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Former Nebraska Trooper Charged with Homicide Over Pursuit Crash

Thu, 02/22/2018 - 17:56

A special prosecutor Wednesday charged a former Nebraska state trooper with two misdemeanors for his part in a pursuit that led to a deadly crash.

Timothy "Tim" Flick could get up to two years in jail if convicted of motor vehicle homicide and making a false statement under oath. He also is charged with careless driving, an infraction, the Journal Star reports.

Flick was fired from the patrol in connection to what happened, according to the State Troopers Association of Nebraska.

According to the State Patrol, on Oct. 3, 2016, Flick was involved in the pursuit of a car that had run a stop sign on a county road north of Gordon in Sheridan County. His patrol car intercepted the vehicle, which crashed into a ditch and rolled. The driver, Antoine L. Ladeaux, 32, of Pine Ridge, South Dakota, was ejected and died at the scene.

A grand jury found no wrongdoing by Flick. But District Judge Travis O'Gorman later appointed former U.S. Attorney for Nebraska Joe Stecher to look into any potential criminal wrongdoing regarding what happened and the investigation that followed.

 

 

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Time Lag on School's Video Misled Broward County Responders into Believing Shooter was Still on Scene

Thu, 02/22/2018 - 16:23

Nearly a half-hour after Nikolas Cruz dropped his rifle and fled Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, police thought they were seeing him live on security cameras, still in the building. They were actually seeing images tape-delayed.

The Broward School District’s security cameras did not show real-time video for police, complicating their efforts to track and pin down the shooter, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports.

“They are monitoring the subject right now. He went from the third floor to the second floor, the third to the second floor … They’re monitoring him on camera,” an officer said on radio transmissions recorded by Broadcastify, an audio streaming website, at 2:54 p.m. In fact, Cruz was already long gone — he had escaped the school’s freshman building 26 minutes earlier and was sitting at a McDonald’s a mile away, a timeline released by the Broward Sheriff’s Office shows.

The video images were “delayed 20 minutes and nobody told us that,” said Coral Springs Police Chief Tony Pustizzi.

 

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Parkland High SRO Resigns Under Investigation for Failing to Engage Shooter

Thu, 02/22/2018 - 16:23

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The Broward County (FL) Sheriff's deputy assigned to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School resigned Thursday, under investigation for failing to enter the building as a gunman opened fire and killed 17 people.

Sheriff Scott Israel said Deputy Scot Peterson should have “went in. Addressed the killer. Killed the killer.”

Peterson has been a school resource officer at Stoneman Douglas since 2009. He began working for the sheriff’s office in 1985. The Sheriff’s Office released documents Thursday showing that Peterson was put under an internal investigation the day before. Israel said that Peterson was suspended without pay.

The agency also announced that it was placing two officers on a restricted assignment while a separate internal investigation took place, the Sun Sentinel reports.

 

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Broward County Deputies Guarding Schools to Carry Rifles

Thu, 02/22/2018 - 16:23

Deputies guarding schools in Broward County will carry rifles, including AR-15s, under an order issued Wednesday by Broward Sheriff Scott Israel.

Israel said the order applies only to deputies qualified on rifles and has the support of Broward schools Superintendent Robert Runcie after the Parkland school shooting.

“This morning I implemented a practice in the Broward Sheriff’s Office and spoke to Mr. Runcie who was fully supportive of my decision that our deputies who are qualified and trained would be carrying rifles on school grounds from this point forward,” Israel said at a news conference at BSO headquarters in Fort Lauderdale.

The Broward County Chiefs of Police Association agreed Wednesday morning to ask the school district to allow officers to keep rifles locked in school offices during the day and take them home at night.

Several police departments have asked the school district to allow that for years, said Margate Chief Dana Watson, vice president of the chiefs’ group.

The School District’s spokespeople did not respond to questions Wednesday about why the prior requests from law enforcement were denied, the Sun Sentinel.

 

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Law Enforcement Now Nation's Most Dangerous Profession, Medical Journal Says

Thu, 02/22/2018 - 16:23

An estimated 669,100 law enforcement officers were treated in emergency departments across the nation for nonfatal injuries between 2003 and 2014, according to a study by researchers at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

Law enforcement officers have historically high rates of fatal and nonfatal injuries. The new research shows that officers are three times more likely to sustain a nonfatal injury than all other U.S. workers, Insurance Journal reports.

The study, Nonfatal Injuries to Law Enforcement Officers: A Rise in Assaults, which is the first to examine nonfatal injuries among officers on a national scale, was published online this month in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. It is also the first to capture nonfatal injuries sustained from assaults and unintentional injuries such as accidental falls or motor vehicle crashes.

The study researchers, whose aim was to provide national estimates and trends of nonfatal injuries to law enforcement officers from 2003 – 2014, found the following:

* The law enforcement officer nonfatal injury trend increased across the 12-year period studied; this is in contrast with the trend for all other U.S. workers which significantly decreased.

* Assault-related injury rates significantly increased almost 10 percent annually from 2003 to 2011.

* The three leading reasons for on-duty injuries were assaults and violent acts (36%), bodily reactions and exertion from running or other repetitive motions (15%), and transportation incidents (14%).

 

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Florida, Other States Consider Arming Teachers

Thu, 02/22/2018 - 16:23

In the aftermath of the Parkland High School shooting, President Donald Trump says that if one of the victims, a football coach, had been armed "he would have shot [the gunman] and that would have been the end of it."

Revisiting an idea he raised in his campaign, Trump's comments in favor of allowing teachers to be armed come as lawmakers in several states are wrestling with the idea, including in Florida, where 17 school shooting victims are being mourned.

Florida Republican Sen. Greg Steube said gun-free zones like schools are easy targets and has proposed allowing specially trained educators with military or law enforcement backgrounds to be armed.

Similar discussions have taken place in Kentucky, Colorado, North Carolina and Alabama in recent days and Wisconsin's attorney general said he's open to the idea, AL.com reports.

 

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Broward County Deputies Criticized for Response to School Shooter

Thu, 02/22/2018 - 16:23

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The Broward County sheriff on Wednesday defended his office's response to one of the deadliest school shootings in American history amid questions over whether some of his deputies hung back instead of pursuing the gunman accused of killing 17 people.

Sheriff Scott Israel said that, to his knowledge, deputies followed protocol and did not wait for specialized teams to arrive before going into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. But he said that details over the office's response remained unclear.

"That's exactly what we're examining," Sheriff Israel told the New York Times, noting that active shooter protocols require confronting suspects as quickly as possible. "You don't wait for SWAT, you get in, and you push toward the shooter."

The sheriff's response comes a week after Nikolas Cruz was accused of opening fire at his former school with a semiautomatic AR-15 rifle and as parents, students and school administrators continue to struggle to make sense of what happened.

After the attack, Mr. Cruz slipped away on foot seven minutes after the gunfire began and was ultimately stopped by an officer from a neighboring police department.

 

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Trump Berates California, Threatens to Pull Federal Immigration Agents

Thu, 02/22/2018 - 14:05

President Trump on Thursday lambasted California officials for how they are dealing with gangs and threatened to pull immigration and border agents out of the state to show just how bad things would be without federal help, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Federal agents are working to defeat gangs like MS-13, the president said, but the gang members "come in, they're smart, they actually have franchises going to Los Angeles. No help from the state of California."

He continued: "I mean, frankly, if I wanted to pull our people from California, you would have a crime mess like you've never seen in California." Referring to the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, Trump added, "All I'd have to do is to say 'ICE and Border Patrol, let California alone.'"

Of California he said, "They're doing a lousy management job, they have the highest taxes in the nation and they don't know what's happening out there."

There is no evidence that the White House actually has plans to penalize California as the president described. Trump made the remarks as an aside in a listening session he hosted with state and local officials who have dealt with school shootings. He did not directly link the gangs to school shootings or explain his objections to how California officials are dealing with them.

 

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LAPD Draft Policy Calls for Quick Release of Body Camera Videos

Wed, 02/21/2018 - 15:11

In a move once staunchly resisted by Chief Charlie Beck and the officers’ union, the Los Angeles Police Commission has introduced a draft policy that would allow the release of video of critical incidents such as shootings that were recorded on officers' body-worn cameras. 

Until now, the LAPD had a policy that prohibited the release of such video.

Under the proposed plan, the LAPD would also begin to release some video shot by cameras in patrol cars and on drones – and video collected from private security cameras and bystanders.

Last year, former Commission president, Matt Johnson, initiated a review of the policy as pressure grew to release body camera footage. That pressure in part resulted from an increasing number of bystander videos showing officers shooting people and the outcry those videos produced.

“Not releasing that video – ever – really hurt the trust with the community,” Johnson told KPCC.

 

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Newspaper Declares Baltimore Nation's Most Dangerous City

Wed, 02/21/2018 - 15:11

The collective homicide toll for America’s 50 biggest cities dipped slightly in 2017, a USA TODAY analysis of crime data found. 

The FBI won’t publish its annual comprehensive crime report until later this year, but an early review of police department crime data shows that killings decreased by at least 1% in large jurisdictions compared with 2016.

There were 5,738 homicides in the nation’s 50 biggest cities in 2017 compared with 5,863 homicides in 2016, a roughly 2.3% reduction.

The national decrease in killings in 2017 was largely driven by double-digit percentage dips in some of the nation’s biggest cities, including Chicago (14.7%), New York City (13.4%) and Houston (11%). In fact, the New York Police Department reported that its annual murder tally fell below 300 for the first time and the city notched its lowest per capita murder rate in nearly 70 years.

Baltimore is the big city with the highest per capita murder rate in the nation, with nearly 56 murders per 100,000 people. At 343 murders in 2017, the city tallied the highest per capita rate in its history. Columbus tallied 143 murders — 37 more than 2016 and the most the city has seen in a single year.

 

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Non-Sworn Assistants Help Phoenix Police Stretch Patrol Resources

Wed, 02/21/2018 - 15:11

A group of new Phoenix police assistants are working the city's streets in marked vehicles and uniforms, responding to a variety of calls in an effort to free up patrol officers for more urgent matters.

The 16 civilian assistants, who graduated in November, are driving in marked vehicles wearing a uniform, but are not sworn police officers, Phoenix police officials said.

Phoenix Police Sgt. Jonathan Howard said police assistants have been used to help officers in the past, and they will be recognized by their vehicles and uniforms, that differ from police officers.

Police assistants respond to calls such as to file reports for car accidents, thefts, burglaries or criminal damage that do not involve a suspect at a scene or another potentially dangerous situation.

The assistants are not police officers and are not trained to carry a gun or use force. They can file reports and even take fingerprints, AZCentral reports.

 

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Following Up on School Shooting Threat, California Deputies Find Guns in Student's Home

Wed, 02/21/2018 - 15:11

Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies seized rifles, handguns, ammunition and dozens of "high-capacity" magazines from the Norwalk home of a student at El Camino High School in south Whittier last week after a resource officer overheard the teenager threatening to shoot up the school.

The student, who remains unnamed because he is a minor, was arrested by deputies on suspicion of making criminal threats on Friday, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell.

Also arrested was one of his older brothers, 28-year-old Daniel Eriberto Barcenas, a U.S. Army veteran — deputies said the brother told them the weapons belonged to him. Barcenas was arrested on multiple weapons charges, including possession of an "assault rifle" and failure to register a firearm, the Whittier Daily News.

A resource officer for the Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District first heard the threat, according to Robert Jacobsen, an attorney for the district. He said the officer, Marino Chavez, told district officials he heard the student talking about shooting up the school “sometime in the next three weeks.”

When deputies arrived at the home Friday they found two AR-15 rifles, two handguns and 90 high-capacity ammunition magazines, the sheriff said.

 

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Video: Houston K-9 Put Down After Injuring Leg Chasing Suspect

Wed, 02/21/2018 - 15:11

VIDEO: Houston K-9 Put Down After Injuring Leg Chasing Suspect

A Houston Police K-9 was injured Tuesday night chasing a suspect and had to be euthanized.

Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo told ABC13 it all started when officers tried to pull over a stolen car around 1 a.m. That led to a chase that ended with the suspect running into a wooded area.

The K-9, Rony, was deployed to pursue the suspect and seriously injured his leg after he got stuck on a log or some other type of wooden object.

"Essentially, what happened was, his elbow shattered so there were breaks in multiple different places," said veterinarian Dr. Laura Ron with Vergi Animal Emergency Hospital where the decision was made to put Rony down.

Dr. Ron said prior to this injury, Rony had suffered previous injuries and he had bad arthritis in his other three legs, which left her with no treatment options.

"Amputating his leg would not be fair because that puts a lot more weight on his remaining legs that would make them fail and they're already on a lot of medications so even though it was the most horrendous of options, it was the most fair for the dog," said Dr. Ron.

 

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U.S. Park Police Officer Accidentally Shot While Serving Warrant

Wed, 02/21/2018 - 15:11

Authorities say a U.S. Park Police officer was taken to the hospital after he was accidentally shot while executing a search warrant in Northwest D.C. Wednesday morning.

D.C. Police said the officer was taken to MedStar Washington Hospital Center after he was shot in the lower extremities. Park Police said the incident happened because "a Park Police Officer’s firearm was unintentionally discharged."

Police told WJLA TV the officer is currently at the hospital in stable condition.

 

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Maryland Officer Killed While Trying to Protect Victim at Domestic

Wed, 02/21/2018 - 15:11

A Prince George's County, MD, police officer was shot and killed in Brandywine on Wednesday morning while trying to protect a woman at a domestic. The suspect was later killed by police.

Cpl. Mujahid Ramzziddin was a 14-year veteran of the force and a father of four children, Fox 5 reports.

The suspect, who had a protective order against him, reportedly used a shotgun to kill the officer, who was not in uniform. The Officer Down Memorial Page reports Ramzziddin lived near the home where the incident occurred and was off duty at the time he was killed.

The suspect took the officer's gun and then led police on a chase that concluded in the area of Route 210 and Old Fort Road. Police shot and killed the suspect.

 

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Alabama Officer Killed by Murder Suspect, Suspect Found Dead After Barricade

Wed, 02/21/2018 - 05:07

A Mobile, AL, police officer was shot late Tuesday evening and rushed to the University of South Alabama Medical Center where he died.

Officer Justin Billa was shot and mortally wounded by a murder suspect at a residence. The suspect identified as Robert Hollie is dead following a barricade incident. It is unknown if he committed suicide or was killed by responding officers. 

WKRG TV reports SWAT teams arrived on the scene around 12:30 a.m. Wednesday. The barricade situation ended around 2:45 a.m.

The shooting suspect is also connected to a woman's body found Tuesday evening on West Ridge Road, according to an email sent to city officials by the Mobile Police Department.

Officer Billa worked in the Third Precinct and had been an officer since January 2016. He was named officer of the month in June 2016.

 

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President Trump Directs Justice Department to Ban Bump Stocks

Tue, 02/20/2018 - 17:56

President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he has signed a memo directing the Justice Department to propose regulations to "ban all devices" like the rapid-fire bump stocks involved in last year's Las Vegas massacre, reports the Associated Press.

Seeking to show action days after a deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida, Trump spoke during a White House ceremony recognizing bravery by the nation's public safety officers.

"We must move past clichés and tired debates and focus on evidence based solutions and security measures that actually work," Trump said.

 

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Louisville Plans to Use Drones to Respond to Gunshots

Tue, 02/20/2018 - 16:59

Louisville, KY, is vying to become probably the first city in the country to use autonomous drones to respond to the sound of gunfire, reports Government Technology.

The city has applied for a special program the Federal Aviation Administration is running, where it will give a handful of cities temporary permission to get around long-standing drone rules in order to run pilot projects. Those rules, which operators typically have to get individual waivers to get around, include flying drones outside the operator's line of sight, flying at night, and flying above people.

All of those rules would make it pretty difficult for a city to do what Louisville wants to do. The city has ShotSpotter sensors spread throughout its urban fabric, listening for gunshots. When such a noise is picked up, and interpreted by ShotSpotter's analysts to be gunfire and not a similar sound, a notification is sent to police who can respond to the scene.

Louisville wants to try out the concept of sending self-routing drones to fly to the scene first. That could bring about several possible benefits: Since they're airborne, drones would likely be able to arrive on scene faster than a police officer. With an aerial view, they could capture video evidence to help authorities find the person who fired the weapon. And in the case of a false alarm — there have been reports of sensors interpreting fireworks and backfiring cars as gunshots — the drones might be able to keep an officer from responding to nothing.

The FAA is expected to announce in May which pilot projects it will approve.

 

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Video: Loaded Handgun Found Inside Georgia Jail

Tue, 02/20/2018 - 16:48

VIDEO: Loaded Handgun Found Inside Georgia Jail

Authorities are investigating after a loaded gun was found at the Bibb County Jail in Georgia.

Last Wednesday afternoon, a husband of a female inmate contacted the jail staff after his wife told him there could possibly be a gun inside the female section of the jail. Corrections deputies later found a small .22 caliber handgun, which was loaded with one bullet.

According to the Bibb County Sheriff's Office, a female inmate reportedly hid the weapon inside her "body cavity" as she was processed into the jail, reports WAGA-TV. Then, the weapon was found inside the personal belongings assigned to another inmate. Authorities are seeking warrants on both inmates.

 

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Suspect Bites LAPD Officers Multiple Times

Tue, 02/20/2018 - 16:35

Two Los Angeles Police Department officers were bitten several times Monday night by a 30-year-old man who had triggered a cash register alarm at an AT&T store in Tarzana, CA, police said.

Officers from the West Valley Division responded to an alarm at the store around 7:15 p.m., said LAPD Officer Tony Im. It's unclear what the man was doing in the store, Im said.

While interviewing the man, the officers got into a physical altercation with the suspect, Im said. Both officers suffered multiple bites from the man during the struggle. The officers then used a TASER to subdue him, reports the Los Angeles Daily News.

Both officers went to Providence Tarzana Medical Center for treatment of their bite wounds, according to Im.

"At the very least I would expect he would face assault with a deadly weapon — his mouth — on the officers," Im said.

 

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