Archive for August, 2013

Charlotte, NC Airport Police Sue Over Treatment in Merger with City’s Police Dept.

August 30, 2013


From The Charlotte Observer by Michael Gordon, August 30, 2013

The battle over the Charlotte airport took an internal twist Friday when more than a dozen longtime airport police officers sued the city, claiming they are paid less and treated differently than other officers doing the same job.

The 14 officers worked for years as part of a separate airport police force under then-Aviation Director Jerry Orr. In November 2012, however, the City Council voted to put Charlotte Douglas International Airport security in the hands of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.

That decision infuriated Orr and contributed to a bitter fight between the city and the state legislature over airport control, a struggle now before the courts and the federal government.

In their lawsuit, the airport police say they have become “pawns” in that fight. They claim the city has broken promises made before CMPD took over airport security by cutting their pay and rank, and by refusing to recognize their years of previous service.

“It just doesn’t make sense,” said Luke Largess, the Charlotte attorney who represents them. “People hired to do the same job at the same rank, with the same license, comparable experience, should be paid the same for doing the work.

“So they have a double pay plan now. A pay plan for CMPD officers and a pay plan for people who worked at the airport for Orr.”

Charlotte City Attorney Bob Hagemann said Friday he hadn’t read the complaint and couldn’t comment on the lawsuit.

The change in airport policing took place after investigators said they believe a Charlotte teenager breached security and climbed inside a wheel well on a jet bound for Boston. His body was found near Boston, on the flight path to Logan Airport. The addition of CMPD officers to the existing Charlotte Douglas force more than doubled airport security costs to $5.5 million.

Orr called the change a “debacle.” Legislators called it meddling, and said it was a major reason they wanted to take the airport from city control.

According to the lawsuit, the veteran airport officers have been caught in the crossfire.

They say they met with Police Chief Rodney Monroe and were promised that “all officers would be treated equally based on their education, training and experience.”

However, the consolidated pay plan, which is based in part on years of service, did the opposite, the suit claims.

The allegations in the lawsuit include:

• The pay plan doesn’t give the 14 officers credit for their years under Orr even though they have comparable training and experience.

• Two of the officers, James Wilson and Timothy Parker, who were lieutenants under Orr, were demoted to sergeant and are being paid $20,000 less than a CMPD sergeant assigned after the consolidation to be an airport police supervisor.

• The 14 don’t qualify for bonuses available to CMPD officers based on education and training.

• They must work for a year before receiving Civil Service protection.

According to Largess, all the airport officers have to apply to CMPD for a position to move to the CMPD pay plan, with no guarantee that they will keep their airport job. Those whose only law enforcement experience has been at the airport must go through the Police Academy and start as a new recruit.

The suit claims that the officers’ constitutional rights have been violated. It calls for the consolidated pay plan to be thrown out, and asks the judge to order a new merger of CMPD and the airport departments.

It also seeks lost wages and compensatory damages for “distress and anxiety.”

Staff writers Jim Morrill and Steve Harrison contributed.

Read more here:

America’s Coolest State Police Liveries

August 30, 2013

There’s nothing worse than a State Trooper’s lights filling your rear view mirror, but you can’t deny the aesthetic appeal of a State Police car. A lot of states just opt for boring white or silver, but a few states in the union have very cool color schemes that are often steeped in history. Here’s a BoldRide look at five of the coolest State Police liveries in the country


Massachusetts State Police

Cruisers like those parked at barracks all over the Bay State have been the same colors since the late 1930s, according to State Police Sergeant David Paine, who we interviewed for The Boston Globe in 2002.

“In June of 1933, the Massachusetts State Police changed from forest green uniforms – like a forest ranger’s – to French blue shirts and electric blue pants,” said Paine.

The uniform was recognizable especially when the troopers were using their primary mode of transportation at the time, an Indian motorcycle, built in the Central Massachusetts town of Springfield.

As more and more troopers went into cruisers, though, the uniform was less of a distinctive feature on the road. Then in 1939, the Massachusetts State Police took its colors outside. The French blue and electric blue was duplicated from the uniform to the cruiser’s sheetmetal.

“The colors allow troopers to be recognized, even when inside their cars,” said Paine. “Those colors are a symbol of the troop.”

California Highway Patrol

The CHP’s livery is ultra-traditional, to the point that the phrase “black-and-white” has become synonymous with “police car.” Black and white cruisers are favored by many police departments because the colors are unambiguous on the road.

Many departments – including the Los Angeles Police Department – use the most traditional scheme of a black car with four white doors and a white roof. The CHP is different to distinguish itself, featuring black rear doors, and white front doors and roof.

CHP cars also feature a large CHP door shield with seven points. The seven points represent character, integrity, knowledge, judgment, honor, loyalty and courtesy.

Vermont State Police

The Vermont State Police livery itself is pretty lame. Like New Hampshire’s it’s a Forest Green base that represents the Green Mountains for which it gets its name (both in French and English.) In the 1980s, the VSP was one of the last State Police agencies to continue using the old Dodge Diplomats, and the green base was matched with a horrifying safety yellow, with a single, blue rotating light on the roof. In recent years, the VSP has opted just for a reflective yellow decal that’s a lot less offensive.

What’s interesting about the Vermont State Police livery is the door emblem, specifically those in 2008 and 2009. The emblems were crafted by prison inmates, and featured – for generations – a cow, an evergreen tree, the mountains Camel’s Hump and Mount Mansfield, Lake Champlain, and three piles of something (either haystacks or some unidentifiable creature, depending on who you ask).

But in 2008, an incarcerated artist at the Northwest State Correctional Facility in Swanton, Vermont, snuck something subliminal into the logo: one of the cow’s spots was altered into the profile of a pig, the derogatory term for police officer. The VSP ordered about 60 of the decals, which made it onto cruisers and weren’t discovered until 2012.

Michigan State Police

The Wolverine State equips its State Police department with a range of vehicles all painted a single, distinctive color. Per Michigan State Police specifications, all of the cruisers are painted Dulux 93-032, a very noticeable, bright blue color that’s completely unique on the highway. The color has been in use since 1954.

The Michigan State Police is also distinctive for its long reliance on a single, red rotating beacon on the roof – the RV-25 or RV-26 “Spitfire” from Unity Manufacturing. In recent years, the rotating, sealed beam light has been replaced with and LED unit, but MSP has eschewed the gigantic light bar in favor of a single, round unit.

The MSP is also requires that its cruisers feature a clear plastic sign mounted to the hood. Referred to as a “hood light,” or “hailer,” or “shark fin,” the clear plastic sign features the words “STATE POLICE” and “STOP” in a large font. The sign is illuminated at night.

New Hampshire State Police

Lots of State Police departments want their cruisers to be seen. That doesn’t seem to be the mission with New Hampshire, which paints its State Police cruisers in a unique forest green, with a copper color above the beltline.

Like Massachusetts, the distinctive colors on the New Hampshire State Police cars are present to reflect the uniform that State Troopers wear. The deep green represents the forests for which New Hampshire is so recognized. Uniform pants and the cruisers above the beltline are officially colored “Uniform Pink,” according to the

The New Hampshire State Trooper uniform features a badge with a depiction of the Frigate USS Raleigh, one of the 13 ships originally commissioned by the Continental Congress for the by the US Navy in 1775. The cruisers instead have a bold door badge featuring a yellow reflective arrow, and a depiction of the Old Man of the Mountain, a natural rock formation on Cannon Mountain, which collapsed in 2003.

Images Courtesy: Wikipedia, CopCar Dot Com,,, Burlington Free Press, USA Today,

Obama Fiddles and Lies While the Republic Burns!

August 30, 2013


Federal Appeals Court: Police Can’t Paralyze You To Search Your Body For Drugs

August 30, 2013

From By Nicole Flatow on August 27, 2013

The adventure of Felix Booker in Oak Ridge, Tennessee started with a traffic stop for expired tags. It ended with police transporting Booker to a hospital, where he was involuntarily paralyzed according to a federal appeals court ruling Monday.

In overturning Booker’s conviction for possession with intent to distribute, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held, 2-1, that police could not use drugs discovered in Booker’s buttocks as evidence against him, because doctors’ paralysis, intubation, and anal probe violated Booker’s Fourth Amendment rights.

The traffic stop of Booker and his brother escalated when police detected the scent of marijuana in the car. After a drug dog alerted police, they searched his car and found .06 grams of marijuana, in addition to some other baggies with just residue. Although anything less than 14 grams of marijuana constitutes a misdemeanor, which allows a citation by police, but not arrest, police arrested Booker for felony possession of marijuana and took him to the police station. There, he was questioned and strip-searched, before police determined that his continued fidgeting was concerning. They transported him, naked and covered by a blanket, to the hospital for an assessment, where a doctor threatened to paralyze Booker if he did not consent in the doctor’s anal probe.

Ultimately, a doctor found a rock of crack cocaine weighing about 5 grams that was used to convict Booker and sentence him to five years in prison. The court found that the police had taken suspects to this same doctor when they suspected drugs in the anal cavity, and that they “effectively used Dr. LaPaglia as a tool to perform a search on Booker’s person.” As a consequence, the fact that LaPaglia had a medical purpose for removing an obstruction from Booker’s anus did not “immunize the procedures from Fourth Amendment scrutiny.” This type of intrusion, they held, “is one of the greatest dignitary intrusions that could flow from a medical procedure.” (quoting from another decision) “Such a procedure is degrading to the person being probed—both from his perspective and society’s.”

Law enforcement officers’ commitment to drug convictions has long led police officers to test the limits of “reasonable” searches. In its ruling Monday, the Sixth Circuit cited a 1952 U.S. Supreme Court decision in which a suspect who swallowed pills during a police search of his home was taken to the hospital, where officers asked doctors to pump his stomach against his will. The Supreme Court overturned his subsequent conviction for possession of morphine tablets, on the grounds that the deputies’ conduct was so invasive as to “shock the conscience.”

In another incident just earlier this month, Texas police searched three women’s vaginas for marijuana in what also started as a traffic stop.

The case is U.S. v. Felix Booker, No. 11-6311, U.S. Court of Appeals, 6th Circuit, Decided August 26, 2013.

Here’s What Candidate Obama Said About Military Intervention In 2007

August 29, 2013

Mike Krieger, Liberty Blitzkrieg, August 29, 2013

Q. In what circumstances, if any, would the president have constitutional authority to bomb Iran without seeking a use-of-force authorization from Congress? (Specifically, what about the strategic bombing of suspected nuclear sites — a situation that does not involve stopping an IMMINENT threat?)

Obama with his Nobel Peace Prize (Photo: Public Domain)

Obama with his Nobel Peace Prize (Photo: Public Domain)

Obama:  The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.

– Interview with Charlie Savage, December 20, 2007 (full text here)

Ok, so Obama lied again…what’s new.

Well what’s new is that launching missiles into Syria right now could lead to a much wider global conflagration, i.e. World War III.

I don’t think anybody wants that.

Or do they?

It actually seems as if the sociopaths in charge of these United States DO want this, and therefore we must do everything we can to prevent it from happening.

Not only is it key to inform people how ridiculous it is to say a chemical weapons attack is a reason for war when the U.S. government itself aided Saddam Hussein in chemical warfare in the 1980′s, but we must also explain to people that use of force in Syria is entirely unconstitutional.

While candidate Obama clearly understood this, President Obama is suffering from another case of chronic constitutional amnesia, a condition he developed on or around January 19, 2009.

This maniac, who we call President, is suddenly parading around like this war is his to start.

As if he is some sort of Emperor.

Well it is not, and he is not.

Somehow the Big O, our precious “constitutional scholar,” must have skipped over Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution. If you need a reminder, here it goes:

U.S. Constitution – Article 1 Section 8

The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

To borrow money on the credit of the United States;

To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes;

To establish a uniform rule of naturalization, and uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies throughout the United States;

To coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures;

To provide for the punishment of counterfeiting the securities and current coin of the United States;

To establish post offices and post roads;

To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries;

To constitute tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court;

To define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and offenses against the law of nations;

To declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water;

To raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years;

To provide and maintain a navy;

To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces;

To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the states respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

To exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by cession of particular states, and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the government of the United States, and to exercise like authority over all places purchased by the consent of the legislature of the state in which the same shall be, for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards, and other needful buildings;–And

To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.

Got that Barry? Go to Congress.

In Liberty,

Will War With Syria Cause The Price Of Oil To Explode Higher?

August 29, 2013

Michael Snyder, Economic Collapse, August 29, 2013

Are you ready to pay four, five or possibly even six dollars for a gallon of gasoline? 

War has consequences, and a conflict with Syria has the potential to escalate wildly out of control very rapidly.

The Obama administration is pledging that the upcoming attack on Syria will be “brief and limited” and that the steady flow of oil out of the Middle East will not be interrupted.

But what happens if Syria strikes back?

What happens if Syrian missiles start raining down on Tel Aviv?

What happens if Hezbollah or Iran starts attacking U.S. or Israeli targets?

Unless Syria, Hezbollah and Iran all stand down and refuse to fight back, we could very easily be looking at a major regional war in the Middle East, and that could cause the price of oil to explode higher.

Syria is not a major oil producer, but approximately a third of all of the crude oil in the world is produced in the Middle East.

If the Suez Canal or the Persian Gulf (or both) get shut down for an extended period of time, the consequences would be dramatic.

The price of oil has already risen about 15% so far this summer, and war in the Middle East could potentially send it soaring into record territory.

We can always hope that cooler heads prevail and that a conflict is avoided, but at this point it does not look like that is going to happen.  In fact, according to Richard Engel of NBC News, a senior U.S. official has admitted that “we’re past the point of return” and that a strike on Syria can be expected within days.

Obama is promising that the U.S. will “take limited, tailored approaches”, and that we will not be “getting drawn into a long conflict, not a repetition of, you know, Iraq, which I know a lot of people are worried about”, but how in the world can he guarantee that?

SyriaIran and Hezbollah have all threatened to attack Israel if the U.S. attacks Syria.

If missiles start raining down on Israeli cities, the Israelis are not just going to sit there and take it like they did during the first Gulf War.  In fact, according to the Los Angeles Times, “Israeli leaders are making it clear that they have no intention of standing down this time if attacked”.

If Israel is attacked, their military response will be absolutely massive.

And then we will have the major regional war in the Middle East that so many people have been warning about for so many years.  Hundreds of thousands of people will die and the global economy will be paralyzed.

So what will Obama do in such a situation?

Will he pack up and go home?

Of course not.  We would be committed to fighting a brutal, horrific war that there was absolutely no reason to start in the first place.

And we are already starting to feel the effect of rising tensions in the Middle East.  This week, the price of oil rose to a 10-month high

U.S. oil prices soared to an 18-month high as traders worried that a potential military strike against Syria could disrupt the region’s oil supplies.

October crude futures surged 2.9%, to $109.01 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, their highest close since February 2012. Brent futures ended up 3.2% at $114.28 a barrel, a six-month high.

Posted below is a chart that shows how the price of oil has moved over the past several decades.  Could we soon break the all-time record of $147 a barrel that was set back in 2008?…

The Price Of Oil

And of course we all remember what happened when the price of oil got that high back in 2008.  The global economy was plunged into the worst downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

A major conflict in the Middle East, especially if it goes on for an extended period of time, could send the price of oil to absolutely ridiculous levels.

Every single day, a massive amount of oil is moved through the Suez Canal.  The following is from a recent Wall Street Journal article

To the southwest is the Suez Canal, one such chokepoint, which connects the Red Sea and the Gulf of the Suez with the Mediterranean Sea. The canal transports about 800,000 barrels of crude and 1.4 million barrels of petroleum products daily, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Another regional oil shipping route potentially threatened by the Syria crisis is the Sumed, or Suez-Mediterranean, pipeline, also in Egypt, which moves oil from the Persian Gulf region to the Mediterranean. The Sumed handles 1.7 million barrels of crude oil per day, the EIA said.

And of course an enormous amount of oil moves through the Persian Gulf each day as well.  If the Suez Canal and/or the Persian Gulf were to be shut down, there would almost immediately be global supply problems.

So how high could the price of oil go?

Well, according to CNBC, some analysts believe that $150 a barrel could easily be hit if the U.S. attacks Syria…

Some analysts believe even U.S. crude, West Texas Intermediate (WTI crude) could get close to the $150 zone. “If oil prices spike on the Syria attack, and surge above $120, the next logical upside target is going to be the 2008 high of $147, which could easily be taken out,” said John Kilduff of Again Capital. “It’s the retaliation to the retaliation that we have to be worried about.”

If the price of oil soars up to that level and keeps going, we could see the price of gasoline go up to four, five or maybe even six dollars a gallon in some areas of the country.

You better start saving up lots of gas money.

It looks like you are going to need it.

Mexican Vigilantes Attack Police, Take Guns

August 29, 2013

“Self-defense groups” have sprung up in southern Mexico to fight drug cartels, but some are allegedly involved in criminal activity themselves.

From The Associated Press, August 27, 2013

Vigilantes attacked local police officers in Mexico’s southern state of Guerrero, beat them with rifle butts and machetes and handcuffed them, then stole their rifles and briefly kidnapped some municipal officials, authorities said Tuesday.

Vigilantes in Mexico: Vigilantes attack a police officer during clashes between local police and self defense groups in the town of Tixtla, Mexico: Guerrero state authorities said Tuesday that vigilantes kidnapped several officials and wounded the town's police chief with a machete.

Guerrero state authorities said Tuesday that vigilantes kidnapped several officials and wounded the town’s police chief with a machete.

The clash Monday in Tixtla highlighted the confusion and contradictions in the Mexican government’s effort to deal with “self-defense groups” that have sprung up in parts of southern Mexico since February to fight drug cartels.

Some vigilantes openly carry weapons and periodically scuffle with police and soldiers, but the most truculent of them have not been arrested even while dozens of members of smaller, more isolated self-defense groups have been hauled off to jail.

Over the weekend, 21 members of a group in Aquila, a mountain village in the western state of Michoacan, were ordered to stand trial at a maximum-security prison on weapons charges, and 19 others face lesser charges.

“This is completely out of proportion, irrational, to have so many communal farmers held at a maximum security prison,” the men’s lawyer, Leonel Rivero, said Tuesday.

The vigilantes in Tixtla, meanwhile, appear to have gotten away scot-free with several assault rifles after beating the local police officers. Guerrero state authorities said Tuesday there had been no arrests, despite the fact the vigilantes kidnapped several officials and wounded the town’s police chief with a machete.

Guerrero Gov. Angel Aguirre has been in talks with community police and vigilante groups seeking to persuade them to register their members and weapons and to not carry arms into other towns. “The framework set up for these talks have been violated by these violent acts” in Tixtla, Aguirre said.

The government is having a hard time deciding which vigilantes to arrest and which to tolerate, given that some of the groups have been resisting drug cartel extortion while critics say some groups are involved in criminal activity themselves.

In Aquila, for instance, two residents said the self-defense group members arrested there were fighting against the Knight Templar, which had been forcing townspeople to pay 700,000 pesos a month, about $53,000, from mining royalties they received. Michoacan state authorities, however, contend the vigilante group really has been in a dispute over the royalties with other townspeople.

In another Michoacan town, La Ruana, about 40 vigilantes are still jailed after being arrested several months ago because authorities claimed they had links to a drug cartel.

Yet in other towns, federal police and soldiers coexist with armed self-defense groups.

“I think every case is different, and I think the government doesn’t have a very clear idea of the situation, and I think that is why they are acting so slowly,” said Javier Oliva, a political science professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico.

Authorities have little option but to try to work with the groups. With police and soldiers proving unable to root out drug cartels that terrorize villagers and extort money from them, many people think the appearance of vigilantes has been a needed return to older forms of local police and self-policing.

The Guerrero state government has agreed to provide training, pay and some form of official recognition for old-style community police groups, which are independent, village-run guards who have been patrolling remote areas of the state with single-shot rifles since 1997. They handle minor crimes, hold people briefly in improvised jails and often mete out community service as punishment.

The federal government announced Tuesday it will delay the deployment of 5,000 rural civilian police, to be trained by the army and called “gendarmes,” until next year. Deputy Interior Secretary Manuel Mondragon said in February that 10,000 officers would be deployed by the end of the year.

Oliva said the gendarme plan is hazy. He said the government would do better to revive “rural defense guards,” squads of civilian volunteers that have served under army discipline for almost a century.

“This already exists in the legal framework; you don’t have to make any changes. It would be better,” Oliva said.

Suspect in Slaying of WWII Vet Says It Was Drug Deal Gone Bad

August 29, 2013

Kenan Adams-Kinard, 16, made the statement to friends as he was being sought in the beating death of Delbert “Shorty” Belton.

From, August 27, 2013

One of the two Washington state teenagers accused of murdering a World War Two veteran said he beat up the survivor of the Battle of Okinawa after the 88-year-old man tried “ripping him off” in a drug deal, court documents in the case said.

Kenan Adams-Kinard, 16, made the statement to friends as he was being sought in the beating death of Delbert “Shorty” Belton, according to an affidavit filed by a Spokane police detective in support of a criminal complaint against the suspect.

Teen accused in slaying of WWII vet: Kenan Adams-Kinard: This image from the Spokane, Wash., Police Department shows Kenan Adams-Kinard, 16, who is being sought by police in connection with the beating death of an 88-year-old World War II veteran outside an Eagles lodge in Spokane on Aug. 21.

Adams-Kinard said he “was trying to buy an ounce of crack cocaine from ‘Shorty’ and ‘Shorty’ tried ripping him off,” the affidavit said in paraphrasing an account related to police by an unidentified witness. Adams-Kinard said he then punched Belton and took his money back, the affidavit said.

Spokane police declined to comment to Reuters about the affidavit, but NBC News quoted a police spokesman as saying there was “no evidence to support” the allegation that Belton was dealing drugs.

Adams-Kinard and his accused accomplice, Demetrius Glenn, also 16, have been charged as adults with first-degree burglary and first-degree murder in Belton’s slaying.

A friend, Natalie Flom, who had planned to meet Belton for a game of pool at a north Spokane fraternal lodge last Wednesday, found the U.S. Army veteran in his car in the parking lot with severe head and facial injuries.

Belton, who survived a gunshot wound to the leg during the Battle of Okinawa as Allied forces launched an assault on one of the home islands of Japan in 1945, died the day after he was found in the car.

The affidavit said police also seized a handwritten letter that Adams-Kinard allegedly wrote to his mother that likewise said the crime was a drug deal gone sour.

“I took his wallet and another ounce of crack from his pockets. He was unconscious, so I made sure he was still breathing, and then I took off,” the affidavit quoted the letter as saying.

Flom dismissed as absurd the suggestion that her elderly, diminutive friend was a cocaine dealer.

“Shorty had a great sense of humor and would be laughing” about Adams-Kinard’s account, Flom told Reuters. “But it is so sick that anyone would try to pull his reputation down.”

Security videotapes and photographs from the lodge and surrounding businesses led investigators to identify the teenagers as suspects, police said.

Glenn turned himself in the day after the attack, and Kinard-Adams was arrested four days later hiding out in the basement of a Spokane apartment building, police said.

Glenn was being held in lieu of $2 million bond, and Adams-Kinard’s bail was set at $3 million, a higher figure because he was already established as a flight risk, according to a spokeswoman for the Spokane County prosecutor’s office.

Florida Mayor Arrested, 3rd In the Past Month

August 29, 2013

Mayor Steve Bateman of Homestead, Fla., is accused of taking payments from a health care company to lobby city officials on its behalf.

From, August 27, 2013

The mayor of Homestead, Fla., was hauled away from his home in handcuffs Wednesday on corruption charges, including accepting illegal compensation, becoming the third mayor of a Miami-Dade County city to be arrested in the past month.

Steve Bateman, 58, was secretly being paid $125 an hour as a consultant by a health care company seeking city and county approval for a sewer connection so it could build a clinic in Homestead, said Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle.

Bateman lobbied his own city officials and County Mayor Carlos Gimenez without disclosing his financial arrangement with Community Health Care of South Florida, Inc., a nonprofit firm known as CHI, said Fernandez Rundle.

“It’s another very sad day for the people of Miami-Dade County,” Fernandez Rundle told reporters. “At no time did Bateman disclose that these contacts were done for a private employer. That should have been done.”

All told, Bateman was paid $3,625 by CHI for his work, although the company had authorized as much as $120,000 in payments for a year of work, according to an arrest affidavit. Bateman was jailed on $21,500 bail but scheduled for release later Wednesday. He is charged with two felonies for accepting illegal compensation, as well as several misdemeanors, including unregistered lobbying.

His attorney, Ben Kuehne, said Bateman was “shocked by his sudden and unexpected arrest.”

“He looks forward to his vindication. He has served the community for many years in an honest, dependable manner,” Kuehne added in an email. “He has honestly earned every dollar he received through hard work and dedication to the public.”

Bateman was first elected mayor of Homestead in 2009 and re-elected in 2011. He is seeking re-election again this year, but has been suspended from office by Gov. Rick Scott until the charges are resolved.

Earlier this month, Miami Lakes Mayor Michael Pizzi and Sweetwater Mayor Manuel Marono, along with two lobbyists, were arrested on federal corruption charges in an FBI sting operation. Authorities say Pizzi and Marono accepted thousands of dollars in kickbacks in exchange for supporting applications for federal grants that were never to be used for their intended purposes. Pizzi and Marono, who have been suspended from office, insist they are innocent.

Defense Continues in Georgia Baby Killing Trial

August 29, 2013

De’Marquise Elkins is accused of killing 13-month-old Antonio Santiago during a robbery attempt.

From, August 27, 2013

Defense attorneys are continuing to present witnesses and evidence Thursday in the trial of a man accused of killing a baby in coastal Georgia.

De’Marquise Elkins is charged with murder in the March 21 killing of 13-month-old Antonio Santiago in Brunswick.

Ga. baby killing trial: De'Marquise Elkins in court: De'Marquise Elkins, 18, is on trial for murder in the killing of a 13-month-old boy.

The prosecution rested its case Wednesday. Then the defense began calling witnesses and showed most of a video of the child’s mother, Sherry West, being questioned by police the day of the shooting.

Prosecutors say Elkins shot Antonio during an attempted robbery. West was shot in the leg.

The trial is being held near Atlanta because of pretrial publicity.

If convicted of murder, 18-year-old Elkins faces up to life in prison. His mother is on trial alongside him on charges of evidence tampering and lying to police.