Thursday, May 25, 2017

Copping Out: Upper Midwest


"Ex-Milwaukee officer charged in fatal shooting of black man" by Todd Richmond Associated Press  December 16, 2016

Prosecutors charged a Milwaukee police officer Thursday with killing a black man in August, alleging the man had thrown his gun away and was unarmed when the officer fired the fatal shot.

Dominique Heaggan-Brown, who is also black, was charged with reckless homicide in the Aug. 13 death of Sylville Smith, which sparked two days of riots on Milwaukee’s north side. In the days after the shooting, both the police chief and the mayor had said that police video clearly showed Smith had a gun and was turning toward officers when he was shot. Thursday’s criminal complaint echoed that, but went on to describe a second shot, fired into Smith’s chest after Smith no longer had his gun.

Police Chief Edward Flynn called the charge ‘‘a little difficult to understand’’ and said he hadn’t seen any obvious wrongdoing by Heaggan-Brown in the footage.

Heaggan-Brown, who was fired in October over an unrelated sexual-assault case, shot Smith following a traffic stop. After fleeing police, Smith turned with a gun and was shot once in his biceps, according to the complaint. The second shot occurred less than two seconds later, after Smith was lying on the ground with his hands near his head, according to the complaint.

Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm said in the complaint that the video shows Smith throwing the gun over a fence after the first shot. Heaggan-Brown told state agents that he believed Smith’s gun ‘‘flew’’ out of his hand over a fence after the first shot. The officer said he thought Smith was reaching for another weapon so he fired the second shot.

Chisholm did not take any questions from reporters Thursday. His office said the video would not be released.

Heaggan-Brown was scheduled to make an initial court appearance Friday. His attorney, Jonathan Smith, said that he hasn’t seen any of the state’s evidence but a read of the criminal complaint raises ‘‘issues.’’ He didn’t elaborate but promised a ‘‘vigorous’’ defense.

Smith’s family issued a statement thanking Chisholm.

‘‘We appreciate that the District Attorney has shown independence and sound judgment in prosecuting the officer who shot and killed Sylville,’’ the statement said.

His mother, Mildred Haynes, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel the charge should have been tougher.

‘‘He shot him in the arm and shot him again in the chest. . . . To me, he shot to kill,’’ she said.

Flynn said on the day after the shooting that Heaggan-Brown opened fire after Smith turned toward the officer and began to raise his gun despite warnings to drop it. The chief did not mention that Smith was unarmed when the second shot was fired and said it appeared to him the shooting was lawful.

Flynn reiterated that stance Thursday. He called the confrontation a ‘‘combat situation’’ and said the brain needs time to tell the finger to stop pulling the trigger. He said he hopes Chisholm has more evidence that hasn’t been released because he doesn’t want his officers to face deadly offenders and get no allowance for stress. 

They always turn things around to make the police seem like the victims.

The night of the shooting, demonstrators burned six businesses and a police squad car and threw rocks and bottles at police. More violence broke out the next night, with one man being shot and injured and protesters again throwing rocks and bottles at officers. Police arrested about 40 people over the course of three nights. Flynn blamed protesters from outside of Milwaukee for much of the unrest.

The case that led to Heaggan-Brown’s firing stemmed from an incident the night of Aug. 14. According to a criminal complaint, Heaggan-Brown and another man went to a bar where they drank and watched television coverage of the unrest. The man told investigators that Heaggan-Brown bragged that he could do anything he wanted without repercussions and he woke up to Heaggan-Brown sexually assaulting him.

Heaggan-Brown also was charged with soliciting two other people for sex several times since December 2015 and with sexually assaulting another unconscious person in July 2016 and photographing that victim naked.



Milwaukee cop who fatally shot man charged with sex assault

Former Milwaukee officer pleads not guilty in shooting

Also see:

Milwaukee’s invisible racial cage

Milwaukee sheriff’s star rises, but he remains polarizing

Star is starting to fall.

Police officer, 3 others killed in Wisconsin town A domestic dispute at a bank escalated into shootings at three locations in northern Wisconsin on Wednesday, investigators said. A suspect was in custody. The shootings happened at a bank, a law firm, and an apartment complex, where officers, including a SWAT team, had a standoff.



"Man alleges Detroit police framed him for 1992 slaying" Associated Press  March 12, 2017

DETROIT — Thumbing through a law journal, Desmond Ricks recognized the name of a gun expert whose testimony had helped convict him of murder in 1992. The Detroit man wrote a letter, made phone calls, and even offered gas money to persuade him to visit him.

That tenacity may lead to freedom.

Ricks and a team from University of Michigan law school are making a remarkable claim with help from the expert: Detroit police, they allege, framed him for that slaying 25 years ago with sham evidence — bullets that didn’t come from the victim.

Actually, it's not that remarkable. You see this kind of thing all the time now.

‘‘I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I had nothing to do with this,’’ Ricks, 50, said, referring to the shooting of a friend outside a burger dive. ‘‘They switched the bullets on me.’’

The law school’s Innocence Clinic, with an affidavit from firearms expert David Townshend, is urging a judge to order new tests on evidence still in police storage and throw out Ricks’s second-degree murder conviction, but prosecutor Kym Worthy isn’t giving up on Ricks’s conviction. Her office has dismissed the new argument as ‘‘ingeniously imaginative.’’

They never do. 

Forget about truth and justice; I got a record to maintain and promotions to protect!

Innocence Clinic director David Moran said ‘‘it’s hard to imagine something so brazen’’ as police swapping bullets. But he noted that the Detroit police lab was shut down after a 2008 audit revealed sloppy work, including the botched analysis of gun evidence.

We have a drug lab here that.... never mind.

‘‘Detroit police were infamous at taking unconstitutional shortcuts in order to try to close murder cases,’’ Moran said, referring to the early 1990s when Gerry Bennett was killed. ‘‘Detroit police is a much different institution now.’’

Ricks was with Bennett when Bennett was shot in the head outside a Top Hat restaurant in 1992. Ricks, an ex-convict at the time, said he ran away, dodging gunfire. But a few days later, police pinned the killing on him and seized a gun that belonged to his mother.

Townshend, who had retired from Michigan State Police, was asked by a judge to inspect the evidence before trial. His task was very specific: Did bullets delivered to him by Detroit police match Mary Ricks’s .38-caliber revolver? Yes, he told jurors.

Desmond Ricks was halfway through his 32-year prison sentence in 2009 when he recognized Townshend’s name in an ad in the back of a law journal. He reached out for help. The expert remembered the case, visited Ricks three times, and told him about some nagging concerns.

The bullets in 1992 appeared to be in ‘‘pristine condition’’ with no trace of blood, bone, or hair that would suggest they were removed from Bennett’s brain and spine, recalled Townshend, now 76.


You can never compensate a person for lost time.

"Police officer suspended after driving with Confederate flag" Associated Press   November 14, 2016

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — A northern Michigan police officer has been suspended with pay after he was seen off-duty driving a pickup truck bearing a Confederate flag around a group protesting Republican Donald Trump’s election as president.

Officer Michael Peters’s suspension was announced Sunday by Traverse City police Chief Jeff O’Brien, who earlier said an internal investigation will start Monday to see whether Peters broke any departmental rules. ‘‘He is not working as a police officer,’’ O’Brien told the Traverse City Record-Eagle. ‘‘I do not condone his actions.’’

O’Brien confirmed that Peters was in a photo taken from Friday’s rally. Peters could not be reached for comment. The Confederate battle flag is seen by many people as a symbol of hatred and intimidation of African-Americans following the US Civil War and the freeing of blacks from slavery.

Many in the world now see the Stars and Stripes and Israel's flag the same way.

The flag was flown from the rear bed of a pickup near a ‘‘Love Trumps Hate’’ rally in the city. The truck was then parked near the rally where the driver was seen drinking a beer.

Those rallies are full of hate.

O’Brien said the behavior was intimidating, according to the newspaper.

There have been numerous reports of threats, intimidation, and racially charged violence around the country since Trump defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton in Tuesday’s presidential election.

Yeah, that guy is to blame for everything these days.


The cop looks like an agent of provocation, the same as those he is protesting against.


"Authorities say ambush-style shootings on Sunday left one police officer dead in San Antonio and another wounded in St. Louis, underscoring fears in the law enforcement community that the uniform is increasingly becoming a target, but Wayne State Police Chief Anthony Holt said that wasn’t the case in Detroit on Tuesday....."

See: Deep in the Heart of Texas



"Iowa police arrest suspect in ‘ambush’ killings of 2 officers" by Richard Pérez-Peña, Jonah Engel Bromwich and Sewell Chan New York Times  November 03, 2016

Two police officers were shot and killed early Wednesday while sitting in their patrol cars in the Des Moines, Iowa, area, and the authorities later arrested a 46-year-old Iowa man, who had a history of confrontations with the police, in connection with the “ambush-style attacks.”

The man, identified as Scott Michael Greene, surrendered and was taken into custody in Dallas County, just west of Des Moines, said Sergeant Paul Parizek, a spokesman for the Des Moines Police Department. “There’s nothing to indicate right now that there’s anybody else involved,” Parizek said.

It's always a lone nut.

Officials did not explain how investigators had identified Greene, of Urbandale, Iowa, as a suspect but said he had already been familiar to the police....



Suspect in Iowa police deaths turned himself in

Says his mother made him do it.

See: Kim Reynolds sworn in as Iowa’s 1st female governor


"A new Iowa law that eliminates most collective bargaining rights for public workers is unconstitutional and should be immediately blocked, according to a lawsuit filed Monday by a key union in the state. Republican Governor Terry Branstad on Friday signed the law, which prohibits public sector unions from negotiating issues such as health insurance and supplemental pay. The law is similar to a 2011 collective bargaining law passed in Wisconsin that sparked legal challenges. The suit argues that the law establishes two classes of public employee bargaining units....."

Time to recall her?

"Iowa lawmaker claimed Sizzler certificate was business degree" Associated Press  March 02, 2017

DES MOINES, Iowa — An Iowa state lawmaker said Thursday that he didn’t mean to mislead anyone by claiming he had a business degree from a company that actually had awarded him a certificate for doing a training program when he worked at Sizzler.

Senator Mark Chelgren’s biography on a website run by Iowa Senate Republicans had listed that he had a degree in business management from Forbco Management school. The information was removed Wednesday after NBC News reported that Forbco Management is a California company that operated a Sizzler branch.

Chelgren told The Associated Press that his clerk first provided the credentials to Senate Republicans, which then circled back with him. ‘‘It was given to me to approve, and I thought it was adequate,’’ he said.

Ed Failor, a spokesman for Iowa Senate Republicans, confirmed Thursday that Chelgren’s bio was updated after the NBC report....

Looks like things got kind of hot for him.




"Hate crime is feared as 2 Indian engineers are shot in Kansas" by John Eligon, Alan Blinder, New York Times  February 24, 2017

OLATHE, Kan. — Kansas reeled Friday as a shooting at a bar, which left one Indian engineer dead and another injured, escalated into an international incident amid fears that the attack was motivated by bias and hate.

What attacks are motivated by open-mindedness and love?

Authorities in the United States, including FBI agents, are investigating the shooting as a possible hate crime, and India’s government expressed shock over the episode in suburban Kansas City.

Aren't all crimes hate crimes?

In New Delhi, the episode raised new alarm about the treatment of foreigners in the United States, where President Trump has made clamping down on immigration and refugees from predominantly Muslim countries a central part of his “America First” agenda.

Yup, he's to blame for this, too, and the next time some Israeli goes off I'll blame Bibi.

The gunman, identified by authorities as Adam W. Purinton, 51, has had few run-ins with law enforcement. Court records show a thin history: a speeding ticket in 2008 and a 1999 drunken-driving charge that was dismissed. He spent time in the Navy and, according to a website where veterans can list their military record and find shipmate lists, he was deployed aboard the USS Long Beach, a missile cruiser, from 1988 to 1990. Purinton, who has held private pilot and control tower operator certifications, also worked for the Federal Aviation Administration, which he left in 2000, according to agency records and a spokeswoman.

The dead man, Srinivas Kuchibhotla, worked for Garmin, a GPS navigation and communications device company.

The Kansas attack dominated the Indian news media Friday....


If only Kansans were smart about their use of guns.


Kan. bar shooting suspect described as a ‘drunken mess’

FBI helping investigate Sikh man’s shooting near Seattle

Sorry, that's out West.

Where this all started:

"The missed deadlines underscore the challenges that police departments can face complying with the sweeping overhauls mandated by the Justice Department. Ferguson emerged as a flashpoint in the national debate over race and police use of force...."

‘‘Progress is being made.’’ 

"A convenience store is disputing a new documentary’s claim that previously unreleased surveillance video suggests Michael Brown didn’t rob the store shortly before he was fatally shot by police in Ferguson, Mo., in 2014...."

"Two years after the unrest that followed the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown by a police officer, Ferguson’s real estate market is on the rebound, St. Louis Public Radio reported. Real estate agents say the recovery is due in large part to the city’s quality and affordable housing stock, and to the residents of Ferguson...." 


"Kansas bar shooting victim mourned in India" by Anish Pandey and Paul Schemm Washington Post  March 01, 2017

HYDERABAD, India — Hundreds of mourning relatives joined government ministers Tuesday at funeral rites for an Indian engineer killed in Kansas by a shotgun-wielding gunman spewing racial epithets.

The somber gathering in southern India, nearly a week after the shooting, also took on political overtones in response to a perceived antiforeigner wave in the United States linked to President Trump’s America-first policies.

I'm not antianybody. Just do it the right way.

The mother of the slain engineer begged her other son not to return to the United States, and two politicians turned up with signs that said ‘‘Down with Trump’’ and ‘‘Xenophobia in any form is unacceptable.’’

A decade-long resident of the United States who worked at the aviations systems department of the Garmin technology firm, Kuchibotla was shot dead last week by a suspect who later said he believed Kuchibotla and a companion were of Middle Eastern descent.

He thought they were Iranians.

Kuchibotla and his friend Alok Madasani, 32, were in the crowded Austin’s Bar and Grill watching a basketball game when the suspect, described as inebriated, opened fire on them. Madasani was wounded, as was another patron who attempted to intervene....

 If he'd only had a knife....