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Man gives out free hugs as violent protests unfold in Charlotte

While violent protests broke out in Charlotte, North Carolina earlier this week, one man tried to calm racial tension by giving out free hugs. 

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

CNN reported that Ken Nwadike started the Free Hugs Project two years ago after the Boston Marathon bombings. 

Nwadike went to Charlotte to try to spread a message of peace. 

Related: Little boy gives free hugs and donuts to officers in Charlotte

Video shows Nwadike hugging several officers in full riot gear as violent protests started to unfold around them. 

As protesters gathered around him, this man gave free hugs to the officers working to keep the streets of Charlotte safe. (http://2wsb.tv/2cJzNkr)Posted by WSB-TV on Friday, September 23, 2016

Some of the protesters started to taunt him over it. 

"I wasn't sure if I would get grabbed by the police officers," Nwadike told CNN. "But also on the protest side -- because there was so much anger and frustration -- I didn't know what to expect."

Nwadike admitted that he wasn't sure how the officers would respond, but several of the officers ended up thanking him for the hugs. 

Angry gator takes a bite of man's airboat

Some Brevard County, Florida, boaters came face to face with an angry alligator Wednesday night. 

John Morgan and Jeff Dixon said that they were on an airboat on the Saint Johns River, when they encountered the gator. 

>> Read more trending stories 

The nearly 11-foot gator, which was blocking their path on the river, suddenly lunged at the boat and clamped down on it. 

The boaters quickly accelerated and were able to get away from the gator. 

The boaters said that the gator survived the confrontation, but it was still angry when they left. 

Little Miracles: Twins born 4 months early celebrate first birthday

Twins Jaxson and Cadence Moore just celebrated what their parents are calling a miracle: their first birthday.

Jaxson and Cadence were born on Sept. 23, 2015, in Portland, Oregon. They arrived 16 weeks early, weighing just over 1 pound.

>> Read more trending stories 

Doctors told parents Jourdan and Matt Moore that there was little chance of the babies’ surviving.

Happy one week birthday Jaxson Brave and Cadence Grace. You bring a whole new meaning to the word "mini" in #journeytominimoore but this mamma's heart is full of massive love!Posted by Journey To Mini-Moore on Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Now, they’re celebrating their first birthday.

“Doctors basically told us we should let nature run its course, that there was nothing they could do for a baby born at only 23 weeks old,” Jourdan Moore told People. “But we weren’t going to give up. And we didn’t. And now look at them!”

This photo is from Thursday, but I'm holding her again now so the moment is similar. Both babies are on NIPPV, both had...Posted by Journey To Mini-Moore on Sunday, October 25, 2015

Both babies are doing well.

Cadence was diagnosed with chronic lung disease and hypertension. She relies on a feeding tube to eat.

Jaxson is nearsighted and wears glasses.

Matt and Jourdan say the journey has only made their babies stronger.

“They are so loved and so wanted. They are our miracles,” said Matt.

Can you believe these two will turn one in less than a month?! They are currently 11 months (7 months adjusted). They...Posted by Journey To Mini-Moore on Wednesday, August 24, 2016 

Dog owner makes it snow for her terminally ill dog

The owner of a terminally ill dog did something very special for man’s best friend.

Ashley Niels took 12-year-old Spunky to the vet when she noticed he wasn’t playing or eating.

"He just inhales his food all the time," Niels told KEYE-TV. "And I felt him and he seemed a little bloated, so I decided to take him in (to the vet). But I thought, you know, it would be nothing."

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

When Niels brought Spunky in, a vet diagnosed him with cancer.

"And they told me there was nothing that they could do, not even surgery or chemotherapy," Niels said.

Niels lived in Wisconsin for years and remembered a promise that she made to Spunky.

"On the day of his diagnosis, I remember that I promised him he would see snow again, and it really kind of crushed me that I would have to break that," Niels said. zSo she turned to Facebook for help.

Her friends helped Niels out, renting a backyard snow machine so she could make it snow for Spunky one last time.

"It was really touching. They wanted to make sure I didn't have to break that promise to him," Niels said.

So much snow ended up being produced, a local animal shelter allowed other dogs to join in on the fun. 

In case you missed the story, our shelter dogs got together for a snow party, thanks to a generous, terminally ill dog...Posted by Austin Animal Center on Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Stolen naked Trump statue returned to roof of gallery

An infamous statue depicting a naked Donald Trump is back on top of a Miami art gallery after a wild weekend ride in a pickup truck to destinations unknown, police and the gallery owner said. Police arrested a suspect, but he refuses to speak and has invoked the Fifth Amendment, according to the Miami Herald.

Meanwhile, the owner of Harold Golen Gallery posted photos on Facebook Saturday showing the unflattering depiction of the billionaire Republican presidential candidate back on the roof of the building in the Wynwood Arts District. "Hideous naked Trump is back home," Golen wrote, noting that he's not a fan of Trump.

>> Read more trending stories 

Golen said the sculpture by Las Vegas artist Joshua "Ginger" Monroe is designed to expose Trump's faults "on the inside and out." Monroe collaborated with the anarchistic artist collective Indecline to bring the statue to sites across the country. Its appearance in Miami was engineered by developer Moishe Mana, who made arrangements with Indecline to bring it to Wynwood.

Naked Trump went missing early Thursday while police sought a Coral Gables man who owned the pickup truck seen making off with the booty.

When police arrested Pedro A. Rodriguez on Friday afternoon, he refused to admit that he stole the sculpture and wouldn’t say if he knew where it was, the Herald reports. Rodriguez, 36, a Wynwood graffiti guide with a history of minor criminal acts, faces charges of grand theft and burglary.

But later Friday, the statue reappeared at Miami police headquarters, according to the Herald. "We found Mr. Trump," Deputy Miami police Chief Luis Cabrera declared. “He arrived some time after five. He has damage."

Golen says the statue was beheaded, and that police later found the head and returned the sculpture. Asked if security was being tightened, Golen cheekily replied: "Sarah Palin is here guarding it with her life."

The 6-foot statue, painted shades of pink and peach, includes gruesome details such as cellulite and a sagging belly. Different versions also include private parts, in various stages of cover. It has been met with reactions ranging from outrage to indifference, with criminal incidents escalating recently.

In Las Vegas, a naked Trump statue was found broken from its pedestal and covered in graffiti early Friday, according to KSNV News 3, which also posted photos and video of the defaced artwork.

"We kinda figured some idiot would come and do something like this, but it just shows the way society is and the lack of appreciation for art," Monroe told News 3.

Previous story:

What's more brazen than a $50,0000 statue that depicts a nude Donald Trump perched atop an art gallery? Someone willing to climb up on the roof and steal it, apparently.

Miami police say Pedro Alejandro Rodriguez, 36, was charged with grand theft and burglary in connection with the theft of "Naked Trump" early Thursday morning in the Wynwood Arts District, according to WPLG-TV. The statue is still at large, however. Police today recanted a tweet that it had been found. No other information on the arrest was available.

The sculpture, titled "The Emperor Has No Balls" by the artist collective Indecline and displayed similarly across the country, was on the roof for several days before it was stolen, according to WSVN-TV.

The likeness of the Republican presidential candidate in his birthday suit first turned up in Wynwood more than a week ago atop a billboard. After police expressed concerns that it was a safety hazard, the property owner agreed to have it moved. It was reportedly distracting drivers along Interstate 95, WSVN said.

Naked Trump's most recent perch was on the roof of the Harold Golen Gallery, where it held court until around 3 a.m. Thursday. A witness told CBS 4 that he saw three men grab the statue off the roof and toss it into a truck before speeding off.

"I seen the guys looking up,” Angel Pino told the TV station. "He was already by Donald Trump and pulled it and ran. I ran after him and said 'stop, stop, stop' and he jumped in the truck and left. But before he left, I took a picture and it is perfect."

The sculpture, valued at $50,000, was damaged when it was removed, CBS 4 reported. The thieves yanked it out of its platform, leaving the fiberglass feet still nailed to the gallery roof.

The tag on the truck led police to Rodriguez. If the statue is recovered, the developer who collaborated with Indecline to bring it to Wynwood said, he will reinstall it. "I'm really so upset," Moishe Mana told Miami New Times. "Hopefully, the police will catch them."

Nude Trump statues have be spotted across the country since August, credited to the anarchist art group. A version of the statue was stolen over the weekend in New Jersey, were it was displayed atop a warehouse at the entrance to the Holland Tunnel, greeting drivers on their way into into New York City, the WSVN story says. Surveillance video shows the thief struggling for 3 1/2 hours before removing the statue from the roof.

The statue has also been spotted in New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Cleveland and Seattle.

Past coverageStatue of Trump in 'Birthday Suit' pops up in MiamiNYC parks dept. issues stark statement regarding naked Trump statueNaked Donald Trump statue placed in Seattle

5 things to know about Betty Shelby, the officer charged in Terence Crutcher shooting

The Tulsa police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black man last week has been charged with manslaughter as additional details of her background have been made public, including multiple alleged domestic violence incidents and an admission of past drug use.

Betty Jo Shelby, 42, is charged with first-degree manslaughter in the Sept. 16 shooting death of 40-year-old Terance Crutcher. According to the Tulsa Police Department, Shelby was booked into the city jail early Friday morning before being released about 30 minutes later on $50,000 bond.

Shelby’s background has come under scrutiny following the Tulsa County district attorney’s decision to charge her in the deadly shooting, which was caught on video from a fellow officer’s dashboard camera, as well as in footage shot by a police helicopter that had been circling overhead. Here are some of the details that have surfaced in the week since Crutcher’s death:

  1. NBC News reported that Shelby’s husband, Dave, also a Tulsa police officer, was in the helicopter that caught the final moments of Crutcher’s life on camera. At one point in the footage, as the chopper moved toward the scene, a man’s voice could be heard asking, “All right, Betty Jo, where you at?” A voice in the helicopter was also heard saying that Crutcher “(looked) like a bad dude” and that he “might be on something.” It was not clear if Dave Shelby was the person who made any of the statements.

  2. Betty Shelby, a native of Poteau, Oklahoma, studied biology at Northeastern State University before signing up for the Oklahoma Air National Guard in 1999, according to NBC News. She left the service the following year after spraining her knee during basic training. Shelby is a nine-year veteran of law enforcement, having served from 2007 to 2011 as a Tulsa County sheriff’s deputy before becoming a Tulsa city police officer in December 2011.

  3. Shelby has twice had restraining orders filed against her. Her job application for the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office, which has been made public, details an incident in 1993 in which she and her then-boyfriend damaged each other’s vehicles during a bad breakup. According to NBC News, the temporary restraining orders they filed against each other were subsequently dismissed. In 2002, her ex-husband’s new wife sought a protective order after accusing Shelby of making harassing phone calls. Shelby wrote on her application that the order had been denied after the judge “saw that (she) was not guilty of the accusations,” the news station reported.

  4. Shelby, who has used her status as a drug recognition expert in claiming that she believed Crutcher was under the influence at the time of the shooting, admitted on her application for the Sheriff’s Office that she had previously used marijuana twice, during social gatherings at the age of 18.

  5. Shelby has had no previous disciplinary action against her in her law enforcement career and has received multiple letters of commendation. The Tulsa Police Department also posted praise to its Facebook page in August after Shelby helped burglary victims recover their stolen property. 

 

A great surprise in the course of a work day. The Joneses were victims of a burglary and Officer Shelby  had responded...Posted by Tulsa Police Department on Sunday, August 28, 2016

People and Paws charity helps owners feed their pets

Animal lover Sandy Allen of learned about People and Paws — a Dayton, Ohio, nonprofit that distributes pet food that operates on donations from various businesses and individuals— more than a year ago. She visited the distribution center, founded and run by Joyce Ahmad, and has been a volunteer ever since.

"I liked what Joyce was doing, and I get direct contact with pet owners we're serving, which is very rewarding," said Allen, who performs many needed tasks.

"People and Paws doesn't judge people. Some may not have made the best decisions on how to spend their money, but that doesn't matter. The pet food we give out isn't meant to be the pets' only source of food, but as a supplement to help owners," Allen said.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

Like Allen, Ahmad and most of her 10 volunteers are seniors, although Ahmad's most loyal volunteer is her 11-year-old granddaughter, Natalya Sutaro, who's been helping since she was 4 years old. "She can run it as well as I can. She's taught me some things, and the other volunteers love her."

Youth from the juvenile courts bag food twice a month for community service. "Their probation officer has been with us since we started six years ago," said Ahmad, who said she started the service after watching a family on television dropping off two Labrador retrievers at a shelter because the couple couldn't afford their food.

"Their kids were sobbing, and I started sobbing," she recalls. "Then my husband told me to stop crying and do something." Since making that suggestion, her husband, Khurshid, has become chief finance operator of the operation, although Joyce says "we call him the FOC for 'free of charge.'"

Although the Ahmads live in Beavercreek, "I started in East Dayton because I work with local pastors and Christ Lutheran Church let us use a small area of the church. Later, Sandy's Towing on Valley Street saw us on the news, and let us use a larger space in their garage."

Last year, Ahmad bought a 188 square-foot garage. "We gutted it and converted it to our needs. It's just wonderful," she said.

People and Paws, a nonprofit that operates on donations from various businesses and individuals, also pays half the cost for spaying or neutering clients' pets. Although dog food donors are generous, "We always need dry cat food — we spend about $300 each month on that — gallon-size Ziploc bags, and we're in dire need of a van to pick up donations.

"In addition to donations, Centerville, Ohio, veterinarian Dr. Kathleen Grant does a Christmas food drive for us that's very helpful," Ahmad said.

"We've really grown, with 500 families currently registered to receive pet food; we distribute dog, cat and sometimes rabbit food to about 200 families each month," Ahmad said.

When they pick up their pet food, clients drop off two nonperishable food items that are collected by a local church for its human food pantry.

Ahmad said, "We don't take pets. Our goal is to keep them in loving homes with their families."

Anyone wishing to donate or assist should contact Joyce Ahmad at 937-912-5965 or email maryjahmad@yahoo.com.

Former Trump official resigns after blaming Obama for racism

One of Donald Trump's campaign officials in Ohio has resigned after she gave a shout-out to President Barack Obama for creating racism.

>> Read more trending stories

"I don't think there was any racism until Obama got elected," Kathy Miller told The Guardian

Take a sec to note the pained look on the reporter's face, which is really one of the kinder reactions we've seen to Miller's comments.

Her resignation comes amid a particularly tense week in regard to race. Violent protests erupted in Charlotte this week after a black man was shot by a police officer.

>> Related: Family releases video in deadly Charlotte shooting

And this week in Oklahoma, an officer who shot and killed an unarmed black man was charged with first-degree manslaughter.

"I watched the shooting, in particular, in Tulsa. And that man was hands up. ... To me it looked like he did everything you're supposed to do. ... I'm very, very troubled by that. We have to be very careful," Trump said.

In a statement, Miller called her earlier statements inappropriate and said she was not a spokesperson for the campaign.

<iframe width="390" height="219" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ewURMAAYUag" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Cop made up story about Georgia shooting, GBI says

The police officer who claimed a black man shot her last week fabricated the story and is now facing multiple felony charges, including evidence tampering and giving false statements to investigators, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation confirmed Friday to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

It was announced Saturday morning that Officer Sherry Hall has been fired.

>> Read more trending stories

Jackson police Officer Sherry Hall has checked herself into a facility and is seeking help, according to GBI spokesman Scott Dutton. Agents sought the arrest warrants earlier today and a news conference is scheduled for 3 p.m. in Jackson.

Hall said she was on patrol Sept. 13 when she spotted a black man on the edge of a wooded area. When she exited her patrol vehicle to see if he needed help, she said he shot her, but the bullet struck her body armor, which was credited with saving her life. The man allegedly escaped and authorities put out a description for his arrest.

Hall's story, however, started to come apart as investigators looked into the case.

"There never was a suspect shooter in this case," Dutton said. "Investigators followed the evidence in the case."

Jackson is about 50 miles south of Atlanta in Butts County.

Ted Cruz endorses Donald Trump

Ted Cruz says he's voting for Donald Trump for president - a shocking about-face after he rocked the Republican convention by dramatically refusing to do so.

The Texas senator says on Facebook that he made the decision for two reasons. First, his promise to support the Republican nominee. And second, his belief that Democrat Hillary Clinton is "wholly unacceptable."

This election is unlike any other in our nation’s history. Like many other voters, I have struggled to determine the...Posted by Ted Cruz on Friday, September 23, 2016

>> Read more trending stories

The flip-flop was a stunner since the Texan was booed lustily during a floor speech at his party's convention for urging Republicans to "vote your conscience" without naming Trump.

Cruz finished second to Trump in a bitter primary and for months balked in offering support, despite his previous pledge to endorse the eventual Republican nominee.

Polls have since suggested that Cruz's popularity was slipping nationally and back home in Texas, where he could face a primary challenger for re-election in 2018.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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