SUV rams WI Christmas parade, kills 5, injures 40. Closing arguments in Arbery trial. Haiti: kidnappers release 2 of 17 U.S. missionaries taken last month.
SUV rams WI Christmas parade, kills 5, injures 40
A horrific scene unfolded yesterday in Waukesha, WI, as residents gathered for the town’s Christmas parade. A red SUV barreled over a low traffic barrier, slamming into a group of marchers. A police officer who was on the scene fired a round or two at the vehicle hoping to put an end to the carnage. The SUV rolled to a stop shortly thereafter and police arrested the driver.
At present, we know that 5 people were killed and around 40 were injured in the incident. Police have not yet released information about the victims and are still notifying next-of-kin. Officials haven’t yet released any information about the perpetrator or any possible motive behind the attack.
Some anonymous law enforcement sources have told news outlets they believed the driver was fleeing the scene of another crime or incident. Police are not investigating this as an act of terrorism. The sources also indicated that this incident was not related to Friday’s verdict in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial in Kenosha, which is about 50 miles away from Waukesha.
Ahmaud Arbery murder trial: Attorneys present closing arguments
In Brunswick, GA, the much-watched trial of three white men accused of murdering black jogger Ahmaud Arbery last year is moving toward its final phase. Attorneys for the prosecution and those representing the three defendants, Travis McMichael, his father Gregory McMichael and their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan, are presenting their final remarks to the jury. The jury will then begin deliberations on the verdict.
Last February, Bryan and the McMichaels got in their pickup trucks and chased down Arbery, who was on foot. The three defendants were armed; Arbery was not. Bryan and the McMichaels claim they attempted a citizen’s arrest of Arbery and shot him when he resisted. The men say they suspected Arbery of involvement in some recent burglaries and car break-ins in the neighborhood. No evidence has linked Arbery with any of these incidents.
Each defendant faces several charges, carrying sentences ranging from 10 years to life.
Racially-charged and controversial
Controversy grew around the case when local police initially declined to arrest or even interview the defendants as suspects. The McMichaels have ties to the local police department. Local authorities only filed charges after a public outcry following the circulation of a video of the incident.
Prosecutors have carefully avoided bringing up racism as a motivation for the defendants’ actions. But other residents and observers have compared the incident to a modern-day lynching.
The decision to seat a nearly all-white jury in the case drew even more criticism and press attention. The defendants’ attorneys also raised eyebrows by twice demanding that the judge ban “black pastors” from the courtroom. This followed appearances by civil rights leaders Rev. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, who sat quietly in the courtroom with Arbery’s distraught mother.
Haiti: Kidnappers release 2 of 17 U.S. missionaries taken 1 month ago
Two of the 17 Christian missionaries kidnapped near Port-au-Prince, Haiti, over a month ago have been released. The missionaries were connected with an Ohio-based Amish and Mennonite charity. On Oct. 16, they were travelling together after visiting an orphanage.
The gang behind the kidnapping, calling itself 400 Mazowo, later demanded a ransom of $1 million per person. It’s not clear if ransom was paid for the two individuals released or if they escaped or were freed by other means.
Armed gangs have taken over much of Haiti, taking advantage of political unrest and the chaos following a devastating earthquake this summer. Kidnappings for ransom are one of the main income sources for these gangs. By the end of October, over 800 kidnappings had been reported for 2021 alone. Observers say there were likely many more than that.
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