Douchebag Seattle Washington TSA Agents Targeted Woman Dying From Leukemia For Embarrassing Public Search – Denying Her Right To A Private Screening With A Witness Present

October 9, 2012

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – A dying woman says a a security pat-down at Sea-Tac Airport left her embarrassed in front of crowds of people.

Michelle Dunaj says screeners checked under bandages from recent surgeries and refused to give her a private search when she requested one.

Dunaj, who is dying of leukemia, carried a large amount of prescription drugs through Sea-Tac to head to Hawaii for what would be one of the last trips of her life.

She called Alaska Airlines ahead of time to request a wheelchair and to ask how her medicines should be separated for the security line.

“I did everything they asked me to do, so I didn’t think it would be an issue,” she said.

But Dunaj says nothing went right at the security checkpoint.

A machine couldn’t get a reading on her saline bags, so a TSA agent forced one open, contaminating the fluid she needs to survive.

She says agents also made her lift up her shirt and pull back the bandages holding feeding tubes in place. Dunaj needs those tubes because of organ failure.

With other passengers staring, Dunaj says she asked for privacy and was turned down.

“They just said that it was fine; the location we were at was fine,” she said.

TSA spokesperson Ann Davis said “Officers are trained to perform pat downs in a dignified manner and, at any point, passengers can request a private screening with a witness present.”

However, Dunaj says her request for a private screening was denied, and she does not want others with special needs to run into the same problem.

“When somebody wants to take a trip, especially what I call an ‘end-of-life trip’ because you want to see your family and friends, then it becomes more important than just taking a trip,” she said.

Davis said it is against policy for passengers to be denied privacy if they ask for it. The agency is responding to a request by KOMO News to look into the incident.

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DashCam Video Catches Crazed Washington State Police Officers Beating Two Innocent Brothers – Jailed Refused Them Due To Injuries, Told Officers To Take Them To Hospital – Officers Cleaned Them Up And Drove Them Around For Hours Before Taking Them Back To The Jail, Where They Were Imprisoned On Bogus Charges

September 26, 2012

WASHINGTON – A Washington state police department is investigating a report of police abuse after the beating of two brothers was caught on camera.

The DashCam recorded police beating and arresting the men in Tukwila, Washington.

Officers claim the men resisted arrest, but the video seems to show them raising their hands before officers approached.

The two brothers, Charles Chappelle and Jahmez Amili, say it all happened so fast.

“I was thrown to the ground,” Amili said. “I didn’t have no idea what was going on. I was like, I can’t believe he just started punching me.”

The incident happened at 2:43 a.m. on Saturday, May 12.

“Once I was on the ground, I was pinned to the ground by several people,” Chapelle said. “People’s hands and knees were on my hands and back, and I was getting hit continually in the face.”

The officers reportedly pepper-sprayed them, too.

According to the police report, officers were responding to a fight near the Southcenter Mall when they spotted the two brothers walking near the edge of the road.

“The pair was intoxicated, showing erratic behavior and were refusing orders,” the report read.

The brothers admit they’d been drinking, but they say they were not arguing with the officers.

“I had my hands raised in the air,” Amili said. “I was complying with the officer’s demands.”

The video shows Chappelle holding his hands up. And with the video slowed down, you can even see him start to go to the ground before the officer gets to him.

Once handcuffed, the two were walked to the patrol cars, where you can clearly see Amili’s bloodied face.

“I was just trying to make sure I stay alive, because I was really like feeling like I was about to die,” Chapelle said. “I couldn’t breathe at all.”

The two brothers were arrested for investigation of obstruction of justice and resisting arrest. Police say they also assaulted the officers during the struggle.

But when the two men were taken to jail, the guards turned them away and told police they needed to be taken to the hospital instead. That was at 3:47 a.m.

According to Chappelle and Amili, they never got treatment at Highline Hospital, like it said in the police report.

They say the officers washed off their faces in a garage at the Tukwila Police Department, then drove them around with the windows down.

Finally, at 5:47 a.m., three hours after they were first approached by police, Chappelle and Amili were taken to the jail and booked.

Both of the men have previous criminal convictions for drugs and assault.

The charges against Amili in this case were recently dismissed by a judge, but they are still pending against Chappelle.

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Former Washington State Police Officer Jack McCullough Found Guilty Of Kidnapping And Murdering 7 Year Old Girl In 1957

September 15, 2012

SYCAMORE, ILLINOIS – A 72-year-old man was convicted Friday in the 1957 murder of a 7-year-old girl, with spectators letting out a deafening cheer as the verdict was announced in one of the oldest unsolved crimes to eventually get to court in the United States.

The sound of sobbing overtook the room as the cheers and applause faded after Judge James Hallock pronounced Jack McCullough guilty of murder, kidnapping and abduction in Maria Ridulph’s death.

McCullough was about 17 years old on the snowy night in December 1957 when the second-grader went missing in Sycamore, about 60 miles west of Chicago. McCullough later enlisted in the military, and ultimately settled in Seattle where he worked as a police officer in the state of Washington.

Maria’s playmate the night she disappeared, Kathy Chapman, was a star witness in the case. She testified that McCullough was the young man who approached the girls as they played, asking whether they liked dolls and whether they wanted piggyback rides.

“A weight has been lifted off my shoulders,” said Chapman, 63, said outside on the courthouse steps. “Maria finally has the justice she deserves.”

It all happened in an era when child abductions, if not unheard of, rarely made headlines.

This one did.

President Dwight Eisenhower and FBI director J. Edgar Hoover asked to be kept apprised of the search for the girl, which lasted five months and ended when her decomposed body was found in a forest 120 miles from her hometown.

McCullough’s half sister told the court that their mother, Eileen Tessier, said on her death bed in 1994 that McCullough — whose name was then John Tessier — had killed Maria.

“She grabbed my wrist and said, ‘Those two little girls, the one that disappeared, John did it,'” Janet Tessier said.

Chapman said she was playing on a street corner with Maria on Dec. 3, 1957, when a young man calling himself “Johnny” approached and talked to them. Maria ran home to get a doll; Chapman went to get mittens. When Chapman returned, her friend and the man were gone.

She never saw Maria again.

A prosecutor laid out black-and-white photographs of similar-looking men, and Chapman pointed to one of McCullough, saying she was sure he was the man who called himself “Johnny.”

Irene Lau, a Seattle investigator who interviewed McCullough last year, said McCullough remembered Maria, calling her ‘stunningly beautiful.” But he maintained he had nothing to do with her disappearance or death.

McCullough was on a list of suspects in 1957. But he had an alibi, saying that he had traveled to Chicago that day to get a medical exam before enlisting in the Air Force.

The case was reopened after his old girlfriend contacted police with evidence calling his alibi into question — she had found his unused train ticket from Rockford to Chicago on the day Maria disappeared. He was arrested on July 1, 2011, in Washington state at a retirement home where he worked as a security guard.

McCullough waived his right for a jury trial and opted for a bench trial.

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Two Trigger-Happy Seattle Washington Police Open Fire On Unarmed Man – Every Shot Missed

September 4, 2012

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – A wanted felon who once told police he was addicted to stealing was shot at by two Seattle officers Monday after he drove an SUV toward one of them, according to investigators.

The incident began about 1:40 p.m. Monday after two bike officers working the Bumbershoot detail saw the man exit the broken window of a car he’d just prowled, Detective Jeff Kappel said.

The man got behind the wheel of a white Dodge Durango and “posed an imminent threat,” causing both to fire their department-issued handguns, Kappel said. The man wasn’t hit and sped away in the damaged SUV, investigators said.

Several officers were called to the area, and the pursuit led from Denny Way and Taylor Avenue to the parking lot of the Hurricane Cafe – the former Dog House restaurant – at Seventh Avenue and Bell Street.

Noah Martin, who saw the police converge in the Hurricane Cafe parking lot said several officers had guns drawn on the white Durango.

“The cops were – they were here and reacting fast,” he said. “It was a pretty intense experience to watch.”

The suspect ditched his Dodge Durango and fled on foot until officers surrounded him at Westlake Avenue and Blanchard Street.

Kappel said he didn’t know if the Durango belonged to the suspect or another person. Police did not say the suspect was armed, but vehicle uses in similar cases have been considered deadly force.

Court records show the suspect wanted for a malicious mischief warrant for an ongoing King County Superior Court case. Prosecutors have described him in court documents as a prolific vehicle prowler.

The suspect has been booked into King County Jail more than 40 times since 1994 – not including the Monday booking – and has had at least 49 warrants, records show. After he broke into a motor home at Seattle Center in 2008, he allegedly told police he was addicted to stealing.

Court records show the suspect has at least 10 felony convictions, though he is not eligible for the three-strikes law because those felonies don’t count as strikes. He has at least 20 other non-felony convictions, court documents show.

The suspect’s ongoing malicious mischief case came after a suspected car prowl April 9 in the 600 block of Second Avenue North – across the street from Seattle Center.

The suspect is expected to be charged for the Monday incident by Thursday. Seattlepi.com does not typically name suspects until they’re charged.

The officers who fired are expected to be put on routine, paid administrative leave during the investigation and a Firearms Review Board will be convened.

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Chewelah County Washington Health Inspector Targets 12 Year Old Boy Raising Money For WWII Veterans – Health District Board Members Personally Pay His Fine Using Their Own Money

August 10, 2012

CHEWELAH– A Chewelah student who has raised more than $25,000 dollars for World War II Veterans is facing a hefty fine for his good deeds.

12-year-old Justin Peterson holds fundraisers year round for the Honor Flight Program. Last Saturday, he held another fundraiser at the Chewelah City Park.

While selling hamburgers, a health inspector stopped by Peterson’s booth and fined him $170 for not having the proper food permit.

Peterson said, “She charged us for it and I was kind of sad. I was just trying to raise money for vets.”

The Tri County Health District said the inspector was only following policy. Administrator Dave Windom added, “You don’t want someone in the field making judgment calls on what they consider a worthy cause and cutting people slack. It opens the door for accusations of favoritism.”

The Health District isn’t forgiving the fines, but board members have agreed to pay them off using their own money.

Windom said, “Because of this particular cause and our board’s personal connection to this cause, we thought this could be a good case where we could help with that.”

Peterson said he is glad to make a difference in the lives of our veterans. “It’s kind of cool and it’s kind of cool to know I’m inspiring other people.”

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Tacoma Washington Police Officers Ryan Koskovich And Michael Young Attacked Innocent Deaf Woman With Taser Weapon After She Called 911 For Help – Jailed Her 3 Days On Bogus Charges Without An Interpreter

August 7, 2012

TACOMA, WASHINGTON – KIRO TV’s investigative unit has discovered Tacoma police used force to arrest and handcuff an innocent deaf woman after she called 911 for their help.

Instead of an apology, she ended up bloody and in jail for nearly three days without an interpreter before a prosecutor declined to press charges.

After months of digging, investigative reporter Chris Halsne found significant discrepancies in the official police version of events leading up to Lashonn White’s arrest.

Late in the evening on April 6, White said she called for police assistance after a guest reportedly attacked her in her own apartment.

Deaf since birth, White used a special video-equipped phone, connected to a TV and a Web camera, to call 911. A certified American Sign Language interpreter on the other end verbally relayed White’s pleas for help to a Tacoma police dispatcher.

“I said, ‘Please hurry! There’s a person here beating me up,’” White explained to Halsne during a television interview last month.

A recording of White’s 911 call from that evening reveals her urgency.

“Right now! This is serious!”

“She’s fighting at me, then she chokes me. She’s coming right at me!”

Computer-aided dispatch (CAD) logs show Tacoma police officer Ryan Koskovich and his partner, Michael Young, were outside White’s apartment complex in about six minutes.

It also reflects that officers received texts along the way stating, “Person doing the hitting is a Sophia” and “Vict. is Lashonn White.”

In addition, it appears from internal police records obtained by KIRO Team 7 Investigators, Koskovich and his partner were repeatedly given information that the victim could not hear a thing.

On the 911 calls, White herself made it perfectly clear.

“I’m deaf. I can’t hear if they’re out front knocking or whatever … I can’t—are they going to the front or back? Where are the police at?”

Dispatch: “They want her to go outside the front door.”

“Oh, they’re here? Okay, I’m on my way to meet them. I’m going right now.”

White showed our investigative team the route up to the front door from her basement apartment. It’s only one flight of stairs — a 30-second trip.

To her, what happened next defies common sense — especially, for a woman with no criminal record, no arrests and just one minor driving violation on her record.

Within seconds of running outside to meet police, Officer Koskovich pulled his Taser and fired a two-barbed electric wire into White’s ribs and stomach.

“All I’m doing is waving my hands in the air, and the next thing I know, I’m on the ground and then handcuffed. It was almost like I blacked out. I was so dizzy and disoriented,” White said.

Witnesses said White began bleeding heavily from her knuckles and the right side of her face swelled up immediately after she hit the pavement following the Taser jolt.

Pictures acquired by Team 7 Investigators also show injuries to her cheek, chin, ribs, neck and arms.

Worse yet to White was the incredible confusion that came with suddenly being handcuffed, under arrest and without the ability to communicate with Tacoma officers, who had no sign language skills.

“The next thing I know, they took me to jail. Told me to stand up, you’re going to jail. I said, ‘What? What have I done?’ I couldn’t figure it out. I had no idea what was going on,” said White.

Officer Koskovich and his partner submitted nearly identical descriptions of the arrest in their reports.

Koskovich wrote in part: “I yelled for White to ‘stop’ and held my right hand up to signal for White to stop. White ignored my commands.”

He added, “White was making a loud grunting noise, had a piercing stare in her eyes and had a clenched right fist in the air.”

Team 7 Investigators canvassed the area near the Taser incident for witnesses because Koskovich and White’s stories are so vastly different.

Margaret Sims’s apartment is right over the spot where White fell to the ground after being tased. She said it was around 11:30 at night and dark, but she heard Lashonn screaming in pain and ran to the balcony.

“I hollered down and said, ‘She’s deaf and can’t speak!’”

Sims says she went down to the street and spoke with officers while Lashonn was still in handcuffs. She told us during an on-camera interview that the police officers at the scene admitted there was a misunderstanding.

“They had tased her because he thought she was coming at him, but what she was doing was running to him. But he said, ‘stop’ and he didn’t put his hand up. He just said, ‘stop’ and she couldn’t understand that,” replied Sims.

Another apartment tenant, Geraldine Warren, said she also heard the commotion and talked to police.

“They just told her to halt. She kept running, she can’t hear—she’s deaf. I said, ‘Aren’t you supposed to say halt like that?’” asked Warren holding up her right hand.

Tacoma police arrested Lashonn on two criminal charges, simple assault and obstruction of a public servant (law enforcement officer). Then they carted her off to jail. She spent 60 hours there – also without an interpreter- before a city prosecutor reviewed her case and asked that charges not be filed at all.

We asked KIRO TV police conduct consultant and former Bellevue police chief Don Van Blaricom to review the conflicting witness and officer accounts of Lashonn’s arrest, plus the officer’s official reports.

He told Halsne the officer’s reports “were obviously written in concert, after the fact, to CYA.”

“The question to ask yourself is: why would she run at police in an assaultive manner when she had asked for them to be there and was going out to meet them?” Van Blaricom wondered aloud.

“A Taser is a very useful device under circumstances which necessitate its use, but it’s too easy to use and frequently used too quickly. This looks like one of those cases,” Van Blaricom told Halsne during an interview.

State law on the employment of ASL interpreters for deaf suspects is clear.

RCW 2.42.120 (4)requires law enforcement agencies conducting an investigation to “appoint and pay for a qualified interpreter throughout the investigation.”

RCW 2.42.120 (5) states “If a hearing impaired person is arrested for an alleged violation of a criminal law, the arresting officer or the officer’s supervisor shall, at the earliest possible time, procure and arrange payment for a qualified interpreter for any notification of rights, warning, interrogation, or taking of a statement. No employee of the law enforcement agency who has responsibilities other than interpreting may be appointed as a qualified interpreter.”

White said despite her repeated requests to police for a certified ASL interpreter, one was never provided.

The story is complex and the officers at the scene clearly had a different point of view. KIRO 7 Investigators have tried to get their explanation for six weeks and while we’ve talked to Tacoma Police on the phone they would not respond to the allegations. We’ve also sent them emails and left several messages.

If Tacoma police want to explain their side of the story, we’ll have a follow-up.

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Seattle Washington Targets Residents Children’s Sandbox With $500 A Day Fine – City Calls Neighborhood Gathering Place For Children And Parents It A “Structure”

August 4, 2012

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – When Paulo Nunes-Ueno moved with his family onto a residential street between Wallingford and Green Lake in June, he brought along an 8-by-4-foot wooden sandbox he’d built for his two young children at their previous home.

On the new block, where the number of kids is estimated at between 15 and 20, and where many of the front yards are postage-stamp size, the sandbox became an instant gathering place for youngsters and their parents.

But not everyone approved. The city received an anonymous complaint about the sandbox, located at the end of the Nunes-Ueno driveway, violated city rules about play structures too close to the street.

The city sent him a warning he would be fined $500 a day if he didn’t remove the sandbox.

The city now has, if not a fight, at least a debate on its hands. Nunes-Ueno, a transportation and sustainability director for Seattle Children’s hospital, wants to nudge the city toward more varied uses of the street, planting strip and sidewalk. That means at least considering some streets could become as safe for kids to play on as for cars to drive.

He’s already had conversations with Seattle’s director of street use, two City Council members, and an urban sustainability group in hopes of changing the city prohibition against sandboxes on the planting strip, the area between the street and the sidewalk.

“I told them this is a silly rule. We should be encouraging neighbors to get together and children to play outside,” he said.

What’s particularly ironic to Nunes-Ueno is that his next-door neighbor has two planter boxes on the planting strip that look a lot like the sandbox, minus the corner seats.

In fact, neighbors along Northeast 52nd Street have suggested he tell the city his is also a planter box, one where the seeds have yet to sprout.

“It just seems ridiculous and totally contrary to everything this city is about,” said Nekole Shapiro, another neighbor. Aren’t we trying to create community?”

Sandbox task force

On Friday, after conversations with Nunes-Ueno and a call from The Seattle Times, the Transportation Department said it would put together an internal task force, to include the city traffic engineer and the legal department, to examine the issue.

“Given that we have never permitted a sandbox in the right of way before and we have questions about how to do so safely, we are going to allow this one to temporarily remain as we consider whether a change is needed to allow this sort of use,” said Rick Sheridan, spokesman for the department.

The city says current law doesn’t permit play structures in the right of way and must allow access for people getting in and out of cars, said Barbara Gray, director of street use and urban forestry within the city Department of Transportation.

“The concern is safety when you put kids close to the travel lane,” she said. Both the city and the homeowner could be legally liable if children were hurt because they were playing near the sandbox. The city also prohibits stand-alone basketball hoops because of the danger of kids running into and actively playing in the street, and it has sent similar warning notices.

But Gray also notes that until 2008, the city didn’t allow planter boxes on the planting strip. They are now allowed if the homeowner gets a free permit from the city and meets the requirement for public access and car-door clearance, she said.

She said there has been a debate among pedestrian advocates and urban planners about the benefits of “front-yard” activities and whether they help activate neighborhood streets and make them more people-friendly.

“We want to be both innovative and prudent when making these decisions,” she said.

Sandbox debate

The Sightline Institute in Seattle, which advocates green public policy, sees the sandbox debate as an opening for the city to reconsider how it prioritizes street use, particularly away from major arterials.

Clark Williams-Derry, research director, points to Scandinavian countries where, on some designated streets, pedestrians and cyclists have equal right to the street and cars can’t go faster than walking speed.

He gives a local example, Pike Place, the brick road through the center of the Pike Place Market, where people wander and the cars move slowly to avoid them.

“When the cars don’t own the road but are sharing the road, its actually safer for pedestrians,” he said. “The notion that the only way to keep kids safe is to separate them from the street is contradicted by evidence,” he said.

He agreed it would be a tragedy if a kid ran out into the street and were hit by a car, but he said not having a sandbox doesn’t eliminate the risk.

City Councilmember Mike O’Brien, a former Sierra Club leader, said the city should try to balance creating more public spaces for kids to play with keeping them safe.

“The safest place for the sandbox is in the backyard, but then you lose out on all the community building,” O’Brien said. “Planting strips are an underutilized space. There’s a public-safety benefit when people on a street know each other and look out for each other.”

Slowing down traffic

Several of Nunes-Ueno’s neighbors said parents on the street frequently have talked about how to slow down traffic. Cars cut through from a busy nearby arterial, often going faster than seems safe, they said.

“The traffic circle doesn’t really slow people. What are you going to tell the kids? Don’t go out and play? They’re all friends. They walk up and down the street to each other’s houses,” said the neighbor, Shapiro.

Nunes-Ueno got the news Friday that the city would allow the sandbox to stay in place while it studies whether some play structures can be safely permitted.

“I’m so excited. This is wonderful news,” he said.

He said ceding all the streets to cars creates a vicious cycle: nobody is on the street, the cars use it like a speedway, and nobody goes out there because it isn’t safe. He said he’s inspired by some of the international thinking about how to create “outdoor rooms” that slow down traffic as well as provide more public space.

“We can have a conversation as a city about how to help create friendly gathering spaces in front of houses,” Nunes-Ueno said.

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