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NJ bystander kicked by officers says they broke four ribs

Miguel Feliz, 28, was driving, when a suspect police were in a vehicle pursuit with rammed into his ..

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  • Miguel Feliz, 28, was driving, when a suspect police were in a vehicle pursuit with rammed into his car
  • His car burst into flames, and Feliz had to crawl out- instead of the officers aiding him, they mistook him for the suspect and kicked him- breaking four ribs
  • Friday Jersey City, NJ police Lt. Keith Kudwig and officers M.D. Khan, Eric Kosinski and Francisco Rodriguez's charges included aggravated assault
  • Khan and Kosinski were also charged with attempted murder
  • The charges stem from the June car chase which ended in a fiery crash
  • Miguel was later hospitalized with severe burns and broken ribs
  • The four officers were suspended without pay following the criminal charges

By Jessica Finn For Dailymail.com

Published: 13:54 EDT, 2 November 2017 | Updated: 15:13 EDT, 4 November 2017

A New Jersey innocent bystander was on fire after a police chase ended with his car being crashed into, says instead of the officers rescuing him while he was burning- they brutally kicked him, breaking four of his ribs.

'They just started kicking me, and kicking me. They broke four of my ribs. Kicked me here,' Miguel Feliz, 28, said of the incident caught on horrifying cell phone video from June 4th. The four officers involved were indicted on various charges Friday.

A video shot that night captured Feliz exiting his car with his clothes on fire. He was then seen rolling on the ground in an effort to douse the flames, before being surrounded by officers with their weapons drawn. Officers then kicked him and dragged him to the curb.

Miguel Feliz was on fire when officers kicked him after mistaking him for a suspect, after his car burst into flames when he was smashed into during a police chase 

Miguel Feliz was on fire when officers kicked him after mistaking him for a suspect, after his car burst into flames when he was smashed into during a police chase

'Finally, I see the cops. And I'm thinking – the guy's gonna help. I'm on fire,' Feliz said. 'And I just see them with the guns drawn, and I hear the in the voice – they were so like, mad' 'Finally, I see the cops. And I'm thinking – the guy's gonna help. I'm on fire,' Feliz said. 'And I just see them with the guns drawn, and I hear the in the voice – they were so like, mad' 

'Finally, I see the cops. And I'm thinking – the guy's gonna help. I'm on fire,' Feliz said. 'And I just see them with the guns drawn, and I hear the in the voice – they were so like, mad'

Officers surround Feliz and kick him in the incident on June 4 in a case of mistaken identity Officers surround Feliz and kick him in the incident on June 4 in a case of mistaken identity 

Officers surround Feliz and kick him in the incident on June 4 in a case of mistaken identity

The chase started when Jersey City police pursued Leo Pinkston through the streets of Jersey City. It ended when Pinkston crashed his vehicle along Rt. 1 & 9, and slammed into Feliz' sedan, which then burst into flames, with Miguel trapped in the driver's seat.

'I couldn't get out,' Feliz told WPIX. 'My seatbelt didn't want to come off. I was already on fire.'

The officers also fired shots at the suspect Pinkston as he ran away.

Miguel is seen on video crawling away from the burning wreck, and on fire.

They apparently mistook the 28-year-old grocery delivery driver for their suspect – Pinkston.

'Finally, I see the cops. And I'm thinking – the guy's gonna help. I'm on fire,' Feliz said. 'And I just see them with the guns drawn, and I hear the in the voice – they were so like, mad.'

Feliz' lawyer says the officers were in the wrong on several counts, beginning with a wild street chase, firing their weapons, and ending with them offering Feliz what appears to be violence – instead of help.

'It's outrageous conduct, and we're going to address that in the lawsuit,' said attorney Tom Cammarata.

Officers Eric Kosinski and MD Khan appeared in court Friday.

'He fired at this man to try to prevent someone innocent person from being killed, which Mr. Pinkston almost accomplished anyway. Mr. Kosinski should have been commended – not indicted,' said Officer Kosinki's attorney.

The president of one of Jersey City's Police unions tells WPIX: 'We have a great deal of respect for the legal process that will let our officers have a chance to tell their story regarding the entirety of the incident. Once they do we believe they will be exonerated.'

Feliz ultimately spent more than a month in the hospital, recovering from burns suffered over 30 percent of his body.

The four officers face several charges ranging from aggravated assault to attempted murder. They are due back in court, in January.

Meantime, Feliz – still recovering – has yet to go back to work,

Prosecutors said a grand jury returned charges, including aggravated assault and official misconduct, against Jersey City police Lt. Keith Ludwig and officers M.D. Khan, Eric Kosinski and Francisco Rodriguez on Friday. Khan and Kosinski also are charged with attempted murder.

Jersey City, New Jersey police officer MB Khan (pictured in 2016) is among four New Jersey officers who face criminal charges including aggravated assault after kicking and dragging on fire bystander Miguel Feliz following a June car chase that ended in flames Jersey City, New Jersey police officer MB Khan (pictured in 2016) is among four New Jersey officers who face criminal charges including aggravated assault after kicking and dragging on fire bystander Miguel Feliz following a June car chase that ended in flames 

Jersey City, New Jersey police officer MB Khan (pictured in 2016) is among four New Jersey officers who face criminal charges including aggravated assault after kicking and dragging on fire bystander Miguel Feliz following a June car chase that ended in flames

That crash set off a fire that engulfed Feliz's vehicle. Feliz, 28, had not been involved in Pinkston's chase until that moment.

The four officers were suspended without pay following the indictments, the city said.

'As we stated at the outset, the actions taken that night required serious investigation. We took immediate and appropriate action and will now abide the judicial process,' Jersey City mayor Steven Fulop said.

'Our internal investigation will now begin into all the actions or inactions of department members that night. We want the community to continue to have full confidence in the Jersey City Police Department and its officers.'

Jersey City Public Safety Director James Shea said in June that Ludwig, a 24-year veteran of the force, has an 'excellent' record, and that the four officers, one of whom has been on the force for a year, 'are average police officers.'

In the June video, an on fire Feliz can be seen escaping from the wreck of his car, rolling on the ground in an attempt to douse the flamesIn the June video, an on fire Feliz can be seen escaping from the wreck of his car, rolling on the ground in an attempt to douse the flamesCops then surround him with their guns drawnCops then surround him with their guns drawn

In the June video, an on fire Feliz can be seen escaping from the wreck of his car, rolling on the ground in an attempt to douse the flames as cops then surround him with their guns drawn

A police officer kicks Feliz while he is still on the ground after having escaped his burning carA police officer kicks Feliz while he is still on the ground after having escaped his burning car

A police officer kicks Feliz while he is still on the ground after having escaped his burning car

The video also captured another police officer appearing to stomp on FelizThe video also captured another police officer appearing to stomp on Feliz

The video also captured another police officer appearing to stomp on Feliz

Officers are then seen dragging Feliz across the sidewalk pavement and to the curbOfficers are then seen dragging Feliz across the sidewalk pavement and to the curb

Officers are then seen dragging Feliz across the sidewalk pavement and to the curb

Shea said at least 20 officers were involved in some aspect of the response to the high-speed chase, which lasted for several miles. Several protocols were violated, he said, including the length of the chase, firing shots at a moving vehicle and placing a car as a roadblock without approval from a supervisor.

Ludwig 'was the supervisor of the officers who started the chase, he was involved from the beginning and he allowed it to go on long after the point where, under the attorney general's guidelines, he should have called it off,' Shea said.

Pinkston, 48, was charged in August with eluding police and aggravated assault while eluding.

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Australia: Scott Morrison saga casts scrutiny on Queen’s representative

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In the past fortnight, Australia has been gripped by revelations that former Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison secretly appointed himself to several additional ministries.

The move has been labelled a “power grab” by his successor as prime minister, and Mr Morrison has been scolded by many – even his own colleagues.

But the scandal has also dragged Australia’s governor-general into the fray – sparking one of the biggest controversies involving the Queen’s representative in Australia in 50 years.

So does Governor-General David Hurley have questions to answer, or is he just collateral damage?

‘Just paperwork’

Governors-general have fulfilled the practical duties as Australia’s head of state since the country’s 1901 federation.

Candidates for the role were initially chosen by the monarch but are now recommended by the Australian government.

The job is largely ceremonial – a governor-general in almost every circumstance must act on the advice of the government of the day. But conventions allow them the right to “encourage” and “warn” politicians.

Key duties include signing bills into law, issuing writs for elections, and swearing in ministers.

Mr Hurley has run into trouble on the latter. At Mr Morrison’s request, he swore the prime minister in as joint minister for health in March 2020, in case the existing minister became incapacitated by Covid.

Over the next 14 months, he also signed off Mr Morrison as an additional minister in the finance, treasury, home affairs and resources portfolios.

Mr Morrison already had ministerial powers, so Mr Hurley was basically just giving him authority over extra departments.

It’s a request the governor-general “would not have any kind of power to override or reject”, constitutional law professor Anne Twomey tells the BBC.

“This wasn’t even a meeting between the prime minister and the governor-general, it was just paperwork.”

But Mr Morrison’s appointments were not publicly announced, disclosed to the parliament, or even communicated to most of the ministers he was job-sharing with.

Australia’s solicitor-general found Mr Morrison’s actions were not illegal but had “fundamentally undermined” responsible government.

But the governor-general had done the right thing, the solicitor-general said in his advice this week.

It would have been “a clear breach” for him to refuse the prime minister, regardless of whether he knew the appointments would be kept secret, Stephen Donaghue said.

Critics push for investigation

Ultimately, Mr Hurley had to sign off on Mr Morrison’s requests, but critics say he could have counselled him against it and he could have publicised it himself.

But representatives for the governor-general say these types of appointments – giving ministers the right to administer other departments – are not unusual.

And it falls to the government of the day to decide if they should be announced to the public. They often opt not to.

Mr Hurley himself announcing the appointments would be unprecedented. He had “no reason to believe that appointments would not be communicated”, his spokesperson said.

Emeritus professor Jenny Hocking finds the suggestion Mr Hurley didn’t know the ministries had been kept secret “ridiculous”.

“The last of these bizarre, duplicated ministry appointments… were made more than a year after the first, so clearly by then the governor-general did know that they weren’t being made public,” she says.

“I don’t agree for a moment that the governor-general has a lot of things on his plate and might not have noticed.”

The historian says it’s one of the biggest controversies surrounding a governor-general since John Kerr caused a constitutional crisis by sacking Prime Minister Gough Whitlam in 1975.

Prof Hocking famously fought for transparency around that matter – waging a lengthy and costly legal battle that culminated in the release of Mr Kerr’s correspondence with the Queen.

And she says the same transparency is needed here.

The Australian public need to know whether Mr Hurley counselled the prime minister against the moves, and why he didn’t disclose them

The government has already announced an inquiry into Mr Morrison’s actions, but she wants it to look at the governor-general and his office too.

“If the inquiry is to find out what happened in order to fix what happened, it would be extremely problematic to leave out a key part of that equation.”

Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull – Mr Morrison’s predecessor – has also voiced support for an inquiry.

“Something has gone seriously wrong at Government House,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

“It is the passive compliance along the chain… that did undermine our constitution and our democracy… that troubles me the most. This is how tyranny gets under way.”

PM defends governor-general

Prof Twomey says the criticism of Mr Hurley is unfair – there’s was no “conspiracy” on his part to keep things secret.

“I don’t think it’s reasonable for anyone to expect that he could have guessed that the prime minister was keeping things secret from his own ministers, for example.

“Nobody really thought that was a possibility until about two weeks ago.”

Even if he had taken the unprecedented step to publicise the appointments or to reject Mr Morrison’s request, he’d have been criticised, she says.

“There’d be even more people saying ‘how outrageous!'” she says. “The role of governor-general is awkward because people are going to attack you either way.”

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has also defended Mr Hurley, saying he was just doing his job.

“I have no intention of undertaking any criticism of [him].”

A role fit for purpose?

Prof Hocking says it’s a timely moment to look at the role of the governor-general more broadly.

She points out it’s possible the Queen may have been informed about Mr Morrison’s extra ministries when Australia’s parliament and people were not.

“It does raise questions about whether this is fit for purpose, as we have for decades been a fully independent nation, but we still have… ‘the relics of colonialism’ alive and well.”

Momentum for a fresh referendum on an Australian republic has been growing and advocates have seized on the controversy.

“The idea that the Queen and her representative can be relied upon to uphold our system of government has been debunked once and for all,” the Australian Republic Movement’s Sandy Biar says.

“It’s time we had an Australian head of state, chosen by Australians and accountable to them to safeguard and uphold Australia’s constitution.”

But Prof Twomey says republicans are “clutching at straws” – under their proposals, the head of state would also have been bound to follow the prime minister’s advice.

“It wouldn’t result in any changes that would have made one iota of difference.”

 

Read from: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-62683210

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Australia election: PM Morrison’s security team in car crash in Tasmania

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A car carrying the Australian prime minister’s security team has crashed in Tasmania during an election campaign visit.

Four police officers were taken to hospital with “non-life threatening injuries” after the car and another vehicle collided, authorities said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison was not in the car, but the accident prompted him to cancel the rest of his campaign events on Thursday.

The other driver involved was not hurt.

Tasmania Police said initial investigations suggested the second car had “collided with the rear of the police vehicle, while attempting to merge”. It caused the unmarked security vehicle to roll off the road.

The two Tasmania Police officers and two Australian Federal Police officers were conscious when taken to hospital for medical assessment, the prime minister’s office said.

“Family members of the officers have been contacted and are being kept informed of their condition,” a statement said.

“The PM is always extremely grateful for the protection provided by his security team and extends his best wishes for their recovery and to their families.”

Australians go to the polls on 21 May. Mr Morrison – prime minister since 2018 – is hoping to win his conservative coalition’s fourth term in office.

Polls suggest the opposition Labor Party, led by Anthony Albanese, is favoured to win. However, Mr Morrison defied similar polling to claim victory at the last election in 2019.

Mr Morrison’s Liberal-National coalition holds 76 seats in the House of Representatives – the minimum needed to retain power.

Political observers say the cost of living, climate change, trust in political leaders, and national security will be among key issues in the campaign.

In recent weeks, the prime minister has faced accusations of being a bully and once sabotaging a rival’s career by suggesting the man’s Lebanese heritage made him less electable. Mr Morrison has denied the allegations.

Mr Albanese stumbled into his own controversy this week when he failed to recall the nation’s unemployment or interest rates.

Read from: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-61103987

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Sydney airport warns delays could last weeks on third day of travel chaos

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Long queues at Sydney airport’s domestic terminals have continued for a third day, with some passengers missing international connections, as the airport warns delays resulting from a surge in travellers and a shortfall in security staff could continue for weeks.

Chaotic scenes were reported in the departure halls as early as 4.30am on Saturday, with some frustrated travellers, many of whom heeded the pleas of airport chiefs to arrive at least two hours before their domestic flight was due to take off, claiming only one security line was operating.

While the queues that formed early on Saturday are understood to have cleared later in the morning, the airport apologised to affected travellers.

“Traffic numbers are picking up and the close contact rules are making it hard to fill shifts and staff the airport. We appreciate your patience,” Sydney airport said on its Twitter account.

A wave of families travelling as the term two school holidays begin this weekend, combined with close contact rules that are understood to be taking out about 20% of security shifts in any given day, are driving the problem.

Certis, the company that Sydney airport contracts for its security operations, is desperately trying to recruit personnel, while the airport has reallocated back office, IT and retail workers to the departure hall to comb queues so they can prioritise passengers at risk of missing their flight.

“We are working around the clock to resolve these issues and have teams in the terminals bringing passengers forward in order of priority,” a Sydney airport spokesperson said.

He added that the airport is “anticipating it will [be] busy right through the school holiday period and peak over the Easter and Anzac Day weekends, in some cases at 90% of pre-Covid passenger levels”.

“We’re deeply grateful to passengers for their ongoing patience and we’re sorry to everyone who has been inconvenienced,” the spokesperson said. “We would also like to thank passengers for getting to the airport early and treating staff and each other with kindness and respect.”

The Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce was forced to clarify comments he made on Friday that passengers were “not match fit” and that those forgetting to remove laptops and aerosols from their bags at the security check contributing to the delays.

“Just to be clear, I’m not ‘blaming’ passengers,” Joyce said. “Of course it’s not their fault,” he said.

Qantas shed thousands of staff during the pandemic, and outsourced ground crews in a decision that was challenged in court.

On Saturday, Qantas also apologised to a Melbourne family left stranded in Sydney, after domestic flight delays caused them to miss an international trip.

Javiera Martinez, her partner Daniel Capurro and their three children were supposed to be flying to Chile on Friday to visit relatives they had not seen in three years.

But after their 8am Qantas flight from Melbourne was delayed by half an hour, baggage handling and airport transfer delays in Sydney meant they couldn’t make their 11.30am LATAM Airlines flight to Santiago.

Martinez said the airline’s procedures at the airport were chaotic.

“We think Qantas didn’t behave appropriately. I got berated by the person at the counter – they never apologised, they never assumed any responsibility at all,” she said. “It was a rude conversation. We have been mistreated badly I would say.”

The PCR tests they need to travel have now expired and they will have to take them again as they wait for seats on the next flight to Santiago from Sunday.

The airline has apologised and paid for a night’s accommodation in Sydney.

“We sincerely apologise that the family missed their connecting flight on another airline due to delays moving through Sydney airport on Friday,” a Qantas spokesperson said.

The family is among many affected by hold ups amid the busiest travel period in two years, with Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane airports warning passengers to arrive two hours before domestic flights.

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