Officer Grant Leavitt was sitting in his car when a concerned citizen approached him and informed him that two people were smoking marijuana in a courtyard on 7th Ave and Pine S in downtown Seattle on April 23, a Seattle police report alleges. It's unclear why the pot smoking was deemed a
past time pastime worthy of investigating—even before smoking marijuana became legal, hassling marijuana smokers was deemed the Seattle police department's lowest law-enforcement priority.
Nevertheless, Officer Leavitt made his way to the courtyard to fight the War-on-Drugs. But soon enough someone was reportedly using drugs to fight him.
Officer Leavitt found the alleged marijuana smokers smoking pot out of a pipe during their lunch break at about 1:30 p.m. Tuesday. While he was busy identifying the suspects, an unidentified object whizzed by his head, the report alleges.
The undoubtedly confused officer scanned the area and discovered a "glass [pipe] with a jagged, broken edge." The officer turned to the two suspected marijuana smokers who, surely eager to distract from their lunchtime imbibing, indicated that the pipe had flown from some nearby bushes. Police-officer-turned-possible-assault-victim Grant Leavitt whipped around and noticed movement in the adjacent greenery.
A few seconds later a suspect materialized and "began dancing in a fluid motion while he balanced on a park bench," the police report continues.
Officer Leavitt alleges that the suspected pipe-thrower was "under the influence of narcotics and/or suffering from some unknown condition." Apparently fed up with the suspect's fluid dancing, he sat him down on the bench and "asked him if he had thrown the pipe at me," Leavitt explains.
The suspected reportedly responded: "No, I threw half a pipe at you," the report states. The officer found half of a matching pipe in the suspects pocket, possibly confirming the dancer's confession.
The police report states that the alleged pipe-slinging dancer was arrested on suspicion of aggravated assault. The two marijuana smokers weren't arrested and will live to smoke another day.
This morning, a 35-year-old man in Renton—Michael Little—was picked up for trafficking on eBay in fake Chihuly paintings and glass pieces, according to a DOJ announcement just now. He'll have his first appearance in court today at 1:30, and he could face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
If the accusations are true, I wonder: Were they good forgeries? Chihuly has expert glassblowers fabricating his pieces, and he employs at least one man who specializes in making his splattery paintings. Who made these forgeries? Little himself? Or was he just the trafficker?
From the DOJ:
MICHAEL LITTLE was arrested this morning following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). ...
According to the criminal complaint filed in the case, in 2011 and 2012, LITTLE offered for sale or sold various pieces of glass art and paintings that he represented were the work of Dale Chihuly. LITTLE marketed the works via eBay. The artworks bore a signature that appeared to be Chihuly’s and LITTLE provided paperwork that he said authenticated the pieces as the work of Dale Chihuly. However, an expert in Chihuly’s work examined the pieces at the request of the purchaser and determined they were fakes. The papers that were supposed to authenticate the works were also allegedly forged.
A Capitol Hill high school was locked down yesterday afternoon as police responded to reports that a former student and suspected gang member had assaulted several peers and had allegedly pulled a gun on one student.
Students from Nova High school and the World School, a multilingual school for newly arrived immigrant and refugee students that shares space with Nova, were locked into the building at around 2:30 p.m. yesterday, after teens reported seeing a bloody, brass-knuckle-fueled fight between at least four high school students on the schools' playfield.
"A 14-year-old student who used to go to the World School had basically been kicked out and was going to Chief Sealth school, but he wanted to be re-admitted and the principal had turned down his request," confirms Teresa Whipple, a spokeswoman for SPS. "He’d apparently shown up at the school to confront some students. He said they were spreading rumors that were keeping him out of the school."
As is common with many a teenage confrontation, the fight was reportedly sparked by shit talking on Facebook.
The police report states that the former World School student and an older friend approached three students on the playfield "and started asking [one of them] why he was talking about him on face book [sic]." Then the suspect "started hitting [the victim] with brass knuckles he had put on." The victim dropped to the ground.
When another student tried to assist the victim, the suspect, who'd reportedly donned a dark leather glove over the brass knuckles, "hit him in the mouth with the brass knuckles and then pulled a handgun from his pocket and put it up against the right side of [one of the student's] head," the police report states.
The victim told police he was able to force the handgun out of the suspect's hand, but the suspect "picked the gun up from the ground and started to run from the soccer field," the report explains. The suspect and his friend "stated they were part of a gang... located out of Salvador" and allegedly threatened to return to the school with more people.
The three victims declined medical attention. A search failed to unearth the suspects or a firearm. Because of the district's no weapons policy, "the 14-year-old has been long-term expelled from Sealth until the police investigation is complete and we understand what his role was," Whipple says. "We won’t make any final decisions until that’s done."
BuzzFeed's Rosie Gray just published an interview with noted dirtbag and Krazy Konspiracy Kook Alex Jones about the possibility that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was a fan of Infowars, Jones's website.
"He could be a listener," Jones said. "It could be true. I've talked to the family and most of them are listeners. My show is anti-terrorism and my show exposes that most of the events we've seen have been provocateured."
The AP reported on Tuesday that Tsarnaev "took an interest" in Infowars, and was also interested in getting a copy of "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion," the anti-Semitic fraud that purports to show a Jewish conspiracy to take over the world.
According to Jones, this is all—you guessed it!—a conspiracy.
"I've seen this before," Jones said. "The federal government trying to connect me to tragedies. That's the media and the government's own conspiracy theories."
In Jones's version of reality, our country is so beloved by the world that nobody is ever willing to attack America or Americans. Every attack comes from the United States government and is perpetrated on itself. If we could just convince the United States government to stop exploding bombs, committing mass shootings, and flying planes into buildings, there would be peace everywhere, all the time.
At a standing-room-only community meeting in Columbia City Church of Hope last night, neighbors who were traumatized by the police shooting on their street a month ago, and the ensuing lockdown, shared their stories. They talked of huddling in their homes, wondering if they were safe, trying to reassure their children—but getting little or no response from police or 911 as to what was going on around them. The nearby elementary school was apparently not notified of the shooting, and even after police realized there was no further danger to people in homes nearby, the neighborhood, which had awoken to the sound of gunfire and flashbang grenades—as a Bellevue Police SWAT team tried to serve a warrant and ended up shooting the man they were there to arrest, Russell Smith, and storming the house where he was staying—wasn't given an all-clear. They're also horrified that Smith, their neighbor's brother, was killed in the first place; residents have questioned the police account of the shooting from the get-go.
When representatives from the two police departments involved—Seattle and Bellevue—had a turn to speak, you could feel the seething frustration and disappointment in the room. The police can't say all that much while an investigation into the shooting is under way, and Columbia City residents are clearly sick of the platitudes. While Bellevue's Major Mike Johnson said things like "When all the dust settles on this case, you'll have the answers," at least one neighborhood resident stormed out of the room, while another woman whispered to the person next to her, "He really hasn't said anything, has he? They're really good at that."
Seattle's South Precinct Captain, Steve Paulsen, is warm and funny, clearly better with crowds than the stiff, pained-looking Johnson—but he couldn't give answers, either. Nor could interim police chief Jim Pugel.
Pillo answered: "I am sorry for the loss of your brother. The officers are very sorry... The suspect's action created a reaction," and a chorus of hisses, boos, and outraged cries came from the audience. Mark Gendron, who lives on the street where the shooting took place, told me later she "needs some training on how to do an apology."
Pillo was better when Genessa Krasnow, who was moderating the meeting, put her on the spot for repairs to Smith's brother Rydell's house. "We need Russell Smith and Rydell Smith's house repaired. Tomorrow," she said. Pillo replied, "We have a process that we go through. I'm going to see what I can do to expedite that process. I hear you loud and clear." Krasnow later assured me that she'll be following up with BPD on that promise.
So what really comes of all this? What actions come next?
The Mississippi man charged with sending poisoned letters to President Barack Obama, a U.S. senator and a state judge was released from jail on Tuesday, federal official said, though the reason for the release wasn’t immediately clear.
Jeff Woodfin, chief deputy with the U.S. Marshals Service in Oxford, Miss., said Paul Kevin Curtis has been released from custody.
A search of Curtis's belongings reportedly turned up no trace of ricin or ricin processing. Curtis, an Elvis impersonator, claims that he was framed.
UPDATE: The AP now reports that charges have been dropped against Curtis.
As part of a “Happiness Initiative,” Seattle City Council member Richard Conlin had summoned a New York group called Make It Happy to come to Seattle and explore the topic with the hopes of “integrating happiness into public planning,” as he explained.
“A lot of people said water—they love the rain,” added Mario Chamorro of Make It Happy. “People in Seattle are waterproof!”
We are also apparently bullshit proof. As the event wrapped up, panelists invited us to discuss what makes us happy on camera. Instead, there was a four-way stampede for the door as we rushed out to catch our pleasure in the last lingering rays of sun, a strong drink, or the fantasy of masturbating in a bathtub filled with Richard Conlin’s tears.
More photos from Kelly O after the jump.
Turns out at least two. This takes my breath away:
They heard their son crying through sleepless nights, suffering with diarrhea, and when little Brandon Schaible's parents noticed his labored breathing, authorities said, they prayed over their baby until his final breath last week.
Herbert and Catherine Schaible told a judge in 2011 that they would never choose religion over medicine again after their 2-year-old son, Kent Schaible, died from bacterial pneumonia in 2009.
But on Monday, the Rhawnhurst couple sat together again in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court, silent and somber as a judge skewered them for "grossly and disastrously" violating their probation when they watched Brandon, just shy of 8 months old, die last week.
The Schaibles have not yet been charged. The article on Philly.com quotes from their church's webpage on the Bible and healing (which you can find here): "Medical insurance, hospital fees, and prescription costs today are enormous, but a believer receives healing for free."
H/t Christian Nightmares.
Police said the suspect, in his late 20’s, shot and killed a woman in her mid-20’s who he was living with in the complex. The suspect then went to the parking lot where he shot two men who confronted him, police said. He then grabbed a shotgun.
Two other people came out of their apartment to see what was going on. One called 911. The other, a man his early 60’s, was shot and killed in his apartment, police said. The suspect allegedly shot open the door of the apartment with the shotgun, then shot the victim.
The idea that domestic violence is a private matter has always been a horrible lie, but this kind of story, which is not unique, is just one example of why. People who hurt their partners and family members also hurt other people. (See also, apparently, Tamerlan Tsarnaev.) Domestic violence even hurts the economy through health care costs and lost workplace productivity.
This violence does not always stay private. Its effects are not private. And everyone should notice and care—not just people who work with victims or who have domestic violence on their political and social radar. This "private" violence is a serious public health and public safety issue that reaches far past its immediate victims, and it cannot be ignored when we're trying to solve these problems around systemic violence.
This is good news:
White House press secretary Jay Carney said Monday that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will not be classified as an “enemy combatant,” despite pressure from some congressional Republicans to do so. Speaking during his daily press briefing, his first since the Boston bombing, Carney said Tsarnaev will be tried in civilian court.
The suspect is an American, and the argument that foreign agents may have influenced his older sibling, thereby making this suspect an enemy combatant by proxy, strikes non-lawyer me as a pretty dubious stretch. But even if we could, discarding Constitutional protections for defendants—a policy framework crafted by former Attorney General John Ashcroft—feels like more than tweaking legal procedure. Tossing out American standards of justice in a moment of panic feels like giving into fear, which is a cowardly reaction to terrorism. I'm glad the Obama administration isn't caving.
UPDATE 11:14 AM: Federal prosecutors are charging Tsarnaev with conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction—which carries a possible death sentence. Has the definition of WMDs expanded to include pressure cookers and gunpowder? If so, any primitive bomb is now a WMD, which means, I suppose, that Iraq must have been full of WMDs after all.
The 19-year-old suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings, who was seriously wounded and unable to speak, is awake and responding in writing to questions from authorities, according to a Tweets by ABC and NBC news networks.
Because of his condition, however, the responses so far have been sporadic.
At least, investigators believe it's self-inflicted, the New York Times is reporting. He's also sedated, of course, with a breathing tube down his throat, and he's "not in good shape," an official says. "We don’t know if we will ever be able to question the individual," the mayor of Boston says.
UPDATE: ABC News reports he is responding to questions in writing.
This piece in today's New York Times is excellent: "Boy at Home in U.S., Swayed by One Who Wasn’t."
I recommend another piece today in the Times, too. "Suspects With Foot in 2 Worlds, Perhaps Echoing Plots of Past," talks about immigrants caught between American life and Islamic loyalty:
Read them both if you have the time.
Mr. Fishman cautioned that it was too early to draw any firm conclusions about the Tsarnaev brothers, but said there were intriguing echoes of other cases in which young men caught between life in America and loyalty to fellow Muslims in a distant homeland turned to violence, partly as a way of settling the puzzle of their identity.
Akbar Ahmed, the chairman of Islamic studies at American University in Washington, described such men: “They are American, but not quite American.” His new book, “The Thistle and the Drone: How America’s War on Terrorism Became a War on Tribal Islam,” examines how tribal codes of hospitality, courage and revenge have shaped the reaction to American counterterrorism strikes.
“They don’t really know the old country,” Professor Ahmed said of young immigrants attracted to jihad, “but they don’t fit in to the new country.”
Add feelings of guilt that they are enjoying a comfortable life in America while their putative brothers and sisters suffer in a distant land and an element of personal estrangement — say, Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s statement in an interview long before the attack that after five years in the United States, “I don’t have a single American friend” — and it is a combustible mix.
“They are furious,” Mr. Ahmed said. “They’re out to cause pain.”
In short: One of the suspects has reportedly been shot and killed by police. He is 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was identified yesterday as suspect 1. The other suspect is his brother, 19-year old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev named by the FBI as suspect 2, who is still on the loose.
Police are blanketing Watertown. This seems to be the best summary of the situation right now:
Boston and its surburbs, universities and transit system were on total lockdown Friday as police hunted for marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev — on the loose after his accomplice brother was killed in a stunning chain of events that left one cop dead and another injured, officials said.
Authorities were confronting a double-edged nightmare: a ruthless killer at large in a densely populated area and a four-mile stretch of road possibly littered with explosive devices tossed from the suspects' getaway vehicle during a wild chase and firefights.
Two unidentified people were taken into custody at the Cambridge, Mass., home where Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his older brother Tamerlan grew up, but they were not being described as additional suspects. Three dozen FBI agents were ringing the house.
Twitter is stuffed with misinformation, but it also has the best, up-to-the-minute accurate information. Sift through it all here at the hashtag #Watertown.
UPDATE 7:19 AM: Al Jazeera is reporting, "Police have detained two other people being described as accomplices and not suspects" and that all of Boston remains on lockdown, while police have sealed a 12-block district. Meanwhile, lots of people are tweeting photos like this one of officers surrounding a home:
twitpics from neighbor in Watertown neighborhood where manhunt is on: twitter.com/shawna_england… #bostonbombing #watertown
— Eileen Winters (@eifc7) April 19, 2013
UPDATE 7:50 AM: The New Republic has an interesting read on Chechnya:
The U.S. hasn’t paid much attention to Chechnya since the early 2000s, when the Bush Administration largely declined to intervene as rebels fought a bloody war against Russia. But with the news that the suspected Boston bombers were ethnic Chechens who moved to the United States from Dagestan in 2002, it’s time to get caught up on the separatist, predominantly Muslim Caucasian province. We’ll have more soon, but here’s what to read now:
The Council on Foreign Relations’ backgrounder on Chechen terrorism, which describes the attacks Chechen nationals have launched in public places, against Russian-backed government buildings, on apartment buildings and trains. Chechnya has also been an Al Qaeda recruiting ground.
Read the whole thing.
UPDATE 10:00 AM: Here's a link to the Boston police scanner, where there's some interesting acitvity. The standard warning applies: Not every comment on the scanner is necessarily the gospel truth and some of it's rumor, etc. and so forth.
According to this CBC News story, bright posters are now popping up in Rehtaeh Parsons's neighborhood. You know Parsons—the girl who just killed herself after she was allegedly gang-raped and then bullied for it.
The posters say:
Speak the truth. There's two sides to every story. Listen before you judge. The truth will come out. Stay strong, support the boys!
Her family is, rightly, horrified.
At a wet housing complex in downtown Seattle last Saturday, April 13, three "very intoxicated" men watching a Clint Eastwood movie were interrupted by a fourth "extremely intoxicated" man who insisted on changing the channel, according to a police report. A fight ensued, resulting in much spilled beer.
The "wet housing" complex is so named because it helps formerly homeless chronic alcoholics fight their addictions with the aid of social services, a bed, and roof overhead.
Staff kicked out a man with "impaired speech, balance and coordination" from the dining area around 7:30 p.m. for causing disturbances, reports Officer Christopher Myers. The man made his way to the TV room, where he tried to change the channel from a Clint Eastwood flick. When the movie's three viewers objected, the suspect allegedly grabbed one of Clint Eastwood-watchers "with both hands and applied pressure to strangle him," the report states.
The report fails to note which Clint Eastwood movie the suspect objected to—if we're talking about Trouble With the Curve, dude may have been justified.
The men grappled for a bit until the suspect "paused to put on both of his slippers, then without warning punched [the man] again in the face."
This is one of those things you have to read to believe:
Federal sources have confirmed to The Clarion-Ledger that Kenneth Curtis of Tupelo has been arrested in connection with letters laced with ricin that were sent to Sen. Roger Wicker and President Barack Obama.
Federal authorities were in Tupelo on Wednesday investigating the letters. Both letters were signed: "I am KC and I approve this message."
The Senate failed to muster sufficient support Wednesday for a gun-buyer background check bill that's supported by nearly 90 percent of Americans, voting the measure down in a procedural vote that likely dooms any major legislation to curb gun violence.
The amendment failed 54 to 46, falling short of the 60-vote threshold needed to break a filibuster of the measure, even as victims of the Sandy Hook shootings watched from the Senate gallery and activists at a vigil outside the Capitol read the names of people slain since then, hoping to prompt action.
This is not a great day in American politics.
Fox jumps on roommate of the Saudi Arabian man who is not a suspect of the Boston Marathon bombing and asks if...
Speaking of beer, here is a really, really not-good way to humorously advertise your beer list: with an awful domestic violence joke right on your giant letter-board sign, for all to see! Hardy-har, guys. As the Houston Press points out:
Meanwhile, according to a Senate judiciary report, domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women between the ages of 15 and 44 in the United States—more even than car accidents, muggings and rapes combined.
Women of all races are about equally vulnerable to violence by an intimate partner, although low-income women are at a three-times higher risk.
One woman is beaten by her husband or partner every 15 seconds in the United States.
Meanwhile, here is the business's apology. Better than nothing.
In a creepy example of life imitating Hitchcock, a woman was allegedly chased by a knife-wielding suspect while walking home from a grocery run at the Rainier Valley Safeway last Wednesday night until she was saved by a passing off-duty cop, according to a police report.
Sgt. Nathan Patterson reports a woman was crossing MLK Way on S. Othello, just south of the light rail station at about 8:42 p.m., when she saw a man walking straight toward her making what she described as "weird animal noises" and allegedly gripping a knife straight-up slasher style at throat-level.
"[The victim] feared for her life and attempted to run away from [the suspect]," the report states. "She ran both north and south, and in both instances, [the suspect] was able to block her path."
On the third try, the woman was able to evade her potential attacker, at which point she "tried to call 911 on her cell phone, but she was so afraid and shaking that she couldn't manipulate her phone correctly," the report explains. Meanwhile, "[the suspect] continued to pursue her."
Fortunately, an off-duty officer named Sgt. Clenna, was driving northbound on MLK Jr. Way and saw the distressed woman. According to Patterson's report, Clenna pulled up next to the victim, flung open the passenger door, and said, "We are good people, get in." The woman was able to call 911 from inside Clenna's car, while outside the would-be slasher "ran back towards Sgt. Clenna and [the victim] with the knife in his hand raised at shoulder level."
As Patterson arrived on-scene, he heard a commotion from a nearby business where patrons were attempting to throw out a man matching the suspect's description. Patterson confronted the suspect at gunpoint, and he submitted to a search, which yielded a knife.
Sgt. Clenna and the victim both identified the suspect as the alleged knife-wielder. The suspect was coherent, but apparently ranting religious invective while being put under arrest.
The report notes that the victim "thanked Sgt. Clenna for his bravery, and repeatedly stated how amazed she was by Sgt. Clenna's calm and cool demeanor during a life or death situation." Thanks in part to Sgt. Clenna, no one was harmed.
CNN is quoting a "U.S. official" as saying there is no indication of involvement from al-Qaeda or other foreign terror groups based on intelligence reports that have been gathered so far. (The Saudi man who was interviewed has also been cleared as a suspect, per Fox News.)Everyone is waiting for the appearance of this murderer.
The Boston Globe is reporting that 120 people injured in the Boston Marathon bomb blast were being treated in seven local hospitals.
I've been wondering how long it would take for US activists engaged in border sabotage to make it into print.
Some Israeli anarchists have practiced (mostly symbolic) border sabotage off and on for years. But the US-Mexico border, and its policing, has seemed like a ripe, highly visible, highly politicized target for a long time. One of the prime chants at last year's May Day protest in Seattle, for example, was: "Cops and borders, we don't need 'em, all we want is total freedom." (There's a strong dose of irony in that chant—"all we want" sounds like it's framing something minimal, but the subsequent demand for "total freedom" is so huge it seems impossible.)
But this article in Jacobin magazine—have you been reading this new, slickly designed, smart, funny, and unapologetically Marxist publication?—has a profile of and interview with "Immigrant X," a person or collective engaging in border sabotage. Here's a taste:
Enter Immigrant X: an alternative universe of fictionalized anti-border renegades, the brainchild of a group of pseudonymous bloggers who operate as an imagined community of grassroots anti-border activists located in an unnamed “Western democracy.” The team includes a saboteur who works for the immigration authorities, along with a network of clandestine border resisters with anarchist leanings. Together they operate an underground railroad that liberates migrants from detention.
Their stories describe sabotaged raids, a network of underground safehouses. In one post, “Raid Interrupted,” the rebels get tipped off in advance of raids and share the intelligence with migrants whom the immigration agents have targeted, and try to spirit them away to a hideout, a friendly squat. In another dispatch, they use their own remote controlled drones to disrupt an enforcement action:
@Immigrant_Z Keep it in position. I crowd is gathering. The border policewoman looks really flustered.
ImmigrantX Wed Mar 06 2013 at 3:52 PM
@Immigrant_Z Take it up. She wants to take a swing at it with a baton.
ImmigrantX Wed Mar 06 2013 at 3:53 PM
@Immigrant_Z The person she stopped has walked off, good one. Get it high, she is pretty close.
ImmigrantX Wed Mar 06 2013 at 3:54 PM
That is proposing a very dangerous game—we've seen how the federal government reacts to the smashed glass of a courthouse door. I can barely imagine the force and size of the hammer they would try to bring down on people actively and publicly sabotaging US border enforcement.
1. Your rights as a world citizen are not defined by your race, religion, place of birth, nationality or lack of. They are afforded to you by your existence.
2. Wherever you live on this earth you have the same rights as all those who live in your community not matter how or why you came to this place.
3. A law that is unjust should be disobeyed through ingenuity and creativity not by violence or hurt those we oppose or seek to help.
People have been saying "I am a citizen of the world" ever since that proto-anarchist patron saint Diogenes of Sinope. But Immigrant X wants to prove it.
From Poynter: "Republican-American blames rape victims' parents, calls rape a 'tryst.'"
Siiiiiiiiiiiiiigh. Sometimes you don't quite know what to say anymore.
The group of Columbia City neighbors who awoke to gunfire on March 22—and watched a Bellevue SWAT team swarm their neighborhood after fatally shooting their neighbor—are hosting a public meeting on April 22 at 6:30 at the Columbia City Church of Hope to talk about what went wrong in that police action.
I caught up with Genessa Krasnow, who's acting as a coordinator and facilitator for her neighbors, to see what they're trying to get out of this meeting, which so far will be pretty well attended: Seattle City Council President Sally Clark will be there (she and Council Member Bruce Harrell released a statement last week saying the police departments needed to explain themselves), as will Deputy Mayor Darryl Smith, City Attorney Pete Holmes, Bellevue police chief Linda Pillo, and SPD's South Precinct captain Steven Paulsen, who already attended a private meeting with residents of the block where the shooting took place.
Krasnow says their goals are to communicate directly and publicly with elected officials and both police departments, to give them feedback and to ask questions they feel have gone unanswered about why the situation was handled the way it was—"mostly in regard to communication," says Krasnow. She says she understands that there is supposed to be some "communication and outreach" from police during and after a situation like this one, and "it seems like that was missing from our incident. There was nobody on the social level on the ground," no one speaking with neighbors to let them know what was happening and if they were safe.
They also will make a clear request that the police departments repay residents for damage inflicted on their property during the police action—a smashed truck, lawns that were torn up, and the house where the suspect was living, which was badly damaged. Her neighbor who owns the house "does not have the means to repair it," she says.
Further, they're hoping to be a voice for their community. People in this neighborhood know that South Seattle has an ongoing problematic relationship with police, and they're hoping to use their relative comfort in engaging with public officials to speak up for people who don't have that comfort.
Sergeant Sean Whitcomb from SPD confirms that someone from their public affairs office will also be in attendance.
Krasnow stresses, however, that she doesn't want the meeting to "be disrespectful" or to devolve into a shouting match. They "want it to be productive," she says. This group is staging a concerted campaign to see if any good outcome can come of their experience. "We want to heal," she says, "we want the people responsible to be held accountable, and we want this to never happen again."
Police say they have the suspect in custody.
And Gawker is reporting that before the shooting the alleged gunman posted what he was about to do on 4Chan.
It was almost four in the morning on Sunday when police responded to a suspected armed robbery at a grocery store on 15th Avenue East. Two men allegedly waltzed into the store adorned in T-shirts, medical masks, and hoodies so nothing was exposed but their eyes. They headed toward the liquor aisle. Apparently unimpressed by the selection, they turned around and headed for the register, where they allegedly informed the clerk he was being robbed. One of them "lifted his shirt up and exposed a handgun that was tucked into his waistband," a Seattle police report alleges.
Meanwhile, an undoubtedly sleepy customer "entered the store from the south entrance and walked to the freezer section." The store clerk gestured for her to leave, but surmised that she was "unaware of what was going on," the clerk told police.
The suspected robbers went from cash register to cash register, dumping the contents of each till into a pillowcase. The suspects eventually made their way to the cigarette section. They allegedly demanded a carton of Camel cigarettes to accompany their pillowcase full of cash, then ran out of the store.
The oblivious, frozen-food-desiring shopper later told police that she had no idea there had been a robbery unfolding until after the suspects had fled the scene.
The store's video surveillance confirms the store clerk's story. The suspects wore gloves, so there were no fingerprints. The K9 unit's search came up dry. A video camera outside the store barely missed one of the suspect's masks slipping off his face, and no one has been arrested.
Not only have city officials begun interviewing for a new director of the Office of Professional Accountability, which is the unit that investigates claims of police officer misconduct, they've winnowed the pool down to three candidates and the mayor may appoint one of them within a month, according to sources inside city hall.
This is great news. Whoever heads the OPA winds up not only conducting rigorous reviews of citizen complaints and meting out punishment recommendations, but also—and perhaps most importantly—demonstrating publicly that officer misconduct will be punished.
I'd called last September for the city to "get rid of Kathryn Olson," who's held the job even since her last term expired in May of 2010. I said she was seen as an apologist for officer wrongdoing, she lost public trust, and the US Department of Justice had cited "concerns about the independence of the OPA Director." Despite rampant officer misconduct and a federal suit for the Seattle Police Department's excessive force, Mayor Mike McGinn hadn't filled the job—so Olson just stayed on. Two weeks later, she announced her resignation.
This is who's in the running to replace her:
Officially speaking, the city is mum about who'll they'll pick. Aaron Pickus, the spokesman for Mayor Mike McGinn's office, says they have briefed the council on all three and "have not heard any expressions of concern." Bruce Harrell, chair of the Seattle City Council's public safety committee, didn't comment as of this morning.
Given that all the candidates look solid on paper, I hope the city picks someone who can do more than conduct meticulous investigations: I hope they pick the candidate who can also best communicate with citizens. Someone who can explain why an officer did or didn't get a punishment using language that's not impenetrable and write reports that are digestible to the common reader (OPA reports are thick with statistics that are nearly impossible for the layman to parse). But most of all, I hope they pick an OPA director who will advocate for stiffer punishments when the typical discipline—which is usually a week to a month of leave—isn't punishment enough for a bad cop.