October, 2016 - Week 1
Indigenous Peoples' Day Gains Momentum As A Replacement For Columbus Day
by Bill Chappell
The state of Vermont and the city of Phoenix have joined the list of places that now call the second Monday in October Indigenous Peoples' Day, in a show of momentum for honoring indigenous people on the federal holiday that's named for Christopher Columbus.
Phoenix is now the largest U.S. city to recognize Indigenous Peoples' Day, according to member station KJZZ, which says the move came on a unanimous vote. Other cities have adopted similar laws in recent years, including Seattle and Minneapolis.
The city council of Denver, which observed Indigenous Peoples' Day last year under a temporary proclamation, embraced a permanent observance this week — a development that's particularly striking because Denver is where the idea for a holiday honoring Christopher Columbus first took root.
"Colorado became the first state to observe Columbus Day as an official holiday," according to The Denver Post, "and in 1909, Denver held its first Columbus Day parade."
Denver's move comes two months after Boulder's city council declared that Indigenous Peoples' Day will be celebrated on every Columbus Day holiday.
But the push to rename the Columbus holiday is being turned back in some areas: This week, the Cincinnati City Council rejected an Indigenous Peoples' Day proclamation, for instance.
Although Columbus Day has been a federal holiday since the 1930s, more than half of U.S. states don't mandate a paid day off for the holiday. As of 2015, only 23 states gave employees a paid day off for the day.
For years, only one state — South Dakota — officially designated the second Monday in October to honor the people and cultures that thrived in North America before Europeans' arrival.
Alaska's governor adopted Indigenous Peoples Day last year; we'll note that the state, like Hawaii and Oregon, had previously not recognized Columbus Day.
As of this week, Vermont also recognizes the second Monday of October as Indigenous People's Day, after Gov. Peter Shumlin issued an executive proclamation. In it, Shumlin noted that Vermont was founded on land that was long inhabited by the Abenaki people.
South Dakota adopted Native American Day back in the 1990s; California observes a day by the same name, but it does so on the fourth Friday in September. Late last month, Nevada's governor established American Indian Day in the state; it was observed on Sept. 23.
As for the reasons behind the push for change, here's what Lakota activist Bill Means told Minnesota Public Radio back in 2014, when Minneapolis adopted Indigenous Peoples' Day:
"We discovered Columbus, lost on our shores, sick, destitute, and wrapped in rags. We nourished him to health, and the rest is history," Means told MPR. "He represents the mascot of American colonialism in the Western Hemisphere. And so it is time that we change a myth of history."
Suspect ready to ‘shoot all the police' captured after killing 2 officers in Palm Springs
by Fred Barbash
Police in Palm Springs, Calif., captured a suspect early Sunday who had opened fire 12 hours earlier on three officers who were trying to negotiate with him after a domestic disturbance call. Two officers were killed and the third was injured.
The suspect reportedly had told his father moments before the shooting that he wanted to kill police officers.
Police said the man fired through a closed door without provocation as the officers were attempting to resolve the situation peacefully.
The officers killed were Lesley Zerebny, 27, and Jose Gilbert “Gil” Vega.
Zerebny had recently returned from maternity leave and was the mother of a 4-month-old. She was married to a Riverside County sheriff's deputy. A SWAT team from her husband's department participated in efforts to capture the suspect, and ultimately did so after an exchange of gunfire early Sunday morning, according to a statement from the sheriff's department.
The department identified the suspect as John Felix, 26, who was treated for non life-threatening injuries. Felix, reported the Palm Springs Desert Sun, was a “known gang member” with a criminal record.
Vega, a 35-year veteran, was scheduled to retire in December. He had chosen to work overtime Saturday.
They were the first Palm Springs police officers to die in the line of duty since 1962. The department has about 98 officers and prides itself on a community-policing program that Palm Springs Police Chief Jose Bryan Reyes said had succeeded in minimizing violence for years.
The officers were called to the home just after an occupant had rushed across the street in a panic, telling a neighbor that his son had a gun and wanted to shoot police. “He came over and asked for help,” neighbor Frances Serrano told reporters.
“He said: ‘Help. I need help. My son is in the house and he's crazy. He has a gun. He's ready to shoot all the police.'”
The man walked back to his house and shortly afterward, Serrano said, she heard repeated gunshots “starting with a loud, I mean really loud, bang.”
Reyes, the police chief, choking back tears and his voice shaking with emotion, told a news conference that the officers responded to a plea from an “adult caller” at 12:18 p.m. local time. The caller said her son was “causing a disturbance.”
As officers were attempting to talk to the man behind the door, he “threatened to shoot the officers” through it. Then he opened fire, gunning down the officers.
“Today Palm Springs lost two brave officers,” Reyes said at the news conference. “They go out every day with their boots on the ground. They gave their all for you.
“… I am awake in a nightmare right now. … If ever there was a time to pray for the Palm Springs police department, it is now.”
Dozens of officers from surrounding jurisdictions responded to an emergency call about 10 minutes after the first one, surrounding the house and sealing off a four-block perimeter, uncertain as to the whereabouts of the shooter and warning residents to stay inside.
“There were police everywhere,” Serrano told reporters. “I looked out the window and saw police with rifles.”
Juan Graciano, 67, who lives a block away, told the Los Angeles Times he saw police attempting to revive Zerebny. “I saw a woman officer who had been laid down in the trunk of a police cruiser. I watched as they picked her up and laid her down on the street and began administering CPR.”
Another neighbor told reporters of hearing more rounds of gunfire that continued for up to 20 minutes. “We stayed indoors,” Georgie Eden told the Times. “It was kind of, pretty scary.”
The Riverside County Sheriff's department, in a statement, said “the suspect refused to surrender and exchanged gunfire with officers as he barricaded himself in his residence.”
About 12 hours later, the sheriff's Department issued a statement saying that “after a lengthy standoff, the suspect surrendered” to deputies from a SWAT team. He was identified as Palm Springs resident John Felix. The release said he received non-life threatening injuries and was treated at a local hospital.”
He will be booked on “two counts of murder on a peace officer,” the sheriff's office said.
The Palm Springs Desert Sun described the suspect as a “known gang member,” who spent four years in prison for a 2009 attempted murder plot. He was also arrested in 2013, the paper said, after fighting with police at the same home where Saturday's shooting took place.
The officer who was hospitalized was alert and talking, the police chief said.
“They were responding to a simple family disturbance,” Reyes said. The man “elected to open fire.”
German police launch manhunt over suspected bomb plot
by The Times Live
Residents were told to stay in their homes during the operation which followed a tip-off from domestic intelligence. An explosion had been heard in the town.
"We are carrying out in Chemnitz a large-scale operation due to suspicions that a bomb attack was being prepared," police said on Twitter, urging residents to stay at home.
"The explosion heard in the area was a police entry measure. The wanted person has not been found," police added.
Germany has been on edge after suffering two attacks claimed by IS in July -- an axe rampage on a train in Wuerzburg that injured five and a suicide bombing in Ansbach that left 15 wounded.
A police spokesman told AFP the operation was launched in response to information provided by domestic intelligence.
The attacks in July rattled Germans' sense of security and fuelled concerns over the country's record influx of migrants and refugees last year.
German police said previously they had identified 523 people who posed a security threat to the country, around half of whom were known to be currently in Germany.
Chicago police want de-escalation first, use of force only when needed
by Bill Kirkos
Chicago (CNN)The Chicago Police Department on Friday announced several proposed changes to how it defines and trains officers on the use of force.
The announcement was made ahead of the US Justice Department's expected release of findings from a probe into alleged civil rights abuses within the police force.
The DOJ probe was announced in the wake of several high-profile cases of alleged police misconduct, including the October 2014 shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald as he walked away from Chicago police officers. The shooting was caught on police dashcam video. Jason Van Dyke, the officer charged with murder in the case, is set to stand trial later this year.
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said at a Friday press conference that the draft set of policies emphasize the "sanctity of life" while rebuilding trust within the community and the police department and establishing a culture of transparency and accountability.
The proposals aim to provide a clearer definition of police force and require independent justification each time a "tool" is used in a force event, such as the deployment of sprays, Tasers and batons. Physical force would only be used when "no reasonable alternative exists," Johnson said.
Johnson announced the start of a 45-day public comment period to allow members of the community and police department to provide online feedback on the draft set of policies. This marks the first time such a web page has been created for public comment in the department's history, said Johnson.
Johnson also announced the creation of the Bureau of Organizational Development, which will be responsible for reviewing all of the feedback and implementing permanent changes in department policy, along with the eventual findings from the DOJ probe.
Anne Kirkpatrick, the new body's organizational development chief, said that the policies are expected to be implemented by the end of the year, and that the bureau hopes to have all of the police department's roughly 12,500 officers trained by spring 2017.
"We will also have in our policy that the least amount of force that is reasonably necessary will be approved," Kirkpatrick said.
Critics have long accused the Chicago Police Department of not doing enough to deal with a "code of silence" within its ranks that allows abuse to go widely unpunished. The new proposals aim to address the problem.
"We will be training and expecting that our officers will not only report if a member were to violate the use of force policy, but that they will intervene," Kirkpatrick said.
Johnson said: "If a supervisor or a rank and file officer is found to try to retaliate or try to intimidate an officer for reporting alleged misconduct, that person will suffer severe penalties, up to termination."
Kirkpatrick said that she examined how other police departments address the same issues so that the new policies would "bring us in line with the best policies around the country." When asked which cities officials looked at, she cited Los Angeles, New Orleans and Seattle.
Johnson reaffirmed last month's announcement that all city police officers will soon be required to wear body cameras and that over the next two years 970 additional sworn positions will be added. The new officers will provide "new blood" to the department, he said.
"Today as we speak, in-service officers and recruits are receiving live scenario-based de-escalating training, where they're learning to introduce the concept of time in high tension situations and identify individuals who may suffer from mental health issues with the use of deadly force being the last and final option."
When asked to identify the most significant proposal being introduced Friday, Johnson said "the business of being able to de-escalate situations I think is paramount to what we're going to do."
"Can you use force? Yes. Should you use force? Maybe not. There are maybe other alternatives you can utilize so that you don't have to use deadly force."
National Community Policing Week
by Crystal Cranmore
WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) - Dozens of members of local law enforcement agencies and community leaders hoped to make a critical statement to onlookers as they walked the streets of Wilkes-Barre Friday afternoon. Cooperation, they say, is essential.
“When they have a facial relationship with people who serve them, everything works better," said F.B.I agent Sean Quinn.
The neighborhood walk took place during the inaugural "National Community Policing Week." It started October 2nd and ends Saturday. The initiative is the Obama administration's way of bringing neighborhoods and police together in light of recent tragedies across the county.
Organizers of this walk hope to show residents that the community and law enforcement can work together to solve crimes and other issues.
One issue residents are concerned about is the drug epidemic plaguing our region. But police officers say they can't address that alone.
"In order for us to do our jobs, we need their help. we need their eyes to tell us what's going on," said Commander Ron Foy with the Wilkes-Barre Police Department.
The other main issue is police brutality. Residents don't want to see what's happening in other cities happen here.
"I think a person has the right to put their hands up and drop what they have, before being shot at. Everything is not a gun in your hand," said Carmen Tinson.
A long time Wilkes-Barre resident, Tinson says this latest community effort by Wilkes-Barre and state police, as well as other leaders, is a great way to be proactive about key issues.
"If you get to know the people who are representing you and taking care of you, it makes you feel a little more closer."
Law Enforcement Tip Lines
U.S. Marshal Service 1-800-336-0102
F.B.I. - 215-418-4000
ATF - 1-888-ATF-TIPS
PA State Police 1-800-4PA-TIPS
In Newark, honest talk about police and community
by Mark DiLonno
Newark -- There was a time when Newark Mayor Ras Baraka protested against the city police. Now, he is charge of them.
There was a time when U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman investigated and sued the Newark police. Now, he is "partnered" with them.
Larry Hamm has railed against police brutality for 25 years. Now, he sits with law enforcement leaders, lending his voice to ways to improve police-community relations.
For these men, the recent surge in concern over distrust and animosity between police and African-Americans is nothing new.
What's new, as Baptist bishop Jethro James, of Newark, said, is that there are "substantive conversations at the highest level of government."
He means from the president on down.
On Friday, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch came to Newark on the final leg of President Barack Obama's "National Community Policing Week" tour, which gathered police and community leaders together in several cities to discuss ways to de-escalate tension between cops and black communities, and find long-term ways to build trust.
Lynch and Fishman hosted about 75 police leaders and activists, prosecutors and pastors, elected officials, including Baraka, and policy makers as they took part in that conversation.
"While some of us were once on opposite sides, history has converged us to work together at this time," Baraka said in his opening remarks.
Newark — and New Jersey — have history here, good and bad.
Where to begin?
In 1967? When the arrest and beating of a black cab driver with the everyman name of John Smith led to the riots/rebellion that scarred the city for decades to come?
In 1991? When Hamm and the group he started — People's Organization for Progress (POP) — took to the streets to protest a Newark and Hillside police shooting that left two occupants of a stolen van dead, one of whom was a pregnant 16 year old.
Or in 1998? When concerns about New Jersey State Police "racial profiling" came to a head after three basketball players were shot during a traffic stop on the New Jersey Turnpike?
Or when concerns about a multitude of unanswered Newark police brutality claims opened the door to scrutiny by the ACLU and Fishman seven years ago?
"All of us (in the room) are acutely aware we have real issues of trust between police and the community," Fishman said in his opening remarks, but added that his Newark and New Jersey "partners" brought "hope and commitment for a new vision."
And this is where the good history comes in.
Newark — and New Jersey — were actually described by Lynch as "model jurisdictions" for police-community relation initiatives that other parts of the country are just waking up to. The N.J. State Police culture was completely overhauled after the federal government began monitoring their stops and arrests in 1999. Ten years later, the state police came out from underneath that federal oversight.
The Newark Police Department's federal oversight is just beginning. A consent decree — which is an agreement by the city to allow federal oversight and to meet certain standards — just went into effect this summer, but has been six years in the making. In that time, the city has moved to correct what Fishman called "serious deficiencies" in police response to citizen complaints and internal affairs investigations.
Fishman credited both Baraka and Newark Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose as being "very willing partners" for change in police ranks. Much of it was already happening before the consent decree, including police and community meet-and-greets; minority recruitment; help from clergy in tense situations; creation of a civilian police complaint review board; and a greater emphasis on quality-of-life enforcement as a way for cops to engage with the public.
Lynch said yesterday it is time for the country to "move the debate past the denials." James, who was the New Jersey State Police chaplain during the racial profiling days, agreed.
"Now, we're sitting at the table of truth and wherever the truth takes us, let the chips fall where they may," said James, who is the social issue adviser to 89 Baptist congregations in Newark and North Jersey.
Those truths, James said, are not just about police transparency, but also about community responsibility.
"If we want the police to be more respectful and law-abiding, we have to demand the same things of ourselves," he said. "We are obligated to raise our children to be law-abiding citizens. We cannot harbor fugitives. We cannot have guns and drugs coming into our homes."
Newark was the last stop in a busy week for Lynch, who held a forum in Detroit, while her deputy, Sally Yates, held forums in Denver and Atlanta.
On Thursday, Lynch announced $12 million in funding to implement national community policing efforts and $7 million to develop strategies for communities dealing with cases of "high-profile violence," such the recent shooting in Charlotte.
In New Jersey on Wednesday, state Attorney General Christopher Porrino announced a new diversity training program for all New Jersey officers, similar to training Lynch has put in place for agents and officers of the FBI, ATF, DEA and U.S. Marshals Service.
At the seminar on Friday, Ambrose announced a $382,000 federal grant that will put body cameras on every officer and video cameras in every cruiser in his police department.
"It's about time," he said. "But let's face it. It's because of technology. Everybody has these cellphone cameras and now people can see what we've been protesting for years."
Each Monday, Hamm and POP are outside Fishman's office, asking for federal investigations of several police shootings that date back more than a decade.
He lists the names of black men killed in Trenton, Irvington, Lyndhurst, Newark and Bridgeton.
"I'm encouraged by what I'm hearing," he said. "But the reforms have to go much deeper. We're still not getting justice in some cases because police aren't being charged. When police start being charged, police brutality will end."
Police tracking social media during protests stirs concerns
Police say services which map, collect and store information from social media are a way to help find crime witnesses and spot brewing problems during large gatherings
by Sadie Gurman
DENVER — Increasingly common tools that allow police to conduct real-time social media surveillance during protests are drawing criticism from civil liberties advocates, who oppose the way some departments have quietly unrolled the technology without community input and little public explanation.
Police say services such as Geofeedia, which map, collect and store information from social media posts, are a powerful way to help find crime witnesses, spot brewing problems during large gatherings and gauge community sentiment.
Groups like the American Civil Liberties Union say the software can be easily used to collect information on peaceful protesters or target certain groups. The programs let police gather and record all online posts within specific geographic boundaries, and some allow users to do keyword searches for certain words or hashtags.
Law enforcement agencies have used the services to mine posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and other sites during parades, protests and other large events.
One company marketing the technology, Media Sonar, suggested police track hashtags such as #BlackLivesMatter and #ImUnarmed, and Geofeedia offered webinars on the way a Maryland police department used its software during protests over the death of Freddie Gray, a response to an ACLU records request showed.
The group's Colorado chapter requested more information Thursday on how Denver police uses Geofeedia, saying the department could be gathering intelligence on law-abiding demonstrators.
The department agreed in 2003 to stop collecting information on protesters not suspected of crimes after the ACLU found it kept thousands of "spy files" on peaceful groups, including a Franciscan nun and Amnesty International. The group sued to keep Denver police from gathering such information without a clear law enforcement purpose.
"Now they've bought software that lets them do some of the things they were doing so much easier and at a computer screen," said Mark Silverstein, the chapter's legal director.
Denver police provided documents showing it spent $30,000 for a one-year subscription to Geofeedia. In requesting funding, Lt. William Mitchell said it would be used to monitor large events, including Denver's annual marijuana rally and Martin Luther King Day march and parade.
"You are able to see real-time potential threats being made to an event," Mitchell wrote in the request, adding that the program assisted in the Boston Marathon bombing investigation and helped police find a woman who made social media threats during Super Bowl festivities. "It has the ability to identify criminal suspects and their actions as they post them to social media."
It is unclear how many departments nationwide are using such software programs. Police in Baltimore, Seattle and Dallas have used them. Los Angeles police officials wrote in a 2014 grant application for the software that more than 500 police agencies were already using it.
The ACLU of California found at least 13 police agencies acquired or used Geofeedia in that state alone.
The software is also used by news organizations, retailers and companies to quickly analyze large amounts of social media. The Mall of America used the program to engage shoppers, according to the company's website.
Activists are concerned that Geofeedia is marketing itself as a way to target protesters.
"These programs are a deterrent to free speech," said Baltimore activist Kwame Rose, who was arrested while protesting the mistrial of a Baltimore officer charged in the death of Gray, whose neck was broken in the back of a police van. "It's a waste of resources that could be spent on implementing programs for police reform."
A Geofeedia representative and Baltimore police didn't immediately return calls for comment.
The software can be a valuable public safety tool if used transparently, said Jim Bueermann, president of Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit Police Foundation, which is seeking money to study the value of such social media tracking programs.
"As social media becomes an increasingly important way to interact with each other, it's a rational and natural response that the police would try to engage social media on multiple levels to try to get a better handle on how people feel about the department or certain incidents that happen," he said.
US Dept of Justice - California
United States Attorney's Office Participating in Events to Mark National Community Policing Week Including ‘Coffee with a Cop' Today
by Eileen M. Decker - United States Attorney, Central District of California
LOS ANGELES – President Obama has designated this week as National Community Policing Week to “reaffirm our commitment to supporting and advancing the practice of community policing and to fortifying the bonds between police officers and communities.”
The United States Attorney's Office in Los Angeles is marking National Community Policing Week by participating in numerous programs across the Southland that strengthened the relationship between law enforcement and the communities it serves. This morning federal prosecutors across the Southland participated in “Coffee with a Cop” day, where police officers shared coffee with community members, and United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker participated in a “virtual ride along” with the Los Angeles Police Department's Community Relations Team.
Throughout the week federal prosecutors were out in the community, building relationships and continuing to open dialogues at community fairs, read-alongs at elementary schools, and a screening and discussion of the FBI film “Chasing the Dragon,” which chronicles the horror of prescription drug abuse.
The United States Attorney and Assistant United States Attorneys are partnering with law enforcement agencies around the region, including the South Pasadena Police Department, the El Monte Police Department, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Redondo Beach Police Department, the LAPD, the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office and the San Marino Police Department.
Community policing is a public safety philosophy based on partnership and cooperation between law enforcement and the communities that they are sworn to protect. At the center of community policing is the idea that all members of the community – both sworn officers and civilians – have a stake in the safety of their neighborhoods where they live and work.
The Department of Justice has invested heavily in the concept of community policing. Earlier this week, United States Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch announced $119 million in grant money to 184 law enforcement agencies for the hiring of Community Policing Officers. The grant recipients included the City of Los Angeles ($3.125 million), the City of Santa Ana ($1.25 million), and the San Bernardino Police Department ($2.85 million).
Monday's announcement follows several grants made in the last two months by the Department of Justice to local governments to improve police community relations:
Purpose of Grant
City of Compton
Hire and Train Neighborhood Leaders
City of Covina
Community Services Officer
City of Covina
Body Worn Cameras
City of Downey
Neighborhood Preservation Program, Neighborhood Watch Program, Crime Impact Team
City of El Monte
Community Policing Programs
City of Lancaster
Good Citizenship Program for At-Risk Youth
City of Long Beach
Safe Schools Strategy
City of Los Angeles
Community and Law Enforcement Recovery (CLEAR) Program
City of Los Angeles
Gang Reduction and Youth Development Program
City of Norwalk
Equipment to Increase Safety in City Parks and Other Areas
City of Riverside
Body Worn Cameras
City of Rosemead
School Resources Officer
City of San Luis Obispo
Body Worn Cameras
City of Simi Valley
Body Worn Cameras
City of South Gate
Overtime for Officers Dealing with Mentally Ill and Homeless Population
City of West Hollywood
Overtime for Law Enforcement Presence in Parks
Los Angeles County
Body Worn Cameras
County of Riverside
Body Worn Cameras
National Community Policing Week builds on President Obama's efforts to engage with law enforcement and other members of the community to implement key recommendations from the 21st Century Policing Task Force report. Yesterday the Attorney General recognized the LAPD, which was represented by Deputy Chief William Scott and Captain Ruby Flores , for its community policing efforts at the inaugural Attorney General's Awards for Distinguished Service in Community Policing in Washington, D.C. These awards were given to those “who exemplify remarkable achievements in innovative community policing strategies, criminal investigations, and field operations.”
“National Community Policing Week is an important opportunity to highlight the Department of Justice's outreach to the communities we serve,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “Developing and maintaining relationships between law enforcement and the communities that it serves are vital to improving transparency and community confidence. Such dialog is critical to addressing both the needs of law enforcement and the concerns of the community."
For more information on National Community Policing Week or the Community Policing Tour, please visit https://www.justice.gov/ag/community-policing-tour.
FROM:Tracy Webb, Director of External Affairs
United States Attorney's Office, Central District of California (Los Angeles)
N.S.A. Contractor Arrested in Possible New Theft of Secrets
by JO BECKER, ADAM GOLDMAN, MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT and MATT APZZO
WASHINGTON — The F.B.I. secretly arrested a former National Security Agency contractor in August and, according to law enforcement officials, is investigating whether he stole and disclosed highly classified computer code developed by the agency to hack into the networks of foreign governments.
The arrest raises the embarrassing prospect that for the second time in three years, a contractor for the consulting company Booz Allen Hamilton managed to steal highly damaging secret information while working for the N.S.A. In 2013, Edward J. Snowden, who was also a Booz Allen contractor, took a vast trove of documents from the agency that were later passed to journalists, exposing surveillance programs in the United States and abroad.
The contractor was identified as Harold T. Martin III of Glen Burnie, Md., according to a criminal complaint filed in late August and unsealed Wednesday. Mr. Martin, who at the time of his arrest was working as a contractor for the Defense Department after leaving the N.S.A., was charged with theft of government property and the unauthorized removal or retention of classified documents.
Mr. Martin, 51, was arrested during an F.B.I. raid on his home on Aug. 27. A neighbor, Murray Bennett, said in a telephone interview on Wednesday that two dozen F.B.I. agents wearing military-style uniforms and armed with long guns stormed the house, and later escorted Mr. Martin out in handcuffs.
According to court documents, the F.B.I. discovered thousands of pages of documents and dozens of computers or other electronic devices at his home and in his car, a large amount of it classified. The digital media contained “many terabytes of information,” according to the documents. They also discovered classified documents that had been posted online, including computer code, officials said. Some of the documents were produced in 2014.
But more than a month later, the authorities cannot say with certainty whether Mr. Martin leaked the information, passed them on to a third party or whether he simply downloaded them.
When F.B.I. agents interviewed Mr. Martin after the raid, he initially denied having taken the documents and digital files, according to the complaint. But he later told the authorities that he knew he was not authorized to have the materials. He told the agents, according to the complaint, that “he knew what he had done was wrong and that he should not have done it because he knew it was unauthorized.”
The Justice Department unsealed the complaint — which was filed in United States District Court in Baltimore — after The New York Times notified the government it intended to publish a story about Mr. Martin.
In a brief statement issued Wednesday, lawyers for Mr. Martin said: “We have not seen any evidence. But what we know is that Hal Martin loves his family and his country. There is no evidence that he intended to betray his country.”
If true, the allegations against Mr. Martin are a setback for the Obama administration, which has sustained a series of disclosures of classified information. Along with Mr. Snowden's revelations, the antisecrecy group WikiLeaks in 2010 disclosed hundreds of thousands of documents from the State and Defense Departments. In the aftermath of the Snowden disclosures, the administration took steps to put measures in place to prevent the unauthorized disclosures of classified information.
Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, defended the Obama administration's procedures for protecting national security information, arguing on Wednesday that since Mr. Snowden's disclosures, agencies have tightened their security measures. He cited the creation of a task force that sets and monitors security requirements for agencies that handle classified information, and an overhaul of the government's background check process, including adding more frequent updates.
The administration has also slashed the number of employees that have access to classified information, Mr. Earnest said, reducing it by 17 percent in the past couple of years.
“The president's got a lot of confidence that the vast majority of people who serve this country in the national security arena, particularly our professionals in the intelligence community, are genuine American patriots,” Mr. Earnest said.
Another administration official said that investigators suspected that Mr. Martin began taking the material before Mr. Snowden's actions became public, adding that reforms put into place after Mr. Snowden's theft would not have stopped Mr. Martin.
“This is something that has its origins certainly before Snowden came on the scene, so many of the forms that have been in place since 2013 wouldn't be relevant to stopping what happened,” the official said.
The information believed to have been stolen by Mr. Martin appears to be different in nature from Mr. Snowden's theft, which included documents that described the depth and breadth of the N.S.A.'s surveillance.
Mr. Martin is suspected of taking the highly classified computer code developed by the agency to break into computer systems of adversaries like Russia, China, Iran and North Korea, some of it outdated.
Several officials said that at the moment it did not look like a traditional espionage case, but the F.B.I. has not ruled anything out.
Mr. Martin does not fit any of the usual profiles of an “insider threat,” and one administration official said that investigators thought that he was not politically motivated — “not like a Snowden or someone who believes that what we were doing was illegal and wanted to publicize that.”
Mr. Martin, a Navy veteran, has degrees in economics and information systems and has been working for a decade on a Ph.D. in computer science. Neighbors described him as cordial and helpful but knew little about his work.
Law enforcement officials said that the F.B.I. was investigating the possibility that he had collected the files with no intention of passing them along. That by itself would represent a serious security vulnerability, but it would put Mr. Martin in the company of countless other senior Washington officials who have been caught taking classified information home. One of the officials described Mr. Martin as a hoarder.
Samuel R. Berger, a former national security adviser, stole classified documents from the National Archives and hid them under a construction trailer. Alberto R. Gonzales took home documents about the nation's warrantless wiretapping program home with him while he was attorney general. As C.I.A. director, John M. Deutch kept classified information on his home computer.
Law enforcement officials are also looking into whether Mr. Martin was able to pass the information on, but are also entertaining a theory that he took it with that intention and then did not follow through.
But there are many unanswered questions about Mr. Martin's case, including when and how the authorities learned this identity, and when they believe he began taking information. It is also not known if the case has any connection to the leak of classified N.S.A. code in August attributed to a group calling itself the Shadow Brokers, or whether he had any role in a series of leaks of N.S.A. intercepts involving Japan, Germany and other countries that WikiLeaks has published since last year.
“We're struggling to figure him out,” the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because no indictment has been publicly released.
For the N.S.A., which spent two years and hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars repairing the damage done by Mr. Snowden, a second insider leaking the agency's information would be devastating. The agency's director, Adm. Michael Rogers, who previously ran the Navy's Fleet Cyber Command, was brought in to restore the agency's credibility, open it to more scrutiny and fix the problems that allowed Mr. Snowden to sweep up hundreds of thousands of documents.
It is also problematic for Booz Allen, which has built much of its business on providing highly technical services to the N.S.A. and other intelligence agencies.
When the company “learned of the arrest of one of its employees by the FBI,” Booz Allen said in a statement on Wednesday, “we immediately reached out to the authorities to offer our total cooperation in their investigation, and we fired the employee. We continue to cooperate fully with the government on its investigation into this serious matter.”
Maryland: guards, inmates accused of prison smuggling scheme
by Juliet Linderman
BALTIMORE — A tip from a prison guard has yielded the single largest federal case in Maryland's history: 80 people including corrections officers, inmates and “outside facilitators” have been charged with orchestrating a vast contraband smuggling enterprise that traded drugs, tobacco and cellphones to prisoners for money and sex.
A pair of federal indictments unsealed Wednesday allege that a sweeping racketeering scheme at the Eastern Correctional Institution in Westover — Maryland's largest state prison — lasted years and involved 18 prison guards, 35 inmates and 27 civilians who helped coordinate the flow of drugs and other contraband.
Guards smuggled heroin, cocaine, MDMA, and Suboxone, among other narcotics, into the prison in exchange for cash, money orders and in some cases, sexual favors from inmates, the indictments alleged.
The court documents also saod guards smuggled the contraband past security screenings and delivered it to inmates in their cells or at pre-arranged “stash” sites such as laundry rooms and bathrooms. The indictments said the scheme involved smuggling at both the East and West compounds of the prison.
“Prison corruption is a longstanding, deeply rooted systemic problem that can only be solved by a combination of criminal prosecutions and policy changes,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein in a statement announcing the crackdown.
He added that those smuggling contraband were in a highly lucrative enterprise. According to the indictment, a single strip of Suboxone, a prescription opioid that sells for $3 on the street, could fetch up to $50 inside the prison. A $20 can of tobacco could go for $250.
Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services Secretary Stephen Moyer said he assigned eight investigators to work with the FBI and other federal agencies to crack the case, relying heavily on wiretaps.
Moyer said the indictments “send a strong message that we will no longer tolerate corruption committed by a few tarnishing the good work of our 10,500 dedicated and committed department employees.”
According to the indictments, defendant correctional officers routinely warned inmates when prison administrators were planning to conduct cellphone searches.
In some cases, the documents say, when participating prison guards learned that inmates were giving administrators information, or “snitching,” they would alert other inmates and encourage retaliation. Twice in July, prison guards encouraged inmates to stab other prisoners, Rosenstein said. Two inmates and two guards were charged with civil rights violations stemming from the attacks, he added.
Rosenstein said the investigation began in 2013 after a concerned corrections officer caught wind of the scheme and brought it to the attention of prison authorities. The local prosecutor, Moyer said, handed the case over to federal authorities. He added that the scheme was perpetrated not by managers, but mostly by low-level correctional officers.
The indictments follow a high-profile prison contraband scandal at the Baltimore City Detention Center in 2013 in which 44 people were federally indicted. Authorities aid that racketeering scheme's ringleader, Tavon White, who was also a known member of the Black Guerrilla Family gang, impregnated several prison guards and on a recorded telephone line famously told a friend on the outside, “This is my jail.” White pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges and was sentenced to 12 years in prison after agreeing to testify against his co-defendants.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, who was responsible for making the decision to close the Baltimore City Detention Center last year, said in a statement that his administration “has been and will remain steadfastly committed to stopping this kind of illicit behavior.”
Sheriff's Sergeant Dies After Being Shot in Lancaster; Suspected Gunman in Custody
by Melissa Pamer, Elizabeth Espinosa and Mary Beth McDade
A veteran sheriff's sergeant has died after being shot while responding to a residential burglary call, and a suspect was taken into custody after a nearly two-hour search that prompted a shelter-in-place order at Antelope Valley College.
In an afternoon news conference, authorities announced that 53-year-old Sgt. Steve Owen had died at the hospital.
"We lost a brave sergeant today," sheriff's Executive Officer Neal Tyler said.
The shooting occurred in the 3200 block of West Avenue J-7, according to Deputy Mike Barraza with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Lancaster Station.
Owen and a deputy responded in separate vehicles to a burglary call that came in a little after noon, according to sheriff's homicide Capt. Steven Katz. The deputy heard gunfire come from the rear of the home, and ran around back to find Owen shot.
The shooter fled and the deputy ran after him to the front of the home, where the deputy fired at the suspect. The gunman jumped into Owen's patrol vehicle, put it into reverse and rammed the deputy's vehicle, Katz said. The deputy fired again.
The suspected shooter then got away on foot and went into another home, where two teens were home alone. They were able to contact law enforcement and say that the man was inside their house, Katz said.
The sheriff's Special Enforcement Bureau responded, sending a special weapons team into the home. Authorities believed the teens' lives were in danger, a bureau Capt. Jack Ewell said.
The suspected shooter exited the back of the home while the team got the teens out of the house. The suspect was then taken into custody by Lancaster Station deputies.
Aerial video from Sky5 showed a man lying down in the home's backyard next to the pool, then coming around the side of the house, apparently on deputies' commands, and being handcuffed next to the home's garage.
Owen, meanwhile, was taken to Antelope Valley Hospital. It's not yet known if he returned fire, Katz said.
Owen's wife, a sheriff's arson/explosives detective, was able to get the hospital before he died, Tyler said. His adult children, as well as his mother, were also able to get to the hospital.
"This has been a very dark day for the L.A. County Sheriff's Department,” Katz said. "It doesn't get worse than this, folks."
Owen had been a sergeant with the Lancaster Station for five years, Tyler said. He has been with the department for 29 years.
"Steve was very important to the Antelope Valley community. He'd worked here a long time as a deputy before he was promoted five years ago," Tyler said. "He's extremely popular with everyone up here because he goes above and beyond."
Owen was given a Valor Award by then-Sheriff John Scott in 2014, according to a department news release.
He is survived by his wife Tania, adult sons Brandon and Chad, stepdaughter Shannon and mother Millie, according to a statement from Sheriff Jim McDonnell.
"The tragedy of a deputy sheriff such as Sergeant Steve Owen making the ultimate sacrifice has a massive impact on the whole law enforcement family. We all mourn together and our hearts go out especially to Steve's immediate family," McDonnell said.
On Wednesday, the sergeant was shot in the face, Lancaster's mayor told the Los Angeles Times, which reported the sergeant and a deputy were responding to a burglary call.
The suspect, who was hospitalized for a gunshot wound to the upper torso, is on "active parole" and is believed to be from the general Antelope Valley area, Katz said.
A weapon was recovered, the homicide captain said.
Authorities are not searching for anyone else in connection with the shooting, he said.
Students at Antelope Valley College took to Twitter to report hearing gunshots in the noon hour.
Just after 1 p.m., the college warned people on campus to shelter in place or avoid the area due to an "armed suspect in vicinity."
At one point, officials reported that both a sergeant and a deputy were shot, but that information was later corrected. The deputy was wounded and hospitalized, but he was not shot, Katz said.
Police: Teens linked to threats of clown attack, bombs
by The Associated Press
SMYRNA, Del. — Authorities have arrested two Smyrna high school students in connection with threats involving clowns and bombs.
Local news organizations report that officials arrested a 15-year-old boy and a 14-year-old girl Wednesday on charges of felony terroristic threatening and conspiracy.
Smyrna police spokesman Brian Donner says officials had linked the two to an Instagram post on Monday which stated that clowns would commit violence against Smyrna High School students.
An email was also sent notifying authorities that there were bombs inside the school and inside vehicles in the parking lot.
The school was evacuated after the bomb threat was made. Police later sent an explosive detection K-9 team, which swept and cleared the building.
Justice Dept.: Diversity can improve community-police relations
by Kelly Cohen
A new report from the Department of Justice found that a lack of diversity in police departments is hurting community policing, and that a more diverse workforce would help to rebuild the trust that has been shattered in cities and towns around the country.
"This finding is bolstered by decades of research confirming that when members of the public believe their law enforcement organizations represent them, understand them, and respond to them – and when communities perceive authorities as fair, legitimate, and accountable – it deepens trust in law enforcement, instills public confidence in government, and supports the integrity of democracy," the report said. "This trust is essential to defusing tension, to solving crimes, and to creating a system in which residents view law enforcement as fair and just."
The report, from the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, shows that racial and ethnic minorities are largely underrepresented in sworn police department officers compared with the demographic estimates for the general public.
"Ensuring that law enforcement agencies represent the diversity of the communities they serve can help restore trust and improve policing," said Head of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division Vanita Gupta in a statement. "Building on innovative and creative strategies implemented by law enforcement around the country, our report highlights how agencies are bridging divides and creating lasting results."
Several agencies have already taken innovative steps to better diversify and thus connect with their community members, the report found. One of those departments is the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, D.C., which uses social media to recruit officers with different backgrounds.
The report is a product of the Obama administration's Task Force on 21st Century Policing.
Virginia Beach black leaders urge the council to act on proposed community policing plan
by Jane Harper
VIRGINIA BEACH -- Even with a good police force in place, a city like Virginia Beach could be “just one incident away” from becoming a Tulsa, Okla., or Charlotte, N.C., where demonstrations and riots dominated the two cities in the wake of recent police shootings of black men.
That was the message that representatives of several black leadership groups wanted to get across to City Council members at their meeting Tuesday.
Leaders urged council members to take action on a five-point community policing plan the group presented to them and police Chief Jim Cervera more than a month ago.
Members of the Virginia Beach Interdenominational Ministers Conference, Virginia Beach NAACP chapter and Virginia Beach African American Leadership Forum put it together following an Aug. 8 meeting with Mayor Will Sessoms and Cervera. The mayor and chief had invited them to discuss community and police relations.
After hearing their concerns, the mayor and chief asked them to offer suggestions on how to improve relations, said Bruce Williams, a spokesman for the group.
And that is what they did, Williams said. They presented their six-page plan to the chief and Councilwoman Rosemary Wilson at a community policing forum on Aug. 31. Copies were emailed afterward to the mayor, the rest of council and senior city staff.
No action has been taken since then, leaving group members concerned that city leaders are not taking the suggestions seriously, said the Rev. Gary McCollum, a member of the group.
“That document we brought you, Mr. Mayor, was at your request,” Andrew Jackson, chairman of the Virginia Beach African American Leadership Forum, told Sessoms during the public comment time at the end of the meeting. “You called us. We didn't call you.”
The six-page plan calls for:
Increasing the hiring, retention and promotion of black police officers.
Eliminating racial profiling by improving reporting and data collection to create and foster a more transparent relationship between police and black residents.
Equipping officers with body cameras.
Replacing the culture or “code of blue silence” with a culture of transparency.
Improving police training and performance review systems to improve officer conduct.
“It's not an anti-police plan. It protects all of us. Black, white, police. The whole community,” said group member Carl Wright while addressing the council Tuesday. “Take a look at it. Give it an honest opportunity. Don't just brush it aside.”
City spokeswoman Julie Hill said city leaders have reviewed the document and “absolutely” want to sit down and discuss it with the leadership group.
A meeting with the city manager, police chief, mayor and others had been set for Oct. 1 but was postponed until this Saturday because of scheduling conflicts, Hill said. The mayor told the speakers at Tuesday's meeting that the get-together would happen this weekend, but then added: “weather permitting.”
Charlotte police release full body cam video of fatal OIS
The 16 minute video shows officers assessing and then tending to wounds, securing the scene and talking to Scott as they knelt beside him
by Joe Marusak and Mark Washburn
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Police body camera footage released on Tuesday shows in graphic detail the final minutes of Keith Lamont Scott's life after he was shot on Sept. 20 by a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer.
The video shows police officers handcuffing Scott and then trying to save his life in the parking lot of his University City apartment complex. Officers in the video said they found three bullet wounds on Scott — on his wrist, abdomen and on the back of his shoulder.
While a gun is not seen in the footage, one officer is heard telling another to “come watch this gun.”
The body camera video, which lasts 16 minutes and 29 seconds, begins after Scott was shot. Much of it shows officers assessing and then tending to Scott's wounds, securing the scene and talking to Scott as they knelt beside him.
“Stay with us, bro, stay with us now,” one officer says to Scott.
Six minutes and 45 seconds into the video, an officer says he can still feel Scott breathing. Seconds earlier, Scott's wife could be heard in the background yelling, “He better be alive!”
In the aftermath of Scott's death that afternoon, Charlotte was roiled by several nights of protests. After street violence, dozens of arrests and the death of one man in uptown, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory declared a state of emergency.
Initially, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney released only portions of police video, arguing it was unethical to show Scott dying.
But Putney reversed course amid pressure to release the remainder of the footage, which totals two hours.
Scott's family requested that police release the videos after they viewed it, which they did on Tuesday afternoon.
A coalition of media organizations organized by The Charlotte Observer also asked CMPD to make all the footage public. Other media included The News & Observer of Raleigh, The Associated Press, CNN, WBTV, WSOC, WCNC, ABC News and WFAE-FM.
In the body camera footage, Scott is on his stomach with his hands cuffed behind his back. He can be heard moaning throughout the first part of the footage. He doesn't respond when officers continually ask him for his name as they tend to him.
“What's your name, big man? Talk to me,” an officer says.
Moments later, the officer says to Scott: “Hey, that's Medic coming for you, boss. They're on their way.”
After about 10 minutes, people tending to Scott remove his handcuffs, turn him over and begin CPR.
“It is very difficult to watch,” Justin Bamberg, one of the family's lawyers, said at a news conference Tuesday night. “What you're seeing is real life. There are real-life consequences to the decision an officer makes to pull the trigger.”
Bamberg said while an officer in the footage says a gun is at the scene, Scott's family continues to contest that.
Bamberg said the new video does not show a gun.
“My belief is if it was in that section near his body, you would have seen it,” Bamberg said. “We still don't know. This video does not shine any light on whether a firearm was in his possession or where it was found.”
Video footage released two weeks ago shows Scott taking four steps slowly backward with his arms at his sides when he is hit in a burst of four gunshots from police, then crumples to the pavement.
From neither vantage point — a police dashboard camera and a body camera worn by one of the officers on the scene — can it be determined whether Scott is holding a gun.
“Did he engage in some sort of conduct that would constitute aggravated aggression that the officer feared his life was in danger?” asked Charles Monnett, another lawyer for Scott's family. “There's nothing on these videos that a reasonable person (would conclude) that Keith Scott was trying to harm the officers.”
Putney said that Scott drew the attention of officers who were trying to serve an arrest warrant on an unrelated suspect at the Village at College Downs apartments because they saw him rolling marijuana in his vehicle.
Police were going to let it go and continue on their original mission until an officer spotted a weapon in the vehicle, Putney said.
“It was not lawful for him to possess a firearm,” Putney said. “There was a crime he committed and the gun exacerbated the situation.”
Putney said he has found nothing to indicate that Officer Brentley Vinson, who shot Scott, acted inappropriately, given the totality of the circumstances, and he does not think his officers broke the law that day.
They were, he said, reacting to what appeared to be an imminent threat.
State Bureau of Investigation agents, at the behest of Mecklenburg District Attorney Andrew Murray, have begun an independent inquiry into the shooting.
Murray acted after Scott's family requested the probe — under state law, he is required to ask the SBI to investigate after a request from the family of a person killed with a firearm by an on-duty officer.
NYPD: Attacks on officers up 23 percent
Despite a decline in major crime, the city has experienced 995 assaults on officers so far this year
by James Yates
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Attacks on police officers are up 23 percent year-over-year despite a decline in major crimes around the city, officials said.
There have been 995 assaults on officers so far this year compared to only 804 during the same period in 2015, NYPD Deputy of Operations Dermot Shea announced Monday.
Shea said the increase could be attributed to gun arrests, which are up 11.6 percent this year.
"[It is] very interesting to note in the correlation that could be there," Shea said. "As we reduce some of the misdemeanor and violation arrests and continue our focus on drivers of violence and other crimes in New York City ... we're seeing our assaults on police officers ... up significantly."
The increase is "further evidence our officers [are] putting themselves in harm's way," he added.
The news came as Mayor Bill de Blasio, Police Commissioner James P. O'Neill and other officials announced that September 2016 was the safest September in the Compstat-era, with a 12.1 percent decrease year-over-year in the total number of major index crimes reported.
Index crimes include murder, shootings, rape, robbery, burglary, assault and grand larceny auto.
"The hard work of the men and women of the NYPD is self-evident, but it is also supported by a sustained reduction in crime," O'Neill said.
Clown hoaxes force police to check pranks for real threats
Officers are being forced to take them seriously as a potential threat to public safety, particularly at schools, where principals have conducted lockdowns and canceled classes
by Pat Eaton-Robb
STORRS, Conn. — Carrying golf clubs, shovels and hockey sticks, several hundred University of Connecticut students gathered just before midnight in a cemetery, ready to do battle with menacing clowns they had heard might be lurking among the headstones.
Police determined that Monday's clown rumors were a hoax. But dozens of similar reports have surfaced across the country, largely on social media. And authorities are being forced to take them seriously as a potential threat to public safety, particularly at schools, where principals have conducted lockdowns and canceled classes.
"There are many other emergencies and calls for service that troopers and other first responders need to get to without being misdirected to a prank," Connecticut state troopers said in a statement.
Clown incidents have been reported this week at schools around the U.S., including Penn State University, where police said more than 500 students showed up early Tuesday to hunt for clowns.
Officials at Merrimack College in North Andover, Massachusetts, ordered students to shelter in place for more than 30 minutes Monday night and evacuated a dorm after social media reports that an armed clown could be on campus.
The clown situations "waste valuable resources and can lead to injuries to both first responders and members of the public," Connecticut state police said. The pranks "can cause major disruptions leading to schools, businesses and neighborhoods being placed into lockdown unnecessarily."
Sociologists say the panic over clowns, which may seem silly from a distance, is actually a new twist on a phenomenon as old as witch hunts.
"There is a sense that there is some evil force out there that we have to organize together to attack," said Dustin Kidd, a sociologist and pop culture expert at Temple University. "If anything, it's just distracting us from the real ordinary threats that we face in our everyday lives."
Rich Hanley, a journalism professor and social media expert at Quinnipiac University, which also had a clown scare this week, said the fear is easily spread on social media.
Posts on Twitter, Instagram and other sites, he said, often contain videos, images and statements that lack any context, factual filters or important details that would be in an actual news report. In a closed social situation, such as a school or university campus, that can easily lead to a less than rational response, he said.
Hanley compared the situation to a "Twilight Zone" episode titled "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street," in which "the monsters were all in peoples' heads," he said. "People respond, looking for pitchforks to get the monsters."
Because of that type of attention from the community, Hanley said, law enforcement must take the issue seriously.
"I don't think they have a choice," he said. He compared it to the practice known as "swatting," in which someone calls 911 to report that a person is being held hostage at an address. Even though it's a hoax, police, sometimes including SWAT teams, respond in force.
And it's not just at colleges. A false report last month of a clown grabbing a woman by the throat and threatening Reading, Ohio, schools led to classes being canceled for the day.
A 13-year-old student at Utley Middle School in Rockwall, Texas, was charged this week with making a terroristic threat after posting a purported clown's hit list. Police told Dallas-Fort Worth television station KDFW that the student put herself on the list and told authorities she was only trying to stop any "real" clowns from attacking her school.
Several teenagers in Connecticut were arrested Wednesday on charges of making threats, accused of posting clown hoaxes on Instagram that led to extra security at several school districts.
Police also warned that anyone making credible threats could be charged with a more serious felony under a law passed this year in response to the 2012 Sandy Hook school massacre. The law calls for up to 10 years in prison for anyone intending to cause the evacuation of a school or school grounds with a threat.
New Haven public schools banned clown costumes this Halloween season after an Instagram account emerged with pictures of menacing clowns and captions telling several area schools to "watch out" and "wait and see" whether the threats are fake.
School Superintendent Garth Harries said Tuesday that the posts have been disruptive to learning and to the school's sense of security.
"There is no question that whoever is promulgating this is making threats," Harries said. "We don't believe there is any credible threat of violence, but they are still making people uncomfortable."
A 7-year-old told her bus driver she couldn't wake her parents. Police found them dead at home.
by Cleve R. Wootson Jr.
For more than a day, the 7-year-old girl had been trying to wake her parents.
Dutifully, she got dressed in their apartment outside Pittsburgh on Monday morning and went to school, keeping her worries to herself. But on the bus ride home, McKeesport, Pa., police say, she told the driver she'd been unable to rouse the adults in her house.
Inside the home, authorities found the bodies of Christopher Dilly, 26, and Jessica Lally, 25, dead of suspected drug overdoses, according to police.
Also inside the home were three other children — 5, 3 and nine months old.
The children were unharmed but still taken to a hospital to be checked out, then placed with the county's department of children, youth and families.
The case cast a light on Allegheny County's epidemic of drug overdoses — and their impact on families.
"There is an opioid overdose epidemic in the U.S., and Allegheny County is not immune," county health officials said in a recent report.
There were 422 opioid-overdose deaths in Allegheny County last year, according to the report — the largest death toll in county history. "And the upward trend continues."
The report noted that Allegheny County, which includes McKeesport and the city of Pittsburgh, "has experienced fatal overdose rates higher than those seen throughout Pennsylvania and many other states" during the past decade.
Illustrating their point, authorities told NBC affiliate WPXI that the double-overdose at the 7-year-old's home was the second they had responded to on that block in less than a day.
Speaking before the state legislature last week in Harrisburg, Gov. Tom Wolf (D) told lawmakers that the opioid epidemic facing Pennsylvania is "a public health crisis, the likes of which we have not before seen. Every day, we lose 10 Pennsylvanians to the disease of addiction. This disease does not have compassion, or show regard for status, gender, race, or borders.
"It affects each and every Pennsylvanian, and threatens entire communities throughout our commonwealth. The disease of addiction has taken thousands of our friends and family members. In the past year alone we lost over 3,500 Pennsylvanians — a thousand more lives taken than the year before."
Wolf added that "addiction too often is an invisible problem. ... But in Pennsylvania the problem is visible: In the lives lost. The families broken. The communities shaken."
Nationwide, opioids such as heroin and prescription pain relievers killed more than 28,000 people in 2014, more than any year on record, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. At least half of all opioid overdose deaths involved a prescription drug, the CDC said, adding that the number of overdose deaths involving opioids has nearly quadrupled nationwide since 1999.
Behind the grim statistics are haunting scenes of overdose victims — and the children affected by their parents' addictions.
Last month, a Family Dollar store employee in Massachusetts recorded a toddler in pink pajamas crying and pulling on her unconscious mother, who had overdosed and collapsed in the toy aisle.
The mother, who survived, was charged with child endangerment. Her daughter was placed under the care of child protective services.
Also last month, authorities in the Ohio city of East Liverpool released a photo of a man and a woman overdosing inside a vehicle that police said had been moving erratically. The driver was barely conscious; the passenger was turning blue. In the back: a 4-year-old boy restrained in a car seat.
Someone at the scene snapped a photo of the gruesome scene and the city posted it on its Facebook page “to show the other side of this horrible drug.”
And a photo of a Birmingham police officer comforting a 1-month-old girl in a tiny purple gingham dress raced around the Internet after her father died of an apparent drug overdose and her mother was found near death.
The officer in the picture, Michelle Burton, told The Washington Post about the moment that night that saddened her the most. The couple's 7-year-old daughter asked the officer to sign her homework so she could turn it in at school the next day.
"That broke my heart," Burton said. "She said, 'I did my work.' She pulled it out and showed it to us. It was math homework, (like) 'Which number is greater? Which number is odd or even?' … I told her, 'Sweetie, you probably won't have to go to school tomorrow. … But where you're going is going to have everything you need.'"
She added: "It was horrible. It was a very sad situation."
In Pennsylvania's Lycoming County, coroner Charles Kiessling started recording the manner-of-death classification in most drug overdose deaths as homicides earlier this year.
A lot was already being done to curb heroin use in his community, Kiessling told The Post — but using an accidental death classification for an overdose felt like he was “sweeping the problem under the carpet, to a certain extent.”
"They're not accidental deaths," Kiessling said. "They're homicides. Drug dealers are murderers. They need to be prosecuted as murderers."
Homicide is defined as the death of an individual at the hands of another, Kiessling said; when he thought about drug deaths, the victims were dying at the hands of a dealer or supplier.
"You're killing people if you're selling drugs," he said.
In March, at the National Prescription Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit, President Obama called opioid abuse and overdose deaths "heartbreaking," adding: "I think the public doesn't fully appreciate yet the scope of the problem."
Heroin overdoses aren't accidents in this county. They're now homicides.
by Sarah Larimer
Charles Kiessling, the coroner of Pennsylvania's Lycoming County, was called to a death scene earlier this year.
He says he initially didn't realize whose house he was in — but he figured things out pretty quickly.
The decedent was the son of a friend. That friend had previously asked Kiessling to talk to her 27-year-old son, in the hopes it would help him deal with a heroin problem.
Kiessling had told the woman that he would, but the conversation hadn't happened yet.
Now, Kiessling was handling the man's death.
Now, it was too late.
“I felt like I got kicked in the gut,” Kiessling told The Washington Post.
The toxicology report on the man's death wasn't back yet when Kiessling relayed the story to The Post.
He suspected it would “most likely” be a heroin-related death, though, and it was one that has stuck with him.
“I took that personal,” said Kiessling, who has served as the Lycoming County coroner for more than a decade. “But it also lit the fire under my behind, I guess, to say, ‘You know what? This is nuts. We have to start calling these things as they are.'”
This year, Kiessling's office started recording the manner-of-death classification in most drug overdose deaths as homicides.
The switch comes amid a nationwide heroin epidemic and was something Kiessling had been thinking about for some time — long before the 27-year-old's death.
The approach probably doesn't do any harm, said Randy Hanzlick, chief medical examiner of Fulton County, Ga. But it does go “against the majority opinion of how people are dealing with it these days.”
“To me, that's more of a legal interpretation or classification than it is a medical one,” Hanzlick told The Post.
Hanzlick is among the authors of the 2002 National Association of Medical Examiners guide, which lays out recommendations for death classifications. Those guidelines indicate that deaths due to drugs have traditionally been classified as accidents, which was mostly what Kiessling was using previously.
“I've never heard of it before,” said Jeffrey Jentzen, director of autopsy and forensic services at the University of Michigan, when asked about Kiessling's decision. “I think it's very unusual.”
Gregory J. Davis, professor at the University of Kentucky and another author of the National Association of Medical Examiners guidelines, expressed concern over the decision, saying: “This strikes me as more political than scientific, or a real attempt at death investigation. This is at best misguided, at worst, an attempt to get a headline.”
Kiessling's aggressive stance comes as public health officials are struggling to combat heroin addiction and drug use, both nationwide and locally .
“Heroin — now cheap, plentiful and more potent than ever — is killing people at record rates,” The Washington Post's Marc Fisher wrote last year. He cited a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analysis, which found that heroin overdose deaths nationwide had “nearly quadrupled in the decade ending in 2013.”
In 2014, according to the CDC, more than 47,000 drug overdose deaths were recorded in the United States — including 10,574 heroin deaths.
More than 2,480 drug deaths were reported in Pennsylvania during the same year, according to the state's coroners' association report.
On Tuesday, President Obama discussed opioid abuse and overdose deaths at the National Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit, saying: “I think the public doesn't fully appreciate yet the scope of the problem.”
A lot was being done to curb heroin use in Kiessling's community, he said, but using an accidental death classification felt like he was “sweeping the problem under the carpet, to a certain extent.” Since making the change, Kiessling has so far ruled one heroin-related death a homicide; he has a handful of other cases pending, awaiting toxicology and autopsy reports.
“They're not accidental deaths,” Kiessling said. “They're homicides. Drug dealers are murderers. They need to be prosecuted as murderers.”
Homicide is defined as the death of an individual at the hands of another, Kiessling said; when he thought about drug deaths, the victims were dying at the hands of a dealer or supplier.
You're killing people if you're selling drugs,” he said.
But these types of issues aren't always so black-and-white, said Davis, the Kentucky professor.
What about cases that involve alcohol-related deaths, for example? And is this the job of a county coroner, anyway — to make a statement about drug use and the heroin epidemic? The classification change is “not going to make these deaths go away,” said Davis, who called the switch “just a facile thing to do.”
“He's opening a door that I think is going to have ramifications of which he's not aware at this point,” Davis said. “And, again, I just don't think it's his job to make that call as homicide.”
Kiessling, the president of the Pennsylvania State Coroners Association, said he's not trying to step into the role of law enforcement. And just because a death is classified as a homicide, it does not necessarily mean criminal charges will follow.
In Pennsylvania, dealers can be charged with drug delivery resulting in death, said Richard Long, executive director of the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association. But the manner-of-death classification doesn't mean law enforcement necessarily has to take a supplier to court.
“From a law enforcement perspective, and our ability to continue to prosecute drug delivery resulting in death cases, it's not going to have a significant impact,” Lycoming County District Attorney Eric Linhardt said. “It doesn't change the relationship that my office and law enforcement has with the coroner's office, and it's not going to impact our decision-making process in whether or not, ultimately, we're able to prosecute these cases.”
Prosecuting the cases isn't an easy task, said Linhardt, who told Penn Live that it was important for the public to realize that a coroner's homicide ruling on OD deaths is “not a legal finding of homicide.”
Often, there's a mix of drugs in a person's system, which makes it hard for a pathologist to give an expert opinion on the death. Plus, law enforcement has to identify the dealer — and prove that he or she supplied the drug to a user.
“Drug delivery resulting in death cases are difficult cases to prove and prosecute,” Linhardt said. “And I know that coroner Kiessling appreciates that. And we'll continue to work closely with our coroner, and where the facts and evidence allow, we'll prosecute these cases where we're able.”
When asked if he felt like he was making a statement with the classification change, Kiessling said: “I guess I am.”
“I think I have 35-plus years of nursing and working the coroner's office, and I think I can render an opinion, you know. If people don't like it, I can't help that,” he said. “But the facts are very real. And the bodies that we're seeing related to this stuff are very real.”
‘This is unprecedented': 174 heroin overdoses in 6 days in Cincinnati
by Katie Mettler
The original numbers were startling enough — 30 heroin overdoses across Cincinnati in a single weekend.
Then they just kept climbing.
Seventy-eight more overdoses and at least three deaths were reported during a 48-hour period Tuesday and Wednesday.
And at the end of last week, after a six-day stretch of emergency-room visits that exhausted first responders and their medical supplies, the overdose tally soared to a number health officials are calling “unprecedented”: 174.
On average, Cincinnati has four overdose reports per day, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported, and usually no more than 20 or 25 in a given week.
But pure heroin is what's responsible for that average. And that's not what's on the streets now, they say. The culprit responsible for the staggering number was probably heroin cut with the latest opioid boost meant to deliver consumers a stronger, extended high — carfentanil. That's a tranquilizer for, among other large animals, elephants. And it's 10,000 times as strong as morphine.
For now, law enforcement officials have been unable to track down the source of the toxic cocktail, but they think the spate of record overdoses could be caused by a single heroin batch laced with carfentanil.
State, local and federal authorities have mobilized across Hamilton County — home to Cincinnati — to investigate the source or sources, Newtown Police Chief Tom Synan told the Enquirer.
Synan also heads the law enforcement task force for the Hamilton County Heroin Coalition, which was created so that public health and law enforcement officials from Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky could collaboratively combat the heroin epidemic plaguing the tri-state area.
Additional heroin overdoses reported in that area, plus New Jersey, tipped the total to more than 225, according to reporting on Fox 13 News Now.
In the same time period of the Cincinnati overdoses, 13 were reported last Tuesday in Jennings County, Ind., last Tuesday, 12 were reported on Wednesday in Montgomery County, Ky., and 29 overdoses linked to free samples of heroin, marked with a Batman symbol, were reported between Tuesday and Thursday in Camden, N.J.
That comes after 27 people overdosed during a five-hour period Aug. 15 in one West Virginia town.
But the epidemic surrounding Cincinnati has captured the most national attention — and area leaders are not sugar-coating the situation.
“It's unlike anything we've seen before,” Hamilton County Commissioner Dennis Deters told the Enquirer.
He called the startling uptick a public-health emergency.
“This is unprecedented to see as many alerts as we've seen in the last six days,” the county's health commissioner, Tim Ingram, told the Enquirer on Friday.
Officials have even begged people to turn away from the drug while the source of this potent batch is still a mystery.
“We're urging you, please don't do heroin right now,” Synan said, according to WCPO-TV Cincinnati. “If for no other reason, because we don't know what's in the stuff on the street.”
Carfentanil, a cousin of the less potent but still dangerous opioid fentanyl, is the strongest commercially used opioid. As they continue to do with fentanyl, drug dealers have begun cutting their heroin supplies with carfentanil to make it stretch for longer periods of time and to deliver stronger — and more addictive — highs.
“These people are intentionally putting in drugs they know can kill someone,” Synan told WCPO. “The benefit for them is if the user survives, it is such a powerful high for them, they tend to come back. … If one or two people die, they could care less. They know the supply is so big right now that if you lose some customers, in their eyes, there's always more in line.”
Further complicating matters is that Narcan, the nasal-spray version of the drug Naxolone, which reverses the side effects of an overdose, is not working anymore, at least not as reliably. Usually one, maybe two, doses of Narcan will stabilize a patient. But the recent overdoses required two or three times that dosage.
Tests to determine whether the heroin contained fentanyl or carfentanil are not yet available at most hospitals in the city, the Enquirer reported.
“We can't confirm in the short term if someone's had fentanyl, carfentanil or heroin — the tests flag only as positive or negative for opiates,” Nanette Bentley, spokeswoman for Mercy Health, told the newspaper.
Ultimately, this past week's outbreak has been most taxing on the first responders.
“It's been exhausting,” Cincinnati Police Lt. Col. Michael John told the Enquirer. “They're running from one run to another. It's been very taxing on the officers and the fire department.”
Could Officers Have Avoided Shooting Keith Scott? Experts Weigh In
by RICHARD PÉREZ-PEÑA
A spate of killings by the police has put a renewed focus on de-escalation tactics developed to prevent some confrontations and keep others from ratcheting up to lethal force. A growing number of law enforcement agencies have endorsed the concept, but commitment to it varies widely by department, and even by officer.
Supporters of de-escalation training acknowledge that police officers' traditional, aggressive approach is often needed. Recognizing in a split second when such tactics might be counterproductive can be difficult, experts say, as can pivoting quickly from one mind-set to the other.
The New York Times interviewed experts in police officers' tactics about the recent shooting of Keith Lamont Scott, a black man whose death set off protests in Charlotte, N.C. They offered their views on the crucial moments when the officers at the scene might have tried a different approach aimed at de-escalating the standoff. The experts insisted that with the limited information available, they did not want to pass judgment on most actions, and they sometimes disagreed with each other. They said there was no way to know, in any given case, whether a different approach would have saved a life.
Below is a description of events in Charlotte that led to Mr. Scott's death and excerpts from what law enforcement experts told us about how the encounter might have gone differently.
On Sept. 20, officers went to an apartment complex to serve a warrant. They were not there for Mr. Scott.
According to the police, Mr. Scott, 43, drew their attention by holding a handgun and smoking marijuana. It is legal in North Carolina to carry a gun openly, but it would have been illegal for Mr. Scott to have one, because he was a felon. The information made public so far does not indicate that the officers knew who he was.
The police have said that when officers approached him, he got into his parked sport utility vehicle. Videos captured parts of the encounter that led to his death.
Joseph Ryan | Chairman, Pace University Department of Criminal Justice and Security; former New York City police officer:
You need to ask if you need to be confronting the person now, or if you can leave and come back if the situation requires it.
Jonathan M. Wender | President, Polis Solutions, a Seattle firm that teaches de-escalation and other tactics to law enforcement agencies; former police officer in Washington State:
There are situations in an open-carry state where one could see a person with a gun, and say, “Nothing is happening here, I'm going to let him go on his merry way,” but it's a judgment call. So many cops have this idea that “I must take enforcement action in any situation.”
Robert W. Taylor | Professor of criminology, University of Texas at Dallas; former police officer in Portland, Ore.:
When a person is armed, that person poses a danger immediately to members of the public and the police officers. So de-escalation at that point is a lot trickier. The officer is thinking, “Is anything going to get worse by not intervening?”
Geoffrey P. Alpert | Professor of criminology and criminal justice, University of South Carolina:
If they approached him because of the marijuana, that just doesn't make sense. Guns are a threat, and cops understand that more than anyone. But when do you approach someone with a gun, where it's legal to have that gun? I don't know.
Jim Bueermann | President, Police Foundation, a research and consulting group; former police chief in Redlands, Calif.:
I suspect if you asked the officers now, they would say, “We really wish we had ignored him and just kept going.” The marijuana is a minor crime, but it is a crime. And most complaints the police get are not about armed robbery; they're about lower-level, quality-of-life things. So the message we give cops is that small things count.
The videos show that officers closed in within a few yards of Mr. Scott, with their vehicles blocking his.
Mr. Wender : If you don't have to get that close, then don't. You can sit there and contain him and talk to him all day long. There's no rush. But the underlying pressure is, “Do something right now, take charge.” It goes against the grain to slow things down.
Professor Alpert : Time and distance equals safety. The closer you get, the less safe you are, and the fewer options you have.
Professor Taylor : Either way, it's a gamble. If the guy's mental state is not good, closing in might make it worse, but you usually don't know his mental state.
Mr. Bueermann : The people who get into policing have a very clear bias for action. But there are situations where we want action to be a last resort.
The videos show that the officers drew their guns and pointed them at Mr. Scott. It is not clear whether he aimed a weapon at them.
Professor Alpert : I would have one person try to talk to him, while the others can have their guns drawn. Having guns out in that situation is appropriate, but if they had cover and a safe distance, they probably didn't need to. If I pull my gun, I've lost most of my other options — my hands aren't free.
Professor Taylor : No police officer should be expected to confront a person who has a gun in their hand [without the officer also having a gun drawn].
Mr. Ryan : The gun should not come out unless your life or someone else's life is in imminent danger. It's a judgment call, but if the other person has a gun out, then I'm going to feel more comfortable having my gun out.
Officers shouted repeatedly at Mr. Scott to “drop the gun.” On the videos, that is their only attempt to speak to him, but the experts noted that the officers might have tried a less confrontational approach before the video began. Mr. Scott's family has said that he had a traumatic brain injury, but it is not clear what, if any, mental impairment he may have had as a result.
Mr. Bueermann : One of the basic principles of de-escalation is you want to have a calm dialogue with the person. You want to say, “I know you have a gun, I want to talk to you, you have to put the gun aside and step out of the car.” But that isn't always possible.
Professor Alpert : This is why female officers so rarely use deadly force — their communication and negotiating skills are better. But if they're telling him to drop it and he doesn't drop it, that's really going to worry the cops and elevate their perception of the threat.
Professor Taylor : You can de-escalate by the way you talk, the tone of your voice, your stature. We need to teach officers, you can't always be in that authoritative position. But these are all judgment calls, nice 20/20 hindsight.
Mr. Wender : Physiological arousal compromises thought. Their hearts are pounding, the adrenaline is pumping, and it's harder to think clearly.
Mr. Bueermann : With that level of stress, there can be serious perceptual distortions, where you literally are not seeing or hearing a lot of what's going on around you.
Enlisting a Relative
Mr. Scott's wife, Rakeyia Scott, was recording video while pleading with the officers to not shoot her husband, and telling him to cooperate. The officers largely ignored her.
Mr. Wender : If you've got a relative on hand who's got some insight into what's going on with him, take her off to the side and engage with her.
Professor Alpert : You want her to be on your side. You could even get her or someone close to him to talk to him, calm him down.
Mr. Bueermann : You want to talk to her, but you wouldn't [use her as an intermediary] unless you were very confident what she would say, and what their relationship is.
Decision to Fire
One of the five officers surrounding him fired soon after Mr. Scott stepped out of his S.U.V. It is unclear what that officer saw — none of the videos is from his vantage point, nor do they make clear what was in Mr. Scott's hands. The other officers did not shoot.
Professor Taylor : We don't know why the other officers didn't reach the conclusion that there was a need for deadly force, or why one did. I can't draw any conclusions from it.
Professor Alpert : Very often you have contagious fire, where one shoots and then they all do. That didn't happen here, which is positive.
Mr. Wender : Most cops have been in situations where they lawfully could have shot somebody and didn't.
At the vice presidential debate, they agree on community policing but definitely not 'stop and frisk'
by Kurtis Lee
Donald Trump and his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, often tout themselves as the "law and order" campaign.
And the recent high-profile police shootings of black men have created a stark contrast this election cycle on a polarizing issue: stop and frisk.
Hillary Clinton and Sen. Tim Kaine have assailed the policing tactic as racial profiling, and on Tuesday night Kaine sought to bring the issue back to the forefront.
"Donald Trump recently said we need to do more stop-and-frisk around the country," Kaine said during the vice presidential debate at Longwood University. "That would be a big mistake.... It polarizes the relationship between the police and the community."
Pence, who noted during the debate his uncle was a longtime Chicago police officer, did not agree.
"You just heard Sen. Kaine reject stop-and-frisk. I would suggest to you the families that live in our inner cities that are besieged by crime" would not agree, Pence said.
The policy, once used by many police departments, gained traction in New York under two former mayors, Rudolph W. Giuliani, now a top Trump surrogate, and Michael R. Bloomberg, now a fierce Trump critic.
The tactic drew dozens of lawsuits by people who argued that they were unfairly targeted by police on racial grounds as they walked the city's streets.
In 2013, a federal judge ruled that New York's stop-and-frisk policy had violated the rights of minorities.
While discussing criminal justice, the two did find common ground, as both agreed that better relationships between minority communities and police must be forged.
“At the risk of agreeing with you,” said Pence, nodding at Kaine, “community policing is a great idea.”
Chief: LAPD officers feared for their lives
LAPD Police Chief Charlie Beck said the officers involved in the recent fatal shootings had replica or real guns pointed at them before they fired their guns
by Amanda Lee Myers
LOS ANGELES — Police officers who shot and killed men in two separate weekend shootings were justified in their use of deadly force because they feared for their lives, the Los Angeles police chief said.
Carnell Snell, 18, turned toward officers with a gun before he was shot, and the other, a Hispanic man who still hasn't been identified, pointed a replica that looked like a real gun at police, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said Monday.
The shootings come amid heightened tensions over police actions involving black people and other minorities across the country. A protest was expected Tuesday at a meeting of the Los Angeles Police Commission, the department's board of civilian overseers who now routinely face raucous demonstrators.
In Snell's shooting, officers tried to pull over a car he was in Saturday because it had paper plates that didn't match the year of the vehicle — a possible indication of a stolen car and something commonly seen in drive-by shootings, Beck said.
Snell, seated in the back, looked at officers and then ducked down "as if to hide from them," Beck said.
When officers tried to pull the car over, Snell jumped out holding his waistband and the foot pursuit began, he said.
After a chase of several hundred yards, Beck said, Snell took a gun from his waistband and turned in the direction of the pursuing officers, prompting the shooting.
Snell died at the scene and police recovered a fully loaded semi-automatic gun with one round in the chamber within 5 feet of where Snell lay, Beck said, adding that the weapon had not been fired.
Beck did not say whether one or more officers fired, how close they were to Snell, or whether the car turned out to be stolen.
The officers were not wearing body cameras, but a surveillance video from a business clearly showed Snell was armed, Beck said.
The shooting occurred in a neighborhood where nearly 450 people have been shot this year, making it the worst in the city for gun violence, Beck said.
"We are doing our absolute best to take guns out of the hands of those that would use them against others, and sometimes that leads to circumstances where Los Angeles police officers are put into peril and have to defend themselves," the chief said.
A group of people protested outside Beck's news conference, chanting, "No justice, no peace, no racist police." Three were arrested for unlawful assembly after refusing orders to leave police headquarters and take their demonstration to a public street.
The protesters rejected the police department's description of the shooting and called on them to release the video if they have nothing to hide, something Beck said was being considered but could only happen when all the evidence has been collected and analyzed.
"We're so tired," said protester Jade Daniels, 24. "These kids don't want to die. What black person would point a gun at a group of cops?"
More protesters marched in South Los Angeles streets Monday night.
In the other shooting Beck addressed, a man was shot when he pointed what turned out to be a replica handgun at police in another high-crime area on Sunday.
The man remained unidentified. He was only described as Hispanic. The officers were responding to reports of a man with a gun.
Snell was the third black man in five days to die in confrontations with police in Southern California.
Last Tuesday, Alfred Olango was fatally shot by an officer in the San Diego suburb of El Cajon when Olango took a "shooting stance" and pointed at an officer with what turned out to be a 4-inch vape pen — an electronic cigarette device.
On Friday, Reginald Thomas died after being shot with a Taser by police in Pasadena. He was armed with a knife and his wife described him as mentally ill.
Meanwhile, the family of a black man killed by police in Sacramento in July demanded murder charges Monday against two officers heard on a dash-cam video talking about trying to hit the man with their police cruiser before he was shot 14 times.
Plan to revamp Chicago police misconduct probes gets review
City Council members said Mayor Rahm Emanuel's plan to create a new agency that would investigate police shootings and police misconduct lacks necessary transparency and oversight
by Don Babwin
CHICAGO — Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's plan to create a new agency that would investigate police shootings and police misconduct allegations drew sharp criticism Tuesday from some City Council members who said the proposed ordinance lacks necessary transparency and oversight over a department long plagued by a reputation of misconduct and brutality.
Emanuel's plan, while addressing some concerns about the independence of the new Civilian Office of Police Accountability, does not create a civilian board whose job would include selecting a permanent head of the agency. That's something critics of the department have said is crucial to restoring public trust in Emanuel's leadership and the police force in the wake of the now-famous video of a white police officer fatally shooting black teenager Laquan McDonald.
Instead, Emanuel postponed plans to create such a board, with the city's lawyer, Stephen Patton telling aldermen on Tuesday that would be ask to approve a resolution on Wednesday that calls for an ordinance on the new board to be completed and go before the City Council early next year. That means IPRA administrator Sharon Fairley would head the new agency on an interim basis.
The mayor's ordinance to create the new agency went before a joint meeting of the council's Committee on Budget and Government Operations and Committee on Public Safety. The recommendation of both committees is expected to go before the full City Council for a final vote on Wednesday.
The ordinance would create a new agency to replace the Independent Police Review Authority, which has been widely criticized for not completing investigations in a timely manner and nearly always siding with officers.
In August, Emanuel released the proposed ordinance but agreed to rewrite portions of it after aldermen balked at the failure to include some key provisions about issues such as the budget of the new agency and who would be allowed to work there. The ordinance, according to published reports, calls for the new agency to receive a guaranteed budget totaling 1 percent of the police department's budget, not including grant funding. That's about $14 million a year, or a little more than $2 million more than IPRA's budget.
During Tuesday's hearing, aldermen, community activists and civil rights lawyers were among those who criticized Emanuel's plan, some saying it would give his office too much power, is not transparent enough and lacks provisions to ensure community involvement. Critics also said the proposed budget for the agency would not adequately provide resources necessary to conduct adequate investigations. They demanded the committees not recommend it to the full council.
Karl Brinson of the NAACP said it's clear that the demands of the public are not being met. University of Chicago Law School professor Craig Futterman said the mayor's office would be too involved with the new agency for the public to trust its findings.
Alderman Leslie Hairston said Emanuel's plan doesn't go far enough and encouraged her fellow aldermen to examine an ordinance she introduced to create a "truly independent police oversight agency."
"It is unfortunate there is only one voice being heard," Hairston said of Emanuel's proposed ordinance, which she belittled as an ordinance with a "catchy name."
"The whole world is watching to see if Chicago is real ready for reform or it is back to business as usual."
Alderman Patrick O'Connor disputed the contention that the new agency won't be independent.
"Essentially you've taken the mayor's office out of the picture almost completely," O'Connor said, adding that the city council's role would be limited to confirming a deputy inspector general.
The new ordinance also will create a new deputy inspector general for public safety, who will monitor the police force, and increases the budget of Inspector General Joe Ferguson's office to pay for it.
Emanuel's new ordinance, proposed after hearing from aldermen and others, also prohibits the new agency from hiring as investigators anyone who has been a Chicago police officer within the last five years — an effort to satisfy reform advocates who worried that people who were recently on the force may not investigate their former co-workers as aggressively as they should.
Brenda Sheriff, of the NAACP Chicago Southside branch, remained unconvinced at Tuesday's hearing, saying the proposed ordinance is evidence that Emanuel doesn't truly care about poor communities most likely to be victimized by police.
"No matter how many tears Rahm Emanuel sheds at press conferences, if he is unwilling to promote the substantive changes we demand, the world will know that he is only feigning compassion for communities of color that continue to be victimized by those sworn to serve and protect them," Sheriff said.
Family of black man shot 14 times by police wants charges
by Alison Noon
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - The family of a man killed in July by Sacramento police after 911 callers reported he was waving a knife and acting erratically demanded Monday that two officers face murder charges after dash-cam video revealed they talked inside their police cruiser about running him down. He dodged the cruiser twice and was shot 14 times less than a minute later by the same two officers.
The officers "behaved like big game hunters closing in on an animal," said John Burris, a lawyer for the family of Joseph Mann, who was mentally unstable and homeless.
The demand for the murder charges came as Los Angeles police chief Charlie Beck defended his officers in the fatal shootings of a black man Saturday who police say was armed with a loaded semi-automatic gun and a Hispanic man on Sunday who officers say was wielding replica handgun.
The latest police shootings happened amid heightened tensions over police actions involving black people and other minorities across the country, and followed two more fatal encounters between California police and black men last week in San Diego and Pasadena.
In the Sacramento case, police have said Mann was waving a knife in the air and doing karate moves in the streets just before police responded. But Burris told reporters he was not threatening anybody and that the two officers who shot him, John Tennis and Randy Lozoya, should face a U.S. Justice Department civil rights investigation in addition to murder charges.
The officers can be heard on the recording saying "I'm gonna hit him" and "OK, go for it" before appearing to drive their cruiser twice at Mann, who managed to scramble out of its way both times. The officers then stopped the cruiser, got out of it, pursued him on foot and opened fire.
"Mann was standing stationary on a sidewalk with no one in close proximity when the officers unloaded their guns," Burris wrote in a letter to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch.
Sacramento police spokesman Matthew McPhail said police are "encouraged to assess each circumstance and think critically about the tools at their disposal."
McPhail and other police spokespeople did not immediately respond to a request to interview Tennis and Lozoya. Sacramento Police Officers Association President Timothy Davis did not respond to telephone and email messages seeking comment on behalf of the two officers.
Sacramento City Attorney James Sanchez declined to comment on whether police were aware of what Tennis and Lozoya said in the car. McPhail did not respond to messages asking the same question.
The Sacramento District Attorney's Office is reviewing the recordings and police reports, spokeswoman Shelly Orio said.
Tennis and Lozoya were put on a brief leave after the July 11 shooting and returned to work on desk duty instead of patrol the following week. An administrative review of their actions is underway.
"Mann was standing stationary on a sidewalk with no one in close proximity when the officers unloaded their guns," Burris wrote in a letter to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch.
Sacramento police spokesman Matthew McPhail said police are "encouraged to assess each circumstance and think critically about the tools at their disposal."
McPhail and other police spokespeople did not immediately respond to a request to interview Tennis and Lozoya. Sacramento Police Officers Association President Timothy Davis did not respond to telephone and email messages seeking comment on behalf of the two officers.
Sacramento City Attorney James Sanchez declined to comment on whether police were aware of what Tennis and Lozoya said in the car. McPhail did not respond to messages asking the same question.
The Sacramento District Attorney's Office is reviewing the recordings and police reports, spokeswoman Shelly Orio said.
Tennis and Lozoya were put on a brief leave after the July 11 shooting and returned to work on desk duty instead of patrol the following week. An administrative review of their actions is underway.
"It doesn't service anybody's interest with the public or the city, even the officers themselves or the family of the deceased, to have any sort of determination to be made before the investigation is complete," McPhail said.
Surveillance videos show Mann doing the karate moves, zigzagging as he walked around a down-and-out commercial neighborhood in north Sacramento where many businesses are shuttered.
On police 911 recordings, callers said a man was waving a knife in the air, had a gun in his waistband and appeared to be mentally ill. Police found a knife but no gun after Mann was killed.
Family members have described Mann as a college graduate who loved politics and economics, and succeeded in several careers before deteriorating into mental illness about five years ago. They said he had been living on the streets and struggled with drugs before his death.
Toxicology tests revealed Mann had methamphetamine in his system the day he died, police said.
The videos released showed a first police cruiser that arrived alongside Mann as he was walking down a street. Mann turned away from that vehicle when another cruiser with the two officers approached him, talking inside their cruiser about hitting Mann.
When Mann ran out of the car's way, the officer driving the cruiser backed it up and turned to aim in Mann's direction again. It accelerated toward Mann, who ran across a median. The cruiser stopped and the officers got out.
Mann is heard on audio from the video saying he did not have a gun.
About 15 seconds later, 18 shots were fired - 14 hit Mann.
It was extremely rare for audio to be captured describing what the officers were thinking as the events leading up to Mann's shooting unfolded, said Kevin LaHue, a private attorney in Los Angeles who has worked on numerous federal civil rights cases involving police tactics.
"Having this sort of real-time insight into the thought process of the officers and their use of force, I think that is very unique," LaHue said.
Mann's death is the latest of at least five fatal police shootings in Sacramento over the past three years of people who did not comply with officers' orders and had a weapon other than a firearm, said Francine Tournour, who oversees city public safety accountability.
"I'm seeing a pattern," Tournour said.
Tournour said she plans to recommend that the department change its approach to de-escalating crisis situations, introduce scenario-based training and possibly add a staff position.
The chief of police answers to the city manager but maintains discretion over police training and policies.
A teen was brutally beaten after making pro-police statements. His mom says it's a hate crime.
by Lindsey Bever
An Alabama mother said her 17-year-old son — who had recently voiced his support for law enforcement amid protests over fatal police shootings — was severely beaten in an empty parking lot in Sylacauga, an attack she called a racially motivated hate crime.
Brandi Allen told ABC affiliate WBMA that her son, Brian Ogle, suffered a fractured skull and brain trauma in the brutal attack following a Friday-night football game.
“Not knowing if my son is going to make it to his 18th birthday this month,” she told the station, “I don't know if anybody can understand what that feels like.”
A spokeswoman for UAB Hospital in Birmingham said Monday that Ogle was improving and his condition was upgraded from critical to fair.
Police and Sylacauga school district officials said Ogle, who is white, was beaten Friday after a high school homecoming game, according to Fox affiliate WBRC.
His mother told WBMA that Ogle had spoken out on Facebook in support of law enforcement after some students at his school wore Black Lives Matter shirts to class.
A Facebook page that matches Ogle's name and likeness includes numerous posts about the Black Lives Matter movement and violent protests that erupted following police shootings.
The page also includes a viral video that shows a black man giving hugs to police officers in Charlotte, where outrage spilled into the streets after an officer shot and killed a black man, Keith Lamont Scott, on Sept. 20. That deadly encounter came just days after another black man, Terence Crutcher, was shot and killed by an officer in Tulsa while standing near his vehicle in the street.
The two shootings, four days and 1,000 miles apart, followed a tense summer filled with high-profile officer-involved shootings, as well as deadly assaults on police in Dallas and Baton Rouge.
Authorities in Sylacauga confirmed to WBMA that there have been related issues at Sylacauga High School, where Ogle is a student, and that the issues may have been a factor in his attack.
But police do not have evidence that the suspects are students or that the incident was related to the Black Lives Matter movement.
Still, Sylacauga Police Chief Kelley Johnson called the assault a “senseless act of violence.”
He said in a statement that he knows some citizens are concerned that the police department or the state's department of education will “sweep this under the rug.”
“But any intelligent person should see that that is not possible,” Johnson said. “I am not one to ‘sweep' any crime under anything much less a crime as violent as this.
“I now ask everyone to pray for the 17 year old victim of this assault, his family, the officers and investigators working the case and while your at it say a little prayer for our community as a whole so that maybe we can get past this and be a stronger community because of it. I call on our pastors and community leaders to step up and help us bridge this divide between the black and white races.”
Johnson said the police department has increased security in the middle and high schools.
Todd Freeman, superintendent of Sylacauga City Schools, said the district's “immediate concern is for the health and well-being of our student.”
“Every child who attends Sylacauga City Schools is part of our family and we are grieved that this happened to one of our own,” he said in a statement. “We are steadfastly praying for healing and a full recovery.”
Allen, Ogle's mother, told WBMA over the weekend that she wants justice for her son.
“I want to see them in jail,” she said of her son's attackers. “This most certainly is a race issue; it's a hate crime.”
Sylacauga police said they had identified several people of interest, though it is unclear whether any arrests had been made. The district attorney's office will determine charges.
“My son could have lost his life,” Allen told WBMA. “I won't stop until they are punished.”
NYPD steps up community policing efforts
by Lisa Evers
NEW YORK (FOX 5 NEWS) - A growing number of communities throughout New York City are being protected in a new way, with neighborhood policing. Mayor Bill de Blasio said that is not a makeover of community policing from the past, but a bold step forward in tune with the times.
The 9th Precinct on East 5th Street is now part of the 51 percent majority in all five boroughs implementing neighborhood policing. It divides precincts into four sectors. Each sector has NCOs -- or neighborhood coordination officers -- who have the same beat and same shift every day. Commissioner James O'Neill said this is about improving connections and crime fighting.
O'Neill, who started as a beat officer and worked his way up through the ranks, believes that if police and the people know each
Some longtime residents here are already noticing the difference. Others are taking a "wait and see" attitude.
Police say oftentimes the sheer volume of emergency calls they have to answer prevents them from taking time to get to know the community. With the potential for police-community tensions high in the country, the mayor says this approach will bring lasting results in New York.
A later phase of the plan will involve community satisfaction surveys, where residents will be able to comment on their officers.
Officers will get their say too in their own evaluations.
Loretta Lynch: Community policing can make us all safer
by Loretta E. Lynch
Loretta E. Lynch is attorney general of the United States.
Recent incidents in Charlotte, Tulsa and El Cajon, Calif., were just the latest in a long series of events that have left Americans feeling saddened, angry and confused about the meaning of justice in the United States. These high-profile traumas — which include the tragic officer-involved deaths of civilians and appalling, premeditated attacks on police officers — have laid bare the fault lines of mistrust that too often separate law enforcement and communities of color.
As attorney general of the United States, one of my top priorities has been bridging the divides between police and citizens. I firmly believe that all of us — law enforcement officers, activists and ordinary citizens alike — have a role to play in closing those rifts and repairing the fabric of our society. The Justice Department has been tirelessly pursuing that goal in a number of ways. We dispatch mediators to assist with tense situations, provide local law enforcement agencies with training and technical assistance, and, when necessary, investigate allegations of unconstitutional policing. Our work to restore trust takes many forms, but it is all closely tied to the principles of community policing.
Community policing is a public safety philosophy based on partnership and cooperation. At its core is the idea that everyone has a stake in the safety of the neighborhoods where we live and work, and that none of us, police or citizen, can make them safe on our own. Community policing uses our shared interest as the foundation for deeper understanding, mutual respect and closer partnership. In practice, community policing encourages officers and citizens to communicate regularly, to share concerns and collaborate on solutions, and, above all, to get to know one another as people rather than stereotypes.
And it works. I know, because I've seen the results. Shortly after taking office, I began a 12-city Community Policing Tour to learn what municipalities around the country are doing to foster trust and cooperation. I was inspired and encouraged by what I saw. In Cincinnati, I witnessed officers spending time in local classrooms as tutors and mentors in safe and supportive settings for kids. I observed cutting-edge de-escalation training in Phoenix, where officers were taught how to exercise restraint in ambiguous situations. And in Fayetteville, N.C., I learned about the police chief's youth advisory council, which gives local high school students a meaningful role in shaping their city's policing practices and policies.
These are just a few examples of the positive work underway across the country. To help other municipalities take steps like these, President Obama has designated this week as National Community Policing Week: a time for law enforcement and communities to come together, acknowledge our shared pain, begin to rebuild trust and chart a peaceful course forward. Over the next several days, the Justice Department and its partners will hold more than 400 community policing events nationwide, where we will focus on ways to ensure that all members of our society can be confident in the guarantee of equal protection under our laws. We also will publish a report about my community policing tour, offering a blueprint for other localities to learn as they work to build trust and legitimacy in their own neighborhoods and implement the pillars of the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing.
Of course, my commitment — and the commitment of the Obama administration — to community policing extends far beyond this single week. Our country's founding principles guarantee every person a life of safety, dignity and opportunity. By allowing residents and law enforcement officials to see one another as allies, rather than as adversaries, community policing helps to make that guarantee real — not just for some Americans, but for all.
Charleston leaders to unveil community policing plan
by Carrie Hodousek
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Charleston community leaders and police officers will unveil a new plan focused on improving race relations between the public and law enforcement.
A press conference will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday at Charleston City Hall.
The plan was developed as a response to multiple officer-involved shootings across the United States.
For nearly 14 months, groups and organizations have been meeting to discuss police training, youth engagement, arrest tracking and police body cameras.
Stephen Smith, director of the WV Healthy Kids and Families Coalition, said “ideas and innovations came from 19-year-old young people, the police chief himself and religious leaders.”
Smith this shows community leaders are taking real action to better serve future generations, including his son.
“I get scared about the world he's growing up in because of the violence and the racism that sort of has our country in a death grip right now,” he said. “It's important for me to be able to say to him ‘I'm doing something about it' and ‘our community is doing something about it.'”
Charleston Police Chief Brent Webster, along with Cpl. Errol Randle, have been involved with the effort.
“Ultimately, my department is able to develop practices and initiatives that are both effective and efficient while exercising empathy and respecting human dignity,” Webster said. “Community engagement is the bridge for the Charleston Police Department to be one with the community.”
Smith said developing a strong relationship with Charleston police has been key.
“Our mutual goals of fighting racism together and improving and broadening community policing were shared goals,” he said.
The organizations involved in the effort include the Charleston Police Department, the Call to Action for Racial Equality (CARE) coalition, which includes representatives from a number of groups.
The effort has lead to advancements such as Handle With Care, Project West Invest and the RESET initiative.
Virginia Beach leaders press for action on community policing plan
by Kelly Rule
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - A group of city ministers and group leaders are pressing city leadership to act on a 5 Point Community Policing Plan.
Representatives from the Virginia Beach Interdenominational Ministers Conference, the Virginia Beach NAACP, and the Virginia Beach African American Leadership forum came up with the plan after attending a meeting on August 8 with Mayor William Sessoms and Chief of Police James Cervera. The meeting was to discuss community and police relations.
On August 31, the representatives say they presented the 5 Point plan to Councilwoman Rosemary Wilson and Chief Cervera at the Governor's Forum on Community Policing. Copies were also given to Mayor Sessoms, each council person, and the city's senior staffers.
In light of the national attention around community policing and the number of police shootings of black men, the representatives feel the city should act on the plan immediately.
They tell News 3 they feel that over 30 days for city leadership to respond to the plan is too long and suggests the city is not embracing the seriousness of improving community policing for all citizens.
"We're one incident away from looking like Charlotte," says Gary McCollum, treasurer of the Virginia Beach Interdenominational Ministers Conference. "In light of what's going on around the country, we don't think that makes sense."
According to the group, the five areas that would improve community policing in Virginia Beach are:
1. Increase the hiring, retention and promotion of African American police officers to reflect the demographics of Virginia Beach which is currently over 20% African American.
2. Eliminate racial profiling in Virginia Beach by improving reporting and data collection to create and foster a more transparent relationship with African American communities within the city.
3. Institutionalize the use of body cameras in the VBPD
4. Replace the VB Police Department's culture or “Code of Blue Silence” with a culture of transparency.
5. Improve the training and performance review systems within the Virginia Beach Police Department to improve officer conduct in the community and cement a transparent culture within the department.
The plan also provides 23 specific action steps they believe the city needs to take in order to improve community policing.
The leaders have a scheduled meeting with Chief Cervera and Mayor Sessoms on Saturday, where representatives say they hope they can start to put the plan in action.
Chief Cervera tells News 3 that some of their plans are likely already apart of their policy, and others may have legal issues. However, he says he is looking forward to the meeting and seeing how they can work together on certain ideas.
"I think everyone is going to be pleasantly surprised on where we are with a lot of the issues and how we can move forward."
NYPD's community policing program is getting more cops
by Alison Fox
The NYPD will finish adding 2,000 more cops by January, officials said on Monday, as the department beefs up its community policing program, heralding it as a crime fighting strategy.
Community policing officers will be added to nine more precincts and three housing commands, including the 84th Precinct in Downtown Brooklyn and the 114th Precinct in Astoria.
The Neighborhood Coordination Officers (NCO) program, where two officers are posted to the same spot at the same time each day with the aim of establishing relationships, is now in more than half of all commands.
“This is a shared responsibility,” said Commissioner James O'Neill, speaking at police headquarters. “This is the way we go forward, this is the way we make things better in this city.”
Citywide, police said overall crime has dropped about 3 percent, with homicides down about 3.7 percent and shootings down about 10.9 percent through September.
Overall crime in the five NCO commands implemented January 11 has dropped about 3.1 percent this year compared to last year, on par with citywide statistics. Shootings in these precincts — 40th, 44th, 75th, 77th, and 81st — have dropped by 11.3 percent, police said.
In the 75th Precinct, which includes East New York, shootings are down 32 percent, or 56 shootings in 2015 compared to 38 shootings this year through Sept. 25, Chief of Department Carlos Gomez said. Overall crime is down 5.5 percent there.
The NYPD will start to put out satisfaction surveys to both the community and its own cops for “direct, real-time feedback” from each, O'Neill said. There is no specific timeline for the surveys, Gomez said.
“We now have a neighborhood policing plan that's been going on for years and is the future of the NYPD,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio, adding that past community policing efforts have been attempted but ultimately pulled back on. “This is a huge difference from anything we've seen previously ... This is not social work, this is crime fighting that happens to engage the community deeply as partners in crime fighting.”
The community-focused policing comes hand-in-hand as the last of the 2,000 more officers will be added to the force by January, de Blasio said.
And the department is readying to roll out 1,000 cameras in 20 precincts — which court documents filed in August showed was behind schedule — said Benjamin Tucker, the department's first deputy commissioner. There will be 15 cameras per precinct.
A public hearing will be held on Oct. 13 for the cameras, he said.
“This is a pilot project, and we will continue to learn from the rollout,” Tucker said, adding the department received 25,000 responses to an online survey posted during the summer.
The department expects to store the extensive footage through a cloud-based system, said Jessica Tisch, the deputy commissioner of information technology.
DOJ pushing 'community policing'
The phrase "community policing" has been throw around a lot lately.
It's been a buzz word among Baltimore police commissioner Kevin Davis, and now it's being offered up nationwide as a way to build trust between officers and the people they're sworn to protect.
Davis started pushing community policing as soon as he took over the department last year. It's a program you might remember from your childhood.
"I say it's Officer Friendly on steroids," said major Marc Partee. "Instead of just the one officer friendly that I used to see when I went to Pimlico Elementary School that would come in, give us coloring books and give us a little plastic badge and we felt good for the day... we are putting that model on the streets every day walking around and connecting."
Now the Department of Justice is pushing the idea of community policing and fronting the money to encourage it.
U.S. Marshal, U.S. Attorney to Lead Community Policing Forum in Nampa
by The Clearwater Tribune
BOISE – The United States Attorney's Office and the U.S. Marshal Service for the District of Idaho will participate in a community policing forum hosted by the College of Western Idaho on Wednesday, October 5, 2016, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. The community policing forum is one of more than 400 community policing events the Department of Justice is leading throughout the United States this week, which President Barack Obama has designated as National Community Policing Week. Community members, local and federal law enforcement agencies, and students from CWI's law enforcement program are invited to attend the event at the Nampa Campus Academic Building, second floor atrium, 5500 E. Opportunity Drive.
“Strengthening the relationship between law enforcement officers and the communities we serve and protect is one of the top priorities of the Department of Justice and for the U.S. Attorney's Office in the District of Idaho,” said Wendy J. Olson, U.S. Attorney for the District of Idaho. “The purpose of National Community Policing Week and of our forum at the College of Western Idaho is to foster dialogue, promote cooperation, and help citizens and law enforcement officers get to know one another as partners in our shared efforts to build stronger, safer, and more just communities for every American.”
Community policing is a public safety philosophy based on partnership and cooperation between law enforcement and the communities that they are sworn to protect and serve. At the center of community policing is the idea that all members of the community, both officer and civilian, have a stake in the safety of their neighborhoods where they live and work.
Olson and U.S. Marshal Brian Underwood will lead the forum, highlighting outstanding community policing work from throughout the Treasure Valley. They will announce the 14 recipients of the first Excellence in Community Policing Awards, sponsored by their offices.
“We are fortunate in Idaho to have outstanding community policing efforts at every level of law enforcement,” said Underwood. “We are pleased to be recognizing fourteen officers and agents from three different agencies for their excellence in community policing in the Treasure Valley. These officers have demonstrated a commitment to working with community members and making their neighborhoods and their schools safer and stronger.”
Olson and Underwood noted that the Community Policing Forum is the culmination of public meetings and open houses that they have hosted since early August in the three Idaho locations where both have offices, Boise, Pocatello and Coeur d'Alene.
“U.S. Marshal Brian Underwood and I are committed to providing the people we serve with an opportunity to meet and raise concerns with us as federal law enforcement leaders in Idaho,” said Olson. “We hope that Treasure Valley residents will join us on Wednesday evening to learn more about the outstanding efforts in community policing in Idaho and to help us identify where we need improvement and what we can do better.”
Local and federal law enforcement agencies talk community policing at JSU
by Howard Ballou
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) - Ask any law enforcement official and they will tell you that policing is more effective when the community is involved.
The US Justice Department has even set aside the entire week, designed to get the word out about community policing.
Monday night at Jackson State University, the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District partnered with local and federal law enforcement agencies and JSU to host a two-part event focusing on law enforcement and community relations.
It's a topic that sparked plenty of questions from students.
"Hopefully they can take something from it," said Qualy Stokes, head of the Student PanHellenic Council." "And instead of being scared of the law enforcement officers, they can now feel like they can have a better relationship with them."
The National Community Policing Week "Justice Forum" at JSU is called "Beyond the Badge: Breaking Barriers and Building Bridges."
With underpaid, overworked police, minority communities pay the price
by C.W. Dawson Jr.
I initially intended to write about black self-hatred and how anti-black racism contributes substantively to the phenomenon. Instead, I find myself reflecting on the subject of policing and the black community.
Once again, we are in shock and disgust at the recent killings of black men by the police in Charlotte, North Carolina, and in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Two hundred black people, an alarming number, have been killed by the police in 2016 as of Oct. 1, according to the Guardian's "The Counted" project. The Washington Post reports that unarmed black males are five times more likely than whites to be shot by police.
These numbers turn our attention to policing here in Columbia.
Much has been said about the Columbia Police Department. Recent data suggests that the CPD has an implicit or explicit bias toward black and brown drivers. Specifically, drivers of color have been more likely than white drivers to be stopped. The chief of police denies that racial profiling is occurring, but the testimonies of black and brown citizens say something very different.
Many black citizens, from prominent pastors and educators to common working folk, tell tales of being stopped for "DWB" — Driving While Black. Race Matters, Friends and the Minority Men's Network have been diligent in bringing this issue to the attention of Columbia and demanding that the Columbia Police Department be better trained in community policing and vigorously address its implicit bias.
To deny that implicit bias exists is foolish. Implicit bias exists in every segment of American society. That said, I have a different idea about addressing community policing that I have heard no one articulate.
First, the minimum pay for police officers and firefighters should start at $65,000 a year. Police officers are grossly underpaid. If we raised the salaries of the police from the $40,000 to $50,000 range to $65,000, we could attract the cream of the crop from police academies, and not just those who are willing to take the job. With better pay, we can have and demand better trained, racially sensitive police officers.
Second, we need to cut shift lengths to eight hours from 12. I do not want armed, exhausted police officers in stressful situations; this is a recipe for another killing. We have seen what happens after a black person is killed by the police. One way of being proactive is to make sure police officers are neither underpaid nor overworked.
Third, we need police officers to spend time with the people they have been hired to protect and serve. When the police do not spend time with the community, they operate by stereotypes, and not knowledge. Police need to know both the individual and cultural identities of people. The level of trust between the black community of Columbia and the police is not good.
It is a perverted situation when individuals fear the police more than criminals in the community. This can be corrected if officers spend more time getting to know the citizenry, and the citizens have an opportunity to know police officers as people.
I realize my critics will argue that this is liberal balderdash, and what we need is for police to be tougher and citizens to be more law-abiding.
All of us want good policing. No one wants a wimpy police force that cannot do its job. But I am tired of seeing black men and women killed by the police, and communities at odds with law enforcement. We need a change before another tragedy occurs.
In the steadfast belief that real change is possible, I hope this column finds you well.
Protesters gather in Los Angeles over fatal OIS
Protesters marched in Los Angeles streets for a second night over the fatal OIS of Carnell Snell Jr.
by Damian Davorganes
LOS ANGELES — Rowdy protesters blocked an intersection as they marched in Los Angeles streets for a second night over the deadly police shooting of an 18-year-old black man.
The crowd Sunday dwindled as the night wore on and police in riot gear eventually swarmed to move about a dozen people away from the area near the home of Carnell Snell Jr.
Demonstrators were joined by at least three car drivers doing donuts on the street and several others spray painting graffiti as officers stood by. Four people were arrested, police said.
There were smaller protests in the same area a night earlier and at the residence of Mayor Eric Garcetti.
In a statement, Garcetti urged everyone to wait for "the completion of a thorough and proper investigation."
Earlier Sunday, activists called on Los Angeles police to publicly name the officers involved in the shooting, which occurred near Snell's home. They also appealed for a quick and transparent investigation.
"We don't want to see a cover-up. We don't want to see a whitewash," Earl Ofari Hutchinson of the Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable said after meeting with the Snell's family. "We have a family that's grieving. We have a community that's grieving."
Meanwhile officials were investigating a second weekend shooting involving officers. A suspect was shot and killed as police responded to reports of a man with a gun Sunday afternoon, according to Officer Liliana Preciado. She said the shooting in South Los Angeles happened when officers approached two Hispanic men, one of whom matched the description in the initial call of an armed suspect.
The suspect was pronounced dead at a hospital. He was not identified. Preciado said a firearm was recovered but she did not have further details about the circumstances.
The Snell shooting occurred Saturday afternoon. Los Angeles police say they tried to pull over a car with paper license plates at about 1 p.m. After a short chase the driver and a passenger got out and fled. The passenger ran in back of a house, where he was shot. The driver escaped.
The coroner's office confirmed Sunday that Snell was the man killed. His family lives in another house in the front of the property where the shooting occurred. A back gate there was riddled with six bullet holes.
Police have disclosed little about their investigation other than to say a handgun was found at the scene. It was not clear if Snell was carrying it.
In a statement, the LAPD said investigators will gather evidence related to the shooting to determine whether deadly force was necessary and the district attorney's office will review it to see if any criminal charges are warranted.
LAPD: Teen fatally shot by police had fully loaded gun
by The Crimesider Staff
LOS ANGELES -- A black man fatally shot by Los Angeles police during a weekend foot pursuit was holding a loaded semiautomatic gun in one hand and turned toward officers, Police Chief Charlie Beck said Monday.
The chief disclosed details of Saturday's shooting of Carnell Snell, Jr., 18, in South Los Angeles and a separate fatal police shooting of a Hispanic man Sunday amid heightened tensions over police shootings involving blacks and other minorities in California and elsewhere.
Snell was in the back seat of a car that officers noticed because its paper plates did not match the year of the car, Beck said.
Snell ducked from sight and then jumped out of the car while holding his waistband as if supporting something, the chief said.
After a chase of several hundred yards, Snell pulled a handgun with his left hand and turned toward the officers, who fired six rounds. Beck said Snell was hit twice, once in the torso and once in a knee. He died at the scene.
Snell's gun was fully loaded with one round in the chamber but was not fired, Beck said. It was found about five feet from his body, reports CBS LA.
The officers were not wearing body cameras but a surveillance video from a business clearly showed Snell was armed, Beck said.
A group of people protested outside Beck's news conference, chanting, “No justice, no peace, no racist police.” Three people were arrested for unlawful assembly.
During the weekend, the shooting led to small but rowdy protests in South Los Angeles, resulting in several arrests.
Activists have called on police to publicly name the officers involved in the shooting, which occurred near Snell's home. Witnesses reported the teen was shot in the back while running away with his hands up.
Activists appealed for a quick and transparent investigation.
“We don't want to see a cover-up. We don't want to see a whitewash,” Earl Ofari Hutchinson of the Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable said after meeting with the Snell family. “We have a family that's grieving. We have a community that's grieving.”
Beck also revealed new details of an unrelated fatal shooting by Los Angeles officers on Sunday.
In that incident, a man was shot when he pointed what turned out to be a replica handgun with an orange tip that had been colored black, Beck said.
The man remained unidentified. He was only described as Hispanic.
In both cases, Beck said, officers feared for their lives.
Beck said both officers involved in Sunday's shooting were wearing body cameras and the footage supports their accounts while refuting claims that the man was shot on the ground.
The officers were responding to reports of a man with a gun.
Snell was the third black man in five days to die in confrontations with police in Southern California.
Last Tuesday, Alfred Olango was fatally shot by an officer in the San Diego suburb of El Cajon, triggering three days of angry and sometimes violent protests. Olango was shot when he took a “shooting stance” and pointed at an officer with what turned out to be a 4-inch vape pen - an electronic cigarette device.
On Friday, Reginald Thomas died after being shot with a Taser by police in Pasadena. He was armed with a knife and his wife described him as mentally ill. His brother told a 911 dispatcher that Thomas was high and had a history of violence.
Meanwhile, the family of a black man killed by police in Sacramento in July demanded murder charges Monday against two officers heard on a dash-cam video talking about trying to hit the man with their police cruiser before shooting him 14 times.
The officers “behaved like big game hunters closing in on an animal,” said John Burris, a lawyer for the family of 50-year-old Joseph Mann.
In Snell's South Los Angeles neighborhood of small stucco houses and well-kept lawns there was a makeshift shrine of flowers and candles in front of the property where he died. Friends and family organized a vigil to remember the teen.
“These people support him because they know what type of kid he was,” cousin James Johnson told CBS LA.
Christine Conley, a next-door neighbor of Snell's for 10 years, described the teenager she knew as “CJ” as cheerful and polite, someone who liked to dress nicely and didn't sport clothing or tattoos associated with gangs.
She knew he had been in jail but didn't know why. A Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department website indicated that Snell was arrested in January and released from jail on probation in June. It did not describe the nature of the offense.
“He's never given me any problems. He's always been respectful and kind,” Conley said. “He was always happy.”
She said there is outrage in the black community “because of the way police handle our people.”
“If he was any other race than black, he may have had another chance,” she said.
‘We run the streets': Video shows angry mob attacking CHP patrol car with officer still inside
by Kristine Guerra
A police officer who responded to several calls about illegal street racing and reckless driving found himself surrounded by a mob of angry people, some of whom yelled and cursed at him while others hit and kicked his vehicle as he sat inside.
“F the police, we run the streets,” they said, according to Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer, ABC affiliate KFSN-TV reported.
The incident happened the afternoon of Sept. 25. The Fresno Police Department and California Highway Patrol received reports of large crowds blocking traffic a few miles outside of downtown Fresno, according to the police department.
A California Highway Patrol officer, who was first on scene, spotted a reckless driver and got out of his vehicle to make a traffic stop, the police department said. Then, people began yelling at the driver to leave. The driver sped away, and the officer went back to his vehicle to chase him. That's when a crowd of about 30 to 40 surrounded the officer's sport-utility vehicle.
Several people can be seen violently kicking the sides of the SUV while others recorded the incident with their phones.
The officer, whose name was not released, was able to drive away unharmed.
Over the past week, the police department has posted to its Facebook page several still photos taken from videos of the attack.
Three men, Federico Gonzalez, 20; Gabriel Deanda, 18; and Milton Rodriguez, 29, have been arrested in connection with the incident, according to media reports.
Rodriguez was the driver whom the officer tried to pull over, the Fresno Bee reported. The officer's dash camera and a license plate reader were able to collect information about the Chevrolet Tahoe that Rodriguez was driving, according to the paper.
One of the suspects was arrested after his fingerprints were traced from the officer's SUV, according to media reports. One of them also admitted to investigators that he was upset with the California Highway Patrol for towing his car.
Both Gonzalez and Deanda are members of the Bulldog gang, the Fresno Bee reported.
The attack resulted in about $12,000 worth of damage to the patrol car, which had several dents and shattered windows.
Police are still looking for more suspects, including Guadalupe Gonzalez, 19, and a still-unidentified man who, police said, was wearing a red baseball cap and tried to throw what appeared to be a large rock at the officer.
“We're going to identify as many people as possible that were involved in this incident and we're going to arrest them,” Dyer told ABC affiliate KFSN-TV. “We'll work with the DA's office to prosecute them and make sure they're prosecuted on some serious felony charges.”
Dyer said that had the officer gotten out of his car when the crowd surrounded him, “I'm not sure what would've happened.”
Investigators think that some of the suspects came from the Bay Area, but that a majority are from Fresno in California's Central Valley. Dyer told reporters that the attack occurred during a street-racing event.
The Washington Post was unable to reach someone from the police department or the California Highway Patrol on Sunday.
The incident comes at a tense time for law enforcement in the country.
Just a few days before the attack on the officer, the fatal shooting of Keith Lamont Scott, who is black, prompted riots in Charlotte and repeated calls for authorities to release video footage of the shooting. The footage was later released, but it did not show whether Scott was armed.
On Sept. 16, a Tulsa police officer shot and killed an unarmed black man. Officer Betty Jo Shelby, who has been charged with first-degree manslaughter for the death of Terence Crutcher, pleaded not guilty during an arraignment Friday.
In Fresno, the shooting death of Dylan Noble in June prompted its own angry demonstrations. A vigil for the 19-year-old, who is white, featured Confederate flags and a “White Lives Matter” sign. Body-camera footage showed officers fatally shooting the unarmed 19-year-old, who is seen hiding his hands behind his back and disobeying officers' commands.
According to The Washington Post's database, police fatally shot 991 people in 2015 and 719 this year. Of those shot this year, 43 were unarmed, while nearly 400 had a gun.
Speaking at a news conference Friday, Dyer, the Fresno police chief, said there appears to be a willingness from some people to attack police officers.
“We know what the environment is across the nation today with protests, riots and police officers being attacked and a lot of the criticism that law enforcement faces,” Dyer said, according to the Fresno Bee. “I believe this is a symptom of that.”
AG Loretta Lynch to kick off National Community Policing Week in Dallas
by Claire Z. Cardona
Attorney General Loretta Lynch will be in Dallas on Monday to launch National Community Policing Week, an effort aimed at collaboration between communities and law enforcement.
President Barack Obama issued a proclamation Friday declaring Oct. 2-8 National Community Policing Week.
During this week "we reaffirm our commitment to supporting and advancing the practice of community policing and to fortifying the bonds between police officers and communities," Obama said in the proclamation. "Community policing recognizes that law enforcement cannot solve public safety problems alone and encourages interactive partnerships with relevant stakeholders."
All week, events will be held nationwide in an effort to "foster dialogue, promote cooperation, and help citizens and law enforcement officers get to know one another as partners," Lynch said in a prepared statement.
On Monday, Lynch will hold a 21st Century Community Policing Youth Forum with students and officer cadets.
They'll be joined by Dallas Cowboys Jason Witten and Barry Church who spearheaded an effort to have Cowboys players walk arm-in-arm onto the field with Dallas police Chief David Brown and the family members of the officers slain in the July 7 ambush.
After the shooting that killed five officers, Lynch said the response must not be violence, and instead impressed the importance of "calm, peaceful, collaborative and determined action."
The forum will be broadcast live on the Department of Justice Facebook.
On Tuesday, Lynch and Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings will participate in National Night Out led by Dallas police.
The trip will also include a roundtable discussion with police chiefs and meetings with the families of the slain officers, officials said.
Gun-violence rates drop in Pittsburgh, Police Chief McLay credits community-policing tactics
by Ryan Deto
Compared to last year, non-fatal shooting crimes were down in Pittsburgh, according to statistics released by the FBI this week. From January 2016 to August 2016, there were 25 less non-fatal shootings and about 70 less aggravated assaults with a firearm compared to the same time frame in 2015. (However, there were 44 homicides this year, up 10 from the same period in 2015.)
In a press conference on Sept. 30, Pittsburgh Police Chief Cameron McLay detailed how community-policing strategies, such as outreach, were effective in lowering these numbers. He said these strategies were particularly effective in the North Side, given that many neighborhoods there saw significant reductions in violent crime.
“We were very targeted at those who were actually causing the violence,” said McLay. “Since most of the offenders there did not actually live there.” McLay said he wanted his officers to only target those committing the crimes. “I wanted to convey [to residents] that ‘We care about you, we love you, we don't want you to fall victim to violence.' That is why outreach is important.”
McLay also explained how in the East End, his officers have worked with the Pittsburgh chapter of Men Against Destruction-Defending Against Drugs and Social-Disorder (MAD DADS) over the last year. He said the work has reduced violent activity in East Liberty and Homewood. “We have seen a dramatic decrease in [complaints] in the East Liberty business district,” said McLay. “In the Homewood business district, businesses have reported less loitering and people are feeling safer.”
McLay said the working relationship with the volunteers at MAD DADS helps to increase communication with the community because “some people are not comfortable talking to the police.”
But McLay says there are still many problems to address. Violence rates are still disproportionately higher among blacks, particularly young black men. And McLay says his department will be paying special attention to Downtown, particularly the area around the Wood Street T Station, which has seen a flurry of criminal activity.
Over, McLay said he will continue to institute community-policing strategies and rejects the notion the department needs to be “tough on crime.” He points to the work with MAD DADS in the East End as proof, as crime rates have dropped there.
‘Community policing is crime prevention,” said McLay. “It reduces crime. It is not just a feel-good strategy.”
From the FBI
National Cyber Security Awareness Month
Cyber Security is Everyone's Responsibility
Data breaches resulting in the compromise of personally identifiable information of thousands of Americans. Intrusions into financial, corporate, and government networks. Complex financial schemes committed by sophisticated cyber criminals against businesses and the public in general.
These are just a few examples of crimes perpetrated online over the past year or so, and part of the reason why Director James Comey, testifying before Congress last week, said that “the pervasiveness of the cyber threat is such that the FBI and other intelligence, military, homeland security, and law enforcement agencies across the government view cyber security and cyber attacks as a top priority.” The FBI, according to Comey, targets the most dangerous malicious cyber activity—high-level intrusions by state-sponsored hackers and global cyber syndicates, and the most prolific botnets. And in doing so, we work collaboratively with our domestic and international partners and the private sector.
But it's important for individuals, businesses, and others to be involved in their own cyber security. And National Cyber Security Awareness Month—a Department of Homeland Security-administered campaign held every October—is perhaps the most appropriate time to reflect on the universe of cyber threats and on doing your part to secure your own devices, networks, and data.
What are some of the more prolific cyber threats we're currently facing?
Ransomware is type of malware that infects computers and restricts users' access to their files or threatens the permanent destruction of their information unless a ransom is paid. In addition to individual users, ransomware has infected entities such as schools, hospitals, and police departments. The actors behind these sophisticated schemes advise the users that if they pay the ransom, they will receive the private key needed to decrypt the files. Most recently, these cyber criminals—demonstrating some business savvy—give victims the option of decrypting one file for free to prove that they have the ability to restore the locked files. More on ransomware.
Business e-mail compromise , or BEC, scams continue to impact many businesses across the U.S. and abroad. BEC is a type of payment fraud that involves the compromise of legitimate business e-mail accounts—often belonging to either the chief executive officer or the chief financial officer—for the purpose of conducting unauthorized wire transfers. After compromising a company's e-mail account—usually through social engineering or malware—the criminals are then able to send wire transfer instructions using the victim's e-mail or a spoofed e-mail account. BEC scams have been reported in all 50 states and in 100 countries and have caused estimated losses of more than $3 billion worldwide. More on BEC scams.
Intellectual property theft involves robbing individuals or companies of their ideas, inventions, and creative expressions—often stolen when computers and networks are accessed by unscrupulous competitors, hackers, and other criminals. Intellectual property can include everything from trade secrets and proprietary products and parts to movies, music, and software. And the enforcement of laws protecting intellectual property rights (IPR)—which are critical to protecting the U.S. economy, our national security, and the health and safety of the American public—is an FBI criminal priority. The Bureau's IPR focus is the theft of trade secrets and infringements on products that can impact consumers' health and safety, including counterfeit aircraft, automotive, and electronic parts. More on intellectual property theft.
The FBI is doing everything we possibly can, at every level, to make it harder for cyber criminals to operate,” says Associate Executive Assistant Director David Johnson, “and I believe many of them are now starting to think twice before they put fingers to keyboard. But we also ask that the public do its part by taking precautions and implementing safeguards to protect their own data.”
Check back on our website during the month of October for information on protecting your data and devices and on FBI efforts to combat the most egregious cyber criminals.
Latest Crime Statistics Released
Increase in Violent Crime, Decrease in Property Crime
Today, the FBI released its annual compilation of crimes reported to its Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program by law enforcement agencies from around the nation. Crime in the United States, 2015 reveals a 3.9 percent increase in the estimated number of violent crimes and a 2.6 percent decrease in the estimated number of property crimes last year when compared to 2014 data.
According to the report, there were an estimated 1,197,704 violent crimes committed around the nation. While that was an increase from 2014 figures, the 2015 violent crime total was 0.7 percent lower than the 2011 level and 16.5 percent below the 2006 level.
Among some of the other statistics contained in Crime in the United States, 2015 :
The estimated number of murders in the nation was 15,696.
During the year, there were an estimated 90,185 rapes. (This figure currently reflects UCR's legacy definition. Learn more about the revised rape definition.)
There were an estimated 327,374 robberies nationwide, which accounted for an estimated $390 million in losses (average dollar value of stolen property per reported robbery was $1,190).
Firearms were used in 71.5 percent of the nation's murders, 40.8 percent of robberies, and 24.2 percent of aggravated assaults.
Property crimes resulted in losses estimated at $14.3 billion. The total value of reported stolen property (i.e., currency, jewelry, motor vehicles, electronics, firearms) was $12,420,364,454.
In addition to national crime data, the publication also contains agency-level data, regional data, state totals, data from cities and counties grouped by populations, and statistics from certain metropolitan areas.
Crime in the United States, 2015 also features several smaller reports:
Federal Crime Data, the second report from UCR looking at crime reporting from federal agencies, includes 2015 data from FBI and ATF cases as well as traditional offense information from other federal agencies.
Human Trafficking, the third report from UCR's Human Trafficking data collection, includes general content about human trafficking as well as data provided by agencies that reported human trafficking offenses in 2015.
Cargo Theft, the third report from UCR's Cargo Theft data collection, contains general information about cargo theft and data provided by agencies that reported cargo theft violations during 2015.
Also included in Crime in the United States, 2015 is a message from Director James Comey on FBI efforts to improve the collection, analysis, and uses of crime statistics and data about law enforcement's use of force, primarily through its ongoing shift to the more detailed National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) and a use-of-force database. Both, he said, will “give us a more complete, richer picture of crime in our communities, and a national and detailed picture of the ways we in law enforcement are using force.”
According to Comey, who cited the need for more transparency and accountability in law enforcement, “Information that is accurate, reliable, complete, and timely will help all of us learn where we have problems and how to get better.”