(NEW YORK) -- “He’s mental,” were some of the last words Walter Wallace Jr. heard before he was shot 14 times by a Philadelphia police officer.
On Oct. 26, 2020, less than a month after marrying his pregnant wife Dominique, Wallace was shot by police in West Philadelphia while experiencing a mental health crisis.
His death, caught on video by police body camera and by residents on his block, caused an avalanche of protests in the city.
“It's a hard pill to swallow, you know what I mean? I was thinking about my kids burying me and I had to bury my kids. No parent should have to go through that,” Walter Wallace Sr. said, speaking out for the first time with ABC News. “It's like the devil's ridin' over your back.”
His son had a history of mental illness since he was a child. He was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and ADHD at a young age and was taking multiple medications, including Adderall.
“He was funny. He liked to play basketball. I mean, he liked to rap for sure. He loved making music and he didn’t care about what nobody said about him at all… he was happy with himself,” one of Wallace Jr.’s best friends Kaseem Nelson told “Nightline.” “He was an all-around good person. I don’t know, as far as flaws I didn’t see too many. He was my brother that was it.”
As an adult, he was diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
According to his family, whenever Wallace Jr. would have a mental episode, they would call an ambulance and request an emergency evaluation and treatment for mental illness.
Bilal Nelson, Kaseem’s brother and another one of Wallace Jr.’s friends, said it didn’t take much to get Wallace Jr. upset, especially when they were younger.
“I will always get him to calm down and try to get him to see it from my point of view,” Villa Nelson said. “He would always tell me, ‘little bro I need you’... Basically, I was able to calm him down because when he's mad, he's not thinking, all he wanted to do was react.”
“I was never afraid of him,” he added.
On that day in October 2020, Wallace Jr.'s sister and brother both called 911. His sister told dispatchers her brother had a record, was on probation, and had been violent. She said he was attacking his mother and the dispatcher said she would send help.
With the knife in his hand, Wallace Jr. walked out of his home where his neighbors and loved ones were outside. Seconds after police arrived, his wife yelled, "He's mental," attempting to warn them her husband needed help, she later told "Nightline."
Police arrived on the scene and asked Wallace Jr.’s mother what was happening, to which she responded "He came outside. He had the knife in his hand." The police asked him to put the knife down more than 12 times, body camera video showed.
Less than a minute on scene, the two police officers on site released 14 bullets. Ten of them hit Wallace Jr. and he died at the scene.
Robert Gonzalez has spent his career studying these interactions, helping to change training techniques at the New York Police Department after Eric Garner’s death.
“The sister actually tells the 911 dispatcher that the suspect has a record. Was it a criminal record? Was it a medical record?” Gonzales said. “It was the 911 one dispatch, in my opinion, who failed to ask the right questions so that the police officer can be armed on how to deal with this particular situation.”
In addition to being ill-informed, the officers were also ill-equipped. In Philadelphia, most officers are not issued less lethal forms of force, like a stun gun. Gonzalez said the only option they could use to disarm him at that point was their guns.
“I believe when he failed to comply after maybe the sixth or seventh attempt, they realized that he was never going to drop the knife,” Gonzales said. “Then you need to use deadly physical force. And it appears that's what these officers did in this particular situation. So in my opinion, this was a justified shooting.”
But Gonzales says before deadly force, there should be other de-escalation tactics employed.
“Me personally, I probably wouldn't to discharge my firearm,” he said. “I think what could have saved Walter's life in this situation is if the officers would have continued to maintain the zone of safety, if they would have requested additional backup where someone who responded might have had a Taser and then perhaps that would have saved the life in this situation.”
“Justice need[s] to be served and the cops need to be locked up for what they did to him,” said Kathy Bryant.
With her son on the floor gasping his last breaths, his mother Kathy Bryant lunged at the officer.
“Why would you do that? I told you he was mental!” she screamed.
“If Tasers had been around, if those officers had been Taser-trained and certified, he would very likely be alive,” said the family’s attorney Shaka Johnson, a former police detective.
“How are we now four to five months, six months, removed from that shooting, and you still have not implemented required training and required equipment issues at the academy level for less-lethal options? How have you not done that?” he added.
In 2015, the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services worked with the Justice Department, concluding all Philadelphia officers should be equipped with less-lethal options like Tasers. They also said not having these options makes officers “more likely to use deadly force.”
Research from the Treatment Advocacy Center shows that people with untreated mental illness are 16 times more likely to be killed during a police encounter. At least a quarter of fatal police shootings involve an individual with untreated severe mental illness.
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw arrived on scene shortly after the shooting to address the crowd. Outlaw is the first Black female police commissioner in the department’s over 200 years.
“There was a community on scene. There was family there that had witnessed it as well,” Outlaw told “Nightline” co-anchor Juju Chang. “I generally respond to all critical incidents in which there is a discharge of a firearm, where there's police involved. But it was really important for me to be there because there was a lot of emotion there. There was a lot of community out there and they wanted answers.”
Outlaw met with the Wallace family and their attorney to review the body camera footage in the following weeks.
After the family’s approval, on Nov. 5th, she made the decision to release the video publicly just two weeks after the incident, along with the 911 calls. It was the first time in Philadelphia police history that this kind of video would be released to the public.
“To think about how a call for help ends up part of a death sequence is chilling,” said Marc Lamont Hill, professor of media studies and urban education at Temple University. “But it's very much what it means to be in America as a Black person and as a person with mental illness.”
Outlaw said she has made the request for police officers in the city to be equipped with stun guns, but said the department’s budget has yet to be approved by the city council.
“I have made the request,” said Outlaw. “It costs approximately $14 million over a period of five years to get everyone in patrol at least outfitted with Tasers. We did put that request forward.”
The city will decide whether to approve the budget in June.
The Wallace family is suing the officers involved for wrongful death. They are asking for reform and plan to file a separate federal lawsuit.
The family attorney is asking for specific changes within the city’s police department.
First, “to retrain every officer who has a Taser right now,” said Johnson. “Make the Taser standard issue at the academy level and you also need to train on less-lethal methods at the academy level.”
The Wallace family just wants justice to be served for their son.
“Justice need[s] to be served and the cops need to be locked up for what they did to him,” said Bryant. “I can't touch him. I can't hug him. I just can't see him no more. And it hurts me so bad. You don't know how much I really miss my son. I miss him so much. Sometimes I wish I could just hear the bell ring.”
“Charged, that's right. Do it,” said Wallace Sr. “[Be]cause had it been me [who] shot a cop, and did kill a cop, they would have prosecuted me to the fullest.”
Kaseem Nelson remembered the last time they saw each other, just days before the shooting.
“We was talking and it’s crazy because I was telling him that I was proud,” he said. “I was happy to see him doing good… when I was with him... I was just with somebody that was cool, he was like my big brother.”
(RIGBY, Idaho) -- A female middle school student opened fire on classmates in Rigby, Idaho, on Thursday, officials said.
Two students and one adult were injured, police said. The adult was treated and released from Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center, while the two students -- one girl and one boy -- had non-life-threatening injuries, officials said.
Both will remain in the hospital overnight, and may require surgery, hospital officials said at a press conference.
The sixth grader removed a handgun from her backpack and began firing just after 9 a.m., the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office said at the press conference. Two people were shot in a school hallway, before she moved outside and another person was shot, the sheriff's office said.
A teacher disarmed the girl and held her until police arrived.
Once its investigation is complete, Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Taylor told reporters his office will be filing "appropriate" charges, possibly including three counts of attempted murder.
A motive for the shooting is still under investigation, authorities said. The sheriff said he did not know where the student obtained the handgun.
"This is the worst nightmare a school district could ever face," Superintendent Chad Martin said at the press conference. "We prepare for it, but we're never truly ready for it."
The school district won't be holding classes on Friday, Martin said, but there will be counselors offering support at the local high school.
A sixth grader at the school, Lucy Long, told Idaho Falls ABC affiliate KIFI she heard pounding on her classroom's door and then two gunshots, followed by screams, running in the hallway and a third gunshot that sounded farther away.
"I was really scared," Lucy told the station. "I almost started crying, but I was trying to help my other friends that were crying feel better."
"We were so worried that someone was going to come in after they were pounding on our door, like they were going to try to get in and hurt us," she said.
Students were moved to a nearby high school following the incident, which was caught on the middle school's security system, the sheriff said.
The name of the student has not been released. The sheriff said she lives in nearby Idaho Falls and attended the middle school in Rigby.
Idaho Gov. Brad Little said he was staying updated on the shooting.
"I am praying for the lives and safety of those involved in today's tragic events," Little said on Twitter. "Thank you to our law enforcement agencies and school leaders for their efforts in responding to the incident."
ABC News' Matthew Fuhrman and Jenna Harrison contributed to this report.
(NEW YORK) -- Hate incidents against Asian and Pacific Islanders in the United States are continuing to skyrocket during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a report released Thursday by a national coalition battling the problem.
The latest data from the group Stop AAPI Hate shows that 6,603 hate incidents against Asians and Pacific Islanders were reported to the organization between mid-March 2020 when the pandemic began to March 31, 2021.
The study shows that 2,410 hate incidents were reported in the first three months of this year, and 4,193 in the nine months tracked in 2020.
While 12.6% of the overall incidents reported to the group were physical assaults, 64.2% involved verbal harassment. Women reported 64.8% of the total incidents, according to the report.
Another 7.3% of the incidents involved online harassment, while 10.3% involved workplace discrimination, refusal of service and being barred from public transportation.
The surge in hate incidents shown in the report mirrors those found by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, which found that reporting of crimes that targeted Asian people rose by nearly 150% in major U.S. cities from 2019 to 2020.
The Stop AAPI Hate report comes even as more attacks on Asians and Pacific Islanders continue to occur at an alarming pace across the country.
Two Asian women, ages 63 and 84, were attacked and stabbed in broad daylight Tuesday on a busy street in San Francisco, police said. A 55-year-old man was arrested and charged with the attacks that sent both women to the hospital with severe injuries, police said.
"This is something that is happening to Asian people in our community specifically. This is a pattern," San Francisco County Supervisor Matt Haney told ABC station KGO-TV in San Francisco.
The San Francisco attacks occurred a day after a 31-year-old woman was beaten with by a man with a hammer in Midtown Manhattan in New York City.
Among the incidents recorded in the Stop AAPI Hate report was a March 16 mass shooting at three Atlanta-area spas that left eight people, including six Asian women, dead. The suspected gunman, 21-year-old Robert Aaron Long, allegedly told investigators the shootings were not racially motivated but prompted by an "addiction to sex."
Amid the wave of hate incidents, the FBI San Francisco field office announced a public service campaign this week to get victims to report crimes.
“The FBI is encouraging the reporting of all incidents of bias and hate by expanding public education and outreach. FBI San Francisco has launched a social media awareness campaign and currently is running an advertisement on a San Francisco Muni train to encourage the public to report hate crimes to the FBI,” the bureau said in a statement.
The Stop AAPI Hate group said the incidents it tallied in its report represent just a fraction of the abuse occurring across the county, much of it going unreported.
Of the incidents reported since the pandemic started, 40% have happened in California, while 15.1% have occurred in New York, 4.8% in Washington state, 3.3% in Texas and 3.2% in Illinois.
Chinese individuals accounted for 43.7% of the victims, according to the report. Koreans accounted for 16.6% of the incidents, Filipinos reported 8.8% of the hate incidents, and Vietnamese people reported 8.3% of the incidents.
The report also found that 37.8% of the incidents occurred on public streets or in parks, and 32.2% happened at businesses.
(COLUMBIA, S.C.) -- A Fort Jackson trainee is in custody after allegedly hijacking a South Carolina elementary school bus with 18 children on board while carrying a rifle, authorities said.
The Forest Lake Elementary students and the bus driver are safe, Richland County Sheriff Lott said at a news conference.
The 23-year-old trainee's weapon did not have ammunition, Fort Jackson Commander Brig. Gen. Milford H. Beagle Jr. said at a news conference, adding that the children and driver could not have known that.
Lott called this "one of the scariest calls that we could get in law enforcement."
The incident began around 7 a.m. Thursday when the suspect allegedly hopped a barbed wire fence and fled Fort Jackson, according to Lott and Beagle.
The children had boarded the bus when the armed suspect, Jovan Collazo, got on and allegedly "told the bus driver he didn’t want to hurt him, but he wanted him to drive him to the next town," Lott said.
The sheriff's office released surveillance video from inside the school bus showing the suspect pointing a rifle at the bus driver and telling him to drive.
The bus driver started driving and Collazo brought the children to the front of the bus, Lott said.
"The kids started asking lots of questions to the suspect if he was going to hurt them or the bus driver," Lott said.
"The suspect got a little frustrated," Lott said, and the driver pulled over.
After six minutes on board with Collazo, the children and the bus driver got off safely, Lott said.
The suspect then drove the bus for a few miles before abandoning it, leaving the rifle inside, Lott said.
Collazo was spotted by deputies and civilians and was arrested without incident, Lott said. He faces charges including kidnapping, Lott said.
Beagle described the trainee, believed to be in his third week at Fort Jackson, as a quiet 23-year-old from New Jersey. He said it appeared the trainee was trying to get home.
"There is nothing that leads us to believe in his counseling, in his screening records coming in, that this had anything to do with harming others, harming himself or anything that links to any type of nefarious activity," Beagle said. "We do experience several soldiers that over the course of initial stages have that desire, that anxiety, and due to separation from their families, to get home. We think that was truly his intent and nothing beyond that."
Fort Jackson officials issued an apology, saying in a statement, "This was a failure in our accountability procedures that we truly regret and are apologetic to our community."
Richland County School Board Chairman James Manning said, "I've been on the board now for over 10 years and I have never received a call that scared me as much as the call that I received this morning -- that a bus had been hijacked with our students and staff."
The students were taken to school "where they received support from school employees and counselors and were reunited with their parents/guardians," the school district said.
Superintendent Baron Davis said in a statement, "Once we were certain all students were accounted for and physically safe, we immediately began deploying social and emotional counseling resources to the school so that our students could begin the process of healing as they are dealing with a traumatic event. We will continue to provide counseling services for the students and their families, our bus driver and employees as long as necessary."
Lott praised the bus driver who he said "kept his cool" and "kept the situation calm."
"His main concern was the safety of those kids and he did his job," Lott said.
ABC News' Luis Martinez contributed to this report.
(LANCASTER, Calif.) -- The mayor of Lancaster, California, is offering a raffle for scholarships, including a grand prize of $10,000, for teens who get the COVID-19 vaccine.
The raffle is the city’s effort to combat vaccine hesitancy among young people as the state reports declining vaccinations over the last few weeks.
For the week of April 18 to April 25, vaccinations fell by 56% in Los Angeles County, which includes Lancaster. So far 15.8% of 16 to 29-year-olds have received at least one dose of the vaccine, county data shows.
The special #10kVaxChallenge raffle, announced May 3, includes students who are between the ages of 16 and 18 and who are fully vaccinated. The deadline is June 30.
One grand prize winner will receive a $10,000 scholarship, a second prize winner will receive a $5,000 scholarship and 20 winners are eligible for the third prize -- a $50 gift card.
Mayor R. Rex Parris told ABC News he created the raffle "so our community’s youth feel that much more excited and motivated to be part of ending the COVID-19 pandemic."
He went on, "Members of the Lancaster community are all looking forward to putting this pandemic behind us, with teenagers maybe even the most excited about getting back to their 'normal lives.' But to get back to 'normal' as a community, it is up to each of us to do our part and get vaccinated. Now that safe and effective vaccines are available for our 16 to 18-year-olds, I want to help make sure Lancaster teens take advantage of the opportunity."
There's been an increase in teens making vaccine appointments and participating in the raffle since it launched, he noted.
"There are $16,000 in scholarship funds on the line, and I fully expect Lancaster teens to participate, tag their friends and become one of the winners to receive funding toward their future education," Parris said.
And Parris urged conservative Republicans like himself to get the jab.
"It is the conservative Republicans who are the most vaccine-resistant. There’s a thousand reasons, I guess," he said in an interview with ABC station KABC-TV.
To participate in the raffle, teens must post a photo of themselves on social media saying they’ve received the second vaccine, tag five friends in the post and use the hashtags “#10kVaxChallenge" and "#VaccinateLancaster.”
Teens can increase their chances of winning by getting unvaccinated friends to get the shot and alert medical staff to say they’re voting for the person who referred them, KABC-TV reported. The person with the most referrals will win the top prize.
The money will come from the mayor's scholarship fund.
So far, Los Angeles County has fully inoculated more than 2.9 million people 16 and older, accounting for 35.8% of the population, per county data.
(NEW YORK) -- A Colorado husband charged in the murder of his missing wife is due to make his first court appearance on Thursday.
Suzanne Morphew's husband, 53-year-old Barry Morphew, was taken into custody on Wednesday on charges of first-degree murder, tampering with physical evidence and attempt to influence a public servant, the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office said.
In the wake of his arrest, Suzanne Morphew's older sister, Melinda Moorman, told ABC News, "I forgave my brother-in-law early on."
"Bitterness destroys people," she said. "I pray for him and have sadness for him."
Suzanne Morphew, the mother of two daughters, vanished on May 10, 2020, which was Mother's Day, the sheriff's office said. The 49-year-old had reportedly gone for a bike ride and never went home, the sheriff's office said.
After her disappearance, Barry Morphew went in front of cameras to plead for information and her safe return.
"I will do whatever it takes to get you back," he said in the video.
Suzanne Morphew's body has not been found, prosecutors said.
No other arrests are expected, said Chaffee County Sheriff John Spezze.
(NEW YORK) -- Sandra Ortiz hugged her son Bryan for the first time in nearly four years on Tuesday. The reunion came at the very same port of entry, San Ysidro, where she was deported and separated from her son.
Later that night, Mabel, a mother from Honduras surprised her sons, Mino and Erick, at a family gathering and locked them in a tearful group hug for the first time in over three years.
These families are among the first to be reunited by organizations working with the Biden administration's Family Reunification Taskforce. They're also two of the thousands of families that were separated under former President Donald Trump's "zero-tolerance" policy that was aimed at deterring illegal immigration.
"It feels like a dream. I was in the car – like this is finally happening. I'm really going to be reunified with her after all this time," said Bryan.
His mom was apprehended at the border as they fled cartel violence in Mexico. Bryan was initially placed in a government facility, but has since been living with older siblings in California.
In many cases, organizations like Al Otro Lado and Immigrant Defenders Law Center have been working for years to locate parents throughout Mexico and Central America. The Biden White House says the Trump administration left them little to no information about many of the families.
Four families are set to be reunited this week with more expected in the following weeks. Advocates have been working with the Biden administration to grant parents a temporary humanitarian protection, but questions still remain if they will be granted permanent status.
Mabel, whose last name is being withheld for privacy, spent two years in Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention before she was deported back to Honduras, the very country she fled because of violence. Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center helped reunite her with her sons, who have been living with their grandmother in Philadelphia since they were separated.
"I love you," she told her sons as relatives surrounded them crying and embracing one another.
As these reunions start to trickle in slowly, the daunting challenge of reuniting the rest of the families that were torn away at the border looms over the advocates who search for them. So far the Biden administration has identified more than 1,000 families that remain separated.
(CLAYTON, Ga.) -- A toddler who was found walking alone in Georgia has been reunited with his parents after a public appeal by police following several unsuccessful attempts to reunite them.
The boy was discovered on Wednesday, May 5, by a concerned citizen who called the police to report a 3- to 4-year-old boy walking around on his own without any parents or guardians with him, according to the Clayton Police Department.
ABC News’ Atlanta affiliate station WSB-TV reports that he was found wandering alone just before midnight at 11:55 p.m. but authorities did not immediately confirm this in their statement.
“The juvenile was found wearing a black shirt, red and black pajama pants with navy blue crocs with lighting on them. Clayton County Police Officers have made various attempts to locate the juvenile's parents, but was unsuccessful,” Clayton County Police Department said in a statement on social media.
Authorities said that the boy -- who is about 3 feet 6 inches tall, weighs between 40 and 50 pounds, has both of his ears pierced -- had been continuously telling officers since they took him into safety that he “left mommy’s house.”
The Riverdale Police Department was also contacted regarding this case since he was found in their jurisdiction but authorities were able to finally reunite the boy with his parents after a public appeal following several unsuccessful attempts to locate them previously.
Authorities did not say if any charges will be filed against the parents at this time.
(FLINT, Mich.) -- Some Flint, Michigan, residents who may have been affected by lead in their water during the 2014 crisis may now be exposed to radiation in an effort to get a share of the $641.25 million water crisis settlement. Anyone exposed to lead at that time can receive a higher settlement if they submit proof of excessive lead levels, through blood or bone tests, or show evidence of injury, according to court documents.
Some attorneys in the case are using portable X-ray devices in an effort to detect excessive levels of lead in claimants' bones, but some health officials and medical experts question whether the use of these machines is unnecessary and poses any unjustifiable risk.
"The risk of the treatment or some test that's medically approved has to be less than the benefit," Dr. Lawrence Reynolds, Flint city health adviser and a pediatrician, said in an interview with ABC News.
He said the use of radiation outside of medical necessity is unethical, and that the X-ray devices being used were not designed for this purpose.
"Why would you subject your child or yourself or a pregnant woman to the risk, no matter how small the radiation, if there's no benefit?" Reynolds said.
Claimants can demonstrate proof of injury in one of three ways: an excessive blood level test taken prior to August 2016; medical records demonstrating cognitive impairment or one of several physical conditions; or excessive lead levels in a bone test conducted through April 2021. According to court filings, attorneys from the offices of Levy Konigsberg, LLP and Napoli Shkolnik PLLC are using portable X-ray fluorescence devices to help complainants determine if they meet the excessive lead levels in the bone test option.
Thousands of people have been exposed to lead and other contaminants through the city of Flint's water supply since 2014. Lawsuits were filed against the local government as well as city officials for switching the city's water source to the Flint River, which resulted in sending contaminated water to the homes and businesses of thousands.
The lawsuits were resolved in a settlement that forced the city to pay more than $600 million to affected residents. The court decision stated that residents' concerns about the public health crisis were "ignored" and "downplayed," while solutions were "ignored'' since the crisis first made headlines.
Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, the pediatrician who helped expose the Flint water crisis, told the Detroit Free Press that she doesn't recommend the use of these scans for children -- there are between 6,000 to 12,000 children who were affected by the lead poisoning, according to Genesee County officials -- or for pregnant woman.
The newspaper reported that a Flint woman who was 28 weeks pregnant was given a bone scan by the Napoli Shkolnik law firm, but she said was never asked whether she was pregnant. The law firm has not responded to requests for comment on the allegation.
Dr. Brian Choi, professor of medicine and radiology at The George Washington University and co-director of advanced cardiac imaging in the division of cardiology, said, "Children have more rapidly dividing cells so if a child is exposed to a lot of radiation, that's gonna be more problematic than like a 60-year-old being exposed to a lot of radiation."
In February, other attorneys in the case filed a motion to have use of the devices suspended, but the motion was quickly withdrawn after a court hearing.
Attorneys Corey Stern and Hunter J. Shkolnik then wrote a letter to the court defending the safety and validity of the testing devices. Although the devices are typically used on dirt, metal and similar materials, the two attorneys have said that modifications have been made under guidance of experts in the field to ensure that they are suitable for use on humans and that the devices pose no risk of exposure to children or adults.
"We emphasize that under no circumstances would we ever expose our clients or others in the community to risk of harm," the attorneys stated in court filings. "The expert physicians and physicists who have developed and supervised the scanning process have published many studies and analyses that provide assurance that the process is without risk and, as discussed below, have received approvals from Purdue University and Harvard University to utilize the technology on humans."
The letter also said that the medical director overseeing the use of the devices is a renowned expert in pediatric neurotoxicity and that the amount of radiation exposure is the equivalent of nine hours of sun exposure and less than one-thirtieth of that received in a chest X-ray.
However, medical experts like Reynolds remain hesitant, some noting that the device has not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Choi said that FDA approval is important to ensuring quality and safety for patients.
"The No. 1 thing is that in the medical setting all of the radiation-producing equipment that we expose our patients to has to be FDA-approved because that assures a certain level of reliability and testing to make sure that the dose that patients receive is what you expect it to be," Choi said. "It's very important to make sure that they're getting the appropriate dose necessary to make a proper diagnosis when it comes to radiology images."
Radiation is potentially dangerous because the more that one is exposed, the more likely DNA damage is to occur, which can cause cancer, according to Choi. He said that being exposed to a lot of radiation is a problem, but it's unknown how much of a risk smaller amounts of radiation can be.
Choi said that if the device isn't FDA-approved, radiologists simply wouldn't be permitted to use them.
"Any time a patient is exposed to radiation or a person is exposed to radiation you have to weigh the risks and benefits," Choi said. "If the risk exceeds the benefits, even if there are theoretical risks, what's the good in that?"
In their letter to the court, Stern and Shkolnick asserted that FDA approval is not required for this use of the XRF devices because they are not being used to diagnose, prevent or treat any disease, rather the “sole purpose of the test is to quantify lead exposure for the purpose of settlement.”
The law firms of Levy Konigsberg and Napoli Shkolnik have not responded to ABC News' request for comment.
(NEW YORK) -- A man has been arrested for allegedly stealing 100 vials of a COVID-19 vaccine and other property in Washington state, authorities said.
The burglary happened last week at a dental office in Purdy, about 30 miles southwest of Seattle. The owner called 911 in the early morning on April 30 to report that someone had entered the building overnight and stolen 100 vials of Johnson & Johnson's single-dose COVID-19 vaccine, a vial of Botox and more than $100,000 in medical equipment, according to the Pierce County Sheriff's Department.
While its deputies searched for the person responsible, the sheriff's department put out an alert reminding residents that "COVID-19 vaccines are always free" and to only access them "through legitimate sources."
"So we ask the question, 'What would a thief want with 100 COVID-19 vaccines that you can get for free?' The answer is, 'We're not sure,'" the sheriff's department wrote in a post on Facebook. "But we want you to be cautious if you come across someone who offers you a vaccine outside of official vaccination events, medical/dental offices or pharmacies."
On Wednesday, the sheriff's department announced that the suspect -- a 30-year-old man -- had been identified and arrested. Deputies recovered most of the stolen property, including the COVID-19 vaccine vials, which was hidden in bushes and largely destroyed by the weather.
Investigators also determined that the man was allegedly responsible for another burglary at a nearby hair salon, where products, styling tools and towels were stolen. A majority of that property was recovered as well, according to the sheriff's department.
Charges will be forwarded to the Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney's Office for review.
(PORTLAND) -- Rose City Antifa is one of the nation's oldest active antifa groups. Members rarely give interviews, but two who say they are part of antifa agreed to speak to "Nightline" as the situation in their city of Portland, Oregon, has become a prolonged and destructive stalemate.
Rose City Antifa members "Milo" and "Ace" use pseudonyms and they asked that their faces and voices be obscured for this report.
"The use of violence is a tactic of how we keep our communities safe," Milo said.
Much of the blame for the chaos, property damage and violence over the last year have landed on the self-described anti-racist, anti-facist far left organizers. The black-clad coterie entrenched in the city's protest movement now find themselves in a tense showdown with city officials.
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"We've always had protests here. But to see some of the violent acts like the Molotov cocktails and some of the things thrown at officers has been really new to us," Portland's Police Chief Chuck Lovell told "Nightline."
Mayor Ted Wheeler has been outspoken against the group in recent months.
"The self-described anarchists who engage in regular criminal destruction don't want things to open up to recover," he said in a live video conference in April. "The city of Portland will not tolerate criminal destruction for violence ... for those who are involved in it let's make them hurt them a little bit."
"When the mayor says that he wants citizens and his law enforcement officers [to] make protesters 'hurt a little,' that is a pretty explicit threat," Milo said.
Amid the back and forth, Portland residents are left drained from the conflict and are increasingly decrying the property destruction thought to be perpetuated by antifa.
"I feel frustrated that this is all still going on," said Ian Williiams, owner of Deadstock Coffee, a sneaker-themed cafe downtown. "But I also feel frustrated that Black people keep getting killed. I feel frustrated that small businesses really aren't able to be successful during this time, especially in the state of Oregon."
Antifa claims they're defending their city not only against heavy-handed police tactics, but also from threats from far right extremists, groups like the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers -- leading to fierce standoffs.
"The use of violence is there to maintain safety for us and make sure that when people like Proud Boys or Nazis or fascists come to our city and want to do that harm, then we are not allowing that," Milo said.
They've received a sharp rebuke from the mayor, who is asking residents to help take back their city and be the eyes and ears of the Portland Police bureau.
"These people often arrive at their so-called direct actions in cars. And they're all dressed in all black. Our job is to unmask them, arrest them and prosecute them," Wheeler said at a video conference.
Individuals claiming to be antifa released a chilling video last week, containing a seemingly veiled threat against Mayor Wheeler and publicized his home address.
"The mayor of this city is undeserving of his position. He has made it abundantly clear that windows to him are more important than human lives," an unidentified voice in the video said. "Ted, we are asking for the last time that you resign. Blood is already on your hands, Ted. But next time, it may just be your own."
Neither Milo nor Ace say they know anything about that video to the mayor and defended their role within the community.
"Most of us are in this work to make our communities safe and to make our communities better," Milo said. "When we see that there are people that are coming to our home and to our city advocating violence against people of color, against queer people… then it is our responsibility as community members to confront that. We do not bring that fight. But we will meet it if it comes to us."
The group has become a lightning rod for controversy. They became known at the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017 when an man punched white nationalist Richard Spencer during an interview.
"Donald Trump wanted to make them a boogeyman for everything," said Mark Bray, a history professor who studies Aantifa. "Certainly prior to Donald Trump being in the White House, antifa was not a household name in the United States."
Despite their notoriety, the group sees their fight as a moral and just one. Milo and Ace say they practice community organizing and empowerment, which includes publicly outing alleged fascists and other dangerous elements.
"A lot of our work is … compiling evidence of people's online personalities and their online conversations and how a lot of times we see far right folks really engaging in hate speech and misogynistic language and threats of violence online," Milo said.
Many here, including some exhausted business owners, seem increasingly receptive to the mayor's tough talk.
"I'm thankful for everybody in Portland who feels the need to fight for justice, fight for rights, fight for safety and everything," Williams told "Nightline." "But it has definitely affected our business, all the protesting and everything, in that people who are coming to visit town actually feel really unsafe."
A year of unrest has at times forced this barista to double as his own security.
"I was standing outside one night and somebody was like, 'Hey, man, I want you to go ahead and get yours, bust the door,'" encouraging him to take part in the destruction, he said. "I was like, 'No, I'm protecting my business.'"
"I guess the message would just be like, well, 'cut it out. Like, why are you even doing this?'" he said. "You really should be pulling up with the nails and hammers and helping me board up, you know, then instead of trying to bust down."
Margaret Carter's legacy of public service runs deep in Portland. She served as the first Black woman in the Portland state senate. She sympathizes with protesters, but is pained by their destructive tactics.
"I marched during the days of trying to make a difference. My voice has always been out there, but never, never did we create violence," Carter said. "When you think in terms of small businesses that are being hit, who are working very hard to just prepare a meal for their families, that really got my heart."
Milo and Ace defend the destruction as a tactic to apply pressure to city leaders.
"There are a lot of reasons why people would engage in property destruction," Milo said. "I think that one of the reasons that people will break windows is a lot of times symbolic of the way that the city will protect things of material value, but not its people."
However, Carter asks whether the protests are truly legitimate or just random acts of looting.
"Some of the people that have been identified was not Black Lives Matter people," she said. "They were young white kids coming from across the country."
Self-styled citizen journalist Garrison Davis has been reporting on Portland's front lines over the past year. He's witnessed sympathies waning for destructive tactics of some protesters.
"There's been a growing animosity towards some of the protests among, you know, the population of Portland," he said. "A lot of the people are tired. A lot of people are exhausted, the police force is getting tired. We're unsure of what direction this will head."
(WASHINGTON) -- Dr. Amy Acton, Ohio's former health director who was the target of threats, will be honored by the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation for her service during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Acton, who became a lauded national figure for her response to the pandemic but resigned in June following threats and challenges to her authority, is one of seven people who will receive the foundation's Profile in Courage Award, it announced Tuesday.
The recipients for the annual public servant award were chosen from among thousands of nominees across the country, the foundation said. They "put their own lives at risk to keep others safe," Caroline Kennedy, honorary president of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, said in a statement.
The foundation said Acton "boldly proposed an aggressive shelter-in-place order to slow the spread of COVID-19" early on in the pandemic.
"Her leadership put Ohio ahead of most other states in responding to the virus, but she became the target of protesters and legislators, who sought to limit her power and even engaged in personal attacks against her," the foundation said.
After resigning as the state's top health leader, Acton stayed in Gov. Mike DeWine's administration as a chief health adviser before joining the Columbus Foundation. She left the organization in February and is considering a bid to represent Ohio in the U.S. Senate in 2022, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Acton was one of several public health officials who became targets amid the deeply political and divided response to the pandemic.
In addition to Acton, the other Profile in Courage Award honorees include Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who also faced pushback for her COVID-19 restrictions and was the alleged target of a foiled kidnapping plot.
Other recipients include Burnell Cotlon, owner of Burnell’s Market in Louisiana; Fred Freeman, a Massachusetts fire department captain; Antonio Greene, an Amazon associate in South Carolina; Lauren Leander, an intensive care unit nurse in Arizona; and Darrell R. Marks, the Native American academic adviser for Flagstaff High School in Arizona.
U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah is also being honored for his "historic" vote as the only Republican to vote to convict former President Donald Trump during his first impeachment trial in 2020, the foundation said.
They will be awarded during a virtual ceremony airing on May 26 at 6 p.m. ET.
(CLEMENTS, Calif.) -- A bar owner in California was arrested this week for making fake IDs that had nothing to do with drinking, investigators said.
The California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control announced on Wednesday that it arrested the owner of the Old Corner Saloon in Clements, California, allegedly for selling fraudulent COVID-19 vaccination cards.
The department received a tip that Todd Anderson, 59, was making and selling the cards at his bar, which led to an undercover investigation, the agency said in a statement.
Anderson was selling the cards for $20 apiece, authorities said. At least eight were sold before undercover agents, who said they purchased IDs at the bar "on multiple occasions in April," shut down the operation. A laminating machine and 30 blank cards were confiscated.
"It is disheartening to have members in our community show flagrant disregard for public health in the midst of a pandemic," San Joaquin County District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar said in a statement. "Distributing, falsifying or purchasing fake COVID-19 vaccine cards is against the law and endangers yourself and those around you."
Anderson was charged with falsifying a medical record, falsifying a seal, several counts of identity theft and possession of a loaded, unregistered firearm, authorities said.
It's unclear whether Anderson has retained an attorney at this time.
Investigators also said they're seeking a criminal complaint against one of Anderson's employees who may have been involved in the alleged operation.
The FBI issued a warning in March over potentially fraudulent vaccination cards being sold.
"By misrepresenting yourself as vaccinated when entering schools, mass transit, workplaces, gyms or places of worship," the FBI said in a statement, "you put yourself and others around you at risk of contracting COVID-19."
(PENSACOLA, Fla.) -- A teen charged as an adult has pleaded not guilty to multiple felony counts stemming from a Florida high school homecoming queen contest that prosecutors allege she and her mother rigged by hacking into a school district computer system.
If convicted, Emily Rose Grover, 18, a student at Tate High School in Pensacola, faces a maximum sentence of 16 years in prison, officials said.
The state attorney's office in Escambia County, Florida, confirmed to ABC News on Wednesday that Grover has been charged as an adult.
"She was 17 when the offense occurred, but shortly after they picked her up she turned 18," a spokesperson for the state attorney's office said.
Grover and her mother, Laura Rose Carroll, 50, an assistant principal at an Escambia County elementary school, are scheduled to be arraigned in First Judicial Circuit Court in Pensacola on May 14.
Defense attorney Randall Etheridge, who's representing both women, told ABC News on Wednesday that he's already filed written not-guilty pleas with the court. He said he's also requested a jury trial.
"These are good people. They're not crazy as some people are trying to depict them. They're basically decent people," said Etheridge, adding that Grover's father and Carroll's husband is one of his best friends and that he's representing them pro bono.
Grover and her mother are each charged with felony offenses against users of computers, computer systems, computer networks and electronic devices, in addition to felony unlawful use of a two-way communications device, felony criminal use of personally identifiable information and misdemeanor conspiracy to commit those crimes.
Carroll, who was suspended from her job, and Grover are free on bonds of $6,000 and $2,000, respectively.
Grover and her mother were arrested in March following a roughly four-month investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement into a complaint lodged by the Escambia County School District that someone had gained unauthorized access to the computerized accounts of hundreds of students, according to an arrest warrant affidavit obtained by ABC News.
"This activity was discovered in October during Tate High School Homecoming court voting, when hundreds of votes were flagged as fraudulent," according to the affidavit.
Investigators found that 117 of the fraudulent votes originated from the same IP address and were traced to Carroll, according to the affidavit, which also said 246 fraudulent votes were cast via Carroll's phone and home computer.
As an assistant principal in the Escambia County School District, Carroll had access to FOCUS, the district's computer program that records student identification numbers, dates of birth, grades, test scores, medical histories, emergency contacts and disciplinary actions. The program also allowed students access to a third-party application called Election Runner used to cast votes for homecoming queen from Oct. 28 to Oct. 30.
A day after the votes were tallied, the high school student council coordinator reported to district authorities that Grover was suspected of using her mother's access to the FOCUS program to game the homecoming queen election, according to the affidavit.
On Oct. 31, the school district's ethics hotline also received a tip accusing Grover of rigging the election.
"The report stated that Grover had voted for herself in other students' names and she was able to do so because she had access to her mother's FOCUS account," according to the affidavit, which also included statements from students who told investigators that Grover had been using her mother's FOCUS account to glean information on classmates since at least her freshman year.
"She looks up all of our group of friends' grades and makes comments about how she can find our test scores all of the time," one student told investigators, according to the affidavit.
In December, school officials moved to expel Grover for the unauthorized use of her mother's FOCUS account. Prior to the conclusion of the disciplinary process, Grover emailed the district superintendent admitting she used her mom's account and pleaded for leniency but did not confess to rigging the homecoming queen contest.
"'I have never been in trouble but I was recently suspended for 10 days for unauthorized use of technology, for using my mom's password and looking at information I should not have seen in FOCUS,'" she purportedly wrote, according to the affidavit. "'Of everything I've done wrong, ignorance is hurting me most. I 100% knew it was wrong and would do anything to undo it but I had no idea this much trouble could come from this.'"
(DENVER) -- The husband of missing Colorado mother Suzanne Morphew has been arrested for her murder, nearly a year after she disappeared last Mother's Day.
Barry Morphew was arrested Wednesday on charges of first-degree murder after deliberation, tampering with physical evidence and an attempt to influence a public servant, according to court documents. He's being held without bail.
Suzanne, who shared two daughters with her husband, disappeared on May 10, 2020, near the small mountain town of Salida, in Chaffee County.
That day, a neighbor called 911 to report that the 49-year-old had gone for a bike ride and never returned, the sheriff's office said.
Family members previously said Barry Morphew was out of town in Denver when his wife disappeared, CBS affiliate KCNC reported.
Throughout the investigation, Barry Morphew maintained his innocence. Last May, he shared an emotional video pleading for her to come home.
"Suzanne, if anyone is out there that can hear this, that has you, please, we'll do whatever it takes to bring you back. We love you. We miss you. Your girls need you," he said in the clip, appearing to hold back tears.
ABC News was unable to reach Morphew's attorney.
A sweeping search was launched by local law enforcement, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and the FBI, scouring the area where she was said to have gone on a bike ride.
In September, Suzanne's brother Andy Moorman initiated an independent, volunteer-run search in the area where she was said to have vanished.
"I'm literally just there to search -- I need to find her, need to bring her home, give her a proper burial and closure for my family," he told Denver ABC affiliate KMGH.
Suzanne's body has yet to be found and she is believed to be dead, Chaffee County Sheriff John Spezze said during a briefing Wednesday afternoon. He said he doesn't expect there to be any further arrests at this time.
Linda Stanley, district attorney for Colorado's 11th Judicial District, said during the briefing she is "confident" in the charges. She was unable to provide further details on the arrest affidavit, which is sealed, or a suspected cause of death.
"We do have information that led us to this point today, and how we think a certain scenario had occurred," she said. "But as we investigate further that may change, so at this time I can't comment."
She called the charges an "important and incredibly crucial step."
"Today is a good day," Stanley said. "Today is all about Suzanne, and it's about her family, and it's about all the individuals that knew her and loved her and cared about her. That's what this day is about."