MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The partner of a Minneapolis police officer who shot and killed an Australian woman who had called 911 told investigators he was startled by a loud sound near their squad car seconds before his partner fired his weapon.
Officer Matthew Harrity’s account, as given by state investigators, is the first to emerge of the moments leading up to the death of Justine Damond, a 40-year-old meditation teacher and life coach who was due to be married in August. It’s also the only one, since Officer Mohamed Noor — who fired the shot that killed Damond — has so far refused to be interviewed.
Damond’s death late Saturday night in an alley behind her southwest Minneapolis home sparked anger and a demand for answers both in the city and in her home country, where the shooting has been front-page news for days.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said Damond approached the driver’s side window of the squad car immediately after Harrity said he had been startled by the sound. Noor, in the passenger seat, shot Damond through the open driver’s side window, the BCA said.
Harrity was interviewed Tuesday. The BCA said Noor’s attorney didn’t say when or if Noor would talk to investigators, and under the law an interview can’t be compelled.
Noor’s attorney didn’t respond to messages from The Associated Press.
Harrity and Noor are on paid administrative leave. Harrity has been with the Minneapolis police department for one year, and Noor has been with the department for nearly two.
According to the BCA, Harrity told investigators that he and Noor responded to a 911 call from Damond about a possible assault near her home at about 11:30 p.m. Saturday.
Harrity was driving the squad car as the officers went through an alley to look for a suspect. The squad lights were off when the noise startled him, Harrity said.
No weapon was found at the scene. The officers did not turn on their body cameras until after the shooting, and the squad car camera was also not activated.
Harrity told investigators that after the shooting, the officers got out of their vehicle and gave Damond immediate medical attention.
Harrity said that he and Noor saw a man, estimated to be between 18 and 25, bicycling in the area before the shooting. That man stopped and watched as officers attended to Damond. BCA agents are asking that man, and any other potential witnesses, to come forward.
The BCA said that unless more people come forward, there are no additional interviews scheduled.
David Klinger, a criminal justice professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, said police officers can’t be compelled to testify in an outside investigation.
“Police officers are citizens … they have the same Fifth Amendment right as anyone. They don’t have to give a statement,” Klinger said. “His lawyer might be saying, you’re not going to talk until I feel you’re rested and not under stress.”
In a news conference after the BCA’s update, Mayor Betsy Hodges said she wished Noor would speak to investigators.
“It’s frustrating to have some of the picture but not all of it,” she said. “We cannot compel Officer Noor to make a statement. I wish we could. I wish that he would make a statement.”
Assistant Chief Medaria Arradondo said the department is reviewing its policy on body cameras and was doing so before Damond’s death. Arradondo said the department is just eight months into a department-wide rollout, and the review includes focusing on how often officers activate them. He said the department wants to increase that frequency.
The city also said it planned to release a transcript of Damond’s 911 call after it is shared with family members. Officials had initially declined to make it public.
The BCA said forensic testing is being completed and evidence is still being examined. When the investigation is done, the BCA will present all its findings to prosecutors for possible charges.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull gave an interview Wednesday to Australia’s “Today” show, shortly before the release of details from the BCA’s preliminary investigation, and joined the chorus demanding answers.
“How can a woman out in the street in her pajamas seeking assistance from police be shot like that? It is a shocking killing,” Turnbull said.
In Damond’s hometown of Sydney, about 300 people attended a silent vigil in her honor Wednesday morning at Freshwater Beach. Mourners threw pink flowers into the Pacific Ocean.
Records from the city’s Office of Police Conduct Review show Noor has had three complaints against him. Two are pending, and the third was dismissed without discipline. Under state law, details of open cases and cases that result in no discipline are not released.
Noor was also sued earlier this year after a May 25 incident in which he and other officers took a woman to the hospital for an apparent mental health crisis. The lawsuit claims Noor and other officers violated the woman’s rights when they entered her home without permission and Noor grabbed her wrist and upper arm. The lawsuit, which is pending, said Noor relaxed his grip when the woman said she had a previous shoulder injury.
Damond, who was planning to be married next month, was a meditation teacher and life coach. Her maiden name was Justine Ruszczyk, and though she was not yet married, she had already been using her fiance’s last name.
Associated Press writers Jeff Baenen and Doug Glass contributed to this report.
Follow Amy Forliti on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/amyforliti. More of her work can be found at: https://apnews.com/search/amy%20forliti .
The Orange County District Attorney’s office released a report today justifying last November’s deadly shooting of Adalid Flores, an unarmed man, by Anaheim police officer Lorenzo Uribe. Flores fled the scene of a traffic collision on the 91 Freeway when an off-duty Los Angeles Police Department cop saw him running away with a friend. A few minutes later, the California Highway Patrol called Anaheim PD for help.
According to the OCDA’s report, officer John Yoo responded to the scene. “Fuck, let’s do this,” Flores said before running from a center divider towards a home on East Street near the freeway. Officer Uribe and his partner Scott Eden arrived at the house where a now shirtless Flores paced back-and-forth in the driveway with one hand behind his back and dug the other into his pocket. “Let me see your hands,” Uribe commanded three times with his weapon drawn. “Fuck you!” Flores responded.
Eden told Uribe two times that Flores held a cellphone. “Don’t say that!’ his partner said. Yoo thought he held a wallet. “I can’t see dude,” Uribe said. “I don’t think it’s a cell phone…I think it’s a gun.” Anaheim helicopter cop James Elliot broadcast that he believed Flores held an object in his right hand that “might be” a weapon. That’s all Uribe needed to issue a last call for Flores to show his hands. He fidgeted around, instead, for four seconds—the lapse of time between Uribe’s command and opening fire.
But police found nothing on Flores save for the cellphone Eden stated that he had seen. Paramedics transferred the 29-year-old to UCI Medical Center in Orange where he was pronounced dead from two gunshot wounds.
Uribe later told OCDA investigators that Eden only told him he thought Flores had a cellphone, although in audio recordings, his partner can only be heard saying “cell phone” without a qualifier. Uribe dismissed the assessment, perhaps because Eden was a rookie policeman with just six months on the job. He also likened Flores’ hostile demeanor to that of a “coffee pot that’s boiling,” leading him to conclude he wasn’t dealing with an “average or normal criminal.” In Eden’s voluntary statement to investigators, he recalled telling Uribe that the object was a cellphone or thought it looked like one.
The OCDA pondered facts that could undermine a jury’s belief that Uribe reasonably thought Flores was armed when he shot him, including Eden and Yoo saying they saw a cellphone and a wallet, respectively. The report also notes that both officers said in statements that they had their weapons drawn because Flores could have been armed and would have shot had he moved his arms towards them. But he didn’t and they didn’t.
For the full story visit : http://www.ocweekly.com/news/ocda-clears-anaheim-pd-in-shooting-of-unarmed-man-8235189
Police nationwide shot and killed 492 people in the first six months of this year, a number nearly identical to the count for the same period in each of the prior two years.
Fatal shootings by police in 2017 have so closely tracked last year’s numbers that on June 16, the tally was the same. Although the number of unarmed people killed by police dropped slightly, the overall pace for 2017 through Friday was on track to approach 1,000 killed for a third year in row.
The Washington Post began tracking all fatal shootings by on-duty police in 2015 in the aftermath of the 2014 killing in Ferguson, Mo., of Michael Brown, who was unarmed and had an altercation with the officer who shot him. The ongoing Post project has documented twice as many shootings by police in 2015 and 2016 as ever recorded in a single year by the FBI’s tracking of such shootings, a pattern that is emerging again in 2017.
Since Brown’s killing in Ferguson, other fatal shootings by police, many captured on video, have fueled protests and calls for reform. Some police chiefs have taken steps in their departments to reduce the number of fatal encounters, yet the overall numbers remain unchanged.
“These numbers show us that officer-involved shootings are constant over time,” said Geoffrey Alpert, a criminologist at the University of South Carolina who has studied police use of force. “Some places go up, some go down, but it’s averaging out. This is our society in the 21st century.”
As in previous years, the data gathered by The Post showed that police most frequently killed white males who were armed with guns or other kinds of weapons. One in four people killed this year were mentally ill. And police have continued to shoot and kill a disproportionately large number of black males, who account for nearly a quarter of the deaths, yet are only 6 percent of the nation’s population.
This year, fatal shootings of unarmed people have declined, continuing a trend over the past two years. In the first six months of this year, 27 unarmed people were fatally shot, compared with 34 for the same period in 2016 and 50 in the first six months of 2015.
Black males continued to represent a disproportionately large share of unarmed people killed, although their share has dropped slightly: from 32 percent of all unarmed killings during the first six months of last year to 26 percent for the same period this year.
One of those seven unarmed black males killed was Jordan Edwards, a 15-year-old high school freshman who was shot in April by a police officer in a Dallas suburb. An officer in Balch Springs opened fire with an AR-15 rifle on Edwards and his friends as they drove away from a party, according to news reports. The department initially said the teens tried to back over the officer but retracted the statement after officials reviewed video of the shooting. The officer, who is white, has been fired and charged with murder.
Mental illness has remained a factor in fatal police shootings, as a quarter of those killed were struggling with some form of mental illness. Last month, Seattle police shot and killed Charleena Lyles, 30, a pregnant woman suffering from mental illness, after she called 911 to report an attempted burglary at her home. Police said Lyles pulled a knife on two officers, who both shot her. The Seattle Times reported that one of the officers, trained to use a Taser, was not carrying it, a violation of the department’s policy.
Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, which develops training programs and advises police chiefs around the country on policy, said some fatal shootings can be eliminated.
“We know we can make a difference in cases where the person is mentally ill and in cases where someone is not armed with a gun,” Wexler said.
The study by The Post has found that about 8 percent of the nation’s police departments have had at least one fatal shooting since 2015. Of those, most had only one.
“All deadly force scenarios are different, and you could have five in a week and then not have any for a year,” said Rodolfo Llanes, chief of the Miami Police Department.
Llanes noted that his department of 1,250 officers has gone as long as a year without firing a single bullet. “[But] there will be that situation where there is a confrontation and deadly force is used. Police work is inherently ugly,” he said.
The pace at which officers have been killed in the line of duty has held steady over the past two years.
According to the FBI, 21 police officers were killed from January to June 29, two fewer than in the same period last year. The 2016 year ended with 66 officers killed, not including accidental deaths. Since January 2015, according to the FBI, 128 police officers have been killed in the line of duty.
Since 2015, The Post has created a database cataloging every fatal shooting nationwide by a police officer in the line of duty. View Graphic
In Tulsa, police shot and killed one person in an 18-month stretch, and then, in the second half of 2016, officers shot and killed six, including Terence Crutcher, an unarmed black man whose death led to criminal charges against an officer. Last month, that officer was acquitted of a charge of first-degree manslaughter.
This year, Tulsa officers have fatally shot four people.
Tulsa Police Chief Chuck Jordan said that his agency reviewed its use-of-force policy after the surge in shootings in 2016 but that there was not much the department could change.
“We’re a reflection of the society we live in,” Jordan said.
In Los Angeles from January 2015 to the end of last month, city police officers shot and killed 47 people, the most for any U.S. police department in the period.
Officials with the Los Angeles Police Department said they have been working to reduce the number of deadly encounters. In the past two years, the department extensively tracked use of force, added training and updated its use-of-force policy, which now requires officers to “de-escalate” confrontations before firing their guns.
This year in Los Angeles, fatal shootings are down to seven, which Matthew Johnson, president of the Los Angeles Police Commission, considers a small victory.
“All these things in concert are going to have an impact on the need to use deadly force, but that’s not to say we’re not going to have a bad quarter or a bad year,” said Johnson, who made reducing the number of fatal shootings a priority when he took over as president of the commission in 2015.
For the full story follow the link below:
Source Article from http://filmingcops.com/number-fatal-shootings-police-nearly-identical-last-year/
I had great hope that President Trump would replace Obamacare with something that the American people could “live” with. On the contrary, the opposite is proving true. It is obvious that the managed care companies had a jubilee as they clearly wrote TRUMPcare and it is a disaster for tens of millions of Americans. Here’s why…
Source Article from http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/DaveHodges-TheCommonSenseShow/~3/FWKBYWtm6fw/
[6/18/17/ Andrea Germanos] Thousands of protesters hit the streets of St. Paul, Minn. Friday night after a jury cleared Minnesota police officer Jeronimo Yanez in the fatal shooting of Philando Castile.
After a peaceful march of roughly 2,000 people near the state capitol, with some carrying signs reading “Justice not served for Philando,” several hundred people then headed to Interstate 94 where they blocked traffic and faced off with law enforcement. The Minnesota State Patrol states that 18 people were arrested for failing to comply with the dispersal order.
The Twin Cities Pioneer Press adds: “At 1:30 a.m. Saturday, a few dozen protesters had gathered in front of the Governor’s Residence, the site of a nearly three-week encampment after Castile’s death last summer.”
As CNN writes, “The protests were expected.”
Yanez faced manslaughter charges over the July 2016 deadly shooting of Castile, who was black, at a traffic stop in suburban Falcon Heights. Castile’s girlfirend, Diamond Reynolds, was in the car at the time and began live-streaming the event in the moments after the shots were fired. Her 4-year-old daughter was also in the car at the time.
A jury acquitted Yanez Friday after five days of deliberation.
According to Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), the “verdict re-opens old wounds, on top of the scars from past injustices that make so many Black Americans feel that their lives don’t matter.”
Castile’s mother, Valerie, for her part, said following the court decision: “People have died for us to have these rights and now we’re devolving. We’re going back down to 1969. Damn. What is it going to take? I’m mad as hell right now, yes, I am,” she said.
Protests in the wake of the shooting put another spotlight on the systemic violence faced by black men and women at the hands of police, and watchdog and human rights groups reacted to the verdict by urging an overhaul to police standards for the use of lethal force.
“Unless our lawmakers get serious about reforming laws that govern lethal force by police, justice will continue to elude grieving families,” said Amnesty International USA researcher Justin Mazzola. “International standards for the use of lethal force are simple and clear: it must only be an absolute last resort in the face of imminent death or serious injury. Not one U.S. state complies with this simple standard.”
“It is unacceptable that communities must fear those that are sworn to protect them. And it is disgraceful that the law will allow the simple act of reaching for your identification when asked by police could be your last. We need reform now before more lives are lost with impunity,” he continued.
Teresa Nelson, interim executive director of the ACLU of Minnesota, also spoke to the need for new standards to be put in place—and for accountability.
“The jury’s decision to acquit Officer Yanez does not negate the fact that Philando Castile’s tragic death is part of a disturbing national pattern of officers using excessive force against people of color, often during routine encounters. Philando Castile was one of 1,092 individuals killed by the police in 2016. Yet in most cases, the officers and police departments are not held accountable. While many officers carry out their jobs with respect for the communities they serve, we must confront the profound disconnect and disrespect that many communities of color experience with their local law enforcement,” Nelson said.
“To build trust,” she added, “we need a democratic system of policing where our communities have an equal say in the way their neighborhoods are policed. Collaboration, transparency, and communication between police and communities around the shared goals of equality, fairness, and public safety is the path forward.”
An off-duty Erie Police Officer intends to plead guilty in a fatal car accident that happened in McKean Township in February. 46 year old, Cheryl Frey, plans to agree to plead guilty to Homicide by Vehicle while Driving Under the Influence and Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Controlled Substance.
According to the plea agreement, the “Defendant shall waive her preliminary hearing. Commonwealth agrees to withdraw [the following charges:] Aggravated Assault by Vehicle While Driving Under the Influence, Homicide by Vehicle, Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Controlled Substance, Involuntary Manslaughter, Driving on Roadways Laned for Traffic, and Reckless Driving charges. Defendant agrees to plead guilty to Homicide by Vehicle while Driving Under the Influence and Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Controlled Substance. If [the] defendant does not plead ‘guilty’ to both charges, then all withdrawn charges are re-instated.”
Assistant District Attorney, Jeremy Lightner, tells us, “We determined that an appropriate plea would be something that involved a mandatory minimum of three years that would also involve a DUI. So that’s why we were able to sign a plea agreement at this point in time and withdraw charges only in accordance with that plea agreement.”
Frey will plead guilty to killing 57 year old, Wade Shulze, in a car accident that happened on Old Route 99, south of McKean Township. Her attorney says that her plea will be scheduled this summer.
The accident took place in the early morning hours of February 18th. Pennsylvania State Police say Frey crossed the center line and hit Schulze’s car. A third vehicle then became involved in the accident after the initial crash. That car was driven by 34 year old, Danny Hamilton.
Investigators says Frey’s blood/alcohol concentration was .231. Hamilton was also charged in the accident with Driving Under the Influence.
Frey, being a Veteran Erie Police Officer, has had a hard time dealing with the incident. “This has been very difficult for Cheryl,” says her attorney, Andrew Sisinni, “but, she realizes that, as difficult as it’s been for her; it’s been very tragic and devastating for the Schulze’s family. She’s always been a stand-up Police Officer [and] stand-up citizen. She stood up here and she’s taking responsibility for her acts.”
For the full story visit : http://www.yourerie.com/news/local-news/off-duty-officer-to-plead-guilty-of-homicide/735530676?platform=hootsuite
A 12-year-old girl from Arizona has become the latest example of the healing power of cannabis, after her family discovered that CBD oil was the answer to combatting a rare brain syndrome.
Annalise Lujan was diagnosed with infection-related epilepsy syndrome, or FIRES, in April. The rare disorder came on suddenly, and caused Lujan to have continuous seizures. The condition, which has been known to lead to brain injury or even death, prompted doctors to put Lujan in a medically-induced coma until they found a method to prevent the seizures.
“One day, she was just a healthy young lady, going to school, participating in her community and her gymnastics, and the next day—fighting for her life,” Maryann Lujan, Annalise’s mom, told the NBC affiliate in Tucson.
After 18 days on a ventilator at a local hospital, Annalise was airlifted to Phoenix Children’s Hospital, where doctors suggested using cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive extract of cannabis, to treat her seizures.
“CBD oil saved her life,” Maryann Lujan said, noting that less than 48 hours after the first treatment, Annalise’s seizures had stopped.
Cannabis was legalized for medicinal use in Arizona in 2010. A measure that sought to legalize it for recreational use, Proposition 205, was put to a vote in November 2016, and defeated by a margin of 51 percent to 49 percent.
Although medical cannabis is legal in the state, because it is still listed as a Schedule 1 drug at the federal level, the doctors working with Annalise Lujan had to receive expedited approval from both the Food and Drug Administration and the Drug Enforcement Administration before they could begin treatment.
Lujan was fortunate that one of the doctors working on her case, Dr. Angus Wilfong, was part of a team of doctors who published a study researching the effectiveness of using cannabidiol to treat FIRES just last year.
Another doctor who co-authored the study, Dr. Eric Marsh, told the Arizona Daily Star the study concluded that the use of CBD oil helped to reduce the frequency and duration of seizures, and assisted patients in weaning off of other medications.
“This stems from the whole medicinal marijuana craze that is out there,” Marsh said. “There are lots of anecdotes that were on social media that suggested that marijuana high in cannabidiol and very low in THC could be anti-epileptic.”
Although the FDA has hindered the plant by keeping it on the list of the most dangerous drugs in the country, the studies that have put cannabis to the test have found its value in curing a number of illnesses.
As The Free Thought Project reported in April 2016, three clinical trials conducted over a 5-month period found medical cannabis to have an extraordinary impact on treating epilepsy in children. One study found that Epidiolex, which is almost pure CBD, “significantly reduced seizures in severely epileptic children, according to a landmark study conducted in part at Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.”
After witnessing the incredible effectiveness of CBD oil in treating her daughter’s rare illness, Maryann Lujan told the Arizona Daily Star that she has become an advocate for medical cannabis, and she hopes Annalise’s story will give hope to families like hers who weren’t aware of the option.
Source Article from http://thefreethoughtproject.com/cannabis-cure-arizona-girl-epilepsy-seizures/