Nutcase Maricopa County Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Department Falsified Evidence, Killed Diabetic Woman By Denying Her Insulin And Medical Care – Deputies Told Victim “This Is Jail. Get Over It.”

September 15, 2012

MARICOPA COUNTY, ARIZONA – Readers, please add Maricopa County, Arizona to your mental list of places not to get arrested in. Yes, white people, even you.

Deborah Braillard, age 46, was arrested and booked on a minor drug possession charge in January of 2005. Despite being a diabetic, Braillard was not given insulin or any other medication or medical care for four full days, until she was eventually brought to the hospital in a diabetic coma. She died 18 days later of complications from diabetes, and her family’s civil suit against the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office is now proceeding at trial.

According to the pretrial deposition testimony of the guards and inmates who witnessed the incident, Braillard was constantly moaning and crying out in pain, asking for help, repeatedly vomiting, defecating on herself and having seizures.

“She would shake. Her body would stiffen up,” said Tamela Harper, an inmate in the jail with Braillard. “They never did anything to help her.”

Inmates testified that they begged officers to do something, but apparently prison guards in Maricopa County consider seizures, repeated vomiting, and pooping oneself simply part of the whole prison experience. Harper testified the prisoners alerted the guards to Braillard’s worsening condition, but the guards responded:

“’There’s nothing we can do about it. You just have to deal with it. This is jail. Get over it.”’

Harper added that officers said Braillard was “kicking drugs” and that she was “getting what she deserved.“

On Thursday, plaintiffs’ counsel called Dr. Todd Wilcox, a nationally renowned expert on correctional medical care and services, to testify against his former employer, Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office. (He eventually quit his job after he became so frustrated with the Sheriff’s Office’s unwillingness to improve training, conditions and access to medical care for inmates and detainees.) Wilcox told the jury that the Sheriff’s Office fostered a culture of deliberate indifference and secrecy.

In this instance, Wilcox testified the medical screening document that should have been created when Braillard was booked into the jail was missing. At trial, the Sheriff’s Office produced a document indicating that Braillard had — for some unknown reason — told jail staff during intake that she was not diabetic. However, the document is dated three days after the intake took place and hours after Braillard had already been rushed to the hospital in an irreversible diabetic coma. The family’s lawyers say the document is a fake. Wilcox explained this sort of thing is not unusual on Sheriff Joe’s watch:

“Many mysterious things happen on the Sheriff’s computer network… I remember going to lunch one day and coming back with my sandwich to find somebody controlling my mouse remotely and locating folders and documents.”

On a related note, Sheriff Joe is up for reelection this year, and he has already raised over $4 million for his campaign — a pretty obscene amount for a local sheriff’s war chest. The vast majority of donations are coming from out-of-state.
Speaking of which… oh, hey, look what we found!! The campaign sites of Sheriff Arpaio’s opponents in the upcoming election, Paul Penzone (D) and Michael Stauffer (I). Go make a donation. (For the record, The Daily Dolt has no association with Arpaio, Penzone, or Stauffer. We’re just providing the links because we think Sheriff Joe is a dick.)

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Zimmerman Passed Lie Detector Test Administered By Sanford Florida Police One Day After Shooting And Killing Attacking Druggie Trayvon Martin In Self Defense

June 26, 2012

SANFORD, FLORIDA – A day after killing Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman passed a police lie detector test when asked if he confronted the teenager and whether he feared for his life “when you shot the guy,” according to documents released today by Florida prosecutors.

According to a “confidential report” prepared by the Sanford Police Department, Zimmerman, 28, willingly submitted to a computer voice stress analyzer (CVSA) “truth verification” on February 27. Investigators concluded that he “has told substantially the complete truth in regards to this examination.”

Zimmerman, the report noted, “was classified as No Deception Indicated (NDI).”

Along with questions about whether his first name was George and if it was Monday, Zimmerman was asked, “Did you confront the guy you shot?’ He answered, “No.” He was also asked, “Were you in fear for your life, when you shot the guy.” Zimmerman replied, “Yes.”

Before the CVSA test, Zimmerman–who was apparently not accompanied by legal counsel–signed a Sanford Police Department release stating that he was undergoing the examination “voluntarily, without duress, coercion, threat or promise.”

The lie detector test was requested by Chris Serino, a homicide investigator with the Sanford Police Department.

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

June 25, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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State Of Minnesota Prisoner, Housed In A Private Prison, Died After Nurse Overruled Doctor’s Orders That He Be Transported To Hospital – Denied Emergency Medical Care

June 25, 2012

RUSH CITY, MINNESOTA – An inmate with a history of seizures was denied emergency care by a prison nurse who overrode a doctor’s orders for an ambulance, and within an hour the man suffered irreversible brain damage that led to his death, according to documents obtained by the Star Tribune.

Although prisoner Xavius Scullark-Johnson had suffered multiple seizures over a period of hours, a nurse at the state prison in Rush City cited “protocols” in turning away an ambulance team sent to take him to a nearby hospital, crew reports show.

Johnson’s 2010 death is expected to produce a federal lawsuit against the Minnesota Department of Corrections (DOC), with a filing likely early this week.

The agency said Friday that it would not allow Dr. David Paulson, its medical director, to be interviewed about the death, “due to potential litigation.” Officials said the department has investigated Johnson’s death, but would not provide details or describe the protocols cited by the nurse.

Yet events in the hours before Johnson was found “pulseless” in his cell raise questions about denial of care because of the rationed-care philosophy of the for-profit contractor Minnesota has hired to care for the state’s 9,400 prisoners. Corizon Inc., formerly known as Correctional Medical Services, has had a contract with the state since 1998, worth $28 million this year.

One of the contract’s major cost-saving provisions says that Corizon is not required to provide overnight medical staff in the state’s prisons, except Oak Park Heights and Faribault, where medically complicated, elderly and terminally ill prisoners are held.

No doctors, who are all Corizon employees, work in the state’s prisons after 4 p.m. or on weekends. Corrections nurses, who are state employees, work seven days a week, but their last shifts end at 10:30 p.m. The last time the Rush City prison had 24-hour medical coverage was in 2002.

Additionally, services such as ambulance runs are strictly monitored by Corizon and the department in an effort to cut costs, according to department medical staff. An average ambulance run costs about $3,000 plus mileage, the department says.

Corizon declined to comment for this story, or to allow a reporter to interview the Corizon physician who was on call the night of the incident.

‘Something is not right’

Johnson’s last hours are a series of scenes that show prison medical staff acting with indifference as well as compassion, corrections officers caught in the middle as communications break down, and guards left to evaluate a prisoner spiraling downward, according to DOC documents and ambulance reports.

The incident started on the evening of June 28, just as the health services unit was closing for the night.

Johnson, 27, a St. Paul native who suffered from schizophrenia and a seizure disorder, was found soaked in urine on the floor of his cell. He was coiled in a fetal position and in an altered state of consciousness that suggested he had suffered a seizure, according to notes taken by nurse Linda L. Andrews, who was on duty at that hour. He was somewhat combative when a nurse tried to take his vitals and wipe him with a cool washcloth, but his breathing was normal.

Andrews wrote that she covered the prisoner, then issued orders to a lieutenant to let Johnson sleep and to check on him during rounds. Andrews did not contact the system’s on-call doctor, according to her last chart, written at 10:55 p.m.

About four hours later, Dr. Sharyn Barney, a longtime employee of Corizon, picked up her telephone at home. A corrections officer told her that Johnson had had a seizure the previous evening that was evaluated by the health staff, but that now his cellmate was having “trouble waking” him, according to the doctor’s notes.

Barney, who works primarily out of the prison in Moose Lake, told the officer that Johnson was probably “exceptionally sleepy from the seizure the previous evening.”

She advised officers to monitor him carefully and alert the medical staff when they arrived for the morning shift.

Under the department’s contract with Corizon, there is just one on-call doctor to serve the entire prison system across Minnesota, and who is then left to assess a prisoner’s case without the benefit of a written file because health service units are shut down overnight.

Prison medical staff interviewed in recent weeks say the practice often leaves the doctor “flying blind” and leaves prison officers with no on-site medical staff to evaluate a patient’s distress.

An hour or two later, the officer called Barney back. “He was uncomfortable and felt something just was not right and we agreed to call for an ambulance,” the doctor wrote. It was a 911 call.


A two-person ambulance team arrived at the Rush City prison at 5:39 a.m. While they evaluated Johnson, noting he was “slow to respond,” nurse Denise L. Garin arrived. She did not want Johnson transported, the ambulance crew wrote.

“They say the patient has had three seizures through the night,” a crew member wrote in her June 29, 2010, report. “They believe that he has a seizure [history] but do not know because health services is closed at night. They did not want patient transported.

“They have protocols to deal with the patient,” her notes continue, “and say this is because patient has recently gotten his Dilantin cut in half.”

Dilantin is a drug used to control seizures. An autopsy later showed that Johnson’s Dilantin was “below therapeutic level,” but there is no mention in Garin’s charting why she refused to let the ambulance crew take him to the hospital to have his Dilantin level checked immediately.

Garin’s own report makes no mention of protocols or drug dosages.

In fact, Garin wrote that Johnson was “alert, his vital signs were stable and he responded appropriately” — the opposite of what the crew observed.

Garin did not apprise the on-call doctor about her decision to cancel the ambulance order, according to her entries in Johnson’s medical file. Garin, who continues to work at the prison, could not be reached for comment.

The ambulance crew packed up and left. It was 6:07 a.m.

About 35 minutes later, an emergency alarm called staff to Johnson’s cell. Garin wrote that she found Johnson face-down in his bunk. She turned his head and noted a heartbeat. She asked an officer to stay with Johnson while she tried to reach a doctor. While waiting, she was called back to the cell. She pressed Johnson’s neck to find the cartoid artery and found that he was “pulseless.”

About 20 minutes later, a new ambulance crew arrived while prison staff administered chest compressions on Johnson. He could not be revived.

Johnson was transported to the Fairview Lakes Regional Hospital in Wyoming, Minn., and then later to Regions Hospital in St. Paul. He was pronounced dead at 7:37 a.m. on June 30. “Scans had shown herniated brain stem. Administration notified,” a nurse’s last entry stated.

At the time, Johnson was expected to be released from prison in less than three months.

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House Oversight Chair Issa Predicts Disgraced US Attorney General Will Be Held In Contempt (But of course it will be civil, and less than a slap on the wrist…)

June 24, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – The top Republican leading the House investigation into Operation Fast and Furious said Sunday he expects a “bipartisan” floor vote to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress this coming week.

“I believe they will (vote to hold him in contempt),” House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., told “Fox News Sunday.” “Both Republicans and Democrats will vote that — I believe it will be bipartisan.”

Issa kept his focus on the Justice Department, clarifying that he has no evidence the White House was involved in any Fast and Furious cover-up. But he repeatedly said Congress is trying to get to the bottom of why the Justice Department “lied” about the operation.

The comments underscored the apparent momentum among majority House Republicans behind the contempt push, following a committee contempt vote against Holder along party lines this past week. That vote proceeded after Holder and Republicans were unable to reach an agreement over subpoenaed documents pertaining to the Obama administration’s Fast and Furious discussions.

Issa said Sunday it’s possible the vote could be delayed or even “eliminated” if the administration produces the subpoenaed documents the House is seeking. He noted the entire schedule is at the discretion of House Speaker John Boehner.

“But we have to see the documents first,” he said.

Barring such a resolution, Issa and his allies are teeing up a major election-year clash this coming week between the Executive and Legislative branches, and between Democrats and Republicans.

President Obama intervened this past week, invoking executive privilege to protect the documents in question, but Republicans dismissed the claim and proceeded with the contempt vote. On the sidelines, minority House Democrats are pleading with Republicans take a step back and work out the document dispute without the threat of contempt. At the same time, both sides are antagonizing each other at the dais and in the press over what Democrats claim has become a political “witch hunt.”

Rep. Elijah Cummings, R-Md., ranking Democrat on the oversight committee, told “Fox News Sunday” that the confrontation was entirely avoidable.

“I think it’s extremely unfortunate,” he said. “The attorney general has made it clear that he is willing to work with this Congress.”

Cummings called on Boehner to intervene and try to reach an agreement with Holder that involves turning over some documents while also halting the contempt proceedings.

“I think that we have a duty … at this critical moment to get the documents,” he said. “I know we can get them. It’s just a matter of sitting down and talking to Holder.”

Cummings suggested the course of the committee’s investigation has lost sight of one of the major reasons for the probe — the death of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry, whose murder scene included weapons from the Fast and Furious operation.

But Issa defended the escalation, saying the committee is trying to obtain critical documents to help explain why Congress was initially told — incorrectly — in February 2011 that the government did not knowingly let guns “walk” across the U.S.-Mexico border. The department later issued a correction to that statement.

“We, in fact, are simply trying to get to the truth when we were told a lie,” Issa said. “It’s about the cover-up.”

“Ultimately, Justice lied to the American people on February 4 (2011), and they didn’t make it right for 10 months.”

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New York City Police Officer Richard Haste Finally Arrested And Charged After Shooting And Killing Unarmed Teen During Warrantless Home Invasion

June 13, 2012

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – The Bronx District Attorney’s Office on Wednesday will unseal an indictment against an officer who shot and killed an 18-year-old man inside his home.

Officer Richard Haste turned himself in Wednesday morning at Central Booking in the Bronx.

Haste was using crutches as he entered the building.

The indictment will be unsealed at 9:30 a.m., and prosecutors expect to go before the judge at 10 a.m.

At Ramarley Graham’s Bronx home — the place where he was shot and killed — there are signs and t-shirts asking for justice as well as plenty of neighbors who had been waiting months for this indictment.

Graham’s parents are expected to talk at a press conference on Wednesday.

Back in February narcotics officers followed graham into his home — without a search warrant — after watching him during a drug investigation nearby.

Officer haste shot Graham in the bathroom, reportedly after being told the teenager had a gun. Graham turned out to be unarmed.

The last time a police officer was indicted for an on-duty shooting was 2007 — the case of Sean Bell. Three detectives were charged and later acquitted for killing Bell, who was outside a strip club.

Fox News legal analyst Arthur Aidala said Graham’s case is quite different because it happened inside Graham’s home.

“It kid of changes the dynamics of… how a juror would expect a police officer to act and react in that situation,” Aidala said. “When you’re following someone into their home, you better be certain that your life is in danger as a police officer before you kill someone.”

The union that represents uniformed police officers stands behind Haste and believes he will be exonerated at trial.

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House Oversight Committee To Vote On Holding Disgraced US Attorney General Eric Holder In Contempt Of Congress – Still Hiding Documents And Information On His Department Efforts That Armed Mexican Drug Cartels

June 11, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – CBS News has learned the House Oversight Committee will vote next week on whether to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress. It’s the fourth time in 30 years that Congress has launched a contempt action against an executive branch member.

This time, the dispute stems from Holder failing to turn over documents subpoenaed on October 12, 2011 in the Fast and Furious “gunwalking” investigation.

The Justice Department has maintained it has cooperated fully with the congressional investigation, turning over tens of thousands of documents and having Holder testify to Congress on the topic at least eight times.

However, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., says the Justice Department has refused to turn over tens of thousands of pages of documents. Those include materials created after Feb. 4, 2011, when the Justice Department wrote a letter to Congress saying no gunwalking had occurred. The Justice Department later retracted the denial.

“The Obama Administration has not asserted Executive Privilege or any other valid privilege over these materials and it is unacceptable that the Department of Justice refuses to produce them. These documents pertain to Operation Fast and Furious, the claims of whistleblowers, and why it took the Department nearly a year to retract false denials of reckless tactics,” Issa wrote in an announcement of the vote to be released shortly. It will reveal the vote is scheduled for Wednesday, June 20.

Issa says the Justice Department can still put a stop to the contempt process at any time by turning over the subpoenaed documents.

If the House Oversight Committee approves the contempt citation, the matter would likely be scheduled for a full House vote.

For several weeks, there has been closed-door discussions and debate among House Republicans as to whether to move forward with contempt. Some have expressed concern that it could distract from the Republican’s focus on the economy in this election year.

Led by Republicans Senator Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and Issa, Congress’ investigation into Fast and Furious is now in its second year. In the ATF operation, agents allowed thousands of weapons to “walk” into the hands of Mexican drug cartels in the hope it would somehow help ATF take down a major cartel. Some of the weapons were used in the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry at the hands of illegal immigrants crossing into Arizona. Mexican press reports say hundreds of Mexicans have died at the hands of the trafficked weapons. The story was exposed nationally for the first time by CBS News in February 2011.

Democrats on the House Oversight Committee have called the Republicans’ move to find Holder in contempt a politically-motivated “witch hunt.”

In 1983, Congress found EPA administrator Anne Gorsuch Burford in contempt for failing to produce subpoenaed documents.

In 1998, the GOP-controlled House Oversight committee found Attorney General Janet Reno in contempt for failing to comply with a subpoena on campaign finance law violations.

In 2008, the Democratic-led House Oversight Committee found former White House counsel Harriet Miers and Chief of Staff John Bolton in contempt for failing to cooperate with an inquiry into whether a purge of federal prosecutors by the Bush administration was politically motivated.

Congress went to federal court to seek enforcement of that contempt action, but a compromise was reached with the Executive Branch before any court decision was final.

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Secret Documents Prove Obama’s Disgraced US Attorney General Eric Holder Is Full Of Shit – Hid Department’s Documents On Operations That Armed Criminals And Mexican Drug Cartels

June 7, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – With the help of a mole, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) has turned the tables on Attorney General Eric Holder.

Issa has long been exasperated with Holder, claiming that the Department of Justice (DOJ) has been withholding information on a controversial gun-running operation. But through an anonymous source, Issa has obtained information about the initiative that is under a federal court-ordered seal.

Giving such information out is a federal crime, raising the question of whether the Justice Department will seek to prosecute what Republicans are calling a whistleblower.

Issa has asked the DOJ for the documents — wiretap applications it used in the botched federal gun-tracking Operation Fast and Furious — for months. The California lawmaker has taken preliminary steps to move contempt-of-Congress citations against Holder, but it remains unclear if GOP leaders support that move. This new controversy could help Issa attract more Republican support for a contempt-of-Congress resolution.

If Holder does launch an investigation into where the leak originated, the powerful Republican could paint the move as an attempt by the DOJ to hide the documents’ contents. It would also raise the possibility that DOJ investigators will seek information from Issa, who has been trying to determine who approved the “gun-walking” tactics used in Fast and Furious along the U.S.-Mexico border.

On the other hand, not launching a probe would mean turning a blind eye to a criminal breach and could lead Issa’s source and others to reveal other information sealed by a judge.

Issa told Fox News on Wednesday that he has no intention of shining the light on his source: “We’re not going to make our whistleblower available. That’s been one of the most sensitive areas, because some of the early whistleblowers are already feeling retribution. They’re being treated horribly.”

Asked earlier this week where he got the wiretap applications, Issa told The Hill, “You can ask, but you should have no expectation of an answer. By the way, if I asked you where you got yours, would you give me your sources?”

Of course, there is some political risk for Issa. The Obama administration could point out that he is stonewalling federal authorities after complaining throughout this Congress of being stonewalled by DOJ.

As the lead congressional investigator of Fast and Furious, Issa says the documents show top-ranking DOJ officials signing off on the condemned “gun-walking” tactics used in the failed operation. Senior DOJ officials have repeatedly denied that they approved the botched initiative.

The documents have not been made public, and Issa has apparently broken no laws by being given the information.

Regardless, the DOJ is not pleased.

“Chairman Issa’s letter makes clear that sealed court documents relating to pending federal prosecutions being handled by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California have been disclosed to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in violation of law,” wrote Deputy Attorney General James Cole to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Issa this week.

“This is of great concern to us,” the letter added.

A spokesman for the DOJ declined to comment about whether it was planning to launch an investigation into the leak.

Democrats say that Issa is exaggerating what he has. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the ranking member on Issa’s panel, reiterated this week that top-ranking DOJ officials didn’t personally review any of the six wiretap applications related to Fast and Furious. Issa sent Cummings the information he received from his source.

In the past, the DOJ has justified not turning over the wiretap applications to Issa by saying that doing so could jeopardize the current criminal cases it is prosecuting.

Two former prosecutors for the DOJ, who were not familiar with the details of this article, independently told The Hill that defense lawyers could use an instance of documents being leaked in violation of a court-ordered seal to justify seeking a mistrial.

It is unlikely that the DOJ, if it does investigate the leak, will have grounds to go after Issa for accepting the documents. In past instances of court-ordered seals being broken, it is the actual breaker of the seal who is held responsible, which in this case could mean criminal contempt proceedings and possible jail time.

The battle between Issa and the DOJ has escalated over the past month, with House Republican leaders writing a letter to Holder asking him to hand over information about who was responsible for Fast and Furious. The letter also asked whether the DOJ misled Congress on when officials, including Holder, became aware of the program.

Issa is set to square off against Holder on Thursday when the attorney general is scheduled to appear before the House Judiciary Committee. The Republican lawmaker will appear on a panel to discuss oversight of the DOJ.

Under the now-defunct Fast and Furious initiative, agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which is under the DOJ, authorized the sale of firearms to known and suspected straw purchasers for Mexican drug cartels, but lost track of many of the weapons. Some of those guns might have contributed to the December 2010 shooting death of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry.

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US Government Department Rules That Illegal Immigrant’s “Civil Rights” Were Violated When Forest Service Called Border Patrol For Help

June 5, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – A federal department ruled last week that the Forest Service violated a Spanish-speaking woman’s civil rights by calling the Border Patrol to help translate during a routine stop, saying it was “humiliating” to Hispanics and an illicit backdoor way to capture more illegal immigrants.

The ruling by the Agriculture Department’s assistant secretary for civil rights could change policies nationwide as law enforcement agencies grapple with how far they can go in trying to help the Border Patrol while not running afoul of racial profiling standards.

Assistant Secretary Joe Leonard Jr. said calling the Border Patrol automatically “escalates” encounters between Hispanics and law enforcement. He ruled that the Forest Service cannot routinely summon the Border Patrol for assistance and said the agency now must document suspected racial profiling nationwide.

“Given the increased risk of being questioned about immigration status during an interaction with [Border Patrol], the policy of using BP for interpretation assistance is problematic in all situations because it places a burden on [limited English proficient] individuals that non-LEP individuals do not experience,” Mr. Leonard ruled.

The case stems from a 2011 incident in Olympic National Forest in Washington in which a Forest Service officer encountered a Hispanic couple who he said appeared to be illegally harvesting plants on the federal lands.

The couple didn’t speak English and he didn’t speak fluent Spanish and, anticipating that situation, he called the Border Patrol for backup and translating.

But when a Border Patrol agent arrived, the couple fled. The woman was apprehended, but the man jumped into a river to try to escape and drowned. The Border Patrol took the woman into custody but released her several days later, reportedly on humanitarian grounds.

The Northwest Immigrant Rights Project complained to the Agriculture Department, which oversees the Forest Service, and last week’s ruling was the result.

Matt Adams, legal director of the project, said the Border Patrol has been expanding its reach in the Northwest and that has meant more encounters well away from the border.

“They’ve got nothing to do out there as far as their traditional mission, that is enforcing people coming through the border. So in order to justify those expanded numbers, they utilize these other tactics,” Mr. Adams said. “At the end of the day, they can drag in bigger numbers, but it’s not focused on the border.”

His group is challenging other federal agencies’ use of the Border Patrol for translation services, and has filed requests under the Freedom of Information Act seeking logs for how often agents are used for translation.

Last week’s ruling relies in part on an executive order issued during the Clinton administration that says language is interchangeable with national origin, which is protected by federal law.

Groups that push for English-language policies in the U.S. called the new ruling illegal and said the government appeared to be granting special language rights to illegal immigrants.

“The ACLU and illegal alien rights groups are well aware that American courts have never upheld their argument that language and national origin are equal, so they battle out these disputes in private between the agencies in order to come to a settlement where both the courts and the taxpayers are absent from the table,” said Suzanne Bibby, director of government relations for ProEnglish. “This is their new strategy because they know they will lose in the courts.”

A spokeswoman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which oversees the Border Patrol, said the agency is reviewing the ruling but is committed to civil rights.

The union that represents Forest Service employees didn’t return a call seeking comment.

In the proceedings, the Forest Service fought on behalf of its officer. It pointed to an operational memo with the Border Patrol that said they are allowed to back up each other. Since Forest Service employees generally are not trained in Spanish, Border Patrol agents are particularly helpful in backing up encounters with Hispanics, the agency said.

Mr. Leonard’s 40-page ruling underscored deep mutual distrust on both sides in the town of Forks, in northwestern Washington.

Town residents who told the review board that the Forest Service officer involved in the 2011 stop was known for harassing Hispanics and for working with the Border Patrol.

Meanwhile, the Forest Service officer said he felt like the Hispanic community had been “tracing” his movements.

Mr. Leonard was skeptical of the officer’s reasoning and said he found the complaints from the community more convincing.

The ruling doesn’t reveal the names of those involved.

Underpinning the ruling were some key legal arguments: First, that the complainant was entitled to visit the national forest; second, that a law enforcement stop affects the availability of the service provided by the national forest; and third, that the Forest Service must take steps to protect those with limited English, including making them not feel unduly threatened.

“A policy that causes individuals to actually flee from the service being provided does not provide meaningful access,” Mr. Leonard wrote.

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Florida’s “Stand Your Ground Law” Lets Drug Dealers Avoid Murder Charges And Gang Members Walk Free – But Somehow Doesn’t Apply To Zimmerman After Shooting And Killing Worthless Druggie In Self Defense

June 3, 2012

FLORIDA – Florida’s “stand your ground” law has allowed drug dealers to avoid murder charges and gang members to walk free. It has stymied prosecutors and confused judges. • It has also served its intended purpose, exonerating dozens of people who were deemed to be legitimately acting in self-defense. Among them: a woman who was choked and beaten by an irate tenant and a man who was threatened in his driveway by a felon.

Seven years since it was passed, Florida’s “stand your ground” law is being invoked with unexpected frequency, in ways no one imagined, to free killers and violent attackers whose self-defense claims seem questionable at best.

Cases with similar facts show surprising — sometimes shocking — differences in outcomes. If you claim “stand your ground” as the reason you shot someone, what happens to you can depend less on the merits of the case than on who you are, whom you kill and where your case is decided.

Today, the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teen, by a Hispanic neighborhood watch captain has prompted a renewed look at Florida’s controversial law.

In the most comprehensive effort of its kind, the Tampa Bay Times has identified nearly 200 “stand your ground” cases and their outcomes. The Times identified cases through media reports, court records and dozens of interviews with prosecutors and defense attorneys across the state.

Among the findings:

• Those who invoke “stand your ground” to avoid prosecution have been extremely successful. Nearly 70 percent have gone free.

• Defendants claiming “stand your ground” are more likely to prevail if the victim is black. Seventy-three percent of those who killed a black person faced no penalty compared to 59 percent of those who killed a white.

• The number of cases is increasing, largely because defense attorneys are using “stand your ground” in ways state legislators never envisioned. The defense has been invoked in dozens of cases with minor or no injuries. It has also been used by a self-described “vampire” in Pinellas County, a Miami man arrested with a single marijuana cigarette, a Fort Myers homeowner who shot a bear and a West Palm Beach jogger who beat a Jack Russell terrier.

• People often go free under “stand your ground” in cases that seem to make a mockery of what lawmakers intended. One man killed two unarmed people and walked out of jail. Another shot a man as he lay on the ground. Others went free after shooting their victims in the back. In nearly a third of the cases the Times analyzed, defendants initiated the fight, shot an unarmed person or pursued their victim — and still went free.

• Similar cases can have opposite outcomes. Depending on who decided their cases, some drug dealers claiming self-defense have gone to prison while others have been set free. The same holds true for killers who left a fight, only to arm themselves and return. Shoot someone from your doorway? Fire on a fleeing burglar? Your case can swing on different interpretations of the law by prosecutors, judge or jury.

• A comprehensive analysis of “stand your ground” decisions is all but impossible. When police and prosecutors decide not to press charges, they don’t always keep records showing how they reached their decisions. And no one keeps track of how many “stand your ground” motions have been filed or their outcomes.

Claiming “stand your ground,” people have used force to meet force outside an ice cream parlor, on a racquetball court and at a school bus stop. Two-thirds of the defendants used guns, though weapons have included an ice pick, shovel and chair leg.

The oldest defendant was an 81-year-old man; the youngest, a 14-year-old Miami youth who shot someone trying to steal his Jet Ski.

Ed Griffith, a spokesman for the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office, describes “stand your ground” as a “malleable” law being stretched to new limits daily.

“It’s arising now in the oddest of places,” he said.

That’s unlikely to change any time soon, according to prosecutors and defense attorneys, who say the number and types of cases are sure to rise.

“If you’re a defense counsel, you’d be crazy not to use it in any case where it could apply,” said Zachary Weaver, a West Palm Beach lawyer. “With the more publicity the law gets, the more individuals will get off.”

Expanding self-defense

People have had the right to defend themselves from a threat as far back as English common law. The key in Florida and many other states was that they could not use deadly force if it was reasonably possible to retreat.

That changed in 2005 when Gov. Jeb Bush signed into law Florida Statute 776.013. It says a person “has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground” if he or she thinks deadly force is necessary to prevent death, great bodily harm or commission of a forcible felony like robbery.

“Now it’s lawful to stand there like Matt Dillon at high noon, pull the gun and shoot back,” said Bob Dekle, a University of Florida law professor and former prosecutor in North Florida.

Durell Peaden, the former Republican senator from Crestview who sponsored the bill, said the law was never intended for people who put themselves in harm’s way before they started firing. But the criminal justice system has been blind to that intent.

The new law only requires law enforcement and the justice system to ask three questions in self-defense cases: Did the defendant have the right to be there? Was he engaged in a lawful activity? Could he reasonably have been in fear of death or great bodily harm?

Without convincing evidence to the contrary, “stand your ground” protection prevails.

If prosecutors press charges, any defendant claiming self-defense is now entitled to a hearing before a judge. At the immunity hearing, a judge must decide based on the “preponderance of the evidence” whether to grant immunity. That’s a far lower burden than “beyond a reasonable doubt,” the threshold prosecutors must meet at trial.

“It’s a very low standard to prove preponderance,” said Weaver, the West Palm Beach lawyer. “If 51 percent of the evidence supports your claim, you get off.”

Unequal treatment

The outcome of a ” stand your ground” case can turn on many factors: the location of blood spatters, the credibility of witnesses, the relative size and age of the parties involved. But the Times found similar incidents handled in dramatically different ways.

Derrick Hansberry thought John Webster was having an affair with his estranged wife, so he confronted Webster on a basketball court in Dade City in 2005. A fight broke out and Hansberry shot his unarmed rival at least five times, putting him in the hospital for three weeks.

Ultimately, a jury acquitted Hansberry, but not before police and prosecutors weighed in. Neither thought Hansberry could reasonably argue self-defense because he took the gun with him and initiated the confrontation.

A judge agreed, denying him immunity at a hearing.

Compare that case to Deounce Harden’s. In 2006, he showed up at Steven Deon Mitchell’s Jacksonville carwash business and started arguing over a woman. When the fight escalated, Harden shot and killed Mitchell, who was unarmed.

Prosecutors filed no charges.

Similar inconsistencies can be found across the state:

• During an argument at a 2009 party in Fort Myers, Omar Bonilla fired his gun into the ground and beat Demarro Battle, then went inside and gave the gun to a friend. If Battle feared for his life, he had time to flee. Instead, he got a gun from his car and returned to shoot Bonilla three times, including once in the back. Battle was not charged in the slaying.

At another party in the same town five months later, Reginald Etienne and Joshua Sands were arguing. Etienne left the party and returned with a knife. During a fistfight between the two men, Etienne fatally stabbed Sands. He was sent to prison for life.

• In Winter Springs, Owen Eugene Whitlock came home on Christmas Eve 2009 to find his daughter’s boyfriend, Jose Ramirez, angrily stalking up his driveway, flexing his muscles and swinging his fists. Whitlock stood his ground and fired a fatal shot. He was not charged.

In Clearwater, Terry Tyrone Davis shot and killed his cousin as he stalked up the walkway of Davis’ home in 2010 with a group of friends. “There’s no doubt he was going over there to kick his a–,” Circuit Judge Philip J. Federico said, “but that does not allow you to kill a guy.” Davis is now serving 25 years in prison.

• In West Palm Beach, Christopher Cote started pounding on the door of neighbor Jose Tapanes at 4 a.m. after an argument over Cote’s dog. Tapanes stepped outside and fired his shotgun twice, killing Cote. A jury acquitted him, but prosecutors and a judge had discounted Tapanes’ self-defense claim, saying if he was truly afraid for his life, he should not have stepped outside.

Yet Rhonda Eubanks was not arrested or charged when she opened her front door one evening in 2006 and fatally shot a man who had been causing a ruckus in her Escambia County neighborhood. He had tried to get into her house, then left and tried to take her neighbors’ cars. When he returned, Eubanks stood near her doorway and fired as he approached.

Discrepancies among cases cannot all be explained by small differences in the circumstances. Some are clearly caused by different interpretations of the law.

When Gerald Terrell Jones shot his marijuana dealer in the face in Brandon this year, he was charged with attempted murder and aggravated assault. A jury later acquitted him. But a judge had rejected Jones’ “stand your ground” motion, in part, because he was committing a crime at the time.

Elsewhere in the state, drug dealers have successfully invoked “stand your ground” even though they were in the middle of a deal when the shooting started.

In Daytona Beach, for example, police Chief Mike Chitwood used the “stand your ground” law as the rationale for not filing charges in two drug deals that ended in deaths. He said he was prevented from going forward because the accused shooters had permits to carry concealed weapons and they claimed they were defending themselves at the time.

“We’re seeing a good law that’s being abused,” Chitwood told a local paper.

Various interpretations

Disparities have been driven in part by vague wording in the 2005 law that has left police, prosecutors and judges struggling to interpret it.

It took five years for the Florida Supreme Court to decide that judges should base immunity decisions on the preponderance of evidence.

Still unresolved is whether a defendant can get immunity if he illegally has a gun. And courts are divided on what the law is when a victim is retreating.

David Heckman of Tampa lost his bid for “stand your ground” protection because his victim was walking away when Heckman shot him.

“We conclude that immunity does not apply because the victim was retreating,” the court said.

But Jimmy Hair, who was sitting in a car when he was attacked in Tallahassee, was treated differently. He shot his victim as the man was being pulled from the vehicle. An appeals court gave immunity to Hair, saying: “The statute makes no exception from immunity when the victim is in retreat at the time the defensive force is employed.”

While many have argued the law does not allow someone to pick a fight and claim immunity, it has been used to do just that. It is broad enough that one judge complained that in a Wild West-type shootout, where everybody is armed, everyone might go free.

“Each individual on each side of the exchange of gunfire can claim self-defense,” Leon County Circuit Judge Terry P. Lewis wrote in 2010, saying it “could conceivably result in all persons who exchanged gunfire on a public street being immune from prosecution.”

Lewis was considering immunity motions stemming from a Tallahassee gang shooting that resulted in the death of one of the participants, a 15-year-old boy.

The judge said he had no choice but to grant immunity to two men who fired the AK-47 responsible for the death even though they fired 25 to 30 times outside an apartment complex. The reason: It could not be proved they fired first.

Questionable cases

Whatever lawmakers’ expectations, “stand your ground” arguments have resulted in freedom or reduced sentences for some unlikely defendants.

• An 18-year-old felon, convicted of cocaine and weapons charges, shot and wounded a neighbor in the stomach, then fled the scene and was involved in another nonfatal shootout two days later, according to police. He was granted immunity in the first shooting.

• Two men fell into the water while fighting on a dock. When one started climbing out of the water, the other shot him in the back of the head, killing him. He was acquitted after arguing “stand your ground.”

• A Seventh-day Adventist was acting erratically, doing cartwheels through an apartment complex parking lot, pounding on cars and apartment windows and setting off alarms. A tenant who felt threatened by the man’s behavior shot and killed him. He was not charged.

• A Citrus County man in a longstanding dispute with a neighbor shot and killed the man one night in 2009. He was not charged even though a witness and the location of two bullet wounds showed the victim was turning to leave when he was shot.

Even chasing and killing someone over a drug buy can be considered standing your ground.

Anthony Gonzalez Jr. was part of a 2010 drug deal that went sour when someone threatened Gonzalez with a gun. Gonzalez chased the man down and killed him during a high-speed gunbattle through Miami streets.

Before the “stand your ground” law, Miami-Dade prosecutors would have had a strong murder case because Gonzalez could have retreated instead of chasing the other vehicle. But Gonzalez’s lawyer argued he had a right to be in his car, was licensed to carry a gun and thought his life was in danger.

Soon after the filing of a “stand your ground” motion, prosecutors agreed to a deal in which Gonzalez pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter and got three years in prison.

“The limitations imposed on us by the ‘stand your ground’ laws made it impossible for any prosecutor to pursue murder charges,” Griffith of the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office said at the time. “This is certainly a very difficult thing to tell a grieving family member.”

Increase in cases

If there’s one thing on which critics and supporters agree, it is that the “stand your ground” law is being applied in a growing number of cases, including misdemeanors. That trend is reflected in the Times’ database, with a five-fold increase in nonfatal cases from 2008 to 2011.

Meanwhile, the number of fatalities in which “stand your ground” played a role dropped from a peak of 24 cases in 2009 to half that number in 2011.

The nearly 200 cases found by the Times include most of the high-profile homicides in which the law is invoked.

Uncovering minor cases in which defendants argue “stand your ground” is more difficult. When asked by the Times, public defenders in Pinellas, Pasco and Hillsborough counties came up with a total of 60 “stand your ground” motions filed by their offices in recent years.

In Miami-Dade County, officials tried to count all the “stand your ground” motions filed in the past year. Their best estimate: 50.

If those counties are any indication, several hundred defendants are now invoking the law annually.

Its expanded use comes at a cost to the court system.

In April, a hearing on whether William Siskos should get immunity for killing his girlfriend’s husband included the all-day use of a Brooksville courtroom, a judge, a public defender, two prosecutors, clerks and bailiffs and an expert witness who was paid $750 an hour.

The judge denied the motion and the case is pending.

“The court system is overburdened enough without having a bunch of expensive, unnecessary, time-consuming hearings on stand your ground,” said Dekle, the University of Florida professor.

Argument for success

Donald Day is a Naples defense lawyer who has handled three “stand your ground” cases and believes the law is working “remarkably well.”

Day said the immunity hearings are a critical backstop in self-defense cases that should never go to a jury. Of the cases in the Times’ database that have been resolved, 23 percent were dismissed by a judge after an immunity hearing. That means 38 defendants facing the prospect of a jury trial were set free by a judge who ruled the evidence leaned in their favor.

“Where the defendant is clearly in the right and gets arrested, should you have to take your chance with what six people believe or don’t believe?” Day said. “Judges are denying these motions where they should be denied and granting them in the limited number of cases statewide where they should be granted.”

A prime example, he said, is the case of his client, Jorge Saavedra, a 14-year-old charged with aggravated manslaughter last year in the death of Dylan Nuno.

Saavedra was in special education classes at Palmetto Ridge High School in Collier County and was often the target of taunts. Nuno, 16, went to the same school.

On Jan. 24, 2011, the two boys were riding the bus home. Saavedra was warned repeatedly that Nuno intended to fight with him when he got off at his regular stop. Saavedra replied each time that he did not want to fight, but he also pulled out a pocketknife to show friends.

Saavedra got off the bus early with a friend to try to avoid a confrontation. But Nuno and his friends followed, and Nuno punched the younger boy in the back of the head.

For a while, Saavedra kept walking as he was being punched. Then he turned, reached in his pocket for the knife and stabbed Nuno 12 times.

Prosecutors pursued charges despite evidence that Saavedra tried to get away and felt cornered by an older boy and a crowd of teens shouting for a fight. They argued that because he brought a knife to a fistfight, he should be tried for murder.

Without “stand your ground,” Saavedra would likely have gone to trial. But the law required a hearing before a judge and that judge granted him immunity.

Nuno’s mother, Kim Maxwell, said her son made a bad decision to throw the first punch, but she’s incredulous that it led to his death and even more stunned that his killer went free.

Said Day: “You don’t have to wait until you’re dead before you use deadly force.”


As “stand your ground” claims have increased, so too has the number of Floridians with guns. Concealed weapons permits now stand at 1.1 million, three times as many as in 2005 when the law was passed.

“I think the (stand your ground) law has an emboldening effect. All of a sudden, you’re a tough guy and can be aggressive,” said George Kirkham, a professor emeritus at Florida State University who has worked as a police officer.

Criminologists say that when people with guns get the message they have a right to stand and fight, rather than retreat, the threshold for using that gun goes down. All too often, Bruce Bartlett, chief assistant state attorney for Pinellas-Pasco counties, sees the result.

“I see cases where I’ll think, ‘This person didn’t really need to kill that person but the law, as it is written, justifies their action,’ ” Bartlett said about incidents that his office decides not to prosecute due to “stand your ground.” “It may be legally within the boundaries. But at the end of the day, was it really necessary?”

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Seminole County Florida Judge Kenneth Lester Jr. Revokes Zimmerman’s Bond Because His Wife Lied About Finances – Charged After Killing Druggie In Self Defense

June 1, 2012

SANFORD, FLORIDA – A Florida judge revoked bond Friday for George Zimmerman, who is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Trayvon Martin.

Seminole County Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester Jr. ordered Zimmerman to surrender to the county sheriff no later than Sunday afternoon.

Lester accused Zimmerman of having misrepresented how much money he had when his bond was originally set in April. Prosecutors say he had $135,000 at the time Zimmerman’s wife, Shellie, told the court, under oath, that they were indigent.

The prosecution cited as evidence recorded telephone conversations that Zimmerman had with his wife prior to the hearing. The conversations were recorded while Zimmerman was being held in the Seminole County Jail after being charged with second-degree murder on April 11.

He has pleaded not guilty and has been free on bail.

Martin, 17, was fatally shot February 26 while walking in a Sanford, Florida, neighborhood where he was staying during a visit with his father. Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, told police he shot the teenager in self-defense.

“The defense, through Mrs. Zimmerman, lied to this court about the amount of money that they had,” said trial prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda. “I don’t know what words to use other than it was a blatant lie.”

Outside the courthouse, a lawyer for the family of Martin said Friday’s decision is significant. “Judge Lester’s finding that George Zimmerman was dishonest is very important because his credibility is the most important thing in this entire case,” Benjamin Crump told reporters.

The killing spurred protests among people who criticized police handling of the investigation and said Martin, who was unarmed and carrying a bag of Skittles and an Arizona Iced Tea at the time he was killed, was racially profiled. The teen was African-American; Zimmerman is Hispanic.

In court documents, State Attorney Angela B. Corey also said that Zimmerman had two passports, and the passport that he surrendered to the court at the April hearing was one that Zimmerman had reported stolen on March 8, 2004. That passport was valid until May 2012, Corey said.

Zimmerman was issued a second passport on March 26, 2004, and that one is valid until 2014, she said.

The prosecutor asked the court that Zimmerman be ordered to surrender the second passport to authorities.

But Lester appeared to accept the explanation from Zimmerman’s lawyer that his client had given him the second passport, and the lawyer simply forgot to hand it over to authorities until Friday.

Regarding Zimmerman’s finances, Corey alleged that in the recorded phone calls in April the couple “spoke in code to hide what they were doing” regarding the money in a credit union account belonging to the couple.

The money was apparently donated by members of the public to Zimmerman’s website.

Zimmerman “fully controlled and participated in the transfer of money from the PayPal account to defendant and his wife’s credit union accounts,” Corey said in court records. “This occurred prior to the time defendant was arguing to the court that he was indigent and his wife had no money.”

In late April, Zimmerman’s attorney, Mark O’Mara, said that the money raised by the website was put into a trust account that the attorney controls.

But Corey stated Friday in the court documents: “The money still belongs to defendant and he can demand it at any time.”

Court papers provided a partial transcript of a phone call allegedly showing the code used by Zimmerman and his wife on April 16:

Zimmerman: “In my account do I have at least $100?”

His wife: “No.”

Zimmerman: “How close am I?”

His wife: “$8. $8.60.”

Zimmerman: “Really. So total everything how much are we looking at?”

His wife: “Like $155.”

The prosecutor said the judge “relied on false representations and statements” by Zimmerman and his wife when the court set his bond at $150,000. He was required to post only 10% of that.

Corey argued that the court should revoke the bond or increase it “substantially.”

Lester appeared angry that the court had not been told about the money. “Does your client get to sit there like a potted palm and let you lead me down the primrose path?” he asked Zimmerman’s lawyer. “That’s the issue.”

O’Mara told CNN on Friday night that he had discussed the judge’s decision with Zimmerman, who was not in court on Friday. “He’s frustrated because he now has to come out of hiding,” O’Mara told CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

“You need to realize we’re still talking about a 28-year-old who’s being charged with a crime he does not believe he committed, and his whole life has been turned upside down, so I think that it all needs to be kept in context.”

O’Mara added that he hoped the judge’s revocation of bond would be temporary. “We’re going to have a conversation with the judge to try to explain it away. Hopefully, that will be worthwhile and we’re going to get back out on bond.”

Meanwhile, Zimmerman’s defense team and prosecutors were both on the same side in court Friday afternoon fighting media companies’ request to release more information in the case.

Prosecution and defense lawyers argued that a host of material should remain sealed.

The intense public attention on the case is a chief reason certain information should remain out of the public eye, de la Rionda said in a motion filed earlier this month.

He argued that releasing too much “will result in this matter being tried in the press rather than in court, and an inability to seat a fair and impartial jury in Seminole County.” De la Rionda also voiced worries about witnesses being “reluctant to testify” for fear that their privacy would be violated and other witnesses being “harassed by media representatives.”

Specifically, the state wants the names and addresses of witnesses kept out of the public record. It asks for the same for crime scene and autopsy photos, a 911 recording of the incident, and cell phone records of Martin, Zimmerman and one witness.

De la Rionda is also requesting a judge seal statements Zimmerman made to law enforcement officers, some of which may be used against him at trial because they were “inconsistent with the physical evidence and statements of witnesses.”

O’Mara filed his own motion agreeing with the prosecution’s desire not to release material. He said the defense wants 1,000 e-mails received by Sanford police to be sealed, plus statements by Zimmerman. He asked that text messages, e-mail messages or journals made by the defendant be kept private, at least until they can be reviewed.

Scott Ponce of the Miami-based law firm Holland & Knight argued for more disclosure on behalf of various newspapers, TV stations and their parent companies.

The opposing arguments were laid out in motions filed in advance of Friday’s hearing.

This week, Ponce filed responses to the prosecution and defense positions, addressing them point by point.

“The broad secrecy the state seeks … is not supported by statute, constitution or case law, and it certainly cannot be justified in this prosecution,” he said.

Ponce argued that civilian witnesses’ names and addresses cannot be sealed under Florida’s public records law, because they would not be “defamatory” or “jeopardize the safety” of a witness. He said the state hasn’t proven anyone is in jeopardy. The contested cell phone records may be reviewed and, if need be, have parts redacted, but they shouldn’t be withheld entirely, he said.

Ponce said Zimmerman’s statements to police should not be treated as “confessions,” which would not be made public before trial.

The judge expressed sympathy for the prosecution and defense attorneys but said, “The law is against us.” He noted that the law in Florida “favors full, complete, open disclosure.”

Lester said he would review the discovery request and release material “in a redacted fashion.”

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

May 31, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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Savage Black Beast Killed While Eating Another Man’s Face In Miami Florida

May 29, 2012

MIAMI, FLORIDA – The crime shocked South Florida and has drawn the attention of the world. A naked man is shot by Miami Police while eating another naked man’s face on the MacArthur Causeway.

As the story quickly went viral across the Internet, some have likened the attack to one by a zombie. Details of the unthinkable attack included police reporting that when they ordered the cannibal to stop, he looked up with blood on his face and growled at officers.

The suspected cannibal has been identified by the Miami-Dade County Medical Examiner’s officer as 31-year-old Rudy Eugene. Eugene may have been homeless at the time of the attack, his last known address was in North Miami.

Since news of the unthinkable attack first broke, the big question has been, why? Why did the man attack the other? Why were they naked? Why did the attacker turn into a cannibal on the causeway?

The president of the Miami Fraternal Order of Police, Armando Aguilar believes the entire incident is the fault of a new drug trend that has led to similar incidents. Emergency room doctors at Jackson Memorial Hospital said they too have seen a major increase in cases linked to the street drug called “bath salts” or the new LSD.

“We noticed an increase probably after Ultra Fest,” said emergency room Dr. Paul Adams, at Jackson Memorial Hospital.
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25 Shot Overnight In Chicago Illinois – No Arrests

May 28, 2012

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – 25 people were shot in Chicago overnight.

19-year-old Jaleel Beasley and two other young men were hit just after 2 a.m. outside a bar in the Lawndale neighborhood.

Beasley died later at Mt Sinai hospital.

The other two men were brought to Stroger Hospital and are in stable condition.

Two other people were shot in the same area within 20 minutes of the first incident.

Police are investigating the possibility that the two events were related.

So far, no arrests have been made in connection with any of the shootings.

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Child Neglect Deaths In Florida Drops 30 To 40 Percent – Sounds Good, Until You Find That State Changed Method In Which It Counts Those Deaths

May 27, 2012

FLORIDA – In 2009, 197 Florida children died as a result of abuse or neglect.

The following year, the number fell to 136 — a remarkable drop of 30 percent.

Among kids whose family had a prior history of intervention by child-welfare workers, the improvement was even more dramatic: The death toll fell 40 percent.

Did Florida, a state with a long-troubled child-protection system, dramatically improve its efforts on behalf of at-risk children?


In fact, the Department of Children & Families unilaterally changed the way it tallied child deaths involving neglect.

The new policy, approved in the summer of 2010, significantly narrowed the parameters for what is considered abuse and neglect. The steep decline followed immediately — the first significant reduction in a decade.

However, the new calculation didn’t sit well with several members of the Statewide Child Abuse Death Review Committee. Headed by the state Department of Health, its job is to study child deaths each year in an effort to prevent them in the future. To those critics, the supposed reduction was simply a matter of manipulating data.

A Jacksonville doctor who heads a local death review team blasted the new guidelines in a detailed, six-page 2010 memo, calling them “fatally flawed.”

“These [child-death] investigations are not intended to stigmatize families, but to identify families who may need services to prevent future tragedies involving other children,” wrote Bruce McIntosh, a pediatrician who heads the Department of Health’s Child Protection Team in Jacksonville and serves on a local death-review committee. “They are also essential for identifying epidemiologic risk factors that can be used for education and the prevention of other unintended deaths in the future.”

DCF Secretary David Wilkins, in an interview with The Miami Herald Friday, defended the changes, declaring “We have nothing to hide.”

He said the agency is seeking to be more transparent with state death reviewers this year, partly as a result of ongoing discussions he has had with other members of Gov. Rick Scott’s Children’s Cabinet.

Cabinet members, for instance, have recommended changing state law so that only one state agency evaluates child deaths each year, and stipulating that that group has the authority to investigate every fatality — regardless of whether DCF verifies the death as being the result of parental maltreatment.

Regardless, Wilkins said, he expects DCF to provide statewide death reviewers with records involving all child deaths this year, as members of the team have recommended for several years.“We will make sure that they are looking at a complete set” of death cases, Wilkins said.

So what is a child death involving abuse or neglect?

Two of the most common ways children die in Florida are by drowning in a swimming pool or smothering when they are sleeping in bed with a parent and the parent rolls over. Prior to 2010, those deaths were routinely categorized as abuse or neglect. In many cases, the deaths involved parents who were impaired by alcohol or drugs.

The June 2010 rewrite of DCF procedures dramatically narrowed the definition, essentially saying “a willful act by the caregiver” was required in these instances to constitute neglect.

By way of further explanation, DCF’s top death review coordinator, Keith Perlman, wrote in September 2010 that a child’s drowning should only be considered the result of neglect if the caregiver understood the child was “at risk and, with intent, allowed the child to be placed at risk.”

Perlman also suggested that a child smothered to death by his or her parents in bed has not necessarily died of neglect if the parents’ behavior met a “socially acceptable threshold” — in other words, if other parents place their children in an adult bed at night.

McIntosh, the Jacksonville doctor, took particular issue with Perlman’s claim that investigators must find “intent” to leave a child at risk when a child drowns or is suffocated.

“This proposal,” he wrote, “assumes that a caretaker could credibly claim not to know that it was dangerous to leave a child unsupervised around a body of water.”

Death investigators, McIntosh added, should not consider whether it is “socially acceptable” to place infants in bed with their parents, adding that just because many parents engage in a risky practice “does not make it safe or right.”

“There was a time when parents did not have to buckle their children into car seats, during which time thousands died annually in car accidents,” McIntosh wrote. “Those deaths are now prevented. We are tasked with identifying avoidable death hazards that need to be corrected, not simply accepting the way they are.”

McIntosh added: “Under-reporting and under-verification [of deaths] compromise the validity of the statistics related to child abuse and neglect, make it more difficult to ascertain true progress in combating these problems and, most importantly, defeat efforts to identify causes of preventable death that could be addressed through education, product redesign and legislative regulatory action.”

In a draft of the statewide committee’s annual report, death team members noted that DCF had eliminated more than half of the drowning deaths from 2010 — verifying neglect in 42 of the 91 drownings that were reported to the state. As a result, they stated, the other 48 were never studied and their absence from the sample made it appear as if neglectful drownings had declined dramatically.

In the report language, they used the word “only” in referring to the 42 verified drownings.

That one world — “only” — raised hackles at DCF. Christie Ferris, a member of the committee from DCF, fired off an email on Dec. 30 that said: “The over-use of the word ONLY…implies DCF is under-verifying the reports and/or is not being transparent.”

Another line in the draft report also angered DCF. The agency threatened to vote against release of the report if the full committee refused to delete the line — one that said the dramatic decline in abuse and neglect deaths was owing to DCF “modify[ing] their criteria for verification of certain neglect deaths.”

Ferris, in her email, insisted “no criteria was changed or modified and therefore this is a false statement.” She said the sentence “must be deleted to gain a YES vote from DCF.”

In the end, the sentence was removed as DCF demanded.

Manatee County Sheriff’s Major Connie Shingledecker, who chaired the committee last year, said she supported the concept of achieving consistency throughout the state in the investigation of child deaths: Some regions, she said, considered most drownings a result of neglect, while others required other circumstances, such as the caregiver’s use of drugs or alcohol, as a factor in their poor supervision.

Perlman’s memo, she added, seemed to go too far in excusing poor — and fatal — decisions by parents, unless the parents intended to harm their children.

Both Shingledecker and other team members strongly suspected the reduction in deaths resulted from DCF’s decision to change its criteria. But the denials from Ferris and others prompted her to agree to remove the objectionable language.

“I couldn’t prove it,” Shingledecker told The Herald. “We were told they had not made any changes.”

Going forward, Shingledecker hopes the group will be able to study every case in which a child dies, because such inquiries are the best way to prevent tragedies, she said.

“You never know about the lives you’ve saved,” Shingledecker said. “You only know about the ones you don’t.”

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Marysville Washington Police Officer Derek Carlile Charged In Shooting Death Of His 7 Year Old Daughter – Moron Left Loaded Handgun With Safety Off In Car Full Of Kids

May 26, 2012

MARYSVILLE, WASHINGTON – Prosecutors charged a Washington state police officer Tuesday in the accidental death of his 7-year-old daughter, saying it was unconscionable for him to leave his loaded handgun loose in the family van, where the girl’s younger brother grabbed it and shot her.

Marysville police officer Derek Carlile could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted of second-degree manslaughter, a charge that involves criminal negligence.

Carlile “failed to heed … a substantial risk that death would occur when he placed and left his loaded, unsecured revolver in an enclosed van with four children inside,” Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Lisa Paul wrote in charging papers.

“Though the undeniable tragedy and grief that has stricken the defendant and his family is staggering, compassion must be balanced with accountability,” she wrote.

The shooting occurred March 10 while the van was parked at a store in Stanwood. Carlile and his wife were outside the van when the 3-year-old, who had a fascination with guns, got out of his booster seat, grabbed the weapon and shot his sister Jenna in the torso, investigators said. The safety of the gun was off, they said.

Carlile’s attorney, David Allen, said the family was disappointed in the charging decision. Carlile takes full responsibility for his daughter’s death, but his actions weren’t criminal, Allen said.

“This is a double tragedy for the Carlile family that not only lost Jenna, but now also faces the possibility of losing Derek to prison,” Allen wrote in a news release.

The charging papers say the 31-year-old Carlile, a police officer since 2009, had worked until 2 a.m., then woke up that morning to go antique shopping with a friend. He was late returning from the shopping trip, and he and his family had to rush to get ready to attend a wedding reception.

When he got into the van, he placed his personal .38-caliber revolver – not his service weapon – in a bin on the floor between the driver’s and front passenger’s seats, a space typically reserved for cups and keys, the deputy prosecutor wrote.

His wife asked what he was doing because he usually wore the gun or placed it in a locking compartment on the driver-side door. She later told investigators that she assumed he moved the gun after she brought it to his attention.

On the way to the wedding, the family stopped at the art studio and store in Stanwood. Carlile’s wife, Forrest, went inside, and Carlile spoke with the owner, the same friend with whom he had gone antique shopping that morning.

Carlile heard the gunshot, and another daughter, age 5, got out of the van, saying something about the boy, Jenna and the gun. Carlile ran to the van, opened the sliding door, and saw Jenna slumped over, still wearing her seatbelt. He tried to save her life, but she died at a hospital.

Carlile later refused to let detectives speak with his other children, and prosecutors used a special court proceeding to compel the testimony of the 5-year-old. She told them she and her older sister remained in their seats while the 3-year-old ran up and grabbed the gun, the documents state.

“She said she heard a boom and saw smoke coming from the victim,” Paul wrote.

Detectives did not interview the 3-year-old because of his age. The other child in the car was a 1-year-old.

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Victim’s Family Awarded $2 Million By Federal Court After California Highway Patrol Officers Shot And Killed Unarmed Driver

May 23, 2012

CALIFORNIA – A Sacramento federal judge has ordered damages of more than $2 million assessed against two California Highway Patrol officers, the agency itself, and the state in the death of a 21-year-old Stockton man.

In a four-page order and judgment Monday, U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller said she interprets a somewhat ambiguous jury verdict in January to reflect the panel’s intention to assess economic damages of $6,000 and non-economic damages of $1 million against each of the officers, Michael Walling and Stephen Coffman, for shooting to death Joseph Pinasco Jr.

She also ruled that the CHP and the state are jointly liable for the $2,012,000 in judgments against Walling and Coffman.

In court papers and oral arguments since the verdict, the two sides differed on how to decipher the trial’s outcome, and Mueller sided with Arnold Wolf, attorney for Pinasco’s parents, Joseph and Toni Pinasco, who sued over their son’s death.

The parents own a Stockton plumbing and heating company.

Attorneys for the defendants argued the award should be reduced based on a comparative-fault analysis, in which the young man presumably would be found partially to blame.

But Mueller said, “A fair reading of the verdict is that the jury based its wrongful death determination on the officers’ wrongful acts. Accordingly, principles of comparative fault are inapplicable.”

The state is expected to appeal.

Walling and Coffman are still CHP officers, and Walling was promoted to sergeant after the incident.

They responded in the early hours of Aug. 24, 2008, to reports of street racing. Pinasco, who had been drinking with friends that night, was sitting in a parked pickup in the vicinity of the purported racing. As the officers approached in their car, he pulled away and led them on a high-speed chase. The pickup spun out of control on a dirt road and got stuck in a ditch in a rural area of eastern San Joaquin County.

Walling and Coffman exited their car and drew their guns. Pinasco was still seated behind the steering wheel of the truck and, as Walling approached, he started accelerating and rocking the pickup in an attempt to escape the ditch.

The officers yelled commands for Pinasco to stop and show his hands and Walling banged on the pickup’s windshield with his flashlight, but the truck continued to rock and the officers perceived it was getting traction in Coffman’s direction.

Both officers fired their weapons at Pinasco. They did so, they say, based on a shared fear that Coffman would be seriously injured or killed.

In one of the few differences on the facts, Wolf claims in court papers that the truck was traveling away from the officers as Pinasco began to extricate it from the ditch. It traveled 19 feet before coming to rest against a fence.

Of the 23 shots fired by the officers, six hit Pinasco in the head, face and neck, and one hit his left thigh. He was pronounced dead at the scene. His blood-alcohol level was measured at nearly three times the legal limit for driving.

In early 2009, the CHP’s investigative services unit issued a report concluding the shooting was justified because the pickup was moving toward Coffman. In April 2009, the San Joaquin County district attorney issued a report with the same finding.

According to Wolf’s trial brief, “Neither report bears any resemblance to (another unit of the CHP’s) reconstruction of the pickup truck’s movement before and during the shooting,” or to the state Department of Justice’s analysis of the bullets’ trajectory, “neither of which suggested that the pickup’s movement ever jeopardized Coffman.”

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Riot At Privately Owned Adams County Mississippi Correctional Facilty Leaves One Guard Dead And Others Injured – Contract Facilty Houses Federal Prisoners Including Illegal Immigrants

May 21, 2012

NATCHEZ, MISSISSIPPI – A prison guard was killed and several employees injured Sunday in a riot at the Adams County Correctional Facility in Natchez, Mississippi, officials said.

The 23-year-old guard appeared to suffer “blunt trauma to the head,” said Adams County Coroner James Lee.

The riot, which began about 2:40 p.m., was still going on Sunday night, the facility’s operator said in a statement. Local and state law enforcement officials as well as authorities from the Federal Bureau of Prisons were helping the facility quell the violence.

“The disturbance is contained within the secure perimeter of the facility, with no threat to public safety,” the statement said.

Five employees and one inmate were taken to a hospital for treatment of unspecified injuries, while additional staff members were being treated at the prison.

Johar Lashin told CNN that he’d heard a lot of noise and commotion when he talked around 6 p.m. with his brother Jawad, an inmate at the Natchez facility serving time for aiding and abetting illegal immigrants. His brother said he was not participating in the riot, despite pressure from other inmates to do so.

The cause of the incident is under investigation.

Rusty Boyd, a spokesman with the Mississippi Highway Patrol, said Sunday evening that 45 to 55 units from that state agency are helping corrections officers deal with the situation.

The facility is a 2,567-bed prison that houses adult men who are in the United States illegally and charged with crimes. It is owned by the Tennessee-based Corrections Corporation of America.

Warden Vance Laughlin described the facility as quiet and with “few problems” in a March 2010 article in The Natchez Democrat, a few months after it opened to incarcerate illegal immigrants detained for mostly low-security crimes. At that point, it contained more than 2,000 inmates — more than two-thirds of whom were of Mexican descent, although scores of nationalities were then represented.

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Trial To Begin For Former Windsor Locks Connecticut Police Officer Michael Koistinen – Killed Bicyclist In 70 MPH Drunken Wreck – Father, Police Officer Robert Koistinen, Also Faces Trial For Hindering Investigation

May 19, 2012

HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT – Nineteen months after teenager Henry Dang was struck and killed while riding his bicycle in Windsor Locks, jury selection is set to begin for the trial of a former police officer accused of crashing into the high school sophomore.

The prosecution and defense in the case of Michael Koistinen of Suffield are scheduled to start picking jurors Monday in Hartford Superior Court. The trial is slated to begin June 19.

The former police officer is charged with first-degree manslaughter, misconduct with a motor vehicle and tampering with evidence in the Oct. 30, 2010, accident that killed the 15-year-old Dang. Koistinen, 26, faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted of all three charges.

Police say Koistinen had been drinking beer and other alcoholic beverages for several hours, including outside a University of Connecticut football game and at a Suffield bar, before he struck Dang at more than 70 mph in a 35 mph zone. One of the Windsor Locks officers who responded to the scene was Koistinen’s father, Sgt. Robert Koistinen.

A state police investigation found that Robert Koistinen drove his son away from the crash site to the police station and back as many as three times, and later prevented an investigating officer from interviewing and getting a blood sample from Michael Koistinen when he was treated at a hospital.

Robert Koistinen was charged with hindering the investigation and awaits trial. Both father and son were fired from the police department.

An 82-page independent investigation report found a series of problems with the way police responded to the accident, including officials’ failure to question Michael Koistinen about possible alcohol consumption at the scene and their failure to test his blood-alcohol level. The report found no evidence of a cover-up, but faulted department officials for a lack of leadership and poor management.

Troopers said authorities found an unopened 30-pack of beer, several other unopened beer containers and many bottle caps in Michael Koistinen’s car. They also said a beer glass was found near the scene and officials believe Koistinen threw it from his car, which resulted in the tampering with evidence charge. Police and paramedics at the scene said they didn’t notice any signs of Koistinen being intoxicated.

Because a blood test wasn’t done, authorities said they couldn’t charge Koistinen with drunken driving. Court records show that hospital officials destroyed a urine sample from Koistinen under hospital policy before police obtained a search warrant for Koistinen’s medical records.

Michael Koistinen’s former lawyer had denied allegations that Koistinen was drunk, and blamed the accident on the night’s darkness.

Dang’s family settled its wrongful death suit against Michael Koistinen and a former tavern owner last year for $420,000.

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Paterson Police Officers Juan Martinez And Jonathan Lopez Charged After Ignoring Deadly Motorcycle Crash

May 18, 2012

PATERSON, NEW JERSEY – Prosecutors have charged two members of Paterson’s Office of Emergency Management with official misconduct in connection with their response to a fatal motorcycle accident.

The Passaic County Prosecutor Office said Thursday that Juan Martinez, 30, of Paterson, and Jonathan Lopez, 29, of Hackensack, have been arrested on several charges.

Prosecutors say the two men, both auxiliary police officers, were driving an OEM vehicle in Paterson on April 17 and following behind a motorcycle at a distance of 100 feet or less while improperly activating the siren.

The driver of the motorcycle, 31-year-old Randolph Waddy of Paterson, died from his injuries.

Waddy’s family has hired a lawyer and is considering a lawsuit.

They believe the officers struck Waddy, though prosecutors say they have no evidence of that.

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Veteran El Paso County Texas Deputy Sheriff Raymundo Carranza Quits After Deadly Hit And Run Accident – Killed Motorist Changing A Flat Tire

May 16, 2012

EL PASO, TEXAS -Veteran West Texas law enforcement officer Raymundo Carranza resigned after he was charged in a deadly hit-and-run traffic accident that occurred while he was off duty.

Officials say Carranza was an El Paso County Sheriff’s deputy for 17 years.

He resigned Monday as he faces a charge of accident involving injury or death.

Carranza was driving his personal vehicle when Richard Lopez, 26, was struck and killed Saturday while he was changing a flat tire.

Investigators say toxicology results are pending for Carranza, who later returned to the scene of the accident and was arrested.

He’s free on $25,000 bond.

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On-Duty Secret Service Agent Driving Car That Killed 47 Year Old Woman Crossing Street In New York City

May 4, 2012

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – A 47-year-old Brooklyn woman was struck and killed by a car driven by an on-duty Secret Service agent as she attempted to cross Atlantic Avenue Thursday afternoon, police said.

Maria Tripp of Brooklyn was crossing Atlantic at Ralph Avenue when she was hit by a car going westbound on Atlantic at about 4:48 p.m., police said. Responding officers found her on the ground with head and body trauma.

Tripp was transported to Interfaith Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

The driver of the black Chevrolet Impala was a Secret Service agent who was on duty at the time, authorities said. He stayed at the scene and cooperated with NYPD, police said.

The investigation is ongoing.

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Meridian Connecticut Police Officer Uses Taser Weapon To Kill Man With Hammer

April 21, 2012

MERIDIAN, CONNECTICUT – A Meriden man died after police used a Taser on him during a reported disturbance Saturday morning.

The incident occurred just before 2 a.m., at 10 Grove Court.

According to State Police, a female homeowner called police saying that a man was breaking items in the home.

The woman told police that the man, identified as Angel Hiraldo, 48, of 10 Grove Court, was armed with a hammer.

When police arrived they found Hiraldo on the front porch of the home, with a hammer in his hand. When police told him to drop the hammer, he denied the requests and approached them in a threatening manner.

An officer then drew his Taser, striking Hiraldo in attempt to gain control.

Hiraldo then began to experience difficulty breathing and was taken to Mid State Hospital Emergency Department.

Hiraldo was pronounced dead just after 2:30 a.m.

As per department policy, the officers involved in the incident will be assigned to administrative duties.

State Police are investigating.

State Police are also investigating an incident in which a scissor-wielding man died after being shot by police with a Taser and then a gun Saturday morning.

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Indianapolis Indiana Police Chief Paul Ciesielski Steps Down After Evidence Screw Up In Case Of Officer Who Killed One And Injured Others In Drunken Patrol Car Wreck

April 19, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – Who could have imagined that one blood sample would cause so much trouble?

It has raised suspicion about the competence of the city’s police department. It has raised concerns about whether justice can be served. And now — now that this blood sample has been mishandled yet again — it has toppled the chief of police.

Paul Ciesielski resigned Tuesday as chief of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, the same day that Mayor Greg Ballard announced that blood drawn from suspended officer David Bisard had been improperly moved and possibly ruined.

Bisard is awaiting trial in the crash that killed one motorcyclist and injured two others on Aug. 6, 2010. A blood draw that was botched by IMPD had indicated Bisard’s blood-alcohol level was 0.19 when his patrol car hit the motorcycles, which would be well above Indiana’s 0.08 legal threshhold for driving drunk.

“At best, this matter shows gross incompetence; at worst, possible criminal intent,” Ballard said at a news conference with Indianapolis Public Safety Director Frank Straub. “I want to express how angry and disgusted I am that this happened.”

The FBI will probe why — despite a judge’s explicit instructions to preserve Bisard’s blood samples for further testing — a second vial was moved from a refrigerated compartment in a property room in the City-County Building to an unrefrigerated area of a backup property room at the IMPD Training Academy, 10th Street and Post Road.

Straub said Ciesielski will remain a captain with the department, but his assignment hasn’t been determined yet.

In addition to the resignation of Ciesielski, who did not return a message left on his cellphone Tuesday, IMPD Deputy Chief of Professional Standards Valerie Cunningham was placed on paid suspension.

Lt. Paula Irwin, who was in charge of the property room, and Teresa Brockbrader, a civilian employee, also have been placed on paid administrative leave.

Deputy Director for Community Affairs Rick Hite was appointed acting chief.

Ballard and Straub stopped short of saying the blood was intentionally tampered with, but its mishandling was met with disbelief by several observers, including Aaron Wells, whose 30-year-old son, Eric Wells, was killed in the crash.

“All of the so-called blunders at the beginning of this case, and a year and a half later to still have them butchering evidence,” Wells said, “it’s absolutely devastating to all of us.”

Following the improper blood draw after the crash, this is now the second time Bisard’s blood has been improperly cared for.

“It is laughable,” said Fran Watson, clinical professor of law at Indiana University’s Robert H. McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis. “And not in a good way. In a you’ve-got-to-be-kidding-me way. It’s the Police Department’s job to maintain evidence in a form that it’s admissible.”

Prosecutor Terry Curry said his office discovered that Bisard’s blood had been moved last week when Hawkins granted prosecutors’ request to test the second vial.

At first, Curry said, they weren’t sure whether it simply had been moved to another refrigerated area or whether it was unrefrigerated. Curry said his office confirmed Monday that the blood wasn’t refrigerated.

Still, Curry said the mishandling likely won’t affect prosecutors’ case against Bisard. Storing the blood in an unrefrigerated area means the alcohol content might be compromised, Curry said, but the DNA should still be intact. Testing the second vial was a precaution, he said, and there’s enough blood in the first vial to have an independent lab retest it.

“We are currently working with an independent lab to clarify the implications of testing the blood from the second vial,” Curry said.

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Los Angeles California Police Use Taser Weapons To Kill Porn Actor Who Tried To Kill Himself

April 18, 2012

CALIFORNIA – Sometimes strength can be a weakness. That may have been the case for porn star Marland Anderson, known by many as Sledge Hammer, who was tased to the point of cardiac arrest by police. According to Anderson’s friend, the police may have been intimidated by his size and resorted to using a taser instead of other means to subdue him.

Anderson died Friday, five days after police took him to a hospital for attempting suicide, the Los Angeles Times reports. The incident began on April 8 when the police responded to a report of an attempted suicide in the Reseda area. When they arrived, Anderson’s girlfriend told the officers that Anderson had tried to hurt himself with a knife, and she had struggled with him for it.

He was then restrained to a gurney and, on the way to the hospital, broke the gurney free from a floor lock and broke a handcuff. At this point, police used a taser to restrain Anderson.

AVN quotes adult film director Stoney Curtis, who described the struggle:

When the cops arrived, Anderson’s height (6-foot-4) and bulk intimidated them, and rather than try to subdue him with the manpower available, they began shooting him with their Tasers—”excessively,” according to Curtis—to the point where he suffered a heart attack and for all intents and purposes died for 10 minutes until the EMTs were able to restart his heart.

Curtis said that Anderson had massive swelling in his brain and that doctors told Anderson’s mother that it was unlikely he’d come out of the coma, XBiz reports. Doctors advised Anderson’s mother that even if he did come out of the coma, he would not regain consciousness. So on Thursday night, Anderson’s mother took her son off of life support.

Anderson had been dealing with depression, anxiety and a mild form of schizophrenia, all of which may have been made worse by his marijuana use, according to what Curtis told Luke Is Back. Anderson’s girlfriend, Alexa Cruz, wrote in an email to Luke Is Back, “This was not a domestic violence situation at all so I want to make that totally clear. This man was being tortured by his own mind and suffering from severe insomnia.”

Fellow porn star Jack Lawrence tweeted about his friend’s death: “I still can’t believe that Sledge Anderson is gone. Nine years I have known him. Just THE nicest guy EVER, & so respectful 2 the women in the biz.”

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15 Year Old Texas Boy Charged With 9 Counts Of Murder After Crashing Van With Load Of Illegal Immigrants – Hidalgo County DA Rene Guerra Wants Him Tried As An Adult

April 17, 2012

PALMVIEW, TEXAS – A 15-year-old South Texas boy charged with nine counts of murder after he crashed a minivan packed with illegal immigrants, killing nine of them, cried and expressed remorse before a judge Monday, police said.

The boy, who is not being identified because he is a juvenile, appeared at a probable cause hearing at a juvenile detention facility. He was also charged with 17 counts of smuggling of a person causing serious bodily injury or death, and one count of evading.

Border Patrol agents pulled over the van last Tuesday night about 10 miles west of McAllen. As it stopped, one person jumped from the vehicle and ran. When agents pursued him the van sped off. It crashed just a few blocks away scattering a parking lot with bodies, backpacks and water bottles. The driver escaped, but was arrested two days later at his home.

Palmview Police worked with agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations to arrest six people suspected of involvement in the smuggling operation on charges related to harboring illegal immigrants. At least four of the six crash survivors were detained as material witnesses.

Through interviews with them they found the teen driver, said Palmview police Chief Chris Barrera.

“He wanted to come clean so he came out and gave us a statement,” Barrera said. “He explained to us exactly what had happened, what he had done.”

Palmview Detective Saul Uvalle, who attended the probable cause hearing, said the teen told the judge that if he didn’t drive the van they were going to kill his family. Uvalle said the teen didn’t say who “they” were. “He was very remorseful of what happened,” Uvalle said.

State prosecutors can pursue the felony murder charges because the deaths occurred during the commission of a felony, in this case evading Border Patrol. A judge will eventually decide whether the boy will be tried as an adult.

Hidalgo County District Attorney Rene Guerra said he planned to petition a judge to certify the boy so he can be tried as an adult.

“I’m going to be as aggressive as the law allows,” Guerra said.

According to a federal complaint filed last week, two suspects admitted after their arrests to participating in the smuggling of the illegal immigrants involved in the crash and those in the stash house. One said he was offered $40 per passenger to drive the van, but refused and instead put the 15-year-old in contact with the organization, the complaint says.

Guerra said that the adults involved must have understood the risks in getting a teenager with no driver’s license to undertake the job.

“When you have that kind of a situation where some people say that’s an accident, no, I’m sorry that’s not an ordinary accident,” Guerra said. “These are things that they know. That they can anticipate.”

At a children’s daycare center near where the crumpled van came to rest, passersby have created an impromptu memorial with dozens of candles, notes and religious icons. Lucy Moreno, 33, assistant director of the daycare, said Monday that the murder charges seemed too much for a juvenile.

As the parent of a 14-year-old, Moreno said she thought the boy “doesn’t have the maturity to think about how he was putting lives at risk.”

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Texas Gives Special No Death Penalty Deal To Notorious Serial Killer – Killed Newlywed Couple And Hitchhikers Across US – Had Torture Chamber In Back Of His Truck – Averaged 3 Kills A Month In 1990’s

March 30, 2012

TEXAS – A serial killer who set up a torture chamber in his truck and kidnapped mostly female hitchhikers across the United States has admitted murdering a newlywed couple in Texas, according to reports.

Robert Ben Rhoades — already serving a life sentence for the death of a 14-year-old girl in Illinois — this week pleaded guilty in West Texas to killing Patricia Candace Walsh and her husband Scott Zyskowski, both in their 20s, the Deseret News reported.

Prosecutors had agreed not to seek the death penalty in exchange for the pleas and Rhoades, 65, was given two life sentences, the News said.

The paper said Rhoades, a long-haul truck driver, was the subject of the book “Roadside Prey” by Alva Busch.

In his cab was “a type of dungeon with handcuffs on the ceiling,” the News reported. In 1996, the Tucson Weekly, citing officials, said it was believed that Rhoades had been killing an average of three women a month by the early 1990s.

The Associated Press reported the couple, from Seattle, were hitchhiking to Georgia to preach the Christian gospel, when they took a ride from Rhoades near El Paso, Texas in early 1990.

FBI spokeswoman Shauna Dunlap said investigations concerning Rhoades were continuing.

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Finally: New York City Police Detective Fired And Three Others Forced To Resign After Shooting And Killing 23 Year Old Sean Bell Outside Nightclub In 2006

March 25, 2012

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – A New York police detective has been fired and three other officers forced to resign over the 2006 shooting death of a 23-year-old man outside a Queens nightclub, authorities said.

The disciplinary action went into effect late Friday after Police Commissioner Ray Kelly accepted the ruling of a police department administrative trial of the officers involved in the shooting death of Sean Bell.

Detectives Gescard Isnora, Marc Cooper, and Michael Oliver were acquitted of criminal charges in April 2008, but the three men, along with Lt. Gary Napoli, Detective Paul Headley, and Officer Michael Carey faced a an administrative trial investigating if the officers had acted improperly.

“There was nothing in the record to warrant overturning the decision of the department’s trial judge,” NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne said of Kelly’s ruling.

Isnora, who fired the first shots that killed Bell, was fired, effective immediately, according to police. Oliver, Napoli and Cooper forfeited all time and leave balances and were forced to retire while Headley received a letter of instructions and re-training in tactics. Carey was cleared of wrongdoing, police said.

Bell and friends Joseph Guzman and Trent Benefield were shot after an altercation with plainclothes detectives outside a Queens nightclub where Bell’s bachelor party was held on the night before his wedding. Bell died at the scene, and Guzman and Benefield were seriously wounded.

Accounts of the incident varied. Undercover officers, who were investigating the club for prostitution allegations, said they identified themselves as police, but witnesses and the wounded men said they did not.

The detectives said they believed at least one of the men had a gun, but no gun was found. And one of the officers said that Bell, instead of obeying his command to stop, hit him with his vehicle.

The incident quickly became a touchstone for those who believe police — in New York and elsewhere — have a record of excessive force, particularly against black men. Bell was African-American, as were the two men wounded and two of the three police officers.

The officers fired 50 shots in just a few seconds.

Oliver fired his gun 31 times that night, pausing to reload his weapon, while Isnora fired 11 times and Cooper, whose leg was brushed by Bell’s moving car, fired four times, police said.

The shooting sparked street protests, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg called it “inexplicable” and “unacceptable,” saying “it sounds to me like excessive force was used.”

In July 2010, New York City paid out more than $7 million to the family of Bell and the two other men shot by the officers.

Sanford Rubenstein, who has represented the Bell estate as well as Guzman and Benefield, responded to Kelly’s decision saying, “It was appropriate for the commissioner to follow the recommendation of the trial judge based on the evidence.”

Isnora’s attorney, Philip Krasyk was unavailable for comment Saturday.

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Disgraced US Attorney General Eric Holder’s Department Had Probable Cause To Arrest Gun Runner, Eight Months Before Border Patrol Agent’s Death Ended Operation That Supplied Drug Cartels With Weapons

March 23, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – Documents released Thursday show that federal agents appeared to have probable cause to arrest the biggest buyer of assault weapons in the Fast and Furious operation — eight months before Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry’s death ended the scandal-ridden program.

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, have demanded Attorney General Eric Holder provide a briefing as to why ringleader Manuel Celis Acosta was not arrested earlier given repeated evidence that he was running guns.

“I think the Department of Justice is the Department of Injustice,” Grassley said on Capitol Hill. “They can’t expect people to believe that they couldn’t arrest this guy.”

On April 2, 2010, Phoenix Police stopped Celis Acosta. In the car they found eight weapons, none of which were registered to him. At least one, a Colt .38, had been bought just a few days earlier by Uriel Patino, who had already bought 434 weapons in the previous six months.

It is illegal to buy a gun for anyone other than yourself. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has argued it did not have probable cause to arrest Patino or Celis Acosta. These new documents suggest they did, raising new doubts about the agency’s desire to actually bust the trafficking ring.

Two months later, on May 29, 2010, Celis Acosta was stopped again, this time driving a 2002 BMW 754i trying to cross into Mexico. Inside, border agents found 74 rounds of AK-47 ammunition and nine cell phones hidden in the trunk. ATF Special Agent Hope MacAllister and her counterpart from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Layne France, released him after he promised to cooperate in the future. MacAllister wrote her phone number on a $10 bill.

Celis Acosta had been under ATF surveillance since October 2009. He had been a suspect in a Drug Enforcement Administration investigation, but when he began buying guns for the Sinaloa Cartel, the DEA alerted ATF. The two agencies shared a wiretap until ATF got its own. The ATF also set up a camera mounted on a telephone pole outside his home where they watched guns and money change hands in his garage multiple times.

On April 7, police in El Paso also seized another load of weapons assembled by Celis Acosta. All the guns had been bought in Phoenix by straw buyers under watch by Operation Fast and Furious. Some belonged to Patino, who again appeared to be trafficking weapons.

ATF managers have told Congress they could not arrest anyone because the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Arizona would not allow it since agents lacked probable cause that a crime was committed. They also admit knowingly allowing some guns to be illegally purchased in order to further their investigation.

Many in Congress don’t buy it.

“If you find somebody carrying a massive number of guns across the border that you didn’t have reason to arrest them?” said Grassley. “That just doesn’t hold water as far as I am concerned. It doesn’t pass the laugh test.”

More than 100 Republicans in the House have signed a resolution asking for Holder to resign.

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Defendant In Jefferson County Texas Criminal Trial Shot At Least Three People Outside Courthouse During Lunch Break – Killing Elderly Woman

March 14, 2012

JEFFERSON COUNTY, TEXAS – At least one person was killed and at least two others were injured in a shooting Wednesday at a Texas courthouse, a judge said.

The shooting occurred outside a courthouse in Jefferson County, Texas, Judge Larry Gist said.

Witnesses saw an elderly woman dead on the sidewalk in front of the courthouse, said Kevin Steele, a reporter for CNN affiliate KBMT-TV.

“There was a defendant on trial. It was break time, lunchtime, and he apparently shot three people, maybe four,” Gist told CNN.

A witness in the case against the suspect was one of those shot, said Gist, who had left the courthouse for lunch and heard shots fired from a block away.

Police shot the suspect, and the courthouse was evacuated after the shooting, Gist said.

The suspect was in police custody Wednesday afternoon, Steele told CNN.

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Busted – PETA Killed More Than 95% Of Pets In Its Care

February 26, 2012

VIRGINIA – Documents published online this month show that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, an organization known for its uncompromising animal-rights positions, killed more than 95 percent of the pets in its care in 2011.

The documents, obtained from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, were published online by the Center for Consumer Freedom, a non-profit organization that runs online campaigns targeting groups that antagonize food producers.

Fifteen years’ worth of similar records show that since 1998 PETA has killed more than 27,000 animals at its headquarters in Norfolk, VA.

In a February 16 statement, the Center said PETA killed 1,911 cats and dogs last year, finding homes for only 24 pets.

“PETA hasn’t slowed down its slaughterhouse operation,” said Rick Berman, CCF’s executive director. “It appears PETA is more concerned with funding its media and advertising antics than finding suitable homes for these dogs and cats.”

In a statement, Berman added that PETA has a $37 million dollar annual budget.

His organization runs, which reports that in 2010 a resident of Virginia called PETA and asked if there was an animal shelter at the group’s headquarters. PETA responded that there was not.

The Virginian, the website reports, then called his state’s agriculture department. Dr. Daniel Kovich investigated, and conducted an inspection of PETA’s headquarters.

“The facility does not contain sufficient animal enclosures to routinely house the number of animals annually reported as taken into custody,” Kovich concluded in his report.

Kovich also determined that PETA employees kill 84 percent of the animals in their custody within 24 hours of receiving them.

“[PETA’s] primary purpose,” Kovich wrote, “is not to find permanent adoptive homes for animals.”

PETA media liaison Jane Dollinger told The Daily Caller in an email that “most of the animals we take in are society’s rejects; aggressive, on death’s door, or somehow unadoptable.”

Dollinger did not dispute her organization’s sky-high euthanasia rate, but insisted PETA only kills dogs and cats because of “injury, illness, age, aggression, or because no good homes exist for them.”

PETA’s own history, however, shows that this has not always been the case.

In 2005, two PETA employees described as “adorable” and “perfect” some of the dogs and cats they killed in the back of a PETA-owned van. The two were arrested after police witnessed them tossing the animals’ dead bodies into a North Carolina dumpster.

PETA had no comment when the Daily Caller asked what sort of effort it routinely makes to find adoptive homes for animals in its care.

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Trigger Happy Scottsdale Arizona Police Officer Shoots And Kills Unarmed Man Holding A Baby Outside His Home

February 17, 2012

SCOTTSDALE, ARIZONA — An Arizona man was shot to death by police Tuesday while holding his grandson.

Police say 50-year-old John Loxas was holding his grandchild in his arms as he walked around his Scottsdale neighborhood Tuesday night threatening neighbors and police.

“There were at least three officers in position to engage the suspect. At least one of the officers thought he saw something in the suspect’s hands,” said Sgt. Mark Clark.

Loxas was standing outside of his home with his grandchild still in his arms when Officer James Peters fired one shot to the head, killing the suspect.

Police say the 9-month-old boy was not injured during the shooting.

Officers also escaped unharmed.

Some neighbors are now questioning the officers actions.

Investigators say the officers on the scene thought Loxas was holding a gun.

Detectives did not find a weapon on Loxas following the shooting, but did locate several firearms inside the home.

Officer Peters, who fired the fatal shot, has been involved in seven shootings over the past decade.
Six of those have been fatal, and all have been ruled justified.

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Douchebag Calumet City Illinois Police Shot And Killed Autistic Kid With A Butter Knife In His Own Home

February 2, 2012

CALUMET CITY, ILLINOIS – Police in Calumet City were defending their actions Wednesday after officers shot and killed a 15-year-old boy, who has a form of autism, after he threatened them with a knife.

Stephon Watts’ family said he suffered from Asperger’s Syndrome — a high-functioning form of autism — and attention deficit disorder.

As CBS 2′s Susanna Song and WBBM Newsradio’s Steve Miller report, they claimed the boy was only holding a butter knife. Police would only describe it as a “kitchen knife.”

The deadly encounter happened at the boy’s home at 541 Forsythe Av. in Calumet City, police said.

Calumet City Police Chief Edward Gilmore said the boy cut a police officer through his shirt sleeve with a “kitchen knife.”

“I think they did everything they possibly could to avoid this,” Gilmore said. “It’s unfortunate that we had to get to this situation.”

As CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot reports, Stephon’s mother, Danelene Powell-Watts, arrived at the police station in Calumet City on Wednesday shortly before police held a news conference to discuss the shooting.

Powell-Watts was screaming, livid, and inconsolable after her son was killed. She was furious that officers used deadly force against her son this time, rather than subduing him with a stun gun.

“They shot my son,” she yelled as officers as she was blocked from entering the Calumet City police station. “Every last one of you know my son has autism.”

Gilmore said police had been called to the home 10 times since 2010 to deal with the boy. Stephon’s father called police again Wednesday morning after the teen had become aggressive.

“We tried to do everything we could to keep him from being a victim, as he was an offender. He chose to be an offender,” Gilmore said.

The chief said police were called to the home to get Stephon under control, as they had been before. But that didn’t work, he said.

“When he slashed the officer’s arm, the officer felt his life was in jeopardy and he had nothing else to do, but to defend himself,” Gilmore said.

Stephon’s family said police have used a stun gun on him in the past.

“They didn’t have to murder him. This is nothing but murder and they shoot to kill,” Powell-Watts said. “He had a butter knife and … my husband said that he lunged at the police officer.”

Stephon’s uncle said police had subdued his nephew with stun guns before.

“They didn’t have to shoot him. They could have tasered the child. He’s only 15 years old,” Wayne Watts said. “They could have tased him, like they did him before, took him to the hospital and he would have been fine and that’s what I want to know. Why couldn’t they do that to him so that he could still be breathing with us right now?”

Gilmore said a stun gun wasn’t used because the lead officer did not have a stun gun.

Five officers responded to the Watts home after Stephon’s father called police, according to Gilmore. Two entered the house, heading to the basement where they found Stephon. One of those two officers did have a stun gun with him.

“Unfortunately today, when he slashed the officer’s arm, the officer felt his life was in jeopardy and he had nothing else to do, but defend himself,” Gilmore said.

The boy’s family said police should have used a stun gun and spared his life, especially since they’d been to the home before and knew what to expect.

Both officers have been placed on paid administrative leave.

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Illegal Immigrant Involved In Deadly Hit And Run – Killed Moron Riding Moped On South Carolina Interstate

January 22, 2012

LEXINGTON COUNTY, SOUTH CAROLINA – The man accused of hitting and killing a moped driver on I-26 early Saturday morning is being held in jail with no bond because officials say he is in the country illegally.

Authorities say 29-year-old Lyson Soram has been charged with leaving the scene with death after troopers say he hit a woman riding on a moped at about 4 a.m. on I-26 near I-20, and then drove away in his 2002 Dodge minivan. The crash shut down the eastbound lanes of I-26 for about 5 hours.

Coroner Harry Harman identified the victim as 31-year-old Miranda Senn of West Columbia. Harman said Senn died at the scene.

Senn’s funeral will be held at 2 p.m. on Tuesday at Brookland United Methodist Church. Burial will follow in Celestial Memorial Gardens.

The mother of two was a member of Brookland United Methodist Church and a 1998 graduate of Brookland-Cayce High School.

Sorem is being held at the Lexington County Detention Center. Immigrations and Custom Enforcement has a hold on him because deputies say he entered the country illegally.

The collision is still under investigation by the Highway Patrol MAIT Team.

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Scotland Neck North Carolina Police Officer Joe Williams Used “Stun Gun” To Kill Innocent Disabled Man On Bicycle

November 23, 2011

Scotland Neck, NORTH CAROLINA – A 61-year-old Halifax County man died Tuesday, a day after police shocked him with a stun gun while he was riding his bike, family members said.

Scotland Neck Police Chief Joe Williams said they received a call Monday night about a man who fell off of his bicycle and injured himself in the parking lot of the BB&T bank, 1001 Main St. The caller was concerned that the man was drunk.

When Officer John Turner arrived, he saw Roger Anthony pedaling away along 10th Street. He followed Anthony in his patrol car, briefly put on his sirens and lights and yelled out of the window for him to stop, but Anthony continued to ride away, police said.

Williams said Turner then saw Anthony take something out his pocket and put it into his mouth. At that time, Turner got out of the car and yelled for Anthony to stop. When Anthony didn’t stop, the officer used a stun gun on him, causing him to fall off of his bike.

Anthony was transported to Pitt County Memorial Hospital, where he was declared brain dead, his sister Gladys Freeman said. He was taken off of life support on Tuesday.

Freeman said her brother was disabled, suffered from seizures and had trouble hearing. She said he was riding his bike home from her house on Sunday night. Anthony lived alone in an independent living community.

Williams would not comment further on the incident, citing an ongoing investigation. Turner, who has been on the force for just over a month, has been placed on administrative leave.

Scotland Neck Mayor James Mills is calling for the State Bureau of Investigation to look into what happened.

“The best we’ve been able to determine is that he offered no threat,” Mills said.

Milton Freeman said Anthony, his brother-in-law, used to smoke cigarettes, drink coffee and ride his bicycle around town. Anthony was nicknamed “Rabbit” because of his big ears.

“Why would you (use a stun gun on) a man on a bike? He didn’t do any crime. He wasn’t trying to escape. How (was) he going to escape on his bicycle?” Milton Freeman said.

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Alabama State Police Trooper James Heath Moss Indicted After 120 MPH Wreck In Patrol Car That Killed Innocent Couple

November 21, 2011

ATHENS, ALABAMA – An Alabama state trooper has been formally charged with two counts of criminally negligent homicide in connection with a wreck that killed an Athens couple in April.

A Limestone County grand jury last week indicted James Heath Moss, 30, of Athens. Moss turned himself in on the indictment warrants Sunday, then immediately posted a $10,000 bail.

The trooper was heading to another accident to provide traffic control on the morning of April 25 when he rear-ended the Mitsubishi Mirage in which Jamie Lee Gossett, 31, and his wife, Sarah Rene Gossett, 38, were riding. Their vehicle was pushed into a field and caught fire. They had been on their way to Tanner High School to pickup their daughters when the accident occurred.

Moss was driving at speeds of up to 120 mph in the seconds before the crash, based on information from the car’s information module, said attorney Derek Simpson of the Huntsville law firm Warren & Simpson, who has filed a civil suit on behalf of the administrator of the Jamie Gossett estate.

Moss had continued to work in the office of the state trooper post in Decatur in the months following the accident.

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Detroit Michigan Police Officer Joseph Weekly Charged With Shooting And Killing 7 Year Old Girl During Botched Police Raid That Included Video Crew From A&E Reality Show “First 48”

October 4, 2011

DETROIT, MICHIGAN – Detroit Police Officer Joseph Weekley has been arraigned on charges of involuntary manslaughter and careless and reckless discharge of a firearm in the death of Aiyana Stanley Jones. The 7-year-old girl was shot and killed during a police raid in May of 2010.

The shooting made national headlines because police were accompanied by a camera crew filming the A&E reality cop drama “First 48.”

Weekley is a 14-year veteran who had been a member of the department’s Special Response Team (SRT) since 2004. He reportedly told his sergeant moments after the shooting, “A woman inside grabbed my gun. It fired. The bullet hit a child.”

But the Stanley-Jones family lawyer Geoffrey Fieger told the Detroit Free Press he was shown a video immediately after the shooting that shows police as the aggressors. The video in question has not been found was reportedly not investigated by police.

“All I know is that the [missing] video is pretty dramatic,” he said. “You can see the gunman shooting into the house from the outside.”

The video that police have “is very different,” he said. “It doesn’t show a thing.”

Fieger is arguing the shot came from outside of the house and struck Aiyana while she was sleeping with her grandmother on a living room couch.

The Michigan State Police conducted a 10-month investigation into Aiyana’s killing, and in March submitted a warrant request to prosecutors.The Detroit police department has also been federally sanctioned twice in less than a decade for excessive force and inhumane conditions at the city’s county jail.

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Dumbass Toledo Ohio Police Officers Chase Man The Wrong Way On Interstate, Crash Head-On And Kill Innocent Motorist With Patrol Car

September 5, 2011

TOLEDO, OHIO – A 63-year-old man from Point Place died in a car crash during the chaos of Saturday morning’s police chase to catch the Rite Aid robbery suspect.

Officers ended up shooting and killing the armed robbery suspect, 48-year-old Brian Lipp, after the lengthy high speed chase. At least seven other people were injured, including two police officers, during the series of crashes.

13abc spoke with the Hamilton family off camera. The couple and their two young children were involved in one of the accidents. They were treated and released from the hospital. The Hamiltons say everyone is shaken up, but physically okay given the circumstances.

We also spoke to the family of the innocent victim that was killed. They understandably did not want talk, but wanted to say their father was incredibly loved and will be terribly missed.

Larry Collins, 63, of Point Place was adored by his family. He’s a loving father of four and a grandfather of five. Collins was tragically killed when the armed suspect led officers on a wrong-way chase onto I-75 northbound near Lagrange into oncoming traffic. Moments later, there was a multiple car crash that turned fatal.

Chief Mike Navarre of the Toledo Police says, “The tragedy of today’s event is the death of an innocent person just driving on 75. I don’t know where they were going or what they were doing, one minute they’re driving along the next minute their life is ended. Because of the senseless act of a person who is desperate for money to feed a drug habit.”

Police reports state Collins was trying to merge right to avoid hitting the suspect’s vehicle when Collins’ Lincoln and a police cruiser collided head on. Two officers were taken to St. V’s with non-life threatening injuries.

“The officers to my knowledge, were hugging the concrete median trying to do this, minimize the risk involved, it’s a very dangerous situation and it appears at some point the suspect’s vehicle, who is also next to the median, crossed over causing the traffic to hit the officers head on.”

The police chief and mayor are defending the officers’ decision to continue the pursuit into oncoming traffic along I-75. Navarre says, “In this instance I will tell you that the officers are in a catch 22.”

Toledo mayor Mike Bell says, “Obviously they thought they were gonna make a difference and myself as mayor, I’m not gonna second guess that particular decision.”

Lipp eventually made his way to southern Wood County where he stole another car and committed another store robbery. State troopers then took over the high speed pursuit on I-75 back into Toledo. The suspect tried to exit the Bancroft ramp, when he lost control and crashed into a garage.

“We believe he was smoking crack while he was laying in that car on its side. He picked up that gun, raised that gun, pointed it, officers returned fire,” explains Navarre.

Seven officers in total fired their guns; three from TPD, three State Troopers and one FBI agent. The chief estimates 40-50 rounds were fired. The suspect was struck multiple times and was pronounced dead on scene.

Police recovered the suspect’s weapon. It turns out it was a pellet gun. As with all fatal police-involved shootings, there will be an investigation headed by Toledo Police. It will then be presented to the Lucas County Grand Jury for review.

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Floyd County Georgia Police Officer Mark Tanner Killed Woman With Patrol Car

August 15, 2011

FLOYD COUNTY, GEORGIA – A Floyd County police officer was involved in a fatal wreck that killed a
woman on Alabama Highway near Oaknoll Cemetery on Monday.

to police, Floyd County police officer Mark Tanner was responding to a
call heading westbound on Ga. 20 when he came over a rise and struck a
dark colored Saturn.

According to Floyd County Police Department Maj. Mark Wallace, Tanner struck the vehicle in the driver’s side.

driver of the Saturn was pulling out into traffic as she was struck.
Wallace said the female driver of the Saturn was killed.

County Coroner Barry Henderson identified the woman who was killed as
Johnette Regina Elkins, 51, of 30 West Ross St., Rome.

“She was pronounced dead on arrival at Floyd Medical Center by a physician at 5:15 p.m.,” Henderson said.

A child was also taken to the Floyd Medical Center for treatment.

The Georgia State Patrol has been called to investigate the wreck.

Henderson said the body would be sent to the GBI crime lab in Decatur on Tuesday for an autopsy according to procedure.
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US Police Use “Safe” Taser Weapons To Kill Three People Over Weekend

August 8, 2011

US – A naked man on drugs died in Wisconsin this weekend, after police used a Taser stun gun to subdue him. A student died at the University of Cincinnati after balling his fists and getting tasered by police. A man high on drugs in Manassas, Va., also died this weekend after police tasered him as he escaped, partially handcuffed, after punching an officer and a firefighter.

All three deaths are being investigated. One of the departments, the University of Cincinnati Police Department, has suspended the use of Tasers by its officers.

About 15,000 US police departments, including 29 of the nation’s 33 largest cities, use a total of 260,000 Tasers. The devices have been the objects of controversy since first being deployed broadly in the 1990s. Some describe them as an alternative to the nightstick that reduces officer injuries and saves lives. Others see the stun guns as instruments of torture whose growing use make them a symbol of reckless policing.

In some cases, the Tasers are only tangentially related or unrelated to the actual cause of death, and that may be the case in the three incidents from this weekend. But recent studies have shown that the weapons can have an outsized impact on people with health problems or who are very high on drugs and in a state of “excited delirium.”

Tasers contributed to some 351 US deaths between 2001 and 2008, says Amnesty International, which adds that 90 percent of those tasered were unarmed at the time they were electrocuted. The website Truth Not Tasers claims that 39 people have died in relation to “conducted energy devices (CEDs)” this year in the United States, an average of five per month.

On the other hand, 99.7 percent of people who are tasered suffer no serious injuries, according to a May report from the National Institute of Justice. “The risk of human death due directly or primarily to the electrical effects of CED application has not been conclusively demonstrated,” says the report.

A growing number of police departments have begun to limit Taser use, imposing stricter policies for use or even taking the instruments out of officers’ hands. Memphis, San Francisco, and Las Vegas police departments have all opted out of Taser use recently, amid growing questions about the level of threat necessary to justify electrocuting someone with 50,000 volts delivered through barbed bolts.

“Because of the criticism and the deaths, there’s been a lot of people backing off of Tasers,” says Samuel Walker, a professor emeritus at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, who studies police accountability. “The fact is, a lot of departments are taking some very positive, proactive steps to ensure accountability, and controlling Tasers is one of part of doing that,” he says. But in other departments, he adds, “they’re using it much too broadly and recklessly, where it isn’t appropriate.”

The current Taser debate hinges on when, not if, the stun guns should be used. Few disagree with the use of Tasers as an alternative to deadly force, but in some departments, officers can employ Tasers when someone is simply refusing to obey an order.

Tasers are often most used when police officers are dealing with unruly people who themselves are unarmed, but whose failure to comply with police instructions make officers to feel threatened. Most departments use the “billy club policy,” which holds that Tasers are appropriate in any situation where an officer would otherwise pull and be ready to use a billy club, or night stick, which tends to lead to more serious injuries than a Taser.

Taser opponents point to the public outrage over the tasering of a fan at a Philadelphia Phillies baseball game, and various lawsuits documenting officers using Tasers on subdued, non-aggressive, or even handcuffed people. Tasers “can be used too much and too often,” the National Institute of Justice found in its May report.

At the same time, some law enforcement officials have pushed back against setting higher standards for Taser use.

“Police chiefs are saying, don’t write the standards so that it’s going to take away decision-making … when I write my own policies,” says John Gnagey, executive director of the National Tactical Officers Association, in Doylestown, Pa. “The argument that Tasers should only be used when the use of deadly force is authorized is asinine.”

After releasing an advisory in 2009 urging police not to shoot suspects in the chest, Taser International is now marketing the old version of its gun, which allows for only a five second blast of current before officers have to make the decision to hit the suspect again. A newer version of the gun allowed officers to apply continuous current, which the NIJ said in a separate May report has been associated with deaths.

In all three cases from this weekend, the victims were acting erratically and, in at least one, in Manassas, Va., the man had already physically assaulted a police officer. But whether the occasions rose to a level where officers would have used deadly force is far from clear. None of the three men were armed.

In Kaukauna, Wisc., police responded to a report of a naked, out-of-control man running across a city bridge. When police reached him, the man appeared to be in the throes of a drug overdose, claiming he was covered in snakes. When he refused to comply with officers, a Taser was used to knock him down.

At the University of Cincinnati, a recent high school graduate, at the university for college-preparatory summer classes, was approaching the police with an “altered mental status” and balled fists when he was brought down with a Taser. The University of Cincinnati Police Department has suspended the use of Tasers as it investigates the case. One newspaper account said the officer who fired the Taser was “very distraught” by the young man’s death.

Some police departments, including Kansas City, Seattle, and Madison, Wisc., have begun publishing their Taser policies on their public websites, in an effort to increase transparency and respond to public concerns. None of the three police departments involved in this weekend’s incidents publish their policies on Taser use, with one – Prince William County – citing “tactical concerns.” Calls to the other two departments were not returned by the time this story was posted.

“This is a very important point of accountability that goes beyond Tasers, a form of openness and transparency,” says Professor Walker.

Some battles over Tasers have played out in the courts.

“Tasers and stun guns fall into the category of non-lethal force; non-lethal, however, is not synonymous with non-excessive force,” ruled the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in 2009. “All force – lethal or non-lethal – must be justified by the need for the specific level of force employed.”

In July, a North Carolina jury returned a $10 million verdict against Taser International, the maker of the stun guns, for the 2008 death of a 17-year-old in Charlotte, N.C., ruling that company failed to provide police with adequate warnings or instruction. Taser International plans an appeal.

The day of the North Carolina verdict, another Charlotte man died in a Taser-related incident, prompting that city’s police department – considered one of the most professional in the nation – to impose a 45-day suspension on the use of the weapons, to review their polices.

“My personal opinion is that when departments become restrictive and take away a tool, it’s generally because they’re afraid of some sort of public pressure coming from a certain segment of society,” says Mr. Gnagey. When public pressure does succeed in restricting or banning Tasers, he adds, “Later on, when things die down, we’ll just quietly introduce it back into the population.”

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Two Off Duty Orlando Florida Police Officers Suspended After Using Taser Weapon To Kill Man Who Caused Disturbance Outside Movie Theater

April 22, 2011

ORLANDO, FLORIDA – A man causing a disturbance outside a movie theater near Universal Studios died Friday after being handcuffed and shocked with a Taser stun gun, Orlando police said.

Two off-duty officers who were working security in the area tried to deal with a man who was acting “irrational,” early Friday morning, said Sgt. Barb Jones, an Orlando police spokeswoman.

The suspect — identified as Adam Spencer Johnson, 33, of Winter Haven, Florida — began to “violently” resist after one of the officers tried to detain him, Jones said. An officer shocked the man with a Taser stun gun, then he was handcuffed, police said.

While on the ground, Johnson became unresponsive. He was pronounced dead at a hospital.

The officers involved were placed on routine administrative leave pending an investigation of the deaths, according to police.

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New Evidence Proves UK Police Killed Newspaper Seller

April 18, 2011

UK – Significant new evidence proves that Ian Tomlinson died from injuries caused by the trauma of being pushed to the ground and not from natural causes, his inquest heard yesterday.

The 47-year-old newspaper seller collapsed at the G20 protests in London in 2009. A film later emerged showing PC Simon Harwood, of the Metropolitan Police’s Territorial Support Group, pushing him to the ground and led to an angry debate over police tactics.

Yesterday, Mr Tomlinson’s inquest heard new evidence which contradicted earlier suggestions that he died of a spontaneous arrhythmic heart attack.

Professor Kevin Channer, from the Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield, produced a report on ECG (electrocardiogram) readings taken by paramedics as they tried to revive him, concluding that they were inconsistent with this type of heart attack. His evidence contradicted the findings of the original pathologist, Dr Freddy Patel.

Another pathologist, Dr Nat Cary, agreed with Professor Channer, insisting the new report was crucial. “Mr Tomlinson did not die due to a so-called heart attack, or arrhythmic heart attack, due to coronary artery disease,” he said.

Instead Dr Cary said there was only one realistic possibility; that he had died from internal bleeding. He also concluded that a mark on Mr Tomlinson’s left thigh was the result of a “classic baton strike” and had not been caused by a fall, as Dr Patel had suggested.

Being questioned by Patrick Gibbs QC, counsel for PC Harwood, Dr Cary disagreed that Mr Tomlinson’s liver damage could have been the result of rigorous resuscitation by medics. He described the findings of Dr Patel as “wrong”.

When Judge Peter Thornton asked him whether he believed internal bleeding was likely to have been caused by the fall, he replied: “Yes, because I saw no other evidence for any other trauma capable of causing intra-abdominal bleeding.”

Dr Graeme Alexander, a liver specialist, said that, while the newspaper seller had suffered from serious liver disease, it was unlikely this would have led to major bleeding. He concluded that this was the result of a trauma exacerbated by high blood pressure.

Returning to the stand for the last time, Dr Patel speculated on a new cause of death, not mentioned in his earlier report. Pressed on Professor Channer’s findings that the ECG chart was inconsistent with a heart attack, Dr Patel said Mr Tomlinson may have died from “hypoxia mixed with acidosis” – his body had been deprived of adequate oxygen. Paramedics earlier ruled out suggestions of hypoxia.

Matthew Ryder QC, representing the Tomlinson family, said: “I am sorry to say, Dr Patel … I suggest you are reaching for options because you know, now, or you realise now, the conclusion that you have put forward is not a solid one, and cannot be sustained. That is what I suggest, I’m afraid to say.”

The pathologist replied: “I do not agree with that at all”.

Two weeks ago, PC Harwood apologised in court to Mr Tomlinson’s family, insisting that he had only pushed him to encourage him to move away and was amazed when he fell to the ground. He denied using unreasonable, unnecessary or excessive force.

The police officer said: “If it is the case that in any way I have caused Mr Tomlinson’s death, I am very sorry.”

Last week, judges at the High Court ruled that controversial kettling tactics used against peaceful G20 protesters were illegal and that officers had used “unjustified force”.

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New Orleans Louisiana Police Officers Melvin Williams And Matthew Dean Moore Convicted In Federal For Roles In 2005 Fatal Beating And Coverup – Dumped Victim At Hospital After Beating, Saying He Was Found Under A Bridge

April 14, 2011

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – Two New Orleans police officers were convicted Wednesday in federal court for their roles in the 2005 fatal beating of Raymond Robair and a cover-up that kept them out of trouble for several years.

After deliberating for more than 13 hours over three days, a jury determined that veteran officer Melvin Williams violated Robair’s civil rights by beating and kicking him on a Treme street corner, an act the jury said directly resulted in his death.

The jury also found Williams and his rookie partner, officer Matthew Dean Moore, guilty of submitting a false police report about the incident. Moore, who agreed to be interviewed by FBI agents about the case, was also convicted of lying to the investigators.

After the verdicts were read, both Moore and Williams, who had been free on bond, were taken directly into the custody of federal marshals. The defendants are scheduled to be sentenced July 14. Williams faces a possible sentence of life in prison, and Moore, up to 25 years.
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16 Mexican Police Officers Arrested – Linked To Mass Graves

April 14, 2011

SAN FERNANDO, MEXICO — Sixteen municipal police officers from the northeastern Mexican town of San Fernando have been arrested for allegedly protecting those responsible for the mass graves uncovered there, the country’s attorney general said.

The police officers worked to cover up the killings of the Zetas drug cartel, Attorney General Marisela Morales said.

Authorities recovered 10 more bodies from the mass graves Wednesday and Thursday, bringing the total number of bodies found to 126, state attorney general’s spokesman Ruben Dario Rios Lopez said.

Morales said that to date, investigators have identified 17 people who participated in the executions of the victims, who have been arrested.

She identified the authors of the crime as Salvador Martinez Escobedo, Omar Estrada Luna, and Roman Paloma. Paloma is the leader of the Zetas in San Fernando, Morales said. Mexico is offering a reward of 15 million pesos ($1.3 million) for information leading to their arrests.

Authorities began finding the graves earlier this month during an investigation into a report of the kidnapping of passengers from a bus in late March. The investigation led them to San Fernando, Tamaulipas — the same place where in August of last year, the bodies of 72 immigrants were found at a ranch.

Tamaulipas is one of Mexico’s most active states when it comes to drug trafficking. The Gulf cartel and the Zetas cartel operate in the state and have strongholds there.

The Zetas have been blamed for the killings of the 72 migrants found in San Fernando last year.

Nationwide, the Mexican government says there have been some 35,000 drug-related deaths since President Felipe Calderon began a crackdown on the cartels in December 2006.

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New Orleans Louisiana Police Officers Melvin Williams And Matthew Dean Moore Convicted In Handyman’s Brutal Beating Death

April 14, 2011

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – A New Orleans police officer was convicted Wednesday of beating a 48-year-old handyman to death, while a fellow officer was found guilty of trying to help his partner cover up the deadly encounter nearly six years ago.

A federal jury convicted Officer Melvin Williams of violating Raymond Robair’s constitutional rights by kicking and beating him with a baton while he and Officer Matthew Dean Moore patrolled the Treme neighborhood on July 30, 2005. The jury of seven men and five women also convicted Williams and Moore of submitting a false report and found Moore guilty of lying to the FBI.

The case is one of several probes of the New Orleans police department by the Justice Department, which have resulted in charges against 20 current or former officers.

The officers’ attorneys had tried to shift the blame for Robair’s death to doctors who treated him for a heart attack for about 90 minutes before they discovered his spleen had ruptured. But the jury concluded Williams caused Robair’s death.

Williams faces a maximum sentence of life in prison. Moore could get up to 25 years in prison. After the verdict, U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon ordered both remanded into custody while they await a July 14 sentencing hearing. The department suspended both officers without pay after the verdict.

Outside the courthouse, some of Robair’s relatives wept as they embraced.

“I was waiting for this day,” said his mother, Marie Robair. “Now I can rest and my son can rest in peace.”

“It’s a humbling experience. It’s a learning experience,” said his daughter, Judonna Mitchell. “It’s taught me to be patient and to be true to my own faith.”

The jury heard four days of testimony and deliberated over three days before reaching the verdict, which “surprised, shocked and disappointed” Moore’s attorney, Eric Hessler.

“I don’t think the verdict fit the evidence presented by the government,” he said, questioning whether jurors were swayed by emotion.

Prosecutors said Williams beat Robair without justification, breaking four ribs and crushing his spleen before the officers drove him to a hospital, where he died of massive internal bleeding.

Williams, 48, denied kicking or hitting Robair. He claimed Robair slipped and fell on a curb as they approached, but jurors heard from residents who said they witnessed the beating. The officers’ attorneys, however, said the witnesses gave conflicting accounts.

The jury’s foreman — Patrick Goodman, 55, of River Ridge — told The Associated Press he didn’t believe Robair’s injuries could have been caused by slipping and falling on a curb before Moore started to handcuff him. Goodman said he discounted the officers’ version of events because their courtroom testimony didn’t match “written evidence,” including statements they gave after Robair’s death.

“I had to believe the pathologist who stated that the fall alone could not create enough force to cause that injury,” Goodman said, referring to an expert witness called by prosecutors.

Goodman also said he also believed residents who testified they saw Williams kick and beat Robair with a baton, even though some details didn’t match up.

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Wetback Who Should Have Been Deported Long Ago Killed Nun In Drunken Wreck – Prior Crimes Never Reported To Feds

March 4, 2011

VIRGINIA – A long-awaited report on the deportation status of a Prince William illegal alien whose alcohol-related head-on collision killed a Richmond-based nun shows repeated instances of a failure to report his crimes to Homeland Security as well as a shift in emphasis by the Obama administration in dealing with illegal aliens.

Judicial Watch, a public disclosure group, said today that it has a received a copy of the report by the Department of Homeland Security that was kept secret after Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano had declared her office would thoroughly investigate the Prince William case and make it public.

The 35-page report deals with the criminal history and legal status of Carlos Martinelly-Montano, 23, whose Aug. 1 collision in Prince William seriously injured two Benedictine nuns and killed a third, Sister Denise Mosier, 66, all of Richmond.

Martinelly-Montano is scheduled to go to trial March 28 on six indictments, including felony murder, maiming resulting from driving under the influence and involuntary manslaughter.

Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, said the report, which his group sought through a Freedom of Information Act request, shows how this country’s patchwork of policies toward illegal immigrants and deportation can “blow up in our faces.”

He called the report “a clear indictment of Obama’s lawless approach to illegal immigration. An innocent person lost her life because local police officers and immigration officials couldn’t be bothered to enforce and obey the law.”

The report details shifting federal policy regarding what level of crimes should result in deportation. It also tracks at the local level in Northern Virginia court and law enforcement systems that don’t uniformly enforce laws or report their outcomes to federal immigration officials.

Corey Stewart, chairman of the county Board of Supervisors, said the report “indicates that ICE is, in fact, releasing dangerous criminal illegal aliens instead of deporting them. And in (Martinelly Montano’s) case, they issued him a federal employment authorization permit.”

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St. Petersburg Flordia Police Administrator And Former Police Chief Goliath Davis Skipped 2 Officer’s Funeral, But Attended Their Killers Funeral

February 8, 2011

ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA — Goliath Davis was on the RSVP list of VIPs who said they would attend the Jan. 28 funeral of St. Petersburg police Sgt. Thomas J. Baitinger and canine Officer Jeffrey A. Yaslowitz.

His own administrative calendar says that on that day, at 11 a.m., Davis, a top city administrator and former police chief, attended the funeral at First Baptist Church on Gandy Boulevard.

But Tampa shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge Clem on Monday spent much of his morning show on WHPT-FM (the Bone 102.5) lambasting Davis because he did not go to the officers’ funeral — yet he did attend Saturday’s funeral for their killer, Hydra Lacy Jr.

“I have very, very good high-ranking sources in law enforcement who validated that he didn’t attend (the officers’) memorial service,” Clem said. “You are the former police chief. You probably had interaction with the officers who were shot. How can you not go?”

Davis, who was police chief from 1997 to 2001, did not dispute speculation that he did not attend the officers’ funeral.

In a story in the St. Petersburg Times Sunday about Lacy’s funeral, Davis explained he attended Lacy’s funeral to support the Lacy family, which includes Hydra’s brother and boxing standout Jeff Lacy — who himself did not attend.

The story added that Davis “also attended the funeral for the slain officers,” but Davis said he did not tell the reporter that.

“I never told (the reporter) that I attended the funeral,” Davis said Monday. “I said I paid my respects to the officers and their family members.”

But did he attend the officers’ funeral?

“I wasn’t inside the funeral to sit with city staff,” Davis said.

Was he outside, where most of the 10,000 attendees gathered to watch the service on monitors?

“I paid my respects to those officers and their families,” Davis said, who repeated that line when asked again if he attended the funeral. Asked how he paid his respects, Davis said: “It doesn’t matter how. (The families of the slain officers) know how. It’s not something I want to publicize. I don’t have to give an accounting of my grief to anyone.”

When asked why he wouldn’t answer whether he attended the funeral, Davis replied: “I don’t need to answer to Bubba the Love Sponge.”

It is difficult to prove Davis — who makes $152,735 as the city’s senior administrator of community enrichment and another $68,317 a year from his police pension — did not attend.

His immediate boss, City Administrator Tish Elston, didn’t return a phone call and e-mail seeking comment about his possible absence or whether she asked him not to attend.

Mayor Bill Foster didn’t return repeated calls seeking comment.

Many city officials who did attend said they couldn’t place Davis at the officers’ funeral.

Police Chief Chuck Harmon responded to the question through an e-mail from his police spokesman. Harmon confirmed that Davis attended the wake for the officers the evening before the funeral, but that Harmon “did not see him at the funeral, so he does not know if he was there or not.”

Besides Harmon, eight officials who attended the funeral and were in the same VIP section that Davis said he’d be at during the ceremony were asked if Davis attended. None of them — state Rep. Darryl Rouson, assistant Fire Chief Steve Knight, Chief Assistant City Attorney Mark Winn, and St. Petersburg City Council members Leslie Curran, Jeff Danner, Bill Dudley, Wengay Newton and Karl Nurse — could place Davis at the funeral.

“Is it a big deal he’s not there?” Dudley said. “I think so. We had police from all over the country attend. He’s the former police chief, and he’s not there? It’s just curious. And he did attend Lacy’s funeral? Well, then, that’s kind of weird.”

Everyone grieves differently, Curran said, and Davis shouldn’t be faulted if he didn’t attend the funeral, especially if he attended the viewing.

“He went to the (Lacy) funeral to support a friend,” Curran said. “From what I know, he and Jeff Lacy are good friends. This has been such a difficult time. It’s a shame it’s gotten to this point. There’s more to be said for all of this then who went to the funeral and who didn’t, and who went to the Lacy funeral and who didn’t. It’s ridiculous.”

Questions raised Monday by Clem should be dismissed, Rouson said, because, among other reasons, “Bubba the Love Sponge is a bumbling idiot.”

Others said that regardless of his attendance at the Jan. 28 funeral, Davis erred by attending Lacy’s funeral.

“I believe attending the cop killer’s funeral is a slap in the face to the fallen officers and their families,” said St. Petersburg Detective Mark Marland, president of the Suncoast Police Benevolent Association. “I don’t want anyone to think we’re holding the Lacy family responsible. They’re not responsible for the actions of one individual. But the fact of the matter is, it’s the Lacy funeral.”

Marland said the officers he spoke with didn’t see the former chief at the funeral, either.

“Guys are upset about it,” Marland said. “I haven’t heard from anyone (who saw him at the officers’ memorial). I asked around when the Lacy issue came up. But I can’t get anyone to say if they saw him there.”

Davis had a fractious relationship with the unions during his tenure as police chief, and was the subject of several union lawsuits questioning his decisions.

Clem said he didn’t plan to drop the issue.

“I don’t care if (Davis) was a pallbearer at the (officers’) funeral,” Clem said. “When you go to a funeral, you are paying respects to that human being. This (expletive) is the last person you need to pay respects to. You couldn’t be more disrespectful by attending his funeral. I’m going to make it my mission to expose (Davis) as a fraud.”

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Orange County Florida Deputy Sheriff Malinda Miller Gets Less Than A Slap On The Wrist After Killing 91 Year Old Man In High Speed Patrol Car Crash

December 12, 2010

ORANGE COUNTY, FLORIDA – An Orange County deputy caused the crash last summer that killed a 91-year-old man who was on his way to the hospital for his daily visit with the sick and dying, the Florida Highway Patrol said Friday.

Deputy Malinda Miller, 28, will lose her driver’s license for at least six months, said Highway Patrol Sgt. Kim Montes. Miller is accused of speeding — going 86 mph in a 40-mph zone — and failing to use her emergency lights or siren.

Both are civil traffic infractions — not crimes, Montes said.

Because the crash was fatal, Montes said, the deputy will automatically lose her driving privileges for six months. A judge could suspend her license for a year.

The crash happened at 5:35 a.m. Aug. 17. Miller was racing north on Magnolia Homes Road in west Orange County to a suspicious-vehicle call when she plowed into the Buick driven by Ed Soistman. She did not have on her emergency lights or siren.
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Soistman had just stopped at a stop sign, then pulled into the intersection.

If the deputy had been driving the speed limit, Highway Patrol Cpl. Albert Pratts wrote in his final report, there would have been no crash. And if she’d had on her lights and siren, Soistman might have seen or heard her coming.

The trooper blamed the crash solely on Miller.

She tried to avoid it, Pratts wrote. Troopers found 89 feet of skid marks and clear signs that she veered to the left.

She suffered minor injuries and went to Orlando Regional Medical Center that day. When troopers tried to question her there, she said no, citing the advice of a lawyer, according to Pratt’s report.

Miller returned to work shortly after the crash. She was given the traffic tickets Friday, Montes said.

Sheriff’s Capt. Angelo Nieves said that his agency will now move forward with an internal investigation.

Miller remains a road patrol deputy, but on Friday she was moved to a desk job, an assignment she’ll have while her license is suspended and the internal investigation is under way, Nieves wrote in a prepared statement.

The crash, Nieves said, was a tragedy.

Soistman, known as “Fast Eddie” to friends, died of blunt force trauma to his head, neck, torso and limbs, according to Pratt’s report.

He was a former Martin Marietta Corp. executive who every day went to local hospitals to visit the sick. That morning, he was en route to Florida Hospital Orlando, according to the Highway Patrol.

He joked with hospital patients, prayed with them and gave them communion, said friends.

He was a lay minister at St. John Lutheran Church in Winter Park and kept a list of people to visit, people who were too sick to leave their homes, the church reported.

Soistman served for more than three decades on Orange County’s Children and Family Services Board and was often a visitor at Greater Oaks Village, a group home for abused and neglected children.

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Drunk Russian Police Officer Hits Three Young Girls With His Car, One Of Whom Died After Being Run Over Again By Responding Ambulance

October 21, 2010

SIBERIA, RUSSIA – A RUSSIAN police officer hit three girls with his car while driving drunk in Siberia and one was killed after being run over by the ambulance sent to treat them.

The police officer, who was driving his personal car, ran into the three girls on Tuesday as they walked at night on the side of the road near Kargosok, a town in the Tomsk region, the local interior ministry said.

One of the girls, aged 15, was then run over and killed by an ambulance that arrived at the scene, the ministry said.

The other two girls were being treated in hospital for head wounds and were in stable condition, it said.

The incident was the latest in a string of scandals involving Russian police hitting pedestrians while driving drunk.

In a separate incident, prosecutors in the Kursk region south of Moscow said that a member of the local police had been identified as the driver who fled the scene after hitting and killing a 16-year-old girl with his car on Monday.

“The investigation has identified the person responsible for this accident as the assistant to the chief of police in the Sovietsky district, who was drunk,” the prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

In April, a drunk police officer hit a woman and her nine-year-old granddaughter with his car near Moscow, killing the girl. In March, another drunk police officer ran into and killed a pregnant woman in Moscow.

Scandals involving Russian police officials – from murder to extortion to corruption – have increased in recent years.

Fatal traffic accidents are also frequent in Russia and are often linked to dilapidated roads, poor adherence to safety rules and drunk driving.

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Attack Dog Use During Arrests Suspended After New Orleans Louisiana Police Officer Jason Lewis Killed Dog By Leaving It In His Hot Car

October 11, 2010

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – New Orleans Police Chief Ronal Serpas has suspended the use of K-9 police dogs during the apprehension of suspects.

In a press release, a spokeswoman for the NOPD said the following:

“After review by the ongoing study being conducted by the Department of Justice, Superintendent Serpas received information that the apprehension area of the N.O.P.D. K-9 Division showed deficiencies. Superintendent Serpas immediately suspended the use of N.O.P.D. apprehension dogs pending appropriate training. The remaining use of K-9 dogs for narcotic investigations and those for bomb detection will continue their present working status. In the event an apprehension K-9 dog is needed, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office has agreed to assist in this area.”

The mandate from Serpas comes in the wake of a guilty plea by NOPD Officer Jason Lewis, who pled guilty to one count of animal cruelty in the death of his K-9.

It is not yet known whether the order from Serpas is related to the case of former officer Lewis.

Lewis recently agreed to pay $11,500 in restitution to the police department, the cost of replacing Primo, a 6-year-old Belgian Malinois, who died at a veterinarian’s office after suffering apparent heat stroke in Lewis’ vehicle.

Lewis pleaded guilty to misdemeanor animal cruelty on Sept. 1.

The dog’s death caused an uproar last summer.

Criminal District Judge Terry Alarcon sentenced Lewis to probation and a suspended six-month jail term. On Friday, the court approved the restitution.

The police department found no wrongdoing by Lewis, and argued the car was equipped with a cooling device aimed at caring for a dog’s body temperature.

During the investigation, NOPD officers suggested the dog had another medical problem, or perhaps had become over-excited for some unknown reason.

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