Thursday, July 11th, 2013 — Good Afternoon, Stay Safe
120 Precinct P.O. Peter Ciollo Attempt to Score with a 16 Year Old
Off-duty NYPD officer busted for attempted rape of child: police
Peter Ciollo, 29, gave the child alcohol and sexually abused her, authorities said. He is assigned to the 120th Precinct in Staten Island.
By Rocco Parascandolaš — Thursday, July 11th, 2013 'The New York Daily News'
An NYPD veteran plied a teenager with booze before a sexual encounter that ended when his wife discovered the two in bed, police sources said.
Peter Ciollo, 29, was off duty when he allegedly targeted the 16-year-old victim last month, the sources said.
The officer was charged Wednesday with attempted rape, giving alcohol to a child, endangering the welfare of a child and sexual abuse.
According to the sources, Ciollo gave the girl alcohol before letting her drive his car. The cop allegedly provided her with more to drink before they returned to his home.
Ciollo, at some point, used a computer to show the girl pornography before kissing her on the lips and urging her to take her shirt off, the sources said.
The pair wound up in bed, where the officer had the teen climb on top of him while he rubbed his genitals against hers, the sources said.
The woozy girl later said she remembers waking up in somebody else's underwear before Ciollo's wife found the two in bed, the sources said.
The Staten Island cop, who joined the force in 2006, was suspended without pay from the 120th Precinct.
New York City cop charged with attempted rape of minor on July 4
By Chris Francescani (Reuters)š —š Thursday, July 11th, 2013; 8:24 a.m. EDT
NEW YORK, July 11 - A New York City police officer has been arrested and charged with attempted rape after authorities said he sexually assaulted a 16-year-old girl on July 4 on the borough of Staten Island while he was off duty.
Peter Ciollo, 29, from Staten Island, was charged with attempted rape, sexual abuse, and endangering the welfare of a child, and unlawfully dealing with a child, New York Police Department Sergeant John Buthorn said on Thursday. He was arrested late Wednesday, according to Buthorn.
The alleged victim, who was intoxicated at the time of the incident, knew Ciollo, Buthorn said. It was not immediately known if Ciollo has retained an attorney. Ciollo could not be immediately reached for comment.
Ciollo is married and earned a Bachelor of Science degree from DeVry University in New Jersey, the Staten Island Advance newspaper reported.
(Editing by Scott Malone and Jeffrey Benkoe)
Off-duty NYPD officer busted in alleged rape of 16-year-old girl: cops
By DANIEL PRENDERGAST — Thursday, July 11th, 2013 'The New York Post'
An off-duty Staten Island cop was arrested for allegedly attempting to rape a 16-year-old acquaintance, cops said.
Police officer Peter Ciollo of the 120th Precinct was cuffed Wednesday in Staten Island and hit with a slew of felonies after he tried to perform a sex act with the teen on July 4 at an unknown residence, police sources said.
Ciollo allegedly gave the victim alcohol before allowing her to drive drunk around the parking lot of the Staten Island Mall while he was in the car, police sources said.
Ciollo then took the girl to another location where he gave her more alcohol before showing her porn on a computer, police sources said. He then kissed the victim and sexually assaulted her before the two fell asleep.
When the victim woke up, she found she was wearing the cops shorts, police sources said.
Ciollo is charged with attempted rape, unlawfully dealing with a child, endangering the welfare of a child and sexual abuse.
Off-duty NYPD officer on Staten Island faces felony charges
By Unnamed Author(s) — Thursday, July 11th, 2013 'The Staten Island Advance' / Staten Island
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- An off-duty police officer on Staten Island has been arrested on a series of felony charges, the NYPD says.
Peter Ciollo, 29, was taken into custody at 5:45 p.m. Wednesday.
An announcement of the arrest by the NYPD says Ciollo is charged with attempted rape, unlawfully dealing with a child -- an incident apparently involving alcohol; endangering the welfare of a child, and sexual abuse.
Police say the incident involved an underage female who knew Ciollo.
According to a law enforcement source, Ciollo's wife walked in on him and the underage female in a compromising position on the Fourth of July.
The alleged attack reportedly occurred on Staten Island, but police did not say where, or provide further details.
NYPD $$ Lawyer Lotto $$ Bonanza:š ššShot [At the time assigned to the 75 Pct.] P.O. Ricardo Ramirez
Cop-shoot suspect Elijah Foster-Bey, injured during gun battle with officer, files grievance alleging police brutality
Foster-Bey started a shootout with police after cops spotted him riding a bike against traffic in October 2010. Foster-Bey is facing 25 years in prison.
By Oren Yaniv — Thursday, July 11th, 2013 'The New York Daily News'
A young man accused of wounding a Brooklyn cop during a gunfight in which he himself was injured had the gall to file a grievance alleging police brutality, it was revealed Wednesday.
But the decision by Elijah Foster-Bey to call the Civilian Complaint Review Board may come back to bite him after his statement — which corroborates much of the police account — was admitted as evidence at his attempted murder trial that starts next week.
"There are so many things that the defendant says (in the recording) that are an admission," prosecutor Lewis Lieberman said in Brooklyn Supreme Court.
Foster-Bey, 20, was spotted by plainclothes cops riding a bike against traffic on a quiet East New York street in October 2010. When told to stop, he allegedly ran into a building's stairway and started a shootout with police.
"He pointed the gun at me," Officer Ricardo Ramirez, 31, who was shot twice, testified at a pretrial hearing. "We proceeded to exchange gunfire."
Less than two months after the incident, Foster-Bey , who was then out on bail before it was revoked, went whining to the city agency about how he was treated.
He complained to the CCRB about "police officers brutalizing him after they shot him and took him downstairs," said defense lawyer James Koenig.
The suspect, who's facing 25 years in prison, acknowledged illegally riding his bike and running from police, but refused to answer questions about whether he carried, or fired, a gun.
The review board cleared all the officers in the incident of wrongdoing, records show.
Man Dies at 88th Precinct After 4-Hour Wait for Ambulance
Angel Cordero, 39, became ill after being arrested Thursday after allegedly attacking his girlfriend with a knife in Fort Greene and died in police custody. 'The [cops] put him there and forgot him. That's my only son,' said grieving dad Felipe Cordero.
By Casey Tolanš AND Ginger Adams Otisš — Thursday, July 11th, 2013 'The New York Daily News'
The distraught family of a sick Brooklyn, N.Y., man who died in police custody demanded answers Wednesday about the botched 911 response that left him waiting four hours for an ambulance.
The down-on-his-luck father of two was arrested a day earlier — July 4 — for allegedly attacking a 48-year-old woman with a knife.
Cordero was briefly taken to Woodhull Hospital while in police custody. He was released and returned to the 88th Precinct — where he died hours later waiting for an ambulance.
His family said Cordero had suffered violent seizures like the ones he had just before he died since he was a teen.
"The [cops] put him there and forgot him. That's my only son," said grieving dad Felipe Cordero.
He said he recently witnessed his son convulsing so intensely that "I thought [Angel] was going to pass away."
Cordero, arrested at about 4 a.m. July 4, started vomiting the next morning around 1:30 a.m., prompting cops to call 911.
EMS didn't have any ambulances free to send, records show.
About 30 minutes after Cordero began vomiting, anxious cops checked back in with EMS dispatchers.
"ETA for EMS plz," they asked.
"1st available," the operator responded tersely.
At 3:25 a.m., cops tried again.
"Did EMS remove patient?" asked an NYPD officer, according to documents. Not yet, came the reply. Minutes later, Cordero's condition abruptly worsened.
"Prisoner with seizures. ETA?" wrote cops.
It wasn't until 5:18 a.m. that two EMTs were sent to the 88th Precinct, records show.
By then it was too late. Cops confirmed Cordero died just before 5:30 a.m. in the holding cell. The medical examiner has yet to give an official cause of death.
The FDNY did not comment. NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly says investigators are looking into Cordero's passing.
With Joe Kemp and Thomas Tracy.
Man Dies in Police Custody After Waiting Four Hours For Ambulance
By Murray Weiss — Wednesday, July 10th, 2013; 2:31 p.m.š 'DNAinfo New York.Com News' / New York, NY
FORT GREENE — A suspect who became sick in police custody in a Brooklyn station house died after waiting four hours for an ambulance, DNAinfo New York has learned.
Angel Cordero, 39, was being held in the 88th Precinct after he was arrested at roughly 4 a.m. on the Fourth of July and accused of attacking his 48-year-old girlfriend with a knife at the corner of Myrtle and Carlton avenues.
Cops brought Cordero to the station house and put him in a holding cell, but before he was even processed he began to exhibit signs of distress, sources said. Cops called for an ambulance, and one from a private local service responded and brought Cordero to nearby Woodhull Hospital.
During the next hour, Cordero was treated for an undisclosed ailment, and then driven back to the station house by cops and returned to the holding cell, where he remained until the following morning.
At 1:40 a.m. on July 5, Cordero began to show signs of distress again — and the cops this time made their initial call to the FDNY/EMS for an ambulance to tend to "a sick patient."
EMS dispatchers told the cops that there were no ambulances available because they were tied up dealing with post-Fourth of July incidents around the borough, according to sources.
"There was a scarcity of ambulances that morning," one source said, "and they were tied up all over on Fourth of July related calls."
The source said cops at the 88th Precinct did not believe that Cordero's condition required emergency care — the officers said it was "non-critical."
They decided to monitor Cordero as they waited for paramedics to become available, sources said.
At roughly 3 a.m., however, the cops at the 88th Precinct called again for an ambulance, sources said. They were again told there were no available paramedics.
At 5:27 a.m., Cordero started to have a massive seizure in the holding cell, according to a police report.
This time the cops radioed and called 911 reporting they now had a full-blown medical emergency on their hands.
But by the time paramedics were dispatched, Cordero had died in the cell, sources said.
The snafu raises serious questions about why the EMS never sent an ambulance during the four-hour ordeal and why the cops failed to drive Cordero back to the hospital themselves instead of waiting interminably for paramedics.
Police commissioner Ray Kelly commented on Cordero's death at an unrelated press conference.
''The only thing I can tell you is any death in police custody is intensely investigated by the Internal Affairs Bureau. That's what's going on now," he said.
FDNY/EMS sources said an average Thursday overnight tour is usually quiet, with a small number of ambulances at the ready. But because this was the night of July 4, the EMS put 15 additional ambulances on the roads in anticipation of heavier volume, particularly in Brooklyn.
Sources said the volume of calls that night was even higher than anticipated.
An FDNY/EMS spokesman said units that morning were relocated to high volume areas and handling cases based on the severity of the incident.
The NYPD call regarding Cordero said they had "a sick person" in the precinct and "we responded accordingly, based on protocols, availability of units and priority," the spokesman said.
The NYPD did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
But a veteran police official said cops have to follow strict procedures regarding prisoners and that taking initiative to bring the prisoner directly to the hospital may seem like common sense, but the move would likely get them in trouble.
Woodhull Hospital officials were not immediately available to discuss Cordero's case, but medical care is generally confidential.
The city's Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has yet to determine Cordero's cause of death and is awaiting toxicological test results, a spokesperson said.
Trevor Kapp and Gustavo Solis contributed reporting.
Question and Friskš Searchšššššššššš (The Gay Angle)
The LBGTQ Factor: The hidden side of Stop and Frisk
By Unnamed Author(s) — Thursday, July 11th, 2013 'The New Pittsburgh Courier.Com'
What comes to mind when you visualize the typical Stop & Frisk recipient?
A young Black male standing on the corner? A Hispanic youth? Someone who resides in New York City Housing Authority housing? Perhaps they're wearing Timbaland boots and baggy jeans?
What about if they are transgender?
You read the last part correctly. All too often, we believe officers stop and frisk based solely on racial background. But what about those Black and Hispanic youths who are also LBGTQ members? What happens when sexuality enters the equation?
In recent years, the NYPD has systematically crafted a harassment culture surrounding the LBGTQ community. Their steps included the 2011 "Quality Of Life" initiative, targeting and harassing minority LBGTQ youth in the West Village and Chelsea. Officers often use condoms found on these citizens as evidence of loitering for prostitution. And despite an updated patrol guide mandating they respect transgender and non-conforming youth, NYPD officers often ignore their code.
NewsOne tracked down a number of LBGTQ youth and adults who claim they were stopped and frisked for their sexual orientation as much as their skin color.
Working for Streetwise and Safe, an initiative for LBGTQ youths of color experiencing criminalization, Don Thomas has had many experiences with police based off of their orientation (many in the trans-community prefer "they" as a pronoun, as opposed to gender-specific pronouns).
"I've been having run-ins with the police since I was 14 years old, only because of my gender non-conforming style of dress and particularly the ignorance behind police and their stereotypes of aggressive women," the Brooklyn native said.
"I've been harassed, beaten on, fondled, tried to be made straight by police and their whole stop and frisk situations." One of Thomas' most recent searches happened a few months ago. "I just was stopped and frisked in February three times, arrested twice following a stop and frisk, only because the police decided to just stop me because they knew I was a female, but I was dressed like a male."
In one instance, an officer told Thomas, "Oh, well, you're supposed to be with a man, you're not supposed to be with a woman." Another time when an officer fondled my breasts during a search, he said, "You know, you're not supposed to do what you're doing."
"I was like, What, am I supposed to be straight?" Thomas responded. "So this whole thing is you making me straight — it only makes me run to women even more. Like it doesn't make any sense."
Thomas believes that police are specifically biased toward butch-identifying women. "If we're butch-identifiable, we're men haters," they said. "We're not accepted in society, we're not accepted in their world or their rule of order. Whereas if it's a lipstick lesbian, which we call the ones that dress 'femmy,' if they see that, they don't tend to really harass them unless they're with a butch-identified lesbian."
Given that not every LBGTQ member dresses in gender-opposite clothing, how do officers know who is and isn't part of the community? Thomas says they often don't.
"I know a lot of freakin' females and [males] [who] are what you would call the epitome of a metrosexual — and they're not gay, but have been stopped and frisked, harassed by cops, thinking that they're gay. But they're totally not freakin' gay. So the police actually never know if you're gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans-identify. They don't know."
Apparently, officers run on suspicion.
" I wouldn't even call it an educated guess," Thomas continues. "I would call it an uneducated guess, because you can't sit here and be stereotypical and call that educated. It's always the luck of the draw. But 95 percent of the time, they usually guess it right. And that's what gives them that power to feel that they['re] always right."
One of the first victims of a hate crime to be federally prosecuted in New York, Marquis Devereaux (pictured below right) felt a need to share his stop and frisk experience, which happened last September in N.Y.C.'s Marcus Garvey Park.
"Normally, I would go through the park sometimes and go to the upper level and look at the view because it's one of the few places in Harlem where you can actually see an aerial view," Devereaux said while sitting inside La Marqueta, a marketplace under the Metro North tracks in East Harlem.
While leaving a client from his travel tourism business to see a potential one, Devereaux opted to take the stairs leading through the park's upper level. He noticed a White male ahead of him on the path, and as it turns out, the upper level is known for gay males looking for sex, a practice known as "cruising."
"As I'm coming through the stairs and I was bypassing the plaza level, but I'm still on the stairs, I noticed there were some people and they were likely cruising or looking for the sun to go down so they could cruise," Devereaux said. "By the time I got through this other side of the plaza where the stairs are, now, mind you, I hadn't stopped, I just continued walking, the Caucasian male is still in front of me. He may or may not have had the same agenda, meaning that maybe he was looking to cruise later on."
Around the same time Devereaux reached the lower level on the park's other side, the White male stopped walking. According to Devereaux, he walked past the White man, at which point police pulled up and stopped him.
The officers asked why he was in the park. Devereaux told them about his business clients, but that failed to deter them.
"As they continued to ask me questions, it became clear to me that I was their target," he said. " They were asking me if I had any I.D., and I said,š I do not. They said, 'Well, we saw you sitting on the upper level,' and I said, 'Well, you didn't see me sit on the upper level because I wasn't at the upper level. I was walking through the park. So that's incorrect.'"
At this point, the officers questioned if Devereaux had any sharp objects before one officer placed his hands in his pocket, began feeling around, and pulled out his keys.
"So I then said to him, 'Not only did you profile me, because you didn't stop the Caucasian male that was in front of me, but now you've done a stop and frisk. And they said, 'Well, we saw you sitting on the upper level, and so right now, you're a criminal.'"
In response, Devereaux asked the officers if they were going to arrest him. They offered vague answers, eventually prompting a more assertive reaction from Devereaux. "I then said to them, You've made an assumption about me. You made an assumption about my sexuality. You made an assumption because you saw me in a hoodie and you probably thought I was up to no good. I said, I'm in my mid-40s, I'm a business owner, and I'm involved with my community."
Devereaux told the officers of his connections to his community board's Public Safety and Transportation chair, a resource that could get any tickets vacated. The officers let him go with a trespassing ticket; Devereaux says he was frisked because of who he is and the park's reputation.
"They assumed that I was cruising in the park. It was clear to me that they were racially profiling me.š [I] was profiled because of my sexuality. I was profiled because of my race, because that's a place where Black gay men are known to cruise. Also, they did the stop and frisk. They essentially violated me."
For Mississippi Infinity (many in the LBGTQ community make frequent use of nicknames), his race and sexuality lead to a stop and frisk and imprisonment after hosting a party. "I was trying to flag down a cab on the West Side highway," Infinity said at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center in Downtown Manhattan. "But unfortunately, all the cabs were off duty. So as I was where you have the crosswalk where you can press the button to wait for the light to change. I waited for the light to change and a paddywagon pulls off a bus."
"The officers asked me to approach their vehicle. I did. They asked for identification and I showed them forms of New York State ID, as well as my debit card and stuff. But it wasn't a New York State ID. It was an old, what they called, benefit card."
Infinity didn't have his state-issued ID due to an earlier incident. "When they [saw] that I wasn't in possession of a New York State ID, I told them I'd been robbed two days prior. They [were] like, 'Oh, well, unfortunately, I don't feel like giving anyone else a break tonight, so I'm gonna have to arrest you.'"
"I was searched. I was repeatedly asked if I was on psych meds and the whole entire time I'm completely sober. I didn't even drink that night. So they put me in the back of the paddywagon. I'm handcuffed and seated in the back."
According to Mississippi, after they apprehended him, the officers drove on to a nearby pier where two White men and one woman were sitting drunk on a park bench. Infinity claims that the officers asked one of the males for identification. When he showed his New York State ID, the officers simply told him and his friends to leave, rather than arrest them.
In disbelief, Mississippi reminded the officers that his state-issued benefits card had his picture and information on it. They said it wasn't sufficient enough. While he battled disorderly conduct charges in court, Mississippi remained in jail from August 2, 2012 to January 23, 2013.
Infinity believes that he was also singled out because of his non-conformist hair style. "They were mostly inquiring if I was on psych meds," he said. "I believe the reason was because my hair texture is different from that of the typical African-American male. My hair is very curly and wavy. So when it's humid outside, it gets curly and stuff, and I tend to have frizzy hair every now and then. That, and my manner of dress, which is not what you would see of most masculine African-American males."
"Some of that did factor into it, especially due to the area. I have been a member of the LBGTQ community and volunteered from time to time at some of the homeless youth shelters. I've heard of how officers have stopped individuals because they're trans[exual]. "
With the recent Floyd v. City Of New York class action lawsuit against the city by the Center For Constitutional Rights reigniting the stop and frisk debate, LBGTQ organizations ensured their voices were heard in the discussion. In late March, the New York City Anti-Violence Project, Audre Lorde Project, FIERCE, Make The Road NY, and Streetwise and Safe congregated outside the Southern District Of New York court to make noise.
"A police car was across the street from me, with lights flashing, and three police officers jumped out," Streetwise and Safe leader Mitchyll Mora shared with the crowd. "They began to immediately scream at me, 'Stop! Get against the wall! Open your bag!' Flashlights were shining in my face and their commands were ringing in my ears.
"I put my hands on the wall, terrified that I might have picked the wrong command to follow. One officer took my bag while the other began to aggressively frisk me. I asked why I was being stopped. I said I didn't consent to this search. The officer responded by grabbing my as* and calling me a f*ggot. They drove away after telling me they were not looking for a gun, but an open container."
"Our lives are policed. Our bodies are policed. Our pockets, our bags, our belongings are policed as people of color, including LBGTQ youth of color. "
A decision in the Floyd v. City Of New York case is expected to be reached shortly. In the meantime, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly seems to be making power plays to curry favor with the community.
On June 18, Kelly publicly backed the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA), which would've outlawed discrimination against transgender people.
While the NY State Senate failed to bring GENDA to a vote before adjourning on June 22nd, one must wonder about the irony of Kelly supporting a bill outlawing discrimination against people with different gender identity expression, while simultaneously directing his officers to search them in the thousands. That irony wasn't lost on William Dobbs, who sees Kelly as an enemy to transsexual New Yorkers.
"Ray Kelly, whose officers have conducted millions of Stop & Frisks, including on many trans-folk without any reason, now claims to be a friend of the trans community by endorsing GENDA," the LBGTQ activist said. "There's something really odd here. It's time for [the] Empire State Pride agenda to speak out against Stop & Frisk and stop playing political games with Ray."
Maybe it's also time we learn that stop and frisk also affects those who don't conform to "straight" and "heterosexual" labels.
NYPD Swears In Class Of Police Academy Recruits
By Unnamed Author(s) š— Wednesday, July 10th, 2013; 5:42 p.m. 'NY 1 News' / New York
The New York City Police Department welcomed its newest class of police academy recruits to the force at a swearing-in ceremony in Queens Wednesday morning.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said this class is larger than previous years due to concerns about a high rate of attrition.
"We had large hires in 1993," Kelly said. "Obviously, some of these people have attrited out already, but they're concerned about it. So this number was supposed to be higher in January and a smaller number in July. They were flipped. So this is larger than the immediate attrition estimate."
More than 1,200 recruits were sworn into service.
They will begin their six months of police academy training later this week.
NYC Police Academy admits 1,247 new recruits
Byš Maria Pianelli š— Thursday, July 11th, 2013 'The Staten Island Advance' / Staten Island
NEW YORK -- Police Commissioner Ray Kelly welcomed 1,247 new recruits into the Police Academy Wednesday at a hiring ceremony held at Queens College. The NYPD's newest hires will report to the New York City Police Academy in Manhattan on Friday to begin six months of training.
Among the recruits is Dina Loor, wife of Detective Eder Loor, an officer who was stabbed through his skull last April while responding to a call of an emotionally disturbed person in East Harlem. Officer Loor survived his wounds and was promoted to detective this March.
Probationary Police Officer Loor is one of 225 females joining the Police Academy, an overall 18 percent.
Two out of five new hires earned bachelor's or advanced degrees; among them are 21 recruits with master's degrees and two juris doctors. Approximately 45 percent of the class are college graduates.
In previous years, some of the probationary officers served in the U.S. military while others held positions as New York City traffic enforcement agents and school safety agents in addition to other civilian roles.
The diverse pool of recruits features cadets born in 42 different countries, speaking a total of 27 distinct languages.
More than half reside in New York City.
During the ceremony, Kelly expressed his gratitude toward the new class, saying, "whether this is your second career or your first job out of college, you have precious skills and valuable life experience to contribute to our mission."
Wife of hero NYPD officer who got stabbed in head joins Police Academy
Dina Loor is one of 1,247 new police recruits to begin training this week. Loor says her hero husband — who survived having a 31/2-inch blade jabbed into his brain — is behind her.
By Edgar Sandovalš AND Joe Kempš — Thursday, July 11th, 2013 'The New York Daily News'
Dina Loor — whose husband, police Officer Eder Loor, survived having a 31/2-inch blade jabbed into his brain while responding to a call that a Harlem schizophrenic was off his medications in April 2012 — was one of 1,247 new police recruits to begin training at the Police Academy this week.
"He's very encouraging," she said Wednesday of her 29-year-old husband, who is still recovering from the near-fatal wound. Eder Loor, who spent months in extensive physical therapy, was promoted to detective in March.
"He's always telling me to follow my heart, and this is what my heart says."
She said her only concern is the well-being of her 6-year-old daughter and 1-year-old son, but is confident a job with the NYPD will stand behind her.
"The Police Department has been good to us, and I thank them for that," she said.
NYPD Issues More Tickets for Sidewalk Riding Than Speeding on Local Streets
By Brad Aaron — Tuesday, July 9th, 2013;š 'Streetsblog New York.Org' / New York, NY
The NYPD issued more tickets for riding a bike on a sidewalk than for speeding on surface streets last year, according to summons data and court records.
The Criminal Court of the City of New York 2012 Annual Report [ šhttp://www.streetsblog.org/wp-content/pdf/AnnualReport2012.pdf ššš] ranks sidewalk riding as the third most frequently charged summons, with around 25,000 issued. According to data scraped from NYPD moving violations reports, 71,305 motorists were cited for speeding in 2012, and 52,186 of those summonses were issued by the highway patrol. Local precincts ticketed just 19,119 drivers for speeding through neighborhoods last year.
Speeding was the number one cause of traffic deaths in NYC in 2012, according to DOT. A study released by Transportation Alternatives last year found that speeding kills more New Yorkers than drunk driving and distracted driving combined. The last fatal crash caused by a New York City cyclist occurred in 2009.
The 25,000 figure represents criminal court summonses for sidewalk riding, and does not count cyclists who were ticketed for a moving violation, which is less serious. So the disparity between sidewalk riding stops and neighborhood speeding stops is at least somewhat higher than 6,000.
Last year was no outlier. The 2011 criminal court report [ http://www.streetsblog.org/wp-content/pdf/AnnualReport2011.pdf š] shows similar figures for sidewalk riding, and also ranks it as the third most frequently charged summons. Data show local precincts wrote 16,293 tickets for speeding on surface streets in 2011.
The number of overall moving violations issued by NYPD in 2012 was down sharply from the mid-aughts.
The Biggest Test Yet of the NYPD's Pledge to Treat Traffic Deaths Seriously
By Sarah Goodyear — Wednesday, July 10th, 2013;š 'The Atlantic Cities' / Washington, DC
The people of the city of New York should pay attention to the death of Felix Coss in Brooklyn last weekend.
Coss, a teacher at the Beginning With Children charter school in Williamsburg, was killed when a police officer struck him with a marked police van in a crosswalk while she was making a left turn, according to news reports.
It was broad daylight – 4:30 in the afternoon. Coss, according to sources cited by the New York Post, had the pedestrian light. The officer was not responding to an emergency.
Initially, according to the Post, "No criminality and no traffic-law violations are suspected, police said." And this: "It was a tragic, unfortunate accident," according to a police source. The officer "failed to see" the 61-year-old Coss as he crossed exactly where you would be looking for pedestrians when you made a turn at an intersection. No charges were expected, police told the media.
But then, according to DNAInfo, witnesses came forward claiming that the officer was talking on a cell phone when she made the turn. That's illegal in the city of New York. The police now say they are investigating further, and have subpoenaed the officer's cellphone records after she refused to turn over the device.
The NYPD, whose "no criminality suspected" mantra has long been a sad punch line in traffic fatalities, has been trying to upgrade its response to vehicular violence in the city. They recently changed the name of their "Accident Investigation Squad" to "Collision Investigation Squad," a shift that is about more than semantics: it reflects a different, more progressive attitude toward the inevitability of crashes. The CIS has been charged with investigating not only crashes in which someone dies on the scene or is flagged as "likely to," in police parlance. Now, all crashes in which victims are critically injured are supposed to be investigated.
This latest case will be a chance to see just how deep the changes are going in the department's culture. As Brad Aaron at Streetsblog points out:
It is in fact against the law to strike a pedestrian with a motor vehicle in New York State. At minimum, it seems the officer who struck Coss with sufficient force to end his life would have been in violation of the state's careless driving law.
The habitual failure to charge drivers who kill pedestrians and cyclists has fostered the suspicion and anger with which pedestrian and bicycling advocates regard police enforcement of traffic laws in New York.
Last year, local precincts wrote more tickets for people riding their bikes on the sidewalk than for people speeding in their cars. This, as Streetsblog writes, despite the reality that speeding is the leading cause of traffic deaths in New York, according to the city's own department of transportation. In 2012, 155 pedestrians and cyclists were killed by motor vehicles on New York streets, and 15,465 were injured.
Police Practices Take Center Stage at G.O.P. Mayoral Debate
By THOMAS KAPLAN — Thursday, July 11th, 2013 'The New York Times'
(Edited for brevity and NYPD pertinence)š
Facing off in a televised debate on Wednesday, the leading Republican candidates for mayor vowed to fully support the Police Department and to limit the role of an inspector general that would monitor the department.
With two months until the primary, the Republican candidates used the debate, hosted by NY1, to try to distinguish themselves in a race where most of the public's attention has been focused on the Democratic candidates.
One of the leading Republican candidates, Joseph J. Lhota, a former chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, suggested that if a measure that would expand the definition of bias-based profiling ultimately became law, he would seek to challenge it in court.
The measure passed the City Council last month, as did another that would create the inspector general position, but Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg is trying to stop at least the profiling measure from becoming law.
Mr. Lhota's main rival, John A. Catsimatidis, a billionaire grocer, said he believed more training was necessary for the police. Showing his penchant for unusual ideas, he also suggested that police officers be given hand-held metal detectors — "magic wands," as he put it — that they could use during stops.
"Just like the airports," he said. "You just go over the suspect and you don't have to frisk him, and you find out if he has a loaded gun."
Another Republican, George T. McDonald, who has struggled to attract support for his campaign, said the focus on police tactics was obscuring the need to focus on what he said was the underlying problem, of joblessness.
Part of the challenge for the Republicans has been simply getting voters to remember them. A Quinnipiac University poll conducted in late June found that nearly half of Republican voters in New York City did not yet have an opinion of Mr. Lhota, while nearly two-thirds had no opinion of Mr. Catsimatidis. Nine in 10 Republican voters were unfamiliar with Mr. McDonald, the founder of the Doe Fund, a nonprofit organization that works with the homeless.
The candidates also differed over the handling of expired labor contracts with city workers. "No one is entitled to retroactive pay — at all," Mr. Lhota said. "But they are entitled to a fair wage from this point going forward, and there's money in the budget to be able to do that."
All three of the Republicans would face a difficult path to victory in November's general election, as Democrats outnumber Republicans in the city's electorate more than six to one.
NYPD Communications Div. ICAD Embarrassment
City Probes 911 Response Delay
Death of Ariel Russo Sparked New Inquiry
By PERVAIZ SHALLWANI — Thursday, July 11th, 2013 'The Wall Street Journal' / New York, NY
The city Department of Investigation is probing why there was a four-minute delay in dispatching an ambulance to a young girl who was struck and killed during a police pursuit, officials said.
The mother of 4-year-old Ariel Russo heralded the inquiry during an emotional press conference Wednesday.
"Now that I have learned that the mayor…directed that such an investigation be conducted, I hope that we will finally learn the truth," Sophia Russo said.
"I don't want anyone to forget what happened," she added.
Ariel's family has filed documents saying they intend to sue the city in two $20 million lawsuits.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg requested the investigation on June 22, the day after City Council members held a contentious hearing concerning glitches in the city's new 911 system and the circumstances surrounding the girl's June 5 death.
She was killed when Franklin Reyes, a 17-year-old unlicensed driver, ran into her while fleeing police on the Upper West Side, prosecutors said. He has been charged with vehicular manslaughter.
DOI officials have already begun looking into the "circumstances and facts surrounding the Ariel Russo matter," said spokeswoman Diane Struzzi. The department is a city watchdog that is charged with conducting independent and nonpartisan investigations.
There's no time frame for when the probe will be complete, but the department is "actively investigating now and moving forward as expeditiously as possible," Ms. Struzzi said.
Officials will scrutinize the facts surrounding the 911 call and how it relates to issues with the new system, officials said.
The Fire Department has already launched its own investigation in to Russo's death, and the city comptroller's office is examining the larger issues with the new 911 program.
The FDNY and city officials have blamed human error as a cause for the delay. City council members and unions representing first responders believe that continuing issues with the new, $2 billion 911 system, known as ICAD, played a role in the delay.
As part of DOI's probe, officials will scrutinize interviews that other agencies have already conducted with workers who made and relayed radio calls on the morning of June 5, Ms. Struzzi said.
DOI will then either conduct new interviews or re-interview the employees who have talked to other departments, Ms. Struzzi said.
Sources: Suffolk subpoenas Nassau cops for grand jury in cabdriver shooting
By KEVIN DEUTSCH — Thursday, July 11th, 2013 š'New York Newsday' / Melville, L.I.
The Suffolk County district attorney's office is convening a new grand jury and has served subpoenas in the case of a Nassau County police officer who internal affairs investigators found unlawfully shot and beat an unarmed cabdriver in Huntington Station after a night of drinking in 2011, according to court records and law enforcement sources.
Officer Anthony DiLeonardo, who fired the shots while off duty, and Officer Edward Bienz, his off-duty, barhopping companion, are being summoned to testify before a grand jury that will consider criminal charges in the case. Other law enforcement officers involved in the investigation are also expected to be called to testify, the sources said.
A court filing Wednesday as part of a $30 million civil suit filed by the cabdriver indicates that an earlier grand jury had been convened and that a new one will get underway.
The grand jury will be empaneled and begin to hear testimony in the next few weeks, the sources said, and will likely consider charges ranging from assault to attempted murder.
A spokesman for the Suffolk County district attorney's office declined to comment, citing the investigation.
Bruce Barket, DiLeonardo's attorney, said, "Officer DiLeonardo was cleared by the investigation completed immediately after he was attacked. We are confident that any fair review will result in his exoneration."
Neither DiLeonardo nor Bienz could be reached. A Nassau police spokesman declined to comment on the subpoenas.
"He's represented by his own counsel in this matter," Nassau Police Benevolent Association president James Carver said of DiLeonardo.
A Nassau Police Department Internal Affairs Unit report on the Feb. 27, 2011, case found that DiLeonardo recklessly escalated a roadside verbal dispute when he shot at cabdriver Thomas Moroughan five times with a .38-caliber Smith & Wesson. The cabdriver was hit once in the left arm and once in the chest, as his girlfriend sat beside him in the front seat, according to the unit's report obtained by Newsday.
The report recommended 19 departmental charges for what it found to be 11 unlawful acts and eight departmental rules violations by DiLeonardo. It also recommended five departmental charges be brought against Bienz, based on the investigation's findings that he committed two unlawful acts and three counts of violating department rules.
Found unfit for duty
Both off-duty officers were found to have engaged in conduct unbecoming an officer and were unfit for duty by reason of intoxicants, among other violations of department rules. The report did not address whether the officers should be charged criminally, and it did not indicate whether the recommended departmental charges were ever brought.
Both men remain on the police force.
Suffolk County police arrested Moroughan the day of the altercation on charges of felony assault and misdemeanor reckless endangerment. Three months later, a judge granted a motion by the Suffolk district attorney's office to drop the charges, citing evidence that the officers had been drinking, and the disputed version of events.
Suffolk District Attorney Thomas Spota said last month that criminal charges had not been filed against any of the involved officers because Moroughan and his girlfriend "refused to speak" to his investigators. A court filing Wednesday indicated that an earlier grand jury had been convened in the case.
Last month, the DA's spokesman, Robert Clifford, said: "We could not proceed further criminally because Mr. [Thomas] Moroughan and his girlfriend refused to cooperate with the district attorney's office . . . despite repeated requests."
Newsday found the internal affairs report on the Moroughan shooting in court records from a $30 million lawsuit Moroughan filed in U.S. District Court in Central Islip against the Nassau and Suffolk police departments, both counties, and 18 named officers and supervisors.
Moroughan's lawyer, Anthony Grandinette, declined to discuss the subpoenas. He also refused to say whether his client would testify before the Suffolk grand jury.
"I have no comment on what the Suffolk DA may or may not be doing in this case," Grandinette said.
The internal affairs report was the result of a yearlong investigation, ordered by then acting police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter, and includes materials from the Suffolk district attorney's office and the Suffolk Police Department.
The report concluded that DiLeonardo fired at Moroughan and approached his cab with gun in hand as the cabbie tried to retreat, then beat him about the head with the butt of his gun numerous times. The finding contradicted statements by DiLeonardo that Moroughan revved his car engine and tried to run down DiLeonardo, who said he drew his weapon only when the cab was coming toward him.
Statement in dispute
Moroughan signed a sworn statement Suffolk County homicide detectives wrote for him while he lay in a hospital bed on morphine, with two bullets still inside him and with a broken nose, according to the report. Moroughan said the Suffolk detectives did not allow him to consult with an attorney before signing it. The statement helped exonerate DiLeonardo and incriminate Moroughan, and was later shown to include events that were contradicted by the department's own investigation, the report states.
Though DiLeonardo did not mention drinking in his initial post-shooting statement, he later told Suffolk district attorney investigators that he'd had eight to 10 drinks, and Nassau internal affairs investigators that he had six drinks, over a roughly 41/2-hour period before the shooting.
Within 12 hours of the shooting, Nassau County's Deadly Force Response Team cleared DiLeonardo of wrongdoing, allowing him to continue making arrests after two weeks of paid sick leave. However, a Suffolk crime scene analyst later reported the events couldn't have occurred as DiLeonardo had described, and a Suffolk district attorney investigator determined that the shooting was "unjustified."
Nassau Police Commissioner Thomas Dale, in a statement emailed to Newsday last month, wrote of the shooting, in part: "I have an active internal affairs investigation open regarding this incident, and there is a pending civil trial in Suffolk County. These two factors prevent me from commenting further about this issue at this time. It is important to note that departmental sanctions can be as punitive as criminal proceedings."
Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano said he expects Dale to investigate and dole out "appropriate" departmental discipline.
With Gus Garcia-Roberts and Sandra Peddie
Report: Pill mills, addiction thrive in N.J.
By Barbara Boyer — Thursday, July 11th, 2013 'The Philadelphia Inquirer' / Philadelphia, PA
An epidemic of drug addictions sweeping New Jersey in "leaps and bounds" has taken an unprecedented hold in the suburbs that is far more serious than the heroin crisis of the 1960s and '70s, according to Lee Seglem, assistant director of the state's Commission of Investigation.
A blistering 74-page report issued by the commission Wednesday said a network of corrupt doctors - some feeding Russian organized crime by bilking Medicaid and Medicare - has created a proliferation of painkillers and heroin, with open-air drug markets in cities and at malls in affluent communities.
In Camden, the report alleges, a physician ran an operation that put an estimated $10 million in pills onto the street.
The document, based on a two-year investigation, describes at least one physical assault ordered by organized crime members and technologically savvy dealers using social media to peddle pills.
"This is spreading out to the suburbs by leaps and bounds, and that is something we didn't see 40 years ago," Seglem said. "Look at the statistics and do the math."
In 2011, the last year for which statistics are available, there were 1,008 drug deaths in New Jersey, a 20 percent increase over 2010, and nearly half were people 25 or younger, according to the New Jersey Medical Examiner's Office. Of those, 337 involved the powerful painkiller oxycodone, and 368 involved heroin mixed with other illicit drugs.
"It is noteworthy, given the past social stereotyping of drug abuse, that 90 percent of the oxycodone-related deaths in 2011 involved individuals classified by race as 'white,' " the report said. It also detailed "a "startling rise" in drug treatment, with more than 8,600 patient admissions to treatment centers for opiate addiction in 2011.
"What once was a menacing background . . . has exploded into a mainstream horror story whose first chapter often begins with pill bottles in the average household medicine cabinet," said the report.
With professionals and families trying "to combat the purveyors and consequences of this predatory scourge, it continues to evolve in ways that few could have imagined when the so-called war on drugs was launched more than four decades ago," the report said.
The drugs remain as well in the cities. The report describes Randy Zeid, a doctor who maintained an office on Camden's Broadway, the drug strip sometimes called "Zombie Land" because of the young suburban addicts wandering for drugs.
According to the report, Zeid allegedly prescribed "prodigious amounts of pain medications."
In 19 months in 2010 and 2011, one local pharmacy had 3,100 prescriptions for pills, nearly all with various quantities of oxycodone, according to the report.
Investigators called Zeid's operation "a drug emporium" that put an estimated $10 million in pills onto the street, turning a normally desolate block into a "carnival" with long lines and cars parked in all directions, the report said.
Authorities said Zeid prescribed pills for a person placed in treatment and kicked out for relapse, and a government worker injured on the job who became hooked on oxycodone. Zeid's practice was so active, the report said, that he hired security staff to maintain order.
According to the Associated Press, Zeid, in a letter to the commission included in the report, denied the allegations. He said that the area was busier on Tuesdays because more doctors were present and that there was no proof he wrote more than 3,000 prescriptions for oxycodone from January 2010 to July 2011. And even if that were the case, Zeid said, that is not an unusually high number of prescriptions.
Zeid, the AP said, wrote that the report "consists of exaggerated, unverified allegations intended to sensationalize and alarm, but which is short on facts which prove that anything wrong happened."
Zeid also was a doctor for Virtua Family Medicine in Browns Mills. Peggy Leone, a Virtua spokeswoman, said Zeid's work in Camden was not affiliated with Virtua. She said the hospital conducted a review of Zeid's Virtua patients and found "no abuse in the dispensing of prescription drugs," and that "given the gravity of these allegations, Dr. Zeid has been suspended pending investigation."
Zeid, who has not been charged with any crime, did not return messages seeking comment. Seglem said all criminal allegations have been sent to state and federal investigators for review.
Every county throughout the state has been impacted by overdoses and drug abuse, officials said. There are anecdotes throughout the report of students nodding off in class while high, and of the 47 heroin arrests in rural Hunterdon County last year.
In Vernon, Sussex County, nine high school graduates died of overdoses during four years, while in Gloucester City, Camden County, five funerals were held in 2011 for young adults who bought a bad batch of heroin.
An official from the Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office reported that he had never seen a drug "that can grip users the way the heroin does," estimating that 50,000 hits flow into the county in any given week.
In North Jersey, the director of a medical center in Passaic was paid $4,000 a week by operatives of the Russian Mafia, once being physically attacked by his boss. The report did not say why.
The doctor told investigators he was expected to write pill prescriptions for anyone who asked and that patients were recruited by word-of-mouth at shelters for the poor and homeless.
The practice received $1.6 million in Medicare and Medicaid payments, money quickly turned over to organized crime.
The report called for changes including stronger oversight of the medical community, tougher financial and criminal penalties for offenders, and a statewide task force to coordinate drug investigations.
51 Law Enforcement Fatalities Nationwide in the First Half of 2013
According to preliminary data compiled by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, 51 law enforcement officers have been killed in the line of duty during the first half of 2013. This is a 9 percent increase over the same period in 2012.
By Unnamed Author(s) — Thursday, July 11th, 2013 'The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund Newsletter' / Washington, DC
Traffic-related fatalities were once again the leading cause of officer deaths, with 18 officers killed in the first half of 2013, matching the same period in 2012.
Firearms-related fatalities were the second leading cause of death among our nation's law enforcement officers in the first half of 2013, dropping 11 percent with 17 fatalities compared to 19 in the same period last year. Ambush attacks were the leading circumstance of fatal shootings, with seven officer fatalities.
The first half of 2013 saw a 60 percent increase in other causes of officer fatalities unrelated to firearms or traffic. Sixteen officers died in the first half of 2013 compared to ten in the 2012 period. Job-related illnesses, such as heart attacks, drastically rose in the first half of 2013, with ten officer deaths compared to two officers during the same time period in 2012.
Forty-seven fallen officers were male and four were female. Their average age was 42 years, with 14 years of service. On average, each officer left behind two children.
Read the full report at šwww.LawMemorial.org/ResearchBulletin .
F.B.I.šš šššššš(Now It's Secrecy [Not Corruption] at the Boston Office)
Congressional Hearings On Bombings Fault FBI Information Sharing
By Curt Nickisch — Thursday, July 11th, 2013 'NPR News' / Washington, DC
WASHINGTON — Tensions simmered on Capitol Hill Wednesday during two congressional hearings on the Boston Marathon bombings. Federal officials in Washington referred to surviving alleged bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's court appearance going on in Boston during disagreements in their hearings.
From the opening gavel, the temperature in the U.S. House hearing, Cannon building, Room 311, started to rise. House Committee on Homeland Security Chair Rep. Michael McCall began with an accusation. The Texas Republican said the FBI is withholding information that the committee has repeatedly requested. The request is simple: What did the FBI know about the Tsarnaev brothers before April 15, the day of the bombings? McCall also says FBI authorities are refusing to testify.
"Unfortunately, the FBI has refused to appear and continues to refuse this committee's appropriate request for information and documents crucial to our investigation into what happened in Boston," Rep. McCall said. He was backed up by a Massachusetts Democrat on the committee, Rep. Bill Keating.
The FBI responded after the hearing, saying it has good reasons for not sharing the information, namely the ongoing investigation and pending prosecution. In a statement, the FBI cited Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's arraignment, saying it wants to protect the integrity of the judicial process.
Tensions with the FBI were also apparent at a Senate hearing happening at the same time, though the atmosphere was more cordial over in the Dirksen building, Room 342.
Massachusetts public safety official Kurt Schwartz testified that the FBI did not inform State Police that the dead bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev had been investigated a few years ago. Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis told the Senate panel that needs to change.
"If there is information that comes in about a terrorist threat to a particular city, then local officials should have that information," Davis said. "There should be a mandate somewhere that the federal authorities have to share that with us so that we can properly defend our community."
Still, Davis praised the FBI for cooperating seamlessly with his department after the marathon bombings. And the Senate committee was full of warm words for Boston and its medical community and emergency responders.
Richard Serino, an administrator for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, told the senators that Boston was well-prepared for the attack thanks to the dollars that have been flowing from Washington.
"'Boston Strong' was no accident," Serino said. "It was years of planning, years of training, years of purchasing the right equipment for the right people at the right time, and it saved lives."
Even so, another expert warned the panel against seeing Boston as a test case for domestic terrorism response. Arthur Kellermann, a physician and policy analyst for the RAND Corporation, said Boston was a special case.
"The number of trauma patients any one hospital got was very manageable. We cannot put seven trauma centers in every American city. Massachusetts can barely afford it, our nation can't afford it," Kellermann said. "We've got to raise our game in American hospitals."
Anywhere else, Kellermann said, the human toll would have been higher.
So that's the picture of contrasting congressional panels. At the House Homeland Security Committee, tensions rose in a dispute with the FBI over what could have been done better to prevent the Boston Marathon bombings. While at a parallel hearing across the way, the Senate Homeland Security Committee learned how so much more could have gone worse.
Lawmakers say FBI thwarts inquiry
By Bryan Bender and Noah Bierman — Thursday, July 11th, 2013 'The Boston Globe' / Boston, MI
WASHINGTON — Members of a congressional committee Wednesday accused the FBI of stalling an inquiry into the Boston Marathon bombings, saying the bureau had no grounds for withholding what it knew about Tamerlan Tsarnaev prior to the attacks.
"The information requested by this committee belongs to the American people,'' said Representative Michael McCaul, a Texas Republican who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee. "It does not belong solely to the FBI."
The frustrations, aired publicly after FBI officials rebuffed an invitation to appear before the committee, stemmed from the FBI's unwillingness to detail how it handled a security review of Tsarnaev nearly two years before the Marathon bombings. Critics have suggested the FBI may have missed a chance to prevent the bombings.
"I went to Russia and was given more information," said committee member William Keating, a Bourne Democrat who has been seeking information about Russian warnings to American authorities about Tsarnaev's increasing radicalism dating to 2011.
"The FBI continues to refuse this committee's appropriate requests for information and documents crucial to our investigation into what happened in Boston," McCaul declared as he opened a committee hearing. "I sincerely hope they do not intend to stonewall our inquiry into how this happened."
Tsarnaev died after a firefight with police in Watertown within hours of being identified as a suspect.
His younger brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, faces charges of using weapons of mass destruction to kill four people and injure more than 260 others.
The FBI interviewed the elder Tsarnaev in his Cambridge home in the spring and summer of 2011 but concluded he was not a threat and closed its inquiry.
The bureau apparently did not reopen the case, despite additional warnings from Russia later that year, the subsequent decision by the CIA to add him to a database of potential terrorist suspects, and a tip in 2012 from the Department of Homeland Security that Tsarnaev traveled to Russia.
On Wednesday, the FBI strongly denied it was being uncooperative with Congress. It has said in the past that local authorities in Boston had access, in the years before the bombings, to the same information about Tsarnaev on its computers as FBI agents.
"We are not stonewalling,'' FBI spokesman Paul Bresson said. "We have briefed [the] committee on several occasions and will continue to do so as necessary."
Bresson said the FBI did not provide a witness for the Wednesday hearing in order to avoid compromising the legal case against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who pleaded not guilty Wednesday to 30 charges in his first appearance in federal court in Boston.
"We have an obligation to protect the integrity of the judicial process while it is ongoing," Bresson said. "This involves ensuring both the government's ability to conduct a successful prosecution as well as the rights of all parties involved, including the victims and the defendant, who, as it turns out, has a court appearance on the same day as this hearing."
During a hearing on the bombings in the Senate, meanwhile, Boston Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis renewed his calls for the FBI to reveal more information about potential terror threats to local police departments.
"If we do that, we're much stronger as a nation," Davis testified. "If we don't, it puts our communities and my officers at risk."
Davis also said the city needs more and better cameras on the streets, which is likely to spark renewed debate over privacy. He said that the city has traffic cameras downtown and on major roadways, but that there are were no cameras along the Marathon route at the time of the bombing.
But it was the hearing before the House Homeland Security Committee that drew the most attention on Wednesday.
Members were particularly frustrated by a July 3 letter to the committee from the FBI. The letter, reviewed by the Globe, said the bureau would not be responding to all the committee's requests for information.
A key piece of information the committee wants is the original Russian warning to the United States in 2011, which said Tsarnaev might be planning to travel to Chechnya to meet with Islamist radicals.
"We don't even have that copy [of the Russian warning] in this committee," Keating said in an interview after the hearing.
The FBI has insisted that the Russian warning was vague, and that several of its requests to the Russians for more information went unanswered. But Keating said the Russians told him, during his own fact-finding trip to Russia in late May, that they don't know what requests for information the FBI had referred to.
"Where's the request?'' Keating said. "Tell us the name, tell us the time, to whom that they have sent it to. What I want ultimately is a timeline — a very distinct timeline — of everything that happened."
Keating, a former Massachusetts prosecutor, also said that he believes the FBI is using the case against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as an excuse to not be more forthcoming.
He said he does not believe the FBI's contention that revealing information about its earlier review of Tamerlan Tsarnaev would jeopardize the case against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
And he said he is not persuaded by the FBI's previous responses that it investigated Tsarnaev in 2011 and closed its case after an initial inquiry.
"The answer we keep getting back is that it wouldn't have mattered anyway, because the case was closed," Keating said. "Case closed, stopped everything, and, in fact, became an excuse for why other things weren't done."
Other panel members, Democrats and Republicans, were critical of the FBI's level of cooperation.
"The fact that the FBI is not sharing information with this committee with jurisdiction over homeland security I think is just totally unacceptable," said Representative Peter King, a New York Republican. "I think the FBI has a lot to explain for here."
McCaul, the committee chairman, pledged to keep up the pressure on the FBI to cooperate.
"I said when I started this investigation that we were going to find out what happened, what went wrong, and how to fix it," McCaul said. "And I will not be satisfied until we get the answers that the American people deserve."
Gangs ššššššššššššššššššššš (New York and Los Angeles)
What Does It Take to Stop Crips and Bloods From Killing Each Other?
By JOHN BUNTIN — Thursday, July 11th, 2013 'The New York Times'
Excerpts; desired to read the article in its entirety, go to:
Gangs in Los Angeles don't fly their colors the way they used to, but the rivalries persist. In the 1980s, members of the two dominant gangs, the Crips and the Bloods, flaunted their affiliation by dressing in blue (Crips) or red (Bloods), even though doing so made them targets.
Today, computer databases, gang injunctions and enhanced criminal sanctions for gang-related crime have driven such obvious, outward expressions of gang affiliation underground. Gang members now wear their colors mainly on YouTube (where they conceal their identities with bandannas) or on special occasions. As a result, a blue or red shirt no longer signifies gang membership in the way that it used to.
Since 1994, violent crime in the United States has fallen by more than 40 percent. By all accounts, police departments today are more professional, less corrupt and more effective than they were 30 years ago. Yet, for a variety of reasons, minority perceptions of the police have not improved. A 2009 Pew Research Center study found that just 14 percent of African-Americans had a great deal of confidence in the proposition that their local police officers treated blacks and whites equally, compared with 38 percent of whites who thought so.
"The communities that need police protection the most, trust police the least," John Laub, the former head of the National Institute of Justice, says. "Bridging that divide is the most urgent task for American policing today." Even the most successful police departments struggle with the perception of racial bias. For example, over the past 20 years, violent crime in New York City has fallen by 80 percent, twice the rate of decline of the nation as a whole.
According to the New York police commissioner, Raymond Kelly, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, one way the department has driven crime down is by stopping and questioning (and sometimes frisking) large numbers of people in high-crime areas, thus deterring people from carrying weapons. In 2012, the New York Police Department conducted almost as many stops of black youths as there are black youths in the city, recovering 729 guns in the process.
Nearly 60 percent of white New Yorkers approve of the tactic. Less than a quarter of black New Yorkers share that opinion.
Many perceive it as racial profiling, an interpretation bolstered by recent police testimony in a lawsuit filed against the city over the practice. This perception has real-world consequences, says David M. Kennedy, a criminologist at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. In high-crime neighborhoods across the country, community cooperation with police investigations has virtually stopped. It's not simply that residents are afraid of retaliation, Kennedy says. "There is a strong and growing norm in many communities, especially poor black communities, that good people don't talk to and don't work with the police," he says. So even while the sheer number of murders in most cities is dropping, the homicide clearance rate — the proportion of cases solved — is doing the same.
Cities grappling with gang violence have long feared one outcome above all others: becoming Los Angeles, and more specifically, Watts. Nowhere were police relations with the black community worse.
The way the L.A.P.D. conducted itself in South Los Angeles "wasn't policing, it was anti-insurgency run amok," says the journalist and historian Joe Domanick. "Sheer brutality, suppression and force — those were the only things the L.A.P.D. thought people in South L.A. understood, and those were the only things the L.A.P.D. itself understood." The rise of the Crips and the Bloods in the 1970s only strengthened that sentiment. Watts, with the highest concentration of public housing west of the Mississippi, the fourth-highest concentration of poverty in the city of Los Angeles and a long history of police-community conflict, presented the problem of gang violence and "black-blue" antagonism in its most extreme form.
But Watts and the Los Angeles Police Department have each undergone a remarkable transformation. Over the past two years, violent crime in Watts's public-housing projects has fallen by more than 60 percent. Drive-by shootings, once a mainstay of gang life and the nightly news, have almost completely disappeared.
Causality is slippery, especially when it comes to crime. The L.A.P.D.'s decision to deploy 30 additional officers to Watts's three largest housing projects has undoubtedly contributed to the area's improvement. Research has shown that "hot-spot policing" — flooding high-crime areas with police officers — effectively reduces crime without simply displacing it. But the department's efforts in Watts go beyond "cops on dots." In recent years, the L.A.P.D. has been conducting an unusual experiment in community policing in Watts. Its centerpiece, the Community Safety Partnership, is the department's collaboration with a group of residents known as the Watts Gang Task Force. Every Monday morning, community leaders meet with top police commanders to discuss what's happening in the Watts gang world — who's feuding with whom, where criminal investigations stand, which are the issues residents are worried about. What makes the initiative unusual is that many of the task force's participants have close ties to street gangs. Some, like Mendenhall, are former gang leaders. Others are the mothers and grandmothers of notorious gang leaders past and present.
When we talk about crime, we tend to talk about victims and offenders, innocence and guilt, prey and predator. Gang violence clouds and warps this logic: victims and victimizers are often the same people, and neither side has any reason to talk to the police. This presents a conundrum to law enforcement, one that has developed contrasting strategies on either coast. New York City insists that hard-nosed, divisive tactics like its stop-and-frisk policy are necessary to reduce crime. But Los Angeles has pursued another way, an approach that has delivered lower crime rates and fostered police-community reconciliation.
Health officials blame heroin for spike in Maryland overdose deaths
State, local jurisdictions creating response plans
By Carrie Wells and Kevin Rector — Thursday, July 11th, 2013 'The Baltimore Sun' / Baltimore, MD
Heroin overdose deaths soared last year in Baltimore, a city that has struggled with one of the highest rates of heroin addiction in the nation and with the violence that comes with illegal drug dealing.
In 2012, 126 people died in the city from heroin overdoses, a jump of 66 percent from the previous year, when 76 died, reversing recent declines, according to a Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene report released Wednesday.
The new data could confirm the recent warnings from state health officials that a crackdown on illicit prescription opiates was pushing more addicts toward the street drug.
Statewide, fatal heroin overdoses rose 54 percent to 378 in 2012 from 241 in 2011, the department's report said. The spike in deaths was found in all demographics and in most regions of the state, though most pronounced in Baltimore, the study found.
Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein, secretary of the health department, which warned last fall of a rise in heroin overdoses, called the deadly surge a "serious public health concern."
State and local health officials vowed to take action after the reversal of years of declines in overdose deaths. The health department is working with local jurisdictions on response plans and sharing information about heroin treatment. The state has several programs that are close to being rolled out.
The state is hosting education programs for medical workers treating people for opioid abuse; training individuals to administer naloxone, a prescription drug that can intervene with a person's ability to absorb heroin during an overdose; and establishing overdose fatality review teams, the health department said.
Christina Trenton, interim CEO for Baltimore Substance Abuse Systems, a quasi-public arm of the city health department, said more than a dozen volunteers will staff the fatality review team, which will delve into the circumstances of fatal drug overdoses and identify if there were missed opportunities to prevent them, and recommend policy changes.
Though the rise in heroin-related overdose deaths coincided with more people switching to the drug from prescription opiates, Trenton said, it was not yet clear if that trend was responsible for the rise in overdose deaths.
"What we don't know is if it's linked to specific overdose cases," she said. "We have to have data that confirms for us that this is the trend that is contributing to overdoses in Baltimore City."
Last year, health officials indicated that more people who had become hooked on prescription opiates like Oxycodone were switching to heroin as law enforcement cracked down on doctors who overprescribed the medication — an apparent nationwide trend that Maryland has followed. But the rise in heroin overdoses comes even as more heroin addicts sought treatment last year.
Baltimore health officials have estimated about 48,000 residents are addicted to the drug. That's about one in every 13 residents.
When alcohol and other drugs are factored in, about 15 percent more people died in Maryland from overdoses last year than in 2011, according to the state study. During the same period, deaths from overdoses on prescription opioids fell by 12 percent, across all demographics and regions of the state, the study found.
The rise in heroin overdose deaths follows success in decreasing the use of the potently addictive drug statewide between 2007 and 2011, health officials said. Baltimore heroin overdose deaths peaked at 283 in 1999.
Christopher Welsh, an associate professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, attributed some of the rise to an increase in heroin mixed with fentanyl, a potent anesthetic, in addition to the switch from prescription opiates to heroin. He said a statewide database of narcotic prescriptions is set to go into use next month, making it harder for addicts to "doctor shop."
"Right now there's not a good way for doctors to see if this patient is going to other emergency rooms looking for narcotics as well," he said.
But Welsh said state health officials are trying to get better systems into place to deal with the aftermath of the closing of illicit clinics. For example, he cited an Eastern Shore pain management clinic with 1,000 patients that shut down abruptly in 2011 when the physician's license was revoked.
"Some of them had true pain and they didn't have their doctor anymore," said Welsh, adding that a few ended up taking so much Tylenol to deal with pain that they ended up damaging their livers.
Rachel Indek, also with Baltimore Substance Abuse Systems, and Trenton said federal and state funding for traditional clinical treatment for addiction, like in-patient 28-day programs, in Maryland has been cut in the most recent fiscal year, from about $38 million combined to about $35 million. But they said much of that loss in funding has been made up for in a switch to non-clinical services like peer-to-peer drug counseling.
It's too early to tell whether this approach is working or not, Trenton said.
"I can tell you we have gotten a lot of anecdotal support," she said. "Overall the reception has been positive by the individuals receiving the services."
Erin Artigiani, a deputy director at the Center for Substance Abuse Research at the University of Maryland, said about 1,000 more people sought treatment for heroin addiction in Baltimore in 2012 than in the year before, mirroring a statewide trend. She said those who study substance abuse across the country met recently in St. Louis for a conference and tried to identify the reason for the rise in heroin issues.
"Maryland is not unique in seeing an increase in heroin" use, she said. Artigiani said that the state has faced similar spikes in heroin overdose deaths before, in the late 1990s and then in the mid-2000s, leading to a "renewed effort" to address the issue.
"All of that had some effect back then so I'm hopeful we can do that again," she said.
Baltimore plans to host an "Overdose Awareness Day" in mid-August, city health department spokesman Michael Schwartzberg said, adding that the event would be the first of its kind. It will feature overdose prevention and education training, an information session and a candlelight vigil to remember those who have passed away due to drug overdoses.
On Aug. 9, Gov. Martin O'Malley will hold a roundtable with law enforcement and public health authorities to discuss the issue. The governor has set a goal of a 20 percent decline in drug and alcohol overdose deaths by 2015, DHMH said.
Heroin overdose deaths
76 in 2011 to 126 in 2012 (Baltimore)
245 in 2011 to 378 in 2012 (Maryland)
All drug and alcohol overdose deaths
165 in 2011 to 213 in 2012 (Baltimore)
663 in 2011 to 761 in 2012 (Maryland)
Milwaukee, Police Department face civil rights suits over searches
Legal actions filed in federal court follow criminal investigation of officers
By Gina Barton — Thursday, July 11th, 2013 'The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel' / Milwaukee, WI
If two civil suits filed late Wednesday are successful, illegal rectal searches and strip searches by Milwaukee police could cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages and legal bills.
The two civil suits, filed by five men in federal court, are likely the first of many to be filed by the 30 victims who came forward during a widespread criminal investigation that led to charges against four officers. The suits, which name the city, the Police Department, Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn and seven individual department members as defendants, do not demand a specific damage amount.
A strip search case filed by a Beloit teenager that didn't allege anal penetration or result in criminal charges against officers settled last year for $265,000.
Seven other people claiming to be victims of illegal searches primarily in the Milwaukee Police Department's District 5 earlier filed notices of claim, which indicates they plan to file civil suits, although they have not yet done so.
The criminal charges against Milwaukee police officers Michael Vagnini, Jacob Knight, Jeffrey Dollhopf and Brian Kozelek are mentioned in the civil suits filed Wednesday and may increase the credibility of the plaintiffs, several of whom were found with drugs.
Vagnini last month was sentenced to 26 months in prison after pleading no contest to four felonies and four misdemeanors in connection with the searches. In 2011, his last full year on the force before the investigation began, Vagnini was paid more than $93,000 by the Police Department — nearly $30,000 of that in overtime.
Charges against the other three officers are pending.
Vagnini and Knight are named as defendants in the civil suits, as are Officer Michael Gasser and former Sgt. Jason Mucha, among others. Both Gasser and Mucha were cleared of wrongdoing by internal affairs. Mucha, who supervised some of the officers involved in the searches, has since left the force and is receiving duty disability payments.
Flynn has acknowledged the department had been receiving complaints for "a couple of years" before opening an investigation.
When the criminal charges were handed down in October, Flynn described the officers' actions as "willful misconduct."
"Crime cannot be fought with criminality," he said then. "A hard-earned reputation has been tarnished."
In addition to illegal search and seizure, the suits allege numerous other civil rights violations, including false arrest, excessive force and conspiracy. The suits detail numerous allegations of illegal searches, including:
■A search of Leo Hardy on March 13, 2012. Gasser and his partner, Keith Garland Jr., stopped Hardy in front of his home. When Gasser reached into Hardy's pants, Hardy "feared for his safety and ran." The officers caught him and removed his pants and underwear on the street. Hardy did not have
drugs. He was charged with resisting arrest and served 21 days in jail. When Hardy complained, internal affairs investigators tried to intimidate him. The internal investigation later cleared the officers.
■A search of Jerold Ezell in February 2010. Ezell was sitting in his car, which was parked in front of his grandmother's house. Mucha, Vagnini and Knight "approached his car with their weapons drawn." Vagnini first ran his hands over Ezell's scrotum and between his buttocks, then shone his flashlight down Ezell's pants and "began to use his fingers to claw and attempt to penetrate Mr. Ezell's anus." Mucha and Knight watched and did not help Ezell. The complaint does not say whether drugs were found.
■A search of a man identified only as L.L.R. on Feb. 27, 2010. Vagnini and Gasser stopped L.L.R.'s vehicle and asked him to turn over "the drugs." When he did not, Vagnini put him in a chokehold and "violently probed LLR in his anus." The complaint does not say whether drugs were found. Vagnini pleaded no contest to a crime involving this search and was convicted.
■A search of Anthony Pettis in July 2011. Pettis and his friends were approached by two officers at a gas station in District 7. The officers brought Pettis to the station, where Vagnini arrived from District 5 and "shoved his fingers inside Mr. Pettis' rectum," the suit says. Pettis initially was charged with possession with intent to deliver cocaine, a felony with a maximum possible penalty of 15 years in prison. After his attorney filed a motion to suppress the evidence based on an illegal search, the district attorney's office dropped the charge, saying the officers involved were unavailable to testify, his attorney said.
■A search of both Ezell and Pettis in November 2011. The two men helped a friend carry her groceries into her house and she made them dinner. The same two officers who stopped Pettis in July knocked on the door, and the woman let them in. Vagnini, Knight and numerous other officers arrived. Vagnini "shoved his bare two fingers into both Mr. Ezell's and Mr. Pettis' rectums one after another without pausing to wash his hands or put on gloves." No drugs were found.
■A search of a man identified only as SC in spring 2012. He was confronted by a "train" of squad cars, one marked and two unmarked, in the alley behind his home. Vagnini and two other officers approached the car with their guns drawn. "Officer Vagnini then searched S.C., grabbing his testicles with his bare hands." No drugs were found.
Both state law and Milwaukee Police Department policy prohibit police officers from doing a cavity search, which involves penetration, under any circumstances. Such searches can be performed only by a doctor, physician's assistant or registered nurse.
Under state law, a strip search is defined as "a search in which a detained person's genitals, pubic area, buttock or anus, or a detained female person's breast, is uncovered and either is exposed to view or is touched by a person conducting the search."
Before doing a strip search, an officer must get written permission from either the police chief or a supervisor — unless the officer expects to find a weapon. After the search, the officer is required to fill out a report that lists the names of the officers involved and the time and place of the search. The officer is required to give a copy of that report and of the written authorization to the detainee.
Whether drugs were found during an illegal search is irrelevant in a civil case.
The suits allege that Flynn "purposely ignored defendant officers' pattern of misconduct."
"Despite their knowledge of these illegal searches, the policymakers ...took no action to train, supervise or discipline any officers who committed these knowingly illegal searches," the plaintiffs allege. "Instead, certain of the defendant officers were rewarded with commendations for their aggressive police tactics and jobs well-done by their supervisors, including commendations from Chief Edward Flynn."
At Vagnini's sentencing hearing, his attorney, Michael Steinle, made the same point.
"Unfortunately, he wasn't crossing his T's and dotting his I's. And I say then shame on other people, people that were supervising him," Steinle said of Vagnini. "He's a police officer. A smart one at that. But still he has people watching over his conduct. He has people reviewing his reports. He has lawyers reviewing his reports on both sides of it. And again, not one human being brought it up."
Steinle provided Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Jeffrey A. Wagner with 40 letters of commendation received by his client, some of them signed by Flynn. Numerous people who worked with Vagnini at the department, including Mucha, wrote Wagner letters praising Vagnini's police work and asking for leniency.
"I do not believe the allegations made against him and believe he only plead (sic) ... due to pressure from the DA's office, which was threatening him with so many charges he could have faced life in prison," Mucha wrote. "I believe a good hard working officer is being punished for crimes he did not do just because they gave him no choice. ... He did what his supervisors asked him to do and targeted certain violent drug dealers in the district."
Kevin Crowe of the Journal Sentinel staff contributed to this report.
Violent crime in Milwaukee this year is highest since '08
But overall crime rate falls 8% due to drop in property crimes
By Ashley Luthern and John Diedrich — Thursday, July 11th, 2013 'The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel' / Milwaukee, WI
Violent crime, fueled by a nearly 20% jump in robberies, rose 5% in the first six months of this year compared with the same time last year, according to statistics released by the Milwaukee Police Department.
The figures show violent crime in the first six months of this year reached its highest level since 2008 and come after a jump in reports of violent crime last year.
Overall crime fell in the same six-month time period by 8%, thanks to a drop in property crimes.
Since taking command of the Police Department, Police Chief Edward Flynn had released quarterly data that showed continuous decreases in crime. The quarterly reports stopped after a Journal Sentinel investigation last year showed certain crimes were misreported, and the department re-examined its numbers.
This is the first time the department has released crime numbers for 2013.
Not only are robberies up over this time last year, but they also are up about 10% from the six-year average, Flynn said.
"The increase in violent crime is entirely driven by robberies," Flynn said.
The department began an initiative April 30 to combat the problem after a rash of armed robberies on the city's north side. Smartphones were targeted in 30% of the robberies, a trend seen across the country, so officers offered public education on installing tracking apps and passwords.
Investigators also are focusing on local stores that are reselling stolen phones to try to cut off a secondary market, the chief said.
Flynn said he was encouraged by the year-to-date drop in property crimes, because more people are likely to be victims of those offenses than violent crimes.
"There were a lot fewer crime victims this year than last year, but the increase in robberies is troubling, and it's caused us to take a hard look at the dynamics of that," Flynn said.
Mayor Tom Barrett echoed Flynn's sentiments, saying Wednesday he was pleased that the number of crime victims was down. But he said he was concerned about a robbery increase.
Tony Gibson, a member of the Johnsons Park Neighborhood Association, said the Police Department had informed neighborhood groups of crime trends during monthly meetings.
"At least the area that I live in, we're not seeing an uptick in our crime," Gibson said.
The association's borders are N. 16th St. to N. 20th St. and W. Walnut St. to Fond du Lac Ave.
"It takes a lot of involvement from residents, from everyday folks" to work with police, plan community programs and keep crime down, Gibson said.
In its 2012 annual report to the FBI, the department reported that violent crime increased 9.4% compared with the year before, the first increase since 2008, when Flynn took command of the department.
The increase was driven by a 33% increase in aggravated assaults, with domestic violence-related assaults accounting for part of the increase, according to police.
The increase in violent crimes followed a Journal Sentinel investigation in 2012 that found Milwaukee police had misreported thousands of violent assaults, rapes, robberies and burglaries as less serious offenses and failed to correct the problems or publicly disclose them, even though department officials, including a top data analyst, raised red flags for years.
Flynn said the inaccuracies were the result of human errors and a failing computer system, which the department is seeking to replace. He said the investigation and prosecution of the crimes were not affected by the way they were coded.
The overall crime number for the full year in 2012 was flat, because property crime was down.
Aggravated assaults were down by 3% for the first six months of this year compared with the same period in 2012. Homicide totals remained about the same year to year.
The department issued numbers for the first two quarters of 2013 based on its incident-reporting system, rather than the FBI Universal Crime Reporting system. It also provided the Journal Sentinel with prior years of incident-based data for comparison purposes.
Officials said a faulty computer system plagued by glitches is delaying the transfer of information from incident-based to summary-based reports used by the FBI, which in turn has prevented the department from giving timely data to the state.
The incident numbers are likely to fluctuate slightly because they were released so soon after the end of June, as officers take time to finish reports or cases remain open. In addition, when the department does transfer the information to conform with FBI definitions, the numbers could change, said Joel Plant, the department's chief of staff.
The Milwaukee Police Department, like every other agency in the state, is required to turn over monthly FBI summary-based numbers to the state Office of Justice Assistance, which then sends the information to the FBI.
The department has turned in numbers for January 2013, but has missed subsequent monthly deadlines, though that's not unusual for many agencies around the state, said Dana Brueck, speaking for the state Department of Justice, which oversees OJA.
Agencies do, however, generally meet the end-of-year crime reporting deadline, she added.
Brueck said agencies can be late in reporting for a variety of reasons, among them open cases such as sexual assaults or drug investigations, or technical glitches in their records management system.
In August, OJA contacts agencies that have failed to submit the first six months of data and, in February or March, agencies that do not have a complete 12 months of data submitted are contacted, Brueck said.
In the past eight years, the latest the Milwaukee department has turned over first-quarter numbers to the state was August in 2007.
The delay in reporting numbers to the state this year is not affecting the Milwaukee Police Department's ability to fight crime, because the department still has access to daily crime numbers through the incident reports.
Flynn said he is confident the department will send six-month numbers to OJA next month.
"It's only so they can compare us to other big cities; it's not what we use to understand the dimensions of crime. It's simply to produce a national report," Flynn said.
The mayor said the FBI numbers are useful for the sake of comparison.
"I think it is important to compare apples to apples, and I'm confident that we'll be in a place where we will be able to do so. We're putting money into the system right now," Barrett said.
The department is working with the system's manufacturer to solve problems under an existing maintenance contract and also has hired a local consultant that was paid just over $2,600 in the first half of this year to troubleshoot.
In addition to problems in the computer system that converts incident-based numbers to summary-based UCR numbers used by the FBI, Flynn said the department is subjecting the UCR numbers to multiple reviews.
"We are very self-conscious about our UCR being as pristine as any big city can possible make it," Flynn said.
Kevin Crowe of the Journal Sentinel staff contributed to this report.
Lawmakers say administration's lack of candor on surveillance weakens oversight
By Peter Wallsten — Thursday, July 11th, 2013 'The New York Post' / Washington, DC
Excerpt; desired to read the article in its entirety, go to:
Lawmakers tasked with overseeing national security policy say a pattern of misleading testimony by senior Obama administration officials has weakened Congress's ability to rein in government surveillance.
Members of Congress say officials have either denied the existence of a broad program that collects data on millions of Americans or, more commonly, made statements that left some lawmakers with the impression that the government was conducting only narrow, targeted surveillance operations.
The most recent example came on March 12, when James R. Clapper, director of national intelligence, told the Senate Intelligence Committee that the government was not collecting information about millions of Americans. He later acknowledged that the statement was "erroneous" and apologized, citing a misunderstanding.
On three occasions since 2009, top Justice Department officials said the government's ability to collect business records in terrorism cases is generally similar to that of law enforcement officials during a grand jury investigation. That comparison, some lawmakers now say, signaled to them that data was being gathered on a case-by-case basis, rather than the records of millions of Americans' daily communications being vacuumed up in bulk.
In addition, two Democratic members of the Senate Intelligence Committee say that even in top-secret briefings, officials "significantly exaggerated" the effectiveness of at least one program that collected data on Americans' e-mail usage.
The administration's claims are being reexamined in light of disclosures by National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, reported by The Washington Post and Britain's Guardian newspaper, of broad government surveillance of Americans' Internet and phone use authorized under secret interpretations of law.
At least two Republican lawmakers have called for the removal of Clapper, who denied the widespread surveillance of Americans while under questioning by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and issued his apology after the surveillance programs became public two months later.
French legal complaint targets NSA, FBI, tech firms over Prism
By Natalie Huet (Reuters)š —š Thursday, July 11th, 2013; 11:18 a.m. EDT
(Reuters) - Two French human rights groups filed a legal complaint on Thursday that targets the U.S. National Security Agency, the FBI and seven technology companies they say may have helped the United States to snoop on French citizens' emails and phone calls.
The complaint, which denounces U.S. spying methods revealed by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, is filed against "persons unknown" but names Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Paltalk, Facebook, AOL and Apple as "potential accomplices" of the NSA and FBI.
Media reports that the United States has eavesdropped on European Internet users and embassies under a surveillance program named Prism have soured EU-U.S. relations, just as talks are starting on a transatlantic free trade pact.
"This blatant intrusion into individuals' lives represents a serious threat to individual liberties and, if not stopped, may lead to the end of the rule of law," the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the French Human Rights League (LDH) said in a statement.
The complaint was filed with a Paris civil court, and a prosecutor will now decide whether to open an investigation. If the prosecutor declines to do so, the plaintiffs can still ask an investigating magistrate to look into the case.
The complaint cites "fraudulent access to an automated data processing system, collection of personal data by fraudulent means, willful violation of the intimacy of private life and the use and conservation of recordings and documents obtained through such means".
While the complaint alleges that the NSA and FBI bear the bulk of responsibility in setting up Prism, it suggests the U.S. companies may have provided them with the technical means to access their servers and collect personal data and content.
The rights groups said French laws had been violated and called for a judicial investigation into the reports on U.S. surveillance that appeared in Britain's Guardian newspaper, the Washington Post and German news magazine Der Spiegel.
There was no immediate response from the NSA, the FBI or the Justice Department.
Representatives for both Facebook and Google said the companies did not give government agencies any direct access to their servers and provided user information only in accordance with the law. Reuters was seeking comment from the other firms.
(Additional reporting by Nicholas Vinocur in Paris, Lawrence Hurley and Tabassum Zakaria in Washington; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)
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