Wednesday, October 19, 2016

NYPD sergeant shot and killed a 66-year-old woman wielding a bat in the Bronx

The following excerpts are taken from the NY Daily News "Deranged woman, 66, shot dead after attacking cop with baseball bat in Bronx" (Oct 19, 2016)

>> An NYPD sergeant shot and killed a 66-year-old woman wielding a bat in the Bronx on Tuesday, and now cops say they’re looking into why the officer used lethal force instead of his stun gun.

Police were responding to a neighbor’s complaint about Deborah Danner behaving “in an irrational manner” in her Pugsley Ave. building near Seward Ave. in Castle Hill around 6:06 p.m., the NYPD said.

[...] Politicians, including Public Advocate Letitia James and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., called the shooting unacceptable.

“This elderly woman was known to the police department, yet the officer involved in this shooting failed to use discretion to either talk her down from her episode or, barring that, to use his stun gun,” Diaz said.

Diaz compared the shooting to the 1984 police killing of Eleanor Bumpurs, a disturbed 66-year-old woman shot while brandishing a knife at officers, and asked state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to open a probe.

[...] "America has to say enough is enough," said Hawk Newsome, president of Black Lives Matter New York. "These police officers need to start using their brains and stop using their guns. People are dying and more other than not it's black people. Black blood is running through the streets and we are receiving no justice."

[...] Raphelle Gundy, who lives on the second floor, said police took her out of the apartment several times, once in a straight jacket. She noted a dramatic decline in the woman after her mother died several years ago.

“She was hollering, screaming and spitting, and you would have thought this lady was possessed, but I knew she was mentally unbalanced,” she said. “I saw the change in her after her mother died. She used to speak to people when her mother was still alive.”

[...] Ed Mullins, president of the NYPD Sergeants Benevolent Association, said the shooting was justified and criticized the NYPD for placing Barry on modified duty, calling the move “political.”

[...] “Everyone agrees that this is a good shooting,” he [Mullins] said. “Everyone up at the scene, in the precinct, and when I say everyone, I’m going up the food chain as far as the brass goes.”  <<

Thursday, October 13, 2016

U.S. Ship Fires Missiles at Yemeni Rebel Sites

The following excerpts are taken from the NY Times article "U.S. Ship Fires Missiles at Yemeni Rebel Sites" (Oct 12, 2016)

>> WASHINGTON — An American warship stationed off the coast of Yemen fired cruise missiles on Thursday at radar installations that the Pentagon said had been used by Yemeni insurgents to target another American warship in two missile attacks in the last four days.

The strikes against the Houthi rebels marked the first time the United States has become involved militarily in the civil war between the Houthis, an indigenous Shiite group with loose connections to Iran, and the Yememi government, which is backed by Saudi Arabia and other Sunni nations. The strikes were approved by President Obama ...

[...] Until Thursday, the Obama administration had tried to navigate a treacherous course in Yemen, publicly pushing for a peace deal while quietly providing military support to a Saudi Arabia-led bombing campaign against the rebels since last year. Yet the main goal of the administration has often appeared to be keeping the United States from being dragged too deeply into a conflict that has shown little signs of abating, and instead continues to grow deadlier.

That changed in the past four days with two separate missile attacks on an American destroyer, the Mason, that was sailing off the coast of Yemen in the southern end of the Red Sea...

The missiles fell well short of the ship in both attacks. But American commanders believed that the attack posed a real threat.

[...] Up to now, the Obama administration put limits on its support for the Saudi-led coalition, providing intelligence and Air Force tankers to refuel the coalition’s jets and bombers. The American military has refueled more than 5,700 aircraft involved in the bombing campaign since it began...

This American role has drawn criticism from human rights groups who condemn the campaign as reckless. More than 4,000 civilians have been killed since the bombing began ...

That number includes at least 140 people who were killed in an airstrike on a funeral ceremony last weekend in the Yemeni capital, Sana. The strike prompted the administration to promise a review of the American military assistance to the Saudis...

[...] The senior American military official described the weapon used in the attack on Wednesday on the Mason as a coastal defense cruise missile, designed to be used against ships. The official said the missile came from an area under rebel control...

[...] The Saudi-led campaign began in March 2015, about a year after the Houthis and army units loyal to Yemen’s former president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, began battling to oust the country’s current president, Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

Despite skepticism in Washington about the wisdom of the campaign, the Obama administration threw its support behind the Saudis...

Besides providing intelligence and refueling help, the Pentagon sent a team of military personnel to Saudi Arabia to assist the planners of the air campaign.

Yet the Saudi campaign has failed to dislodge the Houthis from Sana. Much of Yemen is now on the brink of famine, and reports of civilians’ being killed in airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition have become routine. In August, the aid organization Doctors Without Borders said it was withdrawing its personnel from the country after the coalition bombed several of its medical facilities.

Despite international condemnation of the campaign, the White House pushed ahead this year with a $1.15 billion arms deal for Saudi Arabia that includes tanks and other heavy military equipment. A Senate resolution in September to block the sale failed, but 26 senators voted for it, signaling growing congressional concern about the Saudi alliance.

“We are complicit and actively involved with war in Yemen,” Senator Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican who worked to block the arms deal, said at the time.“There’s been no debate in Congress, really no debate in the public sphere over whether or not we should be at war in Yemen.” <<


Saturday, October 08, 2016

U.S. Says Russia Directed Hacks to Influence Elections

The following excerpts are taken from the NY Times article "U.S. Says Russia Directed Hacks to Influence Elections" (Oct 7, 2016)

>> WASHINGTON — The Obama administration on Friday formally accused the Russian government of stealing and disclosing emails from the Democratic National Committee and a range of other institutions and prominent individuals, immediately raising the issue of whether President Obama would seek sanctions or other retaliation.

In a statement from the director of national intelligence, James R. Clapper Jr., and the Department of Homeland Security, the government said the leaked emails that have appeared on a variety of websites “are intended to interfere with the U.S. election process.”

[...] The announcement came only hours after Secretary of State John Kerry called for the Russian and Syrian governments to face a formal war-crimes investigation over attacks on civilians in Aleppo and other parts of Syria. Taken together, the developments mark a sharp escalation of Washington’s many confrontations with Moscow this year. [...] <<


Friday, September 23, 2016

Keith Scott’s Family Sees Videos of His Killing, and Says the Public Should, Too

The following excerpts are taken from the NY Times article "Keith Scott’s Family Sees Videos of His Killing, and Says the Public Should, Too" (Sept 22, 2016)

>> [...] On Thursday night, hundreds of people gathered at an intersection in central Charlotte, holding signs and chanting “We want the tapes!” in a peaceful demonstration.

Mayor Jennifer Roberts ordered a midnight-to-6-a.m. curfew, the first since the unrest began.

Some protesters marched to the police station and held a moment of silence, fists raised in tribute to a man who was fatally shot during the previous night’s protest and to those killed by the police. They marched to the county jail and chanted for the inmates behind little slatted windows. Some inside blinked their lights off and on in apparent solidarity.

Later, Interstate 277 was shut down as demonstrators went onto the roadway, and the police fired smoke to try to disperse the protesters.

Mr. Scott’s death touched off violence in Charlotte on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. As hundreds of National Guard troops and State Police officers fanned out across the city on Thursday in an effort to head off further violence, Chief Kerr Putney of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police brushed aside demands by activists, community leaders and the news media to make the police video public.

“We release it when we believe there is a compelling reason,” he said. [...] <<


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Puerto Rico Hit With Islandwide Blackout After Fire Erupts

The following excerpts are taken from the NY Times article "Puerto Rico Hit With Islandwide Blackout After Fire Erupts" (Sept 21, 2016)

>> SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — A big fire erupted at an electricity plant that powers most of Puerto Rico on Wednesday, causing a blackout that swept across the U.S. territory of 3.5 million people.

[...] "The entire island is without power," said Angel Crespo, director of Puerto Rico's fire department.

[...] The outage also affected water service across the island, with officials urging customers to be prudent in their usage.

[...] The outage angered many Puerto Ricans who are struggling with power bills that are on average twice that of the U.S. mainland. People took to social media to demand where exactly their money is going.

Puerto Rico is mired in a decade-long economic slump, and a newly created federal control board is working to restructure nearly $70 billion in public debt that the governor has said is unpayable. <<