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Latest from Josh Miranda

    The former U.S. Army soldier who was sent to prison for leaking information to WikiLeaks has officially launched her campaign for Senate with a new ad.   In the video, the 30-year-old Democrat can be heard speaking over imagery of protests involving police.   'We need to stop expecting that our systems will somehow fix themselves, we need to actually take the reins of power from them,” Manning says in the ad.  (Video) Manning famously came out as transgender after receiving a 35 year prison sentence for leaking classified documents. Then-President Obama commuted her sentence before leaving office last year.  The Maryland resident has not formally filed for candidacy yet, which she must do by February 27th.
  • A recently released print and online advertisement from Apopka’s Spike’s Tactical, a local gun maker, has put the company in the cross hairs of anti-white supremacist and anti-neo-Nazi groups. In the advertisement, Four men holding guns are facing off against a violent group of protesters with the headline, “Not Today Antifa.”  The advertisement also lists the cities of Berkeley, California, Portland, Oregon, Charlottesville, Virginia, and Boston, all sites of high-profile demonstrations by white supremacist groups.   Antifa refers to a minority group of anti-fascist activists. The advertisement was promoting an upcoming show in Las Vegas. Spike’s Tactical marketing director, Kit Cope, told Channel 9 that the advertisement shows “defenders” taking a stand against violent protests. He rejected the idea that his company’s ad sympathizes with white supremacists. “We are absolutely anti-bigotry, anti-racism – all of those things are very anti-America,” Cope said. “We are very pro-America, pro-law enforcement (and) pro-military.” While the advertisement may be controversial, that was part of the point, Cope said. “We wanted it to bring up thoughts, feelings, that can be discussed,” he said. “We’re just trying to start a discussion.” Apopka resident Cynthia Flexer, though, wasn’t interested in taking part in that discussion. “Violence,” she said after seeing the advertisement. “That’s all I can say. Violence and hate.” Cope said Spike’s Tactical has no regrets about publishing the advertisement. The most recent advertisement isn’t the first time Spike’s has caused controversy. In 2015, the company made headlines for putting Christian Bible inscriptions on an assault rifle in the hopes of keeping the guns out of the hands of Muslim extremists.
  • It’s true -- you are not dreaming. For the first time in 28 years, snow fell on the streets of Tallahassee, Florida during rush hour Wednesday morning. The conditions are cold enough for the snow to form, but videos show it quickly melting as it hits the ground. The National Weather Service measured 0.1” of snow/sleet on their rooftop. Roughly 50 miles of Interstate 10 have been closed in Tallahassee due to snow an ice. In lieu of the traditional salt, the unusual weather has prompted Florida Highway Patrol to lay down sand to melt the ice, according to ABC News’ Victor Oquendo. (Video) (Video) Snowfall is unlikely in Orlando, but could be possible in Central Florida’s most northern regions, according to Channel 9 Eyewitness News.
  • A woman pushing a small child in a stroller did not even move the toddler out of the way before kicking another woman in the face at a mall in Fort Myers. Facebook video shows a group of roughly 10 people attacking a woman as she lay on the ground at the Edison Mall. Seconds later, a mother approaches with her child and gets involved. (Video) According to News-Press, the confrontation had broken up by the time police arrived on scene. Officers later returned to the mall to respond to complaints of injuries. The Florida Department of Children and Families is also investigating possible ties to a recent double murder in Southwest Florida, according to Fox 4.
  • The man infamously acquitted of murdering Trayvon Martin has found himself in the middle of another feud -- this time with rapper Jay-Z. According to The Blast, George Zimmerman threatened to feed Jay-Z to an alligator after a production team harassed his family. The rap star is reportedly producing a documentary on the death of Trayvon Martin. “I know how to handle people who f*** with me, I have since February 2012,” Zimmerman told the publication. February of 2012 is the month of Martin’s death. Zimmerman claims his parents or family members are not being paid for their roles in Jay-Z’s documentary. To make matters even more controversial, the 6-part documentary is being produced by The Weinstein Company. The squabble even prompted a response from Snoop Dogg on Instagram.
  • If Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge at Hollywood Studios is anything like its film counterpart, The Last Jedi, Disney is about to make a whole lot of money. The theme park unveiled new concept art that shows off what the Millenium Falcon will look like when it flies into Hollywood Studios in 2019.  (Photo) Over the weekend, Park Imagineer Scott Trowbridge and his team also offered a sneak peak at the planet of Batuu during the Star Wars: Galactic Nights event.  (Photo) Die hard Star Wars fans can also look forward to finally tasting the series' infamous blue milk. The strange beverage has made an appearance as an easter egg in most of the Star Wars movies and will be available to purchase at the shops on planet Batuu.
  • The Internet is tearing apart President Donald Trump’s nominee for the U.S. District Court after his failure to answer even the most basic legal questions. Matthew Spencer Petersen is the President’s nominee for court in Washington D.C. He is also a member of the Federal Election Commission with, admittedly, no trial experience whatsoever. Petersen was noticeably uncomfortable as Sen. John Kennedy questioned him on rudimentary legal jargon and challenged his preparedness for the position. A particularly noteworthy line of questioning involved Petersen’s background in the courtroom.  “Have you ever tried a jury trial?” Kennedy begins. “No.” Petersen replies. “Civil? No. Criminal? No. Bench trial? No.” The back-and-forth went on for roughly a minute. In its entirety, the painfully awkward hearing went on for about five minutes. (Mobile users can click here to see video.)
  • The Orlando Police Department shared new photos of the 12 officers spending time in Puerto Rico. The crew is in San Juan to help the island recover from the destruction left by Hurricane Maria. A Twitter post shows two officers responding to a burglary at a home. (Mobile users click here to see pictures.) More than 100 officers expressed interest in visiting Puerto Rico, but the Department could only afford to send 12. “They are still struggling when it comes to power, especially intersections.” Deputy Chief Orlando Rolon said, “There are over 400 intersections without power. We will be assisting with that and patrol duties.”
  • In the event of a wildfire, California residents are accustomed to being told to grab the essentials and evacuate quickly. For some, “the essentials” include a prized Xbox One. While others may rescue the family dog or cat, Robert Romero grabbed his beloved game console from a burning home in California. A photographer with Pasadena Star-News captured the moment. Robert’s true passion inspired many users on Twitter and Reddit. The heroic rescue even prompted a response from a Director of Programming at Microsoft. “Anyone have his social contact info? I’d love to reach out to him.” Larry Hryb writes on Reddit, “If you know who it is please message me.” The status of Robert’s home and belongings remains unclear, but, if nothing else, it seems his sense of humor is still intact.
  • When Tampa Police arrested Howell Donaldson, a suspected serial killer, most residents learned the news during the police chief’s press conference. But the deaf or hard of hearing were unable to understand the American Sign Language (ASL) translator. The interpreter’s interpretation was completely indecipherable, according to the Tampa Bay Times. An ASL instructor at the University of South Florida had only harsh criticism for the interpreter. “She sat up there and waved her arms like she was singing Jingle Bells,” Rachelle Settambrino told the Times, “I was disappointed, confused, upset and really want to know why the city of Tampa’s chief of police who is responsible for my safety and the safety of the entire community did not check her out.' A police spokesperson said they did not request the interpreter and the department is investigating who made the request. Read the full story at the Tampa Bay Times.
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The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • An Uber Eats driver who police said shot and killed a customer in Atlanta turned himself in Monday afternoon and claims he acted in self-defense, his attorney said. >> Watch the news report here Only WSB-TV's Tom Jones was there when Robert Bivines, 37, arrived at the jail with his attorney. The Atlanta Police Department's Homicide Unit secured an arrest warrant for felony murder on Monday. The shooting happened at a condominium on Pharr Road in Buckhead on Saturday night. Police said Ryan Thornton ordered food from Uber Eats, and the driver delivered the food around 11:30 p.m. Authorities said words were exchanged between Thornton and the driver. >> PREVIOUS STORY: Uber Eats driver accused of killing customer turns himself in The Uber Eats driver then shot the 30-year-old, police said. Thornton died at Grady Memorial Hospital.  Bivines' attorney, Jackie Patterson, calls this a case of self-defense. 'This is a case where my client had no choice but to defend himself,' he said. Patterson said Thornton was irate about the amount of time it took for his food to arrive. He said Thornton was aggressive, and as Bivines walked away, Thornton made a threatening move.  'He turned around, put his hand in his pocket and said, 'I'm going to [expletive] you up,'' Patterson said. Patterson said Bivines was afraid to wait to see what Thornton had in his pocket, so he said he defended himself. Jones asked Patterson why his client, who had only been on the job less than a week, didn't just drive away. >> Read more trending news  'You can't drive away when someone is coming at you with your window down,' Patterson said. Bivines will be taken to the Fulton County Jail. He will have a first appearance before a judge Tuesday. Uber sent WSB-TV a statement Monday saying Bivens no longer has access to the app: “We are shocked and saddened by this senseless act of violence and our hearts go out to Ryan’s friends and family. We have been working with the Atlanta Police Department, and the driver can no longer access the app” A spokesperson for Uber told WSB-TV that Bivens passed a background check. Bivens was an Uber Eats delivery partner only and did not drive passengers. Uber is working with the Atlanta Police Department on this investigation. Morehouse College sent the following statement:  'The Morehouse College community is mourning the passing of Ryan Thornton who was was shot Saturday in Atlanta after ordering a late dinner from UberEATS, according to police reports. 'Thornton, 30, was a recent graduate of Morehouse College. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science in May 2017, and had started a new job. 'Morehouse faculty, staff, and administrators on Monday were shocked and saddened by the news of Thornton’s death. Employees in Morehouse College’s admissions office said they worked closely with Thornton and described him as being friendly, hard-working, and determined to become a Morehouse Man.  'President David A. Thomas said that the Morehouse community stands at the ready to support Thornton’s family during this difficult time. “ ‘The loss of another young life to gun violence is tragic,' Thomas said. 'Ryan was an ambitious student with so much promise. He was well-respected by his peers and highly regarded by his professors. We at Morehouse College will keep Ryan's family in our thoughts and prayers.’ ”
  • The man allegedly behind the fatal Florida high school shooting apparently has a disturbing past that is coming to light. A school fight that was captured on camera a little more than a year ago is the latest development. >> Click here to watch Authorities said 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. Cruz was formerly a member of the school’s JROTC program before being expelled. >> Florida school shooting: Teacher of the year's emotional Facebook post goes viral A September 2016 video shared by ABC News shows Cruz wearing a white shirt and khakis while fighting with other students. Cruz was reportedly handed a two-day suspension following the incident. >> Family who took in Nikolas Cruz: 'We just didn't know' According to ABC, the fight was one of five documented incidents that caused school administrators to expel Cruz, mandating his transfer to another high school in February 2017. >> WATCH: Florida school shooting survivor Emma Gonzalez slams politicians, NRA in emotional speech Another incident that reportedly contributed to Cruz’s expulsion was his alleged fight with his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend. Cruz was allegedly abusive toward her before they broke up. >> Read more trending news  The massacre at the high school marked the 25th U.S. school shooting in which someone was killed since the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School.
  • Orange County Fire Rescue will soon own an old Lynx Bus that they plan to use to help save lives during mass casualty incidents in the future.   On Tuesday, commissioners are expected to approve the $2,500 purchase of the bus and refurbish it into a large ambulance.    Fire Rescue officials will take out the bus seats and install rows of stretchers. They believe these new changes will be useful in saving lives during responses to things like wildfires, hurricanes, or any incidents like Pulse.    The bus will the only one of its kind in the Orlando Metro region, but can be requested for use around Central Florida.    The county also plants to stage the bus at large events like marathons and parades.
  • Two New York state troopers are being credited with an immense kindness after they paid for the flight of a young woman to Florida to say goodbye to her friend, one of the 17 victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre.  Jordana Judson, 23, told NBC News that she was devastated to learn that her childhood friend, Meadow Pollack, was among the victims of the Valentine’s Day shooting at her alma mater. Former Stoneman Douglas student Nikolas Cruz, 19, is accused of killing 14 students and three faculty members with an AR-15 rifle.  >> Read more trending news Pollack, an 18-year-old senior, and Judson were lifelong friends, NBC News reported. “They were like our second family our whole lives,” Judson said of the Pollacks. Judson said she showed up at LaGuardia Airport on Thursday, the day after the shooting, frantic to get a flight home to Florida, where she’d grown up.  “As soon as I got out of the car at the airport, I started hysterically crying,” she said.  Troopers Robert Troy and Thomas Karasinski spotted the distraught young woman and asked if she was all right. She tearfully explained that a friend was killed in the school shooting in Florida and that she needed help figuring out where to buy her ticket.  The troopers led her inside to the JetBlue counter, where an agent told her a one-way ticket to Florida would be almost $700, Judson told the news station. Unable to afford the cost, she begged the agent to lower the price or allow her a bereavement discount. The agent could not accommodate her, and was about to give the ticket to another passenger when Troy and Karasinski stepped in. “I look up, and the state troopers are standing there and they’re both handing over their credit cards,” Judson told NBC News. “I’m telling them that they don’t have to do this. This is crazy. They said, ‘It’s already done. We want you to be home with their families.’” A rabbi who sat Shiva with the Pollack family confirmed that Judson made it home to be with the family and to attend Meadow’s funeral on Friday, where the Miami Herald reported that she was described as a star with “a smile like sunshine.” Meadow’s father, Andrew Pollack, and her older brother, Hunter, both lamented the fact that they couldn’t protect her when she needed them. “This piece of (expletive) killed my kid, and I couldn’t do anything about it,” Andrew Pollack said, according to the Herald. “That’s never happened to me in my life. I’m always able to protect my family in any situation.” Hunter Pollack said he always looked out for his sister.  “I wanted to be the over-supportive brother my whole life, and I feel like I failed,” Hunter said. “So all I can do is hope that (her killer) gets what he deserves.” Judson told NBC News that the troopers’ gesture to get her to the funeral made her heart “full and heavy at the same time.” New York State Police Superintendent George P. Beach II told the news station in a statement that, as law enforcement officials, all troopers take an oath to protect and serve.  “We also instill in our members the importance of acting with respect and empathy for the people they encounter,” Beach said.  Troy told the news station that he sympathized with Judson’s dilemma. “The sense of just being there for your family and friends, you want to be there for them,” Troy said. “You’re going to go through anything to get there.” Explaining that he has five younger sisters, the trooper said it was a “sigh of relief” to be able to help Judson. “If that was one of them, I’d want someone to help them out,” he said. 
  • The White House on Monday signaled that President Donald Trump is willing to back at least one bipartisan measure to strengthen the national instant check system for those who buy firearms, as Democrats in the House and Senate continued to argue that action by the Congress on gun violence is long overdue. “While discussions are ongoing and revisions are being considered, the President is supportive of efforts to improve the Federal background check system,” said White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. In a written statement sent to reporters, Sanders said the President spoke to Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) on Friday; the Texas Republican has a bipartisan bill with Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), which would force states and federal agencies to submit more information into the instant gun check system. Our churches and schools should be refuges where children and parents feel secure. Many of these shootings can be prevented. There's no reason not to advance #FixNICS to help https://t.co/0JpZDiLPOr — Senator John Cornyn (@JohnCornyn) February 15, 2018 Interesting morning. Two quick thoughts: 1/ Trump's support for the FixNICS Act, my bill with @JohnCornyn, is another sign the politics of gun violence are shifting rapidly. 2/ No one should pretend this bill alone is an adequate response to this epidemic. — Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) February 19, 2018 After a mass shooting last November in Sutherland Springs, Texas, where 25 people died, the Air Force acknowledged that the killer – who received a ‘bad conduct’ discharge from the military – should not have been able to buy guns, but those records were never placed in the instant check system. “For years agencies and states haven’t complied with the law, failing to upload these critical records without consequence,” Cornyn said in November when he introduced this bipartisan gun measure.” Democrats had hoped there would be action on that measure – just like they had hoped there would have been action to ban “bump stocks” after the mass shooting in Las Vegas, action on the “No Fly, No Buy” measure after the Orlando Pulse Nightclub shooting, and then the “FixNics” bill after the Texas shooting. I know assault rifles. I carried one in Iraq. They have no place on America's streets. #Orlando pic.twitter.com/ibKQE2PpqF — Seth Moulton (@sethmoulton) June 14, 2016 Last week’s shooting in Florida simply put all of those requests for legislation to deal with guns on repeat for Democrats. “We can’t ignore the issues of gun control that this tragedy raises,” said Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA). “And so, I’m asking – no, demanding – we take action now.” Democrats would certainly like to do much more than the ‘FixNics’ bill, or banning bump stocks, as other ideas have popped up in recent days, like not allowing anyone under age 21 to buy weapons like an AR-15. But as the President returned to Washington on Monday evening from a long weekend at his Florida retreat, it wasn’t clear if his support for one bipartisan plan would actually mean action – as GOP leaders have not put such measures on the fast track to a vote in the House and Senate. On Sunday, when the President met with House Speaker Paul Ryan in Florida, the two men discussed a series of issues, including “the recent tragedy in Parkland, Florida.” The White House statement on their meeting did not characterize whether legislative action was discussed. No action will happen on anything gun-related this week – as the Congress won’t be back on Capitol Hill for votes until February 26.