FIVE police officers are facing disciplinary action over messages shared on social media about Sarah Everard’s killer Wayne Couzens, the police watchdog said.
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A ROAD in Greater Manchester has been closed in what has been described as a “major police incident”, with emergency services rushing to the scene.
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TWO Metropolitan Police officers allegedly involved in a group chat with Wayne Couzens are said to be still on duty despite being placed under criminal investigation.
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In alarming footage, a black Range Rover drives along train tracks at Cheshunt Station in Hertfordshire. The driver was involved in a scuffle with police officers before getting away and heading for that station.
Two police officers have been injured during the incident and the driver of the Range Rover has currently not been found but the abandoned vehicle has been recovered.
Police officers tried to speak to the driver as the vehicle was stolen.
After being stopped the man drove away with one officer initially trapped in the door, before hurtling down the open train tracks.
A spokesperson for the force has said: “The vehicle made off, injuring two officers and damaging several vehicles in the process.
“Officers from Hertfordshire also attended to assist with the search and the vehicle was found abandoned on nearby train tracks, in Windmill Lane.
“A search of the area is currently being carried out to locate the driver and officers are working alongside British Transport Police to recover the vehicle.
“It was not struck by a train at any point.
“Anyone who witnessed the incident, or saw the vehicle driving in the area, is asked to contact police on 101.”
The car was not hit by a train.
All trains into Cheshunt station were cancelled as a result of the incident.
Services through the station will experience, cancellations, delays and alternations.
More to follow…
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A review was launched across the country after the Black Lives Matter protests, looking at whether street names had links to slavery and colonialism. But changing the names would force residents to alter their address information for their bills, banking and insurance cover.
According to the Telegraph, council officers in Maidenhead have said the accumulated charges for the changes could come to “several hundred pounds per household and potentially considerably more”.
The council officers were examining the expense of renaming “Blackamoor Lane”.
They warned that the local authority, funded by the taxpayer, would likely have to compensate the costs placed on residents for changing street names.
The officers at Windsor and Maidenhead council added how the residents and businesses would face a process similar to “moving to a new house or business premises”.
Cecil Rhodes House is home to 72 households and is being changed to Park View House.
The block was identified as problematic because Cecil Rhodes was a central figure in the growth of the British Empire.
Camden Council promised to foot the bill of any costs placed on residents who need to “update their address with any organisations or on documents”.
The Council said: “The block was named in 1957 by St Pancras Borough Council, which was the local authority at the time. The original plan was to call it Grangefield and signs were made.
“However the Council made a last minute decision to call the block Cecil Rhodes House, despite objections by some councillors.”
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It happened around 9:15 a.m. in the 1000 block of East Tri Oaks Lane near the Katy Freeway feeder road.
Officers were responding to a call about an assault in progress when they saw a woman arrive and knock on the apartment door, according to Houston assistant police chief Yasar Bashir. She was shot point-blank when the door opened before the gunman began firing at police, Bashir said.
Officers returned fire, striking the man multiple times before he retreated inside the apartment where he remained for some time before voluntarily giving up.
He was taken into custody and transported to Ben Taub Hospital where he was stable.
The woman died at the scene.
SWAT officers found the body of another shooting victim during a sweep of the apartment, according to Bashir.
The victim inside the home, described as a woman in her 30s, was the accused shooter’s live-in girlfriend, Bashir said. The woman who was shot outside, believed to be in her 60s, was the woman’s mother, Bashir said.
It wasn’t immediately clear when the woman found inside the apartment was shot.
No officers were hurt during the incident, but their police cruiser was damaged by the gunfire.
Initial reports that the incident was a home invasion call were inaccurate, police said.
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Five police officers in Savannah, Ga., have been fired after a Black man hanged himself while in custody in April, a death that three of them mocked in a text message exchange that contained a crude GIF, officials said this week.
The officers’ dismissal was announced by the Savannah Police Department on Monday. That same day the city’s police chief and mayor met with the family of William Harvey, who officers said hanged himself with his shoelaces on April 3 after officers questioned him at police headquarters as part of an investigation into an aggravated assault.
Mr. Harvey, 60, was found unresponsive in an interview room where he had been left alone. His death was ruled a suicide by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
But his family has faulted the police over the actions of officers leading up to and after his death. They said the police had neglected the warning signs that Mr. Harvey had been in distress, failed to activate all of the cameras that were in the room and later made light of the tragedy in a group text message exchange.
Roy W. Minter Jr., the Savannah police chief, said at a media briefing on Tuesday that Mr. Harvey’s death could have been prevented if not for missteps of officers.
“I don’t think any of these officers had any malicious intent in what they did, but they made some poor decisions and didn’t follow department policy and procedure,” Chief Minter said.
The punishment of the officers, who have not been charged with any crimes, came as police departments across the nation are facing intense scrutiny over misconduct and complaints of institutional racism after the death of George Floyd while in custody in Minneapolis.
“When you’re in the care custody of the police, you should be able to enter an interrogation room and emerge alive,” Francys Johnson, a lawyer for the Harvey family, said at a news conference on Monday.
Mr. Harvey’s relatives said they would not rest until there was full transparency about what happened in the interview room and until justice was served.
“We’re not going to stop until we get all our questions answered,” Mr. Harvey’s son Michael Harvey said at the news conference. “Because we just want to know the truth.”
Two of the officers — Cpl. Silver Leuschner and Sgt. Michael Kerr — were fired over their response to the situation, the Savannah Police Department said. A third officer was suspended.
Officials said that Ms. Leuschner had breached the department’s conduct policy and had failed to turn on cameras during the encounter. They said that Mr. Kerr had breached his responsibilities as a supervisor. The officials did not elaborate.
Ms. Leuschner said in an email on Tuesday night that at the time of Mr. Harvey’s death she was 15 minutes from headquarters at a hospital checking on a victim and that Mr. Kerr was also not in the building. She said that two patrol officers who had been sitting outside the interview room for 40 minutes and did not check on Mr. Harvey kept their jobs. A camera system in the interview room, she said, was not working properly.
“I was told, ‘This is political, so someone has to go,’” said Ms. Leuschner, who called herself a scapegoat.
Mr. Kerr could not be immediately reached for comment on Tuesday night.
It was not immediately clear if he and the other officers had lawyers. The Southern States Police Benevolent Association did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday night.
The three officers fired over the text message exchange mocking Mr. Harvey’s death were identified by the Savannah Police Department as Sgt. Christopher Hewett, Cpl. Erica Tremblay and Officer David Curtis.
In the text message exchange, obtained by the television station WSAV, one of the officers shared a GIF that showed a Black man hanging himself from a noose.
A person responding from an email address listed for Mr. Curtis declined to comment on Tuesday night. Mr. Hewett and Ms. Tremblay could not be immediately reached for comment.
Chief Minter said on Tuesday that he had reviewed some of the officers’ body camera footage from the encounter with Mr. Harvey and that it was tough to watch.
“It’s been extremely heartbreaking to see the impact this particular situation has had on the Harvey family,” he said. “I hope and pray that they find some type of comfort knowing that the Savannah Police Department did what we had to do to hold members of our organization accountable.”
Author: Neil Vigdor
This post originally appeared on NYT > U.S. News
Police departments face severe challenges in retaining and recruiting officers, according to new data outlining the steady exodus from an occupation that was the target of protests last year after several high-profile police killings.
“We have lost about one-third of our staff to resignation and retirement,” said Chief David Zack of the Asheville Police Department in North Carolina — more than 80 officers out of a full complement of 238. “Certainly with the way that police have been portrayed and vilified in some cases, they have decided that it is not the life for them.”
Those reductions in Ashville echo a nationwide trend. A survey of about 200 police departments indicates that retirements were up by 45 percent and resignations by 18 percent in the period between April 2020 and April 2021, when compared with the preceding 12 months. The percentage of officers who left tended to be larger for departments in big or medium-size cities, according to the Police Executive Research Forum, a Washington policy institute that will release full data next week.
“It is an evolving crisis,” said Chuck Wexler, the organization’s executive director.
Last year’s departures came against the backdrop of protests that erupted nationwide when George Floyd was murdered by a Minneapolis police officer, along with the police killings of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Ky., and Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta. The aggressive tactics some officers used against protesters often compounded the vitriol against the police.
The future of policing was called into question, with demands to defund departments or to assign some of their tasks to civilian agencies. The coronavirus pandemic also took a toll, with cities slashing budgets and some officers deciding that risking their health through potential exposure to the virus was endangering their families. The pandemic also brought a surge in the most violent crimes.
“It is an extremely difficult time to be a police officer,” said Maria Haberfeld, a professor of political science who trains police officers at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York.
Cities where demonstrations were robust last year experienced substantial departures from their police forces.
In New York, 2,600 officers retired in 2020, according to police statistics, after 1,509 retirements the year before. In Portland, Ore., 69 officers resigned and 75 retired from April 2020 to April 2021, versus 27 and 14 the previous year. In Seattle, resignations increased to 123 from 34 and retirements to 96 from 43.
Seattle ended up with 150 fewer patrol officers than expected, and for months, only slightly more than half of the highest-priority 911 calls have drawn responses within the targeted time of seven minutes, according to police statistics.
Many cities are also finding it harder to attract recruits, with the number of new hires in Portland falling to 30 from 69, and in Seattle to 44 from 119.
After skipping any police training last year for budgetary reasons, St. Paul, Minn., received 178 applications this year, down about half from the 366 received in 2016, said Sgt. Natalie Davis, a police spokeswoman.
While the city is authorized to have 620 police officers, it has about 580 at the moment. That means the department has moved officers onto patrol duties from specialized units like those that track drugs, gangs and guns, Sergeant Davis said.
There is widespread consensus that another reason retention has suffered is that police officers are asked to do too much. In addition to confronting crime, they also deal with mental health problems, addiction and homelessness, as well as the occasional lost dog. Body cameras and bystanders’ cellphones, which increase the likelihood that officers will be held responsible for misconduct, put them under high levels of scrutiny.
“We have asked too much from police, and it has caught up with us nationally,” Chief Zack in Asheville said.
He and others noted that the police had gone through similar periods of crisis and low morale before but that the challenges of the past year had been more sustained.
Some police agencies are responding by trying to widen the pool of applicants, in some cases using federal dollars from the American Rescue Plan to buttress their efforts.
The New York Police Department recently waived its $ 40 registration fee for people who want to take the police test, officials said. In April, applications jumped by about a quarter, with 14,502 people signing up.
Some cities lowered the amount of college education recruits needed, while Allentown, Pa., proposed that a ban on recruits who had used marijuana up to three years before be reduced to one year.
Police officials and experts said the changes could present an opportunity for departments to focus on what kind of men and women become officers at a time when there is widespread public support for change.
“It is not necessarily a bad thing to have to rethink who you want to be a police officer,” said Philip M. Stinson, a former officer who is now a professor of criminal justice at Bowling Green State University in Ohio.
Author: Neil MacFarquhar
This post originally appeared on NYT > U.S. News