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Addiction doctor: Recreational weed not worth the risk

Public perceptions about pot have come a long way, from the dire warnings of "Reefer Madness" to growing acceptance of medical marijuana to the legalization of recreational weed use.Public perceptions about pot have come a long way, from the dire warnings of "Reefer Madness" to growing acceptance of medical marijuana to the legalization of recreational weed use.
On July 27, the New York Times published "<a href='http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/07/27/opinion/sunday/high-time-marijuana-legalization.html?_r=0' >High Time: An Editorial Series on Marijuana Legalization</a>," which called for the federal government to repeal its ban on marijuana.On July 27, the New York Times published "High Time: An Editorial Series on Marijuana Legalization," which called for the federal government to repeal its ban on marijuana.
Matt Figi's 7-year-old daughter Charlotte was once severely ill. But a special strain of medical marijuana known as Charlotte's Web, which was named after the girl early in her treatment, has significantly reduced her seizures. <a href='http://www.cnn.com/2014/07/28/health/federal-marijuana-bill/'>On July 28</a>, Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pennsylvania, introduced a three-page bill that would amend the Controlled Substances Act -- the federal law that criminalizes marijuana -- to exempt plants like Charlotte's Web that have an extremely low percentage of THC, the chemical that makes users high.Matt Figi's 7-year-old daughter Charlotte was once severely ill. But a special strain of medical marijuana known as Charlotte's Web, which was named after the girl early in her treatment, has significantly reduced her seizures. On July 28, Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pennsylvania, introduced a three-page bill that would amend the Controlled Substances Act -- the federal law that criminalizes marijuana -- to exempt plants like Charlotte's Web that have an extremely low percentage of THC, the chemical that makes users high.
While politicians and supporters look on, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signs a ceremonial bill to establish a medical marijuana program in New York, on July 7, 2014. New York is the 23rd U.S. state to authorize medical marijuana.While politicians and supporters look on, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signs a ceremonial bill to establish a medical marijuana program in New York, on July 7, 2014. New York is the 23rd U.S. state to authorize medical marijuana.
In April, Maryland became the 18th state to decriminalize marijuana<!-- -->
</br>possession. Research published by the <a href='http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/04/07/6-facts-about-marijuana/' >Pew Research Center</a> in<!-- -->
</br>February showed 54% of Americans support legalization of marijuana.In April, Maryland became the 18th state to decriminalize marijuana possession. Research published by the Pew Research Center in February showed 54% of Americans support legalization of marijuana.
Sean Azzariti, an Iraq war veteran and marijuana activist, becomes the first person to legally purchase recreational marijuana in Colorado on January 1. Colorado was the first state in the nation to allow retail pot shops. "It's huge," Azzariti said. "It hasn't even sunk in how big this is yet."Sean Azzariti, an Iraq war veteran and marijuana activist, becomes the first person to legally purchase recreational marijuana in Colorado on January 1. Colorado was the first state in the nation to allow retail pot shops. "It's huge," Azzariti said. "It hasn't even sunk in how big this is yet."
Members of a crowd numbering tens of thousands smoke and listen to live music at the Denver 420 Rally on April 20. <a href='http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/20/opinion/reiman-marijuana-day/index.html'>Annual festivals celebrating marijuana</a> are held around the world on April 20, a counterculture holiday.Members of a crowd numbering tens of thousands smoke and listen to live music at the Denver 420 Rally on April 20. Annual festivals celebrating marijuana are held around the world on April 20, a counterculture holiday.
A man smokes a joint during the official opening night of Club 64, a marijuana social club in Denver, on New Year's Eve 2012. Voters in <a href='http://www.cnn.com/2012/11/07/politics/marijuana-legalization/index.html'>Colorado and Washington state</a> passed referendums to legalize recreational marijuana on November 6, 2012.A man smokes a joint during the official opening night of Club 64, a marijuana social club in Denver, on New Year's Eve 2012. Voters in Colorado and Washington state passed referendums to legalize recreational marijuana on November 6, 2012.
People light up near the Space Needle in Seattle after the law legalizing the recreational use of marijuana went into effect in Washington on December 6, 2012.People light up near the Space Needle in Seattle after the law legalizing the recreational use of marijuana went into effect in Washington on December 6, 2012.
Nutrient products are placed on shelves in the weGrow marijuana cultivation supply store during its grand opening on March 30, 2012, in Washington, D.C. The store is a one-stop-shop for supplies and training to grow plants indoors, except for the actual marijuana plants or seeds. Legislation was enacted in 2010 authorizing the establishment of regulated medical marijuana dispensaries in the nation's capital.Nutrient products are placed on shelves in the weGrow marijuana cultivation supply store during its grand opening on March 30, 2012, in Washington, D.C. The store is a one-stop-shop for supplies and training to grow plants indoors, except for the actual marijuana plants or seeds. Legislation was enacted in 2010 authorizing the establishment of regulated medical marijuana dispensaries in the nation's capital.
Marijuana activist Steve DeAngelo wears a "Yes on Prop 19" button as he speaks during a news conference in Oakland, California, on October 12, 2010, to bring attention to the state measure to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes in California. <a href='http://www.cnn.com/2010/POLITICS/11/02/ballot.initiatives/index.html'>Voters rejected the proposal.</a>Marijuana activist Steve DeAngelo wears a "Yes on Prop 19" button as he speaks during a news conference in Oakland, California, on October 12, 2010, to bring attention to the state measure to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes in California. Voters rejected the proposal.
Sonja Gibbins walks through her growing warehouse in Fort Collins, Colorado, on April 19, 2010. Since the state approved medical marijuana in 2000, Colorado has seen a boom in marijuana dispensaries, trade shows and related businesses. So far 20 states and the District of Columbia have made smoking marijuana for medical purposes legal.Sonja Gibbins walks through her growing warehouse in Fort Collins, Colorado, on April 19, 2010. Since the state approved medical marijuana in 2000, Colorado has seen a boom in marijuana dispensaries, trade shows and related businesses. So far 20 states and the District of Columbia have made smoking marijuana for medical purposes legal.
A patient prepares to smoke at home in Portland, Maine, on October 22, 2009, a decade after the state approved a medical marijuana referendum.A patient prepares to smoke at home in Portland, Maine, on October 22, 2009, a decade after the state approved a medical marijuana referendum.
Coffeeshop Blue Sky worker Jon Sarro, left, shows a customer different strains of medical marijuana on July 22, 2009, in Oakland, California. Voters in the city approved a measure during a vote-by-mail special election for a new tax on sales of medicinal marijuana at cannabis dispensaries.Coffeeshop Blue Sky worker Jon Sarro, left, shows a customer different strains of medical marijuana on July 22, 2009, in Oakland, California. Voters in the city approved a measure during a vote-by-mail special election for a new tax on sales of medicinal marijuana at cannabis dispensaries.
Medicinal marijuana patient Angel Raich wipes her eyes during a press conference on March 14, 2007, in Oakland, California. The 9th circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled that 41-year-old Raich, who used medicinal marijuana to curb pain from a brain tumor as well as other ailments, did not have the legal right to claim medical necessity to avoid the possibility of prosecution under federal drug laws.Medicinal marijuana patient Angel Raich wipes her eyes during a press conference on March 14, 2007, in Oakland, California. The 9th circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled that 41-year-old Raich, who used medicinal marijuana to curb pain from a brain tumor as well as other ailments, did not have the legal right to claim medical necessity to avoid the possibility of prosecution under federal drug laws.
Different varieties of medical marijuana are seen at the Alternative Herbal Health Services cannabis dispensary in San Francisco on April 24, 2006. The Food and Drug Administration issued a controversial statement a week earlier rejecting the use of medical marijuana, declaring that there is no scientific evidence supporting use of the drug for medical treatment.Different varieties of medical marijuana are seen at the Alternative Herbal Health Services cannabis dispensary in San Francisco on April 24, 2006. The Food and Drug Administration issued a controversial statement a week earlier rejecting the use of medical marijuana, declaring that there is no scientific evidence supporting use of the drug for medical treatment.
People in New York gather for a pro-cannabis rally on May 4, 2002. That same day, almost 200 similar events took place around the world to advocate for marijuana legalization. It was dubbed the "Million Marijuana March."People in New York gather for a pro-cannabis rally on May 4, 2002. That same day, almost 200 similar events took place around the world to advocate for marijuana legalization. It was dubbed the "Million Marijuana March."
Dennis Peron takes notes during a phone interview while Gary Johnson lights up at the Proposition 215 headquarters in San Francisco on October 11, 1996. The ballot measure was approved when voters went to the polls in November, allowing medical marijuana in California.Dennis Peron takes notes during a phone interview while Gary Johnson lights up at the Proposition 215 headquarters in San Francisco on October 11, 1996. The ballot measure was approved when voters went to the polls in November, allowing medical marijuana in California.
A television ad aired in 1996 by Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole's campaign included footage from a 1992 MTV interview of a laughing President Clinton saying he would inhale marijuana if given the chance to relive his college days.A television ad aired in 1996 by Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole's campaign included footage from a 1992 MTV interview of a laughing President Clinton saying he would inhale marijuana if given the chance to relive his college days.
President George H. Bush holds up a copy of the National Drug Control Strategy during a meeting in the Oval Office on September 5, 1989. In a televised address to the nation, Bush asked Americans to join the war on drugs.President George H. Bush holds up a copy of the National Drug Control Strategy during a meeting in the Oval Office on September 5, 1989. In a televised address to the nation, Bush asked Americans to join the war on drugs.
Robert Randall smokes marijuana that was prescribed to treat his glaucoma in 1988. He became the first legal medical marijuana patient in modern America after winning a landmark case in 1976.Robert Randall smokes marijuana that was prescribed to treat his glaucoma in 1988. He became the first legal medical marijuana patient in modern America after winning a landmark case in 1976.
First lady Nancy Reagan participates in a drug education class at Island Park Elementary School on Mercer Island, Washington, on February 14, 1984. She later recalled, "A little girl raised her hand and said, 'Mrs. Reagan, what do you do if somebody offers you drugs?' And I said, 'Well, you just say no.' And there it was born." She became known for her involvement in the "Just Say No" campaign.First lady Nancy Reagan participates in a drug education class at Island Park Elementary School on Mercer Island, Washington, on February 14, 1984. She later recalled, "A little girl raised her hand and said, 'Mrs. Reagan, what do you do if somebody offers you drugs?' And I said, 'Well, you just say no.' And there it was born." She became known for her involvement in the "Just Say No" campaign.
President Jimmy Carter, with his special assistant for health issues, Dr. Peter Bourne, beside him, talks to reporters at the White House about his drug abuse control message to Congress on August 2, 1977. Among other things, he called for the elimination of all federal criminal penalties for the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana.President Jimmy Carter, with his special assistant for health issues, Dr. Peter Bourne, beside him, talks to reporters at the White House about his drug abuse control message to Congress on August 2, 1977. Among other things, he called for the elimination of all federal criminal penalties for the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana.
Panel members of the National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse attend a hearing In Denver on January 10, 1972. From left, Dr. J. Thomas Ungerleider, psychiatrist; Michael R. Sonnenreich, commission executive director; Raymond P. Shafer, commission chairman; Mitchell Ware, Chicago attorney; Charles O. Galvin, Dallas law school dean. The commission's findings favored ending marijuana prohibition and adopting other methods to discourage use, but the Nixon administration refused to implement its recommendations.Panel members of the National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse attend a hearing In Denver on January 10, 1972. From left, Dr. J. Thomas Ungerleider, psychiatrist; Michael R. Sonnenreich, commission executive director; Raymond P. Shafer, commission chairman; Mitchell Ware, Chicago attorney; Charles O. Galvin, Dallas law school dean. The commission's findings favored ending marijuana prohibition and adopting other methods to discourage use, but the Nixon administration refused to implement its recommendations.
Protesters wade in the Reflecting Pool at the National Mall in Washington during the "Honor America Day Smoke-In" thrown by marijuana activists in response to the official "Honor America Day" rally organized by President Nixon supporters at the Lincoln Memorial on July 4, 1970.Protesters wade in the Reflecting Pool at the National Mall in Washington during the "Honor America Day Smoke-In" thrown by marijuana activists in response to the official "Honor America Day" rally organized by President Nixon supporters at the Lincoln Memorial on July 4, 1970.
Marijuana reform was the <a href='http://life.time.com/culture/war-on-drugs-1969-photos-from-u-s-customs-operation-intercept/#1' >Life magazine cover story</a> in October 1969. The banner read: "At least 12 million Americans have now tried it. Are penalties too severe? Should it be legalized?"Marijuana reform was the Life magazine cover story in October 1969. The banner read: "At least 12 million Americans have now tried it. Are penalties too severe? Should it be legalized?"
Police dogs trained to smell out hidden marijuana examine U.S. soldiers' luggage at the airport during the Vietnam War in 1969. Drug use was widespread during the war.Police dogs trained to smell out hidden marijuana examine U.S. soldiers' luggage at the airport during the Vietnam War in 1969. Drug use was widespread during the war.
People share a joint during a 1969 concert in Portland, Oregon. In 1973, Oregon became the first state to decriminalize cannabis.People share a joint during a 1969 concert in Portland, Oregon. In 1973, Oregon became the first state to decriminalize cannabis.
Marijuana use became more widespread in the 1960s, reflecting the rising counterculture movement.Marijuana use became more widespread in the 1960s, reflecting the rising counterculture movement.
Research scientist Dr. Reese T. Jones, right, adjusts the electrodes monitoring a volunteer's brain response to sound during an experiment in 1969 that used a controlled dosage of marijuana. The tests were conducted at the Langley Porter Institute at the University of California, San Francisco.Research scientist Dr. Reese T. Jones, right, adjusts the electrodes monitoring a volunteer's brain response to sound during an experiment in 1969 that used a controlled dosage of marijuana. The tests were conducted at the Langley Porter Institute at the University of California, San Francisco.
U.S. Customs agents track the nationwide marijuana market during Operation Intercept, an anti-drug measure announced by President Nixon in 1969. The initiative intended to keep Mexican marijuana from entering the United States.U.S. Customs agents track the nationwide marijuana market during Operation Intercept, an anti-drug measure announced by President Nixon in 1969. The initiative intended to keep Mexican marijuana from entering the United States.
Members of the Grateful Dead talk with reporters from their home in San Francisco on October 5, 1967. The band was protesting being arrested for marijuana possession.Members of the Grateful Dead talk with reporters from their home in San Francisco on October 5, 1967. The band was protesting being arrested for marijuana possession.
A woman buys ready-rolled marijuana cigarettes from a dealer at her door circa 1955.A woman buys ready-rolled marijuana cigarettes from a dealer at her door circa 1955.
Even after Congress cracked down on marijuana in 1937, farmers were encouraged to grow the crop for rope, sails and parachutes during World War II. The "Hemp for Victory" film was released in 1942 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.Even after Congress cracked down on marijuana in 1937, farmers were encouraged to grow the crop for rope, sails and parachutes during World War II. The "Hemp for Victory" film was released in 1942 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Marijuana cigarettes are hidden in a book circa 1940. Congress passed the Marijuana Tax Act in 1937, effectively criminalizing the drug.Marijuana cigarettes are hidden in a book circa 1940. Congress passed the Marijuana Tax Act in 1937, effectively criminalizing the drug.
A poster advertises the 1936 scare film "Reefer Madness," which described marijuana as a "violent narcotic" that first renders "sudden, violent, uncontrollable laughter" on its users before "dangerous hallucinations" and then "acts of shocking violence ... ending often in incurable insanity."A poster advertises the 1936 scare film "Reefer Madness," which described marijuana as a "violent narcotic" that first renders "sudden, violent, uncontrollable laughter" on its users before "dangerous hallucinations" and then "acts of shocking violence ... ending often in incurable insanity."
Harry Anslinger was named commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics when it was established in 1930. While arguing for marijuana prohibition, he played on Americans' fear of crime and foreigners. He spun tales of people driven to insanity or murder after ingesting the drug and spoke of the 2 to 3 tons of grass being produced in Mexico. "This, the Mexicans make into cigarettes, which they sell at two for 25 cents, mostly to white high school students," Anslinger told Congress.Harry Anslinger was named commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics when it was established in 1930. While arguing for marijuana prohibition, he played on Americans' fear of crime and foreigners. He spun tales of people driven to insanity or murder after ingesting the drug and spoke of the 2 to 3 tons of grass being produced in Mexico. "This, the Mexicans make into cigarettes, which they sell at two for 25 cents, mostly to white high school students," Anslinger told Congress.
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  • Stuart Gitlow: More U.S. states are opening the door to legalizing marijuana
  • Gitlow: Research indicates 1 in 6 teens who start using marijuana will become addicted
  • He says with pot, people can also experience long-term psychiatric disease
  • Gitlow: As a society, why would we want to take on such health risks and costs?

Editor's note: Dr. Stuart Gitlow is the president of the American Society of Addiction Medicine and chairman of the scientific advisory board of Smart Approaches to Marijuana. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

(CNN) -- Back in the 1980s, while attending medical school in New York City, I watched patients remove their oxygen masks so they could smoke cigarettes while in their hospital beds. I watched the chairman of the board of the hospital smoke during board meetings. And I recall people smoking in airline terminals, in their offices, on trains and in restaurants.

Although tobacco smoking rates have dropped significantly in the decades since -- thanks in part to legislation and shifting public sentiment -- there are still many people who seek the "benefit" of being allowed to smoke, the "benefit" of the feeling they get from smoking, no matter the personal risk or the societal cost of their eventual illness and early death. And almost always, they started smoking well before they hit the age at which they could legally buy cigarettes.

Could legalizing marijuana become 'tragedy'?
Reefer Madness
New York legalizes medical marijuana

Many people know one or more people whose lives were cut short by smoking cigarettes. It's a tragedy that could be prevented.

Federal marijuana bill would legalize some cannabis strains

And yet, our country stands ready to once again head down the path of accepting another addictive drug, marijuana, as legal. It is almost as if we have to burn our fingers again to be convinced that the stove is still hot.

As with tobacco, a significant number of people who try marijuana will become addicted. Research says that 1 in 6 teens who start using marijuana will become addicted.

But with marijuana, people can also experience long-term psychiatric disease, and those who use it heavily prior to age 25 are more likely than nonusers to experience a drop in IQ. Let me repeat that for emphasis: If you use marijuana heavily prior to age 25, your brain won't work anymore -- not as it did originally. Will you die young, as with tobacco? We'll have to wait a generation to find out, just as we did with tobacco. Our children will be the guinea pigs.

Why would we as a society choose to do this? If I told you I'm selling a lottery ticket where you have a chance of winning and must accept 1) a benefit that will last a few hours, 2) a permanently malfunctioning brain, 3) lifelong addiction or 4) -- the PowerBall -- psychosis, would you play? The New York Times editorial board think that risk is worth taking, as it promotes legalization of marijuana sales and use. Why would it and other marijuana proponents put the public in harm's way?

As a society, we will not make money -- we will likely lose money, just as we do with tobacco and alcohol. Taxpayers will need to pay more in order to make up for the productivity and illness-related losses that marijuana taxes won't come close to covering.

And since only a small percentage of state prisoners are there for marijuana offenses, how much would we be saving in criminal justice costs? Especially since there are more alcohol-related arrests (e.g. drunkenness, driving under the influence, violation of liquor laws) than all illegal drug arrests combined.

Some would have us believe the benefit of a brief high is worth all the known risks, including the eventual addiction of about 17% of young people who decide to try marijuana. And let's face it, how many people start using marijuana after age 25? Some would have us believe the benefit of a high is worth it despite the driving accidents that have already been shown to be related to marijuana use.

Is a momentary high so important that people are willing to take on such risks? The stakes, in this case, are our children. Let's not turn them into guinea pigs.

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Opinion: What does justice mean for Ferguson?

  • Grand jury hearing Michael Brown case; some believe there won't be indictment
  • Mark O'Mara says it's important to let the process play out
  • Case should be decided on the facts, not as a proxy for racial justice issues, he says

Editor's note: Mark O'Mara is a CNN legal analyst and a criminal defense attorney. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

(CNN) -- The Michael Brown case has great significance because it is yet another in a growing line of tragedies that further demand a conversation about our civil liberties within the criminal justice system.

It has highlighted a massive lack of trust that exists between police and minorities. We must face the inconsistencies and the biases that remain if we are ever to move towards a system worthy of the trust it needs to succeed. Only by doing so can we end the devastating loss of life that is becoming an all-too-common occurrence.

We have another opportunity to become focused on and vocal about the changes that are necessary. It is only by bringing those problems to the forefront and into the harsh light of constant and public critique that we can hope to make a better system.

Mark O\'Mara

I still contend our criminal justice system is the best in the world for dispensing true justice, but, like every facet of the American democratic experience, it can use polishing. However, I reject the notion that the system is incapable of dispensing justice in cases where young, unarmed black men and women are killed.

With my experience representing George Zimmerman as a backdrop, I've been following a number of cases that have overtones of Ferguson, and I know that we have made progress:

Earlier this month, Michael Dunn received a life sentence for the murder of Jordan Davis in the so-called "loud music" trial.

In January, a grand jury indicted Officer Randall Kerrick on voluntary manslaughter charges after fatally shooting unarmed Jonathan Ferrell.

And on August 7, a jury in Michigan convicted Ted Wafer of second-degree murder for shooting Renisha McBride on his front porch. The verdict came just two days before the Michael Brown shooting. Black victims, white shooters.

Ferguson chief: I'm focusing on the job

Certain commentators have suggested we should skip the grand jury and that Officer Darren Wilson must be tried before a jury.

While I laud the idea of having open trials, thereby allowing the public to view that the process works fairly, it is dangerous to short-circuit justice because of media attention or social pressure.

We gave the Ferguson shooting an enhanced social significance before we knew all the facts of the case, facts we still don't know. The grand jury should not consider the broader social issues; they should focus on the facts. And if they decide, solely on the facts, to indict Wilson, only then should he stand trial.

But in light of the recent press leaks regarding evidence in the case, most now suggest an indictment is not likely.

I fear that those who equate justice with nothing other than an indictment of Wilson are allowing deep-seated predispositions against the system to infect how they define justice.

We should not be asking for reparations at the cost of putting a thumb on the scales of justice in favor of convicting, or even charging, someone who does not, based upon the facts as viewed dispassionately, deserve it.

I do not suggest trust in this system merely to quell the voices of criticism or to forestall the feelings of frustration. Rather I contend it is the only answer.

So, what happens if the grand jury decides not to indict Darren Wilson? District Attorney McCullough committed that he will release all of the transcripts of the proceedings. This will give all the witness testimony, forensic evidence, and other information presented from which they decided not to indict. Transparency here is absolutely necessary. The Federal officials should not interfere with that release.

If Wilson is not charged, there will, undoubtedly, be a backlash. Many people consider an indictment as a step for justice -- not only in this individual case -- but in the larger effort of balancing the racial inequities in our justice system.

Conversely, a failure to indict Wilson will be seen as an indictment of the system. But that point of view is not only wrong, it is dangerous.

I fear that pinning significant civil rights issues to the facts of this case may serve only to foster more mistrust in the system. It will create a greater racial divide, and it will create another generation of disenfranchised young black men and women who are less willing to become police officers or legislators or attorneys or judges at the very time that we need their leadership most.

If the grand jury decides not to indict, they will do so because they concluded Officer Darren Wilson's shooting to be justified based upon his and Michael Brown's actions. While it is considered callous and insensitive to review the actions of a deceased person, it does none of us any good to ignore facts, should they exist. By doing so, we lose the lessons that may be learned from a dispassionate analysis of what actually happened that day, not what we as individuals, or we as communities, want to believe happened.

The decision to indict or not can be a catalyst for us to move further apart, or it can be seen as an opportunity to critically analyze how these tragedies are occurring and how to stop them in the future. That choice, no matter how it may go against the grain of our emotions, is a voluntary one, but we must decide on the latter.

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Tamir Rice probe transferred to county

  • Tamir Rice, 12, was fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer
  • Police say the boy held an air pistol that looked like a real gun

(CNN) -- The investigation into the fatal shooting of a 12-year-old boy by a Cleveland police officer has been transferred to the Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Department, the city of Cleveland announced Friday.

A Cleveland police officer fatally shot Tamir Rice in November in a city park. Police said the boy was reaching for an air pistol in his waistband that the officer thought was a real gun.

"This decision to turn the investigation over was made to ensure that transparency and an extra layer of separation and impartiality were established," Mayor Frank G. Jackson said. "I believe that the best way to ensure accountability in a use of force investigation is to have it completed by an outside agency."

No charges have been filed. The investigation will be conducted by Chief Clifford Pinkney of the sheriff's office, which will present information to the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office for determination of possible charges.

The Tamir Rice shooting was one one of several police shootings of African-American males in 2014 that sparked a series of anti-police demonstrations across the United States.

Justice Dept.: Cleveland police has pattern of excessive force

CNN's Sarah Jorgensen contributed to this report.

Cancers blamed on ‘bad luck’

  • Roughly two-thirds of cancers in adults can be attributed to random mutations, study says
  • "The remaining third are due to environmental factors and inherited genes"
  • Behaviors (e.g. smoking, excessive sun exposure) still strongly tied to some cancers
  • Medical statistician emphasizes the need for early detection

(CNN) -- Ever marvel at someone who smoked and still lived to be 90? Just plain good luck, researchers say. And those who live like Puritans and get cancer anyway?

That's bad luck -- and it's the primary cause of most cancer cases, says a Johns Hopkins Medicine research study.

Roughly two-thirds of cancers in adults can be attributed to random mutations in genes capable of driving cancer growth, said two scientists who ran statistics on cancer cases.

That may sound jaw-dropping. And Johns Hopkins anticipates that the study will change the way people think about cancer risk factors.

They also believe it could lead to changes in the funding of cancer studies, with a greater focus on finding ways to detect those cancers attributed to random mutations in genes at early, curable stages.

Smoking can still kill you

But, no, that's not permission to smoke or to not use sunblock.

Some forms of cancer are exceptions, where lifestyle and environment play a big role. Lung cancer is one of them. So is skin cancer.

And, if cancer runs in your family, this unfortunately doesn't mean you're in the clear. Some cancers are more strongly influenced by genetic heritage than others.

"The remaining third (of cancer cases) are due to environmental factors and inherited genes," the Kimmel Cancer Center said in a statement on the study published Friday in the magazine Science.

In fact, all three factors work together.

"All cancers are caused by a combination of bad luck, the environment and heredity, and we've created a model that may help quantify how much of these three factors contribute to cancer development," said cancer researcher Bert Vogelstein.

Compounding matters

An unhealthy lifestyle can compound matters, but more for some cancers than for others, the scientists said.

"Changing our lifestyle and habits will be a huge help in preventing certain cancers, but this may not be as effective for a variety of others," medical statistician Cristian Tomasetti said.

He placed heavy emphasis on early detection.

Stem cells in our organs divide constantly to replenish damaged tissue. Sometimes there are random mistakes in the replication of DNA, small mutations, Vogelstein said.

Some genes, when they mutate, are more apt to promote cancer growth.

"The more these mutations accumulate, the higher the risk that cells will grow unchecked, a hallmark of cancer," Vogelstein said.

Scientist have known this for a long time, but what the study reveals was how big of an influence it is.

"The actual contribution of these random mistakes to cancer incidence, in comparison to the contribution of hereditary or environmental factors, was not previously known," says Vogelstein.

Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society, told CNN the study was "good science" that backed up what many scientists already thought.

"This is actually just confirmation of something that we have known for probably 20 years," he said.

"As we have learned more and more about cancer ... we've come to realize that a number of cancers start purely because of mutations that happen that are just unexplainable. Bad luck is, unfortunately, the right way to explain it."

Those cancers that develop have escaped at least three fail-safe systems in the body that deal with these cell mutations, he said; these are programmed cell death, or apoptosis, DNA repair enzymes and certain cells in the immune system.

Cell division and statistics

For their study, the two scientists came up with an average total number of cell divisions in 31 different tissues within a human lifetime. And they looked at the cancer risk in each of those tissues.

They determined that the more a tissue's cells divide, the higher the chance cancer could develop in that tissue.

"Our study shows, in general, that a change in the number of stem cell divisions in a tissue type is highly correlated with a change in the incidence of cancer in that same tissue," says Vogelstein.

Colon tissue, for example, divides much more than other intestinal tissue, and cancer in the colon is much more prevalent there, the study said.

With colon tissue, the scientists took environmental influences into account.

Doing the math overall, the two scientists arrived a rate at which cancer risk can be explained by the cell divisions. It was 65%, they said.

Lifestyle

But the researchers drew a line between one group of cancers and another. Of the 31 they looked at, they determined that 22 were basically "bad luck" cancers.

But nine others appeared at rates noticeably higher than could be expected from cell division alone -- which the researchers said is probably due to habits, pollution or genetics.

No surprise: Lung cancer and skin cancer were two of them, they said. Smoking and too much sun exposure are still strongly linked to those cancers.

Brawley said the study's findings should be no reason to alter behaviors shown to lessen the risk of cancer.

"We have good epidemiological data to show that people can reduce their risk of cancer and I would encourage them to do those things," he said.

They include not smoking, managing their weight so they don't become obese and taking physical exercise, he said.

As for the suggestion the study's findings may prompt changes in funding, Brawley said he would be pleased just to see more money go into research.

"Only 10% of the grants submitted to the NIH (National Institutes of Health) actually get funded because we have such a shortage of money," he said.

"We invested in the United States last year $5 billion in cancer research. I would like to see more."

CNN's Laura Smith-Spark and Alexander Felton contributed to this report.

Harry Reid hurt in fall

  • NEW: President Barack Obama called the injured incoming Senate minority leader
  • Sen. Harry Reid broke facial bones and ribs in an exercising accident Thursday
  • He's expected back in Washington this weekend is expected to fully recover

(CNN) -- Sen. Harry Reid, 75, is recovering at home after he broke "a number of ribs and bones in his face" when he was exercising, his office said Friday in a statement.

The Nevada Democrat was using a piece of equipment to exercise on Thursday when it broke, causing him to fall.

His doctors expect a full recovery, and he's set to return to Washington over the weekend before the Senate reconvenes next week.

According to the statement, the Senate Democratic Leader was treated and admitted overnight as a precaution at University Medical Center in Las Vegas after first being transported to St. Rose Dominican Hospital in Henderson by his security detail.

President Barack Obama called Reid on Friday, White House spokesman Eric Schultz told reporters, "to wish him a full and speedy recovery."

Reid's office later announced Friday that Reid had been discharged from the hospital.

"He spent the day with his wife, Landra, talking to fellow senators, friends and staff and preparing for the Senate's return," Reid's Deputy Communications Director said in an emailed statement Friday. "He sends his thanks to all those who sent warm wishes and is ready to get back to work."

RELATED: Harry Reid Fast Facts

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, was quick to make a joke and wish his colleague well.

It's not the first time Reid has hurt his ribs in recent years. In October 2012, his motorcade was involved in a multi-car accident in Nevada that left him with rib and hip contusions. He went to the hospital but was released shortly afterward.

In 2011, Reid also suffered minor injuries after slipping and falling in the rain while running outside in Washington, resulting in a dislocated shoulder and a bruise around his left eye.

Reid will become the Senate Minority Leader when Congress reconvenes.

Officers shot; 2 bodies found

  • NEW: Fire marshal: Blaze was intentionally set at victims' North Carolina house
  • NEW: The victims "would give the shirts off their back," the fire marshal adds
  • Authorities found their bodies in a truck driven by a man involved in a police shootout
  • 2 police suffered non-life threatening wounds; 2 suspects were taken by authorities

(CNN) -- Really good people.

That's how Judy Law of Oxford, North Carolina, described her neighbors Jerome Faulkner, 73, and his wife, Dora, 62. The couple were found dead Thursday by West Virginia authorities, their bodies hidden under a mattress in a red Chevrolet truck after two police officers were shot and wounded at the scene.

"They kept to themselves, but when someone needed them, they were there," Law said of the Faulkners. "I can't even begin to understand why something like this happened."

The first sign of something amiss came Thursday morning, when Law woke to sirens and fire trucks congregating about 500 feet up the road at the Faulkners' home in Oxford.

Granville County Fire Marshal Doug Logan said the blaze was set intentionally, destroying the house. Video showed that it left little more than the home's front steps, its foundation and some scorched framing.

The county's sheriff, Brindell B. Wilkins Jr., told CNN affiliate WRAL that the Faulkners had been at home when two men came in, set their house ablaze and took off with the couple in their pickup truck. They'd be found dead hours later.

"(Jerome Faulkner) and his wife were good, fine people," said Logan. "They were the kind of people that would give you the shirts off their back.

"Why would anyone want to do this to them?"

West Virginia police shot at during traffic stop

More than 200 miles to the northwest, two police officers from the town of Lewisburg, West Virginia, pulled over a white Chevrolet SUV with North Carolina plates after learning it had been reported stolen.

As the officers were conducting the traffic stop on Interstate 64, a red Chevrolet truck pulled up alongside them, West Virginia State Police Lt. Michael Baylous said.

The driver of the truck then "pulled a handgun and shot at both officers," he said.

Group: Ambush attacks on officers increase

The drivers of both Chevrolets fled. The man behind the wheel of the red truck "went over the hillside and was eventually taken into custody," while the other motorist "drove behind a guardrail on the interstate and hid for a short amount of time," Baylous said.

"Eventually, he walked up to the interstate and turned himself in to law enforcement without incident," the State Police lieutenant added.

One of the suspects, 21-year-old Eric Campbell, was in the South Regional Jail in Beaver, West Virginia, on Friday, corrections Officer Jonathan Keller said. He is being held on two counts of malicious assault and two counts of attempted homicide, all charges related to the police shootout.

His father, Edward Campbell, is now in a West Virginia hospital but will face the same charges, according to Baylous. He said the pair are from Alvin, Texas, a Houston suburb some 1,200 miles from where they were found.

"We believe if the West Virginia police had not have stopped them that this crime spree would have continued on," said Wilkins, the Granville County sheriff. "And it's no telling from the investigation at this point what we're going to find."

Neighbor of victims: 'It's senseless'

The West Virginia police officers who the father and son pair allegedly shot and wounded were taken to Greenbrier Valley Medical Center in nearby Ronceverte. Lewisburg Mayor John Manchester said Friday morning that the officers are both doing fine after undergoing minor surgeries.

"I'm thankful that the officers will make a full recovery," the mayor said. "Officers put themselves in dangerous situations every day. You never know what will be following you out the door."

While the Campbells were arrested in the shooting of those two officers, it was not immediately clear what charges the father and son will face in connection with Jerome and Dora Faulkner.

Their deaths have already shaken people in Oxford, a tight-knit town of about 8,000 people 30 miles northeast of Durham.

Jerome Faulkner was chief of the Cornwall Volunteer Fire Department in Oxford before retiring. One of his two sons, with the Raleigh Fire Department, followed him into the field, according to Logan.

Law, for one, is having trouble understanding how something so bad could happen to such good people.

"It's senseless," she said.

CNN's Kevin Conlon, Dave Alsup and Mayra Cuevas contributed to this report.

Lawsuit inspires #ShadesofRevlon

Revlon CEO Lorenzo Delpani, at right with company investor Ron Perelman and actress Olivia Wilde, is facing a lawsuit.
Revlon CEO Lorenzo Delpani, at right with company investor Ron Perelman and actress Olivia Wilde, is facing a lawsuit.
  • Lawsuit accuses Revlon CEO of being racist
  • Twitter responds with #ShadesofRevlon
  • CEO accused of disdain for some groups

(CNN) -- The accusations against the Revlon CEO are ugly -- but that doesn't mean Twitter can't pretty them up with some humor.

According to the New York Post, the cosmetics company's CEO, Lorenzo Delpani, is being sued by a former company scientist, Alan Meyers, for discrimination.

Meyers says in the suit that the Italian-born Delpani expressed disdain for such groups as Jews, blacks and Americans as a whole. According to the suit, Delpani said he could "smell a black person when he entered a room," noted that "Jews stick together" and said Americans were "small-minded" and "dirty."

A Revlon representative told the Post that the suit was a product of an unhappy ex-employee. Meyers was let go because he "repeatedly demonstrated critical lapses in judgment and failed to perform at the high standard we demand of our employees," she said.

Nevertheless, the kerfuffle hasn't stopped wags on Twitter from making the hashtag #ShadesofRevlon trend, whether out of outrage or comic potential.

"Don't forget #ShadesOfRevlon's fragrance line: Dirty Americans perfume, Black Room cologne, & Yiddish Smell of Success. Last 2 KKK-approved!" wrote Chris Six.

"Malcolm X-foliating cream," suggested Ryan Dalton.

It may be a while before some customers kiss and make up with the makeup giant.

To a tweet that said, "Black twitter will NEVER let you off the hook," the Kitchenista was in blunt agreement.

"Not ever," she wrote.

.

Fatah posts skulls with Jewish stars

  • The image was posted to Fatah's official Facebook page
  • Contacted by CNN, a Fatah official said the party wants the photo removed
  • It's the latest controversial image from Palestinian Authority President Abbas' party

(CNN) -- The political party of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas posted a drawn image online showing a large pile of skulls and skeletons with Jewish stars on them.

An Israeli government spokesman called it "despicable."

Along with the image, posted Wednesday to the Facebook page of the Fatah party, are the words "lingering on your skulls."

When contacted by CNN on Friday, a member of the Fatah Central Committee disavowed the image.

"Fatah did not design this image," Mahmoud al-Aloul said. The person who posted it to Fatah's page "is currently being asked to remove it. The image and the text do not reflect the opinions of Fatah." The image was then pulled from the page.

The image, which also includes a rifle and the Fatah flag, quickly drew the ire of some people who saw it on social media. Some, including Ofir Gendelman, spokesman for Israel's Prime Minister, pointed to it as a sign that Fatah is not as "moderate" as it's often described.

Mideast in Turmoil
Terror concerns sweeping the Middle East

Fatah is considered the more moderate of the two major Palestinian political parties. Hamas, which controls Gaza, has engaged in repeated battles with Israel in recent years. Fatah controls the West Bank.

("Fatah may not be moderate, but relative to Hamas, it is restrained," Michael Rubin of the American Enterprise Institute said in congressional testimony in 2013.)

The image was posted as part of an online celebration of Fatah's 50th anniversary. The group was founded on January 1, 1965, carrying out its first major attack against Israel.

Ehud Yaari of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy called the latest image "typical of their ongoing propaganda."

It's not the first time Fatah Facebook images have sparked anger. After three Israeli teens were kidnapped and killed last year, "The Facebook page for Fatah, the Palestinian Authority's main party, had a number of cartoons, including one showing the three teenagers as Jewish rats, wearing yarmulkes, caught on a fishing line," world affairs columnist Frida Ghitis wrote on CNN.com.

CNN's Irene Nasser in Jerusalem contributed to this report.

Former New York Gov. Cuomo dies

  • Mario Cuomo dies "from natural causes due to heart failure," his family says
  • He shot to national fame at the 1984 Democratic National Convention
  • Cuomo is remembered as "the last liberal giant of New York politics"

(CNN) -- Former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo -- who rose from the Depression-era streets of Queens to serve three times as governor and whose passionate keynote address at the 1984 Democratic political convention vaulted him onto the national political scene -- died Thursday. He was 82.

Cuomo had been hospitalized recently to treat a heart condition. His family said he passed away, at home, from "natural causes due to heart failure."

Cuomo was governor for three terms, from 1983 to 1995.

He was married to his wife, Matilda, for more than six decades. They had five children, including current New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who was sworn in for his second term Thursday, and Chris Cuomo, host of CNN's "New Day."

Former Gov. Mario Cuomo dead at 82

Asked once how he wanted to be remembered, Mario Cuomo replied: "One of the simple things I wanted to achieve is -- I want to be governor. I want to be the hardest working there ever was. And I want, when it's over -- and I figured on four years at first -- I want people to say, now, there was an honest person."

Former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo died Thursday, January 1, according to his son and CNN anchor Chris Cuomo. Mario Cuomo had been hospitalized recently to treat a heart condition. He was 82. Click through to see the life and times of one of America's storied politicians:Former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo died Thursday, January 1, according to his son and CNN anchor Chris Cuomo. Mario Cuomo had been hospitalized recently to treat a heart condition. He was 82. Click through to see the life and times of one of America's storied politicians:
Mario Cuomo is seen with his family in 1977. Mario Cuomo is seen with his family in 1977.
Democratic mayoral candidates Ed Koch, left, and Cuomo take part in a debate at the New York Daily News. Democratic mayoral candidates Ed Koch, left, and Cuomo take part in a debate at the New York Daily News.
Cuomo and his wife, Matilda, celebrate his upset victory over Koch in the Democratic gubernatorial primary in 1982. Koch, who had been leading in most polls right up to election eve, immediately pledged his support to Cuomo as he faced shocked supporters.Cuomo and his wife, Matilda, celebrate his upset victory over Koch in the Democratic gubernatorial primary in 1982. Koch, who had been leading in most polls right up to election eve, immediately pledged his support to Cuomo as he faced shocked supporters.
Cuomo kisses his wife, Matilda, during his inauguration as New York governor in 1983. Cuomo kisses his wife, Matilda, during his inauguration as New York governor in 1983.
Cuomo delivers his keynote address to the Democratic National Convention on July 16, 1984, in San Francisco. The speech garnered Cuomo national attention and sparked talk of him making a presidential run. He later declined to run. Cuomo delivers his keynote address to the Democratic National Convention on July 16, 1984, in San Francisco. The speech garnered Cuomo national attention and sparked talk of him making a presidential run. He later declined to run.
Democratic vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro and New York Gov. Mario Cuomo march in New York's Columbus Day parade on October 9, 1984.Democratic vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro and New York Gov. Mario Cuomo march in New York's Columbus Day parade on October 9, 1984.
Coumo speaks at the National Press Club in 1985. Coumo speaks at the National Press Club in 1985.
New York Mayor Ed Koch shakes hands with Cuomo on the steps of City Hall in New York on October 7, 1985. Cuomo announced his endorsement of Koch for mayor. New York Mayor Ed Koch shakes hands with Cuomo on the steps of City Hall in New York on October 7, 1985. Cuomo announced his endorsement of Koch for mayor.
New York's Mayor Ed Koch, left; behind him, New York's Lt. Gov. Stanley Lundine; Cuomo, center; and Sen. Alfonse D'Amato, right, share a laugh at the Columbus Day Parade along New York's Fifth Avenue on October 12, 1987.New York's Mayor Ed Koch, left; behind him, New York's Lt. Gov. Stanley Lundine; Cuomo, center; and Sen. Alfonse D'Amato, right, share a laugh at the Columbus Day Parade along New York's Fifth Avenue on October 12, 1987.
Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis, left, and Cuomo talk on the ferry back to Manhattan on September 4, 1988, after attending ceremonies on Ellis Island, paying tribute to the 17 million immigrants who passed through there. Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis, left, and Cuomo talk on the ferry back to Manhattan on September 4, 1988, after attending ceremonies on Ellis Island, paying tribute to the 17 million immigrants who passed through there.
U.S. President Bill Clinton, center, chats with Cuomo and Texas Gov. Ann Richards, while Chelsea Clinton sits on floor, on January 31, 1993, at the White House while watching the Super Bowl. U.S. President Bill Clinton, center, chats with Cuomo and Texas Gov. Ann Richards, while Chelsea Clinton sits on floor, on January 31, 1993, at the White House while watching the Super Bowl.
President Bill Clinton waves from the stage with Coumo at the Sheraton New York on October 19, 1994. President Bill Clinton waves from the stage with Coumo at the Sheraton New York on October 19, 1994.
New York Attorney General Elect Andrew Cuomo joins hands with his father during a rally held by Democrats in New York on November 7, 2006. New York Attorney General Elect Andrew Cuomo joins hands with his father during a rally held by Democrats in New York on November 7, 2006.
Cuomo introduces his son and governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, at the AOL Huffington Post Game Changers Awards on October 18, 2011, in New York. Cuomo introduces his son and governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, at the AOL Huffington Post Game Changers Awards on October 18, 2011, in New York.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo kisses his father, celebrating his defeat of Republican challenger Rob Astorino, at Democratic election headquarters in New York on November 4, 2014. Gov. Andrew Cuomo kisses his father, celebrating his defeat of Republican challenger Rob Astorino, at Democratic election headquarters in New York on November 4, 2014.
Mario Cuomo's life and career
Mario Cuomo's life and career
Mario Cuomo's life and career
Mario Cuomo's life and career
Mario Cuomo's life and career
Mario Cuomo's life and career
Mario Cuomo's life and career
Mario Cuomo's life and career
Mario Cuomo's life and career
Mario Cuomo's life and career
Mario Cuomo's life and career
Mario Cuomo's life and career
Mario Cuomo's life and career
Mario Cuomo's life and career
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Mario Cuomo\'s life and career Mario Cuomo's life and career
Mario Cuomo's 1984 convention speech

Democratic standard-bearer

Cuomo burst onto the national political stage with his keynote address at the 1984 Democratic National Convention.

To say he was a powerful speaker would be an understatement.

A Queens native, Cuomo was born in New York City, in the apartment above his father's grocery store. After a brief shot at a career in minor league baseball, he pursued a law degree and graduated at the top of his class at St. John's University School of Law.

Although the allure of public service was strong, Cuomo's early attempts at seeking political office ended in defeat.

His first electoral success came in 1978 as running mate to former Gov. Hugh Carey. Four years later, Carey stepped aside, and Cuomo entered the race and won.

He held the governorship for three terms, winning two more handily by emphasizing lower taxes, balanced budgets, public education and affirmative action. He was a strong opponent of the death penalty.

In 1993, Cuomo passed up the opportunity to be appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court, choosing instead to run for a fourth term as governor. He lost in 1994.

Having fun in the face of defeat, Cuomo made a popular commercial for Doritos, which also starred Ann Richards, who lost the Texas governorship the same year.

'You can now sleep with the greats'

President Barack Obama praised Cuomo for his faith in God and championing of progressive values in a statement issued by the White House.

"His own story taught him that as Americans, we are bound together as one people, and our country's success rests on the success of all of us, not just a fortunate few," the President said.

Cuomo announced Bill Clinton's nomination for President at the 1992 Democratic Convention.

"It was Mario Cuomo's great gift and our good fortune that he was both a sterling orator and a passionate public servant. His life was a blessing," Clinton said in a statement.

Obamas praise Mario Cuomo

Jon Favreau, a former speechwriter for President Barack Obama, praised Cuomo's 1984 address as one of his all-time favorite speeches.

"Used to read it constantly for inspiration," he tweeted.

Cuomo's death touched people across the political spectrum.

"Our country and our region lost a giant today with the passing of Governor Mario Cuomo," New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said in a statement. "He was a strong, eloquent leader who loved New York and its people. As an Italian-American, he was also a role model for future generations that anything was possible through hard work and education."

The Rev. Al Sharpton remembered the former governor as "the last liberal giant of New York politics."

"He was a philosopher at heart that always saw the bigger picture. Even when we would engage in debate I felt he was playing chess while I was playing checkers," he said. "Mario, you have earned it and your place in history is secure. You can now sleep with the greats."

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has ordered flags flying in the city that were lowered to half staff in honor of slain NYPD officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu to remain lowered for 30 days to honor Cuomo's memory.

He commended his humanity in a statement:

"Mario Cuomo was a man of unwavering principle who possessed a compassion for humankind that was without equal."

CNN's Wolf Blitzer and Catherine E. Shoichet contributed to this report.

Girl arrested over chalk flowers

  • Girl, 14, bailed after being arrested and put into children's home for drawing on wall at former protest site
  • Court considering application from police that she be removed from father's care
  • Girl says she has no regrets about taking part in pro-democracy protest

Hong Kong (CNN) -- A 14-year-old girl has been bailed after being arrested and threatened with removal from her father's care for drawing flowers on a wall at a pro-democracy protest site in Hong Kong.

The girl was caught in the early hours of December 23 at a staircase leading to the Central Government Offices in the city's Admiralty district and was detained by police for 17 hours, said Patricia Ho, the lawyer acting for the teen.

A judge ruled in a youth court on Monday that the girl should be sent to a children's home for 20 days until January 19. However, on Wednesday evening the girl was released on bail after her lawyers filed an application for a re-hearing on bail conditions for the girl on Tuesday.

The city's High Court allowed the girl to return home to live with her father up to January 19 provided she continues her studies and obeys a curfew from 10 p.m. until 6 a.m. unless accompanied by her father, sister or a social worker.

A spokesman for the city's social welfare department told CNN the department would write a report on the girl's case, which would look into the assessment of the needs of the care or protection of children or juveniles.

They said the department could not specifically comment on the case as it has entered the judicial process but said the report should be published some time before the girl's court date on January 19.

The wall, known as the "Lennon Wall," was once covered with colorful Post-it notes and messages of support for the recent pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. When the protests were cleared, the notes were removed as well.

Protesters started placing notes on the wall as a show of defiance after police used tear gas on demonstrators at the start of the protest, which led to a two-month occupation of the main road outside the Central Government Office.

The wall was named after the late Beatles star John Lennon and contained messages of support for the protests and references to his song "Imagine."

The Goddess of Democracy (left image), erected by student protesters in 1989 in Tiananmen Square. The photo on the right shows a wooden statue of an umbrella man, created by an art graduate student who calls himself Milk. He told CNN he did not intend to link the piece with the Tiananmen symbol. The Goddess of Democracy (left image), erected by student protesters in 1989 in Tiananmen Square. The photo on the right shows a wooden statue of an umbrella man, created by an art graduate student who calls himself Milk. He told CNN he did not intend to link the piece with the Tiananmen symbol.
Since the umbrella was used to shield protesters from the tear gas and pepper spray deployed by police, it has become a ubiquitous sight in the protests, and given the movement its symbol. Here, the fabric of dozens of broken umbrellas have been stitched together to form a canopy. Since the umbrella was used to shield protesters from the tear gas and pepper spray deployed by police, it has become a ubiquitous sight in the protests, and given the movement its symbol. Here, the fabric of dozens of broken umbrellas have been stitched together to form a canopy.
Long an emblem of suffrage movements internationally, the yellow ribbons have been adopted by Hong Kong's protesters as a symbol of democratic aspiration. There are thousands tied on fences throughout Hong Kong.Long an emblem of suffrage movements internationally, the yellow ribbons have been adopted by Hong Kong's protesters as a symbol of democratic aspiration. There are thousands tied on fences throughout Hong Kong.
An image of an umbrella made up of yellow ribbons is laid out on the ground near the central government offices. The sign reads: "We can't live without civic nominations."An image of an umbrella made up of yellow ribbons is laid out on the ground near the central government offices. The sign reads: "We can't live without civic nominations."
The barrier separating the main road is lined with bright umbrellas. The barrier separating the main road is lined with bright umbrellas.
A student protester speaks into a microphone in front of a "democracy wall" filled with notes supporting the pro-democracy protest. The notes are protected from the rain with plastic wrap. A student protester speaks into a microphone in front of a "democracy wall" filled with notes supporting the pro-democracy protest. The notes are protected from the rain with plastic wrap.
Post-it messages filled with sketches and messages cover a wall next to a stairway in the Admiralty district in Hong Kong. Some of them are words of hope, and others denounce the Hong Kong's top official, the chief executive. Post-it messages filled with sketches and messages cover a wall next to a stairway in the Admiralty district in Hong Kong. Some of them are words of hope, and others denounce the Hong Kong's top official, the chief executive.
A couple walk past a banner of a man carrying a yellow umbrella, which has come to symbolize the protest. A couple walk past a banner of a man carrying a yellow umbrella, which has come to symbolize the protest.
The art of Hong Kong's protest
The art of Hong Kong\'s protestThe art of Hong Kong's protest

'Don't give up'

Art bursts from Hong Kong protests

In an interview with a local newspaper Ming Pao Daily, the teen said she did not regret taking part in the pro-democracy protests.

The girl thanked protesters for supporting her and urged people to continue supporting the protests.

"Don't give up on this movement, we've been doing this for three months, there needs to be more people, not just me alone."

News of the arrest angered activists and prompted some small demonstrations in the city on New Year's Eve. Twenty-seven protesters staged a "die-in" at the International Finance Center (IFC), the site of one of the city's biggest shopping malls, and around 40 protesters attempted to write messages of support on "Lennon Wall" in the early hours of New Year's Day.

On New Year's Eve some protesters started drawing on the road as a protest outside the children's home in the city's Tuen Mun district, where the teenager was held.

Ho said the police application for the girl to be removed from her father's care was "premature and disproportionate."

She added that the girl's father is seriously hearing impaired and cannot understand the case.

"It wasn't an application by the Social Welfare Department as it usually would be," she said. "Police threw in a bunch of facts they obtained about the family in a very superficial manner."

Gary Tsang, who participated in Hong Kong's pro-democracy street occupations, told CNN the teen was "an innocent political prisoner" and the use of the law in this case was "obviously politically motivated."

"The government fears young people as they thinks young people have nothing to lose," he said.

The move comes after police also made an application for a care or protection order for a teenage boy who was arrested during the clearance of another protest site in Mong Kok last month. The court file said the boy's parents failed to exercise proper guardianship over him.

The court dates for both teenagers will take place in January.

Continued resistance

A small protest camp outside the Legislative Council still remains and there is a small police presence on the site. Police officers are guarding Lennon Wall and remove all notes posted to it at the end of each day.

New Year's Eve countdown events at popular shopping districts such as Causeway Bay and Tsim Sha Tsui were canceled because of fears that protesters would attempt to hijack the events.

Since the protest sites were cleared, demonstrators have resorted to other forms of protest such as the so-called "shopping revolution," which involves protestors blocking the sidewalks and flooding shopping districts every night with yellow umbrellas.

Hong Kong Police have not responded to requests for comment.