U.S. Sues Ohio Police Force

COLUMBUS, Ohio--The Justice Department sued the 1,700-member Columbus police department yesterday, accusing it of a pattern of civil rights abuses that included excessive force, false arrests and improper searches.

The government said it reviewed more than 300 complaints before making Columbus the third U.S. city to be threatened with a lawsuit by the department's civil rights division under a 1994 federal law. The other two--Steubenville, Ohio, and Pittsburgh--promised to correct problems in the training, supervision and discipline of officers.


* WAIPAHU, Hawaii--Hawaiians stripped store shelves of rice, Spam, toilet paper and other items in case dockworkers strike, crippling a state that gets 90 percent of its commodities via ship. The 507 members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 142 are demanding a new contract with the state's four major shipping companies, and dockworkers on Kauai, Maui and Hawaii have authorized a strike. Oahu members vote today.

* SELIGMAN, Mo.--An eighth-grader last seen alive being chased from his girlfriend's house by her father was hit by a train and found dead, but authorities suspect homicide and say there is a conspiracy to cover it up. Railroad police said they are unsure whether Justin Hocutt, 14, was dead before the train hit him or if he was knocked unconscious and left there to die.

* EL PASO--Smugglers dug a network of 50 to 60 tunnels under this southwest Texas border city to ferret drugs and undocumented immigrants into the United States and weapons into Mexico, law enforcement officials said. Officials say the tunnels range from 18 inches across to eight feet high and meander under the city, connecting to water and sewer lines. One tunnel exits next door to City Hall.

* BRIDGEPORT, Conn.--No Oreja and Nikki, two spectacled bears who have been pacing because they're restless and anxious about life in the Beardsley Zoo, will get some St. John's wort in an effort to calm and relax them, zookeepers said.

* FORT PIERCE, Fla.--Eight million gallons of raw sewage spilled into the Atlantic Ocean when a corroded pipe broke Monday as area drainage systems handled massive flooding from Hurricane Irene, which poured as much as 17 inches of rain on Florida last weekend. Beaches in Martin, St. Lucie and Indian River counties remained closed as a brown plume spread eight miles into the ocean.

* BLOOMFIELD, Mo.--Cathy L. Adams, 39, was jailed on charges of selling her infant grandson for $20, but she said it was an informal adoption. Police, who said she had handed 3-week-old Michael over to a couple from Wardell, Mo., on Sunday, were searching for the baby's 16-year-old mother, two teenage friends and the boy's great-grandmother, Mary Ackers of St. Louis, who allegedly made the arrangements.

* ODESSA, Tex.--A jury ordered cardiologist Ramachandra Kolluru, Albertson's pharmacy and pharmacist Thomas Updyke to pay $450,000 to the family of Ramon Vasquez, 42, who died in 1995 after the druggist misread the doctor's handwritten prescription.