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.


August, 2016 - Week 2



Milwaukee reeling after deadly police shooting

by Faith Karimi, Joe Sutton, Thom Patterson and Ryan Young

Milwaukee, Wisconsin (CNN)A deadly shooting of an armed man by Milwaukee police has stirred anger, fear and disbelief as authorities restore calm in the city after a night of violent protest.

Protesters burned several stores and threw rocks at police Saturday night on the city's north side, leaving one officer injured and three protesters arrested. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said protesters had been using social media to draw more demonstrators.

Local officials planned to meet with church and community leaders Sunday to discuss ways to move forward.

"I never thought I would see my own city in a state of unrest and a potential riot," a resident told CNN affiliate WDJT.

It all started Saturday afternoon, when a pair of police officers stopped two people driving through the north-side neighborhood, police said. That led to a foot chase between the people in the car and police, which ended when an officer shot one of the two -- a 23-year-old man who was armed with a handgun, authorities said.

The police officer "ordered that individual to drop his gun, the individual did not drop his gun," Barrett said during a news conference later in the day. "He had the gun with him and the officer fired several times."

The man died at the scene. It was unclear Sunday morning whether the second occupant of the car was in police custody. The officer who fired the fatal shots was not injured and will be placed on administrative duty during an investigation.

The officer who fired the deadly shots is 24 years old and has six years of service with the Milwaukee Police Department -- three as an officer. Police provided no further details on the identities of the officer or the occupants of the car.

The officer was wearing a body camera at the time of the shooting, Barrett said.

"This is a neighborhood that has unfortunately been affected by violence in the recent past," Barrett said. The shooting occurred near the same place where a double homicide happened on August 9. In that incident a man was shot dead and another was fatally stabbed, police said.

City Alderman Khalif Rainey said the area has been a "powder keg" for potential violence throughout the summer.

"What happened tonight may not have been right and I am not justifying that but no one can deny the fact that there are problems, racial problems in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, that need to be rectified," Rainey said. "This community of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, has become the worst place to live for African Americans in the entire country."

Rainey said Saturday's violence was a byproduct of inequities, injustice, unemployment and under-education.

"Something has to be done to address these issues," he said. "The black people of Milwaukee are tired, they are tired of living under this oppression, this is their life."

Go home, mayor pleads

As the chaos escalated Saturday, the mayor pleaded with protesters to end their demonstrations.

"If you love your son, if you love your daughter, text them, call them, pull them by the ears and get them home. Get them home right now before more damage is done," the mayor said.

"I know this neighborhood very, very well. And there are a lot of really really good people who live in this area -- in the Sherman Park area, who can't stand this violence."

At 3:20 a.m. Sunday, police tweeted they were restoring order and "reducing deployments."

Police: Suspect had stolen gun

The unidentified suspect was shot twice, in the arm and chest, the mayor said. The handgun he carried had been stolen during a burglary in nearby Waukesha in March, according to police.

"The victim of that burglary reported 500 rounds of ammunition were also stolen with the handgun," police said.

Any evidence from the body camera video will likely become a key part of the investigation, said CNN law enforcement analyst Cedric Alexander.

"We're going to see over the next number of hours and the next number of days what information [investigators] feel comfortable releasing to the public, Alexander said. "It think it's going to be essentially important to get out as much of that video, as long as it doesn't jeopardize the integrity of the investigation."

By state law, the Wisconsin Department of Justice will lead the investigation.




Police officer shot, killed in Ga.; suspect on the loose

by The Associated Press

EASTMAN, Ga. - Authorities say a police officer in a small, central Georgia city has been shot and killed by a suspect who remains on the loose.

Special agent Scott Whitley of the Georgia Bureau of Investigations tells The Associated Press that Eastman Patrol Officer Tim Smith was fatally shot about 9:30 p.m. ET Saturday in a residential area of the city located about 60 miles southeast of Macon.

Whitley says Smith was responding to a suspicious person call when he encountered the suspect, exited his patrol car and was shot. The suspect fled the scene.

Whitley says Smith was in his early 30s but no further information about him was immediately available. He says an unidentified suspect is being sought and an investigation is ongoing.

Smith was not wearing a body camera.



New Mexico

Community policing can work

by MacKenzie Allen

Too many of our nation's communities are experiencing a terrible schism between their police and residents. Far too many minority people, particularly African-Americans, have been slain or wounded at the hands of law enforcement. Based on what footage and reports have been available to the public, I've seen at least two such incidents that appear to be outright murder. Others are at least questionable and in need of thorough, impartial investigation. Still others, to my eye, and based on my experience in law enforcement, appear to have been justified.

Having said that, I fully understand how even a justified use of force, deadly or otherwise, can become a flash point for community upheaval. Unfair, even brutal treatment at the hands of some police, gone on for decades if not generations in some cities, has created an atmosphere of hatred and distrust, leaving many people with extremely short fuses.

Which brings us to the concept of “community policing.” Some people today feel it's a failure, an anachronism, a tired concept and a relic. It is none of the above. Done correctly, with good training and working from a “good heart,” community policing can be effective to an extraordinary degree.

I'm retired now, but in the 1990s, I was my department's first “community police officer.” I had worked our most difficult districts for years. In those areas, we had some of everyone: whites, blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asians and Pacific Islanders. We were gang-infested, and no race or ethnicity had a monopoly on criminal behavior. Our main housing project was rife with gangbangers, and we were in and out of this sprawling complex day and night answering calls for service, mostly involving violence.

Then we tried something different. I worked with a great group of dedicated deputies. We held a series of community meetings. At the first one, the local political leader tried to make himself look good to the residents by badmouthing our commanding officer and saying he'd accept “no excuses.” I ignored him and spoke directly to the residents, explaining how much we cared about fixing their neighborhood, how seriously we took the mission, etc. That was the beginning of building a true alliance.

We held neighborhood events with our patrol deputies and brass. I opened what we called a “storefront” — an office smack in the heart of our rundown business district. Space doesn't permit a fuller account of what we did, but I can tell you that in less than a year we turned it all around.

So, no one can tell me it can't or won't work. But it takes patience. It takes a collective open mind. It takes time.

We must allow frustrated members of our communities the opportunity to vent to some degree. I'm not suggesting for a moment that we allow our officers to be abused. But people who feel downtrodden by “the system” must be given permission to voice their concerns and we have to be ready to listen — truly listen. Only when they realize we sincerely care can we begin to build the necessary alliances.

I can offer many instances of our success, but the most poignant and gratifying to me was the night I had stopped a carload of gangsters. They happened to be African-American (I am white). I was alone. After I completed the stop and turned to go back to my patrol car, I saw, across the street and a bit behind me, two African-American women, a woman I knew from the neighborhood and her adult daughter. I walked over to give them a hug, at which point they told me they had been watching my back, knowing I was by myself, and they were concerned for my safety.

That, to me, is what community policing looks like.

MacKenzie Allen is a retired deputy sheriff who worked in Los Angeles and Seattle.



New Mexico

Ohio fugitive arrested in NM officer's death; 1 held

Officer Jose Chavez, 33, was shot dead at a convenience store in front of a fellow officer

by Astrid Galvan

HATCH, N.M. — Authorities don't yet know why a New Mexico police officer in a small village famous for its green chile and not much more pulled over two Ohio murder suspects before being gunned down.

But the daytime encounter with Jesse Hanes and James Nelson on Friday turned out to be deadly for one of the eight police officers in Hatch, 190 miles south of Albuquerque.

Officer Jose Chavez, 33, was shot dead at a convenience store in front of a fellow officer who had just arrived, authorities said.

The suspected shooter is Hanes, 38, who along with Nelson was wanted in Ohio in the July 25 shooting death of a 62-year-old man just outside Chillicothe, about 60 miles south of Columbus.

Ohio authorities had said that Hanes and Nelson, 36, were believed to have fled the state and were armed and extremely dangerous, warning that the two men have a violent criminal history.

It's unclear whether Chavez, a father of two children who joined the Hatch Police Department two years ago, knew the suspects were wanted in Ohio.

A fellow officer who arrived to assist just as Chavez was shot reported seeing him with paperwork and appearing to draw his service weapon before smoke filled the air and Chavez fell to the ground.

Chavez was shot in the neck and airlifted to University Medical Center in El Paso, Texas, where he later died.

Dona Ana County Sheriff Enrique 'Kiki' Vigil said Chavez went through training at the department's academy in 2013 and that he was considered one of their own.

"We're not gonna allow these folks to get away. We've lost one of our best," Vigil said.

Police arrested Nelson and were waiting for Hanes to be released from the hospital to book him on state charges, sheriff's spokeswoman Kelly Jameson said. Hanes was treated for a gunshot wound to the right thigh which appeared to be self-inflicted, she said.

Hanes' arrest came after a dramatic car pursuit, a carjacking and the shooting of a bystander whose car Hanes stole, police said.

Hanes was driving a luxury car when Chavez pulled him over at a gas station shortly before 4 p.m. Friday.

Chavez was standing outside the passenger's door when Hanes reached through the window and shot him, police said. Nelson was the passenger. A third man who police said had been hitchhiking is being treated as a witness and won't face charges.

Hanes then fled on Interstate 25 at speeds up to 100 miles per hour before stopping at a rest area, authorities said. He carjacked a 36-year-old man, shooting him in the stomach after the man refused to accompany him, police said. That man has not been identified but is in stable condition at an El Paso, Texas, hospital and could be released Saturday, Jameson said.

Hanes fled on his own after shooting the man, but sheriff's deputies were able to stop him by using a tire-deflating device. The suspect crashed the vehicle into a pile of wood and briefly barricaded himself in the car before surrendering to deputies, Jameson said.

Nelson and the hitchhiker were found about 7 miles away near Rincon.

Jameson says she doesn't know why Chavez initiated the stop. His body has been escorted to Albuquerque, where the medical examiner will conduct an autopsy Monday. An Albuquerque funeral business has offered to provide free services, Jameson said.

Dona Ana County Sheriff's deputies have taken over public safety duties in Hatch while the small police department mourns Chavez's death.

"There's a total of eight (officers) out there. Today there's seven," Vigil said.

Hanes was 16 and living in Columbus when he pleaded guilty in 1995 to involuntary manslaughter and other charges. He was sentenced to prison and released at 32. He went to prison again in 2014 after pleading guilty to robbery and was released in April 2015.

Nelson, who also goes by "JD," has a string of drug-related convictions in central Ohio dating back to the mid-1990s.




Chicago officer saves wounded boy

Sgt. Bryan Topczewski was ending his shift when he heard the call saying a child had been shot

by Peter Nickeas

CHICAGO — The end of a busy shift approached.

Three people had been killed in two hours in the Harrison District on the West Side Monday night. Sgt. Bryan Topczewski left the scene of the second homicide and was headed back to the station, an easy ride down Jackson Boulevard east toward Kedzie Avenue.

"I was heading into the station to finish up reports, start approving reports, just administrative stuff with everything that was going on last night, everything kinda got pushed aside," Topczewski said.

As he approached Independence Boulevard shortly after 10 p.m., a dispatcher calmly read out a new job: "All right units in 011 ... now getting a person shot at thirty-nine forty-five Polk, 3-9-4-5 Polk, cellphone caller says her child's been shot with no further information, 11th District."

The call was less than two blocks west of the boulevard. "Put it on my box," the sergeant radioed, telling the dispatcher he was responding.

"As a parent, you don't like to hear a kid shot. It is what it is out here, but this is a kid," Topczewski said. "So I raced over there, found the address."

The street was empty when he turned from Independence. It wasn't like other scenes that can be chaotic, with people waving down officers and pointing toward the victims. Nobody was out.

The sergeant parked in front. The door was open a little. The child, 10-year-old Tavon Tanner, was lying face down inside the house, blood coming from his nose and mouth.
Topczewski radioed in. The dispatcher didn't hear him at first and asked him to repeat himself. "Is EMS rolling?"

"It does look like Ambulance 64 is en route." The dispatcher asked for more information, trying to see if this was related to a shots-fired call a few minutes earlier a few blocks away.

Tavon had been playing on his porch when someone on the street fired at least nine shots. He collapsed as he followed his mother through the front door. When Topczewski arrived, Tavon's twin sister was holding the boy's hand and telling him, "Twin don't leave me, twin don't leave me," according to her family. Tavon kept beating the floor with his hands, then went limp.

"I see the little guy lying on the floor," Topczewski said. "That's when I go out and grab my pack and start rendering aid."

The boy's mother and twin sister were crying as the sergeant kept asking, "Where's the wound? Where's the wound?" They started taking the boy's clothes off and found a gunshot wound at the small of his back, "right next to his spinal cord," Topczewski said.

He radioed in again. "Bona fide, we got a little kid shot over here. . . . Keep the street clear over here." A woman can be heard screaming in the background of the radio call. "Keep the street clear."

Another officer came on the radio. "Younger child, no offender info . . . One lower, gunshot wound lower back."

Topczewski said he applied pressure to the wound, covering it with a compression bandage. Paramedics arrived within a few minutes, scooped up the boy and rushed him to Mount Sinai Hospital.

Topczewski stepped outside. "We tried to find the crime scene, trying to estimate . . . where was he when he got shot. So once we figured where he got shot, we tried to visualize where those came from."

Across the street was a white car with bullet holes. "We organized officers into a skirmish line with their flashlights, looking for casings. There were bullet holes through the car to where the little guy was standing," he said. "Officers walked the whole lot and found shell casings in the vacant lot next to the one apartment."

Topczewski went to Mount Sinai afterward to check on Tavon and his officers, a number of whom were there following up with other shooting victims from the district that night. And to refill his supply of bandages. "The staff, I told them what I needed. 'Hey, take all you want.'

They understand what it's used for," the sergeant said.

Tavon underwent nearly four hours of surgery at Mount Sinai. The bullet damaged his pancreas, intestines, kidney and spleen as it entered his lower back and lodged in his chest, his mother said. Doctors removed the spleen and repaired the other organs but did not remove the bullet, said Tavon's mother, Mellanie Washington.

On Wednesday, Tavon remained in critical condition and was under heavy sedation, his mother said. He hasn't been able to talk and she is not sure if he knows that she is there. He did seem to light up when his twin was at his bedside, however. "When his twin yesterday saw him, he opened his eyes a little," Washington said.

Tavon's teachers and a former principal have been visiting him and his sister at the hospital, which she said was a comfort to her children. Detectives are still investigating, but she said she does not think any arrests have been made.

"They're just waiting on him and waiting for him to heal and recover," she said of the medical staff treating her son. "He'll be here awhile."

Topczewski is a 20-year veteran of the department who made sergeant two years ago and has worked in the Harrison District ever since. He went through medical training as part of the Mobile Strike Force, a citywide unit that was disbanded a few years ago.

He hadn't used the training until this year, at a shooting on Polk when three officers were injured. He helped treat one of the three officers before paramedics arrived. The same dispatcher was working then, too.

"You know what it is? It's my job. Not to be cliche . . ." he paused. "It's my job. Our job is preservation of life ... I'm not an EMT. I know some basic medical things that I was taught and I applied them where I seen fit.

"It's a little kid shot," he continued, his voice strained. "If you're a parent, you protect your kids. Whether it's yours or someone else's. This is what we do. It's terrible to see a little young kid get shot in crossfire over, over what? It's not a way to grow up."



New Jersey

Jersey City increases minority police officers on force

Nearly 70 percent of the 100 officers hired in the department since 2013 are minority police officers

by Andrea Fox

JERSEY CITY, N.J. — Minority police officers are often caught in the middle of discord between local police departments and minorities in the jurisdictions they serve.

Such as Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, who was appointed in March following protests over the death of Laquan McDonald. According to the Wall Street Journal, Johnson is managing a major increase in homicides while officers he oversees criticize him for reaching out to activists. At the same time, he is clear to protesters that they will be arrested for resisting arrest and putting their hands on cops.

Racism issues by and within police agencies, as well as public malaise against law enforcement cited in recent events, may propose challenges for minority police officers.

But, the Department of Justice for many years has urged more diversity in law enforcement, and their numbers are growing.

From 1987 and 2013, the percentage of minority police officers in U.S. local law enforcement agencies almost doubled, Newsweek reported. While research is divided on whether diversified police departments have any specific community impacts, the White House Task Force on 21st Century Policing reaffirms diversifying local law enforcement as a priority.

In New Jersey, The Jersey City Police Department just sworn in one of its most diverse classes in the city's history.

The department has a total of 870 officers. Nearly 70 percent of the 100 officers hired since 2013 are minority police officers.

According to Mayor Steve Fulop, Jersey City once had a police department that did not reflect the make up of its community.

"We have come a long way since then…We have shown our commitment to growing our police force in smart and equitable ways, and our newest officers are proof of this,” he said in a prepared statement.



From the Department of Homeland Security

At MELOA, Commitment to Communities Keeps the Homeland Safe

by George Selim

The Middle Eastern Law Enforcement Officers Association (MELOA), a new group comprised of DHS employees that works to build trust through community engagement, held their first annual conference.

Secretary Jeh Johnson traveled to Dearborn where he spoke about the Department's commitment to communities.

“It has been proven, time and again, that a law enforcement community, a police force, a law enforcement organization that looks like the community that they serve builds trust,” said Secretary Johnson. “When I look around this room at all the people who work for DHS, I have tremendous optimism for our future.”

Middle Eastern Americans are woven into the fabric of our country – and our Department. At DHS, they proudly serve as Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, watch commanders at Customs and Border Protection, serve as Coast Guard cadets, provide disaster recovery support at FEMA, and screen passengers at TSA. The diversity of our workforce reflects the diversity of our nation, and it strengthens our ability at DHS to keep the American people safe.

Since our last visit to Dearborn in January, MELOA's membership has increased by five hundred percent. Secretary Johnson affirmed MELOA's work to promote trust and encouraged the organization to continue growing.

In the evolving threat environment, there has never been a more important time to build bridges to local communities. While groups like ISIL and al-Qaeda seek to divide us, the DHS Office for Community Partnerships will continue to promote dialogue and understanding, building the partnerships that safeguard our nation and our values.

To learn more about MELOA, visit meloa.org. And you can learn more about the Department's commitment to communities here.



Preparing for Extreme Weather with the FEMA App

With hurricane season continuing through the end of November, the FEMA app is an important tool to help your family weather the storm, nationwide. Regardless of where you're traveling this summer, the newly updated FEMA app can help you prepare for any weather condition.

The FEMA App is free and available for all smartphones, and offers the following features:

•  Receive weather alerts from National Weather Service for up to five different locations across the U.S.

•  Learn what to do before, during, and after emergencies with safety tips.

•  Share disaster damage photos on a verified photo sharing platform

•  Prepare ahead of time by building a customized emergency kit checklist and safety reminders

•  Get directions to open shelters and recovery centers, and where to talk to FEMA in person.

•  Apply for federal disaster assistance, if needed.

All the information on the app is also available in Spanish.

Learn more and download the FEMA App here.



From the Department of Justice

Department of Justice Expands Services for Crime Victims

New Federal Rule Helps States Plan for Historic Funding Increases

The Department of Justice today published a final rule expanding the ability of victim serving agencies and organizations across the nation to reach and serve more crime victims at a time of substantial increases in victim assistance funding. Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) funding directed to the states for victim assistance has more than quadrupled in the last two fiscal years.

“Supporting the victims of crime is as essential to the pursuit of justice as making arrests and prosecuting cases,” said Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch. “This new rule significantly expands state and local agencies' ability to reach survivors of a wide range of crimes, to help them recover from their ordeals, and to empower them to secure a brighter future for themselves and their loved ones. I want to thank Congress for their outstanding commitment to the rights and well-being of victims, and I pledge that the Department of Justice will continue to do everything in our power to promote healing, restore lives, and secure meaningful justice for every American affected by crime.”

Federal funding for state victim assistance programs comes from the Crime Victims Fund, a repository of federal criminal fines, forfeitures and special assessments. This fund does not include tax dollars. The states, in turn, provide sub-grants to local public agencies and community service providers that help individuals, families and communities recover from both the initial trauma and the long-term effects of victimization.

Congress raised the appropriations level of the Crime Victims Fund from $745 million in fiscal year 2014 to more than $2.3 billion in fiscal year 2015, effectively quadrupling the amount available for crime victim assistance programs. Congress raised the cap again to more than $3 billion in fiscal year 2016.

The Victim of Crime Act (VOCA) Formula Victim Assistance Grant Program rule—clarifies and expands support for a continuum of services to crime victims, including:

•  comprehensive legal assistance, including victims' rights enforcement and civil legal assistance related to the victimization;

•  transitional housing for victims of domestic violence, human trafficking and other crimes and expanded coverage of relocation expenses;

•  forensic interviewing and some medical expenses;

•  volunteer trainings, including support for Court Appointed Special Advocates; and

•  victim-centered restorative justice.

The rule also emphasizes that programs that serve victims of elder abuse, human trafficking, financial fraud and other crimes are eligible for VOCA funding, and removes language that prevented VOCA funding from supporting services to victims in detention and correctional facilities. The rule defines the statutory term victim of child abuse , to make clear that the term covers a broad array of harm inflicted on children and includes children who witness violence or who are victims of pornography.

The rule, which replaces the VOCA Victim Assistance Final Program Guidelines, is effective today following a 30 day period for public notice and comment after publication in the Federal Register. Recipients of VOCA Assistance grant funds from the Office for Victims of Crime must comply with the rule after the effective date. For more information, click here.





How Community Policing Can Work


Los Angeles — After the recent murders of police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, La., and the devastating videos of the shooting deaths of black men like Alton B. Sterling and Philando Castile, the future of police-community relations in cities all over America hangs in the balance. But even as the country is still reeling from these traumas, this is no time for despair.

Since the urban unrest of the 1960s, a series of post-riot audits — from the McCone, Kerner and Christopher Commissions to President Obama's Task Force on 21st - Century Policing (on which one of us serves) — have prescribed the same remedy for police-community conflict: move to guardian policing, overcome bias and replace the “spiral of despair” in poor neighborhoods with opportunity and justice.

We have yet to deliver on many of these — despite the regular reminders we get. Just this week, the report on Baltimore commissioned by the Department of Justice after the 2015 death in police custody of Freddie Gray prescribed a transformation of police culture and practice supervised by the courts, much like the “consent decree” imposed on the Los Angeles Police Department in 2001. At that time, the city faced a total breakdown of public-police trust; since then, we have come a long way, but reform is still a work in progress.

One of us is the chief of the Los Angeles Police Department. The other is a civil rights lawyer who, for years, sued that department. It's safe to say that the Hatfields and the McCoys shared more affection than we did. But in 2002 we joined forces with: Mayor James Hahn; a Federal District Court judge, Gary A. Feess; the chief of police at the time, William J. Bratton; and an army of reformers in an urgent quest for a police culture that no longer prompted race riots or judicial supervision.

Call it guardian policing, trust policing, problem-solving policing, relationship-based policing, community policing or partnership policing. The many names share one vision: humane, compassionate, culturally fluent cops who have a mind-set of respect, do not fear black men, and serve long enough to know residents' names, speak their languages and help improve the neighborhood.

We believed this approach could reduce bad policing, bolster law enforcement and increase public safety. We went out to prove it, and 15 years later, we think we have.

Come to Watts and East Los Angeles and you will see the Police Department's Community Safety Partnership unit, which operates in seven of the city's most violent public housing projects. Here, officers call out residents' names in greeting and patrol on foot with gang intervention specialists. The officers earn trust by participating in a range of neighborhood activities — everything from buying bifocals for older people to helping start a farmers' market and sports leagues for kids. The unit's officers are not promoted for making arrests, but for demonstrating how they diverted a kid from jail and increased trust.

Above all, they do not view residents of high-crime areas as potential suspects or deportees but as partners in public safety. In white neighborhoods, they are trained to not see black men as out-of-place threats. Many other officers, of course, strive for these goals, though they often do so without the special training and extra resources of this program.

But the police are only half the equation. This partnership demands changes from the community that may be even harder to deliver. In Los Angeles, grieving parents had to agree to join cops who had jailed or killed their children during the wars on drugs and gangs. The Community Safety Partnership began with an officer's apology for past police transgressions; after that, Watts and East Los Angeles leaders agreed to work with the Police Department in the pilot program.

The benefits are manifest. In its first year, the partnership unit posted the department's steepest crime reductions and has sustained those drops ever since. For nearly two years after the start of the program, three housing projects that had once suffered several killings a year did not have a single murder. And in Watts, there have been no shootings by the partnership officers in over five years.

The true test of guardian policing, however, is during a crisis. This is when the reservoir of trust saves lives — as it did three weeks ago, after a Los Angeles police officer killed a young man who was shooting at the police.

Angry members of the community demanded an emergency meeting with the police. At the end of the painful session, a former gang leader concluded that the death was extremely sad, but “if you shoot at the cops, you should expect to die.” Other attendees handed officers rosaries, and they apologized for earlier “kill the cops” talk after rumors that officers had fired when the young man was surrendering.

In the past, there would have been no listening — bottles, rocks and worse would have been the only response. But by morning, calm had taken hold.

The same dividend for guardian policing was evident in Dallas. Despite the worst efforts of a determined, vicious assassin, community policing efforts there yielded an outpouring of public grief for the slain officers and gratitude for their service, as well as equal heartbreak over the recent police shooting deaths of black men. Since the shootings, about 500 people have applied to join the Dallas Police Department.

We have much to do before most poor neighborhoods in Los Angeles see the Police Department through a lens of trust. The Community Safety Partnership is only one unit; we need more. But it is solid evidence that this is not the last century's police department and that guardian policing is part of the solution to conflict between police and community. If it works for the housing projects of Los Angeles, it can work anywhere.

Charlie Beck is the chief of the Los Angeles Police Department. Connie Rice, a civil rights lawyer, is a member of the President's Task Force on 21st-Century Policing.



New York

Albany hosting forum on race, diversity and community policing

Race, diversity and community policing explored

by The Times Union

Albany County will host a community forum next week about the issues of race, diversity and community policing.

The event, "Healing Moments," will be from 10 a.m. to noon Monday, Aug. 15, at the College of Saint Rose Touhey Forum of the Lally School of Education .

It seeks to build trust and heal divisions in the community following the recent rash of violence that resulted in the deaths of two civilians and seven police officers in four separate incidents across the country.

County Executive Dan McCoy and the Interfaith Coalition will partner with WMHT and Saint Rose for the forum.

The panel will feature Alice Green of the Center for Law and Justice, Aaron Mair, national president of the Sierra Club, Albany County Interfaith Coalition leader Deb Riitano, former Colonie police Chief Steve Heider, Perry Junjulas of the Albany Damien Center, Bishop Emeritus Howard Hubbard, college student Brittney Christie and community member Ocasio Wilson.

Members of the audience, who may also participate, include Albany police Chief Brendan Cox, Mohammad Mehmood from the Southeast Asian Merchants Association, NAACP 's Bernard Harrison Bryan, Arlene Way of the Arbor Hill Neighborhood Association, retired FBI Agent Louie Allen and community leader Marcus Pryor.

Those looking to attend should RSVP to Mary Rozack at mary.rozak@albanycountyny.gov, or call 447-7218.

Those unable to attend can watch the livestream at http://mediasite.strose.edu/Mediasite/Catalog/catalogs/healingmoments or by following commentary on Twitter using #healingmoments.




St. Petersburg joins Pinellas sheriff's ambitious criminal justice reform program

by Laura C. Morel

St. Petersburg joins Pinellas sheriff's ambitious criminal justice reform program

Under the new Adult Pre-Arrest Diversion program, offenders who commit minor crimes such as underage possession of alcohol, petty theft and possession of marijuana will have 48 hours to report to the program and will complete community service hours instead of getting arrested.

The initiative is expected to decrease jail bookings and lessen the burden on the courts system.

More importantly, officials say it will keep people who commit a range of petty crimes from earning a criminal record that could forever haunt them, tainting their chances of holding a job or finding a place to live.

On Thursday, the largest city in the county agreed to join the program. The St. Petersburg City Council voted to support the program after being briefed by Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, who is leading the effort.

St. Petersburg was Pinellas' last municipality to buy-in.

"It's the right thing to do for the residents of this county," Gualtieri said. "It's very important that this be fair, consistent, and that everybody has equal access to it."

The program could start as soon as October. Pinellas will join a small but growing list of regions across the country that have launched pre-arrest programs as the criminal justice system explores lenient alternatives for low-level offenders.

Pinellas' reforms are far ahead of the rest of Tampa Bay area. Gualtieri's initiative goes beyond the Tampa Police Department program that allows people caught with small amounts of marijuana to avoid jail. The Sheriff's Offices in Hillsborough and Hernando counties say they're not currently contemplating similar actions.

Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco said in a statement that Gualtieri's proposal "sounds intriguing" and he would reach out to Pinellas to learn more.

During Thursday's meeting, Gualtieri provided an overview of the APAD program:

• Offenders who don't have a prior misdemeanor conviction within the last two years or a felony conviction within the last five years will qualify. They can participate in APAD, which will be run by the Sheriff's Office, up to three times.

• The range of charges include underage possession of alcohol, petty theft, criminal mischief, littering, possession of marijuana paraphernalia, and assault and battery offenses not related to domestic violence. It will also include possession of marijuana of up to 10 grams, or up to 20 grams if the officer can determine that the marijuana was not intended for sale.

• Offenders who receive an APAD referral from an officer have 48 hours to report to the program's office, which will be open 24 hours a day. If they don't show up, charges will be forwarded to the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's Office.

• Offenders will undergo a "basic risk assessment" to determine if they need additional services, like anger management or drug treatment. They will be required to complete community service hours and could pay restitution.

• The program also provides a system of checks and balances. APAD staff will screen offenders taken to the jail to ensure they aren't eligible. They will also check with the clerk's office daily to determine if anyone who received a criminal notice to appear should receive a diversion referral instead.

• The program, which will cost $360,000 annually from the sheriff's budget, does not require the approval of any city or county governments. Instead, the sheriff, the police chiefs and the state attorney will sign a memorandum of understanding. They could also agree on future improvements.

Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch and St. Petersburg Police Chief Tony Holloway gave the program their support at Thursday's council meeting.

The city council also heard from some residents, including St. Pete for Justice organizer Kofi Hunt. Though he supports the decriminalization of marijuana, Hunt said APAD is a step in the right direction.

"You're doing the best you can," he told city council. "I think this alleviates some of the current issues that we face historically with systemic racism."

St. Petersburg City Council had previously discussed civil citations for the first three offenses of 20 grams or less of marijuana. But council members voted to delay those talks earlier this year so they could consider Gualtieri's proposal.

Gualtieri voiced concerns over the potential of having a "hodge podge of laws" in the county that he said would be unfair to residents.

Council member Ed Montanari agreed.

"I'm much more confident with this diversion program than I was with the civil citation route," Montanari said. "It could really get confusing if you have somebody do something in one part of the county, and then go just a block or two away and you're in another city and the laws are different."

Some council members raised questions about how residents in St. Petersburg without a means of transportation would reach the Sheriff's Office within the 48-hour period. Gualtieri said the 48-hour deadline could be later extended if that becomes an issue, or the Sheriff's Office could open an APAD office closer to St. Petersburg.

Council member Charlie Gerdes said the city could also allocate funds, perhaps $15,000, for Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority bus passes that St. Petersburg residents could use to reach APAD's location.

"I want to do what I can to help support the program," he said.

St. Petersburg officials said they would like to see the program issue quarterly reports that include demographic data. Council Member Steve Kornell, who led the civil citation measure, said Sheriff's Office data shows African-Americans make up 10 percent of the county population, but represent 41 percent of arrests for misdemeanor marijuana.

"This is an improvement over the status quo," Kornell said. "That's what we all want."




More details emerge in death of Fla. woman shot in academy exercise

Officer Lee Coel was a Miramar police officer for 14 months before he resigned due to excessive force complaints

by Michael Sallah and Carli Teproff

PUNTA GORDA, Fla. — The Punta Gorda policeman who tragically shot and killed a retired librarian when he fired real bullets — instead of blanks — at her during a citizens academy is a former Miramar officer with a troubled record, forced to resign from his job at the end of his rookie year.

Three years before the shooting that led to the death of 73-year-old Mary Knowlton on Tuesday, Lee Coel was accused twice of using excessive force and relieved of his duties before investigators found he violated department policies and was allowed to resign.

This year, he was sued in Punta Gorda after he ordered his K-9 to attack a bicyclist who was stopped for riding without a light at night, inflicting severe injuries that required surgery.

The officer's background provides yet another twist to the death of the woman who was shot during a role-playing session in which she was a crime victim and he took the part of the "bad guy," police said. The purpose: to help citizens learn the quick decisions that police must confront on the streets.

"This is a horrific event for all of us," said Punta Gorda Chief Tom Lewis during a somber news conference Wednesday. "We were unaware that there was live ammunition in the gun."

What's unclear is why Coel, a graduate of Broward College police academy, carried a loaded revolver during the event at the Punta Gorda citizens police academy.

Lewis said that officers typically use weapons with blanks during the teaching sessions, but could not explain why live rounds were in the chamber.

Coel, 28, has been placed on administrative leave while the Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigates the shooting that took place at the public safety building about 7 p.m. on Tuesday.

"I don't want to [interfere] with the FDLE investigation," Lewis said.

The chief said Coel is "grief stricken" by the events and was with relatives on Wednesday, while state investigators continued to interview citizens and officers who witnessed the tragedy.

At least 34 other civilians attended the class -- including Knowlton's husband, Gary -- when she and another class member joined in the session with Coel.

The sessions are held on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month, according to the city's website, and are limited to 35 people at a time.

At first, class members thought she was just acting when she collapsed, but soon realized she was bleeding. The victim's son, Steve Knowlton, tearfully told reporters "they pulled her over and realized she was shot up pretty good."

She was rushed to Lee Memorial Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

The shooting of the career librarian stunned the quiet community of 17,000, where Knowlton moved several years ago with her husband.

For Knowlton, who served on the Friends of the Punta Gorda Library Board, the citizens academy was a way to learn the intricacies of police work in a safe setting.

Friends described her as an outgoing woman who actively supported an organization for foster children and often baked and cooked for them, according to the News Press in Fort Myers.

A former homecoming queen in Minnesota, she and her husband had been married more than 50 years.

"She was passionate [but] she was never mean-spirited, never catty," Katie Mazzi, a close friend, told the paper. "She was honestly one of the kindest, most decent human beings I ever met."

On Wednesday morning, city leaders issued a statement calling her "a beloved member of the Punta Gorda community," adding that her death left a profound impact "on the other participants who were present during this tragedy."

Lewis did not provide details of the shooting, nor could he explain the safety precautions that were in place during the "shoot/don't shoot" exercise.

In a news release, police said Coel, who was hired by the department in March, 2014, had been actively taking part in the role-playing scenarios with residents.

In his application to Punta Gorda two years ago, Coel said he had spent 14 months as a Miramar police officer, assigned to high-crime areas. During a nine-month stretch, he said he was responsible for 100 arrests.

Along the way, he encountered problems. He was stripped of his badge and gun in April 2013 after two excessive force complaints were filed against him, he said. A week later, he said, he was given the opportunity to resign.

Coel said in his application to Punta Gorda that he was cleared of the excessive force complaints although investigators determined he violated two department policies. Records from the Miramar police were not immediately available Wednesday.

A year and a half after he joined Punta Gorda, Coel ran into a problem when he encountered a shoeless, shirtless man on a bicycle at night with no lights.

He ordered Richard Schumacher to stop, but the man kept riding until he finally reached a driveway. By then, Coel said the defendant had failed to obey numerous warnings to stop.

A dashcam video showed Schumacher cursed at him and flailed his arms. Coel's report said the man appeared to come at him, but that is not clear in the video, which is posted on YouTube.

Finally, Coel triggered the automatic release in the patrol car that allowed Spirit, his K-9, to lunge toward Schumacher.

For nearly two minutes, the dog tore into the defendant, 26, gnawing into his right side under his arm as the man screamed in agony. He was taken to the hospital, where he spent nearly two weeks undergoing surgery and treatment.

Ultimately, he was given a warning for riding a bike without lights and was charged with driving under the influence on a bicycle, fleeing and attempting to elude a police officer, a probation violation, and obstructing an officer without violence.

Scott Weinberg, an attorney who represents Schumacher, said Coel went far beyond what was necessary in turning his K-9 loose on an unarmed suspect.

"He was riding without lights on his bike," he said. "What he did to my client is criminal. The dog ate part of his armpit muscle. He should have been fired immediately."

The police department hired an outside expert to review the incident, and determined the use of force was justified because of Schumacher's repeatedly not obeying the officer's commands.

However, as a result of the incident, police changed their policies in using K-9s, raising the threshold so that suspects must now show "aggressive resistance" before turning a dog loose.

Experts struggled to understand how the fatal shooting of Mary Knowlton could happen. Ray Soccoro, director of the School of Justice at Miami Dade College, said the simulated exercises should only be carried out with rubber guns.

"Safety has to be paramount," said the one-time Miami police commander and training officer.

For Steve Knowlton, memories are all that remain of a woman who was the center of his life. "This has killed our family," he told WINK news. "I don't know if I can ever get over this."



DOJ to require tracking of fatal police encounters under new system

Police agencies will be asked to submit one report this year and quarterly reports beginning next year

by PoliceOne Staff

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department announced this week that it is rolling out a new program that requires law enforcement agencies and medical examiner's offices to fill out forms tracking “arrest-related deaths” of civilians during police-citizen encounters.

According to the Guardian, the proposed system, which would cover 19,450 state and local law enforcement agencies and about 685 medical examiner's or coroner's offices, will require them to submit one report this year and quarterly reports beginning next year.

According to the New York Times, the existing system, the Arrest-Related Deaths Program, is intended to be a census of different causes of death, including suicides, accidents, and deaths from natural causes. But critics believe that it does not provide accurate data about fatal police encounters because it relies on self-reporting by agencies.

“Because of concerns about variations in data collection methodology and coverage,” the Justice Department notice said, the Bureau of Justice Statistics has “developed and tested new methodologies for collecting data” aimed at enabling “accurate and comprehensive accounting of deaths that occur during the process of arrest,” the New York Times reports.

The notice did not make clear whether killings by federal law enforcement agents would be included in the new system.



New York

Off-duty NYC cop alerts Wis. police about online threat

Officer Gregory Santora contacted police in Wisconsin after seeing a video of a man "implying he was going to livestream the shooting of police officers"

by The Associated Press

NEW YORK — An off-duty New York City policeman is credited with alerting Wisconsin law enforcement about online threats to kill an officer.

Officer Gregory Santora contacted police in Madison, Wisconsin, after spotting a Periscope video at home on Saturday.

In the video, a man was "implying that he was going to livestream the shooting of the police officers," Santora told New York's Daily News. "That's what really got me scared."

Santora called the video "eerie."

"He was crying. He was emotionally distraught," Santora said. "You could tell that he was troubled. He was not rational."

The video showed the armed man driving around, saying he was going to the place where a white officer killed a black man last year and would shoot the first officer he saw there.

About an hour later, the man approached a Madison officer parked in his squad car, who was aware of the threat, and was arrested without incident, authorities said.

Santora said he was spurred to action because he is haunted by the 2014 killings of Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu in Brooklyn. Liu and Ramos were shot to death in their vehicle without warning by a man who had announced online that he planned to kill police officers. The suspect then killed himself.

"I didn't want to see that happen in the city of Madison," Santora said. "I wanted to see this individual be taken into custody without any violence."

Wisconsin's Dane County sheriff's office said Monday that Raynarldo Glenn was awaiting a court appearance. There was no immediate information on an attorney who could comment on his behalf.




Baltimore's DOJ report: The 6 most egregious examples

by Ray Sanchez

The Justice Department report on the systemic problems plaguing the nation's eighth-largest municipal police force opens a window into how ordinary citizens get caught up in a whirlpool of policing bias and brutality.

The disturbing revelations highlight the disproportionate rates of stops, searches and arrests of African-Americans, and excessive use of force against juveniles and people with mental health disabilities on the streets of Baltimore.

With about 621,000 residents, Baltimore remains one of the most segregated cities in the country -- a fact that impacts, in part, how the police department's 2,600 sworn officers do their jobs, according to the DOJ report. The city's about 63% African-American, 30% white and 4% Latino.

Baltimore and the Justice Department have agreed to negotiate a court-enforceable consent decree that will prescribe steps for reform -- in addition to steps that Baltimore already has taken.

"Change is painful," Police Commissioner Kevin Davis told reporters. "Growth is painful. But nothing is as painful as being stuck in a place that we do not belong."

Davis vowed zero tolerance for cops who "choose to engage in racist, sexist, discriminatory or biased-based policing." The officers behind the most egregious examples cited in the report already have been removed from the job, he said.

Here are six examples of the widespread "systemic deficiencies" highlighted in the scathing report:

A loitering arrest

In a four-year period beginning in 2010, roughly 44% of 111,500 police stops occurred in two small, predominantly African-American neighborhoods that account for about 11% of the city's population, according to the report.

Only 3.7% of those stops resulted in citations or arrests.

In a Facebook post, a police sergeant recently endorsed the controversial policing approach, writing that the "solution to the murder rate is easy. Flex cuffs and a line at [Central Booking]. CJIS code 2-0055."

CJIS 2-0055 is the code for a loitering arrest.

In some police districts, fliers celebrated such arrests with the image of cops from the specialized Violent Crime Impact Division. They are leading a handcuffed man in a hoodie toward a police van. The text says, "VCID: Striking fear into loiters [sic] City-wide."

On a cold January night in 2013, an officer stopped an African-American man wearing a hooded sweatshirt as he crossed the street in a "high crime area."

A report by a supervisory officer said the cop "thought it could be possible that the individual could be out seeking a victim of opportunity."

Multiple officers questioned the man and seized a kitchen knife that he admitted was in his possession.

The cops justified the stop by noting that the man put his hands in the pockets of his sweatshirt. They also observed the man "shivering" on the cold night.

When the man asked for his knife back, he was ordered to sit on the ground. When he "persisted to ask for his knife," they forced him to the ground.

"You can't arrest me," the man yelled before resisting.

Two cops tried to handcuff and shackle him. One officer used his fists to strike the man "in the face, ribs, and back." Other officers arrived as the man resisted. One Tased the man twice to prevent him from "escap[ing] the scene."

The man, who was eventually taken to a hospital, was not charged.

The sergeant at the scene acknowledged that the man was Tased twice and struck in the face but his report concluded the "officers showed great restraint and professionalism."

A strip search on the street

In the department's Eastern District, police publicly strip-searched a woman after a traffic stop for a missing headlight.

Officers ordered the woman to step out of her car, remove her clothes and stand on the sidewalk.

"I really gotta take all my clothes off?" she asked.

A female officer put on purple latex gloves, pulled up the woman's shirt and searched around her bra. No weapons or contraband were found. "The officer then pulled down the woman's underwear and searched her anal cavity. This search again found no evidence of wrongdoing and the officers released the woman without charges."

She was searched in full view of the street. The supervising male officer claimed he "turned away" at the time of the search.

In the end, the woman was given a repair order for the headlight.

After she filed a complaint, investigators corroborated her account with testimony from witnesses. The latex gloves were recovered on the street.

"Officers conducted this highly invasive search despite lacking any indication that the woman had committed a criminal offense or possessed concealed contraband," the report stated. "The male officer who ordered the search received only a 'simple reprimand' and an instruction that he could not serve as an officer in charge until he was 'properly trained.'"

Biased interviewing of police officers

The DOJ investigation found that interviews of officers involved in shootings tend to be "conclusory and superficial, often lasting no longer than ten or fifteen minutes, with some ending after five minutes."

"Officers are generally not asked any critical questions about the threat they faced or their decision-making process leading up to their deadly force."

In a lethal 2013 shooting, an internal affairs interview of the officer lasted only five minutes. It included questions about the nature of the interview which were not particular to the facts of the case. The "actual substantive interview" lasted three minutes.

Interviews of civilian witnesses, however, often last hours, with investigators asking "specific, probing questions, demonstrating their ability to be thorough and exacting."

Baltimore police also conduct "pre-interviews" with officers before turning on recording devices.

In another officer-involved shooting, also in 2013, an investigator told the officer, "Sir, please just as we did before we went on the tape, just tell us what happen [sic]."

"The officer then provided a canned and prepared presentation about a shooting, summarizing the incident, from beginning to end. The entire interview, on tape, lasts only eight minutes. Pre-interviews impede the integrity of the investigation," the report said.

"Because of this, pre-interviews in investigations of officer-involved shootings have been discouraged since at least the early 1990s."

Officers ordered to 'clear corners'

Justice Department officials were on a ride-along with Baltimore officers. It didn't seem to matter.

A sergeant instructed a cop to stop a group of young African-American men on a street corner, question them, and order them to disperse.

The officer protested that he had no valid reason for the stop.

The sergeant replied, "Then make something up."

Another sergeant posted on Facebook that when he supervises officers in the Northeast District, he wants them to "clear corners." The term is understood by officers to mean stopping people standing on sidewalks to question and disperse them by threatening arrest for minor offenses.

The sergeant wrote, "I used to say at roll call in NE when I ran the shift: Do not treat criminals like citizens. Citizens want that corner cleared."

Risky transport practices and 'rough rides'

The report does not directly reference the actions of officers involved in the case of Freddie Gray, who suffered a fatal injury while being transported in a police van. But federal investigators found "significant deficiencies" in transport practices that put detainees "at significant risk of harm."

The report said officers "routinely fail to safely secure arrestees in transport vans with seatbelts."

In 2005, Dondi Johnson Sr. was arrested for urinating on a public street and transported in a police van.

During a trial, officers admitted that neither the driver nor arresting officers secured Johnson.

While transporting him, the van driver testified that she heard several bangs from the back of the vehicle. She said she reached the district station in half the time it would have taken her driving at the speed limit.

In the van, Johnson was found face-down on the floor and in pain. Hospital records show Johnson described being hurt in a fall during a sharp turn. An expert witness testified his injuries were consistent with the van being "driven in an aggressive manner."

Johnson eventually died due to complications from paralysis. A jury awarded his family $7.4 million in damages.

In 2013, Christine Abbott sued the department, claiming she and her boyfriend were taken on a "rough ride" in the back of a police van.

The suit said officers threw her into the back of the van, failed to secure her and drove erratically.

Abbott claimed she was injured after being violently thrown in the van. In a deposition, the transporting officer acknowledged that Abbott was not secured. The city settled with Abbott for $95,000.

Handling of sexual assault investigations

In interviews of women reporting sexual assault, Baltimore detectives ask questions such as "Why are you messing that guy's life up?"

One victim advocate told DOJ investigators that a detective in the sex offense unit once made a comment at a party in which he said, "in homicide, there are real victims; all our cases are bulls**t."

In an email exchange between a police officer and a prosecutor, both openly expressed their "contempt for and disbelief of a woman who had reported a sexual assault."

The prosecutor wrote, "This case is crazy ... I am not excited about charging it. This victim seems like a conniving little whore. (pardon my language)."

The officer replied, "Lmao! I feel the same."




Gunfire kills Sebastian County sheriff's deputy

Chief hurt; 34-year-old suspect held

by Lisa Hammersly and Dave Hughes

HACKETT -- A Sebastian County sheriff's deputy was killed and the Hackett police chief was injured Wednesday morning when they were met by gunfire while responding to a disturbance call in the county.

Sheriff Bill Hollenbeck said Bill Cooper, 65, a 15-year veteran with the sheriff's office, was fatally shot in the neck by a man wearing a ballistics vest and firing a rifle at 7:39 a.m. Cooper, an ex-Marine, died at 1:15 p.m. at Sparks Regional Medical Center in Fort Smith.

"Here is a perfect example of the ultimate sacrifice that was paid in order to keep our community safe," Hollenbeck said at a news conference Wednesday afternoon.

Hackett Police Chief Darrell Spells, age unavailable, was grazed in the temple by a bullet, Mayor Leroy Stephens said. He said Spells was released from Sparks Regional Medical Center after being treated.

Billy Monroe Jones, 34, is accused of shooting Cooper and Spells.

Jones was named in a Sebastian County Circuit Court warrant Wednesday morning charging him with two counts of first-degree battery and being a felon in possession of a firearm. The warrant was issued before Cooper died and before Jones surrendered at a home at 4722 Arkansas 253 east of Hackett after a 4½-hour standoff with police.

Hollenbeck said Arkansas State Police took over processing the shooting scene after Jones' arrest "to relieve our agency to deal with the grief of losing one of our deputies."

Cooper's death comes during a summer marked with officers being killed in the line of duty in high-profile cases within the region and around the country. A sniper killed five officers July 7 in Dallas. A police captain was shot to death July 19 in Kansas City, Kan., and three police officers were gunned down July 16 in Baton Rouge.

A total of 40 officers in the United States have lost their lives violently in the line of duty this year, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page, a nonprofit website dedicated to honoring law enforcement officers who die in the line of duty.

Cooper is the first Sebastian County sheriff's deputy to die in the line of duty since Terry Johnson was killed in traffic accident March 2, 2013.

The last law enforcement officer killed in the line of duty in the state before Cooper was Johnson County sheriff's Auxiliary Deputy Sonny Allan Smith, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page. Smith was killed in May 2015 while investigating a burglary.

The Officer Down Memorial Page lists 284 Arkansas law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty going back to the 1860s.

Hollenbeck said Cooper and Spells responded to a call at 7 a.m. that Jones had gone to his father's home to take some tools and pulled a gun on him before leaving.

Cooper, Spells and officers with the Greenwood Police Department arrived on the scene nine minutes later and reported that Jones had a rifle and had pointed it at the officers while standing on the porch of a residence at 4722 Arkansas 253.

Officers began to seek cover and set up a perimeter as additional officers moved toward the location, Hollenbeck said.

At the same time, Hollenbeck said, information developed that Jones wanted to cause a "ruckus" because he was due Wednesday afternoon in circuit court in Fort Smith on a petition to revoke a suspended sentence.

Jones also was on the court docket for a plea to a charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm, according to court records.

His attorney on that charge, Marvin Honeycutt of Van Buren, said Wednesday that he had no idea Jones intended to open fire on officers. He wouldn't comment on the plea deal Jones intended to make, saying there was no deal until the plea was accepted.

"It's moot at this point," Honeycutt said. "So as far as the system is concerned, he is still presumed innocent of the felon in possession of a firearms charge."

At 7:16 a.m., sheriff's deputies radioed to the dispatcher that Jones was firing at them and that the firing went on for several minutes. Hollenbeck did not say whether officers returned fire.

Cooper was shot at 7:39 a.m. as more officers arrived on the scene, and Spells was shot at 7:43 a.m., Hollenbeck said in a prepared statement.

All the windows were shot out of Spells' patrol car, Stephens said.

"It took other deputies braving the fire of Jones to get Chief Spells and Deputy Cooper extracted from the scene and on to EMS," Hollenbeck said.

More than 200 officers from local, county, state and federal agencies converged on the scene with a variety of equipment that included two large armored vehicles from the Arkansas State Police, Hollenbeck said. Drones and a robot were used to acquire intelligence on Jones, who was holed up in his mobile home.

Special Weapons and Tactics teams arrived from the Sebastian County sheriff's office, Arkansas State Police, Crawford County sheriff's office, and the Fort Smith and Van Buren police departments, Hollenbeck said.

The robot was sent in to determine whether Jones was still in the mobile home and to check reports that Jones had explosives in the home, Hollenbeck said. Jones shot at the robot and disabled it.

Jones also shot a Greenwood police dog during the standoff, Hollenbeck said. The wounded dog escaped as officers ran for cover. Officers were searching for the wounded dog Wednesday afternoon.

Attempts were made throughout the standoff to negotiate with Jones but he did not respond, Hollenbeck said.

Jones surrendered at 11:46 a.m., Hollenbeck said. He was being held in the Crawford County jail Wednesday night.

A search of the home revealed Jones had explosive materials, and bomb squads were deployed to clear the residence.

Hollenbeck told reporters during the news conference that Cooper loved his job and that Cooper could have retired but stayed on to serve and protect. He loved to work with the men and women in the sheriff's office and was close to the people in the Special Services Division, Hollenbeck said.

Cooper was married with three grown children and lived in the Greenwood area, according to the sheriff's office.

"He had community policing in his heart, and he was a perfect example of how we all want our law enforcement officers to be," Hollenbeck said.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson extended condolences to Cooper's loved ones and the law enforcement community in a statement released Wednesday. He also acknowledged the injury Spells suffered.

According to a study on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund website, 22 percent of the cases involving officers killed in the line of duty from 2010 to 2014 stemmed from domestic disturbance calls.

Hutchinson said Cooper's death and Spells' injury "tragically illustrates the dangers our law enforcement officers face each and every day to keep us safe."

District 75 state Rep. Charlotte V. Douglas, R-Alma, called the shooting a heinous crime of cowardice.

"I would just like to listen to law enforcement and let them tell me what is it we need to do to keep them safe," said Douglas, who attended Wednesday's news conference.

David Hudson, county judge of Sebastian County, also attended the news conference to show support for the sheriff and his staff.

"We're mindful of the loss to the wife and family, and our hearts go out to them and our prayers," Hudson said. "It's a sad day in Sebastian County."

Information for this article was contributed by Bill Bowden of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.



Community Policing in a Time of Crisis

by Nathalie Baptiste

Two years ago on August 9, 2014, Darren Wilson, a white police officer, shot and killed Michael Brown, a black teenager, in Ferguson, Missouri, setting off months of unrest that brought into full view the longstanding tensions between police departments and communities of color in the United States. Since Brown's death, police conduct and racial injustice have remained in the headlines, while the national conversation has shifted to community policing, accountability, and transparency.

But in some communities across the country, little has changed. The Guardian estimates that police have shot and killed more than 600 people so far this year, including Philando Castile in Saint Paul, Minnesota; Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; and Paul O'Neal in Chicago.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch and law enforcement officials discussed police departments' responses to this ongoing crisis at the recent National Association of Black Journalists/National Association of Hispanic Journalists convention in Washington, D.C.

They offered encouraging comments about the state of policing. But despite the turmoil of the past two years, they largely echoed what law enforcement officials around the country have been saying since Michael Brown's death: Law enforcement agencies must strive to build better relationships with the communities they work in.

Lynch came onto the job at a particularly tense moment in the national policing debate. “I was sworn into office the day Freddie Gray was ‘funeralized' and violence broke out later that day,” she said. At the beginning of her tenure, Lynch launched what she called “a community policing tour,” visiting police departments that were reportedly doing good police work.

Cincinnati was one of the stops on Lynch's tour. As The American Prospect reported in 2015, the Queen City demonstrated how police officers can work with community leaders and residents to fight crime without heavy-handed tactics. But while the news media has held up the department as a national model, some local residents still mistrust Cincinnati cops.

Lynch acknowledged the successes in Cincinnati but noted that the national atmosphere after the shootings of five Baton Rouge police officers shortly after Sterling's death in July has been “challenging.” Those shootings, said Lynch, “illustrate both sides of this terrible, tragic situation.”

However, civil-rights and community activists have been quick to point out that “both sides” rhetoric is a false equivalence. The Louisiana state legislature recently passed a “Blue Lives Matter” bill that makes killing a police officer a hate crime in the state: Police officers are now a protected group like racial or religious minorities. But while the numbers of police deaths in the line of duty (and the numbers of police prosecuted for shootings) has increased this year compared with 2015, the number of people who have died after being shot by police officers has also increased.

During the discussion, Detroit Police Chief James Craig pointed out that his city's police force is another model for urban departments. Craig, who headed up the Cincinnati police force from 2011 to 2013, implemented a “Neighborhood Police Officer” program in Detroit, which aims connect individual officers with different neighborhoods in order to build relationships with local residents. The Detroit program is similar to the Cincinnati effort.

Craig described a 2013 incident where 150 Detroit police officers raided an apartment building riddled with crime and subsequently received applause from residents. “They would see police going into neighborhoods besieged with crime and they would cheer,” said Craig. He added, “When you look at the relationship between and police and community, Detroit has written the playbook. Does that mean it's perfect? Absolutely not.”

Craig and Kevin Bethel, a former deputy Philadelphia police commissioner, stressed that transparency and accountability were key tools in gaining trust in communities. They noted that new technologies like body cameras help establish an oversight regime that police officers and residents can support. Recording the police is legal in all 50 states. “It was a group of [Detroit] police officers that approached the mayor and said, ‘We want body cams,'” Craig said.

While some law enforcement officials tout the benefits of police body cameras, there is plenty of controversy surrounding the technology. The Baton Rouge police officers who shot and killed Alton Sterling claim that their body cameras fell off during the altercation. Boston officials will have to force their police officers to wear body cameras for the pilot program since no volunteers stepped forward.

Some police unions have even gone so far as to accept body cameras but have prevented the public from gaining access the recordings, which is problematic for residents as well as civil-rights and transparency advocates.

Protests by residents in communities of color and civil-rights activists show no signs of abating as police departments scramble to find solutions to incidents of police brutality, especially ones involving unarmed citizens. Lynch said that local law enforcement officials frequently tell her that they don't accept bad police officers and fire those that cross the line. “I say, ‘That's great,'” Lynch said. “‘But the public doesn't see that.'”




Portage Public Safety offers active shooter training to local organizations

by Lourin Sprenger

PORTAGE, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Portage Public Safety is preparing the community in the event of a crisis. In this case, teaching what to do in an active shooter situation.

Portage Public Safety is the first in West Michigan to offer this training, going to schools, businesses, and churches.

They say it's really starting to take off, and the whole goal is to keep the public safe.

Portage Public Safety officers say that these tragedies can happen anywhere.

Kalamazoo suffered heartache in February after a gunman went on a spree, killing six, and injuring two more.

"What we try to do is get organizations and individuals to train not for the 'if' but for the 'when,'" said Lieutenant John Blue, with Portage Public Safety.

With mass shootings across the country happening more and more often, the department is offering free public training in an effort to keep the community safe.

"C.R.A.S.E. stands for community response to active shooter events," said community policing officer Adam Dmoch.

"Before it was just a tornado or a fire warning system, not it's stretched into a complete emergency action plan," said Lt. Blue.

They're offering a three hour long course, and even going into large schools, businesses, and churches to make sure they're not a soft target.

"Is there a plan that you practice? Do you practice with your staff?" Lt. Blue asked. "A lot of it can be stopped or mitigated in some degree in the first two minutes."

It's immediate response that ends up saving lives.

"Some people say they don't know how much they wanted the information," Dmoch said. "Any time you have someone come in trying to create mass havoc in an area, it is the response that civilians and citizens can take prior to law enforcement arriving."

Portage Public Safety says if you're interested in this training--be it one person or a whole group--they'll make themselves available at a time that works for you.

Kalamazoo Public Safety also offers similar courses.




Tenn. Bureau of Investigation agent killed

Special Agent De'Greaun Frazier was working with other agents and narcotics officers on a drug investigation when the suspect pulled a firearm

by The Associated Press

JACKSON, Tenn. — A Tennessee Bureau of Investigation special agent was shot to death Tuesday during an undercover drug investigation in West Tennessee, the agency said.

Special Agent De'Greaun Frazier, 35, was working with other agents and narcotics officers on a drug investigation when he met a person for a controlled buy in a car in Jackson, TBI spokesman Josh DeVine said in a news release.

The person that Frazier met Tuesday afternoon pulled out a firearm in an apparent robbery attempt and fired at least once, hitting the agent, TBI Director Mark Gwyn said.

Frazier died later at Jackson-Madison County General Hospital.

He was the first agent in TBI history to die in the line of duty.

"This has been one of the toughest days in our agency's history," DeVine said at a news conference.

Gwyn said the operation was being heavily monitored.

"Agent Frazier was exactly what we look for in a TBI agent," Gwyn said. "He was hard-working, enthusiastic and dedicated to making Tennessee a better place to live."

The suspect was apprehended a short distance away and was in custody with charges pending Tuesday night. His name was not immediately released.

Frazier was married and had been with TBI since February after working as an officer with the Millington Police Department.

"Hearts are heavy tonight for loss of (TBI) Agent De'Greaun Frazier who died serving, protecting TN," Gov. Bill Haslam said via Twitter. "Prayers to his family, TBI."



Canada terror suspect dead after police operation

A suspect banned from associating with ISIS was dead after Canada's national police force thwarted what an official said was a suicide bomb plot

by Rob Gillies

TORONTO — A suspect banned from associating with the Islamic State group was dead after Canada's national police force thwarted what an official said was a suicide bomb plot.

A senior police official said late Wednesday the suspect allegedly planned to use a bomb to carry out a suicide bombing mission in a public area but was killed in a police operation. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about details ahead of a Thursday news conference, identified the suspect as Aaron Driver.

Driver, originally from Winnipeg, Manitoba, and in his mid-20s, was under a court order from earlier this year to not associate with any terrorist organization, including the Islamic State group.

In February, Driver's lawyer and the prosecutor agreed to a peace bond stating there are "reasonable grounds to fear that he may participate, contribute directly or indirectly in the activity of a terrorist group."

Winnipeg-based lawyer Leonard Tailleur, who handled Driver's peace bond, said he was "shocked" to hear what had happened.

"Saddened to hear that it had to end this way for him," Tailleur said in an email to The Canadian Press.

A police operation continued well into Wednesday night in the southern Ontario town of Strathroy, about 140 miles (225 kilometers) southwest of Toronto.

In Strathroy, resident Irene Lee said late Wednesday that police had been camped out near her parents' convenience store since about 4:15 p.m. At about that time, she said she was at her home close by when she heard a loud noise. She said shortly afterward, a police officer came by to tell residents to stay inside their homes.

Lee said there were up to 25 marked and unmarked cruisers outside a home on a street right behind her parents' store.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police earlier said it halted a possible attack after receiving credible information of a potential terrorist threat.

They said a suspect was identified and the "proper course of action has been taken" to ensure there was no danger to public safety.

Canadian Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said he had spoken to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about the events "to confirm that public safety has been and continues to be properly protected."

"The RCMP, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and other police and security agencies were involved in the operations, he added.

"These agencies conducted themselves effectively in the circumstances that developed today," Goodale said in statement.

Taking all relevant information into account, the national terrorism threat level for Canada remains at "medium" where it has stood since the fall of 2014, Goodale said.




Man who monitored Ore. police arrested after arsenal of weapons found in car

Police arrested Eric Eugene Crowl after noticing he appeared to be monitoring officers outside the precinct

by Francesca Fontana

PORTLAND, Ore. — Portland police arrested a man who watched officers for months from his parked car outside the East Precinct office after finding an arsenal of weapons and ammunition in his SUV, they said Monday.

Officers noticed 39-year-old Eric Eugene Crowl Sunday outside the precinct, Sgt. Pete Simpson said in a news release. Crowl appeared to be monitoring officers, Simpson said.

It wasn't the first time -- precinct officers started noticing Crowl in his parked Chevy Tahoe in April, Simpson said. Crowl would film officers and track them during shift changes, he said.

At one point during a traffic stop, officers noted that Crowl had a police scanner in his car and was a "self-proclaimed Constitutionalist," Simpson said.

About 2:50 p.m. Sunday, Crowl was back at the precinct but drove away when he apparently heard over the police radio that officers planned to contact him, Simpson said. When officers stopped him, they didn't see any firearms in his car.

Officers noticed him later Sunday about 9:30 p.m. back at the precinct on Southeast 106th Avenue.

"Due to heightened concerns about police ambush attacks after the recent incidents in Dallas, Texas, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, officers contacted Crowl, concerned about his actions," Simpson said. "As officers approached Crowl, ordering him to keep his hands up, he would raise and lower his hands and appeared to be reaching around inside his vehicle."

Crowl eventually got out of the SUV and officers patted him down for weapons but found none, Simpson said.

But when they searched the Tahoe, they found, Simpson said: a 5.56 rifle, a 12-gauge shotgun, two 9 mm handguns, a loaded 100-round 5.56 magazine drum, hundreds of 5.56 and 9mm rounds of ammunition, 5.56 tracer rounds, handheld radios, a police scanner, camouflage clothing and camping gear including sleeping bag, food, camping stove, and lantern.

Investigators searched Crowl's home and found eight additional rifles, a shotgun and hundreds of rounds of ammunition, Simpson said.

Crowl was booked Monday into jail on allegations of attempted assault of a public safety officer, unlawful use of a weapon and unlawful possession of a firearm, with bail set at $1 million.




Fast food worker allegedly drugs Utah officer's drink

Tanis Lloyd Ukena is accused of putting methamphetamine and THC in a sergeant's lemonade at a Subway drive-thru

by Loretta Park

LAYTON, Utah — A Layton police officer is home recovering after possibly having drugs added to his drink by an 18-year-old Subway employee.

Tanis Lloyd Ukena is accused of putting methamphetamine and THC in a Layton police sergeant's lemonade Monday at the Subway drive-thru, 1142 E. Route 193 in Layton. He was booked in the Davis County Jail on one count of surreptitious administering of poisonous substance, a second-degree felony.

The sergeant called Layton dispatch because he felt sick and wanted to be checked out, Layton Police Lt. Travis Lyman said. He told investigators after going through the drive-thru at 12:20 p.m. and taking several sips of his drink, he felt like he had been drugged and had difficulty braking at an intersection, according to the probable cause statement filed with the jail.

Other officers met with the sergeant and could see he was showing signs of impairment, Lyman said.

They took the sergeant, who has worked at Layton Police Department for more than 8 years, to a nearby medical office. He had trouble focusing, could not feel his feet and was unable to use his arms and hands. He was then taken to Davis Hospital and Medical Center, Lyman said, and was released Monday evening.

Several detectives, along with a supervisor, interviewed Subway employees and looked at surveillance video, Lyman said.

Surveillance video showed the sergeant placing his order and Ukena at the drive-up cash register, according to the probable cause statement. Officers could see Ukena filling the drink at the drive-up fountain, then walking away from the fountain and out of the camera's view.

Ukena then returned to the drink "where he is seen spending what seems to be an unusual amount of time getting it ready to deliver" to the police sergeant, officers wrote in the document.

Two tests on samples of the drink tested positive for methamphetamine and THC, Lyman said. Officers do not know how much of the substances were in the drink, the strength of those substances or if there was anything else added. The drink was sent to the state crime lab for further testing.

Lyman said management and employees at the Subway, including Ukena, were cooperative during the investigation. He denied putting anything in the officer's drink but acknowledged placing his order, according to the document.

Investigators do not know if the sergeant was targeted, Lyman said, adding that officers do not go to that particular Subway on a regular basis.

Lyman said overall, Layton police enjoy a "positive relationship with the community."

The sergeant took Tuesday off because he was still feeling ill and would be off at least two more days, but he's expected to make a full recovery, he said.

Police are not releasing the sergeant's name.

Subway responded by email Tuesday with a statement from Shawn Cook of Subway Development of Utah.

"We are shocked by these charges. Our thoughts are with the Sergeant and his family and we are hoping for a quick recovery," the statement said. "The restaurant owners are working closely with the police in their investigation and will take appropriate action."

According to court records, Ukena's only offenses are two traffic citations. He was released after posting a $10,000 bail. The Davis County Attorney's Office is reviewing the case before filing formal charges in 2nd District Court.




Tenn. woman with HIV allegedly bites police officer

Dayton Smith bit an officer during a traffic stop

by Stephanie Norton

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Memphis woman is facing multiple charges, including criminal exposure to HIV, after she allegedly bit an officer during a traffic stop on Wednesday.

Dayton Smith, 38, was stopped by officers for an expired license plate, according to an affidavit. A check by officers also showed Smith's driver's license was suspended and she did not have insurance.

Officers arrested Smith and placed her in the back of a squad car, police said. Inside her car, police found a small bag of marijuana, one gram of crack and .2 grams of powder cocaine inside a rolled up dollar bill.

During the search, Smith began banging on the squad car and saying she needed to use the bathroom. One of the officers opened the door and told Smith she could go later. Smith became angry and attempted to run from the officers and was taken to the ground, police said.

She "had her keys between her fingers and was swinging at the officer," according to the affidavit. She then bit one of the officers in the left arm, drawing blood.

Smith refused treatment, but was taken to the Regional Medical Center for injuries sustained during the struggle. While at the hospital, she informed the medical staff that she has AIDS, police said.

The injured officer was also taken to the hospital for treatment.

Smith is charged with violation of vehicle registration law, violation of financial law, driving while license suspended/revoked, resisting official detention, criminal exposure to HIV, two counts of aggravated assault, two counts of possession of a controlled substance and possession of cocaine with intent to manufacture/sell/deliver.

She is in jail on a $50,000 bond and is due in court Aug. 11.




Games bus hit by gunfire, no one seriously hurt: witnesses

by Reuters

A bus carrying journalists at the Rio Games was hit by gunfire on a highway between Olympic venues on Tuesday, witnesses said. No one was seriously injured in the incident.

The bus was making its way from the Games basketball venue to the main Olympic park when, according to passengers, two shots were heard hitting the vehicle. Windows shattered and flying glass left two people with minor lacerations.

"We were shot at. I mean we could hear the report of the gun," said Sherryl "Lee" Michaelson, a retired U.S. air force captain who is working for a basketball publication in Rio.

A spokesman for the Rio organizing committee, Mario Andrada, said forensic investigators were trying to determine if the projectile was a bullet or a rock.

"We haven't yet been able to confirm what kind of projectile hit the bus," he said, adding that the incident occurred in the Curicaca neighborhood, just a few kilometers (miles) north of the Olympic Park. "We don't want to speculate."

A Reuters photograph taken in the first moments of the incident showed a small hole, about the width of a finger, in one of the windows.

Violent street crime in Rio has left its mark on South America's first Olympic Games. On Saturday, a bullet hit the equestrian center, missing journalists there by just a few feet. That bullet was suspected to have been fired by a gang member trying to shoot down a police blimp or drone, officials said.




Video at Michael Brown March in Ferguson, Missouri, Appears to Show Gunfire

by Alex Johnson and Erin Dean

Video has emerged appearing to show gunfire and a person being hit by a car during a protest to mark the fatal police shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

Jeff Small, a spokesman for the city, told NBC News earlier that police had responded to reports of shots fire and a pedestrian being struct by a car Tuesday night, but that neither report was confirmed.

The incident followed a confrontation between protesters and police, The Associated Press reported, after officers ordered a small group to clear the street as they marched downtown from the site of Brown's shooting in 2014.

Several journalists covering the march echoed the accounts in social media posts from the scene Tuesday night.

Observances earlier in the day had been peaceful as prominent members of the Black Lives Matter movement and the Michael Brown Chosen for Change charitable foundation organized a vigil with music and poetry readings.

Brown was shot and killed by a white Ferguson police officer, leading to weeks of sometimes-violent protests. The officer, who resigned, was cleared by a state grand jury and the U.S. Justice Department. The shooting did lead to a consent decree requiring more training for Ferguson police officers, policy changes to decrease the use of force, and a more robust system for citizens to make complaints against officers.

Antonio French, a St. Louis city alderman who emerged as a prominent spokesman for peaceful protesters in Ferguson, said Brown's death had not yet brought sufficient reform to what he called an unequal criminal justice system.

French told NBC News that as long as police officers carried on being "unaccountable for their actions," deep mistrust would remain between police and their communities.

"There are Fergusons everywhere," French said. "There are many powder kegs all across America that could explode at any minute."



How did we get here from Ferguson?

by Breeanna Hare

When 18-year-old Michael Brown was killed in a confrontation with police in Ferguson, Missouri, in August 2014, the aftermath was so devastating it seemed there was no place for America to go but up.

Then came the next 24 months.

In the two years since Brown was fatally shot by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, there's been a pileup of other controversial police encounters that have resulted in the deaths of unarmed black men.

During one harrowing week this July, two police-involved shootings happened within two days, only to be followed by a deadly attack targeting Dallas police officers. The country then mourned a second attack on police on July 17 in Baton Rouge.

Meanwhile, the protests and calls for justice have only grown louder. As the headlines stack up, here's a recap of how this outrage began and why Ferguson was the gas that fueled the fire:

There's still conflicting information about Brown's death

Michael Brown and Darren Wilson encountered one another as Brown walked with a friend, Dorian Johnson, down the middle of Canfield Drive after 12 p.m. on Saturday, August 9, 2014. Wilson told authorities he approached the two young men because they were blocking traffic.

What happened next depends on whom you ask.

Authorities said that Brown attacked Wilson in his car and tried to take his gun. Others said Wilson was the aggressor, and that Brown had his hands up when Wilson began firing.

Interactive timeline: What happened in Ferguson

What is clear is that Wilson shot and killed Brown, who was unarmed. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the entire fatal encounter took less than two minutes.

Protests went on for months

Crowds quickly gathered at the scene of the shooting as Brown's body remained in the street for four hours.

Two days after Brown's killing, authorities estimated as many as 1,000 demonstrators were protesting in Ferguson. "We had what probably bordered on riot conditions," Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson said, explaining that it took hours to process the scene, collect evidence and move Brown's body.

The frustration and anger in the community became crystal clear in the weeks that followed as residents faced off with police, with some of the demonstrations turning violent.

#Ferguson shone a national spotlight on the issue of police and race

The outcry heard in Ferguson was already building before Brown was killed. The month before, another high-profile case revolved around Eric Garner, an unarmed African-American man who died in New York after being placed in a chokehold by police.

Two years before that, it was 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, who was also unarmed when he was shot and killed by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman. The rallying cry of "Black Lives Matter" was formed when Zimmerman was found not guilty of murder in Martin's death, and it transformed into a movement in the wake of Ferguson.

The death of Brown, who'd just graduated from high school and was two days away from starting college, was seen by many as another example of mistreatment by police in African-American communities. And Ferguson already had a long history of distrust between its mostly white police force and the city's mainly black population.

Why Ferguson touched a raw, national nerve

Between August 9 and August 25, 2014, the hashtag #Ferguson was used on Twitter 11.6 million times with retweets and 1.9 million times without, according to the social media monitoring company, Sysomos.

What happened in Ferguson, many on social media were saying, was happening everywhere.

Two investigations were launched

One was a criminal investigation led by St. Louis County, which determined whether Wilson would face charges. The other was a civil rights investigation spearheaded by federal officials.

The feds also led a civil rights investigation into the Ferguson police department's overall track record with minorities.

Fresh outrage erupted after Wilson avoids criminal charges

The grand jury's decision not to indict Wilson in November 2014 was met with chaos. While most protesters that night were peaceful, some businesses throughout the city were also looted or set on fire.

Police responded by deploying tear gas, as the governor called in the Missouri National Guard.

Days later, Wilson resigned from the Ferguson police force

The former officer told The New Yorker in 2015 that he's since been living in seclusion with his wife and daughter.

In March 2015, the U.S. Justice Department made two crucial announcements

The DOJ announced it would not bring any federal charges against Wilson, and it also reported systemic racial discrimination by Ferguson police and its court system.

In swift succession, Ferguson officials -- including the city's police chief and city manager at the time -- resigned.

In February 2016, the DOJ sued Ferguson over police misconduct

With new officials in place, you might think the tension in Ferguson would start to dissolve. Not so. A year after the Justice Department reported a "pattern and practice" of discrimination in Ferguson's criminal justice system, the DOJ sued the city to try and push police reform.

By March 2016, Ferguson and the U.S. Justice Department reached an agreement to overhaul the Missouri city's troubled police force and municipal court system.

"This agreement marks the beginning of a process that the citizens of Ferguson have long awaited -- the process of ensuring that they receive the rights and protections guaranteed to every American under the law," said Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

Two years later, more protests over other police-involved shootings

From Tamir Rice in Cleveland, to Walter Scott in South Carolina, to Laquan McDonald in Chicago, to Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge and Philando Castile in Minnesota, the growing list of black men and boys killed in police confrontations has prompted protests around the globe.




Man Killed by Deputy in Compton Not Involved With Carjacker

by Amanda Lee Myers

The Los Angeles Sheriff's Department acknowledged that a deputy shot and killed a black man who was mistakenly identified as a suspect in a carjacking, again bringing into question the appropriateness of a police agency's use of deadly force.

Donnell Thompson, 27, was shot at close range by a deputy riding in the turret of an armored vehicle, one of two dispatched as officers searched for suspects in Compton after a car chase and shootout. Police said the shooting occurred after Thompson ignored their commands and charged at them.

Hours before Thompson's family planned a news conference to charge that officers killed an innocent man, the department announced its investigation found "no evidence" Thompson was involved in the carjacking.

The finding provided little solace to the family, which believes the department and its officers overreacted after deputies were fired on during the chase, and that race was a factor.

"It's always in the news," said Thompson's sister, Matrice Stanley, referring to police shootings of blacks. "This is something that becomes common, which is really sad. Yes it is a factor."

She and other relatives attended a Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors meeting to draw attention to their brother's death. She described him as mentally diminished, kind-hearted, soft-spoken and someone who "would not have harmed a flea."

"I wouldn't treat an animal this bad," Stanley yelled at board members.

Fatal police shootings of black men have spawned anger and violence around the country, with protesters calling for an overhaul of policing tactics they believe unfairly target minorities in poor neighborhoods.

While tensions were high at the supervisors' meeting, there were no protests outside.

Sheriff's Capt. Steve Katz said he understands why Thompson's family is outraged and wants answers.

"We share that need for those very same answers," he said. "It is our hope that we can instill confidence and reassurance in that effort, and the investigation will be thorough and it will be complete."

"We're running this into the ground," he said. "No stone will be unturned."

The events that led to Thompson's death began unfolding around 2:30 a.m. on July 28 when deputies stopped a car and determined it was stolen. The suspect fled, plowing into a chain-link fence and driving through elementary school grounds as police pursued.

Shots were exchanged, and the car crashed. Deputies searched for a suspect, and about 2½ hours later located a man hiding in a home.

Around the same time, a homeowner called 911 about a man lying in his small front yard. Katz said the man fit the general description of the man deputies reported seeing running from the vehicle: a black man between 20 and 30 years old wearing dark clothing.

A responding deputy reported finding Thompson lying on the ground with one hand concealed and what looked like a gun nearby, Katz said. Two armored cars were summoned from the home where the other suspect was arrested and were stationed on either side of Thompson, Katz said.

Thompson was unresponsive to repeated commands and a flash-bang device failed to generate a response from him. After deputies shot Thompson with two rubber bullets, Katz said he pushed up off the ground and charged toward the armored vehicle.

Katz said a deputy in the turret shot Thompson, fearing he had a weapon and was going to run past the armored vehicle and fire on deputies taking cover behind it.

Sheriff's Lt. John Corina said Thompson was shot several feet from the armored car. Deputies later determined Thompson was unarmed and nothing resembling a weapon was found in the yard.

No deputies were wearing body cameras, Katz said.

A family spokeswoman said a neighbor who had captured dark footage of the shooting turned it over to the family and their attorneys, and that they were considering whether to release it.

Thompson family attorney Brian Dunn said he was filing a claim alleging civil rights abuse by the Sheriff's department and that it would be processed by Wednesday morning. He said he hopes to file a federal lawsuit on the family's behalf by mid-September.

Stanley, Thompson's sister, said she believes her brother didn't respond to deputies because he was afraid and didn't know what to do. She questioned why a deputy in an armored vehicle would need to use deadly force.

"He can't go through armored cars," she said, calling for the deputy to be fired.

"Why would SWAT and dogs and a number of people have to surround one man that was 130 pounds, 5'3" and kill him?" she added. "Even if he didn't respond that doesn't justify killing him. There's no reason for this."

Antoinette Brown, another sister of Thompson, demanded justice from the board of supervisors.

"My little brother was innocent," Brown said. "It hurts me to my heart to just imagine how he was we wrongfully killed that night. I just don't understand, and I want answers."

The deputy who fired at Thompson, a 20-year veteran, has been reassigned to duties not in the field. The department declined to release his name.

The department said an administrative review of the case was continuing and will be turned over to the district attorney for review when it's completed.

Patrisse Cullors, a co-founder of Black Lives Matter, called the shooting of black people a "state of emergency" and called on the Board of Supervisors to give Thompson's death their full attention.

Board Chair Hilda Solis offered her condolences to his family.

"There are members of the board who are sympathetic," she said. "We care about you and we care about your family and our neighborhoods."

Since Thompson's death, the sheriff's department has been involved in two other shootings, including a fatal one involving an unarmed white homeless man on Aug. 2 that drew wide criticism. The man, 51-year-old William Bowers, was shot after fleeing from deputies on a bicycle in Castaic in northern Los Angeles County.




‘Horrible accident': Woman fatally shot by Florida cop role-playing as ‘bad guy' during citizen police academy

by Katie Mettler

Mary Knowlton arrived at the Punta Gorda, Fla., police station Tuesday night to learn how to be a community steward.

The 73-year-old was there as a student in the citizen police academy, a two-hour course intended to give an intimate look at what makes the department in the quaint Florida town work. On this night, the group of 35 would tour the station and talk with officers, an essential part of academy curriculum that has gained popularity cross-country amid a heated national debate about police violence.

When it came time to get involved, Knowlton volunteered.

The hosting officers chose two students to role-play in a lethal force simulation, a scenario intended to demonstrate how and when officers decide to pull the trigger. Knowlton played the victim, Charlotte Sun photographer Sue Paquin told the newspaper, and a Punta Gorda police officer played a “bad guy.” These scenarios are usually safe, acted out with either fake or empty weapons.

But when the officer's gun was fired, Knowlton — a mother, wife and career librarian — was hit with live ammunition.

She was rushed to a local hospital and pronounced dead.

The tragedy has rocked the historic waterfront town on Florida's west coast, home to 17,500 people and a popular destination for retirees. In a live press conference Tuesday night, Punta Gorda Police Chief Tom Lewis called the shooting a “horrible accident,” and said that everyone involved in the incident is in a “state of overwhelming shock and grief.”

“Our entire police department and all of our city leaders are absolutely devastated for everyone involved in this unimaginable event,” Lewis said. “I am asking that if you pray, you pray for Mary's husband and family and for all of the officers and witnesses involved in this incident.”

Knowlton's Facebook page says she worked at the public library in Scott County, Minn., where she is from. In recent years, she and her husband moved south to Punta Gorda, where she continued her librarian work and served on the Friends of the Punta Gorda Library board of directors.

Authorities have not yet released where Knowlton was shot, why there were bullets in the officer's gun or explained how exactly the tragedy unfolded. The officer, whose name has not been released, was placed on administrative leave, police said. The chief asked the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to conduct an independent investigation.

Photos posted online late Tuesday night showed the Punta Gorda police station surrounded by yellow tape and illuminated by red and blue lights. Inside, FDLE officers questioned citizen academy students and other witnesses to the shooting, reported WINK News.

The citizen police academy was organized by the Chamber of Commerce, police said, but the program mirrors the one presented as part of the city's Citizen Academy, a free, eight-week class intended to give an “up-close and personal look” at Punta Gorda government, according to the city website. That program includes class work, on-site visits and facility tours and is meant to “develop future leaders through well informed and civically engaged residents,” according to the website.

“The Academy is designed to give citizens an up-close and personal look at how City government functions and helps shape our community,” the website says.

Photos on the Punta Gorda Police Department Facebook page posted in March show Citizen Academy participants engaged in simulations similar to the one that police described was taking place Tuesday night. Civilians are taught how to aim and holster what appears to be a fake gun or stun gun. They climb in and out of police cruisers and ride atop official department Segways.

In a series of photos, two people dressed in black protective gear and helmets appear to be simulating a physical fight. Another participant approaches the scene, gun in hand, to mitigate the situation. Here, the gun does not appear to be real. Nobody is shot.

Citizen police academies have proven to be a successful tool for law enforcement agencies hoping to improve relations between officers and the community. The first known citizen's academy held in the U.S. was established in Orlando in 1985, according to a report from the Criminal Justice Institute. In 2000, the U.S. Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics reported that 15 percent of police departments surveyed conducted citizen police academies at the time. Seven years later, that number had not changed.

Last year, the International Association for Chiefs of Police listed citizen police academies as an integral way to improve community relations, and establishing these courses was also named as an action item in the final report from the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing.

There is even a National Citizens Police Academy Association, which explains the importance of the courses on its website.

“The Citizens and Police Officers meet each other face to face in a neutral, friendly setting and each becomes a person to the other,” according to the website. “In the past, citizens have simply seen a uniform, now they have an understanding about the person behind the badge.”

And like the one in Punta Gorda, Fla., many citizen police academies across the country teach a curriculum that includes addressing use of lethal force by police.

As citizens heard of the fatal shooting Tuesday night, they took to the comment sections of news articles online, expressing grief — and shock.

“So sad.”

“So horrible.”

“How the hell did this happen?”



Washington D.C.

Findings of Police Bias in Baltimore Validate What Many Have Long Felt

by Sheryl Gay Stolberg

(Complete findings on site)

WASHINGTON — As a black man and a lifelong Baltimore resident, Ray Kelly has been stopped by the police more times than he can count. And as a community organizer who tried to document police bias after the death of Freddie Gray, Mr. Kelly, 45, had always expected that an investigation by the Justice Department would uncover a pattern of racial discrimination.

Even so, the department's findings — a scathing indictment that includes detailed data on how Baltimore police officers have for years systematically stopped, searched and arrested black residents — gave him a jolt. “Hearing the actual numbers, like on the traffic stops, is blowing my mind,” Mr. Kelly said.

In one stark statistic after another, the department's report, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times on Tuesday, has helped validate the experiences of Mr. Kelly and countless others in poor African-American neighborhoods who regard the police as an occupying force. The report, over 160 pages long, was to be made public on Wednesday at a news conference at City Hall.

In Baltimore, a city that is 63 percent black, the Justice Department found that 91 percent of those arrested for discretionary offenses like “failure to obey” or “trespassing” were African-American. Blacks make up 60 percent of Baltimore's drivers, but they account for 82 percent of traffic stops. Of the 410 pedestrians who were stopped at least 10 times in the five and a half years of data reviewed, 95 percent were black.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and the police commissioner, Kevin Davis, are scheduled to appear Wednesday morning with Vanita Gupta, who leads the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, to discuss the findings. The report will form the basis for the first steps toward reaching a negotiated settlement, known as a “consent decree,” in which police training and practices will be overhauled under court supervision.

Yet some in Baltimore say the inquiry has already had a positive effect, even before the findings were released.

“I'm beginning to see much of what I hope will come out of it, which is that elected officials and the police commissioner no longer believing they can continue business as usual,” said Jill Carter, a Democratic state delegate who has long pushed for overhauls of the police.

Still, she said, “It's extremely unfortunate that it took the death of Freddie Gray and national and international attention to be placed onto the gravity of the problem.”

Mr. Gray, 25, died in April 2015 of a spinal cord injury he sustained while in police custody. His death set off a wave of looting and violence in Baltimore that prompted the governor to call in the National Guard. But Ms. Rawlings-Blake, who invited the Justice Department investigation, noted that black residents have had a “broken relationship” with the police long before Mr. Gray's death.

The tensions date to at least 1980, when the N.A.A.C.P. called for a federal investigation into police brutality, and they continued into the past decade with a crime-fighting strategy known as “zero-tolerance policing,” which was singled out by the Justice Department for criticism.

“People say, ‘driving while black, walking while black,' ” said Brandon Scott, a member of the City Council and vice chairman of its committee that oversees the police. “When you're talking about zero tolerance, it's breathing while black.”

He said the Justice Department should have investigated years ago. “I regard this as government doing what it should have already been doing,” he said. “It's like a huge taste of ‘too little, too late.' ”

Baltimore is among nearly two dozen cities that the Obama administration has investigated after they were accused of widespread unconstitutional policing. Using its broad latitude to enforce civil rights laws, the Justice Department has demanded wholesale change in how cities conduct policing. In several cities, including Seattle, Cleveland and Ferguson, Mo., those investigations began in the aftermath of a high-profile death that set off protests and in some cases riots.

But Jonathan Smith, a former Justice Department official who supervised the Ferguson inquiry, said the department had resources to investigate only “a tiny fraction of the places where there is a need for civil rights engagement.” Still, he said, each report, while perhaps not surprising, was an important step toward community healing and reform.

“I've often thought of the reports as a necessary cathartic moment, maybe an act of witness, where you give voice to people who wouldn't otherwise have a voice,” Mr. Smith said.

Mr. Kelly, the head of the No Boundaries Coalition, an advocacy group in Sandtown-Winchester, the West Baltimore neighborhood where Mr. Gray grew up, agreed. “The only way Baltimore's police department will change the way they operate is if they're forced to change,” he said.

After Mr. Gray died, Mr. Kelly's organization convened a public hearing, attended by 100 people who spoke out about police abuses, he said. Yet only nine were willing to be publicly identified; the coalition videotaped interviews with them and submitted them to the Justice Department.

Those interviews, and other, anonymous ones, formed the basis for a report, “The People's Findings,” that was issued in March and submitted to the Justice Department; the department cited the work in its report.

Mr. Kelly said he was among those providing testimony. Two years ago, while working as a facilities director for the Y.M.C.A., he was stopped by the police on his way to work. He unzipped his jacket, to reveal his purple shirt with the Y insignia, and the officer let him go.

“You are just hoping that you don't get arrested for loitering or something crazy like that, and you get 23 hours in Central Booking for something that never even makes it to a courtroom,” he said. “That's been routine my whole life. I can't remember a time when that wasn't the way it was.”




Police chiefs: Wisconsin among top in the nation for community policing initiatives

by Sarah Thomsen

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) — Nearly 150 police chiefs and executives from across Wisconsin are spending part of the week in Titletown, sharing new ideas and initiatives to better their communities.

Programs like Shop with a Cop during the holidays, officers walking neighborhoods all year long and others taking on kids in a basketball tournament are things many of us have grown accustomed to seeing in our area year after year.

Those images are not exactly the stereotype of policing across the country, but it's exactly what chiefs in Wisconsin realize they need.

“I think our public has a vested interest in knowing what the police are doing, and they're also interested in having a safe community and ultimately partnering with law enforcement to make their community as safe as possible,” says Menomonie Police Chief Eric Atkinson, who led a special presentation on “Community Policing in the 21st Century” at the Wisconsin Police Chiefs Conference.

Community policing is a big focus at this week's conference, as police leaders share ideas on new ways to engage the public.

Some of those come from the federal government and the president's task force on community policing.

“It's a great opportunity to get together with chiefs from big cities, small cities, kind of borrow ideas from each other and see what's working for other areas, and it's very helpful for all of us,” says Appleton Police Chief Todd Thomas.

While it's not the first image that comes to mind, the idea of building trust and relationships with the community also includes those who may be causing the problems in the first place.

“Whether you're either serving a search warrant or doing something that's destroying people's property or being rude to them while you're trying to do your job, those are the things we're trying to educate our officers on to be professional, because that might be the only contact that person's ever had with law enforcement,” says Hartland Police Chief and Wisconsin Police Chiefs Association President Robert Rosch,

Many of the chiefs here say the programs they've been trying, including things like citizens academies or partnering with mental health workers, have been making a difference locally for awhile, putting them far ahead of the rest of the U.S.

“I think we're way ahead of the curve from other areas of the country, because we've been doing it for so long, but it's a good reminder of the importance of having that relationship and building that trust,” adds Thomas.




Los Angeles Police, Black Residents Say More Community Policing Needed

by Elizabeth Lee

LOS ANGELES— South Los Angeles is home to nearly a quarter of all residents of the second most populous U.S. city. It's a group of mostly low-income neighborhoods covering more than 130 square kilometers, and has been the scene of violent gang activity many times.

When there is a shooting involving a Los Angeles police officer, it often takes place in South Los Angeles. But on summer nights, several times a week, there is a different kind of interaction between police and the residents.

As a part of a gang prevention program called Summer Night Lights, LAPD officers take part in community policing. They talk to residents, mainly black and Latino, and play with the youth. One of the officers at a recent session was Zadi Borquez.

"Being a role model to these kids out here in the park and hopefully doing my part in the community, that's what I enjoy the most of being a police officer,” Borquez said.

While the children at Summer Night Lights play basketball happily with police officers, many African-Americans in the city and around the country are concerned that there have been too many recent cases of police brutality against people of color.

Activists see 'severe problem'

“Los Angeles, like pretty much every other police department in the nation, has a severe problem in the way in which [officers] treat all people, especially black people, poor people and people with mental-health challenges,” said Melina Abdullah, an organizer in Los Angeles for the Black Lives Matter Movement.

Members of that group have been staging a sit-in protest at city hall, demanding removal of Los Angeles' police chief following the decision of a commission of inquiry that police did not violate their policies during a shooting last year in which a black woman was killed. Police said they acted because the woman had a knife.

“It's about the system, so we have a systemic problem. We have a problem with policing in that they are actually trained to view us as enemy combatants, and so we need to transform that system,” Abdullah said.

Recent news about police shootings and shootings of police raised tensions between many African-American citizens and law-enforcement agencies.

History of racial tensions

Los Angeles is no stranger to racial tensions. The riots that followed the police beating of African-American Rodney King more than 20 years ago are still a vivid memory for many people, including Police Captain Andrew Neiman.

“I didn't even want to be a police officer in L.A. following the riots. I felt that we had let down our community," Neiman said. "It really touched me personally, because that was not the Los Angeles that I grew up with. But I'm glad I stayed. We took our lessons learned and we have really expanded that."

However, the veteran police officer added, "We're at a point right now where we've reached another crossroads in recognizing that we need to do more."

Neiman contends smartphones and social media are fueling the current wave of racial tension: “Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Vine. All of these social apps allow the public, general citizens, to take out their smartphones and capture video of a very dynamic situation, and instantly post it to the world without any context, without any understanding.”

Others say the new technology makes police more accountable.

'Address community pain'

However, people on both sides of this argument say what is key is that perceptions need to change.

“We have to address the pain in the community," said Skipp Townsend, a former gang member who is an intervention worker. "Stop labeling the community as violent, but address that pain and offer resources for people in pain."

Townsend teaches life skills to ex-felons and people who are at risk. He says dialogue between police and members of the black community is necessary, and there also should be more community policing.

“There's no way to build a relationship at the time of a crisis or incident, so [the police] should be proactive,” Townsend said.

Neiman agrees officers need to do more community policing, but he notes that resources are not unlimited.

Police resources limited

“LAPD, although we're almost 10,000 strong, we can't put 100 officers in every community,” the police captain said.

Melina Abdullah of Black Lives Matter says the problem also needs to be tackled as a social issue: “We want our funds to be used for things like living-wage jobs, like mental health resources, like after-school programs, like intervention and prevention work.”

In South Los Angeles, many of the residents don't mind seeing more police at gang prevention events such as Summer Night Lights.

“We have good cops and we have our bad cops and, honestly, we only see our good cops come around the community where we have events like this frequently,” said Bobby Johnson, a local resident.

To break down perceptions, police and members of the African American community agree, building relationships is one step toward creating trust.




Armed man shoots Ore. cop, takes hostage before SWAT shoots him

The gunman hit Sgt. Lee Jundt in his ballistic vest

by Everton Bailey Jr.

GLADSTONE, Ore. — An armed bicyclist shot a Gladstone police sergeant after fleeing a traffic stop Monday and then took a woman hostage at a Subway sandwich shop before the SWAT team ended the standoff by shooting him, authorities said.

The gunman hit Sgt. Lee Jundt in his ballistic vest, but Jundt is expected to recover, said Gladstone police spokesman Officer Eric Graves. The woman was unhurt.

Police didn't release the suspect's condition. He was treated at the scene and taken to Providence Willamette Falls Medical Center in Oregon City.

The confrontation began about 6:30 p.m. when a Gladstone officer tried to stop a man on a bike near West Gloucester Street and Risley Avenue for an apparent municipal traffic code violation, Graves said.

The man rode away and the officer lost sight of him.

Jundt found the man less than 100 yards away in the parking lot of a Subway. The man pulled out a handgun and fired several shots at Jundt, Graves said.

Jundt, a 20-year police veteran in Gladstone, was shot once, Graves said. It didn't appear he was seriously injured. He wasn't taken to hospital, said Clackamas County sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Brian Jensen.

The man ran into the Subway off McLoughlin Boulevard, with several people still inside. Most of them got out, but the man took a woman hostage, Graves said. It's not clear if she was an employee or a customer.

SWAT team members arrived about 6:40 p.m and a hostage negotiator talked to the man by calling him on the woman's cellphone and the Subway phone.

The suspect made "several demands" and wasn't cooperating, Jensen said. At some point, the SWAT team fired twice at the man and hit him at least once, he said.

Police went into the Subway about 8:10 p.m., arrested the man and got the woman out safely, Jensen said.

The woman was "obviously shaken up," but wasn't injured, Jensen said.

"For this poor lady, this is going to be a lifelong traumatic event. This is devastating to her as well as the officers involved," he said.

Authorities are still trying to determine the identity of the suspect. They didn't name the officer or officers who fired.

Yellow tape blocked off the Subway and several nearby businesses late into the night. A dark-colored bike lay on its side in front of the sandwich shop. One of the front windows of the shop was broken out.

Investigators were still combing the area with flashlights for evidence.

"We're just very pleased that the hostage is OK and the officer is not injured," said Gladstone Police Chief Jeff Jolley.




Black Lives Matter: Killing of knife-wielding man by Ohio police avoidable

The Hamilton County prosecutor on Monday called the shooting justified, and the police chief said the officer was under "vicious, violent attack"

by Dan Sewell

CINCINNATI — A homeless advocacy organization and a Black Lives Matter group are challenging the fatal police shooting of a man with a history of mental illness.

The Hamilton County prosecutor on Monday called the shooting justified, and the police chief said the officer was under "vicious, violent attack" by a knife-wielding robbery suspect.

The Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition and Black Lives Matter Cincinnati issued a joint statement saying Jawari Porter's death was avoidable. It said the officer, who was white, had his gun drawn as he opened his vehicle door, escalating the situation. They said police could have tried to interact with and subdue the 25-year-old Porter, who was black.

Video released Monday shows Porter lunging at the officer in the driver's seat of a police vehicle. Authorities said Porter was trying to stab him with a knife he had used some 20 minutes earlier Sunday morning to hold a security guard as he robbed a grocery store.

Police Chief Eliot Isaac and Mayor John Cranley said officer Anthony Brucato, a 25-year veteran, had no choice but to open fire. Prosecutor Joe Deters said video showed Porter was clearly trying "to cause serious physical harm" to the officer, who fired six shots.

Court records show a judge last year found that Porter was mentally ill and incompetent to stand trial on assault charges. He was ordered into treatment. A July 2015 police affidavit in the case stated Porter continued to try to attack an assault victim while and after police used a stun gun on him.

A judge also found him incompetent to stand trial in 2011 on charges including public indecency and ordered him into treatment.

The homeless coalition said Porter had been homeless for some time.

"As we know, there are not nearly enough resources and proper treatment for people with mental illness," the coalition said. "Our society and our system in general failed Jawari Porter."




Minn. deputy injured after rifle bullet strikes helicopter

The man fired at a helicopter the deputy was riding in Monday morning

by Brandi Jewett

CLEARBROOK, Minn. — A Polk County Sheriff's deputy suffered injuries from breaking glass when a man fired at a helicopter the deputy was riding in Monday morning.

Charges are pending against Carstie Lee Clausen of Clearbrook, who reportedly shot twice at the helicopter with a high-powered rifle.

The deputy was not identified in a news release from the Clearwater County Sheriff's Office, but the release did note the officer was treated and released from Essentia Hospital in nearby Fosston, Minn.

The shots were fired at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection helicopter about 10 a.m. while it flew over an area in rural Clearwater County where suspected drug activity was thought to be occurring, the release said. The Polk County deputy was along in the helicopter as an observer for Pine to Prairie Drug Task Force and sustained injuries when one of the rifle rounds shattered a nearby window.

The aircraft made an emergency landing at the Fosston Municipal Airport.

Clearwater County deputies responded to the area, located just east of the Polk-Clearwater county line, and surrounded a small cabin and located Clausen, 71, hiding in the woods near the cabin. Clausen was taken into custody without further incident, the release said.

Clearwater County property records show Clausen does own land about 16 miles northwest of Bagley.

Apart from a speeding ticket, Clausen appears to have no criminal history in Minnesota. He was behind a 1975 effort to organize a militia in Eddy Township in Clearwater County, according to an Associated Press story published at the time.

The initiative passed a township vote 29-0. Clausen told the AP that the state and federal government are trying to deny citizens their right to bear arms.

The Monday incident remains under investigation by local, state and federal authorities.

The Clearwater County Sheriff's Office and Polk County Sheriff's Office work together regularly on drug activity in the area. U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations assist local authorities with these type of investigations.




Chicago gangs reportedly plotting to shoot cops in response to teen's death

by Fox News

Leaders from three Chicago gangs reportedly met last week to discuss plans to kill police officers in response to the officer-involved shooting death of 18-year-old Paul O'Neal.

The Chicago Sun-Times, citing an alert issued to Chicago officers, reported Monday that the meeting took place on Thursday between the gangs Vice Lords, Black Disciples and Four Corner Hustlers.

According to the paper, the Four Corner Hustlers have “provided guns” and pinpointed a “sniper in place.” However, authorities are still unsure where the alleged sniper spot is placed. The gang is also funneling weapons to the other two gangs.

Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi declined to comment on the situation, saying “the department does not comment on any security measures.”

Dean Angelo, the president of Lodge 7 of the Fraternal Order of Police, said the O'Neal family attorney and statements from the Independent Police Review Authority were to blame for the threats.

“We had inflammatory and false rhetoric coming from (Michael Oppenheimer) and statements that weren't true,” Angelo said. “You also have a lead investigator in police-involved deaths talking about how shocking and disturbing this is.”

The threats come after the officer-involved shooting death of the man. Police chased the teen into a South Shore neighborhood on July 28 after he allegedly stole a vehicle.

Video released last week purportedly showed some chaos before O'Neal's death. Police said the body camera of the officer who shot and killed him wasn't recording.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Monday it was too early to decide whether police officers need more training. He said he supported Superintendent Eddie Johnson's decision to strip police powers from the officers who fired their weapons at O'Neal.

Johnson hasn't said what policies they may have violated, but department policy largely prohibits shooting at a vehicle if it's the only threat to officers.



New York

Community policing: What to know about Neighborhood Coordination Officers program

by Alison Fox

Community policing is a delicate and constantly evolving concept as well as a long-standing focus for the NYPD.

Future Commissioner James O'Neill has been dubbed the “architect” of neighborhood policing, with Mayor Bill de Blasio's full support. But the idea of community policing, what exactly it means and how it is carried out, as well as the effectiveness of it, remains open for interpretation.

The concept has been referred to by experts as the “old way” of policing, hearkening back to a time before the controversy of quotas, the stop-and-frisk era, and several high-profile fatal police-involved shootings that catapulted both the city and the nation into conflict.

The NYPD first established precinct community councils — meetings at which the public can meet the officers in their neighborhood and voice any concerns — in the 1940s. Most recently, the department expanded its Neighborhood Coordination Officers program to 51 percent of commands in the hope that New Yorkers get used to seeing the same officers in the same places every day.

Here's a look at where the effort is now, and what measures department officials are looking at to assess the effectiveness of the program.

What is the Neighborhood Coordination Officers program?

Under the Neighborhood Coordination Officers program, two officers are posted to the same spot at the same time each day with the aim of establishing a relationship with those in the community they serve.

These officers also have medical training to improve conflict resolution skills, according to the department.

“The cops are embracing it,” O'Neill said recently at police headquarters. “We have a lot of work to do. Cops sometimes have a difficult time with change ... but this change is a good change. It's a good change for the city, and it's definitely a good change for the police officers because we're pushing that decision-making down to the level where it should be.

“We're enabling them to use discretion, which they should use,” he added.

O'Neill said the program is a “crime-fighting model” and added that it seems to be working.

The total number of NCOs in a given command depends on the size of the precinct.

Where is it being implemented?

The program first started in four precincts in May 2015, including in Washington Heights and Inwood in Manhattan, and parts of Rockaway in Queens. The program was then expanded to 32 total precincts.

In October, the program will get another boost, growing to include 12 more precincts (or 51 percent of all commands and all housing commands).

The new NCO program includes the East Village and Harlem in Manhattan, Jamaica and Astoria in Queens, and Brooklyn Heights and Coney Island in Brooklyn.

How can you measure its effectiveness?

De Blasio said there is both “tangible” and “intangible” measures of community policing: an example of the former being a crime that was prevented by someone trusting an NCO to tell them about it, and the latter being the concept of the relationship between the police and the community they serve.

“We know that we will become safer as we bond police and community,” he said. “And that is an everyday effort. So every single time a community member has a good experience with a police officer, a communicative experience, it's going to want to make them come back and share more information, they're going to tell their family, they're going to tell their neighbors.

“This is something that changes the whole tone of this city over time,” de Blasio added. “The more there's an assumption that everybody's on the same team, the more progress we can make.”

In terms of what has already been measured, O'Neill said that in NCO commands, the murder rate is down 5.6 percent as of July 31, slightly more than the citywide rate, which is down by about 4 percent compared with last year. Robberies are down 5.8 percent, he said.

O'Neill said that response times have also decreased this year: the time it takes to respond to a critical crime, or one of the seven major felonies, in progress has gone down by 30 seconds for the first seven months of this year, compared with a response time of 5 minutes during the same period last year.

“I had an idea with the neighborhood police model that it would reduce crime response times, but not to the level of this,” O'Neill said.

The department will continue to measure the 311 and 911 calls.

“The more we get to know the people in the community, if there is a chronic 311 we should be able to resolve that,” he said.

What will the NYPD do in the future?

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said recently that the department plans to get into the business of polling — on average 20,000 people at a time.

This will be done on “almost to the block level of every precinct” as well as polling officers.

“No American police department has ever had the resources to poll — how are we doing? And we are going to do it for the first time in the history of this country, we're going to do it a larger scale than just about any poll that you're used to.

“It's going to be extraordinary,” he added.




Los Angeles Police, Black Residents Say More Community Policing Needed

by Elizabeth Lee

LOS ANGELES— South Los Angeles is home to nearly a quarter of all residents of the second most populous U.S. city. It's a group of mostly low-income neighborhoods covering more than 130 square kilometers, and has been the scene of violent gang activity many times.

When there is a shooting involving a Los Angeles police officer, it often takes place in South Los Angeles. But on summer nights, several times a week, there is a different kind of interaction between police and the residents.

As a part of a gang prevention program called Summer Night Lights, LAPD officers take part in community policing. They talk to residents, mainly black and Latino, and play with the youth. One of the officers at a recent session was Zadi Borquez.

"Being a role model to these kids out here in the park and hopefully doing my part in the community, that's what I enjoy the most of being a police officer,” Borquez said.

While the children at Summer Night Lights play basketball happily with police officers, many African-Americans in the city and around the country are concerned that there have been too many recent cases of police brutality against people of color.

Activists see 'severe problem'

“Los Angeles, like pretty much every other police department in the nation, has a severe problem in the way in which [officers] treat all people, especially black people, poor people and people with mental-health challenges,” said Melina Abdullah, an organizer in Los Angeles for the Black Lives Matter Movement.

Members of that group have been staging a sit-in protest at city hall, demanding removal of Los Angeles' police chief following the decision of a commission of inquiry that police did not violate their policies during a shooting last year in which a black woman was killed. Police said they acted because the woman had a knife.

“It's about the system, so we have a systemic problem. We have a problem with policing in that they are actually trained to view us as enemy combatants, and so we need to transform that system,” Abdullah said.

Recent news about police shootings and shootings of police raised tensions between many African-American citizens and law-enforcement agencies.

History of racial tensions

Los Angeles is no stranger to racial tensions. The riots that followed the police beating of African-American Rodney King more than 20 years ago are still a vivid memory for many people, including Police Captain Andrew Neiman.

“I didn't even want to be a police officer in L.A. following the riots. I felt that we had let down our community," Neiman said. "It really touched me personally, because that was not the Los Angeles that I grew up with. But I'm glad I stayed. We took our lessons learned and we have really expanded that."

However, the veteran police officer added, "We're at a point right now where we've reached another crossroads in recognizing that we need to do more."

Neiman contends smartphones and social media are fueling the current wave of racial tension: “Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Vine. All of these social apps allow the public, general citizens, to take out their smartphones and capture video of a very dynamic situation, and instantly post it to the world without any context, without any understanding.”

Others say the new technology makes police more accountable.

'Address community pain'

However, people on both sides of this argument say what is key is that perceptions need to change.

“We have to address the pain in the community," said Skipp Townsend, a former gang member who is an intervention worker. "Stop labeling the community as violent, but address that pain and offer resources for people in pain."

Townsend teaches life skills to ex-felons and people who are at risk. He says dialogue between police and members of the black community is necessary, and there also should be more community policing.

“There's no way to build a relationship at the time of a crisis or incident, so [the police] should be proactive,” Townsend said.

Neiman agrees officers need to do more community policing, but he notes that resources are not unlimited.

Police resources limited

“LAPD, although we're almost 10,000 strong, we can't put 100 officers in every community,” the police captain said.

Melina Abdullah of Black Lives Matter says the problem also needs to be tackled as a social issue: “We want our funds to be used for things like living-wage jobs, like mental health resources, like after-school programs, like intervention and prevention work.”

In South Los Angeles, many of the residents don't mind seeing more police at gang prevention events such as Summer Night Lights.

“We have good cops and we have our bad cops and, honestly, we only see our good cops come around the community where we have events like this frequently,” said Bobby Johnson, a local resident.

To break down perceptions, police and members of the African American community agree, building relationships is one step toward creating trust.




Community policing the great outdoors

by John Klein

SAND SPRINGS — Rangers are the law in Oklahoma's 33 state parks.

However, lawbreakers are seldom the topic when folks stop a park ranger to talk.

“It's almost always how's the fishing,” said Capt. Wayne Hayes, ranger at Keystone State Park. “Or, they want to know where's the good spot for fishing.

“And, the second thing is usually them offering me a cup of coffee or some fried chicken or a hamburger. It is like a little community out here.”

Keystone is the closest state park to downtown Tulsa, about 20 miles west on the shores of Lake Keystone.

At state parks all over Oklahoma, rangers are getting out and wandering through campgrounds and picnic areas.

In what some would call a new emphasis on “community policing,” the rangers are making a push to get to know the folks who frequent their parks.

It's just like community policing, except instead of walking through and interacting with folks in a neighborhood they're walking through campgrounds and picnic areas, and along hiking trails.

“About 25 years ago, community policing was just known as good policing,” said Don Blake, chief ranger for the Oklahoma State Parks. “We have between a million and 1.5 million visitors per year in our parks. We know these areas because we live in these areas.

“The whole key to this is interacting with those folks using the parks. It's about being seen. Sometimes something as simple as walking through a campground can have all sorts of benefits.”

Oklahoma's state parks have a high percentage of return customers. In other words, the folks who inhabit the campgrounds, use the boat ramps, hike the trails and enjoy the picnic areas are often regulars.

As such, they know when something doesn't seem right. They know if there is something that needs to be reported to the rangers.

Being more visible allows the rangers to become more familiar with the folks who can help keep the parks safe and running smoothly.

“Honestly, a lot of the interaction I get with folks is just about things in the park that maybe need some attention,” Hayes said. “The regulars are really good about alerting us to things that need attention. Maybe there are some tree limbs that look dangerous. Maybe there's some damage to a picnic area or a campground.

“And that's why we're out here. We want people to know we're there to help. Whatever it is, we want them to feel comfortable enough to contact us about anything.”

Yes, that includes law enforcement.

The rangers are always on the lookout for criminal activity, and the regular members of the parks community, those who often use the parks, are partners in monitoring what is going on in the park.

“In some of the cities, there is always a criminal element,” Blake said. “When you come to a state park, there is not that resident criminal element. Still, if we have a relationship with the people who use our parks, then we can better monitor what is happening in the parks.

“If we get out and meet the people and have a relationship, we can make an impact. We can make an impression on hundreds of kids just by taking them over to our car and turning on the lights or showing them our equipment.”

Some estimates show about 70 percent of the state park users are repeat customers. They come back again and again because of the convenience and the lure of the outdoors.

“I've been here nine years, and I see a lot of the same folks,” Hayes said. “So, yes, getting out there and talking with folks can do a whole lot of good.

“We have a lot of visitors out here because of where we are located. We're so close to Tulsa. It's a quick trip out here for hikers, fishermen, boaters, campers — whatever outdoor activity you may love.”

Keeping the state parks running efficiently and safely is greatly enhanced with the park version of community policing.

“We don't deal with bad stuff very often,” Hayes said. “Most people coming out here are looking to get away and have a good time.

“I think it enhances that experience by us getting out of our cars and talking with folks. It's kind of like the old-style cops that used to walk the neighborhood beat. They knew everyone in the neighborhood.

“Well, our neighborhood just happens to be campgrounds and cabins in a beautiful park.”




2 years after Michael Brown, Arkansas police still "bridging gap" with community

by Winne Wright

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- Tuesday is the two-year anniversary of the shooting death of Michael Brown by a Ferguson, Missouri police officer.

After the smoke cleared in the St. Louis suburb, many started asking what could be done.

It was then that “community policing” became a buzz-word. The U.S. Department of Justice defines community policing as “a collaboration between the police and the community, that identifies and solves community problems.”

But what does that mean? And what are departments in Central Arkansas doing to solve those "community problems?"

Two years ago and then a year ago, the streets of Ferguson were lined with protestors, demanding change from police. Back in Arkansas, departments have been addressing those changes.

"Community policing has to be for every officer, from the chief on down to the officer making runs”, says Little Rock Police Chief, Kenton Buckner, who has been outspoken about community policing since taking the position in 2014.

Monday, we spoke with five different Central Arkansas police departments.

North Little Rock Police and Benton PD tell us they expect all officers to act as community police officers, or CPOs.

Sherwood has 9 CPOs, Hot Springs has 2, and Little Rock has 8.

Little Rock Police Department's Community Police Officers were loved by many of the people they served, but earlier this year, those officers had to be put back on the road due to shortages at the department.

Chief Kenton Buckner says that's a sign of the times. The last LRPD recruiting class had 29 new officers; however, the goal for the department is 35 recruits in each class.

In Benton, there are plenty of applicants, but their Chief says recruits have a hard time getting the approval of the Benton Civil Service Commission.

"It's really important for officers to get out of those police cars and get to know the community on a first name basis. And for the community to reach out to the officers because we are only a branch of the community," explains Benton Police Chief, Kirk Lane, who has been also been outspoken about the effectiveness of community policing.

While there's no set standard for community policing, many believe officers should live in the communities they serve.

Chief Lane says that hasn't been a problem. In Little Rock, there have been calls for residency requirements.

Chief Buckner says, that's not realistic.

"We are struggling to meet our vacancies without a residency requirement. Roughly 2/3 of the people that apply to be a police officer in Little Rock live outside the city. So that would drastically reduce the pool of candidates that I have to choose from. That would basically cripple our ability to find candidates to be police officers”, he explains.

None of the departments we spoke to have residency requirements.

Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen says that's unacceptable, adding "in the case of police officers, they are armed mercenaries who come in to the community basically to do a job, exercise the most deadly force authority, then leave and take their real interests elsewhere."

Another aspect of community policing is diversity.

In North Little Rock: 12% of officers identify as minorities; Sherwood: 7%; Hot Springs: 7%; Benton: 9%.

In Little Rock, 35% of its police force identifies as a minority, while only 23% of the population does.

Even still, Chiefs Buckner and Lane both say they believe their departments need to be diverse, and they're working hard to recruit a diverse group of people, but have issues getting qualified minorities and women to apply.

"Getting qualified applicants to apply is a difficult task at times," says Chief Lane. "We are working really hard on our recruiting. We work really hard on our efforts to make those goals and try to mirror what the community wants and needs."

His department has been utilizing social media for recruitment.

"We want to be reflective of the community that we serve, but we also want good people with good intentions that are in the business for the right reason," echoes Chief Buckner. “We certainly understand that you're more likely to trust people if you can look within that agency and see individuals that share your characteristics, your background. So, we certainly subscribe to diversity. We think it is important to do it. Not to pat ourselves on the back, but because it is the right thing to do.”

Judge Griffen says departments should recruit more minorities retired from the military to solve that issue.

"The police make the excuse that they can't find people, but it doesn't wash, it doesn't add up," said Griffen.

Judge Griffen has been very outspoken about the need for a department, separate from law enforcement, to be held responsible for investigating police brutality, abuse of power, and officer-involved deaths.

“The police investigate themselves. The prosecutors they work with every day handle the decision of prosecution. The city attorneys decide if they are justified or not. We need to have a totally independent system that's paid for by the State, with complete independence, and the power to investigate alleged police misconduct.”

Judge Griffen calls on Arkansas Attorney General, Leslie Rutledge, to create such an institution.

Both Chief Buckner and Chief Lane say that is not necessary. They say, their departments, are capable of handling those sorts of investigation without bias.




Ohio cop under 'vicious' attack killed knife-wielding man

The robbery suspect charged the officer with a knife as the policeman was getting out of his cruiser

by Dan Sewell

CINCINNATI — Cincinnati's police chief says an officer had no choice but to fire at a robbery suspect who charged him with a knife as the policeman was getting out of his cruiser.

Police Chief Eliot Isaac says the fatal shooting occurred amid "a vicious, violent attack" Sunday morning in downtown Cincinnati.

Mayor John Cranley says the attacker was trying to kill 25-year police veteran Anthony Brucato, who suffered minor injuries.

Isaac says the encounter was captured on video. He says the city can't yet release the video because it was subpoenaed by the prosecutor's office for its review of the officer's actions.

Police say the slain man was suspected of robbing a grocery store with a knife 20 minutes earlier. They identified him as 25-year-old Jawari Porter, of Cincinnati.




Minneapolis police make changes aimed at defusing conflicts

Police Chief Janee Harteau said that the "sanctity of life" is now the cornerstone of her department's use-of-force policy

by Steve Karnowski

MINNEAPOLIS — The Minneapolis Police Department announced four policy changes Monday aimed at defusing conflicts between officers and the public that can turn deadly while holding officers more accountable for their actions.

Police Chief Janee Harteau said that the "sanctity of life" is now the cornerstone of her department's use-of-force policy. Officers must use de-escalation tactics whenever reasonably possible to get people to voluntarily comply with police orders and they must seek to avoid or minimize the use of force. They also have an explicit duty to intervene to try to prevent other officers from using force inappropriately and a duty to report any misconduct at an incident scene.

The changes come amid increased scrutiny nationwide of police use of force and how officers treat suspects, particularly African-Americans. Harteau says the changes were being developed before the fatal shooting by two white Minneapolis officers last November of Jamar Clark, a black 24-year-old whose death prompted protesters with the Black Lives Matter movement to block the street outside a police station for more than two weeks.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman decided in March not to charge the two officers involved in Clark's death. He said forensic evidence backed the officers' accounts that Clark was not handcuffed — as alleged by some witnesses — and that he had his hand on an officer's gun when he was shot. Some activists faulted the two officers for being too quick to take Clark down to the ground, turning what had started as an alleged domestic assault into a fatal confrontation.

At a news conference where she announced the changes, Harteau declined to speculate on how the police interaction with Clark might have played out differently if the new policies had been in place.

"Every situation is different, and we could 'what-if' on just about everything," said Harteau, who was flanked by Mayor Betsy Hodges and her top commanders.

Harteau said at the heart of the policy changes is letting officers know it's OK to slow down and even back up when faced with volatile situations, which she said will reduce the risk of injuries to themselves and to the public.

"I want everybody to go home safe. That's the mindset. It's about slowing things down when we can," the chief said.

Officers who violate the use-of-force guidelines could face disciplinary action.

Unresolved tensions over Clark's death helped fuel a new round of protests last month over the fatal shooting of another black man, 32-year-old Philando Castile, during a traffic stop in the St. Paul suburb of Falcon Heights. No Minneapolis police officers were involved in that shooting.

Castile's girlfriend streamed the bloody aftermath live on Facebook. She said Castile was shot while reaching for his ID after advising St. Anthony officer Jeronimo Yanez that he had a gun permit and was armed. Yanez's attorney has said the Latino officer thought Castile looked like a possible match for an armed robbery suspect and that Yanez was reacting to the presence of a gun.




Fatal San Diego police shooting highlights inconsistent body cam usage

The ACLU has studied the issue and said clear policies are vital, along with punishment for failure to comply

by Amanda Lee Myers

LOS ANGELES — The critical moment when a gunman opened fire on two San Diego police officers, killing one, may never be seen. The surviving officer only activated his camera after the wounded shooter was running away.

San Diego is among departments with policies calling for officers to turn on cameras before initiating contact with a citizen in most cases. But like other departments, compliance is less than perfect.

The result is inconsistent use of an increasingly common tool meant to give investigators and an often-skeptical public a fuller picture of police actions.

"The main motive of body cameras is to provide openness and transparency, and build trust in the police," said Samuel Walker, a retired criminal justice professor at the University of Nebraska-Omaha.

"If officers are not turning cameras on, well, you're not going to build trust," he said. "You're going to reinforce the cynicism that already exists."

He pointed to a study that showed across-the-board low compliance rates of officers in one high-crime Phoenix neighborhood between April 2013 and May 2014, the most recent information available. Officers only recorded 6.5 percent of traffic stops even though the department's policy required cameras to be activated "as soon as it is safe and practical," according to the study, conducted by Arizona State University's Center for Violence Prevention and Community Safety.

The biggest part of the problem, Walker said, is a lack of discipline.

Chicago, Dallas, Denver, New Orleans, New York, Oakland and San Diego are among the cities that don't specify penalties when officers fail to record, according to the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University's School of Law.

The American Civil Liberties Union has studied the issue and said clear policies are vital, along with punishment for failure to comply.

"Departments can't look the other way when officers fail to activate body cameras in critical incidents, or they become useless for accountability," said Peter Bibring, a senior staff attorney at the ACLU of Southern California.

San Diego police have been criticized for failing to record a number of high-profile shootings. That prompted the department to revise its policy to stipulate that officers must turn on their cameras before most types of contact with citizens, but violations have continued.

Last week, the two San Diego gang unit officers on nighttime patrol pulled up next to a pedestrian on a darkened residential street, and the man almost immediately opened fire, police said. The suspect, Jesse Gomez, shot Wade Irwin as he got out of the patrol car and then fired through the open door and fatally wounded Irwin's partner, Jonathan De Guzman, according to police.

Irwin fired back and started manually recording after the shooting, but police haven't said what was captured.

The cameras are on before an officer hits record, and have a recall function to get video from shortly before an officer starts recording. That function allows 30 seconds to be retrieved, without audio.

It's unclear if Irwin activated that feature.

Both Irwin and Gomez were seriously wounded and remain hospitalized.

Victor Torres, a leading civil rights attorney in San Diego, said the department's policy makes it clear both officers should have been recording before approaching Gomez.

Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman has commended Irwin's actions, including activating his body camera when he did, as heroic.

The Alameda County Sheriff's Department changed its body-camera policy following a highly publicized incident last November where two deputies were caught on surveillance video using their batons to beat a car theft suspect in the middle of a street in San Francisco's Mission District.

Eleven officers in all responded and 10 failed to turn on their body cameras. The one who did activate his did so by accident.

Three officers were placed on leave, including two who are charged with assault under color of authority.

No one was disciplined for failing to turn on their cameras because the department's policy at the time encouraged, but did not require, their use, said Sgt. Ray Kelly, an agency spokesman. The agency now requires deputies to use the cameras in most circumstances and lays out the discipline for failure to comply.

The department hasn't had a problem with compliance since, Kelly said.

Some departments are tapping new technology to take the human factor out of body cameras. Los Angeles will be among a handful of departments nationwide to deploy cameras made by Scottsdale, Arizona-based Taser International that begin automatically recording once signaled, such as when a patrol car's siren is turned on or when a shotgun is taken out of its mount.

"I believe by the end of three years these things will be built into a badge," said Steve Soboroff, vice president of the civilian oversight board of the Los Angeles Police Department. "These cameras now, they're like the old 10-pound cellphones."

Kelly said his department also is looking at the new technology.

"The body camera is really new to law enforcement," he said. "There are a lot of privacy concerns and body cameras don't always accurately depict what an officer is seeing. But they are a great tool and they are the future. And they're here to stay."




The words ‘Kill Cops' painted at Massachusetts skate park

by The Associated Press

TEWKSBURY, Mass. (AP) - Police officers in one Massachusetts town are being told to be extra vigilant after the words “Kill Cops” were found spray painted at a skate park.

Tewksbury Deputy Chief John Voto says the graffiti was reported to police Aug. 3, but it remains unclear exactly when the message was painted. The words were accompanied by an upside-down peace symbol and a “heartagram,” a hybrid heart-pentagram symbol.

Voto said the message is concerning in light of the killings of police officers across the country this year.

He says the investigation is mainly focused on the vandalism, and it is unlikely the person responsible would face charges related to the message itself unless they actually intended to kill police.



IS claims Belgium machete attack that wounded 2 policewomen

The group called it an act of reprisal carried out by one of its "soldiers"

by John-Thor Dahlburg and Maamoun Youssef

BRUSSELS — The Islamic State group on Sunday claimed responsibility for a weekend machete attack that wounded two policewomen in the Belgian city of Charleroi, calling it an act of reprisal carried out by one of its "soldiers."

Belgian prosecutors identified the machete-wielding assailant as a 33-year-old Algerian known to police for criminal offenses, but not for extremist acts.

Belgian media reported that he was in the country illegally, despite two separate orders being issued for him to leave. The government didn't immediately confirm the reports.

The attack on Saturday afternoon is being treated as a terrorist incident, notably because the man shouted "Allahu akbar!" — Arabic for "God is great" — as he slashed at the officers outside Charleroi's main police station, Prime Minister Charles Michel said.

The assailant, shot by a third officer, died later in a hospital. A statement by the IS-affiliated Aamaq News Agency, posted Sunday on an IS-linked Twitter account, said the attack on the policewomen was in response to the "Crusader coalition's" military campaign against IS and its self-declared caliphate in Iraq and Syria.

Belgium, a longtime U.S. ally, is a member of the American-led coalition combating IS, and has supplied warplanes to participate in anti-IS operations.

The Belgian Federal Prosecutor's Office said the attacker, who it identified only as K.B., had lived in Belgium since 2012.

"Since there are indications that the attack may have been inspired by a terrorist motive, the federal prosecutor's office decided to take over the investigation from the district prosecutor's office of Charleroi," the federal office said in a statement.

The office said two police searches were carried out overnight in the southern Belgian city, but that no further information about the investigation would be made public.

Broadcast media including state-owned RTBF said K.B. was in Belgium illegally despite receiving two separate orders from government authorities to leave. Michel didn't directly confirm the reports. But he told RTL television that more must be done to combat illegal immigration, saying it was difficult to persuade Algeria to accept the return of its nationals.

Both policewomen were "severely injured in the face and neck" in the attack, the federal prosecutors' statement said. RTL said both were placed in an artificial coma to allow surgeons to operate on them. Michel said the prosecutors were treating the attack on the officers as a case of "attempted terrorist murder."

Michel said the prosecutors were treating the attack on the officers as a case of "attempted terrorist murder."

The prime minister spoke to reporters following an emergency meeting with top Belgian law enforcement officials Sunday morning. Michel cut short his vacation in the south of France following the Charleroi attack, which had some police unions clamoring for greater protection for police officers and installations.

"We must keep a cool head," Michel said. "We must avoid panic, of course — not give in to terror. That's the trap that has been set for us."

Belgium has been on high alert since the March 22 suicide bombings claimed by Islamic State extremists that killed 32 people in Brussels. Many of the perpetrators of the Nov. 13 carnage in Paris that killed 130 people were also residents of Belgium. That attack was also claimed by IS.

"We know we must be constantly, constantly vigilant," Michel said.

Defense Minister Steven Vandeput said the government's Crisis Center would meet to determine if additional measures should be taken to protect police buildings and staff.

On Sunday, Charleroi police posted a request on their Twitter account asking reporters not to divulge officers' identities.

"We are targets," Charleroi police explained.

Prosecutors said K.B. was carrying a backpack at the time of the attack, but that a bomb squad search found no explosives or other weapons inside.

On June 27, Belgium deployed six F-16s to the Middle East for a year as part of the U.S.-led coalition, with orders to strike Islamic State targets while operating in Syrian and Iraqi airspace, the Belgian Defense Ministry announced at the time. Until returning home in July 2015, Belgian F-16s took part in earlier anti-IS missions over Iraq.




Denver police to collect racial information on contacts

Denver police will begin collecting racial information about the people they contact following recent protests and complaints about a lack of accountability

by The Associated Press

DENVER — Denver police will begin collecting racial information about the people they contact following recent protests and complaints about a lack of accountability.

Chief Robert White said it's difficult to determine if racial profiling is an issue without the facts.

"Officers need to know and citizens need to know how everyone's actions are going to be held accountable," White said in an interview with The Denver Post. "Without it, we can't prove anything one way or the other. That does not benefit the transparency or the credibility of the department."

Community activists rejected claims by authorities it would be too time-consuming or too expensive to collect information on traffic or pedestrian stops.

"If DPD was willing to collect demographic data all along, why was there a litany of voices from community groups, legislators, the Denver auditor and independent monitor all pushing for them to collect it?" said Lisa Calderone, co-chair of the Colorado Latino Forum's Denver chapter. "Because DPD refused to collect it."

During a state legislative committee meeting in 2015, large departments in Colorado, including Colorado Springs and Aurora, said they did not collect information on the race and ethnicity of people contacted by police.

Stephanie O'Malley, executive director of Denver's safety department, said previously that asking people about their race could potentially turn otherwise peaceful interactions into volatile situations. O'Malley said she has since changed her mind.

Among groups that have demanded that Denver police study racial profiling are Black Lives Matter 5280, the Colorado Latino Forum, The Denver Justice Project, the NAACP's Denver chapter, the ACLU of Colorado and Showing Up for Racial Justice.

The groups said blacks, Latinos and American Indians are stopped and searched at disproportionate rates to white people.




Inmates are new Calif. firefighter recruits

24 men and 12 women are currently a part of the program

by C1Staff

SANTEE, Calif.— Inmates could be the next firefighters battling blazes in California.

The Fire Camp program — started in 1915 in California — currently has 24 men and 12 women from San Diego County jails working to backup professional firefighters, according to Santee Patch.

Fire Camp allows low level offenders to complete their sentence outside of a prison as a support crew responding to wildfires all over California. They also help with community projects including clearing brush, fallen trees or debris, restoring historical structures, flood protection, and maintaining parks.

The program, intended to prepare inmates for life after prison, is a partnership between the San Diego County Sheriff's Department, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, and California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.




Thousands of federal offenders seek review of sentences in wake of SC rulings

The Supreme Court decided that specific wording in the Armed Career Criminal Act was unconstitutionally vague and denied defendants their due process rights

by Maxine Bernstein

PORTLAND, Ore. — At least 150 convicted bank robbers, felons with firearms and drug traffickers in Oregon are urging judges to throw out or reduce their federal sentences due to two recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions.

The offenders seeking relief had their prison time boosted because they were designated either as an armed career criminal or sentenced as a dangerous career offender.

Under the Armed Career Criminal Act, someone convicted of a federal firearms crime who has three or more previous convictions for a violent felony or a serious drug offense faced a minimum mandatory sentence of 15 years in prison.

Federal sentencing guidelines also allowed for added prison time for career offenders, those convicted of drug crimes or violent crimes who had two prior convictions for either a violent felony or drug offense.

Last summer, the Supreme Court held 8-1 in Johnson v. United States that part of the "violent crime" definition was unconstitutionally vague and denied defendants their due process rights.

This spring, the Supreme Court ruled that the Johnson decision applied retroactively to offenders sentenced before the June 26, 2015 decision came down.

As a result, Oregon's chief deputy federal public defender Stephen Sady and his counterparts across the country scrambled to file dozens of motions on behalf of federal offenders. They urged courts to vacate or correct their sentences.

The motions had to be filed by June 26, 2016, the one-year anniversary of the decision.

So far, about 25 inmates in Oregon with federal convictions have been granted reviews of their sentences, with many waiting for their prison time to be reduced, Sady said. Dozens of requests are piling up on federal court dockets in Portland, Eugene, Medford and Pendleton, and across the nation.

"There's literally thousands of offenders nationwide who are affected by this," said Douglas Berman, a Ohio State University law professor who runs a Sentencing Law and Policy blog. Some 4,000 to 6,000 sentences nationally could be altered, according to estimates.

"The idea of the Armed Career Criminal Act was if you're a big-time crook, we want to throw the book at you and give you 15 years," Berman said.

But over time, criminal equivalents of the "Barney Fife bumbling low-level punk" who couldn't seem to get his life together and kept getting arrested got caught up in the sentencing and were "slammed a little too hard to begin with," Berman said.

The Supreme Court eliminated as vague and unconstitutional a section of law that prosecutors relied on to seek stiffer sentences for defendants they argued were particularly dangerous.

The last clause of the Armed Career Criminal Act described a violent felony as any crime that "otherwise involves conduct that presents a serious potential risk of physical injury to another."

Federal sentencing guidelines use nearly identical wording.

"It was very hard for judges to tell what it meant," said David Debold, a lawyer in Washington, D.C., who served as an assistant U.S. attorney in Detroit for 17 years. "There were so many disagreements about how do you answer that. There was a lot of guesswork involved."

While a lot of convictions are potentially impacted by the court rulings, it's not like the "sky is falling," Debold said. Even if federal inmates successfully convince a judge to resentence them, they may face less time but still not a drastic reduction, he said.

Sady agreed, adding, "It's not saying these people are now getting a slap on the wrist."

Yet prosecutors have cited concern that repeat offenders with prior convictions for everything from attempted kidnapping to compelling prostitution will now be eligible for significant sentence reductions.

Several offenders in Oregon already have convinced judges to shave off their time as a result of the Supreme Court rulings.

For example, Tyler Anthony Boyd, 38, who was initially sentenced in federal court in Medford in January 2009 to 15 years in prison for a felon in possession of a firearms conviction, wasn't expected to be released from custody until June 2022.

Boyd had been sentenced under the Armed Career Criminal Act, which gave him the minimum mandatory sentence of 15 years in prison based on three prior burglary convictions. Late last year, he filed a motion arguing that his prior burglary convictions no longer qualified as violent felonies.

"Mr. Boyd is suffering irreparable harm from over-incarceration with each passing day. The Court has the authority to order immediate relief on the merits," assistant federal public defender Brian Butler wrote in the motion.

Oregon's U.S. District Judge Owen W. Panner agreed and dismissed Boyd's 15-year sentence.

Hoopes had pleaded guilty to a single count of bank robbery in January 2012. On Oct. 21,2011 he demanded a Bank of America teller "place large bills on the counter now" and not to pull the alarm. He did not display a weapon and was caught at a nearby bar with the stolen $2,050 in his left sock.

Hoopes took a plea agreement. His sentencing guidelines were based upon his designation as a career offender because of two prior convictions -- a 1999 robbery conviction and his 2006 Idaho conviction for eluding a police officer.

The two convictions no longer are considered "crimes of violence," under the Supreme Court rulings.

Absent that career offender designation, the federal guidelines for his sentence would have called for 57 to 71 months. On July 19, he was sentenced instead to 71 months, or 5 years and 11 months.

Another inmate, Steven Wayne Gentry, was convicted of three counts of bank robbery in April 2013. Under a plea deal, Gentry was sentenced as a career offender, based on a prior 1999 conviction for assault with a deadly weapon and a 2006 conviction for evading an officer. The parties then agreed that each of these prior convictions qualified as "crimes of violence."
Gentry moved to challenge his sentence.

Prosecutors objected, arguing that his plea deal prevented the challenge, and any claim questioning his sentence should have been raised on a direct appeal.

Last month, Oregon's U.S. District Judge Michael H. Simon ruled in favor of Gentry. Simon found that Gentry could challenge his sentence, despite his waiver of appeal. He cited case law from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which states that a waiver of appeal "will not apply if the sentence violates the Constitution."

"Gentry was originally sentenced under a framework that was 'infected' by the wrongful conclusion that Gentry should be sentenced as a career offender, an 'error of constitutional dimensions,'" Simon wrote.

As a result, on July 28, Gentry's sentence of 10 years was nearly cut in half, reduced to five years and 10 months in prison, according to court records.

Others are waiting for their sentences to be recalculated.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Sentencing Commission voted unanimously to amend the definition of "crime of violence" in the federal sentencing guidelines. The new definition, now in line with the Johnson Supreme Court ruling, became effective Aug. 1. The commission has urged Congress to adopt the new definition as well.

"If Congress itself doesn't act to make the definition of the term 'crime of violence' clear and uniform, it is likely that courts will be required to do so on their own. Such a scenario risks continued inconsistency and complexity, and could lead to a definition that does not fully reflect the will of Congress," the commission wrote in a report issued this month.