October 17, 2009 in Nation/World

In brief: Body dismissed as decoration

From Wire Reports
 

Los Angeles – Residents of a Southern California apartment complex said they saw a lifeless body slumped on a neighbor’s patio, but didn’t call police because they thought it was part of a Halloween display.

Mostafa Mahmoud Zayed had apparently been dead since Monday.

Cameraman Austin Raishbrook, owner of RMG News, told the Los Angeles Times he was at the scene in Marina del Rey on Thursday when authorities arrived. The 75-year-old Zayed was slumped over a chair on the third-floor balcony of his apartment with a single gunshot wound to the eye.

A Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department investigator said the case is an “apparent suicide.”

Raishbrook said neighbors told him they noticed the body Monday “but didn’t bother calling authorities because it looked like a Halloween dummy.”

Jindal calls for judge’s ouster

New Orleans – Louisiana’s governor on Friday joined calls for the ouster of a local official who refused to marry an interracial couple, saying his actions clearly broke the law.

Keith Bardwell, a white justice of the peace in Tangipahoa Parish in the southeastern part of the state, refused to issue a marriage license earlier this month to Beth Humphrey, who is white, and Terence McKay, who is black. His refusal has prompted calls for an investigation or resignation from civil and constitutional rights groups and the state’s Legislative Black Caucus.

Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal said in a statement a nine-member commission that reviews lawyers and judges in the state should investigate.

“Disciplinary action should be taken immediately – including the revoking of his license,” Jindal said.

Maricopa sheriff defies fed order

Surprise, Ariz. – An Arizona sheriff known for cracking down on people who are in the country illegally launched a crime and immigration sweep in northwestern metro Phoenix on Friday, a half day after officials in Washington limited his powers to make federal immigration arrests.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, whose sweeps have led to allegations of racial profiling, said the rebuff from Washington won’t stop him. He said he can still arrest immigrants under a state smuggling law and a federal law that gives all local police agencies more limited power to detain suspected illegal immigrants.

“It doesn’t bother me, because we are going to do the same thing,” said Arpaio, whose deputies had arrested 16 people by Friday evening on unspecified charges. “I am the elected sheriff. I don’t take orders from the federal government.”


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