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    Three people are facing charges after allegedly stealing or attempting to steal six ATMs in the Windham area in January.

    The burglaries happened between Jan. 2 and Jan. 20, according to police. Three suspects were arrested this week following an investigation by State police, Willimantic police and the state Department of Probation.

    Joshua Parker and Anibal Crespo were charged with three counts of third-degree burglary, two counts of third-degree larceny and one count of second-degree criminal mischief.

    Parker was released after posting $15,000 bond and is due in court March 20. Crespo was held and appeared in court today.

    A third suspect, Hunter Carruthers, was charged with third-degree burglary and sixth-degree larceny and was also due in court today.


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  • 03/04/14--18:26: Gold Coins Spark Speculation

  • Just where the $10 million in 19th century gold coins a Northern California couple found buried on their land came from is still a mystery, as theories abound and experts disagree on how the haul wound up there.

    One curious historian thinks he may have solved the mystery, and if he's right, a turn-of-the-century heist at the U.S. Mint in San Francisco may be involved. But the agency itself said Tuesday that it has no information linking the coins to any U.S. Mint facility.

    The gold coin bonanza, which an anonymous couple found buried in rusty canisters on their land while walking their dog, has been drawing fevered speculation on par with California in 1848.

    Tuesday's statement from the mint came after self-appointed historian Jack Trout spotted a brief news item in an industry publication from 1900 that he considered a clue to how the rare coins ended up in the Sierra Nevada foothills, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Monday.

    "The sum of $30,000 in gold coin has recently been stolen from the vault of the cashier of the San Francisco Mint. No trace has been found of the missing gold," that item from the Bulletin of the American Iron and Steel Association read.

    According to the Chronicle, a few factors support the theory that the coins came from the mint — namely, that the coins were were mostly uncirculated and mostly in chronological order, suggesting they were unused.

    Trout said that one coin in particular pointed to that heist: An uncirculated 1866 Liberty $20 gold coin, missing the usual phrase "In God We Trust," according to the Chronicle. He said he didn't believe the coin had ever left the Mint before the robbery and that its presence in the hoard linked it to the heist.

    But rare coin expert David McCarthy, a senior numismatist for Kagin's, told NBC News that the theory that the coins came from that 1900 heist was "provably incorrect."

    Among his reasons: The hoard contains some heavily circulated coins, though the mint would have melted them down rather than storing them. The found coins don't have what experts call "bag marks," he said.

    All of the coins in the couple's hoard are dated 1894 or earlier, also, meaning they would have been stored for at least six years if they were from the mint heist. McCarthy said it was unlikely the mint would have hung onto those coins for so long.

    A more likely, if less exciting, explanation might be that a miserly person buried the treasure and unexpectedly died before he could dig up the cans, McCarthy said — a theory that experts interviewed by the Chronicle thought more probable, too.

    They noted that paper money wasn't in common use in California until the end of the 19th century, and at the time, someone wary of banks and with plenty of cash might well count both circulated and brand new coins among his savings.


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    It's Fat Tuesday and celebrations are ramping up on Bourbon Street in New Orleans. But you don't have to fly south to feel the spirit of Mardis Gras.

    Forget beignets. Here in Connecticut, paczkis are all the hype. They look like donuts, but they're really traditional, deep-fried Polish pastries. This morning, Eddy's Bake Shop in Ansonia made hundreds of them for the annual Fat Tuesday paczki-eating competition.

    "We do this every year in honor of our daughter, Sydney," said Marcus Bartone.

    Sydney died seven years ago after losing a tough battle with neuroblastoma, a rare childhood cancer. It's her legacy that brings Marcus here every year as part of the Team Sydney Fund.

    Bartone said he takes the competition somewhat seriously.

    "The proceeding couple of weekends I come down and I pick up a few extra paczkis, but you can't train for something like this," he expalined.

    But ultimately, it's not about winning. Bartone and his team compete to help other children by spreading the word about Sydney's rare disease.

    Contestants are allotted five minutes to eat as many of the 4-ounce Polish paczkis as they can. The owner said they changed the rules, though, after some expert eaters tried to take home the glory.

    "We got rid of our professional eaters now," said owner Paul Ciocca. "Most of the people are customers day-to-day."

    The competition was tough and messy. Michael Peterson won second place and maintained a sense of humor despite the sugar high.

    "Right now, I'm feeling kind of glazed and confused," he said. "I didn't pull any paczkis. I did the best that I could. And I'm just gonna have to bite down harder next year."

    Marcus Batone took the gooey glory, winning first place after eating nine paczkis, just a few away from the record of 13 and a half. He went home with quite the prize.

    "We won it! We're going to Disney World, baby!" Bartone exclaimed.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

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    A man who is involved in an ongoing investigation into former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez appeared in court in Hartford today to face weapons charges.

    Alexander Bradley, 30, of East Hartford, was shot three times in the leg after the Super Bowl at the Vevo Lounge Bar & Grill in Hartford, according to police, fired shots in the incident and was arrested.

    Leslie Randolph, 29, of Hartford, the man suspected of shooting Bradley on Super Bowl Sunday.

    Police said here was an altercation in the bar about money, which turned violent once it spilled outside.

    Bradley was shot, then went to his car, grabbed a gun and started shooting into the bar, police said, citing video.

    Major Crimes Detectives, as well as the Hartford Police Emergency Response Team -- better known as the SWAT Team -- the Hartford Shooting Task Force and the Southington Police Department executed two search warrants for evidence. One was on Hillside Avenue in Hartford. The other was in Southington to take Randolph into custody and gather evidence at a home.

    Randolph was charged with first-degree assault, criminal use of a firearm and carrying a pistol without a permit.

    Bradley has been charged with criminal possession of a firearm, criminal use of a firearm, reckless endangerment in the first degree, unlawful discharge of a firearm, stealing a firearm and obliterated serial numbers on a firearm.

    He is being held on $1 million bond and his attorney said Bradley is the victim in the case. His attorney asked the judge to consider a $100,000 cash-only bond.

    Bradley is due in court for a pretrial hearing on May 6.

    Bradley is involved with an ongoing investigation into Hernandez, a Bristol, Conn, native who has been charged with the murder in connection with the death of 27-year-old Odin Lloyd in Massachusetts.

    Lloyd was found dead in an industrial park near Hernandez's North Attleboro, Mass. home over the summer. Lloyd was dating the sister of Hernandez's girlfriend.

    Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to the murder charge.

    A search warrant released in January also states that Boston police have been investigating whether Hernandez might have been the gunman in a 2012 double slaying in the city.

    Video footage from that night shows Bradley with Hernandez, according to additional warrants.

     

    Bradley also filed a lawsuit against Hernandez, claiming the former NFL tight end shot him in the face outside a Miami strip club, causing his to lose an eye.

    Hernandez invoked his Fifth Amendment right in that case.

     



    Photo Credit: Hartford Police

    Leslie Randolph has been charged in connection with the shooting of Alexander Bradley.Leslie Randolph has been charged in connection with the shooting of Alexander Bradley.

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    Three people were seriously injured when a car hit a truck in West Hartford this afternoon.

    Police said a woman was driving northbound on Troutbrook Road when she hit truck from a company called Flow Assessment that was parked in to the middle of the street, working on the water underneath in a manhole.

    The worker who was on the street was injured by the impact of the two vehicles. A tripod fell over, injuring the worker in the manhole.

    The woman who was driving the car was also injured.

    All three were taken to area hospitals.

    Police have cleared the scene.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    Three people were injured when a car hit a Flow Assessment truck in West Hartford.Three people were injured when a car hit a Flow Assessment truck in West Hartford.

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    Waterbury police have arrested a 17-year-old boy who is accused of killing his mother during what a witness described as a fight over using her car.
     
    Police said the teen, Elijah Johnson, is accused of killing his mother in her home in January. He has been charged with murder. He is being held on $1 million and is being tried as an adult.

    Police said the teen’s mother, Kacy Austin, 44, had been strangled and had several small stab wounds on her face and neck. She died on Jan. 21.

    Austin was a director at Connecticut Renaissance, a nonprofit company that helps state prisoners transition into the community and a student with the Institute for Municipal and Regional Policy at Central Connecticut State University conducted an interview with her in 2011.

    The teen told police he found his mother dead when he got home, but the arrest warrant application says there were several inconsistencies.

    Johnson told police he had found his mother when he came home from school, noticed blood and cleaned the blood from her face and the area around her, according to police documents.

    He was unemotional when police arrived, authorities noted, and the blood on his pants was dried.

    There were no signs of forced entry and no reports of unusual noises coming from the home, police said at the time.

    As police investigated, they learned that Johnson had hit his mother in the head with a steel pot or frying pan on Jan. 14, a week before she was found dead.

    Johnson told police that he'd been home alone on the day it happened, saw a "suspicious guy" with a hoodie walking around outside.

    Then someone opened the door and came inside, so Johnson hit the person in the head several times until hearing his mother say, "Elijah, it's me. It's me," according to police.

    He was wearing gloves and a mask at the time, witnesses would tell police during the investigation.

    When Austin went to the emergency room at Waterbury Hospital to be evaluated, doctors told her she suffered a concussion, according to police.

    Austin stayed home from work for several days after because of the head injury and headaches.

    Johnson is a student at Sacred Heart High School in Waterbury and the school dismissed early on Jan. 21 because of the forecast for snow.

    He told police that his mother was going to drive him to school that morning, but then told him to take the car because his head was pounding. This was the first time she allowed him to take the car alone, he told police.

    When police spoke with Austin's friends, they said she would never have let Johnson drive the car unless she was with him because he had only a learner's permit. Austin was also still paying for the car, according to friends.

    Friends of Austin had also told police that she had been upset because Johnson told her he wanted to take a year off from school after high school rather than go to college right away. 

    On Saturday, a witness reported to police that the teen’s father said his son confessed to accidentally killing his mom during a fight over taking her car. He told her that Austin fell into furniture when he pushed her, according to police.

    Police said they believe that Austin had been dead several hours by the time the 911 call was made and the blood on Johnson's pants appeared to be dried.

    Johnson's room was the only one that had been ransacked, police said. The drawers of a dresser had been pulled out and the contents appeared to have been carefully placed on the bed.

    An Xbox and a Wii gaming system were in the room and nothing seemed to be missing, police said. 

    Johnson was arrested on Sunday and is being held on $1 million bond.

    Sacred Heart is offering counseling to students who need it.

    "The arrest of a Sacred Heart High School student comes as tragic and distressing news.  We ask that the student body and extended community  pray for his mother, for the student and his family.  We will respect the family’s privacy and would ask the Sacred Heart community to do so as well,"  a statement from President Eileen Regan and Principal Anthony Azzara states.

     


     



    Photo Credit: State Department of Correction

    Elijah Johnson, 17, has been charged with the murder of his mother.Elijah Johnson, 17, has been charged with the murder of his mother.

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    Four months after 26-year-old Erica Robinson was shot and killed inside the Key Club in New Haven, her family is suing the nightclub for negligence.

    “The claim is that the Key Club did not provide adequate security to their patrons,” said attorney Michael Dolan, who is representing the family.

    According to police, on Oct. 26, 2013, 28-year-old Adrian Bennett started shooting inside the Key Club, killing Robinson and injuring five others.

    The lawsuit alleges that the Key Club allowed Bennett into the club even after he was being disruptive and disorderly, failed to keep their patrons out of harm’s way and didn't have adequate security to keep the club safe.

    Quinnipiac Law Professor John Thomas said those allegations will have to be proven for this lawsuit to move forward.

    “First, we're going to have to prove as plaintiffs the typical nightclub could have handled that, would have had better training, better, better security, would have tried to escort this guy out when he got violent," Thomas explained. "That may be provable. The difficult task here is we're going to have to prove – the plaintiffs will have to prove – that had the nightclub done those things, the plaintiff wouldn't have suffered the injuries.“

    Attorney Benjamin Proto, who has been representing the club since the incident, said the Key Club, renamed Primo, did have proper security, which included a New Haven police officer, eight security guards and a surveillance system that led to the arrest of Adrian Bennett.

    He also said all patrons were patted down before they came into the club.

    "The question of whether or not the security measures that we had in place on that night were adequate will be ultimately for a jury to decide,” said Proto.
     



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

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    A Preston man accused of drunk driving on his 21st birthday is facing charges after leading police on a chase through Columbia and Willimantic, authorities said.

    Jackob Tate’s blood alcohol content was more than twice the legal limit and there were open bottles of alcohol in the car, according to Willimantic police.

    Tate, of Prodell Road in Preston, was driving his green pickup truck the wrong way on Route 6 in Windham around 8:45 p.m. March 3, police said. It was Tate's birthday.

    Officers searched the area and found him driving in circles in a parking lot near Route 6 and Route 66 in Columbia, Willimantic police said. When they tried to stop him, Tate sped back up and turned east onto Route 66.

    The chase continued into Willimantic, with Tate reportedly speeding and weaving in and out of oncoming traffic. He finally stopped on Columbia Avenue near Recycling Way in Willimantic, according to police.

    Tate tried to get out but officers stopped him and arrested him at the scene. Police searched the truck to find two open bottles of alcohol inside.

    Tate was charged with driving under the influence, reckless driving and drinking while driving.

    He was held on a $1,500 bond and appeared in court today.

    “With the absolutely unsafe and hazardous driving witnessed by the Willimantic Officers and the reports we received from the State Police, it’s miraculous that this incident didn’t end in a serious accident,” said Willimantic Police Corporal Matthew Solak, in a statement.



    Photo Credit: NBC10.com

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    A veterans group wants the Supreme Court to end a decades-long legal dispute over a memorial cross on a San Diego mountaintop that a lower court has found unconstitutional.

    “Only this Court can bring an end to this litigation,” the Mt. Soledad Memorial Association wrote in its petition to have the case heard by the high court.

    At issue is a 43-foot-tall cross that has been on a hillside looking over La Jolla and Mission Bay since 1954. It is part of the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial.

    In December, a federal judge ordered the cross must come down because it violates the Establishment Cause of the Constitution, unlawfully endorsing one religion over others. Opponents of the cross have argued that it is a religious symbol on government land and violates the constitutional separation of church and state.

    In their petition, however, the veterans group asks Supreme Court justices to step in and review the decision, explaining that there are hundreds of plaques honoring veterans of all religions surrounding the base of the cross.

    “The context and history of the Memorial make clear that its primary purpose and effect is not to endorse religion, but to honor veterans,” the petition states.

    In 2011, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the cross violated the First Amendment. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case, and it was sent back to federal court in San Diego, where the December ruling was issued.

    Veterans warned justices that by refusing to hear the case, they could be putting other war memorials in the same legal quandary.

    “As long as the Ninth Circuit’s decision stands, it puts into question the legality of hundreds, if not thousands, of veterans’ memorials across the country,” the petition states.

    If the Supreme Court does not review the case, it lets the lower court's ruling stand. The order states the cross must be moved within 90 days.


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    A judge has set a trial date for a New Jersey honor student who is suing her parents for financial support after she says they kicked her out of the house when she turned 18, but recommends family counseling in the meantime.

    Rachel Canning says she moved out of her parents' home Oct. 29 after she turned 18, and went to live with her friend; the friend's father, former Morris County Freeholder John Inglesino, is funding the lawsuit.
     
    The judge in Morristown on Tuesday denied her immediate requests for financial support, and recommended family counseling pending the trial.
     
    "They're always going to be your parents," the judge told Canning Tuesday. "That may not be something you're ecstatic about, but ... sometimes children become adults, they change their feelings on their understandings on what it takes to be a parent."

    A cheerleader and lacrosse player who hopes to become a biomedical engineer, Canning had sought immediate financial support and wants to force her parents to pay for her college education. She also wants a judge to declare she's non-emancipated and dependent as a student on her parents for support, and to order them to pay her therapy bills and child support to the family she's been living with.
     
    In court filings, Canning's parents, retired Lincoln Park police Chief Sean Canning and his wife Elizabeth, said their daughter voluntarily left home because she didn't want to abide by reasonable household rules, such as being respectful, keeping a curfew, doing a few chores and ending a relationship with a boyfriend her parents say is a bad influence. They say that shortly before she turned 18, she told her parents that she would be an adult and could do whatever she wanted.
     
    She said her parents are abusive, contributed to an eating disorder she developed and pushed her to get a basketball scholarship. They say they were supportive, helped her through the eating disorder and paid for her to go to a private school where she would not get as much playing time in basketball as she would have at a public school.
     
    They also say she lied in her court filing and to child welfare workers who are involved in the case.
     
    In the complaint, Canning alleges her parents jointly decided to cut her off "both financially and emotionally," refusing to pay for her tuition at Morris Catholic High School, where she is a full-time student. Canning claims they wanted to punish her by depriving her of an education because she told school authorities about what she described as "severe and excessive verbal and physical abuse."

    Canning outlines a litany of alleged abuse that involved demeaning comments about her weight, as well as inappropriate encounters with her father. She says her mother called her "fat" and "porky" as she was growing up, and she developed an eating disorder her sophomore year of high school. By her junior year, she says she weighed 92 pounds and was no longer healthy enough to play basketball, which she says angered her father.

    Canning alleges her father was "inappropriately affectionate" toward her for much of her life, and claims he fed her so much alcohol that she blacked out on occasion. Once, she alleges, he woke her up in the middle of the night to drink and play beer pong. Frequently, she says, he told her that he didn't view her as a daughter, but as "more than that."

    Shortly before she moved out of her parents' house, Canning says she was wrongly accused of being drunk at a homecoming dance and had to call her parents. She says her mother and father, who were in Las Vegas at the time, "began screaming obscenities" and the teacher in the room with her heard the curses. When Canning complained to the school about the alleged longtime abuse she had endured, the school called child services and her parents, in retaliation, then cut her off and directed her college funds elsewhere.

    Rachel Canning says she doesn't think returning home is a viable option, nor does her therapist.

    "I am not willingly and voluntarily leaving a reasonable situation at home to make my own decisions," Canning wrote in a statement to the court. "I had to leave to end the abuse. My parents simply will not help me any longer. They want nothing to do with me and refuse to even help me financially outside the home although they certainly have the ability to do so."

    The court brief filed by attorney Lauris Rush-Masuret on behalf of Canning's parents says she should move back home if she believes herself "non-emancipated," but her behavior -- cutting school, drinking under age, ignoring curfew -- makes that challenging. 
     
    "Her willful failure to live in concert with her family and their rules and lifestyle, her defiance in seeking to live with her boyfriend's family then her friend's family and her alienation of her parents clearly demonstrates that she refuses to live within their sphere of influence," Rush-Masuret writes.

    The brief also claims Canning has no contact with her parents, nor does she consult with them about the college applications she's submitted, her academic progress or her athletics. It says her parents provided a "stable, loving and nurturing environment" and that she wasn't deprived of anything.

    It outright dismisses allegations of inappropriate sexual interactions between her and her father, and says that while their daughter's eating disorders were extremely difficult and sad to cope with, both parents tried to help her as best they could -- through therapy, medical treatment and emotional support.

    To force them to financially support her would not only be unfair, it would set poor precedent, according to Rush-Masuret.

    According to court documents filed by the defense, children's services authorities investigated Rachel Canning's claims of abuse after she complained to her high school and found no evidence of abuse.

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    There’s a happy ending to the story of a scrapbook found on the side of the highway – the album, which documents the military careers of two Marines, is going home.

    Yesterday, Department of Transportation worker Jesus Morales found the book near Interstate 91 northbound in Cromwell and asked for help in finding its owner. Today, Sgt. Mathew Edwards claimed it.

    Edwards is related to those Marines – he’s the grandson of Lt. Col. Clarence “Jack” Richards, who served during the Vietnam era, and the great-grandson of Col. James E. Mills, a decorated commander in South Korea.

    Edwards kept the military tradition alive. His grandmother, Laurie, made him the book when he completed basic training, according to Edwards’ aunt, Dianna Lancione.

    It fell out of his truck while he was moving from California to Maine over the weekend. Edwards said he knew something had spilled but wasn’t sure what it was or where it ended up.

    “I ran back a ways, about half a mile, with a flashlight, but there was nothing to be found,” Edwards explained. “I was very upset to find out that it was lost, of all things.”

    He finished an eight-year tour of duty March 15 and went to Maine to be with his fiancée. Edwards was visiting family in Maryland and passed through Connecticut on the way up.

    He said he’s grateful to Morales and would love the chance to meet.

    “That’s amazing. I can’t thank him enough,” Edwards said. “It would be wonderful if I could meet the guy and tell him thank you.”

    The two men plan to figure out if they can connect in person to hand off the book.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    Col. James E. Mills (left) and Lt. Col. Clarence Col. James E. Mills (left) and Lt. Col. Clarence "Jack" Richards (center) are pictured in a scrapbook gifted to Sgt. Mathew Edwards when he finished basic training with the Marine Corps.

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    Facebook will become the first private company in the country to bankroll a full-time beat cop, and several experts say this is likely a blueprint for many more similar partnerships.

    “It’s safe to say this is unprecedented,” said Jim Bueermann, president of the Police Foundation, the nation’s oldest police research nonprofit in Washington, D.C. “But this may be the model of the future.”

    And while several experts think such arrangements are the product of what they call “good corporate citizenship,” critics are uncomfortable with the idea of a privately paid “Facebook Cop.”

    On Tuesday, the Menlo Park City Council unanimously approved Facebook’s offer to pay $200,000 a year for three years to hire a “community safety police officer.”

    Facebook's headquarters is in Menlo Park, an affluent Silicon Valley city of about 30,000 considered one of the most educated cities in California. Other communities regularly pay for police to work security, such as at concerts or sporting events, but in most cases, those officers are off duty and earn the extra money by moonlighting.

    “I find this particularly concerning,” said Alessandro De Giorgi, a justice studies professor at San Jose State University.

    Giorgi worries about the ramifications of a private company paying for a historically publicly paid police officer. And in his opinion, any money should go to fund education, not police officers whose job it is to arrest people – especially students – and put them in jail or juvenile hall.

    "I don't think there is anything ethically wrong with it," said Terry Francke, general counsel for Californians Aware, a nonprofit group that aims to keep governments accountable. "But I don't think it's good government. The notion is that government services are paid for by everyone. This comes awfully close to naming rights. So, what will things be called now, 'Google City Hall?' "

    Supporters of the plan shudder at nicknames like Facebook Cop and Google City Hall. To them, this is simply a creative way to pay for a public good when tax dollars are increasingly waning.

    "This is a generous gift," Menlo Park Mayor Ray Mueller told NBC Bay Area before the meeting. "And it's a way to keep the community safe." He noted that the contract states the officer will spend most of his or her time near the schools, and not patrolling the campus of Facebook.

    Specificially, this particular police officer  would earn an annual salary of $108,000 plus perks and be tasked to help out school campuses and large businesses in planning security measures. The officer would also gather intelligence on gangs, taggers and drugs and run fire and earthquake drills for schools and surrounding businesses, according to the recommendation written by Menlo Park Police Commander Dave Bertini. The plan is to find the position for three years before reevaluating.

    “They’d be a regular beat cop with a special assignment,” Bertini told NBC Bay Area.

    The officer would work out of a new substation in the Belle Haven neighborhood, about a quarter of a mile from Facebook headquarters, but a socioeconomic world away, because this particular section of town is relatively poor. According to the city council agenda,  Facebook employees John Tenanes and Carla Gray came to the police department in October 2013, to offer to pay for such an officer after hearing the city needed help. A Facebook representative wasn't immediately available for comment Tuesday afternoon.

    Bertini added that once Facebook gives the money, the company will have nothing to do with the hiring or disciplining of the officer.

    “They are bending over backwards to be good neighbors,” he said. “There is no quid pro quo here.”

    Judy Nadler, the former mayor of Santa Clara and the senior fellow in government ethics at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, also has never heard of this particular relationship.

    And she warned aloud that any city engaging in such a partnership must assure the public that “no priority is given to Facebook. The potential for the conflict of interest, if Facebook asks for an expansion or a waiver of a parking ticket” is certainly there.

    But ultimately, Nadler said that as long as that there is are transparent assurances that Facebook won’t get any special treatment, then she supports these type of “commendable public, private partnerships. Especially when the school districts can’t afford the officer themselves.”

    Bueermann, from the police foundation, said there are several examples of when companies pony up money for K-9  dogs, and paying for a human officer is just a larger extension of that.

    “I’m not sure what’s motivating Facebook,” he said. “But Mark Zuckerberg has been part of this philanthropic movement. I applaud them for their social consciousness.”

    NBC Bay Area's Scott Budman and Chase Cain contributed to this report.



    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area

    Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park. March 4, 2014Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park. March 4, 2014

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    A Waterbury police officer has been suspended after allegedly using unnecessary force during an arrest, and he isn’t the only one being disciplined.

    The problem started Jan. 13 while police were making an arrest on Willow and Ludlow streets. Four police officers went running after the suspect and eventually took him into custody, but not before Officer Ryan Cubell reportedly kicked the man while he was restrained on the ground.

    A witness called Waterbury police to report the incident and said the officers were out of line, according to the department.

    Cubell has been suspended without pay for 25 days following an internal investigation. Police Chief Vernon Riddick said Cubell used unnecessary force in kicking the suspect.

    Three other officers were issued written reprimands for reportedly failing to fill out required paperwork explaining that force had been used, according to Riddick.

    Riddick said the behavior would not be tolerated. 

    The police union did not comment.


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    Last year was a bad one for Metro-North, tainted by derailments and deaths, investigations and injuries. 

    New Metro-North President Joseph Giulietti, on the job for just three weeks, released his 100-day plan for improvements in a letter to the state Department of Transportation.

    In the letter, Giulietti describes his projects for the next hundred days, including developing a new corporate safety policy. The policy will contain a confidential close-call reporting system, and will introduce devices to make sure train drivers aren't dozing off by October.

    Giulietti also wants to enhance stations with monitors that tell what trains are how late and on what track.

    The document doesn't specify how much these improvements will cost, and because federal investigations into Metro-North's 2013 mishaps haven't concluded, it doesn't include responses to those incidents.

    Legislators said the plan was a step in the right direction but pushed for more detailed and specific guidelines.

    "It's a start," said Gov. Dannel Malloy at a press conference Tuesday. "I don't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater but I'm going to need more details. I understand their frustration, the federal investigations into the accidents aren't completed."

    Rep. Elizabeth Esty, a member of the Rail Subcommittee of the House Committee of Transportation and Infrastructure, released the following statement in response to Metro-North's 100-day plan:

    "While I appreciate the work of Metro-North President Joseph Giulietti, I join Governor Malloy and Commissioner Redeker in urging more specific benchmarks and deadlines in Metro-North's 100 day action plan," Esty said. "I'm working on the federal level to clear roadblocks. Last Wednesday, in a House Rail Subcommittee hearing, I spoke directly with top Federal Railroad Administration officials to secure their commitment to release findings from the Operation Deep Dive investigation as soon as possible. Connecticut commuters deserve swift action on new standards to ensure that Metro-North provides safe, reliable train service. On-time, safe rail service is critical to Connecticut's economy."

    Sen. Richard Blumenthal, chair of the Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Surface Transportation, called the plan "more of a set of aspirations than an actionable roadmap for concrete improvements" and said he, too, hopes railroad leadership will adopt more concrete deadlines.


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    The Director of the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Commission testified today that the state could lose out on hundreds of millions of dollars from slot reveneues if legislators do not pass a bill outlawing Internet sweepstakes.

    James Meskill told the Public Safety Committee that the slot-style games violate their two-decade-old compact, which gives Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods casinos exclusivity of all slot machine gambling in Connecticut. He added the games "would relieve the tribe from their ability to pay 25 percent" of the yearly revenue

    Senate Bill 80, sponsored by State Sen. Dante Bartolomeo, would ban internet sweepstakes cafes. Bartolomeo joined Mary Drexler, the Executive Director of the Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling, in calling on the ban because the unregulated games "prey" on the underprivileged and elderly, she said.

    An NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters undercover investigation exposed three local business centers offering the games, the Mouse Pad Business Center and Tech Solutions in Enfield, the Bloomfield Business Center in Bloomfield, and Internet Connections in East Windsor.

    In the month since, two of the businesses have been shut down following police raids. A third closed its doors.

    No one showed up to speak in opposition to the bill. Representatives for the businesses did not return a request for comment.

    Chief State's Attorney Kevin Kane testified lending his support to the legislation.

    "Over the years, I've seen there are gaps between the definition of gambling, promotional drawings and sweepstakes," said Kane, following his testimony. "This bill would fill in these gaps."

    The Public Safety Committee is expected to vote on S.B. 80 by the end of the month, according to Bartolomeo.


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    Many people in line to receive tickets for President Barack Obama's visit to Central State Connecticut University tomorrow went home empty-handed and out of luck.

    The university released a statement thihs afternoon saying that at 2 p.m. they were informed that tickets had run out for the public giveaway slated to start at 4 p.m. But people waiting in line said the tickets were claimed much earlier in the day.

    Debbie Reynolds waited for hours this morning and went home disappointed.

    "It's poorly handled," she explained.

    To get a ticket, she would have had to arrive before 9 a.m., when people were given red stubs to could bring back after 4 p.m. and exchange for real tickets.

    An hour later, the red stubs were gone.

    "When I came here at 10, the red tickets were gone and that's when they started the blue ticket process," said Crystal Lopez. "It's still not guaranteed."

    Those with blue vouchers were next in line if red-stub holders failed to claim their tickets by 7 p.m.

    A number of people left with no ticket at all – not red, not blue, not real.

    "I came from work," said Amy Corvino, who went home emptyhanded. "I left work early to come."

    One man with a special desire to see Obama was one of the four African Americans in the first integrated Marine Corps platoon.

    "And I'm the sole survivor out of the four," said Howard N. Hunter, "and to me - I want to see my brother."

    He won't have that chance, unless someone gives him a ticket.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    President Barack Obama will head to Central Connecticut State University on Wednesday to discuss his efforts to raise the minimum wage.President Barack Obama will head to Central Connecticut State University on Wednesday to discuss his efforts to raise the minimum wage.

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    Friends are in shock and disbelief after a 22-year-old New Haven man was killed over the weekend in Rhode Island.

    Police said Satchel Ramos was stabbed to death in Rhode Island early Sunday morning while trying to break up a fight.

    Ramos is one of seven siblings and the son of Rafael Ramos, who has spent years working with New Haven's Livable City Initiative.

    Police in Providence, Rhode Island said Ramos was stabbed on Sunday night when he and his older brother, Clyde, saw a fight in the street and tried to intervene.

    The Providence Journal reports that the stabbing happened at Atwells Avenue and Dean Street, a busy intersection in the popular Federal Hill section of the city.

    Even though he had moved away from his hometown, friends in New Haven say he won't be forgotten.

    Becca Evans learned the unthinkable hours later from a friend.

    "I was panicking…he said he made it the hospital and didn't make it back out. I didn't believe it," Evans said.

    She couldn't believe that someone had stabbed, kicked and beat her friend.

    Police charged Eric Souza of Massachusetts with Ramos' murder, but said they're still looking for others in connection with crime.

    Ramos' friends are in disbelief.

    "Everywhere he went he made friends," said Roberto Santiago, one of Ramos' closet friends. "He was a good dude. They didn't have to take his life like that."

    "It's just tragic and there is no rhyme or reason to it," said Rebecca Gratz, principal of the Sound School, where Ramos attended two-and-a-half years of high school. Grantz taught him American Studies. 

    "He was never rude. He was never mean. He was always well liked by his peers and by teachers," she said.

    "The last time I saw him we said see you later so I can't grasp it," said another friend of Ramos', Alice Blossom.

    On Tuesday, his friends channeled their anger into ink by getting tattoos to show their love from Ramos. 

    "They took someone who didn't belong where he is right now," Santiago added.

    Gratz said the school is in the process of planning a memorial for Ramos at some point. His brother Clyde was also stabbed during the encounter and is now recovering at home.


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    San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors has passed one of the strictest bans on bottled water in the nation.

    The ban, approved Tuesday, will phase out the sale of bottled water of less than 21 ounces from city property.

    The ban will eventually extend to large events like the Outside Lands festival.

    As an alternative to bottled water, supervisors want the city to provide better access to Hetch Hetchy tap water.

    “Bottled water is incredibly harmful to the environment,” Think Outside the Bottle campaign organizer Katherine Sawyer said. “It takes a plastic water bottle about a thousand years to biodegrade, and it’s just unnecessary to commodify water in a bottle when we have almost universal access to safe healthy tap water.”

    Foot races and other sporting events would be exempt from the ordinance.

    Recology estimates it collects about 15 million plastic water bottles a year.



    Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images

    Plastic water bottles are seen in this file photo.    (Photo credit should read THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty Images)Plastic water bottles are seen in this file photo. (Photo credit should read THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty Images)

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     A 23-year-old Norwich man is charged with stalking, accused of following a woman on Washington Street while performing a lewd act in his car.

    The incident happened around 12:30 p.m. today on Washington Street in Norwich.

    Kyle Q. White, of Hickory Street, allegedly drove pact the victim several times and parked to watch her walk by while committing a lewd act, according to police.

    Officers arrived on scene to find White performing the act in his car, police said. He was arrested and charged with second-degree breach of peace, public indecency and third-degree stalking.

    White was held on a $50,000 bond and is due in court Wednesday.

    Anyone with information is asked to contact Norwich police at 860-886-5561.



    Photo Credit: Norwich Police Department

    Kyle Q. White, 23, of Norwich is facing stalking, breach of peace and public indecency charges. He's accused of committing a lewd act in his car while following a woman on Washington Street.Kyle Q. White, 23, of Norwich is facing stalking, breach of peace and public indecency charges. He's accused of committing a lewd act in his car while following a woman on Washington Street.

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    Police, school officials and school bus drivers are on the alert in Bethel after a 12-year-old middle school student was reportedly chased by a strange man while walking from the bus stop on Tuesday afternoon, according to Bethel Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Kevin Smith.

    Smith said the seventh grade girl got off the bus around 4:15 p.m. and began walking toward her house on Route 58/Putnam Park Road when she noticed a unmarked white industrial van stop and make a U-turn.

    A man got out and began running toward the student, who was just a few yards from her house and was able to get inside and lock the doors, Smith said. The man got back in his van and sped off.

    The girl told her parents and they called Bethel Middle School. Smith said a school resource officer then informed Bethel police, who are actively investigating.

    In an email sent to members of the school community, Smith described the person they are looking as a clean-cut white man in his 30s wearing a white T-shirt, black pants and black shoes.

    Police said he has a medium build, is between 30 and 40 and about 5-feet-10-inches tall. The van resembled a Ford Econoline. It was in good condition and has a single winder on the rear side panel.

    He is clean cut and has no noticable facial hair or tatoos.

    Police believe this was an isolated incident. Smith said there is no imminent danger to students but urged students to be aware of their surroundings and report anything suspicious.

    Anyone with information or sees suspicious behavior is asked to contact Bethel police at 203-744-7900.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

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