| NEWS of the Day - February 10, 2013
|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 ...
Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck’s Statement on Christopher Jordan Dorner
Los Angeles: I have no doubt that the law enforcement community will bring to an end the reign of terror perpetrated on our region by Christopher Jordan Dorner and he will be held accountable for his evil actions. The families that have been devastated by his actions will never be the same. By all accounts, the Los Angeles Police Department has made tremendous strides in gaining the trust and confidence of the people we serve. Dorner’s actions may cause a pause in our increasingly positive relationship with the community but, it will not stop our commitment to provide courteous, professional and constitutional policing to each individual this Department makes contact with. I am aware of the ghosts of the LAPD’s past and one of my biggest concerns is that they will be resurrected by Dorner’s allegations of racism within the Department.
But, I also know that we are a better organization now than ever before; better but not perfect. Fairness and equality are now the cornerstones of our values and that is reflected by the present diversity of the department. We are a majority of minorities, almost exactly reflecting the ethnic makeup of Los Angeles.
As hard as it has been to change the culture of the Los Angeles Police Department, it has been even more difficult to win and maintain the support of the public. As much as I value our successes in reducing crime, I value even more our gains in public confidence.
Therefore I feel we need to also publicly address Dorner’s allegations regarding his termination of employment, and to do so I have directed our Professionals Standards Bureau and my Special Assistant for Constitutional Policing to completely review the Dorner complaint of 2007; To include a re-examination of all evidence and a re-interview of witnesses. We will also investigate any allegations made in his manifesto which were not included in his original complaint.
I do this not to appease a murderer. I do it to reassure the public that their police department is transparent and fair in all the things we do.
Dorner continues to elude officers;
LAPD to reopen investigation that led to suspect's firing Chief concerned allegations could erode faith in department
A renegade ex-cop wanted for three murders eluded capture for a third day on Saturday, as Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck announced he will review the disciplinary proceedings that led to the fugitive's firing.
Beck told a local TV station that Christopher Dorner's case would be reviewed as a way to secure the public's trust in the agency.
"Dorner's allegations are about a police department that doesn't treat African Americans fairly, and I don't think that's true," Beck said. "And I want to make sure we don't lose this precious ground we've gained."
"That's the totality of the reason I will look at this investigation again. More important than the Dorner aspect is the community aspect. I'm not doing this to appease Dorner," he said.
"It's about restoring faith," Beck added. "I worry whenever faith in the police department is eroded."
Dorner claimed in an 11,000-word "manifesto" posted online that his career was undone by racist colleagues. The document vowed revenge against Beck and several other officers he held responsible for his firing in 2008.
"Any threat assessments you generate will be useless," the posting read. "I have the strength and benefits of being unpredictable, unconventional, and unforgiving."
During a televised news conference, Los Angeles Police Department Cmdr. Andrew Smith said authorities were protecting "more than 50 officers and families" out of concern they could be targeted by Dorner.
In addition, he said, the LAPD was joining with other Southern California police departments, as well as federal agencies, to create a task force dedicated to capturing Dorner.
Smith also said he hopes the weeklong manhunt for Dorner ends peacefully.
"No one else has to die," Smith said. "He can turn himself in anywhere."
Police have said they believe Dorner is carrying multiple weapons, including an assault-style rifle.
Dorner's rampage began a week ago in Irvine, where he is accused of fatally shooting Monica Quan and her finance.
Quan's father is a former LAPD captain who had represented Dorner during the proceedings that led to his termination. Department officials said Dorner had lied when he accused his training officer of kicking a suspect during an arrest.
On Wednesdsay night, just hours after authorities identified Dorner as a suspect in the double murder, police believe Dorner shot and grazed an LAPD officer in Corona and then used a rifle to ambush two Riverside police officers, killing one and seriously wounding the other.
A funeral for the slain officer, whose name has not been released because of concern for his family's safety, has been scheduled for Wednesday.
Authorities were drawn to the Big Bear area on Thursday, when Dorner's Nissan pickup truck was found burning on a rugged fire access road. Officials said Saturday they'd determined that the axle had snapped, and that he's set the vehicle ablaze.
Inside the burned-out truck, authorities said, they found an arsenal of weapons.
Tracks believed to be Dorner's were found in the area. One San Bernardino County sheriff's deputy said it appeared that Dorner had doubled-back in his own footprints and set off in another direction in order to confuse authorities.
The deputy, who demanded anonymity, also said that authorities discovered a makeshift shelter nearby - a cubby he likened to a duck blind - they believe may have been built by Dorner.
Over the next two days, SWAT teams and officers in cold-weather gear conducted door-to-door searches for Dorner, even breaking into locked vacation homes in the picturesque skir resort.
The operation was interrupted Friday when a blizzard moved in, but a break in the weather Saturday allowed two heat-sensing helicopters to resume their search for any new clues.
Officials said they plan to continue combing the Big Bear area today with about 50 officers, down from 125 at the height of the search.
While the hunt for Dorner has centered near Big Bear, other agencies have been looking for clues into his life and how long he may have been planning his ramgage.
On Friday, officers served a warrant at a house in La Palma that is owned by Dorner's mother and collected 10 bags of evidence. Police also colleged evidence from a Buena Park storage unit, but refused to say what they'd found.
In addition to his training with the LAPD, Dorner also received specialized training as a Navy Reservist, earning a rifle marksman ribbon and pistol expert medal. He was assigned to a naval undersea warfare unit and various aviation training units, according to military records.
He took leave from the LAPD for a six-month deployment to Bahrain in 2006 and 2007. An LAPD newsletter has carried a photo of Dorner with then-Chief Bill Bratton, who gave him a gold coin as a souvenir.
Feb. 1 was Dorner's last day with the Navy and also the day CNN's Anderson Cooper received a package that contained a note on it that read, in part, "I never lied." The coin that Bratton gave him, now riddled with bullet holes, was also in the package.
Despite Dorner's law-enforcement and military background, deputies searching for him Saturday in below-freezing temperatures said they now viewed him as just another murder suspect.
"He's no longer one of us," one deputy sadi. "Once someone targets a police officer and takes the life of a police offeicer, they are considered the most dangerous of all dangers.
"Because he has no regard for the life of a police officer means he has no regard for anyone else's life."
Steven Seagal will help Sheriff Joe Arpaio train his posse
by Marisa Gerber
America's self-styled toughest sheriff is teaming up with an action star.
Steven Seagal will lead a training session about school shootings Saturday at the request of his pal Joe Arpaio — an immigration hardliner and the brazen sheriff of Arizona's most populous county, Maricopa, which includes Phoenix.
Seagal will train Arpaio's volunteer “posse,” which boasts about 3,500 members and tackles an array of issues, Arpaio told the Los Angeles Times. Among other duties, they help patrol busy malls at Christmastime.
“I said to myself, ‘Hey, let's transition the mall patrols to the schools,” Arpaio said. “The mission is to patrol the perimeter of the schools as a prevention measure.”
December's massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., raised the nation's consciousness about threats to schools. After 20 children and six adults were slain at Sandy Hook by a gunman with a semiautomatic weapon, President Obama called for tighter gun controls and the National Rifle Assn. called for putting armed guards in schools.
On Tuesday, Maricopa deputies arrested a 16-year-old boy who was accused of threatening to shoot another student and having a loaded handgun in his possession, the sheriff's department said in a statement. Deputies have responded to a couple other school-related gun threats in the last few weeks too, Arpaio said.
“That triggered me,” he said. “Wait a minute, this is in our own backyard.”
He hopes Seagal's tutoring at an elementary school northeast of Phoenix will teach the volunteers what to do during school shootings, Arpaio said.
One of the topics? Room-entry tactics.
The training will be “an active type of real scenario,” he said. “That's how you learn.”
The posse will carry guns during the exercise, but they won't be loaded.
Seagal, 60, plays a tough guy on screen and has worked in law enforcement. He used to be an occasional deputy for the Jefferson Parish sheriff in Louisiana, where he also had a reality show, "Steven Seagal: Lawman." And just last month, he was sworn in as a deputy in a rural New Mexico county that patrols a swath of the U.S.-Mexico border.
A friend recently told Arpaio that getting help from a big-name actor like Seagal would attract more attention, the sheriff said. The octogenarian lawman laughed, he said, then responded: “The sheriff draws the attention.”
From the FBI
Amish Beard-Cutting Case -- Ohio Residents Sentenced for Hate Crimes
Sixteen individuals were sentenced today for hate crimes involving attacks against Amish residents in Ohio—some carried out by the victims' children—and the group's leader received a 15-year prison term.
In response to a religious dispute among members of the Amish community, Samuel Mullet, Sr.—the 66-year-old bishop of the Amish congregation in Bergholz, Ohio—directed his followers to forcibly cut the hair and beards of other members of the Amish faith.
Male and female victims, some elderly, were held against their will in their homes while scissors and horse shears were used to cut their hair and beards. Head and facial hair is religiously symbolic to the Amish—some of the male victims had been growing their beards for decades.
“These crimes were definitely religiously motivated,” said Michael Sirohman, the special agent in our Cleveland office who investigated the case. Mullet and his Bergholz followers practiced a different kind of religion than other Amish communities, and Mullet believed those other communities were against him and were interfering with his authority. That was the underlying reason for the attacks, Sirohman said.
“Sam Mullet didn't like to be crossed,” he explained, “and he was very good at manipulating his followers.” Mullet convinced the individuals who carried out the attacks that they were religiously permitted to do so, Sirohman added. “In some perverted way, they thought they were helping the victims by bringing them closer to God.”
Mullet organized five attacks between September and November 2011. Local authorities filed state charges against him and others after the initial incidents, but the assaults continued. The FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office were called in, Sirohman said, because the attacks were escalating and because “everyone realized there were bigger issues involved.”
Hate crimes are investigated under the FBI's civil rights program, and the passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act in 2009 gave the Bureau further authority to investigate such offenses.
“The FBI is committed to investigating hate crimes,” said Stephen Anthony, special agent in charge of our Cleveland office, “including those motivated by religious bias—as in this case—or other areas protected by our civil rights statutes.”
Although the Amish attacks were brazen, victims were initially reluctant to come forward, in part because the Amish community is insulated from mainstream society. Ultimately, Sirohman said, the victims cooperated “because they didn't want this to happen to other people.”
The FBI received “outstanding” assistance from local sheriff's departments and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Ohio, Sirohman said, and in November 2011, Mullet, along with members of his family and other followers, were arrested. Last September, they were convicted of hate crimes and other charges.
Sirohman had special praise for the victims in the case. “They were very brave,” he said. “In many cases they had to testify against their own children.” He was also gratified that the victims, who do not easily associate with those outside of their faith, recognized the help that the FBI and federal prosecutors were offering.
“They trusted us to do what was right,” Sirohman added, “and we weren't going to let them down.”
From the Department of Homeland Security
Working to Counter Online Radicalization to Violence in the United States
The American public increasingly relies on the Internet for socializing, business transactions, gathering information, entertainment, and creating and sharing content. The rapid growth of the Internet has brought opportunities but also risks, and the Federal Government is committed to empowering members of the public to protect themselves against the full range of online threats, including online radicalization to violence.
Violent extremist groups - like al-Qa'ida and its affiliates and adherents, violent supremacist groups, and violent “ sovereign citizens ” - are leveraging online tools and resources to propagate messages of violence and division. These groups use the Internet to disseminate propaganda, identify and groom potential recruits, and supplement their real-world recruitment efforts. Some members and supporters of these groups visit mainstream fora to see whether individuals might be recruited or encouraged to commit acts of violence, look for opportunities to draw targets into private exchanges, and exploit popular media like music videos and online video games. Although the Internet offers countless opportunities for Americans to connect, it has also provided violent extremists with access to new audiences and instruments for radicalization.
As a starting point to prevent online radicalization to violence in the homeland, the Federal Government initially will focus on raising awareness about the threat and providing communities with practical information and tools for staying safe online. In this process, we will work closely with the technology industry to consider policies, technologies, and tools that can help counter violent extremism online. Companies already have developed voluntary measures to promote Internet safety - such as fraud warnings, identity protection, and Internet safety tips - and we will collaborate with industry to explore how we might counter online violent extremism without interfering with lawful Internet use or the privacy and civil liberties of individual users.
This approach is consistent with Internet safety principles that have helped keep communities safe from a range of online threats, such as cyber bullies, scammers, gangs, and sexual predators. While each of these threats is unique, experience has shown that a well-informed public, armed with tools and resources to stay safe online, is critical to protecting communities. Pursuing such an approach is also consistent with the community-based framework we outlined in Empowering Local Partners to Prevent Violent Extremism in the United States and the Strategic Implementation Plan for Empowering Local Partners to Prevent Violent Extremism in the United States.
A New Interagency Working Group
To more effectively organize our efforts, the Administration is establishing a new Interagency Working Group to Counter Online Radicalization to Violence, chaired by the National Security Staff at the White House and involving specialists in countering violent extremism, Internet safety experts, and civil liberties and privacy practitioners from across the United States Government. This Working Group will be responsible for developing plans to implement an Internet safety approach to address online violent extremism, coordinating the Federal Government's activities and assessing our progress against these plans, and identifying additional activities to pursue for countering online radicalization to violence.
Raising Awareness through Existing Initiatives
In the coming months, the Working Group will coordinate with Federal departments and agencies to raise awareness and disseminate tools for staying safe from online violent extremism primarily through three means.
First, information about online violent extremism will be incorporated into existing Federal Government Internet safety initiatives. Internet safety initiatives at the Department of Education, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Federal Trade Commission, the Department of Homeland Security, and other agencies provide platforms that already reach millions of Americans, and relevant departments and agencies will work to add materials related to online radicalization.
The primary government platform for raising awareness about Internet safety is OnGuard Online , managed by the Federal Trade Commission and involving 16 departments and agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Education. OnGuard Online - in addition to other Federal Government Internet safety platforms like Stop.Think.Connect and Safe Online Surfing - will begin including information about online violent extremism. This information also will be posted on the Countering Violent Extremism homepage on the Department of Homeland Security's website and updated to reflect new best practices and research.
Second, the Federal Government will work with local organizations throughout the country to disseminate information about the threat. One reason for the success of Federal Government Internet safety awareness efforts is that they work closely with local organizations — such as school districts, Parent Teacher Associations, local government, and law enforcement — to communicate to communities. Law enforcement is a particularly important partner in raising awareness about radicalization to violence and is already developing materials with support from the Department of Justice. Law enforcement departments and agencies have established Internet safety programs and relationships with community members and local organizations that can reach multiple audiences with critical information about the threat of online violent extremism and recruitment. Departments and agencies will provide the latest assessments of this threat to our local partners and encourage them to incorporate this information into their programs and initiatives.
Third, departments and agencies will use our preexisting engagement with communities to provide information about Internet safety and details about how violent extremists are using the Internet to target and exploit communities. U.S. Attorneys throughout the country, who historically have engaged with communities on a range of public safety issues, are coordinating these Federal engagement efforts at the local level, with support from other departments and agencies, such as the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Education. U.S. Attorneys and others involved in community engagement will seek to incorporate information about Internet radicalization to violence into their efforts, as appropriate. At the same time, the Federal Government will engage with State, local, and tribal government and law enforcement officials to learn from their experiences in addressing online threats, including violent extremism.
As the Federal Government implements this effort in the coming months, we will continue to investigate and prosecute those who use the Internet to recruit others to plan or carry out acts of violence, while ensuring that we also continue to uphold individual privacy and civil liberties. Preventing online radicalization to violence requires both proactive solutions to reduce the likelihood that violent extremists affect their target audiences as well as ensuring that laws are rigorously enforced.
For a fact sheet on Countering Online Radicalization to Violence, click here.