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December 4, 2018

RACIST CHRISTMAS DECORATION LEADS TO OUSTER OF MINNEAPOLIS POLICE PRECINCT

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The commander of a Minneapolis police precinct has been replaced following the uproar over Christmas tree decorations that the mayor said amounted to a “racist display.”

Minneapolis Police spokesman John Elder confirmed yesterday that inspector Aaron Biard had been removed as commander of the Fourth Precinct on the city’s north side. Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said in a statement that Assistant Chief Mike Kjos will be responsible for the precinct’s day-to-day operations until a replacement is found.

Two Minneapolis officers were placed on paid leave Friday for their apparent involvement in the decorations. The Christmas tree at the precinct station was decorated with items such as Newport cigarettes, police crime tape, a can of malt liquor and a Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen cup.

Mayor Jacob Frey said the decorations amounted to a “racist display.” A picture of the tree circulated online before the items were removed.

N.H. TEENS SING RACIALLY INSENSITIVE CHRISTMAS SONG

DOVER, N.H. (AP) — A New Hampshire school superintendent is decrying a racially insensitive video of two high school students singing, “KKK, KKK, Let’s kill all the blacks” to the tune of “Jingle Bells.”

Fosters Daily Democrat reports a cellphone video surfaced over the weekend of the students singing the song in class at Dover High School.

Superintendent William Harbron said in a letter to the school community yesterday the incident was part of an assignment dealing with the Reconstruction period in American history, but said, “the impact was harmful.”

Harbron said the 11th graders had to select a history event and create a jingle for it. Two students selected the Ku Klux Klan.

A decision on whether to discipline the students or teacher hasn’t been decided yet.

PRE-SCHOOL KIDS GIVEN PINE-SOL TO DRINK

HONOLULU (AP) — A preschool in Hawaii is taking a closer look at its snack policy after three children took sips of Pine-Sol.

Officials say a classroom assistant at a Honolulu preschool mistook the household cleaner for apple juice. Paramedics were called to the Kilohana United Methodist Church Preschool to evaluate three girls, ages 4 and 5.

Paramedics found no signs of trauma or sickness, and the girls’ parents declined to take them to the hospital.

The preschool says only sips were taken before the lead teacher realized the liquid was not apple juice.

Inspectors say the assistant picked up the container of yellow-brown liquid off a cleanup cart in the kitchen and poured it into cups. The cleaner was its original container and properly labeled.

DISPUTE OVER CONDIMENTS LEADS TO GUNPLAY

MARRERO, La. (AP) — A man is accused of pointing a gun at the manager of a Popeyes in Louisiana during a dispute over condiments.

NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune reports 59-year-old Earl Jethroe of Marrero walked into the eatery Friday, ordered a meal and apparently took issue with the condiments provided by employees.

At some point, the arrest reports says, Jethroe threw his chicken across the counter, pulled a pistol from his waistband and pointed it at the manager. Jethroe didn’t fire the weapon, and no one was hurt.

Authorities say deputies later found Jethroe at another restaurant, yelling. They say he smelled of alcohol and was unsteady on his feet.

Jethroe was arrested and charged with offenses including aggravated assault with a firearm. It’s unclear if he has a lawyer who could comment.

WOMAN CONVICTED OF LOTTERY SCAM TO REMAIN IN CUSTODY

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A federal judge in North Dakota has ordered a woman convicted of funneling lottery scam money between the U.S. and Jamaica through her airline job to remain jailed pending her February sentencing.

Jurors in September convicted 28-year-old Melinda Bulgin of Providence, Rhode Island, of conspiracy, fraud and money laundering in the case authorities say bilked 90 mostly elderly Americans out of millions.

A government filing in October suggests the appropriate sentence for Bulgin under federal guidelines is life in prison. The lead prosecutor says his actual recommendation will be for less.

But Judge Daniel Hovland noted Bulgin still faces “significant time.”

Most of the 27 people charged in the case took plea deals, with the alleged mastermind getting six years. Bulgin’s attorney says she shouldn’t be punished for going to trial.

ZOO SEEKS JUDGMENT ON GORILLA CASE

CINCINNATI (AP) — An Ohio zoo that’s suing a conservatory for the return of a gorilla has asked a judge to rule in the zoo’s favor without going to trial.

The Cincinnati Zoo in October sued The Gorilla Foundation for the return of the silverback gorilla who served as a companion to Koko, the late gorilla famed for mastering sign language. The 37-year-old Ndume (nnn-DOO-may) was loaned to the California-based foundation in 1991 under a contract that was revised to guarantee his transfer after Koko’s death.

Zoo officials claim Ndume has since lived in isolation to his detriment, while the foundation says a transfer would harm him and pose unnecessary risk.

Attorneys for the zoo called for a summary judgment, saying the case was “uncomplicated” and no factual issues remain to be tried.

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