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Courtesy Humphrey Family(PHOENIX) -- A 19-year-old Phoenix man ended up in a local hospital after he was aggressively taken into custody by police who said they mistook him for his older brother.

Dion Humphrey was arrested on Jan. 10 by officers in the Phoenix Police Department's Special Assignments Unit who had seen him from unmarked cars.

Humphrey's older brother, Kahlil Thornton, 20, had been accused of armed robbery and attempted murder in a Jan. 9 incident, police said. The victim from that incident was in intensive care as of Friday and the individual's survival "was very questionable," said Sgt. Tommy Thompson, a police spokesman.

Two of the four suspects from the Jan. 9 incident were taken into custody that night, while police said they're still pursing the other two.

"Humphrey's brother is one of the outstanding suspects," Thompson told ABC News. "The two brothers are about 10 months apart in age and are very similar in appearance."

"Dion told investigators that people often mistake he and his brother for twins," Thompson added.

Thompson didn't name Dion's brother, who police said lives with Dion at their parents' home.

Rev. Jarrett Maupin, a spokesperson and adviser for the Humphrey family, told ABC News on Friday the older brother in question has not lived with his younger brother in more than 10 years and that have different mothers.

"The older brother is over 6 feet tall, has long dreadlocks, tattoos -- totally different from Dion, and the department knows this," Maupin said. "This is not a case of mistaken identity, as they are leading people to believe."

Thompson said Dion's brother "may not live there all of the time," referring to the parents' home, but that "he often goes to the residence" and that evidence of the Jan. 9 crime was recovered from there.

Complicating matters is that the Special Assignments Unit is not required to wear bodycams.

Said Maupin: "When they are looking for a white suspect in a white neighborhood, they don't operate like this. Did they even say, 'Stop! police!'? We'll never know."

Dion Humphrey was struck with bean bags as three officers subdued him using a flash grenade, Maupin added.

"He's in bad shape right now," Maupin said.

Dion Humphrey has chronicled the aftermath of the incident with family and friends from his hospital bed via Facebook posts. He captioned in one video that the police did not ask him any questions or allow him to speak during his arrest.

Police said Dion Humphrey did not comply with their commands and tried to flee.

"Had they stopped to talk to him, they would have realized Dion is developmentally disabled. He has the mentality of a child," Maupin said.

Dion Humphrey is about 90 pounds, and he suffers from sickle-cell anemia and asthma, his father, William Humphrey said on a GoFundMe page.

"I remember everything that had happened to me and I was crying why did it happened to me😭," one entry in Dion's Facebook page Jan. 12 states. "When I look back at what happened my vision gets bigger and blurry👀.It’s scary to know that i could have died I’m so happy I am in the hospital recovering my wounds and pain."

Dion Humphrey was detained for more than seven hours, Maupin told ABC News. After he was released, his parents took him to Phoenix Children's Hospital, where he remained hospitalized as of Friday.

The investigation, Thompson said, is ongoing.

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Scott Heins/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The acting director of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement slammed New York City's leaders and their sanctuary city policies at a news conference Friday following the arrest of an undocumented immigrant in the death of a 92-year-old Queens woman.

Acting ICE Director Matthew Albence said it was “unbelievable" he had to come to New York to “plead” for cooperation from the city’s authorities when it came to cases involving fugitive undocumented individuals. He blamed Mayor Bill de Blasio and the city's sanctuary city policy for the murder of Maria Fuentes, who was allegedly assaulted physically and sexually by Reeaz Khan, a 21-year-old undocumented Guyanese national.

Albence reiterated that federal authorities lodged a detainer against Khan after he stabbed his father with a broken coffee cup in November, but because the city didn’t turn him over to their custody, he was able to roam the streets and attack Fuentes on Jan. 6. She died from her wounds four days later.

“I hold the policies of this city put in place by the mayor culpable for this crime,” Albence said.

Khan was arrested on Jan. 11 and has been detained at Rikers Island on murder and attempted rape charges. ICE officials have issued another detainer against him. His attorney did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.

The NYPD said it never received the detainer for Khan back in November.

Under its rules, the NYPD honors federal detainers if “ICE presents a warrant issued by a federal judge establishing that there is probable cause to take the person into custody, and the person has been convicted of a ‘violent or serious crime’ within five years of the arrest or is a possible match on the terrorist watch list,” according to a spokesperson to the department.

“The NYPD follows local law as it pertains to detainer requests,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

Albence said the NYPD only complied with 10 out of the 7,526 detainers that ICE’s New York field office filed last year. He warned that more violent crimes would continue if the city didn’t comply with his agency.

“These are preventable crimes people,” he said.

In a statement, de Blasio spokeswoman Freddi Goldstein dismissed Albence’s complaints against the city’s handling of Fuentes’ death.

“Fear hate and attempts to divide are signatures of the Trump administration, not New York City. We are the safest big city in America because of our policies, not in spite of them. We must band together as New Yorkers and reject these lies,” she said.

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ChiccoDodiFC/iStock(LAKE TAHOE, Calif.) -- One skier is dead and another is seriously hurt from an avalanche at a Northern California ski resort, officials said Friday.

When crews responded to an advanced ski area at Alpine Meadows Ski Resort, near Lake Tahoe, one male skier was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the Placer County Sheriff's Office.

A second male skier suffered "severe lower-body injuries" and was rushed to a hospital, according to officials with Squaw Valley–Alpine Meadows.

Placer County Sheriff's Sgt. Mike Powers said search and rescue crews and avalanche dogs scoured the mountain right for other possible victims. But no one else was found and the search was declared complete at 11:45 a .m. local time, according to Squaw Valley–Alpine Meadows.

Alpine Meadows received 25 inches of snow in the last 24 hours.

The cause of the avalanche, which was reported at 10:16 a.m. local time, is not known, according to Squaw Valley.

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Kuzma/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Twelve New Yorkers have been chosen to sit in judgment of Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein at his rape and sexual assault trial.

The jury selected consists of seven men and five women. Six of the seven men are white and one is African American. Three of the women are African American -- with one sharing African American and Latino heritage -- and two are white.

Among three alternate jurors chosen to complete jury selection, one is a white man, one is an African American woman and a third is a Hispanic woman.

The grueling jury selection took nearly two full weeks. Prosecutors repeatedly accused the defense of trying to strike white women from the jury. Defense attorneys accused prosecutors of trying to keep men off the jury. Each side refuted the other side's allegations.

During jury selection on Friday, prosecutors and defense attorneys questioned prospective jurors in blocks of 20.

Prosecutor Joan Illuzzi stressed the need for the Weinstein jury to be able to pay close attention to potentially disturbing testimony and to recognize that people can be in severe personal anguish while still showing up for work each day and appearing normal.

"Somebody could be suffering in their personal lives but put on a brave face in their public lives," Illuzzi said.

"Can you all appreciate that the people who come and have to sit here and face all of you will be perhaps a little panic-stricken? They're going to need to know that you're paying attention and that you're not going to dismiss them out of hand and really listen," she said.

In what Illuzzi described as her "most important question," she asked whether jurors had the stomach to convict Weinstein.

"If we do our job and we prove that man guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, we need to know that each and every one of you will be able to come and say to this court, and to him, that you've found him guilty," she said.

Defense attorney Arthur Aidala wanted to know the opposite -- could each of the prospective jurors acquit Weinstein?

"It may be the right verdict," he said. "It may be the correct verdict, but it may not be the popular verdict. Is that something that you're going to have a problem with?"

In his final question to one group of prospective jurors during Friday's morning session, Aidala asked a simple question: "Who here thinks that someone could have consensual sexual relations with someone at work to get ahead at work?"

Later, fellow defense counsel Damon Cheronis asked prospective jurors whether they could envision a scenario in which "a young aspiring actress … may have sex with an older man for some reason other than love."

He then asked, "Does anybody -- or can anybody -- think of a situation where someone would have a consensual sexual relations with someone and then years later say it wasn't consensual, when it was?"

The case is scheduled to move into opening arguments next week.

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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- A major storm continues to march east Friday morning with alerts issued across the country from California to Massachusetts.

The storm brought several feet of snow from Washington state to the California mountains and winds gusts over 100 mph. There is so much snow in some towns in Washington that people are stranded in their homes.

The storm has also brought heavy rain to the San Francisco Bay area, causing flash flooding.

There are alerts Friday morning from California to Massachusetts, with blizzard warnings issued for North Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa and Minnesota.

As of Friday morning, the storm system is moving out of the Rockies and into the heartland, with freezing rain and sleet from western Texas to Kansas and Missouri, causing icy roads that are leading to accidents.

Friday afternoon and evening, the storm system will strengthen and bring heavy snow and blizzard conditions to the Upper Midwest with snow even reaching Chicago.

The heaviest snow will fall in the western Great Lakes, while Chicago will change to ice and rain overnight as some warmer air tries to work its way into the strengthening storm.

By Saturday, snow will move into the Northeast and even into Philadelphia, New York City and Boston.

By evening hours, snow will change to rain in Philadelphia and New York, but stay as all snow from northern Pennsylvania into New England.

The next few days will see additional snow and ice accumulation with this storm.

The heaviest snow will fall from Minneapolis to Michigan and into New England, where some areas could see more than 10” of snow.

Lower snowfall amounts are expected in Chicago, with maybe 2 to 5 inches. Around a half a foot is expected in Detroit, with up to a foot of snow possible in parts of New England's higher elevations.

Philadelphia and New York City will see maybe 1 to 3 inches, which will then change to rain. In Boston, 3 to 4 inches of snow is possible.

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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Michelle Obama kicked off her 56th birthday Friday with a sweet message from her husband, former President Barack Obama.

"In every scene, you are my star," Obama wrote to his wife on Twitter. "Happy birthday, baby!"

Along with the message, Barack Obama shared a series of four photos of the happy couple -- married for nearly 30 years -- posing with each other.

In every scene, you are my star, @MichelleObama! Happy birthday, baby! pic.twitter.com/hgMBhHasBj

— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) January 17, 2020

Michelle Obama is celebrating her 56th birthday one month after being named the "most admired woman" in the world for the second year in a row in a Gallup poll.

The former first lady, a mom of two, is also gearing up for the Grammy Awards later this month. She is nominated in the best spoken word category for the audio version of her best-selling memoir, Becoming.

The bestselling book turned into a world tour for Obama, with stops in major arenas around the globe. Michelle Obama was interviewed by high-profile women including Sarah Jessica Parker, Reese Witherspoon and Oprah Winfrey.

Last month, Michelle Obama released a guided journal that is meant to accompany her memoir.

In writing Becoming, Michelle Obama said she hoped to inspire the next generation to become whomever they aspire to be.

“I think that young people are the future,” she told ABC News' Good Morning America co-anchor Robin Roberts in 2018, ahead of the book's release. “And if my story, my journey somehow gives them hope -- that they can build a powerful journey for themselves and that they can own their voice and share their story, that that's part of what makes us great. If I played a role in that for some young people comin' down the line, then ... I'll feel good about it."

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Massachusetts State Police(BRIMFIELD, Mass.) -- Benny Correa and his wife Amanda Disley were driving home from dinner with their family on Wednesday night when they spotted a familiar-looking car on the road near Brimfield, Mass.

A dark blue Honda Civic with tinted windows and distinctive wheel rims had crossed in front of their vehicle and the couple immediately recognized it as the one authorities were searching for in the abduction of 11-year-old Charlotte Moccia. A knife-wielding man had allegedly grabbed the girl and forced her into his car earlier that day, just after she got off the school bus in Springfield, about 30 miles west of Brimfield.

"We just had a gut feeling it was the car," Disley told ABC News in an interview that aired Friday on Good Morning America.

After calling 911 and double-checking the photo of the suspect's vehicle released by the Massachusetts State Police, the couple embarked on a hot pursuit with their five children in tow, determined to save the life of another.

"It was just an instinct of fight or flight that kicked in," Disley said.

The suspect's vehicle started to pick up speed, but Correa put the pedal to the metal and went after the car, even running a red light, in an effort to get close enough to read the license plate. Meanwhile, Disley remained on the phone with the 911 dispatcher, telling them what street they were on.

"I cut off people and I got up close to the car," Correa said. "I had to do what I had to do, being a father."

Disley told ABC News that her husband slowed down and looked both ways as he ran the red light to ensure they wouldn't get hit by other cars.

"We would never put our kids' lives in danger," she added.

The couple were able to read the license plate and reported it to the 911 dispatcher on the phone. Disley said they also saw "someone getting pushed down under the back seat" of the suspect's car as it passed under a street lamp.

The family ultimately had to end their pursuit as they ran out of gas. But police had already sprung into action.

Massachusetts State Police troopers used a road construction site along the Massachusetts Turnpike to funnel traffic into one lane, slowing down traffic to a crawl. They spotted the suspect's car, stopped the vehicle, found Charlotte in the back seat, 24-year-old Miguel Rodriguez in the driver's seat and a knife visible in the pocket of the door. One officer got Charlotte out of the car safely, while two others removed Rodriguez at gunpoint.

Charlotte told the troopers on scene that Rodriguez had pointed a knife at her and told her that if she screamed or tried to escape then he would kill her, according to the arrest warrant. The girl was taken to a local hospital for a precautionary evaluation.

"It was an absolute life and death situation for this little girl," Springfield Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood told ABC News.

Rodriguez, a Springfield resident, was taken into custody on several charges including aggravated kidnapping and assault by means of a dangerous weapon, according to the arrest warrant. A judge denied him bail on Thursday.

"We're eternally grateful to the motorists that paid attention to the Amber Alert and called and reported seeing the vehicle," Massachusetts State Police Lt. Charles Murray said. "There were a number of those calls and they made this rescue possible."

Charlotte's parents, Carl and Denise Moccia, issued a statement thanking police, news outlets, family, friends, neighbors and the greater community, all of whom "got the word out to help bring Charlotte home."

"In particular we'd like to thank Amanda Disley and her husband for their vigilance and courage for putting themselves in harm's way to make sure she wasn't out of their sight," the parents said. "The outpouring of love and support, near and far, is overwhelming. We are eternally grateful."

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Evgen_Prozhyrko/iStock(OCEANSIDE, Calif.) -- A former Marine has been arrested for the murder of a teenage girl whose body was discovered in a rural field in California about three months ago.

On the morning of Oct. 22, 16-year-old Josephine Jimenez was found dead in the southern part of California's Madera County, a week after she disappeared from her home in Madera, a small city some 25 miles northwest of Fresno. Detectives deemed her death suspicious due to the disposition of the body, according to the Madera County Sheriff's Office.

In December, amid the ongoing investigation into Jimenez's death, Madera County Sheriff's Office detectives were contacted by investigators at the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, the primary law enforcement agency for the U.S. Department of the Navy, who had identified an individual they believed may be connected to the case while investigating a separate matter.

Madera County Sheriff's Office detectives traveled to interview the individual, 19-year-old Codi Slayton, in Oceanside, Calif. Slayton was subsequently arrested by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service on unrelated charges, according to the sheriff's office.

On Thursday, Madera County Sheriff's Office detectives took the former Marine into custody on a first-degree murder charge in connection with Jimenez's death, based on information derived from his interview in December as well as new evidence discovered during a follow-up investigation.

Slayton has been booked at the Madera County Department of Corrections, where he's being held on a $1 million bond, according to the sheriff's office. It's unclear whether he has obtained a lawyer.

Investigators believe Slayton is responsible for Jimenez's death after determining that he had used social media to communicate with her and other young girls throughout California and possibly across the United States. Anyone who may have had online communication with Slayton is asked to contact the Madera County Sheriff's Office.

"This seems to be something more along the line of online predator," Madera County Sheriff Jay Varney told reporters at a press conference Thursday. "So my guess is somehow he had a method to contact her -- as most predators do -- [and] struck up some sort of conversation, and then the resulting crime occurred at some point after that."

Jimenez's family declined to speak on camera but provided the following statement to Fresno ABC station KFSN: "The Jimenez family wants to thank federal authorities, local authorities, and Madera County Sheriff's office detectives for their hard work in the capture of the person responsible for Josephine's death. We are still mourning the loss of our daughter Josephine and look forward for Justice for Josephine."

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Fredrick Hampton, 50, is seen in this photo provided by the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office(BIRMINGHAM, Ala.) -- Alabama police have issued an arrest warrant for a registered sex offender who authorities say may have been involved in the death of 29-year-old Paighton Houston, who disappeared a month ago after texting her friends that she was in trouble.

Houston's body was discovered Jan. 3 in a shallow grave behind a home in Hueytown, about 15 miles from the Birmingham bar where she was last seen on the night of Dec. 20.

After leaving the bar with two men, Houston texted one of her friends saying "she didn't know who she was with and that she felt like she was in trouble," her brother, Evan Houston, told Good Morning America after she went missing.

On Thursday, Alabama police announced they had issued a warrant for the arrest of 50-year-old Fredrick Hampton, a registered sex offender, in connection with the case. Hampton, who police said was at large, is wanted for "abuse of corpse" after authorities say he disposed of Houston's body.

Police said they had no evidence at this point that Hampton was responsible for Houston's death, but that Hampton could face additional charges if additional evidence is developed.

"We have evidence that that victim and the offender were together on the night of Dec. 20, 2019," said Deputy Chief David Agee of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office. "We have evidence that the victim died the next day. We have evidence that after the victim died, her body was disposed of in a criminal manner by Fredrick Hampton."

Authorities said they believe Hampton is familiar with the property where Houston's body was discovered, with the property possibly being owned by relatives of Hampton.

Asked if police had determined whether Hampton and Houston left the bar together on the night of Dec. 20 or if Hampton had coerced her in any way, Agree simply said, "We are saying they were together on Dec. 20. There is no evidence that there was any force."

In addition to the abuse of corpse charge, Hampton has been charged with violating the sex offender notification act.

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duha127/iStock(NEW YORK) -- The acting head of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is expected to speak out against New York City's controversial sanctuary policy amid an ongoing dispute between city and federal officials over the sexual assault and murder of an elderly Queens woman allegedly by an undocumented immigrant.

Acting ICE Director Matthew Albence is expected to hold a press conference at 11 a.m. to "address how sanctuary policies in both New York City and the state of New York impact public safety," the agency said in a statement Thursday.

Sanctuary cities, such as San Francisco and New York City, do not cooperate with the federal government in complying with ICE requests. President Donald Trump and his administration have repeatedly derided the policy.

The visit comes amid a well-publicized battle between city and federal officials over the death of 92-year-old Maria Fuertes, who was fatally attacked outside of her home earlier this month by a man who was in the country illegally, authorities said. Police charged Reeaz Khan, a 21-year-old Guyanese national, in connection with her death on Jan. 10.

Federal immigration officials said they lodged a detainer against Khan in November when he was arrested for allegedly stabbing his father with a broken coffee cup, but the city did not surrender him to federal agents, consistent with its sanctuary policies, according to ICE.

"It is made clear that New York City’s stance against honoring detainers is dangerously flawed," Thomas Decker, ICE's field office director for Enforcement and Removal Operations in New York, said in a statement Monday. "It was a deadly choice to release a man on an active ICE detainer back onto the streets after his first arrest included assault and weapon charges, and he now faces new charges, including murder."

"New York City’s sanctuary policies continue to threaten the safety of all residents of the five boroughs, as they repeatedly protect criminal aliens who show little regard for the laws of this nation," he added.

He said the city releases "hundreds of arrestees" each month with pending charges and/or convictions "to return back into the communities where they committed their crimes, instead of being transferred into the custody of ICE."

"Clearly the politicians care more about criminal illegal aliens than the citizens they are elected to serve and protect," Decker said.

New York City officials disputed claims that the police department ignored a detainer request to turn over Khan for possible deportation. They also accused the Trump administration of politicizing the elderly woman's death.

"We mourn with the family of Ms. Fuertes. If Mr. Khan is convicted, the city will cooperate with federal officials in accordance with local law," Olivia Lapeyrolerie, a spokesperson for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, said in a statement. "It is shameful that the Trump Administration is politicizing this tragedy."

Mayor de Blaiso defended the city's sanctuary laws Wednesday on Twitter when acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf suggested that the policy had caused "a complete breakdown of law and order in New York City."

"There has been a complete breakdown of law & order in New York City," Wolf tweeted. "NYC proudly passed sanctuary city laws & bragged about it for months. But now they, & more importantly, the citizens of NYC are facing the deadly consequences of the sanctuary policies."

In response, de Blaiso touted the city's low crime rate and quipped that President Donald Trump should "quit spreading lies about the good work of the NYPD."

The last time crime was as low in New York City as it is right now, the Dodgers were in Brooklyn and your boss was in Queens — and in diapers. If you’re serious about keeping our country safe, quit spreading lies about the good work of the NYPD. https://t.co/cfua03lGWn

— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) January 16, 2020

"New York City has passed its own common-sense laws about immigration enforcement that have driven crime to record lows," he tweeted.

"The Trump administration’s scare tactics destroy trust in law enforcement. The day our police ask for immigration status is the day people stop reporting crimes & sharing information," he added in another tweet.

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smolaw11/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump issued new guidance on Thursday, asserting a First Amendment right of students to pray in public schools across the United States.

The president -- as he looks to gain more support from evangelical Christians, typically one of his most loyal constituencies -- is also taking steps to make it easier for religious organizations to gain access to federal programs.

"We will not let anyone push God from the public square," Trump said Thursday afternoon, speaking from the Oval Office on National Religious Freedom Day -- where he welcomed students from Christian, Jewish and Muslim backgrounds. "We will uphold religious liberty for all and I want to thank you all."

Trump said the directive is a way for the administration to "safeguard" students' religious freedom rights.

"We call this the right to pray," he said, adding "there is nothing more important than that I would say."

But it didn't stop with students, the Office of Management and Budget followed suit releasing a memo that will require federal agencies establish grant-making processes that comply with First Amendment protections.

Nine agencies are also set to release proposed rules to ensure religious and non-religious organizations are treated equally by the federal government.

The Trump administration's guidance will also give students and parents the platform to make complaints about religious discrimination to state education departments, according to administration officials.

In amplifying the president’s message, the Department of Education is set to send a letter to state education secretaries reminding them of students’ protected First Amendment religious rights.

"Too many misinterpret a separation of church and state as an invitation for government to separate people from their faith," Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said. "In reality our Constitution doesn't exist to protect us from religion, it exist to protect religion from government."

Speaking at a Miami church in early January, Trump hinted that the action would be made official today -- Jan. 16.

"Very soon, I’ll be taking action to safeguard students and teachers’ First Amendment rights to pray in our schools," Trump said Thursday morning. "They want to take that right along with many other ones."

The guidance had not been updated since 2003.

An administration official pointed to the case of a group of middle school students in Texas who were repeatedly told not to pray in their school cafeteria during lunch break by the school principal, to highlight why the update is needed. The decision was later reversed by school district officials.

"President Trump is committed to making sure that people of faith, particularly children, are not subjected to illegal punishment or pressure for exercising their constitutionally protected rights," Grogan, the White House director of the Domestic Policy Council, said in a call to reporters.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU), a group known for its advocacy to ensure that "religion does not dictate public policy," shot down Trump's plan in a series of tweets -- claiming it was only catering to "religious extremists."

Rob Boston, AU's senior adviser, shot back at Trump after he first announced his plans to issue new guidance.

"Any guidelines this administration produces will likely either be littered with twisted interpretations of the law or, even if they are accurate, Trump will start boasting that he 'brought prayer back to schools' or some such nonsense," Boston wrote in a Jan. 6 editorial on the group's website.

He added, "If [the] Trump administration offers misleading advice on religion and public schools, we’ll be there to set the record straight and ensure our public schools remain inclusive and welcoming for all students, regardless of their religious or nonreligious beliefs."

The group's leaders said in a different series of tweets that they would be "analyzing these regs now."

"We won’t let Trump's attacks on #ReligiousFreedom go unchallenged," the group said on Twitter.

The American Civil Liberties Union released a statement of critique following the event.

“President Trump isn’t trying to protect religious freedom; he’s pandering to religious extremists who want to inject a narrow set of religious beliefs into our public schools and taxpayer-funded services." ~AU's @rachelklaser Read & RT our press release: https://t.co/Su9v4WEjC3

— Americans United (@americansunited) January 16, 2020

"Government-funded programs, including those operated by faith-based organizations, should not be able to discriminate against vulnerable people seeking help," Heather Weaver, senior staff attorney with the ACLU Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief, said in the statement. "We will submit comments vigorously opposing these proposed regulations."

This presidential action comes as Trump also seeks to shore up support among the nation’s evangelical Christians after the prominent "Christianity Today” ran an op-ed advocating for the president’s removal from office.

The president’s reelection campaign announced the formation of an "Evangelicals for Trump" coalition at a Florida rally earlier this month.

"Well, it is a cultural war. And you have two sides ... you have a side that believes so strongly in prayer and then being restricted and it's getting worse and worse and I think we've made a big impact," Trump said on Thursday. "And we are loosening up a lot ... I want to loosen it up totally."

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ABC(LOS ANGELES) -- Paramedic Scott Lazar, a 16-year veteran of the Los Angeles Fire Department, is used to treating the same person, sometimes on the same day, on Skid Row.

"Deja vu, yeah, it's every day down here," Lazar told "Nightline" as he treats a man for an overdose, as he did just the day before.

Over five months, "Nightline" got an exclusive look at life at Lazar's LAFD Station 9, rare access to the day-to-day operations of this team and a glimpse into daily life for this city's most vulnerable. Station 9 is one of the busiest fire stations in the country, receiving an average of 80 calls a day -- mostly to treat those living on the street in L.A.'s well-known Skid Row.

Watch the full story on "Nightline" TONIGHT at 12:35 a.m. ET on ABC

Lazar and his partner, Mike Contreras, are members of the fast-response vehicles at the station. Their job is to dart ahead of fire engines to assess the situation and gauge the required resources.

It's been described that each homeless person is like a lock with its own unique key. There isn't a single solution that works for all of them. It's something the firefighters have come to know.

During one of our embeds over the summer, on Lazar's third overdose case of the morning, he said he recognized the man. He'd cut open the man's jeans pocket to ensure he wouldn't be stuck by needles when he hoisted the man into a gurney.

"That is an everyday occurrence. If I work tomorrow, I'm pretty sure I'll [see] him again tomorrow with the same problems," he said. "He didn't get the right locksmith, maybe one day he will."

There are nearly half a million people experiencing homelessness nationwide -- many in California.

In Los Angeles County, about 60,000 people live on the streets, right beside the luxury and glamour of Hollywood. On Wednesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom called the issue "a crisis. This is a state of emergency."

But potential solutions are stalling as fears over disease and public safety clash with the realities of mental illness, addiction and poverty.

Last week, Newsom proposed a $1.4 billion plan to address this as debate in the state rages over long-term solutions.

Amid the turmoil, there's a quiet domesticity at the station. Sharing meals, cleaning gear, fitting in quick workouts -- it's a brotherhood.

"[We] pretty much live here," engineer Mark Tostado told "Nightline." "We live here a quarter of our time -- so I do live here. This is our home away from home."

LAFD Medical Director Mark Eckstein said responders at this station are exposed to extraordinary danger every day.

"They're exposed to needles, violent crime, communicable diseases you think would only exist in third-world countries, and they're literally running nonstop," Eckstein said.

Yet some, like Tostado, keep coming back. This is his 11th year at the station and his second tour of duty.

"You have to want to be here ... to see what's going on here ... feces, throw up, needles and overdoses and death -- most people don't see that at all," Tostado said. "I can't even count how many times I've seen death. And you just get used to it."

Over several months with Station 9, there was a fair share of misery, but also glimmers of hope -- like a man who goes by the name Mango. He's become a self-appointed aide to the firefighters, stepping out into crowded streets to stop traffic so fire trucks can zip through. Sometimes he'll even clear the city's street gutters.

"He helps us out a lot here," Tostado said.

Mango gave "Nightline" a tour of the Skid Row neighborhood, where he was often greeted as if he were the mayor. He helped a disabled woman get a blanket. She broke into tears. Despite not having teeth, she tried to convey someone had run over her foot.

"It's warfare out here," he said. "These people out here need to be in shelter."

Moments later, Station 9 got another call and "Nightline" rushed back. Tostado told us there was a report of a disturbed woman. When "Nightline" arrived, four firefighters were talking to her when, suddenly, she started to swing at them. They subdued the woman, who was still kicking and crying on the sidewalk, as gently as possible by borrowing a security guard's handcuffs.

Tostado said he sees situations like this "weekly."

"I mean, it's not their fault, a lot of times it's a psych issue or they're doing drugs. And it's an effect of the drugs," he said.

That woman would be taken to the emergency room, which is part of the problem, Eckstein said.

"Having paramedics roll on someone who's hearing voices, who endorses suicidal ideation, take 'em to an E.R. with no mental health professionals, how does that help?" he said. "If someone's intoxicated, what do we do in the E.R.? We check for any treatable medical or traumatic conditions, which often involves very expensive, redundant testing. And we basically let 'em sober up and they go back on the street. Do it all over again."

Eckstein said it's a good thing there are new resources "but we haven't solved the problem."

"We're trying to stop the bleeding. We're trying to get help for the most vulnerable people in our society," he added.

LAFD Chief Ralph Terazas said one of the problems is regulatory. Paramedics can only transfer patients to the emergency room, without the option of transfers to mental health facilities or sober houses, which might be more appropriate.

"It's crazy to me. Because police officers, with minimal medical training, have that authority now to take 'em wherever they want. But our paramedics, who have much higher medical authority, are not allowed to do so ... because it's not compliant with county protocol," he explained.

That's what's causing the backlog at hospitals and sapping the city's budget, Terazas added. He and L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti are now lobbying the state for those changes.

The crew here at Station 9 notches wins every day, as they say, treating each individual without bias because their patients are human beings, and this is the job.

"Imagine going treating someone who's covered in dirt, human waste. They respond [to calls from] people with these problems every day and they treat them with the same level of respect as a CEO working in a high-rise two blocks from here," Eckstein said. "That is quite noble and quite admirable. And they do it day in, day out."



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Vito Palmisano/iStock(TALLAHASSEE, Fla.) -- The Florida Department of Environmental Protection will purchase 20,000 acres of wetlands in the Everglades in an effort to save the area from oil drilling, the governor announced.

It was the largest wetland acquisition in a decade, according to a press release from Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis' office.

The wetlands affected, which are located in the Water Conservation Area 3 in Dade and Broward Counties, had previously been owned by Kanter Real Estate LLC. Kanter and the state's Department of Environmental Protection recently reached an agreement and the acquisition of the land was announced Wednesday.

"This significant purchase will permanently save these lands from oil drilling. I’m proud of our progress, but also recognize this is just the beginning," DeSantis said in a statement. "I will continue to fight every day for the Everglades and Florida’s environment."

The wetland acquisition will protect the wildlife habitat of more 60 endangered and threatened species and support expedited restoration work on the Everglades Agricultural Area Reservoir, according to the governor's office.

Water Conservation Area 3 is part of Everglades Protection Area, described as "one of the most important wetland systems in the Everglades ecosystem."

In February 2019, a Florida appeals court ruled that the real estate company would be able to drill an exploratory well in the Everglades, according to court documents.

The company's president, John Kanter, wanted to drill on a 20-mile-wide, 150-mile-long stretch of shale between Miami and Fort Myers dubbed the Sunniland Trend, according to the Miami Herald.

With the new acquisition by the state, about 600,000 acres of land are now protected in Water Conservation Area 3 and will be restored, the governor said.

Kimberly Mitchell, the executive director at The Everglades Trust, called the acquisition "fantastic news."

"This Governor keeps plowing through the morass that has confounded every Governor before him. We have never doubted the sincerity of his commitment," Mitchell said in a statement.

DeSantis' office did not immediately respond to ABC News' question as to how much the land purchase will cost.

He has also requested sustained funding at $625 million annually for the Everglades, springs and clean water to help with restoration, according to the press release.

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Bytmonas/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- More guns were found and detained from passengers or in carry-on bags at airport security checkpoints across the United States in 2019 than recorded in agency history, according to the Transportation Security Administration.

The agency found 4,432 firearms at these checkpoints -- a 5% increase from the previous year, the agency reported on Wednesday. Of the weapons discovered, the press release said 87% were loaded. Nearly 40% of those were found with a full round in the chamber, the TSA press release said.

“The continued increase in the number of firearms that travelers bring to airport checkpoints is deeply troubling,” TSA Administrator David Pekoske said in the press release. "There is a proper way to travel safely with a firearm. First and foremost, it should be unloaded."

He added, "It should be packed in a hard-sided locked case, taken to the airline check-in counter to be declared, and checked."

TSA has set strict laws prohibiting passengers from bringing firearms aboard planes. They do, however, allow weapons with proper permits to travel in checked baggage, requiring that they are unloaded and packed in locked and hard-sided cases, with the ammunition stowed in its original box.

Passengers who carry legally are also subject to local and state gun laws wherever they land.

TSA officials detected these firearms at 278 airports nationwide last year. The press released named five cities where the most firearms were detected at checkpoints: Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth, Denver, Houston and Phoenix.

The airports with the highest number of gun seizures in 2019 were:

  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International with 323
  • Dallas/Fort Worth International with 217
  • Denver International with 140
  • George Bush Intercontinental with 138
  • Phoenix Sky Harbor International with 132


The airports above were also on TSA's list for 2018.

Hartsfield-Jackson also set the record for most firearms detained in one month -- 34 were found in May 2019.

The checkpoints experienced a rocky start to 2019, as the United States was in the midst of one of the longest government shutdowns in history. The rate of unscheduled absences at airports throughout the country spiked, and security screening lines grew, forcing travelers to often wait longer than an hour -- sometimes missing their flights.

The Atlanta airport reported a breach of security in early 2019 -- unrelated to the shutdown -- when a passenger traveling to Japan successfully brought a gun through security and on to a Delta Airlines flight. The gun was not discovered until the passenger told Delta authorities what he had brought “upon arrival” in Japan.

TSA also reminded travelers that individuals who are caught with firearms at airport security checkpoints are subject to federal civil penalties of up to $13,000.

ABC News reached out to the agency for comment on next steps.

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designer491(PRESCOTT, Ariz.) -- A 15-year-old boy whose parents both died has been threatened with eviction from his grandparents’ house by their homeowners’ association, as the home is located in an age-restricted community for people over the age of 55.

Collin Clabaugh came to live with his grandparents at their home in The Gardens at Willow Creek community in Prescott, Arizona after his parents died two weeks apart in 2019.

His grandmother, Melodie Passmore, received a letter from an attorney representing the community’s homeowner association in December telling her that Collin would not be able to continue living with them, as the minimum age for residents in the community is 19.

"The board appreciates the difficulty of these circumstances but must balance the interests of all parties involved, the Passmores, and all other owners who purchased property in an age-restricted community expecting the age restrictions to be followed," the document said.

It gave the family a deadline of June 2020 to make alternative living arrangements for Clabaugh, saying that it had to “balance the interests of all parties involved, not just the Passmores.”

It added that the association risked legal claims from other residents if it failed to enforce the community’s age restrictions.

“We didn’t plan this. We didn’t go out one day and say, 'Hey, let's have [Clabaugh’s father] Clay kill himself, and let's have [Clabaugh’s mother] Bonnie die, and we’ll take Collin in,'” Melodie Passmore, told ABC News affiliate KNXV. “And to heck with the HOA. It's not the way it was planned.”

“It just seems so heartless that even though we’ve explained our whole situation, it has to be the rule that dictates everything, it can’t be someone's life,” Clabaugh told KNXV.

Age-restricted communities are permitted under the Housing for Older Persons Act to enforce age restrictions on residents, while leaving other types of housing discrimination, such as that based on race, sex, religion, disability or national origin prohibited .

The law does allow individual homeowners’ associations in age-restricted communities a degree of leeway in the restrictions they choose to place on their communities. It requires that at least 80% of the occupied units are occupied by at least one person over the age of 55, but individual associations are free to allow families with children to live in the remaining 20% of the units if they wish to.

Passmore said that Hope for Clabaugh could be on the horizon however. An updated statement from the association’s lawyer issued to KNXV on Wednesday said: “The Gardens at Willow Creek legal counsel and legal counsel for the Passmores have been in contact, and the board is working with the Passmores to resolve this matter."

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