A spokeswoman for the Transportation Security Administration said the pair should have turned the drugs over to law enforcement authorities.
The screeners, Jean Francois, 49, and Alayah Morris, 24, were also charged with improper disposition of a controlled substance, said Ron Marsico, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which runs the airport.
TSA spokeswoman Ann Davis said the agency is cooperating with Port Authority police, and conducting its own internal investigation.
“We don’t screen for drugs,” Davis said. “However, if in the course of screening activities we do discover illegal substances or drugs, we do report them to law enforcement.”
The pair were charged after Port Authority Police got an anonymous call at 7:15 a.m., reporting an incident on the secure side of Checkpoint 1 inside Terminal C. Officials said the marijuana appeared to have fallen out of the pocket of an unidentified man before several screeners briefly gathered around the bag, and Francois then directed Morris to throw it in the trash.
Mecca Scott, an organizer with the American Federation of Government Employees, a union representing about 600 screeners in Newark, said her organization would cooperate with authorities.
Source: king5 news – Three people have been charged and are in custody in connection with last week’s home-invasion robbery in which an Edgewood father was killed.
The suspects are identified as Kiyoshi Alan Higashi, 22; Joshua Nathan Reese, 20; and Amanda Christine Knight, 21. They were arrested in Daly City, near San Francisco over the weekend.
Daly City Police Sgt. David Macris tells KING 5 the three were stopped at 11:50 a.m. Saturday because their Ford Crown Victoria had no front license plate. Macris says Reese had a weapon within reach under the seat. He also allegedly gave a false name to officers. Macris says someone else in the car tried to hide their identification. Knight was able to bail out.
“The female made bail and got out before they knew we were looking for her,” said Pierce County Sheriff’s spokesman Det. Ed Troyer.
Knight made her way back to Washington state. She turned herself in Tuesday night and was booked into the Pierce County Jail. Higashi and Reese are in custody in Daly, awaiting extradition to Washington.
Police served a search warrant on a house in Tacoma Tuesday afternoon in hopes of catching the fourth suspect, but that person was not there. The homeowner is the father of one of the suspects. Police say he refused to let officers in, so he was arrested for obstruction of justice.
Several more unrelated arrests were made at the home.
Charging documents released
Pierce County prosecutors charged Higashi, Reese, Knight and a fourth suspect with first-degree murder, first-degree robbery and second-degree assault. Troyer says detectives expect to have the fourth suspect positively identified within a day.
Jim Sanders, 43, was shot and killed April 28 in his Edgewood home after placing an ad on Craigslist.
Charging documents say four people came to the home in response to the Craigslist ad for a ring. Two of the people, a man and a woman, entered the home, looked at the ring and agreed on a price.
The man then pulled a handgun and the two zip tied Charlene and Jim Sanders with their hands behind their backs. Two more men entered the home. One of them went upstairs and brought the Sanders children, two boys ages 14 and 10, downstairs.
One of the men kicked Charlene at least twice in the head. Another started hitting Jim in the head with the gun when his older son intervened.
“The gunman then pistol whipped the child, causing bruising, abrasions and a concussion to his head,” charging documents state. “James Sanders broke his hands free from the zip ties to try and defend his son, and the gunmen shot James Sanders three times, once in the knee, in the thigh and in the back of the right shoulder, which was a fatal round.”
Papers say Charlene’s wedding ring was taken from her hand, and that the four left the home with cell phones, a laptop computer, jewelry and other items.
Sanders family reacts
As soon as the news of the arrests broke, the Sanders family began calling one another. They gathered in the neighborhood where the crime happened, including James Sanders’ parents.
“It changes lives. It’s changed our lives… and hurt a lot of people and it was for nothing but a piece of a rock and a few hundred bucks,” said Jim Sanders Sr.
“I’m really thankful that they’re caught. I’m so thankful for that because they can’t do any more damage to anyone else, but it doesn’t take away the hurt and the pain of what they’ve taken from us,” said Linda Sanders, Jim’s mother.
“Of all of them, I don’t know if I dislike any of them more than the other, but I know I dislike that gal probably the most, if I had to pick somebody, just because she’s the one that deceived my brother into letting them into the home,” said Derek Sanders, Jim’s younger brother.
Jim and Linda say they are proud of the actions their son took that night.
Charlene Sanders described the night when four suspects robbed and beat hear family and murdered her husband.
“I had a gun to the back of my head with a countdown, three two and I’m just screaming and my kids are standing there. and I’m saying, please, God, don’t let them kill me, don’t let them kill my kids,” she described.
Knight linked to Lake Stevens home invasion
Lake Stevens Police say Knight has been positively identified as being involved in a home invasion in that city on April 25. In that case, the homeowner had placed an ad on Craigslist for a flat-screen television.
Police found several stolen items from the home at a pawn shop in Pierce County. The shop owner confirmed that Knight pawned them. The other two men have not been positively identified as being linked to the Lake Stevens case, but police suspect they are.
Troyer says anyone who thinks they may be victims of the suspects should call police.
Faisal Shahzad boarded a jetliner bound for the United Arab Emirates Monday night before federal authorities pulled him back. Although under surveillance since midafternoon, he had managed to elude investigators and head to the airport.
The night’s events, gradually coming to light, underscored the flaws in the nation’s aviation security system, which despite its technologies, lists and information sharing, often comes down to someone making a right call.
As federal agents closed in, Faisal Shahzad was aboard Emirates Flight 202. He reserved a ticket on the way to John F. Kennedy International Airport, paid cash on arrival and walked through security without being stopped.
By the time Customs and Border Protection officials spotted Shahzad’s name on the passenger list and recognized him as the bombing suspect they were looking for, he was in his seat and the plane was preparing to leave the gate. They knew to look for him because of updates to the no-fly list made earlier in the day.
At the last minute, the pilot was notified, the jetliner’s door was opened and Shahzad was taken into custody.
After authorities pulled Shahzad off the plane, he admitted he was behind the crude Times Square car bomb, officials said. He also claimed to have been trained at a terror camp in Pakistan’s lawless tribal region of Waziristan, according to court documents. That raised increased concern that the bombing was an international terror plot.
Shahzad, a Pakistani-born U.S. citizen, was charged Tuesday with terrorism and attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction in Saturday evening’s failed Times Square bombing. According to a federal complaint, he confessed to buying an SUV, rigging it with a homemade bomb and driving it into the busy area where he tried to detonate it.
Shahzad had been under constant watch at his Bridgeport, Conn., home since 3 p.m. Monday and federal authorities had planned to arrest him there that evening, two people familiar with the investigation told The Associated Press. Authorities believe he decided to flee after being spooked by news reports that investigators were seeking a Pakistani suspect in Connecticut, one of the people said.
Shahzad somehow lost the investigators who were trailing him, the two people said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the incident.
The FBI and the NYPD declined to comment.
The Obama administration played down the fact that Shahzad, a U.S. citizen born in Pakistan, made it aboard the plane. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano wouldn’t talk about it, other than to say Customs officials prevented the plane from taking off. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the security system has fallback procedures in place for times like this, and they worked.
And Attorney General Eric Holder said he “was never in any fear that we were in danger of losing him.”
But it seemed clear the airline either never saw or ignored key information that would kept Shahzad off the plane, a fact that dampened what was otherwise hailed as a fast, successful law enforcement operation.
The no-fly list is supposed to mean just that. And Shahzad’s name was added to the list early Monday afternoon as a result of breaking developments in the investigation, according to a law enforcement official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation.
But when Emirates sold the ticket, it was working off an outdated list. Airline officials would have had to check a Web forum where updates are sent if it were to flag him. Because they didn’t, law enforcement officials were not aware of his travel plans until they received the passenger list 30 minutes before takeoff, the official said.
By that time, passengers are usually on board.
Gibbs blamed the airline but emphasized a more positive bottom line: U.S. authorities did get Shahzad on the no-fly list and he never took off.
“There’s a series of built-in redundancies, this being one of them,” Gibbs said. “If there’s a mistake by a carrier, it can be double-checked.”
The list is only as good as the nation’s intelligence and the experts who analyze it. If a lead is not shared, or if an analyst is unable to connect one piece of information to another, a terrorist could slip onto an airplane because his name is not on the watch list.
Officials allege that’s just what took place ahead of the attempted Christmas Day attack on a Detroit-bound jet. In the case of the Times Square suspect, the intelligence process worked: Shahzad’s name was on the list, but the airlines didn’t check it when he bought his ticket.
Shahzad went through normal airport security before he boarded the plane. He was unarmed and had no explosive material on him when he was arrested.
Emirates did not return repeated calls for comments. Earlier in the day, the company issued a general statement saying it was cooperating with investigators and takes every precaution to ensure its passengers’ safety.
The reliance on airlines to check government lists has been a known problem for years. The government has long planned to take over the responsibility for matching passengers to watch lists, but the transition has taken longer than expected. The new program is still in the test phase for domestic airlines and is still months away from beginning with international carriers.
David Conner, 43, was arrested Monday night and is being held without bond in the Central Virginia Regional Jail in Orange, Orange County Sheriff Mark Amos said.
Conner has been charged with object sexual penetration of a minor, aggravated sexual battery and indecencies with a minor, Amos said. The arrest was made after a complaint by the girl’s parents, he said.
Amos said charges are pending against Conner in connection with another juvenile.
Conner lives in Lake of the Woods and was first hired as a security guard by Dodson Security in 2008. When security services were taken over by U.S. Security Associates, Conner was carried over as an employee..
LOW General Manager Ted Wessel said he was notified of Conner’s arrest by USSA this morning and informed residents.
Monday night, the Atlanta City Council approved the temporary ban after government officials were overwhelmed with complaints about how Milwaukee-based Duncan Solutions enforced parking laws.
City leaders said the ban could cost the city up to $500,000.
Last year, the City Council agreed to hire Duncan Solutions to install parking meters and write parking tickets. The city was promised nearly $6 million in return. According to the contract, the money would come from the meters and fines from parking tickets.
Reed said he is sitting on the fence about whether he approves of the contract.
“I’m not prepared to say whether I support it or not,” said Reed. “We are going to look at it and evaluate the contract with the company to make sure it is in the best interest of the city. It would be premature for me to comment on anything until we’ve had a chance to look at the situation.”
Some residents want the city to dump the contract, but Reed said that’s not as easy as it seems.
“It will be very difficult to break it without the city having to pay a substantial penalty,” he said.
Although the City Council approved the moratorium, city leaders caution motorists can’t park wherever they want without fear of a ticket. Only employees with Duncan Solutions are barred from writing tickets for the next 30 days, Atlanta police can still do so.
Marilyn Cole pleaded guilty in April for the November 2009 assault of a Walmart security guard. Police say that when a Walmart security guard confronted Cole about stealing items from the Roosevelt Park store, she head-butted him, knocked him into a car and sat on him. Police said Cole urinated on the guard while another woman drove from the store.
They were taken into custody about a mile from the store.
Judge William Marietti said that Cole’s long prior record contributed to the long sentence and that Cole made took this case “well beyond” a simple case of retail fraud. Cole was also on parole for robbing a Macatawa Bank in April of 2008.
Robert Starling was found guilty on Tuesday of 10 counts related to the robbery. Other charges including trying to intimidate a witness, and enhancements for using a gun.
Prosecutors say Starling committed robberies in Santa Rosa, Sebastopol and Novato between 2007 and 2009.
An accomplice, Andrew Esslinger, testified against Starling in exchange for leniency.
Starling’s lawyer denies that his client tried to intimidate a poker buddy who testified against him, and that he used a real gun.
Before working as a Santa Rosa police officer for three years, Starling was an officer at Sonoma State University. He had also worked for the Brinks armored car company.
Fresno CA May 5 2010
Attention, Columbo-wannabes. Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer wants to hear from you — if you’ll work for free.
Faced with a shrinking budget, Dyer is starting a pilot program to see whether volunteers can competently perform tasks such as gathering evidence and interviewing victims.
Using volunteers to handle jobs formerly handled by employees could catch on at Fresno City Hall and other local governments as officials struggle with declining revenues.
Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin, who has had a budget crisis since she took office in January 2009, is expected to unveil a 2010-11 budget Monday that proposes layoffs to help close a projected $30 million budget gap.
The idea of volunteers doing police work may be particularly bold. As Dyer acknowledged, his idea may raise questions about the value of evidence gathered by volunteers when the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office tries to prosecute.
In Dyer’s new program, volunteers would do some investigative police work, such as handling vehicle thefts and vehicle burglary cases, and gathering crime-scene evidence such as fingerprints.
Dyer said these tasks were handled for years by community service officers and cadets, but so many have been laid off that much of the work is now done over the phone. He said sworn officers can’t be spared from their patrol duties to meet personally with victims.
“What that means is the people do not get to see someone face to face,” Dyer said. “It hurts me to know we’re not able to serve them in that personal way. So, the question is: ‘How can we do that without breaking the bank?’ “
The department already oversees two groups of volunteers: the Community Emergency Response Team has several hundred members; Citizens On Patrol has about 50 members who help with tasks such as extra security at shopping centers during the winter holiday season.
Dyer’s plan for his new group is to use about 20 volunteers from Citizens On Patrol with the time, talent and commitment to take on more complex law enforcement duties. He expects to have the program in operation by early summer.
“We’ve never really utilized [COP members] in a more demanding way, which is to actually go out and do some of the police work such as taking a crime report on a vehicle burglary and maybe even processing a car for latent prints,” Dyer said. “We’ve not taken that step because we haven’t had to.”
Dyer said the volunteers would receive additional training, and the quality of their work — from dealing with crime victims to writing reports — would be closely monitored by experienced police officers.
If the first batch of volunteers is successful, Dyer said, the program could expand to 50 or 60 people. He said additional volunteer recruits could be retirees or the unemployed who want to keep busy.
Dyer said the volunteers’ duties might someday include responding to commercial burglaries. However, he added, he won’t use volunteers to respond to residential burglaries because the victims, whose homes and privacy have been violated, prefer to speak with sworn officers.
Dyer said he is aware of the program’s challenges, such as potential district attorney objections about taking a case to trial built on a volunteer’s evidence-gathering abilities.
The Police Department will be “working with the District Attorney’s Office to see if they will accept those types of cases,” Dyer said. The volunteers “may have to testify in court about how they recovered certain latent evidence.”
A spokeswoman for Elizabeth Egan on Friday said the district attorney was too busy to respond to The Bee’s questions.
Egan recently said budget cutbacks have caused police to respond less often to shoplifting complaints, forcing the District Attorney’s Office, also facing budget woes, to decide whether it’s worthwhile to prosecute suspects based on a private security guard’s report.
Clovis Police Department spokeswoman Janet Stoll-Lee said the department makes extensive use of volunteers, but none is engaged in investigative work.
But it’s not unheard of. For example, the Mesa Police Department in Arizona uses volunteer crime-scene technicians.
Volunteers have long been vital to municipal government, even in flush times. But Dyer’s willingness to try volunteers in positions of considerable responsibility may represent the future at Fresno City Hall.
City Manager Mark Scott on his first day on the job last month said volunteers will play a key role in the reinvention of a leaner city government.
“I would welcome volunteers in every capacity where we train people and support them,” Scott said.
And Swearengin — echoing calls by other big-city mayors — last month challenged Fresnans to annually deliver 1 million hours of volunteer service to nonprofit organizations. On Friday, Swearengin left no doubt that City Hall fits the bill as a worthy recipient of the Serve Fresno initiative.
“I think you’re going to see a service culture come out of this” initiative, Swearengin said. “If there is any silver lining to this recession, and it’s difficult to find one, it is that the public is aware of the struggles we’re having at City Hall. They’re willing to step up, and they’re re-engaging in their community.”
Cities getting creative
Swearengin said she supports Dyer’s plan.
“There’s a lot to consider,” she said. “We’ve got to have a good system in place where we are recruiting and screening and training and monitoring those volunteers. But, potentially, it is a way to continue the service levels that our public is accustomed to while keeping the cost low.”
Hilary Baird, the Bakersfield-based regional public affairs manager for the League of California Cities, said she and officials at the nonprofit Institute for Local Government want to hold a Valley conference where volunteer organizations and local governments figure out ways to work together.
“We have more citizens and more demands on the city and county general funds, but less resources,” Baird said. “So, city and county officials are thinking outside the box.”
A volunteer clerk in the Public Utilities Department is one thing. A volunteer conducting interviews and dusting for fingerprints after someone’s car has been burglarized is something else.
Dyer said he knows he’s proposing a major realignment in the relationship between the citizens of Fresno and its police department. But, he added, there’s no choice but to try.
“All of us in the criminal justice system have to think differently in today’s fiscal environment,” Dyer said. “It requires us to take more risks than we’re used to. And taking risks with volunteers is one of those areas.”
The American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia on Tuesday offered pamphlets to state police chaplains warning that prayers invoking Jesus remain illegal at government events.
The ACLU’s request to distribute the information was immediately rejected by Gov. Bob McDonnell’s administration, which last week overturned a year-and-a-half-old ban on sectarian prayers at police-sponsored events.
Citing several court cases, the pamphlet concludes that such prayers equate to “government speech” and “may be prohibited by the First Amendment altogether, but if they are allowed at all, they must be nonsectarian.”
“The ACLU, a private advocacy group, is asking a state agency to distribute to its employees a pamphlet which appears to contradict that agency’s policy,” said Tucker Martin, a spokesman for McDonnell. “Given they have posted this information to their Web site and issued a press release, we will assume that the information is already available to anyone who may wish to read it.”
While not explicitly threatening a lawsuit, the group has offered to represent a “a state trooper or anyone else whose constitutional rights are violated if a chaplain gives a sectarian prayer,” said Executive Director Kent Willis.
“It’s premature for us to aggressively pursue litigation,” Willis said. “If in the future, chaplains are offering sectarian prayers and someone comes to us with a complaint, then we’ll offer legal representation.”
A half dozen chaplains resigned when State Police Superintendent Col. Steven Flaherty put the policy in place in September 2008. Flahery based his decision on a ruling by the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, which held that a policy barring mention of Jesus during the opening prayer at Fredericksburg City Council meetings was constitutional. That case was among those cited in the ACLU pamphlet.
McDonnell’s decision to reverse Flaherty’s directive came after a lobbying push by conservative groups, including the Family Foundation. Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has said allowing sectarian prayers at police events is constitutional.