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Inflatable Border Wall, Green Cards: Restaurant Under Fire for Cinco de Mayo Activities


A California restaurant is under fire for a Cinco de Mayo celebration that featured an inflatable climbing wall and "green card" drink tickets.

On Friday, Hennessey's Tavern in Dana Point set up an inflatable climbing wall outside the restaurant. Patrons who successfully climbed the wall received a "green card" that entitled them to a free drink.

The event came days after President Donald Trump signed a federal budget plan that diverted funds from his proposed wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump pledged to build a wall to deter immigration along the border. 

Some Hennessey's Tavern patrons said they were offended by the activity.

Laycee Barragato Gibson posted photos of the blowup wall on Facebook and described the activity as "disgusting," ending her post with the hashtag "#trumpsamerica."

In a statement posted on Facebook Saturday night, tavern founder Paul Hennessey said the aim was to make a political statement.

"Our intentions were to create a dialogue and show how ridiculous that it is to spend tens of millions of dollars to build a wall and even infer that Mexico foot some or the entire bill and have their citizens build it," Hennessey wrote.


Hennessey said some did not understand the intent of the event, but he said expressing outage on social media was not a constructive use of time.

"I encourage all of you to take the time that you have spent posting on social media to spend an equal or greater amount of time writing your congressman or the President himself to express your concerns just as I have," Hennessey wrote. "Let's stop this wall from being built." 

Photo Credit: Laycee Barragato Gibson
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Family Sues Texas Officer, Department in 15-Year-Old's Death


The family of 15-year-old Jordan Edwards, the teenager who was shot by a now-former Balch Springs police officer, have filed suit against the city, department and the officer.

The lawsuit by the Edwards family, filed in Dallas on Friday, claims Roy Oliver used excessive and deadly force while on the call and lacked proper training in his job as police officer for the City of Balch Springs.

Oliver was released on bond late Friday after being arrested on a murder charge of Edwards on April 29.

In the suit, the family's attorney said when the teens heard what sounded like gunshots, they tried to leave the area but said Oliver shot into the vehicle with a rifle. Edwards was shot in the head, according to the lawsuit, and his brother drove away after the shooting and called his father.

Oliver and officers were dispatched to the area after a neighbor called police reporting a party with intoxicated teenagers. When officers arrived in the area, there was a report of shots being fired.

Edwards was in a vehicle with other teens when Oliver fired his weapon, according to an arrest warrant. Oliver was fired from the department after the chief learned the vehicle Edwards was in was moving away from the officer, not toward the officer as initially stated by the chief.

The attorney said as the driver of the car was stepping out of the vehicle for police, he went the wrong direction and an officer said "this n----- doesn't know his f----- left from his right."

The family also claims Edwards' brother was handcuffed and taken into police custody.

The lawsuit cites an instance in 2013 where Oliver was suspended by the Balch Springs Police Department for 16 hours for his behavior as a witness in a Dallas County DWI case.

In the personnel files from Balch Springs, obtained under an open records request, the Dallas County District Attorney's Office filed a complaint against Oliver because it was difficult to get him to show up for court and his language used in court.

Oliver admitted he was "angry and aggressive while at court," according to a discipline document from the department.

The documents said Oliver admitted to responding to a prosecutor's question with, "I don't understand the f----- question."

In the disciplinary document prepared by then-chief Ed Morris, prosecutors sent text messages each other saying Oliver was not going to be a cooperative witness in the case and in an e-mail one prosecutor said Oliver was a "scary person to have in our workroom."

Oliver was suspended for 16 hours, but according to his personnel file he gave up sick time in lieu of being suspended. He also received training in anger management and courtroom demeanor and testimony.

Oliver's most-recent employment evaluation in January included an instance where he was "disrespectful to a civilian on a call." The evaluation said "it was an isolated incident that was documented and not repeated."

The Edwards family is asking for a jury to hear their case in federal court. An attorney for Oliver has not responded to calls for comment since Oliver's arrest on Friday.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News

Archdiocese Announces Details of Parish Reorganization


The Hartford Archdiocese announced its plan to reorganize parishes at a press conference on Sunday.

Priests are also expected to discuss the changes with their parishioners at Mass, and official decrees for churches closing or merging will be posted in each affected church and online.

The archdiocese intends to reorganize its 212 parishes into pastorates, a single parish with a parochial church and one or more worship sites, campuses, and ministries.

According to archdiocese spokesperson Maria Zone, the 212 parishes will be reduced to 127 as of June 29, with 68 parishes remaining as they are and 59 the result of mergers. The mergers will include the combining of anywhere from two to six parishes, depending on the area.

Zone added that 186 church buildings will remain open and 26 will close. The table below details the mergers.

Note that some of the mergers have already taken place. Churches with an * will cease holding Mass by June 29.

According to the Office of Pastoral Planning of the Archdiocese of Hartford, the Pastoral Council and the Directors of the Hartford Bishop’s Foundation have already been briefed on the plans, and any priests being reassigned have been notified.

The archdiocese said at the beginning of the project that the changes are necessary because of a declining Roman Catholic population in Connecticut, as well as lower Mass attendance, fewer available priests, and financial concerns.

For more information, visit the Office of Pastoral Planning website.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Senators Looking Ahead to Yates Testimony on Russia, Flynn


This Monday, Sally Yates, a former deputy attorney general under President Barack Obama who was then pushed out by President Donald Trump early on, will testify in front of a Senate Judiciary subcommittee about Russia's attempts to interfere with the last election, NBC News reported.

Yates is expected to speak about what she knew of conversations between Flynn and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

Yates was fired in January, ostensibly for refusing to defend the administration's travel ban in court.

The Senate Judiciary subcommittee is one of a number of investigations within Congress looking into Russian attempts to interfere in the 2016 elections, in addition to inquiries in the Senate and House Intelligence Committees.

Photo Credit: J. David Ake/AP, File

Appeals Court Taking up Revised Trump Travel Ban


A federal appeals court on Monday is considering lifting a stay blocking President Donald Trump's travel ban, NBC News reported.

The 15-member 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, will consider the appeal and bypass the normal first step of a hearing before a three-judge panel.

A federal judge in Maryland had blocked Trump's executive order on March 16. Opponents of the ban had said Trump made it clear, through statements during the campaign, that the executive order is based on religion.

However, the Trump administration argues the president's past statements are irrelevant and that all that matters is what the president has said and did since taking office.

Photo Credit: Jim Watson/ AFP/Getty Images, File

Crash Damages Headstone at New Haven Cemetery


Police are looking for the driver who crashed into a headstone in a cemetery in New Haven early Monday morning and left the scene.

The incident happened around 2:30 a.m. on Davenport Avenue and police said at least one headstone was damaged.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

'Imminent Threat': Syrian Refugee Camp Becomes ISIS Hotbed


In a scrubland of hopelessness along the Syria-Jordan border, 80,000 refugees are being preyed on by the very ISIS gunmen and suicide bombers they fled their homes to escape, NBC News reported.

The pilot of a Jordanian military helicopter taking an NBC News team for a visit wouldn't fly over the Al Rukban camp for fear of being shot down by members of ISIS in the camp.

Militants there "have whole weapons systems … small arms, RPGs, anti-aircraft," Brig. Gen. Sami Kafawin, commander of Jordan's army in the area, said. "They consider the camp a safe haven. We consider it an imminent threat."

The makeshift camp offers a stark lesson for President Donald Trump, who says he wants "safe zones" to keep refugees displaced by war in or near their own country, and others seeking to de-escalate the Syrian civil war.

Photo Credit: Ziad Jaber / NBC News
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18 Displaced After Fire at Vacant New Haven Building Spreads


Eighteen people are displaced after a fire at a vacant building in New Haven spread to the house next door. 

Emergency crews responded to the 200 block of Blatchley Avenue just after 5 p.m. Sunday and found heavy fire on the second and third floor. 

The fire chief said the stairs of the vacant home were so badly burned that it was difficult for firefighters to get to flames and the roof collapsed. 

One firefighter suffered a minor back injury and was transported to be treated. 

No information was available on what caused the fire. Police were speaking with the only person seen coming out of the vacant home.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Truck Carting 40,000 Pounds of Lettuce Rolls Over on I-95N


A truck carrying 40,000 pounds of lettuce rolled over this morning on Interstate 95 North in Waterford, near exit 82.

No injuries are reported.

Crews from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection were called in.

Photo Credit: Connecticut Department of Transportation Cameras

MassDOT Ending E-ZPass Grace Period


The Massachusetts Department of Transportation is ending its E-ZPass grace period for tolls Monday.

That means starting Tuesday, those of you without a transponder will be paying a higher rate when you pass under one of the gantries on the Massachusetts Turnpike.

MassDOT also completed demolition of the toll plazas at Boston’s Summer Tunnel over the weekend. 

Click here for more details on rates.

Click here to learn how to sign up for an E-ZPass.

BBB's Tips for Finding a Safe Summer Camp


If you are sending your children to camp this summer, the Connecticut Better Business Bureau has some recommendations for parents to carefully choose a summer camp that is safe.

"Summer camp is not as standardized as it used to be," Connecticut Better Business Bureau spokesman Howard Schwartz said in a statement. "While many young people opt for the traditional menu of sports, gymnastics and related activities, there is an impressive list of camps dedicated to individual campers' tastes. Your child can be part of the research process by helping guide your selection."

The Better Business Bureau says the most important elements to consider are that the facilities are safe, the camp is well-run and properly maintained and has well-trained staff.

Before signing a contract for a summer camp, you should be familiar with staff, activities and management of emergencies.

How to check on a camp:

  • After you decide on a prospective camp, check it out at bbb.org to learn about others' experiences and any complaints, or to look for a BBB-accredited camp. BBB also recommends verifying whether the camp is a member of the American Camp Association (ACA), and meets its 32 mandatory national summer camp standards. 
  • Visit the camp to check the facilities such the bunks, dining area, medical clinic, swimming pool or lake.
  • Ask about the staff, including whether staff members are subject to background checks, how are they trained and how many years they have worked at the camp
  • Verify medical emergency procedures. Learn how far away the closest trauma center is, how the camp clinic is outfitted to handle emergencies and whether a medical doctor is onsite or nearby.
  • Find out the rules, including how standard behavior and safety rules are enforced, how the camp deals with a homesick camper and what protocols are in place for activities such as water sports.
  • Ask about fees and whether there are any extra fees for activities such as outings and overnight camping trips.
  • Speak with other parents and children and ask for references so you can ask about their experience at the camp last year, whether they would recommend it and why or why not.

You can select from a list of BBB-accredited camps at bbb.org.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News

North Korea Using Detained Americans as Leverage: Experts


Kim Jong Un is adding a new wrinkle on the long-standing North Korean strategy of detaining U.S. citizens to use as bargaining chips, experts tell NBC News.

U.S. citizen Kim Hak Song was taken into custody Saturday for "hostile acts against the republic," according to state media, bringing the total number of Americans held in the Hermit Kingdom to four.

Unlike his father, who brought the U.S. to the negotiation table by detaining Americans, Kim Jong Un is using prisoners to protect himself, analysts said.

"Kim Jong Un is using hostage diplomacy as a part of his military and defense strategy with focus on preventing the U.S. from removing him from power as well as to prevent the U.S. from taking military options against North Korea," said Dr. An Chan Il, president of the World Institute for North Korea Studies and a defector.

Photo Credit: STR/AFP/Getty Images

Obama Warned Trump Against Hiring Mike Flynn: Officials


Former President Barack Obama warned Donald Trump against hiring Mike Flynn as his national security adviser, three former Obama administration officials tell NBC News.

The warning, which has not been previously reported, came less than 48 hours after the November election when the two sat down for a 90-minute conversation in the Oval Office.

The revelation comes on a day that former acting Attorney General Sally Yates is expected to testify that Flynn misled the White House about his contacts with Russia's ambassador to the United States.

NBC News has asked the Trump administration for a response.

Photo Credit: AP

Fire Breaks Out at Building Used By Yale, Hospital


Dozens of people were evacuated after fire broke out on the roof of a building that Yale-New Haven Hospital and Yale University use. 

Fire alarms started going off at 9:11 a.m. after fire broke out at the building at the corner of Howard and Congress avenues. 

The fire chief said the initial 911 calls came in as a fire at a factory building, but the fire was actually on the roof of a dual storage facility where medical experiments and simulations also take place. 

Crews got the fire was under control in around 30 minutes. 

The cause of the fire is under investigation, but officials said it appears it started near the air conditioning unit.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Recall Issued for Perdue Chicken Sausage Sold in Connecticut


A recall has been issued for Perdue chicken sausage that was shipped to Connecticut.

The recall posted on the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Safety Inspection Service web site says Perdue Foods LLC. in Gainesville, Ga. is recalling 2,148 pounds of chicken sausage products shipped to Connecticut and Maryland that might be contaminated with blue packaging materials.

The Italian chicken sausage links were produced on March 27, 2017 and come in 24-oz. plastic packages containing eight links of fully cooked ready to eat “PERDUE HARVESTLAND Italian Style Organic Chicken Sausage.”

The packages have the code 64405, a sell- or freeze-by date of June 25 and the establishment number “P-2617” inside the USDA inspection mark.

The U.S.D.A. says the problem was discovered on May 5 after three consumers complained about blue plastic materials in the sausage.

No injuries have been reported, but anyone concerned about an injury or illness should contact a healthcare provider.

Anyone who bought the products should throw them away or return them to the store you bought them at.

Consumers with questions about the recall can call Perdue Consumer Relations, at (877) 727-3447.

Photo Credit: USDA

Domino's Delivery Driver Shoots, Kills 16-Year-Old Would-Be Robber: Cops


A North Texas pizza delivery driver shot and killed a teenage would-be robber who opened fire on him as he attempted a delivery Saturday night. A second teen is in custody following the attempted aggravated robbery.

Mesquite police said a Domino's Pizza driver was delivering to a home in the 1400 block of Springwood Drive at about 11:20 p.m. when two men answered the door and tried to rob him. 

Police said one of the teens was armed and fired at the delivery driver. The driver was also armed and fired back, killing the teen. 

Responding officers found the wounded teen, identified by the medical examiner's office as 16-year-old Wayne Delaney Osborne, of Mesquite, nearby. He was later pronounced dead.

The second suspect, also 16, was arrested and charged with aggravated robbery. Attorney information was not immediately clear. 

According to police, the home was vacant and a "For Lease" sign was removed from the front of the house. Police believe the teens used the empty residence to lure the driver to the home with plans to rob him.

NBC 5 learned Monday police looking into a string of pizza delivery robberies from earlier in the year to see if there is any connection to the teens.

Jaden Frazier said he played pee-wee football with Osborne and the two were childhood friends. Frazier went to the shooting site Sunday after hearing the news and said he couldn't believe it was real.

"Wayne was always in a good mood," Frazier said. "I mean, like everybody, he got in trouble every now and then, but I would never know he would do something like that." 

Osborne was a sophomore at John Horn High School in Mesquite. Mesquite ISD released a statement Sunday afternoon:

According to Mesquite police, the delivery driver did not have a license to carry the weapon in Texas, however he did have one out of Arizona.  Through a reciprocal agreement, Texas honors Arizona CHL licenses.

The pizza delivery driver's case will be forwarded to the grand jury for consideration, which is standard protocol.

Domino's Pizza, noting that the driver worked for an independent franchisee, released a statement about the driver on Monday afternoon.

"The driver is cooperating fully with local law enforcement and the franchisee told me this afternoon that he will be offering the driver paid time off to give him a chance to deal with what was certainly a high-stress situation that, tragically, never should have happened. Nobody should ever have to confront a life-and-death situation while trying to earn a paycheck delivering pizza."

The owner of the Domino's on Galloway Avenue said it was a tragic situation for everyone involved, adding that the driver had been working for him for about nine months. 

Drivers typically carry less than $20 in change.

Photo Credit: Getty Images, File
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Neo-Nazi, White Supremacist Fliers Left at Westport Homes


Neo-Nazi and white supremacist fliers have turned up in the driveways of Westport homes for the second time in two years and police are investigating. 

The disturbing messages were left almost two years to the day after disturbing flyers appeared in other parts of town, according to Westport police and the first selectman. 

Westport police officers are working with area police departments to try to identify where the fliers are coming from they are asking anyone with information or questions to call the Westport Detective Bureau at 203-341-6080. 

Officials said the town is also working with the Anti-Defamation League to identify possible sources and come up with ways to “appropriately combat this type of threatening activity.” 

“I am concerned and angry that once again statements like this have found their way to Westport homes. As I said two years ago, this kind of ethnic ugliness has no place anywhere, and certainly not in Westport,” First Selectman James Marpe said in a statement. 

“I have always been proud to speak of Westport as an open and welcoming community. I continue to believe that the vast majority of Westporters practice tolerance, inclusion and everyday civil behavior. Unfortunately, the last few years and months have reminded us that our nation still needs to deal with some serious societal and behavioral issues. We are reminded that Westport is not necessarily immune from these issues,” he went on to write. 

Photo Credit: Westport Police

Homeless Hartford Families Treated to Day at the Salon


Dozens of homeless people in Hartford were treated to a day at the salon on Monday as part of the 3rd Annual Haircuts for Humanity.

“It’s just a great day. It’s exciting to come in and meet the people that come in from the shelters, you know hearing their stories and making them feel good,” said Kevin Irish, the owner of United Artists Salon, where the event was held.

Journey Home, an organization that seeks to end homelessness in Connecticut, arranged for transportation from homeless shelters across Hartford to the salon.

“To allow them an opportunity to stop, to take a breather, to be pampered, it’s really something very powerful,” said Sara Salomons, the director of development and communications for Journey Home.

Elizabeth DeJesus and her three children spent the morning being pampered. The last time DeJesus had her hair cut in a salon was 10 years ago.

“It’s going to feel good. Finally something for me,” DeJesus said.

DeJesus was even more excited to treat her daughter, who has naturally curly hair.

“It’s awesome. No words can describe it. My daughter has been asking me for a haircut. For her hair, it’s a lot of money,” DeJesus said.

Haircuts for Humanity and many of the other programs that Journey Home runs could be in jeopardy now that the City of Hartford could cut its budget by $86,000. That is why the organization is relying on private donations now more than ever and encouraging people to sponsor a haircut for $25.

“It’s sad to say that Connecticut’s budget is not doing well. I think the less fortunate are going to be even less fortunate. So it’s good to support things like this,” Irish said.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Police Release Video from Waterbury Kwik Shop Armed Robbery


Waterbury police are investigating an armed robbery at the Kwik Shop Grocery Store last month and they have released surveillance video in the hopes of identifying the people seen in it.

The robbery happened on April 29 at the Kwik Shop on Willow Street, according to police, and the video shows one man with a gun. Another had a bag and was seen going behind the counter.

Police said they are trying to identify the two men seen in the video. Anyone who recognizes either should call 203-574-6941 or Crimestoppers at 203-755-1234. You could also email wpdmedia@wtbypd.org.

Photo Credit: Waterbury Police
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Employee Accused of Stealing $20K from Norwalk Transit District


An employee of the Norwalk Transit District is accused of stealing more than $20,000 from the transportation service.

Police said they received a complaint in February 2017 about an employee stealing from the Norwalk Transit District and identified 39-year-old Otis Weeks, of Norwalk, as a suspect.

They said he’s accused of stealing more than $20,000 from August 2016 through February 2017 by accused of manipulating the payroll and adding hours to certain employees’ pay, which generated a separate paycheck.

He’s accused of stealing the checks and forging the employees’ signatures to deposit them.

Norwalk detectives arrested Weeks this morning after he turned himself in.

He has been charged with first-degree larceny, 25 counts of third-degree identity theft and 25 counts of second-degree forgery. Bond was set at $100,000.

Photo Credit: Norwalk Police
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