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Policing Matters Podcast: How technology is changing police work

PoliceOne - Fri, 06/16/2017 - 08:44
Author: Jim Dudley and Doug Wyllie


Download this week's episode on iTunes, SoundCloud or via RSS feed

Body cameras, drones, Shotspotter, analytics, GPS … police work has evolved significantly over the past couple of decades as new technologies such as these have been introduced, adopted, and utilized. In this podcast episode, Jim and Doug discuss some of the top technologies that have helped improve police work, and what may be on the horizon.

Categories: Latest News

Amid violence, Baltimore PD cancels officer leave to prepare for Pride

PoliceOne - Fri, 06/16/2017 - 07:04
Author: Jim Dudley and Doug Wyllie

By Kevin Rector The Baltimore Sun

BALTIMORE — Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis canceled all scheduled leave for officers this Saturday in order to meet the demands of the department's latest anti-violence strategy while simultaneously providing a strong police presence at this weekend's Pride festivities, officials said Thursday.

The decision follows an announcement by Davis on Tuesday, after six homicides in less than 24 hours, that all patrol officers and detectives will be required to work 12-hour shifts, rather than their standard 10-hour shifts, and that all deployable officers will be put on the street through the end of the weekend.

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2016 Baltimore Gay Pride Parade.

Posted by Baltimore Police Department on Saturday, July 23, 2016

For Pride, the commissioner and other top commanders want to provide a particularly strong presence this year, given last year's attack at the gay Pulse nightclub in Orlando and last weekend's protests at the Pride parade in Washington, D.C., said T.J. Smith, a police spokesman.

Protesters briefly disrupted the Washington parade, arguing the event had become too corporate and didn't serve the LGBT community, and police there helped reroute the parade. The Pulse attack, in which a gunman killed 49 people and wounded many others, renewed conversations around public safety at LGBT gatherings.

"The LGBT community has been targeted and we have responsibility to ensure appropriate levels of staffing for this event and for the increased presence on the streets in general," Smith said. "In addition, we are still responding to the increased violence we saw last weekend."

Members of Baltimore's LGBT community and leaders in the Old Goucher neighborhood, where the Pride events are planned, said they welcome police this weekend — if the officers are there to support the LGBT community and understand that Pride is an inherently political environment where demonstrations may occur.

Ian Parrish, one of the owners of the Baltimore Eagle, a leather bar in the neighborhood, said he is particularly sensitive to the safety concerns as a bar owner following the Pulse attacks. He said he knows a lot of police officers in the city — including some who are members of the LGBT community — and appreciates the department's commitment.

Categories: Latest News

Dashcam video released in fatal Milwaukee pursuit shooting

PoliceOne - Fri, 06/16/2017 - 07:00
Author: Jim Dudley and Doug Wyllie

Associated Press

MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office released dash-camera video Thursday of a pursuit that ended in a driver's death, with the video appearing to show that a deputy on foot fired into the vehicle as it headed straight at him.

Sheriff David Clarke told WISN-TV it was "the best angles that we have" on the shooting Sunday night near the city's crowded Lake Michigan shoreline.

Terry Williams, 19, was shot in the head. He was pronounced dead Tuesday. Deputy Michael Truax, 32, has been placed on leave.

The newly released video shows the SUV going off-road as it was pursued by a sheriff's vehicle, eventually mounting a median. From the pursuing vehicle's camera, puffs of smoke are seen from in front of the SUV and Truax appears, dodging the SUV as it veers around him.

Clarke said earlier Williams was being pursued for failing to obey a traffic sign.

Milwaukee police say Williams was wanted for questioning in an incident a day earlier in which two men exchanged gunfire with another man, but it wasn't clear if that was a factor in Sunday's pursuit.

Clarke's office didn't immediately respond to messages from The Associated Press. The shooting is being investigated by the Waukesha County Sheriff's Office; state law requires officer-involved shootings to be investigated by an outside agency.

The death of Williams, who was black, has sparked at least two demonstrations. It came just as a black former Milwaukee police officer is going on trial in the fatal shooting of a black man, 23-year-old Sylville Smith, last August that sparked two nights of violence on the city's north side.

Categories: Latest News

Police, colleagues at loss to find reason for UPS shooting

PoliceOne - Fri, 06/16/2017 - 06:49

Author: Jim Dudley and Doug Wyllie

By Paul Elias and Janie Har Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO — Jimmy Lam had his troubles: a drunk driving conviction, a grievance against his company, a struggle with personal issues and depression a few years ago.

But colleagues and investigators say none of it helps explain why the UPS driver showed up at his San Francisco workplace and gunned down three colleagues, wounding two others.

Lam, an 18-year veteran of UPS, appeared to single out the three slain drivers but investigators have yet to determine a motive for Wednesday's attack, an official in the San Francisco Police Department said.

The official was not authorized to discuss the case publicly and spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The violence ended when the 38-year-old Lam turned the gun on himself and took his own life as workers ran from the packing facility and police closed in.

Shaun Vu, a senior UPS driver, said Lam had seemed to be on friendly terms with the three men he killed.

Lam had struggled with depression and had personal troubles a few years ago that involved a dispute with a girlfriend over visitation rights for their young child. Vu said he encouraged Lam to seek counseling.

"I told him, 'You have a problem or feel bad about yourself or your life, the best thing to do is get professional help,'" he said.

Lam told Vu that he would speak with management and then took off work for several months. He seemed fine when he returned to work but Vu noticed a few weeks ago that Lam looked troubled.

"I just saw him passing by and asked how he was doing," Vu said. "He said something like, 'I'm hanging in there.'

"I don't think he had anybody he could talk to and it got worse and worse," Vu said.

Lam also had a history of off-duty driving violations.

He was convicted twice of driving on a suspended license in 2013 and 2014, according to DMV records. His license was also suspended in 2014 for negligently operating a vehicle.

Lam also had a run-in with the law in 2010, when he was convicted in San Francisco of driving under the influence and sentenced to three years' probation.

There was no indication that Lam's driving record affected his ability to work at UPS.

UPS spokeswoman Susan Rosenberg said she did not know details about Lam's driving record and would not comment. She added, however, that UPS drivers are expected to be able to drive legally.

In March, Lam filed a grievance claiming he was working excessive overtime, said Joseph Cilia, Lam's friend and an official with the union that represents UPS drivers. Cilia said Lam was upset with managers whom he accused of forcing him to work overtime.

But none of the men who were shot were managers, Cilia noted.

Lam was a U.S. citizen who emigrated to the United States as a baby from Thailand, said Sharon Rummery, a spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Citizenship Services. She declined further comment.

The shooting occurred during a morning planning meeting before drivers set out on delivery routes.

Cilia said witnesses told him that Lam walked up to driver Benson Louie and shot him during the meeting. As his co-workers frantically fled the room, he shot Wayne Chan in the back and then walked up and "finished him," Cilia said, citing witnesses.

Victim Mike Lefiti was fleeing from the building when Lam went to a street and shot him, he said.

Lefiti, 46, and Louie, 50, had each worked for UPS for 17 years, according to the company. Chan, 56, had 28 years of service.

UPS employees paid respects to the victims at a memorial erected at the packing facility where the shooting had occurred a day earlier. People said prayers and signed a poster honoring their three longtime colleagues.

Vu described Chan as an expert handyman who would come over at any time to help him build a fence or repair an electricity outlet. Chan leaves behind a wife and two children.

Tributes also poured on social media for Louie, who was considered a legend in nine-man volleyball, a version of a game brought over by Chinese immigrant laborers who played in the streets. He left behind a wife and two daughters.

Mamie Wong said she had known Louie since they were in junior high school.

"He had a big, generous heart," she said. "He'd bend over backward for you. If you needed a place to stay, he would give you a place. If you needed a car to drive, he would give you a car.

"He's left a big hole in our hearts."

Categories: Latest News

Off-duty Ga. deputy fatally shot in domestic dispute

PoliceOne - Fri, 06/16/2017 - 06:28

Author: Jim Dudley and Doug Wyllie

By Nefeteria Brewster The Augusta Chronicle

AUGUSTA, Ga. — An off-duty Richmond County Sheriff’s deputy was fatally shot Thursday afternoon in south Augusta, according to the sheriff’s office.

The officer, Cpl. Gregory Cooke, 43, was a road patrol deputy hired in December 2014. He was taken to AU Medical Center where he was pronounced dead at 4:52 p.m, Coroner Mark Bowen said in a news release.

Bowen said Cooke was shot at least one time in what authorities are calling a domestic dispute. The shooting occurred in the 2400 block of Lennox Road off Windsor Spring Road.

Paul Jones, who lives four doors from the residence where the officer was shot, told an Augusta Chronicle reporter that he heard about five or six shots fired.

“We were going to Walmart up here but after the shots we just held up for awhile,” he said. “I have never seen anything like that on this street.”

Four people surrendered to a Burke County Sheriff’s deputy who they said they knew, according to Burke County Chief Deputy Lewis Blanchard. Two of the suspects who turned themselves in were cousins, he said. All four were turned over to Richmond County, Blanchard said.

Two people, Naheem Rashad Caldwell, 17, of 3410 Aspen Court, who is out on bond after being indicted on a charge of theft by taking – accused of possessing a stolen 2004 Dodge Ram, and Donnelle Osborne,18, were arrested in connection to Cooke’s death, according to Lt. Allan Rollins of the Richmond County Sheriff's Office. No charges had been filed as of late Thursday.

Earlier in the afternoon authorities from the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office filled the parking lot of Skateland, located on Windsor Spring Road as helicopters flew above in search of suspects, who fled the scene.

Richmond County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Patrick Clayton said the shooting involved a domestic situation between the officer and a couple and their two children. Cooke was not related to the suspects but was acquainted with them, he said.

Caldwell’s first cousin, Latisha Lewis, who came to the scene on Lennox Road later in the evening, said he had become different person.

“He wasn’t raised that way, he was brought up well-mannered, but at some point he got into this world and made a horrible decision.”

Trina Roverson, who lives near the home where Cooke was shot, said she saw the officer in the street near the home with wounds to his right chest or shoulder.

“We couldn’t really tell because there were so many cops around him,” she said.

“We usually don’t have stuff like that happen on our street because it’s very quiet — this never happens.”

Roverson also said she is familiar with Caldwell as he would frequently walk around the neighborhood and would always say hello.

“He looked like a good kid,” she said.

The suspects were transferred to the Richmond County Detention Center. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is in charge of the investigation because it is an officer-involved shooting.

Cooke started as a jailer and worked his way to field operations, Rollins said in the statement.

“The entire Sheriff’s Office mourns the loss of Deputy Cooke and offers our deepest condolences and support to his family,” Rollins said in the release.

The last sheriff’s deputy killed was Sgt. Greg Meagher, 57, on Feb. 5 when he was overcome by fumes boiling from liquid nitrogen at Xytex, a sperm bank on Emmett Street. The longtime Richmond County sheriff’s deputy went in to save Anita Wylds, an employee who was trying to turn off the valve.

The last Richmond County officer fatally shot was Deputy J.D. Paugh on Oct. 23, 2011, by Christopher Hodges, a Tennessee National Guardsman stationed at Fort Gordon, during a shootout on Bobby Jones Expressway.

Staff writers Tom Corwin and Sandy Hodson contributed to this article.


©2017 The Augusta Chronicle (Augusta, Ga.)

Categories: Latest News

Police across Europe issue warning about the online coercion and extortion of children

EUROPOL - Fri, 06/16/2017 - 04:33
Often referred to as ‘sextortion’ or ‘webcam blackmailing’, the online coercion and extortion of children – a form of digital blackmail where sexual information or images are used to extort sexual material, sexual favours or money, has skyrocketed in the past years, but remains largely underreported. How the crime works In a report released today by Europol, it is revealed that victims as young as 7 years old are being targeted online. When targeting a minor, offenders have two main motivations:
Categories: Latest News

P1 Photo of the Week: Beware of fog

PoliceOne - Fri, 06/16/2017 - 02:00
Author: PoliceOne Members

Officer Saul Velazquez, assigned to the Altadena Area Office with the California Highway Patrol, snapped this eerie photo while patrolling the Upper Big Tujunga Canyon Road in the Angeles National Forest last month.

Calling all police photographers! PoliceOne needs pictures of you in action or training. Submit a photo — it could be selected as our Photo of the Week! Be sure to include your name, department information and address (including city, state and ZIP code) where we can reach you — Photo of the Week winners have a chance to win a T-shirt!

Categories: Latest News

Judge releases suspect who allegedly ran over cop

PoliceOne - Thu, 06/15/2017 - 11:39

By PoliceOne Staff

HOLYOKE, Mass. — A suspect who allegedly ran over a police officer at a local mall on June 9 has been released by a judge.

According to WGGB, a judge released Charles Moran, 25, on his own recognizance Wednesday.

Officer Eric Martin was in the mall when he responded to a domestic dispute between Moran and his girlfriend. Moran allegedly walked into the building with a bat.

The dispute moved to the parking lot where the girlfriend told Martin she was afraid of Moran. Moran then grabbed her and put her in the car. A child was also inside the vehicle, the news station reported.

Moran fled and struck Martin with his car. Martin was taken to the hospital and treated for a sprained ankle and torn tendons in his wrist. He remains out of work while he recovers.

Moran was pulled over shortly after fleeing. He faces multiple charges including assault and battery with a deadly weapon, intimidation of a witness, breach while armed, leaving the scene of a personal injury accident, operating a motor vehicle to endanger, failure to stop for police, resisting arrest, reckless endangerment of a child, use of a motor vehicle in the commission of a felony, and domestic assault and battery.

Categories: Latest News

Man 'acting like a bull' stabs Calif. K-9

PoliceOne - Thu, 06/15/2017 - 11:37

By PoliceOne Staff

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — A K-9 is recovering after a suspect pulled a knife and stabbed the dog during a foot pursuit.

Police responded to calls of a man running between cars in the middle of the street Tuesday, NBC Los Angeles reported. Witnesses said the suspect was “acting like a bull” and behaving oddly.

When officers approached, the suspect pulled a knife and fled. K-9 Max was deployed and bit the man. Police told the news station the suspect then stabbed Max twice.

The suspect fled again, but was detained shortly after. He was treated at a local hospital and released to police custody.

Max was transported to a local veterinary hospital where he was treated and released on Wednesday. He is recovering at home.

Categories: Latest News

Va. officer found dead of self-inflicted gunshot wound

PoliceOne - Thu, 06/15/2017 - 11:35

By PoliceOne Staff

SUSSEX, Va. — A Sussex County sheriff’s deputy was found dead one day after the police department laid Sheriff Raymond Bell to rest.

Capt. Ernest Giles told the Sussex Surry Dispatch that Deputy Corey Fox was found dead Sunday of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was 24.

Fox joined the department in 2014 while working as a corrections deputy at the local jail and volunteering as firefighter with the county.

“Fox will be missed,” Giles told the publication. “He was a hard worker and he was truly dedicated to his department.”

Giles said grief counselors have been brought in to speak with those who are struggling with the loss of Fox and Bell.

Categories: Latest News

Man who robbed bank to avoid wife sentenced to home confinement

PoliceOne - Thu, 06/15/2017 - 10:12

By Katy Bergen The Kansas City Star

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A remorseful 71-year-old man who robbed a Kansas City, Kan. bank last September and told police he hoped to land in prison to escape his wife told a federal judge Tuesday that heart surgery had left him depressed and unlike himself when he committed the crime.

Though Lawrence John Ripple pleaded guilty to bank robbery in January and could have spent up to 37 months in prison, his attorney and federal prosecutors asked a U.S. District Court Judge for leniency, a request supported by the vice-president of the bank and the teller whom Ripple frightened, Assistant U.S. Attorney Sheri Catania said.

U.S. District Court Judge Carlos Murguia sentenced Ripple on Tuesday to six months of home confinement after public defender Chekasha Ramsey and Catania cited Ripple’s health issues, remorse and unlikeliness to reoffend as justification for reducing his sentence.

Ripple will also serve three years of supervised probation, including 50 hours of community service. He was ordered to pay $227.27 to the bank he robbed — the amount representing the billable hours for bank employees that were sent home on the day of robbery — and $100 to a crime victims fund.

Ripple’s story gained national attention last fall when he walked into the Bank of Labor, located a block away from the Kansas City, Kan. police headquarters, and gave a note to the teller. It read: “I have a gun, give me money,” according to court documents.

After the teller gave Ripple $2,924, Ripple sat down in the bank lobby to wait for police, and later told authorities that he had written out a robbery note in front of his wife and told her he would rather be in jail than at home.

Ripple’s attorney Chekasha Ramsey told a judge Tuesday that before the September incident Ripple had lived a law-abiding life. He had no criminal record, was a dutiful father to four step-children and was in a stable relationship with his wife.

He suffered from depression after undergoing a quadruple bypass heart surgery in 2015, Ramsey said. The depression remained undiagnosed and manifested as irritiability, so Ripple didn’t think to report his symptoms to a doctor.

Calling the robbery a “cry for help,” Ramsey said that Ripple has since been properly diagnosed, is on proper medication and feels like his normal self again.

“Mr. Ripple understands what he did and he respects the law as indicated by his past behavior,” said Ramsey, who told the judge that Ripple had also been attending mandated counseling sessions with his wife.

Accompanied by his wife and several family members on Tuesday, Ripple appeared remorseful and apologized to both Bank of Labor and the bank teller. He declined to talk to The Star.

“It was not my intention to frighten her as I did,” Ripple said in court Tuesday.

Ripple said that he felt better after finding the right medication and said prison would be more of a punishment for his wife than for him.

“I feel great now,” Ripple said. “I feel like my old self.”

Both Murguia and Catania said that it was extrememly uncommon for a person convicted of bank robbery to receive a sentence that doesn’t involve prison time. Catania said she had only requested the court to consider other sentencing options in two other occasions throughout her career.

“What’s got lost in the news reports is that Mr. Ripple went to a bank, robbed it and never left,” Catania said.

When a bank security guard and police found him, Catania said, he immediately returned the money. Though he had threatened the bank teller with a gun, the only items found on his person were nail clippers and a hair brush.


©2017 The Kansas City Star (Kansas City, Mo.)

Categories: Latest News

NH officer exposed to opioid powder during traffic stop

PoliceOne - Thu, 06/15/2017 - 10:06

Associated Press

ALEXANDRIA, N.H. — Police say an officer in New Hampshire has been exposed to an opioid-based powder during a traffic stop and was taken to a hospital.

WMUR-TV reports the officer in Alexandria experienced some symptoms, but was expected to be OK and be released later Tuesday. Police said Narcan wasn't used on the officer.

Police said the officer pulled the car over because it was being driven erratically.

Further information was not immediately available.

Categories: Latest News

Fla. police commander to be fired after therapist's shooting

PoliceOne - Thu, 06/15/2017 - 09:08

Associated Press

NORTH MIAMI, Fla. — A Florida police department is firing the commander in charge when an officer shot a therapist who was protecting an autistic man.

The Miami Herald reports that North Miami Police notified Cmdr. Emile Hollant on Wednesday that he will be fired. Hollant was in charge when SWAT team member Jonathan Aledda shot Charles Kinsey in the leg last July 18. Kinsey was protecting 27-year-old Arnaldo Rios, a severely autistic man who was sitting in the street with a toy truck.

Aledda says he mistook the truck for a weapon. He is charged with attempted manslaughter.

An internal affairs investigation concluded that Hollant falsely told Police Chief Gary Eugene he had gone to get binoculars when Aledda fired.

Hollant's attorney, Michael Joseph, said his client will be exonerated.

Categories: Latest News

No 1. courthouse problem: People urinating in the elevator

PoliceOne - Thu, 06/15/2017 - 09:06

Associated Press

JONESBORO, Ark. — Officials in an Arkansas county have a plea for courthouse visitors: Please stop urinating in our elevator.

Craighead County officials hope new security cameras will deter the steady stream of culprits who have been relieving themselves in the courthouse elevator in Jonesboro, a college town about 115 miles northeast of Little Rock.

Maintenance workers say the problem has persisted for years — even though the restrooms are only about 25 feet from the elevator.

Officials tell The Jonesboro Sun that the cameras, installed last fall, have caught three men in the act, one of whom has been cited for disorderly conduct and fined $105. A third instance was recorded Monday, and county officials say they plan to issue a citation.

Categories: Latest News

Courage on canvas: How a forensic artist's portraits give fallen cops new life

PoliceOne - Thu, 06/15/2017 - 08:47

The following is paid content sponsored by 5.11 Tactical.

By Cole Zercoe for PoliceOne

In March 2015, a 30-year-old Philadelphia police officer entered a GameStop to purchase a video game for his son’s birthday — a gift he would never deliver. Officer Robert Wilson III was shot and killed during a gun battle with two would-be robbers who came into the store while Wilson was at the counter.

As with every line of duty death, the officer’s passing rocked his department and the law enforcement community at large. As the first anniversary of Wilson’s death approached, his colleague, Philly Officer Jonny Castro, reached out to Wilson’s family for some personal photos to use as reference. He wanted to give Wilson an opportunity he never had while he was alive — to proudly wear the sergeant’s uniform he had earned posthumously. Carefully decorating the uniform with intricately detailed depictions of the Medal of Honor and Medal of Valor the sergeant also earned after his death, Castro painted a portrait of a man who died a warrior.

From art school to Iraq

Growing up, Castro never imagined himself becoming a cop. His mind was on art; he got into sketching at an early age because of his father, who also had a knack for drawing. He admired illustrators — from the animators behind classic Disney films to the iconic movie poster work of Drew Struzan — and at 18 decided to further hone his skills by going to art school for graphic design. Then, early in his freshman year, Castro watched along with the rest of the nation as the Twin Towers fell.

Like many young Americans, the devastating attack that took the lives of nearly 3,000 people galvanized a need deep within Castro to serve his country. He dropped out of school in his second year and joined the Army, serving as a military police officer in Iraq from 2004 to 2005. Upon returning home from overseas, he joined the police academy and worked patrol for nine years before transferring to the department’s graphic arts unit to work as a forensic artist. For Castro, who wasn’t sure he’d ever make a career out of drawing, the marriage of his passion for art and passion to serve was an unlikely stroke of luck in an already unusual career path.

Courage on canvas

When Castro posted the portrait of Wilson to social media, along with a detailed caption in tribute to the fallen officer, it garnered a massive response from both police and the public. It was the first of over 80 portraits (and counting) that Castro has painted to honor and humanize those who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect their communities.

“I do it to get their stories out there,” Castro said. “A lot of times it’ll [the death of an officer] just pop up in the news, but you really don’t know what happened, you just see it [the headline] on Facebook. I do it to let people know that it wasn’t just a cop that was killed; it was somebody’s father, somebody’s husband — it was a human being.”

With a digital tablet, Castro captures these stories of bravery in brushstrokes. The constable stabbed to death while stopping a terrorist attack. The detective fatally ambushed while sitting in his patrol vehicle. The master sergeant shot and killed while confronting a homicide suspect. Every portrait of valor comes with its own tragic backstory, but through Castro’s work these officers live on — immortalized in digital ink, their lives discussed, shared and honored far and wide through social media.

Upon completion of a portrait, Castro also reaches out to the fallen officer’s police department and ships copies of the prints to the agency and the officer’s family. He pays for all of it out of pocket, funding the project through occasional commission work.

“They’ve very grateful,” Castro said. “I’ve gotten thank you cards from their departments, their chiefs of police. I’ve got one from the mayor’s office of Cleveland. I hear from them a lot and I keep in contact with them. Sometimes they’ll send me pictures of their prints hanging up in their houses or their family members with the prints that I gave them.”

While Castro will never forget any of his interactions with the people who knew and loved the subjects of his portraits, one series of “thank yous” that stick out for him in particular are those that came from the families of the three Baton Rouge officers slain in a targeted attack last year.

“The three Louisiana officers were some of the earliest I’ve done,” Castro said. “I remember watching it [the ambush] live as it was happening. At the time I didn’t think I was going to do all three. But after I posted the first one, Matthew Gerald, I saw his wife had commented on the post, then one of the other officer’s wives commented … I felt like I had to do the other two. I’ve spoken with probably all of their family members — their wives, their sons and daughters. It’s heartbreaking, but it’s cool to know I actually reached them all the way from Philadelphia.”

A burden worth bearing

For many officers around the country, one of the hardest aspects of the job is coming to terms with the reality that donning the badge and uniform comes with a potentially deadly risk. Given the nature of Castro’s work — around 8 to 10 hours of painting per portrait — his immersion in that difficult truth is arguably deeper than most.

“A lot of times you’ll read these stories about how they’re walking up to a house and they’re ambushed or they’re sitting in their car and they don’t even know what’s coming,” Castro said. “It’s crazy to think that … I don’t work in patrol anymore, but there’s hundreds of thousands of cops that still do it every single day, and they don’t know what they’re walking into. It’s difficult to know that these were the stories behind what happened to them — that was their last moment. It’s tough to think about while you’re painting.”

But for Castro, it’s a burden worth bearing.

“There’s a lot of tension going on between police officers and the general public. This is a way for people who aren’t police officers to see these officers as people too,” Castro said.

Another grim reminder of the dangers cops face every day: the sheer number of officers killed on duty means that despite his best intentions, Castro, who works on the portraits in his spare time and can only do two per week, is having trouble keeping up. He entered 2017 with the goal of painting a portrait of every fallen officer killed this year. He even set up a “Wall of Heroes” bulletin board in his office, where he hangs 3'x5' prints of each cop. But by March, he was already behind in double digits.

“It’s not like I’m picking and choosing what I want to do. If an officer is killed and I see the funeral is coming up, I’ll try to get it done in time,” Castro said. “I get a lot of requests and it’s not that I’m choosing not to do it; I just don’t have the time to.”

Despite this backlog, Castro hopes that he can meet his goal by the end of the year. And the work doesn’t stop there. In addition to law enforcement officers, Castro has also paid tribute to other first responders and members of the military. He’s even expanded his tributes to include civilians. Earlier this year, Castro honored Robert Godwin Sr., the 74-year-old man who was brutally gunned down at random while he was walking home on Easter Sunday.

In memory of

While Castro’s work has received a lot of attention, he doesn’t do it for the recognition or praise. He made it clear that his mission is to honor these heroes and share their stories — he wants the attention on them, not himself.

“I’m not really doing anything other than portraying these officers the way they would want to be remembered,” Castro said.

The only thing he asks in return for his work is that people share these stories — that they spread the word and remember these lives taken far too soon.

If you have a Quiet Warrior story that you'd like us to feature, tell us about it here.

About the author

Cole Zercoe is the Associate Editor of PoliceOne, responsible for writing and editing news articles, original columns, product articles, and trade show coverage. From the latest police technologies and innovations to the emerging threats cops face in the digital age, his features focus on the complexity of policing in the modern world.

Contact Cole Zercoe

Categories: Latest News

UPS employees return to work at warehouse after 3 killed

PoliceOne - Thu, 06/15/2017 - 08:34

By Paul Elias and Sudhin Thanawala Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO — United Parcel Service trucks started rolling again Thursday at a warehouse in San Francisco where an employee a day earlier shot and killed three colleagues and wounded two others before he killed himself in front of police officers.

Investigators were trying to determine what prompted Jimmy Lam, 38, to open fire during a meeting with co-workers.

Lam, a UPS driver, had filed a grievance claiming that he was working excessive overtime and appeared to specifically go after the three drivers he killed before fatally shooting himself.

He filed the grievance in March complaining of too much overtime and requesting that the package delivery company relieve him of working extra hours going forward, Joseph Cilia, an official with a Teamsters Union local that represents UPS workers in San Francisco, told The Associated Press.

During a Wednesday morning meeting, Lam walked up to driver Benson Louie and shot him. As his co-workers frantically fled the room, he shot Wayne Chan in the back, and then walked up to him and "finished him." Mike Lefiti was fleeing from the building when Lam went out onto the street and shot him, Cilia said witnesses told him.

"It's senseless. I can't think of anything. Why him? Why them?" Cilia asked. "I can't put it together."

Officials late Wednesday confirmed San Francisco residents Louie, 50, and Chan, 56, and 46-year-old Lefiti, of Hercules, were killed in the shooting.

Two other UPS employees were wounded, but Cilia said both were released from the hospital.

Amid a barrage of gunfire, some workers sought refuge on the roof of the four-story facility, while others ran outside and pounded on the windows of a public bus, witnesses said.

"They were screaming, 'Go! Go! Go!'" said Jessica Franklin, 30, who was riding to work when the bus made a regular stop in front of the UPS facility. "As they got on the bus, they were all ducking."

Auto shop owner Robert Kim said he saw "a mob of UPS drivers" running down the street screaming "Shooter! Shooter!"

The shooting prompted a massive police response in one of the city's industrial neighborhoods, about 2 miles (3 kilometers) from downtown San Francisco, Assistant Police Chief Toney Chaplin told reporters.

UPS spokesman Steve Gaut said the shooter was a company employee. A San Francisco Police Department official identified Lam, 38, and said he's from San Francisco but had no immediate details on his background.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing.

Lefiti's cousin, Mack Toia, told KGO-TV ( he was at the UPS facility waiting to pick up Lefiti when shots rang out. He left his van and saw his cousin sprawled on concrete behind a gate, Toia said.

"The police officers were right on the scene just like that. I got to touch him, but I couldn't hug him," Toia said. "They just pushed me away because they were trying to resuscitate him."

Co-worker Isaiah Miggins said he saw Lefiti, known as "Big Mike," as he arrived for work just before 9 a.m., a few minutes before the shooting started. "He was a joyful man. Always happy," Miggins said.

On social media, heartbroken family members of Lefiti recalled him as a warm-spirited man devoted to his children and family. A photo on his Facebook page shows Lefiti in his brown UPS uniform holding a trophy. He also posted photos of his UPS truck and an award for 15 years of service to the company in 2015.

A 30-year-old tech worker who lives across the street from the warehouse said he heard up to eight gunshots.

"They were all in rapid succession," said Raymond Deng. "It was like tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat."

Deng watched from his window in the Potrero Hill section of San Francisco as workers fled the building. He said another group of about 10 people gathered on the roof and held up their hands waving for help.

"I saw police officers go up from the ramp and then storm the buildings," he said. "It's crazy."

Officers found two victims outside and others inside and pulled the wounded to safety as they confronted the gunman, who was armed with an "assault pistol," Chaplin said.

"The suspect put the gun to his head and discharged the weapon," Chaplin said, adding that police did not fire any shots. Two guns were recovered at the scene, he said.

The shooting happened the same day a gunman opened fire on Republican lawmakers at a congressional baseball practice in Virginia, wounding U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana and several others.

Categories: Latest News

Police: 'Sovereign citizen' takes bite out of officer's thumb

PoliceOne - Thu, 06/15/2017 - 06:57

By Travis Dorman Knoxville News-Sentinel

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A separatist calling himself a "sovereign Hebrew Israelite citizen" bit off the end of a Knoxville Police Department officer's thumb during a fight on Wednesday afternoon, police said.

KPD Officer Trey Lane was in surgery for his thumb as of 4:30 p.m., according to a police news release. A second officer, Tim Edwards, was taken to a hospital with a leg injury following the fight.

Alexander Ray Johnson, 29, of Knoxville, was driving an Acura MDX on Woodbine Avenue just after 1:15 p.m. when the officers pulled him over at Milligan Street for speeding, according to the release.

The car had no legal license plate — only a "Sovereign Hebrew" plate that purported to be issued by the "Royal Tribe of Judah," police said.

When the officers began arresting Johnson, he allegedly resisted and bit off the end of Lane's thumb.

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Officers Injured in Assault by Proclaimed Sovereign Hebrew Israelite Citizen On Wednesday, June 14, 2017, at...

Posted by Knoxville Police Department - TN on Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Johnson, who was not injured in the fight, was arrested and is being held in the Roger D. Wilson Detention Facility on traffic charges. He will be charged this evening with aggravated assault and resisting arrest.

A woman in the car was detained for questioning and is expected to be released.

Sovereign citizens reject federal, state and local laws and typically deny the legitimacy of government agencies, including local police departments. They often refuse to pay taxes and issue their own versions of driver's licenses and other documents.

In February, a grand jury in Davidson County indicted 10 self-proclaimed sovereign citizens on charges of filing fraudulent liens against city and county mayors, police officers, deputies and other government officials. Those bogus claims totaled more than $2 billion, according to the Tennessee Secretary of State's Office.

Also in February, another sovereign citizen, Lee Cromwell, was convicted on one count of vehicular homicide and eight counts of aggravated assault for driving a truck into a crowd gathered to watch fireworks at A.K. Bissell Park in Oak Ridge on July 4, 2015.

Various factions of sovereign citizens, white and black, hold various and contradictory racial beliefs. Hebrew Israelite sovereigns believe black people are the true descendants of Israel.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit that classifies hate groups, wrote in 2008 that although most Hebrew Israelite sovereigns aren't explicitly racist, anti-Semitic or violent, an extremist sector believes "Jews are devilish impostors" and that white people are evil and deserve "only death or slavery."


©2017 the Knoxville News-Sentinel (Knoxville, Tenn.)

Categories: Latest News

2017 EU Terrorism Report: 142 failed, foiled and completed attacks, 1002 arrests and 142 victims died

EUROPOL - Thu, 06/15/2017 - 06:56
In 2016, a total of 142 failed, foiled and completed attacks were reported by eight EU Member States. More than half (76) of them were reported by the United Kingdom. France reported 23 attacks, Italy 17, Spain 10, Greece 6, Germany 5, Belgium 4 and the Netherlands 1 attack. 142 victims died in terrorist attacks, and 379 were injured in the EU.
Categories: Latest News

Civilian self-defense vs. police excessive force: It's not that simple

PoliceOne - Wed, 06/14/2017 - 14:29
Author: Ed Flosi

Does a person being detained or arrested by a police officer have the right to self-defense if the person feels the officer is using excessive force? The answer to this question as written is obviously "no," but with the current climate of resisting officers becoming more prevalent and socially acceptable by certain groups the question needs deeper exploration.

The follow-up question that is not as simple is: "Does a person have the right to self-defense if the officer uses excessive force?" Notice the subtle difference in the two questions: The first includes the subject’s subjective belief while the second is more generic and definitely needs clarification if asked.

First, it is important to understand that every person has the ancient and esteemed right to self-defense in general. But even this does not fully answer the question.

The Model Penal Code, developed in 1962, eliminated the right to resist an unlawful arrest on two grounds. First, there were better alternative means of resolving the issue; second, resistance would likely result in greater injury to the citizen without preventing the arrest. By 2012, only 14 states allowed a citizen to resist an unlawful arrest. These states are Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.

In California, there are several pertinent penal code sections that shed some light on the not-so-easy topic that some want a simple yes or no answer for.

The first section is an unknown section to those it applies to, California Penal Code Section 834a. This section clearly places a statutory duty and obligation upon a person to not physically resist an officer’s arrest.

Note that the section does not specify lawful arrest as a condition but only arrest. I believe this is due to the fact that the lawfulness of an arrest is not to be argued in the street but in a court of law. If the subject feels like the arrest is unlawful, there are other remedies that the subject can seek. In a civilized society, resorting to force or violence to argue the validity of an arrest - during the arrest - is not acceptable.

The next section is directly related to the first. California Penal Code Section 148(a)(1) is the punitive section that covers the situation when a subject resists an officer in the discharge or attempt to discharge any duty of his or her office, including trying to arrest a subject. From these two sections, it is clear that there is no right to physically resist or assault an officer during an arrest.

What if the officer is using excessive force?

So back to the question: What if the officer is using excessive force? Some experts will point to other statutory laws to support their view that a person can resist if they feel the force is excessive. They look at California Penal Code Sections 692 and 693.

While these sections are self-defense protections for citizens primarily related to situations outside of "police brutality" claims, some experts will claim the public offense (crime) is related to an assault/battery under color authority type of crime. Note that in section 692, the resistance must be in response to the actual commission of the public offense.

An officer’s force response in the grand majority of arrests falls far from this standard and the published statistics bear that out as well. It is a rare circumstance when this assault/battery under color of authority actually occurs and an officer is charged, not because of some great law enforcement driven conspiracy but because it rarely happens.

Section 693 requires that even if the officer were committing a public offense (crime), only that "self-defense" force that is sufficient to prevent the offense may be used. In other words, the subject may only use force to simply stop the assault/battery under color of authority and never any more than that.

Quite honestly, physically resisting an officer that a subject "feels" is using excessive force is a dangerous game of chance in most cases. If the force is found to be reasonable (as it is in the majority of cases) but the subject continued or increased his resistance because he believed the force was excessive, that subject will not prevail in his claim of self-defense and most likely exposed himself to more injury.

In order for a claim of self-defense to be valid, a finding of excessive force must be made by the trier of fact first. That is the jury (jury trial) or judge (bench trial). The excessive force must be to a degree that the trier of fact would believe it is excessive, not just the subjective belief of the person in the field resisting the officer at that moment. Only after a finding has been made that the force was excessive can the "self-defense" actions of the subject be excused as not being a criminal act. In other words, the physical resistance can be "forgiven" as self-defense only if the force is found to be excessive after the fact and not the other way around.

Reasonableness is viewed from officer's perspective

Another way to examine this is to understand that the evaluation of the reasonableness of an officer’s force response must be made from the perspective of the officer and the totality of the facts and circumstances known to the officer at the time. It is not made from the perspective of the subject. It would be impossible for the subject to fully understand the officer’s perspective and therefore impossible to determine if the force is excessive.

I do not believe the majority of society is willing to accept the idea of a subject with a mere singular and subjective belief (and honestly a self-serving and in most cases an uninformed belief) that somehow an officer’s force response is excessive and therefore the subject has the right to defend him/herself with force. This thinking is clearly a "putting the horse before the cart" type of rational. If society were to accept this thought, every person being arrested in the future could freely physically resist with impunity from criminal culpability on charges of battery on an officer by simply stating, "I felt the force was excessive."

Categories: Latest News

San Francisco UPS shooting leaves 4 dead, including gunman

PoliceOne - Wed, 06/14/2017 - 13:08

Author: Ed Flosi

By Paul Elias Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO — A UPS employee opened fire at a San Francisco package delivery facility on Wednesday, killing three employees and then himself as officers closed in, police and the company said.

San Francisco assistant police chief Toney Chaplin said at a news conference that two others were wounded in the shooting that prompted a massive police response in an industrial neighborhood near downtown.

Police have not determined a motive. Chaplin said that the shooter was armed with an assault pistol and put the weapon to his head and pulled the trigger when police found him.

A UPS statement said the shooter and all the victims were employees. Spokesman Steve Gaut told The Associated Press that the gunman opened fire inside the facility before the drivers were sent out for their daily deliveries.

Neighbors said they heard up to eight rapid gunshots.

"It was like tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat," said Raymond Deng, who lives across the street from the warehouse.

After the gunfire, auto shop owner Robert Kim said he saw "a mob of UPS drivers" running down the street screaming "shooter, shooter."

Deng, 30, a data scientist for a start-up company, also saw workers fleeing and another group of about 10 who gathered on the roof and held their hands up as police arrived.

"I saw police officers go up from the ramp and then storm the buildings," he said. "It's crazy."

Scores of officers, something awful apparently has happened at Potrero Hill UPS. Avoid area. At 17th and Utah

— Evan Sernoffsky (@EvanSernoffsky) June 14, 2017

Police responding to the facility in the Potrero Hill area on the city's eastern edge encountered wounded victims and pulled them to safety. Then they found the gunman, who killed himself.

Investigators recovered two firearms from the scene.

Uniformed UPS employees were later led out in a line by officers next to a highway. They walked away calmly with emergency vehicles nearby and gathered nearby outside a restaurant.

It came the same day a gunman opened fire on Republican lawmakers at a congressional baseball practice, wounding U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana and several others.

These UPS employees were rescued by Police with guns drawn

— Kevin Wood (@megakwood) June 14, 2017

Categories: Latest News