Number Of Homeless Families In Washington DC Jumps 18%

October 15, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC — When Janice Coe, a homeless advocate in Loudoun County, learned through her prayer group that a young woman was sleeping in the New Carrollton Metro station with a toddler and a 2-month-old, she sprang into action.

Coe contacted the young woman and arranged for her to take the train to Virginia, where she put the little family up in a Comfort Suites hotel. Then Coe began calling shelters to see who could take them.

Despite several phone calls, she came up empty. Coe was shocked to learn that many of the local shelters that cater to families were full, including Good Shepherd Alliance, where Coe was once director of social services.

“I don’t know why nobody will take this girl in,” Coe said. “The baby still had a hospital bracelet on her wrist.”

In a region with seven of the 10 most affluent counties in the country, family homelessness is on the rise — straining services, filling shelters and forcing parents and their children to sleep in cars, parks, and bus and train stations. One mother recently bought $14 bus tickets to and from New York so she and her 2-year-old son would have a safe place to sleep — on the bus.

As cold weather descends on the region, the need will become increasingly acute, advocates say. That will be especially true in the District, where continued fallout from the recession and lack of affordable housing has contributed to an 18 percent increase in family homelessness this year over last.

The city has recently come under fire for turning away families seeking help as 118 overflow beds that were added last winter at D.C. General — the city’s main family homeless shelter — sit empty. A few places have recently opened up, but 500 families — some of whom are living with relatives or friends — are on a waiting list for housing.

“We’re hoping we can keep pace with those in the more dire situations,” said David A. Berns, director of the city’s Department of Human Services.

Berns said the city is trying to keep the overflow beds open for hypothermia season, which begins Nov. 1. The city is mandated by law to shelter its residents if the temperature falls below freezing. The agency does not have the money to operate the extra beds, Berns said.

D.C. Council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1), who has been critical of the agency’s handling of the crisis, wonders why families are being denied help when the District has a $140 million budget surplus.

“Never did I imagine that beds would be kept vacant,” Graham said. “It’s very upsetting.”

Family homelessness around the Washington region has increased 23 percent since the recession began — though the total number of homeless people stayed fairly steady at around 11,800, according to the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, which did its annual “point-in-time” survey of the homeless in January. This included some 3,388 homeless children, the study showed.

“These families are the most desperate because they have young children and have nowhere to go,” said Nassim Moshiree, a lawyer for the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless.

Moshiree spent a good part of the day Friday trying to help a homeless mother of three who Thursday night slept with her children on the steps of a church in Northeast after unsuccessfully asking the city for help. After Moshiree intervened, the city found space for them late Friday.

“It’s a complete abomination,” said Antonia Fasanelli, executive director for the Homeless Persons Representation Project, a Maryland legal services and advocacy group based in Baltimore. She noted that in Baltimore — where homeless families from D.C. sometimes end up — three family shelters have been closed in the past five years, for a loss of about 100 shelter beds. “There is just not enough space.”

Throughout Maryland, Fasanelli said, 38 percent of homeless families are living on the streets. That’s the seventh-highest rate of unsheltered families in the country, according to a Department of Housing and Urban Development study on the homeless released in December.

At the Comfort Suites off Route 7 on Thursday, Helen Newsome, 25, fed her 2-year-old son, Cameron, an orange from the breakfast buffet as her infant daughter Isabella slept on the bed beside her.

Newsome said she became homeless this summer after she was evicted from her apartment in Prince George’s County. Since then, she and her children have slept most nights on a bench or the hard tile floor at the New Carrollton Metro, she said. Although she called several area shelters before she was evicted, she said she could never find one with room.

“I’m not asking for a whole room for myself, as long as I have someplace to sleep, somewhere soft,” Newsome said.

On Thursday, Coe took Newsome to the Loudoun County Department of Family Services, where a social worker helped her sign up for food stamps and other aid and said she would try and help her find a subsidized apartment. Finally, Newsome said she could see an end to her ordeal.

“They’re leaning on me,” she said, gesturing to her kids. “I’m their only hope. It’s okay. Everybody goes through something, some people worse than others.”

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Video: Jewish Youth Center Security Guard Regrets Calling New York City Police After Douchebags Brutally Beat Unarmed Homeless Man 2 Minutes For Sleeping In A Chair

October 15, 2012

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – Surveillance video shows police officers pummeling shirtless man in youth center.

Two police officers repeatedly pummeled a shirtless man in a Jewish youth center in Brooklyn after they roused him from sleeping and moved to arrest him, surveillance video released Sunday night shows.

Cops showed up at the Aliya Institute on E. New York Ave. in Crown Heights on the evening of Oct. 8 after receiving a call about a fight between two men, a community source told the Daily News.

But Zlamy Trappler, 24, a volunteer security guard at the center, said he called cops because he found the shirtless man drunk and sleeping in the lounge of the center, which provides services to young Jewish adults.

Two police officers, one male and one female, found the man sleeping on a couch, surveillance video shows.

The officers awaken the man, identified by CrownHeights.info, which first made the video public, as Ehud Halevi, who is swaddled in a white sheet, the video shows.

As Halevi gets to his feet, Trappler comes in, and Halevi appears to have a heated exchange with the cops and Trappler, who leaves. The exchange between Halevi and the officers intensifies, with the male cop removing a pair of handcuffs, the video shows. Halevi pushes the male officer’s hands away from his body, the video shows.

The officer then charges Halevi, the video shows, punching him in the face, while the female officer appears to pepper-spray him and beats him with what appears to be a truncheon.

After a two-minute beatdown, another eight police officers arrive and handcuff Halevi, who appears to be unbloodied, the video shows.

“I regret making the call. I should have let him sleep. It spiraled out of control,” said Trappler.

Cops charged Halevi with assaulting a police officer, trespassing, resisting arrest and harassment, according to CrownHeight.info.

Police did not respond to requests for comment Sunday night.

The community source said Halevi had been allowed to stay at the Institute.

Sara Feiglin, wife of Rabbi Moshe Feiglin, who runs the youth center, confirmed the account given by CrownHeights.info. The rabbi did not respond to a request for comment.

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Federal Reserve Loses “Large Amount” Of Newly Designed $100 Bills – “Substantial” Number Of Bills Were Not Intended For Circulation Until 2013

October 14, 2012

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – Unknown thieves stole a “large amount” of newly-designed $100 bills bound for a Federal Reserve facility in New Jersey on Thursday, the FBI said.

Frank Burton, Jr., spokesman for the FBI’s Philadelphia division, said the theft occurred at some point between when the shipment of bills landed at the Philadelphia airport on a commercial flight from Dallas at 10:20 Thursday morning, and when the shipment reached its New Jersey destination around 2:00 p.m., when the courier service transporting the bills reported some missing.

Burton declined to comment on the amount taken, but said it was substantial.

The missing bills carry a design that is not slated to reach circulation until 2013. They feature a large gold “100” graphic on the back, and an orange box on the front with a faint image of the Liberty Bell.

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Lawsuit Charges Brooklyn New York District Attorney’s Office With malicious Prosecution, Defamation, And False Imprisonment After Bogus Rape Carges Were Dismissed – Many Questions About Accuser’s Credibility And Whether Prosecutors Mishandled Evidence Pointing To Innocence

October 10, 2012

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – One of four men who had sex-crime charges against him in a case involving a young Orthodox Jewish woman dismissed last June has sued New York City and the Brooklyn district attorney’s office for malicious prosecution, defamation and false imprisonment.

The man, Darrell Dula, filed the lawsuit in State Supreme Court in Brooklyn on Oct. 2, more than a year after he was jailed on Rikers Island and held there for months without bail on the charges, which were dismissed amid troubling questions about the accuser’s credibility and whether prosecutors mishandled exculpatory evidence.

Charles J. Hynes, the Brooklyn district attorney, and Lauren Hersh, the chief of Mr. Hynes’s sex-trafficking unit, were named in a separate, related suit.

The case began in June 2011 when Mr. Hynes, at a highly publicized news conference, announced the indictments of Mr. Dula and three co-defendants — Damien Crooks and two brothers, Jamali and Jawara Brockett — on charges of rape, sex trafficking and compelling prostitution over the course of a decade.

The four men were accused of using assaults and threats of violence to silence the woman, a member of the Chabad Lubavitch community in Crown Heights who was only 13 at the start of the events described in the indictment.

According to the indictment, Mr. Dula, 26, was the least culpable of the four defendants, charged with a single count of rape. In April, after he had spent 10 months in jail, a judge released him when a police report surfaced recounting the victim’s recantation. In that report, the victim was quoted as telling an investigating officer, “Can’t a ho change her ways?” Jonathan Sims, Mr. Dula’s lawyer, said, “We believe that the victim’s account against our client was incredible from Day 1. The whole thing just stinks.” The suit was reported in The New York Post on Tuesday.

The defendants denied the woman’s charges; Mr. Crooks eventually said that he had consensual sex with her when she was 17.

The case began to unravel as an assistant district attorney, Abbie Greenberger, quit her job, complaining of pressure from Ms. Hersh to continue the prosecution even though the accuser had partially recanted her allegations — albeit under pressure from the police, the accuser claimed.

Shortly after, Ms. Hersh, who oversaw the case, also quit her job, amid claims that she had failed to tell the defense about the changed account or about other evidence that could have damaged the prosecution’s case. She resigned in May, after the district attorney’s office conducted a review and concluded that she had not acted improperly.

According to a former Brooklyn prosecutor with close ties to Mr. Hynes’s office, the lawyer-disciplinary committee of the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court’s First Department, in Manhattan, is investigating Ms. Hersh’s conduct in the rape case and other cases. The Appellate Division’s Second Department normally oversees matters in Brooklyn but recused itself because of possible political ties to Mr. Hynes, the former prosecutor said.

A spokeswoman for the Office of Court Administration said that under state law officials cannot comment on pending investigations; she would neither confirm nor deny that an inquiry was taking place.

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$500 Million Federal Lawsuit Charges Westchester County New York County Jail With Not Providing Inmates Access To Needed Dental Floss

October 9, 2012

NEW YORK, NEW YORK — A group of Westchester County Jail inmates will have to fight their own legal battle for access to dental floss, a federal judge has ruled.

U.S. District Judge Ronnie Abrams ruled in Manhattan that the 11 Westchester inmates, who sued the county Sept. 10 for $500 million because they were denied access to dental floss, will have to convince him their case has a shot before he gives them a court-appointed lawyer.

“As a threshold matter, in order to qualify for appointment of counsel plaintiffs must demonstrate that their claims have substance or likelihood of success,” Abrams wrote in an Oct. 4 order. “In addition, in reviewing a request of appointment of counsel, the court must be cognizant of the fact that volunteer attorney time is a precious commodity, and thus, should not grant appointment of counsel indiscriminately.”

The inmates, lead by 26-year-old Santiago Gomez, filed their request for a free attorney after they sued Westchester County and its correction department after denying them dental floss, which they said lead to cavities in particular and bad dental health in general.

“When you get these cavities, they give you a temporary filling which, almost, by three or four weeks, falls out, which requires unnecessary procedures such as more drilling to replace this temporary filling,” Gomez told The Journal News in a telephone interview last month.

“Besides being in this facility, I’ve been in several facilities throughout New York state prisons,” Gomez said.

“All the facilities that I’ve been in sell dental floss,” he continued. “They’ve been advised in the grievance procedure here that they have ‘loops,’ which are inmate-friendly. They have a rubber appearance, they’re disposable, they come in Ziploc bags. All facilities sell them.”

Gomez is being held on a guilty plea to attempted criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree, stemming from his Nov. 25, 2011, arrest in Yonkers. He is to be sentenced Dec. 4.

The dental floss lawsuit is the third federal civil rights action he has filed since his arrest. He filed two other lawsuits in May, claiming that Yonkers police, county correction officers and medical personnel at the Valhalla jail refused his pleas for medical attention.

Gomez claimed he suffered a broken ankle, although jail officials said subsequent X-rays did not reveal a fracture.

Westchester County correction officials declined to discuss the lawsuit, but said the jail was examining safe alternatives to dental floss, which can present a security concern.

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New York City Police Shoot And Kill Innocent And Unarmed Army Guardsman – Officers Yelling Obscenities Before Pulling Car Over, Told His Girlfriend “Your Friend Shot Himself” – As An Off Duty Police Officer Slept In Backseat Of Their Victim’s Car

October 8, 2012

NEW YORK, NEW YORK — A passenger says there was nothing to provoke police to fatally shoot an unarmed Army National Guardsman driving on a New York City highway.

Diane Deferrari said the bullet that struck Noel Polanco in the abdomen narrowly missed her. She said uniformed officers pointed their guns through her open window.

She said the officers were yelling obscenities before pulling their car over near LaGuardia Airport on Thursday.

Deferrari said one of the officers told her, “Your friend shot himself.”

An off-duty police officer, Vanessa Rodriguez, was asleep in the back seat. She was awakened by the gunshot.

Police said it’s unclear what prompted Det. Hassam Hamdy to shoot.

Deferrari said she complied with an order to raise her hands, but the driver’s hands remained on the wheel.

According to The New York Times, Polanco worked at a local Honda dealership and was a member of the New York Army National Guard.

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Wetback On The Way To See Film About His Life As An Illegal Immigrant Jailed After His Arrest On Amtrak Train In New York

October 8, 2012

BUFFALO, NEW YORK – In an ironic twist of fate, an actor on his way to the Hamptons International Film Festival to see a film about his immigration journey was picked up by federal immigration officials.

Customs and Border Protection agents took Praq Rado, a 31-year-old Albanian-born actor who has lived in America for 11 years without documentation, into custody on Thursday while he was on board an Amtrak train in Buffalo, the agency confirmed on Sunday afternoon.

“Dreaming American,” a short narrative based on Rado’s life, makes its East Coast premiere during the film festival at the East Hampton movie theater on Monday at 8 p.m. He was due to speak at the festival headquarters at c/o the Maidstone on Sunday afternoon.

Lee Percy, who wrote and directed “Dreaming American,” confirmed Rado was traveling to East Hampton for the screening.

Rado is the lead actor in the 24-minute film that tells the story of his immigration journey, including how he escaped from Albania, without papers. He was thrown overboard from a ship off the Italian coast and made his way to shore.

“Family opposition to the prevailing regime had sharply curtailed his access to education or any sort of meaningful future. Even his personal safety was in jeopardy; his father’s death is still shrouded in mystery and political intrigue,” Percy said in a statement, adding that Rado dreamed of “living without fear of sectarian or political violence.”

In America, he struggled to survive and find work without a Social Security number, taking jobs as a go-go dancer at a gay bar in the East Village, Percy said by phone on Sunday. He ended up becoming a successful model and transitioned to acting.

Percy, an award-winning editor who worked on “Salt,” which stars Angelina Jolie, met Rado at an industry party. Rado was working at as a caterer and pitched his life story as a film. Barbet Schroeder produced the film.

“I thought it was moving,” Percy said of his story. “People always have an image of illegal immigration,” he said. “He’s a very determined, very hardworking, very good long fellow. Let’s take this one face … and perhaps give people a different attitude when they think of immigration.”

Lead Boarder Patrol Agent Michael Scioli said that Rado — whose given name is Preke Radoina — first illegally entered the country in Detroit in 2001. By 2007, immigration officials issued an order to remove him, he said.

According to Percy, Rado was never deported.

Rado, who has been working in Los Angeles but lives in New York, has not left the country since arriving, even though both of his parents died back in Albania, Percy said. He has to travel by train to avoid Homeland Security at airports, but was determined to come to East Hampton to see his film.

“I tried to warn him off, but he was excited about this festival,” Percy said.

While Scioli did not detail how authorities found out Rado was on the train, he said it is common for them to board a train and ask for documentation.

After Customs and Border Protection have completed paperwork in Buffalo, Rado will be sent to a federal detention center to await a deportation hearing, Scioli said.

“If he is sent back to Albania, not only will he be separated from his loved ones forever but his now public persona may further endanger his life,” Percy said. “Albania may have officially proclaimed support for freedom of ideas, but the everyday possibility of persecution and death remains very common and very real.”

His attorneys are fighting his deportation, asking that his petition to re-open his case can be heard. “Praq Rado’s dreaming American may all be for nothing,” he said.

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Lawsuit Charges New York City 9/11 Memorial With Firing Facilities Director Who Pointed Out Security And Health Safety Problems

October 6, 2012

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – A former manager at the Sept. 11 memorial says he was fired for raising health and security concerns at one of the most security-conscious places in the world.

Thomas Cancelliere sued the National Sept. 11 Memorial and Museum on Friday. The New York memorial had no immediate response.

Cancelliere’s lawsuit says he was the memorial’s facilities director from November 2010 until his firing last month.

The suit says he alerted his bosses that the water in the memorial’s signature fountains carried illness-causing bacteria and that exit gates were too narrow and could hinder an evacuation, among other concerns. He says that supervisors told him the issues weren’t his responsibility or were being addressed, but that they weren’t.

He says he was told he was being dismissed because of cost-cutting, but he believes it was retaliation.

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New York City Police Killed Man With Patrol Car Who Stole Cobblestones – Sends His Mother Bill To Fix Car While Case Is Still Under Investigation – Cops Claim He Ran Into The Car When It Wasn’t Moving, Witnesses Say Officers Hit Him

October 6, 2012

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – In April 2012, Tamon Robinson was struck and killed by an NYPD police car after Robinson was allegedly caught stealing cobblestones from a public housing complex.

Six months later, Robinson’s mother says the city is ordering the family to pay $710 to pay for the damages on the very car that killed her 27-year-old son.

45-year-old Laverne Dobbinson told The Daily News, “We’re still grieving, and this is like a slap in the face. They want my son to pay for damage to the vehicle that killed him. It’s crazy.”

An attorney for the family filed an intent to sue the city and hopes to prevent the department from issuing any repairs to the vehicle as the case is still under investigation. “In my 40 years of practicing law in this city I have never seen anything as heartless as this,” the lawyer told The News, referring to the bill sent to Tamon’s family.

According to police, the car was stopped when Robinson ran into it. Witnesses, however, maintain the car hit Robinson directly.

A witness described the incident, claiming, “They hit him. He flew up and he came down. They backed the car up, and they told him to get up. People were yelling out their windows screaming at the cops, ‘We saw what you did.’ ”

Robinson was rushed to a nearby hospital where he fell into a coma. While unconscious, cops kept him handcuffed to the hospital bed. Six days later, he was declared brain dead and his family made the decision to take him off the respirator.

Rev. Al Sharpton held a rally in honor of Robinson and demanded an investigation, which is still in process, to look into any criminal wrongdoing in the young man’s death.

An NYPD spokesman declined to comment on the $710 bill.

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New York City Officials Wouldn’t Appear In Front Of Cameras To Discuss Bogus Rape Convictions Against 5 Men, But Now Demand Filmmaker Turn Over Unused Footage – City Trying To Defend Itself Against Multi-Million Dollar Lawsuits After Wrongfully Imprisoning Their Victims

October 5, 2012

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – New York City is demanding that documentary filmmaker Ken Burns hand over footage of the movie he made about five men who were wrongfully imprisoned and later exonerated for the rape of a woman in Central Park.

The demand is part of the city’s attempt to defend itself against multi-million dollar federal lawsuits filed by some of the “The Central Park Five,” as the exonerated men had come to be known.

Lawyers for New York City filed a subpoena demanding Burns and his production company, Florentine Films, give them the unpublished interviews and unreleased footage not used in the documentary, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May.

“The plaintiffs’ interviews go to the heart of the case and cannot be obtained elsewhere,” said Celeste Koeleveld, a city attorney.

But Burns, along with his daughter, Sarah Burns, and her husband David McMahon, who co-wrote and produced the film, say they plan to fight.

“I’m sorry to say we saw this coming,” said Burns. “New York State shield laws are very specific. We are journalists, and that’s what this is.”

Burns was referring to state laws designed to protect journalist from having to compromise their sources. The filmmaker says he finds irony in the city’s request for the footage because he says he and his crew had been trying to get city officials in front of the camera for interviews for years, but to no avail.

“We made every attempt, we practically begged to talk to prosecutors and police,” he said.

The shield law should not protect Burns and his collaborators because they have shown many times that they were advocates and not journalists, city officials say.

For example, Sarah Burns worked for two years in the law firm of one of the plaintiffs’ attorneys and Ken Burns wrote to Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2009, urging him to settle the case, writing the plaintiffs had “suffered without just cause,” the New York City law office says.

“Mr. Burns and his daughter have publicly sided with the plaintiffs and their families, who are seeking hundreds of millions from New York City,” said Koeleveld, “The movie has crossed from documentary to pure advocacy. Under such circumstances, no reasonable person could have expected us to participate in their project.”

Burns, an Emmy-award winning filmmaker, disagrees.

“We didn’t make an advocacy film; we made a film about the facts of the case and that is these men were wrongly convicted, and had years of their lives stolen,” Burns said. “One of the things that was stolen from these men was their humanity. In the media they were turned into wild beasts, a wolf pack, and we wanted to return their humanity. We’d have been happy to do the same to others involved, if prosecutors and police had returned our calls for interviews.”

The racially charged Central Park Five case dates back to 1989.

On April 19 of that year, a 28-year-old white Wall Street investment banker was jogging through Central Park when she was brutally assaulted, raped and left for dead. That same night a group of black and Latino boys had been in the park, throwing rocks at cars and assaulting people, “wilding” as it was called in the media at the time.

2003: Central Park jogger speaks out

In the ensuing months, the investigation lead to the arrest of five of the boys. They were charged and convicted. To many it seemed like an open and shut case. Four of the young men had given taped confessions, and despite defense claims the confessions were coerced, the prosecutors, police, and what seemed like much of the American public deemed them guilty.

Yusef Salaam, Antron McCray, Raymond Santana, Kharey Wise and Kevin Richardson were convicted and sentenced to prison.

In 2002, three of the convicted young men had finished their prison terms, one was on parole and the fifth was in jail on an unrelated offense when Matias Reyes, a serial rapist and murderer, confessed to the crime and said he acted alone.

DNA analysis later determined that Reyes did rape the jogger and that hair evidence used in the boys’ trials did not match.

Robert M. Morgenthau, the Manhattan district attorney at the time, ordered a new investigation and, on his recommendation, a judge vacated the convictions.

Legal expert say the city may have a case.

“The evidence exists, the tapes and footage exists, and these people are suing the city, so you can see why the city would want to use them,” said CNN Senior Legal Analyst Jeffery Toobin.

But “there’s an irony here. The city tried to stop Burns from getting the interviews, and once they got them, now they’re subpoenaing them, but the city doesn’t have to be consistent,” Toobin said.

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Broke: Parents Forced To Patrol Rockland County New York School Themselves To Protect Their Children

October 4, 2012

MONSEY, NEW YORK — There was a clash Wednesday over school security, or what appears to be a complete lack of it in some Tri-State Area schools.

Parents in Rockland County demonstrated their frustration by going on patrol themselves, CBS 2’s Lou Young reported.

WCBS 880′s Sean Adams On The Story

You can approach the school along a paved path from a neighboring subdivision. On Wednesday, classes were in session and you could see the children through the windows only a few feet away.

While out front visitors were buzzed in by a single secretary guarding the front door. CBS 2’s Young found side entrances unattended and unlocked.

Grandview Elementary School in Monsey was an open book.

“I’m not surprised at all,” district resident Tony Luciano said.

Luciano, a retired police lieutenant, shot video of the lapse security on Tuesday as frustrated school parents mounted their own security patrol to keep people off school property while classes are in session.

What they encountered underlines the deep animosities here between elements of the Orthodox Jewish community and parents who send their children to perennially underfunded public schools. Holiday worshippers took offense at being asked to not cut through the school yard.

“I’ll tell you there’s more of us then you right?” one worshipper was captured saying on Luciano’s video. “And our feeling is you are anti-Semitic.”

The video continued with parents telling another Orthodox Jew he was trespassing, to which he answered, “This is public property.” The parent then reminded him that’s not the case when school is in session.

Parents said they just want the schools secured.

“I want signs posted on the school property and I want no trespassing laws enforced,” Luciano said.

“Our fear is that a child will be abducted or that a child will be hurt. We wanted to make the point that the school district is not doing its part to secure the safety of our schools for our children and we had to step in because they refuse to do so,” parent Peggy Hatton said.

No one from the East Ramapo School District was willing to speak about the security situation on Wednesday. The parents said they intend to press the matter at the next school board meeting.

The East Ramapo district draws students in from Monsey, Chestnut Ridge, Spring Valley, Suffern and New City.

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Savage Black Beast Queens New York Gym Teacher John Webster Sues – Pussy Claims That A 50 Pound White First Grader Kicked His Ass

October 1, 2012

QUEENS, NEW YORK – A hulking Queens gym teacher and former college football player claims a pupil fractured his ankle, injured his knee and forced him to go to a shrink for stress — even though the kid was only 50 pounds and in first grade.

Burly, 220-pound PS 330 teacher John Webster, 27, said a 4-foot-2 Rodrigo Carpio, 6, also kicked and pinched the Elmhurst school’s principal, a security officer and another teacher during a rampage in April.

“It’s sort of like an angel-devil sort of thing,” said the 5-foot-10 Webster, who recently filed a notice of his intent to sue the city and says he must now wear braces on his right ankle and knee.

“[Rodrigo] looks like an angel, but then, all of a sudden, that halo turns into horns. It’s been a nightmare. It’s embarrassing. It’s humiliating.”

But Rodrigo’s dad, Jorge Carpio, 44, scoffed: “The lawsuit is totally absurd. How could my little boy do so much damage? My poor son.”

The boy’s mom added, “This is a terrible thing to say [about] a child.”

“To every mother, their child is an angel,” said Josefa Marcia da Silva, 33, of her son, now 4-foot-3 and 64 pounds. “I know that he has problems, but he doesn’t deserve to be called such names.”

But Webster’s claims are backed up by an April 26 school “occurrence report” filed by the principal that says Rodrigo “was physically aggressive” and karate-kicked Webster in the knee and ankle that day.

Webster was accompanying Rodrigo and other students to the cafeteria for lunch when the boy started horseplaying, the teacher told The Post.

Webster said that he chided Rodrigo, but that the kid started kicking him.

“I tried to hold his wrists, and he began biting me,’’ Webster said. “I took him to the principal’s office, and he kicked me in the ankle, and one kick landed right on my knee. I felt a pop.’’

Rodrigo then kicked and pinched the acting principal and school safety officer, the occurrence report states.

NYPD responded but took no action. The boy’s parents refused to allow him to be taken to a hospital for observation.

Webster, who played tailback for upstate Morrisville State College, said his doctor told him he had to stay away from work for several months because of his physical and emotional state. But a Department of Education doctor told him to go back last month, so “I’m in limbo,’’ Webster said.

Meanwhile, Rodrigo is back at the school.

Webster’s lawyer, Andrew Siben of Bay Shore, LI, said school officials were repeatedly warned about Rodrigo but did not protect his client.

“This kid is clearly a tiny terror,” he said. “It’s sad that teachers like Mr. Webster are not offered protection from someone who can endanger other teachers and students.”

Rodrigo’s mom said her son is now on medication so he can focus.

“He is getting help, and he is much better now,” she said.

Both the school principal and the DOE declined to comment.

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New Jersey Locksmith Sells Keys To New York City For $150 – Keys Allow Control Of Elevators, Power, Access To Subway Gates, Some Firehouses, Traffic Lights, Contstruction Sites

September 30, 2012

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – This man has the keys to the city — and he’s selling them for a measly 150 bucks.

If the wrong person buys a set, we could all be in trouble.

Retired New Jersey locksmith Daniel Ferraris, 69, is hawking what he calls a “firemen’s key ring” — and what a terrorist might call a dream come true.

The set consists of five keys that would allow control of virtually any elevator in the city, could knock out power to municipal buildings and skyscrapers, darken city streets, open subway gates and some firehouse doors and provide full access to 1 World Trade Center and other construction sites.

Ferraris sold an undercover Post reporter the key-collection ring after posting his wares on eBay under the user name “thesixlever.”

Total cost: $149.95.

He agreed to hand them off at his home in Union City, just minutes from the Lincoln Tunnel, saying the keys “probably still work, but don’t try to use them.” He asked no questions.

Most of the keys did, in fact, work.

Three of the five are standard issue for members of the FDNY, and the set had a metal dog tag that was embossed with an FDNY lieutenant’s shield number, 6896.

The keys include the all-purpose “1620,” a master firefighter key that with one turn could trap thousands of people in a skyscraper by sending all the elevators to the lobby and out of service, according to two FDNY sources. And it works for buildings across the city.

That key also allows one to open locked subway entrances, gain entry to many firehouses and get into boxes at construction jobs that house additional keys to all areas of the site.

The ring sold to The Post has two keys used by official city electricians that would allow access to street lamps, along with the basement circuit-breaker boxes of just about any large building.

The sale of the newer of the two, a Yale 47 key, prompted concern from the city Department of Transportation.

“That key belongs on the key rings of our city electricians, not on the auction block,” an agency official said.

Former FDNY and NYPD Commissioner Howard Safir also sounded the alarm.

“These keys are issued to firefighters for emergency situations,” he said. “Just anyone having them is very dangerous.”

The sale outraged a former member of the FDNY.

“With all the anti-terrorism activities, with all the protection that the NYPD is trying to provide, it’s astounding that you could get hold of this type of thing,” he said.

He walked The Post through a couple of nightmare scenarios that would be possible with the help of such keys.

“Think about the people at Occupy Wall Street who hate the NYPD, hate the establishment. They would love to have a set. Wouldn’t it be nice to walk in and disable Chase’s elevators?” he said.

Or, he said, “I could open the master box at construction sites, which hold the keys and the building plans. Once you get inside, you can steal, vandalize or conduct terrorist activities.”

He said eBay and other online auction sites should stop such sales.

It’s unclear how many more such keys Ferraris has for sale.

But he continues to offer the FDNY elevator key, the master electrical-panel key and two traffic-signal keys on eBay.

He advertises the Yale 2642 key as a “City Wide MASTER key” and claims, “I also have some items NOT permitted for listing on eBay.”

He wrongly stated in the ad that “All items are OBSOLETE and have Not been in use in years.”

The former FDNY member said hawkers typically use the term “obsolete” to skirt eBay rules.

“It’s a security loophole that should have been closed long, long ago,” he said.

Officials at eBay did not return a call seeking comment.

Ferraris told The Post he has long collected FDNY keys from various sources — but he wouldn’t reveal how he obtained the five keys sold to a reporter.

“I get them from different places. I was a locksmith for many years, and I go to shows and get some from collectors,” he said.

He claimed the unauthorized items he mentioned in his ad were antique padlocks used by the New York City transit system, including a heart-shaped New York Rail Transit lock.

“For whatever reason, eBay doesn’t let you sell those items,” he said.

He did not return messages from The Post informing him that he had sold the keys to a reporter — or that merely having them could be illegal.

The NYPD says buying or selling official keys could be a crime — possession of burglar’s tools, a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison.

“It depends on the situation,” said an official at One Police Plaza.

“Are the keys stolen? If you use them, that could be possession of burglar’s tools, but you have to have intent to commit a crime. Just opening something with a key could be considered trespassing. But the real crime would be if you gain access to an area where you’re not supposed to be. That could be burglary.”

FDNY officials initially seemed to shrug off The Post’s findings.

After looking at photos of the keys The Post bought and being given a description, FDNY spokesman Frank Dwyer said the department had “no way of knowing if those keys work, or what exactly they are meant to be used for.”

He did not comment on the fact that the department’s internal keys are being sold to the highest bidder and possibly exposing the city to a terror threat — and that they may have belonged to a current or former officer, Lieutenant 6896.

But later, another FDNY spokesman told The Post that the department is investigating.

“We don’t have anyone by that badge number,” he said.

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Apply Apologizes For Their Near-Worthless Map Application That Replaced Ditched Google Maps – Tells Purchasers Of New iPhone 5 To Use Competing Map Applications

September 28, 2012

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – Apple CEO Tim Cook apologized Friday for the company’s error-ridden new mobile mapping service, pledging to improve the application installed on tens of millions of smartphones and, in an unusual mea culpa, inviting frustrated consumers to turn to the competition.

In a letter posted online Friday, Cook said Apple “fell short” of its own expectations.

“Everything we do at Apple is aimed at making our products the best in the world. We know that you expect that from us, and we will keep working nonstop until Maps lives up to the same incredibly high standard,” Cook said.

Apple released an update to its iPhone and iPad operating system last week that replaced Google Maps with Apple’s own map application. But users quickly complained that the new software offered fewer details, lacked public transit directions and misplaced landmarks, among other problems.

People have been flocking to social media to complain and make fun of the app’s glitches, which include judging landscape features by their names. The hulking Madison Square Garden arena in New York, for instance, shows up as green park space because of the word “garden.”

Until the software is improved, Cook recommended that people use competing map applications to get around – a rare move for the world’s most valuable company, which prides itself on producing industry-leading gadgets that easily surpass rivals.

Apple has made missteps in the past – even under founder and CEO Steve Jobs, whose dogged perfectionism was legendary.

“I think they are clearing the air and, more importantly, clarifying why they had to do their own maps,” said Tim Bajarin, a Creative Strategies analyst who’s followed Apple for more than three decades.

He recalled an infamous problem with the iPhone 4’s antenna that caused reception issues when people covered a certain spot with a bare hand. Jobs apologized, though he denied there was an antenna problem that needed fixing. Apple quickly recovered.

But Cook’s remarks went further, saying the company was “extremely sorry” and pledging to make swift improvements.

Contrast that with Jobs’ statement from 2010, when he said the antenna issue had been “blown so out of proportion that it’s incredible.”

Still, Jobs also acknowledged that Apple was “stunned and upset and embarrassed.” But he insisted the antenna issue was not widespread and only a small number of users complained to Apple’s warranty service.

On Friday, Cook said the new version of the mapping app was designed to give users the features they’ve been asking for. It includes turn-by-turn directions, voice integration and a 3-D flyover feature.

Google’s map application for the iPhone did not give turn-by-turn directions or voice-guided navigation, although its version for Android devices does.

Google, Bajarin said, wouldn’t license the turn-by-turn feature to Apple because Google prefers to give devices running its own Android software an advantage over the iPhone and iPad. Maps and navigation are among the most-used features of smartphones.

Cook said Apple’s maps will get better as more people use the app and provide feedback.

That’s true for all digital maps. Google’s system wasn’t perfect when it launched, but it got better over the years as users pointed out mistakes and helped the company collect its vast trove of data.

“Ultimately, what (Apple) discovered early on is that Google had access to 100 million iOS users who helped them build the Google Maps database, Bajarin said. “At some point Apple had to put its foot down.”

It came time, he explained, for Apple to own the users of its mapping service, not Google.

But for now, Cook actually recommends that users look at other options – including Google maps.

“While we’re improving Maps, you can try alternatives by downloading map apps from the App Store like Bing, MapQuest and Waze, or use Google or Nokia maps by going to their websites and creating an icon on your home screen to their web app,” Cook wrote.

Could Apple have avoided the debacle? Bajarin thinks so, maybe by acknowledging that the map app was a work in progress. That’s what the company did when it released Siri, its virtual assistant. Customers understood.

Apple released the iPhone 5 last week and on Monday said it sold more than 5 million of them in three days. Although the number is a record for any phone, it was fewer than analysts expected.

Shares of Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple Inc. slid $8.12 to $673.20 late Friday morning, amid a broader market decline.

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New York Transportation Authority Finally Bans Advertising Inciting Or Provoking Violence

September 28, 2012

The epic battle between American Freedom Defense Initiative executive director and blogger Pamela Geller and The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) culminated with a court decision that forced the transit authority to permit the display of controversial ads about radical Islam. But the story didn’t end there. As TheBlaze reported this morning, Geller’s case caused the MTA to rethink the manner in which it handles First Amendment issues, leading to the adoption of some potentially-controversial measures.

On Friday, TheBlaze spoke with a spokesperson who confirmed some of the details surrounding the case, while clarifying the new changes that passed on Thursday. As noted, one of the emergent provisions that was added into the public company’s advertising standards in the wake of the Geller debate allows the MTA to deny ads it believes could incite violence (this was not mentioned in the press release the agency put out about the changes).

As previously noted, a document, reflecting yesterday’s changes, was provided by the MTA to TheBlaze this morning. It highlights the transit authority’s advertising standards and reads, in part, “The licensee (‘advertising contractor’) shall not display or maintain any advertisement that falls within one or more of the following categories.” One of the category sections reads:

The advertisement, or any information contained in it, is directly adverse to the commercial or administrative interests of the MTA or is harmful to the morale of MTA employees or contains material the display of which the MTA reasonably foresees would incite or provoke violence or other immediate breach of the peace, and so harm, disrupt, or interfere with safe, efficient, and orderly transit operations.

It is the portion presented in bold that is new to the regulations. It’s inclusion is interesting for a number of reasons. On the surface, it appears oddly placed in the list of grievances that could lead to the banning of an advertisement. Furthermore, there is some ambiguity regarding what led to the inclusion of the “violence” reference in the first place.

A portion of the new advertising standards, with the highlighted “violence” reference (Photo Credit: MTA)

In an e-mail reply, MTA spokesperson Aaron Donovan told TheBlaze that the change was among the “outstanding issues” that the agency was looking to tackle in the new regulatory document.

“Since we hadn’t updated our advertising standards in 15 years, we used this opportunity to address several outstanding issues or potential hypothetical situations,” he wrote. “This is one of them.”

TheBlaze responded with additional questions about the motivations for the change, asking how, in particular, the MTA’s court battle with Geller impacted the new restriction on violent ads. Donovan responded, admitting that the dilemma did play an integral role in the decision to make the change.

“The ad, and more specifically the litigation surrounding it, caused us to think about a variety of potential scenarios and review our standards more carefully within a prism of First Amendment law,” he commented.

Considering that the MTA has made its opposition to the ad’s message known in the past — and taking into account continued calls for bans on blasphemy and offensive messages — the natural question is: Will this new regulation serve as a backdoor method for banning controversial ads that take aim at specific faiths, like Islam?

To gain a better perspective, TheBlaze asked who would be involved in the process of defining which messages incite violence and what the metrics for doing so would be.

“It would go through the same process we currently use to determine whether ads meet the overall guidelines,” Donovan explained. “Ads are submitted to our advertising contractor, CBS Outdoor, for posting and approval.”

Once the ads are submitted, Donovan said that CBS then decides which ones need to be scrutinized more closely to ensure they meet guidelines. Considering the other MTA regulation that was adopted on Thursday — the requirement that political, religious and morality-based ads include a disclaimer separating their ideals from the agency’s — the spokesperson said that CBS would also be involved in flagging ads for that purpose.

“The MTA’s final determination is made by the MTA’s Director of Real Estate, in consultation with CBS Outdoor (our ad contractor), the MTA’s General Counsel, the Chairman, and others he may choose to consult with,” he continued, highlighting how potentially-violent ads will be assessed.

Still, considering these elements, the issue needs further exploration. The language seems fluid enough to present further First Amendment battles in the future — especially considering the guidelines’ subjective nature.

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Savage Black Beast Charged In New York City After Stray Gunshot Hit 15 Year Old Girl While Doing Her Homework – Animal Was Walking, Singing, And Shooting

September 27, 2012

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – The building in the Queensbridge Houses in Long Island City where Amy Sanchez , 15, was shot and wounded by a stray bullet that came in through the apartment window Sunday. Sanchez was hit in the hand. The NYPD made an arrest in the case Wednesday.

He’s certainly not singing now.

Police have made an arrest in the case of a Queens teenager who was wounded by a stray gunshot unleashed by a singing gunman, a police captain told the Daily News.

Captain Miguel Iglesias of Police Service Area 9 said a man has been arrested on suspicion of firing the round that struck Amy Sanchez, 15, in the hand as she did her homework in an apartment in the Queensbridge Houses about 5:15 a.m. Sunday.

A resident told the Daily News the shooter was singing as he slowly squeezed off five rounds. One shot pierced the window in Amy’s apartment; she ducked, a relative said, but it ricocheted of the wall and struck her.

Police said Day Bryant, 37, of Manhattan, was charged with criminal possession of a weapon and reckless endangerment. He has yet to be arraigned. Police sources said he has eight prior arrests. It was not clear what spurred the gunplay.

Amy’s relatives, who attended the community meeting where The News spoke to Iglesias Wednesday, were pleased an arrest was made.

“I’m glad they caught someone,” her aunt, Gina Hernandez, said at the Ravenswood Community Center. “Her hand is in bad shape.”

Amy underwent surgery at New York-Presbyterian Hospital Weill Cornell in Manhattan on Monday. City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer of Queens, who visited her in the hospital, said she will likely not be released from the hospital before Friday.

“She is very shaken up,” Van Bramer said. “One gunshot is too many. One 15-year-old girl shot is one too many.”

There has been a slight increase this year in shooting victims in the NYPD’s 114th Precinct, which includes the Queensbridge Houses; 21 people have been shot in the command, up from 17 at this point last year.

Vicky Lozado, Amy’s cousin, said area residents are getting restless.

“We hear the fights and the gunshots,” she said. “What are the police doing?”

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Savage Black Beast Who Raped Young Actress Twice In New York City Park Is Level 3 Sex Offender, The Most Dangerous Type Of Sexual Predator

September 26, 2012

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – The high-risk sex offender who attacked a young actress in Hudson River Park at dawn Saturday actually raped his victim twice, prosecutors say.

After the first attack, the woman managed to briefly escape from twisted ex-con Jonathan Stewart, 25. But Stewart chased her down, grabbed her by the throat, punched her and sexually assaulted her again, said Assistant District Attorney Alyssa Gunther at Stewart’s arraignment Wednesday in Manhattan Supreme Court.

The victim again broke free from Stewart, who has a prior 2004 conviction for robbery and sexual assault on two women, and fled naked until encountering park cops.

Stewart pursued, but turned tail and casually walked away when he saw the woman talking to police, Gunther said. He was found a short time later cowering shirtless in the median strip on West St., she added.

Stewart’s prior conviction for sexual abuse of two women using a knife caused him to be registered as level 3 sex offender, the most dangerous type of sexual predator.

Stewart was arraigned via video conference from Bellevue Hospital where he is recovering from a suicide attempt on Sunday.

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16 Year Old Savage Black Beast Charged In New York City With Murdering His Mother – Caught On Video Dumping Plastic Bin Containing Her Body On The Street Like Trash

September 26, 2012

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – A Bronx mother was found slain inside a plastic storage bin Wednesday — and her teenage son was charged with her murder after video footage showed him dumping it on the street like trash, police sources said.

Darwin Jackson, 16, who uses the handle ScarfaceKiller on MySpace, was hauled off by cops shortly after he identified his mother’s body and spat on the ground.

“He said, ‘Oh my God, that’s my mom,’ and he spit and walked away,” neighbor Sonia Carrion said. “He actually spit.”

Jackson told investigators he shot his mother, Tihesha Savage, 34, amid an argument, police sources said. He was charged Wednesday night with second-degree murder and weapons possession.

A building super spotted the tan rectangular bin near some bushes on Macombs Road about 9:10 a.m. Wednesday. When the super took off the lid, he found a horror. Inside was Savage’s crumpled body, with what appeared to be a gunshot wound on her head.

Savage was swaddled in a fleece Scooby-Doo blanket, and more soiled blankets were found in a nearby courtyard, witnesses said. Police were summoned.

Amid the commotion, Jackson came downstairs and walked over. “Ewww! Oh my God!” he said, according to Carrion.

“Everybody saw him spit when he saw the body,” she added.

Neighbors said that Jackson seemed calm while his younger sister was hysterical.

“I asked him what went on,” neighbor Kevin McCorkle, 29, said. “He said he doesn’t know. He wasn’t crying. He was just mad. The little girl kept asking me, ‘Where is my mommy?’”

The teen was taken to the 44th Precinct stationhouse in a patrol car, where he was questioned until he confessed, police sources said. A building security camera captured Jackson dragging the container across Macombs Road and leaving it there, the sources said.

Savage had trouble with her son, whose MySpace page features a photo of a gunman in body armor and a picture of Al Pacino as homicidal Tony (Scarface) Montana.

Cops were called to the apartment in July 2011 after a blowup between mother and son, and neighbors said they often argued.

“I guess he was staying out past his curfew and hanging out with the wrong crowd,” said dog trainer Ralph Tejada, 26.

Carrion said the family’s downstairs neighbor heard a ruckus in the wee hours of Wednesday.

“The little girl kept screaming all night — ‘Mommy, Mommy!’” Carrion said. “She said they’re always arguing.”

The victim, known as Miss T, was described as a quiet woman who cared for her father until his death a few years ago.

“She was just a hard-working mother,” McCorkle said. “If you lived here, you’d call her a ghost. If she wasn’t with her kids, she was in the house.”

In a 2002 Daily News article about a school bus accident, Savage talked about her fears for her children’s safety. She said she had decided to walk her son, then just 6, to and from school every day because there was no monitor on his yellow bus. “It’s dangerous,” she said.

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Spike In Apple Product Thefts Accounts For More Than 14% Of All Major Crime In New York City

September 26, 2012

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – A crime statistics report released by the New York Police Department this week revealed there were 11,447 recorded thefts of Apple products between Jan. 1 and Sept. 23, a 40 percent increase from last year that represents 14.4 percent of all other major crimes.

The spike in Apple-related theft outpaced other crimes, including murder, rape and robbery, which at 79,335 incidents grew four percent during the same period, reports PC Mag.

“The increase in incidents involving the theft of Apple products exceeded the increase in overall crime incidents of crime by 265,” an NYPD spokesman said. “As if to mirror the market place, thefts of Apple products increased this year as the theft of electronics by other manufacturers decreased.”

As of September, incidents involving Apple products represented 204 of the 1 percent rise in bruglaries, 160 percent of the 4 percent bump in robberies and 69 percent of the 9 percent increase in grand larcenies overall.

To stem the rising tide of Apple gadget theft, the NYPD instituted the “Anti-Apple Picking Campaign” alongside Friday’s launch of the iPhone 5. Part of the police force’s free device registering service, dubbed Operation ID, the program is aimed to help retrieve valuable electronic items by recording a product’s serial number and corresponding owner information. As an option, the device can be marked with a unique serial number for easy identification in case the unit is lost or stolen.

In a post to the NYPD’s Facebook page, Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said, “The theft of Apple phones and other hand-held devices drove the spike in robberies and larceny this year. Individuals alert to their surroundings are less likely to become victims, and Operation ID will help those whose property is lost or stolen to get it back.”

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Federally Funded Nonprofit New York Organ Donor Network Pressured Hospital Doctors To Declare Patients Dead So Body Parts Could Be Harvested To Meet Quota

September 26, 2012

MEW YORK, NEW YORK – The New York Organ Donor Network pressured hospital staffers to declare patients brain dead so their body parts could be harvested — and even hired “coaches” to train staffers how to be more persuasive, a bombshell lawsuit charged yesterday.

The federally funded nonprofit used a “quota” system, and leaned heavily on the next of kin to sign consent forms when patients were not registered as organ donors, the suit charged.

“They’re playing God,” said plaintiff Patrick McMahon, 50, an Air Force combat veteran and nurse practitioner who claims he was fired as a transplant coordinator after just four months for protesting the practice.

The suit, filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, cited four examples of improper organ harvesting.

In September 2011, a 19-year-old man injured in a car wreck was admitted to Nassau University Medical Center. He was still trying to breathe and showed signs of brain activity, the suit charged.

But doctors declared him brain dead under pressure from donor-network officials, including Director Michael Goldstein, who allegedly said during a conference call: “This kid is dead, you got that?” the suit charged.

The patient’s family consented to have the organs harvested.

“I have been in Desert Storm, Iraq and Afghanistan in combat. I worked on massive brain injuries, trauma, gunshot wounds, IEDs. I have seen worse cases than this and the victims recover,” McMahon told The Post.

That same month, a woman was admitted to St. Barnabas Hospital in The Bronx still showing signs of life, the suit said.

She had a kidney transplant earlier in life and network officials used that to pressure her daughter into giving consent.

“They say to her, ‘If you give us permission we will use your mother’s organs and we will help many, many people who need them,’ ” he said.

McMahon’s objections were ignored by a neurologist, who declared her brain dead — and her organs were harvested, according to the suit. McMahon even claims he tried to get a second opinion.

A month later, a man was admitted to Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn, again showing brain activity, the suit said. McMahon claims his protests were again blown off by hospital and donor-network staff, and the man was declared brain dead and his organs harvested.

In November 2011, a woman admitted to Staten Island University Hospital after a drug overdose was declared brain dead and her organs were about to be harvested when McMahon noticed that she was being given “a paralyzing anesthetic” because her body was still jerking.

When he objected, another network employee told hospital personnel McMahon was “an untrained troublemaker with a history of raising frivolous issues and questions,” the suit charged.

“I had a reputation for raising a red flag,” he said.

In order to harvest organs, the network needs a “Note” — an official declaration by a hospital that a patient is brain dead — and consent from next of kin.

The network hired marketing and sales professionals to “coach” workers to tailor their pitches based on the family’s demographics, said the suit, filed by McMahon’s lawyers Michael Borrelli, Alexander Coleman and Bennitta Joseph.

The suit said that on Nov. 4, McMahon told Helen Irving, president and CEO of the network, “one in five patients declared brain dead show signs of brain activity at the time the Note is issued.”

Irving, the suit said, replied: “This is how things are done.”

Network spokeswoman Julia Rivera said she hadn’t seen the suit, but noted that only doctors can declare a patient brain dead.

She called McMahon’s claims of a quota system “ridiculous. There are no quotas.”

A Staten Island University Hospital spokeswoman declined comment. Reps for the other three hospitals could not immediately be reached.

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Two Savage Black Beasts Arrested As They Smuggled Cocaine From South America Into US Inside Towering Hair Weaves

September 26, 2012

NEW YORK – The suspiciously towering hairdos of two women who had just flown into New York City from South America prompted federal agents to conduct searches that revealed each traveler was carrying more than two pounds of cocaine sewn into her weave, according to court records.

After arriving early Sunday morning on a flight from Guyana to John F. Kennedy International Airport, the women appeared fidgety and extremely nervous during routine questioning by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents.

In a U.S. District Court affidavit, a federal agent noted that Kiana Howell “appeared as if she was going to faint” and “her carotid artery was pumping.” During a pat-down, an investigator felt “an unusual bulge beneath the defendant’s hair weave.” When asked about the bulge, Howell claimed that it was “part of her hair weave.”

When asked to remove the weave, Howell said that she could not “because she had a package that was sewn into it.” Howell stated that her boyfriend in Guyana “told her to bring that package under her hair weave to the United States for him.”

While claiming that she did not know the package’s contents, Howell admitted, “it was not a good thing.”

Howell’s weave was subsequently dismantled at a medical facility, where agents removed a rounded package wrapped with clear plastic. Inside was nearly a kilo of cocaine. After Howell’s arrest, she told investigators she had been promised $7500 to “smuggle the package under her hair weave.”

The second traveler, Makeeba Graham, “had an unusually high and bulky hair style,” according to an affidavit sworn by Department of Homeland Security Agent Jeffrey Fidler. After a CBP agent “felt a hard object on the defendant’s head,” Graham, a 33-year-old Harlem resident, was “asked to remove her hair weave.”

After Graham claimed that she could not remove the weave because it “was sewn to her natural hair,” she was transported to a medical facility where the weave was partially dismantled. Inside, agents discovered a rounded package containing more than a kilo of cocaine.

Howell and Graham (pictured above) were named Monday in separate felony criminal complaints charging them with narcotics smuggling. Graham was freed on $100,000 bond, while Howell remains in custody in advance of a detention hearing scheduled for tomorrow afternoon.

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New York Threatens To Add 3 Points To Bicyclist’s Automobile Drivers License If Found Guilty Of Minor Offense On Bicycle

September 26, 2012

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – Riding a bike could end up costing you your driver’s license, according to one cyclist who says the DMV is threatening to add three points to his license if he’s found guilty of failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk while biking in Central Park. Our tipster, who requested anonymity so his name isn’t associated with scofflaw cycling in future Google searches, insists he did nothing to deserve the ticket, which was issued on the afternoon of August 28th. In email, he writes:

I don’t believe that i failed to yield; there was easily 15 feet on each side of me and I was going 3-5 mph with complete ability to stop on a dime if needed. But what’s important is that it posted online for pleading on Friday (3 weeks later), and their system has me down for 3 points on my license.

I suspect that if you look at all the tickets given out to cyclists since beginning of the year, anyone who had a license on them or in the system had their ticket tied to it. If the infraction was one with points, and they plead guilty to just pay the fine, they ended up with points and then have to go fight to get them removed (if they even know they are there).

Points would cause their insurance premiums to go up and if they already had 8 points on their license, lead to a suspension… Under state law, there are no points for a ticket on a bicycle, the NYPD officer who gave me my ticket said explicitly that.

The cyclist in this incident will be appearing in court in November to contest the ticket (a copy of which we reviewed, along with the DMV notice about the license points). Attorney Steve Vaccaro, who has represented the family of killed cyclist Mathieu Lefevre and the husband of killed pedestrian Clara Hayworth, thinks there’s no legal ground for the DMV to do this. “The points should not apply,” Vaccaro tells us. “And this guy should get a human being to tell him that they will not apply if he pays the fine, although that could take a lot of time and maybe a visit to court.”

This news comes as the NYPD continues to enforce the letter of the law when it comes to bike riding in Central Park, and as a blind jogger run over by a cyclist sues the city for failing to enforce the letter of the law. In August, the NYPD issued 62 tickets to cyclists for failing to yield right of way to pedestrians, and, not counting August, the NYPD says 123 tickets have been issued so far this year.

But Vaccaro thinks the cyclist in this instance has a good shot of beating the ticket and never seeing those points added to his license. “The summons is facially invalid because it is based on a rule that applies only to ‘vehicular traffic,’ which in this context does not include cyclists,” Vaccaro tells us. “Judges have been known to overlook such flaws, because there are other rules that could have been properly applied.” If he loses and the points end up being applied, we’ll let you know.

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Millionaire Manhattan Madam’s Law Enforcement Connections Won’t See Light Of Day As She Receives Sweet Plea Deal – Headline Grabbing Case Of Prostitution, Money Laundering, Police Involvement, And High-Paying Clients Fizzles In Court

September 25, 2012

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – Anna Gristina, the suburban mom and so-called Millionaire Madam accused of running a pricey prostitution business in Manhattan, is set to plead guilty to a single count of promoting prostitution, sources told the New York Post.

Under a deal, Gristina, who sat behind bar at Rikers Island for four months after her arrest in February, could be sentenced to time already served or could go back to jail for a short stint, the Post reported.

Prosecutors had alleged that Gristina spent years running the hooker ring that catered to high-paying clients.

But the Scotland-born married mother of four said her business was simply a matchmaking service that catered to wealthy men, many of whom were married.

Authorities claimed they had years of wiretap evidence that Gristina had law enforcement connections and had laundered millions of dollars.

But her arrest was on a sole charge that she and an alleged accomplice Jaynie Mae Baker arranged for two prostitutes to perform a sex show for an undercover cop posing as a client.

Baker — a young and beautiful redhead whose appearances in court wearing high heels and expensive fashions became tabloid fodder — and two alleged call girls apparently struck a deal with the D.A. to avoid jail time.

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Ignorant President Obama Blames Video About Pedophile Islamic Prophet Muhammad, Not Filthy Muslims And/Or Al Qaeda, For Pre-Planned Attack On US Embassy In Libya, Protests, Riots, And Killings Elsewhere

September 25, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – In an address to the United Nations General Assembly today, President Barack Obama dedicated several long passages to discussing and condemning what the New York Times has described as a 14-minute “amateurish video” that a 55-year-old Southern California man posted on YouTube in June.

Obama also told the United Nations that with modern technology efforts to control the flow of information have become “obsolete.”

The Obama administration had originally suggested that the video in question—which the New York Times said was a trailer for a movie entitled “The Innocence of Muslims”—may have been responsible for inspiring a mob to attack the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya on Sept. 11 and to kill U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

However, the Libyan prime minister said last week that the attack on the U.S. consulate was pre-planned. Also, the chairman of the U.S. House Intelligence Committee said on Sunday that not only was the attack planned but also that there was reason to believe it had been carried out by al Qaeda or an al Qaeda-affiliated group and that he had seen no evidence that there had even been a demonstration outside the consulate before the attack.

“In every country, there are those who find different religious beliefs threatening; in every culture, those who love freedom for themselves must ask themselves how much they are willing to tolerate freedom for others,” Obama told the United Nations.

“That is what we saw play out in the last two weeks, as a crude and disgusting video sparked outrage throughout the Muslim world,” he said.

“I have made it clear that the United States government had nothing to do with this video, and I believe its message must be rejected by all who respect our common humanity,” said Obama. “It is an insult not only to Muslims, but to America as well–for as the city outside these walls makes clear, we are a country that has welcomed people of every race and every faith. We are home to Muslims who worship across our country. We not only respect the freedom of religion–we have laws that protect individuals from being harmed because of how they look or what they believe. We understand why people take offense to this video because millions of our citizens are among them.

“I know there are some who ask why we don’t just ban such a video,” said Obama. “The answer is enshrined in our laws: our Constitution protects the right to practice free speech.

“Here in the United States, countless publications provoke offense,” said the president.

“Like me, the majority of Americans are Christian, and yet we do not ban blasphemy against our most sacred beliefs,” he said. “As President of our country, and Commander-in-Chief of our military, I accept that people are going to call me awful things every day, and I will always defend their right to do so. Americans have fought and died around the globe to protect the right of all people to express their views–even views that we profoundly disagree with.

“Now, I know that not all countries in this body share this understanding of the protection of free speech. We recognize that,” said Obama. “But in 2012, at a time when anyone with a cell phone can spread offensive views around the world with the click of a button, the notion that we can control the flow of information is obsolete. The question, then, is how do we respond. And on this we must agree: there is no speech that justifies mindless violence.

“There are no words that excuse the killing of innocents,” said Obama. “There is no video that justifies an attack on an embassy. There is no slander that provides an excuse for people to burn a restaurant in Lebanon, or destroy a school in Tunis, or cause death and destruction in Pakistan.”

“More broadly, the events of the last two weeks also speak to the need for all of us to address honestly the tensions between the West and the Arab World that is moving toward democracy,” said Obama. “Just as we cannot solve every problem in the world, the United States has not, and will not, seek to dictate the outcome of democratic transitions abroad, and we do not expect other nations to agree with us on every issue. Nor do we assume that the violence of the past weeks, or the hateful speech by some individuals, represent the views of the overwhelming majority of Muslims–any more than the views of the people who produced this video represent those of Americans.”

In a story published on Sept. 16, the New York Times described the video the president spoke about at the United Nations as follows: “The incendiary, amateurish video–a 14-minute trailer for a supposed full-length feature called ‘The Innocence of Muslims’–depicts the Prophet Muhammad as a buffoon, a womanizer and a child molester. It was first uploaded to YouTube in June, and translated into Arabic and uploaded several more times in the week leading up to the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorism attacks.”

Last week, according to Deputy State Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland, the U.S. government spent $70,000 to air a television advertisement on seven Pakistani television stations. The ad featured Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Obama condemning the YouTube video.

On CNN on Sunday, House Intelligence Chairman Mike Rogers (R.-Ala.) said he had seen no evidence that there had been a protest outside the U.S. consulate in Benghazi before terrorists attacked the facility and killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans there.

“I have seen no information that shows that there was a protest going on as you have seen around any other embassy at the time,” Rogers said. “It was clearly designed to be an attack.”

Rogers also said there was a “high degree of probability” that those who attacked the consulate had some connection to al Qaeda.

“Who were they?” CNN’s Candy Crowly asked the intelligence chairman.

“We don’t know for sure and for certain yet,” said Rogers. “We have–At least I look at the information, have a high degree of probability that it is an al Qaeda or al Qaeda-affiliated group that had a very specific target in mind, and that was to attack the consulate and cause as much harm, chaos, and death as possible.”

Libyan Prime Minister Mustafa Abushagur also told CNN he believed that attack on the consulate was pre-planned.

“Have you then determined this attack was preplanned?” CNN Senior International Correspondent Arwa Damon asked Abushagur.

“Oh, I think it is. I think it is. Because the way it has taken place, the way they have done it, it’s clear this group has planned it,” said Abushagur. “So, it is not a spontaneous thing that took place that night, no.”

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Massive Delays And Missed Appeal By New York City Prosecutors May Require Case Against Savage Black Beast Sex Offender To Be Dismissed – DNA Match And He Admitted Maturbating Against 14 year Old Girl In Crowded Train Leaving Stains On Her Jeans And Jacket

September 25, 2012

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – A subway pervert who became a poster boy for law enforcement’s inability to keep underground “grinders” in jail may get off clean because prosecutors aren’t ready to pull the trigger on a trial.

Jason Mack’s lawyer, Michael Alperstein, moved Tuesday for the case against the notorious frotteur to be dismissed because it had run passed the 60 days permitted to bring a case to trial under the state’s “speedy trial” law.

In 2002, the 300-pound Mack rubbed against a 14-year-old girl in a packed downtown 1 train, leaving a stain on her jeans and jacket, authorities said. In 2006, he struck again, prosecutors said.

Mack wasn’t charged until 2008 — when DNA matched him to the earlier attacks. But Mack’s date with justice has been delayed as courts consider whether grinding, as the perverted practice is known, constitutes a felony.

In March, the New York’s Court of Appeals ruled that the city maintenance worker’s brazen onanism did not involve force.

Since then, prosecutors have been scrambling to prepare an appeal, and it looks as if their time is up.

“It was over-indicted and it was a stupid appeal,” said Michael Alperstein, Mack’s lawyer. “It was never forcible. There was no basis from the beginning.”

“The clock ran out months ago. I want this case dismissed,” he added.

If dismissed, Mack would not be convicted despite having admitted that he did the dastardly deed. More important, he also would not have to register as a sex offender — his top priority.

“The only thing he’s fighting is the registry. It ruins your life,” Alperstein said.

Prosecutors were expected to issue a response to the motion to dismiss the case in coming days.

Alperstein also revealed that District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. has offered to let Mack plead guilty with time served. He has already served more than 180 days behind bars waiting for his appeal.

Currently, Mack works as a maintenance man for the Department of Citywide Administrative Services.

“I think I was drunk,” said about the two grinding encounters. He said that if he could say anything to the women, he would say, “I’m sorry and I apologize.”

“I want the judge to dismiss the case because I don’t do that no more. It’s over.”

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Dumbass Veteran New York City Police Officer Opens Underwater Hatch, Sinks Half-Million-Dollar Port Authority Boat – 8 On Board Rescued From Sinking Rescue Boat –

September 24, 2012

NEW YORK – A $500,000 Port Authority patrol boat sank this month after a veteran police sergeant took the advice of a clueless civilian safety instructor — and opened a hatch while it was under water, The Post has learned.

“It was like opening a window during a carwash,” one PA insider lamented of the screw-up off Breezy Point, Queens, that left 11 people scrambling for their lives.

Nobody was seriously injured, but eight cops and three civilians had to either swim to safety or be rescued as the 37-foot M-2 model Moose Boats craft sank 40 feet to the ocean floor about 300 yards off shore.

PA sources said the sergeant who ordered the hatch open is expected to face disciplinary action. They refused to identify him. He will likely lose vacation days for failing to maintain supervisory control and basically abdicating his command to a civilian during the Sept. 9 debacle, they said.

The aluminum-hull catamaran was being used for rescue exercises mandated by the Federal Aviation Administration for airport first responders, a source said.

The boat, PAPD No. 7211, was among those on hand to respond to potential terror maritime assaults on JFK Airport and possible airline crashes in Jamaica Bay.

It is equipped with $500,000 in firefighting pumps, hoses, nozzles, marine radios, radar, GPS gear, depth sounders, pursuit lights, sirens, scuba gear and dozens of inflatable rafts designed to carry up to 600 people.

The boat had been carrying three instructors from Ocean Rescue Systems, a Portland, Maine, firm the PA hired to conduct the exercises.

The starboard engine began to display “vibrations” that afternoon, sources said, and some believed a piece of driftwood or rope was clogging the engine.

An Ocean Rescue Systems instructor advised the sergeant to open a hatch near it — below the water line — to see if there was an obstruction, one insider said.

But the hatch should have been opened only if the craft was in dry dock, the source explained.

The sergeant took the instructor’s advice — and the boat sank within a half-hour.

PA officials had an outside contractor raise the boat the next day. It’s unclear how much of its equipment is still usable.

The sidelining of the boat is big blow to the PA’s efforts to keep the waters off JFK safe.

The PAPD is already reeling because its high-tech $100 million airport security system, the Perimeter Intrusion Detection, has been a bust.

In August, a man whose Sea-Doo ran out of gas in Jamaica Bay climbed a JFK fence, crossed two active runways and flagged down a baggage handler for help — all without being detected.

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Broke: New York City Considers $15 Toll For Cars Crossing Verrazano Bridge

September 22, 2012

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – One woman told 1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg that she doesn’t even have to leave Staten Island to feel the burden of high tolls.

“It’s actually cheaper for tolls in Brooklyn than for tolls in Staten Island,” she said Saturday.

Now, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority wants to hike the Verrazano Bridge toll to $15, and Staten Islanders are banding together to say “enough is enough” with all these tolls.

“It’s totally ludicrous,” one man said. “It keeps on going up. There’s no (stopping it). When is it going to end?”

“No matter which way we go we have to put our hand in our pocket to leave the island, and I think it’s unfair,” another man added. “And it’s a burden on us.”

But the toll hike won’t happen if Congressman Michael Grimm gets his way. He hopes to put up a roadblock — a federal law to cap toll hikes at 10 percent over five years, or lose millions.

“If this is enacted by 2013, they will have to roll their toll back to $12.10 for five years for them to be eligible for that federal funding,” Grimm said. “In 2008, the Verrazano Bridge (toll) was $10. So in 2013, that bridge could not be raised more than $1 — 10 percent of the $10 — to $11. In 2013, the next five-year period, they can raise it another 10 percent.”

Grimm’s bill would force a toll cut.

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High Cigarette Taxes Target The Poor, Hurt Them The Most

September 22, 2012

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – A study conducted on behalf of the New York State Department of Health has revealed that cigarette taxes hurt the poorest New Yorkers the most.

Low-income smokers, defined as individuals in households making less than $30,000 a year, spent an average of 23.6 percent of the annual household income on cigarettes. That number is up from 11.6 percent in 2003-2004 and in spite of increasing cigarette taxes imposed by the state and city governments.

By comparison, smokers in households making over $60,000 a year, spent an average of 2.2 percent of their household income on cigarettes.

At $4.35 per pack of 20, New York has the highest state cigarette tax in the country. But the tax on a pack can cost up to $6.46 in the state, when combined with the $0.61 state sales tax and additional city excise tax. New York City, for instance, tacks on $1.50 per pack.

The prevalence of smoking is directly correlated with income level, the study found. 24.3 percent of low-income New Yorkers smoke some days or most days. The study shows no decline in smoking among low-income smokers, despite tax increases since 2003, meaning that the poor bear a disproportionate tax burden.

“This is such a shockingly high proportionate of their income,” said Dr. Matthew Farrelly, the study’s author, in a phone interview with The Daily Caller. “And yet at the same time, New York has cut funding for tobacco control programs by half.”

Farrelly firmly believes that tobacco control programs are effective in helping smokers quit, and he reiterated the study’s conclusion that more revenue from excise taxes should be used to fund these programs.

But Farrelly conceded, “It may be that raising [cigarette] taxes does not work well for low-income smokers.”

And while he also believes the state should continue to look at efforts to curve tax evasion, it is notable that Farrelly believes study findings “support that they [individuals surveyed] were not evading the tax.”

Conducted by the independent, nonprofit RTI International, researchers surveyed more than 13,000 individuals to demonstrate the effect of high cigarette excise taxes on income levels.

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Savage Black Beast With Razor Blade Attacked Man Inside Manhattan New York McDonalds

September 21, 2012

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – The NYPD is looking for a man who could weigh up to 350 pounds in connection with a hate crime inside a Manhattan McDonald’s.

It is the same West Village McDonald’s that was the scene of another anti-gay attack in 2011.

Police say a 22-year-old man was attacked with a razor blade inside the restaurant on West 3rd Street on Wednesday evening.

Police say the suspect made anti-gay remarks to the victim at about 7 p.m. It turned physical and then the suspect took out a blade.

He slashed the victim in the face, back, neck and elbow before running away.

The victim was taken to Bellevue Hospital and required multiple stitches for his injuries.

The suspect is black, 35-40 years old, 5’9″ to 5’10” and weighs between 300-350 pounds.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers hotline at 800-577-TIPS. Police say that all calls will be kept confidential.

Two men gave a 28-year-old gay man a beating outside of the McDonald’s in 2011. Damian Furtch had two black eyes and a cut on his nose after the beating.

Police say two men confronted Furtch and a co-worker inside the McDonald’s. The two left the restaurant, but the men followed them outside.

The assailants allegedly insulted Furtch with anti-gay epithets and punched him. In that case, the men were young Hispanics.

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Three Or Four Savage Black Beasts Sought After Stabbing Student To Death Outside New York City Highschool

September 21, 2012

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – A group attacked and stabbed a 19-year-old man in front the High School for Environmental Studies on the West Side of Manhattan on Thursday afternoon, police said.

Theodore Beckles, of the Bronx, was stabbed Thursday at about 3 p.m. in the stomach by a male suspect who fled the scene on West 56th Street, according to investigators.

Beckles was rushed to Weill Cornell in serious condition and later died, police said.

A school official told Fox 5 that the victim was not a student at the high school.

The New York Times reported Beckles was a student at Independence High School which is housed in the same complex as the School for Environmental Studies.

Police are looking for as many as four suspects in the attack.

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Counterfeit Gold Bars Show Up In New York City – Real Bars Hollowed Out, Filled With Tungsten, And Sold With Real/Original Serial Number And Papers

September 19, 2012

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – In jewelry stores on 47th Street and Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, the important trust between merchants has been violated. A 10-ounce gold bar costing nearly $18,000 turned out to be a counterfeit.

The bar was filled with tungsten, which weighs nearly the same as gold but costs just over a dollar an ounce.

Ibrahim Fadl bought the bar from a merchant who has sold him real gold before. But he heard counterfeit gold bars were going around, so he drilled into several of his gold bars worth $100,000 and saw gray tungsten — not gold.

What makes it so devious is a real gold bar is purchased with the serial numbers and papers, then it is hollowed out, the gold is sold, the tungsten is put in, then the bar is closed up. That is a sophisticated operation.

MTB, the Swiss manufacturer of the gold bars, said customers should only buy from a reputable merchant. The problem, he admits, is Ibrahim Fadl is a very reputable merchant.

Raymond Nessim, CEO Manfra, Tordell & Brookes, said he has reported the situation to the FBI and Secret Service.

The Secret Service, which deals with counterfeits, said it is investigating.

In March, gold bars filled with tungsten showed up in England. With New York now hit, it may mean an international ring is involved.

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New York Court Of Appeals Judges Rule That Grinding Against Others To Masturbate On Subways Isn’t A Felony If There Is No Use Of Force – Chronic Pervert With 32 Prior Arrests Gets Off With No Prison Time

September 18, 2012

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – State lawmakers, prosecutors and women are outraged that a chronic pervert who masturbated on three subway riders got off with no prison time — courtesy to the state’s highest court.

Darnell Hardware, 27, got three years probation last week because Court of Appeals judges ruled earlier this year that subway grinders — as they are called by law enforcement — can’t be charged with felonies if they don’t use force to pursue their repulsive perversion.

In other words, it’s gross, but it’s not violent.

“The court system has let him get away scott free,” said Nicola Briggs, 40, of Manhattan, who has faced down a subway grinder before. “It’s a slap on the wrist, honestly. I do not think the punishment did fit the crime.”

Prosecutors say dozens of subway sickos have walked away from charges that could have carried up to seven years since the high court’s March ruling.

In Hardware’s case, the pervert has indeed been prolific, with a rap sheet that includes 32 arrests, including two sexual assault cases in the Bronx and Brooklyn. The recent subterranean charges stemmed from three incidents in Manhattan between 2003 and 2005, when Hardware rubbed himself to orgasm on two young women aged 22 and 24, and a 17-year-old high school student.

“She could feel what was happening but (was) powerless to move,” Assistant District Attorney Melissa Mourges said of one victim.

Hardware can thank fellow perv Jason Mack for his freedom.

In 2002, the 300-pound Mack rubbed against a 14-year-old girl in a packed downtown 1 train — but it wasn’t until 2009 that his DNA was linked to the crime.

Mack confessed to the perversion, but Judge Renee White threw out a felony charge because there was no proof the girl felt threatened with violence.

The DA’s office fought the case all the way to the state’s highest court, but lost. Mack ended up facing a max of three months for a misdemeanor sex abuse charge.

Briggs, who stood up to a subway grinder in 2010, said that there is something deeply hostile about the crime.

“I would disagree that there is not violence involved,” said Briggs. “It cuts to the core of someone’s psyche – it attacks the self esteem. It is tacitly being condoned by (the court system) not coming down on this. I think there is a sex bias in the court system.”

State Sen. Bill Perkins introduced a bill last year that would allow prosecutors to bring felony charges against someone with two prior convictions – even if there’s been a 10-year period in between offenses. The legislation passed the Senate, but was struck down in the Assembly. Perkins vowed to reintroduce it this year.

City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. called on Albany close the loophole and put convicted grinders on a state sex offenders list.

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Obama Appointed US District Court Judge Katherine B. Forrest Rules Against US Government’s Illegal And Unconstitutional Indefinite Detention Of Terrorism Suspects

September 18, 2012

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration warned Monday that a judge’s ruling last week blocking a statute authorizing the indefinite detention of terrorism suspects has jeopardized its ability to continue detaining certain prisoners captured during the war in Afghanistan.

In an emergency appeal of the ruling, the government asserted that United States District Court Judge Katherine B. Forrest went beyond enjoining the statute — enacted last year as part of the National Defense Authorization Act — and potentially curtailed detention powers it has been exercising for years under its interpretation of the authorization to use military force against the perpetrators of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Judge Forrest’s order “threatens irreparable harm to national security and the public interest by injecting added burdens and dangerous confusion into the conduct of military operations abroad during an active armed conflict,” the government wrote in a 38-page filing with the federal appeals court in New York.

The motion focused on language used by Judge Forrest that rejected interpreting the original use-of-force authorization as including the ability to detain “substantial supporters” of Al Qaeda and the Taliban, as opposed to people who are actually part of those groups. The judge also called into question the idea that the United States could detain members or supporters of “associated forces” that had no involvement in the Sept. 11 attacks.

“If, following issuance of this permanent injunctive relief, the government detains individuals under theories of ‘substantially or directly supporting’ associated forces, as set forth in” the National Defense Authorization Act, “and a contempt action is brought before this court, the government will bear a heavy burden indeed,” she wrote.
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New York City Homeless Population Jumps 18% Since 2011 – Panhandlers Now Line City Streets

September 13, 2012

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – New York City has a rising homeless population; it is up nearly 18 percent since 2011. Panhandlers now line city streets, including in Union Square.

“I was married, had a wife, house, car, the whole nine yards, middle class,” Paul Santo said, “and lost everything.”

Santo said he now lives just off 14th Street. Every day he puts up a sign asking for cash.

“I’ve got appointments to try and better my life,” he said. “Just getting on a train is $2.25.”

Amy Moreno, a panhandler, said: “I ask for donations. I want to rent a room to get off the street before winter.”

Moreno said she sleeps in Union Square twice a week. The other nights, she stays with friends. She makes bracelets for those who give her donations.

“It goes towards the beads, it goes towards my daily food intake,” she said.

Patrick Markee, of the Coalition for the Homeless, said: “A lot of times those folks are a couple of paychecks away from becoming homeless. You might see people panhandling who are still in a precarious housing situation, they might just need those few extra dollars to get by.”

Markee said the city is in its worst homeless crisis since the Great Depression. He said every night an estimated 45,000 people sleep in shelters across the city, and more sleep on the streets.

Then there are the panhandlers — some of whom are homeless, some just looking for extra cash.

“In my neighborhood, the East Village, I see a lot more people sleeping on the streets,” Markee said. “I see a lot more people with cardboard signs asking for money. The street homelessness feels more visible.”

The New York City legal department said that peaceful panhandling alone is not illegal, but a City law prohibiting aggressive forms of panhandling was passed in 1996.

According to an NYPD spokesperson, beggars can only be arrested if they become aggressive or block traffic.

“Where I am now, a closed business, they’re not going to bother me,” Santo said. For now, he plans to keep panhandling.

“I’m on the street, but I’m on the list for housing right now,” he said. “So hopefully that will go through.”

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New York City’s Continuing Effort To Regulate Every Aspect Of Residents Lives Finally Sets Sights On Jews Filthy Circumcision Ritual

September 13, 2012

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – The New York City Board of Health unanimously passed a regulation on Thursday that will require consent from parents before an infant can have a form of Jewish ritual circumcision, prevalent in parts of the ultra-Orthodox community, in which the circumciser uses his mouth to remove blood from the incision.

In a morning meeting, the nine-member panel of doctors and public health professionals said that though the regulation had been challenged by some Orthodox Jewish religious authorities as an unconstitutional infringement of their religious freedom, the risk of disease from the ancient procedure was serious enough to warrant action.

Indeed, some panel members said they believed that requiring consent did not go far enough. “It’s crazy that we allow this to go on,” said Dr. Joel A. Forman, a professor of pediatrics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

Infectious disease experts widely agree that the oral contact creates a risk of transmission of herpes that can be deadly to infants, because of their underdeveloped immune systems. Between 2004 and 2011, the city learned of 11 herpes infections it said were most likely caused by the practice. Two of those babies died; at least two others suffered brain damage.

While most ritual circumcisers, known as mohelim, no longer use oral contact to pull blood away from the circumcision incision — they use gauze or sterile glass pipettes instead — the practice has been strongly defended by ultra-Orthodox Jewish rabbis who believe the practice is faithful to Talmudic codes. Because they believe it is a mandatory part of the practice of the Jewish religion, more than 200 ultra-Orthodox rabbis have ordered their adherents not to comply with the regulation.

“This process is being created without a shred of evidence,” said Rabbi William Handler, one of a few ultra-Orthodox Jews who gathered outside the meeting in protest. He said that if done properly, the procedure was safe. “The city is lying, and slandering compassionate rabbis.”

In an effort to educate parents about the health risks, the city will now require ritual circumcisers to inform parents in writing that they will have direct oral contact with their infant’s circumcision wound, and receive their signed consent before doing so. The form states that the health department advises against the procedure because of the risk of herpes transmission, which may cause brain damage or death. The mohelim must keep that permission document on hand for one year.

Failure to comply may result in warning letters or fines to the mohelim. Enforcement, though, will be based on investigation of specific complaints and herpes cases, not spot checks or raids, and there are no mandatory punishments, said Dr. Jay K. Varma, the city’s deputy commissioner for disease control.

Orthodox groups, including Agudath Israel of America, have announced that they are exploring the possibility of suing the city to block the regulation, which is scheduled to go into effect 30 days from official publication of the rule.

The Board of Health said 18 people or groups had submitted comments on the proposal — compared with 38,000 comments on its just-approved ban on large sugary drinks. Of those, 11 were for the regulation and 7 against.

The city believes about 3,600 male infants are circumcised with direct oral suction each year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has called the procedure unsafe and recommended against it. Health authorities have estimated the risk of an infant’s contracting herpes through the oral contact ritual at roughly 1 in 4,000.

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18 Kennedy Airport Employees Arrested, Including 3 Security Guards, For $750,000 In Thefts That Included 100,000 Mini Liquor Bottles, Perfume, And Cigarettes – Search On One Home Turned Up 500 Trash Bags Filled With Mini Liquor Bottles – Police Took 5 Months To Investigate

September 13, 2012

NEW YORK, NEW YORK — Authorities say workers at New York’s Kennedy airport stole 100,000 mini liquor bottles and duty-free items such as larger bottles of liquor, perfume and cigarettes.

Eighteen employees were arrested Wednesday on charges including larceny and possession of stolen property.

Fifteen are current or former truck drivers for LSG Sky Chefs, an airline catering company owned by Lufthansa that serves as a subcontractor to American Airlines. The other three are security guards.

Queens District Attorney Richard Brown says they stole more than $750,000 worth of liquor and other items. He says a search warrant at the home of one retired truck driver turned up more than 500 garbage bags filled with mini liquor bottles.

The arrests came after a five-month investigation dubbed Operation Last Call.

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Savage Black Beast Stabs 3 People On New York Subway Platform

September 12, 2012

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – MTA police said three people had been stabbed on the platform of a subway station in Queens Wednesday morning.

A 22-year-old woman has been taken into custody in connection with the stabbings which occurred around 8:45 a.m. in Jamaica, MTA police said.

Earlier reports indicated as many as 7 people stabbed.

A box cutter was recovered.

The victims are being treated for their injuries at Jamaica Hospital, EMS said.

Most of the injuries are considered to be minor but one of the victims suffered deep lacerations to the arm, EMS said.
subwaystabbing1 Several Stabbed At Subway Station In Queens

E and J trains bypassed the Sutphin Blvd-Archer Avenue Station in Jamaica during the investigation, but service resumed at about 10:30 a.m.

Initial reports suggest that the incident began as an argument between two groups on the escalator.

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Savage Black Beast Follows Random Stranger Into New York City Deli, Stabs Him Repeatedly In The Ass

September 11, 2012

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – A thug followed a stranger into a Queens deli and repeatedly stabbed him in the buttocks, cops said today.

The assault, seen on shocking surveillance footage, occurred inside the store on 63rd Road in Rego Park around 5:45 p.m. Sunday.

The video shows the thug – wearing a white T-shirt, grey sweat pants and a black cap – enter the store before quickly pouncing on his unsuspecting victim and violently stabbing him in the buttocks several times before bolting from the store.

Police said there doesn’t seem to be any motive and that the attack was completely random.

The victim was treated for his injuries and is in stable condition, cops said.

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19,000 Children Living In New York City Homeless Shelters – “Like Living In Hell” – Numbers Unlike Since The Great Depression – Expert Estimates Over 20,000 By Christmas

September 10, 2012

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – Sometimes life in a homeless shelter is more than a 14-year-old can handle.

Francheska Luciano, who is among a growing number of homeless children in the city, said living in a shelter was “like living in hell.”

“I’m tired of this,” she said Friday while sitting on a curb outside a shelter intake center in the Bronx with her mother and little sisters. “It’s a nightmare every day.”

The number of children in the city’s shelters hit 19,000 last week, the most recent city data available show.

“Not since the grim days of the Great Depression has New York City had 20,000 children sleeping homeless each night,” said Patrick Markee, senior policy analyst with the Coalition for the Homeless.

Francheska’s family was waiting outside a Department of Homeless Services intake center surrounded by suitcases containing all their belongings.

“It’s really hard on my sisters; they’re young, they have no childhood, they don’t sleep well. It’s not fair to them,” Francheska said of Shanely, 7, Yadeiliz, 4, and Mileishka, 2.

The family has been staying at New Hope Shelter in the Bronx since January after being evicted from an apartment they paid for with a city rental subsidy called Advantage. The city axed the program, citing funding cuts.

The Lucianos went to the center to get transferred to a shelter in Brooklyn, closer to the younger kids’ daycare and in a safer neighborhood.

“The area where we are staying now is really bad. I can’t go outside because it’s so dangerous,” Francheska said.

Her mom, Wanda Luciano, 32, came to New York from Puerto Rico in 2006. Health issues and surgeries have kept her from finding a full-time job, she said.

If the family is placed in a new shelter, it will be Francheska’s third.

“It’s really hard because I don’t tell my friends. I can’t,” the teen said. “Even though I’m just a teenager, it is really stressful.”

In the past year alone, the total shelter population has risen by 17% and the number of children has risen by 18%, city stats show.

Mayor Bloomberg said recently that the number of homeless children was increasing because of the recession.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, a mayoral hopeful, has supported using public housing apartments and federal housing vouchers to move people out of shelters. The city, meanwhile, has opened at least nine new shelters this summer.

“Since just May, more than 2,000 children have become homeless,” said Ralph da Costa Nunez, CEO of the Institute for Children, Poverty, and Homelessness. “If the trend continues, we will surely see more than 20,000 children living in shelters by Christmas — a gift that nobody wants.”

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Convicted Heroin Dealer Hired By New York City Charter School Without Background Check – Goes From Federal Prison To Supervising Children In Just 2 Months

September 10, 2012

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – He went from the big house to schoolhouse in just over two months.

A charter school hired a convicted heroin dealer — and put him to work with kids — without a background check that would have quickly turned up his criminal past.

Carlos Tapia, 31, was hired in May at Innovate Charter School, where he supervised kids in the cafeteria. He expected to be fingerprinted so his past could be checked, but the school didn’t bother, he said.

“I could have been a person who was dangerous,” said Tapia, who was a public school teacher’s aide before he served a year and half for heroin distribution.

The high-profile school, then sharing Tweed Courthouse space with the Department of Education itself, did fire Tapia after three months — but he still can’t believe that he was even hired by a charter school in such a prime location.

“It’s just crazy. What if I was someone who really couldn’t be trusted?” Tapia said. “What if I had anger-management issues?

“I even took the elevator with the chancellor (Dennis Walcott) all the time,” he added.

A charter school official said that background checks were “always done,” claiming that Tapia’s had been completed by an employee no longer with the school.

Head of school Gayla Thompson declined to further comment, saying that Tapia “is no longer an employee here.” She then hung up on a reporter.

A source familiar with the inner workings of the school said officials were entirely in the dark about Tapia’s past until contacted by the Daily News.

The school is now reviewing all personnel records, the source said.

Absent the heroin arrest, Tapia’s résumé suggested that he was qualified for the charter job. Before turning to crime, he made $10 per hour as a public school teacher’s aide.

He said he was barely making end meet — then his hours were cut due to the fiscal crisis. That’s when he made a “mistake,” choosing to suppliment his income by transporting heroin to Ohio. The city fired him after the arrest.

Tapia applied to Innovate Manhattan because of his previous experience in education, and even says he checked with the state to see if charter schools would be able to hire someone with a criminal record.

He fully expected to undergo the fingerprinting required by the state for charter schools as well as public schools.

Innovate Charter parents expressed shock at the revelation this week.

“I didn’t know anything about it. Now I’ve got all kinds of questions for the school. I want to know if my daughter is safe,” said Huberney Chavez, 47, whose daughter is in sixth grade.

“They’ve got to check the backgrounds of employees. It’s important you’ve got to know who’s taking care of our kids. I don’t care if it’s public, private or charter they should check their backgrounds.”

Innovate Manhattan is not the first first charter school to hire an employee previously fired by the public schools. Columbia Secondary School Principal Jose Maldonado-Rivera, fired after the drowning of 12-year-old Nicole Suriel on a field trip, was hired by Dr. Richard Izquierdo Health and Science Charter School, The News reported in June.

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Veteran Rensselaer New York Police Officer Daniel Fumarola Arrested, Suspended, And Charged After Drunken Wreck – Three Times State Limit 2 Hours After Crash

September 9, 2012

TROY, NEW YORK – A veteran Rensselaer police officer is accused of driving drunk and crashing his personal car in Troy late Wednesday night.

Daniel Fumarola, 42, was off-duty when he crashed his 2011 BMW sedan into a water tank in the construction area at Brunswick Road and Congress Street, according to the Troy Police Department. No one was injured. Fumarola was alone in the car, and there were no other vehicles involved.

Fumarola refused a breath test at the scene, Troy Police said. He later submitted to a chemical test at the police station.

As a matter of policy, Troy Police do not release blood alcohol test results. However, a law enforcement source confirmed to FOX23 News that Fumarola’s BAC was close to three times the legal limit – more than two hours after the crash.

Attempts to reach Fumarola for comment were unsuccessful.

Rensselaer Police Chief Rick Fusco said late Thursday he will recommend terminating Fumarola. Though this is Fumarola’s first DWI arrest, Fusco said police officers should be held to a higher standard.

Fumarola is on administrative leave, per standard procedure. He is due back in court in early October.

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Huge Pack Of Savage Black Beasts In Greenwich Village New York Attack And Trash Car With Man Inside – Cops Take Forever To Arrive After Call

September 9, 2012

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – It was an absolute mob scene late on Thursday night in Greenwich Village.

“Fashion’s Night Out” turned ugly and spiraled into chaos at the corner of Broadway and Bleecker Street when the driver of an Audi apparently exchanged words with a bicyclist.

The man’s car then became an instant punching bag.

“People were surrounding this car,” freelance photographer Jika Gonzalez told 1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg. “They were running across it, jumping on it and dancing on it. It honestly seemed like they were just kids having fun, which is a little scary. It was definitely out of control, and I don’t think they were really considering their actions.”

Gonzalez witnessed the melee as the crowd smashed the motorist’s windows.

“The guy was still driving very, very slowly because there was a full crowd around him, so he couldn’t really move,” Gonzalez explained.

She said he appeared rattled and terrified, and when he got out of the car he was angry at the cops for taking so long to rescue him.

The driver was unharmed in the incident.

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Drunk Savage Black Beast Taking A Dirt Nap After Attacking The Wrong Gas Station Attendant

September 8, 2012

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – There was another killing at a New York City gas station on Thursday, but this time the victim was a drunk who made the mistake of tangling with an attendant who boxes and idolizes Rocky Balboa.

Oscar Arzeno flipped out after he was unable to make a withdrawal from a cash machine and began throwing punches at gas station worker Jesse Singh, 27, police and other sources said.

Instead of backing down, Singh went after the attacker, performing deft karate moves as he chased Arzeno down, surveillance footage from the Gulf station on Van Dam St. in Long Island City shows.

Singh, who co-workers said was into boxing and loves the “Rocky” movies, was being questioned by police. Cops say he beat Arzeno, 28, of Queens to death but have not charged him with a crime.

Gas station owner Jervail Singh confirmed his nephew was involved in the deadly fight, but insisted the dead man “had a heart attack.”

“He got him into a chokehold,” added the attendant’s brother, Rajeet. “Maybe that’s how he passed away?”

The confrontation in Queens came a little over seven hours after another hardworking attendant at a Bronx gas station was shot and killed at point-blank range by a robber.

Singh got into the deadly donnybrook with Arzeno at 5 a.m., police said.

“He couldn’t take the money from the machine,” Jervail Singh said. “Then he went inside, knocked on the door and tried to tell” the attendant. Singh said he told the drunk, “ Something is wrong with your card,” the uncle said.

And when Singh came out to help him, the drunk attacked, police and relatives said.

“He punched my guy in the face,” and then tried to hit him with a gas hose, Jervail Singh said.

The fight spilled out into the street and was so fierce Arzeno tore the shirt off his nephew’s back, the uncle said.

Despite the two attacks on consecutive nights, Jervail Singh said that working at a filling station “is not a dangerous job.”

“I’ve been here 23 years,” he said. “The worst is when somebody gets gas and then drives away.”

Arzeno is no stranger to law enforcement. In 2006, he claimed police brutality and got a settlement from the NYPD after he was busted by undercover cops outside a Flushing apartment building.

Surveillance video showed up to five officers knocking Arzeno to the sidewalk — then cuffing and marching him to a squad car.

The Queens district attorney’s office said Arzeno was subdued after he ran from cops who were trying to arrest him for selling coke to an undercover officer on school grounds.

Arzeno eventually pleaded guilty to misdemeanor drug possession and got three years’ probation.

His ex-girlfriend, Marilyn Machado, 26, the mother of his daughter, Kianna, 9, said he was hoping to use the NYPD payoff to change his life.

“I just can’t believe he’s dead. I can’t tell my daughter, today was her first day of school,” she said.

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Rochester New York City Employees Exempt From Red Light Camera Ticket Fines

September 8, 2012

ROCHESTER, NEW YORK – Over the past 18 months, city of Rochester employees have committed at least 119 red light violations while driving city vehicles, records show.

But while employees can be disciplined for the violation, “payment of the related fine will not be required,” according to a newly adopted city procedure for handling the violations.

One-third of the infractions were by police department vehicles, including one driven by Police Chief James Sheppard. These are not instances where squad cars are going through intersections with lights and sirens blaring. But Sheppard said most do involve emergency responses, and typically are rolling stops on right turns.

RocDocs: City vehicles ticketed | Map: Where are the red-light cameras?
PDF:City procedure for city-owned vehicles cited for red light violations

There also were violations by solid waste, building services, cemetery and library vehicles, according to data the Democrat and Chronicle obtained through an open records request.

“It’s definitely concerning that this many city vehicles are, in one way or another, in violation of the law around red lights,” said Deputy Mayor Leonard Redon. “This number is higher than any of us would have liked.”

Rochester launched its photo enforcement program in October 2010, and today has cameras at 29 intersections. Violators receive a $50 fine, which can escalate to $75 if not paid. Last week, the city warned vehicle owners with delinquent tickets that it planned to begin filing judgments come Monday and begin the collections process. The city issues about 9,000 violations per month.

The record of city vehicles with violations picks up in March 2011. City officials are at a loss to explain the clean slate during initial months. Other irregularities include eight violations recorded by animal services vehicles — all in a span of nine weeks this spring. There also was a stretch in April when city employees recorded 24 violations in 27 days.

Two vehicles — one in animal services and the other in solid waste — were ticketed four times. The data doesn’t show whether the same employees were driving each time.

Sheppard said he could not recall where he was headed or why when flagged for a red light violation on a Thursday afternoon in late July. Police expect to complete their review of all incidents by Monday. The city policy took effect July 1 but only was distributed to union leaders in recent weeks.

The infractions by police department vehicles include the animal services and security divisions.

Redon will get quarterly reports on violations and discipline, with the first due in mid-October. He said some employees already have faced discipline, which can escalate from a note in their file to suspension to termination. The disciplinary process varies by bargaining unit, Redon said. Those terms allow for assessment of damages up to $100 but do not address monetary fines, said Mike Mazzeo, president of the police union, who suspects any discipline will need to be negotiated.

“Initially when this was done, we were told all police vehicles will be exempt,” Mazzeo said, since they are emergency vehicles. “Now they come up with criteria that (the vehicle) has to be in emergency mode, or a marked vehicle, or responding to an emergency situation.”

The union already is upset that public safety aides, not police officers, review violations to determine whether tickets should be issued. And Mazzeo questioned the value of cameras, as intersections with cameras have yet to show a noticeable decline in violations.

As for the latest measure, he said: “We are going to have to spend how much manpower evaluating every situation? And I’m not sure what the point is. A city employee is the same as any citizen … well, a citizen is not working.”

But Sheppard said the review is worthwhile for the department to explain the incidents to the public.

Monroe County has a more simple practice when it comes to red light violations: If the employee is driving, he or she is responsible. Put another way, county spokesman Justin Feasel said: “It’s up to the employee to pay it.”

That was the city’s initial desire after discovering the mounting number of city vehicle tickets, Redon said. But officials discovered they were precluded from making such a demand under existing labor contracts.

Parking tickets are assessed in much the same way as red light violations — going to the vehicle owner, regardless of who is driving. In those instances the employee would receive the ticket, however, taking it off the windshield, whereas red light violations are processed and sent to the city.

On parking tickets, the city has no policy, Redon said. A percentage are excused “for valid business reasons,” and in other cases employees pay. In fact, “it looks like 90 percent of the time they get paid,” Redon said, adding the city might look to develop a policy on parking tickets as well.

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New York City Police Officer Shot And Killed Innocent Store Clerk As He Fled From Armed Robbers

September 7, 2012

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – A frightened New York store clerk fleeing armed robbers was accidentally shot and killed by a police officer he collided with early today, the NYPD says.

Reynaldo Cuevas, 20, was shot once in the left shoulder when he bolted from his uncle’s Bronx bodega and plowed into the officer, who was rushing to the scene with his gun drawn about 2 a.m. ET. “Mr. Cuevas … ran full-speed into the officer,” Commissioner Ray Kelly said, according to the New York Daily News. “The two became entangled, at which point, we believe, the officer accidentally discharged his weapon.”

“The events … transpired in a matter of seconds and the collision between Mr. Cuevas and the officer in split seconds,” Kelly said.

The New York Post explains how the robbery unfolded. A security camera captured the fatal collision.

The officer, a seven-year veteran, had never before fired his gun on-duty, Kelly said.

One of the three alleged robbers surrendered immediately to other officers and the other two were captured after a three-hour standoff. They have been charged with Cuevas’ death.

Another officer responding to the robbery was seriously injured when his car collided with an SUV.

Cuevas had planned to enlist in the U.S. Army. He will be buried in his native Dominican Republic, where robbers killed his father during a chain-snatching two years ago.

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New York Federal Prosecutors Want Prison Time For Fraudster Who Reated Obama “Hope” Poster

September 5, 2012

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – Federal prosecutors want Shepard Fairey, the artist who created the Barack Obama “Hope” poster, to serve time in prison following his misdemeanor conviction for destroying and fabricating documents in connection with a civil lawsuit over the iconic campaign image.

In advance of Friday’s scheduled sentencing of Fairey in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, the Department of Justice has filed a memorandum arguing that a prison term for the 42-year-old artist would be “appropriate.”

However, prosecutors did not specify how long Fairey should be incarcerated (though, statutorily, his punishment would not exceed six months). Additionally, government lawyers have contended that Judge Frank Maas could fine Fairey up to $3.2 million.

“A sentence without any term of imprisonment sends a terrible message to those who might commit the same sort of criminal conduct,” wrote prosecutor Daniel Levy in a September 2 memo. “Encouraging parties to game the civil litigation system…creates terrible incentives and subverts the truth-finding function of civil litigation.”

Fairey, seen in the above mug shot, has admitted destroying electronic records and creating fake documents in an effort to thwart a copyright lawsuit brought by the Associated Press, which contended that Fairey had based the “Hope” image on a photo taken by an AP lensman.

Levy stated that Fairey reaped significant reputational and financial benefits from the Obama “Hope” image, which was created in early-2008. The prosecutor specifically cited the escalating combined profits of three Fairey companies, which grossed $2.93 million in 2007, $4.59 million in 2008, and $6.08 million in 2009.

In a sentencing memo filed by Fairey’s lawyers, the artist is described as a devoted husband and father of two young girls who deeply regrets “the worst mistake of his life.” In dozens of letters to Maas, Fairey’s friends, coworkers, and business associates convincingly attest to his contrition, charitable giving, and community service.

Arguing that a prison term is not warranted, Fairey’s counsel claimed that, following his guilty plea earlier this year, he has endured an online “public shaming” that “will now be a permanent scarlet letter for Shepard to wear.” Fairey’s lawyers have also contended that the artist, a diabetic, might not receive proper treatment for his illness if incarcerated in a Bureau of Prisons facility.

In a letter to Maas seeking leniency for Fairey, former Obama for America official Scott Greenstein recalled asking the artist to create a work during the 2008 Democratic primary campaign. Fairey agreed, Greenstein wrote, because he “was willing to stand up and announce his support for Obama” at a time when others did not want to choose sides.

Fairey was finishing up the “Hope” poster “while he was waiting for his wife to deliver their second child,” noted Greenstein. Amanda Fairey, the artist’s spouse, wrote Maas that she “feared that making the poster would not be good for Shepard’s career.” But, she added, her husband “looked me in the eye and said to me that the reason he would be doing this was for our daughter’s future, not his career.”

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New Jersey State Attorney General Claims That New York City Police Department Is No Longer Spying On Muslims In New Jersey

September 5, 2012

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY – Muslim leaders in New Jersey say the state attorney general has assured them that a New York Police Department unit that conducted surveillance of Muslim groups is no longer operating in the state.

Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa (kee-AY’-sah) declined to comment following the private meeting Wednesday in Newark, but several attendees confirmed the account.

It was the first meeting of a Muslim outreach committee the attorney general established in May. He formed the group after announcing that a review of NYPD activities found the agency had not violated any New Jersey laws.

The NYPD has defended its surveillance of Muslim businesses, students and groups in New Jersey as legal.

The surveillance, revealed in a series by The Associated Press, angered many Muslims and resulted in a federal suit against the NYPD.

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Broke: Federal Funding For Live “Taps” At Military Funerals Running Out

September 4, 2012

CALVERTON, NEW YORK – When you go to a military funeral at Calverton National Cemetery or Pinelawn National Cemetery on Long Island, you expect to hear Taps performed live.

However, with federal funding being cut, they may have to switch to a recording as opposed to a live tribute.

WCBS 880′s Sophia Hall On The Story

A group of business owners, along with the American Airpower Museum in Farmingdale, have teamed up to set up a fund to keep Taps live.

“When you take away the human element and basically turn it into a recording what you’re doing is dehumanizing and taking away the last drop of respect this country can give its veterans,” said Jeff Clyman, president of the American Airpower Museum.

“I think the sacrifice of those who served, in the past, and those who are presently serving for our country, is monumental,” said Jim Pratt, a construction company owner. “I don’t think anybody can make any bigger effort, or any bigger sacrifice.”

He said Taps is a respectful and appropriate way to say goodbye to our military men and women.

“It’s the final salute to someone who sacrificed for their country, whether it was in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, or Afghanistan and Iraq,” he said.

Pratt said the total amount needed will be about $30,000 per year.

Right now, across New York State, many services already use pre-recorded versions of Taps.

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Savage Black Beasts Killed One Of Their Own In Robbery Attempt While He Was Waiting In Line To Buy Overpriced Sneakers In Gates New York

August 31, 2012

GATES, NEW YORK – A man was shot and killed while waiting in line at a Gates store early Friday morning.

Montre Bradley, 19, was in a crowd waiting for the retail release of a new sneaker when he was shot. He died later at the hospital.

A crowd of people were lined up at the Street Games store on Chili Avenue for the release.

Witnesses say two men robbed people in line waiting for the expensive shoes.

Gates Police Chief David DiCaro said, “Look this was a 19 year-old that was killed because they were trying to steal his money. All he wanted to do was buy a new pair of shoes. It is a tragedy, it really is a tragedy and we’re going to do everything we can to bring him to justice.”

His family told 13WHAM News, Bradley came to Rochester from California at the age of 14 after getting into some trouble while living with his mom.

But once here in Rochester, by every person’s account he turned his life over to God and became a role model to friends and family.

His aunt, Denise Seymour, a mother-figure in his life, remembers that moment five years ago.

Seymour says, “He wanted to change his life, he said I want people to believe in me because nobody believes in me that I could be a good boy and I said you can, right here on this step right here he had some little twisties in his hair, ha, he was growing dreads and I said I believe in you. I believe that you can get anybody to trust you again and all that negativity can become positive it starts today gave him a big hug.”

Montre Bradley graduated from Edison Tech this summer and was working at the University of Rochester. He was set to begin classes at MCC next week.

His cousin, Diontaye Thompson, says “You can see how the world is like changing, people killing over sneakers.”

13WHAM cameras were rolling when Friday afternoon’s police chase came to an end.

The Gates Police Chief tells us the search for the suspects led them to a home in Gates.

Two men fled from that home in a white Mercedes. A pursuit picked up in the city of Rochester.  It ended on North Clinton Avenue in Rochester, between Scrantom and Sullivan Streets.

Police took the driver into custody.

During the chase, police said one of the suspects bailed from the car.

He has not been found.

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Local, State And Federal Authorities Systematically Attacking California’s Medical Marijuana Industry And Threaten To Destroy It – Many Residents Left Unemployed And With No Health Care

August 30, 2012

CALIFORNIA – California’s medical marijuana industry has enjoyed several years of fast growth, but legal crackdowns now threaten to wipe it out.

Since 1996, the state has allowed marijuana growers and distributors to operate legally with little oversight. All it takes is a doctor’s note or a claim that one is a “caregiver,” a loosely interpreted term. More than 1,000 dispensaries are in business, employing thousands more and providing state and local governments as much as $105 million in taxes each year.

But federal prosecutors are getting tougher. Last year, law enforcement agents seized 3.9 million plants and could collect more this year.

Marijuana advocates say the attack collides with California’s law and goes against a campaign promise by President Obama to not circumvent the state’s relaxed rules. But California’s four U.S. attorneys, who banded together last year, cite a need to combat spillover to states where the substance isn’t legal.

U.S. Attorney Ben Wagner justifies raids on the presumption that more marijuana is grown in the fertile lands of his Eastern District than can ever be legally consumed.

“There was an explosion of marijuana production, and it’s everywhere,” he said. “And it’s being shipped across the country.”

California cities are also on the attack, imposing new regulations to contain an industry that has grown out of control.

In some cities, streets are lined with dispensaries and doctors who, with minimal examination, hand out notes suggesting marijuana treatment.

What were supposed to be nonprofits routinely make sales upwards of $3 million a year, according to several tax court records. And these businesses often prefer to keep supply and retail transactions cash-only to avoid drawing attention from government authorities.

California now has a patchwork of inconsistent laws, making for a confusing business environment. An outdated list kept by the pro-cannabis group Americans for Safe Access shows that in California, 46 cities and 10 counties allow the drug, 178 cities and 20 counties don’t, and the rest have temporary measures or none at all.

That means a business could be complying with state rules but violating a local ordinance and breaching federal law.

“It’s a mess,” said Charley Pappas, who until recently ran Divinity Tree Patients Wellness Cooperative, a marijuana dispensary in San Francisco.

Like most driven to open their own dispensaries, Pappas started using the drug long before he opened a storefront in 2005. A gunshot wound from a 1973 home invasion robbery in Philadelphia left him a quadriplegic, and marijuana’s analgesic effects ease his muscle spasms. He launched the cooperative to offer others similar treatment, supplying nearly 7,000 patients until his landlord received a stark warning from the federal government: kick him out or lose your property.

Related: Inside the ‘Social Network’ house

The tangled web of laws also ensnared Aaron Sandusky, whose dispensaries once supplied close to 12,000 patients. His stores, G3, were located in Colton, Moreno Valley and Upland, and each instituted bans. Although he kept documentation to show patients had doctors’ notes for thousands of plants he grew, it wasn’t enough. The killing stroke came with the Drug Enforcement Agency when officers raided his stores and pot-growing warehouse.

“I went above and beyond to make sure we were operating under the guidelines of the state,” Sandusky said. “I didn’t expect any of this.”

Sandusky and five co-workers were arrested June 14 and charged with conspiracy to manufacture and intent to distribute. He spent the next eight weeks in jail. Agents seized his money and crop. Sandusky, out on bond but forced to stay at home, wears a court-ordered ankle bracelet monitor.

The raid also left the company’s 50 full-time workers unemployed and without health benefits. Similar events occur every week in California, with government agents closing down businesses that claim to be legitimate under state law.

Sandusky and others remain adamant they only operate locally and legally — and they’re desperate to find a way to follow the rules and be left alone.

“No one’s shown me a number saying you can’t exceed this many plants. I would love that kind of input and guidance,” Sandusky said

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