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Staten Island, borough where Eric Garner died, has highest number of most-sued NYPD officers
It has the fewest people of any borough in the city, but it has big problems between police and the citizens they’re sworn to protect.

Staten Island, where Eric Garner died after a cop apparently placed him in a prohibited chokehold maneuver, tops the city as home to the highest number of officers on the most-sued list, a Daily News review has found.

Seven of the city’s top 10 most-sued officers — and 14 of the city’s top 50 most-sued officers — are assigned to a Staten Island narcotics unit working in the territory of the 120th Precinct, records show.

The precinct covers neighborhoods on the North Shore of the island, including the area near Tompkinsville Park where Garner, 43, died after a confrontation with Officer Daniel Pantaleo on July 17.

The News’ review is based on a list of cases filed against officers who have been sued 10 or more times between 2003 and 2013, obtained via a Freedom of Information Law request, and an exhaustive review of court databases. The News found 606 active and closed cases. At least 129 of those cases — or 21% — name one or more officers assigned to the Staten Island narcotics unit, totaling $6 million in payouts.

The unit has racked up the staggering amount of lawsuits despite being the smallest narcotics bureau in the city. With just 40 officers and supervisors, it’s roughly one-fifth the size of Brooklyn North Narcotics.

Nearly all of the cases cite false arrest for charges that ended up getting tossed or sealed — ranging from people collared for their own prescription drugs, to haphazard raids that allegedly swept up innocents and ruined lives.

“There’s a culture in Staten Island, and particularly this precinct, where you break the rules and serve your own interest and don’t have to worry about getting into any kind of trouble,” said lawyer Brett Klein, who’s filed dozens of lawsuits against officers in the borough. “A lot of officers live there, and they’re more isolated from the other boroughs and more off the radar.”

The 120th Precinct also has the highest crime rate in the borough, the most use of the NYPD’s controversial stop-and-frisk tactics in the borough, and is a leader in the number of substantiated police misconduct allegations to the Civilian Complaint Review Board.

The precinct is tied for 11th place in substantiated complaints that occurred between 2009 and 2013, even though it ranks 33rd in population citywide, city records show. And of the 137 cases substantiated citywide this year, at least eight were against officers assigned to Staten Island, and three were against officers assigned to the 120th Precinct.

All of the most-sued officers from the borough were assigned to the Staten Island narcotics unit, which, like the anti-crime unit Pantaleo was assigned to, is involved in aggressive, proactive policing.

Amelia Moore and her teenage son are among those who scored a financial settlement against Staten Island narcotics cops.

Moore, 32, said she lost her nursing home job, then had to pull her sons out of the St. Sylvester Catholic school because she couldn’t afford the tuition, after a band of narcotics officers burst into her home at 5 a.m. and arrested them for a few prescription pills the cops claimed were in her purse.

“They knocked the door down, guns drawn,” said Moore. “They handcuffed him,” she said of her son, who was 13 at the time. “I kept quiet because I was so angry.”

The drug charge against her son was dropped, and he later got a $15,000 settlement from the city. The charges against Moore were sealed after she pleaded to disorderly conduct, a noncriminal violation.

The supervising officer on her arrest was Andrew Hillery , 43, who has 19 lawsuits against him, resulting in more than $700,000 in payouts.

A series of News articles over the past year showed how the city had been turning a blind eye to potential problem officers by ignoring the evidence of police misconduct contained in the suits, leading the NYPD to create two programs to track and analyze lawsuits, and a new tracking system by city Controller Scott Stringer’s office called “ClaimStat.”

The first ClaimStat report identified Staten Island’s North Shore as a “hot spot” for personal injury complaints against police. Last year, there were 98 lawsuits filed over incidents that happened in the 120th and 121st precincts — a rate of four personal injury claims per 100 crimes.

“Commanding officers should use this data to identify problems within their units and take concrete steps to reduce claims,” said Stringer’s spokesman.

Meanwhile, two programs the NYPD created — the Civil Lawsuit Monitoring Program and Risk Assessment Unit — have reviewed claims against 37 officers, most of whom were signed to narcotics duty.

As a result of the analysis, a committee “has directed that retraining be provided to these members, ranging from the use of force (and) employing tactical communication skills,” said NYPD spokeswoman Kim Royster. She did not say how many of those officers are assigned to the Staten Island narcotics unit.

One Staten Island narcotics sergeant, David Courtien, was sued 16 times before he was promoted to lieutenant in 2012.

Asked at his home earlier this year about the cases, Detective Vincent Orsini, the second-most-sued NYPD officer, named in 21 lawsuits, responded, “I’m not gonna go into it, but you can sue anybody.”

NYPD spokesman Stephen Davis said the amount of times an officer has been sued doesn’t necessarily mean the officer has been accused of any wrongdoing.

He pointed out lawsuits will often name every officer involved in the encounter, regardless of their level of involvement. He said Orsini was often the one wielding the battering ram in narcotics raids, and that in a dozen cases, his role was limited to that.

“Only in nine cases was he actively involved in the investigation,” said Davis.



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Jul-28-2014 31 0
It has the fewest people of any borough in the city, but it has big problems between police and the citizens they’re sworn to protect.

Staten Island, where Eric Garner died after a cop apparently placed him in a prohibited chokehold maneuver, tops the city as home to the highest number of officers on the most-sued list, a Daily News review has found.

Seven of the city’s top 10 most-sued officers — and 14 of the city’s top 50 most-sued officers — are assigned to a Staten Island narcotics unit working in the territory of the 120th Precinct, records show.

The precinct covers neighborhoods on the North Shore of the island, including the area near Tompkinsville Park where Garner, 43, died after a confrontation with Officer Daniel Pantaleo on July 17.

The News’ review is based on a list of cases filed against officers who have been sued 10 or more times between 2003 and 2013, obtained via a Freedom of Information Law request, and an exhaustive review of court databases. The News found 606 active and closed cases. At least 129 of those cases — or 21% — name one or more officers assigned to the Staten Island narcotics unit, totaling $6 million in payouts.

The unit has racked up the staggering amount of lawsuits despite being the smallest narcotics bureau in the city. With just 40 officers and supervisors, it’s roughly one-fifth the size of Brooklyn North Narcotics.

Nearly all of the cases cite false arrest for charges that ended up getting tossed or sealed — ranging from people collared for their own prescription drugs, to haphazard raids that allegedly swept up innocents and ruined lives.

“There’s a culture in Staten Island, and particularly this precinct, where you break the rules and serve your own interest and don’t have to worry about getting into any kind of trouble,” said lawyer Brett Klein, who’s filed dozens of lawsuits against officers in the borough. “A lot of officers live there, and they’re more isolated from the other boroughs and more off the radar.”

The 120th Precinct also has the highest crime rate in the borough, the most use of the NYPD’s controversial stop-and-frisk tactics in the borough, and is a leader in the number of substantiated police misconduct allegations to the Civilian Complaint Review Board.

The precinct is tied for 11th place in substantiated complaints that occurred between 2009 and 2013, even though it ranks 33rd in population citywide, city records show. And of the 137 cases substantiated citywide this year, at least eight were against officers assigned to Staten Island, and three were against officers assigned to the 120th Precinct.

All of the most-sued officers from the borough were assigned to the Staten Island narcotics unit, which, like the anti-crime unit Pantaleo was assigned to, is involved in aggressive, proactive policing.

Amelia Moore and her teenage son are among those who scored a financial settlement against Staten Island narcotics cops.

Moore, 32, said she lost her nursing home job, then had to pull her sons out of the St. Sylvester Catholic school because she couldn’t afford the tuition, after a band of narcotics officers burst into her home at 5 a.m. and arrested them for a few prescription pills the cops claimed were in her purse.

“They knocked the door down, guns drawn,” said Moore. “They handcuffed him,” she said of her son, who was 13 at the time. “I kept quiet because I was so angry.”

The drug charge against her son was dropped, and he later got a $15,000 settlement from the city. The charges against Moore were sealed after she pleaded to disorderly conduct, a noncriminal violation.

The supervising officer on her arrest was Andrew Hillery , 43, who has 19 lawsuits against him, resulting in more than $700,000 in payouts.

A series of News articles over the past year showed how the city had been turning a blind eye to potential problem officers by ignoring the evidence of police misconduct contained in the suits, leading the NYPD to create two programs to track and analyze lawsuits, and a new tracking system by city Controller Scott Stringer’s office called “ClaimStat.”

The first ClaimStat report identified Staten Island’s North Shore as a “hot spot” for personal injury complaints against police. Last year, there were 98 lawsuits filed over incidents that happened in the 120th and 121st precincts — a rate of four personal injury claims per 100 crimes.

“Commanding officers should use this data to identify problems within their units and take concrete steps to reduce claims,” said Stringer’s spokesman.

Meanwhile, two programs the NYPD created — the Civil Lawsuit Monitoring Program and Risk Assessment Unit — have reviewed claims against 37 officers, most of whom were signed to narcotics duty.

As a result of the analysis, a committee “has directed that retraining be provided to these members, ranging from the use of force (and) employing tactical communication skills,” said NYPD spokeswoman Kim Royster. She did not say how many of those officers are assigned to the Staten Island narcotics unit.

One Staten Island narcotics sergeant, David Courtien, was sued 16 times before he was promoted to lieutenant in 2012.

Asked at his home earlier this year about the cases, Detective Vincent Orsini, the second-most-sued NYPD officer, named in 21 lawsuits, responded, “I’m not gonna go into it, but you can sue anybody.”

NYPD spokesman Stephen Davis said the amount of times an officer has been sued doesn’t necessarily mean the officer has been accused of any wrongdoing.

He pointed out lawsuits will often name every officer involved in the encounter, regardless of their level of involvement. He said Orsini was often the one wielding the battering ram in narcotics raids, and that in a dozen cases, his role was limited to that.

“Only in nine cases was he actively involved in the investigation,” said Davis.




Ron Howell Jul-27-2014 108 0
For millions of black Americans, Barack Obama's legacy is not going to be Obamacare, nor his decision to move troops out of Iraq, nor what he does about immigration.

No, it will be the image of him as a black father - of him, for example, standing at the White House and declaring, after the 2012 racially charged killing of black teenager Trayvon Martin, "this could have been my son."

For all the accusations that Obama waffles and wavers when it comes to controversial issues affecting African Americans, there is a widespread perception of him as the model of black fatherhood. It is a view of him that I share, and it means a lot to me, because I know in personal ways the difference that the presence, or absence, of a dad can make in a young black man's life.

So much of my writing over the years has been about the disrespect and even viciousness with which police officers treat black and Latino men. The brutality against Eric Garner, who died 10 days ago after a white officer placed him in what seems to have been a chokehold, is just the latest case.

But I have to say - and this isn't easy, because tough love never is - that our collective shortcomings as African-American fathers also cause me great distress. Unlike the beatings, chokings and shootings our black youngsters are too frequently victims of - from the police, yes, but often from other black males - the pain of paternal abandonment is a dull ache in the heart that, in the end, can do as much damage as a bullet.

Just this past Monday, Obama met with dozens of young males at a public school in Washington, D.C. - black ones but also others of color - and spoke with them about the value of fatherhood and its responsibilities.

"If you're African American, there's about a one-in-two chance you grow up without a father in your house - one in two," the President said with somber plaintiveness.

As for me, I don't need data to convince me of the importance of black fatherhood. I have my own family story.

In 1997, I wrote an article for Essence Magazine titled "A Father's Longing," reflecting on the death of my father, a gifted and educated man who fell victim to alcohol and left me and my mother when I was a child, and mom was crippled with polio.

Later in his life, thanks to Alcoholics Anonymous, dad gave up the bottle and, though I never lived with him, we developed a late-in-life father-son relationship, and I shared its joys and pains with readers of Essence.

The reaction was extraordinary, with many black people recognizing me from the photo accompanying the article, and engaging me about the topic.

But the truly stunning result was a phone call I received a year later from a woman in Detroit who identified herself as Linda, the wife of my father's brother, my Uncle Charles, who in the early 1960s had abandoned New York City and his 11 children. We had thought he was dead.

Linda told me that Uncle Charles had died the night before, and that she had known of my relationship to him because she had read the article and had made astute deductions about the familial relationship. But, deferring to Uncle Charles's desires, she had put off calling me until his death.

Now here are the details that rush to the core the story: Of the 11 children (from two households) that Uncle Charles left behind, two were boys - my only male first cousins on my father's side.

The older one, Charles III, nicknamed Tibby, was beaten to death 30 years ago on the streets of Brownsville by a person or persons never identified. His sisters and mother were of course devastated by the unsolved crime, which only intensified the excruciating hurt caused by their father's disappearance decades previously.

Uncle Charles's younger son, Henri, became addicted to heroin, and his whereabouts, if indeed he is alive, are not known to me or any other family members with whom I was able to speak. I had long conversations about ten years ago with Henri's mother, who told me in painful detail how the absconding of the father had devastated Henri in ways that were as emotionally crushing as they were immediate, although the girls were largely able to put themselves on track to productive, professional lives.

Tibby's oldest sister, Elizabeth (Lizzie) Howell Greggs, 70, said she has come to understand profoundly the importance of fatherhood to young men in Brownsville, a community in which she was raised and in which she still lives.

Boys need fathers as role models, said Lizzie, who until her retirement earlier this month had spent 40 years teaching kids in the Brownsville Police Athletic League's Head Start program. "There's so much anger," Lizzie said of young men living around her. She added that the pitiful delinquency of her own dad made her more committed to helping young men understand the importance of being involved in the lives of their offspring. As for her home life, she speaks fondly of her deceased husband, a career military man, and is proud of their four adult children. One of them, a son, I've had conversations with and he is a hard-working and disciplined young man, a role model.

Let's not mince words. The crisis of New York City, and to a large extent of America, is the crisis of the black male. You see it in our schools, on our streets, in our economy, in our prisons.

Obama seems determined to strengthen his male-focused My Brother's Keeper Initiative, and on Monday he announced further investments of millions of dollars. My Brother's Keeper is patterned on New York City's Young Men's Initiative, which was organized three years ago by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg. (Yes, the same Michael Bloomberg who allowed police to stop and frisk hundreds of thousands of innocent black and Latino males annually.)

We should all be grateful for these efforts. Taken together, they suggest a philosophy once articulated by Hillary Clinton - that "it takes a village to raise a child," that if young men of color are to be able to (quite literally) survive, various sectors of society (educators, social service administrators and even entrepreneurs) will have to play respective roles.

As an educator myself, I should be in a special position to help. But consider this: In my five years of teaching journalism at Brooklyn College, I don't believe I've had more than 10 black males among the several hundred students in my classes.

I noted this paucity even at predominantly black Medgar Evers College, where 15 years ago I taught a writing workshop. There were about a dozen students in the class. All were black. But only one was a male. According to U.S. News & World Report's latest college report, the gender breakdown at Medgar Evers College is 73% female and 27% male.

For black males, there is a stark tie-in between the education and criminal justice systems, both of which have been failing them miserably. Speaking to MSNBC on Monday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who grew up in Queens, said that having a father saved him from the horrid fates that befall so many young men of color.

"I grew up in a lower middle class neighborhood in Queens, New York, and I think of all the advantages I had by having a dad there," Holder said. He noted the vast difference in outcomes between him and other young men who did not have it so good. Other "guys who grew up with me on the block" ended up "in fundamentally different places . . . Drug problems. Time in jail," Holder added.

As for me, I survived and accomplished all that I have - Ivy League degrees, comfort in three languages, prize-winning news articles - not because of talents far beyond those of others.


Jul-26-2014 170 0
A Brooklyn cop was put on modified assignment Friday after allegedly stomping on a shackled suspect’s head, authorities said.

NYPD Officer Joel Edouard, 36, had subdued Jahmiel Cuffee on suspicion of marijuana possession on Malcolm X Blvd. in Bedford-Stuyvesant at 8 p.m. Wednesday — and then he booted the man as he lay on the ground, officials said.

The move stunned onlookers videotaping it.

“What is wrong with this officer?” one man screamed. “Look at your officer! You see that?”

Cops saw Cuffee, 32, roll a joint on the street and stopped him, police sources said.

Officer Joel Edouard had subdued Jahmiel Cuffee on suspicion of marijuana possession on Malcolm X Blvd. in Bedford-Stuyvesant at 8 p.m. Wednesday, and the cop then allegedly stomped on the suspect's head as he lay on the ground.

He was taken to a hospital with neck and head injuries and charged with resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and pot possession, cops said.

Edouard is the second NYPD cop in July to get modified assignment. He was placed on desk duty and ordered to surrender his gun and shield.

Daniel Pantaleo was similarly reassigned after putting Eric Garner, 43, of Staten Island in a chokehold on July 17.



Reuter Jul-25-2014 153 0
The widow and other relatives of Eric Garner, who died last week soon after a New York police officer put him in a choke hold, met with federal prosecutors on Friday to ask for a civil-rights investigation.


Thousands of people have watched two bystanders' videos that record Garner's dying cries that he could not breathe as police wrestled him to the ground while arresting him outside a Staten Island beauty parlor last Thursday for peddling untaxed cigarettes.

Nearly seven months after Mayor Bill de Blasio took office promising to reform the police, many New Yorkers have been alarmed to discover that some officers still use choke holds, although they have been banned from doing so for more than 20 years.

The city has promised to investigate a backlog of choke hold complaints and the police have promised to overhaul their training program in response, but Reverend Al Sharpton, the civil rights activist who joined Garner's family at the meeting with prosecutors, said this was not enough.

"We cannot just depend - and this is important - on police policy to stop the choke hold," Sharpton told reporters outside the U.S. Attorney's Office when he emerged with Eric Garner's widow, Esaw Garner, after about 30 minutes. "We need a federal precedent."

Standing nearby was Erica, the eldest of the Garners' six children, and Gwen Carr, Eric Garner's mother, along with their lawyers. The family declined to speak.

Garner's death is already being investigated by at least four authorities: the Staten Island district attorney, the police department's internal affairs bureau, the city's inspector general of police and the city's Civilian Complaint Review Board.

Bob Nardoza, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office, said his colleagues were closely watching the other investigations.

Police said this week they were also investigating a second apparent use of a choke hold by an officer within the span of a week.

A crop of bystanders' videos, recorded just three days before Garner's death and circulated widely this week, showed an officer punching a suspected fare-dodger at a subway station and gripping him around his neck.

Ronald Johns, the suspected fare-dodger, is black, as was Garner, and the two incidents have tested de Blasio's pledge to mend frayed relations between the police and black and Latino residents. Police said Johns refused to show his identification and resisted arrest.

Jul-25-2014 274 0
Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price was arrested Friday morning by the FBI.

A sealed indictment filed Wednesday lists the following charges against Price:


Conspiracy to Commit Bribery Concerning a Local Government Receiving Federal Benefits

Deprivation of Honest Services by Mail Fraud and Aiding and Abetting

Conspiracy to Defraud the Internal Revenue Service

Subscribing to a False and Fraudulent U.S. Individual Income Tax Return

Our sources confirmed Price's arrest, but other reports also said Dapheny Fain, Price’s longtime executive assistant, and political consultant Kathy Nealy also were arrested. Nancy Kennedy, Fain's attorney, told The Dallas Morning News that Fain has been charged but does not know yet what the charges are and has not been arrested.

"We're going to turn Dapheny in," Kennedy said.

Attorney Billy Ravkind, who said he learned of the arrest from media reports, said a pretrial bond hearing is scheduled for this afternoon.

"Next time we want to know something, we'll call the press," he said. "I guess I haven't been around long enough. I've never had this happen before. You win or lose cases in the courtroom. What the government does is irrelevant."

Ravkind said he has spoken to the prosecutor but not Price, who he said may be released pending an afternoon bond hearing.

The U.S. Attorney's Office has scheduled a press conference at 11 a.m. at the Earle Cabell Federal Building in downtown Dallas. The indictment will be revealed at that time, and federal officials will issue a statement at that time.

Price was arrested about 8 a.m.

We will update this story as more details become available.

Carol Kuruvilla Jul-24-2014 217 0
The trigger-happy Chicago teen whose gunfight reportedly ended an 11-year-old girl’s life is now in police custody.

Chicago cops have charged 18-year-old Tevin Lee for the death of Shamiya Adams, who was killed after a stray bullet crashed through a bedroom window during a sleepover.

Adams was sitting by an imaginary campfire with six other friends inside her friend’s West Garfield Park home July 18 when a bullet struck her in the head.

Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy claims Lee was seeking revenge for a fight that happened earlier in the day, between two 14-year-old boys on bikes. One of the boys was beaten up by a group of other young teens. That boy told his older brother about the fight and eventually Lee heard about it as well.

Lee allegedly started tracking down a rival gang member who he believed was involved. He spotted the man standing near the home where Adams was playing with her friends. Cops say Lee took aim and fired four to five shots.

He missed his mark, sending one bullet through a two-inch window opening and killing Adams.

The bullet entered a bedroom window and struck Shamiya Adams in the head.

The shooting took place in Chicago’s West Garfield Park neighborhood.

"We have two 14-year-olds fighting and someone introduces a gun into a fistfight and we have now have another child murder," McCarthy told ABC 7 Chicago.

Using information gleaned from neighbors and nine witnesses, cops tracked down Lee by Tuesday. On Thursday, he was formally charged with one count of murder, one count of felony murder and one count of aggravated discharge of a firearm.

"These guys are out here and they're shooting, and they can't guide the bullet, they can't recall it. And they're always hitting someone innocent. Pure innocence is what's leaving our world, and that's what Shamiya was," Marian Stevenson, the little girl’s aunt, told ABC.

Friends are throwing a fund-raiser Thursday to help the Adams family cover their little girl’s funeral costs. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel attended the event and met with Adams’ family.

Meanwhile, cops are continuing the investigation, searching for more culprits. They have yet to find the gun used in the shooting.

Lee’s mother said she couldn’t believe that her son could have caused such a tragic death.

“I know my baby didn’t do that,” Lagenna Boyd said. “He’s a good child. Not my baby. He don’t do stuff like that.”

But the Chicago police say they’re confident Lee is the killer.

“We know the root causes of crime,” McCarthy told the Chicago Tribune. “We know about poverty, education, breakup of the family unit. But at the end of the day, you introduce a gun into a fistfight, this is what happens."

Jul-24-2014 268 0
A black teen has become a web star after he filmed shop workers following him around convenience stores because they thought he was stealing.

Rashid Polo has racked up hundreds of thousands of hits after uploading two clips to Vine last week.

In each, he claims to catch staffers keeping a close eye on his movements - checking the shelves that he's just looked at.

But they soon scuttle away after he calls them out by pointing his cellphone at them and saying: "She thinks I'm stealing."

Polo said he decided to record his experience of going shopping after he realized he was repeatedly being trailed by workers.

"It happened again ... this time I'm not even mad ... I'm used to it now," he said in the caption of his second video.

It's unclear where in the U.S. the clips were filmed.

But, following his sudden rise to online fame, the teen said he was glad he could expose what's widely regarded as a recurring issue.

"Discrimination is never cool. I'm glad I could shed some light on such a sensitive topic in a positive way," he tweeted.

He then added: "People keep asking me if I'm going to make more of those videos. As long as I keep getting followed then I will keep making them. (Hope not)."

Barry Paddock Jul-24-2014 251 0
A 42-year-old Brooklyn woman accused of killing and dismembering a mom of four who was a tenant in her uncle’s building — and scattering her remains across Long Island — was ordered held without bail Thursday morning, authorities said.

“Yes!” family members of Chinelle Latoya Thompson Browne whispered to themselves in court as a judge ordered Leah Cuevas back to a holding cell following the brief court appearance in Islip.

Browne’s aunt, who flew to the U.S. with the victim’s distraught husband, Dale Browne, held up her arms in a victory gesture.

“(Cuevas) is charged with the worst conduct that humans can be capable of,” Judge G. Ann Spelman said as she ordered the alleged killer held without bail. “The District Attorney’s evidence is more than compelling. It’s very strong.”

Prosecutors say Cuevas stabbed Chinelle Browne in the neck and torso repeatedly during a heated argument inside her Sumpter St. apartment in Brownsville on July 5.

“No Leah! What she doing?” Browne was allegedly heard screaming during the fatal blow up. “Oh no! Oh no! I’m sorry!”

“That was the last time the victim was heard alive,” Suffolk County Assistant District Attorney Robert Biancavilla said Wednesday.

Cuevas killed Browne because the young mom refused to pay her $200, neighbors told the Daily News.

Cuevas allegedly said Browne owed her the money for electricity, but the Guyanese native refused to pay, claiming she wasn’t getting enough power and needed the money to move out, according to Donald Watson, 49.

“She was tired of paying for lighting and having it go out, or the refrigerator going out and spoiling the food," Watson said. "(Browne) said she wanted to take her money and move out but the landlord said ‘no.’ She wanted the $200 ... but (Browne) said I need the $200 to move out.”

Cuevas is the niece of the building’s owner, who died last year, neighbors said. Browne lived with a family on the floor above Cuevas.

Since Cuevas’ uncle died, it’s been unclear who owns the building, neighbors said.

“(Cuevas) is a lady claiming to be a landlord,” said neighbor Lerron Straker.

The fights between Cuevas and Browne were loud — and often public, Watson explained.

“(Cuevas) was an evil lady ... she would come out screaming, 'This is my building!'" he said. "You'd hear them arguing. You'd see the police out here. They'd tell them to go to small claims court. It's been going on for a long time," Watson said.

Browne, who emigrated to the U.S. a year ago, was reported missing July 5 after her fight with Cuevas. The two also allegedly argued on Independence Day.

On July 8, Browne's remains were found in Long Island.

Her legs and torso, which bore a tattoo that helped police identify her, was found in a municipal parking lot in Bay Shore less than a mile from Cuevas’ sister’s home, prosecutors said.

The next day, an arm was discovered on the front lawn of a home in Hempstead. A second arm was found within the week.

Browne's severed head was discovered on Boylston St. near Chamberlain St. in Hempstead on July 17, officials said.

Suffolk County Homicide detectives nabbed Cuevas with the help of the U.S. Marshals' New York/New Jersey Regional Fugitive Task Force.

Police said the investigation was still active, meaning an accomplice who helped her dispose of the body may still be at large.

Dale Browne said his wife moved to the U.S. first to secure a job and find an apartment. He was going to move to the city with their kids after he got his paperwork in order, he said.

Jul-23-2014 318 0
The South Carolina single mom arrested for letting her 9-year-old daughter play in a park while she worked at McDonald's has been given her daughter back—but has lost her job. The lawyer representing Debra Harrell pro bono says McDonald's has let her go, but he isn't sure why, reports ThinkProgress. A McDonald's spokeswoman declined to comment. Harrell has been charged with unlawful neglect of a child, and her lawyer says that although she has been reunited with her daughter, the Department of Social Services probe is ongoing.

According to the blog Reason, Harrell had been bringing her daughter to work and letting her play on a laptop, but she started dropping her off at a nearby park while she worked after their home was broken into and the laptop was stolen. The lawyer tells CNN he thinks it's "absurd" to say the girl was "abandoned" at the park a few minutes' walk from her house. "Because if this woman gets convicted, guess what? ... From now on, do officers now have an obligation every time they see a 9-and-a-half-year-old not in the presence of their parents, do the parents get arrested?" he says. "It truly is the classic slippery slope." Amid public outcry over the case, a fundraising page set up to help Harrell has received more than $31,000 in donations.

Jul-23-2014 444 0
An Atlanta man was bilked out of $175,000 when he fell victim to an organized ring that uses identity theft to raid investment and bank accounts, according to Atlanta police.

Atlanta Police Detective Ken Stapler said six-figure identity thefts are increasingly common in the metro Atlanta region as professional criminals target people’s life savings and investment accounts.

“Anybody who is smart enough to do this is smart enough to go after large amounts of money,” said the veteran detective.

Police have identified someone they believe opened up a phony business account at a JP Morgan Chase bank branch in Atlanta, which received $123,000 from Terance Fowler’s Charles Schwab account.

Police say the woman used her own name — Tanya Monique Peel — to set up a business account. Police then linked the name to a woman who lived in Raleigh, N.C., and confirmed it was her from a sultry “selfie” photograph on her Facebook page, Stapler said. Bank surveillance cameras matched the woman who withdrew the $123,000 to the picture on the Facebook page and her driver’s license.

Leaving such clues for detectives to follow was enough to tell Stapler that the 26-year-old woman was not a lone wolf, noting the fraud was clever but its success laid in its simplicity.

“I think she is with a group of professionals,” said Stapler, who is searching for Peel after securing an arrest warrant for her last week. “There is no way she did this by herself.”

Fowler, 45, declined to comment, citing a confidentiality agreement with the banks and the investment corporation. He reported the case to police.

Fowler lost his money when the group got his identifying information and his cellphone number, correctly guessing the cellphone was how Charles Schwab traders verified whether cash transfer orders were legitimate, Stapler said. The investment company refunded Fowler his loss, Stapler said.

The criminals had all of Fowler’s incoming calls forwarded to an untraceable cellphone and then ordered Charles Schwab to transfer $123,000 to the account controlled by someone police say was Peel and another $52,000 to a Wells Fargo branch in California on Dec. 19, Stapler said. The money that was transferred to the Wells Fargo account was frozen before it could be removed from the account, Stapler said.

When Charles Schwab representatives called Fowler to verify the transfers were legitimate, the call was forwarded to the crooks who impersonated Fowler and authorized the transfers, Stapler said.

Then, police say, Peel withdrew most of the $123,000 in a combination of cash and money orders, with 10 of the money orders made payable to Acquisitions & Consulting Group LLC, another phony business involved in fraudulent account take overs, Stapler said. A Peel confederate made two of the withdrawals, police say.

Jim Wanserski , a fraud expert, said identity thefts like the one plaguing Fowler would continue to rise until corporations adopt the technology improvements to make them more difficult.

“That is not a very sophisticated scheme but it worked,” said Wanserski of Wanserski & Associates. “That is a good example as how easy it can be.”

Crimestoppers of Atlanta is offering a $2,000 reward for information that leads to arrest and indictment of Peel, who Stapler has been unable to locate. Callers can leave confidential tips at 404-577-TIPS (8477), online www.crimestoppersatlanta.org or by texting CRIMES (274637).

alan duke Jul-23-2014 414 0
Ray J Norwood has been charged with four misdemeanors in a case in which he's accused of grabbing a woman's buttocks, smashing a police car window and spitting on a cop.

The Los Angeles County district attorney on Monday filed the charges against the singer stemming from an incident at a Beverly Hills hotel on May 30, a court filing said.

Norwood, 33, is infamous as Kim Kardashian's partner in the sex tape that launched her reality show career.

A police spokesman said Norwood's initial hearing is set for Friday, although he does not have to attend since the charges are misdemeanors. The criminal complaint lists four counts: sexual battery, vandalism, resisting arrest and battery.

Beverly Hills police arrested him at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel on May 30 after a woman complained that he "grabbed her buttocks," a police statement said.

Although the initial police report said it was decided that the "contact was incidental," the complaint alleged that it was sexual battery because Ray J did "unlawfully touch an intimate part" of the woman for the "specific purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification and sexual abuse."

The vandalism, battery and resisting arrest charges filed by the Los Angeles County district attorney stem from what happened after police arrived at the hotel.

Norwood "became belligerent with the valets and refused to leave," despite repeated requests by hotel security, the police statement said.

"After the uniform police officers took Mr. Norwood into custody and placed him in the rear of a police vehicle, he became belligerent and used his feet to shatter the side window of the police vehicle," the police statement said. "Mr. Norwood was subsequently removed from the police vehicle in order to restrain his feet; at which time he became combative and spat into the face of one of the officers."

Kerry Burke Jul-22-2014 360 0
A highly touted Brooklyn principal was yanked from her post Monday, three days after state police caught her trying to smuggle heroin into a maximum-security prison upstate with a 10-year-old in tow, city education officials said.

Public School 28 Principal Sadie Silver, 40, of Bushwick, was arrested Friday with Michael Acosta, 34, after cops caught the educator and her partner carrying heroin and prescription drugs into Coxsackie Correctional Facility.

Silver and Acosta face felony charges of promoting prison contraband and criminal possession of a controlled substance, as well as a misdemeanor charge of endangering the welfare of a child, since they had a 10-year-old with them when they were collared.

State Police Maj. Patrick Regan said Silver and Acosta had arrived for a previously arranged visit with an inmate at the 1,000-inmate prison for men in Greene County, where they intended to pass off the drugs.

“Silver and Acosta were found to possess a quantity of heroin and suboxone, which they were attempting to deliver to the inmate,” Regan said in a statement. “Silver and Acosta brought a 10-year-old child with them while they attempted to deliver the narcotics.”

The two would-be smugglers were both released on bond. They each face possible prison time if convicted of their alleged crimes.

City education officials removed Silver from her job after hearing of her arrest and reassigned her to an administrative center away from students.

“We’ve reassigned her away from her school pending the outcome of her case,” said Education Department spokeswoman Margie Feinberg. Silver will continue to draw her salary of $129,920.

Before her arrest, Silver was known as an up-and-coming school leader who overcame her own troubled childhood to serve the children in the community where she grew up.

In a 2012 Daily News profile, Silver explained that she was a teen mother who dropped out of high school, but rose above those challenges to earn two master’s degrees. She has worked in city schools since 1996.

“It was the teachers that believed in me, that got me to where I am today,” Silver said in the article, which praised gains in reading scores at the school under her leadership.

But that year, Silver was slapped with a $1,500 fine by the city Conflict of Interest Board for using her position to land her brother a data-entry job at her school.

Reached at home in Bushwick Monday, Silver’s mother, Denise Ortiz, 57, was still reeling in shock over her daughter’s arrest.

“I don’t know what happened,” said Ortiz, who wouldn’t reveal the nature of Silver’s relationship with Acosta, or identify the child who was traveling with them when they were pinched. “She went to college and I taught her to do the right thing. Her record speaks for itself.”

A relative who answered the door at Acosta’s home said Acosta is Silver’s boyfriend and the child they brought with them to the jail is Silver’s daughter.

“He’s been trying to stay away from trouble,” the relative said of Acosta.



Jul-22-2014 225 0
Federal investigators found police repeatedly violated civil rights in New Jersey's largest city, Newark, and recommended an independent monitor to oversee changes, the U.S. Justice Department announced on Tuesday.

The city has agreed to accept the findings of the DOJ probe, which has been under way since 2011 and suggested ways to stop the "pattern and practice of unconstitutional policing by the Newark Police Department," U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said in a statement.

Specifically, the report said, police violated rights through stop-and-arrest practices that disproportionately targeted blacks, use of force, stealing property and cracking down on people who lawfully objected to police behavior.

"Today the city of Newark has taken a bold step toward ensuring constitutional policing that better serves all of Newark's residents," Jocelyn Samuels, the DOJ's acting assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division, said in the statement.

"The agreement in principle provides a roadmap for reform and underscores the shared determination of the city of Newark and the Department of Justice to making this reform real and sustainable," she said.

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka has said he would accept the rare but not unprecedented move of appointing a monitor, which had been opposed by his predecessor, Cory Booker, who is now a U.S. senator.

Most recently, a monitor was appointed in Oakland, California, in 2012.

Just eight miles from Manhattan, Newark - once a thriving manufacturing center for leather, celluloid and light bulbs - has worked to overcome its image of urban blight and high crime.

The DOJ investigation uncovered a practice of stopping suspects without sufficient justification in nearly 75 percent of pedestrian cases. It also found police disproportionately targeted blacks, who accounted for 85 percent of pedestrian stops and 79 percent of arrests yet are roughly 54 percent of Newark's population.

Police also violated citizens' First Amendment rights by detaining and arresting people who lawfully objected to police actions or behaved in a way that officers perceived as disrepectful.

Excessive force also was cited in the report. More than 20 percent of Newark police officers reported use of force that appeared unreasonable, authorities said.

Finally, the report found theft of citizens' property by officers was rampant, particularly by officers from narcotics and gang units as well as in the prisoner processing unit.

Under the monitor's watch, the Newark Police Department will "develop and implement improvements to its stop, arrest and force policies and procedures, and train its officers on how to conduct effective and constitutional policing," the U.S. Attorney's office said in the statement.

>>--More Black Legal News

Daryl K. Washington Apr-28-2014 560 0
Sadly but real, it appears as though society feels you can treat a black person poorly by simply offering to give them something of value and everything is forgotten. This mindset has to go away otherwise racism and injustices will remain. Whenever I file a civil rights lawsuit the first question the media asks is how much money the family is asking for? My response is always very clear; the family wants JUSTICE and expects for the individual responsible for the act to be held responsible for his/her criminal acts.

On yesterday, 5-10 multimillionaires played a game of basketball despite being made aware that the owner they are earning millions for hates black people, especially black males. By not playing on yesterday they could have sent a major message out and forced the NBA to react immediately but they gave Donald Sterling and the NBA a way out. Let's face it, the Clippers are no candidate to win the NBA Championship this year so this was/is their opportunity to make a change but instead they are showing America that money and a championship is much more important than fighting blatant racism.

I have to admit that I'm truly disappointed in the Los Angeles Clippers. Professional athletes will stage a sit out when they feel they are not being paid enough money but they will continue to play for a racist owner who admitted to not want black people at the game and use the excuse that we are playing for a championship. Will we continue to turn our heads for money?

Many people criticized the football players at Grambling when they staged a protest last year. If those kids lost their scholarships they could probably not afford to attend college but they took the chance because they wanted to take a stand against what they consider poor playing conditions. They had the courage to do something that the Los Angeles Clippers, a group of multimillionaires, are not willing to do. What message are we sending to the World? You can tell millionaires you hate them but they will still work for you as long as they are being paid. Truly a lost opportunity. All money is not good money.

Daryl K. Washington is an attorney located in Dallas, Texas. His practice includes Sports and Entertainment, Civil Rights, Litigation and Business Transactions. You can reach Daryl at dwashington@dwashlawfirm.com or you can visit his website at www.dwashlawfirm.com. To receive updates, go to the Black Legal Issues page on Facebook and check the like button
Daryl K. Washington Apr-27-2014 613 0
Donald Sterling made comments about Black people that have started a lot of conversation. Many people, including myself, have said that it will place Coach Doc Rivers and the players in an awkward situation but after thinking about it, it will also place White people in an awkward position and here's my opinion why. During the Civil Rights movement there were White people on the front lines and there were many who did not agree with the poor treatment of Black people. They were instrumental in helping with the fight for equal treatment.

Fast forward to today. 95% of the fans at the Clippers games are not Black and the majority are White people. It would be a great show of support if the White fans were as insulted by Donald Sterling's comments as Black people are. The games will go on but wouldn't it be great if the White fans proved to the country that they don't support a racist owner. We know it will not happen but only until everyone voice their dislike of what was said will a true change ever be made.

Donald Sterling's views are shared by so many individuals who will allow our talented Black athletes to attend the large colleges because they earn millions of dollars for the schools but will fight tooth and nails to prevent a young Black kid who may have not scored well on a standardized test from attending.

College athletes are fighting to be paid but I think what should be added to their agenda is the equal treatment of their brothers and sisters who are being denied admission to the same universities they are earning millions of dollars for. The fight should not be for money but for equality. Let’s never allow someone to pay us to keep our views to ourselves. We still have a long way to go. We will never get there unless we ALL come together.

Daryl K. Washington is an attorney located in Dallas, Texas. His practice includes Sports and Entertainment, Civil Rights, Litigation and Business Transactions. You can reach Daryl at dwashington@dwashlawfirm.com or you can visit his website at www.dwashlawfirm.com. To receive updates, go to the Black Legal Issues page on Facebook and check the like button.

Daryl K. Washington Feb-16-2014 835 0
After the Michael Dunn verdict was read many voice their displeasure with the judicial system, rightfully so. However, the killing of our young black men is nothing new. Each time something bad happens we come together as a group for a month or so and then the energy dies down. When the Zimmerman verdict came back there were those who demanded that we stop supporting the state of Florida yet what happened to the follow-up to let us know how effective the efforts were? It reminds me of whenever someone dies. When we run into people we have not seen in years we all make a vow to do better and to make time for each other but after two or three months has past by we are all back to doing the same things.

As a country, we came together after 9/11 but soon thereafter the unity went away. There's so much happening in our communities. I thought the Zimmerman verdict would be our wake up call to do more but our young black men continue to be gunned down at a high rate by Men who don't look anything close to their fathers and most of them get away with it. Just in case you mention the black on black crime, remember that the killer normally ends up in prison.

Just recently, the grand jury failed to indict a North Carolina police officer for the killing of Jonathan Ferrell, a young black male, but after there was a public outcry about the injustice that took place he was eventually indicted. Right here in Dallas, Texas we have black men being killed by white police officers and in a great majority of the cases, the police officers are not indicted and judged by a jury of their peers. Instead, the victim is placed on trial and society has become conditioned to believe that it's okay to kill someone if they have a prior criminal record or considered a menace to society. Well, it's not and it's time that it stops.

We need to be proactive and make sure laws that don't benefit us are changed. I will continue to say this until I can't say this anymore; we have to get out and VOTE during the mid-term elections. We need to make sure the right people are elected and the wrong people are removed from office, irrespective of their race. If the same people are in office (local officials) yet we are having some of the same problems, it's time for change. Vote for someone who wants to make a change. Don't just vote based on race or political affiliation; that's what has gotten us to this point where we are today. We have to be proactive or the next Jordan Davis might be our brother, our son, our nephew, our father or our friend. Let's do it. Get involved or get out of the way!!!!!



Daryl K. Washington is an attorney located in Dallas, Texas. His practice includes Sports and Entertainment, Civil Rights, Litigation and Business Transactions. You can reach Daryl at dwashington@dwashlawfirm.com or you can visit his website at www.dwashlawfirm.com. To receive updates, go to the Black Legal Issues page on Facebook and check the like button.


















Daryl K. Washington Nov-26-2013 1112 0
ARE WE DOING ENOUGH FOR THE BLACK COMMUNITIES?: I just finished talking to a mother who lost her son as a result of a police shooting. Hearing this mother talk about her son and how much he loved the holidays was simply heart wrenching. She went on to tell me that she's pleaded for help from our local politicians, pastors, leaders, etc. but no one wants to take her call, especially if the cameras are not rolling. To worsen matters, many of the leaders have put her son on trial and he's dead.

On last week they staged a protest in Dallas and sadly, 95% of the protestors were white. That made me wonder why do people make it in life and fail to reach back to help others? Why do people hear about injustices yet fail to say anything about it other than to say "that's sad!" During the 60's the leaders were individuals (black and white) who had college degrees, had bright futures ahead of them but they risk it all for us to be in the positions we are in today. The sad thing is that many of us believe it's all about us.

We must do more. We have to do more. We have to demand that our politicians and pastors step up to help us fight this battle. It truly takes a team effort. We must hold all of our community leaders accountable. When they ask for your vote, ask them to list ten things they did for the community in the last four years. Ask them how many times have they've attended a rally to show support to a grieving mother or father. We have serious issues and it takes all of us to stop this mess. I'm tired of seeing people who have never fought against a single injustice accept the Martin Luther King drum major for justice award. It's time for change.

Daryl K. Washington is an attorney located in Dallas, Texas. His practice includes Sports and Entertainment, Civil Rights, Litigation and Business Transactions. You can reach Daryl at dwashington@dwashlawfirm.com or you can visit his website at www.dwashlawfirm.com. To receive updates, go to the Black Legal Issues page on Facebook and check the like button.
Daryl K. Washington Oct-25-2013 1485 0
I have not said much about this situation because I was hoping it would not get to this point. I will keep this very short because I hope the talks of going forward with a lawsuit is short lived.

For the record, I will say that I was not happy that things transpired the way they did but because it did needed attention was given to the inequities in financial support received by HBCU's. I was initially upset because the thought of canceling a college football game is unheard of. However, if what the players said is true, it's not just about football. If there's proper follow-up to what happened at Grambling, it could benefit all HBCU's and perhaps provide an example for college athletes to follow in their attempts to receive a share of the billion dollar revenue received from college sports.

I understand this may not make sense to everyone but Jackson State suing Grambling is like a Black Greek Letter Organization suing Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. because he failed to show up at a fundraiser because an emergency required him to be at a last minute boycott where individuals were seeking equal treatment that would have the potential of benefiting everyone. As much as Grambling has done to benefit the SWAC I'm surprised that Jackson State would consider such drastic means. As a graduate of Grambling State University and a former member of the football team, I feel it's about time that Grambling do what Texas A&M and other schools have done in the past few years; change conferences. There's nothing but upside to it.

Daryl K. Washington is an attorney located in Dallas, Texas. His practice includes Sports and Entertainment, Civil Rights, Litigation and Business Transactions. You can reach Daryl at dwashington@dwashlawfirm.com or you can visit his website at www.dwashlawfirm.com. To receive updates, go to the Black Legal Issues page on Facebook and check the like button.
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