Bookmark and Share

rss logo Top Miami Area Local News Stories

Source: Top Stories

NYC mayor meets with families of slain police

<p> [Breaking news update, posted at 4:50 p.m. ET Monday]</p><p> New York Mayor Bill de Blasio described his meetings Monday with the family members of the two slain New York Police Department officers. </p><p> "They are in tremendous pain," he said, "and they are worried deeply. In the Ramos family's case, two teenagers ... reminded me of my own children, who now don't have a father."</p><p> Online threats against police officers must be taken seriously to stop future attacks, de Blasio said, referring to social media posts by the gunman who killed the officers. "Once this individual posted on Facebook his intention, anyone who sees that has the obligation to call the police immediately and report it," he said. "We cannot take this lightly."</p><p> Police investigators say they're trying to piece together where the gunman who killed two officers Saturday was in the hours before the shooting. Officials told reporters Monday there's a roughly two-hour gap in the timeline they've assembled leading up to the shooting, and they asked for the public's help to pinpoint where shooter Ismaaiyl Brinsley was before the incident.</p><p> Investigators have also been combing through the gunman's social media posts and looking through his cell phone. Many of his Instagram posts show "self despair," said Robert Boyce, the New York Police Department's chief of detectives. There are also anti-government tirades, he said.</p><p> Among several thousand images on Brinsley's cell phone, investigators found footage of a recent protest in New York's Union Square Park, Boyce said. In the video, recorded around December 1, "he is a spectator watching one of the protests," Boyce said. </p><p> [Previous story, posted at 3:19 p.m. ET Monday]</p><p> (CNN) -- New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called on people Monday to put aside debates and protests and focus on the grieving families of police officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, who were killed over the weekend. </p><p> "It was an attack on every single New Yorker and we have to see it as such," he said. </p><p> The slain officers are "now our family and we will stand by them," de Blasio said. "Our first obligation is to respect these families in mourning." </p><p> Earlier, de Blasio and Police Commissioner William Bratton visited the officers' homes, the New York Police Department said. </p><p> Their visit came amid intense criticism from some former New York leaders, who claim that de Blasio fanned tension between the public and police in comments he's made about protests over the Eric Garner case. Garner, a 43-year-old black man, died in July after police in Staten Island placed him in a chokehold. There was national outrage after the officer involved was not indicted. </p><p> Others have said that de Blasio should not be scapegoated -- that the gunman is solely responsible for this weekend's bloodshed.</p><p> On Saturday afternoon, in broad daylight, Liu and Ramos were sitting in their patrol car in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant. The two, who normally work in downtown Brooklyn, had been assigned there because of the area's high crime rates, authorities said.</p><p> Witnesses saw 28-year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley walk up to the car and shoot. Just hours earlier, Brinsley was in Baltimore, where he shot and seriously wounded his ex-girlfriend, police said. </p><p> He broadcast his intention to kill police on social media. </p><p> The attack</p><p> Liu and Ramos were "assassinated," Bratton said Saturday. </p><p> Tantania Alexander, the first emergency medical technician on the scene, became emotional as she described looking into the patrol car. </p><p> "He has a family," Alexander recalled thinking. "You don't know if he's going to go ... you put your life on the line every day for people."</p><p> In Baltimore, Brinsley's ex-girlfriend, 29-year-old Shaneka Nicole Thompson, was shot in the stomach but survived. </p><p> A friend of Thompson's alerted Baltimore County Police to troubling Instagram posts that the friend believed were Brinsley's.</p><p> The posts, which appeared to have been posted in Brooklyn, included threats to kill police, authorities said.</p><p> "I'm Putting Wings On Pigs Today," read one post. "They Take 1 Of Ours, Let's Take 2 of Theirs."</p><p> Brinsley also posted messages of self-loathing and despair and made reference online to Michael Brown and Garner, black men who were killed by police. </p><p> Around 2:10 p.m., 40 minutes after speaking with the friend, Baltimore County police said they called New York police and faxed a "wanted" poster with Brinsley's picture.</p><p> "Suspect is armed with a 9mm handgun and has posted pictures on Instagram saying that he will shoot a police officer today," the flyer said.</p><p> While New York authorities spread the warning, it was too late, said New York Police Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce. Around the same time, Brinsley ambushed and killed the two officers. </p><p> At a nearby subway station, he was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. </p><p> The outrage </p><p> In July, New York City police officers wrestled Garner to the ground, with one officer wrapping his arm around Garner's neck. That officer was not indicted. </p><p> In August, a Ferguson, Missouri police officer shot Brown multiple times. That officer also was not indicted. </p><p> Former New York Gov. George Pataki and some police union officials blasted de Blasio. Pataki accused de Blasio of putting officers' lives at risk by supporting recent protests over the deaths of Garner and Brown.</p><p> De Blasio on Monday did not respond to the denunciations against him, but condemned the officers' "assassination."</p><p> Bratton sought to tamp down the anger on Monday.</p><p> Asked by NBC's "Today" whether de Blasio should apologize to police, Bratton said, "I don't know that an apology is necessary." The issue is "starting to shape up along partisan lines, which is unfortunate," he said. "This is something that should be bringing us all together, not taking us apart."</p><p> Bratton spoke positively of de Blasio, saying he has received an additional $400 million this year to improve training and equipment for police, including equipping every police officer with a smartphone. </p><p> Bratton compared the current tensions to what he saw in the 1970s when he first got into policing. "Who would have ever thought -- deja vu all over again -- that we'd be back where we were 40 years ago," Bratton said, adding that social media now spread the word quickly.</p><p> "We're in a change moment" in the United States, he said. The goal is to find opportunities to move forward.</p><p> Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani said on CNN on Monday that he didn't think de Blasio is responsible for the officers' slayings, but the mayor, along with President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, have contributed to what Giuliani described as "hate speech" and anti-cop "propaganda."</p><p> "They are perpetuating a myth that there is systemic police brutality. There is systemic crime," the ex-mayor said, but police brutality happens only occasionally, Giuliani argued. </p><p> CNN anchor Chris Cuomo asked whether it was acceptable to have any police brutality at all.</p><p> Giuliani said the greatest focus should be on high rates of black-on-black crime, and that instances of police brutality have been overstated and unfairly hyped this year in the wake of Brown's and Garner's deaths. </p><p> Former New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, appearing on CNN on Monday, said that tensions between some members of the public and the police are far more complicated than one person, one politician or one mayor. He noted that the NYPD is one of the most racially and ethnically diverse departments in the country, employing officers from more than 100 countries. </p><p> "These issues are complex," Kelly said. "They shouldn't just be handled with a bumper sticker. We have to work together to address them."</p><p> Former Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis, also appearing on CNN, said that de Blasio has gotten resources to Bratton to help step up officers' security in the wake of the weekend killings. Now the mayor must reach out to the police department and do what it takes to mend fences, he said.</p><p> Police are taught not to paint the public with a broad brush, said Davis. "Our leaders need to understand that our police deserve that same credit." </p><p> Michael Brown's family condemned Saturday's slayings.</p><p> "We reject any kind of violence directed toward members of law enforcement. It cannot be tolerated. We must work together to bring peace to our communities," the family said in a statement.</p><p> "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the officers' families during this incredibly difficult time."</p><p> The Rev. Al Sharpton -- who is also a target of criticism -- said the Garner family was outraged by the police officers' killings.</p><p> "Any use of the names of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, in connection with any violence or killing of police, is reprehensible and against the pursuit of justice in both cases," Sharpton said. </p><p> The new threats</p><p> As they grieve the deaths of two of their colleagues, New York police must also deal with a spate of new threats. </p><p> The NYPD is investigating more than 15 threats to officers posted on various social media platforms and trying to determine whether any are serious or credible, a senior New York City law enforcement officer told CNN. </p><p> The department's intelligence division continues to monitor social media for threats made to the NYPD. Officials have not released details about any potentially credible threats. </p><p> But the troubling messages aren't just coming from New York. </p><p> A Memphis, Tennessee, man has been questioned after allegedly posting threats against the NYPD, CNN affiliate WREG reported.</p><p> "Good job. Kill em all I'm on the way to NY now #shootthepolice 2 more going down tomorrow," an Instagram post read.</p><p> The NYPD has already pulled all of its auxiliary officers off the streets in the wake of the killings of the two officers. Auxiliary officers are unarmed volunteer officers who help with traffic control or other minor situations. </p><p> The victims</p><p> Both Liu and Ramos dreamed of being police officers, Bratton said.</p><p> Liu, 32, was a seven-year veteran and married just two months ago, WABC reported. Ramos, 40, joined the force two years ago after spending three years as a school safety officer. Ramos was married and has a 13-year-old son.</p><p> Ramos' teenage son, Jaden, posted a heartbreaking message on Facebook. </p><p> "Today is the worst day of my life," the teenager wrote. "Today I had to say bye to my father. He was (there) for me everyday of my life, he was the best father I could ask for. </p><p> "It's horrible that someone gets shot dead just for being a police officer. Everyone says they hate cops but they are the people that they call for help. I will always love you and I will never forget you. RIP Dad."</p>

Published: Mon, 22 Dec 2014 21:50:45 GMT

Police try to find missing Coral Gables Senior High School student

<p> Police are trying to find a missing Coral Gables Senior High School student who has been missing since Friday.</p><p> Miami-Dade schools police said Samantha Delgado, 16, hasn't been seen since being dropped off at school by her mother.</p><p> Delgado was last seen wearing a brown jacket, blue jeans, a maroon top with black stripes and navy Crocs.</p><p> Police believe Delgado may be in the company of Fabel Gin Escalante, 20.</p><p> Anyone with information is asked to call police.</p><p> Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10</p>

Published: Mon, 22 Dec 2014 19:02:59 GMT

Singer Joe Cocker is dead at 70

<p> Joe Cocker, the British blues-rock singer whose raspy voice brought plaintive soul to such hits as "You Are So Beautiful" and the duet "Up Where We Belong," died Monday after a battle with lung cancer. He was 70.</p><p> Cocker's performing career spanned some 50 years, from Woodstock, where he sang the Beatles' "With a Little Help From My Friends," to the digital-music era. He had tour dates scheduled well into 2015.</p><p> "Goodbye and God bless to Joe Cocker from one of his friends peace and love," tweeted Beatles drummer Ringo Starr.</p><p> Cocker began as a singer in England at the same time as the Beatles, with whom he was often linked. He played pubs across the country in a series of rock bands before he and his Grease Band recorded "With a Little Help From My Friends" in 1968 with Jimmy Page, Steve Winwood and others.</p><p> The song became a No. 1 hit in England and propelled him to Woodstock, where his passionate live version was a festival highlight and launched his U.S. career.</p><p> Cocker scored another major success in the early 1970s with "Mad Dogs and Englishmen," a live album and concert film.</p><p> "Up Where We Belong," his duet with Jennifer Warnes from the movie "An Officer and a Gentleman," was Cocker's biggest U.S. hit, topping the Billboard singles charts in 1982. It also won him a Grammy, and the Oscar for best original song.</p><p> Cocker was known for his spasmodic movements on stage, where he often flailed his arms as he sang. His distinctive moves, he said, were almost accidental.</p><p> "I never played organ or piano or guitar, so it was more out of frustration and me just trying to impersonate in a way," Cocker told the Broward-Palm Beach New Times in 2012. "I did it subconsciously. People mistook for me being ill, like I had palsy. I'm not nearly so demonstrative now, but I still have my own way of feeling the rhythm."</p><p> Cocker also had lesser hits with covers of torch classic "Cry Me a River," Traffic's "Feeling Alright," the Boxtops' "The Letter" and the Beatles' "She Came in Through the Bathroom Window."</p><p> In the 1980s his witty cover of Randy Newman's "You Can Leave Your Hat On," was featured in the erotic drama "9 1/2 Weeks" and became a strip-tease anthem.</p><p> The singer told the Daily Mail in 2013 that by the 1970s his descent into drugs and alcohol had become so severe that he sometimes forgot the lyrics to songs. </p><p> "If I'd been stronger mentally, I could have turned away from temptation," Cocker said. "But there was no rehab back in those days. Drugs were readily available, and I dived in head first. And once you get into that downward spiral, it's hard to pull out of it. It took me years to get straight."</p><p> He credited his wife, Pam, with helping him get sober.</p><p> "It was Pam who helped me get myself back together," he said. "She made me think positively. I was very down on myself. She made me realize people still wanted to hear me sing, and convinced me I could escape the downward spiral."</p><p> In 2012 he released the album, "Hard Knocks." That year he talked to NPR about the project and his love of his life in Colorado -- despite the harsh winters. </p><p> "I embrace the winter these days," he said in the interview. "The best thing to do is get a big house. If you are going to have cabin fever, have a big cabin. I walk on a regular basis, I have a couple of dogs. The house tucks right into the mountains. I literally feel I have become a mountain man over these past couple of years." </p><p> Musicians of all ages and genres took to Twitter to pay tribute.</p><p> "So sad to hear about Joe Cocker. What an entertainer. One of a kind voice. Rock won't ever sound the same," tweeted "Glee's" Kevin McHale.</p>

Published: Mon, 22 Dec 2014 20:19:24 GMT

Mary Woodrum threatens to decapitate man, baby with butcher knife, deputies say

<p> A Big Pine Key woman was arrested Friday night after she threatened to kill a man and his baby with a butcher knife, according to the Monroe County Sheriff's Office.</p><p> The man, his girlfriend and their two children, a 7-year-old and 3-month-old, were renting a room from Mary Woodrum, 55, at her house. They told deputies she had been making threats since they moved in two weeks ago.</p><p> While watching television, the family heard her yelling, so the man opened the door and saw Woodrum approaching him with a butcher knife, sheriff's spokeswoman Becky Herrin said.</p><p> Woodrum told the man she was going to decapitate him and do the same to his baby, Herrin said.</p><p> The man said Woodrum had accused his family of going into her bedroom and stealing her cocaine.</p><p> Woodrum was arrested on a charge of aggravated assault.</p><p> Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10</p>

Published: Mon, 22 Dec 2014 21:32:00 GMT

Truck loses load in southbound lanes of I-95 in Hollywood

<p> Four southbound lanes of Interstate 95 in Hollywood were blocked Monday afternoon because of debris on the highway.</p><p> A truck lost its load near Sheridan Street.</p><p> According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the truck was carrying a load of rocks that spilled onto the highway.</p><p> It wasn't immediately known how the rocks spilled or what became of the truck.</p><p> Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10</p>

Published: Mon, 22 Dec 2014 20:09:00 GMT

Car crashes into home in northwest Miami-Dade County

<p> A car slammed into a home in northwest Miami-Dade County while three people were inside early Monday morning.</p><p> The crash happened about 1 a.m. at a house on the corner of Northwest 11th Avenue and Northwest 105th Street.</p><p> A car slammed into a bedroom where two teenagers were sleeping. No one was hurt.</p><p> "Thank God," said Abigail Beauvil, who was sleeping inside. "I don't know how we made it (out) alive, but we are good now."</p><p> Abigail Beauvil, 19, and her sister, Deborah Beauvil, 16, were sleeping when the car crashed through their room.</p><p> "The wall got a piece of me," said Abigail Beauvil. "It's on the bed and everything. It's just a miracle."</p><p> The owner of the car didn't want to talk on camera but told Local 10 News he was in the passenger seat while his friend drove the car. He said his friend must have been going about 70 mph along Northwest 105th Street when he lost control. The driver fled the scene. </p><p> Another family member told Local 10 this isn't the first time this has happened. A few months ago, a car drove into the backyard. That driver also fled.</p><p> "They always do this here because you have a bunch of, you know, junkies living around here," said family member Juno Blanc.</p><p> The car caused significant structural damage to the home. Crews carefully assessed the scene, not wanting to cause further damage to the home. A county inspector came by and posted a sign saying the home is considered unsafe. </p><p> Police have an idea about the driver's identity and said he could be charged with leaving the scene of an accident.</p><p> Follow Jenise Fernandez on Twitter @JeniseFernandez</p><p> Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10</p>

Published: Mon, 22 Dec 2014 17:49:43 GMT

Arnold Abbott hopeful for resolution in homeless feeding dispute

<p> A 90-year-old man who was back in court Monday for serving food to the poor in public said he is "going to keep fighting."</p><p> Arnold Abbott has been the face of the controversial homeless feeding ordinance in Fort Lauderdale.</p><p> "I'm absolutely disappointed," Abbott told Local 10 News after Monday's hearing. "I had hoped there would be some resolution today."</p><p> The city isn't arresting anyone who violates the new ordinance, which restricts feeding the homeless outside and bans panhandling at intersections, for 45 days.</p><p> Abbott argues that a 14-year-old injunction allowed him the religious freedom to feed the poor, which he's been doing for nearly two decades.</p><p> "It's ridiculous," Abbott said. "We know that the court will overturn them."</p><p> Abbott said he believes the city is "stalling" because "they know they are in the wrong."</p><p> City officials intend to meet with Abbott to try to resolve the issue outside of court.</p><p> "We hope that this will be resolved somehow," Abbott said. "I don't know what will happen (in) mediation. I have no idea what they're going to offer." </p><p> Follow Ben Kennedy on Twitter @BenKennedyTV</p><p> Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10</p>

Published: Mon, 22 Dec 2014 18:14:32 GMT

Collision involving Broward County bus injures 5 in Plantation

<p> A collision involving a Broward County Transit bus in Plantation injured five people.</p><p> The collision occurred Monday morning at Broward Boulevard and University Drive.</p><p> Plantation fire-rescue officials said five people were hospitalized with minor injuries.</p><p> Three victims were taken to Plantation General Hospital, while two others were taken to Westside Regional Medical Center.</p><p> The cause of the collision was not immediately known.</p><p> Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10</p>

Published: Mon, 22 Dec 2014 14:40:00 GMT

Matt Damon sells Miami Beach home

<p> Matt Damon has sold his Miami Beach home.</p><p> The Academy Award-winning writer and actor had the 12,705-square-foot property, 602 N. Bay Road, listed for $18.999 million.</p><p> IMAGES: Matt Damon Through The Years</p><p> Known as Maravilla, the two-story house overlooking Biscayne Bay is complete with seven bedrooms, nine-and-a-half bathrooms and includes a theater room and wine cellar. The property also includes a guesthouse and pool house.</p><p> Damon bought the property for $14.5 million in 2005, the same year he married bartender Luciana Bozan Barroso, whom he met while filming a movie in South Florida.</p><p> The property, listed by Coldwell Banker realtor Jill Hertzberg, was sold to AmeriSave Mortgage Chief Executive Officer Patrick Markert.</p><p> Damon won an Oscar for penning the screenplay for "Good Will Hunting," in which he also starred. He is best known for his portrayal of Jason Bourne in the trilogy of movies based on the Robert Ludlam novels.</p><p> A sale price was not disclosed.</p><p> Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10</p>

Published: Mon, 22 Dec 2014 15:00:00 GMT

Elf arrested for DWI in New Jersey

<p> An elf found passed out in a Target parking lot is definitely landing on Santa's naughty list this year.</p><p> Brian Chellis, 23, was found passed out in his car at the store in Riverdale on Friday morning, reported.</p><p> The motor was still running.</p><p> Dressed in an "Elf on the Shelf" costume," Chellis "seemed confused as to his whereabouts" when officers turned off his vehicle and woke him up. According to police, he had an open container in the car.</p><p> Chellis was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, careless driving and possession of an open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle.</p><p> He was later released to a family member.</p>

Published: Mon, 22 Dec 2014 15:31:08 GMT

Coral Gables 7-Eleven robber sought

<p> Police are searching for a man who robbed a convenience store in Coral Gables in the middle of the day along a busy road.</p>

Published: Sun, 21 Dec 2014 23:30:00 GMT

ISIS 'more dangerous than people realize'

<p> Juergen Todenhoefer's journey was a tough one: dangerous, but also eye-opening. The author traveled deep into ISIS territory -- the area they now call their "caliphate" -- visiting Raqqa and Deir Ezzor in Syria, as well as Mosul in Iraq.</p><p> Mosul, Iraq's second largest city, was taken by ISIS in a Blitzkrieg-like sweep in June. </p><p> Todenhoefer managed to visit the mosque there where the leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Bagdadi, gave his only public address. </p><p> And he saw the realities of daily life under ISIS, with all shops having to close for prayers in the middle of the day. </p><p> "There is an awful sense of normalcy in Mosul," Todenhoefer said in an exclusive interview with CNN. </p><p> "130,000 Christians have been evicted from the city, the Shia have fled, many people have been murdered and yet the city is functioning and people actually like the stability that the Islamic State has brought them." </p><p> Nonetheless, he says, there is an air of fear among residents: "Of course many of the them are quite scared, because the punishment for breaking the Islamic State's strict rules is very severe." </p><p> According to ISIS's leadership, the group's fighters managed to take Mosul with only about 300 men, even though more than 20,000 Iraqi army soldiers were stationed there when the attack was launched. </p><p> Todenhoefer spoke with several ISIS fighters who took part in the operation. </p><p> "It took us about four days to take Mosul," a young fighter told him. </p><p> "So you were only about 300 men and you defeated 20,000 troops in four days?" Todenhoefer asked. </p><p> "Well, we didn't attack them all at once, we hit their front lines hard, also using suicide attacks. Then the others fled very quickly," the fighter explained. "We fight for Allah, they fight for money and other things that they do not really believe in."</p><p> Glow in their eyes</p><p> Todenhoefer told CNN the enthusiasm the ISIS militants showed was one thing that stood out. </p><p> "When we stayed at their recruitment house, there were 50 new fighters who came every day," Todenhoefer said. "And I just could not believe the glow in their eyes. They felt like they were coming to a promised land, like they were fighting for the right thing.</p><p> "These are not stupid people. One of the people we met had just finished his law degree, he had great job offers, but he turned them down to go and fight ... We met fighters from Europe and the United States. One of them was from New Jersey. Can you imagine a man from New Jersey traveling to fight for the Islamic State?" </p><p> He went on to say that one of ISIS's main points of strength is their fighters' willingness -- even their will -- to die on the battlefield. </p><p> Todenhoefer met one somewhat overweight recruit in a "safe house" who said he wears a suicide belt to every battle because he is too chubby to run away if he is cornered and would choose to blow himself up, rather than be captured. </p><p> ISIS also has a track record of abusing, torturing and executing prisoners of war. Todenhoefer was briefly able to speak to a Kurdish captive while in Mosul. The captive claimed he had not been tortured, but Todenhoefer said he found that hard to believe. </p><p> "This was a broken man," Todenhoefer said. "It was very sad to see a person in this state. He was just very weak and very afraid of his captors." </p><p> Todenhoefer conducted the interview with the prisoner while several ISIS fighters stood guard. He asked the man whether he knew what would happen to him. </p><p> "I do not know," the captive told him. "My family does not even know I am still alive. I hope that maybe there will be some sort of prisoner exchange." </p><p> Child ISIS fighters</p><p> Todenhoefer was also taken to see child soldiers outfitted with Islamic State gear and brandishing AK-47s. One of the boys seemed very young but claimed he had already gone to battle for ISIS. </p><p> "How old are you?" Todenhoefer asked. </p><p> "I am 13 years old," the boy replied -- though he looked even younger than that. </p><p> One of the most remarkable episodes of Todenhoefer's trip to the ISIS-controlled region came when he was able to conduct an interview with a German fighter who spoke on behalf of ISIS's leadership. </p><p> The man -- clearly unapologetic about the group's transgressions -- vowed there was more to come; he also issued a warning to Europe and the United States. </p><p> "So you also want to come to Europe?" Todenhoefer asked him. </p><p> "No, we will conquer Europe one day," the man said. "It is not a question of if we will conquer Europe, just a matter of when that will happen. But it is certain ... For us, there is no such thing as borders. There are only front lines. </p><p> "Our expansion will be perpetual ... And the Europeans need to know that when we come, it will not be in a nice way. It will be with our weapons. And those who do not convert to Islam or pay the Islamic tax will be killed." </p><p> Todenhoefer asked the fighter about their treatment of other religions, especially Shia Muslims. </p><p> "What about the 150 million Shia, what if they refuse to convert?" Todenhoefer asked. </p><p> "150 million, 200 million or 500 million, it does not matter to us," the fighter answered. "We will kill them all." </p><p> Beheadings</p><p> The interview became testy when they reached the topic of beheadings and enslavement, especially of female captives. </p><p> "So do you seriously think that beheadings and enslavement actually signal progress for humanity?" Todenhoefer asked. </p><p> "Slavery absolutely signals progress," the man said. "Only ignorant people believe that there is no slavery among the Christians and the Jews. Of course there are woman who are forced into prostitution under the worst circumstances.</p><p> "I would say that slavery is a great help to us and we will continue to have slavery and beheadings, it is part of our religion ... many slaves have converted to Islam and have then been freed." </p><p> The ISIS spokesman blamed the beheading of captured Western journalists and aid workers on the policies of the United States. </p><p> "People should really think about the case of James Foley," he said. "He did not get killed because we started the battle. He got killed because of the ignorance of his government that did not give him any help." </p><p> Even with recent gains by Kurdish forces against ISIS in northern Iraq, Todenhoefer sees the extremist group as entrenched, building state institutions, and that it shows no sign of losing its grip in the main areas it controls in Iraq and Syria. </p><p> "I think the Islamic State is a lot more dangerous than Western leaders realize," he said. "They believe in what they are fighting for and are preparing the largest religious cleansing campaign the world has ever seen." READ MORE: Fighting for Kobani -- from a distance</p>

Published: Mon, 22 Dec 2014 07:19:25 GMT