Author Topic: Disappearing Excellence: The Senate & Loretta Lynch  (Read 42861 times)

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Re: Disappearing Excellence: The Senate & Loretta Lynch
« Reply #135 on: October 19, 2019, 10:25:43 am »
Saturday, 19th October 2019
De Blasio does not support full repeal of police secrecy law
by Erin Durkin

Mayor Bill de Blasio and the NYPD are not supporting a full repeal of the law that keeps NYPD disciplinary records secret, they said Thursday as the state Senate took up the bill for the first time.

The Senate codes committee held a hearing in Manhattan on S3695 (19R), legislation sponsored by Sen. Jamaal Bailey (D-Bronx) that would scrap section 50-a of the New York Civil Rights Law, which deems police personnel records confidential.

The NYPD has used the law to withhold information about complaints against and disciplinary history of police officers, including Daniel Pantaleo, the officer fired for the death of Eric Garner.

De Blasio and Police Commissioner James O’Neill have called for an overhaul of 50-a to allow the NYPD to release more information about disciplinary cases.

But the mayor does not support the repeal legislation, a spokeswoman told POLITICO.
“The Mayor has been vocal in his advocacy of 50-a reform,” said spokeswoman Olivia Lapeyrolerie.

But she said legislation “must balance transparency and safety.”

NYPD first deputy commissioner Ben Tucker was scheduled to testify at Thursday’s Senate hearing, but did not show.

The Civilian Complaint Review Board also pulled out.

The police department supports reforming but not fully repealing the state law, said department spokeswoman Devora Kaye.

“NYPD leaders have made their position on supporting reforms to 50-a clear and maintain that it remains important to increase transparency and accountability in policing,” she said.

The NYPD for years routinely released disciplinary decisions against officers despite the law, but in 2016 city officials decided the law required them to keep those rulings secret.

Lawmakers are planning a push to get the repeal legislation passed in Albany in the session that starts in January.

“Families cannot get even the most basic details about the officers who have killed our loved ones,” said Valerie Bell, the mother of Sean Bell, an unarmed man shot to death by police in Queens in 2006.

“The part that was terrible was not getting answers,” she said.

“Not being able to get answers was like losing Sean over and over again. You cannot imagine the pain this causes parents and family members.”

The law “is dangerous for New Yorkers, because it protects officers who kill, officers who rape and sexually assault, officers who disrespect and brutalize us,” added Constance Malcolm, the mother of Ramarley Graham, who was killed in 2012.

“They hide behind secrecy that the government should not allow.”

Separate bills sponsored by state Sen. Kevin Parker would repeal parts, but not all, of the secrecy law.

Parker said he also supports a full repeal.

Police unions are fighting the push to repeal the law.

“Our concern is the safety of our members of our police department, their children, and their spouses. And it’s a very, very real danger,” said Paul DiGiacomo, vice president of the Detective Endowment Association.

The law also applies to correction officers and firefighters, though courts have held that disciplinary cases against correction officers can be released by the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings.

Correction Officers Benevolent Association president Elias Husamudeen said the law should not be repealed — and should actually be expanded to shield more disciplinary information for jail guards.

Allowing access to personnel records would “increase their vulnerability to harassment or reprisals,” he said.

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Re: Disappearing Excellence: The Senate & Loretta Lynch
« Reply #136 on: October 23, 2019, 05:47:53 am »
Wednesday, 23rd October 2019
Officer in viral-video shoplifting incident to be fired
by ABC News

A white police officer in Phoenix, involved in a viral-video arrest of a black couple suspected of shoplifting will be fired, according to authorities.

The decision came after an internal investigation done by the police department over the summer, authorities said during a news conference Tuesday.

On May 27, cellphone videos surfaced showing one police officer threatening to shoot a father as other officers pointed guns at his pregnant fiancee and their young children in the parking lot.

Dravon Ames, 22, and his fiancee, Iesha Harper, 24, were later identified as the civilians in the video.

They were accused of shoplifting at a Family Dollar store.

Chief Jeri Williams said Tuesday that two officers had been sent to the Disciplinary Review Board and that the board had recommended a written reprimand for the first officer and a six-week unpaid suspension for the second officer.

Williams said that she agreed on the discipline decision for the first officer, whom she said had used "inappropriate" language, but had also tried to de-escalate the situation.

However, Williams said, she had differed with the board on how to discipline the second officer, Chris Meyer.

"After meeting with the officer, Chris Meyer, personally and considering all the facts of the case, I have notified him of my intention to terminate his employment," she said Tuesday.

"In this case, a 240-hour suspension is just not sufficient to reverse the adverse effects of his actions on our department and our community."

She said that he was currently on administrative leave and that he did have rights to appeal her decision.

"It was difficult for both of us -- for me to make the decision and for him to take the call," Williams said.

On May 27, Phoenix officers responded to a report of a shoplifting incident at a Family Dollar store.

Officers caught up to the vehicle suspected in the shoplifting at a nearby apartment complex.

That's when the incident quickly escalated and witnesses pulled out cellphones and started recording.

In one video, an officer can be heard yelling at Ames to get his hands up.

The officer, identified as Meyer, is then heard yelling at Ames,

"I'm gonna put a f------- cap in your f------- head."

A second video of the incident shows Ames on the pavement outside his car with the same officer, Meyer, on top of him and placing him in handcuffs.

The officer, according to the video, then yanks Ames off the ground and pushes him against a patrol vehicle before kicking Ames' legs apart, causing him to almost fall down.
"When I tell you to do something, you f------ do it!" Meyer is heard in the video yelling at Ames.

Ames responded that he was complying and then told Meyer,

"I'm sorry."

Both videos showed other officers pointing guns at Ames' car, where Harper, who was pregnant, was in the backseat with her two daughters, a 1-year-old and a 4-year-old.

When the officers yelled at Harper to get out of the car, she told them, "I have two kids."

One officer responds,

"I don't give a s---, put your hands up."

Harper got out of the car holding her 1-year-old.

An officer charged up and attempted to pull the toddler from her arms, according to the video.

A neighbor intervened and agreed to take the children, which police allowed before arresting Harper.

Williams later posted the videos on Fakebook and ordered an investigation.

The officers involved in the incident were not wearing body cameras.

Police said that Harper's 4-year-old daughter had allegedly taken a doll from the store.

No charges were filed against the couple because the store manager declined to press charges.
"We wear this badge as a symbol of our commitment to a higher standard," Williams said Tuesday.

"One that won't erode the trust of those we serve or tarnish the pride that is involved with being a Phoenix police officer."

The couple is suing.

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Re: Disappearing Excellence: The Senate & Loretta Lynch
« Reply #137 on: October 23, 2019, 01:53:54 pm »

Wednesday, 23rd October 2019
Phoenix police officer fired!!!
by Uriel J. Garcia

(PHOENIX, AZ) – Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams has fired the officer involved in a viral cellphone video depicting him threatening to shoot at a family.

The video, recorded by a bystander on May 27, shows Phoenix Officer Christopher Meyer pointing a gun at a car occupied by Dravon Ames, his pregnant fiancee, Iesha Harper, and their children.

In the video, Meyer can be heard yelling,

"You're going to get f--king shot," when Ames didn't immediately open his vehicle's door. The officer also told Ames,

"I'm going to put a cap in your ass."

A second officer, who police did not identify, received a written reprimand.

Williams described the officer's actions as trying to de-escalate the situation.

The announcement of Meyer's firing during a Tuesday news conference came at the same time Phoenix police announced the firing of Clinton David Swick after an unrelated investigation into his Fakebook posts.

The Plain View Project, launched by Philadelphia lawyer Emily Baker-White, created a database of public Facebook posts and comments made by current and former police officers from several jurisdictions across the United States.

The posts endorsed violence in some cases against Mexicans, Muslims, women and criminal defendants.

Earlier Tuesday, Phoenix police also announced it had fired Sgt. Daniel B. Jones in a separate unrelated internal affairs investigation.

"No chief ever wants to discuss discipline, like this in a public format," Williams said.

"I expect my officers to be respectful, to be professional, to be courteous, and that is not what happened in (these) cases."

The officers have the right to appeal the decision.

Williams said the Police Department's Disciplinary Review Board recommended Meyers receive a 240-hour unpaid suspension for his actions in the police stop.

But, she said, this wasn't enough.

Ultimately, the police chief decides what kind of punishment an officer receives if investigators find wrongdoing.

"I have notified him of my intention to terminate his employment," Williams said.

"A 240-hour suspension is just not sufficient to reverse the adverse effects of his actions on our department, and our community."

Williams said she didn't come to the decision lightly.

Meyer has been with the department since 1995.

"I will say this, it was difficult for both of us. For me to make the decision, and for him to take the call," she said.

For the second officer involved in the stop, Williams said the disciplinary board recommended he receive a written reprimand.

Williams agreed.

Tom Horne, who is representing Ames and Harper, had filed a $10 million claim against Phoenix.

“This is partial justice for my clients. To get full justice, the job is now mine to get it for them with compensation in the lawsuit," Horne said during a news conference.

Horne, a former Arizona attorney general, said he has always been a supporter of police.

But, he said, it's important that those who are tarnishing the profession be held accountable.

“I think the vast majority of police are fine public servants. In any group, whether it’s lawyers, journalists or anybody else, you get some bad apples," Horne said.

"And it’s my job to be sure that justice is done when we do get these bad apples.”

Ames said he also welcomed the decision, saying he hopes this sends a message to officers not to treat others the way Meyer treated him and his family

He said the incident has left his family traumatized.

“It’s been real bad.

It’s hard to get over that type of stuff," he said.

"It was a very tragic and traumatizing moment. So to know that he’s been fired is some type of little relief, but there’s still a lot to work on.”

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Re: Disappearing Excellence: The Senate & Loretta Lynch
« Reply #138 on: October 27, 2019, 02:38:49 pm »
Sunday, 27th October 2019
Real Courtesy, Professionalism & Integrity
by Rosemary Sobol

(CHICAGO, Ill) — Describing it as a “personal” choice, Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson stood firm on his decision to opt out of a speech acting-president will be delivering in Chicago next week at the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

It just doesn’t line up with our city’s core values, along with my personal values,” Johnson told reporters as he stood at a podium next to two other police officials following the Major Cities Chiefs Association conference at McCormick Place on Saturday afternoon.

Johnson clarified that other police officers were given the green light to attend the speech, also held at McCormick Place, if they want.

“It’s not about the department,” Johnson said.

“It’s really about me and the way I feel about the core values of this city.”

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Re: Disappearing Excellence: The Senate & Loretta Lynch
« Reply #139 on: October 28, 2019, 04:16:11 am »
Monday, 28th October 2019
He dropped the gun, walked out of the house and put his hands up. Then an officer shot him five times.

by Hannah Knowles

Officers yelled at Richard Sanchez to drop his gun — and eventually, he did. He started to walk toward law enforcement, out of a house a relative had fled to call 911 to report Sanchez was intoxicated, making threats and saying irrational things.

Police shouted for the 27-year-old man to put his hands up.

He did that, too.

“Stop!” an officer ordered.

Sanchez kept walking, arms still raised.

Three seconds and two commands later, the officer opened fire.

Body-camera footage now released by police in San Bernardino, Calif., captures the five shots that killed Sanchez and a woman’s screams as he fell onto the lawn.

The officer’s decisions “did not meet the standards held by our department or the community we serve,” acting police chief Eric McBride said in a Friday briefing, a year after the Sept. 28 shooting.

The employee is no longer on the force, he said, and the San Bernardino district attorney is investigating for potential criminal charges.
The alarming video was released as fatal shootings by police continue to stoke outrage around the country and leave communities skeptical that they will receive justice.
The recent conviction of a former Dallas officer who shot her neighbor in his home, as well as murder charges against a Fort Worth officer who killed a woman playing video games in her house, were hailed by some as encouraging signs of law enforcement being held accountable for unjustified deadly force.

But years of cases that did not lead to firings or charges have sown distrust.

Sanchez’s family praised San Bernardino police’s willingness to scrutinize Sanchez’s killing in a statement provided to local media.

“While Richard’s sudden passing has left a void that cannot be filled in the lives of his family members, the family is honored and encouraged by the swift acceptance of responsibility by the leadership of the San Bernardino Police Department — whose investigation into this tragic incident was aimed at uncovering the truth, even when this meant acknowledging the mistakes of a fellow officer,” the statement reads.

The family’s lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Police say they responded to the home in San Bernardino after Sanchez’s sister-in-law called to say he was threatening family members in the kitchen with a handgun and making odd statements — for example, that he was “God.”

The woman feared for her safety and escaped the house with children, according to officials.

Officers found Sanchez inside the house with his weapon in hand, body-camera footage shows.

Weapons trained on Sanchez through the open front door, police told the man to drop his gun several times.

He set it on a couch.

“Suddenly, and without being told to do so, Sanchez advanced toward the officers, taking eight steps,” Sgt. John Echevarria said in a briefing on the video.
Commanded to put his hands up, Sanchez complied.

But he kept walking through three orders to stop, Echevarria said.

It’s not clear if the officer who fired on Sanchez, whose name was not immediately available, was dismissed or if he resigned, though McBride said that “disciplinary action has been initiated.”

The San Bernardino Police Department did not immediately respond to questions from The Post.

The other officer in the body-cam footage has returned to duty, police said.

McBride noted that members of his department “respond to fast-moving and often dangerous situations every day,” adding later that “each encounter is unique and requires officers to make split-second decisions without the benefit of 20-20 hindsight.”

The chief did not detail how the officer’s decision-making failed to meet standards and said the police department’s internal review of the officer’s actions did not make a finding on whether he violated the law.

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Re: Disappearing Excellence: The Senate & Loretta Lynch
« Reply #140 on: October 30, 2019, 08:20:08 am »
Wednesday, 30th October 2019
Police blew up an innocent man’s house in search of an armed shoplifter. Too bad, so sad court rules.
by Meagan Flynn

When they were finished, it looked as though the Greenwood Village, Colo., police had blasted rockets through the house.

Projectiles were still lodged in the walls.

Glass and wooden paneling crumbled on the ground below the gaping holes, and inside, the family’s belongings and furniture appeared thrashed in a heap of insulation and drywall.

Leo Lech, who rented the home to his son, thought it looked like al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden’s compound after the raid that killed him.

But now it was just a neighborhood crime scene, the suburban home where an armed Walmart shoplifting suspect randomly barricaded himself after fleeing the store on a June afternoon in 2015.

For 19 hours, the suspect holed up in a bathroom as a SWAT team fired gas munition and 40-millimeter rounds through the windows, drove an armored vehicle through the doors, tossed flash-bang grenades inside and used explosives to blow out the walls.

The suspect was captured alive, but the home was utterly destroyed, eventually condemned to be demolished by the City of Greenwood Village.

That left Leo Lech’s son, John Lech — who lived there with his girlfriend and her 9-year-old son — without a home.

The city refused to compensate the Lech family for their losses but offered $5,000 in temporary rental assistance and for the insurance deductible.

Now, after the Leches sued, a federal appeals court has decided what else the city owes the Lech family for destroying their house more than four years ago:


On Tuesday, a three-judge panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit unanimously ruled that the city is not required to compensate the Lech family for their lost home because it was destroyed by police while they were trying to enforce the law, rather than taken by eminent domain.

The Lechs had sued under the Fifth Amendment’s Takings Clause, which guarantees citizens compensation if their property is seized by the government for public use.

But the court said that Greenwood Village was acting within its “police power” when it damaged the house, which the court said doesn’t qualify as a “taking” under the Fifth Amendment.

The court acknowledged that this may seem “unfair,” but when police have to protect the public, they can’t be “burdened with the condition” that they compensate whoever is damaged by their actions along the way.

“It just goes to show that they can blow up your house, throw you out on the streets and say, ‘See you later. Deal with it,’ ”

Leo Lech said in an interview with The Washington Post on Tuesday.

“What happened to us should never happen in this country, ever.”

Leo Lech said he is considering appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Police must be forced to draw the line at some point, he said — preferably before a house is wholly gutted — and be held accountable if innocent bystanders lose everything as a result of the actions of law enforcement.

In June 2015, the standoff at Lech’s suburban Denver home captivated and alarmed the public, as their house at the end of the street, one located by a baseball field complex and a park, suddenly turned into a quasi-war zone.

The suspect, Robert Jonathan Seacat, had stolen a shirt and a couple of belts from a Walmart in neighboring Aurora, Colo., and then fled in a Lexus, according to a police affidavit.

A police officer pursued him in a high-speed chase until Seacat parked his car near a light rail station, hopped a nearby fence leading to the interstate, and then crossed five lanes of traffic on foot.

He climbed the fence on the other side — and then, shortly thereafter, came upon the Lech residence.

A 9-year-old boy, John Lech’s girlfriend’s son, was home alone at the time, waiting for his mom to return from the grocery store, Lech said.

He told police he was watching YouTube videos in his room when he heard the alarm trip, according to the affidavit.

He emerged to find a man walking up the stairs, holding a gun.

“He said, ‘I don’t want to hurt anybody. I just want to get away,' " Lech said.

Minutes later, the boy walked out of the house unharmed.

Seacat then began searching the house for car keys.

But by the time he got in the car parked in Lech’s garage, police had pulled into the driveway.

Seacat fired a shot at them through the garage, the affidavit says.

Thus began the 19-hour standoff.
“They proceed to destroy the house — room by room, by room, by room,” Lech said.

“This is one guy with a handgun. This guy was sleeping. This guy was eating. This guy was just hanging out in this house. I mean, they proceeded to blow up the entire house.”

SWAT officers attempted to enter the home on one occasion but retreated after believing they heard Seacat fire several rounds.

After other tactics, including tear gas, robots and police negotiations, repeatedly failed, SWAT officers tried again to enter the home at 8:21 a.m. the next morning.

They found him holed up in a bathroom with a stash of drugs, where he was disarmed and arrested.

When the Lech family was allowed back on the property to retrieve their belongings, they were aghast at what they found.

John Lech, his girlfriend and her son moved in with Leo Lech and his wife, who lived 30 miles away, requiring John to change jobs.

The $5,000 offered by the city “was insulting,” Leo Lech said.
His out-of-pocket expenses to rebuild the house cost him nearly $400,000, he said.

“This has ruined our lives,” he said.

The city did not immediately respond to a request for comment late Tuesday, but police have previously defended their actions during the standoff.

“My mission is to get that individual out unharmed and make sure my team and everyone else around including the community goes home unharmed,” Greenwood Village Police Commander Dustin Varney said in 2015, KUSA reported.

“Sometimes that means property gets damaged, and I am sorry for that.”

State and federal courts have ruled differently in cases involving innocent homeowners caught in the crosshairs of deadly police raids, although the 10th Circuit was more persuaded by courts ruling in police’s favor.

Lech’s lawyers pointed to a 1991 Minnesota case in which the state Supreme Court sided with a woman whose house was damaged by police with tear gas as they sought to apprehend a suspect.

In a 1980 Houston case, the Texas Supreme Court sided with a couple whose home was badly damaged as police sought to apprehend three suspects who barricaded themselves inside.

In that case, the Texas court turned up its nose at the principle the 10th circuit stuck to so closely in its ruling:

that unless a government’s action is clearly labeled “eminent domain,” citizens aren’t entitled to compensation if the police destroy their property as a matter of business.

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Re: Disappearing Excellence: The Senate & Loretta Lynch
« Reply #141 on: October 30, 2019, 08:24:53 pm »
Wednesday, 30th October 2019
Dumb Cop who leaked Cuba Gooding Jr. mugshot stripped of gun & badge
by  Tina Moore and Craig McCarthy

A detective who allegedly leaked the mug shot of Cuba Gooding Jr. to an entertainment website has been stripped of his gun and badge, according to three police sources.

Detective Josh Ulan, known for his role in the Peter Braunstein kidnapping and sex-torture case from the 2000s, was placed on administrative duty Tuesday as an internal investigation continued, the sources said.

Ulan is accused of handing over the “Jerry Maguire” star’s booking photo to Rolling Out in June when Gooding turned himself into authorities over groping allegations.

The actor has since been indicted on a number of criminal charges in connection to three women accusing him of sexual misconduct.

A spokeswoman for the NYPD told The Post,

“This matter is under internal review.”

“The NYPD’s Special Victims Division is committed to doing everything possible to ensure survivors of sexual assault feel the safety and support needed to come forward, bravely share their experiences, and help the NYPD bring to justice those who have committed these horrific crimes,” Devora Kaye, the department’s acting deputy commissioner of public information, said in the statement.

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Re: Disappearing Excellence: The Senate & Loretta Lynch
« Reply #142 on: November 01, 2019, 12:42:17 pm »
Friday, 1st November 2019
Connecticut White Officer Retires After Ties to 'Proud Boys' Revealed

A Connecticut police officer has retired after a civil rights organization raised concerns about his membership in a far-right group known for engaging in violent clashes at political rallies, a town official said Friday.

Officer Kevin P. Wilcox retired from the East Hampton Police Department on Oct. 22, according to Town Manager David Cox.

That was one week after The Associated Press reported that Wilcox had been a Proud Boys member and made online payments to a group leader.

Wilcox had been an East Hampton police officer since 1999.

His retirement was a “revision” of a previously planned retirement date in December, Cox wrote in an email.

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law called for Wilcox’s removal from the police department after it inquired about his social media connections with other Proud Boys members.

In September, East Hampton Police Chief Dennis Woessner told the organization that Wilcox’s Proud Boys membership didn’t violate department policies.

Kristen Clarke, the civil rights group’s president and executive director, said Wilcox’s retirement is “an important first step” but shouldn’t be the final word on the matter.

“It’s important for us to know who else he may have influenced and how his superiors failed to catch his extremist ties,” Clarke said.

Woessner described Wilcox as a “dedicated law enforcement officer.”

“There is no evidence of any racial bias in any of his policing through his entire career,” the chief said Friday.

In a letter to Clarke earlier this week, the chief said he reviewed the last 10 years of arrests made by Wilcox and found that three of the 60 arrests involved black people.

Wilcox also made 21 traffic stops between January 1st, 2017, and Sept. 13, 2019, and only stopped one black person during that period, the chief told Clarke.

East Hampton is about 20 miles (30 kilometers) southeast of Hartford.

White people account for roughly 90% of its population of nearly 13,000 residents.

In a September 13th letter to Clarke, Woessner said Wilcox had “stopped his association” with the Proud Boys in February, about five months before the Washington-based committee initially inquired about the officer’s social media connections to other group members.

The chief also confirmed that Wilcox made online payments to a group leader.

The civil rights group described those publicly visible, online transactions as monthly dues that helped fund the Proud Boys’ “violent or otherwise illegal” activities.

But the chief said he reviewed the matter, received an “explanatory report” from Wilcox and closed the department’s inquiry as being “unfounded,” with no evidence to support a policy violation.

Wilcox “adamantly denies being associated with white supremacists’ groups,” the chief wrote.

Wilcox hasn’t responded to text messages and voicemails left at an apparent telephone listing for him.

Clarke said her organization’s inquiry about Wilcox was part of its nationwide effort to expose law enforcement officers with possible ties to extremist groups.

“Frankly, his superiors should have been doing this work. But if they won’t, we’ll do it,” she said.

Wilcox isn’t the first law enforcement officer linked to the Proud Boys, a group started in 2016 by Vice Media co-founder Gavin McInnes.

Last year, a Louisiana sheriff’s department fired a deputy who had publicly identified himself as a Proud Boys member and was an administrator of the Facebook page for the group’s local chapter.

The Plaquemines Parish Sheriff’s Office said its deputy violated an internal policy prohibiting employees from engaging in social media activity that “negatively affects the public perception” of the department, The New Orleans Advocate reported in August 2018.

McInnes and the Proud Boys have described the group as a politically incorrect men’s club for “Western chauvinists” and deny affiliations with far-right extremist groups that overtly espouse racist and anti-Semitic views.

In February, McInnes sued the Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Center for labeling the Proud Boys as a hate group.

In response to the lawsuit, the law center said Proud Boy members often spread “outright bigotry” over the internet and have posted social media pictures of themselves with prominent Holocaust deniers, white nationalists and “known neo-Nazis.”

In New York City in October 2018, police arrested several Proud Boys members who brawled with anti-fascist protesters following a speech by McInnes at a Manhattan Republican club.

Proud Boys members also have frequently clashed with counter-protesters at rallies in California and Oregon.

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Re: Disappearing Excellence: The Senate & Loretta Lynch
« Reply #143 on: November 12, 2019, 04:49:37 am »
Tuesday, 12th November 2019
Officer accused of killing Oklahoma police chief in Florida

A small-town Oklahoma policeman was charged with killing his chief after what authorities described as an alcohol-fueled brawl in a Florida Panhandle hotel room.

The two men had been staying at the Hilton on Pensacola Beach over the weekend for a law enforcement conference, said Escambia County Sheriff's spokeswoman Amber Southard.

At some point early Sunday evening, hotel security was called because the two men were being disruptive, Southard said.

Later that evening, hotel staff called the sheriff's department because the men were fighting.

"An actual physical altercation," she said.

When deputies arrived, they found Chief Lucky Miller dead, she said, and there was no weapon.

She added that alcohol was involved and that an autopsy is underway.

A person who answered the phone at a number associated with Miller declined to comment and asked that The Associated Press not call again.

Michael Patrick Nealey, 49, was arrested Monday morning and charged with killing Miller, according to records.

Miller was the police chief in Mannford, Oklahoma, a small town about 20 miles (32 kilometers) west of Tulsa.

It has a population of about 3,200.

Nealey was being held without bond at the Escambia County Jail.

He's charged with homicide.

A lawyer for Nealey wasn't listed on jail records and no additional details were immediately available.

Miller, 44, had been police chief since 2007. He and his wife had three children.

"We are heartbroken by the news," Mayor Tyler Buttram said in the statement.

"Please keep both families in your prayers as we work to move forward."

The town administrator has appointed another officer as interim police chief.

The conference was to be held Monday to Wednesday at the hotel, but it's unclear if it is still scheduled.

An email to the organization wasn't immediately returned.

One of the presenters said his session had been cancelled.

A Mannford police officer told The Tulsa World that the pair was in Florida to learn about death scene investigations.

"Mike Nealey was our detective. Lucky was a hands-on guy, so he always wanted to be there to learn things like that," Officer Jerry Ridley said.

Brett Graves, the President of Carterson Public Safety, the company that organized the event, said in a statement that he was saddened by the news.

"We would like to extend our condolences to the families and agency of those involved."

Mayor Buttram said the two men were "the best of friends" and told The Associated Press that he can't fathom what happened in Florida.

"That's what makes everything so hard. We can't even wrap our heads around this," he said.

"The city's just stunned. The police department's stunned. Nothing makes sense, nothing adds up."

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Re: Disappearing Excellence: The Senate & Loretta Lynch
« Reply #144 on: November 14, 2019, 03:25:25 am »
Thursday, 14th November 2019
Former Columbia police chief admits he was drug addicted, illegally had guns in court

by David Travis Bland

A former Columbia Police Department chief may go to prison for 10 years after pleading guilty Wednesday to owning guns while using illegal drugs.

Randy Scott, 50, pleaded guilty during a change of plea hearing at the Matthew J. Perry Federal Courthouse in Columbia.

Under federal law, it’s illegal to possess any firearms and use narcotics.

Scott originally pleaded not guilty, court records show.

Scott was the Columbia Police Chief from 2011 to 2013.

He resigned, saying he struggled with post traumatic stress disorder after a deputy died under his watch.

Before becoming the top lawman in Columbia, he was a high ranking deputy with Richland County Sheriff’s Department and worked with the sheriff’s department after leaving the Columbia Police Department.

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Re: Disappearing Excellence: The Senate & Loretta Lynch
« Reply #145 on: November 20, 2019, 06:46:47 am »
Wednesday, 20th November 2019
Indiana cop fired after stopping black customers for acting 'suspicious'

by Janelle Griffith

A deputy constable in Indiana has been fired after he was seen in a viral video confronting two black men in a store parking lot for "acting suspicious."

In the video posted to YouTube on November 13th, the description says the two men first noticed the officer watching them while they were at a Nordstrom Rack store in the Castleton neighborhood of Indianapolis.

"He watched us buy everything, and then followed us to the car," the YouTube video description says.

According to the description of the 17-minute video posted a day after the incident, which has been viewed more than 300,000 times as of Tuesday morning, the men started filming when they began to exit the parking lot and the officer screamed he was going to run their plates.

"So, we circled back to ask him why he was being invasive and abusing his authority!" the description says.

The men repeatedly ask the officer, identified as Lawrence Township Deputy Constable Daryl Jones by NBC affiliate WTHR in Indianapolis, why he approached them in the parking lot and why he wanted to see their driver's licenses.

They also request multiple times that he call his supervisor.

NBC News attempted to reach the two men confronted by Jones in the video, identified by local news stations as Aaron Blackwell and Durell Cunningham, at numbers listed for them but did not immediately hear back.

Jones was off duty and working security for the Nordstrom Rack store.

The store told NBC News on Tuesday that he no longer works there.

"I'm not calling the supervisor," Jones says, to which one of the men says:

"You're not pulling me over neither."

"What do you need my I.D. for, sir?" one of the men asks Jones.

"Because you want to run your mouth," he responds.

After one of the men tells Jones he didn't have the right to run the vehicle's license plates, Jones shouts:

"I got my rights to do anything I want to do, I'm a police officer."

"That doesn't mean anything," one of the men can be heard saying. Jones then threatens to tow their car and arrest them if they do not present their driver's licenses.

"I don't mind showing you my driver's license, but what is your reason for asking," one of the men says.

"Because you're acting suspicious," the off-duty constable responds.

The pair said they were clear about their complaint without being angry and were stern during the confrontation because they believed they did nothing wrong and did not act suspiciously.

After Jones calls for backup, an officer from the Indianapolis Metro Police Department responds and speaks with Jones near the car.

Jones then returns to the driver's side of the vehicle and tells the men they are free to go.

He walks off as they again request his name.

The responding officer speaks with the two men who questioned why Jones ran their plates without just cause.

The officer tells the pair:

"Not necessarily. We can run plates for any reason or no reason at all. What he does have to have is he has to have what's called reasonable suspicion in order to make a stop. He has to have some sort of reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed."

Lawrence Township Chief Constable Terry Burns told NBC News on Tuesday he fired the constable in the video within two hours of viewing it.

He also said Jones had been in the role for about 20 years.

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Re: Disappearing Excellence: The Senate & Loretta Lynch
« Reply #146 on: November 22, 2019, 05:50:16 am »
Friday, 22nd November 2019
Illinois man who spent decades in prison is formally declared innocent

by Stacy St. Clair and Jeff Coen

(CHICAGO, Illinois) — An Illinois judge took the rare step Thursday of declaring a Kankakee man innocent of murder after the state’s attorney agreed the man had spent nearly two decades in prison for a crime he didn’t commit.

Judge Michael Sabol granted Terrence Haynes a certificate of innocence, a proclamation that signifies Haynes never should have been charged with the fatal shooting of Cezaire Murrell in 1999 and marks an end to his long legal ordeal.

“It still hasn’t hit me,” Haynes said as he left court, noting he is looking forward to his first real Thanksgiving turkey in nearly 20 years next week.

“It’s still hard to believe sometimes.”

Kankakee County State’s Attorney Jim Rowe went as far as clapping Haynes on the back after the hearing and hugging a pastor who had accompanied Haynes to court.

Rowe — who was not involved in the original trial — said this was the first time in his career he had joined in a petition for a certificate of innocence.

“Our job as state’s attorneys is to seek justice and not just convictions,” said Rowe, who has previously offered to help Haynes find a job.

Haynes, 42, has since moved to Georgia as he starts a new life.

Wrongful conviction experts said while it’s not unusual for prosecutors to take no position on attempts by former defendants to get certificates of innocence, it is rare for a state’s attorney to actually advocate for one.

Rowe said he made the choice after having an officer from the Kankakee Police Department take a look at the case with fresh eyes.

Haynes’ mother, Gail Gray, has been somewhat reserved at prior hearings when her son has appeared in court.

That was not the case Thursday, when she began to cry when the certificate was granted.

“I just wanted to hear them say he was innocent,” she said.

A jury convicted Haynes after an 11-year-old witness — a first cousin to one of the prosecutors — testified that Murrell was unarmed when Haynes shot him.

The witness recanted his testimony as an adult and now says that his cousin and another Kankakee County assistant state’s attorney encouraged him to lie.

The boy was the only eyewitness called by prosecutors, though three adults at the scene told police that Haynes acted in self-defense after Murrell reached for a gun in his waistband.

None of those adults, however, testified at Haynes’ trial, which ended in his conviction and 45-year prison sentence.

After an appellate court ordered a new trial in light of the recantation and the Chicago Tribune raised questions about the troubled case, Rowe in June declared “not a shred of evidence” from the original prosecution remained intact and dropped the charges against Haynes.

The certificate enables Haynes to seek restitution from the state for the time he wrongfully spent in prison.

Given his 19 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections, he would be entitled to about $200,000.

He also is suing the prosecutors and police officers involved in the original murder investigation and trial.

The federal lawsuit, filed last month in U.S. District Court in Urbana, alleges a combination of sinister motives and incompetence led to his wrongful conviction.

The only blip in the hearing came when it was briefly interrupted by a civil attorney for Kankakee city police officers involved in the federal civil suit, who tried to address the judge.

Sabol had a courtroom deputy remove the attorney, who is from the Chicago-area firm of lawyer James Sotos, after telling him several times to sit down.

Sotos told the Tribune the lawyer was attempting to ask that a full hearing be held and the perspective of the original police officers be heard.

Sotos called Haynes’ claim of self-defense in the case “preposterous” and said such certificates of innocence are “lethal” in civil cases.

In his federal lawsuit, Haynes accuses both prosecutors and local law enforcement of conspiring against him in the murder case.

Though such allegations are commonplace in wrongful conviction lawsuits, Haynes’ complaint is notable because of the unusual — and long undisclosed — relationship between one of the prosecutors and a key witness.

Former Kankakee County Assistant State’s Attorney Michael Jeneary, one of the two prosecutors assigned to the case, failed to disclose during the trial that his star witness, 11-year-old Marcus Hammond, was his first cousin.

Haynes did not learn the truth about their connection until nearly a decade after his conviction.

Jeneary, who is now an agent with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in Michigan, could not be reached for comment.

Haynes’ lawyers credited Rowe for helping to speed the process that led to the certificate being granted Thursday, and said they were grateful Haynes can move on.

Haynes essentially had a large part of his life stolen, the lawyers said.

Being able to return to the courthouse where that injustice took place and finally be declared fully innocent was incredibly meaningful to Haynes and his family.

“Although he can’t get the years back that he was incarcerated, a court has declared he is innocent,” attorney Andy Hale said.

Haynes’ birthday is also next week.

He had been incarcerated for so long, his mother said she had forgotten was his favorite cake was.

The answer is red velvet, and Haynes said he expects his family to come through.

After all, on his birthday last year, he was sitting in Pinckneyville Correctional Center.

“A year ago, I couldn’t take a shower when I wanted to,” he said.

“I never could have imagined this, but I never gave up hope.”

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Re: Disappearing Excellence: The Senate & Loretta Lynch
« Reply #147 on: November 27, 2019, 01:45:30 pm »
Wednesday, 27th November 2019
Ohio trooper accused of looking up estranged wife’s acquaintances while on duty

by Cory Shaffer

(CLEVELAND, Ohio) -- An Ohio Highway Patrol trooper faces felony charges after he used a law enforcement database to look up information about acquaintances of his estranged wife while he was on duty, according to prosecutors and court records.

Brian Bracy, 49, of Elyria, pleaded not guilty to 12 counts of fifth-degree felony unauthorized use of property at his arraignment this week in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court and was released on a $2,500 personal bond.

The case was assigned to Judge Deena Calabrese.

His first court appearance is set for December 4th.

Bracy, who is based out of the Ohio Highway Patrol base in Brook Park, was placed on unpaid leave after a grand jury handed up its charges earlier this month, Lt. Brad Sellers said.

Prosecutors say Bracy used his access to the Law Enforcement Automated Database system, or LEADS, to search for names, license plate numbers and other identifying information of his wife’s friends 12 times between December 4th, 2017, and September 10th, 2018, after the two had separated.

Court records show Bracy filed for divorce on September 6th, 2018.

The Patrol’s Administrative Investigations Unit received a tip about Bracy’s use of the database earlier this year and began investigating, then turned over the probe to its criminal investigators, Sellers said.

Bracy joined the patrol in 2004.

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Re: Disappearing Excellence: The Senate & Loretta Lynch
« Reply #148 on: December 02, 2019, 12:27:07 pm »
Monday, 2nd December 2019
Mayor Lori Lightfoot fires Chicago’s police superintendent weeks before his retirement: "Eddie Johnson intentionally lied to me"
by Gregory Pratt

Mayor Lori Lightfoot has fired police Superintendent Eddie Johnson for intentionally misleading the public and acting unethically in relation to the night where he was found asleep in his car after drinking.

Lightfoot said Johnson had engaged in a series of actions that are “intolerable.”

“Eddie Johnson intentionally lied to me,” Lightfoot said at a morning news conference.

As a result of the move, former Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck, who had been announced previously as Johnson’s interim replacement, will take over as interim superintendent on Monday.

Beck is on a flight back to Chicago and will be in town this afternoon, Lightfoot said.

Johnson was unable to be reached for comment on Monday.

The bizarre story began in October, when officers responding to a 911 call found Johnson asleep in his parked car near his home at about 12:30 a.m.

Johnson told reporters he had failed to take medication he’d been prescribed, leading to him fall asleep in his police vehicle on the way home from going out to dinner.

At the time, Johnson told reporters he had been tired after a long day at work Wednesday but went out to dinner with friends that night.

He said he felt ill as he drove home from the dinner.

“How can I explain it? It’s just your body kind of gives you a warning with the high blood pressure thing that you may pass out, so I pulled over, stopped and I just rested myself until that feeling passed," he said.

Johnson defended officers’ decision not to test for whether he had been drinking, saying,

“Someone asleep in a car doesn’t mean they’re impaired.”

Johnson has not explained why he was driving home from a dinner engagement at 12:30 a.m., particularly on a day he said he felt fatigued.

After suffering a blood clot this past summer, Johnson said his cardiologist “adjusted” his medication during a follow-up appointment on Tuesday.

The superintendent said he removed the old medication from his weekly pillbox but had not yet obtained the new prescription, suggesting he hadn’t taken his blood pressure medication for a couple of days.

Anthony Guglielmi, the Police Department’s chief spokesman, previously released a statement saying alcohol did not play a role in the incident.

But Johnson also admitted to Lightfoot that he had “a couple of drinks” with dinner, the mayor previously said.

Had Lightfoot known all of the facts, she wouldn’t have participated in a celebratory press conference with Johnson announcing his retirement, she said.

Firing Johnson is an indication she will demand “The old Chicago way must give way to new way” of ethical leadership.

Supervisors in the police department will not get away with ethical lapses, she said.

In a message the mayor sent to Chicago police officers, she wrote:

“While I recognize this news comes as a surprise to most of you, this was a decision I felt was absolutely necessary to preserve the legitimacy and honor of the Chicago Police Department. I deeply respect the work that each of you undertake every day and you deserve a Superintendent who lives up to the ideals that I expect each of you to exemplify.

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Re: Disappearing Excellence: The Senate & Loretta Lynch
« Reply #149 on: December 02, 2019, 01:43:45 pm »
Monday, 2nd December 2019
Kerry Porter, paid $7.5M for wrongful murder conviction, arrested on a gun charge

by Andrew Wolfson

Kerry Porter, whom the city paid a $7.5 million settlement last year for a wrongful conviction for a murder he didn’t commit, has been arrested on new charges.

According to a citation, when Louisville police went to his home Saturday to investigate unspecified trouble, an officer found two handguns, one of which was stolen.

Porter, 57, was charged with receiving stolen property and possession of a handgun by a convicted felon.

But the latter charge cited his conviction for murder, which was set aside in 2011 by a joint agreement of then-Commonwealth’s Attorney Dave Stengel and the defense.

Stengel’s successor, Tom Wine, said Monday that the murder conviction cannot be used as the basis for the gun possession charge, but he noted that Porter has other prior convictions and the gun charge can be amended to reflect those.

Court records show that he pleaded guilty in 1997 to burglary and receiving stolen property, for stealing scrap metal.

Porter’s criminal defense attorney, Rob Eggert, could not be immediately reached for comment.

Porter’s bail was set at $10,000.

The citation says that after being issued a Miranda warning, he said there were more firearms in his home and some were stolen.

Following 11 years behind bars, Porter was cleared of the 1996 murder of truck driver Tyrone Camp after The Courier Journal fought to open a sealed statement from a witness who told state and local officials that Camp was killed by another man — Juan Sanders.

Sanders has denied the allegation and never been charged in the case.

The witness, Francois Cunningham, alleged Sanders tried to hire him before doing the hit himself.

He provided intricate details of the murder, including that the murder weapon, a shotgun, had been muffled with a silencer made with carpet and duct tape, both of which were found at the scene.

To protect another investigation — of accused killer Ricky Kelly — police and prosecutors didn’t disclose the statement to Porter’s attorneys at the Kentucky Innocence Project, who had sought for years to free him.

Stengel dropped the case against Porter, citing Cunningham's statement and DNA on the duct tape that belonged to someone other than Porter who couldn’t be identified.

Porter, who was serving a 60-year sentence, was freed.

In Porter’s lawsuit, he alleged that Sanders conspired with his girlfriend, Cecilia, who had been married to Camp, to kill him for his $150,000 in life insurance proceeds.

In depositions in Porter's lawsuit, Juan Sanders denied killing Camp.

Cecilia Sanders refused to comment, citing her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

Like Juan Sanders, she has never been charged in the murder.

Camp was ambushed as he warmed up his truck at Active Transportation Incorporated on December 27th, 1996.

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