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Chicago Police Probe Release


EDITOR'S NOTE: NBC Chicago will offer a live stream of the announcement live at 10 a.m. CT right here. 

The U.S. Justice Department will release its report on the Chicago Police Department Friday, just one week before President Barack Obama leaves office.

It is expected the Justice Department will find that there have been systemic constitutional rights abuses by Chicago police, though further details surrounding the report remain unclear.

Investigators worked to complete the 13-month probe before Obama’s presidency ended, but it remains unclear how Donald Trump's administration might handle the recommendations in the report.

Federal investigators arrived in Chicago soon after the release of high-profile dashcam footage showing the shooting of a teenager by a police officer, which quickly prompted outrage around the world and distrust of police in Chicago, even as violence was starting to spike.

The video, released in December 2015, showed the fatal shooting of Chicago teen Laquan McDonald. He was shot 16 times by a police officer while appearing to walk away. What was captured in the dashcam contradicted many of the accounts of the shooting Chicago police officers gave to investigators.

In the months following the release of the footage, the city saw its top cop fired, the Cook County state's attorney replaced after a failed re-election bid, an officer charged with murder and several others still facing discipline.

While the Laquan McDonald shooting was not the only hot-button issue facing police as the Justice Department began its probe, the shocking video was the tipping point, setting the entire examination of the Chicago Police Department in motion.

The shooting nearly went unnoticed. The initial police report claimed McDonald lunged at Officer Jason Van Dyke with a knife before the officer opened fire in self-defense. It wasn’t until 13 months later, after protracted fights in court, that the dashcam video was released.

More high-profile shooting incidents took place even as the Justice Department probe was underway. And a judge ruled Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel had to testify in a case centering on an alleged "code of silence" within the police department; the city quickly settled that case for $2 million.

Over the last year, the city has announced a series of police reforms, along with plans to hire additional officers and provide new training and body cameras.

“I didn’t think when it came to training our officers, giving them technology like body cameras or Tasers, that we should wait,” Emanuel said Thursay. 

Emanuel said he hasn’t seen the Justice Department's report, but plans to embrace what it has to say and continue to building on reforms that have already been put in place.

“Our officers are being asked to do a very difficult job in very trying areas,” Emanuel said Thursday. “Change is very hard—we’re making changes—and the biggest thing we can do to help our officers is support them.”

A similar investigation to the one launched in Chicago was also made in Baltimore in 2015, where the Department of Justice found violations among its police force. On Thursday, Attorney General Loretta Lynch signed a consent decree in the city, requiring Baltimore police to make changes to its practices.

“The Department of Justice will stand with you to ensure the reforms of this consent decree are implemented and our shared vision of a greater, safer and stronger Baltimore are realized,” she said.

The Chicago and Baltimore probes are among several conducted by the Justice Department during the Obama administration, which has made civil rights a priority. Many of those investigations have resulted in consent decrees.

It remains unclear if Chicago will face a consent decree following the report’s release on Friday, and some civil rights advocates are concerned about whether the Trump administration will enforce similar policies.

U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions said at his confirmation hearing for attorney general this week that he believes officers should be held accountable for their actions, but expressed concern that an entire department could be defamed over the actions of only a few.

Photo Credit: NBC Chicago
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Flight Crew Members Fall Ill After Powder Falls From Vent


Emergency crews and a hazmat team responded to Mineta San Jose International Airport on Thursday night after three flight attendants fell ill aboard an Alaska Airlines flight from Seattle, according to airport and airline officials.

One of the attendants was transported to a hospital, and the other two were treated and released at the scene, officials said. No passengers were affected.

Hazmat crews' initial evaluation indicates they believe de-icing material caused the illnesses, according to Ann Vaninovich, spokeswoman for Alaska Airlines. She said the material, which was determined to be residue left over from de-icing the outside of the plane, is nontoxic. 

The airline said during the flight a crew member seated in the front galley noticed a light white powder coming out of a ceiling vent. Two of the crew seated in the area reported not feeling well. Pilots radioed ahead for medics to stage at the San Jose airport.

Alaska Flight 322 arrived in San Jose at 6:45 p.m., and emergency crews including the San Jose fire and police departments responded to the tarmac at Gate 26, airport spokeswoman Rosemary Barnes said.

Passengers said it made for a tense few moments.

"There was an announcement, and they were like 'Oh, don't panic, but there might be some anti-freeze in the air,' and they were going to bring on paramedics to check it out and make sure everything was OK," passenger Anna Stensland said.

All 181 passengers were held on the plane for about 45 minutes while emergency crews assessed the situation, Barnes said. There were no impacts to the airport's operation.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area

Chicken Soup Recall


A Massachusetts company has recalled chicken soup sold to Whole Foods stores in several states in the region, including Connecticut, because the soups are mislabeled and contain known allergens, according to the USDA.

More than 3,000 pounds of “Mom’s Chicken Soup” were recalled by Kettle Cuisine, which shipped the soup to Whole Foods locations in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey and Maine.

Though labeled as chicken soup, the recalled products actually contain “Italian Wedding Soup with Meatballs,” a soup that contains eggs, milk and wheat, ingredients that are not declared on the label.

The USDA said no adverse reactions to the soup have been reported.

People with concerns about eggs, milk or wheat allergies should check their soup. The affected product comes in 24-ounce cups and has a use by date of Feb. 17, 2017. They bear the establishment number “P-18468.”

For more information, see the recall on the USDA website.

Salmon Caught in US Infected With Tapeworm, Study Says


A Japanese tapeworm has infected salmon that was caught off the North Alaskan coast, a new study published by the Center for Disease Control revealed. 

The tapeworm, known as Diphyllobothrium nihonkaiense, has caused thousands of infections in the Asia Pacific since 2008, according to the Washington Post. But now, researchers determined people who eat raw salmon caught in North America may be at risk of contracting the tapeworm infections. 

An increased popularity of eating raw fish and "global importation" has caused the reemergence of the tapeworm, the study found. 

The study concluded, “salmon from the American and Asian Pacific coasts and elsewhere pose potential dangers for persons who eat these fish raw.”

Researchers studied 64 wild pacific salmons and found the tapeworm in a single pink salmon that was caught near Hope, Alaska.

The main intent of the study, researchers wrote, was "to alert parasitologists and medical doctors about the potential danger of human infection with this long tapeworm resulting from consumption of infected salmon imported (on ice) from the Pacific coast of North America and elsewhere."

Photo Credit: AP

Man Accused of Impersonating Willimantic Police Officer


A man accused of impersonating a Willimantic police officer has been arrested for the second time in five months.

Danny Vazquez, 27, of Canterbury, turned himself in at police headquarters on Thursday morning.

He is accused of telling a crime victim that he is a Willimantic police officer on one occasion and tampering with evidence at the scene of a burglary on another occasion.

Vazquez has been charged with impersonating a police officer and tampering with evidence.

He was held on two separate $25,000 bonds and arraigned in Danielson Superior Court this morning.

“The City of Willimantic Police Department takes these types of allegations extremely serious. This is the second time we have dealt with this same person under similar circumstances. The public expects and demands that we safeguard the integrity of the {police} badge, and oath of office and this type of behavior will not be tolerated.” Lt. Stanley Parizo, Jr. said in a statement.

In August, police arrested Vazquez after he was accused of pretending to be a police officer and threatening to arrest a Willimantic resident.


Police said Vazquez showed up at a home dressed in a suit and told the resident he was a police officer investigating a complaint that the resident was selling drugs. He flashed a pair of handcuffs during that incident.
Vazquez also allegedly stopped two people in a parking lot and identified himself as an Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) agent.
Source: Man Impersonated Police Officer, Threatened to Arrest Resident: Police NBC Connecticut http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/local/Man-Impersonated-Police-Officer-Threatened-to-Arrest-Resident-Police-388790262.html#ixzz4VeUdzQhb 
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Police said Vazquez showed up at a home, dressed in a suit, and told the resident he was a police officer investigating a complaint that the resident was selling drugs and flashed a pair of handcuffs.

Vazquez also allegedly stopped two people in a parking lot and identified himself as an Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agent.

Police said Vazquez showed up at a home dressed in a suit and told the resident he was a police officer investigating a complaint that the resident was selling drugs. He flashed a pair of handcuffs during that incident.Vazquez also allegedly stopped two people in a parking lot and identified himself as an Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) agent.Source: Man Impersonated Police Officer, Threatened to Arrest Resident: Police NBC Connecticut http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/local/Man-Impersonated-Police-Officer-Threatened-to-Arrest-Resident-Police-388790262.html#ixzz4VeUdzQhb Follow us: @nbcconnecticut on Twitter NBCConnecticut on Facebook

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Thieves Steal Oversized Teddy Bears From Flower Shop


Police in Marietta, Oklahoma are looking for two thieves who carried out an unusual heist. The pair stole nine life-sized stuffed animals after smashing into a flower shop. Surveillance video shows a suspect in a black hoodie hammering out windows and stealing several large stuffed animals.

Man Found Dead on Stoop of Watertown Home


A man was found dead on the front stoop of a house in Watertown on Friday morning and the medical examiner will investigate what killed the man, who appears to have been in his 20s. 

Police said they responded to 23 Slade Road in the Oakville section of Watertown shortly before 8 a.m. after someone who was passing by saw the man’s body and called authorities. 

The homeowner did not know the man, according to police. 

Detectives responded and investigators said there are no obvious signs of trauma to the body. 

The medical examiner’s office will conduct an autopsy and toxicology tests. Police are in the process of notifying the man’s family.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Obama's Legacy


Photo Credit: AP
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Toby Keith, 3 Doors Down to Perform at Trump 'Welcome Celebration'

Previous Obama's Legacy

Country music star Toby Keith, actor Jon Voight and rock band 3 Doors Down will take part in President-elect Donald Trump's welcome celebration at the Lincoln Memorial on Thursday, the day before the inauguration.

Trump's inauguration committee announced Friday morning which performers and other groups will participate at the two-part celebration.

The festivities will begin with "Voices of the People" performances and then segue into the "Make America Great Again! Welcome Celebration."

Trump is scheduled to speak at the event, then the "Voices of the People" groups will take the stage and then the welcome celebration will begin.

The concert is scheduled from 4 to 6 p.m. Gates will open at 12:30 p.m. and close at 3:30 p.m.

Here's the full list of "Make America Great Again! Welcome Celebration" participants announced Friday:

Toby Keith

Jon Voight

Jennifer Holliday

The Piano Guys

Lee Greenwood


3 Doors Down

The Frontmen of Country

Here's the full list of "Voices of the People" participants announced Friday:

The DC Fire Department Emerald Society Pipes and Drums

King’s Academy Honor Choir

Republican Hindu Coalition

Montgomery Area High School Marching Band

Marlana Van Hoose

Maury NJROTC Color Guard

Pride of Madawaska

Webelos Troop 177

Northern Middle School Honors Choir

American Tap Company

South Park and District Pipe Band

Everett High School Viking Marching Band

TwirlTasTix Baton Twirling

Celtic United Pipes and Drums

Military bands also will participate. A fireworks show will follow.

The event will honor the American people, Presidential Inaugural Committee chairman Tom Barrack said.

"The 58th Inaugural will celebrate American history and heritage, while setting the course to a brighter and bolder future for all Americans,” he said in a statement. “Above all, it will serve as tribute to one of our greatest attributes, the peaceful transition of partisan power."

Free tickets can be requested by visiting 58PIC2017.org. A reporter who requested a ticket through the website received a response on the site that said "We've recieved (sic) your request and will get back with you soon."

The event will be available for broadcast by television networks.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

2 Juveniles Charged in Shooting at Sweet 16 in Bridgeport


Police have arrested two teenage boys in connection with the shootings of six people at a girl's Sweet 16 birthday party in Bridgeport in November.

Police said the girl's family rented out the Italian American Club, Club Sportivo, on Saturday, Nov. 12 and the party was by invitation only.

However, the party hosts started charging admission to an "after party" around 10 p.m. and men, who appeared to be acting as security, started patting down some of the people who were coming in, police said.

Twenty minutes later, a fight ensued on the dance floor and spilled out into a vestibule. 

Police said several males pulled firearms in the club and six people were shot outside. 

Around 20 police officers responded and found five victims, but police located a sixth victim several days later who did not seek medical treatment.

A 15-year-old boy was arrested on Jan. 9 and charged him with criminal attempt at assault in the first degree, carrying a pistol without a permit, unlawful discharge of firearms, reckless endangerment in the first degree and breach of peace in the second degree.

On Dec. 21, police obtained an arrest warrant for a 17-year-old boy, charging him with carrying a pistol without a permit, unlawful discharge of firearms, reckless endangerment in the first degree and breach of peace in the second degree. He was arrested on the warrant on Jan. 13.

Abducted Baby OK After 18 Years


The case of a baby abducted from a Jacksonville hospital nearly 18 years ago has been solved, police said Friday, with the newborn girl grown into a healthy young adult.

Kamiyah Mobley was found alive and well in South Carolina, Jacksonville sheriff’s deputies announced at a news conference.

According to NBC affiliate WTLV-TV, over 2,000 leads came out in the year following her abduction, but all ran dry and the case remained cold for nearly two decades. But officers found Mobley, who was living under a different name, and received a DNA sample which later proved she was the abducted infant.

A tip sent to the National Center for Missing and Exploted Children last year helped break the case, sheriff's officials said on the department's Twitter account. 

Police did not release the name Mobley has been living under, but did announce the arrest of 51-year-old Gloria Williams on charges that include kidnapping. It was not immediately clear if she had an attorney.

Mobley was taken from University Medical Center on July 10, 1998, just eight hours after she was born. According to reports at the time, a woman posing as a health care worker entered her room saying the child had a fever and needed to be checked before grabbing Mobley and leaving the hospital.

Surveillance video could not identify the person who took Mobley, with nurses at the time saying that person had been with the baby hours before the abduction. A camera inside the nursery was broken and there were no photos taken of Mobley before the abduction.

Mobley is now in good health, and "a normal 18-year-old woman," according to the sheriff's Twitter account. Her biological family is "elated" but the victim will determine how she'll make contact with them. 

Photo Credit: Jacksonville Sheriff's Office

Remains of Missing Teen Found, Person of Interest Identified


State police said they have found the remains of 18-year-old Todd Jeremiah Allen, of Sterling, who had been missing since the day after Christmas and detectives have identified a person of interest in the case. 

Allen, known as TJ, had been missing since leaving his Sterling home around 12:30 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 26 to go dirt biking in the Oneco area of Sterling, his father, Todd David Allen, told NBC Connecticut last month. 

TJ reportedly texted one of his friends around 1:30 p.m. that day, saying he had hurt his leg but didn't respond to subsequent messages. Another friend told the family that TJ had texted them the same thing at 3 p.m. 

According to state police, TJ’s cellphone last pinged in the area of Ross Pond in Killingly, but that area was searched extensively and nothing was found. 

Crews in Connecticut and Rhode Island had been searching for Allen. 

State police said Friday that there is a scene on Laiho Road in Sterling, a couple miles, away from Ross Pond, but it's not clear if that's where TJ Allen's body was found.

State police said they have not made any arrests and their investigation continues.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com and Submitted

2 Transported to Hospital After New Britain Apartment Fire


Two people were taken to the hospital after a fire at a New Britain apartment, according to fire officials.

Officials responded to the building on Short Street Friday afternoon. Firefighters said the fire was confined to one apartment.

Two people were inside at the time of the incident and they were taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. Check back for updates.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Route 16 in Colchester Closed Due to Low-Hanging Wires


Route 16 in Colchester is closed between Bigelow Road and Waterhole Road due to low-hanging wires, according to the Colchester Fire Department.

The road is expected to be closed for several hours while crews make repairs. Drivers should seek an alternate route until further notice.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego
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Worker Suffers Electrical Burns Hanging Lights in Bridgeport


A worker was injured while hanging lights in a radio studio, Bridgeport city officials said Friday.

The unidentified worker was an electrical subcontractor doing work at the WEBE radio station on the seventh floor of 350 Lafayette Boulevard. The worker suffered minor electrical burns.

No other information was immediately available.

John Lewis Doesn't See Trump as 'a Legitimate President'


Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., does not believe Donald Trump was legitimately elected, telling NBC News in an exclusive interview Friday that he believes Russians "participated in helping this man get elected" and "helped destroy the candidacy of Hillary Clinton."

Lewis, a leader in the fight for civil rights, said so after being asked in an interview for "Meet the Press" whether he would try to forge a relationship with the president-elect.

Lewis said he believes in forgiveness and working with people, but added, "it's going to be very difficult. I don't see this president-elect as a legitimate president."

Lewis also said that he doesn't plan on attending Trump's inauguration, the first time he'll miss one in his 30-year career in Congress.

Photo Credit: Getty Images for Smithsonian Mag, File
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Connecticut's Kid Governor Sworn into Office


The state’s new kid governor was sworn in at the Old State House in Hartford on Friday. The ceremony focused around 10-year old Jessica Brocksom of Milford, who is now the 2017 Connecticut Kid Governor.

Jessica was officially sworn in and gave a speech to a crowd of kids and state officials including Governor Dannel Malloy.

“I hope, based on this experience today, that you will never miss an opportunity to vote,” said Malloy.

He emphasized the importance of democracy and voting. Jessica emphasized the power of kids to make a difference.

“Please join me in this coming year to show some kindness and help animals, those without a voice. Together we can make a difference,” said Jessica.

Jessica was voted into the position by her peers. Fifth graders across the state participated in the civics program, put on by the Connecticut Public Affairs Network. The election is an effort to help educate fifth graders on state government.

This is the second year for the kid governor program in Connecticut. Jessica succeeds last year’s winner, 11-year-old Elena Tipton of East Hartford.

“Congratulations to all the 7 candidates and remember to always be kind,” said Elena.

Jessica goes to John F. Kennedy Middle School in Milford and was also awarded the key to the city. Now she said it’s time to get to work by changing laws and changing lives.

“Just because they are a kid that doesn't mean that they can't make a difference,” said Jessica.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

President Obama One-on-One With Lester Holt


President Obama spoke with NBC News’ Lester Holt in an exclusive interview aboard Air Force One just prior to giving his farewell address Tuesday night.

In this excerpt, Obama told Holt that prior to his speech he reflected on his eight years in office, particularly on the dedication of his supporters.

“That sense of gratitude that I feel for those folks—I just hope I’m able to express that,” Obama said.

Photo Credit: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP
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Washington's Bible, Lincoln's Hair: Inauguration Symbolism


President Barack Obama used Abraham Lincoln’s and Martin Luther King Jr.’s Bibles at his swearing in ceremony in 2013, two presidents used a chair George Washington sat in at his inaugural and George W. Bush wore his father's cufflinks at the ceremony.

A week before the inauguration of the 44th president of the United States, it was still not clear if Donald Trump would also include such nods to history and symbolism on the historic day.

The Presidential Inaugural Committee's director of communications declined to provide details about what Bible Trump will use or what poem will be read at the 58th presidential inauguration on Jan. 20. 

Boris Epshteyn assured, however, the inauguration will be “full of symbols.” For example, he said, the parade will be shorter than in years prior because Trump wants to get to work as soon as possible. Trump plans to attend three balls, in contrast with Obama who went to 10 balls in 2009 and former President George W. Bush who attended eight balls to celebrate his first inauguration. Epshteyn said a shorter parade and a smaller numbers of balls — one of the three will salute the armed forces and first responders — symbolize Trump’s commitment to the American people and “getting to work” right away.

“The President-elect is representative of the people, Epshteyn said. "This inaugural is all about the people and the armed forces ball will be saluting the first responders so the EMTs, the firemen, the police, who help save lives in this country every single day. So that’s symbolic about thinking and honoring those responders across the country.”

He later added, “This inaugural is of the people by the people and for the people.”

Jim Bendat, one of the nation's leading experts on presidential inauguration history and author of “Democracy's Big Day: The Inauguration of Our President, 1789-2013” said “it’s pretty hard to predict what Trump” will say in his speech or if he’ll use objects with links to the past at his inaugural.

"We’ll just have to see," he said.

Bendat added that including objects of historical importance in the inauguration is symbolic of how our country has evolved but also illustrates what traditions we want to continue. 

Take a look at examples of symbolism from past inaugurations:

1: George Washington’s Bible: The Bible used by the nation’s first president during his oath in 1789 has been kept at the archives of the St. John’s Masonic Lodge in New York City. That Bible is still on display and four other presidents have used it during their swearing in: Warren Harding in 1921, Dwight Eisenhower in 1953, Jimmy Carter in 1977 and George H. W. Bush in 1989. George W. Bush also wanted to use that Bible in 2001, and it was brought in from New York to D.C. the day before the ceremony. But the inauguration day was cold and rainy and the St. John’s members who transported the Bible from New York would not allow for it to be brought outside in those weather conditions. So George W. Bush used a family Bible, instead. “It’s a link to the past," Bendat said of the president's use of a Bible.

2. Washington Chair: George Washington sat in a particular chair during the 1789 inauguration and that exact chair was preserved and then used in later inaugurations. Ulysses S. Grant used it in 1873 and James Garfield sat in it, too, at the 1881 ceremony.

3. Bible Not Required: There’s no requirement that a Bible be used during a presidential swearing in. John Quincy Adams, who was a lawyer, placed his hand upon a book of constitutional law when he took the oath in 1825. There were also some sudden inaugurations after the death of a president where no Bible or other book was used. Chester Arthur was sworn in 1881 in his own home following the death of James Garfield and there was no Bible at the house. When Theodore Roosevelt became president after William McKinley’s assassination in 1901, the oath was administered at a friend’s home where no Bible could be found. After Warren Harding died in 1923, Calvin Coolidge was sworn in without placing his hand on a Bible, though a Bible was on the table in his father’s home where the ceremony took place.

 4. Lincoln’s Hair: In 1905, Teddy Roosevelt was sworn in as president and close to him was a lock of Abraham Lincoln’s hair. John Hay, Roosevelt’s secretary of state who worked under Lincoln 40 years earlier, sent him a locket that contained the former president’s hair. Roosevelt had been a great admirer of Lincoln and was so inspired by Hay’s gesture that he took the locket with him to the ceremony.

5. Open White House: Andrew Jackson, considered the first real Washington outsider to become president in 1829, took the term "open house" seriously on inauguration day. He invited the public to the White House and his supporters strolled in wearing muddy boots. They ruined the carpets, tore down the curtains and trashed the residence. The story goes that someone put a tub of whiskey out onto the White House lawn and the drunken party slowly left the White House. Opening up the White House was a pretty common occurrence in the 19th century, Bendat said. On Abraham Lincoln's inauguration on March 4, 1865, it was estimated the president shook hands with about 6,000 people in just 3 hours. Among them was Frederick Douglass, who told Lincoln that his speech, trying to bring the country together at the end of the Civil War, was "a sacred effort." According to Bendat, "That was the first time in U.S. history that the president had greeted and sought the opinion of a free, black man inside the White House."

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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Man Stole Over $90K Worth of Jewelry from Monroe Home: PD


A New Haven man is accused of stealing over $90,000 worth of jewelry from a Monroe home back in 2012, according to Monroe police.

Police said the burglary happened at a Wells Road home on April 19, 2012. The homeowner reported that the jewelry stolen was worth $93,225.

According to police, new information provided in 2016 led them to the suspect. David Sullivan, 39, of New Haven, was charged with first-degree larceny and third-degree burglary. Sullivan is currently in custody. He was held on a $50,000 bond.

Photo Credit: Monroe Police Department
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