(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) -- Police in Nashville, Tennessee, say they're searching for two suspects who were caught on camera spray-painting houses with swastikas and other hate messages.
Nashville police said five homes in the Sylvan Park area were targeted by the vandalism early Sunday.
Home surveillance video showed the suspects spray-painting a camera at one of the homes around 1:30 a.m.
Nashville Mayor John Cooper tweeted, "Nashville stands united against the hate and bigotry these disgusting acts represent."
"Grateful to [Nashville police] Chief Drake & his team for their ongoing work to track down those responsible and hold them accountable," Cooper said. "We will not tolerate antisemitism or discrimination of any kind in our city."
The police department said its officers are increasing their presence in Sylvan Park and at Nashville's Jewish institutions.
Police ask anyone with information to call the department's Specialized Investigations Division at 615-742-7463.
(MEMPHIS, Tenn.) -- A high-ranking Memphis, Tennessee police officer on duty at the scene of the beating that would end Tyre Nichols life, retired one day before he was expected to be fired, according to Memphis City Council Vice Chairman JB Smiley, Jr.
"We're accountable to the people who pay taxes," Smiley told ABC News. "And if we're wronging the people who pay taxes, we shouldn't be allowed to receive dollars that are ultimately theirs."
"We call for Memphis police and officials to do everything in their power to hold Lt. Smith and all of those involved fully accountable and not allow Lt. Smith to cowardly sidestep the consequences of his actions," the Nichols family's attorneys said in a statement. "His cowardice in resigning and not facing his own disciplinary board to defend himself is not an end-around on accountability or reckoning."
The mother and stepfather of Nichols, RowVaughn Wells and Rodney Wells, spoke alongside Ben Crump, who leads their legal team, and Al Sharpton at the National Action Network (NAN) House of Justice in Harlem Saturday.
"In my heart, I just feel like, my son, he had to be sacrificed for the greater good," RowVaughn Wells said through tears. "That's the only explanation that I have as the reason why all this is happening. Because he was such a good person. He was a free-spirited person."
Crump supported RowVaughn Wells' belief that her son was sent to this world on an "assignment."
"She's got to believe some greater good is going to come from this," Crump said. "All these families joining Tyre Nichols' family, we're finally going to get the George Floyd Justice and Policing Act passed. So, we can try to prevent some of these unnecessary, these unjustifiable, and unconstitutional killings of our people."
According to a statement from Wells' attorneys, Lt. Smith observed Nichols as he lay battered on the ground, neither rendering aid nor asking for immediate medical attention for Nichols. The Memphis Police Department declined to comment and did not respond to requests to obtain the police reports related to Lt. Smith's retirement.
After Nichols died, seven other police officers were terminated following the beating on Jan. 7, according to city of Memphis chief legal officer Jennifer Sink. All five officers who were directly involved in the beating have been charged with second-degree murder.
Nichols, 29, died three days after a violent traffic stop caught on body camera footage. He cried out for his mother as he was beaten with fists, boots and batons by the five officers after fleeing the scene of his alleged traffic violation. The officers all pleaded not guilty in their first court appearance on Feb. 17.
"Tyre's parents believe Smith was one of the first officers who came to their house and told them about Tyre's beating," Wells' attorneys said in a statement. "[Lt. Smith] said Tyre was involved in a DUI or on drugs, and did not tell them about the severity of the situation."
The statement also said Smith told Wells she would not be permitted to see her son in the hospital.
When reached by ABC News in a phone call, Lt. Smith declined to comment.
(MIAMI) -- For the third year in a row, the City of Miami Beach has imposed a state of emergency and an overnight curfew for South Beach starting 11:59 p.m. Sunday after multiple fatal shootings occurred during spring break festivities this weekend.
The decision comes after two people were fatally shot between Friday and Sunday morning in the area, according to the Miami Beach Police Department.
Police responded to emergency calls on Friday night, discovering two men who were shot near 7 Street and Ocean Drive, officials said.
Both men were sent to Jackson Memorial Hospital, with one victim succumbing to his injuries at the hospital, police said. The other victim is in critical condition.
According to Miami Beach Police, one person has been detained and three guns were found at the scene.
Police responded to a shooting Sunday morning, where they discovered a wounded man near the 1000 block of Ocean Drive.
The unidentified man was sent to an area hospital, where he later died from his injuries, Miami Beach Police said on Twitter.
Law enforcement officials are investigating both incidents.
According to Miami Beach city officials, the curfew will be effective until Monday morning at 6 a.m. local time.
City officials said businesses in the area must close early enough to allow customers time to avoid a curfew violation.
Further curfew limits are expected to go into effect from Thursday, March 23, through Monday, March 27, according to Miami Beach officials.
Last year, Miami Beach issued a curfew after multiple people were hurt after a string of violent incidents in the area.
(NEW YORK) -- Another atmospheric river is expected to hit California this week, bringing rain and snow to a large portion of the state as spring begins.
Much of California saw rain on Sunday, with an additional two to four inches expected on Tuesday and Wednesday. The heaviest precipitation will likely fall in southern California.
This week, the atmospheric river event will also bring an extra two to four feet of snow to the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
More snow is expected to fall in San Bernardino County in areas like Big Bear and Lake Arrowhead, bringing a risk of floods.
By Tuesday afternoon, parts of the West Coast are expected to see a break in the rain. San Diego and southern California will continue to see rain and snow throughout the day, as will the Sierra Mountains.
The heavy rain and snow are expected to continue in southern California and along the Sierra Nevada on Wednesday. Rain will also be along the entire coast through the Bay Area.
Heavy rain is expected to fall in central Arizona on Tuesday, where a flood risk also exists.
Heavy snow will move through the Rockies and give southwestern Colorado four to six feet of snow, helping the Colorado River Basin feed Lake Mead, which supplies water to cities such as Las Vegas.
More than 73 million people are under freeze alerts for Sunday night into Monday morning, as freeze warnings are in place for multiple states in the South, with agriculture in at least a dozen states from Texas to Virginia feeling the impact after a record-warm start to the year has kick-started the growing season.
Freezing temperatures may lead to reduced yields for the coming season.
Atlanta and Birmingham hit 30 degrees Sunday morning, with Jackson, Mississippi, reaching 20 degrees a day before the official start of spring.
More than a foot of lake effect snow fell in Wisconsin and Michigan, with more snow falling from Ohio to New York.
(WASHINGTON) -- On the nation's largest Native American reservation – spanning 16 million-acres across Arizona, New Mexico and Utah – one in three households lacks running water, according to the Navajo Nation.
At the Supreme Court on Monday, the tribe will face off with the federal government and a group of states over what it calls a "broken promise" to bolster the reservation's water supply.
The dispute involves the vital but increasingly strained Colorado River, a resource long the subject of litigation between states and carefully apportioned under a labyrinth of agreements to meet the needs of nearly 40 million Americans across the West.
The tribe argues that the 1868 treaty establishing the reservation "promised both land and water sufficient for the Navajos to return to a permanent home in their ancestral territory."
It wants the Interior Department to assess the reservation's water needs and develop a plan to meet them, which experts say would most likely involve diverting more water from the Colorado River.
"The Nation is still waiting for the water it needs," the tribe writes in court papers, asking the justices to greenlight a "breach-of-trust claim" in federal court.
The government disputes that it ever explicitly agreed to provide water and says that even if water rights were implied by the treaty, there is no enforceable obligation.
"No substantive source of law expressly establishes the particular duty that the Navajo Nation asserts," the government said in a court filing.
A federal district court sided with the government, denying the Navajo Nation's claim, saying it had failed to identify a "specific, applicable, trust-creating statute or regulation that the government violated."
A federal appeals court reversed, reasoning that the reservation could not exist without adequate water and therefore an obligation to supply it was implied.
The states – Arizona, Colorado and Nevada – argue the Navajo Nation should never have been able to bring the claim in the first place, since the Supreme Court has asserted exclusive jurisdiction over disputes involving the Colorado River in a series of decisions and decrees over decades.
They also argue that allowing the tribe to claim expanded water rights over the Colorado would upset pre-existing agreements and ultimately mean less water available to those communities that have come to rely on it.
A coalition of western water associations and consumer groups calls the case "critically important," warning the Supreme Court about its potential to upend "stability and predictability" of the process to determine water rights.
Allowing the tribe to bring a claim, the groups say, "threatens to undermine the certainty of water rights not only in the Colorado River Basin, but also throughout other water-scarce regions of the United States more broadly."
The tribe says the U.S. government's 170-year-old promise should come first.
"The United States made a bargained-for treaty promise. The courts should enforce it," the Navajo Nation told the court.
(SCARSDALE, N.Y.) -- Five minors have been killed in a crash after a vehicle veered off a highway in Westchester, New York, according to officials.
The victims, four boys and a girl, ranged in age from 8 to 17 years old, according to a news release from Westchester County Public Safety.
The Nissan Rogue the children were traveling in struck a tree and caught fire after it veered off the Hutchinson River Parkway near the Mamaroneck Road exit in Scarsdale around 12:20 a.m. on Sunday, officials say.
A 9-year-old boy survived the accident, officials say.
Investigators believe a 16-year-old was driving the car, according to the release. No other vehicles were involved in the crash, officials said.
The victims are from Connecticut, police said. Their identifications will be released after next of kin are notified.
The full circumstances of the crash remain under investigation by the Westchester County Police Department.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.
(NEW YORK) -- A New York state assemblyman landed a small plane on a Long Island beach after the aircraft experienced engine failure.
Assemblyman Clyde Vanel said he landed the airplane at the nearest safe location while he was out practicing maneuvers in his airplane.
A video shows the plane making the emergency landing on Long Island’s Shoreham Beach.
"As per my training, I landed the airplane at the nearest safe location, while attempting to minimize damage to persons or property. I am thankful that I was able to walk away without injury," Vanel said in a post on Twitter.
"The FAA's training on emergency procedures works. For all my fellow pilots, follow the emergency procedures - it will save your life," he added.
The Federal Aviation Administration confirmed that a single-engine Beechcraft V35 made an emergency landing on the beach in Shoreham, New York, due to a reported engine issue around 2:15 p.m. on Friday. Two people were on board the flight.
(NEW YORK) -- Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon signed a bill banning medication abortions into law, making it the first state to target the abortion pill. A second bill he will allow to go into law without his signature will ban most abortions.
The most effective medication abortion regimen involves taking two medications, mifepristone and misoprostol. Medication abortion is approved by the Food and Drug Administration for up to 10 weeks into pregnancy.
Wyoming was one of 13 states that had enacted trigger bans on abortion that were set to go into effect when the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. The trigger ban, which prohibits abortions in all circumstances except rape, incest or if the mother is at serious risk of death or injury, was blocked by a court as litigation to determine its legality under the state constitution continues.
The medication abortion ban signed by Gordon on Friday makes Wyoming the first state to ban medication abortions separate from a ban on all abortion services.
"I have a strong record of protecting the lives of the unborn, as well as their mothers. I believe all life is sacred and that every individual, including the unborn, should be treated with dignity and compassion," Gordon said in a letter to Wyoming's Secretary of State released publicly.
The new law makes it a misdemeanor to dispense, distribute, sell, prescribe or use abortion medications punishable by up to six months in prison and a fine of up to $9,000. This does not include women seeking abortion medication for themselves.
Gordon said he will also allow a second bill, banning abortions except those necessary for the health of the mother, to go into law without his signature, saying he believes that if the state legislature seeks to settle the issue of abortion, it may have to come through a constitutional amendment.
"If the Legislature wants to expressly address how the Wyoming Constitution treats abortion and defines healthcare, then those issues should be vetted through the amendment process laid out in Article 20 of the Wyoming Constitution and voted on directly by the people," Gordon said.
The ban would allow abortions in cases of rape and incest and to save a woman's life or prevent harm to her health. Abortions will be permitted for ectopic pregnancies, fetuses with fatal anomalies and women who need cancer treatment, among other exceptions. The new law makes violating the ban a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000.
(LOS ANGELES) -- A California family is desperate for news after their mother was kidnapped outside her home in Mexico more than five weeks ago and has not been seen or heard from since.
Maria del Carmen Lopez, 63, a dual U.S.-Mexico citizen, was kidnapped in Pueblo Nuevo in the state of Colima on Feb. 9, according to the FBI, which is conducting a joint investigation with law enforcement authorities in Mexico.
Her family told ABC Los Angeles station KABC that witnesses described seeing a white van drive onto her property.
"There was an exchange of words," her daughter, Zonia Lopez, told KABC in an emotional interview this week. "She was refusing to get into the van."
Another individual reportedly got out of the vehicle and helped pull the mother of seven into the van and then they drove off, according to her family. The woman's family has been unable to get ahold of her since.
"We all started calling her, to see if she would pick up her phone or answer a message, and we have not heard from her," Zonia Lopez told KABC.
"At this point, we need answers, we need to find my mother," she told the station.
The FBI's Los Angeles Field Office announced this week it is offering up to a $20,000 reward for information leading to her location.
The State Department advises U.S. citizens not to travel to the state of Colima due to "widespread" violent crime and kidnapping.
The Lopez family -- which said investigators informed them their mother's case may be part of an organized kidnapping -- is not losing hope.
"Us knowing how strong she is, and that she's fully thinking of us seven, and if we're bringing out that energy to her and we maintain those thoughts, we know we're going to have our mom," Zonia Lopez told KABC.
Maria del Carmen Lopez is described as a Hispanic female with blonde hair and brown eyes who is 5'2" and weighs approximately 160 pounds.
Anyone with information about her physical location should contact their local FBI office or the nearest American Embassy or Consulate.
(HOUSTON) -- The announcement that Texas state officials are taking over leadership of Houston Independent School District later this year is drawing concerns from some community members and educators about state government overreach and the decision's impact on schools.
Some experts are calling the move a major "blow" to Texas' largest public school district, marking a turning point in education policy that follows years of controversial decisions in the state, including legislation on race, parental rights and gender-affirming care.
"Texas has the ninth largest economy in the world," Kevin Malonson, executive director of nonprofit Teach Plus Texas told ABC News. "As Texas thinks, so goes the rest of the country."
The state's Education Agency is enforcing one of the largest school district takeovers in the history of the U.S., with some educators, who are already facing high attrition levels and staffing challenges, saying they're uncertain about their futures. Teachers told ABC News they are worried the takeover could prompt school closures, among other reforms in the nation's eighth largest school district.
"A lot of teachers that were thinking about leaving or retiring are going to do so, so it [the takeover] has caused an instability within the teaching force in our school district," Houston Education Association (HEA) President Michelle Williams told ABC News.
"The uncertainty is really just everything driving teachers to make decisions about what they're going to do – whether they're going to break the contract or stick it out," Williams said.
But Mike Morath, the state's commissioner of education, told ABC affiliate KTRK in Houston that the intervention was "necessary." He said TEA is appointing a new Board of Managers for the school district because of academic failures by Wheatley High School.
Wheatley violated the state's 2015 law – HB 1842 – that mandated an "intervention" and sanction of a public school that has received an academically unsuccessful performance rating for at least two consecutive school years, Morath said.
"What that law requires is if that threshold is ever met, that the commissioner of education is required, it's not discretionary, is required to either order a closure of that school or order a board of managers for the whole district," Morath told KTRK. "It's not in the best interest of kids at Wheatley to close Wheatley, so that leaves us with the board of managers," he said.
Due to the school's underwhelming performance, the law was triggered in 2019. Morath wrote in a recent letter to the superintendent and board of trustees, "the district obtained an injunction" that prevented TEA from taking that required intervention action.
Earlier this year, the Texas Supreme Court delivered an opinion that vacated this long-standing injunction, and it was formally dissolved on March 1.
The job description for the school district's Board of Managers states a desire for the new board to improve academic outcomes for students, but the district claims it has already made recent improvements.
"In the last 19 months, we have already seen vast improvements," HISD Superintendent Millard House II wrote in a statement earlier this week. "Because of the hard work of our students, teachers, and staff, we have lifted 40 of 50 schools off the D or F TEA accountability ratings list," he said.
Malonson said the move breaks from precedent in the state. He said Texas normally opposes state mandates, instead it would leave decisions up to the school districts.
"Texas is all about local control," Malonson told ABC News. "That's the elephant in the room. This flies in the face of everything Texas is about as far as local control. And it's not just people at the state level that talk about local control, it's the districts, it is – that is a thing – that is as Texas as Texas can be."
As Houston residents have seen the TEA intervention unravel for more than three years, some are worried that TEA can't be trusted, Malonson said.
"All they hear is TEA is coming in to take over, TEA is the boogeyman, for a lot of people," he said. "Literally, this is a state takeover of your school district. It is going to make you anxious."
But, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee, D-Texas, went even further saying the impact of this decision could reverberate around the country because Houston is the "most diverse" city in the nation. The Houston representative is calling for a federal civil rights investigation.
"This proposed takeover is devastating," Rep. Jackson-Lee told ABC News. "I need them [the Department of Education] to seek more information and investigate this situation. I need them to determine whether there is due process, whether children are protected by equal protection of the law, whether the civil rights of the children are violated. And frankly, I need them to assess whether a title six complaint is warranted."
More than 80% of HISD students are Black and Hispanic, according to school district data. Title VI of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin.
The U.S. Department of Education told ABC News it has been in contact with Jackson-Lee's office regarding the matter and it values and encourages community input in education decisions.
"We cannot prejudge the effect of state and local decisions that have not yet been implemented," a spokesperson for the department said in regards to the state's announcement.
Michelle Williams has taught at HISD for over a decade. She's most concerned about closures or her school being turned over to the charter system, but she also believes TEA's move is political.
"It's partisan politics playing with [the] education of 196,000 students," Williams told ABC News. "We're a democratic city that constantly has pushed back against the governor [Republican Greg Abbott]. During the pandemic, HISD was one of the school districts that instituted a mask mandate with the state saying that we cannot institute a mask mandate. So we have done some things that have pushed back on the political atmosphere."
As the process plays out, Malonson cautions against immediate reactions before the appointment of the new board on June 1st.
"Today, tomorrow, even next week, not a whole lot of stuff is going to happen," Malonson said. "I'm certain that there is a hefty amount of skepticism and fear about, like, just what TEA is going to do."
He added, "So I think for the morale of the city, being the largest district in the city, the largest in the state. I think it's going to be a blow to the morale of the city and people are just going to be wondering what happens next."
(NEW YORK) -- A man was charged Friday with transmitting a threat after he allegedly threatened to kill police officers at a St. Patrick's Day parade just outside of New York City.
Ridon Kola's alleged online threats were made toward officers and the mayor of Yonkers, New York, who are set to participate in Yonkers' parade on Saturday, according to prosecutors.
Kola allegedly wrote, "I will crucify Yonkers cops and their bosses all along McLean ave. It will be a horror scene," according to the criminal complaint.
Kola lives around the end of the parade route, according to the complaint.
After Kola was questioned by authorities, his "conduct escalated as he continued to assure police his threats would be carried out," Damian Williams, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a statement.
A Yonkers city official said no changes will be made to Saturday's parade, though officers will be present to ensure everyone is safe.
"I want to commend our Yonkers Police Department, FBI, NYPD, Joint Terrorism Task Force, and all agencies involved in thwarting this threat," Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano said in a statement.
"Yonkers is proud to host one of New York's largest St. Patrick's Day parades and threats like this will not intimidate us from celebrating the many contributions of our Irish American community," the mayor added.
Kola's online posts also "demonstrate support of radical Islamic extremism and terrorist attacks, including at least one terrorist attack committed on a public holiday," according to the criminal complaint.
In a "recent threatening post," Kola showed himself with an ax, according to the complaint.
Kola is expected to appear in federal court in White Plains, New York, on Friday.
(LONG BEACH, Calif.) -- California health officials have shut down an elementary school in Long Beach after at least 136 students and staff reported symptoms of norovirus as of Thursday, according to the city's health department.
"Despite stringent control measures, there has been evidence of ongoing transmission and, as a result, the school will be temporarily closed until Wednesday so that deep cleaning -- an outbreak management strategy -- can be thoroughly conducted," the Long Beach Health Department told ABC News.
Norovirus is a highly contagious virus that is the most common cause of viral gastroenteritis, which is an inflammation of the inside lining of the gastrointestinal tract, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Although it's often referred to as a "stomach bug" or "stomach flu," norovirus illness is not related to influenza.
All school and child care operations at Carver Elementary will remain closed Friday through Tuesday, the district said. The school will not implement virtual classes while it is closed, but teachers are allowed to give students work to be completed at home.
A health screening process will be implemented when students return to school on Wednesday morning, according to the district.
"Health officials have determined that this length of closure is the most effective way to stop the further spread of this common virus," the Long Beach Unified School District said in a letter to families.
"Norovirus is a very contagious virus that causes sudden vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal pain. Norovirus spreads primarily through direct and indirect contact with an ill person’s feces (poop) or vomit," the Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services said in a letter to families.
Direct and indirect contact can include changing diapers, caring for or sharing foods or utensils with a sick person, touching contaminated areas, surfaces or objects, and then touching their mouth or food before washing their hands, according to the health department.
Symptoms begin 12 to 48 hours after a person has come into contact with the virus and symptoms can last up to three days, health officials said.
Infected individuals are contagious as soon as they feel sick and can remain contagious up to two weeks. There is no specific treatment for norovirus, however, drinking fluids is important to replace fluids lost from vomiting and diarrhea, according to health officials.
On Wednesday, parents were told to notify the school of any students who continued experiencing symptoms of norovirus and to keep those students home, the district said.
Parents must also monitor students and staff must self-monitor every day before going to school.
"Students and staff with symptoms of norovirus must not go to school or work and must stay home until symptoms have resolved AND you stay symptom free for 48 hours (72 hours for cafeteria staff)," the department said.