North Carolina News – December 17

North Carolina News – December 17


NC man gets 7 years for setting fire after protest

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina man has been sentenced to more than seven years in federal prison for setting a fire inside a Raleigh store following a demonstration over the death of George Floyd. Richard Rubalcava pleaded guilty in March to setting a fire at a Dollar General Express store and vandalizing the Red Hat building with other rioters. News outlets report that Rubalcava was also ordered to pay more than $350,000 in restitution to Dollar General. Federal authorities say Rubalcava was arrested last year after a fire was set in a Dollar General Express that had been looted. Federal officials said that he’s captured entering the store numerous times before setting fire to “miscellaneous items located on an aisle endcap.”


Jackson ends Senate bid in North Carolina, endorses Beasley

RALEIGH. N.C. (AP) — A prominent U.S. Senate candidate in North Carolina has withdrawn from next year’s race for the Democratic nomination. State Sen. Jeff Jackson of Charlotte endorsed former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley in a video released Thursday. Jackson got in the race nearly a year ago and had held town hall meetings in all 100 counties. Jackson says Beasley was leading him in the polls and that party unity is needed to win the seat held by the retiring Republican Sen. Richard Burr. The March primary was delayed to mid-May last week due to pending redistricting litigation.


School funding plaintiffs ask NC Supreme Court to weigh in

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Plaintiffs in long-running North Carolina school funding litigation have asked the state’s highest court to decide whether a trial judge’s directive to send $1.75 billion from government coffers to state agencies to address inequities is lawful. Lawyers representing school districts and parents on behalf of their children filed separate appeal notices this week with the state Supreme Court. They are unhappy with last month’s decision by a Court of Appeals panel that blocked Superior Court Judge David Lee’s order to send the money from being enforced. They now want the justices to get involved. Lee is overseeing the litigation known as “Leandro” that dates back to the 1990s. 


The AP Interview: Nikole Hannah-Jones’ warning on democracy

NEW YORK (AP) — In an exclusive interview with The Associated Press, Pulitzer Prize-winning Black journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones said she is clear-eyed about her mission to force a reckoning around the nation’s self-image. But she said intense backlash to her work shows the nation is in “a very frightening time.” Hannah-Jones is creator of the much-scrutinized 1619 Project, a groundbreaking collection of essays on race that first appeared in a special issue of The New York Times Magazine in 2019. Now in book form, “The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story” and “Born on the Water,” a picture storybook collaboration, each have spent consecutive weeks atop the Times bestseller list since their Nov. 16 release.


2 Florida men guilty of running $35M COVID-19 fraud scheme

AKRON, Ohio (AP) — Two South Florida men have pleaded guilty in Ohio to leading a nationwide scheme to fraudulently obtain over $35 million in COVID-19 relief loans. Court records show 55-year-old James Stote and 52-year-old Phillip Augustin pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. They each face up to 20 years in prison. According to court documents, Stote and Augustin led a group that fraudulently obtained Paycheck Protection Program loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. A total of 25 people have been charged in Ohio, Florida and North Carolina with paritcipating in his scheme, with 20 convictions thus far.


Man who shot deputy sentenced to 16 years in prison

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — The U.S. Department of Justice says a North Carolina man has been sentenced to more than 16 years in prison for shooting a sheriff’s deputy who was trying to execute a search warrant, According to a news release on Thursday, 59-year-old Ivory Joe Tisdale of Greensboro was sentenced on Tuesday in federal court in Winston-Salem. He pleaded guilty in June to drug and firearms charges. Court records show that in December 2019, while Guilford County sheriff’s deputies executed a search warrant at a local address, Tisdale fired a .38 caliber handgun through the front door and hit a deputy in the hand. 


School board votes to allow principals to search cell phones

WILSON, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina school board has adopted a policy which will allow principals to search a student’s cellphone. The Wilson Times reports that the policy adopted this week by the Wilson County Board of Education allows phone searches “whenever a school official has reason to believe the search will provide evidence that a student has violated or is violating the law, board policy, the code of student conduct or a school rule.” Superintendent Lane Mills said principals who cited safety concerns and also said they don’t search cellphones often. Mills also said authorizing the searches is necessary due to a national increase in school violence. 


5 men arrested for posing as police officers at motel

GASTONIA, N.C. (AP) — Police say five men have been arrested and accused of posing as police officers looking for someone at a North Carolina motel. The Charlotte Observer reports Gastonia police officers responded to a report at 1:10 a.m. on Sunday of a possible burglary at a motel in the 1400 block of East Franklin Avenue involving five suspects who claimed to be law enforcement. Police say the men used flashlights to look inside at least two motel rooms while announcing to any occupants that they were law enforcement. Police also said one suspect had a handgun. Each man is charged with impersonating a police officer, a misdemeanor

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