Baltimore Maryland Police Officers Runs Down And Kills Pedestrian With Patrol Car

October 15, 2012

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND — Baltimore police are investigating a fatal accident involving a police cruiser.

According to officials, officers received a call of a shooting in the 900-block of Jack Street. While they were driving to the area with lights and sirens, the vehicle hit a pedestrian in the 900-block of East Patapsco.

Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi identified the man as Leondionas Dias Perez. Guglielmi says Perez, 41, was from South America.

Perez died as a result of his injuries at the hospital.

The Baltimore Police Accident Investigation Unit says it is currently conducting a thorough investigation into this case. Authorities will be doing scene reconstruction and conducting witness interviews, prior to completing a preliminary accident report.

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Savage Black Beast Punched Woman And Pinned Her Between Two Cars For Taking Parking Spot – Also Attacked A Witness To Her Inital Attack

September 20, 2012

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND – An Edgewood woman who police said punched another woman in the face before pinning her between two cars in a parking lot at The Avenue at White Marsh was arrested Monday.

Brandy Tennille Ames, 35, is charged with first-degree assault after police said she and another woman were involved in a “screaming match” Friday night over a parking space that resulted in the physical altercation, police said.

Police said Ames was upset because she thought the driver of a Volkswagen took her parking space when she got into an argument with 24-year-old passenger of the Volkswagen. Police said Ames punched the woman, got back into her Oldsmobile and drove at the passenger, striking her and pinning her against a parked Nissan Sentra.

Ames also struck a witness to the assault before fleeing in her car, police said.

The victim was taken to Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries. The witness was not taken to a hospital.

Ames, of the 600 block of Harr Park Court, is being held at the Baltimore County Detention Center on $1,000,000 bail.

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Savage Black Beast Arrested After Attacking Random Train Passenger In Silver Spring Maryland

September 18, 2012

SILVER SPRING, MARYLAND – A Metro passenger has been sent to the hospital after being slashed in the face by a woman on a Red Line train Monday night.

According to Metro, the male victim was on his cell phone when the woman sitting behind him confronted the victim and started attacking him.

The victim and alleged attacker did not know each other.

Police were alerted about the incident by the train operator while the train was still moving.

Police took the woman into custody after waiting at the Silver Spring station platform for the train to arrive. Authorities say the suspect will undergo a psychological evaluation.

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Prince George’s County Maryland Police Adding Security Cameras To Watch Security Cameras – Pissed Off Residents Taking Out Their Revenue Generating Speed And Red Light Cameras

September 13, 2012

PALMER PARK, MARYLAND – Many people find speed cameras frustrating, and some in the region are taking their rage out on the cameras themselves.

But now there’s a new solution: cameras to watch the cameras.

One is already in place, and Prince George’s County Police Maj. Robert V. Liberati hopes to have up to a dozen more before the end of the year.

“It’s not worth going to jail over a $40 ticket or an arson or destruction of property charge,” says Liberati.

Liberati is the Commander of the Automated Enforcement Section, which covers speed and red-light cameras.

Since April, six people have damaged speed cameras.

On April 6, someone pulled a gun out and shot a camera on the 11400 block of Duley Station Road near U.S. 301 in Upper Marlboro, Md.

Two weeks later, a speed camera was flipped over at 500 Harry S. Truman Drive, near Prince George’s Community College. Police believe several people were involved because of the weight of the camera itself.

Then in May, someone walked up to a camera on Brightseat Road near FedEx Field, cut off one of the four legs, and left.

“I guess that makes a statement, but we were able to just attach another leg,” says Liberati.

But when someone burned down a speed camera on Race Track Road near Bowie State College on July 3, Liberati and his colleagues began to rethink their strategy.

“It costs us $30,000 to $100,000 to replace a camera. That’s a significant loss in the program. Plus it also takes a camera off the street that operates and slows people down. So there’s a loss of safety for the community,” says Liberati

The Prince George’s County Police Department decided it needed to catch the vandals, or at least deter them.

“The roads are choked, there are lots of drivers on them. I think traffic itself is the cause of frustration (towards speed cameras). But, we have a duty to make the roads safe, even if takes a couple extra minutes to get to your destination. Unfortunately, that’s the Washington area, the place we live in,” says Liberati.

Speed cameras themselves can’t be used for security because under Maryland law speed cameras can only take pictures of speeding, says Liberati.

“We’ve taken the additional step of marking our cameras to let people know that there is surveillance.”

Liberati says the cameras aren’t a case of Big Brother nor a cash grab, police are simply trying to keep the public safe from reckless drivers.

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Aberdeen Maryland Police Officer Charles N. Armetta Gets Out Of Limousine On The INTERSTATE, Falls Off Road And Dies

September 10, 2012

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND – An Aberdeen police officer fell to his death from I-95 early Saturday morning.

According to officials, Officer First Class Charles N. Armetta, 29, was traveling in a limousine when he got out of the vehicle near Exit 52. He fell off the road and into a wooded area below.

Officials say that’s a fall of approximately 47 feet. Police say it can be hard to see the distance to the ground from the road.

Armetta was pronoucned dead at the scene.

This is the second Harford County police officer death this week.

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$10 Million Lawsuit After Surveillance Video Catches Prince George’s County Maryland Police Officer Donald Taylor’s Assault On Teen – Cop Has Been Lying About The Attack For 5 Months And Filed Bogus Charges Against Teen

September 5, 2012

BRENTWOOD, MARYLAND – Fox 5 has obtained surveillance video of a February 3rd incident involving a Prince George’s County police officer that seems to dispute his story about why his gun discharged.

A Cottage City 19-year-old spent nearly 4 months in jail after Corporal Donald Taylor claimed Ryan Dorm assaulted him and the gun went off as Taylor struggled with him. The surveillance video is from a business on Perry Street near Rhode Island Avenue in the Brentwood area. Attorney Jimmy Bell, who represents Dorm, says the video shows Taylor out-and-out “lied” when he wrote up a report supporting assault charges against his client.

The incident started when Dorm and a friend say they went to the “Lowest Price” gas station convenience store late that night to buy snacks. Dorm says his friend was wearing a ski mask because it was cold, but two police officers thought he looked suspicious and were going to rob the store. Ryan says he wanted to avoid any trouble, so he left.. But he says Taylor and a second officer followed him. The video shows Dorm being approached from behind, then smacked in the head with a gun. The video shows the flash from the gun as Dorm was being struck.

Taylor has been indicted and faces a trial in November. Bell has filed a $10 million dollar civil lawsuit in the case.

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Savage Black Beast Surrenders After Dragging Ex-Girlfriend’s Lover From Her Home And Killing Him In Parking Lot – Released From Federal Prison In 2008 After Kidnapping Conviction

August 28, 2012

PRINCE GEORGE COUNTY, MARYLAND – A man accused of dragging his ex-girlfriend’s new lover from her apartment and fatally shooting him in a parking lot turned himself in to police over the weekend and on Monday was ordered held without bond.

Prince George’s County police obtained an arrest warrant for 35-year-old James Howard Braddy after the Aug. 12 slaying of Trevor Alejandro Johnson, 37. Mr. Braddy turned himself in to police on Saturday, officials said.

On the afternoon of Aug. 12, police said, Mr. Braddy came into the home of his ex-girlfriend, located on the 1100 block of Kennebec Street in Oxon Hill, and confronted Johnson. During the confrontation, police said, Mr. Braddy shot Johnson. Officials said he dragged Johnson’s body down the steps of the apartment and into an adjacent parking lot, where he shot Johnson several more times.

Mr. Braddy faces charges of first- and second-degree murder, first- and second-degree assault and firearms-related crimes from the incident, according to Prince George’s County District Court records.

After a bail-review hearing Monday, Prince George’s County District Court Judge Patrice Lewis ordered that Mr. Braddy be held at the county’s Department of Corrections without bond. No family or friends appeared to be in attendance at Monday’s hearing. No one could be reached by phone at his home, which was listed as being in the 10000 block of Moreland Street in Fort Washington.

His defense attorney, Christopher Griffiths, made no arguments for or against his bond at the hearing.

According to court records, Mr. Braddy was previously convicted of carrying a pistol without a license in 1997 and, more recently, kidnapping in 2001. The Federal Bureau of Prisons indicates that he was released from prison in 2008.

A preliminary hearing in the first-degree murder case is scheduled on Sept. 24.

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Tax Dollars Spent On Autopsy Finds That Women Who Died Under Trainload Of Coal Died Because They Were Covered By A Trainload Of Coal

August 24, 2012

ELLICOTT CITY, MARYLAND – Two young women were killed when a freight train derailed and toppled so much coal on them they couldn’t breathe, authorities said Thursday.

The bodies of Elizabeth Nass and Rose Mayr were found buried under coal but still seated on edge of a railroad bridge in Ellicott City, police have said. They were not hit by the train, Howard County police spokeswoman Sherry Llewellyn said.

Llewellyn said an autopsy found the women died from accidental asphyxia.

Both were 19-year-old college students. Nass attended James Madison University in Virginia and Mayr was a nursing student at the University of Delaware.

Tweets and photos from the women indicated they were drinking on the bridge as they enjoyed a summer night together before heading back to school. “Drinking on top of the Ellicott City sign,” read one tweet. “Looking down on old ec,” read another.

Their funerals are set for Friday and Saturday.

CSX said Thursday it resumed train operations along the railroad line at 4 p.m.

Howard County spokeswoman Alexandra Bresani said the street underneath the railroad bridge would remain closed until the on-site investigation and removal of the coal was finished.

“We’re making good progress but it’s quite a bit,” CSX spokesman Gary Sease said, noting most of the 21 derailed cars dumped their entire 110-ton load in the accident.

The bridge the women were on is easily accessible from the picturesque downtown of Ellicott City, which is about 15 miles west of Baltimore, and generations of young people have played and partied along the tracks.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the wreck. Federal investigators have said the train was going the authorized speed of 25 miles per hour with an engineer-in-training at the controls before the wreck.

Investigators have also said the train’s emergency brakes were applied automatically — not by the three-man crew — but they don’t know why 21 cars of the 80 cars derailed.

National Transportation Safety Board investigator Jim Southworth has said the train’s two locomotives did not derail and that the crew reported they “felt nothing, and they saw nothing before emergency braking occurred on their train.”

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Protest Planned At Laurel Maryland Police Station After Officer Brutally Beat Handcuffed Man – City Faces $3 Million Lawsuit After Officer’s Attack

August 20, 2012

LAUREL, MARYLAND – When Laurel Police arrive to work Monday morning, they will be greeted by protesting members of the NAACP.

The demonstration stems from allegations of police brutality apparently captured on cellphone video earlier this month. In that video, an officer appears to punch or slap 27-year-old D’Ante Williams at least three times while being led away from the Laurel Station Bar and Grill in handcuffs. Williams was arrested for disorderly conduct.

The Laurel Police Department has not publicly commented on the case, but the city now faces a $3 million lawsuit filed by Williams.

At a community meeting in Laurel Thursday night, the Prince George’s county chapter of the NAACP asked residents for their input in the case and several other similar alleged incidents.

“The purpose of tonight’s meeting was to start gathering information to support a possible case or information people want to turn over to the Department of Justice to see if there is a pattern of police brutality here in Laurel,” Bob Ross, the President of the Prince George’s County NAACP told News4.

In the meantime, the NAACP wants the police department to put the officer in question on leave.

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Rich Flee Maryland’s High Income Taxes, Which Has Cost State At Least $1.7 Billion In Lost Tax Revenues

July 9, 2012

MARYLAND – A new report says wealthy Maryland residents may be moving out due to recent tax hikes – a finding that is sure to escalate the battle over taxing the American rich.

The study, by the anti-tax group Change Maryland, says that a net 31,000 residents left the state between 2007 and 2010, the tenure of a “millionaire’s tax” pushed through by Gov. Martin O’Malley. The tax, which expired in 2010, in imposed a rate of 6.25 percent on incomes of more than $1 million a year.

The Change Maryland study found that the tax cost Maryland $1.7 billion in lost tax revenues. A county-by-county analysis by Change Maryland also found that the state’s wealthiest counties also had some of the largest population outflows.

In total, Maryland has added 24 new taxes or fees in recent years, Change Maryland says. Florida, which has no income-tax, has been a large recipient of Maryland’s exiled wealthy.

“Maryland has reached the point of diminishing returns. We’re taxing people too much and people are voting with their feet,” said Change Maryland Chairman Larry Hogan. “Until we change our focus from tax increases to increasing the tax base, more people are simply going to leave, leading to a downward spiral of raising revenues on fewer citizens.”

The finding adds to the renewed debate over raising taxes on the wealthy. In New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie recently vetoed a millionaire’s tax passed by his legislature, while California and other state governments are also considering higher taxes on high earners to fix budget problems. President Obama on Monday asked Congress to extend tax cuts for those making $250,000 or less – effectively increasing taxes for the higher earners.

Many contend that higher taxes drive out the highly mobile rich, who can simply move to a lower-tax state or even lower-tax country. Recent data shows that a record 1,800 Americans renounces their citizenship last year.


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Some argue, however, that there is little real evidence that higher state taxes drive out large numbers of high earners. Neil Bergsman, director of the Maryland Budget and Tax Policy Institute, said while a number of people left the state between 2007 and 2010, others moved in. The net loss, he said, is “very small,” he said.

What’s more, he points out that the wealthy usually move because of a job change, life change or retirement rather than taxes.

“There is no evidence that tax structures are a significant determinant in their location choices,” Bergsman said.

What’s more, he said, Maryland is still minting high-earners and has among the highest incomes and highest concentration of millionaires in the country.

Other studies in New Jersey, Connecticut and Rhode Island have also failed to offer proof that taxes are the main driver of out-migration by the top earners. (See here and here). In some states, weather is a bigger driver of out-migration by the wealthy than taxes.

Still, with top earners paying the largest share of taxes in many high-income states, many politicians don’t want to take the risk of raising tax rates further

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Army Prosecutors Ordered To Account For Their Action Amid Charges They Withheld Evidence In Wikileaks Case

June 26, 2012

FORT MEADE, MARYLAND – A military judge on Monday ordered Army prosecutors to account for their actions amid accusations they withheld evidence from lawyers for an Army private charged in the biggest leak of classified information in U.S. history.

The ruling by Col. Denise Lind was a partial victory for Pfc. Bradley Manning’s defense team, which claimed prosecutors have shirked their duty to share evidence including written assessments by various government agencies of the damage done by WikiLeaks’ online publication of hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables and war logs. Manning is charged with aiding al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula by sending the material to the secret-sharing website WikiLeaks while working as an intelligence analyst in Baghdad in 2009 and 2010.

Defense lawyer David Coombs contends the damage assessments will reveal the leaks did little harm to national security and foreign relations. In court Monday, he all but accused Army Maj. Ashden Fein of lying about the prosecution’s compliance with so-called discovery rules.

“Normally, these games are not played,” Coombs said. “You hand over discovery and let the facts speak. You don’t play hide the ball, and that’s what the government’s been doing.”

Fein maintained that prosecutors are meeting their obligation as they continue to comb relevant documents for pertinent material and share it with the defense. He said the process is time-consuming because it involves requests for information from 63 government agencies.

“The defense is receiving the information they’re entitled to receive,” Fein said.

Nevertheless, Lind ordered prosecutors to draft a “due diligence statement,” describing in detail their efforts to obtain and share such material in the more than two years since Manning was charged.

Coombs says the prosecution’s failures have already affected Manning’s right to a fair trial.

Lind also ordered prosecutors to turn over damage assessments compiled by the State Department and the Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive, among other documents, for her review.

Manning, a 24-year-old native of Crescent, Okla., faces possible life imprisonment if convicted of aiding the enemy, the most serious of the 22 charges against him. His trial is currently set to begin Sept. 21 but Lind has said it will likely be postponed to November or January.

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Baltimore County Maryland Police Officer James D. Laboard Still Not Charged After Choking Teen To Death While Off Duty – Death Ruled As Homicide

June 25, 2012

RANDALLSTOWN, MARYLAND – The family of Christopher Brown — the Randallstown teen who died this month after an altercation with an off-duty Baltimore County police officer — is demanding the officer be charged.

“An arrest needs to be made,” Brown’s mother, Chris, told reporters Monday afternoon at a relative’s home in Randallstown, where numerous photos of the Randallstown High School junior were displayed around the room. She and the teen’s aunt wore a picture of him on their shirts, with the words “Gone But Not Forgotten” written beneath.

Chris Brown said that even though her 17-year-old son was buried over the weekend, “nothing’s been done.”

Brown, whose death has been ruled a homicide by the state medical examiner’s office, was asphyxiated during an altercation with Officer James D. Laboard on June 13, police said. Police continue to investigate Brown’s death but no charges have been filed.

Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger said in a statement that his office is investigating the death and warned that such investigations can take time.

He said, “I can assure Ms. Brown and all of the citizens of Baltimore County that we will collect the facts impartially and apply the law fairly. To do the job properly, we cannot rush the process, but we will do all that we can to move forward in a timely manner.”

Michael Davey, the police union attorney representing Laboard, was in a trial on Monday and not available for comment.

Elise Armacost, a spokeswoman for Baltimore County police, said, “We know people are anxious for answers and they should get answers, but we need time to investigate.”

Although the death has been ruled a homicide, she said that doesn’t necessarily mean a crirme has been committed. Homicide is defined as death at the hands of another, and prosecutors must decide whether it was justified, negligent or murder.

Brown had been with a group of teens when one threw a rock at Laboard’s house, police said. The officer ran outside after them, and caught up with Brown, who was hiding in bushes outside a home on Starbrook Road. When Brown did not come out, Laboard grabbed him, and the two got into a physical confrontation, police said. Brown fell unconscious.

Police said Laboard, 31, an officer with the Woodlawn Precinct, called for help and attempted to resuscitate Brown.

Armacost said that the case is complicated because police officers have authority to arrest and detain suspects.

But Chris Brown said her family has been patient. After burying her son over the weekend, she said, “this is where I draw the line. I know if this was anybody else, I would’ve gotten results by now.”

On Tuesday, she plans to meet with others in the Stoneybrook Community Association meeting at Winands Road Synagogue Center to hear from other residents about what happened the night her son died.

A flier being distributed in the community said county police Chief James W. Johnson was scheduled to attend, but Armacost said that was incorrect. She said Western Patrol Division Commander Maj. Evan Cohen would attend.

Brown’s attorney, Russell Neverdon, said the officer should be treated the same as any other person. “He should’ve been arrested,” the attorney said, adding that that Christopher Brown had been retreating when he was confronted by the officer.

The mother “has been patient,” Neverdon said, but “she’s not having any sense of finality.”

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Taxpayer Dollars Spent With Food Stamps Doubles To $80 BILLION A Year, But We Have No Idea Where Or How Purchases Are Made – Feds Order States Not To Release Information And Deny Freedom Of Information Act Requests

June 25, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – Americans spend $80 billion each year financing food stamps for the poor, but the country has no idea where or how the money is spent.

Food stamps can be spent on goods ranging from candy to steak and are accepted at retailers from gas stations that primarily sell potato chips to fried-chicken restaurants. And as the amount spent on food stamps has more than doubled in recent years, the amount of food stamps laundered into cash has increased dramatically, government statistics show.

But the government won’t say which stores are doing the most business in food stamps, and even it doesn’t know what kinds of food those taxpayer dollars buy.

Coinciding with lobbying by convenience stores, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which administers the program in conjunction with states, contends that disclosing how much each store authorized to accept benefits, known as the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), receives in taxpayer funds would amount to revealing trade secrets.

As a result, fraud is hard to track and the efficacy of the massive program is impossible to evaluate.

As the House debates the once-every-five-years farm bill, the majority of which goes to food stamps, there is a renewed and fervent call from a broad spectrum of camps that the information – some of the most high-dollar, frequently requested and closely held secrets of the government – be set free.

“We can’t release it based on federal rules. If it were up to us, I wouldn’t have a problem releasing the information. It’s taxpayer money,” said Tom Steinhauser with the division of benefit programs for the Virginia Department of Social Services.

The District said it would be illegal to tell the newspaper how many food stamp dollars were flowing to each local vendor, but first offered to sell The Washington Times the information for $125,000.

“Why don’t you just pay the charges? Your paper has a lot of money,” said David Umansky, spokesman for the District’s chief financial officer.
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Veteran Prince George’s County Maryland Deputy Sheriff Lamar McIntyre Arrested, Suspended, And Charged With Raping Female Inmate

June 21, 2012

PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY, MARYLAND – A deputy sheriff is under arrest after allegedly sexually assaulting a female inmate, according to Prince George’s County police.

The woman, 34, told police that deputy sheriff Lamar McIntyre, 31, of Bowie assaulted her at about 2 p.m. Tuesday while she was being held at the Upper Marlboro courthouse before a trial, a county police release states.

McIntyre admitted the assault when questioned by county detectives and is charged with second-degree rape and second-degree sex offense, according to online Prince George’s County District Court records. He was remanded to the Department of Corrections in Upper Marlboro on a $75,000 bond, according to county police.

McIntyre, who has been a sheriff deputy since September 2009, was put on leave without pay, said Sharon Taylor, an office of the sheriff spokeswoman.

No attorney information was listed for him in online court records as of Thursday.

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US Navy Drone Crashed In Maryland Marsh

June 11, 2012

NANTICOKE, MARYLAND – A U.S. Navy drone crashed early Monday afternoon in a marshy area on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, military officials said. There were no reported injuries on the ground and no damage to property.

The Broad Area Maritime Surveillance Demonstrator unmanned aircraft being tested by the Navy went down at around 12:11 p.m. near Bloodsworth Island in southern Dorchester County, the Navy said in a release.

The 44-foot-long aircraft is one of five aircraft acquired from the Air Force Global Hawk program. The Navy said the BAMS-D program has been developing tactics and doctrine for the employment of high-altitude unmanned patrol aircraft since November 2006.

The Navy is investigating the cause of the crash.

The Coast Guard set up a safety zone around the area where the crash occurred.

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Savage Black Beast Charged After Killing, Dismembering, And Eating Man In Maryland

May 31, 2012

HARFORD COUNTY, MARYLAND – Alexander Kinyua, a 21-year-old Morgan State University student, has been charged in the killing and dismemberment in Harford County of a 37-year-old man, and while not much was immediately known about the circumstances of the crime, Kinyua’s online trail points to a troubled young man.

Just five days ago on a Kenyan website, a post from his parents showed that he had been arrested following what they described as a fight in his dormitory room:

“Our son, Alexander Kimanthi Kinyua, was arrested on Saturday, May 19th, for being involved in a fight in his dormitory room at Morgan State University. The charge against him is “1st Degree Assault and Excessive Endangerment of Life”. His bail has been set for US $220,000.00. In order to get him the best defense possible, we need to secure an attorney who will take his case and leave no stone unturned.”

Court records on the state’s Judiciary Case Search web site confirm the charges, and show Kinyua, who appears to have no prior record, was able to post bond on May 23rd and was released. Kinyua’s address is listed in the 500 block of Terrapin Terrace in Joppa, the same listed as the address for the slaying victim, Kujoe Bonsafo Agyei- Kodie.

The connection between the two men was not known Wednesday night. Late Wednesday, a man who answered a phone at the number listed told The Sun’s Kevin Rector that his parents, Antony and Beatrice Kinyua, were “resting,” and that the family did not wish to speak to the media without an attorney present.

In the days prior to the arrest, he had posted several strange messages on his Facebook page, in all capital letters. In two of the posts, he uploaded “QR Codes,” those bar code images that lead you to a web page when you hover a smart phone over them. They both led to the following message:


In another, he wrote about campus shootings and “death cults”:


The message ends up with a poll with no discernible connection to the statement. Another post was simply the image of the Predator from the films of the same name. His profile picture is an image of Richard Ansdell’s 1861 painting, “The Hunted Slaves,” showing two runaway slaves facing dogs that have been set on them.

Prior to that, Kinyua appeared to be a happy college student. Photo galleries tagged by Kinyua show him smiling and having fun in September 2011 at a campus student organization event, where he shows off a jacket for the National Society of Pershing Rifles, which according to its website is a fraternity for students in Reserve Office Training Corps programs.

Charging documents in the case are expected to be made public Thursday.

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Pack Of Savage Black Beasts Rob 7-11 Store In Baltimore Maryland And Beat Store Manager

May 24, 2012

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND – Another mob of juveniles causes problems in downtown Baltimore. This time, it happens inside a 7-Eleven where dozens of kids came for free Slurpees but ended up stealing much more.

The entire incident was caught on video. But city police and managers at the 7-Eleven have refused to let WJZ see that video. But there are plenty of people in that busy area of town who saw it all unfold.

A nationwide 7-Eleven free Slurpee giveaway brought 35 to 40 kids into the Light Street store around 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

“It was a lot of kids and they were out of control,” Kesha Chester, who was at the store at the time, said.

While some kids lined up for the free Slurpee, witnesses saw other kids raiding the candy shelves.

“They went in, they started going everywhere in the store, grabbing things and then they just run out. And I knew that they didn’t buy it because they just run out,” Kendra Mellerson said. “They ran that way and they ran that way. And the guy was trying to come out and stop them but they couldn’t because there was so many.”

After some kids ran away, a store manager blocked the door to keep the rest of the kids from leaving. But those kids got so mad that the door was blocked, they started punching the store manager.

“Yes, they really started hitting that guy and he couldn’t keep getting beat on so he eventually let them out. And then they just ran,” Mellerson said.

What happened at the store is the latest example of large groups of young people creating havoc in downtown Baltimore.

On St. Patrick’s Day, police broke up several fights and disturbances as crowds of teens gathered in the Inner Harbor.

That same night, another group beat and robbed a tourist. Cameras have spotted large groups of teens roaming streets in November and caught big fights on July 4, all of it upsetting to downtown workers.

“I’m really appalled at the behavior of these teenagers. When the kids are running rampant, running amok, where are the parents?” asked one person.

The juveniles were all wearing yellow shirts and khaki pants. Police are trying to figure out what school they came from.

Police declined to be interviewed for this story.

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Baltimore Maryland Police Claim They Are Increasing Secruity In Inner Harbor After Black On White Violence

May 22, 2012

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND – The rash of fights, stabbings and the beating of a tourist in downtown Baltimore are raising concerns and city leaders are taking action. Mike Hellgren takes a closer look at the security enhancements.

Even the rain couldn’t keep throngs of tourists away from the Inner Harbor, but a string of violence downtown—including a beating caught on tape—groups of fighting teenagers and several stabbings during the St. Patrick’s Day weekend have police beefing up their presence, including 50 more officers on the streets, new school police patrols to control youth causing problems and better camera technology including clearer, high-definition lenses in the network of 100 cameras with their eyes downtown.

“I wouldn’t sit here and try to get everybody alarmed. All those issues were managed appropriately by the central district and responding officers. They’re going to continue to be managed,” said Anthony Guglielmi.

For the first time, the camera network at Harborplace and also at Galleryplace will be linked into the police system.

Veteran businessman Ed Hale chairs the Convention and Tourism Board.

“I believe that the problem has been recognized and there are people trying to deal with it,” Hale said.

The new layer of security will blanket the area Thursday through Sunday nights.

“I do actually see a lot of security all the time, pretty much,” said David Reed.

It comes as Baltimore prepares for major events, including Memorial Day weekend, the War of 1812 bicentennial celebration and the Grand Prix.

“You’re going to have issues that happen [with] large groups coming downtown. It’s going to happen in Washington, it’s going to happen in Baltimore, it’s going to happen in Philadelphia. What people have to know is that the Baltimore police department is prepared and we know how to respond to those,” Guglielmi said.

Police stress that overall, violent crime is down in the city.

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Montgomery County Maryland 911 Dispatcher Falls Asleep On The Job

May 22, 2012

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MARYLAND – Calling 911. It’s the moment of your greatest need.

But instead of help, all you get is silence.

Just after midnight on April 4, a Montgomery County woman called 911 because her husband was having trouble breathing and was starting to turn blue.

Following protocol, a 911 call-taker answers and quickly transfers the woman to a dispatcher.

He was supposed to send an ambulance.

But in the 911 recording call obtained by the News4 I-Team, all you can hear is silence in response to the woman’s repeated hellos.

Caller: “Hello? Hello? Hello?”

Realizing something isn’t right, the original call-taker breaks in.

911 Call-Taker: “OK, hold on one second ma’am. Let me try to get them on the line again.”

Caller: “OK. Oh.”

Sleeping Dispatcher: ((Snore))

That light snoring you hear is the original dispatcher who has fallen asleep.

The snores get louder as a new dispatcher tries to help the woman.

2nd Dispatcher: “Put one hand on his forehand, the other hand underneath his neck and tilt his head back.”

Caller: “Yes.”

Sleeping Dispatcher: ((Snore))

Caller: “Uh huh.”

“The employee was immediately removed from the floor by his supervisor that night and placed on administrative leave with pay pending the inquiry,” Montgomery County Assistant Fire Chief Scott Graham said.

According to Graham, the sleeping dispatcher is an experienced uniformed firefighter who was 17 hours into a 24-hour overtime shift.

The News4 I-Team found Montgomery County dispatchers work twice as long as other dispatchers in the D.C. area. In Fairfax County, dispatchers work 12.5-hour shifts. In Prince George’s County they work a 12-hour shift. The District has a 10-hour shift.

Jeffrey Buddle is the Vice President of the Montgomery County Career Fire Fighters Association IAFF Local 1664, which represents firefighter dispatchers.

Buddle said while a 24-hour shift “may seem like a long shift to someone who’s not used to that schedule, it’s something that’s just normal for a firefighter to work.”

Both he and Graham say this is the first time someone has fallen asleep during a 24-hour shift.

Caller: “Now he’s all blue.”

Sleeping Dispatcher: ((Snore))

In the recording, the second dispatcher and the woman he was trying to help are both confused by the snoring. The second dispatcher repeatedly asked if the woman’s husband was making the noise.

Graham confirmed to News4 it is instead the original dispatcher.

The News4 I-Team counted at least 18 snores on the recording before the sleeping dispatcher woke up, not realizing the woman had been on the line for more than four minutes.

Caller: “He stopped breathing for, for a little while. And now I put, I put his, I put my…”

Sleeping Dispatcher: “What’s the address?”

Caller: “ …hand on his chest.”

Sleeping Dispatcher: “What’s the address?”

Caller: “Uh huh.”

Sleeping Dispatcher: “What’s the address?”

Caller: ((Crying))

Sleeping Dispatcher: “Ma’am, what’s the address?”

Graham said the patient was transported to a hospital and did not have any “adverse effects as a result of the call.”

He said 911 dispatchers are now working in a renovated call center where a supervisor can now see all of the dispatchers. The county, he said, now hopes this will prevent anyone from falling asleep.

As for the issue of 24-hour shifts, it could come up this fall when the new collective bargaining agreement goes into negotiations.

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Black Spencer North Carolina Teacher Tanya Dixon-Neely Nuts Up And Tells Student He Can Be Arrested For Speaking Ill Of President Obama – Follow YouTube Link To Hear Nutcase Teacher Flipping Out

May 20, 2012

SPENCER, NORTH CAROLINA — After reviewing a video in which a North Rowan High School teacher tells a student he can be arrested for speaking ill of President Barack Obama, the Rowan-Salisbury School System said it can be a learning experience.

Meanwhile, an expert on politics at Catawba College says the social studies teacher just doesn’t have her facts straight when she insists speaking your mind about a president can get you charged with a criminal offense.

Although two students provided the name of the teacher, the Post is not publishing it because officials within the school system would not confirm her identity and she could not be reached for comment.

The video captures audio of the dispute but does not show the teacher or anyone else. It appears to have been shot with a phone or other device as the camera pointed at the ceiling the entire time.

Rowan-Salisbury spokeswoman Rita Foil confirmed the teacher is still employed with the district and has not been suspended for disciplinary reasons. Foil emailed this statement to a Post reporter Friday on behalf of the school system:

“The Rowan-Salisbury School System expects all students and employees to be respectful in the school environment and for all teachers to maintain their professionalism in the classroom. This incident should serve as an education for all teachers to stop and reflect on their interaction with students.

“Due to personnel and student confidentiality, we cannot discuss the matter publicly.”

The nearly 10-minute video, shot by a student and uploaded to YouTube on Monday, had been viewed more than 1,000 times by Friday afternoon.

It begins with a classroom conversation about a recent news story detailing Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney allegedly bullying a classmate in prep school. It turns into a heated, sometimes confrontational debate.

One student asks, “Didn’t Obama bully someone though?”

The teacher responds: “Not to my knowledge.”

In response to the Romney story, conservatives have recently been pointing to a passage in Obama’s book, “Dreams from My Father,” in which the president writes that while in grade school he shoved a little girl, the only other black student in his grade, after other students called him her boyfriend.

When the student tells the teacher that Obama admitted to bullying a girl in school, the teacher goes on the defensive.

“Stop, no, because there is no comparison,” she says. Romney, she says, is “running for president. Obama is the president.”

When the student says they’re both “just men,” the teacher continues to argue that Romney, as a candidate for president, is not to be afforded the same respect as the president.

The teacher tells the class Obama is “due the respect that every other president is due.”

“Listen, let me tell you something, you will not disrespect the president of the United States in this classroom,” she says.

The student replies that he’ll say what he wants.

“Not about him you won’t,” the teacher says.

Later in the conversation, the teacher tells the class it’s criminal to slander a president.

“Do you realize that people were arrested for saying things bad about Bush?” she says of former President Bush. “Do you realize you are not supposed to slander the president?”

The student responds by saying being arrested for talking badly about the president would violate the right to free speech.

“You would have to say some pretty f’d up crap about him to be arrested,” he says. “They cannot take away your right to have your opinion. … They can’t take that away unless you threaten the president.”

Principal Darrel McDowell referred questions about the video to Foil.

Michael Bitzer, a political science professor at Catawba College and a widely known political analyst, weighed in on the video.

“I think what this broke down to was a perceived personal slight by an instructor against someone she sees in a positive view, and things just went out of control from there,” Bitzer said in an email to the Post.

Bitzer said he thinks the teacher did go a “bit overboard in being rude towards the student.”

“I think the student was also trying to pick a fight, honestly,” he said.

Bitzer said it appears the teacher’s attempt to make a point about showing respect for the office of the president gets overshadowed by her personal feelings for Obama.

“Her point about not being able to say anything ‘disrespectful’ about the president does fly in the face of the First Amendment, and while she may wish to enforce that edict about ‘respecting’ the president, the issue seems to have gotten personal on her part,” Bitzer wrote.

“Granted, she apparently tried to ensure that a respectful conversation was had about the president, but she seems to have taken things a bit too personally — and it appears the student was set on making a confrontation in the guise of raising a question about ‘who bullied who — both Romney and Obama?’ ”

Referencing former president George W. Bush, Richard Nixon and Abraham Lincoln, Bitzer said the fact that there are a lot of “mean, derogatory things said about our elected officials” is part of American history.

Bitzer said he has “no idea” what the teacher is talking about when she claims people were arrested for saying bad things about Bush.

“I have never heard of anyone arrested for saying derogatory things about George W. Bush , which I am assuming she is referring to,” he said. “Her belief that if one slanders the president is not very accurate — if you ‘threaten’ the president, that is another story, and that is a criminal offense.”

Searches on YouTube don’t bring up the video because it is classified as unlisted.

The full link is

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Baltimore Maryland Police Hid Scope Of “Disturbance” After White Teen Was Beaten By Two Separate Gangs Of Savage Black Beasts Within Minutes

May 19, 2012

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND – A 19-year-old student from Baltimore Polytechnic High School told police he was beaten by two separate groups of juveniles from a rival school in downtown Baltimore on Thursday afternoon, an attack that comes amid a pitched debate over downtown safety.

According to police, the student was walking in the 200 block of W. Fayette St., a block north of the First Mariner Arena, before 4:20 p.m. when he said he was attacked from behind by an unknown male. Nine other juveniles joined in as he tried to defend himself, and his phone was taken during the attack, he told police.

Moments later, police say, an MTA bus stopped in the block and a juvenile male wearing a Digital Harbor High School shirt “forced open the door and got off the bus,” followed by 19 other juveniles wearing Digital Harbor shirts, who again assaulted the victim, police said.

Anthony Guglielmi, a city police spokesman, said the victim told the police he was attacked because of a rivalry between the two schools. Guglielmi said police were coordinating with school officials to investigate the case.

The Sun reported last week that police dispatch tapes revealed a broader disturbance downtown on St. Patrick’s Day than police had let on, and some questioned whether police had been forthcoming initially about the scope of the incident. The tapes showed police struggled to contain large groups of young people moving throughout the downtown area.

Also that night, a Virginia man was beaten and stripped of his clothing near the downtown courthouse, an attack that was caught on tape and garnered national attention.

The racial elements of that crime fed much of the outrage – the victim was white, and the attackers were all black. In Thursday’s reported assault, Guglielmi said the 19-year-old victim was white and the attackers were all juvenile black males.

The reports of the St. Patrick’s Day incidents prompted Baltimore County Del. Pat McDonough, a conservative radio show host, to issue a statement asking the governor to send in the Maryland State Police to control “roving mobs of black youths” at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. He said the Harbor should be declared a “no-travel zone” until safety can be ensured.

His comments were denounced by other politicians, including Gov. Martin O’Malley, and a group of activists to call for an apology. McDonough has declined, saying to do so would be “political correctness on steroids.”

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Baltimore Maryland Delegate Wants Governor To Send In State Police To Control “Roving Mobs Of Black Youths” And Declare Inner Harbor A “No-Travel Zone” Until Safety Can Be Guaranteed

May 17, 2012

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND – A Baltimore County delegate said Wednesday that the governor should send in the Maryland State Police to control “roving mobs of black youths” at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, prompting a colleague to label the message “race-baiting.”

Del. Patrick L. McDonough, a Republican whose district includes part of Harford County, distributed a news release with the headline: “Black Youth Mobs Terrorize Baltimore on Holidays.” In it, McDonough said he had sent a letter to Gov. Martin O’Malley urging him to use the state police to help prevent attacks and to declare the Inner Harbor area a “no-travel zone” until safety can be guaranteed.

McDonough’s message, which came on the last day of a General Assembly special session, offended some colleagues who thought it gratuitously highlighted the issue of race.

“It’s a throwback to the ’50s and ’60s, and it’s obviously race-baiting,” said Del. Keiffer J. Mitchell Jr., a Baltimore Democrat who offered to take McDonough on a guided tour of the Inner Harbor on a weekend night.

McDonough, a radio talk-show host, is best known in the legislature for his relentless and sometimes confrontational efforts to crack down on illegal immigration in Maryland.

“I’m not surprised at this inappropriate behavior,” said Del. Ana Sol Gutierrez, a Montgomery County Democrat. She said that in her 10 years in the legislature, she hadn’t seen such a racially tinged statement released by a colleague.

McDonough refused to back down, saying he had heard from police that the crowds involved in several recent incidents were all black. Failing to mention the race of the participants, he said, would be “political correctness on steroids.”

McDonough said his statement was prompted by several recent problems, including a St. Patrick’s Day disturbance and a recent incident in which he and his wife witnessed a fight involving about 100 youths at Pratt and Calvert streets.

The lawmaker said that his statement has brought attention from out-of-town news media and that he planned to give national television interviews warning visitors against traveling to the Inner Harbor. “A no-travel zone is an action that needs to be taken to protect lives,” he said.

O’Malley, a former Baltimore mayor, dismissed McDonough’s suggestions, saying Baltimore had cut its crime rate more than any American city of comparable size.

“Delegate McDonough should come and visit some time,” the governor said. “He might enjoy it.”

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Baltimore Maryland Prosecutors Dropping Charges Against Savage Black Beasts Who Attacked, Brutally Beat, Stripped, And Robbed White Tourist – Despite Video Evidence

May 10, 2012

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND – Baltimore prosecutors have dropped half of the charges filed against four young people accused in a St. Patrick’s Day attack on a tourist, whose brutal beating and robbery was videotaped and widely viewed online.

Aaron Jacob Parsons, 20; Shayona Mikia Davis, 20; Shatia Baldwin, 21; and Deangelo Carter, 19, were each charged in with first-degree assault in the incident, in which an Alexandria, Va. man was battered, stripped of his clothes and left unconscious in front of the Baltimore circuit courthouse on North Calvert Street.

But the city state’s attorneys’ office has since dropped those charges and whittled many others over the past three weeks. In all, 13 out of 24 charges have been removed.

“The court commissioner filed the original list of charges in this case, and we modified the list to reflect our assessment of the alleged illegal conduct,” said Mark Cheshire, a spokesman for the prosecutors’ office.

Three of the defendants have hearings scheduled in district court next week. Davis, who was originally charged with armed robbery for using a high-heeled shoe as a weapon, was set to appear Wednesday. But her hearing was canceled after city prosecutors filed a criminal information in the case, moving it from the lower district court to circuit court.

The videotaped attack shocked viewers and police, who used the recording to track down the defendants, the last of whom was arrested April 25. The video appears to show an unprovoked assault on an intoxicated tourist, who later told police he was trying to get back to his Mount Vernon hotel. He was robbed of his iPhone, a $1,300 watch and the key to his Audi, police said.

Parsons, a party promoter from Rosedale, was originally charged with eight crimes in the incident, but three of them have been cut, including the first-degree assault, conspiracy to commit first-degree assault and reckless endangerment. Remaining are robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery, second-degree assault, conspiracy to commit second-degree assault and theft charges.

Davis, who lives in Baltimore, is now charged only with second-degree assault, after first-degree assault, robbery and armed robbery charges were dropped.

Baldwin, of Brooklyn, is now charged with robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery, theft and second-degree assault, after four other charges were dropped: first-degree assault, reckless endangerment, conspiracy to commit first-degree assault and conspiracy to commit second-degree assault.

A single charge of second-degree assault remains against Carter, who lives in Baltimore. Prosecutors declined to pursue armed robbery, robbery, and first-degree assault charges.

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Virginia Considers Privatizing Prison For Sexually Violet Predators, But Two Companies Involved Has Past History Of Multi Million Dollar Legal Settlements, Human Rights Abuse, And Sexual Abuse Of Prisoners

May 2, 2012

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA — Virginia is considering privatizing its sole facility fully devoted to treating sexually violent predators, but the two companies in the running have a history of multimillion-dollar legal settlements and illicit behavior that includes a charge of “deliberate indifference” to sexual misconduct between staff and youths at a facility.

The Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services is evaluating proposals from private prison-operating companies GEO Care Inc. and Liberty Healthcare Corp. to take over the Virginia Center for Behavioral Rehabilitation in Burkeville because of an increase in the number of offenders and concerns about costs.

GEO, a subsidiary of the Boca Raton, Fla.-based GEO Group Inc., last year sent the state an unsolicited proposal to consider privatization of the center, a psychiatric treatment facility for sex offenders who have served their prison sentences. Liberty, based in Bala Cynwyd, Pa., submitted one after the state began reviewing the GEO proposal.

Meghan McGuire, a spokeswoman with the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, said Virginia is “taking a comprehensive look at the private companies who proposed to run [the rehabilitation center] as we determine whether privatization of the program is the right fit for Virginia.”

Despite a long history of operating such facilities, the two companies have dubious records in other states.

The U.S. Department of Justice in March released a scathing report after an inquiry into the Walnut Grove Youth Correctional Facility in Mississippi, previously run by GEO. The state recently announced that it is seeking new management for Walnut Grove, as well as two other private prisons run by GEO.

The Justice Department report concluded that the state was violating the rights of the youths incarcerated in the facility and found “deliberate indifference” to high incidences of sexual misconduct between youths and staff. A consent decree entered in March removed everyone younger than 17 from the facility and stipulated that no youths could be placed in solitary confinement in the state.

Pablo Paez, a spokesman for GEO, declined to comment on the investigation into the facility but pointed out that GEO did not assume management of it until late 2010 and has since made “significant improvements.” Mental health and medical staffs at the facility are employed by contract and are not GEO or state employees.

Troubled histories

GEO settled for $3 million in 2010 after a class-action lawsuit was filed in 2008 alleging unconstitutional strip searches at a Pennsylvania jail. The family of an inmate beaten to death at a GEO-run facility in Texas sued in 2006, and was awarded about $50 million by a jury, though the case ultimately was settled out of court.

“They understaff, they underpay, there’s high turnover,” said Ken Kopczynski, executive director of the Private Corrections Working Group, which serves to provide information about problems of prison privatization. “It’s a business model – they expect a certain amount of suits, they expect a certain amount of fines.”

GEO operates Virginia’s one private prison – the 1,500-bed Lawrenceville Correctional Center.

Liberty has had ignominious incidents of its own.

A massive investigation and report from Florida’s Department of Children and Families office of inspector general uncovered an incident at the Florida Civil Commitment Center – then run by Liberty – in 2004.

A whistleblower investigation found that the facility’s safety director and safety manager erased or destroyed video evidence after a resident – placed in solitary confinement after threatening to burn a female worker – was then inexplicably allowed to roam the building, after which he climbed onto the roof and jumped off.

In 2006, Florida chose GEO to take the reins away from Liberty, and the company opened a 720-bed facility in 2009. But the state has consistently had to subsidize the company because the number of residents hasn’t increased as quickly as projected because of changes in the state’s civil commitment process.

Officials with GEO Group and Liberty said it was not their policy to comment on ongoing procurement processes or proposals they submit before they become a matter of public record.

All told, between 2004 and 2010, GEO contributed more than $100,000 to state politicians and groups in Virginia, including more than $30,000 to Gov. Bob McDonnell’s gubernatorial and attorney general campaigns. Liberty contributed a total of $5,500 to various politicians in 2002.

Ms. McGuire said the department is examining the pluses and minuses of the two companies.

“We are looking into their successes and problems in other states as well as scrutinizing their responses to the very thorough request for submission we developed,” she said.

Mixed bag

Despite their issues, the companies are still accredited, and may be able to help Virginia ameliorate its looming overcrowding issues.

Savings for the state from fully privatizing the facility, if any, are yet to be determined, Ms. McGuire said, adding that the agency cannot comment on the proposals until negotiations are finished. Both companies claim they can double the 300-bed capacity at the facility at no additional capital cost to the state. The population at the center, currently around 280, is expected to hit 450 by 2014, and it costs the state about $91,000 per prisoner a year.

Florida staff has reported that privatizing the facility has made its program more cost-effective. It costs the state about $38,300 per patient annually at the GEO-run facility.

Virginia expects its cost per patient to decline to about $62,000 by 2015 as its population jumps as a result of a plan to house two occupants instead of one to a room, called double-bunking. The Virginia Center for Behavioral Rehabilitation is retrofitting the facility to prepare for potential double-bunking. Some residents have sent letters to Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II saying they will sue the state if they are double-bunked.

GEO has delivered sex-offender treatment consistent with Practice Standards and Guidelines for the Treatment of Adult Male Sexual Abusers of the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers, according to the unsolicited proposal it sent to Virginia.

Liberty told Virginia officials in its proposal that it is planning to partner with Gilbane Development Co. and the McLean-based Davis Carter Scott architectural firm to improve the facility. Gilbane developed the Virginia Center for Behavioral Rehabilitation, and Davis Carter Scott designed it.

But any potential gaps, loopholes or cost increases when housing the most violent of sexual predators is a tough sell to the public, Mr. Kopczynski said.

“It’s a standard business model – you get away with what you can get away with,” he said. “They’re there to make a profit. John and Jane Q. Public don’t care about inmates.”

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Maryland To Lower Penalties For Simple Pot Possession, But Strips Those Charged Of Their Right To Trial By Jury

May 2, 2012

MARYLAND – Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley is expected to sign a bill Wednesday relaxing the penalty facing people caught with a small amount of marijuana, a law that supporters say will help streamline prosecution of misdemeanor possession cases.

The legislation would decrease the penalty for defendants found with less than 10 grams of marijuana, cutting the current maximum penalty of one year in jail and a $1,000 fine down to 90 days in jail and a $500 fine.

The bill, which passed the General Assembly last month, also would require cases involving less than 10 grams of marijuana — or about one-third of an ounce — to be decided by a judge rather than a jury, eliminating delays and costs often associated with jury trials.

“It’s much simpler, it’s much cleaner and we can get people into treatment faster,” said Sen. Jamin B. “Jamie” Raskin, the bill’s sponsor. “We should be trying to get people into drug treatment rather than having their cases drag on for a year or two.”

Mr. Raskin, Montgomery Democrat, said the state’s current marijuana-possession laws are needlessly complicated. Actual sentences rarely, if ever, come close to the maximum penalties — resulting in months and years spent on cases that often end with a sentence of a few days of jail time.

In 2010, nearly 24,000 people were arrested in Maryland for marijuana possession, according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report. Many cases resulted in guilty pleas rather than jury trials.

“We’re adjusting the law to mirror actual practices,” Mr. Raskin said. “Anything that we can do to bring more reason and balance into our drug laws will reduce costs in the criminal justice system and prisons and will benefit everybody.”

Whileactual sentences are not particularly harsh, Mr. Raskin said Maryland’s longtime law is one of the tougher ones in the nation and more severe than many in neighboring states.

The state’s maximum $1,000 fine is identical to those in New Jersey, West Virginia and the District, but most other nearby states threaten no more than six months in jail.

In Virginia, first-time possession of 14 grams or less is punishable by just 30 days in jail and a $500 fine, although repeat offenders face up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine.

In the District, possession of any amount of marijuana is punishable by six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

The Maryland bill had support from state prosecutors and easily passed both chambers — 41-5 in the Senate and 92-31 in the House.

The Senate initially wanted to relax the penalty for possession of up to 14 grams while the House pushed for just seven grams. The chambers settled on 10 grams as a compromise.

The legislation was criticized by lawmakers who worried that relaxing the law sets a bad precedent and trivializes the dangers of marijuana.

Delegate Susan K. McComas, Harford Republican, said she thinks the new law could lead drug users or dealers to possess marijuana in smaller quantities simply to avoid more-severe penalties for possessing larger amounts.

“I’ve had clients where marijuana has been a gateway drug and they’ve gotten into worse things,” said Ms. McComas, a lawyer. “Every time we do something, in the street they figure out how to get around it.”

The new law is scheduled to go into effect Oct. 1.

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At Least 3 Attackers Have Invoked Name Of “Trayvon Martin” In Beatings Of White Victims

April 27, 2012

SANFORD, FLORIDA – In at least three cases nationwide, attackers have invoked the name of Trayvon Martin in the beating of white victims, with one alleged attacker saying anger over the case was the motivating factor for the assault.

In the latest incident, Alton L. Hayes, an 18-year-old African American in suburban Chicago, told police that he jumped a white 19-year-old because he was upset about the Sanford, Fla., case, police told the Chicago Tribune.

Hayes and a 15-year-old from Chicago attacked the victim about 1 a.m. April 17 in Oak Park, west of Chicago, police said.

Hayes told police the pair grabbed the man from behind, hit him several times and threatened him with a tree branch, saying, “Empty your pockets, white boy,” FOX Chicago reported. The pair then allegedly threw the man to the ground and hit him in the head several more times before taking off. The man called police, who stopped the pair a few blocks away.

On Wednesday, Hayes was charged with a hate crime, as well as with attempted robbery and aggravated battery. He was being held in Cook County jail on $80,000 bail Thursday, according to jail records. The 15-year-old, who is also black, was charged with attempted robbery.

Martin, an unarmed 17-year-old walking through a gated community, was shot by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman on Feb. 26. The shooting, and the Police Department’s initial refusal to charge Zimmerman, sparked outrage and protests across the country. A special prosecutor was appointed to the case, and she ultimately charged Zimmerman with second-degree murder.

Now the name “Trayvon” is being invoked not only to describe other cases — in Baltimore, New York and beyond — in which young people have been injured or killed, but also as a sign of anger during attacks on whites.

On Saturday, a mob of about 20 African Americans allegedly beat a white man on the porch of his Mobile, Ala., home with chairs, pipes, brass knuckles and paint cans. The man’s sister said one of the assailants shouted, “Now that’s justice for Trayvon,” WKRG reported.

Despite pleas from the man’s relatives for the incident to be investigated as a hate crime, the attack on Matthew Owens, 40, was investigated as an assault. Investigators insisted that the Martin case had nothing to do with the assault, that the attack arose out of an ongoing dispute between Owens and a neighbor.

On Wednesday, police arrested 44-year-old Terry Rawls for first-degree assault in connection with the attack, WKRG reported.

“I can tell you this without a doubt, 100% certainty, that Trayvon Martin was not the motivating factor in this incident,” Mobile Police Cpl. Chris Levy told WKRG.

Mobile County Dist. Atty. Ashley Rich told WKRG on Wednesday that she was conferring with counterparts at the U.S. attorney’s office and the FBI, and that she was leaving it up to federal officials to decide whether the incident merited hate crime charges.

As Owens remained hospitalized this week, conservative talk shows and websites buzzed with news of the attack and supporters started the Facebook page “Justice for Matthew Owens.” Mobile’s mayor, who is African American, tried to clear the air Wednesday and distance the incident from events in Sanford, Fla.

“We don’t have that kind of information that would tell us this stemmed from some hate crime that started somewhere else,” Mayor Samuel Jones told Local15, “or even one that started here that was strictly based on race.”

The Martin case was also mentioned in connection with a third attack on an elderly white Ohio man late last month.

Dallas Watts, 78, told police he was walking home in Toledo on March 31 when he was confronted by six youths, white and black, ages 11 to 17, one of whom directed the group to “take him down,” reported.

Watts said he pleaded, “Why me? Remember Trayvon,” in a “peaceful way.” He told reporters that only seemed to anger the youths.

“[Get] that white [man]. This is for Trayvon. … Trayvon lives, white [man]. Kill that white [man],” the boys are quoted as saying in a police report cited by the Toledo Blade.

Three of the six youths have since been charged in connection with the attack, but police did not find evidence to support hate crime charges, reported.

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Broke: Baltimore Maryland Considers Selling Ads On Sides Of Firetrucks

April 23, 2012

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND – With a $48 million budget shortfall for the city, one councilman has an idea that he says will help the deficit: putting advertisements on fire trucks.

Andrea Fujii explains one organization wants to have the first ad with a provocative campaign.

The bright red on the side of fire engines means dollar signs to City Councilman William Pete Welch.

“These are out of the box times and you need out of the box approaches in order to create additional revenue,” Welch said.

The mayor’s said up to three fire companies may close due to the budget shortfall, so Welch is proposing legislation that would allow the fire department to put ads on their trucks, generating revenue that could help keep the companies open.

PETA—People For the Ethical Treatment of Animals—is jumping on the opportunity. They want an ad to make its debut on a city fire truck. In a letter to Welch, they said, in part, “Our…advertisement featuring a sexy woman showing off her vegan physique will drive Baltimore residents to PETA’s heart-healthy vegan recipes that will keep them firing on all cylinders.”

People we spoke to like the idea, but not necessarily the ad.

“I wouldn’t,” said one.

“It wouldn’t really bother me but I think it’s misleading for the message they want to get across,” said another.

But the councilman says his proposal is getting a positive response.

“I’ve had emails from firefighters applauding me for my proactive approach and those I’ve received have been in favor,” he said.

Welch proposed the legislation at Monday’s council meeting. He hasn’t commented on the PETA ad.

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Baltimore Maryland Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld II Says Attack On White Tourist By Pack Of Savage Black Beasts Wasn’t A Hate Crime

April 11, 2012

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND – Baltimore’s police chief today said that the videotaped beating of a white tourist does not appear to be a hate crime, but rather “drunken opportunistic criminality” on the part of a gang of Charm City assailants.

In a radio interview, Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III urged Baltimore residents to “distinguish between criminality and racially motivated crime.” Bealefeld, who is white, warned against “race-baiting” and “fear-mongering” in light of the Trayvon Martin shooting and other recent racially charged incidents.

“There’s no doubt it’s a crime,” Bealefeld said of the March 17 assault. “We need to vigorously hold criminals accountable, and we have to be careful not to be pulled into this race-baiting.”

As Baltimore cops investigate the videotaped beating of a tourist on St. Patrick’s Day, a second clip showing the brutal attack could help police identify members of the mob who knocked the victim to the ground, stole his belongings, and even tore his pants off.

The video, seen above, was shot by an onlooker outside a downtown courthouse, where the tourist was sucker-punched by an attacker. The victim, wearing a Mountain Dew shirt, crumpled to the sidewalk and hit his head.

While on the ground, the man was set upon by about ten attackers, who stole his Tag Heuer watch, money, iPhone, and keys to his Audi, according to police. The dazed and defenseless victim is also punched, kicked, and even hit with a shoe by several assailants. In a final indignity, the man is “teabagged” by a male attacker.

The 1:26 cell phone video–shot by a cameraman who cackled as the beating transpired–was first uploaded to the WorldStar Hip Hop web site on March 30. It was included as part of a 14:22 “fight compilation” of 12 clips showing assorted mayhem.

In a TV news report Friday (which included another view of the Baltimore attack), a detective pledged to hunt down the man’s attackers. “We want to bring these people to justice,” said Det. Nicole Monroe.

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Video Catches Pack Of Savage Negro Beasts Beating, Stripping, And Robbing White Tourist In Downtown Baltimore

April 8, 2012

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND – Caught on camera– a tourist being beaten in downtown Baltimore and instead of helping him, a crowd laughs and steals his belongings.

Mike Hellgren has the video and the investigation.

Police hope this video will get the attackers off the streets.

The video shows a man being punched in the face in Downtown Baltimore. You can hear his head hit the pavement near the entrance to Courthouse East.

Instead of helping, people laugh.

Then, the crowd strips him naked and takes his car keys, watch, money and iPhone.

It happened St. Patrick’s Day. Police say the victim was out partying and woke up the next day at his hotel, cut and bruised with no idea why.

“He had every right to leave wherever he was and get back to where he needed to be safely. Their behavior was just criminal,” Det. Nicole Monroe of the Baltimore City Police Department said.

“Not only was he relieved of his property after he was assaulted, but there were a lot of other things done to him that are disturbing to look at, and we want to bring these people to justice,” Det. Monroe said.

Those who’ve seen the video are outraged.

“Oh, my god! Where’s the police?” Antonio Richardson of Baltimore said after seeing the video. “It gives us a bad name, Baltimore. And people don’t want to, you know, trust us to come down here.”

“It’s surprising, but it’s dangerous,” another person said.

“It’s awful, obviously. You just have to be really careful on those days. You can’t just be wandering around the streets,” Diego Tapia said.

Police say they’ve gotten leads but made no arrests.

“The public is going to be helpful in this case, and they have been helpful thus far,” Det. Monroe said.

Those who filmed it for fun and posted it for the world to see unwittingly provided cops and prosecutors with the key evidence in this vicious attack.

The victim didn’t even know that such a video existed until a relative watched it online and told him.

After the attack, people bragged about it on camera. Tens of thousands of people have seen the video online.

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Maryland TSA Manager Bryant Jermaine Livingston Arrested, Charged With Running Prostitution Ring

March 28, 2012

SILVER SPRING, MARYLAND – A manager at the Transportation Security Administration has lost his job after being arrested on prostitution-related charges. According to court documents, the agency had received a complaint of “very similar” activities back in 2009.

Bryant Jermaine Livingston, 39, was arrested while on the job as a supervisor of TSA agents at Dulles International Airport. The Manassas, Virginia resident, said by phone he is innocent of the charges, but declined to discuss the details of the case.

According to charging documents, on February 15th, Livingston used cash to rent a room at the Crowne Plaza Hotel on Georgia Ave. in Silver Spring, Md. The hotel manager recognized Livingston as a previous customer who, on earlier occasions had “groups of males and females frequently entering and exiting Livingston’s room,” according to a court document.

Similar activity was happening on February 15, so the manager called Montgomery County Police to report likely prostitution. Responding officers offered to accompany the manager as she went to evict the people from the room.

At the doorway, Livingston denied prostitution was occurring, and invited the manager and police into the room.

Responding officers say they saw, “11 people inside the room [including] three naked females and four males attempting to get dressed. Multiple people were laying on the two beds and other people were sitting in chairs and standing in the room.”

In a hallway interview, Bryant Livingston told the police officers he “runs the airport security at Dulles,” according to the charging document.

A spokesman for the Transportation Security Administration confirmed that Livingston had worked for the agency since Oct. 29, 2002, but he is now “no longer employed by TSA.”

In a subsequent interview, one of the men in the room told Montgomery County police that, “he paid Livingston $100 to enter the hotel room to engage in sexual activities.” Charging documents also say a TSA investigator told police that, “in 2009, a very similar complaint concerning Livingston was on record. The complaint alleged that Livingston was operating a prostitution ring and charging individuals $25. for sexual acts.”

The TSA spokesman had no immediate explanation as to what, if anything, the agency did about the earlier complaint.

Bryant Livingston is facing five prostitution-related charges. His attorney, Jason Cleckner, declined to comment on the case. Livingston has been released on his own recognizance, and faces trial on May 8th.

In Maryland, a person convicted of prostitution can face up to a year in jail.

TSA Statement:
“TSA cooperated fully with law enforcement during their investigation into this matter. The allegations against this individual are unacceptable and in no way reflect the integrity and professionalism of the more than 50,000 security officers who strive every day to ensure the security of the traveling public.”

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Broke: Baltimore Maryland Considerings Selling 15 Publicly Owned Historic Sites

March 26, 2012

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND – More than a dozen historic landmarks in Baltimore may be up for sale soon.

But as Gigi Barnett reports, the city first wants to know how much they will bring in first.

The city says its historic buildings are a liability, an eyesore and a drain on its pockets.

Baltimore’s Shot Tower was the tallest building in the nation back in 1828 and became a national historic landmark in the early 1970s. The city says it wants to know how much the Shot Tower is worth to a private developer.

“We have some great properties in unique locations and we hope we can find the right kind of marriage to make it work,” said City Director of Planning Thomas Stosur.

The city is weighing the costs of selling or leasing about 15 of its historic sites. Selling the real estate could beef up the city’s cash-strapped budget, as some of the properties are abandoned, old and dilapidated.

Stosur says a consultant is coming in to appraise the sites.

“Real estate is location, location, location. That’s why we’re hiring a specific firm to go in and look because they’re unique properties,” Stosur said.

Some residents say the plan would save city history.

“If they could find a buyer that would do the work and maintain it, I think it would be a good thing,” said resident Durward Center.

Roland Park’s water tower is also on the list. Originally built back in 1905, the tower became defunct in 1930 and in recent years has fallen into grave disrepair. Some Roland Park residents, however, say the tower belongs to the public.

“They’re part of Baltimore. They’re historic landmarks. I don’t think anyone should own them. It should be a Baltimore thing,” said resident Liz Wildt.

Of the 15 sites, 12 of them are protected by a historic landmark designation. That means any developer who buys or leases them must first get their plans approved.

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake recently asked the city’s spending board to approve $46,000 in consultant fees to appraise the historic sites.

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Bogus Murder Charges Against Two Maryland Abortion Doctors Dropped

March 7, 2012

CECIL COUNTY, MARYLAND – Murder charges against two Maryland doctors over abortions they performed on late-term fetuses have been dropped, prosecutors said Wednesday.

“We have exercised our discretion to dismiss them at this point,” said Cecil County State’s Attorney Ellis Rollins.

The doctors, Steven Brigham and Nicola Riley, had faced identical charges: five counts each of first-degree murder, five of second-degree murder and one of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder.

The investigation began August 13, 2010, when Riley brought a woman into an Elkton hospital due to a “complication resulting from a medical procedure,” police said. The woman had driven from New Jersey to Maryland for an abortion, investigators later determined.

Days later, Elkton police searched the abortion clinic where Brigham and Riley work and found several fetuses “in a freezer chest.” The fetuses were taken to a medical examiner’s office in Baltimore, according a police news release.

Maryland is one of 38 states that have fetal homicide laws, often supported by anti-abortion advocates, which advocates say are intended to protect the lives of both the pregnant woman and the fetus.

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Police Illegally Tracked US Citizens With GPS Trackers And Without Warrant – Supreme Court

January 23, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – The Supreme Court ruled unanimously Monday that police must get a search warrant before using GPS technology to track criminal suspects.

The GPS device helped authorities link Washington, D.C., nightclub owner Antoine Jones to a suburban house used to stash money and drugs. He was sentenced to life in prison before the appeals court overturned the conviction.

Associate Justice Antonin Scalia said that the government’s installation of a GPS device, and its use to monitor the vehicle’s movements, constitutes a search, meaning that a warrant is required.

“By attaching the device to the Jeep” that Jones was using, “officers encroached on a protected area,” Scalia wrote.

All nine justices agreed that the placement of the GPS on the Jeep violated the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable search and seizure.

Scalia wrote the main opinion of three in the case. He was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Sonia Sotomayor.

Sotomayor also wrote one of the two concurring opinions that agreed with the outcome in the Jones case for different reasons.

Justice Samuel Alito also wrote a concurring opinion in which he said the court should have gone further and dealt with GPS tracking of wireless devices, like mobile phones. He was joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan.

A federal appeals court in Washington had overturned Jones’s drug conspiracy conviction because police did not have a warrant when they installed a GPS device on his vehicle and then tracked his movements for a month. The Supreme Court agreed with the appeals court.

The case is U.S. v. Jones, 10-1259.

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Former FBI Agent John R. Graves And Wife Indicted By Federal Grand Jury In Investment Scam

October 13, 2011

MARYLAND – A former FBI agent and his wife have been charged in what authorities say is a $1.3 million investment fraud scheme.

John R. Graves, 52, and his wife, Sara T. Graves, 44, of Fredericksburg, were indicted by a federal grand jury in Richmond on charges of mail and wire fraud. Prosecutors say Graves, who left the FBI in 1999, is a certified investment planner.

Through his company, Brook Point Management, Graves sold insurance, performed estate and tax planning services and recruited investment clients.

Prosecutors say that during a three-year span ending in July, Graves and his wife raised $1.3 million in funds from 11 people through “misrepresentations about the safety and security of the investments.” The couple then used the money to buy real estate, pay back previous investors and to pay off personal expenses, including credit card bills, prosecutors said.

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Baltimore Maryland TSA Officer Michael Scott Wilson Arrested, Charged With Child Pornography

October 12, 2011

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND — A Transportation Security Administration security officer is out on bail after he was arrested and charged with child pornography.

Michael Scott Wilson, 41, has been suspended from his job following the arrest.

Wilson was charged Monday with possession and distribution of child pornography after agents searched his Perry Hall home.

Neighbors said he’s married with no children. They said they’re stunned and disturbed by the charges, especially since most of them described Wilson as a straight-laced federal worker who took pride in his position and the trust that comes with it.

“As a parent, it’s disturbing to find out that someone is living so close, especially employed in his capacity,” said neighbor Malik Kelly.

“I travel sometimes twice a week, so to think that one of those screeners could live in your neighborhood and face charges like this is alarming. Definitely alarming,” said neighbor Brian Ryerson.

The TSA released a statement regarding Wilson’s arrest, saying, “The TSA holds its security officers to the highest professional and ethical standards and aggressively investigates allegations of misconduct. The allegations against this individual in no way reflect on the outstanding job our more than 50,000 security officers do every day to ensure the security of the traveling public.”

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FBI Employee Sentenced To Federal Prison For Leaking Documents

September 6, 2011

MARYLAND – A Silver Spring man who worked as a linguist for the FBI was sentenced Monday to 20 months in prison for leaking secret documents to a blogger.

But federal prosecutors in Maryland have remained mum about exactly what was contained in the classified papers that Shamai K. Leibowitz, 39, gave the unnamed blogger in April 2009, while he worked on contract for the FBI. According to court records, the documents concerned “communication intelligence activities.”

During a Monday hearing in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt, Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven M. Dunne said Leibowitz “betrayed the FBI when he worked there,” but offered no details.

U.S. District Judge Alexander Williams Jr. said the response of federal authorities convinced him Leibowitz committed a “very, very serious offense.” But the judge said even he does not know what information Leibowitz, a Hebrew scholar, disclosed.

“I don’t know what was divulged, other than some documents, and I don’t know how it’s compromised things,” Williams said in court.

Leibowitz, who worked as a lawyer in Israel and has dual U.S. and Israeli citizenship, said in court papers that he worked for the U.S. State Department in 2006, teaching Hebrew and Israeli law and culture to American diplomats. He said he then was hired as a contractor by the U.S. Department of Defense at its Defense Language Institute.

According to court papers, Leibowitz worked on contract for the FBI from January through August 2009.

In court Monday, Leibowitz said he made a mistake. But he said that, at the time he revealed the classified information, he believed the documents showed a “violation of the law.” He said he should have pursued other options within the government to report his concerns.

“I should not have done what I did, and I regret it terribly,” he said.

In a letter to Williams, Leibowitz wrote that he spent his legal career helping “minorities, undocumented workers, refugees, and disadvantaged people.” He said he settled in Maryland with his wife and twin children in 2004 and attended the Washington College of Law.

In 2008, Leibowitz became a lawyer in New York. He said his license has been suspended.

Leibowitz pleaded guilty in December to one count of disclosure of classified information. As part of the arrangement, he agreed to file no requests for documents concerning the investigation and to “never disclose,” except to those who are authorized by the government, any classified or sensitive information he learned while working for the FBI.

Several members of the local Jewish community wrote Williams to support Leibowitz, who they said is an active member of his synagogue.

The case against Leibowitz comes as the government has charged a former U.S. intelligence official with leaking secrets to the media. Thomas A. Drake, 53, a former official with the National Security Agency, is accused of sharing classified information with a newspaper reporter.

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Prince George’s County Maryland Deputy Sheriff Jennifer Nicole Douglas Arrested After Pulling Her Gun During Argument

August 15, 2011

OCEAN CITY, MARYLAND – A Prince George’s County Sheriff’s Deputy was
arrested by Ocean City Police for an assault involving a handgun.

to police, 26-year-old Jennifer Nicole Douglas, of Fort Washington,
Md., became involved in physical confrontation with another female
during an argument over keys to a vehicle. Douglas allegedly produced a
star-shaped badge and pointed a handgun at the female.

left the scene in a vehicle and was later arrested by Ocean City Police.
Authorities recovered a .40 caliber Glock handgun.

Douglas has
been charged with first-degree felony assault, second-degree misdemeanor
assault and reckless endangerment. She was held on $150,000 bond.

Appeared Here

OCEAN CITY, Md. – A Prince George’s County Sheriff’s Deputy was arrested by Ocean City Police for an assault involving a handgun.

According to police, 26-year-old Jennifer Nicole Douglas, of Fort Washington, Md., became involved in physical confrontation with another female during an argument over keys to a vehicle. Douglas allegedly produced a star-shaped badge and pointed a handgun at the female.

Douglas left the scene in a vehicle and was later arrested by Ocean City Police. Authorities recovered a .40 caliber Glock handgun.

Douglas has been charged with first-degree felony assault, second-degree misdemeanor assault and reckless endangerment. She was held on $150,000 bond.

Pack Of Savage Black Beasts Rob Germantown Maryland 7-11 Store

August 15, 2011

GERMANTOWN, MARYLAND – Police are working to identity the people involved in a “flash mob” theft of a 7-Eleven store in Germantown.

Montgomery County police said dozens of young people showed up suddenly at the convenience store in the 13000 block of Wisteria Drive at about 2 a.m. Saturday and started grabbing merchandize off the shelves. People took off with drinks, candy, icre cream and other items without paying.

Police are working to confirm the identity of at least four of the suspects, said Capt. Paul Starks. Investigators are checking social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to see whether any of the participants posted information about the theft and/or pictures of themselves committing the crime.

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Illegal Immigrants Get Affirmative Action – Better Treatment Than US Citizens And Legal Immigrants

May 17, 2011

This week, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley signed a bill to require the state’s public universities to give undocumented aliens — generally illegal — in-state tuition privileges.

The bill, known as the Dream Act, is already the law in ten other states, including California, New York, Texas and Illinois.

But critics argue that the bill will give illegal aliens better treatment than Americans and legal immigrants — thanks to existing diversity policies at universities.

University of Maryland (College Park) computer science Prof. James Purtilo told that, during his time as an associate dean, he frequently saw admission officers favor students because of their “undocumented” status.

“They favor students with special circumstances. ‘Undocumented alien’ would be one of these special circumstances… They help fill out the diversity picture for the admissions office.”

“It was just the norm,” Purtillo added, “that obviously we need more of these students [undocumented aliens]… ‘this student has a real story to tell’ would be a common thing the admissions officers would say. Or that ‘they’re enriching the College Park experience.'”

University of Maryland spokesman Millree Williams said because admissions staff were either busy with commencement ceremonies or on vacation, he was unable to answer questions about the university’s affirmative action policies as of Tuesday morning.

Gustavo Torres, executive director of Casa de Maryland, which pushed for the bill, said he thought the concern over affirmative action was a non-issue. He noted that in the current system, undocumented immigrants are discriminated against in many ways.

“I don’t see how [they could have an advantage.] Those kids don’t qualify for anything at this point – their only benefit right now is in-state tuition. They can’t get scholarships or anything.”
President Obama also renewed his push last week for a national Dream Act, which would go further and provide a path to citizenship for undocumented students.

“We should stop punishing innocent young people for the actions of their parents,” Obama said at the Mexico-Texas border on Tuesday. “We should stop denying them the chance to earn an education or serve in the military. And that’s why we need to pass the DREAM Act.”

Critics of the Dream acts say that affirmative action is simply built into the system for most illegal immigrants.

“Almost everyone who would benefit from the DREAM act would also benefit from affirmative action,” Steven Camarota, the research director for the think tank Center for Immigration Studies told

“A state school wouldn’t say, well, you’re a Dream Act kid, so you don’t get affirmative action,” he added. “I worked in admissions at a small college for a while (at Juniata, Pa.) and the affirmative action stuff just runs on auto pilot. If you check the box, you get put in the [affirmative action] applicant pool. That’s just how it works.

“We have to ask the question: Can you have mass immigration and affirmative action? Does that lead to a just social policy?”

Affirmative action benefits can be substantial. A study of selective universities by Princeton sociologists Thomas Espenshade and Alexandria Radford found that listing one’s race as “Hispanic” instead of ‘White” increased the likelihood of being admitted by the same amount as scoring an extra 130 points on the SAT. Compared to Asians, the study found, Hispanics receive a 240-point advantage.

Has this played out in states that have already passed Dream Acts? California, which has had a Dream Act since 2001, would seem immune due to a state law forbidding universities from using race as a factor in admissions.

University of California spokesman Ricardo Vazquez told that their policy is to treat “all students equally in the admissions process without regard to their race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin.”

“Residency status is not taken into consideration at all in the admissions process,” he also noted.
However, the data show that Hispanic students admitted to the University of California system had lower GPAs and SAT scores than White or Asian students who came from families with similar incomes. For example, admitted Hispanic students whose parents made more than $120,000/year had an average SAT score of 1749, while Asian students with parents making that much had an average of 1890, 151 points higher. For Whites it was 1844.

A similar pattern holds for GPAs, and for individual schools within the University of California system. Scores are not separated by legal residency status.

Vazquez said the differences in scores were not due to race, but rather “the school context in which an applicant studied, a broad variety of both academic and nonacademic achievements and talents, and a range of family circumstances beyond income and parental education level.”

Back in Maryland, Purtilo said that one reason he is speaking out about his university’s practices is that he feels they are unfair to U.S. citizens.

“Too bad for the very well prepared student, a U.S. citizen and taxpayer in this state, whose parents might once have thought their kids should have a shot at the flagship campus,” he said.

Dream Act supporters question what is wrong with applying the same policies that apply to citizens – even if it’s affirmative action – to undocumented students. And Torres notes that many undocumented immigrants, despite being in the country illegally, do pay taxes.

“[Despite being undocumented] the parents are working anyway — and we actually help those parents have a tax ID number, so they can pay taxes.

“This is about opportunities for people. And we prefer those people to be professionals, because when you are a professional, you pay more taxes — you prosper and make more contributions to society.”

Maryland’s Dream Act differs from the other states’ acts by only granting in-state tuition if the parents of the undocumented student have paid state taxes for at least three years.

“We really have one of the most conservative Dream Acts,” Torres noted, adding that he places his biggest hopes in a national Dream act that includes a path to citizenship.

“We really, really hope it will happen. It is our dream that the state law will be the base for it.”

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Montgomery County Maryland Sends Out Speed Camera Citations, Citing Wrong Law

May 3, 2011

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND — A Maryland attorney found a loophole that helped him beat a speed camera ticket.

James Liskow of Bowie received a ticket late last year from a speed camera on Georgia Avenue in Montgomery County.

Liskow told WBAL-AM’s Bill Vanko that his argument was based on the fact that what he received in the mail dealt with a wrong section of the law. In essence, a typo concerning the letters ‘B’ and ‘D’ resulted in the ticket being tossed out in court.

He said the citation should have included a signed certificate attesting the camera passed its annual calibration check, among other items.

Asked by Vanko if other ticket recipients could make the same argument, Liskow said, “It’s the same statute, I don’t see why they couldn’t.”

Use the links above to read more from Vanko and to listen to the interview with Liskow.

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Speeding Tickets Tossed After Man Proves Prince George’s County Maryland Speed Cameras Lie

April 21, 2011

PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY, MARYLAND – Will Foreman has beaten the speed cameras.

Five times and counting before three different judges, the Prince George’s County business owner has used a computer and a calculation to cast reasonable doubt on the reliability of the soulless traffic enforcers.

After a judge threw out two of his tickets Wednesday, Mr. Foreman said he is confident he has exposed systemic inaccuracies in the systems that generate millions of dollars a year for town, city and county governments.

He wasn’t the only one to employ the defense Wednesday. Two other men were found not guilty of speeding offenses before a Hyattsville District judge during the same court session using the same technique.

“You’ve produced an elegant defense and I’m sufficiently doubtful,” Judge Mark T. O’Brien said to William Adams, after hearing evidence that his Subaru was traveling below the 35-mph limit – and not 50 mph as the ticket indicated.

The method?

Mr. Foreman, the owner of Eastover Auto Supply in Oxon Hill, examined dozens of citation photos of his company’s trucks that were issued along a camera-monitored stretch of Indian Head Highway his employees frequently travel.

The camera company, Optotraffic, uses a sensor that detects any vehicle exceeding the speed limit by 12 or more mph, then takes two photos of it for identification purposes. The photos are mailed to violators, along with a $40 ticket.

For each ticket, Mr. Foreman digitally superimposed the two photos – taken 0.363 seconds apart from a stationary point, according to an Optotraffic time stamp – creating a single photo with two images of the vehicle.

Using the vehicle’s length as a frame of reference, Mr. Foreman then measured its distance traveled in the elapsed time, allowing him to calculate the vehicle’s speed. In every case, he said, the vehicle was not traveling fast enough to get a ticket.

So far the judges have agreed.

“I’ve never seen this before,” Judge O’Brien said, as he examined a superimposed photo presented by Mr. Adams, who also employed the technique. “How much time did you spend on this?”

Mr. Foreman said he is awaiting trial on about 40 more tickets, all of which he called “bogus.”

Speed cameras “can be good, but not if they’re abused,” he said after the hearing.

The Maryland General Assembly approved speed cameras in 2009 for school and highway-work zones, two years after a pilot program in Montgomery County. Prince George’s officials have long resisted speed cameras, but many municipalities began implementing them in fall 2009.

Supporters of the devices have argued they reduce speeding over time and increase safety, while many opponents call them a cash cow for local governments.

Mr. Foreman’s tickets were all issued in Forest Heights, a town of about 2,600 where officials expected $2.9 million in ticket revenue this fiscal year, about half the town’s $5.8 million budget.

In Prince George’s County, cameras are operated entirely by municipalities, which can set them up within half-mile school zones. The devices are installed by vendors that typically receive about 40 percent of the payout on each ticket, with the rest going to local, county and state government.

Municipalities other than Forest Heights also use Optotraffic cameras. The Lanham-based vendor also serves New Carrollton, Mount Rainier and College Park as well as the city of Cambridge in Dorchester County, Md.

Optotraffic representatives said the photos are not intended to capture the actual act of speeding, and are taken nearly 50 feet down the road from sensors as a way to prove the vehicle was on the road.

“No one has come to us with a proven error,” company spokesman Mickey Shepherd said Tuesday. “Their speed is not measured by the photos. The speed is measured before the photos are taken.”

An Optotraffic technician was sworn in and offered the company’s defense in the courtroom on Wednesday to no avail.

Mr. Foreman didn’t buy it either. He said it was unlikely that his vehicles slowed significantly after passing the sensors, as photos typically show them with their brake lights off.

While Judge O’Brien let Mr. Foreman off the hook, he ruled against several other accused speeders who based their not-guilty pleas largely on gut feelings that the cameras were flawed, while reducing the fines for some who pleaded guilty.

A Forest Heights official declined to comment after court proceeding.

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Maryland House Passes Bill To Give Discount College Tuition Rates To Illegal Immigrants

April 8, 2011

ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND — The Maryland House of Delegates passed a bill to allow in-state tuition rates for illegal immigrants in the state’s community colleges.

After those students graduate community college, they would qualify for in-state tuition at the state’s four-year higher education institutions as well.

The bill passed the house 74-66 on Friday evening.

All six Frederick County delegates voted against the bill. That included delegates Kathy Afzali, Galen Clagett, Donald Elliott, Patrick Hogan, Michael Hough and Kelly Schulz.

The bill has already passed the Maryland Senate, where Frederick County senator Ron Young voted in favor of it and Sen. David Brinkley voted against it.

Young and Clagett are the county delegation’s only Democrats.

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Howard County Maryland Police Officer Casey Robert Lechter Arrested, Charged With Punching A Female Baltimore Police Officer In The Face

April 6, 2011

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND – An off-duty Howard County police officer was arrested early Sunday outside a bar in Southeast Baltimore after police say he punched a female city officer in the head, then yelled, “I’m a cop!” as he was handcuffed.

According to a charging document, officers were attempting to disperse the closing-time crowd at Canton Square in the 2900 block of O’Donnell St. at 2 a.m. when someone yelled “[Expletive] the police!” A man named Kasy Williams claimed to be the person who made the profane statement, and a city officer told him to leave the area.

He refused, and the female officer told him he was under arrest, according to the statement. While she was placing handcuffs on Williams, another man, identified as Casey Robert Lechter, a Howard County police officer, reportedly punched her in the head from behind and pushed her away. The police report says a bystander grabbed Lechter and pinned him against a parked vehicle as additional officers arrived at the scene to help.

Police say Lechter yelled, “I’m a cop!” but continued to resist arrest. Williams, meanwhile, suffered a cut to his head and was bleeding heavily, “covering both police officers in his blood,” the court document says. Medics were called, and Williams “continued to flail and spray his blood in the area,” according to the statement.

Lechter has been charged with two counts of resisting arrest, one count of second-degree assault and one count of disobeying a police officer.

According to the Howard County police website, Lechter served in the Marine Corps Reserves and was deployed for a tour of duty in Afghanistan. His unit recovered thousands of pounds of heroin, and days later some of the unit’s soldiers were injured or killed in a bombing.

Howard County police said Lechter has been a probationary officer since August. He has been suspended from duty pending an investigation. No other Howard officers were reported involved in the incident.

Sunday morning’s fight, which officials say happened outside Coburn’s Tavern, was originally put out over Twitter by the city firefighters union as a stabbing because of the large amount of blood from Williams. Police say no one was stabbed during the altercation.

“The actions described in these charges, if accurate, do not meet the expectations set for members of the Howard County Police Department,” the county’s police chief, William J. McMahon, said in a statement Sunday afternoon. “I have been briefed and ordered an internal investigation immediately. I have reached out to Commissioner [Frederick H.] Bealefeld [III] to express my concern about Lechter’s alleged involvement in this incident.”

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U.S. Bureau Of Prisons Director Harley Lappin Quits After 4 AM Drunk Driving Arrest

March 30, 2011

WASHINGTON, DCHarley Lappin, the director of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, who oversees 116 institutions and about 210,000 convicts, faces drunk driving charges stemming from a February incident in Annapolis, Md., the website Main Justice reported.

Lappin, who announced his resignation last week, told the staff about the drunk driving incident, Main Justice’s Andrew Ramonas reported.

The website reported that he faces three charges related to drunk driving. The incident happened on Saturday, Feb. 26 around 4 a.m., less than a half mile from his home, the website reported.

Last Friday, Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr. issued a statement about the retirement of Lappin:

“During my tenure as both Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General, it has been a privilege to work closely with Director Harley Lappin.

“For more than a quarter of a century, including eight years as Director, his service to the Bureau of Prisons has helped improve public safety, strengthen our corrections systems, and advance the Justice Department’s most critical goals.”

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Veteran Frederick County Maryland Deputy Sheriff Sam A. Bowman Arrested, Suspended, And Charged After Sex With 14 Year Old Girl

March 27, 2011

FREDERICK COUNTY, MARYLAND – A Frederick County sheriff’s deputy has been arrested for having sex with a 14-year-old girl, officials said in a statement released Thursday.

Deputy Sam A. Bowman, 46, of New Market, Md., was taken into custody Wednesday and charged with child sex abuse and a fourth-degree sex offense.

According to an investigation by the Frederick County Bureau of Investigation, on March 9, Bowman drove the girl to her home after school and had sex with her there at least once. The child’s parents were not home at this time. It’s still unclear if Bowman had sex with the girl on other occasions.

Frederick County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins calls the arrest of a deputy on child sex abuse charges deeply troubling.

He says he is very upset by a sheriff’s deputy entrusted with protecting children allegedly harming a fourteen year old girl.

Detectives learned of the relationship after Child Protective Services contacted the Sheriff’s Office with a tip from a third party.

Bowman was being held at the Frederick County Adult Detention Center, but later released on $75,000 bond.

Bowman, a 20-year veteran of the Frederick Police Department, started at the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office in August 2010. He was assigned as a school resource officer at Walkersville High School.

He has been suspended without pay.

Students at Walkerville High School, who know the 14-year-old alleged victim, said they occasionally saw her speaking with Bowman. One of the students said he saw the girl get into Bowman’s car after school.

“I saw her go with him like two hours after she got dismissed from school,” said Walkerville High School student Brandon Cochrane.

One student, Michael Hassett, said students would see the deputy every day and he was friendly. But he also said Bowman was “creepy.”

Another student, Jacob Beck, said Bowman appeared to pay more attention to female students.

“He was always talking with the students but maybe the girls a little more than the guys,” he said.

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Veteran Baltimore Maryland Police Officer Kevin L. Rowland Arrested, Charged WIth Sexually Abusing A Minor

March 26, 2011

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND – The Harford County Child Advocacy Center says a Baltimore City police officer has been arrested and charged with sexually abusing a minor.

In a press release, officials say Kevin L. Rowland was charged Wednesday with sex abuse of a minor, fourth-degree sexual offense, and second-degree assault stemming from abuse that police say occurred while the minor victim was residing at his home in Edgewood, from September 2010 and until this month.

A police roster from 2007 shows that Rowland has been on the force since 2001 and at that time was assigned to the Northern District.

Officials with the Harford Child Advocacy Center could not immediately be reached for details on the allegations against Rowland, and the charges don’t yet appear in the state’s electronic court records database.

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Baltimore Washington Police Issue 2000 Red Light Camera Tickets With Dead Officer’s Signature

March 23, 2011

BALTIMORE, MD – Getting pulled over and ticketed by law enforcement makes for a bad day, and we’re quite certain the feeling is amplified when the citation comes in the mail days after the infraction occurs. There’s no surprise, then, that most drivers can’t stand traffic cams, and in many cases, the ticketed fight the infractions tooth and nail. In the city of Baltimore, MD, there are 2,000 ticketed motorists who may have a solid case.

WBAL-TV 11 reports that a police officer who tragically died in a car accident ‘signed’ those 2,000 tickets months after he passed away. That’s a big problem, because each red light camera citation is supposed to be reviewed by an officer of the law before getting sent out. City officials claim that the residents received the wrong notice, and that the tickets were in fact properly reviewed before being issued. We’re guessing that those ticketed won’t buy that explanation and the courts in Baltimore will be quite busy for the next few months. Head over to WBAL TV to view the report.

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Prince George’s County Maryland Sheriff Melvin High Has Backlog Of 50,000 Unserved Criminal Warrants

March 9, 2011

PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY, MARYLAND – About 50,000 criminal warrants have not been served, Prince George’s County Sheriff Melvin High said, a major concern as the county reels from a spree of homicides at the beginning of the year.

High, the former county police chief, told the County Council that he wants some old warrants — some going back as far as the 1960s — thrown out.

“We have to look at those cases in conjunction with the State’s Attorney and the courts to see if those are the situations that should be recalled,” he said.

Assistant Sheriff Darrin Palmer said 860 of the outstanding warrants are for violent crimes. About 26,000 of the warrants are for charges of failure to appear in court for motor vehicle violations, he said.

Palmer said one reason for the massive backlog is that misdemeanor warrants in Maryland do not expire like some do in Virginia. He also said many warrants are out for people serving sentences or being held in other jurisdictions.

“Understanding these warrants is critical,” he said, speaking about suspects in the custody of other departments. “Many of the violent crimes — like homicide, rape or carjacking — may show as being open, but we have identified the wanted person and that person’s location.”

High boasted that since taking office at the beginning of December, the sheriff’s office has increased the number of deputies in its warrant unit and reduced the growing backlog of outstanding warrants.

There are 3,000 fewer active warrants now than there were in December, Palmer said.

“We have a greater number of people actually doing enforcement work every day out there looking for people,” he said.

The county saw almost-daily slayings in the first weeks of January. Sheriff’s deputies joined the police department then to conduct saturation patrols and deliver warrants in target areas, High said.

A spokesman for the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department said the county has a backlog of 1,775 warrants. But that doesn’t include a large number of other warrants for which the county’s police department is responsible. County police did not return a call requesting information about those warrants.

A D.C. police spokesman said he could not immediately provide the number of outstanding warrants, instructing a reporter to file an open records request.

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A-Hole Maryland Natural Resources Police Officer Issues Bogus Tickets To Good Samaritans Who Rescued Deer From Icy Water

December 17, 2010

BALTIMORE COUNTY, MARYLAND – They fought to save a life, and now they say they’ll fight the fine.

It all revolves around the rescue of a deer trapped in icy water Thursday night.

Alex DeMetrick reports that good deed was rewarded with tickets.

Strangers banded together to pull a deer out of the freezing water of the Patapsco River on Thursday night.

“We seen the deer going under,” said Khalil Abusakran. “It couldn’t maintain. It was starting to freeze, and it was really getting bad.”

Abusakran brought a raft, and Jim Hart joined him.

“We had oars and shovels to break the ice, for the deer to get out,” Abusakran said.

But in the excited aftermath of the rescue, a natural resources police officer on the scene wrote both men a ticket.

“And he didn’t say anything,” Jim Hart said. “We went in and out of the water numerous times. He didn’t stop us at all.”

They say they were ticketed for not wearing life vests, although both are over the age for mandatory use of flotation devices.

“No, we didn’t have vests on, but we’re not 16 years old,” Abusakran said. “There were personal floating devices on the boat.”

The ticket itself doesn’t check off any specific violation, just a $90 fine.

They’ll fight it in court, as they fought for the deer.

The two men ticketed say they will fight the citations at the court hearing in Annapolis set for Feb. 18.

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Dumbass Howard County Maryland Police Officer Caught Parked In Handicapped Space And Drinking Coffee – Amid Crackdown On Those Illegally Parking In Handicap Spaces

October 7, 2010

HOWARD COUNTY, MARYLAND – After a short article appeared on a crackdown by Howard County police of people illegally parking in handicap spaces, a reader sent in a picture of a cop allegedly violating the very law her agency was targeting.

The reader noted that the officer had parked her marked cruiser in a handicapped space at a Barnes & Noble and was seen drinking coffee.

The Columbia Flier and the Howard County Times published the picture and sought comment from a Howard County police spokeswoman, who said the officer had responded to the Ellicott City store after workers there chased out a suspected thief. The officer was writing a report.

But the spokeswoman noted that officers are allowed to park in such spaces only in an emergency. While the officer was on official business — she can drink coffee and write a report — this wasn’t exactly an emergency and she did have other alternatives.

It would’ve been better had she parked anywhere else in the lot other than using a handicapped space.

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