Showing posts with label Police. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Police. Show all posts

November 19, 2018

Di Blasio Fires Police Investigations Chief (He Got Weinstein) Over Abuse of Power


                               Image result for Chief Mark Peters,

 
Mayor Bill de Blasio on Friday took the extraordinary step of firing his embattled investigations commissioner, Mark G. Peters, the culmination of a fierce rivalry between the two powerful men.
It was a rare and consequential action by a mayor to remove an investigations commissioner: The position is understood to come with a large degree of independence that allows impartial scrutiny of all areas of government, including the executive branch.
But the relationship between Mr. Peters and the mayor had severely deteriorated over time, and the last straw was an independent investigator’s report that found that Mr. Peters had abused his powerand mistreated underlings, and said that he was “cavalier with the truth.”
Mr. de Blasio will name Margaret Garnett, the state’s executive deputy attorney general for criminal justice and a former federal prosecutor, to replace Mr. Peters at the Department of Investigation. Her appointment must be approved by the City Council.
Mr. Peters had produced numerous investigative reports that exposed significant failings in city agencies that were highly embarrassing to Mr. de Blasio, including lapses in performing lead paint inspections at the New York City Housing Authority, and the lifting of deed restrictions on a Lower East Side nursing home that permitted its sale to a developer of luxury condominiums.
Mr. de Blasio on Friday said those investigations did not influence his decision.
“D.O.I. is meant to be critical of city agencies,” Mr. de Blasio said at a news conference, before delineating the “mistakes and abuses of power” detailed in the independent report on Mr. Peters. “The D.O.I. commissioner is supposed to be the most pristine of all.”
Mr. de Blasio said that he was not influenced by any continuing investigations. Mr. Peters had begun an investigation into whether City Hall sought to influence a review of the educational quality at some Jewish religious schools.
He also said, however, that he regretted hiring Mr. Peters in the first place.
Mr. Peters said in a brief statement that he would issue a fuller written response to his firing in coming days. He said that under his direction the department “exposed corruption and misconduct and forced serious systematic reforms in multiple agencies.”
But in an email to his staff sent about two hours after he was fired, Mr. Peters suggested that the mayor fired him to prevent him from carrying out investigations.
He wrote that he did not want his staff to take the firing as a defeat, “but rather as proof that the excellent work you do makes a difference — indeed, so much of a difference that “it appears the mayor felt compelled to act.”
The City Charter says the mayor has the power to remove the investigation commissioner, as long as he gives an accounting of his reasons for the firing and allows the commissioner “an opportunity of making a public explanation.”
The mayor prepared a one-page written statement that cited the independent investigator’s conclusions, including that Mr. Peters had conducted himself “in a manner indicating a lack of concern for following the law,” had made “deliberately misleading statements” in testimony before the City Council, and had engaged in “intimidating and abusive behavior.”
Margaret GarnettCreditNYC Mayor’s Office
Image
Margaret GarnettCreditNYC Mayor’s Office


It said Mr. Peters’s removal would take effect after three business days, a period ending Wednesday that is apparently intended to allow time for Mr. Peters to make the public explanation mentioned in the City Charter.
Mr. Peters fell far and hard. A longtime friend of the mayor, he served as the treasurer for Mr. de Blasio’s 2013 mayoral campaign. When Mr. de Blasio appointed him as the commissioner of the Department of Investigation, the choice was greeted with skepticism, with critics asking whether someone so close to the mayor would be independent enough to pursue investigations into the administration.
Mr. Peters ultimately quieted those critics with a series of hard-nosed reports, such as the exposure of failings at the housing authority and a recent report highly critical of the Police Department’s sex crimes unit.
Mr. de Blasio often took issue with the findings and defended agency heads who came under Mr. Peters’s scrutiny.
But Mr. Peters finally overreached: Earlier this year, he staged a takeover of an independent office that conducts investigations of the school system. When the head of the office, Anastasia C. Coleman, resisted the takeover, Mr. Peters fired her.
She then filed a whistle-blower complaint, which led to the appointment of an independent investigator: James G. McGovern, a former federal prosecutor.
Mr. de Blasio had considered firing Mr. Peters at the time but decided against it; city officials seemed leery of the possible backlash over firing an investigator who had taken a critical look at the mayor’s governance.
The McGovern report, which was completed in early October, finally gave the mayor the impetus and evidence to force Mr. Peters out.
The City Council was a strong ally of Mr. Peters in his clashes with the mayor’s office, especially under the current Council speaker, Corey Johnson. But the whistle-blower report undermined that support, including the allegations that Mr. Peters had misled the Council.
Mr. Johnson provided a statement on Friday that credited Mr. Peters for exposing “significant issues” at the housing authority and in other agencies, but said “the McGovern report raised questions about his ability to continue in his role.”
But the chairman of the Council’s committee on oversight and investigations, Ritchie Torres, praised Mr. Peters for his independence, adding that he “strongly disagreed” with the firing.
Mr. de Blasio, in a statement released after the dismissal, thanked Mr. Peters for his service but saved his praise for Ms. Garnett.
“Margaret has spent decades protecting the public’s interest, prosecuting criminals both inside and outside of government,” he said.


August 12, 2017

A Glass Cam Makes You Be The Officer Being Shot Multiple Times





While you watch the video from Officer's Quincy (Amazon bought) glass cam, you will feel like you are a witness to another killing of a police officer. You might even feel you are Quincy. We've seen videos of shooting suspects or people who should have not been shot by cops, here you see a good police officer doing his job and getting shot a few times for it. Your heart will shake and you will wonder where is that damn ambulance and back up? Are they going to let him die? You hear Officer Quincey's voice throught the ordeal. He knows he is badly hurt. You also have a good samaritan that comes to give him support in what looked like it could be the few minutes left on the officer's life.

Officer Quincy Smith was responding to a call on New Year's Day 2016 about someone trying to snatch groceries from customers. Smith spotted Orr walking from the store while holding his cellphone to his ear and ordered him to stop. Smith threatened to use his Taser if Orr didn't remove his other hand from his pocket.
Orr pulled out a 9 mm handgun and fired eight times.
Smith scrambled back to his patrol car and radioed for help as Orr fled.
"Tell my family that I love them," Smith told a dispatcher.
Bullets broke two bones in Smith's arm, severed a vein in his neck, and passed through his upper torso.
29-year-old Malcolm Orr of Estill guilty of attempted murder and possessing a weapon during a violent crime. Orr received the maximum sentence for each charge. only took the jury 45 minutes to convict 29-year-old Malcolm Orr of Estill guilty of attempted murder and possessing a weapon during a violent crime. Orr received the maximum sentence for each charge. He received a 35 yr sentence.

Source CBS. 
This event occurred 2017 New Year's day 

April 8, 2017

Fed.Judge Ignores Sessions-Approves Balti.Justice Agreement




 What trump is done to equal justice with this old fashioned homophobe, can not be forgiven


 
Despite the opposition of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a federal judge in Baltimore on Friday locked in place a consent decree between the city's police force and the Department of Justice. While local officials cheered the order, which seeks to reform the troubled Baltimore Police Department after the Obama Justice Department found widespread unconstitutional and discriminatory practices, Sessions issued a blistering statement predicting that crime would rise as a result.

"I have grave concerns that some provisions of this decree will reduce the lawful powers of the police department and result in a less safe city," Sessions said. "Make no mistake, Baltimore is facing a violent crime crisis."

The Justice Department opened an investigation into the Baltimore Police Department in 2014 after the Baltimore Sun revealed that the city had paid out millions in more than 100 civil suits alleging police misconduct and brutality. That investigation expanded the following year after the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody. 


Under Sessions, the Department of Justice has begun to walk back its commitment to federal oversight of police departments with discriminatory patterns or practices, a priority of the Obama administration. Earlier this week, Sessions ordered a review of all consent decrees between police departments and the Justice Department. Department lawyers asked the US district court in Baltimore to put off approving the consent decree for at least 30 days so the new administration could review it.  

But in his opinion Friday, US District Judge James Bredar said the time for reviewing the agreement had passed. "The case is no longer in a phase where any party is unilaterally entitled to reconsider the terms of the settlement; the parties are bound to each other by their prior agreement," Bredar wrote. "The time for negotiating the agreement is over. The only question now is whether the Court needs more time to consider the proposed decree. It does not." The 227-page consent decree, which places new rules and limits on how officers can interact with the public and mandates training in de-escalation tactics, among other areas of training, will take effect immediately.

Sessions' statement suggests he is wary of the comprehensive oversight of the city's police department mandated by the decree. He even appeared to question the allocation of resources for what he described as a "highly paid monitor," who will ensure the decree's provisions are met. This puts Sessions at odds with the Baltimore Police Commissioner and the city's mayor, both of whom are highly supportive of the consent decree and spoke out against a possible delay in implementing it. The decree "will support and, in fact, accelerate many needed reforms in the areas of training, technology, and internal accountability systems," Commissioner Kevin Davis said in a statement Friday. Despite Sessions fears, as Mother Jones previously reported, a recent study by police reform expert Samuel Walker at the University of Nebraska in Omaha found that consent decrees are largely effective in achieving long-term reforms.

Sessions claimed the agreement had been hastily put together in the final days of the Obama administration—and indeed it was finalized shortly before President Donald Trump was inaugurated. The Justice Department had issued its final report last summer, but Baltimore officials reportedly hurried the final agreement after Trump's election. This ultimately prevented Sessions from halting its progress.

September 16, 2016

People Killed by Police in US by Race Since 2015


Interactive
[File photo]



Police in Columbus, Ohio, were investigating how a 13-year-old boy wanted for questioning Wednesday night in an armed robbery ended up fatally shot by an officer.

The child — later identified by Columbus police as Tyre King — had "pulled a gun from his waistband" when officers attempted to take him and another male into custody, the Columbus Division of Police said in a statement. As the encounter unfolded, an officer shot King "multiple times."

The weapon recovered from the scene was determined to be a BB gun with an attached laser sight, Columbus Police Chief Kim Jacobs said at a news conference Thursday morning. She showed a replica image of that BB gun.

"Our officers carry a gun that looks practically identical to this weapon," said Jacobs, adding, "It turns out not to be a firearm, but as you can see, it looks like a firearm that can kill you."



September 6, 2016

Wilton Manors Threatening Gay Hater Caught










Wilton Manors residents can kick back and relax this Labor Day knowing a potential threat to their community has been placed behind bars.

On Saturday, a man accused of making social media threats of violence toward members of Wilton Manors’ gay community was arrested and taken into federal custody on an unrelated charge.

According to police, Florida Highway Patrol troopers took 50-year-old Craig Jungwirth into custody in Osceola County after he was found driving with a suspended license. A Broward County judge had issued an arrest warrant for him for allegedly violating bond in a pending misdemeanor case.

“Mr. Jungwirth has been apprehended. He’s currently in custody,” said Wilton Manors Police Cmdr. Gary Blocker.

Police said Jungwirth lives with his mother in Orlando, which is 200 miles from Wilton Manors, but his Facebook posts rattled the community up until his arrest.

The former Wilton Manors resident’s arrest brought relief to those who live and work in the neighborhood. “I wasn’t going to let him ruin my holiday,” said Wilton Manors resident James Greaves. “So now, since he’s arrested, that makes it so much better.”

“This is a guy with nothing to lose,” said Nick Berry, owner of Rumors Bar and Grill, “and well known to have guns, so it was definitely a credible treat.”

Police said Jungwirth became a top priority after he posted threatening messages on a Facebook account aimed at gay residents in the community, last Tuesday.

However, he has not been charged in connection with those threats.

Multiple nightclub and bar owners, as well as employees told 7News they have had run-ins with Jungwirth in the past.

“We were actually concerned he would show up again,” said Rumors Bar and Grill employee Joshua Weigand. “I absolutely feel relieved. We weren’t really sure what was going to happen.”

Ever since Jungwirth’s threats surfaced online, Rumors Bar and Grill has been taking extra precautions. “We hired extra security. Nick, the owner, actually hired armed guards over the weekend because the fact that it could be a real threat was upsetting.”

One of the epithet-riddled posts in Jungwirth’s Facebook page even references the June 12 mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando.


Police said Jungwirth has advertised himself as an area event and party planner. He is accused of writing, “My events are selling out cause you [gay slur] are total patsies. None of you deserve to live. If you losers thought the Pulse nightclub shooting was bad, wait ’till you see what I’m planning for Labor Day.”

Another post read, “You can never catch a genius from MIT, and since you [gay slur] aren’t dying from AIDS anymore, I have a better solution to exterminate you losers.”

A third post reads, “I’m gonna be killing you [gay slur] faster than cops kill [racial slur]. Its time to clean up Wilton Manors from all you AIDS infested losers.”

“That Orlando thing affected all of us all pretty, pretty hard,” said Wilton Manors resident Gareth Chapman.

Blocker said the Wilton Manors Police has been working with the residents. “Immediately we’ve been communicating what we could with members of our community,” he said. “We beefed up patrols, we’ve beefed up Special Operations. We also met on Friday, door-to-door, with our local businesses.”

“[We are doing this] to provide them information on Jungwirth, information about the concerning posts and to let them know that we were going to be out there for them over this holiday weekend,” said Blocker. “We want to thank the members of our community who took the ‘See Something, Say Something’ initiative and reached out to us.”

Acquaintances told 7News Jungwirth is openly gay. He has denied writing those posts, even though he didn’t even read them when authorities asked him.

Jeff Scott, a security guard at Rumors Bar and Grill, understands the possibility of a tragedy. “I think he’s really capable of anything, from what I’ve experienced from the past,” he said. “I don’t understand where that comes from because he is gay, but he’s obviously got a lot of anger, hatred.”

The bar has a case pending against Jungwirth who they claim was caught on camera vandalizing the business with spray paint after he was angered over a pulled sponsorship in May of 2016.

The latest arrest warrant also reveals past complaints on file for stalking and harassment as well as incidents of sabotage and trespassing.

The FBI has taken over his case, and according to a federal complaint, he has been reported to the police before. The federal complaint stated, “multiple complaints for stalking and harassing behavior were documented, as well as incidents of sabotage, vandalism, and trespassing.”

The federal complaint goes on to detail an interview with one of the individuals who contacted Wilton Manors Police regarding the Facebook posts. The complainant stated they have filed multiple reports against Jungwirth. One of them resulted in a restraining order against him.

According to the federal complaint, the complainant also told officials in the past several months, Jungwirth sent them thousands of threatening text messages, Facebook messages and phone calls, many times with Jungwirth stating, “I’m going to get you.”

“There is something wrong with him inside,” Berry said.

With Jungwirth’s arrest, Wilton Manors residents felt free to enjoy Labor Day weekend without the added security concerns. “Wilton Manors doesn’t have to be in fear anymore,” said local resident Robin Almodobar.

Although Jungwirth is in custody, the investigation into his posts continues. “The word conclusion is obviously not correct because there is so much more we have to do,” said Wilton Manors Police Department Chief Paul O’Connell.

Jungwirth is expected to appear in federal court in Orlando on Tuesday.

7[wsvn.com]


July 11, 2016

Does the Killing of 5 Police Officers Signals Spiraling Violence? The numbers!




                                                                        




The shooting of 12 police officers in Dallas on Thursday suggests spiraling violence: The cops were shot during a protest against the shooting of black men by police. A vicious circle of retribution would be something new for the U.S. where, unlike in other developed countries, killings by police far outnumber officer deaths in the line of duty.

The point that police kill more people in the U.S. than in European countries has often been made. It's intuitively understandable: American cops have to deal with armed criminals more often because guns are more widely available, and the dominant culture is pro-gun, so people have less of a problem using weapons. For all that, however, relatively few officers get killed.

Federal Bureau of Investigation statistics of "justifiable homicide" by law enforcement officers indicate that in 2010-14, the average number of fatal shootings by police was 428 per year (the number has been hovering around 400 for much longer than that). Also according to the FBI, about 50 officers per year are killed in the line of duty. That's already a rather high ratio of inflicted to suffered casualties -- and it disregards the insufficiency of the "justifiable homicide" data; The Washington Post, for example, calculates that a total of 965 people were fatally shot by police in 2015. 

In countries where killings of every kind are not as frequent -- in fact, so infrequent that it even makes little sense to correct the statistics for factors such as population or number of officers -- the ratios are much lower. 

In the U.K., a total of 250 officers have been fatally shot since 1945. That's fewer than four per year. Police, who are usually unarmed, shoot even fewer civilians. Since 1990, they have killed a total of 60 people -- a little more than two per year. 

In Germany, officers are usually armed. Last year, they shot eight people -- about the average number for the last 10 years. Between 1945 and 2011, some 392 German police officers died in the line of duty -- about 6 per year, although there have been fewer deaths in recent years. 

In France, there's a dearth of statistics on police killings. By one count, 54 people were killed by officers between 2005 and 2015, about five a year; and between six and 13 officers have died in the line of duty each year in 2008-15.

With absolute numbers so small, it's difficult to make statistical comparisons with the U.S. Rather, one could say that the killings of and by officers are extraordinary incidents in western Europe, and comparable, small numbers of cops and suspects die at each other's hands. 

What's at stake in the U.S. is the all-important preservation of police legitimacy -- a key concept in today's criminology concerning trust in law enforcement and the perceived obligation to obey the police. Any diminution would produce a precarious situation.

In the wake of the Dallas shootings, it would be a normal human reaction for U.S. cops to get even tougher, to avenge their fallen comrades. Yet what's needed is a de-escalation. There will still be crazed criminals who kill cops -- but perhaps in time a less violent culture will develop as a basis for strengthened law-enforcement legitimacy.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.


To contact the author of this story:
Leonid Bershidsky at lbershidsky@bloomberg.net
or

June 16, 2016

NY Police Move to Bond Mend Fences with Gay Community


                                                                         
NYC Mounted Police
   
                                                  
Inside the brick fortress near the Brooklyn Bridge that is 1 Police Plaza, the headquarters of the New York Police Department, the auditorium is a place where officers come for jubilant events, where cadets are sworn in and where members of the force shake the hand of the commissioner after a promotion.

And on Wednesday, officers marched in with the flags of the United States, New York City and the rainbow colors of gay pride for a gathering that was also one of celebration, if tinged with mourning.
It was the first time in more than a decade, organizers said, that the Gay Officers Action League of New York has had a community gathering for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month. The event was planned before the mass shooting at a gay nightclub this week in Orlando, Fla., but the tragedy added a poignancy to it.

It was an opportunity, organizers said, to improve a sometimes strained relationship with the city’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, and show that the city had a diverse force that included officers who shared similar experiences.
Brian Downey, a detective and the president of the league since January, noted that there were officers who had been shunned by their families for their sexual orientation, or who had struggled to come out to their friends and colleagues. There have been transgender officers who transitioned while on the job.

“They need to see us,” said Detective Downey, who has been with the Police Department for more than eight years. “They need to see the out and proud members of the department.”
William J. Bratton, the police commissioner, said it was his hope that “everyone who lives, works and plays in the city feels comfortable approaching a New York City police officer, and is treated with compassion, with care and with attention.”

The league, established in 1982, has about 2,000 members from the Police Department, federal law enforcement and other agencies.
“We are a beautiful mosaic inside the Police Department,” Detective Downey said, “that represents that beautiful mosaic that is the city of New York.”
There were references throughout the night to progress and to how much the city and the department have evolved over the decades, with officers trained to interact with gay people with awareness and sensitivity.

But Detective Downey acknowledged the tensions that have existed between the department and gay people, and he said he hoped the discussions fueled by the Orlando shooting could bring about an improved connection. “I think it’s not as strong as it could be, and I think it’s not as strong as it should be,” he said. “We’re doing everything we can and we’ll do more.”

Some officers expressed fears about joining the profession because of their sexual identity.
Over the years, accusations of discrimination have been leveled against the department, and some officers have brought lawsuits against it because they believed that their careers had been impaired or that they had been harassed because of their orientation or identity.
“I had a certain idea of what the Police Department was like, a pretty ignorant idea, and I thought it was going to be a lot worse,” said Carl Locke, a detective who joined the Police Department 15 years ago.

Brooke Bukowski, a patrol officer in the Sixth Precinct in Greenwich Village, said she had thought that being a police officer would not even be an option for her as a transgender woman. She has been with the department for five years, patrolling in East New York and Flatbush in Brooklyn before taking the Manhattan assignment.
“It’s really like a nonissue, especially when they see you’re a hard-working officer,” Officer Bukowski said.
“I am transgender, that’s who I am,” she added. “But on the day to day, I just want to be seen as a good cop.”

New York Times

A version of this article appears in print on June 16, 2016, on page A19 of the New York edition with the headline: Police Move to Fix Bond With Gay New Yorkers.


May 27, 2016

LA.Enacts Hate Crime Law for Cops[Violence vs.Cops All Time Low]



Image result for hate crimes cops
                                                                         












Crimes against police are the most severely punished in all 50 states and most countries but someone in Louisiana which is one of the states that have always had problems protecting the elderly, gays, Transexuals, blacks, bi racial minorities, have now made the police another minority.

 However this minority carry guns and more. It has the power of the government behind it plus the credibility of the courts and the most severe crimes from something as simple as resisting arrest and as serious as murder. On the other hand when someone is injured by the police the injured or family of disease face an almost unscalable mountain not just for justice but many times just for monetary damages to cover some of the expenses. Almost all of the cases never reach a jury. 

It is right and just that the penalties are high for crimes against law enforcement and if a legislature believes they should be higher then they should be. But by putting police or any other governmental institution in the same field as a gay man beaten to a pulp just because he is gay or a senior citizen because they are senior citizens and thus easy prey then the classification stops in helping deterrence of this crime. As you include any government agency,  be the Police, IRS or FBI you obscure the reason and the effectivity of hate crime law.
If one knows takes into account the result of this law and the fight against hate crime and equal rights persist, would a homophobic, racist bias law maker have introduced it to dilute the LGBT and others putting Police Squarely Vs. equal rights in Louisiana and others that will pursue the same route? Noh! Really? This law is not intended to fight crime against cops and police ing would be made more difficult with resentment from minorities.  How does that helps?
Adam

Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe. Albert Einstein




 adamfoxie.blogspot.com







Yesterday late afternoon 
New York Times reported on this story:



Hate crime statutes originated as a response to bigotry, a special penalty for singling people out for abuse based on factors like race, ethnicity, sex, religion, sexual orientation or, most recently, gender identity. On Thursday, Louisiana became the first state to add law enforcement officers to that list.

A bill signed into law by Gov. John Bel Edwards on Thursday set off a debate over whether the measure was really needed to protect officers, or whether, as civil rights groups charged, it was an effort to dilute the basic meaning of hate crimes and to undermine the movement protesting the use of force by the police. A similar bill is pending in Congress.

The action comes at a time of fierce national debate over policing and race. High profile deaths of African- Americans in the hands of police — from Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., to Eric Garner in New York City — have prompted intense criticism of law enforcement. That criticism has come in street demonstrations and on social media, spawning the Black Lives Matter movement. Some law enforcement groups have charged that those protests have led to an increase in attacks on police officers, though there is little data to support that. Still, some supporters of law enforcement have adopted the slogan, “Blue Lives Matter.”

“I’ve read various accounts of people who I would say were employing a deliberate campaign to terrorize our officers,” said state Representative Lance Harris, the Republican author of the Louisiana measure. “I just wanted to give an extra level of protection to the people who protect us.”

Ernest L. Johnson, Sr., president of the Louisiana branch of the N.A.A.C.P., countered, saying, “Hate crimes law is based upon a history of discrimination against certain groups of people, and a bill like this just tries to water down that reality, because there is not a history of discrimination against police and firefighters.”

“The men and women who put their lives on the line every day, often under very dangerous circumstances are true heroes and they deserve every protection that we can give them,” said Mr. Edwards, a Democrat whose family ties to law enforcement run broad and deep. His brother, Daniel, is the sheriff in Tangipahoa Parish; another brother, Frank, is the police chief of Independence, a town in the parish; and their father, grandfather and great-great-grandfather were also sheriffs in Tangipahoa.

William J. Johnson, executive director of the National Association of Police Organizations, an alliance of officers’ unions, lauded the bill. “I think it’s fair to say that officers are under attack nationwide, and this is a reasonable response,” he said. 

But violence against police officers stands near an all-time low, according to data kept by the F.B.I. and private groups. In recent years, homicides have been less than half as common as they were in the 1970s, when there were far fewer officers. In 2015, 41 officers on duty were “feloniously killed,” a category that excludes accidental deaths, the second-lowest figure in the last 60 years; the lowest was in 2014.

So far this year, 20 officers have been fatally shot while on duty, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. That is up from 16 at the same point last year, but it is a pace that would still make 2016 one of the least deadly years on record.

Mr. Harris, Mr. Johnson and others have cited two fatal incidents in particular. Last August, Darren H. Goforth, a Harris County sheriff’s deputy, was shot to death in Cypress, Tex., as he was getting gas for his patrol car; and in December 2014, the New York City police officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were shot to death as they sat in a patrol car in Brooklyn.

In each case, law enforcement officials attributed the killings to hatred of the police. The leader of a police union in New York blamed Mayor Bill DeBlasio, who had voiced sympathy for protests against police killings, for the shooting there. The Harris County sheriff, Ron Hickman, said anti-law-enforcement speech, which he linked to Black Lives Matter, had promoted the killling of officers; a statement he later said he regretted, though he said he still believed that Deputy Goforth had bee targeted.

The assailant in New York had made it clear that he intended to kill officers in retaliation for the killings of black men, but in the Texas case, officials have not said what evidence they have about a motive. Both gunmen had histories of severe mental illness.

“Perception matters, and low-frequency, high-impact events drive perception,” whether that means viral video of a shooting by an officer, or violence against an officer, said Jim Bueermann, president of the Police Foundation, a national group that researches and advises law enforcement. “Police officers believe that the odds have increased that they will be assaulted and ambushed and attacked, even though the numbers may not support that,” he said.

Louisiana, like many states, already had a law that increased penalties for crimes committed against emergency responders. The hate crimes statute, which is separate, provides that up to five more years can be added to the prison sentence of a person who is convicted of a felony if the court finds that the victim was chosen based on prejudice against certain groups.

Mr. Harris noted that among the criteria already in the law were “membership or service in, or employment with, an organization.” That meant, he said, that adding law enforcement officers and firefighters simply makes explicit what was already implied.

The Louisiana bill caused few ripples until it was close to becoming law; some of the groups now lined up in favor and against it were not aware of it until a few days ago. It passed Louisiana’s Republican-controlled House on a 92 to 0 vote. In the Republican-controlled Senate, it passed 33 to 3. Mr. Harris said he never expected it to draw much attention, but this week he said he had fielded calls on it from around the country.

Allison Padilla-Goodman, director of the Anti-Defamation League for the region that includes Louisiana, said hate crimes laws originated because crimes motivated by bias were often brushed off, but “there is zero confusion that a crime against a cop gets treated very seriously.”

She added, “Hate crimes are about an identity-based bias, an immutable characteristic that a person cannot change. Adding a professional category changes and confuses the meaning of that.”

Mr. Bueermann, a former police chief of Redlands, Calif., said that covering officers under hate crimes laws “can reinforce the notion that hatred of a group because of who they are has no place in our society, which is good,” but it should be coupled with holding officers to higher standards of conduct.

He cautioned that the law’s supporters had opened a new debate that could go in directions they might not like.

“At some point, someone might suggest that abortion physicians should also be protected,” he said, “that if you are hunted down because of your profession, whatever the profession, that should be a hate crime.”


May 18, 2016

Ukraine New Police Force 'A well in the middle of the Desert'



                                                                         


The launch of Ukraine's new police patrol force last year sparked an internet craze of citizens posting selfies with newly recruited officers.

Their popularity stemmed not from their uniforms, body cameras and tablets, but the fact they did not demand bribes.

The most visibly successful reform to have emerged from the pro-European Maidan protests in 2014 is now under threat, serving and former law enforcement officials say, accusing vested interests of seeking to obstruct and discredit the force.

Vladyslav Vlasiuk, a lawyer by training who rose through patrol police ranks to become Chief of Staff of the National Police, quit in March, "exhausted" by the pushback against change, he told Reuters in his first media interview since.

The experience he described shows how fragile Ukraine's progress in transforming itself into a Western-facing free market democracy could prove to be.

The police reform, possibly for the first time in the former Soviet republic's history, "showed international partners that we in Ukraine are actually able to carry out some reforms," Vlasiuk said.

Before Maidan, police "would always do what the prosecutors say. Then it changed," he said. "The National Police positioned itself as a separate and equal law enforcement power. Prosecutors did not like it."

"We are seeing the prosecution service chasing patrol officers for wrongdoings. There is now a tension which is blocking the reform of the national police."

DEPUTY MINISTER QUITS

In Ukraine, prosecutors have the power to launch investigations into public servants suspected of wrongdoing -- a power which police officers say is being abused.

"When you are working within any public service in Ukraine you have to be ready to deal with a lot of inspections, a lot of bullshit, a lot of irrelevant regulations," Vlasiuk said.

"And the prosecution is a controlling organ which can punish you for, in their opinion, improper actions," he said.

The General Prosecutor's office did not provide immediate comment when asked about the allegations.

The United States and European Union, which are helping to fund a $40 billion aid-for-reform program for Ukraine, have repeatedly called for a clean-up of the General Prosecutor's office, which they see as a key obstacle to fighting corruption.

Several high-profile reformers have been sacked from the government and prosecution service or resigned in frustration.

First Deputy Interior Minister Eka Zguladze has also quit, to take on an advisory role in the ministry. Her resignation statement on Wednesday gave no reason but contained a warning over the fate of reforms.

"I want to emphasize that these islands of success will drown in the ocean of corruption, nihilism, the bureaucracy, if we do not build bridges between them, creating a continent," she said. "And if in Ukraine we do not have the strength to go forward, the door, that we just opened, may close forever."

THE SYSTEM STRIKES BACK

With the help of U.S. money and training, and headed by a former Georgian minister, the new police force was set up as part of a root-and-branch reform to weed out endemic corruption.

The new patrol section was launched in July and incorporated into a revamped National Police force. The patrol officers seemed to be everything those dreaming of a new Ukraine after Maidan hoped: committed, trustworthy, less susceptible to bribes and not afraid to go after the rich and the powerful.

Drawn from all walks of life, they carried smart tablets as well as body cameras to make police work transparent. In a sign of changing times, Energy Minister Ihor Nasalik announced on Friday he'd been given a parking fine -- and willingly paid.

Vlasiuk, 27, was part of a new generation of Young Turks entering public service after Maidan. He is in the process of setting up an NGO to provide legal assistance to officers and burnish the police's image nationally.

His former boss, a Georgian technocrat called Khatia Dekanoidze in charge of the National Police, described in a separate interview cases of vested interests undermining change.

An initiative to fire corrupt or incompetent officers by vetting them in a "reattestation" process has led to hundreds of lawsuits by sacked officers, some of whom got their jobs back.

Dekanoidze said judges were deliberately reinstating discredited officers for fear the judiciary could be next.

"This is a revenge of the old system, because the judiciary system, especially courts, they are part of the old system," Dekanoidze said.

There are other obstacles to reforms. The police budget is tight in a country at war with Russian-backed separatists and an economy that shrank by a tenth last year.

KEEP CALM AND SUPPORT POLICE

An incident that has grown into a cause celebre for the police occurred on the night of Feb 7. A police car chased a speeding BMW through the streets of Kiev, recorded on a black and white police camera in footage later broadcast on TV.

Starting with warning shots, three police officers fired a total of 34 bullets at the car during the course of a 40 minute chase, according to an interior ministry spokesman. Eventually, one of the bullets killed a 17-year-old passenger inside.

Prosecutors accused the officer of wilful murder and abuse of authority; he is under house arrest while they investigate.

Police said the officer was trying to protect the public from a driver who was drunk. Their supporters protested in Kiev holding banners saying "Keep Calm and Support Patrol Police" and the hashtag #savepolice appeared on Twitter.

Anton Gerashchenko, a lawmaker and member of the interior ministry council, said the case was an example of prosecutors seeking to show they remained in control by discrediting police.

Dekanoidze echoed that view. "Police reform is the only reform that is visible, that is a real reform for Ukrainians," she said. So when prosecutors went after those defending the lives of ordinary Ukrainians, "it looked like The Inquisition."

She added there were other cases when police had gone after illegal gambling rackets -- only for prosecutors to open criminal cases against the officers.

A Western diplomat, who did not want to be identified by name, said the fight back by prosecutors showed reforms were starting to have a real impact.

"Prosecutors here are millionaires," the diplomat said. "They are powerful people who will fight to the very end to protect the resources vertical they created."

Much will hinge on the performance of the new General Prosecutor, Yuriy Lutsenko, a former interior minister whose appointment on Thursday raised eyebrows because he had no legal background.

Dekanoidze said she hopes prosecutors under Lutsenko will cooperate with the police. “Because ... without a good and fair prosecution, police can't do anything."
Reuters

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