News Briefs 7/15/2019

Protesters who crossed the threshold onto GEO property yell at those who stayed on the public side of the barrier to join them on their side on Friday in Aurora, Colorado. Police say they will be reviewing any available video to help them identity protesters who trespassed and pulled down the American flag in front of an immigration detention center in suburban Denver, tried to burn it and replaced it with a Mexican flag.

Police investigate after U.S. flag removed during protest

DENVER | Police say they will be reviewing any available video to help them identify protesters who trespassed and pulled down the American flag in front of an immigration detention center in suburban Denver, tried to burn it and replaced it with a Mexican flag.

Friday night’s protest in Aurora, one of many coordinated across the country, drew about 2,000 people and was mostly peaceful. However, police said Saturday that a few people passed a makeshift barrier outside the center run by the GEO Group and crossed a vehicle bridge, causing hundreds to follow. Some removed three flags — the U.S., Colorado and GEO flags. The two other flags were replaced with ones with anti-police messages.

Claudia Castillo, a 22-year military intelligence major in the U.S. Army and the coalition’s legal services coordinator, said she pleaded with the group of about 25 that pulling down the flag wasn’t part of the plan. She said that rather than pull back, members of the group spit on her, shoved her, and cursed at her.

“It was disgusting and shameful,” Castillo told The Denver Post. “They have compromised our movement, and they stole the spotlight and endangered our undocumented people.”

Man dies after being infected with flesh-eating bacteria

MEMPHIS, Tenn. | A Tennessee man died this week after being infected with a flesh-eating bacteria during a trip to a Florida beach.

According to news reports, the man became ill shortly after returning from vacation in Destin Beach where he was visiting family for the 4th of July.

Cheryl Wiygul, the man’s daughter, says the family discovered that a large sore had developed on her dad’s back once they had returned home, as well as red bumps on his arms and legs. The man died on July 7, just 48 hours after his last swim in Florida.

Wiygul added that while her dad didn’t have any open cuts or wounds, he did have a compromised immune system due to cancer treatments and that may have put him at greater risk.

19 hurt by falling tree branch at Azerbaijan UNESCO site

BAKU, Azerbaijan | Azerbaijan’s emergency service says 19 tourists visiting one of UNESCO’s newest World Heritage sites have been injured after strong winds knocked down a massive branch from a nearly 500-year-old Oriental Plane tree.

It says the accident took place Sunday at the Khan’s Palace in the historic city of Sheki, located on the ancient Silk Road that passes through the Caucasus Mountains.

The agency says a branch measuring about 50 centimeters (nearly 20 inches) in diameter fell on a group of tourists, leaving at least four people in critical condition. Officials say the tourists included two Russians, five Syrians and 12 Azeri citizens.

Sheki’s city center and the Khan’s Palace were added to the World Heritage site list just a week ago.

President Trump defends border detention camps

WASHINGTON | President Donald Trump on Sunday defended conditions at the border detention facilities visited by his vice president, painting a rosier picture than Mike Pence encountered.

Trump tweeted that the children’s rooms Pence saw Friday were “well run and clean” while facilities for single men were “clean but crowded.”

Pence said Friday the detention facility he visited that housed many families was providing care that “every American would be proud of.” He then visited a McAllen, Texas, center where hundreds of men were crowded in sweltering, foul-smelling pens without cots on the concrete floor. “Tough stuff,” Pence said later, acknowledging the system was “overwhelmed.”

Michael Banks, the agent in charge of the McAllen station Pence visited, conceded many of the men had not showered for 10 or 20 days and said some had been detained there for as long as 32 days. Some of the detained men said they were hungry and actually had been held in the pen for 40 days or longer.