LACP - NEWS of the Week
on some LACP issues of interest
NEWS of the Week
EDITOR'S NOTE: The following group of articles is but a small percentage of the info available to the community policing and neighborhood activist. It is by no means meant to cover every possible issue of interest, nor is it meant to convey any particular point of view. We present this simply as a convenience to our readership.
"News of the Week"  

April, 2018 - Week 3
MJ Goyings
Many thanks to our very own "MJ" Goyings, a resident of Ohio,
for her daily research that provides us with the news related material that appears on the LACP & NAASCA web sites.


4 dead in Tenn. Waffle House shooting; suspect sought

The Metropolitan Nashville Police Department said authorities are searching for 29-year-old Travis Reinking

by Sheila Burke

(Picture on site)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A nearly naked gunman wearing only a green jacket and brandishing a rifle stormed a Waffle House restaurant in Nashville early Sunday, shooting four people to death before a customer rushed him and wrestled the weapon away.

Authorities were searching for the 29-year-old suspect, Travis Reinking, who they said drove to the busy restaurant and killed two people in the parking lot before entering and continuing to fire. When his AR-15 rifle either jammed or the clip was empty, the customer disarmed him in a scuffle.

Four people were also wounded before the gunman fled, shedding his jacket.

Nashville Police Chief Steve Anderson said there was no clear motive, though Reinking may have "mental issues." He may still be armed, Anderson told a mid-afternoon news conference, because he was known to have owned a handgun that authorities have not recovered.

The AR-15 used in the shooting and the handgun were among four firearms that authorities took from Reinking after U.S. Secret Service agents arrested him last July for being in a restricted area near the White House, officials said. Special Agent Todd Hudson said Reinking was detained after refusing to leave the restricted area, later explaining he wanted to meet President Donald Trump.

State police in Illinois, where Reinking lived until last fall, revoked his state firearms card at the request of the FBI and the four guns were taken from him, authorities said. Nashville Police spokesman Don Aaron said the guns were returned to his father, who told authorities Sunday he had given the weapons to his son.

Authorities hailed the customer who intervened to stop a further bloodbath, 29-year-old James Shaw, Jr., as a hero — though the father of a 4-year-old girl demurred and said he was just trying to survive.

Shaw told reporters he first thought the gunshots fired around 3:25 a.m were plates falling from a dishwashing station.

He said when he realized what was happening, he took cover behind a door as shots shattered windows. The gun either jammed or needed a new clip, and that is when Shaw said he pounced after making up his mind that "he was going to have to work to kill me."

They cursed at each other as they scuffled, Shaw said, and he was able to grab the gun and toss it over a counter. The gunman then ran away into the dark of the working- and middle-class Antioch neighborhood of southeast Nashville.

Authorities said he shed his jacket nearby and police found two AR-15 magazines loaded with bullets in the pockets. He was seen walking, naked, on a road, officials said, but later was seen in pants after apparently returning to his apartment.

Another witness, Chuck Cordero, told The Tennessean newspaper he had stopped to get a cup of coffee and was outside the Waffle House when the chaos unfolded.

"He did not say anything," Cordero said of the gunman, who he described as "all business."

Cordero said Shaw saved lives. "There was plenty more people in that restaurant," he said.

The dead were identified as 29-year-old restaurant worker Taurean C. Sanderlin, and 20-year-old restaurant patrons Joe R. Perez, 23-year-old Akilah Dasilva and 21-year-old Deebony Groves. A police statement said Sanderlin and Perez were killed outside the restaurant, Groves was fatally shot inside, and Dasilva was critically wounded inside and later died at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Aaron, the police spokesman, said two of the wounded were being treated for gunshot wounds at the medical center, where spokeswoman Jennifer Wetzel said one was in critical condition and the other was in critical but stable condition.

TriStar Southern Hills Medical Center spokeswoman Katie Radel in Nashville said two people were treated for minor injuries and released.

Aaron said Reinking lived near the restaurant, and police used yellow crime scene tape to block public access to an apartment complex about a half-mile from the Waffle House. Reinking is originally from Morton, Illinois.

"This is a very sad day for the Waffle House family," the company said in a statement on Twitter. "We ask for everyone to keep the victims and their families in their thoughts and prayers."

Nashville Mayor David Briley described the shooting as "a tragic day" for the city.

"My heart goes out to the families & friends of every person who was killed or wounded," Briley said in an emailed statement. "I know all of their lives will be forever changed by this devastating crime."

U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, whose district includes Nashville, said in an emailed statement that the shooting shows the need for tighter restrictions on "widespread civilian access to military-grade assault weapons."



Body camera footage shows police never got out of cruiser to check for Ohio teen crushed by minivan seat

by Kathleen Joyce

Body camera footage from two Cincinnati officers showed they never left their patrol car to investigate the 911 calls about a teen being stuck in a minivan last week.

Kyle Plush, 16, called 911 twice on April 10, 2018, from inside a minivan begging for help and providing a dispatcher with a description and location of the vehicle in a school parking lot. Plush suffocated after he became trapped under the third-row seat that flipped and pinned him while he was trying to reach his tennis equipment. Police said Amber Smith, the 911 operator who answered Plush's second call, failed to relay information to the additional officers who were at the scene.

During the call, Plush explained to Smith the call was not a joke.

"I am trapped inside my gold Honda Odyssey van in the parking lot of the Seven Hills...Send officers immediately," Plush pleaded. "I'm almost dead.”

Smith, who has been a 911 operator for four years, returned to work this week after being put on administrative leave. She told supervisors her computer froze and she was unable to put information into the system. She also told her supervisors she didn't hear the teenager, according to a police quality review report obtained by FOX19.

The footage showed Officers Edsel Osborne and Brian Brazile driving their cruiser around the parking lot but not leaving the vehicle, WCPO reported. Music appeared to be playing in the background.

"I don't see nobody, which I didn't imagine I would,” one of the officers was heard saying.

“I'm going to shut this off,” one of the officers was heard saying.

Records showed officers were at the school for about 11 minutes.

The Cincinnati Enquirer reports the footage also shows the officers did not check all the school's parking lots.

Osborne and Brazile were not placed on administrative leave, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.

Tiffany Hardy, a spokesperson for the Cincinnati Police Department, said the footage was “the entirety of what was recorded.”

A Hamilton County deputy who was directing traffic also looked for the teen but did not find anything.

Another officer was told to respond to the scene later in the day but thought the call was a joke.

"I think somebody's playing pranks. It was something about they were locked in a vehicle across from the school, we never found anything. But we'll respond and see what else we can find," an officer was heard saying in the radio transmission.

Plush was found dead hours later by his father.

Cincinnati Police Chief Eliot Isaac has called for an internal investigation into the teen's death and why first responders failed to help him.


New York

Community Policing Comes Downtown, Ready to Take Your Calls

by Carl Glassman

Troubled by a noisy bar? Unremitting honking? Dangerous intersection—or any hundred-and-one other quality-of-life or non-emergency problems that come with city living?

Now you can call a cop, directly. Neighborhood policing has come to Lower Manhattan's 1st Precinct.

Two Neighborhood Coordination Officers, or NCOs, have been assigned to each of the precinct's four sectors. Anyone can reach out to them by email or call their cell phones for non-911 issues. ( See the map below for the officers' names and contact information and the areas they cover. ) Within the next couple of months, the officers will also begin meeting quarterly with people in their sectors who want to discuss or learn about local safety issues.

“I want people to call us and know the problem will be handled,” said Officer Joseph Milone, 29, who covers Sector C, or Charlie as it's called, an area that includes Tribeca, much of Battery Park City and parts of the Financial District.

“I'd like them to see they can trust us, that we listen,” added his partner, Officer Dinah Bodden, 41. “The door is open. We're there for them.”

“I assembled probably the best team in the First Precinct and they'll be able to work directly with you in solving your issues,” said the precinct's commanding officer, Dep. Inspector Mark Iocco, who spoke during the program's launch meeting for the community last week at New York Law School.

“It's not a uniform any more,” added the NCO sergeant, Eugene Cummings. “It's a face, it's a voice and it's communication between us and you.”

Precinct by precinct, community policing began rolling out around the city two-and-a-half years ago and only now has come to the 1st Precinct. Rodney Harrison, the NYPD's chief of patrol, credited the initiative with a city-wide drop in serious crimes. “Crime is still going down,” he said. “It's working.”

Previously, patrol officers received assignments to different sectors on different days, usually not getting to know people in the communities. The NCOs are a daily presence in their sectors and are tasked with introducing themselves to business owners, attending community meetings and investigating patterns of crime and quality-of-life complaints. Along with responding to issues that come to them by email and phone, they plan their days around visits to locations that have received 311 and 911 complaints, and they can adjust the hours of their tours to meet the need.

The NCOs are freed from being dispatched to most 911 calls—other officers handle those—but they, too, can respond to emergencies. “I call them the utility cop. They're able to handle different things. We're asking them to be crime fighters but also be investigators,” said Harrison, who noted that the officers received a wide range of additional training, from investigations and mediation to the handling of child abuse cases.

The 1st Precinct, Harrison said, now has more officers, up from 73 to 100, and an additional sergeant. And more of them are on patrol because special units—the teams that handle only one condition, such as quality of life or narcotics—have been disbanded. “We have to get more cops back out on the street in order for this to be successful,” he said.

Behind the wheel of a brand new 1st Precinct squad car last Thursday, Milone smiled as he pulled up to the curb on Dey Street. “I like what I see,” he said to Bodden, his partner. What the officers saw was the absence of an illegal food vendor, a small but satisfying success in their new job of neighborhood policing. The day before, they had received a call about a vendor on Dey Street where vending is prohibited. As a result, the officers wrote him a summons and on their return this day, the sidewalk was clear.

The Trib followed Bodden and Milone on that day, which began by checking in with the school safety officers at PS 234, Stuyvesant High School and PS/IS 89. At PS 234 they touched base with Safety Officer Frances Navarro and met crossing guard Angela Diniz, who had questions for the officers. “It makes it easier for us, and easier for them, to get to know us on a personal level,” Milone said.

At Brookfield Place, the NCOs gave their cards to workers at Saks Fifth Avenue where there has been a rash of thefts. “If you have any questions, email or call,” Bodden told them. “If you have a real emergency, you still call 911. If you have any concerns, you call us. Anything you want to address.”

On Broadway, the officers introduced themselves to the owner of a small jewelry store and the manager of a Chase Bank. Duane Reades are frequently targeted by shoplifters and they met with the store managers of three of the four stores in their sector. At the 305 Broadway store they got a warm welcome from manager Takiesha Robinson. “It makes us all more comfortable that you guys are partnering with us,” she told them. “I'm ecstatic.”

The Duane Reade at 250 Broadway has been especially hard hit with larcenies and Arssath Uthumalebbe, its manager, had already forged a successful relationship with 1st Precinct Crime Prevention Officer Brian Nelsen. Now, he said, he is grateful for daily visits from Milone and Bodden.

“The last three days, I see my wife, my kids and my two officers,” he said, grinning broadly. “They've become part of my family, too.”



A chasm even among allies on race and community policing

Nothing illustrates the chasm that exists in Buncombe County more than a recent telephone conversation between Sheriff Van Duncan and County Commissioner Al Whitesides.

They spoke briefly after Whitesides and two other commissioners issued a call for major reforms in the county's law-enforcement agencies, an initiative denounced by Duncan as “a slap in the face."

Both agree the conversation ended when Duncan hung up. The sheriff said he ended the call because Whitesides was "emotionally hijacked over the issue."

Van Duncan and Al Whitesides are, by all accounts, honorable men and good public servants. But they live in different worlds. Try as he might — and we know he does try — Duncan cannot understand fully what it means to be African-American in U.S. society.

Whitesides can. He has been involved in the civil rights movement since his days at segregated Stephens-Lee High School. He once said he had lost count of the number of times he had been arrested for protesting racial discrimination.

“Look,” he said at Tuesday's meeting of the County Commission. “I live in the city. I've been profiled, I've been stopped in Asheville. So I know what the problem is there.” He insists he merely wants to see the problem does not spread.

People are saying the right things. Duncan, who attended the meeting, said, “I can promise you if we can get together and collaborate, we can get that done and see what it brings in the community, it will be worth all the hardship that we went through last week.”

“We're wanting us to get to the point where we are now, so we can talk about it and stay ahead of the game,” Whitesides said.

The ideas put forth by the three commissioners — Whitesides, Ellen Frost and Jasmine Beach-Ferrara — should be considered the opening of a discussion, not the ending.

The three urge creation of a Human Rights Commission and a Use-of-Force Resource Team. The latter would conduct independent reviews of police body-camera footage and help victims navigate the complaint process. This might include working with a potential city taxpayer-funded attorney.

Additional recommendations include policy reviews and county-funded training for all police agencies. The county would join Asheville in seeking for the state to lengthen the 60-day retention period for body-camera footage.

Neither the commission nor the resource team has the power to implement its proposals. Nevertheless, there has been strong pushback from law-enforcement agencies. In addition to Duncan, the police chiefs of Woodfin and Weaverville have been critical.

We can understand why police officers resent their departments being tarred because of one or two bad apples. We also understand why someone abused by one of those bad apples considers that argument to be irrelevant, and the system to address them is clearly broken. There is a gulf here, but we must keep trying to bridge it.

Beach-Ferrara summed up the situation very well Tuesday. “We have to be able to say in the same sentence, there are dedicated public servants and law enforcement who get up each and every day. And they're brave and they're courageous, and they serve our community in ways we don't always even understand.

“And, there are members of our community — particularly those who are black and brown — who have learned to be afraid of interactions with law enforcement and who are scared about whether their children will be safe in those interactions.”

We can't expect either side to fully understand the other. But we can expect each to listen carefully to what the other has to say and to show concern and empathy. Our goal must be a community united in pursuit of equal rights for everyone.



The petition demanding change in judicial system created after LEO's slaying

The petition says judges need to be held accountable for improper decisions

by Scott J. Croteau

YARMOUTH, Mass. — A link to a petition demanding Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and politicians change the judicial system in the wake of Yarmouth Police Officer Sean Gannon's killing has been shared by both the Yarmouth Police Department and Auburn Police Department on social media.

Both departments have lost police officers in the line of duty. Gannon was fatally shot Thursday by a man with more than 100 prior convictions while serving a warrant in the Marstons Mills village of Barnstable, authorities said.

Auburn Police Officer Ronald Tarentino Jr. was fatally shot by Jorge Zambrano on May 22, 2016, after the officer stopped a vehicle on Rochdale Street in Auburn around 12:18 a.m.

Yarmouth Police and Auburn Police both shared a link to a petition on Twitter. Auburn Police included the names of other officers and a Massachusetts State Police trooper killed in the line of duty. The "In Memory of Officer Ronald Tarentino Jr." Facebook page also shared a link to the petition.

The petition, started by Lori Wagner, had more than 17,600 online signatures as of 1:30 p.m. Sunday.

"The judicial system in this state needs an overhaul. Our police officers are out putting their lives on the line daily for the safety of the people of the Commonwealth and their hard work is for not when career criminals are allowed to walk free from a courthouse," the petition reads. "How many known violent criminals are walking freely in public awaiting their next court date instead of sitting in a cell where they belong? 1 is too many. Officer Sean Gannon is the perfect example of why."

Gannon and his K-9 Nero were shot Thursday while serving a warrant with other officers at a home on Blueberry Lane. Authorities say Thomas Latanowich shot Gannon in the head and Nero in the face and shoulder.

Latanowich, 29, was arraigned on a murder charge Friday and held without bail.

The Yarmouth Police Department posted on Facebook over the weekend that the Massachusetts Criminal Justice system let them down.

The petition says judges need to be held accountable for improper decisions and criticized the judicial system for having Latanowich out on the streets. Latanowich violated probation on a gun charge.

"We the people of Massachusetts want our justice system fixed. it's time we are allowed to feel safe and it is beyond the time for our police officers to have their hard work followed through on the final end--jail for offenders," the petition reads.

Zambrano, the man who fatally shot Tarentino with a stolen gun, had been in court three months before the killing.

A judge discussed Zambrano's violent history toward police during the Feb. 11, 2016 arraignment in Clinton District Court. The judge could have revoked Zambrano's bail, but did not.

The Worcester District Attorney's Office filed a motion to have Zambrano's bail revoked. Bail was instead set at $500 and Zambrano's girlfriend paid the money the same day as his arraignment.

After killing Tarentino, Zambrano hid in an Oxford home and was killed after shooting at Massachusetts State Police troopers. One trooper was shot by Zambrano, but the wound was not fatal.

Zambrano previously served seven years in jail on cocaine distribution and assault on a police officer charges.


United Kingdom

U.S. and U.K. Jointly Warn of Russian Cyberattacks

Alert comes amid a low point in Moscow's relations with the West

by Jason Douglas

LONDON—U.S. and U.K. intelligence agencies said Russian cyberattackers are targeting critical internet infrastructure to spy on Western companies and governments, the latest salvo in a diplomatic crisis that has brought relations between Moscow and the West to their lowest level in decades .

In a rare joint alert, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.K.'s National Cyber Security Centre said Russian state-sponsored hackers had penetrated devices and software programs world-wide, ranging from routers to switches to firewalls, in order to steal corporate secrets and conduct espionage.

They also warned the covert Russian action is aimed at laying the groundwork for future offensive cyberattacks against Western targets. The Russian campaign “threatens our respective safety, security and economic well-being,” the agencies said.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Tuesday the accusations were “unsubstantiated and have no value,” according to news agency Interfax.

The warning from the U.S. and U.K. opens a new front in a broad Western effort to confront Russia over what Washington and its allies see as a growing pattern of interference and disruption.

Washington on Monday said it is evaluating fresh sanctions on Russian entities and companies as part of a wide-ranging response to a suspected chemical-weapons attack in the Syrian city of Douma last week, which Western governments believe was carried out by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a close Moscow ally.

The Trump administration has ratcheted up economic pressure on Moscow amid spiraling diplomatic tensions resulting from a series of events, including the Kremlin's alleged intervention in U.S. elections, a nerve-agent attack in the U.K. on a former Russian double agent and his daughter, cyberattacks on critical U.S. infrastructure, Moscow's military engagements in eastern Ukraine and its support of Mr. Assad.

The U.S., France and the U.K. on Saturday attacked Syrian military installations and research bases that they believe house the Assad regime's chemical weapons capabilities in strikes aimed at deterring their future use.

A host of Western governments have expelled dozens of Russian diplomats in protest at the poisoning in March of Sergei Skripal, a former Russian colonel who spied for the British, and his daughter in the English city of Salisbury. The Kremlin denies any involvement.

In warning of the Russian cyber offensive, U.S. and U.K. agencies said they would provide technical support to companies, public-sector organizations and internet service providers to combat the threat.

“Russia is our most capable hostile adversary in cyberspace,” said Ciaran Martin, chief executive of the U.K.'s National Cyber Security Centre, part of Britain's communications intelligence service, known as GCHQ.



As Stephon Clark lay motionless, officers thought he might be armed and 'pretending,' new footage shows

by Alene Tchekmedyian, Richard Winton and Hailey Branson-Potts

Video footage released Monday by the Sacramento Police Department shows that officers waited almost five minutes after firing their weapons to approach Stephon Clark to deliver medical aid out of apparent concern that he was armed and playing dead as he lay motionless in his grandmother's backyard.

The revelations come after the department released more than 50 new video recordings showing the massive law enforcement response to the March 18 shooting of the unarmed black man, which sparked weeks of demonstrations and heightened already simmering tensions between police and the city's black community.

Clark was shot at 20 times by two police officers investigating reports of somebody breaking into cars. The officers chased Clark to the backyard, where, authorities say, he turned and advanced toward the officers while holding what they thought was a firearm. Only a cellphone was found at the scene.

The new material — which follows the earlier release of footage that captured the shooting — starts as other officers respond to the break-in call and continues until fire officials pronounce Clark dead, the Police Department said. It covers 23 in-car camera videos, 28 body-worn camera videos, a sheriff's helicopter video and two 911 audio clips.

The release of the files is a requirement under city policy, which says that the Police Department must release material associated with critical incidents to the public within 30 days. Names and parts of witness interviews were redacted from the audio.

In the many videos reviewed by reporters, there's little discussion of the actual shooting. In them, the officers don't acknowledge that Clark was unarmed.

One exchange is recorded by the body cameras of two police officers, a male and a female, as they approached the backyard after the shooting, joining the two officers involved.

"He have a gun?" the approaching male officer says. The two officers respond, saying a weapon hasn't been secured.

"I don't see it," one says. "He hasn't moved at all."

The officer who just arrived remarks that Clark has one hand by his face. Moments later, they shout at Clark.

"Hey! Can you hear us?" a male officer says.

"Police Department, can you hear us?" another male officer says.

"We need to know if you're OK," the female officer says. "We need to get you medics but we can't go over to get you help unless we know you're, you don't have your weapon."

She suggests to her colleagues that next unit bring a non-lethal weapon: "Let's have the next unit get, just bring a non-lethal in case he's pretending."

Later, in the background of the recording, one of the officers says, "Like this, something in his hands, it looked like a gun from our perspective."

Seconds later, they begin moving toward Clark's body. A cellphone is on the ground next to him. The officers handcuff him and one begins chest compressions.

A use-of-force expert who reviewed some of the footage at the request of The Times said the cautious approach — even after backup arrived — isn't unusual and reflects officers' concern for their own safety.

"One officer says he cannot see the young man's left hand on the ground," said Ed Obayashi, a Plumas County sheriff's deputy and shooting expert.

Officers all fear a suspect playing possum, or pretending to be dead, he said. They may have also been concerned about another person in the house, he added.

Obayashi said the officers called for a less-lethal weapon because they had strength in numbers. "If he pulls a gun, they can shoot. But if he pulls out a knife, they can use less lethal," he said.

In another video, a group of officers discuss muting their cameras.

In it, an officer walks up to a dark scene near a worship center and says, "Oh, fancy seeing y'all here."

He approaches a few other officers standing in a circle.

"Muted?" someone asks. "Yes, sir," a few reply.

"Muted?" the asker says again.

"Yeah," a few reply.

The officer wearing the camera says, "Wait." Then there's a beep and the sound goes off.

The Police Department is already under scrutiny for officers' use of the mute button in the first batch of recordings released, with some expressing concern that the agency is not being transparent. Policies on muting cameras vary between agencies. A policy implemented in Sacramento after the shooting requires officers to indicate why they're turning off the microphone.

The videos also show officers interviewing neighbors, including a man whose rear sliding door had been broken.

Sgt. Vance Chandler said the department will look at whether the medical aid rendered and the muting of body cameras was appropriate under the circumstances.

The incident began when Sacramento police officers responded to the 7500 block of 29th Street after receiving a call about a man breaking into vehicles. The crew of a Sheriff's Department helicopter spotted a man in a backyard and directed police officers toward him.

Deputies told police that the man had picked up a "toolbar" and broken a window to a home. The man then was seen running south, toward the front of the house, where he stopped and was looking into another car, police said. Following deputies' directions, officers entered the front yard of a home and saw the man along the side of the residence.

Police said that the officers ordered the man to stop and show his hands, but that he ran toward the back of the home. They chased him to the backyard, where, authorities say, he turned and advanced toward the officers and was shot.


New York

NYPD response to Saheed Vassell shows need for mental illness overhaul, more community policing, experts say

Some Crown Heights residents question why neighborhood policing officers were not called in to respond to Saheed Vassell on April 4

by Lauren Cook

The fatal police shooting of Saheed Vassell has become a flash point within the Crown Heights community as questions mount over the NYPD's response to a mentally ill man whose condition was known in the neighborhood.

Emotions ran high at an emergency mental health advisory committee meeting convened on Wednesday by Sen. Jesse Hamilton, who represents Crown Heights, as attendees expressed frustration over what they perceive to be systemic issues in the way officers respond to 911 calls in communities of color.

Some residents questioned why members of the NYPD's neighborhood policing program were not called in to respond to Vassell.

Vassell, 34, was shot nine times by four officers responding to 911 calls reporting a man pointing what appeared to be a gun at pedestrians on April 4, according to police.

The weapon he was holding turned out to be a metal pipe. Although it was later revealed Vassell was bipolar and not on medication, the calls to police were not reported as an emotionally disturbed person (EDP).

Samuel Williams, Hamilton's community liaison and mental health adviser, said an EDP call would have prompted a different unit of officers to respond who may have better understood how to defuse the situation.

He argued that if neighborhood policing officers (NCOs) had been called to the scene, they may have recognized Vassell as a person with a mental health issue.

“They would have recognized that this particular individual happened to have a mental health issue, and then they would have utilized a more appropriate [crisis intervention team] response, or had an [emergency service unit] come in to address the EDP,” he said.

NCOs are expected to “function as adjuncts to the local detective squads, responding swiftly to breaking incidents and developing leads and evidence that might have been missed under the old patrol model,” according to the NYPD's website. None of the officers who shot Vassell were NCOs, but the NYPD declined to say if any were on the scene when the shooting occurred.

Williams also questioned what type of discretion was used when officers approached Vassell.

“They thought they had an active shooter, now mind you, nobody was shot until the police showed up,” he said. “There was no assessment, there was no look at, ‘oh, this guy is possibly mentally ill.' ”

Fordham University School of Law professor Cheryl Bader said it's important that community policing is conducted in a comprehensive way and noted that the NYPD's program is still being rolled out.

“I think most of the policing that gets done in marginalized neighborhoods of color is still a patrol car response to the 911 call,” she added.

Introduced in 2015, the NYPD has launched neighborhood policing in 63 precincts and nine housing districts, with the goal of bringing the program to all 77 precincts by 2019. NCOs were introduced into the 71st Precinct, which covers Crown Heights, in 2016.

It's not a guarantee, however, that Vassell would have lived if NCOs had responded to the scene, Bader said.

“Even if you're familiar with someone, and know that they're mentally ill. . .it's hard to predict their conduct,” she said. “And so, it's not clear to me that having more NCOs would have prevented this particular tragedy.”

Another side to Vassell's case, according to Bader, is how the city's criminal justice system addresses mental health issues.

“When you're dealing with people who are mentally ill, I think the criminal justice system is very ill equipped,” Bader said.

Both Williams and Bader pointed to a lack of training across the police department when it comes to handling calls involving people with mental health problems.

“What happens is that we get the average police officer dispatched to the community, that may have some form of mental health training, but not sufficient to assess the particular situation and not provide the appropriate amount of support,” Williams said. “When you have these particular issues, police usually revert to what they were trained, and the training is usually to arrest, to stop the individual by any means necessary.”

Bader said the NYPD could benefit from a more comprehensive approach to learn from high-risk incidents after they happen.

“After that encounter, they need to go through a process of reflection and focus on what was done that escalated the process and what was done to de-escalate the process and really try to learn from reflection,” she said. “That kind of training and time to reflect is very costly and it's an investment, but I think that's an investment that needs to be made.”

Vassell's death is under investigation by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office , as the NYPD conducts its own internal probe into the officers' actions. But Vassell's family and the Crown Heights community have demanded more accountability and transparency from the NYPD.

“They have to put more emphasis to utilize the training, to utilize more humane and common-sense approaches, not to just go on an assumption that a person happens to be a combatant when there were no shots fired,” Williams said. “That way we can reduce the [number] of fatal encounters in the community.”


From ICE

Nashville child predator sentenced to 105 years following ICE HSI investigation

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A Nashville man who filmed himself sexually exploiting a toddler boy and an infant girl on multiple occasions was sentenced to 105 years in federal prison Monday for multiple counts of producing and transporting child pornography. The sentencing follows an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Jarratt A. Turner, 36, of Nashville, previously pleaded guilty to all counts of the indictment issued in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee March 20, 2017.

According to court documents, Turner befriended two families with young children that he offered to babysit. Between October 2014 and May 2015, Turner took sexually explicit images and videos of the toddler girl on ten different occasions and of the infant boy on six different occasions while in his basement apartment in Nashville. The sexually explicit material included depictions of himself sexually molesting the two children, who were between the ages of 12 and 31 months during this period.

After making these recordings, Turner subsequently distributed these images via the Internet to others, and in an attempt to avoid detection by law enforcement, he only used publicly available Wi-Fi networks. With the help of a manager of a business where Turner frequently accessed the Internet, law enforcement officers were able to identify the defendant.

“Children of this community are a little safer today with this sexual predator behind bars,” said Assistant Special Agent in Charge Robert Hammer, who oversees Homeland Security Investigation's operations in Tennessee. “The fact he would film, and then upload to the Internet, videos of himself molesting an infant and toddler, then take elaborate steps to conceal his activities, represents the extreme danger he posed to the community.”

“The sentence imposed by the Court should insure that this defendant will never have another opportunity to inflict his perverted sexual desires upon another innocent child,” said U.S. Attorney Don Cochran for the Middle District of Tennessee.

This investigation was conducted under HSI's Operation Predator , an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 16,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2016, more than 2,600 child predators were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative and more than 800 victims identified or rescued.

HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing its online tip form . Both are staffed around the clock by investigators. From outside the U.S. and Canada, callers should dial 802-872-6199. Hearing impaired users can call TTY 802-872-6196.

Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST.

For additional information about wanted suspected child predators, download HSI's Operation Predator smartphone app or visit the online suspect alerts page . HSI is a founding member of the Virtual Global Taskforce , an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.


Washington D.C.

Acknowledging DC's history, changing neighborhoods in officer training

by Megan Cloherty

WASHINGTON — A one of its kind program in Washington aims to educate every member of D.C.'s police force on the African-American history of the city they patrol.

The department is partnering with the University of the District of Columbia Community College as well as the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture to improve the city's community policing.

“I think there are some that would like to ignore that troubling history of law enforcement in our country. But, we believe it's critically important that it remains a part of our education and understanding. And most importantly, it's something we can learn from,” said D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham at a news conference Friday, April 13.

Each sworn and civilian member will participate in the 10-hour program led by the college's history professors, which begins with a tour and discussion at the museum and followed by guided neighborhood walks.

“We start at 6 a.m. for three hours of lectures that go from Africa to present day. For three hours after which, we walk here and we begin our tour at 9:30 in the morning until 3:30 in the afternoon,” said professor Bernard Demczuk.

“We also take officers on to a U Street tour where we spend four or five hours in the Shaw community examining police brutality, examining history, examining the black Mecca of America, Washington, D.C. and the black Broadway along U Street; and the officers get a real good sense of D.C. history, D.C. policing and how we here are changing policing in America,” Demczuk said.

“The community is more diverse, more cultural. You have to be more aware of that and police that way. You know, everybody wants to be heard and has a different story; and everybody is not the same,” said Master Police officer Curtis Coleman, who trains cadets at the D.C. Police Academy.

Coleman is one of a few officers who goes through the training with the groups of civilian and sworn officers — often comprising those both new to the department and others further along in their careers.

“They can give you some history of what they have gone through and you try to give them a sense of what you know about Washington, D.C. to kind of give them that blanket of comfort to say, ‘Hey, when we release you out of the academy, we want you to be a well-rounded officer and have an understanding.' There is so much Washington has to offer,” Coleman said.



Texas emergency operator jailed for 911 hang ups

by the BBC

A former 911 operator in Houston, Texas has been found guilty of hanging up on emergency calls.

Crenshanda Williams, 44, was sentenced to 10 days in jail and 18 months of probation for interfering with emergency telephone calls.

The Harris County district attorney's office said Ms Williams systematically hung up on emergency reports.

Calls she terminated included reports of robberies, speeding vehicles, and murders, records showed.

Prosecutors said Ms Williams had worked as a 911 operator for 18 months, ending in 2016.

The district attorney's office said the recording system kept a report of whether it was the caller or the operator who disconnected the call.

It showed that thousands of calls shorter than 20 seconds were attributed to her hanging up, the court heard.

Ms Williams hung up because at those times she did not want to talk to anyone, she told investigators.

"Citizens rely on 911 operators to dispatch help in their time of need. When a public servant betrays the community's trust and breaks the law, we have a responsibility to hold them criminally accountable," Assistant District Attorney Lauren Reeder said in a statement.



Portland hires 2 firms to develop new community policing group

by Maxine Bernstein

The city of Portland has hired two different firms to help create and facilitate a new community group aimed at working with Portland police to engage local residents and review bureau policies.

The move comes a day before city officials return before a federal judge to discuss the status of police reforms required after federal investigators found that Portland officers used excessive force against people with mental illness.

A hearing is scheduled Thursday morning before U.S. District Judge Michael H. Simon to determine if the city's yet-to-be-formed Committee on Community-Engaged Policing meets the requirements of a 2014 settlement agreement in the case.

The mayor's office identified the two firms as Training 4 Transformation and the Brad Taylor Group . They're scheduled to start work by the end of the month.

What the two firms will be paid hasn't been finalized yet, but the maximum amount is not to exceed $100,000 for each company, according to Michael Cox, the mayor's spokesman.

Training 4 Transformation's owners say they were survivors of numerous racial profiling cases and turned to civil rights advocacy to build partnerships between communities and police. Brandon Lee, one of the owners, was born and raised in Oakland, the former home of Portland's new Police Chief Danielle Outlaw.

Taylor is a former city of Portland mental health specialist and crime prevention coordinator, a social worker and former mobile mental health crisis response worker in Multnomah County who serves on the board of Street Roots, the local newspaper sold by homeless people.

"The city is excited about the opportunity to improve upon the community engagement and oversight process of the settlement agreement,'' Mayor Ted Wheeler said in a statement. "We remain committed to a more authentic, transparent process that centers the experiences of people impacted most. We look forward to engaging with the community in this process.''

The agreement with the city followed the 2012 excessive force findings by the U.S. Department of Justice and calls for changes to police policies, training and oversight. A central part of the settlement mandates independent oversight of the reforms by community members.

The initial Community Oversight Advisory Board disbanded in January 2017 over internal conflicts and lack of feedback from former police chiefs, city officials and federal officials to the group's more than 50 policy recommendations on police use of force, improving police encounters with people in crisis and ways to combat bias-based policing.

The new committee is supposed to make recommendations on how police can improve their community outreach, develop relationships with diverse communities in Portland, host at least quarterly town hall meetings and share public grievances with the Police Bureau.

It also is expected to hold two meetings a month, with at least one open to the public.

Training 4 Transformation and the Brad Taylor Group will help establish an "equitable process'' for recruiting and selecting committee members, plan a retreat for the committee, ensure "group cohesion'' by setting ground rules and a vision for the committee's work and facilitate its public meetings, the city said.

The Albina Ministerial Alliance's Coalition for Justice and Police Reform pushed for Thursday's fairness hearing in federal court. The advocacy group members have said they're concerned that the new oversight committee envisioned by the mayor's office gives "less autonomy and authority to the community.''

The new committee's mission is more focused on improving the Police Bureau's engagement with the community instead of independently monitoring the reforms, the coalition said.



Chicago body armor ban criticized as too restrictive

The ban was passed last month in the wake of the shooting death of a respected police commander

by Don Babwin

CHICAGO — Chicago's City Council is expected to water down its ban on most residents wearing body armor after criticism that it could put in danger people such as 7-Eleven store clerks in crime-ridden neighborhoods.

The ban, which experts say is the most restrictive in the United States, was passed last month in the wake of the shooting death of a respected police commander, allegedly by a convicted felon wearing body armor.

"We are going to revisit it (because) we realize you have a guy working in a 7-Eleven in a tough neighborhood who might have a legitimate reason to want one," said Alderman Patrick O'Connor, one of the co-sponsors of the ban. "I mean, you have these companies selling kids' backpacks that have them (bulletproof plates) in them so if I am a law-abiding citizen and I want to wear body armor, why in the world shouldn't I be able to?"

The City Council on Wednesday is expected to add exemptions for journalists when they are out covering stories and actors who need body armor as props to a list of exemptions that already includes police officers, emergency responders, firefighters and a few others. The revised ordinance would also delay enforcement for 120 days to allow state lawmakers time to consider a bill that would toughen penalties for people who commit crimes while wearing body armor.

Though the expected revisions don't include the shopkeepers O'Connor said he was concerned about, he said the hope is the delay will give the state enough time to craft a bill that would protect them. If it does not, he said the council would once again discuss expanding the ordinance to allow more people to legally wear body armor in the city.

Almost immediately after the measure was passed last month, the blowback began.

"If there is a need for it somewhere, we don't want to be an obstacle for those peoples' safety," said Superintendent Eddie Johnson, who was a close friend of Paul Bauer, the police commander fatally shot in February. Johnson said that there is proposed legislation before state lawmakers that "is addressing that exact issue."

The Chicago ordinance, which mentions Bauer by name, warns of "the "insurmountable threat" faced by city residents if "felons and others potential offenders continue to acquire such protection ..."

Mass shootings carried out by people wearing body armor have also made authorities increasingly worried about stopping heavily armed gunmen. The shooter in the 2012 shooting in an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater wore body armor, and the man who killed 49 people at an Orlando, Florida, nightclub in 2016 had recently tried to buy it.

Like other cities, Chicago has been rattled by recent mass shootings, particularly after the news that the man who gunned down 58 people in Las Vegas last fall had months earlier booked a room — but never stayed — at a Chicago hotel that overlooks a park where a music festival is held that draws hundreds of thousands.

While the number of gun deaths has been dropping in Chicago over the last year, 2017 still ended with 650 homicides and in some neighborhoods there were more homicides than entire cities, including one on the West Side that saw more homicides than the entire city of San Francisco.

Chicago, which has been forced to weaken what were once among the toughest gun laws in the nation as courts have ruled against the city, is being watched closely by gun rights advocates.

"We've never dealt with body armor before and we are not sure what our strategy will be," said Richard Pearson, the executive director of the Illinois State Rifle Association. "But we're always looking for people who might want to do a lawsuit. We're always open to that."



Cleveland policy called into question after LEOs take gunfire twice but told not to pursue

Officers were shot at during two separate incidents and supervisors would not allow officers to give chase

by Adam Ferrise

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams on Tuesday addressed growing concerns that the department's policy regarding chasing violent suspects is preventing officers from doing their jobs and emboldening criminals.

The chief's sharply worded memo comes less than a week after officers were shot at during two separate incidents and supervisors would not allow officers to give chase.

Both incidents, and three others involving officers who had their cars rammed by suspects but were not allowed to pursue them, led the police union and other city officials to question how Cleveland police officials are applying the policy on when officers are allowed to chase suspects.

"These criminals now feel empowered to do whatever they want because they know they're not going to be chased," Cleveland City Councilman Mike Polensek said. "When you shoot at a cop, you're shooting at every one of us."

Williams, who did not directly address the recent incidents, defended the department's policy by saying that his officers are authorized to chase suspects. He said he crafted the policy based on the best-practices for chases and that the policy gives the best chance at protecting both police officers and residents.

"Officers are authorized to conduct vehicle pursuits in order to take violent suspects or intoxicated drivers into custody," he wrote. "This most certainly includes suspects who have committed violence, including attempting to harm our police officers."

The city enacted the policy in 2014, two years after a deadly chase involving 62 police cars that ended with more than a dozen officers firing 137 shots and killing Malissa Williams and Timothy Russell, who were unarmed.

An Ohio Attorney General investigation later determined the chase was a failure at all levels of the police department. This led Mayor Frank Jackson to invite the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the police department. The Justice Department's report, which uncovered decades of unconstitutional policing practices at almost every level of the department, led the city to enter into a reform agreement in 2015 known as a consent decree.

The Justice Department mentioned the chase in its report, but said that investigators did not look at the chase specifically and the consent decree does not address chase policy. Consent decree monitor Matthew Barge did not return several messages seeking comment.

New policy enacted in 2014

The policy allows officers to chase people suspected of violent crimes or drunken driving. The officers are not allowed to give chase unless they get permission from a supervisor. If the supervisor calls off the chase at any point, they must stop or face discipline.

The policy is at some points intentionally vague, leaving room for supervisors to take into account a myriad of factors -- including road conditions, how fast the chase is going and how many others cars are on the road -- when deciding whether to authorize a chase.

"Officers shall err on the side of caution and interpret this policy in the most restrictive manner if, for any reason, this directive does not offer clear guidance for a specific set of circumstances," the policy says in bold type-face.

Cleveland police spokeswoman Sgt. Jennifer Ciaccia said Williams plans to address during roll-calls at the beginning of each shift how the chase policy should be implemented, including when a chase should be authorized.

Union reacts

Lt. Brian Betley, the president of the Fraternal Order of Police union that represents Cleveland police supervisors, said the policy is vague because every situation that officers encounter has different criteria that supervisors must take into consideration.

The supervisors have to make real-time decisions using whatever information the officers involved are telling them over the radio. The policy sets the decision whether or not to authorize the chase squarely on the supervisor's shoulders.

"These supervisors have to make difficult decisions in the moment they're happening with the information they have," Betley said. "Then they have to live with the consequences."

Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association President Jeff Follmer acknowledged that while supervisors have a difficult split-decision to make when authorizing chases, his officers feel stifled when supervisors call off chases for suspects, especially those involved in violent crimes.

"Violent crimes and shooting at police officers, those are at the top of the list for most serious offenses," Follmer said.

Follmer said he believes that some suspects may be aware that officers are not being authorized to chase suspects. He also said he believes that supervisors are afraid of being disciplined for making the wrong decision.

"I would say they do," Follmer said. "I think they do know. Especially if you try it once and you get away with it, you'll know you can do it again."

The shootings

Someone opened fire Saturday on a home on Decker Avenue, just south of Superior Avenue in the city's Hough neighborhood. The shooter fired at least a dozen shots from a van, according to police reports. The bullets ripped through the home, where a 69-year-old woman was inside with her grandchildren -- ages 14, 12, and 5 months.

Two people outside the home ducked for cover and several bullets struck cars parked on the street, according to police reports. No one was injured.

Four Cleveland police officers went to the home to investigate and were interviewing witnesses when the same van returned. Someone in the van fired several more shots at the home. The officers and the residents dove for cover against cars and the home, according to police reports.

The officers did not give chase.

Cleveland City Councilman Basheer Jones, a member of council's Safety Committee whose ward includes the neighborhood where the officers came under fire Saturday, said he's in favor of more aggressive police tactics in certain circumstances, including when officers take gunfire. He said he wishes more supervisors would allow officers to give chase.

He said this issue something he plans to bring up to the city's administration.

"I want our officers to be safe and our citizens to be safe. But if they're so reckless to shoot at police they should be able to get them off the street," Jones said. "If the word gets out that we're not chasing and apprehending them, I would hate to think that they think they can get away with this."

In another incident on April 12, a sergeant in the newly-created police NICE Unit, which is a hybrid community-policing and intelligence gathering unit, took gunfire from a suspect. He chased the car and called out the locations of the car he was following before a supervisor called off the chase.

No one was hurt in that shooting and no arrests have been made. Investigators later learned the same car was stolen from a Cleveland Heights car lot and used to ram a police cruiser on April 7. The city has not fulfilled a public records request for police dispatch audio that might shed light on why the supervisor called off the chase.

Ciaccia said that pursuit will be reviewed, as is all police pursuits, no matter how long or short they are.

Police are also investigating two other incidents when police cruisers were intentionally rammed in recent weeks, but officers were not allowed to chase the suspects.

"When there are people out there that shoot at police officers and think they can get away with it because they won't be chased, heaven help us," Polensek said. "If cops are fair game to be shot at, everyone's fair game."



2 Florida deputies killed in apparent ambush at restaurant, suspect dead

by Elizabeth Zwirz

Two sheriff's deputies were shot and killed Thursday in a restaurant in Trenton, Florida, in what appeared to be an ambush, officials said.

The shooting occured at 3 p.m. at the Ace China restaurant when a man walked past a window and shot both through the glass, the Alachua County Sheriff's Office said in a statement made on behalf of the Gilchrist County Sheriff's Office.

"As fellow deputies responded to the scene, they found the shooter deceased outside the business," the statement read.

Gilchrist County Sheriff Bobby Schultz said Thursday night it was unclear if the gunman had killed himself. A motive for the shooting wasn't immediately revealed.

The deceased deputies were identified as Sgt. Noel Ramirez, 30, and Deputy Sheriff Taylor Lindsey, 25. The gunman was John Hubert Highnote, 59.

Ramirez and Lindsay "were the best of the best," Schultz said.

"They don't need to be remembered strictly for their untimely death but they need to be remembered for the type of people that they are," he added. "And that's good individuals, good deputy sheriffs."

Schultz said he knew both men personally and said he "loved them."

The department will grieve and be upset, Schultz said, but the department will "honor these men by doing our jobs. We will honor them by doing what we're supposed to do."

Trenton is about two hours southwest of Jacksonville.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi issued a statement saying, “My heart breaks with the tragic news of two Gilchrist County deputies that were senselessly killed today while in the line of duty.”

“The daily risk that law enforcement officers take to protect our communities is overwhelming,” Bondi's statement continued. “My deepest condolences and prayers are with their families as they mourn the devastating loss of their loved ones. May their families, friends and fellow officers find peace and comfort during this very difficult time.”

The Gilchrist County Sheriff's Office tweeted it had “suffered a terrible tragedy.” The office said there were no suspects “at large” and asked the public to stay away from the area.

Gov. Rick Scott in a statement said he and his wife "are heartbroken by the loss of the two law enforcement officers in Trenton."

"It is a true evil for anyone to hurt a law enforcement officer, and in Florida, we have zero tolerance for violence, especially against police," he continued. "Tonight, I ask every Floridian to honor these law enforcement officers, their brothers and sisters in uniform and their families. May God bless those who work to keep our communities safe."

President Trump offered his condolences to "the families, friends and colleagues of the two @GCSOFlorida deputies (HEROES) who lost their lives in the line of duty today."



Vallejo police to expand community policing with a nearly half million dollar state grant

by Times-Herald staff

The Vallejo Police Department is getting a nearly $450,000 shot in the arm, with which it plans to expand its community policing and procedural justice efforts, agency officials announced Thursday.

The $447,517 state's Board of Community and State Corrections (BCSC) grant will help fund efforts focused on providing education and services to underserved populations which contact with officers tend to be enforcement related or where there's a high need for “trauma-informed, evidenced-based care,” officials said.

Services will be focused in South Vallejo and with target populations that include the homeless, Latino, Filipino and young residents, they said.

“Partnerships between Vallejo police and our community are making a difference,” Chief of Police Andrew Bidou explained. “But we can do more. Our goal is keep individuals out of the justice system and help them receive services that enable them to be successful in our community.”

Vallejo was one of only 19 applicants to receive funding through the state's highly competitive Violence Intervention Program. The BCSC received 121 proposals requesting $55 million for the $9.215 million available to award to cities and community-based organizations, officials said.

Last year Vallejo police received the James Q. Wilson Award for Community Policing, the state's highest honor recognizing a police department for advancement in community policing. Even so, Bidou said he doesn't feel the benefits and trust of engagement is reaching all corners of Vallejo's diverse community, they said.

Activities the grant will help fund, include non-enforcement police engagement, growing the block captain program, code enforcement and neighborhood cleanups. It will also help fund mental health programming and services, “wrap-around” services for homeless residents, after-school enrichment for middle school students, the launch a youth program where officers play soccer with kids, and the installation a new half basketball court in South Vallejo, officials said.

In addition, all officers will receive special de-escalation and crisis intervention training to better prepare them to respond to special populations, and over a quarter of the program budget will be devoted to expanding mental health services to residents, officials said.

“The Vallejo Police Department is deeply committed to partnering with our community to serve and protect citizens, treating people with fairness, giving them a voice and the appropriate treatment they deserve,” Bidou said. “We're in this together.”

Mayor Bob Sampayan emphasized that community policing is an important aspect of city services.

“We want every member in our community to feel like they are treated fairly and have a voice in what happens to them,” Sampayan said in the statement. “We appreciate the vision and hard work of our officers to establish relationships, build trust and promote social justice.”



Florida school resource officer hailed a hero after responding quickly to shooting that injured one student

by Kathleen Joyce

A Florida school resource officer was hailed a hero after immediately jumping into action and arresting a man who was suspected of shooting a student Friday.

Deputy James “Jimmy” Long of the Marion County Sheriff's Office was hailed a hero by his colleagues Friday after he arrested the suspected gunman Sky Bouche just three minutes after he opened fire at Forest high School in Ocala, Fla. Bouche allegedly shot through a classroom door and pellets hit a 17-year-old student in the ankle. The student was taken to the hospital with a non-life-threatening wound to his ankle.

Bouche, 19, said, “Sorry,” followed by, “It doesn't matter anyway,” to reporters as he was led from the school in handcuffs by several deputies. Authorities said Bouche was a former student at the school.

"I didn't shoot anyone," he said to reporters. He ignored most of the other questions until asked what he'd say to the shooting victim. That's when he said, "Sorry."

Other people credited with helping dilute the incident include Kelly McManis-Panasuk, a teacher at the school who spoke with Bouche during the incident as Long and the school's principal Brent Carson rushed over. Bouche was not injured and “didn't offer any resistance when arrested,” Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods said.

Woods praised Long's quick response as well as school personnel.

Long "did not hesitate. He went right in," Woods said at a news conference. Woods said Long heard a "large, loud banging sound" and immediately responded.

"Marion County does everything to protect their children," Woods said.

Bouche was held on charges of “terrorism, aggravated assault with a firearm, culpable negligence, carrying a concealed firearm, possession of a firearm on school property, possession of a short-barrelled shotgun, interference in school function and armed trespass on school property,” the Ocala Star-Banner reported.

Authorities said the suspected gunman carried the weapon in a guitar case inside the school. The school along with all other schools in the district were placed on a lockdown following the incident.

The injured student, who was not identified, told officials that he was “glad it was me and not one of my friends.”

The incident occurred on the 19th anniversary of the Columbine school shooting. Students across the country were holding a walkout to protest gun violence on the anniversary. The Ocala school had planned its version of a walkout, students said, but it was canceled.

Forest High has an enrollment of more than 2,000 students, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

The shooting comes just over two months after a gunman killed 17 people and wounded 17 others at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Nikolas Cruz, 19, faces the death penalty if convicted in that Valentine's Day shooting.


New York

Police: MS-13 threatens to 'take out a cop' in NY

Police said MS-13 twice threatened cops, pledging in one case to "take the street back" in retaliation for arrests of gang members

by Craig Schneider, Stefanie Dazio and Mark Morales

NASSAU COUNTY, N.Y. — Nassau and Hempstead Village police officers are on high alert and stepping up enforcement after MS-13 twice threatened cops, pledging in one case to “take the streets back” in retaliation for arrests of gang members.

“If MS-13 wants to threaten a cop in this county, MS-13 is gonna get an answer,” Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said Thursday night at a news conference with Nassau County Executive Laura Curran. “We will answer that threat and answer it strongly.”

In the second threat, which Ryder said came after neighborhood sweeps Wednesday led to several arrests, an MS-13 gang member vowed to “execute” an officer the commissioner did not name.

“There was a threat that an individual that was planning to execute a cop and did have weapons in his vehicle and a mask but . . . by the grace of God that didn't happen that night,” Ryder said.

Suffolk County Crime Stoppers also is offering a $25,000 reward “for information that leads to an arrest in connection with threats to harm police officers,” the department said Friday morning in a news release.

The department said it “has taken necessary precautions to protect our officers.”

“While the Suffolk County Police Department takes this threat seriously, we will not be deterred in our mission by threats by gang members,” police said in a statement. “Our commitment in bringing gang members and their associates who commit crimes to justice continues to be a top priority.”

Suffolk police acting Commissioner Geraldine Hart encouraged citizens with information about MS-13 threats come forward.

“It is the department's hope that anyone with information about these threats will do what is right and provide details to thwart acts of violence,” Hart said in a statement.

On Wednesday afternoon, an informant told Hempstead Village police of the first threat: An MS-13 gang member had urged other members to “take out a cop” in the Hempstead area. That information prompted a flood of law enforcement officers to make the arrests where they also learned of the second threat.

Hempstead Village Police Chief Michael McGowan couldn't be reached for comment.

Ryder also announced a $25,000 Crime Stoppers reward Thursday night for information leading to an arrest of anyone who threatens the life of a police officer.

Nassau police had initially circulated an internal memo Wednesday, which goes to officers departmentwide, detailing the first threat made by a gang member to a “credible” informant.

The memo prompted the NYPD to alert its 36,500 officers of the threat and cautioned them to be vigilant.

A gang member told the informant “it's time to take the streets back and take out a cop like we do in El Salvador,” according to the memo. The informant told police the gang member, whom he described as thin with tattoos of three dots next to an eye, said MS-13 “needs to make a statement.”

Any gang member, according to the memo, has permission to carry out the attack.

Officers should take the threat seriously, the memo said, advising them not to wear their uniforms off duty, to carry their firearms at all times, and to consider different routes from those they normally travel.

The threats came as MS-13's alleged East Coast kingpin came to court in Nassau to face charges that his four-state network plotted killings and trafficked in drugs in the region.

In the past two years, authorities have increased their enforcement of MS-13, which officials say is responsible for more than two dozen killings on Long Island.

Nassau County and Hempstead Village departments are also requiring that officers double up on their response to calls, officials said.

Michael McGowan, chief of police for Hempstead Village, said the department is speaking to all officers about the threat. “We believe it to be a credible threat...were are investigating it vigorously.”

Because of the initial threat, the Hempstead department is now requiring two officers respond to every call, according to Hempstead Village Officer Christopher Giardino, who leads the department's Police Benevolent Association. Usually, only one officer responds to calls, such as a request for an ambulance, because of manpower and budget costs, he said.

“Any kind of call — it could be a dog loose — two men to each call, no matter what,” he said. “It could be a setup, we don't know.”

Both officers must stay at the scene until the call is completed, Giardino said.

Hempstead Village officers are nervous and have reached out to him, he said.

“They're worried about their safety,” he said.

Nassau Police Benevolent Association president James McDermott said on Friday morning he wants more security measures, including more patrols in addition to having two cars.

“Do whatever we need to do,” McDermott said at a news conference. “Pull out all the stops.”

Local officials expressed their support for area law enforcement.

“We are doing everything we can to make sure that our police officers and first responders are protected,” Curran said at the news conference.

Hempstead Town Supervisor Laura Gillen said in a statement, “We stand in solidarity with the entire law enforcement community against these heinous and disturbing threats.”

MS-13 gang members have killed at least 25 people in Nassau and Suffolk counties since 2016, authorities have said. Hempstead Village has the largest population of MS-13 members in the county, according to Giardino. Federal officials count some 2,000 members of the brutal street gang on Long Island.

President Donald Trump, who has blamed gang violence and other crime on illegal immigration, came to Brentwood in July and described some Long Island towns as “bloodstained killing fields” that are “under siege” and need to be liberated from MS-13.



Calif. churches pledge to stop calling police

Members of the churches said that American policing has become so "problematic" that it's best for them to abandon it

by PoliceOne Staff

OAKLAND, Calif. — A group of California churches have pledged to stop calling police in the wake of recent controversial incidents involving LEOs.

The Washington Post reports that some churches in Oakland are “divesting” from law enforcement, whether it's for mental health crises calls or even acts of violence.

Members of the churches said that American policing has become so “problematic” that it's best for them to abandon it. The pledge comes in wake of controversial incidents involving police, including the arrests of two men at a Philadelphia Starbucks and the fatal shooting of Stephon Clark.

The program was organized by Showing Up for Racial Justice. Four churches in Northern California have joined the pledge, and other churches are being recruited.

“It's a challenging ask,” said Rev. Anne Dunlap, a minister who leads SURJ's outreach to faith communities. “It's a big ask to invite us, as white folks, to think differently about what safety means. Who do we rely on? What is safe? For whom? Should our safety be predicated on violence for other communities? And if not, what do we do if we're confronted with a situation, because we are, as congregations? . . . How do we handle it if there's a burglary? How do we handle it if there's a situation of violence or abuse in the congregation?”

The churches who have committed to the pledge are training their members on alternative responses to danger. Volunteer leader Nichola Torbett said her church has invited experts to train its members on de-escalating mental health crises, as well as on self-defense when it comes to violent situations. Members of the church will not be armed, she added.

SURJ leaders said while members are free to call police outside of church, they hope that they will someday stop relying on police entirely.

Dunlap acknowledged that many churches SURJ tried to recruit to join the pledge were not interested.