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October 30th, 2009
06:23 PM ET

Walmart scuffle could send preacher’s daughter to prison for 15 years

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Editor’s Note: Watch Randi Kaye’s full report tonight on Anderson Cooper 360 at 10pm ET.

Randi Kaye| BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Is it a classic case of “he said, she said,” or is it a brutal case of racism? Whatever it is, it may land a Missouri woman, a preacher’s daughter who has never been in trouble with the law before, in jail.

It all apparently started at a Walmart store in Kennett, Missouri where according to police, customer Heather Ellis had cut in line to pay for her items. What followed is at the heart of a court case that may send Heather Ellis to jail for as many as 15 years!

Let me first say Ms. Ellis has pleaded not guilty. But here’s how police tell it: officers say they were called to the store after Ellis caused a “disturbance” at the cash register by “yelling and cursing.” Officers say when they tried to get her to leave the store, she turned and yelled at them, “I ain’t going nowhere until I get my (expletive) change back” but that even after she got her change, she continued to be “belligerent.” The lead officer says they tried to get her to remain calm and leave in a peaceful manner and told her they’d arrest her if she refused. That is when the lead officer says Ellis “issued a threat to assault” and said if the officer put their hands on her “she was going to beat my (expletive).” Well, it turned ugly according to police, who say she became “combative and began fighting.” The officers say Ellis “continued to fight, yell and curse” and was “completely out of control.” They say she “resisted arrest” and “stiffened her body” when they tried to put her in the police car. Read the full police report here.

FULL POST


Filed under: 360° Radar • Crime & Punishment • Randi Kaye
October 30th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

New documents force House Ethics commmittee into spotlight

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/10/07/art.rangel.gi.jpg caption="New York congressman Charlie Rangel is one of the most prominent names being investigated by the House Ethics committee."]

Editor's Note: Documents leaked from the House of Representatives Ethics committee, one of the most secretive and closely guarded in Congress, has forced the panel to publicly acknowledge at least eight active investigations into ethics breaches from current members of the House of Representatives. One of the most prominent names on that list has been Representative Charlie Rangel, Democrat from New York and chairman of the Ways and Means Committee.

Lisa Desjardins
CNN Political Ticker

Congressional Republicans intensified their calls for powerful House Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel of New York to resign his post heading the committee, at least temporarily.

Rep. John Carter, R-Texas, introduced a motion that would have forced Rangel to step down during an ongoing ethics investigation into his finances and activities.

House Democrats responded by voting to shut off debate and instead send the resolution to the House Ethics Committee, where the matter has sat for a year. The move to effectively kill the resolution by sending it to the committee passed on a mostly party-line 246-153 vote.

The vote has no significant effect but shows Republicans are turning up the heat on Rangel and hoping to score political points by highlighting the ethics probe.

Keep Reading...


Filed under: 360° Radar • Ethics
October 30th, 2009
04:40 PM ET

Priests urged to speak out against health care legislation

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/10/30/art.chruches.gi.jpg caption="The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is starting a campaign against abortion funding in national health care legislation."]

Peter Hamby
CNN Political Producer

Calling Democratic health care bills "seriously deficient on the issues of abortion and conscience," the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is urging priests around the country to speak out against the legislation from the pulpit this Sunday.

The conference – the leadership body of the Catholic Church in the United States – is distributing a flier to churches to insert in their weekly newsletters urging parishioners to contact their senators and representatives to ask them "to fix these bills with the pro-life amendments."

"The bills will have to change or the bishops have pledged to oppose them," the flier reads. "Our nation is at a crossroads."

Keep Reading...


Filed under: Health Care
October 30th, 2009
04:33 PM ET

The Obama Marriage

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/10/30/marriage.obama.jpg caption="President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama dancing their way at one of the 10 official inaugural balls"]

Jodi Kantor
New York Times

Another Washington dusk, another motorcade, another intimate evening played out in public view. On Oct. 3, just a day after their failed Olympics bid in Copenhagen, Barack and Michelle Obama slipped into a Georgetown restaurant for one of their now-familiar date nights: this time, to toast their 17th wedding anniversary. As with their previous outings, even the dark photographs taken by passers-by and posted on the Web looked glamorous: the president tieless, in a suit; the first lady in a backless sheath.

The Obama date-night tradition stretches back to the days when the president spent half his time in Springfield, Ill., reuniting at week’s close with his wife, who kept a regular Friday manicure and hair appointment for the occasion. But five days before he ventured out for his anniversary dinner, the president lamented what has happened to his nights out with his wife.

“I would say the one time during our stay here in the White House so far that has. . . .” He paused so long in choosing his words that Michelle Obama, sitting alongside him, prompted him. “Has what?”

Read More...


Filed under: 360° Radar • Barack Obama • Michelle Obama
October 30th, 2009
04:30 PM ET

Beat 360° 10/30/09

Ready for today's Beat 360°? Everyday we post a picture – and you provide the caption and our staff will join in too. Tune in tonight at 10pm to see if you are our favorite! Here is the 'Beat 360°' pic:

Squirrel monkeys at Bristol Zoo Gardens investigate a carved pumpkin that has been left as a special Halloween treat in their enclosure.

Have fun with it. We're looking forward to your captions! Make sure to include your name, city, state (or country) so we can post your comment.

Winners:

Staff winner: Tom Foreman
Caption: NASA, gutted by budget cuts, is reduced to monkeys, pumpkins, and a catapult.

Viewer winner: Lisa, Louisville, KY
Caption: Hollow head, blank stare, and fake smile – must be a politician.
_________________________________________________________________________________ Beat 360° Challenge


Filed under: Beat 360° • T1
October 30th, 2009
04:30 PM ET
October 30th, 2009
04:16 PM ET

Iraqi man accused of running down daughter found in Atlanta

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/10/30/arizona.iraqi.daughter/story.faleh.almaleki.ppd.jpg caption="Authorities could not immediately say why Faleh Almaleki was in Atlanta, Georgia."]

CNN

Authorities said Friday that an Iraqi man, accused of running down his daughter in Arizona because she had become "too Westernized," has been taken into custody in Atlanta, Georgia.

U.S. Marshals arrested Faleh Hassan Almaleki, 48, in Atlanta, according to spokesman James Ergas.

Police in Peoria, Arizona, say Almaleki struck his 20-year-old daughter, Noor Faleh Almaleki, and her friend Amal Edan Khalaf with the Jeep Laredo he was driving in a parking lot in Peoria on October 20.

After the incident, Almaleki drove to Mexico, abandoning his vehicle in Nogales, Peoria police said in a statement Friday.

He then made his way to Mexico City and boarded a plane to London, England. British authorities denied him entry into the country, and he was put on a plane back to the United States, police said.

Keep Reading...


Filed under: 360° Radar
October 30th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

Congressional watchdog group responds to ethics investigations

AC360°

The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) have responded to the documents leaked from the House of Representatives Ethics committee, one of the most secretive and closely guarded in Congress, that have forced the panel to publicly acknowledge at least eight active investigations into ethics breaches from current members of the House of Representatives.

"Time and time again CREW has called for investigations of unethical members of Congress, but our pleas seemed to fall on deaf ears. So, we were pleasantly surprised to learn the ethics committee is investigating so many members of Congress, but starting an investigation isn’t enough. The real question is whether any of the members under investigation will ever be held accountable for their conduct. The committee’s record on such matters is dismal. You have only to look back at the Mark Foley investigation - where all of America knew there was wrongdoing yet the committee found none - to be skeptical of the House ethics process. There’s not much reason to think anything has changed, but one can always hope."

The group advocates for the promotion of ethics and accountability and produce annual lists such as "The Most Corrupt Members of Congress Report"


Filed under: 360° Radar
October 30th, 2009
03:30 PM ET

Tonight: Text 360°

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AC360°

Is it a classic case of “he said, she said,” or is it a brutal case of racism? Whatever it is, it may land a Missouri woman, a preacher’s daughter who has never been in trouble with the law before, in jail. It all apparently started at a Wal-Mart store in Kennett, Missouri where, according to police, customer Heather Ellis had cut in line to pay for her items. What followed is at the heart of a court case that may send Heather Ellis to jail for as many as 15 years.

Do you have questions about this controversial case for our panel? Let us know!

Send us a text message with your question. Text AC360 (or 22360), and you might hear it on air!


Filed under: Crime & Punishment • Text 360
October 30th, 2009
03:00 PM ET
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