WASHINGTON DC April 12 2011 – District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray and several council members have been released from jail seven hours after they were arrested during a sit-in protesting restrictions placed upon the district as part of the federal budget deal.
Gray and others sat down and blocked the street in front of a Senate office building Monday. They chanted and shouted, “Hey, hey, no, no, those D.C. riders have got to go.”
About 30 people were arrested. Six council members were arrested including Chairman Kwame Brown.
Congress oversees D.C.’s budget and laws and can pull funding for programs it doesn’t like during the budgeting process.
The budget deal lawmakers struck to avoid a government shutdown was greeted by some with relief, but it has one city already reeling: the capital itself.
City officials say Washington was used as a pawn last week’s budget bargaining, with new restrictions part of the price of a deal. Under the budget agreement reached Friday, the details of which are still uncertain, the city will likely be unable to spend city dollars on abortions for low-income women. It may also be banned from spending city money on needle exchange programs believed vital to curbing the spread of HIV in the city, where the disease is considered an epidemic. Also back: a school voucher program favored by Republicans.
Angry that Congress appears ready to take away autonomy granted to the city in the last several years, Mayor Vincent Gray and six Council members including the chairman were among 41 people arrested Monday outside the Capitol while protesting the changes that might be inevitable.
The news is considered a setback for the city that is unique in that it’s a city government but its budget and laws are overseen by Congress. The city had enjoyed more freedom in the past four years when both the House and Senate were controlled by Democrats, the party traditionally more friendly to pleas of autonomy from the heavily Democratic city.
When Republicans took control of the House in January, the city readied for changes. Still, city leaders said they are outraged that Washington appears to have been used as a bargaining chip.
Gray said in a statement Saturday after the deal was announced that he was “angry and terribly disappointed that the District of Columbia suffered collateral damage amidst partisan bickering.”
He held up a paper bill Monday before more than 150 fellow protesters and said, “The city should be able to spend its own money.”
“If this isn’t taxation without representation, I don’t know what is,” the mayor said. He and Council members, dressed in business attire, sat down in the street outside a Senate office building. U.S. Capitol Police arrested them, cuffing their hands behind them with plastic loops, and loaded them into police wagons to cheers from the crowd.
They were cited for blocking the street with an unlawful assembly, a misdemeanor that can be resolved by paying a $50 fine.
Gray became the second D.C. mayor to go to jail while advocating for home rule. Sharon Pratt Kelly was arrested during a statehood protest in August 1993.
Ilir Zherka, the executive director of D.C. Vote, a nonpartisan group that lobbies for more independence for the district, said his group doesn’t intend to let the budget pass this week without a fight.
“We’re not going to accept that they decided to throw the District of Columbia under the bus,” Zherka said.
But while the news is considered a setback for the capital city and its 600,000 residents, the restrictions wouldn’t be new.
The city’s ability to spend money on abortions for low-income women has seesawed back and forth over the last two decades. When Democrats have controlled both houses of Congress and the presidency, in 1993 and 1994 and again in 2009 and 2010, the city has been able to spend its own money to pay for abortions for women on Medicaid. When Republicans have controlled at least one branch of government that ability has been taken away.
The fact that Congress will likely re-impose the ban on abortion funding wasn’t a shock to Tiffany Reed, the president of D.C. Abortion Fund, a non-profit organization that makes grants to poor women to pay for abortions, which can cost $300 to $500 or more. Reed said her group, which helped pay for more than 300 abortions a year, had expected the ban to be re-imposed, but she was angry Congress had stepped in again to local affairs just as the lifting of the ban was beginning to take effect.
“It gives me a lot of rage quite frankly,” she said. “I’m really disappointed in our pro-choice president that he allowed this to happen.”
As for a possible reintroduction of a ban on city money for needle exchanges, it would be a step back. Congress prohibited the city from using its own money for needle exchange programs for two decades beginning in the late 1980s. Other groups stepped in to provide the service with private dollars, but it is a widely held belief that the city’s inability to pay for needle exchange programs led to an increase in the number of residents contracting HIV. Approximately 3 percent of city residents are currently living with HIV or AIDS, a level considered by health officials to be an epidemic.
When the ban was lifted in 2007, the city invested money in community programs that collected 300,000 used syringes in the last year. People who work at the city’s three needle exchange programs say they aren’t sure how they will cope if the city is again unable to provide money.
“It would be nothing short of disastrous,” said Cyndee Clay the executive director of at HIPS, an organization that works with sex workers and drug users and is currently exchanging about 8,000 needles a month. “I don’t understand why they’re doing this to us.”
In the past year the city has given HIPS $125,000 to buy syringes and pay for staff. If city funding is cut the organization may not have money to buy syringes, Clay said, calling a potential ban infuriating.
Eleanor Holmes Norton, the city’s representative in Congress, said she has not yet seen the actual language in the budget but has been told that the abortion rider and school vouchers are in. Norton, a Democrat who is not allowed to vote on the House floor, said she doesn’t believe needle exchange is part of the deal, but she said she won’t be sure until she sees final language.
“We got bargained away,” Norton said of the budget deal. “I don’t know for what.”
Greensboro, NC April 12 2011– Greensboro Police Officers tasered a man who walked into a school and classroom after being told to leave.
The incident started around 2:15 p.m., when teachers at Guilford Middle School, saw a man behaving suspiciously. They told police the man was seen pacing across Lindley Road near the school’s campus.
Officers said 24 year-old Parrish Lauren Jackson went on the school’s campus and went inside the building through a hallway door. They said two teachers confronted him, but he refused to stop or respond to their inquiries.
The school’s main office and the School’s Resource Officer were both notified.
Investigators said Jackson continued down a hall and entered a 7th grade classroom with a teacher and her twenty students. When that teacher confronted Jackson, he pushed her aside and pointed to the students.
School Resource Officer VH Sanchez arrived in the classroom within approximately thirty seconds and had the teacher and students leave the classroom.
Officer Sanchez confronted Jackson and when he refused to comply with Officer’s commands, he was tasered. Investigators said Jackson continued to struggled and kicked Officer Sanchez. Officer Sanchez was able to gain control of Jackson and backup arrived.
Jackson was transported to the Guilford County Magistrate’s office where he was charged with Trespassing on School Property, resist delay and obstruct a law enforcement officer, and assault on a law Enforcement officer. He faces additional charges of assault on a female and assault on a school official.
Jackson is in the Guilford County Jail.
Police said Jackson didn’t appear coherent during the incident. Officers said he was not armed and has no known connection to the school.
The police department said Guilford Middle School teachers and students reacted promptly and calmly. No school officials or students were injured.
An administrative investigation is being conducted regarding the Use of Force. School Resource Officers and the Greensboro Police Department Criminal Intelligence Unit are conducting a follow up investigation regarding Jackson’s current actions.
Colorado Springs CO April 12 2011 A Colorado Springs man called police to report his own suicide this morning.
At about 8:15 a.m. the 74-year-old man called 911 to report “he had a suicide,” according to the police report.
When a dispatcher asked for more information, he replied, “Hold your ears,” then the dispatcher heard a gun discharge, according to the report.
Police rushed to the home and found the man dead with a .38-caliber pistol in his hand, “along with several notes indicating funeral arrangements and desired disposition of his property,” according to the report.
Police noted the man was being treated for several medical conditions.
SALT LAKE CITY UTAH April 12 2011 – Police are looking for a suspect after a 25-year-old man was injured in a drive-by shooting Sunday afternoon at 900 West and California Avenue.
Salt Lake Police say around 2:15 p.m. the victim was driving on California Avenue when a gold or tan colored Jeep Cherokee pulled up next to him and fired two rounds.
The victim was shot in the torso, and was transported to a local hospital in critical condition. He was able to stop his car after he was shot and call 911 for hep.
Police are still searching for the suspect at this time, and they described him as a Hispanic adult man driving a tan or gold Jeep Cherokee.
Lt. Isaac Atencia with the Salt Lake City Police Department said the victim is a security guard at a couple of clubs, so police are investigating if this incident is related to the victim’s job.
At this time police do not believe the shooting was gang related.
Police ask anyone who was driving in the area or saw this happen to call Salt Lake Police at 801-799-3000.
Source:ABC 4 News
Washington DC April 12 2011 The U.S. government has stopped more than 350 people with suspected ties to al-Qaida and other terrorist groups from boarding U.S.-bound commercial flights since the end of 2009, The Associated Press has learned, reports ABC News and other media.
Tighter security rules put in place after the attempted bombing of an airliner on Christmas 2009 reveal a security threat that persisted more than seven years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, The AP reports.
Until then, even as commercial passengers were forced to remove their shoes, limit the amount of shampoo in their carry-on luggage and endure pat downs, hundreds of foreigners with known or suspected ties to terrorism passed through security and successfully flew to the United States each year, U.S. officials told the AP. The foreigners usually told Customs officers they were flying to the U.S. for vacations or business.
Security practices changed after an al-Qaida operative from Nigeria was accused of trying to blow himself up on a flight to Detroit on Christmas 2009. Until then, airlines only kept passengers off U.S.-bound planes if they were on the no-fly list, a list of people considered a threat to aviation.
Now before an international flight leaves for the U.S., the government checks passengers against a larger watch list that includes al-Qaida financiers and people who attended training camps but aren’t considered threats to planes. The government was checking this list before, but only after the flight was en route. If someone on the flight was on the watch list, the person would be questioned and likely refused to enter the country after the plane landed, according to AP.
CLEVELAND, Ohio April 12 2011– Bank loan officers, phone company engineers, exotic dancers, delivery truck drivers, exterminators, janitors and drug store assistant managers are among tens of thousands of U.S. workers who filed class action lawsuits against their employers last year.
They are part of a flood of wage and hour cases that reached record levels in 2010. Nearly 6,800 private-sector lawsuits were filed nationwide. In Northern Ohio, the number of cases was up 37 percent over the year before.
The Department of Labor, meanwhile, handled about 32,000 wage and hour complaints in 2010, a jump of 33 percent in just two years. And the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says pay and promotion cases are now the biggest category of employment discrimination filings.
Wage and hour complaints
Federal lawsuits filed nationwide
Number filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio
Wage and hour complaints to the Department of Labor:
Back wages collected by Department of Labor
2009: $173 million
2010: $176 million
SOURCE: Annual Workplace Class Action Litigation Report, Seyfarth Shaw LLP; Department of Labor
“No question about it. There’s been explosive growth in wage and hour complaints,” said employer-side attorney James Stone, managing partner of the Cleveland office of the Jackson Lewis law firm.
Rising workplace disputes are fueled by layoffs and plant closings in a fragile economy. Stricter enforcement of wage and hour laws, and plaintiffs’ lawyers pursuing new litigation strategies also figure in.
So does our swiftly morphing work world. Should call center workers be paid for boot-up and boot-down time on their computers? Should mortgage officers be paid for answering dozens of work emails after-hours on their BlackBerrys?
Gina Markosky became part of the statistics when she hired a lawyer to talk to her former employer, Akron Community Health Resources.
The Portage Lakes women said her tasks as a patient care coordinator required more time than she could squeeze into a 40-hour work week. So Markosky, 40, came in on Saturdays or worked evenings, and periodically filed for overtime.
Then the health clinic put her on a salary, with no overtime pay although her job demands were even bigger, she said. The health clinic did not return several calls seeking comment.
Wayne Brown, 41, of Willard said he ran into a similar situation at Pegasus Custom Car Coaches, a Sandusky producer of trailers for hauling race cars and horses.
After Brown’s overtime hours mounted to 20 a week, the company changed the eight-year employee’s pay to a salary.
“I was supposed to be a production foreman but I was actually a working production foreman. I still put the trailers together,” said Brown, who lost his job in September.
An attorney for Pegasus Custom Car declined comment because the case is pending.
“Employers are seeking ways to avoid labor costs, and switching employees from hourly to salary is often the first mistake they make,” said Anthony Lazzaro, who represents Markosky and Brown.
The Fair Labor Standards Act requires that employers pay the minimum wage, now $7.40 an hour in Ohio, and time-and-a-half for work over 40 hours a week. It was a sleepy statute, on the books since 1938, until a few years ago.
Stone, the employment attorney, said it’s taken off in part because of an unintended consequence. Recent legislation to limit damage payments in medical malpractice cases has pushed plaintiffs’ lawyers to look for new business in other areas of law, he said. Employment laws are both complex and somewhat ambiguous, Stone said, leaving companies open to claims they’re breaking the rules.
Ellen Hoadley, whose firm Lexington Insurance Co. insures businesses against worker claims, recalled hearing one defense lawyer recently complain “For the plaintiffs bar, employment law is the new slip-and-fall.”
Employee-side attorneys don’t agree. Wage theft became rampant during years of non-enforcement by U.S. agencies, said Catherine Ruckelshaus, legal co-director of the National Employment Law Project, which advocates for low-wage workers.
“The employer community got pretty emboldened to feel like there’s not going to be any risk if I just chisel workers,” she said. “It became a way of doing business for a lot of job sectors.”
Workers have become more educated about their rights, said Lazzaro, whose Cleveland firm filed about a third of the wage cases in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio between 2007 and 2009.
A 2009 undercover government investigation found the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division often pushed off callers by encouraging them to resolve issues themselves. The division directed most calls to voicemail, failed to return calls, and provided conflicting or misleading information on filing complaints, the investigation found.
The Obama administration responded by saying it would increase enforcement of wage and hour laws. It hired about 200 additional field investigators to tighten oversight.
Even so, the Department of Labor has more cases than it can handle. In December, it launched a program with the American Bar Association to help aggrieved workers find private-sector lawyers.
The Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association is one of 38 programs in 20 states collaborating on the Bridge to Justice program. (Call 216-696-3532.)
Wage and hour cases have yet to slow down, even as the economy is starting to improve, said Chicago attorney Gerald Maatman Jr., co-chair of the class action defense group at Seyfarth Shaw.
Store managers at AutoZone sued the parts supplier last year for “intentionally understaffing” its stores, leaving managers doing the work of full-time sales clerks for the bulk of work weeks that routinely stretched past 50 hours, without overtime pay.
A federal judge in December agreed to certify as a class action a lawsuit that could cover as many as 1,700 exotic dancers at Rick’s Cabaret International. The dancers said they were wrongly classified as independent contractors, got no wages and had to earn all their money through tips.
Bank workers sued San Francisco-based Wells Fargo for allegedly requiring them to work off the clock on designated “call nights” without paying overtime.
But the most-watched recent U.S. case was the gender-bias class action suit against Walmart Stores Inc., now before the U.S. Supreme Court. The justices heard oral arguments in the case March 29.
The lawsuit says 1.5 million current and former female workers at Walmart received pay and promotions that lagged their male counterparts’. Walmart denies discrimination and says that millions of separate personnel decisions made by store managers can’t be clumped into the common pattern of treatment needed for a class action.
The massive volume of paper in the case, with supporters weighing in on both sides, is evidence it may be the most important employment lawsuit in decades, Maatman said.
“The stakes in the case are enormous,” he said, “and the future ruling is likely to be transformative for class action litigation.”
ALBUQUERQUE NM April 12 2011 - A robbery at a local Target store leads to a high-speed chase and a crash.
Police arrested Jesse Balentine, 20, Friday night and say he was behind the robbery.
Authorities said he allegedly pulled a knife on a Target security officer at Coors Boulevard and Irving Boulevard, and then ran to his car with a shopping cart full of stolen goods.
Police spotted Balentine a short distance away.
According to the criminal complaint, Balentine drove his getaway car up to 70 miles an hour in residential streets, before crashing his car at Paradise Boulevard and Eagle Ranch Road.
He was then arrested.
Balentine is also facing charges in another felony case involving multiple charges of forgery and conspiracy.
BANGOR, Maine April 12 2011 — Bangor police say a 29-year-old woman faces charges after she became combative while being arrested for allegedly trying to steal a shopping cart load of items from a Sears store.
Police say Melissa Lacasse of Old Town was confronted by two police officers at the Bangor Mall late Saturday afternoon after it was reported she allegedly left the store without paying for items valued at $863.
When officers tried to place the woman under arrest, she allegedly assaulted one of the officers and spit on a security officer.
Lacasse was charged with theft, assault, and assault on a police officer, as well as trafficking in prison contraband after officials allegedly found prescription drugs on her.
Nobody required medical attention. Lacasse remained in jail Monday morning.
LITTLE EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP NJ April 12 2011 – A township police detective has been charged with shoplifting from a local grocery store.
Police Chief Richard Buzby said Steve Bogart was accused of shoplifting from the Acme on Route 9 near Stage Road in the West Tuckerton section of the township. No information was available on what Bogart was accused of shoplifting or when the alleged incident occurred.
Buzby said he was working with authorities from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office on the investigation.
“I’m aware of the situation but I cannot comment further,” he said.
Buzby would not say whether Bogart was on leave from the department, for which he has worked for more than a decade.
NANTICOKE PA April 12 2011 – A man who told police he was high on bath salts was charged with burglary of a classroom building at Luzerne County Community College early Monday morning.
Matthew J. Furr, 32, of Middleburg, was charged with burglary and criminal trespass. He was jailed at the county correctional facility for lack of $10,000 bail.
According to the criminal complaint:
A security guard at the college noticed an open door at Building 4, which is the science building, around 1:30 a.m. Police searched the building and allegedly found Furr sleeping in a corner of room 436.
Furr told police he hopped a train in Sunbury to Wilkes-Barre two days ago, and found himself wondering around the area. He consumed bath salts and started feeling chest pains, the criminal complaint says.
Furr claimed he walked on Kosciuszko Street looking for help and found himself lying in the roadway. He got up and ended up on campus claiming he found an open door to a building. Furr allege he entered the building looking for help, according to the criminal complaint.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled on April 19 before District Judge Donald Whittaker.
South Florida TSA agents find guns, knives, contrabnad daily, 200 arrests made www.privateofficer.com
Miami Fla April 12 2011 About 200 people were arrested at the security checkpoints of South Florida’s three major airports last year, many charged with bringing in guns, knives and other lethal weapons.
Caught with items more dangerous than most airport transgressors — security officers at the three airports intercepted more than 55,000 articles in 2010 — none of those arrested had a link to terrorism, police say. Yet catching them was vital to the Transportation Security Administration’s mission.
“Our job is not just to be sure that we keep terrorists off planes, but also to be sure that we detect and deter,” said Tim Lewis, the TSA’s security director at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. “No one wants to be sitting on a plane next to a terrorist, or for that matter a violent gang member or other nefarious person with a gun or knife.”
To trigger an arrest, a traveler must violate state or federal law, such as trying to bring an undeclared weapon on a plane. Or, there must be intent to deceive the security officers.
For example, if a traveler is caught with a box cutter used for work in a carry-on bag, the item will be seized, but the passenger likely will be questioned and moved along. Yet if the person tries to hide those same box cutters under clothing, he or she likely will be arrested, said Chief Roy Liddicott, commanding officer at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
“If it’s what we call ‘artfully concealed,’ then it’s a different story,” he said. “That’s intent. Now we take you.”
Concealed weapons permit no help
Even if you have a concealed weapons permit, carrying an undeclared gun or knife likely will end with an arrest, Liddicott said.
Such was the case in November, when TSA officers found a small handgun in Gerald Earley’s duffle bag while he was at a checkpoint at Palm Beach International. Because Earley, 46, of Fort Pierce, had a concealed weapons permit, it was considered a misdemeanor and he was given a notice to appear in court and released.
For those without permits, such as Anthony Symonette, 26, of Tampa, it’s a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison. In September, officers in Fort Lauderdale found a fully loaded .357 caliber handgun in his carry-on bag. Symonette told them he forgot it was there.
He was taken to the Broward County Jail and eventually sentenced to serve one year on probation.
A gun doesn’t have to be found at a checkpoint to result in an arrest. Police at Palm Beach International in September stopped Derrick Solomon, 40, of West Palm Beach, while he was in his car because of an obscured license tag.
Solomon made no secret that he had a gun in his car, pointing it out to officers. Because he didn’t have a concealed weapons permit, they confiscated the handgun, loaded with 13 bullets in a magazine, and placed Solomon in handcuffs. His case was ultimately dropped.
The TSA’s main focus is to stop a terrorist attack. And while federal authorities have uncovered only three major incidents nationwide involving U.S. airliners since Sept. 11, 2001, the agency says it has no plans to ease up on screening.
Terrorists are constantly plotting to strike again, the TSA says.
“We have to get it right every day, two million times a day across the country and 11 million times a year in Fort Lauderdale. A terrorist only has to succeed once,” Lewis said.
If the TSA finds a dangerous prohibited item, local police agencies decide whether an arrest is warranted.
“Most people play dumb and say they forgot there was a gun in their bag,” said Lt. Tom Neighbors, commanding officer at Palm Beach International Airport. “The vast majority just weren’t thinking.”
Last year, 14 guns were intercepted at the Fort Lauderdale airport, 12 at Miami and one at Palm Beach.
It’s not just guns. Other weapons that have led to airport arrests include powerheads, which are used to fend off sharks by firing a shotgun shell at close range, Chinese throwing stars, small disc-like objects with sharp points, and billy clubs.
Arrests have also involved illegal drugs, loud disturbances and theft.
Allowed to board
Being arrested and charged doesn’t necessarily mean a trip to jail.
In June, security officers in Fort Lauderdale found a leather-wrapped metal billy club in the bag of Nevin Fernyhough, 18, of Fairfield, Iowa. Fernyhough said he purchased it for protection. He was charged with carrying a concealed weapon, given a notice to appear in court and then allowed to board his flight.
In November, brass knuckles were found in a computer case belonging to Juan Garcia, 35, of Miami. Garcia told officers in Fort Lauderdale he had accidentally left them in the case. Because he had no criminal history, he was charged with possession of a concealed weapon and given a notice to appear.
In December, screeners at Palm Beach spotted a 6-inch steel-blade knife wrapped in a black nylon sheath in the carry-on bag of Daniel Benzler, 21, of Palm Beach Gardens. He, too, was given a notice to appear and allowed to board his flight.
The majority of arrested travelers aren’t real criminals, said Miami-Dade Police Lt. Raul Carvajal, who oversees law enforcement at Miami International Airport.
“The problem is people have hectic lives and hectic schedules, and they forget to look in their luggage,” he said.
FREMONT, Calif.April 12 2011 —Park rangers in Fremont are trying to control a spring pest—the Canada goose.
The Contra Costa Times says rangers in the East Bay Regional Park District are using a form of birth control by dipping clutches of eggs in corn oil to suffocate the embryos and then returning them to the nest so the mother won’t lay more.
Rangers say without some form of control, the big geese would overpopulate and their droppings would threaten water quality at local lakes.
Populations of the honking waterfowl have taken off in California because of an abundance of food and nesting areas and an absence of natural predators.
Some places have reduced their numbers by allowing hunting or chasing the geese away with dogs.
According to Layton Police, 23-year-old Evan Franklin was arrested after a 17-year-old girl claimed he followed her into a restroom at the Layton Hills Mall and peeked at her under a restroom stall.
Police say the woman screamed, and the man ran out.
A short time later, Police say the girl’s brother located and confronted Franklin, who ran out of the Mall into the parking lot, where the brother and a security officer tackled and detained him until Layton Police officers arrived.
Franklin was arrested for Class B Misdemeanor Voyeurism and Class C Misdemeanor Disorderly Conduct. He was booked into the Davis County Jail.
Source:ABC 4 News
GIVE BACK WEEK-END
Private Officer International announces their first semi-annual GIVE BACK WEEK-END
and we’re asking that all of our friends, associates and members to commit to just a few hours of your time making a difference in your community on May 21-22 2011.
Help feed the homeless, work in a shelter, volunteer at the Second Harvest Food Bank, Meals on Wheels or a charity of your choice.
The Give-Back Week-End is all about touching lives and helping others who need what you have. Not your money, just a little bit of your time, your smile, or a warm hand shake.
Register Now and we’ll send you a free T-Shirt to wear while you’re volunteering and a certificate for your participation. Register Here
Giving back is a commandment of the Lord. It’s a duty as a human being and Private Officer International wants to lead the way in making our communities a better place to live.