Officer who fatally shot Daunte Wright during traffic stop meant to use Taser, police chief says

A police officer who shot and killed a driver during a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, on Sunday afternoon meant to deploy her Taser instead of her gun, authorities said.

At a press conference Monday, Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon said he believes the female officer — identified by authorities as Kim Potter — intended to deploy her stun gun when she “accidentally” shot 20-year-old Daunte Wright.

A preliminary report issued by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner on Monday evening said that Wright’s death was a homicide, as he died from a gunshot wound to the chest.

The incident unfolded around 2 p.m. local time, when officers initiated a stop for an expired registration tag on a vehicle in the city in Minnesota’s Hennepin County, about 10 miles northwest of Minneapolis. During the traffic stop, the officers determined that the driver of the vehicle had an outstanding gross misdemeanor warrant, according to Gannon.

“At one point as officers were attempting to take the driver into custody, the driver re-entered the vehicle,” the police chief said in a statement Sunday. “One officer discharged their firearm, striking the driver.”

The car traveled several blocks before crashing into another vehicle. The passengers in the other car were not injured, according to Gannon.

Officers and medical personnel “attempted life saving measures” on Wright, the police chief said, but he died at the scene.

A female passenger who was also in the vehicle with Wright sustained non-life-threatening injuries during the crash, according to Gannon. She was transported to North Memorial Health Hospital in Robbinsdale, a few miles south of Brooklyn Center.

During Monday’s press conference, the Brooklyn Center Police Department released body camera footage of the fatal encounter. Gannon said Potter can be heard in the video warning Wright and her fellow officers that she will be deploying her Taser.

“However, the officer drew their handgun instead of their Taser,” the police chief told reporters. “It is my belief that the officer had the intention to deploy their Taser, but instead shot Mr. Wright with a single bullet. This appears to me, from what I viewed and the officer’s reaction and distress immediately after, that this was an accidental discharge that resulted in the tragic death of Mr. Wright.”

Potter can be heard in the video yelling, “Holy s—, I just shot him!”

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating the incident. The agency released a statement on Monday identifying Potter, a 26-year veteran of the Brooklyn Center Police Department, as the officer involved in the deadly shooting.

Potter has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, according to Gannon, who identified her as a “very senior officer.”

A source with knowledge of the investigation told ABC News that Potter was field training another officer at the time of the shooting.

Wright’s mother, Katie Wright, said she was on the phone with him before he was killed.

“I heard scuffling and I heard the police officers say, ‘Daunte, don’t run.’ And then the other officer said, ‘Put the phone down,’ and hung it up,” Katie Wright told reporters on Sunday. “And a minute later, I called and his girlfriend answered — that was the passenger — and said that he’d been shot, and she put [the phone] on the driver’s side and my son was laying there lifeless.”

In a statement to ABC News, Wright’s family described him as a young father who “had a whole life ahead of him.”

“We just want people to know Daunte was a good kid,” Wright’s family said in the statement. “He loved being a father to Daunte Jr.”

“Daunte had a smile to make anyone’s heart melt. He was definitely a jokester, he loved to joke with people, especially his brothers and sisters,” the family added. “He did not deserve this.”

Wright’s sister, Diamond Wright, told ABC News that she still doesn’t know how to grieve her brother. She said she saw him on Saturday, the day before he was killed.

“I wasn’t nice to him,” Diamond Wright said. “He didn’t get to know how much I loved him before they took his life.”

She said she doesn’t want to think about what happened to her brother, but she doesn’t believe the shooting was a mistake.

“You don’t accidentally grab something and point without knowing,” she told ABC News. “Not true.”

She added that she wants her brother to be remembered as “a great person, making a mark in history.”

“He wanted to be known, but not this way,” she added.

Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump — who has represented the families of Trayvon Martin, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and more — will represent Wright’s family.

At a press conference Monday, authorities would not say how or if the officer who shot Wright would be punished but that all Brooklyn Center employees are “entitled to due process.” Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott expressed his support for the removal of the police officer that killed Wright.

“We will get to the bottom of this,” Elliott said. “We will do all that is within our power to make sure that justice is done for Daunte Wright.”

Earlier, the mayor revealed on Twitter that he had a phone call with President Joe Biden, who he said offered “his administration’s support” in the wake of the officer-involved shooting.

Biden addressed the shooting on Monday afternoon, calling for an investigation into the “really tragic” incident.

“The question is: was it an accident? Was it intentional? That remains to be determined by a full-blown investigation,” Biden told reporters in the Oval Office.

Vice President Kamala Harris tweeted Monday night that “Daunte’s family needs to know why their child is dead — they deserve answers.”

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz also held a press conference Monday to acknowledge the grieving that is taking place in his state amid the ongoing murder trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged in the May 2020 death of George Floyd, which sparked nationwide protests.

“We can either come together and fix this, or we can suffer together as fools, and we can continue to make this happen,” Walz told reporters. “Our time was made clear last May, in Minnesota, our time to get one shot at fixing that was there. And in the midst of this trial that the world’s watching the situation repeated itself yesterday.”

Moments after Wright was shot dead, dozens of protesters holding Black Lives Matter signs gathered at the scene.

John Harrington, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, said there were around 100 people at the scene on Sunday who were “highly agitated” when investigators from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension responded. The crowd was asked to disperse and did so shortly thereafter, as more agencies arrived on scene to coordinate a response to the protesters.

Later, crowds of 100 to 200 people marched toward the Brooklyn Center Police Department headquarters, according to Harrington.

“We saw rocks and other objects thrown at the police department. There were reports of shots fired in the area of the police department,” Harrington said at a press conference late Sunday night. “Within hours of that, a secondary group we heard was at the Shingle Creek mall or business center and we have reports of approximately 20 businesses that were broken into during that period.”

Authorities declared the demonstration outside the police department an unlawful assembly and gave the crowds a 10-minute warning to clear out. Aerial footage obtained by ABC News shows police forming a perimeter around the building.

About 25 minutes later, officers started firing rubber bullets and flash bangs to disperse protesters remaining in the area.

Harrington said the crowd at the police department had largely dispersed as of late Sunday night, though there were still “some pockets of individuals.”

Shortly after midnight, the Brooklyn Center mayor issued a citywide curfew that remained in place until 6 a.m. local time on Monday. Elliott called for calm in the community and for authorities not to use force on peaceful protesters.

The Minnesota governor later declared a regional curfew for the counties of Hennepin, Ramsey and Anoka starting Monday at 7 p.m. local time and ending Tuesday at 6 a.m. local time.

Minnesota has mobilized its National Guard to Brooklyn Center at the request of local authorities, according to Harrington. The National Guard is already deployed in nearby Minneapolis for the Chauvin trial.

“At this time, we have essentially a full activation,” Harrington said at the press conference late Sunday night. “You will see a robust assortment of National Guard, state and local police departments working together over the next two or three days as we once again prepare for the trial and also are prepared for any other and any further civil unrest that may come from the Brooklyn Center officer-involved shooting today.”

Col. Matt Langer of the Minnesota State Patrol told reporters that the public can expect to see “a greater law enforcement presence, a greater National Guard presence” in and around Minneapolis.

The civil unrest continued for a second night Monday, despite the curfew and efforts by authorities to work with protest organizers.

“Before 7 o’clock and the curfew was imposed, I myself reached out and talked to an organizer, who was out at the scene, and asked for some help in figuring out how we could peacefully resolve the crowd and to start helping encourage people to go home under their own free will before there was any talk of enforcement action,” Langer said at a press conference early Tuesday. “Others within the Department of Public Safety were also engaged with folks that were out there organizing the group, and our mobile field force commander actually met with one of the individuals on the scene at about 7 o’clock and tried to talk about how we could do this peacefully tonight without the use of any chemical munitions, without the use of enforcement. Unfortunately, those efforts weren’t successful and those organizers weren’t able to influence the desires of the crowd to leave.”

Law enforcement officers set up a perimeter around the Brooklyn Center Police Department headquarters and “courageously” defended the building from rioters, Langer said. The officers were “shelled pretty significantly with objects by the crowd” and some suffered minor injuries, according to Langer. There were no reports of injuries among protesters.

“At one point, the crowd was pushing against the fence and the fence gates swung open. There was some fireworks, there were lasers and there was enough activity to certainly go well against what we’ve been saying all along that we would not tolerate,” Langer told reporters. “And so, decisions needed to be made to push that crowd back from the fence and to begin to disperse the crowd and make arrests for the criminal activity that was putting people in harm’s way and prohibiting those that were there to assemble peacefully and, on top of all of that, of course in violation of the curfew order that had started at 7 p.m.”

About 40 people were arrested in Brooklyn Center on Monday night into early Tuesday. Some were cited while others were booked in jail “for things all the way from curfew violations to riot,” according to Langer.

“Order was restored for the most part,” he said. “There were some occurrences of looting around the Brooklyn Center area and the city of Minneapolis — it was pretty limited and sporadic in nature.”

Another 13 people were arrested in Minneapolis, including four for burglary and six for curfew violations. There were burglaries at five businesses in the city, according to Amiela Huffman, deputy chief of professional standards at the Minneapolis Police Department.

Protests over Wright’s shooting also erupted in Portland, Oregon, where police declared the situation a riot on Monday night. The Portland Police Department said in a statement that its officers were “defending themselves against a violent crowd” of about 200 people who had gathered outside a government office. The group was “acting aggressively toward police” and “throwing objects” at officers.

Earlier Monday, the Brooklyn Center City Council voted 3-2 to approve a motion giving the mayor’s office command authority over the police department.

“At such a tough time, this will streamline things and establish a chain of command and leadership,” Elliott tweeted.

The mayor also announced that the city manager was relieved of his duties and that the deputy city manager will be assuming those duties from now on.

“I will continue to work my hardest to ensure good leadership at all levels of our city government,” Elliott tweeted.

The mayor said he has spoken to some peaceful protesters and assured them the city is working “collaboratively with all involved agencies” to wrap up the investigation into the deadly shooting.

Metro Transit, the main public transportation operator in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul area, announced Sunday that it was shutting down public transit in Brooklyn Center at the request of law enforcement. Meanwhile, Brooklyn Center Schools held classes virtually on Monday.

The National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League and the Major League Baseball all announced that games scheduled for Monday night in Minnesota would be postponed due to the shooting. All three leagues issued statements expressing condolences to Wright’s family.

ABC News’ Alexandra Faul, Will Gretsky, Will McDuffie, Stephanie Ramos and Matt Stone contributed to this report.

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Acting Chief Medical Officer addresses AstraZeneca vaccine concerns

Acting Chief Medical Officer Michael Kidd says a rare blood-clotting disorder in a Melbourne man who received the AstraZeneca vaccine is under investigation by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

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Madras HC stays appointment of former Chief Secretary to National Green Tribunal

The Madras High Court on Friday stayed the operation of an order passed by the Centre on December 12, 2020, appointing former Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary Girija Vaidyanathan as an Expert Member of the National Green Tribunal (NGT). The interim stay was granted after it was reported to the court that she had planned to take charge on April 19.

Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy wrote that public interest litigant G. Sundarrajan of the environmental voluntary group Poovulagin Nanbargal, represented by counsel M. Radhakrishnan, had “prima facie made out a strong case that the third respondent [Ms. Vaidyanathan] does not meet the eligibility criteria for being appointed as an Expert Member of the NGT”.

The judges said the former Chief Secretary did not appear to have five years of experience in dealing with environmental matters either in the Central government or in a State government or in any national or State institution, as stipulated under Section 5(2)(b) of the NGT Act, 2010.

The first Division Bench pointed out that the Act lists the qualifications required to be appointed as the Chairperson, Judicial Member as well as Expert Member of NGT. According to the law, the Expert Member must have had administrative experience of 15 years, including five years in dealing with environmental matters in the Central or State government or in a reputed national or State institution.

There was no dispute that Ms. Vaidyanathan had 15 years of administrative experience. However, her experience in environment matters appeared to be doubtful, the judges said. They pointed out that even in her counter-affidavit, she had claimed to have served as Environment and Forest Secretary between December 2001 and August 2002 and as chairperson of the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board between November 2003 and May 2005.

“It is evident that the third respondent has more than three-and-a-half years’ experience in dealing with environmental matters… It is possible that the third respondent may have dealt with environmental matters in course of the various other departments that she headed or was attached with, but it is necessary for her to indicate the same for the court to be satisfied that the statutory eligibility criterion in such regard is met by her,” the Bench observed.

More importantly, information with respect to her having dealt with environmental matters while heading other departments must have been available with the selection panel which chose her.

Though the Act had not specifically defined the expression, ‘environmental matters’, the judges agreed with Mr. Radhakrishnan that the court could take its cue from Section 5(2(a) wherein practical experience in pollution control, hazardous substance management, environment impact assessment, climate change management, biological diversity management and forest conservation had been listed as qualifications for appointment as an Expert Member.

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AFL chief Gillon McLachlan says the league is taking the abuse case of former St Kilda player Rod Owen very seriously

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan says the league is taking former St Kilda footballer Rod Owen’s disclosure of childhood sexual abuse very seriously and will work with police if and when other victims come forward.

In an ABC story published on April 3, Owen detailed childhood sexual abuse at the hands of Darrell Ray, who was his Saints Little League coach in the 1970s, and Albert Briggs, St Kilda’s Little League team manager for more than a decade.

Owen, now 54 years old, described the abuse as a telling factor in his descent into alcoholism, drug addiction and suicidal depression, problems he began recovering from only three years ago.

Discussing the matter on Thursday, McLachlan said: “Our integrity team has been in contact with the club (St Kilda) and I have had the right conversations as well.”

Owen, nine years old at the time of the abuse, was sexually molested by Ray in 1976 as a student of Beaumaris Primary School, where Ray was a librarian and sports coach, and by Briggs in the MCG change rooms the same year. Briggs was later awarded life membership at St Kilda — a status that St Kilda’s integrity committee is set to review.

“There is a lot to take in regarding Rod’s disclosure and the club will be liaising with its Integrity Committee to discuss the implications,” a St Kilda spokesperson said. “Suffice to say that any persons involved in such criminal acts have no place at our club.”

Speaking on Thursday, McLachlan said: “I think we take all that stuff seriously and if there were instances come forward that we weren’t aware of we’d look at all and above types of remedies, yes.”

An ABC investigation has revealed that Ray coached the Saints Little League for at least eight seasons between 1970 and 1977, and that Briggs managed the team from at least 1969, until the beginning of the 1980s.

In 2001, Ray was convicted of 27 counts of indecently assaulting boys at Moorabbin Primary School and Beaumaris Primary School between 1967 and 1976. He was sentenced to 44 months in prison, with a non-parole period of 17 months.

Asked if the AFL will be conducting a review of the Little League, a precursor to AusKick, which was devised by the then-VFL in 1967 as a promotional tool to drive junior participation, McLachlan said: “There’s obviously a police issue at the heart of it. As I understand, that league hasn’t operated for decades.”

“So, I guess the primary thing I’d say is that we take these things seriously, we’ll work with the police. Also, our integrity department, through them we’ll provide any support or counselling if anyone who’s had a similar experience wants to come forward.

“And our thoughts are with Rod Owen, clearly, and his family, and hope that he’s getting the support that he needs.”

McLachlan said the AFL would encourage those affected by the abuse to come forward.

“Anyone who has that type of experience, please contact the police, our integrity department, and we will deal with it in the appropriate way,” McLachlan said.

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Alberta must retract Forest Act before it becomes law: Treaty 8 grand chief

The Alberta government must pull back its new Forest Act before it becomes law next month, says the grand chief of the province’s northern First Nations.

“We expect the province to suspend the new Forest Act immediately,” Arthur Noskey of Treaty 8 First Nations said Thursday. “We are asking (the government) to pull this back and consult with us.”

The United Conservatives passed the act late last year and it is to come into effect May 1.

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Noskey said it was drafted without meaningful consultation with the Indigenous people who live in the forests it affects. The soon-to-be law violates their treaty rights to practise their traditional way of life, he said.

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“It’s our livelihood. Our people still practise that way of life,” he said.

“A family might be making $18,000 a year, but that’s enough because the majority of their food and medicine still comes from the land. They still make a living and they choose to live like that.”

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Noskey said increased logging is taking a toll on the animals and forests his people depend on.

“The forest is being overharvested,” he said. “There’s a chain reaction to everything that’s done.”

The UCP government has increased the industry’s annual allowable cut.

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Forestry Minister Devin Dreeshen has told the legislature that the harvest has increased 13 per cent since last May and that he wants another 20 per cent increase.

It’s not clear where that extra timber will come from in Alberta’s already heavily allocated forests, said Grace Wark of the Alberta Wilderness Association. She said that could mean cutting on steeper slopes or returning earlier to areas burned by wildfire.

“Those areas have greater impacts on biodiversity and are more challenging to recover,” she said.

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A government website says the act will bring “a more expedient return” of burned areas to harvest. It also says the harvest will be increased by cutting in unallocated parts of already approved areas.

Wark said there has been little transparency and even less dialogue.

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“There’s been no public consultation on this.”

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Dreeshen’s office and the Alberta Forest Products Association did not reply to a request for comment. The association supported the changes when they were announced.

Treaty 8 includes 40 First Nations and is the largest treaty in Canada by area at 840,000 square kilometres _ larger than France. It spreads into British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories and has about 40,000 members in Alberta.

Noskey said the province is obliged to consult with First Nations on a government-to-government basis and not just a few phone calls. He said courts have ruled that governments can’t simply delegate First Nations consultations to companies doing the work.

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“It seems like we have to force the government to the table.”

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He accused the province of rushing the legislation through while the public is distracted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are for the economy, but we want to do it in a way that respects the land,” Noskey said. “It seems with this UCP government nobody cares about the environment.

“It’s a free-for-all.”

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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NT Chief Minister, Police Minister unaware of alleged rape of Darwin toddler for several days

The Northern Territory’s Chief Minister says he was not informed of the alleged rape of a three-year-old in Darwin until “quite a few days after” the incident, and says police need to be more transparent about serious sexual assault allegations.

NT Police Minister Nicole Manison said she was not informed about the incident for about four days.

On Friday a 21-year-old man was charged with sexual intercourse without consent after allegedly approaching and assaulting the toddler in the front yard of his Karama home on Thursday night.

NT Police have been criticised for waiting until Monday morning to publicly disclose the incident — a day after some details were published in local online outlet NT Independent.

An NT Police spokesman defended the delay by saying the alleged offender was quickly apprehended and posed no risk to the community, and the alleged victim’s privacy was paramount.

The Office of the Children’s Commissioner, a statutory authority responsible for the wellbeing of vulnerable children, said it did not receive key information from child protection agency Territory Families “in the timely manner” it expected.

Chief Minister Michael Gunner this morning said he was unaware of the incident until “quite a few days” later.

“I understand where the Children’s Commissioner is coming from. I also understand what police are saying,” he told ABC Radio Darwin.

“Their priority is catching the person [allegedly] involved, and I get it, they did that.

“But it is one of those crimes where I believe it’s important that people are told about it.

He said the issue was “probably not systemic” but he had raised it with Ms Manison, who said she accepted the point and would pass the concern on to NT Police Commissioner Jamie Chalker.

But speaking to Darwin radio station Mix 104.9 on Thursday morning, Ms Manison said she supported police in their decision making.

She also confirmed she was not informed of the allegation until Monday morning.

“I think in this case I can understand why people were concerned because of the nature of the assault and what had happened,” she said.

“But what police had done in this instance was [they] caught the [alleged] offender swiftly, removed the risk from the community pretty much immediately, and they have made a decision after working with the [alleged] victim here that they thought the Monday was the best time to put out the information.

“The police make some really difficult decisions each and every day and I’m always going to go and back them in.”

The 21-year-old man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, last faced court on Tuesday and was remanded in custody.

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Positive COVID cases visited Byron Bay while infectious: Qld chief health officer

Queensland’s chief health officer says the state’s new cases amount to “significant community transmission”.

Positive COVID-19 cases based in Queensland recently visited Byron Bay.

Queensland’s chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young has revealed two sisters who have tested positive for the virus recently visited Byron Bay while they were infectious.

Queensland has recorded four new cases overnight, bringing the current total of active cases to seven.

Dr Young said this amounted to “significant community transmission”, with “many venues” affected.

She said during a press conference this morning two colleagues of one of the recent cases tested positive yesterday.

One of those visited Gladstone for three days while infectious, Dr Young said.

She said the pair who visited Byron Bay are sisters, one of whom works as a nurse in a COVID-19 ward.

Dr Young said the source of their infections was not yet confirmed.

“Very late last night I was notified of another case who happens to be a nurse working in the COVID ward,” she said.

“I’m not sure whether that’s where she’s acquired it.

“We will need to wait for genome sequencing results.

“Her sister is also positive.

“They have recently been in Byron Bay during their infectious period.

“So we now have significant community transmission and significant numbers of venues of concern, all through Brisbane and we know that people have moved from Brisbane out into the broader community.”

Five local government areas that make up Greater Brisbane are going into a three-day lockdown, announced by Dr Young and the Queensland Premier this morning.

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Saurabh Garg appointed UIDAI CEO, Sanjeev Kumar to be AAI chief

Senior bureaucrat Saurbah Garg has been appointed as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) as part of a bureaucratic reshuffle effected by the Centre on Thursday. Garg is at present serving in his cadre state Odisha. He is a 1991 batch IAS officer.

The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved the appointment of Garg as the CEO, UIDAI in the rank and pay of Additional Secretary, an order issued by the Personnel Ministry said.

Sanjeev Kumar, a 1991 batch IAS officer of Maharashtra cadre, has been appointed as the Chairman, Airports Authority of India (AAI), it said.

Atish Chandra will be Chairman and Managing Director, Food Corporation of India in the rank and pay of Additional Secretary, the order said.

Chandra, a 1994 batch IAS officer of Bihar cadre, is currently Joint Secretary, Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare.

There are a total of 22 bureaucrats who have been appointed to different ministries as part of Thursday’s reshuffle.

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Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton reflects on Victoria’s hard-won COVID-free status

Professor Sutton says he knows the hardships Victorians have faced over the past year to reach a point where the state can open up and mark a day with zero active cases of coronavirus.

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Apollo investment chief Leon Black leaves early following Epstein probe

Leon Black unexpectedly steps down, saying inquiries into links with Jeffrey Epstein took a toll on his health.

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