LACP - NEWS of the Week
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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.


May 2017 - Week 4


Don't Say 'Thank You For Your Service' This Monday

by James Doubek

"I hope you're having a meaningful day."

That might be one of the better things to say to a veteran this Monday. You should probably avoid the common refrain, "Thank you for your service," according to someone who should know.

"On Memorial Day, the veteran you're talking to may be going through a bit of melancholy remembering people who died over the years," says Navy veteran Luke Visconti, who also co-founded the website DiversityInc, which wrote about the subject recently.

As most people are aware (or should be), Memorial Day and Veterans Day serve different purposes.

Veterans Day is to honor the service of people who have worn the uniforms of the armed forces.

Memorial Day is intended to remember those who died while serving.

Visconti encourages those who want to say supportive words to a veteran to recognize "that the person may have friends who died in combat."

As far as saying thank you goes, "I don't need to be thanked for my service," he tells NPR's Michel Martin. "I think it's become kind of a platitude, toss-away thing to say."

Memorial Day and Veterans Day have separate origins going back to two different wars: the Civil War and World War I.

Shortly after the Civil War, Memorial Day began as Decoration Day. "The reason for that is because it was a day on which Americans, South and in the North, would decorate the graves of soldiers who died in the Civil War," history professor Matthew Dennis told NPR in 2005. It was a "vernacular, grassroots kind of expression of mourning."

Maj. Gen. John A. Logan, who headed a group for Union veterans, declared in 1868 that Decoration Day would be observed on May 30. According to a Memorial Day history from the Department of Veterans Affairs, after World War I the holiday was broadened to include service members who died in all of the country's wars, not just the Civil War.

Multiple cities claim to be the birthplace of the holiday, but President Lyndon Johnson formally gave the honor to Waterloo, N.Y., in 1966. An act of Congress in 1971 switched the observance to the last Monday in May, the VA notes.

Veterans Day, on the other hand, was originally called Armistice Day, which commemorated the end of fighting in World War I — you may have heard before that it happened on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, in 1918.

President Woodrow Wilson celebrated the first Armistice Day in 1919. In 1938, November 11 became a legal holiday by an act of Congress, and in 1954 it was changed from "Armistice" to "Veterans" Day, in order to honor all veterans.

So save the thanks for Veterans Day, if you must. "I think sometimes maybe just a pat on the back or an arm around the shoulder is really better than words," Visconti says. "So just be a friend."



2 killed in stabbing on MAX train in Northeast Portland as man directs slurs at Muslim women, police say

by Jim Ryan

Update, 3:30 a.m., May 27: Jeremy Joseph Christian, 35, was booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center on suspicion of aggravated murder and attempted murder early Saturday morning, records show. He's being held without bail.

A Portland police spokesman didn't immediately return an email seeking information about whether Christian is the suspect in the fatal MAX stabbing.

Christian was also arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor charges, according to records.

His criminal record includes felony robbery, kidnapping and weapon convictions, records show.

Two men were killed in a stabbing on a MAX train Friday when they tried to intervene as another man yelled racial slurs at two young women who appeared to be Muslim, including one wearing a hijab, police said.

A third passenger who tried to help was also stabbed, but is expected to survive, said Portland police spokesman Sgt. Pete Simpson.

A 21-year-old injured in the attack remains in a Portland hospital, but his injuries are not believed to be life-threatening, police said.

Officers arrested the suspect as he ran from the Hollywood transit station into the neighborhood near Providence Portland Medical Center in Northeast Portland, Simpson said. Police are still working to identify him and the three men stabbed.

The suspect was ranting about many things, using "hate speech or biased language," and at one point focused on the young women, Simpson said.

The suspect then turned on the passengers who tried to help, Simpson said.

"In the midst of his ranting and raving, some people approached him and appeared to try to intervene with his behavior and some of the people that he was yelling at," Simpson said. "They were attacked viciously."

One good Samaritan died at the scene and another at the hospital, he said. The third victim was undergoing evaluation, but didn't suffer life-threatening wounds, he said.

"These were folks just riding the train and unfortunately got caught up in this," he said.

It's not clear why the man was yelling, Simpson said.

"He was talking about a lot of different things, not just specifically anti-Muslim," Simpson said.

"We don't know if he's got mental health issues," Simpson said. "We don't know if he's under the influence of drugs or alcohol or all of the above."

The FBI said it's "offering any resource that may assist Portland Police in their investigation" and will "determine whether there is any potential federal violation."

Evelin Hernandez, a 38-year-old Clackamas resident, said she was on the train when the man began making racist remarks to the young women. Some men tried to quiet him, she said, and he stabbed them.

The attack occurred about 4:30 p.m. on a MAX Green Line train as it was heading east. A train remained stopped on the tracks at the Hollywood/N.E. 42nd Avenue Transit Center as police investigated.

Simpson said police want to talk to the young women and other witnesses to the rampage. They understandably left the scene, but can help fill in what happened, he said.

"It's horrific," he said. "There's no other word to describe what happened today. For the victims, our thoughts and prayers are with their families. ... For the witnesses, there is no other word."

Friday marks the start of Ramadan, a monthlong fast observed by most of the world's 1.6 billion Muslims.

"Our thoughts are with the Muslim community," Simpson said. "As something like this happens, this only instills fear in that community. We have already reached out previous to this incident to our Muslim community partners and the different imams about extra patrol during Ramadan. We want to reassure them that that will continue."

Portland is home to a rough estimate of about 50,000 Muslims of different ethnicities.

"This appears at least to be an isolated incident based on what we know at this point," Simpson said.

Officers tried to save the man who died on the train, he said. Police have recovered the knife, he said.

Simpson thanked witnesses who called 911 and reported where the suspect went and what he was wearing.

"It was really critical to us taking this man into custody. (He was) obviously very dangerous based on his actions," he said.

TriMet said the Blue, Green and Red MAX lines were resuming normal service late Friday night and that the transit center was still closed.

"We are deeply saddened," the agency said on Twitter. "Our thoughts & prayers are with loved ones of those lost & with person injured."

"Every person has a right to live in this country without fear," TriMet said in an ensuing tweet .

Portland Commissioner Chloe Eudaly, who's standing in for Mayor Ted Wheeler, who was flying to London on Friday night, called the attack "especially sad and disturbing."

"People lost their lives or were injured because they stood up to hate," she said in a statement on behalf of the City Council.

"These are troubling times across our city, our country and the world. We cannot let this divide us," Eudaly said. "We need to unite against all forms of violence and hate. Our differences should be a cause for celebration, not something that foments hate."

The FBI said that, "At the core of the FBI's mission is the belief that every person has the right to live, work and worship in this country without fear."

"Hate and bigotry have no place in our community, and we will not allow violence in the name of hate to go unanswered," the agency said in a statement.

Police ask anyone who has information about the stabbing to call a non-emergency line, 503-823-3333. A vigil is planned for Saturday night at the transit center.



Attacks like Portland's will keep happening unless we all fight white supremacy

by Arjun Singh Sethi

When Ricky Best and Taliesin Namkai-Meche boarded a light-rail train in Portland, Ore., on Friday night, they never could have imagined they wouldn't make it home. The two men were stabbed to death after confronting a man for yelling slurs at two Muslim women. A third intervener, Micah David-Cole, is being treated for serious, non-life-threatening injuries. The suspect, a white supremacist known to police, openly performed Nazi salutes and shouted racial slurs at a rally last month in Portland. White supremacist, Islamophobic and anti-Semitic posts were a fixture on his Facebook page

Communities of color experience hate in every aspect of our lives. It braids through our daily existence, just like friendship, work and family. We encounter it in schools, workplaces and public life. And what we fear most is hate violence, the kind that was on full display in Portland this weekend.

Muslims, Arabs, Sikhs and South Asians are acutely vulnerable to hate. Since the 2016 presidential election, the Southern Poverty Law Center has tracked more than 1,000 bias-related incidents, many against Muslims. It also has reported that the number of anti-Muslim organizations in the United States grew from 34 in 2015 to 101 in 2016. Muslim women often bear the brunt of this mistreatment, especially if they wear a hijab. The slurs uttered at the two Muslim women on the train in Portland occur regularly nationwide.

In the aftermath of a tragedy like this one, there's usually an outpouring of emotion and an important set of rapid responses. We decry the violence, raise money for the victims' families and push local prosecutors to file hate crime charges. Community groups also encourage the reporting and tracking of hate crimes, as reporting remains voluntary, not mandatory . In addition, we ask affected communities to be vigilant and watchful. The threat of copycat attacks is real and can be deadly. Some of these efforts already are underway in Portland.

These are important and time-tested interventions, but they aren't enough. Hate violence will continue to be a scourge in the United States if we don't root out the bigotry and animus that cultivate it.

We must acknowledge, condemn and combat white supremacy. The belief that white people are superior to other races is responsible for some of the greatest tragedies in modern history. Manifest destiny, the genocide of Native Americans, slavery, Jim Crow and even mass incarceration are inextricably rooted in white supremacy. This belief system proliferates in the United States, including in places such as Portland, where local community organizations such as the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon and Unite Oregon have fought tirelessly to combat it.

Hundreds of hate groups now champion white supremacy and draw inspiration from President Trump, whose rhetoric and policies have emboldened their nativism and prejudice. The number of hate groups in the nation increased in 2016 for the second consecutive year. Some of these groups skulked in the shadows before Trump; now they bask in the limelight.

In February, a white American allegedly killed Srinivas Kuchibhotla, an Indian American in Kansas whom he had mistaken for Iranian. The attacker yelled “get out of my country” before firing. In March, a known white supremacist allegedly killed James Jackson, an elderly black man in New York City, apparently because Jackson was black. Last week, a white American allegedly killed Richard W. Collins III, a young black man, on the campus of the University of Maryland. The suspect was a member of a Facebook group called Alt-Reich: Nation. And now there's Portland. These are just a sample. Threats, assault, vandalism, nooses and murder make the headlines almost every day.

Some of what these hate groups say and do is protected by the First Amendment, if it falls short of violence. But there are still plenty of ways to combat their ideology.

In the wake of Trump's travel ban, people rallied in the streets and airports to condemn what they believed to be prejudice and discrimination against Muslims. This groundswell of support made a difference in the litigation and in the hearts and minds of Muslims and others worldwide. Why can't the public show the same energy and resolve when white supremacy and hate violence strike our communities?

Many of you will have the opportunity to raise your voice soon. Act for America, the largest anti-Muslim grass-roots organization in the country, recently announced a series of anti-Muslim protests in 23 cities, including Portland. Counter-rallies and other forms of resistance are planned and will be announced soon. Local and national organizations nationwide have been fighting white supremacy for decades. Connect with them, support them and raise your voice. We cannot and must not shoulder this burden alone.

In addition to condemnation and protest, hold teach-ins on white supremacy at your houses of worship and community centers. Invite and center communities affected by hate violence, listen to their stories — and be guided by their needs and leadership. As a Sikh American and a member of a community acutely impacted by hate, I can tell you every intervention matters. Hate thrives in company; it dies in solitude.

Nor should you wait for white supremacists to strike first. Coalitions of diverse professionals, including teachers, coaches, public health professionals, counselors and community leaders, should develop programing and interventions to track, treat and curb hate locally. Networks like this also allow us to more effectively respond to hate violence whenever it occurs. This programming should also include upstander trainings. We must honor the memories of those who were killed in Portland by standing for the same principles they did — courage, sacrifice and justice — not shying away from them.

We must likewise reject government policies that treat our communities as inherently suspect. Such policies foster misunderstanding, fear and bigotry. Muslims, Arabs and South Asians live under a specter of securitization and surveillance. Counterterrorism programs such as watch lists, the recently dismantled National Security Entry-Exit Registration System, countering violent-extremism initiatives and federal profiling guidelines look upon our communities as guilty and dangerous. Other communities are disproportionately affected by police violence, mass incarceration and deportation. Those with multiple identities, such as black Muslims or LGBTQ immigrants, experience a devastating compounding of these policies.

Trump has intensified this second-class citizenship through immigration raids and the specter of bans and walls. He continues to view Muslims as valuable only insofar as they fight and condemn terrorism. His recent statement commemorating Ramadan focused predominantly on violence and terrorism, and only of the sort ostensibly committed in the name of Islam.

An array of elected officials and civic leaders will condemn the Portland tragedy in the coming days. But will they condemn the criminalization and national security policies that cultivate hate and bigotry? Will they help illuminate and dismantle these policies, which inevitably reinforce notions of white privilege and prejudice? If the government sees our communities as inherently suspect and unworthy of dignity and respect, so will everyday Americans.

Finally, the media and public must be held accountable for double standards that mischaracterize violence and terrorism. White suspects who perpetrate mass atrocities are often humanized and described as shooters and mentally ill lone wolves. They're seen as holding personal grievances and capable of rehabilitation. But when the suspect is Muslim, brown, black or a combination thereof, they are often described as terrorists, who are deliberately evil, inspired by collective grievance, incapable of intervention. This familiar accounting happened just this weekend, when the spokesperson for the Portland police wondered whether the suspect had “mental-health issues.” The result is that we obscure how white supremacy informs hate violence in the United States and lose an opportunity to combat it, just as we would other hateful ideologies.

This racist narrative also diminishes the pain and suffering our communities endure. It means the tragedies inflicted on us sometimes don't even make front-page news. We fear the Islamic State as much as white supremacy. And so should you. The greatest threat facing our country comes from homegrown white supremacists, not Muslims or refugees. Yet we don't treat it with the requisite level of urgency, because we dismiss these acts of violence as isolated incidents rather than manifestations of a deeper ideology rooted in hate.

I always celebrate Memorial Day by remembering those who stood for peace and justice. Today I remember Ricky Best and Taliesin Namkai-Meche, the heroes of Portland. Their selfless sacrifice will live forever.

Arjun Singh Sethi is a civil rights lawyer, writer, teacher and consultant based in Washington, D.C. He is an adjunct professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center and Vanderbilt University Law School, where he teaches courses on policing, surveillance and counterterrorism.


DHS considers banning carry-on laptops on all foreign flights

by Bart Jansen

USA TODAY - The head of the Department of Homeland Security said Sunday that he is considering expanding the U.S. ban on laptops and larger electronics from carry-on bags in all international flights.

Since March, the U.S. has prohibited electronics larger than cellphones in the cabins of flights from 10 airports in the Middle East and Africa because of concerns about hidden explosives.

John Kelly, the secretary of Homeland Security, told Fox News Sunday that he is considering "yes, well, expand a little bit" the ban to international flights into and out of the U.S.

“Well, there's a real threat,” said Kelly, despite strong intelligence sharing between the U.S. and other countries. “But it is a real sophisticated threat and I will reserve that decision until we see where it's going.”

The comments amplified what Kelly said Friday as he toured Washington Reagan National Airport on the eve of the busy summer travel season, when he said he was working with airlines and security officials throughout Europe and Asia to raise the bar on aviation security.

Some airline pilots and safety advocates have questioned putting more electronics into checked luggage. In rare circumstances, lithium-ion batteries spark fires, which could go undetected in the cargo hold.

After reports the U.S. would expand the laptop ban to Europe, the British Airline Pilots' Association said May 15 that the risk would be greater with electronics in cargo than in the cabin.

“Given the risk of fire from these devices when they are damaged or they short-circuit, an incident in the cabin would be spotted earlier and this would enable the crew to react quickly before any fire becomes uncontainable,” said Steve Landells, a flight-safety specialist for British pilots. “If these devices are kept in the hold, the risk is that if a fire occurs the results can be catastrophic.”

Kelly told reporters Friday that the Federal Aviation Administration tracks safety issues while he oversees security, but he's been told that batteries in electronics should be safe in checked luggage so long as they are turned off and not rattling around loose.

“All of that will go into ultimately what I decide to do relative to electronic ban,” Kelly said. “We'll make the right decision — I can guarantee. The threats are real.”

The Transportation Security Administration is experimenting at 10 U.S. airports with having passengers take their larger electronics out of carry-on bags, so that screeners can scrutinize the devices more closely. The clutter in carry-on bags sometimes makes it difficult to spot suspicious items. That greater scrutiny could be expanded to the entire country, Kelly told Fox News Sunday.

“We might and likely will,” said Kelly, although he didn't say how soon. “Well, what we're doing now is working out the tactics, techniques and procedures, if you will, in a few airports to find out exactly how to do that with the least amount of inconvenience to the traveler.”

Kelly said there are no specific threats against the U.S. for the Memorial Day holiday. But as the Islamic State is defeated in Syria and Iraq, fighters could spread to other regions, such as the bombing at a Manchester concert, he said.

“The point is, they have a real threat and it's growing, it's metastasized, as fighters come back from the caliphate to be — I believe — to be more of this kind of thing,” Kelly said.



8 dead, including deputy, in Miss. shooting rampage; suspect arrested

The rampage began after authorities got a call about a domestic dispute

by the Associated Press

BROOKHAVEN, Miss. — A man who apparently got into a dispute with his wife and in-laws was arrested in a house-to-house shooting rampage in rural Mississippi that left eight people dead, including a sheriff's deputy.

"I ain't fit to live, not after what I done," a handcuffed Willie Corey Godbolt, 35, told The Clarion-Ledger.

The shootings took place at three homes Saturday night — two in Brookhaven and one in Bogue Chitto — about 70 miles (110 kilometers) south of Jackson, the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation said. The rampage began after authorities got a call about a domestic dispute, investigators said.

The dead included two boys, and Godbolt was being treated for a gunshot wound at a hospital, authorities said. They did not say how he was wounded.

Bureau of Investigation spokesman Warren Strain said charges had yet to be filed and it was too soon to say what the motive was. Authorities gave no details on the relationship between Godbolt and the victims.

However, Godbolt himself shed some light on what happened in a video interview with the newspaper as he sat with his hands cuffed behind his back on the side of a road.

Godbolt said he was talking with his wife and members of her family when somebody called authorities.

"I was having a conversation with her stepdaddy and her mama and her, my wife, about me taking my children home," he said. "Somebody called the officer, people that didn't even live at the house. That's what they do. They intervene."

"They cost him his life," he said, apparently referring to the deputy. "I'm sorry."

The slain deputy was identified as William Durr, 36. The identities of the other victims were not immediately released.

Godbolt said he did not intend for police to capture him alive.

"My intentions was to have God kill me. I ran out of bullets," he said. "Suicide by cop was my intention."



Va. special agent fatally shot by convicted felon

Special Agent Michael T. Walter was a father of three and former Marine

Duty Death: Michael T. Walter - [Richmond, Virginia]

End of Service: 05/27/2017

by Alanna Durkin Richer

RICHMOND, Va. — A Virginia State Police special agent fatally shot by a convicted felon in a Richmond public housing complex was a father of three and former Marine who founded a youth wrestling club and mentored disadvantaged kids, authorities said.

Special Agent Michael T. Walter, 45, died early Saturday after being shot Friday evening by Travis Ball in a neighborhood in Virginia's capital city that has been plagued by gun violence, police said.

Walter, who was white, was an 18-year veteran of Virginia State Police who previously served in the Marine Corps, State Police Superintendent Col. Steven Flaherty said.

The Philadelphia native was promoted to special agent in 2010 and was working in drug enforcement in the state police's Bureau of Criminal Investigation's Richmond field office.

Walter is survived by a wife and two sons— ages 14 and 9— and a 6-year-old daughter, Flaherty said. He was well-known in the suburban Richmond community where he lived and started a nonprofit wrestling organization for kids, police said.

"It was all about making a difference to disadvantaged youth: mentoring them and fostering their talents through physical fitness and sportsmanship," Flaherty told reporters Saturday in Mosby Court near the spot where Walter was shot.

The shooting rattled residents of the public housing community, which has seen six homicides and 19 people injured in shootings this year.

"I just shook my head and said 'not again'," said Darlene Crutchfield, who saw Walter's body lying on the ground near where her 34-year-old son was killed in Mosby Court in 2015.

Walter was shot Friday night while on patrol with a City of Richmond police officer, police said. The officers observed a Chevrolet Cobalt pull up to a curb on Redd Street and then pulled in behind the car.

The Richmond officer went to speak to the driver. Walter approached the passenger side of the car when a single shot rang out, police said. Ball then took off after the shooting, sparking an overnight manhunt by eight local, state, federal law enforcement agencies.

Ball, who's black, was arrested Saturday in Virginia's Northern Neck about an hour after Walter's death.

The 27-year-old is being held without bond on charges that include malicious wounding and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. Additional charges are pending.

Ball has a lengthy criminal record, including convictions for assault and battery and cruelty to animals, court records show. He was convicted of a felony in 2014 for unauthorized use of a vehicle and was charged last year with violating his probation, according to online court records.

The Richmond officer was not injured, police said. The driver of the vehicle remained at the scene and was detained. A handgun was recovered at the scene near the Chevrolet Cobalt.

Keonna Williams lives in Mosby Court a few doors down from where she said Ball lived with his girlfriend. Williams said he seemed like a "decent person," but she didn't know him well.

He was known in the community as "Wiz," she said. She would occasionally see him outside playing with children and said he would sometimes buy snacks for local kids at the store.

"He didn't seem like a ruthless person — we see a lot of ruthless people around here — but he didn't seem like that type," Williams said.

Crutchfield said she was sitting on her porch in Mosby Court Friday night when she heard what she thought was a firecracker.

She came back outside when police arrived and saw Walter's body on the ground, she said. The image brought a flood of painful memories of her son, who was slain just steps away from where Walter was shot, she said.

"Why do they think they have the right to take someone's life?" Crutchfield said. "They start doing that to the police officers, you know they don't care about no one else," she said.

Richmond Police Chief Alfred Durham said police need the community's help to bring change.

"At some point, we have to get it together as a people, as a community, as a city and say we're not going to tolerate this no more," Durham told reporters.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said he and the first lady are heartbroken for Walter's wife and children.

"Special Agent Walter was one of our brave men and women in uniform who risk their lives every single day to protect their fellow Virginians. We will be forever grateful for his service and sacrifice," McAuliffe said in a statement.

Walter is the 63rd member of Virginia State Police to be killed since 1928 and the 11th is the last 11 years, the police superintendent said.

The last Virginia trooper killed in the line of duty was Chad Dermyer, who was shot in March 2016 by a gunman at a Greyhound bus station while police were holding a counterterrorism training exercise. The gunman was killed by two other state troopers after he opened fire.



2 Ga. officers shot; 'armed, dangerous' man sought

The officers, who were not identified, are not believed to be seriously hurt

by Steve Burns

CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. — Two College Park police officers were shot Saturday in a restaurant on Old National Highway, according to multiple sources.

Authorities are seeking Kendarrious Chester in connection with the incident, Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill said. Chester is considered armed and dangerous, according to Hill.

Chester is about 5-foot-10 and weighs about 152 pounds, Hill said. Anyone with information about the case is asked to call 770-477-4479.

The officers were shot in a small shopping plaza at the intersection of Old National Highway and Old National Parkway, police said.

Chester started shooting at the officers inside a restaurant between 2:30 p.m. and 3 p.m., according to Channel 2 Action News.

Police were called because people had been parked inside a car suspiciously since about 10 a.m. Saturday.

The officers, who were not identified, are not believed to be seriously hurt. One was shot in the stomach area, but the bullet was blocked by his bulletproof vest, Channel 2 reported. The other officer took a bullet that ended up hitting his police radio.



San Francisco courts test new approach to homeless crimes

Judges no longer issue warrants to arrest people who fail to show up in court or pay tickets for infractions such as urinating in public, loitering or sleeping in a park

by Sudhin Thanawala

SAN FRANCISCO — Courts around the country tried to ease the burden of fines and fees in the wake of riots in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014 that brought attention to a torrent of traffic and other minor citations that saddled people with debt and even sent them to jail.

But legal observers say no court appears to have made as dramatic an attempt at reform as San Francisco, where judges no longer issue warrants to arrest people who fail to show up in court or pay tickets for infractions such as urinating in public, loitering or sleeping in a park — so-called quality-of-life crimes that advocates say target homeless people. The new policy also applies to traffic violations.

"I've never heard of anything like it," said Bill Raftery, senior analyst with the National Center for State Courts who has studied court efforts to address fees and fines.

San Francisco implemented the change in 2015, but it went largely unnoticed until late last year when its court took the additional step of tearing up nearly 65,000 outstanding warrants issued over five years for quality-of-life infractions.

The court still assesses fines and an additional $300 fee that it tries to collect through an outside firm. But it does not seek the person's arrest for failing to pay.

Many of the people facing the infractions were homeless and couldn't afford the fines, court spokeswoman Ann Donlan said.

"Throwing people in jail for sleeping on the sidewalk is not accomplishing anything," she said.

Travis Perot, 36, said he spent more than two years on the streets in San Francisco starting around 2015 — a period during which he was repeatedly cited by police for sleeping in parks or on the street. Paying the tickets was not an option.

"I never had the money to pay them," he said.

Even in progressive San Francisco, however, the move to stop issuing warrants faced sharp criticism from the mayor and head of the police union. Homelessness — ubiquitous in San Francisco — is a thorny political issue that has grown thornier still amid a technology industry boom that has made affordable housing scarcer.

The mayor's office told local newspapers that judges were shirking their duty and throwing away opportunities to help the homeless.

San Francisco Police Officers Association President Martin Halloran said the court was sending a bad message.

"We get thousands upon thousands of calls a year about quality-of-life concerns by the residents of this city," he said. "With no consequence now, with none whatsoever, there's no reason why anyone has to obey the law."

Citations can push the homeless to seek services through the court or nonprofit groups, and police have no intention of issuing less of them, said Robert Rueca, a San Francisco police spokesman.

"We know that there are other resources and diversion programs that these citations kind of instigate," he said.

The changes in San Francisco are among a slew of court reform efforts around the country following the shooting death of Michael Brown, a black teenager, by white police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson.

A subsequent U.S. Justice Department investigation criticized Ferguson's court for "added fines and fees and arrest warrants that are unnecessary and run counter to public safety." Minor violations led to multiple arrests, jail time and exorbitant costs, and the burden fell disproportionately on blacks, the report found.

Soon after Brown's death, Ferguson abolished some court fees and limited the amount of court revenue the city could use in its general budget.

Following a lawsuit, the neighboring city of Jennings did away with warrants when people failed to pay fines on time for traffic violations and other minor offenses, and required the court to warn people before issuing a warrant for failure to appear in court.

Like San Francisco, both cities also tore up thousands of old warrants, said Thomas Harvey, executive director of the St. Louis civil rights law firm ArchCity Defenders, which has sued cities in St. Louis County over court fees and fines.

Elsewhere in the country, California enacted legislation in 2015 that offered some people with unpaid traffic tickets reduced fines and the cancellation of warrants. Atlanta's municipal court offered a similar amnesty program over several weeks last year.

Where San Francisco goes further is in its decision not to issue warrants at all anymore, even when people miss court dates or simply ignore fines.

California's chief justice recently directed court officials to explore shifting minor traffic violations from criminal court to civil court, where officials say bench warrants wouldn't be in play.

Legal advocates say removing the threat of arrest is a great benefit to homeless and indigent defendants, who may lose out on jobs and housing if prospective employers and landlords see that they are subject to arrest.

"I've seen people who basically don't make it to court, get the bench warrant, and it messes up the rest of their lives," said Ken Theisen, an advocate with Bay Area Legal Aid. "Arresting these people does no good."



Virginia state trooper fatally shot, suspect arrested after overnight manhunt

by CBS News

RICHMOND, Va. -- A Virginia State Police special agent fatally shot by a convicted felon in a Richmond public housing complex was a father of three and former Marine who founded a youth wrestling club and mentored disadvantaged kids, authorities said.

Special Agent Michael T. Walter, 45, died early Saturday after being shot Friday evening by Travis Ball in a neighborhood in Virginia's capital city that has been plagued by gun violence, police said.

Virginia State Police and U.S. Marshals arrested 27-year-old Travis Ball at a home in Northumberland County Saturday morning after an overnight manhunt that ended about an hour after Walter's death, CBS affiliate WTVR reports.

Ball, who is being held without bond, is charged with one count of malicious wounding, use of a firearm in the commission of felony and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Additional charges are pending, officials said.

Walter was an 18-year veteran of Virginia State Police who previously served in the Marine Corps, State Police Superintendent Col. Steven Flaherty said.

The Philadelphia native was promoted to special agent in 2010 and was working in drug enforcement in the state police's Bureau of Criminal Investigation's Richmond field office.

Walter is survived by a wife and two sons- ages 14 and 9- and a 6-year-old daughter, Flaherty said. He was well-known in the suburban Richmond community where he lived and started a nonprofit wrestling organization for kids, police said.

"It was all about making a difference to disadvantaged youth: mentoring them and fostering their talents through physical fitness and sportsmanship," Flaherty told reporters Saturday in Mosby Court near the spot where Walter was shot.

The shooting rattled residents of the public housing community, which has seen six homicides and 19 people injured in shootings this year.

"I just shook my head and said 'not again'," said Darlene Crutchfield, who saw Walter's body lying on the ground near where her 34-year-old son was killed in Mosby Court in 2015.

Walter was shot Friday night while on patrol with a City of Richmond police officer, police said. The officers observed a Chevrolet Cobalt pull up to a curb on Redd Street and then pulled in behind the car.

The Richmond officer went to speak to the driver. Walter approached the passenger side of the car when a single shot rang out, police said. Ball then took off after the shooting, sparking an overnight manhunt by eight local, state, federal law enforcement agencies.

The man arrested, Travis Ball, has a lengthy criminal record, including convictions for assault and battery and cruelty to animals, court records show. He was convicted of a felony in 2014 for unauthorized use of a vehicle and was charged last year with violating his probation, according to online court records.

The Richmond officer was not injured, police said. The driver of the vehicle remained at the scene and was detained. A handgun was recovered at the scene near the Chevrolet Cobalt.

Keonna Williams lives in Mosby Court a few doors down from where she said Ball lived with his girlfriend. Williams said he seemed like a "decent person," but she didn't know him well.

He was known in the community as "Wiz," she said. She would occasionally see him outside playing with children and said he would sometimes buy snacks for local kids at the store.

"He didn't seem like a ruthless person - we see a lot of ruthless people around here - but he didn't seem like that type," Williams said.

Crutchfield said she was sitting on her porch in Mosby Court Friday night when she heard what she thought was a firecracker.

She came back outside when police arrived and saw Walter's body on the ground, she said. The image brought a flood of painful memories of her son, who was slain just steps away from where Walter was shot, she said.

"Why do they think they have the right to take someone's life?" Crutchfield said. "They start doing that to the police officers, you know they don't care about no one else," she said.

Richmond Police Chief Alfred Durham said police need the community's help to bring change.

"At some point, we have to get it together as a people, as a community, as a city and say we're not going to tolerate this no more," Durham told reporters.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said he and the first lady are heartbroken for Walter's wife and children.

"Special Agent Walter was one of our brave men and women in uniform who risk their lives every single day to protect their fellow Virginians. We will be forever grateful for his service and sacrifice," McAuliffe said in a statement.

Walter is the 63rd member of Virginia State Police to be killed since 1928 and the 11th is the last 11 years, the police superintendent said.

The last Virginia trooper killed in the line of duty was Chad Dermyer, who was shot in March 2016 by a gunman at a Greyhound bus station while police were holding a counterterrorism training exercise. The gunman was killed by two other state troopers after he opened fire.



Judge Orders D.C. Sniper Lee Boyd Malvo Resentenced

by Pete Williams and Tracy Connor

A federal judge Friday ordered new sentencings for Lee Boyd Malvo, one of the two men convicted after a string of sniper shootings that terrorized the Washington, D.C. area in the fall of 2002.

Malvo was 17 at the time of the shootings, and is serving sentences of life without parole.

Ten people were killed and three were wounded in the series of sniper shootings. The victims were chosen at random — in parking lots, at gas stations, while mowing the lawn, and on the way to school.

A Virginia jury convicted the older man, John Allen Muhammad, a Gulf war veteran with mental problems, and he was sentenced to death and was executed in 2009. Prosecutors said a high-powered rifle found in his car was matched to bullets recovered from murder victims.

Malvo received sentences of life without parole after two separate trials. But in 2012 the U.S. Supreme Court struck down life sentences without parole for juveniles. And in 2016, it said that holding applied retroactively to cases on appeal.

Federal District Court Judge Raymond Jackson ruled Friday that because of those two Supreme Court decisions, Malvo must be resentenced.

The brother of one of the victims of the sniper shootings said he was surprised by the decision, but will accept whatever sentence is imposed.

"We will trust the people who are making these decisions know what they are doing and are not putting a monster on the street," Bob Meyers, brother of Dean Meyers, told NBC News in a phone interview.

A man of deep faith, Meyers said he said he long ago forgave Malvo and Muhammad. "Not because we wanted them not to have consequences but because we wanted to be free of being stuck on that point for the rest of our lives. We wanted to go on with our lives," he said.



New 'Blue Lives Matter' laws raise concerns among activists

Proponents say an escalation of violence against police justifies the heightened protections

by Jim Salter and David A. Lieb

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Following a spike in deadly attacks on police, more than a dozen states have responded this year with "Blue Lives Matter" laws that come down even harder on crimes against law enforcement officers, raising concern among some civil rights activists of a potential setback in police-community relations.

The new measures build upon existing statutes allowing harsher sentences for people who kill or assault police. They impose even tougher penalties, extend them to more offenses, including certain nonviolent ones such as trespassing in Missouri, and broaden the list of victims covered to include off-duty officers, police relatives and some civilians at law enforcement agencies.

Proponents say an escalation of violence against police justifies the heightened protections.

"What we're getting into as a society is that people are targeting police officers not by something that they may have done to them, but just because they're wearing that uniform," said Republican state Rep. Shawn Rhoads of Missouri, a former detective.

People who have been protesting aggressive police tactics are expressing alarm.

"This is another form of heightened repression of activists," said Zaki Baruti, an activist and community organizer from St. Louis County. "It sends a message to protesters that we better not look at police cross-eyed."

Police deaths on the job have generally declined over the past four decades, from a recent high of 280 in 1974 to a low of 116 in 2013, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. But they rose last year to 143, including 21 killed in ambushes — the highest number of such attacks in more than two decades.

Nearly all states already have laws enhancing the punishments for certain violent crimes against law officers.

One year ago, Louisiana became the first state to enact a law adding offenses against police, firefighters and emergency medical responders to its list of hate crimes.

More states began expanding their penalties after last summer, when five officers were killed in a July 7 sniper attack at a protest against police brutality in Dallas, and three more officers were slain in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 10 days later.

Penalty enhancements have passed this year in Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah and West Virginia, most of which are led by Republicans. Similar bills are under consideration in other states.

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt cited the case of Bradley Verstraete as one example of the need for such measures. Verstraete was accused of raising an ax handle against police officers responding to a disturbance call in 2015. Police shot and wounded him.

Verstraete was sentenced in February to 8½ years in prison for attempted murder. His sentence could have been doubled under a law signed this month.

Troy Huser, president of the Kansas Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, called the measure a "knee-jerk response" to the attacks in Dallas and Baton Rouge.

"If you double that sentence, in my opinion, it becomes draconian," Huser said.

Some civil rights activists contend such laws will make it more difficult to prosecute officers and easier to charge protesters who confront police. They say such measures could undermine the Black Lives Matter movement that grew out of the 2014 killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and other shootings by police around the country.

These laws "deepen divisions between law enforcement and communities with no tangible benefit to law enforcement," said Sonia Gill Hernandez at the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund.

When Missouri passed its bill this month, the legal organization lambasted it as "an overt display of political posturing" over the Brown case. It dismissed talk of a "war on police" as unsubstantiated.

The Missouri legislation would add involuntary manslaughter, stalking, property damage and trespassing to the list of crimes bearing enhanced penalties for targeting police. It also would apply the tougher punishments to crimes involving officers' spouses, children, parents, siblings, grandparents and in-laws.

It is awaiting the signature of Republican Gov. Eric Greitens, who vowed to put in place "the toughest penalties possible for anyone who attacks a law enforcement officer."

"Missouri will show no mercy to cowards who assault cops," he said.

Georgia's Back the Badge Act increases mandatory minimum prison terms for assault or battery against public safety officers. Some of Arkansas' enhanced penalties for targeting current and retired law officers, first responders and their families were passed via an emergency declaration, making them effective immediately upon Gov. Asa Hutchinson's signature.

Arizona's Blue Lives Matter Law expands the crime of aggravated assault against on-duty officers to apply to off-duty officers not engaged in police activities.

Some lawmakers also are seeking enhanced federal laws. U.S. Sen. John Cornyn and Rep. Ted Poe — both Texas Republicans — recently reintroduced the Back the Blue Act that would increase the punishments for crimes against law enforcement officers. It would make killing a judge or police officer punishable by death or a minimum of 30 years in prison.

Some question whether such steps are a deterrent. Jens Ohlin, a criminal law expert at Cornell University Law School in New York, said the new laws "reek of political pressure to do something symbolic as a way of expressing solidarity with police officers."

"The problems that need to be solved are really problems on the ground. They're not gaps in the statute," Ohlin said. "You need to give police officers the tools necessary to protect themselves on the street, and you have to defuse dangerous situations on the ground before they escalate into violence against police officers."


Study: States with lenient gun laws see more fatal officer-involved shootings

The study found that fatal officer-involved shootings are less common in states with stricter gun laws

by Melissa Healy

Fatal shootings of civilians by police officers are less common in states with stricter gun laws than they are in states that take a more relaxed approach to regulating the sale, storage and use of firearms, new research says.

A study published this month in the American Journal of Public Health has found that fatal police shootings were about half as common in states whose gun laws place them in the top 25 percent of stringency than they were in states where such restrictions ranked in the bottom 25 percent.

The new findings draw from an analysis of 1,835 firearms-related deaths involving a police officer in the United States — all such fatalities reported in the 22 months following Jan. 1, 2015. It found that, of 42 laws enacted by states, the ones most strongly linked to lower fatal police shootings were those that aimed to strengthen background checks, to promote safe firearm storage and to reduce gun trafficking.

“We suspect that because these states have more robust gun laws, they're better able to keep guns out of the hands of the wrong people,” said the study's lead author, University of Indianapolis psychology professor Aaron Kivisto. The likely result, he suggested, is that police in such states “are just less likely to encounter people in circumstances where they shouldn't have a gun.”

The association held up even after researchers accounted for state differences in the density and demographics of its citizens.

The study results add to a broad pattern of findings about states' rates of gun ownership, which largely rise and fall along with gun-related suicides, accidental firearm injuries and domestic violence deaths.

New Mexico, Wyoming, Alaska, Oklahoma and Arizona led the country in rates of fatal police shootings, which were calculated as the number of such deaths per 1 million state residents. All but Oklahoma had among the most relaxed gun laws on their books.

Rhode Island, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Illinois were among the states with the lowest rates of officer-involved fatal shootings. All had gun laws that placed them among the nation's most restrictive states.

But not all states fit the pattern. California was especially unusual, Kivisto said: Though the state claimed the No. 1 position for stringency of gun laws, its rate of fatal police shootings during the study period was much higher than the national average. In fact, the rate of officer-involved gun deaths in California fell between those of South Dakota and Alabama, two states with some of the scantest restrictions on the sale, ownership and use of guns.

Kivisto suggested that for some states, including California, statutory efforts to stanch the supply of guns on the streets were probably being undermined by gun trafficking from neighboring states. Arizona and Nevada have gun laws that are among the nation's least restrictive (as well as rates of fatal police shootings that are well above the norm).

“A state can have the strongest gun laws possible, but it can't stop guns from flowing across state boundaries,” Kivisto said. “One of strongest arguments for federal gun laws would be that some uniformity may be needed to stop guns flowing in from other states.”

Other states bucked the national pattern by maintaining both few gun restrictions and low rates of officer-involved fatal shootings. This group included Maine, North Dakota, New Hampshire and Indiana.

Kivisto and his co-authors did not rely on Justice Department statistics of police-related shootings, since states are not required to report those.

Instead, the researchers relied on a running tally of officer-involved fatalities maintained by the British newspaper the Guardian, a source that is considered comprehensive.

In addition to verifying and chronicling the time, location and circumstances of the shootings, the Guardian's database, called “The Counted,” also documents the gender, race and ethnicity of those killed, whether he (96 percent of those killed during the study period were male) was armed, and by what mechanism the person was killed (for instance, by Taser, by firearm or struck by a car).

Of 2,021 fatalities during the study period, 1,835 were killed with an officer's gun. And in 53 percent of those cases, the person killed was also armed with a gun. Individuals from racial or ethnic minorities made up just more than one-third of those slain.



Nev. mandates body cameras on all police officers

The law makes audio-visual recording devices a standard feature of uniforms for any law enforcement officer who routinely interacts with the public

by Alison Noon

CARSON CITY, Nev. — All police officers in Nevada must wear body cameras beginning next year under a bill Gov. Brian Sandoval signed Thursday, becoming the second state to respond to calls for transparency of violent police encounters with a camera mandate for beat officers statewide.

The law makes audio-visual recording devices a standard feature of uniforms for any law enforcement officer who routinely interacts with the public — from contracted town marshals to the 2,600 officers at Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, which has been phasing in body cameras since 2014.

The proposal, led by six black lawmakers, comes at a time of national outrage and reckoning over police killings of black men, women and children.

"Bodycams will protect our law enforcement officials and strengthen the relationship with those in the communities in which they serve," Sandoval said in a statement.

Law enforcement representatives support the policy, which expands a 2015 law directing Nevada Highway Patrol officers to wear body cameras. It does not apply to other transportation officers, corrections officers or school security.

South Carolina required all police departments with adequate funding to use body cameras in 2015. Their police-cam footage is not accessible to the public. Incidents can only be viewed by family or concerned citizens if the law enforcement agency, attorney general or prosecutors choose to release it.

Nevada footage from police body cameras is already public information, but the new law limits its guaranteed availability to only about two weeks. Agencies will be allowed to delete videos 15 days after their recording.

The bill will take effect on July 1, 2018, although it's unclear whether it is feasible for every department to have the equipment by then. In South Carolina, it could be years more before the 2015 requirement is fulfilled.

Police departments are expected to largely pay for the cameras from 911 funds and federal grants.



Gunmen kill at least 28 Coptic Christians in central Egypt

by Heba Farouk Mahfouz

MINYA, Egypt — Militants in military-style uniforms opened fire on a bus carrying Coptic Christians in central Egypt on Friday, killing at least 28 people in the latest bloodshed targeting the country's Christian minority, officials said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility. But the Islamic State has claimed links to previous attacks against Egypt's Christians, who make up about 10 percent of the population.

The attack also took place on the eve of Islam's holy month of Ramadan, a time when some militant factions have stepped up attacks in the past.

The ambush — in the Minya region about 150 miles south of Cairo — underscored the increasing pressures on Egyptian forces as Islamist militants gain greater footholds around the country, undercutting Egypt's vital tourism industry and forcing greater security for Coptic Christians and others targeted by militants.

The Minya governor, Maj. Gen. Essam el-Bedewey, said at least 28 people were killed and at least 25 were wounded when the attackers fired on the bus heading for the St. Samuel Monastery, one of several pilgrimage sites in an area that is home to a large portion of Egypt's Christian population.

The Reuters news agency and other reports said children were among the dead.

A member of the region's security department, Maj. Mohamed Abdel-Moneim, told reporters that about 10 men wearing military-style gear carried out the attack.

Egyptian Grand Mufti Shawki Allam, the country's top Islamic authority, condemned what he called “the disgusting terrorist operation that was carried out by extremists against our Christian brethren.” He quoted the prophet Muhammad as having declared: “Whoever harms a person of the covenant [a non-Muslim of a Muslim territory], I am his adversary, and I will be his adversary on the Day of Judgment.”

Last month, twin bomb blasts rocked churches in the Mediterranean port of Alexandria and the northern city of Tanta, leaving 44 dead and prompting Egypt's president, Abdel Fatah al-Sissi, to declare a state of emergency.

After the latest attack, Sissi called an emergency meeting of security officials, state-run media reported.

In late April, Pope Francis visited Egypt as part of Vatican outreach to Egypt's embattled Christians, whose community dates back to the early centuries of the faith. But the papal trip also brought denunciations from Islamist militants and warnings of further reprisals.

In December, a bomb hit the main cathedral in Cairo, killing 25 people as part of what is being described as a new strategy by the Islamic State to target Christians.

Christians have been generally supportive of Sissi's military-backed government, but have become increasingly critical of the inability of the country's security forces to protect their places of worship.

“The state is doing its best, but we need more efforts,” Minya's Coptic Bishop Makarios told The Washington Post. “They [security forces] are always present and on guard after the attack takes place, and keep their security measures tightened for a short while after. .?.?. What we need is real effort exerted to ensure this is not repeated, not just solidarity and compassion.”


ICE Air: How US deportation flights work

by Catherine E. Shoichet and Curt Merrill

It's the first flight for many people who file onto these planes. But it's not a happy occasion.

Guards patrol the aisles. The passengers are handcuffed. And all of them have one-way tickets.

Planes chartered by ICE Air Operations, the division of Immigration and Customs Enforcement that coordinates the transportation and deportation of detained immigrants, fly more than 100,000 people back to their home countries every year.

And with President Trump vowing to increase deportations, it's possible that number will climb.

Who flies on ICE Air? Where do deportation flights go? And how much do they cost?

Here's a snapshot:

Planes chartered by ICE Air have deported hundreds of thousands of people.

Last year, more than 110,000 people were removed from the United States on flights chartered by ICE Air.

ICE Air Operations also deported more then 5,800 people on commercial flights in fiscal year 2016.

The aircraft also fly domestically, transporting immigration detainees.

Sometimes, ICE Air flies immigrants to detention centers across the United States. Other times, it transports them to cities near the border, where they might be bused across and deported.

Domestic flight destinations include a number of major US cities, including Seattle, San Francisco, Las Vegas, New Orleans, Denver, Salt Lake City, Miami and Chicago. Flights also regularly land at airports in small cities that are ICE Air hubs or near immigration detention centers.

While its elaborate route map looks like a page from a commercial carrier's in-flight magazine, there's at least one way ICE Air's flights are different from many domestic flights.

Passengers do get a free meal onboard.

Most international ICE Air flights travel to Central America.

ICE deported people to 185 countries last year. A snapshot of ICE Air's top deportation destinations paints a picture of recent immigration trends. The majority of immigrants who were repatriated on charter flights last year headed to Central America.

Nearly a third of ICE's 240,255 deportees last year were from three countries in that region -- Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador -- where experts say growing violence and economic problems have helped fuel a wave of immigration.

ICE Air is only one of the ways the United States deports people.

Take Mexico, for example, the country where the US deported the largest number of people last year.

Of the people ICE deported to Mexico in 2016, just over 10% left on flights coordinated by ICE Air. The other removals occurred via bus or on foot, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

ICE Air charters a range of different planes.

The agency's five charter contracts provide up to 10 aircraft for routine flights, each capable of carrying a maximum of 135 detainees, according to ICE.

For missions deemed high-risk because they involve the transportation of serious criminals, including violent offenders, ICE Air sometimes uses small jets.

It's not cheap.

Transporting deportees to their home countries cost an average of $1,978 per person last year, according to ICE.

A chartered flight costs about $7,785 per flight hour, ICE says. That covers the cost of not only the aircraft and fuel, but also a pilot, flight crew, security personnel and a nurse onboard

A 2015 report from the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Inspector General criticized the agency for flying detainees on flights that weren't full, concluding that ICE Air could have saved more than $41 million by optimizing flight capacity.

In its response to the assessment, ICE said looking at the number of empty seats on planes wasn't the correct way to measure the efficiency of ICE Air.

"Delaying the removal of individuals in order to fill empty seats incurs costs that may exceed the cost of empty seats," ICE said at the time, noting that it cost about $122 per day to house a detainee in immigrant detention.

"It makes no fiscal sense to delay a large group of detainees to fill a small number of vacant seats."

More people are flying on ICE Air this year.

About 47% more people were deported on ICE Air flights in February compared to the same month last year. But we're not seeing a Trump bump -- yet.

In fact, more people were deported on ICE Air in the last full month of Obama's presidency than in Trump's first full month in power. And so far, Trump appears to be deporting fewer people than his predecessor.

Still, it's possible we'll see the numbers grow in the future given the Trump administration's vow to deport more people.

In its latest budget proposal, the White House asked for an additional $1.5 billion to expand efforts to detain, transport and deport undocumented immigrants.


North Carolina

$500 Million Opium Poppy Field Discovered in North Carolina

by Corky Siemaszko

They don't just grow cotton down south.

A North Carolina sheriff's deputy investigating a complaint stumbled across an opium poppy field worth an estimated $500 million, officials said.

The plants, which are used to make opium, morphine and heroin, were found on an acre of land near the town of Claremont, some 40 miles north of Charlotte.

"All total investigators removed and seized over 2,000 pounds of opium poppy plants found growing on the property along with multiple firearms and ammunition," the Catawba County Sheriff's Office said in a statement to NBC News.

"One of our narcotics investigators came to the house looking for something else," Catawba County Sheriff Coy Reid told the Hickory Daily Record. "When he knocked on the door, the guys said, 'I guess you're here about the opium.'"

And there behind the house, was row after row of poppy plants.

Cody Xiong, 37, was arrested at the farm Tuesday and charged with two felonies — manufacturing a Schedule II drug and trafficking in opium, police said. He was later released after posting $45,000 bail.


How to tackle implicit bias with immersive community policing

Law enforcement administrators should require officer immersion into minority and marginalized groups

by Eric J. Beatty

College campuses across the country are embarking on monumental journeys to ensure the rights of students are protected and supported. As college campuses investigate topics involving inclusivity, race and gender, it is imperative for law enforcement to ensure officers receive appropriate training and realize that neither implicit nor explicit biases should interfere with the oath each officer is sworn to uphold.

Departments must quickly manage officers with explicit bias. Officers with explicit bias have no place in law enforcement. Departments need to identify and separate these officers.

Implicit biases – which refer to attitudes or stereotypes that affect our actions and decisions in an unconscious manner – are more challenging to address within a department. Each officer, across all ranks, comes with a unique background that influences their implicit biases – even those with established stances that support inclusiveness, equality and impartiality. In order to limit the presentation of this type of bias, when responding to situations involving the LGBTQ or other marginalized communities, officers should be given the opportunity to understand, recognize and respect their implicit biases.

Bias inside and outside the rank and file

A recent study by the Urban Institute found that 71 percent of surveyed LGBTQ youth (primarily high school age) had interacted with law enforcement. From the respondent's point of view, many of those interactions involved questionable tactics by police. While this extensive study examined a wide variety of LGBTQ issues, the major factor for campus law enforcement is learning to foster successful interactions with members of the LGBTQ community that limit, or relieve, the possibility of involving implicit bias.

For law enforcement leaders, an aggravating aspect is that bias against the LGBTQ community permeates throughout the ranks of police departments internally too. A 2013 study by the Williams Institute reported that over 90 percent of officers associated with TCOPS, an organization for transgender law enforcement officers, had negative interactions within their respective departments. The Williams Institute research also found that a significant number of officers who identify as non-LGBTQ admit to having discriminatory opinions toward the LGBTQ community.

This is a significant problem for law enforcement. Not only does the LGBTQ community feel they are not fairly policed, but studies show that law enforcement has biases toward the LGBTQ community, including their brothers and sisters in blue.

How to reduce the effects of bias

Historically, departments across the country have attempted to reduce bias by providing cultural diversity and unbiased-policing training. The purpose of this approach is to educate officers regarding different minority and marginalized groups. In most situations, this training provides only a classroom version of the biases these groups experience. Additionally, the training discussions end once the training days are complete.

While this type of training may increase awareness, it does little to influence an officer's implicit bias. In order to reduce implicit biases, officers need to better understand and appreciate the groups discussed in their annual training. Officers need weekly, if not daily, exposure to these groups in order to provide the greatest opportunity for success.

Unfortunately, removing all bias from policing is nearly impossible. So, how does an agency increase awareness of implicit biases and decrease bias exhibited in the actions of police officers?

Law enforcement administrators should require officer immersion into minority and marginalized groups. Immersion occurs when officers participate in activities that place them within groups that they have implicit bias against. As officers interact with these groups, they gain a better understanding of the people within them and begin to see each individual's characteristics, instead of perceived group stereotypes.

Because dynamics exist that may reduce the trust between these groups and police officers, implementation of immersion community policing tactics needs to be a well-planned, department-wide process. First, a department needs to identify the implicit biases possessed by each officer. Then, the department should pinpoint groups within the community where officers can develop relationships. As officers immerse themselves within these groups, trust between the group, the officer and subsequently the department can hopefully begin to improve.

For such an approach to be successful, it is critical for departments to have buy-in from officers at all levels. Initially, some officers will be resistant, especially because this interaction may be outside their comfort zone. Instead of speaking to the same people in their community, officers will be encouraged to reach out to other groups – groups they have an inherit bias to – to begin building a level of understanding.

Officers must understand that their respective departments are not trying to change how they feel or interact with a group outside of work. Immersion community policing simply increases each officer's appreciation of the diversity within their community and reduces the likelihood of implicit bias being brought forward during professional encounters on the job.

Most, if not all, departments already require officers to act according to the department's mission and code of conduct. While there are questions about how an officer's off-duty conduct can be regulated, there are few questions about how an officer's conduct on-duty can be controlled. There should be no question that a department can require officers to police in an immersion community policing manner that compliments the department's current policing philosophy.

The benefits of immersion community policing will result in improvement for not only police departments, but also the communities they serve. Officers will gain a better understanding of groups and those groups will have the opportunity to interact with police officers in a positive and non-enforcement environment.

Immersion community policing builds upon traditional community policing. As police and the groups develop better appreciation for one another, there could be exponentially larger benefits observed. For example, an increase in crime tips, reduced citizen complaints, improved trust, and the creation of safer communities. Additionally, officers immersed with specific groups will likely promote their learned appreciation to others, which further increases awareness and understanding within the department.

Personal endeavor

Over the last year, I have been using the immersion community policing philosophy presented in this article. Even though I am a campus law enforcement officer on a liberal arts campus with an active LGBTQ community, I had very little knowledge of the LGBTQ community. My ignorance prevented me from engaging with and increasing my appreciation for this group. So, I made a conscious effort to engage with the LGBTQ community by attending brown-bag lunches and other events.

My experience provided both failures and successes. I quickly learned that the LGBTQ community did not necessarily trust me at face value. I was not part of their group and felt like most people enjoy being around others with similar perspectives and life experiences.

Like many police officers, I quickly realized I have very little knowledge of the transgender population. I thought it would be helpful to create an awareness guide or bulletin for law enforcement specifically centered on topics campus police officers should be aware of when interacting with a transgender person. I spent two unsuccessful months trying to find someone to speak with me regarding this topic. It was not until I met with a campus employee devoted to enhancing an inclusive community that I realized I had not established rapport with the community members I hoped to serve. The LGBTQ community members did not know me and my job as a police officer did not carry any credibility. I do not think it was a lack of trust, but more a fear of the unknown that prevented the initial interactions from both sides.

Fortunately, over time, I developed relationships with four staff members who I can have frank conversations with about how law enforcement interacts with the LGBTQ community. Contrary to what I thought I would find, these four individuals had not experienced negative interactions with law enforcement. Just like my ignorance about the LGBTQ community, I realized there was not a fear of police officers specifically. It was more a fear of the perception of law enforcement.

By establishing these relationships, I feel these individuals and I have successfully been able to develop our appreciation for one another. To my surprise, I was even referred to as “a good one [police officer]” during a public presentation. I now have friends in the LGBTQ community who I can have lunch with or call to discuss sensitive questions. The initial relationships have increased my credibility throughout much of the LGBTQ community.

Moving forward

Police departments across the country have successfully implemented community policing projects. In many situations, officers engage individuals and organizations familiar to them in their community policing efforts. Redirecting those efforts to ensure officers are engaging with unfamiliar groups that are the focus of their implicit bias will provide immersion community policing the best opportunity for success.

Officers should be asked to interact with groups they have little knowledge about to increase their awareness and enhance their ability to address issues professionally and with respect towards each individual's characteristics. Immersion will reduce barriers, increase appreciation for one another, and most importantly decrease incidents of bias policing.


How Syrians are Using Cyber Community Policing to Fight Terrorism

Editor's Note: This article is based on the author's capstone thesis project required to complete her graduate degree in Intelligence Studies.

by Ruth Espitia

At least one-third of the world's population uses the Internet, and billions more are expected to join them over the next 10 years. As the growth of cyberspace continues, so does our ability to utilize it to fight criminal and terrorist threats.

Some of the biggest threats begin online including terrorist activity, human trafficking, and illicit drug sales. It is not feasible to think law enforcement agencies alone can monitor all the illegal and dangerous things that happen online. Cyber community policing networks have begun cropping up, which allow Internet users to identify and share suspicious activity. These networks often rely on social media platforms to share information with other users.

Cyber community policing is similar to traditional community policing in that police build relationships with people, but do so in social communities rather than in-person. One of the greatest challenges is that police need to build these relationships in online communities where people are least likely to trust the police because that's where criminals are more apt to operate, hidden from view. On the other hand, it can actually be easier for law enforcement to obtain information from online users through social media.

Cyber community policing tactics have been used to prevent terrorist and cyber threats in parts of the world that are engaged in devastating conflicts.

Cyber Community Strategies in Syria

Syria has become known for the high number of terrorist attacks by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Its border cities have taken the brunt of these attacks and this is where cyber community policing tactics have cropped up.

In response to the constant fighting and devastation throughout Syria, a grassroots movement formed to police communities through social media. The three major cyber community policing groups in Syria are: the Activist Community, the Free Syrian Army (FSA) Community, and the Regime Favourable Community (Syria Cyber Watch 2012, 3).

The concept behind these groups is to use social media for reporting and communicating with others in the border cities who are displaced by terrorist groups. Members send messages out about current events or terrorist threats that are happening in local areas. One report from Syria provided an insightful example of how community policing groups were helping prevent terrorist threats. An activist reported that he was able to send a warning message through Skype—a voice-enabled social media platform—to caution people to leave an area before it was raided (Al-Saqaf, 2016). To the citizens in Syria, the ability to police communities through social media is considered life-saving.

Cyber Censorship in Syria

The Internet has become a virtual combat zone. One of the biggest challenges to creating cyber policing networks is the government's censorship of the Internet. During the Arab Spring, the Syrian government started blocking most of the social networking websites. Fortunately, the tool Alkasir, when translated from Arabic, means to circumvent, gave citizens the ability to break through many of the censored and blocked websites (Al-Saqaf, 2016). The constant censorship and surveillance of the Internet in Syria is a serious risk for online users and threatens the ability for individuals to engage in cyber policing activities.

While the concept of cyber community policing is still new, it has the potential to engage people worldwide in a joint effort to prevent threats. Citizens in Syria began using cyber community policing tactics via social media as a way to address the conflict happening around them. Doing so has given them some power to influence change in their environment. Their efforts demonstrate that global cyber community policing programs have the ability to connect communities and create social media networks that can effectively and proactively address, and hopefully prevent, threats to people.

About the Author: Ruth Espitia is a United States Army veteran. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Intelligence Studies with a concentration in Criminal Intelligence from American Military University Ruth has worked for the past decade in both city and government law enforcement agencies as a criminal investigator. During her career, she was also certified as an instructor in community policing as a Drug Abuse Resistance Educator from the Honolulu Police Department.



Report: San Bernardino attack suspects shot up to 27 times

The report released by the San Bernardino County DA's office includes the accounts of nearly two dozen officers and details how officers identified the suspects

by Michael Balsamo

LOS ANGELES — Authorities released a report Thursday detailing the manhunt and shootout with a husband and wife who killed 14 people and wounded 22 others in the San Bernardino attack in December 2015.

The report released by the San Bernardino County district attorney's office includes the accounts of nearly two dozen law enforcement officers and details how officers identified Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, who carried out the attack with high-powered rifles at a health department training event and holiday party in December 2015, and the gunfight that ensued after officers tried to stop the fleeing couple.

Key things to know from the report:



As officers began arriving at the Inland Regional Center, where the shooting occurred, several victims told the officers that Farook, their co-worker at the county health department, had been at the party but left about a half-hour before the shooting.

One of the assailants, they said, had the same stature and body shape but his face was covered by a mask.

Investigators then learned Farook had rented a black SUV, which matched the description of the assailant's car and tracked his cellphone to his home in Redlands. Officers began pursuing the car, but as they tried to pull it over, the couple shot at officers through the back window, the report said.



Officers pulled behind the SUV as it came to a stop on a residential street and the gunbattle persisted. Farook got out of the vehicle and fired from a Smith & Wesson M&P MP-15 semi-automatic rifle slung around his body, according to the report.

A San Bernardino police sergeant recalled grabbing a rifle from his son — a fellow officer — and pointing it straight at Farook and shot at him five or six times.

"One of the rounds passed through Farook causing a mist of blood on impact," the report said. "Farook fell to the ground but was still moving."

Farook clutched his rifle as he lay on the ground, the sergeant said. The sergeant fired twice more at him.

An autopsy found Farook was shot 27 times.



After her husband was killed, Malik kept firing at officers from inside the SUV, officers said. They could see a silhouette through the shattered back window and saw Malik ducking down behind a seat for cover as she fired.

Officers said it seemed she had been "blindly firing towards the officers rather than taking aim."

Malik, who was 5-foot-3 (1.6-meter) and weighed 121 pounds (55 kilograms), had an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle slung around her body as she popped up and down, each time firing in spurts. She took cover behind a seat in the vehicle as the officers shot back at her, the report said.

Malik, dressed in all black, was wearing a load-bearing vest with several spare rifle and pistol magazines, along with an airsoft neck protector and black safety glasses. She also had nine loaded 30-round rifle magazines, a loaded 10-round rifle magazine and seven eight-round pistol magazines, authorities said.

An autopsy found Malik had been shot at least 15 times.



Inside the SUV, police also found a black backpack with 14 rifle and pistol magazines, a military-style ammunition container with 870 rifle cartridges that were loaded into 10-round clips, along with three rifle sighting systems and several bags filled with hundreds of ammunition cartridges.



The suspects fired about 80 rounds from rifles and one bullet from a handgun, the report said. Officers shot 440 rounds from rifles, shotguns and handguns. Several nearby homes and cars were struck by bullets, but no civilians were hit during the shootout.



Armed man who wanted to kill cops arrested at Phoenix Comicon

The 30-year-old man was found to be in possession of three handguns, a shotgun, a knife, ammunition, and a variety of other handheld weapons along with wearing body armor

by the Associated Press

PHOENIX — A man armed with guns and ammunition was arrested Thursday at the Phoenix Comicon convention after posting online threats against city police officers, authorities said.

“The threats indicated that he was armed and intended to kill police officers,” said Sgt. Mercedes Fortune, a police spokeswoman.

She said the 30-year-old man was found to be in possession of three handguns, a shotgun, a knife, ammunition, and a variety of other handheld weapons along with wearing body armor.

He was taken into custody without incident after a brief struggle with police, according to Fortune.

The man's name wasn't immediately released, but authorities said he lives in the Phoenix metro area.

“He was immediately removed from the venue and taken to police headquarters for questioning,” Fortune said. “At this time, there is no evidence to cause investigators to believe this is anything more than an isolated incident and not part of a grander scheme.”

Fortune said officers working at the Phoenix Convention Center were alerted about noon to a suspicious man making threats against police on social media and the postings included photos of officers working the event.

The entertainment and comic convention began Thursday at the Phoenix Convention Center in the downtown area.

Prop weapons carried into the four-day event are supposed to be inspected by security staff, but police say the man's weapons weren't checked.

Police said extra security is being added with additional screening and fewer accessible entrances to the building.

“As an added precaution, weapons of any kinds — including simulated, replica or toy weapons — will not be permitted into the venue,” Fortune added.



Proposed program would help Chicago first responders buy city homes

The "public safety officer homebuyer assistance" program aims to improve safety in crime-plagued neighborhoods

by PoliceOne Staff

CHICAGO — The mayor has proposed a program that would help up to 100 firefighters, paramedics and police officers purchase homes in specific neighborhoods.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel's $3 million “public safety officer homebuyer assistance” program would be funded with the city's Affordable Housing Fund to help first responders who buy homes in six police districts, reported the Chicago Sun-Times.

The chosen neighborhoods need both an economic boost, as well as increased public safety visibility.

“My goal on the housing initiative is to encourage those police, EMT and firefighters to live in our challenging neighborhoods,” Emanuel said. “One of the important things is to help stabilize the neighborhood with good, middle-class jobs.”

Emmanuel's proposal comes as a county commissioner is considering a similar plan that give police officers homes, if they agree to live in the city for five years.



Cops put parking lot crack cocaine in 'lost and found'

Police say they've put about $1,600 worth of crack cocaine in their "lost and found box" in hopes of reuniting the drug with its rightful owner

by the Associated Press

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. — Police in northeastern Pennsylvania say they've put about $1,600 worth of crack cocaine in their "lost and found box" in hopes of reuniting the drug with its rightful owner.

The Wilkes-Barre Citizens' Voice reports the drug was found in the parking lot of a shopping center outside Wilkes-Barre.

Wilkes-Barre Township police posted about the find on the department's Facebook page. In a post headlined "FOUND ITEM," police quipped the drug had been placed in the department's "lost and found box" and invited the owner to come retrieve it.

The post requested a picture of the crack's owner holding the drug, along with ID and a "written statement containing your claim to the crack."


United Kingdom

Manchester bombing probe expands to Germany amid raids, arrests in Britain

by Griff Witte, Karla Adam and Souad Mekhennet

MANCHESTER, England — The investigation into a suicide blast that killed at least 22 people at a Manchester pop concert widened Thursday, with security services carrying out raids and rounding up suspects amid fears that the bombmaker who devised the bolt-spewing source of the carnage remains at large.

Police used controlled explosives to carry out a raid in the early hours of Thursday while also arresting two male suspects in Manchester. The arrests brought to eight the number of people in British custody who are suspected of involvement in the attack.

While the nation observed a one-minute silence at the stroke of 11 a.m. to honor those who died in the attack, a bomb disposal unit was called to the southwest of Manchester to investigate a suspicious package. The police later said that the area had been “deemed safe.”

Meanwhile, a German security official told The Washington Post that the bomber, 22-year-old Salman Abedi, had been in Düsseldorf just four days before the bombing. The development signaled an expansion of an investigation that already has stretched to North Africa and continental Europe.

Authorities were investigating whether Abedi had possible contacts with extremists in Germany, including during a 2015 visit to Frankfurt, the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. Abedi was en route back to Britain from Istanbul when he stopped off in Düsseldorf.

The German newspaper Der Tagesspiegel first reported the bomber's presence in Germany. The paper, which cited unidentified security sources, said Abedi, flew from Düsseldorf to Manchester last Thursday.

The disclosure was just the latest among a series of leaks in the foreign media that have outraged British investigators. British authorities have been particularly incensed by reports originating with U.S. officials. On Thursday, the BBC reported that British officials have decided to stop sharing information about the Manchester investigation with their American counterparts.

In a televised address on Thursday, British Prime Minister Theresa May said the threat level would remain “critical,” the highest state of alert. She also said she would “make clear” to President Trump when they meet later in Brussels that “intelligence that is shared between our law enforcement agencies must remain secure.”

Greater Manchester Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said in a statement that leaks published by the New York Times, including pictures of the attack scene, have “caused much distress for families that are already suffering terribly with their loss.”

British police chiefs also released a statement criticizing the disclosures, and Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham lodged a complaint with the acting U.S. ambassador in London, calling the leaks “completely unacceptable.”

The controversy came amid an investigation into the broader network around Abedi that appeared to be rapidly gaining pace.

On Wednesday, the arrests stretched from the normally quiet lanes of a northern English town to the bustling streets of Tripoli, where Libyan officials said they had disrupted a planned attack by the bomber's brother.

But even amid the crackdown, British authorities acknowledged that they remain vulnerable to a follow-up attack.

The sight of soldiers deploying at London landmarks such as Buckingham Palace and 10 Downing Street underscored the gravity of a threat that was known in general terms before Monday night's explosion but has come sharply into focus in the 48 hours since.

The morning after the attack, police said they believed that Abedi, a British citizen, had carried it out alone and had died in the blast he triggered.

But in their statements Wednesday, authorities expressed growing confidence that Abedi — who had recently returned from a trip to Libya and may have also traveled to Syria — was only one part of a web of plotters behind Britain's worst terrorist attack in more than a decade.

“It's very clear that this is a network we are investigating,” Hopkins said.

Hopkins said police were moving quickly to disrupt the group, carrying out raids across the city and arresting four people, including Abedi's older brother, Ismail. A fifth suspect was later apprehended carrying “a suspicious package” in the town of Wigan, about 20 miles west of Manchester.

On Wednesday evening, authorities arrested a female suspect in Manchester and a man in the English Midlands town of Nuneaton.

A raid by balaclava-wearing police at an apartment in central Manchester spawned speculation that authorities may have uncovered the location where the bomb was built, although that appeared to have been unfounded.

Monday's explosion claimed victims as young as 8 and targeted fans of U.S. pop star Ariana Grande, who was performing at Manchester Arena.

In conflict-scarred Libya, counterterrorism authorities with a militia that is aligned with the U.N.-backed government said they had arrested at least two additional members of Abedi's family, including a younger brother suspected of preparing an attack in Tripoli.

Ahmed Dagdoug, a spokesman for Libya's Reda Force militia, said Hashem Abedi was arrested late Tuesday and is suspected of “planning to stage an attack in Tripoli.”

Dagdoug said Hashem Abedi had confessed to helping his brother prepare the Manchester attack. “Hashem has the same ideology as his brother,” Dagdoug said.

Abedi's father, Ramadan, was arrested Wednesday, although it was not clear on what grounds. Ramadan Abedi had earlier asserted that his sons were innocent, telling the Associated Press that “we don't believe in killing innocents. This is not us.”

He said Salman sounded “normal” when they last spoke five days ago. The elder Abedi said his son had planned to visit Saudi Arabia and then spend the Islamic holy month of Ramadan with family in Libya.

Dagdoug described Hashem Abedi as an operative of the Islamic State, which has asserted responsibility for Monday's blast.

It was unclear whether investigators believed that Abedi's relatives were a key part of the network planning the Manchester attack. But authorities were increasingly exploring the emerging connections between Britain and Libya.

Abedi, whose parents had emigrated from Libya to escape the rule of Moammar Gaddafi, was on the radar of British security services before Monday's attack.

But Home Secretary Amber Rudd, the nation's top domestic security official, suggested that he was not a major focus of any inquiries, telling the BBC that authorities had been aware of him only “to a point.”

Rudd said that Abedi had recently returned from Libya and that that was a focus of the investigators' inquiry.

Abedi was reported on Wednesday to have been a college dropout who had recently become radicalized. Security experts said it was unlikely that he coordinated the attack, and the BBC reported that he may have been “a mule” tasked with carrying out the bombing but had little role in creating the explosive or choosing the target.

Of particular concern to British investigators was the possibility that the bombmaker was still at large and may be planning to strike again.

Prime Minister Theresa May had cited the possibility of a broader network of plotters on Tuesday night when she raised Britain's alert level from “severe” to “critical” and announced the deployment of troops to guard key sites.

The impact on Wednesday was quickly visible.

In London, nearly 1,000 soldiers were sent onto the streets to help free up police. Cressida Dick, the police commissioner for Britain's capital, said the troops would stay until “we no longer need them.”

Hopkins said there were no plans to dispatch troops in Manchester. But armed police were more visible in the streets Wednesday than usual, and Hopkins said the deployment of soldiers in London would make more police available in other parts of the country.

“It's a very good thing. It's visibility, it's assurance,” said Geanalain Jonik, a 48-year-old tourist from Paris who was peering through the railings of Buckingham Palace.

A similar military presence has brought reassurance in Paris since terrorist attacks there in 2015, he said. “We don't have enough policemen, and when you see soldiers and troops in the streets, it's better,” he added. “It gives you the sense of feeling safe.”

But despite oft-repeated statements of national resolve and a refusal to give in to terrorism, authorities were making some changes Wednesday in light of the security situation.

Parliament announced that all public tours of the Palace of Westminster would be stopped. The Changing of the Guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace — a popular tourist attraction — was canceled.

Chelsea, the title-winning soccer club in England's Premier League, called off a planned victory parade through London. The team said it “would not want in any way to divert important re­sources.”

The cancellations came as Britain continued to mourn the dead, with moments of silence and memorial services in schools, town squares and other sites.

Hopkins said Wednesday that medical examiners had finished identifying all of the victims and that an off-duty police officer was among the dead.

Health officials said Wednesday that 20 people remained in “critical care” and were suffering from “horrific injuries.”

Monday's attack has been condemned by leaders both global and local. The mosque where the Abedi family worshiped — and where Ramadan Abedi had once been responsible for issuing the call to prayer — on Wednesday denounced the blast and expressed hope that Manchester can heal.

“The horrific atrocity that occurred in Manchester on Monday night has shocked us all,” said Fawzi Haffar, a trustee with the Manchester Islamic Center, also known as the Didsbury Mosque. “This act of cowardice has no place in our religion or any other religion.”


United Kingdom

Younger brother of UK concert bomber arrested in Libya

Police said Hashim Abedi confessed that both he and his brother were members of the Islamic State group and that he "knew all the details" of the Manchester attack plot

by Paisley Doods and Maggie Michael

LONDON — British investigators are hunting for potential conspirators linked to the bombing that killed 22 people in a search that is exploring the possibility that the same cell linked to the Paris and Brussels terror attacks was also to blame for the Manchester Arena attack, two officials familiar with the investigation said Wednesday.

Investigators were also assessing whether Salman Abedi, the suspected bomber in the attack Monday on a pop concert in Manchester, may have been connected to known militants in the northern English city. Abedi, a 22-year-old British citizen born to Libyan parents, died in the attack.

Abedi's father, Ramadan Abedi, was allegedly a member of the al-Qaida-backed Libyan Islamic Fighting group in the 1990s, according to a former Libyan security official, Abdel-Basit Haroun. The elder Abedi denied that he was part of the militant group and told The Associated Press that his son was not involved in the concert bombing and had no connection to militants.

"We don't believe in killing innocents. This is not us," the 51-year-old Abedi said in a telephone interview from Tripoli.

He said he spoke to his son five days ago and that he was getting ready for a religious pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia. He said that his son visited Libya a month and a half ago and was planning to return to Libya to spend the holy month of Ramadan with the family. He also denied his son had spent time in Syria or fought with the Islamic State group, which claimed responsibility for the concert bombing.

"Last time I spoke to him, he sounded normal. There was nothing worrying at all until ... I heard the news that they are suspecting he was the bomber," the elder Abedi said.

He confirmed that another son, Ismail, 23, was arrested Tuesday in Manchester. A third son, 18-year-old Hashim, was arrested in Tripoli late last night, according to a Libyan government spokesman, Ahmed bin Salem. The elder Abedi was arrested shortly after speaking to the AP, Salem said.

The anti-terror force that took Hashim Abedi into custody said that the teenager had confessed that both he and his brother were members of the Islamic State group and that he "knew all the details" of the Manchester attack plot.

Ramadan Abedi fled Tripoli in 1993 after Moammar Gadhafi's security authorities issued an arrest warrant. He spent 25 years in Britain before returning to Libya in 2011 after Gadhafi was ousted and killed in the country's civil war. He is now a manager of the Central Security force in Tripoli.

The Abedi family has close ties to the family of al-Qaida veteran Abu Anas al-Libi, who was snatched by U.S. special forces off a Tripoli street in 2013 for alleged involvement in the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa, and died in U.S. custody in 2015. Al-Libi's wife told the AP that she went to college in Tripoli with the elder Abedi's wife and that the two women also lived together in the U.K. before they returned t Libya.

British police said Wednesday they had not yet found the bomb maker in the Manchester Arena attack, indicating Salman Abedi was part of a larger cell.

"It's very clear this is a network we are investigating," Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said.

British authorities were also exploring whether the bomber, who grew up in Manchester, had links with other cells across Europe and North Africa, according to two officials familiar with the case who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about the ongoing investigation.

They said one thread of the investigation involves pursuing whether Abedi could have been part of a larger terror cell that included Mohamed Abrini, otherwise known as "the man in the hat," with connections to the Brussels and Paris attacks. Abrini visited Manchester in 2015.

Investigators were also looking into possible links between Abedi and Abdalraouf Abdallah, a Libyan refugee from Manchester who was shot in Libya and later jailed in the U.K. for terror offenses, including helping Stephen Gray, a British Iraqi war veteran and Muslim covert, to join fighters in Syria.

Other Manchester connections under investigation, the officials said, include a 50-year-old former Guantanamo Bay detainee, Ronald Fiddler, also known as Jamal al-Harith. The Briton blew himself up at a military base in Iraq in February. He was one of 16 men awarded a total of 10 million pounds ($12.4 million) in compensation in 2010, when the British government settled a lawsuit alleging its intelligence agencies were complicit in the torture of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.

Another possible link under investigation is whether Abedi had ties to Raphael Hostey, a jihadist recruiter who was killed in Syria, the officials said.

The sweeping investigation has caused friction between U.S. and British security and intelligence officials.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd, who said Abedi had been known to British security officials, complained Wednesday about U.S. officials leaking sensitive information about Abedi to the media, saying that could hinder Britain's security services and police.

"I have been very clear with our friends that that should not happen again," she said. It was unclear whether Abedi was under surveillance as recently as the attack.

U.S. Homeland Security Department spokesman David Lapan declined to say Wednesday if Abedi had been placed on the U.S. no-fly list. Under normal circumstances, he said, Abedi may have been able to travel to the United States because he was from Britain, a visa-waiver country, but he would have been subjected to a background check via the U.S. government's Electronic System for Travel Authorization, or ESTA.

Lapan said the Homeland Security Department has shared some information about Abedi's travel with the British government, but declined to offer specifics. Customs and Border Protection has access to a broad array of air travel information through the U.S. government's National Targeting Center.


United Kingdom

Theresa May was warned by Manchester police officer that cuts risked terror attack in the city

by Adam Bienkov

LONDON — Prime Minister Theresa May was warned two years ago that cuts to community policing in Manchester had put the city at risk of a terrorist attack.

One-time Community Police Officer of the Year, Damian O'Reilly, made a heartfelt appeal to May to reverse cuts to local policing which had caused intelligence about possible attacks to dry up.

"I have worked in inner city Manchester for 15 years," O'Reilly told May at a Police Federation conference in 2015.

"I felt passionate about what I was doing [but] in 2010 I had to leave. I couldn't take it any more because the changes that have been imposed have caused community policing to collapse.

"Intelligence has dried up. There aren't local officers, they don't know what's happening. They're all reactive, there's no proactive policing locally. That is the reality ma'am."

He added that: "Neighbourhood policing is critical to dealing with terrorism. We run the risk here of letting communities down, putting officers at risk and ultimately risking national security and I would ask you to seriously consider the budget and the level of cuts over the next five years."

May, who was at the time Home Secretary, told officers that budgets would continue to be restricted.

At the time the police had seen a cut in funding of 18% with the loss of more than 17,000 police officers nationwide.

The Chair of the Police Federation today underlined the scale of the problem facing officers.

Steve White, who represents rank and file officers in England and Wales, said that while the deployment of soldiers on British streets was welcome, it only highlighted the strains British police were under.

"The welcome support of the military to free up armed officers and offer public reassurance will no doubt be managed in the same professional, resolute way," he said.

"But, as welcome as this is, we cannot avoid the reasons it is needed at all. There is no ignoring the fact that we, the police, simply do not have the resources to manage an event like this on our own."


How community-based enforcement will help close the trust gap

We need to try an enforcement approach that is tailor-made and designed by and for our specific communities

by Booker Hodges

Our profession has been under constant scrutiny and it's only going to get worse. As I watch chief law enforcement officers respond to accusations of unfair treatment by certain segments of the population, I often cringe when I hear the following phrase: “We don't racially profile, we just enforce observed behavior.”

They are being sincere when they make this statement, as most police officers are trained to enforce laws based on observable behaviors. Despite their sincerity, many in certain communities view this statement as confirmation of racial profiling. I have seen this many times in community meetings where a chief makes this statement and community members start shaking their heads and say, “See, this is what we are talking about!”

The notion that we make enforcement decisions based on observed behavior and not a person's race seems to be the central point of disagreement between our profession and those in certain communities. We are trained from the beginning of our careers to look for a certain set of behaviors and to make our enforcement decisions based on our observation of those behaviors. So, it makes perfect sense to us when we say we practice color-blind policing by enforcing based on behavior.

It's about perspective

Although this makes sense to us, we need to ask ourselves: Are we enforcing behaviors from a law enforcement perspective or from the perspective of the communities we serve?

I grew up in the inner-city but started my career in a suburban/rural area. On my second day of field training I observed a raised pickup truck driving through town with very loud dual exhaust pipes. I was in the rural part of our patrol area. I went to stop the truck for two very clear observable violations. As I went to stop the truck, my FTO looked at me and said, “You won't last long around here if you start stopping people for having a jacked-up truck and loud exhaust.”

What my FTO was essentially telling me was that enforcing these types of violations in this particular community was not something the community was going to tolerate. Had I stopped this truck I would have been enforcing behaviors from a law enforcement perspective and not those of the community I was serving.

I have found that most of the contention between us and certain communities we serve centers around the enforcement of traffic laws. I reached out to many dispatch communication centers around the country to gain a greater perspective on this issue.

I was seeking information on observable behavior, citizen-initiated complaints. In other words, were citizens calling, requesting that we enforce some of our most commonly-enforced observable behaviors? By observable behaviors I mean the following: suspended object from the rearview mirror, out taillight, out third brake light, out license plate light, loud exhaust, cracked windshield, riding a bike at night without a light, recently expired registration, and white light to the rear.

I have been guilty – and probably guiltier than most – of enforcing based on these types of observable behaviors. Unfortunately, like most of us, I was enforcing behaviors that I found to be important but those behaviors were not necessarily important to the community. I didn't find a single dispatch center in which a citizen called to complain about the above-mentioned observable behaviors.

Getting community buy in and ownership

I know people will read this and say we get a lot of bad people off the streets enforcing these behaviors. I would say you're right, but at what cost? Sir Robert Peel's second of nine principles reads as follows: The ability of the police to perform their duties is dependent upon public approval of police existence, actions, behavior and the ability of the police to secure and maintain public respect.

In certain communities it's obvious that we have lost our ability to secure and maintain public respect in part because of the behaviors we enforce.

I believe the solution to regaining the trust and closing the perception gap is to transition from our current behavior-based enforcement philosophy to one that is more community based. This could be accomplished by holding community meetings and asking community members which behaviors they want officers to focus on enforcing. By doing this you may get buy in and ownership from your communities. In addition, you may be surprised by what they tell you.

For my agency, this type of community engagement has worked in a similar fashion with our character-based hiring model. Our former Sheriff Matt Bostrom conducted community meetings to solicit the types of characteristics they wanted to see in the officers that were being hired. The list of characteristics that the community came up with was almost completely different from what he thought their responses would be. As a result of those meetings, we have hired deputies over the past six years who possess those community-directed traits and we have seen amazing results. The community was right; so much so that Bostrom is taking this character-based hiring method worldwide through Oxford University in England.

I know many will have a hard time buying into this, but after having a front row seat to how our enforcement actions are viewed in certain communities it behooves us to take a different approach. The current reactive-only policing that is taking place throughout many communities is not working. Instead, let's try taking an enforcement approach that is tailor-made and designed by and for our specific communities.

All communities want to trust their police and all police want to be trusted by their communities. We all have a shared responsibility in bridging the current trust gap. It's obvious that the current approach isn't working at reducing this gap. Maybe it's time to take a different joint approach.


United Kingdom

Manchester attack: Three more arrests in bomber investigation

by the BBC

Three more men have been arrested as police continue to investigate whether Manchester Arena bomber Salman Abedi acted alone.

Police arrested the three in the city on Wednesday. Abedi's 23-year-old brother was arrested on Tuesday.

Abedi killed 22 and injured 64 when he blew himself up outside an Ariana Grande concert on Monday night.

The UK terror threat level is now up to its highest level of "critical", meaning more attacks may be imminent.

It means military personnel are being deployed to protect key sites.

The Palace of Westminster has been closed to the public following police advice, and will not re-open until further notice, a statement on its website said.

And the Changing the Guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace has been cancelled on Wednesday to allow for the redeployment of police officers, the Ministry of Defence said.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd said: "[Monday's attack] was more sophisticated than some of the attacks we've seen before, and it seems likely - possible - that he wasn't doing this on his own."

BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner said that the bomber is thought to have been a "mule", using a device built by someone else.

Who are the victims?

The victims include Nell Jones, 14, eight-year-old Saffie Roussos, Alison Howe, Lisa Lees, Jane Tweddle-Taylor, 50, Martyn Hett, 29, and Olivia Campbell, 15.

Kelly Brewster, 32, John Atkinson, 28, Georgina Callander - thought to be 18 - and Marcin and Angelika Klis, a Polish couple from York, have also been named.

The injured are being treated at eight Greater Manchester hospitals. Of those, 20 are in a critical condition, and some have lost limbs.

The wounded include 12 children aged under 16.

Several people are still missing, including Eilidh MacLeod, 14, from Barra in the Outer Hebrides, Chloe Rutherford, 17, and Liam Curry, 19.

Eilidh's friend, Laura MacIntyre, 15, who was also reported as missing, was later identified as one of the seriously injured in a Manchester hospital.

Greater Manchester Police said it was "confident" that officers know the names of all those killed. It said that it had made contact with all of the families.

It would formally name the victims after the post mortems, a process likely to take four or five days.

A hotline has been set up for people concerned about loved ones - 0800 096 0095

What does a 'critical' threat level mean?

Prime Minister Theresa May said soldiers are being placed in key public locations to support armed police in protecting the public. These include Buckingham Palace, Downing Street, embassies and the Palace of Westminster.

Military personnel may also be seen at other events over the coming weeks, such as concerts, Mrs May said, working under the command of police officers.

The prime minister said she did not want the public to feel "unduly alarmed" but said it was a "proportionate and sensible response".

Mrs Rudd said 984 troops had been deployed in the first instance. Up to 3,800 are available.

She said she "absolutely" expected the raising of the threat level to critical to be temporary, adding that the bomber had been known "up to a point" by the intelligence services.

The highest threat level, which is decided by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre - a group of experts from the police, government departments and agencies - has only been reached twice before.

The first time the threat level was raised to critical was in 2006 during a major operation to stop a plot to blow up transatlantic airliners with liquid bombs.

The following year, security chiefs raised it once more as they hunted for the men who had tried to bomb a London nightclub and attacked Glasgow Airport.

The Metropolitan Police says it has increased its presence across London.

Meanwhile, Chelsea Football Club have cancelled their Premier League victory parade, due to take place in London on Sunday, so as not to divert police resources.

In Northern Ireland, extra police officers have also been deployed at key sites and on transport networks.

Who was the attacker?

The change in terror threat comes after investigators were unable to rule out whether the bomber, named by police as Salman Abedi, had help carrying out the attack.

He is understood to be a 22-year-old born in Manchester to parents of Libyan descent, and a former Salford University student.

He attended Burnage Academy for Boys in Manchester between 2009-11.

Hamid El-Sayed, who worked for the UN on tackling radicalisation and who now works at Manchester University, said Abedi had a "really bad relationship" with his family.

He said, according to a family friend, that Abedi's parents had tried to "bring him back on the right path and they failed to do that".

"Eventually he was doing very bad at his university, at his education, and he didn't complete, and they tried to take him back to Libya several times. He had difficulties adjusting to European lifestyle."

•  Abedi blew himself up in Manchester Arena's foyer shortly after 22:30 BST on Monday

•  Fans were beginning to leave a concert by US singer Ariana Grande

•  Witnesses at the arena described seeing metal nuts and bolts among the debris of Monday's bomb, and spoke about the fear and confusion that gripped concert-goers

•  The arena bombing is the worst attack in the UK since the 7 July bombings in 2005, in which 52 people were killed by four suicide bombers

•  So-called Islamic State has said - via IS channels on the messaging app Telegram - it was behind the attack, but this has not been verified

A former classmate of Abedi's has told the BBC that "he was a very jokey lad" but was at the same time was "very short tempered", becoming angry at "the littlest thing".

"He had a short temper but apart from that was a very sound lad," said the man, who did not want to be identified.

He said that Abedi was "away at random times throughout the year. but I don't know if that was because he was out the country or just didn't show up to school, because he did hang around with the wrong crowd and was very, very gullible."

"You could tell him anything and he would pretty much fall for it."

He said that, before leaving the school in 2011, Abedi became "more and more religious" and that this might explain why he cut ties with former classmates.

What's happening with the investigation?

Apart from the three arrests in south Manchester on Wednesday, Abedi's older brother Ismael was arrested in Chorlton, south Manchester, in connection with the attack.

On Wednesday afternoon, police raided a block of flats near Manchester Piccadilly station in the city centre, requiring them to briefly close the railway line.

Met Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley, who is the national counter-terrorism policing lead, said the investigation was "fast-moving and making good progress".

"However, a critical line of inquiry is whether the dead terrorist was acting alone or part of a group," he said.

"We still have critical lines of inquiry they're chasing down which has led to a level of uncertainty."

Anyone with information about the attack can call the anti-terror hotline on 0800 789321

How has Manchester reacted?

Thousands of people turned out for the vigil in Manchester and to hold a minute's silence to remember those who died. Vigils were also held elsewhere.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Commons Speaker John Bercow stood on stage alongside Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham and Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable Ian Hopkins.

Manchester metro mayor Andy Burnham told the BBC that the attack had been the city's "darkest hour but also you say the best of Greater Manchester".

He said: "I was in the hospitals late last night and I was hearing stories that porters, cleaners, surgeons, nurses, came in from not being on shift to help out. The public were bringing food. The people really did pull together and I think we should take a great deal of pride in that."


New York

NYPD Neighborhood Policing Program Aims To Connect Cops With Communities

by CBS News

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — The NYPD is stepping up its patrols at key locations across the city following Monday night's deadly blast at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester.

In an interview with WCBS 880's Rich Lamb about the NYPD's new neighborhood policing initiative, Chief of Patrol Terence Monahan was asked how community policing could help identify possible terror suspects.

Lamb: “You're hoping to get more information, more data, more G2 from the neighborhood, right? Do you think that this policing technique could pick up on somebody who's buying some materials in a hardware store, or — are those the kind of contacts that would be helpful?”

Monahan: “Absolutely. You get to know people on a regular basis. That store owner is going to say — if he sees something suspicious, he may not want to call 911. But he may say (to) Rodney the cop he sees every day, ‘Hey listen, I saw something a little suspicious, maybe you should look into it.' And we can start the ball rolling.”

“This is all about getting to know people. You know, there's 8.5 million eyes out there in the city of New York, and we want to be able to reach out to as many of them, and get them comfortable to come up to us and kind of talk,” he continued. “Someone's going to see something, and if they say something to us, hopefully we can prevent a tragedy like what happened in England.”

Monahan was joined by Deputy Chief Rodney Harrison as they discussed the department's new neighborhood policing initiative, which is being rolled out in precincts across the five boroughs. The program is aimed at connecting police officers with the communities they serve by working together with residents to solve problems that arise.

Harrison said at the heart of the program is a push to have beat cops lead community meetings. As a result, NYPD officers in the program are being trained on public speaking.

The initiative represents a change in the way the NYPD has viewed community policing and gives more presence and responsibilities to the men and women on the beat.

For more on the NYPD neighborhood policing program, click here. The website also lets you look up your neighborhood to see when and where there will be a community meeting.

The program is in place in more than 40 of the city's 77 precincts.



Shooting death prompts calls for police transparency

by the Missourian Staff

COLUMBIA — The public deserves a better understanding of the Columbia Police Department's “use of force” policy after an officer shot Clarence Coats in the central city on May 13, Fourth Ward Councilman Ian Thomas said in an email to constituents on Tuesday.

“The shooting death of a Black Columbia resident by a police officer raises public policy questions related to police ‘use of force,' racial disparities, and gun control, among other difficult issues,” Thomas said in the email. “Without being an expert on any of these topics, I want to share my understanding that Columbia Police Department's ‘use of force policy' is well-regarded by experts, that Police Chief Ken Burton led the effort to develop and adopt that policy several years ago, and that it was followed correctly in this situation.

Nevertheless, Thomas said he intends to ask at the City Council's next meeting on June 5 “for some kind of community outreach on the topic.”

Shortly before 6:30 p.m. May 13, a Saturday, officers went to the 100 block of Oak Street after hearing reports of an active shooter, later identified as Coats, threatening people in the neighborhood. As police and Boone County Sheriff's Department deputies arrived, Coats fired "several" shots at them, according to a news release from the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

Police said at the time that they tried to surround Coats, but that he escaped into trees then reappeared on the roof of a single-story building across the street from Oak Towers in the 600 block of Garth Avenue. From there, he allegedly continued to fire rounds at officers as police tried to negotiate with him.

Coats and a Columbia police officer then exchanged gunfire, Police Department spokeswoman Bryana Larimer said in a news release that night that didn't yet name Coats. The shooter was shot in the exchange, she said, and was taken to an area hospital, where he later died.

The Highway Patrol is conducting an independent investigation of the shooting.

Councilman Thomas in his email expressed sorrow for Coats' death. He also noted that Coats' mother, Wanda Coats, told reporters afterward that her son had suffered “a mental breakdown.”

Meanwhile, members of Race Matters, Friends, have been pushing city officials for a public response to the shooting. Group member Traci Wilson-Kleekamp, in a May 15 email letter to Police Chief Ken Burton, asked for an explanation of the department's “use of force” policy and how it was applied in the Coats shooting. Burton in an email response acknowledged that he, too, had questions but wanted the Highway Patrol's investigation to be complete before commenting.

On Tuesday, Race Matters, Friends, in a Google doc scolded Burton, Mayor Brian Treece and other city leaders for a lack of engagement and for failing to offer public condolences or support to Coats' family or to police.

“Race Matters, Friends does not expect nor are we demanding that Chief Burton or Mayor Treece comment on the pending investigation by the Missouri Highway Patrol,” the group said. “We also do not expect them to publicly express condolences on behalf of the city to the family members, friends and officers involved, even though we are sickened by their silence in this regard.”

Thomas, who also has called for community-wide dialogue on how to define and fund community policing, said in his email that “It would be very beneficial for the community to have a better understanding of the ‘use of force policy,' to hear from police administrators why (for example) shooting with the intent to disable an active shooter is not considered a good practice, and to be given the opportunity to provide feedback on the policy.

“This sort of police-community engagement is at the very heart of a comprehensive community-oriented policing philosophy, which many Columbia residents and organizations have called for,” Thomas wrote.



Who Will Check the Police If the Justice Department Doesn't?

The attorney general doesn't plan on using his oversight authority to monitor and intervene in local departments. California provides examples of how states can compensate for that absence.

by Candice Norwood

California policing played a significant role in the development of federal oversight of local law enforcement more than 20 years ago. Now, with the new Justice Department resistant to that power, California could show state and local governments how they can exert more control.

Rodney King's infamous 1991 beating by Los Angeles police officers, and the subsequent L.A. riots, prompted Congress to expand the attorney general's authority to monitor police departments. Former President Bill Clinton's 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, a law frequently criticized today as fuel for mass incarceration, included a small statute that authorized the nation's chief law-enforcement officer to investigate and file civil litigation against departments that demonstrate a “pattern or practice” of unconstitutional conduct.

The administration of former President Barack Obama embraced its oversight authority, particularly in its final years; it investigated 25 police departments, including those in Baltimore and Chicago. But President Trump's Attorney General Jeff Sessions has no intention of following suit. He has sharply criticized federal investigations, arguing that they're bad for police “morale,” and has said it's “not the responsibility of the federal government to manage non-federal law-enforcement agencies.”

Critics perceive Sessions, and the president he serves, as more interested in protecting the police than public safety—a quality often attributed to the larger Republican Party. But even heavily Democratic areas have mixed track records when it comes to addressing police misconduct. That includes California, which is one of the country's most liberal states but home to some of its deadliest police. Both California's reforms and shortcomings are worth examining during the Trump era, as activists and researchers consider state-level measures to counter possible federal inaction.

One policy currently being debated among police-reform advocates is the adoption of a statute that would allow state attorneys general to investigate and mandate structural changes within troubled departments, just as the federal Justice Department can. These changes can vary, but could include amending a department's use-of-force policy or requiring bias training. The proposal has its origins in California, as it is the only state in the country that explicitly authorizes its attorney general to intervene in this way.

William Lockyer was the first California attorney general to exercise that power, after four Riverside police officers shot and killed a 19-year-old black woman in 1998. The shooting ignited community protests and attracted attention from civil-rights activists Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. The Riverside County district attorney invited Lockyer to review the evidence and circumstances of the case.

Though the state did not have enough to bring criminal charges against the officers, Lockyer told me, he launched a civil-rights investigation into the Riverside Police Department's policies and practices. In 2001, he filed a judgment forcing the department to implement specific reforms within a five-year period. The changes included using more experienced officers on overnight shifts and implementing community policing: assigning officers to monitor specific neighborhoods on a long-term basis and build trust with residents.

“The police chief and many others said after the fact that this was the best thing to ever happen to the Riverside Police Department; it really professionalized the force,” Lockyer said. “I think it makes sense to have some external review, whether federal or state, as a way to check local politics and pressures that can stand in the way of reform.”

The Riverside reform agreement presents one case study to examine stronger state intervention in local policing, but state oversight is not an easy fix. The California attorney general has had intervention authority for 16 years, but has only used it a handful of times. That includes investigations launched in December 2016 by then-state attorney general and current U.S. Senator Kamala Harris. Even police-reform researchers who say these statutes have potential acknowledge they can run into problems when it comes to execution.

Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the University of California, Irvine, School of Law, said he suspects that political pressures and ambitions deter California attorneys general from exercising their authority more frequently. University of Virginia law professor Rachel Harmon suggested state funding might also present a barrier. "I don't think mirroring the federal statute, section 14141, is likely to be the most successful state reform effort," Harmon said, referring to the order granted by Clinton's 1994 crime bill. "It took the federal government a long time to get the train rolling, and I think it's very unlikely that the resources or expertise exist in more states to engage in a similarly effective effort."

Another way for state lawmakers to potentially deter misconduct is through the issuance of professional police licenses. Much like certifications for health-care professionals or lawyers, these licenses can be revoked and prevent police from getting law-enforcement jobs in the state again. This is an area where California lags behind. It is one of about five states without such a mechanism to use after a serious offense. As a result, police chiefs in these states can have complete discretion over the hiring and firing of officers. In an interview last month, Roger Goldman, a law professor emeritus at Saint Louis University in Missouri, told me chiefs rarely exercise their authority to let officers go.

That can have wide-ranging implications for public safety. Sometimes employers hire an officer with a record of misconduct because they simply don't have access to his or her work history. But other times, Goldman said, departments know a prospective hire's troubled background, but may hire the officer anyway to reduce training expenses.

Goldman argues that all states need a strong licensing system, but that plan faces its own set of challenges. A critical problem is data—or lack thereof. It's a multilayered issue involving both individual departments and their broader communities. For example, Frontline has reported that black and Latino communities are less likely to report officer misconduct due to fear that they won't be believed or may face retaliation. Lawyers and police officials may also keep quiet about officer improprieties to reduce their liability.

Without thoroughly reporting and tracking misconduct, the state law-enforcement training and standards boards tasked with overseeing certifications cannot accurately assess which officers should be considered for decertification. Officers can then quietly resign and potentially find another law-enforcement job. This problem is even worse in states like California that have strict laws preventing the public release of records on police misconduct and the outcomes of internal investigations, said Peter Bibring, director of police practices for the American Civil Liberties Union of California.

Ultimately, state governments have wide-ranging authority to adopt measures for reform. So do cities, though at a more micro level. The key is whether these jurisdictions deem changes necessary on their own, or if they'd only take them under pressure from the federal government.


New York

JetBlue honors public servants for inspiring humanity

JetBlue debuted its 'Blue Finest' aircraft that is dedicated to the New York Police Department

by the NYPD News

NEW YORK — JetBlue has a long history of supporting those who serve their communities. Today public servants from New York and abroad joined forces for a good cause. JetBlue and the British Metropolitan Police Department partnered for their eighth annual plane pull at New York's JFK Airport. “Bobbies” from London's police department competed against teams including JetBlue crewmembers and members from local authorities including the NYPD and FDNY to raise funds for childhood cancer research.

Proceeds from the annual plane pull benefit The J-A-C-K Foundation and families impacted by pediatric brain cancer, as well as fund research to create international awareness for neuroblastoma. Last year's event raised $123,000.

All in attendance received a special treat, a first glimpse at JetBlue's newest special livery –- “Blue Finest” –- dedicated to New York City's more than 36,000 officers. Twenty three teams, consisting of nearly 300 participants, participated in timed trials to pull “Blue Finest,” an Airbus 320 aircraft, 100 feet in the fastest amount of time to raise funds for the J-A-C-K Foundation. Participants were among the first to view this aircraft adorned with the NYPD flag, badge and shield.

“Blue Finest” will join JetBlue's fleet flying throughout the airline's network, currently 101 cities and growing. The aircraft honoring the NYPD joins JetBlue's exclusive legion of service-focused aircraft including “Blue Bravest” dedicated to the FDNY, “Vets in Blue” honoring veterans past and present and “Bluemanity” - a tribute to all JetBlue crewmembers who bring the airline's mission of inspiring humanity to life every day.

“As New York's Hometown Airline, supporting our local public servants including the NYPD is part of our DNA,” said Joanna Geraghty, executive vice president customer experience, JetBlue. “Our mission of inspiring humanity is brought to life each day through our crewmembers, many of whom are also former public servants. This mission also lives in the work the NYPD does to keep our communities safe.”

The NYPD flag is prominently displayed on the tail of “Blue Finest” and a badge and shield by the front door. The NYPD flag was chosen as it represents all five boroughs of New York City and is a symbol of pride for all who have served. It represents unity. Adopted in 1919, the NYPD flag is proudly flown outside of every precinct in the city, next to the American flag. The NYPD flag features 24 white stars on a field of blue in the left corner. The blue represent the police department while 23 of the stars represent the separate towns and villages that eventually became a part of New York City. The 24th star represents New York City itself.

“I want to thank everyone at JetBlue for honoring the hardworking men and women of the NYPD with this incredible symbol of partnership and professionalism,” said NYPD Commissioner James P. O'Neill. "This aircraft, ‘Blue Finest,' has the perfect name and appearance to represent those who have made it their lives' work to fight crime and keep people safe. It is an impressive interpretation of NYPD hallmarks and will spread our commitment to public safety far beyond New York City. Safe travels to all who fly aboard her, and I wish the very best of luck to those pulling this plane today in support of JACK's Pack and childhood cancer research."

The reveal of “Blue Finest” took place at JetBlue's Hangar at JFK Airport and was unveiled in front of crewmembers, many of whom previously worked with NYPD and were specifically invited to the event. JetBlue is the only major airline based in New York. As such, the airline is supportive of its hometown police officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians and paramedics. JetBlue estimates up to 15 percent of its Inflight crewmembers and several in its support centers have served in some capacity. This includes former law enforcement officers, first responders and veterans. Many of the skills learned in public service are transferable to JetBlue. Several former service members are enjoying second careers within the airline in positions including airport operations, corporate security, inflight, pilots and more.

The J-A-C-K Foundation was set up by Richard and Yvonne Brown, both officers with the Metropolitan Police Department, to help fund research after their son Jack was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. Local officers and public service professionals in the New York metropolitan area felt a connection to the cause and their UK counterparts. Since 2009, law enforcement and first responders in New York City have joined forces with the Metropolitan Police for a day of service and friendly competition to raise funds for The J-A-C-K Foundation. Before Jack's untimely death, JetBlue provided transportation for him to and from his treatment facilities in the U.S.


United Kingdom

Lone attacker blew self up at Manchester concert, killing 22, including children, police say

by Griff Witte and Karla Adam

MANCHESTER, England — A lone attacker blew himself up at a pop concert filled with teenagers killing 22 in an apparent effort to harm as many young people as possible, Manchester police said Tuesday.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said it was “now beyond doubt” that it was a “callous, terrorist attack.”

“This attack stands out for its appalling, sickening cowardice deliberately targeting innocent defenceless children and young people who should have been enjoying one of the most memorable nights of their lives,” she said, speaking outside of Downing Street, where flags are flying at half mast.

She called it among the worst terrorist incidents in Britain and “the worst ever to hit the north of England.”

Authorities believe they know the identity of the assailant, she added, “but at this stage of their investigations, we cannot confirm his name.”

In a statement, the Greater Manchester Police said that they arrested a 23-year-old man in south Manchester in connection with the attack as hundreds of police swarmed through the city in the aftermath of the blast.

Authorities are trying to determine if the suicide bomber acted alone or was part of a larger network. No one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, which injured 59 others.

“We believe at this stage the attack last night was conducted by one man,” said Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable Ian Hopkins at a televised news conference. “We believe the attacker was carrying an improvised explosive device, which he detonated, causing this atrocity.”

Messages of support poured in from around the world, including from President Trump.

“We stand in absolute solidarity with the people of the United Kingdom,” he said at a news conference in Bethlehem, and called those responsible “evil losers in life.”

The bombing appeared intended to inflict the maximum possible damage on young concert­goers — many of them in their early teens — who were making their way out of the Manchester Arena. Police said the blast occurred about 10:30 p.m., minutes after pop star Ariana Grande had finished her set.

The explosion set off a panicked reaction as fans struggled to flee and parents and teens searched for one another amid the carnage. Well into Tuesday morning, fathers and mothers who had lost contact with their children posted desperate pleas for information on social media using the hashtag #ManchesterMissing.

Charlotte Campbell told the BBC on Tuesday morning that she's “phoning everybody,” including hospitals and centers trying to locate her 15-year-old daughter Olivia. She last spoke to her daughter on Monday night at the concert.

“She'd just seen the support act and said she was having an amazing time, and thanking me for letting her go,” she said in an emotional interview.

Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester, called it an “evil act” but praised the “spirit of Manchester that will prevail and hold us together.”

He said that Manchester is “grieving today, but we are strong.”

It is the worst terrorist strike on British soil since 2005, when Islamist extremists bombed the London subway and a bus, killing 54 people.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said late Monday that there was “no information to indicate a specific credible threat involving music venues in the United States,” but added that Americans may see “increased security in and around public places and events as officials take additional precautions.”

In France, the scene of several terrorist attacks over the past year, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe called on people to be vigilant in the face of “a threat which is more present than ever before.”

Britain has been on high alert for a major attack for several years, with authorities saying that a mass-casualty attack was likely.

Grande, who is wildly popular both in Britain and the United States, was not injured in the attack. She expressed her sorrow in a tweet hours after the explosion, saying she was “broken. from the bottom of my heart, i am so sorry. i don't have words.”

Cellphone video showed chaotic scenes of people screaming and running in the aftermath of the blast. Concertgoers said that they saw nuts and bolts littering the ground near the blast scene and that the smell of explosives hung in the air.

The local hospital, Wythenshawe, said it was dealing with “mass casualties.” Eight other hospitals across the region were activated to treat the injured, and emergency supplies of blood were rushed in.

Fans of Grande had come from across northern England to see the concert. On Twitter, people offered a place to stay for those stranded in the city, using the hash­tag #RoomForManchester.

A father told the BBC that he was leaving the arena with his wife and daughter when the blast blew him through a set of doors. Afterward, the man, identified as Andy, said he saw about 30 people “scattered everywhere. Some of them looked dead.”

Separated from his wife and daughter, he said, he “looked at some of the bodies trying to find my family.”

He later found them, uninjured.

Karen Ford, a witness, told the BBC that “there were kids outside, crying on the phone, trying to find their parents.”

The arena is one of the largest indoor venues in Europe and has a capacity of 21,000. Manchester transport police said the explosion occurred in the arena's foyer, where people were congregating to buy concert merchandise. Manchester Arena said the attack took place just outside the facility, in a public space.

The scenes of bloodied, panicked concertgoers running for safety brought to mind similar images at the Bataclan theater in Paris in November 2015.

The concert hall became the scene of extreme carnage after multiple gunmen burst in during a show by the American rock band Eagles of Death Metal and began shooting. The attack — for which the Islamic State later asserted responsibility — killed 89 people and injured hundreds more, becoming the deadliest event on French soil since World War II.

Britain has had fewer terrorist attacks in recent years than several of its European neighbors. Monday night's blast came two months after a speeding driver left four people dead on London's Westminster Bridge, then stabbed to death a police officer at the gates of Parliament.

Monday was the fourth anniversary of the killing of Lee Rigby, a British soldier who was attacked with a machete on the streets of southeast London. The two assailants, who were convicted of murder, said they were acting to avenge the killing of Muslims by British soldiers.

Monday's blast comes with just over two weeks to go before Britain holds a national election. Campaigning was suspended Tuesday, and perhaps beyond. Security has not featured as a prominent part of the debate, although that may change when campaigning resumes.


Over 700,000 foreigners overstayed their visas in 2016, says new DHS report

by Geneva Sands

More than half a million foreigners stayed in the United States after their visas expired during the last fiscal year, according to a new report released by the Department of Homeland Security (DH) Monday.

Of the more than 50 million foreigners that entered the U.S., 1.47 percent -- or 739,478 people -- stayed in the country past the length of their visa. That includes those who stay one day over their allowable time, as well as people who have no intention of ever leaving the U.S.

This report shows that “we have a problem with visa overstays in the United States,” said a senior DHS official Monday, pointing out that the number of people who stayed in the U.S. illegally is close to the population of Seattle.

“The integrity of our immigration system is at stake,” the official added.

Of the total number of overstays last year, 628,799 people or 1.25 percent had no record of departure, known as an “in-country” overstay at the end of the fiscal year, according to DHS. However, due to continued departures and changes to immigration status, that number decreased over time. By January 10, the official number of people who overstayed visas in the fiscal year of 2016 had dropped to 544,676.

This is the second year that DHS has formally released these numbers.

The report, which is only a snapshot in time, represents about 96 percent of all people entering the U.S. on a temporary visa, including temporary workers, students, exchange visitors, personal travel and business travel – a larger pool of people than the 2015 report. The only exceptionsin 2016 were airline crews and transiting passengers.

However, the report does not include people entering the U.S through land checkpoints, but in some cases departures to Canada or Mexico are included to close out a case.

When determining if someone overstayed a visa, DHS needs to take into account whether they applied for a more permanent immigration benefit or legally extended their stay in the U.S.

The U.K. followed by Germany, Italy and France had the largest total number of people overstaying their travel visas for business or pleasure, among countries that participate in the Visa Waiver Program, which allows citizens of 38 countries to travel to the U.S. for business or tourism without a visa.

The visa waiver program promotes commerce and ease of travel, but it also creates national security risks, as Europeans from those countries who have fought with ISIS in the Middle East return home.

“They have learned how to make IEDs, employ drones to drop ordnance, and acquired experience on the battlefield that by all reports they are bringing back home,” said DHS Sec. John Kelly at a recent speech.

“They can more easily travel to the United States which makes us a prime target for their exported violence,” he added.

This has been a national security concern for years. For example, two of the 19 hijackers on September 11, 2001, were visa overstays, prompting the 9/11 Commission to call for the government to track visitors to the U.S. on entry and exit.

Brazil had by far the most total overstays from countries that do not participate in the visa waiver program – followed by Venezuela, China, Colombia and Nigeria.

While DHS says it is confident in its data, there is a chance that someone could leave the U.S. as an “imposter” because departures are currently only tracked using biographic data, like an airplanes manifest.

Without biometric data – like fingerprints, facial recognition -- there is a chance that someone could lie about leaving.

Despite Congressional mandate and years of officials calling for biometric exit data, it still remains a challenge for DHS.

Airports were never designed to control customs departure from within the U.S., according to DHS. For example, international departures and domestic departures coming at airports.

In addition, if you scan someone too early in the check-in process, there is still a chance they could lie about leaving and if you scan at the gate, you run into time and space constraints.

There is currently a pilot program at the Atlanta airport that is using facial recognition to match people with their photos as they leave the country.

When people overstay their visas the data is shared with ICE to carry out enforcement. It's provided daily and in conjunction with ICE's priorities, like national security and law enforcement needs.

However, a DHS inspector general report earlier this month found that a “fragmented, ineffective” set of information technology (IT) systems hinder efforts by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to track visa overstays.

ICE relies on IT systems that lack integration and information-sharing capabilities, forcing ICE personnel to piece together information from up to 27 distinct DHS information systems and databases to accurately determine an individual's overstay status.

This inefficient process has contributed to a backlog of more than 1.2 million visa overstay cases – taking months for ICE to determine a visa holder's status and whether someone poses a national security threat, found the report.


New Jersey

Local police departments awarded for community policing

by Michael Hill

Camden is on course for a big drop in its murder rate and other crimes are on the decline, too. Camden County Police credit community policing.

“We create positive engagement with our residents whether it be ‘Movie with the Metro,' whether it be pop up barbecues,” said Captain Gabriel Camacho of the Camden County Police Department.

“When we transition, like my friend Anthony said, from being a warrior to a guardian and started to be more of a community builder than a crime fighter, we're starting to see sustainable reduction in criminal activity, in particular criminal activity,” said Chief Scott Thomson from the Camden County Police Department.

The Camden force is among more than two dozen departments, officers and prosecutors in New Jersey receiving the state attorney general 's Community Policing Awards for building trust and increasing transparency.

“We all need to work hard to spread the word, and that's really why we're here today. To take the vision that you all have had, the leadership that you all have shown and use a trumpet to broadcast it as far and wide around New Jersey as we can,” said Attorney General Chris Porrino.

Among the community policing award recipients, Newark for its citizen/clergy patrol.

“I think it's important. I think when people see a safe base, a person and a police officer, it softens the feelings towards the officer,” said Newark Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose.

Summit Police using for “Next Door” – the private social network for neighborhoods — and for YouTube videos.

“Safety awareness videos. So we actually have a Summit Street Smarts safety series that we're able to partner with our high school film class,” said one officer.

Evesham Police say they offer as much outreach as they can.

“We have coffee with a cop, pizza with the police, we've done pancakes with the police events, cool off with a cop. Like I said, you can name it whatever you want but they all have the same purpose: promote transparency, build bridges, break down those barriers,” said Lt. Ronald Ritter from the Evesham Police Department.

And Perth Amboy Police say they're not blind to how police lately are seen as the bad guys and there's never been a greater need for community policing.

Chief Roman McKeon of the Perth Amboy Police Department said, “We want to show our community that we are no better than they are. We're all the same. We're all here working for the betterment of our community and our families, and that they can trust us.”

The ACLU 's Senior Staff Attorney Alexander Shalom advocates to hold police departments accountable.

“These are best practices. But again, there's this perception of well we get a bad reputation because one person does something bad and that's true, but that's another reason why in addition to all these great community initiatives, police departments also need to work to ferret out problem officers and problem incidents,” Shalom said.

The awards seem to demonstrate a recognition of how much police departments realize they've had to change over the years to get the results they really want.

“I think we've seen a real culture change in the last 15 to 20 years and I think the reason we've seen that is because it works,” said Elis Honig, director of criminal justice at the NJ Attorney General's Office.

The AG is offering $100,000 in grants for community policing initiatives, while recognizing making progress in reducing crime and building trust and confidence are priceless.



Community group ready to pitch police policy changes to EBR Metro Council

by Scottie Hunter

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Police reform in Baton Rouge is something a number of community groups have talked about since last summer's tragic events, but one group is now a step closer to creating change by coming up with a list of policy recommendations it plans to present to the EBR Metro Council this week.

The group, which is made up of council members, police officers, education leaders, and community members, has been meeting almost monthly since August 2016 and is now set to present police policy changes to the council.

Launching after the shooting death of Alton Sterling and the ambush on law enforcement last July , the goal of the meetings is to bring about change in the Baton Rouge Police Department.

"We had a lot of conversation about the community's response to things, what should happen, and how things should happen, and mostly this committee was really focused on policy changes and recommendations," said Councilwoman Tara Wicker.

Possible changes include everything from eliminating potential bias, diffusing encounters with those with mental disabilities, and even calling for more transparency from the department. The hope is to improve BRPD and its relationship with the public.

"There's going to be an establishment of the community policing ambassador program that's going to be led and ran by the community again to actually serve as the implementation arm of many of these ideas and recommendations," Wicker added.

Perhaps the biggest piece of the plan centers on which officers are added to the force. One suggestion is to establish an incentives program to recruit and retain quality officers. BRPD Chief Carl Dabadie said this piece of the plan is vital.

"There are all kinds of avenues," Dabadie said. "Of course, nothing is set in stone at this point, but those are good ideas and incentives to recruit and get the best, youngest, and brightest to come to the BRPD."

The group has been open to anyone and John Pierre with Southern University said having so many voices at the table ensures all parts of the community have input.

"When we listen to each other and we bring valuable input, that allows us to be a stronger community," Pierre explained.

The final plan will be presented to the Metro Council this Wednesday and policies could potentially show up on the next council agenda.

"We're really excited about those recommendations that are coming forth," said Wicker.

Ultimately, the group hopes some of the policies it has come up with can serve as a model for police departments in other cities.



Police reforms approved in Seattle

by Paige Browning

The Seattle City Council has unanimously passed a measure to put civilians in charge of police oversight. It comes five years after a federal judge called attention to excessive force and biased policing within the Seattle Police Department.

The goal of the measure is to hold officers more accountable. Its passage is a victory for advocates of police reform, including City Councilwoman Lorena González. She has led the effort on the council's end.

González: "This will be an accountability system that will have legitimacy among our offices and police reform advocates. That is quite the achievement."

There are three branches in the new system, all three of which will be staffed by civilians.

•  The city's Office of Police Accountability will investigate officers who are accused of misconduct. It will also have authority to address systemic problems in police training or supervision.

•  A new Office of Inspector General will conduct performance audits of the SPD as a whole. The office will also monitor the SPD's adherence to city policies and federal policing policies, including appropriate use of force.

•  The third branch, a 21-member Community Police Commission, will bring to light policing issues in Seattle, especially those experienced by the disenfranchised.

Some stakeholders in the community remain hesitant about the reforms. City Attorney Pete Holmes has expressed concerns before and gave his thoughts at Monday's council meeting.

Holmes: "I don't agree with everything in this ordinance. But it will in many ways increase accountability, make our system stronger, increasingly responsive to community concerns."

Holmes wanted the Office of Inspector General to be the lead for police oversight. Instead, the work will be split between three groups.

Members of the Civilian Police Commission have qualms, too. They are arguing for a bigger role in future police contract negotiations.

That concerns Kevin Stuckey, president of the Seattle Police Officers Guild.

Stuckey: “This is my community, and I'm ready to get to work, I don't impede anything. If this is what the community wants, they have a say in how they [are] being policed. I'm just here to say let's play by the rules.”

The debate isn't quite over. U.S. District Judge James Robart still needs to sign off on the reform package. He has overseen Seattle's federal Consent Decree on policing since 2012. Policing issues within SPD were brought to light by community members such as Reverend Harriett Walden, who is now co-chair of the Community Police Commission.

Lorena González says on the city's end, this is just one step in the reform process. Next, the City Council needs to hire for the new civilian roles and include them in the upcoming city budget.



Study: White Dallas police don't disproportionately use force against minorities

When circumstances such as drug or alcohol use and the officer's tenure are taken into account, differences in use of force between races fade away

by Naheed Rajwani

DALLAS — White Dallas police officers do not disproportionately use force against minorities, contrary to common public perceptions that they target people based on race, a new study has found.

When circumstances such as drug or alcohol use and the officer's tenure are taken into account, differences in use of force between races fade away, according to peer-reviewed findings published in the American Journal of Public Health this week.

Researchers from the University of Texas at Dallas, University of Texas School of Public Health and the University of South Florida analyzed 5,630 use-of-force reports filed by Dallas officers in 2014 and 2015 to see whether the data supports a common view that white officers target minorities.

"We now know that the differences that a lot of people think exist because of these horrific events that we see on TV, video footage, that's not the norm," said Alex Piquero, a UT-Dallas criminology professor who was on the research team.

Dallas police responded to about 1.2 million calls in 2014 and 2015. The majority of those calls didn't result in use of force.

Officers are required to submit reports each time they use force, which includes making verbal commands, threatening to use a Taser and firing a weapon.

The researchers sorted the use-of-force options into four categories:

Verbal direction: Includes making verbal commands and taking a combat stance.

Soft-empty hand control: Includes holding a suspect down, using pressure point techniques and showing or threatening to use a Taser.

Hard-empty hand control: Includes displaying a weapon at someone or locking their joints for compliance.

Intermediate weapon use: Includes use of pepper spray or Taser.

Last year, the Dallas department was about 50 percent white, 26 percent black and 21 percent Hispanic.

In 2014 and 2015, white officers reported using force more often than their peers. About 48 percent of the reports were about white officers using force against someone who wasn't white. In comparison, only 3 percent of black officers used force against someone who is white, according to the study.

But Piquero said the use-of-force data shows there weren't many racial or ethnic differences for officers' use of force on civilians once the context of the cases was taken into account, such as the types of calls officers responded to.

About 48 percent of the people whom officers used force against were under the influence of drugs or alcohol, for example.

Researchers analyzed data broken down by the races of the officers, their tenure and the number of times they reported using force. They also looked at the race and gender of the person the officer used force on.

There are some limitations to the statistics, however. They don't specify all of the factors that contribute to use-of-force incidents, such as the physical fitness of those involved, the crime rate in the area or whether it was dark or light out.

The data also doesn't explore whether the use of force was necessary under the circumstances.

The researchers did not include lethal force in their analysis. That's because the lethal force instances were a "rare occurrence," they wrote in their paper.

In the study, researchers complimented the Police Department for its efforts in recent years to be more accountable and build trust with the public.

"I think we're doing better than we give ourselves credit for," said Jennifer Reingle Gonzalez, one of the researchers in the study. "At least here, in this one place, we've made a lot of progress."

Dallas police shot 23 people in 2012. That year, a riot almost erupted in Dallas' Dixon Circle after police fatally shot a fleeing black man. The Police Department promised to win back Dixon's trust.

It started those efforts by making patrol officers, who answer the bulk of calls from residents, go through reality-based training at least once a year.

Dallas police were involved in 20 shootings, 10 of which were fatal, in 2014. In 2015, they were involved in 11 shootings, five of them fatal.

Last summer, the department started offering classes on racism and bias for its leadership and officers. Recruits also go through an academy that is longer and more in-depth than most other departments.

Dallas didn't see the type of riots that boiled over in Ferguson, Mo., and Baltimore, which police officials and researchers say is because of relatively calm relations between police and the public.

"Is our study definitive?" Piquero said. "Absolutely not. We don't have access to every single factor that could influence officer and citizen interactions. But this is the beginning of something else. Hopefully other people can improve upon our work."


From the Department of Homeland Security

DHS Statement On Incident At Manchester Arena

The Department of Homeland Security is closely monitoring the situation at Manchester Arena in the United Kingdom. We are working with our foreign counterparts to obtain additional information about the cause of the reported explosion as well as the extent of injuries and fatalities.

U.S. citizens in the area should heed direction from local authorities and maintain security awareness. We encourage any affected U.S. citizens who need assistance to contact the U.S. Embassy in London and follow Department of State guidance.

At this time, we have no information to indicate a specific credible threat involving music venues in the United States. However, the public may experience increased security in and around public places and events as officials take additional precautions.

We stand ready to assist our friends and allies in the U.K. in all ways necessary as they investigate and recover from this incident.

Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected by this incident.