Latest News

Texas day of remembrance would mark Dallas police shooting

PoliceOne - Wed, 04/26/2017 - 07:23

Author: PoliceOne Sponsors

Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas — The anniversary of five Dallas police officers killed during a downtown shooting would be commemorated as "Fallen Law Enforcement Officer Day" under a bill tentatively approved by the House.

The measure approved Tuesday would designate July 7 as a day to honor officers in Texas killed in the line of duty. Law enforcement groups say nearly 1,900 officers in Texas history have died on the job.

An Army veteran opened fire on Dallas police during a protest march last summer. It marked the deadliest day for U.S. law enforcement since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. In all, 12 officers were shot.

The Senate approved a similar measure in March.


Categories: Latest News

Chicago passes 1K gunshot victims for the year

PoliceOne - Wed, 04/26/2017 - 07:04

Author: PoliceOne Sponsors

By Heather Schroering, Rosemary Regina Sobol and Elvia Malagon Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO — Two people were killed and five others were wounded over a single hour in Chicago on Monday as the number of gunshot victims this year passed the 1,000 mark.

The city reached the grim milestone four days later than last year, which saw the worst gun violence in two decades, according to data kept by the Tribune.

As of Tuesday morning, at least 1,008 had been shot in Chicago this year. Last year, the city passed the 1,000 mark on April 20.

There have been at least 182 homicides this year, just two fewer than this time last year, according to Tribune data.

Propelling the numbers was a burst of violence over the weekend that continued into the beginning of the week.

Seven people were killed and 31 others were wounded over the weekend. Ten of the shootings occurred over seven hours Sunday, according to police.

From Monday morning through early Tuesday, three people were fatally shot and 13 others were wounded. That includes five double shootings on the South Side.

One of the double shootings took place in the Englewood neighborhood and left a 19-year-old man dead.

The man and a 17-year-old boy were shot while they were walking in the 6900 block of South Honore Street about 7:30 p.m., police said.

The shooter got out of a black car and opened fire at them, police said. The 19-year-old man was hit in the chest and was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, where he was pronounced dead.

The 17-year-old was shot in the buttocks and leg. His condition was stabilized at the same hospital, police said.

On the West Side a minute after the shooting on Honore, a 31-year-old man was shot in the head while driving an SUV, in the 2900 block of West Washington Boulevard in the East Garfield Park neighborhood, police said.

He crashed into a parked Hyundai Sonata, then hit a Chevrolet Malibu that had been traveling west, police said.

The man suffered gunshot wounds to the head and was pronounced dead at the scene.

A 31-year-old man who was a passenger in the Malibu was taken to Norwegian American Hospital for minor injuries.

Around 2:25 p.m. on the South Side, a 55-year-old man was shot in the face and chest in the 6900 block of South Dorchester Avenue in the Grand Crossing neighborhood. He was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where he died, police said.

Officers responding to a call of a person shot found the man unresponsive in the stairwell of a building.

———

©2017 the Chicago Tribune

Visit the Chicago Tribune at www.chicagotribune.com


Categories: Latest News

Courthouse annex named for slain Texas lawman

PoliceOne - Wed, 04/26/2017 - 06:56

Author: PoliceOne Sponsors

By Mihir Zaveri Houston Chronicle

HOUSTON — Within weeks, new signs on a courthouse annex in Baytown will bear the name of the Harris County lawman whose ambush and murder there earlier this month sparked a massive manhunt that sent law enforcement in Houston reeling.

At an emotional meeting Tuesday with dozens packed into the Harris County Commissioners Court chambers, the commissioners voted to name the courthouse annex at 701 W. Baker Road after Chief Deputy Constable Clint Greenwood, who was killed there on April 3.

"We're renaming this courthouse not because of the tragedy that took place there, but because of the incredible life that Chief Greenwood led and the inspiration that he provided to so many people," said Precinct 2 Commissioner Jack Morman, whose precinct encompasses Baytown.

Widow thankful

Greenwood's widow, Leatha Greenwood, fought back tears as she thanked commissioners, and described the cards, texts, emails and fundraisers from friends and strangers alike that have poured in after Greenwood's killing.

"We're still reading the cards and letters," she said. "It's our intention to thank everyone, one by one, to thank the investigators, some who worked 24-hour-plus shifts to Harris County officials who vowed to seek justice, to the officers that guarded our home and Clint's body around-the-clock and to the Commissioners Court. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for honoring Clinton Francis Greenwood."

He was shot to death, moments after pulling into the parking lot of the annex where he worked for the Precinct 3 constable's office.

His ambush sparked a massive, week-long manhunt for Greenwood's killer. The investigation eventually found that the man identified as his killer, William Kenny, 64, fatally shot himself in the head about 8 a.m. April 4 near Ben Taub General Hospital with a gun just like the one he used to kill the lawman.

Help offered

The constable's work gave investigators a long list of people with possible grudges against him, and Greenwood had reported to a county official just days before he was killed that he felt threatened by a man he had once prosecuted. Kenny was none of those.

Greenwood, 57, spent decades working as a defense attorney, prosecutor and peace officer in Harris County, earning the respect of a wide swath of the local criminal justice community. Before joining the constable's office, he worked as a major in the Harris County Sheriff's Office.

He also worked as a prosecutor in the Harris County District Attorney's Office overseeing the Police Integrity Unit and as a reserve deputy for 20 years.

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett said the county was indebted to Greenwood for his long service to local government.

"Rest assured that all of Harris County will consider the Greenwood family as ours for years to come," Emmett said to Leatha Grenwood at the meeting Tuesday. "Do not hesitate to call upon any part of this county at any time in the future, even if it's 20, 30, 40 years from now."

———

©2017 the Houston Chronicle


Categories: Latest News

Judge cites Trump's comment in 'sanctuary city' ruling

PoliceOne - Wed, 04/26/2017 - 06:45

Author: PoliceOne Sponsors

By Sudhin Thanawala Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO — For the third time in two months, a federal judge has knocked down an immigration order by President Donald Trump and used Trump's own language against him.

In a ruling on Tuesday, U.S. District Judge William Orrick quoted Trump to support his decision to block the president's order to withhold funding from "sanctuary cities" that do not cooperate with U.S. immigration officials.

Trump called the sanctuary cities order a "weapon" against communities that disagree with his preferred immigration policy, Orrick said. The judge also cited a February interview in which he said the president threatened to cut off funding to California, saying the state "in many ways is out of control."

The first comment was evidence that the administration intended the executive order to apply broadly to all sorts of federal funding, and not a relatively small pot of grant money as the Department of Justice had argued, the judge said.

The second statement showed the two California governments that sued to block the order — San Francisco and Santa Clara County — had good reason to believe they would be targeted, Orrick said.

Orrick's ruling was another immigration policy setback for the administration as it approaches its 100th day in office later this month. The sanctuary city order was among a flurry of immigration measures Trump signed in January, including a ban on travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries and a directive calling for a wall on the Mexican border.

Trump reacted to the decision on Twitter on Wednesday morning, calling the decision "ridiculous" and saying he would take his fight to the highest court, tweeting: "See you in the Supreme Court."

Trump tweeted: "First the Ninth Circuit rules against the ban & now it hits again on sanctuary cities-both ridiculous rulings."

Trump tweeted that the 9th circuit has "a terrible record of being overturned (close to 80 percent)."

He said, "They used to call this 'judge shopping!' Messy system." That was apparently a reference to the 9th circuit's liberal reputation and rulings that have often irked conservatives."

Trump's words were also cited by federal judges in Maryland and Hawaii, who last month blocked his revised ban on new visas for people from six Muslim-majority countries. U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson in Hawaii and U.S. District Judge Theodore Chuang in Maryland said comments by Trump supported the allegation that the ban was aimed at Muslims.

Orrick's preliminary injunction against the sanctuary cities order will stay in place while the lawsuits by San Francisco and Santa Clara work their way through court.

The government hasn't cut off any money yet or declared any communities sanctuary cities. But the Justice Department sent letters last week advising communities to prove they are in compliance. California was informed it could lose $18.2 million.

Orrick said Trump cannot set new conditions on spending approved by Congress.

Even if the president could do so, those conditions would have to be clearly related to the funds at issue and not coercive, as the executive order appeared to be, Orrick said.

White House chief of staff Reince Priebus described the ruling as another example of the "9th Circuit going bananas."

The administration has often criticized the 9th circuit. Orrick does not sit on that court but his district is in the territory of the appeals court, which has ruled against one version of Trump's travel ban.

"The idea that an agency can't put in some reasonable restriction on how some of these moneys are spent is something that will be overturned eventually, and we will win at the Supreme Court level at some point," Priebus said.

The Trump administration says sanctuary cities allow dangerous criminals back on the street and that the order is needed to keep the country safe. San Francisco and other sanctuary cities say turning local police into immigration officers erodes the trust that is needed to get people to report crime.

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera praised the ruling and said the president was "forced to back down."

"This is why we have courts — to halt the overreach of a president and an attorney general who either don't understand the Constitution or chose to ignore it," Herrera said in a statement.


Categories: Latest News

Number of Dallas officers at lowest level in a decade

PoliceOne - Wed, 04/26/2017 - 02:00
Author: PoliceOne Sponsors

Associated Press

DALLAS — The number of police officers serving Dallas has fallen to its lowest level in about a decade while the department also is falling short of its goal for new hires, the interim police chief told a city council committee.

Chief David Pughes said Monday that the number of officers on the force is 3,077. That's down from nearly 3,700 officers some six years ago.

He said the department will be short-staffed as the summer approaches and crime generally increases.

Concerns over the failing Dallas Police and Fire Pension System have led many officers to retire at a rate faster than the department can hire and train new ones, The Dallas Morning News reports.

Dallas so far this year has lost 244 officers, many of whom had more than 20 years of experience. Officials believe another 120 will leave by the end of September.

Pughes said he's considering hiring many of those retired officers to temporarily bolster patrol numbers.

"I'm actually excited about the possibility of bringing retirees back in whatever capacity they can work," Pughes said.

The move could be a short-term remedy in the face of fewer new hires than hoped. The department so far this year has hired just 80 officers and expects to add about 200 by year's end, far below a target of around 450, the newspaper reported.

The hiring rate is surprising in light of a surfeit of applications in the wake of the July sniper shootings during a downtown protest where five officers were killed and nine others wounded. The department said job applications more than quadrupled in the two weeks following the shootings.

David Brown, who was police chief before retiring in October, at the time had urged those protesting police actions to help change law enforcement from within by applying to become a cop.

Despite the rise in applications, a rigorous hiring and training process results in many applicants being dropped from consideration.


Categories: Latest News

Police capture cat, rattlesnake showdown in viral photo

PoliceOne - Tue, 04/25/2017 - 11:14

By PoliceOne Staff

LAGUNA VISTA, Texas — Police captured an unlikely showdown between a massive rattlesnake and a cat in a photo that’s gone viral on social media.

Laguna Vista police were called to a trail Thursday after the Bay Area Birders spotted the snake, the department wrote on Facebook. When they arrived, the rattlesnake was in the strike position while a cat sat unbothered a couple feet away.

“We ask that you all use caution and are aware of your surroundings when walking on the walking trail or any other locations,” the department wrote. “Snakes may be active most of the day during the spring, and during the early mornings and late afternoons throughout the summer. Please be careful!”

After snapping a photo, officers detained the snake. The cat fled. There’s no word if the reptile was released.


Categories: Latest News

SCOTUS judge: 'Disturbing trend' of siding with police in UOF cases

PoliceOne - Tue, 04/25/2017 - 11:09

By PoliceOne Staff

WASHINGTON — In an opinion published Monday, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor said there’s a “disturbing trend” in the courts of siding with police officers in use of force cases.

Sotomayor, along with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, argued the court should have accepted Richardo Salazar-Limon’s case rather than taking the dismissal of a federal district judge. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit upheld the decision.

Salazar-Limon was shot in the back by Officer Chris Thompson in 2010, the Washington Post reported. Thompson stopped Salazar-Limon on a drunken driving suspicion and a struggle ensued when Thompson attempted to handcuff Salazar-Limon. Thompson told the suspect to stop walking back to his car and drew his gun.

Salazar-Limon said Thompson shot him in the back almost immediately after drawing his weapon According to the Washington Post, Thompson said Salazar-Limon went for his waistband and Thompson thought he had a weapon, so he fired. No weapon was found on Salazar-Limon.

Sotomayor said the decision to not take the case “continues a disturbing trend regarding the use of this court’s resources.”

“We have not hesitated to summarily reverse courts for wrongly denying officers the protection of qualified immunity in cases involving the use of force,” Sotomayor said. “But we rarely intervene where courts wrongly afford officers the benefit of qualified immunity in these same cases.”

She said it was clear that “our legal system does not entrust the resolution of this dispute to a judge faced with competing affidavits. The evenhanded administration of justice does not permit such a shortcut.”

Justices Samuel A. Alito Jr. and Clarence Thomas said in a rebuttal that while Sotomayor cited five cases, there was no published dissent in all but one case.

She “has not identified a single case in which we failed to grant a similar petition filed by an alleged victim of unconstitutional police conduct,” Alito Jr. wrote.


Categories: Latest News

Toy given to cop as safety talisman travels around the country

PoliceOne - Tue, 04/25/2017 - 10:49

Associated Press

CINCINNATI — Police in Ohio have received a stuffed toy given by a child to a Pennsylvania police officer to help keep him safe.

The Cincinnati Enquirer reports a stuffed moose called Mr. Moosey has become a traveling protection talisman sent to police and other first responder agencies around the country.

The toy was first given to Towamencin, Pennsylvania, police officer James Gibbas by 5-year-old Mackenzie Brown last year during a traffic stop. The child said she wanted the officer to have it to help keep him safe.

Gibbas kept it for a while before deciding it should be shared with other law enforcement agencies and fire departments around the country.

The toy has made its way to states including Illinois, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

(function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.3"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));

Mr Moosey had another busy day today! He visited a local news channel and gave his own interview. Then he made his way...

Posted by Mr Moosey's World Tour on Friday, April 21, 2017


Categories: Latest News

Sheriffs: Raise pot tax, use money for addiction treatment

PoliceOne - Tue, 04/25/2017 - 10:46

By Bob Salsberg Associated Press

BOSTON — Sheriffs urged state lawmakers Monday to boost the tax consumers will pay on recreational marijuana and earmark the additional revenue for substance abuse prevention and treatment.

The proposal was discussed at the final hearing of a special legislative committee that was set up to review the marijuana law voters approved in November. The panel is expected to issue recommendations by June.

"Not everyone will smoke responsibly, much in the same way many people don't drink responsibly," said Hampshire County Sheriff Patrick Cahillane, who predicted an uptick in addiction and more arrests from driving under the influence of marijuana.

The law currently calls for a 3.75 percent excise tax on retail marijuana sales, expected to begin in mid-2018. The excise would be imposed on top of the state's regular 6.25 percent sales tax, and local communities would have the option of tacking on an additional 2 percent tax.

The Massachusetts tax would be lower than those imposed in several Western states, including Colorado, Oregon and Washington, that previously legalized recreational marijuana.

Sen. Patricia Jehlen, co-chairwoman of the Legislature's Marijuana Policy Committee, said she believed many lawmakers were receptive to the idea of earmarking some revenue from pot taxes to addiction prevention and treatment. But Jehlen has been skeptical of boosting taxes, arguing they should be low enough to entice consumers to purchase the drug legally and not continue relying on the underground market.

Cahillane and Hampden County Sheriff Nicholas Cocchi said nine of the state's 14 sheriffs are sponsoring a proposal that would boost the pot excise tax by 5 percent.

Advocates of legal marijuana have disputed claims that marijuana can be addictive or serve as a gateway drug to opioids and other more dangerous substances.

Jehlen said she's seen no evidence of a surge in addiction in other states that have legalized recreational marijuana.

Cocchi clarified: "I'm not saying everyone who smokes a joint is going to become an addict." But he pointed to his own experience of trying to cope with substance abuse through the county correctional system and the lack of financial resources available from the state to deal with the crisis.

"Let's earmark that money ... and start to make a dent in the substantial lack of services around the commonwealth," he said.


Categories: Latest News

Ind. court rules officer wounded in shootout can't sue gun seller

PoliceOne - Tue, 04/25/2017 - 10:30

Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Supreme Court has ruled that a wounded police officer can't sue a sporting goods store that sold a handgun that was later used to wound him.

The Indianapolis Star reports the court on Monday dismissed Indianapolis Officer Dwayne Runnels' lawsuit claiming damages against Indianapolis-based KS&E Sports and the store's owner. Indiana law gives gun sellers significant immunity.

The lawsuit was filed after Runnels was wounded in a 2011 shootout during which Demetrious Martin was killed. The lawsuit argues KS&E Sports improperly sold the gun to a man who then illegally sold it to Martin, who as a convicted felon is barred from possessing firearms.

The state appeals court had sided last year with Runnels' argument that the store didn't exercise reasonable care in selling the gun.


Categories: Latest News

Facing massive officer shortage, Ariz. agencies looking to hire hundreds

PoliceOne - Tue, 04/25/2017 - 09:46

By PoliceOne Staff

PHOENIX — Citing “trying times” and public perceptions, agencies in Arizona are seeking to hire hundreds of officers and state troopers.

The Maricopa County Sheriffs Office, Arizona Department of Public Safety and the Phoenix Police Department are reaching out to their communities, military bases and other states to fill more than 800 vacancies, ABC15 reported.

Col. Frank Milstead said hiring freezes and budget cuts have added to the shortage. Officers were hired in large numbers in the 80s, but they’re now retiring, leaving vacancies that are hard to fill.

“We are facing trying times, we are depleted of resources,” Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone said. “Right now it's been harder for us to recruit. In a sense, because there's been a lot of negativity around law enforcement.”

Penzone said changes in public perceptions of law enforcement have altered the way agencies recruit. Newly-hired officers will be trained more in community policing in order to strengthen trust in their communities, according to the news station.

The Phoenix Police Department said they’re hoping to fill 400 spots by next year, while the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office said they have 277 vacancies for corrections officers and 89 open positions for officers and deputies. Milstead told ABC15 that the Arizona Department of Public Safety has “somewhere around 165 to 185 open trooper positions, and about the same number of professional staff we're hiring.”

The extreme shortage has led to the restructuring of agencies. Phoenix police have pulled officers from “specialty” assignments and assigned them to patrol.

Recruiters said they are willing to pay for applicants’ higher education and training, and there’s no age cut off. Recruits need to pass the physical fitness test.


Categories: Latest News

Sheriff: Suspect opened fire on Texas deputy’s children, home in 'attack'

PoliceOne - Tue, 04/25/2017 - 09:44

By PoliceOne Staff

GILMER, Texas — A sheriff is asking for the public’s help in finding the suspect who opened fire on an Upshur County sheriff deputy’s home, patrol car and personal car.

Sheriff Larry Webb said the deputy was off-duty at home with her two children Saturday when someone fire multiple rounds at her home and cars, the Longview News-Journal reported.

One round came into the home and got caught in the clothing of one of her children. Another hit a chair the child was sitting in near the window. Both children were uninjured.

Upshur Co. Deputy's vehicle was shot at, Saturday. Sheriff Webb says they won't stop investigating till the person[s] is found @kytxcbs19 pic.twitter.com/Cg3SZyX2O8

— Tristan Hardy (@TristanOnCamera) April 24, 2017

“Due to the amount of damage done to the patrol car, investigators are looking into the likelihood of a retaliation motive on the part of the persons having recent interaction with the Upshur County Sheriff’s Office or one of its deputies,” Webb told the publication.

While he declined to identify the deputy, a two-year veteran, and the names of persons of interest, Webb said the suspects were in a brown or tan car.

He said the department has a witness who saw the entire incident. A deputy has been stationed at the officer’s house for added protection. Webb told KLTV this was an attack on law enforcement.

“It was an attack on the county as a whole, and the state of Texas,”Webb said. “This is not going to be tolerated, and we are going to prosecute these folks to the extent of the law.”


Categories: Latest News

Cops involved in Tamir Rice shooting tell their stories in newly-released videos

PoliceOne - Tue, 04/25/2017 - 06:52

By Leila Atassi Advance Ohio Media

CLEVELAND — Two and a half years after 12-year-old Tamir Rice was shot and killed by a Cleveland police officer, cleveland.com has obtained the videos - never before seen publicly -- of investigative interviews with the officers involved, Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback.

The interviews, conducted within days of the Nov. 22, 2014 shooting outside Cudell Recreation Center, include details not previously reported of the events and offer new insight into the mindsets of the officers.

The videos also reveal some inconsistencies with the story Loehmann later told a grand jury in his written statement. Until now, that statement and Garmback's offered the only public accounting from the officers' perspectives. The grand jury eventually declined to indict the officers. But the city has introduced administrative charges, unrelated to the shooting itself, that could cost Loehmann and Garmback their jobs.

In agreeing to be interviewed on camera by homicide detectives and internal affairs officers, Garmback and Loehmann invoked their so-called Garrity rights, which protect public employees from incriminating themselves in statements to their employer.

The videos, posted here in their entirety, depict the officers - one emotional, one stoic -- in the aftermath of the shooting.

Here are some key moments.

Garmback's interview:

Garmback told investigators that on the day of the shooting, he and Loehmann volunteered to help field the 911 call about a guy brandishing a gun in a park outside the recreation center.

As they hurried to the location, Garmback drilled his rookie trainee on how to handle a "gun run."

"[Loehmann] said, 'I would get out of the car. I'd get in a certain stance,'" Garmback later recalled for investigators. "I stopped him at that point and said, 'This is a gun run. Be prepared for the worst-case scenario. Have your gun unholstered already on your lap.'"

Garmback went on to explain to Loehmann that they would drive their vehicle "the back way" through the grassy park, which would put the cruiser near the swings - the spot where the gunman was reported to be - to limit the suspect's possibilities for escape.

Garmback faces administrative charges for driving too close to Tamir while responding to what the officer believed to be an armed suspect.

Garmback wept several times during his interview - recalling his realization that Tamir was a boy, the way Tamir looked as he lost consciousness and how long it took rescuers to arrive.

"He's barely breathing, and there's no rescue squad here," Garmback said. "Finally, I'm holding [pressure on the wound]. ... Then [firefighters] come up. And they're walking so slow. Other units are telling them to hurry up, get over there. They still walk slow."

Loehmann's interview:

Loehmann said that he opened his car door slightly when the cruiser was about 30 yards from Tamir, presented his weapon and started yelling: "Put your hands in the air! Let me see your weapon! Freeze!"

This account is inconsistent with his written statement to the grand jury, in which he said he hadn't opened the door and begun yelling until the car was rolling to a stop. (Read the officers' written statements in the document viewers below.)

An internal affairs investigator questioned Loehmann about the mechanics of holding open the passenger-side door of a moving vehicle, while also holding a gun in his dominant right hand.

Loehmann described the crouching posture he had to assume on the door's threshold to be "prepared for anything."

"The threat just became incredible," Loehmann said. "I had to make the decision fast because Frank and I were in immediate danger. If the subject did pull out the gun and point it towards us, I would have been shot and possibly my partner. ... Plus, I was stuck in the doorway and my partner was still seated in the driver's seat. So we were basically sitting ducks."

Loehmann's use of deadly force was found to have been justified under the circumstances. But he faces discipline for failing to note on his Cleveland police application that his short stint at the Independence Police Department had ended with a series of incidents that Loehmann's superiors believed demonstrated his emotional instability.

Attorney Subodh Chandra, who represents the family of Tamir Rice, said in an email Friday that the videos "raise the stakes" for the pending charges against the officers.

"As public anguish regarding young Tamir's slaying continues, the physically impossible accounts and inconsistencies the officers offer in their video-recorded interviews raise the stakes for this last chance at public accountability through the absurdly delayed discipline process," Chandra said.

In an interview Monday, Steve Loomis, president of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association, blamed politics for the delay and the administrative charges brought against the officers, who, Loomis maintained, did nothing wrong.

"There is such a thirst for blood on this, and they are looking for every possible reason to fire them," Loomis said. "And it's because politics demand it. It's an election year -- damn the facts. We're not saying [Tamir's death] wasn't an absolute tragedy. But it was justified use of deadly force. Unfortunate, but justified."

———

©2017 Advance Ohio Media, Cleveland


Categories: Latest News

3 arrested after mob attacks officers at Calif. college event

PoliceOne - Tue, 04/25/2017 - 06:47

By Cathy Locke The Sacramento Bee

DAVIS, Calif. — Three men were arrested following an attack on Davis police officers who encountered a group of people blocking traffic on a busy roadway during Saturday's Picnic Day at UC Davis.

The annual campus open house has become known in recent years for violence and drunken mayhem, mainly on the streets of the normally quiet college town.

The latest incident occurred abut 3:30 p.m. Saturday, when three Davis police officers traveling on Russell Boulevard in an unmarked police vehicle encountered a large group of people in the roadway, blocking traffic, according to a Police Department news release.

One officer was in uniform with a visible badge. The other two were in plain clothes, but with badges clearly displayed on their chests and with police weapons visible, the news release said.

Traffic on Russell Boulevard was nearly gridlocked at the time because of Picnic Day activities and several large parties in the area. Because the group presented safety hazards, the officers pulled near the group to take action, according to police.

A hostile group quickly surrounded the vehicle. Several people began yelling threats at the officers in the car, and one person pretended he was pulling a gun on the officers, the news release said.

As the officers got out of the car and began to identify themselves as police, two officers were attacked by several people and beaten on the ground. Police reported that the officers were kicked and punched in the head, and one officer was struck on the side of the head with a bottle.

As they were being assaulted, the officers could see people in the crowd taking video of the attack on their cell phones, according to the news release.

The officers fought back and called for help. Two of the officers were taken to the Sutter Davis Hospital emergency room for treatment. One suffered injuries to his eye and face, and the other was treated for a bleeding head wound caused by a bottle, the news release said.

Arrested were Alexander Reide Craver, 22, and Elijah James Williams, 19, both of West Sacramento, and Antwoine Rashadek Perry, 21, of Elk Grove. All were booked into Yolo County Jail.

Craver was arrested on suspicion of aggravated battery, assaulting a peace officer, felony obstruction of a peace officer and assault with a deadly weapon. Perry was arrested on suspicion of aggravated battery and felony obstruction of a peace officer, and Williams, on suspicion of assault on a peace officer, aggravated battery, assault with a deadly weapon, and felony obstruction of a peace officer.

Police ask anyone with cell phone video or information regarding the incident to call the Davis Police Department’s investigations unit at 530-747-5400.

———

©2017 The Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, Calif.)


Categories: Latest News

Houston PD's oldest 'rookie' works her way back on force

PoliceOne - Tue, 04/25/2017 - 02:00

By Mike Glenn Houston Chronicle

HOUSTON — It was a bit of a deja vu for Wendy Caldwell when Police Chief Art Acevedo pinned on the badge at her graduation ceremony last month from the Houston Police Academy.

Almost 25 years ago, former Houston police chief Sam Nuchia welcomed her to the force after her first graduation. She worked five years as a police officer before deciding to stay home with her children.

Now, at 53, Caldwell's returns makes her the oldest person ever to graduate from the physically taxing six-month Houston Police Academy.

"Coming back after 18 years, it was, 'This is do or die. I've got one shot at this," the mother of two teenagers said. "It's not easy but I had to do this."

Houston police officials said they are glad Caldwell returned to the force. Caldwell, who originally graduated in July 1993, first served as a night shift patrol officer at the department's Central Division and later with HPD's mounted patrol.

"Her previous experience, knowledge and skill that she brings back to the department are a valuable asset and we're happy that she has chosen to once again join HPD," said Assistant Chief Wendy Baimbridge.

Caldwell was more determined this time around. She said she was also better prepared mentally for the academy.

"But physically, it was much harder. Not because of my age but because HPD has ramped up its (physical training) program tremendously," she said. "When you're 53 and competing with kids that are 20 and 30 years younger than you, it was pretty challenging."

When you're in your 50s, Caldwell said, it just isn't as easy to recover from an intense police academy workout session. In fact, Caldwell broke a femur bone toward the end of her training during an intense exercise called Red Man where cadets simulate a foot chase followed by a full-on fight with an instructor covered in red protective pads.

"I lived with Ben Gay and ice bags and ibuprofen," she said with a laugh. "Sometimes it was a 'Two Aleve and four Tylenol' day."

Several of her fellow cadets called Caldwell 'mom' during the training. They were protective and encouraging of their more senior counterpart, and could tell she struggled with physical ailments the entire time.

"They saw that I wasn't going to slack off and just skate through the academy," she said.

No regrets

Although learning the department's computer system was a challenge - in "her day," every report was written by hand - Caldwell said she had no problems in the academy classrooms or on the driving and shooting ranges.

She hung up her Houston police uniform to stay home with daughter Reagan, now 18, and son Dillon, 17. Her former husband also was a Houston police officer and Caldwell said she didn't want their children to spend so much time in day care.

"It was on my accord and I chose to leave," Caldwell said. "I don't regret it at all."

Caldwell ran a busy household when she left the department with children born a mere 15 months apart. She home schooled them for their first eight years until they moved into the public school system.

"I told people it was harder to be a stay-at-home mom than to be a cop," Caldwell said. "I honestly thought I'd never come back."

She still kept fit in her civilian life. Once her children were in public school, Caldwell developed what she called a "really serious tennis habit," and also played in a softball league with several law enforcement officers as teammates.

'Kind of a catalyst'

After 18 years away, she had made her peace with being a former Houston police officer. Then her marriage fell apart.

"It was a kind of a catalyst," Caldwell said. "What are you going to do that's going to provide you with enough income to support your kids?"

What she went through is not that unusual, said Jill Hickman, who runs a company that, among other things, coaches women returning to the workforce.

"What took her out of the work place is very similar to what is bringing her back," Hickman said of family obligations.

Some women go back to work by choice while others do not have any other option and must earn a paycheck, she said. Women with younger children often decide to stay home because of the high costs of day care.

"They'd have to take three jobs instead of one," Hickman said.

Hickman applauded Caldwell's regular physical activity over the years. She encouraged women in her position to take every opportunity for self-improvement, such as enrolling in online courses if they struggle to leave the house because of small children. It will eventually pay off, she said.

"Where I am today may not be where I am tomorrow," Hickman said.

After her divorce last year, Caldwell began asking some of her law enforcement softball teammates about possibly returning to the Houston Police Department. The cut-off age to enter is 44, but because she had already served, that wasn't an obstacle. A break in service of more than five years, however, means officers have to complete the academy again.

"They were skeptical about whether I could do it. But I was still there week after week, giving it my 100 percent," she said.

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Chief Art Acevedo addresses Cadet Class 232 on the first day

Posted by Houston Police Department on Monday, April 3, 2017 Same badge number

Caldwell said her fellow cadets were far more mature than those from 1993. Several were combat veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan and one had joined HPD after a full 20-year career in the U.S. Marine Corps. Still another was a former Army captain who had graduated from West Point.

"The hardest part was mentally getting over the fact that I had to do the academy again," Caldwell said. "But if these guys can do this, certainly I can."

Caldwell thought the leg break during the grueling Red Man exercise would have ended her plans to restart a law enforcement career, but luckily, the HPD brass allowed her to graduate with her peers.

She's on desk duty as her leg recovers, but looks forward to returning to the streets. When she left the force the first time, Caldwell asked the department not to assign her old badge number to anyone else.

"When I came back, I got my original badge number back - 5645," she said.

———

©2017 the Houston Chronicle


Categories: Latest News

EUR 230 million worth of fake food and beverages seized in global OPSON operation targeting food fraud

EUROPOL - Tue, 04/25/2017 - 01:29
Operation OPSON VI, the joint Europol-INTERPOL operation targeting counterfeit and substandard food and drink, as well as the organised crime networks behind this illicit trade, has resulted in the seizure of 9 800 tonnes, over 26.4 million litres, and 13 million units/items worth an estimated EUR 230 million of potentially harmful food and beverages ranging from every day products such as alcohol, mineral water, seasoning cubes, seafood and olive oil, to luxury goods such as caviar.
Categories: Latest News

Jail under fire for turning away arrestees with medical issues

PoliceOne - Mon, 04/24/2017 - 11:18

By Judy Walton Chattanooga Times/Free Press

CLEVELAND, Tenn. — The ongoing booking brouhaha between the Bradley County Sheriff's Office and Cleveland Police Department became urgent when somebody died.

Thomas Creek Jr. was briefly in the news in March when his body was found dumped in a remote area of Polk County. Cleveland police said at the time his family had reported him missing March 23, and he hadn't been seen since March 14.

What wasn't made public was that Creek, 34, had been arrested that night on warrants for theft, shoplifting and drug possession. A police incident report says he was turned away at the Bradley County Jail for medical reasons and taken by ambulance to a local hospital.

He didn't stay in the hospital for long. He made a few calls — including to his mother — walked out under his own power and was never seen alive again.

It wasn't the first time Bradley County Jail officials refused entry on medical grounds to someone under arrest. On March 1, the jail refused to take two heavily intoxicated men. In that case, city officers dropped the two off at the hospital.

On March 28, jailers turned away a man with a cut on his arm brought in on a felony warrant. Bodycam video shows officers made several futile attempts to turn the man over for booking before uncuffing him and setting him free right in the jail's sally port.

Sources in the sheriff's office and Cleveland police department, who asked for anonymity because they're not authorized to speak on the issue, have told the Times Free Press it's at least partly an interdepartmental feud about which agency has to pay the hospital bills for sick or injured prisoners.

But Cleveland Police Chief Mark Gibson said prisoners' medical bills aren't his department's problem.

According to state law, jailers must accept anyone who has been arrested and are responsible for providing medical care, either by the jail's medical staff or at a hospital.

"This is not our agency making up the rules," Gibson said in a telephone interview Friday. "We have an obligation, we fulfill that obligation and deliver [prisoners] to the jail. If they don't accept them at the jail that puts us in a spot: What do you do now?"

Gibson said if someone is injured or has a medical emergency during an arrest by a city officer, his people are going to call an ambulance.

"We're not delivering people to the jail that have a serious medical condition or emergency and expecting the jail to deal with it," he said.

In Creek's case, Officer Don Nation's incident report said he didn't mention any medical issues during the arrest at the Crown Inn. At the jail, Nation wrote, Creek "changed attitude and began to complain of cellulitis in both legs." His blood pressure was slightly elevated, Nation wrote. Jailers refused him and he was taken to the hospital by ambulance, the report states.

It's not clear how long Creek stayed at the hospital before walking out.

Creek's mother, Kitty Creek, said he called her that night and asked her to pick him up, but she didn't have a working car.

"It's a horrible feeling thinking that I might have stopped this if my car was not broke down," Kitty Creek said via Facebook.

Thomas Creek's body was found March 28 in a remote area of Polk County. On March 30, Sean Scott Hale was arrested in DeKalb County, Ala., and a car believed to have been used was found burned in Fort Payne, Cleveland police have said.

Kitty Creek says if her son had gone to jail, he might still be alive.

"What I don't understand is this was the second or third time the jail refused him," she said. "They knew he would leave the hospital, he left the last time. Why didn't they leave an officer with him?"

She was referring to his March 3 arrest during a traffic stop on a warrant and for drug possession. The police report by officer Taylor Thompson said Creek complained of pain in his ankles and was taken by ambulance to the hospital without stopping by the jail.

"That night he told me they released him so I picked him up," Kitty Creek said.

Jadarius Huggins was the man with the cut arm who was set free March 28. He'd been arrested for violating probation on a felony burglary conviction.

Bodycam video shows Officer Bradley Colbaugh tried to give a copy of an attorney general's opinion stating that the jail must accept all prisoners to corrections personnel. Lt. Carol Edwards refused it and ordered jailers not to accept any papers or open the jail door.

Colbaugh called his supervisor, Sgt. Buddy Mitchell, who came to the jail and asked Edwards, "Do you know this is possibly criminal?"

She responded that she was just following departmental policies.

Gibson said the officers had no choice but to uncuff Hudgins and turn him loose.

"We followed the law. They did not accept him and we released him in the sally port. That's the only option we have; we can't drive him around all night."

Then, though, Gibson called Sheriff Eric Watson and got him to agree to take Hudgins, so Colbaugh and Mitchell had to track him down and arrest him all over again.

Colbaugh's bodycam video shows the handcuffed Hudgins sitting in the car inside the sally port for the second time that night.

"This is f—— up," Hudgins said.

"It is," Colbaugh agreed.

It's that incident that led to summit talks between the two departments.

Gibson said he met with Watson and some of his officers, along with County Attorney Crystal Freiberg, on April 5 and gave them copies of the state law, the attorney general's opinion and a confirmatory opinion from the University of Tennessee's County Technical Advisory Service saying the jail must accept prisoners and provide medical care.

"We all agreed it was a situation that needed to be case by case, but we agreed on a process where we bring them over there and they will be booked in from now on," he said.

The police department will be responsible if someone is injured during an arrest, he said, but otherwise the jail will have to provide care through its contract medical staff or at the hospital.

"It's something we need to fix and I think we've made great progress in fixing it," Gibson said.

Asked why he hadn't mentioned the arrest in his statement when Creek's body was found, Gibson said they didn't have much information at that point and that a suspect was at large.

Watson did not respond directly to a request for comment, but Freiberg provided a statement Friday afternoon.

"The Bradley County Sheriff's Office is aware that the Bradley County jail must accept all persons arrested pursuant to law by the Sheriff's Office or any City Police Officers," she wrote.

"Bradley County does not 'refuse' inmates," Freiberg added. She said the jail's contract medical staff decides whether any prisoner needs emergency medical care.

To a Times Free Press question about whether Creek could have worked the "refuse-and-refer" policy to avoid imprisonment, Freiberg said the "specifics of any particular person's medical conditions cannot be disclosed."

She added, "Discussions between the Sheriff's Office and the City of Cleveland have resulted in better communication between the Departments to ensure that all persons arrested by both agencies receive appropriate and timely emergency medical care."

Kitty Creek said her son messaged her from the ambulance and called her from the hospital that night.

"I told him on [Facebook] Messenger that he needed to get the medical help he needed and to stay at the hospital."

———

©2017 the Chattanooga Times/Free Press (Chattanooga, Tenn.)


Categories: Latest News

Dallas police responding to possible active shooter

PoliceOne - Mon, 04/24/2017 - 10:08

Associated Press

DALLAS — Dallas police said officers are responding Monday to reports of a person with a gun at an office building in the north of the city.

Police provided no other details, including whether any shots were fired or any injuries reported in 911 calls Monday morning.

Television footage showed a heavy police response, including a SWAT team, at the multi-story office building along an interstate. A broken window can be seen on one of the upper floors of the mirrored tower.

Ambulance heading to Dallas office building. Reports of 2 people shot. @DallasPD diverting traffic on LBJ service road at Central. @CBSDFW pic.twitter.com/ENWP9ccACJ

— Jennifer Lindgren (@JLindgrenCBS11) April 24, 2017

Dallas Fire-Rescue said they dispatched three rescue units to the scene. A Dallas Fire-Rescue spokesman could not confirm whether there were any fatalities.

Hannah Greenhaw was among the workers evacuated safely from the offices near a multi-level highway interchange known as the High Five.

Greenhaw told KXAS-TV that people from an office across the hall came over to warn them to lock the doors because there had been reports of an active shooter. Everyone in her office hurried to a corner in the back and turned out the lights, she said.

Armed tactical police officers then arrived, entered her office and told the workers to put their hands up, according to Greenhaw. Officers helped evacuate everyone from the building, she said, with some people allowed to use elevators.

"There was a few of us who couldn't actually walk down 10 flights of stairs," Greenhaw said.


Categories: Latest News

Wash. cop blinded after being shot in head completes 5K race

PoliceOne - Mon, 04/24/2017 - 09:56

By PoliceOne Staff

BELLINGHAM, Wash. — An officer who was shot while responding to a shooting in December finished a 5K race with the help of a friend.

Officer Mike McClaughry completed the Fun with the Fuzz 5K race with the help of a friend Saturday, Bellingham police said in a tweet.

McClaughry, 60, was blinded after he was shot in the back of the head and is continuing treatment, KING5 reported.

According to the Associated Press, Ernesto Lee Rivas, an alleged gang member, and two teens, ages 15 and 16, who were in the home during the standoff have been arrested and charged.

Fun with Fuzz 5K big turn out. Mt. Vernon Officer McClaughry who was shot in line of duty. Finishing the race. Bp117 pic.twitter.com/ft0ZCZADC5

— Bellingham Police (@BellinghamPD) April 22, 2017


Categories: Latest News

Police stop 12-year-old boy from driving across Australia

PoliceOne - Mon, 04/24/2017 - 07:14

Associated Press

SYDNEY — Outback police have arrested a 12-year-old boy who was almost a third of his way toward driving solo across Australia.

The unlicensed boy had driven more than 1,300 kilometers from his home in Kendall on the east coast when he was stopped by traffic police on Saturday on the Barrier Highway near the remote mining town of Broken Hill.

He was pulled over because a bumper bar was dragging on the road, a police statement said Sunday.

Police said he was driving to the west coast city of Perth, more than 4,100 kilometers from Kendall.

Police have released no details on why the boy wanted to drive the Perth, whether he would be charged or whether he had refueled during his journey.


Categories: Latest News

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