iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The flags taken off the Brooklyn Bridge and swapped for white surrender flags have been handed over to U.S. officials, a law enforcement official told ABC News Thursday.
The handover took place far from the iconic landmark, however: it happened in Germany. The flags were given to the U.S. embassy a week after Mischa Leinkauf and Mattias Wermke, artists in that country, identified themselves as having perpetrated the stunt that became a national news sensation.
"They returned the flags to the embassy. There has been no determination on charges," the law enforcement official said.
The artists said last week that the Brooklyn Bridge stunt was intended as a celebration of public art and not as any political statement.
The Berlin-based duo said that the flags that they put on top of the bridge were not bleached white but were made of white material and then hand-stitched so that it was done in "Old Glory" style with white stars and stripes. They said that they followed U.S. Flag Code in their handling of the American flags that they took down.
Prosecutors in New York could still pursue felony burglary charges against the duo, which could lead to the issuing of an international arrest warrant. Authorities also "have some significant leads" as to the people who assisted the Germans in their stunt in the U.S. The American accomplices are still being pursued.
New York Police Department officials are taking the flag return as a sign of "good faith" that the stunt was, "some sort of artistic thing or stunt," as opposed to a serious threat or attempt to scare American citizens, the law enforcement official said.
It is believed that the artists realized how serious this was and how much trouble they were in when NY Police Commissioner Bill Bratton announced on WABC's Sunday show Up Close with Diana Williams that investigators knew who the perpetrators were.
iStock/Thinkstock(FERGUSON, Mo.) -- A different view of Michael Brown emerged Thursday in a video that is starkly different from the images previously seen of the unarmed teenager who shot dead by police in Ferguson, Missouri.
Brown, 18, is seen waiting to join the procession of graduates for Normandy High School in early August, just days before his controversial death on Aug. 9. He is wearing the traditional black cap and gown with a red sash around his neck and the tassel hanging jauntily off the back of his mortarboard.
Brown's family said that he was going to attend college in the fall.
The only other video images of Brown, who was 6-foot-4, to surface since the shooting has been in sharp contrast. Police released a surveillance video last week that showed a large man apparently stealing cigars from a convenience store.
The theft occurred shortly before Brown was shot at least six times following a confrontation with Officer Darren Wilson that left him with serious facial injuries. A Ferguson police report said that the officer who viewed the store surveillance video and saw Brown's body identified him as the prime suspect in the store robbery.
iStock/Thinkstock(TAMPA, Fla.) -- For the parents of a first-grader in Florida, simply asking their son what he did on his first day of school this year was not enough.
"We wanted to see what it was like to be a first-grader on the first day of school," May Weber told ABC News.
Weber and her husband, Tim Weber, of Tampa, strapped a camera onto the chest of their 6-year-old son, Andrew, Tuesday for his first day at McFarlane Park Elementary in Tampa.
"I have that challenge every day when I pick my children up from school, I say, 'How was school? Tell me about your favorite part of school,' and I always get that one word answer," May Weber said. "Now I know maybe different kinds of questions to ask about their friends."
The video shows Andrew walking down a shrub-lined street on his way to McFarlane Park, walking into the school's decorated hallways and getting a hug from his new teacher, all from his own chest-level perspective.
"I was impressed by what the perspective was of a three-foot something child," Tim Weber said. "How big everything was, the furniture, how big adults were, how big some of the other kids at school."
"I think we sort of forget that perspective," he said.
Andrew himself says he had no qualms about meeting his classmates while wearing the video camera, claiming that it was the object of envy in his first-grade classroom.
"My friends wanted to wear it," he said.
Both Andrew's teacher, Arianne DeClue, and the school's principal, Denyse Riveiro, say they are using the video footage as a learning tool.
"On the first day of school everyone has nerves and jitters and it was exciting to see what the kids felt," DeClue told ABC News.
"I thought about from the child's perspective, what it looked like, what they were experiencing, the social skills, the developmental skills," principal Riveiro said.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images(FERGUSON, Mo.) -- The Missouri National Guard has been ordered to leave the strife-torn town of Ferguson.
Gov. Jay Nixon, who ordered the guard into Ferguson earlier this week, said on Thursday he was withdrawing them because "we continue to see improvement" in safety conditions in the town.
“I greatly appreciate the men and women of the Missouri National Guard for successfully carrying out the specific, limited mission of protecting the Unified Command Center so that law enforcement officers could focus on the important work of increasing communication within the community, restoring trust, and protecting the people and property of Ferguson,” Nixon said in a statement.
The governor said the guard would begin withdrawing after a relatively calm Wednesday night which resulted in only six arrests.
"Tonight was a very good night,” said Capt. Ron Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
On Tuesday night, 43 were arrested and nearly 80 arrests were made on Monday night.
The National Guard did not patrol Ferguson's streets, standing guard instead at the police command center.
Johnson said the city would continue to have a strong police presence.
The St. Louis suburb has been roiled with angry protests since the police officer shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown, 18, on Aug. 9. At times, those protests erupted into looting, Molotov cocktails and rock throwing. Police have responded with tear gas and rubber bullets.
On Monday, when Nixon called out the National Guard, President Obama appeared to express skepticism over the tactic.
"I spoke to Jay Nixon about this and expressed interest that if it was used, it would be in a limited and appropriate way," Obama said Monday. He added that, "I’ll be watching to see that it’s helping, not hindering, progress."
Nixon visited Ferguson Wednesday, as did U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.
Protesters have been demanding that the police officer, Darren Wilson, be arrested for shooting Brown. But St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch said Wednesday that a grand jury investigation into the shooting would likely last until mid-October.
ABC News(ATLANTA) -- Nancy Writebol and Dr. Kent Brantly have been cured of the Ebola virus and released from Emory Hospital in Atlanta.
Brantly, 33, called his recovery "a miraculous day."
"I am thrilled to be alive, to be well, and reunited with my family," he said.
He also told a news conference at Emory Hospital that "God saved my life."
Both patients were given blood and urine tests to determine whether they still had the virus, Emory doctors said in a statement Thursday morning.
"After a rigorous course of treatment and testing we have determined...that (Brantly) has recovered from the Ebola virus disease and he can return to his family, to his community, and to his life without any public health concerns," Dr. Bruce Ribner, director of Emory’s Infectious Disease Unit, said Thursday.
Brantly said that when Writebol left the hospital on Tuesday, she asked him to speak on her behalf to the public and express gratitude for prayers on her behalf.
"When she walked out of the room, all she could say was ‘To God be the glory,’" Brantly recalled. "Nancy and (her husband) David are now spending some much needed time together."
Writebol's husband said in the statement that his wife left the hospital in a "significantly weakened condition."
"We are tremendously pleased with Dr. Brantly and Mrs. Writebol's recovery," Ribner said. "All of us who have worked with them have been impressed by their courage and determination. Their hope and faith have been an inspiration to all of us."
Ribner emphasized that though there is public fear and anxiety about Ebola, there is no threat to public health with the patients' release.
He also said that the decision to bring Brantly and Writebol to America for treatment would help push forward the research and knowledge about how to treat Ebola wherever it is contracted.
Brantly contracted the deadly virus while working in a Liberian Ebola ward with the aid agency Samaritan’s Purse. He was evacuated to the U.S. earlier this month along with Writebol.
"I never imagined myself in this position," Brantly said. "We treated our first Ebola patient (in Liberia) in June. When she arrived we were ready."
"On Wednesday, July 23, I woke up feeling under the weather and then my life took an unexpected turn as I was diagnosed with Ebola. As I lay in my bed in Liberia for nine days, getting sicker each day, I prayed God would help be more faithful even in my illness, and that in my illness or even death he would glorified," Brantly said.
Brantly is the first-ever Ebola patient to be treated in the U.S. and the first human to receive the experimental serum known as ZMapp.
According to reports, Brantly’s condition deteriorated so quickly that doctors in Africa decided to give him the drug in a last-ditch effort to save him.
Brantly’s condition started to improve dramatically within an hour after getting the serum, according to Samaritan’s Purse, but it’s unclear if the improvement was directly related to the medication. After his health stabilized, Brantly was evacuated on a specially outfitted plane to Atlanta in early August to the hospital isolation ward.
Writebol, 59, also survived after getting the serum.
But Ribner said Thursday that it is unclear what role ZMapp played in their recovery.
"Frankly we do not know if it helped them, made any difference, or even delayed their recovery," Ribner said.
He emphasized that both Writebol and Brantly were not a danger to others and there was no danger that the Ebola virus could flare up again in them.
"There is no evidence that once a patient has cleared the virus from their blood that they will relapse," Ribner said.
He also said that having survived Ebola, the patients were now immune to that particular strain of Ebola, although there are five strains of the virus.
The virus has killed at least 1,229 and sickened 1,011 more, according to numbers released Tuesday by the World Health Organization. Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia have the most cases.
iStock/Thinkstock(FERGUSON, Mo.) -- Peaceful protests and community activism replaced violent clashes in the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, overnight, with only six arrests reported, police said.
Unrest has ruled in the St. Louis suburb since the Aug. 9 police shooting death of unarmed teen Michael Brown.
Missouri Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson, speaking at an early-morning news conference, said Wednesday night’s protesters remained mostly orderly, showing a marked improvement over the previous night, when 47 people were arrested.
“Tonight was a very good night,” Johnson said.
Johnson said a few minor incidents were reported, such as an officer hit by a water bottle -- but the officer wasn’t injured.
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon visited Ferguson Wednesday, as did Attorney General Eric Holder.
A decision on whether the officer who shot Brown, Darren Wilson, would be indicted will not come quickly, St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch said Wednesday. McCullough predicted that it could take until the middle of October for the grand jury to decide whether to charge Wilson.
Grand juries typically meet one day a week.
McCulloch said the grand jury investigation will be thorough.
"They will have absolutely everything there is, every piece of paper, every photograph, every bit of physical evidence, all of the forensic information," the district attorney said.
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department(SANTA CLARITA, Calif.) -- California police say they want to question a couple whose selfie photo showed up on the "cloud" account attached to allegedly stolen electronics.
Authorities released the photos of the man and woman Wednesday in the hopes of identifying the persons of interest.
"I’ve been a detective for quite some time and I’ve never had a case like this before," Santa Clarita Police Det. Brian Dow told ABC News.
Police responded to an alleged burglary on July 30 when a woman said her home had been ransacked. The victim told police she had come home to find electronics and money missing, along with other personal items. She said her front door had been unlocked and the mesh screen on a kitchen window had been cut out.
An incident report was filed, fingerprints were taken and an investigation into the burglary was quickly underway.
A few days later, a break in the case came from an unlikely source: the victim’s iCloud account.
While accessing a virtual Internet server, which syncs the data from her electronic devices, she said she noticed that selfies had been taken and uploaded by a couple she did not recognize.
The man and woman, photographed snuggled up in bed, seemingly took the photos sometime after the burglary at a location the victim did not recognize.
"I want to identify these people," Det. Dow said of the mysterious couple, who he believes are key to solving the case.
The two persons of interest, who are not considered suspects, have yet to be identified.
"I was at my wits end trying to figure out who these folks were," Dow said, adding that he turned to social media Wednesday in the hopes that someone would recognize them.
"We put out the report and everything started blowing off the hook," the detective added. "Social media has never helped out like this.”
iStock/Thinkstock(CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.) -- An Ivy League grad who appeared on popular game shows such as Jeopardy! was indicted by a grand jury this week on charges that she broke into the home of a Virginia lawmaker and assaulted his wife.
Claire Ogilvie, 36, is awaiting trial in the February incident. Court documents allege that Ogilvie -- a former patent attorney and high school teacher -- sneaked into the home of Virginia House of Delegates member David Toscano, armed with a deadly weapon, and assaulted his wife, Nancy Tramontin. Ogilvie faces felony charges of breaking and entering while armed, abduction and malicious wounding.
Ogilvie remains in jail and has not entered a plea. Her attorney Adam Rhea declined bail.
“There are reasons,” Rhea said. “Every case is different. This is a case where we felt like it was in our best interest not to ask for bond.”
In a written statement to the Charlottesville Daily Progress after the alleged attack, representatives for Tramontin say she and her lawmaker husband met Ogilvie on a Semester at Sea cruise -- a study-abroad program -- in 2010, where the Yale grad was tutoring the couple’s son. They remained friends.
“In 2012, Nancy became concerned that Ms. Ogilvie had developed an unsettling interest in the Toscano family,” the statement reads. “The family reduced their contact, beginning in the early summer, and saw her for the last time in fall 2012. Before the attack, Nancy and the Toscanos had not seen Ms. Ogilvie in over a year.”
One expert says such a falling out may have caused Ogilvie to allegedly act out.
“That’s very common in stalking, when the stalker feels rejected,” forensic psychiatrist Dr. Daniel Bober, who has no connection to the case, said. “That’s often when they will turn to violence.”
Attorneys for both parties declined ABC News’ request for comment. Prosecutors say the record will remain sealed until Ogilvie’s hearing Sept. 17.
Ogilvie won $50,000 on Who Wants to be a Millionaire in 2005. She also made two appearances on Jeopardy! in 1998, advancing to the semifinals of the show’s college championship.
iStock/Thinkstock(ST. LOUIS) -- Police in St. Louis released video showing officers shooting and killing a man -- a shooting that occurred only 10 days after an officer in nearby Ferguson fatally shot unarmed teen Michael Brown.
Police said the man in Tuesday’s shooting, identified as Kajieme Powell, had a knife. Cell phone video of the incident, recorded by a witness, shows the man refusing to back down, staggering about, walking toward police despite repeated orders to stop.
“Put your hands out of your pocket!” the officers yell. “Drop the knife!”
“Shoot me now,” the man can be heard saying, as onlookers watched on the sidewalk nearby.
The officers fired a dozen shots at the man, authorities said Wednesday.
Powell was involved in a shoplifting prior to the shooting, police said.
The officers who shot the man are now on administrative leave.
ABC News(GAINESVILLE, Fla.) -- The ex-girlfriend of Pedro Bravo, the Florida college student who was found guilty last week of killing her new love in the so-called Gainesville Love Triangle trial, said she never thought the smart, charismatic student she once dated was capable of murder.
“He kind of tricked us all, thinking, you know, this guy that’s shy and he wouldn’t hurt a fly,” Erika Friman told ABC’s Matt Gutman in an interview for 20/20. “I don’t think anyone in their right mind would go as far as he has.”
Bravo, 20, was convicted of first-degree murder and six other counts in the death of 18-year-old University of Florida student Christian Aguilar. He was sentenced to life in prison.
Throughout the trial, prosecutors alleged that Bravo was so distraught over finding out his ex-girlfriend, Friman, was dating his friend, Aguilar, that he concocted a plan to kill him so he and Friman could be together again.
“This was a person we knew. This was intentional,” Friman said. “It makes it all so much worse. It’s like the knife just turns in your heart kind of thing.”
It came out during the trial that Bravo kept an incredibly detailed journal, in which he professed his love for Friman over and over again, writing obsessively about winning her back, and then, how he would get away with murdering the friend he had known since middle school -- all of which shocked Friman, who testified against Bravo and read the journal for the first time when she was on the stand.
“It sounds like the mind of a sociopath, or a sick person,” she said. “A lot of it was his obsession for me, and how he wanted me back and how he wanted to be with me.”
Friman said she started dating Bravo when the two were sophomores in high school in Miami. She remembered initially being drawn to him because he made her laugh, but by their senior year, he started to wear on her. She said she told him she wanted to take a break from their relationship, but Bravo wouldn’t accept it and appeared depressed.
“I felt like he almost manipulated me at that point in my life, where he was kind of like, ‘if we do these things, we’ll never be the same,’” she said. “I was really concerned that, I don’t know, something bad would happen if we took a break.”
So Friman kept dating him through summer 2012, until she had to leave for Santa Fe Community College in Gainesville, Florida. That’s when she said she told Bravo, “I don’t see a future with you, and I don’t want to do long distance, and this doesn't make me happy right now.”
“I tried to be as clear as I could, but I mean, apparently he didn't understand it,” she said.
When they broke up, Friman said Bravo was “very emotional” and cried, but she felt “free,” like a “weight had just been lifted.” After the break-up, she started seeing his friend Christian Aguilar, whom she said made her feel special.
“Christian made me really happy and we had so many things in common,” she said.
But after she arrived at college, Friman said she learned from a friend that Bravo had also enrolled at Santa Fe Community College and was still upset over losing her, even suicidal. Friman said she checked up on him, but kept her relationship with Aguilar a secret.
“I just felt like [Bravo] needed more time before hearing it,” she said. “When I spoke to [Bravo], I mean, I lied to him. I told him, ‘no [Aguilar and I are] not, we’re not dating, we’re just hanging out and I don’t know a lot of people here’... It was because I had already known he was suicidal and I didn’t want to throw him over the edge.”
Then, in September 2012, Friman said Bravo called Aguilar, saying he was feeling down and wanted help. Prosecutors claimed that Aguilar met up with Bravo and got into his car, where Bravo later poisoned him, strangled him with his belt, then dumped his body. Aguilar’s body was found 22 days later in a wooded area 60 miles outside of Gainesville.
Friman said she first realized Aguilar was missing hours after he went to meet Bravo when he wouldn't answer his phone. She started to panic and kept trying to call both of them until the early morning hours. Aguilar’s phone kept going to voicemail, but finally, Bravo picked up.
“[Bravo] answers and the first thing I ask him was like, ‘Where’s Christian?’” And he’s just like, ‘oh, you know, I was dropping him off, you know, we got into an argument, you know, a verbal argument,’” she said.
In police interrogation tapes played in court, Bravo admitted to police that he had met up with Aguilar on the night of his death, and the two got into an argument, but that Aguilar got out of the car and Bravo drove off without him.
When she couldn't find Aguilar, Friman made Bravo go with her to report him missing to police. She said she believed Bravo’s story that he and Aguilar had fought and Bravo had left him somewhere, but that Aguilar was hurt or lost. But as time went on, and Aguilar didn’t come home, she said her suspicion of Bravo grew.
“It was like nudging in the back of my head, Pedro must have been involved,” Friman continued. “It was sickening, almost, just because we knew him for so long, and Christian was his friend.”
Friman denied that being up front with Bravo about her relationship with Aguilar would have stopped Bravo from killing him, and doesn't regret testifying against him.
“People tell me all the time, ‘oh you’re so strong, you’re so brave,’ and I look at them, and I’m kind of just like, ‘well, if you were in my shoes, you would do the same thing, you would testify,’” she said. “If it was the love of your life you lost, and this is the one thing you can do for him, for his family, for his memory, you would find a way to pull it all together.”
Friman said there isn't a day that goes by that she doesn't think about Aguilar. She believes if he were alive today, they would have gotten married.
“I think we were soul mates,” she said. “You don’t expect to lose your love that young, and not in such a traumatic way… [but] at the end of the day, when I think of all these unknowns, I think of how much Christian loved me, and that’s kind of what gets me through it.”
iStockphoto/Thinkstock(ST. LOUIS) -- The Saint Louis County Police Department announced on Wednesday that a St. Ann Police Officer was suspended indefinitely after a video circulated showing him threatening peaceful protesters on Tuesday night.
The SLCPD said in a press release that the officer was seen pointing a semi-automatic assault rifle at a peaceful protester. The incident followed a "verbal exchange." In the video, someone is heard asking the officer for his name, to which the officer replies "Go f*** yourself." The officer then appears to threaten to kill the civilian.
The police department noted that a St. Louis County Police Sergeant de-escalated the tension of the situation by forcing the officer to lower his weapon and escorting him from the area.
The SLCPD release notes that the officer was relieved of duty and suspended.
Peter Kramer/NBC(NEW YORK) -- The parents of James Foley, the American journalist who was beheaded by a masked captor, graciously remembered their son's big heart and said they were trying to not be bitter.
John and Diane Foley spoke outside their New Hampshire home Wednesday about their son's legacy and asked for mercy for other Americans being held abroad.
"There is no reason for this slaughter. Jim was just a symbol for our country. Jim was there to hear the truth and bear witness to the love and suffering...and they knew that," Diane Foley said, referring to the militant Islamic group ISIS that claimed responsibility for killing Foley.
“Jim had a big heart and that is what we shared with President Obama. We just pray that Jim's death can bring our country together in a stronger way," she said.
Her husband's voice broke as he cited his son's final words, that he wished he could have spent more time with his family. The father's last sentence was interrupted by a sob as he paused to compose himself.
"We're very proud of Jim," his mother said while speaking at times emotionally about her son. "He was a courageous, fearless journalist. A very compassionate American."
The parents showed remarkable grace while talking about the grisly execution of their son.
"Jim would never want us to hate or be bitter...We’re praying for the strength to love like he did,” Diane Foley said. "We are praying for mercy for the remaining hostages."
Her husband added, “We’re just begging for mercy...They never hurt anybody. They were trying to help.”
The Foleys, who have five children, had been through the anguish of their son's capture once before when he was held for 44 days in Libya.
Diane Foley said her son's decision to return to work abroad made some of his siblings angry after they had worked tirelessly to raise awareness during his detention in Libya.
"Jim, you have so many gifts," she said they told him. "Why are you doing this?”
John Foley said his son's decision to work in conflict zones was driven by the passion for his work, which he said "gave him energy."
"He was not crazy. He was motivated," John Foley said.
Stockbyte/Thinkstock(FERGUSON, Mo.) -- The Ferguson, Missouri police officer who shot and killed an unarmed teenager suffered "a serious facial injury" in the altercation before firing the fatal shots, according to a source close to the officer who spoke to ABC News Wednesday.
The characterization about Officer Darren Wilson being injured in his confrontation with Michael Brown emerged on the day that a grand jury was expected to begin hearing evidence in the shooting.
Brown, 18, was shot and killed by Wilson on Aug. 9, and protesters have been angrily calling for Wilson's arrest and indictment since that day.
St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch cautioned on Wednesday that a decision on whether or not the officer would be indicted will not come quickly. He told ABC News "our target date is the middle of October" for wrapping up the evidence and asking the jury to decide whether to charge Wilson. Grand juries typically meet one day a week.
A source close to Wilson told ABC News that during the struggle at the patrol car, Wilson suffered "a serious facial injury."
The injury was not described, but last week Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson said that Wilson had swelling to the side of his face.