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People attend a vigil for Eric Garner near where he died after he was taken into police custody in Staten Island. (Getty Images)

NYPD Chokehold Death Will Go To Grand Jury, Prosecutor Says

by Chris Hopkins
Aug 19, 2014

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A prosecutor in New York is asking a grand jury to consider charges in the death of Eric Garner, who died last month in police custody after an officer placed him in a chokehold, as NPR's Joel Rose reports.

The 43 year-old Staten Island man died after police attempted to arrest him for selling loose cigarettes. Cell-phone video taken by a bystander shows Garner gasping "I can't breathe" as one officer places him in a chokehold, and several others pin him to the ground. The New York City medical examiner's office ruled the death a homicide.

For weeks, protesters led by the Rev. Al Sharpton have called for criminal charges against the officers involved in Garner's death. Sharpton will lead another protest march to the District Attorney's office on Saturday.

"I assure the public that I am committed to conducting a fair, thorough and responsible investigation into Mr. Garner's death, and that I will go wherever the evidence takes me, without fear or favor," Donovan said in a statement reported by The Associated Press.

The AP notes that Officer Daniel Pantaleo, an eight-year NYPD veteran, was stripped of his gun and badge after Garner's death.

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Protesters walk on West Florissant Avenue in Ferguson, Mo., on Tuesday. Protests have been going on for more than a week after the police shooting of unarmed teen Michael Brown. (AFP/Getty Images)

Ferguson Update: Holder Writes Op-Ed; City Calls For Nighttime Calm

by Dana Farrington
Aug 19, 2014

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Attorney General Eric Holder has made a pledge to Ferguson, Mo., where 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed by a police officer on Aug. 9.

"Our investigation into this matter will be full, it will be fair, and it will be independent," he wrote in an op-ed for the St. Louis Dispatch. He added, "Long after the events of Aug. 9 have receded from the headlines, the Justice Department will continue to stand with this community."

City leaders in the St. Louis suburb are calling for residents to "stay home at night, allow peace to settle in, and allow for the justice process to take its course."

Here are a few other noteworthy developments today:

— There has been a shooting in the city of St. Louis, a few miles from Ferguson. A man with a knife was "acting erratically," and was killed by police after not complying with orders, Metropolitan Police Chief Sam Dotson said. The incident is apparently not connected to the protests, but shortly after the shooting a crowd gathered, chanting, "Hands up! Don't shoot!"

— School has been canceled for the rest of the week, but NPR's Elise Hu reports that Tuesday morning, "150 area teachers took part in some unusual professional development: picking up broken glass, water bottles and tear gas canisters from the street."

— The Pentagon defended a program that gives local law enforcement agencies surplus military equipment, NPR's Tom Bowman reports. The program, which dates back to 1988, has come under criticism because of what some have called the military-style police response in Ferguson. Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said the program has helped in counterdrug and other operations. He also said Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has asked for more information on the program, though he has not ordered an official review.

What to watch for Tuesday night into Wednesday:

— Overnight protests and potential violence. Journalists are suiting up in riot gear:

— Attorney general will be in Ferguson.

— The Brown case will go before a grand jury. The Atlantic Wire has an overview of what to expect.

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Texas Gov. Rick Perry arrives at the Blackwell Thurman Criminal Justice Center on Tuesday in Austin, Texas. (AP)

Gov. Perry Gets Booked At Texas Courthouse After Indictment

by Dana Farrington
Aug 19, 2014

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Texas Gov. Rick Perry went to a courthouse to be booked after being indicted by an Austin grand jury on Friday for alleged abuse of power.

As we've reported, critics say Perry overstepped his authority by carrying out a threat to veto funding for a public corruption office. He had called on Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg to step down after a drunken-driving charge, and said he would deny funding from the public corruption office. And that's exactly what he did when she refused to resign.

Perry has been defiant all along, and reiterated his innocence in front of the courthouse Tuesday.

"I'm here today because I believe in the rule of law," he said to a crowd of supporters. He added that what he did was "not only legal, but right."

"I'm going to fight this injustice with every fiber of my being," he said. "And we will prevail."

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Christian Gregory. (Courtesy of the artist)

Christian Gregory On World Cafe

Aug 19, 2014 (WXPN-FM)

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Christian Gregory is a British singer who immersed himself in the grooves and style of vintage soul and R&B. He and fellow enthusiast Michael Kiwanuka have even formed a label, Movement Records, to release the updated soul music they love. Turns out their first artist is Christian Gregory himself, with an EP called Count On You out on August 18. Recording the album live to tape, Gregory is definitely onto something, as you will hear.

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Flash-flood waters from the overrun Skunk Creek flood I-10 in northwestern Phoenix. Flooding from heavy rain forced authorities to close several major roads, including a portion of Interstate 17. (AP)

Torrential Rain Swamps Phoenix, Strands Drivers

by L. Carol Ritchie
Aug 19, 2014 (WXPN-FM)

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A Phoenix official blocks a closed section of road as flash-flood waters overrun Skunk Creek through the Sonoran Desert on Tuesday.

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Monsoonal rainfall caused massive flash flooding in Phoenix on Tuesday, turning roads into raging torrents and stranding residents and drivers.

More than 5 inches of rain has fallen — 2 inches in one hour in some locations. Weather Underground recorded 1 inch in less than 15 minutes.

Rescuers took helicopters to collect residents from rooftops, including one dramatic effort to save two women from a home in Maricopa County, broadcast live by NBC News.

Thirteen miles of Interstate 17 had to close owing to the torrent. A north Phoenix high school had to relocate 12 classrooms when they started flooding, The Associated Press reported.

At one Phoenix intersection, 16 people in 10 cars had to be rescued when rushing water surged over the pavement. One video captured by ABC 15 shows a man on the roof of his inundated car as a firetruck approaches. He leaps to the truck just as the water starts to tip the car.

Some jaw-dropping statistics from Weather.com:

"Parts of northern Maricopa County had already topped 4 inches of rain as of late Tuesday morning. Rock Springs, officially a part of Black Canyon City, reported 5.56 inches of rain.

"Rain fell at the rate of 1.38 inches in 35 minutes near Beardsley on the city's far northwest side, and 1.75 inches of rain fell in just 45 minutes in the north suburb of Peoria.

"These amounts are greater than the average rainfall for the entire month of August at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport (1 inch). Phoenix typically picks up a quarter of its average yearly precipitation in the months of July and August combined."

Adding to Tuesday's weather excitement, parts of Arizona and Nevada were submerged by heavy rain.

In the Midwest, severe thunderstorm watches were in effect for parts of Michigan, Indiana and Ohio.

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