Calif. police change body camera placement following OIS

By Theresa Clift The Sacramento Bee

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Sacramento police officers are wearing their body cameras in a different location to minimize accidental shut-offs when officers use their rifles, a police spokesman said Monday.

The change was implemented after police learned that the body cameras of multiple officers were turned off when officers fatally shot 19-year-old Darell Richards in September — including the camera of one of the SWAT officers who fired shots, said Vance Chandler, Sacramento police spokesman.

“(They’re) putting them now in a place where the stock of their weapon is less likely to hit the button to turn them off,” Chandler said.

The change applies to the department’s roughly 15 SWAT officers, as well as all patrol officers who carry rifles, Chandler said.

The department is looking for a long-term solutions to the problem, Chandler said.

Richards’ family has filed a claim against the city — a precursor to a federal civil rights lawsuit, said John Burris, the family’s lawyer.

Burris, who has litigated several police shooting cases, said he has not heard of officers’ weapons turning off body cameras.

“There should not be a situation where typically the best evidence in a case is neutralized because of the video camera’s contact with the weapon,” Burris said. “It should never happen.”

During a news conference Monday, Richards’ family and Black Lives Matter activists criticized the department for the cameras being turned off. They also demanded the police department release the names of the officers involved, demanded the city fire the officers involved, and demanded the District Attorney’s Office charge the officers. Richards had mental health issues, family members said.

“They had a chance to use other options, for them to arrest him, bring him in alive instead of them just shooting him down the way they did,” said Kathie Richards, Darell’s grandmother. “I still don’t understand why the SWAT team was brought in to the situation.”

The two officers who fired shots were placed on paid administrative leave, in accordance with the department’s policy for police-involved shootings, Chandler said. Both officers are now back on the job.

The department does not plan to release the officers’ names because the department has received threats against them, but the department will continue to consider it, Chandler said.

The incident began at around 11:30 p.m. Sept. 5 when a 911 caller said a man wearing a face mask was pointing a gun at people while walking up Broadway. Patrol officers found the man near 20th Street and Broadway, and he fled to Curtis Park. Police blocked off streets, used K-9 officers and a California Highway Patrol airplane crew to find him. SWAT officers found Richards hours later crouching under a stairwell in the backyard of a Curtis Park home.

Police say Richards pointed the gun at officers, causing police to fatally shot him. Afterward, police recovered Richards’ gun, which looked like a 9mm handgun but was actually a pellet gun. They also recovered a knife.

Police later released video of the incident, which showed Richards had a gun, but did not show where he pointed it.

The police investigation in to the incident is ongoing, Chandler said. The investigation includes determining whether the officers acted according to policy.

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Fla. deputy pulls over 'Fred Flintstone' for speeding

By Joe Mario Pedersen Orlando Sentinel

PASCO COUNTY, Fla. — When it comes to speeding in Pasco County, yabba dabba don’t do it.

That’s the message the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office delivered to residents recently after pulling over and issuing a citation for speeding to Don Swartz of Wesley Chapel, who was dressed as Fred Flintstone and driving the iconic footmobile, the office revealed in a Facebook post.

The citation was a joke reminding people to drive slower on Pasco County roadways.

Swartz decorated his Smart car to match the cartoon family’s main form of transportation. Pasco deputies “pulled over Mr. Flintstone” on Nov. 4 in the Meadow Bedrock Pointe Subdivision in Wesley Chapel, the post stated.

Pasco’s efforts to reach out to the public didn’t fall on deaf ears, as the Stone Age post received more than 2,000 reactions and was shared nearly 800 times.

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On Sunday, November 4, Deputy H. Echevarria pulled over a Mr. Fred Flinstone (AKA Don Swartz) for speeding in the Meadow…

Posted by Pasco Sheriff’s Office on Sunday, November 4, 2018

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'F— that dog': Detroit man selling T-shirts supporting suspect who killed K-9

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By Matt Durr MLive.com

DETROIT — Branden Turner says he wants to start a conversation about the value of human life, compared to that of a police dog, in response to the death of 29-year-old Theoddeus Gray of Detroit.

At least that’s the explanation behind Turner releasing T-shirts that say “F*** that dog Justice for Theo Gray,” according to WXYZ Detroit.

Gray was shot and killed by St. Clair Shores Police last week after he allegedly opened fire on a 4-year-old K-9 dog named Axe, who was tracking Gray after police responded to the area on a call of a man with a gun. Both Gray and Axe died in the shooting.

Turner says he doesn’t condone violence of any kind and that there needs to be a conversation about why Gray’s life wasn’t valued more than Axe’s.

“The importance was placed on the life of a K9 officer or a dog, who does not share the same rights as a human being in this country,” Turner said.

Turner launched the shirts under his company name Brand Visions. The Facebook post announcing the sale of the shirt has been met with comments of support and criticism, along with several racist statements and even threats, according to Turner.

Pictures of Turner wearing the shirt at the St. Clair Police Department accompanied the post.

The Macomb County Sheriff’s Office is continuing an investigation into the shooting involving Gray and Axe. A memorial service for Axe is planned for Wednesday, Nov. 14 at the Greek Assumption Church in St. Clair Shores starting at 1 p.m.

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Inmates pen letter of support for slain Ga. officer

By Chelsea Prince The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — Three weeks after the death of a Gwinnett County police officer, authorities shared their appreciation for the support of an unlikely segment of the community: inmates in the county jail.

The office of Gwinnett County Sheriff Butch Conway shared a letter from a group of 20 inmates to the agency’s Facebook page on Saturday. In the letter, the inmates convey their sadness at the loss of Officer Antwan Toney, who was killed Oct. 20 while responding to a call about a suspicious vehicle near Shiloh Middle School.

Toney celebrated his 30th birthday six days before his death.

His alleged killer, 18-year-old Tafahree Maynard, was the subject of an extensive two-day manhunt before he was found hiding in a shed, armed with a lawnmower blade. He was shot and killed after refusing to surrender, authorities said.

The inmates, who identified themselves as “a group of Christian men who wish to express heartfelt condolences to Officer Toney’s family and all Gwinnett County staff,” said they wrote to the sheriff in a spirit of gratitude and respect.

“This was a tragic incident that never should have occurred,” they said. “And though law enforcement and criminals may be considered opposites, the intrinsic value of a human life transcends those boundaries by far. Right is right and wrong is wrong. No matter the color uniform.”

They went on to thank all police officers, military personnel and first responders.

“Your service and sacrifice make the world a better place for all,” the group said.

Conway’s office said in the weeks since Toney’s death, they have seen an outpouring of support in the Gwinnett County community. Especially on the day of the officer’s funeral, when hundreds of mourners lined the streets to witness his procession through Lawrenceville, the agency said “these meaningful acts humbled every law enforcement officer who witnessed them.”

“We’re deeply appreciative of this act of kindness from these men,” the sheriff’s office said of the letter. “We think that Officer Toney would also be appreciative of their actions and we hope you are, too.”

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Time for a change: The push to classify 911 operators as first responders

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First published in The Hill

By Rep. Norma J. Torres (D–Calif.) and Jessica Rosenworcel The Hill

The men and women who answer 9-1-1 calls are consummate professionals. When the unthinkable occurs, they are the first contact many of us have with first responders. Before a blue and red light flashes, a siren blares, or an ambulance races, they are the individuals organizing emergency response. However, Washington does not treat 9-1-1 operators with the respect they deserve because the Office of Management and Budget classifies them as clerical workers. This is wrong — and it’s time to correct it.

Fifty years ago, the first 9-1-1 call was made in Haleyville, Ala. From there, 9-1-1 service took off across …

Read the fully story here.

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