Today's LACP news:
April 23, 2017
Community policing needs the Watchmen
by The Rev. Winston M. Clarke
The term community policing is being touted as something that is going to be a cure-all for the Afro-American and Latino communities. In this day and age, the phrase is a misnomer. For those of us growing up in Harlem during the 1930s, '40s, '50s and '60s (before the drugs), community policing was the norm. The police knew the people in the community, the people in the community knew the police. There was a mutual respect between the police and the community.
With the introduction of drugs into the Black and Spanish communities, the respect has gone, which has led to many shootings by the police of Blacks. To alleviate the apathy of the police toward the Black community and the community toward the police (locally and throughout the United States), the community has to ban together with the police and patrol together their neighborhoods. An example is the Williamsburg section in Brooklyn. The Jewish community has their own patrol, protecting their turf. You don't have anyone in the Jewish community being shot by the police. This cooperation is true community policing.
One of the main reasons community policing is not going to work in the Black and Spanish communities is drugs. Those communities that have some semblance of patrols do not patrol where they are selling drugs and neither do the police. When I was pastoring in Mount Vernon, N.Y., I formed a patrol called the Watchmen. Members of my church and I patrolled Third Street, where drugs were sold with impunity. Mayor Ernie Davis gave me police assistance every week, and we prayed and went out on patrol. We had the police stay a short distance from us so that we could evangelize and talk to the people in the community regarding employment, housing, voter registration, etc. The presence of the police made the community safe when we were patrolling. The other churches and community groups would not join us because of fear and apathy.
When you patrol your community, when you respect yourself, others respect you also. You then don't have shootings by your own people or by law enforcement.
The Rev. Winston M. Clarke
Retired Captain, NYC Department of Correction
Bipartisan congressional group looks at Houston's police-community relations
Houston called 'far ahead' in bridging divide
by Keri Blakinger
Houston is "far ahead" when it comes to bridging divides between residents and law enforcement, Rep. Bob Goodlatte said Thursday after a Houston roundtable with a bipartisan congressional working group dedicated to exploring community-police relations.
The roundtable came as part of a day-long Bayou City stop for the Policing Strategies Working Group. Along with the private discussion with mayor, district attorney and other local leaders, visiting representatives got a tour of the county jail, federal lock-up and juvenile detention center.
"During our time here, we have discussed how we can best strengthen the relationship between law enforcement and the communities that we serve," said Godlatte, a Virginia Republican. "It's imperative that we come together to address violent attacks on police officers and instances of excessive force by police officers."
The 12-member working group initially formed in mid-2016, just after last July's Dallas police shootings.
The aim has been to stop at cities around the country and gather ideas to create legislation to prevent future attacks on police, improve police accountability and boost community-police relations.
"The idea of this task force is to look police-community relation in the eye and to be able to respond to concerns in the community, while responding to concerns of police, law enforcement and bringing those two entities together," Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee , D-Houston, told reporters during a news conference.
Some of the hot topics during Thursday's discussion included bail reform, community policing and Mayor Sylvester Turner 's Complete Communities Initiative.
Afterward, Goodlatte praised the Houston stop as productive and singled out the city as a source of inspiration for others.
"I must say that Houston, compared to some other communities around the country, is far ahead in learning how to address this and understanding that it is an ongoing issue," he said.
"But the kind of dialogue that has been taking place here and the kind of leadership that has been shown here needs to be translated to other communities all across the country."
Although the working group is focused on making change at the federal level, Precinct 1 Constable Alan Rosen said the discussion could guide local policy as well.
"We had a very candid conversation, a very open dialogue, that is going to help us all move forward and develop strategies both at the federal level and at the local level that will help us improve what do," he said.
"I think we're on the road to making some real changes."
Officials: Police had Paris attacker in their grasp
Officials said Karim Cheurfi was detained at the end of February after speaking threateningly about police but was then released for lack of evidence
by Lori Hinnant and John Leicester
PARIS — The Champs-Elysees gunman who shot and killed a police officer just days before France's presidential election was detained in February for threatening police but then freed, two officials told The Associated Press on Friday. He was also convicted in 2003 of attempted homicide in the shootings of two police officers.
The French government pulled out all the stops to protect Sunday's vote as the attack deepened France's political divide.
"Nothing must hamper this democratic moment, essential for our country," Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said after a high-level meeting Friday that reviewed the government's already heightened security plans for the two-round vote that begins Sunday.
"Barbarity and cowardice struck Paris last night," the prime minister said, appealing for national unity and for people "not to succumb to fear."
Investigators believe at this stage that the gunman, 39-year-old Frenchman Karim Cheurfi, was alone in killing a police officer and wounding two others and a German tourist on Thursday night, less than 72 hours before polls open, a French official who discussed details of the investigation with the AP said on condition of anonymity.
The official and another, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said Cheurfi was detained toward the end of February after speaking threateningly about police but was then released for lack of evidence.
The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for Thursday's attack unusually quickly in a statement that sowed confusion by apparently misidentifying the gunman.
Police shot and killed Cheurfi after he opened fire on a police van on Paris' most famous boulevard. Investigators found a pump-action shotgun and knives in his car. Cheurfi's identity was confirmed from his fingerprints.
A key question was how the attack might impact French voters. U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted that it "will have a big effect" on the election and that "the people of France will not take much more of this."
The risk for the main presidential candidates is misjudging the public mood by making an ill-perceived gesture or comment. With polling so close, and campaigning banned from Friday midnight, they would have no time to recover before voters cast ballots.
The two top finishers Sunday advance to a winner-takes-all presidential runoff on May 7. Two of the main candidates, conservative Francois Fillon and centrist Emmanuel Macron, canceled planned campaign stops Friday.
The attack brought back the recurrent campaign theme of France's fight against Islamic extremism, one of the mainstays of the anti-immigration platform of far-right leader Marine Le Pen and also, to a lesser extent, of Fillon, a former prime minister. In the wake of the assault, they redoubled appeals for a firmer hand against Islamic extremism and promised get-tough measures if elected.
Le Pen, speaking at her campaign headquarters, urged the outgoing Socialist government to immediately re-establish border controls. Cazeneuve, the Socialist prime minister, accused the National Front leader of seeking to make political hay from the assault.
After Le Pen spoke scathingly Friday of the government's fight against extremism, Cazeneuve said Le Pen's party in 2014 voted against an anti-terrorism law and, in 2015, against a law that beefed up resources for French intelligence services.
He said: "She seems to be deliberately forgetting everything that has been done over five years to make people forget that she opposed everything, without ever proposing anything serious or credible."
Fillon separately pledged to maintain the state of emergency that has been in place since IS-claimed gun and bomb attacks killed 130 people in Paris in November 2015.
"The fight for the French people's freedom and security will be mine. This must be the priority," he said.
As Paris got back to business, municipal workers in white hygiene suits were out before dawn to wash down the sidewalk where the assault took place — a scene now depressingly familiar after multiple attacks that have killed more than 230 people in France over two years. Delivery trucks did their early morning rounds. Everything would have seemed normal if not for a row of TV trucks parked along the boulevard that is a must-visit for tourists.
Asked if the assault would impact voting, the centrist Macron said: "No one knows."
With some voters doubtful whether the 39-year-old former banker is experienced enough to be head of state, Macron appealed for cool heads.
"What our attackers want is death, symbolism, to sow panic (and) to disturb a democratic process," he said.
Macron said he canceled campaign stops out of a sense of "decency" and to allow police to concentrate their resources on the investigation.
Said by polls to be running neck-and-neck with Le Pen, he tore into her claims that previous attacks wouldn't have happened under her watch.
"She won't be able to protect our citizens," Macron said of Le Pen.
The two police officers injured in the attack are out of danger, Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said. National police spokesman Jerome Bonet, also speaking on BFM television, said there were thousands of people on Paris' iconic boulevard when the gunman opened fire and that the rapid response of officers who shot and killed him avoided possible "carnage."
Voters also wondered how the latest attack might impact the election.
Elena Worms, walking her dog near the Champs-Elysees, called the attack "destabilizing" and said she fears it will "push people to the extremes." She said her plans to vote Fillon remain unchanged.
"He wants to lead Muslims away from fundamentalism to security," she said.
In a statement from its Amaq news agency, the IS group gave a pseudonym for the shooter, Abu Yusuf al-Beljiki, indicating he was Belgian or had lived in Belgium. But Belgium's interior minister said the pseudonym did not belong to the attacker.
Investigators searched a home early Friday in an eastern suburb of Paris believed linked to the attack and police detained for questioning three of the gunman's family members — routine in such cases.
The attack appeared to fit a spreading pattern of European extremists targeting security forces and symbols of state to discredit, take vengeance on or destabilize society. It recalled two recent attacks on soldiers providing security at prominent locations around Paris: one at the Louvre museum in February and one at Orly airport last month.
For Sunday's vote, the government is mobilizing more than 50,000 police and gendarmes to protect the 70,000 polling stations, with an additional 7,000 soldiers also on patrol.
2 SC officers wounded in shootout, suspect killed
The two officers are in critical, but stable condition
by Ashley Jean Reese
HARDEEVILLE, S.C. — Two officers were shot after responding to a domestic dispute at the Sanders subdivision in Hardeeville.
A Hardeeville Police officer and Jasper County deputy have been shot by a suspect, according to Jasper County Sheriff Chris Malphrus.
The two officers are in “critical, but stable condition,” Malphrus said. The suspect, whose identity was not immediately available, was killed in the incident, Malphrus said.
The incident began when law enforcement officers responded to a domestic complaint after 6 p.m. Thursday, where a man was reported to be shooting at a woman, Malphrus said.
The deputy was identified by Malphrus as Justin Smith, who has been with the office about two years.
He identified the Hardeeville officer as Sgt. Kelvin Grant, with the department since 2010.
Family members of both men are with them at the hospital in Savannah, and deputy Smith is up and talking.
Both officers have multiple gunshot wounds, but the exact number had not been confirmed Thursday night, Malphrus said.
Hardeeville Police Chief Sam Woodward says it appeared both officers were going to survive their injuries.
Also the departments have received an outpouring of support and food donations from citizens, he said.
The S.C. State Law Enforcement Division will take over the investigation, as it routinely does for shootings when officers are involved.
Baltimore setting up oversight of police under Obama decree
The next step is to choose residents of the city for a new police oversight committee
by the Associated Press
BALTIMORE — Baltimore is moving ahead with police reforms mandated by an agreement with the Justice Department under President Barack Obama.
Mayor Catherine Pugh announced Thursday's launch of a website that outlines the process. The next step is to choose residents of the city for a new police oversight committee.
A federal judge recently approved the agreement, despite objections from President Donald Trump's Justice Department.
Online applications are being taken through May 22, and by July, the panel should begin reviewing the city's current civilian oversight process.
The city also is looking for an independent monitor who would be approved by the court to assess whether the consent decree is being implemented and publish regular reports on the city's progress.