Saturday, March 1, 2014

Bratton: fewer NYPD stop-and-frisks, but higher arrest rate (New York Newsday) and Other Saturday, March 1st, 2014 NYC Police Related News Articles


Saturday, March 1st, 2014 — Good Morning, Stay Safe


- - - - -


Bratton: fewer NYPD stop-and-frisks, but higher arrest rate

By ANTHONY M. DESTEFANO — Saturday, March 1st, 2014 'New York Newsday' / Melville, L.I.



Although the number of stop-and-frisks by the NYPD continues to plummet, the percentage of stops leading to arrests and gun seizures has increased, Police Commissioner William Bratton said Friday.


"We are having more and more of those stops leading to arrests and the recovery of guns. The percentages are much higher," he said.


The rise in the arrest percentage is something one police official indicated stemmed from better-quality stops by officers. In the past, critics pointed to the low percentage of arrests stemming from stops as a sign that the tactic was being used indiscriminately.


Although Bratton didn't cite statistics, officials say and department statistics show that in the last quarter of 2013, about 16 percent of 12,495 total police actions led to arrests. In recent years, that percentage had dipped to as low as 6 percent, records show.


Statistics showing the number of weapons seized weren't available Friday.


The percentage of stops leading to arrests steadily rose in 2013 during the tenure of Bratton's predecessor, Ray Kelly, who bore much of the criticism over extensive use of stop-and-frisk. In the third quarter of 2013, 12 percent of stops led to arrests, compared with 6.5 percent in the second quarter, police data showed.


There were 191,588 stops by police in 2013, down from a high of nearly 700,000 in 2011, records show. The numbers dropped sharply after a federal judge last summer found constitutional violations in stop-and-frisk practices and imposed remedies, including the appointment of a monitor.




Stop-and-frisk use is down, but arrests are up: data
Police stops between October and December were down 86% from the same period the previous year.

By Rocco Parascandola — Saturday, March 1st, 2014 'The New York Daily News'



Stop-and-frisk data from the last quarter of 2013 shows cops are using the tactic more effectively — but not as often.


Police made 12,495 stops between October and December — down a staggering 86% from 89,620 during the same time period in 2012. Of the stops during the last quarter of 2013, 16% percent resulted in an arrest. That's up from 6% over the same period in 2012.


And there's more good news.


There have been 42 murders in the city through Thursday, a 21% dip compared to the same time last year. Police Commissioner Bill Bratton admits that Mother Nature may have given the NYPD an assist.


"Jack Frost is always a policeman's best friend," he said, joking that cold winter may have frozen out the bad guys.


"I've had years where it's been a horrific winter and it's gone up, so I think that might be an old policeman's tale as much as anything," he said. "I think I can certainly attribute a lot of it to just great police work, good cooperation from people giving us information to make the arrest."




Bratton: Homicide Rate Down So Far In 2014 Compared To Last Year

By Unnamed Author(s) — Friday, February 28th, 2014; 2:52 p.m. 'CBS News' / New York, NY



NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The new year has started out with nearly 20 percent fewer homicides compared with the same time period in 2013, NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton announced Friday.


As WCBS 880′s Monica Miller reported, Bratton said the department is on the right track when it comes to homicides.


"There have been 10 fewer murders so far this year versus the same period last year," marking a more than 18 percent drop, said the commissioner.


Bratton attributes the drop to community cooperation and technology.


"License plate scanning, cameras. It is phenomenal and I think that, along with just good, old-fashioned detective work, really plays a great role in it," he told Miller.


So far in 2014, we've faced one cold snap after another. Bratton was asked whether the Polar Vortex has played a role in the decline.


"Oh, Jack Frost is always a policeman's best friend, so whether it was a factor, we'll see," he said. "I've had years where it's been a horrific winter and it's gone up. So I think that might be an old policeman's tale as much as anything."


Mayor Bill de Blasio, who assumed office on Jan. 1, ran on a platform of reforming the controversial stop-and-frisk tactic and of instituting better community-police relations.





Homicides Down Nearly 20 Percent In De Blasio's New York

By Lauren Evans — Friday, February 28th, 2014; 5:00 p.m. 'The Gothamist' / New York, NY



Homicides have dropped by nearly 20 percent since this time last year, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said today, rendering un-hilarious all of those "de Blasio's New York" jokes we've worked so hard to relentlessly manufacture over the past several months.


"There have been 10 fewer murders so far this year versus the same period last year," representing a more than 18 percent drop, Bratton told CBS today, attributing the decrease to "license plate scanning, cameras" and "good, old-fashioned detective work."


Bratton was also not opposed to the idea that it might simply be too damn cold for murder, though he'd prefer to think it's his doing, thank you.


"Oh, Jack Frost is always a policeman's best friend, so whether it was a factor, we'll see," he said. "I've had years where it's been a horrific winter and it's gone up. So I think that might be an old policeman's tale as much as anything."


The most recent CompStat data has yet to reflect Bratton's humble brag, but we'll keep an eye on it. In the mean time, polish up your stop-and-frisk snow globe—it will only increase in value.





Video Prompts Changes To How NYPD Deals With Suspected Fare Beaters
Officers No Longer Allowed To Make Random Stops Of People Getting Off Buses

By Unnamed Author(s) — Friday, February 28th, 2014; 9:25 p.m. 'CBS News' / New York, NY



NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The New York Police Department has issued changes to how its officers deal with fare beaters following an internal review and a controversial arrest made in the Bronx last week.


As TV 10/55′s Don Champion reported Friday, a tense cellphone video has not only gone viral, but also sparked changes within the NYPD.


"I just thought somebody needs to see this," said Dariel Reyes, who shot the cellphone video.


Moments before the video started, officers had approached the man at the center of the incident and asked to see his bus receipt as he exited the BX12 bus at Pelham Parkway and White Plains Road, Champion reported.


"The officer just held him tight. The guy is saying 'I have my ticket, I paid and I have proper ID' and as you can see in the video, it escalated from that," Reyes recalled.


The incident escalated to the point that the man was arrested, even though it was later determined that he did indeed have a bus ticket, Champion reported.


An NYPD internal order sent to officers and obtained by TV 10/55 shows that as a direct result of the video and arrest, officers are now being told they cannot make random stops of people getting off of buses.


In addition, they can no longer do spot checks of passengers, unless the person poses a threat or a bus driver flags an officer down, Champion reported.


Bus passengers who spoke to TV 10/55 applauded the changes.


"Sometimes they act like 'oh I'm a cop, you have to show me the ticket or there's going to be a problem.' It don't work like that," Vincent Ferra said.


"We'll see what happens when this starts getting into action, 'cause we're always promised things in these communities about how officers are going to start treating us better," Jeffrey Mullings added.


The stepped-up patrols surrounding Metropolitan Transportation Authority bus routes have been going on for months after the agency asked for help cutting down on bus and subway fare evaders, Champion reported.


The NYPD carried out 18,000 checks of passengers last year. The inspections led to 243 criminal court summonses, 253 misdemeanor arrests, and 9 felony arrests.


The MTA said checks by the NYPD also help cut down on the number of assault and harassment calls.


The man seen getting arrested in the video faces several charges, including resisting arrest. TV 10/55 reached out to him for his side of the story but he didn't want to go on camera, Champion reported.


Police officials confirmed the arrest and said the actions of the officers in the cellphone video are under review.





Combating Domestic Violence in New York
Advocates work with police and housing authority to offer lifeline to victims

By Jane Gray — Saturday, March 1st, 2014 'The Epoch Times' / New York, NY

(Edited for brevity and NYPD pertinence) 



The NYPD responds to more than 700 domestic violence incidents per day, and it is estimated that 15–20 percent of all police calls are domestic violence related. In New York, domestic violence is considered a crime when pushing, shoving, threatening, or kicking leads to injury. If there is no injury, or if the victim cannot prove that it led to an injury, the perpetrator cannot be arrested.


"This is a unique crime, it could happen multiple times—also it's very complicated. They could be living in poverty, they could be involved with sexual assault, community crimes," said Maureen Curtis, vice president of Safe Horizon, the nation's largest victim services organization.


There were 71 domestic violence related homicides in New York City in 2012, with 40 of them committed by an intimate partner, according to a 2013 Criminal Justice Report. Historically, Brooklyn and the Bronx have shown high rates of domestic violence, but Queens has already seen a few disturbing incidents this year.


In three separate incidents, four adults and two babies died in the New York City borough of Queens after close family members lashed out. The latest of the incidents was on Feb. 18 when a man fatally hit his brother with a frying pan in an argument that went too far in their South Ozone Park home, in the 106th precinct.


Deputy Inspector Jeffrey Schiff said 53 percent of felony crimes in the 106th precinct are domestic violence-related. Deputy Inspector Henry Sautner's 102nd precinct, also in Queens, sees a very similar proportion of domestic violence crimes, he said at a recent Domestic Violence Awareness Seminar.

Advocates Who Help


The NYPD is required to file a report on all domestic violence incidents. A program Safe Horizon runs with the NYPD and the New York City Housing Authority pairs domestic violence police officers and Safe Horizon case managers to follow up on domestic incident reports in the area through home visits and phone calls.


There is a Safe Horizon case manager in all nine areas funded by the city's Human Resources Administration, and one in the 44th Precinct in the Bronx, which is funded by New York State's Division of Justice Services. Case managers at to more precincts are pending.


The program has been running for 30 years. At one point, Curtis said, there were case managers in 27 precincts, but funding cuts meant the case managers couldn't work there any longer.


Curtis said that the number of domestic violence reports has gone up, but it's not necessarily a bad thing.


"If you look at the police reports, those have gone up. I think that's both good and bad. The good is that the victims are more aware of their plight, and more comfortable in calling 911," she said.





NY1 ItCH: Mayor de Blasio's Thin Blue Line

By: Bob Hardt — Friday, February 28th, 2014 'NY 1 News'

(Op-Ed / Commentary)



Before he ramped up his fight with charter schools yesterday (which seems to have annoyed both supporters and opponents of collocation), Mayor de Blasio visited the NYPD's 25th Precinct house in East Harlem, where he released a seven-point plan to improve police-community relations. The mayor may also quietly want to work on improving mayoral relations with some of the city's beat cops.


In last year's Democratic primary, de Blasio ran a campaign that was highly critical of Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and the stop-and-frisk tactic that was employed on hundreds of thousands of innocent New Yorkers. De Blasio also pushed hard for creating an inspector general over the NYPD as well as creating a legal framework that would make it easier for New Yorkers to sue the city if they think they've been racially profiled.


De Blasio's critics – including his GOP opponent Joe Lhota – seized on those positions as anti-police, claiming that crime will skyrocket in his administration. Aware of these fears and knowing that he needed to reassure some New Yorkers after he was elected, de Blasio picked Rudy Giuliani's ur-Police Commissioner, Bill Bratton, to lead the NYPD. Problem solved? Not quite.


Earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal had a story that created a major headache for the mayor – that de Blasio personally called the NYPD to inquire about the arrest of a prominent pastor who supported his campaign. While it's unclear where the story originated from, there's much speculation that someone in the department who doesn't like the mayor picked up the phone and called someone at the Journal.


In his State of the City address, de Blasio barely mentioned police or public safety – beyond noting that shootings have decreased during his brief tenure. While the mayor repeatedly ripped Giuliani on the campaign trail last year, he should remember a valuable lesson from that administration: If New Yorkers don't feel safe, there's a corrosive trickle-down effect into every other aspect of their lives – from where they shop to where they send their kids to school. But with pre-K dominating the mayor's days, crime really hasn't been part of the mayor's public conversation – until the shooting of a police officer in Brooklyn on Wednesday.


Appearing at Kings County Hospital, de Blasio visited Officer James Li, who was allegedly wounded by a fare beater with a long rap sheet. Speaking after Chief of Department Philip Banks and Commissioner Bratton, the mayor struck the right tone while also knowing the press conference was not his moment to dominate the microphone.


But it's going to take time for some cops to gain trust in the mayor – who yesterday told officers at the 25th precinct that: "We owe it to you to have your back. We owe it to you to support you and you have my full support."But as he presides over a police promotion ceremony today, the mayor will discover that having his back watched by them will be helpful as well.




75 Impact P.P.O. James Li


NYPD: Shot cop back home, EMTs honored

By ANTHONY M. DESTEFANO — Saturday, March 1st, 2014 'New York Newsday' / Melville, L.I.



The rookie NYPD officer wounded Wednesday night by a suspected bus fare beater got out of the hospital Friday and returned home, officials said.


Officer James Li, 26, was hit in the leg and groin after being fired upon by Rashaun Robinson, 28, of Brooklyn during the incident in Brooklyn, police said. Robinson faces charges of attempted murder, assault and other related offenses.


Li's rookie partner, Officer Randy Chow, pursued Robinson, who was later arrested nearby.


"I spoke to him last evening; he was anxious to go home," Police Commissioner William Bratton said about Li at an impromptu news conference at police headquarters.


"He is still in a lot of pain and discomfort; my understanding is he is expected to make a full recovery," Bratton said, adding he didn't immediately know when Li would return to duty.


During a ceremony preceding Bratton's comments about Li, the commissioner and Mayor Bill de Blasio gave awards to the two city emergency medical technicians who tended to the officer as he lay wounded.


EMTs Shaun Alexander and Khadijah Hall, whom de Blasio called "brave and gallant," were given plaques and small replicas of an iconic statue of a police officer and child that stands in the lobby of police headquarters. The EMTs, who were off duty and parked at a nearby White Castle restaurant when the shooting occurred, rushed to Li, stabilizing him before he was taken to Kings County Hospital Center.


"They are the embodiment of all that is good about New York City," Patrolmen's Benevolent Association president Patrick Lynch said about the two women.




Rookie cop released from hospital after shooting

By Kathryn Cusma and Kirstan Conley — Saturday, March 1st, 2014 'The New York Post'



The rookie officer who survived a shooting allegedly by a cop-hating fugitive was released from the hospital on Friday.


Officer James Li, 26, was flanked by family and fellow members of the NYPD as he was wheeled out of Kings County Hospital around 1:15 p.m.


Two days earlier, he became the first member of the department shot this year after he and his partner caught Rashaun Robinson, 28, and a pal boarding a bus without paying, officials said.


Robinson was wanted on a drug warrant out of Pennsylvania and fled, before allegedly opening fire on Li and his partner. Li suffered three gunshot wounds to the legs.


The officer looked tired but alert and remained expressionless as he was taken to a Chevrolet Impala driven by a plain-clothes officer. On his lap was a foot-tall teddy bear that looked even worse — with bandages on his head, leg, arm and forehead.


About a dozen cops saluted Li and applauded as he left the hospital — around the same time that the two off-duty EMTs who helped save his life were honored during a promotions ceremony at One Police Plaza.


"We will forever be grateful to EMTs Shaun Alexander and Khadijah Hall for the unselfish and caring aid that they lent to Police Officer James Li," said PBA President Patrick Lynch.


The two women had just walked out of White Castle near Utica Avenue and Empire Boulevard in Flatbush, around 5 p.m., when Robinson allegedly fired a Smith & Wesson 457 at close range and wounded the cop, who left the police academy and hit the streets just a few weeks ago.


The EMTs raced to Li's aid and reassured him that he would survive.


"They are the embodiment of all that is good about New York City and I would be proud to work a sector with them at any time," Lynch added.


The women received awards noting their heroic actions off-the-clock.


"On behalf of 50,000 active and retired New York City police officers, I say a heartfelt 'Thank you.'"





Wounded rookie cop James Li returns to Brooklyn home from Kings County Hospital
Shot three times in the legs by a fare-beater, Officer Li recovered at Kings County Hospital and was released after 1 p.m. Friday with a teddy bear in his lap.

By Rocco Parascandola, Ryan Sit AND Barry Paddock  — Saturday, March 1st, 2014 'The New York Daily News'



Wounded rookie Officer James Li was released from the hospital Friday, two days after he was shot by a fare-beater in Brooklyn.


Li, 26, left Kings County Hospital in a wheelchair shortly after 1 p.m., a teddy bear on his lap. Dozens of fellow officers were on hand to applaud him. Li jumped into a waiting black Impala with two family members at his side.


The hero cop was blasted three times in the legs in the parking lot of Crown Heights White Castle.


Accused shooter Rashun Robinson, 28, was spotted by Li and his partner, Officer Randy Chow, 30, boarding the B46 bus through the back door without paying at Utica Ave. and Empire Blvd. about 5 p.m. Wednesday.


When the cops tried to apprehend him, Robinson opened fire while running away, shooting at Li from just 10 feet away.


Li fired back five times but missed Robinson, who was quickly caught by other cops when he ran into a nearby apartment building, still carrying a .45-caliber Smith & Wesson handgun.


The two off-duty FDNY emergency medical technicians who sprang into action after witnessing the shooting were honored by Mayor de Blasio during a police promotion ceremony at police headquarters Friday.


"Before the on-duty EMTs were able to reach the scene, thank God these off-duty EMTs got there and immediately provided aid," de Blasio said of Shaun Alexander and Khadijah Hall. "We all know care in those first minutes is so crucial."


The two hero EMTs got a standing ovation.


"Their support of Officer Li was exemplary and part of why we know he will have a full recovery," de Blasio said. "They were off duty but that did not stop them."


Patrick Lynch, head of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, presented the EMTs with a statuette of a cop and young boy.


"They are the embodiment of all that is good about New York City," Lynch said. "We will forever be grateful."


Robinson was arraigned Thursday night on charges including attempted murder of a police officer and is being held without bail.





Police Officer Shot in Brooklyn While On Duty Released From Hospital

By Unnamed Author(s) — Friday, February 28th, 2014; 10:12 p.m. 'NY1 News'



The rookie police officer injured by multiple gunshots in Brooklyn Wednesday is home recovering.


Officer James Li was released from Kings County Hospital Friday.


Police say Li and his partner pulled two men off the B46 bus at Utica Avenue and Empire Boulevard Wednesday for fare-beating.


That's when police say 28-year-old Rashaun Robinson opened fire on both officers--hitting Li in the legs and groin.


"Officer Li, we hope is at this very moment, leaving the hospital in Brooklyn," said Police Commissioner William Bratton. "Still in a great deal of pain and discomfort, but hopefully going home now to recover fully from his wounds and return to duty as a New York City police officer. Needless to say, we wish him very, very well."


Robinson was arrested soon after the shooting.


He faces multiple counts of attempted murder, along with charges of assault on a police officer and criminal weapons possession.





NYPD Sgt. Alberto Randazzo faces child porn charges
Randazzo, who has been suspended from the Midtown North Precinct, downloaded 30 illicit files between Oct. 30 and Feb. 6, according to a court complaint.

By John Marzulli  — Saturday, March 1st, 2014 'The New York Daily News'



A sick NYPD sergeant was charged Friday with downloading child pornography while free on bail for allegedly soliciting women on the Internet to sexually abuse their children.


Alberto Randazzo downloaded 30 illicit files between Oct. 30 and Feb. 6, according to a complaint filed in Brooklyn Federal Court.


U.S. Homeland Security agent Christopher McClellan stated in the complaint that the sickening videos were traced to an IP address associated with the sergeant.


"The defendant . . . admitted, in sum and substance and in part, that he had downloaded videos containing child pornography. He further indicated that the last video he had downloaded and viewed depicted a mother sexually abusing her 3- or 4-year-old child," according to McClellan.


Randazzo, 37, was arrested in 2013 on charges of promoting a sexual performance by a child and has been suspended from the Midtown North Precinct since then.


Magistrate Judge Cheryl Pollak ordered the sergeant held without bail.




St. Patrick's Day Parade


Bill Bratton defends decision to march in St. Patrick's Day Parade
The NYPD Commissioner said he's been a longtime supporter of gay rights and his sister, who is gay, has dealt with discrimination for her sexual orientation.

By Rocco Parascandola — Saturday, March 1st, 2014 'The New York Daily News'



Police Commissioner Bill Bratton defended his decision Friday to march in the St. Patrick's Day Parade - saying his sister is gay and he has been a longtime supporter of gay rights.


Bratton revealed a day earlier he was planning on marching in the event, despite organizers' policy of not allowing any public declarations of sexual orientation during the event.


Bratton, who is Irish, says he has long been a supporter of gay rights and will sit down next week with GOAL, Gay Officers Action League, an organization of gay NYPD officers.


"I've been dealing very aggressively on issues of gay rights, particularly in policing," said Bratton, who as a Boston cop in 1975 worked as a liaison to the gay community.


"My own family -- my sister is gay, married in Boston. So I am very comfortable with where I am on gay issues. St. Patrick's Day Parade for me is a celebration of heritage.


"It's that simple."


Mayor de Blasio, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Public Advocate Letitia James are boycotting the event because gay and lesbian groups cannot march with identifying signs.


De Blasio was okay with Bratton's decision to march.


"It's his right as an American citizen. That's a personal decision," de Blasio said.


Bratton has previously said his sister, Patricia, has been discriminated against for her sexuality.


In 2011, Bratton and his wife taped a 30-second video if favor of legalizing gay marriage in New York.


The video was part of a series sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign, a national gay rights group.


The video, posted on YouTube, has been viewed nearly 4,200 times.


The city's top cop on Friday defended his decision to march in the St. Patrick's Day Parade — saying his sister is a lesbian and that he's long been a supporter of gay rights.


Police Commissioner Bill Bratton revealed a day earlier he was planning on marching in the event, despite organizers' policy of not allowing any signs or banners identifying participants as gay or lesbian.


Bratton, who is Irish, says he will sit down next week with the Gay Officers Action League (GOAL), an organization of gay NYPD officers.


"I've been dealing very aggressively on issues of gay rights, particularly in policing," said Bratton, who as a Boston cop in 1975 worked as a liaison to the gay community.


"My own family — my sister is gay, married in Boston. So I am very comfortable with where I am on gay issues. St. Patrick's Day Parade for me is a celebration of heritage. It's that simple."


Mayor de Blasio, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Public Advocate Letitia James are boycotting the event because gay and lesbian groups cannot march with identifying signs.


De Blasio was okay with Bratton's decision to march.


"It's his right as an American citizen. That's a personal decision," de Blasio said.


Bratton has previously said his sister, Patricia, has been discriminated against for her sexuality. She could not be reached for comment on Friday.


In 2011, Bratton and his wife, Rikki Klieman, taped a 30-second video if favor of legalizing gay marriage in New York. The video was part of a series sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign, a national gay rights group. The video, posted on YouTube, has been viewed nearly 4,200 times.


"I believe in law and order," Bratton says in the video after he and Klieman introduce themselves. "I've spent my life working to keep communities safe. Marriage equality under the law will make families safer and stronger."


Klieman adds, "Join us."


GOAL, which doesn't march as a group on St. Patrick's Day, last month applauded de Blasio's decision and urged parade organizers to be more inclusive.


Still, GOAL's president, Detective Carl Locke, said Bratton has shown himself to be "very supportive" of gay rights when he ran the Boston and Los Angeles police departments — as well as during his first term as NYPD commissioner. His decision to march doesn't wipe out all those efforts, he said.


"We don't assume because you marched in the parade that you're anti-gay and don't support gay people," Locke said.




Bratton Not Following Boss's Lead on Parade

By JOSEPH GOLDSTEINMARCH — Saturday, March 1st, 2014 'The New York Times'



When William J. Bratton said this week that he intended to march in the St. Patrick's Day Parade, the declaration came as a bit of a surprise.


In his second tour as New York City's police commissioner, Mr. Bratton has carefully created his statements and policies around those of the new mayor, Bill de Blasio.


Whether the two men are denouncing the stop-and-frisk tactics of the previous administration or speaking about their plan for reducing fatal traffic accidents, there is rarely any sense of the dissonance seen toward the end of his relationship with the mayor during his first tour, Rudolph W. Giuliani.


But in declaring his intent to march in the parade on March 17, Mr. Bratton put himself in conflict with Mr. de Blasio, who has said he would not participate because of the parade organizers' history of excluding gay organizations from marching under their own banners.


On Friday, Mr. Bratton elaborated on his decision, saying: "St. Patrick's Day Parade for me is a celebration of heritage. It's that simple."


Mr. Bratton, who is of Irish-Scottish descent, explained that he felt "very comfortable with that decision" to march. "I've been dealing very aggressively on issues of gay rights, particularly in policing," he added.


Speaking to reporters following a promotion ceremony, Mr. Bratton said that in 1975, while on the police force in Boston, he became the department's first liaison to the gay community. He noted that he had a sister in Boston who is gay and married.


The Police Department's gay officers' association had applauded the mayor's decision not to march, but the group's president, Detective Carl Locke, did not object to Mr. Bratton's participation in the event.


Detective Locke said the Gay Officers Action League "respected an individual's right to march in the event."


For his part, Detective Locke said he intended to march in uniform in a more inclusive parade, known as "St. Pat's for All," in Sunnyside, Queens, this Sunday.




Saturday, March 1st, 2014 'The New York Daily News' Editorial:


The eyes are smiling
The commissioner puts his best foot forward



Bully for Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, who has broken ranks with Mayor de Blasio and the City Council to march in the St. Patrick's Day Parade along with many rank-and-file cops and firefighters.


The mayor, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and many other officials are boycotting the organizers' refusal to let contingents march under banners declaring their sexuality. They doth protest misguidedly — but that's their right in this great country.


And so it will be for Bratton in celebrating his Irish heritage while offering no slight to gays, because the parade is about matters altogether different from their agenda.






28th Precinct Spreecast Skype-style Video Community Conference a Failure   



NYPD Skype-style app hits Harlem
Police-shy Harlemites and seniors who may not be able to make it to the 28th precinct's community council meetings may soon be able to connect with cops over a Skype-style video application. But the online get-togethers, known as Spreecast community meetings have hit a snag in Queens.

By Simone Weichselbaum — Saturday, March 1st, 2014 'The New York Daily News'



The NYPD wants to have a video chat with you.


The only problem: The Skype-style video application the department has been testing in Queens seems to be full of bugs.


And now, the concept is coming to Harlem.


The department chose the 28th Precinct to host a Spreecast community meeting, hoping to increase dialogue between Deputy Inspector Kevin Williams and police-shy residents.


Seniors, and others who may have a hard time attending their precinct community council meetings, were also being targeted.


Williams recently told Harlemites about the e-meetings, stressing the online get-togethers will not replace his monthly in-person talks.


That's probably a good thing, because a similar video conference, hosted on the Spreecast website in Forest Hills, crashed.


"It started out fine but then we ran into a technical glitch," said Heidi Chain, president of the 112th Precinct community council.


"When it's working, it's a great way to reach out to a tremendous amount of people," she added.


Chain talked to her computer screen from home while Capt. Thomas Conforti recorded himself from the stationhouse, but the feed quickly crashed, forcing the December web gathering to go dark.


"The goal is to reach out to people without them leaving the house," Chain said.


The Queens precinct was the first chosen to host a video conference. Harlem will be the second known spot. The NYPD cannot set a date for the program's Harlem debut until the technical difficulties are worked out, an NYPD spokesman told the Daily News on Friday.


Columbia University law Prof. Jeffrey Fagan said the department's sudden interest in Internet-age communication needs to be tracked.


"It's important to pay attention — that community meetings don't become video interactions over time," Fagan said.


Meanwhile, Manhattan police sources pointed out that uptown's sizeable elderly population was the main reason why the neighborhood was chosen.


"Harlem has a lot of seniors who can't get out," a police source said.


The decision baffled Rimas Jasin, the executive director of Presbyterian Senior Services, which has six centers across the Bronx and upper Manhattan.


"There are a lot of older adults still learning to use technology," said Jasin, noting that for seniors who still lack basic computing skills, the chats might as well be conducted in Greek.


Still, cops should not assume that graying uptowners lack the savvy and skills to master the web, said seniors at the Bethany Development Outreach center on W. 124th St..


"It's good to get information, said Delores Chauney, 75. and her friend, Gladys Jones, agreed.


"We are smart," said Jones, 68. "We aren't stupid."





New York State


Saratoga deputy charged with cocaine trafficking in FBI sting
Union chief charged with cocaine trafficking

By Brendan J. Lyons — Saturday, March 1st, 2014 'The Albany Times Union' / Albany, NY



A Saratoga County sheriff's deputy was charged with cocaine trafficking on Friday after an FBI sting in which an undercover informant allegedly paid the deputy thousands of dollars in cash to drive him from Albany to Warren County to make drug deliveries.


Deputy Charles E. Fuller, 46, of Corinth, who is president of the Saratoga County Deputy Sheriff's Police Benevolent Association, was charged with attempting to aid the possession and distribution of more than 500 grams of cocaine in a federal complaint unsealed Friday in U.S. District Court. Fuller appeared before a U.S. magistrate judge on Friday afternoon and is being held in federal custody pending a detention hearing on Monday.


Fuller has been employed by the sheriff's department since May 1988, records show.


The complaint states that Fuller, while off duty, agreed to drive an undercover FBI informant from Albany to Warren County on Feb. 19. The undercover informant was carrying 250 grams of "imitation" cocaine and $1,000 in marked currency that the FBI alleges was paid to Fuller.


The Feb. 19 delivery was arranged at a Jan. 24 meeting when Fuller and the informant set up the deal, according to the FBI.


At the Jan. 24 meeting, which was recorded by the FBI, the informant told Fuller "the amount of money you make ... would be substantial," the complaint states. "It would be like a once a week thing. I would be in the car holding the (drugs). You are just there to ensure my safety. ... Then, it comes up here and gets distributed."


Later on during that meeting, according to the FBI, the informant told Fuller "if I moved a kilo, at that point you'd get four grand."


Just before 5 p.m. on Feb. 19, Fuller arrived at an undisclosed location in Albany County driving a 2008 Infiniti. The informant got into Fuller's car and they drove north on Interstate 87 toward Warren County.


"You get four dollars a gram so we got like a quarter a key here so you got hooked up," the informant said, according to the federal complaint. "Here it is so where do you want it?"


"In my greedy little hand," Fuller answered, according to the complaint.


Fuller dropped the informant in Warren County and left, court records state.


It's unclear how Fuller came to know the informant, whose criminal history includes a 2006 felony conviction and four misdemeanor convictions in 2000, 2006, 2007 and 2013, according to a federal complaint. Part of the evidence in the case includes phone records and "social messaging" exchanges between Fuller and the informant.


Earlier this week, the informant and Fuller allegedly agreed to make another drug delivery on Thursday. This time, according to the FBI, Fuller agreed to drive the informant from Albany to Warren County with a larger quantity of cocaine. The FBI said during the drive the informant showed Fuller what appeared to be a kilogram of cocaine. Just after 6 p.m. on Thursday, Fuller was paid $4,000 by the informant as he was dropped off in Warren County, the complaint states.


The informant used by the FBI has felony charges pending in Warren County and agreed to help the FBI in order to decrease his potential sentence. He has not been identified. The informant began working for the FBI after being sent back to jail for using cocaine in violation of a condition of release.


"This is a difficult day for law enforcement in Saratoga County and beyond," U.S. Attorney Richard S. Hartunian said in a statement, adding that Fuller's behavior was a betrayal of the "citizens in the community that he is sworn to protect."


Sheriff Michael H. Zurlo, who was sworn in as sheriff two months ago, said federal authorities "kept me informed since when I took office. We'll deal with it."


Under federal statutes, Fuller faces a mandatory minimum of five years in prison and a maximum fine of $5 million, law enforcement authorities said.




New Jersey


Veteran NJ State Police trooper admits falsifying audits

By  Christopher Baxter — Saturday, March 1st, 2014 'The Newark Star-Ledger' / Newark, NJ



TRENTON — A veteran State Police trooper has admitted to falsifying audit reports of law enforcement agencies that have access to the state's criminal justice database, which includes criminal histories and motor vehicle records, state authorities said today.


Acting Sgt. 1st Class Glenn Mannino, 52, of Little Silver, a nearly 27-year member of the force and the former assistant unit head of the Criminal Justice Information System Control Unit, pleaded guilty Thursday to fourth-degree falsifying or tampering with records in state Superior Court in Mercer County.


As part of the plea deal with the state, Mannino will give up his job and be permanently barred from public employment. State prosecutors will recommend at sentencing, set for April 10, that he serve a term of probation. An attorney for Mannino, Robert Weir, said the case came to a "fair resolution" but otherwise declined comment.


As part of his job, Mannino was responsible for ensuring the integrity and security of the criminal justice database, which contains sensitive information regulated by state and federal law. The audits were intended to ensure the system was being properly used.


But from October 2009 to June 2011, Mannino admitted he fabricated reports for law enforcement agencies that he was assigned to audit but did not, in fact, audit. He also admitted that he lied about visiting the agencies and made false timekeeping entries.


Mannino — who according to state payroll records earned $124,242 in 2012, not including overtime — was suspended without pay after he was charged in April 2013. The future of his pension will be determined by the state Treasury Department.




State troopers announce they are hiring in spring, with an emphasis on women

By  Alex Zdan — Saturday, March 1st, 2014 'The Times of Trenton' / Trenton, NJ



EWING — Wanted: tough, dedicated, ambitious young men and women for a challenging New Jersey law enforcement career.


Addresses from Mercer County and points south a plus.


The New Jersey State Police are hiring again, the agency announced today during a news conference at headquarters in West Trenton. After drives that tapped communities in the northern part of New Jersey, the State Police have become a victim of their own success. With the 156th Class of recruits, State Police brass are hoping to find more applicants from south of Trenton.


"Because we've been very successful in our past two classes recruiting a very diverse population out of North Jersey, and now we're looking to be successful in South Jersey," said acting Capt. Steve Jones, a State Police spokesman.


While previous hiring rounds sought to bring in more minorities to the State Police ranks, Jones said this time around the recruiting drive has an emphasis on women.


Applications are being accepted online starting April 21 and ending May 5. They're available online at


At the news conference today, acting Attorney General John Hoffman and State Police Superintendent Col. Rick Fuentes said the State Police offers 120 different career paths along with a good salary and benefits.


People applying for the job must be at least 21 and can't be older than 35 by the time the class graduates. They must be U.S. citizens with current drivers' licenses.


Education required is either a bachelor's degree, 90 college credits with completion expected prior to the written exam, an associate's degree or 60 college credits paired with two years of military or work experience, or 30 college credits along with two years of active duty military service complete with an honorable discharge.


The agency is going full-bore with hiring after another class that was recruited last year.


Troopers who graduated as part of a push to broaden the State Police ranks in the late 1980s and early 1990s are reaching 25 years of service and retirement now.


"All these people are now retiring, and that's why our numbers have hit recent lows," Jones said.


"Whether we have a mass deployment due to Hurricane Sandy or a major event like Super Bowl XLVIII, public safety is our top priority," Fuentes said.


"We're looking for troopers with fresh perspectives and diverse skills to help us meet the challenges of the future."






ATF official: No new stings underway after botched operations

By John Diedrich and Raquel Rutledge — Friday, February 28th, 2014 'The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel' / Milwaukee, WI



Washington — After running nearly 40 undercover storefront stings in the last five years, the ATF's deputy director says no such operations are now underway and improvements in oversight have been made in the wake of botched operations nationwide.


Deputy Director Thomas E. Brandon testified Thursday before the House Judiciary's Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations, and acknowledged significant deficiencies in undercover storefront stings. He said there was no justification for having the wrong people charged, as happened in Milwaukee, or the lack of outside cover teams to ensure armed felons didn't leave.


He called locating an undercover gun-buying operation in Portland, Ore., across the street from a middle school "a mistake" and said it "wasn't great judgment" for agents there to pay two teens to get tattoos depicting the fake storefront's logo of a giant squid smoking a joint.


He said the young men requested the tattoos and agents tried to talk them out of it — testimony that conflicts with the account of events described in court by the prosecuting attorney.


Brandon also told members of the subcommittee, which is chaired by U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), that undercover storefront stings remain a "valuable investigative technique" when managed properly. He said the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives recently created a manual for how to properly run undercover storefronts — the first of its kind — and will be training agents on proper methods.


He said the ATF has conducted 37 undercover storefront operations since 2009. He called them "resource intensive" but did not disclose how much they cost. Most of the troubled stings took place before B. Todd Jones became head of the agency, he said.


Jones was appointed as acting director of the ATF in August 2011, while he worked simultaneously as U.S. attorney for the District of Minnesota. He was confirmed by the Senate as director of the ATF in July 2013.


Thursday's hearing was one of two planned on flawed storefront operations nationwide uncovered by a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel investigation.


In his opening remarks, Sensenbrenner called the Milwaukee sting an "abysmal failure."


"To say that the operation was extremely flawed would be a vast understatement," he said.


"This doesn't appear to be one operation gone bad but a systemic problem plaguing the ATF," he added. "After Operation Fast and Furious we were told numerous times that changes were coming to the ATF under the new leadership. I certainly hope this operation and others like it are not indicative of those changes because they aren't changes for the better, at all."


And, Sensenbrenner noted, the Milwaukee operation began several months after Jones became acting director of the agency.


He also criticized the ATF for not disclosing the troubles to members of Congress who oversee the agency.


"I'd like to know why I found out about this from my hometown newspaper," he said.


Brandon apologized and said he, too, learned of many of the problems from the Journal Sentinel stories.


The Journal Sentinel found the agency used mentally disabled people to promote operations and then arrested them on drug and gun charges; opened storefronts close to schools and churches, boosting their arrest numbers and penalties; and attracted juveniles with free video games and alcohol.


Agents paid inflated prices for guns, which led to people buying weapons at stores and selling them to undercover agents hours later, in some cases for nearly three times what they paid. In addition, agents allowed armed felons to leave their fake stores and openly bought stolen goods, spurring burglaries in surrounding neighborhoods.


Brandon told members of the subcommittee the agency has since developed methods to spot "trends" and track whether guns are coming from stores and has drafted policies on outside cover teams.


He said the ATF did not target people with mental disabilities.


U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, wondered "whether these operations attracted more crime than they prevented," asking Brandon if he considered a ratio of one-in-six flawed operations to be "successful" — considering the Journal Sentinel found troubles in all of the half-dozen stings it deeply investigated. Goodlatte sought assurance from Brandon that there aren't others marred with similar foul-ups.


Brandon responded, "With the information I have right now, I would say that." He added the Department of Justice inspector general is looking at the issue.


U.S. Rep. Robert Scott (D-Va.) criticized the agency for its lack of oversight of undercover storefronts, calling the failures "embarrassing and at times dangerous to public safety." Scott aimed many of his questions at whether agency officials believe they have adequate gun laws.


Nobody on the subcommittee addressed the issue of accountability or if any agents involved in foul-ups had been punished.


The ATF is facing increasingly intense scrutiny for the operations from members of both parties in Congress and the U.S. Department of Justice.


Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz announced last week he is investigating ATF storefront stings in four cities — Milwaukee; Wichita, Kan.; Pensacola, Fla.; and St Louis — to see if the operations put the public at risk. U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) called for the investigation, calling the ATF tactics "totally inexcusable."


In Milwaukee, the operation's lead undercover agent had three of his guns, including a machine gun, stolen from his car. The machine gun remains missing. Milwaukee police disclosed this week that a second ATF gun, a 9mm handgun stolen from the agent's car, also has not been recovered.


The agency launched an internal investigation into the Milwaukee sting that confirmed the findings of the Journal Sentinel report. But in a briefing with congressional staffers, ATF officials "were adamant" that the problems in the Milwaukee case were isolated.


The Journal Sentinel later exposed similar problems in stings from Pensacola, Fla., to Portland, Ore.


Through a dozen federal Freedom of Information Act requests, the Journal Sentinel asked the agency for information such as how much the operations cost, how many stings have been run nationwide and what the rules are for agents keeping guns in cars.


In denying release of information about gun storage rules, the agency said releasing such information would make "every agent a potential armed robbery victim."


This week, the agency released reports on ATF guns that were lost or stolen in the past five years, revealing that agents' guns were left under car seats, in bathroom stalls, on an airplane and on the top of vehicles.





Detroit, Michigan    [Police Chief Pulls an Anthony Weiner | Sends Selfie of His Genitalia to a Subordinate Officer]


Ex-Detroit Police official fired from transit job as city considers bus patrols supervision

By George Hunter — Saturday, March 1st, 2014 'The Detroit News' / Detroit, MI



Detroit— As questions swirl over who will patrol the city's crime-ridden buses, a controversial former Detroit Police official was hired — and then fired — by one of the departments vying for the job.


Don Johnson, former head of the Detroit Police Homeland Security office, was fired in July by Police Chief James Craig after Johnson texted pictures of his genitals to a subordinate officer. Johnson was recently hired by Barbara Hansen, general manager of the Detroit Transit Corp., which runs the People Mover — a decision the city's Chief Operating Officer Gary Brown said he didn't endorse.


But on Friday, the same day The Detroit News called asking about Johnson's hiring, Brown said the decision was made to let him go.


"It's not a decision I would have made," Brown said Friday. "That's a hire that would have given me pause."


Brown later said the decision was made Friday afternoon to fire Johnson.


"The Detroit Transit Corp. doesn't have a position for him," Brown said of Johnson.


Hansen declined comment.


Meanwhile, Brown said he plans to announce a decision as early as Monday about which department will run the newly formed Transit Police to patrol the city's troubled bus system.


Both Detroit Police and the Detroit Transit Police Officers Association, which represents the officers who patrol the People Mover, want to patrol the buses.


"I think we could do a great job at it, because we have the infrastructure in place," said Craig, whose father was a city bus driver. "It would be more cost-effective for us, because if there was a crime on the bus, we'd have to take over the investigative duties anyway."


Arthur Divers, president of Detroit Transit Police Officers Association, which represents the People Mover officers, insisted his members would do a better job.


"We specialize in transportation of people from one spot to another," said Divers, a retired Detroit Police sergeant. "It's going to come down to my union and the DPD union, and it'll be a big legal thing, but my people are ready. Let those DPD officers answer police runs."


In October, after bus drivers called in sick to protest unsafe conditions, Craig assigned a unit of 10 undercover officers to patrol the buses. Violence has increased in the past year, said Fred Westbrook, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 26 that represents about 500 drivers in the city. Last week, security cameras were installed on 50 buses, with an additional 250 to be fitted with cameras by September.


Westbrook said eight drivers were hospitalized last year in attacks, and one driver had bleach thrown in his face.


"I don't care who patrols the buses, but we'd better get some police there," Westbrook said, adding that the 10 undercover officers currently assigned to patrol "aren't nearly enough."


A 2008 arbitrator's decision gave Detroit Police the authority to patrol the buses, after the Wayne County Sheriff had been charged with the patrols. Brown said he's reviewing that decision.


Divers said the arbitrator was clear he wanted Detroit officers to patrol the buses — "but under the emergency manager, they can change that," he said.


Whichever decision he makes, Brown said 35 armed police will be soon be on patrol.


"That's the good news," Brown said. "We'll be up and running in 35 to 40 days."




Chicago, Illinois      [Garry Francis McCarthy]


McCarthy Admits Slow Learning Curve – At First – On Changing Gang Structure

By Unnamed Author(s) — Friday, February 28th, 2014 'CBS News' / Chicago, IL



CHICAGO (CBS) – Police Supt. Garry McCarthy was cautious Friday in his reaction to Mayor Rahm Emanuel's assessment that the Police Department was slow to react to changes in gang structures as street gangs became more fractured and violent crime spiked.


McCarthy acknowledged it took several months after he took over the Police Department in 2011 to see how splintered street gangs had become, after many top gang members had been arrested and imprisoned, leaving gangs with little or no structured leadership.


While speaking during a session at the Brookings Institution on Thursday, the mayor said the city has made progress in reducing crime, but said as shootings and violent crime spiked in 2012, the department was slow to react to the changing gang structure.


McCarthy said he hasn't spoken to the mayor about his comments, but said "What I suspect is that he's referring to the historical perspective of what has happened here in the city of Chicago."


"When we walked through the door here in May of 2011, I didn't have all the answers for all the problems that we had, and quite frankly it was very easy to see that, while we had one of the most significant gang problems in the country, we did not have a comprehensive gang violence reduction strategy," he said.


The superintendent said the fragmenting of street gangs continues to this day, with about 100 more street gangs in Chicago now than five years ago.


McCarthy said the city's plan for reducing gang violence is now the gold standard.


"We are now at the sixth consecutive quarter of shooting and murder reductions," he said.


But the city's police union disputed that the department was slow to react to changes in gang structure, or that it didn't have a proven strategy for fighting gang violence before Emanuel and McCarthy took office in 2011.


Instead, a union spokesman said the problem is the administration's failure to hire enough police officers.


"The mayor blaming the police department because we're slow to react? I think that's not the case," said Pat Camden, a spokesman for the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police. "I think the slow reaction is realizing you should be hiring more police rather than spending $100 million on overtime in gang-infested areas where you're trying to cut crime."


Camden said the department was well aware of how street gangs were changing. He said City Hall allowed police manpower to drop below full strength, and then Emanuel got rid of proven specialized units that focused on gang violence, and shifted those officers to patrol duties when he took office in 2011.


"The administration has never kept that manpower up to speed, in order to be able to fight these issues," Camden said. "They eliminated the Mobile Strike Force and Targeted Response [Unit] at the beginning of Emanuel's term, and put everybody in beat cars. Now we're answering 911 calls."


Camden said rank-and-file officers have been saying for years that the department needs more manpower "all the way up the food chain."


The superintendent insists manpower is not an issue, noting hundreds of officers have been transferred from administrative duties to patrol duties since 2011.


"When we can find hundreds of officers to put on the street, the question becomes what type of manager would I be if I said we need more officers to get this done when I'm not using what I have to its full potential?" he said.


McCarthy is the guest on this week's edition of "At Issue," which airs Sunday at 9:30 a.m. and 9:30 p.m.





San Francisco, California

Indicted San Francisco cops plead not guilty

By PAUL ELIAS (The Associated Press)  —  Friday, February 28th, 2014; 6:01 p.m. EST



SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Stripped of their guns and pay, four San Francisco police officers pleaded not guilty Friday to charges contained in federal corruption indictments that could send each to prison for a decade or more.


The four men were among five current officers and one former officer charged Thursday in the two separate indictments.


Three defendants are accused of taking money, drugs, electronics and gift cards seized during investigations. The others are accused of violating the civil rights of suspects through warrantless searches of residences.


All but one of the defendants have entered not guilty pleas and were freed on $50,000 bond pending trial. Officer Edmond Robles appeared in court but needed a lawyer and didn't enter a plea. He is due back in court Tuesday.


Outside court, Mike Rains, an attorney for Officer Arshad Razzak, said he expected all the defendants to take their cases to trial rather than accept plea bargains.


"These are very serious accusations," Rains said.


Razzak, 41, and Officer Richard Yick, 37, both of San Francisco; and Officer Raul Eric Elias, 44, of San Mateo each face three civil rights charges that carry possible penalties of up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.


The other defendants are accused of taking a $500 Apple gift card and other valuables during a 2009 arrest, an indictment states. Two days later, former officer Reynaldo Vargas, 45, of Palm Desert used the card to buy an iPhone and iPod Nano, prosecutors said.


Sgt. Ian Furminger, 47, of Pleasant Hill and Robles, 46, of Danville also are charged in that case.


Marijuana was taken in another incident, according to the indictment that accuses Vargas of delivering the pot to two informants and asking them to sell it and split the proceeds with him, Furminger and Robles.


"Our department is shaken. This is as serious as an issue as I can recall in my time in the department," said an emotional Police Chief Greg Suhr, who has been with the department since 1981.


Suhr said federal authorities assured him the arrests did not reflect a systemic problem in the department.


Furminger, Robles and Vargas each face counts of drug conspiracy and drug distribution that each carry a maximum possible sentence of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine. They also face a charge of civil rights conspiracy that carries a sentence of up to 10 years and a $250,000 fine, and a federal program theft charge.


In the other indictment, three defendants were charged with civil rights violations that prosecutors said involve illegally entering hotel rooms and intimidating occupants.


The charges were based on surveillance footage from a hotel in the Tenderloin neighborhood that was released by the city's public defender, Jeff Adachi, in 2011. Adachi claimed the videos of plainclothes officers contradicted police reports and sworn police testimony.


The indictment did not provide additional details about the searches.




Associated Press writer Sudhin Thanawala contributed to this report.







Police, gun control groups join state in seeking concealed-weapons rehearing

By Bob Egelko — Saturday, March 1st, 2014 'The San Francisco Chronicle' / San Francisco, CA



Statewide police organizations and gun-control advocates are joining the state of California in asking a federal appeals court to take another look at local law enforcement's authority to grant or deny concealed-weapons permits.


The California Police Chiefs Association, the California Peace Officers Association and the Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence filed their own requests, alongside one by Attorney General Kamala Harris, for a new hearing on a ruling that declared the core of the state's handgun permit system unconstitutional.


California law requires applicants to show "good cause" for a concealed-weapons permit, and leaves it up to law enforcement agencies in each county to define that term. Most urban counties require private citizens to show a special need for a handgun.


In a 2-1 ruling Feb. 13, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the Second Amendment entitles any law-abiding adult to carry a handgun for self-defense. A week later, the San Diego County sheriff — the sole defendant in the case — said the ruling set clear standards and he would not ask the full appeals court for a rehearing. That raised the prospect that the ruling would become final and effectively require counties in the state's most populous areas, including the Bay Area, to start issuing more gun permits.


On Friday, the court put the ruling on hold while it considers requests by Harris and others to enter the case and seek a new hearing before an 11-judge panel.


The two police organizations told the court that the panel's ruling conflicts with decisions by other federal courts and interferes with law enforcement's ability to adjust the state weapons law to local conditions.


The Brady Campaign said the ruling would also endanger private citizens like its members, who would be "subjected to the increased risk posed by the carrying of loaded, hidden handguns on the streets" by those who, the organization said, lacked good cause to do so.


The ruling has a particular significance to one Brady Campaign member, the court filing said: Jacqueline Lader survived the July 2012 shooting at a theater in Aurora, Colo., that killed 12 and wounded 70, and then moved with her family to San Diego, in part because of the county's restrictive policy on gun permits.


Lawyers for gun owners have praised the court ruling and say neither the state nor any other party has the right to enter the case at this point, because the San Diego County sheriff represented their interests.



Homeland Security

Homeland Security reviewing border use-of-force

By ALICIA A. CALDWELL (The Associated Press)  —  Friday, February 28th, 2014; 6:45 p.m. EST



WASHINGTON (AP) -- New Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson is reviewing the department's use-of-force policies, a Homeland Security official said Friday.


The official said Johnson has been reviewing the rules about when border agents can use their guns since he took office in December.


The official was not authorized to publicly discuss internal deliberations and spoke on the condition of anonymity.


Customs and Border Protection, which oversees the Border Patrol, has been criticized by civil rights groups and others for allowing border agents to use deadly force against people blamed for throwing rocks at them.


Border Patrol Chief Michael Fisher said last year that a report by the Police Executive Research Forum, a group that led a government-commissioned review, recommended a ban on deadly force against rock throwers and assailants in vehicles. CBP rejected the recommendations, which Fisher described to The Associated Press as "very restrictive." Now, agents can use deadly force if they have a reasonable belief that their lives or the lives of others are in danger.


The Los Angeles Times reported Thursday that it obtained a copy of the report, which it described as critical of the Border Patrol's "lack of diligence" in investigating agents who fired their guns. The newspaper said the report also concluded that "that some border agents stood in front of moving vehicles as a pretext to open fire and that agents could have moved away from rock throwers instead of shooting at them."


The report found agents sometimes put themselves in harm's way by remaining close to rock throwers when they could have moved away, according to a person who read it and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because it has not been publicly released. It said agents may have been partly motivated by frustration in some rock-throwing cases.


The 21-page review of incidents from January 2010 to October 2012 raised questions about cases in which agents fired across the border fence into Mexico and said "too many" cases don't meet the threshold for use of deadly force, the person said.


Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a California Democrat, said she read the report and found it "very disturbing."


"It makes clear that there needs to be very serious reform efforts at the agency," she said. "You don't use lethal force against nonlethal force."


The Homeland Security official said Johnson's review was not prompted by any additional incidents or new details.


CBP's policies have been criticized by some civil rights groups and questioned by others.


"When a young person throws a rock across the border ... some agents respond with a gun and others don't seem to respond at all," U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, said at a congressional hearing in January. "There seems to some need for consistency in the response to these incidents."


The Border Patrol has long maintained that rocks are lethal weapons.


According to the Homeland Security inspector general, agents were attacked with rocks 339 times in the 2011 budget year. Rock-throwing incidents were the most common assault reported. Agents responded with gunfire 33 times and with less-than-lethal force 118 times.


The latest incident happened on Feb. 18, when an agent fatally shot Jesus Flores Cruz, 41, who allegedly struck the agent in the head with a rock near San Diego. The Border Patrol said Agent Daniel Basinger feared for his life.





                                                          Mike Bosak


No comments:

Post a Comment