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Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- A report commissioner by the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, a part of the Justice Department, found that multiple shortcomings on the part of law enforcement contributed to the violent riots in Ferguson, Missouri last year.

The report has been disseminated to certain agencies, but the final version won't be released for a few weeks. The draft version of the report, obtained by ABC News, included 42 findings related to law enforcement's reaction to the initial protests.

Among the findings were that inconsistent training and different policing philosophies contributed to poor incident command and management, that the Ferguson Police Department and the St. Louis County Police Department used only immediate tactical responses do to the mistaken belief that riots would be "short-lived," and that use of canine units "unnecessarily [incited] fear and anger among amassing crowds."

The report also cited military-style uniforms, equipment, weapons and armored vehicles used by law enforcement that "produced a negative public reaction."

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Evan F. Sisley/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Federal investigators say they have no reason to believe that a series of church fires in the South were racially motivated or related, according to a statement from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

The fires came amid heightened tensions caused by the racially charged massacre at a Charleston, South Carolina church that left nine people, including a pastor, dead and an uproar over the Confederate flag flying at the South Carolina statehouse.

On their Facebook page, the ATF said that it has special agents and certified fire investigators at the five different scenes: Greater Miracle Temple Apostolic Holiness Church, Tallahassee, FL, Fruitland Presbyterian Church, Memphis, TN, Glover Grove Baptist Church, SC, Briar Creek Road Baptist Church, SC and God’s Power Church of Christ, Macon, GA.

"We are in the early stages of these investigations, but at this time we have no reason to believe these fires are racially motivated or related," the statement said of the fires, which have occurred in the past nine days.

At the end of the post, they included a picture of a church fire that occurred in January, but they did not include any details about the location of that particular fire.

At least two of the five churches highlighted by the FBI -- Briar Creek Road and God’s Power Church of Christ -- have already been ruled arson.

The cause for the other three remains under investigation.

Another church, the Mount Zion AME Church in Greeleyville, South Carolina was on fire Tuesday night. That church was burned to the ground by the Ku Klux Klan in 1995.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Authorities in upstate New York spent three weeks searching for escaped prisoners Richard Matt and David Sweat. Jon Chodat(MALONE, N.Y.) -- Escaped prisoner David Sweat told investigators he was almost discovered twice during the three weeks authorities were searching the woods of upstate New York for him and fellow inmate Richard Matt -- including one time that police walked right by him as he hid in a hunting tree stand, officials said.

In the first close-call, Sweat told investigators both he and Matt were hiding near a cabin when three people came to check on it, Clinton County District Attorney Andrew Wylie told ABC News Tuesday.

The people were discussing whether they should stay at the cabin or leave and Sweat said he and Matt were close enough to hear their conversation, Wylie said.

Sweat told the investigators he and Matt stayed hidden until the three people left, according to the DA.

The second instance happened within the past week, after Sweat and Matt separated, Sweat allegedly told investigators.

Sweat claimed he was hiding in a hunting tree stand when an officer walked past him, Wylie said.

Investigators were interviewing Sweat to better understand how the men escaped June 6 from Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York, and how they were able to avoid police for so long.

Sources briefed on the matter told ABC News Tuesday that interviews with Sweat have concluded for now.

According to Wylie, Sweat was advised of his Miranda rights. "He knows he has a right to an attorney, he knows he doesn't have to talk to authorities," he said. It was not clear if Sweat has a lawyer.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Sweat split up from Matt days before their captures, because he felt like "Matt was slowing him down."

Sweat is recovering at Albany Medical Center after he was apprehended, shot and wounded Sunday in the area of Constable, New York, about 1.5 miles south of the Canadian border.

His condition was listed as fair Tuesday. He is expected to remain at the hospital "for at least a few days" before he is moved to a maximum-security prison, sources said.

Matt, meanwhile, was shot and killed Friday in Elephant's Head, New York, about 16 miles south of where Sweat was found, police said.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


iStock/Thinkstock(SEATTLE) -- Homeowners forced to evacuate recently because of a rapidly moving wildfire in Washington state returned Tuesday to find that the blaze had burned so hot that few of their belongings remained or were even recognizable.

"[It] looks like a war zone," Diane Reed told ABC News affiliate KOMO-TV. "I've never seen anything like it ... To just sit back and think, I don't even have a fork or a plate or clothing -- just your basic things that we all take for granted. It's just gone."

The grass fire started Sunday on a remote hillside outside of Wenatchee, Washington.

Fueled by triple-digit temperatures -- Wenatchee had a record high of 109 on Sunday -- as well as strong winds, the blaze exploded, making its way quickly into residential and commercial areas, outpacing firefighting teams. Thousands of residents were told to leave their homes as firefighting teams went door-to-door.

Rainfall provided some relief Monday but in the end, at least 24 homes were reportedly burned to the ground and four businesses were destroyed. Nearly 3,000 acres were scorched.

Vern and Julie Smith said they barely had time to react to evacuation orders before the fires reached their property. Their home was lost to the blaze Monday.

"You grab your family, kids and our animals," Julie Smith told KOMO-TV. "We stayed with friends across the Wenatchee River and watched this area burn all night."

Julie Smith said, though, that not all was lost.

"What made our house a home was our love and what we've done together," she said.

On Tuesday, a scorched hillside remained as well as the some of the hoses left behind by firefighters.

Wenatchee, a town with a population of 30,000, suffered a double whammy. As fire ripped through neighborhoods and burning embers ignited several large businesses downtown, nearly half the city was ordered to shelter in place after an industrial fire and ammonia leak released a dangerous smoke plume.

Strike teams continued to pounce on hotspots Tuesday around the city but many residents said they worried that the worst may not be behind them.

"I think the worst is over, but you have to be vigilant," one resident said.

No residents were injured in the wildfire. Fire officials were still investigating the cause.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Trampoline parks are increasingly popular, with scores of them springing up across the country in recent years, but the industry’s rise has been met with concerns from safety advocates.

Trampoline parks -- venues featuring fixtures that allow you to jump and bounce -- initially appeared during the 1960s, a fad that re-emerged in recent years as the economy improved and people pursued alternative sporting options. While only a handful of parks existed in 2009, at least 345 were in operation at the close of last year, according to the International Association of Trampoline Parks, or IATP.

Nearly 100,000 trampoline-related injuries occur each year: 83,665 in 2013 and 94,900 in 2012, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Additionally, 22 trampoline-related deaths occurred between 2000 and 2009, according to the CPSC.

Courtney Cleveland, who was injured at a trampoline park, fractured part of her spine and was told it could have been much worse.

“You’re very lucky,” the Virginia mom said the doctor told her. “If you fractured C-7 [vertebrae], you could be paralyzed in the foam pit.”

Most jump parks require visitors to sign liability waivers acknowledging the risks, including serious injury and death. But there are no federal regulations for trampoline parks, and only two states, Arizona and Michigan, have specific safety laws on the books.

Tom Paper, president of the trampoline safety advocacy group Think Before You Bounce, wants to see more regulation of the parks.

“There is a dangerous situation out there for consumers,” Paper said. “We’ve proven it with data, and yet nothing is happening.”

The indoor jump park industry argues that there is risk involved in every sport and physical activity.

For now, the industry is regulating itself, with many parks following voluntary safety guidelines, said Jeff Platt, chairman of the International Association of Trampoline Parks.

“The indoor trampoline park industry is really proactive in working together in a collective group to write a set of standards, as well as being proactive with legislators,” Platt said.

Think Before You Bounce suggests that people who visit trampoline parks follow these guidelines:

  • No more than one person on a trampoline at the same time
  • Keep small and large jumpers on different trampoline courts
  • Never allow children age 6 or younger on a trampoline

Many trampoline-related injuries are caused by collisions involving multiple people being on a trampoline at the same time, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Authorities also note somersaults and stunts as a risk, because people can be injured or paralyzed if they land improperly on their head or neck.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.





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