Officer's acquittal roils in Houston

HOUSTON - A jury's acquittal Wednesday of a former Houston police officer in the alleged beating of a 15-year-old burglary suspect during a videotaped arrest upset black community leaders who criticized the verdict as unjust and racist.

Andrew Blomberg, 29, was the first of four fired police officers to stand trial for their roles in the alleged beating of Chad Holley during a daylight arrest on March 2010. The incident involving the black teen, now 18, prompted fierce public criticism of the police department by community activists who called it another example of police brutality against minorities.

"It is pathetic. It is unacceptable," the Rev. James Dixon of the Community of Faith Church said of the jury's decision. "This kind of expression says to me, to my children and to every black child in the city, 'Your life is not worth manure.' "

Blomberg fought back tears after the verdict was read, then hugged his attorneys and started to cry as he embraced his parents. He could have faced up to a year in jail if convicted of official oppression, a misdemeanor alleging that as a public servant Blomberg intentionally mistreated or unlawfully arrested or detained Holley.

- AP

TB patient jailed for nontreatment

SAN FRANCISCO - Authorities in California took the unusual step of jailing and charging a tuberculosis patient who they say refused to take medication to keep his disease from becoming contagious.

Health officials said Armando Rodriguez, 34, of Stockton, has active pulmonary tuberculosis, which can include coughing up blood or phlegm and can spread through the air.

Rodriguez was arrested Tuesday and is expected to be arraigned Thursday on two misdemeanor counts of refusing to comply with a tuberculosis order to be at home at certain times and make appointments to take his medication.

Rodriguez has been noncompliant with his treatment and could become contagious as a result, Ginger Wick, nursing director for San Joaquin County, said in a letter requesting a warrant for Rodriguez's arrest.

- AP

Breitbart died of heart failure

LOS ANGELES - Conservative commentator and website editor Andrew Breitbart died of heart failure and had up to a 60 percent narrowing of a major artery, a Los Angeles County Coroner's Office report released Wednesday said.

The office ruled that the cause of Breitbart's death was heart failure and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy with focal coronary atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. Coroner's officials deemed the death "natural."

Breitbart, 43, collapsed near his Westwood home on the west side of Los Angeles March 1. Paramedics found Breitbart unable to breath and shocked him with a defibrillator four times. He was in full arrest and paramedics were administering CPR when he arrived in the emergency room at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.

- Los Angeles Times