Police One

Subscribe to Police One feed
Updated: 2 hours 5 min ago

Civil rights prosecutors urge charges against LEO in Eric Garner case

4 hours 35 min ago

By Sadie Gurman Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Federal civil rights prosecutors have recommended charging a New York police officer in the 2014 chokehold death of Eric Garner, but it's unclear if top Justice Department officials will be willing to move forward with a case, a person familiar with the matter said Friday.

Prosecutors recently made the recommendation to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, according to the person, who wasn't authorized to discuss the pending case and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

The New York Times first reported the development, which marks the latest legal turn in a case that became in a flashpoint in a national conversation about police use of force. Video shot by a bystander shows 43-year-old Garner, after being stopped by officers for selling loose, untaxed cigarettes, telling the officers to leave him alone and refusing to be handcuffed. Officer Daniel Pantaleo responds by putting Garner in an apparent chokehold, and Garner, who had asthma, is heard gasping, "I can't breathe."

The case has been in legal limbo for years. Mayor Bill de Blasio urged the Justice Department to "show some level of decency to the Garner family and make its decision."

"Our city has waited long enough," he said.

Civil rights prosecutors under former Deputy Attorney General Loretta Lynch felt confident forging ahead with charges against Pantaleo but faced resistance from federal prosecutors in Brooklyn, who were not sure there was enough evidence to bring a case they could win. A state grand jury refused to indict Pantaleo in 2014.

Civil rights activists and other observers have been closely watching how Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a vocal supporter of local law enforcement, will handle the racially charged case. Because of its high-profile nature, Rosenstein must recommend whether to allow prosecutors to move forward with an indictment, the person familiar with the case said. Sessions can also weigh in but has given no indication publicly about where he stands.

The Justice Department did not immediately comment.

Sessions has long said that he won't pursue the kinds of wide-ranging federal investigations of entire police departments that were hallmarks of the Obama administration's approach to reforming troubled local agencies. He maintains the approach diminishes officer morale and can lead to spikes in crime.

But he has also said he will hold individual officers accountable for breaking the law.

Bringing civil rights charges against police officers is rare and challenging in any administration because prosecutors must reach a difficult standard of proof. It requires them to establish that an officer not only acted with excessive force but also willfully violated someone's constitutional rights. Even some career prosecutors familiar with the details of the Garner case acknowledge it would be challenging to secure a conviction, a federal law enforcement official said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss a pending case.

Jonathan Moore, an attorney for the Garner family, said he had not been informed that charges were recommended but was cautiously optimistic.

"We welcome this if it's true, obviously, but it's long overdue," he said.

But Pantaleo's attorney, Stuart London, said he has not been contacted by Justice Department officials in the last few months. He reiterated that his client maintains he did not violate Garner's rights.

"It has always and continues to be a simple street encounter," London said.


Categories: Law Enforcement

Pa. detective dies during physical training exercise

4 hours 35 min ago

By Brian C. Rittmeyer The Valley News-Dispatch, Tarentum, Pa.

NEW CASTLE, Pa. — A New Castle police detective died during a physical training exercise Thursday, the police department announced.

Detective Sgt. Brian S. Cuscino, 44, had been with the New Castle department since 2001. The physical training was required for officers serving on its special response team.

He suffered an apparent heart attack, according to the New Castle News.

Cuscino had worked as a patrol officer for about 10 years before being promoted to a detective in the criminal investigative division. He was the department's lead homicide investigator and "did establish himself as an expert in that field," the department said.

(function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = 'https://connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.12'; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));

It is with deep sadness and regret that the New Castle City Police Department is announcing the sudden passing of New...

Posted by New Castle Police Department on Thursday, April 19, 2018

"Detective Cuscino had an amazing 100 percent clearance rate on homicide cases in which he was the lead detective," the department said.

The law enforcement community was extending its sympathies and condolences to the New Castle Police and honors to Cuscino.

Cuscino and his wife, Heather, have two sons, Brandon and Dustin.

The William F. & Roger M. DeCarbo Funeral Home is handling arrangements. Visitation will be from 2-7 p.m. Monday at the funeral home, 926 Cunningham Ave.

Services will begin at 11 a.m. Tuesday at St. Vitus Church . Burial will be at St. Vitus Cemetery.

©2018 The Valley News-Dispatch (Tarentum, Pa.)


Categories: Law Enforcement

Police: MS-13 threatens to 'take out a cop' in NY

4 hours 35 min ago

By Craig Schneider, Stefanie Dazio and Mark Morales Newsday

NASSAU COUNTY, N.Y. — Nassau and Hempstead Village police officers are on high alert and stepping up enforcement after MS-13 twice threatened cops, pledging in one case to “take the streets back” in retaliation for arrests of gang members.

“If MS-13 wants to threaten a cop in this county, MS-13 is gonna get an answer,” Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said Thursday night at a news conference with Nassau County Executive Laura Curran. “We will answer that threat and answer it strongly.”

In the second threat, which Ryder said came after neighborhood sweeps Wednesday led to several arrests, an MS-13 gang member vowed to “execute” an officer the commissioner did not name.

“There was a threat that an individual that was planning to execute a cop and did have weapons in his vehicle and a mask but . . . by the grace of God that didn’t happen that night,” Ryder said.

Suffolk County Crime Stoppers also is offering a $25,000 reward “for information that leads to an arrest in connection with threats to harm police officers,” the department said Friday morning in a news release.

The department said it “has taken necessary precautions to protect our officers.”

“While the Suffolk County Police Department takes this threat seriously, we will not be deterred in our mission by threats by gang members,” police said in a statement. “Our commitment in bringing gang members and their associates who commit crimes to justice continues to be a top priority.”

Suffolk police acting Commissioner Geraldine Hart encouraged citizens with information about MS-13 threats come forward.

“It is the department’s hope that anyone with information about these threats will do what is right and provide details to thwart acts of violence,” Hart said in a statement.

On Wednesday afternoon, an informant told Hempstead Village police of the first threat: An MS-13 gang member had urged other members to “take out a cop” in the Hempstead area. That information prompted a flood of law enforcement officers to make the arrests where they also learned of the second threat.

Hempstead Village Police Chief Michael McGowan couldn’t be reached for comment.

Ryder also announced a $25,000 Crime Stoppers reward Thursday night for information leading to an arrest of anyone who threatens the life of a police officer.

Nassau police had initially circulated an internal memo Wednesday, which goes to officers departmentwide, detailing the first threat made by a gang member to a “credible” informant.

The memo prompted the NYPD to alert its 36,500 officers of the threat and cautioned them to be vigilant.

A gang member told the informant “it’s time to take the streets back and take out a cop like we do in El Salvador,” according to the memo. The informant told police the gang member, whom he described as thin with tattoos of three dots next to an eye, said MS-13 “needs to make a statement.”

Any gang member, according to the memo, has permission to carry out the attack.

Officers should take the threat seriously, the memo said, advising them not to wear their uniforms off duty, to carry their firearms at all times, and to consider different routes from those they normally travel.

The threats came as MS-13’s alleged East Coast kingpin came to court in Nassau to face charges that his four-state network plotted killings and trafficked in drugs in the region.

In the past two years, authorities have increased their enforcement of MS-13, which officials say is responsible for more than two dozen killings on Long Island.

Nassau County and Hempstead Village departments are also requiring that officers double up on their response to calls, officials said.

Michael McGowan, chief of police for Hempstead Village, said the department is speaking to all officers about the threat. “We believe it to be a credible threat...were are investigating it vigorously.”

Because of the initial threat, the Hempstead department is now requiring two officers respond to every call, according to Hempstead Village Officer Christopher Giardino, who leads the department’s Police Benevolent Association. Usually, only one officer responds to calls, such as a request for an ambulance, because of manpower and budget costs, he said.

“Any kind of call — it could be a dog loose — two men to each call, no matter what,” he said. “It could be a setup, we don’t know.”

Both officers must stay at the scene until the call is completed, Giardino said.

Hempstead Village officers are nervous and have reached out to him, he said.

“They’re worried about their safety,” he said.

Nassau Police Benevolent Association president James McDermott said on Friday morning he wants more security measures, including more patrols in addition to having two cars.

“Do whatever we need to do,” McDermott said at a news conference. “Pull out all the stops.”

Local officials expressed their support for area law enforcement.

“We are doing everything we can to make sure that our police officers and first responders are protected,” Curran said at the news conference.

Hempstead Town Supervisor Laura Gillen said in a statement, “We stand in solidarity with the entire law enforcement community against these heinous and disturbing threats.”

MS-13 gang members have killed at least 25 people in Nassau and Suffolk counties since 2016, authorities have said. Hempstead Village has the largest population of MS-13 members in the county, according to Giardino. Federal officials count some 2,000 members of the brutal street gang on Long Island.

President Donald Trump, who has blamed gang violence and other crime on illegal immigration, came to Brentwood in July and described some Long Island towns as “bloodstained killing fields” that are “under siege” and need to be liberated from MS-13.

With Anthony M. DeStefano and Nicole Fuller

By Craig Schneider, Stefanie Dazio and Mark Morales craig.schneider@newsday.com @Scraigo

Craig Schneider is a Long Island native and Stony Brook University alumnus. He joined Newsday as a general assignment reporter in January 2018 after 20 years at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

©2018 Newsday


Categories: Law Enforcement

Lawyer: Man accused of nearly killing Pa. trooper unlikely to argue mental health

4 hours 35 min ago

By Riley Yates The Morning Call (Allentown, Pa.)

ALLENTOWN, Pa. — A Monroe County man accused of opening fire on two Pennsylvania State Police troopers, critically injuring one of them, is unlikely to offer a mental-health defense at trial, his defense lawyer said Friday.

Daniel K. Clary, 22, faces two counts of attempted murder of a police officer and other charges in the roadside shooting on Route 33 in Plainfield Township that nearly killed Cpl. Seth Kelly.

In February, Clary lawyer Janet Jackson raised the possibility of an insanity or diminished-capacity defense, saying experts needed to evaluate whether her client has mental conditions, and also whether he is competent to face trial.

Those evaluations have been conducted and the defense does not plan to contest Clary’s competency, Jackson said Friday after a pretrial hearing before Northampton County President Judge Stephen Baratta.

Jackson said she also does not anticipate offering a mental-heath defense at trial.

“At this point, I don’t intend raising those issues,” Jackson said.

APRIL GAMIZ / THE MORNING CALL

Scene of emergency personal responding to the shooting of Pennsylvania State Police Cpl. Seth Kelly at Routes 191 with 33 in Northampton County.

Scene of emergency personal responding to the shooting of Pennsylvania State Police Cpl. Seth Kelly at Routes 191 with 33 in Northampton County. (APRIL GAMIZ / THE MORNING CALL)

The Nov. 7 shooting left Kelly critically wounded, injuries for which he was hospitalized for nearly a month. Authorities say Kelly suffered gunshot wounds to his neck, shoulder and thigh, and may have saved his own life by applying a tourniquet on his wounded leg before paramedics arrived.

First Deputy District Attorney Terence Houck has said he will be seeking a conviction and sentence under which Clary remains in prison for the rest of his life. Houck has said he believes Clary’s mental health was immaterial to his alleged actions.

Police said the encounter on the side of the highway started with a routine traffic stop and a driver who acted strangely. But when Trooper Ryan Seiple and Kelly tried to arrest Clary on suspicion of driving under the influence of marijuana, police said matters quickly took a violent turn.

Clary was also wounded in the melee, when Kelly and Seiple returned fire after the shooting erupted, authorities said.

After fleeing, Clary drove himself to Easton Hospital, authorities said, and was hospitalized for five days. But the Chestnuthill Township man is now jailed under $1 million bail.

A trial date has yet to be scheduled, according to the attorneys.

©2018 The Morning Call (Allentown, Pa.)


Categories: Law Enforcement

Police: NYPD officer dies by suicide

Fri, 04/20/2018 - 17:20

By Thomas Tracy New York Daily News

NEW YORK — An on-duty NYPD cop fatally shot himself Friday while parked outside a department facility in the Bronx, authorities said.

He’s the fourth NYPD officer to take his own life in as many months, police said.

First responders rushed to an NYPD Auto Crime and Narcotics Division facility in Wakefield about 10:50 a.m., where the mortally wounded officer was found sitting in his personal vehicle in the parking lot.

Officers rushed him to Jacobi Medical Center, but he could not be saved. His name was not immediately disclosed.

Police sources said the cop worked in the Bronx, but it was not immediately clear if he was assigned to the Auto Crime and Narcotics Division.

Cops were first alerted to the incident by Mount Vernon police who had received a 911 call from a panicked relative, who said the cop was planning to harm himself, police sources said.

On Feb. 26, Police Officer Rachel Bocatija, 26, killed herself in her Bushwick home. Her younger sister found her body in a locked room of the family home, a neighbor said.

On Jan. 13, Sgt. Joseph Pizzarro, 35, fatally shot himself in a room at the Hilton Garden Inn on Staten Island. Then, on Jan. 28, Detective Nicholas Budney killed himself at a restaurant overlooking the Hudson River in Orange County.

Following Bocatija’s death, Police Commissioner James O’Neill recorded a YouTube video describing the services available to cops in distress.

“Your job requires that you spend your day helping others. But before you can take care of anyone else, you must first take care of yourself, so please, remember, if you need it, help is here, and help is available,” O’Neill said.

The NYPD offers a variety of programs, and in 2014 launched an “Are You OK?” campaign aimed at promoting mental health awareness.

The department also works with POPPA, or Police Organization Providing Peer Assistance, a volunteer support network for officers and retirees that offers help for post traumatic stress disorder, marital problems, substance abuse and suicide.

———

(Chelsia Rose Marcius contributed to this story.)

———

©2018 New York Daily News


Categories: Law Enforcement

Calif. churches pledge to stop calling police

Fri, 04/20/2018 - 16:28

By PoliceOne Staff

OAKLAND, Calif. — A group of California churches have pledged to stop calling police in the wake of recent controversial incidents involving LEOs.

The Washington Post reports that some churches in Oakland are “divesting” from law enforcement, whether it’s for mental health crises calls or even acts of violence.

Members of the churches said that American policing has become so “problematic” that it’s best for them to abandon it. The pledge comes in wake of controversial incidents involving police, including the arrests of two men at a Philadelphia Starbucks and the fatal shooting of Stephon Clark.

The program was organized by Showing Up for Racial Justice. Four churches in Northern California have joined the pledge, and other churches are being recruited.

“It’s a challenging ask,” said Rev. Anne Dunlap, a minister who leads SURJ’s outreach to faith communities. “It’s a big ask to invite us, as white folks, to think differently about what safety means. Who do we rely on? What is safe? For whom? Should our safety be predicated on violence for other communities? And if not, what do we do if we’re confronted with a situation, because we are, as congregations? . . . How do we handle it if there’s a burglary? How do we handle it if there’s a situation of violence or abuse in the congregation?”

The churches who have committed to the pledge are training their members on alternative responses to danger. Volunteer leader Nichola Torbett said her church has invited experts to train its members on de-escalating mental health crises, as well as on self-defense when it comes to violent situations. Members of the church will not be armed, she added.

SURJ leaders said while members are free to call police outside of church, they hope that they will someday stop relying on police entirely.

Dunlap acknowledged that many churches SURJ tried to recruit to join the pledge were not interested.


Categories: Law Enforcement

Broward County sheriff to face no-confidence vote

Fri, 04/20/2018 - 16:25

By PoliceOne Staff

BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. — Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel will face a no-confidence vote from the union representing his deputies.

Jeff Bell, the president of the Broward Sheriff's Office Deputies Association, said Friday that union members moved forward with the vote, which begins electronically Friday and closes on April 26, CNN reports. Bell said he informed Israel ahead of the announcement.

"There is a complete failure at the sheriff's office and he doesn't recognize it," Bell said.

While the move is due to dysfunction in the agency that has been going on for years, the sheriff’s response to the Feb. 14 Parkland school shooting has pushed the union over the edge, Bell said. Israel’s criticism of former SRO Scot Peterson was also a factor.

Bell said that while he agrees Peterson should’ve entered the building, Israel should have taken some responsibility as well.

Morale among sergeants and deputies is non-existent, according to the union president, and members say they are tired of mixed messages from leadership. Bell cited the active shooter policy as an example, which states that a deputy “may” go into a building and engage the shooter.

Lawmakers have also criticized Israel for his response to the shooting. Eleven days after the incident, a number of lawmakers asked Gov. Rick Scott to suspend the sheriff for "incompetence and neglect of duty."

Israel later went on CNN and defended himself from criticism from lawmakers, touting his “amazing leadership.”

All deputies and sergeants in the union, which represents more than half of the county’s 2,560 certified deputies, will have the power to vote.


Categories: Law Enforcement

Sheriff: 2 deputies fatally ambushed because of LE hatred

Fri, 04/20/2018 - 14:39

By Jason Dearen Associated Press

TRENTON, Fla. — Investigators in Florida say they may never know why a man - a recluse from a rural farm community who rarely ventured into town - killed two sheriff's deputies while they sat in a Chinese restaurant.

John Hubert Highnote, 58, of Bell casually walked into the restaurant, went up to the Gilchrest County deputies and fired at them. He then went into his car and killed himself.

"It's inexplicable," State Attorney Bill Cervone said. "People will want to know why, and we may never have an answer for them."

Highnote came from a small town just up the road from the Ace China restaurant in Trenton, about 35 miles (56 kilometers) west of Gainesville. He lived alone in a small, brick house off a dirt road shaded under a canopy of trees.

A neighbor who has lived across the street for five years said that Highnote never once introduced himself, and he was rarely seen in town. The only time she ever saw him was when he would drive his truck into the garage.

"I'd see him pull in, shut the garage and go in. No lights on or nothing," said the neighbor, who spoke on condition of anonymity because she did not want to be involved in the investigation. She characterized him as a recluse.

Gilchrest County Sheriff Bobby Schultz blamed the deaths of Sgt. Noel Ramirez, 30, and Deputy Taylor Lindsey, 25, on hatred toward law enforcement.

"What do you expect happens when you demonize law enforcement to the extent it's been demonized? Every type of hate, every type of put-down you can think of," Schultz said at a news conference.

"The only thing these men were guilty of is wanting to protect you and me. They just wanted to get something to eat, and they just wanted to do their job," he said.

President Donald Trump called the slain deputies "HEROES" in a tweet sharing his condolences with their friends, families and colleagues.

Court records show Highnote had one traffic ticket from 2012, but no other criminal or civil court record. Property records show he bought his house in 2010.

Schultz said state law enforcement officials are investigating, and an investigator from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement was at Highnote's house on Friday.

"Sgt. Ramirez and Deputy Lindsey were the best of the best," Schultz said. "They were men of integrity, men of loyalty. They were God-fearing, and they loved what they did, and we are very proud of them."

Schultz said he rushed to the scene, and then had the difficult task of calling the families of Ramirez, who is survived by his wife and two young children, and Lindsey, who joined the sheriff's office in 2013.

Jamie Mauldin, a waitress at Akins Bar-B-Q about a mile from Highnote's house in Bell said the town is devastated by the loss of the two deputies. She wore a freshly made T-shirt that said "Gilchrist Strong." The proceeds of the shirts will go to the deputies' families.

"Ramirez was the sweetest ever. He loved his family. Loved his job," she said. "Always had a smile."


Categories: Law Enforcement

Judge tosses suit seeking to block parole of NY cop killer

Fri, 04/20/2018 - 14:12

Associated Press

ALBANY, N.Y. — A New York judge has dismissed a lawsuit that sought to block the parole of an ex-radical who fatally shot two New York City police officers in 1971.

State Supreme Court Justice Richard Koweek ruled Friday that the state Parole Board did not act irrationally or outside its bounds when it granted parole last month to Herman Bell after serving 44 years.

The 70-year-old Bell had been scheduled to be released this week before the legal challenge was filed by the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association on behalf of Diane Piagentini, widow of one of the slain officers. Her lawyers had argued the parole board didn't follow proper protocols.

Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday that while he disagreed with the decision, the Parole Board is independent and not under his control.


Categories: Law Enforcement

Authorities: Motive in killings of 2 Fla. deputies may never be known

Fri, 04/20/2018 - 13:54

By Jason Dearen Associated Press

TRENTON, Fla. — Investigators in Florida say they may never know why a man - a recluse from a rural farm community who rarely ventured into town - killed two sheriff's deputies while they sat in a Chinese restaurant.

John Hubert Highnote, 58, of Bell casually walked into the restaurant, went up to the Gilchrest County deputies and fired at them. He then went into his car and killed himself.

"It's inexplicable," State Attorney Bill Cervone said. "People will want to know why, and we may never have an answer for them."

Highnote came from a small town just up the road from the Ace China restaurant in Trenton, about 35 miles (56 kilometers) west of Gainesville. He lived alone in a small, brick house off a dirt road shaded under a canopy of trees.

A neighbor who has lived across the street for five years said that Highnote never once introduced himself, and he was rarely seen in town. The only time she ever saw him was when he would drive his truck into the garage.

"I'd see him pull in, shut the garage and go in. No lights on or nothing," said the neighbor, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the nature of the crime. She characterized him as a recluse.

Gilchrest County Sheriff Bobby Schultz blamed the deaths of Sgt. Noel Ramirez, 30, and Deputy Taylor Lindsey, 25, on hatred toward law enforcement.

"What do you expect happens when you demonize law enforcement to the extent it's been demonized? Every type of hate, every type of put-down you can think of," Schultz said at a news conference.

"The only thing these men were guilty of is wanting to protect you and me. They just wanted to get something to eat, and they just wanted to do their job," he said.

President Donald Trump called the slain deputies "HEROES" in a tweet sharing his condolences with their friends, families and colleagues.

Court records show Highnote had one traffic ticket from 2012, but no other criminal or civil court record. Property records show he bought his house in 2010.

Schultz said state law enforcement officials are investigating, and an investigator from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement was at Highnote's house on Friday.

"Sgt. Ramirez and Deputy Lindsey were the best of the best," Schultz said. "They were men of integrity, men of loyalty. They were God-fearing, and they loved what they did, and we are very proud of them."

Schultz said he rushed to the scene, and then had the difficult task of calling the families of Ramirez, who is survived by his wife and two young children, and Lindsey, who joined the sheriff's office in 2013.

Jamie Mauldin, a waitress at Akins Bar-B-Q about a mile from Highnote's house in Bell said the town is devastated by the loss of the two deputies. She wore a freshly made T-shirt that said "Gilchrist Strong." The proceeds of the shirts will go to the deputies' families.

"Ramirez was the sweetest ever. He loved his family. Loved his job," she said. "Always had a smile."


Categories: Law Enforcement

W.Va. officer buys diapers with own money for mother in need

Fri, 04/20/2018 - 13:27

By PoliceOne Staff CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A West Virginia officer is being recognized after helping a mother in need.

On April 14, Cpl. Jamie Wilson was responding to a domestic complaint at an apartment complex when he encountered the mother, WVAH reports. Wilson learned that the mother’s live-in boyfriend had taken money from her, leaving her unable to buy diapers for her child.

Wilson said he acted like any officer and father would and bought the mother some diapers and wipes for her baby.

"I'm here like any other dad and doing the right thing is just doing the right thing regardless of whether you wear a uniform or not," Wilson said.

Wilson’s kind act was recognized by the Charleston Police Department in a Facebook post. Wilson said he didn’t do anything special and that he was just helping out a parent.

"If there's anything within our power that we can do to help and assist and even get a parent to the proper channels to help them get other help that they need, we'll definitely be there for them," Wilson said.

(function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = 'https://connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.12'; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));

On Saturday April 14, 2018 Cpl. Jamie Wilson responded to a domestic complaint at Vandalia Apartments. Upon arrival Cpl....

Posted by Charleston Police Department Community Services on Thursday, April 19, 2018


Categories: Law Enforcement

Lawmaker calls for death penalty after Mass. LEO’s death

Fri, 04/20/2018 - 13:24

By PoliceOne Staff

BOSTON — A Massachusetts sergeant’s death has led to one lawmaker calling for the death penalty for anyone who kills law enforcement officers.

CBS Boston reports that Rep. Shaunna O’Connell said it’s time for the state to send a clear message to anyone who kills an LEO. The call comes after the death of Sgt. Sean Gannon, who was killed while serving a warrant last week.

“We’re talking about a very small part of the population. Cop killers. The worst criminals among us. If you’re going to kill a cop, we need to send a message you’re going to face that same fate,” O’Connell said.

Gov. Charlie Baker also supports the idea, saying officers put their lives at risk every day. But some Democratic lawmakers oppose re-opening the debate, according to the Associated Press.

"I am personally opposed to the death penalty and I do not foresee Massachusetts reinstating capital punishment," Senate President Harriette Chandler, a Worcester Democrat, said. "That being said, the death of Officer Sean Gannon is a heartbreaking tragedy and I hope that the justice system enacts swift punishment to those responsible."

O’Connell said giving someone life without parole isn’t enough punishment and is more dangerous.

“When you kill a cop you go to jail and you’re a hero in that prison. It puts the lives of corrections officers in great danger because these people have nothing to lose. They’re in for life without parole. What’s to stop them from trying to kill a department of corrections officer as well?” O’Connell said.

Brian Kyes, president of the Massachusetts Major City Chiefs of Police Association, said his “knee-jerk” reaction would be to support the death penalty, but added that the association would discuss possible legislation sometime after Gannon’s funeral, which was Wednesday.

The state hasn’t executed someone since 1947. Lawmakers debated reinstating capital punishment after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, but it was ultimately shelved.


Categories: Law Enforcement

Chicago cop faces potential firing over fatal OIS of bat-wielding teen

Fri, 04/20/2018 - 10:21

By Jeremy Gorner and Dan Hinkel Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO — A Chicago Police Board member has ruled that Officer Robert Rialmo will face potential firing by the full board for the fatal 2015 shooting of a teenager carrying a baseball bat and an innocent bystander.

The decision by Eva-Dina Delgado comes after police Superintendent Eddie Johnson disagreed with the finding by the city’s police disciplinary agency, the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, that the shooting was unjustified and that Rialmo should be fired.

She could have sided with Johnson and ended the disciplinary case against Rialmo.

Delgado, who works in government and community relations for Peoples Gas and was appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to the Police Board in 2016, announced her decision shortly after the board’s regularly scheduled monthly meeting began Thursday night at police headquarters.

In keeping with city ordinance, Delgado was the Police Board member randomly chosen to assess if Johnson had met “his burden of overcoming” COPA’s recommendation to fire Rialmo. Delgado determined that Johnson did not clear that bar.

“This finding does not mean that the conclusions reached by (COPA) are correct and that the superintendent’s conclusions are incorrect,” Delgado said in announcing her decision.

Her ruling means that the Police Board — a nine-member panel that includes eight Emanuel appointees — will take on a divisive case that has stirred strong emotions among both police reform advocates and the department’s rank-and-file. Activists have called for Rialmo’s firing, while his defenders, including police union leaders, have said he was justified in shooting an armed assailant.

After the Police Board meeting Thursday night, Johnson spoke of the emotions that the fatal shootings of Quintonio LeGrier, 19, and bystander Bettie Jones, 55, have stirred.

“You know that doesn’t escape me,” the superintendent told reporters. “I’m a black man (who) grew up in this city. I raised my family here. … But at the end of the day, I have to leave emotions from myself, the community and elected officials out of it.”

Johnson said he respected the city’s disciplinary process and acknowledged that he and COPA sometimes disagree over individual cases.

“But the important thing is there’s a process in place to resolve disagreements,” he told reporters. “I honor the process.”

Martin Preib, second vice president of the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police, addressed the board following Delgado’s announcement, blasting her ruling as “despicable and false.”

“What you have done tonight has paralyzed the police,” Preib said.

Larry Rogers Jr., a lawyer representing Jones’ family in a pending lawsuit, praised Delgado’s decision while slamming Johnson for his recommendation.

“COPA was created because officers protect officers,” Rogers told the Police Board. “What Superintendent Johnson did is no different than what we’ve seen” before.

After the meeting, LeGrier’s mother, Janet Cooksey, told reporters that Jones wasn’t the only innocent person shot by Rialmo.

“My son called the police three times!” she said. “You don’t call somebody three times to try to attack them!”

Cooksey said she felt relieved by Delgado’s decision to send the case to the full board.

“Rialmo has to be fired,” she said. “I don’t have a child. I’ll never be a grandmother. I have to live with this every day.”

Neither Rialmo nor his lawyer attended the meeting.

The shooting of LeGrier and Jones on the day after Christmas 2015 has attracted intense attention. Not only was a bystander killed, but it also marked Chicago’s first fatal police shooting since the court-ordered release a month earlier of video of a white officer shooting black teen Laquan McDonald 16 times. The video, released in November 2015, outraged black and Latino Chicagoans who aired long-standing objections about their treatment by police. Efforts to overhaul the department and curb uses of force continue more than two years later.

Rialmo, who also faces a separate disciplinary investigation and misdemeanor criminal charges over a December 2017 bar fight captured on security cameras, has been stripped of his police powers and placed on paid desk duty.

About 4:30 a.m. on Dec. 26, 2015, Rialmo and his partner responded to 911 calls about a domestic disturbance at an apartment in the 4700 block of West Erie Street, where LeGrier was staying with his father. LeGrier, apparently suffering from mental health problems, had behaved strangely as a student at Northern Illinois University and had run-ins with police and other students, records show.

Jones, who lived downstairs, pointed police to the second floor. Then LeGrier came down the stairs with a baseball bat, according to an analysis released last year by Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx's office, which declined to bring criminal charges against Rialmo. As Rialmo backed down the stairs, he fired eight times, hitting LeGrier six times, prosecutors found. Jones, who stood behind the teen during the incident, was shot once in the chest.

COPA investigators raised doubts about Rialmo's accounts of the shooting, determining that the evidence suggested LeGrier likely did not swing the bat at Rialmo, as the officer contended. COPA's ruling also found that Rialmo was probably farther from LeGrier when he fired the shots than the officer contended.

But Johnson sided with Rialmo's contention that LeGrier swung the bat at him. He also voiced doubts about witness accounts placing the officer a significant distance from the teen and rejected other potential evidence as irrelevant. Johnson concluded that Rialmo faced immediate danger and that his actions were reasonable.

©2018 the Chicago Tribune


Categories: Law Enforcement

Ill. plan: Replace armed school officers with therapists

Fri, 04/20/2018 - 09:21

By Sarah Zimmerman Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Some Illinois lawmakers want to give extra money to schools that replace armed security officers with unarmed social workers and behavior therapists, an approach to safety that's far different than a national push to add police or arm teachers following a mass shooting at a Florida high school.

Rep. Emanuel "Chris" Welch, a Hillside Democrat, said he proposed the plan after hearing from advocates who argue that investing in mental health resources is the best way of treating the epidemic of violence.

His plan, which is backed by 16 other Democrats in the House, would allow schools to apply to an optional grant if they promise to reallocate funding for school-based law enforcement to mental health services, including social workers or other practices "designed to promote school safety and healthy environments."

But the measure could be a tough sell, especially amid a widespread effort to employ more of what's known as school resource officers — fully armed law enforcement officers often paid for by schools.

As of early April, 200 bills or resolutions have been introduced in 39 states regarding school safety, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. More than half of these measures were introduced following the shooting massacre in Parkland, Florida. Thirty-four bills in 19 states address regulations and training for school resource officers.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions proposed a school safety plan in March that included a measure prioritizing grants to states that agree to use the money to put more law enforcement in schools.

Michelle Mbekeani-Wiley, from the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, said this approach is wrongheaded and that police are unequipped to recognize or respond to mental health issues. She adds that many minority students within the Chicago Public School system are arrested by school resource officers for non-serious offenses, which could jeopardize their chances of applying to jobs and colleges in the future.

"This increased presence of law enforcement in schools does not necessarily enhance school safety," said Mbekeani-Wiley. "Instead it dramatically increases the likelihood that students will be unnecessarily swept into the criminal justice system often for mere adolescent or disruptive behavior."

However, advocates for school resource officers argue their role is essential to keep students safe, especially in the event of a school shooting.

After Parkland, Deputy Kip Heinle, former president of the Illinois School Resource Officers Association, said he was "fielding two to three phone calls a day" from school districts asking how they can add more patrolling officers. While there's no official count on how many school resource officers are employed in Illinois, he puts the estimate at around 500.

Heinle, who works as a school resource officer in an Illinois suburb of St. Louis, says he believes that the officers are "the best line of defense to keep students safe in school."

He adds that, beyond preserving law and order in schools, many officers act like mentors and informal counselors to many of their students, with the goal of "shaping them to be successful adults someday."

School resource officers are not required to be trained in Illinois, but they can pay to take part in an optional annual training session each summer in Bloomington. Around 85 to 100 officers from around the state typically attend, said Heinle. No Chicago Public School officers have ever attended, he added.


Categories: Law Enforcement

Md. SRO who fired at school shooter honored by governor

Fri, 04/20/2018 - 09:04

Associated Press

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — A school resource officer who fired at a student gunman in Maryland is receiving more honors.

Blaine Gaskill, a deputy first class with the St. Mary's County Sheriff's Office, received a governor's citation on Thursday. The Washington Post reports that Gov. Larry Hogan called him a hero who did everything right. Gaskill also was honored by the Washington Nationals, who had him throw the first pitch at their home opener.

Seventeen-year-old Austin Wyatt Rollins mortally wounded 16-year-old Jaelynn Willey before killing himself at Great Mills High School last month.

Officials say Gaskill responded immediately and fired a shot that hit the gun in the teen's hand just as Rollins shot himself in the head.

It was an honor today to recognize DFC Blaine Gaskill of the St. Mary's County Sheriff's Office with an official Governor's citation. I believe very strongly that his swift action in response to last month’s tragic shooting at Great Mills High School helped to save lives. pic.twitter.com/8gz5IQvBaR

— Governor Larry Hogan (@GovLarryHogan) April 19, 2018


Categories: Law Enforcement

Details emerge in killings of 2 Fla. deputies

Fri, 04/20/2018 - 08:49

Associated Press

TRENTON, Fla. — Authorities say two Florida sheriff's deputies were shot dead through the window of a Chinese restaurant by a man who then killed himself.

The shooter was identified as a man from a small town just up the road from the restaurant, and his motive wasn't immediately known, but the sheriff blamed Thursday's killings on hatred toward law enforcement.

"What do you expect happens when you demonize law enforcement to the extent it's been demonized? Every type of hate, every type of put-down you can think of," Gilchrist County Sheriff Bobby Schultz said at a news conference.

This shooter was a "coward," the sheriff said.

"The only thing these men were guilty of is wanting to protect you and me. They just wanted to get something to eat, and they just wanted to do their job," he said.

President Donald Trump called the slain deputies "HEROES" in a tweet sharing his condolences with their friends, families and colleagues.

Sgt. Noel Ramirez, 30, and Deputy Taylor Lindsey, 25, were killed while getting food at the Ace China restaurant in Trenton, about 35 miles (56 kilometers) west of Gainesville.

The shooter, found dead in a car outside, was identified as John Hubert Highnote, 58, of Bell, a small town just up the road.

"It appears he just walked up and shot them, then went to his car and shot himself. It's inexplicable," State Attorney Bill Cervone said. "People will want to know why, and we may never have an answer for them."

Schultz said state law enforcement officials are investigating.

"Sgt. Ramirez and Deputy Lindsey were the best of the best," Schultz said. "They were men of integrity, men of loyalty. They were God-fearing, and they loved what they did, and we are very proud of them."

Schultz said he rushed to the scene, and then had the difficult task of calling the families of Ramirez, who is survived by his wife and two young children, and Lindsey, who joined the sheriff's office in 2013.


Categories: Law Enforcement

7 tips for supporting a spouse through critical incident stress

Fri, 04/20/2018 - 06:30

By Michelle Moon P1 Contributor

Typically when a police officer is involved in a critical incident they are tied up for hours being interviewed after the event. They may have the opportunity to speak with a police chaplain and/or a member of a peer support team, but more often than not they receive a stack of papers that explain what they can expect to experience following the stressful event and are told to head home. What happens after that point is largely dependent upon the policies and culture of each individual department. There can be huge gaps and inadequacies in providing support and care for individuals and their families in the days, weeks, months and even years after such an event.

When the officer arrives home after a critical incident, they may be met with a partner who has little to no knowledge of how to help the officer cope with the stress they may be experiencing. If they are lucky, other officers and their spouses reach out to offer support. Peer support at work and at home is invaluable. Some officers and their families also wisely seek professional counseling. Aside from the support an agency, peers and professionals can provide, the support and resilience that can come from a police officer’s primary relationship can be especially impactful.

Here are some practical things a spouse or significant other can do in the wake of a critical incident.

1. Be prepared

If you receive word your officer has been involved in a critical incident, know that your feelings of stress and anxiety are normal and that your loved one will likely also be experiencing extreme emotions following the event. Expect them to be tied up with red tape before they can come home.

If possible, be home and awake when they arrive and try to minimize any stressors in the home. Have the kids in bed, or farm them out to a family member. Try to make sure the officer doesn’t walk into a giant mess. I know it sounds trivial, but critical incident stress can exacerbate normal stressors and even create new ones. The officer may not even realize this is happening.

After clearing it with the officer, you may also want to place calls to family and/or friends to notify them of the event, especially if there is likely to be media coverage. Offer yourself as the middleman to minimize the amount of questions and contact others make with the officer.

2. Expect things to be different

If you’ve read about critical incident stress, you will know what is within the realm of normal behavior after an event. If you are concerned that there is an abnormal or unhealthy response, seek professional help. When the officer is processing their normal response – which will feel anything but normal to them and you – they may need to have extra time and space for healthy coping mechanisms. Try to allow them the ability to do those things by:

Taking at least a week off work if possible; Taking on as much childcare and household responsibilities as possible for at least two weeks; Encourage them to take the time they need to work through the stress in positive ways. Hobbies, activities and exercise are good and necessary. Even though you may not feel like it, go on dates and family outings. Spend time outdoors and encourage them to do the same.

This may feel like it is adding a lot to your plate, but try to remember it is in your best interest too, in order to have a healthy partner.

3. Let them talk

If they aren’t talking to you, make sure they have someone they can and are talking to. If they want to talk to you, LET THEM! I never understand when I hear a spouse say they don't want to or can’t hear about something their officer experienced at work. If they want to share it with you, LISTEN. I know it can be traumatizing to hear, but it is your obligation as their partner. You need to be willing to share their burdens.

4. Turn off social media and avoid the news

This age of keyboard warriors has added a challenging dimension to critical incidents. Everyone has an opinion and thinks they are a professional photographer or videographer, and the media tends to be slanted against law enforcement. Have someone you trust who is further removed monitor media and report back anything important. For example, if an officer’s name or any other identifying information is released, or a pertinent video is released.

5. Maintain a low-stress environment at home

If you need meals, ask for help or get takeout. Keep things clutter-free and minimize unnecessary distractions and unnecessary company in the home. (Having other officers or support people in the home is an exception and can be very helpful.)

Many officers can experience normal life in a very exaggerated or amplified manner after a critical incident. Normal everyday stressors can be unbearable and even things that went unnoticed before can become overwhelming. This is normal and temporary. If this continues without improvement for longer than a month, or if you feel like it is becoming unhealthy, seek outside assistance.

6. Take care of yourself

Experiencing your own secondary stress following a critical incident is common. Trying to provide support while you yourself are experiencing anxiety can be taxing. Know your limits. If you have the opportunity to talk to other spouses who have been through this, do it, it is invaluable. If you don't, or it’s not enough, seek outside counseling. Many departments have programs that allow spouses to receive professional counseling.

It’s normal to be fearful of the officer going back to work after a critical incident, but try to fight the urge to ask them not to. Of course if there is some flexibility as to when they can return, you should discuss it and try to come to a mutual agreement. Explaining that you feel like you need them home longer to ease your own anxiety may be helpful, as many officers feel the need to return to work as quickly as possible.

7. Recognize this is a season

The severity of critical incident stress decreases over time. How much time exactly varies by person and circumstances, but generally speaking, there should be marked improvement during the first four weeks following the incident. Realize that these are often life-changing events and work toward finding normal again, even if it is a new normal. Realize that investigations, media interest, and any lawsuits or legal matters all have end dates. It won't last forever.

Keep in mind that the mental clarity and emotions of both the officer and their spouse tend to take a hit during this season. It is best to avoid making any life-altering decisions or changes in the time immediately following critical incident stress. Waiting one to six months would be a good place to start.

Taking some practical steps following a critical incident can give law enforcement officers and their loved ones a sense of control over what can seem like a chaotic situation. As a broader family, we must work toward furthering peer support, both inside agencies and within the greater law enforcement family community.

About the Author Michelle Moon is a teacher turned stay-at-home mom who is married to her high school sweetheart who is a police officer.


Categories: Law Enforcement

P1 Photo of the Week: Taking the pledge

Fri, 04/20/2018 - 06:00

Author: PoliceOne Members

This week's photo comes from Jesica Lopez-Huskey of the University of Kentucky Police Department. This photo shows Officer Michael Culver holding Riley the puppy at the University of Kentucky. The department participated in the It’s On Us pledge, which encourages members of the university community to be part of the solution in ending sexual assault and creating a supportive environment for survivors. Members of the department signed their names (and pretended like the puppy signed it too).

Calling all police photographers! PoliceOne needs pictures of you in action or training. Submit a photo — it could be selected as our Photo of the Week! Be sure to include your name, department information and address (including city, state and ZIP code) where we can reach you — Photo of the Week winners have a chance to win a PoliceOne.com T-shirt!


Categories: Law Enforcement

Policing Matters Podcast: Should drug dealers get the death penalty?

Fri, 04/20/2018 - 01:47
Author: Jim Dudley and Doug Wyllie

<!--cke_bookmark_384S--><!--cke_bookmark_384E-->

Download this week's episode on iTunes, SoundCloud or via RSS feed

United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently issued a one-page memo calling for death penalty for drug dealers when it is “appropriate.” Sessions asked prosecutors to seek the death penalty for drug-related offenses as part of an effort to combat the opioid crisis. The memo said, in part, “Drug traffickers, transnational criminal organizations, and violent street gangs all contribute substantially to this scourge. To combat this deadly epidemic, federal prosecutors must consider every lawful tool at their disposal.” According to a Quinnipiac University poll taken just days after the release of the memo, 71 percent of Americans queried on the subject oppose such a policy. In this podcast segment, Jim and Doug discuss whether or not such a policy targeting “large-scale drug dealers” might become a judicial quagmire.


Categories: Law Enforcement

Shooter fires through restaurant window, kills 2 Fla. deputies

Thu, 04/19/2018 - 17:36

Associated Press

TRENTON, Fla. — Authorities say someone fired through the window of a restaurant and fatally shot two Florida deputies.

The Alachua County Sheriff's Office released a statement on behalf of the sheriff in neighboring Gilchrist County saying the two Gilchrist County sheriff's deputies were killed Thursday afternoon in Trenton.

The release says the deputies were at the Ace China restaurant when the shooter walked up to the building and fired at them through a window. Fellow deputies responding to the scene found the shooter dead outside the business.

The release doesn't say how the suspect died. Authorities say there's no apparent motive for the shooting.

The names of the deputies and shooter weren't immediately released.

Trenton is in northern Florida, about 35 miles west of Gainesville.

(function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = 'https://connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.12'; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ON BEHALF SHERIFF BOBBY SCHULTZ AND THE GILCHRIST COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE: At approximately...

Posted by Gilchrist County Sheriff's Office on Thursday, April 19, 2018

Terrible news today from Gilchrist County. Our deepest condolences go out to the two Gilchrist County officers shot and killed in the line of duty this afternoon. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the deputies as well as the GCSO Sheriff’s Office. pic.twitter.com/jM7ayZWQeD

— Pasco Sheriff (@PascoSheriff) April 19, 2018

UPDATE:Police say 2 Gilchrist Co. Deputies were eating inside Ace China and were shot, killed through the window. Suspect found dead outside pic.twitter.com/cqUomKcfVH

— Katrina Boonzaier (@katrinaboonz) April 19, 2018


Categories: Law Enforcement

Pages