TSA Agent Photographed Searching 8 Month Old’s Diaper

May 11, 2011

KANSAS CITY – The Rev. Jacob Jester wasn’t trying to start anything.

But when he saw security screeners at Kansas City International Airport patting down a baby — a baby — he took a picture. And then he shared that picture on Twitter.

It went viral, and voila: Jester’s snapshot is the flashpoint of the day in the debate over who should be considered a threat to the flying public.

Not what he intended, Jester said Tuesday, after the image had been picked up by The Drudge Report and the Daily Mail in London, among others, and viewed nearly 300,000 times.

“I thought it was a curious situation,” said Jester, a pastor at a youth ministry in Independence. “I have a son about the same age — 8 months old — and I thought that I would not want that to happen to my own child.”

Jester had just cleared security Saturday afternoon on his way to Albuquerque, N.M., when he saw that the woman and young baby were about to be searched. The baby’s stroller had “alarmed” during explosives screening.

Jester tweeted his picture with the message: “Just saw #tsa agents patting down a little baby at @KCIAirport Pretty sure that’s extreme.”

His wife retweeted it. Another local pastor did, too.

The picture spread across Twitter as others, many with no connection to him, shared the image through retweets.

“The picture took on a life of its own,” Jester said.

The Transportation Security Administration, which has contracted with FirstLine Transportation Security to handle screening, issued a statement saying the officers followed proper procedures.

After the stroller set off the alarm, “officers followed protocol to conduct additional screening on members of the family, who were very cooperative,” the TSA said.

The agency said it has been reviewing its policies “to streamline and improve the screening experience for low-risk populations, such as younger passengers.”

Jester’s personal opinion: “An 8-month-old doesn’t pose a threat to airplane or national security. I am grateful for TSA’s willingness and desire to protect, but I believe in this instance that was extreme.”

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Agency Funding Sought In Kansas To Duplicate Records Kept By Other State Agencies – Prosecutors Not Smart Enough To Check Driving History For Those Charged With Drunk Driving?

April 29, 2011

TOPEKA, KANSAS – Two Kansas agencies are working to fund and operate a central repository designed to better track people who drive drunk.

The Wichita Eagle reports that the Kansas Department of Transportation and the Kansas Bureau of Investigation are working to organize the central tracking system.

The central repository was recommended by the Kansas DUI Commission, but it was not funded because of the state’s budget problems.

The repository would more quickly provide information to prosecutors about a driver’s history. The aim is to be sure that people with multiple DUI offenses are charged with the appropriate offense.

Funding details have not been finalized. The transportation department says it is deferring other projects to make the repository a priority. The repository would be overseen by the KBI.

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Norton Kansas Police Officer Ryan L. Zweygardt Arrested, Charged With 2 Counts Of Rape

April 22, 2011

NORTON, KANSAS — A Norton police officer was arrested Thursday on two counts of alleged rape, according to a press release from the Norton County attorney’s office.

Ryan L. Zweygardt, 27, was scheduled to make his first appearance in Norton County District Court today. A preliminary hearing tentatively has been scheduled for May 6. Bond was set at $500,000.

County Attorney Doug Sebelius said this morning the alleged incident was reported to law enforcement April 11.

“Shortly after that, the police chief had placed (Zweygardt) on suspension,” Sebelius said.

He was unsure if Zweygardt’s status with the department had changed since his arrest. He has been with the Norton police for less than a year.

The Norton County sheriff’s department and Kansas Bureau of Investigation conducted the investigation.

Sebelius said Zweygardt was not on duty when the alleged incidents occurred. They were brought to law enforcement’s attention by the victim, an adult female, and by her seeking medical attention, Sebelius said.

Zweygardt is being held in Graham County jail, due to renovations taking place in the Norton County Sheriff’s department.

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Off-Duty Kansas City Kansas Police Officer Arrested, Suspended, And Charged With Drunken Shooting Of Nightclub Bouncer

March 6, 2011

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI – Police said they have arrested an off-duty Kansas City, Kan., police officer in connection with the shooting of a bouncer at a Kansas City nightclub late Friday.

Officers said they were called to the 6902 Club on Prospect Avenue just before midnight and found the victim inside the business. He was taken to a hospital with serious injuries, investigators said.

Witnesses said a man who was being escorted out of the club for being drunk and belligerent shot the bouncer twice in the abdomen. Kansas City, Kan., police confirmed that the man is an off-duty officer. They said he had been placed on administrative leave and that the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department would be handling the case.

Another bouncer working at the 6902 Club Friday night told KMBC 9’s Cliff Judy workers didn’t know who the man was or that he was armed. The first line of a sign at the club’s front door specifically bans weapons from being brought inside.

The bouncer declined an on-camera interview, but confirmed that he and the victim kicked the suspect out because he was drunk and acting belligerent. He said he was standing between the suspect and the victim, whom he called a friend.

When the suspect pulled a gun, the bouncer said his friend pushed him out of the way and knocked the suspect to the ground. That’s when the suspect fired.

The man said his friend should survive, despite being shot twice in the stomach.

Saturday evening, chalk in the pavement at 69th and Prospect streets marked where investigators found shell casings.

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Teen Slashes Tires On 4 Mission Kansas Patrol Cars, Then Calls 911 And Tells On Himself – Duh…

May 30, 2009

MISSION, KANSAS – It turns out that calling police to brag about slashing the tires on four patrol cars isn’t such a good idea.

Police in the Kansas City suburb of Mission announced Friday afternoon that they had arrested Jesse L. Sellers Jr. The 19-year-old Overland Park man is accused of slashing the tires Wednesday while the cars were parked in a department lot.

He faces one municipal count of criminal damage to property.

Police said they stopped Sellers for a traffic violation earlier on the same morning that he is accused of slashing the tires.

Police said the voice on the dash cam video in the police cruiser matched the voice on the 911 call that bragged about slashing the tires.

Mission police Maj. Mark Sullivan said it cost $1,000 to fix the tires.

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Abortion Doctor Targeted By Kansas Authorities With Bogus Charges Found Not Guilty

March 28, 2009

WICHITA, KANSAS – One of the nation’s few late-term abortion providers was acquitted Friday of misdemeanor charges stemming from procedures he performed, but moments after the verdict was announced the state’s medical board announced it was investigating similar allegations against him.

Prosecutors had alleged that Dr. George Tiller had in 2003 gotten second opinions from a doctor who was essentially an employee of his, not independent as state law requires, but a jury took only about an hour to find him not guilty of all 19 counts.

Tiller, who could have faced a year in jail for even one conviction, stared straight ahead as the verdicts were read, with one of his attorneys patting his shoulder after the decision on the final count was declared. His wife, seated across the courtroom, fought back tears and nodded. The couple declined to speak to reporters afterward.

Tiller, 67, has claimed that the prosecution was politically motivated. An attorney general who opposed abortion rights began the investigation into Tiller’s clinic more than four years ago, but both his successor, who filed the criminal charges, and the current attorney general support abortion rights.

Soon after the verdict was announced, the state’s Board of Healing Arts made public a complaint against Tiller on allegations similar to those at issue in the criminal case. The complaint was filed in December but not released until Friday.

The board, which regulates doctors, could revoke, suspend or limit Tiller’s medical license, or fine him.

Tiller has been a favored target of anti-abortion protesters, and he testified that he and his family have suffered years of harassment and threats. His clinic was the site of the 1991 “Summer of Mercy” protests marked by mass demonstrations and arrests. His clinic was bombed in 1985, and an abortion opponent shot him in both arms in 1993.

Kansas law allows abortions after a fetus can survive outside the womb only if two independent doctors agree that it is necessary to save a women’s life or prevent “substantial and irreversible” harm to “a major bodily function,” a phrase that has been interpreted to include mental health.

Dr. Ann Kristin Neuhaus provided second opinions on late-term abortions before Tiller performed them.

According to trial testimony, Tiller’s patients paid Neuhaus $250 to $300 in cash for providing the consultation and the only way patients could see her was to make an appointment with Tiller’s office.

Tiller testified that he used Neuhaus based on advice from his lawyers and from Larry Buening, who was then executive director of the Board of Healing Arts.

Prosecutors tried to show that Tiller ultimately relied on his lawyers’ advice – an important distinction because the judge told attorneys before their opening statements that relying on the advice of an attorney cannot be used as a legal defense to criminal charges. They also questioned Tiller about the conversation with Buening, noting that Tiller had testified that Buening said he couldn’t quote him.

Tiller also testified that in about five cases each year, Neuhaus would disagree with him about the necessity of a late-term abortion. When she declined to concur, the abortion was not done, he said.

Tiller estimated that he performed 250 to 300 late-term abortions in 2003, each costing an average of $6,000.

Tiller said he is one of three doctors in the U.S. who currently perform late-term abortions. The others are in Boulder, Colo., and Los Angeles, he said.

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Abortion Doctor Targeted By Kansas Authorities With Bogus Charges Found Not Guilty

March 27, 2009

WICHITA, KANSAS – One of the nation’s few late-term abortion providers was acquitted Friday of misdemeanor charges stemming from procedures he performed, but moments after the verdict was announced the state’s medical board announced it was investigating similar allegations against him.

Prosecutors had alleged that Dr. George Tiller had in 2003 gotten second opinions from a doctor who was essentially an employee of his, not independent as state law requires, but a jury took only about an hour to find him not guilty of all 19 counts.

Tiller, who could have faced a year in jail for even one conviction, stared straight ahead as the verdicts were read, with one of his attorneys patting his shoulder after the decision on the final count was declared. His wife, seated across the courtroom, fought back tears and nodded. The couple declined to speak to reporters afterward.

Tiller, 67, has claimed that the prosecution was politically motivated. An attorney general who opposed abortion rights began the investigation into Tiller’s clinic more than four years ago, but both his successor, who filed the criminal charges, and the current attorney general support abortion rights.

Soon after the verdict was announced, the state’s Board of Healing Arts made public a complaint against Tiller on allegations similar to those at issue in the criminal case. The complaint was filed in December but not released until Friday.

The board, which regulates doctors, could revoke, suspend or limit Tiller’s medical license, or fine him.

Tiller has been a favored target of anti-abortion protesters, and he testified that he and his family have suffered years of harassment and threats. His clinic was the site of the 1991 “Summer of Mercy” protests marked by mass demonstrations and arrests. His clinic was bombed in 1985, and an abortion opponent shot him in both arms in 1993.

Kansas law allows abortions after a fetus can survive outside the womb only if two independent doctors agree that it is necessary to save a women’s life or prevent “substantial and irreversible” harm to “a major bodily function,” a phrase that has been interpreted to include mental health.

Dr. Ann Kristin Neuhaus provided second opinions on late-term abortions before Tiller performed them.

According to trial testimony, Tiller’s patients paid Neuhaus $250 to $300 in cash for providing the consultation and the only way patients could see her was to make an appointment with Tiller’s office.

Tiller testified that he used Neuhaus based on advice from his lawyers and from Larry Buening, who was then executive director of the Board of Healing Arts.

Prosecutors tried to show that Tiller ultimately relied on his lawyers’ advice – an important distinction because the judge told attorneys before their opening statements that relying on the advice of an attorney cannot be used as a legal defense to criminal charges. They also questioned Tiller about the conversation with Buening, noting that Tiller had testified that Buening said he couldn’t quote him.

Tiller also testified that in about five cases each year, Neuhaus would disagree with him about the necessity of a late-term abortion. When she declined to concur, the abortion was not done, he said.

Tiller estimated that he performed 250 to 300 late-term abortions in 2003, each costing an average of $6,000.

Tiller said he is one of three doctors in the U.S. who currently perform late-term abortions. The others are in Boulder, Colo., and Los Angeles, he said.

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