CauseACTION Logo

Behind the making of Jack-Jack, the summer's breakout star

NEW YORK (AP) — The breakout star of the summer moviegoing season isn’t a dinosaur, an Avenger or anyone aboard the Millennium Falcon. It’s a giggling pipsqueak in diapers.

“The Incredibles 2” has been a coming out party for Jack-Jack, the seemingly all-powerful baby of the Paar family. And that’s been especially enjoyable for the real-life Jack-Jack, who was just a toddler when the first “Incredibles” was hitting theaters.

Pixar animator Tony Fucile, who supervised animation and designed the characters for both “Incredibles” movies, used recordings of his infant son, Eli, to craft Jack-Jack’s voice.

Eli, now 16, is in the strange position of starring in one of the year’s biggest movies, while being unable to recall ever participating in it.

Feds: Engine crack caused 2015 British Airways incident

Federal investigators say a fatigue crack in the engine compressor on a British Airways jet was to blame for an aborted takeoff and fire at a Las Vegas airport.

One flight attendant was seriously injured in the Sept. 8, 2015, incident at McCarran International Airport. Everyone on board the Boeing 777 jet, which was bound for London, was able to evacuate.

The National Transportation Safety Board couldn’t determine the cause of the crack in its investigation, but said it likely went undetected for years because of a lack of inspection procedures. The engine’s maker, General Electric Co., has since established procedures designed to catch cracks.

The safety board also blamed the crew for the chaotic evacuation. It says the captain failed to follow procedures, which delayed the shut-off of the working engine and hampered the evacuation.

LAPD releases first body-cam footage after in-custody death

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles police released body-camera video on Wednesday showing a bizarre two-hour standoff with a man who inhaled automotive fluid, offered officers a flower and then picked up a metal pipe before he was shot with a bean bag shotgun and stun gun and ultimately died in police custody.

It is the first time the nation’s third-largest police department has voluntarily released body-camera footage to the media. The release followed a change in policy from the department’s civilian oversight board that requires the release of video from “critical incidents” — including fatal shootings, in-custody deaths and the use of police force that results in a death — within 45 days, with limited exceptions.

The high-production and edited video that was released on Wednesday included a 911 call — with the caller’s voice altered — in which the caller told officers that a man was walking around a South Los Angeles neighborhood with a brick.

When two officers arrived, they encountered Jose Chavez, 25, and repeatedly asked him if he needed any help or wanted medical attention, but Chavez ignored them.

The nearly 18-minute video includes an introduction from the department’s chief spokesman and a narration from Commander Alan Hamilton, the officer in charge of the unit that investigates police use of force. It included body-camera footage from one of the more than a dozen officers who responded to the scene.

Several minutes after the officers first encounter Chavez, he begins approaching them and is “agitated,” Hamilton says in the video. He later runs to the porch of a nearby home and is seen on the video inhaling from a bottle of automotive fluid and pouring the fluid on his arms and legs. At one point during the encounter, Chavez picks up a white flower and holds it out toward the officers.

Chavez later picks up a metal pipe from the yard of the home, and officers eventually shoot him several times with a bean bag shotgun and then use a stun gun to try to subdue him.

The encounter lasted about two hours before Chavez was taken into custody. He continued to fight with officers while he was handcuffed and on the ground, Hamilton said in the video.

“When Chavez was handcuffed, officers noticed that his breathing became labored and eventually stopped,” Hamilton said.

Officers called for paramedics, and Chavez was brought to a hospital, where he died.

Chavez’s official cause of death has not yet been determined by the county coroner, but Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said he didn’t believe that the force used by officers caused Chavez’s death. An internal review of the incident is still ongoing, but from the video, it appears the officers followed protocol, Beck said.

“This particular incident had an awful consequence,” Beck said at a news conference Wednesday to release the video that police referred to as a “community briefing.”

The police department did not make the raw body camera videos available and would not immediately release any additional footage. When the city’s police commission — the civilian oversight board — ultimately rules on whether the officers acted within the policy, additional information and footage may be released, the chief said.

Craig Lally, the president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, which represents rank-and-file officers, said the videos provide a “limited, but important view into the world that police officers must navigate.” But he cautioned that videos are just one piece of evidence in complex cases.

“I think the release of all the video, particularly at this point, will not tell the whole story,” Beck said. “I think that you have to release it in context, and that’s what we do.”


Follow Michael Balsamo on Twitter at .

EU countries prepare mini-summit as migration row festers

BRUSSELS (AP) — Leaders from a group of European Union countries, led by Germany and France, will meet Sunday to thrash out possible solutions to a divisive row over migrants.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose own government is in crisis over the management of migrant arrivals, is expected to join the leaders of Austria, Belgium, France, Greece, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands and Spain for “informal talks” at European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said Wednesday.

The U.N. refugee agency estimates that around 40,000 people have arrived in Europe by sea so far this year, around half the number who had entered at this time in 2017. But even though arrivals are declining, the unity of the 28-nation bloc is being torn apart by a crisis of confidence.

Most migrants land in Italy and Greece and those countries feel abandoned by their EU partners. Member states like Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia are unwilling to share the burden and refuse to accept refugee quotas.

The Commission said Sunday’s meeting, just days before a full EU summit June 28-29, is aimed at “finding European solutions” to the migrant challenge.

Tougher checks at train and bus stations are among the actions participating countries are considering as part of efforts to stop asylum-seekers from traveling freely across Europe’s open borders.

German media reported Wednesday that the proposal is part of a draft agreement being circulated ahead of the meeting of leaders from the 10 countries. The daily Suedeutsche Zeitung newspaper said the draft also foresees penalties for asylum-seekers who don’t remain in the first European Union country where they are registered.

German business newspaper Handelsblatt said the proposed agreement also foresees a significant expansion of the EU’s border control force, Frontex and the creation of an asylum processing agency for the entire bloc.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel wants an EU-wide agreement on how to deal with migrants to avoid the chaos seen during the 2015 influx.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, whose country takes over the EU’s rotating presidency on July 1, said the gathering “is not about German domestic politics, it’s about a solution of the migration question that is long overdue.”

Kurz said it will address issues like “how we protect the (EU) external borders, how do we prevent waving (migrants) through to central Europe.”

Efforts to reform the EU’s asylum laws have run for two years without success, blocked mostly over the issue of which country should take responsibility for migrants and refugees and for how long. Juncker said if those laws had been overhauled earlier “we wouldn’t find ourselves confronted with the problem that we face today.”

While some EU countries might be angered at being left out of Sunday’s talks — Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel called Juncker to ask to take part — Juncker said “there is no question that after Sunday we would dictate to other member states the line that should be taken” on managing migration.

More than 1 million migrants entered Europe in 2015, most fleeing war in Syria and Iraq, overwhelming Greece and Italy and exposing glaring weaknesses in asylum laws and reception capacities.

But Turkey has taken in more refugees than the world’s biggest trading bloc, while Lebanon and Jordan together house some 2 million people.

“We do not have a crisis of numbers. We continue to have a crisis of political will,” UNHCR Europe chief Sophie Magennis said Monday.


Raf Casert in Brussels and Geir Moulson and Frank Jordans in Berlin contributed.

Guatemalan man recounts anguish of separation from toddler

PROVO, Utah (AP) — Three-year-old Genesis Gonzalez Lopez giggled excitedly as she played with her father at a sunny Utah park, zipping down a slide again and again into his arms.

The happy scene this week in Provo, south of Salt Lake City, was a far cry from what the pair experienced on Thanksgiving, when U.S. immigration authorities took Romulo Gonzalez Rodriguez into custody at the U.S.-Mexico border and whisked away the frightened girl, with no explanation of where she’d end up.

Gonzalez had fled Guatemala with the then-2-year-old after kidnappers held him captive, ripped out his right eye and forced his family to pay a $13,500 ransom for his life. He traveled by bus and train to a San Diego port of entry to seek asylum in the United States and was separated from his daughter for seven days.

“It’s painful to be running away and come to where you think they’re going to rescue you, and they take the measure of separating children,” the father told The Associated Press in Spanish on Tuesday. “You fall again into fear and the same anguish that you’re leaving behind.”

Gonzalez’s experience offers a window into the distress and uncertainty parents endure when they are separated from their children at the border, even though it happened before President Donald Trump’s administration in April adopted a “zero tolerance” policy in which all unlawful border crossings were referred for prosecution.

The policy led to a spike in family separations in recent weeks, provoking a national uproar and pressure from some of Trump’s allies. In a dramatic reversal, the president said Wednesday he was ending the practice, signing an executive order that keeps families together while they’re in custody, expedites their cases and asks the Department of Defense to help house them.

In Gonzalez’s case, it’s unclear why he and his daughter were separated since he surrendered at the border and is not being prosecuted for illegal entry.

It has been longstanding practice for Homeland Security to separate adults and minors at the border when it’s unable to confirm they’re related or if it believes a child is at risk. But Gonzalez has no record criminal record, his attorney Mari Alvarado Tsosie said.

Gonzalez has a brother in Provo who sought Alvarado’s advice after Gonzalez was held for ransom in his home country. Gonzalez followed her instructions, arriving at the San Ysidro Port of Entry with his daughter Nov. 23 and handing U.S. immigration authorities a Guatemalan police report about his kidnapping.

Authorities shepherded his young daughter into another room while Gonzalez answered questions. He thought they would be reunited when he was done, but he was instead taken to a detention center without his daughter, Alvarado said. When he asked where she was, they wouldn’t tell him, he said.

Gonzalez said he then spent seven days at a cold facility where the lights never turned off, wondering if his daughter was safe and if he would ever see her again. In Guatemala, his kidnappers had threated to dismember the child, and he suspected corrupt authorities were involved. His mind raced with worries U.S. law enforcement was corrupt too.

“It’s tremendous anguish because you don’t get any answers from authorities,” Gonzalez said at his attorney’s office in Provo, his daughter sitting on his lap. “They don’t give you information, and you don’t know the laws. … You’re wondering: Where is she? What is she doing? Such a small child.”

Parents who surrender at U.S. ports of entry have occasionally been separated from their children with no formal explanation since long before the Trump administration’s zero tolerance policy, said Dan Kowalski, editor of Bender’s Immigration Bulletin, a national journal focused on immigration cases and law. He believes it’s because of a lack of training, leadership and standard operating procedures that allows border agents to make up rules as they go.

If they suspected Gonzalez was abusing the child or trafficking her, they would have sent the case to prosecutors, Kowalski said.

A spokesman with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement had no immediate comment on the case.

After learning of Gonzalez’s situation, Alvarado began calling every ICE facility in Southern California looking for him and the child. It took her three days to find Gonzalez at San Diego’s Otay Mesa Detention Center and another four days to reunite him with his daughter.

To this day, Alvarado doesn’t know where Genesis was held, though she believes the girl was somewhere in San Diego. All the girl has said is that she ate a lot of cereal.

The father and daughter are staying with Gonzalez’s brother while they await word on the asylum request. A hearing is set for Oct. 22 at a Salt Lake City immigration court.

Gonzalez’s wife and two step-children are in hiding in Guatemala and waiting until he can send enough money for them to make the journey north.

Genesis is too young to say what happened to her while they were apart or express how it affected her. But her father said she was sickly when they reunited, and seems nervous and clingier now. She starts therapy later this month.

On Tuesday, Genesis looked like a typical, sweet toddler, hugging her father tightly and giving him kisses while he spoke.

Gonzalez is happy to be safe for now but said he’s living in limbo not knowing if he’ll be forced to return to the Guatemalan beach town that he once loved, where he now fears he’ll be killed if he returns. He wears a glass eye following his attack.

Between that ordeal and the separation from Genesis, Gonzalez said he suffered significant trauma of his own that he has yet to deal with.

“It’s a situation I don’t wish upon any father or human being,” he said. “It affects you a lot psychologically, emotionally. There are moments when I remember it all, and I start to cry for no reason.”


See AP’s complete coverage of the debate over the Trump administration’s policy of family separation at the border:

Judge disputes California aimed to hinder border enforcement

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A U.S. judge said Wednesday that he was not convinced California enacted protections for immigrants in the country illegally in an effort to interfere with federal immigration enforcement — potentially undercutting a key argument by the Trump administration in its lawsuit seeking to block three laws.

The laws instead appeared to be a message from the state that it didn’t want to participate in federal immigration policies, U.S. Judge John Mendez said.

“We’re not going along anymore, we’re not participating,” he said about how he read the state’s motives.

Outside the courthouse in California’s capital city, scores of people protested U.S. immigration policies. Some carried signs that said “Keep Families Together” and “Family Separation is UnAmerican,” referring to the administration’s “zero tolerance” policy on illegal border crossings that has separated children from their families.

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday ending the separations but not the policy that prosecutes all adults caught crossing illegally.

California has been a leader in opposing Trump administration policies, filing more than 50 lawsuits, mostly over immigration and environmental decisions, and notching some significant court victories. The administration has fought back, sparring with the state’s Democratic leaders and criticizing their so-called sanctuary policies.

It sued California in March — a move that Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown described as “going to war.”

One of the laws the U.S. is targeting requires the state to review detention facilities where immigrants are held. Another bars law enforcement from providing release dates and personal information of people in jail, and the third bars employers from allowing immigration officials on their premises unless the officials have a warrant.

California officials say their policies promote trust between immigrant communities and law enforcement. The administration says the state is allowing dangerous criminals on the street.

The federal government argues in its lawsuit that the U.S. Constitution gives it pre-eminent power to regulate immigration, and California can’t obstruct immigration enforcement efforts.

Justice Department attorney Chad Readler told Mendez that it was clear the laws were passed to obstruct federal immigration enforcement.

“I’m not that clear and that convinced,” the judge responded.

Mendez, who was nominated to the bench by Republican President George W. Bush, was not expected to immediately rule on the request to block the laws.

Mendez asked an attorney for California, Christine Chuang, why the law on detention facility inspections was necessary and whether it discriminated against federal immigration authorities.

Chuang said the Legislature wanted to “shed some light on” a particular set of detention facilities.

Mendez asked Readler how a state review of such facilities would affect federal immigration enforcement. Readler said it’s up to U.S. officials to detain and house immigrants, and states have no role in inspections.

In challenging the other state laws, federal officials say they need inmate information to safely take custody of people in the country illegally who are dangerous and need to be removed. The restriction on accessing businesses eliminates a “critical enforcement tool” to fight illegal employment, they say.

The states’ laws, two of which went into effect in January, follow Trump’s promises to ramp up deportations. The administration has tried to crack down on sanctuary jurisdictions by restricting funding if they refuse to help federal agents detain and deport immigrants.

California, which this year became the second “sanctuary state,” has resisted that move.

In fighting the lawsuit, state officials argue the administration is trying to assume powers that have long been understood to belong to states and cannot show that the state’s policies are causing harm.

There is no evidence that the law barring release dates and personal information is causing more dangerous immigrants to be freed, the state said in court documents.

It notes that the law restricting access to work sites explicitly authorizes compliance with inspections of employment records to make sure employees are allowed to work in the U.S.


Associated Press journalist Sophia Bollag contributed to this report.