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2015 Year in Review Slideshow: U.S. News

Top events for the nation and the world in 2015

Jennie Wood
Campaign 2016
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton Remain Frontrunners
sanders clinton debate 2015
After multiple debates, Donald Trump remained the frontrunner for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. He led his competition in national polls by double digits as of Dec. 2015. Hillary Clinton also remained the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination as 2015 came to an end. Bernie Sanders, pictured with Clinton here, was in second place in national polls for the Democratic nomination.
Photo source: AP Photo/John Locher
San Bernardino Shooting
14 Killed in San Bernardino Social Services Center Shooting
San Bernardino
Fourteen people were killed and more than 20 wounded when two people opened fire at a holiday party at the Inland Regional Center, a service facility for people with disabilities and special needs in San Bernardino, California. The suspects, husband and wife Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, were killed in a shootout with police after the rampage. Officials said they believe the attack was terrorism related. It was the worst mass shooting in the United States since 26 people were killed in Dec. 2012, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
Photo source: AP Photo/Chris Carlson
Same-Sex Marriage Victory
Supreme Court Rules for Same-Sex Marriage
same-sex marriage activists 2015
The Court ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges that same-sex couples have the fundamental right to marry and that states could not say that marriage was reserved for heterosexual couples. "Under the Constitution, same-sex couples seek in marriage the same legal treatment as opposite-sex couples, and it would disparage their choices and diminish their personhood to deny them this right," Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan joined Kennedy in the ruling. Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito Jr., the court's most conservative members, dissented.
Photo source: AP Photo/Eric Gay
Boston Marathon Bombing Verdict
Tsarnaev Apologizes, Is Sentenced to Death
Dean Smith
At his sentence hearing, Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev spoke publicly for the first time since his arrest. Tsarnaev apologized to the victims and survivors in a packed Boston courtroom. "I would like to now apologize to victims and survivors. If there is any lingering doubt, I did it, along with my brother. I am sorry for the lives I have taken, for the suffering I have caused, and for the terrible damage I have done," Tsarnaev said. His apology came just before Judge George O'Toole handed down a sentence of death by lethal injection.
Photo source: Jane Flavell Collins via AP
Freddie Gray
Death in Baltimore Leads to Riots
Freddie Gray Baltimore riots
In April, cellphone video revealed 25-year-old African American Freddie Gray being dragged into a police van, while screaming in pain, during his arrest in Baltimore. Soon after Gray arrived at the police station, he was rushed to the hospital. Police later admitted that Gray should have received medical treatment at the site of his arrest. On April 19, Gray died after suffering from multiple injuries, including his spinal cord being severed. Protests began in Baltimore in reaction to his death. On April 25, after almost a week of peaceful protests, a demonstration turned violent when protestors fought with police officers at the city's baseball park, Camden Yards. Two days later, after Gray's funeral, angry residents took to the streets of northwest Baltimore to protest another death of a black man at the hands of police. Gov. Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency and set a curfew as demonstrators threw rocks and cinder blocks at police and firefighters, looted stores, and set buildings and cars on fire. Fifteen police officers were injured in the rioting. It was not known how many protesters were injured, but two people were shot in separate incidents. On April 28, the National Guard arrived in Baltimore.
Photo source: AP Photo/David Goldman
Charleston Church Shooting
Man Opens Fire at Charleston Church, Kills Nine
charleston church shooting
In June, a white male, believed to be in his 20s, opened fire during a prayer service at the historically significant Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, killing nine people, including Rev. Clementa Pinckney, the church's pastor and a state senator. The alleged gunman sat in the Charleston, South Carolina church for about an hour before beginning the rampage and fled the scene after the shooting. Charleston Chief of Police Greg Mullen called the shooting a hate crime. Police, the F.B.I. and other federal agencies were investigating the attack and searching for the gunman. Later, authorities arrested suspected shooter 21-year-old Dylann Roof in Shelby, North Carolina. According to law enforcement officials, Roof confessed and said that his intentions was to begin new racial confrontations with the attack.
Photo source: AP Photo/David Goldman
Confederate Flag Controversy
South Carolina Removes Confederate Flag
confederate flag
In July, the Confederate flag was removed from the statehouse grounds during a ceremony, ending 54 years of it being on display at the Capitol. A large crowd applauded and chanted "U.S.A." while South Carolina Highway Patrol honor guards lowered the flag. Its removal came after a highly emotional debate in South Carolina following June's mass shooting at a historic African American church in Charleston. The flag would now be placed in a museum.
Photo source: Reuters
Laquan McDonald Shooting
Video Release Sparks Chicago Protests
Laquan McDonald protests
Hundreds of protesters took to Chicago streets on Nov. 24, after dashboard-camera footage was released of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald being shot. The video was released on the same day that Jason Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder. Dyke was the Chicago Police Officer who shot McDonald 16 times on South Pulaski Road on Oct. 20, 2014. The video showed McDonald walking down the middle of the street, armed with a three inch knife, and veering away from police cars. He then spins around and falls due to 16 shots being fired in 15 seconds, all shots fired by Van Dyke. Van Dyke turned himself in to authorities and was being held without bail. The video was also released on the one year anniversary of the Michael Brown shooting verdict in Ferguson where a grand jury ruled not to indict Officer Darren Wilson. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel asked for Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy to resign on Nov. 30, 2015. In a press conference discussing McCarthy's dismissal, Emanuel said, "Superintendent McCarthy knows that a police officer is only as effective as when he has the trust of those he serves. The undeniable fact (is) that the public trust in the leadership of the department has been shaken and eroded."
Photo source: AP Photo/Paul Beaty
Women in Combat
All Military Combat Roles Now Open for Women
Kristen Griest
In Dec., the Pentagon announced that all combat jobs would be open to women. In a press conference, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said that "there will be no exceptions" to this new rule. The historic announcement overrides the 1994 rule made by the Pentagon that restricted women from combat roles such as infantry, artillery, and armor. That 1994 rule had remained in place despite the fact that women were often in combat during the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan in recent years. Ealier in 2015, Capt. Kristen Griest and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver made history by becoming the first two women to graduate from the Army Ranger School, along with 94 other students. They graduated in the first year that the Army had opened the course to women. About 2015's course, Secretary of the Army John M. McHugh said in a statement, "This course has proven that every Soldier, regardless of gender, can achieve his or her full potential."
Photo source: John Bazemore for Associated Press

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