Runtime: 00:00:19 (Nineteen seconds)
Video Site: Harry Williby
"They rape, ... They rape a 100 white women a day, ... that's FBI statistic from 2005."
-- Dylann Roof, explaining to FBI Agents why he entered Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church in Charleston, South Carolina, on June 17, 2015 and killed nine members of the black congregation attending a Bible study inside.
Top News Stories! Normandy!
NORMANDY, MO • A St. Louis man armed with a 9mm pistol walked into Normandy City Hall on Monday and held four clerks captive until police arrested him, according to charges filed Tuesday.
Chris Butler, of St. Louis, was charged with holding four Normandy clerks captive at the city’s municipal building.
Chris Butler, 33, was charged with kidnapping and resisting arrest.
Butler went to the Normandy municipal court clerk's office about 4:30 p.m. Monday, locked himself within restricted offices adjacent to the city's court and told four clerks to show their hands and not move, according to police.
The clerks signaled to a female bystander that they needed help, and that woman notified police, said Normandy Police Sgt. Tameika Sanders. The police department is in the same complex at 7700 Natural Bridge Road. Officers arrived in less than a minute and tried to persuade Butler to let the clerks leave, but he refused and stood between the clerks and the door, blocking their path with his arms, Sanders said.
"His pattern of speech, the things he was saying led our officers to believe that they were dealing with someone in an unstable condition," Sanders said.
Officers with crisis intervention training spent 12 to 15 minutes negotiating with Butler before shocking him with a Taser and taking him into custody, Sanders said. Butler kicked but did not injure an officer during the arrest.
Police then found a loaded 9mm pistol in one of his pockets.
Court was not in session at the time, and police are investigating how Butler breached the building's restricted offices, Sanders said. There are no metal detectors in the part of the building that houses the courts, but officers routinely wand people entering when court is in session.
Sanders said Butler had no previous contact with Normandy police, the city or its court. Sanders said police believe Butler was on drugs at the time of the incident. She said the department is thankful to the bystander relieved no one was hurt during the incident.
"It was an intense situation for everyone here," Sanders said. "This just went really, really, really, really well. We're really fortunate."
Butler was being held Tuesday at the St. Louis County Jail on a $75,000 cash-only bail. He lives in the 5900 block of Maple Avenue in St. Louis' West End neighborhood.
"The only good nigger is a dead nigger and they should hang you in the town square to prevent any other nigger from coming in the area."
-- July 2011 Statement by Oakland Public Schools Police Chief Pete Sarna, referring to an African-American police officer.
POSTED: 12:07 PM, November 7, 2017
Washington, D.C. (WCJB) ~ United States (2017) -- Richard Bertrand Spencer is an American white nationalist. Spencer was punched in the face on camera as he spoke to a reporter on camera after Donald Trump's Inauguration.
POSTED: 10:47 AM, OCTOBER 7, 2016 ~ Updated: 09:01 PM, OCTOBER 7, 2016
ST. LOUIS, MO (WCJB) - St. Louis County Police officer Officer Blake Snyder, 33, and his partner were responding to a disturbance call at around 5 a.m., Thursday morning in Green Park. Police told media sources that Trent Forster, 18, had a relationship with a girl who lived in the house in the 10700 block of Arno Drive. Someone called for help when he demanded to be let in. Police believe that Snyder encountered Forster in a vehicle. They say Forster shot the officer when he asked to see his hands. Officer Snyder was critically wounded in the shooting. Investigators say it was an, "immediate fatal wound." He died from his injuries.
Snyder's partner returned fire critically injuring Forster. Forster is currently at the hospital. He is being treated for his gunshot wounds and is expected to survive. Forster has been charged in the shooting death of Officer Snyder. Prosecuting attorney Bob McCulloch has charged Forster with first degree murder and armed criminal action. McCulloch says Forster is not in high school and currently unemployed. He is being held on a one million dollar bond.
Chief Belmar says the shooting has some of the characteristics of an ambush. A gun was recovered from the scene. Police are still trying to determine how the teen got the gun. They want to know the motive behind the shooting. There appears to be no video of the shooting. Belmar says there was no dashboard camera in the police vehicle.
“In 129 years since police and fire commissions were created in the state of Wisconsin, [there has not been] a single ruling by a police department, an inquest, or a police commission that a shooting was unjustified.”
-- Michael Bell in a written piece for Politico last year.
Published: 1:58 am, Aug. 14, 2016 ~ Updated: 1:58 am PDT, Aug. 14, 2016
New Mexico -- Two fugitives wanted for a murder have been arrested. Authorities say one of them fatally shot a New Mexico police officer. Dona Ana County Sheriff's spokeswoman Kelly Jameson said Jesse Hanes, 38, is suspected of gunning down Hatch Police Officer Jose Chavez, 33, during a traffic stop Friday. The stop occurred in the village of Hatch. The Village is about 40 miles northwest of Las Cruces. Chavez had been a member of the Hatch Police Department for two years. He was shot in the neck. He had a wife and two children.
Authorities say Chavez pulled over Hanes. Hanes was reportedly driving a 1991 Lexus. Police said Hanes was with James Nelson, age 36. Another officer arrived on the scene to assist Chavez. Authorities said Hanes suddenly got out of the Lexus and opened fire. The other officer saw Chavez holding paperwork. He then saw Chavez reaching for his service weapon. Chavez was shot and fell to the ground. Sheriff's spokeswoman Jameson said: "From traffic stop to the shooting took less than a minute."
Hanes then fled the scene with Nelson and a third person in the car. Hanes then fled on Interstate 25 at speeds up to 100 miles per hour before stopping at a rest stop. He is suspected of carjacking a man at the rest stop. He then shot him in the stomach. The man's condition is unknown. Authorities said deputies pursued Hanes after spotting him in the carjacked vehicle. Police had deployed "stop sticks" to flatten the tires. The chase ended when the car crashed into a pile of wood.
Nelson was apprehended after he tried to flee on foot. Hanes briefly barricaded himself in the car before surrendering. Deputies found he was suffering from a gunshot wound to the thigh. They believe Hanes shot himself. He was taken to a hospital for treatment. The third person in the car was a hitchhiker. The person is being treated as a witness.
The two men are wanted in Ohio for the July 25 shooting death of a 62-year-old man in his home. Sources in Ohio reported Saturday that Hanes and Nelson wanted in the killing of killing Theodore Timmons in Londonderry, Ohio. Sources reported that three days after the murder the Ross County Sheriff's Office in Ohio sent out a bulletin saying that Hanes and Nelson, were believed to have fled the state and were armed and extremely dangerous. It warned that the two men have a violent criminal history.
Hanes was 16 and living in Columbus, Ohio. He pleaded guilty in 1995 to involuntary manslaughter and other charges. He was sentenced to prison. He was released at 32. He went to prison again in 2014 after pleading guilty to robbery. Hanes was released in April 2015. Nelson also goes by "JD." He has a string of drug-related convictions in central Ohio dating back to the mid-1990s.
Published: 8:58 pm, September 15, 2015 ~ Updated: 11:31 pm PDT, September 15, 2015
SURF CITY, N.C. — A controversial Facebook post by a North Carolina police chief calling the “Black Lives Matter” movement a “terrorist group” has led to his retirement. An emergency town meeting was called Tuesday by Surf City’s mayor to discuss personnel concerns. The meeting came after a post made on social media by Police Chief Mike Halstead on Sept. 3, 2015. The post has since been deleted or made private.
Halstead voiced his concerns over the “Black Lives Matter” movement. He went as far as to say it, “ ... is nothing more than an American born terrorist group.” Halstead also said in the Facebook post that the government should “step up and put a stop to this.” Council voted to accept Halstead’s retirement. The retirment is effective immediately. Halstead will be paid 60 days severance.
Town Manager Larry Bergman told media sources that the post was in reference to a recent event. Bergman told the station: “He felt pretty passionate about it. Someone had just been murdered in Texas and it was in relation to that incident.” Bergman said the post violated a policy regarding how the chief is supposed to present himself.
The following is the full text of the Facebook post:
"Open letter from a Police Chief , this Black Lives Matter group is nothing more than an American born terrorist group brought on by the lie of the hands up don’t shoot during the criminal thug Michael Brown incident. The FBI and other Government Law Enforcement groups need to step up and put a stop to this. The Government and blacks would not tolerate the White Supremacist group to march through the streets and call for the murders of a race of people and a group of public servants. I agree there is a race problem in this country. It is not brought on by police officer doing their sworn duty, it is brought on by the government, the President and his cronies Al Sharpton, who is a criminal tax evader (but has the support of our so called President), Jessi Jackson, Eric Holder and that ignorant S.O.B. Farrakhan who should be charged with solicitation for murder, lord knows a white man would be arrested for the same actions of idiot Farakhan. I am sure there are many hard working Black people who will agree with me. I have been a Police Officer for 35 years. I do not judge anyone by the color of their skin, but by there actions. A criminal is a criminal whether a police officer or any other profession. I will not state statistics because black lives matter do not care or believe proven statistics. I put allot of the blame for these cop murders on the media and the way they report police related shootings. There is no need to list or even state the race of a person shot by the police. It is more important to wait for the facts and report those. But and a big but that does not make money for these greedy media ass holes. When a black thug is killed by the police they are all over it as is Mr. Barack Obama. However when a police officer white, black or any race is murdered for doing his job the media is short with it’s reporting or not at all. When a white person is killed by a black officer you hear nothing. Has our so called President spoke publicly about these murders of police officers by blacks, HELL NO he has not. Step up Mr. President, or step down because we do not need you. Has our Attorney General spoke against these murders, no of course not because she was appointed by Barack Obama. Now let me say this, and this is not a threat but common knowledge. I have instructed my officers to be vigilant, if threatened take appropriate action. If that means shoot a thug, then do it and answer for it while you are still alive not dead. Law Enforcement is fed up with this murderous society who want to take out those who protect and serve. Imagine if all law enforcement shut down for just 1 day. There would be murders, rapes, robberies, you name it. America wake up, all of you black, white, Mexican whatever you need the police, we do not need you. End this Black Lives Matter bull shit and start a movement that all lives matter. As for the New Black Panther movement who wants to kill whites and cops, go for it, we are ready for you. You take one of us and there will be 100 who will step up and end you. This letter is not meant to offend anyone, just the feelings of a man who has spent the last 35 years of his life serving and protecting, for what so a thug can take it or to be treated as a criminal by the very people I swore to protect. Let’s get this around folks so maybe our President and the media will get a wake up call. Be safe all of my Brothers and Sisters in blue, not white, black, yellow or brown BLUE."
Published: May 23, 2015 • 12:35 AM PDT ~ Updated: May 24, 2015 • 06:35 PM PDT
Posted: May 4, 2015 7:38 p.m. EST ~ Updated: May 4, 2015 11:11 p.m. PST
"The Fifth in Five!"
NEW YORK, NY (WCJB) - New York City plain-clothes Officer Brian Moore, 25 (pictured above, center) was in an unmarked car pursuing Demetrius Blackwell, 35. Blackwell was wanted on a weapons charge. police said Moore was shot during the weekend chase in a residential neighborhood of the New York City borough of Queens. Moore and his partner had been trying to question Blackwell. They said they saw him seeming to adjust an object in his waistband. Police said Blackwell pulled out a gun and fired into the vehicle, striking Moore. Moore was shot in the head. He died on Monday.
Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said the Queens district attorney on Tuesday would seek a first-degree murder indictment against Blackwell. He is being held without bail on attempted murder, assault, weapons possession and other charges. The weapon used in the shooting was later recovered. Bratton said the gun had been stolen in Georgia in 2011. Police said Moore has an extensive criminal background.
Moore's shooting also comes amid months of mounting tensions after a series of unarmed black men died at the hands of police officers. The most recent death occurred in Baltimore where six officers were charged on Friday in the death of Freddie Gray. Bratton said Moore was police officer was the fifth officer gunned down in as many months. Moore is the first New York City officer killed in the line of duty since two uniformed officers were ambushed last December. Unlike the shooting in Brooklyn days before Christmas of Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, who were targeted for being in uniform, Moore was in plainclothes and in an unmarked car, authorities said. Two New York plainclothes officers were shot while responding to an armed robbery in the Bronx in January and survived their injuries. He was the fifth city officer shot in five months.
Bratton said the shooting comes amid anti-law enforcement sentiment not seen since the turbulent 1960s. Speaking at a press conference late Monday, Bratton, was asked for his perspective on the violence against NYPD officers amid nationwide protests over accusations of police brutality. "You'd have to almost go back to the late 60s to early 70s to see a time when there was so much anti-police sentiment in the country," Bratton said. "These are strange times," he said.
Posted: 6:33 p.m., August 24, 1991
Gary, Ind. -- Two Gary police narcotics officers were arrested Tuesday in connection with the drug robbery and slaying of a Gary man who was shot to death after he answered a knock at his front door.
Detectives Derrick Earls, 36, and Cory House, 35, both of Gary, were charged under federal firearms statutes with using or carrying a weapon during a crime of violence or drug trafficking. State charges of murder could be added.
The two are alleged to have taken part in the early-morning slaying of Charles Black, 41, on May 27. Witnesses told Gary police that Black was confronted by two men wearing masks when he responded at 5 a.m. to a knock on his door.
The intruders demanded money and cocaine from the people in the house. During the robbery, Black was killed by a shotgun wound in the head.
Although the intruders tried to hide their identities, witnesses identified both by name and as Gary police officers, said U.S. Atty. John Hoehner of the Northern District of Indiana.
Hoehner said he expects a federal grand jury to indict Earls and House on the weapons charges and said indictments on other charges were likely. In addition, he said Lake County Prosecutor Jon DeGuilio is ``actively investigating`` the killing and could file murder charges against the two.
A spokeswoman for DeGuilio said no announcement would be made ``unless and until charges are filed by our office.``
If the two are found guilty of federal firearms violations, they face mandatory five-year prison terms and fines up to $250,000.
Prosecution by federal agencies for firearms offenses and by state authorities for other crimes are part of the government`s Project Triggerlock, authorized this year by U.S. Atty. Gen. Dick Thornburgh.
At an initial appearance at the federal courthouse in Hammond before U.S. Magistrate Andrew Rodovich, Assistant U.S. Atty. Ronald Kurpiers asked that the two be held without bond.
Rodovich scheduled a hearing on the request for Thursday. The two are being held in the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago.
Earls became a police officer nearly seven years ago, and House joined the force more than five years ago, according to authorities.
Published: Wednesday, Mar. 11, 2015 • 12:35 AM PDT ~ Updated: Wednesday, Mar. 11, 2015 • 12:35 AM PDT
FERGUSON, MO • Ferguson municipal Judge Ronald J. Brockmeyer resigned his position Monday afternoon. Dellwood Mayor Reggie Jones said Brockmeyer also resigned Monday as prosecutor there. The Missouri Supreme Court also announced Monday that it will take the “extraordinary action” of reassigning all Ferguson municipal court cases to the circuit court. The reassignment will start next week. In a news release, the court announced the move was intended “to help restore public trust and confidence in the Ferguson municipal court division.” Judge Roy L. Richter of the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, will take over the Ferguson court’s caseload. The transfer of cases will continue “until further order” of the Supreme Court, according to the court’s press release. The order, allowed under the state constitution, authorizes Richter to implement reforms to Ferguson’s court policies and procedures. The actions Monday followed the release last week of a scathing Justice Department report on Ferguson’s police and court practices.
Richter said in an email that, “Lawyers in general, and judges in particular, want the judicial system to operate fairly for all those who deal with the Courts. If that hasn’t been the case in Ferguson or anywhere else in Missouri, that needs to change — and that’s important.” Richter said he and the state court administrator’s office will visit Ferguson soon to assess the situation. He said he’s interested in the idea of having a wider scope of “standard” fines that would be used in Ferguson and elsewhere, and also in making the court more accessible to the public. “If something is a routine violation and the offender wants to pay the fine without appearing in court, that makes sense to me,” he said.
Richter serves as chairman of the municipal judge education committee, a body of the Supreme Court that trains municipal court judges. In January, he wrote a letter to municipal court officials encouraging them to consider a range of internal reforms being proposed by the Municipal Court Improvement Committee, a voluntary group made up of judges and lawyers. It is led by Overland municipal court Judge Frank Vatterott. In the letter, Richter said he believed the media was misrepresenting the system and that “the vast majority of municipal courts operate the way they should” with “a few (very few) exceptions.”
“No system is so ‘good’ that it can’t be improved, and I am a firm believer that those within the system are in a better position to propose and enact positive improvements than to have ‘improvements’ come from the outside — from folks who do not understand the practicalities (of) making new rules about matters with which they are unfamiliar,” he wrote.
Richter, on Monday, acknowledged in an email that “one court operating improperly is one too many” but said he’s been educating municipal court judges since the early ’80s, and he does believe that most do it right. “Take a road trip down to Cape Girardeau — just go sit in their municipal court for a session — let me know what you think. If you don’t want to go that far, scoot down to Perryville. My point is, the entire state isn’t St. Louis County,” he said.
Richter added he shouldn’t be viewed as an outsider coming in. “Being a judge is being a judge — you listen to both sides and do the right thing, applying the facts to the law.” Vatterott, who asked Richter to write the letter, said Monday that the wording was intended to ensure buy-in from the courts. He called Richter “a highly respected ... straight-shooter” who “doesn’t have an agenda and calls it like he sees it.” Vatterott said that Richter would be an influential outside voice.
In a phone interview Monday night, Brockmeyer said one of the issues mentioned in the report was a red-light camera ticket against him in Hazelwood. That ticket was dismissed by the Ferguson prosecutor who also was prosecutor in Hazelwood. Brockmeyer said Monday the ticket was dismissed after he pointed out to the prosecutor that it would be difficult to show who was driving the vehicle. The vehicle was allegedly used by his law firm. Brockmeyer was criticized in the Justice Department report for acting as a revenue generator for the court and the city. He helped to bring in millions through “creative” use of fines and fees. Meanwhile, he dismissed tickets for himself and friends. The report also rapped him for instilling fear in traffic defendants. He was cited in the report for jailing one man for 10 days because the man refused to answer questions in court. In December, the court clarified the language of the rules to make it clear that people who demonstrate an inability to pay a fine must be given more time — not be thrown in jail or forced to pay all at once.
In a news release, Bert Fulk, a law associate of Brockmeyer, said Brockmeyer “recognizes that deference to a municipal judge’s judgments and court rulings depends upon public confidence.” He alleges that media reports, “regardless of their accuracy or validity have diminished the public’s confidence in the Ferguson municipal court.” Fulk said Brockmeyer’s resignation was intended to help restore public confidence and to “help Ferguson begin its healing process.”
Brockmeyer declined to say what would happen with his other municipal court positions as prosecutor in Vinita Park and Florissant. He is also a judge in Breckenridge Hills. “I don’t believe the report was correct,” Brockmeyer told media sources Monday night, “but it’s not worth fighting.” Brockmeyer said the main reason he resigned is that he and his family had received death threats in the last several days. “That’s one of the most important reasons — it’s not worth jeopardizing my family,” he said.
Brockmeyer, who was paid about $20,000 for serving as Ferguson judge, has federal tax liens of about $170,000 filed against property he and his wife own in St. Charles County. Brockmeyer said nobody has mentioned that he’s been paying $5,000 a month to the IRS. “The taxes aren’t being ignored. I’m making my payments, and they’re on time,” he said. He said while some have used that situation to paint him a hypocrite, some of the traffic offenders in court were given a third, fourth and fifth chances to pay up or do a work program in lieu of paying and still couldn’t make good on their tickets.
The Justice Department report also revealed racist emails that were sent by court and police officials. Those e-mails portrayed a police department and court that discriminated against African-Americans at all levels. The discrimination started from the initial traffic stop to how they were treated in court. Last week, Court Clerk Mary Twitty was fired and Police Capt. Rick Henke and Sgt. William Mudd resigned over the emails. The statement from Brockmeyer’s law associate distanced the judge from police and court abuses detailed in the report. It noted that Brockmeyer’s part-time position required him to be in court only once a week, compared to the court clerk, whose role was cited in the Justice Department report as “the most significant role.”
Chief Justice Mary R. Russell said in the release that Richter would bring “a fresh, disinterested perspective to this court’s practices, and he is able and willing to implement needed reforms.” Russell, through a spokeswoman, declined to be interviewed. Russell, in her statement, said more than two-thirds of all the state’s court cases are filed in municipal divisions, which often provide the first or only impression citizens have of the court system. “Extraordinary action is warranted in Ferguson, but the Court also is examining reforms that are needed on a statewide basis,” Russell said.
A group of residents waiting outside a closed meeting of the Ferguson City Council on Monday night cheered the news. Asked after the council meeting whether City Administrator John Shaw and Police Chief Thomas Jackson might be ousted, Ferguson spokesman Jeff Small said: “Given the gravity of the (Justice Department) report, it’s safe to say everything is on the table.”
Published On: Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015 • 4:35 PM PST ~ Updated On: Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015 • 7:35 PM PST
I Did It!
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (WCJB) — Luis Enrique Monroy Bracamontes is charged with killing two Northern California sheriff's deputies. On Wednesday, Bracamontes stunned a courtroom by blurting out that he committed the crimes and is ready to be executed. A visibly agitated Bracamontes said: "I did kill those cops. You can execute me whenever you're ready." The outurst by Bracamontes came at the end of a hearing as he was led from the Sacramento County courtroom in chains.
Bracamontes repeatedly told his lawyers he wanted to plead guilty earlier during a court break. Assistant Public Defender Jeffrey Barbour told him quietly while the judge waited: "You don't have the right to plead guilty without our consent." Another of one his attorneys told Sacramento Superior Court Judge Steve White, "We're not at this time prepared to enter a plea." However, Bracamontes was adamant. He turned his head to address spectators as he was being handcuffed to leave the courtroom. "I killed, I did, I did. I just want to plead guilty and get the execution," he said as his attorneys stood nearby amid heavy security. "I did it, everything."
Bracamontes and his wife, Janelle Marquez Monroy, are both charged with murder in the slayings of Sacramento County Sheriff's Deputy Danny Oliver and Placer County Sheriff's Detective Michael Davis Jr. They also face numerous other charges. Bracamontes is charged with killing the two deputies during an hours long rampage in October. The rampage also left a motorist and another deputy wounded. Bracamontes is a Mexican national with a long criminal history who had been deported several times and was in the country illegally at the time of the slayings.
The court proceedings revolved around a request by attorneys for both suspects to exclude reporters from the courtroom to prevent news media accounts from influencing prospective jurors. White denied the request. However, he barred all still and video photographs, and prohibited audio recordings from being aired or published. He did allow a sketch artist to make portraits.
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for the Utah man. The wife does not face the death penalty. She sat quietly during the 20-minute proceeding, sometimes resting her chin on a fist. Attorneys later blamed his outbursts on anxiety. "I think what you were hearing was a great deal of anxiety," the attorney said outside the courtroom when asked about his client's outbursts. A spokeswoman for the Sacramento County District Attorneys' Office, Shelly Orio, said she was prohibited from commenting because it would violate legal ethics.
The suspects are next due back in court March 27 for a status conference.
Published On: Monday, Dec 29, 2014 • 9:35 PM EST ~ Updated On: Monday, Dec 29, 2014 • 12:35 PM PST
"It was an ambush!"
Los Angeles, CA -- Sunday night around 9:20 p.m., two officers in a single patrol car were responding to a call and driving southbound on Hoover Street near 62nd Place. They saw a muzzle flash -- the visible blast from a gun -- and determined they were being fired at, LAPD Lt. Andy Neiman told media sources. Police called a citywide tactical alert and launched a massive search following what they described as an ambush. "It was an ambush," Deputy Chief Bob Green said. "They were fired upon without any prior contact with the suspects."
The incident came less than two weeks after two New York police officers were fatally shot in an ambush. "We don't know what precipitated the shooting, but everyone's keenly aware of what happened in New York and there is a 'sense of uneasiness'," Neiman said. "It's very clear that the officers were in a black and white police car. The people who shot at these officers knew they were the police," Neiman said. Despite the surprise attack, neither officer was hurt and they were able to return fire, officials said.
A citywide tactical alert was called as police undertook a massive search after Sunday night's attack. A three-block area around the shooting scene was immediately cordoned off after the attack as police scoured the area with search dogs. Just before 11 p.m. LAPD advised residents to stay indoors. “Armed suspect in the area,” the police station said on Facebook. Neiman said one man had been detained as a person of interest for questioning, but another man remained at large. The search for a second shooter in an attack on Los Angeles police was called off early Monday. SWAT and sheriff's personnel were no longer actively involved in the search, he said. “We do not have a face or a name; there are leads that investigators are following up on,” Det. Meghan Aguilar said Monday morning. “This is obviously a dangerous individual who does not belong on the streets of Los Angeles.”
The setting of the shooting is a South Los Angeles neighborhood with primarily single-family homes, a few churches and a nearby high school. Red and yellow caution tape barred entrance to the scene of the shooting. Around 8:30 a.m. Monday, one of the officers involved in the shooting showed multiple investigators around the crime scene. Investigators surveyed the east side of Hoover Street, where bullet casings from the gunman's weapon lay, according to police. Minutes later, investigators huddled around a gutter on the west side of the street, where they removed a weapon that appeared to be a rifle. A short stretch of Hoover Street near 62nd could remain closed to traffic on Monday until noon, according to police.
Published On: Saturday, Dec 20, 2014 • 9:35 PM EST ~ Updated On: Saturday, Dec 20, 2014 • 6:35 PM PST
'Pigs in a Blanket'!
Bed-Stuy, NY -- Two NYPD officers were fatally shot in the head as they sat in their squad car in Bed-Stuy at around 2:50 p.m. on Saturday. Both of the cops reportedly sustained head wounds and were rushed to Woodhull Medical Center, where they were pronounced dead. The shooter seems to have ambushed the pair outside the Tompkins Houses, near Myrtle Avenue and Tompkins Avenue: "The perp came out of the houses, walked up behind the car and lit them up," a police official told the New York Daily News. The paper reports that four witnesses backed up the official's account, but they didn't want their names published.
"He just walked up and shot that cop in the head," one man said. Rescuers rushed to the aid of the mortally wounded officers. "They basically dragged two cops out their car," a second witness said. "I saw it. One was shot in the face. There was blood coming out of his face."
NYPD Deputy Chief Kim Royster told media sources that the suspect fled into the nearby Myrtle-Willoughby G-train station, where "officers found him wounded with a gunshot wound that appeared to be self-inflicted." He died shortly after at Brooklyn Hospital.
At around 7:45 p.m., Mayor de Blasio and Police Comissioner Bill Bratton addressed the media at Woodhull, where hundreds of cops gathered in the wake of the shooting. Bratton spoke first, identifying the slain officers as Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos. He also identified their killer: 28-year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley. "They were, quite simply, assassinated — targeted for their uniform," said Bratton. According to the NYPD chief, Brinsley, "Took a shooting stance on the passenger side and fired his weapon several times through the front passenger window, striking both officers in the head."
"Officer Ramos and Officer Liu never had the opportunity to draw their weapons," he continued. "They may never have had the chance to see their murderer." Bratton also confirmed that Brinsley, whose last known residence was in Georgia, shot his ex-girlfriend in Baltimore on Saturday morning before traveling to New York. According to the Baltimore Sun, the 29-year-old woman is currently in a hospital in serious condition.
Bratton said that Brinsley appeared to have "a very strong bias" against cops, and that he had used Instagram to threaten violence against them earlier today. "They Take 1 Of Ours….. Let’s Take 2 of Theirs #ShootThePolice #RIPErivGardner [sic] #RIPMikeBrown This May Be My Final Post," said a post featuring a handgun. "I'm Putting Pigs In A Blanket."
Another, showing what appeared to be blood on Brinsley's pant leg, referred to "A Hot Gun On Your Waist And Blood On Your Shoe...#BrooklynGoHard."
At around 2:45 p.m., Maryland law enforcement officials faxed a message to the NYPD warning them that Brinsley seemed to be en route to the city. "The tragedy here was that just as the warning was coming in, the murder was occurring," Bratton said.
"Our hearts are heavy," said de Blasio, who described the shooting as an "assassination" and a "despicable act." "We lost two good men who devoted their lives to protecting all of us...When a police officer is murdered, it tears at the very foundation of our society — it is an attack on all of us." He also urged anyone who saw or heard threats to harm police officers to call 911 immediately.
Published On: Tuesday, Dec 16, 2014 • 8:08 PM PST ~ Updated On: Sunday, Dec 28, 2014 • 1:08 PM PST
"Duty to Kill!"
Beavercreek, Ohio (WCJB) -- On August 5, 2014, police shot and killed a man at a Walmart store in Beavercreek, Ohio. John Crawford III, was holding an air rifle he had picked up off a store shelf when police shot him. After killing Crawford, police interrogated his girlfriend. They accusing her of lying. The interrogation included threatening her with jail time and suggesting she could be on drugs. The family's lawyer says the recently released interrogation video shows police were trying to force Crawford's girlfriend to say something to justify what they'd done. "This was just an effort to cover up this bad shooting," the attorney said.
In the interrogation video a police detective repeatedly presses Crawford's tearful girlfriend, asking her where Crawford got the gun he had in the store.
Detective Rodney Curd: "You understand that we're investigating a serious incident," Detective Rodney Curd says. "You lie to me and you might be on your way to jail."
Crawford's (tearful) girlfriend: "I swear to God, on my job, my family, on everything I love," Tasha Thomas replies, telling the detective repeatedly that she never saw Crawford with a weapon and that she'll take a polygraph test to prove it.
(As she cries, the detective appears unconvinced.)
Detective Rodney Curd: "Why would he have a gun in the store?" he asks.
Crawford's (tearful) girlfriend: "I don't know," she replies.
Detective Rodney Curd: "Did he carry a gun?" the detective continues.
Crawford's (tearful) girlfriend: "Not that I. ... I've never known him to have a gun," she says.
(Her response appears to upset the detective.)
Detective Rodney Curd: "Don't tell me, 'not that you know,' because that's the first thing that I realize that somebody's not telling me the truth, when they say that kind of stuff," Curd says.
(At one point in the video, Thomas sobs as she buries her head in her hands. The detective says he'll write down her testimony but then asks whether she's under the influence of drugs or alcohol.)
Detective Rodney Curd: "Your eyes are kind of messed up looking and you seem a little lethargic at times," he says, "and I don't know if it's because you're upset or not. I just want to make sure what's going on."
(It's not until the end of the 90-minute interrogation that Thomas learns her boyfriend has died.)
Detective Rodney Curd: "Well, to let you know, John has passed away as a result of this," the detective says.
(Thomas sinks back in her chair and puts her hands on her head.)
Detective Rodney Curd: "I don't know any other way to tell you," Curd says. "What happened there wasn't a good thing and as a result of his actions, he is gone."
Police have not responded to several requests from media sources for comment on the video. In a statement officials released in September, Curd describes his questioning of Thomas at the police department.
Detective Rodney Curd: 'I was very direct in my questions'
Detective Rodney Curd: "The initial information I had was that (Crawford) may have brought a gun into the store with him. So I was very direct in my questions that I was having problems believing she would have not seen him bring a gun into the store," he wrote. "She became emotional during the interview and started crying, saying that she is not lying, she will take a lie detector test and do whatever she needs to do."
In his report, Curd wrote that it was only later when he was at the Walmart that he learned where the gun came from.
Detective Rodney Curd: "I also learned while on scene that the rifle involved was a pellet gun that was taken from a box while he was inside the store," he wrote. "This would also agree with the statement that she made that he did not take any type of firearm out of her car into the store with him."
The attorney said his legal team filed a federal civil lawsuit against two police officers; Beavercreek's police chief; the city of Beavercreek and its police department; and Walmart. The Crawford family is seeking at least $75,000 in compensatory damages and an unstated amount for punitive damages, the suit said. The family alleges, among other things, that the police officers did not do due diligence to determine that Wright wasn't a threat; that the officers didn't give him enough time to put down the weapon; and that Walmart was negligent because the air rifle had been resting on a shelf, unpackaged, for at least two days, the family's lawyers said Tuesday.
The attorney said police knew Crawford didn't have a firearm when he walked into the Walmart. "He was not an imminent threat to anyone. He was just shopping," he said.
After the grand jury decided in September not to indict the police officers who were involved in the shooting, prosecutor Mark Piepmeier said a "perfect storm of circumstances" led to Crawford's death and noted that the air gun bore a strong resemblance to an actual automatic weapon.
"It is very hard to tell the difference," Piepmeier said.
Police responded to the scene after a witness called 911 and told dispatchers that Crawford was walking around with a rifle and "waving it back and forth."
According to police, when officers arrived, Crawford did not comply with their commands to drop his weapon. And the Crawford family's lawyers say police didn't give him enough time to put down the weapon.
But Wright said that because Crawford was black, police made assumptions.
"The officers ran into an aisle, saw a black man with what they perceived to be a gun, and shot him on sight," he said.
The interrogation video, he said, shows how police handled the case from day one.
"They, in their mind, had it made up that Mr. Crawford was a criminal, and they proceeded based on that without doing anything to independently corroborate what was actually happening in the store," he said. "And they tried to cover it up by interrogating Miss Thomas in such a manner to try to get her to make a statement that would justify them shooting and killing Mr. Crawford that evening."
A grand jury decided not to indict the officer who pulled the trigger in the August 5 shooting. A prosecutor called the case a "perfect storm" with "no bad guys," but the family has said police used excessive force. The Justice Department is investigating the case.
Crawford's name -- along with Michael Brown and Eric Garner -- is being chanted by some demonstrators across the country. Many are protesting what they say is systemic racism that fuels police violence.
Published On: Monday, Dec 15, 2014 • 8:08 PM PST ~ Updated On: Friday, Dec 19, 2014 • 1:08 PM PST
"God Given Duty!"
San Jose, CA -- The San Jose Police Department has a placed a veteran officer on leave and is investigating threatening comments from his Twitter account about demonstrators who have participated in protests over the recent deaths of unarmed black men in Ferguson, Missouri and New York.
Officer Phillip White, who has been on the force 20 years, was placed on administrative leave after tweets captured by News sources were published over the weekend. Officer White wrote, “If anyone feels they can’t breathe or their lives matter, I’ll be at the movies tonight, off duty, carrying my gun,” according to the tweet.
In another, he vowed to use his “God-given and law-appointed right and duty to kill” if threatened.
Other tweets captured by media sources showed him ridiculing protesters who shut down the West Oakland BART Station and criticizing members of the UC Berkeley women’s basketball team who took part in protests.
The tweets and White's Twitter account have been deleted amid a social media firestorm over the comments. White's department, union and a college where he coached basketball all condemned the comments.
"It is extremely important for the community to know the comments made on Officer White's private social media account do not reflect the thoughts or feelings of the men and women here at the San Jose Police Department,'' San Jose Police Chief Larry Esquivel said.
In a previous statement offered over the weekend, the department said it was "aware of the issue and forwarded it up the chain of command for review."
The department said it has received "numerous media inquiries'' about White since the online news site reported the officer's tweets Sunday.
"Offensive, disrespectful and inappropriate social media comments have no place in the public discourse surrounding the tragic loss of life from recent officer involved incidents,'' the San Jose Police Officers' Association said in a prepared statement. "We condemn these comments.''
Menlo College cut ties with White, who served as a paid, part-time assistant basketball coach. "The college will not be represented by expressions of intolerance and bigotry on the campus, on social media, or on the Internet,'' the college said in a statement.
The police union also condemned the tweet messages.
"Offensive, disrespectful and inappropriate comments on social media have no place in the public discourse surrounding the tragic loss of life in officer-involved incidents around the country,” POA Board Member James Gonzales said.
A Local News Service in October wrote about the 20-year veteran's success with a gang prevention education program for schoolchildren. The paper reported that the program was widely regarded for addressing life issues with youngsters, including choices and consequences, peer pressure and bullying and harassment prevention.
White was described as "really dynamic with the kids'' in the story. The paper also described him as a "positive role model'' for the children enrolled in the gang prevention program.
Police watchdog group Silicon Valley De-Bug started an online petition demanding White be fired, collecting nearly 9,000 signatures as of Monday evening. "It's a bit if social media karma considering this was sparked by these completely irrational, dangerous tweets sent by Officer White,” the group’s Raj Jayadev said.
Attempts by media sources to reach Officer White for comment were not successful.
Published On: 5:25 AM PST, Wed. December 10, 2014 ~ Updated On: 1:25 AM PST, Thurs. December 11, 2014
Sacramento, CA -- Prosecutors in Placer and Sacramento counties announced that they will seek the death penalty against Luis Enrique Monroy Bracamontes. Bracamontes is accused of killing two sheriff's deputies during a six-hour shooting rampage in Northern California in October 2014. Bracamontes faces two counts of murder in the deaths of Sacramento County sheriff’s Deputy Daniel Oliver and Placer County sheriff’s Deputy Michael Davis. He is also charged with three counts of attempted murder. The charges included shooting a motorist he allegedly carjacked. Bracamontes is also charged with several carjacking and weapons-related felonies.
Authorities say Bracamontes and his wife, Janelle Monroy, 38, who also faces murder and attempted murder charges, were on the run from law enforcement after they shot Oliver in a hotel parking lot on Oct. 24. The couple tried to carjack a motorist, who refused to turn over his keys and was shot in the head, authorities said. They allegedly stole another car and drove to Auburn, where they were confronted by Davis and his partner. Bracamontes shot at Davis and his partner with an AR-15, authorities said. Davis later died. Prosecutors said the couple stole the Placer County sheriff’s deputy's vehicle and shotgun. Authorities eventually caught up to Bracamontes and his wife. He was arrested in a residence while his wife was still inside the car.
According to a joint release from the counties' district attorneys, Prosecutors in both counties discussed the case with the victims' families before coming to their decision. "Both offices independently concluded that the death penalty is the appropriate penalty in this instance," the prosecutors' statement said. According to the district attorneys, prosecutors also sought input from Bracamontes' public defender Jeffrey Barbour. Barbour requested a future opportunity to submit a package of materials, so that they can reconsider their decision to seek the death penalty. Calls to Barbour in Sacramento were not immediately returned.
Published On: 3:46 pm PST, Wednesday, December 10, 2014 ~ Updated On: 2:46 am PST, Wednesday, December 12, 2014
Oakland, CA -- A 27-year-old Union City woman died after being shot by San Leandro police, who said she had rammed several police cars at the end of a chase in East Oakland.
The woman, whose name hasn’t been released, died Tuesday at a hospital.
About 7:55 p.m. Sunday, she was spotted driving a stolen pickup truck near Halcyon Drive and Dillo Street in San Leandro, said Officer Johnna Watson, an Oakland police spokeswoman.
Two San Leandro police officers tried to pull her over, but she fled after initially stopping, Watson said.
She tried to ram a police car during the chase, which streaked into East Oakland and onto Springfield Street, a cul-de-sac near 98th and Bancroft avenues.
There, the suspect “deliberately rammed multiple patrol vehicles, causing officers to discharge their service weapons,” Watson said. “The suspect was subsequently struck.”
A female passenger was taken to a hospital as a precaution before being released. She was interviewed by investigators. An officer was hurt in the incident and was treated and released, officials said. Oakland police responded to the scene and are investigating the shooting along with the Alameda County district attorney’s office.
Authorities are also investigating an incident from last Thursday morning in which a 16-year-old Oakland girl in a stolen Nissan Maxima allegedly ran over a San Leandro police officer on the 600 block of Broadmoor Avenue in that city, prompting the officer to open fire.
The girl fled the scene but surrendered to police hours later. A 19-year-old Oakland man accused of jumping out of the stolen car before the police shooting was taken into custody. Prosecutors charged him with a probation violation.
The officer in that incident, an 18-year department veteran, was taken to a hospital with leg injuries, underwent surgery and was expected to recover, said police Lt. Robert McManus. His name has not been released.
Police will hold a neighborhood meeting to discuss the incident on Broadmoor at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the San Leandro Community Center at 13909 E. 14th St.
Published On: 5:25 AM EST, Sun December 7, 2014 ~ Updated On: 4:25 AM PST, Sun December 7, 2014
New York - California (WCJB) -- Protesters have taken to the streets nationwide. They were outraged over the decision not to bring charges against Daniel Pantaleo. California Police said about 200 people were on Berkeley streets for another day of protests. Protesters took to the streets over a grand jury's decision not to indict a white New York City police officer who put Eric Garner in a chokehold on July 17. Garner, who was black, died as a result. Police in riot gear lined the streets while others hovered nearby on motorbikes. They warned crowds to disperse.
The protests turned violent early Sunday. Some broke windows at businesses in Berkeley while other protesters implored them to stop the violence. However, some protesters continued and vandalized various businesses, including a Trader Joe's and a Wells Fargo Bank, police said. Masked demonstrators smashed windows while others pelted officers with rocks and bottles. Jennifer Coats, a spokeswoman for the Berkeley Police Department, said Berkeley police used tear gas to break up the crowds, said. "A small portion of protesters have been violent. They started throwing rocks and other projectiles at our officers," Coats said. Two officers suffered minor injuries as a result. One officer was treated for a dislocated shoulder authorities said.
On Saturday, dozens of protesters staged "die ins" -- lying down on the ground in memory of Garner -- at Grand Central Station in Manhattan and Union Station in Washington.
"What's happening in these cities in these last several days is incredibly important to show we have a unified voice," said Judi Flournoy, who was participating in a New York protest. Garner's mother, Gwen Carr, has urged demonstrators to "keep on doing it, but do it in peace." In New York, the victim's widow, Esaw Garner Snipes, has said watching the mass of demonstrators from her Staten Island home brings tears to her eyes. She said she told her son, "Look at all the love your father is getting."
Published: Dec. 3, 2014, 3:15 pm ~ Updated: Dec. 4, 2014, 11:53 AM PST
"Hands Up, Don't Shoot"!
"This policeman's life is ruined. Why? Because we have to break somebody down."
-- Mike Ditka
Chicago, Ill. -- Former Chicago Bear and NFL Hall of Famer Mike Ditka has strong feelings about Ferguson. Speaking to the Chicago Sun Times, Ditka was critical of the St. Louis Rams players who made a "Hands Up, Don't Shoot" gesture before their game on Sunday.
"I understand what the Rams' take on this was. I'm embarrassed for the players more than anything. They want to take a political stand on this? Well, there are a lot of other things that have happened in our society that people have not stood up and disagreed about."
This was preceded by Ditka condemning protesting and riots in Ferguson.
"The shame of it is, I'm not sure they care about Michael Brown or anything else. This was a reason to protest and to go out and loot. Is this the way to celebrate the memory of Michael Brown? Is this an excuse to be lawless? Somebody has to tell me that. I don't understand it."
Ditka continued, cautioning against dismantling and limiting the power officers have.
"What do you do if someone pulls a gun on you or is robbing a store and you stop them? I don't want to hear about this hands-up crap. That's not what happened. I don't know exactly what did happen, but I know that's not what happened.
"This policeman's life is ruined. Why? Because we have to break somebody down. Because we have to even out the game. I don't know. I don't get it. Maybe I'm just old fashioned."
Published On: Nov. 25, 2014 05:50:26 PM PST ~ Updated On: Nov. 26, 2014 09:34:05 PM PST
CLEVELAND, OH - Cleveland Police have named the officer who shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice (pictured above, center) on the city's west side Saturday. Timothy Loehmann, 26, and Frank Garmback, 46 (pictured below, center) were the officers who responded to the scene. police said. Loehman is the passenger in the patrol car. Cleveland police leaders today released the video of Tamir Rice being shot at Cudell Rec Center. The release came at the request of Tamir Rice's family after they were first given the opportunity to watch the video. Officer Timothy Loehman is seen firing two shots at the boy 1-2 seconds after arriving.
In an unusual move for a department in the throes of investigation, Police Chief Calvin Williams released the video. He said the department decided to do this after cooperating with the family's wishes over the last few days. "I just want people to bear in mind that, again, this is a 12-year-old boy," Williams said, cautioning news media against a frenzy. The video had been "compressed for time," deputy chief Ed Tomba said, as Tamir occasionally is seen moving off-camera for minutes at a time. Police showed the silent video in its entirety, then once again with narration from Tomba.
The 9-1-1 caller is seen sitting at a picnic table while Tamir paces back and forth on the sidewalk. Tamir is seen throwing a snowball. He is then seen talking on his cell phone and pointing the air-soft gun in front of him at least twice throughout the series of video clips. Police arrive at 3:30 p.m. Tamir had been sitting at a picnic table for some time. The squad car pulls up very close to Tamir.
From this point on everything happens very fast. The officer riding in on the passenger side of the car gets out of the car. Tamir can be seen lifting his shirt with his right hand. Loehmann fired two shots within "one-and-a-half to two seconds" of the officers pulling up. Tamir is immediately seen falling down. Tomba says "Three commands were given to show your hands by Officer Loehman. [The commands came] out the door...as they pulled up." Tomba wasn't clear when asked by reporters whether Tamir said anything to the officers.
Police played back audio clips that led to the response earlier in the news conference. The original 9-1-1 audio was played as news reporters gathered downtown for the event. The caller referred to the weapon as "probably fake" on two occasions. The caller also said that the person was "probably a juvenile, you know?" Then an audio clip of the dispatcher communicating with First District responders was played. The dispatcher referred to "a guy sitting on the swings, pointing a gun at people." There's no indication that the 9-1-1 caller expressed doubt about the weapon. The officer on the other end of the line, reached near West 159th Street and Lorain, is heard as he begins heading toward the park. Later: "Shots fired," from the officer.
Published: Sunday, November 16, 2014 10:18AM PST ~ Updated: Thursday, November 20, 2014 10:18 AM PST
FERGUSON, Mo. -- Ferguson, Missouri Police Officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown. Wilson claimed he was acting in self-defense. He claimed he was attacked by Brown. Ferguson Chief of Police told ABC's Steve Osunsami there were visible injuries on Wilson. "His face was swollen," he said. "So he'd obviously been hit or punched or something like that."
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch obtained a video showing Wilson leaving the Ferguson Police Department just two hours after the shooting. Brown's family responded to the newly released video evidence. They say it seems to conflict with what police say transpired the day the unarmed teenager was shot to death by Wilson. Brown's family say Wilson appears to be unharmed on the video (above). "Did they exaggerate his injuries to somehow try to justify killing this unarmed teenager in broad daylight?" asked Brown family attorney. "The lack of injuries on the officer's face demonstrates that they exaggerated his injuries," the family's attorney said.
Audio tapes of police communications from the day of the shooting have also been released. The Brown family's attorney says the recordings show no connection between officers searching for a robbery suspect. "The initial interaction between police officer and Michael Brown Jr. had nothing to do with the incident at the convenience store," the family's attorney said.
Police dispatch: "It's going to be a black male in a white T-shirt, he's running toward QuikTrip.
And then when Wilson, Unit 21, first reported coming across brown and a friend.
Wilson: "21... put me out on Canfield with two."
Something happened and Wilson fired his weapon, killing Brown moments after that initial confrontation.
Officer: "Get us several more units over here. There's going to be a problem."
Police Department officials declined to comment on the items released after an open records request which included audio of Wilson's radio traffic just before the shooting. as the town of anxiously waits for a grand jury to decide whether Wilson will be charged.
Posted: 4:53 p.m. EST November 10, 2014 ~ Updated: 11:53 p.m. PST November 12, 2014
Bloomington, IN -- A woman called police shortly before 4:30 a.m. Sunday from a home in the 500 block of East 12th Street. The woman reported that one of her roommates was screaming and that she thought the woman was being raped, police said. As it turned out, two IU students, both 24, were sexually assaulted, police said. Three men broke into the home occupied by the female IU students and sexually assaulted the two women, police said.
The first officer to arrive at the scene about 4:30 a.m. Sunday found the door partially open, Bloomington Police Capt. Joe Qualters said. Two shots were fired from inside after the officer shouted "police," Qualters said, then two men climbed out a window and ran. Bloomington police shot and wounded two of the rape suspects at a house near the Indiana University campus where two students were assaulted. The officer shot the two 19-year-old Indianapolis men after a shot was fired at him, police said. Qualters said the officer wasn't injured. One man was shot in the arm and the other in the leg, he said.
The wounded men face preliminary charges including rape and attempted murder. A third man faces burglary and other charges. Police identified the wounded men as Michael Deweese and Vaylen Keishaun Glazebrook. Deweese and Glazebrook face preliminary charges of attempted murder, rape with a weapon, armed burglary, confinement, intimidation with a weapon and resisting arrest with a weapon, police said. Jesse Benti-Torres, 19, Fishers, faces preliminary charges of armed burglary and assisting a criminal, police said. Police said the suspects were in Bloomington to party over the weekend.
On Sunday, Indiana University did not activate an alert system in which students and others receive calls to warn them of possible dangerous suspects, said IU spokesman Mark Land. "It was not used in this case because the suspects were apprehended at the scene of the incident in very short order from the time the call went out," Land said in an email. "'IU Notify' is designed to alert the campus community in cases of ongoing or imminent threats (such as a violent incident where the suspect remains at large for a period of time), but in this case the situation was contained to the location of the alleged crime and was handled quickly."
An internal investigation is pending, police said, regarding the officer's discharge of a weapon in the line of duty.
Published: Friday, September 5, 2014, 11:23 PM PDT ~ Updated: Saturday, September 6, 2014, 12:23 PM PDT
An Internet funding site faces pressure to shut down fundraising campaigns collecting money for controversial police officers accused of misconduct. The site has decided to shut down a campaign seeking funds for Daniel Ken Holtzclaw. He is an Oklahoma City police officer accused of sexually assaulting six women while on duty. Holtzclaw is a 27-year-old former college football player. He is facing charges of rape, sexual battery, forcible oral sodomy, and stalking. The women were all African-American, between the ages of 34 and 58. Holtzclaw is at the center of a fervent social media campaign including a Facebook page and a fundraising campaign launched by his sister Jenny Holtzclaw, which raised more than $7,000 in nine days before it was shut it down.
“[The site] did the right thing by taking down the Daniel Holtzclaw fundraiser, and we urge them to follow suit with Darren Wilson — removing the pages once and for all and returning all profits. [The site]’s defense of the Darren Wilson fundraisers has been appalling,” says Rashad Robinson, Executive Director of the outspoken organization. “There is no such thing as a ‘neutral technology platform.’ By facilitating with Darren Wilson and his supporters, the company is taking a side.”
However, the site refused to stop the campaign raising funds for Darren Wilson. Wilson is the Ferguson, Missouri, police officer who shot and killed unarmed teen Michael Brown last month. The “Support Officer Wilson” fundraising efforts have amassed over $500,000 on the Internet and Facebook. Kelsea Little, a spokeswoman for fundraising site, told the LA Times simply that the site conducts internal content reviews of campaigns in the event of a high volume of complaints.
The decision to shut down the Holtzclaw campaign contrasts the site’s handling of the Wilson campaign. Despite intense criticism that it was collecting “reward money for a lynching”, boycott threats and more than 100,000 petitioners calling on the site to remove the Wilson donation pages and return all profits, the company took no clear steps beyond deleting racist comments. The site remained resolute in its assertion that pro-Wilson fundraising efforts do not violate its terms. In fact, the site even doubled-down on its defense of the Wilson fundraisers in a blogpost. However, the site is no longer collecting money. The Support Officer Darren Wilson campaign, which raised over $235,000 of its $300,000 goal, has stopped accepting donations without any explanation. According to the LA Times reports, a [site] spokesman was quick to point out that the company was not responsible for halting donations.
In addition, the Facebook page Support Darren Wilson stopped accepting donations on Saturday, with more than $430,000 having been raised. A Facebook post promoting Wilson T-shirts and other merchandise sates, “Please redirect Badges for Darren to the Ferguson PD. Thank you for your continued support. We understand that there will be many unanswered questions and concerns and we will update supporters as soon as we have the answers.”
Robinson adds, “The Darren Wilson [fundraising] pages lower the social and financial costs of killing Black men and boys. They send the message that you will be supported in the aftermath of taking Black life. We’ve seen this before when Trayvon Martin was murdered.” Robinson also urges the company update its ‘Terms and Conditions’ so that perpetrators of racially-motivated or sexual violence can never fundraise on the platform again. “The [outspoken organization's] community will be paying close attention to what [the site] does next, and are ready to escalate our campaign if we’re met with silence or inadequate responses.”
Internet -- Within Nine (9) days of shooting 18-year-old Mike Brown four times in the body and twice in the head: and three days after Ferguson, Mo., police released his name; Officer Darren Wilson has found an online wellspring of support. The movement for Wilson, a white officer who lived in a town about half an hour from where he shot Brown, has arrived.
T-shirts for sale on the Internet have a screen printed badge, proclaiming "Officer Darren Wilson/I stand by you," morbidly accompanied by the date 8/9/14, the day he killed Brown. The proceeds on those $18 T-shirts are supposed to go to Wilson's family. An Internet campaign associated with the T-shirts page is gathering money at a rapid clip, with mostly-anonymous donors giving in chunks of $25 and $50. It is not, however, immediately clear why Wilson needs the public's money right now. "[T]he silent majority is on your side … especially now that the facts have come out," one donor wrote. As of this writing, the fundraiser had received more than $7,000 of its $10,000 goal.
On Facebook, an "I Support Officer Wilson" page has skyrocketed to more than 22,000 likes since its creation. The page was created within hours of Ferguson Police Department's announcement of Wilson's name on Friday. The page was curated by several people who wish to remain anonymous. Many of the page posts aim to change the conversation about law enforcement to something less critical. "Share with everyone what you think a policeman is," says one post. The top comment's response is "my next door neighbor. One of the families at my church," an image in stark contrast with the militant patrolling of protesters in Ferguson in the past week.
The pro-Wilson movement is definitely here. However, it's still dwarfed by people outraged by Brown's death; the lack of police transparency surrounding his death; and the subsequent heavy-handling of protesters and police. Only 217 shirts have been printed. And despite the Facebook page's popularity, a scant 100 people actually attended a pro-Wilson rally it advertised for Saturday, local news sources reported.
Published: 12:42 PM EDT, August 19, 2014 ~ Updated: Monday, September 1, 2014, 6:23 PM PDT
Ferguson, Mo. -- Darren Wilson, identified as the police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown may receive financial support from one of nation’s most notorious hate groups, the Ku Klux Klan. Wilson shot and killed Brown on Aug. 9, 2014. Recently, the Southern Poverty Law Center reported that KKK-affiliated groups planned to launch a fundraiser in support of Wilson. The KKK has hailed Wilson as a “hero.” It has not yet been made known when they originally planned to launch the campaign. The KKK’s involvement in Ferguson isn’t purely financial either—at least according to one of the fractured organization’s leaders. Responding to questions by email, Chuck Murray, a leader of the Missouri-based New Empire Knights, told media sources that KKK members were already in Ferguson and said they were carrying weapons.
“We have several armed Klansmen guarding homes and businesses,” Murray said. “And no, we aren't wearing robes and hoods. You could walk by some of us and never know it.” It’s unclear, however, what role, if any, the alleged plain-clothed members of the KKK have played in drumming up support for Wilson. Asked to elaborate on the extent of his group’s involvement, Murray, who identifies himself as an Imperial Wizard, told media sources: “I can't say more.”
According to a blog run by Murray’s group, a fund-raiser for Officer Wilson is scheduled for this weekend in Sullivan City, Mo., just southwest of St. Louis. Murray was questioned over how exactly the fund-raiser was being conducted. He was adamant that his fundraiser, which he says has raised over a $1000, would be successful. “Fundraising has been better than expected," he said. "The media coverage has helped. Everyday people are asking how they can help.” He added that the KKK was not accepting donations on Wilson’s behalf, but instead encouraging others to send him money directly. “Officer Wilson will receive the money,” he said.
Illustrating how truly dysfunctional the KKK is in the 21st century, another member of the group, who also identified himself as an Imperial Wizard, told media sources that Murray is “not even a Klan member,” noting: “they don’t even have their own legitimate website.” Frank Ancona, of the Traditionalist American Knights, said Murray’s group appeared within the last year and probably doesn’t have any members. “I think it's just him." Regardless, some of Murray’s claims were corroborated by the other KKK group. Klansmen have allegedly spoken with white business owners in Ferguson, and say they have plain-clothed members on the ground “patrolling neighborhoods.”
The killing of Brown (a Black male) by Wilson (a White male) has sparked more than a week of racially charged protests in Ferguson. There have also been major protests elsewhere around the United States. Any involvement by KKK groups could exacerbate conflicts between Ferguson’s predominantly black citizens and the area’s overwhelmingly white police forces.
The outpouring of support for Wilson hasn’t been nearly as large as that for the family of the 18-year-old black teenager he repeatedly shot. However, counter-protests in support of Wilson have gained steam in Ferguson. T-shirts supporting Wilson quickly sold out at an event, according to a journalist who has been reporting live from Ferguson.
On Monday evening, after the National Guard was deployed onto the streets of Ferguson, police arrested 31 people and confiscated two handguns near the scene of the protests. Several journalists were arrested. According to police captain Ron Johnson, at one point, officers came under heavy gunfire.
The police have deployed a wide range of surplus military equipment on the streets of Ferguson and have been accused by some—including CNN anchors Jake Tapper and Don Lemon—of instigating violence through a disproportionate response to the protests.
Published: 12:42 PM EDT, August 19, 2014 ~ Updated: Monday, September 1, 2014, 6:23 PM PDT
Fruitland Park, Fla. — The violence against African-Americans that permeated the area was more than 60 years ago. The place was more rural and the main industry was citrus. These days the community has less than 5,000 residents. Fruitland Park, located northwest of Orlando has been infused by the thousands of wealthier, cosmopolitan retirees. Residents of this small town have been stunned by an investigative report linking two city police officers with the Ku Klux Klan. The secret hate society was once violently active in the area, which is now less than 10 percent black.
Five years ago, Ann Hunnewell and her Florida police officer husband knelt in the living room of a fellow officer's home, with pillow cases as makeshift hoods over their heads. A few words were spoken and they, along with a half-dozen others, were initiated into the local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan, she says. Ann Hunnewell's ex-husband, George Hunnewell (pictured above, center-right) was fired, and deputy chief David Borst (pictured above, center-left) resigned from the 13-member Fruitland Park Police Department. Borst has denied being a member. James Elkins, a third officer who Ann Hunnewell says recruited her and her husband, resigned in 2010 after his Klan ties became public.
Mayor Chris Bell says those who live in the bedroom community have reacted not only with shock, but disgust that officers could be involved with the Klan. Mayor Bell says he heard stories about a Klan rally that took place two years before he arrived in the 1970s, but he has never seen anything firsthand. "I'm shocked, very shocked," said Chery Mion, who works in a Fruitland Park gift shop next door to the mayor's office. "I didn't think that organization was still around. Yes, in the 1950s. But this 2014, and it's rather disconcerting to know."
The disclosure of the officers' Klan ties harkened back to the 1940s and 1950s when hate crimes against blacks were common. That era was chronicled in the 2012 book "Devil in the Grove." Then-Lake County Sheriff Willis McCall shot two of four black men, dubbed the "Groveland Four," who were dubiously charged with raping a white woman. "The FBI knew, too, that in Florida in the 1940s and '50s, county sheriffs openly joined the Klan," wrote Gilbert King in "Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys and the Dawn of a New America."
The 2012 Pulitzer Prize-winning book ("Devil in the Grove.") chronicles: among other things; the story of four black men from the Lake County town of Groveland who were falsely accused of raping a white woman; how their community was torched by the Klan; and how McCall shot two of the men — killing one — after Marshall won them new trials. "Law enforcement officers boldly attended Klan meetings armed and in uniform," King wrote. "Tom Hurlburt Jr., the former chief of the Orlando Police Department, whose father, a citrus buyer, had served as one of McCall's deputies, said, 'I believe the only thing more powerful than Willis McCall was the Ku Klux Klan in those days.' "
However, Fruitland Park has been dealing with alleged KKK ties and other problems in the police ranks since 2010. Officer Elkins resigned in 2010 after his estranged wife made his membership public. Last week, residents were told Borst and the Hunnewells had been members of the United Northern and Southern Knights Chapter of the Ku Klux Klan. However, many residents claim the Klans presence in their town wasn't noticeable. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement sent the police chief a report linking the officers to the Klan based on information from the FBI. Borst and Hunnewell didn't return repeated phone messages to their homes, but Borst told media sources he has never been a Klan member.
Ann Hunnewell (who was a police department secretary until 2010) told Florida investigators that former Police Chief J.M. Isom asked her and her ex-husband to join the KKK in 2008. The "undercover mission" goal was to try and learn learn if Elkins was a member. Shortly after Elkins resigned, Isom quit after he was accused of getting incentive pay for earning bogus university degrees. Police Chief Terry Isaacs said he took a sworn oath from Isom. Isom called Ann Hunnewell's account a lie, and that there was no record of such an undercover investigation.
The Southern Poverty Law Center's Hate Map shows that Florida has 58 hate groups, the second-highest number after California. As recently as the 1960s, many in law enforcement in the South were members but "it's exceedingly unusual these days to find a police officer who is secretly a Klansman," said Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate groups.
The Klan was once politically powerful in the 1920s. Governors and U.S. senators were among its 4 million members. Today the Klan is much less active than other sectors of the radical right and has less than 5,000 members nationwide, Potok said. "The radical right is quite large and vigorous. The Klan is very small," he said. "The radical right looks down on the Klan."
Published: 12:42 PM EDT, August 19, 2014 ~ Updated: Monday, September 1, 2014, 4:23 PM PDT
Kansas City, MO. -- A Kansas City police officer Marc Catron has been fired after an internal police review. The review came after Catron posted controversial images of Michael Brown, the 18-year-old shot six times and killed by a Ferguson police officer, to Facebook. Catron attracted controversy for his unsavory posts of Brown. In reference to the ongoing protests in Ferguson, Catron submitted an image macro of O.J. Simpson, accompanied by the text “Remember how white people rioted after OJ's acquittal? Me neither.” He also Posted an image of a young black man posing with Hawaiian Punch and New Amsterdam gin while holding money in his mouth and pointing a gun at the camera. Catron wrote “I’m sure young Michael Brown is innocent and just misunderstood. I'm sure he is a pillar of the Ferguson community.”
The problem with that later statement, in addition to the obvious, is that the man in that photo isn't Brown. It's Jodah Cain, a 17-year-old who stands accused of murdering his grandmother in Oregon last year.
One administrator at the KCPD who identified herself as media relations immediately transferred media sources to voicemail when asked about Catron. However, they did tell other media sources, which broke the story, that the department's social media policy prohibited “statements or other forms of speech that ridicule, malign, disparage, or otherwise express bias against any race.”
Brown's autopsy report shows that the final time he was shot by officer Darren Wilson, the bullet entered the top of his skull, indicating he was already either beginning to kneel, as witness accounts indicate, or he was already lying on the ground.
Published: 12:42 PM EDT, Wed August 27, 2014 ~ Updated: Thursday, August 28, 2014, 6:00 AM PDT
Chicago, Ill. (WCJB) – Glenn Evans (pictured above, center-right) a Chicago Police commander on the city’s West Side, has been stripped of his police powers and has been charged with aggravated battery. As of 10:00 p.m. Wednesday, the Chicago Police District 11 website still shows Commander Glenn Evans as the boss there. However, Chicago police sources tell media sources Commander Evans turned in his gun and badge Wednesday after allegations of brutality. Evans has been charged with aggravated battery and official misconduct according to a spokeswoman from the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office. Evans is accused of putting the barrel of his gun into a suspect’s mouth (pictured above, center-left) as he was being restrained.
Crime lab reports later found that suspect’s DNA on Evan’s gun. Sources told media sources the CPD veteran will be reassigned to work at police headquarters until an investigation of the incident is complete.
The same source reported Evans was one of Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy’s go-to guys, a key placement in this year’s commander shake-up. On Monday, a rumors of allegations swirled and Supt. McCarthy was asked if Evans should be stripped of his powers. “I’m not going to answer that question, that’s absurd,” McCarthy said. “Do I support him? If I didn’t support him he wouldn’t be there.”
McCarthy said in a statement, “The alleged actions, if true, are unacceptable to the both the residents we serve and to the men and women of this department. As soon as we were made aware of the charges Commander Evans was relieved of his police powers, pending the outcome of this matter. Like any private citizen, the commander is innocent until proven guilty and we need to allow this case to proceed like any other. We will cooperate fully with prosecutors.”
Evans will appear in bond court on Thursday.
Published: 12:42 PM EDT, Wed August 27, 2014 ~ Updated: Thursday, August 28, 2014, 5:52 AM PDT
Ferguson, Mo. (WCJB) -- A newly released audio tape could provide more clues on what led up to Michael Brown's shooting death. The FBI has questioned a man who says he recorded audio of gunfire at the time Brown was shot by Ferguson, Missouri, police on August 9, the man's attorney told media sources. In the recording, a quick series of shots can be heard, followed by a pause and then another quick succession of shots.
Forensic audio expert Paul Ginsberg analyzed the recording and said he detected at least 10 gunshots -- a cluster of six, followed by four. "I was very concerned about that pause ... because it's not just the number of gunshots, it's how they're fired," the man's attorney, Lopa Blumenthal, told media sources. "And that has a huge relevance on how this case might finally end up." The man, who asked that his identity not be revealed, lives near the site of the shooting and was close enough to have heard the gunshots, his attorney said. He was speaking to a friend on a video chat service and happened to be recording the conversation at the same time Brown was shot, Blumenthal said. The attorney said she learned of the man's recording late last week from a mutual friend. "I had to get his consent before I could reach out to the FBI," Blumenthal said.
It's difficult to prove from the audio why the pause took place or whose narrative it supports. An Attorney said he was surprised by the gap in shots. "It's the pause that gives most concern in a police shooting, especially with an unarmed victim, because at this point Mr. Brown is defenseless -- he has no weapon," said the attorney, who represented the family of Jonathan Ferrell. Like Brown, Ferrell was an unarmed African-American man who was shot and killed by a white police officer.
However, if the gunfire heard on the audio is indeed from the Brown incident, the pause doesn't automatically suggest wrongful intent by the officer. "To be fair, there could be other explanations for that pause," said a media attorney. "Maybe the officer will say, 'Well, I fired and he kept advancing, so I fired again.'" Media sources have not been able to independently verify the authenticity of the tape and has asked the FBI for confirmation of their interview with the man who made the recording.
Witnesses and a friend of Officer Darren Wilson have given conflicting accounts of what led up to Brown's death. Dorian Johnson, a friend of Brown's who was walking with him at the time of the shooting, said the officer shot Brown once by the police car and again as he ran away. According to Johnson, Brown was struck in the back and then turned around and put his arms up as the officer kept shooting. However, a woman who identified herself as a friend of Wilson called into a St. Louis radio show last week with what she said was the officer's version of events. The caller, who identified herself only as "Josie," said Brown taunted the officer and charged at him. Her account accurately matches what Wilson has told investigators, a source with detailed knowledge of the investigation told media sources. An autopsy showed that all the entry wounds were in the front of Brown's body.
Ferguson police said Brown allegedly robbed a convenience store shortly before the shooting. Police also reported that his friend Johnson had a criminal record that includes lying to police has put Johnson's credibility in question. In 2011, Johnson was arrested and accused of theft and lying to police about his first name, age and address. Johnson said Monday night he doesn't understand why some are questioning his credibility. "I see they bring up my past, my history, but it's not like it's a long rap sheet," Johnson told Lemon. "This one incident shouldn't make me a bad person."
Published: August 18, 2014, 9:56 PM ~ Updated: Tuesday, August 26, 2014, 5:52 AM PDT
FERGUSON, Mo. - Local residents and black leaders question whether St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch can remain impartial as the Missouri prosecutor (pictured below, center) overseeing the investigation into the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown. Brown, who was black, was fatally shot in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson on Aug. 9 by local police officer Darren Wilson, who is white. McCulloch has deep family roots among police: his father, mother, brother, uncle and cousin all worked for St. Louis' police department, and his father was killed while responding to a call involving a black suspect. McCulloch, a Democrat who has been in office since 1991, referenced his father's death in his initial campaign. He survived a Democratic primary earlier this month and faces no Republican opposition in his re-election bid.
In June 2000 Protesters questioned his objectivity when grand jurors returned no charges against two officers who fired 21 bullets into a vehicle, killing two black men during an attempted drug arrest. At this time, McCulloch said his father's 1964 shooting by a black man at a public housing complex was an "incredibly irrelevant facet" as he sought to "make sure everybody gets a full and fair hearing." McCulloch was 12 when his father was killed. U.S. attorneys also reviewed the case and decided a year later not to bring any civil rights charges against the officers.
The family-police connections now are being cited by some as Grand jurors may begin hearing the Brown case Wednesday. It could be weeks before they decide whether to indict Wilson on state criminal charges. The U.S. Justice Department is conducting a separate civil rights investigation, which could also result in charges. President Obama dispatched Attorney General Eric Holder to Ferguson to meet with FBI agents and Justice Department personnel conducting the federal criminal investigation into the shooting.
A private autopsy, commissioned by Brown's family, was conducted Sunday. Media sources reported that it is not likely to be considered by prosecutors. Dr. Michael Baden, the pathologist who did the autopsy said he did not find gunpowder on Brown's body, which suggest the shooting was not at close range, but he couldn't be sure because Brown's clothes were unavailable. He also did not see X-rays taken that would show exact bullet wound locations on the body. However, an autopsy done by St. Louis County will be used by prosecutors. However, due to wide public distrust, the Justice Department will conduct a third autopsy on Brown.
McCulloch's spokesman, Ed Magee, said Monday that the prosecutor plans to remain in charge of the case. The prosecutor's stance comes despite mounting pressure to step aside amid violent clashes between police and protesters demanding that Wilson be charged. McCulloch recently told media sources: "I've been as fair and impartial and done as thorough of a job as we could." In some other prominent cases (most notably, the 2012 racially charged shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida) special state prosecutors have been appointed to determine whether to pursue charges after local authorities took no action.
Under Missouri law, it "would be highly, highly, highly unusual" for a prosecutor to step aside merely because of racial tensions in a high-profile case, said a Washington University law professor who directs the school's Criminal Justice Clinic. In Missouri, "the buck stops with the head prosecutor" in each county, the professor said. Missouri law allows two avenues for outside prosecutors: The local prosecutor can ask for help from the governor, who can appoint the state attorney general's office to the case; or a court can appoint a special prosecutor if the elected one has a conflict of interest.
Police shootings don't automatically qualify as conflicts of interest and often are handled by local prosecutors. "Just because the case is really hot and really controversial would not be a reason why I would seek a special prosecutor," said a Kansas City-area prosecutor and past president of the Missouri Association of Prosecuting Attorneys.
Some black leaders - including U.S. Rep. William Lacy Clay Jr., St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley and state Sens. Maria Chappelle-Nadal and Jamilah Nasheed - have called on McCulloch to consent to a special prosecutor. Nasheed started an online petition that has gotten about 25,000 signatures in four days seeking a special prosecutor. "In the past, justice has not been achieved in these types of police shootings," said Clay, who represents the area. "So I have no comfort with local-authority prosecution, the judicial system or even police conducting a thorough and conclusive investigation that delivers justice to the family of Michael Brown."
"Simply put: he has a natural bias," added Chappelle-Nadal. "My community doesn't trust him."
Police allege that Brown failed to move out of the center of the street when Wilson asked him to, and a scuffle ensued before he was shot. Witnesses say Brown had his hands up as Wilson fired multiple rounds. Wilson, a six-year police veteran who had no previous complaints against him, has been on paid administrative leave since the shooting. Media sources have been unable to contact him at any addresses or phone numbers listed under that name in the St. Louis area.
In Ferguson, a predominantly black suburb of St. Louis, many residents say they have long been harassed and intimidated by the police department, which has just three black officers on its 53-member force. They also have little confidence in McCulloch. "He's not going to prosecute the police officers," said Robert Fowler, a 48-year-old electrician. "In the ghetto ... every police officer, he's letting go free. They call it justifiable homicide."
Published: 10:12 am CDT, August 20, 2014 ~ Updated: 09:43 pm PDT, August 22, 2014
ST. LOUIS • A disturbing cellphone video of a St. Louis police shooting has sparked some concern as protests in nearby Ferguson over the controversial killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown entered an 11th day.
The video of the Tuesday killing, released by the St. Louis Police Department on Wednesday, shows a man in a blue jacket acting erratically and cursing at pedestrians as he paces around a pair of soda cans.
The narrator of the video [warning: disturbing content and profanity] suggests the man stole the drinks from a nearby convenience store. Police arrive on scene a short time later.
The man, who has been identified as 25-year-old Kajieme Powell, immediately turns to the two officers, producing an object and marching toward them as they repeatedly order him to remove his hands from his pocket and "drop the knife."
“Shoot me! Shoot me!” Powell can be heard screaming in the video. “Shoot me now....”
Powell continues to advance on the officers, ignoring their commands to stop.
Seconds later, police open fire and Powell goes down. At least 10 shots can be heard.
Onlookers appear stunned and angry.
“Oh, here we go again," the narrator of the video says. “They just killed this man.”
After the shooting, St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson said Powell had advanced toward the officers with a knife held overhead in a "threatening manner." The video is shot from too far away to tell whether that is accurate.
The video was very clear. It was not far away. And at no time did the man raise his hands above chest or head. He did not lunge toward the officers. They had their weapons drawn to quickly. Why didn't they try to talk to the man first and defuse the situation? Did they ask him what seems...
Both officers have been placed on administrative leave, according to Dotson, who seemed to suggest their actions were justified.
“If a person is charging you with a knife and they’re within 3 or 4 feet, that’s a lethal range for a knife," he said Tuesday during a news conference.
Dotson also said witnesses had told police they believed Powell was trying to commit "suicide by cop."
With the shooting taking place just a few miles from Ferguson, Mo. -- where Brown's Aug. 9 death has sparked a series of angry clashes between police and protesters and drawn national attention to what many consider a racially motivated shooting -- some have expressed concern that St. Louis could experience civil unrest.
Dotson downplayed those concerns on Tuesday.
St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay has reached out to black community leaders and the local chapter of the NAACP. Slay also met with Powell's grandmother and offered his condolences, the mayor said on Twitter on Wednesday.
St. Louis Alderman Antonio French, who has been one of the most visible faces of the protests in Ferguson, has said the St. Louis officers' actions may have been justified. He warned residents not to link Powell's killing to Brown's.
"There's a difference between an armed man yelling, 'Kill me, Kill me,' and an unarmed teenager reportedly with his hands up in the air," French wrote on Twitter.
Published: 10:12 am EDT, August 19, 2014 ~ Updated: 12:43 pm PDT, August 19, 2014
ST. LOUIS • St. Louis city police officers shot and killed a man they say brandished a knife at them outside a market Tuesday afternoon. The shooting was about 12:30 p.m., police said.
Witnesses said the man who was shot had been inside Six Star Market at Riverview Boulevard near McLaran Avenue. He took items from the market and left, followed by a market employee, witnesses said.
When the market employee told the man he would have to pay for the items, the man started throwing the items on the street and sidewalk. St. Louis Alderman Dionne Flowers witnessed the encounter and described the man as acting erratically and was grabbing at his waistband, according to St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson, who spoke at the scene.
"The store owner and the alderwoman said the suspect was armed with a knife, acting erratically, pacing back and forth in the street, talking to himself," Dotson said.
Employees at the market and a nearby beauty shop called 911 and two police officers arrived, police said.
The officers ordered the man to get down, according to Dotson. The man, 23, became more agitated and walked toward them, reaching for his waistband. Witnesses told police the man was yelling "Shoot me, kill me now," during the encounter.
The officers drew their weapons and ordered the man to stop. He did stop, but then pulled out a knife and came at the officers with it held up hight, Dotson said. They ordered him to stop and drop the knife. When he got within two or three feet of the officers, they fired, killing the man.
“This is a lethal range for a knife,” Dotson said.
The officers were not hurt, police said.
While the chief was speaking to news reporters at the scene, an angry crowd had gathered around officers and reporters. “We all understand what is going on in Ferguson, but every police officer has the right to defend himself,” Dotson said.
The chief said he wanted to be swift in releasing the details about the shooting to the public. “I want this message to be out as quickly and truthfully as possible,” he said.
The officers involved were put on administrative duty pending an investigation.
Posted: Sep 9, 2016 ~ Updated: Sep 9, 2016
JEFFERSON CITY, MO • A state commission has ruled that authorities can discipline a former St. Ann police officer who pointed a semi-automatic rifle at protesters in Ferguson and swore at them during protests that followed the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown in 2014.
Raymond D. Albers was an active duty lieutenant when he was caught on video Aug. 19, 2014, pointing the weapon at protesters in Ferguson, swearing at them and apparently threatening to kill them. (You can watch the video here, but warning, it contains profanity.) Albers was one of dozens of officers from area police departments assisting Ferguson police during the protests.
The video shows Albers pointing a gun at protesters and scanning the crowd with his gun raised.
Members of that crowd verbally confront the officer, who appears to say, “I will (expletive) kill you. Get back.”
Asked his name, he responded, “Go (expletive) yourself.”
As reporters gather, another St. Louis County officer arrives and uses his hand to lower the first officer’s rifle, pointing it to the ground.
The ACLU wrote a letter the next day asking the head of the Missouri Highway Patrol to remove the officer involved. At that point, the highway patrol was in charge of security in the Ferguson protests.
St. Ann police suspended Albers without pay. He resigned later that month. Albers had worked with the department since 1994.
The Missouri Administrative Hearing Commission ruled Aug. 4 that Albers committed third-degree assault and harassment and acted with “moral turpitude and reckless disregard for the safety of the public or any person” while on duty. The commission ruled Albers is “subject to discipline” for the offenses.
“Given his prior experience as a police officer, we conclude that a reasonable person in Albers’ shoes would recognize an ‘unreasonable risk’ and a ‘high degree of probability’ that the safety of the public would or could be jeopardized if a weapon were pointed at persons in a crowd while threatening them,” the commission ruled.
The commission decides whether a peace officer has committed a criminal offense — regardless of whether a charge has been filed — or acted with “moral turpitude or reckless disregard” and is subject to discipline.
The ruling hands the case back to the Missouri Department of Public Safety, which filed the original complaint seeking to discipline Albers. The director has the authority to suspend or permanently revoke his peace officer’s license. The director is supposed to set a hearing within 30 days of the commission’s ruling to determine how Albers should be disciplined.
A firearms instructor with St. Ann police had testified that an officer should only point a gun at a person when that person represents a direct threat and that officers should not scan crowds with their weapons raised.
Albers had said he “feared for his personal safety” during the incident. He said he was hit with a bottle of urine and saw two men with “Molotov cocktail” firebombs and a third man with a handgun raised before the video showed him with his gun raised. He said he lost the men in the crowd and then started to scan the crowd, trying to find them again.
He argued that a police officer is authorized to use any amount of force necessary to protect himself or others and that using a weapon to scan a crowd was a normal police operation used during unrest in Ferguson. He argued that other police officers were shown in photographs pointing guns at protesters.
The commission ruled that whether other officers pointed their guns at protesters was irrelevant, according to case documents. Albers should have called out to any of the other officers in his vicinity after he saw the men he believed had a gun and Molotov cocktails.
Albers can appeal the commission’s decision. His lawyer, Brandy Barth, declined comment Friday.
Posted: 08/29/2014 2:11 pm EDT ~ Updated: 08/31/2014 6:59 pm PDT
FERGUSON, MO • Lt. Ray Albers, 46 (pictured above, center) the Missouri police officer who was caught on video raising his weapon and telling Ferguson protesters that he would kill, them has resigned from the force. Albers stepped down from the St. Ann police department on Thursday, media sources reported. The resignation comes just a little over a week after media sources confirmed Albers' identity in video footage. Albers was positively identified as the officer threatening civilians protesting the death of Michael Brown.
"I will fucking kill you!" Albers shouts on video, his weapon pointed at unarmed protesters. When asked his name, Albers can be heard telling the protester: "Go fuck yourself." Albers, who served in the military, was a 20-year veteran of the department. In an earlier interview with media sources, St. Ann Police Chief Aaron Jimenez said he was "highly angry and upset" at Albers' choice of words. However, Jimenez defended the officer's use of raising his weapon in the air. According to the same sources, Jimenez said if the incident in Ferguson happened at any other time, Albers would have been suspended without pay.
"He saw three to four suspects with bandanas on, and saw one of them raise a gun towards him," Jimenez said. "That made him draw his weapon up to the crowd, and he was scanning and moving that weapon back and forth, trying to assess the scene. ... Him seeing the gun in the crowd, he had every right to protect himself in fear of danger until he assessed the scene. A whole bunch of what you'd call citizen journalists, who were sitting with cameras recording, waiting for something stupid to happen, which they got. They won on this one."
In another incident, Glendale Officer Matthew Pappert (pictured above, center) was fired Thursday after posting on Facebook that Ferguson protesters should be "put down like rabid dogs" and asked where "is a Muslim with a backpack when you need them?"
Published: Wednesday, August 20, 2014 ~ Updated: Wednesday, August 20, 2014, 3:31 PM PDT
FERGUSON, MO • A St. Ann police officer has been suspended after pointing a semi-automatic assault rifle at a protester in Ferguson late Tuesday night, police said.
The unidentified officer pointed the gun at a peaceful protester after a "verbal exchange," according to St. Louis County Police Officer Brian Schellman, a spokesman for the department. He said a St. Louis County sergeant immediately forced the officer to lower his weapon and escorted him from the area.
The officer was relieved of duty and suspended indefinitely, Schellman said.
"The unified command strongly feel these actions are inappropriate, and not indicative of the officers who have worked daily, to keep the peace," Schellman said in a statement.
A YouTube video of the incident begins partway through the incident and captures the unidentified officer pointing his rifle at the crowd.
Members of that crowd verbally confront the officer, who appears to say, “I will (expletive) kill you. Get back.”
Asked his name, he responded, “Go (expletive) yourself.”
As reporters and cameramen gather, another officer arrives and uses his hand to lower the first officer's rifle, pointing it toward the ground.
Earlier Wednesday the American Civil Liberties Union asked the head of the Missouri Highway Patrol to remove the officer involved. The Highway Patrol is in charge of security in the Ferguson protests.
The ACLU letter asked Colonel Ron Replogle to identify and remove the officer, calling his behavior “wholly unacceptable.” “Such behavior serves to heighten, not reduce tension. It is also contrary to Missouri State Highway Patrol's effort to build a positive relationship with the community,” the letter continues.
On Wednesday, Capt. Ronald S. Johnson spoke to reporters in a Cool Valley-area restaurant about complaints against officers, acknowledging that there has been “inappropriate behavior” by some since he has been in charge. He said he has taken “appropriate action,” including sending some officers home.
Published: 10:12 am EDT, August 18, 2014 ~ Updated: 11:14 am PDT, August 19, 2014
Ferguson, Missouri -- A private autopsy of the unarmed black teen who was shot dead by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, has revealed shocking new details that are further fueling the protests that continue in the wake of the killing. The autopsy shows Brown was shot at least six times, with two of those bullets striking him in the head. At the request of Michael Brown’s family, former New York City chief medical examiner and famed forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden traveled to Missouri and performed the private autopsy on Sunday. Baden has reportedly performed more than 20,000 autopsies in his career, and he reviewed the autopsies of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. Baden has testified as an expert witness in high-profile murder trials and gained further fame as host of cable television show.
Local authorities had said the full official autopsy results could take weeks, and the family did not have faith that those results would be reliable.
Baden told media sources that one shot entered the top of Brown’s skull, indicating the teen’s neck was bent forward, and “it was likely the last of [the] bullets to hit him.” It was also likely the bullet that killed him. Baden, speaking at a press conference, said all of the other gunshot wounds were “survivable.”
All six bullet wounds struck the front of Brown’s body, perhaps indicating he was facing the officer when killed. Four of the bullets struck Brown’s right arm and hand, and with the various positions the arm can assume, there are scenarios in which he could have been facing away. It appears the shots were not fired at close range, based on the lack of gunshot residue on the victim’s body. However, the doctors performing the private autopsy did not have access to Brown’s clothing.
According to a press conference held by the family, that bullet entered the top of Brown’s head and exited out the eye area, then passed through the jaw and again re-entered the body. The family’s lawyers are using this information to support witness accounts that Brown was attempting to surrender. The path of the bullet suggests that Brown was either bending or falling when the fatal shot entered his brain.
Meanwhile, adding to the outrage and unrest, a new video filmed by Ferguson resident Piaget Crenshaw shows Michael Brown’s death scene immediately following his shooting. Piaget told media sources in a interview that she purposely waited to release the video until after the police officer who shot Brown had been officially identified.
After several days of withholding his name, authorities on Friday finally revealed that Ferguson force veteran Darren Wilson killed Michael Brown.
Posted: August 16, 2014 1:00 PM ~ Updated: 03:37 PM PDT, August 17, 2014
FERGUSON, Mo. — Police Officer Darren Wilson earned a commendation for his “extraordinary effort in the line of duty.” This award came six months before he shot and killed an unarmed teenager, Michael Brown. The photos of Wilson’s participation in the commendation was posted to a Facebook page by his father. Media sources confirmed the award ceremony through the February 11 Ferguson City Council meeting minutes. One image shows Wilson shaking hands and receiving the commendation from Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson. In a second photo, the tall and slender Wilson brandishes smile as he returns to his seat with his honor.
“Very proud of my son, Darren Wilson on his receiving a Commendation from his Police Department,” John Wilson wrote on February 11. “Congratulations Son.” Details of what the 28-year-old officer did to earn the commendation weren't immediately available. (The Facebook page for the officer's father appears to have been deactivated shortly after media sources first published this story on Saturday morning.) Media sources tried to reach John Wilson by phone late Friday. Tonya Wilson, his wife and the officer’s stepmother, answered and said “we’re not talking to anybody — thank you” before hanging up. A text message seeking the name of Wilson’s attorney wasn’t returned.
Four days ago John Wilson turned to Facebook for support without mentioning his son by name.
“Dear FB friends, Our family is in need for prayers to be sent up for a family member,” John Wilson wrote. “Circumstances do not allow for us to say anything further. Please pray with our family in mind. Put a covering of protection over our family member please.”
John Wilson thanked his many friends who were quick to offer encouragement. “Please continue to do so as we deal with a family situation that is very challenging,” he wrote. In his last post this week, John Wilson shared a saying from a Texas evangelical pastor: “When something is ‘out of control’ it is merely out of your control — not God’s!”
A woman who replied in the comment thread told John that she could put him in touch with someone that “has been through many difficult times with his children. Prayers are what brought the family through the rough times. We are just a phone call away.”
The officer’s modest ranch-style house in the Crestwood suburb southwest of downtown was quiet on Friday. Neighbors told reporters that the area had seen a heavy police presence all week and that Wilson apparently left a couple of days ago. Wilson, a longtime Missouri resident, has been an officer in Ferguson for four years and served in nearby Jennings for two years prior. “He has been an excellent officer for the police department,” Jackson said. Jackson also said Wilson has no history of disciplinary action and described him as a “gentle man” and a “quiet officer.”
On Friday, Ferguson Police Chief Jackson told reporters that the young officer was taking the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown very hard. “He never intended for any of this to happen,” Jackson said. “It’s devastating, absolutely devastating.” Chief Jackson said Brown, a recent high school graduate, was shot after Wilson encountered him and another man on the street during a routine patrol. The department says a skirmish ensued and that Brown physically assaulted Wilson and tried to take his weapon. According to a brief timeline given by Chief Jackson, the altercation lasted no more than three minutes before Wilson shot Brown multiple times.
But Dorian Johnson, Brown’s friend, has told reporters that it was Wilson who was the aggressor and that Brown never went for the weapon. Instead, Johnson says Brown had his hands in the air and was pleading for Wilson not to shoot. The circumstances surrounding the shooting and the department’s delay in naming the officer fueled a week of turmoil in Ferguson and outcry across the nation.
Posted: 11:37 AM EDT, Fri. August 15, 2014 ~ Updated: 09:37 AM PDT, Fri. August 15, 2014
Ferguson, Missouri (WCJB) -- Officer Darren Wilson, a six-year veteran of the department, was named as the officer involved in the shooting of Ferguson, Missouri teenager Michael Brown on Friday. The release of Wilson's name satisfied a key demand of protesters and critics of the handling of the case by the suburban St. Louis police department and St. Louis County investigators handling the probe. Ferguson police then released documents containing a bombshell: The 18-year-old was the "primary suspect" in the robbery of a convenience store moments before he was killed.
Officer Wilson was responding to that robbery call when he encountered Brown, police Chief Thomas Jackson told reporters. According to the documents, Brown roughly handled a clerk trying to stop him before walking out of the store with a box of Swisher Sweets cigars. A key complaint of protesters has been that witnesses say the officer shot Brown as he stood with his hands in the air. Police have said the shooting occurred during a struggle for the officer's gun. The unidentified police officer who wrote the incident report on the robbery said he identified Brown by comparing surveillance images of the incident to the body of the slain teen.
The release of Wilson's name is unlikely to quell protests in the city and elsewhere over Brown's death, especially in light of the robbery allegations. The robbery claim was immediately met with skepticism among some in the community. Many have accused Ferguson police of attempting a cover-up to protect the officer. One resident interviewed by media sources said police are 'tarnishing this young man's name'.' "Anyone could walk in the store and they could get surveillance and take a picture," the woman said. "I don't see that he's robbing the store. I just see a picture of a young man." On Twitter, community members and activists expressed disappointment and outrage. "How can they not release info on the shooting but link #MikeBrown to robbery. Shame on them," @NafisMWhite tweeted.
The controversy incited sometimes violent protests that culminated in a tense standoff with heavily armed police Wednesday night. The violence prompted Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon to put the Missouri State Highway Patrol in charge of security. The change was immediate and welcome to protesters. Gone were the military gear and vehicles, the stun grenades, plastic pellets and tear gas police deployed on previous nights. So were the Molotov cocktails, sounds of gunfire and strife from protesters who had wandered among peaceful demonstrators. Despite the celebrated change in tone after his department stepped back, Jackson said Friday he is not going to resign, as some critics have suggested he do. "I'm not going anywhere. I'm going to stay and see this through," he said.
An eyewitness has said that the officer who shot Brown was Caucasian. Ferguson's police department has been criticized for a lack of ethnic diversity. The St. Louis suburb's population is two-thirds African-American. Of the police force's 53 officers, only six are African-American.
Brown's killing has gained attention around the world and moved people to protest in other U.S. cities Thursday. In Los Angeles and in New York, hundreds gathered to demand justice for Brown.
Posted: Sun., August 10, 2014 @ 10:40 AM PDT ~ Updated: Sun., August 10, 2014 @ 11:20 AM PDT
FERGUSON, Mo. • An unarmed teenager killed Saturday by Ferguson police, spawning continuing community unrest, had struggled for an officer's gun in a patrol car first, officials announced this morning. St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said one shot was fired by the officer's gun inside the car during the struggle, and that the officer fired multiple times at Michael Brown, 18, as he ran away. Belmar did not indicate whether police think the shooting was justified.
He said the shots that hit Brown were "more than just a couple but I don't think it was many more than that." He said an autopsy was pending and that a toxicology test would take as long as six weeks to determine whether Brown had alcohol or drugs in his system.
Belmar promised a full investigation that might also include the FBI. He said the results would be forwarded to St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert P. McCulloch, whose office would decide whether criminal charges were justified.
The chief noted that as Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson arrived at the scene Saturday, he called Belmar personally to ask for a county investigation. "I would not think anybody would do that if they had anything to hide," Belmar said. Jackson sat beside Belmar but did not speak in a short press conference at 10 a.m. at the community's firehouse.
Belmar said he had not consulted the FBI but would call today. The FBI can investigate a police use-of-force incident as a possible violation of constitutional rights. Belmar emphasized that these are "standard protocols."
The officer who fired, whose name has not been disclosed, is now on administrative leave. Belmar said that officer has been on the Ferguson force for six years and appears to have "no other issues" in his past.
Belmar said the officer had an encounter about noon Saturday with two "individuals" and was pushed back into his car and "assaulted" by Brown. The chief did not again mention the second person, nor did he describe the reason for the initial contact.
Belmar and Jackson left the press conference as reporters continued to call out questions.
Officials said later there was no truth to a rumor sweeping social media that the second person, a young man, had been found dead. Some protesters who continued a vigil this morning outside Ferguson City Hall said Jackson told them that man planned to bring his lawyer to meet with police.
State Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis, and the St. Louis NAACP also have said they would seek a federal investigation.
Angry residents took to the streets shortly after Brown was killed in the 2900 block of Canfield Drive. Some shots were heard in the crowd that gathered, but nobody was injured. Some people chanted obscenities and "kill the police" as about 60 officers from multiple jurisdictions gathered.
At least 200 people continued the theme today outside the Ferguson City Hall, 222 Florissant Road, carrying signs and occasionally making speeches.
One of them, Shontell Walters, of Berkeley, said they took exception to the presence of police dogs with officers watching the scene. "They are trying to instill more fear in us," she complained.
A memorial went up at the shooting scene, where Brown's stepfather, Lewis Head, stood and wept this morning. "Ferguson killed my son," he said. "They flat-out murdered him."
POSTED: 09:24 PM MST Feb 18, 2014 UPDATED: 11:28 PM PDT June 21, 2014
El Paso, TX -- A grand jury with the 120th District Court did not return an indictment against El Paso Police Officer Jose Flores for the shooting death of Daniel Saenz, according to a spokeswoman with the district attorney's office.
According to a police report, officers arrested Saenz (pictured above, center) after an outburst at Del Sol Medical Center, where he was being treated for "extremely high" blood pressure. The report states Saenz assaulted an elderly person and an off-duty police officer. At the county jail, Saenz reportedly head butted the door and had to be returned to the hospital for treatment. Police say that is when he became aggressive and violent with police officers. Flores shot and killed Saenz.
An autopsy report obtained by media sources states Saenz had several toxic chemicals in his system at the time of the shooting back in 2013. The El Paso County Medical Examiner found evidence of bath salts, steroids, and a supplement called DMAA in Saenz's blood and urine. The DA will no longer pursue criminal charges. However, Flores might still face civil penalties if the family of Saenz takes legal action against him.
Posted: June 19, 2014 7:17 PM ~ Updated: at 03:16 AM PDT, June 21, 2014
In this April 23, 2014 photo, Shaun Cowley sits with his defense team during his appeal before the West Valley City Employment Commission in West Valley, Utah. Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill announced at a news conference Thursday, June 19, 2014 that a single count of manslaughter had been filed against Cowley, 33, a former narcotics officer in West Valley City. Cowley and another officer fired at Danielle Willard as she backed her car out of a parking spot. The officers had contended their lives were in danger, but Gill said that's not the case because Cowley was standing on the side of the woman's car.
SALT LAKE CITY, UT (WCJB) — Utah prosecutors on Thursday charged Shaun Cowley, 33, a former police officer from a troubled department with fatally shooting an unarmed 21-year-old woman. Cowley, a former narcotics officer in West Valley City shot and killed Danielle Willard during a 2012 drug investigation. Cowley and another officer fired at Willard as she backed her car out of a parking spot. Cowley and the other officer both fired a total of six shots.
Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill announced at a news conference Thursday morning that a single count of manslaughter had been filed against Cowley. Gill said Cowley fired the fatal shot. He said his office didn't have enough evidence to justify charging the other officer. The officers had contended their lives were in danger. However, Gill said that's not the case because Cowley was standing on the side of the woman's car. "Mr. Cowley acted in a reckless manner. The evidence that we have does not support that his life was in danger or give him the justification to use the force that he did," Gill said. "There was one more than the other who started this process," Gill said of the officers. Gill's office has been weighing whether to file charges since he ruled last August that the shooting was unjustified.
At a news conference Thursday afternoon, West Valley City Police Chief Lee Russo said the investigation has been "a long and difficult road" for the department, which supports Gill's investigation. "This is a very good police department, and people need to know that," he said. "It is a singular happening. It's not reflective of the whole police department, and I think the community needs to recognize that."
Willard's mother, Melissa Kennedy, filed a wrongful-death lawsuit last year against the city, Cowley and others in the department. That case is pending. A Los Angeles-based attorney representing her said Thursday that Gill's decision to charge Cowley with manslaughter was appropriate. "It's a milestone in the family's quest for justice for Danielle," he said. "We're hopeful that now the truth will come out."
Willard's shooting touched off an internal investigation in Utah's second-largest city. The West Valley City Police Department uncovered evidence that drug-squad officers mishandled evidence, lost drugs and money and kept small tokens from drug busts as souvenirs. The city disbanded the drug unit and disciplined the nine officers on the squad. Prosecutors threw out more than 120 cases the officers had been involved with, citing questions about the credibility of the investigations and evidence.
Cowley was fired in September, the only officer to be dismissed. Russo cited Cowley's "pattern of behavior" that undermined investigations as the reason for the dismissal. Cowley has been challenging the firing, but it's unclear how the manslaughter charge will affect that process. In a statement Thursday afternoon, Cowley's attorney called the decision "incredibly disappointing" and said Cowley continues to maintain his innocence. "Detective Cowley will continue to follow each of the demands now placed on him by the judicial system until this case is concluded. He looks forward to his day in court," the statement said. The attorney said Cowley surrendered at the Salt Lake County jail Thursday afternoon and was booked and released. Court records show he posted $10,000 bail. If convicted, he could face one to 15 years in prison.
The case is not the first time Gill's office has charged a West Valley City officer for a shooting while on duty. In March 2012, Jared Cardon was charged with a misdemeanor count of reckless endangerment for shooting at a car driven by a man fleeing an accident in 2011. The man was not injured, and Gill's office later dismissed the charge, saying expert testimony in the case had changed.
Posted: 11:32 pm, Saturday, June 14, 2014 PDT - Updated: 10:11 PM PDT June 16, 2014
NEVADA CITY, Calif. (WCJB) — A Bureau of Land Management ranger, a California Highway Patrol officer and a suspect were injured Saturday in a shootout near a Northern California campground, authorities said. The shooting occurred in a remote area about 10 miles north of Nevada City.
The officer was responding to the ranger's call for assistance in rugged Tahoe National Forest when they encountered a gunman, CHP Officer Greg Tassone said. A shootout ensued, and the ranger and the suspect were both struck by gunfire, Tassone said. Both were flown to a suburban Sacramento hospital for treatment. The CHP officer suffered minor injuries. Tassone says he didn't know whether he was wounded by gunfire or from something else.
BLM spokeswoman Dana Wilson said she doesn't know the extent of the ranger's injuries, or what led the ranger to call local authorities for assistance. There was also no word on how seriously the suspect was hurt. The circumstances surrounding the shootout were under investigation.
Posted: 8:20 PM PDT June 8, 2014 - Updated: 10:20 PM PDT June 10, 2014
The Lone Wolves!
Las Vegas, NV (WCJB) -- Kevin McMahill, Las Vegas Second Assistant Sheriff, told reporters that Jerad Miller shot Officer Igor Soldo in the back of the head at a pizza restaurant Sunday. He then shot fellow Officer Alyn Beck in the neck. Miller's wife, Amanda, then pulled a gun from her purse and also fired on Beck. Sheriff Doug Gillespie said one officer was able to return fire. "What precipitated this event, we do not know," he said. "My officers were simply having lunch." The couple then placed a "Don't Tread on Me" flag and a Nazi swastika on one of the police officers. They then pinned onto the other officer's body a note saying something to the effect of: "this is the beginning of the revolution."
The couple then ran to a nearby Walmart where they shot and killed a bystander. Afterwards they barricaded themselves inside the store during a brief firefight with responding officers. Amanda Miller then shot her husband repeatedly as officers closed in on them inside the Walmart, McMahill said. She then turned the gun on herself. Police also recovered hundreds of rounds of ammunition from the couple's backpacks at Walmart, suggesting they were prepared for a lengthy gun battle at some point, he added.
The pair began their attack about 11:20 a.m. Sunday, when they opened fire inside the restaurant where Beck, 41, and Soldo, 31, were having lunch. "I just sat down to have lunch. The officers were sitting in front of me, at the table right next to me, and this man came in out of nowhere," a dazed Sheree Burns told media sources. "I thought he was going to get a drink, the way he walked up and walked past them. And then he turned around, pulled a gun on his right and shot the bald officer in front of me." The suspects took the officers' guns and ammunition, McMahill told reporters. They "made a statement -- something to the effect of, 'This is a revolution.'" As they walked out, they passed Alvaro Lopez. "They had a backpack, and I saw a gun in their hand," Lopez told media sources. "He just told me to tell the cops that it was a revolution and that he'd just killed two cops inside CiCi's."
The pair ran to Walmart where Jerad Miller fired off one round and told people to get out, McMahill said. A shopper, identified as Joseph Wilcox, told his friend he was going to confront the suspects. "He was carrying a concealed weapon, and he immediately and heroically moved towards the position of Jerad Miller. Upon completing that action, he did not realize that Amanda Miller was with Jerad Miller," McMahill told reporters. "As soon as he began to confront Jerad Miller with his firearm, Amanda Miller removed her firearm and shot him one time in the ribs area where he immediately collapsed." Wilcox, 31, "died attempting to protect others," Gillespie said.
Shoppers rushed toward the exit. Officers converged and exchanged fire with the couple, holding the Millers to the rear of the store. At one point, Jerad Miller built a defensive position around his wife. She was seated and appeared to be suffering from a gunshot wound, McMahill told reporters. He then laid on his stomach in front of Amanda, who fired several rounds into her husband, killing him. "At that point, Amanda took her handgun and ended her own life with one gunshot wound to the head," said McMahill, describing the deaths as the result of a "suicide pact."
The Las Vegas couple apparently looked at law enforcement as oppressors, a sheriff's department official said Monday. "We don't necessary believe that they are white supremacists or associated with the Nazi movement. We believe that they equate government and law enforcement ... with Nazis," McMahill said. "In other words, they believe that law enforcement is the oppressor." Police are still in the early stages of their investigation. At this point though, they believe the couple acted alone and that the officers shot were targeted at random.
Investigators searched an apartment late Sunday night that was believed to be where the couple lived. They were going through the couple's social media postings, McMahill said Monday. "There is no doubt that the suspects have some apparent ideology that's along the lines of militia and white supremacists," McMahill said. A woman who says she lived near the couple told media sources that the married couple liked to dress up as the villainous Batman characters Joker and Harley Quinn. The neighbor, Krista Koch, told the station the man also sometimes dressed as Slenderman, a fictional horror character that recently surfaced in the stabbing of a 12-year-old girl in Wisconsin. Koch also told the station the couple had told her they were going to carry out an attack, but she thought they were "crazy," so she dismissed what they said.
Beck and Soldo -- the two officers killed -- were both married with children: Beck left behind a wife and three children; Soldo, a wife and a baby. Meanwhile, Las Vegas police will be doubling up in patrol cars for at least the next few days as officers mourn the loss of two colleagues. "We still have a community to police and we still have a community to protect," Gillespie said Sunday night. "We will be out there doing it with our heads held high but with an emptiness in our heart."
Posted: 8:20 PM PDT June 4, 2014 - Updated: 8:20 PM PDT June 4, 2014
The Lone Wolf!
Police posted to social media a photograph of a man dressed in fatigues, carrying what appeared to be a rifle.
New Brunswick, Canada (WCJB) -- Authorities spent Wednesday night trying to hunt down a man who, they say, fatally shot three of their officers and wounded two others in the Canadian province of New Brunswick.
In a tweet around 10:30 p.m., the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in New Brunswick indicated the shooter was still at large in the Pinehurst subdivision area of Moncton.
About an hour earlier, they'd alerted those in Moncton -- a city of just over 100,000 people some 90 miles (150 kilometers) northeast of St. John and 150 miles north of Halifax -- to take precautions.
"Stay inside lock your doors," read that tweet. "Stay safe. Motorist stay away from area."
The RCMP has identified the suspect as 24-year-old Justin Bourque, warning that the Moncton resident should be considered armed and dangerous. It posted a photograph of a man dressed in fatigues, carrying what appeared to be a rifle.
Helicopters were flying over the neighborhood, according to Isabelle LeBlanc, spokeswoman for the City of Moncton. She lives in the area that is currently on lockdown.
All entrances to the neighborhood are blocked off, she said. Her husband has not been able to reach their home.
She said some buses have been pulled off the road because of the concern for public safety.
At least two people who suffered gunshot wounds and were taken to The Moncton Hospital, health authority spokeswoman Carolyn McCormack said. The hospital later added that a third gunshot victim had been admitted.
It was not immediately clear if those were among the five police officers who have been shot, including three fatally.
"(The hospital) is restricting visitors to those with critically ill family members," an affiliated Facebook page noted. "All others are asked to refrain from visiting at this time."
Posted: 5:20 PM PDT May 21, 2014 - Updated: 8:20 PM PDT June 3, 2014
SALINAS, Calif. — On Tuesday, a witness recorded video of two Salinas police officers pointing guns at Carlos Mejia outside Delicia's Bakery on North Sanborn Road. Mejia armed with gardening shears can been seen walking away from police as the officers follow him down the street. Officers have their guns drawn and pointed at Mejia. A few moments later, the officers suddenly opened fire. Witnesses can be heard shouting expletives at the officers as Mejia lays on the ground. "Why the fuck didn’t you Taser him? You guys didn’t even try,” one woman is heard yelling. A large crowd gathered moments after the shooting and the mood was tense and emotional. Several yelled at police officers and questioned whether race was a factor in Tuesday's shooting.
Police said they went to the area because a woman called 911 to report that a man was in her backyard holding scissors. She said the man tried to break into her house on Elkington Avenue. She claims he threatened to kill her. The woman also claimed he attacked her dog. Police noted that the man also exposed himself and made sexually suggestive comments to the woman. When police arrived, the man repeatedly ignoring officers' instructions to put the shears down. An officer then attempted to fire a Taser, but the Taser misfired.
A statement released by the Salinas Police Department said, "As the suspect continued to ignore the orders of the officers, the suspect retrieved the gardening shears from his backpack. In an aggressive fashion, the suspect swung the gardening shears at the officers who were standing in close proximity and in danger of being stabbed or slashed. In response to this threat, two officers fired their weapons at the suspect. We ask the community to be patient and remain calm until enough facts are known so that a conclusion as to the appropriateness of the officers' actions can be determined."
Salinas residents accused their police department of brutality after officers fatally shot Mejia who was walking away from them and ignoring commands Tuesday afternoon. It was the third deadly officer-involved shooting in Salinas in 2014. Two happened within the last two weeks. Dozens gathered at City Hall Tuesday night to speak before the City Council. Many voiced frustration with Salinas police, saying they acted too aggressively on May 9 and May 20. "Yes, we do have a gang problem. And they're dressed in blue and they have badges and they're called the Salinas Police Department," one man told the council. The police chief and the council were called out directly in many of the citizen comments. The only response came from Salinas Mayor Joe Gunter, who said the shooting death of Hernandez is still under investigation and the City Council would not comment.
Demonstrators stood outside the Salinas police station on Wednesday and confronted officers who were arriving and leaving. Police Chief Kelly McMillin (pictured above, center) told protesters that they are welcome to convene, but are not allowed to stand in the way of officers trying to do their jobs. Protesters held up signs reading, "Police will murder you."
Witnesses raised similar concerns 11 days ago outside Mi Pueblo market in Salinas, where officers shot and killed 26-year-old Osman Hernandez on May 9. The officers who killed Hernandez were not the same officers who killed a man on Tuesday. Hernandez was a fieldworker and often carried a knife with him that he used for cutting lettuce. He drunkenly ran around a busy shopping center swinging his knife in the air and, like Tuesday's suspect, refused to drop his knife or follow police commands.
Hernandez's family said he was shot in the head while lying on the ground. His family became more furious when the Salinas Police Department held a press conference to announce that the officers did nothing wrong and the killing was justified. A family spokesperson said, "They killed Osman like a dog as he lay on the ground. Why are we to trust them investigating themselves? Why does it take so many bullets to the head to subdue a man who is already lying on the ground? Osman’s life had value. We want the truth.”
Salinas police also shot Angel Ruiz to death on March 20 outside a Wing Stop restaurant on Constitution Boulevard. Ruiz was armed with an Air-soft pellet gun.
Posted: 9:38 PM EDT, Thurs. May 15 - Updated: 2:38 AM PDT, Sat. May 17, 2014
BRYAN, TX - Donations are pouring in for a Hearne Police Officer now without a job.Officer Stephen Stem was fired by the Hearne City Council on Saturday, four days after he shot and killed 93-year-old Pearlie Golden. Her nephew tells us she was armed with a gun when Stem responded to a 911 call disturbance call at her home and she fired her gun into the ground twice when Stem arrived. Support is coming in from across the country and here in Texas for former Hearne Police Officer Stephen Stem.
Donors are donating to a fundraising website set up by a police officer from Central Alabama. Media sources spoke with this officer from hundreds of miles away, on why he felt it important to do this. "Quite frankly I was outraged at the way he was being treated for simply trying to defend himself," said Chris Fisher, who is a police officer in Central Alabama. He set up a donation webpage for Stem to raise money for his expenses even though he doesn't know him. "Everyone knows that public servants don't make a lot of money. They live paycheck to paycheck and losing your source of income like that is devastating to a law enforcement family, so we just want to provide him with a way to support himself," he said.
Donations have poured in from Central Texas and across the globe with thousands of dollars already raised as they near their goal of $5,000 in just 24 hours. At last check, more than $4,300 had been raised online.
"We received donations from as far as way as Australia from police officers and people who support law enforcement and the efforts of law enforcement. And it's been really good because so often all we get is the negative aspects where people are bashing police or they hate police," said Chris Fisher. Fisher plans to keep the site up until Stem has a new job or financial stability. Fisher says he plans to contact Stephen Stem Thursday and mail him a check soon.
Posted: 9:38 PM EDT, Sat May 10, 2014 - Updated: 1:38 AM PDT, Thurs. May 15, 2014
Hearne, Texas (WCJB) -- Stephen Stem, the police officer who fatally shot Pearlie Golden, a 93-year-old woman at her home in Texas, has been fired after a city council vote Saturday. Officer Stem was dismissed from the Hearne Police Department on Saturday after the city council voted 6-0 to take disciplinary action against him. Jessica Vega, a Hearne Police Department communications supervisor, confirmed Stem's termination.
A man believed to be a relative of Golden's made a 911 call asking for help from police, Robertson County District Attorney Coty Siegert said. "What I understand is (Hearne police) were called out because a woman was brandishing a firearm," Siegert said. "An officer asked her to put the handgun down, and when she would not, shots were fired." Hearne City Attorney Bryan Russ Jr. said Stem told Golden to drop her weapon at least three times. Stem fired three times, and Golden was hit at least twice, he said. She was transported to a local hospital, where she died.
The Hearne Police Department placed Stem on administrative leave pending the inquiry. Meanwhile, Texas Rangers continue the investigation into why Mrs. Golden, 93, a longtime resident in this small town of about 4,600 people, was shot multiple times at her home Tuesday. "We're very saddened by this. Everybody in the city government is deeply disappointed that this lady was killed," Russ said. "Now, the investigation is out of our hands. It's under the Texas Rangers, which is where we want it to be." According to police, the Texas Rangers have a revolver believed to have been in Golden's possession at the time of the shooting. The case will eventually be presented to a grand jury, which is standard procedure when dealing with officer-involved incidents, Russ said. "I would expect people to be upset about this, a young police officer shooting a 93-year-old lady," Russ said. "I'm upset about it. Most of our citizens are upset, but at the same time I don't believe all the facts have come to the surface yet."
Community members told media sources that Golden, known affectionately as "Ms. Sully," was a sweet woman. "Even if she did have a gun, she is in her 90s," Lawanda Cooke told media sources. "They could have shot in the air to scare her. Maybe she would have dropped it. I don't see her shooting anyone."
Stem was advised by his attorney not to attend the council meeting, according to local media sources. In a statement released to media sources on Friday, Stem's attorney said he is "fully confident that Officer Stem's actions were immediately necessary and legally justified" and plans to meet with Stem next week to discuss his job termination.
Posted: 6:33 p.m. Thursday, April 24, 2014
Hearne, Texas (WCJB) -- Texas Rangers are investigating why police in a small central Texas town fatally shot a 93-year-old woman at her home. Pearlie Golden, 93, a longtime resident of Hearne, a town of approximately 4,600 people about 150 miles south of Dallas, was shot multiple times Tuesday. A man believed to be a relative of Golden's made the 911 call asking for help from police, Robertson County District Attorney Coty Siegert said. "What I understand is (Hearne police) were called out because a woman was brandishing a firearm," Siegert said. "An officer asked her to put the handgun down, and when she would not, shots were fired."
Hearne City Attorney Bryan Russ Jr. said Officer Stephen Stem told Golden to drop her weapon at least three times. Stem fired three times, and Golden was hit at least twice, he said. She was transported to a local hospital, where she died. "I would expect people to be upset about this, a young police officer shooting a 93-year-old lady," Russ said. "I'm upset about it. Most of our citizens are upset but at the same time I don't believe all the facts have come to the surface yet."
The Hearne Police Department placed Stem on administrative leave pending the inquiry. In the meantime, Hearne City Council members will meet Saturday to discuss Stem's employment or whether any disciplinary action will be taken.
Posted: 4:48 pm, Thurs., May 15, 2014 - Updated: 5:48 pm, Thurs., May 15, 2014
Much Obliged Ma'am!
CONCORD, CA -- Valeri Hawkins, 57, was shot to death Thursday night by Concord police. Hawkins died after being shot by police at 5:37 p.m. in the 2700 block of Pacheco Street, near the downtown area, authorities said. Concord police Lt. David Hughes said officers responded after a woman called 911 and said she had a gun and wanted to kill herself. When they arrived, they found Hawkins in front of the home, holding a handgun, Hughes said. She responded to orders from police to drop the gun by pointing it at one of the officers, Hughes said. One officer then fired the fatal shot that killed Hawkins, Hughes said. Police immediately called for emergency medical aid and began CPR, but Hawkins was pronounced dead at the scene. Hawkins had a history of mental illness, police said.
The officer-involved shooting will be investigated by the Contra Costa District Attorney's Office, the Contra Costa Sheriff's Office crime lab and Concord police.
Posted: 4:03 AM EDT, Tue May 13, 2014 - Updated: 2:03 AM PDT, Tue May 13, 2014
Arkell & Nolan, LLC!
Brentwood, New Hampshire (WCJB) -- A powerful explosion tore through a duplex in Brentwood, New Hampshire, Monday afternoon, after a man shot and killed a police officer who responded to a domestic dispute there, authorities said. Officer Steve Arkell was fatally shot by Michael Nolan, 47, according to New Hampshire Attorney General Joseph Foster. A second officer responded to the scene but was driven away by gunfire, Foster said. "Other officers arrived and a short time later the home was engulfed in flames and later exploded," he said. "It's believed Mr. Nolan was killed by the fire or the explosion." The blast was captured live on air by media sources.
The incident is being investigated by the state and federal authorities, according to Foster. Brentwood is a town of about 4,200, located 50 miles north of Boston.
Posted: 6:17 AM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014 - Updated: 3:24 PM PDT, Wed July 30, 2014
Traitors & Child Killers!
Gaza City, Palestine (WCJB) -- Dueling Israeli and Palestinian political leaders blame each other for the dozens of deaths reported each day. The violence and carnage in Gaza continued Wednesday morning. Israeli forces shelled the Abu Hussein School in northern Gaza and killed 20 people, the Palestinian Health Ministry said. The school was a U.N. facility based in Gaza's Jebaliya refugee camp. Agency spokesman Gaza Adnan Abu Hasna of the U.N. Relief & Works Agency reported a death toll of 19 and 126 civilians injured. Abu Hasna attributed the high number of casualties to the timing of the attack. The shelling by Israeli forces occurred when many Palestinians had gathered for morning prayers. It's the second time this month that a U.N. school in Gaza has come under attack. On Thursday, 16 people were killed and hundreds wounded when a U.N.-run school in northern Gaza was struck, according to U.N. and Palestinian officials. An Israeli military spokesman said "a single errant Israeli mortar" landed in the courtyard, but said the military's footage shows the courtyard was empty.
Gaza residents are grappling with a nightmarish life. The vast majority of casualties are Palestinian civilians in Gaza. The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza said at least 1,283 have been killed and more than 7,100 have been wounded in Gaza. These are the latest casualties since the conflict between Israel and Hamas began this month. The number of militants killed is unclear, but the United Nations estimates that 70% to 80% of the dead are civilians.
According to the Israel Defense Forces, 53 Israeli soldiers have died since Operation Protective Edge began July 8. Three civilians have also been killed in Israel. Israeli officials say they are committed to destroying tunnels used by Palestinian militants in Gaza to make their way into Israel. A poll released this week showed 86.5% of Jewish Israelis surveyed say Israel cannot accept a cease-fire because "Hamas continues firing missiles on Israel, not all the tunnels have been found, and Hamas has not surrendered," according to the Jerusalem media.
The daily bloodshed is now exasperated by crumbling infrastructure from the violence. Many roads in Gaza City are deserted, except for ambulances pre-positioned to assist in case of an Israeli airstrike. Approximately 3,600 Gaza residents have lost their homes. Fuel and water supplies are Dwindling. Clean water is inaccessible for most. There is no electricity for countless civilians after Gaza's only power plant was struck and erupted in flames. Residents must depend almost entirely on small generators for electricity.
Palestinian officials blamed an Israeli airstrike for the attack on Gaza's only power plant. "We cannot supply electricity" for hospitals, sewage treatment or domestic use, said Fathi al-Sheikh Khalil, deputy chairman of the Palestinian Energy Natural Resources Authority in Gaza. "This is a disaster." Salah Jarour owns a small convenience store in Gaza. He now runs the store in the dark. "This is not fair. We have children. Hospitals need power," Jarour said. "The Israelis are not human."
Israel claims it didn't target the power plant. Israel Defense Forces spokesman Peter Lerner said, "I've gone through our air force, our navy, our ground forces on the ground. I Haven't been able to determine it was IDF activity." . The Israeli military claims it is still investigating.
What will take to end the fighting in Gaza? International efforts to broker a deal to end the violence failed again Tuesday. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said any truce must allow for its protection against the militant tunnels. "Hamas is responsible for all deaths on their side and on our side because they are the ones who kept this conflict going," Netanyahu spokesman Mark Regev told media sources. "People are fighting and people are dying because Hamas said no to a cease-fire."
Hamas rejected a cease-fire proposal put forward by the Palestinian Authority that called for a 24-hour truce that could be extended to 72 hours. Hamas says any deal must include an end to Israel's blockade of Gaza. On Hamas-run TV, Mohammed Deif, chief of the group's military wing, said that "there is no middle ground" regarding a truce until Israel ends its "siege" of Gaza. "The Israeli enemy will not have security as long as we don't have security for our people," he said. Hamas wants Israel to lift a blockade it began on Gaza in 2007, a move Israel has said was necessary to stop Hamas and other allied militant group from bringing weapons into Gaza.
Israel's incursion into Gaza has had ripple effects around the world. Chile, Peru, Brazil and Ecuador have pulled their ambassadors out of Tel Aviv to protest the Israeli offensive. Israel has also been criticized for sealing the borders, with aid groups saying the blockade has cut off basic supplies and created a humanitarian crisis.
United States -- It's believed there are approximately 750 Americans currently serving in the Israeli military, according to Friends of Israel Defense Forces (IDF) an advocacy organization based in New York. Daniel Flesch (pictured above, center) now a graduate student at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, became what's known as a "lone soldier" -- a citizen from another country who joins the IDF. Flesch also claims he had family members who had survived the Holocaust and felt compelled to fight back at what he perceived as a growing level of anti-Semitism in America. Flesch, then a college student at the University of Illinois, claims he had heard too much anti-Israeli sentiment. "I just didn't want to sit on the sidelines," the now-26-year-old said in an interview via Skype. "I wanted to actually fight back against those who think Israel and the Jewish people should not exist." So in 2010, he joined Israel's military.
There are no firm numbers of those who have signed up in recent days. Orit Mizner is the southwest regional director for Friends of Israel Scouts. The organization helps North American Jews stay connected to Israel. He claims the interest level of Americans seems to have increased amid the escalating conflict between Israel and Hamas. "Those kind of phone calls keep on coming ... There's definitely a sense of the need to be in Israel and a need to take part in what's going on," said Mizner, whose organization runs a program called Garin Tzabar, which helps facilitate Americans' entry into the IDF.
Israel requires that its citizens serve in the military when they turn 18 (three years for men, two years for women). Americans have been serving in the IDF for decades. Young Americans with dual citizenship living in Israel are required to serve as well. Those outside Israel, whether they hold Israeli citizenship or not, can apply for the IDF if they meet requirements including no criminal record, a high school diploma and the ability to speak Hebrew. The U.S. government doesn't discourage those wanting to join. However, some may question why those willing to put themselves in harm's way would choose the IDF as opposed to the American military.
"As much I'm a proud American," said David Meyers of Belmont, California, "there's an incredibly deep and long connection that I have to Israel." Meyers, who now works in sales in Silicon Valley, holds dual U.S.-Israeli citizenship. "The United States with its strength and size, perhaps, isn't quite needing your abilities and your efforts," he said, explaining his choice to spend six years in the Israeli navy. His Israeli-born comrades sometimes expressed puzzlement over his decision to leave the comforts of American life for the dangers of military service, he said.
"They sometimes scratched their heads when they see people coming from other countries," said Meyers, who served in the Israeli navy in the late 1980s and early '90s. But he added that he was warmly embraced.
Flesch, who is not an Israeli citizen, served more than 18 months. He became a paratrooper in the Israeli army and was recognized twice as the outstanding solider of his platoon.
His proudest achievement: "That I'd done my part to defend the Jewish people (from) those who tried to harm us throughout the years."
Posted: Sunday, Jul 20, 2014 @ 11:40 PM PDT ~ Updated: Monday, Jul 21, 2014 @ 12:00 AM PDT
Neutral Peace Mediation!
Gaza, Palestine -- Max Steinberg (pictured below, center-right) and Nissim Sean Carmeli grew up in America. The young men joined the Israel Defense Forces, and they ended up fighting for the Jewish state in the Gaza Strip this week. On Sunday, Steinberg, 24, and Carmeli, 21, were killed there. They were among 13 Israeli soldiers and 65 Palestinians killed Sunday during the first major ground battle in two weeks of fighting between Israel and Hamas.
Earlier Sunday, the IDF said in a statement that Carmeli, 21, a sergeant, was killed in combat in the Gaza Strip. Carmeli was from South Padre Island, Texas. Rabbi Asher Hecht of Chabad of the Rio Grande Valley said Carmeli joined the Israeli army after finishing high school in Israel. He was in the Golani Brigade. Deputy Consul General of Israel to the Southwest Maya Kadosh said Carmeli moved to Israel four years ago. Carmeli was from Ra'anana, Israel, according to the IDF statement. Kadosh added that the consulate helped his family get a flight there Sunday. Carmeli was the youngest of three and has two sisters who currently live in Israel.
On Sunday morning, the Steinbergs were visited by representatives from the Consulate General of Israel in Los Angeles. They broke the news of Max Steinberg's death. Steinberg lived in Southern California's San Fernando Valley. He attended Pierce College and El Camino Real High School in Southern California. Steinberg was living in Beersheba, Israel. He was a sharpshooter for the Golani Brigade. His father, Stuart Steinberg, spoke with media sources on Sunday. Steinberg visited Israel for the first time on a Birthright Israel trip with his younger brother and sister in June 2012, his father said. When he returned, he made an announcement to his parents that he was planning to return and join the IDF, Steinberg said. He made good on that promise less than six months later, making the move in December.
"He went back," Steinberg said. "He was completely dedicated and committed to serving the country of Israel. He was focused, he was clear in what the mission was, and he was dedicated to the work he needed to be doing." Stuart Steinberg last spoke to his son at 4 a.m. Saturday California time, hours before his death. Max Steinberg called his father to tell him that his group had been injured when two of their tanks collided. They had to return to Israel for treatment at the hospital. Some soldiers had broken bones, and Max Steinberg had sprained his back, his father said. "He called me up at 4 a.m. that morning and said he'd be returning to Gaza, back to combat, to be with his friends," Steinberg said.
Steinberg said the family is leaving on Monday for Israel, where their son will be buried. On Max Steinberg's Facebook page, hundreds of people liked a profile photo that appeared to be a selfie of him in uniform, armed, with his helmet on. Dozens gave their condolences.
Jay Sanderson, who heads The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, said in an email message to the community that "our thoughts are with his family and our community is committed to support them in any way they need - and to honor Max's memory."
Posted: April 14, 2014 - Updated: April 20, 2014
Los Angeles, CA -- Daniel Christopher Yealu, 29, of Los Angeles, allegedly walked in the lobby of the LAPD's West Traffic Division at 4861 Venice Blvd., at 8 p.m. Monday and spoke with an officer before pulling out a semi-automatic pistol and firing, police said. An unidentified officer was shot multiple times but survived, even though he wasn't wearing an armored vest at the time, police said. Initial reports indicated that the officer was wearing the vest, but investigators later determined that was not the case. The officer and his partner -- a female four-year veteran of the LAPD -- returned fire, wounding the suspect, police said. He was taken to Cedars-Sinai in critical condition, before being booked into jail, police said.
LAPD Cmdr. Dennis Kato said the gunman had an unspecificied complaint. LA Superior Court documents show that Yealu was convicted for a vehicle code violation in March 2006. Officers believe the suspect parked in a nearby parking lot and walked into the lobby, which is not equipped with a metal detector. The suspect's semi-automatic pistol was recovered inside the lobby, police said.
"He (Yealu) went into the police station not only with his Glock ... pistol, but also with extra magazines, so the officers' response clearly saved not only their own lives but the lives of community members,'' LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said. "It is an amazing, an amazing story, that he would be here with us. The officer shot remained hospitalized in "great spirits" Tuesday as authorities released details about the shooting and the suspect. "He was struck twice in the shoulder ... and he took a round that would have gone through his femur and maybe his femoral artery ... but that round was stopped by his backup weapon that he had in his pocket." Beck displayed the officer's backup handgun and its holster, both of which were damaged.
A search of the suspect's Palms-area home turned up a cache of ammunition and weapons, police said. A bomb squad team on Monday night checked a vehicle believed to be connected to the gunman, officials said. A rifle and multiple ammunition rounds were found in the vehicle, police said. "It would be rare in the extreme to be allowed to possess any of these weapons," Beck said. "You would have had to buy them 20, 30 years ago."
The gun battle broke out during a meeting of the Olympic Park Neighborhood Council was being held in the building at the time. Usually, the West Traffic Division doors are locked at night, but the entrance was open because of the community meeting. No one at the meeting was injured, but it rattled nerves. "I ran behind a lectern, and hid my whole body behind the lectern -- everybody else hit the ground," said Daphne Brogdon, who attended the meeting. "We kept hearing shots. It was terrifying -- a bullet came into our room." John Jake, another meeting attendee, said he heard four shots in rapid succession and then another six-to-seven shots. "I told everyone, 'Get down! Get on the ground Get on the ground!'" he said. He feared "some type of Columbine" because there were 25 people in a room with "no way out to get out." Anya Adams, also at the meeting, provided the photos, which shows a bullet hole in the meeting room wall.
Reader Pageviews by Country Movie Intermission! Waco: New Revelations!
Waco, Texas ~ United States Description: Researchers analyze the fatal 1993 conflict between Branch Davidians and FBI, ATF and Texas Guard..
Previous Video: The O.J. Simpson Murder Saga: 20 Years Later!