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New York man who became ISIS sniper found guilty of providing support for terrorism

Catherine McQueen/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) -- A former Brooklyn man, who became a sniper and weapons instructor for ISIS, was convicted Tuesday of providing material support to terrorism and other charges.

Ruslan Maratovich Asainov, a U.S. citizen and former resident of Bay Ridge, was found guilty on all five counts, including charges that his material support for ISIS resulted in death. He faces up to life in prison.

“As proven at trial, Asainov was a member of ISIS, a violent foreign terrorist organization, which has committed numerous acts resulting in the deaths of many U.S. citizens and others,” said United States Attorney Breon Peace. “The defendant committed to the terrorist organization’s evil cause and made an extraordinary journey to the battlefield in Syria, where he became a lethal sniper for ISIS and trained many other ISIS members to kill. Even after being captured, he still pledged his allegiance to ISIS.”

Asainov is a naturalized U.S. citizen who converted to Islam in 2009 and became increasingly interested in Islamic extremism. By 2013, he was consuming radical content online, dropped out of Borough of Manhattan Community College and began preparing to travel to Syria.

Asainov abandoned his wife and daughter in Brooklyn before traveling on a one-way ticket from New York to Istanbul, Turkey, to obtain entry into Syria. Upon his arrival, he fought for five years on behalf of ISIS, including the Islamic State’s last stand in Syria Baghouz, in March 2019. His wife testified he sent her a photograph of three dead fighters, one of whom was wearing a patch that stated, “Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham,” in Arabic script.

Asainov received training on how to use automatic rifles, machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades and trained as a sniper. During the two-week trial, a former U.S. Navy SEAL scout sniper testified the sniper training course Asainov was in was consistent with what the former SEAL would expect to be taught in a sniper training program.

Asainov was captured in Syria and told his mother in a recorded phone call from prison he was carrying out Allah’s orders when he waged jihad and killed for ISIS. He also said that he intended to return to waging jihad if released, and that he would fight until he “meet[s] Allah,” according to the indictment.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Former Memphis officer texted photo of beaten Tyre Nichols, state records show

Scott Olson/Getty Images

(MEMPHIS, Tenn.) -- One of the former Memphis officers charged in connection with Tyre Nichols' death took a photo of Nichols after he was handcuffed and texted it to multiple people, according to newly obtained state records.

Demetrius Haley took two pictures on his personal cell phone of the "obviously injured" Nichols after he had been handcuffed, according to a Tennessee Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission document obtained by ABC News. He admitted to sharing a photo in a text message with five people, according to the document.

The document was part of the process to decertify Haley and the four other former officers charged with second-degree murder.

A sixth officer has also been fired following a violent encounter with Memphis police caught on body camera.

Seven additional Memphis police officers could face discipline in connection with the incident, the city's chief legal officer, Jennifer Sink, told ABC News Tuesday.

Those additional officers will be receiving a "statement of charges," which notifies an officer about a policy violation prior to an administrative hearing and decision about discipline, officials said.

"The administrative investigation is still ongoing, and so this information is subject to change," Sink said in a statement. "The administrative investigation is solely to determine if city policies were violated and what disciplinary action should be taken."

Graphic footage of the Jan. 7 traffic stop, which showed officers beating Nichols, was released to the public last month and sparked nationwide outrage.

Nichols, 29, died on Jan. 10, after spending three days in a hospital.

Nichols' mother and stepfather, RowVaughn and Rodney Wells, who have been pushing for charges in their son's case, will be attending Tuesday night's State of the Union as guests of the first lady.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Off-duty NYPD officer shot during robbery has died, officials say

Douglas Sacha/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) -- The 26-year-old NYPD officer who was shot during a robbery while off-duty has died at Brookdale University Hospital, according to city and police officials.

Adeed Fayaz had been on the force for five years, officials said, and is survived by a wife and two children.

A cordon of officers awaits the dignified transfer of his body from the hospital to the medical examiner's office, officials said.

A 38-year-old man suspected of shooting Fayaz on Saturday night has been arrested in Rockland County, New York, where he was found hiding out in a hotel, according to police.

Charges are pending against Randy Jones, who was apprehended at a Days Inn in Nanuet on Monday and taken into custody in the wounded officer's handcuffs, police said.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams had said Saturday that Fayaz was "fighting for his life."

Just before 7 p.m Saturday, Fayaz and his brother-in-law went to a location in Brooklyn to meet someone to buy a car, according to authorities.

Fayaz and his brother-in-law were met by Jones, who asked whether either of them was carrying a gun, NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig said. When they said no, Jones allegedly put Fayaz in a headlock, pointed a gun at him and demanded money, police said.

Fayaz broke free and Jones shot him in the head, Essig said. The brother-in-law took a gun from Fayaz’s holster and returned fire, getting off six shots before Jones fled in a 2011 BMW, according to authorities. Police tracked the car to Jones’ mother, according to police.

Jones has at least three prior arrests, including one in 2014 for strangulation. Police are also looking into several Facebook Marketplace robberies to see whether he was involved, Essig said.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Alec Baldwin's attorney seeks to disqualify special prosecutor who investigated 'Rust' shooting

Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images

(SANTA FE, N.M.) --

Alec Baldwin's attorney moved on Tuesday to disqualify the special prosecutor in New Mexico who investigated him over the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of "Rust."

The special prosecutor, Andrea Reeb, is a member of the New Mexico House of Representatives. She was elected to her first term last year and assumed office on Jan. 1.

"Under Section 1 of Article III of the New Mexico Constitution, however, a sitting member of the Legislature may not 'exercise any powers properly belonging' to either the executive or judicial branch," Baldwin's defense attorney, Luke Nikas, wrote in a motion filed on Tuesday.

Baldwin has been charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter in connection with the death of Hutchins.

His defense attorney argued Reeb cannot simultaneously exercise legislative and judicial power.

"Were the arrangement here approved by the courts, future District Attorneys could seek to curry favor with legislators who control their budgets by appointing them to high-profile cases -- distorting the legislative process," Nikas said in the motion to disqualify.

"A prosecutor who also serves as a legislator could face pressure to make prosecutorial decisions that serve her legislative interests, such as by prosecuting a prominent defendant associated with an opposing faction within the Legislature even in the face of conflicting evidence or law," the motion continued.

The filing cited a funding request from First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies of $635,500 from the New Mexico Board of Finance for the prosecution of individuals related to the Rust shooting. The proposed budget included $156,000 for Reeb's salary.

"In short, there can be no question that Representative Reeb is violating both the plain text and the purpose of the New Mexico Constitution's separation-of-powers provision by serving simultaneously as a legislator and a prosecutor. She must be removed," Nikas said.

The district attorney's office brushed off the motion, calling it a distraction.

"Mr. Baldwin and his attorneys can use whatever tactics they want to distract from the fact that Halyna Hutchins died because of more than mere negligence on the 'Rust' film set," Heather Brewer, a spokesperson for the First Judicial District Attorney, said in a statement. "However, the district attorney and the special prosecutor will remain focused on the evidence and on trying this case so that justice is served."

Hutchins was fatally shot on the Santa Fe set of the Western on Oct. 21, 2021. In addition to Baldwin, the film's armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, was charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter over her death. They both are scheduled to make their first court appearance virtually on Feb. 24.

First assistant director David Halls has already agreed to plead no contest for the charge of negligent use of a deadly weapon in connection with the shooting. The plea agreement is pending a judge's approval, prosecutors said last week. A plea conference has been scheduled for March 8.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg criticizes Donald Trump book, says case against former president wasn't ready

Christopher Goodney/Bloomberg via Getty Images

(NEW YORK) -- Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg responded for the first time since the release of a book Tuesday by former special assistant district attorney Mark Pomerantz, which accuses Bragg of making a mistake by failing to bring a criminal case against former President Donald Trump at the onset of his tenure.

"I bring hard cases when they are ready," Bragg said Tuesday in response to a question from ABC News. "Mark Pomerantz's case was not ready."

Bragg called Pomerantz's criticisms of the prosecutors in the district attorney's office "appalling," saying they're committed to keeping the public safety "from the suites to the streets."

The book, "People vs. Donald Trump: An Inside Account," was released Tuesday.

Bragg said he has not read the book, but he has seen televised interviews with Pomerantz in which he criticizes Bragg for declining to bring a criminal case over Trump's statements of financial condition.

A parallel civil case by New York Attorney General Letitia James alleged those statements were fraudulently completed to inflate Trump's net worth so he could obtain better loan terms.

Bragg said he remained concerned the book could undermine his ongoing investigation.

Bragg's office sent a letter in mid-January to both Simon & Schuster, the book's publisher, and Pomerantz expressing concern that the book could interfere with the ongoing investigation.

"Based on the pre-publication descriptions of his book and the benefit of current knowledge of the matter, but without access to the manuscript, this Office believes there is a meaningful risk that the publication will materially prejudice ongoing criminal investigations and related adjudicative proceedings," read the letter, a copy of which was obtained by ABC News.

A grand jury has started hearing evidence about Trump's role in hush payments to Stormy Daniels, sources have told ABC News.

Trump's former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, is expected to appear before that grand jury this week, sources told ABC News.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


4 injured after battery catches fire on United flight

Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images

(SAN DIEGO) -- Four people were taken to the hospital after an external battery caught fire on a United Airlines flight early Tuesday, officials said.

Shortly after takeoff, the device was found on fire inside a seat back pocket of first class, United told ABC News. Officials said the flight crew prevented the fire from spreading by placing the battery into a thermal containment bag.

"Our crew acted quickly to contain the device," the airline said in a statement.

The Newark-bound flight then safely returned to San Diego International Airport where it was met by the local fire department and medical personnel.

Four flight attendants were taken to the hospital as a precaution and two passengers were evaluated on site, according to United.

"We thank our crew for their quick actions in prioritizing the safety of everyone on board the aircraft and we are making arrangements to get our customers to their destinations," United said.

Last year there were 57 incidents involving lithium batteries on planes, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

The FAA said it will investigate the incident.

ABC News' Matt Fuhrman contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Texas couple charged with dealing fentanyl-laced pills to middle, high school students, three of whom died

Carrollton (Texas) Police Dept.

(DALLAS) -- The Justice Department on Monday charged a Texas couple with dealing pills laced with fentanyl, which it said led to three deaths of three students, according to court documents unsealed on Monday.

Luis Eduardo Navarrete, 21, and Magaly Mejia Cano, 29 are charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance.

They allegedly dealt fake Percocet and OxyContin pills laced with fentanyl, commonly known as "M30s," to high school-aged drug dealers to sell around R.L. Turner High School and to younger students at Dewitt Perry and Dan F. Long Middle Schools, in Carrolton, Texas, court documents said.

In just six months, 10 children overdosed, and 3 died as a result of the pills, according to the Justice Department, with the youngest victim being 13.

"To deal fentanyl is to knowingly imperil lives. To deal fentanyl to minors — naive middle and high school students — is to shatter futures," said U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Leigha Simonton. "These defendants' alleged actions are simply despicable. We can never replace the three teenagers whose lives were lost, nor can we heal the psychological scars of those who survived their overdoses. But we can take action to ensure these defendants are never allowed to hand a pill to a child again."

Court documents say that Navarrete sold pills directly to students, and law enforcement actually saw Navarrete hand pills to a student drug dealer. The student admitted that he got the pills he was using in the high school bathroom from Navarrete, according to court documents.

"On multiple occasions, law enforcement members have observed Navarrete and Mejia Cano conduct hand-to-hand transactions with multiple individuals who sometimes arrive on foot and in vehicles," according to the complaint. "Many of the hand-to-hand transactions were with juvenile students of RL Turner High School."

Another student who overdosed twice, and was temporarily paralyzed by the overdose, the documents said, "stated she was familiar with Luis Navarrete and stated she had previously purchased multiple "M30" pills from Navarrete and described his address which was accurate."

Authorities said they found the M30 pills in the girl's house. They said the suspect's homes were right in between the two main schools in which they sold.

"Luis Navarrete and Magaly Mejia Cano's residence is located almost directly in between RL Turner High School and Dewitt Perry Middle School," the complaint says.

Lawyers for the pair did not respond to an ABC News request for comment.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Family files lawsuit against Kenosha officer accused of kneeling on 12-year-old girl’s neck

Courtesy of student at Lincoln Middle School

(KENOSHA, Wis.) -- The family of a 12-year-old girl in Kenosha, Wisconsin, filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against police and the city after accusing an off-duty police officer of kneeling on the girl’s neck while trying to break up a fight she was allegedly involved in.

The lawsuit, which was obtained by ABC News, was filed on behalf of the girl's father Jerrel Perez and his daughter, who is identified as Jane Doe because she is a minor. The complaint names Kenosha Police Officer Shawn Guetschow, the City of Kenosha and the Kenosha Unified School District in the Eastern District of Wisconsin as defendants.

"As a direct and proximate result of the unlawful use of force by Guetschow, Jane Doe suffered physical injuries, including a traumatic brain injury, cervical strain, and recurrent headaches, which has required Jane Doe to undergo medical treatment for her injuries," the complaint alleges. "As a direct and proximate result of the unlawful use of force by Guetschow, Jane Doe suffered emotional distress, mental trauma, and anxiety, including severe emotional distress, which has required Jane Doe to undergo mental health treatment and counseling and to change schools."

Video of the incident, which took place during lunchtime in the cafeteria at Kenosha’s Lincoln Middle School on March, 4, 2022, was captured by students.

A video taken by one of the students at the school was obtained by ABC News and shows the officer, who was later identified as Guetschow, responding to a fight between two students. Guetschow was working part-time as a security officer for the Kenosha Unified School District at the time of the incident, officials said.

The 12-year-old girl, who was in the sixth grade, appears to push the officer and then he pins her to the ground and appears to kneel on her neck, according to the video. It is unclear what happened before or after.

Attorney Sam Hall, who is representing the Kenosha Unified School District and Guetschow, told ABC News in a statement on Monday that the school district "will vigorously defend itself and Officer Shawn Guetschow in the civil litigation filed today by Mr. Jerrel Perez."

"Officer Guetschow continues to recover from injuries he sustained during a physical altercation with a student during lunchtime in the school cafeteria," Hall said. "As Officer Guetschow was attempting to break up the fight, he was pushed to the ground, his head violently striking a table as he fell to the floor. Officer Guetschow suffered a concussion, significant swelling and a contusion of the head during this incident."

Hall said in the statement that the school district was informed last week that the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office will not pursue any charges against Guetschow.

The family indicated in May 2022 that they intend to a file a lawsuit through a notice of complaint.

The family's attorney, Drew DeVinney, told ABC News on May 12, 2022, that the family’s decision to file a lawsuit is “in response to the Kenosha County District Attorney’s decision to criminally charge Jane Doe.”

Asked about the nature of the charges, the Kenosha Police Department did not return a request for comment, but in March 2022, police confirmed to ABC News that a charge of disorderly conduct was referred to juvenile court for Jane Doe, as well as the other student involved in the fight.

Amid a national push for police reform after the death of George Floyd -- an unarmed Black man who was killed after a police officer knelt on his neck -- Wisconsin banned the use of police chokeholds in June 2021 except in life-threatening situations or when a police officer has to defend themselves. Chokeholds include various neck restraints.

"Guetschow had multiple opportunities to remove his knee from Jane Doe’s neck and failed to do so," the complaint alleges. "Guetschow’s use of a chokehold and the duration of the chokehold was an unreasonable and unlawful use of force."

Guetschow resigned from his role with the school district on March 15, 2022, Tanya Ruder, chief communications officer for the Kenosha Unified School District, previously confirmed to ABC News.

In his resignation letter, a copy of which was obtained by ABC News last year, Guetschow cited the "mental and emotional strain" that the public attention surrounding the incident has brought on his family, as well as what he says is "the lack of communication and or support" that he has received from the district.

Kenosha police Lt. Joseph Nosalik told ABC News in a statement on Tuesday that the department "withholds any statement or comment" on the lawsuit as the matter will be addressed in court.

Nosalik said that Guetschow, who was placed on administrative duty pending the outcome of three separate investigations, was returned to active duty status on Jan. 31.

"Officer Guetschow was not found to have violated anyone’s civil rights, nor was he found to have committed a crime. Furthermore, an internal investigation found that Officer Guetschow was not in violation of Kenosha Police Department policy or procedure," Nosliak said.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Ohio train derailment: Residents forced to evacuate not yet allowed to return home

Florian Roden / EyeEm/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) -- Residents near the Ohio-Pennsylvania state line who were told to evacuate after tanker cars derailed in a fiery crash days ago have still not been allowed to return home.

Crews conducted a controlled release and burn of toxic chemicals from five of the derailed cars that were in danger of exploding on Monday afternoon. A large ball of fire and plume of black smoke could be seen billowing high into the sky from the smoldering derailment site in East Palestine, Ohio, as the controlled burn took place.

As of Monday night, a 1-mile mandatory evacuation zone remained in place around the site, with no timeframe for when residents will be let back in, according to East Palestine Mayor Trent Conaway.

East Palestine is a small village in northeastern Ohio, near the border with Pennsylvania. It is home to roughly 4,700 residents, about half of whom had been warned to leave over the weekend before officials decided on Monday to conduct the controlled release.

About 50 cars of a Norfolk Southern Railroad train, traveling from Illinois to Pennsylvania, derailed in East Palestine on Friday at around 9 p.m. ET. Ten of the derailed cars were transporting hazardous materials, five of which contained vinyl chloride. No injuries were reported, officials said.

According to the National Transportation Safety Board, two videos show preliminary indications of mechanical issues on one of the car's axle. The train's emergency brake was activated after crews said an alarm went off.

Efforts to contain a fire at the derailment site stalled on Saturday night, as firefighters withdrew from the blaze due to concerns about air quality and explosions.

Forced evacuations began in East Palestine on Sunday night and by Monday, residents in a 1-mile by 2-mile area surrounding the site -- which includes parts of Ohio and Pennsylvania -- were ordered to evacuate immediately.

"The vinyl chloride contents of five rail cars are currently unstable and could potentially explode, causing deadly disbursement of shrapnel and toxic fumes," the office of Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said in a statement Monday.

The controlled release and burn went "as planned," according to Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro.

"Thus far, no concerning readings have been detected," Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro said during a press conference on Monday evening, about three hours after procedure began. "For now, out of an abundance of caution, Pennsylvanians who live within two miles of East Palestine, where this derailment occurred, should just continue to shelter in place this evening and keep your windows and your doors closed."

Crews monitoring air quality “have not seen anything” unexpected, according to James Justice of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

"So far, so good," Justice said at the press conference. "And we're going to continue to monitor until the fire's out."

In a statement to ABC News, Norfolk Southern Railroad also called Monday's controlled release a success and said materials were burning off according to plan.

"We have been, and will continue, monitoring air quality with the Ohio EPA," the rail operator added. "Remediation work at the site can now safely continue.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


$754.6 million Powerball jackpot won by a single ticket

LPETTET/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) -- One person in Washington has won the Powerball jackpot prize of $754.6 million -- the fifth-largest Powerball jackpot and the ninth-largest U.S. lottery jackpot in history, according to Powerball.

If the winner chooses to receive their winnings in a lump sum payment, they will receive a total $407.2 million.

The winning numbers for the jackpot were 5, 11, 22, 23, 69 and the Powerball 7.

Five tickets -- two in Michigan and three in New York -- matched all five white balls to win the $1 million prize. One ticket in Texas won $2 million with the Power Play option. There were also 58 tickets nationwide that won $50,000 prizes and 16 tickets that won $100,000 prizes.

“The Powerball jackpot that has eluded players since last November was finally hit on the 34th drawing of the jackpot run,” Powerball said in a statement following the winning draw. “Final ticket sales pushed the jackpot beyond its earlier estimate to $754.6 million at the time of the drawing, making it the fifth-largest Powerball jackpot and ninth-largest U.S. lottery jackpot ever won.”

Monday night’s drawing is the first time that the Powerball jackpot has been won in 2023, according to Powerball. The jackpot was previously hit more than 11 weeks ago on Nov. 19, last year by a ticket in Kansas that won a grand prize of $92.9 million.

“Other Powerball jackpots won in 2022 include a $632.6 million jackpot hit on January 5 and split by winners in California and Wisconsin; a $185.3 million jackpot won on February 14 in Connecticut; a $473.1 million jackpot won on April 27 in Arizona; a $366.7 million jackpot won on June 29 in Vermont; a $206.9 million jackpot won on August 3 in Pennsylvania; and the world record $2.04 billion jackpot won on November 7 in California.,” said Powerball.

The overall odds of winning the Powerball jackpot are 1 in 292.2 million.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Sam Bankman-Fried agrees to stop using Signal and other encrypted messaging apps as a condition of his bail release

Stephanie Keith/Bloomberg via Getty Images

(SAN FRANCISCO) -- Embattled crypto executive Sam Bankman-Fried agreed on Monday to stop using Signal and other encrypted messaging apps as a condition of his release on bail, according to a letter his attorney filed with the court.

However, Bankman-Fried sought permission from the judge to use WhatsApp with monitoring software installed on his devices and to send ordinary texts.

Prosecutors had sought to limit how Bankman-Fried communicates while he is out on bail, citing concerns over possible efforts to influence potential witness testimony. According to his attorney, Bankman-Fried, who has pleaded not guilty to criminal charges stemming from the collapse of FTX, and the government resolved their dispute and proposed a jointly agreed-upon bail modification to the judge.

“The defendant shall not use any encrypted or ephemeral call or messaging application, including but not limited to Signal. The defendant shall be permitted to place voice calls, FaceTime calls, and Zoom audio and video calls, and use iMessage, SMS text message, email, and Facebook messenger,” the letter from defense attorney Marc Cohen said.

Bankman-Fried dropped his opposition to a ban on him reaching out to former FTX and Alameda Research employees after “the government exempted certain individuals from the proposed no-contact condition,” the letter said.

The letter did not specify which individuals were exempt.

Late last month, federal prosecutors wrote a letter to the judge in the case seeking new conditions of his release because they say Bankman-Fried made “recent attempts” to contact prospective witnesses in his criminal case.

“The imposition of these new conditions is justified in light of the nature of the case, as well as the defendant’s recent attempts to contact prospective witnesses,” assistant United States Attorney Danielle Sassoon wrote in the government’s letter.

“It has recently come to the Government’s attention that the defendant has been in direct communication with the current General Counsel of FTX US who may be a witness at trial, and who is represented by counsel,” the letter continued.

Bankman-Fried has been free on a $250 million bond after he was charged with fraud and conspiracy following the collapse of the crypto platform he founded, FTX.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


'Through the Cracks': Inside the fight to fix Jackson's Water Crisis

ABC News

(JACKSON, Miss.) -- The ongoing water crisis in Jackson, Mississippi, has reluctantly become a new normal for Glenda Barner and her family.

“I do not trust the water. I do not drink it. I haven't drunk that water in years. I always have bottled water for me to drink,” Barner, 69, told ABC News.

Mississippi’s capital city has had more than 300 notices in the last two years that require residents to boil water before using it, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, leaving residents without easy access to clean water for days and sometimes weeks at a time.

Experts and local leaders blame historic divestment, poor infrastructure and extreme weather for the exacerbated crisis. Complications with the city’s water plant and distribution system often cause low water pressure and bacterial water contamination.

Barner, a grandmother of seven, says she often has to prepare meals for her entire family using bottled water, going through two to three cases for just one meal.

“There are days when you sit and just say, ‘we shouldn't have to go through this.’ And I think about it not just for myself, but as a city. We shouldn't have to go through this. We really shouldn't. But, what can we do? We rely on our officials to do what they need to do to fix it and it's not getting done.”

Tonight, on ABC News Live Prime with Linsey Davis, the streaming evening newscast at 7 p.m. ET, Senior Congressional Correspondent Rachel Scott embarks on a new series, “Through the Cracks,” to follow the money on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

The federal legislation was signed into law in 2021 to repair failing infrastructure across the country.

When President Joe Biden signed the bill into law on August 10, 2021, he vowed to address infrastructure woes in historically disadvantaged communities, specifically naming Jackson in his address. “Never again can we allow what happened in Flint, Michigan, and Jackson, Mississippi. We can never let it happen again,” Biden said.

Since then, the Biden administration has awarded billions in funding for more than 7,000 road, bridge and clean water projects across the country, many of which he has touted on the tour during the launch of recent projects in major cities.

In 2022, Mississippi received $459 million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure bill to address water infrastructure directly, but ABC News has learned that city leaders in Jackson did not apply for funding for clean water projects in 2022. They applied this year.

Jackson is expected to receive one of the largest federal investments for water infrastructure in the country, according to White House officials. Barner expressed her frustration with not being able to see the impact of those investments since the law was enacted over a year ago.

"You depend on your city, your state government to help you in times like this. But they're having infighting over the politics of it,” Barner told ABC News. “They say they're allocating money. Where's the money? Who's spending the money? What's the money being spent?” Barner continued.

Tracking the Money

The water crisis in Jackson didn’t happen overnight.

There have been years of finger pointing. City Democratic leaders say state Republicans have left behind a capital city – where over 80 percent of the residents are Black and a quarter of the population lives below the poverty line, according to the U.S. Census.

Jackson Mayor Chokwe Lumumba told ABC News the challenges for state and city leaders to work together are “deeply rooted.”

“There is a lot of not only partisan divide, there's racial or environmental injustice at play. And this hasn't just been our reality in the middle of the water crisis. This is our reality each and every day in Jackson, Mississippi,” Lumumba told ABC News.

“It's not only one that is based on a blue city and a red state, not only based on a predominantly Black city through leadership that does not look like the city from the state level, but it's also the rural versus urban divide that we have in Mississippi.”

Republican leaders have pushed back against claims of racial injustice. Gov. Tate Reeves has accused city leaders of failing to devise a clear plan to address the water system.

The partisan stalemate has contributed to the delay of federal infrastructure law funding allocations for Jackson’s aging water system.

The EPA recently launched an investigation looking into whether state officials discriminated against Jackson based on race. Reeves denies those allegations.

The state is expected to submit a plan to the EPA for how that federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law money will be spent. The agency is mandating that nearly 50% of its funding goes to disadvantaged communities like Jackson.

“You also have the EPA administrator that has the ability to hold all parties accountable if they don't cooperate, to ensure that we find a solution for the people of Jackson," Michael Regan, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, told Scott.

“All of us have to focus on the solution,” Regan said.

Even without the money from the infrastructure bill – the city of Jackson is still receiving more than $814 million from federal funding through EPA grants, The American Rescue Plan and Congressional Omnibus Funding.

Ted Henifin, a federally appointed third-party manager of the Jackson water system, is in charge of figuring out where that goes.

In his newly released financial plan obtained by ABC News, Henifin lays out how he intends to fix the city’s water distribution system and create investments that could make Jackson's water system financially self-sustainable.

The plan spans 20 years, though some improvements will be seen in the first five.

“We can’t do it any faster. We're doing the best with the resources we have, but we need more patience,” Henifin told Scott.

Residents are where they have been for years - waiting for something to change and still keeping hope that one day avoiding tap water will not be a way of life.

“You just have to keep a positive attitude and say it is going to get better and you keep hoping it's going to get better,” Barner said, “ This is bipartisan. This isn’t Black, white, red, yellow, Democrat, Republican. It's not about me. It's not about you. It's about people having clean drinking water.”

ABC News’ Gabriella Abdul-Hakim and Meghan Mistry contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Family of activist killed by cops at Atlanta 'Cop City' protest camp push for answers

Elijah Nouvelage for The Washington Post via Getty Images

(ATLANTA) -- The Georgia Bureau of Investigation announced Monday that it is conducting a "thorough" probe of multiple law enforcement officers involved in the fatal shooting of an environmental activist during a raid last month on protesters camped out in a forest near a police training facility under construction in Atlanta, according to officials.

The investigation will also look into the alleged conduct of the deceased protester, 26-year-old Manuel Esteban Paez Teran, who authorities allege fired the first shot during the confrontation with officers and wounded a Georgia state trooper.

"It has been stated that the GBI is investigating Teran, but agents are actually investigating the actions of all individuals connected to this incident, including Teran and law enforcement," the GBI said in a statement.

The announcement followed a news conference by Teran's family and their attorneys, who accused the GBI of failing to be transparent in their probe of the shooting. The family's attorneys also revealed that a private autopsy concluded Teran was shot at least 13 times and the bullets that hit him came from several different firearms.

"Killing a person who was sleeping in a forest doesn't make sense to me. We are living a horror," said Teran's mother, Belkis Teran, adding that she does not believe her son fired a gun at police.

She said her son was a "pacifist" and that he and his fellow protesters were attempting to protect the forest where the $90 million public safety facility dubbed "Cop City" by demonstrators is being constructed.

"All Manuel wanted to do was to protect the forest, preserve the good of the land for all people," Belkis Teran said.

Jeff Filipovits, an attorney for the Teran family, said relatives sent a request for a meeting with GBI officials back on Jan. 30 to be briefed on the investigation, but received no reply.

"We know very little about what happened on that day and Manuel's family is here seeking answers," Filipovits said.

In its statement Monday, the GBI said it spoke to Teran's family when it launched the investigation.

"We intend to follow up with the family as the investigation progresses," the GBI said in the statement.

The agency said the investigation consists of several types of evidence, including witness statements and forensic test results. It said GBI agents are still combing through footage taken by numerous body-worn cameras of officers connected to the incident.

"We ask for your patience while we go through the processes needed to complete the investigation," the GBI said in its statement. "At that time, our case file will be given to a special prosecutor."

Teran was part of a protest group calling itself "Stop Cop City." The group has demonstrated against the 85-acre training facility for months, saying the center will further militarize the police.

In December, several peaceful protesters at the facility were arrested and charged with "domestic terrorism" under state law, Filipovits said.

On Jan. 18, officers from several law enforcement agencies were conducting a "clearing operation" of a camp protesters established at the construction site. During the operation, officers claimed Teran refused to comply with verbal commands, drew a gun and shot a state trooper in the abdomen, prompting other officers to return fire, killing Teran, according to the GBI.

The trooper who was shot remains in a hospital in stable condition, according to the GBI.

The GBI said a handgun recovered from the scene had been purchased by Teran.

Several large protests have occurred in downtown Atlanta over Teran's death, prompting Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp to declare a state of emergency on Jan. 26.

"The GBI has always conducted investigations with the highest expectation of quality and thoroughness," the agency said in its statement. "We will continue to serve the citizens of Georgia to the best of our ability, to include the investigation of the incident which occurred January 18th."

The agency said an officer-involved shooting investigation usually takes 60 to 90 days to complete.

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Ohio train derailment: Controlled release of toxic chemicals has taken place, authorities say

Dustin Franz/AFP via Getty Images

(EAST PALESTINE, Ohio) -- A controlled release of chemicals on a derailed train in Ohio has taken place, resulting in a large ball of fire and plum of black smoke, authorities said on Monday.

The news comes after officials made urgent calls for evacuations as they planned to burn off the chemicals from the Norfolk Southern train in East Palestine, Ohio, to avoid a major explosion.

In a statement to ABC News, Norfolk Southern called the controlled release a success and said materials are burning off according to plan.

The railroad also said it is monitoring air quality with the Ohio EPA.

Residents in a 1-mile by 2-mile area surrounding East Palestine -- which includes parts of Ohio and Pennsylvania -- must evacuate immediately, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine had said.

"The vinyl chloride contents of five rail cars are currently unstable and could potentially explode, causing deadly disbursement of shrapnel and toxic fumes," the governor's office said in a statement. "To alleviate the risk of uncontrollable shrapnel from an explosion, Norfolk Southern Railroad is planning a controlled release of the vinyl chloride at approximately 3:30 p.m. today."

Officials released a map showing a red zone and a yellow zone, downwind from the burn, with Norfolk Southern saying anyone who remains in the red area will be exposed to deadly toxins and anyone in the yellow area could suffer "skin burns and serious lung damage."

The train, traveling from Illinois to Pennsylvania, derailed around 9 p.m. Friday, ignited and prompted a response from more than 50 fire departments across three states, according to East Palestine Mayor Trent Conaway.

Janet Meek, who lives about one block from the railroad tracks, said she heard a "loud boom" around 9 p.m. Friday. Her husband reported seeing a "billowing ball of fire" while walking their dogs.

The National Transportation Safety Board said Sunday that two videos show preliminary indications of mechanical issues on one of the rail car's axle. The train's emergency brake was activated after crews said an alarm went off, according to the NTSB. There were no injuries, the agency said.

Fire chief Keith Drabick told reporters Saturday that the train was carrying hazardous substances but could not confirm if the fire impacted the train cars carrying the hazardous goods. Drabick said the odor permeating East Palestine was not harmful at current levels, but representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency were monitoring the situation.

East Palestine is a small village on the border of Pennsylvania and Ohio with roughly 4,700 residents.

Efforts to contain the fire stalled Saturday night when firefighters withdrew from the blaze due to concerns about air quality and explosions.

Conaway said firefighters withdrew from the fire Friday night due to concerns about air quality, with a plan to reengage once they get a "better grasp of what exactly is what chemical is burning." At Saturday's press conference, Drabick said there had been multiple explosions overnight, which posed a risk to firefighters.

ABC News' Darren Reynolds contributed to this report.

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Major recall on ready-to-eat sandwiches, salads, snacks and more due to listeria concerns

Alexander Spatari/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) -- More than 400 types of ready-to-eat food products sold under multiple brand labels have been recalled over possible listeria contamination.

Fresh Ideation Food Group LLC announced the recall in a press release posted on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration website Friday. The impacted products include ready-to-eat sandwiches, salads, yogurts, wraps and other items sold in nine states and the District of Columbia from Jan. 24 through 30 "in retail locations, vending machines, and during travel with transportation providers," according to the company.

The Baltimore-based food manufacturer said that no illnesses have been reported, as of time of publication.

Fresh Ideation Food Group initiated the recall after "environmental samples tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes," the company said in its recall announcement.

The affected products were sold under 13 different brand labels.

Click here for the full listing and product information from the FDA.

"All recalled products have a Fresh Creative Cuisine label and/or identifier on the bottom of the label with the Fresh Creative Cuisine name and a fresh through or sell through date ranging from January 31, 2023 through February 6, 2023," the company stated in Friday's announcement.

The company has urged consumers who purchased the products to contact Fresh Ideation Food Group LLC by phone at (855) 969-3338.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, listeria can cause severe illness "when the bacteria spread beyond the gut to other parts of the body" after a person consumes contaminated food. Those at higher risk include pregnant people, those aged 65 or older, or anyone who has a weakened immune system, the CDC says.

"If you are pregnant, it can cause pregnancy loss, premature birth, or a life-threatening infection in your newborn," the CDC states on its website. "Other people can be infected with Listeria, but they rarely become seriously ill."

According to the CDC, anyone infected with listeria may experience "mild food poisoning symptoms" such as diarrhea or fever, and many recover without antibiotic treatment.

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