LACP - NEWS of the Week
on some LACP issues of interest
NEWS of the Week
EDITOR'S NOTE: The following group of articles is but a small percentage of the info available to the community policing and neighborhood activist. It is by no means meant to cover every possible issue of interest, nor is it meant to convey any particular point of view. We present this simply as a convenience to our readership.
MJ Goyings
Many thanks to our very own "MJ" Goyings, a resident of Ohio, for her daily research that provides us with the news related material that appears on the LACP & NAASCA web sites.


April 2017 - Week 4



Detroit police officer in critical condition after shooting, suspect dead

by Fox News

A 14 year veteran of the Detroit Police force has been shot while responding to a call on the city's west side.

Detroit Police Chief James Craig says the officer and his partner were responding to the apartment for a report of a domestic dispute. Craig could not confirm previous reports of shots fired before officers arrived. When officers knocked on door of location, suspect is said to have opened fire on them, possibly using a semi-automatic weapon. The officers returned fire, striking and killing the suspect.

The veteran officer was struck in the head by one of the suspect's bullets. He was taken to Beaumont Oakwood hospital in Dearborn where he is said to be in "very critical condition." He is in a medically induced coma and has swelling of the brain.

At this time, Chief Craig says police are not certain what the suspect's role was in the domestic call, if he even had one.

The deceased suspect is said to be a black male, possibly 40-45 years old.

The wounded officer and his partner both work out of Detroit's 2nd Precinct. His partner has only been out of the academy for 6 months.

Chief James Craig says this is the 8th Detroit Police officer shot in the line of duty since September 2016.



Police: Downward trend in shootings continues in April

by Fox 32

CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) - The number of shootings in Chicago declined for the second month in a row in April, according to Chicago Police.

Forty-five people were fatally shot in Chicago during the month, which saw 313 people shot in 247 separate incidents, according to police statistics released early Monday, as well as data maintained by the Chicago Sun-Times.

Shootings are down almost 13 percent this year compared to this time last year, police said. So far, there have been about 9 percent fewer shooting victims compared to 2016.

Police said the decline in shootings continues from March, when 209 people were shot, 35 of them fatally.

Fifteen of the city's 22 police districts saw a reduction or remained flat in shootings compared to this time last year, police said.

Police credited the police derpartment's new crime tip submission site,, in helping to reduce crime. The site allows residents to anonymously report crimes directly to police on their mobile device.

In April, the Superintendent's Community Policing Advisory Panel also held the first two of three public discussions on community policing and administered more than 2,000 online surveys on the topic. The results will be reviewed and incorporated into recommendations that the panel will present to Supt. Eddie Johnson later this spring, police said.

The Illinois Senate passed two bills in April, which Johnson testified in favor of, aiming to reduce gun violence, police said.

The Safe Neighborhoods Reform Act offers guidelines to judges for higher sentences for repeat gun offenders, and the Gun Dealer Licensing Act would regulate and monitor gun dealers to hold dealers who continue to sell guns that are used in crimes accountable. Both bills are awaiting passage in the Illinois House of Representatives.

"Through our continued discussions as a city, efforts by CPD officers on the street, and action on this repeat offender legislation in Springfield, we will have a powerful and comprehensive movement toward making our streets safer and rebuilding public trust," Johnson said in a statement.



Calif. sheriff's office opens training to community members

The eight-hour training covered how the public views the fairness of the policing, biases people unintentionally apply and mending damaged relationships

by Jondi Gumz

LIVE OAK, Calif. — Stockton Police Capt. Scott Meadors has seen a lot in his 26 years in law enforcement.

When he was 23, his first partner was killed in the line of duty.

He was working narcotics when his sister-in-law, a heroin addict, died at 36.

He knows two retired officers killed themselves last year.

His city is one of six chosen by the U.S. Department of Justice in March 2015 for a three-year pilot program designed to improve relationships between law enforcement officers and their communities.

This month, Meadors came to Santa Cruz to train Santa Cruz County deputies, part of an initiative launched by Sheriff Jim Hart in late 2015 after reading the President's Report on 21st Century Policing.

Hart has been using the report as a template for making changes under his watch.

“The justice system is continually evolving and law enforcement needs to be nimble enough to adapt and grow with the changes that are occurring around us,” he said.

A year after the sheriff's initiative began, a confrontation in Corralitos ended at 3:15 a.m. when a deputy fatally shot Luke Smith, 15, who had stabbed his father and uncle after ingesting LSD.

Deputies wear body cameras, and the sheriff released video footage of that incident in the interest of transparency.


The eight-hour training from Meadors covered how the public views the fairness of the policing, biases people unintentionally apply and mending relationships damaged through historical tension and mistrust.

For the first time, three community members participated along with 50 deputies.

“We've never done that,” said Sheriff's Sgt. Chris Clark, who oversees professional standards and conduct.

The reason community members were invited to this training is because of Lt. Jim Ross, a 25-year veteran who oversees the recruit training program.

He and Deputy Danny Cruz, a field training officer, attended a law enforcement class in Sacramento with community members.

Ross sat next to a pastor from Richmond, who found the training eye-opening.

So Ross wanted to bring that approach back to Santa Cruz County.


Meadors showed a video of a police chasing a suspect filmed inside the cruiser capturing the officers' running commentary, ending in a crash with guns firing.

“Consider the public view of how events like this are seen,” he said.

He added, “This is not about using force. If you think I'm telling you to slow down, I'm not. Use it to the best of your training and de-escalate.”

Another video showed a man 6-foot-4 and 320 pounds who was tased twice after being uncooperative. The man failed to stop his car when signaled and did not comply when officers asked him to relax his arms so they could handcuff him.

Officers got his name, gave him options and a third taser jolt was not given.

Afterward, one deputy said, “We cannot lose. If we lose, we are going to get killed.”

Another added, “If I'm incapacitated, that gun is up for grabs.”

As deputies deal with call after call, there can be pressure to get a situation under control quickly.

“You want to go home at the end of the day feeling we made a difference,” one deputy said.

Meadors pointed out there may be occasions when you need to step back and “not create something.”


Next, Meadors asked deputies about their interaction with the community.

One talked about going Christmas shopping with kids, organized by the Deputy Sheriffs Association with help from Valley Churches United Missions.

One was happy to the Sobering Center is replacing jail for people who are drunk in public.

One wished opioid addicts would get treatment.

“You can't force them into a program,” observed one veteran deputy.

Meadors turned the discussion on how an “us versus them” attitude can develop in law enforcement.

Officers are so watchful they are hyper-vigilant, sitting with their backs to the door at a restaurant just in case, and can be short-tempered at home.

Once off duty, they relieve the stress by working out or vegging out.

“Being emotional is viewed as weakness,” observed one deputy.

Another recalled handling a call about a death near the end of a shift.

“Making that mental transition can be difficult,” she said.

Belita Magee, a leader in the local NAACP chapter who attended the morning training session, welcomed the opportunity.

“This is very informative — revealing,” she said. “I'm hearing their perspective.”


Later in the day, Meadors talked about what has led generations of Americans to mistrust law enforcement, starting with the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, known as the “bloodhound law.”

He talked about Jim Crow laws that segregated blacks from whites, the 1955 lynching of Emmett Till based on an accusation recanted only this year and Alabama Gov. George Wallace in 1963 refusing the desegregate the University of Alabama, the Stonewall riots involving the LGBTQ community, and 1991 Rodney Kiing riots in Los Angeles.

“This is not ancient history,” Meadors said. “This is a narrative we all inherited.”

He showed a video example of how bias can be deadly.

Police were looking for whoever killed two Las Vegas officers eating lunch at Cici's Pizza and the scene was chaotic.

An officer chased a suspect in Walmart expecting a black or Hispanic man with a gun, and when he saw a woman, he wondered, “Why is she here?”

Then he realized she was the suspect he was looking for.


A couple of deputies shared how episodes of violence affected them.

One said that since a homicide took place near a restaurant he used to go to, he hasn't gone back there to eat.

Another recalled a shot that whizzed by his ear 17 years ago; the memory comes back when he's at that location.

Meadors shared his experience when three armed robbers held up the Bank of the West in Stockton with three hostages.

“It doesn't get any more difficult than that,” he said, adding that a suspect with an AK-47 shot at officers in pursuit, hitting the car. “One hostage was killed. It was my agency's gunfire. We had no control. We never had the opportunity to negotiate.”

One deputy brought up the importance of what happens “after we control the situation and make it safe.”

Meaders agreed those interactions make a difference in relationships with community members.

He recalled how in 2002, he made the decision that led to police fatally shooting an African-American man. The man's daughter showed up to talk to him, and she was handcuffed.

Meadors said he worried the man would kill himself and his daughter, but no one at the scene told the daughter that.

“We forget about the impact on the family,” he said.

Years later, when he saw this woman again, he took the opportunity to introduce himself and explain to her what happened.

They began building a relationship.

She asked him to speak to her son, who was afraid of police.

At her invitation, he attended a memorial for her father 15 years after his death.

“That doesn't usually happen,” Meadors said.

Jessica Nifield, an attorney who is active in Santa Cruz County Community Coalition to Overcome Racism, noted the sheriff has stayed with the 21st century policing initiative despite the leadership change in the White House.

“It's wonderful to see what gets taught,” she said.



25 Years Since Rodney King Riots: Race, Rebellion and Rebirth in South L.A.

by Trymaine Lee, Jon Schuppe and Sam Petulla

LOS ANGELES — Najee Ali watched the first flares of unrest in South Central Los Angeles from home, heeding his better instincts to stay out of trouble after four police officers were cleared in the beating of Rodney King.

He changed his mind when a group of black men pounded a white trucker unconscious live on TV.

Ali felt sorry for the victim, but he also felt moved by the countless other beatings, killings and daily injustices heaped upon the black community. He got in his car and drove into the heart of the fury, ready to smash and burn anything that represented society's boots on the necks of African-Americans.

He saw rage and sadness in neighbors' faces, gang members pooled in the streets, women banging pots and pans, and cops looking frightened.

"If you were non-black on that day, there was no compassion for anybody except for black people," Ali recalled.

That was 25 years ago today.

Ali, a former gang member in and out of jail who struggled with drug addiction, has changed. He took a new religion and a new name and became a community activist.

The area where five days of mayhem left more than 50 dead and $1 billion in property damage has also changed. In many ways, it's unrecognizable.

Once the cultural cradle of black Los Angeles, the community is now predominantly Latino. The sense of police occupation has eased. Crime is down. Racial tensions have improved. The neighborhood has been renamed South Los Angeles, an attempt to erase the riots' stigma. There are signs of more change, too, including a new rail line and housing developments promise to lift the area from decades of economic isolation.

But ghosts of old L.A. still linger, as the boundaries around the city's traditionally black neighborhoods continue to shrink — and there are fears that the displacement will continue, this time in the form of gentrification.

"Things have not changed in terms of lack of jobs, lack of job training, pockets of extreme poverty in certain areas and access to adequate schools and healthcare is still troubling," Ali said on a recent afternoon, standing on a South Los Angeles street corner. "As well as the continued unjust murders and abuse at the hands of law enforcement since '92."

Many in L.A. refuse to call what took place over those few days in 1992 a riot. They'll refer to it as a rebellion or an uprising, an organic, violent response to the state sanctioned violence that had routinely been used against African-Americans long before the first window was shattered.

"A riot is the voice of the unheard," Ali said, paraphrasing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. "And we still have a lot of voices in South Central L.A. that are not being heard."

"You had a problem in a community that kept being ignored and kept being ignored and then the people just said, 'You ain't going to ignore us no more.' You've seen that firestorm pop up all over our nation. So we can easily go back there if we forget what we did wrong." — Najuma Smith-Pollard

This is the multilayered story of South Los Angeles: site of the most destructive civil disturbance in U.S. history, emblem of the country's racial divide, a place where generations of immigrants have pursued the American dream, and now, after decades of despair, it stands at a new crossroads.

It is also a case study in America's fraught relationship with its minorities and police, how quickly that distrust can turn violent, and how long it can take to heal.

The lessons of Los Angeles continue to reverberate, from the unrest that followed the 2014 killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri to the rioting that engulfed Baltimore after the 2015 death of Freddie Gray, both African-American men.

"Mike Brown was to Ferguson what Rodney King was to L.A.," said Najuma Smith-Pollard, a program manager at the University of Southern California's Cecil Murray Center for Community Engagement. "You had a problem in a community that kept being ignored and kept being ignored and then the people just said, 'You ain't going to ignore us no more.' You've seen that firestorm pop up all over our nation. So we can easily go back there if we forget what we did wrong."

South Los Angeles: A Study in Contrasts

By certain measures, it remains a neighborhood in crisis. Many of the burned-out lots have yet to be rebuilt. Unemployment rates are much higher, and household incomes remain far lower, than the rest of Los Angeles County. Housing insecurity continues to plague the community, along with chronic health problems and the impact of mass incarceration. Affordable housing is hard to come by. Access to quality food is limited.

African-American families have moved out of the city in droves, searching for better opportunities or safety from police or community violence, a sort of reverse migration from the one that drew millions of blacks out of the South generations ago.

Immigrants from Mexico and Central America continue to arrive. The black residents who remain have become concentrated on the west side of South Los Angeles. Many of their Latino neighbors, meanwhile, quietly live on the edge of poverty. The undocumented among them often do not seek out medical care or other types of help, and tend not to engage in civic causes. Poor Latinos represent the vast majority of clients at the neighborhood's community health clinics.

Still, there is a palpable sense of pride among long-time residents, black and Latino, largely based on their long history of shared struggle, with race less of a divide.

"Economically, the poverty rates are pretty similar to what they were in the '90s. What's different is that there was a sense in the '90s of falling into an abyss," said Manuel Pastor, a sociology professor at the University of Southern California. "Now there's much more of a sense of things beginning to turn around."

The Seeds of Rebellion

For as long as most can remember, there was a divide in Los Angeles that kept most African-Americans - where they lived, socialized and went to school - south of the Santa Monica Freeway. Those unofficial boundaries were first enforced by residential covenants, de facto segregation, billy clubs and bullets.

The racial tension escalated throughout the early half of the 20th century, as more blacks arrived from the South seeking jobs and resources that whites were determined to keep. The notoriously brutal LAPD acted as the enforcers.

"The issues in Los Angeles back then were pretty much the same as they were in '92," said Bernard Parks, whose family moved to South Central from Texas in the 1940s and who spent 39 years in the LAPD, rising to chief, before becoming a city councilman. "There was also deep mistrust of the police."

The anger exploded on August 11, 1965, after a highway patrolman pulled over a black man suspected of drunken driving. As the officer tried to arrest the man, they scuffled. A crowd of onlookers grew angry, then violent, touching off a riot that raged for five days across South Central, leaving 34 people dead and $40 million in property destroyed.

Nearly three decades later, South Los Angeles would erupt again.

Sparks and Tinder

With any riot, there is the spark, and there is the tinder. In the case of South Los Angeles, the spark was the April 29, 1992 acquittal of four police officers in the videotaped beating of King. But that was not the cause.

The verdict was the tipping point for grievances that had been building in South Central for decades, dating back to Watts. The loss of low-skilled labor and manufacturing jobs through the 1970s struck minority communities particularly hard. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, crack cocaine and gang violence decimated already fragile communities.

As murders rose to record levels, the people of South Central felt under siege - not only by criminals, but also the police who were supposed to be helping them. The predominantly white department came to resemble an occupying army, focused on gang roundups, street searches and extreme use of force, mostly on the backs of black people.

"The fear factor in the city in the late 1980s was just incredible," Parks said. "People who initially thought because of crack cocaine and PCP there needed to be this visible police presence, taking people off the street. But all of a sudden people got tired of this kind of police activity. People became disgruntled, saying, 'Why are so many police concentrated in certain neighborhoods? Why are certain police activities only happening in certain neighborhoods?' That became the tension in the city."

The neighborhood was also at odds with itself. Longtime black residents saw their neighborhoods, and jobs, under threat from Spanish-speaking newcomers. A growing number of businesses were owned by immigrants from Korea. Many black residents, who relied on the liquor stores for daily groceries, felt taken advantage of by the Koreans. Some black customers accused the shop owners of following them around to make sure they didn't steal anything, and of spitting racial slurs at them.

Mimi Song, a Korean immigrant who owned a small chain of grocery stores that catered to Latino residents, said she attributed much of the tension to cultural and linguistic divides.

"I really believe there was a lot of miscommunication involved," Song said. "Because we don't understand each other culturally, we might disrespect each other a little bit. That's the way it was."

Two weeks after the King beating, 15-year-old Latasha Harlins went to a South Los Angeles liquor store owned by Korean immigrant Soon Ja Du. Du thought Harlins was trying to steal a bottle of orange juice. The two scuffled. When Harlins turned to leave, Du shot her in the back of the head. The entire incident was captured on video. When police arrived they found the girl dead, clutching $2 for the bottle of orange juice.

"That pretty much told me at a certain age that as a young black girl at the time, my life doesn't mean anything," said Tybie O'Bard, one of Harlins' closest friends.

A few months later, a black man shot and killed a pair of liquor store employees on Central Avenue during a robbery. The victims were recent Korean immigrants. A few days after that, an unarmed African-American man, 42-year-old Lee Arthur Mitchell, was shot dead by a Korean who suspected him of trying robbing his liquor store after coming up short on a bottle of malt liquor.

The black community responded with protests and a boycott of Korean-owned businesses. A short-lived truce was shattered after a judge went against prosecutors and sentenced Du to probation, sparing her a lengthy prison sentence despite having been found guilty of manslaughter.

A Verdict and Violence

Then came King.

On March 3, 1991, a drunken Rodney King led police on a car chase that ended with him on the ground, absorbing blows from baton-wielding officers. A bystander pulled out his video camera and recorded the beating. Soon the footage was on every television newscast in America, opening the nation's eyes to police violence and validating black Angelenos' claims of abuse.

"The acquittal was a shock, an insult, and seen as the final straw for many blacks that the LAPD could almost literally get away with murder if the victims were black." — Earl Ofari Hutchinson

The following spring, on April 29, 1992, after the trial venue was moved to suburban Simi Valley - where many white LAPD officers lived - a jury declined to convict the four cops who beat King. The verdict stunned the public, which largely assumed the videotape proved their guilt. A crowd of furious protesters formed outside the courthouse, then in front of LAPD headquarters.

"The acquittal was a shock, an insult, and seen as the final straw for many blacks that the LAPD could almost literally get away with murder if the victims were black," said Earl Ofari Hutchinson, founder of Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable.

Tempers first boiled over at the corner of Florence and Normandie Avenues, where people began throwing rocks and bottles at passing cars. This intersection would become the epicenter for the uprising.

Small groups turned on white and Latino motorists and on Korean-owned liquor stores. Police were outnumbered and quickly retreated. A news helicopter captured the escalating chaos, which culminated with a group of men dragging a white trucker, Reginald Denny, out of his car and beating him unconscious.

O'Bard remembers stepping off the school bus after the verdict and one of her neighbors telling her, "F the police, homegirl." She went home and watched the unrest on TV. She saw the liquor store where Harlins was killed go up in flames. It felt like justice at the time. But her father corrected her: "This is bigger than your friend."

'The Dream Has Exploded'

Ali, who back then was a 28-year-old gang member known as Ronald Eskew, had protested Harlins' killing. But he said he had no intention of joining the post-acquittal unrest. That plan evaporated with the attack on Denny, which jolted him into the streets.

Even then, he said, he was motivated more by Harlins' death than the King verdict. He joined a group of people headed north to Koreatown to wreak havoc. "Latasha Harlins' murder was in our hearts," Ali recalled.

The Harlins case arguably haunted South Los Angeles more than King's beating.

"That case never disappears in the minds of the African-American community," said Brenda Stevenson, author of "The Contested Murder of Latasha Harlins." "There was a sense that neither the police nor the judges were doing their job in protecting African-American residents and consumers within their own communities."

The rioters grew more diverse, with blacks, Latinos and whites breaking into stores and hauling out groceries, beer, appliances - anything they could carry. Korean business owners armed themselves against the mobs. Gun battles broke out. Firefighters and arson squads scrambled to keep up with the spreading fires. Dead people of all colors lay in the streets.

The National Guard was called in. By the time authorities regained control of the city on May 3, there were 53 dead, thousands hurt, more than 1,000 buildings destroyed, and over $1 billion in property damage. Dozens of murders remain unsolved. Of the thousands of people arrested, more than half were Latinos, and 38 percent were black.

"What stands out most to me was well spoken and answered by the black poet Langston Hughes. He asks, what happens to a dream deferred, a dream put on hold. Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun, or does it explode," the Rev. Cecil Murray said. "My recollection is from history. A dream deferred tends to explode. On two occasions here in Los Angeles the dream has exploded."

At the time, Murray was the pastor at the historic First A.M.E. church, the city's oldest and most influential black church. For weeks he'd been preparing parishioners and city leaders for what could come if the officers were cleared. So many people showed up at the church that evening that speakers were placed on the roof so the hundreds who'd gathered outside could hear updates.

When the verdict was announced, Mayor Tom Bradley was in the church's pulpit addressing an audience of several hundred. Murray said he was pulled outside by a church member, who pointed in the distance where fires burned across the horizon. Murray assembled a cadre of 75 men and set up a human shield between the firefighters and a mob throwing rocks and bottles.

'Can We All Just Get Along?'

On day three of the riots, Rodney King emerged as an unexpected voice of reason.

"People, I just want to say, you know, can we all get along? Can we get along?"

King's words would be widely misquoted, mocked and much later, turned into a meme.

King drowned at his home in 2012. Since then, his family has tried to maintain his legacy.

"It's been tough. We all handle it differently," said Lora King, 33, the middle of King's three daughters. "You have to hear stuff (in the media) and they don't really know your dad. They just know this person that people portray. He had a whole other side to him. And they only portray this part that they pieced together. But he was a father. He wasn't a drunk that never showed up. He came. He was at back-to-school nights."

King was just 7 when her father was beaten. She now has a little girl of her own, a 10 year old, and every time the police kill or abuse someone, she feels a sense of shared experience.

"There were plenty of Trayvon Martins, Rodney Kings before those incidents took place. And I believe that we are connected in some way or another," she said. "Luckily my father wasn't killed, but had it been a couple minutes shy he would've died."

A Change Is Gonna Come

After the mayhem subsided, the hard part began: assessing the damage, figuring out what went wrong and fixing it — starting with the police.

The city formed a commission to study the LAPD's failures, which ultimately found a long history of excessive force that destroyed the department's relationship with the public. This led to the adoption of a federal law that gave the U.S. Justice Department power to investigate systemic civil rights abuses by local police departments. It went unused until 2000, after a corruption scandal in the LAPD's anti-gang unit, known as Rampart. The Justice Department's Civil Rights Division negotiated a settlement, known as a federal consent decree, that forced court-monitored reforms.

By then, the Justice Department had filed federal civil rights charges against the officers who beat King. Two were found guilty and sentenced to more than two years in prison.

It took 10 years for the LAPD to meet its court-ordered reforms, which changed the way it recruited and trained officers and used force against civilians. Crime dropped, and community relations improved. The department became majority non-white, just like the city and is now considered a national model.

"It was important for Los Angeles to change how it policed and treated people," said Gerald Chaleff, who served as the LAPD's civilian administrator for the department's risk management bureau where he oversaw the implementation of the federal consent decree. "Los Angeles today isn't having the same kinds of disruption that other cities have had after incidents because of what we accomplished over the last 25 years."

Phillip Tingirides was an LAPD sergeant during the riots, and today is a deputy chief in command of the force's Southeast Division, which includes South Los Angeles. He said he sees the difference in a multitude of daily police interactions with the public. His officers get invited to cop-appreciation days at local churches, and get warning calls when tempers flare on the street. They explain to people why they're getting pulled over or stopped. They act more compassionately at murder scenes.

"These are things that didn't happen here before," Tingirides said.

But tensions still exist.

The wave of anger over police shootings that swept the country three years ago included Los Angeles, where police have faced protests for shooting mentally ill men to death. Blacks represent 9% of the city's population but make up 19% of victims of police shootings and 31% of other use-of-force cases, according to the Los Angeles Times. A 2009 Harvard University study showed that while most Angelenos approved of the LAPD's job, the department used force against African-Americans disproportionately, and blacks and Latinos were more likely to see continued discrimination.

In 2016, LAPD officers killed 19 people, more than any other law enforcement agency in the country. Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department deputies killed 16 people, the second-highest tally.

Murray praised the reforms in the police department and its most recent police chiefs for forging inroads into the black community, creating pathways to communication rather than "just being there with your club and your gun and your blue suit."

'We're Still Here'

Soon after peace was restored, the city tried to jump start rebuilding South Central through an array of public-private development projects. All fell short of their promises, according to analysts. South Los Angeles remained pocked with vacant lots, and only during the early 2000s real estate boom did strip malls begin to partially fill the voids.

"The failure to keep the big promises made by public officials and corporations to pour billions of investment dollars into South L.A., housing and businesses has largely been just that, an unfulfilled promise," said Hutchinson, with the urban policy roundtable.

Around the tenth anniversary of the riots, a pair of economists examined the impact and found that it had sapped the city of nearly $4 billion — a far steeper cost than what it incurred from the 6.7 magnitude Northridge earthquake in 1994.

"When it's us against Mother Nature, we're willing to come together and say we're not going to let her beat us. But when it's us against each other, we're not as quick to bounce back," said Victor Matheson, one of the study's authors.

In 2003, the city council changed South Central's name to South Los Angeles, an attempt to bury the neighborhood's stigma. But by then it hardly resembled its 1992 self. The transformation was plainly visible from the street, where blocks that once teemed with black culture now cater to Latino tastes. Billboards that once boasted of black beauty shops and soul food are written in Spanish. Even the liquor store where Latasha Harlins was killed has a new face. Now called the Numero Uno Market, it caters to a new demographic. On a recent afternoon nearly every patron in the store and in the parking lot was Latino.

Jooyoung Lee, a Korean American ethnographer, spent five years researching the hip-hop scene around Leimert Park and found two important developments: a determined celebration of black culture and an increased diversity of the club scene, with Latino, Korean and black rappers befriending each other.

"It's a place that defies a lot of popular stereotypes of South Central's place in the imagination," Lee said.

But the fight for South Los Angeles is only beginning.

"We've lost tremendous ground just based on the numbers. At the end of the day we're holding on by a thread and we're still here," said Najee Ali, standing on the corner of Florence and Normandie, about 15 feet from where Reginald Denny was nearly beaten to death. "Many of us are going to be here forever because this is our home."

As the afternoon sun sat high above the neighborhood, Ali, now 53, looked over his shoulder to his wife, one of his daughters and two grandchildren. "I want a better quality of life for them," he said.

"At the end of the day, those that were actually in it would do every damn thing we can to make sure it never happens again," he said. "I'm hopeful that the lessons that we went through 25 years ago, that my children, my grand-children won't ever have to go through again."



Police rebuild trust in Las Vegas' Westside, one event at a time

by Rachel Crosby

Before the embers had cooled from the riots and fire that roiled Las Vegas' Historic Westside 25 years ago after the Rodney King verdicts, the Metropolitan Police Department was forced to confront its failure to build relationships with residents of the city's predominantly black community.

Flash forward 25 years, and the difference in the department's approach in the demographically shifting district is striking:

The community policing team of the Bolden Area Command station, whose patrol area includes the Westside, often work 12-hour days hosting holiday events, food banks and other events and partnering with the area's faith and business leaders.

Bolden Area Command's Capt. Robert Plummer was a 23-year-old patrol cop assigned to the Westside in the early ‘90s, a time when the community was facing a violent crime wave caused by an influx of gang members from Southern California – Bloods and Crips – and a crack epidemic.

Plummer said the relationship between the police and the local community was not great. Community outreach was often an afterthought, and many officers did not bring empathy to the job. More often, they came with battering rams.

The strained relationship between cops and community was evident when two small police stations near the Gerson Park and Carey Arms housing projects burned during the riots. The department did not rebuild them.

“That was a mistake,” Plummer said. “We should have gone right back in there.”

Elgin Simpson was there when the riots broke out and played a key role in organizing community leaders afterward. Simpson, who was born in the Westside in 1945, said the riots changed the dynamic between the community and law enforcement.

The group he helped start, Community Peace, did outreach in troubled neighborhoods and often acted as a go-between with police.

“It made a difference in how things were perceived,” he said. “All you saw on the news was how the gangs were doing all of this stuff, that they … wanted to burn down the Strip and downtown and all that other stuff.”

Sgt. David Watts, from Bolden's community team, said the department realized it needed to connect with community leaders who could help them during critical incidents.

“You can't just go to someone you don't know and say, ‘Hey, I need you to calm down the community,'” he said.

Other reforms

The Police Department's emphasis on community outreach began in earnest under Sheriff Jerry Keller, who was elected in 1995. And other reforms followed.

A 2011 Las Vegas Review-Journal investigation showed Metro had one of the highest rates for officer-involved shootings in the nation in the 2000s. That led to changes in deadly force policies, including training on de-escalation tactics, sharing information on police shootings and instituting multiple levels of review after a shooting.

Such changes have paid dividends.

The issues underlying the King riots resurfaced in November 2014, after a grand jury declined to indict former Ferguson, Missouri, police officer Darren Wilson for fatally shooting Michael Brown, an 18-year-old black man, a few months earlier. The case, which gave birth to the Black Lives Matter movement, triggered violence in many cities.

There were no riots in the Westside this time. Instead, police hosted a community forum with about 30 Las Vegas activists, private citizens and police officers at the Martin Luther King Jr. Statue in North Las Vegas to peacefully discuss the incident — and race and policing generally.

‘In the 106'

Today, Bolden events branded “in the 106” — a reference to the zip code, 89106, of the Westside — have earned a reputation in the community for free family fun or connecting residents to services and resources.

Hundreds of Westside residents recently gathered for “Easter in the 106” at Doolittle Park. Children raced across the grass, looking to grab one of the 7,000 plastic eggs Bolden officers and volunteers spent two days preparing.

“These events aren't measured in crime stats,” Capt. Plummer said that day. “But it makes our jobs much easier when it's time for policing.”

The community police initiatives come with an added hope that it will influence the next generation.

“It's nice to have kids come out and look at us in a different way,” Plummer said. “If we're going to have any chance for saving the future, it's these little kids here.”

Jaqueesha James, 29, lives in the neighborhood and brought her family to the egg hunt.

“A lot has changed,” she said. “I used to be scared to go to this park.”

A few days later, Bolden's community team held its monthly “farmers market.”

Hundreds of residents lined up outside a shuttered grocery store on Lake Mead and Jones boulevards to get free food.

“It's huge for our senior population on a fixed income,” said Watts, the Bolden community team officer, adding the food bank serves as many as 2,600 people.

Joyce Pope, 33, who brought her children to pick up some food, said the event “puts a human face on police.”

“When my kids see that, it's good for them so they're not scared of the police,” she said. “There are only bad things about police on TV.”

Baseball and beyond

Bolden's community officers meet with faith and business leaders several times a week to discuss neighborhood issues and host other annual events, including “Christmas in the 106,” “Comedy in the 106” (a partnership with comedian George Wallace) and the “I Love My City march.”

This year, the community team revived the neighborhood's Little League baseball program after a seven-year hiatus. Sixty-eight kids play on five teams, each coached by a Metro officer. The unit is also looking at offering summer programs and is preparing for its annual back-to-school event.

The back-to-school event helps students with school supplies and immunizations. This year the unit is working on a partnership with the rap artist YG to offer clothes that teenagers might like, officer Regina Coward said.

Coward grew up in the area and has seen the relationship with law enforcement change over the years. She wants to inspire youths to give back to their community and affect the way police are perceived.

She summed up the ideas behind community policing nicely: “If you've done nothing for the community, they won't do anything for you.”

Review-Journal staff writers Lucy Hood and Nicole Raz contributed to this story. Contact Wesley Juhl at and 702-383-0391. Follow @WesJuhl on Twitter.

An overblown reputation for violent crime

UNLV sociology professor Christie Batson, who is writing a book on the Historic Westside, said the area's crime statistics do not match its reputation.

“The crime statistics do not support this being that high of a crime neighborhood,” she said.

A Review-Journal analysis of recent Metro statistics shows violent and property crimes this year in the Bolden area account for about 5 percent of the Las Vegas Valley's total crime, essentially proportional to its share of the population.

That's not to say the area doesn't have its problems. Batson said businesses are often targeted, there have been several homicides in the area this year and new hybrid gangs are taking hold. The Rolling Coast Boys, for example, a hybrid of the Rolling 60s and the West Coast Boys in California, have moved in over the last six months, she said.

But she praised the police department for being on the cutting edge of policing tactics, including community initiatives.

“I think the story to come out of the Rodney King riots is much more about how it changed the relationship between law enforcement and the black community. It also spearheaded the black community to have to address this problem and mobilize in a way they hadn't mobilized,” she said, referring to the formation of groups like Community Peace after the riots.

Asked if the '92 riots have had a lasting impact on the Westside community, she said that today's youth have a much more recent reference point for the unfair treatment of minorities by police officers – Ferguson, Missouri.

“The youth are going to talk to you about Ferguson. The youth are going to be really detailed about police shootings of black men, and they are going use the last five years worth of those shootings. … Black Lives Matter has been pretty vocal about Las Vegas police shootings of unarmed black men. I've never seen them talk about the riots. I don't know if they even have an institutional history.”

– Lucy Hood and Wesley Juhl

West Las Vegas vs. Westside

While the terms are often used interchangeably, they aren't quite the same.

By the city's definition, the Westside is an area within west Las Vegas, bounded by West Bonanza Road to the south; North Rancho Drive to the west; West Lake Mead Boulevard, with an extension to West Carey Avenue surrounding Martin Luther King Boulevard, to the north; and Interstate 15 to the east. It's also sometimes referred to as “the 106” — a reference to the Westside zip code, 89106.

West Las Vegas includes an area that extends farther south surrounding Martin Luther King Boulevard, ending at West Charleston Boulevard, and eastward to Main Street.

Claytee White, director of the Oral History Research Center at UNLV Libraries, said the area's name has undergone “four or five evolutions” over the decades, including West Side — two words — and “Historic Westside” with the re-opening of F Street in 2014.

Nicole Raz

An overblown reputation for violent crime

UNLV sociology professor Christie Batson, who is writing a book on the Historic Westside, said the area's crime statistics do not match its reputation.

“The crime statistics do not support this being that high of a crime neighborhood,” she said.

A Review-Journal analysis of recent Metro statistics shows violent and property crimes this year in the Bolden area account for about 5 percent of the Las Vegas Valley's total crime, essentially proportional to its share of the population.

That's not to say the area doesn't have its problems. Batson said businesses are often targeted, there have been several homicides in the area this year and new hybrid gangs are taking hold. The Rolling Coast Boys, for example, a hybrid of the Rolling 60s and the West Coast Boys in California, have moved in over the last six months, she said.

But she praised the police department for being on the cutting edge of policing tactics, including community initiatives.

“I think the story to come out of the Rodney King riots is much more about how it changed the relationship between law enforcement and the black community. It also spearheaded the black community to have to address this problem and mobilize in a way they hadn't mobilized,” she said, referring to the formation of groups like Community Peace after the riots.

Asked if the '92 riots have had a lasting impact on the Westside community, she said that today's youth have a much more recent reference point for the unfair treatment of minorities by police officers – Ferguson, Missouri.

“The youth are going to talk to you about Ferguson. The youth are going to be really detailed about police shootings of black men, and they are going use the last five years worth of those shootings. … Black Lives Matter has been pretty vocal about Las Vegas police shootings of unarmed black men. I've never seen them talk about the riots. I don't know if they even have an institutional history.”

– Lucy Hood and Wesley Juhl

West Las Vegas vs. Westside

While the terms are often used interchangeably, they aren't quite the same.

By the city's definition, the Westside is an area within west Las Vegas, bounded by West Bonanza Road to the south; North Rancho Drive to the west; West Lake Mead Boulevard, with an extension to West Carey Avenue surrounding Martin Luther King Boulevard, to the north; and Interstate 15 to the east. It's also sometimes referred to as “the 106” — a reference to the Westside zip code, 89106.

West Las Vegas includes an area that extends farther south surrounding Martin Luther King Boulevard, ending at West Charleston Boulevard, and eastward to Main Street.

Claytee White, director of the Oral History Research Center at UNLV Libraries, said the area's name has undergone “four or five evolutions” over the decades, including West Side — two words — and “Historic Westside” with the re-opening of F Street in 2014.



Human rights group pastor: Policing changes needed after 5 black youths detained

by John Tunison

(Video on site)

Pastor Gregg Greer of Freedom First International was in Grand Rapids on Saturday, April 29 to call for better understanding and racial sensitivity among Grand Rapids police.

Greer commented about the March 24 incident while standing in front of the Grand Rapids police headquarters on Monroe Center Avenue.

He believes more diversity in the policing ranks, as well as better policies -- would help improve relations between Grand Rapids police and the community.

The families of five black youth said they were unfairly singled out and held at gunpoint after a disturbance at the Kroc Center.

"I can guarantee if there was one African American female on that particular stop where the children were on the ground, I think she would have probably looked at it more maternalistic and maybe it wouldn't have happened," he said.

Greer came to Grand Rapids to talk about both the local policing issues and a climate change rally at Rosa Parks Circle.

On Facebook, Greer called for a "Peaceful Protest Rally" to take place in front of the Grand Rapids police station. The rally didn't materialize, but Greer said he still hoped to make a difference.

The videos show one of the detained youths wailing and crying as he lay on the ground with his hands stretched above his head.

The March 24 incident involved five black youths -- ages 12-14 -- who were stopped near the Salvation Army Kroc Center upon belief that one might have a handgun. A person in the 100 block of Alger Street SE moments earlier told an officer he saw someone in a group of young people drop a gun and pick it back up.

Ultimately, police determined the group stopped at police gunpoint, then handcuffed, were not the same group seen by the Alger Street witness. No one was armed.

Greer said he's worried about eroding the public trust of young people toward police.

"Those particular teens are going to grow up to be in their 20s, in their 30s. You definitely don't want to erode their public trust. Then you grow up and have a community of people who really don't the community policing. They don't believe in it," he said.


New York

NYPD begins pilot body camera program

A total of 58 cops have been selected to wear the cameras

by Anthony DeStefano

NEW YORK — More than 50 NYPD officers in Washington Heights hit the streets Thursday wearing miniaturized body-cameras, the vanguard of a long-anticipated pilot program that officials expect will lead to all 22,000 city patrol cops wearing the devices by the 2020.

As news reporters and photographers watched shortly after 3 p.m., 10 uniformed officers from the 34th Precinct filed out of their station house roll call, climbed into five police vehicles, and drove off on patrol.

Other cops, also sporting the small cameras attached to the front of their uniforms, drove out from a precinct parking area. A total of 58 cops from the precinct have been selected to wear the cameras, which are black and smaller than a pack of cigarettes.

‘This is a historic day for New York City,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news conference after the roll out in the station house. “This is the first day of the era of body-worn cameras and that means we are going on a pathway of transparency and accountability that will benefit everyone.”

DeBlasio said that cameras will help what he said was a continuing trend of bringing police and communities closer together.

The 34th Precinct, located in an ethnically-diverse neighborhood with the largest Dominican population in the city, is the first of 20 precincts to get some of the nearly 1,200 cameras this year in the pilot program. The next precinct scheduled to get the body cameras is the 60th Precinct in South Brooklyn near Sheepshead Bay.

The city initiated the camera program as a result of a 2013 federal court decision in litigation over the NYPD's use of stop-and-frisk procedures. In finding that police officers employed the tactic unconstitutionally against minorities, Judge Shira Scheindlin came up with various remedies. Among them was having police officers experiment with body cameras as a way of defusing tensions and providing a method of accountability.

Police officials, including O'Neill, acknowledged Thursday that the pilot program is a work in progress and has faced been some opposition. Some civil rights advocates have said the program doesn't require police to record enough of their encounters with the public. The advocates, who unsuccessfully tried to block the program rollout last week in court, also had issues with officers having the right to view recorded encounters with the public before making statements.

“As we move forward and see that there are tweaks that need to be made, we will do that,” said O'Neill about the criticism. “Have faith. Everything we do is to build trust and make this city safe.”

O'Neill added that the goal of having police officers wear body cameras “is get to the truth.

First Deputy Commissioner Benjamin Tucker said the project was an experiment that will undergo constant evaluation by the NYPD and federal court monitor Peter Zimroth, who is overseeing stop and frisk litigation reforms.

While the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association agreed to body-worn cameras in settling its recent contract, other police unions voiced objections and indicated they might go to court. But a police labor official who asked not to be named said the other unions have agreed that the issue of cameras for higher ranked officers and detectives will be the subject of collective bargaining in the future.



Community policing succeeds where others fail

by Zack Chambers

With a relatively recent perceived collapse in race relations, as measured by Pew, effective policing has become a hot topic again. While there are many possible solutions to the racial divide, Indianapolis shows a great, tangible option through its work with the Indianapolis Ten Point Coalition. This faith-based group acts as an intermediary between the black community and police.

In addition to volunteer patrols and reentry programs, ITPC responds, often at the request of police, to homicide scenes. There it works to calm crowds and maintain the integrity of the legal process. If ITPC suspects retaliatory crimes may soon take place, it works to stop the cycle of violence in its tracks.

ITPC works with police instead of against them. ITPC encourages a community-wide effort to stop violence and root out criminals.

While there were 144 murders in Indianapolis last year, ITPC says there were only three homicides in the neighborhoods it regularly patrols. WISH-TV interviewed Wallace Nash, a Butler Tarkington resident of 50 years and ITPC leader for the neighborhood.

“A year or so ago this was a very violent street,” he said. “This intersection here, this street period, but as you can see it is nice and quiet now.”

People are taking note of the group's success. This January the ITPC was awarded with the FBI's Community Leadership Award for its role in reducing violence. In March, Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill accompanied the group on patrol. After cutting off funding in 2015, it appears the city of Indianapolis will invest in the group again this year.

It is not enough to recognize groups such as ITPC. The narrative vilifying police must be countered. We have seen Americans' views on the state of race relations collapse from a high net positive of 44 percent in April of 2009 to a net negative of four in May 2016, when their data ends, according to Pew polling.

A direct outgrowth of this polarization is movements such as Black Lives Matter, created to address the statistical discrepancy in killings of black people at the hands of police in the United States. However, Black Lives Matter is fundamentally wrong in tactics and messaging.

By defaming police and the justice system as racist, trust is destroyed between that system and the
communities it protects.
Instead, we need a solution that works with police to root out bad elements from both groups.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics reports in a comprehensive study that, between the years 1980 to 2008, black people committed more than half of all homicides in the United States despite accounting for only 13 percent of the population. Consider also a simulation from Washington State University that showed police officers were less likely to fire at unarmed black suspects than white ones during confrontations. Taken with FBI numbers saying 42 percent of felonious cop killers between 2005 and 2014 were black context is given to the seemingly disproportionate number of police shootings of blacks..

To save black lives, the focus must be on strengthening relations between cops and their communities. If Black Lives Matter supporters truly care, they must let go of this racist cop narrative and instead take the battle-tested methods of saving black lives that are right in front of them.



What An Attempted Rape On Chicago's West Side Says About Trust Between The Community And Police

by Linda Lutton

This is a parable, a story about a serious crime that is also a window into the state of the relationship between Chicago's police and the people who live in its highest crime neighborhoods.

It starts on February 3. A young woman named Tatierra got on the Homan Avenue bus on the West Side to go to work. She sat near the front, just like always.

“When it was time for me to get off the bus, I stood up, and this guy was behind me,” said Tatierra, who asked that her last name be withheld because of safety concerns. “And then he touched me.”

The man rubbed up against her in a sexual way. And then it got scarier, Tatierra said. He got off where she did, at the Central Park Pink Line station in North Lawndale.

Tatierra is 22 years old. She's a receptionist, studying to be a medical lab technician. She thinks the guy was in his 30s. His hoodie was pulled tight around his face.

Tatierra said she breathed a sigh of relief when he headed into the train station, and she started the short walk to work. The streets felt empty that day since Chicago schools were out.

“Something just told me – turn around,” Tatierra said. “He was standing there staring at me, like he knew me. It was creepy, so I called my mom. And then, at that moment, that's when he grabbed me.”

The guy pulled Tatierra across a vacant lot, toward homes and an alley. He pulled on the waist of her pants, Tatierra said, and she swung at him with her keys.

“There were cars coming, so I was just screaming. No one stopped,” Tatierra said, crying as she recounted the story. It was 9 a.m. on Ogden Avenue, one of Chicago's busiest streets.

Tatierra broke free and ran to work.

“I called the [police] commander immediately,” said Richard Townsell, Tatierra's boss and the executive director of the Lawndale Christian Development Corporation, one of the most influential community organizations on the West Side. The group has built affordable housing, clinics, a daycare center and community gardens.

If anyone on the West Side can get a swift police response, it's Townsell's group.

And police did send a detective to see Tatierra right away. The 10th District commander assured Townsell police were on it.

But a week went by, and then two. Around then, a detective called Tatierra and said he wanted to stop by her home to show her photos. The detective never showed up, she said.

And in the neighborhood, it was like the assault had never happened. Townsell called the sergeant in charge of community policing.

“I was like, ‘Are you guys gonna put out pictures of the guy around the bus stations so that other people won't also be victimized? In other neighborhoods, they have a description of the guy up, they have a community alert. Why aren't we doing that?'” Townsell said he asked police.

Townsell said the community policing sergeant told him they had to let detectives follow their protocol. Detectives, not community policing officers, are responsible for issuing community alerts.

Townsell said he kept thinking that the response to an attempted rape in broad daylight should feel more urgent. The guy was certainly on CTA cameras — why wasn't his picture plastered everywhere in Lawndale? Were police even looking for witnesses? Townsell said he could barely watch the news at night.

“I saw somebody that broke into someone's car in Skokie, and they're showing it on the nightly news,” Townsell said. “This is the night that this happened to [Tatierra]. And every night, different things. Somebody got hit in the eye on the North Side and so they're putting up flyers; there's a community meeting about it, the alderman is called in. And it's just like, for her — nothing. It's like we're invisible. We don't matter.”

One day, a few weeks after the assault, Townsell got a call from police. Here's the news about Tatierra's attacker, he thought. Instead, police wanted help with a homicide, a high-profile case getting a lot of media attention.

“They wanted me to come and stand at a press conference, behind them — like they're on the job,” he said. “I'm kind of like, ‘I thought you were calling to tell me that you got the guy who tried to sexually assault Tatierra.'”

Townsell skipped the press conference.

At the risk of stating the obvious, the relationship between police and residents in neighborhoods like North Lawndale is troubled, by recent events like police shootings, but also by what residents frequently say is a lack of basic services from police. Both residents and police complain about a lack of trust from the other side, and city officials have said they want to repair the relationship.

“There's a lot of attention to homicides, but we've also got … everyday folks who get nothing ... in terms of regular police service. Homicides are a terrible thing for our city, but they've got to do regular policing, too. That doesn't seem to get the same kind of attention here as it gets in other neighborhoods,” Townsell said.

Whether it's homicides or attempted sexual assault, criminal justice experts say trust between the community and police is not just a luxury, something that makes life more pleasant. It's essential to fighting crime.

Fast forward to February 27. Tatierra said a detective showed her a lineup, and she was positive she saw her attacker, even though police told her it was an older photo.

Then, in mid-March, more than six weeks after the crime, a detective called Tatierra to share good news — police had the guy. In fact, the detective told Tatierra, he'd been in jail since February, just days after Tatierra's incident, she said. He was being held on a different charge.

Police told WBEZ that they didn't tell Tatierra sooner because it would have compromised their detective work.

But now — nearly three months after the crime, and a month after police told Tatierra they had the guy — no charges have been filed in her case. Police said the investigation is ongoing.

“I'm so confused,” Tatierra said, who has never been shown a picture of the man in custody. “I don't know what to believe.”

It seems like police may have done a lot of things right in this case — they pulled images from the CTA bus camera, for instance. They showed Tatierra the lineup. They tracked down the guy.

So why does Townsell — who should be a natural ally for police — still feel disgruntled about the whole thing?

“There's a lot of attention to homicides, but we've also got … everyday folks who get nothing ... in terms of regular police service,” Townsell said. “Homicides are a terrible thing for our city, but they've got to do regular policing, too. That doesn't seem to get the same kind of attention here as it gets in other neighborhoods.”

Townsell said he asked the Lawndale police on multiple occasions for a community alert — to make sure no one else was assaulted. He was never told the danger was over — that they thought they had the guy.

And he still wonders, if police have the right guy, why don't they charge him?

WBEZ talked with the community policing sergeant in Lawndale, the guy Townsell has been in contact with. He's in charge of building bridges between police and the community.

Sgt. Alfonso Lara said local police are limited in what they can do. Officers patrol the streets and generate reports. They don't investigate crimes, he said. They also are not in charge of community alerts — those come from the detectives. And detectives aren't based in the police districts. The detectives for Lawndale, on the West Side, are located at 51st and Wentworth, on the South Side.

Even during a lengthy interview last week, Lara never mentioned that police have someone in custody in Tatierra's case. But he said if Townsell is upset about how police are handling the crime, he should get the church affiliated with his organization to put a call out and help find witnesses to Tatierra's attempted sexual assault.

In response to a question about how police can respond to community pressure to take action, Lara said that back in February he sent teenagers in a police program out to flyer the community near where Tatierra was grabbed. But their handouts only included general information, urging residents to be aware of their surroundings. They didn't mention a sexual assault.

People like people like Richard Townsell should be natural allies with police and can help build safety in communities, said Art Lurigio, a Loyola University professor of psychology and criminology. In this case, he said that even if police did everything right, Townsell's perception is that they did not. That has consequences.

“That is so detrimental,” Lurigio said. “It can undermine further the precarious relationships the police have with African-Americans in Chicago.”

Tatierra said she still rides the bus to work, which has been scary for her.

“If they have him, it's a blessing. But if they don't have him, and they have the wrong person … I want them to continue to look for him. Especially in this neighborhood. There's a lot of little girls walking around by themselves.”

For Townsell, there's that. And there's also the bigger issue of community-police relations. To him, this story helps explain why those relations don't seem to be getting any better.


United Kingdom

UK police shoot 1, arrest 6 others in counterterror raids

Britain's official threat from international terrorism stands at the second-highest level, "severe," meaning an attack is highly likely

by Gregory Katz and Jill Lawless

LONDON — British police said Friday they had disrupted an active terror plot with raids in London and southeastern England. One woman was shot and seriously wounded as heavily armed counterterrorism officers stormed a house in a residential London street.

Six suspects were arrested on terrorism-related charges, police said. The injured woman, who is in her 20s, was in serious but stable condition in a hospital.

The woman, whose name hasn't been released, was under police guard but had not been arrested because of her condition, police said.

Armed officers fired CS gas into the house in the Willesden area of northwest London, which had been under observation as part of an anti-terrorism investigation, Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said. He didn't give details of how the woman was shot.

In footage shot by a witness, what sounds like several shots ring out as police surround the house.

Neighbor Maxine McKenzie said she saw "a lot of frenetic police activity" and a woman being taken out of the house on a stretcher.

"She was sitting upright and had oxygen on — I couldn't tell if she was conscious or unconscious," McKenzie said.

Police said the raids weren't connected to an arrest by counterterrorism police near Parliament on Thursday afternoon. A man was detained near the Houses Parliament and the prime minister's office in Downing Street while allegedly carrying large knives in a backpack. The 27-year-old suspect, who hasn't been identified, had been under police surveillance.

He was arrested yards from where an attacker drove an SUV into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge on March 22, killing four, before fatally stabbing a police officer inside Parliament's gates.

Basu said the Willesden raid disrupted an ongoing plot, but did not elaborate.

In both the Willesden and Parliament incidents, "we have contained the threat that they posed," Basu said.

Britain's official threat from international terrorism stands at the second-highest level, "severe," meaning an attack is highly likely.

Counterterrorism police say 13 potential attacks have been foiled in the last four years. Police and security services say they face a challenge monitoring hundreds of people of interest, including Britons who went to join IS militants in Iraq and Syria and have returned.

Basu, Britain's senior coordinator for counterterrorism policing, said there had been "increased activity to combat terrorism over the last two years," with police "making arrests on a near-daily basis."

In 2016, British police arrested 260 people on suspicion of terrorism offenses, 96 of whom were charged

In Thursday's raids, a 20-year old woman and a 16-year-old boy were arrested at the address where the woman was shot, as was a 20-year-old man nearby. A man and a woman, both aged 28, were arrested when they returned to the house later.

A 43-year-old woman in Kent county, southeast of London, was also arrested.

Police said the suspects were being held on suspicion of preparation of terrorist acts. They were being questioned but had not been charged.

Ryan O'Donnell, who saw the Willesden raid, said it was "a bit shocking" to see "police wearing big gas masks and holding guns and stuff."

"Things are pretty much always going on around northwest London, something criminal, so I didn't think it was terrorism at the time," he said. "I thought maybe it is guns or something, or drugs or something. But (it) makes sense why they needed such a force."


Rhode Island

RI city pushes back vote on proposal to ban police profiling

The measure would limit the use of electronic surveillance and a gang database and would establish strict controls on how police conduct traffic and pedestrian stops

by Matt O'Brien

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Leaders of the state's largest city tabled a sweeping new proposal to ban discriminatory profiling by police on Thursday, prompting loud protests from the measure's supporters.

The Providence City Council was expected to pass the proposed anti-profiling ordinance but instead voted 9-5 to delay that until June 1 to allow more input on it.

Booing and chanting inside the City Hall chambers drowned out council members, while some police officers high-fived each other in the hallway. The delay came a day after the city's police union sent a scathing letter describing the measure as a "slap in the face" to officers in the 400-member force.

The measure also would limit the use of electronic surveillance and a gang database and would establish strict controls on how police conduct traffic and pedestrian stops in the city, which has nearly 180,000 residents. And it would strengthen existing sanctuary city policies preventing police from helping to enforce federal civil immigration law.

The all-Democrat council had already approved it on a 12-0 vote last week, but it required a second vote. One member was absent on Thursday.

Democratic Mayor Jorge Elorza has said he would sign the measure into law if the council passed it.

Among the police union's concerns is a provision requiring that the names of people on a gang list be removed if, after two years, those listed haven't had any criminal convictions or other qualifying evidence that would justify their inclusion in the database.

Democratic City Council President Luis Aponte said before the meeting that the proposal has gone through three years of vetting and negotiation. He said some of the concerns from the Providence Fraternal Order of Police were based on factual errors.

But Thursday night he said tabling the proposal would give time for more stakeholders to weigh in.

The state's attorney general, Peter Kilmartin, also has expressed concerns about the ordinance, which he said could hamper police officers. But Kilmartin, a Democrat and a former police officer in neighboring Pawtucket, showed no signs of heeding a councilwoman's request for him to provide a formal opinion.

The proposal would provide protections based on race, gender identity, English-language ability, political affiliation, housing status and medical conditions. It would give more power to a civilian review board and bar the arrest of someone whose only crime is driving without a license.

People subjected to any violation of the ordinance would be allowed to sue for damages. The union said "anti-police" attorneys and "radical" activists were behind the effort.

Aponte, the council president, said he was disappointed that a "false dichotomy" had been created suggesting people are either pro-police or in favor of the proposed ordinance.


Parts of controversial US anti-missile system moved to South Korean site

by Euan McKirdy and Paula Hancocks

Seoul, South Korea (CNN)Parts of a US-built anti-missile system designed to mitigate the threat of North Korean missiles have been moved to the planned deployment site in South Korea as tensions with the nuclear-armed country escalate.

Trucks hauling components of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system rolled into the site in North Gyeongsang province, according to a statement from the South Korean Defense Ministry on Wednesday.

"Both South Korea and the United States have been working to secure the operational capacity of the THAAD system in preparation for North Korea's advanced nuclear-missile threat," the statement said.

"Therefore, this measure was to secure operational capacity by placing some parts of the available THAAD system at the deployment site."

The missile system has angered North Korea and also drawn sharp opposition from China, which sees it as a threat to its own security.

"We have expressed serious concern to the US and South Korean sides," Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Geng Shuang said Wednesday.

"The US-South Korean deployment of THAAD in South Korea will harm strategic balance in the region and further stimulate tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

"China strongly urges the US and South Korea to stop actions that would raise regional tensions as well as harm China's strategic and security interests by canceling the THAAD deployment and withdrawing relevant equipment."

He added that China will "firmly take necessary measures to safeguard its own interests."

In Seongju county, at the location of the THAAD site, around 4,000 police were present to ensure the equipment's delivery.

Around 400 protesters were present at a demonstration near the site, and police in riot gear held back protesters as the equipment rolled past on military trucks.

Hwang Soo-young, an activist with the government watchdog group, the People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD), was at the site of the protest Wednesday morning. She claimed that the protests turned violent as "police were pushing residents away."

She claimed six people were injured during the encounter, although CNN has not been able to independently verify the claim.

She said that vehicles with equipment "including radar, launchers and generators" started passing the village of Soseongri at around 4.45 a.m. (3.45 p.m. Tuesday ET).

Local complaints center around the lack of consultation over the decision to deploy the missile system near their homes. The voices of local people were "never heard, they never asked these people," she said.

The goal is to have the complete system fully operational by the end of this year but the US and South Korea have publicly stressed the need to speed up the deployment of the technology as tensions have mounted with Pyongyang.

On Tuesday, North Korea staged a pounding display of artillery guns , while the US began joint naval drills in the region with South Korea and Japan and the USS Michigan, one of the most powerful submarines in the American arsenal, docked in South Korea.

And later on Wednesday, the White House will hold an unusual briefing on North Korea, with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Defense Secretary James Mattis and other officials outlining the threat for the entire Senate.

Anti-missile system

THAAD is designed to shoot down incoming short, medium and intermediate ballistic missiles that threaten civilian populations, just the type of weapons North Korea claims it has.

Each THAAD system is composed of five major components: interceptors, launchers, a radar, a fire control unit and support equipment, according to Lockheed Martin, the security and aerospace company that serves as the prime contractor for the equipment.

"Deploying THAAD is a critical measure to defend the ROK (Republic of Korea) people and Alliance forces against North Korean missile threats, as highlighted by the recent ballistic missile launches by North Korea," a statement from the office of the US Secretary of Defense said Tuesday.

"North Korea's unlawful weapons programs represent a clear, grave threat to US national security in the United States, the ROK and Japan."

Opposition at home

The announcement to deploy THAAD has also faced opposition from many residents of Seongju county, near the deployment site, and criticism of the decision to deploy it -- against the backdrop of the increased militarization of the Korean Peninsula -- was a key part of protests that helped bring down former President Park Geun-hye.

"The decision made by the government to deploy THAAD was not democratic at all," said Baek Ga-yoon, coordinator for the Center for Peace and Disarmament, which advocates for a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula.

She accused acting-President Hwang Kyo-ahn of taking advantage of the political instability around Park's impeachment to press ahead with THAAD's deployment "without any agreement from the National Assembly and the villagers of Seongju."

Koreans go to the polls on May 9 to choose Park's replacement.

The upcoming election is expected to result in a swing to the left, likely in favor of the Democratic United Party's Moon Jae-in, who narrowly lost to Park in 2012 and has led opinion polls since her ouster.

Moon's party has been critical of the THAAD agreement and suggested it should be renegotiated, saying Park should have sought the approval of the National Assembly before deployment began.

"Presidential candidate Moon Jae-in has consistently stated that the deployment of THAAD should be decided by the next government through taking into account sufficient public consultation, consensus and consideration of our national interests and the ROK-US alliance," a statement released by Moon's spokesman, Park Kwang-on, read.

"It is better to discontinue the deployment of the equipments and pass the final decision to the next government after going through public and national consensus and consultation between ROK-US."


North Carolina

Surf City launches new community policing program

by WWAY News

SURF CITY, NC (WWAY) — The Surf City Police Department has launched a new community policing program and anyone with a surveillance camera can participate.

It's called “More Eyes to Deter Crime.”

The goal is to encourage residents and business owners who have external surveillance cameras, to register their cameras with the Surf City Police Department.

According to a news release from Surf City Police, registering surveillance camera systems can help deter crime and help police in overall crime prevention.

Police say many business owners and residents currently use surveillance systems. As crimes happen nearby, they might not realize their systems may have captured video that could help solve the crime.

Police say this program will also help them identify nearby video surveillance locations that might have critical video evidence. Registration is voluntary and video surveillance systems are not monitored or controlled by the Surf City Police Department.

Community members who are interested in registering their cameras in this program will receive a sticker to be prominently displayed that the property is under constant surveillance and is in partnership with the Surf City Police Department.

You can register online, or submit a completed registration form at the Surf City Police Department.

Registration can be cancelled at any time.



Arizona police agencies in desperate need of officers, looking to hire hundreds

Police in need of help

by Sonu Wasu

PHOENIX (KNXV) -- There's a critical emergency at your local law enforcement agency, and now they're calling you for help, KNXV reports.

From police to sheriff departments and even the state, almost every agency in the country is facing a huge shortage of police officers. Many departments have hundreds of open positions listed.

"We are facing trying times, we are depleted of resources," said Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone at a press conference held at the Phoenix branch of Northern Arizona University on Monday.

"We have a vacancy of about 385 right now, by next year we hope to have 400 spots filled," said Commander Brian Lee, a recruiting specialist with the Phoenix Police Department.

"Somewhere around 165 to 185 trooper positions for us, and about the same number of professional staff we're hiring," said Col. Frank Milstead with the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

A spokesman for the Maricopa County Sheriffs Office said they had 277 open positions for detention officers and 89 open positions for sworn officers or deputies, which brings the total to 366 vacancies.

How did it get so bad?

Years of budget cuts and a hiring freeze are being attributed for the shortfall that has been mounting over the years. Milstead said many agencies hired many officers in the 1980's. Most of those people are now retiring, which led to many open positions that they have been unable to fill.

Departments are launching aggressive hiring campaigns to meet the numbers. All of them recruiting out of state, as well as in Arizona.

"We have a flight en route to El Paso today, this is our third trip this month, and we plan to have several more," said Lee.

He added that they were also aggressively recruiting from military bases around the country.

"About 30% of the people we've hired in the last year have been former military," said Lee.

The critical short staffing has led departments to streamline operations. In the last few months the Phoenix Police Department has completely re-structured operations. Dozens of detectives and officers have been pulled from "specialty" assignments and assigned back to patrol.

"Patrol is the number one function of any police agency, you have to be able to keep up with the calls coming in," said Lee.

In the state, DPS officials said the staffing level meant they were not able to staff all parts of the state 24 hours a day. Milstead said many departments had also cut back on visibility patrols and DUI enforcement which in a way had a ripple effect on the number of wrong way crashes we have seen.

"Most agencies used to have a lot of nighttime pro-active DUI enforcement. At Phoenix, when I was a traffic bureau commander we had 165 motorcycle officers doing traffic. Now there's 25. I think some of those people are getting on the freeways because they're not stopped in the cities," said Milstead.

Changing face of policing

Now with almost everyone they encountered armed with a cell phone, their job was on public display and under public scrutiny more than ever.

Incidents like the police officer who punched a woman and was caught on camera instantly went viral, putting entire departments under the microscope.

"Right now it's been harder for us to recruit. In a sense, because there's been a lot of negativity around law enforcement," said Penzone.

The new officers they hire will have to be well versed in community policing and service. Milstead said accountability and winning back the trust of the community they serve were crucial skills to have in law enforcement.

"The perception that somehow we want to keep these people is completely false. That is a false narrative. If we have bad people in law enforcement, we want them out as fast as you do," said Milstead.

How to apply

Recruiters said a big incentive to join the police force was that they would pay for your higher education and training. There is no age cut off to apply, but you do have to be able to pass their physical fitness test.

NAU's Phoenix campus is hosting a law enforcement job fair this weekend.

It will be held on Saturday, April 29th from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at 15451 N. 28th Ave. in Phoenix.

For more information, you can contact Ray Lewis at

Phoenix police say if you have any questions about becoming an officer or want to find out the testing dates, you can reach them at 602-534-2677(COPS) or click here for more.

DPS jobs are posted on To become a corrections officer or deputy in Maricopa County, you can click here.



Number of Dallas officers at lowest level in a decade

Concerns over the failing police and fire pension have led many officers to retire at a rate faster than the department can hire and train new ones

by the Associated Press

DALLAS — The number of police officers serving Dallas has fallen to its lowest level in about a decade while the department also is falling short of its goal for new hires, the interim police chief told a city council committee.

Chief David Pughes said Monday that the number of officers on the force is 3,077. That's down from nearly 3,700 officers some six years ago.

He said the department will be short-staffed as the summer approaches and crime generally increases.

Concerns over the failing Dallas Police and Fire Pension System have led many officers to retire at a rate faster than the department can hire and train new ones, The Dallas Morning News reports.

Dallas so far this year has lost 244 officers, many of whom had more than 20 years of experience. Officials believe another 120 will leave by the end of September.

Pughes said he's considering hiring many of those retired officers to temporarily bolster patrol numbers.

"I'm actually excited about the possibility of bringing retirees back in whatever capacity they can work," Pughes said.

The move could be a short-term remedy in the face of fewer new hires than hoped. The department so far this year has hired just 80 officers and expects to add about 200 by year's end, far below a target of around 450, the newspaper reported.

The hiring rate is surprising in light of a surfeit of applications in the wake of the July sniper shootings during a downtown protest where five officers were killed and nine others wounded. The department said job applications more than quadrupled in the two weeks following the shootings.

David Brown, who was police chief before retiring in October, at the time had urged those protesting police actions to help change law enforcement from within by applying to become a cop.

Despite the rise in applications, a rigorous hiring and training process results in many applicants being dropped from consideration.



Sheriff: Suspect opened fire on Texas deputy's children, home in 'attack'

The bullets narrowly missed one of the deputy's children

by PoliceOne Staff

GILMER, Texas — A sheriff is asking for the public's help in finding the suspect who opened fire on an Upshur County sheriff deputy's home, patrol car and personal car.

Sheriff Larry Webb said the deputy was off-duty at home with her two children Saturday when someone fire multiple rounds at her home and cars, the Longview News-Journal reported.

One round came into the home and got caught in the clothing of one of her children. Another hit a chair the child was sitting in near the window. Both children were uninjured.

“Due to the amount of damage done to the patrol car, investigators are looking into the likelihood of a retaliation motive on the part of the persons having recent interaction with the Upshur County Sheriff's Office or one of its deputies,” Webb told the publication.

While he declined to identify the deputy, a two-year veteran, and the names of persons of interest, Webb said the suspects were in a brown or tan car.

He said the department has a witness who saw the entire incident. A deputy has been stationed at the officer's house for added protection. Webb told KLTV this was an attack on law enforcement.

“It was an attack on the county as a whole, and the state of Texas,”Webb said. “This is not going to be tolerated, and we are going to prosecute these folks to the extent of the law.”


The Border Is All Around Us, and It's Growing

by Laila Lalami

The Border Patrol agent watched our Prius approach, then signaled for us to stop. Behind him stood several others in green uniforms, hands resting on holsters, eyes hidden behind sunglasses. German shepherds panted in the heat. “Are you all U.S. citizens?” the agent asked, leaning against the driver's-side window and glancing around our car. “Yes,” said one of my companions, an artist from Iowa. “Yes,” echoed the other, a poet from Connecticut. Then it was my turn. “Yes,” I said. The agent's gaze lingered on me for a moment. Then he stood up and waved us through the border.

Except this was not a border: This was the middle of Interstate 10 between El Paso and Marfa, Tex. No matter. At the Sierra Blanca checkpoint, agents can make arrests for drugs or weapons, share information with federal agencies and turn undocumented immigrants over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. There are many such checkpoints scattered throughout the continental United States — borders within borders.

Borders mark the contours of nations, states, even cities, defining them by separating them from all others. A border can be natural — an ocean, a river, a chain of mountains — or it can be artificial, splitting a homogeneous landscape into two. Often it is highly literal, announcing itself in the shape of a concrete wall, a sand berm, a tall fence topped with barbed wire. But whatever form it takes, a border always conveys meaning. Hours before my encounter with the Border Patrol, as the airplane I was on began its descent, I saw from my window seat the wall that separates El Paso from Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. On one side were gleaming towers, giant freeways and sprawling parks; on the other, homes huddling together in the afternoon light, winding streets and patches of dry grass. Here you will find safety and prosperity, the wall seemed to say, but over there lie danger and poverty. It's a message that ignores the cities' joint history, language and cultures. But it is simple — one might say simplistic — and that is what gives it power.

For much of the United States' history, national frontiers were fluid, expanding through territorial conquest and purchases. But at the start of the 20th century, as Arizona and New Mexico approached statehood and the country's continental borders became stable, so did the desire to secure them and police them — first through congressional acts that prohibited immigration from certain countries and later through the building of fences and walls. During his campaign for the presidency, Donald Trump often promised to extend a wall along the Southern border and have Mexico pay for it. At his rallies, this promise was met with cheers and chants of “Build that wall!” When Vicente Fox, a former president of Mexico, declared that his nation had no intention of paying for any such wall, Trump's response was, “The wall just got 10 feet higher.” The more it was challenged, the higher it became, as if literalizing the border could make all debate about it disappear.

Whether the administration can find the money to construct an immense border wall remains to be seen. In the meantime, the legal apparatus around it is already being built. This month, speaking to Customs and Border Protection officers in Nogales, Ariz., Attorney General Jeff Sessions promised them “more tools in your fight against criminal aliens” — including charging immigrants who repeatedly cross into the United States illegally with felonies and, when possible, with document fraud and aggravated identity theft, which can carry mandatory prison time. His language was the language of war: Nogales, Sessions said, was “ground zero” in the fight to secure the border, a place where “ranchers work each day to make an honest living” while under threat from “criminal organizations that turn cities and suburbs into war zones, that rape and kill innocent civilians.” Under the new administration, he said, his Justice Department was prepared for the fight: “It is here, on this sliver of land, on this border, where we first take our stand.”

In this kind of rhetoric, the border separates not just nationals from foreigners, rich from poor and north from south, but also order from chaos, civilization from barbarians, decent people from criminals. Location becomes character, with everything that designation entails. A person is either American and an honest worker, or she is not American and is a criminal alien. The two categories are seen as inherent and inflexible.

In January, Trump signed an executive order temporarily barring nationals of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States, even if they were green-card holders or refugees who had already been cleared for resettlement. But as reports emerged of families separated by the order, passengers stranded thousands of miles from home, even an infant being denied scheduled surgery, the full effect of this virtual wall revealed itself. By the time the ban was lifted by federal courts, the experience had already brought to the national consciousness a renewed awareness of what happens at the border. In this in-between space, rights we take for granted disappear. At points of entry to the United States, nobody — not even American citizens or permanent residents — is fully protected by the Fourth Amendment, which safeguards against unreasonable searches and seizures. Customs and Border Protection officers can search luggage as well as phones, tablets and laptops. Occasionally they ask for online browsing histories and passwords to social-media accounts. A poorly phrased joke on Twitter, a compromising picture on a private Instagram account, a Facebook argument with a crazy uncle — all these could be readable by C.B.P. officers, entirely at their discretion. Again, the border sends a message: Watch what you say.

The border's messages always carry with them hints of violence. In the 19th century, the American frontier was a place of conquest, a place where laws did not apply and deadly clashes could happen at any moment. That aura of risk and brutality still hangs over airports, the closest thing we have to frontier outposts and the gateways to cross-border travel. When travelers step into the secure area of an airport, they leave behind bottles of water, take off their shoes and expose their bodies to X-rays, all for the sake of protecting themselves from the potential violence of terrorists. But this system can perpetrate violence by itself. This month, a ticketed passenger who refused to give up his seat on a United Airlines flight from O'Hare International Airport in Chicago was brutally dragged away by the police. David Dao's injuries, according to his lawyer, Thomas Demetrio, include a concussion, a broken nose, two lost teeth and sinus damage that could require surgery. Demetrio went on to ask, “Are we going to just continue to be treated like cattle?”

This dehumanization is a common feature of the border. Some years ago, returning home from a holiday in Morocco, my husband and I passed through immigration at Kennedy Airport. The border agent glanced at my passport, which lists Morocco as my place of birth. Then she looked at my husband's and, with a chuckle, asked him how many camels he had traded for me. Even in my shock, I understood that what the agent was trying to assert was her own authority, her superiority over me. If I had dared to challenge her, I might have ended up subject to a secondary search and further questioning. My silence was the price that the border demanded.

Border walls are literal expressions of our worst fears. Terrorists, rapists, drug dealers and various “bad hombres” are all said to come from somewhere else; drawing lines, we are told, will keep us safe from them. But the lines keep multiplying. What formally counts as the border, according to the United States government, is not just the lines separating the United States from Canada and Mexico, but any American territory within 100 miles of the country's perimeter, whether along land borders, ocean coasts or Great Lakes shores. That 100-mile strip of land encompasses almost entirely the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont — along with the most populated parts of many others, including California and Illinois. In total, the 100-mile-wide border zone is home to two-thirds of the nation's population.

This is such a staggering fact that it bears repeating: The vast majority of Americans, roughly 200 million, are effectively living in the border zone. Any of these people could one day face checkpoints like the one I went through in Sierra Blanca, Tex. They can be asked about their citizenship and, if they fail to persuade the agent — because of how they look, act or sound — they can be detained. The Justice Department established these regulations in 1953 and, though they periodically attract attention, they have never been changed. As we move to erect and enforce more borders, this is another message worth apprehending: Borders do not simply keep others out. They also wall us in.


South Carolina

Myrtle Beach Police 12 officers short, asks for help from community to solve crimes

by Taylor Herlong

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW)- The Myrtle Beach Police Department is 12 officers short.

Lt. Joey Crosby with the department says handling the calls in the city can be a real challenge when they're short officers.

Right now, he says officers are working overtime shifts with long hours away from their families, and those long hours and the high-stress job is part of the reason for the vacancies.

“It's a very demanding profession to where you work long hours. You're required to be away from your family, especially on those major holidays and special events. It takes a toll on the officers themselves and their families,” said Crosby.

In the last few days, the job hasn't been easy. Myrtle Beach Police responded to five shootings in the city last week, shots were reportedly fired last Wednesday, and gun shots were heard again on Saturday.

In a department 12 officers short, their resources are stretched thin.

“We have a very high call volume for our area. So, when you have vacancies such as that, it requires officers to put in additional hours. That's why we have to do extra overtime hours,” said Crosby.

Right now, Crosby says they've made offers to ten people to join the department, but even if they accept, they won't finish training for about a year.

“Having those officers come on board, being certified, and getting them through and completing the FTO program will certainly help the officers that are on the road now,” said Crosby.

Still, no matter how many officers they have, Crosby says they can't make Myrtle Beach safer or solve the crimes without you.

“The many instances that we have seen over the past couple of weeks, the accidents have been happening when officers are literally a block away from them. So, while additional officers are needed and that is a solution to the problem, that is not the only solution to the problem. We need to work together as a community to exchange ideas and make our community a safer place,” said Crosby.

Crosby says right now, they have no new updates on any of the latest shootings, and they're asking for everyone to come to the neighborhood watch meetings they host because they want to hear from the community.

The department is expecting a large crowd in the city this summer, and with the vacancies in the department, Crosby says community policing and getting involved is essential to making Myrtle Beach a safer place.


South Carolina

Heroin, gang activity topics of police concern at community meeting

by Jenna-Ley Harrison

It came as a shock to some community members when Summerville police officials revealed this month during a town hall meeting, meant to address racial profiling statistics, that gang and drug activity are instead the town's top two problems, infiltrating the area like never before.

"(The) heroin epidemic (we're) experiencing (is the) biggest we've seen since I've worked here," said Capt. Doug Wright. "It's creeping into families and destroying families."

The meeting, which took place April 18, was the third of its kind since 2015 and one Louis Smith, founder of the Community Resource Center, helped police put together after reviewing all the department's 2016 traffic stop reports.

Smith said he found no wrongdoing on officers' part and praised them for staying honest, cooperating with his request and remaining transparent with the community.

“It surprised me, but they are right in line,” Smith told the Journal Scene during a press conference prior to Tuesday's meeting.

In fact, data showed only 32 percent of drivers stopped in town limits last year were black males—and most of them not even Summerville residents, according to Wright. The remaining percentage stopped included whites, non-Hispanics and Asian/Pacific Islanders.

The stats were also in keeping with the area's population, according to police. Based on the latest U.S. Census Bureau numbers, the African-American population comprises 30.8 percent of the greater Charleston, or tri-county, region.

A drug ‘creeping into homes'

Wright said when it comes to heroin use, Summerville is no different than larger metropolitan cities across the country. Emergency calls for help with overdoses, particularly from opioid use, occur almost daily. And heroin, one of the most addictive opioids, doesn't discriminate.

“This problem does not matter what your....background is,” Wright said.

The addiction typically starts innocently, police explained. A person prescribed pain pills after a surgery or other medical event often times becomes dependent on the pills' euphoric effect. Before long the only way to quench the craving is to utilize a more powerful substance. Nearly 80 percent of heroin users report prior prescription pill abuse, according to the National Drug Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

But the heroin floating around the streets today is much different from the heroin of the 1960s hippy era. Not only is it more readily available, police said, but also more potent.

“Anybody can get their hands on this drug, and it didn't use to be this way,” Wright said.

Increased potency is due to dealers lacing the habit-forming painkiller with the synthetic drug fentanyl—up to 100 times more powerful than heroin and often used to treat chronic pain, NIDA reports.

“It can just damage you in so many ways,” Wright said. "It's very scary."

He even told residents at the meeting about an overdoes police responded to during Easter weekend. An addict was located unconscious—with a needle still in hand. He described the event as "much like you're seeing on television."

Police said they're concerned about drug use not only because it wrecks lives and takes lives, but also because it's frequently linked to other unlawful behavior.

“Most crime across the spectrum of the U.S. is result of drug activity,” Wright said.

But police aren't the only ones encountering the local heroin and opioid epidemic. Dorchester County deputies said they, too, are witnessing a rise in incidents involving the drug type.

“It is at a high level,” said Maj. Tony Phinney, head of Criminal Investigations for the Dorchester County Sheriff's Office.

A 60-year-old Lowcountry man was even indicted in March for allegedly possessing and distributing fentanyl. According to the South Carolina District of the United States Attorney's Office, Dorchester County deputies helped served a search warrant at the Ladson property where Robert Bryan Mansfield lived, and located the drug inside the home.

According to stats from Dorchester County EMS, this year the agency has responded to nearly 80 drug overdose calls—with 22 of those calls resulting in hospital transport. Last year 192 overdose calls resulted in hospitalization; in 2015, 183 of EMS's 244 overdose calls required hospital medical care, said County Spokesperson Tiffany Norton.

Due to the overwhelming number of opioid encounters, local first responders said they are now equipped with a special nasal spray called Narcan, an FDA-approved prescription used to treat heroin and opioid users who've overdosed. It's not life-saving but allows a person extra time to get necessary medical treatment.

“It's gotten so bad," Summerville Police Maj. Frank Nigro. "That is a proactive step we are taking.”

Since 2015, EMS has had to utilize Narcan more than 350 times, agency stats showed.

Wright gave residents a word picture of the prescription's power.

“You can literally see somebody who's dead...inject that into them and bring them back to life,” he said. “It's just something you guys cannot fathom.”

So what's the solution? How can the public help curb the opioid epidemic?

Police said it's all about awareness and people's willingness to make bold moves to get involved with a loved one who's using.

“A lot of people have to know a loved one or friend is doing it,” Wright said. “You're not going to break that person's habit by talking to them. You've got to get treatment.”

Signs of a drug habit include stealing, lying and even pawing items for cash, police said.

Gang presence

In response to one resident's inquiry about local gangs, police officials revealed a growing matter—similar to one the rest of the country is experiencing in densely-populated areas.

“We do have some issues going on,” Wright said. “I think there's an increasing problem with gang activity as the other cities and counties throughout the country experience—same problems you see in metro areas and downtown Charleston."

Police said they closely monitor the issue using social media and informants. Wright also said gangs aren't necessarily exclusive to a particular gender or race. Some groups have females and are mixed with white and black members.

“Really and truly it just depends on who the gang is and who they allow,” he said.

Some local gangs also have ties to larger criminal operatives in Chicago, Atlanta and several other large cities.

But police refused to name top local gangs when Smith asked, "because that's what they want," according to Wright.

“They spray paint areas in town (that) looks like silly nonsense jargon to you but has a meaning,” Wright said.

And the most dangerous individuals are the “wanna-be” gang members, who have "something to prove" and do the "actual dirty work for the gang."

‘Role model' department

According to Smith, when it comes to community policing, Summerville Police Department is “a role model” for all other departments.

“The transparency is there,” he said—and added how he hopes the North Charleston Police Department follows Summerville's lead. Smith said the neighboring department has not been as “forthcoming” with traffic stop information he and other civil rights leaders have requested.

In addition to using town hall meetings and "Coffee with a Cop" hangouts to boost morale between officers and residents, Summerville police established its Special Enforcement Team (SET) two years ago. And so far it's working.

“We want to try to break down the barrier between what a lot of people perceive us as and what we really are,” Wright said. “We don't want that bad boy image of a badge and a gun. ...That's not why this profession was started."

Wright gave an example of an interesting traffic stop last fall. He said a white officer stopped a black man driving slowly through a local neighborhood during Hurricane Matthew. At first both parties had misconceptions about each other, Wright said.

“The officer had in his mind the image of a police (officer being) murdered in St. Louis.” And the driver's image of the cop was based on negative reports from TV.

After the driver and his family met with the officer and each sides explained their concerns, unity was achieved.

“They ended up hugging each other,” Wright said. The success story is now one officers learn about during agency training.

Since creating the SET team, police said more than ever before residents are offering officers, vital crime tips for solving cases.

About twice a week officers, equipped with I-pads, go into neighborhoods chosen to handout safety tips and crime-prevention information. One subdivision in particular is giving police a challenging time. Police said a segment of the Evergreen neighborhood has lately been the backdrop for shots fired calls, drug activity and home invasions. A fatal shooting even occurred there in February.

Police at first hesitated to name the community, not wanting to “disparage one half of the neighborhood,” Wright said.

But the fear among residents is real.

“There are people who are very fearful to come out of their doors, and that's not keeping in line with the American dream,” he said. “Kids don't want to play in the street.”

To help deter crime, the agency has tried to place decoy cop cars in the subdivision, only to have the vehicles damaged—hubcaps stolen, tires slashed.

“As much as we want to have aggressive policing in that area, (we) also want to have a delicate hand,” Wright said.

Despite the drug use and gang activity police have frequently encountered, leaders reassured residents they are truly safe and not to live in fear.

“Let me tell ya, this is a safe place to live,” Wright said.

Community reaction

Summerville resident Ethel Campbell said surprisingly she wasn't too shocked to learn about the town's rampant drug and gang problems. In fact, she was more interested in wanting to know why police stop black drivers. Though police didn't have the reasons immediately available at the meeting, they promised to stay in touch with Campbell and any other resident who wants the information.

“It's absolute transparency with our department and the community,” Wright said.

He did tell Campbell that among some of the reasons police stop vehicles include minor traffic infractions, collisions and officers witnessing drivers leaving the scene of a crime.

Resident Herb Shine said he fears for area youth and the dangerous path some teens are choosing.

“I'm concerned about the younger people. I think it's everybody's concern,” he said. “It's a tough pill to swallow—no pun intended. We should come together shoulder-to-shoulder in solidarity. ...Just saying, ‘No,' is not enough.

Overall, Shine praised the meeting and police for the information they provided the public.

“It was very informative. I was very pleased...very positive meeting,” he said.

Gina Britt agreed.

“I think everybody should come to these meetings,” she said.

The audience gave its loudest applause near the end of the meeting when Smith announced that Summerville cop cars no longer contain the “don't tread on me” decals. Offensive to some, Smith said Chief Jon Rogers finally agreed to have them removed this year.


New York

Federal judge denies request to halt NYPD bodycam program

The decision clears a path to begin the program that aims to outfit about 1,200 NYPD officers with cameras

by Mark Morales

NEW YORK — A federal judge denied a request by a coalition of police-reform groups that the NYPD's body camera pilot program, set to begin next week, should be stopped and reviewed, claiming the plan has numerous problems that need to be fixed.

The decision, made by Manhattan U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres on Friday, clears a path to begin the program that aims to outfit about 1,200 NYPD officers with cameras.

Advocates have said the program is flawed because it doesn't require cops to record enough encounters with the public. The advocates also objected, among other things, to officers having the right to view their recordings before making statements or writing reports.

“Structurally, it provides mechanisms to protect abusive police officers and not the public,” said Joo-Hyun Kang, director for Communities United for Police Reform.

A 2013 federal court decision in a class action suit brought against New York City over stop-and-frisk, which found that the police unconstitutionally targeted minorities, required the NYPD to create the camera plan.

The plan was approved by special monitor Peter Zimroth, who said in court filings that no further proceedings were necessary to start the program.

But attorneys for plaintiffs in the stop-and-frisk lawsuit filed legal papers late Wednesday asking Torres to overrule Zimroth's approval of the camera program and delay the NYPD's implementation of it. Advocates with Communities United For Police Reform said they also were filing briefs.

Torres said in her decision that certain aspects of the pilot program were not final recommendations and the reform groups' claims were premature.

The cameras are expected to reach officers in the 34th Precinct, which covers Washington Heights, officials said.

“We are pleased with the court's decision and we will move forward with deploying body cameras later next week,” said NYPD spokesman J. Peter Donald.


From ICE


95 arrested in Southeast Texas during 4-day ICE operation targeting criminal aliens, illegal re-entrants and immigration fugitives

HOUSTON — Federal officers from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) arrested 95 criminal aliens and others throughout Southeast Texas during a five-day enforcement action which ended Friday.

The operation began April 17 and Houston ERO officers made arrests in the following Texas counties: Brazoria (7), Ft. Bend (2), Galveston (4), Harris (59), Liberty (3), Matagorda (4), Montgomery (13), and Wharton (3). Of those arrested, 87 were men; eight were women. The ERO Houston area of responsibility includes 54 counties in Southeast Texas.

All the foreign nationals targeted by ICE officers during this enforcement action had prior criminal convictions. The majority of those arrested — 82 of the 95 — had criminal histories that included convictions for the following crimes:homicide, aggravated assault, assault, burglary of a vehicle, child abuse, domestic violence, cocaine possession, fraud, driving under the influence (DUI), drug trafficking, felony marijuana possession, illegal entry, larceny, possessing a controlled substance, and weapons possession. Individuals arrested during this operation are from the following countries: Cambodia (1), Cuba (1), El Salvador (8), Guatemala (3), Honduras (11), Mexico (66), Nicaragua (2), Nigeria (1) and Vietnam (2).

Following are criminal summaries of five arrested during this operation:

•  April 20, a 55-year-old citizen of El Salvador was arrested without incident in Houston. Convicted of manslaughter. Previously deported from the United States in April 1987.

•  April 19, a 32-year-old citizen of Mexico was arrested without incident in Houston. A Barrio North Side gang member with convictions for marijuana possession, unlawfully carrying a firearm and evading arrest. He was previously removed from the United States in September 2006.

•  April 21, a 44-year-old citizen of Mexico was arrested near his residence in Houston by Houston Fugitive Operations Team members. Moreno has criminal convictions for illegally carrying a weapon, vehicle theft, aggravated robbery and robbery.

•  April 19, a 68-year-old citizen and national of Cuba, was arrested at his residence in Houston. Was previously convicted twice for robbery and twice for burglary of habitation.

•  April 18, a 25-year-old citizen and national of Mexico was arrested without incident in Houston. He has a criminal conviction for indecency with a child by exposure.

“This operation was focused on fugitives and criminal aliens,” said Patrick Contreras, field office director of the ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations office in Houston. Public safety remains a top priory for ICE. This was a focused four-day operation, but our routine operations occur daily.”

All of the targets in this operation were amenable to arrest and removal under the Immigration and Nationality Act.

ICE deportation officers carry out targeted enforcement operations daily nationwide as part of the agency's ongoing efforts to protect the nation, uphold public safety, and protect the integrity of our immigration laws and border controls. These operations involve existing and established Fugitive Operations Teams.

During the targeted enforcement operations, ICE officers frequently encounter other aliens illegally present in the United States. They are evaluated on a case-by-case basis, and, when appropriate, they are arrested by ICE officers.

In fiscal year 2016, ICE conducted 240,255 removals nationwide. Ninety-two percent of individuals removed from the interior of the United States had previously been convicted of a crime.