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North Carolina Allows Officials to Refuse to Perform Gay Marriages

North CarolinaUnder a law that took effect Thursday in North Carolina, employees who issue marriage licenses can refuse to complete paperwork for gay couples by invoking their religious beliefs — a move that could mean longer waits at courthouses for all those who want to wed, especially in rural counties with small staffs.

Gay rights groups and some Democrats said legal challenges were likely to come soon for the new law, the second of its kind nationwide. Utah passed one this year.


Cleveland judge finds cop in Tamir Rice killing should face murder charge

Tamir RiceTamir Rice was throwing snowballs and playing with a toy gun in a Cleveland park on November 22 when a police car rolled into the snowy field and, within two seconds of getting out of his squad car, officer Timothy Loehmann shot and killed the black 12-year-old.

On June 11, Cleveland Municipal Judge Ronald Adrine found probable cause to file murder, involuntary manslaughter, reckless homicide, negligent homicide, and dereliction of duty charges against Loehmann, reported. Adrine also found probable cause to file negligent homicide and dereliction of duty charges against Frank Garmback, Loehmann's partner, who drove the squad car on the day of the shooting.


Ex-Rhode Island House speaker gets 3 years for corruption

Gordon FoxFormer Rhode Island House Speaker Gordon Fox was sentenced Thursday to three years in prison for corruption, bringing to a close the federal investigation into a man once considered the most powerful person in state government.

Crying, Fox apologized to his family, friends and to the state when he addressed the court before the sentencing.

"I accept full responsibility for my actions. No excuses, no justifications," Fox said. "I committed illegal acts and I'm very sorry for it."


Judge orders Arkansas to recognize more than 500 marriages between same-sex couples

Aekansas same sex marriageArkansas must honor hundreds of same-sex couples that managed to snag a marriage license and get hitched last year, a judge has ruled.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen’s ruling allows 541 couples to not only file their taxes together, but apply for state insurance plans as a married couple.

The benefits of marriage were nixed when the state’s Supreme Court appealed Judge Chris Piazza’s ruling that struck down the state’s ban on gay marriage in May 2014 deeming it unconstitutional.


Rikers Island prison guards charged over fatal beating

Rikers islandTwo prison guards have been charged over the death of a black inmate in New York City, prosecutors in Manhattan have announced.

The charges stem from the beating death of Ronald Spear, 52, in 2012 who was at Rikers Island awaiting trial for burglary.  New York medical officials ruled the death a homicide, but Bronx prosecutors had refused to pursue charges.


Bus crash in New York's Lincoln Tunnel injures 18 people

Lincolm Tunnel crashTwo buses crashed in the Lincoln Tunnel linking New York City and New Jersey on Wednesday, injuring 18 people at the end of morning rush hour, none of them critically, officials said.

A New Jersey Transit bus and a privately operated bus collided in the center tube of the 1.5-mile tunnel at 9:35 a.m., said Joe Pentangelo, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the tunnel.


'Horrific' Police Beating in California Caught on Camera

Salinas police attackThe brutal aftermath of a violent confrontation last Friday between the police and a man in Salinas, Calif., was captured on camera, uploaded to YouTube and shows what the police chief there described as "horrific" and "inflammatory."

The video, which was shot in a shaky minute-and-a-half, does not show what caused several officers to repeatedly strike the man, Jose Velasco, 28, with batons while he writhed on the pavement in the middle of the street.


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