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Family: 15-year-old’s skull fractured in ‘body slam’ by school security officer

An Alabama teenager is recovering from a fractured skull that his family says he suffered Monday when a school resource officer at his high school “body-slammed” him headfirst onto concrete. 

Steven Franklin, 15, of Huntsville, was left in the intensive care unit following the incident, which took place at Jemison High School, WHNT News 19 in Huntsville reported. Along with the cracked skull, Franklin suffered internal bleeding and required emergency surgery, according to family friend Zach Finey. 

“There’s swelling on the right side of his head that’s about the size of a cantaloupe,” said Finey, a volunteer with the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America program who is Franklin’s “big brother.”

“He body-slammed Steven on the side of his temple, onto the concrete, and at that time Steve had a seizure that we’ve been told lasted about 30 seconds,” Finey told the news station

WAAY-TV obtained photos of the teen in the hospital that show the swelling to his head and what appears to be about 60 staples closing his scalp following surgery.  

>> Read more trending news

Finey said the teen does not remember the incident, but that the boy’s friends told his family the school resource officer was attempting to break up a fight and stepped in after another student threw punches at Franklin. 

AL.com reported that cellphone camera footage shows a portion of the fight, as well as the aftermath of Franklin being injured. The teen could be seen lying on the ground with the security guard standing over him. 

The alleged actions of the guard were not caught on camera, the news site reported

Police investigators are looking into the incident, a Huntsville Police Department spokesman confirmed to AL.com. Huntsville City Schools is also investigating what happened.

Keith Ward, a school district spokesman, said that the security officer, who is a contract employee, would remain off-campus through the end of the school year. According to the school calendar, Thursday was the last day of classes. 

Finey on Wednesday afternoon credited the media with putting pressure on the school district to answer questions about what happened to Franklin. 

“We are still a long way away from getting answers, and Steven has a long road of recovery, but the first steps have now been taken, thanks to you all,” Finey wrote on Facebook

He told AL.com and WHNT that the teen’s condition had begun to improve. 

“He’s actually being moved from ICU to a regular room,” Finey told AL.com. "He’s walked for the first time. He's started to ask questions about what happened. He doesn’t remember what happened, just waking up after his surgery.”

Finey told WHNT that Franklin has been distraught since finding out what happened. He and his family are also worried about the long-term effects of his injury. 

“It’s sad when you see how sad and depressed he’s getting when he’s realizing, ‘What has happened to me? And why did it happen?’” Finey said. “And he wants to know just as much as his mother and his family, his friends.”

No charges filed after 1-year-old dies in hot pickup truck outside Nashville home

Police said no charges will be filed after a 1-year-old girl died after being left in a hot pickup truck all day Wednesday outside the family’s home in east Nashville.

Metro Nashville police said that investigators believe the girl’s adoptive father left her in the truck “unintentionally,” WZTV reports

>> Read more trending news 

The girl has been identified as 1-year-old Katera Barker. 

Police said Barker’s adoptive father reportedly forgot that she was still in the car after he dropped her 5-year-old sibling off at day care.

WZTV reports that the father left the family’s home around 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, dropped the 5-year-old off at day care and arrived back home around 8 a.m. He allegedly left the home about five minutes later and took a ride share to the airport to catch a flight for a business trip.

Police said that the girl’s adoptive mother went to pick up the kids from daycare after she got off work and realized that Barker was never dropped off. 

According to WZTV, the woman called her husband and realized the child was still in the car.

When she arrived home, the woman pulled the girl out of the car, called 911 and performed CPR on the child until paramedics arrived.

According to the National Weather Service, temperatures in Nashville reached a high of 89 degrees, meaning the inside of the truck could have reached nearly 120 degrees.

Police said Barker was pronounced dead when she arrived at Vanderbilt Hospital. 

WHNS reports that the girl’s adoptive father flew back into Nashville that night after discovering what happened. Investigators said the man and his wife have been cooperative with police.

Giant hammerhead worm invasion could pose threat to France

Five invasive worm species have been detected in parts of France and its territories, sometimes in groups of hundreds in a single location.

>> Read more trending news 

That’s according to a new study published Tuesday in the journal PeerJ, which spans reports of sightings dating back to 1999.

Lead author Jean-Lou Justine of the National Museum of Natural History in Paris was stunned to see the first photo of the creatures, which he described as giant worms with a shovel-shaped head.

“We do not have that in France,” he told the Washington Post. The worms are actually native to Asia and its warmer weather.

At first, Justine thought the gardener who sent him the photo, Pierre Gros, was playing some kind of prank. But the two eventually paired up for the study and discovered several species of flatworm in metropolitan France.

They studied 111 records and observations of the worms from 1999 to 2017.

>> Related: Invasive flatworm that secretes toxic slime, found in new part of Florida

“The invaders are giant hammerhead flatworms — brightly colored specimens that look like earthworms on steroids,” Live Science wrote about the species, two of which are part of the Diversibipalium genus. According to the study, these are probably newfound species.

The land flatworms, which produce unpleasant-tasting chemicals that keep predators at bay, can have an effect on soil ecology and plant life cycles by preying on organisms that live in soil.

The muscular worms measure about 1 foot or 40 centimeters in length and typically consume earthworms and other invertebrate prey.

“As invasive predators, [giant flatworms] are likely to be a threat to the abundance and biodiversity of the soil invertebrates,” Justine told Live Science. 

>> Related: 5-foot tapeworm wiggled out of California man after eating sushi

While they’re not the most exciting worms creatures out there, flatworms are capable of regenerating, “even from snipped-off fragments that represent 1/300th of the worm’s body,” according to Live Science. They also reproduce asexually and can quickly produce many offspring.

The five non-native species identified in Justine’s study were distributed in mainland France, as well as the Caribbean French islands, French Polynesia and French Guiana.

According to entomologist Archie Murchie of Britain’s Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, who was not involved in the research, the worms are likely to continue to spread “with increased global trade,” he told the Washington Post. “The species are cryptic and soil-dwelling so can be easily overlooked, which often explains their inadvertent shipment round the world.”

>> Related: Woman says she found worm in fish bought at Costco

In Ireland and Scotland, Murchie said invasive New Zealand flatworms ate so many earthworms that it “yields of agricultural grass in affected areas shrank by about 6 percent,” the Post reported.

“The authors are rightly cautious about the potential impact of the hammerhead flatworms,” Murchie said.

Hurricane, tropical storm and tropical depression: What’s the difference?

There are a ton of weather terms that might be easy to confuse including hurricanes, tropical depressions and tropical storms. Here’s the difference.

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Tropical depressions form when a low-pressure area is accompanied by thunderstorms that produce maximum winds below 39 mph. 

As for tropical storms, those are more severe. Depressions become storms when winds reach between 39 and 73 mph. They also must follow a cyclone pattern to become a storm.

Hurricanes are a step up from a tropical storm, with winds of more than 74 mph. Hurricanes are further rated into five categories based on their wind speed:

Category 1: 74-95 mph

Category 2: 96-110 mph

Category 3: 111-129 mph

Category 4: 130-156 mph

Category 5: above 157 mph

However, all three types of storms are fueled by warm, moist air near oceans in tropical areas.

Sleeping in on the weekends could help you live longer, study suggests

Good news for Sunday snoozers: Sleeping in on your off-days might actually be beneficial to your health.

>> Read more trending news   

In fact, new research from Stockholm University’s Stress Research Institute found that compensating for missed sleep on the weekends really does work and can even lengthen your life. Previous sleep science research hasn’t fully examined the effects of weekend snoozing. 

Scientists examined more than 43,000 adults for the self-reported study, which was published Wednesday in the Journal of Sleep Research, and followed them for a span of 13 years. 

Between 1997 and 2010, 3,234 died. That’s a rate of about six deaths per 1,000 people per year. By 2010, the world mortality rate was about eight in 1,000.

>> Related: If you don’t get enough sleep, your brain could start eating itself 

The adults in the study were grouped by sleep duration. Short sleepers slept for less than five hours per night. Medium sleepers, about seven hours. Long sleepers slept for nine or more hours per night.

The groups were again divided and paired by weekday and weekend sleep habits.

Short sleepers under age 65 who snoozed for an average of five hours or fewer during the week and then slept for at least eight hours on the weekend didn’t have an increased risk of death compared to the adults who slept six to seven hours per night, researchers found.

>> Related: This is the single healthiest way to sleep better, according to science

But without making up for lost sleep during the week, those only getting five hours of fewer during the week didn’t live as long as people who consistently slept seven hours each night.

Weekend snoozers, the data showed, lives just as long as those who slept enough during the week.

“The results imply that short (weekday) sleep is not a risk factor for mortality if it is combined with a medium or long weekend sleep,” the researchers wrote in the study. “This suggests that short weekday sleep may be compensated for during the weekend, and that this has implications for mortality.”

>> Related: 11 successful people who get by on hardly any sleep

The researchers also found that people who slept for eight hours or more every day had a 25 percent higher mortality rate compared to those who managed six or seven hours a night.

But the data doesn’t show that short or long sleep is somehow responsible for higher mortality, lead author Torbjorn Akerstedt told the Washington Post.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research Society recommends adults ages 18 to 60 sleep about seven hours per night.

"Sleeping less than 7 hours per night on a regular basis is associated with adverse health outcomes,” the academy wrote in a consensus statement.

>> Related: Can’t sleep at night? You could blame pollution, scientists say 

Self-reporting may be considered a limitation of the study, but researchers note it’s a practical way to accumulate large-scale data. They did account for other factors influencing sleep, such as alcohol and coffee consumption, smoking habits, shift work and more.

“The only thing that we don’t have control over is latent disease,” Akerstedt told the Post. Latent diseases go undetected.

2 police officers fired amid accusations they beat, kicked black man in face

Two Mississippi police officers have been fired -- and could face criminal charges -- following an investigation into claims that they beat a black man, kicking him in the face several times, after he turned around from a police checkpoint earlier this month and led them on a high-speed chase. 

James Barnett, 36, of Laurel, told WDAM in Moselle that he was injured so badly he cannot currently work and will require surgery to his eye. His nose was also broken. 

Photos taken by the news station show Barnett’s face bruised and battered, his right eye bloodshot. Click here to see the photos. Warning: The images may be too graphic for some readers. 

Barnett said he was driving early the morning of May 16 when he came upon a driver’s license checkpoint being conducted by the Laurel Police Department. He said he turned around because he was driving without a license. 

Two of the officers at the checkpoint followed him.  

Barnett admitted to leading the officers on a high-speed chase for about 20 miles before stopping. 

“As I was getting out, they had their guns drawn on me, telling me to get out with my hands out and get on the ground,” Barnett told the news station. “So, I laid flat on the ground, face-down (and) they came up continuously kicking me in my face.”

Barnett said the officers, both of whom are white, stopped kicking him only when a Jasper County sheriff’s deputy arrived at the scene. He said the officers took him to a hospital, where they continued to taunt and harass him. 

At that point, four additional officers were there as well. All six stood around his bed, he said. 

“I (was) nervous because I’m thinking it’s going to be the end of my life in there,” Barnett said. “So, I played like I was asleep -- my eyes closed.”

Laurel police Capt. Tommy Cox, who held a brief news conference Monday with Laurel Mayor Johnny Magee, said supervisors realized quickly something about Barnett’s arrest was not right. 

“It became apparent to the supervisors on duty that there was a problem with the manner in which the arrest occurred,” Cox said at the news conference, streamed on Facebook by WDAM. “It has always been the policy of LPD that all use-of-force events are reviewed by several levels of supervisors and administration.”

An internal investigation began the morning of Barnett’s arrest and was completed the following day, Cox said. The findings of the investigation resulted in the firing of the two officers, whose names were not released. 

The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation is conducing an outside review of the case to determine if criminal charges are warranted, Cox said. Body camera and dashboard camera footage are being withheld until the investigation is complete. 

“The officers and administration of LPD take these kinds of allegations very seriously,” Cox said. “It should be noted that the internal investigation was initiated only hours after the incident, before any media attention, social media posts or even a formal complaint from the other individual involved.”

Barnett took to Facebook the day after his arrest, posting graphic photos of his injuries and demanding justice. He called the officers “low-life, sorry excuses for human beings” and said he was thankful God let him survive the beating. 

“I wouldn’t wish this on NOBODY,” Barnett wrote. “One even had the nerve to ask me, ‘How did those steel toes feel, boy,’ trying to get a rise out of me, but I just laid there and prayed.”

He wrote that he had never been so afraid in his life.

“I will not let this go. I don’t (want) this to happen to anyone else,” Barnett wrote

>> Read more trending news

Cox declined to say Monday if the department had received previous complaints about either officer. He also declined to speculate on why they decided to follow Barnett, whose name was not made public at the news conference, when he turned around at the checkpoint.  

Magee praised the department’s handling of the incident. 

“We have handled the situation as we do. It’s said that police can’t police themselves, but in certain instances, they can, and this is evidence of that,” the mayor said

Barnett pleaded guilty to resisting arrest in his first court appearance, WDAM reported. He is still scheduled to appear in court next month, at which time he said he plans to fight the charge. 

“I just want justice,” Barnett told the news station. “I want what’s right, done. They (did) me wrong, so something has to be done about that. 

“If you’re working for the law, do right by the law. Don’t uphold the law by trying to take the law into your own hands.”

Morgan Freeman apologizes after 8 women accuse him of inappropriate behavior

Morgan Freeman issued an apology Thursday after eight women accused the Academy Award-winning actor of inappropriate behavior.

>> Read more trending news

"Anyone who knows me or has worked with me knows I am not someone who would willingly offend or knowingly make anyone feel uneasy," Freeman said in the statement. "I apologize to anyone who felt uncomfortable or disrespected -- that was never my intent."

CNN reported Thursday that eight women had come forward to levy allegations of harassment against Freeman. The news network spoke with 16 people about Freeman’s alleged misconduct, which reportedly took place in public while Freeman was on production sets or promotional tours. At least one incident happened in front of Lori McCreary, the woman who in 1996 co-founded production company Revelations Entertainment with Freeman, CNN reported.

A majority of Freeman's accusers said he "repeatedly (behaved) in ways that made women feel uncomfortable at work." Two women told CNN that Freeman “subjected them to unwanted touching.” None of the incidents were reported because the women feared for their jobs, according to CNN.

A woman who worked in 2015 as a production assistant for the film "Going in Style," starring Freeman, Michael Caine and Alan Arkin, told CNN that she was harassed for several months by Freeman. She said he tried multiple times to lift her skirt and asked whether she was wearing underwear. He stopped after Arkin made a comment about his behavior, the woman told CNN.

Another woman, who worked as a senior member of the production staff for "Now You See Me" in 2012, told CNN that Freeman sexually harassed her and her assistant, also a woman, with frequent comments about their bodies.

“We knew that if he was coming by ... not to wear any top that would show our breasts, not to wear anything that would show our bottoms, meaning not wearing clothes that (were) fitted," she said.

CNN entertainment reporter Chloe Melas said she was also subject to Freeman’s inappropriate comments. She said she was six months pregnant when the actor told her that she looked “ripe” during an interview at a press junket for “Going in Style.” She said he took her hand to shake it and held it as he looked her up and down while telling her, “I wish I was there.”

Photos: Hawaii Kilauea volcano eruption

Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii has erupted. More than 1,500 residents have been evacuated.

Man going door to door asking to fingerprint children is ‘legitimate,’ Maine deputies say

A man going door to door asking to fingerprint children has alarmed families in Ellsworth, Maine.

>> Read more trending news 

The Hancock County Sheriff’s Office posted on Facebook that the man works for a legitimate company, but did not have proper identification showing his name or what company he worked for. 

In the Facebook post, deputies said they have received several calls about the man.

WMTV reports that police were able to confirm his identity.

Hancock County officials reminded residents in the Facebook post that even though this man proved to be a legitimate worker, it is important to report any suspicious activity by calling police. 

President Donald Trump grants pardon to late boxer Jack Johnson

President Donald Trump on Thursday granted late boxer Jack Johnson with a pardon more than 100 years after he was convicted by an all-white jury of taking a white woman across state lines.

>> Read more trending news

Several heavyweight boxing champions, both current and former, gathered at the White House on Thursday morning ahead of the expected announcement, The New York Times reported.

Trump noted Thursday that Johnson was convicted “during a period of tremendous racial tension in the United States,” and served 10 months in prison in what many considered to be a “racially motivated injustice.”

"I am taking this very righteous step, I believe, to correct a wrong that occurred in our history," Trump said.

Johnson was convicted in 1913 of violating the Mann Act, a law passed in 1910 that barred people from transporting women across state lines for “immoral” purposes. The woman, Belle Schreiber, worked as a prostitute and had been in a relationship with Johnson, according to the Times.

He was sentenced to serve a year in prison, the Times reported, but he fled the country. He served his sentence after he returned to the U.S. in 1920.

Original report: Prodded by actor Sylvester Stallone, President Donald Trump said he’s considering a posthumous pardon for boxing's first black heavyweight champion, more than 100 years after he was convicted by an all-white jury of accompanying a white woman across state lines.

Jack Johnson, who died in 1946, was convicted in 1913 for violating the Mann Act, which made it illegal to transport women across state lines for "immoral" purposes.

"His trials and tribulations were great, his life complex and controversial," Trump tweeted Saturday afternoon from Mar-a-Lago. "Others have looked at this over the years, most thought it would be done, but yes, I am considering a Full Pardon!"

Johnson's family has tried to get a posthumous pardon for years. The tweet comes a week after Trump pardoned I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, a top aide to former Vice President Dick Cheney.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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