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South facing flood warning and severe storm threat

ABC NewsBy SAMANTHA WNEK, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- The Pacific Northwest will get a bit of a break in the active weather Saturday as the latest storm to drop feet of snow moves further east.

Snoqualmie Pass was shut down for a while Friday to allow for crews to do avalanche control work. After re-opening they were forced to shut down I-90 again due to multiple collisions.

Snoqualmie Pass has picked up an incredible 396 inches of snow so far this season.

Stevens Pass -- which was also forced to close down for some time on Friday -- has picked up another 19 inches of snow.

The Northwest will continue to see heavy snow and gusty winds. There is also an avalanche threat in the area, and very high avalanche conditions are expected Saturday.

While some winter storm warnings have been allowed to expire overnight, others will continue through Saturday morning for the Northwest.

Winter weather advisories stretch into Utah, where the snow will last through the day, with nearly 2 feet expected in the mountains. Winds will be gusting at 45 mph.

In California and Nevada, winds have already gusted at up to 80 mph at Mount Rose and 69 mph at Mammoth Mountain.

Gusty winds will continue through the weekend.

A high wind watch has been issued for Southern California including Anaheim, Riverside and San Bernardino from Saturday night through Sunday afternoon.

Some wind gusts will reach 75 mph.

As a system moves into the Plains and Tennessee Valley, strong storms and flooding rain are possible over the next few days.

Flood watches have been issued from Arkansas to West Virginia, as several rounds of rain will be moving through those areas.

A wide swath of 2-5 inches of rain is expected from Texas to West Virginia over the next several days.

Additionally, strong to severe storms are possible Saturday with the highest threat of hail and damaging winds occurring in parts of Northern Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas.

On Sunday, the threat of severe storms will include Dallas, Little Rock, Arkansas and Memphis, Tennessee.

A system bringing rain, snow and an icy mix is moving through the mid-Atlantic and Northeast Saturday.

Winter weather advisories are issued for parts of the Poconos, Adirondacks, Catskills and across a large part of New Hampshire and Maine.

The highest snow totals will be 6 inches in Maine. The other areas will likely see 1-3 inches with a light glaze of ice.

It is a quick-moving system and by late Saturday morning and early afternoon the rain will stop from from Washington, D.C., to Boston.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Murder warrant out for MIT graduate in killing of Yale student

New Haven Police Department By MORGAN WINSOR and MARLENE LENTHANG, ABC News

(NEW HAVEN, Conn.) -- Police have secured an arrest warrant charging Qinxuan Pan, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate student, with murder for the death of a Yale graduate student earlier this month.

On Feb. 6. 26-year-old Kevin Jiang was shot dead on a street in New Haven, Connecticut, according to an application for an arrest warrant filed earlier this month by an officer with the Mansfield Police Department.

The New Haven Police Department confirmed to ABC News Saturday that they obtained an arrest warrant for Pan, 29, and he remains at large.

U.S. Marshal Matthew Duffy said the murder warrant was secured with a $5 million bond.

“According to the family his last known whereabouts are in Georgia,” Duffy told ABC News.

Before the warrant, Pan was named as a person of interest in the case. He allegedly stole a car and swapped the plates on the day of the murder.

Pan allegedly swiped a blue 2015 GMC Terrain from a car dealership in Mansfield, Massachusetts, about 35 miles southwest of Boston, on Feb. 6, just hours before Jiang was shot.

The officer stated in the warrant application that he was dispatched to the dealership on Feb. 6 at approximately 5:30 p.m. because a salesman had reported a stolen vehicle. The salesman told the officer that Pan had walked into the dealership that morning, asking if he could test drive the 2015 GMC Terrain and bring it to his mechanic to have the SUV inspected before he considered purchasing it. The salesman said he attached a Massachusetts dealer number plate to the car before Pan drove off with it at around 11 a.m., according to the warrant application.

The salesman said he texted Pan at approximately 3:30 p.m. to inquire when he was returning the SUV, and Pan responded asking if he could bring it back after-hours due to a family emergency. The salesman said he told Pan that the car needed to be returned before the dealership closes, but Pan did not respond. The salesman said he attempted to call Pan several times but he did not answer. The salesman noted that Pan "seemed like a very squared away person" and said he didn't believe that Pan was trying to steal the vehicle, according to the warrant application.

The officer stated in the warrant application that he also attempted to contact Pan but was only able to leave a voicemail. He asked the Malden Police Department to check if the vehicle was at Pan's residence, and the officers later reported that they spoke to Pan's mother who told them her son had changed his cellphone number and wouldn't say where he was. She told the officers that Pan would return the car. The officers noted that they have been dispatched to the residence in Malden "many times for mental illness issues," according to the warrant application.

The responding officer stated in the warrant application that he decided to hold off on entering the SUV as stolen and give Pan a chance to contact him or return the vehicle. But when the car hadn't been returned by 10:30 p.m. that night and Pan still hadn't contacted the dealership nor police, the officer said he requested the Southeastern Massachusetts Regional Emergency Communications Center to enter the vehicle as stolen and put out an all-points bulletin for the Malden area, according to the warrant application.

A few minutes later, the officer said he was notified that the SUV had been towed in New Haven, Connecticut, after Pan had allegedly driven the car into a scrap yard where it got stuck on some railroad tracks. Pan had allegedly removed the dealer number plate from the vehicle and attached a Connecticut commercial plate, which was reported to be lost or missing. When officers with the New Haven Police Department went to the location Pan was supposed to be staying to question him, he had already fled, according to the warrant application.

The officer stated in the application that he was requesting a warrant for Pan's arrest on a larceny charge due to the steps he allegedly took to "conceal the vehicle."

During a press conference earlier this month, New Haven Police Chief Otoniel Reyes said dispatchers received numerous 911 calls on Feb. 6 at around 8:30 p.m. before responding officers found Jiang dead from multiple gunshot wounds in the East Rock neighborhood, near Yale University's campus. Reyes told reporters that Jiang was operating a vehicle at the time of the shooting but declined to say if the victim was inside or outside his car when he was killed. Police are investigating whether Jiang was targeted and whether the shooting followed a road rage incident.

Jiang, a former member of the Army National Guard, had recently gotten engaged and was a graduate student at the Yale School of Environment, according to the university's president.

In June 2014, Pan received undergraduate degrees in computer science and mathematics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. He has been enrolled as a graduate student in MIT's Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science since September 2014, according to the school.

The United States Marshals Service has joined the search for Pan and is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to his location and arrest. The federal law enforcement agency issued a press release last week describing Pan as 6-feet tall, weighing about 170 pounds and having a medium complexion.

Pan could possibly be staying with friends or family in the Duluth or Brookhaven areas of Georgia, the agency said. He was last seen in the early morning hours on Feb. 11 driving with family members in Brookhaven or Duluth. Relatives told investigators that Pan was carrying a black backpack and acting strange.

"Pan should be considered armed and dangerous," the U.S. Marshals Service said in the press release. "Individuals should not attempt to apprehend him themselves."

Anyone with information on Pan's whereabouts is urged to contact the U.S. Marshals Service at 1-877-Wanted-2 (1-877-926-8332). Any information shared will be considered confidential, the agency said.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Three people dead after plane crashes in Georgia, leaving wing inside mobile home

Gainesville Police DepartmentBy ROSA SANCHEZ, ABC News

(GAINESVILLE, Ga.) -- A small plane crashed in Gainesville, Georgia Friday afternoon, killing three.

Gainesville fire division chief Keith Smith told reporters the fire department responded to a 911 call made shortly after 6 p.m. from a passerby who noticed debris from the plane on the side of the road.

The victims were identified as Dan Delnoce, 44, of Gainesville, Courtney Flanders, 45, of Gainesville, and Matthew Delnoce, 39, of Ohio, Hall County Sheriff’s Office said.

The bodies have been transported to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab for autopsy.

The plane was reportedly heading to Daytona Beach, Florida, when it crashed into a wooded area near several homes in Gainesville.

"Memorial Park Road closed at Cross Street for a single engine plane crash. Please use alternate routes," the Gainesville Police Department wrote on Facebook Friday evening.

The Federal Aviation Administration will investigate the cause of the accident, Smith said.

He added that there were no injuries on the ground, but there was some property damage.

Part of the wing from the plane, he said, was found inside a bedroom in a mobile home in the area. The family who owns the home was having dinner in another room when the plane crashed. The residents were not injured.

Also, four adults and a child were evacuated from a nearby home after fuel fell in the area, ABC-affiliate WSB-TV reported.

Personnel are now working to recover the bodies from the plane, Smith said, adding that the Sheriff's Office will be handling the investigation.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


COVID-19 vaccine doses allegedly stolen, two children wrongly vaccinated in Tennessee county

peterschreiber.media/iStockBy WILL MCDUFFIE, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Coronavirus vaccines were allegedly stolen and two children were wrongly administered shots in Shelby County, Tennessee, the state's top health official disclosed Friday.

The incident is the latest in a string of embarrassing hiccups in the county's vaccine rollout.

Lisa Piercey, Tennessee's health commissioner, said that the state has alerted the FBI about the alleged theft.

The latest disclosures come on the heels of an announcement made earlier in the week that more than 2,400 vaccine doses in Shelby County had been wasted over the course of a month, and that the state was transferring control over the storage and distribution of the county's vaccine inventory to the city of Memphis.

To culminate the tumultuous week, the county's health director submitted her resignation Friday.

According to Piercey, a volunteer is believed to have stolen multiple doses from a vaccine event on Feb. 3, apparently by drawing the vaccine into syringes before leaving the site with the syringes.

Piercey's office contacted the FBI Thursday evening about the alleged theft.

The state is also trying to determine how two children got vaccinated at a separate site on Feb. 3, since none of the coronavirus vaccines have been approved for use in children.

Piercey said the kids arrived with their mother at the site, apparently with appointments, and a volunteer gave them the vaccines.

Neither the theft nor the administration of the vaccines to the children were reported to the state until Thursday, weeks after they occurred.

Piercey said she brought up rumors of stolen doses to Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris, who told her he was aware of the reports. He later sent the state more information about the theft, along with details about the children who were mistakenly vaccinated.

Harris, in a press conference Friday, said he knew of "suspicious activity" at the site of the theft within a day of the incident, and that the issue was taken up with law enforcement but was not reported to the state.

Harris also announced that Alisa Haushalter, the Shelby County health director, had resigned earlier in the day.

Gov. Bill Lee, in a trip to a Shelby County vaccine site Friday "to get eyes on the ground on what's happening," told reporters there have been some "very serious challenges" in the county's vaccine rollout and "very disappointing circumstances that have unfolded over the last several days."

Of the move to transfer control over vaccines to the city of Memphis, Lee said, "That speaks to the great deal of concern we have."

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


New Orleans police officer fatally shot at high school basketball game

kali9/iStockBy ROSA SANCHEZ, ABC News

(NEW ORLEANS) -- A Tulane police officer was shot and killed outside a high school basketball game Friday evening, the New Orleans Police Department announced.

At around 6:15 p.m. a person attempted to enter the George Washington Carver High School gymnasium, where the game was being held, and was refused by one of the staff members, New Orleans police told reporters Friday.

"The officer heard the disturbance and attempted to intervene," NOPD Superintendent Shaun Ferguson said. "As a result of intervening and attempting to escort this individual out of the school, this individual pulled his weapon out and fired a shot that struck the officer in his chest."

The shooting happened outside the gymnasium, Ferguson said.

At 6:38 p.m., the NOPD wrote on Twitter that they were on their way to the scene after learning that "a law enforcement officer from an outside agency was shot."

When they arrived at the high school, police found the officer suffering from a gunshot wound to the chest, the NOPD said in a statement.

The officer, who was also a reserve officer with the City Court Constable, was taken to University Medical Center, where he was later pronounced dead, Ferguson told reporters.

A suspect was immediately apprehended and arrested, according to the police department's statement.

"We do have an individual detained at this time, who we do believe is responsible for this act," Ferguson said. "Again, this is a very fluid situation. Our homicide ... division will be the lead in this investigation while our force investigation team will assist in this process."

Ferguson said the deceased officer's name cannot yet be released, as the incident is still under investigation. The NOPD said in their statement that they will release his name upon completion of an autopsy and notification of family.

Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman reacted to the news on Twitter Friday night.

"The Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office mourns the loss of the the deputy constable killed tonight in the line of duty. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and the 2nd City Court Constable at this difficult time," he wrote.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Self-described neo-Nazi sentenced to 19 years for plot to blow up Colorado synagogue

DanHenson1/iStockBy MEREDITH DELISO, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- A self-described neo-Nazi and white supremacist was sentenced to over 19 years behind bars for plotting to blow up a historic Colorado synagogue in 2019, authorities said.

Richard Holzer, 28, pleaded guilty in October to federal hate crime and explosives charges for planning to destroy the Temple Emanuel Synagogue in Pueblo, Colorado. He faced up to 20 years in prison for each charge and a fine of up to $250,000.

On Friday, Holzer was sentenced to 235 months in federal prison, followed by 15 years of supervised release, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Colorado announced. He is serving time for the two charges concurrently.

Court records show Holzer did not wish to address the court, and he was not imposed a fine because he "has no ability" to pay one.

Details of Holzer's plea deal met the federal definition of domestic terrorism, prosecutors said, "as they involved criminal acts dangerous to human life that were intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population."

"Today's sentence is another step forward in our on-going fight against extremism," U.S. Attorney for the District of Colorado Jason Dunn said in a statement. "About two-and-a-half years ago, my first day as U.S. Attorney took me to a vigil for victims from the Pittsburgh Tree of Life Synagogue attack. Today, my last day in the office, we have sentenced the extremist responsible for the attempted bombing of the Temple Emanuel Synagogue in Pueblo. We must remain ever vigilant in this battle and I am confident the Department will continue to lead this fight."

Holzer admitted to prosecutors last year that he intentionally targeted the congregants of the synagogue and wanted to "get that place off the map," Dunn's office said.

FBI agents foiled the plan and arrested Holzer in November 2019, before he could carry out his plot against the synagogue, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Months earlier, undercover agents made contact with Holzer through a Facebook account after he was observed using social media to promote white supremacy ideology and acts of violence, authorities said.

Prosecutors said Holzer sent an undercover agent a picture of himself holding automatic weapons and declared that he wanted to start a racial holy war.

He also told undercover agents that he wanted the bombing to send a message to Jewish people that they must leave his town, "otherwise people will die," prosecutors said.

Holzer coordinated with the undercover agents to obtain explosives. During a meeting on Nov. 1, 2019, the agents provided him with inert pipe bombs and other explosives, which Holzer said he intended to set off hours later, according to prosecutors.

"Mr. Holzer targeted a place of worship for violence and destruction to drive people of the Jewish faith from our community," FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge Michael Schneider said in a statement. "Today's sentence demonstrates the commitment by the FBI and our law enforcement partners to ensure that if a crime is motivated by bias against a religion or any other federally protected status, it will be aggressively investigated, and the perpetrators held responsible for their actions."

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


FAA proposes $27,500 fine for Delta passenger who allegedly hit flight attendant

Boarding1Now/iStockBy MINA KAJI, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- A passenger is facing a $27,500 fine for allegedly hitting a Delta flight attendant in the face in October.

The Federal Aviation Administration announced the proposed penalty for the passenger on Friday.

The unnamed passenger was traveling on a Delta flight from Miami to Atlanta on Oct. 19. They were traveling and sitting next to another passenger who refused to wear his mask, secure his tray table or fasten his seatbelt, according to the FAA.

The flight then returned to the gate where flight attendants asked the two passengers to get off the aircraft.

"In response, the passenger accompanying the non-compliant traveler ignored the flight attendant’s instructions, began yelling expletives at the flight attendant and other passengers, and struck the flight attendant under her left eye," the FAA said.

In mid-January the agency announced that it would begin handing down stricter punishments to unruly airline passengers without a warning, including "fines of up to $35,000 and imprisonment."

FAA Administrator Steve Dickson signed the order on Jan. 13 directing the agency to take a "zero-tolerance policy" in unruly passenger cases after the agency saw a "disturbing increase in incidents" of passengers disrupting flights with "threatening or violent behavior."

"The order that I signed yesterday directs my safety inspectors and our attorneys and our chief counsel office to exercise all enforcement authority that we have," Dickson told ABC News at the time. "Traditionally what we will do as we work through these situations, there are times when, every situation can be a little bit different, and there may be warnings, there may be counseling. But in this particular case, for the time being, up until March 30, we are going to go straight to enforcement."

"We can always make it a longer time period," Dickson added.

The agency said it has "initiated more than 1,300 enforcement actions against unruly passengers" within the last decade, "including recent cases for allegedly interfering with and assaulting flight attendants who instructed them to wear masks."

The passenger facing the $27,500 fine has 30 days to respond to the FAA after receiving the agency's enforcement letter.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


US Park Police names first Black female chief in 230-year history

NPSBy MARLENE LENTHANG, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Pamela A. Smith has been named as the first Black woman to lead the U.S. Park Police in the agency's 230-year history.

Smith, a 23-year veteran of the Park Police, officially takes over on Sunday.

The appointment comes as the nation has seen a racial reckoning unfold over the past year and massive protests decrying racism and police brutality against people of color.

"I have dedicated my career to the professionalism of law enforcement, and it is my highest honor and privilege to serve as Chief of Police," Smith said in a statement. "Today's officers face many challenges, and I firmly believe challenges present opportunities. I look forward to leading this exemplary team as we carry out our mission with honesty and integrity."

She has already announced that within 90 days she'll start a program where Park Police officers will have to wear body cameras, starting at the agency's field office in San Francisco. Officers across the country will be wearing them by the end of the year, she added.

"This is one of the many steps we must take to continue to build trust and credibility with the public we have been entrusted to serve," Smith said.

However, she didn't commit to releasing camera footage to the public.

"In order to obtain any footage, a request for a recording can be made through the Freedom of Information act and will be processed in accordance with applicable laws and policies, including the Privacy Act," Smith told ABC Washington, D.C., affiliate WJLA-TV.

U.S. Park Police officers have been involved in two high-profile incidents in recent years.

In 2017, the agency came under fire for the shooting death of Bijan Ghaisar in Virginia.

"During the time of the incident I served as a commander of the New York field office, and therefore I have not yet had the opportunity to be briefed [on the Ghaisar case], but that will be my first priority," Smith said per WJLA.

In June, the agency once again came under scrutiny after officers, along with D.C. National Guard troops, violently cleared out protesters from Lafayette Square near the White House so Donald Trump could walk to St. John's Church for a photo-op where he held up a Bible.

At the time, Park Police said it and other agencies used smoke canisters and pepper balls to disperse the crowd.

Smith has served as a patrol officer, field training officer, executive lieutenant to the chief of police, and was the first woman to lead the New York Field Office.

Smith's "commitment to policing as public service and her willingness to listen and collaborate make her the right person to lead the U.S. Park Police at this pivotal moment in our country," Shawn Benge, deputy director exercising the delegated authority of the National Park Service director, said in a statement.

The Park Police -- the country's oldest federal law enforcement agency, established in 1791 and run by the NPS -- includes about 560 employees who protect parks and landmarks in San Francisco, New York and Washington, D.C.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


More Americans say they plan to get COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible: Poll

Ridofranz/iStockBy STEPHANIE EBBS, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- An increasing number of Americans are anxious to get COVID-19 vaccines as the rollout continues, with more than half of Americans saying they plan to get vaccinated as soon as possible or have already received at least one dose.

More than 13% of the adult population has received at least one dose, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, and more than 6% are fully vaccinated with the two-dose regimen required for the available vaccines.

The new figures from a Kaiser Family Foundation poll show that anticipation for the vaccines is growing. At least 55% of Americans have received the vaccine or plan to get vaccinated as soon as possible, according to new results released Friday, compared to 47% in January.

The supply of available vaccines still can't meet demand, but the number of doses is expected to increase in the coming weeks, with enough doses for 130 million adults expected by the end of March.

One in five Americans also report they are willing to get vaccinated but plan to wait, a decrease from 31% in January. Black Americans and young adults are more likely to say they want to wait and see how the vaccine works for people who already got it.

But a notable percentage of Americans still have concerns, with one in five saying they are reluctant to get the vaccine. About 7% of adults say they would only get the vaccine if it is required and 15% say they definitely will not get it.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Delayed vaccine shipment leaves NYC with 'extra' supply, city to open overnight appointments

MarsBars/iStockBy EMILY SHAPIRO, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Delayed shipments due to last week's massive winter storm has left New York City with an "extra" vaccine supply, Mayor Bill de Blasio said, prompting the city that never sleeps to add some overnight appointments.

De Blasio said the city is adding overnight shifts at three mass vaccination sites: Brooklyn Army Terminal, Bathgate in the Bronx and Citi Field in Queens.

"We're going to blitz this week. This is going to be a very intense weekend," de Blasio said at a news conference Thursday.

De Blasio said the city is also "doubling the number of appointments at some of the key sites in communities where we're focusing on fighting disparity, at Teachers Prep and at Martin Van Buren high schools. We're opening new pop-up sites in communities that need more outreach."

"We get the supply we need, we can take off," he said.

New York City had administered more than 1.6 million vaccine doses -- which equals more than the entire population of Philadelphia, the mayor said.

New York City's seven-day positivity rate stands at 7.12% as of Thursday.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Asian man stabbed in back in Chinatown, suspect charged with attempted murder as a hate crime

Ben185/iStockBy AARON KATERSKY and EMILY SHAPIRO, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- A 23-year-old has been charged with second-degree attempted murder as a hate crime after allegedly stabbing a 36-year-old Asian man in the back in New York City's Chinatown, police sources said.

Salman Muflihi, of Brooklyn, allegedly pulled an 8-inch knife on the victim at about 6:20 p.m. Thursday, according to police sources.

The victim was taken to Bellevue Hospital in critical condition, sources said.

After the attack Muflihi ran to a security guard outside the nearby Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, allegedly telling the guard, "I just stabbed someone. Where are the police at?" sources said.

Muflih allegedly told detectives that he "didn’t like the way" the victim "looked at him,"

Muflihi was also charged with assault, forgery and criminal possession of a weapon, according to police sources.

Violence against Asians has been growing since the pandemic.

Between March and December last year, the organization Stop Asian American and Pacific Islander Hate recorded nearly 3,000 reports of anti-Asian hate incidents nationwide.

The New York City Police Department reported a 1,900% increase in anti-Asian hate crimes last year.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Texas federal judge rules CDC's pandemic eviction moratorium unconstitutional

Kuzma/iStockBy CATHERINE THORBECKE, ABC News

(TYLER, Texas) -- A federal judge has ruled the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's pandemic eviction ban is unconstitutional.

J. Campbell Barker, a Trump-nominated judge in the Eastern District of Texas, issued the 21-page ruling Thursday in response to a lawsuit from a group of landlords and property managers.

"The federal government cannot say that it has ever before invoked its power over interstate commerce to impose a residential eviction moratorium," Barker wrote, noting that it did not do so during the Spanish Flu pandemic or during the Great Depression. "The federal government has not claimed such a power at any point during our nation's history until last year."

Ultimately, Barker deemed the measure unconstitutional, writing: "Although the COVID-19 pandemic persists, so does the Constitution."

The Trump administration announced the federal eviction moratorium through an order from the CDC last September in response to the pandemic. It was set to expire at the end of January but has been extended through the end of March.

Brian Morgenstern, deputy White House press secretary at the time, said when it was announced that the moratorium "means that people struggling to pay rent due to the coronavirus will not have to worry about being evicted and risk further spreading ... or exposure to the disease due to economic hardship."

The CDC did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment on Friday. The Department of Justice, which represented the government, declined to comment.

Diane Yentel, the president and CEO of the the National Low Income Housing Coalition, urged the CDC to appeal the ruling "immediately."

🚨Tonight, a federal district court judge in TX ruled the CDC eviction moratorium unconstitutional.

Renters, don’t panic: THE MORATORIUM IS STILL IN EFFECT. The judge did NOT issue an injunction.

But he may in near future. The CDC must appeal immediately.

— Diane Yentel (@dianeyentel) February 26, 2021

Comprehensive, national eviction risk data is scant. An analysis released last month by Moody's Analytics and the Urban Institute said that some 10 million renters are behind on paying rent and risk being evicted. Moreover, the typical delinquent renter is almost four months and $5,600 behind on monthly rent and utility payments as of January, according to the analysis.

"To put that into some perspective, approximately seven million households lost their homes in foreclosure during the five darkest years of the global financial crisis," the researchers wrote. "Here we have 10 million families facing a similar fate over a matter of months."

Those who have fallen behind in their rent "are among the most vulnerable members of society" and are also "more likely to be families of color," the researchers added.

These concerns were echoed in a separate survey released earlier this month by a coalition of advocacy groups including Color of Change, the National Employment Law Project, the TIME'S UP Foundation Impact Lab and the Worker Institute at Cornell ILR that looked at COVID-19-related inequities.

Those researchers found that 42% of Black workers, 39% of Latinx workers and 21% of white workers "expressed some level of concern that their household would face eviction or foreclosure" in the coming year.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Woman shot with rubber bullet at protest said she's not surprised to see officer exonerated

(FILE photo) - jacoblund/iStockBy EMILY SHAPIRO, ABC News

(FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.) -- LaToya Ratlieff, a Florida woman who was shot in the face by a police officer's rubber bullet during a Black Lives Matter protest, said her "heart dropped" when she learned the officer was exonerated but said she wasn't surprised.

"It was expected," Ratlieff said at a news conference Friday. "We've seen this happen too many times ... when it comes to Black life."

"If nothing else, it's invigorating because it reaffirms why we were in the streets marching ... and why this doesn't end today," she added.

On May 31, 2020, Ratlieff was at a George Floyd protest in Fort Lauderdale that turned violent. She was heading to her car to go home when a rubber bullet struck her face, a half-inch above her right eye, shattering her eye socket.

Video showed Ratlieff walking about 30 feet from a group of officers who were wearing riot gear and firing tear gas canisters and rubber bullets. The footage showed Ratlieff screaming and blood gushing from her wound. The injury nearly cost Ratlieff her eye.

The officer who struck Ratlieff has been exonerated, Fort Lauderdale Police Interim Police Chief Patrick Lynn announced Thursday.

The officer "identified and targeted an individual who hurled a projectile at our officers with an intent to cause them harm" and it was not the officer's "intent" to hit Ratlieff, Lynn said at a news conference.

The department's office of internal affairs conducted an "extensive" review and an external review was conducted as well, Lynn said.

"The department has made every effort to learn from this incident," Lynn said.

"On behalf of the men and women of the Fort Lauderdale Police Department, I want to express my sincerest apology," Lynn said to Ratlieff.

Ratlieff on Friday called Lynn's apology "disingenuous ... as if I had a bad dinner at a restaurant."

Ratlieff on Friday also advocated against legislation endorsed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, which she said would suppress Black Floridians and allies from protesting for civil rights.

DeSantis is "working to criminalize the first amendment rights of Black people and those who stand with us," she said.

The HB1 bill aims to combat riots with proposals including: prohibiting inciting or encouraging a riot; creating "affirmative defense to civil action where plaintiff participated in riot or unlawful assembly"; revising penalties for burglary or theft during a riot; revising the penalty for assault or battery committed in furtherance of a riot; and revising the minimum sentence for battery on an officer in furtherance of a riot.

"HB1 would criminalize the action of law-abiding citizens simply because strangers attending the same demonstrations might break the law," Ratlieff said. "If HB1 had been the law on May 31, the organizers of that event could have been criminally liable, and even myself as a victim could've been criminally liable."

"My message to the governor is this: You have to take your knees off of our necks. We are tired," Ratlieff said.

DeSantis' office did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Active storm pattern with cross country storms bringing heavy snow, damaging winds, flooding rain

ABC NewsBy MAX GOLEMBO, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- An active weather pattern with several storm systems is moving through the country, from West to East, with heavy snow, damaging winds, severe thunderstorms and flooding rain.

Already overnight severe thunderstorms brought huge hail from Texas to Arkansas.

Hail was as large as 2 inches in diameter just north of Dallas.

On Friday morning, strong thunderstorms will continue to move from Texas to Alabama, threatening to bring with them damaging winds and large hail.

This same storm system will move into the Northeast and the East Coast Friday night into Saturday with icy mix and snow from North Carolina to Maryland, where a winter weather advisory has been issued.

Snow may also fall on Saturday, from central Pennsylvania into upstate New York and New England, which could see 2 to 3 inches.

Along the I-95 corridor from Washington, D.C., to Boston, it should be mild enough for the precipitation to remain as all rain.

Heavy rain will continue off and on across the South through the weekend, from eastern Texas into Tennessee where flooding will be possible.

There, 3 to 5 inches of additional rain could fall through the weekend and into early next week.

Meanwhile, across the West, nine states are on alert, from California to Colorado, for damaging winds, heavy snow and high surf.

On Thursday, more than 16 inches of snow fell just south of Denver.

In Southern California winds gusted at 98 mph just east of Los Angeles, where semi-trucks were overturned by the strong winds.

On Friday and through the weekend, as the storm track remains active, more snow is expected for the Cascades and the Rockies, where 1 to 3 feet of additional snow is possible.

Some computer weather models are hinting a swath of snow is possible for the Upper Midwest and the western Great Lakes this weekend, from the Dakotas to Minnesota and into Wisconsin and Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Some areas could even see up to a half a foot.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Texas energy executives face state lawmakers for catastrophic grid failure

CrackerClips/iStockBy JASMINE BROWN, HALEY YAMADA and RACHEL HUMPHRIES, ABC News

(AUSTIN, Texas) -- During a legislative hearing on Thursday, lawmakers expressed their outrage toward the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) after more than four million Texas customers were left without electricity and heat during a deadly cold snap this month.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said the energy agency, which manages 90% of the state’s power grid, is responsible for the devastation that resulted from the blackout. He said that it did not take the winter storm seriously.

“They downplayed the severity of it, at the same time telling me and the public that they were fully prepared for it,” Abbott said at the hearing. “Texas suffered last week in ways they shouldn’t have to suffer.”

ERCOT claimed that the scale of forced blackouts, the largest in Texas history, prevented an even larger energy failure.

“We came dangerously close to losing the entire electric system,” ERCOT CEO Bill Magness said. “I’d say [ERCOT] worked from keeping us from going into a blackout that we'd still be in today, that's why we did it.”

According to ERCOT officials in an emergency board meeting Wednesday, the state was just four minutes and 37 seconds away from a complete blackout that could have left Texas without energy for weeks. ABC News has reached out to ERCOT for comment.

Although, for some Texans like Tim Hammond, it wasn’t enough. The church he manages in Arlington, Texas, completely flooded after its pipes burst. He said that they’re focused on healing.

“I hope that lessons will be learned from this whole experience,” Hammond told ABC News. “The shock is gone, and we just have to pick up the pieces and move on, we don’t have a choice.”

State officials said many people died from carbon monoxide poisoning after some used cars or generators to keep warm during the massive power outage, ABC News reported Monday.

President Joe Biden is scheduled to fly to Texas on Friday in his first visit to the state since the major disaster.

Gov. Abbott said that he wants to make sure something like this never happens again. He called for the winterization of the power grid to be both mandated and fully funded.

“Never again can we allow power to go out,” he said.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


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