VIRGINIA BEACH VA May 11 2012
A Facebook conversation between friends led police to reopen an investigation into the 2009 death of an 11-month-old girl and this year charge her mother with murder, a detective testified in court Thursday.
In the conversation, Julie M. Calahan admitted injuring her daughter, Lakeira, prior to the child’s death on May 6, 2009, Virginia Beach homicide Detective Janine Hall testified during a hearing in Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court. Child Protective Services forwarded the conversation to police, who questioned the 23-year-old mother before charging her in January with second-degree murder.
Prosecutors entered a printout of the conversation into evidence, and Hall read the dialogue aloud in court:
In the messages, a Facebook user by the name of Juls Calahan tells a friend she shook Lakeira and stepped on her son, Levontae, now 6. She writes that Child Protective Services had taken away Levontae, and she’d instructed him to blame his injuries on her husband, who isn’t the boy’s father.
“He knows I’m the one who hurt ‘Tae and ‘Keira…,” Juls Calahan wrote. “Sometimes I just want to die for what I did.”
The social-media site was unfamiliar territory for Hall and defense attorney Janee Joslin.
“I have to be honest: I don’t know anything about Facebook,” Joslin said in court.
She asked whether someone could have posed as Calahan on Facebook or hacked her account to send the incriminating messages. Hall said she didn’t know and hadn’t used Facebook as evidence in a case before.
“I’m not a Facebook person,” Hall said. “I’m not Facebook-savvy.”
“You’re just like me,” Joslin said.
Calahan’s brother-in-law, Stephen C. Calahan, 25, received a yearlong jail sentence in April 2010 after pleading guilty to child neglect for failing to obtain timely medical care for Lakeira. Prosecutors withdrew a murder charge against him after medical examiners could not pinpoint when his niece suffered the blow that ended her life.
In an interview with Hall in December, Calahan said her brother-in-law was asleep when she lost her temper and shook Lakeira, who had been crying, Hall testified. The baby died of blunt-force trauma two days later.
Judge Deborah V. Bryan sent Calahan’s charge to a Circuit Court grand jury, which will decide whether her case should go to trial Aug. 1. She also faces two felony counts of child abuse against Lakeira and Levontae.
Calahan, who had moved to Brinkley, Ark., remains in custody without bond in the Virginia Beach Correctional Center.
Joslin said most cases include some evidence from social media, but not to this magnitude.
“If someone purporting to be her hadn’t got on Facebook,” she said, “she wouldn’t be wearing an orange jumpsuit and charged with second-degree murder.”
Source: The Virginian-Pilot
Atlantic City NJ May 11 2012 Marion Howard was fired from his job as Golden Nugget’s security director three months ago in what he believes was retaliation for reporting alleged dangerous behavior exhibited by Executive Vice President and General Manager Tom Pohlman, according to a lawsuit filed at the Atlantic County courthouse.
In the complaint is a description of Pohlman interrogating an employee identified only as “Carlos,” who had allegedly used his cell phone to take photos underneath a female co-worker’s skirt. Pohlman became so angry during the interrogation — which Howard observed and later reported — that he pushed Carlos against a wall and ripped the man’s shirt off his back, the lawsuit states
The complaint, which was filed April 13, names the Golden Nugget Atlantic City and Pohlman. Howard, who lives in the Smithville section of Galloway Township, had been the property’s security director since Landry’s Inc. bought the former Trump Marina Hotel Casino in May 2011 and rebranded it as the Golden Nugget. Previously, he was the director of security for Trump Marina since December 2007.
Tiffany Hauck, a spokeswoman for the Golden Nugget, said the company generally does not comment on pending litigation. However, in this case the company provided a brief statement.
“We believe there is no merit to the case and appropriate action was taken with regard to the termination of Mr. Howard,” Hauck wrote in an email.
According to the lawsuit, on Feb. 15, Howard began investigating whether photos were taken underneath an employee’s skirt by locating witnesses and interviewing surveillance personnel and management. The next day, Howard was called to Pohlman’s office and then directed to an executive conference room, where Pohlman was interrogating Carlos, who denied he had done anything wrong.
The lawsuit states that Pohlman took Carlos’ cell phone and threw it across the room. Carlos attempted to leave the conference room, but Pohlman slammed a door closed, forced the man against a conference room wall and demanded that Howard arrest the man.
Howard refused because he did not carry handcuffs and has “no legal authority to detain and/or arrest an accused employee who was merely attempting to leave the casino,” the suit states. Pohlman then grabbed Carlos by his shirt and ripped it off his body and did the same to his undershirt. Carlos screamed for help and eventually escaped, the suit states.
Zachary Wall, Howard’s Cherry Hill, Camden County-based, attorney, said it’s unclear why Pohlman became so angry about the situation. Wall said he is also unsure why Pohlman apparently did not recognize the scope of Howard’s responsibility.
“That is a good question and a question we hope to discover the answer to as the case moves forward,” Wall said when asked why his client believes Pohlman became so angry. “We’re looking forward to conducting the appropriate discovery and are confident that Mr. Howard’s claims will be substantiated.”
Howard reported what he calls Pohlman’s “reckless, dangerous and unlawful” behavior to Vice President of Operations Don Browne and Human Resources Director Barbara Hulsizer. The same day — Feb. 16 — Pohlman placed Howard on investigative suspension. When Howard returned from his suspension on Feb. 22, he was fired.
“Based on your failure to act and inaction as the director of security during the incident that occurred on Thursday, February 12, 2012, you are being terminated,” reads a line in the lawsuit that quotes the termination letter.
The employees involved in the alleged cell phone photo incident are not fully identified in the lawsuit. Carlos’ last name is withheld, and the female employee is not identified. However, Wall said their identities will be revealed as the case moves forward. They likely will be called as material witnesses, he said.
The lawsuit states that Howard contacted the Atlantic City Police Department about the incident, but was told the department would not respond unless Carlos filed a complaint.
Howard is also named in a separate suit filed by Trump Marina’s former national marketing director, Victoria Rothwell, but the legal actions appear to be unrelated. Rothwell claims she was improperly fired in December 2010 after voicing security concerns to Trump Entertainment Resorts CEO Robert Griffin in Howard’s presence.
The Golden Nugget has not yet filed its response to Howard’s complaint. The case has been assigned to Judge Joseph Marczyk.
LOUISVILLE, KY May 11 2012 - Two students at Doss High School are facing serious charges after a teacher said they used a cell phone to videotape her without her knowing.
According to warrants obtained by WAVE 3, one student distracted the teacher while the other placed a cell phone underneath her dress.
The warrants name Carlos Eugene Cain Jr., 18, of Louisville and Devon Ewing,18, of Louisville.
The warrants said Ewing asked for the teacher’s help “in an apparent ruse to enable the production of the video.” While the teacher was bent over helping Ewing, the warrant said Cain was behind her and placed Ewing’s cell phone under her dress without her consent or knowledge. The video was uploaded to YouTube. The a warrant said Cain “contacted others about the video posting and described how to locate it.”
Sherry Powell has two children that attend Doss High School “As a parent, I have mixed emotions on it,” said Powell. “Only in that the students were absolutely wrong. This is a very serious nature. It was very hurtful. The flip side to that is, I wish they could’ve taken care of it between the principal, the student, the teacher, the parents and got some type of very harsh accountability for such a serious thing.”
“I think certainly, it’s disturbing that this teacher was violated this way,” said Lauren Roberts, spokeswoman for Jefferson County Public Schools. “Unfortunately, young people make rash and sometimes bad decisions and they will face the consequences for that.”
Roberts said a student reported the video to staff. When school officials learned about the video, the report says they confronted Cain, who admitted his involvement to the principal and a Jefferson County deputy sheriff who serves as the school resource officer. Cain also said Ewing was aware of the plan to make the video.
“It would be wrong anywhere that would take place,” said Powell. “The fact that it happened at doss does not make me think ‘Oh wow. there’s something wrong.’ No, the faculty there is on it. I am so impressed with how the faculty at Doss handles these situations.”
Powell said this could be a learning experience for students.
“They’ll realize that this kind of behavior isn’t acceptable,” said Powell. “There’s no fun and games when it comes to harming someone else’s reputation.”
The two students are charged with felony video voyeurism. They’re facing additional severe consequences form the school. Roberts said they have very strict policies and procedures when it comes to electronic devices including cell phones.
Ewing and Cain were booked into Louisville Metro Corrections. Each is facing one count of video voyeurism.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police arrested six people as hundreds of protesters gathered in uptown in front of Bank of America headquarters to protest the bank’s spending.
Channel 9 reporter Tori Wells was at the corner of Fifth Street and North College Street all morning and said the protesters were shouting and chanting.
Extra officers were called to uptown to help control the protesters. The streets around the protest were shut down for several hours.
One group of protesters dragged a giant ball that says “DEBT” on it down the street. Those protesters stopped in the middle of the intersection outside the bank’s shareholders meeting.
“The people have to rise up and do something. We have to push President Obama. We have to push Eric Holder. We have to get these people indicted for the criminals that they are,” said protester Anne Craig from Asheville.
Johnny Rosa of Framingham, Mass., was one of those arrested. Rosa said before he was taken into custody that his home had been foreclosed and he wanted to tell shareholders the foreclosure was wrong because he wanted to make payments.
Charlotte police planned to use a new ordinance allowing the city to declare public gatherings as extraordinary events. Authorities can then designate areas where people won’t be allowed to carry backpacks, magic markers and other items.
The measures were adopted in advance of the Democratic National Convention. CMPD said the protest was a good dress rehearsal for the upcoming DNC.
The demonstrators took out a noise ordinance prior to the protest.
A large portion of the protesters moved to Bank of America stadium around 11 a.m. Around 12 p.m. the group was headed to Old City Hall, which was the site of the Occupy protest.
Channel 9 reporter Jim Bradley was inside the shareholder meeting that ended around 12:20 p.m. Bradley said about two dozen people spoke during the public comment portion and asked shareholders some very critical questions.
Bradley said they appeared to be protesters that got into the meeting. He said security personnel were in suits, not uniforms. They were seated amongst the shareholders to be able to react quickly to any problems.
The 99 Percent Coalition has protested at shareholder meetings across the country over the past month. The group is calling on Bank of America to get its money out of politics, pay more taxes and help struggling families.
A group also said it will deliver a petition calling on the bank to stop political donations.
“Americans are fed up with large corporations thinking they can buy our elections,” said Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman, founder and executive director of SumOfUs.org, the group running the petition. “Especially when you consider that Bank of America needed our dollars to stay afloat after helping crash the economy, we are especially angry that they would donate to super PACs that aim to elect people who will put Wall Street before Main Street.”
You can view that signers of that petition here.
Bank of America’s stock dropped more than 2 percent on Tuesday. Shares lost 17 cents and closed at $7.79.
BofA began sending out notification letters to 200,000 homeowners in North Carolina and all over the United States earlier this week saying they are eligible for loan modifications. In the letter, the bank states the customer will see a significant reduction in principle and could reduce monthly payments by up to 35 percent.
The protest is getting a lot of attention on our Facebook page. Frank Easton writes, “Wish I could be there but I’m at work. So thankful we have people like this fighting corporate greed.”
Nancy Threatte wrote, “I think every one who has a job should stay home one day then maybe we would get the respect we deserve.”
At the last Democratic National Convention in Denver, about 10,000 protesters showed up, and police made more than 150 arrests.
For some employees, Wednesday’s activities were a sign of things to come.
Eric Williams works as an accountant for The Shaw Group. He said dozens of other accountants have been told they can work from home during the convention.
“Most of the companies around here are telling their folks to work from home that week just to avoid the chaos; to avoid whatever may come,” he said.
Many companies in uptown Charlotte have come to that same decision, saying it’s better for business — and safer for employees — simply to close up shop for a few days.
There was no property damage and no violence from Wednesday’s protests. Six people were arrested for trespessing.
It was a valuable learning experience for Bonnie Jeffers, who works as an eyecare technician near Trade and College streets.
“I’m probably going to have to leave my house an hour and a half early, and I live 15 minutes down the road,” she said.
And to avoid the hassle of finding a parking spot, Jeffers said she’ll ride the bus to work.
Fourteen sailors assigned to security at U.S. submarine base implicated in drug use www.privateofficer.com
HARTFORD, Conn.May 11 2012 (AP) – Fourteen sailors assigned to the security department of the U.S. submarine base in Groton have been implicated in a Navy investigation into illegal drug use, officials said Wednesday.
The sailors have all been removed from security duties, according to Christopher Zendan, a spokesman for the base. He said none of the sailors were assigned to submarines and base security was never at risk.
Six sailors and four civilians already have been arrested in a probe by local, state and military officials into the trafficking of hallucinogenic drugs in Groton. Naval officials said the sailors involved could face state criminal charges as well as charges under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
“NCIS will continue to pursue this case to determine whether any additional Navy personnel are involved with this particular ring, although at this time indications are that all users have been identified,” said Gerald Tirocchi, a supervisory special agent with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.
Two of the sailors were arrested April 30 after a traffic stop and search by NCIS and the Groton police turned up $900 and a small amount of marijuana. On May 1, four sailors were arrested and charged with criminal attempt to possess the drug MDMA, also known as ecstasy.
The investigation also led to the arrests on May 3 of four civilian Rhode Island residents who were allegedly attempting to deliver drugs to a residence in Navy housing. Officers and special agents seized two ounces of MDMA and more than 100 doses of LSD in that operation.
Groton police Lt. John Varone said the suspects’ assignment to the base security department was motivation for his department, as well as Navy investigators.
“Anytime that anyone associated with the law enforcement profession violates the ethics or the code of conduct that we have taken an oath to not only uphold but also to live by, it gets us upset,” he said. “It tarnishes any shield you have.”
Zendan said it was too soon to speculate on actions that the base might take as a result of the investigation.
“The Navy and SUBASE will continue, as always, to work closely with civilian agencies and the community to ensure the safety of our sailors, families, and the communities in which we all work and live,” he said.
He said the sailors who had been assigned to the base’s Public Safety and Security Department will remain on other assignments for the duration of the NCIS investigation.
BESSEMER, AL May 11 2012 – An ambulance driver is on trial in Bessemer, charged with manslaughter for killing a 72-year-old woman in a 2009 wreck.
Sherrie Stone Varnon is accused of causing the wreck that killed Norma Alexander. Today in opening statements, prosecutors said Varnon was reckless while driving an ambulance and scrolling on her phone at the same time.
The wreck happened on I-59 Northbound just before the 18th/19th Street exit in Bessemer.
Varnon’s attorneys said in court Tuesday it was Norma Alexander’s daughter Lisa who was reckless and that she is the one at fault in the wreck that caused her mother’s death.
Today on the stand, Lisa Alexander told jurors she was running late for a doctor’s appointment on the day of the accident, Nov. 5, 2009. She was headed onto I-59 south to her appointment near UAB West when she noticed traffic was stopped due to a wreck ahead.
Alexander says she decided to cross the median to take a different route, and as she looked up the road, she saw flashing lights far off in the distance.
A few seconds after turning onto the road, she was hit from behind by a rural metro ambulance driven by Sherri Varnon.
In a statement to police, Varnon said she was following behind an ambulance from the first accident, headed to UAB. She didn’t have a passenger but her lights and siren were on and she was going more than 87 miles per hour. She says dispatchers called and as she went to answer her phone, the wreck occurred.
But on Tuesday afternoon, jurors were shown video recorded inside the ambulance that told a different story. Varnon could be seen with a phone in her right hand looking down for almost 10 seconds. She looked up just seconds before slamming into the back of the Alexander’s SUV, causing it to flip four times and ejecting Normal Alexander, who died on impact.
The prosecution has one other witness to present tomorrow. It’s not yet known if Varnon will take the stand. If convicted, Varnon would face two to 20 years in prison
Assistant United States Attorney John E Rogowski, who is handling the case, stated that on March 16, 2005, the defendant, a Buffalo police officer, was placed on injured on duty (IOD) status by the city of Buffalo. According to the complaint, Quintana was placed on IOD status for alleged injuries to his lower back and buttocks after he slipped and fell on icy steps while responding to a 911-call.
The complaint further states that on numerous occasions while allegedly out of work due to this injury, the defendant was observed working at a local restaurant. The observed work included the lifting of supplies, cleaning tables, stocking, kneeling and bending, and chipping ice.
Nevertheless, during the course of an independent medical exam requested by the city of Buffalo in January 2012, Quintana told doctors he was unable to perform any work. The defendant remains on IOD status to this date (seven years after his initial injury) and has resisted efforts to have him return to work.
“It is the duty of all sworn police officers to uphold the law and the vast majority of officers do just that each and every day,” said United States Attorney Hochul. “All should also recognize that police work can be hazardous, and for that reason, communities frequently pay for officers injured in the line of duty until such time as they can return to their posts.”
Hochul further stated that “by falsely claiming to be too injured to return to work, an officer not just breaks the law, she or he hurts the credibility of those legitimately injured in the line of duty. This type of lie also leaves one less officer to patrol the streets of the city, requires working officers to perform overtime duty and thereby increase their own risk of injury, and drives up the cost of health care in these times of difficult economic circumstances.
This office can and will act when presented with evidence of this type of fraud.”
“We, as members of law enforcement, are keenly aware of how dangerous it is to be a law enforcement officer,” said Steven L Lanser, FBI Acting Special Agent in Charge. “Every day we see how the good, hardworking men and women in the Buffalo Police Department out their lives and safety on the line. The injured on duty program is in place to ensure members of the police department are secure in knowing this benefit is available should they sustain a serious injury while discharging their duties. Abuse of the IOD system is an affront to the taxpayers of the city of Buffalo.”
The criminal complaint is the culmination of an investigation by special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Christopher M Piehota, and the Buffalo Police Department, under the direction of Commissioner Daniel Derenda.
The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
Source: Press Release FBI
HUNTSVILLE, AL May 11 2012 - Huntsville Police are on the scene at the Wells Fargo on North Memorial Parkway where a security guard was attacked.
When she woke a homeless man told him to leave the front of the bank just before 5 p.m., the man got angry and began to argue with her. He then lunged at her and cut her on the palm of her left hand with what is believed to be a box cutter.
The offender then fled the scene on foot.
The security guard suffered minor injuries and was treated by HEMSI paramedics at the scene.
Police are searching for the offender.
The investigation is ongoing.
Knoxville TN May 11 2012 A convicted sex offender is back behind bars after grabbing a woman at West Town Mall and touching her inappropriately.
According to Knoxville Police, Terry Eugene Wadley, 32, who is homeless, went into a clothing store Tuesday afternoon and approached a 22-year-old employee. He rubbed against her and touched her over her clothes, then ran when other employees came to help the victim.
Mall security and responding officers located Wadley and took him into custody. The victim was able to identify him as the man who assaulted her.
Wadley has been charged with sexual battery. He had been recently released from the Knox County jail and has been previously convicted of sexual battery in Knox County.
He is on the Sexual Offender Registry as a violent offender. He also has a history of felony drug charges and theft charges from Roane and Hamilton Counties.
Surveillance video from the schools showed the same two men were responsible, police said Wednesday.
In each case, the thieves stole Apple iMacs worth more than $2,000 each. A security guard interrupted one theft.
The first heist occurred about 6 p.m. April 20, at Avila University, 11901 Wornall Road. Police said the thieves walked into the unlocked building when few students were around and apparently pried open the door to a computer lab. They stole 12 computers and knocked another on the floor.
Video showed a sport utility vehicle speeding out of the parking lot at 6:14 p.m., its driver disregarding a stop sign.
Last Friday, the thieves walked into an unlocked building at DeVry University, 11224 Holmes Road, and used a crow bar to break a window and enter a computer lab. Police said the men were unplugging the computers when a security guard arrived about 9 p.m. The classroom light had drawn the guard’s attention, police said. The guard knew there were no classes that day on that floor.
The men ran past the guard and out the door. The guard saw several computers and monitors on the floor and called 911.
The thieves apparently drove straight to the Derrick Thomas Academy, a charter school at 201 E. Armour Blvd., where they broke into the locked building and stole seven computers, police said.
Officer Michael Helvie said video from the failed theft at Devry clearly showed the men’s faces.
Anyone with information should call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS (816-474-8477.)
SEATTLE WA May 11 2012 – Dozens of Seattle University students nearly became felons after Homeland Security got wind of a massive fake ID buy at the school.
College students in the market for a fake ID no longer have to go into a back room with a lamination machine and a bad photo. There’s much easier ways now, but 65 Seattle University students recently came to realize that the easy way isn’t always the right way.
Finding a website that sells fake IDs online has become easier and easier as technology has involved. But just as students are using the Internet to break the law, law enforcement is using it to catch them.
That’s what happened last month, when Homeland Security officers tracked a package from China heading to Seattle.
“That contained suspicious item that turned out to be fraudulent driver’s licenses,” said Michael Sletten, the school’s Campus Safety Coordinator.
A single student brought at least 64 other friends together for a massive fake ID buying binge.
“They were being shipped to a residence hall here on campus,” Sletten said.
Homeland Security carefully watched the delivery and helped the school catch the students.
“A lot of people got busted,” said student AJ Reza.
Even with all the negative attention, classmates say fake IDs are a part of the culture.
“Two thirds of my friends have fake Ids,” said freshman Katarina Juarez.
The problem of fake IDs on college campuses is far from a new thing, but the web has made it much easier to get closer to the real thing.
“But it’s harder at the same time because you have to be really careful to make sure that it looks legit,” Reza said.
The 65 students could have ended up as felons for importing fake IDs from overseas. In the end, Customs and Border Protection decided to let the school fine and sanction the students instead of making a federal case out of it.
The school couldn’t reveal the exact punishment for each student, but they included community service, fines, suspensions and writing research papers about forgery.
Sacramento CA May 11 2012 Sacramento County sheriff’s authorities arrested one of their own this morning on suspicion of drug-related charges, department officials said today.
Kelly Smith, a 43-year-old deputy assigned to the Rancho Cordova Police Department, was arrested on suspicion of unlawful possession of a controlled substance, obtaining a controlled substance by fraud or deceit, and unlawful use of personal identifying information of another, according to spokesman Deputy Jason Ramos.
All three charges are felonies, Ramos said. Smith posted $30,000 bail and was released.
The investigation into Smith’s alleged criminal conduct began March 31, Ramos said. Smith was placed on administrative leave, and further investigation by the department’s internal affairs detectives led to the charges that prompted Smith’s arrest today, Ramos said.
Smith remains on administrative leave.
Detectives allege that Smith fraudulently refilled prescriptions for Vicadin that were intended for a 90-year-old man whom she had befriended, according to a request written by a sheriff’s detective for an arrest warrant. The man’s family alerted authorities after they realized that someone unknown to them had called in and picked up refill orders without their approval.
When confronted by detectives, Smith claimed she was “stockpiling” pills for her father, who was dying of cancer, the warrant request said. She also claimed that she did not have any “problems” with pain medications.
Ramos said he could not release more information about the investigation or elaborate on the charges. He also said he could not comment about whether any of Smith’s alleged criminal conduct occurred while she was on duty.
Sheriff Scott Jones issued the following statement: “Maintaining the public trust is paramount to the Sheriff’s Department. Any alleged violation of that trust is something that the Sheriff’s Department will aggressively investigate and take appropriate action.”
The Sheriff’s Department provides policing services to the city of Rancho Cordova by contract.
PRICHARD, Ala.May 11 2012 It’s not every day you see a police chief take down a suspect, literally. Surveillance cameras recorded Prichard Police Chief Jimmie Gardner tackling a robbery suspect Saturday morning at an Advance Auto Parts store on Highway 45.
Police were on high alert for a man going store to store, jumping up on counters and stealing items. Gardner had a suspicion he would strike again in the same area, and saw a man matching the suspect’s description entering the Advance Auto Parts store. Gardner entered the store, saw the man start stealing items, and confronted him.
“He took him down with a football tackle,” store clerk Lelah Patterson said.
After being knocked to the ground, the suspect managed to break free. He started running outside, but was taken down again by Chief Gardner and eventually arrested.
“I did sustain some bruises and bumps,” Chief Gardner told Local 15 News. “But that goes with the territory. At the end of the day, the idea was to get this thug off the street.”
Gardner said the man was armed with a windshield wiper. The store clerk said this should be a lesson to all would-be robbers.
“Don’t be doin’ stuff you aren’t supposed to be doin’,” Patterson said. “The police here make their presence known. They protect their city.”
WASHINGTON DC May 11 2012 – Thousands of pieces of security equipment that cost taxpayers an estimated $184 million and were supposed to be installed at airport checkpoints to screen passengers are collecting dust in government warehouses, a joint congressional panel reported Wednesday.
“Airport Insecurity: TSA’s Failure to Cost-Effectively Procure, Deploy and Warehouse its Screening Technologies” details how 85 percent of about 5,700 security units is warehoused at a Transportation Security Administration facility in Dallas. Annual storage costs at the Transportation Logistics Center, the report noted, top $3.5 million annually.
The investigative report was produced by the Republican staff of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, chaired By Rep. Darrell Issa of California, and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, headed by Rep. John Mica of Florida.
“TSA continues to demonstrate its penchant for bungling aviation security and wasting taxpayers’ money,” Mica said at a hearing on the report Wednesday. “The CIA uncovered terrorists’ latest modified underwear bomb plot, but TSA has repeatedly failed to effectively procure and deploy screening equipment that actually detects threats, and incredible amounts of its state-of-the-art technology is gathering dust in Texas warehouses. Significant reform is necessary to transform this bloated and inefficient bureaucracy into the effective security agency it needs to be.”
“Money spent on equipment sitting in a warehouse in excess is money not spent on the front lines,” said Issa. “This is not a security operation, but rather a recipe for waste and abuse.”
According to the committee’s report, as of Feb. 15, 2012:
•About 85 percent of the approximately 5,700 pieces of security equipment was stored for longer than six months; 35 percent had been stored for more than one year. One piece of equipment had been in storage more than six years.
•There were 472 carry-on baggage screening machines in the warehouse, 34 percent of which had been stored for longer than a year.
•The committee estimated the delayed deployment of TSA equipment “has resulted in a massive depreciated loss of equipment utility at an estimated cost to taxpayers of nearly $23 million.”
•TSA had 1,462 explosive-trace detectors worth nearly $44 million in storage, far more than it could use in the 463 airports where TSA provides screening operations. When asked why the agency bought so many, agency officials said they needed that many in order to get a discount.
The 22-page committee report said the TSA “intentionally delayed Congressional oversight of the Transportation Logistics Center (TLC) and provided inaccurate, incomplete, and potentially misleading information to Congress in order to conceal the agency’s continued mismanagement of warehouse operations.” It said the TLC tried to hide roughly 1,300 pieces of screening equipment from congressional investigators and provided staffers with a list of disposed items “that falsely identified disposal dates and directly contradicted the inventory of equipment” in a report to committee staff.
The committee made a series of recommendations to TSA aimed at ensuring equipment is actually needed before it is purchased.
The TSA defended buying equipment in bulk, saying it saved taxpayers money and that machines have been kept in warehouses at times because airports weren’t ready to accept them. The agency said as of Wednesday there are only two AIT machines in storage.
“TSA is responsible for deploying and operating state-of-the-art security technology at over 450 airports across the nation. To fulfill its security responsibilities, TSA rapidly deploys technology to respond to changing threat information, and stand-up operations in locations affected by natural disasters and other crises,” said TSA spokesman Matthew Chandler.
“These factors and others require the agency to have a steady inventory of technology available to prevent supply disruptions from compromising aviation security. The overwhelming majority of all screening equipment that is currently in storage (nearly 80 percent) has been warehoused for less than a year,” he said. “After technology is tested, TSA must fulfill a number of requirements prior to deploying machines, such as establishing sufficient and qualified staff to operate the new equipment and ensuring the assigned airport has the infrastructure in place to accept it.”
It was a victory for activists who had feared that using smartphones or video cameras to record police responding to demonstrations during this month’s NATO summit in Chicago could land protesters and bloggers behind bars for years. It’s also the most serious legal challenge to the measure — one of the strictest in the nation — and adds momentum to efforts by some state lawmakers to overhaul the legislation, whose constitutionality has been questioned.
The law, enacted in 1961, makes it a felony for someone to produce an audio recording of a conversation unless all parties agree. It sets a maximum punishment of 15 years in prison if a law enforcement officer is recorded.
In a separate decision late last month, the city of Chicago’s chief legal officer said police did not intend to enforce the law during the May 20-21 summit, but Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez had not given similar assurances. Tuesday’s temporary injunction put summit protesters in the clear.
“The Illinois eavesdropping statute restricts far more speech than necessary to protect legitimate privacy interests,” the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit said in its opinion. “As applied to the facts alleged here, it likely violates the First Amendment’s free speech and free-press guarantees.”
The ruling stemmed from a 2010 lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union seeking to block Alvarez from prosecuting ACLU staff for recording police officers performing their duties in public places, one of the group’s long-standing monitoring missions.
“To make the rights of free expression … effective, individuals and organizations must be able to freely gather and record information about the conduct of government and their agents — especially the police,” Harvey Grossman of the ACLU of Illinois said Tuesday in reaction to the ruling.
He noted that with new technology, it is easier than ever to record and disseminate images and audio recordings.
“Empowering individuals and organizations in this fashion will ensure additional transparency and oversight of police across the state,” Grossman said.
Alvarez’s office said it was preparing a statement, but had no immediate response to the ruling. The court described her position as “extreme.”
“She contends that openly recording what police officers say while performing their duties in traditional public fora — streets, sidewalks, plazas, and parks — is wholly unprotected by the First Amendment. This is an extraordinary argument,” the ruling read.
Protest organizers praised the court action.
“We have had this just ridiculously long fight with the city around the right to protest here,” said Joe Isobaker, of the Coalition Against NATO/G-8 War & Poverty Agenda. “And this just serves to confirm the correctness of our stance, which is that we have the right to speak out against war and greed and the other evils of our society.”
In the state capital, a Senate bill that would rewrite the law to formally include an exception for people recording police officers at work in public places is awaiting a vote in the House. An earlier bill failed in a House vote, but the measure has been revised to reflect some of the concerns of law enforcement officials.
One of its sponsors, Rep. Elaine Nekritz, said the right to record police was vital to guard against abuses.
“I think citizens have First Amendment rights to protect themselves against an overreaching government and this is one way they can do that,” she said.
Raleigh, N.C. May 11 2012— In its first recruiting blitz in five years, the North Carolina State Highway Patrol is looking to quickly fill 183 vacant positions with qualified applicants.
The Highway Patrol loses about 10 troopers a month to attrition, which doesn’t include troopers who quit or are fired. Last year, budget cuts forced the agency to implement a hiring freeze.
Now, Trooper Courtney Dail says the agency needs more officers on patrol.
“We need help on the road investigating collisions,” she said. “We’re having to go from call to call, getting backed up – people are having to wait longer.”
That’s why the agency is hosting a recruiting fair Thursday at its training facility in Raleigh. Troopers will be on hand to assist applicants – who must be between 21 and 39 with a clean criminal record – from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 3318 Old Garner Road.
Trooper Eric Naylor said more troopers will help the public.
“Call times will be cut down,” he said. “People won’t have to wait for accidents or anything of that nature.”
The hiring process takes about four months from the time a new recruit applies until he or she starts training, so even if Thursday’s job fair goes well, it will be months before troopers get some help on the roads.
Jon Gregory, a law enforcement training coordinator at Wake Technical Community College, said he has seen a 20 to 30 percent spike in students seeking careers in law enforcement.
He advises his students to “think long and hard” about becoming a law enforcement officer.
“If this the type of profession you want to get into?” Gregory asks students. “Careers in this arena – it may last six years, then the person is out.”
Naylor said the agency looks for applicants who are called to public service.
“Dedicated, motivated – that’s what we’re looking for with new troopers,” he said. “With the Highway Patrol, it needs to be something you want to do.”
Thelma Wheelis, on behalf of the deceased Jason Wayne Jefferson, filed a lawsuit on Wednesday, May 2 in the Harris County District Court against Club Richs, Katy resident Cody Malloy, and 2401 San Jacinto Holdings, citing negligent hiring of employees, negligence and gross negligence.
Wheelis says on Feb. 27, Jefferson died at the hospital after a bouncer at Club Richs, located at 2401 San Jacinto, struck him in the head with a chain.
Jefferson arrived at the club Feb. 17 to celebrate his 40th birthday, paying a $25 cover charge to enter, according to the brief. The suit alleges when Jefferson waited by the door for a friend to move a car, Malloy, the bouncer, attacked him after demanding a second $25 cover charge to re-enter the club.
Wheelis is seeking damages and court costs. She is being represented in the case by Houston attorney Ronald Hood.
Harris County District Court Case No. 2012-25573.
Lufkin TX May 11 2012 Police on Wednesday released the identity of the man found dead with a gunshot wound outside the Charles Wilson VA Clinic Tuesday.
The man was identified as William Clark Kreger, 68, according to a police report. Although his car registration was found to be out of Brazoria, Kreger had been living in Lufkin with his step-grandson, according to reports from the scene.
Around 5:45 p.m. Tuesday, a security guard found Kreger dead inside his silver Ford Taurus in the VA parking lot. Police investigated, finding no sign of foul plays, It appears he died from a gunshot wound to his upper abdomen, the police report stated.
Although there were no signs of foul play, the department will continue to investigate his death as a homicide, pending autopsy. An autopsy was ordered by Justice of the Peace Pct. 1 Billy Ball.
According to previous reports, Kreger pulled up in the parking lot between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. and never left his vehicle.
VA Clinic officials in Houston, said they could not comment on the case, citing HIPAA violations. It is unknown if Kreger was a patient at the clinic.
Police said they were alerted by a manager at the Goodwill store located at 6110 N. Keystone Ave. The manager said security video had captured 62-year-old Ronald Kemp taking a $283.00 necklace out of a purse and putting it in his pocket.
The necklace was actually part of a sting operation conducted by loss prevention officers who had become suspicious that an employee was stealing donations.
Suspicions were aroused after records indicated that the Keystone Avenue store was a top leader in overall donations, but last in donated jewelry. Officers planted the necklace to see if any employee would take it after it was processed.
When police confronted Kemp about keeping the necklace, they said he admitted to the theft. They said he also admitted to stealing other jewelry in the past. Kemp had worked at the store for about two years.
It is not known how much donated jewelry he may have stolen during his time as a Goodwill employee.
Goodwill spokeswoman Cindy Graham called the theft a betrayal of trust.
“People give us things because they trust that we’re going to generate revenue from that to support our mission,” Graham said. “If something bad occurs, we’re going to take steps to make sure that is not a part of our supply chain.”
Graham said the case was also frustrating because Goodwill has a reputation for employing people who may have had prior run-ins with the law and who need a second chance. Police records indicate Kemp had previous arrests for Criminal Recklessness and Battery.
“Yeah, it’s pretty frustrating,” Graham said.
Kemp was arrested at the Goodwill store on May 7 and booked into the Marion County jail. He faces preliminary charges of Theft and Receiving Stolen Property.
The west side woman has retained Milwaukee attorney Sandra G. Radtke, who wrote to Quesada’s former employer, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, asking that she be reinstated in her customer service job or at least given severance pay.
“I’m waiting to hear back. We’re prepared to fight if we have to,” Radtke said.
Quesada, 58, was featured in my column Sunday. Her story has since spread worldwide over the airwaves and online. Public opinion appears to be weighted in her favor.
Meanwhile, other recently fired Wells Fargo employees in Milwaukee have contacted me to say they know what Quesada is going through.
Shavonne Roussel Mortonson, terminated from the claims department on March 30 after nearly three years with the company, said she was party to a retail theft case 15 years ago but was not convicted. At age 17, she was with another girl who shoplifted from Kohl’s, though she didn’t take anything herself. The online record states the case against her was dismissed and adds, “These charges were not proven and have no legal effect.”
“It did not matter, though, and my appeal for re-employment was denied,” she said. “We were just discarded with no thought given to whether we were serving our purpose as Wells Fargo employees or if the cases in question in any way affected our ability to contribute at Wells Fargo.”
Mortonson, 31, of West Bend, received a raise earlier this year and bonuses for good performance. “Then they threw me out in the job world with a termination on my record,” she said.
Another local employee, a single mother of two, said she was fired Tuesday for a 1999 misdemeanor theft conviction that the company knew about when she started in 2008.
“It was not a liability issue then, so why are they making it a liability issue now?” she said.
Because the law says they have to, according to a statement from Wells Fargo. They bank is bound by Section 19 of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act that says it must part ways with applicants or employees convicted of any criminal offense involving dishonesty or a breach of trust or money laundering, even if they entered into pretrial diversion of the case.
The termination letters don’t include those details. Quesada’s letter just says her background was screened — with help from a set of fingerprints she was forced to give them — and that she is ineligible to work there anymore after five productive years.
It may seem tough, said Wells Fargo spokesman Jim Hines, “but laws and regulations related to the employment of bank employees are designed to protect the interests of all consumers who put their trust in financial service companies.”
If Wells Fargo wanted to use common sense to avoid firing people for these old and weak cases, they could apply to the FDIC for a waiver. The employees also can ask for a waiver, but Radtke said it can take nine to 12 months to get a decision. Among the things considered are the nature of the offense, the offender’s age at the time and evidence of rehabilitation since then.
The law does not automatically exclude crimes just because they were decades ago, but it has been interpreted to disregard civil tickets and also misdemeanors that can be shown to be isolated and minor.
Quesada was arrested twice for shoplifting clothing in 1972 when she was 18. From the FBI records she received with her dismissal, it appears one was a ticket and the second was a misdemeanor, though it’s unclear how Wells Fargo could know that for sure. She received a fine and probation.
Quesada has been a law-abiding person ever since, and she received much recognition for good work at Wells Fargo. She hopes that by going public she will help other employees at the company and perhaps foster a screening system that shows more compassion.
“I think they did an injustice to me. It felt like they were throwing me down the stairs,” she said. “I understand their side. I wish they would slow down how they’re doing it.”
Being too warm and fuzzy could get expensive for Wells Fargo and other federally insured financial institutions. Hines said a violation of Section 19 can result in a fine of up to $1 million a day plus imprisonment for the culprits.
SUMTER, SC May 11 2012 - An employee of a Sumter tanning salon is in jail, charged with voyeurism after two different women reported seeing someone possibly taking pictures or video of them while they were tanning.
20-year-old Robert Glenn Rodgers Jr. of Mayesville was arrested after a May 8 incident at The Beach Tanning Salon, located at 546 Pike St.
Police said a 31-year-old woman on Tuesday reported that while getting out of a tanning bed she observed a flash of light coming from above the wall that separates the tanning area room from the lobby area.
The victim believed that she was being photographed and possibly video recorded by an employee of the business while tanning, police said. A friend of the victim who was present at the time observed the employee standing in the area in which the victim stated she saw the camera flash come from.
Rodgers, Jr. was given a second voyeurism charge after detectives working the May 8th incident discovered that on May 7, a 41-year-old female while getting out of a tanning bed, observed a cell phone or camera on the top of the wall that separates the tanning area room from the lobby area.
The victim in this case believed that she was being video recorded by an employee of the business while tanning, police said.
Rodgers remains at the Sumter Lee Regional Detention Center where he is awaiting a bond hearing.
The Sumter Police Department would like to remind the public that anyone with additional information surrounding this incident to please come forward. You can contact the authorities by calling CRIMESTOPPERS at (803) 436-2718 /or the City of Sumter Police Department’s Detective Division at (803) 436-2717 or 436-2790.
Callers may remain anonymous.
Detroit MI May 11 2012 As about 15 members of a Detroit church studied passages at their Wednesday night Bible study, the man hired to protect them was gunned down outside.
The death of 84-year-old Joseph Lewis is a “heartbreaker,” said deacon Jimmy Jones, 61, from Victory Way Assembly Church of God & Christ.
“We were in Bible study and a young man ran into the church and said, ‘Your guard was shot,’ ” Jones said today. “They don’t have no regard whether it’s a church, a party store or your house. They don’t have any regard. They don’t have that type of fear anymore.”
T.J. Lewis left his two-story home on Begole Street around 6 p.m. last night to walk to the party store around the corner on Tireman.
Along the way, as usual, Joseph Lewis was keeping watch over the Victory Way Assembly Church of God & Christ.
Before crossing Tireman, T.J. Lewis, who happens to share the same last name, stopped to talk to the guard.
“I shook his hand once in a while, but I shook his hand for some reason and had a brief conversation with him,” said Lewis. “Then he went back to the church.”
Just a few hours later, the familiar face Lewis was used to seeing on his walks would be shot to death.
“He was a very wise older person, very smart,” said Lewis. “He was a veteran. I found out through conversations with him. He served in the U.S. Army.”
Detroit Police investigators say two men walked up to the church parking lot at Tireman and Vancourt at 8:45 p.m. Wednesday and confronted Joseph Lewis. A struggle ensued, with one shot hitting the security guard. The two men, who ran off, are still at large, according to police.
Jones said Joseph Lewis was armed, but his gun was still in his holster as a Detroit Police officer performed CPR to try to revive him in the parking lot.
“It’s pathetic,” Jones said. “I don’t know if he was trying to rob him or what. For them to just come up and do that, it’s pathetic.”
Jones, a member of the church since 1983, said they hired the security firm about three years ago due to concerns about crime. He said he was relieved Wednesday night to see seven or eight Detroit Police cars and EMS crews responded quickly.
Allison Moore, 25, was behind the counter of her fiance’s clothing and beauty supply store across the street from the church.
“By the time I made it across the street, he was already gone,” she said.
“I saw two men standing close next to him, and then I saw a flash,” said Moore.
Moore and her fiance’s mother, Wilhelmina Shumate, were the only people in the area to come to Lewis’ aide, she said.
“I checked his pulse and he didn’t have one,” said Moore. “We didn’t know he had been shot because there was no blood. We thought maybe he had a heart attack from the shock.”
Moore said Lewis would always bring her mother-in-law food. He had just brought her a meal that night.
The white plastic fork from Lewis’ dinner remained in the church parking lot this afternoon, next to where his car was parked when he was gunned down.
Moore said although Lewis had only been a security guard at the church for less than a year, he has definitely left his mark on the neighborhood.
“I feel he gave us a bigger sense of security,” said Moore. “It’s so sad he’s not going to be here anymore. I feel less safe now knowing what happened to him and that he’s not going to be here anymore.”
Today, church members will be deciding whether to fence the lot or install cameras so parishioners can worship in peace.
“We’re going to be looking at it today, things that will give us more security around there,” he said.
They’ve also offered to hold services for Lewis if he does not have a church home of his own. They are waiting to hear back from Lewis’ family, Jones said.
LONG BEACH CA May 11 2012— A Long Beach police officer already arrested for sexual offenses involving a minor is scheduled to be arraigned Friday on dozens more criminal counts for allegedly engaging in lewd acts with multiple underage girls dating back to 2008.
A total of 39 criminal counts, both felony and misdemeanor, were filed against Noe Yanez by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office on Monday, said Jane Robison, DA spokeswoman.
A warrant for Yanez’s arrest was issued that same day, Robison said.
Yanez was picked up by Long Beach police Wednesday and booked into the Men’s Central Jail in Downtown Los Angeles that afternoon, where he was being held Thursday in lieu of $950,000 bail, according to
According to the criminal complaint, Yanez engaged in sex-related acts with 13 girls, all of whom were under the age of 18, between January 2008 and April of this year. The complaint also charges Yanez had unlawful sexual intercourse, engaged in oral copulation, committed penetration with a foreign object and provided alcohol to one victim.
Seven counts of false imprisonment by violence were filed, including one girl who was allegedly held against her will last Christmas Eve.
The complaint includes dozens of counts of misdemeanor child molestation, felony contact with a minor for a sexual offense and meeting a minor for lewd purposes.
Yanez, a nine-year veteran of the force, was assigned to the Patrol
Division at the time of the alleged crimes. Police and prosecutors haven’t said if he met his victims through his job, citing the sensitive nature of the investigation.
Yanez was first arrested and booked on April 19 for possession of child pornography following an investigation into his alleged inappropriate contact with a girl, which, according to police, began with text messages and the solicitation of inappropriate photographs.
The LBPD launched its investigation after the girl reported the alleged conduct to a school resource officer in March. School resource officers are only assigned at high schools, authorities explained.
Yanez was suspended without pay following his initial arrest and remains on suspension pending the outcome of the internal and criminal investigations, police officials said.
He posted bond April 20, following his first arrest, and had been scheduled to be arraigned on that charge Friday at the Long Beach Superior Court.
However, due to the additional victims and the serious nature of the allegations, Yanez’s case is now being handled by the DA’s Public Integrity Division. He is scheduled to be arraigned on the new charge Friday at the Downtown Los Angeles Criminal Courts building Robison said.
The 39 criminal counts filed Monday include the original allegations for which he was arrested in April.
The investigation remains open and anyone with information is asked to call the Long Beach Police Department Sex Crimes Detail’s Tip Line at 562-570-7878. Anonymous tips can be sent via text or email to http://www.tipsoft.com.
Hartford CT May 11 2012 Forty privately employed security guards who work in state office buildings mounted a one-day strike Thursday, protesting low wages and benefits in a standoff complicated by state rules over retirement benefits the workers say they are not receiving.
The workers signed up last year with Local 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union, but their employer — SOS Security Inc. of Parsippany, N.J. — has refused to bargain for a contract, workers and SEIU officials said Thursday.
SOS has also refused to pay for a traditional pension, which is mandated under its contract with the state, the strikers said.
“SOS doesn’t want our union to represent the workers,” said Kurt Westby, Connecticut district director of Local 32BJ, which represents 4,500 people in the state — mostly janitors and building maintenance workers.
A person who answered the phone at SOS who identified himself as Gary said the company would not comment. Last month, a spokesman for the state Department of Administrative Services said the agency was reviewing the contract to determine whether SOS was in compliance, but DAS has not issued a statement.
The security officers, joined by other members of 32BJ, shouted slogans and banged on makeshift drums at 410 Capitol Ave. Thursday as state employees exited the building during lunchtime. The strikers work at several buildings along that stretch, near the state Capitol, including the highrise at 25 Sigourney St.
“This is the worst company I’ve ever worked for,” said April Piette, an East Hartford resident and former U.S. Army corporal who has been with SOS for two years but has been in building security since 1994.
Piette said 32BJ approached the workers last year and asked about working conditions. She helped organize co-workers.
In all, there are about 400 private building guards in state buildings, mostly in Hartford, mostly non-unionized, said Matt O’Connor, the 32BJ political director. Most make similar wages — in the range of $10 to $12 an hour, or slightly more or less.
“That’s way below what would be the private standard for doing this work,” O’Connor said.
Westby said the company does offer health insurance, as required by the state — at $14,000 per year charged to employees who choose family coverage.
The group has not yet filed a protest with federal labor officials, Westby said. “This is our form of protest and we’ll see whether we can drive some change. … We’re talking with other guards, also.”