NEWS of the Day - January 7, 2012
on some NAACC / LACP issues of interest


NEWS of the Day - January 7, 2012
on some issues of interest to the community policing and neighborhood activist across the country

EDITOR'S NOTE: The following group of articles from local newspapers and other sources constitutes but a small percentage of the information available to the community policing and neighborhood activist public. It is by no means meant to cover every possible issue of interest, nor is it meant to convey any particular point of view ...

We present this simply as a convenience to our readership ...


From Los Angeles Times


Vulnerable homeless men try to foil Orange County killer

Three transients have been stabbed to death since last month. Some are banding together for protection, and police and missions are helping.

by Christopher Goffard and Nicole Santa Cruz, Los Angeles Times

January 7, 2012

Cary Singletary is 6-foot-2, an ex-boxer who once worked nightclub security, alternating coffee and water to stay alert through the small hours. Now, encamped on the streets of downtown Santa Ana, he's the unofficial sentry for what he calls "my people," a group of homeless whose wary existence is now shadowed by a new peril: a serial killer.

"Hopefully, they'll get the sick-minded coward," said Singletary 52, speaking of the string of stabbing deaths of middle-aged homeless men in Orange County that began just before Christmas. Singletary stood in a parking lot Thursday night clutching a safety kit a whistle and flashlight, both donated by the Orange County Rescue Mission.

Singletary said he fears that the killer, who has attacked in neighboring Anaheim, Placentia and Yorba Linda, might strike next in Santa Ana. So he is up all night, drinking coffee, keeping watch for strangers. For company, he listens to R&B on his headphones. He sleeps in two-hour shifts on the public bus.

"If that serial killer wants to come at us, he'll have his hands full," said Singletary, who has been homeless for six months. "We've got some soldiers out here. I'm just one of them. If that whistle goes off, you'll have a whole army of homeless on him."

Across the county, at the urging of authorities, many of the homeless are seeking beds at emergency shelters, or making sure to sleep in groups outdoors, and taking pains to make themselves less conspicuous on the streets and riverbeds. Many say it is just another version of a skill they have practiced for years survival in a dangerous milieu. In some cases, efforts to help are complicated by mental illness, paranoia and a deep-seated fatalism.

Each of the three homeless stabbing victims, authorities say, was alone when he was attacked. James Patrick McGillivray, 53, was killed near a shopping center in Placentia on Dec. 20; Lloyd Middaugh, 42, was found near a riverbed trail in Anaheim on Dec. 28; Paulus Smit, 57, was killed outside a Yorba Linda library on Dec. 30.

What motivates the killer is a subject of furious speculation. David Deisher, 52, who has been homeless in Santa Ana for about a year, said his first thought was that the killer must be a Satanist making blood sacrifices. Or maybe it's a "thrill killer" who will have to keep escalating the attacks to achieve satisfaction, he added. Others on the street said the slayings might be a gangland initiation.

Sgt. Mike Lynch is one of eight cops at the Anaheim Police Department assigned to warn the city's homeless to be vigilant. He said he's seen some success. Some are pooling their money to rent motel rooms. Around the parole office on Coronado Street, there are usually dozens of transient sex offenders camped overnight in old cars and trailers, but on a recent night he found only a few.

Making his rounds Thursday afternoon, Lynch found 39-year-old Ronnie Zupsic, homeless and suspicious, sitting alone under a shelter at a city park. He had a knife wound on his arm and a fractured hand from a recent fight.

"Have the cops talked to you in the last couple days?" Lynch asked.


"Have you heard about the murders?"


Once informed, Zupsic offered an immediate theory about the killer's identity: the guy he'd recently tangled with. "I bashed him in the head, and he sliced me with a knife," Zupsic said, but his description left the nature of the dispute impossible to make out.

The sergeant dutifully wrote it down, one tip among many, and urged Zupsic to seek a bed at one of Orange County's armories. There are two, in Santa Ana and Fullerton, with 400 beds between them; they have seen a reported 40% spike in usage in recent days.

"I don't stay at the armory. They try to hurt me," Zupsic said. "I hide behind bushes, mostly, because I have people after me." He said he avoided the company of other transients too. "I don't stay in packs with these people. They're nutty."

He insisted he could handle himself, though, hinting at a military background. "I'm secret co-op. I can't disclose. You see 'Jarhead'? You're looking at him."

The sergeant searched his belongings, found no illegal drugs or weapons and again urged him to be careful.

"So I'm in danger out here is what you're telling me?"

"You're in potential danger, yes."

Along the riverbed trail where Lloyd Middaugh was stabbed to death, the sergeant found bicyclists and joggers, but few homeless people. "I think word is out," he said.

Not far from the crime scene, however, a 64-year-old man named John Berry, with a scraggly white beard and a fisherman's cap, lay on his back under a tarp on the riverbed trail. He's been living here for months, the sergeant said, immovable despite repeated warnings. Berry said he avoids shelters and isn't afraid of being knifed.

"I just like to stay outdoors," he said. "A guy can get killed crossing the street. I've been as careful as I can, watching and everything."

On his patrol, Lynch found two men who camp in a strip mall behind a Magnolia Avenue liquor store. He urged them not to be predictable and to keep hidden at night. "Try to tuck yourself away," he said. "Maybe mix it up. Move around a little bit."

One of the men, Steven Scott, 51, had two black eyes because of what he said was a fight with a guy who tried to steal his shoes. He said someone always kept lookout at night. "If I can help it, I'm not gonna let my friends get slashed," he said. "If it looks kinda snaky, we check it out."

Some, like Dan Warner, 55, who stood in line for a bowl of donated chili Thursday night in a downtown Santa Ana parking lot, said he was braced for a confrontation, and not especially worried about the killer. "I got my belt to wrap around his neck. I got the Lord. Believe me, he ain't gonna come around me."

Larry Haynes, the director of Mercy House, which works with the National Guard to run the seasonal shelters, said that in more than 20 years of working with the homeless, he has never seen a crime in which a predator targeted such a vulnerable population.

"If we don't create some sort of housing solutions for these guys, they are going to die," he said.

There are few shelters specifically for single men in Orange County, and the region lacks a year-round emergency shelter, with the winter armories open just 149 days a year.

Randall Lee Hooper, 54, has been homeless since his teens and has been staying at the Fullerton armory for the last two weeks. He said he was recently released from a hospital where he was treated for a beating he received during a vodka blackout. When sleeping outdoors, he said, he picks spots where people can't sneak up behind him, and where he can hear leaves crunching as people approach.

"It's inevitable," Hooper said of the killings. "I'm surprised there's not more." He said he used to work as a guitarist and a night watchman, but doubts he'll ever work again. He's not looking, anyway.

He was heading to the 91 Freeway in Anaheim, ready to raise a sign for food.

"I'm not scared of anything," he said. If a killer found him, he said, he'd have no complaints. "I just figure if it's my time, it's my time."



Supreme Court to rule on drug-sniffing dog case

Florida justices had ruled against the use of such dogs to detect marijuana at the door of a home without evidence of criminal activity. The high court will hear an appeal.

by David G. Savage, Washington Bureau

January 6, 2012

Reporting from Washington

The Supreme Court agreed Friday to decide whether police may use a drug-sniffing dog at the front door of a house or an apartment to detect marijuana, even if the officers have no evidence of criminal conduct.

The decision in a Florida case will be the latest test of the 4th Amendment's protection against "unreasonable searches" in drug cases. It also will be the third in a trilogy of rulings on drug-sniffing dogs.

In the past, the court has upheld the use of dogs to sniff luggage at airports and to sniff around cars that were stopped along the highway. The justices said that using trained dogs in public areas didn't violate anyone's right to privacy.

The Florida Supreme Court, however, said homes are different. The 4th Amendment "applies with extra force where the sanctity of the home is concerned," the state justices said last year.

Based on that rationale, they overturned a Miami man's conviction for growing marijuana at home. Acting on a tip, officers had taken Franky, a Labrador, to the front porch of a home owned by Joelis Jardines. The dog detected the odor of marijuana and sat down as he was trained to do. The police then used this information to obtain a search warrant. They found 179 marijuana plants inside the house.

Throwing out the evidence, the state justices said they were unwilling to permit "dog sniff tests at the home of any citizen" unless the police had probable cause of criminal wrongdoing.

But the Supreme Court voted to hear the appeal of Florida prosecutors who contend that a dog's sniffing for drugs is not a "search" under any circumstances.

"Because a dog's alert tells the officer one thing, and one thing only that the house contains illegal drugs it cannot constitute a search," said Florida's state attorneys.

Eighteen states supported Florida's appeal and argued that police dogs are a valuable tool for detecting drugs and explosives.

The high court usually sides with the police in search cases. In May, the justices ruled police were justified in breaking down the door of an apartment in Lexington, Ky., because they smelled marijuana and believed the occupants were about to destroy the evidence. In an 8-1 decision, the court reasoned the police did not have time to obtain a search warrant.

But not every search method wins approval. The justices rejected the use of thermal imagers, which can detect the heat of powerful lights used to grow marijuana. In that case, the court decided that the device allows police to look into a house, and thereby violates the privacy rights of the homeowners.

The court said Friday it would hear the case of Florida vs. Jardines in April and issue a ruling on drug-sniffing dogs by late June.



Casey Anthony video: Hacked and leaked?

(Video on site)

Casey Anthony's video diary has gone viral -- the result, her attorneys say, of hacking.

Anthony's attorneys say the video was hacked and illegally posted online, ABC News reported. The news outlet quoted one of her lawyers as saying: "She does not know who did it. When they did it. Why they did it. It was not authorized, therefore it had to be obtained criminally by an illegal act."

The report raises the possibility that Anthony -- acquitted last year of killing her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee -- could find herself on the other end of a legal battle in 2012, pursuing justice against an alleged hacker.

Anthony's attorneys told ABC News that the videos were for personal use in future counseling sessions, to help Anthony "remember her thought process." (It's worth watching ABC's video, above, for its recap of just how many times Anthony uses the words "I," "me" or "mine"; she never mentions Caylee.)

Her parents, according to their attorney, Mark Lippman, were among those caught by surprise by the video diary, which surfaced this week. They're once again fearing for their daughter's safety, according to a media statement released by Lippman: "Cindy and George were made aware of the video diary of their daughter this morning, January 5th 2012. They are concerned that the release of this video or any future videos could endanger their daughter."

The statement also suggests that Cindy and George Casey are in the dark about their daughter's whereabouts. "Cindy and George hope that Casey remains safe wherever she may be," the statement said.

The video created an online sensation this week, delivering one of the first widespread sightings of Anthony since she went into seclusion last year after death threats from some of those who believed she was responsible for her daughter's death.

Outrage over the case led to being named as "the most hated person in America" in one online poll.

The video, in which Anthony muses about life and expresses happiness over a computer and other devices that will allow her to become a blogger, raises several questions. Among them: Was she planning on monetizing the videos?

The video has also led to speculation about her specific whereabouts in Florida and about her day-to-day life.

Radaronline.com says it has some answers on the latter matter. The 25-year-old is actually not in hiding but is frequently out in public, and regularly attends church, the website said. She is reportedly dating someone and does work for his company. Although the video (reportedly shot in October) shows her with a blond bob, her hair is now red, the website said.

Attorneys for Anthony and her parents did not return phone calls seeking comment.



From Google News


US redefines rape to count more people as victims


WASHINGTON (AP) The Obama administration says it is expanding the FBI's more than eight-decade-old definition of rape to reflect a better understanding of the crime and to broaden protections.

The new definition counts men as victims for the first time and drops the requirement that victims must have physically resisted their attackers.

Vice President Joe Biden, author of the Violence Against Women Act when he was in the Senate, said the new definition announced Friday is a victory for women and men "whose suffering has gone unaccounted for over 80 years." Calling rape a "devastating crime," the vice president said, "We can't solve it unless we know the full extent of it."

The change will increase the number of people counted as rape victims in FBI statistics but will not will not change federal or state laws or alter charges or prosecutions. It's an important shift because lawmakers and policymakers use crime statistics to allocate money and other resources for prevention and victim assistance.

The White House said the expanded definition has been long awaited as many states and research groups made similar changes in their definitions of rape over recent decades.

Since 1929, the FBI has defined rape as the carnal knowledge of a female, forcibly and against her will. The revised definition covers any gender of victim or attacker and includes instances in which the victim is incapable of giving consent because of the influence of drugs or alcohol or because of age. Physical resistance is not required. The Justice Department said the new definition mirrors the majority of state rape statutes now on the books.

Congress approved $592 million this year to address violence against women, including sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking, under the Violence Against Women Act and Family Violence Prevention and Services Act. Of that amount, $23 million goes to a sexual assault services program and $39 million to a rape prevention and education program administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Obama administration had sought $777 million to combat violence against women.

The change likely will result in big increases in the number of reported rapes, but it was not immediately clear how big. To take just one example of how the FBI totals will change, Chicago didn't report any rapes to the FBI for 2010 because its broad definition of the crime didn't match the FBI's narrow definition.

The change has been sought by women's groups for more than a decade.

The Women's Law Project, on behalf of more than 80 sexual assault coalitions and national organizations concerned about violence against women, wrote FBI Director Robert Mueller in 2001 that the narrow definition reflected gender-based stereotypes and requested it be changed.

Using the old definition, a total of 84,767 rapes were reported nationwide in 2010, according to the FBI's uniform crime report based on data from 18,000 law enforcement agencies.

Nearly 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men in the U.S. have been raped at some time in their lives, according to a 2010 survey by the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which used a broader definition.

The revised FBI definition says that rape is "the penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object," without the consent of the victim. Also constituting rape under the new definition is "oral penetration by a sex organ of another person" without consent.



Brea police to introduce geo-policing initiative


A new policing program will reintroduce the days of the friendly neighborhood cop, aiming to give Brea and Yorba Linda residents a stronger relationship and familiar face to attach to the Police Department.

The Brea Police Department's new geographic policing initiative will go into effect Saturday, assigning police officers to four different specific geographic areas with two officers in each area, as well as sergeants and commanders.

"It's a community policing effort," Brea Police Department Sgt. Jim Griffin said. "We'll go from a system where officers can go back and forth around the city to a system where they'll be assigned to one specific area. This way they'll get to know the traffic, the businesses, the people."

Brea will be separated by districts in the north and south, and Yorba Linda will be separated by east and west. While officers will be able to respond to all parts of the area during emergency situations, they will remain in their designated area for regular policing. Brea will continue to have traffic units and detectives at work during the day, Griffin said.

Brea is known to have heavy activity and commerce during the day, but becomes a sort of "bedroom city" at night, he said, which means the level of law enforcement fluctuates throughout the day.

"In the future, if we reduce crime trends or rates, it's a win-win for us in the community as well," Griffin said.

The Police Department isn't the first to introduce a policing program based on geography.

In 2005, the Orange Police Department adopted CompStat, a program where officers regularly meet to analyze data where crimes have been reported.

"Based on this analyzing we know where we should reallocate our resources to proactively reduce crime," Orange Police Sgt. Dan Adams said.

And in cities like Santa Cruz and Los Angeles, a new computer program analyzes past crime data and is able to predict where and when the city is at highest risk for future crimes, according to a Santa Cruz Police Department news release. Police can then use the data to get to a scene before a crime would potentially occur.

Brea's geo-policing initiative is expected to last for at least the next five years.

"When you build relationships with an officer in a certain area, people are more comfortable and feel they can go to that officer," he said. "It's a two-way information highway where we have relationships with the residents."