Seven former Erlanger hospital police officers file lawsuit for discrimination www.privateofficer.com
The Hamilton County Circuit Court lawsuit, filed April 5, says the men, ranging in age from 45 to 67, were fired a year ago while the hospital was replacing its police department with contracted workers from Walden Security, a Chattanooga-based company.
The plaintiffs — Jerry Lawrence, 56; Gary Talley, 49; Harold Holliday, 67; Kenneth Cookston, 59; Ronald Capetz, 64; Gary Avans, 66 — claim age discrimination in the April 2011 firings.
Rodney Patton, 45, claims race discrimination, but his race was not mentioned in the lawsuit.
In an email statement, Erlanger spokeswoman Pat Charles said the officers were not fired and had opportunities to apply for work with Walden Security at the hospital. Officers not listed in the lawsuit continue to work at the hospital, under Walden, she wrote.
One exhibit filed with the lawsuit is a private security assessment of Erlanger properties, which details recommendations for better control of entrance points and assesses the security staff.
The report, dated Feb. 5, 2010, and prepared by Security Assessments International Inc., based in Durham, N.C., also advises Erlanger on its police department.
The report states the department had done an “excellent job” protecting the hospital’s staff, patients and visitors, but it was “staffed below industry standards for the size, location and criminal demographics” of the hospital.
The report goes on to recommend that Erlanger retain a police department and increase staffing at the main hospital, Erlanger East and Southside and the Erlanger property on Dodson Avenue.
The plaintiffs’ attorney, Stuart James, said he was puzzled by Erlanger’s actions against his clients.
“What bothers me about this whole case is that security survey,” he said Wednesday. “Why did they hire Walden Security and replace all these guys who were otherwise qualified?”
Another claim within the lawsuit — that officers were only being paid for 71/2 hours per shift and not allowed breaks — should be easily provable, he added.
“I believe it’s a really good claim,” James said.
The lawsuit names Gregg Gentry, 54, then-senior vice president of human resources, and Charlesetta Woodard Thompson, 63, then-assistant to the Erlanger’s chief executive and operating officers. No specific damages were requested but will be added to the lawsuit later.
Gentry is now Erlanger’s chief administrative officer, and Thompson is now Erlanger’s interim president and chief executive officer.
Erlanger’s board of trustees voted unanimously to replace the police department with Walden in March 2011, and Walden took over in May 2011, Charles wrote. The hospital moved to using a private security firm as a commitment to the safety and security of the hospital, she said.
Walden Security services cost Erlanger $2.5 million annually, while the former department cost “in excess of $2 million,” Charles wrote.
Another factor in the move to private security was that neither Chattanooga nor Hamilton County would continue to certify Erlanger police officers, Charles wrote.
The report’s author explicitly advises that, in cases where hospitals choose to do this, “the quality of the replacement officers may not be up to the hospital’s standards.”
ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. April 15 2012 – Police say a missing Rocky Mount woman has been found dead in a submerged car.
Britinae Rachelle Whitehead, 21, was last seen leaving a friend’s home on White Oak Road in Enfield on Tuesday around 9 a.m.
On Thursday, her body was found inside a Honda Accord submerged in a body of water near Adcock Road in Halifax County.
Whitehead’s family had been searching for her for days. Late Thursday, they found a hubcap from her vehicle and skid marks going into a creek.
Soon divers were on the scene and discovered the submerged car with Whitehead’s body inside.
Despite the bad news, the discovery was a load off her family’s shoulders.
“A lot of relief because now we know where she is,” said Whitehead’s aunt, Jocile Hines. “The biggest, hardest part was not knowing where she was and, now that we know where she is, that’s a big burden off their hearts.”
“Right then and there my heart dropped,” said Kenneth Johnson, Whitehead’s boyfriend. “We did not know where she was at. We did not know and the whole time she was in that creek. Britinae was a sweet girl.”
The NC State Highway Patrol was handling the vehicle accident investigation along with the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office.
Dr. Roberto J. Velasquez, 55, was charged with making false statements in immigration documents and applications for Supplemental Security Income disability benefits.
According to an affidavit in support of a complaint and arrest warrant, a confidential source told Immigration and Customs Enforcement Special Agent Nickolaus Jones last September that Velasquez was fraudulently completing U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services forms for immigrants in San Diego County.
For a fee of $200, Velasquez would provide a form falsely stating that a person qualified for a medical disability exception, even though the person had no actual disability, according to the affidavit.
Velasquez was also completing medical reports for people seeking to file applications for Social Security Administration’s Supplemental Security Income program, authorities said. Velasquez would falsely state that those people had a medical disability, according to the affidavit.
Last September 22, an undercover ICE agent, posing as an immigrant, went to Velasquez’s Pacific Health Systems requesting an “immigration paper,” according to the affidavit.
During the visit with Velasquez, the psychologist told the undercover agent, “Alright very good, we’re going to make you a U.S. citizen, OK?” to which the agent responded, “Thank you doctor,” according to the affidavit.
According to the affidavit, Velasquez collected some biographical information from the agent posing as an immigrant then stated, “I have to come up with a reason why you cannot take the American Citizenship exam.”
Velasquez told the undercover agent that he would say the supposed immigrant knew a little bit of English, “that you’re depressed, sad anxious, um, I’m going to make a good report for you,” according to the affidavit.
Former Transportation Security Administration director says system broke making travelling a mess www.privateofficer.com
Washington DC April 15 2012 The former head of Transportation Security Administration has said that the country’s airport security system is a broken mess making travelling ‘an unending nightmare’ for passengers.
Kip Hawley, who was head of the TSA from 2005-2009, has argued that the system would be more effective if it embraced more risk including allowing passengers to bring almost anything on board including knives, liquids and lighters.
Hawley criticises the current procedure for reducing airport security into an ‘Easter-egg hunt’ where TSA officers look out for low-risk prohibited items, such as lighters, rather than focusing on disrupting terror plots.
He suggests that there should be no more banned items aside from weapons capable of fast, multiple killings such as guns, toxins and explosives.
‘It is time to end the TSA’s use of well-trained security officers as kindergarten teachers to millions of passengers a day’ he writes in the Wall Street Journal.
‘Worse, banning certain items gives terrorists a complete list of what not to use in their next attack. Lighters are banned? The next attack will use an electric trigger,’ he continues.
Airport security, with its lengthy queues and well-known irritations, has to change as the relationship between the public and the TSA is ‘too poisonous to be sustained’, Hawley argued.
In the newspaper, he lists five ideas for reforming the airport security system which he described as a ‘national embarrassment’ because of its bureaucratic nature and its disconnect from the people it is meant to protect.
As well as reducing the ‘banned items’, Hawley suggests a solution to allow passengers to take liquids on board.
He proposes two queues at the checkpoint – one for people with no liquids and another for passengers who want to bring all their liquids on board and don’t mind queuing for longer.
He also believes that airlines should eliminate baggage fees for faster and safer security.
The introduction of fees has led to passengers over-stuffing their carry-on luggage, making it more difficult for TSA officials to determine what is in the bags when they go through the scanners and slowing the whole process down, he writes.
‘Predictability is deadly’, Hawley continues – arguing that security needs to be randomized so that terrorists do not know what to expect making it much harder for them to learn how to evade protocols.
His fifth recommendation is that TSA officers need more flexibility and more discretion to interact with passengers.
‘The public wants the airport experience to be predictable, hassle-free and airtight and for it to keep us 100% safe. But 100% safety is unattainable. Embracing a bit of risk could reduce the hassle of today’s airport experience while making us safer at the same time,’ Hawley argues.
CINCINNATI OH April 15 2012 – A grand jury indicted a Cincinnati police officer Wednesday on bribery and other charges.
Jose Laboy-Laviena was indicted on two counts each of bribery and theft in office and one count of tampering with records.
Prosecutors said Laboy-Laviena ripped off an illegal immigrant for up to $7,500 between April 1, 2011 and April 11, 2012 in exchange for help obtaining a visa.
The indictment also specifies the officer took money last summer as payment for changing records to fix a criminal case involving a friend of the illegal immigrant.
“Every member of the Cincinnati police department is angry that one of our own engaged in criminal conduct,” said Chief James Craig, of Cincinnati police.
Prosecutors accused 39-year-old Laboy-Laviena of permitting use of his office July 16 to aid a theft offense and destroying or otherwise altering evidence on March 28.
The address listed on the indictment is the address of the Cincinnati Police Department’s District 3 Headquarters. People in the area who know Laboy-Laviena from his time with department said they were shocked.
“Very nice man. He’s always helping everybody,” said Silvia Martinez-Krull. “They always call him because he speaks Spanish and if I’m not mistaken he’s from Puerto Rico.”
Laboy-Laviena has been with the department since 2006. He has been suspended pending the outcome of the case.
Hector Pesquera took the oath of office Wednesday, two days after his nomination was approved by Puerto Rico’s Senate.
As superintendent, Pesquera will be in charge of a department with 17,000 officers. Pesquera gave no details on his plans to address crime in a U.S. territory that had a record number of homicides last year.
He said officers need better training and equipment and more help from the public. The 65-year-old Pesquera has held FBI posts in Puerto Rico, Florida, Washington and South America. He was most recently assistant director of Miami’s Port Authority.
LAS VEGAS NV April 15 2012 – For several hours Thursday, police locked down the Windmill Plaza near Durango Drive and Windmill Lane to investigate an afternoon shooting spree that left three people hurt.
“I work down the street, live down the street, so it’s just crazy to think just how fragile life in situations are,” nearby resident Jeff Long said.
“At this point, we have three persons who have apparently been injured by gunfire,” said Metro Police Officer Laura Meltzer. “Two were transported to UMC Trauma – one with non-life-threatening injuries, and one at this point who is in critical condition.”
The gunfire first erupted inside the Bomas Bar and Grill. Everyone inside ran for cover and their lives. The shooter followed, walked outside of the bar and ended up at nearby business Eagle Rock Gaming.
“That will be part of the investigation – to determine if there was any kind of a relationship, or if there was a dispute prior to the initial shooting,” Officer Meltzer said. “We don’t know what the motive is at this time, and that will be part of the investigation. We can get you information, reference the suspect, and what charges he may be facing at a later time, once that investigation has been initiated and completed.”
When police arrived, the suspect was still armed. He was arrested without causing more trouble.
“Officers arrived. The gunman exited the building, and officers took him safely into custody,” Officer Meltzer said. “The gunman was armed at that time, and he was taken safely into custody.”
The mid-day drama lasted well into the evening, affecting surrounding businesses and traffic.
“I’m sad that some families are affected. Obviously, it raises more of a panic or fear of concern just for community,” Long said.
Police are expected to release details about the suspect Friday.
The TSA says the incident occurred on Saturday at the Westchester County Airport in White Plains.
The agency said Tuesday that officers spotted the contraband at the security check point. Police were notified and the items were confiscated.
The woman had been scheduled to fly to Chicago. She was arrested on a state charge. Her name and exact charge were not immediately available.
TWIN FALLS ID April 15 2012 Sandra Benge sat on a lawn chair beside Dierkes Lake when Jim Stirling approached her.
“How’s the fishing?” asked Stirling, an Idaho Department of Fish and Game law enforcement officer.
“I just got here,” Benge replied. She said she comes to the lake as often as weather permits and expected to catch fish on this sunny Saturday in April.
“My husband tells me, ‘The fish see you more than Ido,’” she joked.
Stirling was amiable as they talked, but the wildlife official was on business. He chuckled — and asked to see her fishing license.
Benge’s license was current, but not everyone is as careful. Fishing without a license is a misdemeanor, Stirling said, as are most other wildlife violations.
To combat poaching — a term used by the public but rarely by Fish and Game, which instead refers to “wildlife violations” — the department last year kicked off a five-year pilot program involving Stirling and a black Lab named Pepper.
It’s a new tool Fish and Game uses to encourage conservation, discourage wildlife violations and catch those who break the law. But an even more effective tool is the law-abiding public.
For hundreds of years, people hunted and fished without wildlife laws. When they got hungry, going afield to spear a fish or kill a deer was a logical solution.
“That’s just the way people lived,” said Gary Hompland, a conservation officer with Fish and Game. “There was no season, no method of take or bag limits. When families’ food supplies got down they went out and killed a game animal.”
“That whole philosophy is still alive and well in some communities,” he said.
Especially in small, rural communities, Hompland said, some people believe it is their right to feed off the land without restrictions. Others just have no respect for the law or conservation.
But in some places the old attitude is changing.
“That culture isn’t accepted by a lot of younger people, newer people moving into the area,” he said.
Some hunters and anglers don’t like it when their peers break the law.
“It’s a matter of ethics,” said bird hunter and fisherman Ben Collins. “There’s two kinds of poachers: people who poach out-season and those that take more than their limit. I don’t like either one.”
Stirling compares the range of wildlife crimes to other offenses: Speeding or running a red light, for instance, doesn’t have the impact of a more serious crime such as murder — unless speeding causes an accident leading to someone’s death. Keeping more than your legal share of trout might not have the same impact as taking an elk out of season, he said, but it’s still wrong. And if everyone did it, it could have a serious effect on fishing opportunities.
The number of violations rises during a dour economy, Hompland said.
“People are out of work,” he said. “They can’t afford to buy food, which is weird, because you’d think they wouldn’t be able to buy fuel either. But some things, like food, you have to have.”
The most common wildlife violation is rule compliance: fishing without a license, using two poles when the angler should be using only one, or not properly validating a deer tag, Stirling said. Sometimes it’s carelessness or laziness on the part of the perpetrator, he said. Other times, it’s blatant disregard for the law.
It was a good first year with the K-9 unit, Stirling said, because Pepper helped uncover evidence on several violations. The most remarkable: Searching in the dark, Pepper found a shotgun and spent shells that had been dumped in a cornfield by juveniles hunting ducks out of season.
“We did that within a matter of 20 minutes,” Stirling said. “It was much more efficient utilizing the dog.”
Pepper is the only dog in the K-9 unit, a program funded by grants from Shikar Safari in Boise, the Idaho Conservation Officers Association and private donations. Initial training happened in Indiana, where the Indiana Department of Natural Resources paid for Pepper’s training.
If the K-9 program is successful over the course of the five years, it will continue and even expand into other regions, Stirling said. If not, it likely will go away.
Stirling takes Pepper with him into the field to sniff out evidence and to train, and to school classrooms where Stirling discusses conservation issues with students and teachers. Everyone likes the friendly black Lab, he said.
Hompland said Pepper also helps Search and Rescue find lost hunters and trains with other law enforcement K-9 units.
“We had a good year learning this new tool that we have,” Stirling said.
Stirling wants to keep the K-9 program and said there seems to be significant interest from local sportsmen’s groups and individuals. He’s garnered more than $20,000 through fundraising and donations since the program started.
Currently, the department has about $12,600 budgeted for the remainder of the pilot program — expenses include equipment and vet checks — and is looking for more money to get it through the next four years.
“At this point, we’re very proud of it,” Hompland said, adding that the donations give the agency a window to make the program self-sustaining.
Pepper, who sniffed out hidden fish and a handgun during training at Dierkes Lake onSaturday, seems to like it, too.
“He’s so eager to please,” Stirling said.
Pepper, however, is not the ultimate poaching solution. One of the most effective tools Fish and Game uses to catch violators doesn’t have a dog’s nose: It’s you.
“What people tell us is huge,” Hompland said. “We depend on the public so much.”
When you’re in the field and notice anything suspicious or see something you know is not right, he said, report it as soon as possible to Fish and Game or call the Citizens AgainstPoaching toll-free number.
One person might hear off-season gunshots in the woods; another person might see neighbor Bill coming down the mountain. It might not be Bill who did the shooting, Hompland said, but maybe Bill saw someone who did. Pieces of reported information can be put together to form a clearer picture of what might have happened.
“The public’s help is crucial,” Hompland said.
Police Sgt. Patrick Manley said Timmy John Laflamme, 23, of Chicopee, was arrested Monday after officers recognized him from security camera footage taken Wednesday afternoon at the Stop & Shop on North Main Street in Chicopee, The Springfield (Mass.) Republican reported Tuesday.
Manley said Laflamme was confronted by employees Wednesday when he allegedly tried to leave the store without paying for his cartful of toothpaste. Laflamme fled in a white Camry driven by a woman before officers arrived.
The sergeant said Laflamme was in the same Camry when he was arrested by officers Monday in the Bank of America parking lot across from the store.
Laflamme pleaded not guilty Monday to shoplifting by asportation. He was ordered held without bail due to having pending cases against him in Springfield.
Manley said the female driver has been identified by police and they are investigating possible charges against her.
Police said thieves often steal large quantities of products such as toothpaste to sell to small convenience stores.
Douglas County CO April 15 2012 Sheriff’s deputies arrested a 30-year-old North Highlands, Calif., man on suspicion of assault and vandalism late Sunday night after he allegedly attacked two casino security guards and caused significant damage to a hotel elevator.
Deputy’s responded to MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa about 11 p.m. Sunday following a report of a man brandishing an edged weapon, according to a deputy’s report.
When deputies arrived, security personnel were on the third floor placing the man in restraints. Guards had chased the man from the casino floor, where he allegedly punched a security guard in the face, loosening one of the guard’s front teeth, according to the report. The man also “bull rushed” security guards at one point, allegedly knocking one of them to the ground.
Although the man did not brandish a weapon, according to witness statements in the report, he was holding a long piece of metal broken off from a damaged elevator at the casino at one point during the chase.
The piece of metal was only the start of the damage to the elevator.
“The elevator door was open and the elevator was clearly not operational as the bottom third of the elevator was below the seventh floor,” according to a deputy’s report. “The floor of the elevator was covered in debris from the broken light and ceiling covers. There was also a spilled beer bottle and a T-shirt on the elevator floor. The elevator smelled of burnt marijuana and an alcoholic beverage.”
While being taken to Douglas County’s Stateline Jail, the man admitted damaging an elevator and assaulting security guards, according to the report. How much the elevator will cost to fix is unknown.
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico April 15 2012 — Two paramedics in Puerto Rico have been charged with first-degree murder in the killing of a competitor from another private ambulance company whom they felt stole a patient.
A Justice Department statement Friday says the two men also face previous weapons violation charges in unrelated cases.
The two are accused of fatally shooting 31-year-old Luis Deida Martinez on Wednesday while he ate breakfast at a local bakery in the northern coastal town of Arecibo. Police said the attackers drove away in an ambulance.
Police say the victim had apparently argued with the two suspects a day earlier after his wife picked up a patient that they claimed should have been transported by them.
La Mesa CA April 15 2012 An unarmed security guard was robbed of cash and a cell phone Friday night by two men in their 30s—one of them armed with a hunting knife, La Mesa police said.
The uniformed guard at the Parkway Pointe condominium complex at 7500 Parkway Drive was robbed about 9:50 p.m. but not injured, according to police Sgt. Steve Osmers.
The guard was on duty, walking in the main driveway just north of Parkway Drive when he was approached by two males, Osmers said.
“One male had a knife and held it up to the guard,” he said. “This armed man demanded the guard hand over all valuables. The guard complied and handed over cash as well as his cell phone.”
The two assailants then ran west on Parkway Drive and away from the scene
La Mesa police officers searched the area, but did not find the assailants.
One suspect was described as a black male adult, 30-40 years old, 6 feet 2 inches tall, 165 lbs. with a thin build. He had black hair and brown eyes and was wearing dark colored clothing, police said. The knife he was holding was described as a hunting style knife with an approximately 8-inch blade that was jagged on one side.
The second assailant was described as a black male adult, 30-40 years old, 6 feet tall, 230 lbs. with a heavy build. He was wearing a black beanie, a gray hoody and blue jeans.
The investigation is ongoing.
Anyone with information on this case is urged to call the La Mesa Police Department at 619-667-1400.
You may also call Crime Stoppers’ anonymous toll-free tip line at 580-TIPS (or sdcrimestoppers.com). You can remain anonymous, and be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to an arrest in this case.
Aysa Delos Santos, 24, let out a yell when a court clerk read the jury’s not guilty verdict Friday morning.
He stood trial this week for manslaughter in connection with the death of 35-year-old Tripler Army Medical Center sergeant Christopher Myers. A security guard found Myers’s body near the entrance to Saigon Passion III Sept. 19, 2010.
The medical examiner said Myers died from alcohol concussion syndrome due to blunt head trauma caused by a fall following a punch. The autopsy said Myers had a history of alcohol abuse and a prior concussion.
Defense lawyer Donald Wilkerson told the jury Delos Santos didn’t punch Myers but pushed him after Myers spat in his face as he was getting kicked out of the strip club for unruly behavior.
Baltimore MD April 15 2012 Another Baltimore City Police officer has been sentenced in the towing scheme.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office says 31-year-old Rafael Feliciano Junior was sentenced to two years in prison for conspiracy to commit extortion.
He was also ordered to pay restitution of about $24-thousand. $10-thousand will be paid back to the Baltimore Police Department.
Read more about the sentencing.
Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake sentenced Baltimore Police officer Rafael Concepcion Feliciano, Jr., age 31, of Baltimore, Maryland, today to two years in prison followed by three years of supervised release for conspiracy to commit, and committing, extortion under color of official right in connection with a scheme in which brothers Hernan Moreno and Edwin Mejia paid Feliciano and other officers to arrange for their car repair company, Majestic, rather than a city-authorized company, to tow vehicles from accident scenes and make repairs. Judge Blake also entered an order that Feliciano pay restitution of $24,084.84, including $10,000 to be paid to the Baltimore Police Department.
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein, Special Agent in Charge Richard A. McFeely of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and Baltimore Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III.
According to his plea agreement, in 2008, Feliciano was introduced to Moreno and Mejia by fellow officer Rodney Cintron. Feliciano knew that Cintron was being paid by Moreno to refer accident vehicles to Majestic. Feliciano and Moreno agreed that Moreno would pay Feliciano cash for each car that he referred from accident scenes to Majestic. Feliciano then began referring cars to Majestic. Feliciano, while acting as a police officer at accident scenes, would contact Moreno and Majestic for towing and repair services for vehicles even though Majestic was not an authorized tow company for the City of Baltimore. Moreno or Mejia would come to the accident scene and arrange for the car to be driven or towed to Majestic. Mejia or Moreno then paid Feliciano $150 and eventually $300, for each vehicle that arrived at Majestic. From January to August, 2009, Moreno paid Feliciano in checks totaling $3,950 for vehicles that he had referred to Majestic. After August 2009, Moreno paid Feliciano in cash.
Although he never witnessed it, Feliciano also understood that Moreno and Mejia would create additional damage to certain vehicles in order to increase the vehicle insurance claims, thereby increasing the net profit for Majestic as well as covering both the cash bribe payment to Feliciano, and the payment of the vehicle owner’s deductible. Feliciano also falsified police accident reports at Moreno’s request, in exchange for money. Feliciano completed those false reports using information provided by Moreno, even though Feliciano had never been to the alleged accident scene, nor had he personally witnessed the damage cause. Feliciano would leave the reports in the mailbox at Majestic, knowing that Moreno would submit those reports to insurance companies for payment on false accident claims.
The total loss caused by Feliciano’s conduct is between $120,00 and $200,000.
Five other Baltimore Police officers have been sentenced to date, to eight to 30 months in prison: Jerry Diggs, Jr., age 25, of Baltimore, to 30 months in prison; David Reeping, age 42, of Arburtus, Maryland, to eight months in prison; Michael Cross, age 29, of Reisterstown, Maryland, to 10 months in prison; Henry Yambo, age 29, of Owings Mills, Maryland, to 15 months in prison; and Jermaine Rice, age 29, of Woodstock, Maryland, to eight months in prison.
Hernan Alexis Moreno, age 31, of Rosedale, Maryland and Edwin Javier Mejia, age 28, of Middle River, Maryland pleaded guilty to the extortion conspiracy and face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison at their sentencing, which has not been scheduled. A total of 14 police officers, including Rodney Cintron, have pleaded guilty to the extortion conspiracy in federal court and one officer pleaded guilty in state court. One officer was convicted by a federal jury after a six day trial.
Lakeside Tower tenant threatened with eviction after she obtained an order of protection this week against a security guard www.privateofficer.com
WAUKEGAN WI April 15 2012 — A tenant of Lakeside Tower said she was threatened with eviction after she obtained an order of protection this week against a security guard at the building.
Normecha Stiger, 26, said she sought the order after her partner, Raymond Wright 33, was attacked by the guard in front of the couple’s three young children outside the building, at 200 Julian St., at about 10 a.m. Monday.
East Lake Management, the Chicago company that owns Lakeside, said the altercation happened in the context of beefed-up monitoring of comings and goings at the building known as the Towers, which at 13-stories, is a towering presence over downtown Waukegan’s northern rim.
Wright, who works as a forklift driver in Mundelein, said a guard he identified as Felix Vega attacked him from behind, slammed him to the ground and beat him with a “billy club.”
Police were called and talked to both men, but no arrest was made.
Stiger said building manager Linda Phillips and Phillips’ boss, Jane Hunter, threatened to have her evicted by Monday if she did not get the order “dropped.”
“They know we don’t have anywhere else to go,” said Stiger, mother to children ages 4, 2 and 2 months, who said she’s lived at the Towers for eight months and recently signed a new lease.
Eileen Rhodes, vice president of East Lake Management, said Wright, who is not a leaseholder at the Towers, did not properly buzz into the building and that the security guard escorted him outside after he refused to leave.
“He did not use any undue violence or force or try to hurt him at all,” said Rhodes, who added that she had “no direct knowledge” of an order of protection. She also said that Stiger had reacted negatively to tightened security measures at the building.
Stiger said her problems at the Towers started last winter after she and her sister, who also lives there, were assaulted by Kerwin Murry, a frequent guest, who allegedly sold marijuana to residents.
Murry, 22, is one of two men charged with murder in the Dec. 29 carjacking and shooting death of Carlos Hernandez. He and alleged accomplice Fredrick Smith, 23, both fled to the Towers, where a seven-hour police manhunt ensued. Both men had criminal backgrounds that should have prohibited them from living in federally funded housing.
Stiger said that in a run-in a few weeks before the murder, Murry punched her sister in the face and shoved her to the floor on her stomach. She was seven months pregnant at the time.
“I tried to get him banned from the building,” Stiger said. “He admitted (to Phillips) that he sold weed. And he threatened me later about what he was going to do to me and my kids. I was afraid of him.”
Stiger said Phillips made Murry apologize and told her: ‘What do you want from him? He apologized to you.’”
Phillips, contacted by phone at the Towers on Friday, hung up when asked about the incident.
Rhodes said Stiger’s account about Murry “isn’t consistent with what we know to be true.”
“Management had no information about any incident (involving Murry),” Rhodes said. “We received no incident report from security.”
Stiger, who moved to Waukegan from Texas and spent time in a homeless shelter, cited other problems at the Towers, including bedbugs and a lack of window screens and blinds.
“I have been fighting bedbugs since I moved in,” she said. “My kids are getting bit.” Rhodes countered that East Lake has a strict protocol for bedbugs, that it fumigates every one of the 150 apartments in the Towers once a month and more often if bedbugs are reported.
She also said that screens have been installed and “screwed to every window.”
But Stiger said she can’t get assistance from building management.
“Every time I make a complaint at the office I get in trouble,” she said. “I’ve learned I have to keep my mouth shut.”
Fort Worth TX April 15 2012 A Transportation Security Administration baggage inspector at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport has been indicted in the theft of Apple iPads from luggage over eight months.
Clayton Keith Dovel, 36, of Bedford was arrested Feb. 1 and has been suspended indefinitely, officials said.
The investigation led to the recovery of eight stolen iPads, including one that was among Dovel’s possessions at Terminal E when he was arrested, airport police said.
His attorney, Greg Westfall, declined to comment.
The indictments that the Tarrant County grand jury issued this week charge Dovel with theft by a public servant of items valued at up to $20,000. If convicted, he could face two to 10 years in prison.
According to airport police, a traveler reported Jan. 24 that his iPad 2 had been stolen and that he had traced it electronically to a home in Bedford owned by Dovel.
While arresting Dovel in that case, airport police discovered another iPad in Dovel’s leather satchel. Dovel told authorities that the iPad was his but that he couldn’t remember where he bought it, according to police reports.
Using that iPad’s serial number, police traced it to a Grand Prairie man who had reported that it was stolen as he traveled through Terminal E in May.
In the indictment, Dovel is also accused of stealing iPads in November and early January.
The TSA issued a statement calling the arrest part of a “zero-tolerance policy for allegations of misconduct or theft” at the airport.
“The unacceptable behavior of this individual in no way reflects the dedication of our nearly 50,000 Transportation Security officers who work tirelessly to keep our skies safe,” the agency said.
Dovel is free on $5,000 bail.
INDIANAPOLIS IN April 15 2012 – A man was taken into police custody at the Indianapolis International Airport after a loaded gun was found in his bag, police said.
Just after 5 a.m., airport police were called to the Transportation Security Administration checkpoint on reports of a firearm investigation after TSA officials noticed the image of a loaded gun inside a passenger’s bag on the security monitor, officials said.
Police identified the passenger as David Schnitz, 57.
When police asked Schnitz about the contents of the bag, he said that he was aware of the gun and that he had packed the bag himself, officials said.
Upon further investigation, police found more than $400 on Schnitz and $2,500 in his wallet.
Schnitz was arrested on charges of entering an airport with a weapon and taken to the Marion County Arrestee Processing Center.
TAMPA Fla April 15 2012 - Tampa Police say it’s becoming more commonplace for officers to pull someone over for a traffic violation, and find tax fraud materials inside.
“Sometimes they don’t have an explanation, but often times they are brazen enough to say they’re filing fake tax returns because they believe there’s nothing we can do about it,” said Andrea Davis, with the Tampa Police Department.
Tampa police investigators have been working for months now to combat tax fraud in the Bay Area.
But they say they can’t “investigate” their way out of this problem. They believe the IRS and lawmakers need to make sweeping changes in the filing process.
Emily Brockway is one of many victims who were expecting a pretty nice tax return this year.
She says all her paperwork came in at the end of January. So she got online and tried to file.
“I began to attempt my first file with an online tax service, the first week of February. It was rejected the next day, I received a notice in my email that I was rejected the next day,” Brockway explained.
She wasn’t sure if she made a typo, but she started doing some research online.
“I went on some forums and did my own research and I had reason to believe my Social Security number was stolen,” Brockway said.
She had no idea how big the problem was in the Bay Area. She had no idea dozens of people had already been arrested for stealing tax returns. That’s because for the past six months prior to that, Emily was in Kuwait, deployed overseas with the U.S. Coast Guard.
“It’s just an added insult, I think, to know you’re out, you’re serving your country, and someone would take your information, regardless of who you might be, regardless of whatever sacrifices you may have made, and they’ll steal from you,” she said.
When Tampa police officers confront these suspects, they’re also finding ledgers — usually spiral notebooks filled with hundreds or thousands of names, birth dates and Social Security numbers.
Andrea Davis described what else is in them.
“Sometimes it’ll have a column that has a checkmark, deceased or tax return already filed. So they’re keeping these logs, the status of these returns, because they’re filing so many, they have a hard time keeping up with them,” Davis explained.
Emily says she’s been told by the IRS to wait at least 90 days before they can get back to her.
She has doubts she’ll ever see her money.
“I’d like to have high hopes, but I don’t. So I don’t, I don’t think I’ll see it,” she said.
Waycross, GA April 15 2012 - A south Georgia police department is under investigation for allegedly shooting the wrong suspect.
The shooting took place at Garlington Heights apartments in Waycross.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation says Waycross police were looking to interview a man about an unsolved killing when it happened.
Officers knocked on a door, were invited inside and told no one was on the second floor of the home.
That’s when 26-year-old Andrew Poole emerged from a dark bedroom and was shot in the stomach.
Neighbors were surprised to hear of the shooting.
“From what I know of him out here, he stays to himself. He doesn’t bother nobody, never has. So, that’s kinda crazy for him to get shot in a situation like that,” said neighbor Veronica Cobb.
“That’s a good thing. They showing remorse about it, that’s a good thing. So I feel like in the end everything’s gonna be ok. I mean just human error,” said another neighbor, Betty White.
Investigators say Poole was taken to the hospital and is now recovering from the gunshot.
The identity of the shooting officer has not been released.
The shooting is still under review by the Georgia Bureau of Investigations.
United Steelworkers union claims that security guard intentionally drove into striking worker www.privateofficer.com
McMinville OR April 15 2012 The United Steelworkers union claims that a security guard intentionally drove into a Cascade Steel Rolling Mills worker who was picketing Thursday outside the McMinnville plant.
But McMinnville police say the worker, walking across a driveway, was only bumped by the guard, who was cited for failure to yield to a pedestrian. Capt. Dennis Marks said Friday’s allegations don’t fit what the investigating sergeant was told at the time of the incident.
In Pittsburgh on Friday, United Steelworkers International President Leo W. Gerard demanded an investigation and said the union would file an additional unfair-labor practice charge.
A union lawyer said Lee Frakes, 35, was hospitalized with a leg injury and released Friday. “He is now being treated at home but is unable to walk,” a union statement said. “His wife is due to have their child at any moment.”
About 300 workers at the mill went on strike Sunday. Mediation continued through Friday as the mill kept operating with a smaller crew, according to Schnitzer Steel Industries Inc., which owns Cascade.
Schnitzer spokesman Chip Terhune declined to comment on Thursday morning’s incident. Gerard, the union president, said in the statement that members were “shocked and outraged” that the guard, who was not identified, received only a traffic citation.
Union and management representatives won’t say what issues the federal mediation is addressing. During Schnitzer’s latest earnings call with analysts April 5, executives said the company’s steel manufacturing business suffered from weak West Coast demand and volatile pricing.
Portland OR April 15 2012 A flash mob of teenagers hit the Lloyd Center Nordstrom Friday night, the second incident in a little over a week in which teens snatched goods from Portland stores.
Sgt. Pete Simpson, Portland Police Bureau spokesman, said Saturday that investigators are continuing to review surveillance video from the thefts. No suspects have been identified in either case and police don’t know whether the incidents are related, he said.
On Friday night, about 10 teens reportedly stashed items in bags and ran out of Nordstrom. Police recovered some of the stolen clothing. Mall security declined to comment on Saturday.
Police said the thefts occurred about 8:05 p.m. The teens were last seen running out of the southwest doors towards Northeast Ninth Avenue, Simpson said.
On April 7, a group of teens similarly robbed about $200 worth of beef jerky, candy and beer from a Chevron store in Southeast Portland.
Police could not say whether social media was used to help the thieves organize the crimes. Without a specific threat or connection, monitoring social media is labor-intensive, Simpson said.
Concern over the link between social media and crime heightened in February, when a proposed state law, the “flash mob bill,” would have criminalized tweets and emails that ask people to commit a crime. The proposal later fizzled.
Police had tips for retailers. Businesses should install good surveillance systems and help employees understand their store’s policy on stopping or preventing thefts, Simpson said.
Retail members of the Portland Business Alliance have not raised worries about the recent thefts, though public safety concerns go through cycles, Megan Doern, a spokeswoman for the alliance, said Saturday.
Anyone with information about the two thefts is asked to send it to email@example.com.
Those suspended include Deputy Chief Karl Smith, Lt. Bill Kozak, Lt. Rick Dellapia, Officer Michael Landen, and Officer John Blasingame.
Interim Chief of Police Mike James reportedly notified the officers of their suspensions Friday.
“We will continue with the on-going investigations until we have all the necessary information to make an informed and final decision on these officers and their further employment with the Town of Leland Police Department,” said David Hollis in a statement. “We feel strongly that the actions we have taken today are warranted based on the information we have thus far received.”
Quakertown PA April 15 2012 A Quakertown man is under arrest and charged with assault after he hit two Grand View hospital security guards with his arm cast.
26 year-old Gregory Bateman was at Grand View seeking treatment.
When he was informed that he would not be given treatment at that time, Bateman struck a security officer in the face with his arm cast.
He then proceeded to strike a second guard in the head with the same cast. Both officers were treated at Grand View.
Bateman was taken into custody. He is charged with aggravated assault, simple assault and harassment
SEIU 32BJ reached agreement on the new deal on March 28 with the Realty Advisory Board on Labor Relations, which represents major building owners like Tishman Speyer, the Rockefeller Group, Silverstein Properties, the Durst Organization and Vornado Realty Trust.
“I am very happy with strides we made in this contract,” said Rushon Miller, a member of the bargaining team who is a security officer for Royal Realty at the Bank of America Tower at 1111 6th Avenue. “Not only am I happy with the pay increases—we got an increase in each year of this contract—the 401k plan was improved and we were also able to get a personal day.”
32BJ represents more than 10,000 security officers who protect commercial office buildings, higher education facilities, government facilities, museums, libraries and stadiums. Members of the union protect other high profile sites in the city, including the Statue of Liberty, the Chrysler Building, Rockefeller Center, Yankee Stadium, Fordham and Columbia Universities, all three of New York City area airports, the George Washington Bridge, the World Trade Center and the 9/11 Memorial and Museum.
“From the beginning, 32BJ has worked to alleviate the poverty wages and minimal training standards that have long plagued this industry,” Figueroa said. “Renewing strong contracts for security officers who are members of our union goes hand-in-hand with continuing to work with non-union security officers to create a path so they could lift themselves out of poverty.”
With more than 120,000 members in eight states and Washington D.C., including 70,000 in the New York area, 32BJ is the largest property services union in the country.
Man arrested for taking secret pictures at Carolina Mudcats Five County Stadium www.privateofficer.com
Detectives say their investigation began April 10 when they were called to the stadium about an alleged trespasser.
Mudcat staff members reported that a man posing as a cleaning employee snuck into the visiting team locker room where he was confronted by staff members.
“He had some rubber gloves on,” said Zebulon Police Chief Tim Hayworth. “He was moving things around like he was adjusting things in the locker room.”
Members of the Wilmington (Del.) Blue Rocks noticed 32-year-old Darryl Strong trying to take pictures using a small camera.
“They confronted him. The suspect fled to his car,” said Hayworth. “He was going to try to leave the parking lot. The employees of the stadium already called 911. A police officer already stopped him in the parking lot.”
That’s when police found the video camera, along with a small amount pot, but it wasn’t even until the next day players found out what happened.
“I don’t believe they really realized what was going,” said Mudcats Joe Kremer.
Now police are worried there could be more footage of others on 20 computers, iPads, cell phones, and digital cameras they seized from Strong’s home.
Strong, 32, of Ayden, N.C. was charged with felony secret peeping and first-degree trespassing.
Police said they also found 15 grams of Marijuana and paraphernalia in Strong’s car, so he was charged with illegal drug possession.
Police said more charges could be on the way depending on what is found on Strong’s machines.
Strong is listed as technology assistant at this Lenior County High School.
“This probably wasn’t the first time this person has tried this,” said Hayworth. “It was a pretty brazen move. So we were very alarmed.”