NEWS of the Day - July 6, 2012
on some LACP issues of interest

NEWS of the Day - July 6, 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

Malware may knock thousands off Internet on Monday

by Lolita C. Baldor

WASHINGTON - The warnings about the Internet problem have been splashed across Facebook and Google. Internet service providers have sent notices, and the FBI set up a special website.

But tens of thousands of Americans may still lose their Internet service Monday unless they do a quick check of their computers for malware that could have taken over their machines more than a year ago.

Despite repeated alerts, the number of computers that probably are infected is more than 277,000 worldwide, down from about 360,000 in April. Of those still infected, the FBI believes that about 64,000 are in the United States.

Users whose computers are still infected Monday will lose their ability to go online, and they will have to call their service providers for help deleting the malware and reconnecting to the Internet.

The problem began when international hackers ran an online advertising scam to take control of more than 570,000 infected computers around the world. When the FBI went in to take down the hackers late last year, agents realized that if they turned off the malicious servers being used to control the computers, all the victims would lose their Internet service.

In a highly unusual move, the FBI set up a safety net. They brought in a private company to install two clean Internet servers to take over for the malicious servers so that people would not suddenly lose their Internet.

But that temporary system will be shut down at 12:01 a.m. EDT Monday, July 9.

Most victims don't even know their computers have been infected, although the malicious software probably has slowed their Web surfing and disabled their antivirus software, making their machines more vulnerable to other problems.

But popular social networking sites and Internet providers have gotten more involved, reaching out to computer users to warn of the problem.

According to Tom Grasso, an FBI supervisory special agent, many Internet providers are ready for the problem and have plans to try to help their customers. Some, such as Comcast, already have reached out.

The company sent out notices and posted information on its website. Because the company can tell whether there is a problem with a customer's Internet server, Comcast sent an email, letter or Internet notice to customers whose computers appeared to be affected.

Grasso said other Internet providers may come up with technical solutions that they will put in place Monday that will either correct the problem or provide information to customers when they call to say their Internet isn't working. If the Internet providers correct the server problem, the Internet will work, but the malware will remain on victims' computers and could pose future problems.

In addition to individual computer owners, about 50 Fortune 500 companies are still infected, Grasso said.

Both Facebook and Google created their own warning messages that showed up if someone using either site appeared to have an infected computer. Facebook users would get a message that says, "Your computer or network might be infected," along with a link that users can click for more information.

Google users got a similar message, displayed at the top of a Google search results page. It also provides information on correcting the problem.

To check whether a computer is infected, users can visit a website run by the group brought in by the FBI: http://www.dcwg.org.

The site includes links to respected commercial sites that will run a quick check on the computer, and it also lays out detailed instructions if users want to actually check the computer themselves.



From Google News

200 see 2-year-old shot, but nobody's talking

'Stop snitching' culture increasingly pervasive; community's silence frustrates officers

by Morgan Zalot - The Philadelphia Daily News

PHILADELPHIA — Bullets tore through the warm summer night, slicing through the crowd of about 200 people jamming a Logan street for an impromptu night block party.

A 2-year-old girl took a bullet to her tiny stomach as she stood between parked cars. Three other people were struck. Dozens of witnesses scattered.

In the wake of the quadruple shooting, everyone clammed up.

Infuriated, police and city officials say not a single person has come forward with a tip, not even the little girl's mother, providing yet another frustrating example of the difficulty in bringing neighborhood thugs to justice.

Though the "stop-snitching" culture is nothing new, this latest outrage has city officials steaming.

If no one in a neighborhood where whispers about the violence have traveled porch to porch for nearly three weeks will speak up to catch the monster who nearly killed a 2-year-old girl, is there anything that will make the residents take a stand against the thugs who hold them hostage?

"It's a disgrace. This is shameful," city Managing Director Richard Negrin said. "We're not asking someone to stick their neck out. This is about giving us a name so we can get an investigation started, so that we can try to do good police work around a tip, and we don't have one."

$10,000 reward

When gunfire from two different weapons erupted during what cops and city officials say was an illegal block party June 16 on 12th Street just north of Courtland shortly after 9 p.m., the first bout of shots sent partygoers ducking behind cars and running for cover.

According to police, as the crowd scattered, the 2-year-old girl remained standing between two parked cars until one woman noticed her alone on the edge of the street and scooped her up as a second round of gunfire — making it at least 10 shots total fired on the block — rang out.

It wasn't until the toddler was put into the arms of her 23-year-old mother, who'd run onto the porch of a house in the middle of the block with several others for cover, that the mother realized her little girl had been shot in the stomach, police said.

"I heard shots and thought maybe it was fireworks," said a witness who gave his name only as Anthony. "Then she was screaming that the baby was shot."

The first cops to arrive at the chaotic scene found a block so jammed with parked cars and packed with people that an ambulance couldn't drive down the street to pick up the badly wounded child, residents and officials said.

In the house where cops found the young victim, critically hurt and bleeding from the gunshot wound to her stomach, they also found a 24-year-old man suffering a graze wound to his right leg.

The child was taken to Albert Einstein Medical Center in critical condition and later transferred to St. Christopher's Hospital for Children suffering a collapsed lung in addition to her other injuries. She was released from the hospital 15 days after the shooting and is home recovering, officials said.

Around the corner on Marvine Street, cops found a third victim, a 30-year-old man, with a gunshot wound to the hand.

But the mayhem didn't stop there. As officers worked to gain control of the shooting scene and get the three victims to area hospitals, Albert Einstein Medical Center called to report a fourth victim from the shootout — a 22-year-old man who'd been hit in the calf and taken to the hospital in a private car.

Will, a neighbor who said he was there at the time of the shooting but declined to give his last name, sat on his porch and reflected on the mass chaos that erupted with the gunfire.

"There were people in the street, on the sidewalks, on porches," he said. "It's hard to identify. You can't even tell where it's coming from."

In the immediate wake of the shooting, cops announced a $10,000 reward for tips. Now, almost three weeks later, they've received none.

Multiple attempts by the Daily News to reach the wounded toddler's mother were unsuccessful. Through neighbors, she declined to comment last week.

"We've been praying for her," her neighbor said. "The story needs to get out there."

Confusion and fear

Back in the neighborhood, residents — most of whom spoke only on the condition of anonymity — agreed it's a sad state of affairs when a toddler can nearly be killed in the crossfire, but no one is willing to give police information on what happened.

Some neighbors said everyone's been talking about the shooting, but no one seems outraged, despite its young victim, signifying a jarring numbness among people in a city where violence is a constant in some communities.

"I've been hearing people say what was going on, but they're not really pissed," said one resident who declined to give his name.

"There's a total apathy ... in the community. Plus maybe, unfortunately, an acceptance that this is the way it is," said city Director of Public Safety Michael Resnick. "And maybe reliance that the city will take care of it, the police will take care of it, ‘It's not our issue' ... but unfortunately, it is. They live there. It's their neighborhood."

Another neighbor who was outside during the shooting said, "It's sad. I wish I knew more. I'd tell ya'll. It was a lot of concerned people out here."

But Negrin and Resnick said they're convinced people in the neighborhood have information about the shooting and aren't coming forward.

"That's inexcusable on the part of that community," Negin said. "We're not stupid. Human nature is human nature. When something like this happens in a community, it's not an everyday occurrence. Everybody talks about it. Everybody there knows who the shooters were."

Resnick added, "I'm sure the word's out on the street."

Both stressed that tipsters can remain anonymous. They said the police department's text-a-tip line, PPD TIP (773847), was specifically set up so cops can't tell where a tip originated.

"We specifically outsourced that so it's a third-party outside vendor taking those tips," Negrin said. "It doesn't even come to the city, so you don't even have to trust us that we're going to treat you anonymously. The vendor is instructed not to give us the number or tell us where it's coming from."

The community's silence on that shooting doesn't mean police never get tips, city officials said.

Since the police department launched its new text-a-tip line and the iWatch Philadelphia app in the spring, Resnick said cops have gotten more than 2,000 anonymous tips via the Internet, phone calls, texts and the app.

"People give tips every day," Negrin said. "There's a mechanism in place. There are people who step up and do the right thing all the time."

If residents remain mum on the details, the city now has some recourse to legally compel them to testify under oath since the Pennsylvania Supreme Court late last month approved the use of secret grand juries for indictments – a measure partially targeted at the very "stop snitching" culture in Philadelphia that cops and officials believe is keeping neighbors silent in this shooting.

Negrin said the District Attorney's Office is considering assembling a grand jury in the case. A spokeswoman for the DA declined to comment, saying in an email, "We do not confirm nor deny grand jury investigations, therefore no one in our office will be able to speak to you about this."

If a grand jury was convened in this case, it would be the first in Philadelphia under the new ruling, officials said.

Negrin said he and other city leaders are pushing for the DA's office to assemble a grand jury since no one is coming forward soon with information.

Councilwoman Cindy Bass, who represents the North Philadelphia block where the shooting happened, said her office is working on setting up a series of small community meetings over the next few weeks to talk to people, hoping to make them comfortable about sharing information.

She attributes residents' silence to the fear of retaliation. One of the victims shot on 12th Street, according to police sources, has 18 prior arrests, including two for witness intimidation. He was the only victim with a record.

"Anytime a 2-year-old can be shot in front of 200 people and no one says anything, it's a problem," Bass said. "It's beyond a problem. It's a travesty that speaks to the fear and the concern. We have to get in front of it."

"I'm the mother of a 3-year-old and I just cannot say enough how outraged I am that this should happen," Bass said. "And the perpetrators are still on the street weeks later."'



Judge: Zimmerman was going to jump bail with other people's money

by Frances Robles - Miami Herald

The judge overseeing George Zimmerman's murder trial wrote a stern eight-page order Thursday that set bail at $1 million and said the former neighborhood watch volunteer thumbed his nose at the judicial system as he plotted a life on the run.

Seminole County Circuit Judge Kenneth R. Lester ordered Zimmerman to remain in Seminole County, doing away with the special perk that had allowed Zimmerman to await trial in hiding out of state before his initial bail was revoked. Lester said nothing in the defense team's presentation in a three-hour hearing last week explained why someone would stash a second passport and $135,000 if it wasn't to jump bail.

“Notably, together with the passport, the money only had to be hidden for a short time for him to leave the country if the defendant made a quick decision to flee,” Lester wrote. “It is entirely reasonable for this court to find that, but for the requirement that he be placed on electronic monitoring, the defendant and his wife would have fled the United States with at least $130,000 of other people's money.”

He rejected the defense argument that Zimmerman, 28, was young and confused when he instructed his wife, in jailhouse phone conversations, to transfer all the funds he raised online out of his name and allowed her to lie about it under oath at his initial bond hearing.

“Trayvon Martin is the only male whose youth is relevant to this case,” Lester wrote.

Lester's strong rebuke underscored the difficult road Zimmerman has ahead before this judge, legal experts said. It's Lester who would decide in a “Stand Your Ground” hearing whether Zimmerman's case should be tossed out on the basis of self-defense immunity. Zimmerman's life is now in the hands of a judge who said the defendant “manipulated” and flouted the court.

“A witness' credibility is everything, and the judge views everything Zimmerman says with a suspicious eye,” said Mark NeJame, an Orlando attorney and CNN analyst whom Zimmerman consulted before hiring his current lawyer, Mark O'Mara. “Now O'Mara is going to face the tough decision whether to ever put him on the stand again.”

The judge noted in his ruling that Zimmerman even lied to his attorney by suggesting he could not pay for his defense.

“I have had a lot of clients like that,” NeJame said. “Some I fired. Some I told over and over, like a mantra, ‘tell the truth.' At the end of the day, I'm going home. If he insists on lying or being less than forthright, he may not.”

Zimmerman faces a second-degree murder trial for shooting Trayvon to death on Feb. 26. Zimmerman insists he shot the unarmed Miami Gardens teen in self defense after an unprovoked attack that cost him a broken nose.

Thousands of people around the country believe him and feel he was railroaded by the special prosecutor and the media. They donated more than $200,000 to his legal defense fund — money Zimmerman hid from the court at his initial bond hearing on April 20.

Several hours after the judge's ruling Thursday, the defense attorney posted a public plea for more contributions. He said the gifts dwindled when Zimmerman was behind bars, because supporters feared the account would be wiped out.

“In the next hours and days the defense team will be working to get George released on bail and on effective strategies for moving forward. Much of our decision-making will be based upon the funds available for mounting a defense,” O'Mara wrote on his website.

“For those who have given in the past, for those who have thought about giving, for those who feel Mr. Zimmerman was justified in his actions, for those who feel they would do the same if they were in Mr. Zimmerman's shoes, for those that think Mr. Zimmerman has been treated unfairly by the media, for those who feel Mr. Zimmerman has been falsely accused as a racist, for those who feel this case is an affront to their constitutional rights — now is the time to show your support,” O'Mara wrote.

He said Zimmerman and his family do not have “anywhere near” $1 million to post as collateral.

Longtime bail bondsman Jack Benveniste said there's nothing in the law that requires collateral, so Zimmerman should be able to pay the 10 percent bondsman fee and be released.

“This kid can't disappear. That's a safe bond,” said Benveniste, who owns All Dade Bail Bonds in Miami Beach. “He's very visible: It would take two minutes to find him. I think he's being punished by the judge. I'd write that bond with my eyes closed.”

The bond, Benveniste noted, will make a dent only in the attorney's fees.

The legal defense fund — www.gzdefensefund.com — has a $211,000 balance, O'Mara wrote, and there are about $40,000 in payables for defense expenses so far, not including attorney fees, O'Mara wrote.

Hefty costs such as expert witnesses, deposition costs, private security and Zimmerman's living expenses are ahead. “Paying bond and scheduled expenses would effectively wipe out the existing balance,” O'Mara said.

Although Judge Lester said he suspected Zimmerman was going to flee, the state did not prove its argument that Zimmerman should have no bond. The judge made his decision based on prior case law in which bond terms were violated.

“The increased bond is not a punishment,” Lester added. “It is meant to allay the court's concern that the defendant intended to flee the jurisdiction and a lesser amount would not ensure his presence in court.”

Zimmerman had been free on $150,000 bail, but was sent back to jail last month after his attorney revealed that the defendant had misinformed the court about how much money he had. The judge said the misrepresentation could be interpreted as a third-degree felony, but Zimmerman has not been charged with lying on his bond application.

Prosecutors provided bank records that showed that on April 20, the day of Zimmerman's original bond hearing, he had $135,000 in cash at his disposal, even as his family professed to be broke. Taped jailhouse phone calls between him and his wife showed he had instructed her to transfer money he had raised online out of his bank account into hers.

“Even though the defendant was in jail at the time, he was intimately involved in the deposit and transfer of money into various accounts,” Duval County Assistant State Attorney Bernie de la Rionda wrote. “Defendant was directing the show.”

For saying under oath that she did not know how much money they had raised and that the couple had no assets, Zimmerman's wife, Shellie, was charged with perjury.

Prosecutors also said the taped calls show the couple talking about the whereabouts of Zimmerman's second passport.

In his ruling, Judge Lester added that he could no longer consider Zimmerman's “family ties” as a positive factor, as his family showed willingness to lie in court or allow a deception to stand without reporting the fraud. The bond needed to be set high, he said, because Zimmerman's loss of money he never earned through hard work would be of little consequence to him.

“It can be deemed almost as ‘found money,'” the judge wrote.

If he is able to post bond, Zimmerman must check in with the court's pretrial release department every 48 hours; wear an electronic monitoring device; maintain a 6 p.m.-to-6 a.m. curfew, and refrain from drinking or maintaining a bank account. He's barred from entering Orlando International Airport and getting another passport.

“Trayvon's parents would rather that the killer of their unarmed child remain in jail until the trial; however they respect the ruling of the court and the strong message that the judge sent that deference to judicial integrity is paramount to all court proceedings,” the parents' attorney, Benjamin Crump, said in a statement. “Furthermore, they understand that this is not a sprint to justice, but a long journey to justice that they must bear for their son Trayvon.”




Phoenix police chief reinforces stance on community policing

Garcia, at breakfast, says he wants every officer engaged with residents

by Betty Reid

Janice Gordon-Caddy said she likes what she heard about community policing from Phoenix's new police chief.

Gordon-Caddy, the president of the Springs at Yorkshire Block Watch, attended District 1 Councilwoman Thelda Williams' breakfast at Martin Auto Museum Inc. last week, where Chief of Police Daniel Garcia was a guest. Garcia touted his background in community policing, which encourages officers to work with community members.

Gordon-Caddy, a criminal-justice student at University of Phoenix, endorsed Garcia's community-policing program.

"It's a way of getting the community connected," Gordon-Caddy said. "It's how the neighborhood police officer talked to the kids and the community kids liked the police officer. ... Rather than police officers driving by in a car, they get out and talk to people."

Garcia, who was hired in March, told Gordon-Caddy and a north Phoenix audience his expectations for his department.

"Chief Garcia may be the new face of the Phoenix Police Department, we may have special groups that concentrate on community policing, but I want every officer involved in community policing," he said.

"I want every officer to be the face of community policing. I want every officer to engage in problem resolution. Not just answering the call and going to the next call."