Briefly

NY City Council speaker wants apology for homophobic remarks

NEW YORK (AP) — The New York City Council speaker is demanding an apology from a council member who said the legislative body is “controlled by the homosexual community.”

A spokesman for Speaker Corey Johnson issued a statement Friday saying comments by Ruben Diaz Sr. “have no place in New York City” and the Bronx Democrat should apologize to his colleagues and the LGBTQ community.

In a Spanish-language radio program, Diaz, who is a Pentecostal minister, said the homosexual community controls most of the 51 council members. The 75-year-old, Puerto Rican-born politician, who opposes same-sex marriage, called Johnson a “homosexual married to another man.” The speaker is openly gay and single.

Diaz is the father of Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Johnson and Diaz Sr. did not immediately respond to messages left on Saturday.

The councilman did later acknowledge on Twitter that he “misspoke” by referring to Johnson as being married. “He still single,” Diaz wrote.

He also tweeted a question on Saturday: “What’s homophobic about saying that the gay community controls the nyc city council? (sic) I’m giving them credit for the power and influence they have.”

Woman sentenced for killing husband, dismembering body

AKRON (AP) — A woman who authorities say killed her husband and dismembered his body has been sentenced in an Ohio courtroom to at least 20 years in prison.

The Akron Beacon Journal reports 50-year-old Marcia Eubank, of Coventry Township, pleaded guilty to murder, tampering with evidence and gross abuse of a corpse charges in December. Eubank was sentenced Friday in Akron.

Prosecutors say she shot 54-year-old Howard Eubank during a domestic dispute in June 2017, used power and hand tools to cut up his body, and placed his remains in storage containers. The couple’s adult son found one of the containers the following December.

Family and neighbors thought Howard Eubank was driving a truck in Texas during those months.

A defense attorney said Eubank was physically and mentally abused by her husband.

Coroners issue warnings following new opioid death spikes

COLUMBUS (AP) — Coroners in two of Ohio’s largest counties have issued drug abuse warnings following the reappearance of an opioid so powerful it’s sometimes used to sedate elephants.

Dr. Anahi Ortiz is coroner in Franklin County in central Ohio. She said Friday that the county which calls Columbus home had at least three carfentanil-related overdose deaths in January.

Ortiz said the county saw six carfentanil-related deaths in all of 2018, with the last in September.

Ortiz says the drug is “extremely potent” and almost impossible to detect by sight because it’s often mixed with other drugs such as cocaine or heroin.

Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner Dr. Thomas Gilson issued a similar warning Thursday based on an increase in carfentanil seizures in the Cleveland area this year.

Lawsuit seeks action on Lake Erie algae cleanup

TOLEDO (AP) — Environmental groups have filed a federal lawsuit pushing for more action to prevent the toxic algae blooms that plague Lake Erie’s western basin each summer.

The lawsuit says the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency isn’t moving fast enough and must hold Ohio accountable for reducing the polluting runoff that feeds the algae.

The Environmental Law & Policy Center’s lawsuit filed late Thursday in Toledo claims Ohio’s efforts to prevent blooms have had little impact.

An Ohio EPA spokeswoman says the agency is reviewing the lawsuit. She says the agency intends to roll out new initiatives to help the lake.

The lawsuit seeks a court order that sets a series of deadlines between now and 2025 for progress on lake protections.

Police: Man revived after overdose steals, crashes cruiser

COLUMBUS (AP) — Police in Ohio’s capital city say a man stole a police cruiser just minutes after officers revived him from an overdose.

Columbus police on Friday were searching for the 25-year-old man who crashed the cruiser and then ran away.

The Columbus Dispatch reports officers responded to a home Friday morning after being called about an overdose.

Officers revived the man and then put him in an ambulance while officers checked whether he had any outstanding arrest warrants.

Police say the man then ran out of the ambulance, stole the cruiser and crashed just a few miles away.

Judges refuse Ohio request to delay gerrymandering trial

CINCINNATI (AP) — A three-judge panel in Cincinnati has denied a request by Ohio to delay a federal lawsuit that seeks the redrawing of congressional district lines ahead of the 2020 election.

Friday’s ruling says there are time concerns in deciding a lawsuit filed last May by the Ohio League of Women Voters and others because changes to the map must be completed this September.

The trial is scheduled to begin before the panel of U.S. District Court judges March 4.

Plaintiffs in the lawsuit argue the current map violates voters’ constitutional rights and has resulted in 12 predictably Republican districts and only four predictably Democratic districts in Ohio.

Ohio sought to delay the trial until after the U.S. Supreme Court decides gerrymandering cases from Maryland and North Carolina.

Authorities ID officer, slain suspect in Ohio SWAT standoff

AKRON (AP) — Authorities have identified the officer shot during a SWAT standoff in Ohio and the man who wounded him and was then killed.

The Akron Beacon Journal reports 36-year-old Brandon Watson, a 12-year veteran of the Barberton Police Department and a member of an area SWAT team, is in stable condition after surgery at an Akron hospital. He was shot in both legs early Friday in New Franklin.

A medical examiner has identified the suspect as 49-year-old Charles Cook.

Authorities say New Franklin officers were sent to a duplex around 7 p.m. Thursday on a domestic violence call and found Cook barricaded inside a bedroom, prompting the SWAT team to respond.

Police say Cook fired rounds through the bedroom door eight hours later, wounding Watson. Other officers returned fire, killing Cook.

Search of suspect’s home uncovers underground shooting range

FONTANA, Calif. (AP) — Police searching the Southern California home of an alleged motorcycle gang member uncovered a manhole that led to an underground shooting range.

The Fontana Police Department said on Facebook that officers seized numerous weapons and thousands of rounds of ammunition during the search Thursday night.

The suspect, 45-year-old Charles McMillian, was taken into custody and booked for several counts, including illegally possessing firearms. He was released on bail.

When reached at his home, McMillian said he was “a proud American” and denied he was a gang member before abruptly hanging up the phone.

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