+ (bottom) Mom calls cops concerned about son's mental health=he gets 5 years in NJ state prison for improper licensing of handguns...no criminal record, entrepreneur, biz owner, tries to follow laws, calls law enf. for guidance...still goes to prison.
+ (bottom) Cop trespasses, copies woman's house key
Two Dallas narcotics detectives on restrictive duty after scuffle over racial slurs
7:35 PM Mon, Nov 15, 2010 | Permalink |
Tanya Eiserer/Reporter Bio | E-mail | News tips
Two Dallas narcotics detectives have been placed on restrictive duty after they got into a scuffle, possibly because one uttered racial slurs at the other during an earlier incident.
Both detectives are black.
The detectives, Charles Palmer and Dennis Malone, got into the scuffle in a parking garage at police headquarters about noon Friday. Palmer told supervisors that Malone was the aggressor.
Police say tension arose between the detectives earlier in the week when an undercover narcotics officer, who is white, asked Malone, who is black, for his assistance transporting a man arrested on a drug charge to jail.
Malone told supervisors that during that incident, on Wednesday, Palmer began calling him names because he had agreed to help the white officer. Malone told supervisors that Palmer, who is black, began calling him an "Uncle Tom" and the "N-word" as they were taking the prisoner to jail.
Officials are questioning a third narcotics officer, who is also black and witnessed the scuffle.
"We're waiting on the public integrity investigation to determine what actions will be taken," said Acting Assistant Chief Julian Bernal. "The whole issue is problematic -- using those kinds of names whether you're talking to another officer or not. It kind of transcends into the public. If you're using that terminology with another officer, you're probably using that terminology with the public."
Palmer declined to comment. Malone did not return a request for comment.
Malone joined the department in 2003 and has been assigned to the narcotics division since 2008. Palmer joined the force in 2001 and has been assigned to the narcotics division since 2007. Both are assigned to a uniformed narcotics squad.
Neither has a serious disciplinary record.
KC police fire at backfiring van
Two Kansas City police officers who thought they were being shot at from inside a van returned fire Thursday night.
Only later did police realize that the van was actually backfiring and the man inside was not armed. He was not injured by the shots fired by police.
Windows of the police car were apparently shot out by the officers as they exited the patrol car.
The officers were dispatched on a report of shots being fired from a white van just before 6 p.m. Thursday on Gregory Boulevard near Interstate 435.
When the officers got to the area they saw a white van parked on Gregory and pulled up near it. As they were getting out of the patrol car they heard the backfiring and fired their weapons. Police are continuing to investigate the incident.
Black is back
No, not as in the fashion sense.
Nor in the sense that District of Columbia’s Ward 8 Councilmember Marion Barry suggested today on WTOP.com talk radio (“DC Mayor Adrian Fenty lost his election because "there was a overtantly disproportionate number of white people . . . in top positions and that's why I want black people . . . the African American community are in rebellion over this kind of conduct’").
But rather as in the former Republican Delegate from Loudoun County, Virginia named Dick Black, a staunch backer of Second Amendment legislation long before it was politically cool to do so.
In 2005, Black lost his seat to radical anti-gun David Poisson by a narrow 1,435 vote margin. But just a few years later in 2009 Poisson was subsequently crushed by Virginia Citizen Defense League (VCDL) political action committee backed (and staunch Second Amendment supporter) Tag Greason (R) by a margin nearly 3 times as large as Poisson’s defeat of Delegate Black.
NOTE: Apparently David Poisson preferred the pronunciation of his last name to sound like the well known French mathemtician Poisson, as in the Poisson distribution. However the gun rights community generally used the . . . . um, alternative, phonetic pronunciation.
In any event, last night in Ashburn, VA, Mr. Black launched his bid for election to the Virginia Senate. Ed Levine, a hopeful would be future constituent of Black, said the event was “a very full packed house.”
Black wrote on his website that
"As the only combat-wounded veteran in the General Assembly, I used firearms in battle and understand their value more than most. I would not be here today were it not for a Winchester M-14 that I carried in the jungles of Vietnam, as a young Marine officer. I understand the importance of protecting our 2nd Amendment Rights.
As a legislator in Richmond for eight years, I received an A+ rating from the NRA.
I believe Virginians have the right to protect themselves. I support the right of competent, law abiding citizens to own arms to defend themselves and their families. It is important that our government does not infringe upon the liberties of its citizens."
If Black wins the Republican nomination, he will likely face incumbent Senator Mark Herring (D – Loudoun & Fairfax Counties). Senator Herring generally votes against gun rights legislation, such his 2010 Senate floor votes against bills to allow law abiding citizens to carry handguns in alcohol serving restaurants and vehicles.
Philip Van Cleave, President of the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL) thinks that while VCDL per se does not endorse candidates, his members will like what they hear from Dick Black on the campaign trail based on his previous record in the Virginia House of Delegates, and like how he should vote on gun rights bills should he be elected. Mr. Van Cleave says his group aims to restore Second Amendment rights fully in the Commonwealth by repealing Virginia’s nearly one of a kind “one handgun a month rationing law, protecting concealed handgun permit holder privacy, and making it legal for those permit holders to carry handguns in” K-12 schools, airports, and places of worship.
“What good are your rights if you have to check them at the door,” added Van Cleave.
Cops bust seven men playing chess in upper Manhattan park
(playing in children's section of park, thus 'have to be pedos').
Court: Teachers can't have sex with any students
The Washington Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that student age doesn't matter in teacher-sex cases, even if the student is 18 and considered an adult by other state laws.
Firearms stolen from police training center
A Must Read: NJ Man's Ridiculous Gun Conviction
Opinion by Reason Foundation
(3 Days Ago) in Society / Guns
By Radley Balko
Sue Aitken called the police because she was worried about her son, Brian. She now lives with the guilt of knowing that her phone call is the reason Brian spent his 27th birthday in a New Jersey prison last month. If the state gets its way, he will be there for the next seven years.
Aitken was sentenced in August after he was convicted of felony possession of a handgun. Before his arrest, Aitken, an entrepreneur and owner of a media consulting business, had no criminal record, and it appears he made a good-faith effort to comply with New Jersey's stringent gun laws. Even the jurors who convicted him seem to have been looking for a reason to acquit him. But the judge gave them little choice. Aitken's best hope now is executive clemency. He is petitioning New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie for a reprieve this week.
Aitken, born and raised in New Jersey, moved to Colorado several years ago. In Colorado he married his now ex-wife, also originally from New Jersey. The two had a son together. When the marriage dissolved, Atiken's wife and infant son moved back to New Jersey. Aitken eventually decided to move back as well in order to be closer to his son. Beginning in late 2008, he took the first of several trips between the two states, a back-and-forth process that involved selling his house in Colorado, moving his possessions across the country, and finding a job and a new place to live back east. Until he could find a new apartment, he stored his belongings at his parents' home in Burlington County.
In December 2008 Aitken made a final trip back to Colorado to collect the last of his possessions, including the three handguns he had legally purchased in Colorado—transactions that required him to pass a federal background check. Aitken and his friend Michael Torries had found an apartment in Hoboken, and Torries accompanied Aitken to Colorado to help with the last leg of the move. According to testimony Torries later gave at Aitken's trial, before leaving Colorado Aitken researched and printed out New Jersey and federal gun laws to be sure he moved his firearms legally. Richard Gilbert, Aitken's trial attorney, says Aitken also called the New Jersey State Police to get advice on how to legally transport his guns, although Burlington County Superior Court Judge James Morley didn't allow testimony about that phone call at Aitken's trial.
Aitken's legal troubles began in January 2009, when he drove to his parents' house to pick up some of his belongings. He had grown distraught over tensions with his ex-wife, who according to Aitken had been refusing to let him see his son. When Aitken visited his parents' house, his mother, Sue Aitkin, grew worried about his mental state. In an interview with a New Jersey radio program last week, she said she works with children who have mental health problems, and she has always been taught to call police as a precaution when someone appears despondent and shows any sign that he might harm himself. Concerned about her son, she called 911 but then thought better of it and hung up the phone. The police responded anyway. When they arrived at her home, Sue Aitken told them her concerns about her son, and the police called Brian Aitken, who was then en route to Hoboken, on his cell phone. They asked him to turn around and come back to his parents' house. He complied.
It was there that the police confronted Aitken. Although they determined he wasn't a threat to himself or anyone else, they searched his car, where they found his handguns. They were locked, unloaded, and stored in the trunk, as federal and New Jersey law require for guns in transport. The police arrested Aitken anyway, charging him with unlawful possession of a weapon.
To buy a gun in New Jersey, you must go through a laborious process to obtain a "purchaser's permit." But that permit doesn't entitle you to possess a gun. A few select groups of people, mostly off-duty police officers and security personnel, can obtain carry permits. But anyone else with a gun is presumed to be violating state law and must defend against the charge of illegal gun possession by claiming one of the state's exemptions.
Evan Nappen, who is representing Aitken in his appeal, likens the process to claiming self-defense in a murder case. "If you kill someone because they're about to kill you first," he says, "you're still guilty of homicide. You have to prove you should be granted the exception for self-defense. It's the same thing for just about all New Jersey gun owners. You're guilty until you prove that you're innocent.”
The exemptions allow New Jersey residents to have guns in their homes, while hunting or at a shooting range, while traveling to or from hunting grounds or a shooting range, and when traveling between residences. Brian Aitken claimed he was moving between residences, and there is pretty strong evidence that he was. Sue Aitken testified that her son was moving his belongings from her house to his. So did Aitken's roommate. One of the police officers at the scene testified that Aitken's car was filled with personal belongings.
Yet Judge Morley wouldn't allow Aitken to claim the exemption for transporting guns between residences. He wouldn't even let the jury know about it. During deliberations, the jurors asked three times about exceptions to the law, which suggests they weren't comfortable convicting Aitken. Morley refused to answer them all three times. Gilbert and Nappen, Aitken's lawyers, say he also should have been protected by a federal law that forbids states from prosecuting gun owners who are transporting guns between residences. Morley would not let Aitken cite that provision either.
In response to a query about why Aitken wasn't granted the moving exception, the Burlington County Prosecutor's Office replied via email, "There was no evidence produced at the trial by the defendant that warranted such a defense." Gilbert says that isn't true. "We put on plenty of evidence that Brian was moving," he says, "including testimony from his mother, his roommate, even the police officer who arrested him."
In a telephone interview, Morley (who lost his job when Gov. Christie declined to reappoint him in June because of rulings in unrelated cases) says he didn't allow the jury to consider the moving exception because "it wasn't relevant." Echoing the prosecutor's office, Morley says: "There was no evidence that Mr. Aitken was moving. He was trying to argue that the law should give him this broad window extending over several weeks to justify driving around with guns in his car. There was also some evidence that Mr. Aitken wasn't moving at all when he was arrested, but had stored the guns in his car because his roommate was throwing a party, and he didn't want the guns in the apartment while guests were there drinking."
Gilbert and Nappen say the story about the party came not from Aitken, his parents, or his roommate but from a faulty police report. In any case, Nappen adds, it was not Morley's job to decide whether Aitken was moving. "That's a question of fact, not law, and questions of fact are supposed to be determined by the jury," he says. "The judge is supposed to instruct the jury on the law, and in this case he refused to let them even hear it. But besides that, for him to say there was no evidence presented that Brian was moving just isn't true."
Without the exception, the jury's job was easy. In New Jersey, possession of a firearm without a permit is a felony, punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum of 10. Aitken was convicted and sentenced to seven.
"New Jersey gun laws are insane," Nappen says. "It makes a criminal of every gun owner and forces him to prove his innocence." Worse, in 2008 the New Jersey legislature and then-Gov. John Corzine changed the law to make the penalty for possessing a gun the same as the penalty for using it to commit a separate crime. That means someone like Aitken gets the same punishment as someone who assaults another person with a gun. In November 2008, New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram issued a directive (PDF) urging the state's prosecutors to apply the new law "vigorously," "strictly," and "uniformly."
Even with Milgram's directive and the state's draconian gun laws, prosecutors have some discretion. They could have decided that Aitken plausibly thought he qualified for the moving exception or that, even without the exception, it wouldn't be in the interest of justice to charge him with a felony punishable by five to 10 years in prison. There is no evidence that Aitken threatened anyone with his guns or intended to use them for any nefarious purpose. Even the version of events least favorable to Aitken—that he put the guns in his trunk to keep them away from party guests who might have been drinking—shows him to be a responsible and conscientious gun owner. Even Morley acknowledges as much. "I can see the point that taking the guns away from the party might have been the responsible thing to do," he says. But he adds that acting responsibly did not entitle Aitken to the moving exception.
Putting Brian Aitken in prison isn't going to make New Jersey any safer. It might, however, make some of the state's residents think twice before calling the police, particularly if they own guns. It might even make some New Jersey gun owners wonder if they have more to fear from the state's ridiculous laws and overly aggressive cops and prosecutors than they do from criminals. Given what happened to Aitken, those fears wouldn't be unfounded.
McKeesport Officer Accused Of Trespassing, Copying Woman's House Key
Officer Says He Was 'Just Being Stupid' When He Entered Woman's Home
POSTED: 11:05 am EST November 16, 2010
UPDATED: 5:49 pm EST November 16, 2010
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McKEESPORT, Pa. -- A McKeesport police officer is facing charges after he allegedly trespassed in a woman's home and copied her house key.
Police said patrol Officer Vernon Andrews was arraigned on charges of official oppression, criminal trespassing and possessing instruments of crime, after a woman complained he entered her house without her knowledge and made a copy of the front door key.
Channel 4 Action News' Sheldon Ingram reported the arrest came after an investigation by the Allegheny County District Attorney's Office.
According to the criminal complaint, Tammy Means contacted McKeesport police to complain that an officer had been inside her home after she left for work on Sept. 23.
Investigators said Means told them she locked the front door to her home, placed the key under the front doormat and then went to work.
Another witness told police that he watched as an officer in a marked police car, parked across the street from Means' home, left his vehicle and went onto the porch. The witness said he watched the officer pick something up that was lying on the porch and then open the door to the house and go inside.
Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala says Andrews even made a copy of Means' house key. "We're unable to ascertain any felonious purpose for entering the house, whether it's stealing something or arson," Zappala said.
Police said when they interviewed Andrews, he initially denied being at the home and said that the key he had made was for something else. Under further questioning, police said Andrews changed his story and admitted his involvement, saying he was "just being stupid" and "just being dumb."
Ingram reported investigators said Andrews didn't take anything from the home and had some sort of relationship with a member of the household.
Andrews was arraigned before Magistrate Eugene Riazzi in McKeesport and was released on his own recognizance pending a preliminary hearing on Nov. 22.
Zappala said that his office has been monitoring Andrews for a possible connection with illegal drug activity.
Zappala said Andrews is the fifth person in law enforcement to face criminal charges in the span of a week. "Vernon is alleged to have connections with persons we're interested in, in the drug trade in the Mon Valley. That's how he initially came to our attention," Zappala said.
pay up the Union boss or we turn em loose on ya, heh heh heh
Philadelphia officials clear 19,400 fugitives
Former officer pleads no contest to molesting teen
LAPD officer resigns after being accused of tapping database on killer's behalf
Rookie sought information on key witnesses in the trial of a man whose sister he was dating, court documents say. Prosecutors will decide whether to file charges after an investigation is completed.
Budget cuts, stand your ground and the ‘Wild’ West
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