AP News in Brief at 12:04 a.m. EDT


Trump accuses Obama of being the ‘founder of ISIS’

SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — Donald Trump accused President Barack Obama on Wednesday of founding the Islamic State group that is wreaking havoc from the Middle East to European cities. A moment later, on another topic, he referred to the president by his full legal name: Barack Hussein Obama.

“In many respects, you know, they honor President Obama,” Trump said during a raucous campaign rally outside Fort Lauderdale, Florida. “He is the founder of ISIS.”

He repeated the allegation three more times for emphasis.

The Republican presidential nominee in the past has accused his opponent, Democrat Hillary Clinton, of founding the militant group. As he shifted the blame to Obama on Wednesday, he said “crooked Hillary Clinton” was actually the group’s co-founder.

Trump has long blamed Obama and his former secretary of state — Clinton — for pursuing Mideast policies that created a power vacuum in Iraq that was exploited by IS, another acronym for the group. He’s sharply criticized Obama for announcing he would pull U.S. troops out of Iraq, a decision that many Obama critics say created the kind of instability in which extremist groups like IS thrive.

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Donald Trump’s primary playbook leading him out of bounds

ABINGDON, Va. (AP) — In the 2016 presidential campaign, it’s long been an article of faith: The rules of political gravity don’t apply to Donald Trump.

Maybe now they do.

After winning state after state while bouncing between controversies in the GOP primaries, Trump is still stumbling on the stump. His latest unforced mishap: an off-hand remark that critics quickly slammed as a suggestion that gun-rights backers should take a literal shot at Hillary Clinton should she win the White House.

But rather than continuing to float above the criticism, Trump is losing ground in preference polls and alienating prominent Republicans by the day. Even some of his supporters worry Trump’s lack of a filter is hurting his White House chances, a concern they say has only grown in recent weeks.

“You’d think it would be pretty simple for a grown man to keep his mouth shut sometimes,” said Seth Walls, 18, a landscaper from Whitetop, Virginia, who attended his first Trump rally on Wednesday. “These Twitter rants and things he does in the media, I definitely think it’s hurting him.”

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Experts: 2 killings by police were tragic, likely justified

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Two fatal police shootings in the Los Angeles area in the last two weeks began the same way: officers thinking a suspect had a gun.

In one, police say a 14-year-old boy fired at them and they found a weapon. In the other, a 27-year-old man police believed was a carjacking suspect who had fired at them was later determined to be innocent and unarmed.

Different scenarios, same result and, experts say, likely the same outcome once the investigations are completed — police were legally justified to open fire because they had reason to believe the suspects could harm them or others.

“From a legal standpoint, it doesn’t technically matter if he’s armed or not,” said Peter Moskos, a former Baltimore police officer and a criminologist at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. “It matters if a reasonable cop has a reason to believe he is.”

The killing of Donnell Thompson Jr. occurred after Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputies suspected he had been involved in the carjacking on July 28 in Compton. The department acknowledged Tuesday, however, that investigators had found no evidence connecting Thompson to the crime.

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Police: Woman killed by Florida officer in academy exercise

PUNTA GORDA, Fla. (AP) — A police “shoot/don’t shoot” demonstration in Florida went shockingly awry when an officer shot and killed a 73-year-old former librarian with what police said was real ammunition used by mistake at an event designed to bring police and the public together.

Authorities didn’t immediately say how a gun with a live round came to be used at Tuesday evening’s demonstration, noting blank rounds are typically used in such classes. The officer has been placed on administrative leave, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating.

“We were unaware that any live ammunition was available to the officer,” Punta Gorda Police Chief Tom Lewis said at a news conference Wednesday. “The officer involved is grief stricken. We’ve got officers assigned to him to make sure he’s psychologically stable.”

Mary Knowlton, a well-known community volunteer, was shot after being randomly selected to take part in the role-playing scenario illustrating the split-second decisions an officer must make about firing. It was part of a popular citizens academy attended by 35 people, including her 75-year-old husband, and the police chief.

Her son, Steve Knowlton, said his father was “devastated.”

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Sheriff: Arkansas deputy dies in shooting

An Arkansas man who wanted to cause a “ruckus” ahead of a court hearing shot and killed a sheriff’s deputy Wednesday, and wounded a small-town police chief, before surrendering to law enforcement officers who had surrounded his rural home, a sheriff said.

Sebastian County Deputy Bill Cooper was pronounced dead about 1:15 p.m. after being shot in the neck, Sheriff Bill Hollenbeck said during a news conference. Hackett Police Chief Darrell Spells suffered superficial wounds after apparently being grazed by a bullet.

Billy Monroe Jones, 34, had gone to his father’s house earlier Wednesday to take some tools, Hollenbeck said. According to the sheriff, Jones pointed a gun at his father, who called 911. Cooper and Spells were among officers who found Jones with a rifle and body armor when they went to his home east of Hackett, near the Oklahoma border.

“Jones wanted to cause what was told to us as a ‘ruckus’ and he was due in court in Fort Smith regarding a petition to revoke a suspended sentence charge,” Hollenbeck told reporters.

Court records show Jones has had a drug conviction in state court along with a handful of minor charges, such as speeding and public intoxication, in nearby Greenwood.

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Scathing report on Baltimore cops vindicates black residents

BALTIMORE (AP) — With startling statistics, a federal investigation of the Baltimore Police Department documents in 164 single-spaced pages what black residents have been saying for years: They are routinely singled out, roughed up or otherwise mistreated by officers, often for no reason.

The 15-month Justice Department probe was prompted by the death of Freddie Gray, the black man whose fatal neck injury in the back of a police van touched off the worst riots in Baltimore in decades. To many people, the blistering report issued Wednesday was familiar reading.

Danny Marrow, a retired food service worker, said that over the years, he has been stopped and hassled repeatedly by police.

“It started when I was 8 years old and they’d say, with no probable cause, ‘Hey, come here. Where are you going?'” he said. “No cause, just the color of my skin.”

“Bullies in the workplace,” he said. “They don’t want you to get angry or challenge their authority, so they’ll use force, they’ll put the handcuffs on too tight. And if you run, they’re going to beat you up when they catch you.”

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‘Truly a piece of evil’: ‘Grim Sleeper’ sent to death row

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The serial killer known as the “Grim Sleeper” was sentenced to death Wednesday for the murders of nine women and a teenage girl that went unsolved for years as the body count grew in a poor section of Los Angeles haunted by the scourge of crack cocaine.

The moment of reckoning for Lonnie Franklin Jr. came after those whose lives were altered by his violence questioned how he could have been so cruel and shown so little remorse.

“You are truly a piece of evil,” said Enietra Washington, who managed to survive after being shot and testified against him at trial. “You’re right up there with Manson.”

The killings occurred over more than two decades and community members complained that police didn’t seriously investigate them because the victims were black and poor and many were drug users and prostitutes.

Franklin was linked at trial to 14 slayings, including four women he wasn’t charged with killing. Police have said he may have had as many as 25 victims.

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Police grab man climbing Trump Tower in New York City

NEW YORK (AP) — A man who wanted an “audience” with Donald Trump spent three hours scaling the glass facade of Trump Tower on Wednesday using large suction cups, climbing as high as the 21st floor before police officers grabbed him and hauled him to safety through an open window.

The climber, identified by police as a 20-year-old Virginia man, wore a backpack and used a harness and rope stirrups to fasten himself to the side of the 68-story Manhattan skyscraper.

For a long time, the climber played a slow-motion cat-and-mouse game with would-be rescuers. Officers smashed windows and broke through ventilation ducts to block his progress. Police also lowered themselves toward him using a window washer’s platform.

The man kept his distance by methodically working his way back and forth across the facade, repeatedly repositioning suction cups resembling a type commonly used by window washers to remove big panes of glass.

The chase ended dramatically just after 6:30 p.m.

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Versatile ESPN sportscaster John Saunders dies at 61

NEW YORK (AP) — John Saunders, the versatile sportscaster who has hosted ESPN’s “The Sports Reporters” for the last 15 years, has died, the network announced Wednesday. He was 61.

Saunders joined ESPN in 1986. The Canadian did play-by-play, led NHL Stanley Cup and World Series coverage on ESPN and ABC, and hosted studio shows for baseball, college football and college basketball.

A cause of death was not announced.

“This tragic news brings us unspeakable sorrow. John was the patriarch of our family, and we can’t believe he is gone,” Saunders family said in a statement. “We are sincerely touched by the outpouring of support and sadness, which is a reflection of the character and integrity that defined him.

“While we don’t yet have all the specifics, John wasn’t feeling well physically in recent days and sadly, he was unresponsive earlier this morning. We appreciate all of the thoughts and prayers for our cherished father, husband, brother and uncle.”

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2 words keep sick Samsung workers from data: trade secrets

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — As a high school senior, Hwang Yu-mi went to work bathing silicon wafers in chemicals at a Samsung factory that makes computer chips for laptops and other devices. Four years later, she died of leukemia. She was 22.

After Yu-mi’s death in 2007, her father, Hwang Sang-gi, learned a 30-year-old worker at the same semiconductor line also had died of leukemia. Convinced they died because of their work, the taxi driver launched a movement demanding the government investigate health risks at Samsung Electronics Co. factories.

When Hwang sued after his first claim for government compensation was denied, he struggled to get details about the factory environment. A government document he received about his daughter’s workplace had a section for listing the chemicals used there, but that space was left blank because Samsung did not release that information to worker-safety officials.

An Associated Press investigation has found South Korean authorities have, at Samsung’s request, repeatedly withheld from workers and their bereaved families crucial information about chemicals they were exposed to at its computer chip and liquid crystal display factories. Sick workers are supposed to have access to such data through the government or the courts so they can apply for workers’ compensation from the state. Without it, government officials commonly reject their cases.

The justification for withholding the information? In at least six cases involving 10 workers, it was trade secrets. Court documents and interviews with government officials, workers’ lawyers and their families show Samsung often cites the need to protect trade secrets when it asks government officials not to release such data.

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