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Sound Bites: More than 50 New York schools were “swatted”

Members of a police SWAT team march to Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, as they prepare to do a final search of the campus after two students opened fire there in a mass shooting on April 20, 1999.
Ed Andrieski
Members of a police SWAT team march toward an active shooting scene.

Good morning. Over 50 New York state schools received “swatting” threats on Tuesday, causing some students, staff, and families to panic on Long Island. Suffolk County Police said "all threats have been investigated and deemed noncredible.”

Swatting is an event when someone calls in a hoax crime, often about an ongoing active shooting, in an attempt to try to get police, particularly SWAT teams, to create a disruption. 

While assuring the safety of students, Governor Kathy Hochul ordered the New York State Police to investigate the threats and identify the perpetrators. Hochul also said in a statement that these “swatting” calls may have originated from outside the country from people or organizations trying to disrupt New Yorkers. 

Here’s a bite-sized look at what else we are hearing: 

The Connecticut Police Officers Safety and Training Council is considering decertifying a former state police sergeant for the first time in state history. John McDonald previously resigned from his role as a state police sergeant in 2021 after internal affair investigationsdiscovered he had been drinking before injuring a Southbury woman and her daughter in a car crash in 2019. McDonald’s case will be the first to be reviewed for decertification by the POST Council later this month under the 2020 Police Accountability Act.

Connecticut has made close to $60 million in cannabis fees. Most of this profit was generated from license fees paid by social equity applicants and 11 cannabis cultivators, as of Wednesday, according to the state Department of Consumer Protection.

Connecticut's Office of the Child Advocate launched an investigation into how a car crash in Westchester County, New York, caused the deaths of five minors and left one nine-year-old injured. In March, a sixteen-year-old driving an SUV with the five child passengers veered off the road, struck a tree, and caught on fire. A boy was able to escape out of the trunk of the vehicle and received treatment at Westchester Medical Center, according to county officials.

A cardiologist sued Northwell Health’s South Shore University Hospital for racial discrimination and damages to her reputation and career. Dr. Leigh Ann Hutchinson filed the federal lawsuit in the East District of New York, claiming the Long Island hospital allowed discrimination to occur since 2004 including unnecessary discipline, procedure prohibition, and the withholding of procedure oversight. Hutchinson is seeking payment for legal fees and monetary damages to allegedly harming her career.

Nassau County legislators approved requests to transfer millions of dollars from the county budget to bolster cybersecurity efforts. The money moves were made by request of County Executive Bruce Blakeman. According to Newsday, three sets of $2 million were transferred to the county attorney’s office, to create a fund to help pay for legal judgments, and to support the public works department. An additional $320,000 was transferred to the county's information technology department to improve cybersecurity.

Twenty-three more cannabis licenses were approved for locations on Long Island. New York’s Cannabis Control Board approved of 99 Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary licenses on Monday, increasing the state dispensary total to 165 licenses. This makes 36 licensed recreational marijuana shops on Long Island.

New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker and Yale President Peter Salovey announced that they are searching for an executive director to lead initiatives for the new Center for Inclusive Growth. The center is designed to develop and implement strategies to grow the city economically to benefit New Haven residents. Yale is committed to increase annual voluntary financial contributions to New Haven by $52 million for six years.

Connecticut Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy (D-CT) announced $2 million in federal funds will be diverted to construct New London's Community Recreation Center. The center will provide access to recreation activities for the city's low- to moderate-income residents. Funding will provide the center with athletic supplies, audio/visual equipment, fitness equipment, teaching kitchen equipment, and furniture. This is in addition to $7 million in state funding approved for the center.

A “Welcome Home” rally was held at the Gampel Pavilion to celebrate the UConn men's basketball team for winning the NCAA championship! UConn won against the San Diego State Aztecs, 76-59. Go Huskies!

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Eric Warner is a news fellow at WSHU.