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.
Charles Manson, one of nation's most infamous mass killers, dead at 83
by Doug Stanglin
Charles Manson, wild-eyed leader of a cult "family" who killed seven people in a bloody rampage in Los Angeles that shocked the nation in 1969, died of natural causes Sunday, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Manson, 83, had struggled with gastrointestinal problems and been shuttled back and forth to hospitals in recent years. He had been serving multiple life sentences at California's Corcoran State Prison.
The ghastly "Tate-LaBianca killings" — a murderous blend of 60s sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll — were carried out over two nights in upscale Los Angeles neighborhoods. Manson did not actually participate in the killings, but directed them.
Vincent Bugliosi, who prosecuted the Manson case and later wrote a bestselling book, Helter Skelter, about the killings, said in 2009 that the "very name 'Manson' has become a metaphor for evil," The Los Angeles Times reported.
"He has come to represent the dark and malignant side of humanity, and for whatever reason, there is a side of human nature that is fascinated by pure, unalloyed evil," he said.
Among the victims butchered on Manson's orders on the first night of carnage, Aug. 8, 1969, were actress Sharon Tate, 26, the pregnant wife of movie director Roman Polanski, coffee heiress Abigail Folger, 25, celebrity hair stylist Jay Sebring, 35, writer Wojciech Frykowski, 32, and Steven Parent, a teenager visiting the house in Benedict Canyon, above Sunset Boulevard.
The Manson "family" killers, including protege Charles "Tex" Watson, Susan Atkins and Patricia Krenwinkel, shot their victims and stabbed them more than 100 times. Before leaving, they wrote the word "pig" in blood on the front door.
Manson, in comments to his followers, dubbed the rampage "Helter Skelter," after the Beatles song of the same name, and said he wanted the murders to start to a race war by leaving clues pointing to black killers.
The house previously belonged to Terry Melcher, a TV and record producer who once declined to sign Manson, an aspiring musician-songwriter, to a contract. Although Melcher no longer lived at the house in late summer 1969, Manson sent his cult followers to the location to kill anyone there.
On the second night, two other "family" members, Leslie Van Houten and Steve "Clem" Grogan, accompanied the original band of killers to the Los Feliz neighborhood in L.A. There they stabbed to death Leno LaBianca, a wealthy supermarket executive, and his wife, Rosemary.
Manson, then 34, had been unhappy with the "messy" operation at the Tate house and gave precise instructions for the second killings, instructing his followers to bind the couple with lamp cords and cover their heads with pillowcases before stabbing them repeatedly.
Manson and the five members of his “family” were convicted in 1971 of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder. They were all sentenced to death. The verdicts were commuted to life when the death penalty was briefly outlawed the following year.
Another member of the cult, Linda Kasabian, had driven the killers to the LaBianca house because she was the only person with a valid driver's license, according to The Los Angeles Times. She received immunity for testifying against the group.
Bugliosi, the prosecutor, said the Manson "family" — which operated out of an abandoned ranch in the Mojave Desert— was likely responsible for as many as 35 killings in and around Los Angeles.
In the trial, Bugliosi denounced Manson as the “dictatorial maharajah of a tribe of bootlicking slaves.”
During the seven-month trial, Manson continued to hold sway over his cult members, both in the courtroom and outside the building. Some of the young defendants giggled and sang during the proceedings. At one point, Manson arrived in court with an "x" carved in his forehead. His "family" followed suit the next day.
In testimony at his trial, Manson denied the charges and described himself as a chameleon-like character: "Charlie never projects himself ... People see in Charlie their own reflection ... Linda Kasabian testified against me because she saw me as the father she never liked ... I do what love tells me."
Jeff Guinn, author of The Life and Times of Charles Manson said his two-year research into Manson's background, including interviews with his relatives, debunks any notion of Manson as mystical or magical figure.
"He's a gifted psychopath who's a talented liar who's lied about just about everything," he told USA TODAY in 2013.
"I recognize Manson as an intelligent man," Guinn said. "He's uneducated but he's not stupid, but from his childhood he's been a violent con artist; that has never changed. But I do not consider him in any way insane. Which makes what he did even more horrifying."
In prison, Manson was denied parole 12 times. At one hearing, the parole board commissioner said Manson, who turned the mark on his forehead into a swastika, had amassed more than 100 serious disciplinary violations, including threatening a police officer, possession of weapons and possession of a cellphone.
In 2014, Manson obtained a marriage license to wed Afton Elaine Burton, a 26-year-old fan. But the license later expired without the pair marrying.
Manson, then named Charles Milles Maddox, was born in Cincinnati in 1934 to a single, 16-year-old girl involved in petty crime and prostitution, according to Biography.
In a lengthy interview with Tom Snyder more than 35 years ago, Manson recounted spending most of his early years in jail and reform schools.
"I never thought I was normal, never tried to be normal," he said. At the schools, he said he had to "lay down and get my ass whipped until I couldn't walk."
Manson recalled a dysfunctional childhood in which his mother once hit a man with a bottle, then grabbed her son and fled for Indiana. A drifter in and out of jail and reform school for crimes such as theft and check forgery, Manson eventually made his way to the West Coast where he served 10 years in Washington state prison for pimping and passing stolen checks.
After his release, he drifted south to California, attracting scores of followers, mostly dropouts and misfits on the streets of San Francisco. He eventually settled down with a hard-core group of followers, mostly young girls, at a deserted ranch in the San Fernando Valley where he held court with a mix of drugs, group sex and homegrown prophecies, portraying himself as Jesus Christ.
Over the years, Manson fathered at least two sons, including Charles Milles Manson, Jr., who killed himself with a shotgun on a desolate road in Colorado in 1993, CNN reported. The younger Manson son, Jason Freeman, who changed his name to avoid the "family curse" of being named Manson, said he believed his brother "couldn't live down who his father was."
Deaths of mentally ill at hands of police revive calls for more training and new approaches
by Justin Horwath
After a 24-year-old man with schizophrenia injured his social worker with a knife and barricaded himself inside his apartment, members of the Santa Fe Police Department's crisis negotiation team responded.
Police reports written by more than two dozen officers depict the tense standoff. Officers arrived at a central Santa Fe apartment complex off Miguel Chavez Road, the reports say, with several strapping on riot gear and rifles near an armored vehicle called a BearCat. A sergeant trained in crisis negotiation waited for a cellphone to arrive from the police station so negotiators could toss it into Apartment 1205 in hopes of communicating with the troubled man inside, Anthony Benavidez.
Two other members of the department's crisis team, including Sgt. Aaron Ortiz, were on their way when they learned they no longer would be needed. Ortiz later wrote in his report that he heard a radio dispatcher say “shots were fired and the suspect was down.”
Benavidez died at a nearby hospital soon after two SWAT officers fired 17 shots at him through a window frame.
Santa Fe police Lt. Ben Valdez, one of the on-scene commanders, said in an interview after the incident that he sent in the five-member SWAT team to smash Benavidez's window to “open up other options” in order to stop the man's “ongoing deadly behavior.”
Weapons prevailed over words in ending the standoff — an example of how police, even with a greater emphasis on training for such situations, still struggle to balance the dichotomy between force and de-escalation.
Despite dispatching trained crisis negotiators to the scene on the morning of July 19, the city of Santa Fe likely will face a wrongful death lawsuit over the encounter; an attorney representing Benavidez's family members said Thursday the family will sue the city.
In addition to the police crisis negotiators, four mental health professionals with Presbyterian Medical Services — who together have more than 90 years of experience in the field — also were on the scene that day to help Benavidez, The New Mexican has learned.
Cops and mental health experts agree encounters between officers and people with mental illness are among the most difficult situations for police — and that such confrontations often end badly. Studies show that between a quarter and half of people fatally shot by police across the nation have been diagnosed with a mental illness. And local law enforcement officials say as many as half of their encounters are with people experiencing mental health or substance abuse issues.
The Benavidez shooting notwithstanding, a review by The New Mexican of police training materials and interviews with law enforcement officials, as well as medical and mental health professionals, show there is the beginning of a cultural shift among the state's law enforcement leaders, who are now advocating for more training for officers in community policing, de-escalation and mental health. Much of the push for a different way to handle such incidents follows the outcry over the Albuquerque Police Department's fatal shooting in 2014 of a homeless camper with schizophrenia, James Boyd.
In Santa Fe County, law enforcement agencies are dispatching trained clinicians to encounters with people suffering from untreated mental illness and drug addiction. The teams are called Mobile Crisis Response Units.
The “hospitals on wheels” have helped de-escalate such encounters, academic studies have shown. And the clinicians said they serve as on-the-job trainers for Santa Fe officers who are picking up on techniques employed by medical professionals with graduate degrees.
The New Mexican 's review shows all incoming Santa Fe police officers receive a basic, 40-hour training course at the New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy in ways to de-escalate confrontations. A national study of 42 states published in January says the length of such training — out of 675 hours of total training over 16 weeks — is at the top of the range for all states surveyed.
Of the 167 officers at the Santa Fe Police Department, 67 were certified as officers after the 2011 law requiring the 40-hour crisis intervention training went into effect, according to records provided by department spokesman Greg Gurulé. (Some officers also go through an FBI training course in crisis intervention).
Once on the job, New Mexico's law enforcement officers also are required to take a two-hour course in de-escalation and mental health once every two years.
One training video employed at the academy teaches officers to be more empathetic than authoritarian with suspects in crisis, and it informs officers that their very presence at a scene may escalate a situation.
“Right from the get-go out of the gate you can be increasing the level of anxiety just by showing up,” said Paul Lilley, a training instructor.
Matthew Hirschtritt, a resident physician at the University of California-San Francisco School of Medicine who regularly treats people with schizophrenia, said psychotic disorders are often characterized by paranoia and hallucinations, both auditory and visual. Other possible symptoms include delusions, depression, lethargy and delays in speaking and in processing information.
“Obviously, for any of us, even if we don't suffer from psychosis, having armored vehicles and guns outside of your home is alarming,” Hirschtritt said. “It's even more so, it's magnified, if you're paranoid and you believe that people are out to get you and that people are listening to you, or are trying to insert thoughts into your mind, or are able to steal thoughts from your mind.”
Hirschtritt said the San Francisco Police Department recently launched an effort to train 100 percent of its officers in crisis intervention.
New Mexico State Police Chief Pete Kassetas, whose department is investigating the Benavidez shooting, said he believes a 40-hour training block at the Law Enforcement Academy provides adequate preparation for such encounters. But Kassetas added that the two-hour block of crisis intervention and mental health training that officers are required to take every two years is not sufficient.
“We can and we should do more,” he said.
To illustrate his point, Kassetas emailed The New Mexican a state police mental health strategy update, saying his goal is to have 25 percent of his force trained in crisis intervention. According to the document, 49 state police officers who received such training responded to 61 calls for service from January to September.
A state police spokeswoman said Friday there are approximately 650 officers on the force.
It used to be that cops were “taught to apply pressure and always move forward,” Kassetas said. “And now we're teaching officers to be smarter, to slow them down.”
Santa Fe police Chief Patrick Gallagher agreed, adding, “There's never enough training on that issue.”
Gallagher, who recently accepted the Las Cruces police chief position, acknowledged that time and distance work in officers' favor in such situations. But he said negotiation in Benavidez's case was complicated by two factors: Police had no ability to communicate with the man as he was barricaded inside the apartment — an attempt to call a cellphone number listed for Benavidez failed because the number did not work. And Benavidez had tossed potentially dangerous objects from the apartment window, including a propane tank with a firework attached to it and a bottle of liquid that smelled like bleach or ammonia.
“Had that not occurred, we could still be there today talking to him, and I'd be fine with it,” Gallagher said in a September interview.
Local law enforcement do have significant help in dealing with people with mental illness. Since July 2015, local first responders have used the Mobile Crisis Response teams. The teams are run by Presbyterian Medical Services through a four-year, $450,000 grant from Santa Fe County. The units have responded to 523 calls in the county over 20 months, helping police stabilize individuals in a mental health crisis and link them with mental health resources after such encounters.
There also is a unit connected to Presbyterian Medical Services' Program of Assertive Community Treatment — a more intensive case-management team that cares for about 65 enrollees suffering from the most severe mental illness — people who often encounter police because of lack of treatment. The treatment program is separate from the Mobile Crisis Response Units, but its teams often include the same medical staffers who ensure clients are getting the mental health treatment they need.
Benavidez was one of those clients, said Mark Boschelli a clinical social worker and psychologist who administers the teams, and who was on the scene the day of the Benavidez shooting.
The Presbyterian Assertive Community Treatment program in Santa Fe consists of mental health professionals in psychiatry, nursing, counseling and peer advocacy — someone also living with mental illness.
Boschelli has been dealing with crisis situations involving people suffering from untreated mental illness for decades. Asked if he believes Santa Fe police are properly trained to handle such situations, Boschelli said even if officers receive the 40-hour basic training in de-escalation, “most of these officers have been out of the academy for a long period of time.”
“Second of all, quite frankly, their job is to protect us from criminals,” he said. “That's why they got in the business.”
But Boschelli said law enforcement officers are picking up techniques used by Presbyterian Medical Services' clinicians, and he's seen about 40 percent of them display a keen interest in caring for individuals with untreated mental illness.
“So, most of the time they will stand around and pick up pointers, and they will use those skills later on,” Boschelli said. “We've been surprised by that, but it's been pleasant to watch.”
The encounter with Benavidez in July is the first time since July 2012, when the program launched, that a local Presbyterian team has responded to a call that ended with police shooting a client, Boschelli said.
Normally, he said, the teams see success in de-escalating such encounters by making them safer for both law enforcement and clients. Reduced hospitalizations, jail stays and suicide attempts countywide are among the teams' successes, Boschelli said.
“This is why it was such an aberrant experience,” Boschelli said of the fatal shooting. “It had never happened before.”
But police say it's not easy to go with de-escalation tactics when lives are at risk; Juan Valdez, the caseworker whom Benavidez wounded with a knife, said police may have saved his life that morning. Yet he said he wishes SWAT officers would have later backed off and given more time for Benavidez — whom he had known as a quiet man who wanted to be left alone — to compose himself.
Laura Schauer Ives, one of the attorneys representing Benavidez's family, contends Santa Fe police officers should have tried harder to have meaningful communication with Benavidez — not “barking orders” at him over a loudspeaker.
“They treated this young man in a mental health crisis like he was disposable,” Ives said. “He deserved patience.”
Luz Ovalle, Benavidez's psychiatric nurse, said three of the Presbyterian professionals on the scene after Benavidez wounded Juan Valdez each asked police to let them go into the apartment alone to talk to Benavidez.
“They didn't even give us a chance,” she said.
The police department's Ben Valdez, no relation to Juan Valdez, countered that Benavidez's actions — throwing the items from the apartment, in addition to wounding Juan Valdez, according to police reports — prompted the need to send SWAT officers to break the apartment window, which had been tinted, in an effort to get a better view of Benavidez.
“One key part of crisis negotiation is you need cooperation with them,” Ben Valdez said.
Santa Fe police Lt. Paul Joye, who has been with the department for more than 10 years, is one of the roughly 100 Santa Fe officers who have not received the basic 40-hour mental health training block at the academy. He said he hopes the training requirement at the academy helps new officers more quickly identify the state of mind of a person in crisis.
And yet, Joye says, the real training comes in the field.
“At the end of the day, we aren't psychiatrists, we aren't psychologists,” Joye said. “So all we can do is work with the person based on how they're acting around us.”
Both police and advocates for training acknowledge the stakes get higher. State police are investigating Benavidez's death, and a report is expected soon. In the Boyd case, the two officers who fired at him were charged in his death, but a jury was unable to reach a verdict. The district attorney decided not to retry the case, and the U.S. Justice Department declined to bring federal civil-rights charges against them. The city of Albuquerque, however, settled with the family for $5 million.
The specter of the Boyd shooting — and the fallout from it — are palpable.
“We need to note law enforcement isn't properly equipped to handle the problems of mental illness,” wrote Elliott Guttmann, the legal director for the state Department of Public Safety in a 2016 newsletter item that discussed the Boyd shooting. “We accept that officers need to be held accountable. But state legislators also need to be involved and we need to be vocal about this. We need them for issues such as mental illness, a drug strategy, etc.”
Hirschtritt, the UC-San Francisco resident physician, noted individuals like Benavidez, when confronted by police, are likely to be frightened. At the same time, he said, officers are trying to do their job in protecting the community.
“And again, hindsight is 20/20,” Hirschtritt said. “I think this really gets to the heart of why this is a community-level intervention — and the need to really get on board before the crisis happens.”
Police officer: 'You take it one call at a time'
Department's outreach leaves impression
by Brie Handgraaf
Shortly before 2 a.m. Sunday, a child calls about an escalating fight between her mother and her mom's boyfriend. After that, Wilson Officer J. King makes a slow drive through a car lot to check for suspicious activity, then a loop through a neighborhood with frequent 911 calls.
Around 2:40 a.m., King looks for trouble among nightclub patrons following last call, but within a few minutes, his attention and that of a few of his fellow officers is beckoned less than a mile away after reports of a wreck that landed a vehicle in the woods.
“Each call is different and has to be looked at as a new and dynamically changing situation,” King said. “When you come to work, you never know exactly what to expect, and that's what makes the job interesting for me. I enjoy the unknowns and that no two days at work are ever exactly the same.”
King has been a Wilson police officer for nearly four years following careers working with youth as a sports director, then as a youth pastor. During basic law enforcement training in his home town of Fayetteville, the father of three spoke with a Wilson police recruiter, Allen Jones.
“Allen made a case for the police department being on the cutting edge of community involvement and officer equipment, and as a recruit, I really enjoyed his presentation,” King said.
He said Allen's presentation was convincing, and starting pay was good, plus the department allowed the young family to be nearer to relatives.
However, Wilson City Manager Grant Goings recently used the city's 11.6 percent lower starting salary compared to peer cities to implement a 15 percent pay bump for the department's starting three ranks. Goings said he's optimistic the raise will help recruit candidates for the 13 officer vacancies and four new positions not yet filled.
News of the raise and retroactive pay was welcome among recipients, frequently serving as the department's first interaction with the community. King said he is proud to wear a Wilson uniform, noting the effect the department's emphasis on community outreach has not only on the prevalence of crime, but also on the relationship between police and the community they are tasked with protecting.
And while outreach through the Police Athletic League is well known, the walking patrols initiated by officers during lulls in calls garner positive reactions from Wilsonians of all ages.
“The citizens in my district have expressed a very positive reaction to officers walking in their neighborhoods and businesses,” King said. “Oftentimes it creates an opportunity for concerned citizens to have an unplanned conversation with officers about concerns in their neighborhood. Foot patrol on a daily basis is just one way that officers of the Wilson Police Department are able to implement simple elements of community policing while working patrol.”
Police Chief Thomas Hopkins recalled a similar interaction when he was in second grade that had a lasting effect on him and shaped his desire to pursue a career in law enforcement.
“I had an opportunity after his presentation to talk with him about his job. His demeanor was nice, and he was very friendly,” Hopkins said. “Maybe that is the source for my drive in ensuring we leave good impressions on the community, especially youth.”
Hopkins said he's optimistic the department's emphasis on community outreach makes Wilson an attractive place for officers looking for employment.
“We can teach officers to write reports. We can teach officers proper search and seizure,” Hopkins said. “But good moral character has to come from within, and that is what we look for in police officers.”
Whether officers are responding to a running car stolen outside a U.S. 301 gas station, a domestic assault or a suspected drunken driver crashing into the woods, Hopkins said he trusts his officers to exemplify the department's focus on CPR: courtesy, professionalism and respect.
“In regards to handling the diverse types of calls you receive while on patrol, you take it one call at a time,” King said. “As an officer, you simply try to make the biggest positive difference you can on any given call regardless of the type of call.”
And that focus hasn't swayed despite rising national tensions between officers and the public.
“I would be lying if I told you that the changing climate (toward law enforcement) has not affected me as a person or my loved ones' perception of what I do on a daily basis. I have had moments were I strongly considered if law enforcement was the safest and most responsible decision as a father, husband and son.” King said. “However, I am a firm believer that a satisfied and fulfilled life is one that is lived for others and not one's self.
“Each day that I make the decision to put on my uniform and go to work is a day that I have the opportunity to make a difference.”
Body count blamed on MS-13 violence grows in NYC suburbs
The gang has been blamed for at least 25 killings since January 2016 across a wide swath of Long Island
by Frank Eltman
BRENTWOOD, N.Y. — Angel Soler's mother brought him to the U.S. as a young boy, figuring things would surely be better than in Honduras, where he had lived in one of the world's most violent cities. Javier Castillo's father made the same calculation when he took his young son out of gang-plagued El Salvador.
Life in the leafy Long Island suburbs of New York didn't prove to be any safer.
The corpses of the two teenagers, the latest victims of suspected MS-13 gang violence on Long Island, were found a few miles from each other in secluded areas late last month. Police also discovered the remains of another young man, Kerin Pineda, who, like Soler, had formerly attended Freeport High School.
Their fates match those of many of the more than two dozen people believed to have been killed by the gang in the New York suburbs in the past two years: They were Central Americans who came to the U.S. as children seeking a better life, then vanished, only to be found slain months later.
"Destroyed," Castillo's distraught father, Santos Ernesto Castillo, said Wednesday outside the funeral home where his son's wake was being held. "I don't have another word. Destroyed, because one brings his sons here to achieve their best, and this happens."
A handful of friends and relatives attended Castillo's wake at a funeral home in Brentwood. His father, a former police officer in El Salvador, asked that his photograph not be taken because he feared for other members of his family. Castillo's aunt proudly held a photograph of her nephew, smiling from a day he spent at Robert Moses beach on Long Island.
Castillo, who had attended Central Islip High School, was 16 when he vanished on Oct. 11, 2016.
"Over four months, every night we were out looking for him thinking maybe we would see him but that did not happen," his father told reporters in Spanish. "I though the police were doing something, but they let too much time pass."
The teen's remains were found more than a year later on Oct. 24 in a marshy area of a waterfront park in Freeport, more than 25 miles (40 kilometers) from his home. Police haven't revealed what led them to the body or when they think he died. He would have turned 17 during the time he was missing.
Castillo's aunt, Maria Lezema, described him as humble. "If people did not mess with him, he would not say anything. He did not bother anyone. He was quiet. He went from school to home."
Three days after Castillo was found, authorities located the remains of Kerin Pineda in thick woods near a large pond several miles away.
Pineda's mother, Lilian Oliva-Santos, told reporters her son was 19 when he vanished in May of 2016. He reportedly was talking with a girl on Facebook who told him to meet her in a wooded area.
"I brought him from Honduras here thinking everything would be better, here, like we would be safe, but I guess it wasn't," she told News12 Long Island.
Soler was 15 when he disappeared on July 31 this year. His body was discovered Oct. 19 in a wooded lot in the hamlet of Roosevelt. Homeland Security officials said they searched there based on a tip. The boy's mother, Suyapa Soler, told Newsday she came from Honduras 11 years ago and had her son join her four years ago to protect him from gang violence in their home city of San Pedro Sula.
On Friday, Nassau County prosecutors quietly arraigned a 26-year-old Wyandanch man, David Sosa-Guevara, on a charge that he and "others not yet arrested" hacked Soler to death with a machete.
In a joint statement, the county district attorney, Madeline Singas, and acting police commissioner, Patrick Ryder, declined to comment further, citing "a sensitive and ongoing investigation."
Authorities have not said whether any of the homicides are linked, although Soler's mother says he was friends with Pineda.
All three are believed to be victims of the MS-13 street gang, a law enforcement official told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. The official could not speak publicly because of the ongoing investigation.
The gang has been blamed for at least 25 killings since January 2016 across a wide swath of Long Island. Earlier this year, both President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions visited Long Island with promises to help law enforcement stem the violence.
Police are also investigating a number of missing-persons cases involving young Central American men and boys who vanished, though they have balked at saying how many of those cases are believed to involve gang violence.
Suffolk County Assistant Police Commissioner Justin Meyers said the department is currently investigating 112 missing-persons cases involving people between ages 13 and 23 who have disappeared since Jan. 1, 2016. He said experience indicates, though, that a great majority of those cases will turn out to involve runaways or people who have failed to communicate their whereabouts to relatives.
Man shot to death in Tampa neighborhood where 3 others slain last month: "This has got to stop"
by M. L. Nestel
Authorities are investigating another gunshot killing in a beleaguered Tampa, Florida, neighborhood, police said today, adding that it may be related to October's unsolved slayings in the same area.
Police early this morning confirmed reports of gunfire and found a gunshot victim in the Seminole Heights neighborhood where three people were shot to death in a span of 11 days last month.
“We are treating it as although it is related until we rule otherwise,” interim Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan told reporters this morning.
Authorities have identified the victim as Ronald Felton, 60, who was supposed to “meet up with someone” when he was apparently targeted and killed in cold blood, Dugan said.
“Someone came up from behind and shot him,” he said. “And he was left in the street.”
The suspect in this case has been identified as a slim black man, 6 to 6-foot-2, with light complexion and armed with a large black pistol, while last seen wearing all black clothing, authorities said.
“We do have a witness that we have been discussing [what happened],” Dugan said. “When I spoke to her she said, ‘If our officer had been five seconds earlier, he would've been able to stop it.'"
Police arrived “within seconds” of the 911 calls that were placed before 5 a.m., Dugan said.
‘This has got to stop'
Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn pleaded with the community at this morning's news conference near where Felton was attacked.
“This has got to stop," he said. "We will hunt this person down until we find them."
He hopes police can stop the bloodshed.
“We need to catch this killer before we need to notify one more family that one of their loved ones is dead,” he said.
The Tampa Police Department's Twitter account alerted the public that an "active investigation" was underway, using the hashtag "#TRAFFIC.”
The homicide follows a string of three unsolved killings within blocks of each other days before Halloween and near a bus-line route where two of the victims had been commuting. Police say they believe those three killings were committed by the same person.
'Very scary and quite stressful' for neighbors
Resident Phyllis Gaines and her terrier poodle Buster were stirred awake this morning by what she thought was a neighbor taking out the trash, she said.
But it was deadly gunfire.
“It was maybe three or four [shots],” she told ABC News. “I was in my bedroom and I heard the shoots and I looked out from the living room and there were cops all over the corner.
“All you saw was red and blue lights flashing and the crime scene tape.”
The high school sign language teacher said she was forced “on lockdown” in her own home as police taped off her driveway om the corner of East McBerry Street.
Gaines exchanged text messagea with neighbors who, like her, were in their homes looking on as cops tried to stop the terror outside their doors.
“It's very scary and quite stressful,” she said. “I think we're all on edge at this point.”
The other victims
The first victim was 22-year-old Benjamin Mitchell, who attended George S. Middleton High School. He was shot and killed steps from his home while waiting for a bus at North 15th Street at Frierson Avenue Oct. 9.
Two days later, 32-year-old Monica Hoffa, who police say died October 11, was found slain a half-mile from Mitchell, officials confirmed.
Then on Oct. 19, Anthony Naiboa, a 20-year-old man with autism, was killed in the southeast Seminole Heights neighborhood while taking the wrong bus home from work.
The young man, who was waiting at a bus stop located at North 15th Street at Frierson Avenue, died steps away from his home
All three earlier killings remain unsolved.
Early on, police released pixelated photos of a slender individual wearing pants and a hooded windbreaker, initially walking near one of the crime scenes and then picking up the pace to a sprint.
"We believe this is the same person we saw walking just moments earlier," Dugan, the police chief, said during a news conference last month, adding the person of interest likely has ties to the neighborhood.
"He is running in the other direction ... We believe this is the same person, once again, running away from the scene of the shooting."
In subsequently released surveillance video recordings that were released by police, the same individual is seen flipping and repeatedly staring at a cellphone with the right hand.
Police: Suspect tried to break Conn. cop's fingers during traffic stop
A Connecticut officer pulled over Davin Ware, 20, and wsked him to step out of the vehicle when he tried to break his fingers
by PoliceOne Staff
SOUTH WINDSOR, Conn. — A Connecticut couple was arrested after one of the suspects attempted to break an officer's fingers during a traffic stop Saturday night.
WFSB reports that after the officer pulled over Davin Ware, 20, he learned that his driver's license was suspended and that he had a weapon and marijuana. When the LEO asked Ware to step out of his vehicle, the suspect attempted to break his fingers.
Ware's girlfriend Juliann Patenaude, 18, also intervened in the arrest. Two officers received abrasions and lacerations to their hands after the incident.
Ware was charged with several offenses, including assault on an officer. Patenaude was also charged with assault on an officer.
Both suspects are scheduled to face a judge on Nov. 30.
Philando Castile's uncle becomes reserve officer
Clarence Castile said he wanted to become a reserve officer to show children and future generations that police are nothing to be afraid of
by PoliceOne Staff
ST. PAUL, Minn. — After telling reporters five months ago that he wanted to become a reserve officer, Philando Castile's uncle officially became one last week.
KARE reports that Clarence Castile and 14 others graduated from the St. Paul Police Reserve Academy after 12 weeks of training. As a reserve officer, Castile will offer support to members of St. Paul PD. Castile said he wanted to become an officer to let children and future generations know that police officers are nothing to be afraid of.
Castile's nephew, Philando Castile, was shot and killed by Officer Jeronimo Yanez during a traffic stop in July 2016. His death was captured on Facebook live and went viral, sparking protests. In June 2017, Yanez was cleared in the investigation into the shooting.
“I think about my nephew every day. Part of this is about him,” Clarence Castile said. “I don't want people to be afraid. Police aren't here to hurt you even though you've heard stories and you've seen things on TV but all of that isn't everything.”
St. Paul Commander John Lozoya said Castile will find fulfillment as he gets involved in the community and will gain a deeper understanding of the job.
Officials: Five dead, 10 injured in Rancho Tehama mass shooting
Suspect among the dead
by Haleigh Pike
CORNING, Calif. - Five people have been killed and multiple have been injured after a mass shooting Tuesday morning in the community of Rancho Tehama, according to Assistant Sheriff Phil Johnston with the Tehama County Sheriff's Office.
“It's a very sad day for us here in Tehama County,” said Johnston as he addressed the media.
According to Johnston, none of the five people killed were children but one was the shooter, who has been identified as Kevin Janson Neal. Officials are not releasing information about the other four people who were killed at this time.
Johnston added ten patients, including two children, are being treated at Northstate hospitals but their conditions are unknown at this time. In a press conference at 4:15 p.m. Tuesday, Johnston added that some members of Neal's family are missing and they have been unable to locate them.
Johnston said several agencies are on the ground in Rancho Tehama actively investigating seven different crime scenes as the shooting spread across many locations, including the Rancho Tehama Elementary School.
Johnston said Neal rammed one of the vehicles he was driving through a school gate, entered the school grounds on foot with a semi-automatic gun with a multi-round clip, and was wearing a vest with clips embedded into it. Johnston added it appears that after Neal realized he was not going to be able to get into the school, he left the school grounds and took his “killing spree” to the streets of Rancho Tehama.
Johnston said Neal had a home on Bobcat Lane and he added they are seeking search warrants for different locations as they continue their investigation.
“This guy was on a killing rampage,” said Johnston.
During a news conference, Johnston hailed school officials, saying they saved countless lives by putting the school on lockdown as soon as they heard the gunshots. Johnston said security video from the school shows the shooter going to the school and shooting in the windows.
Johnston said Neal could not get into the locked school and wound up leaving. This is when Neal began chasing another car, shooting at it, when officers came up on him.
"The suspect was actually shooting at the police vehicle, out the window, the police officer rammed the vehicle, forced it off the road, and exchanged gunfire which resulted in the shooter's death," said Johnston.
According to Tehama County District Attorney Gregg Cohen, Neal was being prosecuted in Tehama County for assault with a deadly weapon and a stabbing that happened earlier this year.
Calls were first received at 7:52 a.m. for shots fired with a man down in the area of Bobcat Lane and Fawn Lane in upper Rancho Tehama reserve. Johnston said directly after that, multiple 911 calls were made, from various sources, indicating shots were being fired at different locations including the elementary school.
Johnston said after the initial shooting at the end of Bobcat Lane, the shooter stole a vehicle and went on a “shooting rampage throughout the community”.
Johnston said at some point, the shooter crashed the first stolen vehicle and then stole a second vehicle from a man. It was while the shooter was driving the second vehicle that he passed by a woman, who was driving her children to school, and began shooting at the vehicle. Johnston said the woman was injured as well as a child in the back seat. The woman suffered “very life threatening wounds” and the child suffered non-life threatening wounds.
Johnston said the shooter then engaged with two responding officers while still in the vehicle and the officers returned fire. This is when the shooter was killed. Both officers were secured from the scene and an officer-involved shooting protocol was initiated.
Johnston said they have no known motive for the shooting and there are no known connections between the suspect and any of the victims. Johnston added most of the victims appear to be random selections.
Johnston said the shooter has had prior contacts with law enforcement and they are looking into those. Johnston said they are also aware of reports of a domestic violence incident with the suspect that took place Monday.
A semi-automatic rifle and two handguns were recovered and Johnston said they believe they were used by the shooter. Johnston added it is unknown if all the weapons were used during the shooting.
Johnston described the shooter as a deranged person bent on shooting and killing as many people as possible.
Coy Ferreira, whose daughters is a kindergarten student at Rancho Tehama Elementary, said he was dropping off his daughter for class just before 8:00 a.m. when he heard what sounded like a firecracker. Ferreira said a school secretary ran out and yelled for the kids to get in the classrooms because someone was shooting at the school.
“I was walking my child to the classroom because they blew the whistle for the first bell, and when that first whistle blew, it sounded like a firecracker went off and we all stopped and were stunned. Then, like a minute later, there were three more shots fired,” said Ferreira.
Ferreira said he ran into a classroom with 14 students and that's when series of shots began coming through the classroom windows. Ferreira said a young boy was shot in the foot and the chest. When Ferreira spoke to us Tuesday morning, he said the child was alert and talking but as of Tuesday afternoon, family told us the child had been transported to a Sacramento hospital and was in critical condition.
“Within a minute, we were all buckled in our classrooms and all of a sudden there were gunshots going for a good 20-25 minutes. My window was hit by a few shots and a student was injured in my classroom. He got nailed somehow, it happened all so fast,” said Ferreira.
Ferreira said he saw a man who appeared to be 30-40-years-old dressed in camouflage, running away from the school after the shooting. Ferreira added he believes the shooter had to have shot from an elevated ramp in order to see the students who were hiding under their desks.
Tiffany, the owner of Coffee Addiction Coffee Shop located near the school, said she heard 90-100 shots from where she was at during the shooting. Tiffany said she saw a Honda drive by with the windows shot out and saw at least five ambulances responding to the area.
“We heard multiple shots, starting with about ten, and proceeding to about 90 shots, of a high powered some kind of rifle sounding. We heard a man and children screaming from our location, I'm approximately three blocks from the school, I could hear people screaming at the school,” Tiffany said.
Tiffany's husband, Brian, said another witness reported seeing a white pickup drive through the school gate and start shooting.
Many law makers have issued statements in response to the shooting including Assemblyman Gallagher, State Senator Nielsen, and Assemblyman Dahle.
Governor Jerry Brown:
"Anne and I are saddened to hear about today's violence in Tehama County, which shockingly involved schoolchildren. We offer our condolences to the families who lost loved ones and unite with all Californians in grief."
Senator Kamala Harris:
"Heartbroken by the news of a shooting at an elementary school in Rancho Tehama. Grateful to the officers and first responders on the scene. I am closely monitoring the situation."
State Senator Jim Nielsen:
“My heart goes out to the victims and loved ones affected by Tuesday morning's horrific shooting in Rancho Tehama.
“We are heartbroken over this senseless violence, and will be praying for the speedy recovery of those injured and for the emotional peace for those affected.
“We lift up in prayer those killed and wounded, their families and loved ones, and the first responders and others who put their lives on the line to protect and save innocent lives.”
Assemblyman Republican leader Brian Dahle:
“My prayers are with the innocent victims, their families, and those who are hospitalized from the Tehama shooting. Let our Northern California community come together as one for those affected in this horrible time. We are #TehamaStrong.”
“I'm sickened to hear of yet another shooting in our schools. It is senseless and I am frankly tired of it. Our heartfelt prayers are with the victims, their families and the entire North State community.”
Rancho Tehama is a community of about 1,485 northwest of Corning.
This is a developing story, please check back for updates.
Deputies "wouldn't do anything" to stop California gunman, resident say
by CBS News
RANCHO TEHAMA RESERVE, Calif. -- Residents of a remote Northern California community terrorized by a mass shooting this week say they want more frequent patrols from sheriff's deputies and expressed anger and frustration over seemingly being left to fend for themselves in what several called a "Wild West" atmosphere.
The Rancho Tehama Reserve homeowners' association board met on Thursday to talk about more patrols, two days after 44-year-old Kevin Neal killed his wife and four others before he died in a gun battle with deputies. Neal targeted an elementary school while randomly shooting at homes and motorists in the sprawling rural subdivision about 130 miles north of Sacramento.
He was known to authorities and had at least one prior arrest.
Board president Juan Caravez was among those complaining that deputies didn't do enough to stop Neal despite numerous complaints from neighbors that he was shooting guns at all hours of the day and night.
"The sheriff wouldn't do anything about it," Caravez said.
Instead, he said Tehama County Sheriff's Department referred complaints to the homeowners' association.
Residents were already complaining about the lack of law enforcement and frequent gunfire that regularly disturbed the peace of the rolling oak-studded hills dotted with homes and trailers on large lots, board member Richard Gutierrez said.
Neighbors said they had complained repeatedly about Neal shooting off rounds of gunfire from his home, despite a court order barring him from having firearms after he was accused of stabbing a neighbor in January.
Assistant Sheriff Phil Johnston said deputies had tried to contact Neal but he wouldn't answer his door and Johnston said deputies couldn't find him. After being pressed by reporters on why police did not act when Neal was in clear violation of his court order, Johnston obliquely replied: "The law is only for people who obey it."
Sheriff's department spokeswoman Lt. Yvette Borden did not respond to phone and email inquiries Thursday.
Gutierrez was among those praising deputies' swift response Tuesday. Johnston said Neal was dead 25 minutes after dispatchers received the first frantic calls. The sheriff's headquarters is 21 miles away.
But Dillon Elliott was upset after hearing officials say road patrols had generally been increased in the last six years.
"It's like people out here think we're like a lawless city trying to survive, and we kinda are," said Elliott, who grew up in the community and whose parents still live there.
Claudette Wright said deputies responded to her calls, but the bad perception remains.
"It's always like, 'Rancho, it's crazy out there — it's the Wild West'," she said at a community prayer vigil Wednesday night.
"The perception is people think they can come out here and grow marijuana and there's no consequences," Wright said later, though she added that she had no complaints with law enforcement response.
Benigna Gonzalez said deputies appeared not to believe her when she reported being stalked a year ago while walking at dusk through the community. She no longer walks for exercise, takes sleeping pills and is undergoing counseling.
"We don't feel safe," she said tearfully. "I don't know when I'll feel safe anymore in this community."
Police found the bullet-riddled body of Neal's wife stuffed under the floorboards of their home in the rural community of Rancho Tehama Reserve. They believe her slaying was the start of the rampage.
Neal then shot two neighbors in an apparent act of revenge before he went looking for random victims at the community's elementary school and several other locations.
Among those hurt at the school was 6-year-old Alejandro Hernandez, who was shot in the chest, arm and foot and remains hospitalized. His aunt, Marta Monroy, pleaded with fellow residents to formally report gunfire in the future.
"No shooting in the air — call the police, please," she urged at the prayer vigil.
If not more sheriffs' patrols, then the homeowners' association should consider paying for armed private patrols from the $50 monthly dues paid by every property owner or consider mounting an armed citizens' patrol, Raul Pinero said.
"We need enforcement, at least something out here," Pinero said.
Las Vegas police using new technology to help pinpoint gunshot locations
by Mike Shoro
In an effort to deter gun violence, Las Vegas police have implemented acoustic technology that alerts authorities to gunshots.
Metropolitan Police Department officials are testing the technology in a yearlong pilot program at an undisclosed location in northeast Las Vegas, Deputy Chief Chris Jones said at a Thursday news conference. Citing reduced response times, more accurate reported gunshot locations and better officer situational awareness, police said they hope the technology will help reduce violent crime in the Las Vegas Valley.
“We as a community cannot be apathetic to gun violence,” Capt. Jim LaRochelle said.
LaRochelle heads Metro's Northeast Area Command, where police have installed multiple acoustic sensors sensitive to the sound of gunshots. LaRochelle said the sensors' locations, which were not disclosed Thursday, were determined based on areas where police receive high numbers of reported gunshots. Plans are in places to add sensors in the southeast and south-central command areas.
Through the company ShotSpotter, the sensors listen for loud pops or booms to indicate gunshots, and if enough sensors are activated, a notification is made to an acoustic expert at the ShotSpotter headquarters. The expert determines whether the gunshots detection is legitimate, and if it is, alerts Metro with the time, number and location of the shots.
Metro said the system can reduce response times for police heading to the reported gunshots to about 45 seconds, faster than it takes for somebody to decide to pick up the phone and try to determine where the shots were fired.
The sensors triangulate the location of the shots, which Metro said increases accuracy of the reported gunshots.
According to a ShotSpotters 2015 study of 46 cities using the technology, year-over-year shooting rates declined about 13 percent.
They've been placed in spots above the ground, such as buildings, and shouldn't be able to pick up conversations, LaRochelle said.
Police will determine the equipment's effectiveness after the year is up, he said.
According to the company, its technology can filter gunshots from fireworks, although LaRochelle said it can struggle on days like New Year's Eve or Independence Day, when there are high volumes of fireworks and gunshots.
Police hope the system alerts officers of gunfire regardless of whether anybody calls police.
“We have come to learn that many people do not call 911 when they hear gunfire in our most challenged neighborhoods,” LaRochelle said.
People who do call 911 are often doing so long after the fact or provide inaccurate locations, LaRochelle said. Police tested the gunshot sensors at one point, and only a handful of people called in the gunshots, with one caller providing an inaccurate location, he said.
He encouraged people to continue calling 911, as the sensors are meant to help police, not replace people calling in shootings.
LaRochelle said police have spoken with local community members where the sensors were placed and assured them the technology couldn't pick up conversational speak.
Clark County Commissioner Marilyn Kirkpatrick was the driving force behind the pilot program in Metro's Northeast Area Command, which includes an area she represents, officials said. It's part of her Pathway From Poverty initiative, which seeks to provide economic, educational and social support to impoverished areas of the northeast valley.
She said the ShotSpotter system came together in the past six months and was a final piece to the initiative.
The commissioner representing District B said the cameras and audio sensors can address community members' concerns about unreported gunfire.
She said the area with the initiative has a low average income and little home ownership.
Kirkpatrick said she appreciates the community policing aspect of the system, where police later return to the area of reported gunfire and explain to local community members why officers were there.
“So that they know how we're following up, because that's important to see,” Kirkpatrick said.
The technology was funded through $500,000 in grant money from the Friends of Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Foundation and the University of Nevada, Reno's Cooperative Extension program. Some of the money was used for additional cameras, monitored by Metro's counterterrorism center, bought to supplement the audio sensors.
The decision to implement the gunshot sensor system wasn't a result of the Oct. 1 mass shooting on the Strip, LaRochelle said, later adding police could examine the viability of expanding the sensors to the Strip and Fremont Street, depending on the pilot program's success.
The technology is used in more than 90 cities or counties in the United States and its territories. Among them are Chicago, San Francisco, Kansas City and Denver.
Denver Police Department implemented the “ShotSpotter” system more than two years ago, Lt. Aaron Sanchez said. Sonny Jackson, with Denver police's public information office, said officers used the system in two neighborhoods and have since expanded their usage.
Like Metro, Denver's system was started in an area with high amounts of gunfire. Jackson said “ShotSpotter” gives officers a head start on where to look for evidence, not to mention find possible gunshot victims or shooters.
Sanchez said the system doesn't work without additional resources like a crime lab, detectives and ballistics analysis.
“If those pieces aren't in place, it's just capturing sound,” Sanchez said.
He said police will often find casings from guns used in more than one crime, which can help solve other crimes, even if no person was shot in a reported shooting. Denver police find casings after “ShotSpotter” notifications about 30 percent of the time, Sanchez said.
He said police received some backlash about installing the system without speaking to the community members it impacted, but the feedback has mostly been positive.
“We love it,” Sanchez said.
Lt. Aaron Sanchez with Denver Police Department said there was a shooting last year where two teenagers burglarized a man'sbackyard, which had an outdoor marijuana grow. Both teens were shot, one fatally, and Sanchez said the technology helped policeidentify the man as a suspect based on the triangulated location.
The acoustic gunshot sensor information helped police identify the man as a possible suspect, Sanchez said.
Police said a similar shooting involving the man had happened a year before, the Denver Post reported.
Burlington hopes community policing will create full-circle careers in law enforcement
by Alex Rose
BURLINGTON, N.C. -- The Burlington Police Department answers about 80,000 calls a year. That's the amount of opportunities they have to make an impact and a difference in the community. Sometimes those connections come at a young, impressionable age.
A new recruitment video highlights these relationships, from the perspective of a young boy who calls police after a domestic dispute between his parents. In the end, the boy ends up pursuing a career in law enforcement.
"We were looking for something that would catch a different group of people,” said Capt. Mark Rascoe.
Rascoe and members of the department hope the concept of a full-circle approach will help generate more enthusiasm for service, creating more homegrown cops.
They already have a strong recruitment process, going to conferences for ideas and showing a presence at colleges and high schools. But Rascoe admits, while the pool of applicants is strong, there's not the same excitement for the job as years past.
But some young cadets exemplify exactly what the department is trying to accomplish with this new approach.
"I had a good experience when I was younger with law enforcement and it kind of made me want to have that impact on other kids,” said Jennifer Ashworth, who grew up in Whitsett.
Ashworth and more than a dozen new recruits stood in a huddle with yellow neon vests in a parking lot peppered with worn down orange traffic cones. They were driving some of the older cruisers around the lot as a part of training. But it's not the speed, or thrill of a chase that attracted Ashworth to the force.
"It's really not about the dangers, it's about being able to serve other people,” she said.
Greensboro native Will Wright recently went to an open house to find the opportunity at BPD. He believes community policing is how local law enforcement will bridge communities.
"The community is, it's everything,” Wright said. "You know looking out for you neighbor I feel like is a tradition in itself, and something I feel we kind of need to focus on."
Grace Gunter grew up in Mebane. She thinks understanding the people you serve is easy to do when you grew up around them, and is essential for effective police work.
"When you know a place really well, I think its a good place to start, you kind of know what people want and what they're looking for in law enforcement,” Gunter said.
Part of BPD's recruitment effort is also making sure the department reflects the community it serves. Roscoe says there is an increasing need for more officers who speak Spanish and are bilingual to connect with members of the growing Hispanic community.
Do Fresno cops shoot most often at blacks and Latinos? ACLU says yes in new report
by Brianna Calix
Fresno police officers fire their guns most often at black or Latino people, according to a report issued Tuesday by the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California.
Many times, shooting incidents involve officers who discharged their weapons before, the report said.
Furthermore, the Fresno County District Attorney's Office didn't file criminal charges in an officer-involved shooting from 2001-2016, the report found.
Privacy surrounding personnel information prevented the ACLU from obtaining certain details about officer-involved shootings by the Fresno Police Department, so the social justice group is calling on California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to further investigate the issue. The group wrote a letter to the attorney general's office that included findings from the report and requested the top law enforcement office in the state to conduct a “civil pattern or practice” investigation of the Fresno Police Department.
“To get to the bottom of the causes of these problems and figure out why the department has such a high number of shootings as an agency is going to take an agency with greater access to information than we have,” said Novella Coleman, the ACLU's staff attorney based in Fresno.
The Department of Justice confirmed it received the letter and will review it.
Police Chief Jerry Dyer in an email to The Bee refuted the findings of the report, pointing to a 2017 Fresno County Grand Jury report that provided “favorable” findings after assessing policies, procedures and training. The grand jury reviewed officer-involved shooting investigations between 2000 and 2017.
“I am confident the attorney general would come to the same conclusion,” he said.
Dyer said he wasn't surprised by the ACLU report, and said the organization produces studies that support an anti-police agenda.
By the numbers
Between 2001 and 2016, there were 146 officer-involved shootings by Fresno police.
Of those, black or Latino people accounted for 80 percent of people shot by Fresno officers, despite making up 52 percent of Fresno's population, the report found. Though whites make up 29 percent of Fresno's population, they accounted for only 8 percent of victims of officer-involved shootings.
The report also noted that people living in low-income communities of color in south Fresno are more likely to experience officer-involved shootings, as opposed to people from wealthier, predominantly white communities in north Fresno.
At least 55 Fresno police officers have been involved in an officer-involved shooting in the 15-year period, meaning the same officers were involved in 62 percent of the 146 officer-involved shootings, the report found. One officer identified in the report was involved in seven officer-involved shootings in that time. Another was involved in six, and a third was involved in five.
“That seems high, especially when you consider a lot of officers go their whole career without discharging their weapon,” Coleman said. “It's problematic not just for the community being exposed to incidents of force, but it's also troubling for the individual officers. It shouldn't be a daily activity where officers are discharging their weapon. That invokes trauma for the officers, too. That's a number the department should want to lower.”
The ACLU report also tallied 19 lawsuits stemming from officer-involved shootings from 2008-2016. Eight of those lawsuits have been closed, amounting to a bill costing more than $5.3 million. That number doesn't include open cases or $1.5 million a jury awarded to the family of Stephen Willis after determining a Fresno officer was partially responsible for the death.
Dyer said numbers alone do not tell the whole story.
“There are going to be more uses of force, (including) deadly force, in neighborhoods that are plagued by gangs and violent crime,” he said.
He said officers who have been involved in repeat shootings may be assigned to other units and are monitored.
Dyer also said the report's racial disparity findings are “without merit,” noting the city's success in defending excessive force cases. “No judge or jury has ever found a pattern or practice of excessive force in the Fresno Police Department,” he said.
However, a 2016 report from the city's independent review office found that blacks are more likely than others to be interviewed and detained by Fresno police. At the time, Dyer didn't dispute the findings and said police were working to curb violence between black gangs.
Policies and recommendations
The ACLU report recommended the police department make some changes, such as: require continued evidence-based, anti-bias and de-escalation training; mandate proper and consistent use of body cameras; make department policies, training and data available to the public; hire a diverse work force; and eliminate the use of social media that stigmatizes Fresno residents.
Coleman also said she noticed that although the department has a “use of force” policy, it doesn't properly address deadly force.
Dyer said the department already has practices that include many of the recommendations.
The report also said people who were interviewed said the department's “community cookouts” were perceived as “photo-ops,” and that use of force caused community perception of police to decline.
“I take offense to the ACLU's assertion that the police department has damaged relationships with the community,” Dyer said. “We have an incredible relationship with our community and are very engaged in community policing. How can the ACLU make that judgment from San Francisco?”
Baltimore homicide detective in 'grave condition' after being shot in the head
by Kevin Rector, Justin Fenton and Talia Richman
A Baltimore homicide detective was shot in the head Wednesday afternoon while investigating a killing near a notoriously violent intersection in West Baltimore, police said — an attack that stunned officials and residents already beleaguered by the city's unrelenting violence.
Police Commissioner Kevin Davis, speaking outside the Maryland Shock Trauma Center Wednesday night, said the 18-year veteran was in “very, very grave condition.” He did not release the detective's name, but said he is a husband and father of two.
Davis said the detective was in the 900 block of Bennett Place in Harlem Park at about 4:30 p.m. when he observed a man “engaged in suspicious behavior.” The detective tried to start a conversation with the man, Davis said, and was shot in the head.
The detective's partner was nearby and came to his aid, police said.
Davis said the “cold, callous” shooter was still at large Wednesday night, but wouldn't be for long. Authorities said there is a $64,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.
“With this community, we're going to identify him, we're going to arrest him, and we're going to ensure justice is done,” Davis said.
Gov. Larry Hogan said on Twitter that the “individual responsible for this heinous crime will be found, charged, and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
“Baltimore Police has our full support as they track down this violent criminal and bring him to justice,” he said.
The shooting was the second of a law enforcement officer in West Baltimore this month. Sgt. Tony Anthony Mason Jr., 40, a District of Columbia police officer who lived in Baltimore, was shot to death in the 2800 block of Elgin Avenue on Nov. 4. He was off duty at the time.
It came a week after Mayor Catherine Pugh said violent crime in the city was “out of control,” and Davis blasted prosecutors and judges alike for allowing violent repeat offenders back onto the city's streets.
There have been 308 homicides in Baltimore in 2017, the third straight year of more than 300 killings.
After the officer's shooting Wednesday, police set up a wide perimeter and officers could be seen taking cover around corners. The police helicopter, Foxtrot, swirled low, Police used the helicopter loudspeaker to tell people to go inside their homes.
Robert Queen, 23, lives about a block and a half from the scene. He said he was smoking a cigarette on his front steps when he heard sirens.
“It's like a movie,” he said. He said he's sick of the violence that plagues his street and his city.
“Living like this,” he said, “who wouldn't be nervous all the time?”
The location, just northwest of U.S. 40 and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, is a particularly violent one. More than a dozen people have been shot or killed there in recent years.
Two people were shot near the corner, one of them fatally, on July 18, and three people were killed in a single incident last December. After a particularly violent spate in 2013, police barricaded the block and stationed an officer there around the clock.
The area was targeted for increased policing again this summer after the separate killings of two 15-year-old boys in August — including one right at the intersection of Bennett and Fremont.
Jeffrey Quick was shot to death on the corner on Aug. 22. Tyrese Davis was killed down the street earlier in the month.
After those killings, Maj. Sheree Briscoe, the Western District commander, said the area would be targeted with increased policing, but also with other city services — the approach Pugh has touted as a holistic way to address crime.
A special warrant initiative led to 20 arrests in the area. There was a community cleanup in which city crews cleared alleys and gutters and talked with residents. Police raided the house of an alleged Crip gang member in which they recovered guns, drugs, and items they said were associated with the “52 Hoover Gangster Crip.”
More than an hour after the shooting Wednesday, police lights were still flashing in the neighborhood, the helicopter overhead. The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said its agents were on the scene assisting police in their investigation.
Neighbors crowded street corners near the scene, gathering in small groups near parked police cars.
One man stood hand-in-hand with his 6-year-old son in front of the New Hope Baptist Church. Together they watched more and more police cars pull into the large scene beyond the police tape.
The 39-year-old man, who declined to give his name out of concern for his safety, said he has been shot twice in the neighborhood. He said he's never seen so much police activity there.
“It puts you on edge,” he said.
Kia Middleton, 31, lives blocks from the scene
“It's dangerous to come outside,” she said. “You don't know what you're going to get when you come outside.
“The people around here deserve better.”
The detective's family gathered around him at Shock Trauma, officials said.
Dr. Thomas M. Scalea, head of the hospital, whose team Davis said had been working constantly on the detective since he'd arrived hours before, said the detective had a tough battle ahead.
Davis said police remained in Harlem Park trying to find “every bit of evidence” they could to help identify the shooter.
“This is going to be a long night for detectives and investigators,” he said.
Pugh said “enough is enough.”
“Crime has to come to an end in the city,” she said. “This kind of violence cannot be tolerated.”
Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby called the shooting an “act of cowardice.” She said she wanted his family to know it would not go unpunished.
“I want them to rest assured that we will do our part to ensure that the perpetrator of this offense is brought to justice,” she said.
Police union president Gene Ryan and Lisa Robinson of the Vanguard Justice Society both asked for the community's support for police officers to solve not only the shooting of the detective, but other violent crimes in the city.
“Your help is necessary in the job that we do,” said Robinson, whose organization represents minority and female officers.
Baltimore cop dies after being shot in the head
by the Associated Press
BALTIMORE — The Baltimore homicide detective who was shot in the head Wednesday has died, police said.
Police on Thursday identified the officer as Detective Sean Suiter, an 18-year veteran of the city police force and a husband and father of two. In an email to the department, Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said Suiter died surrounded by his family.
“His tragic death will forever impact the BPD,” Davis wrote in the email, obtained by The Baltimore Sun. “Each of you go out there and put your lives on the line every single day. The importance of your sacrifice, and Sean's, can't be overstated.”
Baltimore police and their federal partners continued a massive manhunt Thursday for the suspect. Authorities offered a $69,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.
Police say Suiter was shot in a notoriously violent section of the Harlem Park neighborhood of West Baltimore while investigating another killing. An entire city block remained cordoned off Thursday morning as police scoured the area and cadets began canvassing door to door for information.
Officials said they were still engaged in a “tactical” operation in the neighborhood. They would not provide any additional information about the operation or whether they believed the gunmen could still be in the vicinity.
“We need to make sure that we collect every bit of evidence and make sure that the shooter is nowhere nearby,” Davis said Wednesday outside of the Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where Suiter was being treated.
Mayor Catherine Pugh said Thursday morning she could not provide any updates. She said she intended to meet with Davis at Shock Trauma “a little bit later on.”
Davis said late Wednesday that Suiter was in the neighborhood doing “follow-up” on a homicide case when he saw a man engaged in suspicious activity. Suiter attempted to speak to the man, Davis said, and was shot.
A police source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the case publicly, said Suiter was in the neighborhood trying to find a witness for a pending case when he and another detective saw someone suspicious in a vacant lot in the middle of the block.
The two detectives split up, apparently to try to cover different exits of the block, when the shooting occurred, the source said.
Davis said the “cold, callous” shooter was still at large Wednesday night.
The reward is being offered by the Baltimore divisions of the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and Metro Crime Stoppers.
“With this community, we're going to identify him, we're going to arrest him, and we're going to ensure justice is done,” Davis said.
Authorities asked anyone with information to contact the Baltimore FBI office at 1-800-CALL-FBI, Baltimore police detectives at 410-396-2100, or Metro Crime Stoppers at 1-866-7-LOCK-UP. Tips can also be texted to Baltimore police via 443-902-4824.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said on Twitter that the “individual responsible for this heinous crime will be found, charged and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
“Baltimore Police has our full support as they track down this violent criminal and bring him to justice,” he said.
Suiter's shooting, in the 900 block of Bennett Place about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, was the second of a law enforcement officer in West Baltimore this month. Sgt. Tony Anthony Mason Jr., 40, a District of Columbia police officer who lived in Baltimore, was shot to death in the 2800 block of Elgin Avenue on Nov. 4. He was off duty at the time.
It also came a week after Pugh said violent crime in the city was “out of control,” and Davis blasted prosecutors and judges alike for allowing violent repeat offenders back onto the city's streets.
There have been 308 homicides in Baltimore in 2017, the third consecutive year of more than 300 killings.
Cuyahoga Falls man accused of threatening 'historic' mass shooting
CUYAHOGA FALLS, Ohio -- A 28-year-old Cuyahoga Falls man is in federal custody after he allegedly threatened to commit a mass shooting in Las Vegas.
Investigators say it began on Nov. 6 when Wei Li allegedly texted his estranged wife “multiple times threatening to kill her and to shoot up a Las Vegas hotel and casino.”
His wife was employed at a casino in Las Vegas at the time.
“Li indicated in the text messaging that the killing he planned to commit would go down in history and that he would blame his wife for all the deaths,” authorities say in a press release.
He also allegedly referenced a mass shooting at a church with at least 1,000 people in attendance.
Just days later, Li was asked to unlock his phone during a joint interview with FBI agents and Cuyahoga Falls detectives.
“He complied, but proceeded to delete a string of text messages,” authorities say.
He's facing charges of interstate threatening communications and destruction of evidence.
Li will face a judge at 9 a.m. Thursday.
Police Set To Announce Record Low Shootings In Englewood
by CBS Chicago
CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson is set to announce Thursday that murders and nonfatal shooting totals in the Englewood District — long one of the most violent in the city — are on pace to reach historic lows in 2017.
At the City Club of Chicago, Johnson is expected to announce that the overall decline of shooting incidents in Englewood — 158 as of Oct. 31 — is due in large part to the CPD's implementation of tech-based crime-fighting strategies that gel with community policing, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.
During the same time period in 2016, the Englewood District recorded 302 shooting incidents — nearly double 2017's total — according to the University of Chicago Crime Lab, which analyzed CPD data.
If gun violence trends in Englewood hold steady through the rest of 2017, the district is expected to see the fewest incidents of gun violence in any year going back to 1999.
“The crime reduction in Englewood is at a historic high,” Johnson told the Sun-Times on Wednesday. “We're not claiming victory, but that's progress.”
The Crime Lab began analyzing CPD's shooting data this year. As soon as the CPD implemented ShotSpotter gunshot detectors along with its data “nerve centers,” which allow crime analysts to decipher criminal patterns and data, instances of gun violence fell dramatically, data show.
However, because the data has been collected for less than a year, researchers and analysts at the Crime Lab are not yet ready to definitively link the new tech tools to the drop in crime — though there's little doubt in the minds of some.
“I don't think there is any other plausible explanation for what we're seeing,” said Roseanna Ander, founding executive director of the Crime Lab.
The Crime Lab's findings have not been published yet.
While 2017's violence numbers in Englewood are down from 2016, they are still far ahead of 2015, when 26 people were murdered in the district through the end of October, records show.
On Tuesday, Chicago recorded its 600th homicide of 2017, including shootings, assaults and other types of incidents, according to data maintained by the Sun-Times. The city ended last year with 781 homicides and hit the 600 mark on Oct. 17, 2016.
The city has expanded its tech-based policing strategies to five other districts in 2017 and has plans to implement them in six more of the city's most violent districts in 2018, according to department officials.
In January 2018, the department will expand its tech-based efforts to the South Chicago and Grand Crossing Districts on the South Side.
Johnson said that commanders of districts already equipped are working with each other to learn best practices.
“They are sharing ideas and strategies all the time,” Johnson said.
The superintendent added that, while gunshot detection technology has helped officers respond more quickly to gunfire, it has also helped improve community-police relations.
“Now we respond to exactly where these shots were fired,” Johnson said. “Now we can knock on people's doors to make sure they're OK. That's strengthened the trust in the police department.”
Comply don't die when confronted by police during a traffic stop
by Carolyn Clifford
DETROIT (WXYZ) - In recent years across the country we've seen a rise in tension between some communities and the police.
Whether traffic stops or on the street encounters with men and women in blue have become violent at times.
We're taking a look at why it's important for you and your children to know the law and know how to comply so you don't die.
According to the fraternal order of police the two most dangerous things an officer can undertake are responding to a domestic violence complaint and stopping a car.
That means when an officer approaches you in your car he's on high alert and cautious and so are you.
When a traffic stop goes wrong the images are often disturbing.
One of the worst here made national headlines in 2015. Detroit man Floyd Dent was repeatedly punched in the head by an Inkster Police Officer. That officer went to jail.
According to a 2015 report by the Washington Post, getting pulled over was the precursor to about 11 percent of fatal police shootings.
Detroiter Markees Davis says, "They pulled us over cause we were five black men in a brand new car and they thought it was stolen."
Davis is only 18. His interaction with police has not always been positive.
Davis says, "When they pulled you over did they speak to you with disrespect or were they respectful? It was like step out of the car we're gonna search the car they didn't ask for no license none of that."
According to that Washington Post report more than 100 people were shot and killed by police after a traffic stop in 2015. One in three of them was black.
To cut down on such problems in Detroit Police Chief James Craig introduced community policing so bad interactions are kept to minimum.
Detroit Police Detective Brian Fountain says, "Every officer when he approaches a car he or she is nervous."
Detective Fountain is 33 year DPD veteran who goes into schools, churches or community groups to teach the do's and don'ts of how to interact with the police. On this day he was at Renaissance High School.
Detective Fountain says, "When I pull over, and I see you move I think you're reaching for a gun."
Detective Brian Fountain says in order for children not to be killed, "Number one be respectful, be cooperative, keep your hands visible putting your hands up never hurts."
Detective Fountain says it's vital for the community to know the law.
"A judge will say ignorance of the law is no excuse. The fact that you didn't know is not going to cut you any slack."
Kyrah Kimbro is 16 and a Junior at Renaissance High School.
Carolyn Clifford asks, "Are you fearful of the police?"
Kimbro responds, "Sometimes it's some good cops, some bad ones you just don't know what to expect."
Dakarai Washington is also a Junior at Renaissance High School, he says, "I just know that I have to address them a certain type of way. How do you know that? "My parents taught me."
We asked Neighborhood Police Officer Baron Coleman and two of our employees to help us demonstrate three scenarios that could get you in trouble during a traffic stop.
First, mouthing off. Second, don't reach for anything without permission not even your drivers license and registration. Instead, keep your hands on the wheel at all times. Third, never get combative with an officer.
Loud music, open alcohol and if there is a whiff of drugs in your car, everyone is being hauled out and now in five counties you can be drug tested on the spot.
Bottom line, it's in your best interest to comply so you don't die, end up in cuffs or behind bars.
Justice Department to Offer Update on Ferguson Progress
Residents of Ferguson, Missouri, are getting an update on how the St. Louis suburb is doing in its effort to reform police and court practices.
by the Associated Press
FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) — Residents of Ferguson, Missouri, are getting an update on how the St. Louis suburb is doing in its effort to reform police and court practices.
Officials with the city and the U.S. Department of Justice are hosting a meeting Wednesday night. Ferguson has been under federal scrutiny since Michael Brown, a black, unarmed 18-year-old, was fatally shot by white officer Darren Wilson in 2014.
Wilson was not charged and resigned in November 2014, but the shooting led to months of protests and prompted the Justice Department to file a civil rights lawsuit that was settled last year in a consent agreement overseen by a federal judge.
Justice Department attorneys told the judge in June that Ferguson was making progress in the effort to end racial bias among its police officers and in its courts.
More than 200 arrested in US crackdown on MS-13 gang
by Makini Brice
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - More than 200 alleged members and associates of the violent Mara Salvatrucha gang, better known as MS-13, have been arrested in a crackdown across the United States, federal officials said on Thursday.
The Oct. 8 to Nov. 11 sweep was the second phase of Operation Raging Bull, which had previously netted 53 arrests in El Salvador, officials from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency told reporters.
MS-13 was founded in Los Angeles in the 1980s in part to protect immigrants fleeing civil war in El Salvador and has since grown into a sprawling cross-border criminal organization.
U.S. President Donald Trump has vowed to crack down on criminal gangs, especially MS-13, and has referred to gang members as "animals" and "thugs."
"We are not done. We will not be done until we have totally dismantled this organization. The president of the United States has made this a priority and ICE joins him in this," Tom Homan, deputy director of ICE, told reporters.
"So we'll continue to look at arresting every member, every leader and every associate of this criminal gang," Homan added.
In the latest effort, 93 were arrested on federal or state criminal charges, while the rest were charged with immigration violations.
Of the 214 people arrested, 16 were American citizens and 198 were foreign nationals, of whom five were legal residents. More than 60 of those arrested had entered the country as unaccompanied minors, ICE officials said.
"With more than 10,000 members across 40 states, MS-13 is one of the most dangerous criminal organizations in the United States today," U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement.
The group and its rival the 18th Street Gang are battling for control of extortion, drug trafficking and robbery networks in Central America.
In September, the U.S. Justice Department and authorities from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras announced criminal charges against more than 3,800 members of the two gangs, 70 of them in six U.S. states.
In July, U.S. immigration agents launched raids on suspected gang members that for the first time included teenagers, reversing the practice of the previous administration.
Fighting crime in East Albany: more than police work
by Mary Green
Rev. Samuel Sneed didn't grow up in Albany. But for him, taking care of the city and especially its east side is personal.
“We need to be just as concerned, just as aware and just as proactive as any other neighborhood, and take pride in it," he said. "We want to bring back East Side pride.”
That's part of the reason he's involved with the mayor's new Safe City Coalition.
“We want to take more ownership, acknowledgement, and also be responsive to what's going on in our neighborhood," he said.
He's not the only one on that side of town who feels that way.
The updated East Albany Revitalization Plan lists "Crime in Neighborhoods" as its top goal, and according to the plan, it's what residents listed as their biggest concern.
The Albany Police Department said those concerns are shared citywide, not just in East Albany.
“We don't say that one part of Albany is any worse than the other because whatever crime is out there, we know it can affect the entire city," Chief Michael Persley said.
To target crime, the plan calls for six action steps: community policing, combating drug activity, crime prevention training, tracking crime statistics, re-entry program partnerships and youth development programs.
It lists all of those projects as short-term, meaning they should take around a year to implement. The overall revitalization plan is supposed to be actualized in the next five years, but it's unclear at this time when during that five-year period these specific changes will be enacted.
APD said its officers are already doing some of those things.
“Clean car campaigns; we've done business watch meetings with the majority of businesses in East Albany, and even going through the neighborhoods," Persley said.
But he added that it's not enough.
“I understand that we have to go further beyond than just the police cars," he said. "We have to get out and partner with other people.”
Persley said some of the city's strongest neighborhood watches are in East Albany, but they need more.
“If we're not hearing from the community leaders and just citizens who either live in East Albany, work in East Albany, then we may miss out on what their true concerns are," he said.
Sneed wants to see his Sylvandale community join that group soon and bring back its neighborhood watch.
“If a person begins a crime spree, it's only a matter of time before it ends up in our home," he said.
He said that means changing some of the prevailing attitudes, from "snitches get stitches" to "if you see something, say something."
“It's still going to take an active community, proactive, in reducing crime to make this successful," he said.
Police officer slain near Pittsburgh is ID'd; gunman still at large
by Fox News
A manhunt was underway in western Pennsylvania early Saturday for a suspect in the fatal shooting of a rookie police officer Friday night in a town outside Pittsburgh.
The suspect is considered armed and dangerous, authorities said.
Officer Brian Shaw had been with the New Kensington, Pa., police department for less than a year, police Chief Jim Klein said at a news conference, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.
"I'm asking anybody with any information, as minute as they think it might be, please, please give us a call. We need to find the person who did this," Klein said, Pittsburgh's WTAE-TV reported.
Meanwhile, authorities located a brown, older model Jeep Grand Cherokee that had been sought in connection with the slaying, police said.
Residents of the neighborhood where the shooting took place said they'd experienced some recent trouble in the community, with one resident telling the Post-Gazette about a methamphetamine lab bust that occurred last week just down the block.
Gileyla Jones, 17, told the Post-Gazette she “knew something bad must have happened” when multiple police cars sped past her on her way home.
'Cared about everyone'
Although Shaw was new to the force, his impact seemed to be felt throughout the community, as evident in WTAE's David Kaplan's tweet.
Ciara Herbst, a former co-worker and friend of Shaw, described him as “the most genuine guy” who “honestly cared about everyone,” reported the Pittsburgh Tribune Review.
"He was a great family man and always thought about his community, and always wanted to help anyone he could," classmate David Fleck told the paper.
Allie Wilhelm, Shaw's friend, told the Tribune Review that becoming a police officer was “all he talked about” since he was in his late teens, telling her, 'It's my calling.'"
Broad search for suspect
Police from different agencies came together overnight to help search for the suspected killer, and were standing with the fallen officer.
"You name the police department. We all rally for each other and that's what we're doing right now in New Kensington," Pennsylvania State Trooper Stephen Limani said during a news conference, WTAE-TV reported.
As the search continued, SWAT teams and police dogs assisted local authorities in scouring surrounding towns.
The shooting occurred shortly after 8 p.m. EST in New Kensington while the officer was conducting a traffic stop. That led to a foot pursuit and shots being fired, Klein told reporters.
Police did not say if Shaw returned fire.
Multiple police agencies responded to a “shots fired” call after the officer initially radioed that the stop was underway, the paper reported.
Shaw was taken to a nearby hospital and later pronounced dead.
'Manspread' victim opens up on brutal attack: 'That bastard is still out there'
by Abigail Gepner
(Video on site)
The woman who suffered a split lip after confronting a violent subway “manspreader” is back riding the N-train — but wary that her attacker is on the loose.
“That bastard is still out there,” Sam Saia, 37, told The Post on Friday after her commute home.
“I'm afraid he might retaliate. But I'm not going to back down.”
Saia got socked in the mouth during her commute Thursday morning when she told a manspreading creep to stop pushing her against the wall with his legs.
The creep flew into a rage, shouting, “B—h, you ain't nothing!
“I've raped white bitches like you, f--king c--t! You ain't nothing, you f--king b---h!” he told her.
A stranger, brave fellow Brooklyn commuter Victor Conde, leapt from his seat across the train and grabbed the attacker by the wrist, ordering him off the train at the next stop.
“He was definitely not all there,” Conde, 29, of Brooklyn, told The Post.
“She just wanted him off the train. So I said, ‘Get the ‘F' off the train.'”
Her mouth still bleeding, Saia soon got off the train herself, in Midtown, near her job as a manager at an executive real estate company.
She walked to the 17th Precinct on E. 51st Street — only to be told by cops there that she needed to file the report with transit cops in Brooklyn, where the incident happened.
But when she called Transit District 34 as directed, cops there told her not to bother heading back there, because she could file a complaint at any precinct.
Her Twitter complaints about the runaround prompted the commanding officer at the 17th Precinct and the chief of all NYPD Transit to personally tweet back Friday morning with promises of speedy assistance.
“It's a shame I had to put it on social media for something to be done about it,” Saia said Friday night.
The head of the 17th Precinct, Deputy Inspector Nicole Papamichael, personally apologized, Saia said.
Now, “They are going above and beyond to help me,” she said, happily.
Precinct detectives, aided by a fellow straphanger's viral cell phone video of the moments after the attack, were hunting for the attacker Friday night.
“I'm a little floored. I'm sorry I had to blow this up,” Saia said.
“I've looked back at my original [Facebook] post, and it was shared a thousand or something times.”
She'd only posted it “to get his face out there,” she said.
“Just keep riding,” she said in a message to other straphangers. “Don't be afraid. Just be alert. Just be vigilant.”
And to the creep who attacked her, Saia had these words: “I would want to understand how you could do that to somebody.”
Local partnerships key to transnational gang investigations
At U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) partnerships are key to the success of the agency.
Whether on the local, state or federal level, effective collaboration with other law enforcement partners is an essential part of the criminal investigations HSI conducts, such as the recently completed “Operation Raging Bull.”
Transnational criminal street gangs represent a significant threat to public safety in communities throughout the United States. HSI's National Gang Unit (NGU) is a critical part of ICE's mission to bring the fight to transnational criminal gangs. The NGU identifies and develops intelligence on gang membership, associates, activities and international movements.
The unit develops strategic domestic and foreign law enforcement partnerships and utilizes those partnerships, along with all of its unique legal authorities, to target gangs, to suppress violence and prosecute criminal enterprises.
“Operation Raging Bull” was a two-phase operation that targeted dangerous gang members and others providing financial support to gang leadership in El Salvador. It received significant support from ICE's Enforcement and Removal Operations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Department of Treasury and international law enforcement partners.
“The problems posed by transnational gangs cannot be tackled by one agency alone,” said HSI New York Assistant Special Agent in Charge (ASAC) in Long Island, Jason Molina. “It requires multiple agencies working together in a coordinated effort.”
In May of 2016, after several months of unprecedented violence, it was evident that there was a serious problem with the proliferation of MS-13 and other transnational criminal gang activity in Long Island, New York. Although criminal arrests of gang members were being made, homicides in the area continued. It was clear that law enforcement was not going to be able to arrest their way out of the problem. This issue required a proactive approach, instead of being reactive and waiting for the crime to be committed.
As a result, Operation Matador was launched on May 9, 2017. HSI, using its unique immigration authorities that are essential in combatting transnational criminal organizations, teamed up with other agencies within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), creating a DHS unified front. This team worked closely with the Suffolk County Police Department, Nassau County Police Department and the New York City Police Department creating several components to this operation.
Within the first 30 days, law enforcement personnel arrested 39 MS-13 members. To date, approximately 342 arrests have been made to include 183 MS-13 members and associates.
HSI has committed great resources to this fight. There is an entire team that is solely responsible for identifying gang members. Once identified, arrest teams are deployed to locate and arrest these members. “We are taking them off the streets one by one, debriefing them and exploiting any information disclosed. We push all of it through our intelligence components and back into our investigations,” said Molina.
Local law enforcement partners provide actionable intelligence which is critical in the targeting of gangs and their membership for enforcement actions. HSI special agents use intelligence gathered from surge operations to pursue complex criminal enterprise investigations and federal prosecutions.
“The Suffolk County Police Department is committed to eradicating MS-13 from our communities, and that would not be possible without close collaboration with our law enforcement partners in HSI,” said Suffolk County Police Commissioner Timothy D. Sini. “Through strategic targeting of gang members, focusing on known hot-spot locations frequented by gang members and sharing intelligence with our fellow law enforcement agencies, we have continued our successful efforts to remove MS-13 members from our streets.”
HSI works very closely with its state and local law enforcement partners to identify known gang areas and front line intelligence. “That raw intelligence from the boots on the ground is key to our investigations in Nassau and Suffolk County,” Molina said. “Our local law enforcement partners are the key force multiplier. They have ears to the ground and know the communities that they're policing.”
HSI prioritizes transnational gangs that are a threat to the public. For MS-13, “Kill. Rape. Control.” is their motto. Their power comes through violence. This gang believes that the more violent they become, the fear in the community in increased, and capitalizing on that fear makes them more powerful.
The biggest concern when conducting operations such as Raging Bull is public safety. The communities are living in fear. They are losing family members at very young ages, often by perpetrators who are also very young, which has been eye-opening for investigators.
Since 2005, HSI special agents, working in conjunction with their partners, have made nearly 60,000 gang-related arrests; more than 7,700 of those being members or associates of MS-13. As these gangs have evolved, so have the tactics HSI uses in its investigations.
HSI's local partners know the people in the communities. According to Molina, in order for the collaboration to continue to be successful, local officials must remain engaged with the community in which their serve. That includes letting them know who HSI is and why the special agents are there.
“The Nassau County Police Department has always enjoyed a cohesive relationship with HSI and ICE to combat crime and arrest the individuals associated with it,” said Nassau Commissioner of Police Patrick Ryder.” Moving forward we will continue to work toward this common goal with continuous exchanges of resources and intelligence to keep our communities, residents and our children safe.”
The outreach in schools and community centers, along with educating the local communities on who they can report to if they're approached by MS-13, helps law enforcement personnel at all levels fight these criminal enterprises.
Said Molina: “The federal agents and police departments can't do it alone. Yes, we need each other, but we also need the community.”
From the FBI
2016 Hate Crime Statistics Released
Report Details Offenses, Victims, Offenders, and Locations of Crimes
Today, the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program released Hate Crime Statistics, 2016, its latest annual compilation of bias-motivated incidents reported throughout the U.S.
The newest report—which provides information about the offenses, victims, offenders, and locations of hate crimes—reveals that for 2016, law enforcement agencies reported 6,121 criminal incidents that were motivated by bias toward race, ethnicity, ancestry, religion, sexual orientation, disability, gender, or gender identity.
As part of the 2016 report, participants in UCR's Hate Crime Statistics Program included 15,254 law enforcement agencies. These agencies provided from one to 12 months' worth of data about bias-motivated crime, and of those agencies, 1,776 reported one or more incidents. The remaining agencies reported no hate crimes occurred within their jurisdictions.
Of the 6,121 criminal incidents reported, 6,063 were single-bias incidents (there were also 58 multiple-bias incidents). Of the single-bias incidents:
57.5 percent were motivated by a race, ethnicity or ancestry bias;
21.0 percent were motivated by a religious bias;
17.7 percent were motivated by a sexual orientation bias;
The remaining incidents were motivated by a gender identity, disability, or gender bias.
Where were these crimes committed? The two largest percentages of hate crime incidents took place in or near residences (27.3 percent) and on or near some type of roadway (18.4 percent). The remaining incidents were perpetrated at a variety of other locations, including schools and houses of worship, commercial and government buildings, restaurants and nightclubs, parking lots and garages, playgrounds and parks, and even medical facilities.
In short, hate crimes can and do happen just about anywhere.
What about the victims of these crimes? Hate crime victims can be individuals, businesses, government entities, religious organizations, or society as whole, and they can be committed against persons, property, or society. In 2016, law enforcement reported a total of 7,615 victims of hate crimes.
Of the 7,615 overall victims, 4,720 were victims of crimes against persons (both adults and juveniles), 2,813 were victims of crimes against property, and 82 were victims of hate crimes categorized as crimes against society (e.g., weapons violations, drug offenses, gambling).
Going forward. The FBI, through its UCR Program, will continue to collect and disseminate information on hate crime—as a means to educate and increase awareness of these types of crimes for the public as well as for law enforcement, government, community leaders, civic organizations, and researchers around the country.
The Bureau will also continue to combat hate crimes that fall under federal jurisdiction—the number one investigative priority under our Civil Rights Program—and offer operational assistance to our local and state law enforcement partners during their hate crime investigations.
Full report: Hate Crime Statistics, 2016