Norfolk VAMarch 20 2012 A Norfolk, Va. firefighter died while on duty Monday morning.
According to WAVY.com, fire department spokesman Chief Harry Worley said fellow firefighters found Jonathan Myers, 54, unconscious on the floor of a bunk room at station 13.
Fellow firefighters immediately provided CPR and Myers was transported to DePaul Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
Myers was a 20-year veteran of the department.
Former Harrisburg NC town administrator accused of stealing more than $40,000 www.privateofficer.com
HARRISBURG, N.C. —March 20 2012
A former Harrisburg town administrator is accused of stealing more than $40,000 from the town.
“It’s unacceptable,” resident Chris Gillentine said, looking at the SBI’s charges of obtaining property under false pretenses.
Between January 2010 and July 2010, a warrant alleges that Michele Reapsmith stole $32,994.80.
“A little over $5,000 a month — geez,” Gillentine said.
In total, the SBI says Reapsmith paid herself $42,079.66 between March 2009 and April 2011.
Reapsmith’s contract says she received an annual base salary of $88,753.00.
Reapsmith made her first appearance in Cabarrus County on Monday and posted her $20,000 bond.
The SBI said Reapsmith used the town’s payroll system to pay herself the unauthorized payments.
Eyewitness News obtained hundreds of pages of emails between town council members, Mayor Tim Hagler, and other Harrisburg town officials. In them, they expressed their concerns about Reapsmith in the weeks leading up to her dismissal.
According to the emails, on Oct. 5, 2011, Councilman Bob Scaggs wrote: “I am real tired of this… She is now out of control.”
On Oct. 26, just a few days before the council officially dismissed Reapsmith, Councilman Jeff Phillips wrote: “Michele has played us and our town residents long enough.”
Council members and the town’s attorney would not comment on Monday.
Eyewitness News called Reapsmith’s home several times but no one picked up.
She is due back in court April 9.
“Obviously, people are unhappy, but the recourse is being taken,” resident Chuck Paxton said. “She’s being charged and we’ll let the judicial system move from there.”
ATHENS, Tenn. March 20 2012 — A whole series of occurrences had to line up just right to place Freddie Leslie and Kristi Graham in the right location to save a Tennessee Highway Patrol trooper from a fiery death.
But they did line up, which Leslie, a paramedic and a lay minister at Freedom Baptist Church in Turtletown, Tenn., attributed to a heavenly plan beyond human comprehension.
It was the way God wanted it to be,” he said Friday following a presentation ceremony at the Athens headquarters of the pair’s employer, American Medical Response, a national corporation based in Colorado.
God, Leslie said, “chose to use” him and Graham, and he “can’t question that.”
Late Monday and early Tuesday, according to Leslie, it had been planned to transfer a patient from a McMinn County medical facility to the University of Tennessee Medical Center via helicopter. But bad weather interfered, so he and Graham were summoned into service to move the patient by ambulance.
They delivered the young man to UT Medical Center and were about 10 minutes into their return trip early Tuesday on Interstate 40, he said, when they came upon the wreck. A tractor-trailer had smashed into the parked cruiser of THP Sgt. Lowell Russell near Walker Springs Road. Their training kicked in and Leslie and Graham immediately rushed to the aid of the trooper, who was unconscious and still belted in his burning cruiser. Two Knoxville police officers also responded to the scene and helped the trooper.
Even for someone familiar with scenes of mayhem, Leslie said, “I’ve never seen anything like this.”
Leslie has a couple of burns on his face from pulling Russell from the cruiser.
Russell remained in critical condition Friday at UT Medical Center.
“We’re here to do whatever we have to to save a life,” Graham said.
Leslie is a 13-year veteran of emergency work, and he and Graham have been partners about two months, he said. Leslie said he is more than a little uncomfortable with the attention he and Graham have received for their response to the crash. He is ready, he said, “for it to be over with” and get back to his job of serving those who need him.
Bradley County TNMarch 20 2012 Two 18-year-old females have been charged with trying to steal 56 items from Kohls on Gunbarrel Road.
Store security said Ashley Beatrice of Truman Avenue in East Ridge and Shelby Gates of Lottie Lane, Chattanooga, tried to leave without paying for $1,771 in merchandise.
All the clothing and jewelry were stuffed in their purses.
They were charged with theft over $1,000 and taken directly to the Hamilton County Jail.
ATLANTIC CITY NJMarch 20 2012 — Atlantic City law enforcement officers have a new message for criminals on the prowl: Smile, you’re on camera.
Increased video surveillance is one of the top priorities of Gov. Chris Christie’s “Clean & Safe” initiative, a multi-agency law enforcement effort to tackle Atlantic City’s crime problem. Other major plans include installing new light posts to better illuminate the Boardwalk and boosting the Atlantic City Police Department’s foot patrol presence in the tourism district by hiring 25 additional officers.
Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa, backed by local top brass, unveiled the progress today at Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall.
“Through unprecedented teamwork involving the Atlantic City Police Department, the casinos and other public and private partners represented here today, we are producing results you can see and feel,” Chiesa said. “Our efforts to increase police presence, promote security using technology and address quality of life issues in Atlantic City are producing a welcoming environment where safety is the watchword.”
When it comes to technology, Chiesa said the goal is to establish a well-connected video surveillance and communication systems for police, typically called a command center.
“Law enforcement has found that cutting edge technology can be a force multiplier,” he said.
Law enforcement agencies continue to gather access to as much video surveillance as they can, taking a proactive approach rather than scrambling in the aftermath of a crime to find out where video cameras might have caught a perpetrator, Atlantic County Prosecutor Ted Housel said.
So far, Housel’s office and the Atlantic City Police Department have mapped more than 450 privately-owned surveillance systems, and the Division of Gaming Enforcement has done an audit of the TV systems available on casino properties.
“This level of cooperation that we’re experiencing now in Atlantic City, as far as law enforcement is concerned, is unprecedented,” Police Chief Ernest Jubilee said.
Additionally, the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority has set aside $3.5 million for technological advancements. A technology system called Mutualink has been put into place to allow law enforcement agencies to share videos and information with the casinos.
In 2010, Gov. Christie announced the state-run Casino Reinvestment Development Authority would be tasked with overhauling the city’s troubled gambling and entertainment district.
Cleaning up Atlantic City is no easy task. The city has been plagued by high-profile violent crimes, including a fatal carjacking at the Trump Taj Mahal parking garage last fall and four unsolved prostitute killings in 2006, believed to be the work of a serial killer.
There were nearly 900 violent crimes here in 2010, including murders, rapes, robberies and aggravated assaults. The violent crime rate, at 20.7 crimes per 1,000 people, ranks as the third highest in the state, behind Camden and Asbury Park, according to an analysis of Uniform Crime Report Data provided by the New Jersey State Police.
Part of the “Clean & Safe” initiative is the Atlantic City Violent Crime Task Force, which is made up of officers from the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau, the State Police Street Gangs Unit, the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office, the Atlantic City Police Department and Sheriff’s Office and the State Parole Board.
Tom Gilbert, a former State Police lieutenant colonel, is the commander of the tourism district. He’s a strong believer in the broken windows theory, which he referenced during a slideshow presentation today.
According to the theory, which was first proposed in a 1982 article in the Atlantic Monthly, substantial changes in crime rates can occur by eliminating seemingly minor problems, such as broken windows, graffiti and trash. The idea is that petty crimes foster a culture of criminals.
“An awful lot of good work has really gone into trying to get at the little things before they become big things,” Gilbert said. “And that means cleaning things up. It means knocking buildings down. It means when there’s trash somewhere, we go and we get to it quickly and we mitigate it.”
That concept is behind the extensive renovations to the Boardwalk’s lighting system, paid for with $5 million in funding from the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority. This month, the first $2.5 million phase of the renovation project will be completed, with 244 lights having been installed on the Boardwalk from Albany Avenue to Rhode Island Avenue.
The 25 new law enforcement officers will start work with the police department on July 1, with a goal of increasing foot patrol in the tourism district. The Class II officers, who can carry guns and make arrests, are paid contractually and typically used on a seasonal basis in shore towns.
Gilbert said it hasn’t been decided if the officers will be sticking after the tourism season.
“It depends on what the work load looks like and what the need is,” he said.
North Myrtle Beach SC March 20 2012 A Longs man was arrested at a North Myrtle Beach church and charged after police said he shouted obscenities at the pastor during the sermon on Sunday and refused to leave the building when asked, according to a police report.
Kenneth Michael Knight, 37, was charged with disturbance of religious worship and entering premises after warning or refusing to leave on request, according to records at J. Reuben Long Detention Center. Knight remains jailed pending a bond hearing.
Jail records showed Knight was released March 9 on bond after being jailed on Feb. 13 for unrelated charges of third-degree assault and battery, breach of peace and three counts of failure to appear.
North Myrtle Beach police officers were called about 12:30 p.m. Sunday to Barefoot Community Church for a person who was disorderly, according to the report.
When officers got to the church, they learned from an off-duty Horry County police officer, who was working security at the church, that Knight was escorted out of the church after he shouted profanities at the pastor while he was preaching the sermon.
Knight was agitated and officers said he “began hurling accusations and profanities” when they approached him, according to the report. The off-duty officer told North Myrtle Beach police that Knight was removed from the property and asked not to return, but he did.
Police were told when he returned Knight insisted on seeing the pastor and getting a painting returned to him that he had donated to the church, according to the report.
Baltimore County MD March 20 2012 A robbery in the White Marsh Mall parking lot on Saturday and fight inside the mall food court on Friday led to several arrests, police said.
Mall management called the incidents “rare and isolated,” and emphasized the mall’s public safety program.
At about 10 p.m. on March 17, a 12-year-old boy and a 13-year-old boy, both from Middle River, were robbed and assaulted in the mall parking lot along the 8200 block of Perry Hall Boulevard, according to a police report.
A group of male teens approached the boys, punched one of them, and stole an iPod and cell phone from them, the police report showed.
Based on witness accounts and video surveillance footage, police arrested and charged a male 14-year-old Parkville resident at the 7-Eleven, adjacent to the mall, shortly after the robbery. Police later arrested and charged a male 16-year-old and a male 14-year-old near their Parkville homes, according to the police report.
Officers also arrested Windsor Thaddeus Jones, 18, of the 8700 block of Melissa Lilian Court in Perry Hall and charged him with robbery, second-degree assault and theft less than $1,000, court records showed. Similar charges were brought against each of the juveniles involved in the incident, police said.
Officers responded to the mall the previous night, as well.
Shortly after 9:15 p.m. on March 16, several police officers and a helicopter unit responded to a fight in the food court of the mall, Patch reported.
A male 15-year-old Middle River resident began cursing at a police officer after he was asked to leave the mall. The boy pushed and struck the officer and was arrested, according to Capt. Michael Balog of the White Marsh police precinct.
A “hostile crowd” of between 50 and 100 people gathered around the officer, Balog said.
David Reed, 33, of the unit block of Lawrence Road in Dundalk was arrested after intervening in the melee. He was charged with resisting and interfering with an arrest and disorderly conduct, court records show.
The 15-year-old suspect was charged with assault, disorderly conduct and was released to his mother, police said.
Regarding the recent mall incidents, Balog said officers are “working with security to ensure adequate presence inside and outside the mall.”
Lisa Bisenius, White Marsh Mall general manager, released the following statement to Patch on Monday afternoon:
The safety and well-being of our shoppers are our top priorities every day, not just when incidents occur. We have a customized public safety program made up of various measures that include a trained public safety team in addition to several off-duty policemen. We do not discuss the other measures because doing so would compromise our efforts. We also have a code of conduct that we expect everyone to abide by when they come to White Marsh Mall. Our code of conduct ensures every shopper has an enjoyable shopping experience.
Because of our commitment to the safety and well-being of our shoppers, the incidents that occurred over the weekend were rare and isolated ones that were quickly handled by our security team and police officers.
TUCSON AZ March 20 2012– Tucson police say they will have more to say Monday on the death of a 46-year-old man who struggled with Tucson police and was hit twice with a stun gun and later died.
Michael Carbone was pronounced dead early Sunday morning at a Tucson hospital.
Police spokeswoman Sgt. Maria Hawke tells The Associated Press the department has launched an internal investigation into Carbone’s death.
Hawke says the department is still assembling information from the investigation and will be prepared to respond Monday afternoon.
Hawke says officers responded to a domestic violence call Saturday which resulted in a confrontation between police and Carbone, prompting officers to shoot him twice with a stun gun.
Hawke says Carbone was later uncooperative with paramedics then became unresponsive when police placed him on the ground.
Police arrest man after sending porn video through Best Buy store televisions www.privateofficer.com
GREENVILLE, S.C.March 20 2012 – Police say they have arrested a man who used his smartphone to send a pornographic video to several televisions in a Best Buy store in Greenville.
Investigators said surveillance photos from the store helped them identify Robert Holden, who was charged with disorderly conduct.
Police say the videos were seen by a family who was shopping with their children on Feb. 12, along with several store employees.
Holden faces up to 30 days in jail or a $100 fine if convicted of the misdemeanor. A phone listing for him could not be found.
Atlanta GA March 20 2012 The Atlanta City Council agreed Monday to spend $940,000 to settle four lawsuits filed against the Atlanta Police Department after officers allegedly used excessive or unnecessary force or conducted public strip searches.
The taxpayers’ total tab is about $2.6 million plus legal fees to resolve several police misconduct lawsuits in little more than a year.
There was no discussion before the council unanimously approved the four settlements; council members had just met privately with the city attorney, who briefed them.
But council member Felicia Moore said after the settlement vote that she was “concerned by the nature” of the allegations and would be “demanding” police officials appear before members to give a “full vetting of these [policy] changes so our citizens can be certain this doesn’t happen again.”
The APD has declined to discuss specific cases.
The settlements approved Monday provide for:
Paying $330,000 to resolve another lawsuit based on the 2009 raid at the Atlanta Eagle bar, where patrons and employees were forced to lie on the floor for an hour while they were searched. The settlement says officers can be fired for destroying evidence needed in a civil case, a concern raised after some officers deleted from their cellphones pictures and text messages from the raid. Taxpayers had already spent $1.2 million on two other Eagle raid lawsuits.
Paying $470,000 to settle a lawsuit by five men who said officers pulled down their pants and touched them inappropriately while looking for drugs that were not found. New APD policies are to say strip searches can be conducted only at the jail and that includes officers putting their hands inside a suspect’s clothing.
Paying Felicia Anderson $50,000 because officers took her cellphone and erased images of cops allegedly beating a handcuffed suspect. A new policy says officers can be fired if they destroy photos, videos or other recordings citizens make of police activity.
Paying Shequita Walker $90,000. She was injured when an officer pulled her from a lawn chair and arrested her because she was sitting in a vacant lot, watching neighborhood goings-on.
BARNSTABLE MA March 20 2012 – A Cape Cod Community College student was arrested Monday for allegedly carrying a gun on campus.
At 10am, Barnstable Police received a call from a school security guard who reported seeing ammunition in the console of a Jeep during a check of a campus parking lot.
Police arrived and confirmed the discovery of the ammo. At that time, 22-year-old Jason Whitehead approached the officer and security guard and told them it was his car. Police say Whitehead told them he was not in possession of a firearm.
After a safety pat down, police found a .380 caliber handgun and three clips of hollow point ammo in Whitehead’s backpack, who had just attended class.
Whitehead, of South Yarmouth, was arrested for carrying a firearm on campus, carrying a firearm without a license and unlawful possession of ammunition.
The gun belongs to his mother and he says he was carrying it for protection.
Source- CBS Boston
LA CROSSE WI March 20 2012 — A Mayo Clinic Health System information technology employee installed a camera above a toilet in a unisex bathroom on the medical center’s campus, authorities said.
A construction worker using the facility on March 6 spied a pen with a flashing red light in the ceiling where a tile had been removed in a sixth-floor bathroom of the St. Francis Professional Arts Building on South 10th Street, according to La Crosse police reports.
Investigators reviewing data stored on the motion-activated camera pen found an image of a man installing the device. Hospital security staff used surveillance video from outside the restroom to identify the suspect as 27-year-old Jeffrey Baylor of La Crosse.
Baylor and the construction worker are the only two captured on video.
Police took cellphones, flash drives, a camera and computer during a search of his house at 1106 S. 28th St. on Friday. He declined to speak with investigators.
Mayo spokesman Rick Thiesse could not comment on the case other than to saying the institution is cooperating with law enforcement.
A statement sent to employees said medical center was “disturbed and gravely concerned” about the “flagrant violation of privacy and decorum.”
“It is counter to everything our organization stands for,” the statement reads.
Baylor was arrested Friday and faces felony charges of invasion of privacy and representation depicting nudity when he appears today in La Crosse County Circuit Court.
Dayton family continues to protest after security guard kills their loved one www.privateofficer.com
DAYTON, Ohio March 20 2012 - A Dayton family continues to protest two weeks after a security guard shot and killed their loved one.
Members of the Southern Christian Leadership Council joined the fight last week, calling the shooting of Dante Price, 25, a hate crime. Sunday, the team was out at the scene protesting once again.
Guards from Ranger Security killed Price in the Summit Square Townhouses March 2. According to the guards, Price refused to leave the complex, and tried to run over one of the guards with his car.
Price’s family is asking that the guards be charged with homicide, saying the shooting was “premeditated.”
Prosecutors and detectives have met to discuss the case.
Colleton County SCMarch 20 2012 A security guard and a patron at a Colleton County nightclub apparently wounded each other in a shootout early Sunday.
The Sheriff’s Office did not release any names Sunday.
Security officers at Club Manhattan near Catholic Hill called for help after a couple of men began causing problems about 1:52 a.m. Sunday, Sheriff George Malone said. Deputies found that a security officer had been shot in the leg.
He said he was shot by one of two men who already had left the club in a car. The security officer also said he shot back and was not sure if he hit anybody.
Deputies stopped the two men on Rivers Street, one with an apparent gunshot wound. Colleton County Fire and Rescue took the injured man to Colleton Regional Hospital, where he later was flown to a Charleston-area trauma center, Malone said.
The security officer was taken to a hospital and was in good condition Sunday, Malone said.
Some using tattoos to warn emergency responders about important medical conditions www.privateofficer.com
SAN DIEGO CAMarch 20 2012 – Many people use tattoos as a form of personal expression, but a small number of Americans rely on them to warn first responders about important medical conditions.
Some medical tattoos are taking the place of bracelets that commonly list a person’s allergies and chronic diseases.
Tattoo artist Mike Martin believes the placement of medical tattoos are extremely important – he has designed about 100 medical tattoos in his career.
“It has to be spotted. It has to be visible and recognizable for what it means,” he said. “It’s very personal and it’s information that is always guarded.”
The markings offer a simple and permanent way to display important health details.
Matt Besley, an avid surfer, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes as a kid.
“Over the course of my life, I have had 10 or 15 different bracelets, necklaces,” he said. “Surfing all the time, I kept losing them.”
A few years ago, he got a medical tattoo on his right arm.
“Two things are going to happen with a diabetic. When you go into a hypoglycemic episode, they are going to put a dextrose IV in your arm and they are going to take your blood pressure,” he said. “So they are going to have your arm out and exposed, so I figured that was a good place to put it.”
The tattoo later served its purpose. One day, after surfing longer than he had anticipated, Besley started feeling weak.
“I started making my way into the shore, but I didn’t have enough strength at that point because my blood sugar had gotten so low and I was kinda falling into the water,” he recalled.
He was scared he was going to drown, but luckily, witnesses pulled Besley ashore.
“At that point, they pulled my wetsuit off and had seen the tattoo,” said Besley. “So they knew immediately it was probably related to my diabetes.”
Within minutes, lifeguards had given him a dextrose shot.
“By the time they got me onto the pavement, my blood sugars had already corrected themselves,” he said.
Medical tattoos don’t carry any legal weight in California and The American Medical Association does not specifically address medical tattoos in its guidelines.
Still, first responders said they are helpful.
“When we show up, we are going to find your medical condition with the assessment we do, whether you have the tattoo or not. But, it does give us a hint as to what your medical history is,” said paramedic Marc Alnwick.
Health professionals still recommend wearing medical alert tags, which give detailed medical information, but are open to anything that helps save lives.
“We are always adapting to trends in the community,” Alnwick said. “So if this became something that is more popular, we would then adjust and look for the medical alert tattoos.”
SANFORD, Fla. March 20 2012 – A self-appointed neighborhood watchman who pursued and then shot dead an unarmed 17-year-old boy outside his stepmother’s home last month in Sanford, Fla., reportedly wanted to be a police officer and had called 9-1-1 50 times in the last year.
Trayvon Martin, a black high-school junior, was making his way home with a bag of Skittles and a can of iced tea on Feb. 26 when George Zimmerman spotted him, called a non-emergency dispatch number to report Martin looked intoxicated, followed him, and then minutes later after an altercation, shot him.
Zimmerman, 28, who is white, claimed self defense. He was never arrested and has been charged with no crime, sparking national outrage.
ABC News has learned police seemed to accept Zimmerman’s account at face value that night and that he was not tested for drugs or alcohol on the night of the shooting, even though it is standard procedure in most homicide investigations.
The night of Feb. 26, Zimmerman made a non-emergency call to police before fatally shooting Martin, in which he told a dispatcher, “This guy looks like he’s up to no good, on drugs or something.”
But law enforcement expert Rod Wheeler who listened to the tapes tells ABC News that Zimmerman, not Martin, sounded intoxicated in the police recordings of the 911 calls.
“When I listened to the 911 tape the first thing that came to my mind is this guy sounds intoxicated. Notice how he’s slurring his words. We as trained law enforcement officers, we know how to listen for that right away and I think that’s going to be an important element of this entire investigation,” Wheeler said.
But Zimmerman was not tested.
Martin’s family is now calling on the FBI to take over what they say is a botched investigation.
“We’ve got a fair investigation, it was the best we can do, it’s in state’s attorney hands now,” Sanford Police Department spokesman Dave Morgenstern said.
The series of calls to police, which depict the apparent progression of events that led to Zimmerman allegedly shooting Martin, sent the boy’s mother screaming from the room and prompted his father to declare, “He killed my son,” according to a family representative.
The contents of the calls and the family’s reaction to them were recounted to ABC News by a representative of the boy’s family, Ryan Julison, and ABC News affiliate WFTV published excerpts from the 911 calls.
On one call to a non-emergency dispatch number, according to Julison, Zimmerman says, “He’s checking me out,” and then, “This guy looks like he’s on drugs, he’s definitely messed up.”
“These a**holes always get away,” he adds.
The dispatcher is heard trying to discourage Zimmerman, asking, “Are you following him?.. Okay, we don’t need you to do that.”
Within minutes, however, 911 calls are being made to police reporting the two are fighting.
“They’re wrestling right in the back of my porch,” one frantic caller says. “The guy’s yelling help and I’m not going out.”
On a second call someone’s screams for help can be heard and what sounds like two gunshots.
The caller’s boyfriend shouts, “Get down,” and after the second apparent gunshot, the shouts for help cease, Julison told ABC News.
“There’s gun shots. Uh, I’m pretty sure the guy is dead out here, holy sh**,” a caller says into the phone.
One witness describes Zimmerman after the shooting.
“He’s out there with a flashlight. The guy is raising his hands up saying he shot the person,” the caller said.
Martin’s family listened to eight tapes, Julison said. At one point, Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon’s mother, ran out of the room screaming and crying, barely lasting through half the tapes.
The boy’s father, Tracey Martin, stoic and measured until then, erupted, Julison said.
“He killed my son,” Martin said, according to Julison. “He killed my son. He couldn’t control himself.”
The Sanford, Fla., Police Department, relenting to massive public pressure, plans to release parts of the 911 tapes pertaining to the shooting, multiple sources told ABC News, but wanted the boy’s family to hear the tapes before they were released to the public, according to a family source.
A week after ABC News uncovered questionable police conduct in the investigation of the fatal shooting, including the alleged “correction” of at least one eyewitness’ account, outrage that the shooter remains free is intensifying.
“It’s surprising. It’s shocking,” said Tracy Martin, Trayvon’s father. “It lets me know that justice is just not being served here. All we want is justice for our son. We’re not asking for anything out of the ordinary.”
In an interview with ABC News, Martin’s mother, Fulton, tearfully said she only seeks an arrest.
“Let a judge and jury decide the rest,” she added.
In the meantime, outrage is spreading across the Internet.
The Seminole County State Attorney’s Office was so bombarded by emails demanding that it prosecute Zimmerman that its website had to be taken down for 45 minutes, according to a spokeswoman for the office.
One of several petitions for Zimmerman’s arrest has garnered more than 250,000 signatures on a change.org site, and at one point signatures were pouring in at the rate of 10,000 an hour, according to the website.
The outrage has been partly buoyed by calls for non-violent action by hip-hop luminaries, including Russell Simmons, who has been tweeting about the tragedy and warning against its possible vigilante violence.
“Trayvon Martin didn’t die so we can create a race war. He died so we can promote better understanding. We must start honest dialogue,” Simmons wrote.
It may have been an allusion to a statement by a group called the New Black Liberation Militia, which planned to travel to Sanford, Fla., next week to enact a citizen’s arrest against Zimmerman and bring him to federal authorities.
Sanford, Fla., Police Chief Billy Lee said Zimmerman asserts he shot Martin out of self-defense.
“Until we can establish probable cause to dispute that, we don’t have the grounds to arrest him,” Lee said last Tuesday.
Martin had been staying at his father’s girlfriend’s house and stepped out. On his way back into the gated suburban Orlando community, Martin was spotted by Zimmerman.
Zimmerman described Martin as suspicious because he was wearing a hooded sweatshirt and walking slowly in the rain, police later told residents at a town hall.
A dispatcher told him to wait for a police cruiser, and not leave his vehicle.
But about a minute later, Zimmerman left his car wearing a red sweatshirt and pursued Martin on foot between two rows of townhouses, about 70 yards from where the teen was going.
Zimmerman’s pursuit of Martin did not of itself constitute a crime, Lee said.
Witnesses told ABC News a fistfight broke out and, at one point, Zimmerman, who outweighed Martin by more than 100 pounds, was on the ground and that Martin was on top.
Austin Brown, 13, was walking his dog during the time of the altercation and saw both men on the ground but separated.
Brown, along with several other residents, heard someone cry for help, just before hearing a gunshot. Police arrived 60 seconds later and the teen was quickly pronounced dead.
According to the police report, Zimmerman, who was armed with a handgun, was found bleeding from the nose and the back of the head, standing over Martin, who was unresponsive after being shot.
An officer at the scene overheard Zimmerman saying, “I was yelling for someone to help me but no one would help me,” the report said.
Witnesses told ABC News they heard Zimmerman pronounce, “It was self-defense,” and place the gun on the ground.
But after the shooting, a source inside the police department told ABC News that a narcotics detective and not a homicide detective first approached Zimmerman. The detective peppered Zimmerman with questions, the source said, rather than allow Zimmerman to tell his story. Questions can lead a witness, the source said.
Another officer corrected a witness after she told him that she heard the teen cry for help. The officer told the witness, a long-time teacher, that it was Zimmerman who cried for help, the witness told ABC News.
Lee publically admitted that officers accepted Zimmerman’s word at the scene that he had no police record.
Two days after the incident, during a meeting with the victim’s father, Tracy Martin, an officer told the father that Zimmerman’s record was “squeaky clean.”
Yet public records showed that Zimmerman was charged with battery against on officer and resisting arrest in 2005, a charge that was later expunged.
In a letter to the Orlando Sentinel, Zimmerman’s father contended his son is not a racist.
“At no time did George follow or confront Mr. Martin. When the true details of the event became public, and I hope that will be soon,” the letter said, “everyone should be outraged by the treatment of George Zimmerman in the media.”
“I asked [the police], ‘Well, did you check out my son’s record?’” Tracy Martin told ABC News in an interview Sunday. “What about his? … Trayvon was innocent.”
Trayvon Martin had no arrest record or disciplinary action for violence as a student in North Miami’s Krop High School.
On Monday, Lee, seeking to head off racial unrest, tried to reassure the public that his department was doing all it could to reach a fair conclusion, as some in the crowd heckled him by saying, “a little black boy is dead.”
Lee’s department said it plans on passing its investigation over to the state’s attorney office to determine whether to press charges against Zimmerman.
Trayvon Martin’s parents described him as the kind of son who, even at 17, allowed his parents to kiss him publicly.
“That was my baby, my youngest son,” his mother, Sybrina Fulton, told ABC News in an interview in Miami. “He meant a lot to me, I don’t think the police department really understands that. … I need justice for my family, I just want justice for my son.”
Fulton is incensed that Zimmerman left his car despite being urged by dispatchers to stay put.
“My son didn’t do anything,” she said. “He was walking home from the store. Why would the neighborhood watch guy have a weapon? … It’s just crazy. You are supposed to watch the neighborhood, not take the law into your own hands.”
ROCK HILL SC March 20 2012 – An Internet gambling addiction and family responsibilities were leading factors in a former Winthrop University employee’s misuse of more than $200,000 in school money, the man’s lawyer said Wednesday.
George Walker, 47, pleaded guilty to two counts of breach of trust with fraudulent intent in the amount of more than $10,000.
Breach of trust is a felony that can carry up to 10 years for each charge, Circuit Court Judge Lee S. Alford said. He sentenced Walker to 10 years in prison, but once he serves two years, he’ll be eligible for parole, which could run consecutively with five years probation.
Walker also must pay restitution to the university.
Walker joined the Winthrop staff in 2000 and became head of printing services. From 2005 to 2010, 16th Circuit Solicitor Kevin Brackett said, he had begun creating false invoices from two bogus companies.
University internal auditor Pat Rhyne told the court auditors had noticed the printing department overrun its budget for four years.
Walker left the university in April 2010 after questions about the operations arose. Two months later, the printing department was about to undergo an audit and inventory check. Current employees couldn’t find the inventory listed on Walker’s invoices because the inventory was non-existent, Rhyne said.
“The charge was breach of trust,” Rhyne said, “but what the university community felt was a betrayal of trust by a respected professional, a peer we all liked.”
With one of the fake companies, Walker had set up a PayPal account and would tender bills to the print shop, which were then paid for with university funds through a procurement card. No actual printing services were provided, Brackett said.
In all, Walker faked about 110 invoices in amounts ranging from $1,400 to $2,500 – totaling $209,240.82, Brackett said. The university’s insurance covered about $199,999 of that.
“The university is still out $10,000,” Brackett said.
Eric Collins, Walker’s attorney, said Walker intends to pay back the total amount taken.
Before the thefts, Collins said, Walker was a “model citizen” who faithfully attended church and took care of his family. He also was a “well-respected member of the university community.”
However, an Internet gambling addiction was sparked by a successful Atlantic city gambling trip, which Collins said prompted Walker to turn to misusing funds. Walker also wanted to provide for his wife of 27 years and their two daughters.
“His main objective was to provide a stable and loving environment for his children,” his wife, Sherry Walker, said in court.
After leaving Winthrop, Walker took a printing services job in Charlotte and was diagnosed with prostate cancer last year. He has had surgery and has been receiving treatment since then, but has returned to work.
Dr. Harold Morgan, a psychiatrist, told the court he had evaluated Walker and that the gambling addiction represented a total loss of impulse control.
“Part of his drive was to win and take better care of his family,” he said.
Walker had sought gambling addiction treatment on his own, Morgan said. He suggested Walker continue to go to some form of counseling.
Collins asked for probation and counseling for his client, citing the behavior as “out of character” for Walker.
“Let him do the right thing,” he asked the court, saying that Walker would undergo counseling and repay the funds.
However, Judge Alford said there is always an excuse to steal and that there was no proof the money had gone toward a gambling addiction.
Misusing the funds was no different from going out and robbing a bank, he said.
“He’s stolen from a public trust…from a state institution,” Alford said. “He violated public trust.”
After the sentencing, Brackett said the community should see this as a “cautionary tale” when it comes to a fascination with gambling.
“It’s tragic when somebody has a good job and are trusted in a position like the one he was in,” he said. “It’s always a shock to everyone.”
FAIRFIELD COUNTY, SC March 20 2012 - Two of the three male students accused of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old female classmate at Fairfield Central High School a week ago pleaded guilty in family court Monday morning.
Judge Thomas Sprott sentenced the two boys to 9 months probation and community service. The judge also ruled that the boys must undergo a psychological consultation and write apology letters to the victim and her family.
The third teen accused of the assault did not enter a plea, but was also released on probation.
Fairfield County deputies say the girl was inappropriately touched on March 12 while her teacher was outside of the classroom.
Deputies say the three boys approached the girl, who was sitting at her desk, and touched her breasts and other parts of her body from behind.
“Three juvenile males in a classroom setting did approach a juvenile female at that time they did forcibly pull her shirt open exposing herself to those three males,” said Capt. Brad Douglas.
According to investigators, the attack lasted for at least 10 minutes and there is no evidence anyone tried to stop it.
“At this time we don’t believe it was a consensual act,” said Douglas.
According to an incident report, the boys held her down “against her will,” exposed her chest, took pictures and one suspect even put his mouth on her. The victim was touched all over her body, between her legs, and on her buttocks, the report stated.
“These are very serious charges,” said Douglas. “The charge is assault and battery in the first degree and that includes forcible fondling or unwanted touching.”
Douglas said the class apparently returned to normal when the teacher came back into the room. The girl waited to report the incident until Wednesday. At that time, the sheriff’s department arrested the boys.
“Hopefully this is something that won’t happen at that school again,” said Douglas.
The boys are charged with a misdemeanor because there was no penetration, which is one of the main stipulations that separates the assault and battery charge from criminal sexual conduct.
“There was no penetration no oral sex and as far as we can tell no attempt to do any of those acts,” said Assistant Solicitor Riley Maxwell.
Some parents said they were outraged about the incident but had differing views about whether the teacher should be held responsible
“I have younger kids in that are in school and just imagine I would not want that to happen to them, so yeah she should be fired,” said Kolisa Douglas.
Bobby Thompson disagrees.
“Unless she was doing something she really shouldn’t have been doing,” said Thompson. “But just to go walk out to the bathroom go use the phone for five minutes no I don’t think so.”
Five days after the incident, the teacher in charge of the classroom where the assault happened was placed on administrative leave with pay until the school district finishes its investigation.
It is unclear if the students will be allowed to continue attending class at the high school. The district said it was cooperating fully with the Fairfield County Sheriff’s Department.
The third teen is due back in court sometime in the next 40 days.
Clayton, N.C. March 20 2012— A sixth child has come forward to accuse a former Johnston County teacher of sexual abuse, Clayton police said Monday.
Paul Clifton Canally, 29, of 148 Buchanan Lane, Clayton, now faces an additional charge of felony statutory rape.
His bond has been raised to $2.63 million, and he remained in the Johnston County jail Monday afternoon.
Canally was arrested three weeks ago on charges that he sexually abused a teenage boy numerous times between April 2010 and last December. Two days after his arrest, police filed charges of statutory rape and soliciting a child by computer against him in connection with a second boy.
Three more boys then came forward. Two of the alleged victims were students at Archer Lodge Middle School when Canally taught there, investigators said, but the alleged molestation occurred at Canally’s home and not at school.
Clayton police detective James Linder said Monday that their investigation into Canally is ongoing and that, whenever a victim comes forward, it also gives others the courage to come forward as well.
“They feel a little ashamed, and you have to explain to them that (they) don’t have anything to be ashamed about , that (they’re) being brave during interviews,” Linder said. “That’s the only thing I can tell parents is that you have to ask your children to be brave, to talk about the situation that is going on – the incidents that have occurred.”
Canally was a seventh-grade science teacher at Archer Lodge Middle from August 2007 to July 2009, when he resigned for personal reasons, Johnston County Schools spokeswoman Terri Sessoms said.
Sessoms said Friday that district officials were investigating a verbal complaint against Canally in the summer of 2009 when he resigned. The complaint didn’t involve any alleged sexual misconduct, she said, but “concerns were reported to all appropriate agencies.”
Sessoms said the school district took no disciplinary actions against Canally during his tenure.
Police said Canally also worked as a camp counselor in Pennsylvania, and they are trying to determine if there were any victims there.
Newark NJ March 20 2012 A TSA screener at Newark Airport was recently busted in a major heroin den near her workplace — still wearing her spiffy, government-issued uniform, authorities said.
Samirah Saunders, 22, and two other women were collared in the March 6 raid at 86 Wainwright St. in Newark, just around the corner from an elementary school and a spot where cops found a load of ready-for-street-sale heroin, according to sources and court records.
Two other suspects, Gavin Barker, 23, and Mariyah Sanders, 20, were also arrested.
It wasn’t clear whether Saunders was still on duty or was going to or from work.
She’s accused of helping to distribute the 1,400 packets of heroin, stamped “Green Lantern” and “P Dope” in green ink, confiscated from the apartment, according to court records.
The fact that the pad was near a school resulted in Saunders’ being hit with an additional felony charge of possessing or distributing heroin within 1,000 feet of a school.
In her mug shot, a somber Saunders was still wearing her blue TSA uniform blouse, adorned with black epaulets.
Her lawyer, James Pomaco, insisted that his client went to the apartment just to say hello to the other women.
“She was at the wrong place at the wrong time,’’ he said.
Washington DCMarch 20 2012 Two fired Metro employees pleaded guilty in federal court Monday to stealing $445,000 in cash from fare machines.
Horace Dexter McDade, 58, of Bowie, a revenue technician, and John Vincent Haile, 54, of Woodbridge, a Metro Transit Police officer, stole the money and hid it in a spot near the Capital Beltway. They would collect the bags of coins and bills when their shifts were done. According to court documents, Haile would use bags of stolen money to buy lottery tickets.
The two men were arrested in January. They appeared Monday before Judge Leonie M. Brinkema in U.S. District Court in Alexandria.
McDade and Haile both agreed to waive indictment and plead guilty to two counts: theft concerning federal funds and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Each faces up to 30 years in prison, potential fines of $750,000 and payment of restitution. Prosecutors said that they are still working with Metro to figure out how much money was stolen and that the figure could rise to $600,000.
Sentencing was set for June 15.
Prosecutors said the thefts had been underway since at least 2010.
The pair systematically worked stations on Metro’s rail lines in the District, Maryland, and Virginia, according to prosecutors. Investigators found that Haile would often switch his security assignment with other officers so he could work with McDade.
According to court records, surveillance teams observed McDade and Haile over three days in December and January. The two would ride through a hotel parking lot on Eisenhower Avenue to an overpass, unload bags of money from a van and hide the cash. Later, each man would return separately — Haile in a gray Jaguar, McDade in a green Ford — to retrieve the money, according to court records and those involved in the case. Investigators placed Global Positioning System tracking devices on their cars and the Metro van.
The underpass is about a quarter-mile from Metro’s revenue-collection facility and is in the opposite direction of Haile’s route home to Woodbridge, authorities said.
Court records described the pair’s “taking, hiding, retrieving, and ultimately stealing” Metro funds as a frequent pattern.
On the night they were arrested, Jan. 18, McDade and Haile took and hid four bags of money in the brush underneath the overpass in the hotel parking lot. They came back later that evening, and each took two bags. The men were arrested as they were driving away.
On a nearly nightly basis, court records said, Haile used stolen money to buy Virginia Lottery tickets, authorities said. Sometimes he would bring in bags containing $500 worth of stolen coins. Between October and December, he used more than $28,000 in coins and paper money to purchase tickets, according to court records.
And Haile won frequently. In 2011, he won 29 times, totaling $32,000, records show. He also won amounts under $600, but the Virginia Lottery doesn’t require retailers to document personal information for those lesser amounts.
Prosecutors said that Haile’s bank records show unexplained cash deposits of more than $150,000 since 2008.
McDade used his portion of the stolen Metro funds to make “numerous cash and coin purchases” at Home Depot and Lowe’s home improvement stories and to pay off account balances at Zale’s jewelers and Sprint, according to the statement of facts in the case.
Haile lied to law enforcement officers after his arrest, saying he did not possess any keys to Metro property, court records said. But he had keys on his key ring to machines that held cash and coins.
At the hearing, prosecutors said Metro kept “careful control” of the keys. Brinkema responded, “Couldn’t have been that carefully controlled.”
McDade had worked for Metro since 1979 and was assigned to service broken fare-box machines. Haile had served as a Metro Transit Police officer since 1997 and was responsible for providing security as money was transported to and from the revenue collection facility in Alexandria.
When asked by Brinkema at Monday’s hearing who came up with the idea for stealing the Metro money, McDade said, “Both of us.”
Weren’t you worried someone would steal it? Brinkema asked, referring to hiding the money under a bush near a hotel.
“Yes, your honor,” McDade said. “Sometimes that happened.”
Haile told the judge he was being treated for a gambling addiction.
After the hearing, U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride said the two were “caught red-handed” when they were arrested and with more than $8,000 stolen from Metro. He said that those stolen funds were the “tip of the iceberg” and that the men “ripped off the very Metro system they were sworn to protect.”
Peter Carr, spokesman for the U.S. District Court, said the two would be required to pay restitution after their release from prison.
The men’s defense attorneys — Steven Bullock and Robert Whitestone — declined to comment.
Dan Stessel, Metro’s chief spokesman, said McDade and Haile were fired in January.
The transit authority declined to comment on the plea deals, Stessel said. Metro’s inspector general and Metro Transit Police Chief Michael Taborn are conducting investigations into Metro’s procedures, he said. According to Stessel, some Metro revenue collection procedures have already been changed, but he would not elaborate because the issue concerned internal security.
Metro also brought in auditing firm Deloitte to look “for ways to tighten up” processes at the agency’s revenue collection facility in Alexandria and “make sure this doesn’t happen again,” Stessel said.