Unpaid news intern Ansel Herz was upstairs at Cafe Vita on Pike this morning around 9:30, when he ran downstairs to get a napkin. Apparently, during the 10 seconds he was gone, somebody stole his Panasonic GH2 camera with a 20mm lens. If that was you, I mean, really? You can afford fancy latté drinks, and then you go and steal some kid's camera?
Let's be clear: you didn't just score a victory against The Man. You ripped off an unpaid intern, an earnest (perhaps too earnest) defender of the downtrodden. And you ripped off one the tools of his trade. That's like stealing a carpenter's hammer. You should be ashamed of yourself.
So here's the deal: If you stole Ansel's camera and you're reading this—or you know who stole the camera—do your sense of justice and self-worth a favor and drop it off at our front desk (1535 11th AVE, 3rd Floor), no questions asked. Or, say, you found his camera, and just didn't know who it belonged to, please do the same.
It sucks trying to break into the journalism business these days. Please don't make it any suckier.
Posted by news intern Ansel Herz
After midnight on Tuesday, Seattle police officer Adley Shepherd noticed a disturbance near Pike and 10th
Street Ave, near Neumos involving a group of seven or so men. As he approached the group in his patrol car, he noted that two men "immediately part[ed] ways," and headed from the scene in opposite directions, according to a police report.
The diligent Officer Shepherd got out to speak with the remaining men, one of whom "claimed that he was shaving the tip off of his cigarette with his small pocket knife" when "without warning or provocation of any sort, one of the two suspects that I saw walk off pulled a knife and placed it against [the victim's] neck as if he was going to cut his throat."
"[The victim] feared for his safety and did not react," the police report adds.
Just as suddenly, the alleged knife-wielder released his supposed victim "without inflicting any bodily injury." Although the victim was "noticeably upset," he did not identify which of the two men had threatened him and told Officer Shepherd that he didn't want the police involved. The victim mentioned he planned to spend the night at his girlfriend's place, but would first stop to buy cigarettes at the gas station on Pike and Broadway.
Officer Shepherd could've resumed his patrol at that point. But like a modern-day McNulty, he knew better, and suspected that whoever threatened the victim "was most likely in the same vicinity where the victim was heading to buy cigarettes," according to his police report.
Sure enough, at the gas station he spotted the two suspects and ordered them to stop. Shepherd frisked both and found a "red colored Husky box cutter knife" in the second suspect's pocket, "just as he started reaching for it," he says in the report. As the victim arrived at the gas station, backup officers arrived. They identified outstanding warrants and thefts tied to one of the suspects, the report states (the other suspect was released). The victim identified the suspect as having threatened him, but reiterated that he didn't want to press charges, Shepherd notes.
Nevertheless, the suspect was transported to the King County Jail where, during intake, another officer recovered "a small baggie concealed between his butt cheeks."
The baggie contained a white powder, according to the report. Shepherd retrieved the 1.4-ounce baggie. The substance field-tested positive for cocaine, and the officer duly deposited the knife and cocaine baggie into the SPD Evidence Unit drop-box, the report concludes.
That's one less knife-wielding cocaine-in-the-butt smuggler on the streets of Capitol Hill, according to police. And yet, Officer Shepherd's report is written in clear, dry, matter-of-fact prose. There's not a hint of pride, satisfaction, or amusement with the results of his indefatigable police work.
Take a bow, Shepherd.
A New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control investigation has found that 29 bars and restaurants, including 13 TGI Fridays, allegedly substituted cheap booze (or worse!) while charging for premium drinks:
At one bar, a mixture that included rubbing alcohol and caramel coloring was sold as scotch. In another, premium liquor bottles were refilled with water — and apparently not even clean water at that.
In January and February, investigators went to 63 establishments they suspected were scamming liquor customers. They ordered drinks neat — that is, without ice or mixers — and then covertly took samples for testing.
Of 150 samples collected, 30 were not the brand as which they were being sold.
Why can't government regulators leave the market to sort this out for itself? Nanny-statism at its worst!
Jonah Spangenthal-Lee over at the SPD blotter post on cops breaking up what appeared to be a teen fight club at Golden Gardens this weekend:
Officers working an emphasis patrol in Golden Gardens pulled into the park's upper parking lot just after midnight and spotted a crowd of about 40 juveniles cheering on a group of two or three people fighting (although, spoiler alert, it might've been one person fighting themselves).
And that's why our police blotter is the best one in the country.
From the Chicago Sun-Times:
The girl had walked to Fritz’ home to meet with him, and when she arrived, Fritz allegedly took the girl down to the basement and sexually assaulted her despite her resistance and demands to stop...
Brown and Applewhite then sexually assaulted the girl while Fritz videotaped the rape, according to court documents. Fritz was identified in the video because at one point he turned the camera towards his face, authorities said...
Two days later, the video of the attack was posted on Brown’s Facebook account, according to court documents. The video was also allegedly later posted on Fritz and Applewhite’s Facebook pages.
Here's the Jezebel post about it, which I'm linking to only because half the comments are just GIFs and pictures of kittens, which you might need, because this shit is unbearably grim.
Do not watch this video unless you want to see a man attempt to steal a woman's phone and then immediately get hit by a bus. (No gore, SFW, but still, BAM.)
He's back in the news:
A homeless, hatchet-wielding hitchhiker who became an Internet hero earlier this year was arrested Thursday for allegedly beating a New Jersey lawyer to death inside his home. Caleb "Kai" McGillvary, whose star turn as "Kai the Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker" came after he intervened in an attack on a California utility worker, was arrested at a Philadelphia bus station.... McGillvary was charged with killing Joseph Galfy, Jr., a Clark, N.J., attorney found dead Monday. Romankow said he will be processed and sent to back to New Jersey, where his bail is set at $3 million. Galfy's body was found two days after authorities said he met McGillvary in New York City. Galfy, 73, was found wearing only his underwear and socks by police who went to his home to check on his well-being.
The man McGillvary is alleged to have murdered—the man McGillvary basically admitted to having murdered in a post on his Facebook page—is gay, and McGillvary claims that he was drugged and raped by Galfy.
That is a detail of this poster:
Which is a Smurfized, gender-neutral version of this brilliant list of rape-prevention tips.
And to the left of this poster...
Posted by news intern Ansel Herz.
Two weeks ago, we reported on a reported assault on a police officer—specifically, a marijuana pipe allegedly tossed at an officer's head.
This week brings another report of an inventive, alleged assault on an officer—perhaps the work of a copycat criminal? Last Tuesday afternoon, a humble police officer was driving past University Playground when he noticed a man carrying "a large can of beer in his left hand," according to a police report. Specifically, a 24-ounce can of Stack High Gravity Smooth Lager, a malt liquor celebrated for its "sugar covered dried apricots, cotton candy and green apple" flavor with "lively carbonation and a long, boozy finish."
The can was open, and since carrying around open cans of alcohol in public is decidedly not legal—not even on hot, beautiful sunny days, when all you crave is an orange-colored malt beverage with minimal head—the officer rolled down his passenger side window and instructed the suspect to pour out his beverage, the report states.
The suspect reportedly ignored the command and kept walking, so the officer "moved his patrol vehicle into the crosswalk to block his path," the report continues. Ordered once again to dump out the malt beverage, the suspect bent over—looking into the officer's passenger window—and began to comply. But when the can was about half empty, the suspect suddenly "threw the can through the open window." It was a direct hit, the report notes. The can struck the officer in the upper right arm and its contents "poured onto the right side of his uniform," probably causing the officer to reek of sweet citrus with a boozy finish. The officer immediately got out and arrested the suspect, whereupon the man "began professing that he was sorry and that throwing the beer was stupid," the report notes.
Once at the North Precinct, the suspect reportedly confessed to another officer that he had thrown the half-full can at the officer and that "he was sorry," the report reiterates. The officer did not require medical attention.
A note to Seattle police officers: Stay on your toes and watch out for flying paraphernalia. And to the residents of Seattle, a polite reminder: pot and booze are to be consumed and enjoyed, rather than flung at people.
Posted by news intern Ansel Herz
Ronald Reagan accomplished many things. One of them was lending his friendship and the robust support of his government to a man convicted today in Guatemala as a mass killer—Efrain Rios Montt, the thick-mustachioed president of the country during the 1980s, who Reagan called "a man of great personal integrity and commitment." Montt presided over a scorched-earth campaign that killed at least 200,000 people, mostly indigenous peasants, in the Guatemalan countryside.
Today, Montt's on-again-off-again trial has come to a close, as Judge Jazmin Barrios ordered that he be taken directly to prison for the next 80 years, meaning he'll be 166 years old when released. Too bad Reagan can't rot in there with him.
Several years ago, a friend of mine lived for nine months in the Guatemalan highlands, working with NISGUA, the Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala, to collect testimony and protect survivors from threats by the country's still-violent oligarchy. This is a landmark victory that's been a long time coming; Guatemala sets a worldwide precedent for being the first country to convict one of its own heads of state for genocide in its own court.
Congratulations to NISGUA, Guatemala, and humans everywhere.
Last week, the governor signed a bill bringing Washington State's rape laws into the 21st century by finally eliminating the "marital exemption" to our third-degree rape and indecent liberties laws. The law used to say that these crimes had been committed unless the victim was married to their rapist, in which case what had been a crime was magically rendered not a crime. Which is clearly fucked.
Nevertheless, some people—Slog commenters, state Senator Elizabeth Scott (Rrrrr-Monroe)—were confused.
Senator Scott, who was the sole NO vote on this bill (as she likes to brag, she's a BA-holding linguist), defended her vote by saying, "This bill requires absolutely no proof that rape occurred—because there couldn't be any." Scott sent that in an e-mail to a constituent. WRONG. Totally wrong. This bill, in fact, only strikes language saying that if what occurred is legally defined as third-degree rape, then it doesn't matter whether your husband raped you or a stranger did, it's still a crime. Whether or not she believes in the existence of third-degree rape isn't actually relevant here.
"As a linguist, I hate it when words are twisted beyond recognition. Rape used to mean rape," she continued.
First: HAHAHA, WTF.
Second: "Rape" still means "rape," whatever your bullshit linguistic red herring argument is supposed to mean. "Consent" is about communication, and we're not the Borg and we're not telepathic; we have communication breakdowns. Sometimes a rape doesn't look like a made-for-TV movie with a brutal stranger accosting you in a park. Sometimes your rapist is your friend. Sometimes you've had sex before. Sometimes you feel like it's your fault. But that's why there are laws. There's a legal definition of crimes, and there are lawyers and judges and juries involved in deciding whether or not a sexual encounter is against the law.
But, since people were asking, what exactly is third-degree rape?
I took my question to David Martin, a King County prosecutor who heads the domestic violence unit. Third-degree rape is "everything short of using force," he explained. "If someone says 'no,' and you do it anyway, should that be a crime? What legislatures all over the United States have said is 'no' means 'no.'"
People talk about fighting off an attacker—but is that the only way to deny consent?
"Should a victim have to fight? Do they have to use violence?" he asks rhetorically. "Or do they get to say, 'I get to do with my body what I feel is appropriate'? If you tell someone, 'You can’t come in my home, I have property rights,' if they do, they’re committing trespassing." You don't have to physically fight them for that to be a crime. Why should that be different when it comes to your body?
From this week's I, Anonymous:
I saw you steal money out of that wallet. I did. I should have punched you right in the mouth and returned the money to the rightful owner as soon as I saw it happen, but I did not. I saw a lone wallet on the ground when I walked by the heavily grinding couple in the hallway on my way to a good piss, and while I was washing my hands, I saw you, girl, pick up that wallet. I thought you were looking for an ID, but you really just jacked all of the big bills in that other girl's wallet. You left the ones but took the big bills. I approached you and asked how much you scored from the wallet....
Read the whole thing (and berate/defend various parties) here.
From the LA Times account of that night:
The group was taken to Francis' gated home, where a physical altercation ensued between Francis and two of the women as he allegedly attempted to pull one of them away from the others, authorities said.
Francis grabbed one of the women by the throat and hair and pushed and slammed her head into the tile floor four times, according to authorities.
The women were escorted out of the house and allegedly told a taxi would not be called and paid for if they called the police.
Francis faces serious jail time—up to five years. He'll be sentenced tomorrow in LA County superior court. Good riddance.
Remember yesterday's Headline of the Day? I'll refresh your memory: It was "Air Force sex assault prevention chief charged in sex assault." Then today comes the release of the Pentagon's annual report on sexual assaults in the military. Says USA Today: "Pentagon estimates of how many troops are sexually assaulted show the numbers increased by more than a third since 2010, from 19,300 servicemembers believed to be victims that year to 26,000 in 2012."
Senator Patty Murray's had enough. In a press release today, she says, "Not only are we subjecting our men and women to this disgusting epidemic, but we’re also failing to provide the victims with any meaningful support system once they have fallen victim to these attacks." So she and fellow senator Kelly Ayotte (R-New Hampshire) introduced a bill today called the Combating Military Sexual Assault (MSA) Act of 2013.
The bill, according to Murray's office, will:
• Provide victims of sexual assault with Special Victims’ Counsel (SVC) – a military lawyer who will assist sexual assault victims throughout the process.
• Enhance the responsibilities and authority of DoD’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) Office so that it can better oversee efforts to combat MSA across the Armed Forces and regularly track and report on a range of MSA statistics, including assault rate, number of cases brought to trial, and compliance with appropriate laws and regulations within each of the individual services.
• Refer cases to the general court martial level when sexual assault charges are filed or to the next superior competent authority when there is a conflict of interest in the immediate chain of command.
• Bar sexual contact between instructors and trainees during and within 30 days of completion of basic training or its equivalent.
• Ensure that Sexual Assault Response Coordinators (SARC) are available to members of the National Guard and Reserve at all times and regardless of whether they are operating under Title 10 or Title 32 authority.
It's always great to remember how badass your senators are. (Full bill is here, if you wonk that hard.)
The world is not even ready for Charles Ramsey.
— Yousef Munayyer (@YousefMunayyer) May 7, 2013
And maybe it is...
The story is here. The must-watch interview with the man who kicked down the door is here:
Video via John Cole at Balloon Juice. Says John:
Since this is America, how long before the autotune? [And given] the re-emergence of the Confederacy since Obama was elected, it’s kind of sad that we all find his last statement so funny.
Remember those colorful '90s bookmarks (and rulers, binders, postcards) printed with weird plastic lines on them so that if you turned them one way or the other, a different picture would appear, or the picture would move back and forth? Like this Harry Potter one. That technology is called "lenticular printing," and I've only ever seen it as a gimmick for for kids' books or Cracker Jack prizes.
Well, Spanish organization ANAR, which works with abused children, just figured out a way to use it in their street ads to solve a major messaging problem. It's a problem that faces many groups that work with systematically abused populations (battered women, enslaved immigrants, sex workers): How do we get our information delivered just to the eyes of someone who needs to see it when they may be walking down the street with their abuser? ANAR wanted a way for kids to see an ad with a phone number they can call for help, and an adult to just see a generic anti-child-abuse PSA.
Here's what they did:
I'm not sure how publicizing it on the web really serves the ads' secretive purpose, but I guess it wasn't going to stay completely secret for long. It's just a lesson in creative messaging for the public good. (And it makes me look at shiny rainbow Lisa Frank binders in a whole new way.)
Posted by news intern Ansel Herz
More than 25,000 households in King County reported storing loaded and unlocked firearms in 2009, according to county statistics. But what about guns stored in the attic behind a door locked with a keypad?
If you leave something like a pair of bolt cutters lying around, that locked door isn't worth jack shit. That's the takeaway from a burglary reported last Tuesday in West Seattle.
The burglar entered the house by smashing a sliding glass door with a garden tool, according to the police report. Officer William Dausner reports that the suspect rifled through a series of bedroom drawers and closets, including in the victim's daughter's room. Then the suspect moved to the living room, where he noticed a keypad-locked door to the attic.
The homeowner "had left a pair of bolt cutters out," the police report says, and the suspect took full advantage, using them to "punch out the center of the [attic] door." The suspect found "a black powder revolver, single shot muzzle loaded percussion pistol, and a World War I era flare pistol," notes Officer Dausner. All of the firearms were stolen. (No word on whether the guns themselves were loaded or had locks on them at the time.)
The victim told Officer Dausner that he might be able to locate the serial numbers for the stolen guns. The police were able to find a single fingerprint left on the keypad on the attic door, along with one other.
That old flare pistol might be worth a pretty penny—a quick online search brings up prices ranging from $300–800. In 2011, almost $3 million worth of firearms were stolen in Washington State.
A woman says she was assaulted at knife point while walking through Capitol Hill's Cal Anderson park around 4:00 a.m. this morning. Details come from the SPD blotter:
The woman stated that she was walking through the park at that hour when she heard a man yelling for assistance. The woman told officers the man was stating he had been stabbed, so she went over to help. When she reached him, he stood up and produced a knife. According to the victim, the man then put the knife in his pocket and put his arm through hers, in an “escort” fashion, and the two of them walked through the park.
At one point the suspect pushed the woman against a tree and held her there with his arm while he attempted to masturbate. According to the victim, the suspect got frustrated and pushed her to the ground. At about that time, two men walking their dog came through the park. The dog ran over to the suspect and victim. The victim told officers that the suspect told the dog to leave, and the dog walkers came over to apologize and retrieve their dog. At that point the woman got up off the ground and walked away with the dog walkers. She then walked to the precinct where she reported the incident to officers.
Officers were unable to locate the suspect, whom the victim described as a tall, thin, white man with bad acne and teeth.
Posted by news intern Ben Steiner
"We chose to let them march," McDonagh explained, but "once it moves into criminal activity, we will start taking action." And the actions of some of the protesters, McDonagh believes, "forced" the officers to go hands-on. When asked if they used the proper amount of force, Captain Fowler quickly responded that they used "the minimum force necessary to stop criminal activity."
Which included blast balls—balls of rubber that explode, creating a loud bang and a flash of light. (Captain Fowler assured reporters that these are different from flashbang grenades, which are used only in very specific tactical situations.) They also used "tactical-level OC spray" (which is pepper spray).
One of these not-quite-a-flashbang blast balls exploded near a woman and her baby. Assistant Chief McDonagh defended that use of force: "It's unfortunate that someone brought a child to that event. They had a number of chances to disperse and they chose to stay," and later added that the balls are necessary to "focus the crowd on listening to instructions and move them."
Assistant Police Chief McDonagh and Captain Fowler were very proud of their officers' performance the previous night. Their bike police, who were on the "front lines of the riot receiving the most assaults... met and exceeded expectations," Captain Fowler explained.
Fowler added that he was happy to see the Rain City Superheroes there to "distract the clowns," referring to the group of self-proclaimed anarchists who showed up to the riot dressed for the circus.
Reporters repeatedly asked if there was more that police could do to stop these protests from happening before they start. Couldn't you make it illegal for people to wear masks? Couldn't you move trash cans so there would be less to throw at you? But the officers insisted that they had no intention of stopping people from protesting: "We support first amendment speech," McDonagh concluded, and whenever people protest, some people may to turn to "criminal activity."
Whew! It's been an exciting afternoon for SPD, as an allegedly drunk, allegedly assaulty suspect led officers on a merry chase in an allegedly stolen cop car that ended like this:
Details come from the SPD blog:
Police are still trying to sort out the details of this incident, but it appears that just after 12:15 pm, SPD received a report that the 35-year-old suspect had attacked a 50-year-old man on a bus near Aurora Ave and Denny Way, and fled south on foot through the Battery Street tunnel.
Two patrol officers found the man inside the tunnel and attempted to stop him.
The man attacked the officers and then jumped into an SPD patrol car and took off.
Officers pursued the suspect to W. Olympic Place and 8th Ave. W, where the suspect crashed after running over a retaining wall.
Officers then took the 35-year-old suspect—who appeared to be very intoxicated—into custody.
Prisoners are never free to go, even when they have been given release orders years ago, even when they are starving themselves to death.
But they are free to read Standup Paddling magazine and play Angry Birds.
More information about the arrests that happened this morning in Boston has been released, and it doesn't look like this was a broader terrorist network or anything. Dashiell Bennett at The Atlantic explains:
The Boston Police Department announced via Twitter this morning that three new suspects—two students from Kazakstan and one United States citizen—have been placed under arrest in the Boston Marathon bombing case. The three men, all 19-years-old, are identified as Dias Kadyrbayev, Azamat Tazhayakov, and Robel Phillipos. The trio will appear in court on Wednesday to face charges of conspiracy to obstruct justice, after allegedly removing evidence from Tsarnaev's apartment while he was being hunted by the FBI.
BuzzFeed has more information, in a convenient listicle format.
Following two-and-a-half years of radio silence, the Seattle Police Officers Guild suddenly announced today that it has reached a tentative agreement to renew its four-year labor contract with the city. The union also announced that it will drop a contentious lawsuit blocking the city's police reform plan.
The labor union's 1,200 police officer members have been operating without a contract since the last one expired in December 2010. This new contract covers 2011 through, uh, 2014. "Specific details of the contract will be released after ratification, but the contract does include a Cost of Living pay raise and an agreement on DOJ related reforms," states a SPOG press release, which also explains that the membership will be voting on the contract over the next two weeks.
It's a living mystery what held up talks for 2.5 years (although we can assume that lawyer disputes, labor disputes, and public records disputes all played a role) because contract negotiations are closed to the public—and everyone involved is sworn to secrecy—but here are a few clues as to what recently jump-started negotiations in earnest:
• SPOG's recent lawsuit to block the city's police reform plan, which argued that the reform plan violated the union's collective bargaining rights.
• The city's even more recent public campaign to stop paying SPOG president Rich O'Neill's annual $125,000 salary.
The press release SPOG issued today notes that, "The City and SPOG have agreed to reopen the contract when reforms that involve a mandatory subject of bargaining arise." In light of this welcome news, SPOG also announced that it's dropping its lawsuit against the city.
McGinn's office wouldn't directly answer questions regarding whether taxpayers will continue to front O'Neill's $125,000 salary, which leads me to believe that we will be: "My priorities during this work were to ensure that a new contract would support public safety in Seattle, recognize city budget realities and support our work to fully implement the reforms enshrined in our settlement agreement with the Department of Justice," McGinn says in his press statement. "I am pleased that our tentative agreement has achieved all three of these basic priorities.”
Still, if it took sacrificing the smaller issue of O'Neill's salary to get SPOG to drop its lawsuit and climb aboard the reform train (CHOO CHOO, MOTHERFUCKERS!), I suppose that's a small enough (albeit bitter) pill to swallow. For now.
Posted by news intern Ben Steiner
Mayor McGinn did not directly address the criticisms of Olson's work in the OPA, but he did acknowledge that "there had been a lot of concerns about our complaint process," and that the OPA is "absolutely critical" to reforming the Seattle Police Department.
Mayor McGinn said he believed that Murphy was the perfect man to fulfill the role of leading the OPA. Before welcoming him to the stage, McGinn added that Murphy was "top notch," a "strong leader," and "that he's his own man and willing to take the heat."
Pierce Murphy began his short speech by explaining that "Seattle must be free to live and recreate in peace, free from fear. The police must trust and respect those people that they serve. Essential to public trust in police is accountability. We expect them to act in fairness and compassion. Civilian oversight of the police is a sure way of promoting accountability and insuring trust in the community. I will apply all the experience, knowledge, and skill I have to this very important task.
I know that four things govern the effectiveness of oversight: Independence, objectivity, transparency and compassion. These are essential to police reform and accountability. These will be my focus while I work with seattle and the police department."
Before Murphy can start working he must be confirmed by the Seattle City Council, a process that could be completed by the end of May.