Veteran Seattle Washington Police Officer Clayton S. Powell Suspended After Video Uploaded To YouTube Catches Him Brutalizing Man

August 4, 2012

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON — A 19-year veteran Seattle police officer has been suspended after other officers said he used excessive force as they investigated a drive-by shooting involving a pellet gun.

A YouTube video shot at the scene Thursday night shows an argument that involves an officer pushing a man. Seattle police say the officer allowed himself to be baited into unprofessional conduct by an angry crowd.

One person was arrested but later released.

The Seattle Times says police confirm the officer placed on paid leave while the incident is investigated is 51-year-old Clayton S. Powell. The Times reports Powell declined comment Friday.

Police spokesman Sgt. Sean Whitcomb says other officers reported the incident immediately and the acting chief learned of it within 90 minutes. Whitcomb says the police chain of command took immediate action.

Just last week, Seattle officials agreed to an independent monitor and court oversight of the city’s police department as part of a deal with the federal Justice Department following a report that found officers routinely used excessive force.

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Microsoft Makes Skype Chats And Video By Its 600 Million Users Readily Accessable To Law Enforcement

July 26, 2012

REDMOND, WASHINGTON – Skype, the online phone service long favored by political dissidents, criminals and others eager to communicate beyond the reach of governments, has expanded its cooperation with law enforcement authorities to make online chats and other user information available to police, said industry and government officials familiar with the changes.

Surveillance of the audio and video feeds remains impractical — even when courts issue warrants, say industry officials with direct knowledge of the matter. But that barrier could eventually vanish as Skype becomes one of the world’s most popular forms of telecommunication.

The changes have drawn quiet applause in law enforcement circles but hostility from many activists and analysts.

The changes to online chats, which are written messages conveyed almost instantaneously between users, result in part from technical upgrades to Skype that were instituted to address outages and other stability issues since Microsoft bought the company last year. Officials of the United States and other countries have long pushed to expand their access to newer forms of communications to resolve an issue that the FBI calls the “going dark” problem.

Microsoft has approached the issue with “tremendous sensitivity and a canny awareness of what the issues would be,” said an industry official familiar with Microsoft’s plans, who like several people interviewed for this story spoke on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the issue publicly. The company has “a long track record of working successfully with law enforcement here and internationally,” he added.

The changes, which give the authorities access to addresses and credit card numbers, have drawn quiet applause in law enforcement circles but hostility from many activists and analysts.

Authorities had for years complained that Skype’s encryption and other features made tracking drug lords, pedophiles and terrorists more difficult. Jihadis recommended the service on online forums. Police listening to traditional wiretaps occasionally would hear wary suspects say to one another, “Hey, let’s talk on Skype.”

Hacker groups and privacy experts have been speculating for months that Skype had changed its architecture to make it easier for governments to monitor, and many blamed Microsoft, which has an elaborate operation for complying with legal government requests in countries around the world.

“The issue is, to what extent are our communications being purpose-built to make surveillance easy?” said Lauren Weinstein, co-founder of People for Internet Responsibility, a digital privacy group. “When you make it easy to do, law enforcement is going to want to use it more and more. If you build it, they will come.’’

Skype was slow to clarify the situation, issuing a statement recently that said, “As was true before the Microsoft acquisition, Skype cooperates with law enforcement agencies as is legally required and technically feasible.”

But changes allowing police surveillance of online chats had been made since late last year, a knowledgeable industry official said Wednesday.

In the United States, such requests require a court order, though in other nations rules vary. Skype has more than 600 million users, with some in nearly every nation in the world. Political dissidents relied on it extensively during the Arab Spring to communicate with journalists, human rights workers and each other, in part because of its reputation for security.

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Rainier School District Washington School Bus Driver Claims Caffeine Made Him Molest Women And Children – Gets A Slap On The Wrist

July 5, 2012

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – A school bus driver who was convicted of assault for groping teens and women claims an excessive intake of caffeine drove him to the acts.

Kenneth Sands, 51, tried to explain himself at his sentencing on Tuesday.

Sands, a driver for the Rainier School District, has been convicted of molesting three high school volleyball players and two women during a volleyball game in Onalaska on Oct. 18.

According to the Lewis County sheriff’s office, Sands was at the game as a spectator and was not the bus driver. During the game, he allegedly touched a 46-year-old woman’s breasts three different times and later grabbed her butt as she was trying to get away from him.

After the game, he grabbed a 15-year-old girl’s butt outside of the bus and slapped a 16-year-old girl’s butt as she was getting onto the bus, according to the sheriff’s office.

Once on the bus, Sands allegedly touched another player in an inappropriate manner before the bus driver kicked him out, according to the sheriff’s office.

Sands said it was caffeine that had driven him to act out of character.

“That caused a psychotic episode,” he told the court. “My son-in-law and daughter had never seen that kind of behavior from myself.”

Sands’ words did little to calm the angry mother of one of his victims. In court, the woman read a letter her daughter had written.

“Ken left me with nightmares that would leave me sleepless for nights, afraid to fall asleep. I’ve had dreams of him hurting me and my family in violent ways over and over again,” the letter said.

Sands was sentenced to 30 days for each of the five counts of fourth-degree assault.

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Study Published In A “Scientific Journal” Claims Those Who Believe In Heaven, Hell, And God Commit More Crimes – Based On A Survey And Crime Rates Instead Of Individuals Who Commit Crimes

June 23, 2012

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON — Believing if you are on a “highway to hell” could impact whether or not if you commit a crime.

A study published in the scientific journal PLoS One by University of Oregon’s Azim Shariff and University of Kansas’s Mijke Rhemtulla finds that people who believe in hell are less likely to commit a crime while people who believe in heaven more likely are to get in trouble with the law.

The two professors collected data for belief in hell, heaven and God from the World and European Values Surveys that were conducted between 1981 until 2007 with 143,197 participants based in 67 countries. They compared the data to the mean standardized crime rate in those countries based on homicides, robberies, rapes, kidnappings, assaults, thefts, auto thefts, drug crimes, burglaries and human trafficking.

“[R]ates of belief in heaven and hell had significant, unique, and opposing effects on crime rates,” Shariff and Rhemtulla found in the study. “Belief in hell predicted lower crime rates … whereas belief in heaven predicted higher crime rates.”

They also found that a recent social psychological experiment found that Christian participants who believe in a forgiving God gave themselves more money for the study.

“Participants in the punishing God and both human conditions overpaid themselves less than 50 cents more than what they deserved for their anagrams, and did not statistically differ from the neutral condition, those who wrote about a forgiving God overpaid themselves significantly more-nearly two dollars,” the study found.

Shariff and Rhemtulla believe that the study raises “important questions about the potential impact of religious beliefs on global crime.”

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Veteran Edmonds Washington Police Officer Daniel Lavely Arrested After Sex With A Prisoner

June 17, 2012

EDMONDS, WASHINGTON – An officer with the Edmonds police force has been arrested after he allegedly had sex with a woman in his custody last month, officials said.

The officer, Daniel Lavely, 46, was arrested by Everett police Thursday morning and booked into the Snohomish County Jail for investigation of first-degree custodial sexual misconduct, a felony, following a month-long investigation.

Authorities originally launched the investigation May 9 after receiving an allegation that Lavely reportedly had sexual intercourse three days earlier with a 28-year old Seattle woman who was in his temporary custody while he was on duty.

“My understanding is that she was not free to go, but she wasn’t handcuffed in the back of the patrol car,” said Everett police spokesman Aaron Snell.

Due to the seriousness of the allegation, the officer was immediately placed on administrative leave and his law enforcement authority was suspended, said Sgt. Mike Blackburn of the Edmonds police.

The Everett Police Department investigated the allegation at the request of Edmonds police officials and determined there was probable cause to believe that criminal conduct had occurred.

“Any time that someone’s in custody with a police officer, consensual sex or any time of sex is off the table; it’s not allowed,” said Snell.

According to that investigation, Lavely initially stopped the 28-year-old Seattle woman for jaywalking on Highway 99 in Edmonds on May 6.

The woman was released shortly afterward, but she was contacted again by Lavely later that evening on an unrelated call. This time, Lavely allegedly took temporary custody of the woman, put her in his patrol car and drove her to a remote location where the two had sexual intercourse, according to the investigation.

The woman reported the incident to law enforcement a few days later.

Lavely, a 7½-year veteran of the Edmonds police force who was assigned to patrol duty, was arrested at 11:10 a.m. Thursday.

Formal criminal charges are expected to be filed by the Snohomish County Prosecuting Attorney.

A determination as to Lavely’s employment status with the city of Edmonds will be made after an Edmonds Police Department review of the entire investigative file.

“We will get to the bottom of this, and there will be appropriate action taken,” said Edmonds Police Chief Al Compaan.

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US Cities Doing Everything They Can To Starve The Homeless And Make Sure They Have No Place To Sleep

June 10, 2012

US – A growing number of cities across the United States are making it harder to be homeless.

Philadelphia recently banned outdoor feeding of people in city parks. Denver has begun enforcing a ban on eating and sleeping on property without permission. And this month, lawmakers in Ashland, Ore., will consider strengthening the town’s ban on camping and making noise in public.

And the list goes on: Atlanta, Phoenix, San Diego, Los Angeles, Miami, Oklahoma City and more than 50 other cities have previously adopted some kind of anti-camping or anti-food-sharing laws, according to the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty.

The ordinances are pitting city officials against homeless advocates. City leaders say they want to improve the lives of homeless people and ensure public safety, while supporters of the homeless argue that such regulations criminalize homelessness and make it harder to live on the nation’s streets.

“We’re seeing these types of laws being proposed and passed all over the country,” said Heather Johnson, a civil rights attorney at the homeless and poverty law center, which opposes many of the measures. “We think that criminalization measures such as these are counterproductive. Rather than address the root cause of homelessness, they perpetuate homelessness.”
Vagrancy laws

Cities that have adopted laws affecting the homeless:

Anti-Camping
• Atlanta
• Denver
• Los Angeles
• Miami
• New York
• Seattle

Anti-Food-Sharing
• Phoenix
• Orlando
• Cleveland

A number of organizations including the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania filed a lawsuit against the city of Philadelphia this month in response to its feeding ban.

Mark McDonald, press secretary for the city’s mayor, Michael Nutter, said the measures are about expanding the services offered to the homeless, adding dignity to their lives and about ensuring good public hygiene and safety.

“This is about an activity on city park land that the mayor thinks is better suited elsewhere,” he said. “We think it’s a much more dignified place to be in an indoor sit-down restaurant. … The overarching policy goal of the mayor is based on a belief that hungry people deserve something more than getting a ham sandwich out on the side of the street.”

If people come inside for feeding programs, they can be connected with other social service programs and possibly speak with officials such as substance abuse counselors and mental health professionals, McDonald said.

Critics argue that bans on feeding and camping often leave people with no where to eat or sleep because many cities lack emergency food services and shelters. Meanwhile, citing people who violate such ordinances costs cities money when officials try to follow up on such cases and hurts people’s ability to get jobs and housing, because many develop criminal records.

In 2007, the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty filed a lawsuit against Dallas contesting its ordinance that restricted locations where groups could share food and prohibited many groups from providing food in locations where they had served homeless people for years. A trial is scheduled to begin this month.

“It is a good thing when you see municipal governments paying attention to the homeless population and trying to find a number of solutions to the crisis,” said James Brooks, the National League of Cities’ program director for community development and infrastructure. “Cities have an obligation not only to the people in the parks but to people in the wider community to prevent a public health problem.”

Brooks’ group supports the ordinances and said they are holistic approaches to solving a problem that will not simply end by giving people shelter. The key to helping homeless people is to get them indoors where social service workers can help them, Brooks said.

An opponent of the measures, Neil Donovan, executive director of the National Coalition for the Homeless, sees the ordinances as possible signs of “compassion fatigue.”

“People are getting frustrated and getting angry at the issue,” he said. “The person who is asking for money outside a coffee shop, the person who is camping just outside the ballpark, the chronically homeless are getting the brunt of this anger.”

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Edmonds Washington Police Officer Daniel Lavely Arrested, Suspended, And Charged After Sex With Woman In Custody Who Jaywalked – Used Patrol Car To Drive Her To Remote Location

June 7, 2012

EDMONDS, WASHINGTON – An officer with the Edmonds police force has been arrested after he allegedly had sex with a woman in his custody last month, officials said.

The officer, Daniel Lavely, 46, was arrested by Everett police Thursday morning and booked into the Snohomish County Jail for investigation of first-degree custodial sexual misconduct, a felony, following a month-long investigation.

Authorities originally launched the investigation May 9 after receiving an allegation that Lavely reportedly had sexual intercourse three days earlier with a 28-year old Seattle woman who was in his temporary custody while he was on duty.

Due to the seriousness of the allegation the officer was immediately placed on administrative leave and his law enforcement authority was suspended, said Sgt. Mike Blackburn of the Edmonds police.

The Everett Police Department investigated the allegation at the request of Edmonds police officials and determined there was probable cause to believe that criminal conduct had occurred.

According to that investigation, Lavely initially stopped the 28-year-old Seattle woman for jaywalking on Highway 99 in Edmonds on May 6.

The woman was released shortly afterward, but she was contacted again by Lavely later that evening on an unrelated call. This time, Lavely allegedly took temporary custody of the woman, put her in his patrol car and drove her to a remote location where the two had sexual intercourse, according to the investigation.

The woman reported the incident to law enforcement a few days later.

Lavely, a 7½-year veteran of the Edmonds police force who was assigned to patrol duty, was arrested at 11:10 a.m. Thursday.

Formal criminal charges are expected to be filed by the Snohomish County Prosecuting Attorney.

A determination as to Lavely’s employment status with the city of Edmonds will be made after an Edmonds Police Department review of the entire investigative file.

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