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tillsonburg/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Grieving officers of the New York Police Department gathered Wednesday at an emotional funeral for Detective Brian Simonsen who was killed by friendly fire while responding to a robbery last week.

Simonsen, 42, and his partner "made the decision to move toward the danger" at a Queens T-Mobile store on Feb. 12, Police Commissioner James O’Neill told the mourners at Wednesday's funeral. "They did so because people needed them. They did so because they make tough decisions others are unable or unwilling to make. They did so because they are NYPD cops."

Simonsen, a detective, was "exceedingly good at his job," O'Neill said.

"After these crimes, victims who were once confident find themselves suddenly afraid. There is a loss of trust, a loss of belief in their fellow human beings," he said. "But Brian was always able to walk into the most chaotic of situations and calm things down – really communicate and reach people."

"Being an NYPD cop is what Brian dedicated his life to for 18 years, 11 months and 12 days," spending his entire career at the 102nd Precinct, O’Neill said.

 

Today we say our final goodbyes to #NYPD Det. Brian Simonsen, killed in the line of duty last week. Whether it was as a police academy recruit (in this 2000 photo) or as a seasoned investigator, Brian was always the one you wanted next to you when decisions mattered the most. RIP pic.twitter.com/2RHwhJmXtk

— Commissioner O'Neill (@NYPDONeill) February 20, 2019

 

The fallen detective lived on Long Island but drove nearly 70 miles each way so he could work in Queens.

"He fell in love with his community, and the community fell in love with him," O’Neill said.

 

The 102nd Precinct would like to thank everyone for their continued support, thoughts, and prayers during this very difficult time. pic.twitter.com/5LRpISoCok

— NYPD 102nd Precinct (@NYPD102Pct) February 14, 2019

 

 

#FDNY #Battalion47 #Engine265 #Ladder121 #Station47 and all FDNY members support @NYPDnews as they lay to rest Detective Brian Simonsen, who made the Supreme Sacrifice on February 12. This tribute is displayed on FDNY ambulances and fire companies throughout the city. pic.twitter.com/okygnTkIgf

— FDNY (@FDNY) February 20, 2019

 

Simonsen is survived by his mother, Linda, and his wife, Leanne, a nurse.

Simonsen "faced several heartaches as a teenager" when his dad and sister died months apart, said his cousin and fellow NYPD officer Sean Peterson. But Simonsen immediately became a "rock" to support his family, said Peterson.

After meeting his wife, a Chicago native, in Las Vegas, "Brian knew he had found the one," said Peterson, and she became the "missing piece of the puzzle that completed Brian's life."

"To Leanne and Linda, and to all of Brian’s loved ones, know this: Our family is your family," O'Neill said.

To the officers gathered in the pews, O'Neill urged them to never "forget why you chose to become police officers ... never forget that Brian lived to protect all New Yorkers, and his legacy protects us still."

Simonsen was his precinct's union delegate and attended a union meeting on the day of his death, authorities said. He decided to respond to the call in Queens even though he didn't have to, authorities said.

In a chaotic scene at the T-Mobile store that unfolded within seconds, seven officers shot 42 rounds, authorities said. The officer who responded with Simonsen was shot and injured.

Two suspects are in custody. The suspects' weapon was an imitation gun, authorities said.

 

Detective Brian Simonsen represented what it means to be a great cop — to go beyond the call of duty. Today, we mourn the loss of a hero who went in harm’s way & celebrate a life dedicated to service. We’ll forever be indebted to Brian & his family. The NYPD will #NeverForget. pic.twitter.com/s5ixEDP1Zo

— Chief Terence Monahan (@NYPDChiefofDept) February 20, 2019

 

 

Later this morning we gather with first responders from across the nation to honor and lay to rest NYPD Detective Brian Simonsen. pic.twitter.com/gmB0pJgYaB

— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) February 20, 2019

 

"All of the police officers at that tragic shooting will carry their grief with them for the rest of their lives," O'Neill said, adding, "Those cops responded to a call for help. They did not hesitate. And they are not to blame."

"The two people responsible for Brian’s death -- the only two -- are the career criminals who decided to go to that store on Tuesday night and commit an armed robbery," O'Neill said, his voice shaking.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio also spoke at the emotional service.

"I hope all New Yorkers and all Americans look at this example ... of all the goodness that a police officer can bring to a community," he said.

"Even after this tragedy Brian kept giving back, still taking care of others. He wanted to be an organ donor to make sure he could continue to save lives and he did," the mayor said.

He continued, "We have lost one of our very best. We will never forget him."

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Ildo Frazao/iStock(CHARLESTON, W. Va.) -- Nearly a year after they went on strike and inspired educators nationwide to do the same, West Virginia teachers wielded their power again and this time politicians were quick to listen.

Just hours after West Virginia teachers went on strike for the second time in a year, the state House of Delegates voted 53-45 to indefinitely table an omnibus education bill the educators saw as retaliation for the job action they took last February.

But while Senate Bill 451 -- loathed by teachers because it proposed establishing the state's first charter schools and funds for private school vouchers -- appeared dead, the state's three biggest teachers' unions said the strike would continue for a second day to "make sure this is a dead deal."

"We believe that there is still a minute opportunity for something to happen," Dale Lee, president of the West Virginia Education Association, said at a news conference at the state capital building in Charleston Tuesday night.

Despite calls from Gov. Jim Justice and Steven Paine, the West Virginia superintendent of schools, for teachers to go back to work on Wednesday, the teachers' unions instructed educators to return to the state capital building instead to make sure the state Senate leadership knows they mean business.

"We cannot trust the leadership in the Senate," Fred Albert, president of West Virginia chapter of the American Federation of Teachers, said at the news conference. "We are staying out one more day to ensure that this is a dead bill."

With little warning and a lot of anger, Mountain State teachers went on strike Tuesday, prompting school administrators in 54 of 55 counties to cancel classes for more than 200,000 students.

The strike was called Monday evening in protest of state Senate Bill 451, which seeks to overhaul education.

The state Senate sent the bill back to the House of Delegates Monday with amendments to allow the establishment of charter schools in the state. The bill also provides public money to fund vouchers called "education savings accounts" for parents who home-school their children or send them to private school.

The House of Delegates voted to put the bill it on the back burner just hours after teachers went on strike.

"The Senate can amend it into another education bill. We can't take anything for granted," Jennifer Wood, spokeswoman for the West Virginia chapter of the American Federation of Teachers, told ABC News. "There is a history with the Senate leadership. Teachers don't feel like they argue in good faith."

Despite the bill including raises for teachers, Albert said educators were "left no other choice" but to go on strike to stop the erosion of public education in the state.

Randi Weingarten, president of the nationwide American Federation of Teachers, posted a message on Twitter Tuesday saying the Republican-dominated West Virginia Senate "is keen to destroy public schools & retaliate against its teachers."

Lee, the West Virginia Education Association president, said the Senate bill was rammed through and sent back to the House of Delegates with little to no input from teachers.

"It appears that they are more interested in listening to the outside interests than they are the educators across West Virginia," Lee said at news conference Monday.

State Senate President Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson County, said the bill has "great provisions" in it, including additional 5 percent pay hikes on top of 5 percent raises teachers won after striking nine days last year. The bill also creates a $250 tax credit for teachers on the purchase of classroom supplies or other educational materials.

He said the bill's goal is "getting our education system out of the doldrums."

"Why would anyone want to stand in the status quo and stay in the past?" Carmichael said.

Last year's West Virginia teachers' strike, which started on Feb. 22, was followed by strikes in Oklahoma, Kentucky, Arizona and most recently Los Angeles and Denver.

West Virginia has no comprehensive collective bargaining statutes, meaning public school budgets are set by state legislatures and not local school boards like in California and Colorado.

In states like West Virginia, Oklahoma, Arizona and Kentucky, strikes by teachers are considered illegal and educators risk being fired for participating in them. Because teachers in those states have shown statewide solidarity in their job actions, state government leaders have had little choice but to bargain.

"What's happened in all these places is over the course of the last 10 to 15 years is that people have tried to make good schools and students front and center have gotten demeaned, disparaged, called names, schools have been divested," Weingarten told ABC News in an interview last week. "And so what has happened ... is a sense of possibility that when you join together you can indeed be stronger together, but you have to join together on a mission that the community really adopts."

The West Virginia strike comes ahead of one being planned by Oakland, California, teachers on Thursday.

The Oakland public school teachers' contract expired in July 2017. The union and the Oakland Unified School District began bargaining on a new contract in December 2016, but after 30 negotiating sessions encompassing 200 hours of bargaining, an impasse was declared on May 18, 2018. Both sides agreed to mediation but that failed to break the stalemate.

As part of the negotiations, an arbitrator was assigned to do a fact-finding report. The report showed an 18.7 percent annual turnover rate for teachers in the school district.

To stem the tide of teachers exiting the Oakland Unified School District, which has more than 37,000 students, the union is asking for a 12 percent raise over three years, smaller class sizes and more support staff. The school district has offered a 5 percent raise over three years, retroactive to 2017.

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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Over 1,150 flights have been canceled Wednesday — many in the Washington, D.C., area — as a winter storm moves through the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and eventually the Northeast.

Schools in Baltimore, Philadelphia and Omaha are all closed for the day and federal offices in D.C. are shuttered.

Here's the latest forecast:

Snow is already falling from Minneapolis to Chicago and into Washington, D.C., threatening drivers on their morning commutes.

Snow will be heavy at times Wednesday in the St. Paul, Minnesota, area, where schools are also closed.

Minneapolis could get up to 10 inches of snow.

In Chicago and Detroit, a wintry mix is expected throughout the day. Chicago and Detroit will only see about one inch.

The snow is predicated to get heavy at times in Washington, D.C., Wednesday before changing to rain in the afternoon. D.C. is forecast to see about five inches.

In Philadelphia, the snow continues through the afternoon before changing to rain during the evening rush hour. The city is expected to see three to four inches of snow.

Snowfall will start in New York City in the afternoon, lasting through the evening rush hour. Two to four inches are forecast. The snow will change to sleet and rain after 7 p.m.

The snow is expected to reach Boston around 10 p.m. Wednesday, bringing two to three inches of snow into the overnight hours before changing to rain.

The heaviest snow and ice is forecast to hit central Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Western Maryland and Virginia, where up to 10 inches of snow is possible.

Meanwhile, in the South, heavy rain and strong storms are moving through the Ohio, Tennessee and Mississippi River valleys, potentially bringing dangerous flooding.

Nashville may see its wettest February on record.

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Sarasota Police Department(SARASOTA, Fla.) -- The remains have been found of a missing teenager in Florida who may have witnessed a murder more than a year ago, police announced Tuesday night.

Jabez Spann was 14 when he vanished on Sept. 4, 2017, in Sarasota, Florida. A week earlier, a woman who witnessed a murder allegedly saw Spann at the crime scene as well, the Sarasota Police Department said.

Human remains were found along a fence line in a rural area of Manatee County on Saturday afternoon, and forensic experts used dental records to identify them as Spann's. The teen's family has been notified, police said.

"Dental records were a match," Sarasota Police Deputy Chief Patrick Robinson said at a press conference Tuesday night. "It's unknown how long those skeletal remains were at the location, where they were located, or if they were transported there from somewhere else."

Police wouldn't speculate on whether Spann's death is connected to the shooting in Sarasota he may have witnessed just before his disappearance.

"This will be handled on its merits alone," Robinson told reporters. "We'll be going back and basically starting from the beginning, scouring our case files to ensure every lead, every tip was followed up on, everything was handled a hundred percent. We are going to run this thing to the end."

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VanderWolf-Images/iStock(CHATTANOOGA, Tenn.) -- A Delta Air Lines flight was forced to declare an emergency and make an unscheduled landing in Chattanooga, Tennessee after apparently being struck by lightning on Tuesday.

The plane took off from George Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee and was supposed to land at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta, before the emergency was declared and it was diverted to Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport at 3:38 p.m.

"We were struck by lightning, we're on the hold, and then the left engine started giving us vibration," the plane radioed to air traffic control, according to LiveATC.net. "We've got it in idle. Still operating. We’re going to land and deal with that on the ground."

The flight landed safely and all 164 people on board were put on a different plane to continue to their destination.

The plane made its eventual landing in Atlanta, 7 1/2 hours late, at 11:18 p.m.

"I saw a flash and then after a little bit, you could kind of feel the engine go out and slow down," passenger Russell Baumgard told Chattanooga ABC affiliate WTVC-TV. "And then they were like, 'Hey, we're over Chattanooga and we're going to land.'"

"The aircraft will be closely inspected to determine the next steps in getting the passengers to their final destination," Chattanooga Airport spokesman Albert Waterhouse said in a statement.

Delta said the Federal Aviation Administration will investigate the strike.

A massive storm system was moving across the region on Tuesday, bringing heavy rain to the Tennessee River Valley and moving into the Mid-Atlantic and East Coast by Wednesday.

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Public Domain(SAN JOSE, Calif.) -- A University of California, Santa Cruz student was indicted on federal charges Tuesday, accused of developing an app to sell meth, cocaine and other illegal drugs.

Collin Howard, 18, was indicted by a federal grand jury in San Jose, California, on drug distribution and possession charges for allegedly creating the Banana Plug app, authorities said.

Howard allegedly hung up posters at the University of California, Santa Cruz to promote the app, which was available on the Apple app store, the U.S. attorney’s office for the Northern District of California said in a statement Tuesday.

Banana Plug, an apparent reference to UC Santa Cruz’s banana slug mascot, allegedly provided students with cocaine, “molly” and “shrooms,” the office said in a statement Tuesday. The app also invited customers to make special requests.

The app was still available for download on Apple's app store as of early Wednesday.

Howard was arrested in a sting operation last Friday, when he allegedly sold drugs to an undercover Homeland Security agent who contacted him through the app.

"Posters advertising the application had been hung up around the UC Santa Cruz campus," the statement said. "Upon discovering the posters and the application, a UC Santa Cruz police officer, in coordination with HSI, used the application to request a purchase of marijuana and cocaine and then communicated with Howard via Snapchat to set up the purchase."

Howard made an initial court appearance on Tuesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Nathanael Cousins and is scheduled to reappear on Friday for a bail review hearing.

He could face as many as 40 years in prison and a fine of up to $5 million. It's unclear if he has retained an attorney.

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Newport Beach Police(NEWPORT BEACH, Calif.) -- Police in Southern California have arrested a suspect in the decades-old murder of 11-year-old Linda Ann O’Keefe, sources told ABC News on Tuesday.

O'Keefe vanished while walking home from school in Newport Beach, California, on July 6, 1973, according to police. Her strangled body was discovered the following day in the Back Bay area, but no suspects were named. A witness told investigators later that she saw Linda standing next to a turquoise van and talking to the driver -- a white man in his mid-20s or early 30s.

Sources with knowledge of the investigation told ABC News that police arrested a male suspect in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on Monday in connection with the young girl's murder.

Officials with the Orange County District Attorney’s Office and Newport Beach Police Department said they arrested a suspect in connection with a 1973 Newport Beach cold case murder on Tuesday evening, but did not offer any additional details.

“As the Orange County District Attorney, I am committed to protecting the community. My office will never forget about cold cases," Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in a statement. "Our hearts go out to the victim and the victim’s family in this case, having to endure decades without answers."

He said the Colorado Springs Police Department had assisted in the investigation, but he did not elaborate on the department's role.

The Newport Beach Police Department announced a lead in O'Keefe's case on July 7, 2018, exactly 45 years after her body was found, offering a new sketch of the suspected killer.

“But now, 45 yrs later, I have a voice again. And I have something important to say," the department tweeted, mimicking O'Keefe's voice. "There is a new lead in my case: a face. A face that comes from DNA that the killer left behind. It’s technology that didn’t exist back in 1973, but it might change everything today."

The department also recreated O'Keefe's abduction and killing in a Twitter stream last year to help the public "relate to the victim on a personal level," Newport Beach police spokeswoman Jennifer Manzella told ABC News in July.

“But now, 45 yrs later, I have a voice again. And I have something important to say. There is a new lead in my case: a face. A face that comes from DNA that the killer left behind. It’s technology that didn’t exist back in 1973, but it might change everything today.” #LindasStory pic.twitter.com/GsZClKFwPj

— Newport Beach Police (@NewportBeachPD) July 7, 2018

"We started out at 8 a.m. going to school through to the next morning when her body is found. And people who followed along got to have that experience," Manzella said.

The reaction has been "overwhelming positive," she added, at the time. "Both from people who knew Linda, her classmates, her friends ... to people who had never been familiar with her story before."

Authorities have scheduled a press conference to discuss the arrest in Newport Beach on Wednesday morning.

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Broward County Jail(MIAMI) -- A Florida man has been charged with a hate crime after allegedly yelling racial slurs and waving a gun at a group of black protesters.

Mark Bartlett, who is white, originally was charged only with carrying a concealed firearm after he allegedly pulled a gun on protesters blocking a Miami street as part of a demonstration on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. But prosecutors announced additional charges on Tuesday, citing the completion of final interviews and witness statements.

Bartlett, 51, now faces three counts of aggravated assault with prejudice, enhanced to a second-degree felony; one count of improper exhibition of a firearm, enhanced to a third-degree felony; and one count of carrying a concealed firearm, a third-degree felony, Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said in a statement on Tuesday.

He's scheduled to be arraigned on the new charges Wednesday.

Video circulated on social media last month showed Bartlett wielding a handgun and yelling the N-word repeatedly.

"Get in front of my car, you f---ing piece of s---. N------ suck," the man yelled from the window of his black SUV. He continued to swear and yell racial slurs as he exited his vehicle, brandishing his gun and scattering protesters.

One of the teens involved in the incident said Bartlett threatened him before the video was filmed.

"He pointed the gun at me first [from] inside his car. He told me to come to the car. I said, 'No, sir. No, sir. I'm not coming,'" 18-year-old Deante Joseph told ABC affiliate WPLG-TV last month. "He said, 'Black n----r. You black n----r. Get away from my car. Get away from my car.' We were holding up signs for housing. That's all we were doing."

Bartlett later told police that he had a gun at the time, but said he only pulled it out to protect his girlfriend, who was arguing with one of the teens.

"All I see is 15 people running across the street toward my girlfriend -- over the median, toward my girlfriend," he told WPLG. "My first reaction is, I have a gun on me. Whether I have a gun on me or not, I'm running to see and to protect my family. I had a gun though. It wasn't loaded. I ran out there. You can see I never pointed it. I never threatened anybody. I just needed it in case something were to happen."

Five of the protesters have since filed a lawsuit against Bartlett and his girlfriend, whom he said he was defending at the time, seeking damages for pain and suffering.

Bartlett's attorneys, Jayne Weintraub and Jonathan Etra, said the new charges were the result of political pressure, according to told WPLG.

"We are disappointed the State Attorney has succumbed to the political pressure rather than obeying the tenets of the law," the pair said in a statement. "Clearly this mob of people who were commandeering traffic, and taunting passengers, while wearing masks and gloves, were not peacefully protesting -- they were not peacefully doing anything. They were committing multiple crimes for which the State Attorney is not holding them accountable."

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tupungato/iStock(CHICAGO) -- The FBI and the US Postal Inspection Service are currently investigating whether Jussie Smollett played a role in sending a threatening letter addressed to him at "Empire’s" Chicago studio prior to the alleged attack, two federal officials confirm to ABC News.

The accusation, made by the two brothers who were persons of interest, has not been confirmed.

The letter, which was sent Jan. 22, is currently in the FBI crime lab for analysis, one of the sources said.

The latest in this ever-changing story comes hours after the two brothers claimed they helped Smollett concoct the alleged assault after he became upset that a letter threatening him, sent to the "Empire" show's studio, did not get enough attention, sources told ABC News on Monday.

Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo have also told investigators that Smollett paid them to help him orchestrate and stage the Jan. 29 attack that he said occurred near his Chicago apartment, sources said.

Detectives are actively investigating the account of Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo, but thus far police have not independently verified the allegations, a law enforcement official briefed on the investigation told ABC News.

The Osundairo brothers agreed to cooperate with authorities after detectives confronted them with evidence that they bought the rope -- allegedly used in an attack that Smollett described to police as laced with racial and homophobic slurs -- at a Chicago hardware store, sources said.

No one has been charged in connection with the case.

A spokesperson for Smollett said Monday the actor's attorneys are keeping an active dialogue going with Chicago police on behalf of the actor.

Smollett told police that on Jan. 29, he was walking on a street near his apartment when he was attacked by two men. The attackers allegedly shouted racist and homophobic slurs before hitting him, pouring “an unknown chemical substance” on him — possibly bleach — and wrapping a rope around his neck, he told detectives.

“As a victim of a hate crime who has cooperated with the police investigation, Jussie Smollett is angered and devastated by recent reports that the perpetrators are individuals he is familiar with," Smollett attorneys Todd Pugh and Victor Henderson said in a separate statement Saturday. "He has now been further victimized by claims attributed to these alleged perpetrators that Jussie played a role in his own attack. Nothing is further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is lying."

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Scott Olson/Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- Construction of the $500 million Barack Obama Presidential Center in a historic Chicago park was dealt a major setback on Tuesday when a federal judge ruled that a lawsuit filed by park advocates to stop the project can move forward.

U.S. District Court Judge Robert Blakey rejected a request by the city of Chicago to toss the lawsuit filed by the group Protect Our Parks.

In its lawsuit, Protect Our Parks claimed the city and the Chicago Park District violated statutes dating back to the 1800s that bar private development in public parks along Lake Michigan.

Blakey, who was nominated to the federal court by Obama in 2014, heard arguments in the case last week. Blakey ruled that Protect Our Parks has standing to sue because it represents taxpayers who are concerned that providing park land in the public trust to the Obama Presidential Center violates their due-process rights.

The judge dismissed a claim that the center violates the First Amendment right of taxpayers who disagree with Obama's "political, environmental, or educational initiatives" yet will be forced to pay a new real estate tax to support the center.

The judge warned both sides that he does not want to see the litigation dragged out and that he wants a trial to begin in 45 days.

The private nonprofit Obama Foundation, based in Washington, D.C., had hoped to break ground on the project this year.

The Obama Presidential Center is slated to be built on 20 acres inside historic Jackson Park on the South Side of Chicago near an economically depressed area of the city where the 44th president of the United States got his start as a community organizer.

"The Obama Presidential Center is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for all of Chicago. It will bring transformative investment to the South Side, create hundreds of permanent jobs, and inspire young Chicagoans and people from across the world to follow the lead of Barack and Michelle Obama," Ed Siskel, corporation counsel for the city of Chicago, said in a statement following Blakey's ruling.

"We are pleased that the court dismissed some of the claims and made clear that the proceedings will move forward expeditiously," Siskel said.

In a statement to ABC News, a spokesperson for the Obama Foundation said, "As we have said before, we believe the lawsuit is without merit."

"We are confident that our plan for the Obama Presidential Center is consistent with Chicago's right tradition of locating world-class museums in its parks, and we look forward to developing a lasting cultural institution on the South Side," the spokesperson said.

The legal battle comes less than three years after a similar lawsuit filed by the group Friends of the Parks prompted "Star Wars" creator George Lucas to abandoned plans to build a museum to house his art collection on land along Lake Michigan owned by the city of Chicago Park District. Lucas decided to build the museum in Los Angeles.

The Protect Our Parks lawsuit accuses city officials of deceiving the public with a "short con shell game" to "legitimize an illegal land grab."

The Chicago Park District sold the land to the city for $1 and city officials got the state legislature to amend the Illinois Aquarium and Museum Act to include presidential libraries as an exception to the no-development rules.

But the Protect Our Parks lawsuit contends the center does not meet the definition of a presidential library because it will not house documents, records and artifacts from the Obama administration as the city initially said it would.

"The Obamas announced that, instead, the [Obama] Foundation had decided to forego and relinquish all custody and control of the former president’s records to NARA [National Archives and Records Administration] and abandoned all plans for building a 'Presidential Library,'" according to the lawsuit.

Under the agreement the Chicago City Council approved, the Obama Foundation would pay the city $10 to use the land in Jackson Park for 99 years.

"The new, renamed 'Presidential Center' would instead be privately owned, managed and operated in ways that the private Foundation itself would decide," reads the suit.

The suit charges the city pulled a "bait and switch" on the public.

The city countered that the state's Park District Aquarium and Museum Act authorizes it to build and operate museums, including presidential centers, on public park land.

"The Museum Act expressly affirms that presidential centers, along with the other museums authorized by the statute," the city's response to the lawsuit reads.

The city's response notes that the Obama Presidential Center would be the 12th museum in Chicago located in a public park.

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Woodland Park Police Department(WOODLAND PARK, Colo.) -- Prosecutors on Tuesday revealed new details -- including blood and an alleged poisoned coffee plot -- in the case against Patrick Frazee, the Colorado man accused of killing his fiancé and the mother of his baby.

Kelsey Berreth, 29, vanished on Nov. 22, 2018, near her Woodland Park, Colorado, home. Her purse, phone and keys went missing, but no other personal items were gone, prosecutors said Tuesday.

Her body has still not been found.

Frazee's ex-girlfriend, Krystal Lee, said Frazee asked her last fall if she would poison Berreth's favorite Starbucks drink. Frazee claimed Berreth should die because she was an abusive mother, Colorado Bureau of Investigation agent Gregg Slater said Tuesday as he testified for the prosecution at Frazee's preliminary hearing.

Frazee and Lee discussed potential drugs that were easy to access because Lee was a nurse, according to Slater.

Lee said she bought a drink and gave it to Berreth, portraying herself as a new neighbor, but she did not put anything in the drink, Slater said.

Frazee, 32, who was arrested in December for murder and solicitation to commit murder, has not entered a plea.

On Dec. 6, two weeks after the disappearance, Berreth's mother found blood in her daughter's bathroom and noticed a missing bathmat, Slater said.

Investigators did a luminol test (which detects blood) and found Berreth's blood DNA profile in her bathroom, including on the toilet, trash can, floor, wall, door, town rack and part of the vanity, Slater said.

Frazee's attorney, however, noted that the blood was found in Berreth's home by her own family days after cadaver dogs and police investigated the scene.

Surveillance and phone evidence were also presented on Tuesday.

Cameras from Berreth's neighbor showed Berreth, Frazee and their baby at Berreth's front door on Nov. 22, the day she disappeared, said Christopher Adams of the Woodland Park Police Department, who was called by prosecutors at the preliminary hearing.

Frazee was seen also seen on surveillance video that day at a Woodland Park credit union drive through, Adams said. A baby carrier was visible in the car passenger seat and a black tote was in the back of the truck bed, Adams said. Prosecutors asked if that tote would play a significant role in what happened to Berreth, and Adams said yes.

Prosecutors want Frazee's mother to testify because they believe she witnessed Frazee destroy that bag.

On Nov. 22, Berreth and Frazee's phones pinged off a tower serving Berreth's home, Adams testified.

The next morning, Frazee called Berreth's phone. At that time both phones pinged off the tower by Frazee's home, indicating the phones were together, Adams told the court.

Frazee's attorney, Adam Steigerwald, attacked the phone evidence, asking how many cellphone towers were in the area.

Steigerwald also stressed that there were hundreds of tips about sightings of Berreth.

Lee, the former girlfriend, admitted in court this month to moving Berreth's phone.

Lee's phone records showed her in Colorado on Nov. 24, Adams said Tuesday. On Nov. 25 Berreth's phone traveled west, eventually reaching Idaho, where Lee lives. Records indicate Lee's phone was traveling with Berreth's phone, Adams testified.

Lee pleaded guilty to one count of tampering with physical evidence.

A judge has granted temporary custody of Frazee and Berreth's 1-year-old daughter to Berreth's parents, Cheryl and Darrell Berreth. The couple filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Frazee.

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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- A major storm is headed to the eastern half of the country, bringing snow, ice and rain from the Plains to the Northeast to the Southeast.

Over 280 flights were already canceled for Wednesday as the storm takes shape.

Here is the latest forecast:

One storm gained strength Tuesday morning, spreading heavy rain across the South.

Meanwhile, a separate storm is bringing snow to Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and the central Plains.

The storms will merge Wednesday morning, bringing heavy snow to Minneapolis, Chicago and Washington, D.C.

The nation's capital is forecast to see 4 to 6 inches of snow before the storm changes to ice and rain Wednesday afternoon. Areas west of D.C. could see 12 inches of snow.

A wintry mix of snow and ice will move into New York City and Philadelphia Wednesday afternoon, bringing 1 to 3 inches of snow.

Philadelphia schools will be closed Wednesday as the storm moves in.

In the Midwest, Minneapolis is forecast to see 5 to 8 inches of snow while Des Moines could get 6 to 9.

Chicago is forecast to get up to 2 inches.

Meanwhile, in the South, very heavy rain will continue, with a potential for flash flooding through Wednesday night.

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Sarasota Police Department(SARASOTA, Fla.) -- A statue inspired by the iconic photograph of a World War II sailor kissing a woman in Times Square, New York City, was vandalized just days after the sailor in the photograph died.

The "Unconditional Surrender" statue in Sarasota, Florida, had "#MeToo" emblazoned in red spray paint on the woman's left leg, a photograph released by the Sarasota Police Department shows.

Police were called to the scene at around 12:53 a.m. Tuesday but did not find any cans of spray paint in the area, according to a press release.

Nothing else in the area was spraypainted or defaced, police said.

There are no known witnesses to the crime and there is no available surveillance video in the area, according to authorities.

The damage is estimated to cost about $1,000 to fix.

The sailor in the photograph, George Mendonsa, died at the age of 95 on Sunday after he had a seizure at the assisted living facility in Middletown, Rhode Island, where he lived with his wife of 70 years, The Providence Journal reported.

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Zolnierek/iStock(CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.) -- Bankruptcy is no shield for a white nationalist targeted in a lawsuit concerning the 2017 violence in Charlottesville, Va., according to a recent ruling from a federal judge -- and Twitter and other online platforms can't be blocked from subpoenas, another ruling announced.

Nathan Damigo, one of the organizers of the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, filed for bankruptcy protection to protect his assets from a civil lawsuit, which is moving toward trial this summer.

The suit was filed by 10 plaintiffs from Charlottesville who said they were injured by the same car attack that left counterdemonstrator Heather Heyer dead.

The plaintiffs can "proceed with litigation" against Damigo, federal bankruptcy court judge Ronald Sargis wrote last week.

In a separate ruling filed on Tuesday, Judge Norman K. Moon of the Western District of Virginia denied a request from Michael "Enoch" Peinovich, a white nationalist podcast host, to block subpoenas to Twitter, GoDaddy.com, Cloudflare and Hatreon to "gather evidence related to Defendants' and their co-conspirators' coordination of and planning for racially-motivated violence" related to the Charlottesville rally, as the subpoenas detailed.

GoDaddy.com and Cloudflare are web services companies that allegedly "provided services" to defendants and Hatreon is a crowd-funding site "allegedly used to raise money for bail following one defendant’s arrest in Charlottesville," according to the ruling.

"As our plaintiffs argued, Nathan Damigo should be held accountable -- and remain liable -- for the harm he caused in Charlottesville. We’re glad the court agreed,” Amy Spitalnick, executive director of Integrity First America, the nonprofit organization backing the lawsuit against Damigo, Peinovich, Richard Spencer and organizations like the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, said in a statement to ABC News.

The lawsuit accused the defendants of an unlawful conspiracy and sought damages for the violence in Charlottesville over two days in August 2017.

"It's going to be very clear what the defendants planned for, foresaw and executed," Karen Dunn of Boies Schiller Flexner, one of the high-profile attorneys representing the plaintiffs, told ABC News.

In November, the judge allowed the plaintiffs access to the defendants' electronic devices, and Dunn claimed there is evidence of premeditated harm.

"There's discussion of vehicles into crowds of people and how to defend that legally afterwards," Dunn said.

The case was brought under the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871 that was meant to protect the civil and political rights of millions of freed slaves from vigilante groups during Reconstruction.

"This lawsuit is not seeking to prevent them from speaking or believing anything that they want," Robbie Kaplan of Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP, who is representing the plaintiffs and is known for winning the landmark Supreme Court case that laid the groundwork for marriage equality, told ABC News. "While their views are odious to us, they are not the issue. The issue is, motivated by those views, that they agreed to engage in an illegal conspiracy to commit violence."

The defense has said the lawsuit lacks specifics.

"Plaintiffs complaint is long on coarse internet language regarding non-whites and short on allegations of racial violence perpetrated by any moving defendant," defense attorneys said in a motion to dismiss that was later denied.

They also said the plaintiffs failed to demonstrate a conspiracy.

"Plaintiffs have failed to make any credible allegation that any moving defendant came to any agreement with anybody, to do anything, other than march and chant in Charlottesville," defense attorneys said in a filing.

Despite those arguments, the judge recently ruled the lawsuit can proceed. Trial is scheduled for July.

"The larger statement here is going to be, we hope, that our American system of justice protects and defends our values and stands against those who do things that are contrary to our values," Dunn told ABC News.

Aside from damages the plaintiffs aimed to "ensure that nothing like this will happen again at the hands of the defendants," the lawsuit said.

"Certainly we want to hold these guys to account," Kaplan told ABC News. "But the legal system in our country also serves another purpose and that is to send a message."

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Evgen_Prozhyrko/iStock(LA PORTE, Texas) -- A Texas man was recently arrested for slapping a 12-year-old boy in the face. He claims the boy was was bullying his young stepdaughter, according to police.

James Peace, 37, of La Porte, Texas, had just picked up his stepdaughter from school when he saw the boy walking home with a friend in Harris County last Thursday afternoon. Peace told investigators that his stepdaughter has depression and that the boy's teasing caused her "serious psychological harm," an officer with the Deer Park Police Department stated in the probable cause affidavit.

Peace pulled over, got out of the car and began shouting at the boy for picking on his stepdaughter. He then struck the boy with an open palm on the side of his face before getting back into his car and driving away, according to the affidavit.

Peace initially denied the act when questioned by police the following day, but admitted to it after he was advised that a surveillance camera from a nearby residence had captured the entire incident. Peace told police that "he let his emotions get the best of him," according to the affidavit.

Peace faces a felony charge of injury to a child.

The boy told police he didn't know the adult who slapped him but recognized his classmate sitting in the front passenger seat of the vehicle. The boy said the man told him not to tell anyone what happened or "he will beat them up too, even the police." The boy said he didn't immediately tell his parents or others because he "was afraid that the man may return and cause more harm to him or his family," according to the probable cause affidavit.

The boy took a photo of himself after the incident, which he later showed to police. The picture shows the boy with "an obvious large handprint on the left side of his face that was extremely red and appeared to be swelling," according to the affidavit.

The next day, the boy told his teacher about what happened after asking if he could stay in class and have lunch with her rather than go to the cafeteria with the other students, explaining that he didn't want to see the classmate who was in the vehicle when the man slapped him. The teacher immediately notified school officials and the boy's mother, prompting a police investigation.

Peace's stepdaughter told police she did see her stepfather slap the boy in the face but "didn't think it was that hard of a strike." She said the boy had been "picking on her at school and calling her names and that she told her parents about it," which led to the confrontation, according to the probable cause affidavit.

Peace's wife, who asked to remain anonymous, told ABC Houston station KTRK that her daughter called and asked for a ride home because the boy and his friend were bullying her after school.

"Saying that her body was ugly, said that she was a transvestite, started throwing ice cream at her and then they picked up the rocks," the mother told KTRK, adding that she doesn't agree with her husband's actions. "He took it too far, he did."

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