Friday, July 19th, 2013 — Good Afternoon, Stay Safe
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Obama insider says stop-frisk hurts Kelly¡¯s chances of heading Homeland Security
By S.A. MILLER in Washington and CARL CAMPANILE in NY — Friday, July 19th, 2013 ¡®The New York Post¡¯
COMMENT: I don't believe Kelly is getting the Homeland Security post.
DCPI Paul Browne is a very politically astute animal and Kelly's closest subordinate. Face it; Fatty McFibber saw his opportunity and took it. He saw the handwriting on the wall and is jumping the sinking ship.
Think about it; for more than two decades, Browne has been Kelly¡¯s shadow and closest confidant. If Ray was going to go to Homeland Security, Browne wouldn¡¯t be taking the Notre Dame job. — Mike Bosak
Ray Kelly may want to lead the Department of Homeland Security, but the Obama administration is worried about the heat it would take for nominating him, sources told The Post yesterday.
¡°After the Trayvon Martin case, this is quite a challenge,¡± an Obama insider said, linking the racial profiling allegations in the case to the furor over the NYPD¡¯s stop-and-frisk policy. ¡°There would be head winds from the African-American community. The civil-rights community would have issues with it,¡± the source said.
The insider said it would not be a good time for Obama to ¡°own¡± stop-and-frisk by nominating the policy¡¯s chief architect.
The Post reported yesterday that a law-enforcement source said Kelly was ¡°definitely¡± interested in the job.
Rep. Jose Serrano (D-Bronx) agreed that stop-and-frisk would haunt Kelly. ¡°That will be an issue for him. That is an issue that will follow him for a while,¡± he said.
Other opposition surfaced yesterday inside the Beltway.
¡°The reputation that proceeds him on the stop-and-frisk question has raised some doubts,¡± said Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.), a member of the Congressional Black Caucus.
¡°He can¡¯t stop-and-frisk everyone in the world,¡± he said.
Even supporters agreed he was a long shot.
¡°That¡¯s probably why [Obama] won¡¯t pick him,¡± said Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), referring to stop-and-frisk.
¡°But he¡¯s actually a good law-enforcement official, and I think he¡¯d be a good choice.¡±
Kelly to Homeland Security: Opinion Pro & Con
Kelly to Homeland Security: 10 reasons it makes sense
The NYPD commissioner would make a perfect leader for the top domestic counterterror agency
By Carolyn Maloney — Friday, July 19th, 2013 ¡®The New York Daily News¡¯
(Op-Ed / Commentary)
When Janet Napolitano steps down as head of the Department of Homeland Security, filling the vacancy with the right person who has the right mix of experience and abilities will be important to all of us.
It¡¯s a huge job. DHS is the third largest department in the government, with 22 different agencies under one roof and more than 180,000 employees located in every state and many foreign countries.
So who would be a great choice to fill that demanding slot? I think the best person for that job is a man who has already done the impossible right here in New York: NYPD Police Chief Ray Kelly. I say this not just because he is my neighbor and my friend and one heck of a nice guy, but because he is uniquely qualified for this demanding post.
Below, you will find the top 10 reasons I believe Kelly should become the next Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.
1) He has the right legal education. Kelly knows the constitution and law and has a juris doctor from St. John¡¯s University School of Law, a master of laws from NYU and a master¡¯s degree in public administration from the Kennedy School.
2) He has the right military experience. Kelly is a combat veteran of the Vietnam War and retired with the rank of colonel from the Marine Corps Reserves after 30 years of service.
3) He has the right kind of leadership experience in the federal government. Kelly served as under-secretary of treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence.
4) He has the right kind of management experience with large organizations. Kelly was previously commissioner of the U.S. Customs Service, where he supervised 20,000 employees and $20 billion in annual revenue. He is currently the head of the largest municipal police force in the United States, with over 36,000 sworn officers.
5) He has business and private sector experience. Kelly has a bachelor of business administration from Manhattan College and has worked providing high-level corporate security in the private sector.
6) He has cooperative international law enforcement experience. Kelly served on the executive committee of Interpol and as their vice president for the Americas from 1996 to 2000. He also served as director of the International Police Monitors in Haiti, a U.S.-led force responsible for ending human rights abuses.
7) He has unmatched police experience. Kelly served for 31 years in the New York City Police Department.
8) He understands the importance of oversight when it comes to national security programs. Kelly recently called for more oversight of the NSA if Snowden's allegations that the system is ripe for abuse are true. He also called for more transparency concerning the checks governing what analysts can monitor.
9) He has an unmatched record in fighting crime. Under Kelly, New York City became the safest large city in America. And if the homicide rate continues its current trend, the number of killing this year will sink to the lowest level since the Eisenhower years.
10) He has an exemplary record in fighting terrorism. There have been 16 known terrorist plots against New York City since September 11, 2001, including planned attacks on the Brooklyn Bridge, the NYC subways, Herald Square and JFK Airport. All were detected, intercepted and defeated. And the would-be perpetrators are now behind bars.
Maloney, a Democrat, represents parts of Manhattan and Queens in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Friday, July 19th, 2013 ¡®The New York Daily News¡¯ Editorial:
Barack ¢¾ Ray
For years, New York City liberals have been hurling invective at Ray Kelly and the NYPD he leads.
It is spying without suspicion on Muslims, they say. It¡¯s engaging in racial profiling en masse via its program of stopping, questioning and sometimes frisking people, they say. It¡¯s using force indiscriminately, they say.
Hilariously, the nation¡¯s leading liberal — who enjoys overwhelming support among New Yorkers — never got the memo.
President Obama is suddenly in need of a law enforcement professional to head the Department of Homeland Security, frontline defense against terrorism.
Naturally, Kelly¡¯s name has bubbled to the top of lists. He¡¯s a former cop and Marine Corps reserve colonel, former Treasury Department undersecretary and customs commissioner, plus a two-time NYPD commissioner.
Asked about the speculation, Obama said what any commander-in-chief would say about a man who has overseen one of the steepest crime declines in the history of America while protecting the nation¡¯s top target from terrorist attack:
¡°Ray Kelly¡¯s obviously done an extraordinary job in New York. And the federal government partners a lot with New York, because obviously, our concerns about terrorism often times are focused on big-city targets, and I think Ray Kelly¡¯s one of the best there is.¡±
Did America¡¯s former constitutional law professor President not read The Associated Press series alleging vast, suspicionless spying of Muslim-Americans, which the New York Civil Liberties Union says ¡°violates our Constitution¡¯s guarantees of equality and religious freedom¡±?
Did he not hear about the supposedly rampant violations of the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches and seizures happening daily on New York City¡¯s streets?
Did he not read the papers filed by his own Justice Department endorsing the idea of a monitor for the NYPD, should the Department lose the stop-and-frisk class action suit?
Obviously, the sound and fury signified nothing to Obama.
He surely knows that, under the leadership of former CIA deputy director David Cohen, the NYPD¡¯s intelligence division did not spy on anyone simply because of their religion. Rather, the division built profiles of neighborhoods where thousands of people hailed from particular countries that were importing terrorists.
One would like to believe, as well, that Obama knows that cops have not been unfairly targeting blacks and Latinos in the stop-and-frisk program.
In other words, Obama knows that the NYPD has been saving lives — and that endless, hyperbolic complaints by the professional critics are nothing but distractions.
Postscript: Controller and mayoral candidate John Liu, who has accused Kelly of presiding over ¡°the biggest example of racial profiling in the country,¡± said through a spokesman that ¡°Kelly would make a fantastic Homeland Security secretary.¡±
Raising the Wrong Profile
By TA-NEHISI COATES — Friday, July 19th, 2013 ¡®The New York Times¡¯
(Op-Ed / Commentary)
In 2003, State Senator Barack Obama spearheaded a bill through the Illinois legislature that sought to put the clamps on racial profiling. Obama called racial profiling ¡°morally objectionable,¡± ¡°bad police practice¡± and a method that mainly served to ¡°humiliate individuals and foster contempt in communities of color.¡±
Obama was not simply speaking abstractly. In his 2006 book ¡°The Audacity of Hope,¡± the future president wrote that he could ¡°recite the usual litany of petty slights¡± directed at him because of his skin color, including being profiled by the police. ¡°I know what it¡¯s like to have people tell me I can¡¯t do something because of my color,¡± he wrote. ¡°And I know the bitter swill of swallowed-back anger.¡± That same bitterness probably compelled Obama, as president, to speak out after Prof. Henry Louis Gates of Harvard was arrested, and to famously note last year, ¡°If I had a son, he¡¯d look like Trayvon.¡±
That is why it is hard to comprehend the thinking that compelled the president, in a week like this, to flirt with the possibility of inviting the New York City Police Commissioner, Ray Kelly, the proprietor of the largest local racial profiling operation in the country, into his cabinet.
Kelly¡¯s name has been floated by New York politicians of both parties as the ideal replacement for Janet Napolitano, who resigned last week. The president responded by calling Kelly ¡°well-qualified¡± and an ¡°outstanding leader in New York.¡± He sounded a pitch for bringing the commissioner into the White House¡¯s fold.
¡°Mr. Kelly might be very happy where he is,¡± said the president. ¡°But if he¡¯s not, I¡¯d want to know about it.¡±
There are some other things that the president should want to know about. Chief among them would be how his laudatory words for Kelly square with the commissioner¡¯s practices and with the president¡¯s deepest commitments.
The N.Y.P.D.¡¯s stop-and-frisk program has been well-covered in this newspaper and elsewhere. It is now public knowledge that the police department, each year, stops hundreds of thousands of citizens, largely black and Latino men, for reasons as thin and subjective as ¡°furtive movements.¡± Very few of those stops lead to actual charges, much less arrests, and according to the commissioner that¡¯s fine.
¡°If you don¡¯t run the risk of being stopped, you start carrying your gun, and you do things that people do with guns,¡± Kelly recently told The Wall Street Journal.
It¡¯s certainly true that some number of people who are looking to carry guns will be less likely to if they know they are going to be searched. But Kelly¡¯s formulation leaves out the hundreds of thousands of people who have no such intent and are simply unlucky enough to be caught in the wrong skin. Those unfortunates must simply pay the tax of societal skepticism.
The dragnet tactics don¡¯t taper at the borders of black and brown communities. If anything, they expand. Last year, The Associated Press reported that the N.Y.P.D. has organized a network of agents and informants strictly for the purpose of spying on Muslim communities. The appropriately dubbed ¡°Demographics Unit¡± has extended its reach along the Northeastern seaboard, sending informants to spy on Muslim rafting trips, mosques in Newark and Muslim organizations at Yale and the University of Pennsylvania. The Demographics Unit did not discriminate, at least among Muslims: second- and third-generation American citizens were subject to profiling. Despite this sprawling fishing expedition extending up the Atlantic coast, N.Y.P.D. officials admitted in a subsequent court case that the unit¡¯s work had not yielded a single lead, much less the opening of an actual case.
It is often said that Obama¡¯s left-wing critics fail to judge him by his actual words from his candidacy. But, in this case, the challenge before Obama is not in adhering to the principles of a radical Left, but of adhering to his own. It is President Obama¡¯s attorney general who just this week painfully described the stain of being profiled. It was President Obama who so poignantly drew the direct line between himself and Trayvon Martin.
It was candidate Obama who in 2008 pledged to ¡°ban racial profiling¡± on a federal level and work to have it prohibited on the state level. It was candidate Obama who told black people that if they voted they would get a new kind of politics. And it was State Senator Obama who understood that profiling was the antithesis of such politics. Those of us raising our boys in the wake of Trayvon, or beneath the eye of the Demographics Unit, cannot fathom how the president could forget this.
Ta-Nehisi Coates, a senior editor at The Atlantic, is a guest columnist. David Brooks is off today.
Reasons to Hesitate on Ray Kelly or Jane Hall Lute for DHS Secretary
By Rich Cooper — Friday, July 19th, 2013 ¡®George Washington University Homeland Security Policy Institute¡¯ / Washington, DC
It¡¯s fascinating to see the how various news and blogosphere outlets have responded to the resignation of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. The names being talked about as her successor have been some of the anticipated suspects, as well as a few surprises. Probably the biggest surprise for me is all of the eager talk about the NYPD¡¯s Ray Kelly and former DHS Deputy Secretary Jane Hall Lute.
In terms of Ray Kelly, he¡¯s got all of the qualifications for the job, and then some. He¡¯s a retired officer in the U.S. Marine Corps; a former U.S. Treasury Under Secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence; and has been the longest serving (and the most successful) Police Commissioner in the NYPD¡¯s history.
US Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) – in classic NYC style – even came up with her own Top 10 list of the reasons he¡¯s the obvious choice. Additionally, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) had a press release out the door pushing Kelly for the position before most media outlets had even reported Napolitano had resigned.
Kelly has tremendous capital in his public bank account making him well-suited for one of the toughest jobs in the world, but I don¡¯t think that makes for the easiest of sails for a potential confirmation hearing.
While leading the NYPD every day of the nearly dozen-year tenure of NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Kelly has built one of the largest intelligence agencies in the world, all within the NYPD. That intelligence agency is linked around the planet, and as a result, it has helped the ¡°city that never sleeps¡± from experiencing another successful terror attack. For every off the chart plus factor this intelligence network has contributed towards securing NYC, however, in a post-Edward Snowden revelation era, the operations of intelligence agencies doing anything domestically is not as popular or accepted as it was before. Senators who were once quick to grant authorities to federal, state, and local law enforcement, as well as intelligence agencies and their fusion center counterparts, are now a whole lot more leery of those authorities and operations. Questioning of those methods and actions could get real interesting in a confirmation hearing.
So could the Kelly-imposed practices of ¡°Stop and Frisk,¡± which have stirred up a lot of controversy from day one. Senators have been more-than-vocal about their own less-than-positive experiences being groped by TSA agents. How are they going to treat the guy who has come up with a practice that empowers police officers to ¡°stop and frisk¡± someone they think is suspicious? Is this an operating practice that, like ¡°See Something, Say Something,¡± should go nationwide? With all of the heightened passions on racial and cultural profiling, let alone civil liberties infringements, this line of questioning in a confirmation hearing will have a lot of potential fireworks if Kelly is nominated.
And then there was Kelly¡¯s September 25, 2011 interview with 60 Minutes. While the profile interview was absolutely laudatory (especially when you consider the history of what 60 Minutes has done to some people¡¯s lives and careers), Kelly offered some eye-raising comments about the NYPD¡¯s means to take down an aircraft attempting to replicate the 9/11 style of attacks. In the ensuing days after the interview, Kelly and the NYPD basically walked his comments back, but words like that are not easily forgotten.
Kelly is sharp, articulate and certainly accomplished, but I don¡¯t think his confirmation hearings will be the cake walk others are cheering them to be. He¡¯s got an impressive record that bears consideration, but so do the points that seem to have been overlooked in the overzealous zeal to put him at DHS headquarters.
While I¡¯m surprised at how quickly people have catapulted Kelly to the absolute top of the prospective DHS Secretary nominees, I am even more surprised at seeing the name of former DHS Deputy Secretary Jane Hall Lute ranked so high on the DHS Secretary-in-waiting list. Beside the fact she left the department in May of this year, her tenure at DHS was not without its own fireworks. While DHS leaders are not put in place to be loved or to generate warm fuzzies by those they are assigned to lead, I¡¯ve yet to find anyone who had anything warm to say about her tenure. The nicest thing I¡¯ve heard anyone say about her comes from a senior person still at the Department – ¡°She¡¯s gone.¡±
Lute was a surprise pick by many homeland security watchers in the first place when she was nominated to be Deputy Secretary in early 2009. Her background with the United Nations, as well as the U.S. Army, was not at all what most people were expecting for the number two slot at DHS, especially after having a seasoned manager like Paul Schneider, who served as the preceding Deputy Secretary and was bringing order to the often chaotic DHS organization.
Most people (including yours truly) thought Rand Beers would be the Deputy Secretary from day one of the Obama Administration, but that didn¡¯t happen. Despite Lute getting the full-fledged job and the official title, Beers, for all intents and purposes, played a Deputy Secretary type of role for Napolitano, given his service as her closest advisor on almost anything and everything that crossed her desk.
There were also plenty of rumors about Lute¡¯s temperament. In an appearance at the Aspen Security Forum in 2010, which I attended, Lute lost all sense of cool when she was challenged by then-Newsweek reporter Michael Isiskoff and audience members over comments she made about the U.S. southern border having ¡°never been more secure.¡± One person in the audience even audibly murmured, ¡°Are you delusional?¡± while Isikoff explained he was ¡°baffled¡± by her response. (I wrote about Lute¡¯s appearance and performance shortly after coming back.)
This was my first in-person impression of her, and I have to say it was not at all favorable. I wasn¡¯t alone in that observation either. Attendees at the 2010 Aspen program were truly stunned by her demeanor, evidenced by questions from CNN¡¯s Jeanne Meserve (who was interviewing her) as well as the audience. What has really stayed with me for three years now was her near-sneering response to a question, saying ¡°The Secretary has been very clear on what those metrics are.¡±
Lute¡¯s 2010 Aspen appearance was probably the worst I¡¯ve ever seen of a principal in any public forum. It¡¯s true that anyone can lose their cool in pressure situations, especially when being challenged by media or audience members, but for me, Lute did not deliver any sense of confidence that she had the demeanor for the demands of the top position. The Aspen Security Forum is about the most hospitable of environments for anyone to present or debate any subject, but it was more than evident that then-Dep. Sec Lute had no tolerance for any fair question posed to her.
If that¡¯s the way you¡¯re going to act in a forum with the public, reporters and a TV camera rolling, I can only imagine what you¡¯re like when they aren¡¯t around. It¡¯s for those reasons that I am truly baffled she¡¯s on anyone¡¯s list for DHS Secretary and firmly believe former DHS colleagues when they say how happy they are that she¡¯s gone from the Department. I can only imagine how they would feel if she returns to them in the top seat.
How Ray Kelly's Rise Would Threaten a Longstanding Democratic Priority
The electoral coalition has inveighed against racial and religious profiling in party platforms going back to 2000.
By Conor Friedersdorf — Friday, July 19th, 2013 ¡®The Atlantic¡¯ / Washington, DC
In a powerful column at The New York Times, my colleague Ta-Nehisi Coates puts President Obama's praise for an NYPD police chief who practices racial and ethnic profiling in context. "It is often said that Obama's left-wing critics fail to judge him by his actual words from his candidacy. But, in this case, the challenge before Obama is not in adhering to the principles of a radical Left, but of adhering to his own," he writes. "It is President Obama's attorney general who just this week painfully described the stain of being profiled. It was President Obama who so poignantly drew the direct line between himself and Trayvon Martin. It was candidate Obama who in 2008 pledged to 'ban racial profiling' on a federal level and work to have it prohibited on the state level. It was candidate Obama who told black people that if they voted they would get a new kind of politics. And it was State Senator Obama who understood that profiling was the antithesis of such politics."
In a follow-up item at The Atlantic, he correctly assesses the stakes:
Communities do not become pariahs simply through the actions independent citizens. Policy-makers send signals about what is acceptable and what is not. Should Barack Obama appoint Ray Kelly to head the Department of Homeland Security the signal will be clear: Profiling is not, as Obama once claimed, "morally objectionable" and "bad police work," but an acceptable tactic presently condoned at the highest levels of government.
The signal sent by Obama's words and Senator Chuck Schumer's endorsement is one of the reasons my item on Kelly emphasized that "prominent Democrats are now comfortable with racial and ethnic profiling." If a Democratic Senate were to confirm Kelly, it wouldn't just be a reversal for Barack Obama, it would mark a historic departure from a longstanding plank of the Democratic Party.
From the 2012 platform:
We are committed to ending racial, ethnic, and religious profiling and requiring federal, state, and local enforcement agencies to take steps to eliminate the practice, and we continue to support enforcement of Title VI.
We are committed to banning racial, ethnic, and religious profiling and requiring federal, state, and local enforcement agencies to take steps to eliminate the practice.
Racial and religious profiling is wrong and we will work to stamp it out.
Good policing demands mutual trust and respect between the community and the police. We shouldn't let the acts of a few rogue officers undermine that trust or the reputation of the outstanding work of the vast majority of our dedicated men and women in blue. That is why we need to end the unjust practice of racial profiling in America - because it's not only unfair, it is inconsistent with America's community policing success, it is a violation of the basic American principle of innocent until proven guilty, it views Americans as members of groups instead of as individuals, and it is just plain shoddy policing. We believe that all law enforcement agencies in America should adopt a zero-tolerance policy toward racial profiling.
Coates writes that elevating Kelly "would be a betrayal of African-American voters who endured long lines and poll tax tactics to elect this president. This should not happen. This can not happen." I'd just add that if Obama perpetrates a betrayal by nominating Kelly, Senate Democrats would also be betraying the Democratic coalition by confirming him, despite their own platforms. This is not an instance of civil libertarians imposing on the Democratic Party something its members have never claimed to believe. It would be party elites deciding that, contrary to a longstanding plank, racial and ethnic profiling does actually constitute good police work, and that opposition to profiling isn't necessarily part of the bundle people get when they elect Democrats.
Top NYPD Spokesman Leaves Post, Fuels Speculation Over Kelly's Future
By Unnamed Author(s) — Thursday, July 18th, 2013; 2:22 p.m. ¡®NY 1 News¡¯ / New York, NY
A week after Police Commissioner Ray Kelly was touted to be the new head of Homeland Security, the department has announced his top spokesman is stepping down.
Paul Browne, the Deputy Commissioner for Public Information, is leaving next month to take a job as Vice President of Public Affairs for Notre Dame University.
He has vigorously defended the department's controversial stop-and-frisk policy.
Browne has been Kelly's chief spokesman for the past 12 years.
The move is already fueling speculation that Kelly himself may pack his bags for Washington if he is nominated for the Homeland Security job.
During recent mayoral debates, only Christine Quinn would commit to keeping Kelly as the city's police commander.
President Barack Obama and outgoing Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano have given Kelly high praise.
Sen. Charles Schumer placed a call to the White House recommending him for the post.
New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly to Lose His 'Consigliere'
Longtime Spokesman Paul Browne Will Join Notre Dame
By SEAN GARDINER and PERVAIZ SHALLWANI — Friday, July 19th, 2013 ¡®The Wall Street Journal¡¯ / New York, NY
Colloquialisms: ¡°Consigliere¡± Could that be a fancy Wall Street word for ¡®Butt Boy¡¯ ? - Mike Bosak
For more than 20 years, New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly and the department's chief spokesman, Paul Browne, seemingly have been joined at the hip, serving together in a series of city and federal law-enforcement posts.
Sen. Charles Schumer last week recommended Mr. Kelly to run the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Mayoral candidate Christine Quinn has said she still wants him as commissioner if she is elected.
Whatever the future holds for Mr. Kelly, it appears he will be doing it without the man he once referred to in a newspaper story as "my consigliere."
On Thursday, the NYPD announced that Mr. Browne would be leaving the deputy commissioner for public information post he has held for the past 9¨ö years.
Mr. Browne, 64 years old, who was born in the Bronx to Irish immigrant parents, will step down Aug. 19 to take a job as vice president for public affairs at the University of Notre Dame. He said he wasn't looking for another job but jumped at the opportunity after being "approached out of the blue."
Eugene O'Donnell, a professor of law and police science at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said Mr. Browne's unexpected resignation begged speculation; "is he anticipating Kelly leaving [the police commissioner's job] at the end of the year or is there something else in the cards?"
Mr. Browne said nothing should be read into his decision regarding Mr. Kelly's future. He said Mr. Kelly would get along without him, saying, "I've been happy to be along for the ride but his successes were self-made."
In a statement on Thursday, Mr. Kelly wished his longtime confidant "all the best" and ended saying, "Go Irish," in a reference to the name of Notre Dame's vaunted sports teams.
Succeeding Mr. Browne will be John McCarthy, who worked as Mr. Browne's assistant deputy commissioner of public information before taking a job as senior adviser and spokesman in Mayor Michael Bloomberg's office.
Messrs. Browne and Kelly met in 1991. Mr. Browne, serving as an NYPD deputy commissioner, worked under Mr. Kelly, then the first deputy police commissioner, investigating the police response after nine people died in a stampede at a celebrity basketball game organized by an up-and-coming promoter named Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs.
Mr. Browne left to work as a lobbyist, only to be lured back by Mr. Kelly in 1992 to a position as an assistant NYPD commissioner when Mr. Kelly became commissioner for the first time.
After Mayor Rudolph Giuliani replaced Mr. Kelly in 1994, Mr. Browne, who previously had been a journalist, worked for the New York Daily News as Albany bureau chief.
A few months later, Mr. Kelly recruited Mr. Browne to an effort to establish a police force in Haiti.
For Mr. Browne, high-ranking jobs under Mr. Kelly followed at the U.S. Treasury Department, U.S. Customs Service, then at the NYPD again in 2002 as a senior adviser after Mr. Kelly was named commissioner again. In 2004, Mr. Kelly named Mr. Browne chief spokesman.
Mr. O'Donnell said Mr. Browne had a fierce defender of Mr. Kelly and the department and had been "intolerant" of criticism of the NYPD—even of what Mr. O'Donnell said seemed to be "legitimate criticism."
Darius Charney, a lawyer for the Center on Constitutional Rights, a group that sued the NYPD over its stop-and-frisk tactic, said Mr. Browne was a "spinmeister" whose answers were sometimes "factually false" though he added he wasn't "going to suggest he's doing it deliberately."
Leonard Levitt, a retired reporter for Newsday who writes about the NYPD on his website, NYPD Confidential, said "there's less transparency" under the Kelly police administration. For reporters, said Mr. Levitt, obtaining information from the NYPD has become increasingly harder.
Mr. Browne said he didn't take criticism personally. He said the NYPD is an organization that is "inherently in the business of controversial things."
Stuart Loeser, Mr. Bloomberg's former press secretary, said Mr. Browne was one of the few city officials outside his City Hall staff that the mayor trusted "implicitly."
"He understands three moves down the chessboard," Mr. Loeser said of Mr. Browne.
For Mr. Browne, some days stretch into 14 or 16 hours, but even after 9¨ö years, he insists he isn't "burned out."
"I think you have to experience it to appreciate how invigorating the job is every day," he said. "I put in a lot of hours but nobody put a gun to my head to do that. I did that because I loved the job and I respected Ray Kelly."
Longtime Chief Spokesman of Police Department Will Step Down
By J. DAVID GOODMAN — Friday, July 19th, 2013 ¡®The New York Times¡¯
Paul J. Browne, the New York Police Department¡¯s chief spokesman, will step down next month after a tenure of nearly a decade as a powerful behind-the-scenes figure in the nation¡¯s largest police force.
Mr. Browne, who the Police Department said on Thursday would become vice president for public relations at the University of Notre Dame, has been a private confidant of Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly and occasional public sparring partner of journalists and civil liberties advocates.
His last day as the department¡¯s deputy commissioner for public information will be Aug. 19, weeks before the culmination of a Democratic mayoral primary in which the Police Department¡¯s stop-and-frisk practices have come under intense scrutiny.
The announcement intensified speculation in the waning days of the Bloomberg administration over Mr. Kelly¡¯s future in New York City as his name began appearing in discussions about the open position to lead the Department of Homeland Security. It was not clear what Mr. Browne¡¯s departure might signal about Mr. Kelly¡¯s future.
¡°Deputy Commissioner Browne served with distinction as D.C.P.I. longer than any of his predecessors and at a crucial, transformative time in the Police Department¡¯s history,¡± Mr. Kelly said in a statement, using the abbreviation for deputy commissioner, public information. ¡°I wish Paul and his family all the best in this new opportunity and challenge. Go Irish.¡±
Reached on Thursday in Indiana, where he spent the day at Notre Dame, Mr. Browne said he ¡°loved every minute¡± of his time as police spokesman, despite its rigors.
As chief spokesman, Mr. Browne often displayed a firm command of the minute details of daily crimes in the city and responded to reporters¡¯ inquiries at all hours. ¡°I always thought it was a privilege to be the one getting those calls, even at 3 o¡¯clock in the morning,¡± he said.
But he also presided over a tightening of press credentials issued by the police and a resistance by the department to reveal certain data, notably concerning street stops by officers.
The New York Civil Liberties Union sought to obtain data from the department on street stops in the early 2000s, following a City Council law that mandated their release. The police eventually released a year¡¯s worth, late on a Friday in 2007, forcing reporters to scramble to write articles.
¡°There are delays that will occur in good faith and then the department will be accused unfairly of sitting on data,¡± Mr. Browne said, citing the difficulties and cost for an organization designed to fight crime to quickly produce statistics. But, he added, ¡°The reality is there¡¯s troves of information and data being provided like never before.¡±
Mr. Browne¡¯s departure comes at a transitional moment for a Police Department facing twin challenges in an election year: two City Council bills that would increase oversight of the department are likely to be vetoed soon, and a federal judge is preparing to render a decision in the coming weeks over its stop-and-frisk practices.
For roughly two decades, Mr. Browne and Mr. Kelly have faced such challenges together, said colleagues and longtime police reporters. ¡°He¡¯s my consigliere,¡± Mr. Kelly playfully said of Mr. Browne in a 2001 interview in The New York Times, using a reference to ¡°The Godfather¡± film.
¡°We¡¯ve been involved in a lot of experiences, some of them hairy,¡± he said in the interview, referring to their work in Haiti, where Mr. Kelly was director of the International Police Monitors starting in 1994, and Mr. Browne was his deputy.
Patrice O¡¯Shaughnessy, a former reporter for The Daily News who covered the police for two decades and reported on the two men¡¯s work in Haiti, said that they ¡°just get along very well, similar backgrounds, Irish Catholic.¡± That was apparent, she said, when Mr. Browne began working with the press under Mr. Kelly the first time he was commissioner in the early 1990s, as well as during his current tenure. (Mr. Browne became the top spokesman in January 2004.)
¡°Kelly brought him in because he was a former reporter,¡± she said. ¡°He knew what we were looking for.¡± But, Ms. O¡¯Shaughnessy added, reporters¡¯ access grew more limited after the Sept. 11 attacks.
¡°It was a different atmosphere,¡± she said, comparing recent years with past decades when precinct commanders were more available to speak directly with reporters. ¡°They became much more restrictive in terms of information,¡± she said.
¡°I think the commissioner, rightly, wants for the department to speak with one voice,¡± said Michael O¡¯Looney, who was Mr. Kelly¡¯s chief spokesman for two years before Mr. Browne. He said the increasing complexity of the media landscape changed the nature of the job, a lot of which was ¡°playing defense.¡±
¡°I think Paul was able to do that,¡± he said. Marveling at Mr. Browne¡¯s longevity in the role, he added, ¡°He¡¯s like the Cal Ripken Jr. of N.Y.P.D. spokesmen.¡±
Mr. Browne, 64, grew up in the Bronx and graduated from Columbia University¡¯s Graduate School of Journalism. He began his career as a reporter for The Watertown Daily Times and The Daily News. He also wrote for other publications, including The New York Times.
It was during his time as a young journalist in New York City during the 1970s that he was approached by a Russian agent seeking to recruit him as a spy. Instead, he told agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, who encouraged him to continue meeting with the man in a bit of counterespionage.
He later served as a press secretary to Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a New York Democrat, and in similar positions at the United States Treasury Department and in Albany.
Mr. Browne will be replaced by John J. McCarthy, a mayoral spokesman. Mr. McCarthy previously served as an assistant commissioner working with the Police Department¡¯s public information office. Mr. Kelly described his soon-to-be top spokesman as ¡°a consummate, thoughtful professional.¡±
Mr. McCarthy, a lawyer and a Queens native, said he was ¡°excited to have the chance to return to the N.Y.P.D.¡± which ¡°has terrific people who have done an amazing job reducing crime to record lows in neighborhoods across the city.¡±
Mr. Kelly on Thursday also named Valerie Salembier, a former publishing executive and the chairwoman of the New York City Police Foundation, as an assistant commissioner for public information.
Notre Dame hires NYPD spokesman VP of Public Affairs and Communications
By Amanda Gray — Friday, July 19th, 2013 ¡®The South Bend Tribune¡¯ / South Bend, Ind.
SOUTH BEND - The University of Notre Dame has hired a New York Police Department spokesman as the vice president for Public Affairs and Communications.
Paul Browne will begin his new job effective Aug. 19, according to a news release from the university.
¡°Paul Browne is highly qualified for the task at hand,¡± the Rev. John Jenkins, Notre Dame¡¯s president, said in the release, ¡°with broad and deep experience in communications, government, higher education and journalism.
¡°He understands the distinctive mission of Notre Dame, and will help us tell the world about our outstanding faculty, advances in research and educational excellence. We wanted the best candidate possible for this important post, and we¡¯re confident we¡¯ve found him.¡±
Browne previously served as the NYPD deputy police commissioner of public information, the top public spokesperson for the department, according to the release.
Browne came under criticism at his NYPD post, according to the Associated Press, which cited critics of Browne¡¯s who claim he had withheld public records and ¡°played favorites with the media¡± in the past.
¡°In 2011 he denied the existence of a secret surveillance program targeting Muslims that AP later obtained documents detailing its work,¡± the AP report stated.
Yet, Browne has defenders, including New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, who was quoted by The New York Daily News, stating Browne ¡°served with distinction.¡±
¡°Deputy Commissioner Browne served with distinction as DCPI longer than any of his predecessors and at a crucial, transformative time in the Police Department¡¯s history,¡± Kelly said. ¡°He served the nation too under demanding circumstances with me in Haiti and in other police department and federal posts. I wish Paul and his family all the best in this new opportunity and challenge. Go Irish.¡±
In response to the criticisms, university spokesman Dennis Brown said the reputation, justified or not, might come from the job.
¡°It¡¯s not surprising that the spokesman for the New York City Police Department comes in for criticism, fairly or not,¡± Brown said Friday.
Paul Browne will usher in a new strategy for highlighting Notre Dame¡¯s achievements, Brown said.
¡°Our overarching goal is to enhance the recognition of Notre Dame¡¯s scholarship and research nationally and internationally,¡± Dennis Brown said Thursday. ¡°One of Paul¡¯s priorities will be to look at that and how we can emphasize that even greater than we are now.¡±
Browne¡¯s hiring brings the Public Affairs and Communications office from under the umbrella of the University Relations office, Brown said. For the last two years, the Public Affairs and Communications office has been in a ¡°transition phase,¡± Brown said, with no independent vice president to lead it as its own branch.
With Browne soon at the helm, the office will return to an earlier model that the university used from 2001 to 2011, Brown said.
According to the news release, the Public Affairs and Communications office encompasses the following departments: internal communications, marketing communications, multimedia services, print services, Web services, Notre Dame Magazine, public information, public relations, strategic communications planning, public affairs, community relations, community engagement and the Robinson Community Learning Center.
Reality Reading for Raymond [and ¡®Nanny¡¯ Mike too!]
Have a Medical Emergency?
Why Not Call Christine Quinn for a Political Courtesy?
It¡¯s the Way New York City Officials Do Business!
Sergeant Benevolent Association Ad in Friday¡¯s, July 19th, 2013 ¡®New York Daily News¡¯ and the ¡®New York Post¡¯
On July 16th a staff member to City Councilwoman Reyna fainted from what is believed to be heat exhaustion from the extreme summer temperatures experienced by all New Yorkers. Since the staff member was conscious and being attended to by a trained EMT, the request for an ambulance was given a low level priority. Not happy that her call wasn¡¯t given a greater priority, Mayoral Candidate Christine Quinn utilized political courtesies to obtain a quicker EMS response by calling the private cell phones of Fire Commissioner Cassano and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. Needless to say, the EMS priority was raised from level 5 to a level 2 and an ambulance responded shortly thereafter. Is this a practice available to all New Yorkers? I think not.
As I recall, members of the NYPD were arrested in the Bronx last year for extending courtesies enjoyed by many politicians and celebrities; courtesies that city officials were well aware of and that existed for decades.
Additionally, I remain curious as to why Police Commissioner Ray Kelly needs an Inspector General to oversee his policies when the City Council Speaker has direct access to circumvent policies for herself? Would the new practice be to call the Inspector General and request a favor from the Police Commissioner? What is astounding is this very same Police Commissioner who Speaker Quinn believes needs a baby sitter was recently touted for extraordinary performance as Police Commissioner by the President of the United States and is being considered to fill the position of Secretary of Homeland Security, thus no longer protecting our city, but our entire nation. Perhaps the millions of dollars spent to create the new Inspector General¡¯s Office can be better served to hire more EMS workers and purchase more ambulances. Who knows, maybe there will even be some money left over to purchase an extra ambulance to handle personal favors for Speaker Quinn.
At the time of this incident there were 15 other calls of the same priority. Did Speaker Quinn follow up with the Commissioners and ensure that an ambulance was dispatched to each of them? Speaker Quinn, as a point of clarity, so we all know for the future – should calls for emergency services be directed to the new Inspector General¡¯s Office you plan to hire or should we call the more than competent Police Commissioner Ray Kelly like you did when you need to get a favor?
New Yorkers can be better served if Speaker Quinn provides all of us with her cell phone number, the Fire Commissioner¡¯s number and Police Commissioner Kelly¡¯s private number. Then and only then, will ordinary people in the outer boroughs be able to receive the same special treatment for their families and staff.
SBA President: Edward Mullins
SBA Vice President: Bob Ganley
Community Safety Act
City Council members supporting 'frisk suit' bill fight back against police union warning
A group of City Council members who are sponsoring a bill that would let people sue the NYPD if they are racially profiled by cops are taking action against what they have called 'disingenuous' attacks from the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association.
By Jennifer Fermino — Friday, July 19th, 2013 ¡®The New York Daily News¡¯
A group of City Council members who support a bill that would let people sue the NYPD if they¡¯re racially profiled by cops are fighting back against what they call ¡°disingenuous¡± attacks from the police union.
The Patrolmen¡¯s Benevolent Association sent a letter to cops this month warning them to ¡°be careful¡± or risk getting sued because of the new bill. Supporters say the bill would not hold individual officers accountable to the new standards.
To counteract the PBA claims, a group of six City Councilmembers have fired off letters to their local precinct commanders, highlighting the facts of the bill, which they claim have been distorted by the PBA.
¡°Unfortunately, the police union only cares about scoring political points. They're saying don¡¯t do police work. It¡¯s so disingenuous,¡± said Councilman Brad Lander, one of the members who sent the letter.
¡°Telling a police officer not to do something because he might get sued is like telling them not to do anything,¡± said Jumaane Williams, the Brooklyn Democrat who sponsored the bill.
Mayor Bloomberg has promised to veto the bill, which passed last month, and is lobbying in hopes of stopping an expected Council override.
Pols to mayor: Hear from public on NYPD measures
By Unnamed Author(s) (The Associated Press) — Thursday, July 18th, 2013; 7:11 p.m. EDT
NEW YORK — Some New York City lawmakers are urging Mayor Michael Bloomberg to give the public a chance to talk to him before his expected veto of measures that would create new checks on the Police Department.
Councilmen Brad Lander, Jumaane Williams and four colleagues made the request in a letter Thursday.
Bloomberg spokesman Marc LaVorgna says Bloomberg doesn't plan to do so.
The measures would create an inspector general for police and make it easier to bring suits claiming discriminatory policing.
Proponents say the legislation would make officers more accountable. Bloomberg says it would hamstring policing.
Generally, the mayor signs bills at ceremonies that include an opportunity for public comment. Occasionally, he has held off signing a bill after hearing the comments.
Vetoes sometimes are issued simply with written messages.
Mayor Bloomberg: No Pre-Veto Hearing on NYC Council's NYPD Community Safety Act
BY Jordan Melendrez — Friday, July 19th, 2013 ¡®The New York Daily News¡¯
Lawmakers who want Mayor Bloomberg to hold a public hearing before he vetoes a City Council bill on racial profiling by the NYPD won't be getting their wish.
A group of councilmembers noted in a Thursday letter that Bloomberg has held such comment sessions before, and urged him to give the community the same chance now so he can "listen to them before you decide whether to sign or veto these two bills."
The bill -- a companion to a measure creating an inspector general to oversee the NYPD -- allows people to sue the cops for alleged profiling.
But Bloomberg spokesman Marc LaVorgna said the Council already hashed the issue out in a lengthy session before its dead-of-night June vote.
The IG bill and the profiling bill both got enough support to set the stage for a veto override.
"The mayor is going to veto the bill," LaVorgna emailed, "And he will continue to detail to Council Members why this bill will inhibit the ability of police officers to keep New Yorkers safe -- a most fundamental right."
The full letter appears below. Additionally, GOP mayoral hopeful John Catsimatidis put out a radio ad on the topic this week. You can hear it after the jump as well.
De Blasio says policing politics separates him from the pack
By Dana Rubinstein — Thursday, July 18th, 2013; 2:34 p.m. ¡®Capital New York¡¯ / New York, NY
When I asked Public Advocate Bill de Blasio in an interview the week before last to pick one policy area in which he differs from the other Democratic mayoral candidates, he turned first to racial profiling.
"They all oppose the bill," he said, sitting cross-legged at a glass table in a Court Street office, referring to an anti-profiling bill that would effectively increase judicial oversight of the New York Police Department. "I support the bill. I don't know how more different we could be."
De Blasio has been running to the left in this year's crowded Democratic field, but has had a hard time distinguishing himself from the other would-be alternatives to the Bloomberg-friendly establishment candidate, Christine Quinn.
First, it seemed to be comptroller John Liu who de Blasio had a hard time shaking, in part because they had similar strategies. Then de Blasio's candidacy suffered the belated, media-devouring entry into the race of Anthony Weiner. Like de Blasio, Weiner is a white, outer-borough Bloomberg critic whose wife is one of his selling points. Unlike de Blasio, Weiner is a nationally recognizable figure, both because he is an effective showman and because he blew up his career in one of the most memorable (and stupid) scandals in recent memory.
Couple that with de Blasio's innately cautious style—he is a thoughtful man who nevertheless tends to express himself publicly in would-be sound bites, like the calculating Clinton operative he once was—and the result has been ... modest.
Two recent polls showed de Blasio winning 10 percent of the vote in the Democratic primary, putting him well behind Quinn, Weiner and former comptroller Bill Thompson. Others out this week showed him near Thompson, but still well behind Weiner and Quinn, with a way to go even to contend for one of the two spots in an almost-certain Democratic runoff.
It's in this situation, which requires de Blasio to make a name for himself, fast, that de Blasio chooses to take a stand on profiling.
Late last month, after Bloomberg told radio host John Gambling that he thought that the NYPD wasn't stopping black and Latino New Yorkers enough, proportionally, de Blasio was the first to schedule a press conference to argue that his opponents are just like Bloomberg on stop-and-frisk.
The Council's "racial profiling" bill, which de Blasio supports and his major rivals don't, would give outside figures, including state judges, some say in how the next mayor polices New York City.
It broadens the grounds on which New Yorkers can sue the department or individual officers for intentional biased policing so as to include categories like gender identity and housing status. And it allows individuals to sue the city to enjoin policies that have a "disparate impact'' on a community.
The Council has passed the bill, the mayor has promised to veto it, the Council has promised to override his veto, and the mayor has promised to spend a lot of money preventing them from doing so.
In other words, it's controversial.
All that being said, it's not all that clear what the bill's practical impact will be.
If the NYPD is sued on the grounds that its policies create a "disparate impact" on a certain community, the NYPD would have to prove that "the impact is justified by some race-neutral purpose," writes NYU law professor Roderick Hills, in an email.
"The problem with such an affirmative defense is that it invites judges to engage in a fairly mushy policy-based inquiry into the law-enforcement merits of NYPD¡¯s law enforcement policies," he went on. "I can imagine that few judges would take up this invitation and might very well rubber-stamp a lot of policies that have some tenuous relationship to good law enforcement. But maybe not: The consequences of this provision are really unpredictable, depending entirely on how aggressively a judge would enforce it."
De Blasio argues that the bill will give New Yorkers another tool to counteract the sometimes abrasive power of the NYPD. And also, that it carries a lot of symbolic value, sending a message to both rank-and-file cops that racial profiling is definitely not OK, and also to the Justice Department, which has been considering appointing a federal monitor to oversee the force.
"If the city government is getting its own house in order, it is an encouragement to the Justice Department to stand back," said de Blasio.
De Blasio's support for the bill has some symbolism of its own: It's meant to signify that a Mayor de Blasio would alter the NYPD's terms of engagement with the community.
He would, for one, replace police commissioner Ray Kelly with someone who's big into "community policing" of the David Kennedy school of thought.
Kennedy, a John Jay criminologist, created Operation Ceasefire, which one NPR reporter described like this:
Kennedy's homicide-reduction program ... brought gang members into meetings with community members they respected, social services representatives who could help them, and law enforcement officials who told them that they didn't want to make arrests — they wanted the gang members to stay alive, and that they planned to aggressively target people who retaliated. The interventions worked to reduce the homicide rates.
But that's not actually entirely different from what Kelly has done.
Kennedy himself wrote in a recent Daily News op-ed that "though you wouldn¡¯t know it from the narrow, hunkered-down stop-and-frisk debate ... the NYPD has also embraced" an iteration of his approach, via what Kelly calls "Operation Crew Cut."
That's not out of character for Kelly, from a historical perspective.
"Both Kelly and Dinkins are committed to community policing and in increasing minority representation on the force," noted Newsday in October of '92, after then Mayor Dinkins had elevated Kelly from acting to full-fledged police commissioner. "As acting commissioner, Kelly has visited black churches for the five past Sundays in an effort to recruit young men and women, and he said yesterday that he plans to continue the practice."
At a police cadet swearing-in the following month 1992, Kelly attributed the city's falling crime rate to "community policing."
"I think that Ray Kelly under Dinkins and Ray Kelly under Bloomberg are two entirely different people," said de Blasio, who worked in the Dinkins administration. "I think that has to do with all the things that happened in between in Ray Kelly's career. I think it has to do, of course, with 9-11."
"When deep concerns are raised about the negative impacts of stop-and-frisk, this Ray Kelly doubled down," he went on. "I don't think the old Ray Kelly would have. This one did. And he ain't changing."
To encourage the sort of community policing that he thinks Kelly has abandoned, De Blasio would overhaul the department's Operation Impact program, which floods high-crime areas with rookie cops. As former comptroller Bill Thompson has also advocated, he would replace the inexperienced cops, whenever possible, with officers who have more experience working with communities.
"I think you want to really focus on, in the high-crime areas, veteran cops, first of all, who have much more ability to handle the difficulty," said de Blasio. "And second, you want an emphasis on relationship development and consistency in the presence of individual officers and commanders in a neighborhood. Once you have the capacity to gather intelligence—and I don't think there's a huge difference between policing and military endeavors on this front—intelligence gathering is the key to success."
How does any of that differ from what his opponents would do?
"I think under Quinn, policing would look almost exactly the way it does now, because she wants to keep the same police commissioner, who was the architect of the overuse of stop-and-frisk," said de Blasio.
Quinn has in fact said she'd be honored to have Kelly stay on as police commissioner. She has also said that if he were to continue with his current stop-and-frisk practices, she'd fire him.
"That's something she can claim, but it is a quizzical claim," he said, adding, "Why would you want someone that you're already talking about potentially having to fire because you might disagree so profoundly on an issue?"
"On Thompson, I don't think it would be profoundly different from what we've seen," said de Blasio. "He went out of his way to say he opposed the inspector general and the racial profiling bill. Then, I take him at his word he'd have a new police commissioner, but I think Thompson has proven that he's trying to moderate on every front."
He also thinks that, "under Weiner, policing would change very little."
All of the aforementioned de Blasio opponents disputed his characterization.
"As mayor the people who work for you report to you, answer to you, and take their direction from you," said Quinn in a statement. "I have made it abundantly clear what the direction will be under my administration: Stop & Frisk will be reduced dramatically and conducted in a constitutionally sound way."
Thompson campaign spokeswoman Dani Lever had this to say: "Bill de Blasio is wrong again, and he knows it, because nobody has been clearer than Bill Thompson that stop and frisk has been abused by this Administration, targeting blacks and Latinos for no reason other than the color of their skin. In a Thompson Administration, we are not going to choose between protecting the Constitution and protecting our communities; we will protect both."
The spokeswoman for Weiner, who opposes both the inspector general and racial-profiling bills, referred me to an appearance he made at a forum in Canarsie in June.
His comments were scattershot, but the gist was this: like de Blasio and Thompson and Quinn, he would rely less on stop-and-frisk, and he make try to alleviate the animosity between community and police engendered by the heavy use of the tactic.
"There's real tension that's going on now that doesn't serve anybody," he said.
Rally bolsters Staten Island's Debi Rose in her support of curbs on police
By Jillian Jorgensen — Thursday, July 18th, 2013 ¡®The Staten Island Advance¡¯ / Staten Island
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- After NYPD unions targeted City Councilwoman Debi Rose for her support of the Community Safety Act, advocates turned out to support her -- and she promised not to waver when it comes time to override an expected mayoral veto of the two bills.
Wednesday's rally outside Borough Hall in support of Ms. Rose and the legislation also came as Mayor Michael Bloomberg has said he will veto the act, and that he'll use his political influence and funding to try to flip at least one Council member's vote on a bill that tightens racial profiling laws, which would allow his veto to stand.
But that vote to uphold a veto won't come from Debi Rose, said Councilman Jumaane Williams of Brooklyn, the bill's lead sponsor.
"She has said, 'Not only will I vote for the override, you have only strengthened my will to make sure the Community Safe Act passes,'" Williams told a crowd at Borough Hall.
Ms. Rose reiterated that in her speech to the crowd.
"Jumaane, you don't have to worry about my pulling out of the veto override," she promised.
The legislation is not an attack on the police, Ms. Rose said, or an attempt to handcuff or blindfold them, but rather a way to make communities safer. But she criticized their reaction to the legislation.
"It disturbs me that the mayor and the police supervisors unions have made this into an issue which pits New York's Finest against people in our communities, in all communities, that have experienced a disparate number of stops," she said.
Ms. Rose told the crowd that in the North Shore's 120th Precinct last year, 12,368 people were stopped; 84 percent were people of color and 82 percent of those stopped were innocent. Ms. Rose said the stops are driven by police productivity goals, creating a constitutional issue.
"As an elected member of the City Council, I took an oath to uphold the Constitution, to protect the rights of every citizen," she said. "And as the Civil Rights Committee chair, it is doubly my responsibility and duty to ensure the civil rights of all new Yorkers are preserved and upheld."
In response to Ms. Rose's comments, Chris Monahan, vice president of the Captains Endowment Association and a Castleton Corners resident, said if anything has strained the relationship between Staten Islanders and police, it's the legislation, not the police unions.
"There's always been a great relationship between the community and the police on Staten Island," Monahan said.
After the rally, Ms. Rose said she supports the legislation because she lives the issue every day.
"I live in the community where these acts of overly aggressive policing, stopping everybody randomly, is a way of life. And I have a son, who has been stopped numerous times," Ms. Rose said. "It's long past time that we do something that addresses the fact that people's basic civil rights are being infringed upon on a daily basis in such large numbers as a daily occurrence and as business as usual."
Ms. Rose said she was glad to see the support of the community for her vote at the rally.
"New Yorkers get it, and the purpose of this rally today was to try to clarify the misconceptions that are being perpetrated by the law enforcement supervisory unions and the mayor," she said.
In that vein, Williams slammed the mayor and police unions for their characterization of the bill.
Critics have said -- notably via a commercial featuring a blindfolded police officer -- that the racial profiling bill would stop police from describing suspects to one another.
Williams challenged those critics to show him where it says that; if they can, he said, he'll pull the bill before the override vote.
"If you cannot do that, you should pull your ad," Williams said. "That is a challenge from the lead sponsor of the bill: Put up or shut up."
But Captains Endowment Association President Roy Richter, the blindfolded officer in the ad, wasn't backing away from his criticism.
"Intro 1080 is bad law with deadly consequences. This new law will cause police officers to refrain from relaying important descriptions of perpetrators to responding officers when investigating violent crime," he said. "That is not in anyone's interest and is dangerous to the public and the police. I hope Council Member Rose responds to my invitation to discuss this dangerous legislation and sees that the issues she defends are correct but the law she helped pass is wrong."
The profiling bill enables citizens to sue the department for policies they find disparately impact one group, although they cannot sue for monetary gain.
The union's Monahan said that while the bill doesn't outlaw describing someone, it's the specter of lawsuits for stopping the wrong person that will hamstring police.
"In a nutshell, the police officer now has to prove himself why he stopped that person," Monahan said.
Among the groups rallying in support of Ms. Rose were Make the Road New York, the National Action Network, the New York Civil Liberties Union and the Locals 1199 and 32BJ of the SEIU.
And then there was Peter Killen, a retired NYPD detective from Shore Acres. Years ago, Killen said, Stop, Question and Frisk was an effective tool -- and was used only to track down a suspect described over radio.
"It is now used by the NYPD as an occupying force in the city," he alleged.
He said officers use the tactic to meet numbers requested by their supervisors -- and they should stop until they can be retrained.
"Police officers have been programmed that they have to do this to get numbers, and they do this, and it's wrong," Killen said.
Chief of Department Philip Banks
New NYPD chief wants to clean up cops' sloppy style
Chief of Department Philip Banks issued a memo to the department's 34,500 members ordering them to keep shoes shined, pants pressed and tattoos covered.
By Alfred Ng, Rocco Parascandola AND Larry McShane — Friday, July 19th, 2013 ¡®The New York Daily News¡¯
COMMENT: Like clockwork, every new Chief of Department comes out with exactly the same message about 6 months or so after being appointed. And like clockwork, nothing changes or things gets worse — the disheveled, slobs and fatties continue to excel at becoming more unkempt and grubby, not to mention the fatties packing on more of the pounds! - Mike Bosak
A portly police officer may be behind the latest NYPD initiative: Stop and primp.
Chief of Department Philip Banks wants his cops to put their best, buffed feet forward as part of a renewed effort to keep the department¡¯s 34,500 members looking neat on the beat.
¡°A member¡¯s appearance and uniforms must be . . . clean and conform to all standards,¡± declares a 10-page Banks memo outlining his planned crackdown on sloppy cop couture.
The ¡°uniform appearance plan,¡± now in draft form, encourages officers to shine their shoes, cover their tattoos, straighten their hats — and buy new pants.
A source said Banks¡¯ interest in making like Mr. Blackwell followed the sight of a heavyset cop stuffed like a sausage into an ill-fitting outfit at the Puerto Rican Day Parade.
Banks denied it was any single incident that led to the fashion review that he began putting together about six weeks ago.
¡°I would say that the overwhelming majority of officers have a lot of pride in their appearance,¡± he told the Daily News. ¡°We¡¯re just trying to improve things. So if it¡¯s 95%, we want to make it 96%.¡±
Banks said the public appreciates a neat appearance in all walks of life.
¡°I think they¡¯ll have more confidence in anybody who looks good — a police officer, Sanitation Department worker, bus operator, the people who work in the press,¡± he said.
The chief, according to a copy of the memo obtained by The News, laid out his NYPD pet peeves: Fraying, fading pants. Worn-out, cracking belts. Wrinkled shirts. Crooked hats. Scuffed shoes.
In addition to their gear, cops need to keep their facial hair neatly trimmed — the Serpico look is sooooo 1970s. And cops hired on or after Jan. 1, 2007, are required to keep their tattoos covered.
The head of the Patrolmen¡¯s Benevolent Association questioned Banks¡¯ fashion sense.
¡°Instead of focusing on discipline, the job should focus on the shortage of police officers that is causing our members to run full speed from job to job in 100-degree heat,¡± said union president Patrick Lynch.
But officers on duty in the blistering heat Thursday had no beef with the emphasis on keeping up appearances.
¡°You go to any job, the dress code is neat and clean,¡± said one cop in Queens. ¡°This job isn¡¯t any different. Why should we be the exception?¡±
Another Queens officer with more than two decades on the job, echoed his colleague.
¡°There¡¯s an image we have to uphold,¡± he said. ¡°That¡¯s how it¡¯s always been. I think they¡¯re just reinforcing it because a lot of officers are forgetting the rule.¡±
Cops get a yearly $1,000 uniform allowance — although it doesn¡¯t always end up in an officer¡¯s clothes closet. Because there¡¯s no requirement for receipts showing how the money is spent, it sometimes goes for Christmas gifts or other expenditures.
A neatness video was in the works, along with a poster detailing the necessary attention to detail.
Once the officers clean up their acts, the next step is getting their police vehicles straightened up, Banks warned.
104 Precinct P.O. Sean Christian Allegedly Scores 20 Nude Pictures, Sex Videos and a Trip to the Trial Room
Blond beauty set to sue NYPD over sexy photos swiped from iPhone
Pamela Held, 27, of Deer Park, Long Island, claims an NYPD officer from the 104th Precinct in Ridgewood, Queens stole the raunchy images she shared only with her boyfriend.
By Rocco Parascandola AND Bill Hutchinson — Friday, July 19th, 2013 ¡®The New York Daily News¡¯
A Long Island beauty says NYPD cops seized her iPhone and that one of them stole sexually explicit photos and videos meant for her boyfriend¡¯s eyes only.
Pamela Held, 27, of Deer Park, is poised to sue the city and the Police Department, accusing a cop of invading her privacy by forwarding the provocative images from her iPhone. The steamy images of Held were sent to a personal cell phone that her lawyer said belongs to Officer Sean Christian.
¡°It makes me sick,¡± Held told the Daily News. ¡°I don¡¯t even want to think about what he¡¯s done with them.¡±
Police sources confirmed that Christian, 41, assigned to the 104th Precinct stationhouse in Ridgewood, Queens, is the subject of an Internal Affairs investigation stemming from Held¡¯s complaint.
Held¡¯s nightmarish ordeal unfolded the night of Feb. 6 when five cops in a police van pulled over her Sentra in Ridgewood because it had no inspection sticker. The cops found prescription drugs in the car, so the officers, including Christian, hauled Held and her pal to the stationhouse.
When cops began grilling her about her whereabouts that night, Held told them she was visiting a friend and had text messages to prove it. She gave one officer the security code to open her phone and pointed out the messages. Then police left the room, with the phone, while she was processed on misdemeanor drug charges.
¡°I knew they had my phone and I was bugging out,¡± Held told The News. ¡°I had a bad feeling.¡±
She was held nearly three more hours at the stationhouse before her phone was returned and she was given a desk appearance ticket. Held said Christian followed her to her car.
¡°He was telling me I¡¯m a beautiful girl and I need to stop hanging out with the wrong people,¡± Held recalled.
She left and later pulled over to check her phone.
¡°I saw this number and all the pictures and videos attached to it,¡± Held said.
She counted 20 nude photos and five sexy videos of her that had been forwarded to the phone number. Fearing the worst, she contacted lawyer Richard Soleymanzadeh, whose private investigator traced the mystery number on Held¡¯s phone to Christian and learned he was a cop.
In a brief interview with The News, Christian, on the job 10 years, denied swiping the photos and videos from Held¡¯s phone. He denied ever meeting Held or working at the 104th Precinct. Christian, who remains on the job, claimed the number that appeared on Held¡¯s iPhone belonged to his brother.
But in a secretly recorded call to the number associated with the stolen images — and with Internal Affairs detectives listening in — Christian seemed quite familiar with Held, a source said. He chatted and flirted with Held for 50 minutes, even calling her back when the call dropped.
Detectives examined Christian¡¯s phone records and it does not appear it ever received the photos or videos. Christian told detectives he never received Held¡¯s images, another source said. But Soleymanzadeh contends there was no ¡°message undelivered¡± notation on Held¡¯s iPhone, indicating the images were sent.
The criminal case against Held was adjourned with contemplation of dismissal, as was the drug and marijuana case against her friend.
Meanwhile, Held said she keeps surfing the Internet fearing her intimate snaps will pop up.
¡°Who knows what he¡¯s capable of?¡± she asked.
With Ruth Bashinsky and Vera Chinese
Deputy Chief James Shea Takes Job as Jersey City¡¯s Public Safety Director
Former NYPD deputy chief James Shea appointed public safety director for Jersey City
James Shea, a former NYPD deputy chief who once ran the Joint Terrorism Task Force, has been appointed public safety director for Jersey City.
By Joe Kemp — Friday, July 19th, 2013 ¡®The New York Daily News¡¯
A former NYPD deputy chief who once ran the Joint Terrorism Task Force was appointed public safety director for Jersey City, officials said Thursday.
James Shea will have to move to New Jersey to take his new post as head of the city¡¯s police and fire departments, officials said.
In 2011, Shea was booted from the task force and sent to command the Police Academy, sources said, after he refused to hand over FBI intelligence to his NYPD bosses.
Mayor Fulop names NYPD Deputy Chief James Shea as Jersey City¡¯s new public safety director
By E. Assat Wright — Thursday, July 18th, 2013 ¡®The Hudson Reporter¡¯ / Hoboken, NJ
JERSEY CITY – Mayor Steven M. Fulop today announced the nomination of New York Police Department (NYPD) Deputy Chief James Shea as Jersey City¡¯s new public safety director. In his new role, Shea will oversee both the Jersey City Police Department and the Jersey City Fire Department.
The announcement came after the city suffered from three murders in six days.
At a press conference Thursday afternoon, Fulop said the JCPD and JCFD will each retain their own department chiefs.
Shea was selected after Fulop used private funds to retain Vigilant Resources International to head up a national search for a public safety director. Former New York Fire Department and NYPD Commissioner Howard Safir is a principal with Vigilant Resources International.
Shea, who said Thursday he plans to move to Jersey City, has most recently served as deputy chief of the NYPD and is responsible for the Youth and Gang Crime Division, focusing on the expansion and enhancement of the division and targeting a reduction in gang violence.
Other recent assignments have included commanding some of the toughest areas, working on issues such as robberies, street crime and terrorism.
For two years, Shea served as commanding officer of the NYPD Contingent for the FBI/NYPD Joint Terrorist Task Force, overseeing national security investigations, conducting briefings of threats and investigations up to the White House level, coordinating the planning and deployment for emergency management and high level special events, as well as coordinating personnel from more than 50 local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.
During his tenure with the NYPD, Shea also served as the commanding officer of the 49 and 47 precincts in the Bronx, leading more than 300 uniformed and civilian personnel and overseeing all law enforcement operations within two communities each with more than 100,000 residents. In the Bronx, Shea designed, developed and implemented crime control and public safety functions including supervision of operations, investigations, training, budgeting, and quality control, as well as analyzing criminal and demographic trends and indicators for presentation to community groups, elected officials, and the media.
Shea also served as commanding officer of the NYPD¡¯s Citywide Robbery Division and the NYPD Police Academy, and has worked in a supervisory role in Manhattan¡¯s Organized Crime Control Bureau and in the NYPD¡¯s Patrol Services Bureau for the 28th, 9th, and 46th Precincts.
At the press conference Thursday Shea told the Reporter he supports the creation of volunteer citizen-led community patrols when such volunteers are ¡°properly trained and properly motivated.¡±
He also told the Reporter that he has a ¡°very good¡¯ relationship with ¡°all communities in New York City, including the city¡¯s communities of color."
The NYPD has in recent years sometimes had a strained relationship with New York¡¯s African American and Latino communities. Shea said he does not expect to have that problem in Jersey City.
¡°Jersey City has been dealing with serious public safety issues for some time, which my administration is committed to addressing immediately,¡± said Mayor Fulop. ¡°James has both the experience, knowledge, and management skills to implement real change as it relates to public safety and I am confident he will lead Jersey City on the right path toward reducing crime and making our city one of the safest mid-size cities in America.¡±
¡°Having led two busy precincts in the Bronx, James has the management experience to oversee public safety operations in a city as large and diverse as Jersey City,¡± Fulop added. ¡°With James¡¯ specific experience in gang and youth violence, as well as terrorism and homeland security issues, he stood out as an ideal candidate for the position of Public Safety Director.¡±
Shea, a former United States Marine, is also a graduate of the Police Management Institute at Columbia University School of Business and holds a BS in police science from the City University of New York.
Shea¡¯s appointment must still be approved by the City Council, which will vote on his appointment at its next meeting on Wednesday, July 31 at 6 p.m.
The creation of the public safety director position has been controversial.
Current ward C City Councilman Richard Boggiano, a retired JCPD officer, has said that Jersey City has twice tried having a public safety director oversee bother the JCFD and the JCPD, ¡°and both times it failed.¡±
Rank and file officers and firefighters have expressed dismay over the process by which Shea was hired. While Fulop said Shea was selected after a ¡°national search,¡± current members of the JCFD and JCPD have said they were not notified of the search or how to apply for the position.
Cop killer Ronell Wilson's mother pleads for his life
Cheryl Wilson Hadden, the mother of cop killer Ronell Wilson, struggled to describe what the execution of her son would mean to her.
By Oren Yaniv — Friday, July 19th, 2013 ¡®The New York Daily News¡¯
THE MOTHER of cop killer Ronell Wilson choked up and struggled for words Thursday when describing what the execution of her son would mean to her.
¡°It would hurt,¡± Cheryl Wilson Hadden, 54, finally said in Brooklyn Federal Court during her son¡¯s resentencing trial. ¡°Like everyone else, it¡¯d hurt.¡±
She said she wasn¡¯t a typical mom during Wilson¡¯s youth. ¡°I was out smoking crack, drinking,¡± she said.
Wilson, 31, was sentenced to death for the killings of NYPD Detectives James Nemorin and Rodney Andrews. But the sentence was reversed on prosecutorial error.
Ronell Wilson's mom: His execution 'would kill me'
By ANTHONY M. DESTEFANO — Friday, July 19th, 2013 ¡®New York Newsday¡¯ / Melville, L.I.
The mother of the man who killed two NYPD undercover officers testified Thursday she would be devastated if the jury decided to give him the death penalty for his crimes.
"It would hurt, it would just hurt," an emotional Cheryl Wilson Hadden testified in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn. "It would, I guess, would kill me, just like anybody else."
Hadden, 54, was testifying in a special death penalty phase of the case against her son Ronell Wilson, 31, who was convicted in 2006 of killing NYPD officers James Nemorin of Baldwin Harbor and Rodney Andrews of Middle Village during an undercover drug buy on Staten Island in 2003.
The original jury in the case decided on the death penalty for Wilson but that punishment was overturned by an appeals court because of an improper summation by Brooklyn federal prosecutors. The current proceeding is a retrial of the penalty phase of the case.
Under questioning by defense attorney Richard Jasper, Hadden reiterated details of her life of crack and alcohol abuse while she was a parent to five children.
After 2 1/2 years in a rehab program in Queens, Hadden said, she turned her life around.
Hadden struggled to maintain her composure when Jasper asked about how she would feel if the jury decided her son should die.
Prosecutors and defense attorneys told Judge Nicholas Garaufis they expected to have closing arguments on the penalty phase Tuesday.
New Jersey Supreme Court Restricts Police Searches of Phone Data
By KATE ZERNIKE — Friday, July 19th, 2013 ¡®The New York Times¡¯
Staking out new ground in the noisy debate about technology and privacy in law enforcement, the New Jersey Supreme Court on Thursday ordered that the police will now have to get a search warrant before obtaining tracking information from cellphone providers.
The ruling puts the state at the forefront of efforts to define the boundaries around a law enforcement practice that a national survey last year showed was routine, and typically done without court oversight or public awareness. With lower courts divided on the use of cellphone tracking data, legal experts say, the issue is likely to end up before the United States Supreme Court.
The New Jersey decision also underscores the extent of the battles over government intrusion into personal data in a quickly advancing digital age, from small town police departments to the National Security Agency¡¯s surveillance of e-mail and cellphone conversations.
Several states and Congress are considering legislation to require that warrants based on probable cause be obtained before investigators can get cellphone data. Montana recently became the first state to pass such a measure into law. The California Legislature approved a similar bill in 2012, but Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed it, saying it did not ¡°strike the right balance¡± between the needs of law enforcement and the rights of citizens.
The Florida Supreme Court ruled in May that the police could seize a cellphone without a warrant, but needed a warrant to search it. And a case before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, in Richmond, Va., is weighing whether investigators acted legally when they got a court order, but not a warrant, to obtain 221 days of cellphone location data for suspects in an armed robbery case in Maryland.
¡°This type of issue will play out in many jurisdictions for the simple reason that cellphones are so prevalent in daily life,¡± said Peter G. Verniero, a former New Jersey attorney general and State Supreme Court justice. ¡°The decision affects just about everybody.¡±
¡°Law enforcement is trying to keep up with technology, as well they should,¡± he added. ¡°It¡¯s very legitimate for law enforcement to use technology, but this court decision is a strong reminder that constitutional standards still apply. The courts have to adapt, and law enforcement has to adapt.¡±
The ruling involved a case that began with a string of burglaries in homes in Middletown, N.J. A court ordered the tracing of a cellphone that had been stolen from one home, which led to a man in a bar in nearby Asbury Park, who said his cousin had sold him the phone, and had been involved in burglaries. The police then used data they got from T-Mobile to locate the suspect, Thomas W. Earls, at three points on a subsequent evening, tracking him to a motel room where he was found with a television and suitcases full of stolen goods.
In a unanimous decision, the State Supreme Court said that when people entered cellphone contracts, ¡°they can reasonably expect that their personal information will remain private.¡±
The justices recognized that this departed somewhat from federal case law. But they relied in part on a United States Supreme Court decision last year that the police could not attach a Global Positioning System to a suspect¡¯s car without a warrant. A cellphone, the New Jersey justices said, was like a GPS device.
¡°Using a cellphone to determine the location of its owner can be far more revealing than acquiring toll billing, bank, or Internet subscriber records,¡± said the opinion, written by Chief Justice Stuart Rabner. ¡°Details about the location of a cellphone can provide an intimate picture of one¡¯s daily life and reveal not just where people go — which doctors, religious services and stores they visit — but also the people and groups they choose to affiliate with. That information cuts across a broad range of personal ties with family, friends, political groups, health care providers and others.¡±
Besides establishing a firmer legal bar for the police to obtain cellphone data, the Supreme Court also remanded the case to the appeals court to determine whether the evidence collected using the cellphone records could be admitted in court under an ¡°emergency aid exception¡± to the requirement for a warrant.
Last year, the American Civil Liberties Union reviewed records from more than 200 local police departments, large and small, and found that they were aggressively using cellphone tracking data, so much so that some cellphone companies were marketing a catalog of ¡°surveillance fees¡± to police departments, to track suspects or even to download text messages sent to a phone that had been turned off. Departments were using the information for emergency and nonemergency cases.
Some departments had manuals advising officers not to reveal the practice to the public. Others defended its use. The police in Grand Rapids, Mich., for example, had used a cellphone locator to find a stabbing victim who was in a basement hiding from his attacker.
The law has been slow to keep up. The Florida decision in May rejected the reasoning of a lower court that had based its approval of cellphone tracking on a 1973 United States Supreme Court case that allowed heroin found in a suspect¡¯s cigarette pack to be introduced as evidence. ¡°Attempting to correlate a crumpled package of cigarettes to the cellphones of today is like comparing a one-cell organism to a human being,¡± the decision said.
Nationally, court decisions about cellphone tracking have considered whether it comports with the Fourth Amendment, which guards against unreasonable searches and seizures. But the justices in New Jersey based their decision on the State Constitution, which affords greater privacy protection. The state court has previously ruled in favor of electronic privacy. In 2008, it said that police had to obtain a subpoena from a grand jury to obtain Internet provider records.
¡°The inescapable logic of this decision should be influential beyond New Jersey because it makes complete sense as to an individual¡¯s reasonable expectation of privacy,¡± said Rubin Sinins, who filed a friend of the court brief on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union and the New Jersey Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.
State officials balk at defending laws they deem unconstitutional
By Juliet Eilperin — Friday, July 19th, 2013 ¡®The Washington Post¡¯ / Washington, DC
Once state legislation is passed, it¡¯s usually up to the governor and attorney general to see that the law is implemented.
But in a number of high-profile cases around the country, top state officials are balking at defending laws on gay marriage, immigration and other socially divisive issues — saying the statutes are unconstitutional and should not be enforced.
In Pennsylvania, for example, Attorney General Kathleen Kane (D) says she won¡¯t defend the state¡¯s ban on same-sex marriage in federal court. In Hawaii, Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D) filed court papers calling that state¡¯s gay marriage ban unconstitutional.
And in Indiana, Attorney General Greg Zoeller (R) has come under fire from conservatives for refusing to defend a portion of that state¡¯s immigration law. He said a recent Supreme Court ruling on a similar Arizona provision means that Indiana¡¯s law is unconstitutional.
The moves have put officials in both parties under attack from opponents, who accuse them of basing their decisions on political, rather than legal, motives. As a result, groups on both sides of the spectrum are laying plans to target the officials in upcoming elections.
¡°There¡¯s no doubt that there¡¯s more public pressure as we defend on issues of this social magnitude,¡± Zoeller said in an interview this week.
Attorneys general routinely have to decide whether laws facing legal challenges are constitutional. But in recent years, the high-profile nature of political battles over same-sex marriage and other social issues have put many of their decisions in the spotlight.
The phenomenon appears likely to spill over into the 2014 elections, with attorneys general in Colorado, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, New Mexico and Nevada facing the possibility of being targeted by groups embroiled in the gay-marriage fight.
Gay activists are looking at putting money into a handful of such races next year, though they have not decided which ones they will target.
The issue garnered widespread attention in 2011, when U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. decided that the Justice Department would no longer defend the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which denied marriage-based federal benefits to same-sex couples. The Supreme Court struck down a key portion of the law last month.
Several academics, including former Maine attorney general James E. Tierney, said attorneys general are obligated to scrutinize laws that might be politically popular but legally flawed.
¡°The simple truth is that AG refusal to defend happens all the time,¡± Tierney, who directs the National State Attorneys General Program at Columbia Law School, wrote in an e-mail. ¡°Legislatures are comprised in most states by non-lawyers trying to do the right thing, but they do not understand the complexity of constitutional limits. They are advised, but often plunge ahead — both liberals and conservatives — and make constitutional mistakes. It then falls to the AG to clean this mess up.¡±
Rick Pildes, a constitutional law professor at New York University, said state officials should tread very carefully before deciding not to defend statutes.
¡°There¡¯s always a very strong political temptation for elected officials — whether they¡¯re attorneys general, governors or chief executives — not to defend laws they disagree with politically, or whose defense will alienate powerful political constituencies,¡± Pildes said.
In Pennsylvania, Kane said that last month¡¯s Supreme Court rulings made her state¡¯s same-sex marriage ban ¡°wholly unconstitutional¡± and that it would be up to the Republican governor¡¯s counsel to defend it.
Kane said in an interview last week that state law and regulations allow her to recuse herself if she believes she could not represent her client.
¡°If there is a law that I feel that does not conform with the Pennsylvania constitution and the U.S. Constitution, then I ethically cannot do that as a lawyer,¡± she said.
It is unclear whether there will be immediate political repercussions for Kane, who doesn¡¯t face reelection until 2016. State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R), who opposes same-sex marriage, has raised the possibility of invoking impeachment proceedings against her because of the decision.
Kane had also raised the prospect of not defending the state¡¯s controversial voter-identification law, but her office decided to defend the law at trial this week.
Democratic attorneys general say they are not pursuing a coordinated strategy on same-sex marriage. But gay rights lawyers have spent the past six years advising them on how they might handle these challenges once they reach their desk.
¡°There isn¡¯t going to be one cookie-cutter approach to this,¡± said Ted Trimpa, a Denver-based lawyer who said shifts in public opinion can assist attorneys general in same-sex marriage cases if they want to ¡°be bold.¡±
In Illinois, Democratic officials including state Attorney General Lisa Madigan have declined to oppose a lawsuit filed last year seeking same-sex licenses from the Cook County clerk. The Thomas More Society, a conservative law firm, has intervened on behalf of five clerks from other Illinois counties who are opposed to gay marriage.
¡°The people rely on the executive branch of doing its job of defending the laws, enforcing the laws,¡± said Peter Breen, the Thomas More Society¡¯s vice president and senior counsel. ¡°It strikes at the heart of our representative system of government.¡±
Evan Wolfson, president of the gay rights group Freedom to Marry, said the spate of decisions on same-sex marriage bans are an exception rather than the rule. ¡°It¡¯s almost a once-in-a-career moment for attorneys general who have sworn to uphold the Constitution and are being told to uphold these measures that are blatantly unconstitutional,¡± he said.
Zoeller, who has challenged aspects of the Affordable Care Act and defended Indiana¡¯s right-to-work statutes, said groups frequently try to persuade him to walk away from certain cases.
¡°I tell them, if you object to a policy, you need to speak to the policymakers,¡± he said, adding that he is obligated to fight in court for any state law if ¡°I have a good-faith basis to defend it.¡±
In Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker and Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, both Republicans, refused to defend the state¡¯s domestic partnership registry law when it came under attack from conservatives, prompting the gay rights group Fair Wisconsin to step in. A state appeals court upheld the law in December.
Stanford University Law School professor Michael McConnell, who directs the school¡¯s Constitutional Law Center, said the only reason an attorney general should opt out of a case is if it conflicts with the executive branch¡¯s authority or if there¡¯s no reasonable argument that can be made for the law.
When McConnell served in the solicitor general¡¯s office in the Reagan administration, he said, he defended a Labor Department minimum-wage rule he disagreed with personally in arguments before the Supreme Court. ¡°I thought it was unconstitutional, but we prevailed nine to nothing,¡± he said.
Cardozo Law School professor Kate Shaw said that it was ¡°appropriate¡± for attorneys general to decline to defend cases in some instances but that they should be transparent about their reasons and make sure another party is prepared to take up the case.
¡°If exercised too cavalierly, this power is somewhat troubling and could be dangerous,¡± she said.
Several experts warned that while Democrats seem more predisposed not to defend certain laws, Republicans could exercise the same option on issues including health care and hate crimes.
¡°You start down this path, and it simply breeds more partisan warfare, and it provides more precedents for doing it more,¡± said Norman J. Ornstein, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Washington-based conservative think tank.
Heroin in New England, More Abundant and Deadly
By KATHARINE Q. SEELYE — Friday, July 19th, 2013 ¡®The New York Times¡¯
PORTLAND, Me. — Heroin, which has long flourished in the nation¡¯s big urban centers, has been making an alarming comeback in the smaller cities and towns of New England.
From quaint fishing villages on the Maine coast to the interior of the Great North Woods extending across Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, officials report a sharp rise in the availability of the crystalline powder and in overdoses and deaths attributed to it. ¡°It¡¯s easier to get heroin in some of these places than it is to get a UPS delivery,¡± said Dr. Mark Publicker, an addiction specialist here.
Here in Portland, better known for its laid-back vibe and lively waterfront, posters warn of the dangers of overdose. ¡°Please,¡± they say: ¡°Do Not Use Alone. Do a Tester Shot¡± and ¡°Use the Recovery Position¡± (which is lying on one¡¯s side to avoid choking on vomit).
The city, like many others across the country, is experiencing ¡°an inordinate number of heroin overdoses,¡± said Vern Malloch, assistant chief of the Portland Police Department. ¡°We¡¯ve got overdose deaths in the bathrooms of fast-food restaurants. This is an increase like we haven¡¯t seen in many years.¡±
Heroin killed 21 people in Maine last year, three times as many as in 2011, according to the state¡¯s Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services. New Hampshire recorded 40 deaths from heroin overdoses last year, up from just 7 a decade ago. In Vermont, the Health Department reported that 914 people were treated for heroin abuse last year, up from 654 the year before, an increase of almost 40 percent.
¡°Heroin is our biggest problem right now,¡± said Capt. Scott Tucker of the Rutland, Vt., police.
One reason for the rise in heroin use is the restrictions on doctors in prescribing painkillers. The tightened supply of pain pills, and physical changes that made them harder to crush and snort for a quick high, have diverted many users to heroin, which is much cheaper and easier to get. Dr. Publicker, president of the Northern New England Society of Addiction Medicine, said that some doctors in the region had been overprescribing painkillers, which can be gateway drugs to heroin. A federal study in 2011 showed that the treatment admission rate for opiate addiction was higher in Maine, and New England, than elsewhere in the country, though communities everywhere are reporting problems.
¡°We had a bad epidemic, and now we have a worse epidemic,¡± Dr. Publicker said. ¡°I¡¯m treating 21-, 22-year-old pregnant women with intravenous heroin addiction.¡±
Yet the rise in heroin abuse here predated the restrictions on painkillers, leading some officials to blame the simple law of supply and demand. Distributors in New York see a wide-open market in northern New England, where law enforcement can be spotty and users are willing to pay premium prices. A $6 bag of heroin in New York City fetches $10 in southern New England but up to $30 or $40 in northern New England, law enforcement officials said. The dealer gets a tremendous profit margin, while the addict pays half of what he might have to shell out for a prescription painkiller.
¡°If the market is flooded with low-priced, high-grade heroin, a significant population is addicted,¡± Captain Tucker of Rutland said. ¡°That¡¯s the free market.¡±
Heroin is one of the most addictive drugs in the world. About a quarter of everyone who tries it becomes dependent on it. Users can quickly develop a tolerance, prompting them to seek more and more until the pursuit takes over their lives and, often, leads to ruin.
Theresa Dumond, 23, who lives on the streets of Portland, said she sells her body three times a day to support her heroin habit. She lost custody of her two young children about a year ago (¡°I can¡¯t keep track¡±), and their father died.
¡°I¡¯ve lost everything,¡± she said as she and a companion, Jason Lemay, 26, walked to an abandoned train tunnel, littered with old needles and trash, to shoot up. ¡°The heroin numbs the pain and makes you not care about life,¡± she said.
Her only concern now is scoring more heroin. She pays no attention to food and sleeps where she is or in a shelter.
Once deep inside the train tunnel, she helped Mr. Lemay inject a needle into one of his legs — he had no good veins left in his arms — and then jabbed a needle into her own arm. ¡°It¡¯s the best feeling ever,¡± she said. ¡°It¡¯s the warm rush.¡±
With more people becoming addicted, officials in New England are bracing for the likely consequences: more burglaries so addicts can support their habits and heavier demands on health, welfare and law enforcement services. Novice users are more likely to share needles, leading to an expected increase in infections like H.I.V. and hepatitis C.
Maine is the first state that has limited access to specific medications, including buprenorphine and methadone, that have been proven to be effective in treating addiction, a step taken to save money. Many here worry that such restrictions are likely to make things worse and lead to more fatalities.
For now, emergency responders are busier than ever.
¡°We used to have just two or three overdose calls a week,¡± said Terry Walsh, Portland¡¯s deputy fire chief, who oversees emergency medical services. ¡°Now we¡¯re seeing two, three, four a day.¡±
Most of the heroin reaching New England originates in Colombia and comes through Mexico, federal law enforcement officials said. The number of seizures along the border jumped sixfold in 2011 from 2005. But enough is getting through to major distribution centers in the Northeast, including Philadelphia and New York, that it is flowing steadily into northern New England, often through Lowell, Lawrence and Holyoke, Mass. In May, six people were arrested in connection with a $3.3 million heroin ring in Springfield, Mass., and Holyoke, where investigators seized 45,000 single-dose bags.
The purity of the heroin varies widely, which law enforcement officers say is partly responsible for the increase in deaths, and bad batches have been reported throughout the region. Even an experienced user might not be prepared for the strength of a particular bag. And because heroin reaches the brain so quickly — and witnesses hesitate to call for help immediately — overdoses are often fatal.
Lourdes Watson-Carter, 34, who lived in a small town near here, had been a heroin addict for several years, according to her family and friends. They said her addiction led her to prostitute herself to pay for her next fix.
After her most recent term in prison, for drug trafficking, her friends and family thought she was clean. She was even preparing to go back to school in cosmetology and hairdressing and hoped she might regain custody of her young son.
But one night last month, Ms. Watson-Carter injected some very pure heroin, according to her father, Michael Watson, a retired Amtrak police officer, who lives in Maryland.
¡°She was taking the same amount she would usually take, but it was so concentrated and pure that she overdosed,¡± he said. By the time an ambulance arrived, she may have been brain dead; he received conflicting reports. She caught pneumonia a few days later and then died.
Her death was especially awful, her father said, because he thought she was finally turning her life around. ¡°But I knew I was going to get that call someday,¡± he said. ¡°You try to prepare yourself for it, and you think you can handle it. But you don¡¯t handle it very well.¡±
F.B.I. (Leadership By Politically Correct Cowards)
Thursday, July 18th, 2013; ¡®The Investor's Business Daily¡¯ Editorial:
The PC-ification Of The FBI
Homeland Insecurity: If there's any doubt the FBI's gone soft on Islamic terror and may be overlooking more Boston-style plots, witness the bureau chief's recent Hill testimony.
In a testy exchange with Republican lawmakers on the House Judiciary Committee, FBI Director Robert Mueller reluctantly acknowledged FBI counterterrorism training materials have been purged of references to "jihad" and "Islam" and that counterterrorism agents have been restricted from doing undercover investigations at mosques.
These outrageous policies likely contributed to the FBI missing signs of radicalization in the Muslim community — including that of the Tsarnaev brothers in Boston. The marathon bombers operated in plain sight of the FBI before killing three and wounding 260.
During the hearing, Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, blasted Mueller for concluding his agency had done an "excellent" and "thorough job" protecting the public and for saying he didn't know what more could have been done to disrupt the marathon bombing plot.
Gohmert also read aloud from IBD's recent editorial on the subject, "Obama's Snooping Excludes Mosques, Missed Boston Bombers."
Mueller confirmed that instead of investigating the militant Boston mosque where the bomber brothers were radicalized, the FBI partnered with it for political "outreach."
Asked if he was aware the mosque was co-founded by a convicted terrorist cited by the Treasury Department as an al-Qaida fundraiser, Mueller sheepishly replied, "I was not."
The same mosque also has graduated several other convicted terrorists. The FBI helped put all these terrorists behind bars, yet didn't tie them back to the mosque. If the bureau had, it would have seen something rotten with the leadership there.
FBI documents recently released from the 9/11 investigation of al-Qaida cleric Anwar Awlaki reveal he was a close associate of the current lead imam of that same Boston mosque. Yet agents still reached out to the imam as a trusted "partner."
The FBI, moreover, had the Tsarnaev brothers on its anti-terrorist radar — thanks only to a tip from Russian intelligence — yet didn't track them back to the mosque or monitor their behavior at that mosque.
Even with the brothers' photos and case files in the FBI database, the bureau had to appeal to the American people to ID the evil jihadists on national TV.
It's a sorry — and scary — state of affairs when the director of the FBI and his field agents know less than the public about major threats from Islamic fanatics living among us.
Mueller wasn't always Mr. Magoo. Who put the PC blinders on him? Eric Holder.
In October 2011, the attorney general quietly put in force two policies that have made the nation far more vulnerable to homegrown terrorism.
For one, he set up a special review committee to curb mosque investigations, classifying the names of the reviewers, who reportedly may include outside parties.
Also that month he ordered a review of all FBI counterterrorist training manuals "to identify and correct any material that may be construed as offensive to someone of the Islamic faith," according to a directive sent to all FBI field offices.
Reviewers proceeded to purge references to "jihad" and "Islam" in connection to terrorism.
Mueller told Gohmert that the names of the Islamic "subject matter experts" who helped conduct the review remain classified.
What this means is that shadowy and unaccountable Islamic sympathizers are now effectively running counterterror programs. Feel safer?
It's plain that political correctness is hindering efforts to stop Islamic terrorists before they strike.
Until we purge PC from law enforcement, we won't truly be safe from future Bostons.
State Police photographer releases bloody Tsarnaev photos to Boston Magazine
By Travis Andersen — Friday, July 19th, 2013 ¡®The Boston Globe¡¯ / Boston, MA
A State Police sergeant, incensed by the controversial Rolling Stone magazine cover of accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, has released dramatic photographs of the apprehension of the accused terrorist to a local magazine without permission from his agency.
The pictures, taken by Sergeant Sean Murphy, a State Police tactical photographer who was working during the massive manhunt on April 19 in Watertown, first appeared on the website of Boston Magazine Thursday afternoon. Boston.com and other media outlets posted them afterward.
Murphy told the magazine that the photos, showing Tsarnaev bloodied and with a police sniper¡¯s laser-projected bead on his head, display ¡°the real Boston bomber. Not someone fluffed and buffed for the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.¡±
The Rolling Stone cover, which critics say glamorized Tsarnaev, ¡°was an insult to any person who has ever worn a uniform of any color or any police organization or military branch, and the family members who have ever lost a loved one serving in the line of duty,¡± Murphy said.
A State Police spokesman said Thursday night that Murphy had been relieved of duty for one day and will be subject to an internal investigation. ¡°His duty status will be determined at a hearing in the near future,¡± said spokesman David Procopio.
Procopio confirmed that Murphy took the photos in his official capacity, but he distributed them without permission.
¡°Today¡¯s dissemination to Boston Magazine of photographs of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and police activity related to his capture was not authorized by the Massachusetts State Police,¡± Procopio said in a statement. ¡°The department will not release the photographs to media outlets.¡±
A spokeswoman for US Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz, whose staff is prosecuting Tsarnaev, said State Police have indicated they will be ¡°taking action¡± in response to the leak.
¡°The release of these photos was completely unacceptable,¡± spokeswoman Christina DiIorio-Sterling said in a statement.
Neither Procopio nor DiIorio-Sterling would say whether the photos have been entered as evidence in the pending case against Tsarnaev in federal court in Boston. He faces a slew of charges that could bring the death penalty for his alleged role in the bombings, which killed three, including a child from Dorchester, and wounded more than 260.
Murphy could not be reached for comment on Thursday, and Tsarnaev¡¯s lawyers did not respond to inquiries.
The release of the photos drew criticism from legal experts.
Rosanna Cavallaro, a professor at Suffolk University Law School, said the leak will exacerbate what is already a major problem: how to empanel a jury that has not seen or formed judgments about the case based on media coverage and photos.
But, she said, these particular photos will not transform the case, since there are already concerns about whether Tsarnaev can get a fair trial anywhere, let alone in Boston.
¡°The real concern is that people will see these new photos and think, ¡®Oh, he must be guilty,¡¯ because why else would he be surrounded by dozens of police and emerging, bleeding, from a boat,¡± said Cavallaro, a former assistant attorney general. ¡°We have to make sure people don¡¯t make decisions based on that because we want punishment to be based on a fair proceeding.¡±
John Cunha, a former president of the Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, called the leak ¡°disgraceful¡± and said that Murphy acted outside his bounds as a member of law enforcement.
¡°Does he think he¡¯s our appointed champion against the fourth estate?¡± Cunha said. ¡°Give me a break.¡±
Rolling Stone declined to comment Thursday but said previously on its website that the cover fell within journalistic traditions and the magazine¡¯s ¡°long-standing commitment to serious and thoughtful coverage of the most important political and cultural issues of our day.¡±
The cover title of Rolling Stone¡¯s story on Tsarnaev was: ¡°The Bomber: How a popular, promising student was failed by his family, fell into radical Islam and became a monster.¡±
That cover has sparked outrage throughout the region, from victims and local officials who called the magazine front tasteless, to merchants vowing to keep the issue off their shelves.
Gerard T. Leone Jr., the former Middlesex distinct attorney, said in an e-mail that Murphy¡¯s actions, while understandable, were problematic.
¡°It is troubling that the trooper would act unilaterally and outside of the MSP chain of command in such public and serious matters,¡± said Leone, who also served as a federal prosecutor and is now a partner at the Nixon Peabody law firm.
Thomas Nolan, a former Boston police lieutenant and newly appointed chairman of the criminal justice department at SUNY Plattsburgh, was also critical.
¡°It¡¯s unprofessional and inappropriate,¡± Nolan said, adding that police officers are not supposed to respond viscerally and publicly to things they find upsetting or offensive.
And Martin G. Weinberg, a prominent Boston defense lawyer, said Tsarnaev¡¯s trial will test whether the American justice system can handle a terrorism case. The leaked photographs ¡°infect¡± that process, he said.
¡°This is a profoundly serious experiment in American justice,¡± he said. ¡°Can we give a fair trial to the least popular man in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts? I¡¯m sure we can, but why make it more difficult?¡±
Florida lawmakers urge overhaul of 'Stand Your Ground' law
By Tom Brown (Reuters) — Friday, July 19th, 2013; 1:06 a.m. EDT
FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida (Reuters) - Florida must either repeal its "Stand Your Ground" self-defense law or enact sweeping changes to avert more tragedies like the fatal shooting of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin, Democratic leaders of the state's legislature said on Thursday.
A Seminole County jury on Saturday acquitted George Zimmerman of second-degree murder and manslaughter, with one juror citing Stand Your Ground as a factor in reaching her legal conclusion that Zimmerman, who is white and Hispanic, acted in self-defense.
The Zimmerman verdict demonstrated the ramifications of the 2005 law, Florida Senate Democratic leader Chris Smith said.
"This bill actually encourages people to shoot their way out of situations and that's not how we live in a civilized society," Smith told a news conference. "It's a mentality that has permeated the state of Florida. It's a mentality of shoot first, and we should not have that in a civilized society."
Smith was joined by Florida House Democratic leader Perry Thurston. Both called for a special session of the state's Republican-dominated legislature to overhaul the law or consider doing away with it.
Unless Florida lawmakers act quickly, calls for a boycott of the state like the one voiced by Motown legend Stevie Wonder are likely to grow as part of a mounting backlash, they warned. Civil rights groups also are calling for changes in the law.
With the state legislature in recess, Republican Governor Rick Scott would need to convene a special legislative session.
Dozens of young demonstrators have been occupying part of Scott's office in the Florida capital, Tallahassee, since Tuesday to press demands that he order the state's lawmakers back to work to toss out or modify the law.
Scott said he met with leaders of the sit-in demonstration for the first time on Thursday night, but he indicated he had no plans to call a special session.
The governor stressed, however, that the demonstrators had a "right to share their views with their state legislators and let them know their opinions on the law."
Smith and other lawmakers tried to get the Stand Your Ground law changed in the past legislative session in Tallahassee but failed to get a committee hearing on the issue.
After the Martin shooting, Scott appointed a task force to examine the statute. The task force held seven hearings around the state before recommending to keep the law despite many calls for it to be repealed or amended.
"Tonight, the protesters again asked that I call a special session of the legislature to repeal Florida's Stand Your Ground law. I told them that I agree with the Task Force on Citizen Safety, which concurred with the law," Scott said in a statement.
Smith and Thurston said a ballot initiative was likely if the legislature failed to change the law, voicing confidence that public outrage over the verdict would help generate enough signatures to place the matter on the ballot.
According to the instructions given to the jury, Zimmerman had "no duty to retreat and had the right to stand his ground and meet force with force" if he reasonably feared for his life or great bodily harm.
Though the Stand Your Ground law was not specifically cited as part of the defense mounted by Zimmerman's lawyers, Smith said the jury instructions that helped pave the way for his acquittal came directly from the statute.
Smith and Thurston were joined at their news conference by Broward County State Attorney Michael Satz, who said he and other law enforcement officials supported calls for an urgent overhaul of the Stand Your Ground law.
"I think putting in the statute that you do not have the duty to retreat is a mistake. I think life is precious and before you do that you should do everything in your power not to do that and to retreat if you possibly can," Satz said.
"Before there was a common law duty that you had to retreat before you used deadly force," he added. "I just don't think you need the Stand Your Ground statute."
The Florida statute was adopted under former Republican Governor Jeb Bush. Many other states, acting with broad support from the National Rifle Association, have followed Florida's lead over the last seven years.
(Editing by Daniel Trotta, Matthew Lewis and Eric Beech)
Iowa law enforcement agent fired after reporting governor¡¯s speeding car
By Unnamed Author(s) — Friday, July 19th, 2013 ¡®RT News¡¯
An Iowa law enforcement agent who reported Governor Terry Branstad for speeding and complained about the governor¡¯s state troopers has been fired after 25 years on the job.
Larry Hedlund, a 55-year-old agent of the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI), believes he was unjustly terminated because he reported the governor¡¯s vehicle for speeding. Hedlund¡¯s dismissal papers say he was terminated due to ¡°negative and disrespectful messages¡± he emailed to DCI employees, for being deceptive with supervisors and for misusing a state vehicle. But Hedlund has worked for the DCI for 25 years and has had no previous discipline issues, he told the Des Moines Register.
He believes the stated reasons are excuses to terminate him for reporting the governor¡¯s vehicle.
¡°I¡¯ve been treated like a criminal,¡± Hedlund told the Register. ¡°The best analogy I can give you is that they investigated me like I was a murderer, and in the process they murdered my career.¡±
The 25-year-veteran of the DCI in April radioed dispatchers to report a vehicle that was driving at 90 miles per hour. Troopers clocked the SUV at 84 mph. But when they discovered that the vehicle was being driven by another trooper who was transporting the governor, the officers let the incident slide. Hedlund proceeded to file a complaint with his supervisor.
¡°I don¡¯t believe the governor is above the law. I don¡¯t believe anyone has the authority to order me to not do my job,¡± stated the complaint, which was obtained by WHO-TV.
Two days after Hedludg filed the formal complaint on April 29, his superiors filed a complaint against him and he was suspended from duty. The Department of Public Safety said Hedlund was under investigation for prior ¡°work rule violations¡±.
Two and a have months later, the internal investigation was completed and Hedlund permanently lost his job. DCI Director Charis Paulson told the Register that Hedlund¡¯s emails to subordinates show ¡°a glaring and fundamental lack of understanding and appreciation of what the agents do in the field¡± and that he communicated in an unprofessional and disrespectful tone.
¡°After careful consideration, it is apparent that your employment with the Iowa Department of Public Safety has been counterproductive to the best interests of the department,¡± reads the notice signed by Paulson. ¡°Your actions and deportment represent behavior that is unacceptable and warrants discharge.¡±
Although Hedlund admits that the tone in his emails may have been inappropriate at times, he does not agree that it would be grounds for termination. Tom Duff, the Iowa attorney representing Hedlund, told WHO-TV that the timing of his client¡¯s suspension serves as evidence that it was related to reporting the governor¡¯s vehicle.
¡°We think the incident with the governor was sort of the straw that broke the camel¡¯s back,¡± he said.
Duff plans to file a lawsuit against the DCI claiming wrongful termination. He is seeking damages for lost wages and benefits and emotional distress.
Fired DCI agent plans to sue the state, alleging mistreatment
By Jeff Eckhoff — Friday, July 19th, 2013 ¡®The Des Moines Register¡¯ / Des Moines, Iowa
Former Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation agent Larry Hedlund, who complained about excessive speeds by the governor¡¯s state trooper drivers, was fired Wednesday after a 2¨ö-month internal investigation that Hedlund believes has tainted his ability to work in law enforcement in the future.
Hedlund, 55, said he now intends to sue the state.
¡°I¡¯ve been treated like a criminal,¡± Hedlund told The Des Moines Register a few hours after he learned he had been fired. ¡°The best analogy I can give you is that they investigated me like I was a murderer, and in the process they murdered my career.¡±
DCI officials publicly have refused to violate the confidentiality of personnel matters. But according to paperwork that state officials gave Hedlund on Wednesday, the 25-year veteran investigator was fired for communicating ¡°negative and disrespectful messages¡± about DCI leaders in emails to his subordinates, for misusing a state-owned car on April 26, and for being ¡°deceptive¡± about his work status in subsequent conversations with his supervisor.
¡°After careful consideration, it is apparent that your employment with the Iowa Department of Public Safety has been counterproductive to the best interests of the department,¡± concludes the notice signed by DCI Director Charis Paulson. ¡°Your actions and deportment represent behavior that is unacceptable and warrants discharge.¡±
Hedlund, who was paid $96,518 in 2012, had no previous discipline on his record. He was a special agent in charge of the DCI region that includes Fort Dodge. Hedlund was suspended two days after he filed a formal complaint with his bosses that lamented his own failure to do more to stop Gov. Terry Branstad¡¯s speeding vehicle on April 26.
Recordings obtained by the Register earlier this month show Hedlund was headed west on U.S Highway 20 when he telephoned a state dispatcher on April 26 and asked to have troopers stop a Chevy Tahoe that he estimated to be doing ¡°a hard 90.¡± Troopers eventually clocked the vehicle¡¯s speed at 84 mph.
Neither Hedlund nor the responding troopers knew it was Branstad¡¯s vehicle, however, until pursuing Trooper Matt Eimers caught up with it and recognized the Tahoe as ¡°Car 1.¡± The vehicle, which had a license plate not listed in state computerized records, then was being driven by Trooper Steve Lawrence.
Hedlund emailed his complaint to Paulson on April 29. Several hours later, Paulson canceled a previously scheduled meeting where Hedlund expected to get ¡°a speech¡± about his lack of support for DCI policy changes. A formal complaint was filed against him the next day.
The day after that, according to Hedlund, the state sent two assistant DCI directors and an Iowa State Patrol trooper to his home to tell him he was relieved of duty.
¡° ¡®This is not right,¡¯ ¡± Hedlund on Wednesday quoted one of the supervisors as saying then. ¡° ¡®This is not how it¡¯s done. But this is what the commissioner said to do.¡¯ ¡±
Public Safety Commissioner K. Brian London referred questions to Lt. Robert Hansen, the department¡¯s spokesman, who noted that ¡°work rule violations¡± were on record against Hedlund before April 26. The ultimate investigation was launched by Paulson, but would have been reviewed by London as part of any normal disciplinary process, he said.
The public safety department, in a press release, said that disciplinary action resulted from the investigation into Hed¡©lund¡¯s actions. The release stressed that ¡°Hedlund did not receive discipline as a result of his complaint of the speeding state vehicle.¡±
The formal termination papers quote extensively from what Hedlund described as emails he sent to subordinates lambasting a coming policy change requiring DCI officers to type their own reports instead of dictating them.
The comments viewed as objectionable by the state include references by Hedlund that Paulson showed ¡°a glaring and fundamental lack of understanding and appreciation of what the agents do in the field¡± and to Hed¡©lund¡¯s belief that ¡°they are making plans to go backwards about 20 years with reports, in my opinion.¡±
Hedlund, in his interview with the Register, concedes that he at times was ¡°outspoken¡± and ¡°passionate¡± about his policy disagreements with supervisors. Hedlund said he expected an eventual talking-to, but he never thought he would be fired ¡°because of my tone.¡±
¡°We do very serious work,¡± Hedlund said. ¡°We do very demanding work. We deal with cases where little children are murdered and sexually abused and adults are murdered. You know, it¡¯s not for the faint of heart. It tends to make you a little bit blunt.¡±
Meanwhile, Hedlund said he still has not had any word on the state¡¯s pending review of driving habits by the troopers who transport Branstad and other state dignitaries.
¡°The only communication I have received about the Department of Public Safety or from my chain of command as a result of that email ... was ¡®please explain why I am on Highway 20,¡¯ ¡± Hedlund said. ¡°I believe 100 percent that had the press not gotten involved and gotten a copy of that video, there¡¯s no way that ever would have been investigated.¡±
Branstad at first stressed his faith in the troopers who transport him and said he tries not to be a backseat driver. But Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds later acknowledged an ongoing state review of how troopers drive while transporting executives between events and how those events should be scheduled.
¡°We¡¯re going to make every attempt to stick to, to absolute follow the law,¡± Reynolds said. ¡°That¡¯s our intent.¡±
Attorney Thomas Duff said Hedlund¡¯s next step will be to file for unemployment. After that will be an eventual lawsuit alleging that the state violated a public policy by firing Hedlund in retaliation for the April 29 complaint about Branstad¡¯s speeding.
US, Puerto Rico Sign Deal to Reform Police Agency
By DANICA COTO (The Associated Press) — Thursday, July 18th, 2013; 8:20 a.m. EDT
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder pledged $10 million on Wednesday to the Puerto Rican government as it finalized a deal to reform the U.S. territory's police agency, which has long been accused of illegal killings, corruption and civil rights violations.
The announcement ended two years of negotiations to transform the department. It is the second-largest force in the U.S. with more than 17,000 officers.
Puerto Rico has 10 years to implement all the changes, Holder said.
"Although I recognize that complete and lasting reform will not take hold overnight, I'm confident that this agreement lays out a clear path for responding to concerns, correcting troubling practices, safeguarding the rights of Puerto Rican citizens, restoring public trust, and ensuring public safety," he said.
The 100-page agreement calls on the police department to build public confidence, establish new disciplinary procedures and create a use-of-force policy. It also demands additional training for officers before they're assigned to the streets, and for a supervisor to be present when suspects resist arrest, among numerous other changes.
U.S. and local officials had signed the deal in December, but Puerto Rico's government requested more time to modify the agreement.
Some changes were made given the economic realities of Puerto Rico, said Justice Secretary Luis Sanchez Betances. The island of 3.7 million people is struggling to emerge from a seven-year recession.
Sanchez said an estimated initial investment of $60 million to $80 million will be needed for changes in the first two years.
He said that U.S. and Puerto Rico officials have 90 days to choose an independent adviser to oversee the changes and if no agreement is reached, a federal judge will appoint someone.
Puerto Rico Police Chief Hector Pesquera said the department is committed to making all the changes.
Acting Associate Attorney Tony West said that on Thursday he will discuss the agreement with high-ranking police officials. He stressed that community leaders will be essential in helping reform the agency.
The call for reform came after a September 2011 federal report in which prosecutors condemned the police for what it said was numerous constitutional violations.
"Officers have unnecessarily injured hundreds of people and killed numerous others," the report said. "The amount of crime and corruption involving ... officers further illustrates that the Puerto Rico police department is in profound disrepair."
Shortly afterward, the U.S. government filed a lawsuit noting that authorities had arrested more than 1,700 officers on charges including murder, rape and drug trafficking from January 2005 to November 2010.
Puerto Rico residents also filed more than 1,500 complaints against officers for unjustified or excessive force from 2004 to 2008.
The American Civil Liberties Union filed its own lawsuit accusing the police department of excessive force and civil rights violations. ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero said the organization is close to reaching an agreement with the police agency to drop the legal action if the U.S. requirements are followed.
"We trust that this historic settlement means that Puerto Ricans will no longer have to live in fear of their own police force," Romero said.
N.S.A. Imposes Rules to Protect Secret Data Stored on Its Networks
By DAVID E. SANGER and ERIC SCHMITT — Friday, July 19th, 2013 ¡®The New York Times¡¯
The National Security Agency has imposed new rules designed to sharply restrict the sharing and downloading of top-secret material from its computer networks after an review of how Edward J. Snowden, a former agency contractor, managed to expose several of the country¡¯s most sensitive surveillance programs, two of the Pentagon¡¯s most senior officials said Thursday.
First among the new procedures is a ¡°two-man rule¡± — based on the model of how nuclear weapons are handled — that requires two computer systems administrators to work simultaneously when they are inside systems that contain highly classified material.
¡°This makes our job more difficult,¡± Gen. Keith B. Alexander, the head of the N.S.A. and the commander of the military¡¯s Cyber Command, told the Aspen Security Forum, an annual meeting on security issues. He described future plans to keep the most sensitive data in a highly encrypted form, sharply limiting the number of system administrators — like Mr. Snowden — who can move data throughout the nation¡¯s intelligence agencies and the Defense Department.
Hours before General Alexander described the new defenses, Ashton B. Carter, the deputy secretary of defense, said the conditions that allowed Mr. Snowden to download and remove data without detection amounted to ¡°a failure to defend our own networks.¡±
¡°It was not an outsider hacking in, but an insider,¡± he said.
General Alexander spoke in defense of the N.S.A.¡¯s surveillance programs, including its collection of a vast database of information about all phone calls made and received in the United States. ¡°You need a haystack to find a needle,¡± he said, even while acknowledging that he was open to the idea that the nation¡¯s telecommunications companies, rather than the government, should retain control of the data.
But at the security forum, of which The New York Times is a media sponsor, General Alexander also revealed for the first time that President Obama, shortly after taking office, had been surprised by the number of errors the agency made, which resulted in what General Alexander called the inadvertent collection of information about American citizens.
¡°When the president first came on board, we had a huge set of mistakes that we were working through in 2009,¡± he told the audience. ¡°He said essentially, ¡®I can see the value of these, but how do we ensure that we get these within compliance and that everything is exactly right?¡¯ ¡± That suggested that Mr. Obama had questioned the execution of a program he had inherited from President George W. Bush, but satisfied himself by having the N.S.A. set up what the general called a ¡°directorate of compliance,¡± an internal watchdog group.
Both Mr. Carter and General Alexander said that the military has begun to deploy roughly 4,000 people in the Pentagon¡¯s first units devoted to conducting cyberoffense and -defense operations, a new mission that formalizes America¡¯s use of a class of weapons that the Obama administration has rarely discussed in public.
¡°I wanted to start this fast,¡± Mr. Carter said. ¡°Fundamentally, we¡¯re spending everything we can think about spending intelligently for, notwithstanding our budget hassles, because this is an area that we are protecting even as other military capabilities will be cut.¡±
The description of the Pentagon¡¯s new cyberteams, which will be under General Alexander¡¯s command, was the most detailed yet of one of the military¡¯s most closely held projects.
The administration recently conceded that it was developing cyberweapons. The best-known example is the covert effort called ¡°Olympic Games,¡± which the Bush administration used against Iran¡¯s nuclear program. The Obama administration accelerated the program, but suffered a major setback when a computer worm, later named Stuxnet, escaped from the Natanz nuclear enrichment plant in Iran and replicated itself on the Web, where the Iranians and others could download the code that was developed by the N.S.A. and its Israeli counterpart, Unit 8200.
Future operations run by Cyber Command, Mr. Carter suggested, would be focused on the teams. ¡°The teams are new, and they are in addition to the N.S.A. work force,¡± he said. While they may ultimately be modeled on Special Operations, which provide fighting expertise to supplement traditional forces, for now the cyberforce will be drawn from members of the armed services.
The cyberforces are inexpensive, Mr. Carter argued. But their very existence, which General Alexander alluded to in Congressional testimony this year, is bound to be cited by other nations that are justifying the creation of their own cyberunits. The People¡¯s Liberation Army in China has a major effort under way; its Unit 61398 has been accused of stealing corporate secrets and intellectual property from American companies, as well as planning for potential attacks on American infrastructure. Iran has created its own cybercorps, which has been blamed for attacks on Saudi Aramco, a major oil producer, and American banks.
Mr. Carter, a physicist and former Harvard professor who has worked at the Pentagon since the beginning of the Obama administration, blamed the leak of highly classified data partly on decisions made after the investigations into the intelligence failures surrounding the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
¡°There was an enormous amount of information concentrated in one place,¡± Mr. Carter said. But General Alexander defended the information-sharing as necessary.
But as the differences between the two men¡¯s description suggest, the pressure to recompartmentalize information is bound to raise questions about whether the government is restoring a system that, ultimately, was blamed for many of the failures to ¡°connect the dots¡± before the 2001 attacks.