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Has policing in America gone too far?
by Ivette Feliciano PBS
While police departments across the country address reform, community groups in cities like Chicago and New York are also teaching people about alternatives to 9-1-1 for crises that can be exacerbated by police presence. NewsHour Weekend's Ivette Feliciano talked to author Alex Vitale of “End of Policing,” about the country's reliance on law enforcement to solve complicated social issues.
From last month's controversial arrests of two black men in a Philadelphia Starbucks, to the viral videos of a black woman's contentious arrest in an Alabama waffle house, to a school-based police officer, near San Diego, slamming a 17-year-old student onto the ground, to the fatal police shooting in New York of an unarmed black man who suffered from bipolar disorder — conversations about how police react when they're called to a scene, especially involving communities of color are everywhere.
But there's one idea that is different from all the others:
what if police hadn't been involved in these incidents at all? That's what Alex Vitale, Professor of Sociology and Coordinator of the Policing and Social Justice Project at Brooklyn College, argues in his recent book “The End of Policing.”
In many cases, the solution to some of the problems with policing is not rejiggering what we do but to just quit using police for that function altogether. I think it's a fair thing to say that most police officers wake up in the morning thinking about how to help people. I think they're motivated by the right kinds of desires. The problem is that they've been given a limited set of tools and placed into circumstances where those tools often can be counterproductive.
Vitale says that modern-day policing was shaped by our country's racial history.
Policing in the era of Jim Crow segregation in the south and ghettoization in the north was shaped by pretty strong racial politics during that period. And so in a lot of northern and western cities one of the major functions of policing was the ghettoization of black populations, the enforcement of racial borders both in terms of social behavior and actual geography.
Was there a specific decade when we saw this change and you know an overuse, or over reliance on police?
I think the expansion of police powers really happened over the last 40 plus years. And it begins with the kind of war on drugs, war on crime discourse that comes out of the Nixon administration but really continues through the 80s and even into the 90s and the Clinton administration. For instance, we see dramatic expansions in school policing, the war on drugs border policing. So it's been a kind of long term bipartisan process of defining more and more social problems as things to be dealt with by police. We're not concerned about slave uprisings anymore. We're concerned about things like mass homelessness, black markets, around drugs and sex work. The management of untreated mental illness, violence and behavioral problems in schools. And so as the social problems shift, the mission of policing shifts. And the question is really whether or not policing as an institution is best equipped to manage some of these problems.
Some police officials agree that policing was never meant to solve all of those problems. At a press conference in 2016, then Dallas police chief, David Brown, said the country's police are being asked to do too much.
Every societal failure we put it off on the cops to solve. Not enough mental health funding? Let the cop handle it. Not enough drug addiction funding? Let's give it to the cops. Here in Dallas we have a loose dog problem, let's have the cops chase the loose dogs!
San Jose's police chief says that the onus to deal with mental illness right now comes down to a police officer, and that is unfair. Although police have little training in mental health, about 10% of police interactions involve a person with a mental illness, and one in four people with mental disorder have histories of arrest.
Many people do see police as protectors. How do race and class impact how you view the police?
When we apply policing as the primary solution to a set of problems that are really driven by histories of economic exclusion, racialized oppression, then we produce outcomes that are racially skewed regardless of the attitudes or biases of individual officers. So that the war on drugs may be carried out in the places where the most complaints happen. But there's a reason why the complaints happen in poor communities and communities of color disproportionately. Even though drug dealing is widely distributed throughout our society, poor people don't have private spaces. They have limited resources. They're more likely to be engaged in black market activity for survival purposes. There's more hopelessness among young people so that their drug use takes a more dangerous and disruptive form. And so even the neutral professional application of the drug laws produces a racially disproportionate outcome.
As NewsHour Weekend has reported, many police forces have implemented diversity initiatives or anti-bias and de-escalation training. But Vitale says there is no empirical evidence that these types of strategies improve police-community relations. For instance, one study found that police “crisis intervention teams” in which officers are trained in de-escalation tactics by mental health professionals, did not reduce arrest rates for people with mental illnesses.
What about spending more money on more effective police academy training?
Over the last several years we've responded to these most serious forms of police violence through a series of kind of procedural reforms to make the police more professional, to better communicate with the public, to try to restore trust in policing. But even if we reduce the most egregious use of force we're not really addressing the tens of thousands of non-violent punitive interactions between police and the public that produce the resentment and the escalation of tensions between police and the public and i think we can look at the Eric Garner case in New York as an example of this.
In 2014, police tried to arrest Eric Garner, a black resident of Staten Island, New York, on suspicion of selling loose cigarettes. Garner–who had many run-ins with the police–complained of being harassed and resisted arrest. One of the officers put him in a choke hold, asphyxiating and killing him.
A totally seemingly innocuous interaction escalates over what are really non-criminal behaviors for the most part. Tax avoidance and disorderly behavior in public and it's that resistance that gets reacted to by tackling him, jumping on him, choke–putting him in a chokehold and ultimately killing him.
So what should police be doing? Where should we be pulling back, but also what is their role in modern society?
We need to look concretely at the problems that police have been asked to solve and decide whether or not we can find non-coercive non-punitive alternatives and whatever's left at the end of that process where we need that kind of powerful coercive force then so be it. I think the answer is to quit using police to solve every social problem under the sun. Instead we need to invest in new systems of discipline that treat people with dignity and respect and try to identify what's driving problematic behavior and actually address those root causes. We know how to do this. We just need the political will to make it happen.
At least 8 killed, 30 wounded in Memorial Day weekend shootings across Chicago
by Jessica D'Onofrio
CHICAGO (WLS) -- At least eight people have been killed and 30 others wounded in shootings across Chicago since Friday at midnight, police said.
Last year over the entire Memorial Day weekend, seven people were killed and 45 others were hurt. In 2016, eight were killed and 57 were wounded.
"It's probably been on par for what we've experienced in the last few years, a little up here and little down here," said Chicago Police Department Chief Fred Waller. "But I've been very impressed and very proud of the officers and their hard work."
The most recent fatality was a 30-year-old man who was shot in the head on Albany Avenue at approximately 9 p.m. Monday.
Among those wounded Monday was an 18-year-old man who was shot in Park Manor. He was taken to the University of Chicago Medical Center in good condition.
A 15-year-old boy is among the wounded after being shot in his back and hips. Police said he was shot just after 11 p.m. Sunday night in the 1800-block of West Cullerton Street.
The boy was walking towards a car when a dark minivan pulled up and someone inside shouted a gang-related slogan before firing shots. No one is in custody.
Investigators said China Marie Lyons- Upshaw, was in her bedroom in the 800-block of East 49th Street when she was shot in the chest. She and another man were playing with a gun when it hit the ground and went off.
Sunday, that man turned himself in to police, accompanied by his mother and crisis responder Andrew Holmes.
"He was very emotional, crying on and off. He's very heartbroken about it, emotional, and he just didn't want to run away from it," Holmes said.
Meanwhile, a young mother was shot and killed over the weekend on her doorstep while she was celebrating her 2-year-old's birthday. Bobbieana Lyons, 20, was hit by stray bullets near 76th and Halsted streets.
And at around 1 a.m. Monday on the West Side, two men got into a fight inside a car near Flournoy Street and Laramie Avenue. They got out, then one man pulled out a gun shooting a 31-year-old man twice in the chest and once in the head. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police are trying to curb gun violence this holiday weekend with 1,300 extra officers on patrol and help from state and federal partners. But the statistics so far are hard painting a very violent picture.
CPD also announced Monday that a Summer Mobile Unit of 100 officers will take to the streets. The unit will be able to respond quickly to large disturbances.
"When you see a group of officers en masse like that, it's effective," Waller said.
The Summer Mobile Unit was deployed Monday and will be in service until Labor Day.
Also working to curb summer violence was the Safe Summer Cycling Tour in Grand Crossing held by community group Antonio's Response and lead by CPD's Third District.
"It's extremely important in the height of violence that we've been having now that the weather has changed," said Alderman Roderick Sawyer of the Sixth Ward. "We have to change the dynamic, change the paradigm and say that it's okay to come outside. It's more good people than there are bad people."
The tour's goal was to connect the community with organizations that offer safe and fun programs for youth on the South Side.
"We know that this is typically one of the most violent weekends of Chicago, so we know that we will not be safe by chance but by choice," said Antonio's Response co-chairperson Jose Wilson. "So it's very important for organizations and attentive by having activities."
The tour was also part of CPD's efforts to build better relationships within Chicago's communities.
"When we get out here and we talk to people and we formulate these relationships, then people will come to us and they'll give us information," said CPD Commander Gloria Hanna. "Where in the past, they may have not felt comfortable enough."
Chicago police insist 'some progress made' despite violent weekend that left 7 dead
by Matt Finn
CHICAGO – Police report gun violence is dropping this year in Chicago — but it was another bloody Memorial Day weekend in the city. Seven people were killed and 38 people were shot, according to Chicago police.
This year's holiday weekend was slightly deadlier than last year, when six people were killed and 44 were shot, according to CPD.
In anticipation of the typical uptick in violent crime during warmer months, Chicago police launched a specialized summer mobile team, adding more than 1,000 officers to the streets.
Leading into Memorial Day, CPD also conducted raids in partnership with federal agencies. Chicago police say the raids resulted in at least 100 arrests and 46 guns recovered from the streets.
Still, Chicago's Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said police only can do so much, and he continues to call for stricter sentencing and jail time.
“I won't be happy until we have zero murders, and zero shootings. But there was some progress made, so I am happy about that,” Johnson said following the violent weekend.
Chicago police currently report 46 fewer murders year-to-date compared to the same time last year. CPD attributes the decrease to a focus on community policing and ShotSpotter technology — cameras and radar placed atop utility poles that instantly alert police to gunshots and allows them to track offenders in real-time using 30,000 cameras citywide.
The technology is credited with reducing shooting by 43 percent last year in Englewood — historically one of the city's most dangerous neighborhoods on the south side.
Just before the Memorial Day weekend, President Donald Trump once again called out Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel for not putting a stop to the city's murder rate — which is almost as much as New York and Los Angeles combined.
The president tweeted, in part, “The killings are at a record pace and tough police work, which Chicago will not allow, would bring things back to order fast ... the killings must stop!”
Emanuel's spokesperson responded in a tweet, in part, “Chicago is a Trump-Free zone not a fact-free zone and we had a 21% drop in gun violence in 2017 and 21% drop in 2018.”
Emanuel and CPD's superintendent successfully lobbied for a new bill that went into effect on January 1. It's designed to give stronger sentences to repeat gun offenders.
“As a police executive, it's frustrating for me and the cops out on the street, when we arrest these individuals for having illegal firearms, and then we see them back out the next week doing — guess what— carrying another illegal firearm,” Johnson said. “That's a frustration for law enforcement all over this country.”
After a tragic shooting on a Chicago hospital campus, officials look at lessons learned
by Tina Reed
As a Level I Trauma Center on Chicago's West Side, caregivers at Mount Sinai Hospital know just how bad the city's gun violence problem can get from the injuries they treat.
But earlier this month, that problem became even more real as it made its way to the hospital's front doors when an individual opened fire in a drive-by shooting on a group of people gathered just outside.
The group was less than half the distance of a football field from the emergency room doors, awaiting news of a loved one who had been shot a day earlier. “The vehicle pulled up and fired shots into the crowd, hitting three people,” said Ray Martinez, the health system's head of security.
Family members rushed the wounded inside and security immediately began locking down the emergency department and, later, the main entrance to the hospital, he said.
Hospital staff, unfortunately, knew exactly what to do.
It was one of the most violent weeks in Chicago's history. Nine people were murdered and 76 people were shot over the span of seven days, the Chicago Tribune reported . It's part of ongoing gun violence in the city with police reporting a total of 36 people shot this Memorial Day weekend, which is actually a reduction from previous years .
It was also the second shooting on hospital grounds in less than a year.
The first shooting at the 319-bed hospital happened last July during another violent weekend in the city. Thirty people were shot and three people died of their injuries across Chicago over the span of 18 hours, the Tribune reported .
A woman had been brought in with a gunshot wound and, as commonly happens, a crowd began to gather outside. Tensions flared. Security locked down the emergency department. Moments later, a man was shot right outside.
It began a year of hard work and soul searching for Sinai Health System officials.
"We were highly emotional. We had not had this happen. I've worked in trauma for 25 years and never had an incident happen so close," said Chief Nursing Officer Michele Mazurek, who has spent her career at Mount Sinai. "Hospitals are called safe zones, especially with gang members, and any gang member you talk to you know you do not hurt a hospital. You do not touch nurses. Those are neutral territories. Those are the places you go to get fixed and healed and taken care of. It was quite shocking."
Hospital officials immediately convened a group including security personnel and administrators, as well as leadership in the emergency room and front-line staff to discuss what could have been done to prevent the incident from occurring on hospital grounds and how to assure caregivers and community members of their safety going forward.
They said they brought their ideas to Chicago police and fire officials before making any decisions, a move which turned into regular lunch meetings and direct communication between the hospital administration and first responders that continues to this day, Mazurek said.
Among the first ideas to bubble up was the need for improved communication, officials said. For instance, EMS officials indicated they wanted to improve coordination with police and hospital security.
"You can imagine, they're going out into these locations where there are known shootings and picking patients up. Then, as soon as they pick a patient up, the neighborhood, the friends, the family, begin to follow that ambulance into the hospital," Mazurek said. "Their fear is when they come to the hospital, who is protecting the rig when they are bringing the patient in for their own safety?"
The hospital spent an estimated $15,000 erecting an iron safety fence that was just big enough to protect the emergency department entrance. It has two doors large enough to accommodate the size of the stretchers brought in by EMS that could also be swung shut and locked in a single motion.
While visitors previously were required to be wanded by a security officer to search for weapons, the hospital spent about $4,800 installing the least obtrusive metal detector they could find and upgrading their wands. They expanded the security presence, spending an estimated $114,000 to ensure full-time security officer coverage as well as putting security officers who had been trained in customer service in the main lobby of the hospital. Each had a script printed on their badges as a reminder of how to best explain security procedures to visitors.
The hospital expanded training for nursing staff and security officers in tactics to de-escalate and prevent violence among patients and visitors at an approximate cost of $120,000 to $135,000.
They explored whether to arm security officers and decided it was too dangerous. An inmate wrangled a gun away from a corrections officer in a Chicago suburb last year and used it to hold a nurse hostage .
Hospital officials also inquired about getting a stronger police presence at the emergency department but were told there weren't resources for it. So they took Martinez's office and turned it into a substation for officers in the 10th District. They installed a computer and a phone, a drop line for securely connecting to the police department's network and a mini-fridge for storing lunches and some snacks. They reserved parking nearby.
"It serves two purposes: It gets them off the street and a place to feel safe. It also gives us here as caregivers more of a visible presence of them being here," Martinez said. "To see them on a regular basis sends a consistent message to the caregivers and everyone else that we take their safety seriously."
The health system is grappling with competing goals.
"How do you protect without locking down and telling the community to stay out?" Mazurek said. "It's a fine line and every day we're thinking about how we sculpt that fine line. "
Still, despite their best efforts, the hospital saw its second shooting earlier this month. To call that frustrating would be a gross understatement.
Mazurek and the other nurses have grown weary of seeing the toll of gun violence in Chicago firsthand and seeing gang members brought in with life-threatening wounds. "We treat patients. We treat everybody the same. That is one thing at Mount Sinai hospital we're extremely proud of. We treat our community. We do not judge," Mazurek said. "But when this happens to your home, there is a frustration. It's personal."
After the shooting earlier this month, officials said they doubled down on efforts talk about what went right and what needed to change.
The police said they were shutting down an access road near the perimeter of the hospital grounds. The hospital plans to install fencing all around its emergency department drive in the next year to create a second perimeter of lockdown if needed. City officials are working to get a police observation device, or POD camera, installed just outside the hospital.
Mount Sinai hospital officials fielded criticisms that existing safety measures may have contributed to the latest shooting by keeping loved ones from being able to stay inside, a charge the hospital denies although officials said they do limit the number of visitors in the trauma center to close family members who can help physicians with decision making on behalf of the patient.
Mazurek said she was relieved to see a calm among the nurses during the lockdown rather than the frantic response she saw a year earlier. The difference, she said, was that they knew exactly their role in best assisting security with the lockdown.
She said she worked hard to get to all inpatient floors to communicate what was happening in person before staff and patients saw it on the 10 o'clock news, but she is evaluating how to do it even more efficiently next time.
"We hope to God this never happens again, but we have to prepare for this to happen again because not only is this gang territory, but look what's happening across our country," she said. "That could happen to us each and every single day. We have to look at safety in a very different way."
Mount Sinai Hospital's safety strategies following a 2017 shooting outside its doors included:
Installed safety barrier outside emergency department doors
Installed metal detector and upgraded wanding system at ED entrance
Created space for police substation to encourage stronger police presence
Replaced front desk employees in lobby entrance with security staff trained in customer service
Trained all nurses and security in de-escalation techniques
Began hosting regular meetings between hospital administration and police/fire/EMS leadership
Began hosting community policing meetings at hospital
Improved internal communication plan with inpatient floors
Improve communication and coordination between hospital, EMS rigs and police when there is a known known security risk
Within the next year, the hospital plans to install fencing all around its ED drive
Summer means increased risk of dying in car crashes for teens
by Linda Dono
The unofficial start of summertime also begins what some traffic-safety experts have dubbed the 100 deadliest days of summer, especially for teens.
This year, the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day spans only 98 days. But go back to the beginning of Memorial Day weekend and you'll find five passengers, ages 16 to 21, who crawled out from an overcrowded SUV that overturned at around 8:45 p.m. PT Saturday in the San Francisco suburb of Sausalito, according to the California Highway Patrol .
The driver of the vehicle, Angel Negron-Clay, 18, of Stockton, Calif., also climbed out and started running, police say. A Highway Patrol airplane just happened to be in the area, and using forward-looking infrared technology, authorities found Negron-Clay hiding in the bushes beside U.S. 101.
The percentage of teens who drink and drive has decreased by more than half in the past 25 years, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . But 16- to 20-year-old drivers are 17 times more likely to die in a crash when they have a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08%, what state laws consider drunken driving, than drivers who have not been drinking.
“The vast majority of young people who die in alcohol-related crashes are killed on Friday and Saturday evenings,” Scott Hadland of Boston University School of Medicine told Reuters last year. He was the lead author of a study in The Journal of Pediatrics that looked at why children die in motor-vehicle crashes.
Even if the youths themselves are not drinking and driving, they are more likely to be killed because of adults who have been drinking and driving on weekend evenings, he said.
“Parents might consider limiting the extent to which young people drive during late hours on weekends,” Hadland told the news service.
Negron-Clay was charged with felony driving under the influence, felony hit and run causing death or injury and driving without a license. He remained Monday in Marin County jail , unable to meet his $50,000 bail.
His passengers, including one who had been sitting on another passenger's lap, were treated and released at the scene of the accident, according to KNTV-TV, San Jose .
Distracted driving is the cause of three in five teen crashes today, according to We Save Lives , an Arlington, Va.-based non-profit that works to change driving behavior. And teens' top distraction isn't cellphones but other passengers.
Negron-Clay is facing felony charges in part because the National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984 effectively pushed states and the District of Columbia to prohibit people younger than 21 from buying or publicly having alcoholic beverages. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration further encouraged states to adopt laws that prohibited under-21 drivers from having any alcohol in their system.
But what's legal and what can happen when people get together to celebrate graduations, or just being out of school for the summer, can be two different things.
An average of 260 teens are killed in car crashes stemming from any cause each month during the summer, an increase of more than a quarter compared with the other seasons, We Save Lives said. Motor-vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens.
In 2015, more than one of every 100,000 Americans younger than 21 were killed in DUI accidents, the organization said.
Another crash at about 4 a.m. ET Sunday near Danville, W.Va., about 20 miles southwest of Charleston, had two victims: A 17-year-old Scott High School student, whose name was not released, died. His 19-year-old friend was driving.
Dylan Levi Price of Julian, W.Va., was charged with DUI causing death — his second drunken-driving arrest in the past year — and was booked into the Southwestern Regional Jail under a $100,000 bond, the Charleston (W.Va.) Gazette-Mail reported. Price faces up to 15 years in prison and up to a $3,000 fine.
AR-15 guns and school shootings: How many assault weapons have been used in schools in 2018?
by Amanda Woytus
On May 18, the day 17-year-old school shooting suspect Dimitrios Pagourtzis allegedly opened fire at Santa Fe High in Texas and killed 10, a graphic made the rounds on Twitter. It listed several high-profile shootings, including Santa Fe. Next to the names: "AR-15," a semi-automatic assault weapon celebrated as "America's rifle" by the National Rifle Association.
One problem: Pagourtzis, as confirmed by Texas Governor Greg Abbott in a press conference, is accused of using a shotgun and a .38 revolver, not an AR-15, in the Santa Fe shooting.
This isn't the first time a mistake concerning the AR-15 has been made after a school shooting. As Slate detailed, in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012, there was debate about whether gunman Adam Lanza used an AR-15-style Bushmaster or two handguns to kill 26. A YouTube video supposedly showed the rifle left unused in Lanza's car trunk. The Connecticut State Police, however, confirmed to Slate that the shooter employed the Bushmaster on his victims and a handgun on himself.
In the case of Santa Fe, there was little confusion about the weapons after the press conference. But if an AR-15 or AR-15-style gun wasn't used there, how often are the weapons at the center of other school shootings?
Newsweek looked at 24 school shootings that have taken place in 2018, calling police departments, and pulling from local news outlets and CNN data, last updated on May 25, to determine how many might have involved an AR-15 or similar gun.
Seven police departments either didn't return a request for comment or couldn't release information about the firearm used in a particular shooting. Many incidences involved handguns. In a school shooting that took place on May 25 in Noblesville, Indiana, a student at Noblesville West Middle School asked to leave class and then returned with two handguns. One teacher and one student were shot before the school resource officer and police arrived on the scene and took the suspect into custody.
Out of 24 school shootings, Newsweek found, there were at least three that reportedly involved similar semi-automatic rifles, one specifically an AR-15-style.
Nikolas Cruz, the shooter accused of killing 17 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on February 14, used an AR-15-style weapon. Cruz legally purchased the Smith & Wesson M&P 15 .223 .
Another shooter, a 14-year-old accused of firing a gun at Highland High in Palmdale, California, on May 11 and injuring one, used an SKS, a semi-automatic rifle. A spokesperson for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives told Newsweek that an SKS has some characteristics similar to AR-15s, like detachable magazines and stocks that can be shortened or lengthened. Under the California attorney general's guide to assault weapons, which is being revised, an SKS is considered an assault weapon if it has a detachable magazine. A spokesperson for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department told Newsweek that the ATF was still investigating the origin of the gun used in the May 11 shooting and did not know if the weapon had this modification.
A third shooter, 19-year-old Matt Milby, fired a 9 mm semi-automatic rifle at school resource officer Mark Dallas near the gym at Dixon High School in Illinois on May 16, according to local news outlet WQAD. Students in the gym were practicing for commencement exercises. Dallas returned fire and struck Milby, who was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries. No one else was hurt.
Why the confusion that sometimes surrounds the AR-15? One possible explanation: Guns are puzzling if you're not familiar with them.
The AR-15, developed with the Army in 1956 by the company Armalite, stands for "Armalite rifle," not "automatic rifle," as many think. That would be a misnomer, anyway, because the weapon doesn't fire automatically, also as many think. It's a semi-automatic, firing one shot per trigger pull.
Another myth that gets passed around: The AR-15 is a military-grade weapon. That would be the M-16, which looks a lot like an AR-15 and is typically called an assault rifle. Preferred terms vary, but the AR-15 is sometimes called an assault weapon, signaling that it's the civilian version. Often, the AR-15 is referred to as a "military-style" carbine, a lightweight firearm with a shorter barrel.
Even if you are familiar with firearms, confusion still happens. After the June 2016 shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, that left 49 dead, Police Chief John Mina said shooter Omar Mateen had used an “AR-15-type assault rifle.” As The Washington Post reported, officials clarified that Mateen had used a Sig Sauer MCX rifle, which is similar.
But as the Post pointed out, a Sig Sauer MCX is as potentially deadly as an AR-15-style weapon. AR-15-style weapons fire at a high velocity, and the wounds they leave are often deadlier than those from a regular handgun.
As one radiologist who treated victims of the Parkland massacre wrote for The Atlantic, a bullet fired by a typical handgun lacerates an organ. In this case, a gunshot from an AR-15-style weapon shredded an organ of one victim, and the injury proved fatal. The degree of injury is likely one of the reasons the topic of banning the AR-15-style guns pops up after school shootings, regardless of whether they were used.
Another reason: The weapons, even though they weren't used in Santa Fe or Orlando, were at the center of some of the highest-casualty mass shootings in recent history. Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock—who killed 58 in October 2017— had at least a dozen semi-automatic rifles that were modified to fire like automatics. And Sutherland Springs, Texas, shooter Devin Kelley, who left 26 dead one month later, used a Ruger AR-556.
In wake of consent decree, Cleveland police asked to do more community policing
by Homa Bash
CLEVELAND - The City of Cleveland, Cleveland Police, the Cleveland Community Police Commission, the Department of Justice and a federal monitoring team are asking for the public's input on a three-part plan released Tuesday as part of the consent decree.
The 28-page plan is divided into three parts:
Community and problem-oriented policing
Recruitment and hiring
The policies are not final, but according to the plan, “They reflect CPD's efforts to date to create plans that comply with the Consent Decree.”
The plan requires all officers to incorporate community policing into their daily duties, such as spending time on bike and foot patrols, attending community meetings and spending more time talking to citizens instead of going from call to call.
Cleveland Police plan to roll out bike and foot patrols in all five police districts by the end of 2019.
Community surveys will be conducted to measure public satisfaction with policing, attitudes and quality of police-citizen encounters.
The plan states all officers shall:
Incorporate CPOP principles in their daily duties.
Strengthen relationships and build engagement opportunities between the CDP and the communities within the City.
Actively participate in community meetings and events.
Incorporate bias-free and procedural justice principles in interactions with citizens.
Proactively learn about and engage the communities in their assigned areas.
The plan states all supervisors shall do the following:
Ensure that officers assigned to the Patrol Section devote at least 20% of their workday to community engagement opportunities.
Provide support and guidance to officers about CPOP
Recognize officers who excel using CPOP principles and remediate those that do not.
Ensure that officers are actively participating in community meetings and events.
Ensure that officers incorporate CPOP, Bias-Free, and Procedural Justice Principles during interactions with citizens.
According to the plan, the entire department shall:
Increase participation from a cross-section of the community in the District Policing Committees.
Build community confidence and trust.
Engage the community in policing policies and procedures.
Increase positive public perceptions of the CDP.
"We live in a very polarized society right now, right? So the goal is to try to mend that as much as possible. So there are community surveys, there's certainly going to be tracking," said Judge Greg White, who is in charge of implementing the consent decree.
According to the plan, all officers are expected to know the community they patrol by interacting with the residents and attending community events and meetings. The hope is that as the community becomes more familiar with the officers they will be more likely to trust and report crimes to them in the future.
"We were a little short staffed for a while over the years, so officers were just going from run to run to run," said Cleveland Police Capt. Mike Butler, who heads up staffing. "And that's the whole premise of this -- more recruitment leads to better staffing and that gets right into the community policing effort."
Capt. Butler said he knows many officers are already out in the communities, but the new plan will carve out time during their shift specifically for engagement.
The report gives examples of community interactions such as having officers stop to spontaneously play ball with children, swing into a coffee shop and speak to residents or have a casual conversation with someone in a park or along a street.
"Get out of the zone car and engage the community, it's really that simple," said Cleveland Police Capt. Johnny Johnson, who heads up the community policing division and will train officers.
Officers will be required to note their engagement efforts through the computer aided dispatch system, where it will be tracked by their supervisors. The plan requires an average of 20 percent of their shift, if time permits, be devoted to community policing.
James Hardiman is the president of the Cleveland branch of the NAACP. He said any change will be an improvement from what Cleveland has had in the past.
"If we can implement these little tiny steps, eventually we'll get to the point where we'll have a police department that we are proud of," Hardiman said. "We are a long way from that right now, but at least we're making incremental steps toward that goal."
Training for all officers will begin in July. After receiving community input, the final version of the plan is expected to be presented to a judge in September for approval. It will likely be fully implemented in early 2019, authorities said.
The first community meeting will be held in the Fourth District at Benedictine High School at 2900 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. It will be on June 27 at 6:30 p.m.
Residents can access the survey HERE . It will close on July 15th.
You can read the entire 2018 Community & Problem-Oriented Policing Plan on site.
Investigation reveals about 1,000 police officers lost jobs over sexual misconduct
AP report reveals offenses that Florida police chief says are underreported: 'It's happening probably in every law enforcement agency across the country'
by the Associated Press in Oklahoma City 11/1/15
Flashing lights pierced the black of night, and the big white letters on the car behind made clear it was the police. The woman pulled over was a daycare worker in her 50s, headed home after playing dominoes with friends. She felt she had nothing to hide, so when the Oklahoma City officer accused her of erratic driving, she did as she was directed.
She would later tell a judge she was splayed outside the patrol car for a pat-down, made to lift her shirt to prove she wasn't hiding anything, then to pull down her pants when the officer still wasn't convinced.
He shined his flashlight between her legs, she said, then ordered her to sit in the squad car and face him. His gun in sight, she said she pleaded “No, sir” as he unzipped his fly and exposed himself.
“Come on,” the woman, identified in police reports as JL, said she was told before she began giving him oral sex. “I don't have all night.”
The accusations are undoubtedly jolting, and yet they reflect a betrayal of the badge that has been repeated time and again across the country.
In a yearlong investigation of sexual misconduct by US law enforcement , the Associated Press uncovered about 1,000 officers who lost their badges in a six-year period for rape, sodomy and other sexual assault; sex crimes that included possession of child abuse images; or sexual misconduct such as propositioning citizens or having consensual but prohibited on-duty intercourse.
The number is unquestionably an undercount because it represents only those officers whose licenses to work in law enforcement were revoked, and not all states take such action. California and New York – with several of the nation's largest law enforcement agencies – offered no records because they have no statewide system to decertify officers for misconduct. And even among states that provided records, some reported no officers removed for sexual misdeeds even though cases were identified via news stories or court records.
“It's happening probably in every law enforcement agency across the country,” said chief Bernadette DiPino of the Sarasota police department in Florida, who helped study the problem for the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP).
“It's so underreported and people are scared that if they call and complain about a police officer, they think every other police officer is going to be then out to get them.”
Even as cases around the country have sparked a national conversation about excessive force by police, sexual misconduct by officers has largely escaped widespread notice due to a patchwork of laws, piecemeal reporting and victims frequently reluctant to come forward because of their vulnerabilities – they often are young, poor, struggling with addiction or plagued by their own checkered pasts.
In interviews, lawyers and even police chiefs told the AP that some departments also stay quiet about improprieties to limit liability, allowing bad officers to quietly resign, keep their certification and sometimes jump to other jobs.
The officers involved in such wrongdoing represent a tiny fraction of the hundreds of thousands whose jobs are to serve and protect. But their actions have an outsized impact: miring departments in litigation that leads to costly settlements, crippling relationships with an already wary public and scarring victims with a special brand of fear.
“My God,” JL said she thought as she eyed the officer's holstered gun, “he's going to kill me.”
The AP does not name alleged victims of sexual assault without their consent, and JL declined to be interviewed. She was let go after the traffic stop without any charges. She reported her accusations immediately, but it was months before the investigation was done and the breadth of the allegations known.
She is one of 13 women who say they were victimized by the officer, a former college football standout named Daniel Holtzclaw. The fired cop, 28, has pleaded not guilty to a host of charges, and his family posted online that “the truth of his innocence will be shown in court”.
Each of his accusers is expected to testify in the trial that begins on Monday, including one who was 17 when, she said, the officer pulled down her shorts and raped her on her mother's front porch.
The question of how many law enforcement officers are accused of sexual misconduct has no definitive answer. The federal Bureau of Justice Statistics, which collects police data from around the country, doesn't track officer arrests, and states aren't required to collect or share that information.
The AP obtained records from 41 states on police decertification, an administrative process in which an officer's law enforcement license is revoked. Cases from 2009 through 2014 were then reviewed to determine whether they stemmed from misconduct meeting the Department of Justice standard for sexual assault – sexual contact that happens without consent, including intercourse, child molestation, incest, fondling and attempted rape.
Nine states and the District of Columbia said they either did not decertify officers for misconduct or declined to provide information.
Of those that did release records, the AP determined that some 550 officers were decertified for sexual assault, including rape, sexual shakedowns in which citizens were extorted into performing favors to avoid arrest, or gratuitous pat-downs. Some 440 officers lost their badges for other sex offenses, such as possessing child abuse images, or for sexual misconduct that included being a peeping Tom, sexting juveniles or having on-duty intercourse.
The law enforcement officials in these records included state and local police, sheriff's deputies, prison guards and school resource officers. No federal officers were included because the records reviewed came from state police standards commissions.
A 2011 IACP report on sexual misconduct questioned whether some conditions of the job may create opportunities for such incidents. Officers' power, independence, off-hours and engagement with those perceived as less credible combine to give cover to predators, it said, and otherwise admirable bonds of loyalty can lead colleagues to shield offenders.
“You see officers throughout your career that deal with that power really well, and you see officers over your career that don't,” said Oklahoma City police chief Bill Citty, who fired Holtzclaw just months after the allegations surfaced and called the case a troubling reminder that police chiefs need to be careful about how they hire and train officers.
The best chance at preventing such incidents is to robustly screen applicants, said sheriff Russell Martin in Delaware County, Ohio, who served on an IACP committee on sex misconduct.
Those seeking to join Martin's agency are questioned about everything from pornography use to public sex acts. Investigators run background checks, administer polygraph exams and interview former employers and neighbors. Social media activity is reviewed for clues about what a candidate deems appropriate, or red flags such as objectification of women.
Still, screening procedures vary among departments, and even the most stringent standards only go so far.
“We're hiring from the human race,” Martin said, “and once in a while, the human race is going to let us down.”
RPD program looks to increase neighborhood safety, improve relations
by Tanner Jubenville
Rochester, N.Y. (13WHAM) - After a violent Memorial Day Weekend, in which six people were injured in three separate shootings around the city, many are hoping for safer streets ahead of summer.
Andrea Martin lives across the street from the Troup Street Park. A shooting there Monday evening left three people injured.
It's another reason why she won't let her grandson leave their house alone.
"I don't even let him go to the store alone - if he's riding his bike, I'm out there with him," said Martin. "I don't let him do anything alone."
The park is part of the Southwest Area Neighborhood. The executive director of the neighborhood association, JaMone Alexander, was at the park when the shooting happened.
He and Andrea Martin are among those hoping police get the money they want to try to make their neighborhood safer.
"It would have an enormous effect on the future of Rochester, and the inner city," said Alexander. "I think it would help it the stigmata of it's ‘us and then the police.'"
In the city's proposed budget , 21 officers would be transferred to what is called the Community Affairs Bureau, and additional personnel would run youth services. That bureau will be led by Deputy Chief La'Ron Singletary.
In an email to 13WHAM, Singletary said:
The new bureau will be charged with developing and implementing innovative strategies to increase opportunities for community policing, community engagement, and community outreach in a manner to which such strategies are meaningful, structured, and sustained within our community.
Singletary says he plans to focus on four components with the new bureau:
• Community Policing Component – Community policing is a collaborative effort between a police department and a community that identifies problems of crime and disorder and involves all elements of the community in the search for solutions to these problems.
• Operational Component – Every operational component implemented within the RPD that may have an impact on a neighborhood would involve a community policing component and/or a communications piece as part of the initial planning phases of the operation.
• Engagement Component – Community engagement is defined as the creation of opportunities for consultation and/or involvement with members of the public in order to build trust and confidence. Enabling and empowering citizens to identify and implement solutions to local problems and influence strategic priorities and decisions made by RPD.
• Educational Component – The Community Affairs Bureau would be equipped to provide support to various educational opportunities the RPD provides. Requests from schools and other agencies of police participation will be triaged through the bureau.
Singletary says the bureau would also focus on building relations with the community.
On Monday, Atkinson St. resident Cherie Boswell saw RPD officers playing basketball with her kids and others on their street.
She says she wants to see more community engagement by police to help get to know who's protecting her and her kids.
"The kids don't know who the police are, I don't know who the police are," she said. "I think anything that can bring them together is good."
The budget is slated to go to a vote next month. As of now, RPD would currently get nearly $3.5 million to fund the new bureau.
They are funds for programs that many believe is worth the price.
"We need it; I would be in favor," said Martin. "It's needed more now than ever."
Drop in crime attributed to NCO program: NYPD
by Naeisha Rose
The New York Police Department was at Queens Borough Hall in Kew Gardens last week, where it said its new neighborhood crime-fighting strategy built on collaboration with community residents has helped lower crime throughout the city.
The NCO program breaks up police precincts into four or five sectors and is staffed by two officers who, when not responding to emergency radio calls, devote their time to engaging with residents in their sectors in order to identify local problems, serve as liaisons between the police and the community while solving crime.
The program was introduced in 2015, and the NYPD intends to have NCOs at every precinct by the end of 2018.
“The great thing about community policing is that the community has a familiar face,” said Sgt. Widy Geritano, of Patrol Borough Queens South. “Instead of constantly getting to know a new officer, the community members now have a person that they see on a regular basis.”
The NYPD believes that residents' familiarity with the coordination officers has resulted in more people coming forward with issues in their area. This helps police gather tips to do their jobs more efficiently.
“People feel more comfortable with relaying any type of tips or any type of information that they might have had,” said Geritano. “Trust has now been established and both sides of communication has greatly improved.”
Residents are also able to get a better handle on the status of a police case.
“Half of the time when you call 311 or 911, you don't know if anything was done about it,” said the sergeant. “Under the neighborhood policing model the officers are able to give back that information to their constituents in the community that raised their concerns to the NCOs that is open dialogue.”
If residents want to learn which officers are assigned to their neighborhood and learn how to get to know them at a meeting or issue a complaint, they can visit the Build The Block NYC website and simply enter their address to find those details, according to Geritano.
The 102nd Precinct (Ozone Park, Kew Gardens, Richmond Hill and Woodhaven) is the only police station in the southern policing section of Queens without an NCO program, but that will change in mid-July. The 100, 101, 103, 105, 106, 107 and 113 precincts rolled out their programs between 2015 and April 2018, the sergeant said.
In the northern policing section of Queens, the 109, 110, 111, 114 and 115 precincts have an NCO program. The 112 Precinct will have a program in mid-July, and the 104 and 108 precincts will introduce theirs in October, according to Geritano.
The NCO program has proven to be such a success for the NYPD that other police departments in the country want to implement its policies.
“Crimes are being solved a lot quicker... and that has led to more criminals being apprehended, more quality-of-life issues being taken care of before they escalate... and there is definitely a correlation, because we have noticed that all of the commands under neighborhood-based policing have significantly decreased crime,” said Geritano. “We have had visitors from Chicago P.D. and LAPD who have attended our Compstat presentations and they are seeing what is working here and are considering to adopt it in their cities.”
Community Board 4 (Corona) District Manager Christian Cassagnol was pleased to learn about the results of the NCO program.
“I know the civics groups that depend on them and the merchant groups that depend on them,” said Cassagnol. “The interactions have been all positive thus far.”
Corona falls within the 110 Precinct's coverage area and has had the NCO program for approximately over a year.
“There definitely is more community interaction, and to see large civic group meetings and to see that the NCOs are there means that there is more community outreach, and we are in favor of it,” said Cassagnol.
Law enforcement agencies turning to drones to fight crime
The number of publice safety agencies with drones has more than doubled since the end of 2016
by John Seewer
TOLEDO, Ohio — No longer a novelty, drones are becoming an everyday tool for more police and fire departments, new research has found.
The number of public safety agencies with drones has more than doubled since the end of 2016, according to data collected by the Center for the Study of the Drone at New York's Bard College.
The center estimated that just over 900 police, sheriff, fire and emergency agencies now have drones, with Texas, California, and Wisconsin leading the way, the study showed.
While many law enforcement drone units are just getting started and are in place in just a fraction of the public safety agencies around the country, police and fire departments are continuing to find new uses for the remote-controlled aircraft.
They're being deployed to take photos of car accidents, guide firefighters through burning buildings and search for missing people and murder suspects.
Some believe they will change policing much like laptops in patrol cars, two-way radios and K-9 units.
"With this new environment we're in with active shooters and mass shooters, you can be all over a school campus and see everyone who's running out," said Grady Judd, a Florida sheriff, who this year used money from drug seizures to buy 20 drones to cover all of Polk County night and day.
He stressed that the drones will be used only in emergency situations and not to spy on people. About a third of states, including Florida, require police to get a warrant before using drones in a criminal investigation.
Using drones, Judd said, is much cheaper than sending up a helicopter and allows for a faster response. Those equipped with thermal imaging can spot suspects at night.
"You can have a bad guy in a clump of palmettos pointing a gun at you and you can't see him at all," he said. "Every agency will have these teams in the future."
Most public safety agencies with drones have just one, said Dan Gettinger, co-director of the drone research center.
"These agencies are the test cases," he said. "A lot of these programs are still in their infancy."
The center's research showed that more than twice as many agencies own drones as do those that operate helicopters and planes.
Police in Superior, Wisconsin, flew a drone over a refinery fire in April to help firefighters see through thick smoke.
"We never envisioned working with the firefighters, but now that we have the drone, it makes total sense," said Officer Bradley Jago, a drone pilot.
Most of the agencies with drones are smaller departments in rural and smaller departments, unlike users of manned aircraft operations, which are centered in heavily populated places.
The sheriff's office in Ohio's Putnam County, a rural area dominated by farmland, added a drone last year after a deputy brought his own drone from home to help search for two men who broke into a farm building.
"We realized how useful it could be," said Sheriff Brian Siefker, who said the department has since used the drone on accident investigations and to search for marijuana growing in cornfields. "The possibilities are endless."
Uber launches panic button for US riders
The company also announced a 911 integration pilot in a few select markets that allows a rider's location and trip details to be automatically sent to the 911 dispatcher
by PoliceOne Staff
SAN FRANCISCO — In an effort to protect passengers, Uber has launched a “panic button” that'll add a direct way for riders to call 911.
The feature, which was originally announced in April, was made live and fully operational across the U.S. Tuesday, the Verge reports . The emergency button is located in a new “safety center” menu that's accessible on the home screen.
The button will give riders a quick way to contact first responders in case something goes wrong during their trip. Once users tap the button, they will be asked to confirm they meant to dial 911 before the call is put through to emergency dispatchers to minimize accidental dials.
The ridesharing company also announced a 911 integration pilot in a few select markets that allows a rider's location and trip details to be automatically sent to the 911 dispatcher when used in-app. The feature is meant to account for the low rates of location accuracy by 911 dispatchers.
While the safety center features are aimed for passengers, Sachin Kansal, Uber's director of product management, said a similar panic button will soon be added for drivers too. Kachal said he hopes the panic button will deter drivers and riders from behaving badly.
“We realize that a lot of situations and a lot of criminal activity arises when people think they're not being watched,” Kansal said. “And we just want to say that we're turning the lights on. Part of turning the lights on is providing these features to both sides and also make sure we're making the entire community aware of the presence of these features.”
The safety features come after several incidents. Last year, the company was sued by a woman who was raped by an Uber driver in India after it was reported top executives had obtained and mishandled the woman's medical records in an effort to discredit her.
In the U.S., nine women are suing the company, alleging that they have been sexually assaulted by drivers, according to CNET .
Tennessee deputy killed during traffic stop; 'armed and dangerous' suspect on loose
by the Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Helicopters and law enforcement with canines scoured rough terrain Thursday as part of a widening manhunt for a suspect who fatally shot a veteran Tennessee sheriff's deputy during a traffic stop.
The suspect — earlier identified as Steven Joshua Wiggins, a 31-year-old white man with balding brown hair — has been on the run since early Wednesday, when he killed Dickson County sheriff's Sgt. Daniel Baker, investigators said.
"We want people to know there's an urgent and immediate threat to public safety," Dickson County Sheriff Jeff Bledsoe said at a news conference Thursday morning.
He said investigators haven't narrowed down where he may be, and cautioned local residents to be cautious because he could still be armed and looking for a place to hide out. A $12,500 reward was issued to help find Wiggins.
The sheriff added that he hoped "our court will be a terror to him for the evil he has done."
Baker on Wednesday was responding to a call about a suspicious car, then couldn't be contacted for some time, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Susan Niland said at an earlier news conference. The deputy's car was tracked by GPS to a location 2 or 3 miles away, and the deputy was found dead inside of it.
"He has the option to do the right thing," Bledsoe said Wednesday. "People make mistakes and people do things that are terrible, and this is an evil deed that he has done. But now he can show people that there's still something left in him by turning himself in."
Bledsoe also said Wiggins needs to be held accountable, and said he wants the maximum penalty the law will allow.
The sheriff said Baker was one of the department's best, a supervisor who had worked his way up to sergeant on patrol during his 10-year stint with the office. He is survived by his wife and daughter.
Bledsoe said his agency has lost a brother, and the community has lost a hero.
"Our heart's shattered with this," he said.
Wiggins was identified as the suspect from video footage, Niland said.
He was already wanted on charges that he assaulted a woman and stole her car when he was pulled over Wednesday, according to a report from the Kingston Springs Police Department.
The woman, Ericka Miles-Castro, was arrested and charged Wednesday with first-degree murder in connection to Baker's death.
The report said Miles-Castro told police early Tuesday that Wiggins had slapped her in the face and pulled out some of her hair, then put a gun to her head and threatened to kill her if she called police. She said he then grabbed her keys and took her car without her permission.
At the time of the report, Miles-Castro, 38, told police Wiggins was "doing meth all night and smoking marijuana." She told police she planned to press charges, the report said.
The TBI said in a news release Wednesday that during the course of the investigation, authorities developed that she had "participated in the incident."
She is being detained at the Dickson County Jail. It is not immediately known if she has an attorney.
Here's what's really happening with the 1,500 'missing' immigrant children
by AJ Willingham
Administration loses nearly 1,500 migrant kids 02:01
(CNN)In the past few days there's been a flurry of emotion, and misinformation, regarding child immigrants in the United States.
Recent reports claim the US Department of Health and Human Services has lost track of nearly 1,500 immigrant children . There's confusion about whether they were separated from their families at the border. And controversy is swirling around a mysterious photo of two immigrant children behind a chain-link fence.
Here is what it all actually means.
No, the 1,500 children weren't necessarily taken from their families at the border
In early May, the Trump administration announced it would start enacting a "100% prosecution" policy at the border, which would refer anyone crossing the border illegally for federal prosecution . This policy functionally separates children from their families, because children cannot accompany adults who are taken into federal custody.
Because of the attention surrounding this new policy, people revisited a claim made by Steven Wagner , a top official with the Department of Health and Human Services, during a hearing in April. During that hearing, Wagner said the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) was "unable to determine with certainty the whereabouts of 1,475 UAC (unaccompanied alien children)."
Some people began to conflate Wagner's comment and the new policy, forming the idea that these children were forcibly separated from their families at the border and then lost. In fact, ORR officials couldn't locate the children between October and December of 2017 -- way before this new policy took effect.
In fact, unaccompanied child immigrants don't come over the border with their families -- hence the designation of "unaccompanied." Some of the 1,500 children could have been separated from the groups with which they entered the country, but it would not have been as a result of the Trump administration's new policy. For instance, if a child comes with an adult and it can't be verified that the adult is a parent or legal guardian, the adult and child would be separated.
"The way it has worked historically is, when a child comes into the US without a parent or legal guardian, if there is a parent or guardian or relative already here, they would be placed with that person as a 'sponsor' while they are undergoing immigration hearings," says Jennifer Ward, an immigration and family services expert who spent 10 years as executive director of a refugee resettlement agency in Tennessee.
Ward says the ORR typically makes a follow-up welfare call or visit to the sponsor a few weeks or months after the child is placed. According to Wagner , such an action is part of the ORR's process, but the agency "is not legally responsible for children after they are released from ORR care."
No, they are most likely not 'missing'
When it comes to children, phrases like "unable to determine whereabouts" never inspire comfort, especially when people assume it is as a result of a child being ripped from their families. But the reality is a little different.
There could be a lot of reasons for why the 1,475 children were unaccounted for, Ward says.
"The sponsors may be undocumented themselves, they may change their phone number," she says. "The requirement is just a phone call -- you don't necessarily have to go (check on the child) physically, although some do."
Wagner, too, defended his original claim by saying that sponsors who are "illegal aliens" probably "do not want to be reached by federal authorities."
In a conference call with reporters organized by the White House on Tuesday, Wagner said the 30-day check-in phone calls in those cases simply weren't answered. He compared the outcry over the "lost" children to calling a friend and, when they don't answer, assuming they were kidnapped.
In reality, he said, many of the adults may also be undocumented.
"You can imagine that many of those would not choose to speak to a federal official calling them on the phone," Wagner said. "But there's no reason to believe that anything has happened to the kids."
But that doesn't mean everything is fine
Obviously, the idea that young immigrants and their families would not want them to be accounted for by the government speaks to an impossible question: Are these children better off not being accounted for?
Some immigration experts have said that the ORR not trying to keep track of children could be a good thing , because the kids can live their lives without constant fear of deportation.
That fear -- that the ORR is working in concert with ICE to facilitate deportations -- could definitely lead immigrants to avoid contact, Ward says.
But that could also put children at risk in a different way.
"They need to feel safe enough to say, 'Hey, I'm here and I'm okay,' because if they don't do that, other bad things can happen," she says. "Because people aren't being accounted for, there is potential for abuse."
That includes the possibility that children fell into the hands of traffickers or were recruited into violent gangs.
The hearing where Wagner testified last month, for example, was convened around the case of eight children who were placed by the government with human traffickers and sent to work on an egg farm in Ohio.
The children in this photo were not separated from their families in the way they would be today
This weekend a photograph showing two immigrant children sleeping in a fenced enclosure began to surface online. It was tweeted out by several high-profile political commentators, including some CNN personalities.
At first, it was presented in the context of the Trump administration's new policy, implying the photo was recent and the children were separated from their families. But it soon became apparent that the photo was taken in an Arizona detention facility -- in 2014 . It has nothing to do with the Trump administration at all.
Some supporters of President Trump are now using the image to claim the Obama administration also separated immigrant children from their families under the same circumstances.
Again, while children have historically been separated from family members at the border under certain circumstances, it was not the same as the new 100% prosecution policy, which affects children even if they come in with parents or legal guardians.
In fact , the full context and explanation for the photo was published in the Arizona Republic in 2014 .
"Two female detainees sleep in a holding cell," reads the caption of the photo, which was taken by an AP photographer during a tour of a detention center in Nogales. The article also identifies them as "unaccompanied minors" -- meaning, most likely, they were not taken from their parents.
"The tour dispelled rumors of ill treatment," the article reads. "The (US Customs and Border Protection) agents in the building seem to be genuinely compassionate in their interactions with the children. The facility is clean and air-conditioned. But in essence, it is a juvenile prison camp."
Advocates have complained that detention facilities for minors are essentially the same today as they were then.
5 things to know about fighting crime with classical music
Do the sounds of Bach and Vivaldi really have the power to combat loitering and other petty offenses?
by PoliceOne Staff
A Burger King located in downtown San Francisco, on a corner notorious for homeless, loitering and panhandling, recently made headlines for its unusual deterrence strategy: blasting classical music onto the city streets. Do the sounds of Bach and Vivaldi really have the power to combat loitering and other petty offenses? Here are five things to know about this unorthodox crime deterrence tactic.
1. Cities are using classical music in public spaces to deter crime.
Although the San Francisco fast food franchise's use of classical music has been the focus of recent media attention, this strategy has been implemented in several cities across the globe. The tactic dates back to 1985, when a 7-Eleven in Canada came up with the idea after brainstorming with a group of psychologists about novel approaches to combat loitering (and the potential serious crimes that could follow).
“One of the ideas [from the brainstorming session] was to play easy listening or classical music in the parking lot,” a 7-Eleven representative is quoted in Lily E Hirsch's book, “Music in American Crime Prevention and Punishment.” “The thinking was this kind of music is not popular with teens and may discourage them from ‘hanging out' at the store.”
Since then, the tactic has been used in American cities like Dallas , Seattle , and Portland and in countries like Australia and the U.K . This melodious example of defensive urban design – which is more commonly seen in the form of sloping benches or anti-loitering spikes on window sills of buildings – has been used to battle everything from drunken brawls to panhandling.
Jacqueline Helfgott, chair of the criminal justice department at Seattle University, told WQXR that the music is often part of a larger strategy of crime prevention through environmental design. It usually accompanies other changes to public spaces like improved lighting or trimmed shrubbery.
2. Does it work?
The idea to implement the strategy in San Francisco was inspired by the success seen in London when officials started playing classical music at the crime-ridden Elm Park tube station in 2003.
In perhaps one of the more well-known case studies, the experiment resulted in robberies cut by 33 percent, assaults on staff cut by 25 percent, and vandalism cut by 37 percent within 18 months, according to the Independent .
In another success story, the Tacoma Mall Transit Center in Washington reportedly saw a “significant decline” in vandalism when they started playing classical music.
Of course, not all cities have seen positive results. Police in West Palm Beach, Florida, did away with the program after loiterers started destroying the speakers .
3. Why does it work?
Research has suggested the positive impact various music genres can have on your mood – from releasing stress to improving sleep quality . Mental health professionals have even utilized music's power on the brain in therapy. Given the dramatic effect music can have on human beings, it's no surprise that the classical music strategy has yielded results for some cities. But why, exactly, does it deter crime? While there isn't any hard research into the phenomenon, many theories abound. According to the Seattle Times , it may be the result of dopamine production in the brain:
“The reason certain types of music work as a crime deterrent, neurologists say, may lie in people's neurobiological responses to things they don't enjoy or find unfamiliar. Production of dopamine, a neurotransmitter linked to pleasure and rewards, is modulated by the nucleus accumbens, one of the brain's 'pleasure centers.'
When people hear music they like, it stimulates dopamine production and puts them in a better mood. But when people dislike the music, their brains respond by suppressing dopamine production — souring their mood and making them avoid the music.”
The Independent reported that the music may repel youth loiterers simply because they view classical music as uncool.
And it may just be a matter of volume. When the Modesto Bee asked residents why they thought classical music played at a local 7-Eleven was effective in repelling people, one man who identified himself as one of the loiterers said, "Once the music started, the riffraff left. It's hard to hang out and gossip and joke around.”
4. The strategy has garnered criticism.
Some see the use of classical music to deter crime as problematic. In San Francisco, the executive director of the Coalition on Homelessness told KRON that the tactic was “noise pollution” and not a real solution to the problem.
Other critics say it simply moves the behavior to a different area.
"I'd be pretty surprised if it's a panacea. You're just moving the problem elsewhere," Leicester University psychologist Adrian North told the BBC .
5. This isn't the only case of music being used as a weapon.
There's a long history of music being used as an unconventional weapon. The military has used music from various genres, including heavy metal, as a strategy in the past. Police blasted music during their attempts to end the Waco standoff. And who can forget the weaponization of Nickelback?
And as far as a tactic used specifically to ward off loiterers, there is one device that has sparked a ton of controversy: the Mosquito . While not technically music, the idea is similar to the Bach strategy – a wall-mounted box emits undesirable sound in order to repel. In the Mosquito's case, the sound is a disturbing noise similar to nails on a chalkboard played at a frequency that's only audible to teens and young adults. Many attempts to use that particular device in anti-loitering efforts were scrapped after outcry .
Homelessness dips in L.A. and countywide, but more people are living on the streets for the first time
by Doug Smith, Gale Holland and Dakota Smith
After three years of precipitous increases, homelessness dipped slightly this year, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority reported Thursday, providing a hopeful sign that new money flowing into housing and services is having an effect.
But in releasing results of the 2018 count , officials also warned that the number of people falling into homelessness for the first time increased, holding back the potential gains.
And the report noted that three out of four homeless people in the county live on the street, a figure unchanged from last year.
“I'm not happy every day walking through the city, knowing that there's as many people that are homeless, but I think it's showing our strategies are working,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said. “It's good news, it's real results, it's real progress, but there's a real challenge.”
Garcetti joined two county supervisors at the East Hollywood headquarters of the homeless services agency PATH to make the announcement with a mixture of celebration and restraint.
“We‘ve gotten a bit of good news that will give us encouragement to run on and see what the end will be,” Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said. “But beloved, this is no time to rest. Let me just tell you, you need to put your work clothes on and get ready to go do the work.”
Supervisor Janice Hahn said she saw neighborhood acceptance as the biggest obstacle ahead.
“Moving forward, our biggest challenge won't be funding. It will be NIMBYism,” Hahn said. “We need to build more supportive housing and homes people can afford across the county and we need to realize that if we are ever going to solve this problem in a big way, we need every community to commit to being part of the solution.”
In a statement, City Councilman Jose Huizar said more help is needed from the state. He urged Gov. Jerry Brown and other California elected officials “to match ours and the county's efforts and help us get people off the streets and into emergency and long-term housing and services as quickly as possible.”
The new estimate of 53,195 people living without homes across the county was about 3% lower than the year before . For the city of Los Angeles, the estimate of 31,516 was down about 5%.
The changes were not spread evenly across the county. The report said homelessness was up 6% in the San Fernando Valley, up 5% in the San Gabriel Valley and up 3% in the South Bay, but down 17% on the Westside, down 17% in the Antelope Valley and down 8% in South L.A. The homeless authority posted a separate report on skid row showing a 7% decline.
City and county officials credited the modest decreases to more housing placements made possible by reserving more federal housing vouchers for homeless people, and new local money going to rental subsidies.
About 16,500 homeless people were placed in housing last year, the report said, a year-over-year boost of almost 30%.
Veteran homelessness, which had also increased over the last two years, was down 18%. About 3,900 veterans remained homeless.
Another bright spot was a 16% decrease of the chronically homeless population. About 14,400 of those counted were deemed to have met the federal definition of being homeless either for a year or four times over three years and having a physical or mental disability or substance abuse disorder.
While the estimate of 3,306 homeless youths was up slightly, more than half were in shelters, an increase of 20%.
The most significant demographic change was a 22% increase in the number of people 62 and older. Twenty-seven percent reported a serious mental illness and 15% a substance abuse disorder, with 10% reporting both. Six percent reported domestic violence as the cause of their homelessness.
The African American homeless population declined to 35% of the total, matching that of Latinos, while homelessness among whites increased to 25% from 20% of the total.
Phil Ansell, director of the county's Homeless Initiative, noted that the beefed-up programs got a head start in 2016 when the Board of Supervisors committed $100 million to increase spending on outreach, emergency shelter and rapid rehousing.
An additional $57 million in Measure H sales tax money was rolled out in the last half of 2017.
“This funding from the county and the successful deployment of our interconnected strategies played a key role in the January 2018 homeless count results,” Ansell said.
But others found the small improvement disappointing.
Former homeless authority commissioner Mike Neely saw the change as more of a leveling-off than a decrease.
“The issue of homelessness has been a problem that we've been trying to deal with for many, many years and we've had limited success,” said Neely, who now sits on the Los Angeles County Commission for Older Adults. “Through a great effort, we have managed not to have an increase. Outreach is working, but we don't have places to put people. “
Neely said officials need to look to new ideas: “We've lost the innovation in the field. We're doing the same old thing.“
Daniel Flaming, president of the Los Angeles-based research nonprofit Economic Roundtable, said he was encouraged by the drop in the number of veteran and chronically homeless people, but called for quicker action to plug the homeless pipeline.
“I think it would be a good idea for us, the analysts and providers, to move our desks onto the sidewalk so the problem becomes more immediate and urgent for us,” Flaming said.
Jerry Jones, public policy director at the Inner City Law Center, said the rise in newly homeless people underscored the need for action to fix the region's severe rental housing shortage.
The 2018 count estimated that more than 9,000 people became homeless for the first time, up from 8,000 the year before, and nearly half of them cited job loss or another financial setback as the cause.
“It's not as if over five years there's been an upsurge in mentally ill people or people with substance abuse issues,” Jones said. “People are winding up in the streets because they can't afford the rents.”
The new count incorporated a correction to last year's total announced two weeks ago. The USC statisticians who prepare the report for the homeless authority said they detected an error that resulted in an over-count of homeless youth by about 2,700.
The authority initially reported 57,794 homeless people in the county last year but lowered the number to 55,048.
The change highlighted the inherent uncertainty of the methodology. Though the count is reported down to the individual person, it is actually an estimate drawn from a statistical analysis of individuals, tents and vehicles counted over three days in January.
The tabulations made by thousands of volunteers fanning into every census tract in the county are processed by the Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics at USC.
Statisticians use results of a separate, in-person survey to estimate the number of people living in each vehicle or tent counted. A separate youth count is made by surveying selected tracts.
Some researchers have suggested that the methodology leads to an undercount. The real estate research firm Zillow said the tally missed almost 3,000 people .
Zillow, which forecast a 4.5% rent increase for 2018, also said a 5% hike would drive 2,000 more people into homelessness.
AIDS Healthcare Foundation President Michael Weinstein, who has been sharply critical of how the city has handled housing and development, told reporters that the newly released count was "not credible," based on "what we see with our own eyes every single day."
"There's been some uptick in programs for the homeless, but at the same time, the displacement is continuing and actually accelerating because of rising rents," Weinstein said.
NAACP, community leaders demand changes to city's policing practices
by Kevin Canfield
The NAACP and more than 50 activists, community leaders and elected officials joined the family of Terence Crutcher on Thursday in demanding that the city act immediately to address racial disparities in police practices.
In a letter to Mayor G.T. Bynum and city councilors, the group asks the city to adopt six new policies and demands that the city hold public hearings within 60 days to gather more information and recommendations regarding the police department's use-of-force and arrest practices.
The letter — sent from the president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., and 51 local residents — notes that the recently released 2018 Tulsa Equality Indicators report found that African-American residents were arrested twice as often as whites and were five times as likely to be victims of officer use of force than other racial and ethnic groups.
The Tulsa Commission on Community Policing's recommendations, the letter goes on to say, don't do enough to address those issues.
“There are very few recommendations that will address the city's well-documented and long history of racially-biased policing, and none that will hold TPD officers accountable if they fail to comply with proposed policies, training and data collection,” the letter states.
Among those who signed the letter was Damario Solomon-Simmons, an attorney representing the estate of Terence Crutcher. Crutcher, an unarmed black man, was shot dead by Betty Shelby, a white Tulsa police officer, on Sept. 16, 2016. A jury found Shelby not guilty of first-degree manslaughter. She later left the Tulsa Police Department.
Solomon-Simmons is representing the Crutcher estate in federal and state lawsuits against the city related to the shooting, but he said Thursday that the letter was sent in response to the city's Equality Indicators report.
“Its own report, that it funded itself and paid for itself, used its own data, verifies what we and others having been saying for many, many years, that there is discriminatory policing against African-Americans here in the city of Tulsa,” Solomon-Simmons said.
He added: “We want this to stop, and the only way that it will stop is if there are specific, tangible, measurable reforms and policy that make officers accountable when there is misconduct and provide officers proper training to prevent misconduct. We don't believe that the city recommendations that they have started to implement deal with the core of the issue, which is officer accountability and better training.
“We cannot afford to wait any longer. We don't need any more reports. We don't need any more studies, we don't need any more speeches, we don't need any more Facebook posts.”
Other signatories on the letter include Tiffany Crutcher, sister of Terence Crutcher and president of the Terence Crutcher Foundation; former Police Chief Drew Diamond; City Councilor Vanessa Hall-Harper; David Blatt, executive director of Oklahoma Policy Institute; and state Rep. Monroe Nichols.
“Not to say it's the fault of G.T. Bynum or anybody else, but there is some frustration that there is nothing being done about an incredibly important issue.” Nichols told the Tulsa World. “So while we may feel better about the leadership in our city, there is a certain need to move aggressively on an important issue.”
Bynum issued a statement Thursday afternoon saying he had been advised not to comment on the letter.
“A lot of people I respect signed this letter. I appreciate the thought that went into it, and will give it the consideration it deserves,” the mayor said. “Unfortunately, based on legal guidance provided, I cannot respond at this time due to the connection between so many of the signatories on the letter and litigation pending against the City of Tulsa.”
The Tulsa Police Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Solomon-Simmons said the six recommendations were drawn from President Barack Obama's President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing.
They include creating use-of-force policies stating what information will be released when such incidents occur and conducting external, independent investigations of in-custody deaths and police use-of-force incidents resulting in death or injury.
“Most of the recommendations have been adopted by the Sand Springs Police Department,” Solomon-Simmons said. “So why should the Sand Springs Police Department, who we applaud, be more progressive, more out front, on these issues than the city of Tulsa, which is the second-largest city in the state and the largest city in the region.
“We should be the leader on these issues.”
A letter sent to Mayor G.T. Bynum and city councilors by the NAACP and more than three dozen local residents calls for the city to immediately implement the following police policies:
1) Revise TPD policies and training to emphasize de-escalation and alternatives to arrests in TPD's policies and training where appropriate
2) Require external and independent investigations of police use-of-force incidents resulting in death or injury, and in-custody deaths
3) Create use-of-force policies that state clearly what information will be released related to use-of-force incidents
4) Establish a Serious Incident Review Board made up of sworn staff and community members who will review cases involving officer-involved shootings and other serious incidents that have the potential to damage community trust or confidence in the agency
5) Partner with the International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement Standards and Training to contribute to its National Decertification Index that collects information about officers who have had their licenses or certifications revoked.
6) Retain a nationally recognized police department implicit bias trainer with community input
Atlanta police program bringing more cops home
by Cassie Spodak
Atlanta (CNN)Almost every morning after his overnight shift, Mike Costello runs through an apartment complex near his house where a fellow police officer, a friend of his, was shot four years ago.
The racially diverse neighborhood has been Costello's home for two years. He moved into the city of Atlanta as part of an initiative to better integrate police officers with the cities they patrol.
That means his running route is not only his daily exercise, but is also an extension of his job.
"I'll throw on an Atlanta Police shirt, and run through all the streets in the neighborhood, just to show, like, 'Hey, there's the neighborhood cop,'" Costello, who is Caucasian, told CNN, sitting in his backyard one spring afternoon.
On his cop's salary, Costello says he never would have been able to buy a house on his own in the Atlanta neighborhood of Edgewood.
Edgewood has rapidly gentrified over the past few years but some abandoned houses still dot the area and pockets of crime exist, says Costello.
In 2016, he jumped at the chance to participate in a program run by the Atlanta Police Foundation partnering with the city's police department. According to the Foundation, only 14% of Atlanta's police force lived in the city when the program started, now that number has increased to 22%.
The program helps the department improve community policing by building trust and humanizing officers, says Carlos Campos, an Atlanta Police department spokesman.
Campos says the department plans to place 25 officers in Atlanta neighborhoods by the end of 2020.
The six police officers participating in the program don't patrol their own neighborhoods, but they act as a liaison to the local community, attending neighborhood meetings, and volunteering in mentorship programs and local events.
Although crime is still an issue in his neighborhood, Costello says residents are invested in making it better.
"If you bring in officers to move into the city, they're gonna have more of a vested interested, because they own property," Costello says. "It's the community that they're living, working, and playing in."
The Foundation says after Costello applied and was selected by the Secure Neighborhoods program, he was given a $300 monthly stipend for three years, a marked vehicle to park at his home, and around $35,000 in equity in his home, which neighbors told CNN was previously an abandoned and rundown house.
Costello's precinct office is on the southwest side of the city, a 15-minute drive from his house, and faces higher crime rates and an economically diverse terrain that brings its own set of challenges.
One summer night, CNN joined Costello during a quiet overnight shift, after a particularly busy shift the night before.
The first call that came in over the radio was over a familiar issue -- a seemingly incapacitated man was hanging around a gas station convenience store causing problems.
Costello spotted him right away, a regular.
"I really don't like taking somebody like that to jail because jail's not going to solve any of that guy's problems. But at what point do you keep allowing him to do that?" Costello said after sending the man on his way.
Living in the city of Atlanta has impacted how he approaches his job, Costello said.
"It just gives you an idea of how you need to treat that particular person, in that particular situation -- become more sympathetic, more empathetic, to peoples' needs," he says.
Costello is also studying to get his law degree at Georgia State University and plans to graduate in 2020.
He tells neighbors to stop by his home if they have an issue or a concern, and although he hasn't met anyone hostile to cops, he's well aware that there's a perception problem.
"It's perceived that white police officers just wanna go and lock up young, black men for menial crimes," Costello said. "That's the number one obstacle right now, is gaining trust with people that, maybe, have not had the greatest experience with a police officer in the past."
Asked about the violent encounters between police officers and citizens that have sparked controversy and outrage all over the country, Costello says they make up a tiny percentage of overall interactions.
"You really need to go the extra mile with somebody, sometimes, and explain to them why you're doing some things, to try and put them at ease in a situation, so we don't wind up having these violent encounters, over and over again," he says.
Watching out for each other
Walking up and down Costello's street, back in Edgewood, his neighbors say they've welcomed him as a neighbor.
"He's no, like, 'I'm-the-cop' type individual. He's a neighbor, he's good people," says Calvin Dorsey, who often stays at his girlfriend's house across the street from Costello. "We're just watching out for one another."
Neighbors say that before Costello arrived, there was drug activity on the street, including at the abandoned house that became his home.
"I think they should have already have done this earlier. Maybe it will help eliminate some of the fears that people have in general," says Jennifer Winfrey, who said she's lived in the neighborhood for five years.. "I'm not gonna just say black men, I think people in general are afraid to be stopped or be questioned."
Towards the end of his running route, Costello passes by a brightly painted house with graffiti signs scrawled across it reading: "COP WATCH" and "Build up Resistance."
"Most police officers know that when they sign up for this job, it's dangerous, and some bad things could happen to you at some time," Costello says. "I still think that most people in this country like police, love police, know that they're there to help them."
Still, when asked about what success would look like for him, Costello is clear on his purpose.
"If I could change one person's way of thinking about police, I think that's successful," he says.
DNA that led to Golden State Killer suspect's arrest was collected from his car while he shopped
by Nicole Chavez
When the suspected Golden State Killer drove into a Hobby Lobby parking lot in April, investigators were waiting nearby. As he walked into the craft store, it gave them a perfect chance to collect a secret DNA sample.
Police swabbed the driver's side handle of Joseph James DeAngelo's car, according to arrest and search warrants released Friday.
Authorities sent it for testing and matched it to semen recovered at some of the Golden State Killer's crime scenes, the arrest warrant said.
The DNA collection at a public parking lot in Roseville, California, became a crucial turning point in the decades-old search for the suspect in the killings.
The documents unsealed by a California judge after a motion from news outlets provide a glimpse into detectives' work in the days leading up to the suspect's arrest.
Investigators collected the DNA on April 18. DeAngelo was arrested on April 24.
The 72-year-old has been charged in 12 killings, including the 1978 death of Katie and Brian Maggiore . Police say he committed a series of crimes attributed to the so-called Golden State Killer, also known as the East Area Rapist and the Original Night Stalker.
Car sample was one of several clues
The stop at the Hobby Lobby was just one of several ways investigators used to zero in on a suspect. Earlier this year, police tracked him down by comparing genetic profiles from genealogy websites to crime scene DNA, according to investigators.
On April 23, a day before his arrest, police say they collected multiple samples from a trash can outside DeAngelo's home in Citrus Heights, a town 16 miles northeast of Sacramento. They had watched the home for three days, the warrant said.
Only one item inside the trash -- a piece of tissue -- provided enough DNA to run a test. Police matched it to evidence from the crime scenes, the documents said.
DeAngelo, has appeared in court twice, but has not entered a plea to the murder charges of the Maggiores.
He is also accused of killing Debra Alexandria Manning on December 30, 1979, while committing a rape and a burglary, according to the new charges. He allegedly killed Robert Offerman that same day while committing a burglary, according to court documents.
DeAngelo is also charged with killing Cheri Domingo while committing a rape and a burglary and killing Greg Sanchez while committing a burglary -- both on July 27, 1981, a complaint says.
A public defender for DeAngelo had asked a Sacramento court to stop prosecutors from taking more fingerprints , DNA evidence and photos of the defendant's body but a judge ruled that prosecutors could proceed.
Authorities have said they believe the Golden State Killer was responsible for killing a dozen people and committing at least 50 rapes in 10 counties in California between 1976 and 1986. For more than 40 years, investigators hunted for the man responsible for dozens of these crimes.
In recent years, there was renewed interest in the case. This year, a book and a series from HLN were released, in the hopes of shedding more light on the case.
Who is DeAngelo?
DeAngelo is a former police officer, Vietnam veteran and a mechanic.
In the early 1970s, he worked as a police officer in Exeter and Auburn, California. Authorities have said some of the alleged crimes of the Golden State Killer overlapped with DeAngelo's time as a police officer.
He was fired from his law enforcement job in 1979 for shoplifting a can of dog repellent and a hammer from a drugstore.
He then lived what appeared to be a quiet life. He worked as a mechanic at the distribution center of a Modesto-based supermarket chain for 27 years until he retired last year, a spokeswoman for the company said.
Neighbors have said DeAngelo mostly kept to himself and sometimes yelled at people who got too close to his fence, but they said he had become a recluse in recent years.
Q&A on Wildwood beach video: What are your rights if cops question you?
by Matt Gray
(Video on site)
Did the woman who was punched in the head by a Wildwood police officer have to give them her last name? That question and half a dozen others surfaced after a beach-goer posted the 20-year-old woman's violent arrest on Memorial Day weekend, then again Wednesday when Wildwood police released body camera video of Emily Weinman's arrest.
Weinman, of Philadelphia, was visiting the beach with her boyfriend and her 18-month-old child Saturday when she was approached by officers about a closed container of alcohol that was visible. She agreed to take several Breathalyzer tests and all were negative, but then the cop asked for her name and she refused to give it. The situation escalated and Weinman ended up face down in the sand with her head being punched. She swore at the officer and spit at him, police said.
She was initially cited for underage drinking, but was eventually charged with several more serious offenses including aggravated assault and resisting arrest. The case gained widespread attention after the first video surfaced.
We spoke with three experts — Former Morris County prosecutor Robert Bianchi, civil rights attorney Kevin Costello and attorney Peter Alfinito, a former cop who is now president of the Burlington County Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 2 — to get their thoughts on some of the questions raised by the videos.
Q: Can you remain silent and not respond to an officer's questions?
Bianchi: "Of course nobody has an obligation to speak to the police during an investigation. That's a basic Fifth Amendment right."
Costello: A police officer doesn't have the right to stop someone and question them without probable cause. They can ask someone to voluntarily offer information, but they cannot compel someone to comply. "If a police officer has probable cause to make an arrest or issue a citation, then they can do that."
That question gained attention following the 2015 arrest of a lawyer who refused to answer questions during a traffic stop in Warren County. Costello represented Rebecca Musarra in that case. She was allegedly stopped for speeding, handed over her license, registration and insurance, but refused to answer when asked if she knew why she had been stopped. Troopers arrested her for obstruction. They told her she was being arrested because she refused to speak. She was released hours later, sued and received a $30,000 settlement.
Q: Did Weinman have to give her name to the officer?
Alfinito: "In my opinion, if an officer believes an infraction was committed, then she's got to give her name." Even when the officer initially planned to have her just pour out the alcohol and let her go without a ticket, it would be common sense for the officer to get her name in case she was later accused of another infraction after the officers left the area, he noted.
Costello: If an officer has probable cause and tries to issue a citation and the recipient won't provide identification, well, "now the person is resisting arrest."
Bianchi: In Weinman's case, the request was lawful because a summons was being issued.
Q: Do you have to submit to a Breathalyzer on the beach?
There's not always a clear cut answer here. If you're driving, you must take the Breathalyzer test. But some attorneys said there's no state law requiring someone to take the test because they're underage. The former cop, however, says you must take the test if local law requires it.
Alfinito: "If they have a law against being intoxicated on the beach, the Breathalyzer is good for the beach." Wildwood has an enforcement push to stop underage drinking on the beach. Police have to have a way to verify someone is intoxicated if they are responsible for enforcing the law.
Q: Can a minor have a closed container of alcohol in their possession?
According to New Jersey law : "Any person under the legal age to purchase alcoholic beverages who knowingly possesses without legal authority or who knowingly consumes any alcoholic beverage in any school, public conveyance, public place, or place of public assembly, or motor vehicle, is guilty of a disorderly persons offense, and shall be fined not less than $500."
Q: Is it legal to scream or swear at a police officer?
COSTELLO: Simply swearing at a cop isn't enough to get you in trouble. If a motorist is pulled over and calls a cop a dirty name, for example, that's not a chargeable offense. If, however, the motorist were to climb out of his car while the officer is writing a ticket and begin yelling and waving his arms, then it's no longer simple name calling. These actions would be considered threatening.
Q: Is it OK that the officer turned his body camera off during the incident?
In releasing the three videos on Wednesday, Wildwood Police Chief Robert Regalbuto said the arresting officer first turned off his camera when he planned to just have Weinman pour out the booze and not issue a ticket. He reactivated it when he decided a citation was necessary.
Regalbuto said the camera shut off a second time when Weinman "forcibly struck" the officer, turning off the camera in the process. When video resumes, the physical confrontation between Weinman and the officer is underway.
Police have not said how long the camera was off. It's also not clear if the body cameras of the other officers were activated during the encounter. Release of additional videos is pending an Open Public Records Act request filed by New Jersey Advance Media.
Under state guidelines, officers must announce when they turn off body cameras and state the reason for doing so. The officer is not recorded making any such declaration the first time the camera is turned off.
Costello: "It's as much for the protection of the police as it is for members of the public. The problem is, when the police officer turns off the body camera, it's like blinding a witness."
Just the same, Costello noted that the incident in Wildwood took place in front of a large number of people, not a dark alley away from public view.
Q: Were the officers' words and actions appropriate based on videos released so far?
Bianchi: "I think his words and his actions were appropriate. His demeanor was appropriate. I believe her demeanor was not appropriate."
Officers are trained to use only the force necessary to gain control of a suspect, he noted, and while others may have used less force in that particular situation, he pointed out the Weinman made the incident physical when she allegedly pushed the officer.
Then she escalated the encounter by screaming, cursing, resisting efforts to handcuff her and calling out for someone named Matt to help her. "She's screaming out for another guy to come. She's creating risk to these officers. They don't know who Matt is. They don't know who will be coming from behind or not."
Costello: "You have to wonder how much of what you're seeing was necessary and how much of it was an officer maybe forgetting himself. I don't know if I can say something ought to be done differently."
What the public has seen only tells part of the story, he said, and once statements have been taken from everyone involved, the truth will be determined in court. "Only a jury can say what happened. Once they decide that, that's the truth."
Q: What should you do if an officer wants to arrest you for something you feel you didn't do?
Bianchi: If someone believes their arrest is invalid, the place to argue the matter is before a judge. "The fight should be in the courtroom and not on the beach."
Q: What advice would you give Weinman when she goes to court?
Weinman is charged with two counts of aggravated assault on a police officer, aggravated assault by spitting bodily fluids at a police officer, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, obstruction and minor in possession of alcohol.
Because she's charged with indictable offenses, her case has been transferred to Superior Court. Her first appearance is scheduled for June 15, at 1 p.m. in the Cape May Courthouse, located in Cape May Court House.
Complicating her case is the fact that she's on probation from a 2016 case. She was charged with burglary, simple assault, criminal mischief, criminal trespass and recklessly endangering, but eventually pleaded guilty to misdemeanor counts of simple assault and reckless endangerment. She was sentenced to 4 years probation.
BIANCHI: "I would recommend that she be extremely respectful," Bianchi said, "and recognize that she's the one that laid hands on the cops before they laid hands on her."
Law enforcement, community members take part in ongoing series discussing race and policing
by Grace Toohey
A group of Baton Rouge citizens, community and criminal justice leaders met at the LSU Museum of Art on Friday for the first of a series called "Dialogue on Race and Policing."
Aimed at improving the relationship between law enforcement and the community, the program is a collaboration between Dialogue on Race Louisiana , a local nonprofit working to eradicate racism, and the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law , a national non profit working to secure equal justice.
The program brought together Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul, Louisiana's NAACP President Mike McClanahan, local prosecutors, advocates and academics to discuss race and policing. East Baton Rouge Sheriff Sid Gautreaux was scheduled to attend but did not make it, though a spokeswoman for Gautreaux's office said Maj. Willie Stewart attended in his place.
"To have the kind of prestigious level of people in that room sitting around, having an open honest conversation ... is just novel," said Maxine Crump, president and CEO of Dialogue on Race Louisiana. "They were engaged and they willingly cooperated.”
The dialogue is set up in three parts. The first one, on Friday, focused on the history of policing. On subsequent Fridays, they will be talking about "the perception of fairness and procedural justice" and "catalyzing change with dialogue."
The group will also meet in July to develop actions plans to take address race and policing.
“It was really impossible to discuss policing without discussing race in Baton Rouge," said Myesha Braden, director of the criminal justice project for the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights. "Policing is not something that happens separate and apart from (the community). We want to encourage a renewed focus on collaboration."
The media were not permitted to attend the dialogue Friday, though Crump said it went well.
Crump said participants discussed how race played a part in the building of Interstate 110 through Baton Rouge and remains a symbol of racism, because it was built through communities of color, dividing neighborhoods. And, she said, they discussed the protests that erupted after the shooting of Alton Sterling in July 2016.
"Policing and race are very interconnected in our historical founding," Crump said. She said she tries to provide "a greater understanding what that foundation was, and how that may continue to impact ... today."
Braden said she looks forward to taking such a dialogue on race elsewhere in the country, because the issue is far from unique to Baton Rouge.
"Hopefully this dialogue is the first of many," Braden said.
Report: sheriff's office denied paramedics entry to Parkland school during shooting
A deputy fire chief repeatedly asked a Broward County Sheriff's commander for permission to send his medics inside the school during the shooting, but was rebuffed
by Megan O'Matz and Lisa J. Huriash
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Inside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High children lay dying. Outside, the Coral Springs deputy fire chief repeatedly asked a Broward sheriff's commander for permission to send his medics inside the school but was rebuffed.
“The incident commander advised me: ‘She would have to check,'” Deputy Chief Michael McNally wrote in a report released Thursday by the Coral Springs-Parkland Fire Department.
At the time, the shooter had not been caught, creating a dangerous situation for all but a handful of specially trained SWAT paramedics that already were inside.
But McNally kept asking for permission for additional medics, assigned to a Rescue Task Force, to go into rooms that had already been searched and found to be safe, to quickly extract and treat the wounded. Again he said he was told by the sheriff's commander that she “would have to check before approving this request.”
Even after authorities saw delayed surveillance footage showing the shooter had fled the building, those Coral Springs fire-rescue forces were not permitted in. By the time the whole building was deemed safe for them to enter, there was no need — everyone had already been brought out by police or was dead.
Reports of paramedics being kept, for their safety, from entering the school are another in a long line of miscues and missed opportunities in the Valentine's Day tragedy that left 17 dead. The FBI and the Broward Sheriff's Office had warnings before the shooting that the gunman, a troubled 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, could shoot up a school but failed to intervene. An armed sheriff's deputy based at the school took cover outside instead of storming the building to confront Cruz. And school officials and mental health counselors failed to hospitalize him for psychiatric treatment, despite serious concerns about his stability and his obsession with guns.
The latest records — some 80 pages — released by Coral Springs fire officials Thursday reveal more details of the chaotic response. One of the documents states the Broward Sheriff's Office failed to set up an effective central command post, contributing to the confusion and frustration among the medics. The same issue was a problem in the January 2017 Fort Lauderdale airport killings — the last major shooting the Sheriff's Office handled.
It's clear from the reports that Coral Springs officials were butting heads with the sheriff's office Parkland commander, Jan Jordan.
The reports released Thursday say Coral Springs' Rescue Task Force medics were eager to get inside to help but were thwarted by Jordan. McNally said he asked six times for permission to enter “and my requests were denied.”
At one point, Jordan told McNally that specially trained SWAT medics were already inside the building's danger zones but it's unclear how many. An apparent argument ensued over the need for more medics, especially in safer areas that had already been searched and no bombs or gunman found.
Jordan could not be reached for comment Thursday evening.
A sheriff's spokeswoman told the South Florida Sun Sentinel on Thursday that during an active-killer incident, medics are sent in after it has been confirmed that the threat is mitigated. She said more information will become available once all the facts are gathered in the criminal investigation and various state reviews of the response are completed.
Tony Pustizzi, the Coral Springs Police Chief at the time who has since retired, said Thursday that SWAT medics were in the building quickly but their purpose is to assist police officers in case one of them is shot. Naturally, if they see other victims they will treat them. He said SWAT medics from the Coral Springs Fire Department pulled at least two injured children out.
Paramedics had set up a staging area just outside the school at the corner of Pine Island and Holmberg roads. Victims were carried or driven there.
McNally, however, wanted more paramedics to go inside the school and was pressing Jordan for permission because she was in charge. He declined to comment Thursday, saying he's not permitted to talk to the news media without department approval.
“What he said is true, it's accurate,” Pustizzi said of McNally's report. “He came to me and I tried to get a group to form up, but it was Broward County's jurisdiction. We had to wait for an answer.”
The Coral Springs Fire Department put out a press release on Feb. 26 saying they could not speak for the sheriff's office but believe that the Rescue Task Force paramedics were kept back because the Sheriff's Office likely felt it wasn't safe for them to go in, in accordance to how the response plan works.
“During the initial phases of this operation, we could not confirm that the suspect fled, had been detained or was confirmed deceased,” the press release states.
McNally's report makes clear he felt the sheriff's office had not set up a unified command structure, with leaders from each agency working side-by-side, including medics, the FBI and others, to coordinate the response and share information. McNally wrote that, as a result, “on several occasions, I would have to track down the incident commander to submit fire department requests.”
That concern seemed to be shared by an FBI agent on scene who, McNally wrote, also identified it as a problem. “The command post was inundated with too many people and made it impossible to establish and function under a unified command structure,” the report states.
In the aftermath of the January 2017 Fort Lauderdale airport shooting, the Sun Sentinel and the sheriff's own reports identified the lack of a unified command post as a contributing factor to a disorganized response that left thousands of passengers stranded on the tarmac for hours over unfounded fears of a second shooter.
At Stoneman Douglas, McNally wrote, fire officials could not find out which structures had been cleared and searched. He also reported that his department learned of reports of more than 70 students in a drama classroom with unknown injuries. “I did not receive feedback when they were found,” he wrote.
The reports also show that the safety precautions that kept many paramedics out of the building also restricted the ability to airlift the wounded to area hospitals. Broward County told Coral Springs that the county's air rescue crews would not fly patients “until they could confirm the shooter was down,” the reports state.
Palm Beach County Trauma Hawk was called and the Coast Guard to send their helicopters.
Coral Springs fire officials “wanted to get the helicopter in but they were told no by BSO originally,” said Pustizzi, the former police chief.
Cruz, who eventually was captured alive, had a high-powered rifle. “He could take out a helicopter,” Pustizzi explained.
Law enforcement officials push for broader access to social media data
Some law enforcement officials believe that restricting access to social media monitoring tools is jeopardizing public safety
by PoliceOne Staff
NEW YORK — In wake of recent mass shootings, authorities are pushing to gain broader access to social media data.
ABC News reports that some law enforcement officials believe that restricting access to social media monitoring tools is jeopardizing public safety. The issue is one that has law enforcement and social media companies debating over the balance between security and privacy.
Months before the deadly Parkland school shooting, Nikolas Cruz made several social media posts that were described as “disturbing.” The FBI said it received a complaint about Cruz's posts before the shooting, bur investigative steps weren't taken.
"Criminals, terrorists and foreign intelligence services are using social media as they engage in illegal activities,” said John Cohen, a former top official with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. “Law enforcement efforts to prevent and investigate crime and national security threats would be greatly aided if authorities were able to use the same commercially available aggregation and analytic tools increasingly used by marketing firms. Unfortunately, many social media companies have mostly worked to prevent law enforcement authorities from using these tools."
Sheriff Scott Israel has also encouraged lawmakers to allow authorities to detain someone if they see disturbing content on social media.
Some social media companies such as Facebook and Twitter have banned the use of data for surveillance purposes in response to revelations about alleged government violations of civil liberties.
Officials from Facebook said the company universally bars developers using its platform from selling data obtained from their 2.2 billion active monthly users to any entity, including law enforcement.
But LE officials said they don't understand why social media companies would allow political consultants to access and monitor their data while keeping authorities out.
“A lot of the data that may be helpful for law enforcement is being sold to other commercial entities,” Cohen said, “so why wouldn't you provide those same services to law enforcement?”
Currently, releasing Facebook account records to law enforcement requires a subpoena, court order or search warrant. The company also said it'll accept emergency requests for situations “involving imminent harm to a child or risk of death or serious physical injury to any person and requiring disclosure of information without delay.”
Bears in Blue: How a teen girl keeps the memory of fallen officers alive
Megan O'Grady, 15, creates teddy bears out of the uniforms of fallen LEOs to help grieving families cope
by Cole Zercoe
Megan O'Grady can't recall how she came up with the idea. She had never sewn anything in her life and her family didn't own a sewing machine. She just knew she had to give families something to hold on to – a piece of what they'd lost.
She learned every step from her grandmother – how to stuff, sew and embroider. Constructing each bear was a lengthy process. She had to cut the uniform, stuff the head, body and limbs, and stitch the pieces together. Then add the eyes and nose, and embroider a shield on the chest, personalized to include the officer's last name and badge number. She placed stripes on the shoulder for rank or service, and a blue ribbon around the neck. A St. Michael medal, blessed by a priest, draped over the trunk. Finally, the end of watch date was added on the bottom of the right foot.
Handling the uniform was the hardest part; not because of the cutting or construction, but in knowing what the uniform meant to a child. As the daughter of a police sergeant, she knew each uniform held the smell of the father or mother who wore it every day, and a thousand memories. The familiar feeling of the material against her skin was a reminder of daily hugs good-bye. The sight of the uniform triggered a sense of comfort and protection. The uniform was who they were. Their body was gone, but their uniform remained.
It took two days to make each bear; a substantial amount of time for an honors student balancing school, track, cross country, bowling and the video club. She'd work on them between homework assignments or carve out time during weekends. Sometimes the backlog grew to double digits. Sometimes she felt overwhelmed. But ultimately, Megan didn't mind. It was just two days in exchange for something she hoped would last the recipient a lifetime.
‘WHAT HAPPENS TO THE FAMILIES?'
The news ticker flashed the words that changed Megan's life forever. She knew her father faced risk as a police officer, but she always told herself he'd come home safe. That bedrock was cracked on July 7, 2016, after five police officers were ambushed and killed. The risk was graver than she'd realized. Such an attack could happen anywhere. It could even happen in her home town of Cape Coral, Florida. She couldn't shake the images of panicked faces illuminated by red and blue lights. What if it was her dad, Patrick, out there on that horrific night in Dallas?
“She asked me what happens to the families. I told her everyone rallies around them, but after a while, they don't talk to them as frequently. And then it becomes an annual event,” Patrick said.
“Then she asked me what happens to the kids. I said that eventually, while they are not forgotten, they won't be in the forefront. She put herself in their shoes and she wanted to do something.”
That conversation was the beginning of Megan's project to help the families of fallen officers – particularly children – cope with their loss. She wanted to give them something that would help keep the memory of their loved one alive, which is when she came up with the idea of bears made from the uniforms of the fallen. She coined the project “ Blue Line Bears .”
A LASTING KEEPSAKE
Megan does most the heavy lifting herself. She raised the money for a sewing machine via gofundme and made her first bear in January 2017. Her parents weren't surprised when she expressed her desire to launch such an ambitious project at such a young age.
“She is very mature for her age,” her mother, Suzie, said. “She's always been very close with her dad and the men and women he works with. From when she was little, she would bake them brownies and cupcakes. She's always had a respect for men and women in uniform. With all that in mind, it wasn't a huge surprise. But I don't think we thought it was ever going to get this big.”
Since the launch of the project, the family has shipped bears to 29 states and Canada. Despite an ever-increasing number of requests, Megan still handles the bulk of creating each bear. Suzie helps with the paperwork and, along with Megan's grandmother, puts finishing touches on the bears. Patrick makes initial contact with every family of a fallen officer and handles the project's online presence. The cost of the bears is covered by the O'Gradys through a combination of donations and their own money.
“I feel like police have become the enemy of society instead of recognized for their service. My message is to not only remember those who have fallen when they sacrifice themselves, but to try to stop what's happening and get people to realize that there's a face and a person behind every single badge,” said Megan.
SONS AND DAUGHTERS
Every bear tells a story of bravery and tragedy, with the inscription on the right foot marking the day all law enforcement families fear most. Lieutenant Debra Clayton, a wife and mother who was shot to death while attempting to apprehend a wanted murder suspect: EOW 1.9.2017. Officer Charles Hartfield, a married father of two who was killed while rendering aid to the wounded during the Las Vegas massacre: EOW 10.1.17. Detective Steven McDonald, who left behind a wife and son after complications from gunshot wounds he received 31 years earlier: EOW 1.10.2017.
The sons and daughters of the fallen range in age from just born to over 50. The uniforms belong to LEOs killed in the line of duty as far back as 39 years ago. Nearly 300 bears represent hundreds of families whose lives were shattered when their heroes were taken too soon.
Megan hand-delivers as many bears as she can. She's met with spouses, children, friends, relatives and colleagues during her multi-state trips. Every meeting is different; none of them are easy.
While some families talk about their loved one, other families are silent, their faces telling the story words cannot. Some visits are heart-rending: A mother in tears, shouting her son's name as she embraced Megan. Others are transcendental: a red cardinal – a spirit messenger according to legend – watching the O'Gradys from a single, leafless tree in Central Park during the family's chance reunion with a fallen Florida LEO's family.
“You have no idea what you're going to walk into,” Suzie said. “It's hard to know what to say, so you just try to listen.”
The impact of the bears is particularly evident among the children. One girl expressed her desire to carry the bear in lieu of flowers during her eventual wedding. Another young girl who hadn't been able to sleep alone since her father passed finally managed to after receiving the keepsake.
“That's really what she had in mind when she came up with Blue Line Bears,” Suzie said. “That the children would have something to hold on to in their dark times to remember their parent.”
Dealing with death is a heavy burden to bear at any age. As a young teen, Megan has been exposed to more of it than most face in a lifetime. Initially, her parents worried about the toll the project could take on her.
“At the beginning, it was all just a theory - an idea that she had,” Suzie said. “Then, in January 2017, there were two officers who were killed very close to where we live. That's when it became very real. She was very emotional. I told her if it was too much, then maybe we shouldn't move forward.”
She encouraged Megan, who attends the same Catholic high school where Suzie works as an administrator, to talk to her priest for guidance.
“After that, she said she felt like God was calling her to try to do something to make a difference in people's lives – to bring some peace to those families.”
Over time, Megan has learned how to harness the power of the good she's brought into people's lives to overcome the weight of the tragedies that led to her work in the first place. Ultimately, she says, the mission has made her stronger.
“I have hard days where I get upset over things that will happen to police officers,” Megan said. “But I keep looking at what I have done, how thankful the families are, and that's what keeps me going. Just realizing that this is what I do and I'm going to keep doing it so I can keep making a difference.”
“She's got a level of compassion for the families that at 15 years old is amazing,” Patrick said. “She realizes that could be her one day. And she wants to know that if something happened to me, she and my wife and family would never be forgotten.”
Megan views Blue Line Bears as a lifetime commitment. Her goal is to provide a bear for every family of the fallen who wants to receive one. And her job just got a little easier: a company recently donated a new machine to the project that cuts the stuffing time from over an hour to around 20 minutes.
“I plan to keep it going for generations to come,” said Megan. “I want to always be there for the families because there are always going to be officers who lose their life in the line of duty. It's our job as the police community to be there for them.”
When the body is gone, where does the spirit go? For a 15-year-old girl in Cape Coral, the spirit is everywhere. It's in the faces of every friend, family member and colleague of the fallen. It's in a cardinal watching from a tree in Central Park. And it's in a uniform, fashioned into a bear, held tight by a child sleeping soundly - dreaming of hugging their parent goodbye.