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KOMO-TV(SEATTLE) --  A massive tornado that ripped through Washington state left a path of destruction in its wake, videos and images posted to social media show.

The tornado pummeled through Port Orchard as torrential storms clouded over the Pacific Northwest Tuesday afternoon.

The National Weather Service confirmed the tornado based on the radar and video evidence, it said, adding that the tornado touched down just before 2 p.m. local time.

Based on radar imagery & video evidence, a tornado touched down south of Port Orchard this afternoon shortly before 2 PM. We continue to work with EM partners on the extent of damage. We will not be able to survey the area before dark tonight - will send a team tomorrow morning.

— NWS Seattle (@NWSSeattle) December 18, 2018

A number of businesses and homes were damaged, Mark Dorsey, director of public works in Port Orchard, told ABC News.

A 911 call in Katsap County made after 2 p.m. detailed a tornado "taking over a building and taking down some trees" in Port Orchard.

 In one video taken in the doorway of a Safeway grocery store, witnesses are heard expressing shock as they watch a huge funnel cloud wreak havoc in the distance.

"There's like debris everywhere," the person behind the camera said, adding that she was scared.

“There’s like debris everywhere.”

Officials in Port Orchard, Washington, confirm a tornado touched down this afternoon as severe storms pound the Pacific Northwest. There were no immediate reports of any injuries.

— ABC News (@ABC) December 18, 2018

Several posts to social media showed down trees in the wake of the tornado.

— zargoman (@zargoman) December 18, 2018

Resident Richard Raymond told ABC Seattle affiliate KOMO-tv that he escaped his home right before a tree fell on top of it.



Richard Raymond says he just got out of his house before three trees fell onto it. #KOMOnews

— Jordan Treece (@JTreece406) December 18, 2018

There have been no reports of injuries, Dorsey said. The city is now working on getting downed power lines and roads filled with debris cleared, he said

Dorsey said that while the city's emergency operations prepare for tornadoes often, he has not experienced one for the past 50 years he's lived there.

"This doesn't happen here," he said.

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Scott Eisen/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Migrants are showing up in groups of 100 or more at remote parts of the U.S.-Mexico border that aren’t equipped to handle the influx, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Commissioner Kevin McAleenan said Tuesday.

It's a new phenomenon to challenge the agency’s resources shortly after a 7-year-old Guatemalan girl died in U.S. custody.

One of the remote locations where agents are under-resourced is at the Lordsburg Border Patrol Station in New Mexico, where 7-year-old Jacklin Caal Maquin was held hours before she died.

 McAleenan visited the station Tuesday with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. They went with the intent to find out more about the circumstances of Maquin’s death, which is now the subject of an ongoing investigation by the Department of Homeland Security's Inspector General.

“The crossings in this area are up tenfold since 2014," McAleenan said on a call with reporters after the visit. "This is an area that saw very few crossings per day, on average, in any prior year of reference. So this is a very different phenomenon.”

In a phone interview from outside the facility, Rep. Lou Correa, D-California, said the tour confirmed what McAleenan described and that it was clear Border Patrol agents are “not prepared to address this refugee crisis.”

“The mission has changed completely," Correa said. "They are going from stopping drugs to addressing a humanitarian issue of refugees coming to our southern region.”

Beginning in mid-October and reaching a peak in December, the agency started to see “extremely large groups” arriving several times a week and consisting mostly of families and unaccompanied children, McAleenan said.

In the last three days, they've seen two groups of more than 200 people, he said, while the Lordsburg station is staffed with about four agents at a time, usually on eight-day rotations.

He said groups are largely traveling from Guatemala to the New Mexico border by bus, often for four or five days at a time and for 16-hour stretches. According to McAleenan, the “new smuggling cycle” involves more families and unaccompanied children.

“A group as large as 250, you're going to have medical issues,” McAleenan said.

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus members who toured the facilities described it as unconscionable and emotional, urging for a reorganization of resources that would address what they called a “humanitarian crisis.”

Correa, who said he spoke with Border Patrol agents about where they needed resources, said they told him they “weren’t ready” for what they were facing. When asked about a border wall, they said they didn’t see it as “brick and mortar” but as more resources.

“They said we want better equipment, more personnel, we want to do our job. They said that's what a border wall should be,” Correa said.

 Rep. Ben Ray Luján, D-New Mexico, described “inhumane” cells inside Lordsburg, with a mix of adults and children who shared a single toilet.

Chairman-elect of the caucus, Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, said a range of systemic failures in Maquin’s case and at facilities near the border should lead to McAleenan’s resignation.

Rep. Raul Ruiz, D-California, who worked as an emergency room doctor, spoke to the specifics of Maquin’s death, the handling of her care and the equipment he saw at the port of entry where she was apprehended and at Lordsburg, where she was eventually taken.

“What I’ve found here is there are some really serious systemic obstacles, and problems, and failures in the system, to provide the care that a child so lovingly deserves when they're in our custody,” Ruiz said at the press conference outside the facility.

He called for complete physical examinations of any “vulnerable populations,” including young children,” that come through the ports of entry. Had this been done, he said, Maquin could have been airlifted to a hospital sooner.

Ruiz and other members of Congress called for an independent investigation into the healthcare resources at the border.

“It’s sad that Jaklin’s death had to happen to bring all of us here again to refocus on the issue of the border and the border wall, and I say that with anger because of what's happening in Washington right now,” Correa said.

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St. Charles County Department of Corrections via Getty Images(NEW YORK) --  The day before he allegedly took a rented truck for a deadly drive down New York City's West Side Highway bike path, Sayfullo Saipov was secretly recorded on an FBI wiretap, according to newly filed court documents.

The contents of the recorded conversations were not revealed so it is impossible to know whether Saipov was overheard discussing the Halloween 2017 attack, but defense attorneys said that “one of the recordings was from October 30, 2017.”

Other conversations were recorded over a three-year period, according to the court filings, suggesting Saipov may have been talking to other people of interest to the FBI.

Defense attorneys disclosed the existence of the intercepted communications as part of a motion to suppress statements Saipov made to the FBI during his interrogation.

That Saipov was under surveillance on the eve of the attack and was still able to carry it out showed the challenge of stopping a so-called lone wolf like him.

“What it says is that the criteria the FBI has been forced to use to assess risk has been flawed for years,” said John Cohen, former acting undersecretary at the Department of Homeland Security who is now an ABC News contributor. “To be considered a high-risk threat from a terrorism perspective there has to be coordination or collaboration with a known terrorist group. Absent that the FBI is somewhat hamstrung in what they can do.”

Saipov, whose alleged attack killed eight people, is scheduled to stand trial next year. Federal prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

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Greenwood Police(KANSAS CITY, Mo.) -- A 6-month-old girl who was allegedly left to drown in an icy pond by her father is "greatly improving," police announced Tuesday.

On Monday morning just after 10 a.m., a man entered the Greenwood Police Department, telling authorities that he had just drowned his child, police said in a press release.

The investigators who spoke to the man hurried to the location where he said he left his daughter and pulled the baby out of the frigid pond off Doc Henry Road, police said. They performed CPR and were able to get her to breathe normally, then removed her wet clothes and wrapped her in one of the officer's uniform shirts to warm her, police said.

The baby was then taken to the hospital, where she is recovering but in good health, police said.

Greenwood Police Lt. Aaron Fordham said Tuesday that the child is "greatly improving" and "continuing to make progress," ABC Kansas City station KMBC-TV reported.

She had a body temperature 87.9 degrees when she was taken to the hospital, indicating hypothermia, according to KMBC-TV.

The father was taken into custody and transported to jail, police said. He is identified in charging documents as 28-year-old Jonathon Zicarelli of Greenwood, KMBC-TV reported.

Zicarelli appeared "emotionally removed" when he informed police of what he had done, according to the local station.

Once the responding deputies arrived to the scene, they found the girl floating face up, appearing lifeless, KMBC-TV reported. When they pulled her out of the pond, she had mud in her eyes and grass and water in her mouth, according to the station.

Police believe she was in the water for up to 10 minutes, KMBC reported.

Zicarelli allegedly told police he had planned to kill the child for more than 24 hours to make things easier on his wife, who was stressed out about the holidays and trying to provide for the family, KMBC-TV reported.

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Martin County Sheriffs Office(MIAMI) -- A mother and daughter were arrested for trying to deliver contraband to the roof of a Florida state prison, according to authorities.

Casandra Kerr, 40, and her daughter, Cencetta Didiano, 22, were "hoping to spread some holiday cheer" to a relative who has been housed at the Martin Correctional Institute in Indiantown, Florida, the Martin County Sheriff's Office said in a press release Tuesday.

The pair from Tampa was arrested Sunday before 2 a.m. after a prison guard noticed "their special delivery," which included cell phones and tobacco, flying over the rooftop, the sheriff's office said. The package was intended for Kerr's husband, authorities said.

Prison staff alerted the sheriff's office, and responding deputies located Kerr and Didiano "driving around outside of the facility," according to the sheriff's office. They admitted to the deputies that they bought the drone on eBay and wanted to deliver the items to a relative, authorities said.

"I did it," Kerr told responding deputies, according to an arrest report. "The remote and the iPad is in the backseat."

Kerr was charged with introducing contraband into a correctional facility, and Didiano was charged with aiding in the effort, according to the sheriff's office. The package was confiscated.

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WABC-TV(NEW YORK) -- It was the best of the Christmas spirit, and it was the worst of the Christmas spirit.

New Jersey officials said that more than $114,000 of about $510,000 in cash that spilled out of the two plastic bags in the back of a Brinks armored truck earlier this month has been returned by drivers -- and that another roughly $200,000 was gathered on scene and returned to the Brinks drivers.

But about $188,000 in cash remains missing, according to police officials in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Video capturing the incident shows stunned motorists pulling their cars over and rushing onto a busy highway, grabbing at bills fluttering through the air -- and causing multiple car accidents.

Still, more than $188,000 remains missing, and presumably is still in the hands of some of those motorists -- who could be arrested if police track them down before they come forward voluntarily.

Captain Phillip Taormina with the East Rutherford Police Department told ABC News that police were looking at license plate cameras, Department of Transportation cameras, and cameras from MetLife Stadium and the New Jersey Turnpike to identify motorists involved in the incident.

Taormina also said other motorists had turned in dash cameras and cell phone footage.

He said everyone who has returned the money came forward themselves, and that charges would be pursued against anyone who police identified through video.

Police said the truck’s rear passenger door opened due to a mechanical issue as it was driving along Route 3 that morning when the two plastic bags fell out of the open back door and flew open, scattering across the highway and being blown around by “vehicle traffic along with the windy weather conditions.”

Videos taken by other motorists showed the money on the road and other drivers abandoning their vehicles to chase the cash, which police said caused accidents.

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ABC News(PANAMA CITY, Fla.) -- A Florida community that was devastated by Hurricane Michael was surprised Tuesday with $50,000 worth of donated toys to distribute to local kids for Christmas.

"You just all made our Christmas special," said Mike Jones, known as "Salvage Santa" in his Panama City community. "It’s going to benefit our community so much, in other ways you don't know about. It's going to bring things here that we need."

"Merry Christmas," Jones added, choking back tears.

The toy donation, made by "Good Morning America" sponsor SAP, came just as Panama City is trying to rebuild from Michael, the most powerful storm to hit the Florida Panhandle, that tore through Panama City in October, destroying nearly everything in its way.

One local mom's Facebook post, lamenting how ill-prepared the community was for Christmas, went viral this month, capturing the mood of the community ahead of the holidays.

"There's nothing left intact. Nothing," she wrote. "We lost 20,000-plus homes. We have people in tents ... My kids need to see that Santa still came even though their chimneys are gone.”

Jones is known in Panama City as "Salvage Santa" because for the past 39 years he has saved Christmas for local children by restoring old and broken toys and gifting them to kids in need. This year, he stepped up his efforts in the wake of Hurricane Michael with an event named "Salvage Christmas."

Even before Tuesday's $50,000 surprise donation, Jones had already collected around 900 bicycles and more than 10,000 toys for local children, storing them in a local church.

"Even though we’re in a building right now that doesn’t have a ceiling in it right above me, and the carpets all wet and torn out ... look at the toys in here on the shelves," Jones said. "The parents they come here, they get the spirit when they get to shop, there’s no cash register here, everything that you see in this room behind me is free."

He continued, "They get to pick out what they want for their kids and go out the door and that raises their spirits, their morale. There are so many kids that wouldn’t get Christmas if we didn’t do this."

Everyone in the community is involved, including 9-year-old Lyra Floore, who sold $700 worth of handmade ornaments and donated all of it to "Salvage Christmas."

"The Christmas wish that I hope for this year is that everyone gets the presents that they need," Lyra told "GMA."

Ilea Faircloth, the principal of Springfield Elementary School, one of the local schools destroyed in the storm, told "GMA" that the community still looks like a "war zone."

"When you walk around our neighborhoods and when you drive down our streets, it looks like a war zone," Faircloth said. "And it just sucks the happy out of everything."

Faircloth added that her dream is for the community to be able to come together on Christmas and to be able to forget about the storm.

"I hope that the kids wake up ... on Christmas morning and just are happy," Faircloth said. "And just forget that there was ever a hurricane even if it’s just for a few minutes."

SAP, the "GMA" sponsor that made the $50,000 donation, said Jones and the entire community of Panama City deserve the help.

"He deserves it and the community deserves it," said Alicia Tillman, chief marketing officer for SAP. "This is a community that was devastated by Hurricane Michael and without communities we have no prosperity and we have no innovation, which is core to SAP."

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Lunja/iStock(HOUSTON) -- A Houston dog lover and animal advocate created a paws-itively perfect Christmas card to spread holiday cheer as well as awareness to help stray dogs in the area.

Amanda Hulebak took her warm and fuzzy photo with a group of 18 rescue dogs — six of which she adopted and others that she fosters — for the third straight year.

Hulebak told ABC News that this year's photo, shot by photographer Kaley Elaine, "took hours to get."

"It was a lot of fun because our photographer was so great and patient — the dogs loved her," she said.

Elaine told ABC News that working with Hulebak on this project was "a privelege."

"Amanda is such an inspiration to our community and it was a privilege to be a part of such a unique project," the photographer said.

Hulebak said she first "got this crazy idea to take a picture with all the dogs" three years ago when she only had four at that time. "We got the picture back and I was like this is perfect."

Part of the purpose of the pictures is to "capture" the demeanor of the animals.

"One of my missions in my rescue work is to bring a positive light to the pit bull breed. I know that my dogs are extremely well-behaved and I wanted to capture that," she explained.

Hulebak shared this year's pup-filled photo on Facebook with the caption, "Oh, I'm sorry you can't foster, why?" Since the initial post on Dec. 5, the picture has garnered nearly 1,500 likes and been shared over 1,000 times.

Hulebak has been helping rescue dogs for 13 years. Most recently, she began expanding her efforts to social media using the hashtag #thisishouston to post dogs in her network as well as an array of local fostering and rescue organizations that she works with closely. (To name a few: The Purple Pittie & Friends, Pup Squad Animal Rescue, Cypress Lucky Mutts.)

"If theres a goal in posting that picture, it wasn’t for the likes or praise or thank yous, but for my efforts to show I have 18 dogs that are all rescued from the streets," Hulebak said. "This is our city and this is our problem."

Although none of the dogs in the photo have been adopted yet, Hulebek said she's hopeful that the continued awareness will help in their search for a forever home.

"It's gotten a lot of attention so it's great for our efforts to bring exposure to what we do and why we do it."

She continued, "I don’t expect people to be as crazy as I am. I’ve dedicated my life for this for years because that’s what makes me happy."

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WLS-TV(CHICAGO) -- The Chicago Police Department is mourning two of its officers who were hit and killed by a train while chasing a suspected gunman Monday night, officials said.

Eduardo Marmolejo, 37, and Conrad Gary, 31, were chasing the suspect around 6 p.m. when they were hit by a train that may have been traveling 70 mph, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson told reporters.

The officers, both fathers of young children, died at the scene, Johnson said.

The two officers were killed "doing the most dangerous thing any police officer can do, and that is to chase an individual with a gun," Johnson said.

Bodycam video showed the officers get out of their car, head up to the tracks and talk about where the suspect may have gone, police said, according to ABC Chicago station WLS-TV.

One loud train approached, which may have masked the sound of a second train, police said, according to WLS. Then the camera went to black, WLS-TV said.

A suspect was apprehended and a weapon was recovered, police said.

"These brave young men were consumed by identifying a potential threat to their community and put the safety of others above their own," Johnson said.

Gary had been on the force for 18 months and Marmolejo for two years, Chicago Police Department officials said.

Gary was a married father of an infant while Marmolejo was a married father of three children, WLS-TV reported.

"We are all mourning the loss of our extended family," Chicago Police officials told ABC News via email. "However, our officers continue to protect and serve their communities, even in the most difficult of circumstances."

"This knocks you back on your heels," Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel told reporters.

"There are no words to express our grief, our sense of loss," Emanuel said. "We as a city have to measure up and remind them, they're part of our family."

Gary and Marmolejo's deaths are the third and fourth for the Chicago Police Department this year.

In November, Chicago police officer Samuel Jimenez was fatally shot in the neck while trying to protect employees and patients during a shooting at Chicago's Mercy Hospital.

In February, Chicago police Cmdr. Paul Bauer was shot and killed. Bauer, survived by his wife and daughter, had been sitting in his squad car when heard a call over the radio and pursued a gunman on foot.

The mayor on Tuesday urged Chicago residents to show the police department that it has "your support."

"When you think about Commander Bauer, officer Jimenez, you think now about Eduardo [and] Conrad," he said. "The Chicago Police Department needs the family of Chicago. ... We have a responsibility today to show up for them."

Other police departments have been offering their condolences for the latest slain Chicago officers, who were members of the department's fifth district.

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Page Light Studios/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- On Tuesday, 443 days since the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history was carried out at a Las Vegas music festival with the use of rifles equipped with "bump stock" devices that allowed the weapons to essentially operate as an automatic weapon, the Trump administration made good on President Donald Trump’s promise to ban the devices.

The Justice Department has issued a final rule banning bump stocks, amending current regulations surrounding the devices and making clear that guns with "bump stock devices" are effectively machine guns.

A senior Justice Department official told reporters there are currently "tens of thousands" of bump stocks in the U.S., but the official said it's hard to know a specific number. The official said that those who currently possess bump stocks can either turn it into ATF or destroy them.

The announcement of the rule comes after an extended delay in President Trump's promise to ban the devices. At an Oct. 1 presser, Trump said he believed it would only be "two or three weeks" before it was all done.

In the past, the president has claimed he already banned the devices with a simple stroke of a pen, and has used it as a wedge in his defense of the administration’s overall inaction in the wake of mass shootings.

"We got rid of the bump stocks,” Trump said in March of last year to a crowd in Ohio. “The bump stocks, now, are under very strict control, which -- I think everybody agrees it's fine. And we really did a job -- nobody reported it -- doesn't get reported."

Trump also has also sought to hold up the issue as proof of his willingness to stand up to the National Rifle Association. The NRA in October 2017 released a statement that it supported a “review” by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives of whether bump stocks “comply with federal law.”

Previously, the ATF had ruled bump stocks complied with the law because they didn’t physically alter the mechanics of a firearm. As the agency initiated its review of the rule following the Vegas massacre, the acting ATF director at the time, Thomas Brandon, told lawmakers that he had been advised by attorneys any rule banning bump stocks could initiate a series of court challenges, and said a bill passed by Congress instead would be the preferable option.

On Nov. 8, OMB finished their review of the rule and an official told ABC News at the time it was sent it back to DOJ. But it took weeks to finalize its publishing in the Federal Register.

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aijohn784/iStock(DOYLESTOWN, Ohio) -- A man and his parents have been found dead in what investigators believe is a double murder-suicide in a small Ohio town, according to local police.

An officer responded Monday afternoon to the home in Doylestown, 40 miles south of Cleveland, after a concerned woman asked for police to check in on her family, Doylestown Police Lt. Kevin Milburn said at a news conference Tuesday.

Randall Weekley Jr. was found dead in a shed in the back of the property from what is believed to be self-inflicted hanging, Milburn said.

Police kept searching and found a note indicating his parents, Randall Weekley Sr. and Brenda Weekley, were possibly also dead, Milburn said. Both parents were in their 60s.

The parents' bodies were found in the trunk of a car on the property, Milburn said.

Authorities have not released their cause of death or given information about what the motive might have been.

Doylestown police chief Casey Tester said he grew up in the small village of Doylestown, which has about 3,000 residents. He said police officers know the victims' family personally.

"The family that's going through this terrible situation, I grew up with many of them. I've known them for many years," Tester said, adding that he's "terribly sorry for their loss."

Milburn, who also knows the Weekley family personally, said it appears Randall Weekley Jr. moved in with his parents in the last few weeks.

"We believe that the incident occurred sometime Friday afternoon into Saturday," Milburn said.

The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is involved in the case, police said.

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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- A series of storms are slamming the West Coast with heavy rain, huge waves, strong winds and snow at higher elevations.

In central and northern California on Monday, waves were as high as 30 feet, with 40- to 50-foot breaks. Coastal flooding and erosion were reported.

An even more powerful storm is hitting the region Tuesday, prompting flood watches, high-wind alerts and winter storm warnings across nine states.

Travelers along Interstate 5 on Tuesday, from Washington state to Northern California, will get drenched and should be on the look out for potential flooding. Those traveling along I-90 or I-84 east of Seattle and Portland, Oregon should expect to see heavy snow in mountain passes.

The strong storm system likely will move over the Rockies on Wednesday and redevelop in the Plains before moving toward the Southeast and East Coast by the end of the workweek. More flooding in those areas is a distinct possibility.

Florida may see severe storms on Thursday, especially in the central and southern part of the state, with the possibility for damaging winds and a few tornadoes.

Some parts of the East Coast could see 3 inches of rain by the end of the week, with already saturated areas, including the Carolinas, prone to possible flooding.

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Kuzma/iStock(BRUSLY, La.) -- Two former Louisiana police officers were indicted after surveillance footage surfaced in which they appear to be slamming a teenager to the ground, but the child's family said the charges only amount to a "slap on the wrist."

Former Brusly Police Department officers Dan Cipriano and Anthony Dupre were indicted on Friday, accused of assaulting a 14-year-old boy in October while responding to a report at Brusly Middle School in central Louisiana, according to court documents.

The officers were called to the scene when the child allegedly got into an argument with an administrator and tried to leave a school detention office, according to local media reports.

School surveillance footage appeared to show the officers, who agreed to resign in November, beating the boy and slamming him at least twice before placing him in handcuffs. At one point, the boy attempted to move toward the door, and an officer wraps an arm around the student's neck and forces him to the floor as panicked administrators stand nearby.

Cipriano was indicted on a charge of simple battery and Dupre was indicted on a charge of malfeasance in office, but the boy's family said those penalties are too lenient.

"They feel the DA's office did an adequate job by bringing it quickly to the people, but feel it was a slap on the wrist based on the tape and what they saw done to their grandson," Kwame Asante, a lawyer for the student's family, told local news outlet The Advocate on Friday. "This young man will still be dealing with this for a long time."

Malfeasance in office is punishable by up to five years in prison, or a fine of up to $5,000, or both, according to the Louisiana State Legislature, while simple battery carries a punishment of up to six months in prison, or up to $1,000 in fines, or both, under state law.

It was not immediately clear if the former officers had hired attorneys.

Officials with the Brusly Police Department and the West Baton Rouge parish School District did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.

Asante said the boy's grandmother, in particular, "wanted to make sure someone was held responsible for what happened" and hoped for stiffer charges.

The teenager has returned to school and is in counseling following the incident, Asante said. The teen suffered unspecified physical injuries, and the family still is considering whether to pursue additional legal action against the police department.

"For a person who's gone through what he has," Asante said of the teen, "he's done well."

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Obtained by ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- The wife of a former Green Beret who is charged with murder in the death of a suspected Taliban bomb maker in Afghanistan in 2010 welcomes President Donald Trump's tweet that he will review her husband's case.

"I think it's great, if that’s what it takes after all of this time, then so be it," Julie Golsteyn told ABC News in an interview.

"Enough is enough, let it go," she said of the years-long investigation triggered by her husband's comments that resulted in a charge of premeditated murder being filed last week. "That’s what we want, someone to do the right thing."

Trump's sympathetic desire to review Maj. Mathew Golsteyn's case has military legal experts questioning whether Trump may be exerting "unlawful command influence" in the case by interfering in the legal process before Golsteyn has even had a court hearing.

But Julie Goldsteyn rejected that analysis telling ABC News that "it’s okay for someone to get involved if it is to the benefit of the soldier."

"It is only if it is to the detriment of a soldier that it’s undue command influence," she said. "And someone higher up stepping up and saying ‘I’m going to do the right thing here’ is not undue command influence."

Last week, her husband was charged with premeditated murder in the February 2010 death of an Afghan man, who was suspected of having been a Taliban bomb maker responsible for the deaths of two Marines.

On Sunday, Trump tweeted, "At the request of many, I will be reviewing the case of a 'U.S. Military hero,' Major Matt Golsteyn, who is charged with murder."

"We are very appreciative that he's going to take a look at it and hopeful that he would take action to resolve this issue for Matt," Golsteyn's attorney Phillip Stackhouse told ABC News in a phone interview earlier Monday.

 Asked to comment on Monday about the president's Sunday tweet, the White House referred back to the social media post and declined to provide any additional comment. A spokesman told ABC News that the White House does not traditionally comment on cases that may be under consideration for clemency and pardon.

"The allegations against Maj. Matt Golsteyn are a law enforcement matter," said Col. Rob Manning, a Pentagon spokesman. "The Department of Defense will respect the integrity of this process and provide updates when appropriate."

But Trump's possible review is problematic, according to a prominent military legal expert.

"The president's tweet is extremely troubling because it's touching the third rail of military justice," Eugene Fidell told ABC News. "It's commonly said that unlawful command influence is the mortal enemy of military justice."

Fidell, a visiting lecturer at Yale Law School, has served as an attorney in several high-profile military cases. He was most recently an attorney for Bowe Bergdahl, a former soldier who was held by the Taliban for five years and last year pleaded guilty to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy.

Fidell described Trump's sympathetic offer to review the case as "a distortion of the administration of justice even if it's for the benefit of the accused in a particular case."

The Army has not announced any dates for the initial court hearings that will determine whether Golsteyn will face a court-martial. His attorney, Stackhouse, estimates the Article 32 hearings, as they are known by the military, may not be held until next spring.

That's one reason why Fidell thinks the possibility that the president could offer Golsteyn a pardon should wait until the military justice system has had a chance to determine all the facts in his case.

"Until there's a proper, on the record, public investigation and ventilation of the facts of the case it would be very unfortunate for him to do that," said Fidell.

There are different narratives about what happened when the Afghan man died on Feb. 18, 2010. What is not in dispute is that the investigations were prompted by Golsteyn's own comments.

The Army’s initial investigation was triggered in late 2011 by Golsteyn's acknowledgement during a CIA job interview that he had killed the suspected Taliban bomb maker.

Golsteyn had told the CIA that he had killed the man out of concerns for the safety of the tribal leader and that he could have posed a future threat to U.S. troops, according to Army documents.

That investigation did not result in any charges being filed against Golsteyn, even though investigators determined he had committed murder and conspiracy.

He eventually lost his Special Forces tab and a Silver Star for heroism in a battle two days after the Afghan man's death.

Then in late 2016, a new investigation was triggered after Golsteyn admitted in a Fox News interview that he had killed the man.

The Army's narrative of events, as laid out in documents obtained by the Washington Post in 2015 under the Freedom of Information Act, is that Golsteyn and his team detained the man after finding explosive materials at his home that were similar to those used in the bomb that killed the two Marines.

Taking the man to his home after a 24-hour detention, Golsteyn allegedly killed the man there and buried him in a shallow grave, Army documents said. Later that night, Golsteyn and two other soldiers dug up the remains and brought them back to their base where they burned his remains in a burn pit.

According to Golsteyn’s lawyer, that’s not what happened. Stackhouse told ABC News that after having been released, the suspected bomb maker was not killed at his home. He said the man was killed along a road in southern Marjah, after he carried out an ambush against Golsteyn’s troops. He acknowledged that Golsteyn disposed of the body, but he could not say how.

Stackhouse claims that the initial 2011 Army Criminal Investigations Command (CID) narrative has been wrong from the start beginning with the CIA’s characterization of Golsteyn’s comments as an assassination.

“It’s just that CID put the wrong information in the investigation and repeated it over and over again,” said Stackhouse.

Golsteyn was put on "voluntary excess leave" in August 2016, which is a non-paid status used for soldiers experiencing long-term administrative issues who can't be formally discharged from service.

He reported back on active duty in early December as the Army worked to finalize the ongoing investigation.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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giannimarchetti/iStock(ST. LOUIS, Mo.) -- A Missouri judge has found a creative way to possibly conjure remorse from a poacher he sentenced to jail.

A man who was convicted of participating in a group that illegally killed hundreds of deer has been ordered to watch Walt Disney's "Bambi" repeatedly while serving his sentence, online case records show.

David Berry, Jr. is one of four family members who would kill bucks as trophies, taking the heads and leaving the bodies to rot, Lawrence County Prosecuting Don Trotter said in a statement released by the Missouri Conservation Commission.

“The deer were trophy bucks taken illegally, mostly at night, for their heads, leaving the bodies of the deer to waste," Trotter said.

Berry pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor of killing, possessing of and disposing of wildlife illegally on Oct. 11, according to online records. On Dec. 6, he was sentenced to one year in prison and while there must watch "Bambi" at least once per month, starting on or before Dec. 23, the records showed.

That means Berry will have to experience the emotional scene where Bambi's mother is killed by a hunter at least 12 times in the next year.

Lawrence County Judge Robert George included the special addition to Berry's sentence due to the egregious nature of the case, according to the Springfield News-Leader.

Berry's father and two other family members were also involved in the poachings, which spanned over three years and prompted an investigation from state and federal governments, as well as authorities in Canada, the conservation commission said.

The investigation resulted in 230 charges that occurred in 11 Missouri counties, according to the release. Berry's three family members collectively served 33 days in jail for their charges, the News-Leader reported.

At least several hundred deer were killed by the family, said Lawrence County Conservation Agent Andy Barnes.

"It is unknown how many deer the main group of suspects has taken illegally over the past several years," Barnes said in the statement

Berry's conviction is the "tip of a long list of illegal fish and game activity by him and other members of his family," the conservation commission said. His sentencing finalized one of the state's largest-ever poaching investigations, according to the release.

The Missouri Conservation Commission has revoked Berry's and his father's hunting, fishing and trapping licenses for life, it said in the statement. The other two family members' licenses were not revoked for life but were suspended for a combined 26 years, and another man who "took wildlife illegally and assisted the Berrys" had his hunting privileges taken away for five years.

Berry was also given a 120-day sentence in Barton County Circuit Court on Dec. 13 for a felony firearms probation violation in that county, according to the statement.

He is being housed at the Lawrence County Jail. ABC News could not immediately reach his attorney for comment.

The Walt Disney Company is the parent company of ABC News.

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