Sunday, July 14th, 2013 — Good Afternoon, Stay Safe
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Communications Div. ICAD System
NYPD Investigating Handling Of Initial 911 Call For Bronx Fatal Fire
By Unnamed Author(s) — Saturday, July 13th, 2013; 5:17 p.m. ‘NY 1 News’ / New York
The New York City Police Department is looking into whether the initial 911 call in Friday's fatal fire in the Bronx was handled properly.
Authorities are still investigating the cause of the fire in a Swinton Avenue home that killed a woman and injured three people.
A family friend identified the victim as Ketty Velez, 55.
The Daily News is reporting that a 911 operator mishandled the call, delaying the fire department's response by several minutes.
A second call was reportedly handled properly.
One of the injured, Ramon Velez, is the son of the late Bronx politician Ramon S. Velez.
‘So-called’ NYPD History: Metropolitan P.D. During the Civil War Draft Riots
When the Civil War Came to New York
By JON GRINSPAN — Sunday, July 14th, 2013 ‘The New York Times’
Excerpt; desired to read the article in its entirety, go to:
SGT. ROBERT McCREDIE’s men hustled down 43rd Street, turned onto Third Avenue and stopped dead. Looking north, they beheld a sight no Manhattan police officer ever expected to see. A “ragged, coatless, heterogeneously weaponed army,” in the words of one reporter, filled the boulevard two blocks uptown. The smoke of burning factories framed this rumbling multitude.
COMMENT: Not worth the read. This so-called historian turns the NYC draft riots into a racial ‘whites abusing the blacks’ thing. (Oh my, what a coincidence! Right after the Trayvon Martin homi verdict!)
It wasn't; it was about the poor Irish being drafted because they couldn't pay the $300 necessary to avoid the draft.
Yea, blacks were stoned, beaten, strung up and killed, but that was only the side show.
The main event was to show Abraham Lincoln and the Republican Party a/k/a the wealthy and the affluent that the draft would never be tolerated by the poor Irish.
It was New York's prosperous and their houses and business that would take the brunt of the violence, not the blacks who I believe constituted less than 10% of city's population at the time.
Personal opinion: his embellishments and exaggerations turns this article into a fairy tale.
Just the first sentence alone (shown above) is a turn off.
The night before the draft riots began, “The Black Joke” FDNY (Volunteer Fire Dept.) Engine Co 33 (Now FDNY Engine # 23) whose firehouse was located at 235 West 58th Street telegraphed* the Metropolitan PD's 19th Precinct**, whose station house was located on East 59th Street that they were going to burn down the 9th District Provost Marshall Office, 677 3rd Ave.
677 3rd Avenue is where the first draft lottery in the city was to take place. So after the message was received, the original detail of one and twelve was increased to 60 patrolmen, along with the accompanied number of bosses, all of whom were on location long before the draft lottery began. You know the drill; we do the same thing today.
BTW The riots started slightly after 10 a.m. in the morning shortly after FDNY Engine Co # 33 arrived on the scene, all beer-ed up and ready for a fight. - Mike Bosak
*In 1863 the FDNY and the Metropolitan P.D. shared the same telegraph system. All fire watch towers, fire houses and precinct station houses all shared the same telegraph lines and telegraph signal codes. When an alarm for fire, emergency or an incident occurred that required a police presence - all were notified.
** The 19th Precinct station house on East 59th Street covered that area where the U.S. Provost Marshall Office was located. There was no 17th Precinct on East 51st Street in 1863.
NOTE: The N.Y. Times also ran a second article on the July 1863 draft riots with an anti-police perspective. - Mike
Black Elites and the Draft Riots
By CARLA PETERSON — Sunday, July 14th, 2013 ‘The New York Times’
Police related excerpt; desired to read the article in its entirety, go to:
Institutions within the black community were even more visible and equally vulnerable to attack. My family’s church, St. Philip’s, was saved from the mob, but only because of an accident of geography. It stood directly across the street from the New York Police Department headquarters, which occupied it as a barracks during the violence.
More cameras mounted in NYC buses to protect drivers from violent fares
On average, approximately seven drivers a month are slapped, punched or even stabbed while on duty, MTA statistics show. Transit officials hope increased technology, along with other steps, will help turn the tide.
By Pete Donohue — Sunday, July 14th, 2013 ‘The New York Daily News’
Punks beware: The number of security cameras on buses has more than doubled since last summer and some drivers — fearful of being attacked — are packing Mace.
Between January 2010 and Wednesday, riders physically attacked MTA drivers 313 times, according to Metropolitan Transportation Authority statistics. On average, approximately seven drivers a month are slapped, punched or even stabbed while on duty.
And the assault statistics don't include the disgusting but not uncommon incidents of drivers being spat on.
"You are constantly wary," Bronx bus driver Vaughn Brooks said at a transit union protest against the violence held outside a NYC Transit office building Thursday in downtown Brooklyn. "You don't trust anybody. You are always on your guard."
Transit officials hope the added technology, along with other steps, will help turn the tide against the bad guys.
After years of delays, an MTA effort to install cameras on buses has finally taken off. Since last July, the number of buses with the security equipment has grown from 500 to 1,210, a spokesman for MTA Chairman Thomas Prendergast said. That's approximately 21% of the fleet. And by early next year, the number is expected to grow to 1,576, or 27% of the fleet, the spokesman said.
Increasingly, police investigating the steady series of driver assaults have video footage of the culprits they are looking to identify and arrest, said Vincent DeMarino, NYC Transit security chief.
The NYPD recently released video images of a woman in a gray hooded sweatshirt and sweatpants who slashed a Bronx bus driver in the arm at 4 p.m. July 5. The woman, who fled after sudden and unprovoked attack at Southern Blvd. and Westchester Ave., has not yet been caught.
Just three days earlier, another bus driver was punched and robbed of her purse at Delancey St. and FDR Drive. The robber boarded after the driver had discharged all the passengers at the lower East Side stop.
About 80 bus drivers attended a Thursday rally organized by Transport Workers Union Local 100. Angry drivers and union officials said they want the MTA to move more quickly with the installation of cameras and safety partitions. They also called on the NYPD to routinely have officers ride buses.
Drivers and union officials said far too little has changed since Edwin Thomas, a Brooklyn bus driver, was stabbed to death by an ex-con fare-beater in 2008.
One veteran bus driver said he started carrying Mace after Thomas' murder. "In case somebody tries to attack me," he said. "I want to make it home to my family."
A female bus driver who works the overnight shift in the Bronx said she's carried Mace on the job for about four years. "Sometimes I don't think it's enough but that's what I carry right now," she said. "You hear about all these assaults and you say to yourself, 'I don't want that to be me.'"
Westchester (Alleged Pattern of Corruption on the Rye Police Dept.)
Injured Rye cop got $75G; man's felony charge got reduced
By Jonathan Bandler — Sunday, July 14th, 2013 ‘The Westchester Journal News’ / White Plains, NY
A 22-year-old Illinois man accused of assaulting a Rye police officer didn’t want a felony conviction on his record. And his family, with deep Westchester roots, had the money to do something about it.
The officer, who suffered an injured knee and wrist, didn’t want the charge reduced — until he got some of that money.
So Frederick Schmitz and Police Officer Franco Compagnone, who is president of the Rye Police Association, reached an agreement in spring 2011. Schmitz paid $75,000 to head off a lawsuit over the cop’s injuries. And Compagnone consented to the felony charge disappearing.
Within days, prosecutors let Schmitz plead guilty to a misdemeanor.
A shakedown? Rich kid buying justice? Maybe a little of both?
The case raised few eyebrows then but now it has come up in a federal lawsuit naming Compagnone, two other officers, the city, police Commissioner William Connors and Lt. Joseph Verille. Lawyers for Andrew Caspi, who claims excessive force was used in a 2004 arrest when he was 17, suggest the Compagnone payoff is emblematic of Connors’ lack of control over the department.
Randolph Scott McLaughlin, a civil rights lawyer and Pace Law School professor, called the outcome “highly irregular” and suggested it highlighted the difference between the haves and have-nots in the criminal justice system.
“ ‘Money still talks’ is the idea ... And (Compagnone) is not any victim. He’s a law enforcement officer who signed off on this only because he got paid,” McLaughlin said. “It just smells badly.”
The Westchester District Attorney’s Office insists the money had no bearing on the outcome of the Schmitz case.
“We didn’t participate in the discussions, and those discussions weren’t part of the criminal case,” said spokesman Lucian Chalfen, who said prosecutors knew of the “extra-judicial discussions.”
And Compagnone’s lawyer in the Caspi case said that awareness underscores that the officer’s civil settlement was appropriate.
“There was never any attempt to keep this quiet or secretive,” said the lawyer, Andrew Quinn. “You can’t injure a cop, or anyone else, with impunity. That cop is going to arrest you and has every right to sue you.”
Quinn said nothing was coercive about the settlement’s timing. If the settlement happened after the criminal case was resolved, he argued, critics would have suggested the money was paid because the defendant knew the charge was going to be reduced.
Schmitz, who does volunteer work in the Chicago area, declined to comment. He graduated from Furman University in 2010 and went to Washington to intern in the U.S. Senate.
On Aug. 22, 2010, he was staying at Westchester Country Club, where his grandparents had an apartment and were the club’s oldest and longest members, according to the couple’s obituaries. Both died in fall 2010.
After a fight with his brother and several drinks at Westchester’s Beach Club, Schmitz became disorderly and officers responded. Police reports say Schmitz made derogatory comments, reached for Compagnone’s gun and punched the officer. Compagnone and two colleagues got him to the ground. He was charged with second-degree assault and spent two days in the county jail.
The officer suffered an injured knee and a hyperextended right wrist and was out of work for nearly 10 months.
Schmitz’s lawyer, Scot Hersh, tried to negotiate a plea deal but couldn’t get the felony reduced. In early April 2011, the civil agreement was reached after Compagnone’s lawyer, Andrew Maggio, initially had sought as much as $150,000. The agreement emphasized that the payment was for lost wages from overtime and a side job. Compagnone didn’t lose any of his regular pay because his salary was covered due to the work-related injury.
The officer consented that Schmitz “shall not be required to plead guilty to a felony” and that Compagnone would notify the District Attorney’s Office of the payment and that he was OK with whatever disposition they reached.
On April 19, Schmitz pleaded guilty to obstructing governmental administration. The prosecutor dismissed the assault charge and said that the disposition was reached after “extensive negotiations” involving the defendant and the injured officer. She said Compagnone was “amenable.”
Judge Joseph Latwin cited the restitution in sparing Schmitz a jail term or probation, sentencing him to a conditional discharge.
Maggio, who got $25,000 of the payment, did not return phone messages, and Hersh declined to comment.
As for the plea coming on the heels of the payment, Chalfen said it was a leap to link the two.
“While we take the concerns of victims very seriously, the ultimate determination of how a case is prosecuted is ours alone,” the D.A. spokesman said. “The victim does not dictate the final disposition of the case. This rule even includes victims who are police officers.”
Connors said he learned of the financial settlement months afterward in a letter suggesting it was inappropriate. He said he forwarded it to the District Attorney’s Office and was satisfied when they told him that such arrangements are sometimes made.
In a phone interview, Compagnone said he had planned a lawsuit as a crime victim and that made Schmitz’s payment appropriate. He suggested that the part of the agreement that dealt with reducing the charge resulted from his concern that prosecutors would let Schmitz plead guilty only to a violation.
But in consenting to the reduced charge once he was paid, Compagnone specified in the agreement that even a violation was acceptable.
He agreed to discuss the matter further in person, but changed his mind at the urging of his lawyers.
The Schmitz payoff was raised in the Caspi case by the plaintiff’s lawyer, Christopher Weddle, who suggested that excessive force had been used against Schmitz even though no formal complaint was ever made.
Weddle suggested that Connors’ refusal to stop the practice – another Rye officer supposedly reached a similar agreement years earlier for $10,000 – showed an indifference to constitutional rights. He said there was also no evidence of the department ever investigating allegations of excessive force, despite documented cases of defendants claiming they were roughed up.
“The City Defendant has thus created a climate that we know, to a moral certainty, will lead to excessive force being used against citizens,” Weddle wrote. “And police officers have learned that not only will they not be disciplined but that they may also extract financial benefits from an arrestee under the right circumstances.”
Justice, FBI faulted on information sharing
By PAULINE JELINEK and LAURIE KELLMAN (The Associated Press) — Saturday, July 13th, 2013; 4:25 p.m. EDT
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Boston's police commissioner complained to a Senate panel Wednesday that the Justice Department failed to share information on terrorism threats with local officials before the Boston Marathon bombing. A House committee chairman criticized the FBI for declining to appear at a House hearing on the same subject.
"There is a gap with information sharing at a higher level while there are still opportunities to intervene in the planning of these terrorist events," Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis III told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
He said information sharing should be made a mission statement requirement for local Justice Department task forces on terrorism organized by the FBI.
Three people were killed and more than 260 injured by twin blasts near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 15.
Now, as then, law enforcement officials say information about threats known by one agency sometimes doesn't make it to another agency that may be in a position to prevent bloodshed. Davis, for example, repeated that his police department was unaware of information the Justice Department had prior to the bombings about Tamerlan Tsarnaev's six-month trip to Chechnya last year.
Tsarnaev was killed in a shootout with police days after the bombing. Since then officials have tried to assess whether he was influenced by Islamist radicals during the trip. His brother, Dzhokhar, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to a 30-count indictment in federal court in Boston.
Local police should know about residents who could pose a national security threat, Davis said, a sentiment echoed by several lawmakers.
Across the Capitol, the FBI came in for more criticism. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, complained that the agency declined to testify at a hearing before the House Homeland Security Committee he chairs.
"It is this committee's responsibility to find out how we did not see it coming," McCaul said. "We are going to find out what happened, what went wrong and how to fix it."
FBI spokesman Paul Bresson said later that the agency had briefed the House committee on several occasions and would continue to do so, but that it also has a responsibility to "protect the integrity of the judicial process" in which the sole surviving suspect is being prosecuted.
"This involves ensuring both the government's ability to conduct a successful prosecution as well as protecting the rights of all parties involved, including the victims, their families and the defendant, who as it turns out, has a court appearance on the same day as this hearing," Bresson said.
Davis said the FBI was helpful after the bombings and pointed out that much has been done to improve information sharing and communications. But he said the "memorandum of understanding" that organizes the joint task forces should include a requirement to brief local law enforcement regularly on threats.
Michael Leiter, former head of the National Counterterrorism Center, agreed that task force rules make sharing information, some possibly classified, difficult.
Experts testifying at the Senate hearing said Boston's response to the attack actually was exemplary, in part because the city years ago built relationships and forged disaster plans among law enforcement, medical personnel and other responders. They said Congress should support similar efforts in other cities large and small.
"People are on a first name basis" in Boston's responder community, Richard Serino, deputy administrator for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, told senators. "The medical community has been linked in with public safety for years, not just since 2001."
Arthur L. Kellermann, a doctor and analyst for the RAND Corporation, said Boston's personnel had studied how their counterparts in London, Madrid and elsewhere had handled terrorist attacks.
"Boston's responders were both lucky and good, that's why so many victims survived," Kellermann said. "They were prepared to do a great job.... Everyone knew what to do. That's how disaster plans work."
Chicago, Illinois (Garry Francis McCarthy)
Report: Police OT Costs Skyrocket
By Unnamed Author(s) (NBC News - Chicago) — Saturday, July 13th, 2013; 6:33 p.m. EDT
As Chicago’s violence continues to gain national spotlight, the Chicago Police Department is reportedly shelling out millions of dollars in overtime payments.
The Chicago Police Department spent $21.3 million for overtime pay in April and May, putting overtime spending in a $10.5 million hole before the summer’s wave of crime, according to the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
Some of the funds spent went to officers working in “Operation Impact,” an overtime program that began sending 200 officers each night into 20 of the city’s most violence crime zones in February and doubled to 400 officers-a-night by March, according to the Sun-Times.
The numbers showed that the police department had already burned through two-thirds of its 2013 overtime budget within the first three months of this year.
The city reportedly argues that the hole will be filled by alternate revenues like property sales and a drop in police payroll expenses and Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum in Washington, told the Sun-Times “Chicago had to do something different” to stop gang violence before summer began.
Fraternal Order of Police President Mike Shields reportedly called the measure a “Band-Aid solution to a major manpower problem” and said the problem can only be solved by more police hiring.
Chicago Police said the city saw a 25 percent drop in shootings and a 14 percent drop in overall crime in the first half of this year compared to the first six months of last year. Murders were also down by 29 percent, police said.
"Through a close partnership with the community and our comprehensive policing strategy there have been significant drops in murders, shootings and overall crime this year," Supt. Garry McCarthy said, "but it's progress and not victory because one shooting or murder is unacceptable."
Shortly after the numbers were released, the city recorded a bloody weekend with at least 12 dead and more than 60 others injured in shootings across the July 4 holiday weekend.
Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy released a statement on the weekend's violence stating "no shooting or murder is acceptable."
"While to date we've had significantly fewer shootings and significantly fewer murders this year, there's more work to be done and we won't rest until everyone in Chicago enjoys the same sense of safety," McCarthy said in the statement.
Napolitano departure bares gaps in DHS leadership
By EILEEN SULLIVAN and ALICIA A. CALDWELL (The Associated Press) — Saturday, July 13th, 2013; 1:02 p.m. EDT
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The leadership vacancy created by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano's resignation is the latest and greatest blow to a department where one-third of the heads of key agencies and divisions have been filled with acting officials or remained vacant for months.
Napolitano's departure, slated for September, will create the 15th hole in the department's 45 leadership positions. Napolitano's chief of staff and the director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement are leaving this month. The deputy secretary, general counsel, heads of Customs and Border Protection, privacy, legislative affairs, intelligence and analysis and more are filled with acting officials. Other key positions, like the executive secretariat, inspector general and deputy undersecretary for cybersecurity remain vacant.
The pattern of putting acting officials in leadership positions at the Homeland Security Department- sometimes replacing acting officials with other acting officials - has been going on for months. This swath of vacancies raises questions about how a department depleted of permanent leadership could implement changes, particularly as Congress considers overhauling the nation's immigration system.
"Her departure is a substantial addition to the growing list of unfilled key leadership positions within the department," Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee, said of Napolitano's resignation. "The administration should move swiftly to fill the gaping holes in its management."
The White House referred a request for comment to the Homeland Security Department, which did not respond.
The Homeland Security Department is comprised of agencies that protect the president, respond to disasters, enforce immigration laws and secure air travel. Many of the unfilled leadership positions don't require Senate confirmation.
Napolitano on Friday announced she would be leaving her post in early September to become the president of the University of California school systems. It was not immediately clear who the president wants to replace her. The acting deputy secretary at the department is poised to take over as acting secretary unless the Senate confirms the president's nominee for Homeland Security deputy secretary before Napolitano leaves. If that happens, the new deputy secretary would assume the role of acting secretary until the president names a replacement.
"Sometimes, when major changes occur, there is a tendency to focus on the uncertainty of the future, perhaps at the expense of the urgency of the now," the assistant secretary of policy at the Homeland Security Department, David Heyman, said Friday in an email to his staff following Napolitano's announcement. "This department has seamlessly and professionally negotiated a number of similar changes in the past, and I know a number of you all are veterans of such transitions."
While some of these vacancies have little impact on daily operations around the country, the lack of permanent leadership at the top can have long term effects over policy, said Richard Skinner, the department's former inspector general. There has been no permanent replacement for Skinner since he left two years ago.
Acting officials are always reluctant to make long-term policy calls, said James Ziglar, the last commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, which was absorbed into the Homeland Security Department in 2003.
"On the administration side, management side, everyone is looking at the person, saying, `You aren't going to be around very long, so we're going to just hold off doing stuff,'" Ziglar said.
Customs and Border Protection, which oversees the securing of the nation's borders, has not had a Senate-confirmed leader since the George W. Bush administration. President Barack Obama in 2010 exercised his ability to bypass Congress and appoint Alan Bersin as head of CBP. But that appointment was up at the end of 2011. The acting commissioner who replaced Bersin recently retired from government, only to be replaced by another acting commissioner.
Without a Senate-confirmed commissioner of CBP, it will be difficult to put in place and actual border strategy, said Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum.
The Democratic-controlled Senate has passed an ambitious and broad immigration bill, which includes doubling the size of the Border Patrol to more than 40,000 agents, offering a path to citizenship for immigrants in the country illegally and increasing the number of people who come to the United States as temporary workers. House Republicans have vowed to fight the bill, arguing that the border isn't secure and that must come first.
"Whoever is in the position is always looking over their shoulder, wondering if they are going to have a job," Noorani said.
The position of the department's chief privacy officer is also filled by an acting official at a time when evaluating and protecting privacy will be critical for any new immigration laws likely to include deciding who among the millions of immigrants living the country illegally gets to stay.
The department's second most senior position has been without a confirmed leader since Jane Holl Lute left in April. Rand Beers, who has been the acting deputy secretary, is poised to take over the department while the Senate considers Alejandro Mayorkas to fill the second top job permanently.
But Mayorkas' confirmation would also create another vacancy, this time at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. That agency is responsible for policing who gets immigration benefits, including green cards, and is likely to have a significant role in implementing any immigration reform that addresses the millions of immigrants already living in the United States illegally.
And not having a permanent inspector general to serve as the department's watchdog is a significant problem, said Skinner, who once served in an acting capacity in that role.
"The longer that position stays vacant, the more vulnerable the department becomes," he said.
Career government employees need leaders who have the backing of the president, said Prakash Khatri, the former ombudsman at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
"When they know there's an acting head of the office, generally the careerist will not make any major moves," Khatri said. "At a time when we have major reform pending, that is the last thing we want."