Posts tagged NYPD
Posts tagged NYPD
Side Note: What?!
The New York Police Department opened its Israeli branch in the Sharon District Police headquarters in Kfar Saba. Charlie Ben-Naim, a former Israeli and veteran NYPD detective, was sent on this mission.
You don’t have to fly to New York to meet members of the police department considered to be the best in the world — all you have to do is make the short trip to the Kfar Saba police station in the Sharon, where the NYPD opened a local branch.
Behind the opening of the branch in the Holy Land is the NYPD decision that the Israeli police is one of the major police forces with which it must maintain close work relations and daily contact.
Ben-Naim was chosen for the mission of opening the NYPD branch in Israel. He is a veteran detective of the NYPD and a former Israeli who went to study in New York, married a local city resident and then joined the local police force. Among the things he has dealt with in the line of duty are the extradition of criminals, the transmitting of intelligence information and assistance in the location of missing persons, both in the United States and in Israel.
It was decided, in coordination with the Israeli police, that the New York representative would not operate out of the United States embassy but from a building of the Sharon District Police headquarters, situated close to the Kfar Sava station. The NYPD sign was even hung at the entrance to the district headquarters, and Ben-Naim’s office is situated on the first floor of the building. One of the walls bears the sign: “New York Police Department, the best police department in the world.”
New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly says the city developed the software with Microsoft.
Kelly says the program combines city-wide video surveillance with law enforcement databases.
He says it will be officially unveiled by New York’s mayor as soon as next week.
Kelly spoke Saturday before an audience at the Aspen Security Forum.
The NYPD has been under fire for surveillance of Muslim communities and partnering with the CIA to track potential terror suspects. Muslim groups have sued to shut down the NYPD programs.
Kelly defended the policies as key to thwarting 14 terror plots against the city since the attacks of Sept. 11th.
Investigators from the NYPD’s major case squad went to the Springfield Gardens home of veteran cop Ondre Johnson after they were tipped off that a man was being held for $75,000 ransom, the sources said.
An NYPD detective was suspended without pay after cops found a bound man being held for ransom in the garage of the officer’s Queens home, law enforcement sources said Saturday.
Veteran cop Ondre Johnson, 45, was taken into custody outside his Springfield Gardens home at about 3 p.m. Friday after the major case squad was tipped off about the kidnapped man and the demand for $75,000 ransom, the sources said.
According to police, the 25-year-old victim was kidnapped in front of his Cambria Heights home early Friday morning. Cops said that Jason Hutson pulled a gun and told the victim, “Don’t try anything funny or I’ll shoot you.”
Another accomplice then put a T-shirt over the victim’s head, tossed him into an SUV and took him to the garage behind the NYPD officer’s house, where they bound his hands with zip ties and his feet with rope.
One of the kidnappers then called one of the victim’s relatives, demanding $75,000 — but the relative recognized the kidnapper’s voice, cops said.
Once on the scene, cops found the victim bound — and went inside and found Hutson with zip ties on him, police said.
Investigators also found two safes containing materials to make bogus credit cards, sources said.
Johnson, a 17-year veteran who worked for the Brooklyn North Gang Unit, was taken into custody after he identified himself as an officer, sources said.
Johnson said he shares the two-family home with his cousin, Hakeem Clark, 30, but knew nothing about the wild ordeal unfolding at the house, sources said.
He said his cousin lives in a separate apartment inside the home, and that he has no access to where the safes were found or where the kidnapping victim was being held, sources said.
Johnson avoided charges, but was stripped of his badge and gun as cops continue to probe the incident.
“He’s still not completely off the hook,” a source said. “Something is not right here. They’re going to try to find out what he was doing there and how he knows these guys.”
Four men — including Clark — were cuffed inside the house and taken into custody, sources said.
Clark and two others — James Gayle, 27, and Hutson, 27 — were later charged with kidnapping, attempting to collect ransom and criminal possession of a weapon, authorities said.
Alfredo Haughton, 24, was charged with kidnapping.
Clark and Gayle also faced charges for the paraphernalia used in credit card fraud, sources said.
Clark and Hutson were arraigned Saturday and held without bail. The other two were awaiting arraignment.
“We deny any involvement,” said Hutson’s lawyer, Lester Seidman.
The four men charged are no strangers to breaking the law, with prior records that include weapons charges and drug arrests. Hutson served more than seven years in prison for robbery before he was released last April.
The victim claimed that he didn’t know the suspected kidnappers or why they targeted him.
Additional Occupy Wall Street demonstrators are coming forward to allege they were targeted by police officers executing old bench warrants for minor violations in order to collect intelligence about the May Day protests this week.
Executing old warrants — no matter how minor — is legal. But legal experts say the tactic becomes illegal if it is done solely to investigate political activity.
The half-dozen or so stories fit a pattern: each individual was approached and questioned by officers who said they were picking up people on arrest warrants for low-level, non-criminal violations, such as public urination, walking around with an open container of alcohol or biking on a sidewalk. These warrants can stay open for years.
Court officials say there are more than 1 million bench warrants currently open for these types of violations in New York City. But this week, squads of police officers decided to act on a few of them.
Swarmed and Plucked From the Street
Officers visited up to six homes the day before the May 1 protests, but Shawn Carrié found himself getting questioned the evening of the protest. He was coordinating all internal communications for the Occupy movement on May Day. At about 9 p.m., he was walking near Wall Street, heading home.
“And somebody comes up to me and says, ‘Shawn?’ And just grabs my arm and nine dudes surround me,” said Carrié.
He said nine plain clothes officers wearing NYPD jackets asked if he had anything sharp in his pockets. He shook his head no. He said they started pulling possessions out of his clothes, including his cell phone, his wallet and keys.
Within seconds, he said, they bound his hands with zip ties, but didn’t explain why. Then the officers placed him in a red van waiting nearby that was marked with an NYPD sticker, he said.
When he arrived at Police Headquarters in Lower Manhattan, Carrié said there were several other people waiting to be processed, but he skipped ahead of them. He said he police quickly led him to a room filled with boxes of files where he was alone, except for one officer staring at him from a table.
“And he said, ‘Go ahead, sit down,’” said Carrié. “He asked me, ‘Do you know why you’re here?’” said Carrié. “And he said, ‘Tell me about what you were doing today.’”
Carrié said he didn’t say anything. The NYPD declined to comment, and would not verify Carrie’s account of events.
He noticed the officer’s badge number. WNYC traced that number to a detective within the NYPD’s Intelligence Division. A sergeant who signed the property voucher form issued to Carrié for his confiscated property identified himself on the document as another member of the Intelligence Division.
Carrié said he spent the next 13 hours in jail.
He said he was placed alone in a cell. It’s unclear why he was isolated from the holding pen where several individuals typically wait together to see a judge.
He found out at court the next day that he had been arrested because of two open warrants from 2007 for violations related to a public urination incident.
When his lawyer read the warrants, it turned out they belonged to a different Shawn Carrié, who had a different birth date and a different address. But now this Shawn Carrié — a name he said is not his given name and one he only uses for marches — has to go to trial next month to fight what he says are false charges.
“Scared to Freely Communicate”
Carrié said, regardless of the infraction, the alleged practice of using old warrants as a pretext for questioning people about their political activity can chill speech.
“It’s making people scared to freely communicate, and making them feel like they’re watched. ‘Even if you’re not doing anything wrong, we’re watching,’” he said.
That’s the title of a new paper in the Stanford Law Review by Columbia Law School’s Matthew Waxman (link is to SSRN). One highly topical example of national security federalism is raised by the controversy over NYPD surveillance of various Muslim groups. It is easy to view this issue in familiar terms of substantive balances or tradeoffs of security versus privacy or other Constitutional values – and seen in those terms, the natural solutions seem to lie in tightening and enforcing substantive restrictions and guidelines that govern police intelligence activities and investigations. Waxman’s new article is important for focusing instead on the broader structural and institutional issues – the federalism issues – at stake here, too: What role should local police agencies play in terrorism prevention, and how should their cooperation be organized horizontally (among local police agencies) and vertically (between the federal and local governments)? How much discretion should state and local governments have in performing counterterrorism intelligence functions, and what are the dangers and opportunities in localized variation and tailoring? (Below the fold, the abstract from SSRN.)
National security law scholarship tends to focus on the balancing of security and liberty, and the overwhelming bulk of that scholarship is about such balancing on the horizontal axis among branches at the federal level. This Article challenges that standard focus by supplementing it with an account of the vertical axis and the emergent, post-9/11 role of state and local government in American national security law and policy. It argues for a federalism frame that emphasizes vertical intergovernmental arrangements for promoting and mediating a dense array of policy values over the long term. This federalism frame helps in understanding the cooperation and tension between the federal and local governments with respect to counterterrorism and national security intelligence, and also yields insights to guide reform of those relationships. The Article emphasizes two important values that have been neglected in the sparse scholarship on local government and national security functions: (1) accountability and the ways vertical intergovernmental arrangements enhance or degrade it, and (2) efficiency and the ways those arrangements promote public policy effectiveness. This Article reveals the important policy benefits of our shared federal-local national security system, and it suggests ways to better capture these benefits, especially if terrorism threats evolve to include a greater domestic component.
Side note: Also see Michigan State Police Extracting Your Cell Phone Data During Traffic Stops (From 2011)
WASHINGTON — Law enforcement tracking of cellphones, once the province mainly of federal agents, has become a powerful and widely used surveillance tool for local police officials, with hundreds of departments, large and small, often using it aggressively with little or no court oversight, documents show.
The practice has become big business for cellphone companies, too, with a handful of carriers marketing a catalog of “surveillance fees” to police departments to determine a suspect’s location, trace phone calls and texts or provide other services. Some departments log dozens of traces a month for both emergencies and routine investigations.
With cellphones ubiquitous, the police call phone tracing a valuable weapon in emergencies like child abductions and suicide calls and investigations in drug cases and murders. One police training manual describes cellphones as “the virtual biographer of our daily activities,” providing a hunting ground for learning contacts and travels.
But civil liberties advocates say the wider use of cell tracking raises legal and constitutional questions, particularly when the police act without judicial orders. While many departments require warrants to use phone tracking in nonemergencies, others claim broad discretion to get the records on their own, according to 5,500 pages of internal records obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union from 205 police departments nationwide.
The internal documents, which were provided to The New York Times, open a window into a cloak-and-dagger practice that police officials are wary about discussing publicly. While cell tracking by local police departments has received some limited public attention in the last few years, the A.C.L.U. documents show that the practice is in much wider use — with far looser safeguards — than officials have previously acknowledged.