Divers Swim With Massive 20 Foot Great White Shark In ‘Magical Encounter’

HONOLULU (CBSDFW.COM/CBS Local) – A group of divers had what they describe as a “magical  encounter” with a 20 foot, 2.5 ton great white shark in the waters off of Oahu, Hawaii.

Not only did they live to talk about it, they documented their unforgettable experience with the gorgeous, gentle giant.

Shark conservation advocate, Ocean Ramsey, diver/photographer Cam Grant, diver Kayleigh Nicole Burns, diver/photographer Forrest Thomas and diver/photographer Juan Oliphant shared images and video online of the incredible, rare event in hopes of raising awareness about decreasing shark populations due to intentional killing of sharks.

“Shark finning is banned in Hawaii but shark fishing is not really banned anywhere in the world and most species are headed toward extinction within my lifetime,” Ramsey told CBS 11 News.

The footage gathered on January 15 was nothing short of stunning.

Ocean Ramsey swam with a great white shark identified as Deep Blue off Oahu’s South Shore.
(photo credit: Juan Oliphant/@JuanShark via Instagram/ OneOceanDiving.com and @Ocean Ramsey via Instagram)

Ramsey and her team were on an expedition to survey tiger sharks that had gathered to feed off a dead sperm whale when the massive great white shark appeared. Ramsey said the shark was likely pregnant or had a full belly of whale. She believes the shark was “Deep Blue”, the largest white shark ever filmed, according to Ramsey.

“I always wondered how I would feel the moment I met a white shark and it was nothing like I had thought. This lady was so cautious, yet curious, slow moving, and gentle. She was rubbing herself against our boat while rough toothed dolphins played on the tip of her snout,” Ramsey described in an Instagram post. “I couldn’t believe my eyes!”

(photo credit: Juan Oliphant/@JuanShark via Instagram/ OneOceanDiving.com and @Ocean Ramsey via Instagram)

The group spent the entire day with Deep Blue, watching her massive silhouette vanish back into the dark waters as the sun went down. It was emotional, as the group doesn’t know if they will ever see their new friend again due to the dissipating number of sharks.

Tens of millions of sharks are killed each year to supply the wasteful demand for shark fin soup. Shark populations can’t sustain current slaughter rates, according to the The Humane Society of the United States.

Texas was one of the first Gulf Coast states to enact a ban on finning six years ago. The Texas House of Representatives passed H.B.852 to prohibit the sale, trade, purchase and transportation of shark fins in the state. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Eddie Lucio III, D-District 38, passed the House with a 87-42 vote in 2013. But it wasn’t until two years later, that Governor Greg Abbott signed the bill into law.

Federal and state laws that prohibit shark finning are insufficient to address the U.S. market for shark fins, which is why state laws prohibiting sales are so crucial.

The majority of shark fin imports into the U.S. come from Hong Kong, from countries with lax and ineffective shark finning bans.

Shark finning involves cutting off the fins of sharks then throwing the shark back into the ocean, often while still alive, only to drown, starve or die a slow death due to predation from other animals. Some species of shark are on the brink of extinction due to the shark fin industry. Sharks are apex predators whose survival affects all other marine species and our oceans’ ecosystems. Unlike other fish species, sharks produce few pups, and thus, many species are endangered and/or threatened due to the fin trade.

Ramsey is quite vocal about the disturbing practice of hacking shark fins and shark fishing. She’s a driving force behind proposed legislation to put an end to it.

“I’ve been trying to get the bill re-introduced in Hawaii to ban the purposeful killing of sharks and rays and this just feels like the biggest sign to keep pushing forward for more protection for them,” said Ramsey in an Instagram post. “Shark populations around the planet are severely declined. They need protection from targeted shark fishing, shark soup and sport fishing,” she continued.

(photo credit: Juan Oliphant/@JuanShark via Instagram/ OneOceanDiving.com and @Ocean Ramsey via Instagram)

In 2011, President Obama signed the Shark Conservation Act, which closed critical loopholes in the federal law to improve enforcement. The law requires boats to land sharks with their fins still attached.

Two Cars Drive Into Sinkhole In Back Of The Yards

CHICAGO (CBS) — Two motorists found themselves in a big mess in the Back of the Yards neighborhood on Friday, after driving into a water-filled hole.

Police said the drivers went around construction barriers near 52nd and Ashland around 2:30 a.m., and fell into a hole. Both drivers ended up stuck in the hole.

The area had been blocked off with orange barrels due to a large water main break that created a sinkhole.

Both cars were towed out of the hole. No one was injured.

Funeral To Be Held For Illinois State Trooper Christopher Lambert, Killed While Responding To Crash

CHICAGO (CBS) — Family, friends, and law enforcement will pay their final respects to Illinois State Trooper Christopher Lambert on Friday. Lambert was hit by a car after stopping to investigate a crash on the Tri-State Tollway during a snowstorm on Saturday.

An off-duty nurse performed CPR on Lambert at the scene, but was unable to save him. He later died from his injuries at Glenbrook Hospital.

“He’s a hero and now we’re going to take care of him, his family and our troopers,” ISP director Leo Schmitz said. “We lost one of our own, one of our best. Everybody loved him.”

(Credit: ISP)

Lambert, 34, was married, and a father to a 1-year-old girl.

His funeral will be held at 10 a.m. at Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, followed by a funeral procession along Interstate 90, Interstate 290, and Interstate 355. His burial will be private.

Former Officer Jason Van Dyke To Be Sentenced For Fatal Shooting Of Laquan McDonald

CHICAGO (CBS) — It’s decision day for former Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke. A Cook County judge will hand down his sentence for the 2014 murder of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.

In October, Van Dyke was convicted of 16 counts of aggravated battery, which carry a sentence of 6 to 30 years each; and one count of second-degree murder, which carries a sentence of 4 to 20 years in prison, or even just probation.

Van Dyke was the first Chicago police officer convicted of murder for an on-duty incident in more than 50 years.

Dashboard camera video of the shooting shows McDonald walking down the street at 40th and Pulaski, holding a knife, before Van Dyke opens fire 16 times, as the teen appears to be moving away from him.

Defense attorneys likely will call Van Dyke’s co-workers and family members to speak about his character, in an effort to convince the judge not to send the former officer to prison.

RELATED: Van Dyke’s Family And Fellow Officers Ask For Probation Ahead Of Sentencing | Judge Denies Jason Van Dyke’s Bid To Overturn Murder Conviction, Get New Trial

While prosecutors have not asked for a specific sentence for Van Dyke, their sentencing memorandum suggests the judge could give Van Dyke as little as 18 years behind bars.

Activists are expected to pack the courthouse during Friday’s hearing, hopeful the judge does not let Van Dyke off easy.

“The good thing about our country is this: we have something called freedom to peacefully assemble and protest our government,” said Dr. Leon Finney, a longtime pastor and police reform activist.

Community activists who have followed the case all along the way said they’ll be watching for a significant sentence, and warned of repercussions for anything less.

“I’m a personal believer in a massive economic boycott that shuts the city down,” said Rev. Michael Pfleger.

Van Dyke has been held in the Rock Island County jail since his conviction. It’s possible he will personally address the judge during his sentencing hearing.

RELATED: Police Officer Jason Van Dyke Transferred To Rock Island County Jail | Family Of Laquan McDonald: Van Dyke ‘Verdict Was A Victory For Everyone’

Defense attorneys have submitted nearly 200 letters from supporters asking the judge for leniency, including notes from his wife and children.

“Please find it in your heart to consider the punishment already endured by him that will continue for the rest of his life,” she wrote. “There was no malice, no ill intent or hatred on that fateful night when my husband was faced with a split-second decision. He believed he was making the right choice that night.”

Van Dyke’s sentencing comes one day after another Cook County judge acquitted Officer Thomas Gaffney, former Officer Joseph Walsh, and former Detective David March of conspiring to cover up the truth about the shooting to protect Van Dyke.

Legal experts said that verdict should have no bearing on Van Dyke’s sentence.

“What Officer Van Dyke did occurred on the street on Pulaski. What these officers were accused of doing were basically minutes, hours, days, and months after that shooting took place. One has nothing to do with the other,” CBS 2 legal analyst Irv Miller said.

RELATED: Jury Convicts Jason Van Dyke In Shooting Death Of Laquan McDonald | Community Members React To ‘Groundbreaking’ Van Dyke Verdict

Outside court Thursday, McDonald’s uncle was taking nothing for granted after the three officers were cleared of the conspiracy charges.

“We are looking for a meaningful strong sentence on tomorrow, a sentence that adequately fits the crime in which Jason Van Dyke has committed,” Rev. Marvin Hunter said.

Chicago police have been monitoring social media to prepare for any possible protests that might spring up after Van Dyke’s sentence is announced. Police have said they are expecting demonstrations at the courthouse, and while they do not plan to deploy extra officers, they have asked plainclothes officers who work in the area to be in uniform on Friday to provide a more visible police presence.

Livermore Bar Has Liquor License Suspended Following Complaints of Rowdy Behavior

LIVERMORE (KPIX) — A Livermore bar owner had his liquor license suspended Thursday after numerous complaints of disorderly conduct put a drain on police services, according to the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

Police responded 76 times to The Venue Bar & Lounge between April 2017 to June 2018 “For things like public drunkenness, fights, assaults where people were hurt,” said ABC spokesperson John Carr.

“Public safety was compromised, ABC needed to step in,” Carr said.

Carr said The Venue’s owner was warned several times to get his business under control but the misconduct continued. In addition to fights and assaults, workers were caught serving underage patrons, according to the ABC.

Many residents said The Venue has a troubled reputation.

“I kind of avoid it,” said Jess Bouscal. “A little rowdy, I guess, a place where, I think, most locals try to avoid.”

On Yelp and The Venue’s Facebook page, patrons have left reviews that describe the bar as unsafe.

Carr said it’s rare for business owners to get their liquor licenses suspended and he hopes this sends a clear message to The Venue owner to shape up.

After 45 days, the owner will be on probation for three years and will be required to hire a state-licensed security guard. The Venue won’t be allowed to serve alcohol past 12:30 a.m.

“Hopefully, things will be … calm and the location will operate in the best interest of the community,” Carr said.

A call to the owner was not returned.

Murray, Jokic Lead Nuggets To 135-105 Rout Of Bulls

DENVER (AP) — Jamal Murray scored 22 of his 25 points in the third quarter, Nikola Jokic finished two rebounds shy of another triple-double and the Denver Nuggets cruised past Chicago 135-105 on Thursday night for their 12th straight home win over the Bulls.

Chicago hasn’t knocked off the Nuggets at the Pepsi Center since Feb. 8, 2006. The Bulls also remain winless in 2019, with their losing streak stretching to nine in a row.

Jokic had 18 points and 11 assists as the Nuggets bounced back from a 142-111 drubbing Tuesday at the hands of Golden State in a matchup of the top two teams in the Western Conference.

Lauri Markkanen scored 27 for a Chicago team that finished up a fruitless five-game trip.

The Nuggets showed no residual effects from the lopsided loss to the Warriors, in which they allowed an NBA-record, 51-point first quarter. Denver picked up the defensive intensity from the start and limited the Bulls to 47 points at halftime.

Denver led by as many as 40.

Jokic did a little bit of everything, including a move where he went around the waist with the ball to avoid a defender and drew a foul while making the shot. That kicked up chants of “M-V-P!”

The 7-footer from Serbia didn’t have his best shooting night, though, missing several easy baskets in finishing 6 of 18 from the field.

Bulls coach Jim Boylen took a “charge” late in the first quarter, when Torrey Craig fell on top of him after tumbling out of bounds. The ball was awarded to Chicago.

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