NEWS of the Day - April 3, 2012
on some NAACC / LACP issues of interest


NEWS of the Day - April 3, 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 the L.A. Daily News

Supreme Court OKs routine jailhouse strip searches

by Mark Sherman

WASHINGTON - Jailers may perform invasive strip searches on people arrested even for minor offenses, an ideologically divided Supreme Court ruled Monday, the conservative majority declaring that security trumps privacy in an often dangerous environment.

In a 5-4 decision, the court ruled against a New Jersey man who was strip searched in two county jails following his arrest on a warrant for an unpaid fine that he had, in reality, paid.

The decision resolved a conflict among lower courts about how to balance security and privacy. Prior to the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, lower courts generally prohibited routine strip searches for minor offenses. In recent years, however, courts have allowed jailers more discretion to maintain security, and the high court ruling ratified those decisions.

In this case, Albert Florence's nightmare began when the sport utility vehicle driven by his pregnant wife was pulled over for speeding. He was a passenger; his 4-year-old son was in the backseat.

Justice Anthony Kennedy said the circumstances of the arrest were of little importance. Instead, Kennedy said, Florence's entry into the general jail population gave guards the authorization to force him to strip naked and expose his mouth, nose, ears and genitals to a visual search in case he was hiding anything.

"Courts must defer to the judgment of correctional officials unless the record contains substantial evidence showing their policies are an unnecessary or unjustified response to problems of jail security," Kennedy said.

In a dissenting opinion joined by the court's liberals, Justice Stephen Breyer said strip searches improperly "subject those arrested for minor offenses to serious invasions of their personal privacy." Breyer said jailers ought to have a reasonable suspicion someone may be hiding something before conducting a strip search.

Breyer said people like Florence "are often stopped and arrested unexpectedly. And they consequently will have had little opportunity to hide things in their body cavities."

Florence made the same point in his arguments: He said he was headed to dinner at his mother-in-law's house when he was stopped in March 2005. He also said that even if the warrant had been valid, failure to pay a fine is not a crime in New Jersey.

But Kennedy focused on the fact that Florence was held with other inmates in the general population. In concurring opinions, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito said the decision left open the possibility of an exception to the rule and might not apply to someone held apart from other inmates.

Kennedy gave three reasons to justify routine searches - detecting lice and contagious infections, looking for tattoos and other evidence of gang membership and preventing smuggling of drugs and weapons.

Kennedy also said people arrested for minor offenses can turn out to be "the most devious and dangerous criminals." Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh initially was stopped by a state trooper who noticed McVeigh was driving without a license plate, Kennedy said.

In his dissent, Breyer said inmates in the two New Jersey jails already have to submit to pat-down searches, pass through metal detectors, shower with delousing agents and have their clothing searched.

Many jails, several states and associations of corrections officials say strip searches should be done only when there is reasonable suspicion, which could include arrest on drug charges or for violent crimes, Breyer said.

Susan Chana Lask, Florence's lawyer, said, "The 5-4 decision was as close as we could get ... in this political climate with recent law for indefinite detention of citizens without trial that shaves away our constitutional rights every day."

The first strip search of Florence took place in the Burlington County Jail in southern New Jersey. Six days later, Florence had not received a hearing and remained in custody. Transferred to another county jail in Newark, he was strip-searched again.

The next day, a judge dismissed all charges. Florence's lawsuit soon followed.

He still may pursue other claims, including that he never should have been arrested.

Florence, who is African-American, had been stopped several times before, and he carried a letter to the effect that the fine, for fleeing a traffic stop several years earlier, had been paid.

His protest was in vain, however, and the trooper handcuffed him and took him to jail. At the time, the State Police were operating under a court order, because of allegations of past racial discrimination, that provided federal monitors to assess stops of minority drivers. But the propriety of the stop is not at issue, and Florence is not alleging racial discrimination.

In 1979, the Supreme Court upheld a blanket policy of conducting body cavity searches of prisoners who had had contact with visitors on the basis that the interaction with outsiders created the possibility that some prisoners had obtained something they shouldn't have.

For the next 30 or so years, appeals courts applying the high court ruling held uniformly that strip searches without suspicion violated the Constitution.

But since 2008 - in the first appellate rulings on the issue since the Sept. 11 attacks - appeals courts in Atlanta, Philadelphia and San Francisco have decided that a need by authorities to maintain security justified a wide-ranging search policy, no matter the reason for someone's detention.

The high court upheld the ruling from the Philadelphia court, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The case is Florence v. Board of Chosen Freeholders of County of Burlington, 10-945.



Man kills 7, wounds 3 at small Christian college in Oakland

by Terry Collins

OAKLAND, Calif. - A 43-year-old former student of a small Christian university in California opened fire at the school Monday, killing at least seven people and setting off an intense, chaotic manhunt that ended with his capture at a nearby shopping center, authorities said.

Police Chief Howard Jordan said One L. Goh surrendered about an hour after the shooting at Oikos University. Jordan initially reported that authorities recovered the weapon used during the rampage, but later clarified that police only recovered enough ballistics evidence to determine that a handgun was used in the rampage.

"It's going to take us a few days to put the pieces together," Jordan said. "We do not have a motive."

Police first received a 911 call at 10:33 a.m. reporting a woman on the ground bleeding. As more calls came in from the school, the first arriving officer found a victim suffering from a life-threatening gunshot wound, he said.

It was an "extremely chaotic scene," Jordan said.

More officers arrived and formed a perimeter around the school on the belief that the suspect was still inside, he said.

"Potential victims remained inside the building either trapped by a locked door which officers were unable to open," Jordan said. Others were unable to flee because they were injured, he said.

Jordan said there were about 35 people in or near the building when gunfire broke out. Of the seven fatalities, five died at the scene and another two at the hospital. The wounded victims are in stable condition, and at least one person has been released from the hospital.

"This unprecedented tragedy was shocking and senseless," Jordan said.

Soon after the shooting, heavily armed officers swarmed the school in a large industrial park near the Oakland airport and, for at least an hour, believed the gunman could still be inside.

Art Richards said he was driving by the university on his way to pick up a friend when he spotted a woman hiding in the bushes and pulled over. When he approached her, she said, "I'm shot" and showed him her arm.

"She had a piece of her arm hanging out," Richards said, noting that she was wounded near the elbow.

As police arrived, Richards said he heard 10 gunshots coming from inside the building. The female victim told him that she saw the gunman shoot one person point-blank in the chest and one in the head.

Tashi Wangchuk, whose wife attended the school and witnessed the shooting, said he was told by police that the gunman first shot a woman at the front desk, then continued shooting randomly in classrooms.

Wangchuk said his wife, Dechen Wangzom, was in her vocational nursing class when she heard gunshots. She locked the door and turned off the lights, Wangchuk said he was told by his wife, who was still being questioned by police Monday afternoon.

The gunman "banged on the door several times and started shooting outside and left," he said. Wangchuk said no one was hurt inside his wife's classroom, but that the gunman shot out the glass in the door. He said she did not know the man.

"She's a hero," he said.

Television footage showed bloodied victims on stretchers being loaded into ambulances. Several bodies covered in sheets were laid out on a patch of grass at the school. One body could be seen being loaded into a van.

Myung Soon Ma, the school's secretary, said she could not provide any details about what happened at the private school, which serves the Korean community with courses from theology to Asian medicine.

"I feel really sad, so I cannot talk right now," she said, speaking from her home.

Those connected to the school, including the founder and several students, described the gunman as a former nursing student. The chief said Goh is a Korean national who's a former student of the university.

A call to the Korean consulate in San Francisco went unanswered Monday.

At Highland Hospital, Dawinder Kaur's family told the Oakland Tribune that she was being treated for a gunshot to her elbow.

The 19-year-old U.S. Army Reservist told her family that that the gunman was a student in her nursing class who had been absent for months before returning Monday. The gunman entered the classroom and ordered students to line up against the wall.

When he showed his gun, students began running and he opened fire, her family said.

"She told me that a guy went crazy and she got shot," brother Paul Singh told the newspaper. "She was running. She was crying; she was bleeding, it was wrong."

Pastor Jong Kim, who founded the school about 10 years ago, told the newspaper that he did not know if the shooter was expelled or dropped out. Kim said he heard about 30 rapid-fire gunshots in the building.

"I stayed in my office," he said.

Deborah Lee, who was in an English language class, said she heard five to six gunshots at first. "The teacher said, 'Run,' and we run," she said. "I was OK, because I know God protects me. I'm not afraid of him."

The suspect was detained at a Safeway supermarket about three miles from the university, about an hour after the shooting.

A security guard at the supermarket approached the man because he was acting suspiciously, KGO-TV reported. The man told the guard that he needed to talk to police because he shot people, and the guard called authorities.

"He didn't look like he had a sign of relief on him. He didn't look like he had much of any emotion on his face," said Lisa Resler, who was buying fruit at Safeway with her 4-year-old daughter when she saw the man.

Goh also called his father soon after the shooting and told him what happened, the police chief said. The father also called authorities, Jordan said.

Police went to the Westlake Christian Terrace senior housing complex on Monday afternoon to speak with a relative of Goh, Nam Ko Young, who's believed to be the man's father, said Young's neighbor, Barbara Ferguson.

Ferguson said she's seen Goh and Young in the lobby and exchanged hellos in the past but that she doesn't know them well.

Jerry Sung, the university's accountant, said the school offers courses in both Korean and English to less than 100 students. He said the campus consisted of one building. Sung said many of its students went on to work in nursing and ministry.

"The founder felt there was a need for theology and nursing courses for Korean-Americans who were newer to the community," Sung said. "He felt they would feed more comfortable if they had Korean-American professors."



From The Washington Times

ICE arrests 3,100 convicted criminal aliens in sweep

by Jerry Seper

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) agents, as part of what the agency says is its commitment to prioritizing the removal of criminal aliens and egregious immigration law violators, has arrested more than 3,100 convicted criminal aliens, immigration fugitives and immigration violators in a six-day national “Cross Check” enforcement operation.

ICE Director John Morton said Monday the operation, which he described as the largest of its kind, involved the collaboration of more than 1,900 ICE officers and agents from all of the agency's Enforcement and Removal Operations' 24 field offices, assistance from ICE Homeland Security Investigations as well as coordination with federal, state and local law enforcement partners throughout the United States.

Arrests occurred in all 50 states, Puerto Rico , three U.S. territories and the District of Columbia.

Mr. Morton said those arrested included 2,834 persons with prior criminal convictions including at least 1,063 who had multiple convictions, including murder, manslaughter, attempted murder, kidnapping, assault, armed robbery, terroristic threats, drug trafficking and crimes against children.

Fifty of those arrested were identified as gang members and 149 were convicted sex offenders.

In addition to being convicted criminals, Mr. Morton 698 of those arrested were also immigration fugitives who had previously been ordered to leave the country but failed to depart. Additionally, 559 were illegal re-entrants who had been previously removed from the country.

Because of their serious criminal histories and prior immigration arrest records, he said 204 of those arrested during the enforcement action were presented to U.S attorneys for prosecution on a variety of charges including illegal re-entry after deportation, a felony which carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison.

“The results of this targeted enforcement operation underscore ICE's ongoing commitment and focus on the arrest and removal of convicted criminal aliens and those that game our nation's immigration system,” said Mr. Morton . “Because of the tireless efforts and teamwork of ICE officers and agents in tracking down criminal aliens and fugitives, there are 3,168 fewer criminal aliens and egregious immigration law violators in our neighborhoods across the country.”

Those arrested included:

• Carlington David Richards, 34, a Jamaican national and resident of Federal Way, Wash., who was an international fugitive from justice, wanted in Jamaica for murder.

• Jose Angel Duran-Ramos, 66, a national of Mexico and a resident of El Paso, Texas, who was convicted of murder on July 1984 and sentenced to 18 years in prison. A fugitive, he currently is in ICE custody pending removal proceedings.

• Veasna Uy, 34, a national of Cambodia and resident of Long Beach, Calif., who was an immigration fugitive convicted in April 2005 of manslaughter, attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon. He was placed in ICE custody pending removal from the United States.

Mr. Morton noted that ICE conducted the first successful Cross Check operation in December 2009 and has since conducted seven regional and two national Cross Check operations resulting in the arrest of more than 7,400 convicted criminal aliens. This operation is the third nationwide Cross Check operation in the agency's history.

The first nationwide Cross Check operation occurred at the end of May 2011 and resulted in the arrest of 2,442 convicted criminal aliens. The last Cross Check operation in September 2011 resulted in the arrest of 2,901 convicted criminal aliens.



Debunking the ‘stand your ground' myth

Anti-gun advocates mislead on Trayvon case to erode right to self-defense

by David Kopel

Whatever happened on the night that George Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin, we know one thing for sure: The gun prohibition lobbies and their compliant media friends have been deceiving the public about Florida's laws. Among the many deceits is the claim that Florida's “stand your ground” law affects the legality of whatever Mr. Zimmerman did.

The assertion that Florida law allows shooting whenever someone believes it to be necessary is a flat-out lie. The actual law of Florida is that “a person is justified in the use of deadly force” if “(1) He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony” (Florida Statutes, Section 776.012).

The second part of the law provides special provisions for self-defense against violent home invaders or carjackers. Neither of those is relevant to the Zimmerman case.

If the factual claims of Trayvon's supporters are true, Mr. Zimmerman criminally attacked Trayvon and killed him, while having no reasonable belief that Trayvon was perpetrating a forcible felony, or imminently about to kill or gravely wound Mr. Zimmerman . So Florida's self-defense laws simply would not apply, since Mr. Zimmerman would have no right under Florida law to use deadly force.

Florida's rule that deadly force may be used to prevent “imminent death or great bodily harm” or “the imminent commission of a forcible felony” is the norm throughout the United States.

Like the majority of American states, Florida does not mandate that victims of a violent crime attempt to retreat before they defend themselves. The retreat rule is irrelevant, regardless of whether you believe Trayvon's advocates or Mr. Zimmerman 's advocates.

According to one side, Mr. Zimmerman was the criminal aggressor. Thus, he would have no self-defense rights at all. According to the other side, Trayvon attacked Mr. Zimmerman , knocked him to the ground, got on top of him and continued the attack. So Mr. Zimmerman would have had no ability to retreat. Either way, the retreat rules for lawful defenders have nothing to do with this case.

Despite what the gun prohibition lobbies claim, the no-retreat rule has deep roots in traditional American law. At the Supreme Court, the rule dates back to the 1895 case of Beard v. United States, in which the great Justice John Harlan wrote for a unanimous court that the victim “was not obliged to retreat, nor to consider whether he could safely retreat, but was entitled to stand his ground, and meet any attack upon him with a deadly weapon, in such a way and with such force as, under all the circumstances, he, at the moment, honestly believed, and had reasonable grounds to believe, were necessary to save his own life, or to protect himself from great bodily injury.”

The great progressive Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes also expressed the unanimous opinion of the court “that if a man reasonably believes that he is in immediate danger of death or grievous bodily harm from his assailant he may stand his ground and that if he kills him he has not succeeded the bounds of lawful self-defense. … Detached reflection cannot be demanded in the presence of an uplifted knife” (Brown v. United States, 1921).

Even among the more restrictive states, such as New York, retreat is not required before using deadly force in the home - to prevent a burglary, robbery, kidnapping, rape or other forcible criminal sexual attack. Thus, whether you are in Lake Placid, N.Y., or Lake Placid, Fla., and someone attempts to rob you when you are walking down the street, you have no duty to retreat before using deadly force to thwart the robbery.

Anti-gun lobbyists assert that Florida law prevented Mr. Zimmerman from being arrested. This too is false, since he was arrested and taken into custody at the police station.

The relevant Florida law is that a law enforcement agency “may not arrest the person for using force unless it determines that there is probable cause that the force that was used was unlawful” (Florida Statutes Section 776.032). This simply restates the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which, by its express language, forbids arrests without probable cause.

A grand jury will eventually report its determination about whether Mr. Zimmerman 's actions should result in a criminal prosecution. Professional demagogues and racists, such as Al Sharpton, may try to prejudge the grand jury's investigation, but responsible citizens should not.

In the meantime, it's time for Mr. Sharpton and others to stop their false claims that Florida's self-defense laws are unusual, or that there is anything in those laws that prevents justice from being done in the Zimmerman case.

David Kopel is an adjunct professor of advanced constitutional law at Denver University and research director of the Independence Institute.



From Google News

U.S. puts $10 million bounty on Pakistan terror group's leader

by Richard Leiby

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan--The U.S. Justice Department is offering a $10 million bounty for the arrest of of Hafiz Sayeed, founder of the group blamed for the 2008 attacks in Mumbai . The reward is intended to increase the pressure on Pakistan to crack down on militant groups.

Sayeed, founder of the outlawed Lashkar-i-Taiba and its successor group, has long been designated an international terrorist. Yet he continues to preach jihad with impunity and operates a large campus for religious training in the eastern city of Lahore.

U.S. and Indian officials allege that Sayeed, as well as other militant leaders, operate with the tacit permission of the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate, the army's chief spy agency, but Pakistan denies it.

The U.S. Rewards for Justice Web site now puts Sayeed in the same company as fugitive Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar in terms of the payoff for his arrest. Omar is widely believed to be based in the tribal region of northwest Pakistan.

The Justice Department is also offering $2 million for the arrest of Sayeed's deputy, Hafiz Abdul Rahman Makki. Both men are wanted for planning the gun-and-bomb attacks in Mumbai , in which six Americans were killed.

Sayeed, a virulently anti-India and anti-U.S. cleric, now heads Jamaat-ud-Dawa, which he calls a charitable organization but is also designated as a terrorist group by the United States and the United Nations.

Many analysts see Jamaat-ud-Dawa– also technically banned here -- as a reconstituted cover for the Lashkar-i-Taiba militia. Sayeed is periodically placed under house arrest, then freed. He asserts that Jamaat-ud-Dawa has no connection to Lashkar-i-Taiba (which translates as Army of the Pious), and often denies association with either one.

In a statement Tuesday, Jamaat-ud-Dawa spokesman Yahya Mujahid characterized the bounties as “an attack on Islam and Muslims," saying that U.S. authorities “turned against” Jamaat-ud-Dawa “after getting impressed by Indian propaganda against us."

"The whole world knows that Hafiz Sayeed and Abdur Rehman Maki are not hiding in any caves, and they are rather popular leaders of this great country Pakistan and busy in welfare activities for the people of this country," Mujahid's statement said.

As a social organization, Jamaat-ud-Dawa is influential and well-entrenched in Pakistan. But analysts here, as well as U.S. officials, say the successor group has kept its militant network intact.

“There is substantive evidence to suggest that Jamaat-ud-Dawa is gaining ground in Pakistan," Muhammad Amir Rana, an expert on militancy in Pakistan, wrote last month in the English-language newspaper Dawn.

He said the group's operations include more than 300 offices, mosques and madrasas, or Islamic schools, as well as “transportation companies, residential projects and media groups.”

The group's charitable wing runs a huge ambulance fleet, seven hospitals and 200 health clinics, Rana wrote.



Analyses of enhanced video, audio could support both sides of Martin case

(CNN) -- Two new pieces of evidence appear to lend credence to opposing versions of what happened the night Trayvon Martin died.

Enhanced surveillance images of George Zimmerman, the man who admitted shooting the teen but claimed self-defense, appear to show a bump, mark or injury on the back of his head.

But two forensic audio experts said a voice crying for help on a 911 call does not appear to be Zimmerman's voice, despite claims to the contrary by his family.

Police in Sanford, Florida, released a new, higher-resolution surveillance video of Zimmerman entering the police station the night of Martin's death on February 26. The sharper footage shows an apparent bump, mark or injury on Zimmerman's head more clearly than a previously released video, which had a grainy quality.

The 28-year-old neighborhood watch volunteer has said he killed the unarmed 17-year-old in self-defense, saying the teen punched him and slammed his head into a sidewalk before the shooting, according to family members and police.

A Martin family attorney, Jasmine Rand, said Tuesday that it doesn't matter what the videotape shows.

"That does not change our position," she said. "Once again, George Zimmerman was the aggressor. He pursued Trayvon in this instance. If he did have any medical injuries, that did not give him the right to use deadly force and shoot and kill Trayvon."

Martin's family and supporters say Zimmerman, who is Hispanic, profiled Martin, who was black, as "suspicious" and ignored a police dispatcher's request that he not follow him. The 17-year-old had a bag of Skittles and an iced tea at the time of his death.

Another point of debate is a 911 call made the night of Martin's death.

Zimmerman has said he was yelling for help, according to his family members and his account to authorities, as first reported by the Orlando Sentinel and later confirmed by Sanford police.

But Martin's relatives, including his cousin Ronquavis Fulton, have said they are certain the voice heard on the 911 call is that of Trayvon Martin.

Audio experts Tom Owen and Ed Primeau, who analyzed the recordings for the Sentinel using different techniques, said they don't believe it is Zimmerman who is heard yelling in the background of one 911 call. They compared the screams with Zimmerman's voice, as recorded in a 911 call he made minutes earlier describing a "suspicious" black male.

"There's a huge chance that this is not Zimmerman's voice," said Primeau, a longtime audio engineer who is listed as an expert in recorded evidence by the American College of Forensic Examiners International.

"After 28 years of doing this, I would put my reputation on the line and say this is not George Zimmerman screaming."

What witnesses say

Owen, a forensic audio analyst and chairman emeritus of the American Board of Recorded Evidence, also said he does not believe the screams came from Zimmerman.

He cited software that is widely used in Europe and has become recently accepted in the United States that examines characteristics like pitch and the space between spoken words to analyze voices.

Using it, he found a 48% likelihood the voice is Zimmerman's. At least 60% is necessary to feel confident two samples are from the same source, he told CNN on Monday -- meaning it's unlikely it was Zimmerman who can be heard yelling.

The experts, both of whom said they have testified in cases involving audio analysis, stressed they cannot say who was screaming.

911 call analysis questioned

Meanwhile, Martin family attorney Benjamin Crump and the Martin family pressed for a federal investigation into the decision to not arrest Zimmerman, saying someone from the state attorney's office ignored a Sanford detective's advice to arrest Zimmerman.

In a letter delivered to the U.S. Justice Department on Monday, the Martin family said the Sanford police detective "filed an affidavit stating that he did not find Zimmerman's statements credible in light of the circumstances and facts surrounding the shooting."

The Martin family said Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee and State Attorney Norm Wolfinger met the night of the shooting and disregarded the detective's advice, allowing Zimmerman to remain free.

ABC News has reported that the lead homicide investigator, Chris Serino, filed an affidavit pushing for charges the night of the killing, but was overruled by the state attorney's office.

Neither Sanford police nor prosecutors have confirmed the existence of such an affidavit. Sanford officials and special prosecutor Angela Corey's office declined comment.

On Tuesday, Rand said she had not seen a copy the affidavit, but said she believed several news organizations had.

But Wolfinger, who stepped aside in the case last month, vehemently denied that any "such meeting or communication occurred" between him and Lee.

"I am outraged by the outright lies contained in the letter by Benjamin Crump," Wolfinger said in a statement Monday.

"I have been encouraging those spreading the irresponsible rhetoric to stop and allow State Attorney Angela Corey to complete her work," he said. "Another falsehood distributed to the media does nothing to forward that process."

On Tuesday, Rand said the family's legal team has multiple, credible sources who say Wolfinger and Lee met that night. She declined to offer more specifics.

On Monday, Crump said no one is saying Zimmerman can't make a self-defense claim in a court of law.

"All we're saying is that he should have been arrested. If that was Trayvon Martin who was accused of pulling the trigger, he would have been arrested right there on the spot. We only want equal justice and 'fair and impartial' to be applied across the board."

The next major movement in the case likely will come from Corey's office, which could charge Zimmerman, clear him or send the case to a grand jury.