NEW YORK – Three employees of NBC or an NBC-owned television station have now lost their jobs because of editing changes to a call made to police by George Zimmerman on the night he shot Trayvon Martin.
Lilia Luciano, an NBC News correspondent based in Miami, is no longer working at the network, spokeswoman Amy Lynn said. Her departure came as a result of an investigation into her March 20 “Today” show report on the Martin case.
Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer in Sanford, Fla., is charged with second-degree murder in the death of 17-year-old Martin, a case that has increased racial tensions. In the report involving Luciano, audio of the police phone call was edited to insert a reference to Martin’s race that had been made later in the conversation.
Last month, an NBC News producer was fired in connection with a March 27 “Today” show report where a tape of the call was edited to suggest that Zimmerman volunteered to police that “this guy looks like he’s up to no good. He’s black.” The broadcast portion of the audio had deleted a part of the conversation where the police dispatcher asked Zimmerman about whether a suspicious male he was reporting was “black, white or Hispanic.”
Reporter Jeff Burnside of WTVJ lost his job because of a March 19 report on the dispatcher’s call that similarly edited out the dispatcher’s question that prompted Zimmerman’s characterization of Martin as black, said Matt Glassman, spokesman for the NBC-owned station.
Catholic priests barred from ministry
PHILADELPHIA – Five priests will be permanently barred from ministry after the Philadelphia archdiocese substantiated allegations of sexual abuse or inappropriate conduct, a Roman Catholic archbishop said Friday.
Three other suspended priests will return to ministry, and another died during the investigation, Archbishop Charles Chaput said. Another 17 cases remain under review, he said.
Four of the five cases substantiated were said to involve “boundary” or “behavioral” problems, not sexual assaults.
Yet a lawyer for one accuser said one of those four priests had raped his client at St. Timothy’s Parish rectory in Philadelphia in the early 1970s.
Priests removed from ministry can agree to serve a life of prayer and penance in a church-run facility, where they can be monitored. Some might agree to leave the priesthood, while others may be laicized after a church trial. The priests can also appeal the decision.
Bear in photograph struck, killed by cars
DENVER – A bear that became famous after it was tranquilized and fell from a tree at the University of Colorado died when it was hit by two cars after returning to town, likely looking for food.
A photograph captured an image of the 280-pound black bear in midair, its arms and legs spread, after it was tranquilized April 26. It was relocated 50 miles away to the mountains and was struck on U.S. Highway 36 – which connects Denver to Boulder – around dawn Thursday.
The spot where the bear was killed was a little more than two miles from the university’s campus. One driver was taken to the hospital with minor injuries, the Colorado State Patrol said.
The bear was identified by a tag placed on him after he was tranquilized. Officials track bears that are captured after coming close to people. Bears habituated to certain areas that create a public safety issue are sometimes euthanized.