HOUSTON (AP) — Houston City Council on Wednesday denied an effort to reallocate nearly $12 million from the Houston police department’s upcoming budget to fund sweeping police reform and other measures.
Houston Councilwoman Letitia Plummer proposed redirecting the money to fund several measures, including strengthening a police oversight board by giving it investigative powers, enhancing police de-escalation training and creating a program that would provide no-interest loans to minority-owned businesses.
But City Council voted against Plummer’s proposal to include the measures in Houston’s fiscal year 2021 budget, which begins July 1.
Another of Plummer’s proposals — to use funding from one police cadet class to pay for the creation of a mental health mobile response unit to help police with non-threatening lower priority calls — was referred to a council committee for further study.
GAINESVILLE, Texas (AP) — A North Texas man has been charged with capital murder after his 4-month-old daughter was found dead in a car overturned in the Red River after an Amber Alert was issued for her.
Lyrik Brown’s body was found still strapped into a safety seat in her father’s car, which was found about 4 p.m. Tuesday under the Interstate 35 bridge and in the river that forms the Texas-Oklahoma border near Gainesville. Her father, Jeremy Nathaniel Brown, 30, of Gainesville, was standing in the river next to the overturned car when authorities arrived.
A capital murder warrant was issued Wednesday for Brown, who remained in the Cooke County Detention Center in Gainesville without bond.
Brown’s girlfriend, who was the child’s mother, told Gainesville police Monday that she and Lyrik were riding in a car with Brown when she got into an argument and physical altercation with him. She said they stopped and got out of the car and continued the altercation when he returned to the car and drove away, the child still buckled in her car seat.
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas on Wednesday reported a third consecutive day with a record number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 as a new rise in coronavirus cases ripples across states nationwide.
More than 2,500 new cases were also reported in Texas, by far a single-day record.
The upward trends comes six weeks into Texas’ reopening that began in May, which kicked off one of the fastest reboots of daily life in the U.S, and as restaurants get permission to expand their dining rooms to nearly full capacity starting Friday. While thousands of hospital beds remain available, officials are voicing concern.
Throughout the record-setting week in Texas, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott and state health officials have pointed out hotspots in rural counties with meatpacking plants and prisons but have not offered an explanation for rising caseloads elsewhere.
NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon on Wednesday banned police use of its face-recognition technology for a year, making it the latest tech giant to step back from law-enforcement use of systems that have been criticized for incorrectly identifying people with darker skin.
The Seattle-based company did not say why it took action now. Ongoing protests following the death of George Floyd have focused attention on racial injustice in the U.S. and how police use technology to track people. Floyd died May 25 after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into the handcuffed black man’s neck for several minutes even after Floyd stopped moving and pleading for air.
On Tuesday, IBM said it would get out of the facial recognition business, noting concerns about how the technology can be used for mass surveillance and racial profiling.
Civil rights groups and Amazon’s own employees have pushed the company to stop selling its technology, called Rekognition, to government agencies, saying that it could be used to invade people’s privacy and target minorities.
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — It was the extended family who grew suspicious first, and then at their urging, local police: Seven-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow and his 17-year-old sister Tylee Ryan hadn’t been seen in far too long, and their mother wouldn’t give a straight answer about where they were.
Soon strangers around the world were following the case, transfixed by the increasingly strange circumstances surrounding Lori Vallow Daybell and her new husband, Chad Daybell. The investigation grew to include the mysterious deaths of their former spouses, rumors of doomsday cult-like beliefs and their sudden move to Hawaii.
The case took a grim turn this week when investigators announced they found human remains while searching Chad Daybell’s property in rural Idaho. In a field near his house, the FBI and local authorities erected canopies, draped blue tarps on the ground and brought in heavy equipment to dig. Victim advocates began calling family members Tuesday, telling them about the remains.
Relatives released a statement the next day, saying the bodies belonged to JJ and Tylee. But officials have yet to confirm that.
RÍO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Two Brazilian governors came under more fire Wednesday over allegations of corruption related to COVID-19 spending, with one having his home raided and another set to face an impeachment process. Federal police raided the government palace of Para state in the Amazon region as well Gov. Helder Barbalho’s home as part of an investigation into alleged fraud in the purchase of ventilators for treating COVID-19. The search order targeted a total of 23 addresses in six states and Brazil’s federal district in Brasilia, police said in a statement.
Barbalho is the second governor to be investigated in relation to suspect medical expenditures during the pandemic.
On May 26, police searched the residence of Rio de Janeiro state Gov. Wilson Witzel as part of an investigation into alleged irregularities in contracts awarded for the construction of emergency field hospitals. Rio legislators voted nearly unanimously Wednesday to begin impeachment proceedings against the governor.
Witzel has promised eight emergency field hospitals, but only one has opened, near the Maracana soccer stadium.