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

August 2019 - Week 2
Terri Lanahan
Many thanks to NAASCA's Terri Lanahan, Butte, Montana,
for her research into the news that appears on
the LACP & NAASCA web sites.

Los Angeles - (in my backyard)

Montecito Heights gang-related shooting leaves one dead, two wounded

The 21-year-old victim was identified as Victor Cortez Jr.

by City News Service

Montecito Heights -- A 21-year-old man was killed and two others were wounded early this morning in what detectives believe was a gang-related shooting outside a liquor store, the LAPD said.

Two persons who police believe were involved in the shooting have been detained but more suspects are being sought, according to detectives at the LAPD Hollenbeck Division.

The 21-year-old victim was later identified as Victor Cortez Jr., according to the Los Angeles County coroner's office.

According to the Los Angeles Police Department, the men walked into a liquor store near the intersection of East Avenue 43 and Griffin Avenue about 1:20 a.m. As they exited, a vehicle pulled up and a suspect got out of the car and began arguing with the victims.

At some point, the suspect pulled a gun and opened fire on the two men, killing one, police said.

The two other victims -- described as Latino males, ages 18 and 19 -- were taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries, police said.

Residents said they heard 5 to 7 shots, according to NBC 4.

A detailed description of the suspect or suspect vehicle was not immediately available.

A motive for the shooting was not disclosed.

Anyone with additional information is asked to contact Detective J. Ramirez, at the Hollenbeck Community Police Station, (323) 342-8964 or 1-877-ASK-LAPD.



Phoenix looks to be next big city with citizen police review


Dozens of people, mostly African Americans, huddled around tables scattered across a church gymnasium on a recent evening, discussing past run-ins with Phoenix police officers and ways to hold them accountable.

In a city still stinging from a video of officers pointing guns and cursing at a black family this summer, the confidential talks intended to give officials in the country's fifth-largest city ideas on how residents could help oversee the police.

"I want to see, hear, feel and touch what you are coming up with so we can make real change," said Police Chief Jeri Williams, wearing a casual civilian shirt and slacks to the gathering at the church. "I understand we have some real internal work to do."

Phoenix is among the last big U.S. cities without independent civilian oversight of police, said Samuel Walker, professor emeritus of criminal justice at the University of Nebraska, Omaha. Phoenix's powerful police union has blocked past efforts to establish such a board and is resisting the new push.

Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Detroit, Denver and Portland, Oregon, are among many cities with some kind of civilian oversight, with more joining following high-profile police killings of black men and others in recent years.

Police in Colorado Springs, Colorado, released video this week showing officers fatally shooting a black man as he ran away.

Williams, who's a black woman, and other Phoenix officials are moving toward adopting some kind of independent civilian oversight of police and are visiting communities this month to review their models.

Walker, who co-wrote the book "The New World of Police Accountability," said citizen oversight is a must for all modern U.S. police agencies.

"Phoenix needs to get over this opposition to civilian oversight, it exists virtually everywhere else," Walker said. "It is a basic way of building trust."

Walker said there are two basic types of oversight: civilian review boards, which investigate individual complaints, and independent auditors or monitors, which he prefers because they recommend practices and policies. There are also hybrids with elements of both.

"The communities need a process they can trust, whether it is a board, an auditor or a monitor," agreed Liana Perez of the educational group National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement.

While oversight boards or monitors offer recommendations, final decisions on firings and other discipline lie with the police chief and city and state laws.

The Phoenix Law Enforcement Association said on its website that it's a "bad idea" for civilians unfamiliar with state and U.S. constitutional law to make independent recommendations about police discipline.

The union added that residents already sit on some Phoenix police boards with officers and commanders who oversee use-of-force cases.

But the civilian review models would go further and be independent from the Police Department. Civilian board members could recommend discipline of officers and changes in policies and procedures. Depending on what Phoenix choses, board members could even get subpoena power to compel people they are investigating to testify.

The police union did not respond to requests for additional comment on civilian review.

The changes come after cellphone video emerged in June showing Phoenix officers answering a shoplifting call by aiming their guns and yelling obscenities at Dravan Ames and his pregnant fiancée, Iesha Harper, who was holding their 1-year-old daughter. The video sparked outcry nationwide.

The couple later said their 4-year-old daughter took a doll from a store without their knowledge.

Phoenix also has moved to build greater trust and transparency by recently rolling out the last of 2,000 body-worn cameras for a force approaching 3,000 officers, one of the last big police agencies in the U.S. to do so.

The department this month also began training officers to track when they point their guns at people, a procedure now embraced by departments nationwide.

The National Police Foundation recommended that policy after finding Phoenix had 44 officer-involved shootings last year, more than any other U.S. law enforcement agency. Twenty-three were fatal.

The police union has criticized city leaders who back independent civilian oversight, especially Councilman Carlos Garcia. The former leader of an immigrant rights group, who wore an "End Police Brutality" T-shirt to a recent City Council meeting, said he prefers a hybrid approach.

"We really need aspects of both, with a civilian review board that has community input on procedures and policies as well as subpoena power and the ability to recommend on discipline," Garcia said in an interview at the Aug. 6 listening session at the First Institutional Baptist Church gym.

The session was far smaller than gatherings soon after the video emerged in June, when several thousand people crowded into another church to complain about past experiences with police.

Unlike some cities, Phoenix is not under federal orders to change its use-of-force practices.

The Albuquerque Police Department must comply with a federal consent decree after an investigation found a "culture of aggression," including some 20 fatal shootings over four years and the use of unreasonable force against mentally ill people.

That court order gave subpoena power to Albuquerque's oversight board, allowing it to call witnesses and access documents, New Mexico ACLU policy director Steven Allen said.

Oversight panels "aren't always the silver bullet," Allen said. "But they can be part of the solution."

Gizette Knight, a former New Yorker living near Phoenix, said she thinks increased community policing, in which officers have greater contact with residents, would be just as helpful as independent civilian oversight.

"The police knew who we were, they knew my grandma, and all the neighbor kids," Knight, 33, said of her old neighborhood in Queens.

More than anything, residents and the police should consider new ways of viewing law enforcement, said Jody David Armour, a University of Southern California law professor who specializes in race and legal decision making.

"For long and abiding changes, it will take a kind of revolution in the way we think about crime and punishment," Armour said. "And in our relations between police and the community.


Government management

The Model Police Officer Report: Recruitment, Training and Community Engagement

Learn how to reach police officer candidates, conduct training and engage new police recruits with their communitie

Editor's Note : The ICMA and Vera Institute of Justice (Vera), gathered information from local government leaders and staff, police chiefs, police union representatives and citizens. The survey targeted communities of varying sizes in different regions of the country to better understand the characteristics sought in the “model” police officer, and to address. The 2018 report, which can be reviewed and downloaded below addresses the current state of police officer recruiting and how to reach candidates, conduct training and engage new police recruits with their communities .

Highest Priority in Police Officer Recruitment is Community Trust

Among the key findings of the survey, the highest-rated priority was building community trust. In fact, all subgroups of respondents (police chiefs, officers, managers, human resources staff and community members) rated this a 9.3 or higher – above the average rating of any other priority. As much as the stereotypical image associated with policing focuses on law enforcement, the community trust aspect is one that is at the top of these key stakeholders' priorities and should be acknowledged as such in the structuring of recruitment and training efforts.

Diversity of recruiting methods is also notable – not just in the recruiting of a diverse workforce, but also in reaching people via whatever methods are most effective. Print, broadcast, online, and billboard advertising are all well represented among the key strategies, as are more targeted approaches like specific outreach to women, minorities, veterans and students, or such high-touch approaches as executive leadership's engagement with recruits.

There are also a wide variety of community engagement strategies in place – some nearly universal, like shop with a cop and school resource officers, and some more unique. In this sample, 90 percent of police chiefs reported maintaining regular neighborhood assignments for their officers for at least six months. As with the priority on building community trust, such assignments and outreach initiatives set the environment within which the recruits operate, as does the training regimen, with most reporting that de-escalation, mental health, crisis intervention, racial profiling and other key topics are covered at least every two years.

About ICMA

ICMA, the International City/County Management Association, advances professional local government worldwide. The organization's mission is to create excellence in local governance by developing and fostering professional management to build sustainable communities that improve people's lives. ICMA provides member support, ethics education and enforcement, publications, data and information, peer and results-oriented assistance, and training and professional development to appointed city, town, and county leaders and other individuals and organizations throughout the world.



'Success is when we're all working together': Tulsa deputy police chief talks community policing and perception of its practices

What does community policing look like in Tulsa? Program in its infancy; positive changes are still to come

Tulsa Police Deputy Chief Jonathan Brooks sat for five hours during a meeting on police use of force ignited by the city's Equality Indicators report.

He explained — as best he could — how the department has attempted to implement effective policing strategies through its Community Policing Program.

Brooks, who leads the program, listened to questions and comments about implicit bias and ways TPD as a whole could repair relationships within communities that had expressed skepticism over police tactics, which left some residents deeply embittered.

In that special City Council meeting last Wednesday night, Brooks acknowledged that the police need to rebuild credibility with residents. He also said the department had been in the process of adjusting its training and policies to prevent crime while not victimizing citizens.

Brooks still feels the same way he did that night, telling the Tulsa World recently that “the only way you could have community policing is through trust.”

The Tulsa World conducted an interview with Brooks and raised some of the concerns expressed by community members. He shared his thoughts about community policing, biases and how the Tulsa Police Department is perceived.

On how TPD has worked with city and community leaders through recommendations made by the Tulsa Commission on Community Policing

Not a lot of other police departments are doing all those 77 recommendations on the level that we are. So, there was a lot of talk about community policing and the fact we were not doing those 77 recommendations, which in fact we are, but we never said that was our finish line. When President Obama set forth that commission (Task Force on 21st Century Policing), there was no standardized template for departments to follow that were best practices in everything that we do. And that's why we went with that. And if you remember when Mayor G.T. Bynum took office, he established that community policing commission (The Tulsa Commission on Community Policing) and there was a very diverse group that was there to represent that, the city councilors, just various community leaders and to have their input on that.

On police attempts to build trust within communities

One of the crucial things that you hear repeatedly in these Equality Indicators meetings is trust and building trust. And the only way you could have community policing is through trust and that trust is working together (with the community) as a two-way street. Community policing is just not the police doing the work.

On the Town Square Apartments situation

As a police officer, I observed specialized officers working an area that leadership has determined to be a priority. By that I mean, the data shows a high call volume for that complex and in addition, a high violence rate including shootings. In an effort to thwart more violence and victimization, I see officers dedicated to providing public safety to the residents that ask for it and deserve it. The officers conducted themselves in a professional manner, conducted investigations while respectfully interacting with those that they came into contact with.

Furthermore, I have taken the opportunity to walk Town Square myself. In my travels there, I spoke with many residents. Only 1 out the 27 did not want to talk. All the others, including those that were present during the incident you are referring to, were more than willing to talk about that night. The overwhelming majority want a police presence in their neighborhood. They understand the need for police and safety while maintaining a balance for them to live without fear and interruption.

On other areas in Tulsa where the department uses policing strategies similar to Town Square

There are many other areas that the Tulsa Police Department takes an organized approach and focused efforts to reduce crime. There are several to list, but if you see an area that is repeatedly victimized, has increased violence or shootings, you can guarantee that the Tulsa Police Department will be there to provide public safety.

On the conflict in policing tactics between law enforcement and community leaders

The conflict is the manner in which it's done. And that's where we have to have our alignment because we have way more (in) common than not, right? We want the same things. So, it's coming together to provide those safe neighborhoods. You know, I've invited everybody that's part of that to come on a ride-along and see it from the perspective of the officer, as well. We've walked the streets from the other side. We've worked with kids, you know, and we explain the (legal) rights and everything like that. That's where I'm talking about when we start working together.

On whether officers understand why some citizens may feel community policing isn't working

We must understand that everybody has a perspective. And everybody's entitled to that perspective. What we're trying to do is prevent that next victim from having to call. Either a life has to be saved or attempt to be saved and somebody has to be brought to justice. We do understand. I think I said it in that (Equality Indicators) meeting, we're not going to have solutions in this meeting. The solution is going to happen when we're out there doing the work on the street.

On what successful community policing looks like

The one thing is that nobody can agree on is really what community policing is. You know, we've been working on it for a long time, and it involves a lot of facets of, you know, community engagement, community education, community partnerships and crime prevention, all these components. So if we were successful, the main measure that I would go by is our citizen response. We're here to serve and protect. Sometimes there may be disagreement because there is a job to do, but we have to be cognizant of that for everybody that we're trying to serve. I see success is when we're all working together, preventing crime before it even happens.

On policing mistakes that impact public perception

It's difficult sometimes. Everybody that was in that (Equality Indicators) meeting ... we sit with them outside of those meetings and talk about these things. And when we talk about it, it's like there's not that opportunity to explain everything. Every policeman is human. Are we going to make mistakes? Yeah. Because we're human, right? So they're going to. We have to have those relationships where we can sit down and talk about those before they even happen. Start building that trust is the first thing we have to have. Because if you don't feel like you can come to your police department or vice versa, the police department doesn't feel like it can get help from you, then that means one thing. We don't have a relationship. And so that has to be done first. And once we had that relationship, we build the trust and then we start working on those goals.

On how TPD handles criticism from those not involved in policing

I mean, I'm not going to say it's very difficult, but it's always kind of been there in policing. I think Chief (Egunwale Fagbenro) Amusan (president of the Tulsa African Ancestral Society) brought up consent decree. And right now there's the immigration stuff in the Hispanic community, and they look at the police as enforcing President Trump's “build the wall” campaign. It's difficult. But the interesting thing about it is that's what we like about the challenge of it is being able to build those bridges and making sure that we can get through it.

I'll say (it's) frustrating because I look out and I see the good work that the men and women out there are doing and there's no credit for that. But we get compared to the national police. There are mistakes, but I think if we communicated better about the things going on in Tulsa, they would see how much better the police department is in Tulsa than anywhere else.

On whether officers understand why minority communities might not be comfortable with the police

If you're a student of history, you can understand the comfort level because it's something that a lot of police today don't have knowledge of — the things that happened back in policing's past. So that's one level and we have to understand that. We have to understand that after the police come in and resolve a crime, we have to leave. We can't stay there 24/7. So that attributes to some will say, “Well, you can't protect me, so I'm not saying anything and I'm not working with the police.” And that further attributes to that because you can't be seen helping the police right now. And so that attributes to that, as well.

On how TPD can execute proactive policing without alienating citizens

I mean, that's the tough one is because we have to sit down and start having those conversations with the community about what's transpiring and coming up with those common goals. One of the things that we are trying to get better at is communicating. Policing has changed in just the last 20 years. You have to know the history of that. And then you also have to know the history of the community and everything that's happened. What we need to do specifically is communicate better about the policing methods. If you want to boil it down to one thing that we can do better, what the police department can do better is communicate. We have not done the greatest job of communicating.

On whether biases can be removed from police work

So now you're talking more about unconscious or implicit bias as opposed to explicit, which leads to police bias and profiling, right? So you're talking about the implicit part. Everybody has it. We all have biases that we don't know about. They're implicit. And I guarantee if we test everybody somewhere along the way, somebody's going to have an unconscious bias, whether it's racial, ethnic, gender, sociology, whatever it can be. And so what you're saying is to completely get rid of that, the police department then (in) effect you have robots. And those robots then become impersonal, which attributes to the problems that we're having today. So what we want is everybody to understand that officers are human and we can communicate and we can work together as humans. It's not this robotic state. One thing that we can address through policy training and supervision and all this other stuff, is addressing the bias when it affects the performance in the job.

On whether the department has addressed incidents of bias among its officers

Every time that we've ever had an incident? I'm not even thinking of any incidents or involving that, but every time we have any kind of behavioral issues or policy violations, it's always consistently addressed.

Sgt. Richard Meulenberg also spoke to the Tulsa World about TPD defending against bias within in its ranks.

“We don't get people that apply for us that have a swastika tattooed on their forehead and say, ‘Hey, I'm a bigot,' and we say, ‘Oh, we're going to hire you anyway.' When we get them (recruits) in the academy, we have a very diverse group that actually oversees them, our class coordinators, and then they're watched closely there. They've got six months more in the academy and field training,” Meulenberg said.

“If they (police officers) are clearly violating someone's rights and they're violating a policy, they (citizens) have to call and complain about that person. Everybody has a phone and has a camera, right? So if someone's left of center on the department, you need to let us know because the theory is (that) we police our own. Sure, but at the same time though, we have a track record of policing our own successfully. I can't have someone being corrosive in a squad who's bad because there are no exceptions. We have to have a higher standard.



Unrest in Sherman Park, 3 years later: Have police-community relations improved?

by Edgar Menedez

It's a muggy 87 degrees, and police presence is thick in Sherman Park.

As a squad and patrol wagon wait at a red light on Sherman Boulevard, two officers from the Milwaukee Police Department's District 7 sit at a bench in the children's play area.

"The cops, kids and teens all hang out at the park; they're all here," said Trenayce Jordan, as she takes turns pushing her 2-year-old grandson, Logan, and 4-year-old son, Kyle, on side-by-side swings.

Jordan described the scene last week as the new normal at Sherman Park: two groups that don't fully trust each other but have become more comfortable with sharing the same space.

It's a sharp contrast from the night of Aug. 13, 2016, when footage from the Sherman Park neighborhood filled television screens in Milwaukee and across the world. That night, stores burned, and angry young men denounced the killing of one of their own – 23-year-old Sylville Smith – by a Milwaukee police officer.

That officer, Dominique Heaggan-Brown, was found not guilty of first-degree reckless homicide in Smith's murder, even though body camera footage showed him firing the fatal shot into his chest after he'd tossed his gun. He was eventually convicted and sentenced to three years in prison on an unrelated sexual assault charge.

Since that night, resources and promises have poured into the neighborhood, although several community projects were already occurring. The goal was to improve economic conditions that many said fueled the powder keg of frustration and also to strengthen relations between residents and the police, which lit the fuse.

"Sometimes they say hi"

Images of those flames still are vivid for Jeff Henderson, 25, who watched them on TV from his living room couch. He walks down a different Sherman Boulevard than the one that was portrayed that night. This one, he said, is more serene. He's not sure if police and residents get along better now than they did back then, but he does notice more cops in the area. Once in a while they interact.

"Sometimes they say hi to me," he said.

Two teenage cousins who stood nearby and asked not to be identified agreed.

"Yeah, we see police here all the time, but they don't really bother us," said one as the other nodded in agreement.

Some see the surveillance at the park and surrounding neighborhood as a continuing example of racial profiling and harassment, which led to tension three years ago. Others point to it as an example of community policing, which Chief Alfonso Morales made a priority once he became chief in 2018.

The Milwaukee Police Department declined a request to be interviewed for the story.

But in a late 2018 interview with NNS, Willie Murphy, District 7 police captain, said, "I plan to go into the community with my officers to get to know the residents."

"I want to keep officers in their assigned areas, so the residents and officers can become familiar with each other and the problems that go on in the community," he added.

Seventeen-year-old Tyrane Graham, however, doesn't equate increased police presence with improved relations.

"Not at all," she said, when asked if things had gotten better between police and residents since 2016. More police presence isn't always good, she said.

Interactions such as the ones described by Jordan, Henderson and Graham serve the goal of having police interact with the community, especially young people, in a non-crisis or negative situation, said Katie Sanders, executive director of Safe & Sound.

"There's some shared norms in the park now. The officers are not simply responding to a call for service," Sanders said.

Safe & Sound, an organization that works to unite residents, youths and law enforcement, identified the Sherman Park neighborhood as a focus area in 2015. At the time, Sanders recalled, there were high levels of drug trafficking and crime in the area. Another problem was widespread discontent and frustration as well as a lack of communication between young people and the police, she said.

Still, what happened in 2016 caught Sanders off-guard.

"I don't think anybody knew how intense things would get," Sanders said.

Engaging a community

Safe & Sound partners with other community organizations to engage residents and has become even more active in the area since 2016, Sanders said.

On the front lines of that work is Danielle Johnson, community organizer for District 7. She's been working to engage youths in outdoor programming at the park rather than forcing them inside.

"We had to find out what keeps them coming to the park every day and find cohesive ways for them to have fun," said Johnson, who credits the Boys and Girls Club and other groups for working to create programming for the teens.

Another strategy that Safe & Sound has employed, with the support of the Zeidler Center for Public Discussion, is using Police and Resident Listening Circles.

The listening circles are facilitated face-to-face conversations that include law enforcement personnel and residents, said Katherine Wilson, executive director at Zeidler, a nonprofit that deploys professional facilitators to foster civil dialogue.

"What commonly happens when you pull two groups together, especially with law enforcement present, is that people start yelling, and that is what we hate to see," she said. "Without structure you exacerbate the tension."

That theory was put to the test during one listening session, when the Freedom Fighters showed up to a circle between residents and police.

"We never had so many people armed at a meeting, but the two groups were willing to sit down and share with one another," Wilson said. Polling done before and after listening circles has shown that resident trust in police is up slightly in the neighborhood.

No easy solutions

Wilson said the conditions that led to the unrest in Sherman Park did not occur overnight, and that there is no quick fix. Unless policy and relationship work continues, things could bubble up again, not just at Sherman Park but anywhere in the city, she cautions.

It's a point well understood by Mabel Lamb, executive director of the Sherman Park Community Association. She's lived in the Sherman Park neighborhood for 19 years.

"Not much economic viability, no real job creation, the same old lip service and pockets of crime and poverty," Lamb said.

"A young black man doesn't always get shot and killed by police in Sherman Park, but there are systemic problems that haven't been addressed," she said. "People don't really feel like there's been a resolution to what happened three years ago."

A short distance from Lamb's office on West Fond Du Lac Avenue, three police officers pound at the door of a home, while a few blocks away, a pair of officers sits in their car at the foot of the park.

It's the new normal in Sherman Park. Although it is not clear whether it's that much different than before.


New York

Readers sound off on police and community relations, Mueller's testimony and the Yankees

Soaks to be you.


NY's finest are on their own

Manhattan: As I watched the videos of police officers getting doused with water and hit with buckets, I found myself completely disgusted and extremely concerned about how brazen and disrespectful some people can be in the communities that we serve.

Unfortunately, I'm not surprised. In today's climate, we must enforce laws in a society with people who are not held accountable for their actions. The constant criticism and second-guessing that members of the NYPD are subjected to daily have directly contributed to the increasing level of disrespect and criminality we see today. This environment will not change unless we have the support of politicians and lawmakers.

It's obvious to me that with true community policing, or neighborhood policing as it's currently called, there must be true accountability on both sides, not political correctness. What will it take for them to have our back? Another line-of-duty death?

We can't allow the members of this department to be punching bags for public entertainment. It's humiliating! It's disrespectful! It's unsafe! We all need to work together to protect every member of the service!

If these individuals were brazen enough to do this to police officers, I can only imagine what they are doing, or will do, to the innocent people in their communities. In these turbulent times, the only people we can truly rely on are fellow police officers. Louis Turco, president, Lieutenants' Benevolent Association

Not in the family

Milford, Pa.: When I was a kid in Brooklyn, it would take one cop walking the beat to disperse a crowd. Nobody ever thought of disobeying them because we knew a stiff price would be paid. I joined the department in the 1990s and most of that feeling was gone, but we knew Rudy Giuliani had our backs. Now, the residents of this city assault cops with impunity because they know nothing will happen to them. My son wants to be a cop. I told him I would never support him wearing the same uniform I once did. Let him work for a city that fully supports him. Kevin Murphy

Not equivalent

Astoria: Leonard Greene infers that there is some similarity between the Eric Garner incident and the recent incident of police officers being assaulted with water and buckets in Brooklyn and Harlem (“Even in the face of injustice, cops don't deserve to be assaulted or humiliated,” column, July 23). The only similarity I see is the act of resisting arrest. - James Long

Regime change

Manhattan: Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Richard Carranza indoctrinate our white children that they are guilty of racism because of white privilege, and they indoctrinate our black children that they are victims of white privilege — but they don't step down and make way for black people to take their places. Transfer of power is the only remedy to white privilege and male privilege for that matter. De Blasio and Carranza should stop the hypocrisy, step down and make way for black women to replace them. - Gamaliel Isaac

Mueller flops

Bronx: I witnessed a gentleman who seemed confused or unable to hear questions, muddle through answers and was just disappointed. In my opinion, this whole hearing was a disaster and the Democrats did not do themselves any favors. The only positive take I got out of it was that Robert Mueller clarified that President Trump was not cleared of any wrongdoing, as he and his swamp-mates claimed. I never thought that I would see the decline of America in living color. - Dorothy Garvin

In memoriam

Brooklyn: Now that Robert Mueller banged the last nail in the Democrats' coffin, I think it should be buried in Potter's Field. - Jose Hirch

Richmond Hill: After watching Special Counsel Robert Mueller testify in Congress on Wednesday, I think it is safe to admit that the Russians interfered with the 2016 elections the same way we have interfered with international elections in other parts of the world. - Francheisko Perez

A helping hand

Staten Island: To Voicer Dennis Pascale: I can't fix all of your problems, but I can at least offer some advice. Call Meals on Wheels. You sound like you're eligible to receive meals delivered right to your door. One cold lunch, one hot dinner, five days a week. Food procurement and preparation will become the least of your worries. I hope this helps. - Victor R. Stanwick

From an ex-New Yorker

Okayama, Japan: Does the Daily News have an editor? “Mother relives death of 18-month-old daughter who fell from cruise ship window every morning” (July 22). Think about that headline. - Christopher Bauer

Too famous

New Paltz, N.Y.: Reggie Jackson was again in Cooperstown for the Hall of Fame induction. For some reason, I keep paying to get his autograph. I keep expecting Jackson to be kind, but he never is. If only Reggie were like Mariano! - Paul DeGiacomo

A reprieve

Staten Island: Luckily, with all the madness going on in the world, we here in the United States have baseball! Even better, we here in New York have the Yankees! Tuesday night's game against the Twins was amazing, and for a little while the world's craziness went away! Aaron Hicks' final-out catch was great and Didi was just Greglorious! Thanks boys! - Janet Baker


Plainview, L.I.: Dwight Gooden says he's “going away for a while to try to save my life." He gets no sympathy from me, since it's the lives of (innocent) others whom he endangered by driving the wrong direction on a one-way street while intoxicated. People who do things like that need to be locked up before they wipe out a family of five! -Richard Siegelman

Layoff, lay on

Greenwood Lake, N.Y.: So the MTA is cutting 2,700 jobs. I think now would be a good time for all New Yorkers to thank Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for helping to sink the Amazon deal, which could have absorbed many of these jobs that are going to be lost. - Joe Fioramonti Sr.

Future cellies

Manhattan: Hey Bernie Madoff, I'm sure Trump will not commute your sentence, but look on the bright side: Trump will soon be joining you. You guys have so much in common, those 100-plus years will fly by. - Michael Wishner

Horse hero

Manhattan: I have called Hell's Kitchen home for years now and love everything about it. That is, except witnessing the cruelty inflicted on the Central Park carriage horses, whose stables are near my apartment. Just this week, I watched a horse collapse in the middle of 55th St. and 9th Ave. The driver — preoccupied with pulling the horse's reins to get the horse to stand again without checking on what might be the issue — was unable to stop cars from whizzing by the downed animal. I stepped in to make sure a sad scene did not become a gruesome one. I'll never know what happened to that horse, but I know the city needs to care more about their health, especially on such busy streets.


Safer Cities – New Zealand

What works? The 6 most common initiatives for safer cities

New Zealand can learn from the initiatives to improve security and living conditions in cities around the world.

by Cathrin Schaer

1. CCTV cameras

Many cities have tried to increase authorities' “eyes on the street” by installing closed-circuit TV cameras. London, Beijing and New York are some of the most surveilled cities in the world, with about 51,000, 46,000 and 17,000 cameras respectively. In 2017, Auckland had 5577 publicly owned cameras.

Does it work? It's inconclusive. Surveillance cameras are thought to have helped reduce crimes such as vehicle break-ins, but they don't seem to have much effect on violent crime. And they don't bring down crime on their own; they work best when combined with other tactics such as community policing and better lighting.

2. Better lighting

It seems logical that brightening up darker thoroughfares would reduce crime. A 2015 study from Spain even found that certain kinds of street lighting – white lights with a high level of blue wavelengths – made people feel safer than old-fashioned yellow streets lights.

Does it work? Again, it's inconclusive. When researchers looked in detail at crime in cities before and after extra streetlights had been installed, they couldn't find any solid evidence to show that more lights equaled less crime. Results tended to be inconsistent, whether there was more or less lighting. Some criminologists have even pointed out that better lighting also helps the criminals see better.

3. Community policing

The term describes a style of policing in which officers foster better ties with the communities they're working in, the aim being “to empower communities rather than control them”.

Does it work? Although many US police departments have boasted that community policing has seen urban crime rates decrease, detailed empirical research says that the jury is still out. Community policing seems to work better on certain kinds of crime and is more effective in small towns than in cities. Anecdotally, it also seems to work better in the long-term, encouraging more trust and better communication. Community policing has also been shown to reduce fear of crime.

4. Hot-spot policing

This involves a police presence in certain areas where crimes are, statistically speaking, more likely to be committed. It's often supported by the better kinds of data and “crime mapping” that's become available to law enforcement agencies in recent years.

Does it work? This is one method for which the evidence mostly says that, yes, it does make a difference, although criminologists say it's best used alongside other tactics, too.

5. Less graffiti

Removing graffiti has often been seen as part of the “broken windows” theory of crime and disorder. Experiments have shown that people are more likely to disobey the rules if they see that others have, too. But most researchers now say there is a big difference between so-called street art, which includes murals, and tagging – that is, scrawling your initials or name on a building. It's all about context. In fact, one British university study found that street art indicated “improving economic conditions of urban neighborhoods”.

Does it work? It's very subjective. There is certainly proof that graffiti, often described as one of the “most visible crimes”, can make people anxious. But doubts still exist about the broken windows theory. Critics are still arguing about whether signs of disorder alone equal more crime and whether removal of those signs decreases it.

6. Public art

This is the opposite of the broken windows theory. Advocates say public art invites ownership, pride in the area and a way to explore urban identities. In Sweden, special digital billboards have been used on subways to try to lessen locals' anxiety or fear. In other cities, murals and graffiti have been commissioned for the same reason.

Does it work? It's difficult to quantify. Researchers say that having at-risk youth engage in arts activities helps the individuals directly. A project in the US city of Philadelphia suggests it helps “racial and ethnic diversity, lower rates of social distress, and reduce rates of ethnic and racial harassment”. But whether public art has a direct effect on crime remains unclear.



Community policing – Road to healthy environment

by Debapriya Mukherjee

Sadly, in the 21st century, about 600 million Indians face high to extreme water stress and about 1,00,000 people die every year due to inadequate access to safe water when technology has advanced with the help of ever-expanding knowledge.

More than three million people in the world die of water-related diseases due to contaminated water each year, including 1.2 million children according to the report by the United Nations.

These water-borne diseases are mainly attributed to limited access to safe drinking water, quality sanitation facilities, unhealthy hygiene practices and improper water management practices. India is mainly facing severe water crisis on account of increasing human population, food production, and industrialization.

The government has failed to provide safe drinking water to all households despite launching a program “Har Ghar Jal” in 2017 by Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation. In India, at present safe (as assumed) piped drinking water reaches only 70 percent of urban and 19 percent of rural households. According to a NITI Aayog report, 40% of the India's population will not have access to clean drinking water by 2030 though Prime Minister strongly advocated to provide piped water to every rural home by 2024.

What's worse is - the ‘Global Burden of Disease' study estimated that 1.8 million global deaths were caused by water pollution in 2015. These adverse health impacts continue to occur despite improvements in household access to safe water.

Improvement in providing safe drinking water that has been focused is exaggerated due to poor indicators for monitoring. According to report India stands on the 120th position out of 122 countries in water quality index. The probable reason is that the government either does not bother to understand the actual adverse impact of contaminated water on human well beings because the voiceless poor people are practically suffering or does not have proper information about its impact on human health.

The major drawback in understanding the severity of water borne diseases is the failure in epidemiological surveillance to record actual cases of waterborne diseases and the status of drinking water quality supplied to people.

The groundwater in one-third of India's 600 districts is not fit for drinking as the concentration of fluoride, iron, salinity and arsenic exceeds the tolerance levels. About 65 million people have been suffering from fluorosis, a crippling disease due to a high amount of fluoride, and five million are suffering from arsenicosis in West Bengal due to high amount of arsenic in ground water. Fluoride contamination of fresh water also affects large parts of rural India. More than 25 million people across 17 states have to drink water with fluoride concentrations higher than the maximum permissible limit of 1.5 parts per million, During the visit to the villages in Birbhum district of West Bengal, many villagers were found with the deformities, both physical and dental, caused by fluoride.

Arsenic in West Bengal was described as one of the largest known "Mass Poisoning in human history". In West Bengal at present, fewer people are drinking arsenic-contaminated water than before due to growing awareness and access to arsenic safe water.

But in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, and Assam, villagers are still drinking contaminated water as this problem is largely unrecognized.

We observed contaminant such as chloride in Daltanganj, nitrate in Sindri, fluoride in Talcher, chromium in Sukinda and so on in the ground water above the tolerance level. All these instances occurred due to direct recharge of these contaminants to the aquifer. Simultaneously release of metals from the soil/rock in contact with contaminated recharge water was noticed. A World Resources Report says- about 70 per cent of India's water supply is seriously polluted with sewage effluents.

Water-borne diseases like cholera, gastroenteritis and diarrhoea erupt every year during summer and rainy seasons in India due to poor quality drinking water and sanitation.

The Ganges provide water to over 500 million Indians - contamination of just one source of water could affect millions of lives in one go. Water contamination often occurs due to inadequate and incompetent management of resources as well as inflow of sewage into the source. Just 30% of waste water from India's cities is treated before disposal.

The rest flows into rivers, lakes, and groundwater. If this problem is not controlled, a lack of safe drinking water will take a greater human toll than war and terrorism.

During my visit to many rural areas where piped water supply is available, drinking water is, often, contaminated with suspended solids during the summer and monsoon. As water supply is not continuous, they are bound to collect turbid water after filtering through cloth. On analyzing this water, it was observed that water was contaminated with total coliform at the level of about 35 MPN/100 ml with total suspended solids of 30 mg/L.

The actual quality of water varies widely over the time and space depending upon the contamination of water sources, design of distribution system and their maintenance and storage condition. The quality of water supplied to the people cannot be ensured because quality assurance checks are lacking in cities and rural areas.

The entire population, where piped water is available are practically dependent on this common water supply despite availability of other protected sources such as public tube well and deep well which are also fit for drinking purpose.

In these rural areas, the upper- and middle-income families with individual connection, drinking water are being utilized for all domestic uses including washing, cleaning, gardening and flushing of the toilet.

The eighty per cent of this safe water are ultimately drained out as waste flow to the nearby road from many households and pollute the ponds in the village as there is no holding tanks in their own premises to store this waste water.

The people from poor families are deprived of safe water due to intermittent supply.

In addition to this, government did not provide piped water supply to the small remote villages mainly inhabited by the poor and mostly illiterate people due to paucity of water resources.

On availability of safe water, many people have discontinued to use water of the pond and rivulet, a traditional practice, at least for bathing. Ponds are becoming redundant and practice of conserving rivulet water has been discontinued.

Thereby water quality is being deteriorated and infested with blue green algae particularly during dry season as it has of no use to many people, though poor people are still dependent on these ponds for bathing and washing.

Importance of these ponds for its ecological service is practically ignored by the administrators in the government, villagers and politicians.

Also, land use and land cover change due to construction of houses and shops in rural areas in unplanned way has not only stooped inflow of rainwater to these ponds but also prevented recharging of groundwater.

The problem of recharging is further aggravated on account of concretizing of all the inside village roads without making any provision for recharging of ground water in scientific manner.

Though development of road is the symbol of development but not at the cost of jeopardizing natural water cycle particularly at the time when our governments both in the centre and states irrespective of their political affiliations focus their concern on rain water harvesting.

Governments launch some attractive programs for storage of rain water but with little success.

The governments did not make the people aware of the importance of the water and consequences of misuse/overexploitation of water.

The major flaws are that governments always get the water project works done by the contractors who only looks into profit and loss. If all these water projects are operated and maintained by the community who are already aware about the importance of the water, it will be sustainable, economical and beneficial- of course political intervention with vested interest must be controlled.

It cannot be denied that water situation has been already worsened and poor people are badly suffering on account of non-availability of safe drinking water. Now there is emergent need to conserve the water.

For that, water conservation and preservation awareness program must be started on war footing involving all the stockholders. This program does not need to pump out huge money to the contractors, it requires scientific approach and long-term policy to involve the community to conserve and preserve the rain water as was done in Rajasthan by Mr Rajendra Singh who is known as “Waterman of India”.

The writer is Former Senior Scientist, Central Pollution Control Board and is from Kolkata and can be reached at 919432370163 & 916290099509 or



Man Accused of Shooting 6 Philly Police Officers During 7-Hour Standoff Surrenders

by David Chang and Alicia Victoria Lozano

SWAT officers shot tear gas into a home on North 15th Street near West Butler Street shortly after midnight in the North Philadelphia neighborhood of Nicetown-Tioga.

The suspect, identified by police as 36-year-old Maurice Hill of Philadelphia, then walked out of the home and was taken into police custody. He was armed at the time, according to Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross.

Hill was taken to nearby Temple University Hospital for evaluation. He was released from the hospital and turned over to police Thursday morning.

He is likely to be charged with six counts of attempted murder and aggravated assault, according to his longtime attorney Shaka Johnson.

"There will be a lot of charges," District Attorney Larry Krasner said about what lies ahead for Hill. Krasner added that the charges, which likely will include attempted murder, should be enough to make sure Hill will "never exit jail."

Krasner said Hill is suspected of firing more than 100 rounds during the standoff.

Hill told Johnson via phone around 8:30 p.m. Wednesday that he "wanted to try to figure a way out," the lawyer told NBC Philadelphia.

"He said he wouldn't come out unless I was standing outside because he knows I wouldn't allow anything to happen to him," Johnson said.

Hill has an "extensive" criminal history, according to court records. He also recently became a father again, his attorney said.

The arrest ended a dramatic, hours long standoff during which six officers were injured by gunfire. A seventh officer was injured in a car accident while responding to the scene. A pedestrian was also injured during that incident.

Gunfire initially erupted around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday after narcotics officers served a warrant to a home near North 15th and West Butler streets, according to officials.

As officers rushed upstairs, a gunman waiting downstairs with an assault-style weapon fired several rounds through the ceiling. Police returned fire while several officers escaped through windows and doors.

A subsequent standoff between police and the suspected gunman lasted for more than seven hours before he was taken into custody. Negotiations were tense, according to the police commissioner, who took an active role in the response. He later called the move "unorthodox."

The suspected gunman "was hell-bent on doing whatever he was going to do," Ross said Thursday morning.

Newly released audio reveals the moment police officers were shot in Nicetown-Tioga in North Philadelphia Wednesday afternoon.

Krasner was also asked to take part in negotiations with the suspect at the behest of Hill's attorney, he said Thursday. He tried to calm the situation, but took no credit for helping bring a peaceful conclusion to the incident.

Krasner credited police with ending the standoff. He called it "brilliant policing and maybe a little bit of a miracle."

Two Philadelphia police officers and three civilians were trapped inside the row home with the suspected gunman before being safely evacuated by SWAT team members around 10 p.m. Wednesday.

None of the officers suffered life-threatening injuries, Ross said, adding that a bullet grazed the head of one police officer.

"This could have been even more dangerous and volatile were it not for the professionalism of that SWAT unit," Ross said, adding that the team's rescue efforts were "amazing."

Six Philadelphia police officers who were shot during a standoff in Nicetown-Tioga section have been released from the hospital. Officials are calling it a miracle that no officers were killed during the hours-long gun battle.

The standoff prompted a massive response to the largely residential North Philadelphia neighborhood, which is roughly 2 miles north of Temple University and about 4 miles north of Center City.

Surveillance video appears to show the moment that Philadelphia police officers entered a home on a North Philadelphia block where a narcotics warrant was being served. Gunfire then can be heard. Neighbor Eric Garrity captured the video on his Ring doorbell. He went outside to see what was going on and police officers told him to go back inside. A seven-hour standoff ensued.

Eric Garrity, who lives in a nearby home, captured on surveillance video what appeared to be officers entering a home, the sound of gunfire and one officer crawling out of the home. He went outside to see what was going on, but was told to get back inside and seek shelter, he said.

There were initially conflicting reports about others who may have been taken into police custody in the aftermath of the initial raid. Police initially said at least one person was taken into custody, but Ross later said that he couldn't say with certainty that anyone remained in custody.

Neighbors said they watched in terror as the violent scene unfolded on their block.

"It was like a war - like a scene that you see in war," a resident told NBC10. "The guns, the fire, the noise - it was like bombs going off simultaneously at a time where people are having dinner."

Early footage of the dangerous shooting situation in Nicetown-Tioga reveals the moments an injured police officer was pulled from gunfire.

Frantic calls from responding officers were obtained by NBC10 via Broadcastify. Policed pleaded for back-up shortly after the shooting started Wednesday afternoon.

"Officer calls for everything you got. SWAT, long gun," a law enforcement officer can be heard saying on the audio. "I got an officer shot."

Police disptach captured the chaotic moments of a shooting in Philadelphia's Nicetown-Tioga section that injured six police officers.

Responding officers were seen crouching behind cars, blocking off surrounding streets and surrounding several nearby homes as the firefight unfolded.

Nearby, stunned families and neighbors gathered behind police tape. Several churches and a day care are in the immediate area.

That day care, Precious Babies Learning Academy, serves children as young as 8 weeks old. It was placed on lockdown while some 80 children huddled inside, according to owner Yvonne Thomas-Curry.

"It was reported that all the children are safe, however we still are asking the parents to not come near the scene," she said. "It still is dangerous. Children will remain in shelter in place and safe inside with their teachers."

As Thomas-Curry spoke to NBC10, the children were escorted out of the day care by police. They were reunited with their families at a safe location.

Around 80 children were evacuated from a nearby day care during the gun battle in Philadelphia's Nicetown-Tioga section. NBC10 spoke with the day care's owner.

The stunning "firefight," as police described it, gripped the region and garnered national attention.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf and President Donald Trump both said they were monitoring the situation.

"Tonight is another reminder of the selfless sacrifice of our law enforcement officers and first responders," Wolf said. "We are praying for a peaceful resolution and the full recovery of all those injured. We must remain committed to combating violence and getting dangerous weapons out of our communities."

Wolf also announced Wednesday night that he would postpone the signing of an executive order to reduce gun violence Thursday to a later date.

During a late Wednesday evening news conference, an emotional Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney pleaded for gun control.

"It's aggravating. It's saddening," he said. "If the state and federal government doesn't want to stand up to the NRA and some other folks, then let us police ourselves. But they preempt us on all kinds of gun control legislation."

Kenney also said that police officers deserve to be protected.

"They don't deserve to be shot at by a guy for four hours with an unlimited supply of weapons and an unlimited supply of bullets," he said. "It's disgusting and we've got to do something about it. And we need to do something about it quickly."

Former Vice President Joe Biden, a Scranton, Pennsylvania, native, tweeted his response to the shooting:

"Dr. Biden and I send our prayers to the police officers injured today in Philadelphia, and to their families who wake up every day knowing that their loved ones are walking into harm's way when they put on the badge. We're grateful for the selfless work they do to keep us safe."

District Attorney Larry Krasner and U.S. Attorney William McSwain were among several local leaders who arrived at the hospital shortly after injured officers were taken for medical treatment.

A woman who lives near the scene of the dangerous shooting in Nicetown-Tioga in north Philadelphia describes the moments hundreds of shots were fired in her neighborhood.



Philadelphia DA credits ‘brilliant policing' in standoff suspect's surrender

Authorities continue their investigation of a shooting where multiple police officers were shot.

PHILADELPHIA – A suspect accused of shooting six police officers in a north Philadelphia neighborhood Wednesday evening – igniting a standoff that dragged on for hours – likely faces multiple charges that could send him to prison for the rest of his life, the city's district attorney said Thursday.

The suspect is Maurice Hill, a 36-year-old Philadelphia resident with a history of gun convictions, his former lawyer, Shaka Johnson, told The Washington Post.

District Attorney Lawrence Krasner said that Hill could be charged with attempted murder and numerous other counts that could land him in prison for the rest of his life. No one was killed in the standoff, which ended when the suspect surrendered, police said.

Krasner, who said he spoke to the suspect during the situation, credited "brilliant policing" with ending the standoff, which unfolded live across social media and cable news channels.

Johnson said he did not know Hill's motive. Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross said he was surprised that the suspect surrendered, telling reporters at a news conference Thursday morning that the gunman “was indicating to some that he was not going to do that.” Ross said that the tear gas shot into the home ultimately resulted in the suspect ending the standoff.

"This was a very dynamic situation, one that I hope we never see again," he said, adding that he was thankful no civilians or police officers were seriously injured.

The suspect walked out of the house with his arms raised in the air as local TV crews filmed the scene. Police could be heard saying, "Hands up! Hands up! Get down! Get down!"

The gunman was not cooperating with police as of early Thursday, Ross told reporters. He said Johnson, the suspect's former lawyer, came to the house toward the end of the standoff and talked with the gunman.

"Using him was unorthodox," Ross said of the lawyer's involvement in ending the standoff. "But again, it was a very unusual circumstance."

Johnson told The Post on Thursday that he was watching the standoff on television when Hill called him around 8:30 p.m. Wednesday sounding "defeated." Johnson said he participated in three- and four-way calls with Hill, Ross and Krasner over the next few hours to try to convince Hill to surrender.

Hill eventually asked Johnson to come to the house, Johnson said, and he arrived around 11:45 p.m. Johnson said he used a megaphone to assure Hill that he was there.

"At some point he said he would come out," Johnson said. "He said it very plainly: 'I don't want to die. I don't want to end it this way.' "

Hill has a teenage son and a daughter born two days before the standoff, Johnson said. He said Hill was treated at a hospital for tear-gas exposure and released into police custody.

"I think you're going to find there is some level of emotional and mental disturbance," Johnson said of Hill's state during the standoff. "To what degree, I don't know. Obviously, there's going to be a psych eval [psychological evaluation]."

Gunfire first broke out around 4:30 p.m., Ross told reporters, after officers attempted to serve a narcotics warrant "that went awry almost immediately." Once they were inside the home, a barrage of bullets forced officers to return fire and retreat through windows and doors.

More than three hours after the first shots rang out, police were still locked in a dangerous standoff with the gunman barricaded inside the home, trading shots with officers outside. Residents, forced to dive behind cars and hide in their homes, described the scene like a war zone: Bullets flew through the streets, and wafts of gunpowder filled the air.

As the sun set, Ross said at a news conference that he was concerned about two officers in the house with the gunman. They were there for hours until a SWAT team evacuated them, but, he said, the gunman remained inside with no intention of surrendering.

Alisha Bogan, who lives around the corner from where the standoff took place, said she was on her way home to her daughter and mother when she heard gunshots.

"There were a whole lot of people running," Bogan told The Washington Post. As the gunfire continued, she took cover under a car. Then, she tried to get to her house and her family, but couldn't get past the police caution tape. Dozens of frustrated residents faced the same dilemma, unable to get to their homes. They gathered on the sidewalks and streets late Wednesday night as storms passed through the region.

After the two officers made it out of the house, Ross told reporters, "We've gone from a hostage situation to a barricade." He said police were still trying to talk the shooter into surrendering. Late Wednesday night, the suspect was still inside.

Dramatic live footage from media helicopters showed scores of officers swarming the house in the residential Nicetown-Tioga neighborhood. They crouched behind cars and exchanged fire with a person inside the house.

On the ground, television reporters' microphones picked up sounds of gunshots. Multiple officers were seen being carried into police vehicles and transported away from the scene.

A bullet grazed an officer's head, Ross told reporters. Others were shot in the arm and elsewhere, he said.

"Nothing short of astounding that in such of a confined space we didn't have more of a tragedy than we did," Ross said.

They were released from hospitals later that night, but one officer was still being treated for injuries sustained in a car crash related to the incident.

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said the wounded officers were "all in good spirits."

"We're thankful - a little angry about someone having all that weaponry and all that firepower - but we'll get to that another day," he said at the news conference. "It's about the officers and their families right now."

Soon after the melee began, more than 30 police vehicles swarmed the intersection of North Broad Street and West Erie Avenue, a semi-residential area, with homes and apartment buildings alongside temples and coffee shops.

Two day-care centers - Shake, Rattle and Roll Learning Center, and Precious Babies Learning Academy - are located about two blocks from the nexus of the shooting. Employees and police evacuated approximately 80 children and babies to a secure location to be reunited with family.

In a statement, the White House said President Donald Trump had been briefed on the shooting and was monitoring the situation.

"The Philadelphia shooter should never have been allowed to be on the streets," Trump wrote on Twitter on Thursday. "He had a long and very dangerous criminal record. Looked like he was having a good time after his capture, and after wounding so many police. Long sentence - must get much tougher on street crime!"

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said he was also monitoring the situation, and offered state support to local law enforcement.

Temple issued a lockdown for its Health Sciences Center Campus and advised anyone there to "Seek shelter. Secure doors. Be silent. Be still." The university lifted the lockdown two hours later, but advised students, faculty and staff to steer clear of the crime scene.

Omar Caid, a student at the school, said he got an email from Temple telling him to take cover. At first, he said, he wasn't worried - he's seen shootings in his community before.

"I thought it was a normal shooting - this isn't the best neighborhood, but it isn't the worst," he said. "I thought it was gang-related. Then I heard it was three officers and knew this was different."

In interviews with other local TV outlets, residents, crowding the streets behind police barricades, described the frightening, chaotic scene punctuated by repeated volleys of gunfire.

“It was like a war - like a scene that you see in war,” a woman who lives in the neighborhood told NBC. “The guns, the fire, the noise - it was like bombs going off simultaneously at a time where people are having dinner.



Neighbors want more policing, neighborhood watch program after teen's shooting death

Many are calling the death of seventeen year old Quamyia Jones “senseless.”

by Bobby Poitevint

ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) -Neighbors are shocked to hear about a fatal shooting of a teenager only feet away from their home.

They are calling the death of seventeen year old Quamyia Jones “senseless.” Jones was pronounced dead early Saturday morning on West Highland Avenue.

Neighbor Omar Salaam who lives only a block away says he is sadden to hear the news. Salaam says he didn't know her but says it should not have happened.

Omar Salaam is asking for the resurrection of a community watch program following many nights of hearing gun fire and the death of a teenager only a block away from his home.

Omar Salaam is asking for the resurrection of a community watch program following many nights of hearing gun fire and the death of a teenager only a block away from his home.

He hears gun shots in the area at least once a week.

“This was a senseless murder; innocent young lady seventeen years old. I have three daughters. God forbid something like that happen to one of my daughters, but we just hope that people will come to some common sense, and stop this senseless shooting,”Salaam said.

He is asking for the resurrection of a community watch program, and wants to reduce gun fire in the neighborhood.

“Well when the bullets go up, they come down,"he said. "We've been lucky that none of the bullets have hit our home or cars or anything right now, because they are just as dangerous coming down as they go up.”

Salaam is also wanting more police presence in the area.

Albany police tell us on Sunday that there is no update in the investigation.

We will continue to bring you updates as they come in.


New Jersey

Blake: Is the answer to neighborhood safety more cops? Yes

Like many of you, I grew up in Newark, and in my teen years I worked closely with Sonny Villinger. Officer Villinger was assigned to my childhood neighborhood under the community-oriented style of policing that Mayor Frank Stare brought to Newark. Officer Villinger had real, deep friendships with the residents in my neighborhood. He supported the block watch and established true safety in the community.

The Newark of my childhood was different from the Newark we live in today. The population was less, drugs and poverty were not mass concerns across the city, people were working and police officers had intent to invest in relationships with residents.

But as Newark has grown our safety forces haven't been able to keep pace.

As I listen to the people of Newark, I hear many stories of how people love this city. From our concert venues to our museums to our public schools to having a small-town culture of working together. All of this makes our city unique and a special place to live, work and worship.

But in every conversation people also talk about neighborhood safety. I listen to the stories of mental health and addiction crisis as loved ones ask for prayer. Pastors have told me of stories in their congregations. Mothers have shared their stories of having children struggling. All of these encounters ask for help on how we can collectively pull together to address the growing crisis touching each of us.

It may surprise you that at any given time we typically have four patrol officers and a sergeant on duty to answer the multitude of 911 calls. We are a city of 50,000 souls. Please think about these numbers for a moment and all of the various tasks we expect from our police officers. With current staffing numbers, we are running a service model of call and response. A call comes into 911 and an officer is dispatched.

I am very proud of the Newark Police. The level of professionalism and service they achieve with insufficient resources is inspirational. But we have asked too much of them for too long.

We must better support the connections between our safety forces and the communities they serve. A return to neighborhood policing can help to restore that trust and that bond. An officer assigned to a neighborhood allows space to strengthen the bond for sharing of information and inspire trust to make our community safe.

Currently, we do have a community initiatives unit with one assigned officer. The current officer assigned to this post is a fantastic young officer who just in July took on this duty. Officer Steven Carles is going to do an incredible job in the role. I attended the Rugg Avenue block watch meeting and observed his compassion in wanting to work with residents. He exemplified the professionalism required to perform his duties. Officer Carles is one officer assigned to the whole city. We need more cops.



Ferguson changed how America talks about police violence. 5 years later, not much else has changed.

Michael Brown's death made America more aware of police violence. But police reform is still a work in progress.

by P.R. Lockhart

August 9 marks the fifth year since Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, was killed in a police shooting in Ferguson, Missouri. In the years since that shooting, national awareness of the ways policing impacts communities of color has grown, but systemic change to policing remains a work in progress.

Brown's death in 2014, which came less than a month after an NYPD officer used a chokehold on Eric Garner in New York City, was a flashpoint in a summer where video and eyewitness reports of police violence began to draw national attention. In Ferguson, the teen's shooting sparked what is known as the Ferguson Uprising, a series of protests where residents — the majority of them black, many of them working-class or low-income — called attention to issues that had long been present in parts of the St. Louis suburb: poverty, inequality, and police violence.

As media outlets flocked to the city in August 2014, many focused on covering moments of looting and late-night clashes between civilians and armed police officers. But residents argued that their protest were about something much bigger: calling attention to the fact that Brown's death was part of a larger systemic injustice they faced on a regular basis.

In November 2014, a grand jury announced that it would not charge Darren Wilson, the officer who shot Brown, leading to more protests. Months later, a Justice Department investigation into the Ferguson Police Department found that the agency had repeatedly violated the constitutional rights of black citizens and had used fines and traffic tickets to generate money for the city, further supporting protesters' arguments that they had been regularly exposed to unjust policing. Ferguson later entered a consent decree, a formal police reform agreement, with the department promising to enact reforms that would change how it treated local residents.

Years later, progress in Ferguson has been mixed. The city has seen a powerful social justice movement, and activists have pushed for the community to have a voice in both the consent decree process and other reforms. Wilson also no longer works for the Ferguson Police Department.

But there are still issues, and many of the racial disparities that existed before the shooting remain. Though traffic stops have decreased, black motorists in Ferguson continue to be stopped very disproportionally to their actual share of the local population. The poorest areas of Ferguson continue to struggle. The consent decree, which is supposed to change the police department, has not been implemented as quickly — or with as much community influence — as some residents hoped it would be.

In many ways, the story of how Ferguson has, and has not, changed in the past five years is similar to how the broader national debate about race and policing has fared. In the years since the Ferguson protests brought national attention to movements like Black Lives Matter and the Movement for Black Lives, awareness of police violence has intensified, and cities have sought to show that they care about fighting police violence. Still, fatal police shootings are occurring, and they continue to disproportionately affect black and brown people.

It suggests that while the nation is more aware of black communities' struggles with police violence, that awareness hasn't yet translated to changing how policing is done.

Ferguson has taken some steps forward — particularly when it comes to local politics

In Ferguson, one result of the uprising was an outpouring of action from local activists and community members. Some of this work already existed before Brown's death, but other groups and coalitions formed when local community members partnered with organizers to push for reforms in the wake of the shooting.

One such coalition, the Ferguson Collaborative, argued that Ferguson would only change if officials listened to the communities that had been most affected by economic struggles, disinvestment, and police violence.

“The Collaborative came out of a need and desire for Black people and working-class people in Ferguson to articulate, imagine, and begin to construct the type of policing that truly serves the interests of the people and protects the people, particularly those on the margins of society,” Christina Assefa, a Ferguson Collaborative member, explained in 2016.

The coalition, one of several groups that have remained active in Ferguson, has seen some success in representation in local politics, too. In April, Fran Griffin, a local organizer and Ferguson Collaborative member, won election to the Ferguson City Council, defeating the incumbent, Keith Kallstrom, as well as Lesley McSpadden, Brown's mother.

This wasn't the only change to Ferguson's leadership. The city council, which had just one black council member in 2014, is now majority black. The Ferguson Police Department has greatly increased the number of black police officers and has also seen two black police chiefs in the past three years; the second, Jason Armstrong, began his tenure this summer. And in 2018, Wesley Bell, a reform-minded prosecutor who was active in the 2014 protests, was elected St. Louis County prosecutor, defeating the prosecutor who failed to get charges brought against Wilson.

But progress has been uneven — and, in some cases, nonexistent

Still, the demographic changes in the department and city leadership have not yet produced a systemic change in policing. Local residents continue to demand greater community oversight of the police. And when it comes to other reforms that have been sought by activists and desired by the community, the city still has much work to do.

Parts of Ferguson, particularly the West Florissant Avenue area where Brown was killed, continue to deal with limited economic opportunities, crime, a lack of jobs, and a need for more community resources (though the city has opened a community empowerment center and is also in the process of building a Boys and Girls Club). Several businesses closed in weeks and months after the shooting, and many residents who could leave Ferguson did so.

In some ways, black Ferguson residents say that the city looks unchanged, or possibly worse, since Brown's death.

“Here we are five years later,” Joshura Davis, the president of the West Florissant Business Association, recently told the New York Times. “That there would be such a long tail on recovery, I wouldn't have thought that. That's what frustrates me.”

On policing, the issue that drew the most attention after the Brown shooting, there are also continued problems. In addition to the remaining racial disparities in traffic stops and tickets, local community members have criticized the pace of progress on the consent decree. In July, federal officials argued that the city needs to do more work to implement the consent decree, and an independent monitor tasked with observing the city's progress argued that while the city had made progress in creating reform plans for the police department and the court system, it needed to finally begin implementing the policies it had proposed.

“More needs to be done,” Natasha Tidwell, the independent monitor overseeing the consent decree process, said in July. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Tidwell noted that the police department “still needs to do a staffing study, implement community engagement and neighborhood policing plans, and collect data on police use of force and other police actions.”

Ferguson's struggles are part of a larger national problem

In many ways, the issues seen in Ferguson, and the challenges the city continues to face years after Brown's death, are not unique.

The past several years have seen high-profile police violence incidents in cities like Baltimore, Chicago, and Baton Rouge. These incidents, and others, spurred national attention to police violence and calls for police reform.

Years later, many of those calls have not been met.

For one, the number of fatal police shootings stands largely unchanged from when media outlets first began tracking the issue in 2015. Since then, the Washington Post has tracked police shootings annually and found that roughly 1,000 people have been killed in police shootings each year. So far in 2019, more than 540 people have been killed by police.

These fatal shootings continue to disproportionately affect black Americans, who make up 13 percent of the US population but account for roughly 25 percent of those killed in police shootings. A 2018 article in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health found that while roughly half of police shooting victims are white, young black Americans and Native Americans are disproportionately likely to be killed in a police shooting.

And black Americans remain disproportionately likely to be exposed to arrests and traffic stops that could potentially escalate into violent encounters.

There's also been limited success in prosecuting police officers for misconduct. It remains rare for officers to be charged and rarer still for them to be convicted, in part due to the wide latitude officers are given to use force.

In some ways, it seems like the momentum for police reform, at least at the national level, has faded. While policing received high-profile attention during the Obama administration, prompting work from groups like the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing and the launching of DOJ investigations into some police departments, that attention has not continued into the Trump presidency.

Instead, the current administration has effectively halted federal momentum on policing reform. Under then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the Trump administration announced it would review old police reform agreements between the federal government and police departments and stop entering into new ones. The DOJ has also attempted to intervene in ongoing reform efforts in cities like Chicago and Baltimore, arguing that reform agreements would hamper the effectiveness and morale of police officers.

Recently, there have been signs that some politicians want to change this. While the 2020 Democratic primary has seen a limited discussion of policing, some candidates, like former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, are repeatedly discussing the issue in their campaigns; others, like South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, have been directly asked to explain their records on police reform in the wake of recent controversies.

And on Friday, the fifth anniversary of Brown's death, Reps. Ro Khanna (D-CA) and Lacy Clay (D-MO) introduced the PEACE Act, a bill that would only allow federal police officers to use force against a civilian as a last resort, requiring them to employ deescalation techniques first. The bill would also require that police departments receiving federal funding use the same standard. The measure is modeled after a use of force measure that was passed in California in July.

“Immediately resorting to lethal force rather than using proven de-escalation tactics increases risks for both citizens and police officers,” Khanna said in a statement announcing the congressional legislation. “We have to do more than change the rhetoric: we have to change the laws.”

For activists, the fact that police violence remains an issue has led to calls for the country to rethink its reliance on policing. Some groups have called for the increased use of mental health professionals and other alternatives to police. Others have called for the abolition of policing in its entirety.

One thing that is clear is that five years after Brown's death, America still has not fully dealt with the issues that activists involved in the Ferguson Uprising, and those who protested other incidents of unconstitutional policing, wanted addressed. And to be fair, given the extent of the changes sought, five years may not be enough time for the full impact of the changes that have been adopted to be seen.

Still, as activists continue to call attention to the problems wrought by unequal policing in America, it is clear that reform will require persistence as well as the support and buy-in of communities, politicians, and, to some extent, police. The country is more aware of police violence. The question now is how much work America is willing to do to adopt the systemic changes needed to address.


New York City

The NYPD Has Never Had a Community Center. Its First One Is Coming to East New York.

by Yasmeen Khan

A city-owned building in Brooklyn — once used by the NYPD as an application processing center, but which most recently sat vacant — is getting the finishing touches of a $10 million gut renovation. It's been a project about three years in the making, and will open this fall: the police department's first stand-alone community center.

The center, at 127 Pennsylvania Avenue in East New York, will be open to all but geared toward young people ages 12 to 19. The NYPD is partnering with The Child Center of New York, a non-profit organization, to provide programming for the building.

The Chief of Community Affairs, Nilda Hofmann, is well aware that the target audience of the center may harbor trust issues with police. Many young people in the neighborhood, and nearby Brownsville, report negative interactions with officers on the street and in their experience of being surveilled on social media.

"If the young people come in through that door, that's really what's important to us," Hofmann said during a tour of the site, adding that she was prepared to have hard conversations, and listen to criticism, from young people.

"Any type of relationship and trust only happens with time," Hofmann said.

The NYPD is hoping a state-of-the-art facility, designed with community input, will help draw young people in. The three-story building has basketball courts; a gym with cardio equipment and free weights; a music studio; a dance studio; counseling rooms; and classrooms for after school programs like tutoring or SAT prep. Hofmann herself helped choose the furniture — pieces that were fun and colorful for teens, she said — which sat in boxes this week awaiting assembly.

The community center fits into an era of policing when the NYPD is attempting to be more community-oriented, such as with its neighborhood policing program. And the community affairs bureau, which Hofmann leads, has long been tasked with building relationships in neighborhoods by attending or hosting community events. But Hofmann said it's significant for the NYPD to have a center of its own.

"This is ours," she said. "This is a space where we say, 'Come to our house.'"

Police Commissioner James O'Neill, who toured the building on Wednesday, said the point of the site was not just to keep young people busy, but to provide something meaningful in the neighborhood.

He cited recent community meetings in a small group of focus precincts, those with poverty and crime rates higher than the city's overall, where teenagers spoke of needing more opportunities and spaces specifically designed for them.

"Young people, especially in the nine precincts we visited, they want to feel valued," O'Neill said. "And we have to invest in them."

The center is something unique for the entire neighborhood, said Councilman Rafael Espinal, who represents the area.

"This is the first full-fledged community center that the City of New York has really invested in for East New York," Espinal said. "This has never been done for this scale."

But he acknowledged the historically tumultuous relationship between the NYPD and East New York, where 80 percent of residents are black or Latino and where the poverty rate is more than twice as high as the city's, according to data from the Citizens' Committee for Children of New York.

"I do believe the NYPD does have a large task at hand," Espinal said. "They're going to have to do a lot of outreach and break down a lot of barriers. But it's going to be up to community leaders like myself, and non-profits and other folks, to bridge that relationship."

The center is significant, Espinal said, because it will provide services to young people that previous generations did not have.

The NYPD aims to cut the ribbon on 127 Pennsylvania Avenue by the end of October. When its doors open, the public will have access to it seven days a week.


Proactive Policing

Negative public scrutiny leads to less proactive police, UT study finds

by Mark D. Wilson

Police officers and firefighters who said they felt the public did not understand the complexity of their jobs were significantly less likely to be rated as "proactive" by their supervisors, according to a study by professors at the University of Texas and University of Pittsburgh.

The study, "'I Want to Serve but the Public Does Not Understand:' Prosocial Motivation, Image Discrepancies, and Proactivity in Public Safety," surveyed 183 police officers and 238 firefighters and asked them whether they felt the public understood the challenges of their jobs.

Authors Shefali Patel, of UT's McCombs School of Business, and R. David Lebel, from the University of Pittsburgh, found that those respondents who felt a disconnect with the public were less likely to take a proactive role in their work, even when they said they view their mission as helping others.

"When proactive officers see something that's happening in a local neighborhood, they get out of the patrol car and go to help somebody even though they don't need to and nobody's actually watching them," Patil said. "But being less proactive would mean taking a less active role while on a shift and basically only doing what your boss tells you."

Improving public perception, Patil said, is an important piece of filling the gap in understanding between police and the public, and could result in officers being more likely to interact with people in positive ways.

Policing in the United States has been a subject of heated debate for years. Numerous police shootings, violent encounters and instances of officer misconduct caught on camera and posted to social media have fueled skepticism of the role of police in cities throughout the country.

At the same time, hundreds of officers have been killed in the line of duty in the last decade, whether by gunfire, vehicle accidents, duty-related illnesses or other causes. According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, which tracks law enforcement deaths nationwide, more than 1,600 officers have died in the line of duty since 2009.

"Our research is trying to show how important it is for us to take the next step to try to figure out how we can actually change the public image of law enforcement officers," she said. "It's also helping police officers believe that the public truly cares, and it's just not lip service."

Patil has conducted previous research that found that officers who take a more empathetic approach to policing suffer more than their less empathetic counterparts when they feel misunderstood.



We can create public safety beyond police

by Zachary Norris

While visiting his family during winter break, 19-year-old Quintonio LeGrier was shot and killed by Chicago police as law enforcement responded to a 911 call from Quintonio's father reporting that his son was threatening him.

Quintonio was attending Northern Illinois University and studying electrical engineering. Reports say that the college student had been emotionally disturbed in recent months. A lawsuit filed by the LeGrier family against the shooting officer states that police failed to give Quintonio medical care.

This is sadly what often happens when police are the first responders in situations involving people suffering from mental health crises. In 2018, police shot and killed 213 people who suffered from some form of mental illness, according to data from the Washington Post.

Conversations about safety are often centered on crime and fear, police and punishment. Online videos have proven to a growing number of people what black and brown communities have known for too long: that calling 911 will often increase danger when cops trained to react with force become involved in a crisis situation. Imagine what our communities could look like if we had the resources to redefine what safety is for ourselves, our families and neighbors — having a living wage job, healthy food, affordable housing and health care.

Safety does not begin with police; safety begins with building healthy communities. Emergency calls and conflicts in our communities are oftentimes responded to with unnecessary force and policing. It is clear that police are not equipped to respond to crises in hopes of de-escalating conflict, or in situations involving people with disabilities or suffering from mental illness.

We need to create public safety that is less focused on fear and that involves taking a new approach to how we respond to conflict in our communities. Addressing crises from a public health response can help save lives and keep our communities safe.

People suffering from mental illness are four and a half times more likely to be arrested than others, and are 16 times more likely to be killed by police. We need first responders that are specially trained to respond to mental health issues, substance abuse, crisis prevention and conflict resolution.

Where we focus our resources reflects our priorities. In Oakland, California, right now, there is an effort to redirect 911 calls to dispatch a variety of first responders besides the police. Programs that apply Crisis Intervention Team protocols, such as Cahoots in Oregon, can provide mental health providers, referral services and treatment alternatives in response to a crisis.



‘If we don't kill these people they will kill you': policing Africa's largest slum

by Edwin Santos

At a gathering between police and neighborhood members in Kibera, Africa's largest slum in Nairobi, Kenya, the place crime is acutely excessive and primarily unreported, the 2 sides attempt to discover widespread floor.

There are courteous introductions after which an enchantment for openness – and data – to assist the police sort out Kibera's crime issues.

It's a frank alternate of phrases, with the viewers looking for affirmation of their rights when they come into contact with police. They remind the officers of the overriding precept of Kenyan legislation: a person is harmless till confirmed responsible, not the reverse.

A younger man asks why officers take bribes and extort cash from the neighborhood. “That's corruption,” responds Insp Nick Sulwe of Kibera's administration police, firmly. “To eradicate it you should adjust to the legislation.”

“For those who're arrested, you will greater than probably pay to not be arrested.”

One other individual needs to know why officers rent out their weapons to gangs, perpetuating crime towards their neighborhood. “That's misconduct, such people usually are not match to be policemen,” Sulwe says. “The federal government is doing its finest to eradicate the issue.”

The people right here need extra. They need solutions concerning the variety of police killings, or “extrajudicial executions” as they are identified domestically. Sulwe gives a proof that goes to the center of such shootings: disillusionment. “For those who inform me somebody is a thief, they rob and rape ladies, and also you ask me to arrest him – however with no proof – the choose will ask for proof. If there isn't any proof, he's launched and comes again to commit extra crime.”

‘You're simply killing us'

A younger lady refers back to the case of Carliton Maina, a 23-year-old allegedly shot useless by police months earlier. She needs the inspector to clarify why suspects weren't merely taken into custody. “You might be simply killing us,” she tells him.

Maina was a football-loving pupil who had studied at Leeds College. In December 2018 he was heading house within the early hours, having watched a soccer match with pals in Kibera. An encounter with police resulted in a chase. Maina suffered 4 gunshot wounds to the chest and one to the top. Authorities say he was “a part of a gang terrorizing native residents” one thing strongly refuted by those that knew him.

“When law enforcement officials raid a spot … belief me, they usually are not unsuitable,” responds Sulwe. “There's one thing there, there are criminals there. And usually when we come, they open fireplace. Are we presupposed to run away? No, we don't run away. We fireplace again. Belief me, if we don't kill these people, they will kill you.”

He's then challenged over the shortage of safety for witnesses and people who present info. Why are such people in danger, not solely from suspects, however from corrupt officers working hand-in-hand with prison gangs? The notion of the viewers is evident. Regardless of a lot of high-profile convictions, they imagine police fail to guard them and commit crimes towards them with impunity.

Kenya's authorities claims to be making an effort to weed out rogue officers and produce them to justice. Figures referring to the variety of killings in 2018 range considerably. One organization places the determine at 121, one other at 267 – which might mark a major improve on the earlier yr, when there have been an estimated 152.

Information collectors monitor police statistics, information and social media reviews, however wrestle to acquire correct details about incidents in Kenya's 10 slums. Many killings go unreported or the deceased are buried by family who say nothing for concern of reprisal.

Kibera's residents usually are not alone. In Pangani in north-east Nairobi, host to a largely Somali neighborhood, residents voice related considerations. There, specialist police models like “Pangani-6”, led by Cpl Ahmed Rachid, have reportedly been concerned in alleged illegal killings.

Rachid brazenly admits that his mandate is to rid the streets of gangsters and criminals. “These we profile, we should get them alive or useless,” he advised a tv crew after he was captured on movie capturing an apparently handcuffed, unarmed suspect. That was in 2017; it seems that in 2019 little has modified.

Maina's case and a number of others increase basic questions concerning the conduct of Kenya's police service. Has the federal government given sure officers an undisclosed mandate to kill suspects somewhat than bringing them earlier than the courts? Is the federal government merely struggling to keep up police self-discipline? Or is the state merely turning a blind eye to the actions of sure officers with a view to focus as an alternative on gang crime and public dysfunction?

It has been alleged that some armed officers have brazenly engaged in robberies, there have been interventions with a view to free corrupt officers from detention, and, in a single case, a beforehand maimed suspect was kidnapped from hospital, and their physique found days later with gunshot wounds.

The Kenyan authorities has to give you an answer that matches the depth and gravity of the issue. Human rights watchers are nonetheless awaiting Kenya's director of public prosecutions Noordin Haji to decide over whether or not or not the officer implicated within the capturing of Maina will be charged.

When Kibera cries, the entire of Kenya cries

“The issue is complicated,” says Irungu Houghton, Head of Amnesty Worldwide in Kenya. “Most officers work throughout the legislation. Nevertheless, it seems that a couple of have given up on the judicial system, arguing that arresting suspects for critical crime is futile as many are discovered not responsible and the prisons are full. They take issues into their very own arms. Others are merely corrupt, committing crime themselves. These components gasoline extrajudicial killings.”

Kenya's 60,00Zero-strong police service is plagued with allegations of illegal killings, corruption and different misconduct. As of March 2018, the nation's Unbiased Policing Oversight Authority had been monitoring 9,878 excellent complaints towards police, of which 585 had been earmarked for detailed investigation.

There are roughly 2.5 million slum dwellers in Nairobi, representing two thirds of the capital's inhabitants. The largest is Kibera. Poverty and wrongdoing are obvious on a grand scale. Daylight protects communities from gang exercise however allegedly permits some officers to extort cash from shopkeepers already struggling to make a dwelling. By night time, residents face the savagery of gangs who rob, rape and extort, undeterred by police who tread rigorously to keep away from confrontation, remaining on the slum's outskirts and coming into solely when completely obligatory – after which solely in ample numbers to stave off an ambush from gangs and resentful locals.

So as to add to Kibera's violence, each 4 years political violence pollutes the slum as electioneering politicians bid for reputation. Residents allege the use of prison gangs to sway voters, creating mayhem and turning Kibera right into a tinderbox that sparks battle in areas of Kenya.

A protester brandishing a machete and a knife prepares to take cover from incoming tear gas canisters during clashes with police forces in Kibera, Nairobi, on October 26, 2017.

It takes little to set off offended confrontations between stone-throwing mobs and police, who retaliate with tear gasoline and computerized gunfire.

“Throughout election time, politicians comes into slums like Kibera, they put Kikuyu towards Luyha, Nubians versus Luo, encouraging violence,” says Kennedy Odede, founding father of Kibera-based charity Shofco. “Politically people are used to kill one another. They arrive right here and go away you killing your brother with pangas (machetes) while they go and drink champagne within the Serena Lodge. When Kibera cries, the entire of Kenya cries. Persons are used to kill one another.”

In 2007, post-election violence claimed greater than 1,00Zero lives throughout Kenya. In August 2017, 24 people died following the presidential vote, together with a six-month outdated child who died after reportedly being struck quite a few occasions by a baton when officers entered a house “in search of protesters”, discharging tear gasoline and beating the occupants. Earlier this yr, an inquest dominated that 36 officers needs to be held accountable for the demise.

In 2017, Kenya's police drive recorded simply 77,992 crimes. In 2018, there have been 88,268 recorded crimes, a 13% improve throughout inhabitants of 52 million.

In Kibera, few crimes are reported or registered. As a substitute, police admitted, officers preserve a “black guide” of offenders. We had been advised that after your title finds its means into this guide it's tough to have it eliminated.

Insp Nick Sulwe leads officers on patrol in Kibera, May 2019. He warns that any incident could trigger an attack from residents or armed gangs.

“If we discover that somebody is committing housebreaking we go and see their dad and mom and provides them a warning. If the individual doesn't reply, then when we meet up with them we act,” stated Sulwe, who wouldn't be drawn into explaining what “act” meant.

“As soon as your title is within the guide it's probably that you simply will be killed by the police until you may pay to have it eliminated,” stated one one that didn't wish to be named. “If not, they hunt you, kill you, and plant a pretend gun in your physique to say you had been carrying a weapon. Then they say that you simply had been terrorizing the neighborhood, or had been about to commit crime.”

Preparations had been made to interview the superintendent in control of policing Kibera. He agreed, after which later declined until we supplied cost.

The vicious cycle of violent crime and brutal policing can and have to be damaged

The precise variety of killings and enforced disappearances throughout Kenya isn't identified. Unbiased screens counsel that between 2013 and 2017, not less than 765 people have been unlawfully killed by police. It's alleged that 572 people have been “summarily executed” in circumstances much like these surrounding the demise of Maina.

In keeping with Democracy in Africa, victims had been primarily males aged 18–24, killed “on their strategy to commit a criminal offense”. Most instances had been reported by the sufferer's mom or spouse, somewhat than by police.

Sulwe and his officers make an effort to work together with Kibera's residents. The ex-teacher attends neighborhood conferences and is optimistic that police and residents can work collectively to resolve native disputes and scale back crime.

He hopes that significant dialogue will scale back deaths on each side. He says officers have been killed for no obvious purpose aside from doing their job. However he's lifelike. The neighborhood must belief their police service and officers of all ranks should abide by the legislation.

“All Kenyans, not simply the wealthy, have the correct to be secure from illegal killings, torture and ill-treatment,” says Houghton. “The vicious cycle of violent crime and brutal policing can and have to be damaged. It requires deeper neighborhood policing methods with youth organizations. We will proceed to carry commanding officers accountable for many who report back to them, in addition to [demanding] nearer oversight by parliamentary our bodies and the Unbiased Policing Oversight Authority.”

In a written response, a spokesperson for Kenya's police drive stated there aren't any insurance policies, orders or directives to assist illegal killings.

Parliament has oversight of the police by parliamentary committees. Kenya's structure enshrines human rights, and an unbiased police oversight authority has been established. Kenya performs a number one position in worldwide initiatives to uphold the rule of legislation throughout Africa.

“In instances the place the reason for demise isn't outrightly clear, an inquest is held by a Justice of the Peace to determine the reason for demise. Any individual discovered culpable is charged in accordance to the legislation,” the spokesperson acknowledged.

“We try for the very best requirements of professionalism and self-discipline amongst officers, who're anticipated to function in accordance to the rule of legislation. Officers discovered flouting the legislation are prosecuted like another residents with none particular issues.

“Unfounded utterances towards the police not solely dents picture however has the potential to discourage would-be traders and guests to our nation.”


Law Enforcement News - Fri, Aug 16

Iowa LEO Dies From Crash Injuries
A deputy died Tuesday from injuries sustained during an on-duty crash Friday. According to Sioux City Journal, Lyon County Sheriff's Office Deputy Sheriff Stephanie Schreurs rolled her police SUV at a sharp curve early Friday morning. Schreurs, a 24-year veteran cop, was airlifted to a hospital. No one else was injured in the single-vehicle crash. According to ODMP, Schreurs was 60. She is survived by her four children.

LAPD Chief Among Nation's Top Cops Who Ask Congress To Ban Assault Weapons
After back-to-back mass shootings killed at least 31 people and injured dozens more in Texas and Ohio, police chiefs in the nation's largest cities, including Los Angeles, called on the nation's top lawmakers to enact another ban on assault weapons and other measures to prevent mass killings. In a two-page letter sent Monday to President Trump, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the Major Cities Chiefs Assn. urged the elected leaders to “move forward with a broad legislative response” that included universal background checks, red flag laws, an assault weapons ban, a ban on high-capacity magazines and other commonsense legislation” to “reduce the scourge of everyday gun violence and the slaughter of innocent people during what feels like never-ending mass shooting events.”
Los Angeles Times

Suspects Sought After Man Shot During Violent Home Invasion In Downtown L.A.
The Los Angeles Police Department is asking for the public's help in identifying the suspects involved a violent home invasion that left one person injured in Downtown L.A. The shooting happened Friday, August 9th around 4 p.m. at a high-rise apartment building near 6th and Spring St. Once on scene officers located a man with a gunshot wound lying on a sofa in the lobby. He was transported to an area hospital in stable condition. According to LAPD their investigation later revealed the victim and his friend where in an apartment when five African- American males walked in, pepper-sprayed them, bound them, and shot one of the men. Detectives say the suspects took cannabis and money before fleeing the area. They believe the apartment was being used as an illegal cannabis enterprise. Detectives seized over 100 pounds of cannabis and a large quantity of concentrated cannabis oil. Anyone with information is urged to contact Central Area Robbery detectives at 213-833-3750. You can remain anonymous by calling LA Regional Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477) or go directly to
FOX 11

Officers Investigate Shooting Near Pacoima
The Los Angeles Police Department is on scene of a shooting near Pacoima. Officers arrived to the 11800 block of W. Foothill Blvd. after 4 p.m. The Los Angeles Fire Department reports that its personnel responded to the location but did not immediately take anyone to a hospital. 
FOX 11

L.A. Division Of FBI Warns Of Scammers Using Real FBI Phone Number In Calls Demanding Money
The Los Angeles division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation warned the public Thursday about scammers who are using the agency's real phone number when making fraudulent demands for money. “The scammer impersonates a government official and uses intimidation tactics to demand payment of money purportedly owed to the government,” the FBI said of the scheme in which its number is displayed on the victim's caller ID. Victims have been told there is a federal warrant for their arrest that would be dismissed if they make an immediate payment, according to the FBI. But the agency said it does not call private citizens to ask for money or threaten arrest. Still, the scam has been made more believable by the fact that callers often know the name, background and cell phone number of the intended victim, the agency said. Such personal details can be obtained online so the FBI is reminding people to limit how much information they release on social media and other spaces online. The agency said this scamming tactic has been used in states including California, Texas, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Montana and Colorado. The phone number for FBI offices in Santa Maria and West Covina have also had their phone numbers used in scams.

'Hollywood Ripper' Trial: L.A. Serial Killer Michael Gargiulo Convicted In Gruesome Fatal Stabbings Of 2 Women, Attempted Murder Of Third
Michael Gargiulo, known as the "Hollywood Ripper," was found guilty Thursday in the stabbing deaths of two women and the attempted murder of a third in the Los Angeles area. Gargiulo, 43, was found guilty of first-degree murder in the killings of Ashley Ellerin and Maria Bruno, and attempted murder in the attack on Michelle Murphy. The crimes were all committed between 2001 and 2008, and one of the locations included an apartment complex in El Monte. The jury was allowed to visit at least two of the murder sites. The prosecution alone had almost 250 witnesses on its list, including actor Ashton Kutcher - who was set to go to out with Ellerin on the night of her murder - and Murphy - who fought back. Gargiulo could face the death penalty. "All of the victims were young, outgoing women, all of the attacks occurred at night, all of the victims suffered multiple stab wounds, all of the victims were stabbed with the knife, each of the victims was attacked in or around her home and in close proximity of Mr. Gargiulo," Akemon told the jury.

1,300 Pounds Of Marijuana Seized Off Catalina Island
Over 1,300 pounds of baled marijuana was recovered by the U.S. Coast Guard off the coast of Catalina Island. On Tuesday someone spotted bales of what he or she believed were narcotics floating in the water and Coast Guard and county lifeguard crews arrived on boats to find 43 bales of marijuana, worth an estimated $1 million. "We appreciate the assistance provided by our partners and vigilant mariners in keeping these drugs off of our streets,'' said Lt. Andrew L. Fox, commanding officer of Coast Guard Station Los Angeles-Long Beach. "We encourage anyone who sees suspicious activity on the water, signs of distress or hazards to navigation to contact Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles Long Beach personnel on VHF channel 16 or at 310-521-3801.'' It's unclear where the bales came from and the case remains under investigation by federal authorities.
FOX 11

California Now Has The Biggest Legal Marijuana Market In The World. Its Black Market Is Even Bigger
California is on track to post a record $3.1 billion in licensed cannabis sales this year, solidifying its status as the largest legal marijuana market in the world, according to a study released Thursday by financial analysts who advise the industry. Legal sales are up significantly from an approximate $2.5 billion in 2018, the first year of licensed cannabis sales in California, according to the analysis by sales-tracking firms Arcview Market Research and BDS Analytics. After a rocky start in 2018, retailers that have survived California's tough licensing, testing and packaging regulations are “battle hardened” and stronger because of an influx of investment that has allowed them to take advantage of the state's large population and pent-up demand for legal products, said Tom Adams, managing director and principal analyst for BDS Analytics. “Any market in the world would be ecstatic about a 23% growth rate,” Adams said. “That is fabulous for any industry to have that kind of growth.'' But California's black market for marijuana continues to flourish as high taxes and a refusal by most cities to allow licensed shops makes it cheaper and easier for people to buy from illicit dealers, he said.
Los Angeles Times

Officer Kills Himself, 9th NYPD Suicide This Year
An off-duty veteran New York city police officer killed himself on Wednesday, becoming the ninth police officer to die by suicide this year, authorities said. The officer with over 25 years of service shot himself in the head at his Laurelton home in Queens just after 6 p.m., officials said. He was rushed to a hospital in Manhasset where he was pronounced dead. His name was not immediately released. The tragedy comes just one day after another off-duty police officer fatally shot himself at his home in Yonkers. "To anyone who may be struggling, know that there is support available," the department said in a Twitter post that announced the latest officer suicide. Police Commissioner James O'Neill has declared a mental health crisis in the department amid the recent spate of officer suicides. He has sent messages reminding officers of available resources and urging them to seek help.
Associated Press

Local Government News

Ideas For The Future Of Development Projects In Van Nuys, North Hollywood, Sherman Oaks & Studio City To Be Shared At 3 Workshops
The San Fernando Valley is changing and city planners are hoping to share some initial concepts for how to adapt to them, during three upcoming meetings this month, the first of which will be on Saturday. City officials working on land-use plans that guide what types of development projects are approved will be releasing some of their ideas for three areas in the southeast Valley, encompassing the communities of North Hollywood, Valley Village, Van Nuys, north Sherman Oaks, Sherman Oaks, Studio City, Toluca Lake and the Cahuenga Pass. The concepts are meant to draw from demographic data and input from residents and other groups with a stake in those neighborhoods. With the existing “community plans” for those neighborhoods dating back to the 1990s, the goal is to better hew the plans to changes that have occurred since then and any future shifts.
Los Angeles Daily News


Law Enforcement News - Thur, Aug 15

6 Officers Shot In Philly; Gunman In Custody After Hourslong Standoff
A gunman who opened fire on police Wednesday as they were serving a drug warrant in Philadelphia, wounding six officers and triggering a standoff that extended into the night, is in police custody, authorities said. Philadelphia police Sgt. Eric Gripp said early Thursday morning that the man was taken into custody after an hourslong standoff with police. The shooting began around 4:30 p.m. as officers went to a home in a north Philadelphia neighborhood of brick and stone rowhomes to serve a narcotics warrant in an operation "that went awry almost immediately," Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross said. Many officers "had to escape through windows and doors to get (away) from a barrage of bullets," Ross said. The six officers who were struck by gunfire have been released from hospitals, Philadelphia police Sgt. Eric Gripp said. Two other officers were trapped inside the house for about five hours after the shooting broke out but were freed by a SWAT team well after darkness fell on the residential neighborhood.
Associated Press

2 Dead, 1 Critical In Drive-By Shooting In South LA
Two men were killed and another injured in a drive-by shooting into a vehicle in South LA. The shooting took place in the 1100 block of West 68th Street just before 7:10 p.m., authorities said. When police arrived at the scene, they found two men with multiple gunshot wounds. One of the men was pronounced dead at the scene. The second was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. A third man, suffering from a single gunshot wound, was taken to a local hospital where he was treated and released. Investigators said the two deceased victims were standing outside of a parked car when the suspect's vehicle drove up and a passenger opened fire, striking both men. The suspect shot the third victim a short distance away as the suspects fled the scene. The suspect vehicle was described as a dark colored sedan. Officials said a handgun was used in the attack. The weapon has not been recovered, and the suspects remain at large. The investigation is ongoing.

Mom Of Five Who Was 9 Months Pregnant Killed Along With Unborn Baby In Hit-and-Run
A $50,000 reward being offered for information that helps authorities find the hit-and-run driver responsible for fatally injuring a pregnant woman in the South Los Angeles area whose unborn child also was killed. Keisha Saravia, 38, who was nine months pregnant, was fatally injured on July 26 as she crossed a street near her residence on Main Street south of 117th Street, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. Her unborn baby, named Lyiah K. Saravia Holmes, also died. Saravia is also mother to five other children. Her family said Saravia, who was ready to welcome her sixth child in about a week, had just gotten home from buying baby supplies at Target the night she was hit. Authorities and Saravia's family were planning an afternoon news conference Wednesday at the crash site to seek public help in solving the crime. No description was released of the motorist or vehicle. The reward, offered by the Los Angeles City Council, "may convince a reluctant family member or person close to him or her to come forward and provide information that will result in the location and arrest,'' a police statement said. Anyone with information on the case was urged to call 877-LAPD-247.

Pursuit Of Carjacking Suspect Ends In 3-Car Crash And Guns Drawn In Valley Village
A carjacking suspect led police on a chase Wednesday night that ended in a violent three-vehicle collision in Valley Village. The suspect, reported to be armed and dangerous, was in a Toyota Prius that was carjacked earlier in the day, according to KCAL9, which reported the chase began in Sylmar and continued at high speed into the North Hollywood area. The pursuit ended at 9:23 p.m. at the intersection of Riverside Drive and Colfax Avenue, where the Prius collided with one vehicle and careened into another. A woman was seen getting out of one of the cars and pulling children out of the vehicle. The suspect was taken into custody moments later by officers with guns drawn.
Los Angeles Daily News

Authorities Release Surveillance Footage In Hopes To Capture Driver Behind Grisly Hit-and-Run
A 15-year-old continues to fight for his life after a gruesome hit-and-run last week and surveillance footage was released by authorities seeking the public's help in finding the person responsible. Roberto Diaz was riding his bike in an intersection after purchasing a soda at a corner store on East 37th Street and Maple Avenue when he was struck around 9 p.m. on August 6, said police. He was then dragged for about a quarter of a mile to Martin Luther King Boulevard to Woodlawn Avenue, officials said. Diaz was alert when officers arrived at the scene and was able to say a few words, requesting that they contact his mother. Authorities confirmed Diaz was dragged based on the grisly images at the scene including Diaz's bike, shoes and a trail of blood. Diaz was taken to a hospital in critical condition and remains hospitalized, said police. The surveillance footage shows an SUV driving by and believe the driver may have witnessed the moment Diaz was hit. Investigators are looking for a blue Honda Civic or Accord, with tinted windows, that may have front end damage. Police are offering an award up to $25,000 for any information on the driver's whereabouts. 
FOX 11

Man Arrested On Suspicion Of Arson After Brush Fire In Hollywood Hills West
A 36-year-old man was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of arson after a brush fire in Hollywood Hills West. The fire broke out around 9:15 a.m. near 2699 North Astral Drive. Firefighters managed to take control of the blaze after an hour and 20 minutes. Coordinated water drops from LAFD Air Ops helped knock down the fire as firefighters on the ground worked the perimeter and put out hot spots. Darrel Morgan was arrested shortly after 10 a.m. and brought in for questioning by Los Angeles police. He was later booked on suspicion of arson and held on $75,000 bail. The fire did not cause any injuries, nor any damage to structures.

3 Bay Area Men Charged In Connection With Vehicle Burglaries, Leading Police On Pursuits In L.A.
Three Bay Area men have been charged in connection with several vehicle burglaries and leading authorities on pursuits twice earlier this summer, officials announced Wednesday. Xavier Pittman, 21, and Damillion Davonte Williamson, 22, both of San Francisco, and Jaurice Anthony Laxa, 25, of Daly City, have been charged with seven counts of second-degree burglary of a vehicle, two counts of fleeing a pursuing police officer while driving recklessly and one count of vandalism over $400. They also face misdemeanor counts of hit-and-run driving resulting in property damage, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office. The men allegedly broke into four vehicles on June 1 in the Hollywood and Mid-Wilshire areas, prosecutors said. That day, LAPD officers spotted the suspects' car and chased them, but the men got away. The men allegedly broke into three vehicles in the Hollywood and Fairfax areas on July 19 and fled from police again. They are accused of damaging a parking lot gate arm and hitting three vehicles during the chase, which ended at the Sherman Oaks Galleria.

$3.4 Million Worth Of Counterfeit Products Seized At LAX
Over 5,300 counterfeit products were seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents at the Los Angeles International Airport. According to officials the seized counterfeit items include: 1,242 Gucci belts, 678 pairs of Nike shoes, 531 Louis Vuitton handbags, 500 Samsung adaptors, 502 Gucci fanny packs, 230 Hermes handbags, 192 Casio Shock watches, 144 Ferragamo belts, 100 Versace belts, and 119 Fendi shorts. The seized items would have a retail value of more than $3.4 million if genuine. The items arrived at LAX from Hong Kong. Officials say the quantity and value of the counterfeit items seized is an “indication of the profits that are involved in the illegal trade of luxury goods.” In a release U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials say these counterfeit items are available on illegitimate websites and are often sold in underground outlets. The counterfeit items also multiply the illegal profits of smugglers and traffickers.
FOX 11

LA County Offers $10,000 Reward For Information On Disappearance Of Amanda Custer From Monrovia

Los Angeles County officials are offering a $10,000 reward for information about the disappearance of a woman missing for more than two weeks. The Board of Supervisors approved the reward on Tuesday as authorities search for 31-year-old Amanda Custer. Monrovia Police responded July 29 to a domestic violence call at the home Custer shared with her 27-year-old boyfriend Robert Camou. Investigators believe Custer was taken against her will by Camou. He was detained July 30 and is considered the prime suspect. Police say evidence suggests he placed her body in the back of a gray 2017 Toyota Prius. Camou has not been charged in the disappearance but is jailed on prior allegations of domestic violence involving Custer. Supervisor Kathryn Barger recommended offering $10,000 to encourage any witnesses to come forward for the alleged assault and abduction of Custer. Anyone who was in the area of Mount Baldy Road, Glendora Ridge Road or Glendora Mountain Road on July 29 between 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. who may have seen Camou or Custer — or the Prius he was driving — was urged to call the Sheriff's Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.
Los Angeles Daily News

Public Safety News

New Version Of Earthquake Early Warning App Released, Will Alert Users Of Weaker Shaking
An updated version of Los Angeles' earthquake early warning app will soon alert users to weaker shaking, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti and scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey officials announced Wednesday. Previously, ShakeAlertLA alerted users to temblors of magnitude 5.0 or greater. That threshold notification will be reduced to a magnitude of 4.5. “Every day we are communicating the importance of preparedness, so that every Angeleno has the tools and resources they need to build a better life — and then protect that life when disaster strikes,” Garcetti said in a statement. “Updates to ShakeAlertLA will result in an even more responsive application making our city stronger and our families safer.” The change will go into effect this month. It comes after criticism from many users who complained they were not alerted to shaking when a pair of powerful temblors centered near Ridgecrest jolted the greater Los Angeles area on July 4 and July 5.

Local Government News

LA City Councilman-Elect John Lee Is Ready To Get To Work. But It Won't Be Long Before He's Defending His Valley Seat
Loraine Lundquist certainly put herself in a position to upset the status quo in the shifting politics of the northwest San Fernando Valley. For months, on a bumpy L.A. City Council campaign trail, she'd pitched herself to District 12 voters as an astrophysicist, environmental activist and political outsider, who had garnered support and endorsements from state senators, county supervisors and the majority of city council members. Yet that was not enough to win a gritty race for L.A. City Council, and to flip a seat that despite the council's nonpartisan affiliation, has long been held by Republican councilmen. So, following a race that went down to the wire, it was longtime council aide John Lee who was recognized by the L.A. City Council Wednesday in his new role as councilman, representing the northwestern San Fernando Valley at City Hall. With all 57 precincts reporting from Tuesday's election, Lee won by 1,329 votes over Lundquist, according to the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk.
Los Angeles Daily News


Law Enforcement News - Wed, Aug 14

‘No Routine Stops': Officials Sort Out Gun Battle That Claimed Valued CHP Officer In Riverside California
Highway Patrol Officer Andre Moye Jr. had “a service heart” — a man who wanted to give to his community. Aaron Luther, with a record of violence that once included a charge of assault on a peace officer, was perhaps a man ready to die. Luther fatally shot Moye early Monday evening during what started as a routine traffic stop, authorities said, then he died in a “horrific” shootout with officers and sheriff's deputies who responded to the dying Moye's call for help. Tuesday, Moye's fellow officers, and Luther's family, were left to sort things out. Moye's law enforcement comrades and the community struggled with grief — his death was second for an Inland CHP officer in the line of duty in recent months. CHP Sgt. Steve Licon was killed April 6 when he was struck by a vehicle on the 15 Freeway in Lake Elsinore. Two CHP officers were wounded in the Monday shootout, one critically, CHP Inland Division Chief Bill Dance said Tuesday. Both suffered leg wounds. Dance said a six-year veteran had minor wounds, while a four-year veteran was in critical condition. The shootout between Luther and Riverside County Sheriff's deputies, Riverside police officers and CHP officers was described as “long and horrific” by Riverside Police Chief Sergio Diaz.
Los Angeles Daily News

Man Who Shot And Killed CHP Officer Had Lengthy Criminal Record
Aaron Luther, the man who shot a CHP officer to death in Riverside on Monday and was killed by return fire, was no stranger to law enforcement or the state prison and parole systems. Public records reviewed by the NBC Investigates teams in Los Angeles and San Diego outline the 49-year-old suspect's history of violent crime dating back at least 25 years to his conviction for second-degree murder. Luther, who died in Monday's highway shootout, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for that 1994 killing and a burglary, but was paroled after 10 years. After just three years on parole, court records show Luther was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon. He was also found guilty of domestic violence in 2013. Luther's record also includes convictions for stalking, unlawful possession of a firearm, assault and battery, and additional domestic violence cases. In the 1990s, he was sent to prison for trying to smuggle a deadly weapon into a California jail.
NBC San Diego

Man Found Fatally Shot Along L.A. River In South Gate
Authorities are searching for leads after a man was found fatally shot along the Los Angeles River in South Gate on Monday. The shooting was reported around 4:40 p.m. in an area north of Imperial Highway, according to a news release from the L.A. County Sheriff's Department, which is assisting South Gate police in the investigation. Responding officers found the victim in the riverbed suffering from a gunshot wound, officials said. The man died at the scene. Authorities have not released his name but said he was a 34-year-old Latino man. Investigators are now working to piece together a motive and suspect description. Anyone with information on the shooting can contact the sheriff's Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Anonymous tips may be submitted via 800-222-8477 or

Apartment Building Surrounded In East Hollywood As Authorities Look For Suspect
Authorities Tuesday surrounded an apartment building in the East Hollywood area where a man wanted in a domestic violence incident in East Los Angeles was believed to be barricaded. The incident began about 2:15 a.m., when deputies went to a residence in the East Los Angeles after a woman reported that she was the victim of domestic violence, according to the sheriff's department. When deputies arrived, they saw a man matching the description of the suspect driving away, and they began chasing him. The chase led to an apartment building in the 4300 block of Lockwood Avenue, where the suspect was believed to be hiding. Deputies and Los Angeles police officers went to the scene, and a perimeter was established. The standoff was continuing after 8:30 a.m., the sheriff's department reported. 
Los Angeles Daily News

Jury Deliberations Continue In Alleged 'Hollywood Ripper'

Trial Jurors deliberated for a second day Tuesday in the trial of a man charged with killing two women in their homes, including a Hollywood woman who was set to go out that night with actor Ashton Kutcher, and attacking a woman who survived being stabbed eight times in her Santa Monica apartment. Michael Gargiulo, 43, is accused in the Feb. 22, 2001, killing of 22-year-old Ashley Ellerin in her Hollywood home and the Dec. 1, 2005, slaying of 32-year-old Maria Bruno in her El Monte apartment. The murder charges include special circumstance allegations of multiple murders and murder while lying in wait. Gargiulo also is facing an attempted murder charge stemming from an April 2008 attack on 26-year-old Michelle Murphy, who survived being stabbed eight times, along with an attempted escape charge. He could face the death penalty if he is convicted of the killings and found to have been sane at the time of the crimes.

Mira Loma Man Released After Arrest In Sex Assaults Of 2 Children In L.A., Riverside And San Bernardino Counties
A Mira Loma man arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting two children across three Southern California counties was released Wednesday, authorities said. Francisco Javier Oseguera Cervantes is accused of recently assaulting a child at a home in Highland and abusing another underage victim at multiple locations across Los Angeles and Riverside counties over a span of 10 years, according to the Highland Police Department. Oseguera Cervantes, 34, was arrested Tuesday after deputies followed up on a report of sexual abuse at 12:18 p.m. that day, police said. The San Bernardino County Department of Children and Family Services had told Highland police an underage girl was being abused. He was booked into the Central Detention Center in San Bernardino on suspicion of lewd or lascivious acts with a child under 14 and released on bail a day later. The sexual abuse believed to have continued for 10 years allegedly ended in 2016. Police did not say exactly when Cervantes is accused of assaulting the more recent victim.

Felon Pleads Guilty To Stealing Mail To Perpetrate Identity Theft
A convicted felon who stole mail belonging to dozens of people in Riverside, Los Angeles and San Diego counties as part of an identity theft scheme pleaded guilty Tuesday to three counts of ID theft. Laura Leigh Maynard, 47, of Hemet, admitted the felony charges under a plea agreement with the Riverside County District Attorney's Office. In exchange for her admissions, prosecutors agreed to drop two related felony and misdemeanor allegations. Maynard entered the plea deal just as her case was set for a preliminary hearing, which would have determined whether there was sufficient evidence to justify a trial. Superior Court Judge Becky Dugan scheduled a sentencing hearing for Sept. 17 at the Banning Justice Center. Maynard is expected to receive a three-year jail term.

Border Patrol Agents Seize $90K In Heroin, Arrest Convicted Sex Offender Over Weekend
Border Patrol agents in the San Diego County communities of Pine Valley, San Ysidro and Tecate over the weekend seized more than eight pounds of heroin, arrested three people in a fleeing SUV and detained a convicted sex offender who had illegally crossed the U.S.-Mexico border, officials said. Officials discussed the three incidents, which occurred between Friday and Sunday, in a news release that noted it had been an “eventful weekend” of enforcement. In a separate news release Tuesday, Border Patrol officials said they also detained 25 unauthorized immigrants Sunday in three alleged ocean-smuggling incidents off the coast of San Diego County. As many as 17 suspected unauthorized immigrants may have escaped capture in one of the incidents in Mission Bay. In the first land-based incident, a 23-year-old man driving on Interstate 8 at the checkpoint near Pine Valley around noon Friday was told to go to secondary inspection after a drug-sniffing dog indicated his Cadillac might be carrying narcotics. Agents searched the vehicle and found four packages of heroin inside a fake battery. The driver and the drugs, with an estimated street value of $89,700, were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration. The vehicle was seized.
Los Angeles Times

Public Safety News

Firefighters Battle Brush Fire Above Multimillion-Dollar Homes In Pacific Palisades
Firefighters on Tuesday battled a brush fire that burned at least 5 acres of a densely vegetated hillside near several multimillion-dollar homes in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. The fire was reported at about 2:16 p.m. in the area of 17793 West Calle De Palermo, the Los Angeles Fire Department said. By 3:30 p.m., LAFD said firefighters had stopped the fire from spreading at about 5 acres. The flames were 75% contained Tuesday evening, and crews would remain on scene overnight to ensure there aren't any flare ups, LAFD Capt. Erik Scott said in a video message. Officials said the terrain-driven fire was burning uphill in medium to heavy brush. "Air and ground crews have knocked down most of the active flames in the brush fire that burned uphill and away from the nearby homes," LAFD said at about 3:25 p.m.

L.A. County Fair Invests $200,000 Into New Command Center, Upgraded Security 
More than 1 million people visit the Los Angeles County Fair every year. A crude reality is that in light of ongoing mass shootings, many people have a fear of large crowds. The Pomona Fairplex invested $200,000 into this new command center to have a broader view and approach to public safety, said Miguel Santana, the president and CEO of Fairplex. "We made a decision to really strengthen our overall command response, not just in the event of a mass shooting, but in any situation that may occur," said Santana. During a large event, this command center is filled with people from several different agencies working together to monitor everything from traffic, parking and cameras on the fairgrounds. "We increased the number of cameras we had before," said Santana. "We can see traffic patterns in the surrounding neighborhoods, a lot of the major freeways. We can actually see people coming in and the number of admissions that are happening at any given time." Barry Gillies, the director of property operations at Fairplex, said they also have the ability to notify attendees in the event of an emergency.

Local Government News

Republican John Lee Claims Victory In Valley Council Race
Former City Hall aide John Lee claimed victory early Wednesday in a closely watched race against astrophysicist and college educator Loraine Lundquist to represent Chatsworth, Granada Hills and other parts of the northwest San Fernando Valley on the Los Angeles City Council. The results, although not yet certified, showed Lee with a sizable lead over Lundquist with all election precincts reporting. Although the race was nonpartisan — no “R” or “D” appeared next to candidate names on the ballot — the special election mobilized Democrats eager to flip a seat long held by Republicans. Lee is registered as a Republican, but as he declared victory at his Porter Ranch headquarters, he vowed to embody “bipartisan representation.” “Too much in this campaign it was about red versus blue,” Lee told his supporters to cheers. “And it just shouldn't be. It should be about community.” In recent years, the Valley seat has been the sole one held by a Republican on a City Council dominated by Democrats. But rising numbers of Democrats and nonpartisan voters in the district, along with thinning numbers of registered Republicans, generated excitement on the left about the Valley race.
Los Angeles Times

LA County Supervisors Scrap $1.7 Billion Contract To Replace Jail: ‘It's Time To Do The Right Thing'
Criminal justice advocates celebrated Tuesday, and Sheriff Alex Villanueva warned of potentially deadly consequences, as the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted to cancel a $1.7 billion contract for a downtown mental health treatment center to replace Men's Central Jail. The vote was 4-1, with Supervisor Kathryn Barger dissenting. Activists and Supervisor Hilda Solis assembled on the steps of the Kenneth Hall of Administration and more than 200 people signed up to speak to the board during a hearing that continued well into the afternoon. Many speakers wore orange T-shirts with the logo for JusticeLA, an umbrella coalition that has brought together advocates from a host of different nonprofits in a years-long campaign to divert funding from jail construction to community-based resources and services. “We're about to make history today,” Eunisses Hernandez of JusticeLA told the crowd outside. “Generations of our people have actually been at this fight for nearly a decade.”
Los Angeles Daily News