In this Wednesday, 24 February 2018, file photo, a law enforcement officer talks with students after a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Fla. An appeals court said news organizations are entitled to obtain surveillance video showing the law enforcement response to the Valentine’s Day mass shooting at the Florida high school. The 4th District Court of Appeal on Wednesday, 25 July upheld a lower court’s ruling that the video is public record that must be disclosed. Photo : APNews organizations are entitled to obtain surveillance video showing the law enforcement response to the Valentine’s Day mass shooting that killed 17 people at a Florida high school, an appeals court ruled Wednesday.The 4th District Court of Appeal upheld a lower court’s ruling that the video is public record that must be disclosed, despite objections from prosecutors and Broward County school officials. News organizations including The Associated Press are seeking the video to better understand the actions of law enforcement and first responders during the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.Authorities say the school had 70 operating video cameras that day. The media organizations are not seeking any footage depicting the massacre or any victims, but rather the video from outside the shooting scene at the school’s Building 12 that depicts law enforcement actions.The Broward County State Attorney’s Office contended the video should not be released because it’s part of an ongoing criminal investigation. The school board argued that disclosing the footage might pose a security risk by showing blind spots in camera coverage at the school.The appeals judges were unpersuaded.”The media showed the need for the public to actually witness the events as they unfolded because the narrative provided by ‘the authorities’ is confusing and has shifted and changed over time,” the three judges wrote. “The footage itself would reveal if the first responders rushed into Building 12 to confront the active shooter, formed a perimeter, or hid in stairwells and behind their vehicles for an unreasonable length of time.”The school’s resource officer, former Broward Deputy Scot Peterson, retired amid accusations that he failed to follow sheriff’s office policy when he remained outside the building instead of going inside to confront the shooter. Victims’ parents and others have also charged that first responders hesitated in a way that might have cost lives. Video of Peterson’s actions has been released.The judges called it a “sad commentary on our times” that such a full public debate about school security and law enforcement response to a mass shooting is required. But they said parents and the rest of the community needed to see the video for themselves.”Parents have such a high stake in the ultimate decisions that they must have access to camera video footage here at issue and not blindly rely on school board experts to make decisions for them,” they ruled.Broward Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie said district employees have never seen the footage because it was confiscated by sheriff’s and FBI investigators shortly after the shooting. Even though his agency had opposed public release of the video for security reasons, he said its release would help the district’s investigation by a retired Secret Service agent into the shooting, including how Stoneman Douglas teachers and staff responded.”That is critical,” he said. “We are now going to try to do as much as we can.”Sheriff’s office spokeswoman Veda Coleman-Wright said her agency did not oppose release of the exterior surveillance video “and we’re pleased to see the matter has been resolved.”The state attorney’s office declined to say whether it would appeal to the Florida Supreme Court. The appeals court said the video must be released by the Broward Sheriff’s Office within 48 hours of Wednesday’s ruling.Nikolas Cruz, 19, is charged with 17 counts of murder and 17 counts of attempted murder in the shooting. His lawyers have said he would plead guilty if prosecutors would waive the death penalty, but that offer has been rejected.
Share Listen 00:00 /00:44 NASARunoff from Hurricane Harvey as seen by satellite imaging.After studying how Harvey’s floodwaters moved through Houston toward the Gulf of Mexico, scientists are learning more about how the flooding behaved.The findings were discussed an annual meeting of ocean scientists in Portland, Oregon on Tuesday. A study from the University of Florida found that Houston’s bayous and rivers were so overwhelmed by rain that key draining points became clogged. The study’s author, Arnoldo Valle-Levinson, explained that as Buffalo Bayou was trying to empty floodwaters into Galveston Bay, flows from the San Jacinto River at times caused the flooding to push back up into the Houston area, which helped keep water levels high for days.Valle-Levinson said sea level rise made the bottleneck worse.“The ocean was preconditioning the flooding in Houston and in Galveston Bay,” he said.Another study from Texas A&M did find some good news: the storm’s contaminated floodwaters didn’t flow far enough into the Gulf of Mexico to reach the protected Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary. To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: X
By Micha Green, AFRO Washington, D.C. Editor, firstname.lastname@example.orgFor those who haven’t stumbled across her rants, raps, skits and famous “B. Simone tone” on Instagram, her improvisational comedy on “Wild ‘N Out” or her music, B. Simone is becoming a name to know and remember. The entertainer with 2.1 million followers on Instagram is now on a nationwide comedy tour that is making a stop in D.C. on Dec. 26, and she is inviting people to come learn more about her and have a fun night of laughs.“It’s about my life, my personal life. My comedy’s about my relationship, sex life, what I’ve been going through with men and it’s just super relatable. And I’ve turned tragedy and heartbreak into comedy,” B. Simone told the AFRO.Instagram and “Wild ‘N Out” star B. Simone will be in D.C. on Dec. 28 at City Winery in Northeast, D.C.The rising star has not always been a comedienne, but she has always been an entertainer.“I come from a background of girl groups and R&B pop singing. So I started off wanting to be a singer honestly. I’ve been in five girl groups. I moved to Atlanta from Dallas to pursue music and acting. And social media is what made me a comedienne,” she said.Even in the earlier days of social media, with sites such as MySpace, B. Simone was active.“I’ve been doing it a long time before Instagram. I’ve been on Instagram for almost four or five years. So it’s not like I just blew up overnight. It took me a while to get to this point, and it’s consistency and constantly putting out content,” she said.However, it has only been recently, through her Instagram fame, that she gained recognition and became a true comedienne.“I started doing ranting videos,” she told the AFRO. “I didn’t even know it was comedy, I was talking to the camera about relatable topics and my followers just thought I was funny. I was just being myself, so they made me a comedienne,” the millennial entertainer explained.This is B. Simone’s first time taking her comedy on the road.“I’ve been on stage with people who have been doing standup for 20, 15, 10 years. I’ve only been doing standup for 11 months. So I’m very new at it, but I have the privilege of growing with my fans,” she told the AFRO.Despite being a neophyte to the comedy game, from the looks of the sold out shows, her first tour is going well.“Almost every single show has been sold out, and it’s just an amazing, amazing experience,” B. Simone said.B. Simone (center) with “You’re My Boooyfriend Comedy Tour,” co-stars Darren Brand (left) and Desi Banks.Although she’s doing well on the road, the path to getting in the door was not easy.“We decided to put on the tour and my manager really fought for me,” she explained. These clubs are like, ‘Who is B. Simone?’… ‘Is it Bruce Bruce? Is it Kevin Hart? Is it DeRay Davis? How is she going to sell tickets?’ And they just had to have faith that my fans are going to come out and support.Simone, who is doing her own promo for the show, thanked Instagram and her followers for her success on and off the road. She isn’t fazed by the haters who question her trajectory, “just because she’s Instagram famous.”“It just shows that you can do anything you want to do. The world is different,” she said. “But I’m going to use my platform to make money. And the world is going to excel and move forward.“I’m going to use it and I’m going to move forward in a positive light. I don’t take any of it for granted. I say it all the time- Instagram put me in a different mindset of what I can really, really do. I’ve touched so many people,” she told the AFRO.“So I encourage young Black women to use it to your advantage. I don’t care if you’re a doctor, and you need more people in your doctor’s office, or if you’re an actress… That platform is needed for whatever occupation you’re in,” she said.The entertainer is also an entrepreneur. A licensed cosmetologist who practiced 15 years, B. Simone is launching an upcoming vegan, cruelty-free makeup line and encouraged her followers to stay tuned for when its released.In the meantime, the comedienne is grinding on the road with the “You’re My Boooyfriend Comedy Tour” featuring Desi Banks, with whom she famously collaborates on skits, and “Wild ‘N Out” co-star Darren Brand. The D.C. stop is on Dec. 26 at City Winery the Ivy City (1350 Okie St NE, Washington, DC 20002).“It’s going to be an amazing show.”Click here for tickets and for all things B. Simone, follow her at @thebimone2 on Instagram.