NATION IN BRIEF

Monday, March 26, 2007

Chicago Police Officers Accused of Assault in Bar

CHICAGO-- Authorities are investigating allegations that six off-duty Chicago police officers were captured on video assaulting four men in a bar, the second report of police involved in an assault to surface in a week.

Adam Mastrucci, Scott Lowrance and brothers Aaron and Barry Gilfand were playing pool at the Jefferson Tap and Grille on Dec. 15 when the officers attacked them, said their attorney, Steven Fine.

Patrol officers responded to a 911 call but left after speaking to one off-duty officer, Fine said. One of the four men required reconstructive surgery for a broken nose, and another had broken ribs, Fine said.

Lawyers did not say what may have prompted the alleged incident.

Police and the Cook County state's attorney's office are looking into the allegation, said police spokeswoman Monique Bond, who declined to discuss details. No charges have been filed in the case, a department spokesman said Sunday.

The latest claims come after accusations that an off-duty police officer beat a female bartender who reportedly refused to serve him drinks. A bar surveillance camera recorded that incident, officials said.

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· GALVESTON, Tex.-- A man and woman fell overboard from a cruise ship in the Gulf of Mexico early Sunday, but both were rescued after a four-hour search and appeared to be in good condition. The man, 22, and woman, 20 -- who were not identified -- fell 50 to 60 feet from a cabin balcony, said a Princess Cruises spokeswoman. Officials said the falls appear to have been accidental.

· ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla.-- The Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind allowed felons to work on campus construction jobs during the past two years, the St. Augustine Record reported. Many workers were allowed on campus even though they had failed background checks. School President Elmer Dillingham said he believes the administration made acceptable decisions.

· WEST WARWICK, R.I.-- A teenager was killed by a hit-and-run driver at the same spot where his friend died in a car crash hours earlier. Andrew Coit, 18, was hit by a car after 4 a.m. Saturday as he played a guitar at a makeshift memorial to Darien Plass, 14, on West Warwick's Main Street. Plass died after driving his mother's minivan into a utility pole late Friday, friends of both teenagers told the Providence Journal. "He wanted to play one last song for [Plass], and that was the last time anyone saw him," said Coit's friend, Dennis Sullivan.

· MENASHA, Wis.-- When their photographer's camera was stolen shortly after Karen and Tory Nordlinder exchanged vows, the couple figured they would never have snapshots of their wedding day. This week, the camera turned up in a vacant lot near a lake, a year after it disappeared. Photographer Charles Boesen, whose information was inside the camera, was contacted. When he got it back, Boesen plugged the camera's memory card into his computer and the photos appeared.

-- From News Services


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