Thursday morning's headlines

Apr 14, 2011

Making headlines around the Northwest this morning:

  • Boeing Field Air Traffic Controller Suspended
  • Seattle Cop Charged With Kicking Teen Suspect
  • State Adds Jobs But Unemployment Rate Up Slightly
  • Everett Man Accused of Bosnia War Crimes


Sleeping Boeing Field Air Traffic Controller Suspended

[Late breaking news: Official overseeing US air traffic controllers resigns after controllers sleeping on the job.]

Federal officials are boosting overnight staff at more than two dozen airport towers across the country after new instances of air traffic controllers falling asleep on the job - including at Boeing Field in Seattle this week.

The Boeing Field controller was suspended after falling asleep during a morning shift Monday. The Seattle Times' Jack Broom reports he was already facing disciplinary action for twice falling asleep during an early-evening shift in January, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Mike Fergus, an FAA spokesman in Renton said it's not yet clear how much of a danger the employee might have caused.

Meantime,  U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood told CBS's "The Early Show" this morning he's very displeased with several recent incidents of sleeping controllers across the country, including problems at airports in:

  • Reno/Tahoe, Nev.
  • Lubbock, Tex.
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Knoxville, Tenn.

 as well as Boeing Field.

LaHood says indications of controllers asleep in airport towers are very disturbing and vows the problem "will not stand on my watch."


4th-Degree Assault Charges Filed Against Seattle Officer

A Seattle police officer accused in the videotaped kicking of a youth inside a convenience store has been charged with fourth-degree assault.

The city attorney charged 42-year-old Officer James Lee on Wednesday after reviewing an independent State Patrol investigation. The patrol was brought into the case at the request of Seattle Police Chief John Diaz.

Conviction on the gross misdemeanor is punishable by a maximum year in jail and $5,000 fine.

Lee's lawyer, Peter Offenbecher tells The Seattle Times his client is innocent and they plan a vigorous defense. The Oct. 18 encounter happened shortly after Seattle police were attacked nearby during a narcotics buy-bust operation.

The African-American youth has filed a claim against the city for $450,000.

The U.S. Justice Department recently launched a formal civil rights investigation into the Seattle Police Department after several incidents of force used against minorities.


State's Jobless Rate Inches Up

Washington added an estimated 1,100 jobs last month, though the overall unemployment rate increased slightly from 9.1 to 9.2 percent. The Employment Security Department says the professional and business services industry saw the biggest gains in March, adding 2,700 jobs. The industries that took the biggest hit in March were construction and education and health services.


Two Northwesterners Held in Bosnia War Crimes Case

Two naturalized U.S. citizens living in Washington state and Oregon have been arrested over allegations of war crimes in the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

That country requested the arrest of Edin Dzeko of Everett, and Rasema Handanovic of Beaverton, Ore.

Both are accused of being members of a Bosnian Army unit that attacked the village of Trusina where 16 civilians were killed.

A defense attorney, however, will argue that Edin Dzeko, 39, is not the same person witnesses identified as participating in a massacre of Croatian civilians in the early 1990s, according to The Herald of Everett's Noah Haglund.

Both would have been 18 at the time of the April 1993 attack, which also left four people, including two infants, seriously injured.

She immigrated to the United States and became a citizen in 2002. He immigrated to the United States in 2001 and became a naturalized citizen in 2006.

Both were arrested Wednesday.

They're being held by the U.S. government, pending extradition hearings.