- Associated Press - Thursday, September 18, 2014
Feds release $71.5M withheld during migrant crisis

MIAMI (AP) - Groups that provide refugee services across the United States expressed relief Thursday after the federal government announced the release of $71.5 million it had reprogrammed in June to deal with the thousands of unaccompanied minors who crossed the border this year.

The Department of Health and Human Services told the states on Thursday that the money would be released because the flow of migrants had fallen.

Health and Human Services Spokesman Kenneth Wolfe said the funds were released on Sept. 15, adding there were no immediate plans to withhold funds in 2015. Originally HHS had said in June that more than $90 million would be withheld as the agency dealt with a crisis involving minors streaming over the border from Mexico. Unaccompanied children who migrate to the United States also fall under the auspices of the federal refugee office.

That number was slightly reduced later to $71.5 million, but groups across the country still scrambled to scale back programs such as English language classes, job counseling and tutoring.

“Today’s announcement ensures refugees who live in Florida will get the services they need to become self-sufficient and thrive in their new communities,” said Hiram Ruiz, who heads up Florida’s refugee services.


Inmate escapes from Hennepin County courtroom

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Authorities are searching for a man who escaped from a Hennepin County courtroom after being convicted of attempted murder.

The sheriff’s office says 25-year-old Michael David Henderson escaped from the Hennepin County Government Center in downtown Minneapolis on Thursday.

Henderson was last seen wearing a maroon T-shirt, dark colored dress pants and black dress shoes.

Sheriff’s spokeswoman Jennifer Johnson says as the verdict was being read, Henderson made a run for it. Johnson says Henderson scuffled with some sheriff’s deputies before running out of the building. She says one deputy was hurt.

Anyone with information about Henderson’s whereabouts is asked to call 911 immediately. Authorities say Henderson is considered dangerous and should not be approached.


Minneapolis chief won’t show at listening session

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - The police chief of Minneapolis canceled her scheduled appearance at a community listening session Thursday, citing threats of disruptions.

Police Chief Janee Harteau was set to appear Thursday evening at the Sabathani Community Center in south Minneapolis. But Harteau announced late in the afternoon that she had canceled her appearance “in the best interest of community public safety.”

In a statement, Harteau said police had received “credible information from a long-standing community member,” as well as other sources, about “planned physical disruptions” at the session. She said the warnings appeared on social media forums.

“There were some other things planned,” the chief told reporters. “People had discussed agitators set inside the meeting, those whose goal was to get arrested, that regardless of what was said or done, they were to be disruptive and that was further confirmed by some Facebook posts about direct action.”

The group Neighborhoods Organizing for Change last week accused the city’s police of “purposefully creating a culture of harassment and intimidation of African-Americans” after an officer cited two of its members for trespassing at a Cub Foods store, Minnesota Public Radio News reported. Another group, calling itself the Coalition for Critical Change, said on Facebook it was planning an “action” at the event.


Minnesota deputy saved by bullet-resistant vest

CROOKSTON, Minn. (AP) - Authorities say a northwestern Minnesota sheriff’s deputy was saved by his bullet-resistant vest when he was shot by a suspect who was then wounded by police.

The state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension says officers answered a 911 call about shots fired inside a home near Crookston just after 1 p.m. Thursday.

As deputies spoke with family members outside the home, the suspect began firing at them from inside. A Polk County deputy was struck in the back of his bullet-resistant vest.

Shots were exchanged, and the suspect was injured and taken into custody.

The deputy was treated and released from a Crookston hospital. The BCA says he was not hurt. The suspect was treated at the same hospital and then taken to jail.

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