By: Rick McCann/Staff
PRIVATE OFFICER NEWS
The Georgia Highway Patrol is investigating a fatality accident late last night involving a Henry County police officer.
Authorities say that Police Officer James Jimmy Franklin Carter Jr., was killed Wednesday night in a traffic accident on his way in to work. The accident happened in Butts County, and details of the crash are not yet clear as troopers are still working the investigation.
Carter, an 11-year veteran of the Henry County Police Department, worked in Uniform Patrol, as a detective in the Criminal Investigations Division, as a K-9 officer, and as a Field Training Officer.
No other information is being released at this time.
About 10:30 p.m., a security guard shot a 31-year-old man in the leg when the man lunged at employees with a knife in the 5100 block of West Chicago Avenue, according to police News Affairs Officer Amina Greer. Pepper spray had initially been used, but had no affect on the man, Greer said.
Several restaurants and a club are located near that address, according to an online map. Greer did not immediately know at what establishment the shooting occurred.
The man was taken in unknown condition to West Suburban Medical Center in Oak Park, Greer said. Charges are pending, she said.
Grand Central Area detectives are investigating.
“They threatened to arrest me,’’ she said. “Wasn’t that nice of them?’’
Within moments, according to the state’s top highway official, a project supervisor had pulled Williams away from assisting traffic to “deescalate the situation.’’ Police deny that they threatened to arrest her, but by the next morning, the civilian flagger had been replaced by a uniformed officer.
The incident Tuesday was the latest flare-up in an increasingly tense dispute between the Boston Police Department and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation over the use of civilian flaggers at city construction sites overseen by the state.
State officials say they want to use civilian flaggers, allowed under a new state law, to save money; police in Boston and elsewhere, who can earn huge amounts of money working at construction sites, have argued that public safety is better served by having officers, rather than civilians, working the jobs.
The tension has been simmering since October 2008, when Massachusetts became one of the last states in the nation to allow civilian flaggers to work at construction sites. In the weeks after the law was passed, police in some communities taunted civilian flaggers at construction sites. In Woburn, for example, where the first civilian flagger was used, 50 off-duty officers shouted down a union-represented civilian flagger, calling him a “scab’’ and “pathetic.’’
Now, in Boston, where civilian flaggers are allowed only at state highway projects or on state roads, police and city officials are closely watching construction sites for potential violations of traffic safety agreements between the city and state over the use of flaggers.
When Boston police details are used, officers are paid for a minimum of four hours, even if not needed that entire time.
But Boston police and city officials disagree that the state is saving money by using civilian flaggers. They also argue that civilians cannot ensure safe traffic flow or respond to criminal activity as a trained officer can.
“We know the streets,’’ Boston Police Superintendent William Evans said in an interview. “We can handle vehicles coming out at a rapid pace. I can name the amount of good arrests we’ve had out there. We bring so much more to the table than a flagger does.’’
Police say that they have no problem with flaggers working on quiet or dead-end streets. But they say the new law does not stipulate what kind of supervision should occur on low-speed, high-volume roads, which they define as having at least 4,000 cars a day. Boston officials are taking their case back to the State House, arguing for a bill sponsored by Representative Martin J. Walsh that would require police details on such roads.
The police cite as an example American Legion Highway, which has a 30-mile speed limit and 35,000 vehicles daily. The roadway has been the site of many fatal car accidents, and there are makeshift memorials to victims along its side, said Thomas Tinlin, the city’s transportation commissioner.
“We’re not talking about a state job on a one-way street,’’ he said. “We’re talking about major thoroughfares, evacuation routes, that get thousands of cars a day.’’
The dispute in South Boston stems from a meeting last Friday, when Boston police and city officials gathered with representatives of the state and a private contractor to discuss a project to resurface the road and build wheelchair ramps and sidewalks around the intersection of A and West Fourth streets.
Police said state officials told them civilian flaggers would not be used on the project. But on Tuesday morning, a lieutenant coming off his shift saw Williams at the intersection, according to a police report. He alerted the district captain and within moments, two superintendents joined him at the scene, along with at least three union representatives. One union official took pictures of the scene.
Thomas Nee, who heads the patrol officers union and came to the intersection himself, said he was livid that the state directed a civilian to stand on a street that leads to a hospital, Boston Medical Center.
“It’s ridiculous in a major artery like this,’’ he said. “This is an almost bald-faced, in-your-face move by the state.’’
But Paiewonsky, whose department is overseeing the project, said the state had agreed to place officers at the two intersections flanking A and West 4th streets, but also reserved the right to use a flagger in the area between the officers and chose to do so.
“In the 18 months since we’ve implemented this, we have had not one incident,’’ Paiewonsky said. “We have an excellent safety-work zone record for a reason.’’
She said traffic management plans are carefully prepared to ensure the safety of the flagger and drivers. “Some situations in a construction work zone don’t call for a police detail,’’ she said. “There was no reason not to have a flagger there.’’
Last month, a tussle erupted over who should monitor traffic at a major construction project on American Legion Highway. On-duty officers in cruisers are now watching for cement trucks coming in and out of the construction site, even though the state had initially decided to use a civilian flagger.
State Highway Division Administrator Luisa Paiewonsky said in an interview yesterday that the use of civilian flaggers is working and that she believes tensions with police will ease.
“We think over time [police] will adjust to it as a reform,’’ she said. “We have projects all over the city of Boston and we have long enjoyed a very productive relationship with them. I’m sure they’ll get used to the flagger regulation and get used to the fact that we’re not going away.’’
Paiewonsky said the use of civilian flaggers has saved the state about $10 million on road projects, in part because construction managers can decide how many flaggers to assign to a construction site and how long they will work
Officer Joseph Harvey, a seven-year member of the force, also has been suspended for 30 days with intent to dismiss.
Harvey, 35, is charged with indecent exposure, official oppression and false imprisonment, police said.
Harvey was assigned to the 24th District and was working on an investigation with other officers around midnight Oct. 9, said Chief Inspector Anthony DiLacqua, head of the Internal Affairs Division.
The officers were in an apartment in Kensington, investigating criminal activity, when Harvey and a woman came to be alone in a room. The woman, who DiLacqua said is in her early 20s and does not live at the apartment, later told police that Harvey had exposed himself to her and performed an indecent act. He did not touch or injure the woman, DiLacqua said.
DiLacqua did not identify the woman or comment on the location of the residence, but said it was near Kensington and Somerset Avenues.
The woman reported the incident immediately, and Internal Affairs investigated with the District Attorney’s Office.
Harvey is charged with false imprisonment because he was on duty, had questioned the woman as part of an investigation, and was displaying his badge and weapon.
“By nature of his job, she was not free to leave the room,” DiLacqua said. “She was not at liberty to walk away.”
The District Attorney’s Office approved an arrest warrant Monday, and Harvey surrendered Wednesday morning to Internal Affairs, police said.
Before working in the 24th District, Harvey was assigned to the 15th, in North Philadelphia. No similar complaints were made about Harvey in the past, DiLacqua said.
FBI officials said it happened Sunday on Flight 1788. In a complaint filed in federal court, FBI special agent Michael Lewis said Kim Goodwine was believed to have been drunk when she got on the plane and fell asleep in the wrong seat.
Lewis said when the passenger who had bought the seat arrived and asked her to get up, Goodwine began yelling. Authorities said later she moved, but then began shouting obscenities and racial epithets at the flight crew.
When an FBI agent asked her to calm down and tried to handcuff her, authorities said she bit the agent.
Goodwine was arrested in New York and later released on $100,000 bond, according to court records.
Tanisha Weaver, 28, of 18 Shannon Road in Louisburg, is charged with abduction of children. District Judge Brian Wilks raised her bond from $20,000 to $100,000 because of the new allegations against her.
Duke Hospital officials said a woman tried to take a newborn Monday afternoon from the hospital’s North Ancillary, at 2301 Erwin Road. Hospital staff recognized that the woman wasn’t authorized to take the child, called police and detained her until investigators arrived, officials said.
The baby and her mother were fine, officials said.
”This was not a situation where we are talking about a parental abduction,” Assistant Durham County District Attorney Jim Dornfried said in court Wednesday. ”We really believe that this a situation of a child being stolen.”
As part of an elaborate ruse to get the mother out of the hospital room, Dornfried said, Weaver bought balloons and a gift card from the hospital gift shop, then told the mother that she would stay with the infant while the mother attended a special luncheon in the hospital cafeteria.
After the mother left, the baby’s ankle bracelet was cut off, triggering an alarm and prompting nurses to detain Weaver, the prosecutor said. She was carrying a bag containing a change of clothes for a newborn girl, he said.
Weaver gave conflicting information to police about why she was in the hospital and had taken the baby, Dornfried said, and officers found a text message on her phone from earlier in the day that said, “Can’t wait to see you and the baby tonight.”
Dornfried said Weaver last week surveyed Parham Medical Center in Henderson in an effort to steal a child. He said hospital security officials contacted investigators Tuesday after seeing media reports of Weaver’s arrest to report that she had donned surgical scrubs at that hospital and tried to pass herself off as a nursing student.
“She was asking questions about security, where the exits were located and ways to the maternity ward,” Dornfried said.
Maria Parham spokesman David Ruggles said the woman’s suspicious behavior last Saturday attracted the attention of hospital security, prompting her to leave. Security video shows her leaving with two unidentified people, he said.
“At no time was an infant or mother … ever confronted or touched by Ms. Weaver during this incident,” Ruggles said in a statement.
Weaver’s neighbor Kawana Jones said for several months, Weaver pretended to be pregnant. Jones said her children saw baby clothes, bottles and even a stroller inside of Weaver’s home.
“I asked her when the baby was due and she said April 17,” Jones said.
Last Friday, Weaver asked Jones to babysit her little boy because she said she was going into the hospital to have a baby.
Jones said when Weaver showed up the next day without a baby, she felt something wasn’t right.
“She said, ‘Well, I signed myself out,’” Jones said. “And I got to thinking, you signed yourself out?”
She said Weaver told her the baby was in intensive care with some type of respiratory problem, but would be released Monday.
Jones said Weaver even showed them pictures of a baby and acted as if she were suffering pain from giving birth.
Jones said on Monday, Weaver asked her to take her to Duke Hospital. Jones says she came up with an excuse not to give Weaver a ride because she felt something wasn’t right.
Now, Jones said she is relieved she followed her instincts.
Jones said she especially feels for Weaver’s son, who came home from school Monday to an empty house.
Duke University spokesman Keith Lawrence said the Monday incident at the Durham hospital remains under investigation, and no one else has been charged yet.
Dornfried said Weaver finally indicated to Duke investigators that she was trying to get a baby because she owed someone money.
“This is a stranger shopping for a child,” he said. “This is a baby to steal for profit or to satisfy a debt.”
A public defender who represented Weaver during the court hearing Wednesday asked Wilks to keep Weaver’s bond at $20,000, saying she has no criminal record and needed to get out of jail to care for a sick child at home.
Weaver’s uncle Anthony Q. Alston Sr., said his niece moved to Louisburg two months ago from New Jersey.
Source:news2– An Atlanta therapist accused of swindling her patients out of hundreds of thousands of dollars is now in jail.
Buckhead therapist Colleen Higgins was arrested in an Iowa motel, she’d been on the run for a year.
She was booked in an Iowa jail and faces multiple counts of theft by deception on a warrant issued by the Atlanta Police Department, reported Channel 2’s Diana Davis.
Davis spoke with one former patient who sought Higgins’ services. Alessandro Salvo told Davis he needed help overcoming trust issues. Instead, Salvo said he was swindled out of thousands of dollars from Higgins.
“I got her the money and immediately she started to avoid me and I knew three weeks later I’d been scammed,” said Salvo. “At the end of the fourth week, I told her there would be no more delays and I needed my money immediately … and that’s when she disappeared.”
Atlanta lawyer David Lilenfeld represents four of Higgins other alleged victims. He told Channel 2’s Davis that one couple was taken for $90,000. He said Higgins swindled nearly $400,000 out of others.
“It’s a sacred bond and she violated it,” said Lilenfeld.
“She knew my buttons that I would help a person in trouble so she played on that,” said Salvo.
A board that oversees Georgia therapists and social workers asked a judge to revoke Higgins license on the grounds of unprofessional conduct and ethics violations.
“Last night was the first night in a year that I didn’t have a nightmare when I was sleeping about getting robbed,” said Salvo.
Sheriff Mike Jolley says 37-year-old Joe William Seaborn and 21-year-old Jamaal Hakeem Castille left through a window around 9:30 p.m. He says 21-year-old Christopher Joseph Fleming escaped a few minutes later.
Authorities believe the men stole two vehicles and drove to Columbus, where police believe the men may have broken into a dry cleaners and stole clothes.
Jolley says Fleming likely is heading toward his home state of Texas. Seaborn likely is going to Eufaula, Ala., where he has family. Castille, of Columbus, may be trying to find his girlfriend.
The men’s charges include burglary and drug offenses.
Times Topic: MexicoDozens of gunmen were involved in the attacks, which occurred at 3 a.m. and were bold even by Mexican standards. They stormed through numerous rooms on the fifth floor of the Holiday Inn Centro, removing four guests but letting others go. The gunmen also abducted the hotel’s receptionist and clashed with a security guard outside the hotel, possibly taking him as well, the authorities said. A receptionist at the Misión Hotel across the street was also abducted, bringing the likely total number of missing people to seven, officials said.
“It could be an organized crime group who was looking for an opposing group,” said Alejandro Garza, the top prosecutor in the state of Nuevo León.
Investigators said the gunmen entered the Holiday Inn with a man who was handcuffed and who told them to go to the fifth floor of the 17-story hotel. Once there, they barged into many rooms. They took one guest’s laptop computer. Other guests reported that the gunmen looked inside and left.
In Room 501, the gunmen took Luis Miguel González, a businessman from Mexico City. In Room 502, they abducted Ángel Ernesto Montes de Oca Sánchez, also from Mexico City. Down the hall, they removed Manuel Juárez, also from Mexico City, from Room 511. Nearby, in Room 512, Araceli Hernández, from Reynosa, who registered as a businesswoman, was also taken.
David Salas, the hotel’s receptionist, was also taken, along with computer equipment that contained the hotel’s guest registry and security tapes, the authorities said. Later, armed men also took the receptionist from a hotel across the street. Initial reports that an American was among the abductees were inaccurate, American officials said.
The affiliation of the gunmen was unknown, although some officials and experts on Mexico’s drug gangs suggested that initial evidence pointed to the Zetas, a paramilitary group that engages in drug trafficking and other illegal activities and has been linked to violence in Monterrey. Before storming the hotels, the attackers stole trucks and other vehicles and used them to block access to the area, the authorities said.
“It’s absolutely unprecedented,” said George W. Grayson, a professor at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Va., and the author of “Mexico: Narco-Violence and a Failed State?”
“You now have gunmen blocking off streets so that even if you had competent police, and you don’t in Monterrey, they can’t get to the place of operation,” he said.
Every day, Mexico’s drug traffickers seem to expand their reach and creep closer to people’s lives, whether it is a shootout in the hotel district of Acapulco or a note warning of violence in Cuernavaca that was taken so seriously that virtually no one ventured out last Friday.
Carlos Pascual, the American ambassador, delivered a speech to business leaders in Monterrey on Tuesday in which he lamented how violence had increased the cost of doing business in Mexico.
“Unchecked, violence and instability could cause corporations to rethink their business strategy of locating in Mexico,” he said at a dinner of the Monterrey Chapter of the American Chamber of Commerce in Mexico.
Recent violence in Monterrey, including a shootout between soldiers and traffickers that left two students dead at a private university, has clearly unnerved residents. The authorities attribute the violence to the Zetas and rival traffickers who are battling for control of smuggling routes to the United States.
“Monterrey used to be so dynamic that there was a joke that the official bird was the building crane,” Mr. Grayson said. “Now, there’s the beginnings of an exodus and it’s ‘last one out, turn out the lights.’ ”
But Gerardo Ruiz Mateos, the secretary of the economy, told reporters on Wednesday that there was no evidence that violence was hurting investment. “All countries have problems,” he said. “What investors are looking for is strength and firmness in addressing the problem.”