Overall crime down in North Carolina’s largest city
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Overall crime in North Carolina’s largest city dropped by 5% in 2021, and police say there were declines in several major categories including violent crime and homicides. The end-of-year crime statistics released Monday evening by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department say there were 7,554 violent crimes reported in Charlotte in 2021, compared to 8,090 in 2020. The statistics said there were 98 homicides last year compared to 118 in 2020. Also, the report showed rape was up 19%, vehicle thefts were up 5% and vehicle break-ins were up 4% last year. Police said the majority of the sex assault increase was due to cases involving a non-stranger.
North Carolina voters dispute Cawthorn candidacy over Jan. 6
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A group of North Carolina voters want U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn disqualified as a congressional candidate. They say his actions surrounding the riot in Washington on Jan. 6 last year amount to engaging in an insurrection or rebellion against the Constitution. Lawyers filed a challenge of the Republican’s candidacy with the State Board of Elections on Monday. Cawthorn claimed President Joe Biden’s victory was fraudulent at Donald Trump’s rally that day and accused Republicans who weren’t fighting of trying to silence Trump’s supporters. The voters want to force Cawthorn to answer questions under oath before a special panel hears the case.
VOTER ID-NORTH CAROLINA
After recusal delays, NC court hears amendments case Feb. 14
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina’s highest court has rescheduled arguments in a case over whether two state constitution amendments approved by voters in 2018 should be voided because legislators who approved the ballot referendums were elected from racially biased districts. The state Supreme Court announced that litigation filed by the NAACP will be heard Feb. 14. That’s months later than once scheduled. The delay came after the civil rights group asked that two justices be disqualified because of conflicts. The court then decided to reexamine its recusal rules, and Friday the two justices wrote they would remain on the case. One amendment requires photo identification to vote.
EPA moves to crack down on dangerous coal ash storage ponds
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Environmental Protection Agency is taking its first major action to address toxic wastewater from coal-burning power plants. It’s denying requests by three Midwest power plants to extend operations of leaking or otherwise dangerous coal ash storage ponds. EPA says plants in Indiana, Ohio and Iowa will have to close coal ash ponds months or years ahead of schedule. Coal ash is the substance that remains when coal is burned to generate electricity. It can pollute waterways, poison wildlife and cause respiratory illness among those living near massive ponds where the waste is stored. The action marks the first time the EPA has enforced a 2015 rule aimed at reducing groundwater pollution from coal-fired power plants.
Families separated at border now fear extortion attempts
WASHINGTON (AP) — Stalled negotiations for the U.S. government to pay families separated at the border during Donald Trump’s presidency have brought new threats of extortion against some families. Last month, the Justice Department withdrew from settlement talks over financial compensation for their suffering, but it hasn’t ruled out an agreement. Immigration hawks have criticized the Biden administration for considering payments of hundreds of thousands of dollars for each person separated. But extortion attempts are stemming from the mistaken belief that huge payouts have been made. Extortion is widespread in Central America, explaining why many seek asylum in the U.S. in the first place.
OFFICER KILLED-WRECK INVESTIGATION
Truck driver indicted in crash that killed police officer
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — A truck driver has been indicted on charges connected to a crash that killed a North Carolina police officer who was investigating another accident. News outlets report the Mecklenburg County District Attorney’s office said Monday that 50-year-old Daniel Morgan has been indicted on multiple charges, including involuntary manslaughter, misdemeanor assault by a deadly weapon and misdemeanor death by motor vehicle. Morgan was scheduled to appear in court on Monday before the grand jury got the case. It was to be his first court appearance since the Dec. 22 crash that killed Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Officer Mia Goodwin.
BANK OF AMERICA-OVERDRAFT FEES
Bank of America slashes fees for account overdrafts
NEW YORK (AP) — Bank of America is slashing the amount it charges customers when they spend more than they have in their accounts and plans to eliminate entirely its fees for bounced checks. It’s the latest move by the nation’s biggest banks to roll back the fees they long charged customers to overdraft their accounts, fees that would often rack up to hundreds of dollars a year for frequent overdraft users. The Charlotte-based bank will cut the fee it charges customers to overdraft to $10 from $35 starting in May. It will also stop charging fees for non-sufficient funds — which are levied when it rejects a transaction — better known as “bouncing a check.”
FATAL SHOOTING-SHERIFF’S DEPUTY
North Carolina agency asked to look into shooting by deputy
The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation said Monday that its agents have been asked to look into a fatal shooting involving an off-duty sheriff’s deputy that sparked a local protest. A news release says Fayetteville police Chief Gina Hawkins and the Cumberland County district attorney asked the NCSBI to conduct the investigation into the Saturday shooting. A news release from the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office says Deputy Jeffrey Hash has been placed on administrative leave pending an internal investigation. The Fayetteville Police Department says a preliminary investigation determined that 37-year-old Jason Walker “ran into traffic and jumped on a moving vehicle.” Walker was pronounced dead at the scene.
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