.. 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.
Many thanks to NAASCA's Terri Lanahan, Butte, Montana,
for her research into the news that appears on
the LACP & NAASCA web sites.
From the LAPPL
Dear NewsWatch Reader,
With every NewsWatch issue we try and bring you relevant news on law enforcement, public safety and local issues. Today, we want to bring your attention to an issue of great importance to police officers. Currently in the U.S. Senate is a bill titled S.1480, the "Back the Blue Act." This bill will increase the punishment for anyone who assaults a law enforcement officer. You can read the bill text here.
We would appreciate your support for this important legislation. If you are able, visit www.UCOPS.org to e-mail your support to your federal elected officials. You can also help spread the word by sharing the video above on Facebook at this link and on Twitter at this link.
Thank you for your consideration and your support.
Craig Lally President
L.A. is again considering limits on where homeless people can sleep — this time by schools and parks
by EMILY ALPERT REYES
Los Angeles has long been locked in battles over where and how people can bed down on its streets and sidewalks — a debate that has played out for decades in City Hall, in the courts and on avenues lined with squalid tents and bedrolls.
The city has been brushed back in court by homeless advocates, who argue that it is cruel and useless to punish people if they have nowhere else to sleep. Last year, those advocates hailed a federal ruling against a Boise, Idaho, law that prohibited sleeping on the street, saying the ruling cemented their earlier victories in Los Angeles and set a crucial precedent across the western United States.
Now L.A. politicians are weighing a new set of rules that could bar people from sitting or sleeping on streets and sidewalks near schools, parks and day care centers, and in a range of other prohibited areas — an idea that has drawn fire from homeless advocates.
The newly proposed restrictions, put forward by Councilman Mitch O'Farrell, would replace a blanket ban on sidewalk sleeping that has been on the books for decades, but which L.A. had agreed to pull back on enforcing at night after being sued by skid row residents.
Sobel, one of the attorneys who represented homeless people in the Jones vs. City of Los Angeles case, called the proposed rules “completely unworkable” and argued that it was ridiculous for city officials to frame their newly proposed restrictions as an effort to comply with the Boise ruling.
The Boise ruling “does not require you to put in all these restrictions,” Sobel said, arguing in a letter to council members that the proposed rules would make it almost impossible to sleep anywhere on skid row.
The disputed section of the Municipal Code — 41.18(d) — has been a rallying cry for neighborhood activists who argue that the Jones settlement has led to chaos and blight on city sidewalks. Mark Ryavec, president of the Venice Stakeholders Assn., said that the proposed rules failed to address the most important issue: homeless encampments in or abutting residential areas.
“What we're dealing with here in Venice — and what is so difficult for residents — is these encampments literally being in their frontyard,” argued Ryavec, whose group has repeatedly sued the city over homelessness issues.
The proposed rules were unveiled at the council's homelessness committee meeting Wednesday at City Hall, where Senior Assistant City Atty. Valerie Flores said that prohibiting people from sleeping near schools, parks, newly established shelters and in other specified areas would be legally defensible, even after the federal decision that tossed out rules against sleeping on public property in Boise.
In that case, a federal court ruled that “as long as there is no option of sleeping indoors, the government cannot criminalize indigent, homeless people for sleeping outdoors, on public property.”
But the court also opined that “even where shelter is unavailable, an ordinance prohibiting sitting, lying, or sleeping outside at particular times or in particular locations might well be constitutionally permissible.”
Flores argued that L.A.'s existing laws on sidewalk sleeping “would benefit from modernization, clarification and a better balance between the competing needs of persons using the public right-of-way.”
After meeting with Flores and other city staffers behind closed doors Wednesday, O'Farrell laid out the proposed rules: No sitting, lying down or sleeping within 500 feet of schools, parks or day care centers. No bedding down near homeless housing, shelters or other facilities to serve homeless people that have opened in recent years.
People would also be banned from bunking down on bicycle paths, in tunnels or on bridges designated as school routes, in public areas with signs barring trespassing or setting closing times for safety or maintenance purposes, and in crowded areas near big venues such as Staples Center.
And people sleeping on the streets would still have to stay away from entrances and driveways and leave enough room for wheelchair users to pass under the Americans With Disabilities Act.
O'Farrell said in a statement Thursday that “the reality is we have sensitive areas to consider and as city leaders we must strike the balance between the needs of those experiencing homelessness and keeping our public spaces safe and accessible.”
John Lee, who was recently elected to represent the northwestern San Fernando Valley in a council race that focused heavily on homelessness, said he was still reviewing the proposed rules but called them “a good step” toward protecting public safety and ensuring sidewalks are accessible.
“As I said during the campaign, we need to be compassionate to homeless people,” Lee said. “But we have to be compassionate to businesses and homeowners too.”
The proposed rules still have to be vetted by the full City Council and drafted by city lawyers before coming back to council members for approval. At the Wednesday meeting, council and committee member David Ryu said he was hearing the proposal for the first time. A spokesman for Mayor Eric Garcetti said Thursday that their office was reviewing the proposal.
Progressive activists said they were galled by the idea.
Such rules would “create containment zones like skid row all over the city,” putting homelessness out of sight without addressing the need, said Jed Parriott, a member of the Services Not Sweeps coalition. He and other activists had urged the city to repeal, rather than amend or replace, the existing ban on sidewalk sleeping.
David Busch, a longtime activist who is homeless in Venice, said the city was “looking at this problem backwards.”
“Instead of saying, ‘Where can people sleep?' they continue to pass things telling us where we can't sleep,” Busch said. “We can issue hundreds more tickets, tie up more courtrooms, more jails, more police time with homeless people … and the city can pay out millions more in civil rights lawsuits, or we can do what we need to do.”
Other Angelenos had argued against loosening the law on the books. In a letter to council members before Wednesday's meeting, Venice resident Travis Binen said that with tens of thousands of people living on the streets, “the city needs to be able to legally move them instead of leaving them on the sidewalk to die or harm others.”
Ryavec, the Venice association president, said that it was premature to adjust the rules, arguing that the city should instead be working with Boise to reverse the “ridiculous decision” that was handed down by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Attorneys representing Boise filed a petition Thursday asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review the federal ruling, arguing that the court decision would have “catastrophic” effects.
L.A. and other cities “are grappling with how to interpret and follow the decision,” which “raises more questions than it answers,” said Theane Evangelis, lead counsel for Boise.
Evangelis argued that the Boise ruling ties the hands of cities to deal with the harmful effects of encampments, including fires and disease. “It's laudable that L.A. is trying to limit these encampments — but what the 9th Circuit decision is going to mean, in practice, is very much an open question,” Evangelis said.
Gary Blasi, professor emeritus of law at UCLA, said that whether L.A.'s proposed rules could survive a court challenge would depend on how they were implemented, including whether homeless people have a practical way to know where they can legally sleep and whether the proposed rules leave enough room on city sidewalks for them to do so.
“Could anyone reasonably be expected to know if a particular spot is more than 500 feet from something?” Blasi asked.
The debate marks the latest turn in L.A.'s long and impassioned battle over where homeless people can lay their heads. More than half a century ago, L.A. enacted a law declaring that “no person shall sit, lie or sleep in or upon any street, sidewalk or other public way.”
After homeless residents sued in the Jones case, L.A. reached a settlement agreeing that until it had built a minimum amount of homeless housing, it would allow people to sleep on sidewalks from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. if they stayed far enough from doorways and driveways. When the 9th Circuit struck down the Boise law, homeless advocates said it reaffirmed the arguments in the Jones case.
The clash also echoes the recent furor over L.A.'s restrictions on where people can sleep in their cars. L.A. had crafted the disputed rules, which ban sleeping in vehicles in residential areas and near parks and schools, after a federal court struck down a citywide ban.
The Los Angeles City Council recently voted to extend the rules over the angry objections of activists, who argued that lawmakers had piled on so many restrictions on parking and sleeping that L.A. effectively had a “de facto ban” on bunking in vehicles. Backers of the plan said the rules were needed to fend off trash and filth from RVs and other vehicles repurposed as homes.
Arizona Phoenix looks to be next big city with citizen police review
by ANITA SNOW
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.
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 communities.
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.
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.
Readers sound off on police and community relations, Mueller's testimony and the Yankees
Soaks to be you.
by VOICE OF THE PEOPLE
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
India 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 email@example.com
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.
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.
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.
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.”
Baltimore Teen Gets Life In Prison In Police Officer Slaying
A Baltimore teenager has been sentenced to life in prison after fatally striking a Maryland police officer with a stolen Jeep. A judge in Baltimore County sentenced 17-year-old Dawnta Harris on Wednesday. He was tried as an adult and convicted of felony murder in May. Officer Amy Caprio died in May 2018 while responding to a suspicious vehicle report. Jurors watched Caprio's body-worn camera footage. She could be heard repeatedly ordering Harris out of the car, drawing her weapon and screaming "Stop! Stop!" The Jeep slammed into her. Three others, identified as Harris' accomplices, have pleaded guilty to felony murder.
Female Shooter At Large After 4 Wounded In Shooting At Downtown L.A.'s Skid Row
A shooter is at large after four people were shot in the Skid Row area of downtown Los Angeles Thursday, the Los Angeles Police Department said. The shooting was reported in the area of Fifth and San Julian streets at about 12:14 p.m., according to LAPD Officer Rosario Cervantes. Cervantes described the shooter as being female. The woman was traveling in an SUV with a male, and the pair was last seen heading south on San Julian Street from the park. All the victims suffered injuries that were not life-threatening, according to LAPD Officer Drake Madison. Three of them were females and the fourth victim was male, LAPD Officer Tony Im said. Im identified one of the victims as a security guard and another as a social worker.
LAPD Seeks Public's Help Solving Fatal Shooting Of Man In Highland Park
The Los Angeles Police Department issued a plea for the public's help Thursday in solving the fatal shooting of a man in Highland Park. Edgar Franquez, 36, was approached by the shooter in his backyard before being shot to death, according to LAPD's preliminary investigation. Officers were called to scene in the 5000 block of Fayette Street around 9:18 p.m. on Wednesday. They found Franquez suffering from several gunshot wounds to the upper torso, according to LAPD. Paramedics transported him to a nearby hospital where he later died. Police said no description of a suspect or vehicle is available. No other details have been released. Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Watterson and Mangrum at 323-561-3321 email them at firstname.lastname@example.org . Calls during non-business hours or on weekends should be directed to 877-527-3247. Those wishing to remain anonymous can reach L.A. Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
South LA Hit-and-Run: LAPD Steps Up Efforts To Find Driver Who Severely Injured Teen
Los Angeles police were out in force this week in South Los Angeles, hoping someone can help them find a hit-and-run driver who severely injured a 15-year-old boy earlier this month. The Los Angeles Police Department Central Traffic Division conducted a checkpoint to pass out fliers, trying to generate some new leads. On Aug. 6, Roberto Diaz was riding his bike when he was struck at 37th Street and Maple, then dragged to Martin Luther King, Junior Boulevard and Woodlawn. Police say Diaz was struck by the car and dragged 1,500 feet after the hit-and-run driver allegedly blew through a stop sign. The suspect vehicle is described as a blue Honda Accord or Civic. Diaz has undergone at least six surgeries as doctors hope to save his arm and leg.
1 Person Injured In North Hollywood Shooting
LAPD is investigating the shooting of a man in North Hollywood Thursday night. It happened in the 7400 block of Troost Avenue just before 9 p.m. Police say a male victim was conscious and breathing when he was taken to the hospital. His condition is currently unknown. The gunman was last seen northbound on Troost Avenue in a black-colored vehicle. No suspect description was immediately available. Police did release additional information but a suspect search is underway.
String Of San Fernando Valley Fires Investigated As Arson
Authorities Friday morning were investigating a series of small fires in the San Fernando Valley that could be linked. One of the fires was reported before 5:30 a.m. in a dumpster in the 11300 block of Ventura Boulevard in Studio City. Some of the blazes were auto fires and rubbish fires, the Los Angeles Fire Department reported. There were no reports of injuries. It's unclear exactly when and where all the fires broke out. Members of the LAFD Arson/Counter Terrorism Section are investigating. No suspect description was released.
8 Arrested On Suspicion Of Importing, Selling Illegal Pharmaceuticals In L.A.
Eight people have been arrested in connection with importing and selling illegal foreign pharmaceuticals throughout Los Angeles, City Attorney Mike Feuer announced Wednesday. The suspects, who were not identified, are accused of importing 100,000 units of prescription drugs then selling them on street corners and in front of supermarkets, travel agencies, beauty salons and parks.
LA Jury Finds 'Hollywood Ripper' Sane At Time Of Committed Crimes
The man dubbed the 'Hollywood Ripper' for the grisly slayings of two women in Hollywood and El Monte was sane at the time of the crimes, a Los Angeles jury found on Thursday. The Los Angeles jury reached the decision Thursday after the sanity phase of the trial of 43-year-old Michael Gargiulo. Last week the same jury found Gargiulo guilty of the 2005 murder of 32-year-old Maria Bruno in El Monte and the 2001 murder of 22-year-old Ashley Ellerin, who was waiting at her Hollywood home before a planned date with actor Ashton Kutcher. Gargiulo was also convicted of the 2008 attempted murder of Michelle Murphy. Gargiulo's attorneys, citing expert trial testimony, argued that he suffers from dissociative identity disorder, previously known as multiple personality disorder. Jurors will return Sept. 9 for the trial's penalty phase. FOX 11
FBI Takes Down Alleged Nigerian Fraudsters In $46-Million Case Based In Los Angeles
The relationship between a Japanese woman and a U.S. Army captain stationed in Syria started online, through an international social network for digital pen pals. It grew into an internet romance over 10 months of daily emails. It ended with the woman $200,000 poorer and on the verge of bankruptcy after borrowing money from her sister, ex-husband and friends to help Capt. Terry Garcia with his plan to smuggle diamonds out of Syria. In reality, there were no diamonds and there was no Garcia: They were part of an elaborate scam hatched by an international ring of cyber thieves operating mainly out of Los Angeles and Nigeria.
Los Angeles Times
Local Government News
L.A. Lawmakers Weigh New Rules To Bar Homeless People From Sleeping By Schools, Parks
Los Angeles has long been locked in battles over where and how people can bed down on its streets and sidewalks — a debate that has played out for decades in City Hall, in the courts and on avenues lined with squalid tents and bedrolls. The city has been brushed back in court by homeless advocates, who argue that it is cruel and useless to punish people if they have nowhere else to sleep. Last year, those advocates hailed a federal ruling against a Boise, Idaho, law that prohibited sleeping on the street, saying the ruling cemented their earlier victories in Los Angeles and set a crucial precedent across the western United States. Now L.A. politicians are weighing a new set of rules that could bar people from sitting or sleeping on streets and sidewalks near schools, parks and day care centers, and in a range of other prohibited areas — an idea that has drawn fire from homeless advocates.
Law Enforcement News - Thur, 8/22
A Law Alone Impacts No One
To expect police officers to effectively de-escalate situations, including using specialized mental health tactics or deploying less lethal options during dangerous high-pressure scenarios without the proper training, is both unrealistic and unfair. California's elected leaders must invest heavily in new, frequent and ongoing police training.
Search Underway For Shooter After Deputy Is Wounded Outside Lancaster Sheriff's Station
A search was underway late Wednesday in an apartment building where authorities believed they would find a sniper who wounded a deputy in the parking lot of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Lancaster station. About 2:50 p.m., Sheriff's Deputy Angel Reinosa, 21, suffered a “graze wound” to the shoulder while walking to his car in the station's lot. Preliminary reports are that someone fired at the deputy from a nearby four-story apartment building. Reinosa was taken to a hospital , where he is expected to recover. Authorities said Reinosa's bulletproof vest saved his life. “He is doing great, thankfully,” Sheriff's Capt. Todd Weber said. “The wound was minor and he's been treated and he's doing well, in high spirits.” No surgery was needed, Weber added. Through Wednesday afternoon into the evening, deputies had the area blocked off and believed the shooter was contained. The Sheriff's Department said the shot came from a considerable distance. It was unclear how many shots were fired. Officials believe the suspect is inside the apartment building. Deputies used binoculars to scan the building for a possible sniper, and officers were positioned nearby. The SWAT team and armored vehicles were also at the scene. Because of concern for sniper fire, deputies were told to approach the area only from the west. Deputies spent several hours clearing nearby buildings, including a library and an apartment complex. The public was told to avoid the area. A Sheriff's Department source said the shooter fired a high-velocity rifle round that hit Reinosa.
Los Angeles Times
L.A. Man Sentenced To More Than 3 Years In Prison After Crashing Into Police Cars, Vehicle With Baby On Board During Chase
A Los Angeles man was sentenced to three years and eight months in prison after pleading no contest to crashing into multiple vehicles during a pursuit earlier this year, including one carrying a baby, officials announced Wednesday. Pharuehat Wilaisophakun, 27, pleaded to one count each of assault on a peace officer and fleeing an officer's vehicle while driving recklessly, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office. Wilaisophakun led LAPD on a chase April 4 after an officer witnessed him crash into a vehicle while in a 2018 Prius near the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue and he did not stop. He then drove away at a high rate of speed, ran red lights, weaved in and out of traffic and hit multiple vehicles, officials said. At one point, three police vehicles tried to block Wilaisophakun's car and he rammed them. He also crashed into a parked vehicle with a baby inside, but the baby was not injured, officials said. The pursuit ended in East Hollywood when Wilaisophakun's car crashed into a truck and police pinned him in, aerial video from Sky5 showed.
Woman With ‘Significant Criminal History' Arrested In West Adams Arson Fire: LAFD
A 52-year-old woman has been arrested on suspicion of arson in connection with a fire in West Adams in April that forced three residents to jump out a window of the burning building to safety, fire officials said this week. Tameca Walker was taken into custody without incident after a warrant was issued for her arrest, according to a Los Angeles Fire Department statement. Walker is suspected of setting a duplex ablaze in the 2900 block of South Rimpau Boulevard on the morning of April 21. Around 6 a.m., she allegedly dumped gasoline outside the residence. Walker then broke a window with a crowbar before lighting a match and igniting the gasoline, according to LAFD. Three people were home at the time, and they all scrambled upstairs after the blaze ripped through the first floor of the home. The residents then jumped out of a second-story window to escape. The jump resulted in one of the victims breaking her back, fire officials said. Walker, who has a “significant criminal history,” was found with a loaded firearm at the time of her arrest, according to LAFD.
Man Arrested In Connection To Double Murder In South L.A.
Homicide investigators with the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department made an arrest in Santa Clarita in connection to a drive-by shooting in South Los Angeles that claimed the lives of two best friends. A group of childhood friends were standing near a vehicle in the 1100 block of East 68th Street near Central and Florence Avenues around 7 p.m. on August 14 when a suspect's vehicle pulled up and the passenger opened fire, sheriff's officials said. Arriving officers located a body near the victim's vehicle on the street. The shooting victim, identified by family as Jose Flores, was pronounced dead at the scene. The second shooting victim, identified as Alfredo Carrera, was rushed to a local hospital where he died. The third shooting victim was treated and released from a local hospital. Two days later, deputies from Santa Clarita Sheriff's station located a 2004 blue Nissan Maxima near the corner of Via Princessa and Sierra Highway. The vehicle license plate matched the plate listed as the suspect's vehicle used in a double murder that killed Flores and Carrera. Jonathan Charles Johnson, 26, of Lancaster was arrested at the scene.
Police Say Mass Casualty Event Thwarted After Man Arrested For Making Threats Targeting Long Beach Marriott
A man accused of making a violent threat against a Long Beach hotel was found to have access to weapons and "had a plan" was arrested, Long Beach police announced Wednesday. The Long Beach Police Department held a news conference to announce the arrest of the 37-year-old Huntington Beach resident Rodolfo Montoya. Chief Robert Luna and Mayor Robert Garcia said if the threat hadn't been taken seriously, it could have resulted in a mass casualty incident. Montoya, who works as a chef at the Long Beach Marriott, allegedly told a coworker he had planned to shoot coworkers and guests at the Long Beach Marriott where they both work. After Montoya made the threat, the employee contacted police who immediately started investigating. They determined he had access to weapons and ammunition. Police said Montoya was angry that he was facing disciplinary action at the hotel near the Long Beach Airport when he allegedly said he planned a shooting attack. Chief Luna said the man "had clear plans" and "intent and means" to carry them out, which could have resulted in mass casualty incident.
Not Guilty Plea In SoCal Home Fraud Case
A 34-year-old Sherman Oaks man accused of involvement in a Southern California mortgage fraud scheme pleaded not guilty Wednesday in an Orange County courtroom to nearly five dozen felony charges. Michael Charles Jackson was charged July 31 with four counts of grand theft and 53 counts of attempting to file a false or forged instrument, with sentencing enhancement allegations of aggravated white-collar crime between $100,000 to $500,000 and property damage exceeding $200,000. Jackson is due back in court on Friday for a pretrial hearing at the Central Justice Center in Santa Ana. According to a motion to increase Jackson's bail from $40,000 to $344,000, investigators alleged he “was an integral part of the fraud scheme used by (co-defendant) Patrick Soria's companies West Inc. and West H&A LLC to transfer title on residential properties via fraudulent substitution of trustees and fraudulent assignment of mortgages/deeds of trust… without the authorization of the beneficiary lender.”
Serial Killer Who Claimed To Murdering 90 Women, Including L.A. Victims, To Plead Guilty In Ohio Slayings: Prosecutors
Authorities say a serial killer who claims to have murdered 90 women will plead guilty and be sentenced this week to resolve two decades-old Ohio cases. Samuel Little was indicted earlier this year for the 1981 murder of 32-year-old Anna Stewart, last seen alive in Cincinnati. Her body was dumped in Grove City, near Columbus. The 80-year-old Little also is charged with a second murder in Cincinnati. Her identity remains unknown. Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters (DEE'turz) says Little will plead guilty and be sentenced on Friday. He was previously convicted of killing three Los Angeles-area women among the dozens of slayings he's claimed to have committed nationwide. Little will appear via Skype from a California prison where he is serving multiple life sentences for other killings. A message seeking comment was left with Little's attorney Wednesday.
California Arms Traffickers Used Snapchat To Market Illegal Weapons
One post showed the man walking through a home brandishing a gun with a high-capacity magazine and tapping an unidentified woman on her buttocks with the barrel. In another, he waved a pistol loaded with a 50-round drum magazine in the air while driving a car. They're two of several Snapchat posts by Anthony Reed, a 22-year-old Nevada resident who prosecutors allege used the social media platform to market weapons in California. Arms traffickers have long used the internet to connect with potential buyers, and there have been growing reports of weapons dealers across the US using platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat to market their guns. Several recent law enforcement investigations show that in California's Bay Area, social media is playing a significant role in the sale of firearms outlawed in the state.
Public Safety News
Man Dies, Woman In Grave Condition After Being Rescued From Fire In Exposition Park
A man has died and a woman continues to fight for her life after being pulled out of a fire burning at board-and-care facility in Exposition Park. The fire broke out at about 12:45 a.m. at a home on Leighton Avenue near Budlong. The flames left the front of the home totally burned out. A man and a woman had to be rescued from the burning home and were rushed to the hospital, where the man died. The woman remains in grave condition. An engineer who assisted with the rescue was also hospitalized for smoke inhalation, but he is expected to be OK. It took a half hour for 53 firefighters to put out the flames. The home was a board-and-care facility for mental health patients. Sixteen people, including four children, were inside when the fire broke out. Investigators are on the scene working to determine the cause of the fire.
California Fire Mystery: No Major Summer Brush Fires After Years Of Record Destruction
Gawking tourists hung halfway out their car windows, cameras aimed at firefighters and flames along the shoulder of Generals Highway. Typically by this point in the summer, fire officials are dealing with multiple blazes across California , including ones that brush up against this area of Sequoia park. But so far things have been remarkably calm — giving firefighters time to prepare with prescribed burns and offering a respite, however brief. After two years of devastating wildfires that burned more than 1.8-million acres in 2018 and 1.2-million acres in 2017, as of Sunday only 51,079 acres have burned this year across state and federal lands in California . Late spring rains , cooler summer temperatures and fewer extreme wind events, among other factors, have combined to help keep the state from burning uncontrollably, experts say. But weary fire officials know that can change at any moment — all it takes is an intense wind event or a prolonged heat wave and then a spark. A year ago at this time, California was on fire. The largest blaze in state history — the Mendocino Complex fire — was roaring through Lake County. A monster fire was taking aim at Lake Elsinore. And in Redding, hundreds of residential lots were in rubble from a blaze that made a deadly march into city subdivisions, with a “fire tornado” adding to the the destruction. Conditions this summer have been much more tame.
Los Angeles Times
Local Government News
As Fire Season Looms, LA City Council To Consider Tougher Rules For Removing Homeless Encampments From Fire Zones
Los Angeles will consider giving public safety officials more leeway to force campers and homeless people out of the city's high-fire danger areas as hot, dry and windy weather makes hillsides more prone to destructive wildfires. The new rules, which will go before the City Council's public safety committee on Aug. 28, would allow city police to charge anyone found in L.A.'s hilly fire zones with trespassing if they're camping or living anywhere outside of public roads, residential areas, hiking trails or campsites. While city officials said the motion to amend the city's municipal code could affect hikers and campers, Mayor Eric Garcetti said at the Los Angeles Fire Department's hangar at Van Nuys Airport the rules would primarily target homeless encampments. The potential rule change comes after a fire in the San Fernando Valley's Sepulveda Basin Recreation Area consumed about seven acres of brush and razed dozens of makeshift dwellings at a large homeless encampment on July 30. Los Angeles Daily News
Law Enforcement News - Wed, 8/21
Video Shows Moment Before Woman Fatally Struck By Hit-and-Run Driver In South LA
Surveillance video shows the moment before a woman was struck and killed in a hit-and-run crash in South Los Angeles. The crash occurred Tuesday at about 11 p.m. near the intersection of 98th Street and S. Vermont Avenue. Video shows the woman getting off a Metro bus and then start walking on the crosswalk as a vehicle approaches and hits her. The force of the crash apparently sent the victim flying. She was pronounced dead at the scene. The California Highway Patrol said the car did not stop. The victim has not been identified. She is described as someone in her mid-to-late 50s. The suspect vehicle was described as a white sedan.
Man Seeking Employment At Watts Recycling Company Shoots Owner In Arm After Being Told They Weren't Hiring: LAPD
A man who was seeking employment at a Watts recycling company allegedly shot the owner in the arm after being told they weren't hiring, Los Angeles Police Department officials said Tuesday. The incident was reported about 5:10 a.m. Aug. 12 along the 1700 block of East 111th Street. A preliminary investigation revealed that a man walked into the business asking for employment and wanted to speak to the owner, LAPD officials said in a news release. Employees told the man they were not hiring and to come back another time. The man “eventually located and contacted” the owner, who reiterated that they were not hiring, police said. The man then allegedly took out a handgun and shot the owner multiple times, hitting him in the arm, police said. The man ran away and was last seen heading west on East 111th Street toward Compton Avenue. Paramedics with the Los Angeles Fire Department responded and took the victim to a local hospital where he was treated and was in stable condition, police said. The gunman remains at large. He was described as being between 25 and 35 years old, about 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighs about 180 pounds.
Police Commission Elects New Board President, Vice President
The Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners Tuesday unanimously elected Eileen Decker to serve as the board president, while Shane Murphy Goldsmith was chosen as vice president. “Since the end of October of last year, I've had the great privilege of serving on this commission,” Decker said. “I've greatly appreciated the insights Angelenos have shared with me about what they expect … from their police department. I look forward to the challenges and opportunities that lay ahead for this commission and the women and men of the LAPD.” Decker served as a deputy mayor for Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, overseeing public safety and homeland security issues, according to her online biography. Goldsmith is president and CEO of the Liberty Hill Foundation, which provides funding and leadership training for community-based organizations within Los Angeles County.
Police Arrest 24-Year-Old ‘Prolific Identity Theft Suspect' Who Became Wanted Fugitive
A 24-year-old woman who police called a “prolific identity theft suspect” was arrested over a year and a half after LAPD detectives began an investigation that ultimately led to her becoming a wanted fugitive. Suppatra Tansuvit was arrested outside her residence in the 1000 block of Wilshire Boulevard in downtown L.A. on Aug. 14, LAPD said in a news release. In December 2017, detectives investigating a complex identity theft case involving multiple incidents and victims identified Tansuvit as the suspect. After being booked on multiple felony counts of identity theft, Tansuvit was released on bail. She later failed to appear in court for her jury trial and a felony bench warrant was issued for her arrest. The District Attorney's Office filed additional charges, making Tansuvit a wanted fugitive. In July, Tansuvit and her boyfriend, Robert Carrasquillo, engaged in a high-speed chase with police. During the pursuit, officers pulled back from Carrasquillo's high-end sports car, and went into tracking mode for the public's safety. Tansuvit was then able to get out of the vehicle and flee on foot, police said.
Sanity Phase Of Trial Set To Begin For 'Hollywood Ripper'
The sanity phase of trial for the so-called "Hollywood Ripper" -- who repeatedly stabbed and mutilated two Southern California women, including one who was killed and nearly decapitated hours before she was set to go out with actor Ashton Kutcher -- is set to begin Tuesday. Michael Gargiulo, 43, was convicted last week of two counts of first-degree murder, one count of attempted murder in an attack on a Santa Monica woman and an attempted escape. Jurors also found true special circumstance allegations of lying in wait and multiple murder, opening Gargiulo to a possible death sentence. Now the jury panel will be asked to determine whether the defendant was sane at the time of the crimes. During closing arguments, one of Gargiulo's defense attorneys cited an expert's conclusion that Gargiulo suffered from dissociative identity disorder, arguing that it could have caused him to go into an "amnesiac" or fugue state during the Santa Monica attack. Deputy District Attorney Dan Akemon called the notion a "complete fabrication." If jurors find Gargiulo was sane at the time of the crimes, the trial will next move to a penalty phase, in which they will recommend either a death sentence or life in prison without parole.
L.A. Trial Date Set For Man Charged With Illegal Exports To Iran
An Oct. 15 trial date is scheduled for an Iranian man charged in Los Angeles with shipping prohibited items from the United States to Iran, in violation of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and U.S. sanctions imposed on the nation. Mehdi “Eddie” Hashemi, a dual citizen of the United States and Iran who previously resided in Los Angeles, is charged in a 21-count indictment that was unsealed Monday afternoon in Los Angeles federal court, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. Hashemi, 46, allegedly participated in a conspiracy to illegally export computer numerical control machines, which are used to process raw materials, such as metals, to precise standards, to Iran. The CNC machines at issue in this case are export-controlled for nuclear non-proliferation and anti-terrorism reasons, federal prosecutors said. Hashemi was taken into custody on Sunday at Los Angeles International Airport upon his arrival on a flight from Turkey and was arraigned on the indictment late Monday afternoon.
7 Face Federal Charges In Series Of Armed Drug Robberies At SoCal Pharmacies
Seven people are facing federal charges in connection with 15 armed robberies of pharmacies across Southern California, including a 24-year-old Lynwood man believed to be the ringleader, authorities said Friday. Tyrome Lewis, a.k.a. “Boobie,” has been described by federal prosecutors as the leader of a robbery crew that stole prescription medications from mom-and-pop shops, particularly oxycodone, to sell on the black market. The robbers would allegedly threaten employees at gunpoint and take away their phones to keep them from calling 911. A federal grand jury returned an eight-count superseding indictment Friday outlining the charges against Lewis, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. He is being held without bond as he was previously arrested and charged, and he is expected to be arraigned on Aug. 22. According to federal prosecutors, he led robberies of pharmacies in 13 cities across Riverside, Los Angeles and Orange counties over an 18-month span. The crimes ended just a few weeks ago and other suspects in the case have already been charged, authorities said.
California Man Arrested 27 Years After Mother Of Two Goes Missing
The former boyfriend of a young mother who disappeared 27 years ago in Northern California has been arrested in connection with the cold case, authorities said. Richard Pyle, 55, who was described by deputies as a transient, was taken into custody in Stockton on Thursday, according to a news release from the Butte County Sheriff's Office. Pyle lived with Tracy Zandstra in November 1991, when the then-29-year-old disappeared from the home they shared in Stirling City, authorities said. Zandstra's body was never found, but detectives have uncovered evidence indicating she had been killed and her body disposed of, sheriff's officials said. A Sheriff's Office spokeswoman, however, declined to say what that evidence was. Dist. Atty. Michael Ramsey said Tuesday that Pyle was considered a suspect in the case “right from the beginning.” After Zandstra went missing, he said, investigators recovered DNA evidence from the couple's residence and preserved it. “When we had advances in DNA science, we were able to reexamine that evidence and it gave us a better idea of what occurred,” Ramsey said. The DNA was found to belong to Zandstra, he said, though he declined to provide further specifics.
Los Angeles Times
Hundreds Of Guns Come In To California From Nevada. Lawmakers Want To Stop It
Alarmed that the gun used in a mass shooting in Gilroy was bought legally in Nevada, two dozen California legislators on Wednesday asked their counterparts in the neighboring state to meet this fall to discuss strengthening restrictions on firearms. The unusual proposal was made in a letter to Nevada State Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson, who is a Democrat, and the Democrat-controlled Legislature just weeks after a 19-year-old resident of that state opened fire at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in Northern California, killing three people and wounding 13. “While California has enacted numerous gun safety measures, this tragedy underscores the need for California to work closely with neighboring states to close loopholes and advance common sense gun safety measures,” said the letter signed by 27 Democratic legislators including Assembly members Jesse Gabriel of Encino, Reginald Jones-Sawyer of Los Angeles and Buffy Wicks of Oakland. Gunman Santino William Legan bought the semiautomatic rifle legally in Nevada less than three weeks before the July 28 attack. The weapon, which authorities describe as a military-style AK-47, cannot be legally purchased in California or imported into the state, according to California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra.
Los Angeles Times
Public Safety News
Wildfire Acreage Way Down In California This Year — So Far California is not burning. At least not as much as it has in recent years.
Acreage burned through Sunday is down 90% compared to the average over the past five years and down 95% from last year, according to statistics from the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. The stats are good news for a state that has seen terrifyingly destructive and deadly blazes the past two years, but the worst of those fires occurred in the fall. The precipitous drop could be due to the amount of precipitation the state received during a winter of near-record snowfall and cooler-than-average temperatures — so far. Scott McLean, a spokesman for CalFire, said the state hasn't dried out as quickly this year and the temperatures haven't been as consistently hot. Hot spells have been followed by cooler weather and winds haven't been strong. "It's a roller coaster with temperatures this year," McLean said. "There have been very little winds so far. We're crossing all fingers and appendages." The most current U.S. Drought Monitor map released last week shows only a tiny portion of California listed as abnormally dry. A year ago, almost the entire state was listed in a range from abnormally dry to extreme drought.
Local Government News
City Council Committee Looking Into Hiring Homeless For City Cleanups
A Los Angeles City Council committee Tuesday requested a report on what resources would be needed to create a pilot program that would hire homeless people for cleanup efforts around the city. The program, called the Loose Litter Cleanup, could cost millions, based on reports from 2018. "I think we need to roll out a wider net to find other approaches, other programs that may be able to come in at a cheaper-per-person cost to ensure the best result," City Councilman Paul Krekorian said during a meeting of the council's Energy, Climate Change and Environmental Justice Committee. "Especially with homelessness, we launch our pilot programs and that's the last thing anyone hears about it. Are there ways we can serve people for less money? We don't (ask) that very often as a city." City Councilwoman Nury Martinez, who chairs the committee, directed city officials to report on an ``an appropriate'' framework for the cleanup pilot program and to make recommendations on a funding strategy.
‘Great Streets' Ideas Wanted For San Fernando Road Bike And Pedestrian Path Near Sylmar Metrolink
Northeast San Fernando Valley residents will get an opportunity Wednesday to weigh in on a proposal to spruce up a well-used, but neglected bike and pedestrian path that follows the Metrolink route through Sylmar. Tia Chucha's Centro Cultural & Bookstore recently won an initial $15,000 Great Streets Challenge grant to do outreach and develop a plan for a nearly one-mile stretch of San Fernando Road, between Polk and Hubbard streets. The Sylmar-based nonprofit will then submit the proposal to the city to compete for a $500,000 grant to carry it out. Michael Centeno, executive director of Tia Chucha's, said they are working with community members to come up with ideas for the Great Streets proposal aimed at making the path “more welcoming and safe.” The road was chosen because it is a frequently used route by residents, but is in need of better lighting at night, repairs to the fencing, landscaping work and traffic safety improvements, he said. Centeno said there are opportunities to put in public art to make the path more inviting, reflective of and appropriate for the surrounding neighborhood.
Los Angeles Daily News