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The Washington Post is reporting a Secret Service team violated protocol when an armed security contractor, who was later found to have three prior convictions for violent offenses, was allowed on an elevator with President Obama during a Sept. 16 visit to Atlanta.
The Post reports three people familiar with the incident confirmed the events that took place when Obama was visiting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to discuss the U.S. response to the Ebola crisis.
According the sources in Post article, the contractor was using his phone to record video of Obama and refused to comply when Secret Service agents asked him to stop. The contractor was questioned by agents and a database check revealed the contractor's previous convictions for assault and battery.
The contractor was reportedly fired on the spot by a supervisor for a private security firm and agreed to turn over his gun. The Post said agents were not aware the contractor was armed.
“You have a convicted felon within arm’s reach of the president and they never did a background check,” Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, told the Post. “Words aren’t strong enough for the outrage I feel for the safety of the president and his family."
The Post report was another blow to the Secret Service which is facing criticism from Congress over the recent breach of the White House by an intruder.
On Tuesday, the director of the Secret Service admitted failures in her agency's critical mission of protecting the president but repeatedly sidestepped key questions about how a knife-carrying intruder penetrated ring after ring of security before finally being tackled deep inside the White House.
Despite the extraordinary lapses in the Sept. 19 incident, Julia Pierson asserted: "The president is safe today."
Democratic and Republican lawmakers alike expressed the view that the latest breaches of White House security had blemished the storied agency, and several pressed for an independent inquiry into what went wrong. They were not assuaged by Pierson's vow that "I'll make sure that it does not happen again" or by the agency's own investigation.
"I wish to God you protected the White House like you protected your reputation here today," Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., told Pierson at a public hearing that was followed by a classified, closed-door briefing. Chaffetz, who has led Congress' investigation, said afterward: "The more I learn, the more it scares me."
Calm but defensive in testimony before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Pierson disclosed that shortly before the intruder jumped the fence at least two of her uniformed officers recognized him from an earlier troubling encounter but did not approach him or report his presence to superiors.
—The Associated Press contributed to this reportTue, 30 Sep 2014 18:14:11 -0400
The parent of a student who attends Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools contacted Channel 9 about the bus stop where her daughter gets picked up for school each day. She says the stop on Idlewild Road at Chenango Drive is not safe because students have to cross where there is no crosswalk. She said is especially unsafe because of construction in the area.
Channel 9 was with Dorene Howland before 6:20 a.m. Tuesday to see how Howland walks her daughter and other students across Idlewild Road to catch the bus for school. The bus comes when it's still dark and Tuesday morning the fog made it even harder to see.
Tue, 30 Sep 2014 17:38:58 -0400
Parents with children who cross there called Channel 9 frustrated and wanting change.
"I mean, what are they waiting on? For somebody to get killed in order for them to make a change?" Charlotta Griffin, parent of a CMS student said.
Howland requested the stop be changed, but the transportation department denied it because, according to an email obtained by Channel 9, the district said the current stop is "within CMS guidelines," "parents are responsible for arranging the safe delivery" of their students and requests "will not be approved for personal convenience."
CMS told Channel 9 students are allowed to cross a street to catch the bus even if there is no crosswalk. A spokesman explained flashing lights and stop-arms force drivers to stop, making it safe for students to cross.
But Howland doesn't agree, especially with the current construction.
"This is very dangerous. I'm afraid for those girls' lives and my own life," Howland said.
After we contacted CMS, the district got in touch with Howland and said because of construction, the district rearranged stops along Idlewild so students wouldn't have to cross.
Howland said she did not know that but is willing to walk farther down the road so her daughter doesn't have to cross.
The district has 1,020 buses that pick up thousands of students each day.
CMS said it gets hundreds of requests to change bus stops but said changes are rare and are made on a case-by-case basis.
A man on trial on domestic abuse charges was arrested when police said he whispered a death threat to his accuser in the courtroom.
The victim said Tyrone Smith said he would kill her if she didn't walk out of court.
Eyewitness News reporter Ken Lemon was there for the arrest and heard from people who witnessed the whispered threat.
Smith protested his arrest as the judge charged him with threatening to kill a woman in court.
Smith was in court Tuesday in a domestic violence trial.
His accuser said Smith broke into her Gastonia home and assaulted her.
Victoria Hawkins said she saw Smith walk up to the woman in court.
“She kind of turned around and glanced at him,” she said. “You can tell her whole body jumped."
Hawkins said Smith leaned in and whispered in the accuser's ear.
"All I heard was, ‘I don't deserve to go to jail,’" she said.
The accuser said Smith told her he would kill her if she didn't leave the courtroom.
Hawkins’ brother also noticed the woman's reaction.
"She stood up and looked scared,” Avery Hawkins said. “Very scared."
He said Smith left the courtroom and the woman reported what happened to deputies who told her to find witnesses.
Both Hawkins said the woman asked several people if they would be a witness to Smith talking to her which is forbidden by a judge. He said some of the people refused to get involved.
The Hawkins siblings spoke up for her.
“If someone was sitting beside me and they heard it I would want them to help me out," Victoria Hawkins said.
Based on their testimonies, a deputy arrested Smith.
"We don't want to take it that anybody that's under a domestic violence situation gets injured or hurt," said Deputy Ron Thomas with the Gaston County Sheriff’s Office.
Smith now faces a felony charge of intimidating a witness.