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DEBBIE NODA/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Former California congressman Gary Condit appeared on Dr. Phil Thursday to tell his side of the story on the unsolved disappearance and murder of 24-year-old Washington, D.C. intern Chandra Levy.

Condit, 68, refused to answer the question posed by Dr. Phil host Phil McGraw as to whether or not he had a sexual relationship with Levy, who was from Condit's Congressional district.

"I haven't answered that question publicly in 15 years and I'm not going to change my position or my view on that today or probably any time in the future," Condit said.

Levy was an intern at the Federal Bureau of Prisons in 2001 when she disappeared while jogging. Her remains were found a year later in a remote area of Washington, D.C.’s Rock Creek Park.

A married man, Condit admitted to police, according to investigators at the time, that he had had an affair with Levy, but denied any connection to her disappearance. Condit was investigated but never charged in connection with the case.

Condit stumbled when questioned by McGraw about how many times Levy visited his condo while she interned in Washington, D.C.

Condit first told McGraw she came by his condo "once" and then said "maybe twice."

When McGraw noted that Condit's book stated Levy came by his condo a handful of times, Condit said Levy could have come by as many as five times.

"I mean, I said, 'Handful of times.' It could have been four times, could have been five," he said.

Condit's new book, Actual Malice: A True Crime Political Thriller, tells his version of events in the Levy case.

Breton Peace, Condit's co-author, sat alongside him throughout the Dr. Phil appearance. Peace told McGraw he thought readers would conclude there was a sexual relationship between Condit and Levy.

When asked about giving Levy a gift, Condit told McGraw he treated Levy as he would any other constituent.

"In my desk I kept gifts," Condit said. "We'd pick up cuff links, lapel pins, and my wife had picked up some bracelets, you know, for people's birthdays. Kids would come in and I'd say, 'Pick a hat.'"

"Chandra came into my office and had a gift for me, which was chocolates," Condit explained. "I opened my drawer and reached in and said, 'We have one for you.'"

The McGraw interview marks the first time Condit, 68, has spoken about the case since an August 2001 interview with Connie Chung on ABC. In that interview, Condit answered, "No, I did not," when asked by Chung whether he had killed Levy.

Ingmar Guandique, an undocumented immigrant from El Salvador, was convicted of Levy’s murder in 2010 and sentenced to 60 years in prison, but his conviction was later overturned and a retrial ordered last year. The U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia then dismissed all charges against Guandique this past July after the office concluded that "it can no longer prove the murder case against Mr. Guandique beyond a reasonable doubt."

Authorities say the jailhouse confession on which the original conviction was based came from an unreliable witness.

Levy's mother, Susan Levy, told ABC News she believes Condit was "not being forthright" when it came to explaining his interactions with her daughter on “Dr. Phil”, specifically Levy's visits to Condit's condo.

"Internally, I have a lot of pain and I still will always have questions," Susan Levy said.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Several high-powered celebrities have jumped into the mix as tensions escalate at the protest site in North Dakota of a proposed $3.7 billion pipeline.

Police arrested 141 as they forcibly removed demonstrators Thursday evening from the land owned by Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners, which is seeking to complete a 1,200 mile pipeline that will bring oil from North Dakota to Illinois.

Hulk actor Mark Ruffalo recently tweeted a photo of himself standing with one of the protesters, raising a fist in solidarity.

Peaceful resistance. #NoDAPL #StandingRock

— Mark Ruffalo (@MarkRuffalo) October 26, 2016

Thor star Chris Hemsworth showed his support for the cause via Instagram, posting a photo of himself standing with the director of the upcoming Thor: Ragnarok, Taika Waititi.

"Standing with those who are fighting to protect their sacred land and water. #nodapl #waterislife #mniwiconi," Hemsworth wrote in the post.

Ruffalo joked in a tweet that now the demonstrators had "a Hulk and a Thor," on their side.

Yo we got a Hulk and a Thor #StandingWithStandingRock! #AvengersReassemble chrishemsworth's photo

— Mark Ruffalo (@MarkRuffalo) October 28, 2016

Shailene Woodley, star of the Divergent series, was arrested with the pipeline protesters this month. Susan Sarandon, Ben Affleck and Leonardo DiCaprio have also spoken out against the pipeline.

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WPVI-TV(PHILADELPHIA) -- A 17-year-old boy who died earlier this month at a residential treatment facility in Philadelphia for troubled youth was heard yelling “I can’t breathe” as staff restrained him and one punched the teen's rib cage before he stopped breathing, state violation reports allege.

Violation reports from the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services led the state to order Wordsworth Academy to shutter its residential treatment program. The program, located in West Philadelphia’s Wynnefield neighborhood, served youths with emotional, behavioral or academic difficulties.

According to the violation reports, the incident began on Oct. 13 at 8:22 p.m. ET when multiple staff members entered the boy’s bedroom searching for an iPod that he allegedly stole from another child at the facility. After staff located the iPod and returned it to the owner, they heard the sound of breaking glass in the boy’s room. Staff members -- identified in the reports as Staff Members A, B and C -- returned to the room where they found the boy -- identified as Child #1 -- acting aggressively. While trying to restrain him, Staff Member B held the boy’s legs as Staff Member A began “throwing punches at the ribs of Child #1,” according to the reports. It goes on to say that during the restraint, the boy "began gasping for breath and then stopped moving."

The reports said other children who were standing in the hallway during the incident heard the boy yelling, “I can take this, that’s the only thing you got, give me more, I eat those and I can take those.” The children then overheard the boy yell, “Get off me, I can’t breathe."

The boy was pronounced dead in the bedroom at 9:51 p.m. ET, according to the reports.

The state violation reports said Staff Member B and Staff Member C did not participate in restraint training during the 2015-2016 training year, which is required by state law of anyone who "administers a restrictive procedure."

In addition, state law requires that staff members who will have regular and significant direct contact with children must have at least 40 hours of training each year relating to the care and management of children, after their initial training. However, Staff Member B completed only 31 hours during the 2015-2016 training year and Staff Member C completed just 27 hours, the reports said.

The reports detail dozens of other violations of the state code regulating juvenile facilities. The violations discovered during several on-site inspections following the boy’s death include broken protective covers for heating and air conditioning units in 10 rooms, “stained, dirty and unsanitary” flooring in 12 rooms, non-operable lights in a fourth-floor hallway, heaters with “razor sharp edges” in two bedrooms, a bathroom with water leaks, exposed electrical wires in 12 rooms and holes in the walls, including a 3-foot hole in one bedroom, according to the reports.

The reports said a majority of the children’s rooms on the second, third and fourth floors were found “in advanced disrepair.”

In the Oct. 24 letter with the state’s order and the violation reports, Jacqueline Rowe, director of the state Bureau of Human Services Licensing, wrote that the decision to revoke Wordsworth Academy’s license to operate a child residential facility is based on the school’s “failure to comply with the department’s regulations and gross incompetence, negligence and misconduct in operating the facility.” Rowe also wrote that the existing conditions at the facility “constitute an immediate and serious danger to the health and safety of the residents.”

In a statement to ABC News on Thursday, Department of Human Services spokeswoman Rachel Kostelac said: “During this transition, we will be on site every day to monitor the treatment of residents and the functioning and will be available for support until the 56 current residents are safely relocated.”

Wordsworth Academy said it is “saddened” by the boy’s death and “devastated” at the allegations. Apart from the residential treatment facility, the organization said all of its programs continue to operate.

“Due to the ongoing nature of this investigation, we are limited in our ability to comment on the various allegations raised,” Wordsworth Academy said in a statement issued Wednesday. “We are fully cooperating with all relevant agencies and authorities and are treating this matter with the seriousness and respect it deserves."

A release issued by police of the incident offers an account of the incident that differs in some aspects from the Human Services reports. According to the Philadelphia Police Department, preliminary information revealed that staff members at Wordsworth Academy conducted a search of the boy's room during an investigation. When they left, they heard banging in the boy’s room as he barricaded the door. The boy ignored several instructions to stop and when three staff members entered the room, they found him standing on the bed frame with the room “in complete disarray, with broken fixtures and furniture,” police said.

Staff members told the boy to calm down but he began yelling and “striking them.” The boy “lost consciousness” while they tried to “gain control” of him. The staff members attempted to revive the boy by performing CPR and called for a medic, police said.

Officers responded at approximately 9:01 p.m. to a radio call for a report of a “hospital case” at Wordsworth Academy. Upon their arrival, the officers found a 17-year-old boy in a room lying on the floor unresponsive. A medic who responded to the scene was unable to resuscitate him and he was declared dead, police said.

“The investigation is ongoing with the homicide unit. The decedent's name is not releasable,” Philadelphia Police Department Public information Officer Christine O’Brien said in a statement to ABC News on Thursday.

Jeff Moran, director of communication for the Department of Public Health, told ABC News on Thursday that the Medical Examiner’s Office has not yet ruled on the cause of death and the case is still pending.

According to its website, Wordsworth Academy's "mission" is to "provide education, behavioral health and child welfare services to children and youth who are experiencing emotional, behavioral and academic challenges so that they are empowered to reach their potential and lead productive, fulfilling lives."

According to police, some children attend Wordsworth Academy due to court commitments, behavioral health treatment commitments, child welfare services or a requirement by the Department of Human Services.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- In his first interview with ABC News' Diane Sawyer Thursday, Muhammad Dakhlalla, the 24-year-old former honor student now in prison for trying to join ISIS, said the terrorist videos he'd watched with girlfriend Jaelyn Young seemed to promise a life of service and certainty.

"These propaganda videos that we were watching, that's how they showed themselves, as helping out other people, you know," Dakhlalla said.

Before their 2015 arrest and subsequent guilty pleas, Dakhlalla and Young were honor students at Mississippi State University. He'd been accepted into a graduate program after graduating cum laude with a degree in psychology. He also played soccer. Young, a college sophomore, had been a cheerleader in high school.

They both were raised in good families. Dakhlalla's father is a math tutor. Young's father is a police officer and a military veteran.

Now, Dakhlalla and Young are imprisoned, having pleaded guilty earlier this year to charges of providing material support to ISIS. Dakhlalla is serving eight years in federal prison. Young is serving 12 years.

Dakhlalla told ABC News' Diane Sawyer that he and Young met at MSU. He said she was his first serious romance though he said that, at the time, he had also fallen into a depression.

Dakhlalla, a Muslim, said that Young was curious about the Islamic faith although she had been raised Christian. He said together they watched ISIS videos online.

"It was more about helping others. ... Rebuilding towns and feeding the poor and things like that," he said. "It looked like they were distributing, like, bags of food to people that don't have any way of having food."

He said he'd heard about ISIS beheading aid workers and journalists but had never seen the videos.

"We thought at that time, 'Oh surely they (the media) must be, you know, faking everything,'" he said. "The American media must be faking everything."

They sent messages to who they thought were ISIS recruiters but who were in fact FBI agents.

Young, a former honor student, explained to the person she thought was an ISIS recruiter that she was attempting to go to Syria with a "brother," identified as Dakhlalla, who was 22 at the time.

Young said the two would have to have an Islamic marriage in order to travel together. She also wrote that she had math and chemistry skills and her partner was good with computer science and media. They could help the group, she said, they just needed assistance getting to Syria through Turkey.

The couple got as far as an airport in Columbus, Mississippi, in early August 2015 in hopes of heading to Turkey, but federal agents were waiting for them, according to court records.

But it wasn't just Young sending messages online. In one of Dakhlalla's messages, he talked about being a mujahedeen fighter.

According to court documents, he wrote: "I wish to be a mujahid akhi. I am willing to fight. I want to be taught what it really means to have that heart in battle!"

He told Sawyer that he was just trying to convince the recruiters that he could be strong. Dakhlalla said he did not want to kill Americans. He said he wanted to work in public relations "to clear up the name of Islam."

"It was more just like, 'Hey, you know, I wanna help as much as I can," he said.

Dakhlalla said his perspective on ISIS had changed from what he'd seen on those videos.

"If I was actually going to arrive there (Syria), I would have seen a totally, completely different picture of what ISIS really is," he said. "It wasn't until I got arrested that I seen the reality of what ISIS is."

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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mrdoomits/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON, D.C.) -- More than 40 people were injured after a charter bus carrying school kids collided today with a MetroBus in Washington, D.C., authorities said.

At least 43 children, most with minor injuries, are being transported to Children's Hospital, the DC Fire Department told ABC News. Several adults suffered slightly more serious injuries, including one who sustained a head injury, the department said.

Eastern Ave accident tx 43 pediatric patients minor injs or evaluation. Working in conjunction with Prince George's Fire. 5 adult refusals

— DC Fire and EMS (@dcfireems) October 27, 2016

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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IPGGutenbergUKLtd/iStock/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) -- In the ongoing murder case against a Georgia man whose 22-month-old son died when he was left in his father's hot SUV, the jury Thursday took a first-hand look inside the SUV.

While the jurors appeared calm during the viewing, a source says several jurors broke down crying after seeing the car and the toddler’s car seat.

Justin Ross Harris' son, Cooper, died on June 18, 2014, after spending about seven hours in a rear-facing car seat in Harris' 2011 Hyundai Tucson, police said. That day, temperatures in Atlanta were in the low 90-degrees.

Authorities say Cooper was in the car when Harris drove to work at a Home Depot corporate office that morning. When Harris went inside, Cooper was left in the vehicle. Harris returned to his car during lunch to put something away, then went back to work.

Later that day, after Harris went back again to his car and drove away from work, he pulled over in a shopping center where he asked for help for Cooper, authorities say. Cooper -- who was not yet 2 years old -- died from hyperthermia.

At Thursday's juror viewing, each juror diligently walked around the vehicle in eerie silence, first with the car doors closed, then with the driver's door open.

Jurors were not allowed to sit in the car, but most leaned in as far as they could, observing the position of the car seat in reference to where Harris sat that day.

One juror appeared to be reenacting Harris' movements from that day, walking up to the vehicle several times and making notes. Most of the jurors seemed to be focused on the red car seat where Cooper, who was 22-months-old when he died, sat in the back seat.

The vehicle viewing lasted less than 10 minutes. Attorneys from both sides, along with a detective, were present. But, Harris was absent; he requested to be excused from that part of the trial.

Harris faces eight charges total: Malice Murder, Felony Murder (two counts), Cruelty to Children in the First Degree, Cruelty to Children in the Second Degree, Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony and Dissemination of Harmful Material to Minors (two counts). Harris has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges.

Court documents stated Harris allegedly researched child deaths in hot cars before the incident. Cooper was pronounced dead after he had been locked in the SUV while Harris went to work. Charges in the indictment also refer to sexually explicit online exchanges from March 2014 through the day of Cooper's death that prosecutors say Harris had with an underage girl. Prosecutors have argued that Harris wanted to be free of his family responsibilities and was having multiple online affairs, including with the underage girl.

Defense attorneys said Cooper's death was an accident and that Harris forgot his son was in the car.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Federal authorities have arrested nearly two dozen people across the United States -- and charged more overseas -- in connection with a far-reaching IRS scam that used fear and intimidation to deceive victims.

Homeland Security, Internal Revenue Service and Treasury Department agents took down a nationwide network of confederates who have allegedly been working with scammers to collect money from victims and send it overseas.

Calling the sweep "Operation Outsource," agents on Thursday arrested 20 suspects in Illinois, California, New Jersey, Florida, Alabama and Texas.

In India, 32 people from five different call centers have been charged in the telephone fraud schemes.

The scammers are "menacing and ruthless," often targeting vulnerable immigrants and elderly citizens in the United States from phone banks in India, according to a top U.S. official. Those callers worked with so-called "runners" in the U.S. who would liquidate and transfer funds.

"These folks are con men and con women," U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Assistant Director Bruce Foucart said Thursday at a press conference in Washington, D.C.

The scammers have "done their research" using publicly available information, including sites like Facebook, he said. They identify vulnerabilities to exploit.

Victims in the United States have been taken for losses in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Since 2013, more than two million people reported getting solicitations and about 10,000 of them ended up paying some amount of money to the scammers, according to J. Russell George, the Treasury Department's Inspector General for Tax Administration.

It starts with a phone call.

It was Election Day, 2014 and Joseph, a retired federal service employee, who asked to be identified by only his first name, had just come home from voting.

His phone rang and the man on the other end of the line identified himself as an officer with the IRS. The caller gave a badge number and said that Joseph owed money to the IRS and that if he didn’t comply law enforcement would be at his home "within thirty minutes" to arrest him.

"At that point I was under the spell," Joseph said.

Joseph then went to the bank, withdrew funds and went to a number of supermarkets to purchase several different types of gift cards. He transferred the numbers on the cards to the person on the phone.

This went on for four days until he called his accountant, who said "this is not right, you need to stop," according to Joseph.

"As soon as she said that, I was snapped out of it," he said.

In the end, he lost $25,000.

Scammers use open-source research to find out information about their targets. They also look for people that have the funds to pay out, according to a source familiar with the investigation.

Christine, who also only wanted to be identified by her first name, had racked up a number of medical bills from her cancer treatment a couple of years ago. She had been audited by the IRS and had delayed providing the details of her medical expenses.

She is a mother, grandmother and a medical sales professional from Southern California.

One day she went to check her voicemail on her home phone. A woman identified herself as being from the IRS and said she needed to speak with Christine "immediately."

"I thought, 'Oh boy, I waited too long,'" she said about the voicemail.

Christine called back and was told that law enforcement would be dispatched to her place of work because she had failed to respond to multiple requests from the IRS.

After some back-and-forth, the scammers told her there was nothing they could do to stop it, except take a deposit on the money that was owed.

"The thing that had gotten me about the amount was that it was within $300 for the amount that I was being audited for," she said.

She was told that there was only "a particular type of card" that the IRS would accept, neither checks or a debit card would suffice.

By requesting to be paid with gift-type cards, the scammers are getting people to liquidate their funds, which makes it easier to transfer money and harder for law enforcement to trace, according to a source familiar with the investigation.

Three trips to the bank, two stops at the supermarket and four hours later, she had transferred $6,850. They stayed on the phone with her until all of the money was transferred.

Within minutes of hanging up with the scammers, she said she realized, "I’d been had."

Scammers try to push a sense of urgency on their victims, threatening to send law enforcement or impose instant penalties.

Officials say that that false sense of urgency is a huge red flag and does not occur in legitimate dealings, especially when someone is being notified for the first time.

Authorities say people should ask for valid credentials and always notify local law enforcement if something does not seem right.

Christine and Joseph said they were embarrassed, ashamed and shocked by the experience, but both hope that their trauma can help others who may fall prey to similar scams.

"We need to pay attention. It’s kind of a big bad world out there and we owe it to ourselves to embrace the good, but be aware of the bad," said Christine.

The head of the Justice Department's Criminal Division, Leslie Caldwell, has a message for Americans: "If you get one of these calls, it is not the U.S. government calling you."

"Even if your caller ID says -- as it did in many of these instances -- 'U.S. government,' 'IRS' or some other government agency, it is not the U.S. government. It is a scam," she said at Thursday's press conference. "The U.S. government does not operate in this manner."

Caldwell said the U.S. government will be seeking extradition of the suspects still in India.

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3drenderings/iStock/Thinkstock(MADISON, Wisc.) -- A University of Wisconsin-Madison student is accused of sexual assaulting five women and is facing 15 counts, ranging from second, third and fourth degree sexual assault, to strangulation and suffocation, and false imprisonment. He has been suspended from the university.

Alec Cook, 20, was first arrested this month for allegedly sexually assaulting a 20-year-old woman at his apartment on Oct. 12, 2016. The victim told police she had known Cook for nearly two weeks and had hung out with him four or five times prior to the alleged assault. On the night of Oct. 12, she decided to go to his apartment after the two had studied together in the library, she told police. Once there, she told police, Cook sexually assaulted her for two-and-a-half hours. At one point she says she "accepted my fate and gave up a little bit. I realized he was bigger and stronger. I thought maybe I could just wait this out and then get away," she told police. Cook confirmed that he had sex with the woman but denied that she had ever said “no” or pushed him away, according to court documents.

On Oct. 19, a second woman reported that she was sexually assaulted by Cook in February. She said she met Cook during a human sexuality class in January 2016; they had been dating for a few weeks at the time of the assault. Authorities believe this woman may have been drugged by Cook; according to documents from Dane County Court, "she began feeling abnormal and losing control of her bodily abilities after consuming the unknown liquid provided by him." She said they had non-consensual sex and that she passed out at one point. The alleged victim told detectives, "I didn't want to ruin his life. I felt ashamed to tell anyone, because I thought it would make him look bad." But when she saw the media reporting another girl's alleged assault from Cook, she felt "empowered. I thought I could now finally tell."

On Oct. 19, a third woman reported that she was assaulted by Cook throughout the spring of 2016 during a ballroom dancing class, during which "he would touch me inappropriately and I would tell him to stop." She estimated Cook had inappropriately touched her between 15 and 20 times throughout the semester. She said she asked Cook to stop several times but he continued to grope her.

On Oct. 21, a fourth woman reported to police an assault from March 20, 2015; she said she was digitally penetrated by Cook at his apartment.

On Oct. 24, a fifth woman told police that she and Cook had non-consensual sex at his apartment on Aug. 28. She said Cook repeatedly tried to choke her. She told police "she felt like an object and not a person."

A Madison, Wisconsin, police detective said that "dozens of females have come forward wanting to speak about unknown acts related to Cook," according to court documents.

Authorities have also recovered a black book from Cook's nightstand drawer with women's names inside. "Each entry showed how Cook met the female, and what he liked about them," court documents say. "The entries went on to document what he wanted to do with the females. Disturbingly enough there were statements of 'kill' and statements of 'sexual' desires."

Cook appeared in court Thursday but did not enter a plea. Bond was set at $200,000 and he remains in jail. His next court date was set for November.

Cook's attorney Jessa Nicholson disputed the ballroom accusation, also telling reporters after court that the sexual encounters with the four other women were consensual.

Cook's attorneys Christopher T. Van Wagner and Nicholson said in a statement Wednesday: "The internet has replaced the streets. As a result, for the past few days, we have seen how the rapid-fire internet news cycle erodes that presumption of innocence. This is exactly what is happening to Alec Cook right now. Alec, a 20 year old business major with no criminal history, has seemingly been charged, tried, and convicted. The rapid-fire news cycle, combined with the viral nature of social media, has resulted in a modern-day character assassination that is very real and very wrong."

Cook was majoring in real estate and urban land economics, a spokesman for the University of Wisconsin-Madison told ABC News.

The university released a statement about Cook on Wednesday.

"We were shocked and saddened to learn that several UW–Madison students have reported being sexually assaulted by a fellow student. Sexual violence is unacceptable in our campus and community. We’re committed to transparency and communication, especially in a case as serious as this one," the statement read.

The university said once he was arrested, Cook was placed on suspension, prohibiting him from campus.

"We take every report of a sexual assault seriously and are committed to building a campus free from sexual assault, dating violence and stalking," the statement said. "We encourage survivors to come forward to police, who have specially trained officers who can help. But it’s up to each survivor to decide whether to report, and to whom. If you’re not ready to report to police, students can also report a sexual assault to UW–Madison by contacting the Title IX Coordinator or the Dean of Students Office."

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) --  Police arrested 117 people at a protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota Thursday as officers attempted to disperse the crowd, authorities said.

Officers also used pepper spray against protesters who police said were throwing things at them and refusing to comply with law enforcement's orders.

There were two incidents of shots fired late this afternoon and evening, according to authorities. One occurred along Highway 1806 near what is known as the “backwater bridge” north of the main camp -- one person is in custody. A protester along the frontline on Highway 1806 also fired three rounds near officers. No one was injured and the protester was taken into custody.

Three protesters had used devices to attach themselves to objects, presumably so they could not be moved from the site by officers, a press release from the Morton County public information officer said.

“The protesters are not being peaceful or prayerful," Cass County Sheriff Paul Laney said in the press release. "Law enforcement has been very methodical in moving ahead slowly as to not escalate the situation. However, the protesters are using very dangerous means to slow us down. Their aggressive tactics include using horses, fire and trying to flank us with horses and people.”

But the chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe said law enforcement was continuing to overreact to the demonstrations against the pipeline project on what the protesters consider to be tribal land.

"Militarized law enforcement agencies moved in on water protectors with tanks and riot gear today," tribe Chairman Dave Archambault II said. "We have repeatedly seen a disproportionate response from law enforcement to water protectors’ nonviolent exercise of their constitutional rights. Today we have witnessed people praying in peace, yet attacked with pepper spray, rubber bullets, sound and concussion cannons."

Archambault called on the federal Department of Justice to "send overseers immediately to ensure the protection of First Amendment rights and the safety of thousands here at Standing Rock."

The tribal leader also asked that protesters "remain in peace and prayer. Any act of violence hurts our cause and is not welcome here."

An estimated 250 demonstrators against the pipeline are at the site of private land, and about 80 others at another location nearby, the press release said. Thousands are camped out at Standing Rock Reservation in protest against the four-state crude oil pipeline project.

Earlier in the day, heavily armed police officers clad in riot gear and equipped with SWAT trucks closed in on the demonstrators, demanding that they remove the blockade they had set up on the highway. The Morton County Sheriff's Department told ABC News today that protesters had also set tires on fire.

A witness told ABC News that law enforcement used sound cannons to disperse the demonstrators who had gathered. Donnell Hushka, the public information officer for the Morton County Sheriff's Department, told ABC News law enforcement did utilize "an LRAD, which gives a long range high pitched noise, to clear and disperse crowds."

Thursday's conflict comes after police arrested more than 120 demonstrators last weekend, bringing the total number of protest-related arrests since mid-August to 269 people, according to the Morton County Sheriff's Department.

Protesters said heavily armed law enforcement officers unleashed pepper spray on a crowd of unarmed demonstrators on Saturday, while officials say the protesters were illegally trespassing and the pepper spray was deployed as a preventative measure. Demonstrators justified their presence by citing an 1851 Treaty that they say specifies that the land was designated for Native American Tribes. The Morton County Sheriff's Department released a statement saying "authorities began taking steps to remove the illegal roadblocks and protesters trespassing on private property near Highway 1806."

Wyn Hornbuckle, the deputy director of public affairs for the U.S. Department of Justice, told ABC News in a statement that the department was "taking the situation in North Dakota seriously."

Hornbuckle added that department employees have "been in communications with state and local law enforcement officials, as well as tribal representatives and protesters, to facilitate communication, defuse tensions, support peaceful protests, and maintain public safety. The department has also offered technical assistance and community policing resources to local law enforcement in support of these goals."

Morton County Chairman Cody Schulz defended the Sheriff’s Department, saying, “The claim that law enforcement is escalating this situation is simply untrue. The law enforcement personnel from across the state, and now across the country have shown incredible professionalism and unbelievable restraint in the face of more and more aggressive tactics and illegal activity from the protesters. As we have stated from the very beginning, we fully respect the 1st Amendment rights of all protesters. The protester’s rights are just as important as those of the citizens of Morton County. But they are not more important.”

Danny Grassrope, 24, told ABC News that he was arrested at the protest site and witnessed police officers spraying protesters while they were praying.

"This weekend we went to go demonstrate with peaceful action. We went to go pray," Grassrope said. "Then while we were praying, the cops came and told us we couldn't be there. We were just standing there and then this police officer came and opened up with some pepper spray. We weren't antagonizing them or anything, we were just praying."

Grassrope said he was arrested and charged with criminal trespassing and engaging in a riot, and was held for six hours before a group of friends paid his bail. Grassrope has not yet entered a plea.

"I don't understand why it was a riot, the police were in riot gear we were just praying," Grassrope added.

Grassrope said he has been living on the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe reservation for the past five years. His mother is Standing Rock Sioux and his father is Lower Brule Sioux.

"We're not going to be silent anymore,” Grassrope said. “We are not going to be pushed in a box anymore, our people have been oppressed enough.”

Hushka, the public information officer for the Morton County Sheriff's Office, confirmed to ABC News that protesters including Grassrope had been arrested and charged with engaging in a riot and criminal trespassing, both class B misdemeanors. Hushka said there were about 300 protesters who trespassed onto private property, but the sheriff’s office was not disclosing the number of law enforcement that were at the scene.

"Protesters attempted to breach the police line and did not follow the officers’ instructions," Hushka said. "Officers did utilize pepper spray, to protect police officers."

"There are no issues if they want to protest peacefully and legally, but on numerous occasions they have engaged in illegal action by trespassing on private property,” Hushka added.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Firefighters performed a dramatic rescue dozens of feet above the ground Thursday, pulling a man from the window of a burning building in New York City's Upper East Side.

The New York Fire Department responded to the six-alarm blaze that started around 3:30 a.m. on Thursday, reports WABC-TV, ABC's local affiliate. The fire quickly ripped through all five floors of an apartment building and burst through the roof, killing one person and leaving another in critical condition. Two other people and two firefighters reported minor injuries.

Witnesses saw a heroic rescue as a firefighter was lowered down by rope from the burning building's roof to rescue a man hanging out of a fifth floor window.

“You couldn’t see anything over the edge, there was so much smoke and flames going out the window,” Jim Lee, of the FDNY's Rescue 1 unit, later told WABC.

Lee pulled the man from the window and held on as they were both lowered safely to the ground.

“I told him to stay calm and when we got down, I said, 'hope you enjoyed the ride.' he sort of smiled and he was thankful,” Lee said.

The man suffered serious burns and was rushed to New York Presbyterian Hospital – Cornell in critical condition, WABC reported.

“The chief told me he was in critical condition, but he was able to talk to me,” Lee said of the rescued man.

After they got to the ground, the rope they had been hanging from broke, the result of flames shooting out of the building's windows.

“This is the type of rescue that is really extraordinary,” FDNY Chief of Department James Leonard told WABC. “He really put his life at risk. It doesn’t happen that often in this department, maybe once every couple years, that we have a member who puts his life in this position and save a life because of their teamwork, their training and their bravery.”

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Rawpixel Ltd/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The federal investigation into the death of Eric Garner is under new scrutiny two years after the Department of Justice announced that it was launching a civil rights probe.

The DOJ’s Civil Rights Division in Washington, D.C., is reviewing the case, according to sources familiar with the investigation. The case has been primarily handled by the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn, New York.

“This is kind of like doing due diligence on the investigation,” said Richard Frankel, an ABC contributor and former FBI agent who oversaw the federal Garner investigation when the feds first came in.

Garner died on July 17, 2014, after being placed in a chokehold by Officer David Pantaleo during an arrest for selling untaxed cigarettes in New York City.

The incident, which was caught on video, was one of a number of high-profile incidents of unarmed black men killed by white police officers that have sparked outrage and protests across the country and a flashpoint in the Black Lives Matter movement.

“I can’t breathe,” which Garner can be heard saying in the video, became one of the movement's rallying cries.

The New York Police Department said today that its own investigation into the incident is ongoing, but that at the request of DOJ, it is waiting to move ahead with administrative proceedings.

“We are continuing to watch the situation, standing by on what we will do, and we are waiting to hear from them [federal prosecutors] at this point,” said Deputy NYPD Commissioner Larry Byrne.

What Does This Mean?

One possibility is that federal prosecutors closest to the investigation don’t believe there is enough evidence to bring charges, but are being pushed by DOJ in Washington, D.C., to continue the investigation and bring a case forward, according to civil rights attorneys who spoke to ABC News.

Even if the Justice Department decides to bring charges, a grand jury still needs to indict for the case to move ahead.

Another concern may be that the federal prosecutors in New York could be too close to the issue and people involved to impartially evaluate the case.

Earlier this week, The New York Times reported that disagreements over whether to bring charges had caused a shake-up among the prosecution team.

If someone wants there to be a trial, a shuffle within the prosecution team indicates that this is more likely, according to Barry Friedman, professor of law at New York University.

However, it’s possible that other factors resulted in an additional review.

"Reasonable minds could easily differ in a case like this because of the nature of the legal standard,” said Daniel Richman, professor of law at Columbia Law School.

The Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney’s Office declined to comment on the case.

Where Does the Case Stand?

When former Attorney General Eric Holder announced the launch of the civil rights investigation, he said, “We must seek to heal the breakdown in trust that we have seen.”

Last year, Garner's family settled with New York City for $5.9 million, but so far criminal charges have been stalled.

In 2014, a grand jury on Staten Island decided not indict Pantaleo in connection to the death of Garner. That decision meant that the only potential criminal charges would come from the pending federal investigation.

At that point, FBI agents in New York, NYPD investigators and prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s Office formed a team to begin the civil rights investigation, according to Frankel.

"Two years is long, but not unheard of," for a case like this, he said.

A review by DOJ could be a way of "dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s," he added.

How Likely Are Charges?

In order to convict in the federal civil rights case, prosecutors need to show that officers willfully violated Garner’s constitutional rights.

But stepping over the line of appropriate behavior doesn’t necessarily mean a willful violation, according to attorneys familiar with case law.

The video helped the investigation, but it's not conclusive, according to Frankel. "The problem with video is you never see everything," he said.

Pantaleo’s attorney, Stuart London, told ABC News that the DOJ should accept the recommendation not to indict Pantaleo “rather than impair the integrity of the investigation by allowing politics to replace the rule of law."

"This matter has been thoroughly investigated by a state grand jury as well as experienced FBI agents and assistant U.S. attorneys. The recommendation is apparently that there was no civil rights violation. It is unprecedented to continue shopping for new FBI agents who support a predetermined result," he said in a statement.

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ellisonphoto/iStock/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- Riders on a Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority train in Boston were forced to climb out of train car windows Wednesday afternoon after smoke filled the air at Back Bay Station, resulting in three minor injuries, according to the MBTA.

At 4:39 p.m., the MBTA operations center learned of an issue with a train departing the Black Bay Station, resulting in visible smoke onboard the train, according to MBTA.

Three people were transported to a nearby hospital to be treated for injuries from the incident.

Videos from the scene show riders busting windows open, helping each other climb out of the train cars.

The MBTA says the doors on the train remained closed because the train had begun its departure from the platform, which does not constitute a malfunction. The motor person had begun promptly opening doors to allow passengers to evacuate safely, according to the transit agency.

By 4:57 p.m., the Boston Police Department evacuated the station. By 6:15 p.m. service was restored to Black Bay.

According to the MBTA, the cause has not yet been determined, but it is believed it related to the motor.

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ABC News(WINDSOR, Calif.) -- A California police department has launched an investigation after "offensive and racist" graffiti images were found spray painted Monday morning at a school with a "large Latino population," police said.

"TRUMP 2016" and "Build the WALL HIGHER" were among some of the messages found sprawled across the campus of Cali Calmecac Language Academy, according to photographs taken before a janitor covered them up with fresh paint, according to police and the school principal.

The "offensive and disrespectful graffiti" appeared to "have been directed at the large Latino population of that school," Windsor Police Chief Carlos Basurto said in a statement on Tuesday.

"It is extremely upsetting that the children had to be subjected to such hatred and bigotry," Basurto said. "Whether this was a prank or not does not diminish its effect on the emotions of the children of that school or the people of this community."

Basurto said his department "will continue to investigate this crime and attempt to identify those responsible." He added that the alleged crime was "unjustifiable" and that "this type of behavior and thinking is not indicative" of the town of Windsor.

The school's principal, Jeanne Acuña, told ABC News that when she first saw the graffiti she "very angry" and "really violated."

"Our school is a bilingual immersion school with Spanish as the second language," she said. "We have 1,112 students on campus, 75 percent of which are Latino. It just really felt like we were being targeted."

Acuña added, "It felt as though someone had just come into our school family's house and violated the sanctity of the school."

Though janitors were able to "cover up most of the offensive messages" before the official school day started, a few staff, students and parents who came to the school earlier in the morning did see the graffiti, according to Acuña.

The principal said the messages provoked "a flurry of reactions" from the school community and sparked lot of dialogue about the "inflammatory rhetoric" being used in the presidential campaign this year.

"Even our youngest of children who have no way of knowing all the ramifications of the inflammatory speech being used are feeling the fear," Acuña said. "I just talked to one of our kindergartners the other day and they told me they're kind of afraid that their family might be taken away."

Despite such "heartbreaking" fears, the principal said she has been encouraged by the "surprising and overwhelming outpouring of support and kindness from the community."

"Just the other day, a woman outside the school community organized people in our community to greet students at the door with signs of love," she said. "They held signs like 'Love the Kids at Cali' and 'Have a Good Day!' and they passed out heart stickers. It really meant a lot."

Acuña added, "In a way, this horrible thing has actually brought our community closer together, and it just proves the positive side always wins.

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artolympic/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Police body camera video obtained by ABC News shows the moment officers in Linden, New Jersey, first encountered Ahmad Rahami, the man accused of planting bombs in New Jersey and New York City in September.

Officers were called to the scene in Linden the morning of Sept. 19 -- the Monday after the weekend bombings -- when the owner of a Linden bar reported that someone was sleeping in a hallway of his establishment.

"You can't be sleeping on somebody's door," an officer is heard saying to Rahami from his patrol car in the video.

The video then shows officers exiting the patrol car and approaching Rahami, who is seen briefly in the vestibule of the bar.

Rahami tells the officers he doesn't have an ID and says he's homeless; he tells them he used to live in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, but lost his job and couldn't pay rent.

The body-cam video obtained by ABC News ends before the shootout between Rahami and police that left the suspected bomber in the hospital. The additional footage is considered evidence and was not released.

Rahami has pleaded not guilty to seven charges in connection to the New Jersey shootout with authorities: two weapons offenses and attempted murder of five officers.

Rahami also faces federal charges of using weapons of mass destruction. He has not yet entered a plea to those charges.

Rahami has been released the hospital and is now being held in state prison in Trenton, New Jersey, while he awaits appearances in federal courts in New York and New Jersey.

His attorneys have asked the courts to change the spelling of his last name to Rahimi.

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mokee81/iStock/Thinkstock(MADERA, Calif.) -- Two suspects are in custody and one more is still at large following a shooting that targeted a police officer and a passenger during a ride-along in Madera, Calif.

During a ride-along, a civilian typically spends a shift in an emergency vehicle, like a police car, in order to observe a day of work, and that's what Yesica Valencia, 29, was doing on the Sunday evening when the shooting occurred.

Thomas Matthew Garcia, 33, the alleged shooter, and Serena Arroyo, 26, the alleged driver, are expected to be charged with two counts of attempted homicide, according to police.

A third person, James Cruz, was still on the loose, police said.

Footage of the shooting released by police shows the officer tailing a speeding white Mazda. As it turns a sharp corner, nine flashes of gunfire light up the night in the direction of police.

The officer was not injured in the shooting, and Valencia suffered cuts from broken glass, police said on Monday.

Valencia is a member of the Citizens' Police Academy, a program designed to foster understanding between police and the community, but is not pursuing a career in law enforcement, according to cops.

The officer who was involved in the shooting is expected to return to work Friday.

Police said that Garcia and Cruz are members of Fresno Bulldog gang, a group that grew out of the prison system and were responsible for 70 percent of the city's shootings in 2006, according to the New York Times.

Police said that Garcia has extensive criminal background that included assault with deadly weapons charges, and that the crime didn't appear to have a motive, other than the fact that the men didn't want to be stopped.

Madera Police said that they would revisit ride-along policy as a result of the shooting.

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