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Shooting deaths of law enforcement spike in 2016, report reveals

Shooting deaths of law enforcement officers spiked 78 percent in the first half of 2016 compared to last year, including an alarming increase in ambush-style assaults like the ones that killed eight officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, according to a report released Wednesday.

However, data from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund shows that firearms-related deaths of officers in the line of duty are still lower than they were during previous decades like the 1970s.

Thirty-two officers died in firearms-related incidents so far this year including 14 that were ambush-style attacks, according to the report. During the same period last year, 18 officers were shot and killed in the line of duty including three that were considered ambush attacks.

“That’s a very alarming, shocking increase in the number of officers who are being literally assassinated because of the uniform they wear and the job that they do,” said Craig W. Floyd, who heads the organization.

The organization usually releases a mid-year report tracking incidents for the first six months but decided to extend the period due to the July attacks in Dallas and Baton Rouge against police officers. So the report goes from the beginning of January to July 20 and compares it to the same period last year. On their website, the organization also keeps a running tally of officers who died in the line of duty. Those figures through July 26 show that 33 officers have been shot and killed so far this year. […]

Judge grants John Hinckley Jr. his freedom decades after Reagan assassination attempt

The man who tried to kill President Ronald Reagan is set to go free, after a judge decided Wednesday to allow would-be assassin John Hinckley Jr. to live with his mother in Virginia full-time.

Hinckley is set to begin his “convalescent leave” on Aug. 5, according to U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman’s order.

“I’m very glad this happened after Mrs. Reagan passed on,” said Reagan’s 1984 campaign manager Ed Rollins, referencing the death of Nancy Reagan in March. “It would have been a very disturbing thing for her.” […]

All charges dropped in Freddie Gray case; no convictions

Prosecutors dropped the remaining charges Wednesday against three Baltimore police officers awaiting trial in the death of Freddie Gray, ending the case without any convictions.

Gray was a 25-year-old black man whose neck was broken while he was handcuffed and shackled but left unrestrained in the back of a police van in April 2015. His death added fuel to the growing Black Lives Matter movement, set off massive protests in the city and led to the worst riots the city had seen in decades. […]

IRS looking into Clinton Foundation ‘pay-to-play’ claims

The IRS confirmed in a letter it is looking into claims of “pay-to-play” practices at the Clinton Foundation, after dozens of Republican lawmakers requested a review of potential “criminal conduct” at the organization founded by the family at the center of this week’s Democratic National Convention.

Commissioner John Koskinen wrote in a July 22 letter to Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn that the issue has been “forwarded” to the IRS “Exempt Organizations Examinations” program in Dallas.

“This program considers all referrals and will send you a separate acknowledgement letter when it receives your information,” he wrote, in a letter first reported by The Daily Caller.

It’s unclear whether the agency might take any further action. The letter noted that, under the law, they could not reveal “any actions we may take on this information.”

A Clinton Foundation source, though, rejected reporting that the letter indicates an investigation. […]

Video captures ISIS killers using nuns as human shields after slaughtering French priest

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Texas dismisses felony charges against Center for Medical Progress investigators David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt

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