Nation briefs 12/22/05

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Banana Boy fans find sentence unappealing

HUDSON FALLS, N.Y. -- Banana Boy and the rest of his bunch have apparently found a new superpower: escaping community service.The local television character, who goes by the name Chris Phelps when he's not donning a large yellow banana crime-fighting costume, and two others pleaded guilty last week to staging a fake brawl on a busy street. They were sentenced to 40 hours of community service. But after a community uproar, a judge on Tuesday allowed Phelps, 20, his brother Jonathan and friend Luke Van Scoy to rescind their guilty pleas. Instead, each will be required to write a 1,000-word essay about the case and its legalities. The trio was arrested at gunpoint Dec. 8 on disorderly conduct charges when police mistook their skit for a real-life knife fight.

Cops suspended, fired in post-Katrina beating case

NEW ORLEANS -- Two officers were fired Wednesday for a beating in the French Quarter shortly after Hurricane Katrina that was photographed and videotaped by The Associated Press. A third officer was suspended. A union official vowed to fight the firings of officers Robert Evangelist and Lance Shilling for their role in the beating of 64-year-old Robert Davis. Officer Stuart Smith was suspended for 120 days. Davis is black; the three officers are white. Evangelist and Schilling were accused of battery on Davis. Smith was accused of battery of a reporter. The New Orleans police union disagreed with the decision and plans to appeal it to the Civil Service Commission, said police association president Lt. David Benelli.

Police search for roaming buffalo after car accidents

CLEVELAND -- Police in northeast Ohio were looking for a buffalo that wandered away from its pasture and caused a car accident. Two other buffalo that escaped along with it were shot and killed after they were involved in a separate car accident, resulting in the injury of a woman, authorities said. A 7-month-old buffalo calf rammed a police cruiser. A professional hunter called by police shot the two because they had become a safety hazard. Police took that course of action after conferring with bison experts and concluding that the size of the animals made them too difficult to tranquilize. Buffalo can weigh as much as 2,400 pounds and stand 6 feet tall.

-- From wire reports

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