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4 days ago · by · Comments Off on Attorney General Demands Apple Help Unlock Pensacola Shooter’s Phone

Attorney General Demands Apple Help Unlock Pensacola Shooter’s Phone






Attorney General William Barr is demanding that Apple unlock the phones of the alleged gunman of a deadly shooting at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida. The request has escalated tensions between the Justice Department and Apple in a legal battle over personal privacy. The FBI identified the gunman, Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, 21, as the sole shooter.

Barr yesterday declared the shooting “an act of terrorism.” Twenty-one Saudi military cadets who were training in the U.S. are now being expelled from the country and sent back to Saudi Arabia, following an investigation launched after the Pensacola shooting. He said “We have asked Apple for their help in unlocking the shooter’s iPhones. So far Apple has not given us any substantive assistance. This situation perfectly illustrates why it is critical that investigators be able to get access to digital evidence once they have obtained a court order based on probable cause. We call on Apple and other technology companies to help us find a solution so that we can better protect the lives of Americans and prevent future attacks.”
Apple released a statement addressing Barr’s claim, “We reject the characterization that Apple has not provided substantive assistance in the Pensacola investigation.” Apple said it responded to law enforcement requests “promptly, often within hours” and that it has turned over “many gigabytes of information” to investigators.
Last month, Saudi Air Force officer Mohammed Alshamrani killed three sailors and wounded eight others on the base. Alshamrani, a 2nd lieutenant in the Royal Saudi Air Force, was participating in a training program sponsored by the Pentagon as part of a security cooperation agreement with Saudi Arabia. There are more than 850 Saudi nationals in the U.S. participating in the training program, which includes English, basic aviation, and initial pilot training.
The three victims who died in the shooting were identified as Airman Mohammed Sameh Haitham, 19, from St. Petersburg, Fla.; Airman Apprentice Cameron Scott Walters, 21, from Richmond Hill, Ga and Ensign Joshua Kaleb Watson, 23, from Coffee Ala. After being shot five times, Watson made it outside to alert the first response team with a description and location of the shooter. Watson later died at an area hospital. The suspect was shot and killed after two deputies from the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office exchanged gunfire with him.

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5 days ago · by · Comments Off on Chicago Police Ordered To Release Misconduct Records

Chicago Police Ordered To Release Misconduct Records




A Cook County judge has ordered Chicago police to release police misconduct investigation files from 1967 to 2015, by the end of the year.  A judge set a timeline for the release of all of the files by December 31, 2020, after the city failed to comply with a previous court-ordered deadline to turn over 4 years of the files.

At the center of the case is Charles Green,  who was 16 years old when he was arrested in 1985 for a quadruple murder on the city’s west side. He was accused of accepting $25 to knock on the door of a drug dealer’s apartment so rivals could go in and kill the people inside. He says his confession was coerced.  Green said he gave in eventually and just said what they wanted me to say.

Green walked out of prison in 2009 after a judge reduced his sentence and he’s been fighting to clear his name. In 2015, his attorney sent an open records request asking for police misconduct investigation files for the entire department dating back to 1967 to preserve evidence not only in Green’s case, but for others who may be wrongfully convicted.  Green’s attorney, Jared Kosoglad said the order threatens to expose decades of police corruption and other skeletons out of CPD’s closet.

Activists have argued for the release of complaint files, but most have remained hidden.  Legal experts say police could have argued Green’s request was overly burdensome. But the department didn’t respond, in violation of state law, and Green filed a lawsuit.

A spokesman for the city Department of Law says the Lightfoot Administration is asking the judge to reconsider the decision to order the release of the files.  The department released a statement that said: “The City of Chicago is committed to the highest level of transparency and responds to tens of thousands of Freedom of Information Act requests every year, including requests regarding allegations against Chicago Police officers. This request is different, however, as it seeks every Complaint Register file created since 1967 – approximately 175,000 files, each of which contain dozens to hundreds of pages.  The City is currently involved in litigation regarding this request, and the matter is still pending before the court. Complying with this request would present numerous challenges, including millions of dollars in costs and expended public resources.”

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1 week ago · by · Comments Off on Bills Passed To Boost Safety After 2018 Deadly Crash

Bills Passed To Boost Safety After 2018 Deadly Crash




State lawmakers have passed several bills designed to boost safety requirements for stretch-limo operators, after a deadly crash in upstate New York involving one of the vehicles killed 20 people.  Family members of the victims of the 2018 crash flanked officials during Tuesday’s press conference in Albany and cheered the 10 proposals supported by leaders of the state Senate, Assembly and Gov. Cuomo.

The crash occurred in Schoharie at the junction of New York state routes 30 and 30A  on the afternoon of October 6th 2018. The passengers were traveling to a surprise birthday party in a retrofitted 2001 Ford Excursion.  Among them were four sisters and two recently married couples.  All 18 people inside the vehicle, including the driver, and 2 bystanders in a nearby parking lot were killed.

The investigation of the accident revealed pre-existing problems with the limousine, the driver and the limousine company, Prestige Limousine Services. As a result of failing two inspections due to deficient brakes, which a repair shop allegedly falsified having repaired, and other issues, the state had ordered the vehicle out of service. Inspectors had placed an “inservicable” sticker across the windshield which was removed before the fatal trip.  The vehicle was only certified for 10 seats, but had 18 installed. The driver also lacked the required endorsement to his license for carrying 15 or more passengers at a time.

After the New York State Police determined that the operator, Nauman Hussain, was aware of these issues yet continued to rent the vehicle, he was arrested on a charge of criminally negligent homicide and later indicted on 20 counts each of that charge and 2nd degree manslaughter.  His trial is scheduled for March 2020.

“This has been a difficult journey for all the collective families that said, as everybody knows, it’s not where you start, it’s where you finish,” said an emotional Kevin Cushing, who lost his 31-year-old son, Patrick Cushing, in the October 2018 crash in Schoharie County.  “We can’t change the past but we can make a difference in the future,” Cushing said.

One of the key pieces of legislation requires all new stretch limos to have seat belts starting in 2021 and retrofitted vehicles by 2023.  Multiple reports following the accident found that seat belts could have saved the lives of at least some of the passengers.  Other changes include a bill mandating that riders in taxis, liveries and limos — in both the front and back seats —wear safety belts.  This would apply to Uber, too.  Additional bills set new requirements for drug and alcohol testing of hired drivers, criminal and financial penalties for illegal U-turns and a commercial GPS system. Another bill will implement a study on other safety measures, such as escape hatches.


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2 weeks ago · by · Comments Off on Monsey Attacker Charged With 5 More Hate Crime Charges

Monsey Attacker Charged With 5 More Hate Crime Charges



A grand jury indicted the suspect in the Hanukkah attack with five more federal hate crimes charges. Grafton Thomas allegedly stabbed at least five Jewish worshipers who were celebrating Hanukkah at a rabbi’s house in Monsey last month. The grand jury in Rockland County had already indicted Thomas, 37, on six counts of attempted murder in the second degree, three counts of assault in the first degree, three counts of attempted assault in the first degree and two counts of burglary in the first degree in the mass slashing on Dec. 28.

The indictment charges Grafton Thomas with five counts each of attempting to kill victims based on their religion and obstructing the free exercise of religious beliefs by attempting to kill with a dangerous weapon.  He is being held without bail on the federal charges.  “We now allege that he did this with the intention of targeting his victims because of their religion,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said in a news release. “Thomas faces life in prison for his alleged violent acts of prejudice and intolerance.”

Newly elected DA Thomas E. Walsh, who took office on New Year’s Day, announced the state charges at a brief press conference.  “Thomas violently attacked numerous individuals inside the home, slashing at least six individuals, with the intent to cause their deaths,” he said. Initial reports said there were five injured in the attack, though there were no details on what injuries the newly-added victim suffered.  Those charges carry a maximum of 25 years in state prison.

Thomas was arrested shortly after the attack with 2 bloodied weapons in his car.  Police say he also had handwritten journals containing anti-Semitic references and recently used his phone to look up information on Hitler and the location of synagogues.  The worst of the injured victims was clinging to life after suffering devastating machete blows to his head; the man, great-grandfather Josef Neumann, 72, remained comatose, partially paralyzed and on a respirator.

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2 weeks ago · by · Comments Off on Boeing Crash Caused By Missile Strike

Boeing Crash Caused By Missile Strike




Airlines are continuing to avoid Iranian airspace in the wake of missile attacks on U.S. military bases in Iraq, as well as the crash of a Boeing 737-800 in Iran’s capital that is believed to have been brought down by a missile.  The Ukraine International Airlines flight to Kiev crashed minutes after takeoff from the airport in Tehran, killing all 176 people aboard.

Iranian officials initially denied that a missile strike was the cause of the crash and claimed the plane was on fire while it was still in the air but stated they were withholding the plane’s black box and would not give it to Boeing or the Americans. The jet crash came only hours after Iran launched missiles at two Iraqi military bases that house U.S. and Iraqi troops as revenge for the U.S. assassination of Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani last week.

But pressure quickly mounted after Western intelligence officials said evidence pointed to Iranian involvement.  They later admitted to being responsible claiming an investigation found that “missiles fired due to human error”, President Hassan Rouhani said. He described the crash as an “unforgivable mistake”. The military said the jet turned towards a sensitive site belonging to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and was then mistaken for a cruise missile.

Military officials released a statement that said “ due to heightened tensions with the US, Iran’s military “was at its highest level of readiness.  In such a condition, because of human error and in an unintentional way, the flight was hit.” The military apologized for downing the plane, saying it would upgrade its systems to prevent such “mistakes” in the future. It added that those responsible would be held accountable and prosecuted. Foreign Minister Javad Zarif apologized to the families of the 176 victims but laid part of the blame on the US. “Human error at a time of crisis caused by US adventurism led to disaster,” he said.


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2 weeks ago · by · Comments Off on Michigan State Police Reach Settlement With Family of Damon Grimes

Michigan State Police Reach Settlement With Family of Damon Grimes

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The family of Damon Grimes, a teenager who died in 2017 after a Michigan state trooper stunned him with a Taser has reached a $12 million settlement with the Michigan State Police. Fifteen-year-old Grimes was riding an ATV in a residential area of Detroit, when a police officer tased him for not pulling over fast enough. The teen then crashed into the back of a parked truck and died quickly after. 

This is the Michigan State Police Department’s largest-ever settlement for a single incident.  The Grimes family, including Damon’s mother Monique Grimes and his sisters Dezjanai and Dezanique Grimes, are to get about $8 million of the settlement. Most of the remaining $4 million is to go to the family’s lawyers at the Fieger law firm.

The family’s attorney Geoffrey Fieger, who filed a $50 million wrongful death lawsuit against Bessner, fellow trooper Ethan Berger and Michigan State Police Sgt. Jacob Liss said “I’m very thankful that the attorney general recognized the grave injury that occurred in this case, and the intolerable circumstances, and therefore accepted responsibility and allowed justice to be done.”  Fieger added Grimes’ family is “very pleased” with the settlement.

“The facts of this case are so horrendous, and it was difficult dealing with the bureaucracy of the state of Michigan and dealing with the police agencies, but having cut through all that, the attorney general did the right thing and settled the case, and didn’t subject the state to a trial that could have resulted in a much larger verdict,” Fieger said.

The now-former Michigan State Police trooper who used the taser, Mark Bessner, was sentenced to 5 to 15 years in prison for involuntary manslaughter. It is a violation of Michigan State Police policy to deploy a Taser from a moving vehicle. The State Police revised its chase policy for ATVs in the aftermath of Damon’s death and stopped doing chases in Detroit involving traffic or misdemeanor violations. That new policy was later adopted statewide.

The settlement will end a federal lawsuit filed by Damon’s family in U.S. District Court in Detroit against Bessner and two other troopers, Ethan Berger and Sgt. Jacob Liss, a supervisor. Berger, who was driving the patrol car when Bessner fired the Taser, has since resigned from the agency.  A State Police internal affairs report in 2018 accused Berger and Liss of attempting to cover up details of the ATV incident, such as the use of the Taser. Neither were charged in relation to the incident. The Michigan State Police internal affairs investigation had been critical of Liss, the supervisor at the crash scene, for omitting key details from his incident report, but Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy did not pursue criminal charges.

Michigan State Police Lt. Mike Shaw said in a written statement: “The Michigan State Police extends its continued condolences to the Grimes family, friends and supporters. Damon Grimes’ death is a tragedy that could have been avoided if not for the criminal and unforgivable actions of a former Michigan State Police trooper.

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3 weeks ago · by · Comments Off on Monsey NY Machete Attack

Monsey NY Machete Attack


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On December 28, 2019, the seventh night of Hanukkah, a masked intruder wielding an 18 inch machete entered the home of a Hasidic Rabbi in Monsey, Rockland County, NY where a Hanukkah party was underway and began attacking the guests. Five people were wounded, two of whom were hospitalized in critical condition. Grafton Thomas, 37, was arraigned in a Rockland County court and pleaded not guilty to five counts of attempted murder and one count of first-degree burglary. He is also charged with a federal hate crime and his bail was set at $5 million. 

The frenzied attack took less than 2 minutes at the home of Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg, where almost 100 people had gathered to watch the rabbi light the candles and to celebrate a Hanukkah party.  Around 10 pm, Thomas entered the home with his face covered by a scarf and immediately began stabbing guests with a machete. Rabbi Rottenberg’s son was among the injured. Guests struck back, hitting the attacker with chairs and a small table, forcing him to flee the home. 

Thomas attempted to enter the synagogue next door, Congregation Netzach Yisroel, but the doors were locked.  Thomas then fled the scene in a car but a witness provided police with the license plate number of the car. At 11:45 pm, a license plate reader on the George Washington Bridge captured the license plate of the car as it entered New York City.  Police stopped the car in Harlem and arrested him without incident after midnight.  Rockland County Senior District Attorney Michael Dugandzic said police found the suspect with blood on his clothes and smelling “strongly” of bleach at the time of his arrest. 

Thomas’ family said in a statement Sunday night that Thomas has “a long history of mental illness and hospitalizations” and that his attorney, Michael H. Sussman, had been instructed to seek “immediate mental health evaluation of Grafton.” Thomas was arrested at least seven times since 2001, on charges which include assault, resisting arrest, killing or injuring a police animal, driving under the influence, possessing controlled substances, and menacing a police officer. In 2013, he was arrested for punching a police horse and was jailed briefly for possession of a controlled substance.  In 2018, he was charged with weapon possession, endangerment, and menacing a policeman.


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One of the two gravely injured victims is 72 year old Josef Neumann, who has been in a coma since the attack and is connected to a breathing tube. According to his family, he had been struck three times in the head and suffered a wound that penetrated directly into the brain.  His doctor does not have high hopes of a recovery. He turned 72 on Dec. 30 while unconscious.


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3 weeks ago · by · Comments Off on California Man Killed During Traffic Stop

California Man Killed During Traffic Stop





Newly released body-camera video shows a Sonoma County sheriff deputy fatally slamming a man’s head into his own car. The sheriff deputy, Charlie Blount, and his partner, Deputy Jason Little, apparently thought the driver, David Glen Ward, had stolen the car — which he in fact owned.  Ward had been the victim of a carjacking days earlier and reported the car stolen.  


He had somehow recovered the vehicle but hadn’t notified police yet.  When the officers spotted the Honda Civic they attempted to pull the vehicle over thinking he was the perpetrator, which resulted in a police chase that lasted more than 5 minutes.  Once Ward finally stopped, deputies can be heard shouting at Ward to put his hands up, with their guns drawn. Ward puts his hands up but repeatedly tries to put them back on the wheel before putting them up again.  


In the video, Blount tries to pull Ward out of the vehicle but Ward says that his legs are in pain and Deputy Jason Little can be heard off-camera saying that his legs are stuck.  Blount and Little both can be heard saying that Ward bit them. As the officers try to pull Ward from the vehicle, Deputy Blount grabs him by the hair and slams his head into the car’s frame.  Deputy Little deploys the taser on Ward and Blount puts Ward in a “sleeper hold” to restrain him. The deputies then pull Ward’s limp body out of the car and handcuff him. They then call for medical assistance.  Ward was declared dead at a local hospital later that day.  


Later, Deputy Nick Jax can be heard telling the two officers that Ward was the owner of the vehicle.  “Then why did he run?” Little asks. Jax responded that he didn’t know and there was no reason for him to respond that way.  “Oh well,” Blount said.  


Deputy Blount’s lawyer Harry Stern said “ Mr. Ward caused his own death by inexplicably taking a number of bizarre actions that confirmed in the deputies’ minds that he was an armed carjacker rather than the victim of that crime.”


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4 weeks ago · by · Comments Off on Seals Interviews About Gallagher Released

Seals Interviews About Gallagher Released




Several confidential military interviews with the Navy SEALs who accused Chief Edward Gallagher of war crimes were released to the public.  Members of SEAL Team 7 Alpha Platoon described their platoon leader, retired Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher as “toxic” and “evil,” according to video recordings of the interviews.  Navy SEAL Special Operations Cheif Edward Gallagher was found not guilty of murder and attempted murder by a military jury in San Diego.

Gallagher was accused of fatally stabbing a young wounded ISIS fighter, posing for a picture with the corpse and shooting two civilians from a sniper’s perch in Iraq in 2017.  He was found guilty of the charge involving the photo with the corpse. Seven SEALS testified that Gallagher abruptly stabbed the boy just after he was treated by a medic without saying a word to any of them.  

“The guy is freaking evil,” Special Operator First Class Craig Miller said of Gallagher during his interview with Naval Criminal Investigative Service agents.  “You could tell he was perfectly O.K. with killing anybody that was moving,” Special Operator First Class Corey Scott said of his former platoon leader, the newspaper reported.  “The guy was toxic,” Special Operator First Class Joshua Vriens told investigators, the report said.

In the videos, the platoon members accuse Gallagher of shooting at a 12-year-old, refer to Gallagher as a “psychopath,” and tell of rumors that Gallagher had targeted civilians and bragged about having killed women.  “I think he just wants to kill anybody he can,” one said while another said “We can’t let this continue.”   The testimony paints a chilling pattern of violence executed by their platoon chief.

In July, Gallagher was found not guilty by a military jury for the stabbing. He was, however, demoted after the jury convicted him of posing for a photo with the ISIS fighter’s corpse. The Navy Board also considered stripping Gallagher of his status as a Navy SEAL.  But last month, President Trump intervened and restored Gallagher’s rank. 

“They wanted to take his pin away and I said, ‘No, you’re not going to take it away,'” he said at the time. “These are tough people, and we’re going to protect our warfighters.”  That move angered many in the Navy, including former Navy Secretary Richard Spencer, who was ousted after requesting the president not get involved in Gallagher’s case. “I don’t think he really understands the full definition of a warfighter.  A warfighter is a profession of arms, and a profession of arms has standards that they have to be held to and they hold themselves to,” Spencer said.




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4 weeks ago · by · Comments Off on Saudi Government Sentences Five To Death in Khashoggi Murder

Saudi Government Sentences Five To Death in Khashoggi Murder




Saudi Arabia has sentenced five people to death for the killing of prominent journalist and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. Three additional people were sentenced to prison over the brutal October 2018 murder carried out inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, which sparked international outrage. Saudi Arabia has not announced who has been sentenced to death or imprisoned. The CIA has concluded Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered Khashoggi’s assassination, but the prince remains a close ally to the U.S. government.

Saudi Arabia has cleared a former top adviser to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.  There was no evidence against Saud al-Qahtani, Saudi Deputy Public Prosecutor Shaalan al-Shaalan announced in a televised press conference.  A court also dismissed charges against Ahmed al-Assiri, a former deputy intelligence chief, and Mohammed al-Otaibi, Saudi’s consul general in Istanbul when the murder took place.  Al-Qahtani and al-Otaibi were sanctioned a year ago by the US Treasury for their alleged involvement in the murder. Both were part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s inner circle and were relieved of their duties in the immediate aftermath of Khashoggi’s killing.

The Saudi government investigation concluded that the murder was not premeditated and that the perpetrators agreed to kill the journalist when they found it would be too hard to move him to another location.  They determined that “there was no prior intention to kill him at the beginning of the mission and the death happened on the spot.” Prosecutors investigated 31 people in relation to the murder of Khashoggi, 21 of whom were arrested.  Eleven of the 21 were charged and tried in total secrecy. 

UN Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard called the court rulings “anything but justice” in a series of posts on her official Twitter account. The UN expert previously found “sufficient credible evidence” that called for the Saudi Crown Prince to be investigated.  Callamard criticized the court’s conclusion that the killing was not premeditated, citing “the presence of a forensic doctor,” how the “defendants had repeatedly stated they were obeying orders” and how the consul general “took all necessary precautions to ensure there will be no eye witness present.  Bottom line: the hit-men are guilty, sentenced to death. The masterminds not only walk free. They have barely been touched by the investigation and the trial. That is the antithesis of Justice. It is a mockery.”

Khashoggi’s son eldest son Salah, who handles the family’s relations with the government, described the ruling as “fair” on Twitter.  “A fair judiciary is based on 2 principles: justice and quick proceedings. Today’s judiciary was fair to us, the sons of Jamal Khashoggi.  We affirm our confidence in Saudi judiciary on all its levels as it ruled in our favor and achieved justice.” Earlier this year, Salah denied that a settlement had been reached between his family and the Saudi government after a source claimed that Khashoggi’s family have received millions of US dollars in cash and assets as compensation for the killing. 



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