| NEWS of the Week
|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 ...
NOTE: To see full stories either click on the Daily links or on the URL provided below each article.
August 26, 2012
From the L.A. Daily News
Parents deported, what happens to US-born kids?
STAMFORD, Conn.—Alexis Molina was just 10 years old when his mother was abruptly cut out of his life and his carefree childhood unraveled overnight.
Gone were the egg-and-sausage tortillas that greeted him when he came home from school, the walks in the park, the hugs at night when she tucked him into bed. Today the sweet-faced boy of 11 spends his time worrying about why his father cries so much, and why his mom can't come home.
"She went for her papers," he says. "And she never came back."
Alexis' father, Rony Molina, who runs a small landscaping company, was born in Guatemala but has lived here for 12 years and is an American citizen. Alexis and his 8-year-old brother, Steve, are Americans, too. So is their 19-year-old stepsister, Evelin. But their mother, Sandra, who lived here illegally, was deported to Guatemala a year and a half ago.
"How can my country not allow a mother to be with her children, especially when they are so young and they need her," Rony Molina asks, "and especially when they are Americans?"
It's a question thousands of other families are wrestling with as a record number of deportations means record numbers of American children being left without a parent. And it comes despite President Barack Obama's promise that his administration would focus on removing only criminals, not breaking up families even if a parent is here illegally.
Federal immigration program can help young workers
TULARE, Calif.—In an animal laboratory in central California's dairy country, Juan Carlos Martin cleaned and fed dozens of cows.
Smuggled through a U.S. border checkpoint in a car at age 13, the Mexico native had hoped for an education and career, but started working full time at the end of high school after an accident incapacitated his father.
Now 23, Martin was surprised to learn this week that he may be eligible for the new federal program that temporarily defers deportation and grants work permits to young illegal immigrants.
Much of the attention surrounding the program that began last Wednesday has focused on students. But researchers say it could also benefit hundreds of thousands of young adults working in low-wage industries such as agriculture.
"The stereotype about the young people who are eligible is that they're college students and academic superstars that speak English perfectly. And that is, of course, not true for all of them," said Ed Kissam, a labor policy researcher.
From Google News
Armstrong called humble hero who served country
When Neil Armstrong walked on the moon all those years ago, he made his country believe that anything was possible with ingenuity and dedication — and in the process became one of America's greatest heroes, his friends, colleagues and admirers said Saturday after news that the former astronaut had died.
‘‘When I think of Neil, I think of someone who for our country was dedicated enough to dare greatly,'' said former astronaut John Glenn, who went through jungle training in Panama with Armstrong as part of the astronaut program and was a close friend. He said Armstrong showed exemplary skill and dedication.
The idea of Armstrong as a humble pilot who served his country above all echoed around the country Saturday, by visitors to museums that fete his accomplishments and by his former NASA colleagues. Armstrong died Saturday at age 82 from complications resulting from cardiovascular procedures, his family said.
In California, visitors and staff at the Griffith Observatory paused for a moment of silence. At the Armstrong Air and Space Museum in Armstrong's hometown of Wapakoneta, Ohio, a black ribbon hung over a plaque of Armstrong in the museum's entryway and a U.S. flag was lowered in Armstrong's memory.
Online tributes and video of Neil Armstrong's first steps on the moon:
From the FBI
Genocide and War Crimes
New Website Designed to Raise Awareness, Solicit Information
Kosovo…Rwanda…Srebrenica. These places will forever be associated with unspeakable, brutal acts of genocide and war crimes.
The global community has banded together to help prevent crimes like these and to bring to justice the perpetrators who commit them. The U.S. is part of this international effort—most recently through the creation of an interagency Atrocities Prevention Board. And the FBI supports the government's efforts through its own Genocide War Crimes Program.
Today, in an effort to raise awareness about these crimes and the FBI's part in helping to combat them, we're announcing the launch of our Genocide War Crimes Program website. In addition to educating the public on our role, the website solicits information from victims and others about acts of genocide, war crimes, or related mass atrocities that can be submitted to us through tips.fbi.gov or by contacting an FBI field office or legal attaché office.
August 25, 2012
From Google News
Court declares Norway gunman sane, sentences him to prison in massacre that killed 77 people
OSLO, Norway — It was during breaks between marathon video game sessions in his mother's apartment in Oslo that Anders Behring Breivik drafted his complicated and chilling plan.
He would kill indiscriminately with explosives and guns, surrender to authorities if he survived, then prove himself sane in court — all to publicize a manifesto accusing Muslims of destroying European society.
By any account, the attack went exactly as he intended. A court ruled Friday that Breivik was sane when he killed 77 people, most of them teenagers, in attacks that shook Norway to its core. “His goal was to be declared sane, so on that point he is satisfied,” said Breivik's defense lawyer, Geir Lippestad.
The Oslo district court found the 33-year-old right-wing extremist guilty of terrorism and premeditated murder for the twin attacks on July 22 last year. Breivik first bombed government headquarters, killing eight people, before going on a shooting massacre on Utoya island that left 69 dead at a summer camp for young members of the governing Labor Party.
Casey Anthony no longer on probation for Fla. check fraud conviction, is free to live anywhere
MIAMI — Casey Anthony's year of probation on a check fraud conviction is over.
Florida Department of Corrections officials confirmed Friday that the 26-year-old Anthony is no longer under supervision. She has been living at an undisclosed location but had to remain in Florida while on probation. She also had to make regular visits to a probation officer.
Now, Anthony is free to live anywhere she likes. Her attorneys have refused to say where she might go and what she will do with her life.
The Orlando woman was acquitted last year of murder charges in the death of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee, in a trial that captured nationwide attention for months.
Prison Drug Ring: Oscar Perez, Justin Addler Allegedly Ran Heroin, Methamphetamine Operation
INDIANAPOLIS — Two inmates housed at different Indiana prisons ran a drug ring that distributed methamphetamine, heroin and other drugs thanks to cellphones smuggled in by guards, according to a federal indictment unsealed Wednesday that charges 40 people in connection with the scheme.
The indictment alleges that the purported ringleader, Oscar Perez, and an inmate at another prison, Justin Addler, even conference called with a third man using smuggled cellphones to discuss "pooling their financial resources" to get a discount on heroin.
At least 17 people appeared in court Wednesday in Indianapolis after about 300 FBI agents fanned out across the state and made arrests. A judge ordered them to remain in custody. Only one prison guard was among those charged, though the indictment alleges several were involved. Prosecutors declined to say if more charges were expected.
Few details about the defendants were included in the court documents, though prison records show Perez is serving time for murder and attempted murder at Westville Correctional Facility in northern Indiana, while Addler is housed at central Indiana's Pendleton Correctional Facility on charges including drug dealing.
The indictment details a series of alleged phone calls the two men placed to people outside the prisons, including to oversee the purchase of "large amounts" of heroin from a source in Chicago. They also instructed people how and where the drugs should be sold.
August 24, 2012
From the L.A. Daily News
Lancaster's new surveillance plane draws praise, protest
It's not a drone - yet.
Outwardly, the small aircraft that started flying high above Lancaster this week is a far cry from the Pentagon's sleek unmanned spy planes. To be exact, it's a 33-year-old Cessna that cost about $100,000 before the bells and whistles.
But the modest-looking blue and silver plane, which was to start its regular flying on Friday has some impressive surveillance capabilities.
Its constantly recording video camera, controlled by sheriff's deputies on the ground, can zoom in within seconds to see a car or person from miles away and thousands of feet up. Thanks to its software, it can automatically track a suspect vehicle. Its infrared capability can see cars or people at night, even detecting how many people are inside a house because of the heat they give off.
It's likely just a matter of time until drones that do all that and more are flying over Lancaster and other cities. Unmanned aircraft aren't allowed for most civilian uses, but the Federal Aviation Administration has begun to issue permits for them to police departments and has said the number of drones is likely to expand dramatically in the next decade.
When that happens, Lancaster might be near the front of the line. The surveillance camera that now sits on its piloted Cessna 172 was designed so it could be moved to a drone. That would be more expensive up front, but the lack of a pilot would save money in the long run.
From Google News
FBI issues warning of anarchist threats
TAMPA (FOX 13) - The FBI has issued a warning about the potential for violence at the Republican National Convention.
In an intelligence bulletin obtained by CNN and confirmed by FOX 13 News, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security are telling local officials that domestic terror groups are plotting to disrupt the RNC.
The bulletin, confirmed by FOX 13, says extremists could try to use improvised explosive devices on Tampa Bay bridges and tolls roads.
"What can they do at a strategic choke hold, like a bridge, is to disrupt traffic to where they cause enough harm to where they shut the bridge down," explains former FBI Agent Joe Navarro.
Navarro says law enforcement officials have been working to stay one step ahead of who they are calling "domestic terrorists," by watching them closely.
August 23, 2012
Early warnings on BioWatch
BioWatch scientists knew the biological attack detection system was prone to false alarms, records show — contradicting Homeland Security officials' assertions.
WASHINGTON — Scientists who helped pioneer BioWatch, the government's system for detecting a biological attack on the U.S., knew from the start that it was prone to false alarms, records show.
Between 2003, when the nationwide network of air samplers was first deployed, and 2006, officials at the federally funded Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory filed five patent applications aimed at improving BioWatch's reliability.
"The existing methods for detecting" a release of disease-causing organisms into the environment were "inadequate," according to a patent application filed on behalf of Livermore scientists in December 2006.
The application cited a "higher than acceptable rate of false positive ... results," adding: "False positive results lead to confusion regarding whether [a pathogen] is actually present and whether protective measures should immediately be implemented."
The previously unpublicized documents contradict repeated assertions by the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees BioWatch, that the system has performed flawlessly. The department's chief medical officer, Alexander Garza, said last month that "there has never been a false positive result."
CDC: West Nile outbreak `one of largest' in U.S.
ATLANTA - U.S. health officials reported Wednesday three times the usual number of West Nile cases for this time of year and one expert called it "one of the largest" outbreaks since the virus appeared in this country in 1999.
So far, 1,118 illnesses have been reported, about half of them in Texas, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In an average year, fewer than 300 cases are reported by mid-August. There have also been 41 deaths this year.
"We're in the midst of one of the largest West Nile outbreaks ever seen in the United States," said Dr. Lyle Petersen, a CDC official.
Never before have so many illnesses been reported this early, said Petersen, who oversees the CDC's mosquito-borne illness programs.
Most infections are usually reported in August and September, so it's too early to say how bad this year will end up, CDC officials said.
They think the mild winter, early spring and very hot summer have fostered breeding of mosquitoes that pick up the virus from birds they bite and then spread it to people.
West Nile Virus: Who's at Risk?
As Cases Climb, Experts Answer the West Nile Virus Questions Everyone Asks
The West Nile virus outbreak is spreading, threatening to make this the worst year ever in the U.S., with 47 deaths now reported, according to the latest statistics from the CDC.
The mosquito-borne virus is circulating in 47 states. WebMD turned to three experts and asked them to address the West Nile virus questions most commonly asked.
"Looking at the risk of getting infected, anyone who is outdoors and participating in activities is,'' says Erin Staples, MD, PhD, medical epidemiologist at the CDC.
That's especially true at dusk and dawn, she says, when mosquitoes carrying the virus are most active. "Only 1 in 5 people who get infected will develop symptoms," she says.
In most cases, the symptoms are flu -like and fleeting. But not always. Some people develop severe neurological problems.
Take back Toledo
A baby's death is tragic. But so is the loss of any other innocent life, as well as the waste of lives that have no future other than drug abuse, prison, and early death. It is time to take back the city.
On Aug. 9, two people walked up to the rear patio door of a residence at Moody Manor and fired at least 12 shots into the apartment. One shot struck 1-year-old Keondra Hooks in the head. She died less than 12 hours later.
Her crime? She lived in a housing complex claimed by one gang, the Manor Boys, that has a running feud with another gang, the Cherry Woodz, which claims the Greenbelt Place apartments on Cherry Street as its turf.
At least 126 people have been shot in Toledo this year. There have been 21 homicides, 15 by guns.
WVU professor pushes for community policing in city
West Virginia University criminologist Jim Nolan believes Wilmington will continue to face a reputation it's dangerous until it revamps its policing strategies and turns around its crime problem.
The city again found itself dealing with a public relations snafu related to crime this week after a Parenting magazine list declaring Wilmington as the most dangerous city in America surfaced.
Wilmington's past get-tough approaching, including jumpout squads, has contributed to the problem, Nolan contends. Instead of worrying about task forces and tactics, city police should work on building connections with residents, said Nolan, a former Wilmington police officer who has been loosely following city crime issues.
The city must move toward community policing, Nolan said, echoing the words of Councilwoman Loretta Walsh and mayoral candidate Kevin F. Kelley Sr., also a current member of council.
by Michael Smerconish
August 22, 2012
Some should be screened more than others
“I'm not saying we should only screen young Arab men, or that we should screen every young Arab man who gets onto a plane. But we cannot ignore the commonalities in age, gender, nationality, religion and appearance of the 19 men responsible for 9/11 and other acts of terrorism. Some types of people need to be screened more than others.”
I wrote those words in a book I published three years ago, reaffirming a position I'd stated many times in the past decade. In fact, I wrote a book on the subject in 2004: Flying Blind: How Political Correctness Continues to Compromise Airline Safety Post 9/11 . And I've echoed those sentiments in countless columns.
Do I still believe that, given the complaints over passenger screening at Logan Airport in Boston? The New York Times reported that an airport program intended to detect the behaviors of terrorists has instead been used for racial profiling. The Times said passengers who fit certain profiles — such as Hispanics flying to Miami, blacks wearing baseball caps backward — are more likely to be stopped and questioned.
Despite that, my answer is yes. Law enforcement needs to take into account the similarities of any group members who have evil intentions. Political correctness should not stand in the way of street smarts.
Will the City Crack Down on Illegal Immigrants? Minutes With the Mayor
In this edition, Mayor David Gonzalez explains City of Chicago Heights' position on going after undocumented immigrants.
Patch gathered questions from readers, for Chicago Heights Mayor David Gonzalez. Now, Patch will regularly air a series of video responses to the questions readers voted as most pressing.
In this segment, Gonzalez is answering a question on whether the City of Chicago Heights will crackdown on undocumented immigrants. His answer? No way.
Interesting question. It's no secret that immigration law is set by the Constitution of the United States of America. It is the federal government's responsibility to set policy for immigration. It is the federal government's to enforce immigration law. It is not the responsibility of the State. It is not the responsibility of local government.
We have seen that there are some areas in other states or cities that want to work with the federal government and take some kind of proactive approach in trying to help them on illegal immigration, but we have to understand where we live here. The city of Chicago Heights is a very, very diverse community and we've got a very, very high immigrant population in the city.
From the Department of Justice
Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez Speaks at Press Conference Announcing Civil Rights Enforcement Unit
Good morning, and thank you all for joining us for this important announcement. It is an honor to be here with Joyce and her staff in the U.S. Attorney's Office. Joyce is deeply committed to protecting the civil rights of the communities she serves. And the attorneys and professionals in her office have been invaluable partners to the Department of Justice throughout my tenure at the Civil Rights Division. Today's announcement commemorates that partnership, and will strengthen it for years to come.
I extend my sincere congratulations to everyone in the U.S. Attorney's Office, the civil rights advocates and stakeholders on the ground, and the communities throughout Northern Alabama who worked so hard in recent months to make this Civil Rights Unit possible.
This announcement is all the more special because of where we are today. I first toured the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute two years ago. I had the opportunity then to see what a great and living monument this Institute is to Birmingham's rich history in the civil rights movement. It is important that we are here together now, during the 20 th anniversary of the Institute, to look back at that history – and to look forward together to how far we have to travel to realize the vision of the brave men and women memorialized on these walls.
The eyes of the world watched as centuries of our nation's troubled history of race relations played out in these streets a half century ago. Residents of Birmingham, many of them children, marched through this city demanding access to the promise of our founding documents. They exposed themselves to great physical violence, and far too many lives were stolen by that fight. But their struggle was not in vain. This city was the eye of the storm that sparked revolutionary change.
Iraqi National Pleads Guilty to 12-count Terrorism Indictment in Kentucky
Defendant Attempted to Ship Weapons and Money from the United States To Iraqi Insurgents
Iraqi citizen Mohanad Shareef Hammadi pleaded guilty to federal terrorism charges today in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky before Senior Judge Thomas B. Russell, announced Lisa Monaco, Assistant Attorney General for National Security; David J. Hale, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky; and Perrye K. Turner, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Louisville Division.
Hammadi, 24, a former resident of Iraq, pleaded guilty to all counts of a 12-count superseding indictment. The superseding indictment charged him with five counts of attempting to provide material support to terrorists and four counts of attempting to provide material support to al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), a designated foreign terrorist organization. The superseding indictment also charged him with one count of conspiracy to transfer, possess and export Stinger missiles and with two counts of making false statements in immigration matters. Hammadi was first indicted on May 26, 2011 and was subsequently charged in a superseding indictment returned on Feb. 15, 2012 by a federal grand jury meeting in Bowling Green, Ky.
Hammadi faces a maximum sentence of life in prison under the sentencing guidelines and a mandatory minimum of 25 years in prison. Hammadi's sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 5, 2012, in U.S. District Court in Bowling Green before Senior Judge Russell at 11:30 am.
From the FBI
District Man Admits Making Bomb Threats Against Amtrak
Threats Caused Delays That Affected More Than 1,000 Rail Passengers
WASHINGTON—Michael Jerome Dennis, 27, pled guilty today to a federal charge stemming from two separate bomb threats against the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak), announced U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr., James W. McJunkin, Assistant Director of the FBI's Washington Field Office; and Lisa Shahade, Assistant Chief of the Amtrak Police.
Dennis, of Washington, D.C., pled guilty in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to a charge of threatening and conveying false information about an attempt or alleged attempt to use a destructive device. The charge carries a statutory maximum of life in prison. Under federal sentencing guidelines, it carries a likely range of 18 to 24 months in prison. Dennis is to be sentenced on November 9, 2012, by the Honorable Reggie B. Walton.
Dennis was arrested May 3, 2012, following an investigation by the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), which includes members from various law enforcement agencies, including the Amtrak Police. According to a statement of facts, signed by the defendant as well as the government, Dennis made the threats in telephone calls to Amtrak's National Communications Center on November 30, 2011 and January 19, 2012. Dennis pled guilty to a charge specifically relating to the phone threat of November 30, 2011.
August 21, 2012
Autopsy: Death of handcuffed man in Arkansas a suicide
Little Rock, Ark. • A man police say shot himself in the head while his hands were cuffed behind him in the back of an Arkansas patrol car tested positive for methamphetamine, anti-anxiety medication and other drugs, according to an autopsy report released Monday that listed his death as a suicide.
The state crime lab report said the muzzle of a handgun that Chavis Carter apparently concealed from arresting officers was placed against his right temple when it was fired. The report, signed by three medical examiners, included a drug analysis showing Carter's urine and blood indicated methamphetamine and other drug use.
The report, released to The Associated Press and other news organizations under a Freedom of Information Act request, said Carter's blood also tested positive for at least trace amounts of the anti-anxiety medication diazepam and the painkiller oxycodone. His urine test also returned a positive result for marijuana.
The report said Carter's death was ruled a suicide based on autopsy findings and investigative conclusions from the Jonesboro Police Department, which has faced questions from Carter's family and community members about the circumstances surrounding the July 28 shooting.
"He was cuffed and placed into a police car, where apparently he produced a weapon, and despite being handcuffed, shot himself in the head," the report said.
Court: Ala schools can't check student immigration status; police can ask for suspects' papers
ATLANTA — Part of Alabama's immigration law that ordered public schools to check the citizenship status of new students was ruled unconstitutional Monday by a federal appeals court that also said police in that state and Georgia can demand papers from criminal suspects they have detained.
The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Alabama schools provision wrongly singles out children who are in the country illegally. Alabama was the only state that passed such a requirement and the 11th Circuit previously had blocked that part of the law from being enforced.
Judges said fear of the law “significantly deters undocumented children from enrolling in and attending school ....”
Both private groups and the Obama administration filed lawsuits to block the law considered the toughest in the country.
The court, however, upheld parts of immigration laws in Alabama and Georgia allowing law enforcement to check documents for people they stop.
And the panel left in place an injunction that blocks a section of the Georgia law that allows for the prosecution of people who knowingly harbor or transport an illegal immigrant during the commission of a crime.
In Alabama, the judges sided with opponents of the law on other key points, including challenges to sections that made it illegal to harbor illegal immigrants; made it a crime for illegal immigrants to seek work; and made it a state crime for people in the country illegally not to have registration documents.
Police, community partnerships credited for reduction in crime rate
Homicide rates have fallen in Kansas City, Kan., during the past few years. The number of homicides as of Aug. 17 this year was 12. Last year's total was 27. The high was 72 in 1985, and there were 65 in 2001.
Officials credited a 14 percent reduction in the violent crime rate in Kansas City, Kan., to police partnerships with community residents.
“I'm proud of our community, and I think this is evidence that when we work together, elected officials, neighborhood leaders, and our police department, over a sustained period of time, great results can occur, and as a result of that our community is safer today than it has been in a long time,” Kansas City, Kan., Mayor Joe Reardon said today.
The statistics show the community is on the right path, but there is still work to do, he said. Community policing is definitely the source of success and needs to continue, he added.
Police officials last week released statistics that showed the percentage of homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated battery and assault had decreased an average of 14 percent in the first eight months of 2012, compared to the same period in 2011.
In a news release, police department officials attributed the decline to a strong relationship with the citizens, and said that part of the success was due to a focus on getting violent offenders off the streets. The department has achieved an 80 percent clearance rate on homicides. Also, higher bonds have been set on repeat violent offenders, a spokesman said.
August 20, 2012
Police plumb social media for guides to gangs in city
Men in videos show guns, brag on groups
In a video uploaded to YouTube, a man boasts in a rap that "I don't talk about the murder" and claims to invoke fear in people around the city.
"I got a whopper in my pocket, I ain't talkin' 'bout a burger," he continues as the camera pans to show a revolver in his hand.
The Internet has dozens of these videos -- not all music videos -- in which young men proclaim gang affiliations and flash guns and colors.
"We do use it as an intelligence tool, no doubt about it," said Toledo police Sgt. Joe Heffernan. "If someone is going to put on the Internet for the whole world to see that they're in a gang or that they're committing criminal activity, we're going to use that information to solve crimes and complete our mission, which is to keep the community safe."
Videos appear on the social media site from a number of groups that Toledo police have identified as gangs, including the Manor Boys, Cherry Woodz, Lil Heads, X Blocc, Stickney 33, and the Choloz.
Sarasota city manager advocate of community policing
When commissioners voted to name him Sarasota's next city manager, Tom Barwin's experience as a former cop and his community policing philosophy gave him an edge.
The progressive approach to community policing in this western Chicago suburb was credited last year with bringing a 39-year low for crime. For a narrower view, consider that there have been only two murders since 2009, one of which spilled over from the big city's blighted edge.
Barwin's nearly six years here could prove valuable in Sarasota, and when he starts the job officially Sept. 1, his first order of business will be to replace Police Chief Mikel Holloway, who retires in October.
The Northerner's long-term impact on the Sarasota Police Department will be augmented further by a new community policing strategy that he must execute when he arrives here.
Barwin, 58, says he is up to the job and he will hire a chief who can bring the on-the-ground, personable sort of policing that commissioners want. "I think what we're looking for are potential chiefs that certainly have some experience and solid foundation of true community policing," Barwin said.