November, 2016 - Week 4
Genocide-threatening letters sent to three California mosques
by CBS NEws
LOS ANGELES - A civil rights group has called for more police protection of mosques after several in California received letters that praised President-elect Donald Trump and threatened Muslim genocide.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, said the same handwritten, photocopied letter was sent last week to the Islamic Center of Long Beach, the Islamic Center of Claremont and the Evergreen Islamic Center in San Jose, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday.
The L.A. area mosques received it Wednesday and the San Jose mosque on Thursday.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations' Bay Area chapter released a copy of the letter, which read:
To the children of Satan, You Muslims are a vile and filthy people. Your mothers are whores and your fathers are dogs. You are evil. You worship the devil. But your day of reckoning has arrived.
There's a new sheriff in town -- President Donald Trump. He's going to cleanse America and make it shine again. And he's going to start with you Muslims. He's going to do to you Muslims what Hitler did to the Jews. You Muslims would be wise to pack your bags and get out of Dodge.
This is a great time for patriotic Americans. Love live President Trump and God bless the USA.
“There's a new sheriff in town - President Donald Trump. He's going to cleanse America and make it shine again. And, he's going to start with you Muslims,” the letter states, according to CAIR. “And, he's going to do to you Muslims what Hitler did to the jews (sic).”
Hussam Ayloush, executive director of CAIR-LA, said people at the L.A. County mosques were disheartened by the hateful letters and added that the “irresponsible, hateful rhetoric” of the Trump campaign has fueled “a level of vulgarity, vile hatred and anger among many self-proclaimed Trump supporters.”
“I'm not saying (Trump) created racist people,” he said. “He normalized it. While he might say he's not responsible, and I respect that, I remind President-elect Trump that he has a responsibility to act as a president for all Americans.”
San Jose Police Department spokesman Sgt. Enrique Garcia said police have opened an investigation and are treating it as a “hate-motivated incident.”
CBS Los Angeles reports local Muslims have been rattled by the incident.
“It's kind of sad to see this kind of thing still exists,” said Nadya Aweinat.
She said it was hard to accept this letter in this day and age.
“That ignorance is shocked to me,” she said, “That there's still that level of ignorance in our society.”
People in the mosque who have read the letter, postmarked from Santa Clarita with a fake name and phony address, said in addition to hate-filled it was rather juvenile.
“The handwriting is somewhat, no much of what they wrote, it's someone that doesn't have much intelligence. It's written on a childish level,” said Regina Smadi
The Southern Poverty Law Center reported that since Election Day, there have been more than 700 reports of hate crimes across the country -- vandalism, physical and verbal assaults, harassment and destruction of property -- directed against Muslims, African-Americans, Asians, immigrants, women and gays. In many cases the perpetrators allude to Mr. Trump, whose campaign was often criticized as playing to white nationalist prejudices. Critics charge that Mr. Trump's campaign rhetoric, and subsequent election victory, has emboldened racists to speak up or act out, leading to nationwide demonstrations against racism and misogyny.
In an interview on CBS' “60 Minutes” in the days following the election, Mr. Trump denounced the acts of violence and told people involved in such incidents to “stop it.”
Effective community policing requires everyone's participation
Since the 1990s, Lancaster city police officers have been assigned to patrol specific neighborhoods as part of the “community policing” philosophy of law enforcement. The city assigns certain officers to certain sectors. There are nine sectors and four officers assigned to each. Their names are published on the police department's website, along with their email addresses and phone numbers. But a series of interviews that LNP conducted with residents and community leaders revealed the department's approach is failing to establish meaningful relationships between police and residents.
Four police officers were shot in three states last weekend. Three of the incidents, all unrelated, appeared to be targeted attacks.
In San Antonio, a detective was sitting in his patrol car across from police headquarters and writing a traffic ticket when another vehicle pulled up behind him. A man got out, walked up to the detective's window, and shot the father of two twice in the head, killing him.
Why is this relevant to community policing in Lancaster?
We understand, as much as we can without walking in their shoes, the relentless specter of danger that follows every police officer. And we also understand why this might have a chilling effect on community policing.
We're also aware of a similar sense of suspicion among residents toward police, particularly after a recent series of police-involved shootings across the country.
That's why we believe Gov. Tom Wolf did the right thing in vetoing legislation that would have restricted the situations in which police officers are identified after firing their weapon or using deadly force.
Wolf said that while he's deeply concerned for the safety of police officers, the law would have withheld important information from the public. It also would have only deepened the divide that already exists between law enforcement and the community.
A climate of suspicion doesn't lend itself to the kinds of relationships in which residents “know their officers on a first-name basis,” as Lancaster Mayor Rick Gray said about the intent of community policing.
LNP reporters interviewed 80 residents over a period of a few weeks. Several residents were aware that designated officers were supposed to be patrolling their neighborhoods, but only one resident could name his own community's police officer.
An LNP review of 4,400 emails to sector officers from July 1 through Sept. 1 found two occasions on which neighborhood groups invited police to attend a community event but didn't receive a response from the sector officer.
That doesn't mean police aren't doing their jobs. City police Chief Keith Sadler told LNP that police officers use a variety of methods to connect with residents, including social media, the Police Athletic League, school resource officers, the Citizen's Police Academy, the Police Cadet Program and meetings that officers hold in the southwest and northwest parts of the city.
Still, LNP's reporting indicates a disconnect, which Gray acknowledges.
“I imagine that sector officers should make themselves familiar to people in their sector. From what you are saying, evidently, it has slacked off,” he told LNP.
The question is, why?
Gray correctly points out that blame doesn't reside exclusively with one side.
“We've had some meetings in the past where very few neighbors show up. That's a two-way street. Some of it is the police who have to make an effort to be visible, and neighbors have to make an effort.”
The problem is that we really don't know one another, and there's little evidence that suggests we're all that interested in knowing one another. The challenges associated with community policing are symptoms of a broader societal problem that we see reflected in our politics, in our discourse, and in our lack of empathy for those with different perspectives and worldviews.
At a memorial service for five slain Dallas police officers last summer, President Barack Obama asked a question:
“Can we find the character, as Americans, to open our hearts to each other? Can we see in each other a common humanity and a shared dignity, and recognize how our different experiences have shaped us?”
Can we? Do we even want to?
Based on the LNP interviews, residents are quick to say the police aren't doing their part in the relationship-building process.
“They never stop to say hello to anybody. They don't do that kind of thing anymore,” Richard Hilton, who lives on West Orange Street, told LNP. “They need to get out and talk to people more. They need to get out of their cars and stop being so afraid.”
Can police officers make more of an effort to engage residents and show up when invited to community events? Sure. But as City Council member Danene Sorace pointed out, “It cannot be the police department only that is defining what is meant” by community policing. “It has to be the community, too.”
She's right. Community policing is a sound law enforcement strategy. Strong community relationships establish trust and open the lines of communication. Residents are more willing to provide the kind of information that helps solve crimes and makes neighborhoods safer.
Lancaster, all of Lancaster — police officers, residents, elected officials —has work to do. There are no shortcuts.
An open mind, along with a willingness to know and understand one another, will be a good start.
Helping the police help others
For families, there's probably no situation more stressful than dealing with a loved one in the throes of a psychotic episode. For police, there are probably few distress calls more unpredictable. A bill before the Legislature could help more police across the state assist those with mental illness who are the subject of 911 calls and, in the process, divert these individuals away from the criminal justice system and toward mental health services. In doing so, they could save the state money as well as lives.
The bill, filed by Senator Jason Lewis, to establish a “Center of Excellence in Community Policing and Behavioral Health,” would standardize and expand the crisis intervention training that many departments across the state now use. The center would establish a central clearinghouse and research center for best practices in dealing with people with mental illness and those with substance abuse issues, as well as provide training. The center would also make resources available statewide that departments now piece together individually.
The training itself would help officers recognize symptoms of mental illness and guide them in how to approach people who appear disoriented and on the verge of harming themselves or others. In most cases, the protocol is far different from — even the opposite of — how police deal with violent criminal offenders: a soft, conversational voice instead of loud commands, addressing the person by name, trying to avoid a show of force. Simple adjustments can be made, such as not using a siren or shining lights in someone's eyes. In all cases, the emphasis is on de-escalation of a situation that could easily grow violent, even lethal. Meanwhile, an arrest can lead to a downward spiral for those struggling with severe mental illness — job loss, the breakup of families,
The Massachusetts chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness found that 25 percent of inmates in state correctional facilities are receiving mental health treatment, and up to 50 percent of men in local jails and county houses of correction. At MCI Framingham, for women, the rate is as high as 70 percent. These inmates, often incarcerated for minor offenses, are not eligible for Medicaid, and so their treatment falls to the taxpayer. This doesn't even begin to include the baseline costs for incarceration, and the strain on local resources, from police departments through the courts and the Department of Correction. And there's also the human cost of wrecked lives.
Of course, no amount of training can guarantee a positive outcome for every situation. (The death in October of Terrence Coleman, a man suffering with mental illness who was shot by police, was a stark reminder of how these moments can escalate out of control.) But the proposed bill gives police — and families — much better odds, and would make for safer, healthier communities.
$20K reward offered as sheriff vows to capture Calif. jail escapees
A Northern California sheriff is promising to capture a pair of men who sawed their way out of a California jail
by The Associated Press
(Pictures on site)
SAN JOSE, Calif. — A Northern California sheriff is promising to capture a pair of men who sawed their way out of a California jail and vanished late Thanksgiving Eve.
Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith told reporters Friday that authorities are using helicopters, dogs and other means as they search night and day for the two men. A $20,000 reward has been posted for the capture of Rogelio Chavez and Laron Campbell.
Smith said authorities believe the two are still in the area, noting search dogs tracked them to a nearby river before losing their scent.
"We will find these two and any person who is harboring or aiding and abetting in their escape we will attempt to prosecute," she said.
The sheriff also told reporters that authorities have received numerous credible tips from people who believe they saw the two, including one tip that came from the area that search dogs had chased them to.
She encouraged people to keep reporting such information but warned they should not to try to confront the men.
"I want to remind the community that these are dangerous people," she said. "They are not to be approached. Please just dial 911."
The pair escaped with two other prisoners by cutting through the bars covering a second-story window of the county's main jail and then rappelling to the ground. The others were quickly apprehended.
Chavez, 33, and Campbell, 26, are facing possible life sentences if convicted of burglary, extortion, false imprisonment and other charges they were being held on. Chavez had been held at the jail since August and Campbell since February 2015.
Chavez, who is from San Jose, is recognizable by a distinctive face tattoo resembling an inky gash going through his left eye. Campbell, who is from Palo Alto, stands 6-feet-4.
Smith said authorities still haven't found the tools used to cut through the bars and don't know how they were obtained.
"That's one of our big concerns," she said. "To think that we have inmates in there with those kinds of tools is pretty disheartening."
The escapees were being held in a dormitory designed to hold 20 people. Conditions there are often very loud, Smith said, making it hard for guards to hear any suspicious noise that might have been made.
That section of the jail, built in the 1950s, doesn't have cameras either, which helped facilitate the escape.
"From the officers' station you cannot see in," Smith said, adding there are plans to put cameras there in the future.
Wednesday's escape was discovered by a deputy patrolling the jail's perimeter.
"He kind of thought he saw some movement in the shadows, looked up and saw some bedding in the window," said Sgt. Rich Glennon.
A similar escape was made from a Southern California jail in January by three men authorities later determined had planned it for weeks.
They cut through the main Orange County jail's fifth-floor bars with tools smuggled in by an outsider, rappelled to the ground and escaped in a get-away car.
They later abducted a cab driver and forced him to drive them to Northern California.
The escape began to unravel when one of the men, fearful the others would kill the driver, fled to Southern California with him and surrendered. The others were captured soon after in San Francisco.
Calif. police union calls out lack of protests over rising officer killings
The video alarmed local civil rights leaders who called the web video divisive and insensitive to minority communities
by Robert Salonga
(Video on site)
SAN JOSE, Calif. — Heading into the holiday weekend, the San Jose Police Officers' Association released a provocative online video calling attention to a national spike in officer killings in the past year and contending a lack of outrage about the trend.
It also alarmed local civil rights leaders who called the web video divisive and insensitive to minority communities fearful about the election of Donald Trump as president.
Titled “When did shooting at cops become OK?”, the minute-long video posted to YouTube and released early Wednesday cites that 56 police officers in the United States have been shot to death so far in 2016, marking a 70 percent rise in such killings during the same period in 2015. Since the video posted, a 57th officer died.
At a news conference Wednesday at its San Jose headquarters, a mock Thanksgiving table was set up, adorned with portraits of American law-enforcement officers recently killed on the job.
“We owe it to them to have their memories discussed at the Thanksgiving table,” union president Sgt. Paul Kelly said. “Enough is enough. I'm not going to continue to be quiet when officers are getting ambushed across the nation.”
The latest killing was confirmed Wednesday in Detroit after a Wayne State University police officer was shot in the head while stopping someone on a bicycle Tuesday night. On Sunday, a San Antonio police officer was shot during an apparent ambush. In the greater Bay Area, Stanislaus County Sheriff's Deputy Dennis Wallace was fatally shot Nov. 13 by an auto-theft suspect in Hughson, about 10 miles southeast of Modesto.
Backed by a somber piano track, the union's web video asks, “Where is the outrage” and “Where are the protests?” interspersed with news footage about a Nov. 13 encounter where an alleged gang member shot at two gang-enforcement officers at close range in East San Jose. The officers were not hit, and the man suspected in the shooting was arrested four days later.
That was the second in time this year that someone fired at SJPD officers. On a March 12, during a car stop, a man fired at three officers with a rifle. The last department member shot and killed in the line of duty was Officer Michael Johnson in March 2015.
The video ends by saying “The San Jose Police Officers' Association believes All Lives Matter” and “Blue Lives Matter.”
Those slogans were created as a protest to “Black Lives Matter” demonstrations over the killings of unarmed black men by police, dating back to the 2014 death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Police advocates accused people in the movement of unfairly vilifying police.
Silicon Valley De-Bug Director Raj Jayadev, one of SJPD's most prominent critics, said the video only serves to inflame the very tensions the union is trying to quell.
“Anytime an armed force with a license to use lethal force says it is ‘drawing a line in the sand' — it should be understood as a very serious threat to the public,” Jayadev said. “If their goal was to ratchet up the tension between the police and the community, and further build distrust and suspicion — they nailed it.”
Kelly said a national animus against police contributes to the recent rise of fatal officer shootings, which he said was becoming “the new normal” and has been fueled in part by what he called “false narratives” and misinformation about police shootings. The union is also advocating for federal legislation that would designate the targeting and killing of a police officer as a hate crime.
Kelly noted that San Jose has so far avoided a major controversy, but he voiced wariness about the effect broader sentiments could have locally.
“We get along with our community,” Kelly said. “But all it takes is one incident.”
Walter Wilson, a board member with the African American Community Service Agency, took issue with the union's characterization of violence against police, citing statistics showing that while the country has seen a spike in the past few years, officer deaths have consistently trended downward since the 1970s.
“This is political grandstanding, and it's not helpful or useful,” Wilson said. “Where's their press conference when a black man is killed on video with his hands up? All lives matter, sure they do. But do they matter equally? The answer is no.”
Kelly, the union president, warned people not to lose sight of the lives at stake amid all the charged rhetoric being exchanged.
“I don't understand why we even need to get into the words, the acronyms, or the hashtags,” Kelly said. “We're talking about human life.”
Chandra Lopez-Brooks, a community activist, said the video bypassed a dialogue with concerned residents she says would have been more constructive.
“We need these officers to protect and serve, not to call out organizations for the disenfranchised and underserved,” Lopez-Brooks said. “We can just as easily say, why aren't you marching with us?”
From the FBI
Safe Online Surfing Cyber Education Program Reaches Milestone
Is Your School Participating?
From cyber bullies to online predators, the threats to our children in this digitally driven age are real. That's why the FBI runs an online program designed to help prepare America's young people to safely navigate the world of cyberspace, now and in the future.
It's called the FBI Safe Online Surfing (FBI-SOS) Internet Challenge, and it teaches students in grades three through eight all about cyber safety and digital citizenship using a series of fun, interactive lessons. To enhance learning, the program includes timed exams and a monthly national competition for registered schools.
And the FBI-SOS program, launched four years ago, just passed a major milestone: More than one million students around the country have now taken the exam and completed the program.
The program keeps growing at a significant clip. The first school year, about 25,000 students took the test; just four years later, that number jumped to nearly a half-million.
Topics covered in FBI-SOS include cell phone safety, privacy, online predators, social networking and gaming safety, and cyberbullying. There is also a version of the site in Spanish.
Does your school participate? If not, we invite teachers nationwide to sign up. Registration is quick and easy, with approval in 24 hours or less. Approved teachers are given access to a secure system that enables them to set up classes, create anonymous test keys for their students, and obtain their exam scores. E-mail customer service is also provided.
The website is open to the public year-round. So even if their children's school does not take part, parents can still guide their kids through the online activities, minus the exam.
Teachers and students have responded positively to FBI-SOS, and the Bureau plans to continue improving the program and encouraging more students to join. For the FBI, preventing crime and keeping kids safe are top priorities.
Visit the website today at sos.fbi.gov.
Safe Online Surfing
FBI Safe Online Surfing (SOS)
From the Department of Homeland Security
National Terrorism Advisory System Bulletin
Since the last NTAS Bulletin issued in June 2016, our basic assessment of the global threat environment has not changed. We remain concerned about homegrown violent extremists who could strike the homeland with little or no notice. Events since the last NTAS Bulletin reinforce this. Accordingly, increased public vigilance and awareness continue to be of utmost importance. This was, for example, a crucial component of the swift response to the September terrorist acts in New York City and New Jersey.
Issued: November 15, 2016
Expires: May 15, 2017
Our concerns that violent extremists could be inspired to conduct attacks inside the U.S. have not diminished.
As the U.S. continues to apply pressure against terrorist-affiliated groups overseas, attempts by these groups to inspire or even direct attacks inside the U.S. may increase.
Though we know of no intelligence that is both specific and credible at this time of a plot by terrorist organizations to attack the homeland, the reality is terrorist-inspired individuals have conducted, or attempted to conduct, attacks in the United States.
DHS is especially concerned that terrorist-inspired individuals and homegrown violent extremists may be encouraged or inspired to target public events or places.
The holiday season, in particular, provides additional opportunities for violent extremists to target public events and places where people congregate.
Terrorist use of the Internet to inspire individuals to violence or join their ranks remains a major source of concern.
In the current environment, DHS is also concerned about threats and violence directed at particular communities and individuals across the country, based on perceived religion, ethnicity, nationality or sexual orientation.
U.S. Government Counterterrorism Efforts
DHS and the FBI continue to provide guidance to state, local, tribal and territorial partners related to the current threat environment. DHS also partners closely with the private sector to provide risk assessments and coordinate enhanced security measures with business owners and operators. The public may continue to observe increased law enforcement and security presence, particularly around certain holiday celebrations and other large gatherings.
The FBI is investigating potential terrorism-related activities associated with this broad threat throughout the United States. Federal, state, and local authorities are coordinating numerous law enforcement actions and conducting community outreach to address this evolving threat.
Types of Advisories
Describes current developments or general trends regarding threats of terrorism.
Warns of a credible terrorism threat against the United States.
Warns of a credible, specific and impending terrorism threat against the United States.
How You Can Help
Report suspicious activity to local law enforcement or public safety officials who are best positioned to respond and offer specific details on terroristic indicators.
Suspicious activity or information about a threat may also be reported to Fusion Centers and the FBI's Field Offices - part of the Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative.
Learn how to recognize signs of pre-operational planning associated with terrorism or other criminal activity.
Be prepared for security and plan ahead.
In populated places, be responsible for your personal safety. Make a mental note of emergency exits and locations of the nearest security personnel. Carry emergency contact details and any special needs information with you at all times.
Business owners are encouraged to Connect, Plan, Train, and Report to prepare businesses & employees.
For more visit Ready and DHS's Hometown Security Campaign.
The U.S. Government will provide additional information about any emerging threat as additional information is identified. The public is encouraged to listen to local law enforcement and public safety officials.
We urge Americans to continue to travel, attend public events, and freely associate with others but remain vigilant and aware of surroundings.
The Department of State issues international travel alerts and warnings.
If You See Something, Say Something™. Report suspicious activity to local law enforcement or call 911.
From the Department of Justice
Ohio Man Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison for Plot to Attack U.S. Government Officers
Munir Abdulkader, 22, of West Chester, Ohio, was sentenced to 20 years in prison and lifetime supervised release, for plotting to murder a military base employee and attack a Cincinnati area police station in the name of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a designated foreign terrorist organization.
Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security Mary B. McCord, U.S. Attorney Benjamin C. Glassman for the Southern District of Ohio, Special Agent in Charge Angela L. Byers of the FBI's Cincinnati Field Division, Police Chief Joel Herzog of the West Chester Police Department, Superintendent Colonel Paul A. Pride of the Ohio State Highway Patrol and Police Chief Eliot Isaac of the Cincinnati Police Department announced the sentence handed down today by U.S. District Judge Michael R. Barrett.
“Using social media to communicate with the now-deceased Syria-based ISIL terrorist Junaid Hussain, Abdulkader coordinated and planned violent murders of military members and police officers,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General McCord. “Identifying and stopping such ISIL-directed and inspired plots is and will remain one of our highest priorities.”
“Abdulkader placed himself under the direction and control of an evil foreign terrorist organization and plotted with that organization to conduct multiple murderous attacks in the Cincinnati area,” said U.S. Attorney Glassman.
Abdulkader previously pleaded guilty to attempting to kill officers and U.S. government employees, conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.
Abdulkader's plan was to murder a specific employee of a military base at the employee's home. He planned to videotape the murder so that it could be used in an ISIL propaganda video to further ISIL's cause. Following the murder, Abdulkader would then launch a violent attack on a police station in the Cincinnati area.
In preparation for the attacks, Abdulkader conducted surveillance of the police station, received a targeting package about the victim, went to a shooting range, learned how to operate certain firearms and practiced shooting the firearms. He also bought an AK-47 assault rifle for the attack.
According to the statement of facts admitted by Abdulkader at the plea hearing, beginning in at least July 2014 and continuing into 2015, Abdulkader expressed his support for ISIL on Twitter accounts. From approximately March 2015 to mid-April 2015, Abdulkader began speaking with a Confidential Human Source (CHS) about his desire and intention to travel to Syria in order to join ISIL as a fighter.
During that same time, Abdulkader made plans and preparations to travel to Syria to join ISIL as a fighter. Namely, he secured a passport, saved money for the trip and researched the logistical details of traveling to Syria and joining ISIL. In late April, though, Abdulkader expressed concerns about the ability to travel and postponed his original departure date of May 2, 2015.
During May 2015, Abdulkader was in electronic communication with one or more individuals located overseas who he understood were members of ISIL. One of those individuals was a member of ISIL identified as Junaid Hussein. Through their communications, Junaid Hussein directed and encouraged Abdulkader to plan and execute a violent attack within the U.S.
Abdulkader communicated with Junaid Hussein and the CHS about a plan to kill an identified military employee on account of his position with the U.S. government. The plan included abducting the employee at the employee's home and filming the execution of the employee.
After killing the employee, Abdulkader planned to execute a violent attack on a police station in the Southern District of Ohio using firearms and Molotov cocktails.
Abdulkader was arrested on May 21, 2015 by the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), after a controlled purchase and possession of the AK-47 assault rifle.
The defendant was charged by criminal complaint on May 22, 2015 and a bill of information was filed on March 2. Abdulkader pleaded guilty to the three charges in the information on March 24 before U.S. District Judge Barrett. The court documents and proceedings were unsealed in July.
Acting Assistant Attorney General McCord and U.S. Attorney Glassman commended the investigation of this case by the JTTF. The JTTF is made up of officers and agents from the Cincinnati Police Department; Colerain Police Department in Cincinnati; Dayton Police Department in Dayton, Ohio; Ohio State Highway Patrol; University of Cincinnati Police Department; U.S. Air Force OSI; FBI; U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement; IRS; U.S. Secret Service; U.S. Postal Inspection Service; West Chester Police Department in West Chester, Ohio; and Xenia Police Department in Xenia, Ohio.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Tim Mangan for the Southern District of Ohio and Trial Attorney Michael Dittoe of the National Security Division's Counterterrorism Section.
Bringing the Parole Commission out of the shadows
by Michele Hanisee
The passage of Prop 57, predicated on the false promise that only non-violent felons would be eligible for early release, may shortly result in many dangerous felons receiving an early release. However, while the media spotlight may shift away, we intend to track this initiative, the promises made, and highlight the felons who receive early release.
Proposition 57 contained no criteria for what an inmate had to do to qualify for early parole consideration, leaving that task to the bureaucrats at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). We will inform the public via this blog of any discussion of those criteria, and what regulations are adopted. Similarly, after we and others pointed out the numerous sex offenders eligible for early release under Prop 57, Governor Brown promised that regulations would be written to block their eligibility. We will keep you informed if that promise is fulfilled- and also update you on the sure to be filed lawsuits should such regulations be enacted. Prop 57 also gave power to CDCR to invent sentence credits for all inmates, and we will promptly inform you whenever such credits are promulgated.
One of Governor Brown's main talking points in support of Prop 57 was his derision of elected District Attorneys who, in his view, have "unfettered, unreviewable" discretion to "charge whatever the hell he wants." In the Governor's view, Prop 57 was a better alternative that has a "professional group of people privately evaluating when to release our prisoners." Putting aside the misstatements of the Governor regarding the power of a District Attorney--what should be alarming to everyone is the statement that parole releases will be done "in private" by "professionals."
First, parole releases are a matter of public record, not a private affair for unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats. We will monitor and report on the parole decisions made by these bureaucrats, even if that means multiple public record act requests to learn of their decisions. In addition, we will being highlighting the background and parole release decisions of those on the Parole Commission, who currently are virtual unknowns to the general public. For example, did you know one of Governor Browns' "professional group of people" is an attorney who spent five of his seven years practicing law representing inmates seeking parole?
For far too long the Parole Board has operated in the shadows, its decisions only questioned in high profile cases such as when it voted to release cop killers (link) or brutal murderers like Leslie Van Houten. Since the pool of inmates they can release has been greatly expanded by Prop 57, it is about time the light of day shines on the Parole Commission. After all, the elected District Attorneys whom Governor Brown has such contempt for must face voters every four years, justify their past term, and explain why they should be re-elected. There is absolutely no reason that the Parole Commissioner, their Deputy Commissioners, and anybody else given the authority to grant early releases and usurp a Judges' sentencing decision should avoid similar scrutiny....and we are happy to provide such scrutiny.
We have already seen the disaster that is Prop 47 and the property crime wave it unleashed. The inmates that Prop 57 will release early were sent to prison with sentences they earned, via their current crime and criminal history. When these early release inmates commit a new crime because they were on the streets instead of remaining imprisoned, the "professional" we intend to highlight will be the Parole Commissioner(s) who made the decision to release them early. We will not accept, nor should the public accept, the excuse that the Commissioner is not responsible for an inmates' behavior upon release, because it will be only be, by the release decision, that inmate had a chance to commit the crime.
While Governor Brown may be excited to give dangerous felons a "second chance," we certainly don't share his enthusiasm. Our job is to protect the public, and with Prop 57 we intend to do that by fully informing the public of who the Governor's proposition has released and any crimes they committed upon release. Selling an initiative upon abstract promises of 'second chances" for "non-violent" felons will undoubtedly turn out to be the easy part of Prop 57-the reality of who those released are and what they did upon release will be the ugly truth.
Michele Hanisee is President of the Association of Los Angeles Deputy District Attorneys, the collective bargaining agent representing nearly 1,000 Deputy District Attorneys who work for the County of Los Angeles. To contact a Board member, click here.
Mass Rapes To Mass Protests: Violence Against Women In 2016
by Janet Walsh
From historic convictions to impunity for gang rapes, 2016 has been a year of highs and lows when it comes to efforts to stem violence against women.
November 25 is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. It's a day to reflect on the pain and resilience of survivors. And it's a day to take stock of progress and failings in combatting this pervasive human rights abuse.
In March, the International Criminal Court (ICC) reached its first conviction for sexual violence. It found a former Democratic Republic of Congo vice president, Jean-Pierre Bemba, guilty of rape, murder, and pillage in neighboring Central African Republic. Bemba was found guilty under the concept of “command responsibility,” in which civilian and military superiors can be held criminally liable for crimes committed by troops under their control.
In Senegal, a court convicted Hissène Habré, the former president of Chad, of personally committing rape as an international crime. In May, decades after his victims started fighting for his prosecution, Habré was convicted of torture, war crimes, and crimes against humanity, and sentenced to life in prison.
But despite these victories, impunity for violence against women remains a massive problem. Around the world, Human Rights Watch documented horrific violent attacks on women, with the attackers facing no punishment.
In Nigeria, government officials and other authorities raped and sexually exploited women and girls displaced by the conflict with the armed group Boko Haram. In Jordan, there was a spike in so-called “honor killings,” murders of women or girls by relatives for acts supposedly impinging family “honor.” In South Sudan, Central African Republic, and Burundi, armed combatants gang raped women and girls. In Nepal, child marriage, as well as rape and physical abuse of child brides, is common.
And in some countries, reports this year revealed sexual violence that has continued for years. In the United States, military service members have faced not only sexual assault, but also retaliation if they reported the abuse. In Burma, the military has committed rape and other sexual violence relating to the country's decades-long civil wars. Women raped in Kenya's 2007-2008 post-election violence have been unable to obtain reparations or justice. The list of horror goes on.
The past year also saw contrasts in how governments address violence against women in legislation. Some countries, like Haiti, have no laws specifically criminalizing domestic violence. Others, like Morocco, are still discussing a draft domestic violence law. But some countries have strengthened legal protections. China, for example, started implementing its December 2015 domestic violence law, and Brazil set tougher penalties for “femicide,” or gender-motivated killings of women and girls.
United Nations agencies and bodies also produced contrasts over the past year. The World Health Organization's governing body adopted a new global plan of action on health system response to violence. At the same time, UN peacekeepers were accused of rape and sexual exploitation in Central African Republic and other countries. A scathing independent report cited UN failures in handling peacekeeper abuse.
Then, there are the contrasts in elected officials, and what this means for violence against women. There are contrasts across the globe, but you could hardly see a starker contrast than in North America. In Canada, the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, a proud feminist, lifted a prohibition on the use of foreign aid for abortion services, clearing a path for rape victims and others to receive comprehensive reproductive health services. Canada also began a national inquiry this year into violence against indigenous women and girls.
At the same time, U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has publicly bragged about sexual assault and dismissed this as “locker room talk,” has been accused by more than a dozen women of groping or sexual assault, and has expressed his intention to restrict access to legal abortion and reproductive health services, which would pose grave risks for all women.
Plenty of people around the world are fed up with violence against women, fed up with the lack of accountability for abusers, and fed up with politicians and others who normalize abuse or fail to combat it. They're taking brave actions to keep shelters open, push for better protections, help survivors heal, and help bring abusers to justice.
Many are taking to the streets. In Argentina, for example, thousands of people wearing black clothes braved torrential rain in Buenos Aires in October to protest the rape and killing of a 16-year-old girl.
I hope next November 25 will be a day to celebrate more victories, and fewer failures, in the fight against violence against women.
Baltimore police: Officers shot man holding 2 knives
by The Associated Press
BALTIMORE — Officers shot and wounded a man in Baltimore after receiving a 911 call reporting that he was waving knives and threatening shoppers and people at a bus stop, Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said at a news conference Friday.
Officers used a stun gun when the man holding a knife in each hand refused to drop the weapons, but it did not take effect and two officers shot him, striking him several times, Davis said.
Officers rendered first aid immediately, and the man was in critical condition, he said.
“I'm not sure what his state of mind was. I think it's safe to say it was unstable, it was threatening, it was menacing,” he said. No one else was hurt.
Video obtained by a television station and posted online showed a person in uniform performing CPR on a person lying on the sidewalk near a former movie theater and shops. Another video shows the man being loaded into an ambulance.
Investigators will review footage from the body camera worn by one of the three officers involved. Police didn't immediately give the races of the officers or the man who was shot.
Investigators were working to confirm the man's identity, Davis said. The officers will be placed on routine administrative leave, police spokesman Detective Donny Moses said.
This was the second police shooting in the city this week. An officer shot and wounded an armed man after a west Baltimore traffic stop on Tuesday.
Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Police: Alabama couple planted fake bomb hoping to shoot officers
by The Associated Press
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — An Alabama couple planted a fake bomb at a suburban elementary school hoping to shoot officers arriving at the scene or even rob a bank, police said Wednesday.
Zachary Edwards, 35, and Raphel Dilligard, 34, of Birmingham face charges that include making terrorist threats, rendering a false alarm and possessing a hoax destructive device, said police Capt. Jeff Bridges of Trussville, Alabama.
A hoax bomb was found outside Magnolia Elementary School on Nov. 16, prompting a response that included agents from the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Authorities said it contained gunpowder, modeling clay and a timer, but no detonator. Experts examined the device and then detonated it at the scene.
"It looked real enough that it concerned us," Bridges said in an interview.
Arrested afterward, the couple told investigators what they had planned, according to Bridges. The couple, who share an address, wanted to shoot officers at the school or rob a bank while police were busy dealing with the bogus bomb, he said.
Authorities determined that a stopwatch used as a timer in the fake bomb was sold at Walmart and they began searching stores where it may have been purchased. Authorities said that search led to video surveillance images of Dilligard and, in turn, Edwards.
The man told police he was part of the Black Panthers and the Black Mafia, Bridges said, but it was unclear whether he was actually affiliated with any group.
Court records weren't yet available to show whether Edwards or Dilligard had a lawyer who could speak on their behalf.
Kentucky football game shooting leaves 2 dead
by Ray Sanchez
Gunfire erupted near an annual Thanksgiving Day football event in Kentucky, leaving two people dead and five others wounded, Louisville Metro Police said.
The shootings, shortly before 2 p.m. Thursday, happened during what locals know as the annual Juice Bowl, which fills Shawnee Park with hundreds of children and adults for a series of holiday football games.
Stephen Washburn was streaming a Facebook Live video when the shooting could be heard in the background. There were 19 shots. The shooters are not visible in the video.
The city's mayor, who was about 200 yards from the gunfire, was safely whisked away by security.
No arrests so far
The FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives have joined the investigation into the shootings, CNN affiliate WAVE reported.
The shooters got away, according to Dwight Mitchell, a spokesman for the Louisville Metro Police Department.
Lt. Emily McKinley told reporters Friday that the shootings, which involved people not participating in the Juice Bowl, stemmed from a dispute. No arrests have been made.
Police revised the number of injured Friday from four to five. Their injuries are not life threatening.
"This is very tragic," Mitchell said. "I'm saddened. We've had over 100 homicides in our city... It is a day to be thankful and we're thankful that more people were not hurt."
Deadly new homicide record
The Thanksgiving Day deaths brought Louisville's 2016 homicide count to 112, Mitchell said. The record high was 110 homicides in 1971, WAVE reported.
Relatives and friends of the dead and wounded could be seen crying inconsolably in video shot by WAVE. They tried to get by police tape that crisscrossed the shooting scene but were held back.
Police vehicles were scattered across an open field. A football game continued on another stretch of the vast field.
A decades-old tradition
Donna Grimes told WAVE her grandfather and his friends started the Juice Bowl tradition 50 years ago. Hundreds of people would gather in the park before Thanksgiving dinner. The event was a family affair.
"This is the first time ever (that) shots were fired," Grimes told the station.
The dead and wounded were sprawled across the grassy field, she said.
"It does not make sense," Grimes said of the violence.
"Locking these guys up don't mean nothing. Send them to fight the war since they want to shoot some guns. It's a sad time for Thanksgiving and it's a sad day for the Juice Bowl."
Isis: Terror plot targeting 'French theme park and police officers' foiled
The suspects, aged between 29 and 38, were detained after an eight-month investigation by French security services
by Lucy Pasha-Robinson
A theme park and a top police location were among the targets of a suspected Isis terror attack in France that was foiled over the weekend, according to local media reports.
Seven suspected terrorists, of French, Moroccan and Afghan nationalities, were arrested in Strasbourg and Marseille in a series of coordinated raids on Saturday and Sunday.
The suspects, aged between 29 and 38, were detained after an eight-month investigation by French security services.
The surveillance came to a climax due to the group's “nervousness” as they awaited a weapons delivery, reportedly sparking intelligence agencies to spring into action as the risk to public safety increased.
Police uncovered three automatic pistols: a glock, a Sig Sauer and a dismantled handgun during the raids, along with multiple nine millimetre cartridges and documents linking the suspects to Islamic State, including telephones, SIM cards and details for messaging application Telegram, according to iTele .
Details of the specific location of the attacks remain unknown, however the mayor of Strasbourg said it appeared the plot had focused on "the Paris region".
Fresh details have also emerged surrounding the identity of the suspects, with security sources confirming some had fought in Syria and were linked to the Isis cell that carried out the Paris attacks in November 2015 that killed 130 people.
One of those intercepted in Strasbourg, named only as 38-year-old Yasin B, was a preschool monitor who went to Syria via Cyprus in 2015.
“I am shocked and I'm having difficulty believing it. He was such a smiley, sociable person who was was always very attentive with the children,” one mother, who asked not to be named, told Liberation.
“He seemed like a normal man. I don't blame the school, he's someone I would have hired myself.”
Another mother of two children at the school, who wished only to be known as Leïla, said: “My children knew him and they liked him a lot. I haven't told them anything. It's scary to not know what is in somebody's head.”
Bernard Cazeneuve, France's interior minister, told a news conference that counter-terror officers had uncovered links between the cell and a network arrested in June for planning attacks during the Euro 2016 football tournament.
“The work of the Direction générale de la sécurité intérieure (DGSI) allowed us to thwart a terrorist act envisaged for a long time on our soil,” Mr Cazeneuve said. “A new attack has been foiled.”
One of the men arrested had previously been reported to French security services by a partner country, however, the other six were unknown to intelligence agencies.
The public prosecutor in Paris has now launched an investigation to establish the suspects' roles and how advanced the group were in the planning stages of the attacks.
Two of the suspects who were arrested in Marseille were released on Tuesday.
A total of 418 people have been arrested in France for suspected links to terror networks since the start of the year, including 43 people this month alone.
The country remains in a state of emergency a year after Isis-linked attackers launched a coordinated asault on Paris, and some months after a lone terrorist ploughed a lorry into crowds in Nice celebrating Bastille Day in July.
Calif. officer in critical condition after skateboard attack
The injured officer reportedly suffered a major head injury and underwent surgery at a local trauma center
by Robert Salonga
SAN FRANCISCO — A police officer is in critical condition after he was hit in the head with a skateboard by a fleeing suspect Thursday afternoon, according to South San Francisco police.
The officer was on patrol in the 300 block of Grand Avenue around 2:20 p.m. when he was waved down by someone saying a man was causing a disturbance at a nearby business, police said. When the officer approached the man in question, the man did not obey the officer's orders, and the officer called for backup.
As a second officer arrived on scene, the man took off on a skateboard, and the first officer ran after him. At some point during the short chase, the man “stopped, turned and struck the officer in the head with the skateboard, knocking the officer unconscious,” police said.
Soon after, the suspect was caught and arrested by the second officer. The suspect has since been identified as Luis Alberto Ramos-Coreas, a 28-year-old South San Francisco resident.
The injured officer, whose name was withheld by police, reportedly suffered a major head injury and underwent surgery at a local trauma center.
South San Francisco Mayor Mark Addiego released a statement of support after hearing about the incident.
“This is so disheartening to hear of this incident, in a city such as South San Francisco,” he said. “We are a tight-knit community with a police force that is our family. Our thoughts and prayers are with this officer and his family.”
The attack occurred during a year when fatal attacks on officers across the United States are spiking, with 57 such killings recorded in 2016, a 70 percent increase over the previous year. The trend prompted the San Jose Police Officers' Association to call out a lack of protests over the killings in contrast to demonstrations evoked by officer-involved shootings.
Additional details about the Thursday attack were not released. Anyone with information about the case can contact South San Francisco police at 650-877-8900 or leave an anonymous tip at 650-952-2244.
Wis. police, teens come together for food and football
The 'Feast and Football' community event was held to strengthen relationships between residents, youth and law enforcement
by Ashley Luthern
MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee police Officer Ron Edwards didn't expect to play flag football Saturday afternoon, but he jumped in a game — uniform and all — with fellow officers and dozens of young people at Sherman Park.
"It made me realize I'm not as young as I used to be," Edwards said afterward with a chuckle. "I had a good time."
The game was the centerpiece of Feast and Football, a community event organized by Safe and Sound, a local nonprofit that works to strengthen relationships between residents, youth and law enforcement. It took place three months after the Sherman Park neighborhood was rocked by two nights of violent unrest following a fatal police shooting.
"It's a chance to get the community to come together, the Police Department to come together and bond as one, to pick up where we lost that connection," said Edwards, an 11-year department veteran.
Plunging temperatures and brisk winds didn't dampen the festive atmosphere or attendance. Nearly 200 people came out to enjoy food, sports and music. Fifty families received turkeys and Thanksgiving meal gift cards from the Hunger Task Force. More than 50 adults and children received winter boots donated by Kohl's. A Cry For Help Foundation also offered free hygiene products and gently used clothing.
"It's bringing the community back together after everything that happened," said Timothy Singleton, a junior in high school, who went to the park with his friends, Marcus Jackson and Hunter Rushing.
"It just helps support the community," Rushing added.
Feast and Football also showed young people they are not alone, said Afeni Grace, a youth organizer with Safe and Sound.
"They have resources that they can use," Grace said. "They were playing with police officers, older people and I think it's really cool for us to be connected and to build community."
The event received funding from the Greater Milwaukee Foundation's Reasons for Hope MKE Fund, which was created to promote healing after the unrest in Sherman Park.
"We had kids from all over the city, just once again to highlight what happened in Sherman Park wasn't specific to Sherman Park," said Amanda Schick, a Safe and Sound community organizer.
"It could have happened anywhere in the city," she said. "People who live and play and work here want to show the rest of the city all the good things that are happening, so this is just one of the many good things that are happening in Sherman Park."
Report: Driver Asked Kids ‘Are You Ready To Die' Before Crashing Bus In Chattanooga
by CBS Baltimore
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WWJ/AP) – Parents of some of the children who survived a deadly school bus crash in Chattanooga are starting to shed some light on the moments leading up to the crash, which killed five kids and injured more than 20 others.
CBS News Correspondent Mark Strassmann spoke to a mother who had three children on the bus, one of whom died. The mother says that her other two children told her that just before the crash, the bus driver asked the children if they were ready to die.
“The mother says that in the moments before the crash, the bus driver said something to the effect of ‘Are you all ready to die?' and then seconds later, the bus was on its side and five kids were killed,” said Strassmann.
The 24-year-old bus driver, Johnthony Walker, was arrested and charged with five counts of vehicular homicide, reckless driving and reckless endangerment.
Investigators are looking at speed “very, very strongly” as a factor in the crash, Chattanooga Police Chief Fred Fletcher said earlier. An arrest affidavit posted online by Chattanooga station WTVC says Walker was driving well above the posted 30 mph speed limit on a narrow, winding road. His bond was set at $107,500, according to the affidavit.
Police said overnight that five children were killed in the crash. Earlier Monday, Hamilton County District Attorney Neal Pinkston told news outlets the crash killed six. The Associated Press was not immediately able to reach officials Tuesday morning to explain the discrepancy.
Names of those killed have not yet been released; three were in the fourth grade, one was in first grade and one was in kindergarten.
Thirty-five students from kindergarten through fifth grade were on board when the bus flipped onto its side and wrapped around a tree. The bus was the only vehicle involved in the crash, but Fletcher said the scene was complicated and covered a significant area. He also said a warrant had been issued to remove the bus' black box, which contains data about the vehicle's movement.
Bloodied Woodmore Elementary School students lay on stretchers, while others walked away dazed with their parents after the crash, local news outlets reported. More than 20 children went to hospitals for their injuries, according to Fletcher.
Emergency responders needed almost two hours to get all the children off the bus.
Television cameras showed emergency vehicles still there late into the night, and the National Transportation Safety Board tweeted that a team would be heading to Chattanooga on Tuesday morning to investigate.
Craig Harris, a parent of two children who were on the bus, told ABC's “Good Morning America” Tuesday morning he thought the bus driver sometimes drove too fast.
“There has been times where I've seen him going a little faster than he probably should be going,” Harris said.
Harris said his daughter and stepson were in shock and pain after the crash but were doing better Tuesday morning.
Television stations reported that people lined up to donate blood and some donors were asked to make appointments for Tuesday.
Kirk Kelly, interim superintendent for Hamilton County schools, said classes would be held Tuesday with counselors available for students and staff.
Fletcher said the families of the children who died had been notified but police would not release their names because they were juveniles.
“Our hearts go out, as well as the hearts of all these people behind me, to the families, the neighborhood, the school, for all the people involved in this, we assure you we are doing everything we can,” Fletcher said.
At the state Capitol in Nashville, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam called the crash “a tragic event” and offered assistance.
“We're going to do everything we can to assist in any way,” Haslam said. “It's a sad situation anytime there's a school bus with children involved, which there is in this case.”
Wayne State University police officer in critical condition after being shot in head
by Samantha Schmidt
A Wayne State University police officer was in critical condition Tuesday night after being shot in the head while patrolling an area near the Detroit campus, police said.
Following an hours-long manhunt, police arrested a person of interest and took him into custody, Detroit Police Chief James Craig told reporters in a news conference.
The officer, 29-year-old Collin Rose, was investigating complaints of thefts from vehicles when he stopped a man on a bicycle, Craig said. Responding to the scene as backup, a second officer found Rose on the ground, suffering from at least one serious gunshot wound, the Detroit Free Press reported. The officer was not shot with his own gun, and police were still searching for the weapon used, the Associated Press reported.
Rose was transported to the hospital, where he was recovering from surgery Tuesday night, M. Roy Wilson, Wayne State University president said, according to the Associated Press. The officer was with family members, and was still not “totally out of the woods,” Wilson said.
During the news conference outside the hospital, Craig said the mood inside was “certainly somber….. He's in grave condition,” he said.
Authorities had not yet determined a motive for the shooting, “whether it was an ambush or something different,” Wilson said, according to the AP.
According to witnesses, the suspect frequents the area where the incident took place, in the Woodbridge area of Detroit, Craig said. When Rose stopped him, at about 6:45 p.m., he was riding a blue mountain bike, which was later found at the scene of the shooting, several blocks southwest of the Wayne State campus.
The manager of an apartment complex nearby told the Detroit Free Press she witnessed the shooting. The woman, Betty Evans, said she argued with a man on a bicycle, and when he wouldn't leave the area, she called 911. She saw an officer arrive to confront the man.
“The officer was trying to get his hands behind his back,” Evans said. “We heard a shot and the officer went down, and we heard two more shots.”
Police began what they described as a massive manhunt, which included air searches with the help of state police, Detroit police and a number of other agencies, Craig said.
In statements on social media and on the university website, police told the public they were searching for an African-American man in his 40s with a full beard, wearing a white T-shirt with white and black lettering, a skull cap and a brown jacket.
Wayne State, located in the heart of Detroit, has more than 27,000 students, employs more than 50 officers and requires all officers to have a bachelor's degree, according to the university website. Rose was the first officer from the department to be critically shot, Wayne State University Police Chief Anthony Holt said.
Rose, a canine officer, is a five-year veteran of the Wayne State University police department and was described by Holt as an “excellent”, “proactive” canine officer — one of the best in Detroit, he said.
Rose frequently visits schools to talk to students, gives demonstrations with his canine, and reaches out to the families of slain officers, attending funerals of police officers across the country, Holt said.
According to the university's website, Rose served as the handler and partner of a canine named in honor of a slain Detroit police officer, Patrick Hill, who was shot and killed in the line of duty in October 2013. A photo on the website shows Rose posing with the dog, named Wolverine in memory of Hill's affectionate nickname.
“He is ingrained in the community,” Holt said. “He wants the community to be safe and he works at it. This is a real caring officer.”
Standing outside the hospital, Wilson, the university president, said in a news conference, “this is one of the worst calls that a president of a university can get.”
It was not the first time the Detroit Police Chief has stood outside the hospital in recent months to address the shooting of a police officer. On Sept. 17, Detroit Police Sgt. Kenneth Steil died after being fatally shot by a suspect wielding a sawed-off shotgun. Another officer, Myron Jarrett, 40, was struck and killed in a hit-and-run crash Oct. 28 while helping a traffic accident investigation, the Detroit News reported.
Thursday's shooting also occurred just days after three police officers in three different states were shot in unprovoked attacks within a 12-hour period. Those shootings, which took place Sunday in San Antonio, St. Louis and Sanibel, were described as “targeted” and “ambush”-style by officials.
In the San Antonio case, the assailant fatally shot the officer twice in the head before fleeing in a black car. Otis Tyrone McKane was apprehended Tuesday and charged with capital murder.
It was the 58th death of an officer by gunfire this year, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page and the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. Those sites have calculated that that number is between a 61 and 71 percent increase from gunfire-related deaths in 2015, Katie Mettler reported in The Washington Post.
Since July, when five Dallas police officers were killed in an ambush-style shooting, at least a dozen officers have been shot in what officials have called unprovoked attacks.
“This needs to stop,” Craig said. “We need to speak out in a very loud and bold voice and say, ‘this will not be tolerated.' We cannot allow anti-police rhetoric to fuel the thoughts in some of these individuals' minds.”
“This must end,” he added. “It must end now.”
4 Boston police officers injured after being struck by car
by Aimee Ortiz
Four Boston police officers were injured early Wednesday when they were struck by a car in Dorchester as they investigated a report of a man with a gun, officials said.
Two officers approached a vehicle near the intersection of Columbia Road and Stoughton Street around 12:30 a.m. As the officers started to speak with him, the driver sped off, dragging the officers, Boston Police Superintendent Randall Halstead said at the scene.
As the driver continued to speed away, he struck two other officers standing near a patrol wagon on Stoughton Street, Halstead said.
Two officers were taken to Brigham and Women's Hospital for treatment of what are considered non-life threatening injuries, said Boston EMS Lieutenant Robert Barnes. A third officer was taken to Carney Hospital in Dorchester, according to EMS.
Two other officers were also taken to a Boston hospital, officials said.
“Luckily, the officers were not seriously hurt,'' said one law enforcement official briefed on the investigation. The official said police have multiple reports of suspected gang members armed with guns hanging out in the neighborhood near a bar.
Police issued an alert for a sedan with out-of-state plates.
Lancaster community policing brings officers and neighbors together
by Mark Roper
LANCASTER CITY, Pa. -- Relations between police and some communities across the country may be strained, but the Lancaster City Bureau of Police is working alongside neighbors to change that relationship.
With fewer police on the force today, Lancaster City officers don't walk the streets like they used to, but that doesn't mean their presence is gone.
Lancaster City Bureau of Police Captain Jarrad Berkihiser said "it's kind of hard for us to go door-to-door in a neighborhood, knock on doors and say 'hey, I'm your sector officer, your assigned sector officer. We don't have the time or manpower unfortunately to do that."
Millersville University professor and director of the Center for Public Scholarship and Social Change Dr. Mary Glazier said "foot patrol is not the answer. It's not even been shown to be particularly effective in combating crime."
Dr. Glazier has worked to bring the community together, in the city's southwest neighborhood.
"What's effective is identifying particular problems and targeting them, and having community and police work together to solve them," Glazier said.
Neighbors United co-chair Noah Miller is one member of the northeast community who has done just that.
Noah Miller said "whenever we've had neighborhood issues, if we ask the police to send out the sector officer or some other officer who are on patrol that night, and meet with our neighborhood group when we've had a meeting, they'll absolutely do it. "
Meeting with neighborhood leaders is just one way police build relationships with the community.
"We interact with the city's youth, at early ages and fostering those relationships early on," Capt. Berkihiser said.
While many are satisfied with the presence of Lancaster police, both police and some community members agree there's always more to be done.
"That's how you build a relationship that makes people feel comfortable, in going to the police, when they notice things are opposed to questioning whether they should call," Miller said.
Lansaster City Alliance vice-president Shelby Nauman said"Lancaster City Alliance is very focused on quality of life and neighborhoods, so it's very important for us to work closely with polic and we are often times someone who can help bridge a gap between police and the community."
"If there are community members who want to speak to and talk to police more than what they do just on 911 calls for service then they also have to make it a point to also reach out to us," Capt. Berkihiser said.
City of Porterville a model for how Community Policing can positively impact neighoborhoods
Porterville Police program puts residents in officer-involved-shooting scenario
Porterville, Calif. -- Across the nation tension between police and the community is at an all time high.
Citizens and officers are dying in places like Dallas, Baton Rouge and Minnesota; even right here in Fresno with the death of 19-year-old Dylan Noble.
On TV it seems easy to second guess officer-involved-shootings, but what would you do in a potentially life or death situation?
In the small town of Porterville they have a local program that literally puts you in the officer's shoes.
Porterville has 63 officers who protect and serve more than 60,000 people.
With such a small department they've turned to Community Policing to keep their eyes and ears to the ground.
The Citizens Police Academy is one of 12 they use to fight crime and build relationships with the community.
Sergeant Rose Gurule has 17 years of experience, she says she walks away from many of her arrests with no problems because she follows the rule book to a T.
she's making her first arrest of the night.. after getting a call about a woman acting irratically at a childrens football game..
So far the small town of Porterville has escaped the problems that has hit major cities across america in regards to officer-involved-shootings.
"Your alert is heightened as an Officer because you never know what is going to happen," said Gurule. "Loss of life is tragic but those are the things you have to think about so it doesn't happen here."
Part of making sure it doesn't happen is the department's effort to invest in the community.
The Citizens Police Academy is where officers like Sergeant Carillo move from the streets to the classroom.
"The temperature out there it's difficult with the community and law enforcement," said Carillo. "But it's one of the main reasons we coordinate these so people that don't know what really happens in the department can come and we open these doors and let them in so they can see first hand."
During the eight week course, 30 community members get to know the force on a personal level.
They spend time with the Gang Intervention Unit, SWAT Team, K-9 Unit amongst others.
"All too often we get calls from members of the academy telling us 'hey this is what i'm aware of' and without this that most likely would not have occurred," said Carillo.
The most eye opening class in the program is when the students go to the range to learn how to shoot.
Afterwards they are put in a scenario where they have to decide to use deadly force or not with a fake gun.
Nathaniel Castillo was one of several students who opened fire on the suspect.
Castillo was put inside of a house to resolve a domestic dispute, he shot a 15-year-old boy reaching for a cell phone in own house.
"When you are in the heat of the moment it's crazy," said Castillo, Student in class. "he was approaching me, he had a mask on I couldn't see his face then he reached in his pockets. It was scary. You have no idea what's going to happen and it's either your life or his life."
"It's neat that we can put them in that situation to make that decision," said Sgt. Carillo. 'Now they know more so than they would have before today the reality that officers nationwide are faced with."
As Officer Rose hopes to never have to shoot someone.
She knows that's not always the case, but by partnering with the community and taking time away from away from chasing the bad guy to walk neighborhoods and meet young children like Melissa she's optimistic she'll never have to use her weapon as often would if she was somewhere else.
"With the kids earlier today that we contacted that's where we start. It all starts there because if they have that relationship with officers and it's a positive relationship hopefully it stays positive as they grow up," said Gurule.
Porterville's Citizens Police Academy is a once a year program.
It lasts eight weeks from September through October.
To find out how you can get involved call the Porterville Police Department at 559-782-4800 and ask for Sgt. Carillo.
SPD making progress on community policing
Amid the current turmoil surrounding police and community relations, both nationally and locally, it is important that the citizens of this community be aware of the efforts and successes that are occurring in this area with our Stockton Police Department.
Program and outreach efforts have been initiated over the past several years addressing community policing and procedural justice and include the following:
1) A police advisory board was developed in 2012, consisting of 24 members representing a cross-section of the Stockton community. The board's mission is to foster better communication, trust and collaboration between the people of Stockton and their police. The board meets monthly on a formal basis with informal meetings occurring with community members at large. Meetings focus on police and community relations.
2) In 2014, the Stockton Police Department volunteered along with five other cities to participate in a national project funded by the Department of Justice called the National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice. On July 26, Stockton's efforts were the focal point of an opinion/editorial piece in the New York Times. The article focused on Stockton's efforts to promote racial reconciliation, address racial biases and gain community trust. Stockton was in part selected to participate in this program as we were one of only a few departments nationwide that had an existing procedural justice training program. Since starting the project, all sworn officers have completed training and SPD has become a recognized local and statewide educator on procedural justice. An interim review by the National Initiative outlined the department's activities undertaken thus far and commended SPD's strong leadership and commitment to the project.
3) The SPD has also developed a rigorous process to investigate and resolve officer complaints. All complaints are reviewed by an internal board and if such complaints are shown to involve officer misconduct, the police chief, city manager and human resources all approve proposed disciplinary action and the City Council regularly reviews the reports for any further follow up.
4) Many police outreach events within the community have been well documented by The Record.
Although there is much work left to do, the SPD's willingness to take on this important initiative, as well as recognizing the inherent issues with policing and community, should be applauded.
Vintage cars help police connect with community
by Ted Land
(Video on site)
Police departments are trying all kinds of new ways to connect with their communities and build trust. A Seattle officer found that a great way to do that is to roll out something his department hasn't used in decades.
“I don't get this kind of attention when I'm in my Crown Victoria,” said SPD Officer Jim Ritter, while cruising through Pioneer Square in a 1970 Plymouth Satellite. Onlookers snapped photos as he drove past in the vintage police car.
Ritter runs the Seattle Metropolitan Police Museum, which restores and maintains a collection of more than two dozen vintage police vehicles.
“They are a real community policing tool, and I would not have realized that until I started taking our Satellite out in downtown Seattle and seeing all the people that were drawn to this car,” Ritter said.
Sometimes, when the weather is nice, Ritter will take the Satellite for a spin around town, and just chat with people who are curious about the relic.
The police museum does much of the restoration in a large garage in Ellensburg, where volunteers gather to work on the fleet.
“One of the reasons it's in Ellensburg is the climate is dry, and it's much more affordable to be having large buildings than it would be in downtown Seattle,” Ritter said.
Many of the volunteers are current or former law enforcement officers, who love reconnecting with police history.
“It's amazing these things become a part of you. You drive one eight hours, 10 hours, 12 hours a day, and you kind of depend on that car,” said Marlin Workman, a 38-year veteran of the Washington State Patrol.
Butler County police chiefs thankful for community relationships
by Rick McCrabb
BUTLER COUNTY -- Two Butler County police chiefs said they have many reasons to be thankful, but at the top of the list is the close relationships their departments have formed with their communities.
“It's not them and the police,” said Hamilton Police Chief Craig Bucheit. “We are the community. We are part of what makes Hamilton a great place.”
Middletown Police Chief Rodney Muterspaw agreed. He said police officers feeling part of the community is “everything.”
Then he added: “Our community and us work as one. We are not two different things.”
Community policing has been in the news throughout the year because of violence toward police officers and the number of unarmed black men shot by police officers.
So far this year, there have been 128 police officers in the United States who have lost their lives in the line of duty, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. There were 123 officers reportedly killed while working in 2015, the fund said.
Of those 128 killed this year, 60 were shot to death.
The 2016 shootings have spanned the nation, from California to Massachusetts, and they've exceeded the number of firearms-related police deaths in all of 2015. According to the fund, firearms were responsible for 41 of 123 officer fatalities in 2015.
There also have been numerous protests and unrest throughout the U.S. following the shootings of unarmed black men.
Earlier this month in Cincinnati, a mistrial was declared after a jury was deadlocked trying to determine if former University of Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing was guilty of murder and voluntary manslaughter charge after he fatally shot Sam DuBose during a traffic stop last year.
Tensing still faces charges of murder and voluntary manslaughter, and his case may be retried.
Bucheit said he didn't want to comment on other police departments and how they reacted to shootings. Instead, he wanted to concentrate on his officers and the daily sacrifices they make.
“I'm thankful for the amazing group of men and women who come to work every day to make a living and make a difference in our community,” the chief said. “It's a privilege to have the opportunity to lead an outstanding organization dedicated to making Hamilton a better place. These men and women come to work passionate to serve the residents.”
Bucheit said the department takes steps daily to improve relationships with residents. When asked whether those relationships are worth the effort, he said: “Absolutely.”
The department's mission, he said, is to provide “exceptional service for the betterment of Hamilton.”
Earlier this year, Muterspaw made national headlines when he was critical of a police-involved shooting. After watching video of a deadly shooting in Oklahoma in September, Muterspaw, a 26-year veteran of the department, said he couldn't remain silent. He wrote on his Facebook page that he was “so sick, tired and mentally drained from seeing things like this” after watching the deadly shooting.
Muterspaw wrote on his Facebook page that if police officers “can't do the job or are scared of people different than you, then get out of the job. You are making us all look bad. STOP.”
An attorney for a white Oklahoma police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black man said the man ignored officers' commands, kept touching his pocket and was reaching through a window of his SUV when he was killed.
Police video from the incident shows 40-year-old Terence Crutcher walking away from the officers and toward his SUV with his hands up then approaching the side of his vehicle, before an officer shocks him with a stun gun and he is fatally shot. Police were called to the scene to respond to a report of a stalled vehicle.
Muterspaw said he used the shooting in Tulsa as a training tool for his officers. He talked with detectives and his patrol officers.
“It could be us tomorrow,” Muterspaw said at the time. “You have to look at it. It's not second-guessing anybody. It's training for us. It's a chance to learn from it. We are not robots. We have an opinion too. If it makes our department better and keeps our officers safer, if it makes the city better we should speak out about it.”
Since being named police chief two years ago, Muterspaw said his department has increased its community relations and outreach. He said the police department and the residents have a positive relationship, but he knows one shooting could change all of that.
When there's “questionable” shootings like the one in Tulsa, he said, “it sets us back every time, and it's hard to get a grip on what we are trying to do.”
Through numerous informal meetings with city representatives, church leaders and Middletown residents, Muterspaw said relationships and trust have been built, creating a calmer climate if a police-involved shooting occurs.
“We all know disconnect is rampant,” he said. “But our residents have been able to put a face with a name, and we have treated them with respect.”
Annapolis chief, council discuss community policing strategies
by Chase Cook
Annapolis Police Chief Michael Pristoop offered some potential changes for a community policing plan at Monday's Public Safety Committee meeting.
Those changes include motivating officers to get out of their cars more often and talking with residents as well as making supervisors responsible for geographic areas of the city, Pristoop told the three-member committee Monday.
By doing that, residents will have a direct contact they can become familiar with and know a supervisor has been made available to take their calls, he said.
"What it will do hopefully is give the community a direct contact person," Pristoop said.
Discussion about community policing has reached the forefront after the city experienced a record number of homicides with nine this year. Residents also have been angry about multiple gunfire incidents, especially in the Eastport neighborhoods of Eastport Terrace and Harbour House, both public housing neighborhoods. Police have said crime in public housing has spiked this year and they have made efforts to increase patrols in those areas.
Some aldermen have since advocated for community policing plans, believing that more officers on the street talking to residents would build better relationships between the police department and the communities they cover. To help meet those goals, City Council, and the mayor, are warming up to hiring more police officers in the next budget. The department currently has 110 officers on payroll with 114 allowed.
An exact number of officers has not been decided and Pristoop said he would be happy to have more officers but also has said he is confident in the numbers he has now. More officers would allow the department to expand its Neighborhood Enhancement Teams, which are groups of officers that work to build trust in specific communities such as Robinwood and the Clay Street areas.
The chief's plan was challenged by Alderwoman Sheila Finlayson, D-Ward 4, who has led the calls for more community policing. Finlayson, who chairs the committee, was worried the chief's plans wouldn't placate residents who have complained about officers who patrol through a community in their car without ever leaving the vehicle.
Finlayson envisions patrol officers walking through neighborhoods throughout the day.
"I was hoping we would be moving to more of an approach where officers would be assigned to a specific geographical area," Finlayson said. "Where the individual officer would have a chance to connect with the community, to be a part of the community.
"Not just when there are bad things going on."
Pristoop countered that officers already are assigned to specific areas in the city during their 12-hour shifts. But those officers can be busy answering calls, filling out paperwork and responding to other issues.
Supervisors are pushing for those officers to spend more time outside of their vehicles so the community can see them while they are on duty, Pristoop said. By adding in the supervisors as a point of contact, residents will have a particular face and officer they can reach out to when officers aren't actively in their neighborhood, he said.
"This is an enhanced approach," Pristoop said.
In other business, the Public Safety Committee heard reports from the Annapolis Fire Department and the Office of Emergency Management.
With the weather getting colder, the Stanton Center is reopening its Winter Relief Program, which offers aid to those who need protection from the elements. That program will be overseen by the Office of Emergency Management.
The fire department updated the committee on its Insurance Service Office rating. The ISO provides a statistical rating of risk from 1 to 10, with one being the best and 10 being the worst.
The Annapolis Fire Department received a "2" rank again, putting it in the upper echelon of fire departments across the country.
Community policing credited with solving series of Greenville neighborhood armed robberies
by Zora Stephenson
GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – One Greenville neighborhood is at peace now.
Residents hope the weeks of random armed robberies in the Lynndale and Irish Creek neighborhoods are over thanks to an arrest by Greenville Police.
The community and law enforcement worked together to solve the case.
“17-18 years, I think, we've lived here,” said Diane Kulik, Lynndale homeowner. She describes the people as friendly, the atmosphere calm, and she always felt comfortable until about a month ago. “They certainly were scared, uh, they were worried that it would be them.”
That's the feeling after multiple armed robberies in the area. One off one street and another off another one.
Someone was following people home, pointing a gun to their head, forcing them to an ATM, and the suspect even made their way into some homes.
But thanks to the community and police relationship, the case is closed.
“[We're] really, really relieved,” said Kulik.
GPD was able to find the suspect in part because of its partnership with the folks in the community. Residents kept each other informed, sent emails, called in tips.
“That's something that we try to, as a police department, really stress, is that, in your community, if you do see something, stuff that's going on, you need to report it,” explained Detective Brian Gillen, Greenville Police Department.
“Everybody did what they should do, and they were sensible about it,” said Kulik.
Early Saturday morning, 26-year-old Anterrio Leon Bright was arrested at a traffic stop.
Just in time for the holidays.
“Just really happy, really relieved that people could relax now, have a happy Thanksgiving,” said Kulik.
Community policing, Chief Mark Holtzman has talked about it since he stepped foot in Greenville and residents in the Lynndale community said it's what solved the case.
Task force advice: Change police use of force law
by Walker Orenstein
Washington's task force studying how to reduce police shootings voted narrowly Monday to say it should be easier to criminally charge officers for reckless or negligent use of deadly force.
State law shields officers who improperly use deadly force from prosecution unless it can be proven they acted with “malice” and without “good faith.”
Led by task force members from organizations representing minorities, immigrants and people with disabilities, the committee supported getting rid of “malice” and “good faith” from the 1986 statute by a 14-10 margin.
An additional three members of the task force supported eliminating the highest bar to prosecution of police officers, the “malice” requirement, but they could not muster a majority to pass a recommendation to delete “malice” while leaving “good faith” in place.
Snohomish County Prosecutor Mark Roe argued that keeping “good faith” would preserve some protections for police, but make it possible to charge officers for reckless or negligent use of deadly force.
The subjective “malice” standard is nearly impossible to meet, according to prosecutors and many in the legal community, because it requires proving how the officer was thinking or feeling when they used deadly force. It is unique in the country.
Supporters of removing “good faith” said they worry the clause could be just as subjective as “malice.”
The issue now goes to state lawmakers and the governor, who will have the final say on any legal change.
Though there was a majority in the group, many on the task force hoped to convince some members from law enforcement to support at least getting rid of the “malice” clause of the statute.
But despite impassioned pleas for police groups to back a legal change — including one from surprise guest Doug Baldwin, a wide receiver for the Seahawks — law enforcement representatives stood firm in saying they didn't believe changing the law would have any positive effects.
Removing the “malice” clause wouldn't reduce police shootings, said Travis Adams, from the Washington State Fraternal Order of Police.
Amending the statute could subject police to prosecution for making honest mistakes when using deadly force, law enforcement groups have said. It also might make police think twice in dangerous situations before moving to keep themselves safe.
Kerry Zieger, a Seattle police officer representing the Council of Metropolitan Police and Sheriffs, cited the five officers shot in the past few days — two of them fatally — in pushing to keep legal protections for law enforcement.
Adams said police groups are open to addressing community concerns surrounding police use of force, but “at this point in time we feel we need to have more conversations before we make concrete decisions.”
Others on the task force pushed back, saying officers wouldn't be charged for making mistakes if the “malice” requirement was deleted from the statute.
Jorge L. Baron, from the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, said changing the malice law would improve trust between police and the community, leading to fewer deadly encounters.
The committee did reach consensus on several other recommendations to the Legislature, including data collection on instances of deadly force aimed at better analyzing when and why officers use deadly force.
State Sen. David Frockt, D-Seattle, said he plans to sponsor legislation to drop the malice requirement when the legislative session begins in January.
Frockt, who voted to remove “malice” and “good faith,” said he thought compromise on the issue with law enforcement is possible in the future. He predicted agreement might center around keeping, yet defining, the good faith clause.
After the meeting, task force members said all factions on the committee had moved from their original positions, even if it wasn't far enough to produce more unified recommendations.
“There may still be some lines in the sand, but clearly there is agreement that we need to do something around our statute and making sure that our police officers have what they need to do their job,” said Karen Johnson, director of the Black Alliance of Thurston County.
'Sanctuary Cities' Vs. National Security and Public Safety
Why 'sanctuary city' mayors should be given an MVP Award by ISIS and drug cartels.
by Michael Cutler
The lunacy of the immigration executive orders and other actions of the Obama administration to block the enforcement of our immigration laws and immigration anarchy will be brought to a screeching halt on the day that Donald Trump replaces Mr. Obama in the Oval Office.
However the “Immigration All-Clear” will not be sounded across the United States in cities and states that have been declared “Sanctuaries” by the mayors and governors who have created a false and very dangerous narrative that equates immigration law enforcement with racism and bigotry.
This insidious false claim has been heartily embraced by the demonstrators who are rampaging across the United States to protest the election of Donald Trump and his promises to secure the U.S./Mexican border and enforce our immigration laws.
This is the false narrative that has enabled mayors of so-called “Sanctuary Cities” to foist this lunacy on the residents of their cities and was the focus of my article, “Terrorism, Enclaves and Sanctuary Cities: How sanctuary cities facilitate the growth of terror enclaves in America.”
The challenge for the Trump administration and for all Americans, is to eliminate these enclaves of lawlessness.
Sanctuary cities are highly attractive to illegal aliens and the criminals, fugitives and likely terrorists among them who entered the United States by evading the inspections process conducted at ports of entry by the CBP (Customs and Border Protection) inspectors and are vulnerable to arrest and removal (deportation).
Sanctuary cities, however, certainly do not provide “sanctuary” for the residents of those cities who, all too often, fall victim to the crimes committed by these criminal aliens. However, what is generally not understood is that Sanctuary Cities endanger every person in the United States, no matter where they live.
Terrorists would most likely seek to set up shop in sanctuary cities to evade detection and arrest.
They can use the security provided by such “leaders” as Chicago's Rahm Emanuel and New York's Bill de Blasio as a staging area for attacks they might carry out in the cities where they live or in other cities they could easily travel to on the day of an attack.
While politicians from both parties often claim that the “Immigration system is broken” as a way of justifying their positions of advocacy for massive amnesty programs and the creation of these dangerous “sanctuaries” for criminals, fugitives and terrorists, in reality, this is “Immigration Failure -- By Design.”
America's borders and immigration laws are our first line of defense and last line of defense against international terrorists, transnational criminals, fugitives from justice and those foreign nationals who would displace American workers wrecking havoc on the lives of those Americans and their families when they lose their jobs and their paychecks.
A quick review of a section of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) - Title 8, United States Code, Section 1182 would quickly dispel the bogus claim that equates the enforcement of our immigration laws with racism.
That section of law enumerates the categories of aliens who are to be excluded. Among these classes of aliens who are to be prevented from entering the United States are aliens who suffer from dangerous communicable, diseases or extreme mental illness.
Additionally, convicted felons, human rights violators, war criminals, terrorists and spies are to be excluded as well as aliens who would seek unlawful employment thus displacing American workers or driving down the wages of American workers who are similarly employed and aliens who would likely become public charges.
It is vital to note that our immigration laws make absolutely no distinction in any way, shape of form as to the race, religion or ethnicity of any alien.
The Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) is a multi-agency federal task force that operates under the aegis of the FBI. While, as might be expected, the FBI contributes the greatest number of enforcement personnel to that effort, the second largest contingent of agents assigned to the JTTF are special agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement / Homeland Security Investigations (ICE/HSI).
The majority of international terrorists also commit immigration law violations including visa fraud, immigration benefit fraud and a list of other crimes which include immigration law violations.
To provide you with such an example, consider my commentary, “Immigration Fraud Linked To San Bernardino Jihadist's Family: Alleged supplier of material support now also charged with marriage fraud.”
This quote from the official report, “9/11 and Terrorist Travel” identifies the nexus between systemic failures of the immigration system and vulnerability to terror attacks in the United States.
Thus, abuse of the immigration system and a lack of interior immigration enforcement were unwittingly working together to support terrorist activity. It would remain largely unknown, since no agency of the United States government analyzed terrorist travel patterns until after 9/11. This lack of attention meant that critical opportunities to disrupt terrorist travel and, therefore, deadly terrorist operations were missed.
That quote also underscores the importance of enforcing our immigration laws from within the interior of the United States and how failures of such efforts create deadly vulnerabilities for the United States. This concern was the focus of my recent article, “Immigration and the Terrorist Threat: How our leaders are spawning catastrophe.”
As an INS agent I investigated and arrested aliens from countries from around the world. My colleagues and I did not single out violators of immigration laws on the basis of race, religion or ethnicity.
For about three years I was assigned as the Marine Intelligence Officer for the INS New York District Office. I was responsible for joining members of the Coast Guard and U.S. Customs in boarding ships in and around the New York City area to search for contraband, stow-ways and ship-jumpers (crew members who absconded and failed to return to their vessels before they departed from the United States.)
While such vessels provided individuals from many countries the opportunity to gain illegal access to the United States, the majority of crew members who went “missing” were citizens of Greece.
As part of my duties I was responsible for tracking down those aliens wherever they lived and worked and took the into custody to arrange for their deportation from the United States.
Members of the Greek community frequently complained to me that the INS was only concerned about Greeks.
When I worked on several investigations concerning organized crime, we often heard members of the Italian immigrant community complain that we were targeting Italians.
When we partnered with the Public Morals Division of the NYPD to raid brothels to shut down those locations in China Town, local resident grumbled about how unfair this was to the Asian community.
In reality the “targeting” that we did at the INS involved law violators irrespective of race, religion or ethnicity.
However, because of the utterly false and irresponsible Orwellian narrative created by the open borders immigration anarchists, incredibly, many gullible and misinformed Americans have been conned into believing that opposing fair and effective enforcement of our immigration laws is an act of heroism and a way of fighting prejudice and bigotry.
On November 14, 2016 NPR reported, “Mayor Rahm Emanuel: 'Chicago Always Will Be A Sanctuary City'.”
That report began with the following paragraphs:
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel added his voice to the chorus of big-city mayors who say theirs will remain "sanctuary cities" in response to President-elect Donald Trump's hard-line positions on illegal immigration.
Surrounded by immigration activists, business leaders and state and federal lawmakers, Emanuel sought to reduce the fear of immigrants living in this country without authorization.
"To all those who are, after Tuesday's election, very nervous and filled with anxiety ... you are safe in Chicago, you are secure in Chicago and you are supported in Chicago," said Emanuel at a news conference called to publicize the expansion of mental health services for people anxious over the election results.
"Chicago has in the past been a sanctuary city. ... It always will be a sanctuary city," the mayor said.
His comments come on the heels of Trump's appearance Sunday on CBS's 60 Minutes, in which the president-elect promised to deport all immigrants with criminal records.
You would imagine that the mayor of any town would be thrilled to have criminal aliens deported to end the concern of recidivism and keep the residents of those cities safe.
Many mayors do see things that way and support cooperative efforts between their police departments and ICE.
However, the mayors of “Sanctuary Cities” and the governors of Sanctuary States have “done the math” and have, unbelievably decided that achieving political objectives is far more important than protecting innocent lives and the security of our nation.
Such politicians must not find “sanctuary” in the voting booth come their election day.
About Michael Cutler
Michael Cutler is a retired Senior Special Agent of the former INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) whose career spanned some 30 years. He served as an Immigration Inspector, Immigration Adjudications Officer and spent 26 years as an agent who rotated through all of the squads within the Investigations Branch. For half of his career he was assigned to the Drug Task Force. He has testified before well over a dozen congressional hearings, provided testimony to the 9/11 Commission as well as state legislative hearings around the United States and at trials where immigration is at issue. He hosts his radio show, “The Michael Cutler Hour,” on Friday evenings on BlogTalk Radio. His personal website is http://michaelcutler.net/.
Savannah officials: Public safety work showing results
But some neighborhoods doing better than others as city battles violent crime
by Eric Curl
One afternoon last week, a 70-year-old Yamacraw Village resident dug out a handgun from his backpack and gave it to Savannah Alderman Van Johnson outside the First African Baptist Church.
The man, who did not want to be identified, had come to the church after seeing a press release about Savannah Youth City's gun buyback program that Johnson was helping promote at the church that day.
The retired trucker said he recently took the weapon from his 15-year-old son. Having two sons in prison already, the man said the 15-year-old had been having some trouble with some other young people and he did not want him to follow in his brothers' footsteps.
“I was really afraid for my son and what he might do,” he said.
The father's concerns are not unfounded.
As 2016 approaches its end, the violent crime rate throughout Savannah and the unincorporated county is still above what it was this time last year and the shootings and death toll continues to mount.
But lately Savannah-Chatham Police Chief Joseph Lumpkin and city officials have a little more optimism about the city's future compared to when many of the council members were running for office last year. They have been saying that some public safety investments — such as the additional officers and an anti-violence initiative — are starting to have an impact, although they acknowledge the rate of violence is still too high.
And some precincts are faring better than others, according to an Oct. 29 crime report Lumpkin presented to the Savannah City Council on Nov. 10.
While the homicide rate is above last year's, shootings are down 14 percent. Violent crime is about 4 percent above last year's numbers, but in late April violent incidents had been up by almost 40 percent, Lumpkin said.
“Each month has chipped away at the overall violent crime,” he said.
West Chatham Precinct
At the same time, the violence has increased at higher rates in some communities.
Violent crime in the West Chatham Precinct was up 33 percent compared to last year, although that rate had been as high as 53 percent in April. Most recently, a 17-year-old teen, Alexander Chiesi, was shot on Nov. 10 in in an unspecified area of Ogeechee Farms — about seven hours before Lumpkin made his presentation to the city council.
A consultant, Berkshire Advisors, hired by the city and county to assess police operations is likely to say more officers are needed in the precinct because of its size, which includes much of the unincorporated district, Lumpkin told the council.
Still, at least one neighborhood president in the precinct said he believes the city is heading in the right direction in terms of addressing crime in his community.
After complaining for years about a lack of police presence, residents in Liberty City are now seeing more officers on the streets, said neighborhood president Howard Lipscomb, who has spent 30 of his 71 years in the community off Ogeechee Road.
That increased presence comes after increased salaries implemented last year led to an almost fully staffed police department in 2016. There were only five vacancies out of 612 officer positions, as of Nov. 10, and the department is on track to reach “effective staffing” levels at the end of the month, when 27 trainees will be ready to hit the streets on their own, Lumpkin said.
Still, Lipscomb said crime will always be a problem as long as poverty persists.
“We don't have enough jobs,” he said. “You've got more service jobs than skilled jobs.”
End Gun Violence
The city's End Gun Violence: Step Forward initiative has been touted by the chief and city officials as a way to reduce shootings and homicides by partnering with the Salvation Army to provide social service programs to individuals seeking to give up the criminal lifestyle.
At the same time, the police department works with the U.S. Attorney's Office and the Chatham County District Attorney's Office to prosecute group and gang members tied to gun violence to the fullest extent of the law. So far, 48 people had been contacted through the program in the past year and 12 of the individuals have taken advantage of the social programs being offered, according to police.
The assistance provided to those individuals has included help with bill payments, job interviews, clothes, GED classes and drug and alcohol rehabilitation, said Salvation Army Maj. Phil Swyers. They also regularly check in on the individuals, some of whom are not be conducting illegal activities but may be caught up in a criminal environment through their family members or neighbors, and the organization provides the people with a number they can call 24 hours a day for help, Swyers said.
“Our goal is to get people functioning as productive citizens,” he said.
Violent crime was also up 25 percent in the downtown precinct, where Lumpkin said the department is focusing on curtailing the high number of street robberies that have been occurring there. There had been 141 street robberies this year in the precinct at the time of the report, up from 97 last year.
One of those robberies resulted resulted in the fatal shooting in September of a 54-year-old Australian native, Kevin Reid, as he was walking with his wife on East Waldburg Street about 10 p.m. The couple had recently moved to Savannah and opened an art gallery in the Historic District and the random killing drew condemnation from residents and the business community he had become a part of.
The Downtown Neighborhood Association has since been hosting meetings to teach residents to how to improve their safety and be aware of their surroundings, said President Melinda Allen.
“The more people out and about the safer downtown will be,” Allen said. “What we don't want is for everybody to hide away in their homes and feel like they can't go outside.”
Allen said she does think the council is living up to its pledge to work toward making it safer downtown - where violent crime had been 116 percent higher than 2015 levels in April — but she also praised the Savannah College of Art and Design for recently increasing the amount of its security officers, who also now have a direct line of communication with police.
“I think that will be a tremendous help to residents in general,” she said.
Meanwhile, violent crime was down 7 percent in the Central Precinct, largely due to a 32 percent drop in shootings, but the precinct has experienced the most homicides with 23 incidents this year.
“We have to drive these numbers down in order to have a community that we desire,” Lumpkin said.
One of the deaths included the fatal shooting on Oct. 5 of a 6-year-old boy by a 12-year-old who has since been charged with involuntary manslaughter.
Savannah Youth City is hoping the gun buyback program will prevent more shooting deaths from occurring. The nonprofit youth organization is planning to raise funds online to purchase guns for the purpose of destroying them, Director Beverlee Trotter said at the program's recent launch event where they displayed five guns - including a semi-automatic rifle - they had already purchased for about $700.
The nonprofit's members acquire the weapons by walking the neighborhoods and speaking with residents about their wish to rid the streets of guns and cut down on the violence, Trotter said.
“We are not afraid,” she said. “We say, we want you to live.”
Area churches are also being asked to participate by serving as drop-off locations for individuals who want to hand over a gun with no questions asked.
Savannah-Chatham police are prohibited by state law from destroying confiscated weapons, but Youth City has found a business outside Savannah that will charge to safely dispose of them, Trotter said. They are currently looking for a local company to provide that service for free, as the city continues to advocate for state legislators to change a law that prevents the police from destroying confiscated weapons.
Violent crime was also down 2 percent in the Southside and 18 percent in the Islands precincts, although some recent deaths prove the areas are not immune to tragedy.
Since the Oct. 29 report, 18-year-old Anthony Grant was fatally shot on Nov. 8 near the intersection of Ventura Boulevard and Pasadena Drive in the Southside Precinct. Trejan Jones, 19, was later charged with Grant's murder. The following evening there was an exchange of gunfire between at least two individuals that injured a 17-year-old student caught in the crossfire while waiting for a ride after an event on Savannah High School's grounds in the Islands Precinct.
Edgemere-Sackville resident Imani Mtendaji said her neighborhood in the Islands Precinct just west of the Truman Parkway has been relatively safe compared to a lot of other areas in the city, but she worries about the lack of cultural and business skill cultivation being offered throughout the city - especially for some of the middle and high school students she regularly engages with as a substitute teacher. The lack of opportunities being afforded them is evident when she asks them what their dream job would be, Mtendaji said.
“The most common answer is I don't know,” she said.
Mayor Eddie DeLoach said the city is planning on expanding the summer youth job programs again in 2017 after the Summer 500 and Pre-Apprentice programs provided job training this year to about 600 young people ages 14 through 17. Those programs have been credited by Lumpkin for contributing to a decline in crime during the months the programs were in session.
“With some additional kids in there, I think it will help with the overall situation, too,” DeLoach said.
Lumpkin said the community is starting to assist officers and the help has led to the department achieving a 75 percent clearance rate with homicides, which is about 11 percent above the national average.
“With a community's help we can make a neighborhood safer,” Lumpkin said. “It's very difficult to do it without.”
Such cooperation can sometimes be hard to come by.
When 29-year-old Rachel Reid was shot outside a residence in the Islands Precinct earlier this month, the suspect was unknown and police said Reid did not cooperate with detectives.
With 23 of the 53 homicides in 2015 occurring during the last three months of the year, police officials are hoping to prevent a similar uptick as 2016 approaches its end. The killing continues however. This month, there have been at least two additional homicides.
In addition to the murder of Grant, Cequan Borrum, 21, was fatally shot near Betty Drive and Rivera Drive in the Islands District later in the early evening after Lumpkin met with the council. Borrum's death brought the total amount of homicides to 47 for the year.
U.S. Prosecutors Target Dealers Who Cause Opioid Deaths
by Crime and Justice News
Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney in New York City, is tackling the growing opioid epidemic, reports the Wall Street Journal. Bharara has asked local police to begin systematically reporting drug overdoses to his office. The goal is to treat every overdose like a potential crime scene, including stringent evidence collection, and bring federal charges against dealers whose drugs can be linked to an overdose death. The initiative is part of a nationwide push to hold drug dealers liable for opioid overdoses, which kill 78 Americans every day. Federal prosecutors say that because state laws don't provide lengthier sentences to punish narcotics sellers who cause death, they are stepping up their use of a federal law giving a mandatory minimum of 20 years in prison and a maximum of life for such dealers.
“We're not saying that anybody who's walking in the street corner and selling three Percocets for a profit should be treated with the harshest penalty possible,” Bharara said. “What we're talking about is people who absolutely know that their product…has caused people to die.” Several U.S. attorney's offices have been pushing to hold opioid dealers accountable for overdose deaths, including in Kentucky, Virginia, Ohio, and Delaware. Bharara, who started as a federal narcotics prosecutor in 2000, said that the opioid epidemic became an increasing priority within the past three years as overdose deaths soared.
Police officers 'keenly aware' they are targets for violence
Officials say one-third of officers shot to death on the job this year were purposely targeted by their assailant
by Tammy Webber
CHICAGO — The shootings of police officers in Texas and Missouri on Sunday were the latest in what law enforcement officials say is an alarming spike in ambush-style attacks.
One-third of police officers shot to death on the job this year were purposely targeted by their assailant, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
The San Antonio detective was writing a traffic ticket in his squad car Sunday morning outside police headquarters when he was shot to death. A St. Louis police sergeant who was shot twice in the face Sunday evening while he sat in traffic in a marked police vehicle is expected to survive.
Police officers were also shot and injured during traffic stops in Sanibel, Florida, and Gladstone, Missouri, on Sunday night, but authorities have not suggested those were targeted attacks.
"Officers are at tremendous and growing risk; they're being targeted because of the uniform they wear and the job they do," said Craig W. Floyd, president of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
San Antonio Detective Benjamin Marconi was the 60th officer shot to death this year, compared to 41 in all of 2015, and the 20th to die in an ambush-style attack, compared to eight last year, Floyd said.
This year's targeted killings are the most since 1995, Floyd said. In fact, Marconi's was the fourth targeted slaying of an officer this month: On Nov. 2, two Iowa officers were killed in separate but related attacks. And on Nov. 10, a Pennsylvania officer was targeted as he responded to a domestic disturbance.
The worst single attack was in July, when a black military veteran killed five white officers at a protest in Dallas — the deadliest day for American law enforcement since Sept. 11, 2001. Ten days later, a former Marine killed three Baton Rouge, Louisiana, police officers.
"It is unusual, alarming and a real problem," Floyd said, adding that 44 officers have been killed in targeted attacks in the past three years.
Element of surprise
An ambush-style attack does not necessarily involve someone lying in wait for police officers; it's any shooting designed to catch police off-guard and put them at a disadvantage, Floyd said.
"There usually is an element of surprise and concealment involved," he said, and it's unprovoked.
Police have been killed while writing reports, like Marconi was, or eating in restaurants. They've responded to 911 calls, only to have people shoot them as they get out of their cars. And in the Dallas shooting, they were targeted by someone in a building.
"In all the cases, the officers were essentially assassinated before they had any contact with the suspect or placed that suspect in jeopardy," said Nick Breul, the Memorial Fund's director of officer safety and wellness.
Race not the biggest factor
The attacks on police in Dallas and Baton Rouge came amid protests over the shootings of black men by white officers, and were carried out by black gunmen — but race is not always a motivating factor, Floyd said.
In fact, he said, white men are responsible for most police slayings, and the majority of people shot and killed by poIice are white.
Some officers have been killed by people who identify with the so-called sovereign citizen movement, whose adherents believe they're immune to most state and federal laws, including paying taxes and getting driver's licenses. Gavin Long, the Baton Rouge shooter, had filed documents last year declaring himself sovereign.
The man who shot and killed the two Iowa officers earlier this month as they sat in their patrol cars had a history of contacts with police, including a recent confrontation with officers at a high school football game. Others have been mentally ill.
"So much dialogue has centered around race relations, but there is a hatred in this country right now that's just gotten out of control," Floyd said. "There is a lack of respect for government in general, and the most visible and vulnerable symbol of government in America is patrolling our streets in marked cars."
Trying to stay safe
Departments around the country are doing everything from pairing up officers to installing new technology on cruisers in an effort to keep officers safe.
Putting two officers in each squad car is more expensive and might mean that fewer calls can be handled at once, Floyd said. But he added that it's a good approach "if there is a greater sense of safety," even if officers aren't necessarily safer in pairs.
Other departments are installing sensors on squad cars that can alert officers when someone approaches.
Still, training is the best weapon, Floyd said. Officers are being reminded to practice "situational awareness," to expect the unexpected and to "never take any assignment for granted," he said.
"Every law enforcement officer is now keenly aware of being targeted," he said.
2 bystanders save Wash. officer from attack
Two men saw the officer being violently beaten by a suspect
by PoliceOne Staff
(Video on site)
BREMERTON, Wash. — Two men saw an officer being violently beaten by a suspect and jumped in to help.
KOMO news reported that Officer Spencer Berntsen was responding a report of a man who smashed a Jack in the Box window Wednesday.
When Berntsen arrived, suspect Kenneth Lane became frustrated and attacked the officer.
"He got on the ground, then got up and that's when I tried to deploy the TASER," Berntsen told the news station. "He literally blew cigarette smoke in my face and said, 'Let's go.'"
Berntsen said he deployed his TASER, but it malfunctioned.
Two bystanders witnessed the struggle and came to Berntsen's aid.
"What I saw was somebody who was just viciously attacking somebody," bystander Kelly Bounds said.
Police Chief Steve Strachan and Officer Berntsen thanked the bystanders, saying the encounter could have taken a different turn if they hadn't stepped in.
"It's about helping others in a time of need, whether it's opening a door for somebody or pushing that wheelchair across the street," Bounds said. "If we can help each other, it's the most important thing that life can give is helping one another.”
Berntsen suffered minor injuries, but is back on the job, KOMO reported.
"I'm very thankful to work in a city and town where I get this much support," Berntsen said.
Off-duty Philly officer shot while shielding son from gunfire
Angelo Romero and his 2-year-old son were caught in the crossfire
by PoliceOne Staff
PHILADELPHIA — An off-duty officer was shot Friday while shielding his two-year-old son from gunfire.
Officer Angelo Romero was walking in a neighborhood with his son when a group of armed suspects opened fire at each other, NBC10 reported.
Police Commissioner Richard Ross told the news station the suspects are between 15- and 18-years-old.
Romero was shot in the hand.
Officials said Romero was unarmed and was not the intended target. His son was not injured.
"He was just so, so lucky. We are so glad that his 2-year-old was not struck and that he took immediate action to protect his son," Ross said.
Romero is recovering and is expected to be OK.
LAPD report on biased policing finds problem is more perception than reality
by Frank Stoltze
The Los Angeles Police Department has made “significant strides” in diversifying its ranks, training officers to avoid bias policing, rigorously investigating complaints and expanding community outreach programs, according to a new report on biased policing from Chief Charlie Beck.
The five-member civilian police commission that oversees the department requested the report in September after a series of controversial shootings over the summer that sparked angry protests.
While the 143-page report said “there is much work to be done to maintain and improve the level of public trust,” it suggests any problem with bias is more a public perception than a reality.
The report details the results of a community survey that found just 48 percent of African Americans view LAPD officers as honest and trustworthy. That compares to 74 percent of white residents, 71 percent of Latinos and 68 percent of Asians.
On the question of use of force by officers, just 30 percent of black residents said officers use it only when necessary, compared to 62 percent of Asians, 59 percent of Latinos and 51 percent respondents.
But residents of various backgrounds expressed concern about whether the LAPD treats people equally. When asked whether officers treat people of all races and ethnicities fairly, only about half of all residents agreed.
Across the city, nearly three-quarters of residents strongly or somewhat approve of the job the LAPD is doing. That means most residents recognize the LAPD for the most part does an extraordinary job, said Police Commissioner Steve Soboroff, the panel's most vociferous supporter of the department.
“At the end of the day, police officers as a whole, the industry as a whole, needs to be thanked and respected,” Soboroff told KPCC. “And it isn’t.”
Yet the overall approval rating sunk among African Americans. Just 57 percent of black residents approve or somewhat approve of the LAPD’s work. Whites were most approving (79 percent), followed by Latinos (74 percent) and Asians (61 percent). There were geographic differences too, with more than three-quarters of San Fernando Valley residents approving of the department's performance and about two-thirds of South Central residents approving.
“There is nothing surprising here,” said Melina Abdullah, a leader of the Los Angeles Chapter of Black Lives Matter. “The problem is that it talks about a feeling of racial oppression and bias rather than actual racial profiling.”
The report says the department has received more than 1,300 complaints of biased policing by officers over the past four years, but none were upheld by department investigators. It says proving such allegations is “very difficult.”
“Although engaging in biased policing is distinctly unconstitutional, if and when it does occur, it is likely to be hidden in the accused officer’s beliefs rather than conspicuous or overt,” the report stated.
Police commissioners and activists alike have raised concerns about this. Commission President Matt Johnson has said he does not think there are zero incidents of biased policing, but believes the department does not have an effective way of making a fair determination of whether an officer has engaged in it.
Activists think the LAPD leadership simply doesn’t want to say the department has a problem.
“They are not acknowledging that what blacks feel is what they are actually experiencing,” Abdullah said.
Without commenting on the specifics of the report, the police commission’s newest member said she looked forward to “meaningful dialogue” when the panel holds a special public hearing on the report Tuesday.
“We need to listen and learn so we can understand how these issues play out in people’s lives, and to hear from police officers as well” to determine the best way forward, said Commissioner Shane Murphy Goldsmith, who is president and CEO of Liberty Hill Foundation.
The report discusses implicit biases, and says those are even harder to identify. The LAPD is including training on that issue as well now, the report states.
The report touted the Community Safety Partnership program in public housing projects in Watts and other areas of the city, the creation last year of a Community Relationship Division and participation in Days of Dialogue with residents as example of programs designed improve trust. It also highlights a mediation program that brings residents face to face with the officers they've accused of bias or other misconduct.
In addition, the report says cameras worn by officers will be “powerful tools” to maintain officer accountability. More than 1,300 cameras have been issued in six divisions. Chief Beck has said he hopes to have 7,000 offices involved in patrol-related duties in all 21 divisions outfitted by 2018.
Researchers who conducted the community survey made several recommendations to build trust with the community, which the department has adopted, according to the report.
1-Maintaining and increasing the overall approval rating of the department and continue to act professionally.
2-Continue to improve relationships with residents in South Bureau and with African Americans; overcome the perception that the department does not treat people of all races and ethnicities fairly.
3-Proactively educate the public about the use of force, especially when it is appropriate and when it is not.
4-Reduce fear of crime among women and African Americans.
5-Increase police responsiveness to community concerns and interact more with residents.
LA Regional Human Trafficking Task Force Celebrates First Year Efforts
When Sheriff Jim McDonnell cut the ribbon launching the LA Sheriff’s Human Trafficking Bureau, he knew the impact would be felt throughout Southern California.
Now, as the host to the LA Regional Human Trafficking Task Force, it celebrates its first year of efforts, and includes 18 governmental partners and 10 community based organizations who aid in the fight to end human trafficking.
Since the formation of the unit, trafficking enforcement has become a staffing priority for the Department. The creation of the new Bureau came with the belief that, “The harder we look, the more we will find” and after one year the statistics generated by the effort prove that point.
Since November 16, 2015:
Detectives have RESCUED 131 victims of trafficking, including 98 minors; and ARRESTED 354 people: 104 Male Sex Buyers, 132 for Human Trafficking related offenses, 82 for Internet Crimes Against Children and 36 for miscellaneous offenses. Detectives have served 361 search warrants to obtain evidence and document the crimes, for court filing.
Early in 2016, Sheriff McDonnell directed that arresting minors would no longer be the practice when enforcing commercial sex laws. The “No Such Thing as a Child Prostitute” campaign became the mantra for the Bureau. Since children cannot consent to the act, they should be treated as the victims of molestation and exploitation that they are.
What truly sets the Task Force apart from others is the co-location of many of the primary partners in the effort. The squad room no longer is restricted to Deputy Sheriffs alone, but includes a regionalized effort of Federal, State and Municipal law enforcement officers, Department of Family Services (DCFS) case workers, probation officers, Deputy District Attorneys and non-governmental service providers for victim care.
The Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST) and Saving Innocence (SI), routinely respond to emergencies involving recovered victims of trafficking, alongside their law enforcement partners. These agencies provide trauma-informed, victim centered services for those rescued during the enforcement of trafficking laws.
Research and Crime Analysts assigned to the unit assist investigators in scouring the internet, in search of victims exploited by traffickers. Social media and smartphone “Apps” have made the commercial sex industry more available than ever before. Enforcement efforts, including undercover operations, target those who use the internet to advertise and sell minors for commercial sex.
As the Bureau continues to grow toward its goal of 50 LASD Detectives, the case load increases. Recent training for patrol personnel in procedures related to Commercially, Sexually Exploited Children (CSEC) was designed to increase the recognition and reporting of human trafficking within the community.
As the second year begins, the mission of the LA Regional Human Trafficking Task Force remains to rescue the exploited victims of trafficking, identify, arrest and charge those who choose to sell minors for commercial sex and charge the child molesters who buy minors for the purpose of sex.
For additional information contact Human Trafficking Bureau, Lieutenant Kent A. Wegener at 323-526-5159.
Partner to prevent or report crime by contacting your local Sheriff’s Station. If you wish to remain anonymous, call “LA Crime Stoppers” by dialing 800-222-TIPS (8477), or use your smartphone by downloading the “P3 Tips” Mobile APP or “P3 Mobile” for the hearing impaired on Google play or the App Store, or by using the website http://lacrimestoppers.org.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff Department’s Human Trafficking Bureau houses the LA Regional Human Trafficking Task Force, the nation’s largest co-located human trafficking task force in the nation. The Task Force is a collaboration of federal, state, county and local law enforcement, social service agency and non-government and community-based organizations investigating and serving the needs of commercially exploited adults and minors victimized for the purpose of sex and labor.
The LA Regional Human Trafficking Task Force brings together systems and disciplines to address the victim’s needs through a victim centered, trauma informed approach. The task force employs a regionalized strategy that crosses jurisdictional boundaries to identify and rescue victims while aggressively pursuing traffickers and buyers.
LA Regional Human Trafficking Task Force Partners:
United States Attorney’s Office
Homeland Security Investigations (ICE)
Federal Bureau of Investigation
United States Marshals Service
United States Department of Labor
California Attorney General
California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (State Parole)
California Employment Development Department
California Highway Patrol
LA County Sheriff’s Department
LA County District Attorney’s Office (DA & DA Investigator)
Department of Children and Family Services
LA County Probation Department
LA County Department of Public Health
Los Angeles Police Department
Los Angeles Unified School District Police Department
Pomona Police Department
Santa Monica City Attorney’s Office
Non-Government/Community Based Organizations
Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST)
The Guardian Group (Hotel/Motel Outreach, Education and Signage)
Sheriff Clergy Council
Pet Prescriptions Therapy Dog Program
Demand Abolition Cease Network
Restoration Diversion Services
Virtuous Women Inc.
Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles
International Institute of Los Angeles
Ex-LA Sheriff Lee Baca mentally competent: Defense won’t oppose expert’s opinion
by STEPHANIE MICHAUD – City News Service
Attorneys for Los Angeles County’s former sheriff will not oppose a court-appointed medical expert’s conclusion that the retired lawman, now in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, is competent to stand trial on obstruction of justice charges, according to court papers obtained Wednesday.
In a stipulation filed in Los Angeles federal court, lawyers for the prosecution and defense have agreed not to contest the so-far unidentified psychologist’s opinion that Lee Baca is mentally healthy enough to stand trial next month.
However, defense attorneys still want to tell a jury that their client was impaired from the disease as early as 2011.
Among issues expected to be discussed at an evidentiary hearing Monday is whether the judge will allow testimony from a defense psychiatrist that attempts to link actions charged in a felony indictment against Baca to the diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment he received years later.
Baca’s attorneys want a jury to hear the opinions of Dr. James Spar regarding the ex-sheriff’s mental state in 2011 and 2013, according to court documents.
The indictment against the former sheriff charges that he conspired to commit and committed obstruction of justice from August to September 2011 and made five false statements to the federal government in April 2013.
The defense argues that the 2013 interview at the root of the false statements allegations dealt with events and conversations that took place 20 months earlier — in August and September 2011 — and it was likely that Baca’s “memory impairment affected his answers to questions.”
Federal prosecutors — in a motion to bar Spar’s proposed testimony — counter that during his 16-year tenure as sheriff, Baca “never reported any concerns about memory loss or cognitive impairment to any doctor.”
In fact, prosecutors contend, “the opposite is true. Defendant repeatedly went to the doctor and reported no issues related to cognitive functioning. Doctors who saw him from 2010 to 2013 observed and reported that he was alert and oriented to person, place and time, that there were no significant neurological findings, and that psychiatric affect was always normal.”
“All the while, defendant continued to oversee the Sheriff’s Department, the nation’s largest, and perform his executive tasks, including regularly testifying before the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors,” a federal prosecutor wrote. “In addition, defendant planned to run for re- election in 2014.”
U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson set a Dec. 6 trial date in the case, in which Baca faces charges that carry a maximum penalty of up to 20 years in prison.
The prosecution maintains that it was in March 2014 that Baca sought medical advice based on concerns about his cognitive functioning. Medical records from that period indicate his chief complaint was sleep disturbance, although the defendant also complained of anxiety, depression and memory difficulties, according to documents.
Defense lawyers want Spar — who testified as an expert in dementia in a 2014 lawsuit that touched on billionaire Donald Sterling’s mental health — to tell the jury that Baca was properly diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in May 2014, that he is currently in the early stages of the disease and suffers from mildly impaired cognitive function.
The physician would also attempt to relate the diagnosis back to 2011-13 by suggesting that Alzheimer’s is present for “years to decades” before the earliest symptoms of cognitive deterioration appear, the motion states.
Prosecutors want Anderson to bar Spar’s testimony, which they argue is not based on reliable methodology and sufficient facts, “but instead would be confusing and prejudicial to the jury.”
In August, Baca withdrew his guilty plea to the lying charge and decided instead to take his chances at trial. Baca’s decision came after Anderson rejected a plea deal that limited the former sheriff’s prison time to a maximum of six months.
The judge said that a six-month prison term was too lenient. If Baca had not withdrawn from the plea, he could have been handed a sentence of five years behind bars on the false statements count.
The ex-sheriff was subsequently indicted on the new charges. Although Baca admitted in court to lying to investigators, that and other previous admissions cannot be used against him in the current case.
Baca claims he knew nothing of the plan to impede the jails probe and that second-in-command Paul Tanaka was in charge of the operation.
Ten ex-sheriff’s officials — including Tanaka — have been convicted or pleaded guilty in connection with the obstruction case.
Tanaka, who alleges his former boss initiated the plan, was sentenced by Anderson to five years in prison, but is free pending appeal.
Baca retired in 2014 at the height of the federal probe. He had been sheriff since December 1998.
A federal appellate panel upheld the convictions of seven former sheriff’s department officials convicted in the conspiracy.
SF, LA police unions target SF DA Gascón in letter to Gov. Brown
by Vivian Ho
Police union officials took another shot Wednesday at their longtime nemesis, San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón, this time in a letter sent to Gov. Jerry Brown asking that he not appoint a “failed prosecutor” to replace U.S. Sen.-elect Kamala Harris as state attorney general.
Gascón, whose push to reform the police force has been met with stiff resistance, has been mentioned as a possible candidate for attorney general, but could not immediately be reached for comment Wednesday. In the past, he has said he had no plans to run for the job.
Martin Halloran, president of the San Francisco Police Officers Association, penned this week’s letter jointly with Craig Lally, the head of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, saying that Gascón has a “poisonous relationship with law enforcement” and is “a reckless and erratic man with bad judgment.”
“To appoint him to higher office would endanger public safety,” the letter reads. “Gascón’s actions have proven that he is a shameless opportunist.”
The letter lists many of the same gripes that arose after Gascón began his aggressive push to reform the city force that he once led as chief — in particular after he assembled a panel of retired judges to investigate systemic bias in the department following the first of two racist text-messaging scandals.
In his testimony in front of the panel, Gascón lambasted the police union and the existence of what he called an “old boys club” mentality within the department.
Halloran and Lally — who was one of the Christopher Commission’s 44 “problem officers” named in the aftermath of the police beating of Rodney King — also picked at Gascón’s record as a prosecutor, calling him an “inexperienced lawyer.” The union leaders criticized his felony filings, saying his office oversaw a steep decline from 2010 to 2015.
Gascón has advocated for changes in the criminal justice system that seek to reduce incarceration.
‘Ultimate act of cowardice': Three officers in 3 cities targeted and shot, one fatally
by Katie Mettler
Three police officers in three different states were shot in apparently unprovoked attacks in a 12-hour period Sunday, attacks described as “targeted” and “ambush”-style by officials.
The first and only fatal shooting took place just before noon in San Antonio, directly outside the police station, as a 20-year veteran of the police department issued a traffic ticket from inside his patrol car. The assailant, seemingly unconnected to the original motorist, shot the officer twice in the head before fleeing in a black car. No suspect is in custody.
The second shooting was reported at about 7:30 Sunday evening in St. Louis. A 46-year-old officer was sitting in traffic in his patrol car when another car pulled up alongside him. Someone inside shot the officer twice in the face then fled. The 19-year-old suspect was later shot and killed by police when authorities say he fired at officers searching for him. The officer who was shot in the face is expected to survive.
At 8 p.m., the third ambush-style shooting shocked the small coastal Florida town of Sanibel, where for the first time in the city's history an officer was shot in the line of duty. Like the attack in San Antonio, the Florida officer was sitting in his car after a “routine traffic stop” when, according to the News-Press , a “drive-by shooter” opened fire. The injured officer was treated and released from a hospital, officials said, and the suspect was arrested after a shootout with police.
Sunday's targeted shootings are the most recent in a string of similar attacks that have made headlines this year, including the ambush-style killing of five Dallas police officers in July. Since then, at least a dozen officers have been shot in what officials have called unprovoked attacks.
At least five other officers have been targeted and shot this month: two fatally in Iowa; one fatally and another non-fatally in Pennsylvania; and one fatally in California.
At a news conference in San Antonio on Sunday afternoon, Mayor Ivy Taylor said the shooting there was “shocking and sobering,” and asked the community to remain “calm and prayerful” as authorities continued their search for the gunman.
Police Chief William McManus described the suspect as a dark-complected, slim male in his 20s or 30s. Witnesses described the man as dressed in gray pants and a gray shirt, and surveillance photos show him leaving the scene in a black sedan with chrome rims and tinted windows.
“We consider this person extremely dangerous and a clear threat to law enforcement officers and the public,” McManus said.
Later, police published a photo seeking help in identifying a man “in connection” with the shooting, describing him as a “black male, 20-30 years old, 5'7-6', tall, slim build with a goatee.” It was not clear if the two descriptions were of the same person.
Until the suspect is caught, the police chief said that all officers have been ordered to only conduct traffic stops if they have “cover” from another officer.
While most people spend this week celebrating Thanksgiving with family, McManus said his department “will be burying one of its own because of an ultimate act of cowardice by a suspect who will be caught and brought to justice.”
The slain officer was identified by the chief as Detective Benjamin Marconi, a 50-year-old father and grandfather. He had been with the force for 20 years and was a sex crimes detective who “excelled at his work” at the time of his death, a former colleague told NBC News.
“He was a great father, he was a great officer,” retired detective Roy Naylor told NBC News.
Marconi conducted a traffic stop in front of police headquarters at about 11:45 a.m. Sunday, the chief said. While he was sitting inside the patrol car, another vehicle — the black sedan with chrome rims — pulled up behind the officer. The suspect got out of the car, walked up to Marconi's driver side window and fired one shot. It struck Marconi in the head.
The suspect then “reached in through the open window and fired a second shot,” the chief said, hitting Marconi in the head again.
The gunman walked back to the vehicle and drove away.
Marconi was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead.
San Antonio police released photos of the suspect's vehicle and surveillance footage of people who may have witnessed the shooting. Authorities continued their search early Monday morning.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott called the slaying a “horrific act of violence” and added that “attacks against law enforcement officers will not be tolerated in Texas.”
McManus, the police chief, compared the shooting to the targeted attacks on police officers this year, reported NBC News.
“It's happened here,” he said. “It's everyone's worst nightmare.”
The motive remains unclear, the chief said, but the department is investigating all leads, including a possible connection to an officer-involved shooting that happened elsewhere in the city earlier Sunday.
The motive for the “ambush” shooting in St. Louis was more clear.
After a five-hour manhunt Sunday night, the suspect, a 19-year-old male, was shot and killed by police after he opened fire on them, St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief Sam Dotson said at a news conference.
Dotson told reporters the suspect was known to police before Sunday and was wanted for a host of crimes that had been committed in the city and county, including several robberies. He might also be connected to a carjacking and homicide, the chief said.
Authorities believe that is why he fired on the officer Sunday night: He was afraid he'd be recognized.
The chief did not release the name of the injured officer but said he is a 46-year-old father of three and has been on the force for nearly 20 years. He was in critical but stable condition at a hospital.
“Fortunately for the blessing of God the officer's going to survive,” Dotson said.
The officer was stalled in traffic when the suspect pulled up alongside him. He “saw the muzzle flashes and felt the glass breaking in his window as the shots came through and struck him in the head,” according to the chief. He heard at least two gunshots and was aware enough to see that the suspect's car was silver. The officer radioed for help, and when authorities arrived they found him still sitting in the driver's seat, strapped in his seat belt, gun holstered.
“He didn't have time to react to this threat,” Dotson said.
A source told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the officer thought the man in the car was going to ask him a question.
“This officer was not involved in a traffic stop. This officer was not trying to pull this car over,” Dotson said. “This officer was driving down the road and was ambushed.”
At the news conference, Mayor Francis Slay said the attack was unprovoked and a reminder of “how dangerous it is to be a police officer.” He called the shooting “traumatic” and said the officer “didn't deserve this.” “He was just doing his job,” Slay said. “He was targeted because he was a police officer.”
Local and federal authorities spent the evening searching by air and land for the 19-year-old suspect. They were mandated to travel with at least one other officer for safety. Officials found the suspect's car abandoned in a parking garage downtown and learned that he had been picked up by a female friend. The two returned to the same neighborhood where the shooting occurred, Dotson said.
There, officers were “scouring” the area, and when a police car located the suspect and his friend and tried to pull their car over, the female driver slowed down and the suspect fled, the chief said. He ran down an alley and into the view of another police car, this one unmarked. The suspect fired at the car, Dotson said, shattering the windshield. The officers inside were uninjured.
More police arrived and began to “converge,” according to the chief. There was more gunfire, and the suspect was shot and killed. A pistol with an extended magazine was recovered from the suspect. Police also found an additional magazine with more bullets. An investigation into how many shots were fired at the suspect is ongoing, and it was unknown early Monday morning if the female driver would face charges.
While addressing reporters, Dotson mentioned the fatal San Antonio police shooting earlier in the day and spoke of the climate facing American officers.
“When officers are driving down the street and are ambushed, it makes us all take pause,” he said.
The fatal shooting in San Antonio was the 58th death of an officer by gunfire this year, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page and the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. Those sites have calculated that that number is between a 61 and 71 percent increase from gunfire-related deaths in 2015.
Cops, Trump and the Threat to Police Reform
by Joe Domanick
In 2014, President Barack Obama responded to nationwide demonstrations protesting deadly police violence by commissioning a study on police reform.
In May 2015, the 11-member “Task Force on 21 st Century Policing” reported back with a series of six good, detailed policing policies and guidelines aimed at easing the sizzling tension between the police and poor communities of color.
Chief among its recommendations was one focused on seriously building neighborhood trust and support through best-practices community policing. Another called for creating “de-escalation strategies” to decrease confrontations, police violence and officer-involved shootings.
While some leading police managers welcomed the recommendations, they were not well received by the vast majority of America's police departments. That's is unfortunate, because it's clear now that the massive 2014 protests against deadly police violence were only a prelude to worse to come.
We saw that this summer with the assassinations of eight police officers (and the wounding of ten others) by an African-American sniper in Dallas—followed 10 days later by the killing of three Baton Rouge cops and the wounding of three others by a second black sniper. Both assassins were reportedly retaliating for police-killings of unarmed black men.
In the aftermath of one of the most contentious and divisive presidential elections in our nation's modern history, the momentum begun by the Task Force recommendations is now in doubt—even as it has become crystal clear that what's now required is a fundamental transformation of the oppressive policing that's been the profession's modus operandi over the past 30 years, together with an equally fundamental re-imagining of its mission, officer-selection criteria and training.
In many ways, Donald Trump's election is about turning back the clock, and it appears likely his administration might kill off many justice reform efforts nationwide.
As a candidate, Trump promised to get “tough-on-crime” (a code word since the 1960s for releasing the cops to “do what they gotta do”).
If he carries out his pledges, it's hard to see how the approach backed by the Task Force can survive. For instance his vow to renew surveillance of mosques will undermine community policing in Muslim neighborhoods; and his support for stop-question-and-frisk, whereby huge numbers of mostly poor black and brown teenagers are shaken down by police as a routine way of doing business, could breathe new life into one of the strategies most antithetical to police reform.
Of course the federal government can't mandate the use of stop-and-frisk, but the Justice Department can choose not to slap a consent decree against police departments that are regularly using the tactic. (About which more shortly.)
A further troubling signal about the direction of policing reform came with the announcement Friday that Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions was Trump's nominee for attorney general.
One of the most reactionary members of the Senate, Sessions was denied a federal judgeship in 1986 because of his alleged racism. He supported Trump's call for a ban on Muslim immigration; and as Alabama AG, he prosecuted civil rights workers trying to register African Americans to vote—alleging voter fraud.
At the annual American Society of Criminology conference in New Orleans last week, several former Justice Department officials raised doubts about whether Sessions would continue the DOJ's support of community policing through its funding of the office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS).
During the campaign, Trump said, “National attention [to police abuse] does not mean national involvement of the federal government,” and that “local issues should remain local.”
That reflects the views of some of the law-and-order advocates who were among his close advisers, most notably former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, until recently mentioned as a prospective Attorney General.
As mayor, one of Giuliani's signature anti-crime strategies was “stop and frisk,” which he claimed was principally responsible for the city's plummeting crime rates. Giuliani and his supporters were incensed by a subsequent ruling by a New York judge that parts of the strategy were unconstitutional—and Trump is clearly on their side.
During the campaign, Trump told the International Association of Chiefs of Police that he believed America's cops could reduce violence by being “very much tougher than they are right now.”
That's a serious statement.
Like stop-and-frisk, being “tougher” is antithetical to police reform. The very reason cities like Los Angeles, Boston, Dallas and Philadelphia are pursuing pioneering, real, game-changing innovative policing reform is precisely because American policing has been undermined by such tough policing for the past three decades.
Law enforcement has provided the shock troops for the country's unprecedented, racialized wars on drugs, crime and the nation's poor.
Those wars have been characterized by a paramilitary mind-set and a mission deeply focused on rigid, massive over-policing and high arrest numbers on the front end; and harsh sentencing and equally massive incarceration by other branches of our criminal justice system on the back end.
The outraged reaction to that kind of policing sparked the enormous nationwide protests of 2014. Led mainly by young African Americans, they were supported by a new, complex and diverse 21 st century America comprised of millennials and liberals and civil libertarians of all colors who are now the core of the Democratic Party, a forward-looking black president, and two black attorney generals—in short, the Obama Coalition that delivered to Hillary Clinton more votes for president this year than Donald Trump received.
Given that, going back to the old 1990s style of policing could well portend tumultuous events and even more intense, bitter division as we move into the Trump era.
But perhaps the changes a Trump administration might make will not be so extreme. They might simply slash funding to the philosophical underpinning of reform: community policing.
The Feds and the Cops
As previously mentioned, the federal government doesn't control local policing. But it does control vital federal dollars to our police agencies—much of it flowing through COPS.
Even if COPS' funding were threatened, cities like Los Angeles, Boston, Dallas, and Philadelphia— where pioneering police chiefs are committed and engaged in reform—might well be able to continue their innovative work.
But many other local departments need the guidance and especially the crucial federal funding flowing from COPS to help implement their reform efforts.
More specifically, should a Trump Administration follow through on his promise to round-up and deport millions of undocumented immigrants, it would almost certainly spell the end of reform and community policing in immigrant and working class Hispanic, Jamaican, African-American, and Muslim communities throughout the nation.
The people in these localities are already wary of the police. Among the most important goals of community policing is changing that situation, and having cops be seen as a positive, legitimate force for good by the people they're policing.
That process is heavily reliant on developing long-term community-building through the development of personal relationships with neighborhood residents. It's difficult to imagine, however, that local police can hope to maintain that kind of relationship within immigrant communities if “deportation” task forces of immigration agents surge through their neighborhoods, taking names, checking papers, and rousting and arresting their friends and family.
Last week, at least one prominent police chief — Charlie Beck, the progressive reformer of the Los Angeles Police Department — reacted strongly to that cruel possibility.
“I don't intend on doing anything different,” Beck told the Los Angeles Times. “ We are not going to engage in law enforcement activities based on somebody's immigration status. We are not going to work in conjunction with Homeland Security on deportation efforts. That is not our job, nor will I make it our job.”
Beck's outreach to immigrants has been one of the hallmarks of his tenure. And he has both the mayor's and police commission's blessing in a liberal LA. It's highly probable that other sanctuary cities in California and the liberal Northwest will follow Beck's and LA's lead in the near future.
But there is one caveat: A Trump administration could make federal funding contingent on their cooperation in assisting in immigration roundups. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, for example, is waiting to see what a Trump administration will propose before making any commitments in the future.
Civil Rights Probes in Doubt
In addition, over the past eight years under President Obama, the U.S. Justice Department's Civil Rights Division has been playing a pivotal role in police reform by forcing police department who've shown a “pattern and practice” of beatings, reckless shootings and abuse into federal “consent decrees.”
The decrees mandate that the departments implement a series of reforms overseen by a federal judge.
Such decrees have greatly increased under Obama compared to the last Republican Administration led by George W. Bush. No consent decrees, for example, were imposed during Bush's second term. But by May 2015, as The Marshall Project reported, Obama's Justice Department had “reached settlements in 15 ‘pattern or practice' violations by state and local law-enforcement agencies, including eight consent decrees.”
These decrees, it's important to note, have been extremely effective tools in forcing the most abusive departments to make deep cultural and operational reforms they likely never would have made otherwise.
Under a Trump Administration, a policy guided by the notion that the federal government should stay out of local police affairs could slow or stall that process.
Meanwhile, the most reactionary elements of the police establishment have already hopped aboard a Trump train they hope is rolling backwards. As Jim Pasco, executive director of the 350,000 member Fraternal Order of Police (FOP)— which endorsed Trump— said just after the election: “I've seen a level of resolve and commitment on the part of our membership unlike any in some time.”
Pasco also told NPR that [American] police departments are being “victimized by an overzealous Justice Department.”
Obviously, resistance to police reform long predates this election. Much of the resistance to reform within the profession comes from local and state police unions and national associations like the FOP. Through skillful lobbying and threats to label politicians “soft-on-crime,” they have virtually owned our lawmakers on Capitol Hill, and in America's state houses and city halls for decades.
During the 1980s and 1990s, they successfully promoted harsh law-and-order legislation; fought off civilian oversight attempts to make them more accountable; and ingeniously devised and won due process rights that, as James Surowiecki wrote, “defined [their due process] working conditions in the broadest possible terms; and in so doing made “it hard to investigate misconduct claims and to get rid of officers who break the rules.”
In other words, it is the police who currently have the legal, procedural and political power in the reform battle, not the reformers. They must be led towards reform.
But, united with like-minded allies in a new Trump Justice Department, they could now decimate police reform by reigniting the wars on drugs and crime—because reform cannot coexist with that kind of policing.
They could also simply let reform die by the benign neglect; or by redirecting financial support for community policing to, as Pasco put it, “training or gear.”
Moreover, a Trump White House could also chose to enforce federal marijuana laws under which possession of the sale or purchase or the substance is still a crime – thereby throwing those states who've legalized recreational use of the drug—and local police agencies—into chaos.
During the second half of the 20 th century and into the present, law enforcement learned all the wrong lessons for policing in the 21 th century.
In the process they tainted the values of our police agencies and cops in the field, making what has traditionally been a necessary, sometimes inherently dirty, job even dirtier. And in the process, cops on the beat have become hated by many of the people who are most in need of their protection.
That's a situation we return to at our own risk.
Joe Domanick is West Coast bureau chief of The Crime Report, and Associate Director of the Center onMedia, Crime and Justice at John Jay College in NYC. His book “Blue: The LAPD and the Battle to Redeem American Policing” is now out from Simon & Schuster in paperback. He welcomes comments from readers.
Spike in hate crimes prompts special NY police unit
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced initiatives to combat hate-based crime and harassment, including a special team to investigate hate crimes statewide
by David Olson
NEW YORK — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, in a speech at a historic Harlem church Sunday morning, decried what he called "the whirlwind of hate and division all across this country" since the election of Donald Trump and announced initiatives to combat hate-based crime and harassment.
Speaking to the predominantly African-American congregation at Abyssinian Baptist Church, Cuomo cited Ku Klux Klan fliers that were found on cars in Patchogue on Thursday and a swastika surrounded by "Make America White Again" scrawled on an upstate park building as examples of "the demonization of differences."
The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate incidents, says there has been a surge of hate-based harassment against immigrants, African-Americans, LGBT people, Muslims and others since the election of Trump, who was supported by the KKK and whose victory was touted by white nationalist groups as a validation of their cause.
On Friday night, a swastika was scrawled at a Brooklyn park named for the late Adam Yauch of hip-hop group the Beastie Boys. Yauch, who died of cancer in 2012, was Jewish. A sign that said "Go Trump!" was also left at the park.
Close to 2,000 people turned out at the park Sunday, including a fellow Beastie Boy, Adam "Ad-Rock" Horowitz, to condemn the vandalism and call on Trump to denounce it.
"I reject Donald Trump's vision of America," Horowitz said. "New York City, I'm asking you to do the same."
Officials with the Trump campaign did not return a phone call and email requesting comment.
Cuomo said he is directing the State Police and the Division of Human Rights to put together a special team of trained professionals to investigate hate crimes statewide.
"We will prosecute to the fullest extent of the law the perpetrator of any of this ugliness and divisiveness," he said to applause.
The new hate crimes unit will offer assistance to other law enforcement agencies investigating potential hate crimes and to district attorneys in prosecuting them, the governor's office said later Sunday.
Cuomo said that in January he would ask the Legislature to allow the human rights division to investigate bullying, harassment and other discrimination in public as well as private schools. Current law covers only private schools, the governor's office said.
Cuomo said he wrote an open letter to all the state's college students that was emailed Sunday.
"We will not tolerate hate or racism," the governor wrote in the email, vowing to "firmly enforce" hate crime laws and urging those who were victims of bias or discrimination to call a recently launched bias hotline: 888-392-3644. It is staffed 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Cuomo also announced the formation of "a public-private legal defense fund to provide immigrants who can't afford their own defense or the legal assistance they need. Because in New York we believe in justice for all."
The fund, which would assist immigrants in the country illegally and those here legally, is the first in the nation and will be run in partnership with major colleges and universities, law firms, legal associations and advocacy groups, the governor's office said.
Cuomo spoke of how the nation was built by immigrants.
"If there is a move to deport immigrants, I say then start with me, because I am the son of Mario Cuomo, the son of Andrea Cuomo, a poor Italian immigrant who came to this country without a job, without money, without resources," the governor said.
Cuomo said the state must work to address the widening income inequality and economic displacement that he said are leading people to become angry and seek scapegoats.
"This fear and this anger, misdirected, seeks an enemy, and it seeks a target, and the target has become people who one sees as different than oneself," he said.
ICE HSI Los Angeles Rapid Response Team trains in preparation for danger
Not everyone can ask for a ride from the United States Air Force (USAF). U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations’ (HSI) Los Angeles Rapid Response Team (RRT) is one group that can.
When a natural or man-made disaster strikes, HSI Los Angeles RRT deploys as first responders to provide help to people in need. The team is uniquely qualified as a mobile unit.
RRT Los Angeles Commander and Group Supervisor John R. Reynolds said, “We have the training and certifications that give us the ability to go anywhere we are needed.”
The USAF through its Operation Patriot Hook offers highly specialized training each year on how to categorize and load emergency relief equipment onto planes efficiently and promptly. During the USAF training, the HSI Los Angeles RRT keeps their skills sharp and learns the latest science and techniques behind loading planes. With the largest, most technologically advanced fleet in the world, the USAF knows a thing or two about aircraft. The Team is also certified to separate, itemize and contain hazardous materials like ammunition, fuel and batteries to ensure safety for all those on board the aircraft.
In the case of an actual disaster or emergency and the declaration of an Emergency Support Function (ESF) 13, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) coordinates relief efforts. FEMA will arrange and pay for the HSI RRT’s USAF ride. If the USAF is unable to provide assistance, FEMA has contracts with commercial carriers for transportation needs.
Los Angeles Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Joseph Macias said, “Knowing that I have a well-trained, well outfitted and professional group of men and women that will assist this office and the country in the time of a natural or man-made disaster is a reassuring feeling.”
Hurricanes have served as milestones for the HSI RRT national program under the HSI Headquarters’ Emergency Management Unit (EMU). EMU oversees approximately 19 RRTs across the country.
One of the deadliest hurricanes in the history of the United States, Hurricane Katrina, in 2005, brought about the idea for Rapid Response Teams. After seeing the response of government personnel to the disaster, HSI realized that there were highly trained and capable individuals ready and willing to assist those in need. At the time, those resources were not organized, trained or equipped to be an effective asset to a national disaster response.
HSI RRT Los Angeles serves as a “jack-of-all-trades” organization. It is built to be completely self-sustaining for seven days, and sometimes longer. Commander Reynolds explained, “We go and provide help. We don’t need to be a burden. We provide our own food, fuel and security so we can focus on the people in distress.”
Recently, Hurricane Lester in Hawaii seemed like the perfect opportunity for the Team to put their USAF training to use. They were ready to be deployed to Hawaii as first responders but the tropical storm dissipated and they did not end up making the trip. Commander Reynolds explained why that was not the point, “We did not end up going, but we were ready to go.”
Many HSI RRTs have a specialization. San Diego RRT is trained to navigate tunnels and confined spaces under emergency conditions. Los Angeles RRT specializes in Search and Rescue (SAR) operations. Commander Reynolds said, “Seventeen members of our team are SAR certified technicians, level two. We focus on wilderness search and rescue, but also have the capability to search urban areas.”
The Team’s primary training partner for search and rescue operations is the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Malibu Search and Rescue Team. In 2014, the Los Angeles RRT worked for three days with Ventura County SAR looking for a firefighter from Arcadia, California who went missing while hiking in a remote area near Fillmore, California. His body was located several weeks later.
In addition to search and rescue expertise, the Team also possesses a wealth of medical knowledge. There are four Emergency Medical Technicians on the team and two are ICE certified Tactical Medics. They received training from an ICE endorsed program in conjunction with Johns Hopkins University.
On Dec. 2, 2015 HSI Los Angeles RRT was requested to provide assistance to the San Bernardino Police Department in support of multiple active shooter/terrorist attacks at the Department of Developmental Services in San Bernardino, California. HSI Los Angeles RRT deployed to the scene for three days, establishing vital temporary shelters, lights and generators, staffing the mobile command center and perimeter security for the California governor during his site visit.
This year, the team worked closely with the HSI Special Response Team (SRT) as a tactical and medical response force to monitor approximately 3 miles of the annual Rose Bowl Parade route. As a national Special Event Assessment Rated event the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl football game were deemed potential soft targets for terrorist attacks. The Team’s professionalism and readiness earned them an invitation to return next year.
The HSI RRT Los Angeles is staffed completely with volunteers, the majority of whom are HSI special agents and administrative personnel for support. Los Angeles has 27 members on its team. Each person must train a minimum 96 hours per year to remain an active member though many put in more than 200 hours annually. ICE HSI allows agents to dedicate a portion of their regular work load to RRT training and serve as a collateral duty.
Commander Reynolds explained why the RRT is motivated to do difficult and dangerous work: “We take great pride in what we do. There is a great level of sacrifice to learn how to do what we do. We do it because every team member wants to help those in distress; they are ready to go into austere environments and willing to sacrifice their safety to fulfill the greater good.”
ICE South Texas officers deport Salvadoran man wanted for aggravated homicide
SAN ANTONIO — A Salvadoran fugitive wanted for aggravated homicide in his home country was deported Tuesday by officers with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO).
This removal is the latest result of stepped-up collaborative efforts to locate Salvadoran criminal fugitives in the United States and return them to El Salvador to face justice.
Jose Martin Cruz-Martinez, 26, was flown to El Salvador Nov. 15 and turned over to Salvadoran officials. The El Salvador arrest warrant states that on Aug. 8, 2014, Cruz-Martinez shot and killed a man who was a passenger riding in a motorcycle taxi. Cruz-Martinez told authorities that the victim was a member of “La Pandilla 18,” a well- known street gang in El Salvador. On Dec. 15, 2015, a judge in El Salvador issued the warrant for Cruz-Martinez’s arrest.
“Cruz-Martinez was a fugitive from justice suspected of committing a series of egregious crimes in his home country, including a murder," said Daniel Bible, ICE’s field office director of ERO San Antonio. "ICE uses our unique immigration enforcement authorities, and relies on our international partnerships, to help protect our communities from criminal aliens who pose a threat to public safety or national security."
Cruz-Martinez was arrested Aug. 9, 2016, near Hidalgo, Texas, by U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Border Patrol and transferred to ICE custody. In October, an immigration judge ordered Cruz-Martinez removed to El Salvador.
On Aug. 17, 2016, ERO San Antonio received information from the Foreign Service National Investigator (FSNI) in El Salvador that Cruz was the subject of an active Interpol Red Notice regarding his role in an aggravated homicide.
ERO officers removed Cruz-Martinez Nov. 15, and turned him over to Salvadoran authorities.
Since Oct. 1, 2009, ERO has removed more than 1,700 foreign fugitives from the United States who were sought in their native countries for serious crimes, including kidnapping, rape and murder. ERO works with the ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Office of International Operations, foreign consular offices in the United States, and Interpol to identify foreign fugitives illegally present in the United States.
Members of the public who have information about foreign fugitives are urged to contact ICE by calling the ICE tip line at 1 (866) 347-2423 or internationally at 001-1802-872-6199. They can also file a tip online by completing ICE’s online tip form.
ERO coordinates the removal of criminals, foreign fugitives and others ordered deported. In 2015 alone, ERO removed 235,413 individuals from the United States. ICE is focused on smart and effective immigration enforcement that prioritizes its resources based on those who pose the biggest threat to national security, border security and public safety. ICE’s civil enforcement efforts are based on priorities set by the Secretary of Homeland Security in November 2014.
ICE Air History
ICE routinely uses special air charters to transport aliens who have final orders of removal from an immigration judge. Staffed by ICE ERO Air Operations officers, these air charters enable the agency to repatriate large groups of deportees in an efficient, expeditious and humane manner.
Since 2006, ICE Air Operations has supported ERO by providing mass air transportation and removal coordination services to ERO field offices nationwide. Staffed by ERO officers, these air charters enable the agency to repatriate large groups of deportees in an efficient, expeditious and humane manner.