May 13, 2014 in Nation/World

In brief: House explodes, burns after officer shot to death

From Wire Reports
 

Brentwood, N.H. – A New Hampshire police officer was shot to death after he responded to a domestic disturbance at a home that later exploded and burned, authorities said Monday.

The gunman was presumed dead in the ensuing blaze.

Attorney General Joseph Foster said late Monday night 48-year-old Stephen Arkell, of Brentwood, was shot to death when he answered the call in a suburban neighborhood for people older than 55.

After the shooting, the house burst into flames. A massive explosion blew the front off the house and within an hour, it was leveled.

Foster said Michael Nolan, 47, the son of the homeowner, is the suspected gunman. He is presumed dead.

N.Y. police to no longer take condoms as evidence

New York – The New York Police Department will no longer confiscate unused condoms from suspected sex workers to be used as evidence of prostitution, ending a long-standing practice that had been criticized by civil rights groups for undermining efforts to combat AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections.

Under the new policy announced Monday, officers may continue to seize condoms as evidence in sex-trafficking and promotion of prostitution cases, but they will not use them in support of prostitution cases. Critics had said the previous policy amounted to police harassment, and noted that New York City spends more than $1 million a year to distribute free condoms.

“The NYPD heard from community health advocates and took a serious look at making changes to our current policy as it relates to our broader public safety mission,” Police Commissioner William Bratton said in announcing the new policy.

For decades, police in New York and elsewhere had confiscated condoms from sex work suspects ostensibly for them to be used as evidence in criminal trials, even though the overwhelming majority of prostitution cases never go to trial.

“A policy that inhibits people from safe sex is a mistake and dangerous,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday at an unrelated event in Queens. “And there are a number of ways you can go about putting together evidence” without condoms, he said.

‘Idol’ runner-up Aiken likely Congress nominee

Durham, N.C. – Former “American Idol” runner-up Clay Aiken most likely clinched the Democratic nomination for a congressional seat in North Carolina after the sudden death of the opponent who closely trailed him in last week’s primary.

Keith Crisco, a 71-year-old businessman and former state commerce secretary, apparently tripped on a rug on the porch of his home in Asheboro on Monday, falling backward and striking his head on the brick steps.

In unofficial results, Aiken leads Crisco by just 369 votes. State election rules allow a candidate to request a recount if the final margin is within 1 percentage point. Aiken’s lead was slightly more than that, but election officials were not scheduled to complete the vote canvass until today.

Brad Crone, a Democratic political consultant in Raleigh, said he had spoken with Crisco by phone around noon. Crisco had just reviewed the latest vote totals, Crone said, and had decided to concede. Crisco believed he did not have enough votes to push Aiken below 40 percent, the threshold to avoid a runoff election, Crone said.

“An hour later, Mr. Crisco was dead,” Crone said.

In a statement, Aiken said he was suspending all campaign activities. He called Crisco a “gentleman, a good and honorable man and an extraordinary public servant.”

Despite his star power, Aiken is an underdog in the general election against the GOP incumbent, Rep. Renee Ellmers, in the district west of Raleigh, which was drawn to be a GOP stronghold.


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