LACP - NEWS of the Week
on some LACP issues of interest
NEWS of the Week

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.


July, 2016 - Week 3


Black lives, blue lives, all lives: What does it mean when we say certain lives matter?

Singling out some people based on skin colour or employment creates complicated discussions

by Simran Singh

"Black Lives Matter" is a phrase that almost always fuels controversy and a wide range of heated reactions.

Supporters of Black Lives Matter consider it a movement and call to action against institutional racism experienced by black people. Others see the phrase and the concept as offensive because it does not express the importance of valuing all lives.

The recent shooting of black men at the hands of police, and the killings of law enforcement officers in response to those racialized attacks have reinstated complicated discussions about what it means when we say a certain group of lives matter.

A 'call to action'

Following the police shootings of Anton Sterling in Baton Rouge, La. and Philando Castile in St. Paul, Minn., thousands of Black Lives Matter supporters rallied across the U.S. to protest against police violence.

The movement began as a social media hashtag in 2013 following the shooting death in Florida of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin by neighbourhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman. It gained traction after the 2014 police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.

Frank Leon Roberts, a professor-lecturer specializing in race and social movements at New York University, says Black Lives Matter is an "anti-violence movement that is attempting to end structural racism in all forms."

"Police brutality is one form of structural racism but there are other forms that Black Lives Matter is combating as well," Roberts told CBC News.

'Everybody's life matters'

But there are many who do not see eye to eye with the message Black Lives Matter is attempting to send because they believe all lives are important, and specific groups should not be singled out.

Remigio Pereira of The Tenors replaced the lyrics to O Canada with "all lives matter" while performing at the Major League Baseball All-Star Game. He was heavily criticized for his decision to alter the anthem.

Pereira elaborated on his "all lives matter" lyric change in an an audio statement he released following his anthem performance.

"This country was built through diversity, exchanging ideas, exchanging cultures," he said. "That is how we move ahead in society. Not segregating everyone, not creating a hierarchy. Who can be higher than God? Not one person has the right over God's creation. And that's why everybody's life matters."

Pereira has since apologized for his actions.

Others have taken to social media to express why they think "all lives matter."

It appears many "all lives matter" supporters feel that "Black Lives Matter" is not about equality, but rather focusing on the oppression experienced by only one group.

Recently, Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City, went as far as to say that "Black Lives Matter" is "racist" during an appearance on Fox and Friends.

"It's inherently racist because, number one, it divides us. All lives matter," he said.

'All lives matter' is problematic

But critics of "all lives matter" believe it is an ignorant way of silencing the discrimination and racism faced by black people for centuries.

"The problem with "all lives matter" is not that it is untrue, but rather that it is only deployed rhetorically as a way of undermining or dismissing the concerns of Black Lives Matter," Roberts told CBC News.

Roberts says that "Black Lives Matter" is not rejecting that all lives are important.

"Of course all lives matter. But since all lives matter, we shouldn't have any problem in discussing the specificity of black lives," he said.

Cicely-Belle Blain, co-founder of Vancouver's Black Lives Matter chapter, says the movement is not about black lives taking priority over other people.

"We all know that all lives matter. [We] are not saying black lives matter instead of white [or other lives]," she told CBC News.

On Twitter, people are using the hashtag #AllLivesDidntMatter to point out what they believe is the hypocrisy of the "all lives matter" message.The hashtag highlights that all lives, especially those of minorities, have not been a priority throughout history.

What about #BlueLives?

In the wake of the Dallas and Baton Rouge police shootings, many have expressed their support for police officers' lives using the online hashtag #BlueLivesMatter.

At the Republican National Convention, there was no shortage of "Blue Lives Matter" supporters.

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, a black officer, spoke at the convention and emphasized the importance of valuing police officers' lives.

"Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to make something very clear; Blue lives matter in America," Clarke told the crowd.

Lt. Randy Sutton, the U.S. national representative for Blue Lives Matter organization, told CBC News that the movement "came to be out of the sense of frustration that there was no one to speak for the police."

"Blue lives have always valued all lives. That is what cops do. They give their lives they risk their lives for people of every race, religion, ethnicity, social strata, regardless of all those things," Sutton said.

"Blue Lives Matter" is loaded with controversy as supporters of Black Lives Matter feel that it undermines the police violence against minorities while co-opting a hashtag that is meant to represent the struggles of black people.

"Well, there is no such thing as a blue life," Roberts said. "Blue refers to an occupation, not a racialized state of being which is what Black Lives Matter is calling attention to."

Blain said the issue with the Blue Lives Matter hashtag is that it compares a permanent racial identity to a job.

"[Being a police officer] is a job and being black is not. You can very easily remove your blue uniform at any time but you can't remove your blackness," she said.

But Sutton disagrees. "When you put on that uniform, you have no colour except for that uniform and that is something that is sacred to the men and women of law enforcement because they represent something that is greater than themselves," he said.

"Police officers do not believe in prejudice and violence, and when you do and you espouse that view and you include violence in your rhetoric that reflects upon who you are as a human being and what your movement is all about."




Dallas police see surge in applications

by Steve Visser and Vivian Kuo

The Thin Blue Line in Dallas may be getting thicker.

Applications to the force have jumped 344% since five police officers were massacred in Dallas on July 7, compared with the same period in June, the department brass reported Saturday.

There were 136 applications from June 8 to June 20 and 467 applications from July 8 to July 20, the department said.

Whether applications will result in more recruits remains to be seen, but the jump follows a call from Chief David Brown to Black Lives Matter protestors to join the department if they wanted to improve it.

"Serve your communities," he said at a news conference four days after the five officers were killed in an ambush by a man angry about police shootings in Lousiana, Minnesota and across the country. "We're hiring. Get off that protest line and put an application in. We'll put you in your neighborhood and we will help you resolve some of the problems you're protesting about."

The officers were killed while protecting a Black Lives Matter protest.

But joining the department is no guarantee that officers will stay there.

The department has suffered from poor morale and thinning ranks for years,in part because its starting pay is just under $45,000 a year, which Brown told CNN earlier this month was the lowest in the Dallas area.

After completing police academy training, an officer will earn $52,176 in Fort Worth, $56,754 in McKinney, $59,501 in Arlington, and $63,757 in Plano.

Dallas officers can jump departments after getting valuable experience, Brown said.

"It's not sustainable," Brown said on CNN's "State of the Union" on July 10. "It's not just resignation -- it's officers not feeling appreciated."

The 'satisfaction' of serving

Still, at the news conference the next day, Brown noted many officers like him joined the department to make a difference in communities.

"I just love Dallas," he said. "I love serving. It's part of my character. It's part of who I am. Out of all the crap we have to take as police officers, the satisfaction you get with serving (is) much more gratifying."

He said he left the University of Texas to join the force after seeing friends from his Dallas neighborhood get wrapped up in the drug trade.

"It broke my heart, and it changed what I wanted to do in college," he said. "I actually left college my first semester of my senior year to come back and apply to the Dallas police department, do something about what I was seeing in my neighborhood."

President Barack Obama, who spoke at a memorial for the officers, echoed a similar theme.

"Like police officers across the country, these men and their families shared a commitment to something larger than themselves," Obama said at the service. "The reward comes in knowing that our entire way of life in America depends on the rule of law, that the maintenance of that law is a hard and daily labor, that in this country, we don't have soldiers in the streets or militias setting the rules. Instead, we have public servants, police officers, like the men who were taken away from us."

Mourning the fallen

More funerals have been taking place this week for the three law officers killed in Baton Rouge in another ambush on police.

The funeral for East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Deputy Brad Garafola, 45, will be Saturday afternoon. Services for Baton Rouge Police Corporal Montrell Jackson, 32, are scheduled for 11 a.m. Monday at Living Faith Christian Center, with visitation beginning at 9 a.m.

Baton Rouge Officer Matthew Gerald, who was a U.S. Marine and U.S. Army veteran, was buried Friday at the Louisiana National Cemetery in Zachary, La.

Hundreds of people showed up for his visitation and people lined the streets with American flags, many attendees donning blue ribbons in honor of the 41-year old who was on the force for only a year before he was killed July 17.

The three men were ambushed by Gavin Long, 29, a former Marine from Kansas City, Mo., who was angry about police shootings in Baton Rouge and around the nation.



Washington D.C.

Florida men charged with supporting ISIS

by Rachel Chason

Three Florida men have been arrested and charged with conspiring and attempting to provide material support and resources to ISIS, the Department of Justice announced Friday.

One of the men, Gregory Hubbard, 52, of West Palm Beach, was arrested Thursday at Miami International Airport as he allegedly prepared to join the fight for ISIS overseas, the department said in a statement.

Hubbard told an undercover FBI operative that he wanted to travel to Syria "for the purpose of engaging in violent jihad," according to the Justice Department. He introduced the FBI source to Darren Arness Jackson, 50, of West Palm Beach, and Dayne Atani Christian, 31, of Lake Park.

Jackson and Christian then allegedly provided weapons and firearms instruction to Hubbard and the source and expressed a desire to join ISIS, authorities said.

Hubbard purchased a ticket for a flight to Germany, where he planned to catch a train to Turkey and then head to Syria, but was arrested at Miami International Airport.

Jackson, who had driven him to the airport, was arrested as he was leaving. Christian was arrested at his workplace.

Hubbard, Jackson and Christian face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for the material support charge if convicted. Christian was also charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm, which could land him another 10 years in prison.

The three are scheduled for a detention hearing next Wednesday and will be arraigned on August 5.



GM CEO: Car Hacking Will Become a Public Safety Issue

The auto industry may need to team up to prevent spyware, phishing, and ransomware from infecting your ride.

by Will Knight

Automobiles are starting to resemble robotic smartphones on wheels. Unfortunately, that makes them a pretty juicy target for would-be hackers.

So far there have been relatively few incidents of car hacking beyond demonstrations by security researchers. However, GM CEO Mary Barra said today that car security would become a significant public safety issue in the years to come. “A cyber incident is not a problem just for the automaker involved,” Barra said at an industry conference held in Detroit. “It is a problem for every automaker around the world. It is a matter of public safety.”

Barra said the industry would need to collaborate on the problem: “We view cybersecurity not as an area for competitive advantage, but as a systemic concern in which the auto industry's collective customers—and society at large—are best served by industry-wide collaboration and the sharing of best practices.”

Security researchers have shown for years that cars can be hacked, and the risk has increased as cars have become more computerized and networked (see “Is Your Car Safe from Hackers?” and “Your Future Self-Driving Car Will Be Way More Hackable”). There have also been a few real-world hacking episodes, including cases of thieves stealing vehicles after connecting to their computer systems and a disgruntled employee disabling more than 100 vehicles using an after-market immobilization system.

Following such episodes, carmakers have begun stepping up efforts to design vehicles to be more secure, but some experts warn that more needs to be done (see “Carmakers Accelerate Security Efforts After Hacking Stunts”).

In her speech, Barra also hinted at some of the threats car owners might soon face as hackers turn their attention from smartphones and laptops to vehicles. “The threat landscape is continually evolving, and sophisticated attacks are specifically designed to circumvent even the most robust defense systems,” she said. “Whether it is phishing or spyware, malware or ransomware, the attacks are getting more and more sophisticated every day.”

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, an association of 12 carmakers including GM, Ford, BMW, Volkswagen, and Toyota, and the Association of Global Automakers, an industry trade association, this week released a set of best practices on automotive security. These include recommendations to share information about vulnerabilities and to design systems with security as a priority.

Under Barra, GM has taken a more aggressive approach to technology, developing vehicle-to-vehicle communications and automated driving systems. The company recently bought Cruise, a company developing after-market automated driving systems, and has invested in the ride-hailing company Lyft.

GM pioneered the use of connectivity with OnStar, a subsidiary that provides hands-free calling, navigation services, and diagnostics through a dedicated cellular link. Other carmakers, such as Tesla, have taken the idea much further, though, allowing a vehicle to be upgraded or reconfigured over the air.



From ICE

More than 100 arrested in Los Angeles-area ICE operation targeting convicted criminal aliens

LOS ANGELES – A Mexican national formerly convicted of attempted murder of a peace officer and a Salvadoran gang member with a lengthy rap sheet are among the 112 foreign nationals arrested in the greater Los Angeles area over the last four days during an operation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) targeting at-large criminal aliens.

All of the 100 men and 12 women taken into custody by ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) officers during this week's operation, which concluded late Wednesday, had criminal histories. The majority (62) had prior felony convictions for serious or violent offenses, such as child sex crimes, weapons charges, and assault. The remaining arrestees had past convictions for significant or multiple misdemeanors. One of those taken into custody is a previously deported criminal alien who will now be presented for federal prosecution for re-entry after removal, a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

The remaining arrestees will be processed administratively for removal from the United States. Those who have outstanding orders of deportation, or who returned to the United States illegally after being deported, are subject to immediate removal from the country. The remaining individuals are in ICE custody awaiting a hearing before an immigration judge, or pending travel arrangements for removal in the near future.

“This operation exemplifies ICE's ongoing commitment to targeting convicted criminals and public safety threats for arrest and removal,” said David Marin, deputy field office director for ERO Los Angeles. “By taking these individuals off our streets and ultimately removing them from the country, we're making our communities safer for everyone.”

Among those arrested during this week's operation were:

•  A 64-year-old Mexican male arrested in unincorporated Riverside County near Hemet July 17 who has a 1996 conviction for attempted murder of a peace officer;

•  A 46-year-old male from Tonga arrested July 17 in Rancho Cucamonga who has prior conviction for assault with a deadly weapon;

•  A 37-year-old Salvadoran gang member arrested in Los Angeles July 18 who has a lengthy rap sheet, including previous convictions for burglary, attempted burglary, receiving stolen property and DUI; and a

•  A 45-year-old Mexican male arrested July 19 in Los Angeles who was previously convicted of assault to commit rape and failure to register as a sex offender.

While the largest number of those taken into custody during the enforcement action are originally from Mexico (89), a total of 11 countries are represented, including El Salvador (7); Guatemala (5); Belize (2); Honduras (2); Vietnam (2); Egypt (1); Philippines (1); Tonga (1); the United Kingdom (1); and Azerbaijan (1).

Of the six Southland counties and more than 50 communities where arrests occurred, Los Angeles County accounted for the largest number of apprehensions (56), followed by San Bernardino County (16); Orange County (13); Riverside County (12); Ventura County (11); and Santa Barbara County (4).

All of the targets in this operation met the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) two top immigration enforcement priorities as established in DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson's 2014 memorandum. Priority 1 targets include threats to national security, criminal street gang members, convicted felons, and aggravated felons. Priority 2 targets include convictions for three or more misdemeanors or convictions for significant misdemeanors, including DUIs.

Secretary Johnson has directed ICE to prioritize the use of enforcement personnel, detention space, and removal assets to support the Department's civil immigration enforcement priorities. ICE continues to work with local law enforcement partners to uphold public safety, while taking dangerous criminals out of our communities.



ICE operation nets 24 convicted criminal arrests in D.C.-metro area

WASHINGTON – Twenty-four convicted criminals were arrested in northern Virginia and Washington, D.C., by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) officers during a five-day operation that ran from July 10 to 14.

“The men we arrested were all convicted criminals who preyed on others through theft, assault, and in one case, rape,” said Yvonne Evans, field office director for ERO Washington, D.C. “The D.C.-metro area is now safer because these individuals are in our custody and off the streets.”

The 24 arrestees were all male citizens and/or nationals of several different countries across the globe, including El Salvador, Nicaragua, Ghana, Ethiopia, Bolivia, Guatemala, Mexico and Panama and had previously been convicted of crimes, including rape of a minor, child abuse/neglect, grand larceny, drug distribution and more. Arrests took place in Fairfax, Woodbridge, Manassas, Falls Church, Annandale, Winchester, Sterling, Herndon, Springfield, as well as the District.

Arrested individuals who have outstanding orders of deportation, or who returned to the United States illegally after being deported, are subject to immediate removal from the country. The remaining individuals are in ICE custody awaiting a hearing before an immigration judge, or pending travel arrangements for removal in the near future.

All of those apprehended during this operation were immigration enforcement priorities as outlined in Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson's 2014 memorandum.



Attacker in Nice plotted for months with 'accomplices,' prosecutor says

by Ray Sanchez

The man who drove a truck into a crowd in Nice, France, killing 84 people, plotted his July 14 attack for months with "support and accomplices," Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said Thursday.

Molins said authorities are investigating five suspects who are in custody on terror charges related to the attack that Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel carried out on Bastille Day, France's main national holiday.

One suspect allegedly sent Bouhlel a Facebook message saying, "Load the truck with tons of iron and cut the brakes. I'll look brother."

Bouhlel, 31, drove a 20-ton truck through hundreds who had gathered to watch the Bastille Day fireworks on the Mediterranean city's waterfront.

An analysis of cell phone and computer content -- including a photo of last year's Bastille Day fireworks event focused on the crowd -- showed Bouhlel had been planning the assault since at least 2015, Moins said.

The cell phone content also included information on the drug Captagon, an amphetamine pill that can cause a surge of energy and a euphoric high. Jihadist fighters sometimes use this drug.

"The investigation underway since the night of July 14 has progressed and not only confirmed the murderous premeditated nature of Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel's act but also established that he benefited from support and accomplices," Molins said at a news conference.

French authorities had previously said six people were in custody in connection with the attacks.

An Albanian couple was arrested Sunday, according to the Paris prosecutor's office. Agnes Thibault Lecuivre, a spokeswoman for the anti-terrorism prosecutor, did not provide details on their alleged connection.

Bouhlel's estranged wife was arrested at her apartment July 15 and later released without charges, her attorney, Jean-Yves Garino, told CNN.

Garino said the woman, who is the mother of Bouhlel's three children, had not been in contact with the attacker since they were in the middle of divorce proceedings.

What happened that night

Police shot Bouhlel to death after he barreled down the crowded Promenade des Anglais for almost a mile, crushing and hitting people who had gathered to watch fireworks. More than 200 people were injured.

Authorities identified him by fingerprints after his identification card was found in the truck.

ISIS' media group, Amaq Agency, said last weekend that a "soldier" of the terror organization carried out the attack.

"The person ... carried out the operation in response to calls to target nationals of the coalition which is fighting the Islamic State," according to the statement.

Molins said Thursday there was no evidence so far that Bouhlel or his alleged accomplices had direct contact with ISIS.

Bouhlel, a resident of Nice, was born in Tunisia but had a permit to live and work in France.

He was known to police because of allegations of threats, violence and thefts over the past six years, and he was given a suspended six-month prison sentence this year after being convicted of violence with a weapon, authorities said.

Despite his criminal record, Bouhlel hadn't shown up on any anti-terrorist intelligence radar, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve has said. He had no record of making militant statements and was not known to the intelligence services.




Man, on Fire, Tries to Drive Car Into Australian Police Station Garage

by Michelle Innis

SYDNEY, Australia — A man was in serious condition Thursday night and receiving hospital treatment after setting himself aflame before trying to drive his car, laden with a fire accelerant, into a police station parking garage in the western suburb of Merrylands, police officials here said.

The man, who has not been identified, was parked in the driveway to the basement garage around 7 p.m., the assistant police commissioner, Denis Clifford, said at a news conference. He added that the police were trying to establish the man's identity, and that there was no indication that he had any link to terrorists.

No member of the public or the police was hurt. An investigation was still underway, and no charges had been filed as of Thursday night.

“There's nothing to indicate this is in any way related to terrorism,” Mr. Clifford said. “We will keep an open mind, but we are not leaning that way at this stage.”

The man was said to have set himself alight when he was approached by a police officer and before driving his car into a heavy steel door at the bottom of the driveway. He did not manage to enter the garage, Mr. Clifford said.

“We can't know what his motivation was at this stage,” Mr. Clifford said. “He was unconscious for some time. Police extinguished the flames. He was treated by ambulance and conveyed to hospital in a serious condition.”

The police said that the area had been evacuated and that bomb disposal experts were called to examine the car, after the man, believed to be in his 60s, was arrested and taken to a hospital.

Mr. Clifford praised the bravery of the officers involved. “They approached the vehicle, I understand, the vehicle still had an amount of accelerant, fuel, perhaps,” he said. “They have approached it to try and save this person's life.”

Mr. Clifford noted that the Sydney police force had been on high alert over a spate of terrorism-related incidents in Australia and overseas. The Merrylands police station was recently fortified, and the steel door stopped the car from entering the garage.

In October, a 15-year-old was shot dead outside the police station in Parramatta, a Sydney suburb, after he shot and killed a civilian police employee, Curtis Cheng. The shooting took place on a Friday afternoon as Mr. Cheng was leaving work. The youth had not been under police surveillance and had no previous criminal record.

The Australian police have arrested and charged several people with acts of terrorism, including an attack planned for April 25, 2015, on the national Anzac Day holiday.

In December 2014, a lone gunman held people hostage in a cafe in Sydney for more than 16 hours. Three people died in that siege, including the gunman, identified as Man Haron Monis.



New York

‘This Is a Bomb,' Said NYPD Officer Who Raced to Get Device Away From Times Square

by CNN Wire

When the suspicious device landed in his New York police car, Sgt. Hameed Armani thought he was about to die.

The object made a clicking noise. Lights from the device started flashing.

"Boss, this is a bomb," his partner, Officer Peter Cybulski, said from the passenger seat, Armani recalled.

The horror couldn't have come at a worse place. The officers' patrol car was parked in Times Square, which was packed with tourists and locals Wednesday night.

Armani, in the driver's seat, said he was prepared to die, but refused to let civilians die, too.

"We both look at each other. I was like, 'We're going to go, but I'm not going to have anybody else go with us,'" the sergeant said.

So, instead of jumping out of the car to save their own lives, the officers drove 1½ blocks away to make sure nothing happened to the crowd of civilians.

During that drive, "We both said our prayers," said Armani, a Muslim immigrant from Afghanistan who has been with NYPD 10 years.

"We thought this was it, we're not going to make it."

That kind of bravery represents "the best of the finest," New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said, KTLA sister station WPIX in New York reported .

"They put their own lives at risk so that they could save potentially hundreds if not thousands of people in Times Square," Bratton said. He called them "heroes of this department, heroes of this city."

Eventually, the officers found an uncrowded street. Armani got out of the car and placed the device on a sidewalk.

Authorities determined the device was not a bomb but a cylindrical object containing a candle, an electrical component and flashing red lights.

Police: Suspect said he wanted to die

On Thursday morning, police stopped a man suspected of throwing the device into the police car.

The suspect, identified as 52-year-old Hector Meneses, was in a gold SUV in Columbus Circle. He told officers he had a bomb strapped to his chest and wanted to die, said NYPD Chief of Manhattan Detectives William Aubry.

Meneses put on a red helmet, police said.

The threat of explosives in his car prompted a standoff that shut down the busy area during Thursday morning rush hour.

After several hours, police managed to get Meneses out of his SUV. He was taken into custody and wheeled away in a stretcher. The reason for the stretcher was not immediately clear.

Police said Meneses, a cab driver, did not have a criminal history nor a record of being an emotionally disturbed person. It's still unclear why he may have thrown a suspicious device into the police car.

'It was a good day'

The past month has been emotionally grueling for police across the country. A sniper killed five officers in Dallas. Another gunman killed three officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

All this comes amid outrage over the police shooting deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling in Minnesota and Louisiana.

Cybulski, who held the suspected bomb as his partner drove them away from Times Square, said police need to be able to handle anything. He's been with the department three years, Bratton said.

"We come to work every day not knowing -- quite literally -- what might be thrown at us," he said. "(Armani and I) both looked at each other. We knew exactly what each other was thinking without even having to say it. ... We're not going to let this take out someone else with us."

Armani, the visibly exhausted sergeant, was finally able to relax Thursday.

"I was happy no one got hurt," he said. "It was a good day."

He immigrated from Afghanistan with two dreams: a better life for his daughter and the opportunity to become a police officer. Now, the single father can let his 12-year-old daughter know her dad is safe, along with hundreds in Times Square.



Does ‘Black Lives Matter' still matter?

by Christopher Sebastian Parker

Before the shooting in Dallas that took the lives of five police officers and the one in Baton Rouge that resulted in the deaths of three more, Black Lives Matter had begun to gain traction.

Among other things, the movement contributed to the introduction of body cameras for the police in some jurisdictions, and led to the resignation of the University of Missouri's president over racial bias.

In the aftermath of the death of Philando Castile at the hands of cops in Minnesota, Governor Mark Dayton attributed the death to institutional racism. The BLM movement was at least partially responsible for informing the governor's thinking on these matters.

The movement was on the offensive, establishing itself as an important player on police reform - until two armed black men, Micah Johnson and Gavin Eugene Long, changed the game by killing cops.

Black Lives Matter had been forced to compete with those who demand the public acknowledge that “All Lives Matter.” Now it's now forced to contend with those who argue that “Blue Lives Matter.”

Is Black Lives Matter capable of regaining the legitimacy for which it's fought so hard?

Will Black Lives Matter still matter, moving forward?

Let's consider the question from both sides.

Why Black Lives Matter won't matter

In the past, white sympathy has proven to be a necessary ingredient in making civil rights gains.

If the cop killing continues, Black Lives Matter may lose white support - and that may prove fatal to the movement.

White folk have a far more favorable view of cops than black folk. Period.

Why? They trust them more - and with good reason. Almost from the founding of the republic, law enforcement has treated white people better than black people.

Consider the Fugitive Slave Acts. The first, passed in 1793, permitted slave masters to recover their “property” if slaves managed to escape. Congress followed it up almost 60 years later with the Second Fugitive Slave Act in 1850. This act enlisted the U.S. Marshall Service to assist slave masters in their efforts to recover runaway slaves. Allow me to add that these services were gratis - free of charge.

After slavery was outlawed in the aftermath of the Civil War, the South was eventually permitted to “redeem” itself, effectively short circuiting the racial leveling promised by Reconstruction.

The removal of the Union army from the South, part of which consisted of black troops, allowed the South to return to a system of white supremacy: Jim Crow. As a system of laws, Jim Crow reduced black southerners to an existence that only barely bested their lot during slavery. Their “freedom,” in short, was nominal at best.

Of course, this was also the time during which the Ku Klux Klan touched down. The “Invisible Empire” sought to keep black southerners in line through the use of violence: lynching. Law enforcement not only permitted this to happen, but local law enforcement were often members of the local Klavern: badges by day, hoods at night.

As the freedom struggle moved beyond Dixie in the 1960s, many whites in urban areas came to fear blacks and sought the protection of law enforcement. It's beyond ironic that it was blue-on-black violence that triggered the urban conflagration, with which most whites were concerned.

Law enforcement has always protected and served the interests of whites more than blacks. For these reasons, whites have a flattering view of law enforcement. With this in mind, it would come as no surprise when, if forced to choose between supporting the police or supporting the BLM movement, they'd favor the former over the latter. If blacks were given the same choice, it should come as no surprise if they prefer to support the movement.

The case for why BLM will continue to matter

Making the case for why the movement will regain its footing, if it ever completely lost it, is even easier than arguing the case that it won't.

We already know why: racism. Let me explain how.

To the degree that the BLM movement's chief goal, in the present moment, is the reduction of blue-on-black violence, the movement will continue apace. As it turns out, police officers, especially white ones, tend to believe that black folk don't deserve treatment on par with whites. Of course, this paves the way for continuing discriminatory treatment of blacks on their part.

Despite its current focus on addressing police brutality, BLM's agenda isn't confined to this issue. Indeed, the BLM movement is about contesting the systemic oppression of black folks.

Toward this end, BLM has its work cut out. Research suggests that the impact of race and racism on American society has only grown worse in recent years, especially since President Obama was first elected. Indeed, in recent polls, 63 percent of the country believes race relations are “bad.” Among blacks and Hispanics, the numbers are 72 and 65 percent, respectively.

The 2016 election cycle isn't helping. Trump's deployment of race as a means of rallying his “base” only adds to the already noxious racial climate.

The tragedy of the Dallas and Baton Rouge shootings cannot be denied. These deaths represent senseless losses of lives, for both the police and the shooters. Likewise, the deaths of Sterling and Castile were at least as useless and tragic.

But because the complicity of law enforcement with black oppression remains a problem almost 250 years after the founding of the republic and because racism continues to haunt us some 400 years after the establishment of the 13 colonies, I'm betting that the Black Lives Matter movement will continue to matter for the foreseeable future.

This is regrettable, but necessary.

Christopher Sebastian Parker, Associate Professor, Political Science, University of Washington




Local officers breaking down barriers with community policing

by Raven Ambers

PARIS, Texas -- A group of youth and local officers are breaking down barriers with a little competition on the basketball court.

"It wasn't just the kids picking who they want on teams, it was actually the officers, and it was a good feeling to have them out," said Aliza Tucker.

Paris Police Lt. Joseph Nelms says teamwork is an important part of his job. That's why he's using community policing to make a positive impact in the Paris community.

"So I've already introduced myself on a first name basis, so if they come to me, they can see me as a friend, somebody they actually trust," said Nelms.

The basketball teams consist of two officers who serve as captains on each team and a group of teammates from the faith-based "Pressing Toward the Mark" youth group.

Gary Savage is the director of the youth group.

"We want the officers to know that we have really good children here, and they're trained on bible principles and they're just really good kids," said Savage.

"Everybody wants to stereotype people and what they do, so when you really get to know a person, you find out that, that's not really true," said Ziyriah Norris.

Aliza Tucker says she'd like to be a police officer herself one day.

"Just having all the police officers out here, is bringing more communication between whites and blacks, and it's gonna solve a lot of problems."

And Lt. Nelms says he agrees.

"If we just have an isolated group here and an isolated group there, it's not a community, that's two isolated groups living in the same area, it's not a community. So that's what policing is all about, creating those bonds, creating a community, not just people living in the same area," said Nelms.




Community policing can inspire unity

by Dan DeWitt

Deputy Jason Deso encouraged the teenaged girl, who a few weeks earlier had been so distraught that she was taken to a mental health hospital for her own protection, to continue with her therapy and medications.

He handed her his card. He told her that if she ever needs help finding follow-up care or even wants to talk, "you can just give me a shout."

The girl's mother, Beatrice Hamilton, listened approvingly and said afterwards she was pleasantly surprised that a deputy had bothered to follow up.

"It feels like a community," she said. "You don't want to feel like you're left dangling out there."

Deso, 39, is one of two Hernando County deputies on the agency's Community Oriented Policing and Problem Solving (COPPS) unit.

His job description could be boiled down to what he did on this visit on Monday evening: reach out to people who might otherwise feel neglected or isolated.

"One of my main goals is to show people we're here to help," he said. "We're not just here to throw the cuffs on you and throw you in a mental hospital and forget about you."

I asked to ride along with him because, in the aftermath of sickening tragedies in Dallas and Baton Rouge, it seems to me there's no more important job in law enforcement.

That's not because I think that the divide between officers and some of the people they serve, especially African Americans, is all or even mostly law enforcement's fault.

And it's not because community policing is a guarantee of peace. Dallas had one of the best such programs in the country. That five officers were killed there shows it's impossible to reach every hate-filled loner.

But studies have shown that community policing can reach a lot of these people, and, beyond that, Deso is doing what we should all be doing in these angry, polarized times. He bridges gaps.

Deso, a graduate of Springstead High School, said it's been his approach from the time he joined the Sheriff's Office in 2001.

"I would tend to stay on calls a little longer, which might not have been popular with the guys working around me," he said. "I always felt that if I took the extra minutes to fix the problem, we wouldn't be going out there over and over."

In 2003, he joined an earlier version of the COPPS program, which was bigger and that included an operation based in the poor, mostly black neighborhood of South Brooksville.

When budget shortages led to the closing of COPPS in 2010, he moved to a similar job, working as a school resource officer at Nature Coast Technical High School.

Deso, who also trains officers in crisis intervention and serves as a crisis negotiator, moved back to COPPS a year ago, after it was reformed and provided an annual budget of $155,000 that, I hope, will be increased in the coming year.

Most patrol officers drive from call to call and crisis to crisis, Deso said, while he starts his shifts at 5 p.m. so he can catch them at home and when they are likely to be able to talk calmly.

Before leaving the lot of the Sheriff's Office in Brooksville, he checked the laptop in his patrol car for his assignments.

With only two deputies, members of the COPPS unit are not assigned to specific neighborhoods but visit potential trouble spots countywide.

He mediates between feuding neighbors. He visits parking lots full of rowdy kids who he is likely to know by name because of his previous job. He follows up on residents who have been hospitalized under the Baker Act, the law that allows people to be temporarily taken to a mental health facility if they are a danger to themselves or others.

The idea, he said, is to talk to them when the worst of the crisis has passed, to make sure they are getting treatment, and, sometimes, to let them vent a little.

"I've always been intrigued by the idea of listening and helping people resolve their issues," he said.

That this is better than automatically reacting with aggression seems like an obvious rule to live by.

So if your neighbor's race or religion is different than yours, if you occupy a different political camp — a military metaphor that, unfortunately, is more appropriate than ever — let them know you both live in the same community.

You may not be able to talk about the Middle East or gun control, but you can still commiserate about the weather or the Rays or mole crickets.

You can try to make them feel like neighbors. You can make sure nobody is left dangling.




Baton Rouge gunman signals 'horrendous acts of violence' in manifesto

The shooter wrote about a "concealed war" between "good cops" and "bad cops," and said he felt obligated to "bring the same destruction that bad cops continue to inflict upon my people"

by Michael Kunzelman

BATON ROUGE, La. — The man who ambushed and killed three law enforcement officers in Louisiana purportedly described his actions as a "necessary evil" in a self-described, handwritten manifesto that an Ohio man says was emailed to him by the gunman less than an hour before the shootings.

Photographs of the three-page letter show it was signed by "Cosmo," the first name of an alias used by Baton Rouge gunman Gavin Long, and the pictures were attached to an email sent from a Google address Long used.

In the letter, Long said he expected people who knew him wouldn't believe he would commit "such horrendous acts of violence." He wrote that he viewed his actions as necessary to "create substantial change within America's police force."

The Associated Press obtained the photographs of the letter Wednesday from Yarima Karama, a Columbus, Ohio, musician who said he didn't know Long personally but received several emails from him after Long began commenting on Karama's YouTube videos in March.

The AP was not able to conclusively verify Long sent the photos himself from his Google account. Metadata reviewed from the three photos indicates they were snapped shortly before 8 a.m. on the day of the shooting using a Motorola Android cellphone, but both photos and time stamps can be modified. The photographs appear to have been taken from inside a car because a gearshift and a cup holder are visible.

Police have said officers first saw the shooter at a convenience store at 8:40 a.m. Sunday. Within two minutes, there were reports of shots fired. Police gunned down Long after he fatally shot three officers and wounded three others. It was his 29th birthday.

The violence capped two weeks of turmoil for Baton Rouge that began with the killing of a black man, Alton Sterling, during a scuffle with two white police officers at a convenience store. That shooting, captured on cellphone video, provoked widespread protests about police treatment of the black community.

Karama said he provided a copy of the letter to FBI agents who interviewed him at his home Wednesday.

The story about the manifesto was first reported by BuzzFeed.

Todd Lindgren, a spokesman for the FBI office in Cincinnati, said he could not respond to any questions about the case "due to the Baton Rouge matter being an ongoing investigation," and the FBI's New Orleans office also declined comment.

Louisiana State Police Col. Mike Edmonson said law enforcement officers found an array of handwritten documents in Long's car and a hotel where he was staying, but he did not know if the material included the letter Karama shared.

"It was all rants and raves," Edmonson said.

In the self-described manifesto, which was started off with the words "Peace Family," Long wrote about a "concealed war" between "good cops" and "bad cops," and said he felt obligated to "bring the same destruction that bad cops continue to inflict upon my people."

Long, a black military veteran whose last known address was in Kansas City, Missouri, spent five years in the Marine Corps. He served one tour in Iraq before being honorably discharged.

Before the Baton Rouge shootings, Long posted rambling internet videos calling for violent action in response to what he considered oppression.

He did not specifically mention Baton Rouge or detail his plans for an attack in the letter.

"I know I will be vilified by the media & police," it read. "I see my actions as a necessary evil that I do not wish to partake in, nor do I enjoy partaking in, but must partake in, in order to create substantial change within America's police force, and judicial system."

Karama read the letter in a video posted on YouTube. He declined to provide the AP with copies of the other emails he said he received from Long or with additional technical information about Sunday's email that possibly could help the AP conclusively verify Long wrote the letter.

Karama, who described himself as a hip-hop artist and community activist, said he provided other information about Long's emails to various news outlets.

"I'm about building my own brand at this point," he said. "I've given the information to who I need to."




Fla. chief: Shooting of therapist 'very sensitive matter'

Police Chief Gary Eugene said the investigation had been turned over to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the office of the state's attorney

by Terry Spencer

NORTH MIAMI, Fla. — A black therapist who was trying to calm an autistic man in the middle of the street says he was shot by police even though he had his hands in the air and repeatedly told them that no one was armed.

The moments before the shooting were recorded on cellphone video and show Charles Kinsey lying on the ground with his arms raised, talking to his patient and police throughout the standoff with officers, who appeared to have them surrounded.

"As long as I've got my hands up, they're not going to shoot me. This is what I'm thinking. They're not going to shoot me," he told WSVN-TV from his hospital bed, where he was recovering from a gunshot wound to his leg. "Wow, was I wrong."

The shooting comes amid weeks of violence involving police. Five officers were killed in Dallas two weeks ago and three law enforcement officers were gunned down Sunday in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Before those shootings, a black man, Alton Sterling, 37, was fatally shot during a scuffle with two white officers at a convenience store. In Minnesota, 32-year-old Philando Castile, who was also black, was shot to death during a traffic stop. Cellphone videos captured Sterling's killing and aftermath of Castile's shooting, prompting nationwide protests over the treatment of blacks by police.

At a news conference Thursday, North Miami Police Chief Gary Eugene said the investigation had been turned over to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the office of the state's attorney. He called it a "very sensitive matter" and promised a transparent investigation, but he refused to identify the officer or answer reporters' questions.

"I realize there are many questions about what happened on Monday night. You have questions, the community has questions, we as a city, we as a member of this police department and I also have questions," he said. "I assure you we will get all the answers."

The chief said officers responded following reports of a man with a gun threatening to kill himself, and the officers arrived "with that threat in mind" — but no gun was recovered.

Kinsey, 47, said he was trying to coax his 27-year-old patient back to a facility from which he had wandered. Police ordered Kinsey and the patient, who was sitting in the street playing with a toy truck, to lie on the ground.

"Lay down on your stomach," Kinsey says to his patient in the video, which was shot from a distance and provided to the Miami Herald (http://hrld.us/2ahReMa) on Wednesday. "Shut up!" responds the patient, who is sitting cross-legged in the road, playing with his toy.

"He has a toy truck in his hand! A toy truck!" Kinsey says to officers who have their guns drawn. Kinsey said he was more worried about his patient than himself.

An officer later fired three times, striking Kinsey in the leg, assistant police chief Neal Cuevas told the newspaper.

"I'm telling them again, 'Sir, there is no need for firearms. I'm unarmed, he's an autistic guy. He got a toy truck in his hand," Kinsey said.

"When he shot me, it was so surprising ... It was like a mosquito bite, and when it hit me, I'm like, I still got my hands in the air, and I said, 'No, I just got shot,'" Kinsey said.

After the shooting, Kinsey said he asked an officer why he was shot and the officer said "'I don't know.'"

Attorney General Loretta Lynch told reporters the Justice Department is aware of the shooting and working with local law enforcement to gather all of the facts and to decide how to proceed.

"We don't know enough about it at this point in time," she said, when asked whether federal authorities would begin their own investigation.

U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson represents the area and said she was in shock after watching the video.

"From what I saw, he was lying on the ground with his hands up. Freezing. But he was still shot," she said.

"This is not typical of North Miami," she said. "We're not accustomed to this tension. ... This cannot happen again."

The officer has been placed on administrative leave, which is standard.

Kinsey's attorney, Hilton Napoleon, provided the cellphone video to the Herald.

In an interview with The Associated Press, he declined to say from whom he had obtained the video.

The video does not show the moment of the shooting, and Napoleon said there was about a two-minute gap in which the person who shot the video had switched off, thinking nothing more noteworthy would happen. It then briefly shows the aftermath of the shooting.




Loudon comfort dog shares Lutheran Church ministry with Baton Rouge and Orlando communities

by Amy McRary

A Loudon County golden retriever is taking her calm canine comfort to parts of America affected by violence. She's even been known to lick away tears.

Three-year-old Jewel is a trained comfort dog owned by Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church in Loudon. The slender, cream-colored dog is one of 130 canines in the national Lutheran Church Charities K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry.

The dogs offer quiet compassion to nursing home residents, worried children or stressed disaster survivors. Animals and handlers went to Boston after the 2013 marathon bombing and Newtown, Conn., after 20 students and six adults were fatally shot at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Jewel has a weekly schedule in East Tennessee that includes visiting children receiving counseling and seeing elderly residents in nursing care facilities. She recently joined church K-9 disaster trips: In June she was one of 12 goldens dispatched to Orlando, Fla., after the mass killing at The Pulse nightclub. This week Jewel, with caregivers and handlers Steve and Judy Schoenherr, went to Baton Rouge, La., to offer counsel to law enforcement officers and the community after a gunman killed three policemen and wounded three more before he was fatally shot.

During five hot days in Orlando, Jewel and the Schoenherrs visited hospitals and attended vigils and other events. At one hospital Jewel stood on her back legs, placing her front paws on shooting survivor Angel Santiago's bed so he could wrap his arms around her.

"Orlando was so much more intense than I ever envisioned," remembers Judy Schoenherr. On their first night, the dogs and handlers attended a candlelight vigil. "There was just a real heaviness," she says. "I think the dogs that first night were a release for so many people. You see 12 golden retrievers walk in ... We were just a magnet for people."

Jewel's first compassionate response following a disaster was here in East Tennessee. In May 2015 she spent three days at Greenback School after five members of a Greenback family, including three children, were among six people killed in a Blount County car accident. Steve Schoenherr says Jewel is available by invitation for local disaster response situations by calling Christ Our Savior, 865-458-9407.

The dog seems to have an instinct of knowing who needs her most. Shortly after she began her therapy rounds in August 2014, Jewel meet an elderly resident of an area care facility. "She was perfect the first time she met him," recalled Steve Schoenherr. "She snuggled up to him. He was petting and petting her. He died the next day."

Jewel goes with nurse and handler Ginger Barthel weekly to the Loudon County Child Advocacy Center. The center offers therapy for abused children. Barthel and Jewel often sit in a waiting room for Jewel to meet children "and make them feel good ... Jewel can sense the stress a child is under," Barthel says.

Some children run to the dog. Others, often teens, are more reluctant. After an initial meeting between child and dog, Barthel on follow-up visits tells Jewel simply "Go see." Jewel "will go right over, lean again them and let them pet her," Barthel says of dog and child. "It is a matter of her presence and willingness to listen and be quiet. It's her willingness to be passive and to receive whatever the child has to offer."

Sometimes the dog tends to caregivers, from Orlando's first responders to East Tennessee's school counselors. At the advocacy center, Jewel may get attention from a child's caregiver. "Jewel will stand there and they will stroke her and talk," says Barthel. Once, as an adult woman petted the golden while sharing her history of abuse, Jewel licked a tear from the woman's cheek.

The church wanted to own a comfort dog as part of its ministry, says Associate Pastor Mark Rhoads. "This is one more way we can help hurting people in the name of Jesus," he says.

Private donations paid Jewel's $12,000 cost and also fund her annual estimated $1,500 care. The Schoenherrs are her primary caregivers. Barthel and four other church families are handlers who take Jewel on comfort visits and/or substitute caregivers.

Before she came to Tennessee, Jewel got 3,000 hours of training like that given other service animals. She's trained to approach strangers, welcome their hugs, pats and tears. She knows not to startle at running children or grabbing hands. She doesn't jump, paw or beg. She doesn't chase cats but likes to play ball. Trained to be calm, she only barks when she dreams.

Each Lutheran Church Charities dog is identified with a Bible verse. Jewel's is Philippians 2:3: "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves."

She's a golden connection. LCC defines the ministry as using the retrievers' skills to open "opportunities to touch people with mercy and compassion." After Jewel began going to Morning Pointe Assisted Living in Lenoir City, Rhoads was invited to teach Bible study there. "Jewel is really the bridge for us to be able to touch people with Jesus' love," says Judy Schoenherr. "And just to let them know that there is someone out there who loves them and cares for them."

Sometimes the dog's visit leads to a human connection. "You can touch (a person) on the arm and say, 'Well, how are you doing today?' " says Judy Schoenherr. "It's a perfect opportunity to say 'Can we pray with you?' It's just a really short quick prayer, and you just don't know how many people appreciate that."

On her twice-monthly trips to Maryville's Clover Hill Senior Care center, Jewel "brings smiles to people's faces. We have some that start singing to her. She relaxes them; they smile and they pet her," says Lori Zepeda, the facility's life enrichment director.

Zepeda met Jewel when she worked at Morning Pointe. When she moved to Clover Hill, she invited Jewel there. "She is so beautiful and so calm. She walks down that hall and she looks at you. She will put her chin on their knee or recliner's arm rest. You can't help but put your hand out to pet her," Zepeda says.

Jewel doesn't miss Sunday services at Christ Our Savior. She greets people before both morning services and in between attends Bible class. "She does sleep through the pastor's sermon," jokes Steve Schoenherr.

Her handlers stress Jewel's not a pet but a dog with a job. Though her favorite treat is a Kong toy stuffed with apples and peanut butter, Jewel gets tactile payment for her work greeting and comforting people. "She's a working dog," says Judy Schoenherr. "And her paycheck is all of the people that she greets petting her."




FBI: Ariz. terror suspect watched 24/7 before arrest

by Megan Cassidy

PHOENIX — An FBI agent's testimony Tuesday offered a window into an elaborate investigation into a terrorist suspect involving undercover agents, a burner phone and months of communications as the Tucson teenager reportedly mapped his Arizona attacks.

The case against Mahin Khan also offers a window into how more terrorism-related cases may be heard in Arizona's state courts, rather than in federal court, as the result of what Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich calls a more “forward-leaning” approach to detain would-be terrorists before they're able to act.

FBI Agent Benjamin Trentlage testified Tuesday in a Maricopa County Superior Court bond hearing for Khan, the 18-year-old accused of planning jihad-style attacks in Maricopa and Pima counties. Trentlage said Khan was under 24/7 surveillance before his July 1 arrest, costing the federal and local authorities hundreds of thousands of dollars in work-hours in a matter of months.

Khan was denied bond at a July 1 hearing but was entitled to another hearing before a judge to determine whether there were grounds to warrant the denial.

Khan's case is believed to be the first terrorism-related case in Arizona tried in state, rather than federal, court. He is charged with inciting or inducing terrorism, financing or managing terrorism and with manufacturing, possessing or selling a prohibited weapon.

FBI: Teen planned a 'lone jihad attack'

Over the span of months, Trentlage said Khan unknowingly communicated with FBI agents on a burner phone and detailed what he envisioned to be a “lone jihad attack.” Khan was eyeing a Jewish community center and an Air Force recruitment center in Tucson as targets, as well as a state Motor Vehicle Division office in Mesa, Trentlage said.

"He described the MVD as a 'soft target,' " Trentlage said. “He said it would have a lot of people and relatively low security."

During one of his communications with agents, Trentlage said, Khan praised the Paris terrorist attacks in November and said he hoped to kill 200 to 300 people. He at one point requested firearms, and instructed an undercover agent to start making homemade grenades, Trentlage said.

Trentlage said the undercover agent at one point expressed concern to Khan that Khan's parents would report him to the FBI.

Trentlage relayed that Khan told the agent he would "kill them" himself, if his parents reported the agent.

Defense attorneys did not have a chance to cross-examine Trentlage on Tuesday. The hearing was scheduled to continue Wednesday.

Earlier Tuesday, defense attorneys argued that Khan was denied his constitutional rights by appearing without an attorney during his initial court appearance.

Khan was ordered to be held without bond earlier this month, after reportedly telling authorities that he would flee to Syria or Pakistan if released.

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Sam Myers said he would consider the arguments about whether Khan could be denied bond and issue a written order at a later time.

Court documents released earlier this month said Khan discussed potential targets in various email and phone conversations, and said that he had reached out to a member of TTP, or Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan, a known foreign terrorist organization, asking how to build a pressure-cooker bomb.

Brnovich: Don't need to wait for an 'overt act'

Unlike federal laws, Arizona statutes do not require an “overt act” to prove terrorism conspiracy, Brnovich said.

While federal prosecutors would have to provide evidence that a suspect, for example, purchased a weapon or explosive, Arizona law only requires evidence of intent, such as an agreement between the suspect and another person.

“If you look at what's happened ... in San Bernardino and then in Orlando (attacks), I think that everyone recognizes that no one can do this alone,” Brnovich said, speaking about terrorism cases in general. “Especially in light of the fact that we see these lone-wolf or small terror cells operating in other parts of the world — this is a problem where you're going to need state, local and federal officials working together.”

Authorities are required to be proactive in terrorism cases, which is not generally the case in other types of crime, Brnovich said.

“We have to be right 100% of the time,” he said. “If you mean harm to this community and you're a terrorist, you only have to be successful 1 in 1,000 times.”

The federal government has come under fire for failing to prevent some of the bloodiest attacks on American soil.

Weeks before Khan's arrest, Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old security guard, carried out the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, killing 49 people at an Orlando nightclub and injuring 53 others.

Mateen's name once had been on the FBI's terrorism watch list but was removed after an investigation ended without charges. The removal meant that Mateen was able to legally purchase guns without the FBI being notified.

Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, the FBI and Department of Justice shifted their anti-terrorism strategy from one of response to interdiction, said Brian Levin, director for the Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism at California State University in San Bernardino.

Levin said authorities across the country have employed tactics such as alleged immigration violations, conspiracy charges or charges of lying to an agent to pre-emptively eliminate threats.

He noted a case out of California, in which an Egyptian flight student was flagged after posting a statement on social media about assassinating Donald Trump.

“They didn't even have to charge him; he was just deported back to Egypt,” Levin said.

Levin said it's possible more terrorism cases will be tried in state courts, but it will depend on the wording of each state's individual statute.

“In this particular instance, it appears that the state law is a much better fit for prosecution than federal law,” he said.




Calls resume for community policing, but what does that actually mean?

Together Baton Rouge is just one of the many organizations across the country seeking more ties between police and citizens. But can it work?

by Ben Rosen

A familiar refrain has emerged from Baton Rouge, La., as residents struggle to process a spate of police related violence – first the high-profile and fatal police shooting of Alton Sterling on July 5, then the killings of three police officers in an ambush on Sunday.

There, as in numerous cities around the country struggling with fraught relations between police and black communities, local leaders and residents are calling for investment in community policing to help bridge the racial divide.

One organization that aims to spearhead this effort is Together Baton Rouge – a coalition of dozens of religious institutions and leaders, black and white, from the Louisiana city.

“How do you remove the fear? How do you remove the mistrust? By building relationships?” the Rev. Lee Wesley, of the Community Bible Baptist Church in Baton Rouge tells The Christian Science Monitor in a phone interview Wednesday, speaking on behalf of the coalition. “People have to get to know each other if trust is going to be established.”

Community policing is one proposed solution to alleviate the growing mistrust between police and the black community in Baton Rouge and across the country. But law enforcement and others familiar with the strategy stress that in order for it to be effective, both police and citizens must buy into it and agree on how it will materialize.

“It's not that community policing can't work. It's just what is it?” Eugene O'Donnell, a professor of law and police studies at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City, and a former police officer and prosecutor, tells the Monitor Wednesday. “It's the emergency footing that agencies go on and communities go when there's a crisis. But what's much, much harder is to even define what you're talking about. What does that mean actually? Who's going to do it? Is the community interested in it?”

To Rev. Wesley, community policing is about getting officers into the neighborhoods as a matter of course and not just in response to emergencies.

“Policemen are going to have to get out of their cars, walk the street, and have a conversation with the black guy on the corner – the black guy who has his pants hanging down – and get to know him as an individual, not as a stereotype,” says Wesley, who is African American. “Until we get those types of relationships going, we're never going to get our community moving forward.”

The Department of Justice's Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) defines community policing as a strategy to build trust between police and the community through cooperative efforts among law enforcement, community members, nonprofits, businesses, and others. Historically, it involved mini-police stations in neighborhoods, more officers on foot patrol, and other efforts to build rapport with the public. Body cameras and data sharing have been recommended too.

Community policing first became popular following the Los Angeles riots, with Chicago becoming a marquee city to implement it throughout its police department. But, as Wesley Skogan, a political science professor at Northwestern University's Institute for Policy Research, said in his testimony to the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing in 2015, community policing became lost a decade later among other strategies, with names like “problem-oriented policing, procedural-justice policing, predictive policing, intelligence-oriented policing,” and even anti-terror policing.

In the aftermath of police shootings and the deaths of black men in police custody, political leaders and police officials are being urged to refocus on community policing to establish trust in their communities, as the Monitor's Harry Bruinius wrote in May 2015.

Together Baton Rouge is one such organization mounting pressure. When asked how he envisions community policing there, Wesley said it should start with police attending meetings in the community to understand why the public is frustrated and angry.

“This has to happen not just at the top level with the police captain,” he adds, “but also with the police officer on the street.”

Together Baton Rouge has started to look to other cities for direction, including New Orleans and Oklahoma City.

President Obama has hailed Camden, N.J., as another model for community policing. Once one of the most dangerous cities in America, Camden turned its police force around, hiring more officers to walk and bike the streets, as well as engage the community with reading programs and similar initiatives, as the Monitor's Harry Bruinius detailed last year.

Successful community policing efforts require more than police engagement, Professor O'Donnell says, citizens must also get on board with the program.

One skeptic is Terrell Jermaine Starr a political correspondent for Fusion. In an op-ed The Washington Post published in November, Mr. Starr voiced concern about the implementation of community policing in Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood where he lives.

“As sincere as the philosophy of community policing might be, it's not the solution to police brutality,” he writes. “The bad relationship between police and residents is not the cause of excessive force, it's the result. The real cause is the fact that police officers are rarely, if ever, charged in connection to the people they kill.”

Dr. Skogen, of Northwestern University, referred to growing mistrust between police and the public in his testimony to the presidential task force. He said a National Academy of Sciences report a decade ago found police are more effective at fighting crime, less corrupt, and less likely to unlawfully shoot people. But, a Gallup poll showed public respect for police is down 17 percent from the 1960s.

Although recent killings in Baton Rouge; St. Paul, Minn.; and Dallas, have likely increased the mistrust Starr wrote about in November, police and activists continue to find unique ways to improve relations together. One police chief even organized a cookout with Black Lives Matter activists in Wichita, Kansas, to build dialogue and open trust.




Hartford Leaders, Residents Share Dialogue On Community Policing

by Vinny Vella

HARTFORD — The city's leaders had a simple solution to clearing the air after the chaos stirred up by recent violence in Minneapolis, Dallas and Baton Rouge: Start a conversation.

And on Tuesday night, they did just that, packing the pews of the Faith Congregational Church, Hartford's oldest African-American place of worship, for a dialogue on community policing. The venue was no accident.

"As we wrestle with this challenge as a nation, answering what's bubbling up to the surface, we have to acknowledge that it has roots not in the events of the last few weeks, but things that our nation has struggled to overcome for decades," Mayor Luke Bronin said in his opening remarks, referring to the growing divide between the community and the police who serve it.

Bronin was joined by Police Chief James Rovella, the Rev. Henry Brown, David McGuire of the ACLU and Donna Campbell of the Greater Hartford NAACP for the event, which allowed Hartford residents to voice their concerns.

Rovella, still struggling with the recent police killings, was frank in his remarks, even those concerning his own subordinates, whom he said "try to get it right" every time they interact with residents.

"But I'm not naive. As we watch the less-than-1 percent causing problems in the community, I'm watching an internal group," Rovella said. "Sometimes, folks, I fire people. It's a fight, but I do it for a good reason: Those people represent what I don't want our officers to be, and I work hard to deal with that."

He referenced the changes he's made since taking over, including halving juvenile arrests. He has also reduced the number of Internal Affairs complaints by stressing the importance of his officers "having conversations."

Rovella says he finds open communication invaluable. And he found plenty of it Tuesday.

A constantly growing line of attendees took turns speaking their mind, addressing him, Bronin and the other panelists in turn.

Their concerns ran the gamut, from the seeming lack of prayer in schools to the perceived discrimination in arrests.

One attendee, retired Hartford police Sgt. Arnold Lee Martin, implored Rovella to reinstate the walk beat officers, "backbones to community policing," as he put it.

Another, Damaris Whittaker, thanked Rovella for the work he's done in the community, especially in support of the protests organized by her church, the First Church of Christ in Hartford.

But Whittaker had some requests for him and his officers as well.

"I want to live in a society where I can say 'black lives matter' and you don't hear 'blue lives don't matter,' " she said. "We live in an intersectional place, and we can do great things if we reach each other where we are."





OUR VIEW: Community policing efforts

For many people, our interactions with police are limited to being pulled over for speeding, or some other moving violation. That's just how it works. Perhaps, even though it shouldn't, that sets an adversarial tone.

When you draw a line in the sand, people are going to stand on either side of it. People who have chosen a side don't appreciate it if you stand on the line, and it makes them even angrier if you try to brush it away.

Black Lives Matter sprang up in the wake of deadly police intervention. Blue Lives Matter sprang up in response to Black Lives Matter. Saying All Lives Matter is unacceptable to members of the Black Lives Matter movement.

The only thing we can really take away from all this is there are many shades of gray.

On Monday, a panel met at Oklahoma State University in an effort to “start a dialogue.” It can't end there. You can't chastise people for not understanding an issue and then chastise them when they pose a question. If people are afraid to talk, then they are afraid to ask questions. If they don't ask questions, they will stay ignorant.

That's why the latest efforts of community policing are becoming more and more important. People need to see police as the people they are. Police need to meet citizens of the city and see them as their neighbors and not just the people they serve, protect or arrest.




Cadillac changes gears, focusing more on community policing

by Tom Kramer

CADILLAC, Mi (WPBN/WGTU) — A northern Michigan police department is shifting gears a bit.

Cadillac's Police Chief says they've started a new community policing initiative.

It will focus on the communities of Cadillac, centered on four pillars: schools, neighborhoods, businesses, and rental housing.

Todd Golnick hasn't been Cadillac's Chief of Police for very long, just since last fall.

But he's been a police officer in the community for more than 20 years.

And he says over those years, it was frustrating at times that officers and residents didn't really know each other.

He hopes this new focus on community policing will change that.

“What you're going to find out is you're going to know who the police are in your community,” says Chief Golnick. “You're going to be on a first name basis and you're going to be able to call and talk to each other because this relationship is already going to be established. So hopefully just the familiarity of our staff and the different people in the community, and we'll be on a first name basis now.”

Chief Golnick says it's been proven that police officers have a higher job satisfaction rate when they're engaged in community policing.

“There isn't a cop in our department who did not say I want to work here because I want to help people,” he says. “The unfortunate truth has been we don't get to do that that often. We're so busy responding to the ills of society and the people in crisis, that we just don't seem to get to help at the level that we thought we could. By community policing, we will be able to provide that help. And that satisfaction of what brought them to this work should be realized.”

The department-wide initiative fits well with the city's Community Partnership program, another link between police and the people they serve.

“It's neighbors helping neighbors is our concept that we're trying to live behind,” says Ritchie Harris.

He's part of a neighborhood group near Lincoln School.

“One of the things with the partnership is to talk to people about their hedges and how to keep them cut down and your trees trimmed up above the ground so that people can't hang out and hide under there,” says Harris. “It seems to be a pretty good program right now.”

This move towards a stronger focus on community policing began with a 2014 federal grant.

Chief Golnick hopes to be able to continue the program even after the grant dollars run out next year.

Chief Golnnick recently attended a police summit at the white house discussing ways to enhance the public's trust in police departments.



Obama says some local police departments need more resources

He did not discuss specific amounts that he would like to see Congress make available

by Darlene Superville

WASHINGTON — The loss of three more police officers in Baton Rouge over the weekend demonstrates the importance of the federal government doing everything it can to help police officers go home at night and be safe, President Barack Obama said Tuesday after meeting with key leaders of his domestic security team.

Obama said there is great interest among police departments nationwide in receiving additional training to deal with active-shooter events and to decrease tensions before violence occurs, but that more resources will be necessary. He said many police departments could also use more help purchasing bullet-proof vests. He did not discuss specific amounts that he would like to see Congress make available.

Obama met with Attorney General Loretta Lynch, FBI Director James Comey and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson in the Oval Office. He addressed reporters for about five minutes after the meeting without taking questions. He said the federal government has many of the tools necessary to help local departments, but the effort to improve policing will also have to be driven within those departments.

"Unfortunately, not all the departments that want to train their officers have the resources to do it," Obama said.

Obama said his intention over his remaining months in office is to continue to look at best practices and listen to departments and build up trust with local communities. He said there is no contradiction between making sure police have all the tools they need to do their job safely and in building trust between police and the communities they serve.

"This is not something that we're going to be able to do solely from this office," Obama said. "... This is something that is going to have to be bottom up and not just top down.

Earlier Tuesday, the White House released an open letter Obama penned to police departments. He said the nation will get through the recent killings of police officers with the "love and empathy of public servants" like the ones who were targeted in recent days.

The letter was dated Monday, the day after two police officers and a sheriff's deputy were killed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, after being ambushed by a lone gunman. Baton Rouge is where police on July 5 fatally shot Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old black man outside a convenience store. Sterling's death sparked nationwide protests.

Sunday's law enforcement deaths followed the July 7 sniper killings of five Dallas police officers as they guarded a peaceful protest. On Tuesday, an officer with the Kansas City, Kansas, police department died after he was shot in his car as he was approaching people matching the description of suspects in an earlier shooting.

Obama has said nothing justifies attacks on law enforcement, a sentiment he reiterated in the two-page letter. The Fraternal Order of Police posted the letter on its social media sites.

Obama wrote the letter as he remains under intense criticism from some police officials and others who accuse him of fostering a climate that has led to the intentional killing of law enforcement officers.

The White House has also been resisting pressure to illuminate the building in blue light in a show of support for law enforcement. Spokesman Josh Earnest has said such a step was unlikely while noting the president's steady outreach to and support for police and other law enforcement over the past couple of weeks.

Obama telephoned the families of the Baton Rouge officers on Monday to offer his and the first lady's condolences. Last week, he paid tribute to the Dallas officers at a memorial service there. He also met a couple of times with law enforcement officials and others, and fielded questions during a televised town hall on race in America.




Calif. firefighters asked to remove flag supporting fallen police officers

The department expressed concerns that the flag may put firefighters at risk for "extremists targeting the fire engine"

by PoliceOne Staff

MORENO VALLEY, Calif. — Riverside County Fire Department firefighters were ordered Monday to remove a pro-police flag from one of their engines.

The “thin blue line” flag was originally installed by firefighter Eric Hille to honor police officers killed in Baton Rouge and Dallas.

He posted a picture of the flag July 17, hours after a gunman killed three officers in Baton Rouge.

“We wanted to show our support for our brothers in blue,” Hille wrote in a caption for the original Facebook photos.

The following day, the firefighters were asked by Riverside County Fire Department Chief John Hawkins to take the flag down because it did not fit the department's standards.

"If no standard exists, then any size, shape or content flag could be flown," Hawkins said.

According to the Press Enterprise, Hawkins said the department's "foremost concern" was that the flag may put firefighters and paramedics that ride in the truck at risk, "due to extremists targeting the fire engine or for people following the fire engine and not being able to see the warning lights."

Hille was also asked to remove pictures of the flag from his Facebook and other social media profiles, but refused to comply.

“As you can tell, the pictures are still posted and will remain posted to show our support for our brothers and sisters in blue,” he wrote. “We have your back, and stand shoulder to shoulder with you.”




Ohio sheriff urges civilian staff to carry weapons at work

Sheriff Richard Jones also urged civilian employees to carry their weapons while operating any department vehicle away from headquarters

by The Associated Press

HAMILTON, Ohio — A sheriff in southwest Ohio is encouraging civilians on his staff with licenses to carry guns to bring their weapons to work after recent attacks against police officers in other parts of the country.

The Hamilton-Middletown Journal-News reports Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones also urged civilian employees to carry their weapons while operating any department vehicle away from headquarters.

Jones made the suggestion to employees in a memo on Friday. He urged them to carry their weapons discreetly when in public.

The sheriff also reminded staffers to adhere to state guidelines for carrying concealed weapons when off department premises.




Police officer shot and killed in Kansas City, Kansas

by Steve Almasy and Sara Weisfeldt

Kansas City, Kansas (CNN)A police officer in Kansas City, Kansas, who was shot Tuesday while chasing suspects allegedly involved in a drive-by shooting, has died, police Chief Terry Zeigler said.

The officer was identified as Capt. Robert Melton. He was 46 years old and had been with the department for 17 years.

Zeigler told reporters the officer was looking for four people in a car some time before 2 p.m. when the vehicle was spotted and a chase began. The chase ended about 2 miles from where the suspects were initially reported to a 911 dispatcher.

"As Capt. Melton was arriving, the suspects bailed from the vehicle and opened fire," the chief said. "I don't have any more details than that."

Another officer who had just arrived called for assistance, police spokesman Thomas Tomasic said earlier during a briefing at the scene of the shooting.

Tomasic said he knew the officer who had been shot, calling him a "good friend, good person."

One person is in custody and two others who might be connected to the incident have been detained. Police are searching for at least one more suspect, Tomasic said.

A police statement said the Melton family had asked for the media to give them privacy.

Kansas City Mayor Mark Holland asked for people not to jump to conclusions and wait for an investigation to answer why the officer was killed.

"We just want to ask for the thoughts and prayers for Capt. Melton's family and for our entire police department right now and for our community," Holland said at the hospital. "There's a lot of pain and brokenness in our community and our nation right now and we just want to ask everyone to be prayerful and thoughtful."

Dr. James Howard of the University of Kansas Hospital said Melton had no blood pressure or pulse when he arrived. Doctors and nurses at the University of Kansas Hospital tried for 30 minutes to revive Melton before he was pronounced dead.

The death is the second for the department in two months. Det. Brad Lancaster was shot and killed May 9 while trying to apprehend a carjacking suspect.

A total of 31 law enforcement officers have been shot to death while on duty this year, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page. Six K-9 officers also have been fatally shot.

Nine other K-9 officers have died of heat exhaustion, including Mojo, an Arlington, Texas, police dog that died Tuesday after overheating during pursuit of a fugitive.



New York

Facebook video shows ‘community policing at its best' in Albany, police say

by Mary Wilson

(Video on site)

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Albany police are telling their side of the story after a video circulating social media appeared to show violence toward an Albany officer.

Outrage ensued after a cell phone video was posted on social media. It appears to show a man punching an officer twice who is sitting in the passenger side of a patrol car. But the Albany Police Department said things aren't always how they appear.

When the video was posted online, many wondered why the pair of officers comforted the man rather than arrested him. But on Tuesday, the police department offered an explanation on its own Facebook page.

Public information officer Steve Smith said what looked like a punch was actually a friendly gesture.

“It was a fist bump,” he explained. “At first he missed and then he tried to fist bump the officer again, and it was successful.”

Smith said the officer saw a man standing at the corner of Quail Street and First Street who was crying. They immediately recognized him from their work in the neighborhood as someone who suffers from mental illness.

“He informed the officer that the group across the street – the group with the camera – had been taunting him and making fun of him,” Smith said.

Smith said the officer told the man to ignore the group making fun of him, and the two began chatting about their favorite rides at Six Flags.

“This was just a compassionate police officer who recognized a gentleman in need,” Smith said.

Onihah Dear lives in the neighborhood. She said the man in the video, who she calls Bugsy, would never mean to hurt anyone.

“He's not a violent type of guy,” she said. “He's very nice. He's quiet. He's funny.”

And the two officers knew that about the man due to what Smith called an example of “community policing at its best.”

Smith said the video shows how important it is for police officers to build relationships with people in the community, especially those with mental illness.

The video itself garnered 23,000 views by Tuesday night.




Community Policing: Relationships help solve, prevent crime

by Rebecca R. Bibbds

ANDERSON – A couple of months ago, Anderson Police Department Officer Brett Webb took photos, set up games and served food to about 80 young people with special needs at a life skills dance.

The event was a departure from his nine years spent patrolling the streets of Anderson during the second and third shifts or chasing suspects down an alley.

But as an officer assigned to APD's Community Policing division, he is charged with building relationships that help the department solve and often prevent crimes. For instance, he recently helped solve the robbery of a Pizza Hut restaurant because of the relationships he developed through a multi-housing program.

“It gives me an opportunity to interact with people on a positive note. It seems that when police normally interact with people, you typically focus on the negative,” he said.

Residents may see Webb and Officer Marty Dulworth — dressed in their more relaxed khaki, gold shirt with police patch and baseball cap uniforms – keeping an eye on local events, such as concerts at Dickmann Town Center or handing out gun locks at a safety fair.

Stepping up community policing has been a priority of Tony Watters since he was sworn in as police chief on Jan. 1.

“Community policing is something that we have to have,” he said. “Community policing bridges any and all gaps between the police department and the citizens of our community.”

APD Assistant Chief Warren Warren said community policing helps make a better bond with the public, builds relationships and makes it easier to communicate by concentrating on quality of life issues.

“Sometimes, people's quality of life has something to do with the people they become and the people they become involved with,” he said.

With a limited number of officers available for patrol at any given time, community policing is important for crime prevention, said Detective Mark Brizendine, who heads up the department's Community Policing division.

“Patrol goes out on calls, and they're limited for time,” he said. “It's hard for them to handle that call in the time they have. That problem might be forwarded to us, and we can come in and figure out what's going on. … There's no way they can be out there and on top of things all the time. It's hard to be proactive in some of these neighborhoods.”

Noting the sometimes seemingly hostile relationships and misunderstandings between police and residents that have dominated the news over the past several years, Brizendine said he hopes to get the officers back into schools to reacquaint children with their real role.

“You have to establish the rapport with them and get them comfortable with the police,” he said. “That's an area we need to build in.”

Crime Watch

APD's Community Policing division also has placed an emphasis on increasing the number of Neighborhood Crime Watch units. The program already has grown from about a dozen to about 20 since the beginning of the year.

“The neighborhoods that have Crime Watches have less crime,” said Detective Mark Brizendine, who heads up the Community Policing division .

Under previous administrations, the emphasis was on consolidating neighborhood units into larger units, Brizendine said.

“What we are refocusing on with the mayor and the chief is getting back to the smaller Neighborhood Crime Watch,” he said. “We don't want people to have to drive across town where problems are different.”

For more information on Crime Watch, call Brizendine at 765-648-6740.



South Carolina

A return investment: community policing puts character first

by Debbie Merlo

A bouquet of flowers delivered to Goose Creek Police department (GCPD) was a first.

In 36 years, police chief Harvey Becker acknowledged his department has received “a lot of compliments over the course of years,” but, “The department as a whole has never received a bouquet of flowers,” he said.

The flowers were from a family in appreciation of GCPD and was one of many gestures the department has recently received.

Food, cards, letters “are still pouring in a week after the Dallas incidents,” said Becker and the assistant police chief Major John Grainger.

When Becker spoke at a recent city council meeting, the monthly report included the mention of an “outpouring of support” received since shootings in Dallas claimed the lives of five police officers.

Becker and Grainger expressed gratitude and said they're appreciative of all the support but isn't something they expect or why they do what they do.

“It all stands out but, I just thought that (the flowers) was special.”

As for an explanation or specifics on what makes GCPD work, Becker said he couldn't answer for other departments (and how they are run), but, Grainger pointed out they're accomplishing the same with different methods.

Both admitted seeing an increase in community support that have included acts of kindness, kind gestures of people seeking out the police to shake their hands and acknowledge them in a positive way.

Becker chalks it up to active community policing and putting character first -- something his department has been focused on “for years,” he said.

“If these guys didn't have character, they wouldn't be here,” Becker said. “Now we're reaping the benefits of those efforts.”

In addition, GCPD has had a crime analyst for about three years now to “map out crime,” Grainger said. “It (crime) doesn't just take us by surprise; we know where it's going on and our guys know where they need to be.”

Since June 1997, Becker explained that GCPD has also had an established, concentrated program to build trust-based relationships with foot, golf cart and bike patrols, house checks, property checks and an on-going presence in Goose Creek schools.

“We take community policing seriously,” Becker said. “It's not just a saying that rolls off the tips of our officer's tongues.”

Known as “building bridges of trust,” the effort is something that's been on-going in GCPD Becker explained.

It's an all-inclusive, organizational culture of service, according to Grainger. “When we interact with people, we're not occupiers of their community, we're part of their community. Our officers live here and are raising their families here.”

Earning trust within the community is a priority that, Grainger noted is a also a factor that keeps the community involved and willing to provide tips to assist GCPD.

“We've been doing that for 19 years,” Becker said. “It's a concentrated no-nonsense effort.”

It's also about having the right people (with character) who are part of that effort.

Getting hired and becoming a GCPD officer isn't a simple, easy endeavor.

“We have a methodical way of doing it,” Becker explained.

For instance, there are hoops. and, “you have to have character,” Becker re-emphasized.

“This is not an easy profession to break into,” Grainger said. “In Goose Creek, we're not unique in our demands; it's any agency that's doing a responsible job of hiring personnel that's going to make sure to set a minimal level of standards.”

Grainger, who has 23 years with GCPD, also explained that while state laws assist as far as academy requirements are concerned, “we far exceed their requirements in what we expect from personnel.”

Those expectations include formalized testing-a validated nationwide test— to determine if potential candidates meet a minimal level of knowledge; mathematics, reading comprehension, the ability to spell and the ability to write.

“If folks can pass that test that at least gives us the opportunity to look at them,” Grainger said.

Then there's a rigorous back round investigation; prior behavior, criminal activity, credit rating, a look at driving that includes a look at frequency of violations and proximity of violations to the current time -- all scrutinized before prospects are called for an interview.

“It's not an exact science but we do look at these things as part of the total picture,” Grainger said. “And after we've taken a look at all those things, then we interview the ones that rise to the top, the ones we feel that are the most advantageous to bring on and interview.”

If a job offer is made, there's a polygraph test to verify truthfulness, psychological exam, and medical exams to make sure someone is physically fit; who has a heart that can handle “the moments of excitement, and things like that,” Grainger said. “It's not an easy job to get.”

Grainger also said it's very expensive to hire and expensive to train a new officer. New hires are sent to the academy for three months, their salary paid, then, they're put in a police car with a training officer.”

Time spent on the job training takes another 12 weeks, Grainger said.

From there, officers aren't considered “an effective police officer for probably another year,” Grainger said. “You have to have experience; you have to have practical experience and you don't get it all in Columbia at the academy or in the car.”

“It's a long process to get an officer where we feel like they're returning on our investment,” Becker said. “The whole idea of it is to make sure they have character,”

The entire process can take anywhere up to two years.

“We don't leave any stone unturned; I can't give somebody a badge, gun and arrest authority if they don't have good character, ” Becker said.

For Becker, Grainger and GCPD, it's good character that builds trust and that's what gets the job done.

And getting the job done in this way is how Becker plans to keep it.

“We don't have to react to anything,” Becker said. “We'll continue to keep doing what we've been doing (because) that's what's paying the dividends.”



“Community policing” and keeping cops alive are quickly becoming incompatible

by Jazz Shaw

This was not only predictable, but necessary, in the wake of Dallas, Baton Rouge, Minneapolis and too many other locations around the nation to name. Police are being targeted by criminals in ambush assassinations which is something quite different from the normal dangers law enforcement officers encounter in the regular course of chasing bad guys. If you can't at least admit that much there's not much more anyone can say to you. (Heck, there are even people putting glass in the sandwiches of police officers ordering lunch.)

So what should the cops be doing about it? Better tactics and improved defensive measures are clearly called for, and as much as the Social Justice Warriors may want to scream about it, that's what's already taking place. (Time Magazine)

In Baltimore, the police department is requiring that two cars respond to all calls. In Chicago, officers now patrol neighborhoods in pairs. And in Los Angeles, the department is shifting officers to serve as extra backup while increasing the number of helicopters flying above the city.

Following the horrific attacks on police officers in Baton Rouge and Dallas, which left eight cops dead and 10 wounded, law enforcement around the country are responding by adjusting strategy, changing tactics and adopting measures they hope will guard against similar plots.

Some of the most extensive changes are happening in LA, where on Sunday Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that officers from LAPD's Metropolitan Division, which normally deals with crime suppression and community-based policing efforts, would temporarily assist those on patrol.

Most of these seem like common sense. For too long we've seen police forces in communities large and small (including where I live) trimming back because of budget cuts and going to squad cars with a single officer in them. That's simply not safe. For those with no other options, it might be possible to implement a policy where a single officer in a car doesn't engage on a call until at least one other unit arrives, but now you're dragging out response times and making the police less able to actually stop the bad guys. Having two officers provides immediate back up and the possibility that at least one of them will be able to render immediate first aid and/or return fire in the event of an ambush. Not every community can afford helicopter support, but the ones who can are able to provide an incredible tool for rapid response, tracking of fleeing suspects and wider areas of coverage. Body armor and higher power weapons should be the order of the day, in addition to body cameras and other tools to provide accountability to the public. The two are not mutually incompatible.

Also, we need to put an end to these political discussions of how “awful” it is when police forces deploy with surplus military equipment and other gear which makes them look “militarized.” That's a load of nonsense. The cops are in a war, now more than ever. That doesn't mean they are at war with the community, even if that's how Democrats and the SJW want to portray it, but they are engaged in a war with the criminals and anarchists who want to kill them and topple the boundaries of society. And yes… if you are shooting cops or advocating attacks on the police, that means you.

The whole idea of “community policing” sounds wonderful and hearkens to an era which is sadly long gone, but tactics must take the realities of the 21st century into account. The lone cop walking a beat, twirling his baton and chatting with folks in the neighborhood is an admirable goal. Perhaps there are still many places where that can be done. But particularly in the larger cities these days, a single, unarmored cop walking alone down the streets is a target. The protesters out there in the streets can complain all they want when such unpleasant subjects are brought up, but there are still people out on those marches carrying signs saying, “Oink Oink Bang Bang” and chanting about wanting dead cops. With the bloody scenes we're already witnessing this year, your denials of this reality fall on deaf ears. Cops have to be allowed to defend their own lives if we expect them to protect ours.




Pasco deputy's push-up challenge latest 'community policing' video to gain traction online

by Sara DiNatale

(Video on site)

DADE CITY — What started as a complaint about a "juvenile disturbance" ended in a sweet community policing moment between a deputy and an 11-year-old boy, caught on camera by the Pasco County Sheriff's Office.

When deputies responded to a disturbance call on a recent July night, they found two children and a guardian outside, attempting to wear off some energy before bedtime.

Shortly after deputies began talking to the children about how to be safe outside at night, Julian Quino, the boy, gave one of the deputies, David Skelton, a challenge.

How many pushups do you think you can do with me on your back?

Soon, the small boy in a red T-shirt was bobbing up and down on Skelton's back with a huge smile on his face.

"It is absolutely vital that When deputies responded to a disturbance call on a recent July night, they found two children and a guardian outside, attempting to wear off some energy before bedtime.

The video, posted to Facebook on July 15, was viewed nearly 30,000 times by Tuesday.

It's one of the latest videos to gain popularity on social media that shows law enforcement engaging with the community positively while tensions continue following recent attacks on officers and the controversial deaths of several black men.

Officer Tommy M. Norman, who works for the North Little Rock Police Department in Arkansas, has exploded in popularity on Facebook after sharing videos of him spending time with his community. Norman shares videos of him dancing with area children, dropping off donuts to families or just chatting with folks in the area he patrols. He doles out snacks, toys and smiles.

His posts usually include the phrases "#staycommitted" and "#CommunityPolicing." He's even earned the respect of rapper The Game, who helped raise money so Norman can continue his efforts.

"I've been doing this way before social media, but social media changes the game," Norman told Fox News last week.




Together Baton Rouge adopts request to lead community policing initiative

by Alexandria Burris

Together Baton Rouge said today it has adopted a request from the U.S. Justice Department and the Louisiana Governor's Office to spearhead a program on community policing called Project Spirit.

The project is a full day of dialogue in which all segments of the community are invited to participate and discuss where Baton Rouge is, how they view the city's problems and to offer ideas about how the city can move forward.

“Our goal is to get people on the street, on the corner … those who are experiencing some struggles in their lives, to make them a part of this discussion. People with the problem need to be part of the discussion on how to solve the problem,” the Rev. Lee Wesley said during a press conference in which the group laid out its priorities for the next six months.

Other priorities includes developing a citywide strategy to develop meaningful reform for systemic problems and holding meetings in every council district with those running for council and mayor.

Wesley says Together Baton Rouge adopted the request today at an executive committee meeting.

The initiative comes in light of recent violence in Baton Rouge, including Sunday's fatal shooting of three law enforcement officers and the July 5 shooting death of 37-year-old Alton Sterling.




Task Force Releases Report On Community-Police Relations

by StateCollege.com

A task force of more than 30 people representing the Penn State campus and local community released to the public its final report and recommendations on the relationship between local law enforcement and underrepresented racial and ethnic groups.

The Task Force on Policing and Communities of Color, commissioned by Penn State and the Borough of State College in August 2015, issued five core recommendations to improve relations between law enforcement and the community. Those recommendations include:

1. Promoting greater recognition and celebration of successes as a community.

2. Increasing the recruitment and retention for employees of color in local police departments.

3. Providing consistent and ongoing education for Penn State students and employees, residents in surrounding communities and local police departments.

4. Targeting outreach and marketing to build/improve stakeholder engagement.

5. Establishomg baseline parameters and develop appropriate metrics to assess improvement.

The report goes into detail on the necessity of each recommendation and steps for achieving each. Barbara Farmer, task force member and retired director of the Penn State College of Information Sciences and Technology's Office of Multicultural Affairs, said themes emerged as the task force researched best practices and those formed the basis of the recommendations.

“We did not want to overwhelm people,” Farmer said in a release. “We wanted the report to be embraced.”

The full report can be read here.

Penn State Senior Vice President for Finance and Business David Gray, who received the report along with Borough Manager Tom Fountaine in May, said the report emphasizes the need for diversified police departments both at Penn State and in State College and surrounding communities.

“For me, at least, a key take away is both police departments have a lot to do to improve the diversity of their respective forces,” Gray said. “The community needs representation on these forces with which they can identify. Until we make progress on the police officer recruitment and retention goal, it's going to be harder to make headway against the other important goals identified by the task force.”

Of the 170 officers employed by four police departments in the State College area, there are only four officers of color — three at Penn State and one at Patton Township. The report noted that the State College Police Department is the only local department bound by the State College Civil Service Commission testing and hiring process, which uses the Pennsylvania Civil Service Law. This results in a pool of candidates for open positions restricted to the top three candidates passing the test, and the department has no opportunity to directly recruit racially and ethnically diverse applicants.

The report also notes acts of violence across the nation have resulted in diminished trust between police and the community. Other challenges include the loss of Penn State Police Chief Tyrone Parham, “a person of color who understood the challenges and concerns of working and living in a predominantly White environment,” and the pending retirement of State College Police Chief Tom King, who has been a leader in implementing community policing efforts, according to the report.

Population turnover is also cited as challenge, as the transient nature of the student population makes it difficult to establish long-term relationships.

Though the report was just released publicly on Monday, Fountaine said the university and borough have been implementing recommendations while the task force was at work.

“Throughout the process, the borough, the University and other area police departments began implementation of many of the key recommendations in the report, such as expanding marketing efforts for the borough's upcoming police testing and recruitment process, and providing diversity, de-escalation and crisis intervention training for police officers,” Fountaine said. “These actions, along with our commitment to address the recommendations from this report over the long-term help improve and continue the conversation and relationships formed through this task force.”

In February, 164 police officers from Penn State, State College, Bellefonte, Ferguson Township, Spring Township and Patton Township participated in diversity and inclusion training, according to the report.

“On the Penn State campus and in the State College area, there have only been a few racially charged interactions reported or observed in the past few years, despite what we see and hear in the national scene,” the report stated, citing examples of what the task force termed proactive steps to avert such steps.

One of those cited examples was Penn State President Eric Barron's participation in a Black Lives Matter demonstration in front of Old Main on the University Park campus in 2014. During the demonstration, Barron posed for a photo in which he joined demonstrators in the “hands up” gesture that became a symbol for the movement following the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. earlier that year.

Barron's participation in the gesture was welcomed by some but met with criticism by others. One state representative called for Barron to apologize or resign. However, the report notes, “While receiving criticism from some for this action, he has since been awarded The Giving Back Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine for his leadership.”

Other proactive steps cited by the report include local police leadership reaching out to communities of color to ask what needed to be done to prevent conflicts from arising; a police meet-and-greet sponsored by the university's Paul Robeson Cultural Center; other community events, such as LION Walk ,intended to better acquaint law enforcement and student residents; and the Community and Campus in Unity group led by King and local pastor Harold Mackenzie and formed to promote a respectful multi-cultural community.

“However, the Task Force is aware that the campus and surrounding communities are not immune from what appear to some to be racially charged incidents between white police and people of color.” the report stated.

The report cites a February 2015 incident in which police used a Taser on a female black student and pepper spray was used to manage a crowd that had formed at the downtown McDonald's in the aftermath of a fight. The mostly black witnesses quickly became protestors, the report said, but “Swift interventions (within 24 hours) by the University and community helped to bring calm to the situation.” All parties involved were held accountable, according to the report.

“We've got good working relationships in place and we have a good foundation,” said task force chair Lydia Abdullah, who added that the next step will be to form implementation teams to move forward on all of the reports recommendations.

Gray said the university is prepared “to make the necessary investments.”

“At the moment, we are in a better place than a lot of other communities in the U.S. because we started the conversation earlier. However, we cannot rest on our laurels,” Gray said. “Like other communities, we know we're just a single incident away from finding ourselves in a very difficult position. Embracing and implementing the task force's recommendations will help to strengthen our community and its relationships with law enforcement.”




ISIS claims responsibility for ax and knife attack on German train that injured 5

by The Associated Press

BERLIN – The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for an attack on a train in Germany that injured at least five people.

The claim was posted on the group's Aamaq news agency on Tuesday.

It came hours after a 17-year-old Afghan asylum seeker attacked passengers with an ax and knife on a train near Wuerzburg-Heidingsfeld on Monday night, before he was shot and killed by a special police unit which happened to be nearby.

The statement says the attacker was "a member of the Islamic State" group and carried out the attack in response to the militant group's calls to attack countries that are members of the anti-IS coalition.

"Even during the first emergency call, a witness said that the attacker was shouting 'Allahu akbar' on the train," Joachim Herrmann, Bavaria's interior minister, told ZDF Television. "Also, during the search of his room, a hand-painted IS flag was found."

Herrmann said that it was too early to draw conclusions about the attacker's motive.

The attacker, who was not identified by the authorities, came to Germany two years ago as an unaccompanied minor, and applied for asylum in March of last year. He lived in a home for young refugees until two weeks ago when he was placed with a foster family in the Wuerzburg area. Investigators were talking to the foster family, witnesses and the attacker's friends.

The attacker injured at least four people on the train near Wuerzburg-Heidingsfeld on Monday night, and also a woman outside the train as he fled.

Witnesses said the interior of the train was covered with blood and looked "like a slaughterhouse," the German news agency dpa reported. About 30 passengers were on the train at the time; more than a dozen were treated for shock.

The attacker jumped off the train after someone pulled the emergency cord and got about 500 meters (yards) away before the police special unit chased him. As police drew near, the assailant started attacking the officers and was shot, dpa reported, quoting Herrmann.

On Tuesday morning, officers could be seen removing the attacker's body from the scene.

Herrmann said at least two victims — members of a Chinese tourist family — were in critical condition.

German officials did not identify the victims, but Hong Kong's immigration department said Tuesday that among those injured in the attack were four members of a family of five from the southern Chinese city. The department said it is working to provide assistance to the family but gave no details of their injuries.

Dpa reported that the attacker injured the 62-year-old father, the 58-year-old mother, their adult daughter and her boyfriend. The teenage son was not injured. The father and the boyfriend had tried to defend the other family members, dpa said.

Germany last year registered more than 1 million asylum seekers entering the country, including more than 150,000 Afghans.

In May, a man stabbed four people at a German train station in a random early-morning attack in Grafing near Munich. One man later died. The attacker, a German citizen, also shouted "Allahu akbar" during the attack, but authorities found no evidence of links to Islamic extremists. He was later sent to a psychiatric hospital.




Black Lives Matter note found near firebombed police cruiser, authorities say

by Peter Holley

The Daytona Beach Police Department is investigating a fire that severely damaged a police cruiser parked outside a mosque early Sunday morning.

Police told the Daytona Beach News-Journal that investigators found an anti-police note at the scene implicating “Black Lives Matter,” but they haven't concluded that the vandalism was carried out by anyone associated with the largely peaceful civil rights movement.

The note said “Black Lives Matter A. Sterling P. Castile (expletive removed) the police,” according to a police statement posted online. A picture of the note shows that it was written on notebook paper using black ink.

Police Chief Mike Chitwood told the News-Journal that the incident doesn't reflect the relationship between law enforcement and local residents.

“I really do believe in my heart of hearts that we have a really great rapport with our community overall,” Chitwood said. “They know that if there's a problem, they can come and talk to us. But there is a radical, small percentage that I think is trying to drive a wedge between all of us.”

“If you notice what's going on in America today, it's like they're taking a page out of ISIS,” he added, using an alternative term for the Islamic State militant group. “Find the disenfranchised folks that don't want to fix things the right way, and have them be fanatical in their attacks. And it's sad. Certainly not the world I want my grandkids to grow up in.”

Police responded to reports of the fire around 2:30 a.m. Sunday, according to the statement. By the time they arrived, the cruiser — which was unoccupied at the time — was “fully engulfed,” the statement said.

Nobody was injured in the fire.

“The city vehicle was placed at the location on the street as a ghost car,” the statement said.

Chitwood told the News-Journal that the department began parking the vehicle in front of the Islamic Center after last month's mass shooting at an Orlando nightclub. The goal, he said, was to deter anyone planning to target Muslims.

The chief told the paper that he suspects the assailants used a molotov cocktail and caucaused more than $20,000 in damage to the vehicle.

“We were in bed and I heard a ‘boom' noise,” a resident who lives near the mosque and wished to remain anonymous told the News-Journal via email.”It sounded like a window being broken and I thought it could be someone trying to break into my boyfriend's car. So I looked out the window and didn't see anyone near his car then I looked left and saw the police car was on fire.”

The emailer added: “The police car has been parked there since the Orlando shootings. They move it every now and then but it's always empty. My boyfriend called 911 and it took so long before they got there that by the time they did the entire car was covered in fire. It took a bit to get the fire out.”

Police are reviewing surveillance video from the area but noted that the state fire marshal will lead the investigation because it appears to be arson. If arrested, Chitwood told the News-Journal, the suspect would most probably face arson charges.

Thus far, police said, they have no suspects or persons of interest in connection with the fire.




Missouri Police Officer Paralyzed From Neck Down After Being Shot On Duty

The suspect is in custody.

by Mariah Stewart

ST. LOUIS ? On the same day that five police officers were killed in one of the deadliest days for law enforcement since Sept. 11, Missouri police officer Mike Flamion was shot in the neck during a traffic stop. Flamion, 32, who is a nine-year police veteran, is now paralyzed from the neck down.

“This catastrophic injury will forever change Mike's life and the lives of his family,” Ballwin Police Chief Kevin Scott said Monday during a press conference announcing Flamion's condition.

Around 11 a.m. on July 8, Flamion pulled over 31-year-old Antonio Taylor for what police said was a traffic violation. According to a statement by the St. Louis County Police Department, Flamion was walking back to his police vehicle when Taylor fired three shots, striking Flamion at least once.

Police arrested Taylor shortly after the shooting and charged him with first-degree assault on a law enforcement officer, unlawful weapon possession and armed criminal action. According to online court records, Taylor has an extensive criminal background, including previous charges for second-degree robbery. He is currently being held on a $500,000 cash-only bond.

According to Scott, Flamion is “very alert” and recognizes family, friends and co-workers.”

“Although it is evident that he will no longer be able to serve in the same capacity, I want to assure you the Officer Flamion is engrained in the Ballwin police family and forever will be a Ballwin police officer, no questions asked.” Scott said.

Flamion's wife of two years says he's “very appreciative” of the support.

“Every day I'm at the hospital, there's Ballwin police officers from other municipalities and counties. So many people there to help with anything they can. It's an overwhelming feeling,” she said during the press conference.

A Gofundme account that Flamion's coworkers set up following the shooting has already raised nearly $223,000 to help the officer, who Scott says will need long-term medical treatment.

The update about Flamion's injury comes just one day after three Baton Rouge police officers were killed in an “ambush-style attack.” In response, President Barack Obama called for unity within the country, echoing remarks he made last week during a memorial service for officers killed in Dallas.

The city of Ballwin is a relatively affluent area located in St. Louis County with over 30,400 residents, according to the 2010 census. In 2013, the city was listed as Money magazine's 40th “best place to live.”

The last time a Ballwin PD officer was shot in the line of duty was in 1987, according to a St. Louis County public relations officer.

“It's a very difficult job. No matter where you work, no matter what environment you work in. We all face the same challenges and I think when these things happen, it's very sobering,” Scott said.

The St. Louis County Police Department's Bureau of Crimes Against Persons is seeking further information or known witnesses related to the shooting. According to a statement, investigators believe several unidentified witnesses were driving or running in the immediate area during the time of the incident. Information can be directed to (314) 615-5400.




Metro Officer says Community Policing helps bridge the divide

by Gerard Ramalho

LAS VEGAS (KSNV News3LV) — "I've been a black male, longer than I've been a police officer." Those are the words of Sergeant Kurt McKenzie who has been patrolling the streets of Las Vegas for nearly 17 years.

McKenzie is currently assigned to the valley's predominantly African-American west side and says he hears the concerns, and also lives them.

“The day you put on a badge or uniform and you go out on the street to protect the community, you always have a target on your back, everyone knows who you are," said McKenzie.

These days, following the questionable use of deadly force by officers in other cities, police everywhere are under a microscope.

The recent tragedies of Dallas and Baton Rouge are also top of mind.

Mackenzie says he's seen progress in Las Vegas, through Community Policing. It's an effort, he says, that requires more than just arresting people, but involving and listening to them.

"Are we going to make some mistakes as an agency? Absolutely," McKenzie told a group at a community meeting in West Las Vegas.

He says community meetings like these are where relationships are forged, bridges are gapped and confidence is instilled.

"You know trust is not built overnight, “ said McKenzie. “And if you don't work on the trust aspect of your relationship from day one till whenever you're not truly being effective in what you're doing."




Community Policing could calm the civil unrest

by Gene Birk

(Interview video on site)

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -- On yesterday's Sunday Conversations with Gene Birk, Russellville Police Chief Victor Shifflett and Glasgow Police Chief Guy Howie said Community Policing should be instituted to improve relations between police officers and the people they serve.

"Gettin' more involved in community events," said Russellville Police Chief Victor Shifflett. "Being seen more as part of the community than as someone who's just there assigned to work in the community."

"We're the biggest tool in their toolbox," said Glasgow Police Chief Guy Howie. "We're there biggest partner, and um, we need, and we need to listen to what their problems are; not what we think their problems are."




EPPD scales back on 'community policing' due to smaller force

by Darren Hunt

EL PASO, Texas - A lack of officers and resources has the El Paso Police Department becoming more reactive when it comes to "community policing."

"Community policing is a philosophy, a management style, that most police departments are using," EPPD Sgt. Robert Gomez said. Recent ambushes against police departments across the country has re-ignited talk of community policing as a way to improve relations between departments and the communities they serve.

"It's meant as a proactive approach, officers in the field would go out and look at areas of their patrol area in order to address problems before they become problems," Gomez said, "It's very time intensive and it's very manpower intensive. As the number of officers dwindles, that becomes more limited with the shrinking size of the department."

Gomez said EPPD would like its officers to be more involved in the community, but it has had to cut back on a practice it implemented in the 1980s as response times increase and the number of officers decreases.

There are three key components to community policing. The first is partnerships between the police, individuals, and the organizations they serve to develop solutions to problems and increase trust. The second is organizational transformation, the process of aligning management, structure, personnel and information systems to support those community partnerships. The third is problem solving: a proactive and systematic examination of problems to evaluate effective responses.

The EPPD force currently consists of a little more than a thousand officers, a 20-year low, Gomez said.

55 new officers are currently enrolled in the El Paso police academy and the department is in the process of increasing its staff.

Jacob Junell, co-owner of Smoking Skulls Hookah Lounge, started the "Days of Peace" movement, which put care packages together for police officers

"We want to do something for someone who puts everything on the line for us," Junell said, adding El Pasaons can help police by solving minor issues on their own.

"You don't need to call an officer if a dog jumped over the fence and you guys can settle it like human beings, like responsible adults," Junell said.



North Carolina

Where Is Charlotte Going With Community Policing?

CMPD Chief Kerr Putney wants officers to go deeper into communities. But haven't they already?

By Greg Lacour

Toward the end of the four-hour community forum, the questions to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney and his colleagues grew more pointed, more emotional, and harder to answer.

One woman, who held a photo of a cousin Tased to death by a CMPD officer five years ago, demanded that Putney assure her that her children could walk the streets with ironclad certainty that they wouldn't be killed at the hands of police. Putney ruefully told her he couldn't. Another woman, a college student, suggested that police officials' talk about reform and working with minority communities was just that, talk, and no more; Putney nodded grimly and kept listening.

The conversation, at Little Rock AME Zion Church in First Ward, ground on. The chief alternately rubbed his eyes, clasped his hands, and bowed his head, answering every question that came his way. I met with him the next morning, Thursday, in a conference room next to his office on the third floor of CMPD headquarters, and mentioned the forum's duration. “I remember every second of it,” Putney told me. “Yes, sir.”

He did make a promise to the people at Little Rock AME. Starting in August and continuing for the next 90 days, he said, all 1,849 sworn CMPD officers will take to the streets to talk with people—not just about crime but about everything that's happening in their communities, even why and how some of them look at cops with cynicism and distrust. A woman asked Putney how CMPD could weed out the bad cops in the department; she trusted that the people at the table in the church sanctuary—Putney, a black man; a major, a black woman; and a captain and lieutenant, both white men—had good intentions, but what about the beat cops who reach for their weapons without cause? “They're not here!,” she exclaimed.

“I would tell you that they are not here yet ,” the chief responded. The department is through assigning community work to specialists, he added, and the next three months will hammer that point home: “Everybody gets a taste.”

It's reasonable to ask Putney, or any other big-city American police chief, why everybody hasn't gotten a taste already. “Community policing” has been a widespread law enforcement catchphrase for at least a generation; the notion that police have to know the people in the communities they serve as more than perpetrators or victims of crime dates back to the 19th century. So why, in 2016, are officials from Putney to the President talking about community policing as if it's a practice that hasn't been tried already?

For one thing, Putney says, it's more than a practice. “Community policing, for us, is a phil-o-so-phy,” he told me, drawing out the syllables, “not a strategy.” For another, it's taken CMPD and other departments a long time to figure out how to translate the philosophy into tactics on the street. The philosophy itself is something departments have had trouble grasping. “The debates on community and problem-oriented policing initially focused on two key areas,” then-CMPD Police Chief Darrel Stephens wrote in 2003, in a report for the national Center for Problem-Oriented Policing. “First was trying to define what these concepts were.”

Charlotte adopted community policing as a guiding principle in 1991, when the Charlotte Police and Mecklenburg County Sheriff's departments were separate agencies. The Police Department adopted a mission statement that emphasized “fairness, compassion, and excellence” and police services that were “sensitive to the priorities and needs of the community.” Its core values included “respect, courtesy, protection of rights” and an “interdependent relationship with [the] community.”

Other police departments around the country were adopting or would soon adopt similar policy statements. The Clinton Administration made community policing a national priority, offering grants to agencies to start community programs. Charlotte-Mecklenburg law enforcement retained the philosophy when the police and sheriff's departments merged in 1993 to form CMPD; the next year, the city hired Dennis Nowicki, a former Chicago deputy chief with a reputation as a leader in community policing, as chief of the joint department.

Putney joined the old Charlotte Police Department as a patrol officer in 1992, when he was 23. He sees the department's community policing efforts as a gradual escalation over time, with each chief—Stephens, who took over for Nowicki in 1999; then Rodney Monroe, hired when Stephens departed in 2008—extending CMPD's reach into communities through designated community coordinators, citizen forums, and police outreach to high school students.

CMPD police chiefs and high-ranking officers have met frequently over the years with community groups. But Putney said the department has never fully committed to making sure beat cops—”the true crisis managers,” he said—understand the importance of one-to-one, first-name-basis connections with residents in the poor and high crime areas on the west and east sides, where they're needed most. “This is the first time we've tried to make that happen,” he told me. “In the middle of the night, when you call 911, you're not gonna get me.”

The upcoming 90-day program (which doesn't have a name yet) is one of two new CMPD efforts to help bridge the divide between police and residents. The other is an eight-hour training session for all employees, also starting in early August, that covers cultural proficiency and implicit bias. They're issues covered by the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing, essentially encouraging police officers to recognize their cultural and racial prejudices and work to overcome them. Those eight-hour sessions will extend over 18 months.

The 90-day program is a newer, less defined idea Putney said came to him after the shootings of black men in Baton Rouge and Minnesota this month; he wanted to do something along those lines anyway, but he said those shootings, combined with the Dallas sniper massacre of five police officers, made the program's need even more urgent. The department is still working out the details, and the implementation may differ from division to division.

“From our perspective, it'll involve people who haven't been able to engage with the public in a more conversational setting,” he said. “A lot of times, our people are doing triage on calls for service—they're trying to deal with people in crisis and chaos, and they don't really get to connect with people on a level of humanity. That's what we're going to be focused on.” The community forum at Little Rock AME is a good example of what CMPD is aiming for, he said, but with sergeants and beat cops at the table instead of the chief, majors and captains. “The emotion that came out last night and the night before,” he said, “that's where we're going.”

Of course, one of the difficulties of any community policing effort lies in trying to assess what good it does. It's been hard for police departments across the country to adopt and sustain connections with their communities, and impossible to measure successes in terms of crimes defused and avoided because of the connections made. Police, like sales teams, live by numbers. It's a results-based business. But crime rate statistics don't paint a complete picture, and good will from community policing efforts in one city can wash away with one viral video from another. As I write this, news is still coming in from the mass shooting of police officers in Baton Rouge; CBS News is reporting that one of the shooters was from Kansas City. If true, no community outreach could have stopped that.

Perhaps no community outreach can. Putney thinks it's worth trying. In the hard last couple of weeks, the chief has adopted a saying he keeps repeating because, he said, he likes how it sounds: “It's hard to hate up close.”




3 law enforcement officers killed, 3 others injured in Baton Rouge shooting

by Fox News

Three Baton Rouge law enforcement officers were killed Sunday after a former Marine dressed in black and carrying extra ammunition opened fire on them outside a gas station.

Three other officers were wounded in the ambush, one critically. Police said the gunman was killed at the scene.

The shooter was identified as Gavin Long, of Kansas City, who turned 29 on Sunday. Long, who was black, served in the Marines from 2005 to 2010, reaching the rank of sergeant. He deployed to Iraq from June 2008 to June 2009, according to military records.

While in the military, Long was awarded several medals, including one for good conduct, and received an honorable discharge. His occupational expertise was listed as "data network specialist."

The University of Alabama issued a statement saying Long attended classes for one semester in the spring of 2012. A school spokesman said university police had no interactions with him.

According to The Advocate, Long had been very outspoken against police and his anti-cop rhetoric ramped up in the days leading up to the shooting on Sunday.

Law enforcement sources told The Advocate that Long's military records matches that of a so-called “spiritual advisor,” life coach and author named Cosmo Setepenra. The persona claimed to have been in Dallas during the protests of the deaths of Sterling and Minnesota man Philando Castile.

The paper reported that he posted a video in a YouTube series called Convos with Cosmos titled “Protesting, Oppression and how to deal with Bullies,” where he talked about Sterling's death and the protests that came after it.

Baton Rouge Police Department identified two of the murdered officers as Montrell Jackson and Matthew Gerald. The East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office identified the other cop as Brad Garafola.

Jackson, who was black, posted a message on Facebook on July 8, just three days after the death of 37-year-old Alton Sterling, a black man killed by white Baton Rouge officers after a scuffle at a convenience store.

In the message, the 32-year-old Jackson said he was physically and emotionally tired and complained that while in uniform, he gets nasty looks. When he's out of uniform, he said, some people consider him a threat.

A friend of Jackson's family, Erika Green, confirmed the posting, which is no longer on Facebook. A screenshot of the image was circulating widely on the internet.

Gerald, 41, has served on the force for just less than a year.

Garafola has been with the sheriff's office for 24 years, Casey Rayborn Hicks told the Associated Press.

Hicks also identified the injured sheriff's deputies as 41-year-old Nicholas Tullier an 18-year veteran, and 51-year-old Bruce Simmons, a 23-year veteran.

Hicks said that Tullier is in critical condition while Simmons has non-life threatening injuries.

The shooting began at a gas station on Airline Highway. According to radio traffic, Baton Rouge police answered a report of a man with an assault rifle and were met by gunfire. For several long minutes, they didn't know where the shooting was coming from.

The radio exchanges were made public Sunday by the website Broadcastify.

Nearly 2½ minutes after the first report of an officer getting shot, an officer on the scene is heard saying police do not know the shooter's location.

Almost 6 minutes pass after the first shots are reported before police say they have determined the shooter's location. About 30 seconds later, someone says shots are still being fired.

The recording lasts about 17 minutes and includes urgent calls for an armored personnel carrier called a BearCat.

"There simply is no place for more violence," Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said. "It doesn't further the conversation. It doesn't address any injustice perceived or real. It is just an injustice in and of itself."

The FBI and the ATF were on scene, helping state and local police investigate what is being described as a "very large crime scene."

President Obama said in an address Sunday evening that the shooting deaths underscore the danger police face every day.

"Our hearts go out to the families who are grieving, go out to the officer fighting for his life," Obama said.

Major Doug Cain said that the individuals from Addis were questioned and released but that the investigation was still ongoing. He said no charges were filed against them.

From his window, Joshua Godwin said he saw the suspect, who was dressed in black with a ski mask, combat boots and extra bullets. He appeared to be running "from an altercation."

Mike Spring awoke at a nearby house to a sound that he thought was from firecrackers. The noise went on for 5 to 10 minutes, getting louder.

It was the fourth high-profile deadly encounter in the United States involving police over the past two weeks. In all, the violence has cost the lives of eight officers, including those in Baton Rouge, and two civilians and sparked a national debate over race and policing.

Police-community relations in Baton Rouge have been especially tense since Sterling's death. The killing was captured on cellphone video.

It was followed a day later by the shooting death of another black man in Minnesota, whose girlfriend livestreamed the aftermath of his death on Facebook. The next day, a black gunman in Dallas opened fire on police at a protest about the police shootings, killing five officers and heightening tensions even further.

Thousands of people protested Sterling's death, and Baton Rouge police arrested more than 200 demonstrators.

Sterling's nephew condemned the killing of the three Baton Rouge officers. Terrance Carter spoke Sunday to The Associated Press by telephone, saying the family just wants peace.

"My uncle wouldn't want this," Carter said. "He wasn't this type of man."

A few yards from a police roadblock on Airline Highway, Keimani Gardner was in the parking lot of a warehouse store that would ordinarily be bustling on a Sunday afternoon. He and his girlfriend both work there. But the store was closed because of the shooting.

"It's crazy. ... I understand some people feel like enough is enough with, you know, the black community being shot," said Gardner, an African-American. "But honestly, you can't solve violence with violence."

Michelle Rogers and her husband drove near the shooting scene, but were blocked at an intersection closed by police.

"I can't explain what brought us here," she said. "We just said a prayer in the car for the families."




Slain Baton Rouge officer wrote about difficulties of being a cop

Officer Montrell L. Jackson was one of three officers fatally shot Sunday in Baton Rouge

by PoliceOne Staff

BATON ROUGE, La. — The day after five Dallas officers were shot and killed in an ambush, Baton Rouge Officer Montrell L. Jackson took to Facebook to describe the difficulties of being a police officer, according to the New York Times.

“I'm tired physically and emotionally,” Officer Jackson wrote. “I swear to God I love this city, but I wonder if this city loves me. In uniform, I get nasty hateful looks, and out of uniform some consider me a threat. I've experienced so much in my short life and these last 3 days have tested me to the core.”

Jackson was one of three officers fatally shot Sunday in Baton Rouge – the latest in a string of high-profile incidents involving police in the last two weeks.

Jackson is survived by his wife and a son born just this year. He began working for the Baton Rouge Police Department in 2006, according to the report.

(Read the full Facebook post on site.)




Stockton PD introduces community policing initiative at church

Community policing initiative promotes positive interactions with residents

by Dana Griffin

STOCKTON, Calif. (KCRA) —Stockton police were about to remove the black bands around their badges when the shooting in Baton Rouge happened Sunday.

"Our officers put their lives on the line every day and the community comes first while we're out there, but we will not tolerate these types of attacks and my heart goes out absolutely to Dallas and Baton Rouge. It's horrible," Stockton Police Chief Eric Jones said.

As law enforcement around the nation continue to battle safety challenges, a new community policing initiative was revealed during a discussion at Progressive Community Church in Stockton.

"So, they're not just arresting and enforcing. They're actually getting out of the cars and getting to know the very community they're policing," Jones said.

The initiative is backed by research and makes officers responsible for a smaller geographic area, which gives them more time to have positive interactions with the community.

The four community policing officers were introduced at the church and the congregation prayed for their protection and other law enforcement in the room

Many people are optimistic that the officers will be the change the community needs.

"Everything comes out of relationships. People don't care about how much you know until they know how much you care,” Progressive Community Church Pastor Glenn Shields said. “And once we develop relationships and begin to touch people, I really believe people will open up and people (will be) more trusting and people (will) have more confidence when it comes to police when they actually know those officers.”

Jones said he's very concerned for his officers, but he reminds them to be vigilant, aware and to not let hyper paranoia affect their job.



North Carolina

People pray for law enforcement officers at Public Safety Center

by John Hinton

About 300 people prayed for law enforcement officers Sunday at the Public Safety Center in Winston-Salem, just hours after a shooting in Baton Rouge, La., that left three officers dead and three others wounded.

The gunman was fatally shot outside a store in Baton Rouge about a mile from that city's police headquarters.

Gloria Corn of Winston-Salem, an event organizer, said that the mass prayer for officers was scheduled several months before the shootings in Dallas, where five police officers were killed and seven others were wounded.

Corn also said that Sunday's event wasn't a response to the recent protests by the Black Lives Matter movement over police shootings of black men in Baton Rouge and Falcon Heights, Minn.

The event was planned to show support for local police officers, Corn said. “They sacrifice their lives,” she said. “They are willing to do their jobs.”

Corn said that Sunday's shooting in Baton Rouge “breaks my heart,” and she questioned what the perpetrators wanted to achieve by shooting police officers.

“It's horrible,” Corn said after the prayer event. “What do they want to achieve except to kill and create chaos. They are not bringing the community together.”

Winston-Salem police stationed four patrol cars in front of the Public Safety Center during the event. The vehicles blocked two of the three lanes on Cherry Street that run past the building.

Police Lt. Steven Osborne said that measure was put in place to protect the demonstrators at the prayer event, and it wasn't a reaction to the police shooting in Baton Rouge.

Corn began the event by telling the participants that their gathering might prevent a tragic event in which local police officers are killed and wounded. Sunday's event was the 10th prayer circle to support officers conducted at the Public Safety Center.

“I hate to see prayer after the fact,” Corn said. “I want to see prayer before the fact.”

She asked the demonstrators to pray aloud.

“God can hear our silent prayer, but the devil can't,” Corn said. “ If we are praying against evil, they need to know about it. So Satan and his demons need to know that we are gathered here for the good against the evil. It's all spiritual work.”

About 30 people responded and prayed aloud during the 60-minute event.

They prayed for the safety of police officers, Forsyth County sheriff's deputies, N.C. Highway Patrol troopers, for the slain officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, and for members of the U.S. military.

They also prayed for the families of law enforcement officers and American military personnel.

Some demonstrators carried signs such as a “Back The Blue,” and “(Love) Our Police Officers-Blue Lives Matter Too.” Others wore light blue T-shirts with saying, “Behind the Blue Line.”

During the prayers, a man said that “None of us want to live in a city without law enforcement.” A woman said, “It's not a black thing. It's not a Latino thing. It's not a white thing. It's a human rights thing.”

Another man echoed her sentiment, praying that “All lives matter. Police officers are here to help us.”

During the event, the crowd sang “God Bless America” and “Amazing Grace.”

Samuel Dixon of Winston-Salem told the crowd that he remembered his friend, police Sgt. Mickey Hutchens, who was killed in the line of duty in October 2009.

“Folks, we got to respect police officers,” Dixon said. “Every day, they keep us safe.”

After the event, Charona Remillard of Winston-Salem said that her husband, Richard Remillard, works as a deputy marshal at the N.C. Supreme Court in Raleigh. She said she appreciated the crowd's prayers in support of her husband and other law enforcement officers.

“I don't think people truly understand their sacrifice,” Remillard said. “These guys do it every day, every time they put on their badges.”

Osborne said he also appreciated the prayers and support from the demonstrators, especially in the aftermath of Sunday's police deaths in Baton Rouge.

“Any shooting is a tough day,” Osborne said. “A mass shooting is an especially tough day. Any shooting that targets human beings is a tough day.”



Obama: 'Attacks on police are an attack on all of us'

Confronting another killing of police officers, President Barack Obama on Sunday urged Americans to tamp down inflammatory words and actions

by Kevin Freking

WASHINGTON — Confronting another killing of police officers, President Barack Obama on Sunday urged Americans to tamp down inflammatory words and actions as a violent summer collides with the nation's heated presidential campaign.

Obama said the motive behind Sunday's killing of three officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was still unknown. It was the latest in a string of deadly incidents involving law enforcement, including the police shooting of a black man in Baton Rouge and the killing of five officers in Dallas.

"We as a nation have to be loud and clear that nothing justifies attacks on law enforcement," Obama said in remarks from the White House briefing room.

The president spoke on the eve of the Republican Party's national convention, where Donald Trump will officially accept the GOP nomination. The businessman has cast the recent incidents as a sign that the country needs new leadership, often using heated rhetoric to make his point.

Obama said that going into the political conventions, elected officials and interest groups should focus their words and actions on uniting the country, rather than dividing it.

"We don't need inflammatory rhetoric. We don't need careless accusations thrown around to score political points or to advance an agenda. We need to temper our words and open our hearts ... all of us," Obama said.

The president also seemed intent on demonstrating again his support for law enforcement. Some organizations have cast doubt on that support. The National Association of Police Organizations said after the Dallas shooting that America was in the midst of a war on law enforcement officers. The group said the administration needed to show political leadership by "supporting them and giving them the resources they need to protect themselves and their communities."

"Attacks on police are an attack on all of us and the rule of law that makes society possible," Obama emphasized Sunday.

The president spoke earlier Sunday with Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards and Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden to hear the latest on the investigation into the shootings and pledge federal support.

Obama has spent most of the last week focused on defusing tensions and rebuilding trust between police departments and the communities they serve.

On July 7, an Army veteran opened fire on law enforcement in Dallas, killing five and wounding seven other officers. The shooter, who was black, said he wanted to kill white people, especially white officers. Obama spoke at the memorial service for the officers killed and told Americans not to despair, that the nation is not as divided as it might seem.

In his remarks Sunday, Obama reminded people that he had also said the Dallas shooter would not be the last person to try to make Americans turn on each other.

"Nor will today's killer. It remains up to us to make sure that they fail. That decision is all of ours," Obama said.

Following the Dallas memorial, Obama held an extraordinary four-hour meeting at the White House's executive offices with police officers, community activists and elected leaders. He emerged from the session saying "we're not even close" to the point where minority communities could feel confident that police departments were serving them with respect and equality or where police departments could feel adequately supported at all levels. He also said the country would have to "just grind it out" in solving the tensions.

The shooting of the police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge were preceded by police shootings of two black men, Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge and Philando Castile in suburban St. Paul, Minnesota, which sparked protests around the country. Dallas police were defending protesters in that city when the gunman opened fire on them.




Black and a cop: Detective says 'We've all got work to do'

Detective Chelsea Whitaker believes she has an opportunity to help bridge the divide

by Lisa Marie Pane

DALLAS — In the aftermath of the deadly attack on Dallas officers, the city's police chief issued an appeal to blacks: If you want to change law enforcement, join us. Apply to become a cop.

Chelsea Whitaker heeded that call nearly a decade ago, long before the fatal police shootings in Ferguson, Missouri, and North Charleston, South Carolina, and elsewhere that energized the Black Lives Matter movement.

Now she finds herself living in two worlds.

Whitaker is a police officer who's been cursed at and attacked while making an arrest. She's also a black woman who has faced the indignity of being asked if she belongs where she is, even while using the city's gas pumps to fill up her department-issued vehicle.

In this era of distrust between blacks and police, Whitaker believes she has an opportunity to help bridge the divide.

"We're all dominated by fears and our prejudices. We've got to do better," she said. "We can't just jump to 'What this white person did is racist' or 'What this black person did is criminal.'"

In the days after the sniper slayings, Police Chief David Brown urged blacks to leave the protests and join the department to work for change from within.

Like most U.S. cities, the Dallas department has struggled to diversify its ranks. While the city is composed mostly of blacks and Hispanics, the police force is still dominated by whites, which make up about half of the department.

The rest of the force is 26 percent black and 20 percent Hispanic. The city is about 28 percent white, 25 percent black and 42 percent Hispanic.

The police chief, a black man who rose through the ranks during a three-decade career, challenged protesters to be part of the solution.

"Serve your community. Don't be a part of the problem," he said. "We're hiring. Get off of that protest line and put your application in."

Whitaker, who turns 34 next week, is well known in Texas. A former point guard on the Baylor University squad that won the 2005 NCAA championship, she later played professionally in Israel and Turkey before returning to Texas and joining the department.

She's now a detective in the criminal intelligence unit and attends law school. She comes from a family of public servants: Her brother and father work for the fire department. Her mother is a retired probation officer.

Since becoming an officer in 2007, she's seen both ends of the spectrum. Many blacks who distrust officers based on years of harassment and excessive force are quick to view every police interaction as racist. Many white officers are fearful that crime or danger is just one stop away.

She's found herself in the middle, trying to explain to black people that she and fellow officers aren't all out to get them and insisting to white colleagues that many blacks, including herself, are stopped for no apparent reason and challenged about their activities.

When she first started patrolling, she was infuriated by people hurting each other, committing crimes or cursing her out when she was arresting them. She was trying to help, trying to take bad guys off the streets, and she was getting grief for doing her job.

"I let it consume me. I hated it," she said.

But she started to think more about the circumstances that lead someone into a life of crime. She began to focus on the things she could do to be a mentor: talking regularly to a guy she had arrested and is now in jail, buying a meal for a girl who had been molested, bringing a teenager to Wal-Mart to get her personal hygiene products and teach her how to care for herself.

Her chief lamented the myriad of society's ills that police are asked to handle — from loose dogs to single-parent households. All for about $44,000 a year.

As much as possible, Whitaker tries to explain that police are human too, and if they might be a bit rude or brusque, it's not necessarily because of racism.

On the flip side, she tries to explain to white colleagues why blacks might be distrustful or fearful when encountering an officer. The long history of police targeting blacks for violence — and going unpunished — can't be easily dismissed.

As a detective, she doesn't wear a uniform. When she goes to the city gas pumps, she's been questioned about where she works.

"Does he know that I work here? Yeah, he sees me using my ID to get (gas), and they still feel the need to ask me. And that happens more than once," she said.

When she asks white co-workers how they might feel in the same situation, they say they would "absolutely lose it."

"Well, you don't experience that," she said.

Americans' opinions about policing are sharply divided along racial lines. In a nationwide poll last summer by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs, 81 percent of black Americans said police are too quick to use deadly force, compared with 33 percent of whites. A third of blacks said they trust police to work in the best interest of the community, less than half the percentage of whites.

Whitaker has taken to Facebook to talk about police shootings, violence and race relations in lengthy posts that expand upon law and emotion. Her page has now more than 1,300 followers. Her mission is to be a messenger of peace.

"It takes courage for all of us to meet in the middle, and that's hard to do," she said. "Perception is everything."



Officials: France truck attacker may have become radicalized

There is mounting evidence that Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel had recently absorbed extremist ideas and had become radicalized

by Frank Jordans and Angela Carlton

NICE, France — There is mounting evidence that Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, the Tunisian-born truck driver responsible for the deadly carnage in Nice last week, had recently absorbed extremist ideas and had become radicalized, French authorities said Sunday.

The image of a religious extremist is at odds with the portrait that neighbors and family members initially painted of a man who ignored even the most basic rules of Islam, eating pork, drinking alcohol and shunning the mosque.

Many of those who knew him said in the days after Thursday's Bastille Day attack that Bouhlel was a difficult person, describing him variously as aloof and hostile, even violent at times. In March, he received a suspended sentence for a road-rage incident — not enough to put him on the radar of France's security services.

But officials said Sunday that the 31-year-old had apparently undergone a rapid conversion to radical Islam and carefully planned the attack that claimed the lives of at least 84 people, including 10 children, raising the question: how did a delivery driver go from petty crime to carrying out an act of mass slaughter in the space of a few months?

Hours after the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack Saturday, Prime Minister Manuel Valls said authorities "now know that the killer radicalized very quickly."

Neither IS nor the French government have provided tangible evidence of a link between the group and Bouhlel. But Valls told the newspaper the Journal du Dimanche in an interview Sunday that the extremist group "is encouraging individuals unknown to our services to stage attacks."

"That is without a doubt the case in the Nice attack," said Valls, warning that "terrorism will be part of our daily lives for a long time."

While authorities have said little publicly about their investigation, a French security official told The Associated Press on Sunday that Bouhlel sold his car just before the attack, which ended only when he was killed by police.

Bouhlel rented the refrigerated truck on July 11, purchased a pistol and was seen on closed-circuit TV footage visiting the promenade in the following days, according to the security official, who wasn't authorized to be publicly named speaking about an ongoing investigation.

On July 14, France's national day, Bouhlel sent text messages to people who may have been accomplices, the official said. One of those who received text messages was among eight people taken into custody after the attack. The official wouldn't comment on the content of the text messages or confirm reports that they included a request for more weapons.

At least two of the three people detained Sunday are suspected of helping Bouhlel obtain the pistol found in the truck, the official said.

Most of those taken in for questioning, including Bouhlel's estranged wife, who has since been released, described him as violent and unstable. While they all said he had long been indifferent to religion, some described a recent and very rapid conversion to radical Islam, the official said, noting that the attack appeared clearly premeditated.

Experts say that Bouhlel would have moved in an environment where he would have been exposed to the extremist ideology preached by the Islamic State group and others.

According to Yasmina Touaibia, a political scientist at the University of Nice, the region is home to more than a dozen informal mosques known to spread radical and fundamentalist ideas. Along with Paris and Lyon, it has become one of the main recruiting grounds for jihadis who have left France to fight in Syria.

A lawyer for one of those detained by police said his client hadn't recognized any signs of radicalism in Bouhlel.

Jean-Pascal Padovani said his client had known Bouhlel casually and consumed drugs with him in recent months. "(Bouhlel) wasn't really a soldier of God who went to Syria and came back to France," Padovani said. "He was a depressed person who used terrorism to justify this act."

Brigitte Erbibou, a psychologist who has long worked in Nice, said Bouhlel's reported lack of religious conviction may not have precluded a sudden embrace of extremism, noting that people who have resorted to violence in the past can apply that instinct in other situations.

"This quick flip to violence in the name of a political ideology becomes legitimate," she said. "The instructions of IS are to act wherever one is, by whichever means one can, so this (attack) matches exactly the recommendations of IS."

Sudden, extreme violence isn't the reserve of religious extremists, of course. There are grim parallels to the case of Andreas Lubitz, the Germanwings pilot who crashed his plane into a mountain not far from Nice last year, killing all 150 people on board.

Investigators found Lubitz had researched how to lock his fellow pilot out of the cockpit before the crash and even briefly simulated the fatal descent on an earlier flight.

Both the Germanwings pilot and the driver in Nice received treatment for psychological problems in the past. Bouhlel's father said after the attack that his son had been prone to violent episodes.

"Each time he had a crisis, we took him to the doctor, who gave him medication," Mohamed Mondher Lahouaiej Bouhlel told BFM-TV.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Sunday that the challenge of finding and stopping people like Bouhlel was "worse than the needle in the haystack."

If someone is an extremist of "one or two days vintage" it's easy to cause mayhem, he said on CNN.



La. police shootings add new RNC concerns

Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich rebuffed a request by the head of the Cleveland police union to suspend the open carry law during the convention

by Mark Gillispie

CLEVELAND — The day before the Republican National Convention got underway in Cleveland, the fatal shooting of three police officers in Louisiana on Sunday added new concerns about security as huge crowds were expected to protest and the city police chief prepared officers to deal with the open carrying of weapons as allowed by state law.

Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich rebuffed a request by the head of the Cleveland police union to suspend that law during the convention, saying he doesn't have the authority to "arbitrarily" alter laws and constitutional rights.

Kasich, who has pushed programs to heal rifts between communities and police after several fatal police shootings, said those bonds must be "reset and rebuilt."

"Everyone has an important role to play in that renewal," said Kasich, who called law enforcement "a noble, essential calling."

Authorities say three officers were killed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and three more injured in a shooting less than one mile from local police headquarters.

Sunday afternoon, hundreds of people lined a bridge leading into downtown Cleveland in a peaceful "Circle the City With Love" rally. Participants standing on opposite sides of the bridge from one end to the other held hands and stood in silence for several minutes.

Late Sunday afternoon, a few dozen people began marching in a noisy "Shut Down Trump and the RNC" from east of downtown toward Public Square.

The morning started with Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams saying barricades have been placed at key streets and intersections in the city's downtown before the start of the convention to thwart the type of attack that occurred in France when a man drove a large truck into crowds, killing 84 people.

"Things that happen around the country and around the world do affect to some degree how we respond here in Cleveland," Chief Calvin Williams said during an interview on CBS News' "Face the Nation."

There have long been concerns about violent protests and clashes between those who support the presumptive nominee, Donald Trump, and those who oppose the real estate mogul and his inflammatory rhetoric. But recent events, including a terror attack in Nice, France, last week and the fatal ambush of police officers in Dallas and Louisiana have heightened concerns about what might happen in Cleveland.

There have been reports that anarchists and black separatists also plan to protest in Cleveland during the convention, Williams said.

It seems, he said, that "everyone is coming to Cleveland to protest or exercise their First Amendment rights."

An issue on the minds of many is the possibility that people might openly carry firearms during protests, marches and rallies given that Ohio is an open-carry state. Williams said during a morning news briefing that Cleveland police commanders will inform those who choose to open carry what their responsibilities are under Ohio law.

"We try to get across to people, if you carry that weapon, you have that right to do it, but you also have responsibilities to the general public and people around you to make sure that everybody else is safe," Williams said.

A suburban Cleveland man drew attention Sunday afternoon when he stood in the city's Public Square with a semi-automatic rifle strapped over his shoulder and a .45-caliber handgun holstered on his hip. Other members of a northeast Ohio open carry group were supposed to join him.

"What I'm doing today is a statement about the right to bear arms," said Steve Thacker, 57, of Westlake.

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson said Sunday during ABC's "This Week" that city officials "aren't strangers to unrest and demonstrations and protests" and insisted that the city is prepared for an event that could draw tens of thousands of people.

The convention is a big moment for Cleveland, which is being hailed as a comeback city thanks, in part, to its revitalized downtown. The city also has drawn unwanted national attention because of high-profile police shootings and use-of-force incidents that helped lead to an agreement with the U.S. Justice Department to reform the 1,500-member police department.

About one third of those officers will be joining thousands of law enforcement officers from around the state and the country in providing security during the convention.




Few hundred attend rapper's gang summit in LA

Rapper The Game said he was moved to call together gang members for an anti-violence summit Sunday after the recent killing of his foster brother

by Christopher Weber

LOS ANGELES — Rapper The Game said he was moved to call together gang members for an anti-violence summit Sunday after the recent killing of his foster brother in Los Angeles.

An overflow crowd of several hundred gathered at a community center in South Los Angeles to hear pleas for peace from current and former gangbangers, entertainers, activists and preachers from the Nation Of Islam.

Mayor Eric Garcetti and Police Chief Charlie Beck shook hands with The Game outside the venue in a show of unity. Beck said the meeting was a "great first step" in the right direction toward curbing violence, especially considering the police shootings Sunday morning in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

The Game, born Jayceon Terrell Taylor, fought back tears as he recounted the recent shooting death of a former gang member he called Spanky. The pair grew up together in foster care in nearby Compton, he said.

"I'm here to be his voice," said the multi-platinum selling rapper, 36, adding that organizing the gathering was also "a decision made for my children."

He said by the time his 5-year-old daughter turns 18, "I want her to walk out the door, and I want it to be a little bit ... safer."

The Game put the word out last week on his active Instagram account, inviting leaders of the Crips, Bloods and other street gangs to come together for "Time To Unite: United Hoods + Gangs Nation." Dozens of gang members, some sporting red and blue colors, heeded the call and filed peacefully into the building to hear more than a dozen speakers. The neighborhood a few miles south of downtown Los Angeles has a large black population and has been plagued by random violence.

Aurora Hudson praised the decision to shine a light on "the brutality in our neighborhoods." The 25-year-old came to the meet-up from her home just blocks away and called it a positive experience.

"And if we unite as a group and end gang violence, I think we can get a lot more things done in the community as well," she said.

Veteran gang interventionist Alex Sanchez urged unity between Latino and black community members.

"If you really care about creating peace in the neighborhood, you have to reach out your hand to that brother," he said.

Radio personality Big Boy, singer will.i.am and rappers Shorty, Problem and Bad Lucc were among the entertainers in the crowd. Security was provided by the Nation of Islam and there wasn't a big police presence at the summit.

Men need to have a "much-needed conversation" about their influence on young people and how to serve as better role models, The Game wrote on Instagram, where he has 6.6 million followers. He said he hopes to keep the conversation going.

"You know, it's like a bus going through the city, a bus of love and a bus of positivity," he told The Associated Press. "We want to keep the doors open. We want everybody get on the bus."

Earlier this month, The Game and fellow rapper Snoop Dogg led a peaceful march to Los Angeles police headquarters, where they met with the mayor and police chief and urged improved relations between authorities and minority communities.

The rappers are among many activists and celebrities calling for change following the police-related killings of black men nationwide and the shooting deaths of five police officers in Dallas by a lone gunman motivated by racial hatred.

From 2009 to 2013, just over 90 percent of black victims were murdered by other blacks, according to FBI statistics. The figure is 93 percent for the period from 1980 to 2008. Those numbers are limited to murders with a single victim when the race of both the victim and offender were known and reported to the FBI. Crime experts say those numbers are largely because races tend to marry, date and be friends with people of their own race, and the large majority of murders are between people who know each other.