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Many Errors by Cleveland Police, Then a Fatal One

JANUARY 22, 2015

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Love the spin....human failings...


Ombudsman: 'Human failings' caused BPD drug squad issues
January 22, 2015

BOISE -- The Boise Police Department has agreed to review policies governing the vice squad after an investigation into alleged misconduct including improper handling of evidence.

Boise's Interim Ombudsman Dennis Dunne issued recommendations Jan. 13 after the Office of Internal Affairs identified issues within Boise Area Narcotic and Drug Interdiction Team (BANDIT.) The recommendations come in the wake of investigations that led to the departure of two officers and the suspension of a third.

But Dunne noted in his report that the missteps that launched the investigation were not due to problems in policy or training. Rather, he categorized them as "human failings."

"Human beings made poor decisions which resulted in their doing things which were already prohibited," Dunne wrote in his report. "Other human beings failed to become aware and take action on these problems before they escalated. As long as BPD must hire from the human race, human failings are always going to be possible."

The investigation began in spring of 2011 after an anonymous report of misconduct was made against a member of the BANDIT squad. The scrutiny broadened to include several more officers and was taken up as part of a crimina

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see link for full story


Renowned medical examiner testifies in former FBI agent's trial
January 23 2015

The testimony of a nationally renowned forensic pathologist Thursday was contrary to a former FBI special agent’s claim that he acted in self-defense when he killed his estranged wife nearly two years ago.

Dr. Marcella Fierro, the retired chief medical examiner in Virginia, testified that at least one shot was fired into Julie Gonzales on April 19, 2013, while she was dead on the kitchen floor.

Gonzales’ husband, Arthur B. Gonzales, is charged with second-degree murder and using a firearm in the commission of a felony in connection with the slaying.

His scheduled nine-day trial in Stafford Circuit Court, which began Tuesday, will resume this morning.

Gonzales has claimed that he shot his wife that afternoon after she charged at him with a knife.

He has said she became upset when he tried to talk to her about speeding up their divorce.

His first trial last year ended with a hung jury.

Prosecutors Eric Olsen and Kristen Bird enlisted the help of Fierro for this trial, and she spent most of the morning explaining the scientific rationale behind her conclusions.

Fierro said her examination of the evidence showed that the “shored” wound caused by one of the four shots that struck Julie Gonzales clearly was the result of the bullet striking a hard surface, presumably the floor, as it tried to exit her body.

Gonzales contends that his wife was upright and coming at him when he shot her.

The forensic scientist who performed the autopsy, Jennifer Bowers, testified Wednesday and at the previous trial that the shored wound could have resulted from the bullet striking the victim’s bra.

But Fierro said that while certain bras could cause such a result, the bra Julie Gonzales was wearing was not sturdy enough to do so.

Asked by defense attorney Mark Gardner about the fact that Bowers and a scientist hired by the defense came to differing conclusions, Fierro replied, “I think that I probably have more experience with that.”

The prosecution contends that problems in Arthur Gonzales life at the time caused him to lose it when he unexpectedly encountered his wife that day at their home on Alderwood Drive.

The couple was in the process of a divorce, and Arthur Gonzales had the house and custody of their two sons.

The prosecution put on a number of FBI employees and other witnesses who talked about such things as Gonzales’ obsession with 23-year-old FBI employee Kara Cast and his dismay over having to pay $2,000 a month to his estranged wife as part of a court order.

Cast had moved in with Gonzales the week of the slaying. On her first night in the home, Gonzales went through her phone and found evidence that she was seeing another man.

She eventually married that other man, FBI special agent Allen George. George was among the witnesses who testified Thursday.

Gonzales’ attorneys have contended that Julie Gonzales was the only one who’d been aggressive in their marriage and that he had no motive to want her dead.

The most riveting moment in Thursday’s testimony came while Gardner was cross-examining Fierro.


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January 23 2015

Ex-officers sue over release of confidential information

A group of former officers from a defunct Los Angeles County police organization has filed a lawsuit accusing the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department of leaking confidential information to the Los Angeles Times.

The 12-page lawsuit filed by 44 former Office of Public Safety officials centers around a series of Times articles reporting that the Sheriff’s Department had hired employees with a history of misconduct.

After the little-known Office of Public Safety was dissolved in 2010, officers were allowed to transfer to the Sheriff’s Department. But the 280 officers picked included a number of problematic hires, such as employees who had had sex at work, solicited prostitutes or had accidentally fired their weapons, according to The Times report.

Records showed that for nearly 100 hires, investigators found evidence of dishonesty, such as falsifying police records; and nearly 200 had been rejected from other agencies for issues such as past misconduct and failed entrance exams, according to the report.

The laws

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New Jersey police shoot man dead after stopping car –

January 23 2015

Video has emerged of New Jersey police officers shooting and killing the passenger of a car within two minutes of making a traffic stop. Jerame Reid, 36, was shot and killed by Bridgeton police officers on 30 December, after the driver of the car, Leroy Tutt, 46, was pulled over for allegedly running a stop sign, according to a police dashboard camera video obtained by the South Jersey Times


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see link for full story


Steller: Unsealed Dobyns files look bad for DOJ

Retired ATF agent Jay Dobyns’ lawsuit against the federal government alleged they broke a settlement deal with him and mistreated him, in part by calling him a suspect in the 2008 arson of his own Tucson home.
Newly unsealed documents in his case suggest that the government misbehaved during the trial in 2013, leading to DOJ attorneys being barred from filing further documents in the case. More eerily, the misbehavior may have extended to surveillance of Dobyns’ Phoenix attorney even up into this month.
For people like me, who have sympathized with Dobyns but tried to reserve judgment about his case, the documents push us further into the retired agent’s camp. You can’t read the few filings that have been unsealed in the case without wondering why the Justice Department is going to such extremes and spending so much on what is, at base, a relatively minor contractual dispute that could have ended years ago.
The case began in October 2008, went to trial in 2013 and reached an apparent conclusion in August 2014 when Court of Claims Judge Francis Allegra awarded Dobyns $173,000, a fraction of what he had demanded. But in between, Dobyns published a book about his infiltration of the Hells Angels and became a fierce critic of the agency’s Operation Fast and Furious, a Phoenix-based investigation that led to thousands of guns being smuggled into Mexico.
Maybe that’s why, when I took a peek into the sealed courtroom in June 2013, the Justice Department had four attorneys and two paralegals at their table, to Dobyns’ one attorney and one paralegal.
One of the recently unsealed documents, a Dec. 1 opinion by Judge Allegra, finally explains why in October the judge voided his original decision, made in August, to award Dobyns $173,000. (He later reversed his decision to void the judgment, which still stands.) The reason: The judge believed that Justice Department attorneys had “committed fraud on the court.”
One area in which Allegra decided deception had occurred was in the treatment of Thomas Atteberry, the special agent in charge of ATF’s Phoenix office, and Carlos Canino, then the assistant special agent in charge of the agency’s Tucson office. In 2012, a Justice Department attorney, Valerie Bacon, asked both Atteberry and Canino not to reopen the investigation into the arson at Dobyns’ Tucson home because it could hurt the Justice Department’s defense in this case.
Atteberry and Canino were listed as witnesses in the case, but the judge didn’t hear about the DOJ effort to squelch the investigation until the trial, which he considered a concealment by the Justice Department. They went ahead and reopened the case, which remains unsolved, anyway.
More alarming was the other “fraud on the court” that Allegra cited: “An ATF agent who testified in this case may have been threatened by another witness during the trial.” Justice Department attorneys ordered the agent not to report the threat to the court or he would face repercussions, Allegra said.
A separate filing by Dobyns’ attorney, James Reed, identifies the threatened agent as Christopher Trainor and says the threats have since been reported to the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility. In earlier years, Trainor conducted an internal investigation into ATF’s handling of the fire at Dobyns’ home.
Understanding the Dobyns case through its sporadically unsealed filings can be a bit like trying to grasp a book by reading every 10th page, but it seems that this apparent misconduct by the DOJ attorneys is what led Allegra to make a dramatic ruling on Oct. 24. That day, he barred seven Justice Department attorneys who had led the case until then from making any further filings in the case. The DOJ is fighting that ruling.
But perhaps the most bizarre and worrisome allegations emerged in Reed’s Jan. 11 filing, which was originally filed under seal but unsealed by the judge except for a few redacted words. Reed, who is based in Phoenix, wrote that he “has felt himself under extreme surveillance for the last sixty days, both fixed and moving, and under lesser levels of surveillance for many months before that.”
“In the last 30 days,” Reed wrote, “counsel’s automobile has been broken into but with nothing stolen, as apparently has been his home, for which counsel has filed Phoenix Police Department complaints.”
Reed reported in his filing that he asked a retired ATF agent whom he knows, Joseph Slatalla, an expert in surveillance, about his experiences. Slatalla was also a witness in the Dobyns case.
“Slatalla confirmed that the undersigned is not imagining these things; undersigned counsel is under both fixed and moving constant surveillance by multiple personnel.”
In fact, after Slatalla met Reed at his law office in December, someone driving a car parked at the office followed Slatalla home, Reed wrote. Reed asked the judge to schedule a status conference to discuss the apparent surveillance and whether it is being conducted by the Justice Department.
Let’s assume for a minute

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Near-brawl breaks out at city council meeting to heal wounds between police and public after Ferguson unrest

Fight erupts at St. Louis City Hall
The altercation broke out during a meeting to discuss the possibility of creating a civilian review board so citizens could have a more direct line to police. Wit…
A city council meeting in St. Louis turned ugly on Wednesday when the business manager of the city's police union got into an altercation with people he called "anti-police radicals."

The board meeting was hosted to get public input on a proposed bill, sponsored by Alderman Antonio French, which would establish a civilian oversight board to review and rule on complaints about police work. The bill was prompted by racially charged protests that erupted in Ferguson last year following the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, a black teenager, by white officer Darren Wilson.

But about an hour into the hearing, Jeff Roorda, a state representative who also serves as the business manager of the St. Louis Police Officers Association, stood up and called for order.

Alderman Terry Kennedy, the committee's chairman, responded, "Excuse me, first of all, you do not tell me my function."

Things quickly unraveled, and Roorda, who was wearing an armband that read "I am Darren Wilson," engaged in a scuffle with several attendees.

"About 30 or 40 anti-police radicals (were) fomenting violence against the police," Roorda told KMOV-TV. "I tried to approach the podium and the anti-police radicals started pushing and shoving the police officers and myself."

Bishop Derrick Robinson, a Ferguson preacher and protest organizer who was at the meeting, says Roorda scuffled with a woman in the crowd and triggered the melee.

"We went to protect her and the police tried to protect him," Robinson said. "It was an all-out shoving match, with some punches being thrown, too."

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Top News
Exclusive: FBI says it had no prior knowledge of deadly Philippine raid targeting militants
By Julia Edwards
WASHINGTON | Sat Jan 31, 2015 4:08pm
By Julia Edwards

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The FBI had no prior knowledge of a police raid in the Philippines last Sunday to arrest wanted militants that went awry and left 44 police dead, an FBI spokesman told Reuters on Saturday.

Philippine media had reported that the FBI helped orchestrate the raid, which targeted Zulkifli bin Hir, an Islamic militant on the U.S. law enforcement agency's list of "most wanted terrorists."

"The FBI was not involved in the planning or execution of the operation. We do express our deepest condolences to the brave officers of the Philippine National Police who lost their lives in the line of duty," FBI spokesman Josh Campbell said.

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see link for full story

Feds seek to protect national secrets in Cornell trial



Classified information could be part of evidence in the trial of a Cincinnati man accused of plotting to attack the U.S. Capitol and kill government employees, so federal prosecutors are asking for a meeting to assure national secrets are not made public.

Citing the Classified Information Procedures Act of 1980, Timothy Mangan, assistant United States attorney, said a meeting between prosecutors and the defense is needed in the case of Christopher Lee Cornell to assure matters of national security are not breached.

“Due to the nature of the charges and the expected evidence, the United States anticipates that issues relating to classified information will arise in connection with this case,” Mangan wrote in a motion filed last week that asks United States District Judge Sandra Beckwith for a pretrial conference.

Cornell was indicted and pleaded not guilty earlier this month in U.S. Federal Court in Cincinnati to felony charges of attempted murder of government employees and officials, solicitation to commit a crime of violence, and possession of firearms in furtherance of attempted crime of violence. His trial is scheduled for March 2.

Officials had been tracking Cornell since last summer when he voiced his opinion about violent jihad on Twitter and other social media platforms, according to the court documents.

Cornell used social media, posting messages under the alias, Raheel Mahrus Ubaydah. Court documents state he sent a Tweet to an FBI source: “I believe we should just wage jihad under our own orders and plan attacks and everything.”

The former member of the wrestling team at Oak Hills High School began learning about building pipe bombs and plotted to plant them near the U.S. Capitol building, and then go on a shooting spree targeting government employees and officials, the FBI alleges. He met with the FBI confidential source Oct. 17 and 18 in Cincinnati to discuss the attack, and told the informant he needed weapons and had wanted to “move” in December, according to court documents.

He was surrounded and taken into custody Jan. 14 outside a Colerain Twp. gun shop by the FBI’s Cincinnati-Dayton Joint Terrorism Task Force, moments after buying two semi-automatic rifles and 600 rounds of ammunition.

Defending Cornell will be tough given the added issue of classified information, but not impossible, said Michael Allen, Cincinnati defense attorney and former prosecutor.

“What it boils down to is the need to harmonize national security with something we pride ourselves with in this country, the defendant’s right to a fair trial,” Allen said.

He added, all involved have to have security clearance to even hear the information.

It is possible the jury will be given a synopsis rather than details that could contain classified information, Allen said.

“The judge is the one in the hot seat. She will have to decide what comes in and what doesn’t,” Allen said.

‘The intention of CIPA was good and noble, but it is a real balancing act,” Allen said, noting vital aspects of the legal system including the right to public trial, and the right to confront your accusers, must be considered.

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In fracking hot spots, police and gas industry share intelligence on activists

FEBRUARY 2, 2015 | 5:44 PM


Police monitor an anti-fracking protest at Gov. Wolf's inauguration in January.
Police monitoring an anti-fracking protest outside the state capitol during Gov. Wolf's inauguration in January.
Last month an anti-fracking group settled a lawsuit against Pennsylvania, after it was erroneously labeled a potential terrorist threat. The case dates back to 2010 and was an embarrassment for then-Governor Ed Rendell.

But documents obtained by StateImpact Pennsylvania show law enforcement here and in other parts of the country continue to conduct surveillance on anti-fracking activists, leading some to claim their Constitutional rights are being violated.

“This is scary”

It’s not hard to tell Wendy Lee is an animal lover. When I arrived at her home in Bloomsburg, I was greeted by several dogs, an iguana the size of a cat, and three birds. With her cockatiel, Quantum, by her side, she showed me her blog. Lee is a 55-year-old philosophy professor at Bloomsburg University and proud anti-fracking activist.

“My long history of political activism is on the left,” she says. “I am the author of books with titles like ‘On Marx’ if that gives you an idea.”

Anti-fracking activist Wendy Lee sorting through photos she's taken at gas sites.
Anti-fracking activist and philosophy professor Wendy Lee sorts through photos she's taken at gas sites. Pa. State Police won't explain why a trooper came to her home to question her last year. They cited an ongoing criminal investigation.
She often travels to gas industry sites and takes photos. Her website is filled with criticism of fracking, and she’s used to getting criticized for her views.

Still, she was surprised last February when a Pennsylvania State Trooper came to her house to ask her about a visit she’d made to a gas compressor station.

On that trip, she was joined by two other activists and took some photos of the compressor. It wasn’t long before security guards told them all to leave.

“When they tell us to leave, we left,” she recalls. “There was no altercation. There was nothing.”

As the trooper stood inside her door, he questioned her about the incident. After a while, he brought up eco-terrorism.

Lee was stunned when he asked her if she knew anything about pipe bombs.

“Part of me was like, ‘Oh this is scary. This is actually scary.’” she says. “And part of me is just laughing on the inside because it’s ludicrous.”

Lee was never charged or arrested for anything.

It turns out that same Pennsylvania trooper had already crossed state lines and traveled to upstate New York to investigate the compressor incident. He visited 65-year-old Jeremy Alderson, one of the other activists with Lee that day.

When Alderson got a knock at his home in Hector, a New York trooper was there too.

Anti-fracking activist Jeremy Alderson outside his home in Hector, N.Y.
Activist Jeremy Alderson outside his home in Hector, N.Y. A Pennsylvania state trooper came to his home to question him about visiting a gas site in Pa., "What possible reason do they have to come here but to intimidate me?" says Alderson.
“Having two troopers show up at your door, that’s kinda scary,” he says. “Because you don’t know what’s happened.”

While he was being questioned about trespassing, Alderson assumed the police knew about his newsletter, the No Frack Almanac. He’d published photos and an article about his visit to the compressor.

So he asked them, “Why would I publish all that if I thought I’d done something illegal?”

But neither trooper knew anything about it.

“It was clear they’d come to visit me before they had even put my name into a search engine on the internet,” says Alderson. “So this led me to believe, what possible reason do they have to come here but to intimidate me? They don’t care about information. They haven’t done a thing to get it.”

Alderson was also not charged or arrested for anything.

“A history of suppressing dissent”

The Pennsylvania Trooper, Mike Hutson, declined to comment for this story. But documents obtained by StateImpact Pennsylvania through the Right to Know Law show Hutson is part of a broader intelligence-sharing network between law enforcement and the gas industry.

It’s called the Marcellus Shale Operators’ Crime Committee. It allows the industry to swap information with local, state, and federal law enforcement about activists, protests, and potential threats.

“Energy companies have a history of suppressing dissent in this country,” says Witold Walczack, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania. “Whether it’s coal, oil, or now natural gas.”

Walczack has represented fracking opponents as clients. He says a small percentage of activists resort to crime.

There have been reports of pipe bombs, charred debris, and gunshots fired at gas sites.

“But the vast majority of people who are involved today in the anti-fracking movement are law-abiding citizens.”

A spokesman for the state’s main gas industry trade group, The Marcellus Shale Coalition, declined to comment for this story but sent an email saying, “safety is the industry’s top priority.”

But some activists complain police are trampling free speech under the guise of tracking real threats.

"We believe that collecting and disseminating information about groups engaged in lawful activities ... can and does have a chilling effect upon freedom of speech," says Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition vice president Diane Dreier
"We believe that collecting and disseminating information about groups engaged in lawful activities can and does have a chilling effect upon freedom of speech," says Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition vice president Diane Dreier.
The Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition is the group from northeastern Pennsylvania that recently settled a lawsuit with the state for being labeled a terrorist threat in 2010. The group’s attorney Paul Rossi says he’s disturbed to now hear about the Marcellus Shale Operators’ Crime Committee.

“We just had a ruling that this was unconstitutional,” says Rossi. “I’m about as flabbergasted as an attorney can be at the serial violations of First Amendment rights in this state.”

Both the FBI and the Pennsylvania State Police say they’re not official members of the Operators’ Committee but acknowledge they receive updates from it and have attended meetings.

J.J. Klaver is a special agent with the FBI in Philadelphia and points out part of its jobs is monitoring threats to infrastructure.

“The FBI is not in the business of investigating or tracking groups for having specific beliefs,” he says. “That’s not within our jurisdiction or within the law.”

The documents obtained by StateImpact Pennsylvania show the intelligence-sharing between police and the oil and gas industry goes on in other parts of the country too.

Surveillance in other shale plays

A man named Jim Hansel sends out many of the updates to the Marcellus Shale Operators’ Crime Committee. He’s based in Williamsport and manages security for the Texas-based gas driller, Anadarko Petroleum.

Neither Hansel nor Anadakro responded to requests to comment for this story.

In one of his early emails to the group, Hansel writes that drillers are involved in similar partnerships with law enforcement around the country– in Texas and the Rockies.

Documents obtained by StateImpact Pennsylvania show the gas industry and law enforcement have similar intelligence-sharing partnerships in other parts of the U.S., including Texas and the Rockies.
Documents show the gas industry and law enforcement have similar intelligence-sharing partnerships in other parts of the U.S., including Texas and the Rockies.
Cliff Willmeng is not surprised to hear about the surveillance. He’s a nurse and anti-fracking activist who lives near Boulder, Colorado.

“To some extent, I think we’re experiencing a sort of quasi-privatization of our legal forces,” says Willmeng.

Two summers ago he found himself under arrest– pinned down onto his driveway by a pair of police officers.

“They were yelling ‘Stop resisting!’ and my wife was watching this the entire time screaming,” says Willmeng.

Why was this happening?

According the Erie County Colorado police report, Willmeng drove up to a security guard at a gas well site and asked some questions. He was there for about 60 seconds and never got out of his car. After he left, the guard called police and said he’d felt threatened and harassed.

Two departments showed up at Willmeng’s home. In their report, the officers said he was uncooperative. They charged him with four misdemeanors: harassment, criminal trespassing, obstruction, and resisting arrest.

All the activists in this story say they feel like they’ve been targeted for their viewpoints.

It’s not clear to what extent the surveillance will continue under Governor Wolf’s new administration. His pick to head the state police, Col. Marcus Brown says he’s not familiar with the Marcellus Shale Operators Crime Committee.

“Very early on, we’ll make sure the state police are doing what they should be doing,” Brown said at a recent press conference. “If they’re actions are appropriate, then we’ll continue it. If they’re doing something they shouldn’t be, we’ll make sure it doesn’t go forward.”

After her visit from the Pennsylvania state trooper, blogger and Bloomsburg University professor Wendy Lee filed an open records request with the state police, trying to find out why she was questioned.

Months later, her request was denied. Among other reasons, the police said the records were part of an ongoing criminal investigation.

“They don’t tell me whether I’m the object of that investigation– which would be quite mystifying — and they don’t tell me in any way I would be connected to that investigation if I am not its object.” she says.

Lee thinks the visit was simply to intimidate her.

“While we get to believe we have the free exercise of our First Amendment rights, we’re not actually supposed to use them.”

She still hopes to get the police records and is appealing the decision.

This story has been updated to reflect the following correction: An earlier version of this article misstated the location of Wendy Lee’s home. It is in Bloomsburg, not Lewisburg.


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Reply with quote  #11 
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New White House Rules on Surveillance Fall Short, Privacy Group Says
02.03.15 | 5:59

More than a year after leaks from Edward Snowden exposed a government program collecting bulk phone records, the Obama administration has failed to halt the practice that even its own advisers want to end.
Today the White House revealed new rules it has implemented in the last year governing how the NSA and other agencies can collect and store data on U.S. citizens and foreign nationals. But rather than address the fundamental problems intrinsic to the phone records collection program, the changes focus on other ancillary policies. For instance, one new rule requires intelligence agencies to scrub any private information about Americans that gets vacuumed up in bulk collections of data, as in when spy agencies target a foreign national and collect the content of communications belonging to an American in the process. When that information has no intelligence purpose, agencies are now required to purge it. The new rules also indicate that private information collected about foreigners must be scrubbed after five years if it holds no intelligence purpose.
Foreigners will now also be able to petition U.S. courts to block the misuse of their private information if that information was passed to U.S. law enforcement agencies by a foreign government.
The new rules also address the government’s use of so-called National Security Letters—secret letters that the FBI can serve to internet service providers and other businesses to get them to hand over records about users. National Security Letters can be issued without the involvement of a judge or court and come with an indefinite gag order preventing businesses from disclosing to anyone that they received such an order. They were ruled unconstitutional in 2013 by a federal judge in California. The government is currently appealing that ruling. In the meantime, the White House has refused to halt their use, but the new rules at least place a deadline on the gag orders. Going forward, gag orders accompanying an NSL will terminate either when an investigation involving an NSL is closed or three years after an investigation is opened—whichever comes first. The White House has included an exception, however, allowing any midlevel FBI official to extend the secrecy of an NSL if they can justify in writing why it’s needed.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which first brought the NSL case against the government, says the new rules don’t address the main problem: namely that agents can simply issue them to a business without any court oversight and the fact that a gag order exists in the first place, for any duration.
“It doesn’t change the essential problem,” says Kurt Opsahl, deputy general counsel for the EFF. “It is still a gag issued without court authority and can be continued indefinitely (simply on the say of an FBI agent) without court involvement.”
He also says the government needs to clarify what the three-year deadline means for NSLs that have already been issued to businesses.
“I would like some clarification if everybody who received an NSL more than three years ago and doesn’t get a note gets to talk about it now,” he says.
Opsahl also says the new rule on purging bulk-collected data that belongs to Americans is problematic, because of the qualifier that it not serve an intelligence purpose.
“It gives a tremendous amount of discretion keeping in mind that foreign intelligence information is a very broad term,” he says.
The biggest change privacy groups were hoping for from the White House but didn’t get? To halt its phone records collection program. Despite recommendations last year that the government halt its bulk collection of phone records metadata—which it collects from telecoms about all calls made to or from the U.S.—the White House has kept it going.
“[The Administration has not implemented the Board’s recommendation to halt the NSA’s bulk telephone records program, which it could do at any time without congressional involvement,” the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board said in a statement about the new rules.
The board recommended that telecoms maintain the records, rather than letting the government collect and retain them, and make them available to the government only for targeted searches upon court order. The White House indicated that the government will continue to collect and store the data because telecoms have not yet devised a system to store the records and make them available to government when appropriate.
“The companies are saying ‘if you want us to do it, you must compel us to do it,’” a U.S. intelligence official told the New York Times. “So we need to compel them.” As the Times points out, that is a process that would require congressional action.
The section of the Patriot Act that the government has used to authorize the bulk collection of phone records will expire in June. Congress will either need to renew the law by then or pass a new law that authorizes phone companies to retain the data for government.
For now, the government has established new rules for using the collected metadata. A report released today by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence indicates that since February

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Reply with quote  #12 

Parents of star recruit sue Kendrick Johnson Facebook group

Feb. 5 2015
The parents of the Lowndes High School student named in a wrongful death lawsuit brought by the parents of Kendrick Johnson returned legal fire Thursday, suing a Facebook group dedicated to the late teen’s memory.
Two unnamed defendants are accused of influencing Florida State University officials to withdraw its scholarship offer to Brian Bell, a heavily recruited linebacker who committed to the Seminoles last February.
On January 26, the Facebook group “Kendrick Johnson Memorial” posted a plea urging FSU to rescind their offer to Bell, alleging the 17-year-old “exhibited violent tendencies and a highly unusual appetite for fighting” while at Lowndes.

The suit filed by Johnson’s parents last month accused an unnamed female of luring their son into the old gym at Lowndes High where he was fatally beaten by Bell and his older brother. The siblings were acting at the behest of their father, FBI agent Rick Bell, according to the suit, which alleges a cover-up implicating the GBI, local law enforcement, school offi

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two stories

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Judge: Loss of murder evidence 'astonishing'


The Erie County Sheriff's Office loss of evidence in the murder case of a Rochester man was "nothing short of astonishing" with "no rational excuse," a federal magistrate judge has ruled.

Still, U.S. Magistrate Judge Jonathan Feldman ruled, the lost evidence — which was shipped by the Sheriff's Office to an auction house and not seen again — was not purposeful. Lawyers for four people accused of murder in federal court in Rochester had asked for a murder charge to be dismissed because of the mishandled evidence — a request Feldman denied because, he said, the law requires that the proof was lost because of "bad faith" on the part of police.
Feldman issued his ruling earlier this month. A day-long hearing on the lost evidence was held in April, and lawyers later filed motions based on the hearing testimony.
As testimony showed, a box of evidence was stored at the Erie County Sheriff's Office in connection with the slaying of a Rochester man, Francisco Santos. Police allege that a local drug ring took Santos to the Cattaraugus Indian Reservation in Erie County in 1998, killed him, and dumped his body in a makeshift grave there.
Facing federal murder charges are Rochester residents James Kendrick, Pablo Plaza, Angelo Cruz, and Janine Plaza Pierce.
A former Erie County sheriff's property clerk testified at the hearing that in 2002 he must have mistakenly misread information on the box and sent it to an auction operation that auctioned off old evidence of little value. Homicide evidence was not sent for auction, he said.
The property storage room was often overcrowded, and was then not computerized, Sheriff's Office officials testified.
Among the evidence stored in the box were the broken blade of a knife found near the burial site, a broken shovel, and broken sunglasses. Police assume the evidence was disposed of by the auction business.
"No matter the vantage point, there is simply no rational excuse or coherent explanation for mindlessly releasing for auction evidence relevant to an unsolved murder investigation simply because the evidence room was getting too crowded," Feldman wrote.
But the property clerk was not involved in the homicide investigation and knew nothing of its possible "evidentiary value," Feldman wrote, refusing to dismiss the murder charge.
Lawyers for the defendants argued that evidence in the box could be exculpatory, but now was not available for more refined forensics testing than was available in the late 1990s.
Prosecutors maintained that there was no clear exculpatory value with the evidence. Soil from the broken shovel, which was found during the searchsearch

Report Shows High Number of Unsolved Murders in U.S. - 8 News ...
Jun 3, 2010 - If you don't have someone convected for a murder it hasn't been solved and judging by the number of people that have been convected and ...
The Audacious Epigone: Rates of unsolved murder by state
Jan 26, 2013 - News reports based on FBI statistics show that somewhere between ... Parenthetically, there are presumably a small number of homicides for ...
How Many Unsolved Murders? - The Restless Sleep
When my book went to press there were 8,894 unsolved murders in New York since ... and download the Uniform Crime Reports, aka Crime in the United States.
How many unsolved murders in US - Answers.com
http://www.answers.com › ... › Law & Legal Issues › Statutes of Limitations
Watching 'Most Evil' on Discovery, they said that since 1960, there have been 200,000 cold cases and each year 6,000 other cases go cold in the US alone.
Breakdown of homicide clearance rates - Cover
Below are the total number of homicides reported in each state, the rate at which ... are solved through arrest and the estimated number of unsolved homicides. .... The percentage of homicides that go unsolved in the United States has risen ...
Unsolved homicides in Wichita Falls - Times Record News
May 23, 2010 - The database of unsolved homicides provided by Scripps lists 42 cases in Wichita Falls between 1980 and the end of 2009. The Times Record ...
How many murders go unsolved each year in the U.S.? | Deep ...
Jun 4, 2006 - DNA. Carpet fibers. Fingerprints. Given the wealth of forensic information, you'd think police would solve each and every murder. Unfortunately ...
Getting Away With Murder - New York Times - The New York Times
Oct 23, 2007 - In California, the percentage of unsolved homicides is even higher, but a ... model and serial number of a semiautomatic handgun onto its firing ...
List of unsolved deaths - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Unsolved murders[edit]. See also: List of unsolved murders in the United Kingdom ... Goebel remains the only state Governor in the United States to die by assassination while in office. ... Despite a number of arrests, no one was ever charged.
More in U.S. get away with murder - US news - Crime & courts | NBC ...
Dec 8, 2008 - The number of criminal homicides committed in the U.S. climbed from ... Also, gang-related killings are increasingly going unsolved because ...

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Feb. 10 2015
Wife of Windham man fatally shot by police files wrongful-death lawsuit


Vicki McKenney, who witnessed the shooting of her armed, suicidal husband, is seeking $2 million in the case filed in Cumberland County Superior Court.

The wife of a suicidal Windham man who was shot and killed by a Cumberland County sheriff’s deputy last year has filed a $2 million lawsuit against police, saying her husband posed no threat to anyone other than himself when the officer “unilaterally opened fire with his rifle.”

Vicki McKenney, who watched from the back of a poli

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Reply with quote  #15 

Backfire | Watchdog Update
Secret affair between agent, prosecutor taints ATF stings in Georgia

see link for full story


Feb. 10, 2015


A Journal Sentinel investigation uncovered mistakes and failures in an undercover sting in Milwaukee's Riverwest neighborhood by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives – stolen guns, sensitive documents lost, wrong people charged and a burglary of the sting storefront.

Go to section.

Fresh problems have surfaced related to federal undercover storefront stings run by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, nearly a year after the Justice Department launched an investigation into the tactic.

In southern Georgia, the U.S. attorney has disclosed that one of his prosecutors and an ATF agent who together oversaw three such storefront operations starting in 2009 were secretly having an affair and may have illegally helped an informant. The pair are the subject of multiple internal investigations, according to a letter to judges there.

ATF's gun- and drug-buying stings, a common undercover technique used by the agency, were halted after a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel investigation revealed numerous problems in operations in Milwaukee and nationwide.

Congressional hearings were held last year as members of both parties demanded answers. Director B. Todd Jones told Congress the agency had stopped using that tactic. This week, an ATF spokesman said no new storefront operations have been started since then.

A Justice Department inspector general investigation into storefronts in four cities including Milwaukee continues. That office is now also investigating the Georgia storefronts and the conduct of the prosecutor and agent who had the affair, the ATF said this week.

"The department takes these allegations seriously and is taking active and appropriate steps with regard to the employees involved," said ATF spokesman Patrick Rodenbush, who declined to elaborate further because it is a personnel matter.

The facts surrounding the storefronts in southern Georgia are detailed in a highly unusual letter sent in late January. U.S. Attorney Edward Tarver notified judges in the Southern District of Georgia about the affair between Assistant U.S. Attorney Cameron Ippolito and ATF Special Agent Lou Valoze and its effect on cases they worked on.

"During the affair, Agent Valoze testified in the Southern District of Georgia on numerous occasions, in numerous contexts, and in numerous cases, often at the direction of AUSA Ippolito," Tarver wrote.

Tarver has notified defense attorneys of the pair's conduct in four cases. He had to make that notification under a Supreme Court ruling requiring that defense attorneys receive information important to their case.

All five judges from that district signed what a legal expert called a remarkable order, requiring the U.S. attorney's office to go further and disclose every case Ippolito and Valoze worked on together. They also barred them from appearing in court.

"The prosector might have been hoping they could send a letter with their tail between legs and that was it. The judges didn't let them off so easily," said Laurie Levenson, a former federal prosecutor who is now a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.

Tarver's office did not return calls for comment.

The storefront tactic, where agents set up a store selling clothing, drug paraphernalia and other items but are really seeking guns and drugs, was especially popular in Georgia, where the ATF ran at least seven such operations over five years, records show.

Tarver's letter to the judges said Ippolito and Valoze had an affair starting in 2009, which was around the time an ATF storefront was launched. It lasted until March 2014, shortly after the inspector general launched his investigation.
Misleading testimony

During that time, Valoze, with assistance from Ippolito, gave potentially false information to the Department of Homeland Security for a visa for an informant who was working with the ATF in the storefront, according to Tarver's letter. Valoze's application for the informant failed to disclose the informant was suspected of criminal conduct.

Also, Valoze, under oath and questioning by Ippolito, told the jury in a trial the only benefit the informant — who was not named in the letter — received was to be in the United States legally. Valoze failed to disclose that the ATF had helped the informant get a license in Georgia to run amusement machines and did not pursue criminal charges against him for gambling and theft.

Tarver's letter said Valoze's testimony "left a false impression" but it fell short of knowingly providing false testimony. Levenson, the law professor, said criminal charges against Valoze would be difficult to prove, because he might be able to argue he provided incomplete testimony but didn't lie.

Another thing Valoze left out of his testimony was that the informant was suspected of ripping off the ATF's storefront in Brunswick, Ga., the letter said.

Other ATF storefronts across the country also were burglarized, including in Milwaukee and Pensacola, Fla. In Milwaukee, an agent's guns were also stolen from his car, parked at a coffee shop. An ATF automatic rifle remains missing from that theft.

The investigation also found agents used a brain-damaged man with a low IQ to promote the Milwaukee operation and then arrested him; allowed armed felons to leave the store; arrested the wrong person four times; and paid such high prices for guns that people bought guns from stores and sold them to agents for a profit. The investigation found similar flaws in ATF stings in other cities.

Attorney General Eric Holder vowed there would be accountability for what he called "ridiculous" tactics. However, as of the most recent communication with Congress, no one in the ATF received serious punishment as a result of the problems.

In his letter, the federal prosector in

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2 stories

Boston Police Lieutenant on Leave After Allegedly Crashing His Truck, Fleeing


| 02.11.15 | 8:32 PM
A Boston Police lieutenant is on administrative leave after authorities said he fled his pickup truck after it crashed into a backhoe removing snow in West Roxbury early Wednesday morning.

Lt. John Earley was charged with leaving the scene of an accident with property damage, according to Boston Police. Any salary owed to Earley during his suspension will be withheld pending the outcome of the department’s investigation, police said.



General Information

Annual Reports

CRB Response to Grand Jury Report (PDF)
Annual Report 2009 (PDF)
Annual Report 2007 (PDF)
Annual Report 2006 (PDF)
Annual Report 2005 (PDF)
Annual Report 2004 (PDF)
Annual Report 2003 (PDF)
Annual Report 2002 (PDF)
Annual Report 2001 (PDF)
Quarterly Reports

Citizens' Review Board on Police Practices Quarterly Reports

Mid 1980's

After a controversial police shooting, the Mayor and City Council established and appointed citizens to a Citizens' Advisory Board (CAB) to review the Police Department's Use of Force Policy. This board was designed to be temporary and expire after 12 months. The review process was a success and the board was made permanent.


At the recommendation of the CAB, the City Manager and Chief of Police appointed 15 community members to serve on the Civilian Advisory Panel on Police Practices. The purpose of this panel was to monitor the acceptance and investigation of complaints involving police officers and to ensure thoroughness, objectivity and just treatment of citizens and officers alike.


Propositions "F" and "G" were offered to the citizens of San Diego. "F" proposed a "Police Review Commission" and was viewed by the Civilian Advisory Panel as having a negative impact on the current system. "G" proposed a Citizens' Review Board on Police Practices (CRB) and was seen as most beneficial to the department and community. "G" gained the most support and won the public vote.

The new City Charter Amendment (Proposition G) gave the City Manager the exclusive authority to create and establish a Citizens' Review Board on Police Practices to review and evaluate citizen's complaints against police officers and the discipline arising from such complaints.

| Citizens' Review Board on Police Practices Home | General Information |
| About The Board | Filing

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See link for full story

Madison Police Chief: Officer charged with assault, also recommended for termination after incident that severely injured Indian man


, FEBRUARY 13, 2015
– Madison Police Chief Larry Muncey says he has recommended one of his officers be terminated after an incident last week that left a 57-year-old Indian man severely injured. The officer has also been charged with third-degree assault.

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Reply with quote  #18 

Murder charge dropped due to evidence mixup


| February 14,2015

BENNINGTON — The mishandling of evidence by a Vermont State Police trooper has led the state to dismiss a murder charge against a man who had been accused of the 1986 murder of Manchester golf professional Sarah Hunter.

David Allan Morrison, 53, was serving a life sentence in a California prison last year when he was brought to Vermont and charged with the murder of Hunter, 36, who had been sexually assaulted and strangled.

In 2013, Vermont authorities announced they would file charges against Morrison because a hair found in a car that Morrison used to own had been found to be a DNA match for Hunter. However, it was determined this week that the hair had come from Hunter’s car, not Morrison’s.

Bennington County State’s Attorney Erica Marthage said she had made the decision to dismiss the charge, without prejudice, based on information gathered by her chief deputy, Christina Rainville.

On Tuesday, Rainville went to the Department of Public Safety’s storage facility in Waterbury. Marthage said, in particular, Rainville was looking for a hair brush that had been found in Morrison’s car to see whether it matched a hair brush belonging to Hunter that was reportedly missing after her murder.

Marthage said the visit to the evidence storage facility was routine. However, irregularities began to surface during the review of the evidence.

“During that review, it became apparent that the case officer (Vermont State Police Sgt. Helaine Gaiotti) had sent the vacuumings from the victim’s car to the FBI lab, not the defendant’s car as was represented to the FBI and to this office,” Marthage said.

The hair brush that had been found in Morrison’s car was also found among the evidence, although Marthage said her office had been told it was missing.

Marthage said her office and the Vermont State Police review

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Reply with quote  #19 

Lawyer seeks to honor early civil rights activist

See link for full story


Elbert Williams stands on the far left in this photograph of the charter members of Brownsville’s NAACP chapter.

On June 23, 1940, the body of Elbert Williams was discovered in the Hatchie River south of Brownsville. An inquest determined that he died "by foul means at the hands of parties unknown," and his body was placed in the back of a pickup truck and taken to the cemetery. He was buried quickly, with no funeral or graveside service, and no cause of death was ever determined.
Williams was the first member of the NAACP in the nation known to have been killed for his civil rights activity, but his name remains a footnote to history, according to Jim Emison, a West Tennessee attorney. Emison is trying to change that.
Emison, an Alamo native, practiced law in West Tennessee for more than 40 years. He retired from his private practice in 2011 and began researching a famous Election Day shootout in Alamo. That's when he discovered Elbert Williams' story.
"I ran across an article on the internet titled 'Two depression-era lynchings in West Tennessee,'" Emison said. "One was in 1937 in Covington, a fellow by the name of Albert Gooden, and the other was in Haywood County, a man by the name of Elbert Williams in 1940."
Emison said he wondered why he had never heard of the incident. He came from a family of West Tennessee lawyers, many of whom were practicing in 1940, but they had never told him this story.
"They always talked law around the table," he said. "I heard a lot of war stories but I never heard this story. I was very curious."
Emison said he called several friends he thought might know about it. When none of them had heard of it, he decided he needed to tell the story and began working on a book. He started searching for everything he could find on the incident, finding only a six-page vignette on the murder in one book and a chapter devoted to it in another.
"There were other references here and there, but there was no book devoted to what happened and why and the investigations that followed and the failure of anybody to prosecute any of the perpetrators," Emison said.
He said he began doing research at the Library of Congress, in NAACP papers and Department of Justice and FBI files. He also conducted personal interviews. Slowly, he began to piece together Elbert Willliams' story.
Local history
Williams was born on a Haywood County farm in 1908 and educated in the county's colored school system. He married his wife, Annie, in 1929, and when the Depression made farm life difficult, they moved into Brownsville, where they worked at Sunshine Laundry.
In 1939, a black couple in Brownsville led a drive to form an NAACP chapter in the city. Elbert and Annie Williams were among the 52 charter members. The goal of the chapter was to secure the right of black citizens in Haywood County to register to vote. They had not been allowed to register since 1888.
"Haywood County at that time was an overwhelmingly African-American population," Emison said. "Between two-thirds and three-fourths."
Emison said Haywood County was at one time one of the largest plantation counties in the state, and many of the people in the county were descendants of former slaves.
When white leaders in Haywood County became aware of the group's intent to register, they began sending threats.
"A plan was devised to destroy the NAACP chapter," Emison said. "Literally by running its leaders out of Haywood County and terrorizing its members and anybody else who might be thinking about joining."
Emison said according to his research, in June of 1940, white men in the county coordinated a series of kidnappings of NAACP leaders. The leader of the group who attempted to register was Elisha Davis, who owned a service station in Brownsville. He was taken from his house to the Hatchie River Bottom and surrounded by about 50 men. Leading the mob were two Brownsville police officers, Tip Hunter and Charles Read, Emison said.
"They threatened him with death unless he told them the names of the members of the NAACP branch here," he said. "He told them some of those names."
Emison said Davis was run out of town, and as a result of that incident, at least 22 black families left the county.
Williams' death
The white men thought they had shut down the NAACP for good, but a few days later, one of them overheard a conversation between Davis' brother, Thomas, and Elbert Williams about holding a meeting in Williams' home, Emison said.
A few days later, Hunter and Read picked up Davis and Williams from their homes.
"No charges against them, not suspected of a crime, no warrants against them, no accusations of wrongdoing," Emison said. "They got them because they heard they were planning an NAACP meeting."
Davis was released later and fled to Jackson, but Williams was held in the jail. That night, Annie Williams went to the jail to search for her husband. Elbert Williams and Hunter were not at the jail, and Read told her he had no idea who Elbert Williams was. Emison said Read would later admit to taking Williams.
"In the wee hours of the night of June 20, Tip Hunter and Elbert Williams disappeared from the jail," Emison said. "Elbert Williams was never again seen alive."
A few days later, Williams' body was pulled from the river, and the inquest determined that he died "by foul means at the hands of parties unknown."
"He was buried quickly along with the evidence, and he's been there ever since," Emison said.
With pressure from the NAACP, an FBI investigation followed, which Emison said was reluctant and pitiful.
"They gathered no physical evidence," he said. "They took no photographs. They made no effort to exhume the body. The cause of death was never determined."
Eventually, the Department of Justice was directed to get an indictment for civil rights violation, but the indictment never came. The case was closed Jan. 23, 1942.
Emison said the killing was successful in shutting down the movement for voter registration.
"It was the culmination of, literally, a terror campaign," he said. "It was very well-planned, very well-executed, and it was a total, smashing success."
He said the NAACP chapter disbanded, and it did not re-form until 1961, essentially buying the white power structure one more generation of whites-only rule.
"Murder was a tool that was used to keep black people in their place, and that place was as a low-cost labor force to white folks," Emison said. "That's the long and short of it."
Seeking justice
Emison said when he came across the story, he could not resist telling it. He said he does not like the way black people were treated in West Tennessee, and if he can do just a little bit to right the wrong done to Williams, he will do it.
"I practiced law all my life and always thought of the law as an instrument for justice," he said. "Well, what happened to Elbert Williams illustrates what happens when the law is turned on its head and becomes an instrument of injustice and suppression."
In addition to working on a book, Emison has coordinated a team, including a retired FBI agent, the UT Forensic Anthropology Department and a ground-penetrating radar specialist, working to find Williams' remains.
"He's been in an unmarked grave," Emison said. "Nobody cared enough about him to even try to bring his killers to justice. I want as much justice for Elbert Williams as we can give him 75 years later."
Through funeral records and information from Williams' great-niece, the team located an area of land about 150 feet by 100 feet where the body is believed to be. Emison said if Williams' remains are identified, steps can be taken to determine the cause of his death and perhaps identify his killer.
Emison said when he began researching Williams' death, he thought that it was surely the only case like it. He said he could not believe something so horrendous would happen more than once, but it did.
"The longer I studied and the more I researched, I understood that the horror is not in its uniqueness but in its commonality," he said. "What happened to Elbert Williams was not by any means rare. It was common."
Emison said Williams deserves a

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see link for full story


Cops kill every 8 hours in 2015

Feb 15, 2015

Cops kill every 8 hours in 2015
Police sniper targets protesters in Ferguson, Mo., 2014
One could easily get the impression from watching the corporate mass media or listening to public officials like President Obama and FBI director James Comey that the police death toll is rising rapidly and policing is an especially deadly occupation.

In his Jan. 20, 2015, State of the Union address, Obama drew an equal sign between the danger faced by police and those who are the victims of police brutality and murder:

“We may have different takes on the events of Ferguson and New York. But surely we can understand a father who fears his son can’t walk home without being harassed. Surely we can understand the wife who won’t rest until the police officer she married walks through the front door at the end of his shift.”

Speaking on Jan. 4 at the funeral of a New York City police officer who was shot and killed, Comey said he was “shocked and bewildered” by the number of police killed in 2014.

“One hundred and fifteen were killed last year,” he said. “That’s a shocking increase from 2013. I don’t understand evil and I cannot try.” Comey claimed that 100 police had been killed in 2013. But both Obama’s equal sign and Comey’s statistics are falsifications of reality.

As of February 13, U.S. police have killed at least 131 people in 2015, an average of three per day, the vast majority by gunfire. Last year, police killed more than 1,100 people according to the killedbypolice.net website, nearly three times the number reported by local and state police and sheriff’s departments to the FBI. The FBI reporting is voluntary, and many departments, large and small—including New York City—do not participate.

U.S. cops kill at up to 100 times the rate of police in other capitalist countries.

As in years past, a large majority of those killed by the police in 2015 have again been young African Americans and Latinos. The two youngest were both 17-years-old, Kristiana Coignard of Texas and Jessica Hernandez of Colorado. The oldest was 87-year-old Lewis Becker from rural upstate New York.

In the first 44 days of 2015, while 13 police died while on duty, no police were killed by hostile action, according to the pro-police website, “Officer Down Memorial Page.” All of the reported deaths have been attributed to illness or accidents.

The “Officer Down” site records every police, sheriff, prison guard, Border Patrol and other civilian agency and military police fatality, including those outside the country. It is very thorough, even reporting on the deaths of K-9 police dogs.

Many federal, state, local government agencies as well as colleges and universities have their own police departments. There are railroad police, transit police, forestry police, park police, fish and game police, and many, many more.

“Officer Down” lists 122 police fatalities in 2014. Of those, 63 were due to illness or accident, 59 by hostile action. In 2013, the same source reported 112 police killed, 73 due to illness or accident, 39 by hostile action. In 2012, 130 were killed, 65 by hostile action. In 2011, 180 were reported killed, 87 due to attacks.

All together, there are well over 1.5 million police and prison guards in the U.S. According to the 2013 report by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics on fatal injuries, “Police and sheriff’s patrol deputies” ranked as the 41st most dangerous occupation, with far lower death rates not only on such jobs as logging, mining, fishing, and farming, but also plane piloting, truck driving and recycling.

Yet police receive far higher pay than nearly all of those employed in more hazardous occupations. The relatively high salaries and pension benefits received by police is justified to the public on the basis of the supposed great danger the police face.

The glorification of the police by the corporate media and politicians, the exaggeration of the dangers they face, and the high pay most receive are all due to the role the police play as the protectors, not of the people but of a system based on capitalist exploitation and national oppression.

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Reply with quote  #21 

Loretta Lynch never contacted HSBC whistleblower
Obama's attorney-general pick probed for role in prosecuting scandal


February 16 2015

NEW YORK – In its investigation of HSBC, the office of Loretta Lynch, then U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, never contacted the whistleblower who exposed to the public the banking giant’s criminal responsibility for money-laundering hundreds of billions of dollars in drug and terrorist funds.

“Nobody from the U.S. attorney’s office in New York ever contacted me, despite numerous attempts that I made to get the documentation I had of HSBC illegal money-laundering to federal prosecutors,” said the whistleblower, John Cruz, in an interview with WND.

Cruz, a former HSBC manager in New York, delivered to WND early in 2012 approximately 1,000 pages of customer account records and numerous recorded conversations with bank management and compliance employees that document massive money-laundering activity.

As WND reported in a series of articles beginning Feb. 1, 2012, Cruz was able to document a complex criminal scheme that involved wiring billions of dollars for Mexican drug cartels and Middle Eastern terrorists. Thousands of bogus accounts were created through identity theft by using the names and Social Security numbers of unsuspecting current and former customers. It was done with the active participation of regional bank managers, branch managers and employees, as well as bank compliance officials at hundreds of HSBC locations throughout the nation

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Reply with quote  #22 
yep....letting the police investigate themselves is a
Charles Darwin Award recipient, eh?

never create a civilian review police board unless you
give it subpoena power.


Police in-custody lawsuit could be settled tonight

February 18, 2015

A wrongful-death lawsuit over the 2013 in-custody police death of Michigan tourist Charles Eimers might finally come to an end this week.

The Key West City Commission is scheduled to vote on formally approving a $900,000 settlement to the Eimers family, which sued the city and several Key West police officers last year, at its meeting this evening.

The settlement, which the city's insurance carrier, Preferred Governmental Insurance Trust, agreed to last month, is on behalf of Officer Gary Lee Lovette and, as a result, settles all other claims against the city and the remaining officers named in the suit.

Eimers, 61, was taken into police custody on the South Beach sand on Thanksgiving 2013 and died at Lower Keys Medical Center on Dec. 4, 2013, after fleeing a North Roosevelt Boulevard traffic stop.

The Monroe County Medical Examiner's Office ruled Eimers' death an accident due to previously diagnosed heart problems. And both a Florida Department of Law Enforcement and grand jury investigation resulted in no charges or indictments.

Lovette was allegedly recorded on his Taser as saying "we killed him so you don't have to worry about it" and "I dropped like a f-ing bomb on his head."

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Reply with quote  #23 
PX3 Overview         PDF                 Print                 E-mail        
Written by Norma Jean Almodovar
Friday, 23 September 2011 00:00

The most explosive book you may ever read- you will never look at cops, preachers, presidents and prostitutes the same again!

The cover below is what the book will look like- and the non academic title is a little different from the "Academic" one- because I want this book read, not just by academics but by everyone!

Scandal at the highest level- sex, murder, corruption, lies- and it is all true!

While high powered politicians like Eliot Spitzer get a pass, those who provide him pleasure go to prison.

Unfortunately, this happens over and over again. When men like Spitzer and Senator David Vitter (Louisana) get caught, they express remorse- but are they sorry for what they did or just sorry they got caught? Even though they get caught, do they get punished? Senator Vitter is still a senator and Eliot Spitzer may have resigned from office, but who knows if he will make a comeback now that he is not facing criminal charges...

cover of the book



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Reply with quote  #24 

Cops Claim Video of them Killing Unarmed Man Can’t Be Used as Evidence, Seize Witness’s Phone

The department alleged that they did not know who filmed the video, nor did they have the original file, so it could not be used. A bizarre claim, since his name has been online the entire week.

On Thursday, the police went to the home of the man who filmed the shooting, Dario Infante Zuniga, 21, and seized his phone without a warrant. Zuniga told The Free Thought Project that the police had made no contact with him prior to invading his privacy.

When the police showed up at his door, they alleged it was because he had not been answering his phone. They then gave him the choice of either handing his phone over to them or going with them to the station while they retrieved the file. The police did not give Zuniga the opportunity to clean out his personal files before they took it into their possession. The officers reportedly told him the only thing that they would look for would be the video, but Zuniga still feels as though his privacy was violated.

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Reply with quote  #25 

Houston Police Clear Rape Kit Backlog


02/23/2015 04:19 PM
Officials in Houston, Texas say they have finished the process of testing a backlog of more than 6,600 rape kits in Houston that date back nearly three decades and entering test results into an FBI database.

A task force has been working for the past couple of years on a $6-million effort to clear the backlog.

This project started by way of a new law back in 2011.

As of today city officials say each has been accounted for and data from each has been entered into the National DNA Database.

Mayor Annise Parker along with District Attorney Devon Anderson and other leaders held a news conference today to make the announcement.

Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson said, "I'm hoping and i'm pretty sure we're going to get more charges as the captain said, just the codas hit is the beginning of the process. Then they go back and investigate and they'll come to our office hopefully to present charges."

Officials say today's announcement is a big step forward.

Still, challenges linger.

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Reply with quote  #26 
More smoke and mirrors from the criminal Justice crime family


NOPD tells federal consent decree judge training reforms soon will bear fruit

The Hale Boggs Federal Building at 500 Poydras St. is where U.S. District Judge Susie Morgan held a public hearing Tuesday (Feb. 24, 2015) to get a progress report on consent d

on February 24, 2015 at 7:46 PM, updated February 24, 2015 at 7:57 PM


Deplorable training of New Orleans police officers was cited Tuesday (Feb. 24) in federal court as one of the core reasons behind the unconstitutional practices that resulted in the department facing a consent decree. But NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison assured a U.S. district judge that reforms are under way and soon will lead to meaningful change on the streets.

Cmdr. Richard Williams, Harrison's handpicked head of NOPD's Education, Training and Recruitment Division, offered the bulk of testimony in the 2½-hour public consent decree hearing before federal judge Susie Morgan. But Harrison first outlined the ambitious goal he put before Williams when he gave him the job on Oct. 19.

"When I became chief, I wasn't satisfied with our training program and I wanted to improve it," Harrison told Morgan. "I charged and tasked Cmdr. Williams with making our academy the best in the country."

Williams replaced Lt. Kim Lewis-Williams, who was reassigned to a supervisor role in the 7th District in Harrison's first senior management shuffle, two months after Harrison replaced the retired Ronal Serpas as head of the department. According to Department of Justice investigators, new training leadership and policies were sorely needed.

"In our investigation, we found the training being provided to officers was insufficient in almost every respect, and it compromised officer and public safety," Justice Department attorney Emily Gunston told Morgan. "We found that training was at the root of nearly all the constitutional policing problems we found."

Gunston said the quality of training received by NOPD officers "was poor," eroded by a combination of insufficient resources

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Mary Jane Wilmoth
(202) 342-1902
mjw@whistleblowers.org [ mailto:mjw@whistleblowers.org ]


Bipartisan Group of Senators Launches Whistleblower Protection Caucus

Washington, D.C. February 25, 2015. Washington, D.C. February 25, 2015. Senator Charles Grassley announced the official formation of a Senate Whistleblower Protection Caucus. The founding members of the caucus are Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) (chairman), Ron Wyden (D-OR) (vice-chairman), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Deb Fischer (R-NE) Thom Tillis (R-NC), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Ed Markey (D-MA).

"This is an example of bipartisanship which will make our system work," said Stephen M. Kohn [ http://www.kkc.com/attorneys/stephen-m-kohn/], Executive Director of the National Whistleblower Center.

"Beyond the name calling that is pervasive in today's politics, it is a breath of fresh air to see highly respected senators from both parties recognizing the importance of whistleblowers and the need to protect them from retaliation," Kohn continued.

Today, the National Whistleblower Center released the report ""Utilizing Whistleblowers in the Fight Against Waste, Fraud and Abuse [ http://www.whistleblowers.org/storage/whistleblowers/docs/BlogDocs/whistleblowerreport2-25-15.pdf]"" for use by Members of Congress in considering how to strengthen whistleblower protections. This report sets forth the central role whistleblowers play in protecting our nation from fraud.

"The National Whistleblower Center looks forward to working with the Senate Whistleblower Protection Caucus to ensure all whistleblowers obtain meaningful protection," Kohn added.

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Deputy Faces Inquiry in Courthouse Dragging

A sheriff's deputy in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. has been placed on restricted duty while his bosses investigate why he dragged a mentally incompetent woman by her ankles through a courthouse.


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I hope you are not waiting for community leaders to create a civilian review board with subpoena powers

Couple of reads



At forum, FBI and police give Muslims the warm shoulder
February 27, 2015 Last updated: Friday, February 27, 2015, 1:21 AM

Muslim attendees, including Issam Doukali, the only Muslim in the Hudson County Sheriff’s Office, praying Thursday before the start of the gathering in Jersey City between Muslims and law enforcement groups.

JERSEY CITY — Several of the state’s top law-enforcement officials and Muslim leaders engaged in a lengthy back-and-forth conversation Thursday night over issues of trust, security and working together.

The crowd of about 50 community leaders, FBI agents and police officers gathered in a parks building for the four-hour "Breaking Down Barriers" forum, held on the heels of the shootings of three Muslim students in North Carolina and what Muslim advocacy groups say is an increase in hate threats and violence nationwide. The discussion also coincided with the arrests of three New York City residents who were arrested in an alleged plot to travel to Syria to join Islamic State militants.

FBI officials and the state’s acting attorney general, John Hoffman, stressed the importance of more communication between law enforcement and Muslim communities. Hoffman said youth were key in the outreach effort, noting a recent discussion with a Homeland Security official about their vulnerabilities in being recruited online by ISIS extremists.

"Security is communications, security is trust, security is building relationships," Hoffman said.


They'll Be Back: PATCON, Oklahoma City, and Jesse Trentadue's ...
Nov 13, 2014 - Trentadue believes that the suppressed tapes would help identify “John Doe II,” a dark-haired, heavy-set man seen ... Back at ya: FBI Special Agent Quirk. ..... Sun Feb 22 2015 16:00:00 GMT-0800 (PST) -- requesting promo.
Judge to FBI: Go probe yourself on OKC bombing
Aug 27, 2014 - Tuesday, February 24, 2015 ... 13 hearing on the matter, in which Trentadue accuses the FBI of threatening to eliminate a former ... his refusal to testify, including the name of the FBI agent who had contacted him, Adam Quirk.
FBI Denies Witness Tampering In Oklahoma City Bombing Lawsuit
Nov 10, 2014 - SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The FBI did not pressure a former government ... The lawsuit was filed by Salt Lake City attorney Jesse Trentadue, who ... The report found Quirk should have notified the Justice Department about the calls .... Copyright ©2015 TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc. "The Huffington Post" is a ...
Did the FBI tamper with a witness in OKC bombing evidence case ...
Nov 13, 2014 - Trentadue has claimed that other person was an FBI operative. ... testify, claiming FBI Special Agent Adam Quirk told him he didn't have to without a subpoena. .... Best Buys: Consumer Reports' top 10 car/SUV picks for 2015 ...
FBI denies witness tampering accusation | CNS News
Nov 10, 2014 - SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The FBI did not pressure a former government operative into backing ... Trentadue leveled the witness tampering allegation during trial in July. ... The report found Quirk should have notified the Justice Department about the calls and been clearer ... Ben Shapiro February 19, 2015.
FBI Agent Accused of Witness Tampering Arrested as OKC Bombing ...
Dec 16, 2014 - FBI Agent Adam Grant Quirk was arrested over the weekend following an alleged fight with his ... Screenshot of Trentadue's Motion 12-1-14.
FBI Officials Accused of Telling Key Witness to Take Vacation to ...
Aug 10, 2014 - The text below is one of several filings made by Trentadue during the weeks .... Agent Quirk told Mr. Matthews to take a vacation so that he could not be .... UPDATE 2/24/2015 at 6:45 p.m. Central: The FBI agent alleged to be ...



Paper Says FBI Blocked Plan to Foil N.Y. Blast
[Home Edition]
Los Angeles Times (pre-1997 Fulltext) - Los Angeles, Calif.
Date:         Oct 28, 1993
Start Page:         21
Section:         PART-A; National Desk
Abstract (Document Summary)

Tape recordings secretly made by an FBI informer reveal that authorities were in a far better position than previously known to foil the Feb. 26 bombing of New York's tallest towers, the New York Times reported.

The New York Times published conversations the informer, a 43-year-old former Egyptian army officer, Emad Ali Salem, taped with his FBI handlers.

Tapes Depict Proposal to Thwart Bomb Used in Trade Center Blast
Published: October 28, 1993


Law-enforcement officials were told that terrorists were building a bomb that was eventually used to blow up the World Trade Center, and they planned to thwart the plotters by secretly substituting harmless powder for the explosives, an informer said after the blast.

The informer was to have helped the plotters build the bomb and supply the fake powder, but the plan was called off by an F.B.I. supervisor who had other ideas about how the informer, Emad A. Salem, should be used, the informer said.

The account, which is given in the transcript of hundreds of hours of tape recordings Mr. Salem secretly made of his talks with law-enforcement agents, portrays the authorities as in a far better position than previously known to foil the Feb. 26 bombing of New York City's tallest towers. The explosion left six people dead, more than 1,000 injured and damages in excess of half a billion dollars. Four men are now on trial in Manhattan Federal Court in that attack.

Mr. Salem, a 43-year-old former Egyptian army officer, was used by the Government to penetrate a circle of Muslim extremists now charged in two bombing cases: the World Trade Center attack and a foiled plot to destroy the United Nations, the Hudson River tunnels and other New York City landmarks. He is the crucial witness in the second bombing case, but his work for the Government was erratic, and for months before the trade center blast, he was feuding with the F.B.I. Supervisor 'Messed It Up'

After the bombing, he resumed his undercover work. In an undated transcript of a conversation from that period, Mr. Salem recounts a talk he had had earlier with an agent about an unnamed F.B.I. supervisor who, he said, "came and messed it up."

"He requested to meet me in the hotel," Mr. Salem says of the supervisor. "He requested to make me to testify and if he didn't push for that, we'll be going building the bomb with a phony powder and grabbing the people who was involved in it. But since you, we didn't do that."

The transcript quotes Mr. Salem as saying that he wanted to complain to F.B.I. headquarters in Washington about the bureau's failure to stop the bombing, but was dissuaded


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Retired cop gets no-jail deal in Social Security scam

February 27, 2015 | 1:52pm

A retired NYPD cop who scammed Social Security in order to collect hundreds of thousands in disability — all while he was relaxing and sail fishing in Costa Rica — got a no-jail deal Friday for his role in the massive scam.

Richard Consentino received a conditional discharge after pleading guilty to a lesser charge of third-degree grand larceny.

He was sentenced Friday to 100 hours of community service and ordered to pay $207,000 in restitution, both of which he has completed, his attorney said in Manhattan Supreme Court.

Consentino, who notoriously posted a Facebook photo of him on vacation with a giant Marlin fish while he was “disabled,” was just one of hundreds of retired city cops and firefighters ensnared in the $22 million scheme.

“Thank you for your time,” he told Justice Daniel FitzGerald. “I want to apologize to the court and my family.”

His attorney, Alan Abramson, said he got caught up with the wrong people, whom he thought

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Index of /pdfs_all/COPS_DAs_JUDGES_PED_PORN/1986- 2011 posted


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See link for full story


Protesters question investigation of fatal police shooting in New Jersey

Jerame Reid was killed two minutes into traffic stop in December
New lawsuit filed against one of two officers involved in shooting

A woman wears a shirt with a photograph of Jerame Reid during a news conference in January in Bridgeton, New Jersey.

Saturday 28 February 2015 14.57 EST Last modified on Saturday 28 February 2015 14.58 EST
Video shows New Jersey police shoot man dead two minutes into traffic stop
Read more

Protesters gathered in Bridgeton, New Jersey on Saturday, to rally against what some see as a biased investigation into the police shooting death of a 36-year-old man in December.

On 30 December, a dashboard camera captured Bridgeton officers Braheme Days and Roger Worley firing a several shots into a black Jaguar less than two minutes into a traffic stop. Jerame Reid, a New Jersey man, was killed.

On Thursday, Days was accused in a federal lawsuit of raping a 22-year-old woman, Bridgeton resident Shakera Brown, for months while threatening to send her to jail, and continuing to so after the alleged abuse had been reported to his superiors. The suit said Brown complained in summer 2014.

After Reid’s death in December, Days and Worley were put on administrative leave, with pay. Three weeks later Jennifer Webb-McRae, head of the Cumberland County prosecutor’s office, which is investigating the shooting, recused herself from the case. Webb-McRae cited personal connections to Days, whom she said she knew “from the community”.

The new allegations against Days are the latest blow for the Cumberland County prosecutor’s office, which recently failed in its attempts to meet voluntary standards set by the New Jersey State Ass

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Couple of stories


Elite Surveillance Team Accuses FBI of Nepotism, Favoritism at Expense ofInvestigations


An FBI surveillance team is fed up with what members say are internal politics and nepotism that are distracting from the mission of tracking terrorists, spikes and mobsters, The Washington Times reports.

The newspaper reviewed FBI memos that showed at least three relatives of FBI supervisors landing jobs on the elite surveillance team. Two were “fast-tracked to full special agent status,” The Times wrote.

Agents with more experience are being passed up by politically connected officials.

One longtime surveillance team member is even seeking whistleblower protection as he explains the issue to the Justice Department’s inspector general and the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.

When the whistleblower launched complaints, he said he was given a poor personnel review.

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Mar 04, 2015 3:34 pm
Attorneys Claim Chicago PD Had No Right To Stop Motorist They Killed

Attorneys for a Chicago motorist who was shot dead by two Chicago police officers in 2011 said on Tuesday that the officers lied under oath when they claimed they had a legal justification to pull over his vehicle.

Officer Raoul Mosqueda of the Chicago Police Department testified that he and Officer Gildardo Sierra pulled over 27-year-old South Side resident Darius Pinex on Jan. 7, 2011, because his Oldsmobile Auroroa matched the description of a car involved in a shooting that night that they received from their police radio. Mosqueda claimed the car described by dispatchers was a green car with aftermarket rims, much like Pinex’s.

But after Mosqueda’s testimony Tuesday, attorneys for Pinex shared the recordings of the radio transmission for jurors, and it showed that dispatcher made no reference to the car’s color, wheels and never indicated whether it was involved in a shooting or had a dangerous occupant inside.


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See link for full story


Federal judge: alleged sexual relationship between government agent, criminal defendant, not enough to kill case

SPRINGFIELD - A federal judge denied a motion to dismiss by defendant Sherad Therrien based on "egregious government conduct."

on March 05, 2015 at 2:00 PM, updated March 05, 2015 at 2

SPRINGFIELD - A federal judge Thursday denied a motion to dismiss charges against drug and gun defendant Sherad Therrien, ruling that the defendant's allegation that a female DEA Task Force member seduced him into becoming an informant wasn't enough to kill the government's case.

Springfield attorney Jeanne Liddy on Dec. 31 filed a motion to dismiss based on "egregious government conduct." The motion alleged that Hampden County Sheriff's Department Sgt. Jessica Athas met Therrien while he was in jail, and struck up a friendship that became sexual once he was released. Liddy contends Athas used her "feminine wiles" to convince a reluctant Therrien to sell drugs and a gun to his former cellmate, who turned out to be an FBI informant.

Attached to her motion Liddy included 98 text messages between Athas and Therrien, 24, which included banter and talk of purchasing a $550 Michael Kors watch, but nothing sexual.

Therrien was charged with five counts of cocaine distribution and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm. The alleged sales occurred in 2013 and 2014, and were captured on video and audiotape.

In his response to Liddy's motion, Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd E. Newhouse argued the case should stay. But he took no position on whether he believed Athas had a sexual relationship with Therrien. Newhouse stated the government does not plan to call her as a witness because he felt she had been untruthful during two separate interviews in January. He contended she lied in their first conference about meeting with Therrien in person on two occasions. In 2013.

However, the FBI informant in question told investigators that while he was incarcerated with Therrien at the Ludlow jail, he had never heard of any inmate having a sexual relationship with Athas. He added that inmates had nicknamed her "the devil." Athas also produced a receipt for the Michael Kors watch indicating she bought it for herself, according to court records.

Liddy asserted in her motion that not only did Athas seduce her client into becoming an informant, but the government failed to disclose the relationship as they were headed to trial. Additionally she argued that Athas told Therrien she needed to cultivate him as informant to advance her career as a member of the Drug Enforcement Administration Task Force. That task force includes members of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.

Based on Newhouse's motion, it appears as though the relationship - whatever it was - was news to the government.

Athas is still employed by the sheriff's department but is no longer on the DEA Task Force. Neither she, nor her lawyer, nor any of the law enforcement agencies involved have commented on Therrien's allegations.

At any rate, U.S. District Judge Timothy Hillman noted in his ruling that a motion to dismiss based on egregious government conduct has never prevailed in this federal circuit. Moreover, in another federal circuit, the FBI employed a female informant to have sex with a target, who later sold drugs to undercover agents and was successfully prosecuted.

"In finding that this practice was not so shocking as to violate due process, the Ninth Circuit observed that 'the deceptive creation and/or exploitation of an intimate relationship does not exceed the boundary of permissible law enforcement tactics,'" Hillman wrote, citing the precedent case.

Hiillman added: "The court was not persuaded by the fact that the government had used sex -- as opposed to

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cided to bring no federal civil-rights charges against Darren Wilson, the officer who shot Brown.

Ferguson report's racist Obama email: 'What black man holds a steady job for four years'

Mudd, 64, was linked to an email sent in November 2008 which suggested Barack Obama “would not be president for very long because ‘what black man holds a steady job for four years?’,” according to the St Louis Post-Dispatch, which first reported the officers’ names.

Henke, 59, was said to have been associated with an email sent in May 2011 that stated: “An African American woman in New Orleans was admitted into the hospital for a pregnancy termination. Two weeks later she received a check for $5,000. She phoned the hospital to ask who it was from. The hospital said, ‘Crimestoppers’.”

A woman reached by telephone at Mudd’s home address on Friday evening said: “We have no comment about anything.” Henke could not be reached for comment.

Figures released by Ferguson under open records laws last year stated that Henke, who joined the police force in July 1978, was paid $87,555 a year. This was more than any other officer except Chief Thomas Jackson. Henke was also listed as second in line to Jackson on the police department’s website.

Mudd, who was hired in July 1976, was paid $70,741 a year. He is listed as a 1993 recipient of the Medal of Valor, Misso

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Veteran white cop who shot unarmed black teen Tony Robinson in Wisconsin cleared in 2007 'suicide by cop' shooting

Saturday, March 7, 2015, 11:44 AM

March 7 2015        

Tony Robinson, pictured here with his mother Andrea Irwin, graduated from Sun Prairie High School in 2014 and was soon entering college, said a source following the teen's death from a police shooting. Michael Johnson via Facebook

Tony Robinson, pictured here with his mother Andrea Irwin, graduated from Sun Prairie High School in 2014 and was soon entering college, said a source following the teen's death from a police shooting.

Tony Robinson, 19, was shot and killed by Madison police after they responded to a call of a disturbance Friday night. Antonio Robinson

A veteran white cop who fatally shot an unarmed black teen during a Wisconsin apartment scuffle killed another man in a 2007 shooting, officials confirmed Saturday.

Tony Robinson, 19, was not carrying a weapon when Officer Matt Kenny began shooting Friday evening after a brief chase through the capital

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Missing Person Files Go Missing in San Joaquin Sheriffs

March 10 2015

The San Joaquin Sheriff's Department was accused of deleting or canceling missing person files for at least five cases. The cases have possible connections to the Speed Freak Killers, Wesley Shermantine and Loren Herzog. Shermantine and Herzog were convicted of four murders, but are believed to be responsible for many more.

Marie Gillit said her father, Phillip Cabot Martin used to work construction with Shermantine.

"He is not a man that would abandon his children," she said.

Her father disappeared in 1993. She said his burned car was found in the impound, but no sign of him. Gillit saidshe checked in with San Joaquin investigators regularly for the last 22 years, but no one told her that her father's case had been deleted.

"I was under the impression that they were doing their due diligence to find my dad," she said. "There is no way it could be an open and active investigation when they took him out and threw him away," Gillit declared.

Senator Cathleen Galgiani (D-Stockton) filed a motion against the San Joaquin Sheriff's Department to vacate protective order so information on these cases can be released.

"They deliberately deleted, canceled these files, canceled DNA records for these five missing individuals that we know of," said Galgiani.

Galgiani said she reached out to the Sheriff's department in 2010, to tell them about a letter between Shermantine and a family member detailing possible locations of other bodies.

"The deletions occurred three days after i turned over a letter to the Sheriff's department that Wesley Shermantine had written to his family saying where bodies were buried," she said.

In court documents she shows emails and letters exchanged between a San Joaquin detective and the Department of Justice. In one of the emails, an employee with the DOJ writes, "On 9-1-2010 your agency requested several cold/older cases canceled. This is not something that should normally be practiced and DOJ advises against."

It also said, "...your agency insisted on the cancellations."

The detective responded, "We didn't request to have the entry cancelled; there were other people working up here at the time that thought differently about our long term missing persons cases than I do (but that explanation is for another day)."

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Former Hudson County jail PBA president says he told feds deputy director was taping calls


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The criminal justice system crime family tribe.
The number 1 employer of serial killers returning from the U S A
Military-Industrial complex invasion of 3rd World Countries.

See link for full story


Maine Prisoner Advocacy Coalition (MPAC) is a statewide coalition working to lower recidivism and strengthen quality of life in the prisons. See http://www.maineprisoneradvocacy.org.

We read Caroline O’Connor’s story (“Correcting Corrections,” Feb. 26 Phoenix) about prisoner health care provided by Maine Department of Corrections’ (MDOC) private contractor, Correct Care Solutions (CCS). When you follow up on this story, or in the future for other MDOC-related stories, please get in touch with MPAC. We have a great deal of background on a broad spectrum of issues with MDOC, including health care services. The huge complexities of prisoner health care were not adequately addressed by the Government Oversight Committee’s OPEGA review, or by the Portland Phoenix report.

As additional balance to the Phoenix story, the Kennebec Journal published a report with experts’ opinions on the problems of housing or treating mentally ill patients in correctional facilities, and also noted some important progress at Riverview Psychiatric Center: https://www.centralmaine.com/2015/02/27/judge-praises-progress-at-maines-riverview-psychiatric-center/

During the previous ownership of the Portland Phoenix, MPAC was often used as a source for MDOC related stories and we are very willing to continue that relationship.


Joseph Jackson, MPAC Coordinator

Maine Prisoner Advocacy Coalition (MPAC)


Homeless in Portland don’t choose to converge in shelters


At 8 p.m. last night it was 12 degrees. And it’s March — not January. Together we’ve experienced one of the longest, most frigid, and snowiest winters in history.

I don’t really want to talk about the weather. But I do want each of us to stop for a second and think about a time this winter: Think about the 10 minutes it took you to walk from your office to your car on a blustery cold day. Your cheeks froze. Your fingers and toes hurt and you couldn’t wait to seek shelter from the wind.

What if you didn’t have a home. If you didn’t have a place where you could crank the heat, pull up the blankets, and settle in with a cup of tea.

What if, at sun down, you had stand in line for hours with the hopes–not the guarantee – that you could get a mat to sleep on at a shelter. A mat, by the way, that is only three inches thick. A mat that is placed in an open room – flanked on each side by strangers – only five inches from you. Clutching all that belongs to you, in a bag or a backpack.

Mark Swann, the executive director at Preble Street in Portland, said, one day this winter, there were 282 people who showed up for one of the 142 mats. The math on this one is easy: 140 people were left to find shelter elsewhere that night. Some slept on the floor of the soup kitchen down the street. Others, had to sit up in chairs all night at city offices. And, a few others waited at the shelter – hoping a mat would open up. One person waited 11 hours; only to lay his head for two hours before the morning came, and the shelter closed for the day.

Who chooses this?

The answer is, nobody.

Nobody chooses to be homeless. Nobody chooses to be mentally ill. Not one of the 282 people who lined up at the Oxford Street Shelter that night was trying to get away with something. Nobody working at the shelter or the city who is trying to provide life-saving shelter is trying to get away with something.

At its core, this service of providing EMERGENCY shelter is serving the most basic and fundamental and crucial needs of humanity.

It’s not an easy story to tell. Why? Because we are talking about mental illness. We are talking about diseases like Schizophrenia.

Recently the City of Portland studied 30 of the so-called “long stayers” at the shelters. What did they find? All of them, 100% had serious and persistent mental health issues – often untreated. Some had money in the bank. Some even had thousands of dollars in the bank.

What does this mean?

It could mean many things.

For some, it means that perhaps a special account was set up by family members to put money aside for them. Perhaps intended to pay for things like dental and medical care.

For some, it could be the remnant of another time in their life – before they got sick.

For all, it is money that – because of their psychosis, they are unable or unwilling to use.

They are not staying at homeless shelters to save a buck. They are staying there because they believe staying at a shelter is the best option available to them.

And … most importantly, they are not numbers on someone’s spreadsheet. They are our brothers and sisters, our parents, our aunts and uncles. They are our fellow human beings living much more difficult lives than we can imagine.

Mental illness is not easy to understand. But it is something that we all need to take a closer look at. We can’t be afraid of it. And most of all, we can’t play the blame-game – that serves no purpose other than to distract and delay from a meaningful solutions-based dialogue.

Long before this administration, the mental health system in Maine has been broken. The overflowing shelters in our state is one symptom of that – as are our jails – that are also overflowing with people who would benefit more from mental health intervention and treatment.

As a member of the Health and Human Services Committee and a former member of the state’s Criminal Justice Committee, I can tell you that there are dozens of lawmakers who are interested in solving this problem and helping our fellow Mainers who are suffering. But the first step toward a solution has to be one that is honest.

Sen. Anne Haskell, D-Portland

(Editor’s note: This letter was excerpted from a radio presentation by Sen. Haskell, available at http://www.mainesenate.org.)

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Sheriff must air phone-tracking details

Cell device data cannot be withheld, judge says

on March 17, 2015 - 4:07 PM

A state judge Tuesday ordered the Erie County Sheriff’s Office to release information about its acquisition and use of cellphone-tracking devices to monitor users and their locations.

State Supreme Court Justice Patrick H. NeMoyer issued the order in response to a legal action filed by the New York Civil Liberties Union after the Sheriff’s Office denied its request under the Freedom of Information Law for records on the devices known as Stingrays.

NYCLU staff attorney Mariko Hirose, lead counsel on the case, welcomed the ruling. “The court today has confirmed that law enforcement cannot hide behind a shroud of secrecy while it is invading the privacy of those it has sworn to protect and serve,” she said.

“The public has a right to know how, when and why this technology is being deployed. They deserve to know what safeguards and privacy protections, if any, are in place to govern its use.”

Erie County Attorney Michael A. Siragusa said Sheriff Timothy B. Howard will review the 24-page ruling with outside counsel to determine the next step.

The NYCLU filed the information request in June, a month after Howard acknowledged to county legislators that specially trained deputies have been using Stingrays since 2008. He told them that it was up to the courts and not legislators to provide oversight on use of the devices.

Howard said the devices are used only for tracking a person’s movements, not for checking content of phone communications. He said THAT use of the devices in criminal investigations is always part of a judicial review.

The Sheriff’s Office denied the NYCLU’s information request in July. The civil liberties group filed an appeal but got no response in the required 10 business days.

The NYCLU filed the legal action in November, seeking records the Stingrays, including invoices, contracts, loan agreements and communications; policies and guidelines governing their use, the number of investigations in which they were used and the number that resulted in prosecutions; and any court applications for authorization to use Stingrays or other cellphone-tracking devices.

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See link for full story

FBI special agent fired amid criminal investigation

An FBI special agent is under criminal investigation after allegedly stealing thousands of dollars in cash while working cases as part of a Riverside-based drug task force.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015 01:00PM
An FBI special agent is under criminal investigation after allegedly stealing thousands of dollars in cash while working cases as part of a Riverside-based drug task force.

Scott Bowman worked out of the Los Angeles field office and had been with the FBI since 2005. He was transferred and promoted recently to supervisory special agent at FBI headquarters in Washington.

Eyewitness News and ABC News have learned that Bowman was escorted out of FBI headquarters under guard in early February. According to a letter from the U.S. Attorney's Office obtained by Eyewitness News, Bowman was fired from the agency on March 1.

That letter was sent on Tuesday to dozens of defense attorneys who represent about 75 current and former defendants in drug conspiracy cases that were investigated by Bowman. Questions about the agent's integrity could compromise the prosecution of those cases.

Defense attorney David Kaloyanides has clients connected to three different cases investigated by Bowman.

"It completely unravels your trust in the system. Now, from a defense lawyer's perspective, it undermines the system even one step further," Kaloyanides said.

"How can we trust any of the evidence that the government is providing to us as their case against our client

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In 1999 a Memphis jury declared FBI agents planned,carried out and covered up the assassination of Martin Luther King

see/google mlk Rockwell Douglass

Time to shut down the FBI and implement Policing by Consent

UN to Consider US Government's Role in Ignoring Civil Rights Era Murders

19 Mar 2015 07:29


'There are potentially thousands of suspicious race killings at the hands of local police yet the federal and local governments refuse to investigate many of these deaths,' justice team says
Washington, DC--(--March 19, 2015
The U.S. Justice Department has not done enough to investigate civil rights era murders as mandated by the Emmett Till Act of 2008, named for the 14-year old (pictured) tortured and killed in Mississippi in 1955. (Photo: Public domain)

A United Nations panel will consider on Thursday whether the U.S. Department of Justice failed to account for hundreds of murders and disappearances of black men and women by groups like the Ku Klux Klan during the Civil Rights era.

The Cold Case Justice Initiative, a team of lawyers and rights experts from Syracuse University led by professors Paula Johnson and Janis McDonald, is set to tell the UN's human rights council in Geneva that the Justice Department did not properly investigate a spate of racially motivated violence that took place in the Jim Crow south during the 1940s, 50s, and 60s, despite a recent law mandating that the FBI look into the events.

"The United States has never come to terms with accountability for the devastating loss of life during a time of domestic terrorism that continued in many forms after the legal end to slavery," Johnson and McDonald wrote in their official submission to the panel.

More than 300 suspicious killings and disappearances of black Americans have yet to be acknowledged by the bureau, let alone solved, according to the justice initiative, which independently investigates the cold cases.

According to the initiative, the amount of murders and missing persons cases suggests that there have been hundreds, or even thousands, of white supremacy killers who have escaped justice—and may even still be alive.

The UN is currently in the process of a months-long review of the U.S. human rights record, which has received international attention following recent protests sparked by the police killing of unarmed teen Michael Brown last August in Ferguson, Missouri. A wave of high-profile police brutality cases around the country have fueled the ongoing movement, resulting in a federal investigation into the Ferguson Police Department's racist and unconstitutional tactics and the subsequent resignations and firings of several city officials.

The Cold Case Justice Initiative will draw parallels between those recent events and the group's research. The Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act of 2008, named for the black teen who was tortured and drowned in Mississippi in 1955 for allegedly whistling at a white woman, was passed to help the FBI investigate and prosecute murders from that era. While government officials have defended the bureau's record in those cases, the justice initiative will argue that there have been several basic failings in the FBI's work.

"Only a handful of names have been added to the partial list that existed when the law was passed," its submission states.

Since 2008, there has only been one successful prosecution of one of those cases. In 2010, former Alabama state trooper James Bonard Fowler confessed to shooting civil rights protester Jimmie Lee Jackson. Fowler was sentenced to six months in prison.

Nonetheless, the justice initiative will call for the Emmett Till Act to extend beyond 2017, when it is set to expire. The lawyers will ask that it be amended to include the more recent police killings of black teens.

"There are potentially thousands of suspicious race killings at the hands of local police yet the federal and local governments refuse to investigate many of these deaths," the initiative stated.


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Former boss of MI5 quits role with crime-fighting agency to keep £3,000-a-day job with scandal-hit HSBC


Baron Evans of Weardale has resigned from the the National Crime Agency
The former MI5 boss quit the role to keep a lucrative directorship at HSBC
He left after a 'conflict of interest' following the bank's tax-dodging claims

Published: 18:44 EST, 21 March 2015 | Updated

Lord Evans quit his role with the National Crime Agency to keep a lucrative directorship with scandal-hit HSBC

Lord Evans quit his role with the National Crime Agency to keep a lucrative directorship with scandal-hit HSBC

A former intelligence chief has quit his role with Britain’s top crime fighting agency to keep a lucrative directorship with scandal-hit HSBC.

Baron Evans of Weardale, the former director-general of MI5, has resigned from the board of the publicly-funded National Crime Agency (NCA) after just a year, due to a ‘perceived conflict of interest’ as the bank has come under fire over tax-dodging allegations.

In a statement, the crossbench peer admitted there has been ‘a lot of controversy’ over claims that HSBC enabled clients of its Swiss private banking arm to avoid tax. But he chose to keep his £3,000-a-day role with the financial giant rather than stay with the law enforcement agency which is Britain’s equivalent of the FBI.

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Things Cop Apologists Say
Yet Another Shooting of an Unarmed Teenager by Police in Cleveland, OH
Ohio Bar Raided by Police W/O Warrant on St. Patrick’s Day – Exclusive From Lima-Allen County CopBlock
R.I.P. James “Jimmy” Higgins of Virginia Cop Block – By Nathan Cox
City Auditor Alleges Police Union Intimidation Of Civilian Review Board

Cop Block
Citizen Review Boards – Helpful? A Distraction? Harmful?
Published On December 10, 2014 | By Pete Eyre | Articles

The content below was published on October 16, 2014 to Reno News & Review by D. Brian Burghart, the founder of Fatal Encounters. It is cross-posted here as the topic – civilian review boards – often comes up during conversations about police accountability, and because the various perspectives offered by those involved is pretty exhaustive.
Illustration by Jonathan Buck

Illustration by Jonathan Buck

Eyes wide open
What should citizen oversight of law enforcement look like?
By D. Brian Burghart

Particularly since Michael Brown’s death at the hands of police in Ferguson, Missouri, a national dialogue has been taking place regarding the creation of citizen oversight boards to monitor law enforcement. In this, the fifth installment of Fatal Encounters, the Reno News & Review’s series on issues of deadly police violence, we’ve assembled a panel of people who, for various reasons, have reached the national stage with regard to police violence.

Our panel includes Brian Buchner, president of NACOLE, National Association of Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement, which has engaged with the city of Ferguson to develop a new citizen oversight committee in that community. Pete Eyre is co-founder of Cop Block, a national decentralized project that focuses on police accountability. Pamela J. Meanes is president of the National Bar Association and active in the recent actions in Ferguson, Missouri. Jonathan S. Taylor is a professor at California State University, Fullerton, who’s been active in issues of police violence, particularly following the brutal crackdown on the Occupy Movement and the killing of the mentally ill man Kelly Thomas in 2011.

This conversation, due to technical problems, took place in two instances, which were combined. All the participants were asked five questions, of which they were informed in advance.

RN&R: What are the benefits to civilian oversight of law enforcement?

Buchner: There are a number of benefits to civilian oversight of law enforcement. Civilian oversight helps support effective policing. Civilian oversight helps build bridges between the police department and the community that it serves. It ensures greater accountability and transparency in policing. It helps manage risk inside an agency and within the jurisdiction. And related to building trust and building bridges, it helps increase confidence in the police department.

Pamela J. Meanes is the president of the National Bar Association (NBA). During the 2014-2015 bar year, the NBA will focus on four crucial areas: 1) Education: The New Civil Right, 2.) Voter Protection: Restoring the Voting Rights Acts and Advancing Democracy; 3) Judicial Equality: Dismantling The Barriers That Prohibit A Diverse Bench; and 4) Police Misconduct. Pamela Meanes is a partner in St. Louis’ largest law firm. She was the first African American in Thompson Coburn’s history to be elevated from associate to partner.

Eyre: My initial thought is that I would think that we would all have a shared end goal, which is to live free. I could use civilian oversight to maybe have less corruption or double standards applied to people who violate the rights of others who happen to be aggressive with badges and things like that. The thought I had was, Why do we want to build a bridge to this institution? Essentially, we’re just changing the deck chairs on a boat that’s sinking. It’s the institution that needs to change. I’d just advocate that we move past the institution and build something different altogether that would bring about the desirable conclusion.

Meanes: I don’t know what the benefits are of police review boards, because of the ones that we’ve taken a look at, the citizens have complained that those have become an extension of the police department. Sometimes, there is an appearance that the police still are unable—even through the review boards—to police themselves. I think it’s better to have some type of independent federal oversight and an independent evaluation. Or if there is a police review board or some type of citizen oversight board, that that board is really represented by the citizens and not necessarily by individuals who may be somehow connected to the department.

RN&R: Jonathan, would you respond to the question? What are the benefits to civilian oversight?

Taylor: Accountability, of course, that’s the goal, but I think we have to look beyond that. We have to look at the big picture, the long-term goal. I think the goal should be to end or reduce police violence as much as possible. Civilian oversight is one tool that can be used to help reduce police violence, but I also think it’s insufficient in and of itself. There are many issues involved with police violence, and civilian oversight will only go so far. Where I live in California, civilian oversight is only as useful as the law permits it to be. In California because of laws that protect police officer confidentiality, it’s just not that useful. So, yeah it’s much better to have a police oversight committee than to not have one because any sort of civilian control over the police is preferable to none. But there are a bunch of structural obstacles to having it really work.

RN&R: Didn’t some changes come about in your neck of the woods after Kelly Thomas?

Taylor: No, not really. There were no substantive changes. There’s probably a lower level of blatant police violence in the city of Fullerton itself, but that’s more the result of the protests and the fact that the community sort of had an uprising. There still is no civilian oversight board or authority in Fullerton at all. There’s a committee that’s been trying to get civilian oversight, but there is no civilian oversight yet.

Buchner: I’m going to push back on that just a little bit because the city did contract with an organization called the Office of Independent Review Group, OIR Group. I think they’re calling it an independent auditor—and that independent auditor is charged with a number of things, including use-of-force investigations, samples of complaints, and conducting independent audits of police department investigations and activities. There was a committee of concerned citizens called the Police Oversight Proposal Committee, and they were pushing for something other than was ultimately adopted, but as a result of that discussion, the city did contract with this OIR Group for that independent audit function for a couple of years, actually using asset forfeiture funds, which is kind of unique in the world of civilian oversight.

Taylor: I was at the City Council meeting when Michael Gennaco gave his report and presented the findings. The general take on that in the city of Fullerton from the community was that was a whitewash, and that his office is essentially contracted in order to prevent meaningful oversight, so it’s a sort of a smoke screen. Of course there are going to be different takes on this—it’s just a matter of perspective—but the people that I know who are critical of the police in Fullerton did not view the hiring of the OIR Group as true oversight in any sense. We feel that that’s just kind of window dressing, and there really haven’t been very meaningful changes.

RN&R: Pete do you want to respond to the original question? What are the benefits to civilian oversight?

Eyre: I would just add to what I initially stated. I personally have issues that we would be likened to a citizen because a “citizen” implies that there are two classes of people—the citizens and the non-citizens, and then inevitably there are then two sets of rights that apply. I believe that each person is equal no matter where on Earth they were born, no matter what color, no matter any of those arbitrary characteristics. As Jon noted, yes, it is preferable to have one than not to have one, but I don’t think it’s a worthy allocation of resources. I think that law enforcement exists ostensibly to provide effective safety or security, and I think that those, like in any other good or service, could better be provided through consensual interactions. Instead of trying to put Band Aid on this corrupt system, I would rather we just move past it and create something better.

Buchner: One of the things that we see across the country is that people have different understandings of what civilian oversight of law enforcement is and what it looks like. And so some people think of civilian oversight as a civilian review board or some kind of police commission, and maybe it would be helpful to start off either with a definition or some kind of common understanding.

RN&R: We could address that in the next question, which is, what should civilian oversight look like? For example, should oversight primarily focus on after-the-fact things like misconduct or officer-involved violence, should it be more concerned with more proactive ideals like transparency and policy setting, should it be entirely independent to investigate anything it chooses, or are there better strategies?

Buchner: The definition that we use is one that’s being kind of adopted from Dr. Sam Walker who’s one of the noted scholars on civilian oversight, probably over the last 20 years. We define it as “an agency or procedure that involves participation by persons who are not sworn officers. They investigate, audit or review internal police investigations or processes including citizen complaints and use of force in incidents. And they conduct ongoing monitoring of law enforcement agencies, policies, procedures, training and management supervision practices.” So it’s a pretty broad definition that really means non-law enforcement officers have some role in overseeing the conduct operations or activities of a law enforcement agency.

RN&R: You included all the three parts of that second question in that blanket statement of what civilian oversight is. Do you have a preferred method for that?

Buchner: Our position is that civilian oversight needs to reflect the needs of the community. We know that there are over 200 different models of oversight currently in existence around the United States, and they each look different. They have different names, different scopes of authority, and different placement in their governing structure. That’s because the needs of each community are different. You can’t just take the Inspector General model for the LAPD and put it in Ferguson, Missouri, and expect that it’s going to work. It’s not necessarily built to address whatever issues Ferguson is having. It was built specifically for the issues that came out of Los Angeles. Our position is there are certain similarities between some of the different approaches, but to say that there’s one ideal model or some best practice, I think isn’t necessarily reflective of the fact that it needs to be responsive to each individual community.

Meanes: I think citizen oversight would have to be a combination of a few of those things in order to return some credibility and some trust back to the community. I think the oversight or the individuals doing the oversight need to have the freedom to independently issue opinion—similar to how you have attorney review boards—to determine whether or not a violation has occurred. That opinion should have some weight within the department to review and evaluate an officer. The review board should have the independent opportunity—not the same weight and force as Internal Affairs—but it should have some process to evaluate and monitor police misconduct investigations. It should not be looking just when misconduct happens, but it should be looking at the causes that may contribute to what happened and making some recommendations to the law enforcement agency, the community and the political officials: “Here are some things that we can do to be proactive instead of reactionary to things,” because if the police review board is limited to just responding to issues that are raised about an officer or the department, then we’re not going to get to a place where there is trust built between the citizens and the police force. The police review board becomes almost like a police entity within itself, and you don’t want to create that. You do want the board’s job really to be to create trust back between the community and the officers.

RN&R: Jonathan, in your idea, what should civilian oversight look like?

Taylor: I think it needs to have to teeth. I think it needs to have power, and I think it needs to be able to make the sort of decisions or make recommendations that are binding. So in other words, if you have a civilian oversight board, and you have a one officer who has had numerous complaints in terms of excessive force, and the department is not taking action, then I think the civilian oversight board has to be able to recommend that officer be terminated, and that recommendation has to be taken seriously. I don’t know exactly how you give these committees teeth, but if they don’t have teeth, then what ends up happening is they’re just used by the police departments as a way of saying, “Oh look we have a civilian oversight board so there’s no problem” or “Don’t worry, it can be handled by the civilian oversight board.” And that’s potentially worse than not even having one. So, however they work, the most important thing to me is that they have to be composed of people who are not, have no vested interest in law enforcement, are not connected with law enforcement, and who have some kind of power to make decisions.

RN&R: Pete where do you come on this? What’s should civilian oversight look like, and you’re welcome to talk about your idea of how to move past the civilian oversight board.

Jonathan S. Taylor is a professor in the Department of Geography at California State University, Fullerton. He became involved in the protest movement against police violence in the aftermath of the killing of the mentally ill homeless man Kelly Thomas which occurred a few miles from his home in Fullerton in 2011. He has research interests in the geography of illegal drugs; police violence and police accountability; and international political geography.

Eyre: I heard a couple of terms like “civilian,” “communities” and the need for them to have the ability to essentially check these law enforcement employees who may act out of line. I guess I would just take what was implied to its logical conclusion. Instead of saying, “What does a community want?” and then, “What is a community?” It’s a group of people, but how is it defined? Do you set up boundaries at a block level or a town level or a city or region level? Ultimately, it’s individuals who act—we’re talking about police employees who individually choose to act in the wrong. Instead of looking to communities to oversee them, individuals could choose to vote with their wallets and to choose who they employ to keep them safe, if anybody. The fact that police employees subsist off stolen money [asset forfeiture funds] means that they have no incentive to actually be accountable. Their own courts have ruled that they have no duty to protect their customers, so you’re never going to get accountability out of that system. The best oversight would be that the service or protection is treated like any other good or service, and it could be provided through consensual interactions. Then this conversation of having an oversight board becomes mute. We don’t have an oversight board for shoe manufacturers, because we know that if a shoe manufacturer tries to initiate force, no one’s going to go to that shoe manufacturer. That should be no different from policing.

RN&R: So you’re talking about a private entity that we contract with? That this is like market-driven policing. Is that what you’re saying?

Eyre: Sure. I would say it should be up to the individual. Some people might conclude that they don’t live a risky lifestyle. They live out in the country. They’re pretty competent with firearms. They have few risks. Maybe they need to pay nobody. Maybe they choose to allocate zero of their funds to somebody else, whereas somebody who transports a lot of money, they’re in a high-risk situation. They might employ a person or get with people, and there might be organizations who help provide coverage for free to people that aren’t as well off economically or people who just volunteer their time or they train each other. Today, because there’s a centralized, so-called authority that has a monopolistic privilege to provide this kind of service, it disincentivises you and me from actually looking out for our neighbors. Instead we’re told to call 911 and report trouble to the so-called authorities. We need to move past that and look out for ourselves and look out for each other. That will go a long way instead of trying to continue to legitimize a system that’s based ultimately on force. You can’t get something good or accountable or transparent out of a coercive centralized structure.

Buchner: I think one of the interesting things is that we’re seeing an evolution in the way that civilian oversight approaches its responsibility. It’s moving away from being reactive, so it’s moving away from being a complaint-driven process. It’s moving toward being proactive, where it’s focused on things like organizational change, looking at policies, trainings, so it’s looking beyond just the disciplinary process, and it’s looking at the overall operations and activities of the police department and the police department employees. And so its system’s change. There’s a greater presence of data being used to analyze police practices, and so that’s kind of a big revolutionary shift in the field of civilian oversight. I think oversight, ideal oversight anyway, should be able to be proactive and identify problems in advance and do broad-based investigations, systemic investigations, collect and analyze data, do things like that.

RN&R: So that’s the upfront set-policy type, as opposed to go in and punish afterwards.

Buchner: Yeah, there’s an argument to be made for actually doing some of that work in partnership with the law enforcement agency. I think it’s not an absolute. You wouldn’t say it should always be the oversight agency that does this kind of investigation, but I think you would make a case-by-case assessment to determine where it’s best and most appropriate to have [a citizen oversight board] lead an investigation and where it makes sense to partner with the law enforcement agency. But I think that there’s an argument for oversight having a robust role in playing that sort of proactive role in overseeing the police.

RN&R: What are the obstacles to having citizen oversight?

Taylor: I see a lot of obstacles. First of all, I see cultural obstacles. I think the police view themselves as a special protected class, different than the rest of the us, and with that kind of mentality it’s very difficult to establish oversight over them because they view it as an us-against-them framework. I think they’re sort of indoctrinated to feel that the people that they’re dealing with are — they use the words like thugs and scumbags—and that people who are on drugs are always criminals. They have all these preconceptions based on the dominant model of police in the U.S. historically, and so I think there’s a huge cultural obstacle to civilian oversight coming from within the mentality of police officers.

Then I think there are various political obstacles. I do think that cities and municipalities—all sorts of government—use police as revenue generators and so for civilians to come in and say, “No we don’t want them to do this anymore,” which is what I would do if I was on a police board, we’re talking about cutting off their funding stream. Things like asset forfeiture, which I’m completely against in almost capacity, that’s their bread and butter, so there are economic motivations. There is a lot of organized power. Police unions are major lobbyists. Politicians are afraid to cross police unions, and therefore legislators write policies that benefit police unions that are essentially scripted by police unions. So you have these very major bureaucratic legal obstacles to civilian oversight. I view it as being almost impossible. I don’t maybe go quite as far as Pete does in what he was saying before, but I think he’s kind of heading in the right direction, which is that some of these institutions are not amenable to just tinkering with at the edges to correct them. We need some major changes here, and the obstacles are really structural. My point is there are cultural, political, legal and economic obstacles. These are formidable obstacles. They’re structural, and it’s not going to be easy to overcome them.

Eyre: I would echo a lot of what Jonathan said about the legal protections, such as sovereign immunity, which essentially equates to impunity. Ultimately, the biggest obstacle is ideas. The existing paradigm says that a certain group of people has a legal right to steal from others in their area and to then protect them. I think better ideas are assured, and those bad ideas will get shed in favor of better ideas. So currently the biggest obstacle is the bad idea that says that some people are authorities based on where they work instead of authorities based on having earned that authority. To me someone who claims to protect you, if they first steal from you, that doesn’t grant them any authority in my book. Jonathan used the word “indoctrination” to apply to police employees, but I would also say that the folks who seek to control others have for decades used public school systems to essentially help shape the mindsets of the people that they seek to control. Likewise the corporate media—you know that 95 percent of it is owned by six corporations now—it’s much easier for these self-proclaimed leaders to have their messages peddled through those outlets. You almost never see a mainstream media source question police employees. They just quote them verbatim as if they speak the truth, and they afford them as authorities. So again, it’s the ideas that have to change.

RN&R: OK, Brian, what’s your idea of obstacles that exist to establishing civilian oversight?

Buchner: Jonathan said the obstacles are political, economic and social. I think those are some big points. I would just add that obstacles to establishing oversight and building and maintaining effective oversight include a failure to engage the community in a meaningful way. To get true public participation in the oversight of police, I think is a real obstacle. To say “community,” in some ways is disingenuous because it implies that there’s a unified community. We know that that’s not the case.

There are different groups within every community and not every one of those groups is going to support police reform or to support oversight. I think to the extent that any community or city or county or jurisdiction is able to really get public participation and public input so that the model of oversight or the approach to oversight reflects and tries to maximize public interest while also realizing that there are other interests at play, I think is probably a big obstacle.

Quite frankly, it’s an ongoing obstacle because I think establishing oversight isn’t the end of the equation. I think that oversight has an obligation to continue to engage their community, continue to try and build trust in what it’s doing in the role that oversight plays in the overall process. The public support is important, but it also can be a fairly significant obstacle. I think also limited resources for oversight sometimes can be a big result of a lack of commitment on the part of any jurisdiction that’s establishing that oversight. Failing to adequately resource an agency can really hamstring what it’s able to do from the very start. In fact, resources are probably a big one, but that plays into what Jonathan was saying about the sort of economic and structural obstacles and limitations.

RN&R: What’s going on with trying to build civilian oversight in Ferguson?

Buchner: Well, some of you may have seen that my organization, NACOLE, has been engaged by leaders in Ferguson to work with them on building their model of civilian oversight at the Ferguson Police Department. We weren’t brought in at the very beginning, but just last week, we met with the mayor, the police chief and the city manager and encouraged them to listen to us and to engage with us so that we could provide them some support and guidance on working to improve upon the model of oversight that they initially proposed about two weeks ago. [This interview was conducted on Sept. 24.] We’re really not any farther along than that. It’s clear that there’s a disconnect between the city, the Ferguson community, and the people outside of the Ferguson community who are interested and engaged in matters inside Ferguson. One of the things that we kept telling their mayor and chief and city manager that had to happen was, that they can’t just put a proposed ordinance out there to create a citizen review board—I say “citizen review board” because that’s what they named it—and then not try to get public participation and input on that model. And so we encourage them to reach out to the general public, which is going to include parts of the community who are not supportive of the Ferguson Police Department or necessarily engaged in civic affairs in the city and would also include some of the groups who we identified as groups that they have positive working relationships with. You can’t just go to your friends and expect that you’re going to get the true and honest input into what oversight needs to look like in that city.

RN&R: Do you have a feeling for how long this system will take to create a board? Is there some kind of timeline that you could suggest?

Buchner: They wanted to move pretty quickly, but we keep telling them that it’s important to get it right, and you don’t want to do something just in the interest of doing something but that if you do something too quickly, and you really don’t get through public participation and input, you’re going to spend time later on trying to fix and undo what you did. They’re not going to support it from the very beginning, and so you’ve already lost the public, and you’ve lost community support for oversight. And so whether it’s going to be weeks or whether it’s going to be months, it’s really unclear, but I think until they’ve exhausted all their efforts to get community input and engage different groups in the community, I think that they should not rush to implement something. They were looking at weeks, but we advised them to slow down and to take a little bit longer and be thoughtful about it.

RN&R: It’s easy to feel a sense of urgency when the whole country’s looking at you. Pete, what methods have been successful in establishing civilian oversight in areas around the country? And I think of you as kind of a civilian oversight board in a way since the whole point of your organization is civilian oversight and recording, right?

Eyre: Yes, and that’s actually the direction I was going to go to respond to this question. As I said earlier, I don’t like the word “civilian.” I think it’s divisive, and it creates categories—not just from so-called civilians but from the non-civilian’s perspective. The successful oversight of people who choose to initiate force is quite simply transparency and reputation. We’re fortunate to live in a time when technology has proliferated, where are a lot of folks now have access to smart phones and recording devices to document their interactions, so it’s no longer their word against the so-called authorities. They’re able to put that content online, and it can be seen by anyone with an internet connection. The court of public opinion is powerful, and that’s what we’re seeing at Ferguson.

Just to touch back on the responses just given for that last bit of commentary, why does the Ferguson Police Department deserve authority? Essentially, they now have a bad perception. People might question whether they deserve authority. They’re just circling the wagons, and they’re trying to maintain that perceived legitimacy. Shouldn’t a group that failed to provide good service—in this case security or protection—shouldn’t they be allowed to go under if they fail to provide it? Why should we try to work with them to shore up their perceived legitimacy? I don’t think organizations like that are deserving.

Brian Buchner is the president of the National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement (NACOLE), having been involved with the organization since 2004. Established in 1995, NACOLE, a 501(c)(3) organization composed of law enforcement oversight agencies and practitioners, works to enhance police transparency and accountability and build community trust through civilian oversight. Currently, Mr. Buchner is a Special Investigator with the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners, Office of the Inspector General (OIG). In that capacity he oversees all aspects of the Los Angeles Police Department’s operations, with a primary focus on ensuring the preservation and institutionalization of Consent Decree reforms, assessing compliance with Department policies and state and federal law, and evaluating the integrity and effectiveness of the Department’s accountability systems.

To go back to this question of oversight, yes, I would say the cameras filming the police, it’s passed through the culture now, it’s happening. You see instances now, there are multiple people who don’t know each other, who film an interaction, they look out for each other, and that’s very empowering. The traditional gatekeepers of information, the people who were the editors at newspapers, they used to just be able to deny access to that medium, but now anybody can share their experience online. We can connect with each other around these centralized systems and along with that go to the sharing of information. Dictators, historically throughout the world, have sustained themselves by quashing views that question their perceived authority. That means burning books and burning people, and today, because of the internet and other technologies, information has been shared past them. A lot of people have been pulling back that curtain, and they’re realizing, “I don’t need somebody else to run my life, and in fact it makes more sense for me to govern myself.” And so, it’s an ideas and technology thing that’s happening, and I really think it’s very empowering, and it’s an evolution in a sense.

RN&R: So Brian, you know as well as anyone, what methods have been successful in establishing civilian oversight around the country?

Buchner: We get a question like that a lot, and there really is no perfect script for how oversight is established. It really just comes about in a number of ways. But in a lot of places, it really does require continuous pressure on the decision makers. It’s pretty common for oversight to be created in the wake of a police-use-of-force incident or allegations of misconduct, and then the community will call for increase in accountability and transparency, and one of the ways to accomplish that is by establishing civilian oversight. And by no means do we say that civilian oversight is the be all, end all. We think it’s an important part of the process to help ensure a greater accountability and transparent police departments. Community organizing certainly is an important part of it. Community groups really need to put continuous pressure on the decision makers to establish oversight because city council members or county officials are initially reluctant to implement any kind of additional layer of accountability or oversight over the police department.

It takes either a controversy or a scandal or a controversial use of force where suddenly they’ll realize that it’s something that they now have to do rather than thinking proactively and deciding to put something in place before that happens. In a lot of places, the press, the media picks up a narrative, that’s another source of pressure; that’s something that we’re seeing in Pasadena right now. Local Pasadena press and the LA Times are really packing a coalition of community groups’ call for increased oversight of the Pasadena Police Department. We’ve been working with that coalition and others to encourage the city to adopt some form of oversight. Police unions are certainly one of the more powerful obstacles to oversight, and so that’s why continuous pressure is necessary because it really has to overcome significant obstacles, sort of countervailing forces that don’t want oversight to be a part of the overall process of increasing accountability and transparency in law enforcement.

RN&R: And then that pressure—even if something is created—then the pressure has to stay on. My feeling is that some places had oversight that was diminished when people stopped feeling a pressure to use it, right?

Buchner: Right. What we’re saying is oversight is a process, just like policing is a process. And there are some places that do it well, and there are some places where it’s not working so well. Establishing oversight isn’t the end goal. It’s a part of the ongoing work to ensure accountable and transparent police departments, and so once oversight has been established in any community, it’s really incumbent upon the members of that community to make sure that oversight is accomplishing what it’s designed to accomplish, to make sure it’s meeting the community’s goals, to make sure it’s following its commitments. It requires oversight of oversight really. That’s one thing that we continue to tell people that we work with around the country: “If you are skeptical that an oversight entity will be able to hold the police department accountable, whether it’s individual officers or the agency itself, then it’s incumbent upon you to make sure you’re scrutinizing the work of the oversight agency.

Oversight should not be immune to criticism from the public or from law enforcement or from anyone because part of its role is to be the eyes and ears of the community and to shine a bright light on what has been opaque internal processes of the police department. Certainly, there are structural restrictions and legal restrictions—someone mentioned the strong protections against personnel matters in California and other states around the country—but even in that framework, there are certain things that oversight can do to shine a light on what’s happening in the police department. So it’s all of our responsibility to make sure that oversight is meeting our expectations.

Taylor: It’s interesting to hear Brian and Pete talk on this because both are coming from completely different directions. I really have to commend both of you, Brian on your efforts to work within the system to actually create these police oversight boards that actually have some kind of power through the political process. But at the same time, I love what Pete’s been doing with Cop Block, and Cop Block and other organizations like that are making this incredible difference. In the last three years, I’ve seen incredible public awareness growing of police violence and police brutality. I attribute it to a bunch of different things but mainly to these efforts on the internet that publicize these cases—to take pictures, to take video, to get the video up online, to embarrass and humiliate and shame the officers that are responsible and the institutions that protect them. I think this is a truly great stuff that’s happening. And so to have these things working in both directions, both through official channels and through nonofficial public awareness, I think this is the way forward. This is a big enough problem that we need to throw everything we can at it so whether through creating actual review boards or having people create new use-of-force regulations as well as just public outrage and people saying, “Hey you guys have shot this guy for no reason. You guys just beat this person for no reason. We’re going to publicize it, and we’re going to shame you, and we’re going to call the department, and we’re going to write letters, and we’re going to bother people until something happens here.”

I think this is all really tremendously important work, and I’m just glad that there are people doing it because here in Fullerton, after Kelly Thomas’ death, we started kind of a protest movement informally. This was a completely grassroots thing that just sprouted here. It’s just completely bipartisan. It doesn’t have any political affiliations; just liberals and libertarians and conservatives and leftists all together. We were always looking like, “Where is this on a national level?” And now it’s very apparent that it is national, and when Ferguson happened, it’s like, there were organizations going, “Yeah, yeah, see this is what we’ve been telling you. It’s going to happen in your city before too long.” So I commend both of you, I’m just happy there are people doing this really important work.

RN&R: Do you want to address more the question? You basically answered at least part of the question: working inside and outside the structure that exists. Do you have an idea of what other methods have been successful?

Taylor: No, I can’t answer that question because I don’t think we have been successful. If we had been successful we wouldn’t have the incredible epidemic of police violence that we have right now. We have not yet been successful. We are in the very beginning process of trying to create something here, and we are not successful at all yet. Let’s not kid ourselves.

Meanes: I think that one of the things that has been successful is the point the federal government has come in and actually taken over and implemented some of its programs—similar to what St. Louis County has done, to agree to actually do some of the training programs and adhere to some of the policies and procedures that are in place. I don’t know that I could point you to a successful oversight board that has some real teeth to it that has been utilized. For me, success would mean that there’s been a reduction in misconduct cases, and I don’t know that I can point you to that yet. I would say that the best thing that I see that has been working is when the federal government has come in and really laid out the facts and procedures that have been utilized to say, “This department is really out of control.” Putting in those restraints where there have been these watchful eyes. That’s when I see it working.

And it’s not that we haven’t had a lot of success [in different ways]. I don’t know that we have aimed at targeting at reducing misconduct or if it’s just been spotting misconduct because those are two different things. Spotting misconduct is very different from reducing and eliminating misconduct. You’re very right in what you said in the beginning: In order for the second to happen, there has to be some weight and some teeth there. So the question becomes, what is the real mission for establishing the oversight board? Because they can be successful, if all it’s doing is spotting the issue. But the real solution that will stop lives from being wasted, that will stop women from being raped, and that will stop good cops from being sullied by bad cops, will be there being some direct action and some targeted things that are tracked and monitored with there being some consequences to actions.

That’s one of the pieces of legislation that we are looking at the National Bar Association to introduce on a federal level. Citizens don’t realize that there are two factors that contribute to officers not being indicted. I mean many people were shocked and surprised that the officers in the Wal-Mart shooting in Ohio were not indicted by the grand jury. I was not. Many will be shocked and surprised that the officer who shot Michael Brown will not be indicted. I don’t know that I would be because there are two contributing factors. One is, there is no real definition of limitation on what is constitutes excessive force, it’s all subjective. The law basically says that an officer has the right and authority to utilize any measure of force that he believes is sufficient to save his life. That’s real broad and open.

And so we have two pieces of legislation that we’re going to be offering on a federal level: You need to put a definition to what constitutes excessive force, and there needs to be required training in these departments to deal with that issue. Number two: There needs to be a definition and some limitations put on when you can elevate force, and what kind of force that can be elevated too, because an officer has many weapons at hand. He has a billy club, he has the Taser, then he has a gun. Should you go to three before you go to one or before you go to two? And circumstances and training should be around it. I don’t want an officer to feel endangered. I want them to protect the community, but I don’t want an officer to immediately go to the worst form possible. The definition is so broad and is so subjective that a grand jury is sitting there thinking, “Can I really put myself in an officer’s place in the heat of the moment and make a quick rash decision of what I should do?” That’s what a grand jury and a jury is faced with deciding because they have no real parameters to go on.

Pete Eyre is co-founder and active with Cop Block, a national decentralized organization that empowers individuals to protect themselves and their communities by holding police accountable for their actions.

RN&R: So Pete what kind of authority—I have a feeling where you’re going to go with this—but what kinds of authority should oversight boards have?

Eyre: It’s kind of tough for me to answer the question as it’s stated again because I’m not really for oversight boards per se. I think that each individual owns themselves, and they have a right to govern themselves, and so everybody should have an inherent right of pursuing their happiness so long as they respect each other’s ability to do the same. If there’s damage to a person or property caused, then I think that the aggressor should be held accountable. To me the issues of police accountability and civilian oversight boards, we’re talking about an institution that has a monopoly on violence. It’s institutionalized violence. Our projects and each of us have sort of tried to minimize that from happening. If that’s in fact the case, then it seems to me that we should try to deconstruct, de-legitimize the bad ideas that allow for that institutionalized violence, that perversely accepted violence. I would just say that each of us has the authority to act so long as we don’t infringe on each other, and if there’s any aggressor then they should be held accountable. I don’t foresee a violent community without the police. I think in fact, there would be fewer episodes of this unaccountable violence and this pattern of violence. Again, people would have an incentive to look out for themselves and others.

Meanes: I think there has to be some either ordinance passed by the city or there has to be some state ordinance that gives it some power. If all it’s doing is rendering opinion that has no impact on either termination or hiring of officers or helping to set standards, then it’s just going to be a board that issues a feel-good opinion. There has to be some legislative action either done by the municipality, by the county or by the state, or there has to be some piece of federal legislation that would take into account some of the issues—whether monitoring devices going on or that refers those issues back up to the Justice Department. In places they do have [oversight], when we did our Town Hall meeting at our convention back in July, a lot of individuals, prosecutors too, were saying that the state oversight boards are good, but sometimes the real issues are whether or not you can get access to information, whether or not they have teeth, whether or not whatever recommendations they’re making really has any bearing on anything, or is it just some committee that’s created to issue opinion, but there’s nothing done with anything that they do.

RN&R: Brian, what kinds of authority do you feel oversight boards should have?

Buchner: I would just restate what I’ve said earlier. One, we wouldn’t say that it should look one way or should have a certain authority but that it should reflect the needs of the community. I would also say that it’s important to consider this evolution of oversight beyond just a complaint-driven or disciplinary-driven model—not that oversight should abandon its focus on complaints and allegations of misconduct, certainly it’s critical that there’s independent oversight or investigations into allegations of police misconduct, but that oversight really should include a more proactive focus and look at organizational change, systematic change and really looking at training, look at management supervision practices, and really look at all aspects of the operations of the law enforcement agency. Oversight should be flexible enough to be able to look beyond just a narrow slice of the police department but should have broad authority over the agency itself.

RN&R: Jonathan you talked earlier about teeth. What kind of authority do you think oversight board should have?

Taylor: Major systemic change is needed. It is hard to answer that question because authority is tricky. You give a bunch of people authority, and then they might misuse it. It would very much depend on who the board was. What I was saying about teeth, though, is it’s really not any good to give recommendations that are just ignored. So I guess that certain things that oversight boards would come up with like, let’s say they wanted to modify use-of-force policies within a department, then their recommendations would have to be adopted. It wouldn’t be like, “OK, thank you for your report. We’ll keep that into consideration.” That doesn’t do anything for anybody. That’s just the way for the police to deflect responsibilities. I think that if we’re going to create these things, they have to be able to have some meaningful effect. And again, I think we can look at a kind of utopian view, but I think we can also look at incremental change. So what can we do right away? And I think use-of-force policies need to be rewritten, and I think that complaints of violence against police officers need to be investigated by somebody other than the police department itself. I don’t believe that police departments can or will properly investigate themselves. But the problem is is that what we really need is police officers that are treated equally with everybody else, so that they don’t have special rights and privileges to inflict violence. I mean unless it’s in legitimate self defense and not just based on some of these arbitrary perceptions of threats, which are not even threats to begin with. So as far as what kind of authority do you give civilians over a system like that? You have to probably give them the authority to get police officers fired based on improper use of force or excessive force or misconduct.

About this series In Fatal Encounters, the RN&R will look at the stories, statistics and impacts of police use of deadly force. RN&R, 02.27.14.
Who Watches the Watchers? RN&R begins a six-part series looking at the use of deadly force by police in Northern Nevada and beyond. RN&R, 02.27.14.
Death in the afternoon Here’s one example of a woman killed by police who never had her name mentioned in the media. RN&R, 02.27.14.
First encounter Close encounters of the deadly kind. RN&R, 02.27.14.
Let the sunshine in Washoe County must come into the 21st century with regard to investigations and the records that document them. RN&R, 03.06.14.
Who shot Darcie Latham? New reports suggest that Sparks Police, not the mother, shot the woman. RN&R, 03.20.14.
Who’s been killed? RN&R looks at the numbers of people in Nevada killed by police. RN&R, 04.10.14.
A Date with Destiny A violent tweeker meets a violent end. RN&R, 04.10.14.
More encounters Man, it’s the media. It’s always the media. RN&R, 04.10.14.
Cops Reno police reach out to troubled people. RN&R, 07.10.14.
Irreconcilable differences Micah Abbey illustrates the difficulty for police dealing with mentally ill people. RN&R, 07.10.14.
Police story Reno police leaders talk about how polices are set within their department. RN&R, 07.10.14.
Police psychology How Fatal Encounters affect officers forced to kill in the line of duty. RN&R, 08.28.14.
Head wounds Steven Ing is a psychologist who works with law enforcement. His father was also killed by police. RN&R, 08.28.14.
House of pain Kenny Stafford was an Iraq veteran with PTSD who had a fatal encounter with law enforcement. RN&R, 08.28.14.
Sparks PD should stop hiding from the truth Deception by omission is not an admirable quality in leadership. RN&R, 09.04.14.


Posts: 8,842
Reply with quote  #46 

The counted: inside the search for the real number of police killings in the US

State by state, town by town, cop by cop, a lack of transparency is halting police reform. But part two of a Guardian investigation reveals that a quiet revolution in crime data may be under way – and justice may be next
Police are not required to report to the federal government when they kill someone. The autonomy of local police in this regard is thoroughly American.

Saturday 21 March 2015 07.53 EDT Last modified on Saturday 21 March 2015 12.30 EDT


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Reply with quote  #47 


Girlfriend: Cop idolized slave master from 'Django Unchained'
Published On: Mar 23 2015 11:16:58 PM EDT

Broward Public Defender Howard Finkelstein said his agency has found 56 active cases involving the four former Fort Lauderdale police officers accused of engaging in racially charged exchanges, including a derogatory video.

Posts: 8,842
Reply with quote  #48 


Woman Exonerated After Spending 22 Years on Death Row Based on Detective’s Lie

Mar 24, 2015

Arizona woman Debra Milke is free at last following 22 years on death row after an appeals court determined that her conviction in the slaying of her 4-year-old son was based on flimsy evidence and a lie concocted by detective Armando Saldate.

Former death row inmate Debra Milke cleared of all murder charges
Phoenix, AZ

Arizona woman Debra Milke wept and celebrated with supporters on Monday as Judge Rosa Mroz dismissed the prosecution’s last appeal and dropped the charges that caused her to spend 22 years on death row, accused of playing a role in the brutal 1989 killing of her own son. Though her conviction had originally been overturned in 2013 after a judge determined that since-retired detective Armando Saldate, who claimed that Milke confessed to the crime, had a history of lying under oath and abusing citizens’ rights while interrogating them, Monday’s dismissal formally ended her ordeal. Judge Rosa Mroz ordered that Milke’s ankl

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Reply with quote  #49 



Downed Drones: ATF Spent $600K on 11 Drones That Never Flew, Report Says

One Department of Justice agency spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on drones that never flew due to mechanical issues, and multiple agencies have unclear drone policies that can lead to costly confusion, according to a federal auditor's report.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) spent about $600,000 on six drones -- then never flew them because of technical problems with flight time, maneuverability and more, according to the report from the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) that audited DOJ units.

The ATF ended up canceling all of their drone-related operations and tossing the drones in the trash. The OIG said it was "troubled" ATF spent that kind of money on drones with problems that were "significant enough to render them unsuitable for deployment."

But just one week after the ATF suspended its drone operations, an ATF unit called the National Response Team bought five small drones for about $15,000 and didn't coordinate the purchase with the ATF.

That team tried one brief flight in July 2014 with one of the drones, about which they did not inform the ATF. They also did not receive approval from the Federal Aviation Administration as required for drone missions. The National Response Team ultimately grounded all their own drone operations pending more guidance on flight requirements.

Meanwhile, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which operates under the DOJ, spent $3 million on 34 drones between 2004 and 2013. As of last year, 17 of those drones were considered "operational," the OIG said. The FBI used drones in 13 investigations -- including kidnapping cases and anti-drug trafficking missions -- between Septem

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PostFri Mar 27, 2015 5:32 pm
Detroit Police Sergeant Caught on Video Planting Evidence to Ruin Local Business – Lawsuit

Detroit, Mich. – A family scrap metal shop was illegally targeted according to a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court Monday. The suit is filed against the City of Detroit and the Detroit Police Department, as well as Sgt. Rebecca McKay, Mayor Mike Duggan and Police Chief James Craig.

Dearborn resident Joseph Fawaz, whose family owns Southwest metals, accused a Detroit police sergeant of planting evidence, lying to prosecutors, attempting to bribe witnesses, and arresting employees in a multi-year vendetta.

The suit claims Detroit Copper Theft Task Force member, Sgt. Rebecca McKay, was caught on the scrap metal shop’s surveillance camera planting evidence during a raid of Southwest Metals
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