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.
Richmond protesters surround Confederate statue on Monument Avenue
RICHMOND, Va. -- Protesters screaming "take down the monuments" marched from a park in downtown Richmond to the beginning of historic Monument Avenue before surrounding the statue of J.E.B. Stuart and planting a flag in the mouth of the Confederate general's horse Sunday night.
Richmond Police Chief Alfred Durham said officers responded to Abner Clay Park in Jackson Ward around 8:30 p.m. for an assembly.
Police followed the crowd and posted updates on social media that the group was moving down West Broad Street around 10:20 p.m.
Police said the demonstrators turned onto Lombardy Avenue and were headed for Monument Avenue as of 10:50 p.m. with the goal of reaching the statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee.
However, the group settled for the Stuart statue when Capitol Police said only 20 people could gather at the Lee monument.
"Tear the racist statues down," the group yelled as one person attempted to climb the Stuart monument before nearly taking a spill and slipping down the statue.
The man, who was shirtless and wearing a mask, was successful on his second attempt. The crowd cheered as he walked back and forth before he successfully planted a flag on J.E.B. Stuart's horse.
City crews removed the flag just after 1 a.m.
Roads were blocked and police urged drivers to "proceed with caution" as people flooded the street.
The noisy crowd accosted members of the media filming and live streaming the event.
"Hey CBS, you're endangering lives right now," one protester said.
"Don't [expletive] film!" another protester shouted. "Don't [expletive] film!"
The crowd then began to chant the message and a man on a bike attempted to grab a WTVR CBS 6 camera.
The CBS 6 crew backed away and when they turned around the man on the bike extended his middle finger before finally moving along with the crowd.
The march ended just after 12:30 a.m. when the group returned to Abner Clay Park and dispersed.
Photographer attacked: 'This is not a peaceful protest'
A WTVR CBS 6 photojournalist was assaulted earlier in the night when the protesters passed by the Camel restaurant on Broad Street.
The photographer, who was not working for the station at the time, was using his cell phone to shoot video of the breaking news on Broad Street.
“Stop filming bro,” one of the protesters yelled.
“I can film whatever I want,” the CBS 6 staffer replied. “Get out of my face.”
At that point video shows the photographer's phone knocked out of his hands. His phone landed on the ground, but it captured a protester hitting the photojournalist with what he described as a big stick.
Officers responded and the photojournalist was transported via ambulance to the hospital. He received four staples in his skull and was released.
"This is not a peaceful protest," he wrote.
Additionally, a marked WTVR CBS 6 crew on the scene captured video of one protester carrying a baseball bat.
Richmond Police said one person was arrested, but it was not the person who climbed the statue nor the person believed to have assaulted the WTVR CBS 6 staffer.
'We're trying to sleep!'
Another exchange happened around 11:30 p.m. after protesters surrounded the statue and were headed east back to park where the group originated.
"We're trying to sleep," one man yelled. "I have to be at work at six in the morning."
"Congratulations you won the argument. You look really cute. Enjoy your [expletive] job at 6 a.m.," a protester responded.
Durham: Officers did great job
Richmond Police Chief Alfred Durham said officers responded to Abner Clay Park around 8:30 p.m. for an assembly.
He said the group wanted to protest in front of the statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee. However, Durham said Capitol Police would only allow 25 members of the group to do that, so the crowd turned back at the Stuart statue.
Virginia State Police, VCU Police and Capitol Police all responded to assist Richmond Police.
Durham said he was proud of all the officers who aided in crowd control.
Des Moines police know they're biased. Here's how they're trying to mitigate it.
by Linh Ta
The Des Moines Police Department wants its over 500 employees to be aware of their biases and how they influence their interactions with the community.
That's why the entire department underwent training on implicit bias, provided by Drake University.
The stakes are high: While bias in policing often manifests itself through exasperating if largely unnoticed discrimination, it can also contribute to tragedies, such as high-profile killings of black men by American police officers in recent years.
Laural Clinton, 55, of Des Moines said the Des Moines effort could help abate her worries for her three black sons.
She fears that her children, 14, 20 and 33, will be stopped for the color of their skin — and that one of them could end up dead.
Clinton said she taught her sons not to make any sudden movements if they're in a traffic stop. She told them to always keep their hands visible.
Her middle child cut his dreadlocks because he doesn't want to catch the attention of the police since he's black, she said.
"Our kids are barely making it out of routine traffic stops and they're being shot," Clinton said. "It's happened way too many times."
Everyone is biased.
Our brains create uncontrolled associations known as implicit bias that subconsciously affect our actions, understanding and decisions. There are a variety of influencers, including our environment, community and the media we consume.
This bias comes into play in situations as complex as policing and race or as simple as choosing a grocery store.
"With events in the last few years around the country, implicit bias became a big topic and the need for that," said Des Moines Police Chief Dana Wingert. "In our profession, we feel it's important to recognize that, so it doesn't adversely impact how you go about your duties."
Following the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, former President Barack Obama created the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing in 2014. In the task force's final report, it states implicit bias training as a method of improving officers training quality.
Larger police departments in areas like New York City, Minneapolis, Chicago and San Antonio have undergone implicit bias training.
In Iowa, the Cedar Rapids Police Department had six employees undergo the training, according to the Gazette.
When Wingert searched for an implicit bias training program last spring, he struggled finding an institution that would offer it, even reaching out to the U.S. Department of Justice.
But Drake University staff heard about his interest in the course. They offered to craft a program specifically for law enforcement.
How the classes work
The two-hour classes were taught by Scott Law, Drake public safety director, and Brett Niederhauser, assistant director of public safety at Drake.
The classes went from January to February and had about 30 students each at the Des Moines Police Academy.
Attendees took an online assessment to think about their biases.
In an awareness portion, classes saw different images projected on a screen and were asked to share their immediate perceptions.
One picture pulled up was a grainy image of an older white man on a tractor. Attendees said they thought he was elderly with possibly reduced health and may not be as capable because of his age.
The next slide revealed the man was actually U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, who runs seven miles a day.
Jean Hansen, Drake's senior online instructional designer for the School of Education, said these exercises break up neural pathways and can help challenge biases.
"By going into counter-typical examples, you start to reform them a little bit," Hansen said.
That was observed with one dispatcher who took the class.
The dispatcher hesitated sending female officers to violent situations — sending their male counterparts instead, Law said.
But when the dispatcher did a ride along with a female officer, she had a realization: Her female colleagues were just as capable at handling these high-stress situations as the male officers.
"Everyone has their own narrative, their own stories that are running," Law said. "It helped everyone start opening up."
The last portion of the session was about mitigation and exploring ways the police employees could challenge implicit bias in their everyday lives.
Law said one officer in the training regularly volunteered at a homeless shelter and realized it challenged his own biases.
"He said it helped him realize he was getting to know those homeless people as people," Law said. "They all have their own story."
Rhonda Rochon, 58, of Des Moines is a black woman interested in community policing. She said it will be mutually positive to create a trusting relationship between officers and people of color.
"The first thing in the first five minutes is you judge someone without knowing a thing about them," Rochon said. "Until you actually communicate with that person, you don't know their story or what they're going through. "
Sharon Zanders-Ackiss, a black Des Moines resident and staff member at Iowa Citizens for Communiy Improvement, said people come to them with stories of racial profiling.
For true implicit bias awareness, she said, officers need to make efforts to meet with locals. She said neighborhood association meetings and Coffee with a Cop events aren't representative of the population officers should build rapport with.
“It is time for change. People are living on the edge," Zanders-Ackiss said. "It doesn't take much for them to jump. We have to figure out how to reel them back in."
Effectiveness of training
Will implicit bias training work when police officers are in high-intensity situations?
Wingert believes it will.
"Once you have that awareness, once it's in your mind, it can't help but come into play," he said.
When it comes to life-or-death situations, Law said, officers will need to rely on their implicit bias to make split-second decisions in those moments.
"We need to treat people as individuals, but also remember that sometimes those biases are what keeps us alive," Law said.
Hansen said it was emphasized implicit bias is neither positive or negative.
She said it could be the reason you duck at the right time and save your life. It can also work against you if you're pulling over someone that you assume is safe but is actually a threat.
"You can't erase implicit bias, but the goal is to mitigate it," Hansen said. "You stop, take a breath if it's possible, see if it‘s accurate or not and make a decision based off that."
Out of about 21 sessions, Law said he felt 20 of them went well. He said people in one class were not ready to open up as much as other colleagues.
Evaluations conducted before and after the training sessions showed employees gained a better understanding of implicit bias, Hansen said.
Prior to the training, employees were asked to rate their understanding of implicit bias, the usefulness of the training and whether it could increase trust between the police department and the community.
On a 5-point scale, from lowest to highest, most employees were in the middle, with a few in the top and bottom.
A survey at the end, however, had employees ranking more towards the top and a few near the bottom.
"I don't think we solved every problem, but we absolutely impacted their understanding and ability to see how this could make a difference for them and the police department," Hansen said.
New members of the police department are undergoing implicit bias training through an online course, Hansen said. Drake staff are planning on providing another training session in January — a "level two" course. The next course could include involvement from community members.
"Law enforcement in central Iowa is different than a lot of the things you're seeing across the country," Wingert said. "But when you keep hearing the importance of implicit bias and how that plays into people going across their daily business, the more you research it, you realize this is something that could have a positive impact in our organization."
To Clinton, the Des Moines mother, continued training will be key for improving relations with the community.
"As long as it's ongoing — once in a lifetime is not enough," Clinton said. "I don't think they're all insensitive. I don't think they're all looking for a brawl, but neither are we."
Want to test your implicit bias?
Take the Harvard online test police department employees underwent at implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/takeatest.html .
Learn more about implicit bias by watching John-Paul Chaisson-Cárdenas explain it at player.learningcore.net/drake/?id=0634 .
How local police departments counter crime
by Kael Krepfl
It's no secret that New Mexico has more than its fair share of crime.
In 2015, New Mexico had the third-highest violent crime rate and second-highest property crime rate in the U.S. according to FBI data.
According to the UNM Annual Clery Report for 2016, the number of auto thefts, burglaries and aggravated assaults have nearly doubled since 2013 on campus alone. In February the Daily Lobo reported that car thefts doubled from 64 in 2015 to 124 last year.
UNM Main Campus, South Valley and Downtown Albuquerque are heavy areas of crime with generally high numbers of auto thefts and burglaries, but the city is working hard to remedy these issues.
Just two weeks ago, the Albuquerque Police Department began its Security Camera Analytical Network initiative in an effort to connect community members with their police department.
Since its start 72 citizens and 13 businesses have signed up to participate in the SCAN program, granting the police department access to their security camera footage when a crime has occurred.
“The goal is to create a better network of communication,” said Celina Espinoza, Communications and Community Outreach Director for the Albuquerque Police Department.
The SCAN program is not the only program set in place to prevent crime in the community.
APD regularly hosts safety seminars with topics ranging from sexual assault to children's crime awareness. The police department has also instilled a local neighborhood watch program, which currently boasts over 2,000 participating neighborhoods across Albuquerque.
By providing these groups with access to safety awareness training, the neighborhood watch program has increased community participation and aims to decrease the number of daytime burglaries.
Educating the public is important for promoting crime prevention and awareness, and police officers are still held to strict standards, undergoing numerous training exercises include “New to Force,” “Community Policing” and “Cultural Sensitivity Training.”
“We pride ourselves on the training our officers receive,” Espinoza said.
Along with their continued education, officers are asked to show their dedication to their community by participating in at least two community outreach events per year. Events may include the Twitter event, “#CopTalk,” held on the first Tuesday of every month and “Coffee with a Cop,” which is held once each month.
In the interest of improving communication between the public and the police force, these events are monitored by the Police And Community Together team, acting directly on the concerns of the Albuquerque residents participating in the police sanctioned events.
Operating within its own authority, the University of New Mexico Police Department also offers a wide variety of crime prevention seminars aimed at promoting safety awareness on campus.
Students, faculty and staff have access to safety and emergency training that includes full-term Emergency Management and Preparedness classes for both undergraduate and graduate programs.
“Individuals will learn how to prepare themselves, their family, their community, and they'll be able to respond on their campus in the event of an emergency,” UNMPD Emergency Manager Byron Piatt said. “They'll be able to join our campus community emergency response team.”
The University also hosts occasional events such as Safety Week, in which UNM members can attend numerous seminars and workshops that are geared toward educating attendants about emergency and safety awareness and prevention.
In April the Daily Lobo reported that UNMPD began hosting monthly meetings with residence halls and some UNM faculty to discuss safety concerns on campus, which aimed to strongly encourage students and staff to educate and prepare themselves for emergency situations and recognize the need for an attentive police force that is dedicated to protecting the campus community.
Alongside proactive campus patrols, regular building checks and average response times of under five minutes, UNMPD offers affiliated members valuable resources for defending themselves and their property while on campus.
A campus escort service is available to all students and staff who find themselves in an uncomfortable situation on campus and need a security escort to ensure their safety.
“If we don't have a security guard available, then we'll dispatch an officer,” UNMPD Public Information Officer Trace Peck said.
The department also provides and monitors the LoboGuardian app service, which transforms any cell phone into an emergency phone with a direct connection to the UNMPD dispatch center. The app also provides other safety services to users such as GPS tracking, the option to text an officer discretely when in a distressed situation and the ability to alert friends and family in the case of an emergency.
640K NYC warrants for old summonses tossed in 1 day
The move marks a sweeping step in city officials' efforts to promote what they see as a more fair and workable approach to low-level offenses
by Jennifer Peltz
NEW YORK — In a single morning, courts on Wednesday threw out more than 640,000 warrants for New Yorkers ticketed for minor offenses years ago.
The move — requested by prosecutors and hailed by the mayor — marks a sweeping step in city officials' efforts to promote what they see as a more fair and workable approach to low-level offenses. But one of the city's five district attorneys said the dismissals sent a problematic signal about law-breaking.
Applause broke out among politicians, clergy members and others gathered in a Brooklyn courtroom after 143,532 warrants there were cleared in no longer than it took Criminal Court Judge Frederick Arriaga to say: "The court will grant the motion to dismiss each case for the furtherance of justice."
"Someone who owes a $25 fine should not be arrested and brought down to central booking and spend 20 or 24 hours in a cell next to a hardened criminal. That's not fair, and that's not justice," acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said after going to court himself to make the request, as did Bronx DA Darcel Clark and Manhattan DA Cyrus R. Vance Jr. Queens DA Richard Brown's office also participated.
But Staten Island DA Michael McMahon steered clear.
"I believe that issuing blanket amnesty for these offenses is unfair to those citizens who responsibly appear in court and sends the wrong message about the importance of respecting our community and our laws," he said in a statement, noting that he's supported initiatives that invite people to appear in person to clear their records. All five DAs are Democrats.
The warrants date back a decade or longer and stem from summonses for nonviolent, small-scale offenses such as littering, open-container drinking, being in a park after hours or walking an unleashed dog. The warrants were issued after recipients didn't show up in court or pay fines.
Many people didn't realize their warrants existed, officials said. Sometimes, people find out only when an encounter with police — after a fender-bender, for instance, or even while reporting a crime — turns into an arrest when an officer checks their ID. For others, the warrants pop up as roadblocks during applications for jobs, housing or public benefits.
They're "law-abiding New Yorkers who committed a petty offense years ago and have not been in trouble with the law since," Vance said in asking a court to toss more than 240,000 warrant cases. Clark said scrapping nearly 160,000 Bronx warrants was "simply the right thing to do."
The prosecutors and Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio also argued that arrests on such warrants tie up police time that could be better spent addressing more serious offenses.
Some other U.S. cities, from Atlanta to Las Vegas, have offered people the chance to resolve certain old warrants, often by paying fines.
From the Department of Homeland Security
Six Things You Probably Didn't Know About FPS
The Federal Protective Service (FPS) is a law enforcement, physical security and intelligence agency within DHS that serves on the front lines every day to prevent, protect, respond to and recover from terrorism, criminal acts, and other hazards threatening the U.S. government, federal employees and public visitors in more than 9,000 federal facilities. Their unique capabilities allow daily government operations to run smoothly. As symbols of U.S. strength and leadership, federal buildings can be a strategic target to those who wish to cause harm, which makes FPS' services critical to the DHS mission of protecting the homeland. Here are some things you might not know about FPS:
1.) Their core mission is to protect people who work in, and visit, federal facilities.
All across the country, FPS inspectors and special agents work to ensure the safety and security of more than 1.4 million employees and visitors in over 9,000 federal facilities.
FPS inspectors are law enforcement officers who work closely with the agency leaders to assess what security risks their building faces, and then create tailored security plans to help agencies combat those risks for the safety of their employees and visitors. For example, FPS inspectors make sure buildings have items like security cameras, locked entryways, x-ray machines, and other countermeasures. FPS also has special agents who investigate threats made to federal employees, investigate stolen items, and investigate any major incident or emergency that occurs on federal property.
2.) Every day around the country, they conduct an “Operation Shield” to catch adversaries off guard.
Daily, and with little notice, FPS officers increase their patrols at random federal government buildings to enhance the protection of the individuals inside. This provides a highly-visible law enforcement presence to deter terrorist and criminal activity, and also gives FPS an opportunity to engage with federal employees, visitors, and facility security managers. During Operation Shield, FPS also tests the effectiveness of security countermeasures at that building.
3.) FPS officers have important teammates to help accomplish their mission: Highly-trained K-9 partners
FPS has explosive detection canines across the country to help prevent and detect explosives and other materials that may cause harm to people at federal buildings. FPS canines are primarily Labradors, and go through intensive training with military and police K9 teams, including other agencies from DHS.
These furry law enforcement dogs are widely used throughout the country and often support state and local police who may not have dogs who can detect explosives. An FPS canine and its human officer are full-time teammates. After a hard day's work, and even once it retires, the canine goes home to live with its FPS officer.
4.) They Teach Federal Employees How to Respond to Active Shooters
FPS provides federal employees with training on how to respond to an active shooter in their building. Teaching employees to “Run, Hide, Fight,” this informative presentation explains important life-saving actions each employee can take in that situation. How do FPS officers know so much about this? Because FPS officers respond immediately to reports of active shooters at federal government buildings, and go through extensive training programs each year to prepare themselves for that day. Officers learn how to assess a shooter quickly, and work as a team to eliminate the threat.
5.) They are peacekeepers who protect your First Amendment rights.
As symbols of government, federal facilities are often the place where citizens congregate to express their concerns about an issue, often in the form of mass demonstrations or protests. When this happens, FPS law enforcement officers are on-site to ensure that all citizens can express themselves in a safe and peaceful manner. When demonstrations start to become violent against others, or disruptive to government operations, FPS officers will step in to regain the peace.
6.) They cannot accomplish the mission alone, and they help others accomplish their missions in return.
FPS works closely with many other local and state law enforcement agencies, as well as other federal law enforcement agencies, to get the job done. FPS sits on a variety of interagency working groups and task forces, such as the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force. As joint partners, FPS works with these agencies to assess and respond to threats, escort government leaders, enhance security measures at major events, and much more. For example, FPS works with the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol to provide security at the immigration port-of-entries along the nation's borders. FPS teams up with the U.S. Marshals Service to protect the exterior of federal courthouses.
Teen tackled by bystanders after vandalizing Boston Holocaust memorial
by Alex Schiffer
The New England Holocaust Memorial in downtown Boston was vandalized Monday night by a 17-year-old who was immediately tackled by bystanders and held until police arrived, police said.
The teen hurled a rock through a glass panel etched with numbers, representing those tattooed on the arms of the Jews and others in the concentration camps operated by Nazi Germany, police said. The panels are affixed to six glass towers, each 54 feet high.
It was the second act of vandalism in less than three months at the site, located in Carmen Park near historic Faneuil Hall. The suspect in Monday's incident was charged with willful destruction of property.
Boston police department's civil rights unit is investigating whether the act was a hate crime but didn't shy away from acknowledging the timing of the act and its possible relation to the past weekend's violence in Charlottesville
“Clearly, this type of behavior will not be tolerated in our city,” Boston's police commissioner, Williams Evans, said in a statement. “And, in light of the recent events and unrest in Charlottesville, it's sad to see a young person choose to engage in such senseless and shameful behavior.”
Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh took to Twitter to express his disappointment, saying he was saddened to see “such a despicable action in this great city.”
In June, James Isaac, 21, of Roxbury, Mass., was accused of shattering a glass panel of the same memorial. Isaac has pleaded not guilty to vandalism charges. The repairs for that incident were finished in July. Later in July, a group of vandals allegedly toppled over six headstones in a historic Jewish cemetery in Melrose, a Boston suburb.
The memorial opened in 1995 and had not been vandalized until June.
Boston's Jewish Community Relations Council and Combined Jewish Philanthropies expressed disappointment.
“The images of Nazis marching in the streets of America over the weekend in Charlottesville and now shattered glass once again at this sacred space in Boston are an affront to our Jewish community and to all those who stand-up against bigotry, hatred and anti-Semitism,” the statement said.
The memorial reopened Monday night around 9 p.m.
'People need to stop hating,' father of Charlottsville victim Heather Heyer says
by Malcolm Denemark and J.D. Gallop
SHARPES, Fla. — The father of a 32-year-old woman killed after protesting white nationalists in Charlottesville, Va., had a message Monday for the country: Stop the hate.
Mark Heyer said his daughter fervently believed in the rights of others and he was proud of her for taking a stand to help others. Heather Heyer, who grew up close to Charlottesville in nearby Ruckersville, Va., where her mother still lives, worked as a paralegal at Miller Law Group.
“She was a strong woman who had passionate opinions about the equality of everyone, and she tried to stand up for that,” Mark Heyer said.
Heather Heyer's activism was a part of her life, her father said.
“With her it wasn't lip service. It was real, you know. It was something that she wanted to share with everyone,” Mark Heyer said.
Her mother, Susan Bro, echoed the same sentiments in an interview with NBC News.
"It was important to her to speak up for people who were not being heard," Bro said Sunday.
White supremacists had gathered Saturday in the hometown of the University of Virginia in what supporters on Twitter had dubbed a #UniteTheRight Rally to protest plans to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from Lee Park downtown. Counter protesters, including Heather Heyer, met the multi-state gathering of hundreds in the alt-right movement.
After the rally, a vehicle plowed into a crowd of counter protesters, killing Heather Heyer and injuring dozens of others; 19 were hospitalized.
James Alex Fields Jr., 20, of the Toledo suburb of Maumee, Ohio, is accused of ramming his car into other vehicles that were going slowly as people walked on a narrow side street away from the rally. He was denied bond Monday on charges including second-degree murder, several counts of malicious wounding and one count of hit and run.
"She had more courage than I did," Mark Heyer said of Heather Heyer. "She had a stubborn backbone that if she thought she was right, she would stand there and defy you. If I understand her, she would want to do it peacefully."
Even though he is still in shock over his daughter's death, Mark Heyer said that people on all sides need to learn to forgive each other.
“I include myself in that in forgiving the guy who did this," he said. "I just think about what the Lord said on the cross, ‘Forgive them. They don't know what they're doing.' ”
Mark Heyer hopes that his daughter's death will be a catalyst for positive change.
“I hope that her life and what has transpired changes people's hearts,” he said.
Anti-government Oklahoma man arrested in alleged bomb plot that echoed Timothy McVeigh
by Joseph Ax
An Oklahoma man angry with the government has been arrested by the FBI on charges that he tried to blow up an Oklahoma City bank building with a van he thought was packed with explosives, US prosecutors said on Monday.
Jerry Varnell, 23, of Sayre, Oklahoma, was taken into custody on Saturday after an eight-month investigation. Federal prosecutors said he wanted to use an explosive device similar to the one that was detonated outside a federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995, killing 168 people.
According to a criminal complaint, Varnell told an informant for the Federal Bureau of Investigation that he was seeking retaliation against the government and financial institutions.
"I'm out for blood,'" the complaint quoted Varnell as saying.
Federal prosecutors said in a statement the device he sought to detonate was inert, and the public was not in danger.
"He wanted to make the biggest impact wherever he was going to place this bomb," FBI agent Raul Bujanda told a news conference in Oklahoma City.
The BancFirst building is a few blocks from where the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building once stood.
Bomber Timothy McVeigh used a fuel and fertilizer bomb to turn the Murrah Federal Building into a tomb of rubble on April 19, 1995, in one of the deadliest attacks in modern US history. More than 680 people were injured. McVeigh was executed in 2001 for his role in that attack.
"We are disheartened that a young man who calls Oklahoma home would resort to domestic terrorism, knowing the deep sense of loss still felt by people impacted by the Oklahoma City bombing," the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum said in a statement. The memorial honors the victims, survivors and others affected by the 1995 attack.
Varnell made a brief appearance at a federal court in Oklahoma City on Monday and was scheduled to have a detention and preliminary hearing on Tuesday, said Scott Williams, a spokesman for the US Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma.
Prosecutors were not immediately able to say if Varnell had a lawyer.
Prosecutors said that during the investigation an undercover agent had posed as a co-conspirator and agreed to help Varnell build what he believed was a 1,000-pound (454 kg) explosive.
Agents arrested him after he made a call on Saturday to a mobile phone he believed would detonate a device in a van parked beside a BancFirst Corp <BANF.O> building in downtown Oklahoma City, the complaint said.
Varnell was charged with malicious attempted destruction of a building in interstate commerce and could face up to 20 years in jail if convicted.
The complaint filed in the federal court in Oklahoma City said at the onset of the investigation, Varnell said he wanted to build a team to conduct a bombing.
US prosecutors said Varnell had prepared a social media message to be posted after the explosion, and helped make and load a device into a stolen van.
Calif. cops use anti-terror steel barricades to protect crowds from truck attacks
With the portable barricades, entrances are closed to traffic but can be lowered to let authorized law enforcement and delivery vehicles through
by PoliceOne Staff
PALMDALE, Calif. — Police working the Fremont Street Festival earlier this month used steel barricades to protect festival-goers from the threat of vehicle attacks.
The barricades, developed by Delta Scientific, were installed to protect the 300,000 attendees from the threat of vehicle attacks like those recently seen in Europe and the United States, according to a press release.
Delta Scientific's technology allows the barriers to be raised and lowered to let authorized law enforcement and delivery vehicles through, according to CBS SF Bay Area. No excavation or surface preparation was required. In the past, festival organizers and law enforcement parked their own vehicles in the entrances to help protect festival attendees.
“We don't want people worried about their safety,” Lt. Matt Snelson said in a statement.
The barriers are easily transportable and can stop a 7.5 ton vehicle traveling at 40 mph.
The Psychology of Hate Groups: What Drives Someone to Join One?
by Elizabeth Chuch
They've been maced by police, surrounded by yelling counterprotesters, and ordered to leave town — yet the white nationalist movement has vowed to continue rallying.
And experts say that, despite the opposition, the vitriol displayed over the weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia, may actually spur membership in hate groups.
Hate has many psychological roots, including lack of exposure to different types of people or dislike of a characteristic within one's own identity, experts say. But when it comes to deciding to join a hate group, receiving implicit permission is a large factor.
Watching a hate group rally or reading members' comments online can enable that.
There's been an uptick in hate groups over the past couple of years, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, although the organization tracks them on a yearly basis and does not have data on whether there are increases after individual events like the Charlottesville attack.
But Heidi Beirich, who publishes the Southern Poverty Law Center's Hatewatch blog, said hate is spreading faster than ever.
"There's so much proliferation of hate propaganda with the Internet," she said. "And that is adding to the problem."
White supremacy, in particular, has gained speed since Donald Trump announced his candidacy for president, she said.
"We've seen hate rallies and events well-attended in a way we hadn't in the few years prior," she said.
And Trump's choice on Tuesday to blame "two sides" for Saturday's violence — rather than to specifically blame white nationalism/supremacy — could have "a serious emboldening effect," said Peter Simi, an associate professor of sociology at Chapman University in Irvine, California, who studies far-right hate groups.
"He's now really gone farther than anything else he's done in terms of reaching out to these folks," Simi said Tuesday. "It's at least an implicit sanction of these rallies.
"They were already planning more, but they've basically gotten the seal approval from the highest office of the land, and I have to imagine it feels pretty good for these folks," he said.
While Trump doesn't espouse the ideals of white supremacy, his fraught campaign may have given his followers the same sense of permission to express hate that events like Charlottesville can, according to Wanis.
"Even if he's not promoting white nationalism or supremacy, if you're promoting anger, hatred and aggression, then you are indirectly saying to society, 'I, the embodiment of the most powerful man in this country, am doing this, and therefore, it's OK,'" he said.
Much of hate is based in fear, said Dr. A.J. Marsden, an assistant professor of psychology at Beacon College in Leesburg, Florida — "basically, fear of the unknown, fear of what might happen and fear of anything that's different than you or falls outside your definition of what's supposed to be normal."
Marsden cited Islamophobia as an example.
"There's a lot of hatred in the United States toward Muslims," she said. "One of the reasons is they don't understand the religion. ... There's a lot that they don't know, and that scares them, because there is a small part of Muslims who are violent, and that is what is driving the hate."
That concept is known as the "in-group/out-group theory" — the idea that people tend to define themselves in social groupings and are quick to degrade those who don't fit into those groups.
"We establish ourselves as a tribe, and we say this is the group for which I have a love for, for which I identify with," Wanis said. "Then, if I've started to feel threatened in any way, my group unites against the out-group."
The instinct, he added, is rooted in evolution and once protected our ancestors from physical threats. Now, the threats may be more emotional, and the same response isn't as necessary.
Another concept that leads to hate is the projection of internal insecurities on other people.
"We've found that, especially when it comes to homosexuality, people act very homophobic and aggressive because, deep down inside, they're afraid that they might have a little bit of that, too — so they're projecting their hate onto other people," Marsden said.
Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University-San Bernardino, said news coverage of hate groups exacerbates the problem.
"Rallies like Charlottesville and the concomitant coverage both in news and social media is a boon to hate groups who seek two things: brand exposure and the promotion of their members as both victims and warriors standing up to a Goliath that threatens not only them, but white identity, culture and nationalism," he said.
Avoiding A New Civil War
America has never been a white nation and it never will be
by William Becker
Hate groups have been energized rather than chastened by the violent confrontations in Charlottesville last weekend. Some are planning more marches according to the “New York Times.” There is now a plausible scenario in which racial violence grows into something akin to a new civil war.
As hate groups come out of the shadows and into the streets, and as some of them link their open bigotry to Donald Trump's “take back America” and “make American great again” themes, it is obvious that the ideological divisions among Americans today include very different definitions of “great.” There is a passionate demographic in which “great” means “white.”
In our society where we celebrate civil rights, women's rights and gay rights, we now have hate rights – the white nationals, neo-Nazis and anti-government militants who are using their First Amendment rights of speech and assembly to vomit vile values in the streets and in front of our children.
For several decades now, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has tracked hate groups in the United States. It counts more than 900 of them today. It says the number is increasing in part because of anger over immigration and demographic changes that will make whites a minority in America by 2040 or so.
“The rise (in hate groups) accelerated in 2009, the year President Obama took office, but declined after that,” the SPLC says, in part because large numbers of extremists were moving to the web and away from on-the-ground activities. In the last two years, in part due to a presidential campaign that flirted heavily with extremist ideas, the hate group count has risen again.
It was Trump who flirted with extremist ideas during last year's campaign. He has continued that flirtation as president with his plans for a wall on the Mexican border, his ban on Muslim immigrants, his kowtows to one of the country's craziest conspiracy alarmists, radio host Alex Jones, and his latest notion that even legal immigration should exclude people who want to take the risk of coming to America jobless and penniless to search for freedom and opportunity.
Whatever his personal beliefs and biases are, Trump apparently wants to keep hate groups in his base where it is alright to be alt-right, even when it's all wrong. But the hate contingent on the far right is not only wrong; it exhibits the ugliest form of tribalism and bigotry. It celebrates the worst chapter in American history and one of the worst in world history. It is a disgusting affront to the freedom, respect for diversity and dedication to equality that has been the United States' historic mission.
It appears that Trump's belated rebuke of these groups will not deter them from more activism. They assume that he was forced to do it. They plan to keep marching. It is likely that counter demonstrators will continue showing up. They are passionate, too, because they feel the American ideal must be defended. The confrontations are not likely to be civil.
So how do we prevent what could become a new civil war, not between North and South but between two radically different visions of America? The SPLC offers 10 responses to hate groups such as building diverse coalitions to stand up to hate; supporting the victims of hate crimes; speaking out against extremist views; avoiding hate rallies in favor of alternatives like organizing unity events; pressuring leaders and elected officials to become active and vocal in countering hate; being honest about our own prejudices; and helping children appreciate diversity by exposing them to multicultural situations.
What hate groups, particularly white supremacists, do not understand is that America has never been a white nation and it never will be. From the moment the first white foot stepped onto North American soil, our history has been about immigration, conflicts with newcomers and eventual assimilation. With the exception of Native Americans, there is no race in the United States today that can claim sole ownership of the country.
We whites had better get used to it. We will be a minority a few decades from now. It would be a good idea for us to treat minorities today like we will want our children to be treated in the future.
Community policing is the way to make New Orleans safer
by Ronal Serpas and Michael Cowan
Scientific research and life experience make it plain that when people are anxious, their focus narrows. They pay intense interest to something and everything else recedes into the background. People in New Orleans are anxious about shootings, murders and robberies. In our anxiety we have narrowed our focus to one question: How many officers can the Police Department put on the streets and how fast? Increasing the number of police is at the top of the list of promises that current mayoral candidates are making.
The problem with this narrowing of focus is that it tunes out an equally important question: What is the best use of available officers, not just in a possibly enlarged police force, but now? As municipal elections heat up, we want to pull that question out of the background and address it.
Around the United States and in many other places throughout the world, community policing is the gold standard. Community policing is a philosophy that must transform the culture of a department, not a set of techniques like cops on bicycles or walking their beats or working out of neighborhood substations. The heart of this philosophy of policing is that the residents of an area and the police officers assigned to serve and protect them must come together to identify problems that make that place unsafe; devise solutions in which residents and police each have a role to play; implement those solutions; and hold each other accountable for the results.
From 2010-2014, the NOPD and the Landrieu administration conducted an unprecedented effort, led by the authors, to embed community policing as the department's philosophy and build a partnership with city government to advance community policing. Community coordinating sergeants and quality of life officers from each district met monthly to identify things that made the neighborhoods they policed less safe and livable, like abandoned buildings and vehicles and broken street lights.
Chief Administrative Officer Andy Kopplin then took up our proposal that specific situations brought from those meetings would receive a priority response from city agencies. He did that by inviting one of the community policing officers to attend a monthly meeting he chaired of all city agency heads, report on progress and generate next steps. Nothing works perfectly in city government, but an unusually effective link between the city and its police offers was forged. The bonds of trust that grow from residents and police solving problems together were strengthened, as was the cooperation between the city and its largest agency. Make no mistake, this commitment by NOPD encouraged neighborhood problem solving, and Mr. Kopplin's willingness to assure direct, city-wide response to those problems advanced community policing and community government.
This promising story ends ironically, bringing us back to the beginning of this piece. Building on four foundational years of embedding community policing, the next step was to direct that every officer on patrol devote 40 percent of his or her time to community policing activities, which is an accepted standard by policing experts nationally. But the crisis of our shrinking Police Department had grown so acute by the end of 2014, that not only was that plan aborted, but the 25 officers leading community policing in the eight districts had to be assigned to patrol and other duties.
Those officers were creating support, from the police officer on the street and up within the NOPD, the community and city government to embrace community policing -- a synergy of service that was making a difference and must be revived.
Our purpose is not to criticize but to open up the public's filters at a critical moment in local crime and politics. Our problem will never be just the number of cops on the force. The other and equally important matter is how they are deployed.
We urge concerned citizens to ask candidates for mayor and City Council where they stand on the gold standard --community policing. As we noted, it is not the techniques, but it is the government-wide strategy of community policing that New Orleans needs again.
Ambulance service now available for injured Ill. K-9s
If injured in the line of duty, K-9s will be transported by ambulance to a vet clinic or a similar emergency facility
by PoliceOne Staff
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — K-9s injured in the line of duty in Illinois will now be transported by ambulance.
House Bill 2661 allows K-9s to be transported to veterinary clinics or similar facilities by ambulance if injured on duty, as long as no people require transport at the time, WPSD reported.
"Police dogs are often unsung heroes," Sen. Tom Cullerton told the Chicago Daily Herald. "If there are not any people in line that need to receive medical attention, our state's police K-9s should be able to receive the necessary precautions to save their lives so they can return to keeping our streets and communities safe."
"This is an investment in humanity and public safety that needs to be protected," he said.
The bill was signed into law Wednesday and goes into effect on Jan. 1.
Barcelona and Cambrils" 'Bigger' attacks were prepared
by the BBC
The suspects in the attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils were planning one or more bigger attacks than those that were carried out, police say.
Catalonia's police chief said blasts in a town south of Barcelona on Wednesday deprived the plotters of bomb material, forcing them to carry out simpler attacks using vehicles to ram crowds.
Police are seeking Moussa Oukabir, thought to be 17, suspected of carrying out Thursday's Barcelona attack.
Thirteen people died in Las Ramblas.
Scores of others were injured as a van driver zig-zagged along the famous tourist street.
Moussa Oukabir is suspected of using his brother's documents to rent the van that mowed down people on the famous boulevard.
Hours later, police killed five suspected jihadists in a second vehicle attack in the town of Cambrils. A woman injured in that attack died later.
Police said the men killed in Cambrils were linked to the Barcelona attack, which the Islamic State (IS) group said it had carried out.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy condemned what he called a "jihadist attack" in Barcelona. He has announced three days of national mourning and a minute's silence was held at noon (10:00 GMT) on Friday.
What lines of inquiry are police following?
Police say they are investigating the theory that the attacks were being prepared over a substantial period of time in a private house in Alcanar, a small town south of Barcelona.
Explosions ripped through the building on Wednesday evening, apparently caused by exploding gas canisters. One person was killed.
The explosives were being prepared for use in one or more attacks in Barcelona, police said.
Catalan Police Chief Josep Lluis Trapero said the actual attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils were "rudimentary" in comparison.
Who is being sought?
The driver of the van fled on foot after mowing down tourists and locals on Las Ramblas.
Spanish police say that they are seeking Moussa Oukabir, two images of whom have been published.
Catalonia's Interior Minister Joaquim Forn, quoted by the Associated Press, said: "We had local police on the scene, but we were unable to shoot him, as the Ramblas were packed with people."
Later Police Chief Trapero said it was suspected that the driver of the Barcelona van was one of the five killed in Cambrils, though it was not clear that Moussa Oukabir was behind the wheel.
Spanish media say Moussa Oukabir rented two vans, the one used in the attack and another found hours later in the town of Vic, north of Barcelona, that was intended as a getaway vehicle.
His brother, Driss Oukabir, was arrested after reportedly turning himself in on Thursday.
Reports suggest Driss, who is in his 20s and was born in Morocco, told police he was not involved and that his documents had been stolen.
Three other arrests have been made. Two of the men are Moroccan, and the third was born in Melilla, the autonomous Spanish city on the north coast of Africa.
Police said three of the arrests were made in the Catalan town of Ripoll and one in Alcanar after Wednesday's explosions.
They gave the ages of the arrested men as 21, 27, 28 and 34.
What happened on Las Ramblas?
A Fiat van was driven down the pedestrianised avenue on Thursday afternoon, weaving from side to side and deliberately targeting people.
Las Ramblas is a central boulevard that runs 1.2km (0.75 miles) through the centre of Barcelona from the city's Plaça de Catalunya (Catalonia Square) to the Christopher Columbus monument at the seafront.
An American businessman who was just arriving in a taxi in Las Ramblas, said the van was "weaving left and right, trying to hit people as fast as possible. There were people lying on the ground".
Kevin Kwast, who is on holiday in Barcelona with his family, said: "Hundreds of people started stampeding through the market... we started running with them going outside right into where casualties were already on the ground."
What happened in Cambrils?
Seven people, including a police officer, were hit when a car was driven into them early on Friday, Catalan emergency services said.
A woman victim later died in hospital.
The attackers' vehicle overturned and when the men got out they were quickly fired upon by police, media say. One was reportedly brandishing a knife.
Police Chief Trapero said one officer killed four of the attackers single-handedly.
The men were wearing what appeared to be explosive belts, police said, and a series of controlled explosions was carried out. The belts proved to be fake, Catalan regional head Carles Puigdemont later told local radio.
Police say the situation in Cambrils - a popular seaside resort 110km (68 miles) south-west of Barcelona - is now under control.
Who were the victims?
Citizens of some 34 countries were killed or injured in the Las Ramblas attack, the Catalan government has said. One woman died in Cambrils.
Spaniard Francisco López Rodríguez, in his 60s
Italian Bruno Gulotta, 35
Unnamed US citizen
France's foreign ministry said on Friday that 26 French nationals were injured, with at least 11 in a serious condition.
Thirteen German citizens were wounded, some seriously. A five-year-old Irish boy suffered a broken leg.
Seven-year-old Julian Cadman, a dual British-Australian national who was separated from his mother during the attack, is missing, ABC Australia reports. His mother was reportedly among the seriously injured.
Taiwan and Greece are among those saying their citizens were injured. Pakistani, Philippine, Venezuelan, Romanian, Peruvian, Dutch, Danish, Algerian and Chinese nationals were also among the casualties, officials said.
What is the timeline of events?
Alcanar, Wednesday evening: An explosion rips through a house in the small town, 200km south of Barcelona. One person dies. Police chief Josep Lluis Trapero said it appeared the residents at the house had been "preparing an explosive device". A Catalan government official says a cell may have intended to use gas canisters in the Las Ramblas attack
Barcelona, Thursday 16:50 (14:50 GMT) : A white Fiat van drives down Las Ramblas in central Barcelona, killing 13 people and injuring scores. The driver flees on foot
Vic, Thursday 18:30: Police find a second van, thought to be a getaway vehicle, in the town, 80km north of Barcelona
Sant Just Desvern, Thursday 19:30: A car is driven into officers at a checkpoint on the outskirts of Barcelona. A man is found dead in the car but the interior ministry denies earlier reports he was killed by police gunfire. The dead man is not believed to be linked to the Las Ramblas attack, officials say, but investigations are ongoing
Cambrils, Friday 01:00: A second vehicle attack takes place in the resort south of Barcelona. Police kill five terrorist suspects said to be linked to the Las Ramblas attack
Analysis: A failure of intelligence?
Frank Gardner, BBC security correspondent
What looked at first to be a lone-wolf attack by just one - or possibly two - individuals, has now emerged as a complex plot involving at least eight suspects, armed with knives and explosives. That's an unusually large network for this day and age, where so-called Islamic State cautions its followers to avoid big groups so as to escape detection.
It suggests both an element of careful planning by the perpetrators and also a failure of intelligence by the normally-vigilant Spanish authorities. Spain has not experienced anything like this since al-Qaeda staged multiple bombings in Madrid in 2004.
But Spanish police, working closely with their Moroccan counterparts, have arrested dozens of suspected plotters in recent years, many with connections to the two Spanish enclaves on Morocco's north coast. Melilla and Ceuta have a reputation of being hotbeds of extremist activity and both have provided jihadists with a gateway into the Spanish mainland.
Throughout the day online supporters of IS have been celebrating the Barcelona attack. Some have even expressed their hope it will change the course of Spanish politics, forcing the government to pull out of the US-led Global Coalition that is rapidly degrading what's left of IS's self-styled caliphate in the Middle East.
Stabbing Attack in Turku, Finland, Leaves Two Dead, Six Wounded
by Alexander Smith and Saphora Smith
Two people are dead and six were wounded in a stabbing in the city of Turku, western Finland, police said Friday. A hunt was underway for potential attackers, they added.
One suspected attacker was shot in the thigh, according to police who urged citizens to leave the immediate area in the center of the city while they searched for "possible more perpetrators."
The Turun Sanomat newspaper reported that at least one person was killed in the attack.
Pictures from the scene showed rescuers attending to the wounded.
Jesse Brown, a 29-year-old who is currently unemployed, said he saw part of the incident unfold.
"I saw police shoot a man. People were running and there was talk about possible knife attackers," he said. "I saw an injured person, a man, at the market square."
He said the injured person was "covered in blood."
Palman Afzali, a 26-year-old Afghan-born Finnish citizen, said he was leaving work as a nurse when he heard someone shout, followed by screams. He then saw a young man chasing people and stabbing them with a large knife.
"He was trying to hit people with the knife," Afzail told NBC News. "I ran past bodies on the ground, I saw a woman I think was already dead — I can't get her face out of my mind."
The police were not in the area to stop the individual, but normal people attempted to chase him down, Afzali said.
Riitta Koskela said she was about 100 yards from the square. "My daughter had stopped at a movie theatre to use the restroom when I saw people running and screaming," she said. "We hid in the restroom and more people ran in. The security locked the doors and kept us safe. Didn't know whether it was just one crazy person or more.”
She added: "I saw people screaming and running and took my family into hiding."
Jussi Marttila arrived at the scene some 15 minutes later.
"There are a lot of people in the street. It's fairly calm but the atmosphere is tense," he said. "There is a strong police presence and some ambulances in the market square. The environment is very tense and rumors are going wild."
Thousands Expected to Attend Boston Protests of Right-Wing Rally
by Phil McCausland
Interest in two major protests opposed to Saturday's right-wing “free speech” assembly in a Boston park has swelled in the aftermath of the deadly white nationalist rally in Virginia last weekend.
The “Boston Free Speech Rally” — organized by a coalition of groups calling themselves "libertarian" and "conservative" — has been on the books since late July and the protests were organized not long after by ANSWER Coalition Boston and the local chapter of Black Lives Matter (BLM).
But since a group of neo-Nazis, white supremacists and Ku Klux Klan members took to the streets in Charlottesville, Virginia — ostensibly to protest the planned removal of a Confederate statue — the expected attendance by protesters has grown substantially.
“It went from a few hundred to well over 1,000 to now roughly 3,000 pretty quickly,” said ANSWER Coalition Boston organizer Nino Brown. “There are about 10,000 interested in our event, according to Facebook.”
A BLM-organized demonstration called “Fight Supremacy” experienced the same growth, raising more than $20,000 by Thursday night and suddenly expecting more than 10,000 attendees.
But city and state officials warned Friday that they have a plan in place in case violence breaks out in Boston's downtown. They said at a news conference that over 500 police officers, including some undercover and with cameras, will be on patrol, they will search people with backpacks, and close roads to traffic.
"If anything gets out of hand, we will shut it down," said Mayor Marty Walsh. He added that police are anticipating 200 or more protesters on both sides, and urged people to remain peaceful.
The BLM group noted in a statement that Charlottesville served as a “glaring” reminder, but noted they planned to address more nuanced forms of intolerance and bigotry.
“While it is our intention to send a message to those who would subject marginalized communities to domestic white terrorism, hate speech, and violence, we also stand in opposition to the most insidious and deadly forms of white supremacy,” BLM Boston said in a statement. “These include, but are not limited to: mass incarceration, income inequality, anti-immigration initiatives, police and local law enforcement, and housing and employment discrimination.”
ANSWER Coalition also emphasized that their protest would not be a one-note demonstration and would also address institutionalized and government-based elements of white supremacy and intolerance.
With the sudden influx in interest, the protest groups warned those planning to join them on Saturday that there is a risk of injury, but said they would bring "marshals," safety teams and legal observers to ensure attendees' welfare.
Black Lives Matter and ANSWER Coalition made it clear that they do not condone violence, but Antifa, the coalition of more militant left-wingers, is also expected to make an appearance, though the group lacks official permits.
While Antifa has often been present at protests across the country, they are a decentralized group and have made no statements about their presence.
“Though we don't agree with Antifa's tactics and strategy and adventurism, we respect their willingness to put their bodies on the line to fight fascists,” Brown explained.
The organizers also resent the label of “alt-left” placed on them by President Donald Trump.
“It's a distraction because we don't mirror the alt-right,” Brown said. “The alt-right is trying to hide its politics, and we have nothing to hide.”
He said racist and oppressive ideas are being buoyed by the Trump administration, which means organizing is ever more important.
“Those ideas and ideology are in the White House right now, so they have the largest platform to spread their lies and bigotry,” said Brown. “It's impossible to destroy without organizing.”
ANSWER Coalition, which also brought out thousands of protesters to Trump's inauguration in January, are working alongside the Coalition to Organize and Mobilize Boston Against Trump as well as a number of local activist and socialist organizations to hold “Stand for Solidarity” at 11 a.m. outside the Boston State House.
Black Lives Matter's protest begins at Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center in downtown Boston at 10 a.m. ET, and the organizers plan to march the two miles to Boston Common, where the so-called “Free Speech” rally will take place. ANSWER Coalition will merge its protest later in the day.
The city's Parks Department provided the “Boston Free Speech” rally with a permit after a meeting between organizers and police on Wednesday.
Officials plan to place dump trucks at intersections around Boston Common to block vehicles and plan on searching bags. No large bags, sticks or weapons are allowed.
"I didn't want them to get a permit, quite honestly," Walsh said, according to NBC Boston, "but we also believe in free speech."
The permit allows for 100 people to attend. Neither ANSWER Coalition Boston nor Black Lives Matter have acquired permits for the protests.
Walsh later told WGBH Greater Boston that he's confident there will be no violent repeats of Charlottesville, stating that he believed Saturday's group is not the same as those who appeared in Virginia.
This is the second rally planned by the Boston Free Speech Coalition. In May, the event was made up of self-described libertarians and Trump supporters as well as Oathkeepers and American Patriot Three Percenters — the latter two groups attended the “Unite the Right Rally” in Charlottesville.
John Medlar, one of the organizers, has told multiple media organizations that the rally is not intended for white supremacists, neo-Nazis or members of the Ku Klux Klan and has made it clear that the “Boston Free Speech Rally” is not for those who attended the protests in Charlottesville. He also claimed the event was for liberals and posted an email he wrote on Facebook that seems to indicate he invited Black Lives Matter's Boston chapter to send a speaker.
NBC News was not able to confirm the authenticity of the invitation.
“We are seeing this kind of rebranding of what white supremacy is since Charlottesville, but we are not buying this at all,” said ANSWER Coalition Boston organizer Kim Barzola.
A number of scheduled speakers who were supposed to attend — right-wing firebrands Gavin McInnes and Tim Gionet (also known as Baked Alaska) — decided to avoid the rally altogether in light of Charlottesville. Both have shared fears of being labeled white supremacists via social media and claimed to disavow violence.
Current speakers include congressional candidates Shiva Ayyadurai and Samson Racioppi as well as former InfoWars writer Joe Biggs. Kyle Chapman, a California activist who gained notoriety for bashing an Antifa protester with a stick and earned the nickname “Based Stickman,” will also speak.
Chapman founded the Fraternal Order of Alt Knights, which is to be the “tactical defensive arm” of McInnes' mens-rights organization, the Proud Boys.
Nevertheless, Medlar maintains the rally's aims are nonviolent and will promote free speech for all — except hate groups.
"We absolutely denounce the KKK, neo-Nazis, ID Evropa, Vanguard — all these legit hate groups. We have nothing to do with them and you don't want them here, we don't want them here,” Medlar said, according to NBC Boston. “If they want to come have their own rally, we don't want any part of it.”
After Charlottesville, colleges brace for more hate attacks
"If you're sitting on a campus where this hasn't happened, consider this your wake-up call that it might"
by Collin Binkley and Michael Kunzelman
BOSTON — Nicholas Fuentes is dropping out of Boston University and heading south, pressing ahead with his right-wing politics despite receiving online death threats.
The 19-year-old joined a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend and posted a defiant Facebook message promising that a "tidal wave of white identity is coming," less than an hour after a car plowed into a crowd of counter-protesters.
Now, he's hoping to transfer to Auburn University in Alabama.
"I'm ready to return to my base, return to my roots, to rally the troops and see what I can do down there," Fuentes said in an interview this week.
At college campuses, far-right extremist groups have found fertile ground to spread their messages and attract new followers.
For many schools, the rally in Virginia served as a warning that these groups will no longer limit their efforts to social media or to flyers furtively posted around campus.
"It seems like what might have been a little in the shadows has come into full sun, and now it's out there and exposed for everyone to see," said Sue Riseling, a former police chief at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who is executive director of the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators.
The violence in Charlottesville introduced many Americans to a new brand of hate, bred on internet message boards and migrating to the streets with increasing frequency.
On the eve of Saturday's rally, young white men wearing khakis and white polo shirts marched through the University of Virginia's campus, holding torches as they chanted racist and anti-Semitic slogans. The next morning, many donned helmets and shields and clashed with counter-protesters before a car drove into the crowd, killing a 32-year-old woman and injuring 19 others.
On Monday, Texas A&M University canceled plans for a "White Lives Matter" rally in September. On Wednesday, the University of Florida denied a request for white nationalist Richard Spencer to rent space on campus for a September event. Spencer and his supporters are promising court challenges.
Expecting more rallies to come, Riseling's group is planning a series of training events to help campus police prepare.
"If you're sitting on a campus where this hasn't happened, consider this your wake-up call that it might," she said.
Last school year, racist flyers popped up on college campuses at a rate that experts called unprecedented. The Anti-Defamation League counted 161 white supremacist "flyering incidents" on 110 college campuses between September and June. Oren Segal, director of the group's Center on Extremism, said the culprits can't be dismissed as harmless trolls.
"You might have a few that don't take it seriously. But those that do, those are the ones we're concerned about," Segal said.
Matthew Heimbach, the 26-year-old leader of the white nationalist Traditionalist Worker Party, admits that dropping leaflets on campuses is a cheap way to generate media coverage.
"A dollar worth of paper, if it triggers the right person, can become $100,000 in media attention," he said.
As a student at Towson University in Maryland, Heimbach made headlines for forming a "White Student Union" — a group the school refused to formally recognize — and for scrawling messages like "white pride" in chalk on campus sidewalks. His college years are behind him, but Heimbach still views colleges as promising venues to expand his group's ranks. College students are running four of his group's chapters, he said.
"The entire dynamic has changed," Heimbach said. "I used to be the youngest person at white nationalist meetings by 20 or 30 years."
The Foundation for the Marketplace of Ideas, a self-described "alt-right" nonprofit educational group, says it's offering legal assistance to students caught hanging up posters or flyers containing "hate facts." The "alt-right" is a fringe movement loosely mixing white nationalism, anti-Semitism and anti-immigration populism.
One of the foundation's attorneys, Jason Van Dyke, said he represented a student at Southern Methodist University who was accused last year of posting flyers on campus that said, "Why White Women Shouldn't Date Black Men." The student wasn't suspended or expelled, Van Dyke added.
"Just because speech makes someone uncomfortable or offends somebody does not make it a violation of the student code of conduct," he said.
Scores of schools publicly denounced the violence in Virginia this week, including some that learned they enroll students who attended the "Unite the Right" rally.
The University of Nevada, Reno, said it stands against bigotry and racism but concluded there's "no constitutional or legal reason" to expel Peter Cvjetanovic, a 20-year-old student and school employee who attended the rally, as an online petition demanded.
Other schools, including Washington State University, condemned the rally but didn't specifically address their students who attended it.
Campus leaders say they walk a fine line when trying to combat messages from hate groups. Many strive to protect speech even if it's offensive but also recognize hate speech can make students feel unsafe. Some schools have sought to counter extremist messages with town halls and events promoting diversity. Others try to avoid drawing attention to hate speech.
After flyers promoting white supremacy were posted at Purdue University last school year, Purdue President Mitch Daniels refused to dwell on the incident.
"This is a transparent effort to bait people into overreacting, thereby giving a minuscule fringe group attention it does not deserve, and that we decline to do," Daniels said in a statement at the time.
Cameron Padgett, a 23-year-old senior at Georgia State University, only dabbled in campus activism before he decided to organize a speaking engagement for Spencer this year. Padgett sued — successfully — for Spencer to speak at Auburn University in April after the school tried to cancel the event.
"My motivation from the beginning was just free speech," he said.
Padgett calls himself an "identitarian" — not a white nationalist — and insists "advocating for the interests of white people" doesn't make him a racist. Padgett said he hasn't faced harassment for working with Spencer and doesn't fear any.
"There are a lot of people who just sit behind keyboards," he said. "But what are we doing this for if no one wants to show their face?"
At Boston University, Fuentes says he met a few others with similar views — he considers himself a "white advocate" — but mostly found political kinship online. He hosts his own YouTube show and is prolific on social media, but when he heard about the "Unite the Right" rally, he saw it as a chance to network in the real world.
"It was going from online to actually physically assembling somewhere," he said. "We shake hands, we look people in the eye. We actually have some solidarity in the movement."
So, along with a friend from Chicago, Fuentes booked a flight and headed to Virginia.
6 police officers shot in 3 U.S. cities Friday night; 2 dead
by David Caplan and Morgan Winsor
Two policemen have died after six law enforcement officers were shot in three different U.S. cities on Friday night, their respective agencies have confirmed.
In central Florida, two officers with the Kissimmee Police Department were shot and killed, according to police chief Jeffrey O'Dell.
Officer Matthew Baxter, a three-year veteran, died from his wound. The other officer, 10-year veteran Sgt. Sam Howard, was initially in "grave critical condition" but died from his injuries Saturday afternoon, O'Dell said.
Earlier, the police chief announced they had arrested suspect Everett Glenn Miller for premeditated first degree murder. Miller was booked at Osceola County Jail in Kissimmee, which is located about 23 miles south of Orlando.
Although officers had been investigating other suspicious persons, O'Dell said they do not anticipate any other arrests or charges.
“I am so proud of the sworn and civilian members of our department by acting quickly to identify the suspect and bring him to justice. We will mourn over the next few days," the police chief said in a statement Saturday. "We will get through this and we love them for what they do."
Details of the exchange between the two officers and the suspect prior to the shooting remain under investigation, O'Dell said.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott said Baxter was a "married father of three and a dedicated law enforcement hero in central Florida."
"My heart breaks for Matthew's family. May Matthew's service and the service of our law enforcement community be a constant reminder of the sacrifice of those who serve to keep us safe," Scott said in a statement Saturday. "Following last night's shooting I have been in touch with local law enforcement and community officials to let them know that our state supports them every step of the way."
President Donald Trump reacted to the shootings in Kissimmee, saying in a tweet early Saturday that the police department is in his "thoughts and prayers," adding "We are with you!"
Meanwhile, in northeastern Florida, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office announced that two of its officers were shot by one suspect who was armed with a "high powered rifle" late Friday night.
The officers were responding to 911 call about an attempted suicide at a home around 11 p.m. EDT. They heard gunfire coming from inside the house and attempted to make entry. But as they approached, the suspect began shooting at the officers through the door, according to the sheriff's office.
One officer was shot in both hands, while the other was shot in the stomach. One remains in critical condition and the other is in stable condition, the sheriff's office said.
The suspect was shot and killed by officers.
Three other people inside the house at the time of the incident hid in a back bedroom for safety. They are all safe, according to the sheriff's office.
"Let me be very clear -- last night's violence against our law enforcement community is reprehensible and has no place in our state," Gov. Scott said in a statement Saturday. "Florida has zero tolerance for violence and we will not accept hatred for one second."
Hundreds of miles away in western Pennsylvania, two Pennsylvania State Police troopers were shot in Fairchance on Friday night. Both troopers are in stable condition and expected to survive, according to Pennsylvania State Police spokesperson Melinda Bondarenka.
The suspect in that shooting is dead.
"Two state troopers shot and [the] suspect is deceased," Bondarenka told ABC News. "We are not releasing any more details at this time."
According to Uniontown Hospital spokesperson Josh Krysak, one of the injured troopers was brought there for treatment.
"I can confirm that one state police trooper was brought to Uniontown Hospital for treatment of injuries suffered in a shooting incident in Fairchance this evening," Krysak told ABC News. "The injuries suffered by this officer are not life threatening."
Officials: Slain officers didn't have a chance to return fire
by the Associated Press
KISSIMMEE, Fla. — A police officer in Florida died from his injuries Saturday, a day after his colleague was killed when a suspect fired at them during a scuffle while they were on patrol. The suspect was later arrested at a bar.
Sgt. Sam Howard died Saturday afternoon at a hospital where he had been taken following Friday night's attack in Kissimmee, Florida, located south of the theme park hub of Orlando.
Officer Matthew Baxter died Friday night, a short time after authorities say he was shot by 45-year-old Everett Miller.
Miller faces a charge of first-degree murder for the killing of Baxter. Authorities hadn't yet said what charges he could face for Howard's death.
During a patrol late Friday of a neighborhood with a history of drug activity, Baxter was “checking out” three people, including Miller, when the officer got into a scuffle with Miller. Howard, his sergeant, responded as backup, said Kissimmee Police Chief Jeff O'Dell.
The officers didn't have an opportunity to return fire. They weren't wearing body cameras.
Sheriff's deputies with a neighboring law enforcement agency later tracked Miller down to a bar and approached him. Miller started reaching toward his waistband when the deputies tackled and subdued him, O'Dell said.
They found a handgun and revolver on him.
“They were extremely brave and heroic actions taken by the deputies,” O'Dell said.
The police chief said Miller was taken to jail wearing Baxter's handcuffs.
Authorities originally said they believed there were four suspects, but the chief said Saturday that no other arrests are anticipated.
Miller, 45, was a Marine veteran and was recently involuntarily committed for a mental evaluation by the Osceola County Sheriff's Office. The early stages of the investigation shows that Miller had made threats to law enforcement on Facebook, O'Dell said.
Baxter, 27, had been with the Kissimmee Police Department for three years. He was married to another Kissimmee police officer and they have four children.
Howard, 36, has served with the Kissimmee Police Department for 10 years. He and his wife have one child, O'Dell said.
“They are two wonderful men, family men,” O'Dell said. “They are two committed to doing it the right way.”
Separately, two other officers were injured late Friday in Jacksonville, Florida, after police responded to reports of an attempted suicide at a home where the mother of the man's child, their 19-month-old toddler, the woman's mother and a family friend were thought to be in danger. One of the officers was shot in both hands and the other was shot in the stomach.
Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams said Saturday that officers Michael Fox and Kevin Jarrell are in stable condition following Friday night's confrontation with an armed Derrick Brabham, who was killed by the officers.
In Pennsylvania, two state troopers were shot and a suspect killed outside a small-town store south of Pittsburgh on Friday night.
In a suburb of Birmingham, Alabama, a suspect was fatally shot and an officer injured after they got into a struggle.
President Trump tweeted early Saturday that his thoughts and prayers were with the Kissimmee Police Department. “We are with you!” he said.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott tweeted he was “heartbroken” by the attacks on the officers.
U.S. Rep. Darren Soto said Saturday that he will ask for American flags to be flown over the U.S. Capitol and he plans to ask for a moment of silence on the floor of the U.S. House to honor the officers.
The officers were fatally shot in a district where the top prosecutor says she will no longer seek the death penalty. State Attorney Aramis Ayala announced earlier this year that she wouldn't seek the death penalty, explaining it's not a deterrent and it drags on for years for the victims' relatives. The announcement came as her office was building a case against Markeith Loyd, who is charged with the fatal shooting of an Orlando Police lieutenant.
Gov. Rick Scott on Saturday evening issued an executive order removing the case from Ayala and reassigning it.
“Today, I am using my executive authority to reassign this case to State Attorney Brad King to ensure the victims of last night's attack and their families receive the justice they deserve,” Scott said in the order.
A spokeswoman for Ayala didn't respond to an email inquiry seeking comment.
Terror in Spain Shows Islamic State Is Down Not Out
A Q&A with defense analyst Tony Cordesman about his new report on terrorism trends across Europe.
by Tobin Harshaw
Spaniards have long lamented that Las Ramblas, the winding main artery of Barcelona, has devolved over the years from the tree-lined strolling place of Catalan flaneurs into a tourist trap filled by kitsch vendors and a cheesy sex museum. Now it will be associated with the deaths of 13 people when a van driven by a jihadi terrorist smashed into the crowded walkway on Thursday. More than 100 people were injured. It was one of several attacks along Spain's Mediterranean coast, including an explosion at a house suspected of being a bomb factory. Islamic State has claimed responsibility.
In the litany of European terrorist attacks over the last three years -- Paris, Brussels, Manchester -- the last three days in Spain were the least deadly. But in terms of European security -- and the threat still posed by a terrorist group thought to be on its last legs in Syria -- they are just as worrisome. And they are also just the tip of the iceberg: Last year, Europe suffered 47 terrorist attacks that killed 142 and injured 379. More than 90 other plots either failed or were foiled by police and security services. Nearly all were the work of Islamic extremists.
This data comes courtesy of a very timely report on trends in European terrorism from Anthony Cordesman, the Arleigh A. Burke chair in Strategy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. While Cordesman and his team didn't come up with the data -- the figures come from IHS-Jane's and the University of Maryland's excellent center for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (or Start) -- their study provides crucial context of how the threat has changed over time, particularly between 2011 and 2016. On Friday I contacted Cordesman to see how the Catalonian attacks fit into those larger patterns.
Tony Cordesman is the reigning polymath of the defense-policy elite. He has written more than 50 books for both the professional and lay audiences, and in the last year alone he has put out reports on stabilizing Iraq after Islamic State; the dollar cost of America's current wars; China's emerging power; the Gulf's new "Game of Thrones"; key metrics and developments in the Afghan War; the postwar rebuilding of Syria; hard choices in the war in Yemen; the national security economics of the Middle East -- well, that only takes us back to March, but you get the idea. Here is a lightly edited transcript of our discussion:
Tobin Harshaw: Let's start with Barcelona. I think this series of attacks in Spain caught most Americans by surprise. The 2004 Madrid bombings, as horrible as they were with 191 deaths and 1,800 injures, are a distant memory. Were you surprised to see the jihadists choose it this week?
Tony Cordesman: No one who looks at the data in detail over time sees clearly predictable patterns. If you look at trends from 1970 to 2016, you see just the opposite: sudden shifts in patterns of violence, targets, methods of attack, and weapons by country. 1
We also have no idea of how the Spanish counterterrorism forces saw the threat and reacted to the risk of vehicle attacks between the rise of this method in 2004 and the attacks in Barcelona.
A detailed review of the data on terrorism shows that terrorists innovate and adapt because they have to. It was clearly likely by mid-2016 that vehicle attacks would rise in every country with high political visibility and media coverage, but Spain is only one of many, and some early indicators show that the attacks in Barcelona suddenly shifted methods of attack and target locations when they lost their explosives.
We need to remember that we never saw Sept. 11 coming in the U.S. and largely forced terrorist to chose other targets and methods of attack afterwards. This isn't a "war" you can "win" by predicting how it will change.
TH: Of course Spain has a lot of experience with terrorism -- you logged 3,245 incidents since 1970, primarily by Basque separatists. How did this prepare the Spanish authorities, and people, for the latest murders? Are we worried about Islamic State and other jihadist groups possibly linking up with established non-Muslim groups in other countries?
TC: If you look at the data, you see all too clearly that the patterns of locations of terrorism keep changing, and that this is an ongoing struggle that reaches far beyond ISIS. Historically, terrorist and extremists have also always been willing to find strange bedfellows, ranging from outside governments to drug lords.
The real risk, however, is that some movement or figure can unite extremist and jihadist movements on a broad enough level to be truly dangerous. The ideological core here is a level of extremism at the far margins of Islam, just like extremism in Israel, and Christian extremism in the U.S. and Europe.
Historically, such movements tend to fragment and limit themselves, and there are literally well over a hundred jihadist movements recognized by the State Department. Some, like ISIS, al-Qaeda and the Taliban, however, are already far larger than others. No one can predict whether a truly charismatic leader will unify many such movements, and this is the most serious threat
TH: Looking more broadly at your data of both completed and failed incidents from 2011 through 2016, the U.K. is far and away the most common target, including more than half last year. We know it has a large Muslim population, but so do France, Germany and the Low Countries. Why is Britain so vulnerable?
TC: Part of the problem is reporting. Britain is particularly honest about its national statistics, although scarcely perfect. The other key issue, however, is that the number of incidents does not measure the number of casualties or killed, or track Islamic terrorism.
The incident-by-incident chronology in the Start database shows extensive low-level terrorism in Northern Ireland, and a few "nationalist" incidents in Scotland and possibly Wales. Many have unknown perpetrators, and some are absurdist actions by groups like the Earth Liberation Movement -- although none quite reach the level of two of the 14 pre-Barcelona incidents in Spain between 2011 and 2014 -- which Start classify as "anti-clerical, pro-sex toy."
We must never forget that terrorism occurs for a wide range of reasons in free societies -- many of which cause no casualties. Even in the U.S., Islamist terrorism killed more Americans than hate crimes between 2011 and 2016, but hate crimes physically injured far more Americans and innocent Muslims than terrorism. As Charlottesville shows, we need to look far beyond Islam or at least look far more closely and see ourselves in the mirror.
TH: As you compiled the data for your study, did anything strike you as surprising?
TC: No. Having worked with U.S. officials, I was all too aware that the statistics involved are far too uncertain when they have to be estimated from unclassified reporting, and the data are usually sharply contradictory if they are based on independent estimates.
One critical failure in the U.S. is that our National Counterterrorism Center abandoned the effort to create a meaningful unclassified estimate, and we now rely on highly uncertain media sources. The uncertainty level can easily reach 50 percent in some countries or categories. There is exactly zero presidential and congressional responsibility or effort to publicly ensure that we have accurate data, and real transparency that attempts to accurately measure the global patterns in terrorism, or measure the effectiveness of our counterterrorism efforts.
You have to do the best you can with the data available, and you have to realize that they can be grossly different or wrong.
TH: The terrorists who rammed into the crowds along Las Ramblas in Barcelona eventually jumped out of the van and attempted to kill passersby with knives. We saw a similar approach in the London Bridge attack in March and on Friday in Turku, Finland. All told, use of firearms dropped from 57 incidents in 2015 to just six last year. Why the change in tactics?
TC: Statistically, many incidents reflect a change in tactics from cases to case. Two incidents don't set a pattern. The U.K. also has the best gun controls in Europe and knives have become the weapon of choice.
The data on the Barcelona attacks to date indicate that the perpetrators were originally seeking to use explosives and suddenly had to shift when they lost their explosives in another area. They may have rushed into van and knife attacks in a hurry, or realized that knifings were quick and give far less of a "signature" locating the terrorist than gunfire. We'll have to wait and see what more evidence surfaces.
TH: The data show that France is the only country in which arrests have increased over the last three years. Is that because there are more plotters, or are the security services getting better?
TC: French law permits much more active surveillance than in many other countries, and France has experience dating back to the days of the Algerian crisis in the 1950s and 1960s, and that was updated when a series of largely Arab and Islamic riots took place around Paris. Moreover, French politics led the government to be far more willing to act than in most other European governments, and some arrests may have been more for political visibility that practical reasons.
The key question is whether the arrests did more to fight terrorism than provoke anger and resentment and cause more alienation and terrorism. Overreaction doesn't simply lead to human-rights abuses; it often feeds extremism and terrorism, and it is a key reason why extremist movements like ISIS and al-Qaeda use it to try to breed Islamophobia and hatred between the Muslim world and the West.
Valid and effective counterterrorism is critical to our security. Overreaction for the sake of politics, and hatred and prejudice undermine it.
TH: In the aftermath of the Bataclan attack in Paris in 2015, airport/metro attack in Brussels in 2016, and Manchester concert attack this May, there was much concern over poor counterterrorism coordination between European countries and the various police and security agencies within them, as well as Europol. Do you feel this is a major problem? Will Brexit potentially make things worse?
TC: European officials and experts make it all too clear in private that the level of coordination is still far too poor even within given countries, and coordination between Britain and other European states was too weak even before Brexit. There is still far too much to be done.
The problem is that nothing could be more sensitive politically or reflect the real-world differences between states. The EU and many national officials are trying, but it is not easy to cross security and jurisdictional lines at the best of times, and many aspects of actual coordination affect serious differences in legal systems and views of human rights.
TH: Finally, with Islamic State dead in Mosul and on the verge of defeat in Syria, do you think the terrorist threat to Europe and the U.S. will diminish or expand?
TC: The defeat of the physical "caliphate" in Iraq and Syria will remove the threat of what would have been the equivalent of a terrorist state, but it will also disperse thousands of experienced local and foreign fighters with a strong incentive to strike at the West. At least in the short run, it could increase such attacks.
ISIS is also only a small part of the problem today. The Start database used by the U.S. State Department in its annual country reports on counterterrorism indicates that ISIS was responsible for 4,343 incidents in 2011 to 2016 -- from its rise to the end of last year. This was 6.1 percent of the world total during the same period and 7.2 percent of the total in the Middle East and North Africa. Defeating the ISIS caliphate will not begin to defeat terrorism.
More than that, it will do nothing to reduce the causes of terrorism in the Islamic and other parts of the world: massive population growth; economic development and major unemployment problems; resentment of secular governments that favor a few and are intensely corrupt; the feeling that state-supported religious figures support the state and not religion; and deep internal sectarian, ethnic and tribal divisions in many states.
There are good reasons why almost no one actually involved in the fight against terrorism believes this will be over in less than a couple of decades, and the current impact of the ISIS caliphate must be kept in perspective.
From the Department of Homeland Security
Did you know? Four Ways DHS Is Working to Prevent Terrorism at Home
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) employs over 240,000 professionals dedicated to securing our borders, safeguarding aviation, responding to major disasters, defending our digital networks, and more. While the Department's duties are extensive, the goal is clear: keeping America safe.
The Department's most vital role is to protect our nation against terrorism, both foreign and domestic. This includes confronting everything from global jihadists to violent white supremacists, who threaten U.S. safety and security from within our own neighborhoods. Their violent rhetoric and hateful ideologies have no place in our society.
Here are four ways you might not know that DHS combats domestic terrorism:
1. DHS partners with organizations across the country to stop violent extremists from radicalizing and recruiting in our communities.
The Department's Office for Community Partnerships (OCP) works to confront domestic terrorism by making communities more aware of the threat through targeted briefings, exercises, workshops, and training. The Office also helps them fight back against violent extremist propaganda and promote early intervention. OCP supports and enhances efforts by faith leaders, local government officials, and communities to address the root causes of the terror. OCP also operates the Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Grant Program, which is helping to drive innovative solutions to deal with the problem at the grassroots level. This year 26 recipients nationwide were awarded CVE grants, 16 of which have applicability to mitigating all forms of violent extremism, including violent white supremacists.
2. The Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) disseminates relevant, timely intelligence information to keep our homeland safe.
I&A is charged with delivering unique intelligence to policymakers and partners nationwide—including to help them better understand and address issues like domestic terrorism. The Office works closely with state and local authorities and the private sector to ensure they are up-to-speed on domestic terrorist trends, tactics, and situations so that they can respond quickly and effectively. I&A also facilitates information from the local level back to Washington to make sure national-level decision-makers can respond quickly to emerging terror threats.
3. The Office for State and Local Law Enforcement (OSLLE) works directly with first responders who are on the frontlines to prevent, prepare for, protect against, and respond to acts of terrorism.
OSLLE drives proactive engagement with local law enforcement throughout the United States to respond to the unique homeland security challenges they face. This includes domestic terrorism. In communities big and small, OSLLE ensures law enforcement officials have the data and strategic insights needed to counter hateful groups that try to intimidate others through violence and do harm to innocent civilians.
4. DHS advances broader public awareness programs and activities to be a step ahead of violent extremists.
There are five key elements of our information-sharing architecture that strengthen communication throughout the homeland security community:
National Network of Fusion Centers: Serve as focal points within the state and local environment for the receipt, analysis, gathering, and sharing of threat-related information.
Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) Initiative: Implements a unified process for reporting, tracking, and accessing SAR in a manner that protects the privacy and civil liberties of Americans while also ensuring we can connect-the-dots to detect and disrupt terror threats early.
National Terrorism Advisory System: Effectively communicates information about terrorism by providing timely information to the public, government agencies, first responders, airports and other transportation hubs, and the private sector.
If You See Something, Say Something™: The Department's nation-wide public awareness campaign – a simple and effective program to raise public awareness of indicators of terrorism and violent crime, and to emphasize the importance of reporting suspicious activity to the proper authorities.
Homeland Security Information Network: Serves as a trusted network for homeland security mission operations to exchange data in real-time and across jurisdictions.
These are just some of the ways the Department is equipped to fight back against domestic terrorist groups and their supporters, and DHS leaders are committed to making sure Americans are aware, alert, and ready to respond to keep our country safe.
From the FBI
On the Front Line
Public Access Line Marks Five Years
On April 16, 2013, the FBI's Public Access Line call center was on high alert. Just 24 hours earlier, two homemade bombs detonated near the finish line of the annual Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring hundreds of runners and spectators. Customer service representatives fielded scores of calls from eyewitnesses with information that could help the FBI and local law enforcement track down the bombers.
Less than a year after opening its doors, the Bureau's central contact center for all the calls and public leads made to the FBI's 56 field offices was playing a key role in a major investigation.
Since 2012, the Public Access Line has received more than two million calls that have resulted in thousands of actionable tips and leads for special agents and intelligence analysts. The unit, which is part of the Bureau's Criminal Justice Information Systems (CJIS) Division in Clarksburg, West Virginia, was established five years ago this month.
Whether it's a tip on a missing child, a bomb threat, or financial fraud, the access line is responsible for receiving and vetting information from the public, then disseminating it to the field. In addition to the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013, the unit has been essential in other major events—like the mass shootings in San Bernardino, California in 2015 and at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida in 2016. For major cases such as these, the FBI uses a dedicated tip line—1-800-CALL-FBI—as a primary means to collect nationwide leads and tips.
“Over the past five years, we've assisted in numerous cases that have led to arrests and the capturing of fugitives,” said Elizabeth Snyder, a supervisory special agent with the Public Access Line unit. “The work we do saves time for agents so they can continue to conduct their investigative work.”
Prior to 2012, field offices handled their own calls, which placed a heavy burden on Bureau resources. The access line was born out of the necessity to streamline investigations by centralizing how public information is gathered. Today, the unit vets every tip and complaint that is made to FBI field offices. And it doesn't stop at a phone call. Customer service representatives also assist with online leads that are captured through the FBI's web portal, tips.fbi.gov.
“We're the voice of the FBI,” said Hope Tomasik, a lead customer service representative with the Public Access Line unit. “The access line is on the front line serving a very important role for the Bureau. We're building those initial relationships with the public so information can get out into the field in a timely manner.”
So far this fiscal year, Public Access Line personnel have answered more than 617,000 calls and processed in excess of 611,000 online tips. Their efforts have saved countless hours of investigative work for FBI field offices.
Currently, the unit has more than 150 members on its staff fielding public leads and tips 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Representatives are not only trained to gather integral information to aid in potential investigations, they're also taught essential listening and communication skills. This level of training is especially important during times when public assistance is needed the most.
“When something devastating happens, we're here,” said Jason Beyer, a customer service representative with the access center. “We impact the public more so than a lot of people would imagine.”