Phoenix Mayor Apologizes After Video Of Police Drawing Gun On Family Over Stolen Doll

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NPR NEWS)

 

Phoenix Mayor Apologizes After Video Of Police Drawing Gun On Family Over Stolen Doll

Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego pictured here in September 2018. On Saturday, Gallego apologized to the city following an outcry over footage showing police officers pointing a gun and yelling at a family as part of an investigation into a claim that a doll was shoplifted from a Family Dollar store in Phoenix.

Ross D. Franklin/AP

The mayor of Phoenix is apologizing to the city following recently released video showing police officers pointing their guns and threatening to shoot a 22-year-old father who was with his pregnant fiancée and two young daughters. Police say they were investigating allegations that one of the children had shoplifted a doll from a Family Dollar store.

Viral footage of the incident captured by bystanders has already prompted an internal police probe, a $10 million civil rights claim and a chorus of fury on social media. Now, Phoenix Kate Gallego says the police officers’ actions were “completely inappropriate and clearly unprofessional,” calling the recordings “beyond upsetting.”

“I am deeply sorry for what this family went through, and I apologize to our community,” Gallego said on Twitter Saturday evening. “This is not who we are, and I refuse to allow this type of behavior to go unchallenged.”

The episode happened last month when Dravon Ames, 22, his fiancée, Iesha Harper, 24, along with their two young daughters, London Drake, 1, and Island Drake, who is 4, visited a Family Dollar store. Unbeknownst to the parents, one of their daughters had swiped a doll from the store without paying for it.

Police say they were tipped off about the alleged shoplifting by a store employee just as the family’s car was leaving the parking lot, and police followed the car. Police eventually cornered the vehicle in the apartment complex of the family’s babysitter.

A heated standoff ensued.

Cell phone videos taken by witnesses show officers shouting profanities at the family as officers order that they put their hands up. If they did not comply, an officer can be heard saying, “You’re gonna f***ing get shot. Get your f***ing hands up!”

Police wrote in an incident report that they feared the mother was “hiding something,” or was reaching for a gun (No weapons were recovered from the family).

In the parents’ civil rights claim, they say when Harper exited the vehicle, officers injured her 1-year-old daughter by pulling on one of her arms when Harper would not follow an officer’s order to hand over her baby.

The filing from the family alleges that Ames was thrown against a vehicle and kicked so hard that he collapsed before a police officer “kept his knee between the father’s legs. He punched the father very hard in the back for no reason,” the parents’ lawyer, Thomas Horne, wrote in the claim.

Harper passed off her baby to a bystander before police handcuffed her and her fiancé and they were placed in police patrol car.

“I could have shot you in front of your f***ing kids,” an officer said to her, according to the family’s claim.

Horne alleges that the incident violated the family’s civil rights by committing battery, unlawfully imprisoning them and causing the parents and their kids emotional distress. The claim is seeking $10 million in damages.

Since the it happened, the family’s 4-year-old has been experiencing nightmares and wetting the bed out of distress, according to the filing.

Phoenix Police Department Chief Jeri Williams told the public an internal investigation is being conducted over the incident.

“I, like you, am disturbed by the language and the actions of our officer,” Williams said in a video the police department posted to Facebook. “I assure you that this incident is not representative of the majority of Phoenix police officers who serve this city.”

The doll was returned to Family Dollar, officials said. And though nobody faced charges stemming from the alleged shoplifting, authorities issued Ames a traffic ticket for driving on a suspended license and impounded his car.

His lawyer says he is limping from having been roughed up by police, and he now has no way to drive to his job as a warehouse worker.

Gallego, the Phoenix mayor, said in response to the incident, the city will be speeding up its implementation of police body-worn cameras across the entire police department. She has also scheduled a public meeting with the police chief for the community to air its thoughts about the troubling footage of the police interaction.

“We owe it to our residents,” she said. “To give them an open forum to discuss their concerns with us and to propose solutions.”

TBI identifies man killed in U.S. Marshals shooting that led to assaults on MPD officers

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF MEMPHIS TENNESSEE NEWS CHANNEL 3)

 

TBI identifies man killed in U.S. Marshals shooting that led to assaults on MPD officers

US Marshals involved in shooting

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A man was shot and killed Wednesday night during a confrontation with U.S. Marshals that led to a tense situation between MPD officers and a crowd on a Frayser street.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation identified the man shot as Brandon Webber, 20. TBI is in charge of investigating the incident.

Officers with the U.S. Marshal Service’s  Gulf Coast Regional Fugitive Task Force came into contact with Webber, who was wanted on multiple felony warrants as he was getting into a vehicle in the 2000 block of Durham in Frayser on Wednesday.

The details of the charges in those warrants was not immediately clear, but Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich said the warrants were for “violent felony offenses, from an incident that occurred June 3, 2019, in Hernando, Miss.”

A source close to the investigation confirmed the charges are related to an incident in which a Hernando man was shot and his car stolen by a man. The suspect had met the victim on Facebook and was test-driving the vehicle after saying he wanted to buy it.

While officers attempted to stop Webber, he reportedly rammed his vehicle into the officer’s cruisers multiple times before jumping out with a weapon.  The officers opened fire, striking and killing the man.

After the shooting, Memphis police officers at the Old Allen Station received a call to assist the U.S. Marshals. MPD officers were not involved in Webber’s shooting.

Around that time, a large group started gathering on the scene and several individuals began throwing concrete rocks and bricks at officers and squad cars. Fire officials also said windows were broken out of a fire station, though no firefighters were hurt.

In a post on Facebook, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said a concrete wall outside a business was torn down.

Video shows one man using a chair to hit a police cruiser, and a WREG reporter at the scene was knocked to the ground by a man.

Luke Jones

@LukeJonesTV

Just saw 2 guys smash a police car with a chair. @3onyourside pic.twitter.com/Am5dcL2V5i

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The violence reportedly led officers to call in back up as well as don protective clothing.

Authorities confirmed at least 25 officers received some sort of injury and they were forced to set up a triage unit on the scene for the officers who had been hurt.  They were eventually forced to use a chemical agent to disperse the crowd.

“What I need now is for everyone to stay calm,” Police Director Michael Rallings said during a news conference early Thursday morning. “If your home or car was vandalized during these acts, you need to call police.  If you witnessed acts of violence or vandalism you need to call police.”

Thursday morning, Strickland said Rallings made the right call to disperse the crowd because of violence against officers and the media. He also praised Memphis Police officers and Shelby County Sheriff’s deputies for exercising restraint at the scene.

Three people were arrested after the chaos: Eddie Richardson, Kleston Beverly and Joshua Taylor.

Police said each of the men were among the people causing problems at the scene and refused to leave when told to disperse. Taylor, 19, even laid on the ground and told officers, “ya’ll gonna have to lock me up today.”

Taylor was charged with inciting a riot and riot, while Richardson and Beverly were charged with disorderly conduct.

The U.S. Marshals Service said in a statement that the agency would conduct an internal review after the state completes its investigation. The agency said they would not release the names of deputy marshals involved in the shooting until the conclusion of all investigations.

Shelby County Schools said Thursday that Webber was a 2017 graduate at Central High School.

“Shelby County Schools has received information about a planned vigil near the school. As a proactive measure, we have deployed additional security personnel to Central HS and provided grief counselors to multiple schools in the area to assist students and staff. Our priority is to ensure our school is secured and students and staff feel safe,” the district said.

Greg McCullough, principal at Central High School, said in a statement, “My heart is broken over the news regarding the death of Brandon Webber.

“Brandon worked hard during his time at Central where he graduated in 2017. I remember that he was a very talented art student. He seemed to really love his experience at Central High and he engaged well with others. My prayers go out to the Webber family during this devastating time.”

Luke Jones

@LukeJonesTV

: TBI has just confirmed this was an officer-involved shooting involving US Marshals. @3onyourside pic.twitter.com/vnZgQGrdZo

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Luke Jones

@LukeJonesTV

You could hear something being fired (not sure what). Sent crowd running briefly. Sounds like maybe police are trying to disperse crowd. @3onyourside pic.twitter.com/tP3EkKIrN7

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Luke Jones

@LukeJonesTV

A few in the crowd now throwing things (not sure what) at officers who have again formed a wall. @3onyourside pic.twitter.com/xhwVXqotys

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Luke Jones

@LukeJonesTV

Police now have shields. Heard them telling crowd to disperse over loudspeakers. pic.twitter.com/jMynWKlXo4

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Luke Jones

@LukeJonesTV

Had to change locations. Guy just ran up, hit me on the side of my head and knocked me to the ground. @3onyourside

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4 Policemen Killed, 11 Injured In Blast In Pakistan

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE KASHMIR OBSERVER)

 

4 Policemen Killed, 11 Injured In Blast In Pakistan

Pakistani volunteers shift an injured victim into the hospital after the bomb blast in Quetta | AFP
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ISLAMABAD — A powerful remote-controlled bomb blast near a mosque in Pakistan’s Balochistan province has killed four policemen and injured 11 others, the second major attack to rock the restive region in the last three days.

The explosion occurred on Monday night when people were assembling for prayers near the mosque in the provincial capital Quetta’s Satellite Town area.

The attack took place shortly after a police van arrived at the site to provide security to the people offering prayers at the mosque.

“The police vehicle carrying personnel for mosque security was targeted in the blast in which our four personnel of Rapid Response Group (RRG) lost their lives, while the condition of another was stated to be serious,” said Quetta Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Razzaq Cheema.

Another 11 people were injured in the attack, Provincial Home Minister Ziaullah Langov said.

This was the second major terrorist attack in Balochistan within the last three days.

Three heavily-armed militants on Saturday stormed a luxury hotel in Pakistan’s port city of Gwadar in the restive Balochistan province, killing eight persons, including a Pakistan Navy soldier and three militants.

An improvised explosive device planted in a motorcycle went off close to the police van. Sources said unidentified people parked the explosive-laden motorbike near the mosque in Satellite Town area and detonated it by remote control when the police van arrived there, the Dawn reported.

“Three police officials among the injured died soon after being brought here at the hospital,” officials at a healthcare facility said.

Many vehicles parked in the area were damaged and window panes of nearby buildings were shattered due to the powerful blast, though the mosque remained safe in the attack.

Security forces have cordoned off the area and launched a search operation to trace those involved in the blast.

The banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan has claimed responsibility for the motorcycle bomb blast targeting the police vehicle, the report said.

Prime Minister Imran Khan has strongly condemned the targeted attack.

Khan has sought a report on the blast and said the country was fully committed to completely eliminating terrorism.

The prime minister said those who target innocent people in the holy month of Ramadan did not have a religion.

The nation’s spirit is strong and Pakistan is determined to do away with the menace of terrorism, he said.

Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan has also condemned the attack.

“Efforts are being made to sabotage peace under a wicked conspiracy. Those creating instability would be fought back with full force,” he said.

Vowing to improve the security arrangements, the chief minister also directed the concerned authorities to provide the best medical facilities to the wounded persons.

China: How my friend’s police run-in could help you if you’re ever falsely accused

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF SHANGHAI CHINA’S SHINE NEWS)

 

How my friend’s police run-in could help you if you’re ever falsely accused

This week a friend had a terrifying experience: He found himself handcuffed on Nanjing Road E. after he more or less admitted to shoplifting. Problem is, he never stole anything.

It was a very valuable lesson for him in the importance of keeping a cool and level head under moments of extreme stress.

The drama began as my friend, a local who wishes not to be named, was approached by two men claiming to be plain-clothes police officers. They asked to look in his bag and said staff at H&M suspected he stole a white T-shirt from there.

He had just left H&M, so wondered if the men had been watching him and were trying to scam him.

At this point he did the right thing and refused to open his bag until the officers could prove who they really were. They did so by approaching a uniformed officer on the street to verify their identity.

That’s when things started getting heated.

My friend, who was wearing a white H&M T-shirt, had another white H&M T-shirt in his bag. The officers asked him if he just stole it, and in the heat of the moment he began to believe that maybe he did.

He had just been trying on T-shirts in the changing room at the clothing outlet and left without buying anything. That’s when he started to question himself: “Could I have accidentally put it in my bag?!”

“I didn’t take it on purpose,” he said. A huge mistake.

That’s when he was placed in handcuffs and taken to the nearest police station as he cried and tried to convince the officers that he is a good person and would never do such a thing.

They told him that, since the T-shirt was only worth 39 yuan (US$5.75), he could write an apology letter, which he did at the station, and then they’d take him back to the store to pay for the T-shirt. The important thing is that you learn a lesson from this and don’t steal again, the officers said.

It was on their way back to H&M in a police car that he had time to finally calm down and think clearly. That’s when he realized where the whole situation had gone off the rails.

The T-shirt in his bag wasn’t new at all — it was a T-shirt he had bought weeks before which he planned to wear for dance class after work. He had somehow, in the heat of the moment, forgotten and then been led down a path which ended up with him being arrested.

“Why did you admit you stole it then?” the officers asked.

And that’s the scary thing: He never really admitted to stealing anything, but under immense pressure he allowed himself to be led astray, and it could have cost him dearly.

In the end the situation was left there and, thankfully, no records were taken of the incident. But it was a good lesson for my friend, and now hopefully for others, too.

Probably a better idea would have been to first request that the store in question provide video evidence of a crime taking place, especially since nothing was actually stolen. Unfortunately, though, H&M refused to look through the video footage to vindicate my friend, claiming that they were too busy — they said that thefts occur dozens of times a day and that if they had to provide evidence each time it would be too much.

To be honest, that’s a bit slack, especially when it comes to accusing someone of stealing something.

Most importantly, though, never admit — or even allude — to having done anything you didn’t do. It sounds easy in retrospect, but it really needs to become second nature in case you ever find yourself in a similar situation.

This incident involved a series of people confused about an alleged crime that never actually took place. Things would have been put to bed much quicker if my friend remained calm, had confidence in himself, stuck his ground and demanded video evidence.

So that’s my advice here, however simple: Stay calm, take a deep breath, sit down if you need to, and try your best not to end up in a sticky situation.

Black Church Fires: Louisiana Deputy Turns In 21 Year Old Son For Arrest

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CBS NEWS)

 

Last Updated Apr 11, 2019 10:07 AM EDT

Police arrested the 21-year-old son of a sheriff’s deputy in connection to fires at three historically black churches in one Louisiana Parish in just 10 days. CBS News has learned it was the suspect’s father, Deputy Roy Matthews, who turned him in to authorities. The fires were devastating to the St. Landry Parish community.

Investigators arrested suspect Holden Matthews Wednesday evening. He was charged Thursday morning with three counts of simple arson of a religious building.The maximum penalty for each counts is 15 years in prison.

Matthews’ social media shows he had an interest in black metal music and is the lead singer for a band called Vodka Vultures. Records show Matthews lives in Saint Landry Parish, where the churches burned just a few miles apart. Police have not yet revealed a motive.

The churches were empty at the time of each fire and no one was hurt.

Earlier this week, the NAACP said the church burnings were “domestic terrorism,” targeting people because of their skin color and faith.

Attacks on black churches have long been used as a way to intimidate the black community, most notably during the civil rights era. Though police in Saint Landry Parish have heightened security at nearby churches, parishioners have not stopped their Sunday worship and all the pastors say they will rebuild.

The fires began on March 26 at St. Mary Baptist Church in Port Barre followed by Greater Union Baptist on April 2 and  Mount Pleasant Baptist Church on April 4.

“There’s still people that need to be helped, there’s still ministry that has to be done, so we can’t let this setback stop us from doing what God has initially called us to do,” said Pastor Kyle Sylvester of St. Mary’s Baptist Church.

The FBI and ATF have been assisting local police with the investigation.

Authorities say they will announce “significant updates” at a press conference Thursday morning with Louisiana’s governor.

Sixth-grader arrested in Florida after refusal to participate in Pledge of Allegiance led to confrontation

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NBC NEWS)

 

Sixth-grader arrested in Florida after refusal to participate in Pledge of Allegiance led to confrontation

He was charged with disrupting a school function and resisting an officer without violence.
By Tim Stelloh

A sixth-grader in Florida was arrested after his refusal to participate in the Pledge of Allegiance escalated into a confrontation with police and school officials, authorities said.

The unnamed boy was charged with disrupting a school function and resisting an officer without violence on Feb. 4, the Lakeland Police Department said in a news release.

A local news outlet, Bay News 9, reported that the confrontation began after the student at Lawton Chiles Middle Academy, near Tampa, called the flag racist and described the national anthem as offensive.

Citing a statement provided to the Polk School District by the boy’s substitute teacher, the station reported that the teacher asked him, “why if it was so bad here he did not go to another place to live.”

“They brought me here,” the boy replied, according to the statement.

After the teacher told him he could “always go back,” she called the school’s office “because I did not want to continue dealing with him,” the station reported.

The district did not respond to a request for comment on Sunday, but a school spokesman told the Ledger, a local newspaper, that students are not required to participate in the pledge.

The spokesman, Kyle Kennedy, told the newspaper that the teacher, Ana Alvarez, wasn’t aware of that policy and would no longer work with the district.

The boy’s mother, Dhakira Talbot, disputed the school’s claims, telling NBC News that her son “is not a disrespectful kid.”

“What I do know is when she asked my son about it, he responded to her enlightening her on his reasonings,” Talbot said. “It wasn’t just that the flag is racist. I don’t teach my children that the flag is racist.”

After the confrontation began, the school’s dean of students tried unsuccessfully to calm the student down, asking him to leave the class 20 times, police said.

“The school resource officer then intervened and asked the student to exit the classroom and he refused,” the department said. “The student left the classroom and created another disturbance and made threats while he was escorted to the office.”

The Lakeland Police Department said in a statement that the boy was not arrested for refusing to stand for or recite the Pledge of Allegiance. “This arrest was based on the student’s choice to disrupt the classroom, make threats and resisting the officer’s efforts to leave the classroom.”

Talbot denied that her son made any threats and said the school “didn’t handle it the way they should have handled it.”

She told NBC News her son was overwhelmed with the situation, and she transferred him to another school.

“I want my son to know, I don’t care what any other parent say or any other parents do, that I’m going to stand up for him,” Talbot said.

7 Year Old Jazmine Murder Solved? Police Have Arrested Two

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CBS NEWS)

 

A 20-year-old man in Texas was arrested Saturday and charged in the death of 7-year-old Jazmine Barnes, who was shot and killed while riding in a car with her family in Houston. Another man is being held in connection with the shooting but has not yet been charged, a lawyer for the girl’s family said.

Eric Black Jr., 20, was charged with capital murder and appeared in court early Sunday morning, wearing handcuffs and an orange jumpsuit. He was ordered held without bail. A prosecutor said Black admitted to driving the car when his passenger opened fire.

Lee Merritt, an attorney for the Barnes family, told CBS News another suspect had also been arrested.

The shooting occured in Houston on Dec. 30 when a car pulled alongside the vehicle carrying Barnes and her family at a stoplight and a gunman opened fire. Jazmine died of a gunshot wound to the head, and her mother was hit in the arm.

LaPorsha Washington, Jazmine’s mother, said in the days following the shooting that she believed it was racially motivated. Her 15-year-old daughter, who was also in the car, initially said the shooter was a white man in a red truck, and police released an artist’s sketch Thursday showing a thin, white man with a 5 o’clock shadow. Black, the alleged driver, is African American. The full name of the alleged gunman is not yet known, but Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said Sunday the individual is also African American.

In a press conference Sunday afternoon, Gonzalez said there was indeed a red truck at the stoplight when shots rang out, but said investigators now believe the person or people in the truck were nothing more than witnesses. He urged the unidentified driver of the truck to come forward.

Gonzalez said investigators don’t believe “in any way” that family members were involved in anything “nefarious.” He added that investigators believe two people were involved in the shooting, but would not comment further since Black is the only individual who has been charged.

“We feel that they were truthful. This just went down very quickly when the gunfire erupted,” Gonzalez said. “You’re talking about small children — they witnessed something very traumatic. And it is possible that the last thing they did see was indeed that red truck and that driver that was in that truck, and that’s what they remembered last.”

jazmine-ssvo-frame-0.jpg
Jazmine Barnes.HARRIS COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE

Earlier Sunday, a prosecutor presented details of the case against Black at a hearing at Probable Cause Court in downtown Houston. Appearing by video conference, the prosecutor said Gonzalez had received an anonymous tip passed along by journalist and activist Shaun King. The source implicated two men identified as “LW” and “EB” in the shooting after authorities asked the public for help identifying the assailants.

The source for the tip said the suspects thought the vehicle carrying Jazmine was another vehicle they had seen earlier in the day, the prosecutor said, and didn’t realize they had hit the wrong vehicle until seeing the news later that day.

The source provided the sheriff with the name of an Instagram account used by one of the suspects, which investigators determined belonged to Black, the prosecutor said.

On Saturday, police stopped Black in a grey Kia for failing to signal when changing lanes, and held him for suspected marijuana possession after a deputy said he saw a plastic bag with what appeared to be marijuana in his glove box when Black opened it to find his insurance card. The officer searched Black’s car, found more marijuana and detained him, the prosecutor said.

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Eric Black Jr. appears in court for a probable cause hearing on Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019.ONSCENE.TV

Homicide detectives interviewed Black on Saturday, and the prosecutor said Black admitted to driving the vehicle involved in the shooting. Black told investigators “LW” — identified in court only as “Larry” — was seated in the front passenger seat of a rental car and fired at the vehicle carrying Jazmine. Black returned that rental car after the shooting and picked up the car he was driving when he was pulled over Saturday.

The prosecutor said in Sunday’s hearing that Black then agreed to a search of his residence, where police found a 9 mm pistol consistent with shell casings found at the site of the shooting.

Gonzales, the sheriff, said Sunday that police had received more than 1,000 tips in the case. A reward of $100,000 had been offered for information leading to an arrest. At a rally in Houston on Saturday, more than 500 people honored Jazmine and helped raise money for the family.

Zachary Hudak contributed reporting.

2 Chicago Police Officers Killed By Train

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ABC NEWS AND WLS CHICAGO)

 

Body camera video recovered after 2 Chicago police officers killed by train

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VIDEOS: 2 Chicago police officers fatally struck by South Shore Line train (1 of 5)

Body camera video recovered after 2 police officers killed by train

Investigators have recovered body camera video from one of the officers fatally struck by a South Shore LIne train Monday.

The Chicago Police Department is in mourning Tuesday after two officers were fatally struck by a train while chasing a suspect on the South Side Monday.

Shortly after 6 p.m. Monday, the officers responded to a call of shots fired in the Rosemoore neighborhood. Police said one of the body camera videos which they may never release shows the officers exit their patrol car, go up a hill to the Metra tracks at 103rd and Cottage Grove Avenue and talk about where the offender could have gone.

In the distance, the officers can see a train approaching heading north making noise. Police said it possibly masked the sound of another high-speed train South Shore Line train full of commuters that was only feet behind them and then the camera fades to black. Police said it happened fast and the officers died instantly.

VIDEO: Procession to Cook Co. Medical Examiner’s Office for fallen officers

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The procession for two CPD officers fatally struck by a South Shore Line train makes its way to the medical examiner’s office.

Police identified the officers who were killed as 31-year-old Conrad Gary and 36-year-old Eduardo Marmolejo. Gary is a married father of an infant who has only been on the force for 18 months and graduated from Oak Lawn Community High Schools. Marmolejo is a married father of three young children and has been on the force for two-and-a-half years.

“Shock. I mean here we are again. It highlights again just how dangerous this job can be. I often say the most dangerous thing a police officer can do is take a weapon off of an armed individual, and that’s what they were doing, with no regard for their own safety,” said Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie Johnson

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Chicago Police

@Chicago_Police

PO Conrad Gary and PO Eduardo Marmolejo. Always remember the names of our brave officers who were killed in the line of duty last night.

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Early Tuesday morning, two ambulances carried the bodies of the officers from the scene. With full police honors, the 15-mile procession wound past the 5th Police District where they were stationed, then onto the medical examiner’s office where officers saluted as a sign of respect.
VIDEO: Bodies of fallen CPD officers arrive at Cook Co, Medical Examiner’s Office

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The bodies of two fallen Chicago police officers arrive at the medical examiner’s office.

“We’ve lost two young men, both fathers, young families,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “This holiday will never be the same for those two families. While our hearts are with them we lost people who answered the call to try and make Chicago a better place.”

Johnson said 2018 has been an “immensely difficult” year for the Chicago Police Department in terms of officers killed in the line of duty, as well as an uptick in officer suicides. He noted it’s been a particularly difficult year for the 5th District.

“Pray for the families of these two heroic young men, pray for the 5th District who, even tonight, will stop at nothing to safeguard the community,” he said.

In a tweet, Governor Bruce Rauner said, “Deeply saddened to learn of the tragic deaths of officers Conrad Gary and Eduardo Marmolejo. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families and the entire @Chicago_Police Department.”

Governor Rauner

@GovRauner

Deeply saddened to learn of the tragic deaths of officers Conrad Gary and Eduardo Marmolejo. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families and the entire @Chicago_Police Department.

See Governor Rauner’s other Tweets

It’s been a particularly tragic year for Chicago’s 5th Police District. Officers at the district told ABC7 that counselors will be on site to help officers and staff grieve.

In addition to losing these two officers, the 5th District has lost at least two others to suicides.
5th District mourning fallen officers

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Officers in the 5th Chicago Police District are dealing with another tragedy after two of their officers were fatally struck by a train.

Commander Paul Bauer and Officer Samuel Jimenez were both members of the department that lost their lives in the line of duty.

Tuesday, two crosses were placed in front of the department offering both comfort and a grim reminder of the two officers that will no longer be walking through those doors. Police hanged memorial bunting at the entrance of Chicago Police Headquarters at 35th and Michigan.

Police said a suspect was taken into custody and a gun was recovered at the scene. Police believe he was possibly test firing a gun but he never fired shots at the officers.

Meanwhile, the South Shore Line experienced some delays to during the morning rush hours Tuesday,.

Passengers were held on the train for about two and a half hours Monday night before they were placed on buses.

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Thousands Oaks Bar Shooting: Friendly Fire Killed Deputy By A State Trooper

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ABC NEWS)

 

 / Updated 
By Doha Madani

A sheriff’s sergeant who died during a firefight during the Borderline Bar and Grill mass shooting in Thousand Oaks, California, last month was killed by friendly fire, officials said.

Sgt. Ron Helus was hit five times by gunman Ian David Long at the bar but was ultimately killed by a sixth shot from a California Highway Patrol officer’s AR-style rifle, Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub said at a press conference Friday.

Image: Sgt. Ron Helus
Ventura County officer Sgt. Ron Helus.Santa Barbara County Sheriff

“This news is extremely difficult for all of us to process and understand,” Ayub said.

Helus was wearing body armor during the shooting but the rifle shot penetrated the vest and struck his heart, according to the medical examiner.

“I can tell you that most body armor worn by municipal police in this country is not capable of stopping rifle ammunition,” Ayub told reporters. “It’s a matter of comfort as well as fatigue for officers to wear heavy armor, day in and day out.”

The highway patrol officer who fired the fatal shot was a 9-year veteran of the department and has voluntarily taken time off, according to a spokesman for the California Highway Patrol.

“The mere thought of something like this happening is devastating to all of us and underscores the difficult and dangerous circumstances law enforcement faces, often with only mere seconds to react,” California Highway Patrol Commissioner Warren Stanley said in a statement.

Long, 28, the man who killed 12 people at the bar, was a machine gunner in the Marines from 2008 to 2013. He served as a corporal and was deployed in Afghanistan. Long died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound inside the bar after the attack.

Long’s motive for the shooting is still unknown.

Andrew Blankstein contributed.

Israel: Please Tell Me That The Prime Minister Is Not This Petty And This Stupid

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

‘What a Hanukkah gift’: Bitter PM slams police call to charge him with bribery

Accusing cops of an ongoing witch-hunt, Netanyahu denies deal to help Bezeq boss Elovitch in return for favorable coverage from the businessman’s Walla news site

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at a Likud party event in Ramat Gan marking the first night of the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, on December 2, 2018. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at a Likud party event in Ramat Gan marking the first night of the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, on December 2, 2018. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hit back hard Sunday evening against Israel Police’s bombshell recommendation earlier in the day that he be indicted for taking bribes in the Bezeq-Walla corruption probe, known as Case 4000.

“The witch-hunt against us continues,” Netanyahu told a crowd of Likud supporters at the party’s official Hanukkah lighting ceremony at the Kfar Maccabiah Hotel in Tel Aviv. The investigation, he claimed, was biased and “skewed from the start… A year ago, before even opening the investigations,” he charged of the police, “they decided what the outcome would be and leaked their conclusions.”

Investigators said earlier Sunday they believed there was enough evidence to bring Netanyahu to trial on charges of accepting bribes, fraud and breach of trust, and fraudulently accepting benefits. It is the third case in which police have recommended bribery charges against the prime minister. They also recommended that his wife, Sara, stand trial in the case.

But Netanyahu said the allegations were “baseless” and that the truth would eventually emerge. Hanukkah marks “the victory of light over darkness,” he said, and declared, “the light will always win out.”

He also noted that Hanukkah is a festival of miracles, and mused bitterly, “How did they know to time (the publication of) these surreal allegations precisely on the very last day of the police chief? What can I tell you? A real Hanukkah miracle. What a gift they gave us for the festival,” he said, in tones dripping with sarcasm met with cheers from his upbeat supporters.

Sunday was police commissioner Roni Alsheich’s final full day in office.

Investigators said that Netanyahu advanced regulatory decisions benefiting Shaul Elovitch, the controlling shareholder in Bezeq, the country’s largest telecommunications firm — despite opposition from the Communication Ministry’s career officials — in exchange for positive coverage from Elovitch’s Walla news site. At the time when a merger of Bezeq with the Yes satellite operator was approved in 2015 — a deal at the heart of the case, said to have benefited Elovitch to the tune of hundreds of millions of shekels — the prime minister was also serving as acting communications minister.

Shaul Elovitch arrives at the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court for extension of his remand in Case 4000, February 22, 2018. (Flash90)

Netanyahu rejected the specific allegations, saying that there was no benefit to either side in the alleged quid pro quo. “I didn’t give anything to Elovitch and I didn’t get anything from Elovitch,” he said.

“Not only did Elovitch not get anything from me during my tenure as communications minister, he lost a fortune,” the prime minister charged. “As minister of communications, we instituted the wholesale market reform that lowered the prices of the Internet and collapsed Bezeq’s share — a reform that seriously hurt Elovitch. In other words, Bezeq received nothing, but lost,” he said.

He also said that the claim he received positive coverage from Walla was untrue. “What did I get?” he asked the crowd rhetorically. “I’ll tell you: I got terrible coverage at Walla… Walla is a left-wing website that gives and has given me negative coverage for years, especially on the eve of the last elections.”

In their blistering statement, police had said “the prime minister and his associates intervened in a blatant and ongoing manner, and sometimes even daily, in the content published by the Walla News website, and also sought to influence the appointment of senior officials (editors and reporters) via their contacts with Shaul and Iris Elovitch,” the Bezeq owner’s wife.

Netanyahu, however, said there was nothing wrong with being in contact with owners of major media outlets.

“I don’t think it okay in a democracy for the police to investigate ties between politicians and the media,” he said, accusing investigators of singling him out, and noting that dozens of lawmakers receive “flattering coverage” and are not probed by authorities.

“I wasn’t surprised the recommendations were published, or that they were published today,” Netanyahu added, citing the timing of the announcement on Alsheich’s last full day, and accusing the police chief of leading a smear campaign against him.

Israeli Chief of Police Roni Alsheich seen with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a welcoming ceremony held in Alsheich’s honor in Jerusalem, on December 3, 2015. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)

Alsheich ends his term on Monday after three years. Both Netanyahu and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan have clashed with the outgoing commissioner and declined to extend his tenure for the customary additional year.

Earlier this year, police recommended that Netanyahu be charged with bribery, fraud, and breach of trust in two other corruption cases, designated 1000 and 2000. The following month, Netanyahu said that law enforcement officials were being pressured to pursue criminal investigations against him. He has since railed against Alsheich, accusing the police chief of leaking information to the press and of conducting a “witch-hunt” against him and his family.

Alsheich’s departure comes amid a cloud over his successor vis-a-vis the Senior Appointments Advisory Committee, also known as the Goldberg Committee, which announced last week that it could not recommend Maj. Gen. Moshe “Chico” Edri as the next police chief, citing a meeting Edri held during the nomination process with the lawyer of a Tax Authority whistleblower who has accused Edri of harassing him.

Erdan, who nominated Edri, harshly criticized the committee over its decision and vowed to push ahead with the appointment despite the disqualification. Alsheich had also reportedly been against the appointment.

In a further attack on police integrity, Netanyahu said he did not know who next the Israel Police commissioner will be, “but I do know one thing. He’ll have some serious restoration work because, how should I say this, the public’s trust in the police is not at an all-time high.”

In Case 1000, the so-called “gifts scandal,” Netanyahu is suspected of “systematically” demanding benefits worth about NIS 1 million ($282,000) from billionaire benefactors, including Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan and Australian resort owner James Packer, in exchange for favors.

Case 2000 involves a suspected illicit quid-pro-quo deal between Netanyahu and Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper publisher Arnon Mozes that would have seen the prime minister work to weaken a rival daily, the Sheldon Adelson-backed Israel Hayom, in return for more favorable coverage from Yedioth.

Netanyahu has denied wrongdoing in all of the cases, insisting the gifts were given by friends and were not bribes, and that he never intended to act on his conversations with Mozes.

Rallying his supporters on Sunday, the prime minister repeated a mantra he has used throughout the investigations: “Nothing will happen, because…,” he began. And the crowd joined in, “…nothing happened.”

In their Sunday statement, police noted that the investigation had not found enough evidence to charge Benjamin and Sara Netanyahu’s son, Yair Netanyahu, who was questioned a number of times during the investigation.

The recommendations in Case 4000 now go to the Attorney General’s Office, where they will first be reviewed by the state prosecutor before going to Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit.

Mandelblit, who will make the final decision whether to indict the prime minister, intends to examine all three cases at the same time, which will be possible only after he receives the state attorney’s recommendations based on the final police reports.

That process makes late 2019 the likely timing for any final word on whether Netanyahu will face trial. The next Knesset elections are currently slated for November 2019, but may very well be held earlier.

Coalition partners have previously said that they would not leave the government unless a full indictment was filed against the prime minister, but recent crises may have shifted allegiances in the coalition after it was reduced last month to a paper-thin majority of just 61-59 in the 120-seat Knesset.

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