Suspect shot in standoff with officers on California freeway

Police officers investigate the scene of a standoff with a suspect driving a sports utility vehicle on westbound Interstate 80 on Wednesday, in Emeryville, Calif. (AP)
Updated 28 September 2017
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Suspect shot in standoff with officers on California freeway

CALIFORNIA: A homicide suspect died in a shootout with police Wednesday in the middle of a San Francisco Bay Area freeway as stunned motorists looked on, some recording the scene on their cellphones and sharing it on social media.
Traffic came to a standstill for hours on the busy Interstate 80 that connects San Francisco with several other cities during the standoff between police and the unidentified man who had been chased about 40 miles (65 kilometers) by police.
The morning rush-hour standoff shut down all lanes of I-80 in the suburb of Emeryville. It ended when the suspect got out of a black sports utility vehicle and “officers received gun fire from the suspect,” authorities said. Officers fired back at the man, who was wounded and died of his injuries at a hospital.
The events unfolded after police in the city of Fairfield tried to detain the man, who they said was wanted in a homicide. Police did not identify him or provide details about the homicide.
When the driver refused to stop, Fairfield police chased the vehicle, officials said. Assisting them were officers from the city of Richmond and the California Highway Patrol.
Highway patrol officers used a spike mat to pierce the SUV’s tires and the standoff began with the vehicle stopped in Emeryville, surrounded by a dozen police cruisers.
“Officers negotiated with the suspect for an extended period of time until officers received gun fire from the suspect,” said a statement issued by the Emeryville, Fairfield and Richmond police departments. “Officers on scene returned fire and the suspect was struck during the exchange.”
The statement did not specify how many shots were fired or what type of weapons were involved.
A Facebook Live video shot from the air showed the man getting out of the car and taking a step before falling to the ground. Another video shot by a motorist appeared to show officers firing their guns and the sound of at least 20 gunshots.
Traffic was shut down during the standoff for miles (kilometers) on several key roads into San Francisco and surrounding cities.
California Highway Patrol Officer Matthew Hamer said the danger to motorists ended about 10:30 a.m.
The freeway’s eastbound lanes were reopened but the westbound section of the freeway remained closed Wednesday afternoon. Officials said they did not know how long it would be closed.


Protests in Bangladesh after girl is burned to death

Updated 16 min 34 sec ago
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Protests in Bangladesh after girl is burned to death

  • Nusrat Jahan Rafi told her family she was lured to the roof of her rural school in the town of Feni on April 6 and asked to withdraw the charges by five people clad in burqas
  • The violence has shaken Bangladesh, triggering protests and raising concerns over the plight of women and girls in the conservative nation of 160 million people

DHAKA, Bangladesh: Dozens of protesters gathered in Bangladesh’s capital on Friday to demand justice for an 18-year-old woman who died after being set on fire for refusing to drop sexual harassment charges against her Islamic school’s principal.
Nusrat Jahan Rafi told her family she was lured to the roof of her rural school in the town of Feni on April 6 and asked to withdraw the charges by five people clad in burqas. When she refused, she said her hands were tied and she was doused in kerosene and set alight.
Rafi told the story to her brother in an ambulance on the way to the hospital and he recorded her testimony on his mobile phone. She died four days later in a Dhaka hospital with burns covering 80% of her body.
The violence has shaken Bangladesh, triggering protests and raising concerns over the plight of women and girls in the conservative Muslim-majority nation of 160 million people where sexual harassment and violence are often unreported, victims are intimidated and the legal process is often lengthy. Many avoid reporting to police because of social stigma.
“We want justice. Our girls must grow up safely and with dignity,” Alisha Pradhan, a model and actress, told The Associated Press during Friday’s demonstration. “We protest any forms of violence against women, and authorities must ensure justice.”
Tens of thousands of people attended Rafi’s funeral prayers in Feni, and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina promised Rafi’s family when they met in Dhaka that those responsible would be punished.
At least 17 people, including students, have been arrested in connection with the case, said Banaj Kumar Majumder, the head of the Police Bureau of Investigation.
In late March, Rafi filed a complaint with police that the principal of her madrasa, or Islamic school, had called her into his office and touched her inappropriately and repeatedly. Her family agreed to help her to file the police complaint, which prompted police to arrest the principal, infuriating him and his supporters. Influential local politicians backed the principal, and ruling party members were also among the arrested.
Police said the arrested suspects told them during interrogations that the attack on Rafi was planned and ordered by the school’s principal from prison when his men went to see him. It was timed for daytime so that it would look like a suicide attempt, Majumder said.
Human Rights Watch said in a statement that Rafi’s family said that they had received death threats before the attack telling them to drop the case.
While Rafi’s case is now being treated with urgency, that wasn’t the case until her death.
A video taken on March 27 while Rafi reported the assault shows the local police chief registering her complaint but telling her that the incident was “not a big deal.” The chief was later removed from the police station for negligence in dealing with the case.
For Bangladeshi women, it is often not easy to file sensitive complaints with police. Victims often fear further harassment and bullying. Police also often show an unwillingness to investigate such cases and are often accused of being influenced by local politics or bribes.
But the call for dealing with violence against women, especially related to sexual harassment and assault, is also getting louder.
“The horrifying murder of a brave woman who sought justice shows how badly the Bangladesh government has failed victims of sexual assault,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Nusrat Jahan Rafi’s death highlights the need for the Bangladesh government to take survivors of sexual assault seriously and ensure that they can safely seek a legal remedy and be protected from retaliation.”