Friday, April 24, 2015

Cardin visits county, touts Blue Alert bill

Cardin visits county, touts Blue Alert bill 

A new public safety bill in Congress sponsored by U.S. Sen. Benjamin Cardin will create a nationwide alert system to locate and arrest criminals who kill or harm police officers, reassuring law enforcement officials in Charles County.
The Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu National Blue Alert Act of 2015 also is designed to send alerts when “imminent or credible threats of harm” are made against police, a Cardin news release states.
Cardin (D-Md.) met local law enforcement heads Monday at the Charles County Sheriff’s Office headquarters in La Plata to promote the bill and address issues facing police in Southern Maryland.
“When someone puts your life at jeopardy by an assault on you or [by trying] to kill you, it affects each one of us,” Cardin told the gathering of officers. “And we have to do a more effective job of helping you and protecting you from that danger.”
The Blue Alert law, Cardin said, would be coordinated through the Department of Justice; Charles County Sheriff Troy Berry (D) said a mass alert would be dispersed through message boards, social media and highway signs.
Cardin is confident the legislation will be enacted into federal law shortly. He said it is cosponsored by 25 U.S. senators, including Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and that Blue Alert is, therefore, “not a partisan issue.”
“It’s a great thing,” Cpl. Jonathan Palmer, president of the Charles County Correctional Officers Association, said of the bill.
Palmer said he thinks Blue Alert would make the law enforcement community safer and establish effective communication between agencies throughout the country.
Sgt. John Elliot, president of Charles County Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 24, said getting information out on persons of interest nationwide is “critical to us.”
Discussion of key law enforcement problems in the tri-county region was left open to officers, who shared their concerns with Cardin in a roundtable meeting. The chief topic was heroin and prescription medication abuse in Charles County and Maryland.
Heroin is being produced in areas outside the county, said Capt. Dave Ruel of the Maryland State Police Criminal Enforcement Division. In Maryland, the drug primarily is being trafficked from Annapolis and the greater Anne Arundel County area, in addition to neighboring states.
Complicating the issue is the health care system, Charles County State’s Attorney Anthony Covington (D) said. Heroin use has exploded in the state partly due to an excess of unnecessary prescriptions written by doctors, he said. Covington told Cardin that law enforcement needs more federal assistance to stop such practices.
Heroin has become an epidemic in the county and state, Berry said, because prescription pain medications often mimic the chemical makeup of the opiates found in heroin. The high cost of prescription pills can drive addicts to take heroin and commit crimes to feed their habits, he said.
While his office has been communicating with federal partners and the sheriff’s offices of St. Mary’s and Calvert counties to combat heroin dealing, Berry told Cardin more federal funding is needed for enforcement needs, drug awareness programs in schools and programs that help reformed convicts re-enter society.
More than 70 percent of incarcerations in the country, Berry said, involve nonviolent criminals who ultimately will return to their communities.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Ballroom dancer describes losing leg in marathon bombing

Ballroom dancer describes losing leg in marathon bombing 

AP Legal Affairs Writer

BOSTON (AP) - After the first bomb went off down the street at the Boston Marathon, Adrianne Haslet-Davis somehow knew there was another one coming.
"I wrapped my arms around my husband and said, 'The next one's gonna hit, the next one's gonna hit,'" she recalled Wednesday at the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
The next thing she knew, she was on the ground. Her husband, Adam, tied a tourniquet around her ravaged left leg, but he couldn't stop screaming.
"My first thought is, he's in shock and I have to save myself," she said.
The professional ballroom dancer crawled through broken glass, dragging her bloody leg along the pavement, shredding her forearms in the process. She made it into a restaurant.
Her husband walked in soon after, then collapsed on the stairs. An artery in his foot was spurting blood, his face grew pale, and his eyes began rolling back in his head, she said.
"I thought he was dying," she said.
He survived; she ended up losing her leg.
Her account - some of the rawest testimony heard to date in the case - came on the second day of the penalty phase of Tsarnaev's trial. The jury that convicted the 21-year-old former college student in the bombing is deciding whether should get the death penalty.
Three people were killed and more than 260 wounded when Tsarnaev and his older brother, Tamerlan, detonated two pressure-cooker bombs near the finish line of the race on April 15, 2013. Tsarnaev was also convicted in the killing of an MIT police officer as the brothers attempted to flee.
Tsarnaev's lawyers say Tamerlan, 26, masterminded the attack and recruited his impressionable younger brother, then 19, to help him. They say his life should be spared.
But prosecutors, seeking to emphasize the brutality of the attack, have called a long list of victims and their families to describe the heartbreaking consequences.
Haslet-Davis sobbed and covered her face with her hand as she described the terrifying aftermath of the bombing. She said she thought her husband was dead and she would be next.
At the hospital, she instinctively told medical personnel what she did for a living as they looked at her leg.
"I just kept screaming that I was a ballroom dancer," she said.
She called her parents to say goodbye.
"I said, 'I've been in a terrorist attack and I don't think I have a foot left anymore, and I'm in really bad shape, and I really need to talk to you, and this might be it,'" she said.
Her husband, an Air Force officer who had returned from Afghanistan just two weeks before the marathon, wasn't in court Wednesday.
"He has bravely admitted himself into a mental facility at the VA hospital," she said.
As she left the witness stand, she gave a long, furious glare at Tsarnaev. His lawyers leaned in toward him as if to protect him.
In other testimony Wednesday, Lingzi Lu, a 23-year-old Boston University graduate student from China who was killed in the bombing, was remembered as a highly intelligent, vivacious young woman who took pleasure even in the smallest things, especially food.
"Everything you cook for her, she say, 'It's so good. It's awesome,'" said Jinyan Zhao, a surrogate aunt to Lu. She called Lu "a beautiful nerd."
Also Wednesday, Tsarnaev's lawyers tried to blunt the impact of a photo of Tsarnaev giving the finger to a security camera in his jail cell three months after the bombing.
His lawyers showed the jury video clips of him looking into the camera, apparently fixing his hair in the reflective glass, and then making a slightly angled, two-finger gesture similar to what teenagers often do playfully in selfies. Then he raised his middle finger at the camera.
In an apparent attempt to press the argument that Tsarnaev was a "kid" who was led astray by his big brother, defense attorney Miriam Conrad asked Assistant U.S. Marshal Gary Oliveira if he knew how old Tsarnaev was at that time.
The witness said he didn't.
"You don't know that he was 19 years old?" Conrad asked.
A poll of 500 registered Massachusetts voters released Wednesday by Suffolk University found that 58 percent believed Tsarnaev should be sentenced to life in prison without parole, while 33 percent favored the death penalty.
The poll was conducted April 16-21 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Florida Tour de Force bike ride helps fallen officers' families

Florida Tour de Force bike ride helps fallen officers' families

For almost two decades, it's been a coastal trek for many law enforcement personnel across the state.
The Florida Tour de Force bike ride provides financial support to the families of Florida officers lost in the line of duty.
The 270-mile journey, which kicked off earlier in the week in North Miami Beach, wraps up Friday with the fifth stage, spanning Titusville to Daytona Beach Shores.
On Friday's final leg, 20 officers from the Orange County Sheriff's Office are set to join the Tour de Force, honoring two of their recently fallen brothers — Orange County Deputy Scott Pine and Windermere police Officer Robbie German — who were both killed in separate shootings in 2014.
Many in Central Florida also still recall the shooting death of Brevard County Deputy Barbara Pill, the 30-year veteran shot by Brandon Bradley in 2012. Bradley was sentenced to death in 2014.
"We're trying to grow awareness that officers are getting killed in the line of duty," said Detective Craig Catlin, president of the Florida Tour de Force. "Right now, especially these days, it seems like it's anti-law enforcement out there. We are still doing our job. We are the protectors."
Organizers said the support they have received along the way has been amazing, with communities rallying at each stop they make and helping out with the fundraiser. Every dollar raised goes directly to the families of fallen officers in Florida.
"We are raising money for those families that lost their spouse, father, mother, son or daughter," Catlin added.

Now in its 18th year, the Florida Tour de Force is a ride that started when a state trooper was killed. Last year, 800 law enforcement personnel participated in the race, and more than 30 riders completed the entire,
270-mile journey.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Gov. Rick Scott honors NMBPD Ofc. Lino Diaz as well as fellow officers from NMBPD

Gov. Rick Scott honors NMBPD Ofc. Lino Diaz as well as fellow officers from NMBPD

North Miami Beach Police Officer Lino Diaz was presented with a Heroism Award by Fla. Governor Rick Scott during a special presentation at Ojus Elementary School, sponsored 

by the Ojus Elementary Youth Crime Watch. Ofc. Lino Diaz was shot in the line of duty during a recent search warrant incident in North Miami Beach. Sgt. Juan Jurado was also recognized for his heroic efforts 

in helping pull Ofc. Diaz to safety. Also recognized were members of the Aventura Police Department. Thank you Gov. Scott for taking time to recognize our brave officers, and a special thank you to Margie

Love for her support of the NMBPD and her efforts in making putting together this special event.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Arrangements set for police officer killed during chase, trooper

Arrangements set for police officer killed during chase, trooper 

Authorities have arrested two men in connection to a crash that killed a police officer Tuesday night.

Louisiana State Police reported Officer Juandre Gilliam, Sr. of the Jeanerette Police Department died during an apparent high speed chase. 22-year-old Gilliam had only been on the force for two years and just graduated from the police academy last month.
Officer Gilliam attempted to make a traffic stop on a black Chevrolet Colorado within the Jeanerette city limits. The vehicle did not stop and Officer Gilliam began to pursue them. 
Troopers said they received a call shortly after 10:30 p.m. about a wreck on St. Peter Road, which is off LA 182, in St. Mary Parish. The reason behind the crash is still under investigation, but troopers report that the two vehicles struck each other. 
During the chase, Officer Gilliam lost control of his police car, ran off the left side of the road and hit a cement culvert. He was not wearing a seat belt and was thrown from the vehicle as it began to flip. Troopers have yet to determine why he lost control.
Responding personnel found Officer Gilliam critically injured. He was taken to a hospital where he later died from his injuries.
The other vehicle drove off after Officer Gilliam's car crashed. Several agencies then searched for it and those inside. Law enforcement found the truck abandoned in a field near the scene of the crash. Investigators questioned the owner of the truck, 57-year-old Clint Rogers of Jeanerette, and found two others were involved in the incident, 21-year-old Antre Joseph of New Iberia and a 16-year-old juvenile.
After an investigation, State Police have arrested and charged Joseph with manslaughter and aggravated flight from an officer. Rodgers was also arrested and charged with criminal mischief. They were booked into the Iberia Parish Jail. No word on if bonds have been set for either.
The investigation into the crash is still ongoing.
Funeral arrangements have been set for Officer Gilliam, Sr. Visitation will be held Saturday, April 11 at the Patterson Civic Center from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. with funeral services to follow. He will be buried in the Sorrel Community Cemetery with full Police Officer Honors.
Click here to see the memorial page in Officer Gilliam's honor.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Darren Wilson Loses Job and Protesters Win Thousands in Tear Gas Lawsuit – Justice?

Darren Wilson Loses Job and Protesters Win Thousands in Tear Gas Lawsuit – Justice? 

By Kevin Fobbs

Where does the nation go from here when a committed police officer can lose his job over a now proven lie and rioters can win thousands of dollars in a tear gas lawsuit? But according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, this is exactly the case and it points to a total imbalance in how justice in Ferguson and in the United States is now being defined. U.S. District Judge Carol Jackson ordered the police to give future Ferguson protesters a tear gas warning and time to flee before they use the police tactic to disperse unruly protesters.

Meanwhile, former officer Darren Wilson has no U.S. Justice Department, or City of Ferguson public officials who are concerned about his welfare, economic security or even safety. Instead, the now unemployed law enforcement official has to sit and wonder as most of America why a federal judge could find justice awarding protesters any amount of money for not dispersing when police have ordered them to do so.
It appears that there are one set of rules which apply to police officers who are sworn to enforce the law and another set of rules which lawbreakers can use in order to defy the law and be awarded for it.
Judge Jackson issued a temporary restraining order on the police at a hearing on December 11th, reported the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The order was made permanent in late march and will be supervised by the court through Jan. 1, 2018. It states in part that the police have to provide “reasonable” warning before deciding to use tear gas on an unruly group of protesters.

While St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar, St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson, and Missouri Highway Patrol Capt. Ronald S. Johnson’s legal representatives signed off on the settlement terms, it appears that justice is still unbalanced. After all, what is considered “reasonable warning” and who defines it?

Alexis Templeton, Maureen Costello, Brittany Ferrell, Steve Hoffman, Nile McClain and Kira Hudson were plaintiffs in the lawsuit and agreed to dismiss their claim after receiving $2,500 from each police agency in legal costs, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

All three police agencies agreed to each pay $2,500 in legal costs. In exchange, plaintiffs Alexis Templeton, Maureen Costello, Brittany Ferrell, Steve Hoffman, Nile McClain and Kira Hudson agreed to dismiss their claim. Some liberal supporters may contend that the federal court order will not handcuff the police in order to prevent them from using tear gas to punish protesters who are exercising their constitutional right to protest.

Where is the agreement to pay Darren Wilson for his injuries as well as the injury to his career? Shouldn’t Wilson be able to collect from the family of Michael Brown for the unwarranted assault and injury caused by the dead young man against the police officer? What about collecting a million dollar settlement against Al Sharpton for instigating an unjustified national venomous attack upon the police officer? Justice seems to have taken a holiday when it comes to former officer Wilson’s rights.

End Story-

Kevin Fobbs began writing professionally in 1975 and has been published in the "New York Times," and written for the "Detroit News," "Michigan Chronicle,", “GOPUSA”, "Soul Source" magazine and "Writers Digest" magazine. As the former Community Concerns columnist for 12 years with The Detroit News, Fobbs covered community relations, family relations, domestic abuse, education, government policy, education, and dispute resolution issues. Fobbs was host of The Kevin Fobbs Show Recently he has been the Christian and Culture examiner for Ann Arbor Examiner:, and Ann Arbor and Cleveland Conservative Examiner: You can also follow Fobbs weekly on the Warrior Nation Show, . It is conservative talk radio that brings you the latest news stories and tackles issues from around the globe, the web and in your neighborhood. Finding solutions to issues that are important to you is done every Thursday evening from 7-8pm with Julie Prince and Kevin Fobbs. Catch us on I-tunes and Blog Talk Radio.

(Darren Wilson Loses Job and Protesters Win Thousands in Tear Gas Lawsuit – photo credit – Twitter-meme)