Thursday, July 25th, 2013 — Good Afternoon, Stay Safe
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The Community Safety Act
Sides Gear Up For War Over NYPD Inspector General, Racial Profiling
It's The City Council Against Bloomberg, Kelly In What Should Be An Epic Battle
By Dick Brennan — Wednesday, July 24th, 2013; 6:03 p.m. ‘CBS News’ / New York, NY
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A showdown is looming over the NYPD stop-and-frisk program. Mayor Michael Bloomberg vetoed two bills aimed at the department on Tuesday, but on Wednesday the City Council started fighting back, saying the bills will become law.
The lawmakers lodged a protest at City Hall, CBS 2’s Dick Brennan reported.
“Mayor Bloomberg has chosen not to listen this time. He has chosen to close his ears,” Democratic Councilman Brad Lander said.
One bill would create an inspector general to oversee the Police Department, while the other would allow claims of racial profiling against police to be heard in court.
“You’ve had months and months to fix this problem. Instead mayor, you did nothing. You did nothing. We had to do something for you,” Democrat Jumaane Williams said.
The mayor and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly insist the bills will tie the hands of the department and increase crime.
“We are saving lives. I say it’s safer than it has ever been. We have record lows in shootings, record lows in murders,” Kelly said.
Police unions believe the profiling bill will force cops to have defend themselves in court for doing their jobs.
“This is an upside-down world. Police officers will have to prove themselves innocent because they are assuming they are racially profiling,” PBA President Pat Lynch said.
So, will the votes be over-ridden? The mayor has launched an intense campaign to do just that.
The overrides will be voted on sometime in August.
In the coming months a federal judge will decide if stop-and-frisk is constitutional.
New York City Council members make big push to trump Bloomberg over anti-stop-and-frisk bills
The coalition of groups that favor the bills are working to counteract mayoral pressure on Council members to change their votes, one councilmember said.
By Erin Durkin AND Nathan Place — Thursday, July 25th, 2013 ‘The New York Daily News’
Supporters of New York City bills to rein in the NYPD said Wednesday they’re determined to override Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s vetoes — despite his efforts to thwart them.
Council member Jumaane Williams (D-Brooklyn) said the coalition of groups that favor the bills were working to counteract mayoral pressure on Council members to change their votes.
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn issued a statement on the two vetoes Bloomberg cast Tuesday — one against a bill that allows people to sue over police racial profiling and one against the creation of a police inspector general.
“My position will remain consistent on both of the bills,” said Quinn, who backed the bill to create an inspector general but voted no on the profiling measure.
“That said, I expect both of the vetoes to be overridden,” she added.
Former NYPD Police Commissioner Howard Safir: Bills invite crime
The bills now approved by the City Council would allow any convicted criminal to litigate whether his or her “stop and frisk” was lawful and would impose an inspector general to second guess a department that has more oversight than any other department in the world.
By Howard Safir — Thursday, July 25th, 2013 ‘The New York Daily News’
(Op-Ed / Commentary)
In the 1990s Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan described crime in New York as “defining deviancy down.” New Yorkers were fed up with crime. In 1990 there were more than 2,000 murders, and property crime required motorists to put “no radio” signs in their cars to direct thieves elsewhere.
These conditions led to the election of Rudy Giuliani and the beginning of almost 20 years of crime reduction that has made our city the safest large city in America.
Now the City Council has decided that it is time to reverse this process and give criminals free reign, approving two bills that would restrict the ability of the NYPD to do its job.
The bill to allow any convicted criminal to litigate whether his or her “stop and frisk” was lawful would cause police officers to hesitate to engage those they suspect are committing crimes.
The other bill would impose an inspector general to second guess a department that has more oversight than any other department in the world. It would also have a chilling effect on officers who over the last two decades have been able to accomplish crime reduction that is the dream of every other big city. New York City has two United States attorneys, five independently elected district attorneys and a Civilian Complaint Review Board. An inspector general adds nothing but a new bureaucracy.
Commissioner Raymond Kelly and his predecessors, along with the brave men and women of the NYPD, have created a model of effective law enforcement that is the envy of cities throughout the world.
As a high-level law enforcement official recently said, “stop and frisk is not a policy, it is a tool in an officer’s tool box, that they can use when there are circumstances clearly defined by law — reasonable suspicion that a crime may be in progress.”
Alleged racial profiling has been the clarion call of pandering politicians who want to take this important tool away from the NYPD. The true but unpopular fact — as President Obama himself said last week — is that a disproportionate number of crimes are committed in underserved communities.
Mayor Bloomberg is right to veto these two bills, and Commissioner Kelly and the NYPD should be supported by the public to make sure that these bills do not become law and send this city back into the chaos we once knew.
Howard Safir was the police commissioner of the NYPD from 1996 to 2000.
The mystery behind our crime decline
The heated debate over two bills regulating the NYPD simplifies a complicated history
By Errol Louis — Thursday, July 25th, 2013 ‘The New York Daily News’
(Op-Ed / Commentary)
Both sides fighting over a pair of proposed laws that would more tightly regulate the NYPD need to stop and count to 10 — because the histrionic epithets being flung back and forth are way beyond the pale.
Example: A charge that your opponents are basically paving the way for the killing of more kids.
“What are you going to say at the next eulogy you have to give after these bills are passed when the family is 100% convinced that had you not passed this bill that their child would still be alive?” said Mayor Bloomberg after the City Council passed legislation to create an inspector general and make it easier for people who think they’ve been illegally profiled to sue the NYPD.
If the bills become law, says Queens City Councilman Peter Vallone, “we will become Chicago, we will become Detroit. Crime will soar, murder will rise, children will die.”
The other side has been just as passionate. “There’s a racial-profiling problem in America. It takes many forms. But here in New York City, we know it unfortunately has become part of the practice of the NYPD,” says Public Advocate and mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio. “It’s not acceptable for the future of our city.”
Enough. Let’s examine what we actually do and don’t know about the causes of New York’s extraordinary 20-year drop in violent crime.
First, the consensus among scholars who have pored over the data is confusion: Nobody can say with certainty exactly what caused the two-decade decline.
We know part of the story. Computer-driven mapping and statistics in the early 1990s enabled commanders to begin identifying and reacting to local spikes in crime. That, plus a reorganization of the force to proactively focus on quality-of-life complaints, surely helped.
But the drop in crime didn’t just happen in New York. It went on around America and beyond, and it happened so suddenly that scholars are still scratching their heads trying to figure out why.
“No single factor — such as innovative policing strategies — deserves the lion’s share of the credit for the rapid improvement in public safety,” writes Andrew Karmen, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and author of “New York Murder Mystery: The True Story Behind the Crime Crash of the 1990s.”
Crime is down 64% in America since 1990, with New York and other big cities leading the way.
But that’s the tip of the iceberg. In France, robbery has fallen by a third since 2001. Murders are down 50% in Britain over the past decade. And since 1995, the murder rate in Estonia fell by 70%, even as a deep recession pushed the country’s unemployment rate to a Depression-level 19%.
Compstat and stop-and-frisk aren’t responsible for that.
In America, some scholars attribute the drop in crime to demographics: One theory holds that, as the baby boom faded and birth control and abortion became more widespread, there were simply fewer 16- to 24-year old men — the people mostly likely to commit crimes — around.
Another theory is that America’s prison-building boom and tougher sentencing took bad actors off the streets.
But New York’s prison population has plunged at the same time as the crime rate, so that’s clearly not the whole picture.
“We really don’t know why crime is down,” Karmen told me Wednesday. “So when the NYPD warns us that crime will spike if we change this policy or that policy, we don’t know if that’s true or not.”
Understanding how and why we came through the city’s dark night of crime is critical to knowing how to avoid returning to it.
Bloomberg, the Council and the candidates running for mayor need a dose of humility. Don’t reduce an important, complex and partly understood phenomenon to a handful of sound bites.
Louis is political anchor at NY1 News.
Question and Frisk Search
Fact-checking Ray Kelly: is the NYPD's stop-and-frisk policy fair and effective?
In the frame to head Homeland Security, this week the NYPD commissioner defended his record in the Wall Street Journal
By Sadhbh Walsh — Wednesday, July 24th, 2013; 12:37 p.m. EDT ‘The Guardian’ / London, England
New York's police commissioner Ray Kelly wrote a blistering op-ed in the Wall Street Journal this week defending the New York Police Department's "proactive policing strategies" as legal, constitutional and, most of all, successful in combating crime. As not everyone agrees with this stance, we thought we'd take a closer look at what the commissioner had to say in the NYPD's defense.
“Since 2002, the New York Police Department has taken tens of thousands of weapons off the street through proactive policing strategies. The effect this has had on the murder rate is staggering. In the 11 years before Mayor Michael Bloomberg took office, there were 13,212 murders in New York City. During the 11 years of his administration, there have been 5,849. That's 7,383 lives saved – and if history is a guide, they are largely the lives of young men of color.”
Murder rates in New York City have fallen, as Kelly notes, and this is a cause for celebration, but his claim that this decline is due to the "proactive policing strategies" that have been in place since the beginning of his and Bloomberg's periods in office is a stretch at best. In 1990, there were 2,245 homicides in New York City. By 2002, when Kelly took over, that number had already dropped nearly 75%, to 587.
For the next seven years or so, until 2009, the homicide rate declined slightly – but nothing like it had over the previous decade; and it did not fall below 500 until 2009. Interestingly, the murder rate increased again in 2010 and 2011, the very years that Kelly's signature proactive policing strategy, "stop-and-frisk", was at its peak.
Kelly's claim that his proactive policing policies were responsible for the removal of tens of thousands of weapons from the streets is also questionable. Less than 2% of stop and frisk searches have resulted in the seizure of illegal weapons, and guns are recovered in only 0.14% of stops.
“So far this year, murders are down 29% from the 50-year low achieved in 2012, and we've seen the fewest shootings in two decades.”
This is true. There were only 414 homicides in 2012 and it is a 50-year low. Interestingly, stop-and-frisk searches also declined in 2012, which doesn't help Kelly's case that the proactive policing policies are directly linked to lower homicide rates. In fact, criminologists everywhere have not reached any consensus regarding the declining crime rates nationwide since the 1990s; they point to a complex set of socioeconomic factors, including a decline in birth rates, the gentrification of inner cities, and an end to the crack epidemic – as well as changes in policing methods.
“To critics, none of this seems to much matter. Sidestepping the fact that these policies work, they continue to allege that massive numbers of minorities are stopped and questioned by police for no reason other than their race.”
Uh, well, yes. People do tend to get kind of touchy when "massive numbers of minorities are stopped and questioned by police" and nearly nine out of 10 of them turn out to be completely innocent.
“Never mind that in each of the city's 76 police precincts, the race of those stopped highly correlates to descriptions provided by victims or witnesses to crimes.”
Perhaps we should take Kelly's word for it when he says the "race of those stopped highly correlates to descriptions by victims or witnesses", but in that case, there are two conclusions to be drawn. On the one hand, it speaks very highly of the NYPD that Kelly's officers have had the capacity, during the Bloomberg administration, to make street identifications of more than 4 million crime suspects for stopping, questioning and frisking. On the other hand, the fact that more than 90% of the time, these identifications turn out to be random and wrong speaks less highly of the NYPD's effectiveness.
“Or that in a city of 8.5m people, protected by 19,600 officers on patrol (out of a total uniformed staff of 35,000), the average number of stops we conduct is less than one per officer per week.”
According to an analysis of NYPD data by the Center for Constitutional Rights, the average number of stops per month since 2002 is 43,400. The issue is not the absolute number of stops, however, but where they occur and whether racial profiling is involved: for instance, while black and Latino males between the ages of 14-24 account for only 4.7% of New York's population, they accounted for 41.6% of stops in 2011. Despite this, Kelly's most loyal backer, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, recently opined:
“I think we disproportionately stop whites too much and minorities too little. ”
According to the New York Civil Liberties Union, from 2002 to 2011, close to 90% of those stopped and frisked were black or Latino. That's certainly a alternative definition of "minorities" the mayor is using there. But back to Kelly:
“Racial profiling is a disingenuous charge at best and an incendiary one at worst, particularly in the wake of the tragic death of Trayvon Martin. The effect is to obscure the rock-solid legal and constitutional foundation underpinning the police department's tactics and the painstaking analysis that determines how we employ them.”
Oh, cry me a river. This from the man who made the (undisputed in court) statement to Senator Eric Adams, a former police officer, that young black and Latino men were to be targeted under stop-and-frisk because "he wanted to instill fear in them, that every time they leave their home they could be stopped by the police".
As for that "rock-solid" foundation underpinning the NYPD's tactics, both its legality and constitutionality are being challenged in a federal class action lawsuit brought by the CCR on behalf of minorities who claim their rights were violated when they were stopped without cause by the police.
“In 2003, when the NYPD recognized that 96% of the individuals who were shot and 90% of those murdered were black and Hispanic, we concentrated our officers in those minority neighborhoods that had experienced spikes in crime. This program is called Operation Impact.”
Sounds perfectly reasonable.
“From the beginning, we've combined this strategy with a proactive policy of engagement. We stop and question individuals about whom we have reasonable suspicion. This is a widely utilized and lawful police tactic, upheld by the US Supreme Court in its 1968 decision, Terry v Ohio, and authorized by New York State Criminal Procedure Law and the New York state constitution. Every state in the country has a variant of this statute, as does federal law; it is fundamental to policing. ”
That all sounds perfectly reasonable, too, and I'm sure Kelly would find that most people have no objection to the police stopping someone they reasonably suspect has committed a crime. It's just that when 90% of the people who are stopped turn out to be completely innocent, you can't blame us for thinking that the police are either incompetent or that any suspicion they may have had was not reasonable at all.
Also, Kelly should view this short video of a young Latino male victim of a stop-and-frisk, as it might help him to understand the public's anger over this "proactive" police strategy. The police involved offer no legally valid reason for the stop, threatened the kid (who was simply walking home) with a night in jail "for being a fucking mutt", then threatened to break his "fucking arm" and punch him in the "fucking face".
“It's understandable that someone who has done nothing wrong will be angry if he is stopped. ”
Yes, it is.
“Last year, the NYPD announced a series of steps to strengthen the oversight and training involved in this tactic. The number of civilian complaints in 2012 was the lowest in the past five years. That's progress – and we always strive to do better.”
That sounds good – but it hasn't convinced US Attorney General Eric Holder that there is nearly enough oversight of the NYPD's tactic. Holder, who recently labeled the policy "outrageous", wants the Department of Justice to exercise federal monitoring of New York police commissioner's favorite policing method. Most of the candidates running to succeed Bloomberg as mayor also support tougher oversight.
“In a similar vein, our detractors contend that the NYPD engages in widespread, unwarranted spying on Muslim New Yorkers. Again, this is a sensational charge belied by the facts.”
In its Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation, the Associated Press determined that the NYPD has been sending undercover agents into Muslim communities to gather information about all aspects of their lives (where they eat, sleep, work and pray) – usually with no evidence of criminal activity whatsoever.
“Since 1985, the police department has been subject to a set of rules known as the Handschu Guidelines, which were developed to protect people engaged in political protest. After the 11 September 2001 attacks, we were concerned that elements of the guidelines could interfere with our ability to investigate terrorism. In 2002, we proposed to the federal court that monitors the agreement that it be modified. The court agreed.”
This is correct: the NYPD is obliged to abide by the Handschu Guidelines that restrict warrantless surveillance.
“Handschu entitles police officers to attend any event that is open to the public, to view online activity that is publicly accessible and to prepare reports and assessments to help us understand the nature of the threat.”
True. But it does not entitle officers to put an entire community under surveillance when there is little or no evidence of a threat.
“As a matter of department policy, undercover officers and confidential informants do not enter a mosque unless they are following up on a lead vetted under Handschu. Similarly, when we have attended a private event organized by a student group, we've done so on the basis of a lead or investigation reviewed and authorized in writing at the highest levels of the department, in keeping with Handschu protocol. ”
According to the AP investigation, the NYPD sent paid informants into Muslim communities, routinely in the absence of any criminal threat and under orders to "bait" community leaders to say inflammatory things.
“Anyone who implies that it is unlawful for the police department to search online, visit public places or map neighborhoods has either not read, misunderstood or intentionally obfuscated the meaning of the Handschu Guidelines.”
I'm sure Kelly would be the first to acknowledge that Handschu does not permit discriminatory surveillance that targets specific ethnicities or religious groups. A lawsuit filed last month by the ACLU and other civil rights groups alleges that this is exactly what the NYPD has been doing to Muslim communities in and around New York.
“The NYPD has too urgent a mission and too few officers for us to waste time and resources on broad, unfocused surveillance. We have a responsibility to protect New Yorkers from violent crime or another terrorist attack – and we uphold the law in doing so.”
A 2012 report by ProPublica found that Kelly had drastically overstated the NYPD's counter-terrorism record: of 14 alleged plots that the NYPD claimed to have foiled, only two, perhaps three, involved a genuine, developed terrorism threat. Of the other 11, three involved a compromising level of entrapment behavior by NYPD officers; four were not given credence by other agencies (such as the FBI); and the rest turned out to amount to nothing more than chatter.
“As a city, we have to face the reality that New York's minority communities experience a disproportionate share of violent crime. To ignore that fact, as our critics would have us do, would be a form of discrimination in itself.”
Of course, but exposing innocent members of those same minority communities to a disproportionate share of aggressive policing tactics is hardly the answer.
Is the NYPD's 'Stop and Frisk' Program Effective? Does It Matter?
By Jacob Sullum — Wednesday, July 24th, 2013; 5:32 p.m. ‘Reason.Com’ / Los Angeles, CA
In my column today, I note that President Obama, judging from his high praise for New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, does not seem troubled by the racially disproportionate impact of the NYPD's "stop and frisk" program. Kelly defends the program partly by arguing that blacks and Hispanics are its primary beneficiaries as well as its primary targets. Writing at StoptheDrugWar.org's blog, Dave Borden points out that even policing sincerely aimed at stopping violent crime in poor neighborhoods can end up generating arrests for trivial offenses such as marijuana possession, perpetuating the racially skewed results of drug law enforcement. That is in fact what seems to have happened in New York, as I mention in my column. Borden also questions Kelly's claim that stop-and-frisk tactics are effective, noting that University of California at Berkeley criminologist Franklin Zimring, author of the 2001 book The City That Became Safe: New York's Lessons for Urban Crime and Its Control, believes the value of "aggressive arrests and stops" is "not known." Zimring is more inclined to credit factors such as increased manpower and CompStat mapping of crime "hot spots."
The debate about the effectiveness of New York's stop-and-frisk program is interesting, but it should not be dispositive. For that matter, the demographic profile of the people who are usually hassled by the cops, while it certainly should bother anyone who claims to be concerned about racial profiling or the 14th Amendment's guarantee of equal protection, is not the most decisive argument against stop and frisk, which is the Fourth Amendment. As Mike Riggs noted yesterday, Kelly seems to think everyone detained by the cops must be guilty of something. "The notion anyone stopped has done absolutely nothing wrong is not really the case," he said on MSNBC's Morning Joe, because police "need reasonable suspicion to stop someone and question them." Kelly not only confuses reasonable suspicion with guilt beyond a reasonable doubt; he assumes his cops really do have a sound legal basis for every stop they make and every pat-down they perform. That assumption is hard to credit, given that stops result in an arrest or summons only 12 percent of the time and pat-downs almost never discover guns. If the stop-and-frisk program is unconstitutional, as it appears to be, its putative effectiveness does not make it less so.
NYPD's Domestic Violence Unit
Police Take On Family Violence to Avert Deaths
By JOSEPH GOLDSTEIN — Thursday, July 25th, 2013 ‘The New York Times’
As the number of homicides in New York has reached historically low levels, the Police Department has intensified its efforts to combat a particularly stubborn and daunting source of murders: domestic violence.
Over the past several years, the department has bolstered the size of the staff at its domestic violence unit by about 40 percent, with 450 police officers now focused on families with histories of violence. The police are now making more domestic violence arrests, while murders linked to domestic violence appear to have declined slightly.
As part of their work, the officers assigned to the domestic violence unit make a total of 70,000 precautionary visits a year to the households with past episodes. Each precinct station house also maintains a “high propensity” list of a dozen or so households that get special attention because they are believed to be most at risk of further violence.
In their visits, the police devise safety plans with the victims and check for evidence of further abuse and, when a past abuser is barred from the home, signs of his return. “You look to see if she has any bruises; you’re looking around the house to see if the furniture is broken,” said Detective Dale Edwards, describing what she does during a home visit. “You inquire. You try to be tactical about it.”
The murder rate in New York has dropped significantly over the last dozen years, to an average of fewer than one a day in the first six months of 2013 from nearly two a day in 2000. The trend has been attributed in part to the Police Department’s focusing its resources on getting guns off the street and on neighborhood gangs. Now, with the efforts to reduce domestic violence homicides, the department believes it is seeing success in an area once thought to be intractable.
In 2011, there were 47 homicides involving “intimate partners” — a category that includes spouses, boyfriends and girlfriends, current or otherwise. There were 39 such murders last year, and as of Wednesday, 21 this year. (Historically, about 80 percent of the victims of intimate-partner homicides in the city are women.)
“I think this proactive approach has played a significant role in the reduction of murders,” Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said in an interview.
The push in New York mirrors similar efforts around the nation. In Massachusetts, for example, a program in Newburyport won accolades from the White House for its outreach program that tries to identify cases where domestic abusers seem most likely to escalate to murder, and prevent them from doing so.
In 2011, the Police Department grew alarmed at a sudden increase in domestic violence murders, prompting an internal review and, ultimately, many changes. Among them, under Mr. Kelly, domestic violence unit assignments became detective-track positions, a significant draw for young and ambitious officers and a signal that the department was making the work a priority.
More emphasis has also been placed on evidence collection. After a choking assault, for example, domestic violence officers are required to return to see a victim a day or two later to photograph bruises that may not have been visible when officers first responded.
In Sunnyside, Queens, Viridiana Victorio’s address was added to the local precinct house’s watch list after her boyfriend grabbed her neck and slapped her in 2011, one of thousands of misdemeanor domestic assault cases in that borough alone. But something about Ms. Victorio’s case raised a red flag for the police. Officers began visiting her apartment to offer support and to confirm that the boyfriend, Angel Pérez-Rios, was staying away, as a restraining order required.
Their 20th visit was a month ago, on June 25. Something minor — either the presence of a beer bottle or two glasses, according to the police — prompted the officers to ask whether Mr. Pérez-Rios had returned. Ms. Victorio and her children said no.
But Mr. Pérez-Rios had moved back in. The police say he stabbed her to death a week later. He is now charged with murder.
“The police commissioner wanted to know, had we done everything humanly possible to help this individual?” Chief Kathleen M. O’Reilly, who heads the department’s domestic violence unit, said. “I said that we categorically had done everything, barring moving in to her residence with her.”
The case underscores the challenge that confronts the police even after they have identified a domestic violence situation they think is likely to escalate to murder.
In 2012, the police responded on 263,207 occasions to reports of domestic violence.
The chief of the special victims bureau in the Manhattan district attorney’s office, Audrey Moore, said that as cases came in, there was often a question at the back of prosecutors’ minds: “Is this going to be the case, the case where he goes on to kill her?”
The police use a computer program to scan police complaint reports for worrisome words like “kill,” “suicide” and “alcohol” and to help officers prioritize the more combustible cases.
The Police Department has also begun to make greater use of the millions of domestic incident reports that it has filed away over the years. Now each time a domestic violence case is opened, all previous reports associated with that victim are automatically sent to the assigned officer.
But the department also depends on officers’ gut instincts and the fear levels of the victim in deciding whom to place on the high-propensity lists.
The next victim may not even be on the radar of the officers currently devoted to domestic violence work. Less than a quarter of the victims and perpetrators of domestic homicides had contact with the police in the year before the murder, according to city statistics.
A significant number of the killings seem to occur as the victim is preparing to leave a boyfriend or husband, investigators and prosecutors said.
Taking on the responsibility of preventing such homicides poses relatively new challenges for police departments nationwide. Until the 1980s and the early 1990s, officers tended to view the bulk of domestic violence cases as beyond the scope of their jobs.
“When I was a police officer and after that, there was this sort of notion that family matters would be left alone,” said Commissioner Kelly, who became a trainee in 1960. “It was something that was seen as unwieldy, complex, and I think officers years ago shied away from it.”
Those attitudes started to change in the late 1970s, partly as a result of lawsuits by women’s groups. Since the mid-1990s, the New York department has had specially trained domestic violence officers assigned to precincts.
When Mr. Kelly became police commissioner in 2002, there were 150 officers assigned exclusively to domestic violence casework. Now there are about 450, he said, with much of the increase happening since 2010.
Over the past decade, prosecutors across the city have changed their approach to domestic assault cases, relying more on physical evidence that allows them to pursue cases even when the victim has reconciled with her abuser and stopped cooperating.
Prosecutors have had success using recorded phone calls from Rikers Island, where incarcerated husbands and boyfriends often call their victims to persuade them to lie about the abuse. In Queens, prosecutors have begun to subpoena the phone records of both victims and defendants to demonstrate contact between the two, providing an explanation to a jury for a victim’s changed story.
The Brooklyn district attorney’s office recently started to use an ultraviolet light to find evidence of neck injuries that might not have resulted in visible bruising in choking or strangulation cases.
“We’re always looking if there was something that we missed, if there was something that would trigger a better response,” said Chief O’Reilly, who has run the domestic violence unit since 2011.
The home visits are “the cornerstone of our response to domestic violence,” she continued. They can continue for years, long after the conclusion of any criminal cases involving the couple.
Scott E. Kessler, the prosecutor who leads the domestic violence unit for the Queens district attorney, estimated that three-quarters of domestic violence defendants violate an order of protection within 72 hours, through phone calls or text messages or by returning to the residence.
Home visits by the police can make the abuser wary about moving back in, Mr. Kessler said. “The victim is telling the defendant, ‘The officers keep coming by to ask if you’re here, checking on you,’ ” he said. “That’s got to be a deterrent.”
Thank you, Ray Kelly
By: Rich Lowry — Thursday, July 25th, 2013 ‘Politico’ / Arlington, VA
(Op-Ed / Commentary)
President Obama shouldn’t nominate Ray Kelly to be secretary of homeland security. He should give the New York City police chief a stern talking to. He should invite him to examine his conscience and consider the error of his ways. Failing that, he should hold him up to national obloquy.
At least that’s the logic of the president’s remarks on the George Zimmerman case last week. The president has had kind words for Kelly, but the president’s supporters have been pointing out the contradiction: In his meditation on the George Zimmerman case, Obama dwelt on the evils of stereotyping, and Commissioner Kelly stands accused of policing an entire city on the basis of just that.
Already politically embattled, New York City’s stop-and-frisk policing is now in the cross-hairs as allegedly an officially sanctioned, city-wide version of George Zimmerman’s suspicion of Trayvon Martin that created the predicate for the tragedy in Sanford, Florida. “Stop and frisk is both racist and damaging to actual police work,” wrote Jamelle Bouie in the American Prospect.
Kelly unquestionably operates from this disadvantage: Musing from a podium is easy. Policing a city is hard. He doesn’t get to deal in airy generalities. He doesn’t get to wave off inconvenient realities. His job performance is ultimately judged not by the approval of pundits grading his remarks for their subtlety and deftness, but by lives saved and lost and criminal arrested or left on the streets.
I hazard to say that Ray Kelly cares as much about black lives as much as any of his critics, and I know he has certainly has done much more to save them.
It is a matter of hard data that there is more crime in New York in minority neighborhoods. Are New York City police to ignore that because Tavis Smiley doesn’t want to hear it? And who would suffer most if the police decided never to stop anyone on the basis of reasonable suspicion — the legal standard for the stops in question — ever again in these areas? Presumably not many MSNBC executives live in Bed-Stuy or East New York.
The New York police department, quite logically, focuses its efforts where the crime is, and the results have been stunning. There has been a drop in crime around the country since the early 1990s, and from a variety of causes. But as Heather Mac Donald of the City Journal writes, “New York’s crime drop has been twice as deep and has lasted twice as long as the national average since the early 1990s.” Kelly himself wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed this week that murders are down almost 30 percent from last year.
Mac Donald points out the fallacy of alleging racial bias in the mere fact that minorities are subject to stops disproportionate to their percentage of the population. They are more than half of all stops although they are about a quarter of the city’s population. But, according to Mac Donald, “blacks are 66 percent of all violent-crime suspects.”
Critics of stop-and-frisk have undertaken a class action suit against it. The roughly 20 instances of stop-and-frisk in the lawsuit don’t exactly offer compelling stories of police abuse or racism, as the city pointed out in one of its own legal filings. Rather they present a kaleidoscope of different circumstances when the police appeared to act reasonably, all things considered.
For example: Deon Dennis got stopped because an officer thought he was drinking in public. He denies it. He got arrested on an outstanding warrant anyway.
Clive Lino got stopped because he fit the description and was wearing the same kind of jacket as a robbery suspect.
Dominique Sindayiganza got stopped because a woman said he was harassing her at a Petco.
Even if the cops got it wrong in each of these instances, they were hardly acting as a heedless rogue force.
There have been more than 4 million stops since 2004. That works out roughly to 40,000 stops a month, in a city with roughly 20,000 officers on patrol duty. About 6 percent of the stops result in an arrest and 6 percent in a summons. Critics say that’s not enough to justify them, but it’s not clear what number would ever satisfy them.
The true test case of New York City’s racist police policy would be if crime in Brownsville, Brooklyn plunged to the same levels of crime as the Upper East Side of Manhattan, yet the cops insisted on pouring resources into Brownsville for no good reason. Unfortunately, this will be a hypothetical for a long time.
No one seems to care particularly about policing practices in cities beset by endemic violence. The civil rights establishment and cable ranters never get exercised about them. Should your police force drive the number of murders down to a 50-year low to the disproportionate benefit of young black men, though, that’s different. Then there’s hell to pay.
Who knows how many, but it is inarguable that there are kids like Trayvon Martin who are alive today because of New York’s policing. It shouldn’t be hard for anyone who rejoices in that to say, before anything else, two simple words: Thank you.
Rich Lowry is editor of National Review.
Tomorrow's [Friday, July 25th] Tentative Promotions at 1 Police Plaza
TO ASSISTANT CHIEF:
MATTHEW V. PONTILLO JOINT TERRORIST T.F.
LARRY W. NIKUNEN INTELLIGENCE DIVISION
TO DEPUTY CHIEF:
ALAN B. COOPER INTERNAL AFFAIRS BUREAU
DAVID COLON COMMUNITY AFFAIRS DIVISION
GALEN D. FRIERSON SCHOOL SAFETY DIVISION
ELISA A. COKKINOS 006 PRECINCT
ROBERT G. HARNISCHFEGER CTD EMER.PREP.& EXER.SECT.
JOSEPH G. COURTESIS CHIEF OF DEPARTMENT'S OFFICE
TO DEPUTY INSPECTOR:
LORENZO A. JOHNSON 049 PRECINCT
HENRY S. SAUTNER 102 PRECINCT
MICHAEL A. TELFER TRANSIT BUREAU DISTRICT 20
JOSEPH M. WHITE DET.BORO.QUEENS NORTH OPER.
TO LIEUTENANT SPECIAL ASSIGNMENT:
BRIAN E. KENNY POLICE SERVICE AREA 9
NORMAN J. PETERSON POLICE COMMISSIONER'S OFFICE
PETER A. MCCAFFREY EMPLOYEE RELATIONS SECTION
ANTHONY CUCUZZA SUPPORT SERVICES BUREAU
DENIS P. MCAULIFFE PATROL SERVICES BUREAU
CHRISTOPHER P. 905123 P.B.M.S.
JAY F. FLEMING P.B.M.N. SCOOTER T.F.
ROGER S. REYNOLDS P.B.Q.S.
GEORGE R. PILLION E.S.U. CANINE TEAM
SHANE BEATTY TRANSIT BORO.BRONX/QUEENS T.F.
DIANE D. CARR POLICE PENSION FUND
TO SERGEANT SUPERVISOR DETECTIVE SQUAD:
JANETTE CRUZ INTEL.C.I.S.
JENNY M. MUSSE I.A.B.
MICHAEL SINATRA I.A.B.
CARL A. ROOT 048 P.D.S.
SCOTT M. KIENLE 067 P.D.S.
TO SERGEANT SPECIAL ASSIGNMENT:
IAN B. BROWN O.M.A.P.
FRANK TAMBURRINO M.I.S.D.
REBECCA L. MAYO PERSONNEL ORDERS SECT.
KELLEY D. SEALY BROOKLYN COURT SECT.
VONERIC WASHINGTON CH.OF DEPT.OFFICE
KENNETH N. WALL P.B.Q.N. SU ALU
KEVIN T. BRADY MOUNTED UNIT
TO DETECTIVE SECOND GRADE:
MICHAEL A. ALI O.M.A.P.
GLORIA E. FELIX D.C.C.T. L.M.S.I.
THEODORE WALLACE INTEL.C.I.S.
BRANDON J. CRUZ INTEL.MSS.UNIFORM.OPS.
THOMAS P. BOLOGNA EMPLOYEE MANAGEMENT DIV.
JOHN W. BECERRA I.A.B.
KATRINA C. BROWNLEE YOUTH SERVICES SECTION
ETHEL L. DANTZLER P.B.S.I.
GERARD ABBENE E.S.S. 08
JOHN B. REILLY MOUNTED UNIT
JOSEPH E. WONSOR DB BROOKLYN SPL.VIC.SQD.
EDDIE MALDONADO MISSING PERSONS SQUAD
SEAN A. BUTLER BRONX ROBBERY SQUAD
WILIAM F. BROWN CRIME SCENE UNIT
JOHN A. PICCIANO WARRANT SECTION
SEAN K. O'LEARY DET.BORO.BRONX HOM.SQD.
CHRISTOPHER BOERKE 050 P.D.S.
CLINT W. MOODY 079 P.D.S.
JOSEPH BEY DET.BORO.QUEENS HOM.SQD.
RALPH M. SHERLOCK FIREARMS SUPP.DIVISION
PAUL J. JESELSON GANG SQUAD BRONX
ORVILLE E. REID AUTO CRIME DIV.
BRIAN M. FLEMING N.B.M.N.
TO DETECTIVE INVESTIGATOR:
JOHNNY LOPEZ LATENT PRINT SECTION
JOE L. MARTINEZ LATENT PRINT SECTION
RAMONITA NEGRON MISSING PERSONS SQD.
TO DETECTIVE SPECIALIST:
MICHAEL PETRILLO 010 PRECINCT
ANTHONY CARLUCCI FIREARMS & TACTICS SECT.
MICHAEL A. RODRIGUEZ FIREARMS & TACTICS SECT.
FLAVIA A. ORELLANA A.P.D.
MARISOL COLON A.P.D.
Killer of Two Undercover Detectives Is Sent Back to Death Row
By MOSI SECRET — Thursday, July 25th, 2013 ‘The New York Times’
Ronell Wilson, whose first death sentence for killing two undercover police detectives was overturned, was sentenced again on Wednesday to die by a federal jury that heard gripping testimony about his time in jail, where he roamed freely after the shootings, intimidated fellow inmates and fathered a child with a guard.
The anonymous 12-member jury took just five hours to reach its decision to return Mr. Wilson to federal death row, where no other New Yorker has served time in six decades.
As the jury foreman responded to preliminary questions from a 22-page verdict sheet, Mr. Wilson, 31, slumped forward with his chin in his hands as the tension rose in the courtroom in Federal District Court in Brooklyn. When the foreman finally said “yes” to the death penalty, Mr. Wilson leaned back and looked over to his family. They wept as he was led away.
Outside the courthouse on Wednesday, Rodney Andrews Sr., the father of one of the victims, Detective Rodney J. Andrews, said that he was pleased with the outcome. “He’s done too many things,” Mr. Andrews said of Mr. Wilson. “He’s proven that he’s not going to change.” Mr. Andrews said that he wanted to watch Mr. Wilson’s execution, and when asked why, he replied, “For satisfaction.”
Detective Andrews’s wife, MaryAnn, said she was too emotional to speak. The family of Detective James V. Nemorin, the other victim, did not attend court on Wednesday.
In a statement, the police commissioner, Raymond W. Kelly, said: “It was an assault on the society that those officers represented, and for that reason their murders had to be answered with the full force of punishment at society’s disposal. To do otherwise is to invite chaos.”
Loretta E. Lynch, the United States attorney for the Eastern District, whose office prosecuted the case, said that she hoped the verdict would bring closure to the victims’ families.
Mr. Wilson’s lawyers declined to comment. A judge is expected to formally sentence Mr. Wilson in the fall.
The legal case against him has lasted more than a decade.
On March 10, 2003, Mr. Wilson killed Detective Andrews, 34, and Detective Nemorin, 36, who were participating in a sting operation to buy an illegal gun. He shot each once in the back of the head at point-blank range on a secluded street on Staten Island.
In choosing the death penalty, the jury unanimously found that prosecutors proved every element of their case, including that Mr. Wilson committed the murders for financial gain and that he poses a future danger.
The jury rejected arguments posed by the defense — that life in prison was punishment enough and that Mr. Wilson’s rough childhood filled with bad influences should spare him from death. Only one member of the jury found that the federal prison system could restrict Mr. Wilson’s inappropriate behavior. Only two found that “Ronell Wilson’s life has value.” None felt that his background mitigated against the imposition of the death penalty.
Death penalty trials are exceedingly rare in New York, where the state’s highest court struck down the death penalty in 2004 and where capital cases at the federal level are often resolved before trial.
Federal prosecutors vigorously sought the death penalty against Mr. Wilson, taking the case from state prosecutors on Staten Island, when capital punishment at the state level was invalidated. They won a death verdict in 2007, the first one in New York since 1953.
The Second Circuit Court of Appeals overturned his death sentence in 2010, ruling that the prosecutor had violated Mr. Wilson’s constitutional right not to testify by telling jurors that if Mr. Wilson had felt any remorse, he would have taken the stand. The panel commuted the sentence to life in prison without parole, but prosecutors decided to again seek death.
With Mr. Wilson’s guilt never in doubt, the question at the heart of the month-long sentencing trial was: How much punishment is enough?
Prosecutors argued that prison alone would not do. The prosecutors showed a dramatic video of several guards at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn storming into a recreation pen to retrieve Mr. Wilson, who had refused to be handcuffed. When the guards emerged from the pen with Mr. Wilson, he smiled.
One of their witnesses described seeing a guard, Nancy Gonzalez, walk away from Mr. Wilson’s cell one day, leaving him there with his pants down and his genitals exposed. Mr. Wilson had several sexual encounters with Ms. Gonzalez, fathering a child, Justus, who was born in March.
Defense witnesses described Mr. Wilson’s difficult childhood, during which he shuttled between relatives as his mother, an alcoholic and drug addict, was often absent. He spent years in an overcrowded and squalid home, where the adults who influenced him were criminals.
Life in prison was punishment enough, Mr. Wilson’s lawyers argued, for someone who never really had a chance.
But Celia Cohen, one of the prosecutors, said that only the death penalty assured justice. “He’s not going to stop until he’s dead,” she said in her closing argument. “Truer words were never said.”
Death penalty for cop killer Ronell Wilson
Murderous thug Ronell Wilson, who killed two undercover NYPD detectives in cold blood, was sentenced to death by lethal injection for the second time by a federal jury.
By John Marzulli — Thursday, July 25th, 2013 ‘The New York Daily News’
Finally the cop killer will be put to death.
Murderous thug Ronell Wilson, who killed two undercover NYPD detectives in cold blood, was sentenced to death by lethal injection for the second time by a federal jury.
The extraordinary sentence was delivered by the jury foreman after just five hours of deliberations in Brooklyn Federal Court.
Wilson, 31, who was emotionless as the foreman read the verdict, received the death penalty from a different jury in 2007 after his first trial. That sentence was overturned by the U.S. Court of Appeals due to prosecutorial error.
Wilson was convicted by the first jury of the execution-style shootings of Detectives Rodney Andrews and James Nemorin in Staten Island during a March 10, 2003 gun buy-and-bust operation that went bad. Andrews was shot first, and then Nemorin as he begged for his life.
After shooting both detectives, Wilson rifled their pockets looking for cash then dumped their bodies in a Staten Island street like trash.
"I popped them," Wilson, covered with the detectives' blood, bragged to members of his crew later.
"It's satisfaction," Rodney Andrews Sr. said outside Brooklyn Federal Court, adding he would like to attend Wilson's execution.
Wilson's older sister DePetra McMaster sobbed loudly in the courtroom. Wilson's mother Cheryl listened to the verdict stone-faced, rubbing her distraught daughter's hand.
Wilson's guilt was not an issue in the re-sentencing trial over the past month and the jurors made quick work of the price he'd pay.
Defense lawyers had offered 24 mitigating factors in favor of a life sentence over death by lethal injection, including Wilson's chaotic and impoverished childhood, that he was classified as emotionally disturbed and learning disabled as a youngster, and that he did not know his victims were cops.
But it became clear that Wilson was doomed when the foreman declared on page 6 of the 22-page verdict form that the jury found prosecutors had proved the defendant remained a serious threat to the safety of others, even in prison.
There was testimony about Wilson's intimidation and threats against inmates and his sexual conquest of a female guard, which resulted in a pregnancy.
Ten of the 12 jurors concluded Wilson knew Andrews and Nemorin were cops, and only one juror believed the U.S. Bureau of Prisons could adequately detain him.
The final nail in Wilson's coffin: Only two jurors found Wilson's "life has value," according to the verdict form.
Prosecutors James McGovern and Celia Cohen had urged jurors to show Wilson the same mercy he showed his victims -- none.
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly hailed the death sentence, calling the killings "an assault on the society that those officers represented."
"And for that reason their murders had to be answered with the full force of punishment at society's disposal," Kelly said.
Law enforcement officials acknowledged that a death penalty from the second jury was a long shot. Before Wilson, there had not been a death sentence imposed in a federal case in New York since bank robber Gerhard Puff was executed in 1954 for killing an FBI agent.
Wilson's next stop will be death row at the federal penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana.
A spokesman for the U.S. Bureau of Prisons said there are currently 59 condemned inmates. There has not been a federal execution since 2003.
Wilson's case was tried in federal court after the death penalty was abolished by New York State in 2004.
Defense lawyer David Stern appeared stunned and refused to speak to reporters. He did not even bother arguing to the jury that Wilson felt remorse for the brutal crime.
He had written rap lyrics boasting of the double murder and reportedly became a higher-ranking Blood in prison for killing cops.
Court observers also questioned Stern's decision not to seek mercy by calling as a witness female guard Nancy Gonzalez, who was impregnated by Wilson in jail and gave birth to their son last March.
Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch said she hoped the verdict brought some measure of closure to the detectives' family members.
Cop-killer Ronell Wilson to die by lethal injection after jurors hand down second death sentence
By SELIM ALGAR — Thursday, July 25th, 2013 ‘The New York Post’
After five hours of deliberation, jurors sentenced coldblooded cop killer Ronell Wilson to death yesterday for the 2003 murders of undercover NYPD Detectives James Nemorin and Rodney Andrews during a Staten Island gun buy gone bad.
The 31-year-old Wilson — who had a previous death sentence for the murders tossed on a technicality — couldn’t escape Brooklyn federal court with his life a second time and is slated to die by lethal injection.
Wearing glasses and a blue dress shirt, the doomed Bloods gangster slumped his head down after the verdict was read before peering into the court gallery and fixing his gaze on his devastated mother and two sisters.
The inconsolable women slumped onto each other and sobbed — while Andrews’ father looked on with stern contentment.
The grieving dad later announced his wish to watch his son’s killer die in person.
“It’s satisfaction,” Rodney Andrews Sr. said.
The dead cop’s widow, Maryann Andrews, began sobbing as she left the courtroom and wouldn’t comment.
Their grim mission accomplished, prosecutors James McGovern and Celia Cohen walked out without a word.
Prosecutors highlighted the heinous nature of the murders and Wilson’s lack of tangible remorse as grounds for killing him. The jury of five women and seven men accepted that rationale and turned around the death sentence with stunning quickness.
“I think what the jury recognized is not only the severity of the crimes that were committed but also that Ronell Wilson is not going to change,” said Detectives Endowment Association President Michael Palladino. “He’s a thug. It’s in his DNA. He actually enjoys it.”
Wilson first shot Andrews in the back of the head and then blew away Nemorin, even after the hero undercover begged for his life for the sake of his kids.
The killer’s legal team had strenuously argued that Wilson’s awful upbringing — marked by a neglectful, drug-addicted mother and an absentee father — was reason to spare his life.
They tried to make the case that growing old and pathetic behind bars was punishment enough for the unrepentant killer.
But prosecutors countered that Wilson was “thriving” in the prison environment and shouldn’t be allowed to live out his days as a jailhouse celebrity.
Wilson managed to impregnate prison guard Nancy Gonzalez during his time in jail and she gave birth to their son, Justus, this past March. Wilson’s defense attorneys opted not to broach the existence of the child as a reason to spare his life.
Asked what he would tell the man who robbed him of his beloved boy, Rodney Andrews Sr. paused.
“He took my son away from me,” he said. “There is nothing I could say to him.”
July 4th Shooting of 75 Pct. Impact Rookie Jamil Sarwar
Man accused of shooting cop in leg July 4 busted in Maine
Michael Faison, allegedly the man who shot Police Officer Jamil Sarwar July 4, was apprehended at a McDonald’s parking lot in Lewiston on Wednesday.
By Thomas Tracy — Thursday, July 25th, 2013 ‘The New York Daily News’
The man who shot an NYPD police officer in the leg on July 4 has been apprehended in Maine, police sources said Wednesday.
Michael Faison, 21, was apprehended at a McDonald’s parking lot in Lewiston on Wednesday morning by members of the U.S. Marshals and the NYPD’s Regional Fugitive Task Force.
He’s accused of blasting Police Officer Jamil Sarwar in the leg as the rookie cop and his partner responded to an Independence Day shooting in Brooklyn.
Officer Sarwar, 30, and his partner Javier Solos were patrolling the Cypress Houses in East New York at 10:45 p.m. when members of a drug crew affiliated with the Bloods opened fire on a rival gang.
As Sarwar and Solos ran to the scene, Faison allegedly shot at the cops.
The duo ran for cover, but quickly realized that Sarwar had been shot in the leg. He was rushed to a local hospital for treatment and released the next day.
Sources said Faison is awaiting extradition to New York, where he could be charged with attempted murder of a police officer.
Two weeks earlier, cops arrested Frontside Crew members Jordan (Boogie) Fields, 17, and Treyvon (Trigga) Stokes, 15 with attempted murder for sparking the initial shooting that brought Sarwar and Solos to the area.
Cops bust thug who allegedly shot NYPD rookie
By LARRY CELONA — Thursday, July 25th, 2013 ‘The New York Post’
Cops arrested a gang member who allegedly shot a rookie NYPD officer from a Brooklyn rooftop on Independence Day, a law enforcement source said.
Police apprehended Michael Faison, 21, in Maine on charges of reckless endangerment and criminal possession of a weapon.
Faison, a Bloods gang member, allegedly shot rookie cop Jamil Sarwar in the thigh from the roof of a Cypress Hills housing project late on of July 4.
The suspect was on the rooftop engaging in a shootout with another gang when he hit the officer, a source said.
After an investigation, detectives from the 75th Precinct and the Fugitive Enforcement Task force tracked Faison down in Maine.
Communication Div. 911 ICAD System
NYPD Memo Indicates Possible Changes At 911 Call Center
By Unnamed Author(s) — Wednesday, July 24th, 2013; 3:17 p.m. ‘NY 1 News’ / New York
Officials are apparently considering making some staffing changes at the 911 call center.
In a New York City Police Department internal memo dated July 22, officials make a number of recommendations to "increase efficiency and enhance productivity."
These include enlisting 300 police officers to be trained as call takers and reworking shifts for existing operators, potentially adding on hours of mandatory overtime.
In a statement made to NY1, a spokesperson for the NYPD said, "The list was a brainstorming exercise to address staffing needs. There has been no final decisions made as of yet."
Since the 911 system received an expensive upgrade less than two months ago, it's suffered a number of high-profile glitches.
Among them, a delay to reach 4 year old Ariel Russo, who was struck by a car last month.
Her family says a delay cost the child her life.
New York Fire Department's 911 system crashes three times as EMS dispatchers take notes by hand
Sources said the outages were expected as technicians continue to repair the 30-year-old system, which suffered a series of failures early this week.
By Ginger Otis AND Joe Kemp — Thursday, July 25th, 2013 ‘The New York Daily News’
New York City’s trouble-plagued Emergency Medical Service dispatch system crashed at least three times Wednesday, causing operators to once again rely on pen and paper as technicians tried to fix the latest in a series of 911 glitches, officials said.
The FDNY’s computer dispatch system for the EMS first went down about 8:30 a.m. while technicians conducted diagnostic work on the decades-old system, officials said.
The five-minute crash forced dispatchers to handle 23 calls by jotting information on cards. But soon after the system went back online, the technicians began another diagnostic check that slowed the system for about 15 minutes and caused more computers to crash, sources said.
During the downtime, dispatchers took 55 calls by using pen and paper, officials said. Sources said there was a third failure, but it wasn’t clear how long the outage lasted.
There were no immediate reports of any delays in dispatching ambulances caused by the crashes.
Sources said the outages were expected as technicians continue to repair the 30-year-old system, which suffered a series of failures early this week.
On Monday, the dispatching system failed at least six times for a total of about 90 minutes, sources said.
As technicians scrambled to fix the issue, believed to be a problem with the server, a 96-year-old Queens woman waited more than an hour for an ambulance after a bad fall.
Irene Boylan remained in stable condition at Jamaica Hospital on Wednesday, two days after she collapsed at her senior home. A staff member at the Jamaica facility called 911 at 1:17 p.m., but an ambulance didn’t arrive until 2:27 p.m.
The computer problems on Wednesday were not related to the NYPD’s new computer-aided $88 million dispatch system, known as ICAD, which was launched in May.
Ret. 34 PDS Det. Jerry Giorgio, Chief Joseph Reznick and Ret. Sgt. Bobby Maas
NYPD Detective Still Haunted by 'Baby Hope' Murder Case
By Murray Weiss — Thursday, July 25th, 2013 ‘DNAinfo New York.Com News’ / New York, NY
MANHATTAN — Jerry Giorgio remembers the day “Baby Hope” was found 22 years ago as though it were yesterday.
Giorgio was one of the NYPD detectives who caught the gruesome case, where an unidentified girl's body was found inside a cooler in a bucolic section of Riverside Park. This week, cops were out in the neighborhood handing out fliers in the ongoing search for leads.
But back then, the detective, who later became the model for Jerry Orbach’s “Law & Order” character, was at his desk in Washington Heights' 34th Precinct. At the time, the squad was running on more than 120 homicides every year, an unimaginable death toll by today’s standards.
“We got a call that workmen who were on the parkway doing construction saw this cooler and went down out of curiosity and, unfortunately, when they pushed it over some fluid, we think it was Coca Cola cans in the cooler, ran out . . . and they then were hit with the odor of the baby decomposed,” Giorgio told “On The Inside.”
The girl was virtually a skeleton.
“She certainly did not have a good life, that is for sure,” Giorgio recalled with sadness still in his voice. “They must have been starving her because she weighed all of 28 pounds.”
An autopsy later disclosed she had been smothered. There were also signs of sexual abuse that were never proven by science. An anthropologist determined she was 4 years old.
Detectives theorized whoever killed her placed her body into the cooler, covered her with Coke cans and ice to mask their crime if they were stopped, and then left it along the banks of the Hudson.
They believe she was dead a week, and that the hot summer sun not only melted the ice but popped several of the cans causing soda to leak out and destroy forensic evidence such as fingerprints and DNA.
The murder received plenty of attention from cops and the media back then, and investigators had every reason to think the case would be solved quickly.
After all, family members commit most child homicides. And detectives believed the dead child would be reported missing or another relative would step forward to crack the case.
The opposite became reality. There were countless tips, and plenty of dead ends.
“About six days after we found the baby, two women called, but did not identify themselves, and said on a Sunday they were going to a wedding and from the tollbooth of the Hudson they saw a man and woman walking north on the parkway,” Giorgio said.
“The woman was in high heels and the man in nice slacks as through were coming or going to church...and carrying a cooler," Giorgio recalled. “It was our best lead we ever had, but they refused to cooperate and help with a sketch, and hung up.”
There was other near hits, including a young female drug addict who claimed the girl was her niece, and a grieving grandmother who insisted the child was her granddaughter.
For nearly two years, the NYPD kept the girl's body in the city’s morgue. During that time, they also engaged an anthropologist from the Smithsonian Institute who produced an enhanced concept of what she might have looked like.
“Nothing panned out,” Giorgio said.
Finally, it was time to let her go.
He and his colleagues reached out to the Campbell Funeral Home, which would handle her body. Giorgio’s wife, Catherine, bought her a communion dress. And the Archdiocese helped with the funeral at St. Elizabeth’s on Wadsworth Ave.
But she needed a name.
“We kept calling her ‘The Baby, The Baby,” and we said, ‘We have to give her a name,’” Giorgio said.
They knocked around possibilities before Det. Sgt. Robert Maas said, “Baby Hope,” because they always had hope they would find her killer.
On July 23, 1993, Baby Hope’s tiny coffin, carried by uniformed cops and led by eight children, marched down Wadsworth Avenue, which was lined with spectators. The church was packed with more than 500 people, most of them children from the neighborhood and a contingent of New York’s Finest.
“I want you all to know that this funeral does not mean we are burying the investigation,” Joseph Reznick, then the squad commanding lieutenant, and now a top police official, said in a eulogy. “Knowing she is respectfully and properly buried is of great comfort to all of us.”
The detectives obtained a simple black headstone that reads “Baby Hope” and has the date July 23, 1991, etched on it.
There is also a three-word inscription: “Because we care.”
As the years passed, Giorgio and several of the veterans detectives continued to pursue empty leads.
They visited the grave periodically, including on the anniversary of her death, to pay their respects and to see who came by on the odd chance it would be the conscience-stricken killer, or someone who knew the killer.
“Every year there was someone who would place a toy, a doll, something to show they remember, but none provided clues,” he said. "We thought some day the killer might die and perhaps someone who knows the truth would call us."
This year, for the first time, Giorgio, 79, was unable to visit her grave on the anniversary of Baby Hope’s burial. A kidney transplant ended his storied career in June after working 38 years at the NYPD and another 15 with the Manhattan District Attorney’s office.
His recovery prevented the real-life “Lenny Brisco” from paying his respects to a young victim he says he will never forget.
New York State (Line of Duty Death: Troop F Trooper Winston I. Martindale, Jr.)
Trooper dies from injuries suffered during plane rescue
By Unnamed Author(s) — Thursday, July 25th, 2013 ‘The Albany Times Union’ / Albany, NY
WAWAYANDA - A state trooper who was badly injured on equipment at the scene of a May plane crash but still stayed to help rescue the mortally injured pilots died Wednesday from his injuries, State Police said.
Trooper Winston I. Martindale, Jr. of Troop F in New Hampton, suffered internal bleeding in his abdomen when he fell on a piece of equipment at the scene but struggled with heavy wreckage to help victims who were injured when two small planes collided in this town just south west of Middletown, troopers said. Both pilots died.
Despite his injuries, Martindale remained at the scene of the May 6 crash for six hours.
State Police said Martindale underwent several serious medical procedures to overcome his injuries and subsequent complications. But the 40-year-old died following surgery at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.
Martindale was a 7-year veteran of the State Police and a member of the Army Reserve who served in the war in Afghanistan.
He is survived by his wife, Michelle, 19-year-old son, Kyle, 15-year-old daughter, Moriah, his parents, Barbara and Winston, Sr., his sister, Camille, and his brother, Owen.
Funeral arrangements will follow.
According to the Associated Press, authorities say the planes, both single-engine Pipers, collided afternoon about 15 minutes after departing Orange County Airport en route to Sussex, N.J.
The two pilots were the only ones on board the planes.
The planes crashed about 200 yards apart on muddy ground. Emergency crews used all-terrain vehicles to reach the wreckages.
NY trooper dies 2 years after plane crash response
By Unnamed Author(s) (The Associated Press) — Thursday, July 25th, 2013; 10:50 a.m. EDT
WAWAYANDA, N.Y. (AP) - A New York state trooper has died from injuries he suffered two years ago while assisting victims of a double plane crash.
New York State Police Superintendent Joseph D'Amico says Trooper Winston Martindale, Jr. died Wednesday after surgery at a New York City hospital.
Martindale fell on a piece of equipment while responding to the crash of 2 small planes on May 9, 2011 in Wawayanda, in Orange County about 60 miles northwest of New York City. Despite suffering internal bleeding, Martindale stayed at the scene for six hours. Both pilots died.
D'Amico says the 40-year-old Martindale had several medical procedures since.
Martindale was a 7-year veteran of the state police and an Army Reservist who served in Afghanistan. He is survived by his wife, two children, parents and siblings.
Killing police animal will be felony under NY law
By Unnamed Author(s) (The Associated Press) — Thursday, July 25th, 2013; 8:59 a.m. EDT
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed a law making it a greater crime to kill a police animal, legislation inspired by the shooting of an FBI dog during an upstate shooting rampage.
The so-called "Ape's Law" was named for the 2-year-old Czech German Shepherd killed by Kurt Myers as it led the way for officers who stormed an abandoned bar where Myers was hiding. Myers was killed by return fire from police who were hunting him after he killed four people and wounded two others in the Mohawk Valley in March.
The new law elevates killing an on-duty police dog or horse to a felony from a misdemeanor. The signing was announced Wednesday. The law takes effect on Nov. 1.
- - -
Governor Cuomo Signs Legislation to Increase Penalties for Killing a Police Animal
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed legislation that will make the killing of a police animal a felony.
Albany, NY - July 24, 2013 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed legislation that will make the killing of a police animal a felony. Specially-trained police animals, particularly dogs and horses, are often put in harm's way when they are relied upon by law enforcement to keep New Yorkers safe. The new law will hold responsible individuals who kill these animals.
"Police animals go where others will not in order to keep law enforcement officials and all New Yorkers safe from harm and it’s a tragedy when one is killed," Governor Cuomo said. "This new law will hold the guilty parties accountable and offer better protections for these highly trained animals who are important members of our law enforcement community.”
Law enforcement agencies have increasingly relied on the use of animals to assist with a variety of tasks to protect New Yorkers, including crime solving as well as rescue and recovery operations. The animals' specialized abilities are the result of extensive training that requires a great deal of time and resources. The killing of a police animal is both a tragic event and a serious loss to law enforcement in their work to keep New Yorkers safe. The new law signed today by Governor Cuomo (S1079A) will make the killing of a police dog or a police horse while it is performing its duties a class E felony. It is currently a Class A misdemeanor. The new law takes effect on November 1, 2013.
In addition, the Governor today signed legislation (S1993A) that will allow police departments to waive the requirement that a police dog must be confined for 10 days after biting an individual while in the course of official duties. Under current law, dogs that had bitten individuals are detained for a 10 day observation period as a precaution to protect against any possible rabies exposure. As police dogs are a vital part of a police department's mission, the new law will allow law enforcement to receive a waiver from a local health department – based on the dog's up-to-date rabies vaccinations – to allow the dog to immediately return to its duties keeping New Yorkers safe. The new law will take effect immediately.
Cruise ship crime to receive more public scrutiny
By Ledyard King — Thursday, July 25th, 2013 ‘USA Today’
WASHINGTON -- Hundreds of crimes on cruise ships in the past two years have not been publicly reported despite a 2010 law designed to provide consumers better information about the industry's safety and security record, data released by a Senate panel shows.
A report issued Wednesday by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation found that of the 959 alleged crimes the industry voluntarily logged with the FBI – including 130 that were serious enough to require reporting – only 31 were made public.
Committee Chairman John D. "Jay" Rockefeller IV, D-W.Va., said it was troubling that improvements promised by industry representatives, including increased transparency, during a hearing more than a year ago remained unfulfilled in his view.
"Consumers have no way to find out what their real risks are before they book a cruise," he told a panel of witnesses that included executives from Carnival Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean International.
To close the disclosure gap, Rockefeller this week introduced a bill that would provide the almost 21 million Americans who plan to take a cruise this year with "critical information" before they board a vessel.
The measure would make all crimes alleged on cruise ships publicly available information, require cruise lines to place video cameras in public areas, and direct the Department of Transportation to establish an advocate who can provide assistance to victims on board ships.
Cruise line representatives say they are working on improving transparency.
The three largest cruise lines – Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian – already have pledged to post crime data on their websites by Aug. 1 that will give consumers more information than the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act (CVSSA) of 2010 calls for.
"We will report allegations of all the CVSSA categories of crime for all customers anywhere in the world that we go, which is beyond the requirements of anything," Adam Goldstein, Royal Caribbean International president and chief executive officer, said after the hearing.
Crime wasn't the only issue Rockefeller raised at the hearing. The chairman also criticized the industry for a safety record he says needs to improve.
Recent high-profile incidents, including the power outage that left the Carnival Triumph and its roughly 3,000 passengers stranded in the waters off Mexico for several days in February, indicated that the industry has fallen short of the promises it made to senators last year.
"If the industry is seriously working to improve the safety and security of its ships, why have we witnessed so many serious incidents in the last 16 months?" he asked, referring to the time since the previous hearing. "I believe the culture of safety that Americans expect – as they should – is clearly not always a priority for cruise lines."
But Mark Rosenker, former National Transportation Safety Board chairman and now a safety adviser to the cruise ship industry, called cruise lines safe and responsive.
Rosenker is a member of a panel advising the Cruise Lines International Association that was created in the wake of the January 2012 partial capsizing of the 4,000-passenger Costa Concordia cruise ship off the coast of Italy. Thirty two people died and hundreds more were injured in that incident.
The panel recommended 10 policy changes, including improved crew training, tighter security and more lifejackets, that the industry is adopting and all of which exceed current international regulatory requirements, he told the senators.
"As an avid cruiser, I also know that cruise vacations are not only quite enjoyable but, most importantly, extremely safe."
In Court Today: Challenging FBI Secrecy on Racial and Ethnic Profiling
By Nusrat Choudhury and Noa Yachot — Thursday, July 25th, 2013 ‘American Civil Liberties Union News and Information’ / New York, NY
The ACLU and the ACLU of Michigan are in federal appeals court today, in a challenge to the FBI's refusal to make public information about which American communities it's spying on. The argument comes in a lawsuit we filed in 2011, after the FBI refused to respond to our request for information about the implementation of its racial and ethnic mapping program in Michigan. (Read more about the case here.)
Documents obtained by 34 ACLU affiliates in a coordinated public records request revealed that the FBI spies on entire racial and ethnic communities based on nothing more than stereotypes it ascribes to certain minority groups. Using public source information, including U.S. census data, it creates maps of these racial, ethnic, and national origin communities – even if none of them have been suspected of wrongdoing. Targeted groups include Muslims and Arab-Americans in Michigan, African-Americans in Georgia, Chinese and Russian-Americans in California, and broad swaths of Latino-American communities in multiple states.
This much we know. But the FBI continues to keep secret critical information — like its use of U.S. census data — that would tell us how many communities it is targeting and which ones. And the FBI is also asking courts to use a one-sided, secret judicial process to decide whether it can keep information secret by relying on a Freedom of Information Act provision that allows government agencies to avoid confirming or denying the very existence of requested records. This undermines the principles of transparency and public access at the foundation of our judicial system, along with the purpose of the FOIA to promote government transparency and accountability.
This lawsuit is part of our effort to push back against the vast expansion of FBI authority to engage in unlawful and abusive surveillance of innocent Americans in the years since 9/11. Our "Mapping the FBI" initiative is working to expose misconduct, abuse of authority, unconstitutional profiling, and other violations of Americans' rights and liberties across the country.
In a separate constitutional challenge to discriminatory surveillance, the ACLU sued the New York Police Department last month over its systematic, suspicionless surveillance of Muslim New Yorkers. Our clients knew they were subjected to the discriminatory program, but the broader public found out the sweeping extent of it as a result of reporting by the Associated Press in 2011. For the public to know how the FBI is targeting entire Michigan communities for racial or ethnic profiling, we needs the facts – and the Freedom of Information Act exists in order to facilitate our access to them. We hope the judges of the Sixth Circuit agree.
Bulger defense says FBI turned blind eye to criminal activity
By Unnamed Author(s) — Thursday, July 25th, 2013 ‘Fox News’
James "Whitey" Bulger's former partner in crime returned to the stand Tuesday for a fifth day of testimony, with the defense detailing his role as an informant for the FBI as it continued trying to discredit him as a witness.
One of the prosecution's star witnesses, Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi has been undergoing a relentless cross-examination by Bulger's lawyer in the reputed gangster's racketeering trial.
Flemmi, 79, says he and Bulger were secret FBI informants for 15 years while they ran the Winter Hill Gang, the city's murderous Irish mob. On Wednesday, he showed diagrams that he drew for the FBI detailing places where the rival Mafia had gathered.
Bulger insists that he was never an informant, and one thing that has really set him off in court is being called a rat.
Flemmi said he also didn't like being known as an informant when he was locked up for life after pleading guilty to 10 murders. He said he especially hated being called "a rat."
"I don't think anybody like it," Flemmi said. "I don't think Mr. Bulger likes it either."
The defense got Flemmi to admit that he's lied in court previously. Flemmi said that if he hadn't, it would've exposed a corrupt relationship with the FBI and that wouldn't have helped his defense.
But he insisted Wednesday, "I'm telling the truth now."
Hank Brennan, a defense attorney, suggested Flemmi received years of special treatment from law enforcement, including being dropped by former federal prosecutor Jeremiah O'Sullivan from an indictment in a horse-race-fixing scheme that spanned five states, The Wall Street Journal reported.
O'Sullivan, the former top prosecutor for the New England Organized Crime Strike Force, testified in 2002 to a congressional committee examining the FBI's use of criminals as informants that Bulger and Flemmi weren't implicated in the race-fixing case because they were minor players, according to a February 2004 congressional report on the hearings. Mr. O'Sullivan had made the decision to leave them out of the indictment, The Journal’s report said.
But the report concluded that O'Sullivan's own memorandum indicated that Bulger and Flemmi played a key role in every part of the criminal enterprise.
O'Sullivan had also testified to Congress that he had been berated by the FBI for targeting its informants for investigations. "If you go against the [FBI]…they will wage war on you," he said, according to the report.
O'Sullivan died in 2009. A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office declined to comment Wednesday to the newspaper, as did an FBI spokesman.
On Tuesday, Flemmi testified that Bulger strangled two young women and added a new accusation — that Bulger was a pedophile.
The claim came as Bulger's lawyer questioned Flemmi about his own admission that he had engaged in oral sex with his girlfriend's teenage daughter, Deborah Hussey, in the 1970s. Flemmi lobbed a similar accusation back at Bulger.
Earlier Tuesday, Flemmi had said Bulger had a 16-year-old girlfriend he took to Mexico on vacation with him.
Bulger's lawyer, Hank Brennan, pressed Flemmi on his assertion that Bulger strangled Hussey in 1985 because she was using drugs, getting arrested and dropping their names when she got in trouble.
Brennan suggested that Flemmi, not Bulger, killed Hussey after she told her mother he molested her.
Brennan also pointed out inconsistencies in Flemmi's testimony about both Hussey's killing and the murder of Debra Davis, another Flemmi girlfriend. Both Hussey and Davis were 26 when they were killed.
Bulger has strongly denied killing the women.
Flemmi testified that Bulger strangled both women with his hands, but Brennan pointed out that he had testified during earlier civil and criminal trials that Bulger used a rope.
Flemmi insisted that the inconsistencies were due to "inadvertent mistakes" he made during his testimony and that he was telling the truth about Bulger killing the two women.
Bulger, 83, is accused of participating in 19 killings during the 1970s and '80s while leading the notorious Winter Hill Gang. He fled Boston in 1994 and was one of the nation's most-wanted fugitives until he was captured in California two years ago.
Baltimore, Maryland (William Bratton)
Bill Bratton hired to review Baltimore Police Department
'Respect crime' fuels most violence in city, Bratton says
By Unnamed Author(s) — Thursday, July 25th, 2013 ‘WBAL News’ / Baltimore
BALTIMORE —One of the country's top policing experts now hired in Baltimore to reshape the city's Police Department is speaking out about what he calls "respect crime" -- the reason Baltimore has seen such a surge in violence.
Bill Bratton, credited with turning things around as commissioner in New York and Los Angeles, is part of a consulting team hired to come up with a new plan for the Baltimore Police Department, which is operating in very outdated ways, according to I-Team lead investigative reporter Jayne Miller.
The area around Broadway and Orleans streets in east Baltimore has changed significantly over the years. It's now taken up almost entirely by Johns Hopkins Hospital, which has its own extensive security force.
But in the Baltimore Police Department, the area is still known as "Post 324." There has been no adjustment to the configuration of the post despite how much actual policing needs may have changed in the area.
It's one reason Bratton is now on board. His task, he said, is to plan a smarter, more efficient Baltimore police force.
"When I left Los Angeles, gang crime was down 50 percent, homicides had gone from 646 a year to under 300 and, maybe most importantly, trust in the Police Department by the city's African-American community had risen phenomenally," Bratton said.
Bratton said one weakness in the department is lack of technology. Cars have no computers, and systems are old. Bratton said technology is key to addressing the surge in violence that the city has seen this summer -- he called it respect crime.
"Somebody gets disrespected, they 'dis' a girlfriend and then it becomes retaliatory," Bratton said. "That's where the technology is so important -- and good policing -- because so much of that is predictable. Jimmy Jones gets whacked over here. Charlie Davis is going to get whacked over there. So instead of sending cops to the shooting that just occurred, you send your cops to the next shooting that's going to occur."
Bratton's also looking at the Police Department budget. Currently, Baltimore has more police officers per capita than just about any city in the country.
According to "Governing" magazine, Baltimore has 46 police officers per 10,000 people. Los Angeles has 25 officers per 10,000, and Long Beach, Calif., is at 19 officers per 10,000.
"A fresh perspective is sometimes very helpful. When I went to New York, very quickly, I was able to identify cost savings in the department that, for the first time, they were able to come under budget on overtime," Bratton said.
Baltimore's nine police districts haven't been reconfigured in decades, despite big population losses in certain districts and growth in others. Insiders said the big problem is that the City Council is unwilling to permit change.
PolitiFact Florida: Intraracial murder claim far from accurate
By Amy Sherman [PolitiFact Florida] — Wednesday, July 24th, 2013 ‘The Miami Herald’ / Miami, FL
The acquittal of George Zimmerman, a white Hispanic, in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, a black teenager, has prompted commentary from the left and right about race and murder statistics.
We saw this statistic repeated multiple times by conservatives on Twitter after the July 13 verdict: "In the 513 days between Trayvon dying, and today’s verdict, 11,106 African Americans have been murdered by other African Americans."
We will leave it up to others to interpret the relevance of such statistics in the Zimmerman trial or other cases. Our role here as fact-checkers is to examine the numbers and their context.
A quick note on the case before we turn to the numbers: Hispanic is an ethnicity — someone can be Hispanic and white, as in Zimmerman’s case — or Hispanic and black. The crime data we reviewed generally focused on whites and blacks, though it sometimes included a generic "other" category.
Trayvon, 17, was unarmed when he got into a scuffle with Zimmerman in Sanford on Feb. 26, 2012. A jury acquitted Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer whose lawyer argued self-defense, of second-degree murder and manslaughter. (Read our fact-checks that relate to the case and Florida’s Stand Your Ground law.)
We found the claim about murders on the conservative soopermexican blog. It appears to have originated there. His blog walks readers through the math on getting to 11,106 deaths in 513 days. (We counted 503 days, not 513, but that’s a tiny quibble.)
The blogger, citing an earlier blog post and The Blaze, stated that there were 8,000 to 9,000 African Americans killed each year — 93 percent of them by African Americans.
The numbers came from a 2007 U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics report, which stated that blacks were victims of 7,999 homicides in 2005 and said that 93 percent were killed by people who shared their race. (It wasn’t clear to us where the blogger’s 9,000 figure came from.)
Using the number 8,500, that translated to 21.65 blacks murdered each day by other blacks. So the blogger came up with a mathematical formula: 21.65 times 513 days=11,106. That 8,500 figure seems high, though, especially if we look at more recent figures. The FBI reported for 2011 that 6,329 black people were murdered, for example.
The blog post makes it sound as if the black-on-black murder rate is particularly significant, but we found similar high percentages for whites.
The report also stated that 85 percent of white victims in single-victim and single-offender homicides were murdered by someone of their race. So that means the majority of black and white people are murdered by someone of their own race. In 2005, there were 8,017 white homicide victims. The race victim/offender data isn’t shown for every case: It is only shown in the cases in which the race was known (some murders are never solved) and in cases involving a single victim and defendant.
We sent a summary of our findings to the soopermexican blogger.
"I think your criticism of the number I arrived at has some merit," he wrote in an email. "I should have made it more clear that is the best extrapolation from the numbers that are available. While the FBI stats don’t include all known cases, I don’t see why the cases where race stats are known shouldn’t be representative of the entire class of murders. Yes, it’s true that murder rates have come down generally, which I’m pretty sure applies to all race/ethnic classes."
As for white-on-white homicides also representing a high percentage, he said the point he was trying to make is that it’s wrong to suggest that "white racism is killing blacks disproportionately."
Last Friday, President Barack Obama raised the black-on-black murder issue in his remarks on the Zimmerman verdict.
“I think the African-American community is also not naive in understanding that, statistically, somebody like Trayvon Martin was probably statistically more likely to be shot by a peer than he was by somebody else,” Obama said.
The president added: “So — so folks understand the challenges that exist for African-American boys, but they get frustrated, I think, if they feel that there’s no context for it or — and that context is being denied. And — and that all contributes, I think, to a sense that if a white male teen was involved in the same kind of scenario, that, from top to bottom, both the outcome and the aftermath might have been different.”
More than 91 percent of African-American homicide victims were killed by another black person in 2011, the latest year for which the age, sex and race of the offender are known by the FBI. The white-on-white homicide rate: 83 percent.
Explaining intraracial murders
So statistics show that most murders in which the race can be measured are intraracial. We wanted to know why.
We interviewed Professor David M. Kennedy, director of the Center for Crime Prevention and Control at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City.
"Homicides overwhelmingly happen among people who know each other," he said. "There are relatively few absolutely straight-up stranger homicides. Homicide is a phenomenon of social networks. ... “Most peoples’ relationships are primarily with someone of their own race or ethnicity. As long as anybody has studied homicide, this has been the pattern."
Writer Jamelle Bouie in The Daily Beast wrote a response to conservatives who have been trying to shift the conversation to black-on-black crime while ignoring that the same shared racial identity holds true for white-on-white crime, too.
Bouie wrote that what is missing from the conversation about crime is that "it’s driven by opportunism and proximity; If African Americans are more likely to be robbed or injured or killed by other African Americans, it’s because they tend to live in the same neighborhoods as each other. Residential statistics bear this out; blacks are still more likely to live near each other or other minority groups than they are to whites. And of course, the reverse holds as well—whites are much more likely to live near other whites than they are to minorities and African Americans in particular."
In response to the Zimmerman case, social media repeated this claim: "In the 513 days between Trayvon dying, and today’s verdict, 11,106 African Americans have been murdered by other African Americans."
Some who are citing this statistic are using it to portray race as an overemphasized point in the Zimmerman trial. We’re not evaluating that opinion; we’re fact-checking the math based on the available data.
The number sounds extremely precise, but it’s actually something of a rough guess based on back-of-the envelope math. No one actually knows how many African Americans were murdered by other African Americans in that time frame, and the numbers cited are actually an extrapolation of murder statistics for 2005. More current figures from 2011 show fewer deaths. So the specific numbers are not literally accurate.
Also, this claim lacks important context. Yes, it’s true that the majority of black murder victims are murdered by blacks, but the same holds true for whites: Most whites are murdered by whites. And in both cases, this race statistic is not available for all murders, but only ones where the race of both perpetrator and victim can be determined.
The claim contains an element of truth, but it’s not fully accurate. We rate this claim Mostly False.
Detroit police chief reopens 8 precincts, districts
By George Hunter — Wednesday, July 24th, 2013 ‘The Detroit News’ / Detroit, MI
Detroit — The city’s eight police precincts and districts are once again open for business around the clock.
Effective Sunday, Police Chief James Craig jettisoned the unpopular “Virtual Precincts” model that was initiated last year to allow more officers to patrol the city.
“Chief Craig believes that local precincts should always be open for the citizens of Detroit and never be closed,” Detroit Police spokeswoman Sgt. Eren Stephens said.
Former Chief Ralph Godbee started the “Virtual Precincts” concept in January 2012, in which the precincts and districts were closed from 4 p.m. to 8 a.m. The officers who manned the stations during those hours were redeployed to patrol positions.
Department officials at the time pointed out that Boston’s precincts close at 4 p.m. on weekdays; while in Lansing, the precincts close at 5 p.m.
But critics said comparisons to other cities was apples-and-oranges, since few communities have Detroit’s high crime rate.
House Defeats Effort to Rein In N.S.A. Data Gathering
By JONATHAN WEISMAN — Thursday, July 25th, 2013 ‘The New York Times’
WASHINGTON — A deeply divided House defeated legislation Wednesday that would have blocked the National Security Agency from collecting vast amounts of phone records, handing the Obama administration a hard-fought victory in the first Congressional showdown over the N.S.A.’s surveillance activities since Edward J. Snowden’s security breaches last month.
The 205-to-217 vote was far closer than expected and came after a brief but impassioned debate over citizens’ right to privacy and the steps the government must take to protect national security. It was a rare instance in which a classified intelligence program was openly discussed on the House floor, and disagreements over the program led to some unusual coalitions.
Conservative Republicans leery of what they see as Obama administration abuses of power teamed up with liberal Democrats long opposed to intrusive intelligence programs. The Obama administration made common cause with the House Republican leadership to try to block it.
House members pressing to rein in the N.S.A. vowed afterward that the outrage unleashed by Mr. Snowden’s disclosures would eventually put a brake on the agency’s activities. Representative Jerrold Nadler, Democrat of New York and a longtime critic of post-Sept. 11 counterterrorism efforts, said lawmakers would keep coming back with legislation to curtail the dragnets for “metadata,” whether through phone records or Internet surveillance.
At the very least, the section of the Patriot Act in question will be allowed to expire in 2015, he said. “It’s going to end — now or later,” Mr. Nadler said. “The only question is when and on what terms.”
Representative Mike Rogers of Michigan, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, promised lawmakers that he would draft legislation this fall to add more privacy protections to government surveillance programs even as he begged the House to oppose blanket restrictions.
The amendment to the annual Defense Department spending bill, written by Representatives Justin Amash, a libertarian Republican from Western Michigan, and John Conyers Jr., a veteran liberal Democrat from Detroit, turned Democrat against Democrat and Republican against Republican.
It would have limited N.S.A. phone surveillance to specific targets of law enforcement investigations, not broad dragnets. It was only one of a series of proposals — including restricting funds for Syrian rebels and adding Congressional oversight to foreign aid to Egypt — intended to check President Obama’s foreign and intelligence policies.
But in the phone surveillance program, the House’s right and left wings appeared to find a unifying cause. Representative Raúl R. Labrador, Republican of Idaho, called it “the wing nut coalition” and Mr. Amash “the chief wing nut.”
Mr. Amash framed his push as a defense of the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against unreasonable search and seizure, and he found a surprising ally, Representative F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., Republican of Wisconsin and one of the principal authors of the Patriot Act. Mr. Sensenbrenner said his handiwork was never meant to create a program that allows the government to demand the phone records of every American.
“The time has come to stop it,” Mr. Sensenbrenner said.
Opposing them were not only Mr. Obama and the House speaker, John A. Boehner of Ohio, but also the leaders of the nation’s defense and intelligence establishment.
On Tuesday, the director of the National Security Agency, Gen. Keith Alexander, spent hours providing classified briefings to lawmakers about the program, and the White House took the unusual step of issuing a statement urging lawmakers not to approve the measure. On Wednesday, James L. Jones, the retired Marine Corps general who was Mr. Obama’s national security adviser from 2009-10, added his name to an open letter in support of preserving the N.S.A. programs that more than half a dozen top national-security officials from the Bush administration had signed.
“Denying the N.S.A. such access to data will leave the nation at risk,” said the letter, which was circulated to undecided members.
Mr. Rogers took a personal swipe at Mr. Amash, a darling of social media, when he said the House was not in the business of racking up “likes” on Facebook. He said the calling log program was an important tool for protecting against terrorist attacks.
“This is not a game,” he fumed. “This is real. It will have real consequences.”
But many rank-and-file Republicans and Democrats appeared impervious to such overtures. Representative Jared Polis, Democrat of Colorado and a supporter of the amendment, said that if the Obama administration felt strongly about defending the program, Mr. Obama would have spoken out personally. Instead, the White House released a statement under the name of the press secretary, Jay Carney.
“The press secretary says hundreds of things every day,” Mr. Polis said.
The divisions in Congress seemed to reflect the ambivalence in the nation. In a CBS News poll released Wednesday, 67 percent of Americans said the government’s collection of phone records was a violation of privacy. At the same time, 52 percent called it a necessary tool to help find terrorists.
But the final tally in the House suggested the tide was shifting on the issue. In the weeks after the Snowden leaks, the united voices of Congressional leaders and administration officials in support of the N.S.A. programs seemed to squelch the outrage Mr. Snowden had hoped for. Anger seemed to be trained more on Mr. Snowden than on the programs he revealed.
As the news media and the government chronicled Mr. Snowden’s flight from law enforcement, a web of privacy activists, libertarian conservatives and liberal civil liberties proponents rallied support behind Congressional action. House members said they received hundreds of phone calls and e-mails before Wednesday’s vote, all in favor of curtailing the N.S.A.’s authority.
Ultimately, 94 House Republicans defied their leadership; 111 Democrats — a majority of the Democratic caucus — defied their president.
“This is only the beginning,” Mr. Conyers vowed after the vote. The fight will shift to the Senate, where two longtime Democratic critics of N.S.A. surveillance, Mark Udall of Colorado and Ron Wyden of Oregon, immediately took up the cause.
“National security is of paramount importance, yet the N.S.A.’s dragnet collection of Americans’ phone records violates innocent Americans’ privacy rights and should not continue as its exists today,” Mr. Udall said after the vote. “The U.S. House of Representatives’ bipartisan vote today proposal should be a wake-up call for the White House.”
Charlie Savage contributed reporting.