Category : Police/Fire

(Economist) An exceptionally murderous city: Crime+despair in Baltimore; As America gets safer, Maryland’s biggest city does not

Back in the 1980s and early 1990s, when Dante Barksdale was playing the game in Baltimore—dealing drugs, toting guns, making some money—there was a process to killing people. “You couldn’t shoot someone without asking permission from a certain somebody,” muses the former gangster, on a tour of the abandoned row-houses and broken roads of West Baltimore, the most dangerous streets in America. “It’s become like, “I’m going to kill whoever’s got a fucking problem with it.”

Mr Barksdale, who spent almost a decade in prison for selling drugs, speaks with authority. His uncle, Nathan “Bodie” Barksdale, was a big shot in the more hierarchical Baltimore gangland he recalls. Avon Barksdale, a fictional villain in “The Wire”, a TV crime drama set in Baltimore, was partly inspired by him. The younger Mr Barksdale was himself fleetingly portrayed in it. (“‘The Wire’ was a bunch of bullshit,” he sniffs. “I got shot in the fourth episode and I didn’t get paid.”) Now employed by the Baltimore health department, in a team of gangsters-turned-social workers known as Safe Streets, he uses his street smarts to try to pre-empt murders by mediating among the local hoodlums. This also gives him a rare vantage onto the city’s latest upwelling of violence, which is concentrated in poor, overwhelmingly black West Baltimore—and is horrific.

Hours after Mr Barksdale conducted his tour of some of Baltimore’s most troubled streets on June 12th, they witnessed another six murders. That raised the number of killings in the city to 159, the highest recorded so early in the year at least since 1990, even though the city’s population was much bigger then than it is now. If weighted to reflect the fact that the murder rate always climbs in the hot, fractious summer months, this suggests Baltimore may see more than 400 murders this year. That would smash the existing record of 344 killings, which was set in 2015, fuelled by violent rioting over the death in police custody of a drug peddler called Freddie Gray.

This is catastrophic. A 50-minute drive from Washington, DC, black men aged 15 to 29 are as likely to die violently as American soldiers were in Iraq at the height of its Baathist insurgency.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Law & Legal Issues, Police/Fire, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

Bp of Kensington Graham Tomlin–Thoughts on Hope in Grenfell

In our community over the past few days we have been through a range of emotions that we rarely experience so close together. Even now as we meet and pray, there are people here in this church, in the surrounding streets wondering how to make sense of this.

How do you put into words what people here have experienced, the story of the past few days?

First there was Shock. As we woke up on Wednesday morning, there was that numb feeling, incredulity that something like this could happen in our modern, C21st sophisticated city. Looking up at the Tower and imagining what the people in there was going through was almost unbearable and so hard to even imagine how awful that must be.

Then there was Compassion. Alongside the tragedy, one of the remarkable things has been to see the amazing outpouring of compassion in this community over the past couple of days.

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Posted in Children, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Marriage & Family, Police/Fire, Religion & Culture, Urban/City Life and Issues

(Sky News) London attack: What happened where in eight minutes of terror

From 10.08pm, police responded to reports of a vehicle hitting pedestrians. Paramedics and specialist response teams arrived in six minutes, the London Ambulance Service said. At least 48 people were taken to five hospitals across London.

Nick Archer, who was in the London Bridge area, told Sky News: “We came out (of a bar) on to the road and looked to my left and there was a guy, I thought he was just drinking but he was lying on the floor.

“And then a couple of seconds later, about three police vans flew past. He looked in a bad way.”

A taxi driver called Chris told LBC said he saw men armed with foot-long knives after a van drove on to the pavement. He told the station: “I didn’t see the van mount the kerb, but I saw everything else….

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Posted in England / UK, Police/Fire, Terrorism, Urban/City Life and Issues

A Statement from the Manchester Police about the Latest–22 Dead, 59 injured

You may find the BBC live feed there.

Posted in England / UK, Music, Police/Fire, Terrorism, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

TV recommendation–Happy Valley on Netflix

It is a superb UK drama for which the lead actress (deservedly) won a BAFTA for best actress. Definitely not suitable for under seventeens since it features content you would expect for a gritty investigatory story. Available on Netflix.

Posted in Entertainment, Movies & Television, Police/Fire

(Local Paper) Finding the right sentence for former policeman Michael Slager is marked with uncertainty

Michael Slager now sits in jail as a convicted felon, much like the person who occupied his cell before him.

But unlike Dylann Roof, the mass killer whose death sentence was broadly expected, Slager’s fate will remain a mystery until a judge decides it.

Much is riding on the result.

Some advocates, who point to the video of the former North Charleston patrolman shooting Walter Scott, want a stiff penalty that deters other police officers from using excessive force. But experts doubt that the prison sentence, lengthy or not, would do that.

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Posted in * South Carolina, Law & Legal Issues, Police/Fire, Violence

(Bloomberg) Champions League Final Police to Scan Soccer Fans’ Faces

Security at this year’s Champions League final will be aided by facial recognition technology.

Police will be able to match soccer fans’ faces against a database of known offenders in real-time, according to a contract worth 170,000 pounds ($210,000) posted on the U.K. government’s website.

“The UEFA Champions League finals in Cardiff give us a unique opportunity to test and prove the concept of this technology in a live operational environment,” South Wales Police Chief Superintendent Jon Edwards said in an emailed statement, adding that it should provide a basis for further use of the technology by police.

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Posted in --Wales, Police/Fire, Sports, Terrorism

Heroin, gang activity topics of police concern at community meeting in the town where we live in South Carolina

It came as a shock to some community members when Summerville [South Carolina] police officials revealed this month during a town hall meeting, meant to address racial profiling statistics, that gang and drug activity are instead the town’s top two problems, infiltrating the area like never before.

“(The) heroin epidemic (we’re) experiencing (is the) biggest we’ve seen since I’ve worked here,” said Capt. Doug Wright. “It’s creeping into families and destroying families.”

The meeting, which took place April 18, was the third of its kind since 2015 and one Louis Smith, founder of the Community Resource Center, helped police put together after reviewing all the department’s 2016 traffic stop reports.

Smith said he found no wrongdoing on officers’ part and praised them for staying honest, cooperating with his request and remaining transparent with the community.

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Posted in * South Carolina, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Law & Legal Issues, Police/Fire, Rural/Town Life

(NBC) Powerful+Heartwarming-A Marine Who Lost His Legs In Afghanistan Graduates from Police Acadmy

Posted in Marriage & Family, Military / Armed Forces, Police/Fire, War in Afghanistan

(NPR's FA) Muslim NYPD Chaplain On Faith, Fear And Getting Stopped By Airport Security

KHALID LATIF: You know, I think a lot of Muslims are very scared, and I think they’re valid in that fear. The reality, unfortunately, is such that even leading into the elections we saw a gross increase in anti-Muslim bias and incidents. In New York City, where I live, leading into the elections, just in a matter of weeks you had two imams – religious leaders of a Muslim community in Queens – who were shot in the back of their head and passed away subsequently. Following afternoon prayers, a 60-year-old woman of Bengali descent was walking home one evening in Queens as well with her husband who is asthmatic, and she had moved a few blocks ahead of him to get home quicker to get dinner ready. And he said later at a press conference that I was at that he heard her screaming and came upon her and found her stabbed and had eventually succumbed to the wounds just a couple of blocks away from their home. There was two mothers strolling their babies in Brooklyn who had been assaulted. A woman wearing a headscarf in Midtown Manhattan had been set on fire. These were all things that happened prior to the election.

Post the election, you know, I think what hit me hard, being at New York University, we have various prayer rooms that Muslim students use on our campus. And the day after the election in our school of engineering in Brooklyn, Muslim students walked into their prayer room to find the entrance with the word Trump written across it and an exclamation point. About a week later, there was Jewish students who on their dorm room door found swastikas, the words make America great again, white pride, make America white again on their doorways. And these were realities that I think evoked a lot of different emotions understandably.

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I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Other Faiths, Police/Fire, Religion & Culture, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues

NYPD Mourns Loss of Paralyzed Detective Who Forgave His Attacker

Watch it all–NYC’s finest indeed.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Police/Fire, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

Story of a Pittsburgh area cop who moved from pain killer addiction to Heroin: 'American tragedy'

James B. Johnson V’s arrest exemplifies what his attorney says is a modern “American tragedy” ”” an injury leads to painkiller addiction which, in turn, leads to heroin use.

“Local kid gets injured, gets hooked on opioids and can’t get off of them,” attorney D. Scott Lautner said Thursday. “This clearly shows the drug epidemic problem in the United States right now, that it affects everybody of different ages, sexes, religions and occupations.”

In this case, the addict is a police officer.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Police/Fire, Theology

(NYT) White and Black Police Officers Are Sharply Divided About Race, Pew Finds

A new national survey of law enforcement officers found that the vast majority feel their jobs are harder than ever before, after the police-involved shootings of black Americans over the past several years.

The nationally representative survey of close to 8,000 police officers, released Wednesday by the Pew Research Center, provided some data to back up assertions made by leading law enforcement figures, including the F.B.I. director James Comey, that the publicity surrounding such episodes has discouraged the police from confronting suspects.

The survey found that 72 percent of respondents said their colleagues are “now less willing to stop and question suspicious persons”; that 86 percent thought police work had become harder because of high-profile incidents like the killings of Mike Brown in 2014 and Alton Sterling in the summer of 2016; and that 93 percent of police officers think their colleagues now worry more about personal safety.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Law & Legal Issues, Police/Fire, Race/Race Relations, Theology

(Guardian) Five in custody over alleged Melbourne Christmas terrorism plot

Victoria police say they have foiled an alleged plot by terrorists to attack landmark locations in Melbourne’s CBD including St Paul’s Cathedral, Flinders Street station and Federation Square with explosives and other weapons, possibly on Christmas Day.

The chief police commissioner, Graham Ashton, told reporters on Friday morning that five search warrants were conducted at properties in Flemington, Meadow Heights, Dallas, Campbellfield and Gladstone Park on Thursday night.

Seven arrests were made, with five people remaining in custody, he said. Some of the men would appear in court on Friday afternoon, he said.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Australia / NZ, Christmas, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Consumer/consumer spending, Defense, National Security, Military, Economy, Law & Legal Issues, Police/Fire, Terrorism

BBC-Berlin attack suspect Anis Amri killed in Milan

The Berlin market attack suspect Anis Amri has been shot dead by police in Milan, Italy’s interior minister says.

The man, who opened fire on police who asked him for ID during a routine patrol in the Sesto San Giovanni area in the early hours of Friday morning, was “without a shadow of a doubt” Anis Amri, Marco Minetti said.

One police officer was injured in the shootout.

Germany has been on high alert since the attack, which left 49 injured.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Christmas, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Defense, National Security, Military, Europe, Germany, Italy, Law & Legal Issues, Police/Fire, Terrorism, Violence