New York
City files appeal of
stop-and-frisk ruling

New York City filed a notice of appeal Friday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, the first step in appealing a federal judge’s ruling that imposed changes on the police department’s stop-and-frisk strategy after finding the policy intentionally singled out minorities.

“The mayor, the police commissioner and the city vowed to press forward immediately with an appeal, and we have done so,” said Michael A. Cardozo, head of the city Law Department.

Attorneys have about three months to file the formal brief.

A class-action lawsuit argued that the department was wrongly targeting minorities. Officers have made about 5 million stops in the past decade under the program, mostly of black and Hispanic men. About half were frisked. Only about 10 percent of stops ended in arrest, and a weapon was recovered a fraction of the time.

— Bloomberg News

UPS pilots got alerts seconds before crash

A flight recorder revealed that the pilots of a UPS cargo jet that crashed short of a runway at the Birmingham airport Wednesday received warnings about their rate of descent seconds before impact, investigators said Friday.

National Transportation Safety Board member Robert Sumwalt said a recorder captured the first of two audible warnings in the cockpit 16 seconds before the sound of impact. The warnings indicated that the A300 cargo plane was descending at a rate outside normal parameters, given its altitude, Sumwalt said, but investigators haven’t made any determination on the cause of the crash.

UPS has identified the victims of the crash as Capt. Cerea Beal Jr., 58, of Matthews, N.C., and First Officer Shanda Fanning, 37, of Lynchburg, Tenn.

— Associated Press

New Jersey
‘Pot-for-tots’ bill nears approval

Gov. Chris Christie (R.) on Friday acted on legislation that will make it easier for children and teenagers with serious illnesses to obtain medical marijuana.

Christie agreed to sign the “pot-for-tots” bill if the state legislature makes changes, including removing wording that would have reduced the number of required physician recommendations.

Christie said in a statement: “I am making commonsense recommendations to this legislation to ensure sick children receive the treatment their parents prefer, while maintaining appropriate safeguards.”

— Reuters

Mediation sought in Baby Veronica case

The biological and adoptive families battling for custody of a Native American girl named Veronica agreed Friday to mediation after talking for more than three hours at an Oklahoma custody hearing, according to court records.

The judge in the case issued a gag order, barring further public comment by the families of Baby Veronica, and sealed all records in the case. The hearing in a Cherokee County courthouse was closed to the public.

Dusten Brown, Veronica’s father, and his tribe, the Cherokee Nation, are fighting the legality of adoption proceedings by a South Carolina couple who took custody of the girl shortly after her birth in 2009. Brown, who won custody of the girl in late 2011, refused to turn her over after that decision was nullified in June by the U.S. Supreme Court.

— Reuters

Albuquerque police criticized in lawyer’s death: The New Mexico attorney general issued a scathing critique of the Albuquerque Police Department on Friday over its finding that a high-
profile civil rights lawyer committed suicide, saying the death scene was “terribly mishandled.” The 2010 death of Mary Han has been the source of controversy in the state ever since Albuquerque police quickly ruled it a suicide. Han was a vocal adversary of the Police Department, and her family says officers failed to look at other explanations for her death after she was found dead in the driver’s seat of her BMW inside her garage.

In a news release and a letter Friday to the family’s attorney, Attorney General Gary King said the real cause of death may never be determined because of the “puzzling police investigation.”

— Associated Press