LaVar Ball responds to Trump: ‘I say thank you when I see something’

LaVar Ball denies being in a feud with President Donald Trump, but repeatedly refused to issue a “thanks” to the President for his involvement in the release of his son from China.

“Why would I be in war with a guy … the most powerful man in the world?” Ball said Monday night when asked about his back-and-forth with the President by CNN’s Chris Cuomo.

“Did he help the boys get out? I don’t know. … If I was going to thank somebody I’d probably thank President Xi (Jinping),” LaVar Ball said.

His comment came a day after Trump tweeted that he “should have left them in jail,” referring to Ball’s son and two other UCLA basketball players who were arrested on suspicion of stealing sunglasses from a Louis Vuitton store while their team was in China.

“Now that the three basketball players are out of China and saved from years in jail, LaVar Ball, the father of LiAngelo, is unaccepting of what I did for his son and that shoplifting is no big deal,” Trump tweeted. “I should have left them in jail!”

Last week, Trump questioned on Twitter whether he would receive any thanks for his role in the players’ release.

“Do you think the three UCLA Basketball Players will say thank you President Trump? They were headed for 10 years in jail!” Trump wrote on Twitter.

And although the players themselves expressed gratitude to the President at a news conference, LaVar Ball minimized Trump’s involvement in the matter.

“Who?” he told ESPN when asked about Trump’s role in the situation days after their release. “What was he over there for? Don’t tell me nothing. Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out.”

In an interview with CNN Monday, LaVar Ball defended his son’s actions and talked around thanking the President.

“It wasn’t like he was in the US and said, ‘OK, there’s three kids in China. I need to go over and get them.’ That wasn’t the thought process,” he told Cuomo.

“I say thank you when I see something,” LaVar Ball later added.

“If you help, you shouldn’t have to say anything,” he said. “Let him do his political affairs and let me handle my son and let’s just stay in our lane.”

The interview concluded on a festive note, with LaVar Ball wishing Trump a happy holiday.

“Tell Donald Trump to have a great Thanksgiving,” he said.

Statement from Chairman Harold Frazier Regarding the Public Service Commission’s Decision on Keystone XL Pipeline  

Published November 21, 2017 EAGLE BUTTE, SOUTH DAKOTA – On Monday, the Nebraska Public Service Commission decided to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline coming through its state. Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Chairman Harold Fraizer released the following statement: The Nebraska Public Service Commission has concluded their examination process and has unfortunately approved of the […]

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Water Protector, Sophia Wilansky, Undetered One Year after Standing Rock Police Brutality

Published November 21, 2017 NEW YORK – Sophia Wilansky was just 21 years old when she gathered with other Water Protectors on the Backwater bridge north of the Standing Rock encampment in North Dakota. She had come to the Oceti Sakowin camp in solidarity with the indigenous led movement to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline […]

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Pokagon Band Opens Tribal Police Substation in South Bend

Published November 21, 2017 Establishes a place for public safety and cooperative law enforcement SOUTH BEND, INDIANA – The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians officially opened its Tribal Police Substation in South Bend today. Located at 2906 Prairie Ave., the substation is 4,680 square feet of space for up to 12 law enforcement officers. The substation […]

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Haitians’ protection from deportation to end, Trump administration announces

The Trump administration announced it would end special protection from deportation for Haitians.

Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke announced her decision Monday to terminate the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for Haiti, which will affect more than 50,000 Haitians living in the United States, most of whom live in Florida.

According to the DHS website, there will be “a delayed effective date of 18 months to allow for an orderly transition before the designation terminates on July 22, 2019. This decision follows then-Secretary John F. Kelly’s announcement in May 2017 that Haiti had made considerable progress, and that the country’s designation will likely not be extended past six months.”

For Peterson Exais, 17, who has been living in Miami since being injured in the country’s 2010 earthquake, the news was tough to hear.

“It’s very devastating hearing this news,” Exais said.

Exais is now a student at the New World School for the Arts and lives with his mother, who is also a recipient of TPS. He said his family in Haiti is struggling to survive.

“They’re hungry. They’re not receiving food,” he said. “They’re not receiving clothing. It’s very difficult for them. And I could not imagine myself in that situation again.”

South Florida lawmakers across party lines voiced their disappointment with the DHS announcement.

U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart wrote in a statement that forcing Haitians “… to leave the United States would be detrimental. Almost eight years later, Haiti remains in total disarray and still requires much rebuilding.”

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson tweeted that the decision was “unconscionable,” and, “Ultimately, we need a permanent legislative solution.”

South Florida Uber drivers continue to file false charges against users

South Florida residents who use Uber say the popular ride-sharing program continues to game the system by charging fees for messes they never made.

Local 10 first highlighted the fraud fees in July when a couple was charged $150 by an Uber driver who claimed they threw up in his car on the way home from Miami International Airport. The company later removed the charges and suspended the driver.

But the charges keep coming, and more people are stepping forward to complain.

Samantha Owens, a bartender who uses Uber to commute from her home to her job in Oakland Park, says she was also charged a $150 cleaning fee for a ride she took in September with her daughter.

“I was dumbfounded because I couldn’t believe somebody would actually do that,” said Owens. 

Owens’ driver, identified as Robert, submitted the claim, saying she threw up in the car. But when pictures showed vomit in the front seat and not in the back, where she was seated, Owens knew something was up.

“It’s a scam,” Owens says. “I feel like I’m an easy target. I work at a bar, I’m getting picked up at 2 a.m., to Uber it’s going to look bad.”

Christine Tellez says her mother-in-law faced the same problem after a short ride on Miami Beach with her one-year-old daughter.

“I got an email from Uber in the morning saying we’ve recalculated your fee based on urine on the seat,” Tellez said.

The driver had submitted a picture of a wet seat, attempting to justify the $150 cleaning fee. Tellez claims the wet seat was not caused by her family.

“It’s very frustrating,” Tellez says. “I think Uber needs to investigate more.”

Both Owens and Tellez say they were never able to contact anyone with Uber. 

The company eventually refunded Owens’ charges after she went to a help desk for drivers. After Local 10 spoke with Uber, Tellez also received her money back.

Tellez’ driver, Edwin Ayerdis Castellon, claimed not to remember the incident, but says clean up charges are sometimes necessary.

“Well, it happens in some situations where somebody throws up or does a mess,” said Castellon.

Castellon was surprised when told that Uber had refunded Tellez’ money for the false charges.

Despite multiple requests, Uber refused an on-camera interview about the fake fees, but in a statement, acknowledged that they are a problem in South Florida.

“We recognize there are challenges for our support teams to look into these types of situations so we are enhancing our internal processes and investing in additional resources when investigating cleaning fee claims,” the company said through a spokesperson.

Uber says Castellon has been permanently removed for their app, along with the driver from the incident over the summer. The driver named Robert is still under investigation.

Wheelchair stolen from paralyzed Margate man

A man is without his wheelchair after someone stole it last week.

Mitchell Braithwaite, 26, said he was throwing out the trash when he realized his wheelchair was gone.

“This is the way that I get around,” he said. “This is my transportation — for me to get up and go to the bathroom or take a shower or get something to eat.”

Braithwaite was left paralyzed from the waist down after being shot at the age of 17. He lives on his own and has been using a basketball wheelchair the last several days.

“This chair is not intended to be used for what I’m doing every day,” he said. “It doesn’t have any brakes. It doesn’t (have) the support that I need. I’m kinda confined to being in the house unless I have someone to help me and come along with me.”

Braithwaite played with the Miami Heat’s wheelchair basketball program.

Click here if you would like help Braithwaite raise money for a new wheelchair.

Woman arrested in death of man found in burning car at Bicentennial Park

An 18-year-old woman has been arrested in connection to the death of man found in a burning car at a North Lauderdale park earlier this month.

Rougiena Derviere was arrested Saturday and faces a charge of first-degree murder.

The body of Darren Butler was found last Tuesday after firefighters extinguished the flames of the burning car at Bicentennial Park.

An ax was found near the car and deputies quickly ruled the death a homicide.

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The investigation into Butler’s death continues. Broward Sheriff’s Office detectives are asking anyone with information to contact them at 954-421-4200 or Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS.