Austin TX May 14 2011 Texas has become the first state to ban intrusive airport security pat downs.
The bill, passed late last night, aims to make touching travellers in an ‘inappropriate’ way during searches a criminal offence.
The measure makes it illegal for anyone conducting pat-downs to touch ‘the anus, sexual organ, buttocks, or breast of another person’ including through clothing.
It also prohibits searches ‘that would be offensive to a reasonable person.’
‘This (bill) has to do with dignity and travel, and prohibiting indecent, groping searches,’ Republican Representative David Simpson, the bill’s chief sponsor said.
He believes it will keep TSA officials from treating travellers like criminals.
The Senate is yet to act on the bill however meaning the measure could be superseded by federal law of which the TSA is governed by.
‘It’s a way of getting attention and objecting to the intrusiveness of the search procedures,’ Alan Rosenthal, professor of public policy at Rutgers University in New Jersey told USA Today.
‘But I don’t think any of that could pre-empt federal requirements.’
New Jersey is one of three other states to introduce similar legislation but is yet to pass its own bill.
Similarly in New Hampshire a proposed bill, that would make the ‘touching or viewing of a person’s breasts or genitals’ by airport security staff a sexual assault, is still languishing at the committee stage.
The bill’s co-sponsor Representative Andrew Manuse, has been very vocal about the aggressive nature of the TSA pat-downs and controversial full-body scanners.
‘Let’s put their name on the sex offender registry, and maybe that will tell them New Hampshire means business,’ Mr Manuse said in governor meeting earlier this year.
Hawaii has also introduced legislation for a possible ban, while other states are calling on the TSA to re-think its screening strategies.
Alaska passed such a resolution in March and similar resolutions have been introduced in six other states.
The TSA has been dogged by controversy and outcry since it began a more aggressive pat-down procedure in October and introduced full-body scanners that leave little to the imagination.
Just this week a disturbing photograph which shows a baby being subjected to a full-body search by airport security caused outrage when it was posted online.
The shocking photograph comes just a month after the TSA were widely condemned after footage emerged of a six-year-old girl and an eight-year-old boy being subjected to the searches in separate incidents at airports across America.
The agency says it has been ‘actively reviewing its screening policies and procedures to streamline and improve the screening experience for low-risk populations, such as younger passengers.’
Sacramento CA May 14 2011
State parks officials today announced the closure of 70 parks because of the state budget deficit, including the governor’s mansion and the Stanford mansion in Sacramento.
Gov. Jerry Brown’s January budget plan proposed reducing the state parks budget by $22 million. The Legislature in March approved $11 million in cuts to state parks and $10 million in cuts to off highway vehicle parks in the next fiscal year, with $22 million in cuts to state parks in future years.
The California State Parks System was directed to identify which parks would close based on attendance rates and historical significance. The department operates more than 270 state park units covering more than 1.4 million acres.
“We regret closing any park,” Ruth Coleman, director of California State Parks, said in a statement. “But with the proposed budget reductions over the next two years, we can no longer afford to operate all parks within the system.”
The department said service reductions will begin over the summer and closures will begin in September. All parks on the list are to be padlocked by July 1, 2012 under the current budget proposal. The cuts have not yet been signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, so a final list could grow or shrink based on the actions the Legislature takes to close the budget deficit.
Parks officials said they tried to protect the most significant cultural and natural resources, while maintaining the parks that provided the most public access and state revenue. In addition, the department intends to seek partnership agreements with local governments and non-profits in attempt to keep some of the parks open. They said 92 percent of total park attendance will be retained and 94 percent of existing revenues even with the closures.
Besides the recently renovated Stanford Mansion and the Governor’s Mansion state historic parks, both in downtown Sacramento, the list includes Brannan Island State Recreation Area in Sacramento County and Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park and South Yuba River State Park in Nevada County.
Here’s a full list of the closures from the parks department:
Anderson Marsh SHP
Antelope Valley Indian Museum
Austin Creek SRA
Bale Grist Mill SHP
Benbow Lake SRA
Benicia Capitol SHP
Bidwell Mansion SHP
Bothe-Napa Valley SP
Brannan Island SRA
California Mining & Mineral Museum
Candlestick Point SRA
Castle Crags SP
Castle Rock SP
China Camp SP
Colusa-Sacramento River SRA
Del Norte Coast Redwoods SP
Fort Humboldt SHP
Fort Tejon SHP
George J. Hatfield SRA
Governor’s Mansion SHP
Gray Whale Cove SB
Grizzly Creek Redwoods SP
Hendy Woods SP
Henry W. Coe SP
Jack London SHP
Jug Handle SNR
Leland Stanford Mansion SHP
Los Encinos SHP
Malakoff Diggins SHP
Mono Lake Tufa SNR
Morro Strand SB
Moss Landing SB
Palomar Mountain SP
Petaluma Adobe SHP
Pio Pico SHP
Point Cabrillo Light Station
Portola Redwoods SP
Providence Mountains SRA
Railtown 1897 SHP
Russian Gulch SP
Saddleback Butte SP
Salton Sea SRA
Samuel P. Taylor SP
San Pasqual Battlefield SHP
Santa Cruz Mission SHP
Santa Susana Pass SHP
South Yuba River SP
Sugarloaf Ridge SP
Tomales Bay SP
Tule Elk SNR
Turlock Lake SRA
Twin Lakes SB
Weaverville Joss House SHP
Westport-Union Landing SB
William B. Ide Adobe SHP
Woodson Bridge SRA
Valencia CA. May 14 2011 Four Pacoima gang members were in custody Thursday afternoon after allegedly attempting to steal sunglasses from Macy’s in the Westfield Valencia Town Center mall in Valencia, officials said.
The department store’s security officers watched three men walk into the Macy’s and approach the sunglass section.
“They proceeded to steal high-dollar sunglasses from under the nose of employees,” said Lt. Robert Lewis of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.
The three men were approached by security, and a fight ensued. Sheriff’s deputies were called to the scene at 2 p.m., Lewis said.
Security was able to detain one of the men. The other two got away, but were found soon after.
One of the men, who had a torn shirt from the scuffle, hid in the mall’s parking lot and was found there.
The third man, who bore hand marks from the fight with security, was found in a car driven by a fourth man, the getaway driver, Lewis said.
The car, a black Dodge Charger, was stopped near Interstate 5 and Lyons Avenue.
The men, aged 18 to 24, are all known gang members from Pacoima, Lewis said. They were being held Thursday afternoon at the Sheriff’s Station, Lewis said.
Las Vegas NV May 14 2011 NBA “enforcer” power forward Charles Oakley, now an NBA assistant coach, hit a Las Vegas casino resort with a lawsuit Thursday charging he was beaten and injured by security guards during a May 2010 incident.
Attorneys for Oakley, 47, filed suit in Clark County District Court in Las Vegas against the Aria hotel-casino at MGM Resorts International’s CityCenter complex on the Las Vegas Strip. Also sued were five named security officers as well as security officers “Does 1-10.”
The suit says Oakley was an invited guest at Aria’s VIP pool area on May 28 when he left the area and was then prevented from re-entering the VIP section by Aria security officers and staff.
“After a verbal altercation” with security officers, Oakley attempted to return to his room when he was “assaulted” by the officers in a secluded area of the resort, the lawsuit alleges.
The suit called this a “gang-style beatdown” by at least five security officers and says they wrestled Oakley to the ground, punched him, handcuffed him and detained him before he was taken by paramedics to Desert Springs hospital for treatment in the emergency room.
The incident left Oakley with injuries to his neck, back, head and wrist, “all or some of which may be permanent and disabling,” the suit alleges.
A spokeswoman said MGM Resorts International, which likely hasn’t yet been served with the suit, generally doesn’t comment on pending litigation.
The suit alleges negligence, assault, assault with excessive force, battery, false imprisonment and defamation.
The defamation count says the handcuffing of Oakley was witnessed by hotel guests and the suit says they were led to “falsely believe and assume that Oakley had committed and been guilty of some crime or wrongdoing.”
The suit seeks unspecified general, special and punitive damages.
One of the attorneys who filed the suit, James Smyth II, said Friday he couldn’t comment or elaborate on the complaint. He’s with the Las Vegas law firm Kaempfer Crowell Renshaw Gronauer & Fiorentino.
Several websites last year posted photos of Oakley that appeared to show him recovering in a hospital just after the incident.
Oakley has been one of the VIPs who participated in Michael Jordan’s Celebrity Invitational golf fundraiser – now presented by Aria.
Oakley, who is listed at ESPN.com as being 6-feet-9-inches tall and weighing 245 pounds, played for Chicago, New York, Toronto, Washington and Houston between 1985 and 2004.
An assistant coach this season with the Charlotte Bobcats, he developed a reputation over the years as an enforcer, tough rebounder and Jordan’s bodyguard.
MINNEAPOLIS MN May 14 2011 – A drunk woman bit a Minneapolis airport police officer as she was arrested in the midst of a profanity-laced tirade at a Lindbergh Terminal gate.
Megan Biersach, 23, of Minnetonka, was arrested Tuesday at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and made an initial court appearance Friday afternoon.
According to the criminal complaint, airport police officers were called to a disturbance at Gate E2 Tuesday afternoon, where they found a a crying, swearing, upset and noticeably drunk Biersach.
Officers put her in a truck to take her to detox, causing Biersach to go into another foul-mouthed tantrum. She kicked at one officer and spit in the face of another, and bit one of the officers on the arm as they put a hood over her head and restraints on her legs. That officer was taken to the hospital for treatment.
Florence AL May 14 2011 A cable television installer was arrested Thursday morning after he was accused of taking a credit card from a home where he was working and using it to purchase electronics.
Jonathan Travis Dennis, 32, 130 Lauderdale 248, Florence, is charged with second-degree theft of property, third-degree theft of property and two counts of fraudulent use of a credit card, police said.
Florence police detective Jerry Pearson said Dennis was arrested Thursday morning when he reported for work.
“We have been informed that law enforcement has a suspect in custody for the alleged theft of credit cards,” Douglas Wells, vice president of governmental and community affairs for Comcast, said in a statement. “We also have been informed that the suspect is a Comcast employee, and we are investigating internally.”
Reports indicate Dennis is accused of taking a wallet with keys attached May 7 just before he left a residence on Bradshaw Drive in Florence.
Pearson said 20-30 minutes later Dennis is accused of going into Walmart and buying a portable computer game system with the stolen credit card.
“He left (Walmart) and went to Kmart where he bought two games for the game system,” Pearson said.
Pearson said about the time Dennis is accused of using the stolen credit card to make the purchases, the victim started looking for her keys because she had to pick up her son.
“She found out the keys and the wallet were gone and she contacted her bank and was told that someone had just made a purchase with the credit card,” Pearson said.
During the course of the investigation, officials said detectives viewed video of Dennis in Walmart and Kmart making the purchases with the stolen card while still in his Comcast uniform.
Pearson said local Comcast officials were notified about the investigation. The company cooperated and helped authorities identify Dennis on the videos.
“Comcast takes any issue that involves the safety and security of our customers very seriously,” Wells said. “We are and will continue to fully cooperate with law enforcement officials in their investigation.”
Dennis was taken to the Lauderdale County Detention Center where he was later released on bail of $4,500.
The incident occurred at about 8:10 a. m., when the security guard approached the male student to search him after observing suspicious activity, authorities said. The student fled but was captured a short time later by off-duty Northeast District police Detective Nicholas Mourgas. The student was charged with assault and harassment. The injured guard suffered swelling to his abdomen, police said.
The security officer is listed as stable condiiton.
WOODBRIDGE, Va. May 14 2011- Concerns about the safety of students in Prince William County schools are being raised after the arrest of yet another teacher for a sexual misconduct related crime.
Woodbridge Middle School special education teacher David Blount was arrested Thursday. The 62-year-old is accused of inappropriately touching a 13-year-old female student in his care.
Blount is the fourth Prince William County school employee in less than two months being accused of such a crime.
Some parents say they are worried about who is teaching their children.
“Point blank, why is it four? Why didn’t we stop at one or none, actually? It should not happen,” Jessica Elmore says.
Last week, 33-year-old Lawrence Lucchetti, an art teacher at Beville Middle school was charged with inappropriately touching a 12-year-old female student.
Last month, 27-year-old Eric Lewis, a track coach at Garfield High School was charged with having an inappropriate sexual relationship with a 17-year-old female student.
His colleague, 27-year-old Tina Amato, an English teacher at the same school, was accused of having a relationship with a 16-year-old male student.
Johnnie Aragon coaches Little League baseball in Woodbridge. He is also a parent. He knows the level of scrutiny anyone working the kids has to undergo and wonders how the accused teachers seemed to go unnoticed.
“With this happening, I feel like there should be more involvement with parents to go to the meetings that the schools have and tap themselves in because four is a lot,” says Aragon.
Prince William County school officials issued a statement saying in part, “We take the prevention of sexual misconduct very seriously and violations will not be tolerated.”
The statement goes on to say, “We have 10,000 employees and after thorough background screening and ongoing professional development, ultimately we rely on each of those 10,000 employees making a conscious choice to follow our policies, regulations, procedures and – most importantly- the law.”
Letters were sent home to Woodbridge Middle School parents about the incident involving David Blount.
Blount, like the other accused teachers, is on administrative leave.
The school system has also put into place a plan to have principals review with staff expectations relating to sexual misconduct.
They’ve also set up a parent/student tip line to report any safety concerns. The number is 703-791-2821
Today, Anchorage police have charged one of those former employees with theft, scheming to defraud, falsifying business records, and criminal use of a computer.
Dawn Lynn Reynolds, a 31-year-old student nutrition coordinator at O’Malley Elementary School, is accused of stealing approximately $2,700 worth of lunch money from students, according to Anchorage police.
Anchorage School District personnel alerted detectives of the possible theft back in April.
At that April press conference, Detective Tony Pate said that all four are believed to have acted independently.
Police have issued a warrant for Reynolds’ arrest and are in the midst of locating her whereabouts; she is believed to be in the Anchorage area.
If you have information as to the whereabouts of Dawn Lynn Reynolds, call Anchorage Police at 786-8900
Branford CT May 14 2011
Police were notified of a possible shoplifting at a local store.
When police arrived, Angelo L. Aquino, 35, accompanied by Amy M. Aquino, 34, and Marco A. Dejesus, 32, all of Waterbury, were inside the store and appeared to be shoplifting. As the police entered the Walmart, Angelo dropped his shopping cart full of unpaid items and fled the store through the main entrance knocking a police officer down according to Branford Police Captain Geoffrey Morgan.
After escaping the store, Angelo then carjacked a 91-year-old man to flee the scene. According to police Angelo jumped into the backseat of the man’s car and “told him to drive.”
Dejesus fled the store and tried to get away in his own vehicle; Amy was held in the store by police without incident.
Branford Police officers were able to stop both Angelo and Dejesus at the entrance to Route 1 and Commercial Parkway. The two suspects involved exited their cars and engaged in altercation with police before being arrested. The 91-year-old man was not injured during the incident.
Angelo was charged with fifth degree larceny, third degree robbery, carjacking, two counts of interfering with an officer, two counts of assault on a peace officer/FM/EMS and conspiracy. He was arrested later the same day on two counts of violation of probation stemming from an arrest in June of 2009 for third degree larceny (felony).
Dejesus was arrested for fifth degree larceny, interfering with an officer and conspiracy.
Amy was arrested for fifth degree larceny and conspiracy. Her court date was set for May 24.
NATICK NY May 14 2011 — Police arrested a Macy’s employee and two of his friends Tuesday after police said he gave them a huge, but unauthorized, discount.
Jose Miguel Cordero, 21, of Framingham, Rodrigo Jose Franco, 20, of Framingham and Rickie Bernard Singleton, 25, of Worcester, were arrested Tuesday at 7:15 p.m. at the Natick Collection store, police spokesman Lt. Brian Grassey said.
Store security watched as Cordero, of 14 Carlson Road, rang in several purchases at the wrong prices for Franco and Singleton, Grassey said.
“He under-rang, or concealed the clothing for the defendants,” Grassey said.
Grassey said Singleton, of 11 Dunbar St., paid about $332 for $1,038 worth of clothing.
Franco, who gave Natick Police a Framingham address that does not exist, paid $382 for $966 worth of clothing, Grassey said.
All three men were charged with larceny of property worth more than $250 and conspiracy to commit a crime.
Both Franco and Singleton are scheduled to be arraigned today in Framingham District Court. Cordero is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday.
Waukesha County WI May 14 2011 A 27-year-old Menomonee Falls man is facing felony charges for stealing thousands of dollars worth of jewelry while employed at an area department store.
Christopher R. Giacoletto was charged in Waukesha County circuit Court Monday with one count of theft of a business setting for allegedly stealing jewelry from JC Penney’s, N96W18515 County Line Rd., and then pawning it at area jewelry stores. If convicted, he faces up to six years in prison and $10,000 in fines.
According to the criminal complaint:
Giacoletto was employed at JC Penney’s for about nine months in 2010 and during that time he stole various pieces of jewelry in order to pawn them at jewelry stores for money. Officers were called to the attention of the thefts after one of the stores contacted authorities because Giacoletto came in and pawned items similar to others he had recently sold to the store.
Surveillance cameras at the department store also filmed Giacoletto stealing the merchandise and when confronted by a store security guard admitted to stealing about $10,000 in merchandise. He later told investigators he stole between $5,000 and $7,000 worth of items.
Officers requested an itemized list of all stolen merchandise, which showed 35 items valued at $40,003.
Giacoletto told police he stole the items in order to pay off old drug debts, medical bills, cash advances and other financial debts.
Sixty-three cocaine pellets were found at one of the security checkpoints at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport on Thursday, May 5.
The drugs were found around 6 p.m. and are valued at $36,320.
The security officers also seized an empty Imodium AD pill packet.
The police report said the case is a federal narcotics investigation.
Authorities are not releasing any other details at this time.