By: Jessica Moskowitz
'Knockout Game' Hurts Random Victims
It's a dangerous game, now reported in at least six states, and it could happen to anyone walking down the street.
One minute you're minding your own business, the next a complete stranger deliberately knocks you to the ground.
Across the country, police are struggling to tally the full impact of this deadly game. CNN's Pamela Brown reports.
By: Fox News
A recent string of attacks tied to a dangerous game called “Knockout” -- where unsuspecting residents are targeted and sucker-punched – is being investigated as possible hate crimes.
New York police are looking into the growing trend, WPIX reports, after attacks in predominately Jewish neighborhoods in Brooklyn.
The most recent attack was caught on video last week in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, where a group of ten men spotted a man walking alone, punched him and kept moving, according to the station.
But New York is not the only place to see the “Knockout Game” being played out.
In Washington, D.C., Tamera Jackson, 27, told WJLA that a group of teens on bicycles came up behind her last week as she walked home and one of them punched her in the back of the head before the group sped away, laughing.
“For the fun of it.”- Teen, speaking of 'Knockout Game'
According to Fox 31 Denver, similar attacks have occurred in St. Louis and Pittsburgh, where a teacher was knocked out by a 15-year-old as he walked home from school last month. The attack was caught on a security camera video, and the teen was charged with assault.
And in New Jersey, CBS 2 reports, video footage shows Ralph Santiago, 46, randomly targeted for knockout by a group of teens. Santiago was later found dead with his neck broken and head lodged between iron fence posts, according to NJ.com.
Video shows Santiago walking during daytime in an alley, and just as he’s about to pass a pack of teenagers, one launches the fatal, knockout blow.
And what’s the point?
“For the fun of it,” one teen said in the video.
In September, a 13-year-old boy was sentenced to 18 months of confinement for the beating death of a 51-year-old man in upstate New York.
The teen had pleaded guilty to assault and attempted assault, admitting that he started the fatal beating by attempting to knock the man out with a single punch.
The teen said he and his friends were playing a street game called "knockout." His punch apparently had little to no effect, but the follow-up from a 16-year-old boy caused bleeding in the victim's brain, and he died in late May.
The 16-year-old co-defendant was found guilty last month in Onondaga County Family Court of second-degree manslaughter and received the same sentence.
By Lauren Hockenson, Giga Om
Facebook on Thursday announced the final phase of removing an old privacy feature from the social media platform. The feature, which allows users to be hidden from search, will finally be taken away for users who have it enabled.
The feature, called "Who can look up your Timeline by name?" was removed from Privacy settings last year (noted in a December blog post) for those who didn't have it enabled. When enabled, the setting removes the ability for users to access a Timeline profile via search, even when a user puts in the exact name of the person he or she is locating. Now, users that still have that feature enabled will begin to see removal notices from Facebook, indicating that they will be present and visible in Graph Search along with the rest of the Facebook user base.
Facebook says in the blog post that the feature is a vestigial precaution that reaches back before the platform had a sophisticated search algorithm. When Facebook search acted as a mere directory, removing oneself from search made it more difficult for strangers to access a given profile. But now, as Open Graph opens up to search more settings and there is greater visibility of Timelines for friends of friends, the importance of finding a person through search has diminished while controlling the content on any given Timeline has become more important. Facebook says that the feature also caused hiccups in the user experience:
"People told us that they found it confusing when they tried looking for someone who they knew personally and couldn't find them in search results, or when two people were in a Facebook Group and then couldn't find each other through search."Of course, the sunsetting of this feature for those who care about it the most only stresses the importance of checking and updating Facebook privacy settings often. Now, it's more important to consider the content of the Timeline itself: a "private Timeline" is only such when content is marked explicitly "Friends Only." As Facebook continues to make search easier, it's important to keep in mind how these changes impact social media privacy at large.
By Huffpost Celebrity
The only thing more terrifying than one Miley Cyrus would be TWO Miley Cyrus-es. So, thank God the recent pregnancy rumors are just that.
The twerking spawn of Billy Ray Cyrus took to Twitter to sarcastically debunk the news that she would soon be gracing the world with Juicy J's baby. Although, just to be clear, if Miley was having Juicy J's baby, she would name it Juicy J Jr. We can't stop ... being confused by Miley.
By: Yamiche Alcindor and John Bacon, USA TODAY
Judge adds manslaughter possibility but rejects prosecution request for third-degree murder. Jury deliberations could begin Friday.
SANFORD, Fla. -- Trayvon Martin is dead because George Zimmerman "tracked" and then shot Trayvon Martin instead of waiting for police to arrive, prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda told the jury at Zimmerman's murder trial.
De la Rionda, presenting the prosecution's closing argument, accused Zimmerman of taking the law into his own hands during their February 2012 confrontation.
The defense team, scheduled to close Friday, has maintained that Trayvon, 17, was the aggressor and that Zimmerman, 29, shot him in self-defense.
Using a projector, de la Rionda showed jurors a photo of Zimmerman taken at the police station the night of the shooting -- alongside a close up of Trayvon's dead body.
De la Rionda noted that Trayvon's hands had no blood on them, said his hoodie string may have been pulled down by Zimmerman in a struggle.
"His (Trayvon's) body speaks to you," de la Rionda said. "It proves to you that this defendant is lying about what happened."
De la Rionda focused on his theory that Trayvon was an innocent teen who was wrongly profiled and murdered by Zimmerman. De la Rionda told jury the key word in the prosecution case was "assumptions."
"He automatically assumed that Trayvon Martin was a criminal and that is why we are here," de la Rionda said of Zimmerman. Later he said Trayvon was not trespassing in the gated community, but rather was being a normal teen making a trip to the store.
De la Rionda also painted Zimmerman as someone who already knew he could ultimately win any confrontation with Trayvon.
"He's got a gun, he's got the equalizer," de la Rionda said. He asked the six-woman jury to use "your God-given common sense" and find the former neighborhood watch volunteer guilty of second-degree murder.
Earlier, Judge Debra Nelson agreed to add manslaughter to the second-degree murder charge Zimmerman already faced, but rejected a prosecution request that a third-degree murder count also be added.
Zimmerman's attorneys had objected to adding any lesser charges.
The last-minute effort to add charges was seen by some legal experts as an indication that prosecutors were not confident about their chances for a second-degree murder conviction. Zimmerman has been portrayed by prosecutors as a wanna-be cop.
"They aren't going to go all or nothing," said Jose Baez, a Florida criminal defense attorney, of state prosecutors. "They aren't blind to the fact that they haven't proven second-degree murder." Baez successfully defended Casey Anthony, a Florida mother accused of killing her daughter in a high-profile capital murder case.
Second-degree murder in Florida carries a possible life sentence. If convicted of manslaughter, Zimmerman could get up to 30 years.
Elizabeth Parker, a Florida criminal defense attorney who has been monitoring the case, said the third-degree murder count could bring a sentence of 25 years to life in prison.
Prosecutors also had considered but then decided against trying to add the charge of aggravated assault, which would carry no more than a five-year prison term.
The third-degree murder charge request drew a heated argument. Third-degree murder can involve death that results from committing a felony, even if the accused did not mean to kill the victim.
Assistant State Attorney Richard Mantei, arguing for the count, said Zimmerman committed "child abuse" -- a felony -- on Trayvon.
Don West argued against their claim, saying child abuse had never been mentioned during the trial. He called the attempt to add the third-degree murder charge a "trick by the state."
Zimmerman's attorneys get three hours for their closing Friday. The state will then get one hour to present rebuttal statements.
The jury could begin deliberations Friday.
All you can eat ribs -- by the dumpster.
A Golden Corral franchise is being accused of improper food handling after photos and a video surfaced online that claim to show unsanitary conditions at the nationwide buffet chain.
Separately, a Reddit user named GCWhistleblower posted photos purporting to show a different Golden Corral kitchen overflowing with garbage and food.
Employee Brandon Huber posted a video on Youtube, taken while he worked at a location near Port Orange, Fla., which shows raw hamburger patties swarmed by flies near the restaurant's dumpster.
"I'm an employee here, been working here for a long time, and I don't feel that this is right," Huber says to the camera. "I mean look at it, what do you think?"
"Let me show you just how disgusting this is," Huber continues, as the camera pans to reveal stacks of food next to the dumpsters including raw baby back ribs, green bean casserole, pot roast, chicken, ham, and bacon.
A statement provided to the website Consumerist via Eric Holm at Metro Corral Partners, a franchisee who owns several Golden Corral locations in Florida and Georgia, including the Port Orange location, reads:
"A video was recently posted showing an incident of improper food handling at our Port Orange, Fla., location. None of these items were served to a single customer. All were destroyed within the hour at the direction of management. Brandon Huber, the employee who made the video, participated in the disposal of the food.
The following day, the father of the employee, allegedly posted an offer to sell the video for $5,000, which was not accepted.
The manager involved in the improper storage was terminated for failing to follow approved food handling procedures," Holm's statement said.
By Fox News
Mariah Carey returned to the set of her new music video on Sunday just hours after she was hospitalized with a dislocated shoulder and cracked rib in a desperate attempt to finish the shoot.
The pop superstar was filming a promo for a remix of her track #Beautiful with rapper Young Jeezy when she took a tumble and had to be treated at a New York medical centre for her injuries.
Her husband Nick Cannon, who had been directing the project, offered to abandon his duties to be by his wife's side, but Carey refused to let her pain stand in the way of her work and ordered the TV personality to continue on in her absence.
During an appearance on U.S. breakfast show Today on Tuesday, he said, "It was pretty serious. Not only did she dislocate her shoulder, she actually cracked her rib. She chipped her shoulder bone during the video shoot. She was in this nice, beautiful gown, heels on and everything, it was kinda on this platform, she kinda slipped and fell on her whole side. She's such a trooper, like I was gonna rush to the hospital, she was like, 'You get back in there and finish the video'.
"Then, after they put the shoulder back in place, bandaged her all up, she came back to the video early in the morning and finished out everything. She's like, 'This better be a good video after all this pain I went through!...' I would be crying and passed out if something like that happened to me. She was right back to work!"
The Hero hitmaker is now recovering at home and resting up for her performance at a Hurricane Sandy benefit concert on Saturday.
BY FABIOLA SANTIAGO
It’s too early in the George Zimmerman murder trial to make any predictions.
But at least one of the prevailing questions arising before the six-woman jury was seated and sequestered — can Zimmerman get a fair trial, given the high-profile status of the case and the excessive publicity surrounding it? — has been answered with a resounding “Yes.”
For one, the neighborhood watchman’s defense team has been exhaustingly aggressive in its cross-examination of every state witness, with enough success, it seems, to plant doubt and drive observers to question the prosecution’s strategy and speculate that a second-degree murder conviction will be impossible for a jury to reach.
On Tuesday, defense attorney Mark O’Mara tried to keep out evidence that portrays Zimmerman as a wannabe cop whose zealotry led him to profile 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, who was returning on a rainy night from a trip to a 7-Eleven, as a potential criminal.
The evidence — college documents and a request to ride along with police officers — shows that Zimmerman was a criminal justice major who knew enough about Florida law to quickly come up with a self-defense story that would justify his use of deadly force against the unarmed Miami Gardens teen, who was staying with his father in the Sanford gated community where Zimmerman lived.
Judge Debra Nelson is scheduled to rule Wednesday about whether the jury will see the documents, which bolster the prosecution’s contention that Zimmerman acted as a vigilante who profiled and followed Trayvon, provoking the altercation that led to his killing.
But regardless, the star witness against Zimmerman the past two days has been Zimmerman himself.
Not that he has said anything in court — but prosecutors put him on the stand on tape Monday being interviewed by police investigators and again on Tuesday being interviewed by Fox News’ Sean Hannity. The television celebrity may have asked softball questions, but along with police interviews Zimmerman’s statements have significant inconsistencies.
I’m sure I wasn’t the only person puzzled by Zimmerman’s account to Sanford Police investigator Doris Singleton the night of the killing. He seemed to have a clear recollection of how everything occurred, but when asked out of the blue about the position of Trayvon Martin’s body, the way Travyon went down when he was shot, Zimmerman said he couldn’t remember.
In another interview, Zimmerman claimed he spread out Trayvon’s arms after the shooting, but a photo taken immediately after the shooting shows Martin face down with his arms under his body.
Zimmerman told Singleton that Trayvon jumped out at him from bushes, but during the scene walk-through and re-creation the next day, there are only spare bushes and Zimmerman doesn’t mention them. He says Trayvon came up from behind buildings.
None of these are small inconsistencies.
“The truth about the murder of Trayvon Martin is going to come directly from his mouth,” prosecutor John Guy predicted in opening statements.
And so, on Day 17 of a trial expected to last a while longer, the one question that remains unanswered is, will Trayvon Martin get any justice?
It may be difficult, but not impossible.
NFL Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson says he's personally witnessed Justin Bieber racing his Ferrari around the streets of Calabasas ... and tells TMZ he's worried the singer could seriously hurt someone if he doesn't slow his ass down.
We spoke to Dickerson -- who's lived in Calabsas for years -- and the NFL legend tells us he doesn't blame Keyshawn Johnson for confronting the singer yesterday.
"I've seen [Justin] driving fast around Calabasas before in the Ferrari," Dickerson says ... "It's just not safe."
Dickerson says he owns two Ferraris and understands how dangerous the car can be if an irresponsible person happens to be in the driver's seat.
"I used to drive fast," Dickerson admits ... "but that was on the freeway ... and even that wasn't safe."
As for Keyshawn's decision to follow Bieber to his home, Dickerson says -- "I don't blame Keyshawn, he's got kids ... I don't blame him for trying to get [Justin's] attention."
"I would've been the same way ... when you're a father it takes on a whole new meaning. Plus, we got that football mentality."
Still no word from Bieber's camp.
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