Menendez appointed to fill Corzine’s term
JERSEY CITY, N.J. — Gov.-elect Jon Corzine yesterday appointed Democratic Rep. Robert Menendez to serve out the remaining year in his Senate term, giving New Jersey its first minority senator.
Mr. Menendez, 51, becomes the third Hispanic in the Senate, joining Democrat Ken Salazar of Colorado and Republican Mel Martinez of Florida.
He pledged to serve the interests of working families and called for affordable health care and middle-class tax breaks. The father of two also criticized the war in Iraq.
“I pledge to you that I will never send New Jerseyans into a war that I would be unwilling to send my own son or daughter to fight,” Mr. Menendez said.
Protesters thwarted at bus stop
DENVER — Protesters hoping to force a showdown over a rule requiring passengers to show identification at the RTD Federal Center bus stop were thwarted yesterday when federal officers brought in a second bus.
The demonstrators included Deborah Davis, an Arvada, Colo., grandmother who was cited last month for refusing to show her identification while riding an RTD bus that passed through the Federal Center.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office dropped the charges earlier this week, but Homeland Security officials refused to change the requirement. Mrs. Davis called the rule unconstitutional, saying she and other passengers had a right to ride a public bus without being forced to show ID.
Mrs. Davis and her supporters boarded a Federal Center-bound bus yesterday and planned to refuse to show identification, forcing federal officers to cite or ignore them. Instead, officers stopped their bus before it reached the center and allowed passengers who showed identification to board a second bus.
Mrs. Davis plans to try again Monday. “They decided it was better to waste taxpayers’ money by bringing in a second bus,” said Bill Scannell, a privacy-rights activist. “Let’s see how many extra buses RTD has.”
Officer gets probation in immigrant shooting
NEW YORK — A police officer who fatally shot an unarmed immigrant in a warehouse was spared a prison sentence yesterday and instead was given five years’ probation and 500 hours of community service.
Justice Robert Straus said he thought Brian Conroy, 27, was a decent man who had been poorly trained by the New York Police Department.
Conroy could have gotten four years behind bars for shooting Ousmane Zongo in 2003 during a police raid that brought the arrests of two persons suspected of counterfeiting CDs and DVDs. Mr. Zongo was not connected to that case.
In a non-jury trial, the judge acquitted Conroy but convicted him of criminally negligent homicide.
Subway rider cited for selling token
ATLANTA — Transit police handcuffed and cited a man who sold a $1.75 subway token to another rider who was having trouble with a token vending machine. He vows to fight the citation in court.
Transit authority spokeswoman Jocelyn Baker said yesterday that the officer “acted within the law” after he spotted Donald Pirone, 42, selling the token Nov. 30 inside the West End subway station
Instead of giving Mr. Pirone a warning, the officer decided to handcuff him and give him the misdemeanor citation under a 1992 state law that bars passengers from selling Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority tokens, she said.
Jury rejects lawsuit over police shooting
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A federal jury yesterday rejected a $20 million civil rights lawsuit against the police department over the fatal shooting of a black officer by two white colleagues who mistook him for a suspect.
Sgt. Cornel Young Jr., 29, was off duty and in plain clothes in 2000 when he was killed outside a diner as he ran to respond to a fight.
In her lawsuit, Sgt. Young’s mother, Leisa Young, claimed the department had not properly trained one of the officers to recognize off-duty or plainclothes officers. The officer, Michael Solitro, had been on the force for eight days.
The jury decided that the department did not violate Sgt. Young’s rights.
Officer Solitro and his partner, Carlos Saraiva, previously were cleared of any criminal wrongdoing by a state grand jury and federal prosecutors.
From wire dispatches and staff reports