10 things you need to know today: December 28, 2014

An AirAsia plane is inspected before takeoff

An AirAsia plane is inspected before takeoff |Oscar Siagian / Getty Images

The Week

An AirAsia plane goes missing, thousands turn out for an NYPD officer’s funeral, and more.

1. Indonesia suspends search for missing AirAsia plane

Darkness and poor weather forced Indonesian search crews to postpone their hunt for an AirAsia plane that went missing Sunday morning en route to Singapore. Flight QZ8501, which was carrying 162 people, lost contact with air traffic controllers over the Java Sea after its pilots requested a change of course to avoid stormy weather. Ships will keep scouring the water overnight, but the air search will not resume until Monday morning. [The Associated Press]


2. Mourners gather for NYPD officer’s funeral

Thousands of police and politicians from around the country turned out Saturday in New York for the funeral of NYPD officer Rafael Ramos, one of two officers ambushed and killed last weekend. Mourners packed several city blocks in Queens and some officers, reflecting a raw rift with City Hall, turned their backs on a videoscreen when it showed Mayor Bill de Blasio delivering his eulogy. The city has been roiled for weeks by protests over recent police killings of unarmed civilians. Alluding to that strife, Police Commissioner William Bratton said Saturday the only way for the city to heal and move forward was for civilians and the the police to “learn to see each other.” [The New York Times]


3. U.S. ceremonially ends combat mission in Afghanistan

The United States and NATO on Sunday formally marked the end of the 13-year war in Afghanistan with a ceremony at their military base in Kabul. Though the official mission will end at the close of the year, some 13,500 soldiers will remain behind as a peacekeeping and training force. All American troops were originally scheduled to leave at the start of 2015, but with Afghanistan’s security situation as tenuous as ever, the country in October signed a deal to allow a residual foreign force to remain into next year. [The New York Times]


4. North Korea blames U.S. for mass internet outage

North Korea on Saturday faulted the United States for allegedly cutting its internet access in retaliation for the Sony cyberattack. “Obama always goes reckless in words and deeds like a monkey in a tropical forest,” an unnamed government spokesperson said in a statement. The U.S. claims North Korea is behind the massive cyberattack that led Sony to initially scuttle the release ofThe Interview, a buddy comedy about the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. [The Washington Post]


5. Study finds marijuana use increasing in Colorado

Marijuana use is on the rise in Colorado now that the drug is legal there, according to a new federal study. Based on data collected in 2012 and 2013 and published in the latest National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the study found that about one in eight Colorado residents used marijuana in the past month. Only Rhode Island posted a higher usage rate. [The Denver Post]


6. Flooding forces 200,000 evacuations in Malaysia

Widespread flooding and the threat of landslides forced Malaysia to evacuate more than 200,000 people over the weekend. At last 10 Malaysians have died in severe flooding caused by annual monsoon rains. Harsh rains and flooding have killed roughly 30 more people in Sri Lanka and Thailand. [Bloomberg, CNN]


7. Hundreds evacuated from burning Greek ferry

Rescue crews raced on Sunday to pull hundreds of passengers from a ferry that caught fire while en route from Greece to Italy. The ship, the Norman Atlantic, was carrying more than 450 passengers when a fire broke out on its lower deck. Boats and helicopters participating in the rescue mission evacuated more than 150 people within a few hours, though rough seas and bad weather hindered the operation. [The Guardian, BBC]


8. Hamas scuttles children’s peace visit to Israel

Hamas on Sunday barred three dozen children from making a scheduled trip from Gaza to Israel that was intended to foster goodwill following the summer’s brutal war. The children, most of whom lost family members in the war, were supposed to spend the week visiting Jewish and Arab communities. A Hamas spokesperson said the cancelation was intended “to protect the culture of our children and our people.” [The Jerusalem Post]


9. Sony Playstation back online after hack

Sony’s Playstation Network went back online Saturday night after being down for three days due to a cyberattack. The company blamed hackers for disrupting online play beginning on Christmas, saying they flooded the network with traffic until it collapsed. Microsoft’s Xbox Live network also went down Thursday, though the company has not fingered a culprit. [The Wall Street Journal]


10. Jim Harbaugh expected to take Michigan coaching job

San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh will reportedly agree to a lucrative contract to return to the collegiate level and coach for his alma mater, the Michigan Wolverines. Harbaugh parlayed a quick turnaround of the Stanford Cardinal into a successful NFL coaching gig in which he led the 49ers to three NFC Championship games in four years. But tension between Harbaugh and San Francisco brass led to yearlong rumors the coach was on his way out, and the speculation only intensified when Michigan, coming off another disappointing season, fired coach Brady Hoke earlier this month. [Sports Illustrated, Detroit Free Press]

It’s Time for the NYPD to Stop Treating Mentally Ill New Yorkers Like Criminals

A rally for justice for Mohamed Bah (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Mental illness is not a crime but policeman around the country (not just NYPD) refuse to accept that premise…

The Nation – Over Criminalized

How a crisis intervention program pioneered in Memphis could save lives and prevent arrests.

Hawa Bah had not expected the police.

It was September 2012, and she had just arrived in New York from her home in Guinea to check in on her 28-year-old son, Mohamed. She had heard he had been acting strangely—missing work and skipping classes he was taking at the Borough of Manhattan Community College—and wanted to assess the situation for herself. When he holed up in his Harlem apartment and refused to leave shortly after she arrived, she grew concerned enough to ask a cousin to call 911.

Bah was expecting medical workers, so when police officers appeared instead, she was perplexed. “Let me talk to my son,” she begged as the officers began forcing their way into her son’s apartment. “He never tells me no.” But the police brushed off her concerns, telling her “not to worry.”

What unfolded soon after was a violent confrontation between the police and a desperately ill young man that ultimately led to his fatal shooting. After police officers kicked down his door and began yelling at him, Mohamed Bah lunged toward two of them with a knife, splitting open their protective vests. Three of the officers then pumped as many as eight bullets into him, one of which entered the left side of Mohamed Bah’s head. One of the officers left with a knife cut to his arm.

The death of Mohamed Bah, sudden and dramatic as it was, was not an anomaly in the long, troubled history of encounters between the New York Police Department and the city’s mentally ill. The last few decades have been punctuated by cases like this, stories of men and women in the grips of psychosis who wound up dead or wounded after police had been called in to help. Eleanor Bumpurs, Gidone Busch, Kevin Cerbelli, David Kostovski, Shereese Francis and Iman Morales all died after encounters with the police went horribly wrong, and many more have been hurt or arrested in the process.

For the families of these victims as well as advocates, the deaths of their loved ones—children, brothers, sisters and mothers—have raised unsettling questions about what might have happened differently if experts trained in crisis intervention had been called to the scene rather than the police. Could their deaths have been avoided if they had been treated like people in throes of psychiatric breakdowns, not criminals? “[The police] yell to get the situation under control instead of taking a reflective listening approach. It escalates the situation,” said Carla Rabinowitz, a community organizer with Community Access, a New York-based nonprofit dedicated to providing services and support to New Yorkers with psychiatric disabilities.

Now, however, there is hope that the terrain in New York State may be tilting toward a new crisis intervention model that pairs teams of mental health professionals with specially trained officers to respond to mental health emergencies, rather than cops. Just within the last few months, several proposals at several levels of government have moved closer to reality, thanks, in part, to the advocacy of Communities for Crisis Intervention Teams, a coalition of more than sixty behavioral health providers and concerned New Yorkers.

In February, New York State Senator Kevin Parker proposed a bill that would require Crisis Intervention training for the NYPD. Not long after, in April, New York State set aside $400,000 from the 2014-2015 state budget for a pilot program to train police officers in approaching the mentally ill during crises. And in June, the administration of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio created a task force on Behavioral Health and the Criminal Justice System, with the goal of providing New York with a pathway to treat the mentally ill outside of the criminal justice system.

Meanwhile, the Bah family is in the process of suing the city of New York for $70 million in damages as well as changes to the way the NYPD responds to emotionally distressed New Yorkers in crisis. They are calling specifically for the police department to implement a Crisis Intervention Team methodology. If that had been in place when Hawa Bah called 911 two years ago, they believe Mohamed would still be alive.

“I want justice, and the justice I want is not just for my son,” said Hawa Bah, crying into the phone. “It’s for all people to not feel like I feel. I used to work and help my children, help my family. Since they killed my son, I can’t do nothing, I can’t walk three blocks.”

* * *

The Crisis Intervention Team model was pioneered more than twenty-five years ago in Memphis, Tennessee, after police killed a mentally ill young man they had been called in to help. The idea emerged out of months of consultations between the police department, mental health providers and two universities, and was designed with the goal of creating “safety, understanding, and service to the mentally ill and their families,” according to the Memphis city government website. Towards this end, the program has forged a close partnership between mental health providers, people with mental illness and law enforcement. Police and mental health professionals respond together to crisis calls, and the police also receive extensive training to help individuals in crisis, especially those who are mentally ill.

In the decades since it was launched, the CIT program has become a model for other cities around the country. Chicago, Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix, Houston and San Antonio have all employed some form of the program, with impressive results. Since San Antonio implemented its CIT program in 2003, for instance, the city’s police force has not once engaged in deadly force against someone in the grips of psychiatric episode.

New York City, however, has yet to join the list of cities that have embraced CIT. Indeed, it is the only major city in the United States that has not done so, despite the 100,000 “emotionally disturbed person” calls the NYPD receives each year. What the city does have is an Emergency Service Unit that consists of an elite corps of officers trained to respond to extreme emergency and high-risk situations. These include everything from SWAT and counter-terror operations to assisting mentally ill New Yorkers. It is worth noting that it was one of these units that was called in to quell the situation with Mohamed Bah the day he was shot.

The NYPD also provides its cadets with between eight and sixteen hours of training each year in responding to New Yorkers in high emotional distress, and 1.5 hours of training in working with people with disabilities, according to the New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services. But Rabinowitz argues proper crisis intervention training should be closer to 40 hours a year.

“Police are the first to encounter those in an emotional crisis and police are on the frontlines, whether we like it or not,” said Community Access’s Rabinowitz. “They need tools to respond to these crisis calls so everyone can walk away safely.”

Rabinowitz, along with Steve Coe, the CEO of Community Access, and other advocates have spent years pressing for the NYPD to shift its approach to these crisis episodes. But it wasn’t until last year that their efforts began to get traction. That is when a group of mental health advocates formed the coalition “Communities for Crisis Intervention Teams” in an attempt to begin a conversation around crisis intervention with the candidates then running for mayor. The coalition researched CITs in other major cities and approached the candidates, asking them to include establishing CITs in their platforms. As mayor, de Blasio went a step further by establishing a task force on Behavioral Health and the Criminal Justice System last June. Its goal is to research and then recommend and implement strategies to decouple mental health treatment from the criminal justice system, with which it has all too often been lumped.

Take Action: Call on Congress to Support Critical Mental Health Services

“I’ve charged the Task Force on Behavioral Health and the Criminal Justice System with developing innovative strategies to transform, reform and update this city’s criminal justice system,” de Blasio said in a statement announcing the task force. “In the interest of justice and public safety, the task force will take a comprehensive look at how, as a city, we can provide real, lasting mental health and addiction treatment for those in need.”

Advocates expect recommendations to come from the task force within the next month, or perhaps sooner. (There are whispers that its recommendations could be released as early as this week.) It is their hope the task force will recommend Crisis Intervention Teams as well as a diversion unit so that police can take those suffering from a mental crisis somewhere besides a hospital or central booking.

Dustin Grose, a twenty-nine-year-old Brooklyn native, shares this hope. He has first-hand experience of the way a situation can quickly turn violent when the police are the primary responders to crisis calls. At 14, he was diagnosed with schizophrenia. In 2008, after an argument with his parents, his mother called the paramedics to take her son to the hospital, concerned he was having another episode. As in the case of Mohamed Bah, the police arrived. He reluctantly went outside with the four officers who came to his bedroom door and then, as Grose recalls, an officer hit him, unprovoked, in the face. Because he was handcuffed and punched repeatedly, he suffered a broken nose as well as back injuries and injuries to his hands.

Grose also sued the city of New York and settled for an undisclosed amount. “A person with a mental illness is not a criminal,” he said. “I wasn’t even in an enraged state and that happened to me. I wasn’t fighting with them… so imagine if someone was already enraged and imagine if a cop treated him as a criminal, it leads to death.”

Video Shows NYPD Officer Hitting Teen In The Face With His Gun

no attribution

H/t: Ted

Just like Ted said in his email about this article: Sheila, the stupid bastards just won’t learn.

The Huffington Post

Two NYPD officers are under criminal investigation after punching and bashing a 16-year-old suspect in the face with a gun despite the teen raising his hands to surrender, according to a video obtained by DNAinfo New York.

The surveillance footage obtained exclusively by “On The Inside” shows the two officers catch up to marijuana suspect Kahreem Tribble after a brief chase in Bedford-Stuyvesant.

As the teen stops running, one officer throws a punch at his face. Then, as the suspect raises his hands, the other officer clocks him with his gun.

Tribble was arrested for possessing 17 small bags of marijuana and disorderly conduct on Aug. 29. At his arraignment, he pleaded guilty to a violation and was released with cracked teeth and bruises.

The officers from the 79th Precinct are now targets of a criminal investigation conducted by the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau and Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson.

“What’s depicted on this video is troubling and warrants a thorough investigation,” Thompson told “On The Inside.”

According to court records, law enforcement sources and the video, the encounter started in front of 1311 St. John’s Place at 2:20 a.m. when three anti-crime officers spotted the 6-foot-2 teen peering into the window of parked mini-van.

When the officers got out of their car to approach Tribble, he allegedly tossed away a small black canvas bag and took off running. The officers — one with his gun drawn — gave chase, concerned that the suspect had a weapon, sources said.

Shortly thereafter, Tribble slows down and stops and appears prepared to be arrested. But an officer, identified as Tyrane Isaac, rushes up to him and takes a swing at his head.

The teen ducks the blow and then can be seen retreating — with his hands up — to a storefront gate.

Officer David Afanador — his gun drawn — then catches up and rushes straight to Tribble, hitting him in the his face with his gun, breaking a front tooth and chipping another.

On the video, Afanador then holsters his weapon and retraces his steps to retrieve the canvas bag, leaving Isaacs to put the cuffs on Tribble.

But before he does, Isaac punches Tribble again and pushes him onto his stomach.

The video ends with Afanador waving the bag in front of Tribble’s face before smacking him with it.

A third officer, identified as Christopher Mastoros, can be seen taking no action to help Tribble.

Police Commissioner William Bratton has seen the video and was angered and embarrassed by it, a source said.

Sources say officials were particularly concerned about Afanador using his gun on the teen because it could have accidentally fired — injuring or killing him, another officer or an innocent bystander.

Afanador has been suspended without pay. Isaac was placed on modified duty, stripped of his badge and gun.

Both officers have been on the force for nine years and now face possible criminal charges and dismissal, sources say.

Mastoros, also a nine-year veteran, could face a departmental charge for failing to stop his colleagues, sources say. He is not part of the criminal probe.

Each of the officers has two other cases lodged against them by defendants alleging false arrest or being victims of excessive force, according to court records. The cases were not connected.

Mastoros made news two years ago when he was credited with helping save the life of a partner, Kevin Brennan, who survived being shot in the head after chasing a gunman into a Bushwick building.

The video is the latest to surface since the viral video of the tragic “choke hold” death of Eric Garner. Last week, Bratton told a confab of top NYPD officials that he was committed to rooting out bad apples engaged in brutality and corruption.

Sources say Internal Affairs was tipped off to the Tribble video a few days after his arrest.  Roughly two weeks ago, IAB supervisors brought their findings to Thompson to determine if criminal charges are warranted.

Patrick Lynch, the police union president, said the tape does not tell the entire tale.

“As usual, the video fails to capture the offense that resulted in police action or the lengthy foot pursuit that culminated in the arrest,” he said.

“Situations like this one happen in real time under great stress. It’s very easy to be judgmental in the comfort of an office while sitting in front of a video screen.”

Tribble’s lawyer, Amy Rameau, told “On The Inside” that her client was heading home from a friend’s apartment when the officers chased him.

“My client was minding his own business and they decided to chase him for no reason,” she said.  “Their account is concocted to justify what they did, to cover their asses, to legitimize their criminal conduct.”

She said in addition to suffering broken teeth, Tribble was bleeding from his mouth and “begging for medical attention,” but was only sent to Interfaith Hospital when other officers at Central Booking saw him.

She said she plans to file a federal civil rights lawsuit against the NYPD and the officers.

The clash has left the teen “petrified” of police and “traumatized and fearful that they will come after him again.”


Medical Workers Say NYPD Cops Beat Man Shackled In A Stretcher



I wonder where the rage against Blacks, especially against those who are poor, is coming from in the NYPD and other places across the country?  In retrospect, it’s a rhetorical question…

Think Progress

The New York Daily News has uncovered yet another allegation of egregious force by New York Police Department officers. Emergency medical technicians told the newspaper they witnessed four officers beat a man being carried away in a stretcher in handcuffs, after he spit and cursed at the officers.

Officers responded by punching the patient in the face multiple times, pulling him off the stretcher and onto the ground, and then throwing him back into the stretcher, according to a written report by EMT officers to the Fire Department of New York. All the while, the patient remained helpless, restrained in both handcuffs and foot shackles. An EMT who reported the incident to the Fire Department of New York said in the report that he and another EMT who corroborated the story had to intervene to break up the beating. He said the patient “sustained injuries to the head and face” that were treated in the ambulance.

The EMTs were first called to retrieve the patient from a Brooklyn police precinct and bring him to a hospital on the evening of July 20. The patient was described as “emotionally disturbed,” “combative” and banging his head against the wall.

A representative for the New York Police Department told Reuters on Tuesday that the Internal Affairs unit was investigating the incident. He declined to confirm the details of the incident.

The report comes in the wake of the death of Eric Garner hours after police held the asthamtic man accused of selling cigarettes in an illegal chokehold. The death was deemed a homicide by the medical examiner. Since then, numerous reports have surfaced of officers dragging a woman naked out of her home, putting another man in a chokehold after punching him in the face, and putting a pregnant woman in a chokehold for illegally grilling on the sidewalk. (KS: Emphasis mine)

NYPD drags a 48-year-old naked woman from her apartment as neighbors protest and tape arrest

NYPD drags a 48-year-old naked woman from her apartment as neighbors protest and tape arrest

NYPD outside of the United Nations General Assembly Building | AP

A friend emailed me today and asked me why hadn’t I reported some of the malicious treatment by police officers against alleged “perpetrators” in recent weeks.  I think I wrote back saying that I have in fact reported on police violence in the past but wanted to stick to the tagline of this blog: Sorting out the crazies.

The truth of the matter (and my friend touched on this in his email) I probably didn’t want to offend the readers of this political blog with stories of police misconduct across the nation.  Perhaps there’s even a deeper reason…

So, I have decided to include some of the police misconduct craziness going on across the country (especially in the northeast) perpetrated by poorly trained, unprofessional cops everywhere.   (H/t: LTL)

Hence, the following story:


Disturbing video captures the NYPD arresting a woman as she shouts that she needs her oxygen. The woman was dragged naked from her Brownsville, Brooklyn apartment by NYPD.

Denise Stewart, a 48-year-old Brooklyn woman was dragged by NYPD from her apartment and arrested in the late hours of July 13, New York Daily News reported. The grandmother had just taken a shower and was only wearing a towel and pair of underpants when NYPD pounded on her door.

The NYPD officers were responding to a domestic violence 911-call made from the Brownsville apartment building. However, according to the Daily News, they did not know the apartment number. After hearing shouts from Stewart’s apartment they banged on the door at 11:45 PM. According to the Daily News, Stewart told the police they had the wrong apartment and attempted to close the door. Denise Stewart was then dragged by the NYPD cops into the hallway.

Neighbors captured part of the arrest on video, which shows male officers struggling to subdue the woman, and Stewart calling for her oxygen.

“For approximately two minutes and 20 seconds, Stewart was bare-breasted in the hallway as additional police officers tramped up the stairs and through the hallway, glancing at her as they passed by,” the Daily News reported. Eventually a female officer covered her with a towel.

Shouts of “Oxygen, get my oxygen” can be heard int he video.

“Ok, ok,” a police officer says, and leaves the frame.

“Her asthma! Her asthma! Her asthma,” shouted bystanders.

Stewart, who has asthma, fainted during the arrest, according to the Daily News.

The NYPD arrested Denise Stewart and charged her with assaulting a police officer — she bit an officer’s finger during the scuffle. Denise Stewart’s 20-year-old daughter Diamond Stewart was arrested and charged with acting in a manner injurious to a child, resisting arrest and criminal possession of a weapon. Stewarts’s 24-year-old son Kirkland Stewart was charged with resisting arrest.

Stewart’s 12-year-old daughter was also taken into custody. According to the police, the 12-year-old had injuries on her face and claimed that her mother and sister hit her with a belt. The 12-year-old daughter later resisted arrest, and allegedly kicked out a police van window, cutting an officer’s chin. She was charged with criminal mischief, criminal possession of a weapon and assaulting a police officer.

Denise Stewart’s lawyer, Amy Rameau, was told by a Legal Aid lawyer that the original 911 call came from a different apartment at the Kings Highway address. The NYPD allegedly arrived at Stewart’s apartment by mistake.

“They manhandled [Stewart] and behaved in a deplorable manner,” Rameau said. “She feels completely mortified. This is about human dignity.”

Rameau also explained that the Administration for Children’s Services investigated and found no evidence of neglect.


Related Stories:

HOMICIDE: Medical examiner says NYPD chokehold killed Staten Island dad Eric Garner

Video shows cop apparently putting arm around neck of seven-months pregnant Brooklyn woman

Here’s The History Of NYPD Abuse That Turned Its PR Campaign Into A Twitter Assault



Apparently, it was not the response the NYPD was expecting.  Well done Twitterverse, well done…

Think Progress

The New York Police Department may be showing early signs of reforming its practices, but it still hasn’t come to terms with its image. In a PR gaffe that was seemingly predictable to everyone but the NYPD, the Department put out a call on Twitter for constituents to send positive photos about the Department’s work under the hashtag #myNYPD.

Tweeters documented a litany of alleged encounters that ended with detached retinas, a young black boy with a scarred face, and countless instances of beatings caught on camera:

The campaign had gone so awry by morning that the New York Daily News splashed the headline “Bash Tag” across its front page Wednesday morning.

But even now that Mayor Bill de Blasio has cut back on the rampant stop-and-frisks, Muslim spying, and brutality that became synonymous with former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s NYPD, the department doesn’t seem to have shed the attitude that prompted NYPD Chief Ray Kelly to declare last year, “You might read something snarky on Twitter, but I could take you right now to 125th Street in Harlem and young men will stop me for my picture and give me a very favorable and friendly greeting.”

And while one of the NYPD’s biggest mistakes was failing to realize that Twitter is an inherently inhospitable forum for glowing public relations, it’s worth taking a look back at the patterns of systemic abuse that underlie the outrage:

Targeting young black and Hispanic men. The NYPD’s systematic campaign against the city’s young minority men is not just evidenced by statistics that show they stopped more young black men in 2011 than there are young black men in the city. The federal judge who ruled the police department’s stop-and-frisk program unconstitutional also found that the department explicitly targeted Hispanic and black men between the ages of 14 and 20 as “the right people,” and established de facto stop quotas that fueled the pervasive tactic.

Aiming to “instill fear” in residents. The administration that thought stop-and-frisk was the answer to everything developed its reputation in part through a campaign of fear. One state senator testified at the trial on NYPD’s stop-and-frisk program that New York Police Department Commissioner Raymond Kelly said his goal was to “instill fear” in young minority men. In one incident, an officer admitted during the trial that he told a 13-year-old to stop “crying like a girl” as he handcuffed and detained him.

Inflicting disproportionate violence. In September, NYPD officers shot two innocent bystanders when they were aiming for a mentally ill man, who they were purportedly intending to subdue with gunshots. Prosecutors later charged the mentally ill man for the injuries to the bystanders. In January, an 84-year-old man was left bloodied and hospitalizedafter he was allegedly beaten by police over a jaywalking stop. And during Occupy Wall Street Protests, officers reportedly used violence “without apparent need or justification” 130 times.

Labeling entire mosques terror cells so it could spy on abuse. One of the greatest reforms of the new NYPD under Mayor Bill de Blasio was disbanding the NYPD’s Demographics Unit, which engaged in pervasive spying of the Muslim community after 9/11. But the unit existed until just six days ago, and among its major accomplishments werelabeling entire mosques terror cells without any evidence of wrongdoing, and paying a 19-year-old informant to “bait” Muslims into criminal activity.

Over-zealous policing. While the vast majority of the rampant police stops under the Bloomberg administration resulted in no arrest at all, the most common reason for arrest was for marijuana, even though public possession of marijuana was already decriminalized in New York. The program intended to thwart gun violence snagged very few guns. And other prominent arrests included a 7-year-old who alleged stole $5 from an elementary school classmate, a street artist thrown to the ground for touching the sidewalk, and a real estate broker arrested for being a “smart ass.”

Arrest for documenting abuse. As evidenced by the most recent campaign, the only reason the public knows about many of the most egregious NYPD incidents is because they were documented by photos or recordings. But many individuals have reported arrests and even beatings by NYPD officer for trying to exercise their First Amendment right to record the police. The department even circulated a “wanted” poster for a couple that was legally recording stop-and-frisks.

Small plane makes emergency landing on Bronx, N.Y., expressway; at least 3 injured

A small plane landed on a Bronx expressway Saturday. | Courtesy of New York Police Department

I am quite familiar with the Major Deegan Expressway.  The site of a plane making an emergency landing must have been a shock to all…including the quick thinking pilot.

NBC News

A small plane made an emergency landing on the busy Major Deegan Expressway in the Bronx Saturday afternoon, resulting in minor injuries to three people on board, the New York City Fire Department said.

Two men and one woman were hurt when the plane landed near East 233rd Street shortly before 3:22 p.m. ET. They were transported to St. Barnabas Hospital, which is about four miles from the scene, according to the FDNY.

The FDNY wrote in a tweet that the injuries were “non-life threatening” and no cars on the highway were affected.

Two of the injured refused treatment and all three were expected to be released Saturday, according to St. Barnabas Hospital.

The four-seat, one-engine 1966 Piper PA sustained minor damage, the FAA reported to NBC New York. The plane is registered to an owner in South Salem, N.Y, according to aircraft registration records.

The city’s Office of Emergency Management said drivers should expect traffic delays.

Why ‘stop and frisk’ is worse than NSA surveillance

New York Police Department officers monitor a march against stop-and-frisk tactics used by police on February 23.If my boys, who are now in their 40’s had lived during these times in NYC there is an overwhelming chance that they would have been stopped and frisked several times.  Today my  sons and daughters are professionals in their chosen fields, but would they have had that chance in today’s NYPD environment?

The New York Civil Liberties Union has published data that show African Americans and Latinos are the prime targets of the Stop and frisk programs.

The Compass – Marc Ambinder

My black friends in New York, particularly those who don’t live in the fancier precincts of Manhattan, have been harassed by the NYPD in a way that I, as a white guy, will never experience.

They’ve been stopped and frisked, for reasons known only to the officers. Almost every young black male I know has a story to tell.

The news today that a federal judge found this deliberate policing policy to be unconstitutional is a welcome one.

If you have never been stopped and frisked by a cop, it might not seem like a big deal.

So you lose, what, a few minutes of your time. You get frisked, there’s nothing on you, and you get sent on your way. It’s like the TSA.

Except that it’s not. It’s an encounter between powerless citizens and highly empowered police officers. It is scary. The confrontations are often aggressive, which is entirely appropriate from the perspective of the police officer: The person might be carrying. You’ve been singled out for your proximity to a place where a crime might be committed and because of the way you look, the way you move, the route you take. Your attitude towards the police will harden.

I think the NYPD is by and large an incredible organization and that its policing strategies have made New York City immeasurably safer; the city’s minority residents live with much less fear than ever before. But I think the “stop and frisk” policy is overzealous and counter-productive. And I think, in a small but tangible way, the practice harms those who come into contact with it.

The NSA’s surveillance capabilities and even its bulk collection programs do not damage or degrade Americans’ rights; they do not harm our ability to participate in the political process. (I think the FBI’s policies are MUCH more worrisome on that end.) To me, the symbolic harm is enough. I want the bright line to exist to prevent potential abuses by unsavory politicians.

There are many, many important debates to have about civil rights and liberties. Because of the NSA’s size, scope, and reach, I would be very concerned if the potential for willful abuse, and by extension, the potential to do something tangibly bad to Americans (and other innocents) was more than negligible. But it is negligible. Figuring out how to make sure NSA does everything right is important, but there is not one iota of evidence that the over-collection, even if it was broad, was (a) willful (b) not immediately reported and (c) ever detected by the Americans whose data passed through computers it shouldn’t have.

Yes, it would make me feel weird if I knew that an analyst somewhere was able to read my email; yes, I am totally and resolutely in favor of strong oversight procedures that are recognized by everyone as legitimate; but all the same, I am not being stopped by the police, or tortured, or arrested, or asked not to write something, or harassed, or, really, impacted in any way by that over-collect.

We have to make distinctions between what gives us the willies and what hurts or harms us. We have to make distinctions, fine ones, within topics; the NSA is not the CIA is not the FBI is not the NYPD.

Torture is evil. False wars are evil. Companies manipulating the data they collect to make you buy things and vote for people — that’s pretty wicked, too. What NSA does is not remotely close to that. To circle back to the point that’s obvious: They’re the government. They personify executive power. Our skepticism ought to be higher. I totally agree. But at the same time, we should not invent a caricature of what NSA does in order to polarize the debate about it. The facts don’t warrant that, just in the same way that the facts about the history of intelligence collection should absolutely force us to be vigilant.

In the scheme of things, the stop and frisk policy is a greater threat to civil rights than the NSA’s bulk collection programs.

Plainclothes officers in trouble – didn’t recognize off-duty chief

Sounds like a nightmare scenario for the two officers involved…

The New York Daily News

At least one cop has been disciplined for ordering the NYPD‘s highest-ranking uniformed black officer out of his auto while the three-star chief was off-duty and parked in Queens, the Daily News has learned.

“How you can not know or recognize a chief in a department SUV with ID around his neck, I don’t know,” a police source said.

Chief Douglas Zeigler, 60, head of the Community Affairs Bureau, was in his NYPD-issued vehicle near a fire hydrant when two plainclothes cops approached on May 2, sources said.

One officer walked up on each side of the SUV at 57th Ave. and Xenia St. in Corona about 7 p.m. and told the driver to roll down the heavily tinted windows, sources said.

What happened next is in dispute.

In his briefing to Police Commissioner Raymond KellyZeigler said the two cops, who are white, had no legitimate reason to approach his SUV, ranking sources said.

After they ordered him to get out, one officer did not believe the NYPD identification Zeigler gave him.

The cops gave a different account:

When one officer spotted Zeigler’s service weapon through the rolled-down window, he yelled “Gun!” according to sources who have spoken with the officers.

Both cops raised their weapons and ordered the driver out of the car, sources said.

Instead of saying he was an armed member of the NYPD, Zeigler shouted, “Don’t you know who I am?” the sources said.

When one cop reached over to check the identification badge around Zeigler’s neck, the chief pushed him away, sources said.

Only then did Zeigler tell the two officers his name and rank, those sources said.

Zeigler, in his discussions with Kelly, said the officers never yelled “Gun!” sources said.

One cop got into a heated argument with the chief even after seeing the ID, sources said.

That cop was stripped of his gun and badge and placed on modified duty last night, sources said. The status of the second officer was unclear.

The incident occurred as the NYPD is under fire for record numbers of pedestrians being stopped and frisked, the majority of them black or Hispanic. Some 145,098 people were stopped by the NYPD in the first quarter of this year.

Zeigler has headed the Community Affairs Bureau since January 2006. His wife, Neldra Zeigler, is NYPD deputy commissioner for equal employment opportunity.

New York woman solves her father’s cold case murder 26 years later

Joselyn Martinez, who found her father's alleged killer 26 years after his death. Screenshot via CNN.

Joselyn Martinez, who found her father’s alleged killer 26 years after his death. Screenshot via CNN.

I love this young lady’s tenacity…

The Raw Story

A man arrested in Miami last Thursday who confessed to the killing of a New York restaurant owner 26 years ago was caught thanks to the persistence of a daughter who never forgot the man’s name.

Justo Santos was just 16 years old when he shot New York restaurant owner Jose Martinez in the chest in front of his eatery in 1986, according to CNN. He fled the country for the Dominican Republic and was subsequently imprisoned for a year on an unrelated crime. It was during that time the NYPD improperly closed the case on Martinez’s killing.

Joselyn Martinez was just 9 years old when her father was shot and killed, and her family told her to never forget the killer’s name. She didn’t, and about a year ago Martinez began searching online for Santos, starting with background checks and moving on to social networks.

Then in November 2012, she found her father’s cold case file in the NYPD’s 34th precinct archives. Martinez worked furiously for three months before approaching police again with evidence she’d collected online, paying less than $300 to track the man down. Armed with this new information, police acted swiftly and alerted officers in Miami that a fugitive was in their midst.

Santos was arrested last Thursday by police in Miami-Dade County. He’s reportedly confessed to the killing and will be brought to New York later this week to face charges. “She’s the person most responsible for finding her father’s killer,” NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne told CNN. “She did outstanding work.”

This video is from CNN, aired Wednesday, June 12, 2103.

See video here