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[VIDEO] Russia: Man High on Drugs Holds Teen Hostage, Demands More Drugs

Raw video: Police neutralize man after he entered house and held 13-year-old girl hostage with knife in dramatic standoff caught on tape in Russia.

The drug-crazed man broke into a house in the city of Omsk in Omsk Oblast region, central Russia, where the girl lives with her grandmother.

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Named only as Zhenya, he starts demanding drugs from the terrified family, according to local media reports.

Threatening her with a knife, the man made the girl call the police so he could demand drugs in exchange for her freedom. Police and a SWAT team rushed to the scene.

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The clip filmed by a cop shows the tattooed junkie holding the girl on his lap. His hands are behind her, thought to have been holding the knife against her. Read the rest of this entry »

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$1 Million Bail Sought for Suspect in #MountVernon Officer’s Shooting

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MOUNT VERNON, Wash.  KOMO Staff & Associated Press report: A man suspected of shooting a police officer in the back of the head was ordered held on $1 million bail Friday.

The suspect, identified in court documents as Ernesto Lee Rivas, 44, appeared in Skagit County Superior Court the day after the cold-blooded shooting.

Rivas, who has a lengthy criminal history, was arrested earlier Friday morning after a seven-hour standoff in Mount Vernon that began after a police officer was shot and critically wounded, the Washington State Patrol said.

The online roster for the Skagit County Jail shows Rivas was booked at 1:55 a.m. Friday following his arrest.

Court and State Patrol records show that Rivas has eight felonies on his record, including unlawful possession of a firearm in 2011 and unlawful imprisonment in 1998. He was subject to a domestic violence protection order last year after the mother of his child accused him of stalking her at work.

At Friday’s court hearing, prosecutors said the suspect is being held for investigation of attempted first-degree murder. It was not immediately clear if Rivas has obtained an attorney. Read the rest of this entry »


Tacoma, Washington Police Officer Shot Dead; Suspect Killed After 12-Hour Standoff

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Tacoma police officer shot dead, barricaded suspect killed

This post has been updated.

Katie Mettler reports: After a nearly 12-hour standoff with multiple law enforcement agencies in Tacoma, Wash., a 38-year-old man suspected of fatally shooting a police officer Wednesday was killed by a single bullet from a SWAT team member early Thursday morning.

“We’ve suffered a great loss and I think the community has suffered a great loss. And I don’t know how to put that into words other than to say that everyone here appreciates the kind thoughts and the prayers that are going out to us.”

— police spokeswoman, Loretta Cool

The man, whose name has not been released, had barricaded himself inside a three-story home on the city’s east side late Wednesday afternoon after unleashing bullets on two Tacoma officers who had responded to the residence after reports of a verbal domestic dispute between two people.

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“They showed great patience and restraint to make sure those kids were out safe. The whole situation is horrible. We have a deceased officer, but we have a whole lot of heroic ones that went in and got those kids.”

The man’s wife and another woman were able to escape the gunfire Wednesday, reported the News Tribune, but local authorities did not say until after the suspect was killed that two young children remained inside the home throughout the extensive standoff.

The boy and the girl, believed to be aged 8 and 11, respectively, were rescued from the home by a SWAT team around 3:20 a.m. local time Thursday, and were taken to the hospital for an evaluation, authorities said.

Police knew all along that the two children were trapped inside with the gunman, but didn’t share that information with the public for “tactical reasons,” Pierce County sheriff’s detective Ed Troyer told The Washington Post.

“Our priority was to make sure those kids were safe,” Troyer said. “We weren’t going to let those children get hurt.”

Troyer couldn’t say exactly how authorities managed to pull the children to safety, but he told The Post that there were negotiators outside the home and law enforcement officers inside the home who “never left” for the duration of the standoff. The man, who was armed with multiple weapons, had barricaded himself and the two children in an upstairs bedroom and refused to let them go, Troyer said.

[Read the full story here, at The Washington Post]

The sheriff’s department SWAT team was able to rescue one of the children, Troyer said, then separate him from the second. Before he could reach his weapons, a SWAT officer fired a single, fatal round, and authorities were able to safely remove the children from the home. Read the rest of this entry »


Two Bailiffs, Gunman Dead in Shooting at Michigan Courthouse, Sheriff says

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DEVELOPING: Two court bailiffs were killed and a police officer shot Monday inside a southwestern Michigan courthouse when an inmate broke loose and got his hands on a deputy’s gun, officials said.

“What occurred today in my hometown breaks my heart. My thoughts are with our entire community – our friends and neighbors. This tragic event reminds us all too well that our law enforcement officers have their lives on the line every day not knowing what that day will bring. We have lost two very able public servants and we all grieve for them and their families.”

Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey told local media at a press conference the gunman, whose identity was not immediately available, was killed by responding police.

“Brave officers” took down the shooter, Bailey said.

Berrien County Undersheriff Chuck Heit told Fox News a civilian was also shot, and is in stable condition.

The incident occurred just days after five Dallas police officers were killed by a sniper, and amid a wave of violence and threats against law eforcement officers around the country. Read the rest of this entry »


#ChaseBankShooting? #PlannedParenthoodShooting? 

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Least Original Perp Statement Award Nomination Announced for Phoenix Freeway Shooter Suspect: ‘You Got the Wrong Guy!’

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“All I have to say is I’m the wrong guy. I tried telling the detectives that. My gun’s been in the pawnshop the last two months. I haven’t even had access to a weapon.”

PHOENIX, Sept. 19 (UPI) — Leslie Allen Merritt Jr., the man believed to be responsible for a series of drive-by shootings on Arizona’s Interstate 10, told a judge on Saturday that authorities arrested “the wrong guy.”

“The weapon and man we believe was responsible for starting this spree is in custody. Arizona Department of Public Safety Director Frank Milstead said. “Are there others out there? Are there copycats? That is possible.”

— Frank Milstead. Arizona Department of Public Safety Director

Judge Lisa Roberts was unmoved, setting the 21-year-old’s bail at $1 million.

“The suspect presents a dramatic and profound threat to the community,” the prosecutor said at Merritt’s arraignment, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“All I have to say is I’m the wrong guy,” Merritt said, after the judge granted him permission to address the court. “I tried telling the detectives that. My gun’s been in the pawnshop the last two months. I haven’t even had access to a weapon.”

“The father of the accused told reporters that anyone who thinks his son is guilty is a ‘moron.’”

A SWAT team swarmed Merritt in a Walmart on Friday. Authorities announced his arrest shortly afterwards, saying the young man was “forensically linked” to the 11 highway shootings along busy I-10. Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: ‘We Got Him’: Suspect Arrested in Arizona Freeway Shootings

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A police SWAT team on Friday arrested a suspect in a string of shootings along an Arizona freeway that have terrified drivers over recent weeks, the governor said.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announced the arrest on Twitter at around 6:59 local time (9:59 p.m. ET), with a post that began: “We got him!”

Police did not immediately provide details. A spokesman for Ducey said the arrest occurred at a Walmart. A press conference was scheduled for later Friday evening.

Eleven vehicles were shot at on or near the I-10 freeway running through Phoenix since Aug. 29, authorities have said, although some of those incidents involved bullets and others were what has been only described as “projectiles.” Read the rest of this entry »


Movie Theater Attack: When is America Going to Get Serious About Hatchet Control?

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (CBS Atlanta/AP) — A suspect wielding a hatchet and a gun inside a Nashville-area movie theater died after exchanging gunshots with a SWAT team that stormed the theater, police said Wednesday.

The suspect, only identified so far as 51-year-old white male, was wearing a surgical mask and was armed with a gun and a hatchet at the Carmike Hickory 8 theater in Antioch, said Don Aaron, a spokesman for Metro Nashville police. The suspect was said to be a local resident. Read the rest of this entry »


Suspect in Dallas Police Shooting Struck by Sniper After Attack on Police Headquarters

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Gunman opened fire on Dallas Police Department and rammed a police car before fleeing

Nathan Koppel reports: The suspected gunman who opened fire on the Dallas Police Department’s headquarters early Saturday was believed to be dead after a standoff with officers, Police Chief David Brown said.

Police couldn’t confirm whether the suspect, who was in an armored van that he claimed had explosives inside, was alive. Police hadn’t yet confirmed the man’s identity.

Snipers shot at the van’s front window and struck the suspect, Mr. Brown said. Police were using a robot to determine whether explosives remain near the vehicle.

Pathetic tweet of the day

Police had chased the suspect to a parking lot at a Jack in the Box restaurant south of Dallas after he fired on officers at the Dallas police headquarters early Saturday. No officers were injured in the shootings. Read the rest of this entry »


Dallas Police HQ Attacked; Suspect Cornered

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DALLAS (AP) — Nomann Merchant reports:  At least one gunman opened fire on officers outside of police headquarters in Dallas early Saturday, spraying squad cars with bullets before fleeing in a van, which officers followed to a suburban parking lot and surrounded, beginning a standoff, the police chief said.

Witnesses described seeing as many as three other suspects taking part in the attack, but police Chief David Brown said at a news conference that conflicting accounts made it difficult to determine how many people may have been involved. Despite a hail of gunshots, including some that hit police vehicles, nobody was wounded, he said.

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According to Brown, the shootout began at around 12:30 a.m., when the suspect or suspects parked in front of the department’s headquarters south of downtown and began firing. At least one assailant later drove off in a dark-colored van, which witnesses described as armored, but not before ramming a police cruiser. The moment was caught on cellphone video shot from a nearby balcony in which several shots can be heard.

Officers trailed the van to a Jack in the Box parking lot in Hutchins, a Dallas suburb, where a SWAT team had it surrounded, Brown said. They had been speaking to a man inside who identified himself as James Boulware and who said he blames police for losing custody of his son and “accusing him of being a terrorist.”

The gunman also said he had explosives in the van, which appeared to be outfitted with gun ports in the sides. Read the rest of this entry »


San Diego Police Officer Shot, Suspect Dead

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Michelle Moons reports: Shots fired at approximately 8:25 a.m. Sunday morning that sent one San Diego Police Officer to the hospital were met with responding shots fired at the shooting suspect leaving the man dead at the scene.

SDPD officers originally attempted to stop a gray Jeep traveling an estimated 90 miles per hour on Interstate 805 around 7:40 a.m. The vehicle evaded authorities in the chase that ensued, but was later spotted–abandoned. A search of vehicle license records yielded the possibility that the SUV had been used in multiple shootings in the city within the several weeks prior.

A male suspect spotted near the abandoned vehicle ran when officers attempted to approach him. It was then that the suspect produced a gun and fired at the officers, hitting a female officer in the upper tors,o according to a Sunday afternoon statement from the San Diego Police Department. Read the rest of this entry »


SWAT Surrounds Essex House Motel in Littleton; FBI Agent Wounded

LITTLETON, CO - May 8:  An officer makes his way down Prince Street on Friday, May 8, 2015 at the Essex House Hotel in Denver, Colorado. An FBI agent was shot during a operation at the hotel and the shooter has since barricaded himself inside. (Photo By Brent Lewis/The Denver Post)

“It’s terrifying. It’s frightening. It’s a situation where you are trying to be as safe as possible but when you hear over the radio that an officer is down, it’s the worst thing you can possibly hear.”

— Littleton police Lt. Trent Cooper

An FBI agent was wounded Friday afternoon while trying to serve an arrest warrant at a Littleton motel.

The agent was taken to Swedish Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries.

Littleton police, SWAT officers and other law enforcement personnel were still surrounding the Essex House Motel in the 5300 block of South Santa Fe Drive at 6:15 p.m., about two hours later.

[The “Longhorn Bandit” is wanted in heists across the Denver area that began in February]

At 6:20 p.m., police were preparing to send a robot into the second-story room, since they had been unable to make contact with the suspect since the shooting at 4:15 p.m.

Officials said they were waiting for a federal warrant to enter the motel, which could take a couple of hours.

Littleton police Lt. Trent Cooper said the suspect fired two shots at law enforcement agents, hitting the agent in the leg. The officers fired no shots, he said. Read the rest of this entry »


Foreign Policy’s David Francis Resurrects Discredited WH Spin: Ambassador Stevens Death ‘Connected to Low-Budget Film’

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Americans Have ‘Stirred the Pot’, Says David Francis

David Francisdavid-francis writes: Violence connected to images depicting the Prophet Mohammed has arrived on American shores.

Five months after an attack at the office of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris, and four months after a shooting at a free speech event in Copenhagen, two gunmen were shot and killed outside of a cartoon exhibit and contest near Dallas late Sunday evening. While the motive for the attack is unclear, one of the event’s keynote speakers, Dutch parliament member Geert Wilders, has been denounced by Islamist groups for his criticisms of the Muslim presence in Europe, and its chris-stevens-bodyorganizer, Pamela Geller, is a long time critic of Islam.

“In 2012, protesters stormed the U.S. embassy in Cairo after Mark Basseley Youssef, a U.S. resident, released the anti-Muslim film ‘Innocence of Muslims’. Violence in Benghazi that left U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens dead was also connected to the low-budget film.”

Two Democratic lawmakers recently asked the White House to ban Wilders from entering the United States.

It remains unclear whether the shooting is connected to broader extremist Islamic movements like the Islamic State or al Qaeda. Some Twitter posts by users associated with the group denounced the event in advance. Citing FBI sources, ABC news reported one of the gunmen is Elton Simpson, a target of previous terrorism related investigations. He had previously
Tweeted using the hashtag #texasattacks.

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“Its organizer, Geller, is the president of the American Freedom Defense Initiative, a group the Southern Poverty Law Center lists as a ‘hate group’.”

Note: The Southern Poverty Law Center’s standards are so ludicrous they’d list a box of cereal a “hate group”. 

The identity of the second gunman is still unknown. Read the rest of this entry »


OH YES THEY DID: Liberals Side with Islamic Gunmen in #Garland Terror Attack, Blame Organizers, Wish Geller Had Been Shot

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“A number of online liberals appeared to side with the gunmen and were upset that Pamela Geller, one of the event organizers, was not shot. A number of others simply blamed Geller for the shooting, while others blamed the free speech event.”

On Sunday, two gunmen attempted what appears to be a Charlie Hebdo-style terror attack on a free speech event in Garland, Texas, that included a “Draw Mohammed” cartoon contest. Both gunmen were killed by Garland police officers and one officer was wounded. But, Twitchy said Sunday night, a number of online liberals appeared to side with the gunmen and were upset that Pamela Geller, one of the event organizers, was not shot. A number of others simply blamed Geller for the shooting, while others blamed the free speech event.

“Two people at racist hate event killed, one unfortunately not Pam Geller,” one person said. A search of Twitter revealed many others who blamed Geller.

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“What’s worse mocking Islam or killing people?”

“Nothing like presence of Geert Wilders & Pam Geller to bring out crazies on other side,” one person said. “Oh, and by the way, it is not the fault of ‘Jews’ but one Jew, Pam Geller,whose only job is to create problems,” another person added. Wilders, Twitchy added, is a Dutch politician Democrats wanted to keep out of the country. CAIR also joined in the effort, demanding he be denied a visa.

“Let’s be real, the event in #Garland featured hatemongers like Geert Wilders & Pam Geller, this wasn’t an art event, it was a hate event,” another person said on Twitter, apparently blaming the intended targets for the attempted terror attack. Others appeared to openly side with the gunmen who, as we reported Sunday, received praise from ISIS.

“Racist Pam Geller is responsible for the deaths in Garland Texas,” one Twitter user said. “Her Klan meeting was meant to draw violence. She is responsible.”

“Officials believe Simpson is the person who sent out several Twitter messages prior to the attack on Sunday, in the last one using the hashtag #TexasAttack about half an hour before the shooting.”

“I live in Garland,Tx where shooting occurred,” another Twitter user said. “I’m sorry Garland ever let Pam Geller put this event on–only 200 tickets sold. Geller=idiot.”

“Two of the key speakers/organizers of the ‘Draw Mohammed’ event in Texas are Pam Geller and Geert Wilders,” tweeted Glenn Greenwald. The tweet attracted a great deal of criticism. Read the rest of this entry »


Je Suis Garland: Two Gunmen Killed Outside Muhammad Cartoon Contest in Texas

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GARLAND, Texas— Nathan Koppel and Ana Campoy report: Two men were killed Sunday night in this Dallas suburb after they opened fire outside an art exhibit that featured cartoon drawings of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad, according to city officials.

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The men drove up to an events center hosting the exhibit by the American Freedom Defense Initiative, which was offering an award of $10,000 for the top Muhammad cartoon, and began shooting at a security officer, according to a Garland city spokeswoman.

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“This is a war. This is war on free speech.”

— Pamela GellerJe-Suis-Garland

Garland police who were helping with event security returned fire, shooting and killing the two gunmen, who weren’t immediately identified. The security officer, who worked for the Garland school district, suffered non-life-threatening injuries, officials said.

Police suspect the vehicle used by the suspects may also contain an incendiary device, and a bomb squad was on the scene Sunday evening.

Following the shooting Sunday evening, all entrances to the Curtis Culwell Center, which is owned by Garland Independent School District, were blocked off by police cars and flares. A helicopter hovered above the complex’s main pavilion.

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“The American Freedom Defense Initiative had chosen the site specifically because the facility had previously booked another event called “Stand With the Prophet” on Jan. 17 by a group trying to combat Islamophobia.”

One of the organizers of the event, Pamela Geller, took to social media to condemn the gunmen Sunday evening, saying that participants were merely practicing free speech. Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: Police Standoff in Ferguson

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FERGUSON, MO (KTVI) – Police are involved in two stand-offs in north St. Louis County.

Ferguson police are involved in a standoff after responding to report of a shooting in Ferguson.  A person has barricaded themselves into a home in the suspects 400 block of Warford.  Investigators are unable to check on the possible shooting victim until they deal with the person blocking them from entry.  Police have blocked off area streets.

An unknown number of Ferguson protesters have made their way to the scene. Read the rest of this entry »


Rogue Police Home Invasion: Marijuana Grower Shot SWAT Cops Who Kicked Down His Door, Jury Says They Don’t Blame Him

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(CCN) Recently, there has been some talk about places that allow you to shoot officers if they are in the wrong when they enter your home. Our friends at The Free Thought Project write the following about the steps that one state has taken in this direction:

Indiana has taken action to “recognize the unique character of a citizen’s home and to ensure that a citizen feels secure in his or her own home against unlawful intrusion by another individual or a public servant.”

While Indiana may appear to be the only state to so publicly announce legislation that permits self-defense against rogue police home invasions, there are other courts which have ruled in favor of recognizing this right.

One of the most striking examples is that of a Texas man who says he was the victim of a home invasion in the middle of the night. But that home invasion was carried out by SWAT officers.

In the pre-dawn raid, that occurred on December 19th, 2013, Henry Goedrich Magee, like many residents of Burleson County, Texas, had a gun in the house. When Magee heard his door being broken down, he reached for his gun.

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The police wanted to throw the proverbial book at him, but after hearing the evidence, a grand jury determined that Magee should not be charged in the shooting death of one of those officers.

The ruling was clear that Magee would not be charged with capital murder for the death of Burleson County Sgt. Adam Sowders, who was part of a SWAT team which attempted to raid Magee’s rural home, in the execution of a search warrant.

The officers did in fact have a warrant, but a key factor in the grand jury’s decision was that they did not knock before entering.

The warrant says that they were primarily looking for marijuana primarily, and also for illegal guns. Read the rest of this entry »


Obama Calls For Turret-Mounted Video Cameras On All Police Tanks

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 “This initiative will ensure that police officers across the country will be held accountable for their actions as they pour out of an 18-ton combat vehicle in response to a routine call. If the police are forced to discharge a high-caliber, vehicle-mounted weapon in the line of duty, we’ll know why.”

WASHINGTON—In an effort to restore the public’s faith in law enforcement, President Obama made an impassioned appeal this week, calling for the installation of turret-mounted video cameras on all police tanks.

“Furthermore, this policy will discourage the misuse of shell-proof tanks in our communities.”

— President Obama

“This initiative will ensure that police officers across the country will be held accountable for their actions as they pour out of an 18-ton combat vehicle in response to a routine call,” said Obama, who announced Read the rest of this entry »


One Shot, Seven Arrested in Ferguson Protests

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Police fire gas canisters at a crowd of protesters who disobeyed the curfew. European Pressphoto Agency

FERGUSON, Mo.—Rage over the death of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer sparked another early morning of bloodshed and mayhem after protesters and police clashed Sunday.

“If we are going to have justice, we must first have and maintain peace.”

— Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon

By the time the smoke and tear gas cleared, one person was listed in critical condition with gunshot injuries. Seven protesters had been arrested for failing to disperse, police said at a news conference about 2:30 a.m. local time.

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People wait for reaction from police after they refused to honor the midnight curfew. Getty Images

Police said they didn’t know who was responsible for the shooting, which is under investigation. They didn’t immediately release details about the victim. It didn’t appear to be a police-involved shooting, authorities said.

“While protesters chanted “no justice, no curfew,” police used a loudspeaker to warn the crowd that they were in violation of a state-imposed curfew.”

State Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson said the violent encounter between police and protesters didn’t happen because authorities were attempting to enforce a new, midnight-to-5-a.m. curfew.

[Also see – New Police Tactic in Ferguson: Betray Local Business Owners – NRO]

Instead, he said, SWAT teams in at least three armored vehicles moved in only after they had reports of troublemakers at Redz Barbeque restaurant, near the site of prior looting. Most of the protesters heeded warnings and left the site of weeklong protest over the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown by a police officer. Read the rest of this entry »


Cops & Cops: Context Matters


CHART: Violent crime is lowest in 44 years and half the rate in 1991, so why have we become United States of SWAT?


Should police departments release the names of officers involved in on-duty shootings?


Ferguson Missouri: SWAT Truck Repositioned, Gun Pointing Straight at Protesters


War Gear Flows to Police Departments

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A military-style armored personnel carrier, top, that the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office in Florida bought off a contractor. Credit Jacob Langston

NEENAH, Wis. — For NYTimesMatt Apuzzo reports: Inside the municipal garage of this small lakefront city, parked next to the hefty orange snowplow, sits an even larger truck, this one painted in desert khaki. Weighing 30 tons and built to withstand land mines, the armored combat vehicle is one of hundreds showing up across the country, in police departments big and small.

The 9-foot-tall armored truck was intended for an overseas battlefield. But as President Obama ushers in the end of what he called America’s “long season of war,” the former tools of combat — M-16 rifles, grenade launchers, silencers and more — are ending up in local police departments, often with little public notice.

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Kevin Wilkinson, the police chief of Neenah, Wis., said having a vehicle built for combat would help protect his officers. Credit Darren Hauck for The New York Times

During the Obama administration, according to Pentagon data, police departments have received tens of thousands of machine guns; nearly 200,000 ammunition magazines; thousands of pieces of camouflage and night-vision equipment; and hundreds of silencers, armored cars and aircraft. Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: At Least Three Shot at Seattle Pacific University, Suspect in Custody

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Reuters reports: At least three people were shot at Seattle Pacific University on Thursday, and the suspect was in custody, Seattle police said on social media.

The Seattle Times newspaper put the number of wounded higher, at seven, none fatally, and said that police were evacuating Otto Miller Hall on campus, but a police spokesman at the scene confirmed only three victims.

Seattle police had initially said via twitter that four people were confirmed shot but later downgraded that to three, saying a SWAT team was searching the campus and that authorities were receiving conflicting information about the number of victims…(read more)

Read the rest of this entry »


Military-Style Units From Government Agencies are Wreaking Havoc on Non-Violent Citizens

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The United States of SWAT?

John Fund writes: Regardless of how people feel about Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy’s standoff with the federal Bureau of Land Management over his cattle’s grazing rights, a lot of Americans were surprised to see TV images of an armed-to-the-teeth paramilitary wing of the BLM deployed around Bundy’s ranch.

“Since 9/11, the feds have issued a plethora of homeland-security grants that encourage local police departments to buy surplus military hardware and form their own SWAT units.”

They shouldn’t have been. Dozens of federal agencies now have Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams to further an expanding definition of their missions. It’s not controversial that the Secret Service and the Bureau of Prisons have them. But what about the Department of Agriculture, the Railroad Retirement Board, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Office of Personnel Management, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service? All of these have their own SWAT units and are part of a worrying trend towards the militarization of federal agencies — not to mention local police forces.

“By 2005, at least 80 percent of towns with a population between 25,000 and 50,000 people had their own SWAT team.”

Law-enforcement agencies across the U.S., at every level of government, have been blurring the line between police officer and soldier,” journalist Radley Balko writes in his 2013 book Rise of the Warrior Cop. “The war on drugs and, more recently, post-9/11 antiterrorism efforts have created a new figure on the U.S. scene: the warrior cop — armed to the teeth, ready to deal harshly with targeted wrongdoers, and a growing threat to familiar American liberties.”

Read the rest of this entry »


If a Well-Regulated Militia is Necessary to the Security of a Free State, are we Insecure? Or Unfree?

No militia means more intrusive law enforcement

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Glenn Harlan Reynolds writes:  The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution reads, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

For a while, some argued that the so-called “prefatory clause” — “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State” — somehow limited the “right of the people” to something having to do with a militia. In its recent opinions of District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago, the Supreme Court has made clear that the Second Amendment does recognize a right of individuals to own guns, and that that right is in no way dependent upon membership in a militia. That seems to me to be entirely correct.

“A professional standing army could turn on the people, placing its loyalty with its paymasters rather than with those it was supposed to protect. The militia, on the other hand, couldn’t betray the people because it was the people.”

But there is still that language. If a well-regulated militia is necessary to the security of a free state, then where is ours? Because if a well-regulated militia is necessary to the security of a free state, it follows that a state lacking such a militia is either insecure, or unfree, or possibly both.

For law enforcement, the militia has been replaced by professional police, with SWAT teams, armored vehicles and Nomex coveralls; for military purposes, the militia has been replaced by the National Guard, which despite a thin patina of state control is fundamentally a federal military force.

In the time of the Framers, the militia was an armed body consisting of essentially the entire military-age male citizenry. Professional police not having been invented, the militia was the primary tool for enforcing the law in circumstances that went beyond the reach of the town constable, and it was also the primary source of defense against invasions and insurrection.

Read the rest of this entry »


Scenes from Militarized America

Iowa Family ‘Terrorized’ 

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Authorities destroy cameras to prevent account of raid

When critics warn about the dangers of police militarization, this is what we’re talking about. You’ll see the raid team, dressed in battle-dress uniforms, helmets and face-covering balaclava hoods take down the family’s door with a battering ram. You’ll see them storm the home with ballistics shields, guns at the ready. More troubling still, you’ll see not one but two officers attempt to prevent the family from having an independent record of the raid, one by destroying a surveillance camera, another by blocking another camera’s lens…

Read the rest of this entry »


‘A hell of a wake-up call’: Security review ordered after sex offender steals Seattle-to-Canada ferry

SEATTLE — A sex offender who authorities say managed to steal one of the boats used for Seattle-to-Canada ferry service had his bail set at $200,000 as company officials reviewed security procedures to try to prevent trespassers from getting on board the vessels in the future.

AP Photo/Washington Department of CorrectionsOfficials are reviewing security for a commercial Seattle-to-Victoria, British Columbia, ferry service after Samuel Kenneth McDonough managed to take one of the ships from the Seattle waterfront, risking collision with other ships in busy Elliott Bay.

AP Photo/Washington Department of Corrections Officials are reviewing security for a commercial Seattle-to-Victoria, British Columbia, ferry service after Samuel Kenneth McDonough managed to take one of the ships from the Seattle waterfront, risking collision with other ships in busy Elliott Bay.

“We were very, very fortunate this individual did not run into a state ferry or grain ship out by the grain terminal,” Clipper Vacations CEO Darrell Bryan said. “It was a hell of a wake-up call.”

Samuel Kenneth McDonough was arrested by a SWAT team that boarded a Victoria Clipper on Sunday, seven hours after the ship motored away and drifted in Elliott Bay. McDonough, 33, was jailed for investigation of burglary, reckless endangerment, malicious mischief, and an outstanding warrant for failure to register as a sex offender.

A King County judge set his bail Monday and prosecutors have until Wednesday to formally charge him. It wasn’t known whether McDonough has a lawyer. In a probable cause statement released Monday, McDonough told police he did not know how to operate the vessel or its lights.

Clipper ships make daily runs from Seattle to Victoria, B.C. Victoria Clipper is popular with tourists and ferries about 300,000 passengers a year.

Many are wondering how the ferry, valued at $8 million, was pirated away in an incident that could have done severe damage to other boats and the bay. The boat had about 5,000 litres of diesel on board.

Bryan says the intruder apparently climbed through a gap over a 2.5-metre chain link fence to enter Pier 69.

The intruder somehow boarded one of three Clipper ships and started the engine on the 40-metre catamaran. He untied a couple of ropes but broke or damaged two cleats — metal fittings used to tie ships down — to clear the dock.

“We think the guy knew enough to get going but not enough to handle the hand controls,” Bryan said. Read the rest of this entry »


Sex Offender Steals Ferry? Seattle Ferry Theft A ‘Wake-Up Call’ For Security

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SEATTLE (AP) — A sex offender who authorities say managed to steal one of the boats used for Seattle-to-Canada ferry service had his bail set at $200,000 as company officials reviewed security procedures to try to prevent trespassers from getting on board the vessels in the future.

“We were very, very fortunate this individual did not run into a state ferry or grain ship out by the grain terminal,” Clipper Vacations CEO Darrell Bryan said. “It was a hell of a wake-up call.”

Samuel Kenneth McDonough was arrested by a SWAT team that boarded a Victoria Clipper on Sunday, seven hours after the ship motored away and drifted in Elliott Bay. McDonough, 33, was jailed for investigation of burglary, reckless endangerment, malicious mischief, and an outstanding warrant for failure to register as a sex offender.

A King County judge set his bail Monday and prosecutors have until Wednesday to formally charge him. It wasn’t known whether McDonough has an attorney of record who could comment on his behalf. In a probable cause statement released Monday, McDonough told police he did not know how to operate the vessel or its lights.

Read the rest of this entry »


Yard shooting: Swat team awaits answers

Personnel returned to work at the Washington Navy Yard on Thursday

Personnel returned to work at the Washington Navy Yard on Thursday

Debbie Siegelbaum writes: Members of a Washington DC Swat team who the BBC has learned were ordered not to respond to Monday’s Navy Yard shootings have yet to be contacted by the authorities.

The Capitol Police tactical response team was told by a supervisor to leave the scene instead of aiding municipal officers, sources told the BBC.

Meanwhile, the department has installed a new leader of the elite unit. No reason has been given for the decision. Read the rest of this entry »


The Left’s Hatred of Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz, traitor to his class

By Rich Lowry

Ted Cruz, traitor to his class - POLITICO.com Print View

Henry Adams said that politics is the systematic organization of hatreds. For the left, over the past year it has seemed at times to be the systematic organization of hatred of Ted Cruz.The freshman senator is not the first Texan to be so honored. In fact, the state isn’t holding up its end if, at any given moment, it isn’t throwing onto the national scene at least one Republican reviled by the other side.

The party’s highest-profile Texans, George W. Bush and Rick Perry, tended to match inarticulateness with cowboy swagger and lend themselves to mockery as intellectual lightweights. Bush went to Yale and Harvard Business School, yet no one naturally thinks of him as an Ivy Leaguer. The two Lone Star State governors played into the left’s stereotypes so nicely that if they didn’t exist, Gail Collins would have had to make them up.

Cruz is different — a Princeton and Harvard man who not only matriculated at those fine institutions but excelled at them. Champion debater at Princeton. Magna cum laude graduate at Harvard. Supreme Court clerkship, on the way to Texas solicitor general and dozens of cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Cruz is from the intellectual elite, but not of it, a tea party conservative whose politics are considered gauche at best at the storied universities where he studied. He is, to borrow the words of the 2009 H.W. Brands biography of FDR, a traitor to his class. Read the rest of this entry »


How did America’s police become a military force on the streets?

By Radley Balko

Are cops constitutional?

In a 2001 article for the Seton Hall Constitutional Law Journal, the legal scholar and civil liberties activist Roger Roots posed just that question. Roots, a fairly radical libertarian, believes that the U.S. Constitution doesn’t allow for police as they exist today. At the very least, he argues, police departments, powers and practices today violate the document’s spirit and intent. “Under the criminal justice model known to the framers, professional police officers were unknown,” Roots writes.

The founders and their contemporaries would probably have seen even the early-19th-century police forces as a standing army, and a particularly odious one at that. Just before the American Revolution, it wasn’t the stationing of British troops in the colonies that irked patriots in Boston and Virginia; it was England’s decision to use the troops for everyday law enforcement. This wariness of standing armies was born of experience and a study of history—early American statesmen like Madison, Washington and Adams were well-versed in the history of such armies in Europe, especially in ancient Rome.

If even the earliest attempts at centralized police forces would have alarmed the founders, today’s policing would have terrified them. Today in America SWAT teams violently smash into private homes more than 100 times per day. The vast majority of these raids are to enforce laws against consensual crimes. In many cities, police departments have given up the traditional blue uniforms for “battle dress uniforms” modeled after soldier attire.

Police departments across the country now sport armored personnel carriers designed for use on a battlefield. Some have helicopters, tanks and Humvees. They carry military-grade weapons. Most of this equipment comes from the military itself. Many SWAT teams today are trained by current and former personnel from special forces units like the Navy SEALs or Army Rangers. National Guard helicopters now routinely swoop through rural areas in search of pot plants and, when they find something, send gun-toting troops dressed for battle rappelling down to chop and confiscate the contraband. But it isn’t just drugs. Aggressive, SWAT-style tactics are now used to raid neighborhood poker games, doctors’ offices, bars and restaurants, and head shops—despite the fact that the targets of these raids pose little threat to anyone. This sort of force was once reserved as the last option to defuse a dangerous situation. It’s increasingly used as the first option to apprehend people who aren’t dangerous at all.

Click here to read the rest of “How did America’s police become a military force on the streets?” from the July issue of the ABA Journal.

via ABA Journal


Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces by Radley Balko

”Are cops constitutional?” It’s a bold and provocative question, and the more Balko (Overkill) delves into the history of law enforcement, the more that question seems worth considering. And yet it’s not the mere presence of a police force that concerns the Cato Institute policy analyst (he readily concedes that one is necessary to any functional society); it’s the force’s gradual militarization that bothers him and many who’ve found themselves on the wrong side of a SWAT team. Our country’s “founding statesmen were adamant about the dangers of armed, standing forces,” but Balko argues that we have strayed far from their vision. From the creation of the first SWAT teams in response to the violent riots of the 1960s, to the literal war on drugs, the much-publicized crackdowns on the Occupy movements, and the increasingly frequent deployments of heavily armed units to address minor incidents (underage drinking, anyone? unlicensed barbers?), the list of questionable tactics and militarized raids has grown longer with each passing year, especially in the wake of 9/11. The problem, Balko insists, is that we “tend not to take notice of such long-developing trends, even when they directly affect us. The first and perhaps largest barrier to halting police militarization has probably been awareness.” After reading Balko, you’ll be aware, alright—and scared.

via Publisher’s Weekly