Seattle WA April 22 2012 The Seattle Police Department’s recent federal approval to use drones as an eye-in-the-sky should spark a discussion among city leaders about privacy and the use of technology in law enforcement, according to the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington.
The department is among dozens of law-enforcement agencies, academic institutions and other agencies that were recently given approval by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to use unmanned aerial vehicles, more commonly known as drones, according to documents obtained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit advocacy group.
The FAA approval was granted after the president signed a law in February that compelled the agency to plan for safe integration of civilian drones into American airspace by 2015.
Seattle police declined Friday to talk about how the department intends to use drones, saying it was just now training operators. However, the department has earlier said possible uses could include search-and-rescue operations, natural disasters and investigations of unusual crime scenes.
Assistant Chief Paul McDonagh told KOMO-TV last year that the department will exercise caution in using the two helicopter-style drones it has purchased.
“We will be careful to have policy in place to make sure that, one, the system isn’t abused, and when it is deployed it’s used for the lawful purpose it’s intended,” he said.
Whatever the department’s plans for the small aircraft, they are likely to spark concerns over privacy.
In December, the ACLU published a report on domestic drones calling for new protections, saying current laws are “not strong enough to ensure that the technology will be used responsibly and consistently with democratic values.”
Doug Honig, spokesman for the ACLU of Washington, said the use of drones by police should prompt Mayor Mike McGinn and the City Council to draft new public policy.
“The ACLU supports the use of technology to help government accomplish its basic missions, and drones can be useful,” Honig said. “At the same time, the use of drones can really change people’s relationship with their government. … So, if the city of Seattle is going to go ahead and deploy drones, leaders need to develop clear and transparent guidelines for their use.”
Specifically, he said, there should be policy on what kind of information can be collected, who can collect it, how the information can be used and how long it will be kept.
In addition, he said, there needs to be periodic audits to make sure policy is followed.
A spokesman for McGinn said Friday the mayor didn’t want to “get ahead” of Seattle police in responding to media questions about how drones would be used. He referred questions to the department.
City Councilmember Bruce Harrell, who chairs the council’s Public Safety, Civil Rights and Technology Committee, did not return a phone call.
Drones come in a variety of sizes, ranging from large aircraft with 116-foot wingspans to tiny craft that can weigh less than an ounce. Under the new FAA rules, civilian drones must weigh less than 55 pounds, stay below an altitude of 400 feet and remain within sight of their operators.
The public is most familiar with military drones, which have been used to track and kill terrorists in the Middle East and Asia.
According to the trade group Association for Unmanned Vehicles International, uses for civilian drones can include monitoring livestock, aerial photography and surveillance.
The sheriff’s department in Montgomery County, Texas, has used a $300,000, 50-pound ShadowHawk helicopter drone to aid its SWAT team. The drone has a high-powered video camera and an infrared camera that can spot a person’s thermal image in the dark.
“Public-safety agencies are beginning to see this as an invaluable tool for them, just as the car was an improvement over the horse and the single-shot pistol was improved upon by the six-shooter,” Chief Deputy Randy McDaniel told The Associated Press.
According to Melanie Hinton of the trade association, the most common uses of drones by law enforcement are in search-and-rescue missions, SWAT deployments and traffic monitoring.
She said that when people are reported missing in bad weather conditions, there is often a point at which officials have to call off a search using conventional aircraft.
“With drones, weather doesn’t matter. You can still fly,” she said.
Hinton said a missing child was recently found in Colorado with the aid of a camera-equipped aerial drone.
She said there’s no reason for people to fear drones.
“All of the technology is already being used,” Hinton said. “Drones just do all the dull, dirty, difficult and dangerous work that people do, and they do it at a fraction of the cost.”
Rehobeth AL April 22 2012 A Rehobeth High School teacher faces multiple felony charges alleging he had sex with a student at the school.
Houston County Sheriff Andy Hughes said investigators arrested Robert Lee Michel, 43, of Dothan, just after 9 p.m. Friday and charged him with three felony counts of school employee engaging in a sex act with a student under the age of 19. Michel remains held at the Houston County Jail without bail.
Hughes said Michel works as a 10th grade science teacher at Rehobeth High School.
Hughes said a woman called 911 around 6:30 p.m. to report the offenses.
“The mother walked in and caught them,” Hughes said. “He was in bed with a 16-year-old girl and he was naked. He fled on foot with no clothes on.”
Hughes said Michel ran across the street and into some nearby woods. He said just after 9 p.m. deputies took Michel into custody after he walked out of the woods near Third Avenue and Knoxville Road.
“He was wearing a couple of trash bags on his body,” Hughes said. “He got two white small garbage bags and was trying to wear them to cover him self up.”
Hughes said Houston County Sheriff’s bloodhounds and a helicopter from the Dale and Houston County Aviation unit helped authorities in the search of the suspect.
Hughes said more charges could be pending in the ongoing investigation.
“Upon interviewing the teenage girl we found out this had happened on several other previous occasions,” Hughes said. “This will be the first arrest we’ve made under this law.”
Trevor Williams pleaded guilty Friday to fabricating physical evidence and hindering apprehension. He faces a year in jail.
The 39-year-old Jersey City resident admitted attempting to covering up $92,000 in bribes to an insurance executive.
The state Attorney General’s Office alleges Williams’ employer, bounty hunter Adel Mikhaeil of Jersey City, paid sheriff’s officers to sign false documents showing the fugitives were at large when they were caught when they actually were in the custody of law enforcement.
Bounty hunters get a higher fee for catching fugitives who are at large, which also saves money for the insurance company that insured the bail bonds.
San Diego CA April 22 2012 A 42-year-old former security guard was sentenced Friday essentially to life in prison for a shooting spree at an elementary school in Carlsbad that wounded two students.
Brendan O’Rourke had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity in the Oct. 8, 2010 attack at Kelly Elementary School. But in March, a jury in the Vista branch of San Diego County Superior Court convicted him of seven counts of attempted murder and ruled that he was sane.
Two students were wounded in the attack before construction workers tackled O’Rourke. O’Rourke had jumped the school fence during the noontime recess and began firing randomly with a .357 Magnum while shouting hysterically.
Judge Aaron Katz sentenced O’Rourke to 189 years in prison.
Stinky fish fertilizer and two dozen law-enforcement officers kept pot smokers away www.privateofficer.com
Boulder CO April 22 2012 Stinky fish fertilizer and two dozen law-enforcement officers kept pot smokers away from a grassy quad at the University of Colorado on Friday, but a few hundred protesters defied the crackdown and rallied on another field, where some lit up at 4:20 p.m.
It was a far cry from last year’s April 20 pot celebration, when more than 10,000 people gathered on the university’s Norlin Quadrangle for the annual ritual of enjoying a smoke and demonstrating for legalizing marijuana.
That made the university the scene of one of the largest campus celebrations of cannabis in the nation _ a reputation that prompted university administrators to take extraordinary steps to stamp out this year’s rally.
They banned unauthorized visitors from campus, and spread smelly fertilizer on the Norlin Quad and declared it off-limits. They even booked Haitian-born hip-hop star Wyclef Jean for a free concert timed to coincide with the traditional 4:20 p.m. pot gathering.
Still, they were only partially successful. A few dozen protesters veered off a sidewalk bordering the university on Friday afternoon and marched through campus, holding signs and chanting, “Roll it. Smoke it. Legalize it.”
Others joined in as the marchers made their way through the campus, and after they halted on a grassy field near a science building, the crowd reached 300, with 400 more watching from the perimeter, campus police estimated.
They counted down the seconds to 4:20 p.m., let out a cheer at zero and then lit up, exhaling a collective cloud of smoke that rose over their heads.
A few police were on hand, some in SWAT gear, but they made no move to interfere. After about 15 minutes the crowd and the smoke dispersed.
Jonathan Grell, a sophomore majoring in international affairs, said he joined the rally because it “mocks America’s arcane drug laws.”
He said he didn’t smoke Friday but has benefited from medical marijuana.
“I participated to be counted and to make my voice heard,” he said.
James Moore, a graduate student in physics, said he went to the rally to protest the administration’s decision to close down part of the campus.
“You can’t do that,” Moore said.
The campus is public property and students pay to attend, he said, and the university has no right to say, “No, you can’t walk on the grass.”
Administrators had argued they have the right to protect faculty, staff and students from disruption, and a judge said Thursday that the university could close its grounds to unauthorized visitors Friday.
University spokesman Bronson Hilliard said the steps the campus took were a success, measured by students being able to go to class and faculty being able to teach.
“For us the real achievement was there were not 10,000 to 12,000 people in the academic heart of our campus disrupting our fundamental operations,” he said.
Marijuana smokefests at 4:20 p.m. on April 20, or 4/20, have become a counterculture ritual, with celebrants gathering from San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park to New York’s Greenwich Village.
In Austin, Texas, country music legend Willie Nelson helped unveil a downtown statue honoring him by singing his new song “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die.”
Organizers said they didn’t set the unveiling for April 20 because it was the date of the marijuana ritual, but once they realized it, they scheduled the unveiling at 4:20 p.m. in light of Nelson’s openness about his marijuana use and advocacy for legalization.
Thousands of people gathered in Denver near the state Capitol for the start of a two-day marijuana rally.
Officers ticketed people they saw smoking marijuana if they did not have a state-issued card allowing them to consume marijuana for medical purposes, which is legal under state law.
Less than a handful of tickets were issued by mid-afternoon, Detective Raquel Lopez said.
A fair-like atmosphere prevailed at the Denver rally, with vendors selling munchies from food carts and one person peddling glass pipes from a suitcase.
The number 420 has been associated with marijuana use for decades, though the reasons are murky. Its use as code for marijuana spread among California pot users in the 1960s and spread nationwide among followers of the Grateful Dead.
Theories abound on its origin. Some say it was once police code in Southern California to denote marijuana use, probably an urban legend. It was a title number for a 2003 California bill about medical marijuana, an irony fully intended.
Others trace it to a group of California teenagers who would meet at 4:20 p.m. to search for weed, a theory as elusive as the outdoor cannabis crop they were seeking. The code stuck because authorities and nosy parents didn’t know what it meant, at least for a while.
In Colorado, recent 4/20 observations blossomed alongside the state’s medical marijuana industry. Approved by Colorado voters in 2000, medical marijuana boomed after federal authorities signaled in 2009 they would pursue higher-level drug crimes. All marijuana is illegal under federal law, though Colorado voters this November will consider whether to legalize it for recreational use for adults over 21.
At the University of Colorado, three students were arrested for trespassing when they walked onto the Norlin Quad, sat down and refused to leave, campus police said. Eleven others, including two students, were ticketed for trespassing, and one was ticketed for marijuana possession on campus, police said.
One of the three arrested told reporters the crackdown was more disruptive than any of the previous years’ rallies.
Campus police spokesman Ryan Huff estimated the university would spend about $110,000 on law-enforcement Friday, about double the amount spent last year.
The yellow tape was removed from the quad and officers began withdrawing shortly after 4:20 p.m.
Playboy magazine named Colorado the nation’s top party school in 2011. The campus also repeatedly ranks among the top schools for marijuana use, according to a “Reefer Madness” list conducted by The Princeton Review.
The University of Colorado’s student government supported the university’s anti-4/20 actions. And other Colorado students created a Facebook campaign urging their colleagues to wear formal clothing to school on Friday to repudiate the party-school reputation.
INDIANAPOLIS IN April 22 2012 - A 22-year-old Indianapolis man faces burglary charges after police say he was caught stealing metal fixtures from Indianapolis Zoo property.
At around 3:30 am Friday, Indiana State Police were alerted after someone was seen jumping over the fence of the Indianapolis Zoo’s annex building at West Market Street and White River Parkway W. Drive.
A few minutes later, Capitol Police officers arrived on the scene and found Roman Brown, 22, hiding in a dumpster in an enclosed area of the zoo. Officers arrested him without incident.
Zoo security spotted a white 1990 Ford pickup truck in an enclosed area that was not a zoo vehicle. The bed of the truck contained metal fixtures which were later identified as property of the zoo.
Police say Brown and another suspect, who ran from the scene, had loaded approximately fourteen fixtures into the back of the pickup truck. Brown told officers he planned to sell the metal fixtures to a scrapyard.
Brown was charged with burglary, attempted theft, and criminal mischief. He was booked at the Arrestee Processing Center.
According to police, Christian Carithers, 26, of Welsh Road, Philadelphia, took $20,000 cash from the Shields Business Solutions armored car he was driving on April 13 and hid it in Cinnaminson, with the intention of picking it up later.
Before he could, authorities determined he had removed the cash and took him into custody. Carithers cooperated and led police to the spot where he’d stashed the cash.
He was charged with theft and released on a summons.
Shields Business Solutions is based in Moorestown, at 5 Twosome Drive.
And she certainly accomplished her goal.
Thursday afternoon both campus and state police officers apprehended the artistic rebel. Topless, but firm in her personal conviction, González De Jesús was taken to the nearest state police station, in downtown Río Piedras.
According to several who witnessed the incident, when González De Jesús was found topless on campus by a group of university security officers they ordered to put her t-shirt back on or risk being arrested.
The male officers who addressed the outdoor performer were then accompanied by two fellow female campus security guards, who attempted to convince González De Jesús to put on the t-shirt, to no avail.
Despite suspecting the potential consequences, the student’s goal was to raise island wide questionings about what she said was “society’s double standard” when it comes to the evaluation of performances based on gender.
The young woman argued that the officers told her she was “acting against the ethics of the first center of higher education in Puerto Rico.” She also said some students and professors supposedly complained after seeing her topless on campus.
“I was arrested because people asked for it,” González De Jesús told the Daily Sun right after her release from the Río Piedras police station. “Now I encourage society to start a debate in courts, universities and other institutions about gender discrimination.”
“Why is a topless man seen as normal and a female acting the same way is viewed as immoral and as a person doing undue sexual insinuations?,” the undergrad asked.
In addition to the gender-relevant implications the case might have on local debates about cultural codes, González De Jesús’ arrest also raises questions about the jurisdiction of the state police in the UPR and whether or not this controversy has implications over the principle of university autonomy.
“The university did not follow the protocol of resolving these types of controversies by following the guidelines established by this university as an autonomous entity,” Communications student and witness Yamila Pino Peña commented.
“We all believed she was going to be taken to the campus security station, but that did not happen. She was taken directly to the police station, in the official campus police van,” Pino Peña said.
However, both state security and campus police officers argued González De Jesús “did not mind” being arrested by the Police because she supposedly wanted to share her stand and provoke a nationwide debate.
González De Jesús did not confirm nor deny the information about her alleged desire to be taken to the Police station.
Apparently, the arrest did not involve any physical force and the parties involved were able to speak on “friendly” terms, sources said.
However, other female witnesses argued that González De Jesús was “improperly touched” by the Police officers who intervened.
González De Jesús is required attend a court hearing April 27.
She was accused of behaving against public moral, as defined by section 90C of the Puerto Rico Civil Code.
At the closing of this edition, the UPR Río Piedras campus administration confirmed the arrest, but did not offer an official comment.
Jailer Eduardo Reyes, Jr, who is assigned to the new security guard shack in the jail parking lot, heard a faint infant cry while conducting security checks of the parking facility. First responding sheriff’s deputies assisting Reyes were Deputy Jason Guardiola and Deputy Marcos Castilleja who used necessary force to break open the window to rescue the infant who was crying and sweating profusely.
EMS responded quickly to the call and checked the infant who was cleared of injuries.
The 9 month old was left in the vehicle with no ventilation by her father who was identified as Noe Alejandro Martinez 23 years of age. Martinez was returning to the jail facility to retrieve his property after being released from custody on April 16, 2012 on charges of Assault Against a Public Servant, Criminal Mischief, Resisting Arrest and Bail Jumping.
Martinez was arrested on the premises and charged with Abandonment of Child with Intent to Return F/2. Currently Martinez is being held with no bond. The mother of the infant arrived at the scene where the infant was released to her. This case has been referred to Child Protective Services for investigation
Atlanta husband and wife arrested for scheme to sell “squatter rights ” system www.privateofficer.com
Edgar Lee Rodgers and Diane Rowe are accused of filing false adverse possession documents – essentially claiming squatters’ rights – to homes that were vacant, likely due to foreclosure.
Rodgers and Rowe are being held in the Fulton County jail awaiting bond hearings on racketeering and multiple theft-by-deception charges.
Police say the couple ascribe to the sovereign citizen philosophy that they are subject to the rule of common law – that is, legal precedent established by judges – and are immune to federal, state and local laws.
“The irony of it is that while they were out convincing people to buy homes using adverse possession, they both paid a regular mortgage,” said Sgt. Paul Cooper, head of the Atlanta Police Department fraud unit.
Rodgers called himself Immanuel Hood and went around recruiting people to take over homes using adverse possession, police said.
He was charging upwards of nearly $9,000 to walk people through his process for adverse possession, promising them they could own homes in as little as two weeks for sums as low as $2,000.
“He was literally hosting tours of homes,” Cooper said.
At least 19 homes across Atlanta were targeted.
Georgia’s adverse possession laws allow for a person living in a home for 20 years or more — with the owner’s knowledge and express permission — to take possession of the home.
Rodgers’ method fell far short of the state’s requirements, authorities said.
Police began investigating Rogers after a property owner notified them that he had discovered somebody living in one of his vacant homes, Cooper said.
In one case, according to a police incident report, Rodgers offered to show a man how to own his own home in northeast Atlanta for only $5,000.
The victim, Melvin Morton, eventually settled on a price of $4,500, and he went with Rodgers in March to the Fulton County courthouse to file the paperwork, police said.
When Morton gave Rodgers the money outside the courthouse after filing the paperwork, Rodgers went to his car claiming to retrieve a receipt and allegedly sped away. Morton then learned that police were investigating Rodgers for selling homes he didn’t own.
In another case, An Van Than agreed to pay Rodgers $4,000 for a home on Metropolitan Avenue.
Police say Rodgers helped Than complete the adverse possession paperwork, again walking him through the process at the courthouse, then accompanied Than to a bank to have the documents notarized.
Than paid Rodgers $1,000, promising to pay the balance when he received the warranty deed for the property. But the deed never came, police said.
When Than returned to the courthouse looking for the deed, he was told he was not entitled to one. He called police.
Cooper acknowledged that victims could be held partially responsible for their parts in the scams, if only small parts.
“There may be some level of culpability,” he said. “But at this point, we’re not charging any of them.”
Cooper said he believes there may be more victims, and the investigation is continuing.
According to police reports, the accused thief was spotted at the Kohl’s on Wilma Rudolph Boulevard on April 14.
When store security officers and the assistant manager tried to stop the man in the parking lot, police said the man got into a car and backed into the manager.
The manager suffered a leg injury, but refused transport to the hospital, police said.
The accused shoplifter was last seen driving a dark green Dodge Charger with Kentucky temporary tags.
The addition of sworn police officers is a “proactive” move, spurred on in part by incidents of violence on other college campuses around the country, Gerald Mitchell, the school’s executive vice president, told Security Director News. Avoiding the that-would-never-happen-to-us response to those headline-grabbing incidents, Mitchell sees a fully sworn police department as a way to mitigate risk. “You’re looking around at what’s happening in our nation and you’re saying ‘Am I going to be next?’” Mitchell said. “We know that our schools mirror society and things do happen out there and we have police departments and they’re prepared to respond to incidents that occur, so we’re thinking along those lines.”
The school has 70,000 students spread over five campuses and two training centers (it also has purchased land for a sixth campus). The school currently employs two fully sworn school resource officers from local police departments, as well as contracted security guards. A news release from the college notes that 14 other North Carolina community colleges have similar campus police forces, as do all the universities in the UNC system.
The arrest powers that come with a sworn police department, and the deterrence factor they bring, was part of the school’s decision to create the police department. “My concern is the safety and security of our students, staff, faculty and visitors. It’s been a safe campus and I want it to continue that way,” Mitchell said. “Sometimes you have to react to certain things, but I’d like to avoid that. I’d like for bad guys to think ‘I don’t want to go on Wake Tech’s campus to sell drugs or harm some students because they have sworn officers there and they’ll lock us up.’”
Paul Verrecchia, chief of police at the College of Charleston and president of the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators, has spoken in the past with Security Director News on the difference between schools relying on municipal police departments and having their own sworn officers. “Campus policing is a unique specialty within the law enforcement profession and having police officers who are trained in how to deal with students, trained in the culture of higher education, trained in the culture of that particular institution, is a lot more advantageous in my mind than having and relying on municipal officers who don’t have that kind of training and understanding,” said Verrecchia, who spent 22 years as a municipal police officer before entering campus law enforcement 14 years ago.
The Wake Tech campus police department will begin with 14 sworn police officers, but Mitchell expects that number to grow. The police department will become active on July 1, according to the news release. The school is also currently hiring a director of security. It’s requiring eligible applicants to be a sworn law enforcement officer with the expectation that that person would also become chief of the campus police department.
According to a 2008 report from the U.S. Department of Justice, 93 percent of public universities had a sworn police force during the 2004-05 school year (the most recent data available), while only 42 percent of private four-year schools were served by sworn police officers.
Washington DC April 22 2012 The would-be robber told the store manager to hurry and gave him two minutes to open the cash register, according to court papers.
In a Rite Aid store in the District last week, according to a sworn statement, the gunman— armed with a black semiautomatic pistol — repeated his warning. Two minutes. Then he began counting. One, he said. Two. And that allegedly was all. Racking the slide, he readied his pistol and then shot the manager in the left side.
That chilling account was given Friday by a D.C. police officer seeking a warrant for the arrest of Ricky Vinston, 53, of the District in connection with the April 13 shooting at the store, in the 1400 block of Rhode Island Avenue NE.
According to the account, a man entered the store shortly before 12:30 p.m. and approached an employee about some candy. A store employee rang up what appeared to be red Mentos. Then the man leaned over the counter. Showing a pistol in an inside jacket pocket, he demanded money from the register.
Two employees fled. The store manager said he would open the register but realized that he would first have to void a previous transaction.
After firing the pistol, the would-be robber fled. He got no money but left with the candy. Store surveillance video was later posted online and released to the media, and based on statements from witnesses and other information, Vinston was arrested Friday in the 1400 block of Downing Street NE and charged with assault with intent to kill, authorities said.
According to police, the surveillance video showed the would-be robber walking “in an unusual way, always placing one foot directly in front of the other.”
In the sworn statement, an officer said that when Vinston was arrested, he noticed his gait. “He walked in the same unusual manner” as seen on the video.
Not all evidence led to Vinston. In the sworn statement, police said the shooting victim and another witness were shown a series of photographs that included Vinston’s. Neither picked him out. The victim leaned toward someone else.
The shooting victim remained paralyzed below the waist, the sworn statement said.
St. Louis MO. April 22 2012
A security officer on duty at Barnes-Jewish Hospital was injured in front of the emergency room after being dragged by a car.
People in front of the ER say that a car pulled up with a badly injured man inside. Witnesses say after the injured man was taken into the ER, the guard attempted to stop the driver from leaving so police could inspect the car but the driver took off knocking down the security officer and dragging him several feet.
Police on the scene say they recovered the car and driver a couple blocks away.
A spokesperson for Barnes refused to comment on the condition of the injured security guard.
PASADENA, Texas April 22 2012 – It took five Pasadena police officers to capture a suspect Thursday night who was wanted for a 2009 aggravated robbery, in which an armored car guard was shot in the head.
Chad Eric Haywood, 23, was charged in the Missouri City robbery last week after a lengthy investigation.
Detectives learned Thursday that he was living at the Parkside Place Apartments in the 3100 block of Spencer Road.
Detectives conducted surveillance on the apartments and summoned a SWAT team because of the “suspect’s violent nature.”
When Haywood pulled into the parking lot, he was approached by an officer. Police say Haywood fled on foot toward Strawberry Park.
After a brief foot chase, four officers tackled the suspect on the southwest side of the park. Haywood, who is 6’4 and 250 pounds, resisted arrest and tried to get to his feet, according to police. When a fifth officer arrived and joined the struggle, Haywood tried to grab his gun, police said.
They finally got him under control and handcuffed him. But he reportedly tried to disarm another officer who was walking him to a patrol car.
Haywood was then escorted “under tight restraint” to a police unit and transported to the police station and confined, according to police.
Police say they found two guns in Haywood’s apartment: a Ruger SR-40 caliber semi-automatic handgun, a Draco AK-47 semi-automatic and five 30-round magazines.
Along with the Missouri City aggravated robbery, Haywood is now with attempting to disarm a law enforcement officer, a state jail felony.
He’s being held on a bond of $102,000.
Officers at the arrest scene reported several people at the park at the time of the incident appeared to be video-recording with cell phones. If there is anyone who has video of the disarming attempts, the police department would like to obtain it or a copy. The police dispatch contact number for that purpose is 713 – 477-1221.
Richmond VA April 22 2012 The death of former Atlanta Falcons safety Ray Easterling has been ruled a suicide, Richmond police captain Yvonne Crowder told FoxSports.com on Saturday.
Crowder told the website that Easterling died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at his home in Richmond, Va. Easterling’s wife, Mary Ann, announced the news on Thursday, but declined to release the cause of his death.
Police told FOXSports.com on Saturday that former Falcons safety Ray Easterling died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
“Based on our investigation, we are ruling it a suicide,” Crowder told FoxSports.com on Saturday.
Crowder told the website that Mary Ann Easterling called police at 6:14 a.m. Thursday morning upon discovering her husband’s body. When police arrived at the home, Ray Easterling was dead and there was a handgun nearby, the police chief told FoxSports.com.
Easterling, who helped lead the team’s vaunted defense in the 1970s, was part of a group of seven former players who sued the NFL in Philadelphia in August, claiming the league failed to properly treat players for concussion and tried to conceal for decades any links between football and brain injuries. It was the first potential class-action lawsuit that was filed.
Easterling played for the Falcons from 1972 to 1979, helping lead the team’s “Gritz Blitz” defense in 1977 that set the NFL record for fewest points allowed in a season. After his football career, he went on to start a successful financial services company in Richmond.
“He was a wonderful husband and father,” Mary Ann Easterling said Thursday. “In everything he did, he was a charger. He went full tilt.”
After his playing days, Easterling started to suffer the consequences of the years of bruising hits, his wife said. He suffered from depression and insomnia, and as his dementia progressed, he lost the ability to focus, organize his thoughts and relate to people, she said.
“It’s been a progression over the last 20 years,” she said. “It’s very sad to see.”
The NFL has said any allegation the league intentionally sought to mislead players is without merit.
Mary Ann Easterling said Thursday she will fight to continue the lawsuit despite her husband’s death, and will urge the league to establish a fund for players like her husband who suffered traumatic brain injuries from their playing days.
“Half the time the player puts themselves back in the game, and they don’t know what kind of impact it has,” she said. “Somehow this has got to be stopped. It’s destroying people’s lives.”
Former Chicago Bears safety Dave Duerson also committed suicide a year ago, shooting himself in the chest after having made arrangements to donate his brain to the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy at Boston University’s School of Medicine. A researcher determined Duerson suffered from a “moderately advanced” case of chronic traumatic encephalopathy. The study indicated the damage to Duerson’s brain affected his judgment, inhibition, impulse control, mood and memory.
NASHVILLE, TN April 22 2012 - Metro police are investigating the beating death of a patient at Middle Tennessee Mental Health Institute on Stewarts Ferry Pike on Thursday morning.
James M. Hodge, 53, was attacked by another patient just after 6 a.m., according to detectives.
“It was a very quick, calculated attack,” said Metro police spokesman Don Aaron.
Hodge was taken by ambulance to Summit Medical Center with severe head injuries and died during surgery Thursday afternoon.
Police said the death is being classified as a homicide.
Hodge and another patient, Thaddeus Odom, 60, became involved in a fight around 2 a.m. Thursday. Police said they were separated by staff and placed in different rooms in the same wing of the facility.
However, at 6:05 a.m., Hodge walked from his bedroom to a nearby room. Odom then reportedly walked into that room and attacked Hodge.
The assault was witnessed by two nearby staff members, who came to Hodge’s aid.
“As the staff members attempted to respond, Odom inflicted the injury to Hodge and was walking out as they were rushing to Mr. Hodge,” said Aaron.
Odom has been placed in a separate area of the mental health facility pending the outcome of the police investigation.
The deadly attack may raise some of the same questions about supervision the Channel 4 I-Team started asking the institution’s CEO more than a month ago.
The I-Team found dozens of employees fired, suspended or disciplined for failing to manage patients at risk and for abuse and neglect of patients.
One case involved a man unmonitored long enough to plan and pull off an elaborate death, drowning himself inside an overflowing toilet after securing the bathroom door shut with a bedsheet.
An internal record also showed a nurse fired for failing to check on two patients for nearly an hour – patients who were supposed to be under intense observation.
It’s unclear whether there was adequate supervision when Hodge was attacked.
“But MTMHI administration and staff are being fully cooperative and have allowed our detectives access to everything they need,” said Aaron.
The leaders at the facility sent us a statement, saying in part that they take all incidents like this “very seriously and will fully investigate.”