Nation digest 08/05/05

Friday, August 5, 2005

Chief: Handcuffing child didn't break police rules

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Police officers committed an error of judgment when they handcuffed an unruly kindergartner at school in March but did not violate policy, the department's chief said Thursday. Chief Chuck Harmon said the two officers who handcuffed the 5-year-old girl were reprimanded for minor errors in handling the situation, which gained worldwide attention when a videotape of the confrontation was released to broadcasters. But Harmon said the officers were not punished for shackling the child, who had torn up a classroom and hit an assistant principal before the officers arrived. The video of the March 14 confrontation prompted criticism of the police and school system, as well as charges of racism. Harmon said Thursday that the report found no evidence of racism by the officers.

Soldier pleads guilty to abusing Afghan prisoner

FORT BLISS, Texas -- An Army interrogator was demoted but spared a prison sentence Thursday for roughing up an Afghan prisoner who later died. Sgt. Selena M. Salcedo, 24, pleaded guilty to dereliction of duty and assault, admitting she kicked the prisoner, grabbed his head and forced him against a wall several times. She was reduced in rank to corporal or specialist, given a letter of reprimand and docked $250 a month in pay for four months. She could have gotten a year in prison and a bad-conduct discharge. Salcedo admitted mistreating a prisoner known as Dilawar at Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan in 2002. She told Lt. Col. Mark Sposato, the military judge, that she knew what she was doing was illegal but became frustrated when Dilawar avoided her questions.

New Yorkers, group sue over subway searches

NEW YORK -- Five city subway riders and the New York Civil Liberties Union sued the city Thursday to stop random police inspections of bags in subways, calling the searches ineffective, unconstitutional and a publicity stunt that does not enhance safety. Christopher Dunn, the New York Civil Liberties Union's associate legal director, said the policy announced July 21 was akin to a random search of people's bags and packages on public streets and a violation of a fundamental civil right. But Gail Donoghue, a city attorney, said the searches meet all legal requirements and preserve the "balance between protecting our city and preserving individual rights."

Kentucky coal mine's roof collapses, killing one

CUMBERLAND, Ky. -- A roof collapse at a Kentucky coal mine killed one miner Thursday, and rescue crews spent most of the day digging through a wall of rocks in search of another miner who was presumed dead. A section of mine roof 20 feet wide, 20 feet long and 11 feet high collapsed on the workers late Wednesday. The miners were part of a crew of about eight men who were performing retreat mining -- a dangerous process of removing coal pillars that support the roof.

-- From wire reports

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