9/20/21 A soul-stirring photo in the Washington Post depicts a serious-looking three-year old boy
gesturing at the camera as he stands in front of a series of graves, a bottle of water in his hands. He's
visiting his father, who was shot and killed in January, and his uncle, whose life was
claimed by gunfire in June. With 166 murders in
2019, 198 in 2020 and 153 as of Sept. 20 (versus 135 during this period last year) homicide in D.C. is
reportedly “on pace to hit a 17-year high.”
9/19/21 As many as fourteen-thousand illegal immigrants, mostly from Haiti,
are camped under a bridge in Del Rio, Texas, a border town of about 40,000. Under watch by Border Patrol, the
migrants are being processed under the emergency provisions of Title 42, and some have begun to be placed on
flights for return to Haiti. Overwhelmed by the recent crush of illegal migration, the Feds are appealing a judicial ruling that in effect gives them only two more weeks to use
Title 42 for expedited expulsion.
Immigration special topicRelated post
warnings that they were being “set up” for arrest, few demonstrators showed up at the
September 18th. “Justice for J6” rally at the Capitol, held to protest authorities’ treatment
of the January 6th. rioters. Those who came encountered re-installed fencing and a large police presence. Stung
by arrests and prosecutions, most far-right groups including the “Proud Boys” declined to participate
in the D.C. event. Protests in other areas were also few and muted.
Presently awaiting Governor Gavin Newsom’s signature, California Senate Bill 2 would empower the State to
investigate instances of alleged police wrongdoing and revoke the peace officer licenses of officers found at
fault, thus barring them from further work as a cop. According to one of the principal authors,
Los Angeles-area State Senator Steven Bradford, “we’ve seen 150 years of police policing
themselves and it doesn’t work.”
9/18/21 Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva refuses to ban deputy
cliques (“subgroups”) because it abridges the constitutional right to associate. But the County
Counsel disagrees. A new opinion concludes that subgroups “are defined based on LASD stations,
bureaus, or units, and their activities are intertwined with law enforcement functions.” Banning them
would address deputies “as LASD personnel, not as private citizens” so “it likely does not
implicate the First Amendment.” Related posts
9/17/21In 2019 Mustafa Mousab Alowemer, 23 told an FBI informant and an undercover
agent who pretended to support ISIS of his plot to bomb a Pittsburgh (PA) church. He provided them
with “instructional documents” and bought materials, including nails, that they could use to build
a destructive device and made plans to meet them to carry out the attack. He was ultimately arrested. On
September 16, 2021 Alowemer pled guilty to “attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State
of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), a designated foreign terrorist organization.” He faces 20 years in prison.
Federal authorities have charged
a middle-aged Chicago woman with fraudulently obtaining tax refunds and COVID-19 relief payments by misappropriating
information from the death certificates of murdered local youth. Posing as a relative, she obtained twenty-six
of these in 2019, all for homicide victims ages two to twenty-two. As she carried out this scam, Katrina
Pierce, 50 was on parole for a decade-old conviction on a similar crime.
9/16/21Two Chicago men, Armando Serrano and Jose
Montanez, will share $20.5 million for being “framed” in a 1993 murder by retired police detective
Reynaldo Guevara. In 2004 a witness said his testimony against them was “fed” by the now-infamous
detective, who allegedly bullied and coached winesses as a matter of course. In all, eighteen convictions in
which Guevara played a role have been tossed. One was settled by the city for $21 million in 2009; another for
$17 million in 2018. Related posts
In 2020 six LAPD Metro officers were charged for falsely stating on field interview cards that
persons they stopped were gang members. Each pled not guilty and is pending trial. Now four more members of the
unit are suspected of doing the same thing. One filed a lawsuit last year alleging that a
“quota system” pressured Metro’s cops to label persons as gang members. “Minimums had
to be met.” Related posts
Prompted by the 2019 death of Elijah Mc Clain, a State investigation of Aurora (CO) police concluded that
its officers “engaged in a pattern of racially biased policing and excessive force.” One key
finding was that while Black persons constitute fifteen percent of the city’s population, during a recent
three-year period Blacks were subject to nearly half of all uses of force. Aurora PD has been invited to
voluntarily participate in State monitoring; if it does not, a Court order will be sought. Related posts
U.S. border authorities detained 212,672 illegal migrants in July 2121, the most in twenty-one years. In
August the number was a slightly smaller 208,887. One in four was a repeat offender, far higher than the past
average of 14 percent. According to a top Republican Senator, this “unlawful migration crisis” is
due to a thoughtless “dismantling” of prior policies, with nothing to replace them.
Immigration special topicRelated post
9/15/21Appearing in Federal court via video, former Minneapolis police
officers Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao pled not guilty to violating
George Floyd’s civil rights. Lane, Kueng and Thao asked that to avoid undue prejudice they be tried
separately from Chauvin, whom “everybody knows...was convicted of murder.” Thao’s lawyer also
asked that his client, an experienced cop, be tried alone, as his defense would be inconsistent with that of
rookies Lane and Kueng. Trial of Derek
On September 14 the Minnesota Supreme Court reversed former officer Mohamed
Noor’s conviction for 3rd. degree murder. Moor had purposely fired his gun at the victim, Justine Ruszczyk.
According to the Court, the law’s required mental state, “a generalized indifference to human
life,” is not present when, as in this case, “the defendant’s conduct is directed with
particularity at the person who is killed.” Moor remains convicted of 2nd. degree manslaughter and will
have to be resentenced.
9/14/21In an address to police executives, Attorney General Merrick B. Garland pledged to
improve how monitors oversee consent decrees. Among the steps are capping yearly costs, prohibiting monitors from
serving at multiple sites, assuring they “prioritize stakeholder input,” and mandating hearings to
terminate oversight at the five-year mark so that it doesn’t continue longer than necessary.
A Federally-sponsored study reveals that the use of marijuana by young adults “increased to all-time highs
in 2020” (click here for
the report.) At the same time, marijuana’s perceived health risks reached “all-time lows.” That
troubles Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. “We know that marijuana use, and
particularly when it is in regular use…it’s associated to the higher risk of psychosis [and] suicidal
thinking...” (click here for a NIDA news release). Marijuana special topicRelated post
9/13/21 San Diego P.D. has nearly 2,000 cops. About half
report being unvaccinated. Los Angeles has about 12,000, also half unvaccinated. Both cities are requiring that
employees get the shots. According to San Diego’s police union, ninety percent of 733 officers who responded
to a survey oppose mandatory vaccination, and sixty-five percent would consider resigning. In August the NAACP urged
the FBI to investigate a SDPD officer’s online rant
urging colleagues to “stand up for our God given freedoms” and reject forced vaccination and masking.
LAPD’s officer union supports vaccinations. But six LAPD officers, including a Lieutenant, have sued the city
in Federal Court over the mandate. COVID-19 special topicCOVID-19 updates
9/12/21A Louisiana State Police panel formed to review bodycam videos from prior stops by officers from the
same Troop that tangled with Ronald Greene was “abruptly disbanded.” According to the AP, the
footage depicts beatings and excessive uses of force dating back to 2019. A police official recently retired after
admitting he routinely approved use-of-force reports without watching the videos. Federal investigators examining
Greene’s beating are reportedly looking into these incidents as well.
Capitol police announced that the January 6th. intrusion led to 38 internal investigations for alleged misconduct.
None of the 26 officers identified were deemed by prosecutors to have committed a crime. But the
agency “sustained” internal charges and recommended discipline against six: “Three for conduct
unbecoming, one for failure to comply with directives, one for improper remarks, [and] one for improper dissemination
of information.” Action involving a seventh officer is pending.
9/11/21A RAND questionnaire
about officer “subgroups” (i.e., cliques) was distributed to the L.A. Sheriff Dept.’s 10,000 sworn
deputies. It was completed and returned by 1,608, including 16.5% (529) of its 3,202 member patrol force. Substantial
proportions of respondents agreed that the groups were more common in high-crime areas and expected members to be hard
workers, aggressive, and make many arrests. Only sixteen percent of respondents said they had been invited to join a
subgroup. Of these, only 15 percent agreed that joining would have necessarily involved them in violating
policy, and 22 percent said that they would have been expected to ignore such behavior by colleagues. Related posts
Chicago PD reports that year-to-date 3,043 residents have been shot, and
540 killed. The comparable figures for 2020 were 2,781 and 526. To address the violence Mayor Lightfoot has, among
other things, spent $35 million on “violence interruption” groups. But a critic says that de-escalating
tensions is far from enough. “You need the jobs. You need the housing.
We don’t have that right now.” Related posts
Alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four underlings sat in Guantanamo military court as defense
lawyers and prosecutors questioned Col. Matthew N. McCall, the fourth judge to preside since 2012, about his
qualifications. His appointment was approved by an appeals court, but the defense is expected to object. Their claim,
that the Government’s case was irreparably tainted by the prisoners’ torture, is also still to be
decided. When evidence will start to be heard is unknown.
Doomed by his nominee’s past
remarks about gun ownership and his close association with gun control groups, President Joe Biden reluctantly
withdrew the nomination of retired ATF agent David Chipman to be the agency’s permanent director. ATF Directors
are subject to Senate approval, and disputes about gun control have left the beleaguered agency without a top manager
for nearly a decade. White House statementRelated post
9/9/21 More than two-hundred Capitol rioters were charged with
“obstruction of an official proceeding,” a serious felony punishable by up to twenty years imprisonment
(18 USC 1512[c]). But some judges are questioning
whether their behavior substantially differed from other rioters who were charged with misdemeanors, such as entering
a restricted area or being disorderly (18 USC 1752).
Bottom line: is the felony charge unconstitutionally vague? Capitol special topic  Related post
settled a lawsuit filed by the family of Karen Garner, a 74-year old woman whom two police officers violently arrested
in June 2020 after she reportedly shoplifted $14 worth of goods from a Walmart. Garner, who suffers from dementia,
says she forgot to pay. Both officers resigned. In May 2021 one was charged with assault, and the other with not
intervening and failure to report. A video depicts the
officers in the station, laughing after the arrest. One said “I love it. This is great.”
9/8/21“Project 77,” a new Chicago coalition of existing neighborhood
organizations, seeks to reduce violence and get disadvantaged youth “out of the grip of the court system”
by providing a full range of services, including free legal help, job development, mentoring, housing and assistance
with mental health problems. Case managers will help clients one-on-one.
Neighborhoods special topicRelated post
Now a postal employee and mother of two, an Illinois woman claims she was rejected from her
dream job as a Chicago cop because she admitted, during the hiring process, to a couple poor moves as a youth:
depositing a bad check, and under-charging a friend at a drug store. Such things, according to the Tribune,
contribute to an under-representation of Blacks in the ranks: while they constitute 30 percent of the
city’s residents, only 20 percent of its cops are Black. Hispanics are equally represented at 29 percent, while
Whites, who form 33 percent of the city, are over-represented at 47 percent. Related posts
Eli Vera is no longer a high-ranking “Chief” in the L.A. Sheriff’s Dept. Soon after announcing
that he will challenge his boss in next year’s election, Sheriff Alex Villanueva demoted him to Commander.
That, said an official, makes perfect sense, as Chiefs are privy to critical insider information. Others who have
filed to challenge the Sheriff include a current Lieutenant, a Captain, and two retired officers.
Stung by California
voter’s rejection of an initiative to eliminate cash bail, reformers now seek to drastically limit its cost. A
new proposal caps the final charge for those who comply with court orders at five percent of the ten-percent fee. For
example, one’s out-of-pocket cost for a bail of $50,000 is $5,000. Should they fully comply, they’d get
all but $250 back. That, according to bail firms, would effectively put them out of business. But a bill to that
effect is winding its way through the Legislature.
9/7/21 “At least 66” persons
were shot in Chicago during the Labor Day weekend, seven more than last year. Six were killed. Among them was a
four-year old boy, who was struck as he sat in a chair getting his hair done. He and his parents were visiting from
Louisiana. Police found 27 spent cartridges from a handgun and “mini rifle.” The shooting happened in
Woodlawn, one of
Chicago’s poorest neighborhoods. Its Third police district recorded 27 murders in 2020 and 47 through August
31st. this year.
9/6/21Families of victims murdered by juveniles
have reacted bitterly to a decision by George Gascon, L.A.’s progressive new D.A., to forbid prosecutors from
seeking judicial approval to keep juveniles convicted as adults in prison past their 25th. birthday.
In 2016 Proposition 57 required
that judges approve trying juveniles as adults. Those who were tried as adults solely under a prosecutor’s
discretion would be reclassified as juveniles unless prosecutors sought and prevailed at a
A “law-abiding” Marine Corps
vet employed in security armed himself, donned body armor and burst into a home twenty miles from his Florida
residence. Police said that Bryan J. Riley, 33, was high on meth and in the throes of PTSD when he gunned down four
members of a family with which he was unacquainted. He then shot it out with police and surrendered. Riley had told his
girlfriend that he was divinely inspired. He repeated that claim to persons in the neighborhood where he wound up.
9/5/21“Auto sears,” small devices that modify semi-automatic
pistols and rifles so that a single trigger squeeze discharges multiple rounds, convert weapons into machineguns.
So they’re illegal under Federal law. But they’re simple to fit, and like bump stocks and “ghost
guns” are becoming common.
In Los Angeles, a vehicle that was observed dropping off a victim of human
trafficking sped away when officers tried to effect a traffic stop. In its attempt to elude police the car ultimately
crashed into several other vehicles, killing one innocent person and seriously injuring four. Two suspects were
arrested; neither was seriously hurt. Based on the given locations, the chase extended about 1.7 miles.
Located near the city center, Los Angeles’ vast MacArthur Park has long been a haven for lower-income residents
who patronize the food and article vendors that line the shores of its vast lake. It’s also the stomping grounds
for MS-13 gang members, whose “shadow taxation system” extorts “rent” from the struggling
retailers and brutally punishes, sometimes fatally, those who don’t pay up. Victims have expanded to include the
transgender, whom the gang has decided simply don’t belong.
A Black couple arrested by Beverly Hills police last September for riding scooters on a sidewalk and resisting arrest
is suing the city for engaging in a racially-motivated campaign. According to BHPD “street gambling, public
intoxication, marijuana smoking and more” led it to create a specialized team. Its officers recovered many guns.
Most of the arrestees were (like the couple) from other states and many allegedly had fraudulent debit cards loaded with
state unemployment funds. Whether all of those arrested were indeed minorities (the couple claims 105 of 106 were Black)
is yet to be confirmed. Related posts