CA Cop Killer Complained of ‘Ultra Sonic Waves’

Man who killed a rookie Davis, Ca., police officer left a note saying that police had been “hitting me with ultra sonic waves meant to keep dogs from barking.”

A man identified as the gunman in the ambush killing of a Davis, Ca. police officer left a note in his apartment saying that police had hit him with “ultra sonic waves meant to keep dogs from barking,” the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Kevin Douglas Limbaugh, 48, was identified as the man who shot and killed officer Natalie Corona, 22, on Thursday while the rookie officer was responding to a routine collision. Hours after the shooting, Limbaugh killed himself with a single gunshot to the head as police closed in, said Davis Police Chief Darren Pytel.

“The Davis Police department has been hitting me with ultra sonic waves meant to keep dogs from barking,” read the note, which was typed on a computer. “I notified the press, internal affairs, and even the FBI about it. I am highly sensitive to its affect (sic) on my inner ear. I did my best to appease them, but they have continued for years and I can’t live this way anymore.” Davis police Lt. Paul Doroshov said it is not clear when the note was typed. “There have been a lot of rumors as to why this happened, why he did what he did, and we’re hoping this sheds some light,” Doroshov said. The note was found on Limbaugh’s bed. The killing of Corona and a shooting spree that followed was not Limbaugh’s first brush with the law. In September, he was arrested on a felony charge of battery with serious bodily injury. The charge was reduced to a misdemeanor in a plea deal, resulting in an eight-day jail sentence. He was ordered to surrender a semiautomatic rifle, not the weapon used in the police killing, the Sacramento Bee reports. The charge stemmed from his punching a co-worker at a casino in the face.


Broward Sheriff Vows to Fight Ouster Over Parkland School Shooting

Scott Israel charged the decision to remove him as sheriff was all about “politics.” His replacement will be Broward County’s first African-American sheriff.

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, criticized for his office’s inadequate response to last year’s Parkland, Fl., school shooting, plans to fight  the decision to remove him from office, claiming he is a victim of “politics,” reports The Miami Herald.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis suspended the two-term Democratic sheriff Friday, citing the conclusions of a state panel’s investigation of the Broward County agency’s response to the Feb. 14, 2018, shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, said The Herald, CNN and other news outlets.

The panel found that several Broward deputies failed to run into the building to try to stop the gunman — or were slow and inadequately trained to confront the killer and stop him.

The governor’s action came three days after he was sworn in, and fulfilled a promise he made during last Fall’s election campaign to remove the sheriff.

Israel was replaced by Gregory Tony, a former Coral Springs, Fl., police sergeant with a background in active-shooter training, who will be the county’s first African-American sheriff.

Israel’s lawyer, Stuart Kaplan, said that not only would Israel fight the governor’s order, but he would run for re-election when his term ends in 2020.

“There certainly were mistakes made,’’ Kaplan said. “But in every situation we can always identify things that could be done better…it does not in any way rise to the level to single out Sheriff Israel and hold him accountable for what happened.’’

Appearing later at a meeting with reporters, Israel made clear he saw himself as a victim of political scapegoating.

“Sadly, this is not about what occurred on Feb. 14 [2018],’’ he said at a news conference at New Mount Olive Baptist Church in Fort Lauderdale. “The governor promised as a candidate — well before he had any facts about the investigation, well before the commission even began their work — that he would remove me from office.”

Israel added: “Today he merely fulfilled a campaign promise. This was about politics — not about Parkland.”

After expressing his sympathies for the families who lost loved ones in the mass shooting, Israel insisted he had not failed in his duty.

The ousted sheriff said there was no “wrongdoing” on his part.

“I served the county honorably and I will continue to do that,” he said.

The new sheriff, who now lives in Boca Raton, left the Coral Springs Police Department after 12 years in 2016, the South Florida.


Diverse Neighborhoods Could Reduce Police Shootings of Blacks, Hispanics: Study

Researchers studying nearly 1,700 fatal interactions with police between 2013 and 2015 concluded that desegregation dramatically reduces the risks of black males being killed by police officers. Higher levels of segregation increased the odds for Hispanic males.

Desegregation of America’s neighborhoods can save blacks and Hispanics from being killed by police officers, according to a study published in the Social Science & Medicine journal.

The researchers, led by Odis Johnson Jr., a sociology professor at Washington University in St. Louis, analyzed a database that included details on nearly 1,700 fatal interactions with police (FIP) that occurred across the U.S. from May 2013 to January 2015.

The researchers concluded that low levels of racial segregation dramatically reduce the risks of black males being killed by police officers. higher levels of segregation increased the odds for Hispanic males.

“Black males’ odds of a FIP were dramatically lowered in neighborhoods with a relatively low percentage of black residents,” the researchers write. “This suggests that racially mixed neighborhoods to some degree shield black males from police homicides.”

Furthermore, in neighborhoods with high levels of income inequality, such as poor areas undergoing gentrification, males of color face a higher risk of being killed during interactions with police; Hispanic men face the highest risk.

“Our results concerning Hispanic males are perhaps the most important that we offer, since one could argue the majority of media and public attention about FIPs have concerned black males,” the researchers write.

“This analysis in contrast suggest that we should give careful consideration to the geospatial and institutional circumstances in which the odds of having FIPs becomes greatest for particular race-gender classifications, rather than assuming black males are placed at greatest risk in all contexts.”

The findings support the work of historian Richard Rothstein, a distinguished fellow of the Economic Policy Institute.

In his latest book, “The Color of Law,” Rothstein chronicles the history of racial segregation in the U.S., pinpointing President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal of the 1930s as the start of a deliberate government plan to create and enforce residential segregation.

Rothstein contends that systemic residential segregation continues to champion inequality and injustice in all areas.

Although America’s demographics  have been gradually changing, with one study predicting that whites in the U.S. will become a “minority” by 2045, an investigation by the Washington Post shows that neighborhoods are still deeply segregated.

A full copy of the current study can be downloaded here.

J. Gabriel Ware is a contributing writer for The Crime Report.


Houston Chief: Spend U.S. Funds on Fighting City Gangs

Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo, citing Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s call for a gang crackdown in Houston, says federal money aimed at the supposed “border surge” should be spent on attacking city crime. “The crisis is not at the border,” Acevedo says.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has called for a gang crackdown in Houston after the death of Jazmine Barnes, and Police Chief Art Acevedo agrees, saying he would like to do so with federal funds now being used to combat the “border surge,” the Houston Chronicle reports. “The crisis is not at the border,” Acevedo said, referring to President Trump’s calls for a $5.7 billion border security plan, including his proposed border wall. “It’s on the streets of our cities,” Acevedo said. He dismissed Trump’s depiction of a “growing humanitarian and security crisis” 300 miles to the south as political theater and contends data will show Houston and other U.S. cities should be the priority of federal law enforcement. The Gulf Coast is home to about 20,000 registered gang members, most of whom Acevedo described as “homegrown, natural-born, red-blooded Americans.”

Acevedo said he spoke to William Barr, Trump’s attorney general candidate, and asked for more focus on data-driven policing, rather than “political rhetoric and the demonization of immigrations.” The back-and-forth between the chief and the governor was triggered by the arrest of an alleged member of the Five Deuce Hoover Crips street gang in Jazmine’s Dec. 30 drive-by shooting death, and Abbott’s suggestion that Houston needs a boost in anti-gang resources. “There are too many gangs in Houston,” Abbott wrote on Twitter. “We must expand the Texas Anti-Gang Task Force in Houston to clean our streets of this trash and restore safety.” Abbott cited a message from the Houston Police Officers Union president that depicted suspected gunman Larry Woodruffe as “the dirtbag” who killed the 7-year-old child. Union boss Joe Gamaldi branded Woodruffe a “documented gang member” and shared another image he contended was an image of him brandishing a rifle and pistol.


New Orleans Mayor To Name Police Chief on Monday

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell plans to name a replacement for departing Michael Harrison on Monday. She would become the first New Orleans mayor in a quarter-century to name a permanent chief without conducting a national search or first making an interim appointment to allow for an on-the-job vetting period.

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s plan to name a permanent police chief from within the department one week after Superintendent Michael Harrison’s announced departure for a new job in Baltimore is within her mayoral authority, reports She plans to appoint a replacement on Monday. Cantrell would become the first New Orleans mayor in a quarter-century to name a permanent chief without conducting a national search or first making an interim appointment to allow for an on-the-job vetting period. The last mayor to choose a police chief in the manner Cantrell plans to do was Sidney Barthelemy, who was near the end of his second and final term in 1994 when he moved quickly to replace scandal-plagued Superintendent Arnesta Taylor with Joseph Orticke.

Cantrell’s expedited selection process, and Baltimore’s surprise announcement about Harrison’s hiring, illustrate how politically treacherous the appointment of a big-city police chief can be. In New Orleans, some observers are questioning the relative lack of public input in Cantrell’s selection process. Others defend her authority to make the appointment and point out that she has had several months to consider and evaluate potential replacements, knowing that Harrison was being courted. In Baltimore, Mayor Catherine Pugh has been criticized for conducting a secretive selection process. Baltimore’s police commissioner appointment is highly politicized, requiring confirmation from its 15-member City Council, many of whom have spent Pugh’s first term clashing with the mayor. New Orleans’ city charter has no confirmation requirement, so Cantrell doesn’t need the council’s approval. Beau Tidwell, Cantrell’s spokesman, said the mayor decided against an interim appointment because the city is less than two months away from Mardi Gras and Cantrell “wanted to move immediately to a new chief (because) she thought the talent and the resources” were already inside the department.


Police Tasers Incite Violent Encounters: UK Study

Cambridge University researchers studying the effects of carrying Tasers by British cops recommended that police keep them hidden from view to neutralize the “weapons effect” which they said incites aggressive behavior by both officers and suspects. 

Police officers carrying Tasers are more likely to apply force and/or get assaulted, according to a London study published in the journal Criminal Justice and Behavior.

Using data collected from nearly 6,000 incidents involving both Taser-armed and unarmed officers during 2016 in England and Wales, researchers found evidence of what they called the “weapons effect” – a psychological phenomenon in which the sight of a weapon incites aggressive behavior.

Even though the Tasers were rarely used, the number of use-of-force incidents involving officers carrying the stun weapons was 48 percent higher than incidents involving officers on unarmed shifts. At the same time, unarmed officers accompanying Taser carriers used force 19 percent more often than those on Taser-free control shifts.

Barak Ariel

Barak Ariel was lead author on Cambridge study of Tasers.

“Within this theoretical framework and given the mature body of evidence on ‘weapons effects,’ it is perhaps unsurprising that we found significant increases in the use of force by, and assaults on, officers in this study,” concluded the study, authored by lead researcher Barak Ariel of the University of Cambridge and five others.

The researchers recommended that officers conceal their Tasers to control for the “weapons effect.”

1,000 Deaths Involving Tasers in 2017

In the U.S., Tasers are commonly used by police officers as non-lethal tools to neutralize the threat of violence by suspects. However, a 2017 report by Reuters documented more than 1,000 deaths involving Tasers, nearly half of which resulted in a wrongful death lawsuit.

Last year, a man who was set on fire by an officer’s stun gun in 2015 settled his excessive-force lawsuit against police in Virginia for $6.5 million.

Also last year a Pennsylvania man who was videotaped being Tasered by police while sitting on a curb filed a lawsuit against the department for use of excessive force.

In response to these and other incidents, some U.S. police forces have sharply reduced the user of Tasers.

See also: Baltimore Police Cut Use of Tasers Nearly in Half.

The Cambridge researchers said their findings suggest that the “weapons effect” phenomenon may apply to other weapons.

A full copy of the study can be purchased here.

J. Gabriel Ware is a contributing writer to The Crime Report. Readers’ comments are welcome.


Harrison ‘Respected By The Troops’ In New Orleans

New Orleans Police Superintendent Michael Harrison, nominated for the same position in Baltimore, has won over rank-and-file officers while navigating tough reforms under a federal consent decree. He would find himself in a similar position if he is confirmed to his new job.

When New Orleans’ police superintendent resigned in 2014, the mayor promoted  commander Michael Harrison, 45, over more senior officers to run the force. Union leaders called it a slap in the face. Some saw the move as intended to curry favor with the churches; Harrison preached on Sundays. Five years later, Harrison has won over rank-and-file officers while navigating tough reforms under a federal consent decree, the Baltimore Sun reports. Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh chose him to lead the city’s police department. “He’s well liked as a person; he’s respected by the troops,” said Eric Hessler, attorney for the Police Association of New Orleans, the officers’ union. “He was a good police officer. He did his job, and he did it the way it was supposed to be done.”

In 27 years on the force, Harrison, 49, rose from a patrol officer. He earned a reputation as an approachable commander, someone who doesn’t shy from the public and who cares for his cops. Last year, a survey of 281 officers found 80 percent believed he was leading the department in the right direction. Jason Rogers Williams, New Orleans City Council president, said, “He was widely respected and widely appreciated in poor communities as well as affluent.” Harrison formed a specialized unit to suppress gun violence. New Orleans last year had its fewest homicides in 47 years. Harrison’s biggest task was  implementation of a federal consent decree. The U.S. Department of Justice faulted police for unconstitutional tactics, from bad stops and racial profiling to excessive force and failing to investigate crimes against women. “There was relatively little drama,” said criminologist Peter Scharf of the LSU School of Public Health in New Orleans. “Mike has been exceptionally skilled at implementing a very tough, monitored, performance-driven consent decree process.” In Baltimore, he would find himself in the same position.


The Presumption of Guilt

     Anastasio Prieto was driving his truck toward home along US Route 54, just north of El Paso, Texas on a late night in August 2007. While enjoying the beautiful countryside passing him by, he noticed a weigh station and pulled over t…

     Anastasio Prieto was driving his truck toward home along US Route 54, just north of El Paso, Texas on a late night in August 2007. While enjoying the beautiful countryside passing him by, he noticed a weigh station and pulled over to have his truck inspected. A state trooper approached him and asked whether he could search Anastasio's truck for contraband. Not protective of his own privacy, Anastasio said, "Of course," knowing  that no contraband would be found. During his conversation, Anastasio did mention that he happened to be carrying $23,700, his life savings, used to pay bills and maintain the truck, which he carried with him because he did not trust banks. What he did not realize was that his opinion of banks would be his undoing.

     The money was confiscated, and Anastasio was detained, photographed, and fingerprinted while canine dogs sniffed his truck. The state police, who believed that Anastasio must be guilty of something, turned the cash they seized from him over to the federal Drug Enforcement Administration. Though no evidence of illegal substances was found, the DEA explained to Anastasio that they would be keeping the money, and that in thirty days he would receive notice of federal proceedings to forfeit the money permanently to the government. Anastasio was told that if he wanted to get the money back, he would have to petition a court and prove that the money was legally obtained by him and not the product of criminal conduct.

     That's right; even though not a single shred of evidence of any illegal activity was found in his truck, Anastasio was considered guilty and would have to prove his innocence. Thankfully, the ACLU stepped in and sued the DEA on behalf of Anastasio. With the lawsuit looming, and fearing a more public revelation of its Gestapo tactics at a trial, the DEA returned the money months later.

Judge Andrew P. Napolitano, Lies the Government Tells You, 2010


Baltimore Mayor Taps New Orleans’ Harrison to Head Police

Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh announced that she has chosen New Orleans police superintendent Michael Harrison to lead the city’s police department, a day after her previous pick for commissioner, Fort Worth Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald, withdrew from consideration.

Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh announced that she has chosen New Orleans police superintendent Michael Harrison to lead the city’s police department, a day after her previous pick for commissioner withdrew from consideration, the Baltimore Sun reports. Harrison was the top choice of a panel of police executives who interviewed candidates in October.

Harrison told New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell that he will retire from the department. No date for the transition was mentioned. On Monday, Fort Worth, Tx., Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald withdrew from consideration after a medical emergency involving his son. Cantrell said Harrison would bring “significant and relevant experience” to Baltimore, along with “insight and sensitivity.”


Body Cam Footage Doesn’t Convince Jurors: Study

Mock jurors in eight studies were are less likely to blame officers for incidents based on footage from body cameras versus dashboard cameras. Viewers were reluctant to assign blame to an officer they could not see.

Police departments are investing in body cameras as a response to calls for increased accountability after high-profile shootings, but a new study found that juries are less likely to blame officers for incidents based on footage from body cameras versus dashboard cameras, reports Courthouse News Service. Laws regulating, and in some cases requiring, the use of body cameras for police have been passed in 34 states and the District of Columbia. Many were prompted by a 2013 study that showed police use of force dropped by 50 percent in Rialto, Ca., when officers wore body cameras by community pressure after a Missouri grand jury’s decision not to indict the officer who fatally shot unarmed teen Michael Brown, an incident for which no video recording was available.

It may seem obvious that video footage would help juries accurately assign blame in violent incident, but researchers say a viewer’s judgment may hinge on the viewpoint of the camera from which footage is shot. In a study published Monday by the National Academy of Sciences, researchers found mock jurors were less likely to find that an officer acted intentionally when viewing footage from a body camera rather than watching the incident from the vantage point of a police car dashboard camera. The study also showed that potential grand jurors were less likely to indict officers when they watched footage from a body camera than when they viewed an incident from a dash camera. Researchers attributed the discrepancy, which was consistent across eight experiments, to the amount of time an officer was visible in the footage. Viewers were reluctant to assign blame to an officer they could not see, who was obscured behind a body camera.