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Over 70,000 people sign petition to rename Fifth Avenue outside Trump Tower after Obama

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More than 70,000 people have signed onto a petition that seeks to rename the portion of Fifth Avenue in front of the Trump Tower in Manhattan after former President Obama.

“The City of Los Angeles recently honored former President Barack Obama by renaming a stretch of the 134 Freeway near Downtown L.A. in his honor,” reads the online petition, which had racked up nearly 71,000 signatures on MoveOn.org as of Tuesday afternoon.

“We request the New York City Mayor and City Council do the same by renaming a block of Fifth Avenue after the former president whose many accomplishments include: saving our nation from the Great Recession; serving two completely scandal-free terms in office; and taking out Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind September 11th, which killed over 3,000 New Yorkers,” the petition continues. 

Elizabeth Rowin, the organizer behind the petition, told Newsweek in an interview released on Monday that the campaign first began as a joke last year.

“I honestly started it as a joke,” Rowin told the publication. “I saw a comedian joke about how it would make Trump so mad if it was named after former President Obama and thought why not.”

However, after the petition began to pick up traction online, Rowin said she decided to reach out to the New York City Council and received responses from some members who were interested in taking action on the cause. 

If Rowin’s petition proves successful, the Manhattan Trump Tower would have a new address: 725 President Barack H. Obama Avenue, New York, NY 10022.

But there appears to be at least one roadblock that could hurt the petition’s chances.

According to Newsweek, a figure has to be deceased for at least two years in order have a request made to co-name a street after him or her.

“I am sure the conditions can be changed,” Rowin said. “There are two streets in L.A. named after former President Obama.” 

“These laws are arbitrary and can be worked around,” she added.

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Phoenix police must now document each time they point their gun at someone

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(CNN) Phoenix police officers must now document every instance in which they point a gun at a person — a decision that the city long considered but now has been made after recent public outcry about aggressive police tactics in Arizona’s capital.

From now on, Phoenix officers must fill out a form when an officer points a gun, and the incident will be reviewed by a supervisor, city officials announced Monday.

“When a gun is pointed at someone, that’s a traumatic event,” Police Chief Jeri Williams said at a news conference. “I think this is a first step in being … that accountable, transparent organization that is willing to share what we do and how we do it.”

The decision comes two months after a tense community meeting where residents vented about a well-publicized incident, in which video showed an officer pull a gun on a family during a shoplifting investigation outside a Phoenix dollar store in May.

City officials haven’t linked Monday’s announcement directly to that incident. Two separate panels already had recommended that the police department record each gun draw, including the National Police Foundation this April.

The NPF made its recommendation after the city asked it to study a 2018 spike in officer-involved shootings in Phoenix (44 were reported that year, compared to a yearly average of 21 from 2009 to 2017).

“Our community has … said that they want our police department to collect more data around the work they are doing in the field,” Mayor Kate Gallego said at Monday’s news conference.

“We know that what you measure is what you focus on.”

Requiring officers to document when they point their guns at people is not unique. Cities with similar requirements include Dallas, Baltimore, Cleveland, New Orleans and Chicago, the foundation says.

Read More at CNN

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Ohio white nationalist, anti-Semite arrested for threatening to shoot up Jewish community center, police say

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An Ohio man has been arrested for making threats toward a local Jewish community center in New Middletown.

James Reardon Jr., 20, has been charged with telecommunications harassment and aggravated menacing and is being held in the Mahoning County Jail on $250,000 bond with a court hearing planned for Monday morning.

On Friday, the FBI Violent Crimes Task Force raided Reardon’s house and seized a cache of weapons and ammunition, including dozens of round of ammo, multiple semi-automatic weapons, a gas mask and bulletproof armor.

“Grateful for the work of the FBI, local law enforcement and our community partners in the Youngstown Jewish community. We will continue to employ all our resources to stop the spread of white nationalism and violent extremism,” the Anti-Defamation League in Cleveland tweeted.

Police initially became aware of Reardon on July 11 when he posted a video on Instagram of a man shooting a semi-automatic rifle with sirens and screams in the background. He tagged the Jewish Community Center of Youngstown in the post.

“That kicked off an intense investigation, a very rapidly evolving investigation, because of the way the world is,” New Middletown Police Chief Vince D’Egidio told Youngstown ABC affiliate WYTV.

Read More at ABC News

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Group protesting ICE outside prison says guard drove truck into protesters, injuring 2

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A group that protested outside a prison in Rhode Island says two of their members were injured Wednesday night after a corrections officer drove his truck into the group.

Never Again Action, a Jewish activist group that was protesting federal immigration policies and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, posted a video on social media that showed a black pick-up truck driving into protesters who were sitting in front of the prison’s parking lot entrance.

The video shows the truck approaching the parking lot and turning right into the entrance before stopping in front of the line of people.

The crowd stood up in reaction as the car stopped. The driver then honked the horn before moving forward into the group of people.

Two protesters were taken to the hospital for injuries suffered from the vehicle, Never Again Action said on social media.

Video then shows other officers rush toward the crowd and use pepper spray to disperse the group. Three other protesters were hospitalized for “severe pepper spray exposure,” the group said, adding that none of the injuries were life-threatening.

The incident occurred in Central Falls at the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility, which is used by federal immigration officials.

Aaron Regunberg, a former state representative and organizer with Never Again Action, said the corrections officer behind the wheel was in uniform when he drove into the line of people, which video from the protest shows. The officer was not arrested, Regunberg said.

“It was very clearly deliberate,” Regunberg told USA TODAY.

Reached by phone Thursday by USA TODAY, a prison employee declined to comment.

Read More at USA TODAY

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