Norwalk To Host Roundtable On Urban Violence, Community Policing
by The Daily Voice
NORWALK, Conn. -- The city of Norwalk will host a community roundtable discussion Monday on urban violence, including gun- violence reduction strategies, community policing and other urban crime mitigation efforts, Mayor Richard Moccia announced.
Moccia will host with Gov. Dannel Malloy, Norwalk Police Chief Thomas Kulhawik and other members of the Norwalk community.
The discussion will begin at 9:30 a.m. in the Community Room at Norwalk City Hall, 125 East Ave.
Moccia invites all residents and members of the Norwalk community to join him for this important discussion.
Please RSVP via email to Sally Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have any further questions, call City Clerk Erin E. Herring at 203-854-7703.
Edward Snowden's father seeks to broker deal with U.S. for son's return
NSA leaker Edward Snowden's father, Lonnie, says he is trying to arrange terms with the U.S. Justice Department for his son's return.
by Richard A. Serrano
WASHINGTON — The father of Edward Snowden, the computer expert who exposed secret U.S. surveillance programs, revealed Friday that he was trying to broker a compromise with the U.S. government that could bring his son back to the United States.
In a letter to the Justice Department, Lonnie Snowden said through his attorney that his son wanted "ironclad assurances" he would not be held in jail before trial or subjected to a gag order, and would be allowed to choose where he would be tried on federal espionage charges.
The elder Snowden said the offer could end the impasse that has kept his 30-year-old son stuck in the transit zone of a Moscow airport and raised tensions between the U.S. and other countries, including China, Russia and Ecuador, where the former National Security Agency contract employee is seeking political asylum.
"We believe you share our objective of securing Edward's voluntary return to the United States to face trial," Washington attorney Bruce Fein wrote to Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. on behalf of Snowden's father.
Lonnie Snowden, Fein wrote, "is reasonably certain that his son would voluntarily return to the United States if there were ironclad assurances that his constitutional rights would be honored, and he were provided a fair opportunity to explain his motivations and actions to an impartial judge and jury."
If any of the conditions were "dishonored," Fein added, then the prosecution "would be dismissed."
Justice Department officials did not comment on the proposal.
Meanwhile, the president of Ecuador demanded that the United States stop suggesting that the small Andean country is provoking the situation by offering to shield Snowden from American justice, much as it has protected WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. For the last year, Assange has lived in the Ecuadorean embassy in London after he was granted sanctuary.
"It is outrageous to try to delegitimize a state for receiving a petition for asylum," Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa said in a speech in Ecuador.
Correa contended that the news media at first welcomed Snowden's leaks about secret U.S. programs to collect phone logs and Internet emails but later suggested the actions were treasonous.
"What a joke!" the president said in a tweet. The media, he said, are "making everyone forget the terrible things that he denounced in front of the American people and the entire world."
Correa added that, for the asylum request to be processed and approved, Snowden first must find his way to the Ecuadorean Embassy in Moscow or to Ecuador. "We don't know it'll be resolved," he said.
Officials in Hong Kong, where Snowden flew when he left Hawaii, said they remained concerned about his claims that the NSA had hacked into Hong Kong's computer systems.
In the future, they said, Snowden will no longer be permitted in Hong Kong.
"We are very disappointed," said Lai Tung-kowk, Hong Kong's secretary of security. "We hope the U.S. government will as soon as possible give a full answer and explanation to the Hong Kong people."
U.S. State Department officials said they were concerned about their worsening relationships with Hong Kong and Ecuador. "These issues have an impact when we have a breakdown on cooperation," Patrick Ventrell, a spokesman, said in response to Hong Kong's statements.
Regarding Ecuador, Ventrell said it "would not be a good thing" if the country granted Snowden asylum. "That would have grave difficulties for a bilateral relationship," he said.
Lonnie Snowden, who has not spoken with his son since April, said on NBC's "Today": "I love him. I would like to have the opportunity to communicate with him. I don't want to put him in peril, but I am concerned about those who surround him.
"I don't believe he has betrayed the people of the United States."
Community policing adds overview of Islam to officers' toolbelt
Rockford-area leaders aim to reduce racial, cultural bias in police work
by Jeff Kolkey
ROCKFORD — Shpendim Nadzaku perhaps took a step Friday in bridging a cultural divide.
The Muslim Association of Greater Rockford imam's skull cap, traditional white robe and his thick beard, which hung just beyond his shoulders, stood in contrast to the mostly clean-shaven law-enforcement faces looking back at him.
It was all part of a tour police chiefs and command staff from Rockford, Rockford Park District, Loves Park, Winnebago, Cherry Valley and Winnebago County took of the Muslim Community Center mosque in hopes of improving cultural awareness.
Police officers unfamiliar with the myriad cultures that make up the Muslim community could find Nadzaku's dress, accent and manner strange. On the other hand, some of the 500 Muslims who regularly attend services at the mosque, 5921 Darlene Drive, have a deep distrust of law enforcement.
“By being able to understand and learn more about each other it helps to alleviate ignorance that sometimes can cause problems,” Nadzaku said.
Among the next steps to enhance police efforts in the Muslim community is to send female officers to meet and talk with the group's women's committee.
Rockford Park District Chief Theo Glover suggested sending pamphlets about police activities and law enforcement procedures to the 125-family congregation. It might ease some of their concerns, teach them about their rights in the U.S. and familiarize them with the role of police in the community.
Nadzaku told the law enforcement leaders that Muslims are far from the homogeneous people they are often thought to be. He speaks several languages — including English, Arabic and Albanian — but members of his congregation also speak other Arabic dialectics and languages.
Some of the Muslims in Rockford are converts; most are immigrants and refugees from Middle Eastern, Asian and North African countries. Some are engineers, doctors and professionals who can't find work in their professions because they can't speak English well enough, Nadzaku said.
They are often people who fled regions that have abusive police and government forces.
“Naturally people who have faced that kind of cruelty in their own countries, when they come here, they bring that fear and concern with them. To try and change that, it doesn't happen right away.”
As a result, they can be nervous when detained by police for something as simple as a traffic stop. There are also often delays in reporting crimes locally because of the distrust of authority.
YWCA CEO Kris Kieper works with law enforcement leaders to improve cultural sensitivity and reduce racial bias in police work. She helped to arrange the meeting and tour.
Kieper, who wore a head scarf as a sign of respect, was the only woman at the meeting. But how police officers can best work with Muslim women was one of the key topics.
The mosque faces Mecca in Saudi Arabia, the holiest of Islam's religious sites. There are no pews in the prayer hall, only a few chairs for those who are physically limited, because of the frequent change of posture — standing, kneeling, prostrate — during prayers.
And no one wears shoes inside; they are left in any of the dozens of cubbies outside the sanctuary.
Women and small children worship in a room adjacent to the mosque. They can see the service through one-way glass, but the men inside can't see them. Women also can enter the prayer hall to worship, but they do so at the back of the room.
Law enforcement leaders were concerned about how best to ask a Muslim woman to uncover her face if she is wearing a burka, or veil, as is worn by the extremely devout.
Islam teaches its followers to dress plainly and calls for Muslim women to dress in loose-fitting clothes and, at a minimum, to cover their hair. More stringent readings require women to wear a veil when with men who are not their husbands.
If an officer needs to write a ticket, he would have to see the woman's face or the citation could be challenged in court. Refusing the officer's request to reveal her face could potentially lead to a charge of obstruction of justice, Rockford Chief Chet Epperson said.
One officer suggested that taking a thumbprint could be a substitute for removing the veil, but that would require the officer to touch the woman's hand — an even deeper discomfort than allowing a stranger to see her face.
A solution emerged, although potentially inconvenient: Call in a female officer to whom the Muslim woman could expose her face without violating her beliefs.
Epperson plans to send a bulletin saying just that to Rockford officers.
“We are a diverse community and becoming an even more diverse community,” he said. “This is part of our continual efforts ... to learn more about traditions, customs, religious beliefs in the area because law enforcement comes into contact with many diverse individuals.
“The more we can learn ... the better off we will be as a law enforcement community.”