Friday, June 22, 2018
News Roundup

Egypt's government apologizes after beating is televised

CAIRO — Egypt's interior minister offered a rare apology on Saturday after officers under his command were seen on television beating a naked man two blocks from the presidential palace. But under what his family said was police coercion, the victim, Hamada Saber, said in an interview later that the officers had been helping rather than attacking him.

The spectacle of the beating quickly revived fury at Egypt's police force, whose record of brutality helped set off the revolt against Hosni Mubarak, the former president, and served as a reminder that nearly two years later, the new president, Mohammed Morsi, has taken few steps to reform the police.

Morsi's office issued a statement saying it was "pained by the shocking footage."

More than 50 people have been killed over the past 10 days in fighting in several Egyptian cities, in some of the worst violence since the fall of Mubarak in 2011. The beating of Saber provoked a different kind of outrage, crystallizing for many the collapse of order and civility that has derailed Egypt's transition from its authoritarian past.

In video images, riot police officers are heard cursing at Saber on Friday night as they beat him on the ground and dragged him to an armored vehicle. A witness, Mai Sirry, said that when she saw Saber, his pants were around his knees. In its initial statement, the Interior Ministry said it regretted the beating and called it an "individual attack" that did not reflect police doctrine.

Later, though, in a TV interview, Saber gave an account of the beating from his hospital bed in which he said the officers had come to help as he was running from a group of protesters who had stripped and robbed him.

"I was afraid," he said, adding that as he ran away from the protesters, officers came to help. He ran from them too, but they pulled him back, he said, telling him he would die if he did not let them help him.

A woman who identified herself as Saber's daughter Randa, speaking Saturday on another Egyptian channel, said her father was being prompted to lie during the interview and was "afraid to talk."

Speaking to local media on Saturday, the interior minister, Mohamed Ibrahim, said that after Saber was released from the hospital, he would invite him to the ministry's offices to offer his apologies. He repeated Saber's account, though he still acknowledged that the officers' conduct was "excessive" and said he had ordered an investigation.

The latest outbreak of violence deepened the sense of crisis in Egypt. After the clashes, supporters and opponents of Morsi blamed each other.

In Tahrir Square early Saturday morning, Morsi's prime minister, Hesham Qandil, bore the brunt of the antigovernment anger. He was forced to cut short his visit to protest tents in the square after he was heckled, according to state media. His office said Qandil left to avoid creating a "pretext" for violence.

Comments
Clearwater police search for ‘Bic Bandit’ accused of stealing lighters

Clearwater police search for ‘Bic Bandit’ accused of stealing lighters

CLEARWATER — Police detectives are searching for a man coined the "Bic Bandit" based on reports that he’s stolen dozens of lighters from the same 7-Eleven.According to Clearwater police, the man has swiped the lighters four times in the last month, t...
Updated: 9 minutes ago
Column: Three lessons from Trump’s immigration fiasco

Column: Three lessons from Trump’s immigration fiasco

Even though President Donald Trump has signed an executive order reversing his policy of separating families who immigrated illegally at the border, the shards are still being reassembled.We still don’t know what’s happening with the 2,300 children a...
Updated: 10 minutes ago
FHP: One dead, three seriously injured in head-on Pasco crash

FHP: One dead, three seriously injured in head-on Pasco crash

DADE CITY — A Dade City man was killed and three others were seriously injured after a pickup truck and motorcycle crashed head-on Friday morning, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.Floyd Williamson, 72, of Lakeland, was driving northbound on U....
Updated: 18 minutes ago
Health care IT company CareSync shuts down, laying off 292

Health care IT company CareSync shuts down, laying off 292

TAMPA — The days ahead were supposed to be bright.For weeks, health care tech company CareSync had been thrown into question as founder and CEO and founder Travis Bond unexpectedly departed, kicking off multiple rounds of layoffs. But that was all in...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Convicted St. Pete heroin supplier gets 25 years in federal prison

Convicted St. Pete heroin supplier gets 25 years in federal prison

TAMPA — A federal judge ordered a 25-year prison term Friday for a man convicted of running an organization that moved large quantities of heroin into St. Petersburg.The sentencing of William Harold Wright punctuated a criminal case that was emblemat...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Derrick Brooks won’t pursue USF’s AD job

Derrick Brooks won’t pursue USF’s AD job

The local favorite for USF's athletic director job said Friday that he is not a candidate.In a three-paragraph statement, Pro Football Hall of Famer Derrick Brooks said his commitments to Brooks DeBartolo Collegiate High School, his charities and fam...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Body of missing Hernando park ranger found in Georgia; boyfriend being questioned

Body of missing Hernando park ranger found in Georgia; boyfriend being questioned

Georgia detectives on Friday recovered the body of Mitzi Marie Babb, a 43-year-old Hernando park ranger who had been missing since Tuesday.Her boyfriend, arrested Thursday on unrelated charges, has been called a person of interest in her disappearanc...
Updated: 2 hours ago
A Pasco driver was annoyed another driver was texting. So he pointed a firearm at her.

A Pasco driver was annoyed another driver was texting. So he pointed a firearm at her.

PORT RICHEY — A 41-year-old Uber driver was arrested Friday after police said he pointed a firearm at another driver because he was annoyed that she was texting and driving.Philip Macchio was driving near State Road 52 and U.S. 19 around 12:30 a.m. F...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Former Tampa police corporal qualifies as Democrat to run for Hillsborough sheriff

Former Tampa police corporal qualifies as Democrat to run for Hillsborough sheriff

TAMPA — A Democrat has officially joined the race for Hillsborough County sheriff.Gary Pruitt, a 50-year-old former Tampa police corporal who now works as director of security at a local mall, qualified Friday to challenge Republican Sheriff Chad Chr...
Updated: 3 hours ago
With Winston suspension, how might Bucs split QB reps in preseason?

With Winston suspension, how might Bucs split QB reps in preseason?

With news that Jameis Winston will be suspended for the first three games of 2018, Bucs coach Dirk Koetter has an interesting decision to make for training camp and especially in preseason games: How does he split reps between Winston and backup Ryan...
Updated: 3 hours ago