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Jeffrey Epsteins autopsy found broken neck bone, source says

87 0 15 Aug 2019

Jeffrey Epstein’s autopsy revealed that he broke a bone in his neck, according to a person familiar with the matter, an injury commonly found in victims of hanging and strangulation.

The New York City Medical Examiner has not yet officially released his cause of death, citing a need for more information. Multiple sources have told NBC News the wealthy financier and accused sex trafficker is believed to have hanged himself.

While there’s still no indication of foul play, questions have been swirling around the death of Epstein since last Saturday when he was found unresponsive in his federal jail cell. But experts say the disclosure that he broke his hyoid bone, a small horseshoe-shaped bone near the base of the human jaw, provides no reason to doubt that Epstein killed himself.

“It wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibilities, with no evidence of foul play, that he hanged himself and got the hyoid fracture that way,” said NBC News medical correspondent Dr. John Torres. “That wouldn’t be unusual.”

Torres said hyoid fractures grow more likely for older adults and studies show them to occur in roughly 25 percent of hanging deaths and 35 percent of strangulation deaths.

“It depends on what was used for the hanging — was it a rope? a sheet? Something else? — and how was the knot tied and what kind of force applied?” Torres said.

The finding about the broken neck bone was first reported by The Washington Post.

The New York medical examiner didn’t return a request for comment. Two law enforcement sources told NBC News there’s still no indication of foul play in his death.

The FBI and Department of Justice Inspector General are investigating the case.

Epstein, 66, was locked up at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in lower Manhattan awaiting trial on charges of sex trafficking and conspiracy.

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Prosecutors alleged that he sexually abused dozens of underage girls and oversaw an extensive trafficking network in the early 2000s.

Epstein’s apparent suicide came less than three weeks after he was found unconscious in his cell, with marks around his neck. He was placed under suicide watch in a special cell with near round-the-clock observation.

But he was removed less than a week later and returned to a special housing unit where he was supposed to be checked every 30 minutes. On the morning he died, a period of hours passed before correctional officers looked in on him, sources have told NBC News.

Earlier this week, Justice Department officials announced that the facility’s warden was temporarily reassigned and two guards tasked with watching Epstein have been placed on leave.

“We are now learning of serious irregularities at this facility that are deeply concerning and demand a thorough investigation,” Attorney General William Barr said a day earlier. “This sex trafficking case was very important to DOJ and me personally. FBI and office of DOJ IG will get to the bottom of what happened and there will be accountability.”

Jeffrey Epsteins body claimed by unidentified associate

64 0 15 Aug 2019

Jeffrey Epstein’s body has been claimed from the New York City medical examiner’s office, a source close to the investigation told NBC News on Wednesday.

Epstein, 66, was found dead by apparent suicide Saturday morning in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan. The center’s warden has been temporarily reassigned, and the two guards assigned to watch Epstein have been placed on leave.

Epstein wasn’t on suicide watch at the time of his death, multiple people familiar with the investigation have told NBC News. Attorney General William Barr has said that he was “appalled” by the development and that he has consulted with the Justice Department’s inspector general, who is also investigating.

The person who claimed Epstein’s body was described only as an “Epstein associate.”

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After Epstein was arrested last month on charges of sex trafficking of minors and conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking of minors, his attorneys asked U.S. District Judge Richard Berman to allow Epstein to post bond secured by a mortgage on his home in Manhattan.

According to court documents, they said the bond would have been co-secured by his brother, Mark Epstein, and a friend identified as David Mitchell.

Berman denied bond on July 18. About a week later, Epstein was found injured and in a fetal position in his cell, raising questions at the time of whether he had tried to kill himself.

On Monday, Berman complained in a letter to the warden, Lamine N’Diaye, that the federal Bureau of Prisons still hasn’t explained what he called the July “incident.” In a response later Monday, N’Diaye said that an internal investigation was completed on July 23 but that she couldn’t reveal any information because of the investigations into Epstein’s death on Saturday.

On Tuesday, Justice Department officials confirmed that N’Diaye had been reassigned.

Alex Johnson contributed.

Wall Street braces for another wild ride

66 0 15 Aug 2019

Wall Street looked set to recover Thursday from a severe routing that saw all three major indices hit their lowest levels so far this year after a range of economic indicators fueled fears of an impending recession.

Stocks slumped overnight after China vowed to retaliate for President Donald Trump’s latest round of tariffs, then rallied in premarket trading on Thursday morning after Beijing indicated a willingness to compromise.

China’s Foreign Ministry said Thursday it “hopes the U.S. side will meet China halfway, and implement the consensus reached by the two leaders during their meeting in Osaka.”

Trump reignited tensions between the two sides earlier this month when he said he would impose an additional 10 percent tariff on $300 billion of mainly consumer goods imported from China, starting on Sept. 1. Earlier this week, the White House said it would delay taxing some items until Dec. 15.

A quarterly earnings report from Walmart, which had earlier warned it would be forced to raise prices on a number of products due to the increase in tariffs, beat expectations, giving the stock market an additional boost.

All three major indices plunged Wednesday, losing around 3 percent of their value after the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell below the 2-year rate, and data from China and Germany showed continued economic contraction.

Trump blamed the Federal Reserve for the market dive, branding Fed Chairman Jerome Powell as “clueless” for not easing monetary policy as central banks in other countries have done. With the economy as the central focus of his re-election, Trump has continually berated Powell for not slashing rates, despite the Fed’s quarter-point-percentage cut last month.

Canada s Trudeau accepts he breached ethics rules but refuses to apologize

66 0 15 Aug 2019

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday accepted that he breached ethics rules by trying to influence a corporate legal case after a watchdog’s report, but refused to apologize, saying that he was trying “to stand up for people’s jobs.”

The scathing 63-page report comes just months ahead of a general election in October, in which Trudeau will be seeking re-election.

Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion earlier said Trudeau, 47, and his team attempted last year to “circumvent, undermine and ultimately attempt to discredit” a decision by federal prosecutors that construction company SNC-Lavalin Group Inc should face a corruption trial.

The latest development in the SNC-Lavalin scandal continues to tarnish Trudeau’s image as a progressive politician who vowed to make politics more transparent and could dim his chances of winning a second term come October.

The scandal involving Montreal-based SNC-Lavalin made headlines in February.

The firm, a major employer in the politically important province of Quebec, wanted to take advantage of a 2018 law allowing it to escape with a fine rather than be prosecuted for bribing officials in Libya.

Trudeau has admitted he tried last year to persuade former Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould to reconsider the prosecutor’s decision to press ahead with a trial.

Wilson-Raybould refused to overrule the prosecutor’s decision and was demoted in a cabinet shuffle in January.

Both she and Treasury Board President Jane Philpott, widely regarded as one of the most respected and competent ministers in Trudeau’s government, resigned in response.

In a statement released on Wednesday, Trudeau said he accepted the report and took full responsibility for everything that happened.

“The buck stops with me,” the prime minister said.

However, Trudeau said he disagreed with some of Dion’s conclusions, adding that “many people’s jobs were at stake.”

Dion found Trudeau had contravened conflict of interest rules forbidding public office holders from trying to improperly further another person’s private interests.

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau talks about a report that could further tarnish his political image in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario on Wednesday.Andrej Ivanov / Reuters

“Because SNC-Lavalin overwhelmingly stood to benefit from Ms. Wilson-Raybould’s intervention, I have no doubt that the result of Mr. Trudeau’s influence would have furthered SNC-Lavalin’s interests. The actions that sought to further these interests were improper,” he said.

“The report confirms critical facts, consistent with what I shared with all Canadians and affirms the position I have taken from the outset,” Wilson-Raybould said in her own statement on Wednesday.

“There were multiple attempts to improperly influence my decision,” she said.

Meanwhile, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said it was examining the matter carefully and would take appropriate action as required.

Reuters contributed.

Portland leaders send unified message ahead of Proud Boys rally: Stay home

65 0 15 Aug 2019

Leaders of Oregon’s largest city continued their pleas for nonviolence — while warning police will be out in full force — during Saturday’s planned demonstration in downtown Portland, where far-right activists and anti-fascist supporters could clash yet again.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, joined by a multiracial coalition of civil rights organizations, faith leaders and community groups, said during a gathering Wednesday that anyone “using the guise of free speech to commit acts of violence” is not welcome in the city.

“You want to be hateful, stay home,” added Jo Ann Hardesty, who this year became the first black woman on the Portland City Council. “Do not get on a plane, on a bus and come to Portland. We don’t want you here. We never wanted you here. If you come, we will expose you to the light of day.”

The weekend rally is organized by the Proud Boys, whose founder has described it as a “fraternal organization” for young “Western chauvinist” men, and is expected to attract demonstrators from around the country. They say the purpose of their “End Domestic Terrorism” event is to oppose anti-facists, collectively called antifa and known for wearing masks and all-black clothing. Organizers want antifa to be declared a domestic terrorist organization.

Organizer Joe Biggs told The Associated Press that those coming to Portland have been told not to bring weapons or start fights, but they will defend themselves if attacked.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which advocates against bigotry, has designated the Proud Boys as a hate group, and some of its members were involved in a violent street fight in New York City last fall with antifa.

Portland Police Chief Danielle Outlaw said Wednesday that hundreds of hours have been spent planning the bureau’s response for Saturday, and that the city is working with local, state and federal law enforcement to “make sure people are kept safe.” All of the city’s 1,000 officers will be called in.

Wheeler has also said police will mobilize quickly if violence flares.

The expectation of aggression is not unwarranted in Portland, where far-right protests have rocked the city since Donald Trump became president and two people were fatally stabbed on a train in 2017 by a suspected white nationalist accused of shouting anti-Muslim hate speech.

At the heart of the protests have been far-right activists who say the Constitution protects their speech. Wheeler, however, has condemned their protests and said they “peddle a message of hatred and bigotry.”

Police have seemed overwhelmed by the cultural forces at war in their streets.

At a rally in June, masked antifa members beat up a conservative blogger named Andy Ngo. Video of the 30-second attack grabbed national attention and further turned the focus on Portland as a new battleground in a divisive America.

After a confrontation between authorities and protesters, police use pepper spray as multiple groups, including Rose City Antifa and the Proud Boys, protest in downtown Portland, Oregon, in June 2019.Dave Killen / AP

Republican Sens. Ted Cruz, of Texas, and Bill Cassidy, of Louisiana, introduced a congressional resolution calling for anti-fascists to be declared domestic terrorists, and Trump echoed that theme in a tweet last month.

Police have noted the violence in June was limited to a small area of downtown Portland despite there being three different demonstrations lasting more than five hours, with hundreds of people constantly on the move. They also made two arrests last week in a May Day assault on an antifa member that became a rallying cry for the city’s far-left.

During Wednesday’s event sponsored by the city, hecklers attempted to interrupt the speeches of people denouncing hate.

City officials hoping for relative calm must also contend with antifa, whose members have issued an online call to their followers to turn out to “defend Portland from a far-Right attack.”

Portland’s Rose City Antifa, the nation’s oldest active anti-fascist group, says violence against right-wing demonstrators is “exactly what should happen when the far-right attempts to invade our town.”

Members of antifa have also been at odds with police after it was revealed a Portland police lieutenant and the leader of the far-right group Patriot Prayer shared friendly text messages. Wheeler ordered an independent investigation into the potential existence of bias in the actions of the police leading up to and during demonstrations involving the far-right and anti-fascists.

Randy Blazak, an Oregon hate groups expert, said he worries the extreme response from a small group of counter-protesters is starting to backfire. Many in the city oppose the right-wing rallies but also dislike the violent response of antifa, which provides social media fodder for the far-right.

“The opposition is playing right into the alt-right’s hands by engaging with them this way,” he told the AP.

Wheeler has said he may ask Gov. Kate Brown to call up the Oregon National Guard.

Experts who track right-wing militias and hate groups warn that the mix of people heading to Portland also came together for the deadly Unite the Right rally in 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Other affiliated groups expected to converge on Portland include members of the American Guard, the Three Percenters, the Oathkeepers and the Daily Stormers. American Guard is a white nationalist group, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, while the Three Percenters and the Oathkeepers are extremist anti-government militias. The Daily Stormers are neo-Nazis, according to the center.

An armed Trump supporter who was briefly detained outside of a community space for immigrants in El Paso, Texas, last week following the deadly mass shooting there was among those making their way to Portland as well.

“There’s no winning for the cops in a situation like this. There just isn’t,” said Heidi Beirich, director of the Intelligence Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center. “This is hard-core stuff, and I don’t think you can be too cautious.”

Associated Press contributed.

Facebook has doubled down on groups — now its looking to clean them up

86 0 15 Aug 2019

Facebook offered new insight on Wednesday into policies that ramp up enforcement of its community standards for the tens of millions of active groups on its platform.

“Being in a private group doesn’t mean that your actions should go unchecked,” Facebook’s vice president of engineering, Tom Alison, wrote in a company blog post. “We have a responsibility to keep Facebook safe, which is why our Community Standards apply across Facebook, including in private groups.”

A company spokesman confirmed the announcement is part of an acceleration of its enforcement policy, originally announced in April, for groups.

The announcement follows years of criticism that Facebook heavily promoted groups, but did little to curtail fringe organizations that trafficked in hate, organized violence, or misinformation and conspiracy theories using the groups function.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced a renewed focus on its Groups feature in 2017. By 2019, the company said more than 400 million users were in “meaningful groups.” Facebook also recently launched an advertisement campaign to promote its groups feature.

Alison wrote that Facebook was using artificial intelligence and machine learning to proactively identify and remove posts and groups that break the rules, and promoting tools that would hold group administrators more accountable for posted content.

“There’s a misperception that private groups go unchecked just because they aren’t visible to the public.” Facebook’s groups product manager, Nir Matalon, told NBC News. “In reality, our proactive detection technology can find violations even if no one in the group reports it. We also have barriers in place to catch bad posts from people who have broken our rules before and are holding admins more accountable for what their members share.”

While Facebook has taken steps to ban white nationalism and reduce the visibility of health misinformation in recent months, other popular fringe groups including those peddling conspiracies like Qanon and anti-vaccination groups have been allowed to remain. Alison’s post touched on — without definitively answering — what would trigger a group’s removal.

“Deciding whether an entire group should stay up or come down is nuanced,” Alison wrote. “If an individual post breaks our Community Standards, it comes down, but with dozens, hundreds, or sometimes thousands of different members and posts, at what point should a whole group be deemed unacceptable for Facebook?”

Subject matter, including the group name or description, and the actions of administrators and moderators and whether they allow rule-breaking posts, are factors, Alison said.

Facebook declined to comment on whether the crackdown had resulted in group closures or provide details on what kind of groups may have been impacted by the new policies. But for weeks, moderators of well-known fringe groups have been complaining to members that Facebook has been clamping down on their posts.

Last week, Larry Cook, the administrator for one of Facebook’s largest anti-vaccination groups, told his members that Facebook had been uncharacteristically vigilant in moderating the group’s posts and notifying him about content that violated Facebook’s policies.

“One day, this group could just vanish – prepare for that,” Cook posted.

Not everyone is convinced that a major crackdown is coming.

“Same stuff, different day,” said Megan Squire, a computer science professor at Elon University who tracks online extremism on Facebook. “Just in the past month, I reported groups calling for a global purge of Islam, extermination of people based on religion, and calling for violence through a race war, and Facebook’s response was that none of these groups was a violation of community standards.”

“They’ve been saying ‘We’re really going to get it right this time’ for literally years,” Squire said.

Facebook simultaneously announced it is updating its groups privacy settings, eliminating its “secret” category, and renaming the types of groups “public” and “private.” The move was made for clarity, the Facebook spokesperson said.

Video captures brutal attack on comedian Andy Dick in New Orleans, police make arrest

72 0 15 Aug 2019

New Orleans police made an arrest in the assault on comedian and actor Andy Dick after a show in the French Quarter.

Surveillance video appeared to show a man in dark clothes approach Dick, who performed at One Eyed Jack’s on Friday night, before sucker punching the comedian early Saturday outside the bar.

It’s unclear where Dick, 53, was hit due to the low quality of the clip, but it appears he may have had his back to the attacker.

The attack appeared to propel Dick into the side of the building before he crumpled down onto the sidewalk.

David Hale.Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office

Police announced Wednesday they had arrested David Hale, 46, booking him for second degree battery and simple battery in connection to the attack on Dick. The New Orleans Police Department said in a statement they made the arrest thanks to a tip to Crimestoppers.

Lt. Jonathan Fourcade, a spokesman for the city’s emergency medical services, told NBC affiliate WDSU that Dick was taken to a local hospital after authorities received a call around 2:20 a.m. on the night of the attack.

Dick told Nola.com in a phone interview that he was “knocked out 100 percent for 15 minutes.” He also said he was placed in the intensive care unit at the hospital and observed for a “possible brain bleed.”

The comedian and actor has appeared in television shows “News Radio” and “The Ben Stiller Show,” and films such as “Reality Bites” and “Inspector Gadget.”

New Orleans police said Wednesday that anyone with additional information on this incident is urged to come forward. The NOPD on Tuesday said it had not yet spoken with Dick, but “remains eager to speak with him and will do so when he decides to make himself available to detectives.”

Labor Dept. proposes expanding religious exemption in hiring

57 0 15 Aug 2019

The Trump administration Wednesday unveiled a proposed rule that would greatly expand the exemption that allows religious entities to ignore anti-discrimination laws by broadening the definition to include federal contractors that declare themselves to be religious.

The Department of Labor said the rule is proposed in order to provide “the broadest protection of religious exercise” for companies that compete for federal contracts.

LGBTQ advocates decried the proposed rule and said that it would permit companies to decline to hire lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people, in addition to individuals who do not practice their religion.

“This proposal is part and parcel of an ongoing and coordinated attack by this administration on LGBTQ people aimed at rolling back our rights under the false guise of religion. It’s really nothing more than a permission slip to discriminate,” said Zeke Stokes, chief programs officer for GLAAD, the LGBTQ advocacy group.

“Given the conservative religious affiliations of many large institutional employers that seek federal contracts, we know the most vulnerable workers will be LGBTQ people, as well as Muslims, Jews and other religious minorities,” Jennifer C. Pizer, Lambda Legal’s director of law and policy, said. “For more than half a century, the federal purse has been a transformative driver of equal workplace opportunity in this country. And once again, appallingly, this administration is betraying our nation’s core commitment to liberty and justice for all — in service of an extreme, discriminatory religious agenda.”

The American Civil Liberties Union noted in a statement that “nearly one-quarter of the employees in the U.S. work for an employer that has a contract with the federal government.”

The proposal says it is intended to “clarify the scope and applications of the religious exemption contained in section 204(c) of Executive Order 11246,” which banned federal contractors from discriminating in employment decisions on the basis of “race, color, religion, sex, or national origin” when it was signed by President Lyndon Johnson in 1965.

The proposal argues that a variety of Supreme Court decisions, like Hobby Lobby, have expanded the legal understanding of which companies count as religious. That religious exemption as written in 1965 was designed to ensure that churches could decline to hire people outside their faith, and religious schools could choose to hire members of their own faith, for example, without running afoul of the ban on private employment discrimination.

“Although these decisions are not specific to the federal government’s regulation of contractors, they have reminded the federal government of its duty to protect religious exercise — and not to impede it,” the proposal says.

The proposal claims that religious companies “previously provided feedback to OFCCP that they were reluctant to participate as federal contractors because of uncertainty regarding the scope of the religious exemption.”

The proposal is expansively written and makes clear that the “religious exemption covers not just churches but employers that are organized for a religious purpose, hold themselves out to the public as carrying out a religious purpose, and engage in exercise of religion consistent with, and in furtherance of, a religious purpose,” and also makes clear that “employers can condition employment on acceptance of or adherence to religious tenets without sanction by the federal government, provided that they do not discriminate based on other protected bases.”

And, crucially, the proposed rule relies on an array of legal opinions to construct a new, national legal test of whether a company is “religious.” The company need not be primarily religion-oriented. It need only to declare itself to be, for instance, religious “in response to inquiries from a member of the public or a government entity.”

Companies that refuse to hire LGBTQ people, or women, or any other protected class may do so if they say their religion prohibits them from hiring those who disagree with their faith. The proposal makes clear that it’s expanding the right of religious companies to not just “prefer” to hire those who share their religious beliefs, but “to condition employment on acceptance of or adherence to religious tenets as understood by the employing contractor.” If a construction company says it only hires Christians, this rule would allow that company to compete for a federal contract to renovate a government building, for instance.

The proposed rule now undergoes a 30-day public comment period.

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Children of TPS holders fight for their parents protection in court

54 0 15 Aug 2019

A group of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders and their U.S. citizen children spoke out in court in support of a ruling that blocked the Trump administration from ending their families’ protected immigration status.

At a hearing on Wednesday at the Ninth Circuit Court in Pasadena, California, the families asserted that the administration’s intent to end TPS for hundreds of thousands of immigrants is “fueled by racial animus.”

The lead plaintiff in Ramos vs. Nielsen is Crista Ramos, who is 15 and a high school student.

“I only learned about TPS when the president tried to end it for my mom,” she said in a statement. “But as a child of a TPS holder, I didn’t think twice about standing up to the president to defend my mom and our family.”

Ramos, who wants to be attorney someday, is worried that her mother, who is from El Salvador, will lose her legal immigration status if TPS protections are ended for Salvadorans, despite the dangerous conditions in the country. Her mother has been a TPS holder for 17 years and has lived in the U.S. for the last 26 years.

Pres. Donald Trump’s rhetoric surrounding immigration, including referring to certain places as “sh-thole” countries, claiming Haitians “all have AIDS” and calling Mexicans rapists, demonstrate that his administration is motivated by racial hostility, say the plaintiffs in Ramos v. Nielsen.

Since President Donald Trump took office in January 2017, his administration has announced they would end TPS designations for immigrants from El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua and Sudan. Congress established the TPS program as a form of humanitarian relief through the Immigration Act of 1990, giving immigrants from certain countries that went through war or natural disasters temporary legal status since it was too dangerous to return to their countries at that time.

The administration argues that conditions in some of the countries, such as the aftermath of an earthquake or civil war, have changed, so TPS is no longer necessary.

But previous administrations took a different view, extending TPS status when deadlines came due, allowing families to stay in the U.S. for decades and raise families. Besides, say advocates, conditions in many of these countries are still not safe.

The plaintiffs argue that “DHS’s TPS terminations were based on an arbitrary interpretation of the TPS statue, breaking with decades of prior practice without explanation,” according to the lawsuit.

Putting children in an “impossible” situation

More than 270,000 U.S. citizen children have at least one parent with TPS. Advocates argue that terminating TPS designations for such parents puts children in an “impossible” situation by forcing them to either leave their home country or live without their parents.

On Wednesday, as several families and attorneys were in court, hundreds marched and rallied in front of the courthouse.

“Their constitutional rights are being violated and families have been living in fear,” Martha Arevalo, executive director of Central American Resource Center (CARCEN), a nonprofit immigrant advocacy organization, told NBC News. “Ending TPS will become the newest form of U.S. family separations; it is cruel and immoral.”

The majority of the case’s plaintiffs have lived in the U.S. for decades and have built a life, paid taxes and helped build up their communities, advocates argue.

To be eligible for TPS, individuals must meet stringent requirements, including continued residence in the United States, lack of disqualifying criminal history and submission of extensive documentation, an application and fees.

Advocates acknowledge that it is, as its name suggests, a temporary solution and that other, more permanent pathways of legal immigration must be enacted.

“TPS is not a permanent solution. The people who have it live in temporary status for a very long time,” Arevalo said. “They live in limbo.”

She suggests that the permanent solution lies with legislation, citing The American Dream and Promise Act, which provides provisions for Dreamers and those with TPS status to gain citizenship. The bill passed in the House of Representatives in June, but has not yet passed in the Senate.

“We’re fighting to stay together so that I can continue to provide for my children and see them achieve their dreams,” said Donaldo Posadas, a TPS holder from Honduras, in a statement.

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Classic TV mystery: Who left old television sets on front porches in Virginia?

72 0 15 Aug 2019

More than 50 people in Virginia received free TVs this week from an anonymous donor, but they weren’t the giant, flat-screened models many would covet.

Instead, residents of Henrico County, Virginia, woke up Sunday to find old-model TV sets on their porches and lawns and learned later the clunky electronics were left by someone wearing a TV over his head.

Officers began receiving calls early that morning from residents concerned about the “meticulously placed TVs,” said Lt. Matt Pecka of the Henrico Police Department.

“I evaluated the situation and determined that this was an isolated incident that caused no threat to any individual,” Pecka told NBC News on Wednesday.

With the help of the county’s solid waste division, officers rounded up 52 TVs within an hour.

Some residents chose to hold on to their TVs, Pecka said.

A home security system captured a person dressed in a blue jumpsuit wearing a TV over his head, obscuring his face.

Resident Adrain Garner said he initially thought the drop-off was an Amazon delivery.

“My first reaction was, ‘Did we order this?’” Garner told NBC affiliate WWBT in Virginia. “It’s really weird.”

The person squatted, put the TV on his porch and walked off, Garner said.

After reviewing doorbell and other surveillance footage, authorities determined more than one person may have been involved based on the color of their outfits.

Resident Michael Kroll said he found the situation absurd.

“To me, it’s kind of funny,” Kroll told WWBT.

Pecka said this has happened before. Last August, TVs were placed in a neighboring community near Richmond. That incident, like Sunday’s, posed no threat and involved fewer TVs.

Whoever did it could face charges of littering on private property or illegal dumping, Pecka said.

But he said he does not plan to investigate further: “Just as residents have indicated, this is an isolated incident that we cleaned up.”