I was going to say "Fifty to 1 he gets away with it" but I don't want the Fairfax County SWAT team to kill me for gambling
Cop caught berating Uber driver in xenophobic rant is NYPD detective, police sources say
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
The angry lawman who was caught on camera belittling an Uber driver during a bias-fueled tirade in the West Village is an NYPD detective assigned to the Joint Terrorism Task Force, police sources confirmed Tuesday.
The NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau is investigating the video, which shows Det. Patrick Cherry lambasting the Uber driver during a traffic stop and mocking his broken English.
“I don't know where you're coming from, where you think you're appropriate in doing that; that's not the way it works. How long have you been in this country?” Cherry, who is white, barked at the driver after pulling him over in an unmarked car with flashing lights, according to video of the encounter.
The roadside rage erupted after the detective tried to park the unmarked car without using his blinker, and the Uber driver went around him and gestured to him to use his signal, according to Sanjay Seth, a passenger in the Uber car who posted the video clip.
The car Cherry drives in the video does not belong to the NYPD, according to a police source.
The angry cop yelling at an Uber driver and mocking him, is NYPD Detective Patrick Cherry, police sources said.
Moments before slamming the car door and storming away, the hot-headed Cherry, who is based out of Federal Plaza in Manhattan, shouted at the driver: “I don't know what f---ing planet you're on right now!”
The detective repeatedly mocked the mild-mannered driver's accent and pronunciation of English words, cursing at him. The driver responded calmly, saying “okay” during one point in Cherry's tirade, the video shows. The driver's ethnicity was not immediately clear.
The driver filed a complaint with police, which prompted the NYPD to assign the case to the Internal Affairs Bureau.
“IAB will look at the circumstances and determine if a duty status change is required," a high-ranking police source said, referring to the process that will be followed to determine if Cherry should be punished.
The incident will be handed over to the Civilian Complaint Review Board, cop sources said, because it was determined that Cherry committed no other wrongdoing besides being discourteous, the sources said.
Seth wrote on the video's YouTube page that the incident happened in the West Village.
Cherry was on his way to work after visiting Detective Harry Hill at NYU Langone Medical Center when the interaction occurred, a police source said. Hill is in critical condition after going into cardiac arrest during a procedure on his elbow on Thursday, the source said.
Michael Palladino, president of the Detectives Endowment Association, said Hill's medical condition has led emotions to run high on the Joint Terrorism Task Force, a unit that combines NYPD and federal anti-terror investigators.
"The past five days have been emotionally draining for the members of the JTTF dealing with their fellow detective's health," Palladino said. "Despite what some people think, cops have feelings, too."
An Uber spokesman, Matt Wing, confirmed the driver filed a complaint, but said he was not issued a ticket. Wing declined to name the driver.
Two passengers in the backseat assured the Uber driver that he did nothing wrong, and said the detective who pulled him over was on a "power trip."
According to the video, during the brief moments when Cherry backed off his harangue, Seth and a fellow passenger assured the driver he did nothing wrong.
"It's not your fault; this guy's just a d--k," one of passengers says on the video, adding that the detective was on a "power trip."
The shell-shocked driver kept offering apologies, but Cherry did not stop browbeating him.
"You don't let me f---ing finish! Stop interrupting me!" Cherry tells him.
At the end of the three-minute tirade, the man tells the driver the only reason he's not getting arrested is because he's "not important enough."
Seth posted the video to his Facebook page Monday afternoon, identifying the driver as "Humayun" and titling the clip, "Police Abuse of Uber Driver in New York City."
"Our Uber driver, Humayun, was abused by a police officer today in New York," Seth wrote. "The unending rage, door slamming, throwing items into the car, threatening arrest without cause was bad enough — but the officer's remarks at the end really took it to another level."
Teen who received controversial heart transplant dead after carjacking, chase
by Tribune Media Wire
ATLANTA — The story of Anthony Stokes was supposed to have a happy ending. Instead it ended Tuesday, police say, with the teen heart transplant recipient carjacking someone, burglarizing a home, shooting at an elderly woman, leading police on a high speed chase and then dying after his car hit a pole.
In 2013, the teen’s family told media that an Atlanta hospital rejected him for heart transplant surgery due to what the hospital described in a letter as Stokes’ “history of non-compliance.”
At the time, Mark Bell was acting as a Stokes family spokesman.
Bell told CNN that a doctor told the family that Anthony’s low grades and time in juvenile detention factored into the hospital’s decision to deny him a heart.
“The doctor made the decision that he wasn’t a good candidate because of that,” Bell said then. “I guess he didn’t think Anthony was going to be a productive citizen.”
About a week after Stokes’ story made headlines, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta gave him a heart.
On Tuesday, Stokes carjacked someone at a mall, kicked in the door of a home in Roswell, Georgia, and fired a shot at an elderly woman, who called 911, said Roswell police spokeswoman Lisa Holland.
Stokes drove away in a black SUV, she said. Police spotted the car and ran its plates which showed it had been stolen.
Police chased the vehicle.
Stokes lost control of the car, hit a pedestrian and then a pole, Holland said. The vehicle was nearly halved, she said.
The pedestrian is stable and in good condition, according to CNN affiliate WSB.
Stokes died at a hospital, Holland said.
In 2013, Stokes’ family provided media with a letter they said was from Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
“Anthony is currently not a transplant candidate due to having a history of noncompliance, which is one of our center’s contraindications to listing for heart transplant,” it read.
Assessing compliance for potential transplant recipients is important because if a patient doesn’t strictly take all required medicines as directed, he or she could die within weeks of leaving the hospital, said Dr. Ryan Davies, a cardiothoracic surgeon at the Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Delaware, told CNN.
Davies was not involved with this case.
When Stokes’ family was trying to get him a heart, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference advocated for the teen.
SCLC’s the Rev. Samuel Mosteller told CNN that he was disappointed. “We got this young man a second chance in life,” he said.
SCLC referred the teenager to a mentor program in the Atlanta area, but Mosteller said that he wasn’t sure if the teenager participated. “What happened between the time in 2013 to now, I don’t really know,” he said. “How much Anthony recognized the gravity of things and did what he needed to do to make himself a viable citizen, I don’t know. But we tried.”
Oceana Study Uncovers Massive Crab Cake Fraud in D.C. Area
Posted by Jessica Sidman on Apr. 1, 2015 at 8:19 am
Three years ago, I did a little experiment to find out how often restaurants that advertise "Maryland crab cakes" on their menus really serve Maryland crab. AtP.J. Clarke's, I asked a server about the origin of its "Maryland crab cake," and he assured me it was "all local." But when I later asked the then-chef the same question, he told me the bulk of the seafood actually came from Indonesia and the restaurant sometimes gets “a few pounds” of Maryland crab and blends it in.
Busboys and Poets likewise advertised "Maryland crab cakes" at the time. "It says it’s from Maryland, but it’s from China,” the server told me when I inquired about its origin. The restaurant's Director of Operations, however, later countered that it actually came from Venezuela.
Needless to say, it's hard to know where your crab is really coming from, no matter how it's labeled.
Oceana has only confirmed this with a new study released today that found 38 percent of Chesapeake Bay crab cakes tested in this region were mislabeled. The ocean conservation and advocacy organization was inspired by my story on "Maryland Crab Fakes" and decided to repeat the investigation on a much larger scale with the help of actual DNA testing. "You did a whole mislabeling story without submitting one test and I thought, 'That's brilliant,'" says Oceana senior scientist Kimberly Warner, the report's author.
The organization visited 86 restaurants throughout the D.C. and Maryland in 2014 and gathered samples of 90 crab cakes advertised as using "blue crab" or "Maryland crab." Oceana selected restaurants based on their online menus, but if the actual restaurant menu only listed "crab cake," the investigators would ask servers to confirm whether it was blue crab or not.
They then sent the specimens to a lab that used DNA testing to determine the crab species. Nearly four out of 10 crab cakes contained crab imported from elsewhere, including Indo-Pacific waters and the Mexican Pacific coast. Much of this imported crab is fished unsustainably or even illegally. Oceana did not include crab cakes labeled as "Maryland-style" in the study, although those can be just as misleading.
The mislabeling could be even more widespread than that. The DNA tests were unable to determine if the crabs were local, only that they were blue crabs, which are the type of crabs found locally. "These fraud rates are conservative because the DNA tests didn't say where that blue crab was from. It could have been from Venezuela or Canada or wherever else the blue crab roams," Warner says.
Oceana does not release the names of the restaurants involved in the study because they don't know where in the supply chain the mislabeling occurred. It might not necessarily be the restaurant's fault; one of the distributors or even the fishermen could be responsible. "Without greater transparency in the food chain, we can't tell where mislabeling occurs," Warner says.
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has tried to increase transparency around the marketing of crab cakes with the 2012 launch of True Blue, a voluntary program to promote restaurants and retailers that use real Maryland crab. To qualify as True Blue, restaurants must use a minimum of 75 percent Maryland crab meat in their annual purchases. (Local crab is only available 75 percent of the year.) The restaurants can then use a True Blue logo on their menus and marketing materials. The state fisheries service randomly checks invoices at least two times a year to make sure participating restaurants have purchased Maryland crab meat recently.
Today, around 200 restaurants have signed on to True Blue. But Warner says even some participants in the program were found guilty of mislabeling. Although she's not disclosing restaurant names to the public, she has disclosed them to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
"It's along the lines of someone having grouper on the menu and giving you catfish," says Maryland's Fisheries Marketing Director Steve Vilnit. "It's a completely different species of animal. It's not the same thing at all."
Vilnit says he's auditing all of the purchases for those True Blue restaurants that mislabeled during the period of Oceana's study. (He wouldn't say how many there were.) "Anybody that is in our group that did not pass is going to be on a high-watch list for the next year," Vilnit says. "Unfortunately, the True Blue program isn't a perfect program as I am a staff of one."
Vilnit says he's looking into the possibility of Maryland implementing its own DNA testing system some day. In the meantime, he says focusing on getting consumers to True Blue restaurants rather than signing on more restaurants, especially given the limit of local crabs. "If I'm a chef and I'm putting a more expensive crab meat on the menu because I'm trying to do the right thing, and nobody buys it, it doesn't do anybody any good."
By Justin Glawe
It took the curiosity of a skinny, fidgeting 27-year-old to force the Chicago Police Department to admit they purchased controversial surveillance technology. The department, legally boxed into a corner over its use of a device known as the StingRay, finally admitted to acquiring the cell-phone tracking product last summer, six years after actually buying the thing. The watchdog work came not from a newspaper or any other media outlet in the city, but Freddy Martinez, an information technology worker who oversees websites for a private company from a downtown office building.
Martinez is now in the midst of his second lawsuit against the Chicago police over their refusal to disclose how they actually use the StingRay. These types of devices can capture, track, and monitor cell phone data, even without judicial oversight. Over a burger and whiskey-ginger at a bar in Chicago's Loop district, Martinez described the relatively benign circumstances that led him to become a plaintiff against the Chicago police, in the process costing city taxpayers a bit more than $120,000 in fees to defend the law enforcement agency.
"I was interested in it from a technological standpoint," he said of the device. Martinez, who fiddled with his phone throughout our conversation and expressed a preference for a new job that requires little human interaction, filed a Freedom of Information Act request in June of last year asking Chicago police to hand over records regarding the device—if they even existed.
"They basically ignored it," Martinez told me.
StingRays can pick up text messages about where to meet for dinner as easily as they can the location of the next major drug buy.
The StingRay and its sister device, the KingFish, are products of the Harris Corporation, which did not respond to a request for comment for this story. The devices mimic cell towers, allowing police to listen in on and read communications from suspects' phones. But the high-tech surveillance toys are capable of much more than honing in on one or two bad guys police want to catch talking about criminal activity—they can also pick up all cell communications within a certain radius.
So this gives them the power to launch an NSA-style surveillance program on a micro level. And while the NSA's clandestine surveillance of communications were initiated with the intention of preventing crimes and acts of terrorism, privacy activists have raised red flags that the nationwide surveillance program is monitoring good, law abiding Americans like you and me. The same goes for police use of StingRays, which can pick up text messages about where to meet for dinner as easily as they can the location of the next major drug buy.
Martinez, a Chicago native, was miffed when Chicago police ignored his FOIA request. With the help of an attorney friend, he eventually sued. After repeatedly denying that they'd even purchased the devices, Martinez's lawsuit forced the cops to own up. In a trove of documents released as part of a settlement for that lawsuit, police confirmed they'd purchased a StingRay upgrade in 2008 at a cost of $65,000. Martinez estimates the department has spent more than $300,000 total on the technology, according to documents in his possession, which includes upgrades (from 2G to 4G, for instance), training, and maintenance.
Martinez told me that funding, unlike the $120,000 in tax dollars to defend against his lawsuit, may come from a somewhat more nefarious source: drug dealers.
He believes police purchased StingRays with so-called "1505" funds, money seized in raids on drug dealers and organized crime syndicates. This, Martinez and other privacy advocates contend, is a way for police to essentially launder the money used to purchase devices that many claim regularly violate the constitutional rights of people who aren't even suspects in a crime.
"There was no City Council approval for this," he said about the department's purchase of the devices, suggesting there is no line in the city budget for that year letting public officials and citizens in on what became a four-year secret. In fact, many of the council members may not even have known that the technology was being used until news of Martinez's settlement with the department broke. But that was just the beginning.
Police and prosecutors have at times purposefully avoided mentioning the device to judges, who provide crucial oversight in the investigation of crimes.
Martinez's second, active lawsuit is intended to make Chicago police explain the process by which they secure approval for use of the devices. Traditionally, seizure of cell data phone data—used to track a drug dealer or a murder suspect, for instance—has to go through an approval process. First, police have to convince prosecutors that they have enough evidence to go after someone for a crime. Those prosecutors must then convince a judge of the same, and finally, that judge must approve a subpoena requiring cell companies to hand over data, or a search warrant allowing police to seize electronic devices and process them for evidence. Often, that entire process is side-stepped when police have access to StingRays. In fact, according to the ACLU, police and prosecutors have at times purposefully avoided mentioning the device to judges, who provide crucial oversight in the investigation of crimes.
"We have due process for a reason," Martinez said.
In addition to privacy and constitutional concerns—and there are many; just ask Cyrus Farivar over at ArsTechnica, who has been tracking the use of StingRays for some time—there is a glaring contradiction between how Chicago police have addressed the devices, and how they're used in real life.
"They claim this is military-grade technology," Martinez said of police. "Yet they don't have records of use? That seems strange to me."
Martinez's second lawsuit calls for police to provide these allegedly non-existent records, which, of course, he doesn't think is likely. The Chicago Police Department, recalling their initial denial that StingRays had even been purchased, has claimed there are no records for their use—when they've been checked out to different officers or units, or how they've been used to investigate crimes. StingRays didn't officially exist in the department's arsenal until last summer, and now the law enforcement agency claims it doesn't even internally track usage of the devices.
A request for comment from the Chicago Police Department went without response, but considering the ongoing nature of the litigation, that's not at all surprising. Regardless, thanks to the work of Martinez and others, we know the department's use of spying technology goes back as far as the protests surrounding a 2012 NATO summit in the city. And StingRays may have been used more recently, as the Black Lives Matter movement took hold in Chicago.
The Chicago Police Department paid a total of $321,800 for the StingRay technology.
Law enforcement agencies across the country have slowly begun opening up about their use of StingRays and similar devices. Often, that transparency has come only as a result of court cases. In other instances, reporters and media outlets have fought to make police use of the devices public. The Harris Corporation has tried to keep their profitable technology out of the news by having law enforcement agencies sign non-disclosure agreements (not that the cops have been particularly open anyway). The company even went as far as asking the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to block the release of a user manual for the StingRay and KingFish devices, saying the document contained "'trade secrets' and information about 'law enforcement techniques.'"
Chicago police, specifically the three top-ranking members of the department's Bureau of Organized Crime, agreed to their own non-disclosure agreement with the Harris Corporation. In a letter dated January 17, 2012, from Sgt. James Washburn to his superiors, Cmdr. Joseph Gorman and Chief Nicholas J. Roti, the sergeant laid out how a new version of the Harris Corporation's cell-tracking technology would be made available to the department.
"Upon execution of the attached non-disclosure agreement, Harris Corporation will issue a trial edition of the new platform for our use and testing," Washburn wrote before laying out the eventual price tag. "The cost of this new platform, if the testing goes as planned, is approximately $21,000."
While it's unclear if that purchase was ever made, other buys are contained in the documents obtained through Martinez's lawsuit. They include the purchase of a StingRay upgrade in 2009 for which the department was billed $65,000. A "software package" came at a cost of $22,000, according to the documents. Various other purchases were included on that invoice for a total of $164,500. Another invoice shows the department paid $157,300 for a KingFish device and accompanying software and hardware, bringing the total paid for the technology to $321,800.
Washburn, the Bureau of Organized Crime sergeant who processed invoices and purchase orders between the Florida-based Harris Corporation and the Chicago Police Department, didn't respond to a request for comment. The non-disclosure agreement between police and Harris was crafted by the FBI, Martinez's documents show. And some of the $120,000 charged to taxpayers to defend against the IT worker's first lawsuit comes from consultations between lawyers representing the Chicago Police Department and administrators with the FBI and the Department of Justice. Taxpayers were essentially billed so one government agency could speak with another, according to documents obtained by Martinez.
For Martinez, simple questions started this whole ordeal. Did Chicago police purchase these devices? Apparently so. Do they have records of usage of the self-proclaimed "military-grade" technology? They do not, police have claimed. Not a single member of the department has come forward to explain how the technology is employed to fight crime—with one exception.
"Investigations of kidnappings, murders, and other serious crimes" require use of the devices, the Chicago Sun-Times reported earlier this month.
The officials responsible for explaining why law enforcement needs the StingRay and KingFish in its arsenal of crime-fighting tools?