking to the corner store about 11 p.m. to get milk when officers stopped him, handcuffed him and put him in the back of a squad car.
One officer took his keys, he said, and went into his building. “I was afraid he would go into my apartment, and I wasn’t there to take care of the situation,” he testified.
Eventually the officer returned, and he was freed, he said.
— Associated Press
Snowstorm brings final blow of winter
Winter went out with a blast in the Northeast on Tuesday, snow and sleet closing schools in Upstate New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut and making roads an icy, slippery mess a day before spring starts.
Storm-weary commuters were hoping this would be the last snowstorm until next winter.
“I’m ready for spring,” said Claudia Staten of Kingston, Mass., who called the four inches on the ground in her hometown “nuisance snow.”
— Associated Press
New law bans limits on food-portion size
Mississippi, the state with the highest rate of obesity, has banned its cities and counties from trying to stop restaurants from selling super-sized soft drinks or requiring them to post nutritional information about meals.
The move came a week after a judge blocked an effort by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) to prohibit vending machines, movie theaters and retailers from selling single-serving sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces in a bid to tackle the public health problems caused by rising rates of obesity.
Gov. Phil Bryant (R) on Monday signed the law, which also prohibits municipalities from banning toys in fast-food meals. “It is simply not the role of government to micro-regulate citizens’ dietary decisions,” he said. “The responsibility for one’s personal health depends on individual choices about a proper diet and appropriate exercise.”
Statue of Liberty
to reopen by July 4
The Statue of Liberty, closed since Hurricane Sandy damaged the island where it stands, will reopen to the public in time for Independence Day, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said Tuesday.
The statue itself was spared in the late October storm, but its surrounding island was badly damaged. Railings broke, paving stones were torn up and buildings were flooded.
— Associated Press
Protester interrupts mayor’s speech:An irate man commandeered a microphone from Kansas City, Mo., Mayor Sly James (D) Tuesday and ranted for several seconds before being tackled by the mayor’s bodyguard. James was not hurt amid the interruption of his annual State of the City address by the unarmed man, who bounded onto the stage of the Gem Theater.
College student plotted attack, police say: James Oliver Seevakumaran had about 1,000 rounds of ammunition, an assault rifle, a semiautomatic pistol and four homemade bombs when he threatened his roommate and killed himself in a dorm room Monday morning at the University of Central Florida in Orlando. As UCF police unveiled more details Tuesday of Seevakumaran’s behavior, they said it became clear that he was capable of, and likely planning, a massacre on campus.
— From news services