“He said to the officers ‘What are you doing here?’ and they asked him the same thing back,” said Laval police spokesperson Nathalie Laurin.
Police say the 36-year-old man had been in the home for an unknown amount of time, but appears to have helped himself to snack cakes in the normally pristine kitchen, took notes on Post Its in the office, flicked his cigarettes on the floor and was in the process of drawing a bath when he was apprehended.
Neither the world-famous singer nor her husband, René Angélil, or family was in Quebec at the time of the break-in, said Laurin.
The strange incident began when a security guard noticed one of multiple garage doors open on his rounds and called 911 at 4:57 p.m. Monday.
A squad car with two officers plus the dog handler showed up and began a sweep of the house. Laurin said this is normal procedure when the search area is large, equating the St. Rose mansion with factories in the industrial park.
Snack-cake wrappers were discovered on a counter in the kitchen, then the cigarette butts and notes in the office on the main floor.
The officers came face-to-face with the man on the stairs to the second floor, where he told them he was a family friend and quite at home.
A check with the security guard belied this statement as no guests were expected in the home. Further calls to the Dion and Angélil clan confirmed they did not know this man, police said.
After the meeting, the dog continued to sniff and the handler found water running into a tub in a bathroom on the second floor.
The intruder seems to have had the run of the house when he was there, and made himself quite at home.
“It’s rare that you see this, there was no theft, nothing stolen, broken or messed up,” Laurin said.
The intruder offered no resistance during his arrest but at the police station he made suicidal comments and was taken to hospital to be evaluated. He was released Tuesday morning and then questioned further.
Laurin said a car parked in the driveway of the mansion had a remote garage door opener inside, and they presume that this unlocked vehicle was how the intruder got in. There was no damage to the garage door indicating forced entry.
“This whole thing, well it’s special,” Laurin said.
Authorities identified the officer as Rodney Jerome Wilson. His wife was Uteva Monique Wilson.
The 41-year-old detective apparently shot his 23-year-old wife and then got on his police radio and warned he was about to take his own life.
He asked for paramedics and a supervisor to come to the scene, and then said, “I won’t be here when you get here,” authorities said. The Birmingham dispatcher called Irondale police. Officers from both agencies responded to the scene.
Wilson used his duty weapon in the murder-suicide.The woman’s two small children were home at the time but not injured.
The Irondale Police Department reports it happened about 3:00 a.m. CT Wednesday at the Enclave at Mountain Brook apartments.
The IPD says the Birmingham officer worked as a detective, and allegedly shot and killed his wife.
The Birmingham officer then called his dispatchers.
Birmingham Police called Irondale Police to respond, and when they arrived, they found the Birmingham Officer dead from a gunshot wound.
Two children were in a bedroom, and were unharmed.
West Babylon, NY Sept 8 2011 – Suffolk County Police have arrested an NYPD auxiliary police sergeant for possessing and promoting child pornography.
The Suffolk County Police Computer Crimes Unit conducted an undercover investigation into individuals trading child pornography online. Patrick Steiner, 42, of West Babylon, was found to be in possession of numerous pornographic digital video images. Steiner was arrested and charged with five felony counts of Possessing a Sexual Performance by a Child and five felony counts of Promoting a Sexual Performance by a Child.
Steiner has served as a sergeant with the NYPD auxiliary police and is associated with Starlight Entertainment, a disc jockey music service that provides entertainment at parties and special events.
Steiner was held overnight for arraignment today at First District Court in Central Islip. Anyone with additional information for detectives is asked to call the Computer Crimes Unit at 631-852-6279 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS.
Halifax Canada Sept 8 2011 A Halifax woman is suing Wal-Mart Canada Corp. over collisions she had with a shoplifter and a security guard.
Debra Hartnett was shopping at the West End Mall Walmart on Sept. 7, 2006, when she stopped to talk to an acquaintance, according to documents made public Tuesday in Nova Scotia Supreme Court.
“Suddenly, and without warning, (Hartnett) was struck by an individual being pursued by employed security staff of the defendant, allegedly in response to a shoplifting report, followed by a greater impact caused directly by said security officer pursuing the fleeing individual,” said the statement of claim.
“The force of the impact with the staff member spun the plaintiff approximately 180 degrees, causing her to collapse, become unconscious, and suffer injuries.”
Hartnett says Wal-Mart owes a duty to patrons to make sure its store is safe.
“The plaintiff states that, at all material times, action of the staff security officer constituted an unusual danger and hazard to pedestrian traffic and that the security staff was negligent in their pursuit of a fleeing suspect,” court documents say.
Hartnett claims the security guard didn’t warn her of impending danger and “negligently pursued the fleeing suspect with great speed, thus showing disregard for the safety of store patrons and pedestrian traffic.”
The security guard wasn’t wearing appropriate clothing that would have warned her of the impending collision, court documents say. Nor did he keep a proper lookout for store patrons and pedestrian traffic, according to the lawsuit.
Hartnett’s lawyer, Timothy Hall of Landry, McGillivray, argues Wal-Mart is liable for the actions of its employees.
He also says Wal-Mart failed to maintain proper space between the aisles and displays, thus hindering the safe flow of pedestrian traffic; “failed to demonstrate a proper due diligence policy; failed to provide adequate training to its employees; (and) failed to properly instruct its employees on reasonable pursuit strategies.”
Hartnett is claiming general, special and punitive damages.
Wal-Mart has not filed a defence in the case.
None of the claims contained in the statement of claim have been tested in court.
MURFREESBORO, Tenn.Sept 8 2011 – Law enforcement officers have raided at least three dozen convenience stores in Rutherford County that they said have been selling illegal synthetic drugs.
Over 100 officers raided 36 locations in Smyrna, Murfreesboro, La Vergne and unincorporated Rutherford County as part of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s “Operation Syn-ful Smoke.”
Investigators have obtained multiple search warrants in the county based off undercover visits in the past several months, looking for drugs being sold on store shelves known as plant food and bath salts that have now been made against the law.
Law enforcement officers planned to raid each store simultaneously at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday. They planned to confiscate the synthetic drugs, write multiple citations and make arrests.
Participating agencies included the TBI, Smyrna Police Department, Murfreesboro Police Department, La Vergne Police Department, Rutherford County Sheriff’s Officer and federal agents from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
TBI organized the raids to make an example of businesses in the county selling illegal drugs.
TBI Director Mark Gwyn said the agency was sending a message that store or market across state that choose to sell these substances has been put on notice to stop.
Officers met at 8:30 a.m. at a secure location in Murfreesboro for a briefing and to organize their efforts.
Once TBI officials gave the go ahead, each of the 36 stores was raided.
NewsChannel 5 reporter Nick Beres has been with agents since their morning meeting and drove with officers to witness some of the raids first hand.
D’IBERVILLE, MS Sept 8 2011 – A man in southern Mississippi is accused of trying to walk out of a D’Iberville grocery store without paying for food items he’d stuffed into his cargo shorts including live lobsters.
Police Chief Wayne Payne says 35-year-old Nathan Mark Hardy was arrested Saturday after allegedly being caught stuffing food into his cargo shorts – two bags of jumbo shrimp, a pork loin and two live lobsters.
Payne says Hardy, of Biloxi, tried to escape by throwing the pork loin at employees at the local Winn Dixie but fell while running away. He was arrested at the scene.
The shoplifting charge is a misdemeanor, but Hardy remained jailed Wednesday in the Harrison County jail with no bond pending a hearing on a probation violation.
WINCHESTER VA Sept 8 2011 — City police arrested two Shenandoah University students on charges of having marijuana at a campus dorm early Tuesday morning.
Trace Nolan Rossi, 19, of Winchester, and Robert Dennis O’Brien, 20, of Fallston, Md., are each charged with one misdemeanor count of possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute, according to Winchester police Sgt. Frank Myrtle. Both men live in the dorms on University Drive, according to court information.
A university security officer notified police about the suspected drugs, Myrtle said. Both men were arrested shortly after midnight without incident.
Officers recovered approximately 5 grams of marijuana during a search of the dorm room at the university building in the 600 block of Millwood Avenue, Myrtle said. The amount of the drug has a street value of $100, according to Myrtle.
Officers also seized suspected drug paraphernalia such as scales and plastic baggies, Myrtle said.
A judge in Winchester General District Court on Tuesday granted each man release pending the posting of $2,500 secured bond. The defendants appeared for their court hearings via video from the regional jail. The judge set their trial dates for Nov. 9, according to court information.
Christy Dean Howard, 43, from the 300 block of Oak Grove Road, in Kings Mountain, and Jo Wray Whetstine, 41, from the same address, were both charged with one county of felony larceny.
The incident happened at Ingles on West Dixon Boulevard in Shelby. The women also stole wastebaskets, candles, chips and other grocery items valued at $1,196.
Howard was booked into the Cleveland County jail without bond. Whetstine is being held under a $5,500 bond.
Gregory N. Wright, of Knoxville, was arrested without incident Tuesday afternoon. The alleged victim, a teenage boy, did not attend the same school where the 31 year-old Wright worked.
He is being held on $40,000 bond.
Akron OH Sept 8 2011 An Ohio teacher has reportedly been charged with beating a teen with a baseball bat near his home in Akron.
According to a police report obtained by Fox 8, Jeff V. Willis, a 40-year-old teacher with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, was arrested Monday on an assault charge after allegedly striking a 17-year-old boy repeatedly in the leg with a baseball bat.
Willis was also arrested on a charge of criminal damaging for allegedly smashing the front driver’s side window of a vehicle the teenager was fleeing the scene in with friends, according to the station.
Willis was arraigned on charges of assault and criminal damaging on Tuesday afternoon in Akron Municipal Court.
According to the police report, Willis told authorities that he had told the alleged victim to stop speaking to his daughter. Willis told authorities that he saw a text message that day from the alleged victim to his daughter and he went to confront the teen.
It is not known if the teen lives near Willis or was in the area with friends.
Waynesboro, GA Sept 8 2011Quiet time. It may sound like something implemented by a kindergarten teacher, but it’s actually being enforced by cops.
The Waynesboro Police Department is enforcing quiet time between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. They got the idea from the Thompson Police Department. They say by enforcing quiet time, they will cut down the amount of calls they take in from certain neighborhoods in the city.
Shhhhhhh….it’s quiet time. It’s not just a demand from your elementary teacher any more, it’s an actual rule in the city of Waynesboro. Quiet time is between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
“We’re not going to have groups of people standing around or sitting around with nothing to do except get into trouble,” explained Waynesboro Police Department Chief Alfonzo Williams.
Williams says they have been getting too many calls from certain neighborhoods about noise complaints and suspicious activity, “They’re calling us repeatedly and our officers are having to go there and we need some resolve to the situation and we’re not going to let them dictate to us how we expend our resources.”
He says by instituting quiet time, they will be cracking down on loitering and enforcing their noise ordinance. Jillian Benfield Reporting: “So how bad do they need this?” ” On a scale of 1-10, a 10,” said Boisey Lewis.
Lewis has lived in Waynesboro his whole life. He says here in the Washington Neighborhood kids get into trouble at all hours of the night. However, not everyone here in the Washington area agree, some say this quiet time rule is stepping over the line.
“I feel like this is harassment.” This man doesn’t want to to use his name, but he also lives in the Washington area. He feels his rights are being violated, “This is not a public business, these are our homes that we pay taxes and rent.”
Whether the people of Waynesboro like the rule or not, police are enforcing it. And just like in school, there will be no excuse not to know the rules, signs will be put up throughout the city next week as a reminder.
The Police Department is working with the Housing Authority to enforce quiet time. It will be enforced in all of the city’s housing projects and in the city’s Washington Road and Lee Street Neighborhoods.
BLOOMINGTON, Minn. Sept 8 2011- On May 1, 2008, at 4:59 p.m., Brad Kleinerman entered the spooky world of homeland security.
As he shopped for a children’s watch inside the sprawling Mall of America, two security guards approached and began questioning him. Although he was not accused of wrongdoing, the guards filed a confidential report about Kleinerman that was forwarded to local police.
The reason: Guards thought he might pose a threat because they believed he had been looking at them in a suspicious way.
Najam Qureshi, owner of a kiosk that sold items from his native Pakistan, also had his own experience with authorities after his father left a cell phone on a table in the food court.
The consequence: An FBI agent showed up at the family’s home, asking if they knew anyone who might want to hurt the United States.
Mall of America officials say their security unit stops and questions on average 1,200 people each year. The interviews at the mall are part of a counterterrorism initiative that acts as the private eyes and ears of law enforcement authorities but has often ensnared innocent people, according to an investigation by the Center for Investigative Reporting and NPR.
In many cases, the written reports were filed without the knowledge of those interviewed by security. Several people named in the reports learned from journalists that their birth dates, race, names of employers and other personal information were compiled along with surveillance images.
One Iranian man, now 62, began passing out during questioning. An Army veteran sobbed in his car after he was questioned for nearly two hours about video he had taken inside the mall.
Much of the questioning at the mall has been done in public while shoppers mill around, records show. Two people, a shopper and a mall employee, also described being taken to a basement area for questioning. Officials at the mall would not address individual cases.
“The government is not going to protect us free of charge, so we have to do that ourselves,” said Maureen Bausch, executive vice president of business development at the mall. “We’re lucky enough to be in the city of Bloomington where they actually have a police substation here [in the mall]. … They’re great. But we are responsible for this building.”
Reporters at the Center for Investigative Reporting and NPR obtained 125 suspicious activity reports totaling over 1,000 pages dating back to Christmas Eve, 2005. The documents, provided by law enforcement officials in Minnesota, give a glimpse inside the national campaign by authorities to collect and share intelligence about possible threats.
The initiative exemplifies one of the cultural legacies of the terrorist attacks 10 years ago: Organizations and individuals are now encouraged by U.S. leaders to watch one another and report any signs of threats to homeland security authorities.
There is no way for the public to know exactly how many suspicious activity reports from the Mall of America have ended up with local, state and federal authorities. CIR and NPR asked 29 law enforcement agencies under open government laws for reports on suspicious activities. Only the Bloomington Police Department and Minnesota’s state fusion center have turned over at least a portion of the paperwork.
In 2008, the mall’s security director, Douglas Reynolds, told Congress that the mall was the “No. 1 source of actionable intelligence” provided to the state’s fusion center, an intelligence hub created after 9/11 to pull together reports from an array of law enforcement sources.
Information from the suspicious activity reports generated at the mall has been shared with Bloomington police, the FBI and, in at least four cases, the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
MISSED SIGNALS PROMPT HEIGHTENED AWARENESS
The push to encourage Americans to report suspicious activity began in the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001, when government officials and citizens found out there had been hints about the attackers that intelligence analysts had missed.
Some of the terrorists had taken flight training in Florida — but didn’t focus on how to land. They bought one-way tickets. Officials at the FBI and other agencies failed to act on — or share — tips they had received.
In the decade since, the Justice Department and Department of Homeland Security have launched programs urging citizens to report suspicious activity. The private sector, including the utility industry and other businesses concerned with protecting “critical infrastructure,” have their own surveillance and reporting systems. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has made such reporting a priority.
Last year the Department of Homeland Security launched its promotional campaign, “If you see something, say something,” encouraging Americans to report anything perceived as threatening.
Among those formally enlisted were parking attendants, Jewish groups, stadium operators, landlords, security guards, fans of professional golf and auto racing and retailers such as the Mall of America. Visitors “may be subject to a security interview,” the mall’s website says.
The suspicious activity reports from the mall are rich with detail. They contain personal information, sometimes including Social Security numbers and the names of family members and friends. Some of the reports include shoppers’ travel plans; about 40 percent of mall visitors are tourists.
Commander Jim Ryan of the Bloomington Police Department said shoppers are not under arrest when stopped for questioning by private security. He said even he would walk away if the questioning seemed excessive.
“I don’t think that I would subject myself to that, personally,” he said. Ryan, however, defends security procedures at the mall. In some cases, the questioning appears to have the hallmarks of profiling — something that officials at the mall deny. In nearly two-thirds of the cases reviewed, subjects are described as African American, people of Asian and Arabic descent, and other minorities, according to an analysis of the documents.
Mall spokesman Dan Jasper said the private security guards would not conduct interviews based on racial or ethnic characteristics because “we may miss someone who truly does have harmful intent.”
“The government is not going to protect us free of charge, so we have to do that ourselves.”
- Maureen Bausch, MOA executive”It’s important to note that we conduct security interviews based solely on suspicious behavior,” Jasper said in a statement. “Research indicates that profiling based on ethnic or racial characteristics is ineffective, and a waste of valuable time and resources.”
Ryan said such reports are crucial to the nation’s safety in the post-9/11 era. He said the suspicious activity reports could be held by his agency for two decades or longer. He acknowledged that the mall’s methods, and reports the security guards file, may “infringe on some freedoms, unfortunately.”
“We’re charged with trying to keep people safe. We’re trying to do it the best way we can,” he said. “You may be questioned at the Mall of America about suspicious activity. It’s something that may happen. It’s part of today’s society.”
Some national security and constitutional law specialists question the propriety and effectiveness of such reports.
Dale Watson, a former top counterterrorism official with the FBI, said the mall’s reports suggest that anyone could be targeted for intrusive questioning and surveillance.
“If that had been one of my brothers that was stopped in a mall, I’d be furious about it — if I thought the police department had a file on him, an information file about his activities in the mall without any reasonable suspicion to investigate,” said Watson, who played key roles in the investigations of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and a 1998 attack on U.S. embassies in East Africa.
Shoppers, who for the most part had no idea that a visit to the mall led to their personal information being shared with law enforcement, reacted with anger and dismay when shown their reports.
“For all the 30 years that I have lived in the United States, I’ve never been a suspect,” said Emil Khalil. The California man was confronted at the mall in June 2009 for taking pictures, and he said an FBI agent later questioned him at the airport. “And I’ve never done anything wrong.”
Stories abound of people being stopped elsewhere in the United States for activity considered suspicious.
The New York Civil Liberties Union last year sued over one photographer’s arrest, leading to a formal acknowledgement by the government that there are no rules or laws explicitly barring photos of federal buildings. An ACLU chapter this spring threatened transit officials in Maryland with litigation after police ordered individuals to stop snapping and filming images.
Frequent clashes between photographers and security guards nonetheless continue. New Jersey commuters can “text against terror” if they see behavior believed to be strange, and a smart phone app allows residents of the Bluegrass State to be the “eyes and ears on Kentucky.”
PRIVATELY OWNED MOA FOLLOWS ITS OWN RULES
The Mall of America has become a monument to suburban shopping and entertainment. With 4.2 million square feet under one roof, the two-decade-old mall is one of the largest complexes of its kind in the world.
It features national retail stores such as Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, Banana Republic, Brookstone and scores of other shops that populate malls across the country. It includes mom-and-pop kiosks selling T-shirts, cell phone covers, jewelry and more. To visit all the shops, more than 500 at last count, would take days.
But its entertainment complex sets the Mall of America apart. It has roller coasters, a Ferris wheel, a giant SpongeBob SquarePants statue, a water ride, remote-controlled trucks and boat games, all of it indoors. Nearly 100,000 people from around the world pass through the mall on a given day, more than 40 million each year.
The mall is controlled by the Canada-based Triple Five Group, a conglomerate that owns an even larger mall in Edmonton, Alberta.
In 2005, the Mall of America hired Mike Rozin to lead a new special security unit.
Rozin served as a sergeant in the Israel Defense Forces before working in a protective division at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport. He trained mall security in the art of interpreting behavioral cues for signs of a threat. Although his unit’s approach has some of the hallmarks of profiling, Rozin dismissed any such notion, saying members of his unit merely watch what people do.
According to documents, they look for unexplained nervousness, people photographing such things as air-conditioning ducts, or signs that a shopper might have something to hide. It’s the kind of approach for which Israeli airports are renowned.
“Today, when you fly through Ben Gurion airport, you don’t have to take your shoes off, you don’t have (liquid) restrictions of any sort, we don’t have body scanners,” Rozin said. “Yet we’re known to be the most secure airport in the world.”
Rozin said that earlier this year, his guards detected a suspicious man who tried to run when they approached. Bloomington police joined in pursuit. After he was stopped, according to Rozin’s account, they found a loaded handgun. He said the man had a history of violence. The mall’s spokesman declined to provide documents to corroborate Rozin’s account.
“Potentially that day, my … officer prevented a disaster, a case of indiscriminate shooting in the Mall of America,” Rozin said.
There are larger issues in the Twin Cities. At least 20 young Minnesotans have reportedly gone to Somalia to fight in the civil war. One man, who joined the militant Islamist group al-Shabab, attempted to blow himself up in May at a security checkpoint in Mogadishu.
Rozin acknowledged that the vast majority of people who come into contact with his unit “have done nothing wrong, have no malicious intent.” “They just act in a suspicious manner that obligated me to investigate further,” Rozin said. “We talked to them for an average of five minutes, and they’re able to continue their shopping.”
VETERAN’S ENCOUNTER LEAVES HIM SHAKEN
Francis Van Asten’s experience with mall security lasted much longer.
On Nov. 9, 2008, the Bloomington resident videotaped a short road trip from his home to the Mall of America. Van Asten, now 66, planned to send it to his fiancee’s family in Vietnam so they could see life in the United States.
As he headed down an escalator, camera in hand, mall guards caught sight of him.
“Right away, I noticed he had a video camera and was recording the rotunda area,” a security guard wrote in a suspicious activity report. “When he got to second floor [sic] he turned to the overlook of the park while still videotaping.”
Van Asten, a onetime missile system repairman for the Army, was questioned for approximately two hours, according to his suspicious activity report. He was asked about traveling to Vietnam and how he came to know people there. Van Asten was even asked through which mall door he entered.
The report later filed about him said he was “open and very willing to share information.”
Guards asked to see the contents of his camera. “The footage of all the vehicles and structures of the east ramp really worried me,” the security guard wrote.
Authorities were concerned about footage of an airplane landing at Minnesota’s international airport. They also worried Van Asten was conducting surveillance of mall property.
Van Asten said it was not clear to him at the time why he was stopped. After all, he was told nothing prohibited him from taking photographs or footage of the mall. But the mall’s guards still called Bloomington police, and they alerted the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force. Van Asten was given a pat-down search, and the FBI demanded that his camera’s memory card be confiscated “for further analysis.”
Exhausted and rattled, Van Asten had trouble finding his car after the ordeal was over.
“I sat down in my car and I cried, and I was shaking like a leaf,” Van Asten said in an interview at his home. “That kind of sensation doesn’t leave you real quickly when you’ve had an experience like that.”
MAN QUESTIONED FOR WRITING IN NOTEBOOK
Bobbie Allen, now 47, headed to the Mall of America on June 25, 2007, for lunch with a woman. As he waited for her, Allen sat alone writing in a notebook, which caught the attention of security. Counterterrorism experts sometimes instruct police and security personnel to look for suspicious notetaking, as it may indicate attack planning.
A security guard wrote in Allen’s suspicious activity report: “Before the male would write in his notebook, it appeared as though he would look at his watch. Periodically, the male would briefly look up from his notebook, look around, and then continue writing.”
Guards asked for his name and for whom he was waiting. Allen, a musician who lives in downtown Minneapolis, became frustrated, saying the questioning was intrusive.
Allen, who is black, felt singled out for his race, according to the report. The guard responded that he was “randomly selected” for an interview and the questions continued. They asked what kind of coffee he liked best and where he planned to go for lunch.
The guards called Bloomington police after deciding Allen was uncooperative and his notetaking “suspicious.” Allen was eventually cleared, but a suspicious activity report was compiled complete with surveillance photo, age, height, address and more. Much of that information ended up in a Bloomington police report.
Jeffrey Rosen, a law professor at George Washington University, said such actions trample on traditional civil liberties protections and shift unaccountable power into private hands.
Rosen said the risk of abuses is high, particularly if there turns out to be a lack of proven results.
“If all they’re getting for amassing suspicious activity reports on innocent people in government databases is the arrest of a few low-level turnstile jumpers and shoplifters, that doesn’t seem very sensible,” Rosen said.
In Allen’s case, he responded in a way few others have — he complained to the Minnesota Department of Human Rights and filed a lawsuit. Department investigators concluded that there was probable cause to support Allen’s claim of racial discrimination.
Allen declined an interview, citing a settlement agreement reached with the mall. He would not provide details of that agreement.
The human rights department reviewed documents showing that in another case, a “suspicious” white patron was stopped while typing on a laptop computer. He, too, was “uncooperative,” but mall security “chose not to escalate the situation by calling the police,” according to a summary of the department’s investigation.
It reads: “The investigation found that the (mall’s) special security unit generates reports and field notes on suspicious persons, regardless whether the individual cooperated during the security interview or if police intervention occurred.”
Not everyone had a negative reaction to being written up. After a report naming him was forwarded to the FBI, Sameer Khalil of Orange County, Calif., said he believed that police and private security have an important job they must do. “I think [the mall's program] makes America safer,” he said.
FORGOTTEN CELL PHONE LEADS TO FBI VISIT
The FBI arrived on the doorstep of businessman Najam Qureshi shortly after a run-in with mall security. His family moved from Pakistan to the United States when Qureshi was 8 years old. Police once pulled over their car for a minor traffic violation, and Qureshi remembers his father saying, “You don’t have to fear the police here. They are here to help.”
Qureshi opened a small kiosk at the mall so his aging father, a former aeronautical engineer named Saleem, could keep busy. One day in early 2007, Saleem Qureshi left his cell phone in a mall food court. When he returned for it, security personnel had established a “perimeter” around the phone, along with other unattended items nearby that did not belong to Saleem — a stroller and two coolers.
The “suspicious” objects eventually were cleared by security, documents show. But mall guards pursued Saleem Qureshi with questions, continuing even after he returned to his kiosk.
“Qureshi moved around a lot when answering questions,” security guard Ashly Foster wrote in a suspicious activity report. “At one point, he moved to his kiosk and proceeded to take items off of two shelves just to switch them around. … He seemed to get agitated at points when I would ask more detailed questions.”
Four years after his father ended up in a suspicious activity report, his son was shown the report for the first time.
“The fact that this is in their database, and they wasted time looking into these kinds of things is just silly,” said Najam Qureshi.
“Everybody that lives in this country,” he added, “is a person of interest as far as these reports are concerned.”
San Francisco CA Sept 8 2011 All over America, police have been arresting people for taking video or making sound recordings of them, even though such arrests are pretty clearly illegal. Usually, the charges are dropped once the case becomes public, and that’s the end of it.
But sometimes things go further, and in two recent cases, they’ve gone far enough to bite back at the police and prosecutors involved. We need more such biting.
Tiawanda Moore made a sexual harassment complaint against a Chicago patrolman. When she was visited by police internal affairs officers who tried to persuade her to drop the charge, she recorded the audio using her BlackBerry. Though the audio reflected rather poorly on the internal affairs officers, the response of the Illinois state attorney was to charge Moore with “wiretapping.”
After the tape was played, the jury took less than an hour to return a verdict of not guilty.
“When we heard that, everyone [on the jury] just shook their head,” one juror said afterward. “If what those two investigators were doing wasn’t criminal, we felt it bordered on criminal, and she had the right to record it.”
Illinois law makes it illegal to record conversations with public officials without their permission. If the officials are law enforcement officers, the penalty can be as much as 15 years in prison. It’s hard to see what purpose such a law could serve, except to protect corrupt officials from exposure.
It’s also hard to see why a prosecutor would bring charges against a citizen who recorded police officers improperly trying to get her to drop charges against a fellow officer she says groped and propositioned her during a domestic-violence call. Perhaps the prosecution was trading favors with the police, or perhaps it was merely incredibly insensitive.
In Massachusetts, the right of citizens to record the police has been upheld by the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in the case of Glik v. Cunniffe. Passer-by Simon Glik caught sight of three police officers arresting a young man. He turned on his cellphone and began capturing video.
The police officers objected to being recorded. They arrested Glik and charged him with violating the state’s wiretap law, seizing his camera and memory chip as evidence.
The court held that the right to record police officers in public is a “clearly established” part of the First Amendment’s protections, and held that the officers could be sued for their actions.
In these cases, the courts and juries stood up for the obvious proposition that police officers, doing their jobs on the public dime, don’t have a privacy right against the citizens who pay their salaries. In an era when government feels free to record citizens whenever they’re out in public, this works both ways. Want a surveillance society? Be prepared to live in it.
Of course, the efforts to intimidate citizens via prosecutions and arrests are doomed to fail in the long run, thanks to advances in technology. Every cellphone is a video camera, a still camera and an audio recorder. There are even smartphone apps specifically designed for recording police encounters and uploading them to the Web so that immediately confiscating the phone doesn’t do any good.
You can’t arrest everyone with a camera, especially when you don’t even know they’ve got a camera. But that’s not really the issue. Technology may be winning, but the real problem is that some public employees believe that they are above citizen scrutiny and are prepared to abuse their powers to avoid that scrutiny.
Some have proposed a federal civil-rights law specifically recognizing the right of citizens to record police, and including severe punishments for police and prosecutors who violate that right. Frankly, it seems like a pretty good idea. Until then, however, we need to educate both police and citizens that photography is not a crime, even when those who wield government power, ostensibly on behalf of the citizenry, would rather not be photographed.
BULLHEAD CITY AZ Sept 8 2011 — Two siblings from Golden Valley were arrested early Sunday morning after one allegedly assaulted a Davis Dam security guard and the other tried to cover for him.
Kevin Barnard, 27, and his sister Ashley Lang, 23, had been camping near Davis Dam with their family over the Labor Day weekend when, shortly after midnight on Sunday, Barnard reportedly decided to take a dip in Lake Mohave by leaping off Davis Dam.
According to Bullhead City Police spokeswoman Emily Montague, it was about 12:30 a.m. when Barnard approached the dam, only to be told by a security guard that the public was not allowed to jump off the structure. In response, Montague said Barnard shoved the security guard out of the way, at which point the guard told Barnard he was going to be held for the police.
At that point, Barnard reportedly fled down a nearby hill and dove into Lake Mohave, while the guard went to call police. Upon their arrival, police contacted Lang, whom they spotted sitting in the bed of a pickup truck nearby.
Montague said Lang was uncooperative when officers asked her if she knew the suspect. She first told police she didn’t know him, then said she had been staying at Davis Camp with her brother. When police later learned Barnard’s identity and again asked Lang whether she knew him, she reportedly said she didn’t, adding “I’m not saying (expletive).”
Yet, when officers asked Lang whether or not Barnard could swim, she told them that he was, in fact, a skilled swimmer.
After about an hour-long search, Barnard was located on the Arizona side of the lake, hiding beneath a tree. He was arrested and later booked on suspicion of misdemeanor assault and disorderly conduct, as well as an outstanding warrant for failure to pay fines.
As police were detaining Barnard, however, Lang reportedly began yelling at them, screaming expletives and giving them the finger. Montague said an officer told her to stop, or else she, too, would be arrested, but Lang reportedly continued yelling.
Montague said Lang physically struggled with officers as she was arrested, and was later booked on suspicion of false reporting to police and hindering prosecution, both misdemeanors, as well as resisting arrest, a felony. Both Lang and Barnard were transported to the county jail in Kingman.
Eureka fire and police officers were dispatched to the mall at about 2 p.m. after a report of an explosion in a hallway. After reviewing mall security surveillance footage, which depicted four juvenile suspects — three males and a female, all approximately 13 years of age — involved in planting and detonating the device.
According to an EPD press release, the juvenile suspects were seen entering the mall hallway together in the video through an entrance/exit near Spencer’s Gifts. One of the male suspects can then be seen returning to the door alone moments later, removing a 2-liter plastic bottle from his backpack, shaking it, setting it on the ground and running away. Several minutes later, the bomb exploded, according to EPD.
In the moments between the time the suspect set the bomb and when it exploded, a woman can be seen in the surveillance video walking down the hall, past the device and out the door, according to the release.
EPD states in the release that it is treating the matter as a serious crime, and not a mere prank. Police believe the device was a “muriatic acid and aluminum foil bomb.”
No one was hurt in the explosion and no property appeared to be damaged, but the device left muriatic acid — also called hydrochloric acid — on the floor and walls.
Anyone with information regarding the suspects’ identities or the incident is asked to call EPD Detective Ron Harpham at 441-4305.
Mesa AZ Sept 8 2011 As suspected shoplifter pulled a knife on store security guards at a Mesa Wal-Mart Tuesday after she and her partner were stopped while trying to leave the store with $150 in merchandise they hadn’t paid for.
Raeann Bell, 26, and Allen Coleman, 50, were arrested on suspicion of armed robbery charges at 10:05 p.m. Tuesday after they reportedly tried shoplifting from the Wal-Mart at 1710 S. Greenfield Road.
Store security said they watched Bell and Coleman shop for about four hours. Police said Bell was seen taking underwear, socks, wallets, sports jerseys and shirts and placing them in black bags while Coleman acted as a lookout.
Security said the two were reading items from a list as they shoplifted. Bell and Coleman left the store with the two bags and were contacted outside by security.
After arguing with security, police said Bell pulled a small knife from her pocket, opened the blade and lunged at a store employee. She reportedly chased the employee outside and then fled south, dropping one of the bags as she ran.
Police caught Bell several blocks from Wal-Mart and found stolen merchandise in her bag. Officers also found a small amount of methamphetimine in the bag but were unable to locate the knife.
Bell claimed she got the knife out of her bag by accident and never threatened employees with it. Police said a review of surveillance footage confirmed that Bell lunged at the store employee and fled the store with unpaid merchandise.
The stolen merchandise was valued at $167. Police arrested Bell on charges of armed robbery, aggravated assault and drug possession, while Coleman was arrested as a suspected accomplice in the armed robbery.
COLUMBUS, Georgia Sept 8 2011–- The Columbus police officer who shot and killed two robbery suspects on Tuesday has been identified as 24-year-old Vincent Lockhart Jr.
The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reports the officer’s name was not released yesterday, but has shown up on police reports about the incident.
Lockhart is one of 100 new officers hired with revenue from a sales tax voters passed in 2008.
The incident began about 11:30 a.m. when the officer was making a routine check on the MEA Federal Credit Union at Macon and Rigdon Road. One of the suspects ran out of the branch with a mask on. The officer followed on foot to Gardenia Street where the suspect jumped into a waiting truck with another suspect.
The driver put the truck in reverse and tried to run over the officer. He began firing at the truck, which was heading west toward Briarwood Avenue before crashing head-on into a utility pole.
The driver was pronounced dead at the scene, while the passenger died later at the Medical Center.
The FBI is investigating the robbery and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation is looking into the police shooting.
PRIMM, NV Sept 8 2011 - A California man arrested last week threatened to blow up a Primm hotel-casino if he did not receive $2,000, Las Vegas Metro police said.
The reported incident happened at Buffalo Bill’s Hotel and Casino near the Nevada-California state line last Friday around 10:20 p.m.
In a report by Metro police, the suspect, Jose Valenzuela, 36, approached the hotel front desk and demanded money, saying he was a “terrorist” and would detonate a bomb destroying the casino if his demands weren’t met.
Police said a front desk manager and, later, security were called to accommodate Valenzuela.
In the report, Valenzuela willingly followed security personnel away from the front desk area and to the security offices where they awaited officers to arrive.
Police arrested Valenzuela and charged him with making a bomb threat and attempted robbery. He was booked into the Clark County Detention Center.
No word if any device was, in fact, found inside the hotel.
NORTH COLLEGE HILL, Ohio Sept 8 2011 — Police said a man’s attempt to rob a North College Hill bank failed before he could even leave the building.
Investigators said Michael Pryor, 28, walked into the Greater Cincinnati Credit Union at 6899 Hamilton Ave. on Wednesday morning and demanded $100 bills from a teller.
When the teller refused and called 911, police said Pryor jumped the counter and unsuccessfully tried to take money from the teller, then went to another teller and took cash that a customer was depositing.
Police said Pryor jumped back over the counter and tried to leave but was tackled by a customer, who held him until police arrived.
“Based on what they observed, it wasn’t like the guy was displaying a firearm or a knife. They stepped in and stopped him,” said Detective Dan Fritz with College Hill Police.
Fritz said officers had become very familiar with Pryor throughout the day Wednesday.
At about 7 a.m., Fritz said Pryor was arrested on charges of trespassing and disorderly conduct. He was cited and released.
After his release, Fritz said Pryor had to be escorted away from the credit union “for causing some problems.” That was a short time before the attempted bank robbery, Fritz said.
Pryor is being held pending an arraignment hearing. No injuries were reported.
Clinton MS Sept 8 2011 Today police arrested the former music minister of a Clinton church on several charges of sexually molesting boys back in the 1980s.
Clinton Police arrested John Langworthy, 49, for gratification of lust involving boys between the ages of 8 and 12 years old. Police say the alleged crimes happened between 1980 and 1984 while Langworthy was a student at Mississippi College.
According to the Hinds County District Attorney’s office Langworthy faces seven counts of gratification of lust: two in Clinton and five in Jackson. Each count carries a maximum of 10 years in prison.
The D.A.’s office says the assaults happened while Langworthy was babysitting the boys or when he stayed with their families.
Investigators with Clinton and Jackson police have questioned Langworthy.
In August Langworthy confessed to what he called sexual indiscretions with boys in front of the congregation of Morrison Heights Baptist Church. He has since resigned as music minister there.
ATLANTA Ga Sept 8 2011– Most Atlanta police officers do not live in the City of Atlanta.
They’re sworn to protect and serve the city, but don’t have to live in it.
About 75 percent of the officers live outside the city limits.
Now the Buckhead Coalition is offering Atlanta police officers cash to move into the Buckhead section of Atlanta.
The Buckhead Coalition will pay each officer a one-time bonus of $2,000, on top of the $1,000 that the Atlanta Police Foundation already pays every Atlanta police officer who moves into ANY part of the city.
So that’s $3,000 to any Atlanta police officer who moves into Buckhead.
Former Atlanta Mayor Sam Massell of the Buckhead Coalition said the Buckhead CID will also participate in funding the incentives.
“We would like to bring the police closer to the neighborhoods, to actually give a bonus, a gift, of $3,000 to every uniformed police officer who moves into Buckhead,” Massell told 11Alive News on Tuesday. “A uniformed officer will deter crime. We know this makes him part of the neighborhood, and gives that visibility of the uniform, which we are satisfied is a deterrent to crime.”
Massell also hopes apartment owners in Buckhead will lower their rents to police officers.
“We’re going to try to get the apartments to give some reduction in rents, because they’ll get some benefits, too, of course, from having that police officer living right there on the premises.”
Other Atlanta neighborhoods are trying this approach.
The English Avenue and Vine City communities just west of the Georgia Dome are trying to raise private money to provide a house to the first Atlanta police officer willing to move into that area.
As for Buckhead, the first goal is to lure 20 APD officers to move into the area.
Massell considers Buckhead to be a 28-square-mile section of Atlanta running generally from where Peachtree Rd. passes by the Brookwood Amtrak rail station, north to the Atlanta city limits; and from the Chattahoochee River east to the DeKalb County line.
Apartments in that part of town, Massell said, currently include some of the most expensive rentals in the area, even though there are also Buckhead apartments that rent for as low as $600 a month.
He expects a $3,000 bonus, plus a discounted apartment, would not be enough to attract an older, settled police officer who is married with children, but would be an incentive that younger officers would consider.
No one with the Atlanta Police Foundation was available Tuesday night to say how many officers have accepted the offer to move into Atlanta since last year when the Foundation began offering the $1,000 incentives which will now be increased to $3,000 if the officer moves into Buckhead.