ILLINOIS

Protest of killing disrupts shoppers

More than a hundred people marched along North Michigan Avenue on Thursday, holding "die-ins" in the street and blocking last-minute shoppers from stores as they staged a "Black Christmas" in response to the killing of Laquan McDonald, the black teenager shot 16 times by a white officer in October 2014.

The crowd, surrounded by police on bicycles, stepped off the Michigan Avenue bridge shortly after noon and laid down in the street chanting, "Laquan McDonald on the ground, this is why we lay down."

Some of the protesters also blocked stores, and some shoppers had to be escorted inside.

Police only released dashcam video of the shooting last month after being ordered to do so by a judge. Prosecutors had charged Officer Jason Van Dyke hours earlier, leading to allegations of an attempted cover-up, a federal civil rights investigation of the Police Department, and a series of protests, including Thursday's. - Chicago Tribune, AP

TEXAS

Man charged with shooting 2 officers

A man was charged Thursday with attempted capital murder in the shooting of two police officers that sparked a nine-hour standoff at an apartment complex in Odessa, Texas.

Police say Roy Daniel Garza, 27, fired at Sgt. Pete Gonzalez and Officer Cory Wester as they tried to arrest him on a parole violation Wednesday, sparking the standoff that lasted until Garza surrendered around 9 p.m.

Gonzalez was shot in the arm and Wester suffered wounds to the chest and upper leg, police said in a statement. Both were in fair condition at Medical Center Hospital in Odessa, Debra Richardson, a hospital official, said Thursday morning.

Garza, of San Antonio, was being held on eight counts of attempted murder of a peace officer, trooper Elena Viramontes said in an email. - AP
RHODE ISLAND

Prep school says staff abused 26

An internal investigation by a prestigious Rhode Island boarding school has found that 26 students were sexually abused by six school employees in the 1970s and 1980s.

St. George's School sent a letter to alumni Wednesday detailing the credible allegations and apologizing for not doing more at the time to keep students safe and report abusers to authorities. The letter from the Middletown school names only one of the six former employees, an athletic trainer who was fired in 1980 and has since died. The others have now been reported to Rhode Island State Police, as have three former students accused of misconduct. - AP
CALIFORNIA

Governor pardons Robert Downey Jr.

California Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday pardoned Robert Downey Jr. for a nearly 20-year-old felony drug conviction that sent the Oscar-nominated actor to jail for nearly a year.

Brown's office said Downey was among 91 people granted pardons for criminal convictions after demonstrating they had rehabilitated themselves. While the pardon does not erase records of a conviction, it does restore voting rights. Downey, 50, is a two-time Oscar nominee for roles in 1992's Chaplin and 2008's Tropic Thunder. - AP