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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Protesters Storm Anaheim California Police Headquarters After Officers Shot And Killed Unarmed Man

July 23, 2012

ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA — Demonstrators stormed a police department in Orange County, Calif., on Sunday to protest an officer-involved shooting that left an unarmed man dead and led to a violent clash between witnesses and police.

A crowd swarmed the Anaheim Police headquarters’ lobby Sunday as Chief John Welter held a news conference to discuss what happened the night before. The protesters chanted “no justice, no peace” and “cops, pigs, murderers” as officers stood by and watched.

Welter said two officers were placed on paid leave after one of them fatally shot 24-year-old Manuel Diaz.

He said the officers approached three men in an alleyway when they ran away. One of the officers chased Diaz to the front of an apartment complex where the shooting occurred.

Welter would not say what led the officer to shoot Diaz, citing an independent investigation by the county’s district attorney office. Police said Diaz was a known gang member.

Mayor Tom Tait said he will ask the state attorney general to assist in the probe.

“Transparency is essential. Whatever the truth is, we will own it,” Tait said.

The shooting sparked a melee in the neighborhood as some threw rocks and bottles at officers who were securing the scene for investigators to collect evidence. Sgt. Bob Dunn, the department’s spokesman, said that as officers detained an instigator, the crowd advanced on officers so they fired bean bags and pepper balls at them.

Video captured by a KCAL-TV crew showed a chaotic scene as some people ducked to the ground and others scattered screaming. A man is seen yelling at an officer even as a weapon is pointed at him; two adults huddled to shield a boy and girl. Meanwhile, a police dog charged at several people sitting on the grass, including a woman and a child in a stroller, before biting a man in the arm.

Dunn said the dog accidentally got out of a patrol car. He said he didn’t know whether police warned the crowd to disperse before firing the rubber bullets and pepper balls.

Throughout the night, police in multiple marked and unmarked squad cars attempted to control an unruly crowd gathered near the shooting scene, the Orange County Register reported.

Some in the crowd moved a Dumpster into an intersection and set its trash on fire on at least three separate occasions, while officers kept responding to move it out of the way of traffic.

Dunn said five people, two of them juveniles, were arrested during the unrest. He said gang detectives are involved in the investigation.

Crystal Ventura, a 17-year-old who witnessed the shooting, told the Register that the man had his back to the officer. Ventura said the man was shot in the buttocks area. The man then went down on his knees, she said, adding that he was struck by another bullet in the head. Ventura said another officer handcuffed the man, who by then was on the ground and not moving.

“They searched his pockets, and there was a hole in his head, and I saw blood on his face,” Ventura told the newspaper.

Dunn said he could not comment on these allegations because the shooting is under investigation.

The other two men who ran away have not been captured, but police impounded their vehicle which was abandoned at the scene, Dunn said.

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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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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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Savage Black Beasts Ordered Pizza And Killed White Domino’s Delivery Woman – Stabbed 50 Times On Doorstep

June 10, 2012

CEDARTOWN, GEORGIA – Update:The two suspects in the homicide of a pizza delivery person are in the Polk County Jail on murder charges while investigators continue to look for a motive, according to officials.

Cadedra Cook, 18, of 229 Thompson St., Cedartown, and a 15-year-old male juvenile were apprehended around noon on a field on the property of the Old Hale Manufacturing Building on Lafayette Street, according to officials.

“We had been one step behind them most of the night,” Cedartown Police Department Assistant Police Chief Jamie Newsome said. “We were finally able to catch up to them.”

The two are charged in the brutal stabbing and bludgeoning death of Elizabeth Hutcheson, 27, of Cedartown, while she was making a delivery for Domino’s Pizza to the home.

Newsome said he is pleased the two suspects were caught within a day after the homicide. He credits good teamwork with all law enforcement agencies for quickly finding them.

“It was just cooperative police work,” he said. “Without the help of the GBI and the U.S. Marshall’s to a small department like ours, it would have been hard on us,” he said.

The CPD also had assistance from the Polk County Police Department and the Polk County Sheriff’s Office

Polk County Sheriff Kelly McLendon said 12 of his people were involved in the search and at least seven from the U.S. Marshall’s Service were on the scene also.

“We were asked to assist. We came. We helped out,” McLendon said.

Newsome said the investigation into the slaying is still open.

Police confirmed a telephone pizza order was placed at Domino’s shortly before 9 p.m. Thursday. Hutcheson was the delivery person sent.

Newsome said the suspects fled on foot.

Police officers found Hutcheson around 9:15 p.m. bleeding in the doorframe of Cook’s residence while on a routine traffic stop. She had been stabbed multiple times and was pronounced dead at Polk Medical Center, according to officials.

Newsome said each suspect is currently charged with one murder charge. However, he said that could change as the investigation is completed.

“There will probably be more charges,” Newsome said.

The motive is still a mystery.

Newsome said money was taken from Hutcheson in the incident, but the amount was so little that he couldn’t see that as being the sole motive.

“When I saw everything, it didn’t add up to me,” he said.

However, Newsome said the investigation hasn’t confirmed his “gut feeling,” so he wasn’t going to speculate. He said it couldn’t be determined at this point whether the killing was premeditated.

Newsome said nothing has been able to confirm or deny that Hutcheson knew Cook or the juvenile.

He also said he can’t confirm the juvenile was the same boy involved in Cook’s arrest in March.

She was charged with interference with child custody and contributing to the delinquency of a minor in that incident, according to jail records.

Cook hasn’t gone to court on those charges, records indicate.

Newsome said Cook had not appeared to be violent in previous police interactions.

“This would be out of the ordinary for her,” he said.

Newsome said he personally told Hutcheson’s mother, who lives in Cedartown, the news of the suspects’ capture.

“She was very emotional and very appreciative of the efforts,” he said. “We had a very emotional visit with her.”

The rest of Hutcheson’s family is also from Cedartown, he said. That includes a boyfriend and a four-year-old girl.

Hutcheson was a 2003 graduate of Cedartown High School and a 2011 graduate of Georgia Northwestern Technical College in Rome, according to her Facebook page.

Newsome is meeting for a debriefing with law enforcement this afternoon to decide how to proceed with the investigation.

He has also been talking throughout the night and morning with Polk County District Attorney Bobby Brooks,

Brooks, who came to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office after being informed the suspects had been apprehended, said he hasn’t decided whether to try the juvenile as an adult.

That decision will be made later after the investigation in completed, he said.

Update:Ken McIntyre, vice president of communication for Domino’s Pizza said during an interview that the corporation was informed of the stabbing last night.

“We were horrified. An innocent person losing her life is just beyond words,” McIntyre said. “Are prayers go with the family.”

McIntyre said Domino’s was grateful that the police were able to respond so quickly in the capture of the suspects.

When asked about the risk to employees delivering pizza McIntyre said Domino’s gives training programs to its employees and takes preventative measures in order to lessen the risk of violent encounters such as limiting the amount of money drivers carry.

“We have been delivering pizzas for 52 years, and there’s a lot we do, but what we can’t do is eliminate evil,” McIntyre said.

Update:The suspects were captured around noon Friday, according to Newsome.

The suspects were found near Thompson and Lafayette streets, according to police.

Previously reported:A pizza delivery worker was killed Thursday night while making a delivery at 229 Thompson Street, Cedartown, according to officials.

The two suspects remain at large, police said.

Elizabeth Hutcheson, 27, was found by police around 9:15 p.m. bleeding in the doorway of the Thompson Street home, according to Cedartown Assistant Police Chief Jamie Newsome. Hutcheson suffered multiple stab wounds and had been bludgeoned, he said.

She was pronounced dead at Polk Medical Center.

“It’s been 15 to 18 years since we’ve had a something this violent,” Newsome said.

Newsome said police believe the suspects, Cadedra L. Cook, 18, of the residence, and a 15-year-old juvenile ordered a pizza from Domino’s and they killed Hutcheson when she delivered it.

Murder warrants have been issued for both, but police have not yet found either.

Police do not have a motive and do not know if drugs were involved, he said.

“I feel rather confident we know what happened. We don’t know why,” Newsome said.

He said police discovered Hutcheson by chance just moments after the attack.

“Cedartown police was working a traffic stop in the 100 block of Thompson Street and officers heard frantic screaming,” he said. “They could tell it was something serious so they abandoned the traffic stop to go find it.”

Newsome said the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) has assisted the city in the case from the beginning and Cedartown is also receiving help from the Polk County Police Department and the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

Neighbors to 229 Thompson St. said they are shocked at the brutal killing of a pizza deliver person Thursday night.

“I can’t sleep. I have to go to work, but I’ve been up all night,” one neighbor, who spoke on condition of anonymity said.

“It’s just a shock that it happened so close to home,” another neighbor, who also didn’t want to be identified, said.

One said she saw police lights when Cedartown officers made a traffic stop on the street, just 50 feet from where Elizabeth Hutcheson, 27, was killed.

“I came out on the porch. Police had a car pulled over and then I heard someone screaming for help,” she said.

“They walked up there and she was laying halfway in the house, half on the porch.”

No one said they saw the attack where Hutcheson was stabbed multiple times and bludgeoned to death.

Police are still looking for Cadedra Cook, 18, and a 15-year-old juvenile suspected in the attack.

No motive has been determined and police are not speculating on whether the brutal slaying was premeditated.

Polk County Jail reports indicate that Cook, who was living at 1019 Jones St., Cedartown, was arrested March 19 on charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and interference with custody.

It is unknown whether the minor in that case is the same one suspected in Thursday’s homicide.

She was released on bond March 20.

Cook’s Facebook page stated she was originally from Marietta and had ties to Aragon and had more than 200 virtual friends. It also lists her as a Rockmart High School graduate and married.

Domino’s Pizza was supposed to open at 11 a.m. on Friday, but remained closed, locked with opening lights off. Although four cars were parked on the lot, no one was in the building.

Calls made to the local franchise owner and to Domino’s corporate headquarters in Ann Arbor, Mich., have not yet been returned.

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Savage Black Beast Killed One And Raped 2 Others In Houston Texas After Being Accused Of Stealing Car Keys

June 8, 2012

HOUSTON, TEXAS – A man will likely face murder charges in a bizarre incident that began with a fight over keys and ended with a death, a sexual assault and two other assaults, police say.

Johnathan Renard Castaneda, 25, is on the run after the incident in the 5200 block of Van Fleet.

Baron Keith Armstrong, 45, is dead as a result of Castaneda’s assault, HPD says.

A man and two other women were beaten, and one of the women was raped by Castaneda, they say. They are hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.

HPD answered an assault-in-progress call and found Armstrong dead and the others injured.

“All four were assaulted by one suspect, whom they were socializing with when the incident began,” HPD says. “Armstrong was looking for his keys and began to ask the others on the whereabouts of the keys. An argument started and the suspect attacked Armstrong and beat him unconscious.”

He was truly angered, HPD says: “The suspect then turned his anger on the other victims, beat them unconscious and then further assaulted Armstrong with household objects.”

He fled shortly before police arrived. The female victims positively identified him to cops.

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Report Of Man Confessing To Church Prayer Group That He Killed 6 Year Old Boy In New York City Was Reported To Camden New Jersey Police By A Relative Decades Ago

May 28, 2012

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – A member of Pedro Hernandez’s family walked into a Camden, New Jersey, police station in the 1980s and reported that Hernandez told relatives and others that he had killed a boy in New York and threw the body near a Dumpster — but there’s no indication anything came out of that report, the family member told CNN.

“You feel like they didn’t believe you. I felt empty and a little bit mad,” the relative said. “I was expecting something else.”

Now, 33 years after Etan Patz disappeared, Pedro Hernandez stands accused of choking to death the 6-year-old youngster after luring him to the basement of a corner grocery store in New York City and throwing away his body inside a trash bag.

The family member, who CNN has agreed to not identify, said there was no receipt of paperwork to document the information provided — nor was the relative ever contacted again about the report.

“Police asked whether I was mad at him (Hernandez),” or had an ulterior motive, the source added.

Hernandez allegedly confided the information to a New Jersey church prayer group that included some members of his family and his then-spiritual adviser, the source told CNN.

At 19, shortly after Patz’s disappearance on May 25, 1979, Hernandez left his job as a stock clerk and returned to his mother’s home in North Camden, New Jersey. The attempt to tell police that Hernandez might have killed a child happened a few years after that.

CNN has not been able to reach Camden police for comment.

“When he moved home, he was really nervous and shaking all the time,” the family source said of Hernandez. “He constantly had diarrhea, and he spent a lot of time just looking out the window,” the source added, saying the behavior was out of character for Hernandez.

Hernandez also allegedly told his first wife that he had killed a boy, according to the source. CNN has not been able to reach her. The two divorced, and Hernandez has remarried.

Before Hernandez was picked up for questioning last week, the family source was visited by police and asked about any previous confessions from Hernandez about killing someone.

Surprised to be contacted after so many years had gone by without hearing anything, the family member asked, “What took you so long?”

The family member didn’t get an answer and doesn’t know what prompted police to visit.

The relative had no explanation for why no other relative spoke up years ago. “Maybe they didn’t want to get involved,” the source said. “I wasn’t going to stay quiet. I have a conscience.”

On Friday, when Hernandez’ defense attorney announced in court that his client has a long psychiatric history, is on medication for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, and suffers from hallucinations, the family source was surprised.

Attorney Harvey Fishbein said Hernandez — who was on suicide watch at Bellevue Hospital on Sunday — has not entered a plea due to a pending psychiatric evaluation.

New York police say they tracked down Hernandez after a tipster they won’t identify contacted police last month. The person came forward after seeing publicity surrounding the FBI’s search of an unrelated basement in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood, a half block from Etan Patz’ home.

New York police have not responded to a request for comment about the latest development.

But in a press conference Thursday, New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said no family members or spiritual advisers ever contacted police. It’s not clear whether Kelly was referring to the New York Police Department or any police department.

The Patz case was the first of several high-profile cases that catapulted concern about missing children to the forefront of national consciousness.

The relative of Hernandez is concerned about what Etan Patz’s parents must be going through.

“At this moment, they must be hoping this is the right guy, and they don’t go through this again,” the source said. “It’s going to be like a nightmare for them, if it turns out it’s not Hernandez.”

“They must want to know the truth and get this over with,” the relative added. “At least they will know.”

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Funeral Home Finds Bullet Hole Near Heart In Body Of Man That Detroit Michigan Police And EMS Workers Claimed Died Of Naturnal Causes

May 25, 2012

DETROIT, MICHIGAN – Detroit police and EMS workers said Leslie Brooks died of natural causes during the weekend. But when his body arrived at a funeral home, the mortician saw it differently.

As she prepared to embalm the 59-year-old Brooks on Saturday morning, mortician Gail Washington peered at a small burned area on his skin, right above his heart. Her assistants had pointed it out, and Washington now agreed: This was no natural death.

Brooks had a small-caliber gunshot wound in his chest. And now Detroit police are scrambling to figure out what happened.

That may be tough, since their initial determination ruined a possible crime scene in the east-side basement where Brooks was found. Police technicians did not scour the room or take photos until later. There was no immediate preservation of possible clues. Visitors tracked in and out. His family took Brooks’ cell phone. And, unless this was a suicide, a killer had precious hours to elude capture.

Even the clothes Brooks wore had been stripped off and discarded, as is customary when a funeral home picks up a body. The clothing was retrieved, but also is now most likely tainted as evidence.

“I am pissed off,” Shakira Bonds, 20, one of Brooks’ daughters, told the Free Press on Tuesday. “I don’t know who to go to.”

Police spokeswoman Sgt. Eren Stephens said Tuesday the case will be investigated by internal affairs, and Chief Ralph Godbee Jr. would not yet comment. Detroit Fire Department officials, who oversee EMS workers, did not respond to requests for their version of events. Al Samuels, the chief investigator for the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office, said his office followed proper procedure.

Based on information gathered from the police, the family, witnesses, the mortician and the morgue, here’s what happened:

Brooks was found dead about 12:17 a.m. Saturday in a basement room that he rented from friends in the 18700 block of Dean near 7 Mile and Ryan.

A friend, Alberta Rice, 64, said in an interview Tuesday that she did not see Brooks all day Friday, and when his cell phone rang in the basement, Rice sent her boyfriend down to check on him. The boyfriend found Brooks facedown on a rolled-up carpet, his arms stretched out in front, “like he laid down there and went to sleep.” Yet Brooks was stiff and obviously dead when the boyfriend shook him.

Someone in the house called police and Yvonne Arrington, Brooks’ sister. Arrington told the Free Press she arrived at the home to find EMS workers already gone after declaring Brooks dead of natural causes. Two uniformed police officers arrived. Homicide was contacted and so was the Medical Examiner’s Office. Arrington said she asked one of the cops, “How do you know he died of natural causes? He said, ‘We don’t see … trauma.’ “

Arrington wondered, because her brother had confided in her recently that he owed two men money. He was scared, she said, but she thought he might just be paranoid.

She didn’t mention the threats to police that night because officers told her EMS believed he died naturally, Arrington said. In a way, she was relieved he didn’t die violently, she said.

“I said, ‘Thank you, Jesus.’ … He just died of cardiac arrest,” she said.

Police that night put Arrington in touch with the medical examiner’s office, where an investigator told her to call a funeral home, that there was no need for an autopsy based on the opinion of officials at the scene.

She still wondered if she shouldn’t push for the more thorough examination.

“I said, ‘That’s like me talking on the phone to you and you diagnosing me with cancer,’ ” she recalled telling the morgue investigator.

But she called the Cole funeral home, which sent a crew. Arrington went home.

At mid-morning, Washington prepared to embalm Brooks’ body at the Cole funeral home on Schaefer at Puritan and made her discovery. She retrieved Brooks’ clothes, saw holes and a small amount of blood and examined the wound.

“They probably missed it,” she said, because “he had a black T-shirt on with a black shirt on top.” She said the gun most likely was small caliber, leaving a smaller hole than the larger-caliber weapons common today, and most of the bleeding must have been internal.

She has seen such mistakes before. A mortician for 38 years, Washington said this is the fourth time she has discovered a fatal bullet wound on someone initially ruled a natural death.

Samuels, the morgue investigator, said his office checked with Brooks’ doctor the night he was found dead and learned he had a history of cancer, high blood pressure and heart trouble. The decision not to autopsy Brooks was based on that opinion and the natural death ruling by EMS workers, Samuels said.

Rice told the newspaper she never heard a gunshot from her basement. She and Arrington both said they saw no gun at all that night.

Only a dead man with a mystery.

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Savage Black Beast Stabbed 2 Canadian Woman To Death During Unprovoked Attack In Atlantic City New Jersey – One Victim Was 80, The Other 47

May 22, 2012

ATLANTIC CITY, NEW JERSEY – Two female tourists were stabbed to death in what appears to have been a random and unprovoked attack in Atlantic City Monday.

At about 10 a.m., an officer on patrol in the 1900 block of Pacific Avenue in Atlantic City saw a 44-year-old woman, identified as Antoinette E. Pelzer, stabbing another woman. The officer drew his gun and ordered Pelzer to drop the knife. She complied and was taken into custody.

Police say an 80-year-old woman and a 47-year-old woman, both Canadian residents, were stabbed multiple times in the upper body region and taken to AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center where they succumbed to their injuries.

It is unclear if the victims are related; their names are being withheld pending family notification.

Witnesses say Pelzer was attempting to rob one of the victims of her purse. There is no indication the victims and suspect knew each other, according to investigators.

Pelzer had a driver’s license from Pennsylvania and police are looking into where and how long she has been staying in Atlantic City. Those who knew Pelzer are shocked to hear of the news.

“She’s a very good girl, she’s very upstanding and has been a very good friend of mine,” said one woman who did not wish to be identified.

Pelzer is charged with unlawful possession of a weapon, possession of a weapon for unlawful purpose and robbery. She was also charged with two counts of aggravated assault, but it is anticipated that there will be additional charges due to the deaths of the victims. Bail was not set as of 6 p.m. Monday.

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Gang Of 20 Hooded Savage Black Beasts With Clubs And Knives Stormed North London UK Bar, Dragged Random Man Outside And Stabbed Him To Death

May 22, 2012

NORTH LONDON, UK – A gang of 20 hooded youths stormed a pub after the Champions League final before dragging away a 25-year old man and stabbing him to death in scenes ‘like a horror film’, friends said today.

‘True gent’ Luke Fitzpatrick was killed and his father Bernard, who threw himself on top of his son in a desperate attempt to shield him, remains in a critical condition in hospital after being stabbed four times.

The pair were attacked when a gang armed with bats and knives stormed the north London pub after father and son had watched Chelsea win the cup together at on Saturday.

A forensic tent remained at the scene of the tragedy just yards from the pub near his Dollis Hill home.

Friend Katy McKeon, 22, who has known him growing up, said: ‘Luke was one of the nicest guys around, always looking after people, he actually cared about people, a really nice, funny guy.

‘The amount of flowers that are here just shows how loved he was, this has ruined this community.

‘I was there on Saturday and it was like something out of a horror film.

‘There were about 20 young black guys all with their hoods up armed with sticks and bats and knives. They just ran in the pub and started trying to attack people.

‘It was really frightening. But it should not have happened to Luke, it shouldn’t have happened to anyone, but he was a complete innocent.’

His mother Constance, 56, and brother Ryan, 21, were in Majorca and had to rush home.

Bernard, 56, is out of intensive care and has mumbled a few words but is not fully conscious, Miss McKeon said.

She added: ‘He was just watching the football, but it had nothing to do with the game – Luke was an Arsenal fan.

‘Everyone in the pub knows each other, we all grew up together, we are a really close community.

‘It was such a good atmosphere in the pub then within a minute it was changed by a minority just looking for trouble.

‘A couple of them had tried to start an argument with someone in the shop about two hours before this happened, but it was nothing to do with Luke.

‘Then they rounded all their mates up and stormed the pub. I didn’t see exactly what happened to Luke, but at 17 why have they got knives? It is disgusting. He was a true gent.’

Three people including two 17-year-olds were arrested and have since been bailed. Today a fourth man remained in custody after being arrested an address in Wembley yesterday.

The gang of youths often hung around the shops where the argument took place and three weeks ago an elderly man had been punched in the face as he got off a bus, she said.

Luke’s best friend, Ricci Whiteside, 25, said: ‘There was an argument in the shop opposite the pub at half-time.

‘Luke wasn’t anything to do with it, but we all heard that something had gone on.

‘A group of black guys arrived at the door of the pub with bats and knives and they were looking for someone who had been outside the shop earlier.

‘People were throwing chairs at the door to try and stop them from coming in.

‘There was a lot of confusion. They got Luke and dragged him outside. They were pulling him up the road.

‘His dad was running after them. But by the time he got to Luke he was already on the floor. Bernie threw himself on top of Luke. He was trying to protect him, but it was too late.”

Tess Fitzpatrick, Bernard’s sister, said: ‘The men who came for Luke were like a pack of wolves. My brother ran after them as they were dragging Luke up the street.

‘He covered him with his body, but they had already stabbed Luke all over.’

Pal of the roofer Michael O’Rourke, 25, added: ‘There is not one person who would say one bad word about him, he was one of the most loved people here.

‘He had never done a bad thing in his life but he can’t even go to the pub with his dad and have a pint without getting murdered. Luke was just the nicest guy you could imagine, an absolute gent.

‘Bad things happen to good people. None of the scum bags who did this could ever live up to our friend. It is heartbreaking, absolutely heartbreaking.’

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Buffalo Police “Find” Suspect In Cold Case, Who They Would Have Found In 1994 Had They Conducted A Real Investigation – Man Says Someone Dumped Victim’s Bodyparts In His Backyard, And He Just Happened To Prior Conviction For Killing Another Woman, And Was Convicted A Year After 94 Murder For Attempted Rape

May 17, 2012

BUFFALO, NEW YORK – James Fountain seemed terrified when he called 911 to report a grisly discovery 18 years ago: Stuffed inside a wooden nightstand left in the backyard of his Montana Avenue home, he told the operator, he had found the chopped-up body parts of a woman.

Fountain, who had come off as meek and soft-spoken, cooperated with the investigation into the murder of Cynthia Epps, a 29-year-old mother of two young daughters, according to police who probed the horrific 1994 murder.

But last week, Buffalo’s Cold Case Squad detectives watched as the man who had seemed so shocked by the mutilated remains was arraigned in State Supreme Court on a charge of second-degree murder, accused of killing Epps and dismembering her body. He pleaded not guilty.

Recently uncovered evidence led investigators to Fountain.

More than a year ago, Cold Case Detective Charles Aronica was sifting through unsolved cases involving the slayings of women in the early to mid-1990s. He was hoping that recent innovations in DNA technology might reveal new leads.

The Epps case, from 1994, jumped out at Aronica. It had occurred during the city’s worst year for homicides in modern times — 92 killings. In contrast, there were 36 homicides reported in the city last year.

“Her murder was horrific, and I knew if we got evidence, that this might be the last cold case I reopened before retiring next year,” Aronica said.

Aronica, along with fellow Detective Lissa Redmond, began poring over the old evidence.

They went over crime scene photographs to identify where they might still find DNA evidence that would lead them to the killer, and they gave Erie County Central Police Services Forensic Crime Lab official Paul Mazur a long list of items to be tested. Mazur put forensic biologist Michelle Lillie on the case.

Months passed as Lillie conducted “meticulous testing” on the many pieces of evidence that were nearly two decades old.

Finally, they got a break.

DNA different from Epps’ was isolated. But whose was it?

The cold case detectives already were suspicious that Fountain was the man they were looking for.

Back in 1994, he had been ruled out after interviews determined he had not known Epps.

“Detectives had no reason to suspect Fountain had anything to do with it because he had no connection to her,” Redmond explained.

Investigators were left to assume Epps’ body parts, wrapped in a green blanket and placed in a wooden nightstand, had been randomly dumped in Fountain’s backyard on the 100 block of Montana.

But Aronica and Redmond learned that four months after the June 1994 slaying of Epps, a resident of Goodyear Avenue who lived only a couple of blocks away from Montana Avenue, Fountain was arrested for attempting to rape a woman.

In that case, Fountain had placed the woman inside a box and locked her inside a bathroom at her home.

“Fortunately, she managed to escape,” Redmond said.

Aronica and Redmond busied themselves digging further into Fountain’s past and discovered he had been convicted in 1977 of killing a woman in New York City.

“We would not have known about the manslaughter conviction at the time of the Epps murder because the records weren’t as easily available back then,” Redmond said.

A check of the New York State Sex Offender Registry revealed that he was convicted in 1984 for sexual attacks involving 7- and 8-year-old girls in the New York City area.

Sometime later, Fountain moved from New York City to Buffalo because he had relatives here, Redmond said.

The detectives didn’t have a hard time finding Fountain.

He was at Central New York Psychiatric Center in Marcy, where he had been placed in indefinite civil confinement after he had completed his lengthy prison sentence on the attempted rape from 1994 and other charges.

A judge agreed with the state’s claim that he had a “mental abnormality” and, if released, would pose a threat to society.

Obtaining a sample of his DNA to compare to the one found at the Epps crime scene was the next step.

That also proved easy for the detectives. After Fountain’s 1995 conviction on the felony attempted rape, a sample of his DNA was taken for a statewide criminal data base.

The results came back in October 2011. Lillie determined that the unidentified DNA taken from the Epps slaying matched Fountain’s.

“Given what we now know about the Epps homicide, I believe this is proof that civil confinement works,” Redmond said. “Who knows what could have happened if he had been released?”

Police are not saying much about Fountain’s motive for allegedly killing Epps, but Aronica did say, “It may have been an argument between the two of them.”

Two months ago, Redmond and Aronica interviewed Fountain at Marcy. And though the detectives declined to release the results of the interview, they said it went well.

What surprised them was the manner in which Fountain conducted himself. A small man who presents himself as unassuming, Fountain was extremely polite, they said.

The unexpected solving of the cold case has left the Epps family grateful that their daughter, sister and mother was not forgotten.

“This won’t bring my sister back, and I will not be held hostage or victim for what he did to my sister, but I am very grateful to both detectives,” said Epps’ sister, Roxanne McKinney Cumberlander.

Cumberlander added that when she saw Fountain in court last week, she realized he was a sick man.

“I forgive him and pray that he gets help and that God will save him,” she said.

Redmond said, “The family’s gratitude is overwhelming and makes our job meaningful.”

Fountain is now being held in the Erie County Holding Center, awaiting his next appearance before State Supreme Court Justice Penny Wolfgang.

Fountain’s court appearance was on the same day Aronica, a city officer for 40 years, celebrated his 60th birthday.

“This turned out to be a great birthday present, helping the Epps family get some closure,” Aronica said.

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Savage Black Beasts Kill Random White Jogger In Daytime Drive-By Shooting In Raytown Missouri

May 16, 2012

RAYTOWN, MISSOURI – After three days, the Metro Squad expects it will disband on Wednesday and turn over the investigation into the murder of Harry Stone to the Raytown Police Department.

Stone, 60, was killed while jogging Sunday morning at about 7:20 at 67th and Blue Ridge Blvd. Police suspect the murder could have been a gang initiation or a dare.

On Tuesday police returned to canvass the area to try to find evidence that will lead them to Stone’s killer. About 35 cadets from the police academy assisted.

Several people witnessed Stone’s murder. They told police a dark-colored car driving north on 67th Street passed Stone as he was jogging, and without slowing down, opened fire on him. Witnesses say there were two black men inside the car.

“It was daylight. There were witnesses,” said Thomas Prudden, a Raytown police detective. “But it was such a quick incident and there was nothing to tell you it was going to happen. Somebody driving by, holding a gun outside and shooting and then driving off. You can imagine how hard that is to investigate or get evidence from.”

Also Tuesday, police determined that a car they stopped Monday night that matched the description of the suspect vehicle is unrelated to the crime.

Monday night at about 7:30 p.m., police tried to stop a dark-colored car, but the driver sped away. Police chased him to 61st and Agnes, where about 15 officers from three agencies surrounded him.

The driver was taken into custody but Tuesday morning police determined he was not connected to Stone’s murder.

The suspect vehicle is a dark-colored, 4-door sedan captured on surveillance video from the BP gas station near the scene of the murder.

Stone’s daughter spoke to the media Monday afternoon.

“Do the right thing,” Susan Li pleaded to those who may know something about the crime.

Li said her father was very active, jogging nearly everyday by himself or with his dog. He was also active in the church. He is survived by his wife, children and grandchildren.

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Lawsuit Filed After Nutcase Culpeper Virginia Police Officer Harmon-Wright Threatened, Shot, And Killed Unarmed Female Motorist Who Rolled Up Window

May 15, 2012

CULPEPER, VIRGINIA – The husband of Patricia Cook, 54, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Culpeper, Virginia police officer who shot her to death on February, 9, 2012.

Gary Cook is asking for $5 million in damages from Officer Daniel Harmon-Wright (a/k/a Daniel W. Sullivan).

Patricia Cook was shot multiple times in her Jeep Wrangler in a parking lot of a school annex on North East Street in the Town of Culpeper.

The lawsuit, filed on May 11, 2012 in Culpeper County Circuit Court, says Officer Harmon-Wright carried through on his threat to shoot Mrs. Cook if she did not stop rolling up her car window and do as he demanded. It says he shot her at close range and continued firing at her as she attempted to depart.

The lawsuit says “Defendant Harmon-Wright did not have his hand or arm trapped inside the car window of Mrs. Cook’s Jeep at any time during this incident.”

It also says the officer was not dragged by Mrs. Cook’s vehicle and that he suffered no injuries as a result of Mrs. Cook’s actions. It says she did not user her vehicle as a weapon and did not try to strike or injure the defendant.

The lawsuit says, “When Defendant Harmon-Wright attempted to bully and coerce Mrs. Cook into complying with his commands by raising his voice and threatening to shoot her, she was lawfully entitled to refuse to comply with his commands and was was lawfully entitled to depart unharmed and unhindered.”

Virginia State Police first said that the officer fired in self-defense because she had caught his arm in her window and was dragging him. But an eyewitness told WUSA 9 News that he clearly saw the officer’s left hand on the door handle and his right on on his gun. The witness said that the officer’s arm was not caught as he yelled at the woman to stop. The witness said he was stunned when he saw the officer shoot and continue shooting as Cook drove away.

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Savage Woman Killed Babydaddy Over Cheap Mother’s Day Gift

May 15, 2012

BEAUMONT, TEXAS — Evetta Wright said she was puzzled when she got a call early Monday from her son.

Not long before, around 11:30 p.m. Sunday, she’d dropped Clifton “JR” Barkin off at his house after taking him to Wal-Mart to buy flowers and a Mother’s Day card for Paige Parkerson, the mother of Barkin’s two small children.

When she answered the phone, she said Parkerson was on the line.

“Paige told me she killed JR, that he was dead,” Wright said through sobs.

Wright said she sped back over to her son’s house, but it was too late.

Barkin, 22, died just after midnight Monday in the backyard of his yellow rental house, stabbed several times. Wright said she believes Parkerson expected a more expensive gift, such as jewelry.

Parkerson, 20, is being held in Jefferson County Jail on a first-degree felony murder charge, with bail set at $75,000.

The couple’s two sons were asleep at home during the incident. Both are now with relatives.

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Former San Francisco California Transit Police Officer Johannes Mehserle, Who Still Claims He Didn’t Know The Difference Between His Taser Weapon And Pistol, Files Appeal To Overturn Manslaughter Conviction After Tiny Slap On The Wrist For Killing Unarmed Man

May 12, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – Johannes Mehserle, a former San Francisco Bay Area transit police officer, is appealing his involuntary manslaughter conviction for the killing of 22-year-old Oscar Grant in Oakland.

The move has deeply angered Grant’s family, who say the appeal is an attempt for Mehserle to clear his name so that he can become a police officer again.

“I’m here to denounce his attempt to clear his record. He committed such gross negligence that he should not be allowed back on the streets to protect and serve again,” said Grant’s mother Wanda Johnson at a news conference Friday in Oakland.

The appeal to overturn the conviction was filed this week and argued during a court hearing on Wednesday, according to Michael Rains, Mehserle’s defense attorney. The appeal questioned some of the evidence and instructions that were given to the jury at Mehserle’s 2010 trial.

The three-judge panel of the First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco could make a decision on the appeal in 90 days.

Mehserle was accused of fatally shooting Grant on New Year’s Day 2009 on a platform of a Bay Area Rapid Transit station. Mehserle said at the trial that he intended to draw and fire his Taser rather than his gun.

He was sentenced to two years in prison for the involuntary manslaughter conviction, but was released last year because of a California law that allowed him to reduce his sentence to nearly a year.

Grant’s family members said they were also angry that they were not informed about the court hearing.

“We’re angered. We are hurt,” said Cephus Johnson, Grant’s uncle. “We were denied our right to be at this hearing. We applied to be informed about any hearing that pertained to Johannes Mehserle. This proceeding is an example of shutting victims out of the process. The family is outraged.”

This case has been controversial in California’s Bay Area community for years. The 2009 shooting was captured on a bystander’s cellphone video camera. The video showed Mehserle pulling his gun and fatally shooting Grant in the back as another officer knelt on the unarmed man. The video was widely circulated on the Internet and on news broadcasts, and it spurred several protests in and around Oakland.

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Retired Los Angeles California Police Detective Stephanie Ilene Lazarus Sentenced To 27 Years To Live After Murdering Ex-Boyfriend’s Wife Two Decades Ago

May 11, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – A California judge sentenced a retired Los Angeles Police detective Friday to 27 years to life in prison for murdering her ex-boyfriend’s wife in a jealous rage more than two decades ago.

Stephanie Ilene Lazarus, 52, was convicted of biting and shooting Sherri Rasmussen, 29, in her townhouse in the Van Nuys neighborhood of Los Angeles in 1986.

Lazarus, who rose through ranks of the Los Angeles Police Department and became a veteran art theft detective, could be eligible for parole in 22 years. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert Perry gave Lazarus credit for time served in jail since her arrest at LAPD headquarters in June 2009.

A jury convicted her in March of first-degree murder.

Friday’s sentence was the maximum under state law, prosecutors said.

Lazarus was charged with staging the crime scene to look like a burglary gone bad, and police long believed that Rasmussen was the victim of two male burglars.

The 1986 case went cold for years. Then it was reopened in 2004 and again in 2009, when DNA from a bite mark on the victim’s arm came back as a match to the detective.

When Lazarus became a suspect, homicide detectives faced “special challenges as Lazarus’ office was located next door to the detectives who were now investigating her,” police said in a statement in March.

Rasmussen, a hospital nursing supervisor, was the new bride of John Ruetten, who had been Lazarus’ college sweetheart. Married for just three months, Ruetten found his wife’s body when he returned home from work. Rasmussen was brutally beaten and shot three times in the chest, authorities said.

Los Angeles County deputy prosecutors Shannon Presby and Paul Nunez submitted a written statement to the court prior to the sentencing, according to the prosecutor’s office.

“Lazarus has never taken responsibility for her acts,” the prosecutors wrote. “Lazarus has never expressed any regret or remorse for her actions. Lazarus’ profound narcissism led her to kill and continues to motivate her denial of responsibility. This unrepentant selfishness poses a real and significant danger to any person whose interests conflict with Lazarus’ egotistic desires.”

Before the sentencing Friday, Rasmussen’ mother, Loretta, told the court that her family has endured “extreme pain” over her daughter’s murder.

“Every day we miss her laughter and her love,” the mother told the judge.

In his remarks to the judge, a tearful Ruetten said Rasmussen was “just trying to save her own life” on the day of her murder.

“I just can’t bear thinking about these moments,” Ruetten told the court.

After the sentencing, Lazarus, manacled and dressed in a jail jumpsuit, waved and smiled to an apparent loved one in the courtroom gallery as she was escorted back to jail, carrying a folder.

Following Lazarus’ conviction in March, Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said the case was “a tragedy on every level.”

“Not only did the family of Sherri Rasmussen lose a wife and a daughter, a life that can never be returned, but also the LAPD family felt a sense of betrayal to have an officer commit such a terrible crime,” Beck said in a written statement.

“I am also sorry it took us so long to solve this case and bring a measure of justice to this tragedy,” he said.

Rasmussen, director of nursing at Glendale Adventist Medical Center, was a tall, athletic 29-year-old with a pretty smile.

At the time of the slaying, Lazarus was in her second year with the Los Angeles Police Department. The killing occurred on February 24, 1986, a Monday. Lazarus had taken the day off; Rasmussen had called in sick that morning. Authorities estimate she died before lunchtime.

Prosecutors argued that Lazarus was in love with Ruetten and distraught when she learned he married someone else.

During the trial, Ruetten testified he casually dated Lazarus after college, but he never considered her a girlfriend and dated other women while seeing her. Lazarus eventually married a Los Angeles Police detective and the couple adopted a daughter.

According to prosecutors, the key to unlocking Lazarus’ dark secret lay for years on the back shelf of an evidence freezer in the coroner’s office. In a vial inside a sealed evidence envelope was a cotton swab. On that swab, prosecutors say, was DNA taken from saliva from the bite wound on Rasmussen’s left forearm.

Testing in 2005 revealed the assailant was a woman. Some detectives, however, clung to the burglary theory and focused their inquiries on known female prowlers.

But from the beginning, the victim’s family had pointed to an ex-girlfriend of Ruetten’s who was a cop, and as the DNA testing advanced, undercover police followed Lazarus to a Costco store and retrieved a discarded soda from a trash can. Saliva traces from the straw matched the bite mark DNA, and she officially became a suspect.

Lazarus was confronted, and another sample was taken from her shortly before her arrest. Tests revealed the DNA found in the bite mark on Rasmussen’s left forearm belonged to Lazarus.

Deputy Assistant District Attorney Presby told jurors during the trial that the chance of the killer being anyone else is “one in 1.7 sextillion.”

To avoid botching an undercover investigation of one of their own, LAPD officials carefully devised a plan to arrest Lazarus. On June 5, 2009, Detective Daniel Jaramillo from the department’s robbery-homicide division approached Lazarus at her desk in the department’s headquarters and asked her to accompany him downstairs to the department’s jail facility, where she would not be able to bring her gun.

He told Lazarus he needed her help interrogating a man who claimed to have information on stolen art, Lazarus’ specialty in the detectives unit. A nearly hour-long recorded interview followed.

After one of the detectives alludes to the evidence that implicated her in the killing, Lazarus said, “Am I on ‘Candid Camera’ or something? This is insane. This is absolutely crazy. This is insane.”

Minutes later she walked out of the interview room, only to be stopped, handcuffed and told she was under arrest in the murder of Sherri Rae Rasmussen.

Lazarus’s attorney, John Overland, has argued in court that the crime scene evidence from 1986 was mishandled and tainted years ago and couldn’t be trusted.

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Murder: Video Shows Fullerton California Police Officers Manuel Ramos, Jay Patrick Cicinelli And At Least 4 Others Brutally Beating Unarmed Homeless Man While He Screamed In Pain And Plead For Help – Died 5 Days Latter

May 8, 2012

FULLERTON, CALIFORNIA – A graphic video played at a hearing Monday to determine whether two California police officers should stand trial in the beating death of a homeless man showed them kicking and punching the mentally ill man as he lay on the ground — screaming in pain and begging for help.

The victim, Kelly Thomas, died five days after the beating on July 5.

Manuel Ramos, a 10-year veteran of the Fullerton, California, police department, is charged with second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter, while Cpl. Jay Patrick Cicinelli faces charges of involuntary manslaughter and felony use of excessive force in the same case.

Both have pleaded not guilty.

The black-and-white video was played during a preliminary hearing for the two officers.

It begins with Thomas — a 37-year-old homeless man with schizophrenia — sitting and being told by Ramos to put his feet out and hands on his knees.

The officers were responding to a call about a homeless man looking into car windows and pulling on handles of parked cars.

In the video, Thomas is slow to cooperate.

Ramos then tells him: “You see my fists? They’re getting ready to f— you up.”

Thomas, who is unarmed and shirtless, stands and another officer walks over. They hit him with their batons and hold him on the ground as he begs for help.

“Ok, I’m sorry, dude. I’m sorry!” he screams. At one point, Thomas says he can’t breathe. The officers tell him to lie on his stomach, put his hands behind his back and relax.

“Ok, here, here, dude, please!” he says.

Other officers arrive.

At times, trees block the view of the camera and it’s not always clear who is doing what as officers pile on top of Thomas.

One uses a Taser stun gun.

Thomas cries out for help and. toward the end of the beating, for his father: “Dad! Help me. Help me. Help me, dad.”

His voice gets softer and trails off.

By the end of the video, he is lying in a pool of blood as the officers wonder out loud what to do next.

One can be heard saying: “We ran out of options so I got to the end of my Taser and I … smashed his face to hell.”

Thomas suffered brain injuries, facial fractures, rib fractures, and extensive bruising and abrasions, according to prosecutors.

The Orange County coroner listed his manner of death as a homicide and said he died after having his chest compressed, leaving him unable to breathe.

The FBI is investigating possible civil rights violations in his case.

Six Fullerton officers, including Ramos and Cicinelli, were put on paid leave after his death. The case drew widespread attention to the police department of Fullerton, located about 25 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles.

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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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Chicago’s Homicide Rate Surges 60 Percent In First Three Months Of 2012

April 12, 2012

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – Homicides in Chicago soared by 60 percent in the first three months of 2012, continuing a troublesome trend that began late last year. Nonfatal shootings also rose sharply in the first quarter, Police Department statistics show.

The worsening violence comes as the Emanuel administration touts its efforts to combat gang crime and add officers and resources to some of the city’s most dangerous neighborhoods.

Chicago police blame street gangs for much of the violence. Another contributing factor for the rise in homicides was the unseasonably warm weather this past winter, according to criminologists, but Chicago police Superintendent Garry McCarthy scoffed at that explanation earlier this year.

“In better weather, people are outside more, interacting more with neighbors, acquaintances, even strangers, and there’s greater opportunity for conflict than when it’s cold and windy,” said James Alan Fox, a professor of criminology, law and public policy at Northeastern University in Boston.

Fox and other experts caution that concluding too much from a few months of crime statistics can be misleading and noted that in recent years Chicago has been at historic lows for homicides. But in 2008, the city saw similar spikes early in the year and ended up with more than 500 homicides, the only time that has happened in the last nine years.

From Jan. 1 through April 1 this year, 120 homicides were recorded in Chicago, up sharply from 75 in the same period in both 2011 and 2010, according to department statistics. Nonfatal shootings totaled almost 490 in the first three months of 2012, up 37 percent from a year earlier.

Crime in every other major category fell, including a 15 percent drop in sexual assaults and a 10 percent decline in burglaries. Overall crime dropped 10 percent citywide, according to the department.

To combat violence in two of Chicago’s most violent neighborhoods, McCarthy saturated “conflict zones” in the Englewood and Harrison police districts with additional officers early this year as a long-term strategy.

But the early results appear mixed. Through April 1, homicides fell to six in the Harrison District on the West Side, down from nine a year earlier. But killings almost doubled in the Englewood District on the South Side, jumping to 15 from eight. Nonfatal shootings rose sharply in both districts, however.

Homicides were also up sharply in the Ogden and Chicago Lawn police districts, the statistics show.

In mid-January, McCarthy trumpeted that Chicago had gone 24 hours without a single homicide or shooting. But by near the end of the month, killings had risen 54 percent. At the time, McCarthy expressed confidence that homicides would go down when shootings fell. At that point, the number of shootings was the same as in 2011. But since the beginning of 2012, nonfatal shootings have risen by more than a third.

During one particularly violent weekend last month, 49 people were shot — 10 of them fatally, including a 6-year-old girl as she sat between her mom’s legs on the family’s Little Village front porch. The violence was largely concentrated on the South and Southwest sides.

In the last two weeks of March, the violence continued unabated. The department’s statistics show that 26 people were killed and more than 80 nonfatal shootings occurred from March 19 through April 1.

At the end of March, McCarthy reshuffled his command staff, replacing commanders in five of the city’s 23 districts.

“We took a pretty big hit for the first quarter of this year,” Bob Tracy, chief of the department’s crime control strategies, acknowledged in a telephone interview Wednesday.

Tracy said a lot of retaliatory shootings among “some of our younger gang members” contributed to the spike.

Tracy insisted that keeping officers on beat patrols will prove more effective in the long run than having cops work in specialized units like the now-defunct Mobile Strike Force. The department is making strides in ensuring that its beat officers and citywide gang units work more closely together to determine where gang conflicts exist and identify their main players, he said.

“We’re making sure the intelligence is in the hands of the officers,” Tracy said. “As we keep our plan going, I think in the long run you’re going to start seeing a decline in the violence.”

The president of the Fraternal Order of Police, the union that represents rank-and-file cops, continued to blame the rising violence on the department’s failure to replace retiring officers.

“Any officer will tell you that the Chicago Police Department is short-staffed, except for the superintendent,” said Michael Shields. “This year’s budget was balanced at the expense of public safety.”

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New Orleans Louisiana Police Officers Sentenced To Just 6 To 65 Years In Federal Prison After Opening Fire On Unarmed Citizens After Katrina – Department Wanted To Prosecute Two Survivors For Lying After Official Investigation Resulted In Report Full Of Lies

April 4, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – A federal judge Wednesday sentenced five former New Orleans police officers to prison terms ranging from six to 65 years for the shootings of unarmed civilians in the chaotic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, prosecutors said.

The shootings occurred on the Danziger Bridge on September 4, 2005, six days after much of New Orleans went underwater when the powerful hurricane slammed into the Gulf Coast. The ex-officers were convicted in August on a combined 25 counts of civil rights violations.

U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt imposed the stiffest sentence on former officer Robert Faulcon, who was handed a 65-year term for his involvement in shooting two of the victims. Former sergeants Kenneth Bowen and Robert Gisevius got 40 years for their roles in the incident, while ex-officer Robert Villavaso was sentenced to 38 years.

The lightest term went to former detective sergeant Arthur Kaufman, who was sentenced to six years for attempting to cover up what the officers had done, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in New Orleans.

The men were accused of opening fire on an unarmed family, killing 17-year-old James Brissette and wounding four others. Minutes later, Faulcon shot and killed Ronald Madison, a 40-year-old man described by Justice Department officials as having severe mental disabilities and who was trying to flee the scene when he was shot, according to the Justice Department.

At the time, New Orleans police said they got into a running gun battle with several people. Prosecutors said Kaufman wrote the department’s formal report on the incident, which concluded the shootings were justified and recommended the prosecution of two of the survivors “on the basis of false evidence.”

During the trial, the defense asked the jury to consider the stressful circumstances the officers were operating under following Katrina. The shootings took place during a week of dire flooding, rampant looting and death by drowning, and police were strained by suicides and desertion among their ranks.

But U.S. Attorney Jim Letten said the prison sentences send the message that “when the crisis we face is the most threatening, that when the challenges are the greatest, the rules don’t go out the window.”

“In fact, that’s when the discipline, when the honesty of our public servants, our police and the men and women of law enforcement are most critical,” Letten said.

Romell Madison, brother of victim Ronald Madison, told reporters after Wednesday’s proceedings that his family was happy with the sentences, even though prosecutors had to enter into plea agreements with several other officers to obtain the convictions.

“I think it made a big difference, even though they did give them lower sentences, that they did come forth and testify to get the truth out,” Madison said. “At least we got to the truth.”

Five other officers, including a lieutenant, have already pleaded guilty and been sentenced to prison terms of up to eight years in the case for conspiracy and obstruction of justice. Letten said the plea deals were necessary to break a “logjam” that had prevented investigators to get the whole story of what happened on the Danziger Bridge, in New Orleans East.

The Justice Department brought charges after a similar case brought by local prosecutors foundered. Thomas Perez, the head of the department’s civil rights division, said the feds inherited a “cold case” when they took over in 2008.

“There were many, many New Orleans police officers who performed courageous, selfless acts of heroism in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina,” Perez said. “But regrettably, the acts of heroism of so many have been overshadowed by the misconduct of a few.

“What we learned in this trial — what we learned in these convictions — is that the Constitution never takes a holiday. The Constitution applies every day of every week, and no police officer can take it upon himself or herself to suspend the Constitution.”

The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division launched an investigation into what it called “patterns or practices” of alleged misconduct by New Orleans police in the aftermath of Katrina, which killed nearly 1,500 people in Louisiana and more than 1,700 across the Gulf Coast. Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas said Wednesday that his department “will continue to take bold and decisive actions to right the wrongs inside the department, some of which we now know go back seven full years.”

Mary Howell, a lawyer for the Madison family, said those promised reforms are “the most critical part in all of this.”

“This just can’t ever happen again,” she said.

Lance Madison, who was with his brother on the bridge that September day, told reporters that he is grateful that his brother had received justice. But he added, “I try to avoid the Danzinger Bridge, because when I go there, it just brings back memories of what I went through.”

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Four New Orleans Louisiana Police Officers Receive 38 To 65 Years In Federal Prison For Danziger Bridge Murders And Shootings Of Unarmed Residents And Following Cover Up Efforts

April 4, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – Four former New Orleans policemen convicted of shootings in 2005 that killed two unarmed people and wounded four others following Hurricane Katrina were given sentences on Wednesday ranging from 38 to 65 years in prison.

A fifth former police officer who did not participate in the shootings but engineered a four-year cover-up of the crimes was sentenced the six years.

The sentencing of the five men in federal court completed one of the last cases of police misconduct in New Orleans more than six years after the devastating hurricane flooded the city and triggered a chaotic aftermath.

Last August, a jury found former policemen Kenneth Bowen, Robert Faulcon, Robert Gisevius and Anthony Villavaso guilty on multiple charges including federal civil rights violations stemming from the September 4, 2005, incident.

Bowen and Gisevius were sentenced to 40 years each and Villavaso to 38 years by U.S. District Court Judge Kurt Englehardt. Faulcon was sentenced to 65 years.

A fifth officer, homicide detective Arthur “Archie” Kaufman, was convicted of covering up the crimes through a series of false reports and lies that continued for more than four years.

Another police detective charged with participating in the cover-up is slated for trial in May.

The five who were sentenced on Wednesday were among a dozen officers who responded to a radio call that police were taking fire near the Danziger Bridge in eastern New Orleans just days after Hurricane Katrina slammed into the city.

The officers packed into a rental truck and sped to the site. Witnesses testified that when the officers arrived, they jumped out of the truck and repeatedly fired assault rifles, shotguns and handguns at civilians walking on the bridge.

“The officers who shot innocent people on the bridge and then went to great lengths to cover up their own crimes have finally been held accountable for their actions,” U.S. Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Thomas Perez said in a statement. “As a result of today’s sentencing, the city of New Orleans can take another step forward.”

James Bresette, 17, and Ronald Madison, 40, were killed in the incident.

In reports filed by the officers or on their behalf, they claimed they shot only after being threatened or fired on and that they had seen weapons in the victims’ hands.

Kaufman was later convicted of planting a handgun at the scene.

During the six-week-long trial in 2011, lead prosecutor Barbara “Bobbi” Bernstein presented testimony from dozens of witnesses, including eastern New Orleans resident Susan Bartholomew, who lost her arm from a shotgun blast in the incident.

Witnesses included five police officers who earlier pleaded guilty to roles in the shootings or cover-up. Four of the officers testified for the prosecution, and all five began serving sentences that range from three to eight years.

Federal prosecutors and the FBI took up the case in 2009 after a previous case brought by the New Orleans district attorney was thrown out because of a prosecutor’s misconduct.

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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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Iraq War Veteran Charged With 6 California Murders Of Homeless Men And Others – Stabbed Each Repeatedly With Large Knife

March 16, 2012

SANTA ANA, CALIFORNIA – Disturbing new details are being released about the Iraq war veteran accused of at least six brutal murders in Orange County.

Itzcoatl Ocampo’s alleged victims include four homeless men. Now, a secret grand jury transcript obtained by the Orange County Register reveals that 23-year-old Ocampo joined the Marines to become a killer and was disappointed when he spent his time in Iraq driving a truck.

Ocampo also told a detective that he targeted the heads of his victims because he learned it was a quick kill in the movie “Terminator 2”.

He also said he would look at Penthouse magazine to pump himself up and that he believes he has the “killer gene” because he became so aroused by the murders.

Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas calls him “a monster” for allegedly stabbing each of the victims at least a dozen times with a seven-inch knife made of heavy metal.

Ocampo pleaded not guilty to six counts of murder last month.

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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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Convicted Murderer Received Over $30,000 In Unemployment Benefits While In Los Angeles County California Jail – Money Deposited To His And Other Gang Members Inmate Accounts

March 4, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – Authorities say a convicted killer who gained notoriety for having a murder scene tattooed on his chest received unemployment benefits while he was in jail.

Sheriff’s Capt. Mike Parker said Saturday that Anthony Garcia, nicknamed “Chopper,” received more than $30,000 in fraudulent unemployment while in Los Angeles County jail from 2008 to 2010.

Parker says Garcia’s father and two girlfriends would get the checks then cash them and deposit the money in the inmate accounts of Garcia and fellow gang members.

Garcia’s father 47-year-old Juan Garcia, and girlfriends 45-year-old Sandra Jaimez and 25-year-old Cynthia Limas, were arrested Thursday on charges including grand theft.

Parker says authorities have not decided whether to charge Garcia.

He was convicted of the 2004 killing of a gang rival in Pico Rivera. The evidence against him included a tattoo on his chest of the crime scene.

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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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Orange County California Killed Marine Sergeant In School Parking Lot In Front Of His 2 Daughters

February 15, 2012

SAN CLEMENTE, CALIFORNIA – A veteran Orange County sheriff’s deputy feared for the safety of two young girls sitting in a parked car when he shot and killed a Marine sergeant in a dark parking lot near San Clemente High School, authorities said Friday.

Sgt. Manuel Loggins Jr. was shot early Tuesday as he started to get into the SUV where his two daughters — 9 and 14 — were sitting, authorities said. Jim Amormino, a spokesman for the department, said the deputy was fearful that Loggins — who he said appeared to be acting irrationally — was about to drive off with the girls.

“The deputy formed an opinion that he had a deep concern for the children, that he would not allow Mr. Loggins to drive away with the kids,” Amormino said. A former commanding officer said Loggins routinely went to the school with his daughters during the early-morning hours to walk the track and read the Bible.

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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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Violent Savage Felon Released Under Obama’s Failing Immigration Amnesty Programs Killed Three, Including a 15 Year Old Girl, Then Killed Himself

January 23, 2012

FLORIDA – When burglar Kesler Dufrene became a twice-convicted felon in 2006, a Bradenton judge shipped him to prison for five years. And because of his convictions, an immigration judge ordered Dufrene deported to his native Haiti.

That never happened.

Instead, when Dufrene’s state prison term was up, Miami immigration authorities in October 2010 released him from custody. Two months later, North Miami police say, he slaughtered three people, including a 15-year-old girl in a murder case that remains as baffling today as it did the afternoon the bodies were discovered.

DNA on a rifle found inside the house and cellphone tracking technology later linked Dufrene to the Jan. 2, 2011, slayings.

But North Miami detectives never got to interrogate him. Just 18 days after the murders, Dufrene shot and killed himself when he was cornered by Manatee County sheriff’s deputies in Bradenton after an unrelated break-in and shooting there.

The episode is a black eye for U.S. authorities, who by law could not detain Dufrene indefinitely after the Obama administration ordered a temporary halt of deportations to the island nation. The deportations were halted because of the carnage wrought by Haiti’s January 2010 earthquake.

“Because of the moratorium on removals to Haiti in effect when Dufrene came into ICE custody, his removal to Haiti was not likely in the reasonably foreseeable future,” an Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman said in a statement Friday.

For North Miami detectives, the case remains an enigma. Dufrene, a drifter who lived in Manatee County, had no connection to the North Miami house, the family or the South Florida area other than his brief stay at the Krome detention center in West Miami-Dade.

“Although a subject has been identified in this case, I believe someone else or several people could be involved with him in this homicide,” said North Miami police Detective Stacina Jones, the lead detective.

The failure to deport Dufrene infuriates the victims’ family members. “This guy shouldn’t have been in America,” said Audrey Hansack, 37, who moved back to her native Nicaragua after the murder of her daughter Ashley Chow. “I’m so upset with the whole situation. Because of immigration, my daughter is not alive.”

Ashley, a North Miami High School student who aspired to become a lawyer, lived in the house in the 400 block of Northwest 134th Street. Her mother owned the house, and rented an attached efficiency to a family friend, Harlen Peralta, 25, and her boyfriend, Israel Rincon, 35.

Peralta worked at a beauty salon. Rincon, who had recently separated from his wife of 10 years, coached youth baseball.

“His love was baseball. In his free time, he would train kids for no charge,” said Alicia Rincon, his former wife. “He was hoping that one day one of his kids would go to the major leagues.”

It was on Jan. 2, 2011, that worried relatives called police to check on the family. About 3:30 p.m., officers and paramedics entered the house to discover the gruesome scene — all three shot to death.

The murders baffled investigators. At first, they suspected the deaths might have been a murder-suicide, but the crime-scene evidence did not back up that theory.

Other clues were just as puzzling. Detectives suspected the killings took place between 3 and 6 a.m., but neighbors reported no sounds of gunfire. As the sun rose, a mysterious man knocked on a bleary-eyed neighbor’s door and asked for directions to a Metrorail station.

Initially, North Miami police did not find a weapon in the house, but family members later discovered a rifle — which did not belong to anyone in the house — wrapped in a towel and hidden under a mattress.

Two months later, Miami-Dade’s police laboratory notified North Miami detectives that the rifle had tested positive for the DNA of two of the victims and of Dufrene, 23.

Dufrene, a native of Haiti, had a long history of arrests in Manatee County — nine in all, his first at age 14 for battery on a teacher.

In February 2006, Dufrene was on probation for stealing a car when he was rearrested, this time for burglary. He was found hiding in a bedroom closet in a vacant house in Manatee County. Neighbors wrestled him down and held him until police arrived. Dufrene claimed he was cold and looking for shelter.

In July 2006, deputies again arrested him after a homeowner surprised him inside another Manatee County home. Five months later, Dufrene pleaded guilty to one of the burglaries and violating probation, and was sentenced to five years in prison.

In August 2007, records show, a U.S. immigration judge ordered him deported. He was released from state prison in September 2010, and handed over to immigration custody at West Miami-Dade’s Krome Detention Center.

The federal government annually deported hundreds of Haitians convicted of felonies in the United States.

But after the devastating January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the Obama administration announced it was indefinitely halting deportations to the country.

“Under binding Supreme Court precedent, ICE’s authority to detain any individual is limited when the removal of that individual is not likely in the reasonably foreseeable future,” the immigration agency’s statement said.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2001 and 2005 that foreign nationals who cannot be deported may not be held in detention longer than six months. Deportations resumed in mid-January 2011 — three months after Dufrene was released from custody under ICE supervision. The agency did not specify what that supervision entailed.

ICE did not say how many convicted criminals like Dufrene were put back on the streets during the moratorium.

Police believed Dufrene’s mother picked him up in South Florida, bringing him back to Bradenton, where he promptly disappeared again. At that time, he was using a cellphone paid for by his mother, police said.

On the last day of 2010, cellphone records showed, that phone was used in Bradenton. The next day, however, Dufrene used the phone in North Miami — around the time the murders were believed to have taken place.

“The mystery is, how did he get here?” Detective Jones said. “And why did he choose this house?”

The records also showed that Dufrene returned to the Bradenton area the next day, as detectives back in North Miami were discovering the dead bodies. That night, Jan. 2, 2011, someone broke into a Sarasota house, stole a .38-caliber snub-nosed revolver and test fired one bullet into a mattress.

The revolver would not go missing for long. According to Manatee County deputies, on Jan. 19, 2011, a shotgun-wielding Bradenton resident, Lance Harden, surprised Dufrene breaking into a neighbor’s house.

Dufrene shot Harden in the shoulder, swiped the man’s shotgun and ran away. Harden survived. The Manatee SWAT team cornered the man in Dufrene’s father’s home not far away.

By then it was too late. Deputies found Dufrene on the floor of the master bedroom, dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

Detectives back in North Miami were left with more questions than answers.

Dufrene had a history of breaking into homes, but was the North Miami house even his target? Did someone send him to the house?

The rifle used in the killings had not been reported stolen, and there were no records of who owned it. Dufrene probably stashed it under the mattress to avoid being seen in the breaking daylight fleeing with the long weapon. But then, who gave him the weapon?

Relatives of the dead say they want answers.

“I honestly don’t think he acted alone,” said Alicia Rincon, Israel’s former wife. “It’s very strange how he got there. Out of all the houses in Miami, why did he end up there?”

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Obama Administration Hides Facts On Murdered Border Patrol Agent Amid Disgraced US Attorney General Eric Holder’s Testimony About His Department Supplying Mexican Drug Cartels With Firearms

November 30, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC – And to think that Attorney General Eric Holder is getting testy about congressional calls for his resignation. After all, the Justice Department has nothing to hide, right?

The Obama Administration has abruptly sealed court records containing alarming details of how Mexican drug smugglers murdered a U.S. Border patrol agent with a gun connected to a failed federal experiment that allowed firearms to be smuggled into Mexico.

This means information will now be kept from the public as well as the media. Could this be a cover-up on the part of the “most transparent” administration in history? After all, the rifle used to kill the federal agent (Brian Terry) last December in Arizona’s Peck Canyon was part of the now infamous Operation Fast and Furious. Conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the disastrous scheme allowed guns to be smuggled into Mexico so they could eventually be traced to drug cartels.

The murder of a U.S. Border Patrol agent is related to a Justice Department willingly turning over thousands of guns to Mexican criminal gangs, and Obama administration is hiding information about his death from the public. Amazing.

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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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Murder Suspect Released After Fort Bend County Texas DA John Healey Forgot To File Paperwork For Indictment

November 22, 2011

HOUSTON, TEXAS – A Texas man charged with killing his 17-year-old friend walked out of prison Monday after prosecutors forgot to file paperwork for an indictment.

Richard Mendoza Jr., 26, was arrested and accused of murdering Christopher Daigle in 2002 while hunting near Missouri City, Texas. Daigle was shot in the back of the head.

Fort Bend County District Attorney John Healey confirmed that his office made a mistake and accepted responsibility.

Daigle was considered a missing person and an endangered runaway when he disappeared on Nov. 7, 2002. In the years following, the Houston Chronicle said his grandmother had bought a burial site and waited for bad newsthat was finally delivered this past August when police found his remains in a field.

Mendoza was arrested shortly afterward, and he was originally held on $250,000 bail. But prosecutors let the 90 days pass during which paperwork for an indictment should be filed.

A judge released Mendoza but will track him with GPS, according to KRIV-TV.

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Miami Florida Police Under Investigation For Shooting And Killing Blacks

November 17, 2011

MIAMI, FLORIDA – The U.S. Justice Department will investigate whether Miami police violated the constitutional rights of seven black men who were shot to death by officers over an eight-month span, raising tensions in the inner city and sparking demands for an independent review.

The civil investigation — known as a “pattern and practice’’ probe — will examine Miami police policies and training involving deadly force. The goal: to determine if systemic flaws made shootings of black men more likely, rather than unfortunate, last-choice actions, as the officers’ supporters maintain.

A source close to the investigation confirmed Wednesday night that Thomas E. Perez, head of Justice’s civil rights division, and Miami U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer will announce the investigation during a press conference in downtown Miami Thursday morning.

Family members of the deceased, church leaders and activists have been invited to meet with Ferrer Wednesday afternoon, but they were not told why. They reacted with relief when told the news.

“Oh, that’s great, great, really good,” said Sheila McNeil, whose unarmed son Travis McNeil, 28, was shot to death in his car in Little Haiti Feb. 10 by Officer Reinaldo Goyo. The officer said McNeil was driving erratically. No weapon was ever found.

“I’m just glad to know it’s not forgotten,’’ McNeil told The Miami Herald. “Right now I don’t know more than I did the night he died, so I’m just waiting to hear what they have to say.”

But Nathaniel Wilcox, executive director of People United to Lead the Struggle for Equality, or PULSE, who has stood with many of the dead men’s families during a series of emotional public meetings, criticized federal authorities for not opening a criminal investigation into the shooting deaths. They spanned July 2010 to February 2011.

“We think they really took too long and we feel abandoned,’’ Wilcox said. “We expected the Obama administration to do a lot more and a lot quicker than they did.”

The Justice Department will not conduct criminal investigations into the seven shootings, which are under review by the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office. But Justice will look into the Miami Police Department’s training methods, leadership and practices. Any adverse findings could lead to court-enforced reforms, but more frequently, Justice works with a police department to iron out any problems.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Miami declined comment Wednesday.

Acting Miami Police Chief Manuel Orosa did not respond to interview requests. But spokesman Delrish Moss said the department is being revamped under the new chief, who assumed the post in September and is conducting a “top to bottom review of everything, from training to hiring.”

Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado did not return calls.

The impending investigation marks the second time in a decade that federal authorities have conducted an investigation into alleged systemic violations of constitutional rights by Miami police officers.

In 2002, Justice conducted a much broader civil probe, concluding in 2003 that the department had serious flaws in the way it conducted searches and seizures, used firearms, defined use of force and worked with police dogs. The inquiry began at the city’s request after several controversial police shootings.

However, the report did “not reach any conclusion” about whether the police department’s policies caused civil rights violations.

Since the latest spate of shootings began in July 2010, the public and families of the slain men have clamored for answers, repeatedly seeking transparency from police and the Miami-Dade state attorney’s office.

The police, under the leadership of then-Chief Miguel Exposito, who was terminated in September for insubordination, took heat for keeping quiet. Exposito even refused to turn over information to a civilian oversight panel when it sought details on the first shooting, of DeCarlos Moore in Overtown in July 2010.

Exposito blamed the shootings on a turf war created after his officers took guns off the streets. He also criticized State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle for taking too long to close out her investigations, ham-stringing his ability to speak about the shootings.

Friction over the shootings intensified as the number of incidents grew. The NAACP and the American Civil Liberties Union called for a federal investigation. In late February, U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson asked U.S. Attorney Eric Holder, the nation’s top law enforcement officer, to look into Miami police policies involving deadly force.

Regalado also requested an investigation, in August.

On Tuesday, Wilson called the investigation “a step in the right direction.” “I think it’s important because of the injustice that happened,” Wilson told The Herald. “I want [Miami police] to respect each other, and drop the racist tactics in training.”

The ACLU praised the development. “We have a crisis in this community where the police department is too quick to use deadly force, especially aimed at young black men, and it doesn’t have the mechanism to control itself,” said Howard Simon, executive director of the ACLU of Florida.

Locally, the state attorney’s office has closed only one criminal review, clearing the officer in the Moore shooting. Police said Moore disobeyed an order to stay put, and returned to his car where officers thought they saw him holding a shiny object, possibly a weapon. No weapon was found at the scene.

The other men killed by police were Joell Lee Johnson, Tarnorris Tyrell Gaye, Gibson Junior Belizaire, Brandon Foster, Lynn Weatherspoon, and McNeil, who was followed by police from a lounge on Northwest 79th Street. McNeil’s friend, Kareem Williams, was shot too, but survived.

The Justice investigation into Miami police will be the 18th being conducted by the Obama administration, which has stepped up civil rights investigations across the country. The federal effort has won praise from advocacy groups and experts on police brutality.

Perez, the assistant attorney general for civil rights, said recently that the investigations into local police are “really a cornerstone of our work.” He was speaking to reporters about a Justice report on Puerto Rico, which accused officers of widespread brutality, unconstitutional arrests and targeting people of Dominican descent. That followed a Justice Department report in March that said the New Orleans Police Department repeatedly violated constitutional rights by using excessive force, illegally arresting people and targeting black and gay residents.

U.S. Justice Department to investigate shootings by Miami police – Miami-Dade –

Wetback Found Guilty Of Murdering Virginia Nun While Drunk Driving – Had 2 Prior Convictions In US For Drunk Driving

November 1, 2011

VIRGINIA – An illegal immigrant who fatally struck a Benedictine nun while driving drunk was found guilty in Prince William County on Monday of felony murder — a case that sparked outrage in a county at the forefront of debates on local enforcement of federal immigration laws.

Carlos A. Martinelly Montano, 24, faces up to 70 years in prison when he is sentenced Feb. 3 on the murder charge and a host of lesser related charges to which he pleaded guilty earlier in the day.

The charges stemmed from an Aug. 1, 2010, crash in which Martinelly Montano struck a car carrying Sister Denise Mosier, 66, as she was traveling to a retreat at the Benedictine Monastery in Bristow, Va.

Martinelly Montano, who entered the country illegally with his family from Bolivia in 1996, had twice been convicted on drunken-driving charges before the accident. After the second conviction in 2008, he was released by the county into the custody of the Department of Homeland Security and was awaiting a deportation hearing when the crash occurred.

Prince William Board of County Supervisors Chairman Corey A. Stewart, who at the time of the incident accused President Obama and Congress of having “blood on their hands,” said Monday that the case emphasizes the continued need for strong illegal-immigration-enforcement laws.
Prince William County Commonwealth’s Attorney Paul B. Ebert (right) called it a “tragic case all around.” Mr. Ebert said he could remember past cases against illegal immigrants in which charges were dropped on the condition that the accused be deported — only to have them return soon afterward. “I don’t concern myself with the immigration status anymore,” he said. “We have to enforce the laws whether they’re illegal immigrants or not.” Ronald Reed looks on. (Rod Lamkey Jr./The Washington Times)

“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” he said. “What I don’t want people to think is, ‘Well, we got this one,’ and the issue is resolved. It’s not. This is just a small, one-man example of the dangerous illegal aliens in America who are released by the federal government instead of deported.”

Prince William County Commonwealth’s Attorney Paul B. Ebert called it a “tragic case all around.”

Mr. Ebert said he could remember cases against illegal immigrants in which charges were dropped on the condition that the accused be deported — only to have them return soon afterward.

“I don’t concern myself with the immigration status anymore,” he said. “We have to enforce the laws whether they’re illegal immigrants or not.”

Martinelly Montano’s attorneys disputed that their client should be characterized as an illegal immigrant, saying that at the time of the crash he carried a valid work permit.

Martinelly Montano had used the document when applying for an identification card.

In September 2010, shortly after the accident, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell ordered the state Department of Motor Vehicles to stop accepting an Employment Authorization Document, or work permit, as proof of legal status.

A Homeland Security Department investigation into the Martinelly Montano case determined that the Justice Department several times had delayed deportation hearings, even as he had several minor run-ins with the law in 2009 and 2010 that were not reported to the Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Martinelly Montano on Monday morning pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, two counts of maiming as a result of driving while intoxicated, driving on a revoked license and a third drunken-driving charge within five years.

He opted for a non-jury trial on the murder charge, and both prosecution and defense attorneys said they thought it was the first time a drunken-driving fatality was prosecuted under state murder laws.

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Wetback From Honduras Murdered Random Woman In Albion New York Walmart Parking Lot

October 31, 2011

ALBION, NEW YORK — An illegal alien from Honduras was charged with murder for the vicious stabbing death of a shopper in the Wal-Mart parking lot Sunday night, a murder that appeared to be a random act, Orleans County Sheriff Scott Hess said.

Luis A. Rodriguez-Flamenco was arrested after an all-night search by numerous police agencies. He was arraigned in Town Court and committed to Orleans County Jail without bail.

Flamenco, 24, is accused of repeatedly stabbing Kathleen I. Byham, 45.

Byham was shopping alone and had just left the store when she was approached by three men as she got to her car about 7 p.m.

‘‘She suffered multiple stab wounds to the torso,’’ Hess said. ‘‘She was shopping by herself and was not with any of the three men.’’

Byham, of Albion, was transported to Medina Memorial Hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 7:40 p.m.

Several people witnessed the attack and were able to give police a description of the men, who took off running east toward the village of Albion.

Two of the men were caught in separate homes in the village, about 90 minutes after the attack, Hess said.

‘‘We were able to locate them based on information we received,’’ he said.

The two men who were with Flamenco did not actively participate in the murder have not been charged. Hess said the two are illegal immigrants from Mexico and both have been turned over to U.S. Border Patrol.

Hess said it was unclear what the motive was but investigators were looking at the possibility of an altercation inside the store or a robbery.

‘‘There is no evidence whatsoever to indicate that the defendant and the victim knew each other,’’ Hess said. ‘‘Sheriff’s investigators believe that the defendant specifically targeted the victim only after she exited the store and walked towards her car. This appears to be a random act of violence.’’

The woman parked almost directly beneath a light pole in the middle of the parking lot. The pole also contained surveillance cameras, two which are pointed directly where the woman was stabbed.

Police did review the video.

The stabbing happened on a fairly busy Sunday night at Wal-Mart, which is just west of the village of Albion at Route 31 and Gaines Basin Road.

During the hours after the stabbing shoppers came and went, some driving slowly past the site of the stabbing, which was cordoned off with yellow police tape.

To the east a state police helicopter hovered over the area, searching for the third suspect. A Niagara County Sheriff’s Department K-9 unit arrived to assisted deputies, along with village of Albion police, Orleans Major Felony Crime Task Force and state troopers.

Police on foot were concentrating on an area east of Wal-Mart.

Patrol cars and unmarked police cars combed the area and parked at several intersections.

Hess said the extra help was ‘‘invaluable’’ and the Wal-Mart officials were cooperative during the investigation.

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At Least 3 Dead And 17 Injured In Overnight Shootings In Chicago Illinois

October 8, 2011

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – At least three people were killed and at least 17 others wounded, including nine teenagers, in shootings across the city late Friday night and early Saturday morning.

Two women were shot in the head in the 2300 block of North Harding Street in the Logan Square neighborhood at about 4:40 a.m., police said. One woman was found unresponsive at the scene and the other’s condition wasn’t known, police said, citing preliminary reports. Their ages weren’t immediately available.

A man was shot in his chest and possibly stabbed in the 400 block of South Pulaski Road at about 4 a.m., police said, citing preliminary reports. The Cook County medical examiner’s office was notified of the death.

A 29-year-old man was shot and killed across from the Lake View High School at the intersection of Ashland Avenue and Irving Park Road early this morning in the city’s Lake View neighborhood, according to police. The Cook County medical examiner’s office identified the man as Louis Cotto. Cotto was standing on a corner when shots were fired in a possible drive-by shooting at about 1:20 a.m, police said. He was shot in his chest and back and was pronounced dead at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, police said. Nobody is in custody, police said.

A boy and a girl, both aged 17, were shot at about 2:15 a.m. in the 7500 block of South Dante Avenue in the Grand Crossing neighborhood, Chicago Police News Affairs Sgt. Al Stinites said. The boy was shot in his leg and the girl in her foot, and both were transported to Jackson Park Hospital, he said.

A 25-year-old man was shot in his back at 71st and Halsted Avenue Street at about 2:15 a.m., police said. He was initially listed in serious condition. Additional details weren’t immediately available.

A 56-year-old man was shot in the 4100 block of West Adams Street in the West Garfield Park neighborhood at about 1:30 a.m., police said. He was walking with a friend when someone approached him and shot him in the arm and leg. He’s in stable condition at Mount Sinai Hospital, police said.

A 20-year-old man and a 16-year-old boy were shot in the 13200 block of South Langley Avenue in the Altgeld Gardens housing complex on the Far South Side at about 1:30 a.m., police said. A group of people was chasing a second group and someone in the first group shot at the victims while they were running away, hitting the 16-year-old in his leg and hitting the 20-year-old in his abdomen, according to Chicago Police News Affairs Officer John Mirabelli. The teen was taken to Roseland Community Hospital and the older man was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in suburban Oak Lawn, Mirabelli said.

A 17-year-old boy was shot in the back in the 7400 block of South Blackstone Avenue at about 1:20 a.m. and is in serious condition at Mount Sinai Hospital, police said. He was sitting in the back seat of a vehicle when someone approached and shot into the car. The boy was driven to the University of Chicago Hospital and then transferred to Mount Sinai, police said.

At about 12:30 a.m., a 22-year-old man and a 16-year-old boy were shot in the 2600 block of South Ridgeway Avenue in the Little Village neighborhood, police said. The man was shot in his chest and ankle and the teen was shot in his leg, police said. Both victims are in stable condition at Mount Sinai Hospital, police said. They were standing in a backyard and were shot after a gun was fired from inside a light-colored SUV in an alley behind the house, police said. The SUV fled north in the alley.

A 41-year-old man was shot in his forearm, buttocks and suffered a graze wound to his head on the 3900 block of South Indiana Avenue in the Bronzeville neighborhood at about 11:30 p.m. Friday. He was involved in an argument with the person who shot him, police said. The shooter pulled out a gun, opened fire and fled the scene. The victim was transported in serious condition to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Mirabelli said.

A 24-year-old man was shot in the 8400 block of South Carpenter Street at about 11:10 p.m. in the city’s Gresham neighborhood. He was transported to Advocate Christ Medical Center after being shot in his abdomen, Mirabelli said. The shooting followed an altercation between the victim and the offender, who isn’t in custody, Mirabelli said.

A 17-year-old boy was shot in his neck while sitting in a car at a stop light on the 7600 block of South Chicago Avenue at about 11:10
p.m., police said. It wasn’t clear whether the boy was transported to the hospital by the Chicago Fire Department or whether he was driven in the same car, police said.

A 37-year-old man was shot in his groin in the 800 block of North Noble Street at about 10 p.m. in the Noble Square neighborhood, police said. Police responded to a shots fired call and found someone yelling that his friend had been shot, Mirabelli said. Police caught two “persons of interest” and recovered a handgun. The victim was shot once in the thigh and once in the wrist, Mirabelli said, and transported to Stroger Hospital.

Two other boys, age 16 and 17, were shot as they left a restaurant on the 3200 block of West Cermak Road at about 9:40 p.m. on Friday in the Little Village neighborhood, police said. The 16-year-old was in stable condition at Mount Sinai Hospital and the 17-year-old was in stable condition at Stroger Hospital, police said.

A 15-year-old was accidentally shot in the 7900 block of South Christiana Avenue in the Ashburn neighborhood at about 9:30 p.m. Friday, police said. He was standing with a man who was showing him a gun when the gun went off. The man will likely face gun charges, police said.

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Warren Michigan Police Killed Handcuffed Man With Taser Weapons

September 23, 2011

WARREN, MICHIGAN – Neighbors say police may have used excessive force because victim not threatening

A neighbor of a 27-year-old Warren man who died after he was Tasered by police said a few minutes prior the incident the man appeared “freaked out” but not threatening.

The neighbor, a 43-year-old man who did not want to be named, said Sunday that Richard Kokenos knocked on the front door of his home on Kendall Street shortly after midnight Saturday morning and asked to use the telephone to call his mother because his grandmother needed help.

“He looked like he was freaking out, like something might have happened at home,” the neighbor said. “It was strange. He was acting weird.”

When the neighbor returned to the door with his cell phone, Kokenos already had gone next door and knocked on that door. Kokenos went to a third house before returning to the second house, where the 43-year-old man again approached Kokenos to offer his phone.

But Kokenos left and walked a few houses to Eureka Street, where he tried to enter a home, according to a TV report. When police responded to the scene, Kokenos reportedly was seen slamming his body into the home.

Officers handcuffed and placed Kokenos in a patrol car. Kokenos attempted to break out of the squad car, and one of the officers attempted to stop him by stunning him with a Taser gun, according to the TV report.

Spay paint markings made by police indicating the location of Kokenos’ body could be seen Sunday in the parking lane of northbound Eureka, across the street from St. Mark Church, which abuts the Fitzgerald High School football field.

No one answered the door of the home early evening Sunday where it is believed Kokenos tried to enter.

The 43-year-neighbor and another neighbor, Dave Magiera, said based on what they heard, the police’s actions seem excessive. They said Kokenos was not threatening, as he was heavy and short.

“I think maybe it’s overkill,” the 43-year-old man said. “He was not a threatening guy. It’s just too bad.”

Magiera said he learned that a dozen police officers responded.

“They had enough force there to contain him” without Tasering him, Magiera said. “I’m pissed. I think they used excessive force. He was kind of a chubby kid, not a threat.”

Magiera said Sunday morning he talked to Kokenos’ mother, with whom Kokenos had been living since earlier this year.

“She was a wreck,” he said. “She told me they Tasered him three or four times.”

The use of Taser stun guns by police have come under fire off and on in recent years in Macomb County and nationally due to occasional deaths involving them.

The incident is at least the third death following a police Tasering in Macomb County, and second in Warren, in recent years.

Robert Mitchell, 16, of Detroit, died in April 2009 after he was struck several times by a Taser fired by a Warren police officer in a Detroit house after Mitchell ran from an Eight mile Road traffic stop . Although the marijuana was found in the 16-year-old’s system, two forensic pathologists concluded that the Taser contributed to his death by affecting his heart. The teen’s family sued in federal court. The outcome of that case was unclear Sunday.

In 2007, 47-year-old Steven Spears, a body builder and hairdresser from Shelby Township, died after he was involved in a tussle with police that included the deployment of a Taser gun. Although autopsy reports attributed his death to cocaine, his family filed an excessive force lawsuit against the township and settled for $1.95 million.

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Fullerton California Police Officer Manuel Ramos And Cpl. Jay Cicinelli Charged After Beating Innocent Homeless Man To Death

September 21, 2011

SANTA ANA, CALIFORNIA – A police officer has been charged with second-degree murder and another faces an involuntary manslaughter charge in the death of a mentally ill homeless man who died after a confrontation with police, California prosecutors announced Wednesday.

The actions of Fullerton Police Officer Manuel Ramos, who has been charged with second-degree murder, “were reckless and created a high risk of death and great bodily injury,” Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas told reporters.

Ramos, who’s 37 years old and a 10-year veteran of Fullerton police, is also charged with one felony count of involuntary manslaughter, the prosecutor said.

The second officer, Cpl. Jay Cicinelli, is being charged with involuntary manslaughter and felony excessive force, the prosecutor said.

Ramos and Cicinelli were scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday afternoon.

Ramos faces a maximum sentence of 15 years to life if convicted, authorities said.

Cicinelli, who’s 39 years old and a 12-year veteran of Fullerton police, faces a maximum of four years in prison if convicted, authorities said.

The charges come in the death of 37-year-old Kelly Thomas, who was beaten by police during an altercation in July and died five days later. The FBI is also investigating civil rights violations in the death of Thomas, a homeless man with schizophrenia.

Six Fullerton officers were put on paid leave after Thomas’ death. The case put widespread attention on the police department of Fullerton, located about 25 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles.

Since then, two other brutality allegations have been made by men who were allegedly injured by Fullerton police last year, and officer Kenton Hampton has been placed on paid leave in the wake of one of those two complaints, a department spokesman said. Hampton, 41, is a five-year veteran of the Fullerton police, prosecutors said.

The other four officers in the Thomas death — Hampton, Officer Joseph Wolfe, Sgt. Kevin Craig and Cpl. James Blatney — were not charged because “the evidence does not show knowing participation in an unlawful act on the part of these officers,” the prosecutor said in statement.

Ramos, who is accused of setting into motion the events that led to Thomas’ death, made initial contact with Thomas on July 5 after police received a call about a homeless man looking in car windows and pulling on handles of parked cars, Rackauckas said.

Cicinelli, who arrived later to the scene, is accused of using excessive force when he allegedly assaulted and beat Thomas, “acting recklessly, under the color of authority without lawful necessity,” the prosecutor’s office said.

Cicinelli is accused of using the front end of his Taser to hit Thomas in the head and face eight times while Thomas was pinned to the ground by other officers and was making no audible sounds, indicating that Thomas was “down and seriously injured,” the prosecutor’s office said.

Ramos made “a deliberate showing of putting on Latex gloves” in his detention of Thomas, Rackauckas said.

Ramos is accused of making two fists with his gloves still on in front of Thomas, Rackauckas said.

“He lifted his fists to Kelly Thomas and he said, ‘You see my fist? Now they’re getting to ready to ‘f’ you up,'” Rackauckas told reporters, using “f” instead of the full profanity.

Rackauckas said Ramos’ conduct was unacceptable and “not protecting and serving” the public.

“Ramos had to know that he was creating a situation where Kelly Thomas feared for his life and was struggling to get away from an armed officer who going to ‘f’ him up,” Rackauckas said.

Rackauckas said he viewed a bus dept surveillance video of the beating. The video shows 16 minutes passed from the initial time of contact by police to the start of the beating and unlawful police conduct, the prosecutor said.

“It’s heart rending. It’s hard to watch and listen to. It’s a person saying he’s sorry, calling for his dad and asking for help. He seems to know that it’s over just before it is. It’s just sad. It’s heartbreaking. It’s hard to listen,” Rackauckas said of the video.

“Officer Ramos had prior contact with Kelly Thomas and he knew Kelly Thomas and who he was. He was a homeless drifter who frequented that area,” Rackauckas said.

In all, prosecutors also reviewed video from two cell phones, bus camera videos, statements by 151 witnesses, police reports written by all six officers, the coroner’s report, medical reports, and the batons and Tasers of the officers, Rackauckas said.

When asked about the charged officers’ motive, the prosecutor responded: “That’s a pretty good question. It just appears from watching the video that the officer became increasingly angered with Kelly Thomas as this goes on.”

“Ramos is accused of instructing Thomas to put his legs out straight and place his hands on his knees, but Thomas had difficulty following Ramos’ instructions,” Rackauckas said in a statement. “Thomas appeared to have cognitive issues.”

The physical altercation began at 8:52 p.m. and last nine minutes and 40 seconds until Thomas was handcuffed and no longer moving, the prosecutor said.

“Throughout the physical altercation, Thomas struggled, yelled and pleaded, ‘I can’t breathe,’ ‘I’m sorry, dude,’ ‘Please,’ ‘OK, OK,’ ‘Dad, dad,’ and ‘Dad, help me.’ Thomas was severely bleeding but the officers did not reduce their level of force. Throughout the struggle, Thomas’ actions were defensive in nature and motivated by pain and fear,” the prosecutor added in a written summary of the incident.

Responding to the altercation, Cicinelli is accused of kneeing Thomas twice in the head and using his Taser four times on him, including three times as a “drive stun,” or direct application on the skin, for about five seconds each, the prosecutor said. The fourth time was a dart deployment, in which two darts connected to wires are ejected and stick to the skin or clothing, for about 12 seconds.

“Thomas screamed and yelled in pain while being Tased,” the prosecutor’s summary said.

Cicinelli is accused of using the Taser “unreasonably and unnecessarily” because Thomas was pinned to the ground by several officers and was vulnerable with his head and face exposed, the prosecutors said.”The biggest shame about this case is the fact that it could have been avoided,” Rackauckas said in a statement. “This never had to happen, and it never should have happened.”

After announcing the charges during a press conference, Rackauckas held a private meeting with Thomas’ father, Ron, and his attorney.

After that meeting, Ron Thomas told reporters that he was “very, very happy” with the outcome of the prosecutors’ investigation.

“Tony Rackauckas made it very clear that this murder charge will not be reduced,” Thomas told reporters. “We came in here expecting the worse and got the best. He’s extremely serious about prosecuting to the fullest extent.”

Prior to the press conference, Thomas told CNN that he would like to see at least two of the six officers charged with manslaughter because, he said, “the other four weren’t as involved.”

Regarding all six officers involved in the arrest of his son, Thomas added: “They should all lose their jobs and not be allowed to work in law enforcement.”

But the prosecutor said any firing would be a decision by the Fullerton police department.

A family attorney for Thomas has already publicly released Thomas’ hospital and medical records showing that he was brain dead by the time he reached the hospital after the police altercation. Thomas had no narcotics or prescription medicine in his body, the attorney said.

According to the medical records released by the family attorney, Thomas died from brain injuries as a result of head trauma. Thomas also suffered multiple broken bones in his face and rib fractures, and he was shocked multiple times near his chest cavity and on his back with a police Taser, the family attorney said.

Thomas suffered nose and brain trauma and smashed cheekbones, according to the medical records. The family attorney accused police of using their Tasers to deliver some of the head and face blows.

The medical reports provided by the family attorney said Thomas suffered internal bleeding, and Thomas also choked on his blood, the family attorney said.

Several bystanders witnessed the encounter and others recorded portions of the beating on cell phones, according to the family attorney.

The incident began after six officers responded to reports of a man attempting to break into cars near a bus depot just blocks from Fullerton City Hall, according to police.

Following the beating, there was no evidence that vehicles were burglarized, nor was Thomas in possession of any stolen property, according to the Thomas family attorney.

Thomas was taken off life support five days after the July 5 incident.

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Mississippi TSA Assistant Federal Security Director Ruben Orlando Benitez Charged With Stabbing Death Of Co-Worker

September 20, 2011

MISSISSIPPI – One of the top federal Transportation Security Administration officials in the state of Mississippi has been arrested in connection with the killing of TSA worker Stacey Wright.

On Sunday, D’Iberville police found Wright, 43, stabbed to death in her apartment there.

Authorities said Ruben Orlando Benitez, 45, who serves as assistant federal security director for screening for the TSA in Mississippi, has been arrested.

Bond has been set for $3 million by Justice Court Judge Albert Fountain.

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Franklin County Virginia Deputy Sheriff Jonathan Agee Arrested, Charged With Murder After Following Ex-Wife With Patrol Car, Shooting And Killing Her In A Convenience Store Parking Lot – Also Shot State Trooper

June 13, 2011

ROANOKE, VIRGINIA – A county sheriff’s deputy killed his ex-wife in a convenience store parking lot Monday, then shot a Virginia state trooper before being seriously wounded himself, police said.

Roanoke Police Chief Chris Perkins told reporters Monday that a murder warrant has been received for Jonathan Agee, who is now at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital after suffering multiple gunshot wounds following a shootout with a pair of Virginia state police officers.

The bloodshed began at 11:30 a.m., when Jennifer Agee, 30, pulled into a Sheetz convenience store parking lot in Roanoke, Virginia, Perkins said. Trailing behind her in a marked Franklin County sheriff’s office car was her ex-husband, Jonathan Agee. The 32-year-old sheriff’s deputy from Boones Mill was off-duty at the time.

Perkins said that Agee and his ex-wife both got out of their cars. Jonathan Agee then shot Jennifer Agee, while another person believed to be a child sat in her vehicle, according to the police chief.

Jennifer Agee, who lived in Salem, was then taken to Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital where she died, Perkins said.

Almost immediately afterward, police issued an alert asking authorities to look out for Agee’s sheriff’s office vehicle.

Virginia State Police Superintendent Steven Flaherty said that Sgt. Matt Brannock spotted the marked car on Route 460 and followed it. At about 11:48 a.m., the two vehicles stopped at the Ironto exit ramp off I-81 ramp in Montgomery County.

There, Jonathan Agee opened fire and shot Brannock “at least once,” Flaherty said.

Two other state police officers soon arrived at the scene, exchanging fire with Agee. They subdued the suspect after shooting him “several times,” Flaherty said.

Both Brannock, a 35-year-old U.S. Air Force veteran who joined the state police force 13 years ago, and Agee were flown by helicopter to Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital. Police said the suspect’s injuries are considered life-threatening, but those suffered by the state trooper are not.

This incident tied up Memorial Day traffic in parts of western Virginia, after authorities closed several lanes on I-81 northbound to give them more space to conduct their investigation.

Those lanes reopened shortly before 7 p.m., said Virginia State Police spokewoman Corinne Geller. But in the subsequent hours, traffic still moved slowly through Montgomery County due to the earlier back-up and influx of holiday travelers.

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Former San Francisco California Transit Cop Johannes Mehserle To Be Released From Prison After Less Than 1 Year – Murdered Unarmed Man

June 12, 2011

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – A former transit police officer convicted last year in the shooting death of an unarmed man on an Oakland, California, train platform will be freed from prison early Monday morning, according to a court order.

Johannes Mehserle was sentenced to two years in prison for the involuntary manslaughter conviction, but California law gives him one day of good conduct credit for each of the 365 days he’s already served behind bars, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert Perry said in an order signed Friday.

Mehserle, a Bay Area Rapid Transit police officer when the shooting occurred, said at the trial that he intended to draw and fire his Taser rather than his gun when he fatally wounded 22-year-old Oscar Grant on New Years Day 2009.

Mehserle, who has been behind bars since a Los Angeles jury found him guilty on July 8, 2010, will be free to walk out of prison just after midnight Sunday, Perry said.

Violent protests erupted in Oakland last November when Perry sentenced Mehserle to just two years in prison, which meant he would possibly be released after another seven months.

At least 150 people were arrested during the protests, which Oakland Police Chief Anthony Batts described at the time as “tearing up the city.”

Grant’s mother, Wanda Johnson, had asked the judge to sentence Mehserle to the maximum 14 years in prison. She and four other family members who spoke at the sentencing hearing last year called him “a murderer.”

The jury acquitted him of the more serious charges of second-degree murder and voluntary manslaughter.

Although his defense attorney argued for probation, Mehserle told Perry before sentencing that he would be willing to go to prison if the sentence made his city and family safer.

“I shot a man,” he said. “I killed a man. It should not have happened.”

A conviction for involuntary manslaughter normally carries a four-year sentence, but the judge had the option of adding an “enhancement” that could have made the sentence 14 years because a firearm was used in commission of a crime.

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San Antonio Texas Police Officer Daniel Alvarado Shot And Killed Unarmed 14 Year Old Boy – Troubled Past Includes 12 Warnings And 4 Suspensions – History Of Not Following Orders

May 28, 2011

SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS – Shortly after a supervisor told Daniel Alvarado to stay with the victim of a minor assault and not search for the suspect, the school district officer ran into the backyard of a Northwest Side home with his gun drawn.

Moments later, Alvarado fired his weapon, killing an unarmed 14-year-old boy.

The November incident was not the first time the officer had ignored an order, according to records recently obtained by the San Antonio Express-News.

Since 2006, Alvarado’s supervisors at the Northside Independent School District Police Department had reprimanded or counseled him on at least 12 occasions — six for not following orders. In other cases, Alvarado failed to show up for assignments, and his bosses appeared to suspect him of lying.

Alvarado was suspended at least four times, and his supervisors warned of impending termination four times — once even recommending it.

But Alvarado, 46, never was fired. Six months after the death of student Derek Lopez, as an investigation into the shooting continues, the 17-year veteran of the Police Department remains with the school district.

For Denys Lopez Moreno, the teen’s mother, such revelations about Alvarado’s employment have compounded her grief.

“They should’ve taken action a long time ago,” Moreno said through tears. “He never followed orders. What makes you think he can deal with children?”

At school, Lopez was troubled. Expelled from elementary school, he spent years rotating through alternative schools and the county’s juvenile justice academy. He’d been disciplined for possessing drugs, assault and theft, school officials said.

But at home, his family says he was a loving child who would cook for his younger brother and sister and help them with their homework.

Moreno hired an attorney in December to investigate the shooting.

The attorney, Wally Brylak, filed actions in court to force the school district to release records, including Alvarado’s disciplinary history and a dispatch recording. He also subpoenaed witnesses for depositions, some of which contradict Alvarado’s version of events.

Reached by phone, Alvarado declined to discuss the shooting. NISD spokesman Pascual Gonzalez said the officer has been placed on administrative duty since the incident.

The San Antonio Police Department has ruled the case a justified shooting. The Bexar County district attorney’s office still is investigating.

The question of whether the shooting was justified is unrelated to the officer’s history of disobeying orders, Assistant District Attorney Cliff Herberg said. The former is a legal matter; the latter, administrative.

Gonzalez echoed the distinction in a prepared statement.

“We are aware of Officer Alvarado’s work history,” he said. “While there are some documented incidents, it’s important to note that they were administrative in nature, and had nothing to do with student safety.”

But David Klinger, a former police officer who’s now a professor of criminology and an expert in the use of deadly force, was surprised by Alvarado’s disciplinary history.

“It sounds like they knew this guy was a problem,” Klinger said. “If someone’s insubordinate in a bunch of circumstances, it’s logical to believe they’ll be insubordinate in an important circumstance.”

He added, “Mercifully, from what I know, these are rare. Most of the time when an officer has a problem following an order or doing their job, they get counseled so they learn how to do their job.

“If they don’t, at some point they’re terminated.”

‘Stay with the victim’

Recorded in depositions, witnesses’ recollections offer a closer look at the Nov. 12 incident.

About 4:30 p.m., at Vista West Drive and Hunt Lane, a 13-year-old student from the Bexar County Juvenile Justice Academy was talking on a cell phone at a bus stop when Lopez, one of his classmates, punched him in the face.

“He just hit me once,” the boy said in his deposition. “It wasn’t a fight. It was nothing.”

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Veteran Defending His Home Didn’t Shoot At Tucson Arizona Police, But Was Shot 60 Times By SWAT Team During “Drug Raid” – Nothing Illegal Found In His Home

May 27, 2011

TUCSON, ARIZONA – A U.S. Marine who died in a flurry of bullets during a drug raid near Tucson never fired on the SWAT team that stormed his house, a report by the Pima County Sheriff’s Department shows.

The revelation was contained in an internal investigation released by the department Thursday.

Jose Guerena died May 5 after a SWAT team descended on his home in a Tucson suburb with a search warrant. His home was one of four believed to be associated with a drug smuggling operation in the area.

A video released Thursday by the sheriff’s department shows the uniformed SWAT team pulling up outside his house, sounding their sirens, banging on the front door — before kicking it in — and opening fire shortly after entering the home.

Officers fired more than 70 shots, the investigation showed. Deputies said they opened fire after Guerena, 26, gestured at them with an AR-15 — a semiautomatic rifle.

Some of the officers said they believed that Guerena fired on them, but the investigation showed that no shots were fired from the weapon and it was never taken off the safety position.

Initial news reports indicated that he had been struck by more than 60 bullets. However, CNN has seen an initial report from the medical examiner that details 22 bullet wounds.

A lawyer representing the deputies defended their actions.

“They absolutely responded how they were trained. They responded within Arizona laws, within the law throughout the nation,” attorney Mike Storie said.

“If you are faced with that type of deadly threat, you’re allowed to respond.”

Guerena served in Iraq and was discharged from the Marines five years ago. He was working for a mining company in the Tucson area.

But authorities allege he also was involved in drug smuggling, strong-armed robberies and human smuggling.

A search of the home after the shooting revealed nothing illegal, although officers found weapons and body armor.

The five deputies involved in the shooting remain on active duty. No criminal charges have been filed and no disciplinary action taken.

The findings of the investigation are detailed in a five-inch thick report, including a 60-page statement from Guerena’s wife, Vanessa, who was in the home at the time of the shooting along with a young son.

In addition to the video, the sheriff’s department also released audio of Guerena calling 911 to get medical attention for her husband. Audio of the SWAT team’s radio conversations was also included.

She has retained a lawyer, but no legal action has been taken.

“We just learned that the sheriff’s department has released voluminous amounts of information in respect to this incident,” said Guerena attorney Chris Scileppi. “We will review the documents and CDs, and will make ourselves available for comment in the near future.”

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Two New York City Police Officers With Past Whore Hiring Issues Suspected In Long Island Serial Prostitute Killings

May 15, 2011

NEW, YORK, NEW YORK – Two NYPD cops are being eyed in the Long Island serial slayings after investigators learned they got into trouble for hiring prostitutes while working for the department, according to sources familiar with the probe.

One cop was forced out of the job in the 1990s when his supervisors learned he spent time pursuing hookers and paying street walkers and down-and-out women for sex while he was supposed to be on patrol.

An internal investigation led to his resigning under pressure, one source said.

The other officer still works for the NYPD but was stripped of his gun and badge years ago because he allegedly assaulted a prostitute and got arrested during a sting operation.
MYSTERY:One retired and one working NYPD cop — both with past troubles involving prostitutes — are being eyed in the ongoing investigation of the serial killings of call girls Maureen Brainard-Barnes (above), Megan Waterman, Amber Lynn Costello and Melissa Barthelemy.
MYSTERY:One retired and one working NYPD cop — both with past troubles involving prostitutes — are being eyed in the ongoing investigation of the serial killings of call girls Maureen Brainard-Barnes (above), Megan Waterman, Amber Lynn Costello and Melissa Barthelemy.

The woman complained to police supervisors about the officer but no criminal charges were filed and an internal probe went nowhere, sources said.

The patrolman was allowed to return to the force, they said, though he was placed on modified duty — transferred to a paper-pushing job in Manhattan where he’s not allowed to make arrests or respond to emergencies.

“They couldn’t prove anything, but they didn’t trust him,” said one source.

It’s unclear if the disgraced cops know each other or what evidence investigators might have against them in the serial murders.

The Suffolk County Police Department would not comment for this story, and prosecutors did not return messages.

Sources said Suffolk County detectives began looking at the NYPD cops last month after determining the killer likely worked in law enforcement or was familiar with police techniques.

They’ve focused on how the murderer abducted his victims and if he used insider knowledge to avoid being detected.

Investigators suspect the killer hired the hookers through Craigslist, using a disposable and untraceable cellphone to make appointments.

He also used the cellphone of one victim to call and taunt the woman’s teenage sister after he’d abducted her.

Cops traced two of those calls — to Midtown and Massapequa, LI, which is not far from where the killer ditched the bodies of four hookers just off sand-swept Ocean Parkway near Gilgo Beach.

He’d strangled them, removed all their clothing and wrapped the corpses in burlap sacks before leaving the bodies in thick brush off the desolate causeway.

The four call girls found last year have been identified as Amber Lynn Costello, 27, of North Babylon, LI; Megan Waterman, 22, of Scarborough, Maine; Melissa Barthelemy, 24, who went missing from The Bronx; and Maureen Brainard-Barnes, 25, of Norwich, Conn.

The cops are not the sole focus of the investigation, which has expanded over the last several weeks, sources said.

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San Fernando Mexico Police Officer Joel Resendiz-Moreno Arrested For Role In Kidnapping And Murder Of 145 Bus Passengers

April 22, 2011

SAN FERNANDO, MEXICO – A San Fernando police officer found himself on the other side of the law.

Mexican authorities have arrested officer Joel Resendiz-Moreno for allegedly participating in the kidnapping and murder of 145 bus passengers.

Mexico’s Attorney General Office (PGR) announced the arrest on Thursday evening.

Details have not been released about Resendiz-Moreno’s exact role in the case but PGR officials are expecting to take his statement and possibly file formal charges.

PGR officials are asking anyone who may have been a victim of Resendez-Moreno to come forward.

A total of 68 people have been arrested for the San Fernando massacres but the PGR reports only 55 have been arraigned or formally charged at this time.

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