NEWS of the Week - Nov 18 to Nov 24, 2013
on some NAACC / LACP issues of interest


NEWS of the Week
on some issues of interest to the community policing and neighborhood activist across the country

EDITOR'S NOTE: The following group of articles from local newspapers and other sources constitutes but a small percentage of the information available to the community policing and neighborhood activist public. It is by no means meant to cover every possible issue of interest, nor is it meant to convey any particular point of view ... We present this simply as a convenience to our readership ...

NOTE: To see full stories either click on the Daily links or on the URL provided below each article.


Nov 24, 2013


New York

1 arrested on hate crime charge after 24-year-old punched in possible 'knockout' assault

NEW YORK — New York City police have arrested a man on charges of assault as a hate crime after a 24-year-old says he was punched in the face.

Police on Saturday were investigating whether it was part of a so-called "knockout" assault, in which the object is to knock out an unsuspecting person with one punch. The man says he overheard a group talking about it before he was hit.

Police say the victim told them he was walking in Brooklyn around 2:45 a.m. Friday when he was struck once. He was not seriously injured.

Amrit Marajh, 28, of Brooklyn, was arrested on charges of assault as a hate crime and aggravated harassment as a hate crime because the victim is Jewish. It wasn't clear if he had a lawyer.

Three others taken into custody were released.

Police are investigating similar recent incidents, including in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. At least two deaths have been linked to the attacks this year.



ACLU asks court to end NSA surveillance program that collects phone call data

NEW YORK — Civil liberties advocates on Friday asked a federal court here to end the National Security Agency counterterrorism program that collects data on billions of phone calls by Americans, arguing that it violates the Constitution and was not authorized by Congress.

The case was brought by the American Civil Liberties Union after the publication in June of a court order to Verizon Business Network Services that showed the phone company was required to turn over to the NSA all call detail records of its customers, including the length and time of calls but not the content.

The sweeping nature of that collection, which was placed under court supervision in secret in May 2006, set off a furious public discussion over whether the agency's efforts to thwart terrorist attacks have overstepped the legal and common-sense boundaries of privacy.

The ACLU, which is a Verizon Business customer, said the NSA program violates the Constitution's guarantees of privacy and of freedom of association. In the most significant legal challenge to the NSA's collection, the ACLU also said that the program, which covers all major phone companies, exceeds the scope of its authorizing legislation. That statute, Section 215 of the Patriot Act, was passed in the weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.



From the White House

Statement By The President On First Step Agreement On Iran's Nuclear Program

THE PRESIDENT: Good evening. Today, the United States -- together with our close allies and partners -- took an important first step toward a comprehensive solution that addresses our concerns with the Islamic Republic of Iran's nuclear program.

Since I took office, I've made clear my determination to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. As I've said many times, my strong preference is to resolve this issue peacefully, and we've extended the hand of diplomacy. Yet for many years, Iran has been unwilling to meet its obligations to the international community. So my administration worked with Congress, the United Nations Security Council and countries around the world to impose unprecedented sanctions on the Iranian government.

These sanctions have had a substantial impact on the Iranian economy, and with the election of a new Iranian President earlier this year, an opening for diplomacy emerged. I spoke personally with President Rouhani of Iran earlier this fall. Secretary Kerry has met multiple times with Iran's Foreign Minister. And we have pursued intensive diplomacy -- bilaterally with the Iranians, and together with our P5-plus-1 partners -- the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, and China, as well as the European Union.

Today, that diplomacy opened up a new path toward a world that is more secure -- a future in which we can verify that Iran's nuclear program is peaceful and that it cannot build a nuclear weapon.



From the Department of Homeland Security

TSA Provides Updates for Holiday Travel Season

WASHINGTON — The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) today highlighted security procedures ahead of the busy holiday travel period to remind travelers about the steps they can take to be prepared for airport security. Over the past year, TSA has implemented a number of risk-based security measures that enhance the passenger experience at airports across the country.

TSA screens approximately 1.8 million passengers each day at more than 450 airports nationwide. According to industry forecasts, airports and airlines anticipate more than 25 million air travelers nationwide during this 12-day Thanksgiving travel period, a 1.5 percent increase over 2012.

“TSA has implemented risk-based procedures to further strengthen transportation security while improving the passenger experience whenever possible,” said TSA Administrator John S. Pistole. “We remain prepared, especially during this holiday season, to keep passengers safe as they travel.”

In order to provide the most effective security in the most efficient way possible, TSA has expanded its TSA Pre ? ™ program to additional airports and airlines nationwide. TSA Pre ? ™ is an expedited screening program that allows pre-approved airline travelers to leave on their shoes, light outerwear and belt, keep their laptop in its case and their 3-1-1 compliant liquids/gels bag in a carry-on in select screening lanes. TSA Pre ? ™ operations are available at more than 100 airports nationwide when flying on a participating carrier.

Passengers who are eligible for TSA Pre ? ™ include U.S. citizens of frequent traveler programs invited by participating airlines. Additionally, U.S. citizens who are members of a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Trusted Traveler program and Canadian citizens who are members of CBP's NEXUS program qualify to participate. Later this year TSA will launch an application program, allowing more U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents to enroll in TSA Pre ? ™.



Training First Responders for Active Shooter Response

Today, the DHS Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) joined the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, Sacramento Police Department and Sacramento first responder community for a demonstration of the pilot Enhanced Dynamic Geo-Social Environment (EDGE) virtual training platform—a system designed to train first responders across multiple agencies, disciplines, and jurisdictions in real time on complex emergency response scenarios. EDGE allows multiple individuals across the first responder community to. Simply by logging into the secure EDGE system from a computer, responders can train on a simulated virtual emergency. Today's demonstration involved an active shooter scenario, and participants from Sacramento law enforcement, emergency medical services, fire, unified command and dispatch joined in today's training and demonstration.

The EDGE virtual training platform is a new technology representing one of countless partnership and training efforts between DHS our Federal, State, local and private sector partners—enhancing preparedness efforts for our first responders and ensuring that our nation is more safe and secure. DHS offers a broad set of tools to help law enforcement and private sector partners prepare for active shooter scenarios. The DHS National Protection and Programs Directorate Office of Infrastructure Protection and FEMA provide active shooter trainings across the nation . Additionally, the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice have expanded access to federal training on active shooter situations for law enforcement and first responders with additional outreach, new online resources, improved training curricula, and exercises with law enforcement at all FBI field offices.



Nov 23, 2013


North Carolina

Newspaper deliveryman finds teddy bear bomb in North Carolina

RALEIGH, N.C. — A North Carolina newspaper deliveryman picked up a teddy bear on a rural road, only to have authorities tell him later a bomb had been stuffed inside.

Anthony Cannon, who works for The Shelby Star, said Friday he spotted the booby-trapped toy before dawn Thursday along his route near Lattimore, a tiny town about 50 miles west of Charlotte. Later, he circled back to pick it up.

“I thought it was real unusual to be sitting in the middle of the road,” Cannon, 42, said by telephone. “It was pitch-black out there. When I picked the bear up some sort of container fell out.”

Not realizing he was holding an improvised explosive device, Cannon left the bear and put the cylindrical item in his car for the 20-minute drive back to Shelby. He drove to his cousin's home, where he examined what he had found more closely in the light.

He says it was a small, liquid-filed bottle covered with tape with some wires coming out of it. Suspecting what he was holding might be dangerous, Cannon set the device down on the porch and dialed 911.



'Knockout game' leads to arrests and more police patrols

(Video on site)

The dangerous "knockout" attacks on strangers in large U.S. cities are leading to arrests, more officers flooding the streets and more warnings for vigilance among an unsuspecting public.

Hoodlums have dubbed the violent practice as the 'Knockout Game,' where teens try to randomly knock out strangers with one punch.

The attacks have raised concerns across the country. Recent attacks have occurred in New York, New Haven, Conn., Washington, D.C. and suburban Philadelphia. But the violent attacks go back several years. In 2011, St. Louis, Mo. had a rash of incidents, one of which led to the killing of a Vietnamese immigrant.

The trend may have hit the west coast with an attack Tuesday on a man in downtown San Diego, according to local news stations.

Some of the assaults are recorded and posted on social media by the attackers.

In New York, where there have been seven incidents in the last month, police arrested four suspects Friday in Brooklyn, NBC News reports.



Nov 22, 2013




Release JFK assassination files

Earlier this week the nation marked the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address, in which President Abraham Lincoln speculated, “the world will little note nor long remember what we say here…”

Today marks another important anniversary. It is doubtful, however, whether many people 50 years ago could have imagined how the assassination of John F. Kennedy, traumatic and gruesome as it was, still would be such a fixation for many Americans in 2013. A veritable industry has grown up around the events of that day in Dallas, with countless books, movies, symposia and studies being spawned by conspiracy theories that, if all were true, would have had the street outside the Texas Schoolbook Depository virtually lined with snipers.

No doubt, the reasons for this fixation are many and varied. Many Americans who lived through that day mourn for more than a young president who seemed so full of life and energy. To them his sudden death was an end to boundless idealism, just as it seemed to mark the beginning of a series of events that tarnished their trust in government and political leaders.

Even Kennedy himself has suffered in ensuing years as the truth about his dalliances and his cold political calculations on civil rights and other key issues have come into focus. Fifty years ago, the office of the president commanded respect and dignity. Even those who showed up in Dallas that day with signs protesting the president's policies were tame compared with what his successors — beginning with Lyndon Johnson and the anti-war protestors and carrying on through Barack Ohama and the vitriol of talk radio — have had to endure.



Kennedy assassination: How it changed TV forever

In life, John F. Kennedy was the first American president to embrace the power of television. In death, he forever changed the medium and the relationship we have with it.

During the hours and days after those fateful gunshots rang out in Dallas, television news did something it had never done before: cover a seismic national tragedy in real time, on a nonstop basis.

Veteran newsman Dan Rather believes that was when the medium came of age.

“The Kennedy assassination was the day that television became the new national hearth around which people gathered when there were important events,” says Rather, who was in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963, reporting for CBS. “And from that moment on, television became dominant as a news source of the country.”

The tragedy also threw open the door to a frenetic, messy and unfiltered form of coverage that has only been amplified in today's ultracompetitive era of 24-hour cable news stations and social media.

“Up until that weekend in Dallas, what people saw was the finished news product — the edited story and the cropped photo in their newspapers, or the packaged stories that appeared on television,” says longtime CBS journalist Bob Schieffer, who covered the slaying for the Star-Telegram in Fort Worth. “This was the first time people had ever seen the news being gathered. They discovered that it wasn't all that dignified. There was pushing and shoving and shouting. A lot of people did not like what they saw.”




Alabama grants posthumous pardons to Scottsboro Boys

Nine black teenagers were falsely accused of raping two white women on a train in 1931.

MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Alabama's parole board voted Thursday to grant posthumous pardons to men known as the Scottsboro Boys from a 1931 rape case.

The Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles granted full and unconditional pardons to three of the nine black teenagers who were falsely accused of raping two white women on a train in northeast Alabama in 1931.

The board unanimously approved the pardons for Haywood Patterson, Charlie Weems and Andy Wright after a short hearing in Montgomery, Ala., on Thursday. The three men were the last of the accused to have convictions from the case on their records.

"This decision will give them a final peace in their graves, wherever they are," said Sheila Washington, director of the Scottsboro Museum and Cultural Center in Scottsboro, who helped initiate the petition.

Patterson, Weems and Wright, along with defendant Clarence Norris, were convicted on rape charges in 1937, after a six-year ordeal that included three trials, the recantation of one of the accusers and two landmark U.S. Supreme Court decisions on legal representation and the racial make-up of jury pools. Eight of the nine men were initially convicted by all-white juries; one, Roy Wright, was considered too young to receive the death penalty.

Alabama ultimately dropped rape charges against five of the accused. Norris received a pardon from then-Alabama Gov. George Wallace in 1976.

Last spring, the Alabama Legislature unanimously passed a law to allow the parole board to issue posthumous pardons for convictions at least 80 years old. The law was specifically designed to allow the pardon of the Scottsboro Boys to go forward.



License plate readers spark privacy, public safety debate

Police have used cameras that read the license plates on passing cars to locate missing people in California, murderers in Georgia and hit-and-run drivers in Missouri.

The book-sized license plate readers (LPRs) are mounted on police cars, road signs or traffic lights. The images they capture are translated into computer-readable text and compiled into a list of plate numbers, which can run into the millions. Then police compare the numbers against the license plates of stolen cars, drivers wanted on bench warrants or people involved in missing person cases.

Privacy advocates don't object to police using LPRs to catch criminals. But they are concerned about how long police keep the numbers if the plates don't register an initial hit. In many places there are no limits, so police departments keep the pictures—tagged with the date, time, and location of the car—indefinitely.

The backlash against LPRs began in earnest this year, as three more states limited law enforcement use of the systems and in some cases banned private companies from using the systems, for example, to track down cars for repossession. So far, five states limit how the cameras are used, and the American Civil Liberties Union anticipates that at least six other states will debate limits in the upcoming legislative session.

In New Hampshire, police and private companies (with the exception of the tolling company EZ Pass) are forbidden from using license plate readers. Utah requires police to delete license plate data nine months after collection. In Vermont, the limit is 18 months and in Maine it is three weeks. Arkansas police have to throw out the plate numbers after 150 days and parking facilities are the only private companies allowed to use the technology.



Nov 21, 2013



Murray names advisor for police issues

The mayor-elect chooses a law enforcement advisor with community policing experience and ties to the city's federal police reform monitor.

With a police chief search and federally mandated police department reforms high on his priority list, Mayor-elect Ed Murray named a transition team advisor on Thursday who has decades of law enforcement experience and ties to Seattle's police reform monitor, Merrick Bobb.

The mayor-elect's law enforcement and public safety advisor, Bernard K. Melekian, currently runs a consulting firm called The Paratus Group. But from 2009 until earlier this year, he was the director of the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS). He also spent 13 years as the chief of police in Pasadena, California.

Murray's decision to find an experienced advisor on police issues fits with his campaign promise to focus on reform of the Seattle department. Current Mayor Mike McGinn at times resisted some of the U.S. Department of Justice's efforts to force reforms, which are being conducted under Bobb's oversight.

“Barney Melekian has rich and extensive experience in law enforcement at all levels of government, in academic research and as a consultant in the private sector,” Murray said in an emailed statement.

From 2004 until at least 2008, Melekian worked as a senior advisor at the Police Assessment Resource Center, a nonprofit that provides governments and police departments with law enforcement-related reviews, oversight assistance and research. Merrick Bobb is the executive director of the organization.




Police profiling subject of New Haven meeting

NEW HAVEN -- There is a new way for people to file a complaint when they feel they have been racially profiled during a motor vehicle stop, but so far no one has taken advantage.

Police officers in the state began passing out cards during motor vehicle stops about two months ago that provide information on how people can file a complaint with the state Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities.

Since then, there hasn't been a single complaint filed with the office, said Mike Lawlor, under secretary for criminal justice policy and planning under Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.

The CHRO and other organizations held a town hall-style meeting Wednesday night in the city to provide people with information and discuss racial profiling during motor vehicle stops. The new process is part of the revised state Alvin W. Penn Act.

Those who want to file a complaint have 180 days from an incident to do so. The CHRO office for complaints from Greater New Haven can be reached at 203-805-6530.




Modesto Police Chief Galen Carroll: Police work shouldn't be treated like a game

Chris Ricci and Kimberly Humke submitted an idea (Sunday, Issues & Ideas) for the city of Modesto to become the training ground for other police departments throughout California, like free agency in baseball.

Let's examine their idea. In order to save money, they propose that the city spend more than $100,000 to recruit, select, background and train a new officer, which is a process that takes approximately one year before that officer is even ready to hit the streets as a solo officer. That's not even mentioning that only about 1 percent of all applicants make it through the hiring process.

One of the biggest expenses for a police department is the initial hiring and training of officers. Hypothetically, let's say the Modesto Police Department hired 10 officers under the Ricci-Humke plan. That is a million-dollar investment for the first year and we have not yet increased the level of protection in the city.

We then have four years left to get a return on our investment. During those four years, the city of Modesto continues to train and accept the liability as officers learn the job and become more proficient. About the time the officer is proficient and has a true grasp of the job, we send him or her away and start over. Does that sound like a solid business strategy?



Nov 20, 2013


Los Angeles

Mayor Garcetti Announces Teddy Bear Drive To Provide Comfort To Children Who Experience Tragedy & Loss

Mayor's Crisis Response Team and the Los Angeles Police Department Launch Drive to Collect Donations of New Stuffed Animals. Donation Boxes will be at all Mayor's Office Locations and LAPD stations.

LOS ANGELES – Mayor Eric Garcetti and the Los Angeles Police Department today launched a Teddy Bear Drive to collect new stuffed animals that will be given to children at emergency scenes. The drive is being led by the Mayor's Crisis Response Team, the LAPD, and CRT's volunteer members. Officers will provide stuffed animals when comforting children who have experienced loss or witnessed a traumatic event.

“When children experience a tragedy, they can feel as if everything has been taken away from them,” said Mayor Garcetti. “The simple act of giving a child a teddy bear allows them something to hold onto during a turbulent time. During this holiday season, I ask Angelenos to consider donating a new stuffed animal to help comfort a child.”

While it is called a Teddy Bear Drive, all new stuffed animals are welcome and appreciated. The Teddy Bear Drive begins today and will continue through the end of the year. Brightly colored collection boxes will be displayed at all LAPD stations as well as the Mayor's Help Desk at City Hall and his two field offices in Van Nuys and South L.A. Please visit lamayor.org/teddybear for locations. Donations may also be mailed to: Teddy Bear Drive, c/o Mayor's Crisis Response Team, 200 N. Spring Street, Room 303, Los Angeles, CA 90012.

The Mayor's Crisis Response Team is composed of more than 200 community civilian volunteers who respond to traumatic incidents at the request of the Los Angeles Police and Fire Departments. CRT volunteers provide immediate on-scene crisis intervention, attend to survival and comfort needs, act as a liaison between victims and emergency personnel, and provide referrals to victims and their families affected by a death, a serious injury, a violent crime, or other traumatic incidents. These include homicides, suicides, serious traffic accidents, natural deaths, and multi-casualty incidents. Last week, 40 new volunteers graduated from the seven week, forty-two hour training program at a ceremony attended by Mayor Garcetti, Chief Beck, and representatives of the Fire Department.




Orange County police warn public about ‘MoneyPak' phone scams

YORBA LINDA - Orange County law enforcement officials warned the public today about phone scams following a spat of victims conned out of money with threatening messages.

A Yorba Linda woman said she recently received a bogus call from someone identifying himself as Lt. Mike Stevens of the Orange County Warrant Division saying she failed to appear in court on a traffic citation, which was caught on camera, and she needed to pay $365 bail to avoid being arrested, according to Orange County sheriff's Lt. Jeff Hallock.

The thief even stayed on the line with the woman as he talked her through the steps of buying a MoneyPak card, Hallock said.

A Laguna Hills man said he recently received a call on his cellphone from someone falsely identifying himself as Assistant Sheriff Mark Billings claiming the victim owed back taxes to the Internal Revenue Service.

The caller demanded the man buy $4,000 in MoneyPak cards and give him the numbers so the victim could avoid a SWAT raid on his home, Hallock said.

Orange County sheriff's officials said they would never call anyone by phone demanding money.

Especially alarming to authorities is the way the thieves have been able to make the calls look like they are legitimately coming from law enforcement.




Joseph Franklin, white supremacist serial killer who targeted blacks and Jews, executed in Missouri

BONNE TERRE, Mo. — White supremacist serial killer Joseph Paul Franklin has been put to death in Missouri. It was the state's first execution in nearly three years.

The 63-year-old Franklin targeted blacks and Jews in a cross-country killing spree from 1977 to 1980. He was executed Wednesday at the state prison in Bonne Terre for killing Gerald Gordon in a sniper shooting outside a suburban St. Louis synagogue in 1977.

Franklin was convicted of seven other murders across the country and claimed responsibility for up to 20 overall. The Missouri case was the only one that brought a death sentence.

The execution was the first in Missouri using a single drug, pentobarbital.

Franklin's fate was sealed early Wednesday when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a federal appeals court decision overturning stays granted Tuesday.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

The U.S. Supreme Court denied a petition early Wednesday seeking a stay of execution for white supremacist serial killer Joseph Paul Franklin, who is scheduled to die in Missouri.




Search begins for identities in Victorville shallow graves case

VICTORVILLE -- Sheriff's investigators have begun scouring a national DNA database to try identifying four people whose skeletal remains were found in shallow graves near the city, but speculation among online missing persons groups about who the victims might be has also started.

The victims, excavated Tuesday and Wednesday from two shallow graves in an outlying area of Victorville, will be examined by a forensic team, including an anthropologist, at least one pathologist and an odontologist, San Bernardino County coroner's officials said.

An autopsy had not yet been scheduled on Thursday afternoon.

“The most important component of this is identifying these remains,” San Bernardino County sheriff's spokeswoman Jodi Miller said.

Investigators plan to gather DNA samples to submit to the Combined DNA Index System — a database that contains DNA profiles from crime investigations. They're also taking a look at missing persons cases.




'Fix' your ticket at police storefront office

When the police officer pulled you over and handed you a citation for a burned-out taillight or turn signal, missing front license plate, tinted windows or other vehicle equipment violation, the officer should have informed you that if you corrected the problem, you could avoid a court visit or costly fine by having any law enforcement officer sign off on the repair and pay just a $10 administrative fee by mail.

You've made the repair, but now you can't find an officer to "fix" the ticket. What can you do?

The easiest thing to do is to stop by one of the San Diego Police Department's (SDPD) convenient storefront offices, explained Billie Crow, who volunteers at the Pacific Beach Storefront, located at 4439 Olney St. at Balboa Ave., through the Volunteers in Policing (VIP) program.

Crow, one of the first three civilians hired as an SDPD dispatcher, served 45 years with the department and began volunteering at the storefront after her retirement.

"Most people think (the city) closed all the storefronts, but we're still open. It would save people a lot of time if they knew we're there," Crow said.

Trained VIPs can approve repairs and sign off on infractions or "fix it" tickets, such as equipment violations, but not on parking tickets.




Columbia Heights police hope 'Coffee with a Cop' brews better relations

Columbia Heights police hope their ‘Coffee with a Cop' sessions can bring better relations with the public.

Dolores Strand greets the Columbia Heights police chief in Polish — a nod to the city's and her own heritage — for what's become a regular coffee date.

Strand, friend Pat Sowada and others chitchat with officers. The topic of conversation meanders from the State Fair to first jobs, Columbia Heights' sister city in Poland and their own city's recent success in combating crime.

It's casual. There are no talking points or agendas.

A year after winning the 2012 International Association of Chiefs of Police Community Policing Award for cities under 20,000, department brass are still looking for new ways to connect with their city. Their latest bright idea: Coffee with a Cop.

Pick a local hot spot, brew some coffee and start a conversation. Anyone is welcome to stop by and ask a question, tell a story or just listen in.



Nov 19, 2013


ACLU: Thousands serving life sentences without parole for nonviolent crimes

More than 3,000 people in federal and state prisons around the nation are serving life sentences without parole for nonviolent offenses, of which nearly 80 percent are drug related, according to a new American Civil Liberties Union study.

About 20 percent were convicted of nonviolent property crimes such as theft, according to “A Living Death: Life Without Parole for Nonviolent Offenses,” which was released last week and is the first report of its kind, said ACLU officials.

Only about 20 percent of the world's countries are known to have life-without-parole sentences. The vast majority of those have stringent restrictions on when they can be issued, said researcher Jennifer Turner, who penned the assessment.

“This report shines a light on how unfair and disproportionate our sentencing is becoming in this country for over 3,000 that are serving life without parole,” Turner said. “These cases reflect only the most extreme manifestation of a dysfunctional and unfair system that doles out extremely lengthy punishments that don't fit the crimes.”

Among the U.S. crimes that have resulted in life without parole are possession of a crack pipe, possession of 32 grams of marijuana with intent to distribute, serving as a middleman in the selling of $20 worth of crack to an undercover officer, shoplifting several digital cameras and taking an abusive stepfather's gun.

Of the at least 3,278 prisoners serving life without parole for nonviolent offenses nationwide as of 2012, the ACLU estimated that 65 percent are black, 18 percent are white and 16 percent are Latino.




Confessions of a Chattanooga serial killer

Too many deaths to count. Now one more looms. His own.

18 years later, phone call put end to unsolved Chattanooga killing

Detective Tim Carroll took a phone call on April 20, 1995, from a caseworker in the St. Louis County Jail. Kenneth Korpecki said he represented an inmate who wanted to confess to a murder, a very old murder.

"Tell him it was a Pizza Hut," Carroll heard another man on the line say to Korpecki.

The detective was familiar. Eighteen years earlier, someone had shot a black man dead and wounded his white girlfriend in the parking lot. It was the Chattanooga Police Department's only unsolved killing from 1978.

Officers still talked about the case, Carroll said, and one lieutenant even kept a posterboard depicting the crime scene behind his desk. Investigators believed the case would remain unsolved forever.

But now, in St. Louis, Joseph Paul Franklin took the phone from his caseworker and told Carroll that he was the one who did it. Franklin, already convicted of blowing up a Chattanooga synagogue and killing several interracial couples throughout the country, said he would confess to the crime if Carroll visited him in jail.




Community-oriented policing on Minneapolis' Northside

Depending on where you live, work and shop, you may have noticed something different in recent months during your daily commute or trip to the market. Since spring, 17 officers have been assigned to foot, bike and squad patrols on a newly created Northside beat. This increased police presence is designed to deter crime while helping officers become more familiar with neighborhoods on a block-by-block basis.

According to Tim Hammett, a crime prevention specialist for the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) in the city's Fourth Precinct, this is but one aspect of MPD efforts to implement community-oriented policing initiatives on the Northside. A community-oriented approach to policing involves establishing collaborative partnerships between law enforcement and the people, organizations and businesses in a designated area.

“The beat officers are tasked with getting to know the neighborhoods they serve more closely and developing relationships with the people in those communities,” says Hammett. “Their mission is to provide a presence on the street and get to know the residents and business owners who live and work there. By doing that they obviously become more knowledgeable about the local scene and are better able to carry out the enforcement function because they simply know more about the neighborhood and who's who by virtue of community connections.”

Additional officers are currently assigned to some of the major corridors, like Lyndale, Penn and West Broadway Avenues, but they go out into the more residential areas as well. In addition, a specialized community response team within the Fourth Precinct responds to residents' needs. These specialized police units typically address livability crimes such as street-level narcotics dealing and prostitution.




RIVERSIDE: Police need caution with mentally ill, activists say

Riverside community activists on Monday, Nov. 18, discussed ways to prevent encounters between people with mental illnesses and police officers from turning deadly.

Mental-health professionals also discussed partnerships between police agencies and mental-health workers that have proven successful in de-escalating situations and talked about training that officers in Riverside County and city have received.

The forum was a community meeting at the Cesar Chavez Community Center at Bobby Bonds Park in Riverside, organized by the Riverside Coalition for Police Accountability.

No one from the Riverside Police Department attended to challenge any of the statistics or opinions put forth by the panelists or approximately 50 audience members. Coalition co-chair Deborah Wong said police declined an invitation. She hoped that police officials, who have been available to the media to discuss how they handle encounters with the mentally ill, would attend future meetings.

“The door is open for discussion,” Wong said.

Three members of the Community Police Review Commission, City Councilman Andy Melendrez — whose son is a Riverside police detective — and representatives from community groups also attended.



Why Did So Many Black Women Die? Jonestown at 35

35 years ago, on November 19, 1978, 73-year-old Hyacinth Thrash awoke to a nightmare in the jungles of Guyana. In one of the largest murder-suicides in world history, 918 people from her Peoples Temple church lay dead before her eyes, poisoned by a lethal cocktail of cyanide and fruit punch. The images from this gothic scene of carnage have become indelible: bodies, clad in simple workaday clothing, stretch into the distance in rows, face down on the ground. Seldom discussed and less widely known, however, is the fact that they are overwhelmingly black bodies.

Rendered “anonymous,” they represent complex extended families of children, elderly women, young women, mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters and nieces. They came to Jonestown, Guyana from communities all across the U.S., drawn by the utopic promise of life in a communal settlement, envisioned by a charismatic white messiah, as a socialist refuge from American racial apartheid. One of the most haunting scenes from the massacre's aftermath is that of an adult with their arm around a child, protective in the throes of death. Thrash was the sole survivor on the premises.

Although the gruesome final snapshot of Jonestown is burned into the American popular imagination, the prelude to the massacre is not as well known. Founded by the Reverend Jim Jones in the 1950s, Peoples Temple was a multiracial Pentecostal congregation with roots in Indiana. Over the course of two decades the church would establish operations in Ukiah, San Francisco and Los Angeles before relocating the bulk of the congregation to Guyana in the late ‘70s, ostensibly to avoid government persecution for its radical views.

About 75% of Peoples Temple members were African American, 20% were white and 5% were Asian, Latino and Native American. The majority of its black members were women, while its core leadership was predominantly white. As per the cultural cliché, black women like Thrash were “the backbone” of Peoples Temple, the primary victims of Jonestown, and the population with the deepest investment in the philosophy, ethos and mission of the church.





L.A.'s Homeless: Making The Invisible Visible

Over 58,000 people are homeless in Los Angeles County. That's more than the entire student body at USC.

We cannot just walk by our thousands of neighbors in need. (mil8, Creative Commons)

But while USC students receive the benefits of a world-class education, hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of donated resources each year and an international community of support, a population larger than us goes without a place to sleep every night, forgotten by most.

It's easy to conjecture who is homeless: someone who didn't work hard enough, someone with drug or alcohol problems.

But the idea that people always experience homelessness because of their own faults is a troubling presupposition, and one that simply isn't true.

The impact of recession still lingers: unemployment sits at 8.9 percent in California, compared to 7.3 percent nationally. L.A. has become one of the top 10 most expensive cities for renting a home in the country and only 46 percent of residents can afford to buy a home. Shelters are desperately overcrowded and can only house 26 percent of the homeless population on any given night. To top things off, the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which help keep food on the table for 14 percent of all American households, will be cut by $5 billion this month. That's over 47 million people—men, women, children—who are going to be affected.



Nov 18, 2013


Los Angeles

Boyle Heights Girl, 3, Rescued From Alleged Kidnapper ‘In The Nick Of Time'

BOYLE HEIGHTS (CBSLA.com) — Neighbors of a 3-year-old alleged kidnap victim say she was rescued “in the nick of time” Saturday evening in Boyle Heights.  Police found the girl nearly naked and being held by a man believed to be in his mid to late 40s. The man was nude at the time of his arrest. The little girl was held for nearly three hours but after being examined at a hospital, officials determined she was not sexually molested.

The alleged kidnapping occurred in the 3200 block of Malabar Street. CBS2's Art Barron, reporting from the scene, spoke to neighbors who said the little girl was rescued “in the nick of time.”   “It's shocking and heartless,” said one neighbor, “You can imagine what every parent feels.”

Barron found many neighbors shaking their head in disgust.  The girl was being held in a small workshop/garage across the street from where she had last been seen Saturday evening.Neighbors told Barron the little girl was playing with other children at a baby shower.Edwin Bojas and his wife hosted the baby shower at their house. After the girl turned up missing, a frantic search was begun.“After about two hours and 45 minutes, they opened the garage and found the baby there and the guy, too,” said Bojas.

When a man found out his daughter was missing, he literally went crazy, one neighbor said. “He started socking the ground.” “I'm sad for the little girl, and worried about my kids, all the kids,” said Ayde Angulano, a mother of three.  Police did not reveal the suspect's name but said he was a handyman familiar with the location.   The suspect had visible bruising and cuts to his face.

LAPD Detective Stan Young explained that the suspect resisted arrest and that he was not cooperative.The girl's mother told friends that she was relieved her daughter is okay. Barron quotes what she told her friends, “Thanks God, nothing happened to her.”



Los Angeles

LAPD Asking For Public's Help To Find Missing 24-Year-Old Man

(picture on site)

RESEDA (CBSLA.com) — The Los Angeles Police Department is asking for the public's help to find a missing 24-year-old.

Brian Anderson is described as bipolar and depressed.  Anderson takes various medications and is in need of on-going medical care, says his family.

The missing man was last seen Tuesday around 9:30 p.m. in the 7800 block of Chimineas Avenue in Reseda, officials said.

Anderson is white with brown hair and brown eyes. He stands 6 feet 2 inches tall and weighs about 200 pounds. He was last seen wearing a blue V-neck T-shirt, blue shorts and black sandals.

A photo of missing Brian Anderson. (credit: LAPD)

He was last seen driving a black 2008 Honda Element with California license 6BRR961.

Anyone who has seen Anderson is asked to call the LAPD's West Valley Division at (818) 374-7611.