Wednesday, July 24th, 2013 — Good Morning, Stay Safe
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The Job >From Hell
Back to the Future: Department Contemplating Drafting 300 Police Officers To Be 911 Operators
Cops could be used as 911 call-takers: memo
Cops on modified duty or assigned to security at the Public Safety Answering Center in downtown Brooklyn would be pressed into service as call-takers — but no final decision has yet been made says a department spokesperson.
By Juan Gonzalez — Wednesday, July 24th, 2013 'The New York Daily News'
So if there is no problem with 911, why contemplate such a major overhaul of staffing levels — including assigning cops as call-takers?
Police, after all, get paid an average of $75,000 a year, while 911 operators average about $38,000.
Well, one of the problems is that call-takers are so demoralized they are quitting in droves, and the city hasn't been replacing them. As many as to 20 to 30 are resigning each month, according to leaders of District Council 37, the city workers union.
"Our people are exhausted," said one veteran 911 operator. "We're sick and tired of all the forced overtime and all the stress from dealing with this new dispatch system that doesn't work properly."
Several of the "brainstorming" ideas listed in Monday's memo would require a signoff from the union. City officials have scheduled a meeting for Friday with union leaders, and are expected to outline specific changes the Bloomberg administration is seeking.
But even before that meeting, personnel in charge of training users on the new ICAD system were told to prepare ICAD classes as early as Thursday for city cops.
"That's something under consideration, too," Royster said, "but nothing has been decided."
City Hall keeps pointing the finger at the workers. When will they hold the people at the top accountable for the terrible job they've done managing the upgrade of our city's vital 911 system?
Bloomberg Vetoes the Community Safety Act
NYPD oversight plans vetoed; override vote due
By Jennifer Peltz (The Associated Press) — Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013; 6:50 p.m. EDT
NEW YORK (AP) -- Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Tuesday vetoed the most ambitious plan proposed in years for oversight of the New York Police Department, setting up an override showdown between him and lawmakers.
Bloomberg's long-expected veto puts the proposals on course for their possible revival in an override vote later this summer. The measures would create an outside watchdog for the department and more latitude for lawsuits claiming discriminatory policing.
The latest in a decades-long history of efforts to impose more outside oversight on the nation's biggest police force, the legislation crystallized from concerns over the NYPD's use of stop-and-frisk tactics and its widespread surveillance of Muslims, spying that was disclosed in stories by The Associated Press.
But the mayor said in veto messages that the measures are "dangerous and irresponsible." As he and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly have before, Bloomberg argued that the legislation would undermine safety by deluging the department in lawsuits and inquiries, making officers hesitant to act for fear of coming under scrutiny, and undercutting policing techniques that have cut crime dramatically in recent years.
Civil rights advocates and other proponents say the measures will make the city safer by repairing frayed trust between police and citizens who feel unfairly targeted by stops and surveillance.
"We will not be deterred by false accusations or fear-mongering," City Councilmen Brad Lander and Jumaane Williams, who sponsored the legislation, said in a statement. Bloomberg's "actions have embarrassed this city and this country," the statement said.
The legislation was passed in June while a federal judge was weighing a decision in a civil rights lawsuit over the stop-and-frisk practice. It attracted national attention among civil rights groups, and NAACP President Benjamin Jealous was among the spectators in the City Council chambers for the late-night vote.
The legislation would give people more latitude to sue in state court if they felt they were stopped because of bias based on race, sexual orientation or certain other factors. The suits couldn't seek money, just court orders to change police practices. Another provision would establish an inspector general with subpoena power to explore and recommend, but not force, changes to NYPD practices.
The watchdog measure passed with enough votes for an override. But the piece concerning discrimination lawsuits passed with just exactly the needed number.
Bloomberg has indicated he'll try to persuade lawmakers to change their minds, and the billionaire mayor has suggested he might amplify his message with campaign contributions. "We'll see what I'm going to do. The bottom line is I make no bones about it: I'm telling you I'm going to support those candidates" who agree, he said this month.
The powerful Patrolmen's Benevolent Association police union has sent thousands of fliers targeting some lawmakers who supported the measures. The mailings tell voters their council members "voted against public safety" and urge constituents to call and complain.
Meanwhile, backers of the measures have been trying to put public pressure on Bloomberg. The rapper Talib Kweli recently posted an online petition, saying "we cannot allow one wealthy mayor to stand in the way of progress."
City police have conducted about 5 million stop and frisks during the past decade; arrests resulted about 10 percent of the time. Those stopped are overwhelmingly black or Hispanic - about 87 percent in the last two years. Blacks and Hispanics make up 54 percent of the city population.
Stop and frisk is legal, and Bloomberg and Kelly consider it a vital crime-fighting tool. They also say the demographics of the people stopped should be compared with descriptions of crime suspects, not with the makeup of the population as a whole, though not all stops are spurred by suspect descriptions. Some result from officers seeing suspicious behavior, for example.
Critics say the stops are racial profiling and cast suspicion on innocent people. Some have expressed similar feelings about the NYPD's Muslim surveillance efforts, which entailed infiltrating Muslim student groups, putting informants in mosques and monitoring sermons. The department has said the initiatives were legal and part of a broad effort to prevent terrorist attacks.
Vetoes Set Up a Showdown Over NYPD
Bloomberg Rejects Bills to Expand Police Oversight
By MICHAEL HOWARD SAUL — Wednesday, July 24th, 2013 'The Wall Street Journal' / New York, NY
Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Tuesday vetoed two controversial bills aimed at expanding oversight of the New York Police Department, setting the stage for an override battle at the City Council.
Last month, the council voted 40-11 to appoint an inspector general to oversee the NYPD and 34-17 to allow claims of racial profiling against the police to be heard in state court. The council is slated to accept the mayor's vetoes on Wednesday and then will have 30 days to override.
The 51-member council needs 34 votes to overturn a veto. On the racial-profiling bill, Mr. Bloomberg needs to convince a single member to change position, or to not show up for the override vote.
In his veto message, Mr. Bloomberg said the racial-profiling bill was "dangerous and irresponsible" and would jeopardize the "hard-earned" gains the city has made in public safety during the past 11½ years.
"It is poorly conceived, overly broad and preempted by state law," Mr. Bloomberg wrote. "It would also unleash an avalanche of lawsuits against police officers and the Police Department."
On the inspector-general bill, Mr. Bloomberg wrote that the NYPD already had plenty of oversight entities, including the Civilian Complaint Review Board, the Commission to Combat Police Corruption and the city's five district attorneys and two U.S. attorneys.
The creation of an inspector general, the mayor wrote, would create confusion within the NYPD about who is in charge.
"The consequences would be chaotic, dangerous and even deadly for our police officers and for our city," he wrote, adding that it could jeopardize relationships with law-enforcement partners that help protect the city from terrorism.
Mr. Bloomberg's vetoes were widely expected.
City Council members Jumaane Williams and Brad Lander, Brooklyn Democrats who crafted the bill, said the mayor has "embarrassed this city and this country....We will not be deterred by false accusations or fear-mongering, nor the millions of dollars this administration has used to fund their campaign of lies."
Both bills were aimed at addressing the controversy surrounding the NYPD's street tactic of stopping, questioning and sometimes frisking people suspected of criminal activity.
NYPD officers have made more than five million stops—many of which led to frisks—since Mr. Bloomberg took office in 2002. More than 85% of those stopped were either black or Latino, and nearly 90% were released without being charged.
A federal judge, Shira Scheindlin, is to decide in the coming months whether the NYPD's use of the stop-and-frisk tactic has violated New Yorkers' constitutional rights. She is exploring the possibility of a court-appointed monitor.
Since the council approved the bills last month, the police unions, which oppose the legislation, have increased pressure on council members to reverse their position, distributing leaflets in their districts and taking out newspaper advertisements. To date, no council member who approved of either bill has publicly announced a reversal.
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who voted for the inspector-general bill and against the racial-profiling bill, has said she is confident both vetoes would be overturned.
Bloomberg Vetoes Measures for Police Monitor and Lawsuits
By J. DAVID GOODMAN — Wednesday, July 24th, 2013 'The New York Times'
Setting up a final act in his prolonged confrontation with the New York City Council over stop-and-frisk practices, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg on Tuesday vetoed two contentious bills to increase oversight of the Police Department and expand the ability of New Yorkers to sue over police profiling of suspects.
The vetoes, widely expected and issued in separate three-page letters outlining Mr. Bloomberg's strong objections to each bill, set in motion a series of steps leading to override votes within 30 days of the Council's next meeting, on Wednesday.
The Council passed both bills in late June, each with at least the 34 votes needed to override a mayoral veto. One measure, to create an independent inspector general for the police, received well over two-thirds of the votes in the 51-member Council; the other, which would broaden individuals' access to state courts for claims of bias-based policing, passed with exactly the number of votes needed.
Mr. Bloomberg has said he would work to change the vote of at least one supporter in order that his veto would stand on the profiling bill, which directly addresses police stops. In issuing his vetoes, he called both bills "dangerous and irresponsible."
The Council votes will most likely occur either just before or shortly after a decision, expected in the coming weeks, in the federal suit over the Police Department's stop-and-frisk practices.
The police commissioner, Raymond W. Kelly, in an op-ed article on Monday and during a television appearance on Tuesday, again defended those practices as intrinsic to policing, and he pointed to their role in bringing down crime to record lows in New York City.
The timing of the vetoes presented an added challenge to supporters of the legislation, who face a tight override vote on the profiling bill and must now contend with possible absences resulting from summer vacations.
"We anticipated that he would make it as difficult as possible — that's what he's done," said Councilman Jumaane D. Williams, a co-sponsor of the legislation along with Councilman Brad Lander. "That's why we've been organizing everybody's vacation schedule together."
Bloomberg vetoes NYC anti-stop-and-frisk bills
New York's mayor slammed both bills — one to create an NYPD inspector general and another to allow people to sue over racial profiling by cops — as a boon to criminals and terrorists. The 'dangerous and irresponsible' measures 'would make New Yorkers less safe,' he said.
By Erin Durkin — Wednesday, July 24th, 2013 'The New York Daily News'
Two politically charged New York City bills to rein in the NYPD's use of controversial stop-and-frisk tactics were vetoed Tuesday by Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
He slammed both bills — one to create an NYPD inspector general and another to allow people to sue over racial profiling by cops — as a boon to criminals and terrorists.
The "dangerous and irresponsible" measures "would make New Yorkers less safe," he wrote in his veto message.
The bills appear to have enough support in the City Council to override the mayor's vetoes, but Bloomberg has mounted a blitz to block the racial-profiling bill, which passed with 34 votes — exactly the number needed to override a veto.
He needs to convince one Council member to switch sides, but so far has had no luck.
The bill to create an inspector general passed by a larger margin, making an override nearly certain.
Supporters of the bills blasted the veto.
"It's pretty simple: Either you believe people should be treated differently simply because of their race, religion, sexual orientation or immigration status, or you find that repulsive and believe it should be outlawed," the group Communities United for Police Reform said in a statement.
Wednesday, July 24th, 2013 'The New York Daily News' Editorial:
Clear and present danger
The City Council's dangerous policing legislation
For the lives and safety of 8.4 million New Yorkers, Mayor Bloomberg on Tuesday vetoed two of the most short-sighted, wrong-headed and just plain dangerous pieces of legislation ever passed by the New York City Council.
Written in the overheated fervor over the NYPD's strategy of stopping, questioning and sometimes frisking people suspected of criminality, the bills would impose an inspector general on the police department and recklessly expose individual officers and the department as a whole to lawsuits over alleged claims of bias.
The legislation flies in the face of the NYPD's continuing and remarkable success in driving down crime. The Council appears set to override Bloomberg's veto. It has run wild in utter disregard for the well-being of New Yorkers.
Question and Frisk Search
Ray Kelly's 'Extraordinary Job'
Obama wants to talk about racial profiling in Florida, but not in New York City.
By Jacob Sullum — Wednesday, July 24th, 2013 'Reason.Com' / Los Angeles, CA
(Op-Ed / Commentary)
Three days before President Obama seized upon George Zimmerman's acquittal as an opportunity to talk about racial profiling, he offered effusive praise for New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, long a target of criticism for law enforcement practices that discriminate based on skin color and ethnicity. The juxtaposition of these comments suggests Obama would rather attack an easy target than confront issues with much clearer implications for equality under the law.
While Zimmerman surely deserves criticism for the rash actions that led to his deadly fight with Trayvon Martin, the evidence that he considered the teenager suspicious because of his complexion is meager. The subject of race was not mentioned during the trial, and a juror interviewed by CNN's Anderson Cooper last week said it did not come up during deliberations either. She was persuaded that Zimmerman "would have reacted the exact same way" if Martin had been white, Hispanic, or Asian, because "he profiled anybody who came in and acted strange."
Yet Obama implicitly portrayed Zimmerman as racist. "Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago," he said on Friday, recalling his own encounters with fearful motorists, suspicious department store clerks, and nervous, handbag-clutching ladies in elevators who viewed him as a potential criminal based on nothing more than his African ancestry. Such experiences, he explained, "inform how the African-American community interprets what happened one night in Florida."
Perhaps so, but that does not mean the interpretation is accurate. By contrast, there is no mistaking the racially disproportionate impact of the "stop and frisk" tactics championed by Kelly, whom Obama talked up in a Univision interview on Tuesday as a possible secretary of homeland security, calling him "one of the best there is" and "very well qualified for the job."
In contrast with Zimmerman, who has never been credibly accused of shooting Martin because of his race, Kelly is named in a federal lawsuit that charges the NYPD with routinely violating the Fourth and 14th Amendments through a program of street stops that target blacks or Hispanics 87 percent of the time. The number of such stops septupled during Kelly's first nine years as Mayor Michael Bloomberg's police commissioner, from fewer than 100,000 in 2002 to almost 700,000 in 2011; last year there were 533,000.
Although the stops, most of which involve pat-downs, are supposedly based on "reasonable suspicion" of criminal activity, nine times out of 10 they do not result in an arrest or even a summons. They almost never discover guns, although that is the official goal of the pat-downs.
More often the searches find small amounts of marijuana, possession of which is ordinarily a citable offense. But in a tricky maneuver Kelly concedes is illegal, cops will often claim marijuana pulled out of pockets or bags during a stop was possessed "in public view," a misdemeanor that justifies an arrest. Not surprisingly, pot busts have skyrocketed along with street stops, and 87 percent of the arrestees are black or Hispanic, even though surveys indicate whites are at least as likely to smoke marijuana.
As Obama noted on Friday, "there is a history of racial disparities in the application of our criminal laws—everything from the death penalty to enforcement of our drug laws." In New York City under Ray Kelly, that history is still being made.
While Kelly's defenders argue that the racially skewed impact of "stop and frisk" is a side effect of sending cops where the crime is, the NYPD's program of spying on innocent Muslims in the name of fighting terrorism explicitly discriminated based on religion and national origin. As the Associated Press revealed in 2011, the NYPD "put American citizens under surveillance and scrutinized where they ate, prayed and worked, not because of charges of wrongdoing but because of their ethnicity."
Last week Obama declared that "Ray Kelly has obviously done an extraordinary job in New York." That's true enough, but not necessarily in a good way.
By THOMAS A. REPPETTO (Known Kelly Shill) — Wednesday, July 24th, 2013 'The New York Post'
(Op-Ed / Commentary)
In 2014 the police strategy that has kept the city safe for 20 years is probably going to be abandoned. So here's a question for the mayoral candidates: What will replace it?
Almost all the candidates have already promised to either abolish or severely curtail measures such as stop and frisk. Meanwhile, the federal Justice Department has indicated that it favors a judicially imposed monitor to enforce restrictions on the police, and the City Council has enacted an ordinance providing for an inspector general to oversee the police commissioner.
The final blow came when the council approved a measure to let lawfully arrested individuals ask the courts to rule that they were illegally profiled and to impose sanctions on the police department (and, in some readings of the bill, on the arresting officer, too).
If this indeed becomes law despite Mayor Bloomberg's vetoes yesterday, a police officer's only safe way to make a collar will be to wait until the suspect does something like put a gun to another person's head — although by then the victim may be dead.
It is therefore time for the mayoral candidates to stop telling us what they're against and start telling us what they're for.
Will they return to reactive policing — where officers in radio cars try to spot crimes in progress and respond to 911 calls? All research on police effectiveness has found that cruising cars rarely see crimes being committed, while most radio calls leave cops arriving at the scene too late to apprehend the perps.
That, after all, is why the NYPD adopted proactive policing in the first place — to head off criminals before they could assault or rob someone. This is the approach that, since 1990, has brought murders in New York City down from well over 2,000 a year to well below 400, and robberies from over 100,000 to 20,000.
A much touted crime-fighting approach is community policing. But while mobilizing citizens is good, it's a tricky business. For example, it can mean such things as establishing civilian patrols — a worrisome concept in light of the Trayvon Martin case.
Of course, we'll be assured that the patrol will only be "the eyes and ears of the police." But what if a patrol member observes a man pulling a young girl into a car: Will he stand by and wait for the police to get there, or will he intervene — only to find he has slugged the girl's father?
Chicago practiced community policing for years; it didn't prevent murders from skyrocketing last year. And while the Windy City is back to "normal" this year, that means a murder rate over three times greater than New York's.
New York City also tried community policing in the early 1970s and again in the early 1990s; both experiments flopped.
In the mid '90s, Boston undertook an ambitious program to reduce juvenile murders and to buy back guns to get them off the street. Early results were promising; police officials and academics proclaimed it "the Boston miracle."
A few years later, though, with youth killings zooming up and the streets saturated with the latest model guns (some of them bought with money from buybacks), the police and civilians who'd designed the programs stopped high-fiving each other and started quarreling in public.
If the mayoral candidates actually offer proposals for how they'll replace proactive policing, ask them for some evidence that their ideas will work as well as our own "New York miracle" has done these last 20-plus years.
Crime probably won't soar immediately in 2014. When criminals see cops abandoning proactive tactics, they'll likely suspect that it is a sting to bring them into the open so they can be rounded up.
After a while, though, the gunmen will catch on. They'll realize that large sections of the city have been conceded to predators, and crime will rise. In a few years, we will likely reach a tipping point where violence spirals completely out of control.
Then we'll be back to the late 1980s, when many neighborhoods were free-fire zones and children slept in bathtubs to avoid stray bullets that came through windows.
Thomas A. Reppetto is the former president of the Citizens Crime Commission of New York City and author of "American Police, 1945-2012."
Alleged Police Pervert & Texting Dummy: Highway # 1 P.O. Carlos Becker
NYPD cop loses badge after texting, dating DWI bust who ended up with black eye
The Bronx DA's office and the Internal Affairs Bureau launched probes after Erica Noonan told authorities that she blacked out after a March 24 dinner and drinking date with Officer Carlos. She gave investigators more than 600 text messages the pair exchanged beginning three days after he busted her for DWI.
By John Marzulli — Wednesday, July 24th, 2013 'The New York Daily News'
An NYPD highway cop is expected to be charged for allegedly wining and dining a Bronx woman he arrested for drunken driving, the Daily News has learned.
Officer Carlos Becker was stripped of his badge and gun last month and is facing criminal charges for the alleged misconduct, according to two sources familiar with the case.
The Bronx district attorney's office and the Internal Affairs Bureau launched probes after the 30-year-old woman, Erica Noonan, reported to authorities that she blacked out after a March 24 dinner date with the cop at a Westchester County sushi restaurant followed by drinking in a Bronx bar.
She woke up fully dressed in Becker's bedroom sporting a swollen black eye, sources said.
Cops are prohibited from associating with people they arrest to prevent the practice or appearance of illegally influencing the criminal case.
Noonan turned over to investigators more than 600 text messages she exchanged with Becker beginning March 14 — three days after he busted her for DWI.
In the series of personal messages, the lovesick officer asked her out on dates, offered to cook her dinner, ran a computer check on her driver's license and claimed he had ordered a mini-police shield for her to carry in her wallet.
"I will help you out … Have no fear carlito is here!!! Lol," Becker texted March 19.
Noonan's lawyer, Eric Sanders, said she was going public and planned to file a lawsuit to "empower herself as well as other silent victims to assert their civil rights against police abuse and misconduct."
Becker, 36, began putting the moves on Noonan, an occupational therapist, immediately after arresting her March 11 on West Fordham Road.
"I say let's get waisted (sic) and laugh all night ... WE SHOULD GO TO ATLANTIC CITY AND GAMBLE … I'm trying to do something nice to take ur mind off of things," he texted March 15.
"He made me feel like he wanted to help me, he wanted to help me out like a damsel in distress," Noonan told the Daily News. "He shouldn't be working as a police officer. He's using his job for negative things especially against women."
They finally met for dinner at Haiku restaurant in Mamaroneck, where Noonan had two drinks with dinner, then several shots of tequila in the Bronx.
Noonan recalls little of what happened after getting into Becker's car: resting her head against the window and crossing a bridge. Then she woke up in his bedroom in Long Island. She was gasping for air and couldn't see out of her left eye.
"He was sitting on the couch watching TV," Noonan recalled. "I said, 'What happened to my eye?' and he was very nonchalant. He said, 'You fell. Don't you remember falling?'"
In a brief telephone interview Tuesday, Becker declined to comment.
"I really don't want to talk about it over the phone," Becker said before hanging up. His lawyer could not be reached for comment.
Steve Reed, a spokesman for the Bronx district attorney's office, declined to comment on the case.
Noonan's misdemeanor DWI case is still pending in Bronx Criminal Court.
Sentencing Hearing in Execution of Detectives James Nemorin and Rodney Andrews
Passionate Speeches in Court Over Life Term or Death for a Killer of 2 Detectives
By MOSI SECRET — Wednesday, July 24th, 2013 'The New York Times'
After a month of testimony in the death-penalty trial of Ronell Wilson, who killed two New York City police detectives in a failed gun sting operation a decade ago, lawyers made their closing arguments on Tuesday in passionate speeches that invoked life and death, and responsibility and justice.
Celia Cohen, a prosecutor, took to the lectern in Federal District Court in Brooklyn first, eulogizing the victims, Detectives James V. Nemorin and Rodney J. Andrews, summing up in warm tones their contributions, their hopes, the loss they left behind.
A current ran through her words: the detectives became heroes, she said, because they made the right choices, even despite hardship during their youth. The implication was obvious.
Mr. Wilson, whose lawyers said during the sentencing trial that jurors should recommend life in prison rather than death because of his rough childhood, had made choices too, Ms. Cohen argued. The wrong ones.
Ms. Cohen paced back and forth in front of the jurors, letting her voice swell whenever she mentioned Mr. Wilson's crimes. She said that he was still dangerous and manipulative and showed no remorse.
"Jail has not been a punishment for him," she said. "The defendant has thrived."
She continued: "He wants you to focus on him and his life. He wants you to use your humanity. He has shown through his actions that he has absolutely no humanity."
Mr. Wilson, 31, killed two undercover police detectives in 2003, shooting them at point-blank range before dumping their bodies in the street. Convicted of the murders in 2006, he was sentenced to death in 2007, but the death sentence was later overturned. Jurors are now considering whether life in prison or death is the best punishment.
David Stern, a lawyer for Mr. Wilson, sought to humanize him.
Yes, Mr. Wilson slashed a man in the face with a knife in 2001, Mr. Stern said, but he was attacked first. Yes, he had a relationship with a prison guard, but he did not manipulate her. (He fathered a child, named Justus, with the guard.) Yes, the police killings were terrible, Mr. Stern said, but Mr. Wilson would pay for them.
"The government wants you to think because jails have basketball courts and TVs it's not really punishment," Mr. Stern said, adding that Mr. Wilson's time would not be painless.
"He'll be alone and get older and older," he said. "One day he will look down, and the Bloods tattoos on his chest will begin to sag. His knees will hurt. His hearing will go. Finally one day he'll die wearing the same khaki clothes he's worn for 20 or 30 or 40 years. Very few people will know or care."
No one has been executed in New York in half a century, and no federal defendant other than Mr. Wilson has been sentenced to death in the state since 1954. The rare spectacle of a death-penalty case in New York filled the courtroom. The top prosecutors in the office, including Loretta E. Lynch, the United States attorney for the Eastern District, watched, as did a flood of summer interns from around the courthouse, so many that some were forced to watch from an adjacent courtroom on closed-circuit monitors.
During the trial, prosecutors argued that Mr. Wilson continued to pose a danger. They called as witnesses some of his fellow inmates, who described a litany of intimidating acts they said Mr. Wilson had carried out while behind bars — like threatening a man he thought to be gay, boasting about the murders of the detectives and using his membership in the Bloods gang to hold sway.
Lawyers for Mr. Wilson called members of his own family to speak in his defense. They described him as a neglected child, whose mother, an alcoholic and addict, left him unattended. Even his mother, Cheryl Wilson Hadden, took the stand and made the same case.
During the closing arguments, the courtroom was quiet but for the hum of the fluorescent lights, the scribbling of courtroom artists and the sound of people shifting in the hard wooden benches.
Mr. Wilson, in a blue dress shirt and cardigan, sat motionless, as he always does, with his hand on his chin.
The jury is expected to begin deliberations on Wednesday.
Feds urge jury to give cop killer death to end his gloating
Ronell Wilson "knew they were police officers and relished the fact that they were killed," Assistant U.S. Attorney Celia Cohen said. "Don't give him the status in prison that he wanted and don't let him continue to celebrate their deaths."
By John Marzulli — Wednesday, July 24th, 2013 'The New York Daily News'
A federal prosecutor urged jurors to give Ronell Wilson the death penalty to end his gloating over murdering two NYPD detectives.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Celia Cohen argued that a lethal injection is the fitting punishment for a remorseless gang thug who knew that the victims, Rodney Andrews and James Nemorin, were undercover cops when he shot them in cold blood during a 2003 gun buy-and-bust.
"The defendant knew they were police officers and relished the fact that they were killed," Cohen said in closing arguments in Brooklyn Federal Court.
Wilson was sentenced to death by a previous jury in 2007, but the U.S. Court of Appeals overturned the sentence due to prosecutorial error. In both trials there was testimony that the slayings had boosted Wilson's status in the Bloods gang.
"Don't give him the status in prison that he wanted and don't let him continue to celebrate their deaths," Cohen said, adding that the defendant has "absolutely no humanity."
The government was not required by the death penalty statute to prove that Wilson was aware they were cops and defense lawyers have insisted that he did not know. Wilson, 31, chose not to take the witness stand in both trials.
An alternative sentence is life without the possibility of parole.
"Finally, one day he will die wearing the same khaki clothes (prison duds) he's worn for 30 or 40 years and very few people will know or care," defense lawyer David Stern told the jury.
Attempted Murder & Shooting of Bklyn. North Anti Crime Kevin Brennan
Brooklyn Murderer Who Shot, Wounded NYPD Officer To Spend Life In Prison
By: Dean Meminger — Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013; 8:10 p.m. 'NY 1 News'
Luis Ortiz, who was convicted earlier this month of shooting an NYPD officer in the head and wounding him and murdering another man in separate incidents in 2012, was sentenced Tuesday to spend life in prison without parole.
Ortiz was convicted of the attempted murder of Officer Kevin Brennan on January 31, 2012 and the murder of Shannon McKinney on New Year's Day 2012.
Brennan was shot in the base of his skull after responding to reports of shots fired at the Bushwick Houses, and survived.
Prosecutors said Ortiz shot both men with the same gun.
Brennan spoke at the sentencing hearing, before his teary-eyed wife, requesting Ortiz get life in prison.
"I have bullet fragments lodged in my head. They're there every day, and they're not going anywhere," Brennan said. "I have to live with not knowing if today will be the day that these fragments shift into my brain and cause me harm or death."
"This defendant has done nothing, zero in his life other than commit crimes," said Brooklyn Assistant District Attorney Lewis Lieberman.
Ortiz himself did not speak in the courtroom but his defense team did plead for mercy and leniency. The defense lawyer also apologized for the crimes, saying Ortiz has had a very difficult life.
Judge Albert Tomei told Ortiz that he is part of a gun society in America and that the country needs more peace and love.
"Mr. Ortiz, your possession of the killing machine, the gun, and the unfathomable pain that it has caused is a reflection of a gun and violence culture that is causing America to eat its shadow and tear apart the very fabric of our society," the judge said.
During the sentencing, Ortiz often looked down at the table, but when Brennan was speaking, he did look at the officer so that he could hear and see what the officer was saying to the judge.
Through dedication and rehabilitation, Brennan is back on the job as a member of the NYPD. His message on Tuesday was to put the guns down.
Shot cop cheers slayer sentence
By JOSH SAUL — Wednesday, July 24th, 2013 'The New York Post'
A cop who survived a bullet to the head fired by a coldblooded killer walked out of a Brooklyn court to the cheers of fellow officers yesterday after a judge slapped the unrepentant gunman with 40 years to life.
Judge Albert Tomei also gave Luis Ortiz, 23, life without parole for the murder of a man he had robbed just one month earlier.
Sgt. Kevin Brennan, whom Ortiz shot as the cop chased him through the Bushwick Houses on Jan. 31, 2012, said he knew Ortiz would ask for a lesser sentence because he was 21 at the time of the shootings.
"When I was 21 . . . I was in the Police Academy. I chose to protect and serve, he chose to sell drugs, rob and kill," Brennan said in his victim-impact statement.
44 Pct. Crime Sgt. Miguel Sanchez and Police Officers Sean Kelly and Anderson Ortiz
NYPD praises officers who spotted suspected killer dumping traffic agent's body in dumpster
By KIRSTAN CONLEY — Wednesday, July 24th, 2013 'The New York Post'
The three Bronx cops who nabbed the suspected killer of a female NYPD traffic agent after noticing his lousy parking job were praised for their instincts to stop and question the suspect based on his suspicious behavior.
"If it hadn't been for them seeing [the suspect's] suspicious activity and pursuing it, we may never have found [the victim]," an NYPD spokeswoman said.
Veteran police Sgt. Miguel Sanchez, 46, was in an unmarked car with two plainclothes officers, Sean Kelly, 28, and Anderson Ortiz, 25, about 4:30 a.m. Sunday when the trio first spotted a livery car half up on the sidewalk outside an apartment building on Walton Avenue, sources said.
The cops approached the driver inside the vehicle, Moises Martinez, 52, and asked what he was doing.
"He told them he was moving and throwing out trash," one source told the Post.
They told him to move the car and Sanchez noticed Martinez was sweating and appeared nervous, sources said.
So the cops parked down the street and watched as Martinez drove around the block several times over a half hour, then parked in front of a nearby hydrant and go inside the building.
When he hadn't emerged 30 minutes after going indoors, they knocked on Martinez's door.
The cops asked Martinez if he lived there with anyone, and he replied, "I live with my wife," sources said.
Then, "they ask where she is, and he says 'I killed her,' " a source said.
The officers later found the body of Yajaira Reyes, a 29-year-old NYPD traffic agent, wrapped in sheets and duct tape in a red garbage bin in the home.
One law-enforcement source called the bust an example of perfect police tactics.
"He gave them the, 'Oh, s--t' look and the wrong answers, and they pursued it. There's something wrong with his eyes, the way he's talking, his body language, and you pursue it," the cop said. "In this case, instead of finding a gun, they found a body."
Martinez was ordered held on a second-degree murder charge yesterday.
Raymond Kelly for Secretary of Homeland Security
Secretary Ray Kelly? Bad for U.S. Muslims
The NYPD commissioner would do more harm in Obama's cabinet
By Rev. Chloe Breyer — Wednesday, July 24th, 2013 'The New York Daily News'
(Op-Ed / Commentary)
With his name circulating as a possible pick to be the new homeland security secretary, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly is again in the national spotlight.
But from a faith perspective, there are blemishes on his record. While NYPD programs including the Hate Crimes Task Force and the Clergy Liaison Program have been good for religious leaders, the department's decade-long practice of mapping Muslims and targeting houses of worship for special surveillance has equated religiosity with radicalization.
This is a mistake that must not be repeated nationally.
As the director of the Interfaith Center of New York, a community organization that has for more than a decade worked with public institutions and grass-roots faith leaders from at least 15 different religious traditions, I have seen firsthand the professionalism of the NYPD's Hate Crimes Task Force. And the department's Clergy Liaison Program, enrolling more than 500 religious leaders citywide, has helped bridge community-precinct divides.
But these good works have been undercut by the systematic surveillance of Muslims in the city and beyond, a practice Kelly began after 9/11 but that was only uncovered in a Pulitzer Prize-winning Associated Press investigative series. As the NYPD has come to see rising mosque attendance, praying more often and even abstaining from smoking as potentially suspicious behaviors, the department has tracked "even its closest partners in anti-terrorism work, including imams who frequently appeared at the mayor's side." That quote is from a 2013 report by the Creating Law Enforcement Accountability & Responsibility (CLEAR) project at CUNY Law School, summarizing The AP's findings.
The department has sent officers and informants into other cities, without notifying law enforcement or elected officials there, to track and map Muslim faith communities.
It has even monitored students at Hunter College (again, without informing school officials), with an informant reporting on a university-sanctioned Muslim group.
As the CLEAR report put it, "NYPD agents were documenting how many times a day Muslim students prayed during a university whitewater rafting trip, which Egyptian businesses shut their doors for daily prayers, which restaurants played Al Jazeera, and which Newark businesses sold halal products and alcohol."
A suit against the department filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups this month contends all this has had a chilling effect on religious expression for religious leaders and practitioners. One of the plaintiffs is Hamid Hassan Raza, the imam at Masjid Al-Ansar, a Brooklyn mosque. Raza leads prayer services, conducts religious education classes and provides counseling to members of the community.
The NYPD has tracked him and his mosque since at least 2008, according to the suit, and Raza now records his sermons out of fear that an officer or informant might misquote him or take a statement out of context.
He also steers clear of certain religious topics to avoid statements that the NYPD or its informants might perceive as controversial. In a letter to President Obama this week, the Muslim American Civil Liberties Coalition expressed concerns about the prospect of Kelly taking the top homeland security seat.
The problems go beyond the surveillance — to include his promotion of negative Muslim stereotypes in a 2007 NYPD report, "Radicalization in the West: The Homegrown Threat," and in the screening of the virulently anti-Muslim 2008 propaganda film "The Third Jihad."
Kelly's willingness to stretch his department's mandate and to test constitutional limits by monitoring people of faith because of their faith should give us all serious pause. Unless and until the NYPD proves it is ready to treat New Yorkers of all faiths equally, Obama would do well to look elsewhere for a terror-fighter.
Breyer is the executive director of the Interfaith Center of New York and assistant priest at St. Philip's Episcopal Church in Harlem.
Why Obama's New Darling Ray Kelly Should Stay Out Of Washington
By Connor Adams Sheets — Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013; 1:31 p.m. 'The International Business Times' / New York, NY
(Op-Ed / Commentary)
President Barack Obama and NYPD Police Commissioner Ray Kelly's surprising courtship has led to a great deal of excited Beltway chatter over the past few days, but it should be seen for what it is: scary and strange.
Obama fawned over New York's top cop last week, going so far as to float his name and the title of Department of Homeland Security Secretary in the same sentence.
"Mr. Kelly might be very happy where he is, but if he's not I'd want to know about it, because obviously he'd be very well qualified for the job," Obama told Univision's New York affiliate last week, adding that Kelly has done an "extraordinary job" as NYPD commissioner, Politico reported.
Kelly responded Tuesday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," by offering the following non-response: "Well, I'm flattered by the comments coming from the president, but I'm not making any other comment."
The overtures from Washington -- which bring back memories of the unsuccessful wooing of Mayor Michael Bloomberg by well-heeled politicos who wanted to see the billionaire technician run for president -- raise Kelly's status even higher than it already is, and that's a dangerous thing.
Kelly, who has admittedly done a stellar job of keeping New York City terrorism-free since Sept. 11, represents more than just a strong, numbers-focused law enforcement pioneer. He's also one of this country's most dedicated and high-profile innovators in dubious fields including racial profiling tactics, violating basic rights, and violently crushing dissent.
His resume includes the continued implementation of his predecessor William Bratton's remarkably efficient CompStat system, his record of stopping terror dead in the city, and massive crime reductions across the five boroughs.
But it also includes the offensive and likely unconstitutional "Stop and Frisk" program, which directs police officers to search vast numbers of city residents -- mainly minorities in poorer areas -- based on vague suspicions. The searches overwhelmingly turn up no contraband, and have come under increasing fire for being counterproductive as they breed bad blood between police and the people they are supposed to be serving.
Another key moment in Kelly's tenure at the helm of the nation's largest municipal police force was his presiding over the takedown of the Occupy Wall Street encampment in Manhattan's Zuccotti Park.
The now-iconic space was filled for a short period of time with a wide range of people united in their belief that something needed to be done to right the economic injustice perpetrated against the American people by Manhattan's captains of finance.
But that came to an abrupt end when Kelly moved in unannounced under the cover of night, directing his officers to clear the protesters -- many of whom were arrested -- and destroy most of their belongings.
It was a classic case of police overreach, and one that reinvigorated (for a time at least) a movement that was waning in its influence. And it was a symbol of what Kelly is capable of if he were to be selected to replace outgoing Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, assuming he accepted the appointment.
Kelly, like Bloomberg, has been courted for higher office before, and many New Yorkers continue to implore him to run for mayor, a position many believe he would easily win. Still, his history is one of arrogance and disregard for inconveniences like the right to unreasonable search and seizure and the right to peacefully assemble.
In light of the revelations about the overreach of the National Security Agency and its massive surveillance apparatus, the last person we need to head up DHS is Kelly. Let's hope he and Obama don't turn their back-and-forth into anything more than a casual flirtation.
'Fatty McFibber' a/k/a Paul J Browne
New York Times Can't Quite Bring Itself to Call Liar a Liar
By Hamilton Nolan — Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013; 12:18 p.m. 'Gawker.Com' / New York, NY
NOTE: See the N.Y. Times article (just below), "Shades of the Truth From the Police" that this article discusses. - Mike
Paul Browne, the NYPD's longtime spokesman, is retiring. It is a well-established and irrefutable fact that Paul Browne is a liar. The New York Times knows this. They'll even write about it. They just can't come right out and say it.
Nobody knows that Paul Browne is a liar better than New York Times "Gotham" columnist Michael Powell, a veteran of the NYC police beat. In fact, Michael Powell knows this fact so well that he dedicated his entire column to pointing out that Paul Browne is a liar, contrasting him with other spokespersons who are not liars, and detailing the various instances in which Paul Browne has been shown to be a liar. It just seems like there's one thing missing...
The headline on Powell's story: "Shades of the Truth From the Police."
But he too often engaged in unwise spokesman behavior, which is to say he shaded the truth, and more than once...
Mr. Browne offered a variant on up is down...
In each case, Mr. Browne betrayed little doubt — he offered as fact what proved to be flatly wrong...
He went through my bill of indictment, calmly disputing that he had bent the truth.
If only there were some word that could directly and accurately convey what the New York Times is striving to mightily to say here without actually coming out and saying it due to institutional shyness over using such a direct and accurate word.
Shades of the Truth From the Police
By MICHAEL POWELL — Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013 'The New York Times'
(One I missed yesterday)
Years ago, Leland Jones, the press secretary for Mayor David N. Dinkins, and I sat on a bench off the marble rotunda in City Hall and stared at each other glumly. We'd just had another sonic disagreement. He was convinced that I had misunderstood and misrepresented his boss. I was convinced he was an argumentative factotum.
But I felt compelled to give that attack terrier his due (Mr. Jones is in fact a fine and cultured fellow and bears no resemblance to a terrier). Lee, I said, you may spin me like top, stonewall me like a stone mason, and argue like a world-class trial lawyer.
But you've never ever lied to me. And I truly appreciate that. We shook hands, amiably, and the next day resumed our arguing.
Would that I could say the same to Paul J. Browne, who served as man Friday and chief spokesman for Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly all of these years. Mr. Browne has many admirable traits: he is well read and knowledgeable about the Police Department, public policy and politics.
But he too often engaged in unwise spokesman behavior, which is to say he shaded the truth, and more than once. That line, once crossed, makes the relationship between press and government a tense and fruitless walk into the dark.
In the last few years, he was asked about a police unit that spies on the Muslim community, about the handcuffing of a councilman after the West Indian American Day Parade, and about a deputy inspector who shot pepper spray in the face of an Occupy Wall Street demonstrator. In each case, Mr. Browne offered a variant on up is down.
Mr. Browne said there was no such thing as a demographics unit, that the councilman was handcuffed only after a punch had been thrown at a police captain, and that the inspector used pepper spray after being confronted by demonstrators.
In each case, Mr. Browne betrayed little doubt — he offered as fact what proved to be flatly wrong. I'm skeptical of reporters who obsess about spokesmen. If only a spokesman was not obdurate, we would get the real story from this mayor, that police commissioner.
It's a near infallible rule of politics that politicians get the press secretary they want. If Ray Kelly had not come to view himself as a warrior king, bridling at challenges to his writ, Mr. Browne might have been a better spokesman.
And the Police Department, which can brag about genuine accomplishments, might not face an inspector general and lawsuits about spying.
This is not, I should note, a general malaise. While the men and women in Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's press office spin and sputter from time to time, they most often are professional, prompt and nuanced. (And I've been known to wheedle and sputter myself.)
Mr. Browne, to his credit, got on the telephone. He went through my bill of indictment, calmly disputing that he had bent the truth. He said the spying was a question of nomenclature: The Associated Press asked about a demographics unit while he knew only of its new name, the zone assessment unit.
"They were very indirect," he said. "I think it was used as a cheap shot to say I denied its existence."
The A.P., in fact, told Mr. Browne in advance that they wanted to talk about the "demographics unit." "There is nothing called the demographics unit," he told them, adding that such a unit never existed.
I asked about the 2004 Republican Convention. I was the New York bureau chief for The Washington Post at the time. Mr. Browne insisted that the police had held demonstrators in detention no more than six hours.
Only at week's end, confronted with evidence, did he acknowledge that police had detained demonstrators for days in pens. He blamed the protesters. "It's a new entitled, pampered class of demonstrators," he told us.
Today he attributes this to poor communication.
There was, finally, Graham Rayman, the enterprising Village Voice reporter who broke the stories that precinct officers were being ordered to downgrade crime statistics. After months of denial, the department finally called a news conference to release a report on the matter at Police Headquarters.
Mr. Rayman called the police press office to ask about attending. A sergeant told Mr. Rayman that he had called Mr. Browne and that Mr. Browne told him that only "credentialed" press could attend.
That left Mr. Rayman on the outside.
I asked Mr. Browne about this. "It wasn't punitive," he said. "If it had gotten to my attention earlier, I would have let him in."
I'd like to believe him.
New York State
Former New York Governor Testifies in Sex Offenders Case
Lawsuit Challenges Policy That Committed Convicts to Psychiatric Facilities After Prison
By SEAN GARDINER — Wednesday, July 24th, 2013 'The Wall Street Journal' / New York, NY
In court testimony on Tuesday, former New York state Gov. George Pataki deflected responsibility for a policy during his administration that sent sex offenders to psychiatric facilities after their prison sentences had been served.
Mr. Pataki said he was told by his top legal advisers that they had the authority to set the 2005 policy, which ultimately was ruled unconstitutional.
He is a defendant in a civil trial that entered its third week of testimony, along with his former Department of Correctional Services commissioner, former commissioner of the Office of Mental Health and several officials from prisons and psychiatric facilities.
The lawsuit was brought by six men convicted of sexual offenses who were ordered confined in psychiatric facilities after finishing prison sentences. They are seeking $10 million apiece, claiming their constitutional protections guaranteeing due process and against unreasonable search and seizure were violated.
Mr. Pataki, 68 years old, who won three terms as governor running as a Republican, testified calmly over about five hours on the witness stand Tuesday in Manhattan federal court.
"I didn't know what law was being used, I didn't know what part of the law was being used," Mr. Pataki responded when asked by plaintiffs' attorney Ameer Benno about his role in creating the involuntary-confinement program. "That was left to the professionals."
Although Mr. Pataki and the other defendants have not been granted immunity, the state will pay should the eight-member jury award any damages because the defendants are being sued in their official capacity as state workers.
In 1997, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states could involuntarily confine "mentally abnormal" people who are deemed likely to commit violent sex crimes even after their criminal sentences expire.
In 2005, the Pataki administration implemented the Sexually Violent Predators Initiative. The program used an existing state Mental Hygiene Law—meant to commit non-incarcerated mentally ill people who posed an immediate harm to themselves or others—to confine sexual-offender inmates on the verge of finishing their prison sentences. Under the policy, three state doctors needed to diagnose the inmates as suffering a mental illness and find they posed a high risk for recommitting sexual crimes before they could be confined.
The lawsuit alleges that decision constituted an end-run around the legislature and its refusal to pass a sex offender confinement law.
However, the inmates received no advance notice that they were candidates for civil confinements, their attorneys weren't notified and there was no hearing beforehand in which the inmates could try to fight the designation.
A state lawyer said earlier in the trial that about 800 inmates were evaluated for civil confinement under the program and 127 were committed—some for several years.
The lawsuit contends that the policy ignored state law that the confinement of mentally ill inmates requires independent physicians' exams and if they diagnose mental illness the prison superintendent then has to petition the courts for a transfer to a psychiatric hospital.
State lawyers have argued that those who were confined ended up receiving treatment they needed.
In November 2005, a state court ruled the governor's office didn't have the power to implement its policy, that a "pre-deprivation" hearing was required unless the inmate was an immediate danger to himself or others and that the existing state law for the confinement of mentally ill prisoners should have been followed. A federal court eventually ruled the policy was unconstitutional.
During the trial Mr. Benno presented several news releases about the policy with quotes and references from Mr. Pataki taking credit for the civil-confinement program.
But Mr. Pataki said that not only didn't he have any input in the creation of the news releases but he doesn't recall ever reading them.
At the end of his questioning, Mr. Benno read excerpts from television interviews, press releases and depositions trying to establish that Mr. Pataki's goal in his civil-confinement policy was keeping convicted sex offenders "behind bars and off the streets" at all costs.
"They paid their debt to society as determined by the criminal-justice system," Mr. Pataki said. "But we believed when that person was found by three medical professionals to be mentally ill and to pose an imminent threat to take the lives or injure the people of this state that the state had the authority to then have them transferred to a mental hospital for treatment."
Research fuels drop in crime in Philly
BY TOM FERRICK (AxisPhilly.org) — Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013 'Philly.Com' / Philadelphia, PA
PHILADELPHIA is turning the corner on crime.
The latest statistics show sharp decreases in almost every major offense, led by homicide, which is down 30 percent this year compared to the same period in 2012.
It does not end there. The city has seen double-digit decreases in other major crimes, including robbery and auto theft, and smaller but significant declines in such crimes as aggravated assault and burglary.
At the beginning of July, of the 14 types of major crimes that police track on a weekly basis, nine were at their lowest levels in the last five years.
In looking for the reasons why, experts point to a number of trends. For starters, Philadelphia is riding a tide - crime is down in many big cities, not only in the U.S., but also overseas. And there are broad demographic trends at work, including fewer people in the crime-prone ages of 18 to 29.
Law-enforcement officials look at these numbers and see an additional cause: Smarter policing that is data-driven, proactive and community-centered. It is policing that relies on the best of the new, such as computer analysis that hones in on "hot spots," with the best of the old, including a revival of foot patrols.
Kevin Bethel has lived through the changes in policing. He graduated from the Police Academy in 1986. Today, he is deputy commissioner in charge of the department's patrol operations.
"When I came on, you were given a nightstick and handcuffs and a slapjack and told to go out and police," he told me. "Today that has changed substantially . . . the paradigm has shifted."
To hear a police official use the word paradigm is, in itself, a paradigm shift.
The old world of policing relied mostly on gut. Now it is being informed by academic research - albeit practical, result-oriented research - which tests crime-fighting approaches with scientific rigor.
The local epicenter for this approach is Temple University's Center for Security and Crime Science, headed by Jerry Ratcliffe, a former police officer in his native England who turned to academia after a climbing injury ruled out a future in the police.
Ratcliffe arrived in Philadelphia in 2003 and has been working with increasing frequency with the Police Department, particularly under Commissioner Charles Ramsey.
A turning point came in 2009, when Ramsey approved a summer long experiment that centered on the efficacy of foot patrols.
Foot patrols were once the norm in policing. Gradually, they had been abandoned in favor of patrol by car. The assumption was that while foot patrols might make local residents feel better about the police and reduce their fear of crime, they had little or no effect on crime itself.
The Foot Patrol Experiment proved that assumption wrong. In the areas where foot patrols were used in 2009, violent crime went down by 23 percent.
Ramsey and top police officials embraced those findings, and foot patrols have become an important part of policing strategy.
Success, though, was built on more than a revival of police officers on foot. What the country is seeing today is the end result of a 20-year process that has changed policing. In Philadelphia, it began in the 1990s with Compstat, the data-based approach to fighting crime. It included more emphasis on community policing to break down the "us vs. them" thinking that permeated both the community and police. It also embraced the "broken window" theory of crime prevention that calls for police to pay more attention to quality-of-life crimes.
Today, the data and maps rendered by Compstat in the 1990s look crude compared to the astonishing array of deep, real-time data that can be called up on police laptops. (As part of the shift, a number of districts now have police officers assigned to work full-time as data analysts.)
It helps that police leadership today, many of them now in their 40s or 50s, are members of a generation that grew up with - and grew comfortable with - these new approaches. They believe these approaches work.
One of those believers is Joe Bologna, a cop since 1990 and now commanding officer of West Philadelphia's 19th Police District. An energetic man who exudes an enthusiastic can-do attitude, Bologna became captain of the 19th in June 2012 after serving a stint as head of the department's South Street police unit.
Bologna has a large map of the 19th in his office, stuck with multicolor pins, indicating the location of crimes he wants his officers to focus on. He assembled the map using two years of crime data - yellow pins for burglary, red for robbery, etc. - and deploys a half-dozen foot patrols, mostly on weekends, in these key areas.
"I want boots on the street, out of the metal box [a patrol car] and into the community," he said.
He preaches the gospel of community engagement and encourages his officers to concentrate on figuring out what can be done before they employ the enforcement option.
"I preach to the troops: 'Work on the little stuff and maybe we'll stop the big stuff from happening.' "
Cop gets 'desk duty' for leaking bomb suspect photos
He has said he was angry over a glam cover photo of the bombing suspect on "Rolling Stone" magazine.
By Doug Stanglin — Wednesday, July 24th, 2013 'USA Today'
The Massachusetts State Police photographer who leaked arrest photos of the Boston bombing suspect in the wake of a glam cover shot by Rolling Stone has been placed on restricted or "desk duty" pending a full investigation of the case, according to Boston media.
The action came during a closed hearing before a three-person panel for Sgt. Sean Murphy, a veteran state police officer.
Murphy had provided Boston magazine photos of a wounded and unkempt bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev moments before he was arrested in the backyard of a Watertown, Mass., residence on April 19.
One of the photos shows Tsarnaev with streaks of blood on his face and the red dot of a police sniper's laser sight on his forehead.
He had been huddling in a boat after being injured during a shootout with police hours earlier in which his brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was killed.
Murphy had said in a statement to Boston magazine that the cover shot on Rolling Stone, reminiscent of its treatment of Jim Morrison, was an insult to police, military members and the families of anyone killed in the line of duty.
Murphy wasn't authorized to release the photos, and he's already served a one-day, unpaid suspension.
"This guy is evil," Murphy said. "This is the real Boston bomber. Not someone fluffed and buffed for the cover of Rolling Stone magazine."
The Tsarnaev brothers were suspects in the April 15 twin bombings at the finish line of the Boston Marathon that left three people dead and injured more than 200.
Tsarnaev, who is being held at a prison medical center, is also accused of killing a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer while on the run three days later.
The U.S. attorney's office called the release of the photos "completely unacceptable," and some attorneys said the images and Murphy's comments could be used to argue government bias against Tsarnaev.
Murphy was not allowed to talk to reporters after the hearing, but his 19-year-old son, Connor Murphy, said he supported him "100 percent."
"I couldn't be prouder of him," he added.
Leonard Kesten, Murphy's lawyer, said the elder Murphy showed a lot of "heart" and "courage," the Boston Herald reported.
As Murphy was walking into the hearing Tuesday morning, he told reporters "life is good," according to WBZ-TV.
Murphy will keep his job for now, but will be assigned to a desk duty pending a final ruling in the case.
Police Sergeant who leaked bombing suspect photos disciplined
By RODRIQUE NGOWI (The Associated Press) — Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013; 3:45 p.m. EDT
FRAMINGHAM, Mass. (AP) -- A state police photographer who released photos of the bloodied Boston Marathon bombing suspect during his capture was placed on restricted duty Tuesday.
Sgt. Sean Murphy said he leaked the photos of what he called "the face of terror" to Boston magazine last week to counter a glamorized image of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.
Three of Murphy's 14 photos show a battered and blood-streaked Tsarnaev emerging from a boat in a backyard, the red dot of a sniper's laser sight trained on his head.
Murphy wasn't authorized to release the photos. He already served a one-day, unpaid suspension and has received another five-day unpaid suspension. Following a status hearing at state police headquarters Tuesday, Murphy was placed on desk duty, where he won't have contact with the public, until an internal investigation is complete.
Col. Timothy Alben, the commander of the state police, said more discipline is conceivable, but he ruled out the possibility that Murphy would be fired.
"I don't see Sgt. Murphy being terminated for this particular set of circumstances," he said.
After the hearing, Murphy declined to comment, except to say, "Life is good."
Murphy's 19-year-old son, Connor Murphy, said he couldn't be more proud of his father, praising him as a man of integrity and noting his father never tried to hide what he had done.
"If I could be one quarter of a man that he is now, I'll be more than happy with my life," he said.
Alben said the rules Murphy is accused of violating aim to ensure police don't leak information that could jeopardize investigations. But he added that discipline against Murphy in this case "doesn't mean we have any less empathy or concern or sympathy for people or families that lost loved ones or who were severely injured throughout that incident."
Alben also indicated strong support for Murphy within his agency, noting Murphy had a previously unblemished disciplinary record. He said Murphy was a conscientious man whom he believes was motivated to release the photos based on his own personal convictions.
"I don't think that should ever be misconstrued or misunderstood that this organization, this Massachusetts State Police, is not made of 2,100 people who might share similar feelings about that, including this colonel," he said,
The U.S. attorney's office called the release of the photos "completely unacceptable," and some attorneys said the images and Murphy's comments could be used to argue government bias against Tsarnaev.
Others said it was important to show the real Tsarnaev after the flattering cover shot, which showed a brooding Tsarnaev in a pose that recalled the magazine's treatment of Jim Morrison.
Murphy has said in a statement to Boston magazine that the cover was an insult to police, military members and the families of anyone killed in the line of duty.
"This guy is evil," Murphy said. "This is the real Boston bomber. Not someone fluffed and buffed for the cover of Rolling Stone magazine."
The cover photo was one Tsarnaev posted online himself and the magazine's accompanying headline described him as a "monster." Rolling Stone said the story was part of its "long-standing commitment to serious and thoughtful coverage of the most important political and cultural issues of our day."
Tsarnaev, 20, has pleaded not guilty in connection with the April 15 bombing that killed three and injured or maimed 260. He's also accused of killing a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer while on the run three days later. Tsarnaev escaped from police following a shootout in the Boston suburb of Watertown that day, during which he ran over his brother and alleged co-conspirator, Tamerlan Tsarnaev. His brother died of injuries suffered during the confrontation.
State police boss: Trooper who leaked Tsarnaev photos won't be fired
By: Christine McConville — Wednesday, July 24th, 2013 'The Boston Herald' / Boston, MA
The state police sergeant who leaked dramatic photos of the arrest of accused marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev probably won't be fired, his boss declared today.
State police Superintendent Timothy Alben did stress Sgt. Sean Murphy has broken protocol and will face discipline, but termination does not appear to be on the table. The possible reprieve came after Alben ruled Murphy, 48, should be placed on restricted duty today pending the outcome of an investigation."In the reality of it, I don't see Sgt. Murphy being terminated for this particular set of circumstances," Alben said in a press conference following a hearing with Murphy and his lawyer and union rep. "That is not a realistic option for the state police."
Alben said he heard the public support for Murphy "loud and clear.""I can understand the public perception. What I want the public to understand is there's a responsibility that we have as investigators not to do this. There's a process here in which we guarantee the rights of those that are prosecuted," he said.
Alben said restrictive duty "does not mean Murphy is suspended, or his $108,500 annual pay or position is taken away. Possible punishments for Murphy, he added, include "a letter of counseling to some period of lost time."Murphy's lawyer, Leonard Kesten, said the sergeant showed a lot of "heart" and "courage" in the entire matter and won't comment until the investigation is over.
The officer's 19-year-old son, Connor, called his dad "a hero.""My dad has always been a huge hero to me," Connor Murphy, a college student, said after his dad's hearing today. "If I can be one-fourth of the man he is now I'll be happy with my life."
Murphy was temporarily suspended after he released the photos of Tsarnaev climbing out of a shrink-wrapped boat April 19 at the end of a deadly manhunt. The trooper said he shared the half-dozen images last week in response to a pro-Tsarnaev cover photo used by the Rolling Stone magazine.
The trooper's photos went viral and spawned a Facebook page supporting Sgt. Murphy. State police have also been sent letters supporting the trooper.
Alben had the highest praise for Sgt. Murphy as a person, but said his action has hurt the department, and for that, he needs to be disciplined."Sean has been an exemplary employee, he has no disciplinary record that I can speak to, there's no blemish there," Alben said.
"He's a man of character, he's a man of honor, and he's a person who has come in here and really given a great deal to this organization."He's a conscientious man and I have no reason to doubt that whatever he did was motivated by his own conscience and his own feelings about what occurred," Alban added.
But Murphy's decision to release the photos, Alben said, "has put us all in a very difficult situation."
Alben added: "If we get into a situation where we allow employees to cherry pick and choose what confidential information can be shared with the public, the media, in pending investigation and prosecutions, then we've lost the integrity of the Massachusetts State Police. We cannot afford to let pre-trial publicity in any way impede this prosecution or any others that we are involved in."
St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis police chief and some officers at odds over bigger pistols, personal rifles
By Christine Byers — Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013 'The St. Louis Post-Dispatch' / St. Louis, MO
ST. LOUIS • With an aging arsenal of pistols, the St. Louis police leadership is being prodded by at least some officers to consider buying greater firepower.
The department has set aside $1.4 million this year to buy new sidearms for the department's 1,300 or so officers. Beretta has stopped making the 9 mm semi-automatic they've been carrying for more than a decade.
The department only has enough new weapons to issue to the current academy class, which will graduate in January. When that supply runs out, recruits would have to get used guns.
For years, the Police Officers' Association has lobbied for the larger .40-caliber pistols, which they say pack more stopping power plus have less tendency to pass through targets and on to unintended consequences. Other departments, including St. Louis County, use the bigger weapon.
"This isn't about us wanting bigger guns, this is wanting to have a personal defense weapon that is equal to or as close as we can get to what's on the street against us," said the association president, Sgt. David Bonenberger.
The union's voice in the matter has gotten louder, given a collective bargaining agreement it says requires police leaders and the rank-and-file to reach an agreement before the department can change weapons. If they cannot agree, the department will have to purchase more of the obsolete weapons, Bonenberger said.
The union also is pushing police commanders to allow officers to use personally owned rifles on duty — an idea that several law enforcement agencies, including St. Louis County, the Illinois State Police and Missouri Highway Patrol, already endorse.
But talks don't seem to be going well.
Chief Sam Dotson said allowing officers to carry their own rifles is a "terrible idea," and that the union should propose ways to reduce the need for officer-involved shootings rather than simply ask for bigger guns.
"This conversation would be a lot different if they were talking about ways to reduce the need for deadly force conflicts," Dotson said.
And it appears that there is division within the police union as well.
Jeff Roorda, the business manager, insisted that Bonenberger does not represent the association in this matter, and said its board does not want to discuss it publicly.
'THERE'S BETTER OUT THERE'
The city has used 9 mm Berettas for about 20 years, with each weapon in use for about 15 years.
Caliber is a decimal of an inch; a .40-caliber bullet is four-tenths of an inch in diameter, about one-ninth larger than a 9 mm, which is measured in metric.
While the hole sizes are close, the energy delivered by the larger bullet is significantly greater. Specifications from one ammunition maker, Winchester, show a 27.5 percent difference (408 foot-pounds, a standard measurement of force, compared with 320).
In April 2012, the police academy and the police union tested five different types of bullets, which included firing them into ballistic gelatin. A slug must penetrate the gelatin at least 12 inches, but not past 18 inches, for it to be considered effective, according to FBI standards.
The 9 mm round failed the test, with the .40-caliber and .357-caliber rounds performing the best. The union agreed to endorse the .40-caliber, saying the .357 would be too expensive, Bonenberger said.
"We've got an opportunity to get better ammunition and equipment for us to protect our citizens, why wouldn't we do that?" Bonenberger asked.
But it isn't that simple, Dotson said.
The chief doesn't know of any time when the department's 9 mm has failed to stop a threat when officers hit their target. And the department has an adequate supply of 9 mm rounds, not .40-caliber bullets. Both sizes are scarce because of a nationwide ammunition shortage.
"I would never put officer safety behind economics, but we've got a weapon that's performed," Dotson insisted.
He said he also is concerned about errant rounds of .40-caliber weapons in an urban environment, and he believes the union is ignoring the risk.
"We miss more than we hit sometimes," the chief said.
Bonenberger said the union agrees with the need for more training, and successfully argued to increase the number of times officers must qualify with their weapons to four times a year from only once.
"Why remain with what works when there's better out there?" Bonenberger asked.
A PERSONAL DECISION
Earlier this month, about 95 officers responded to a union survey about rifles. Of them, more than 85 percent said they would participate in a personally owned rifle program and buy their own weapon — which can cost about $1,200 — if needed.
In St. Louis County, 67 officers have started carrying their own rifles since such a program began there three years ago. County Police Chief Tim Fitch it saves the department money while keeping officers and the community safer.
More than 85 percent of respondents to the city union's survey estimated that a sergeant's response time to a scene is five to 10 minutes, or more — a question born from a pilot program to put rifles in supervisors' cars that has so far failed to launch.
The St. Louis Police Foundation spent about $81,000 on 45 Titan B/SL rifles for all district supervisors' vehicles in April 2012. But they are still in boxes.
Department leaders did not account for everything needed to put the weapons to use, including ammunition and training rifles, said Dotson, who became chief in January. He estimates that the department needs about $173,000 to get those weapons on the streets.
"The foundation did what the department asked them to do, but the department left many steps out," he said, adding that he has asked the nonprofit group not to fund any additional rifles.
The foundation's director, Michelle Bagwell, did not respond to a phone call for comment.
Dotson said he has liability concerns about personally owned weapons and believes the department should provide officers' equipment.
"It just wouldn't work for a department our size," the chief said.
At least one city officer has already carried his own rifle on duty. In 2011, Officer Jason Stockley was seen holding, but not using, an unauthorized AK-47-style rifle while trying to arrest a suspect who was later killed by police with a different weapon. Stockley remains on administrative duty. The deceased suspect's family has sued the department over the incident.
But the decision nagging Dotson most in the move toward new weapons is what to do with the old ones.
He's not sure how the sermon he often preaches during public appearances — that "more guns are never the answer" — will comport with the option of selling retired guns and risking seeing them go back on the streets.
"Do I melt them, or possibly monetize them?" Dotson asked, adding that he estimates the department's 2,000 pistols to have a resale value of about $200 each.
The union sent Dotson an overview of how other departments have handled the situation, which includes selling the guns to officers or shipping them overseas to be sold to police in other countries.
In St. Louis County, about one-fourth of the officers have bought back their old weapons for sentimental reasons, and about 200 of the county's guns went to law enforcement agencies in Puerto Rico, said John Bozarth, the county's armorer.
The union and Dotson's office have yet to schedule another meeting to discuss the issue.
And Dotson said he remains undecided.
The White House is trying to have it both ways on NSA transparency
By Andrea Peterson — Wednesday, July 24th, 2013 'The Washington Post' / Washington, DC
Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) has offered an amendment to a defense spending bill that would restrict the National Security Agency's ability to collect bulk phone records and metadata under the Patriot Act. The proposal has gotten the attention of the Obama administration. White House spokesman Jay Carney came out against the proposal last night, and the government has dispatched NSA Director Keith Alexander to Capitol Hill to lobby against it.
Carney called Amash's proposal a "blunt approach" and "not the product of an informed, open or deliberative process." That's ironic, because the Obama administration has opposed previous attempts to make the debate over the NSA more transparent.
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper was forced to apologize for making "erroneous" claims about the extent of NSA data collection on U.S. citizens during a public hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee. The Department of Justice has also attempted to get lawsuits challenging government surveillance dismissed during President Obama's time in office.
The president has claimed the NSA programs were transparent because of the existence of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC). But the court's secretive procedures provide little information to guide public debate.
Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) have proposed legislation requiring the Attorney General to declassify significant FISC opinions. And even before Edward Snowden's leaks, several senators, including Merkley, requested that the court at least release summaries of significant interpretations. The government showed little enthusiasm for those proposals. As a result, Ed Snowden's leaks became the primary way Americans have learned about the NSA's domestic surveillance programs.