May 10, 2018

Virginia hotel worker fired after calling black customer ‘monkey’

WVEC-TV(NEWPORT NEWS, Va.) -- A white hotel clerk in Southern Virginia was fired this week after video surfaced showing that he called a black customer a "f--king monkey." Country Inn & Suites by Radisson in Newport News, Virginia, said it fired the employee on Monday after Irby Fogleman shared video showing him arguing with the worker over room accommodations. In the video, the unidentified worker is heard yelling "get your family and get out" before muttering the racial epithet. Fogleman's wife, Kelsey Cunningham, said the conformation started after her husband complained that one of their rooms smelled like smoke. "It's hurtful. We have two small children that were also in the hotel," Cunningham told ABC affiliate WVEC-TV. "It just shouldn't be tolerated at this point, and that's why we decided to share the video." Cunningham, who's white, said she and her family were there to visit her mother-in-law, who came to town to surprise them. "She went and picked her own hotel, which I kind of regret now," Fogleman said. "We get into the room and smell smoke, and that was kind of alarming because she doesn't smoke." The Country Inn & Suites by Radisson said it would re-train its employees in the wake of the incident. "I want to apologize for the inappropriate behavior and comments of one of our employees from an incident that occurred on Friday, May 4," the hotel's general manager, Lisa Little, said in a statement. "As a result of this incident, we will also be re-training every employee this week on our code-of-conduct policies to help ensure something like this never happens again." Cunningham said she and her family received "a scripted apology along with a refund" a few days after the encounter. "The last few days have been hurtful, stressful and really just exhausting," she wrote in a Facebook post on Monday. "All I can do is hope this doesn't happen to someone else.” Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
May 10, 2018

Yale responds after white student calls police on napping black student

Michael Marsland/Yale University(NEW HAVEN, Conn.) -- A Yale dean said the Ivy League university needs to work at becoming "truly inclusive" after a white student called police on a black classmate who had fallen asleep in a dormitory common area. "Incidents like that of last night remind us of the continued work needed to make Yale a truly inclusive place," Lynn Cooley, the dean of Yale's graduate school of arts and sciences, said in an email to students on Tuesday. The graduate student, Lolade Siyonbola, sparked outrage about racial profiling on Monday after she posted a video showing her long interaction with campus police officers and the white student who called them. "I deserve to be here. I pay tuition like everybody else," Siyonbola, a 34-year-old graduate student in African studies, said after police asked her to present identification. "I'm not going to justify my existence here." "I really don't know if there's a justification for you actually being in the building," she said to the officers, after proving her enrollment. Siyonbola even unlocked her dorm-room door in front of the officers to prove she lived there after they insisted on seeing her ID. "We're in a Yale building, and we need to make sure that you belong here," one officer said in the video. The officers said the encounter lasted longer than expected because her name appears differently in the school's system. Siyonbola, who ended up being questioned for nearly 20 minutes, said she had fallen asleep while working on a paper in a common room of her dorm. She told police that the female student who reported her suffered from mental illness and had called police on another student in the past. Another black graduate student told ABC affiliate WTNH-TV that the same woman called police on him about a month ago. Reneson Jean-Louis told police the woman said to him at the time, "'You're making me uncomfortable. I don't feel safe around you. You're an intruder. You need to leave. You need to get out.'" "This is, again, a blatant case of racial profiling that needs to be addressed at Yale, university-wide," he added. Cooley said in her email that she's "committed to redoubling our efforts to build a supportive community in which all graduate students are empowered in their intellectual pursuits and professional goals within a welcoming environment." The incident is the latest in a string of recent high-profile encounters involving black people who have been wrongfully reported. Earlier this week, a group of black Airbnb renters in Southern California said they planned to sue Rialto Police Department over how it responded to a 911 caller reporting a burglary at their rental location. A similar situation unfolded in downtown Philadelphia last month involving two black men at a Starbucks where a manager reported them because they hadn't purchased anything. Siyonbola didn't immediately respond to social media requests for additional comment, but she wrote about the incident on her Facebook page Tuesday afternoon: "Grateful for all the love, kind words and prayers, your support has been overwhelming. Black Yale community is beyond incredible and is taking good care of me." Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
May 10, 2018

Pilots who safely landed Southwest flight remember moment they knew there was trouble

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- The pilots behind the controls of a Southwest flight that turned deadly in April when an engine failed midair, talked to ABC News recently about the moment they knew there was a problem aboard the plane. "We were passin' through about 32,000 feet when we had a, a large bang and a rapid decompression. The aircraft yawed and banked to the left, a little over more, a little over 40 degrees and we had a, a very severe vibration from the No. 1 engine that was shaking everything. And, that all kind of happened all at once," First Officer Darren Ellisor told ABC News' Martha Raddatz in an exclusive interview. YOU CAN WATCH ABC NEWS' FULL INTERVIEW ON "20/20" FRIDAY AT 10 P.M. ET. On April 17, Southwest Flight 1380 experienced engine failure about 20 minutes after takeoff from New York City's LaGuardia International Airport en route to Dallas Love Field. There were 144 passengers and five crew members onboard. Passenger Jennifer Riordan, 43, of Albuquerque, New Mexico was partially sucked out of a window on the jet near the failed engine and later died. Ellisor, 44, was flying the plane that day in April with Capt. Tammie Jo Shults, 56, an experienced pilot with Southwest Airlines and one of the Navy's first women pilots trained to fly fighter aircraft. She safely landed the plane in Philadelphia. "My first thoughts were actually, 'Oh, here we go.' Just because it seems like a, a flashback to some of the Navy flying that we had done," Shults said. "We had to use hand signals because it was loud. And, there was, it was just hard to communicate for a lot of different reasons." The National Transportation Safety Board said Thursday that it was apparently a fragment of the engine cowling, not a fan blade, that had struck the window of the Southwest plane, resulting in depressurization of the aircraft and Riordan's death. In a letter to passengers obtained by ABC News, Southwest offered sincere apologies as well as a $5,000 check and the promise of a $1,000 travel voucher. The letter also stated that the airline’s primary focus now is to assist the passengers who were aboard the flight in every way possible. Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
May 10, 2018

Crews search for teenager in Florida pond after witness claims seeing him go under

WFTV(ORLANDO, Fla.) -- Crews are searching a Florida retention pond after a man reported witnessing a teenager flailing in the water and go under. Orlando Fire and Rescue crews with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) have been performing an active search and rescue mission in the pond in efforts to find the teen, Orange County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Jeff Williamson said in a press conference. The water rescue efforts will continue until they find the missing individual, which could take days, according to Williamson. A man was in his backyard when he spotted a male teenager flailing in the water, roughly 20 to 30 yards from the shoreline, Williamson said. The man ran back into his house to grab binoculars and better see the person in the water. The man reported hearing the person yell, “it bit me, it bit me,” before going underwater and never resurfacing. Trappers from the FWC spotted a 6-foot-long alligator in the pond, Chad Weber, an FWC officer, said in the press conference. Authorities are canvassing the area around the pond in an attempt to learn if anyone has been reported missing, Williamson said. The pond is roughly 8-feet deep, and the water rescue search includes using boats with sonar that are highly likely to detect a person, according to Williamson. If there is a hit on sonar, a rescue dive team will be called in. Until then, the search continues. Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.