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Capitol police chief asks to expand National Guard presence

WASHINGTON – The Acting Capitol Police Chief on Thursday formally called on the Defense Department to keep thousands of National Guard troops on Capitol Hill beyond their scheduled departure next week as it put warns of increased threats against lawmakers.

The request came only after Yogananda D. Pittman, the interim chief, called on Congressional leaders to intervene after the council that oversees his department failed to grant his request for an extension – even though police did alerted the public to another possible assault on lawmakers this week.

This possible plot by an unidentified militia group to target lawmakers on Capitol Hill on March 4 did not materialize on Thursday. But the disconnect between the Capitol Police chief and the three-member board that oversees the agency highlighted the bureaucratic structure and communication breakdowns that have hampered security, including slowing demand from the National Guard to respond. storming the complex on January 6. .

In a letter sent to House and Senate leaders from both parties, Chief Pittman said she had asked the Capitol Police Council to extend the declaration of emergency that prompted the deployment, which began during of the assault on the Capitol, beyond March 12, when it is scheduled. expire.

“To date, the USCP has not received the authorization required to request an extension of National Guard support,” Chief Pittman wrote to the four top Congressional leaders, including President Nancy Pelosi of California and the Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the majority leader.

She then asked them to intervene with members of the board of directors – particularly the acting Senate Sergeant-at-Arms – to obtain approval to request an extended Guard presence. Chief Pittman said the House Sergeant-at-Arms approved his request.

“In eight days, the National Guard must leave the Capitol complex,” she wrote, and maintaining the troops would require a formal request authorized by the council. “Therefore, we respectfully request your assistance in obtaining the required clearance.”

Later Thursday, Capitol Police announced they had received permission to formally ask the Defense Department to extend the Guard’s stay. Police cited a 93% increase in threats against lawmakers in the first two months of 2021 compared to the same period last year, and said in a statement the agency was “ extremely grateful for the support from the Ministry of Defense and National Guard provided since January 6. “

A senior Defense Department official admitted that the Pentagon received the request.

The warning of another potential attack Thursday by a militia group prompted House leaders to vote on police legislation starting Wednesday night so lawmakers could leave Washington earlier than planned. But the Senate continued its legislative work on Thursday, as Democrats hoped to get President Biden’s $ 1.9 trillion aid package through the chamber by the weekend.

An FBI and Department of Homeland Security bulletin warned that extremists inspired by the pro-Trump conspiracy theory known as QAnon had discussed plans to target lawmakers on Thursday and take control of the Capitol. Some of the proponents of the theory seemed to have clung to March 4 – the initial inauguration date set in the Constitution – as the day Donald J. Trump would be reinstated to the presidency with military help and revive his office. crusade against the enemies of the country.

The threat prompted Capitol Hill police to increase the number of officers in the building, which had been surrounded by new fences, topped with barbed wire, after the Jan.6 assault.

Concerns over another attack about two months after the January 6 riot reflected heightened concern about domestic terrorism, which FBI Director Christopher A. Wray said was “metastasizing across the country.”

The possible extension of custody was reported earlier by the Associated Press.

Representative Elissa Slotkin, a Democrat from Michigan whose state has provided part of the troops, said Thursday she heard from her contacts in the Guard that the request was for a 60-day extension.

“National Guard contacts tell me that the United States Capitol Police have requested a 60-day extension of the Guard’s mission in and around the Capitol,” Ms. Slotkin said.

She added: “It is essential that members of Congress are informed of what is behind these decisions.”

Chief Pittman also said Thursday that the Capitol Police Council recommended that the department begin removing fences around parts of the complex from Monday, followed by the removal of other fences by March 12. .

The appetite for a prolonged deployment of the Guard at the Capitol lost the support of members of Congress. Some Republicans have demanded for weeks the removal of fences around the Capitol.

“It’s scandalous, because it’s not their job. That’s not their job, ”Oklahoma Republican Senator James M. Inhofe said of the Guard’s deployment for months longer. “We have the Capitol Police. This is their mission. “

Senator Amy Klobuchar, Democrat of Minnesota, told reporters that she believes politicians should defer to the police for how long tightened security procedures should remain in place. She added that she would like to see the number of soldiers reduced.

“You have to listen to the police,” she said. “I just think we have to do what’s safe.”

After January 6, the Capitol Police Department requested nearly $ 620 million in total spending, an increase of almost 21% from current levels, to pay for new equipment, training and 212 additional officers. for assignments such as a permanent safeguard force.

Adam goldman, Glenn thrush and Matthew Rosenberg contribution to reports.

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The House passes a Police Review Bill named after George Floyd, whose death has sparked protests across the country.

House Democrats on Wednesday passed a radical overhaul of the federal police force that would tackle racial discrimination and excessive use of force in law enforcement, as lawmakers seek to revive bipartisan negotiations on the issue.

The House first passed the bill last summer, in a bid to respond to a wave of demands for racial justice after the murders of black Americans across the country, including George Floyd, for whom the bill law was appointed. But in the months that followed, Republican opposition in the House and Senate only hardened, making his time in the Senate extremely unlikely at this time.

The House vote was 220-212, with two Democrats joining Republicans in voting no. A Republican voted in favor of the overhaul, but quickly said it was a mistake.

Progressives are plotting to use the opposition as an example of Republican obstruction as they advocate for Senate Democrats to drop legislative obstruction, lowering the Senate passage threshold from 60 to a simple majority. But Representative Karen Bass, Democrat of California and lead author of the bill, said in an interview this week that she hoped she could find common ground with a cadre of Senate Republicans, led by Tim Scott of Carolina. South, who put together their own more modest proposal last summer.

“There is a tremendous amount of good faith and goodwill between Senator Scott and me,” Ms. Bass said, while admitting that there had been a “loss of momentum” in favor of an overhaul since the last summer.

The political change was evident on Wednesday and may prove too formidable to overcome. After treating the Democrats’ proposal gently last summer, Republicans have made offensive liberal police proposals a key part of their 2020 campaigns and have come away convinced of its success.

California Representative Kevin McCarthy, the Republican leader, repeated one of the attacks on Thursday, saying the bill would “destroy the police” by imposing “mountains of new regulations” that would drain resources from departments. The attack was aimed at pairing the efforts of House Democrats with calls by progressive activists to reduce or remove resources from ministries – something the Washington lawmakers who drafted the bill explicitly rejected.

“Democrats just doubled as a Defunding the Police party,” Mr McCarthy wrote on Twitter.

The House bill would be the most significant federal intervention in law enforcement in years. This would change the legal protections that protect police officers from prosecution, known as qualified immunity, and make it easier for them to prosecute for wrongdoing. It would also impose a new set of restrictions on the use of lethal force and effectively ban the use of strangulation.

Law enforcement organizations and police unions vigorously opposed the measure, and the Trump administration threatened a veto, arguing it would weaken law enforcement. President Biden supports the bill.

George Floyd, a 46-year-old African American, died in Minneapolis on May 25 after being handcuffed and pinned to the ground below the knee of a white policeman for more than nine minutes as he protested: “I can’t breathe. ”The county medical examiner said the death was homicide.

Jury selection is expected to begin Monday for the trial of officer Derek Chauvin, who was fired and charged with second degree murder and second degree manslaughter. Three other former officers involved in Mr. Floyd’s death will be tried separately.

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Read the letter from the Acting Capitol Police Chief on the extension of the presence of the National Guard troops

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PITOL POLICE PHONE: 202-224-9806 UNITED STATES UNITED STATES CAPITOL POLICE OFFICE OF THE CHIEF 1828 119 D STREET, NE WASHINGTON, DC 20510-7218 March 4, 2021 COP 210310 The Honorable Nancy Pelosi Speaker of the House House of United States Representatives H-232, The Capitol Washington, DC 20515 The Honorable Charles Schumer Majority Leader United States Senate 322 Senate Office Building Hart Washington, DC 20510 The Honorable Kevin McCarthy Republican Leader House of Representatives of the United States H-204, The Capitol Washington, DC 20515 The Honorable Mitch McConnell Senate Republican Leader United States Senate 317 Russell Senate Building Washington, DC 20510 Dear President Pelosi, Majority Leader Schumer and Leaders McCarthy and McConnell : I am writing to request your assistance in obtaining the required authorization for the United States Capitol Police (USCP) to submit their amended request to the Department of Defense (DOD) for continued support from the National Guard. ional. The current request approved by the DOD expires on March 12, 2021. On February 18, 2021, the department applied to the Capitol Police Council for an extension of the Council’s emergency order, which currently expires on March 24. By statute, without an extension of the declaration of emergency, the Department cannot ask the National Guard to remain on campus. On February 25, 2021, the department shared with the Capitol Police Council and DOD its Draft Request for Assistance (RFA) indicating USCP’s intention to request an extension and reduction in support. The RFA project, if approved, would reduce the requested level of National Guard support by 46% as of March 13, 2021, and then continue to gradually and rationally reduce the level of soldiers depending on the threat environment. and physical and operational security capabilities. The draft RFA also indicates the Department’s intention to use technology to further enhance defense capabilities and reduce its dependence on manpower. To date, the USCP has not received the required clearance to request an extension of National Guard support. The USCP understands that the House Sergeant-at-Arms approved the requested extension, but he did not receive formal approval. On Wednesday March 4, 2021, the Department received the attached “white paper” from members of the Capitol Police Council. Again, it is not clear to the Department whether the instructions set out in this document are mandates or recommendations and whether they represent the views of the entire Board. Nationally accredited by the Law Enforcement Accreditation Commission, Inc.

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Former police chief charged with attempted murder after arson

The “target list” found on David M. Crawford’s cell phone indicated a former police chief gripped by grievances in his personal and professional life, authorities said.

He named, among others, two doctors who had treated Mr Crawford for a back injury, a woman who had run a training program for Mr Crawford’s wife who was discussing “white privilege”, and three former police officers. who had served with Mr. Crawford during his more than three-decade career in Maryland law enforcement.

The “target list” was key piece of evidence, said authorities, who linked Mr Crawford, a former police chief in two Maryland towns, to an arson attack that reportedly included at least 12 fires that targeted Mr. Crawford. enemies across the state from 2011 to 2020.

All the fires were on at night. In six of the fires, victims slept at home with their families. No one was injured, but the fires caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage, and authorities said there were “clear signs” that people were at home when Mr Crawford lit a certain number of fires.

Mr Crawford, 69, of Ellicott City, Md., Was arrested on Wednesday and charged with at least 12 counts of attempted first degree murder, 12 counts of attempted second degree murder and multiple counts arson, authorities said.

He was taken into custody after a years-long investigation uncovered internet search logs, burnt bluejeans left in a storm sewer and other evidence linking Mr Crawford to the crimes, authorities said. Prosecutors said Mr Crawford burned down homes, garages and cars in five Maryland counties: Prince George’s, Montgomery, Howard, Frederick and Charles.

The fires, prosecutors said, shared a surprisingly similar pattern. The arsonist often appeared on surveillance video wearing a sweatshirt with a tightly pulled hood, hiding his face. The person poured gasoline into gallon jugs and used a stick wrapped in cloth. Sometimes a silver sedan was seen near the crime scene.

As investigators began to investigate Mr Crawford, the links between him and the fires became clearer, authorities said. All of the victims were relatives or people with “known connections” to Mr Crawford or his wife, Mary Crawford, police said in court documents. Investigators said he had targeted “victims with whom he had previously had disagreements.”

The fires targeted a former administrator in the town of Laurel; former Police Chief Laurel who replaced Crawford after his resignation in 2010; two married chiropractors who had treated him 19 times for a back injury; and Mr. Crawford’s own son-in-law, with whom he had had many heated arguments.

“These allegations are disturbing and quite serious, and if proven, members of our family in the town of Laurel have been victims,” ​​Laurel Mayor Craig A. Moe said Wednesday. “And I want to say that our thoughts and prayers are with them, and their families, as this matter progresses.”

Mr. Crawford has had a long career in law enforcement. He started working as a police officer in the 1970s and left the Prince George County Police Department as a major in 2000. He went on to serve as chief of police in District Heights, Maryland, and then in Laurel. When Mr Moe announced in October 2010 that Mr Crawford was stepping down as Chief of Police, he said it was for unspecified “personal reasons”.

It was not immediately clear whether Mr. Crawford had a lawyer. There was no response Wednesday night to the phone numbers and email address listed under his name.

Police said a fire apparently targeted a woman who ran a training program Mary Crawford attended in 2016 in which ‘white privilege’ was discussed. According to prosecutors, Ms Crawford had objected to the concept of white privilege and the woman told her she was not welcome to the program.

About four months later, in March 2017, Mr Crawford set fire to a car belonging to the coach’s mother, authorities said. Police said they later found searches for the trainer’s address on Mr Crawford’s computer.

Three of the fires targeted the home of Mr Crawford’s stepson, with whom he had a “strained” relationship, prosecutors said. The fires had been started after many heated arguments over the years, prosecutors said.

Another fire caused more than $ 240,000 in damage to the home of a neighborhood association leader Mr Crawford had struggled with as they worked together on a contentious school redistribution effort.

Mr Crawford was also charged with setting fire to the house, garage and cars of Richard McLaughlin, who had succeeded him as police chief in Laurel. Mr McLaughlin, who was sleeping at the house with his family when the fire was lit, later told investigators there was “definitely animosity” between him and Mr Crawford.

In January, police executed a search warrant at Mr Crawford’s home, which revealed ‘significant evidence’ linking him to the fires, including Mr Crawford’s internet search history and ‘target list’. Which was found on her cell phone and named the known victims.

Mr Moe said the city will continue to cooperate with authorities as they investigate Mr Crawford.

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Three Wichita police officers injured in ‘possible explosion’, officials say

Three police officers from Wichita, Kan., Who had been sent to check on a vacant house, were injured on Saturday by “a possible explosion from an unknown device,” police said.

The three officers were taken to hospital – two with minor injuries and one in serious but stable condition, Wichita Police Department said on twitter.

The police were dispatched around 4 p.m. local time “to check on a vacant residence” and were injured after entering the house, police said.

Chief Gordon Ramsay said police were called to the house by the owners, who noticed the windows were open and feared someone had been inside. When the police arrived, they checked around the house and received the key from the owner.

“They walked inside and almost immediately when they entered the door there was some sort of gunshot, gunshot or explosion,” Chief Ramsay told reporters. .

“We don’t know if someone was inside, if it was a trap, we don’t know if it was a gun or if it was some type of improvised device, ”he said. “This is what we are currently investigating.”

A bomb squad and a SWAT team were at the scene, according to police, who asked people to avoid the area. The chief said residents of the immediate vicinity had been evacuated.

A video posted on Twitter by Michael Stavola, a reporter for The Wichita Eagle, showed police telling someone over loudspeaker to come out unarmed and that they would not be hurt.

“It’s still an active situation”, the police said on twitter. “We will provide updates as we learn new information.”

The Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives mentionned that his agents were also at the scene, working with the state and local authorities to investigate.

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Digidog, a robotic dog used by police, raises privacy concerns

Two men were being held hostage in an apartment in the Bronx. They had been threatened at gunpoint, tied up and tortured for hours by two other men posing as plumbers to get inside, police said.

One of the victims managed to escape and called the police, who showed up early Tuesday morning at the apartment on East 227th Street, unsure whether the gunmen were still inside.

Police have decided it’s time to deploy Digidog, a 70-pound robotic dog with an oblique gait, cameras and lights attached to its frame, and a two-way communication system that allows the officer to maneuver it around. distance to see and hear what’s going on. .

Police said the robot could see in the dark and assess how safe it was for officers to enter an apartment or building where there could be a threat.

In the Bronx home invasion, police said Digidog helped officers determine there was no one inside. Police said they were still looking for the two men, who stole a cell phone and $ 2,000 in cash and used a hot iron to burn one of the victims.

“The NYPD has been using robots since the 1970s to save lives in hostage situations and hazardous materials incidents,” the ministry said on Twitter. “This robot model is being tested to assess its capabilities against other models used by our emergency services unit and bomb squad.”

But the robot has skeptics.

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat, described Digidog on Twitter as a “robotic ground surveillance” drone.

“Please ask yourself: when was the last time you saw next-generation, world-class technology for education, healthcare, housing, etc., a constant priority for underserved communities like this? this?” she said on twitter, link to a New York Post article on Digidog.

City council passed the Surveillance Technology Public Oversight Act last June amid police force overhaul efforts, many of which were sparked by Black Lives Matter protests.

The law requires the police department to be more transparent about its surveillance and technology tools, including Digidog, which civilian libertarians say was lacking.

Jay Stanley, senior political analyst for the American Civil Liberties Union, said allowing a robot to do police work could have implications for bias, mobile surveillance, hacking and privacy. There are also concerns that the robot could be paired with other technology and be armed.

“We see a lot of police services adopting powerful new surveillance and other technologies without saying, let alone asking, the communities they serve,” he said. “Openness and transparency are therefore essential.”

The New York Police Department did not respond to requests for comment on civil liberty concerns.

A mobile device that can collect intelligence about an unstable situation remotely has “enormous potential” for limiting injuries and deaths, said Keith Taylor, former SWAT team sergeant at the police department who teaches at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

“It’s important to question the authority of the police, but it seems simple enough,” he said. “It’s designed to help law enforcement get the information they need without having to endure a fatal shooting, for example.”

The New York Police Department is one of three countries with the Mechanical Dog, built by Boston Dynamics, the tech company known for its videos of robots dancing and jumping with eerie, human fluidity.

The company, which calls the robot dog Spot, started selling it last June. Most of the buyers were utilities and energy companies, as well as manufacturers and construction companies, who use it to enter spaces too dangerous for humans, said Michael Perry, vice president of development. commercial of the company.

The robot was used to inspect sites containing hazardous materials. At the start of the pandemic, it was used by health workers to communicate with potentially ill patients at hospital triage sites, Perry said.

Most companies rename the robot after buying it, giving it names like Bolt and Mac and Cheese, he said.

The Massachusetts State Police and the Honolulu Police Department also use the robotic dog, which has a 90-minute battery life and walks at a speed of three miles per hour.

Other law enforcement agencies have called the company to inquire about the device, which has a starting price of around $ 74,000 and may cost more with additional features, Mr. Perry said.

The robotic dog, which looks like those featured in the 2017 episode “Metalhead” of “Black Mirror,” was not designed to act as a secret tool for mass surveillance, Mr. Perry said.

“It’s loud and lights flashing,” he says. “It’s not something low-key.”

The use of robots that can be deployed in dangerous situations to keep police officers out of harm’s way could become the norm.

In Dallas in 2016, police broke a standoff with a gunman wanted in the murder of five police officers by detonating him with a robot.

In 2015, a man with a knife who threatened to jump off a bridge in San Jose, Calif., Was taken into custody after police had a robot brought a cell phone and pizza to him.

The previous year, Albuquerque police used a robot to “deploy chemical munitions” in a motel room where a man had barricaded himself with a gun, according to a department report. He surendered.

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California man died after police acted on him for 5 minutes, family say

When Maria Quinto-Collins began filming her son at her home in Antioch, Calif. On December 23, he was already on the floor, unresponsive.

In the footage, a pair of officers from the Antioch Police Department can be seen rolling the son, Angelo Quinto, from his stomach to the side. Ms. Quinto-Collins can be heard repeatedly asking, “What happened?”

Mr. Quinto, 30, never regained consciousness; He died three days later. Last week, her family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city. He said the two officers, who had responded to a call from Mr Quinto’s sister, knelt on Mr Quinto’s back for nearly five minutes to restrain him and that he was “deceased as a direct result. of unreasonable force used against him. “

The claim, which seeks punitive damages, was filed on Feb. 18 against Antioch, which is in Contra Costa County, about 45 miles east of San Francisco. The city has 45 days to respond.

Last week, the East Bay Times reported that police did not publicly share information about Mr Quinto’s death until the newspaper asked them about the case late last month . Since then, the case has gained national attention – in part because it seemed to echo the murder of George Floyd, who died in May after Derek Chauvin, a Minneapolis police officer, knocked his knee into his chest. neck for more than eight minutes, prompting protests against racism and police brutality.

John Burris, an attorney for Mr Quinto’s family, said on Wednesday Mr Quinto’s mother and sister were traumatized and grieving and questioned the decision to invite police to their home. “They thought they were calling the police for help,” Burris said.

He added that the family were awaiting the results of an autopsy from an independent medical examiner. “We are convinced that this is a case of asphyxiation,” he said.

Antioch police did not respond to a request for comment. But at a press conference on Wednesday – which was organized to share information about another man who died in custody early Wednesday morning – Tammany Brooks, chief of the police department, said the investigation into the death of Mr. Quinto continued.

According to the wrongful death complaint, Mr. Quinto suffered from anxiety and depression at times, and he appeared to be suffering from paranoia on the night of December 23. His sister, Isabella Collins, called the police, expressing her fear to the dispatcher.

When police arrived, Ms Quinto-Collins was holding her son in her arms to calm him down, according to the complaint. The police pushed him away and Mr. Quinto asked them not to kill him, according to the statement.

Then, according to the claim, he was restrained on the floor of his mother’s bedroom and handcuffed while officers – first one, then the other – placed their legs against his neck to press him down. . Blood stains appeared under Mr. Quinto’s face.

“At no time during his detention did Mr. Quinto resist physically or verbally,” says the complaint. “After being immobilized for almost five minutes, Mr. Quinto became lifeless.

It was around this time that her mother started filming. The footage shows rescuers looking for signs of life – Ms Quinto-Collins can be heard asking if her son has a pulse – then giving chest compressions.

The Contra Costa County coroner, who is part of the sheriff’s office, could not be reached on Wednesday, but told CNN the cause of death had not yet been disclosed.

The mayor of Antioch, Lamar Thorpe, told a press conference on Monday that he visited the Quinto family and offered them his condolences. “I don’t know all the details,” he says. “Full details remain to be seen, as the prosecutor’s office is currently conducting an active investigation.”

A spokesperson for the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office confirmed the case is under investigation, as is the protocol for every death involving law enforcement.

Mr Thorpe, who became mayor in December after campaigning on calls for police reform, announced a list of reform measures on Monday. They include the creation of a mental health crisis response team and the use of body cameras, which are not currently in use in Antioch.

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Berkeley draws closer to end of police stops


After Californians took to the streets of cities across the state to protest police brutality and racism last summer, elected leaders pledged to implement reforms.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has pledged to shift $ 250 million from city services – including a $ 150 million cut from policing – to communities of color. San Francisco Mayor London Breed in June unveiled a four point plan to tackle racism and how the city’s police department is tackling mental health and homelessness.

But progress on those goals has been mixed in the months since, not just in California, but across the country. And different jurisdictions have taken different approaches.

Amid widespread calls for police removal, for example, school leaders in some cities have decided to reduce the presence of armed police in the hallways. This month, the Los Angeles Unified School District voted to downsize its police force and instead invest millions of dollars it would have spent on armed security in programs for students of color and other measures. , after student activists pushed for the defounding of the department.

[Read about how schools are one of the few places where major changes have taken place in response to last summer’s Black Lives Matter protests.]

But in Berkeley, known for its progressive policies, city officials this week made what they described as significant changes that they hope will make the city a role model in addressing racial disparities in the city. police – without explicitly focusing on reducing the police department budget.

“I think using the word ‘defund’ is wrong,” Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín told me Tuesday. “What we are focusing on is transforming our approach to public safety and that is part of the larger effort to determine what the role of police is in our community and how can they be deployed.” the best?”

In July, as my colleague Kellen Browning reported, Berkeley became what was believed to be the first city in the country to consider banning police officers from carrying out road checks and shifting that responsibility to unarmed members. of a transport department.

[Read more about why proponents believe removing the police from traffic stops could prevent encounters with Black civilians that turn violent — or deadly.]

On Tuesday evening, the Berkeley City Council unanimously approved a package of reforms that city officials – including Chief Andrew Greenwood of the Berkeley Police Department, who spoke at the special meeting – have said this was possible in the short term, while figuring out how to make larger changes.

The reforms are forcing city officials to implement a ban on stopping drivers for non-safety related offenses, like broken tail lights or even passing a stop sign if they don’t. nobody around, and would prevent the police from asking questions about the status of parole and probation. in most of the cases.

The reforms also include the requirement for written consent for searches in cases where consent is required and the incorporation of increased transparency measures into police interactions with members of the public.

[Find the recommendations in more detail here.]

Experts have long said that road stops, the most common interaction Americans have with police, disproportionately affect black drivers. And police officers often have wide discretion to stop people in “pretext stops,” which means they can stop a driver for a minor offense so they can ask further questions.

A report from the Center for Policing Equity found that blacks are 6.5 times more likely than whites to be stopped by the Berkeley Police Department while driving and 4.5 times more likely to be stopped on foot.

Mr Arreguín said asking officers to spend less time arresting people for violations that do not affect broader public safety and more time investigating more serious crimes would build confidence and render service more efficient.

Now the city’s elected leaders must hold those responsible for implementing the changes, said Nathan Mizell, a UC Berkeley student who served on the city’s police review board and the group. work of the mayor who drew up the recommendations approved on Tuesday.

“I think this is really a milestone,” Mr. Mizell said. “He’s the long overdue one.”

(This article is part of California today newsletter. Register to have it delivered to your inbox.)

  • California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who is President Biden’s choice for Health Secretary, was faced with difficult questions on Tuesday during the first of two confirmation hearings. But with Vice President Kamala Harris available to break a tie, Mr Becerra appears to be heading for the job. [The New York Times]

Senators are overloaded with hearing hours as they attempt to work on Cabinet confirmations. [The New York Times]

  • Governor Gavin Newsom on Tuesday signed a massive $ 7.6 billion relief package that will send payments of $ 600 to millions of low-income, undocumented Californians. [CapRadio]

  • Tiger Woods was rushed to hospital with serious leg injuries after being involved in a car crash on a stretch of Hawthorne Boulevard near Rancho Palos Verdes, known for its accidents. Here is what we know about the accident. [The New York Times]

  • Two studies have confirmed that the california coronavirus variant is more contagious, but the extent of the threat is still unclear. [The New York Times]

Track the variants and mutations of the coronavirus. [The New York Times]

  • The states highly regarded Covid-19 test laboratory in Valencia managed by PerkinElmer rebuffed against a finding in a recent state inspection that it had “significant deficiencies,” saying the problems had been corrected. [San Gabriel Valley Tribune]

  • Los Angeles Unified School District is set to restart some on campus services next week, with a wider reopening scheduled for April 9. [LAist]

  • Amid the considerable frustration that the effort has taken so much oxygen while students are still not in the classrooms, the head of the San Francisco Board of Education said the massive name change of schools will be put on hold. [The New York Times]

Washington Republicans are taking over closed schools as a political rallying cry. [The New York Times]

  • The family of a 30-year-old naval veteran, Angelo Quinto, plans to file a complaint against the Antioch Police Department after a policeman knelt on his neck while suffering from a mental health crisis. He was pronounced dead in a hospital three days later. [KTVU]

  • The agency that controls much of California’s water supply has released figures that fears heightened that the state will fall into another drought. [The Sacramento Bee]

  • Meet the activists works to remake the food system. [T Magazine]

If you missed it, learn more about the farmer who grows peaches during the pandemic. [The New York Times]

Lawrence Ferlinghetti, the poet and publisher, the spiritual godfather of the Beat movement, best known for decades as the owner of San Francisco’s beloved City Lights bookstore, died Monday morning. He was 101 years old.

In 1951, Mr. Ferlinghetti arrived in San Francisco, which he described as “all of Bohemia”.

In 1953, he and Peter Martin opened the City Lights paperback store, which originally only contained paperbacks.

And in 2019, in honor of his 100th birthday, there were celebratory readings, documentary screenings – and tours of the old school San Francisco he knew.

California Today goes live at 6:30 a.m. PT on weekdays. Tell us what you want to see: Have you received this email? Sign up for California Today here and read each edition online here.

Jill Cowan grew up in Orange County, graduated from UC Berkeley and has reported statewide, including the Bay Area, Bakersfield and Los Angeles – but she always wants to see more. Follow us here or on Twitter.

California Today is edited by Julie Bloom, who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from UC Berkeley.

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Los Angeles school district eliminates a third of its police officers

SACRAMENTO – After a months-long effort to dissolve police in California’s largest public school system, Los Angeles Unified School District administrators on Tuesday approved a plan to cut 133 police stations, ban the use of gas peppered on students and diverted $ 25 million to programs supporting students of color.

The move, which dramatically reinvents school safety in Los Angeles, followed a vote last summer during nationwide protests against the police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Amid calls for racial justice, the school board slashed the district’s 400 police force by 35 percent, resulting in the resignation of 20 officers and the chief, who opposed the elimination of jobs in the district. dozens of agents.

Tuesday’s vote was the result of months of meetings on how best to reconfigure public safety in the district, which serves an estimated 650,000 students. The resulting plan eliminates 70 sworn officers, who have powers of arrest; 62 non-sworn officers; and a support staff member, leaving 211 officers in the district force.

Los Angeles high school officers will be replaced by community “climate coaches” who will mentor students, help resolve conflicts and address implicit biases.

The Oakland, Calif., School district eliminated its police force in June. But members of the Los Angeles school board, who met virtually Tuesday, are divided over whether to reduce the police presence on campus.

“It’s a big business that took a lot of coordination,” said Kelly Gonez, board member, “but I know we all know and believe our black students are certainly worth the effort.”

George McKenna, another board member, warned that “Parents expect us to have safe schools, and if you think the police are the problem, I think you have a problem yourself.”

In a statement, the school district’s new police chief Leslie Ramirez said the department has already made changes that would limit the presence of uniformed officers on campus. Chief Ramirez added that the new plan had “potential liabilities, lacked clarity and would have unintended consequences for the safety of students and staff.”

The $ 25 million cuts will also help fund a Black Student Success Plan, which will include expanded boards, teacher development, curriculum changes and other programs to support inclusion. Campus police will continue to monitor schools and be available for emergencies.

A previous district-wide survey found that the majority of parents, students and school staff felt police made their schools safer, but only 50% of black parents had a positive view of school police and only 35% of black students said they felt more secure.

District Superintendent Austin Beutner on Monday praised the Black Student Success Plan in his weekly address.

“We have systematically failed black children as a country,” said Beutner. “Schools must be part of the solution, because a good education is the most important part of the road to get out of poverty.”

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Nicki Minaj’s father Robert Maraj is randomly killed, police say

Robert Maraj, father of rapper Nicki Minaj, died Saturday after being struck by a vehicle during a hit and run on Long Island, authorities said.

Mr Maraj was walking on the roadway near the intersection of Roslyn Road and Raff Avenue in Mineola, New York, around 6:15 p.m. Friday, when he was struck by a northbound vehicle leaving the scene, the Nassau County Police Department said in a statement.

Mr Maraj, 64, a resident of Mineola, was taken to a hospital in critical condition, police said, before being pronounced dead by a hospital doctor on Saturday.

The Nassau County Police Department said its homicide squad was investigating.

A representative for Ms Minaj confirmed her death but did not provide further details.

Ms Minaj, whose parents moved to the United States from Trinidad before joining them in the United States two years later, has previously spoken about crack use and domestic violence at her childhood home in Jamaica, Queens. , including an episode in which his father tried to burn down his house.

In a 2015 interview with the New York Times, Ms Minaj was asked if she had been abused by her father.

“No. He was just violent,” she said. “I could still hear him screaming and swearing, always. And it made me feel like that was the way to interact, because it is. how I saw him interact. ”

Ms Minaj said in a 2010 Rolling Stone interview that as a child she “always felt that being rich would heal everything”, allowing her to take care of her mother so they could leave. his father. “That’s always what motivated me,” she says.

“I was disappointed with my father,” she says. “I was scared, very scared, that something would happen to my mother. I had nightmares about it.