An aggressive citizen, a dogged cop, and a tragic outcome
7/6/22Three years ago a Maryland judge allowed Austin Jacob Allen Davidson, 20, to avoid jail time after a conviction for armed robbery. Placed under
ostensibly strict supervision, the man kept offending. On July 3 he opened fire on Wicomico County (MD) sheriff’s deputy Glenn Hilliard as the
officer tried to arrest him on multiple felony warrants. Deputy Hilliard, 42, was mortally wounded. Davidson was arrested and faces murder charges.
Baltimore’s police union is bitterly criticizing the supposedly permissive policies of the local prosecutor, which “have now gotten a Deputy
Prosecutors filed seven murder counts against
Highland Park (IL) shooter Robert “Bobby” E. Crimo III. Police were called about him twice in 2019: once when he attempted suicide, and again
when he threatened to kill his family. Officers took away a knife collection but say they lacked reason to arrest. Still, they filed a "clear and
present danger" report with State police. Three months later Crimo’s father sponsored him for a firearms I.D. card, which Illinois requires to
buy or have guns. Over time Crimo would legally buy five firearms, including the “AR-15-type rifle” he used in the massacre. Related posts
During the early morning hours of July 5th. gunfire broke out at a
block party in Gary, Indiana, a struggling city of about 70,000
about 25 miles East of Chicago. Three persons were killed and seven were wounded. That shooting came about fourteen hours after the massacre during the July
4th. parade in affluent Highland Park, Illinois, about fifty miles to the north.
According to a new University of Michigan study, four in ten American children born between 1999-2005 were raised in a household where at least one
adult had been charged with a serious criminal offense. Nine percent of children were exposed to adults who had been imprisoned. Childrens’ exposure
to adults with criminal records was far higher in lower-income, Black and Native American households. It was also strongly associated with developmental
problems. Study Related posts
7/5/22At least sixteen persons were shot, six fatally, soon after the
start of a daytime Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Illinois, a “peaceful” and prosperous city of 30,000 just north of Chicago. Police arrested Robert “Bobby” Crimo III, 22, the
self-styled YouTube rapper “Awake”. He reportedly used a ladder to climb onto a roof, then
opened fire with a “high-powered rifle,” which was recovered. One of his rap videos repeatedly displays an image of a cartoon character
aggressively wielding a rifle. (Click here for our brief version of the video, and here for an image of the rifle.) Related posts
A drive-by shooting outside a Newark bodega during the late afternoon
hours of June 30 wounded nine persons, ages 17 to 68, none fatally. Authorities later recovered two cars stolen from Jersey City, including the vehicle used
in the attack, and arrested a 17-year old for receiving stolen property and resisting arrest. Newark Mayor Ras Baraka blamed the shooting on an undefined
dispute between two groups, and not on gangs.
Akron police released graphic footage depicting the pursuit and shooting death of Black motorist Jayland Walker during the early morning hours of June 27.
Walker, who refused to pull over for a traffic violation, fled on foot after a long car chase. Officers fired Tasers, then opened up with their handguns when
Walker reportedly turned on them. Walker allegedly fired a shot from his car, and a loaded pistol and an empty cartridge casing were found in the vehicle. But
he was unarmed when killed. Edited video Related posts
L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva
and Undersheriff Tim Murakami were subpoenaed to testify before the Civilian Oversight Commission about so-called deputy “gangs”. But neither
appeared: Villanueva feared physical threats; Murakami claimed it would be too stressful. Matthew Burson, a retired Sheriff’s captain who had
investigated alleged mistreatment of colleagues by deputy members of the “Banditos,” testified that he was ordered on Villaneuva’s behalf
to ignore the gang. Related posts
Reacting to the Supreme Court’s
invalidation of the requirement that gun-carry applicants show a special need, New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed a comprehensive law that, among other
things, requires “a list of former and current social media accounts of the applicant from the past three years to confirm the information regarding
the applicants character and conduct.” Applications are barred from persons with convictions within the past five years for assault, menacing or
drunk driving. Bill textRelated post
7/2/22Officers attempting to serve an emergency protection
order in rural Kentucky were met with a barrage of gunfire as they approached the subject’s home. Six were wounded, three fatally. Lance P. Storz,
49, who allegedly raped the woman who sought the order, was reportedly lying in wait for police with a rifle and other firearms. He eventually surrendered.
His town of residence, Allen, Kentucky, is too small to have a police force, so officers from nearby agencies were involved. Related posts
Following recent Federal approval of a drug the State uses for fatal
injections, Oklahoma’s State Court of Criminal Appeals set execution dates for twenty-five condemned inmates who
have exhausted their appeals. James Allen Coddington is scheduled to be the first to die, on August 25. Every other condemned prisoner is set to be
executed by December 2024. Among them is Richard Glossip. His claims of innocence have drawn wide support, including from a State legislator.
Prostitution remains illegal in California (
P.C. 647, a misdemeanor). But a bill just signed by
Governor Gavin Newsom strikes wording that criminalizes “loitering for the purpose of engaging in prostitution.” According to the Governor,
“it simply revokes provisions of the law that have led to disproportionate harassment of women and transgendered adults.” While progressives
bemoan the toll that policing takes on “sex workers,” others worry that the easing will exacerbate human trafficking.
7/1/22  Citing a recent Supreme Court decision invalidating New York State’s requirement that gun-carry applicants show
“good cause,” four CCW permit holders in the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit demanding they be allowed to pack guns while riding its transit system. Their action disputes its inclusion in the city’s
list of sensitive areas but doesn’t challenge the notion that certain places merit being off-limits to guns. Related posts
California’s attorney general announced that the Supreme Court opinion striking the “good cause” requirement for gun carry will
lead to its removal from his State’s code as well. But Rob Bonta said “an assessment of dangerousness” including “arrests,
convictions, restraining orders” and such will remain in effect. A Senate bill amending the law and specifying places where guns can’t be carried is in the works. Related posts
Three persons were arrested in the smuggling of dozens of
illegal immigrants who perished of heat exhaustion in the back of a tractor-trailer. Homero Zamorano Jr., 45, reportedly messaged his accomplices that the
trailer’s A/C unit had failed. He picked up the migrants from a “stash house” in Laredo where they waited after crossing into the U.S.
His rig was waved through a backed-up internal CBP checkpoint. Searches at these are less likely than at border crossings, and especially now because of
“record numbers” of migrants.
6/30/22Justin Flores, a 35-year old Southern California man, had a long criminal record. But thanks to the
D.A.’s intercession, his conviction last year for felon with a gun resulted in probation. And even as Flores continued misbehaving - a warrant was
recently issued for domestic violence - probation officers failed to follow up in person. So they’re also catching blame for the violent deaths of
two El Monte police officers earlier this month, shot dead by Flores when they responded to reports of an assault at a motel. Related posts
To identify the person who first bought a
gun recovered from a crime, ATF employees ask manufacturers, distributors and dealers to trace that weapon through their records. Rules prohibit ATF from
digitizing the results, so trace requests are returned to police on paper. To help detect gun trafficking schemes, Illinois just established “The
Crime Gun Connect Platform,” a computerized registry that compiles all trace replies to agencies within the State into a searchable database.
Hospitals routinely draw blood from
newborns to check for disease. Some States, including Michigan, California, New York and Minnesota retained centralized samples for decades, where they are
available for use in research. But the practice has drawn privacy objections, and Texas abandoned it after a lawsuit. Michigan has also been sued, and
it’s agreed to destroy more than three million samples.
6/29/22Shootings at public and private
elementary and secondary schools in the U.S. have been tracked by the Department of Education since 2000. During the 2020-2021 school year there were fifty
that caused injuries and 43 that caused deaths. That’s the most in each category since recordkeeping began in 2000-2001. Then the corresponding
numbers were seven and sixteen. DOE report Related posts
Our nation’s capital is beset by violence.
MPD reports 104 homicides so far this year, a 17 percent increase over 2021. Overall,
violent crime is up eleven percent. And teens are falling victim with distressing frequency. This weekend gunfire took the lives of an 18-year old girl who
recently graduated from high school and was getting set for college, and of a 15-year old boy who was a local basketball star. Two adults were also shot and
killed and “nearly two dozen” other persons were wounded.
Does ideology drive the Supreme Court, just as it seems to affect nearly everything else? Our views are
clear. But for an authoritative look no further than the SCOTUS Blog’s statistics page. Click on “Frequency in the Majority,” and lean
back. Yup, Justices Kagan, Breyer and Sotomayor, the Court’s three “liberals” (SCOTUS colors them “blue”) are most often on
the losing end. As they were, most recently, in two sociopolitically charged cases: Ardoin v. Robinson and Kennedy v. Bremerton Sch.
A “cry for help” led to the discovery of forty-six dead migrants in an abandoned tractor-trailer near San Antonio, Texas. Later the toll
rose to fifty-one. At least twenty-two were Mexican nationals; there were also victims from Guatemala and Honduras. Cause of death was presumed to be, as in
most such cases, heat exhaustion. A surge in illegal migration has brought far more deaths; last fiscal year’s toll, 557, was more than twice the
“Trust me we gone keep you with
all the artillery.” Setting up each transaction with expletive-laden text messages, two Indiana men sold “an arsenal” of handguns and
assault rifles to undercover Feds in Chicago who pretended they supplied local gang members. Devante Brown, 27, and Corey Sartin, 19, were indicted for
conspiracy, unlicensed dealing and, in Brown’s case, felon with a gun. They were arrested last week with four pistols, four rifles, and two ghost guns
for which they expected to receive $16,500.
The tiny hamlet of Utopia, Texas, pop. 270, sits in a
remote region about 45 miles north of Uvalde. With deputies about a half-hour away, residents must fend for themselves. After the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre,
the school board authorized teachers at the local elementary school to obtain permits and carry guns. And some - they remain anonymous but are known to
deputies and administrators - still do. “If there was a shooter on campus, our job is to neutralize the threats, or at least hold them in the area
until law enforcement can get here and do their jobs.” Related posts
6/27/22A Federal judge in Texas ruled
that the Administration’s policy to focus removal efforts on illegal immigrants who pose threats to public safety, national security and border
security is illegal. So ICE announced its agents would no longer be bound by
the directive, which also lists “mitigating” and
“aggravating” factors to help guide decisions to act. But as discretion is intrinsic to its mission - agents can’t arrest everyone -
the practical effects of the rollback are unclear.
As pro-abortion forces gather to demonstrate against
the Supreme Court’s ruling, anti-abortion activists respond with their own
rallies. Feverish messages pervade social media. “Guard and protect your local church. Guard and protect your local pregnancy centers. Call them in
advance. Bring rifles and men with you.” DHS warns
that a “heightened threat environment” could linger for months.
Caught amidst the abortion furor, cops and the media. In Los Angeles, the latter complain that police are treating them the same as protesters, ignoring
guidelines that are supposed to allow credentialed reporters access to controlled space. A photo depicts two LAPD officers, one bedecked with tattoos,
roughly shoving batons at a photojournalist during a pro-abortion rally in the central city.
Washington Post examination of its national database of police shootings reveals 178 instances during 2019-2021 in which officers shot and
killed persons in distress whom they had been called to assist. In a 2020 episode, San Antonio (Tx) deputies visited a combat veteran three times in two
days. Their last encounter ended tragically when the disturbed man, who was wearing a holstered gun, engaged the deputies in a fight. Related posts
6/25/22Yet another (yawn) Supreme Court ideological split.
In Dobbs v. Jackson (no. 19-1392, 6/24, 22) the Court’s five most
conservative Justices ruled that the Constitution “does not confer a right to abortion.” Overturning two key precedents: Roe, which
established the right, and Casey, which reaffirmed Roe, the Court returned the regulation of abortion to the States. Chronic straddler Chief
Justice Roberts agreed that Mississippi's abortion ban should be restored but disagreed about discarding Roe and Casey altogether. Liberally minded Justices
Kagan, Breyer and Sotomayor dissented.
Passed in the wake of recent massacres, the
“Bipartisan Safer Communities Act” was
signed into law. It enhances background checks to include juvenile records, helps fund State “Red Flag Laws” and mental health programs,
includes “boyfriends” in the definition of domestic partners who may be barred from having guns, and specifically prohibits “straw”
purchases (i.e. buying guns on behalf of unqualified persons). It does not create waiting periods or ban assault weapons. Related posts
Four and one-half years ago U.S. Park Police officers
Lucas Vinyard and Alejandro Amaya shot and killed Bijan Ghaisar when he came close to striking one with his car while trying to drive away from them for the
third time. Ghaisar, who had fled the scene of an accident, was unarmed. Both officers were charged with manslaughter but a Federal judge called the shooting
justified and dismissed the case. They remain on leave and their firing is pending. (Click here for a full video,
here for the final encounter.)
Ex-Minneapolis cop Mohamed Noor, who shot
and killed Justine Ruszczyk in July 2017 when the local resident unexpectedly appeared at his patrol car after calling 9-1-1, is being released from
state prison today. Noor, whose 3rd. degree murder conviction was overturned, served the minimum two-thirds of his 57-month sentence for manslaughter.
He will be under supervision for the rest of his term.
6/24/22ALERTT, a Texas State University site, tracks “active attacks,” meaning attempts
“to kill multiple unrelated people in a public space” by guns, knives or vehicles. Of the 464 attacks recorded between 2000-2021,
232 were at businesses and 69 at schools. Most attacks (434) were with guns, primarily pistols. Fifty-seven percent (266) ended before police arrived. Of
those, victims stopped 16 percent (73), 49 physically and 24 by shooting. Of the remaining 198, police stopped 105 by shooting.
Applicants for gun carry
permits, ruled the Supreme Court, need not show “good cause.” But the
Court didn’t rule out background checks, mental health assessments, training requirements nor restrictions on places where guns can be brought, such as
parks and schools. So for States and localities that want to restrict gun possession in public, that’s where the focus will shift. Related posts
Many guns used in Chicago crimes are purchased by “straw
buyers,” meaning third parties, at gun stores in Illinois and Indiana. Over the years ATF inspections of these Federally licensed dealers revealed
serious recordkeeping problems. But even when a license revocation seemed clearly warranted, say, for knowingly delivering guns to a felon or straw buyer,
the agency preferred to settle matters with a warning, and no substantial penalties were assessed.
During the span of a few hours,
Los Angeles police repeatedly responded to calls about a deranged man who was hopping into backyards and acting threateningly. Officers encountered and
spoke with the man several times. Each time they let him go and reassured residents that all was o.k. Then the intruder broke into a bedroom, stabbed a
resident dead, then killed himself. A lawsuit has been filed.