Police nationwide are ill-equipped to handle the mentally ill

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Or are our expectations of officers becoming unrealistic?

The El Cajon shooting just sparked a debate that has been brought up several times in recent history, is law enforcement nationwide ill-equipped to handle the mentally ill?

The El Cajon police were dispatched on a 5150 call, which is a request for an involuntary psychiatric hold because Alfred Olango’s sister had called them.

She told dispatch that he was not himself and that he was sick and needed help.  

Officers found Alfred Olango behind a downtown restaurant in a parking lot and within moments police killed him.

Alfred Olango was a 38-year old African American male. He pointed a vape smoking device at officers in such a way that it appeared to them he had a weapon. It is unclear if his sister told dispatch if he was armed or not, didn’t know or if dispatch passed that information onto the responding officers.

This shooting has set off yet another wave of debate, sparking protests in the San Diego suburb. It has become a new hot button in the ongoing saga with regards to deadly encounters between police and people with mental illnesses.

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This shooting like the last two are leaving many wondering if law enforcement is too quick to respond with a bullet, are they ill trained, or do they just not care?

One question I usually ask people who are quick to condemn the police for a shooting is “have you ever been in a live shooter situation?” It’s a simple yes or no answer right? Wrong, I always get the “Well if it were me…” answer.

The problem is, the answer is not so simple. Police literally have a split second to size the situation up and to react. Police are not usually called to any situation where they can offer a more “proactive” approach.

They get called when a situation has become one that warrants a reactive response.

A month or so ago I saw a story I want to say out of a small town in Florida. A man was sitting outside of a local Walgreen’s with a gun or rifle. The police were able to successfully talk him down. What was later revealed was that the weapon was not loaded and the man was in fact, mentally ill.

So at first glance we all read the story and think “wow, those cops are amazing, they did not shoot first” but…I later learned that they somehow found out the weapon was not loaded so they negotiated with the man instead of shooting him when he failed to put the weapon down.

The headline made it seem that the situation was something that it was not and it was delivered that way to make the local cops look like heroes, which they are for getting the man help but had they not known the gun was not loaded, the situation may have played out way differently.

Are we expecting too much from law enforcement?

I always try to answer this with two answers, yes and no.

Police can’t read minds or know what the person in front of them is truly thinking. They have a split second to think about it. They are trained to react.

Many people say and to an extent I agree with them, we have gone too far in terms of training cops to react to situations, they need to learn better to react to individuals rather than to a situation because that might change the outcome of some situations.

Yet we as a society, well we do expect police to just know when to shoot and when not to shoot, regardless of whether or not the suspect has a weapon, acts like or pretends to have a weapon.

A bigger issue is, are they getting enough details from dispatch? Do they always know when they are responding to a situation where someone might be experiencing a mental illness? Do they know if the individual is armed or not?

We also have to look at our own expectations and the world that we currently live in.

We need to take into account that it is impossible to expect police to not react to situations that they deem dangerous. We live in a world with too many variables and quite frankly police don’t always know what they are walking into.

Anyone suffering from any type of mental illness may or may not be on medication or worse self medicating. He or she may be on medication but mixing it with alcohol or illegal drugs. He or she may mixing medication with other prescribed medications, they have have taken too much or too little medication.

He or she may be a lone wolf extremist who is hell bent on killing. They may end up facing someone who is unwilling to go to jail so they’d rather get into a shootout with police, it could also be a young teen who has a problem with authority in general.

It’s not feasible to expect police to know all of this when rolling into a situation and not react. It’s not like on TV or in the movies, they really do only get a split second.

None of that means that police don’t need better training, they need to learn to react less quickly, learn to use non-lethal force when needed, police nationwide are getting training to better equip them to deal with the mentally ill but are they using that training enough?

Yet even that training will not cover all of the different scenarios they encounter.

Each side has a story, but society isn’t really hearing the story.

When protesters resort to looting, shooting, rioting, killing, violence and screaming in the face of police, we see and hear you but we don’t hear or see your cause, story or what you hope to accomplish.

The media, parents and loved ones who have lost someone to an officer involved shooting have sometimes not been entirely truthful about who the deceased really was, too reluctant to face reality, they are too quick to condemn the police long before they have even part of the facts let alone half of them. Even after that they still call the shooting unjustified.

For law enforcement, far too often they are too quick to defend the actions of officers and are not being transparent enough. Too many times problem officers are allowed to continually slide and keep jobs when they shouldn’t.

Law enforcement does not have a standard in terms of making sure the police they have are still good cops after years on the job. Nor do they have a standard to ensure they are not bias against anyone and/or desensitized to crimes or victims.

The point is, in general many in society no longer trust police to have their backs. Many see them as militant, abusive, ruthless, unkind, they let the job go to their heads, they put themselves on a pedestal, they feel that they can do no wrong, cover for each other, departments cover for bad cops and they are too eager to shoot black individuals, suspects or not. 

So while no one is being heard, we still face the same issues and we are getting nowhere.

No more hiding behind the badge…

and

No more hiding behind excusing criminal behavior because of race or past mistreatment.

It is time for law enforcement and the communities they serve to come together and just hear each other, compromise and solve the issues that they each face.

Until then, let’s hope for more peaceful meaningful protests throughout the U.S.

Cristal M Clark

IOS users can find The Crime Shop on Apple News

@thecrimeshop

Yahoo! Breach was state sponsored?

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According to Yahoo…and only Yahoo.

Yahoo claims that it’s 500 million hacked credentials was state-sponsored, a story that they “claim” to have only just learned about last week.

Let’s be truthfully honest about Yahoo here. This is far, really, really far from breaking news.

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Anyone who has ever had a Yahoo account knows or if you know of someone who has had a Yahoo account, you know that hacked accounts involving Yahoo have been happening for well over, 5 years.

Hacked Yahoo accounts are nothing and I mean nothing new to users.

In yet another blow to Yahoo however, Arizona-based InfoArmor found that the hacked user data was later sold to at least 3 clients, which included just 1 state-sponsored group. Which means that the hack was not state-sponsored and so, InfoArmor challenged Yahoo’s claim.

InfoArmor suspects that the hackers were an Eastern European criminal gang. According to InfoArmor, after viewing a small sample of the hacked accounts. They determined that the hack was in fact, criminal in nature and less likely to be state-sponsored.

It has been reported that a U.S. government source familiar with the Yahoo investigation said that there really is no hard evidence yet on whether the hack was state-sponsored as well.

The group was found to have been known to sell hacked user account information on the dark web and they were linked to hacks from Tumblr, MySpace and LinkedIn.

It’s important to realize that finding out who is behind cyber attacks is considered difficult by both the intelligence and research communities. Not to mention that trying to find out is pretty damn challenging once you weigh in the fact that criminal hackers sometimes do provide information to government intelligence agencies or offer their services for hire.

That tends to make it even more difficult to determine who is ultimately responsible for a hack.

The perception however, and this benefits Yahoo’s “claim” is that Nation-state hackers are are more often than not viewed as possessing more advanced capabilities than criminal groups. That perception however is completely fallacious.

It’s like something we tell ourselves and others just so we can easily explain the how that which we truly cannot. You just pin it on the most believed source. Like Russia for instance.

And, here’s where things get sticky.

Someone interpreted InfoArmor’s report as implicating the Russian Government as being behind the whole thing. That was NBC news, then a Wall Street Journal report stated that InfoArmor was able to crack encrypted passwords for some Yahoo accounts that were provided by the newspaper, and that report came to the complete opposite conclusion.

But if you ask users of Yahoo, they will tell you that the hacks have been going on for years with absolutely zero help from Yahoo. No attempt to stop them, block them and no warnings ever came from Yahoo about accounts having been hacked, users almost always found out from those that had received some spam email from the users email account. 

My vote is with InfoArmor.

The reality is that hackers have been stealing the info for quite some time and they have been selling it on the dark web. I noticed that during past trips through the dark web, yahoo user accounts were always for sale and they have been for quite a bit of time.

Quite frankly, I am surprised anyone still uses Yahoo given that Yahoo has always been prone to hacks.  

In the meantime, no one knows who exactly was behind the hacks and we may never know.

Cristal M Clark

IOS users can find The Crime Shop on Apple News

@thecrimeshop

 

Someone is testing ways to take down the internet – Worldwide

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The question is who?

Last month Bruce Schneier noticed that someone is testing way to bring down the entire internet.

Bruce Schneier is a very well known and trusted security expert, the CTO of IBM’s Resilient and a fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Center, learned that companies who are responsible for the basic infrastructure of the internet were experiencing large scale attacks that were designed to test for each company’s defenses.

Bruce said that based off of the size of the attacks and the fact that they were considered such large scale attacks that only a state who has a large cyber-warfare unit could be responsible.

That put China and Russia are at the top of some lists but the reality is that other states are far equal if not more advanced than China and Russia. Israel has reportedly been growing more and more powerful in terms of having cyber brawn,  Iran is up and growing as well…

The biggest issue is that it is not truly possible to really tell what everyone else is doing at this juncture let alone, who really does have the largest cyber force or cyber forces in the world.

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The attacks were large DDoS attacks, which are such large amounts of data that they bring servers down because they overwhelm the server.

They were noticed because they escalated and were described as coming in slowly mounting waves, which then forced the companies to “demonstrate their defense capabilities for the attacker.”

Basically, once the attacker saw the defense capabilities it could potentially then allow for the attacker to find ways around those defenses.

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The growing concern is that whoever is responsible for the attacks may be planning an attack that could bring down the entire internet, email servers, top domains, governments and the like.

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But, the internet as a whole does not have an actual on and off switch so it is a debate as to whether or not someone could actually shut the entire thing down worldwide.

Bruce reported that based off of the data he saw, it suggested China as behind the attacks, but again that has yet to truly be determined.

Other states should be considered because it’s usually those that you least suspect. The guys you aren’t really noticing because they were able to fly right under the radar.

The one’s everyone thinks is out of the running game in terms of a cyber force.

More than likely, the attacks were a very clear message to the world that someone is building a very powerful cyber force and it’s one that we need to pay attention to.

The problem is, we don’t know who it is at this stage, much less why.

Cristal M Clark

IOS users can find The Crime Shop on Apple News

@thecrimeshop

 

Police shootings – to react violently is the answer

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Or is it?

I read an article today with a headline that read “Maybe violence is the answer.”

The piece was about the recent violent protests in Charlotte, NC because officers shot and killed Keith Lamont Scott and the decision in Tulsa to prosecute officer Betty Shelby who shot and killed Terence Crutcher.

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The article was well thought out and well written and it even made some really valid points.

I was shocked by it however, I must admit because it was rather suggestive. 

I do not believe that reacting in a violent manner will win this battle, I also do not believe that it is warranted. People’s lives who, are not cops paid the price for the violent reaction in Charlotte. Store and shop owners paid the price, people who had a car parked in the wrong place at the wrong time paid the price.

I also do not believe that the decision in Tulsa had much to do with the violent reaction from Charlotte that was splashed all over TV networks. They were two different decisions, in two different cities and in two different states, that police the communities they serve, differently.

Two different cities who also had two entirely different takes on whether or not to release the video they had, some or all, didn’t matter. One city was for it, the other didn’t really want to.

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I worked for a number of years with the Arvada, Colorado Police Department. For the most part they have really good cops on the force. Citizens love the police in that town.

That department as a whole however is really quite successful in terms of its relationship with the community that is serves.

They had a problem with a group of officers once. They resolved that problem really, really quickly. Those problem cops, they didn’t end up working for the department after the issue.

You tend to see that throughout quite a few towns in Colorado. Police seem to have found the niche for being able to maintain the delicate balance between law and order and developing long standing strong relationships with the communities they serve.

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A Denver Police Department car. denver; colorado; denverite; police; cops; kevinjbeaty

Even I will from time to time if something pops up on my radar report on an issue any of those departments may be facing or have faced. I do it to highlight that for some departments the issues they face are small if you looked at the grand scheme of things and those problems if you were so inclined to study them are pretty minor and far and few.

Now take a look at the Oakland, California Police department and its history, they seem to have no issue letting things go until the Feds have to step in. The same with Chicago.

Different departments, different leadership and different ways of handling problems.

And it does make a difference.

I get that people of color are fed up, hell many whites get it, and guess what, we are just as fed up. We are on your side, but trying to make the whole of today’s white society pay for what a cop did or what the whites of generations past did long ago is quite ignorant.

We can only fix the future, not the past.

It makes no sense to make today’s world pay for a past none of us, had a hand in dealing out. And by us, that means all of here in america.

Isn’t our species trying to evolve past the need to react to a situation as if we are animals who cannot think past violent behavior?

I keep seeing a lot of talk going around about this, from congress to neighbors, I’m just not seeing it being put into action yet.

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Why are we not reacting the same way as the citizens of Chicago gun each other down or is that still eh-okay? Is it easier to justify a citizen killing another citizen/child who may or may not have had a gun? It’s just ok?

It is just as bad as a cop shooting someone.

Throughout history violence was always the answer, always. It’s how wars were won, it’s how slaves became free, it’s how religious leaders converted non-believers.

Did winning really win a whole lot?

Today’s generations are less likely to believe in any religion let alone practice it, black’s are still facing issues with racism and oppression, we may have won wars but what did we really end up with? Land if we were lucky, but mostly just bragging rights and debt.

The question is, is being a society that reacts to violence with violence truly who we are today?

We still feel that violence is the way?

Isn’t that the pot calling the kettle black?

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I find it funny, our nation as a whole, for the vast majority of citizens, doesn’t matter what race they are, balk at the violence in the middle east, which is now spreading across Europe.

That violence is largely due to sectarian, different religious views and ideals. Not to mention oppression, rejection, meaning other countries and/or societies treat those from the middle east as lesser than they themselves are…and many no longer want to take in refugees from certain places because, we have decided they are all bad, evil and so much less than we are.

Those Islamic terrorists, they justify their violent tactics and behaviors through interpreting the Quran and Hadith according to their own goals and intentions.

In a way, when you think about it, our violent reactions to what is happening in our own country is sort of the same.

We react violently sometimes and in some cases, against innocent individuals because of our own personal goals and intentions.

Using violence to fight police shooting and police use of force is a dangerous game that neither player will win.

Cristal M Clark

IOS users can find The Crime Shop on Apple News

@thecrimeshop

Yosemite National Park Murders

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He used murder to fill the void

Cary Stayner had a seemingly normal childhood until the age of 11, when in 1972 his younger brother Steven was kidnapped and held by child molester Kenneth Parnell.

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Steven escaped his captor in 1980 and was reunited with his family. Cary stated that he often times felt neglected by his parents while they grieved for his younger brother.

He must have felt more than just neglected when his younger brother returned to the family and the home in 1980.

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His younger brothers ordeal brought national attention to his brother and parents. Both a book and made for TV movie were released based off of Steven’s kidnapping both named “I know my first name is Steven.”

Steven died in 1989, in a motorcycle accident. Cary’s uncle whom he was living with was murdered the following year, Cary claimed that his uncle molested him, the claim was unfounded of course.

Cary went on to become so much more than his little brother ever was. At least in his mind.

Originally according to Cary, his plan was to kill his girlfriend and her daughters, but when he lost his nerve, he targeted strangers and tourists who were staying at a motel where he lived and worked just outside of Yosemite National Park, the Cedar Lodge.

In February of 1999, he found his first victims, they were 42-year-old Carole Sund, her 15-year-old daughter, Juli, and 16-year-old Argentinian exchange student Silvina Pelosso. He described the torture and murders in chilling detail.

He states that the week prior to the murders, the fantasies and idea’s to murder had become so intense that he prepared a murder/rape kit containing a rope, a roll of duct tape and a serrated kitchen knife, a gun and camera.

Cary had to feed the need, it became too much to hold down. So he focused his desires on Carole and the girls. He gained entry into the motel room they were staying in by posing as a maintenance man.

He pulled out the gun, he would later inform Juli that the gun was not loaded, he then bound and gagged the three on the room’s two beds.

He took Carole Sund into the bathroom, strangled her, then he put her in the trunk of Carole’s rental car.

He spent hours sexually torturing the two girls. He was upset that they would not cooperate with him as he attempted to force them to perform sexual acts on each other. He also became upset at his inability to get and keep an erection.

In all he tortured both for between 6-7 hours before he took Silvina into the bathroom, where he strangled her. He then took Silvina’s lifeless body out to the car where he placed her in the trunk.

After sexually assaulting Juli Sund, he took her to a point near Lake Don Pedro where he slashed her throat and threw her off the roadside.

Cary then burned the car so as to hide evidence of the bodies he had in the car, Carole and Silvina were still in the car.

He played games with investigators and the FBI as well. In a letter with a map leading them to Juli’s body, one line from the note read “We had fun with this one.”

He also ditched Carole’s wallet approximately 80 miles from the motel where he committed the murders in an effort to further confuse investigators.

Things went quiet for a time until July of 1999 when he says that the urge to kill overtook him once again. This time his attention was drawn to Joie Armstrong, a 26-year-old naturalist who worked at the Yosemite Institute and who happened to be alone in the isolated cabin where she lived.

His desire so overtook him that he ended up decapitating Joie.

During the first investigation, investigators did not consider Cary a suspect in the crimes because he had no criminal history, he was calm during the interviews and did not seem to fit the mold in terms of a murderous monster.

It was not until the Joie’s headless body was found that investigators would focus more closely on Cary because eyewitnesses said they saw a blue 1979 International Scout parked outside the cabin where Joie was staying.

Detectives traced the vehicle to its owner, one Cary Stayner. FBI agents John Boles and Jeff Rinek found Cary staying at Laguna del Sol nudist resort in Wilton, where he was arrested.

Forensics found that his vehicle had evidence linking him to Joie Armstrong.

Cary confessed to the 4 murders as well as to sending the map for finding Juli Sund’s body.

Cary In 2002, was sentenced to death and is currently housed at San Quentin Penitentiary in California where he remains on death row

It was during his interview where he mentioned to investigators that he had fantasized about murder and rape since the tender age of 7.

Which left many wondering how true that really was.

Cary was 11 when his brother was taken, prior to that he seemed to have been a well adjusted happy child.

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Were the murders his way of gaining the attention that he so badly sought from his parents during the years his brother was being held?

Did the murders also serve to gain the attention his brother received after returning home?

How do you top being kidnapped and held for over 7 years? Then to further add fuel to Cary’s fire, his brother died a rather untimely young death in an accident.

Maybe in Cary’s mind the only way to top that was to become the monster, perhaps Cary felt more drawn to the likes of Kenneth Parnell after his brother returned home, than to who he once was.

Perhaps the idea of murder was less of a hunger and more of a way to seek out the attention he failed to receive from those he loved and trusted most all of his life.

He lost his brother and with that so too, did he lose his loving parents along with the rest of his childhood.

Cary Stayner used murder to fill the void. 

Cristal M Clark

IOS users can find The Crime Shop on Apple News

@thecrimeshop

 

Social Media – just made ‘Stop and Frisk’ digital

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African American’s now even more vulnerable

Thanks to social media it appears that “Stop and Frisk” is now digital.

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Law Enforcement using social media to track criminals is nothing new but, it does bring about new concerns regarding racially profiling and racial bias on the part of law enforcement.

Many law enforcement agencies have turned to social media to help them gather evidence, look for suspects, search viral video’s, monitor crime that is both online and not online and to piece together a string of events.

Which begs the question, does it cross a line?  

If it does cross the line, at what point is it considered crossing the line?

What’s more is that legal teams use social media to gather evidence, they hire people to scan social media and look for evidence and sometimes friend you to obtain it, which is not illegal nor is it entrapment if you go by the letter of the law, ex’s use social media to gather evidence, insurance companies use it to fight false claims, parents use it to watch over children, even some employers use it in states where they are legally allowed to.

The point is, does our using a “free” social media website afford us the same rights to privacy that we have in our homes? The 4th Amendment Right states that officers must obtain a warrant before searching areas where citizens have a “reasonable expectation of privacy.”

So what is social media considered? It’s a public platform, a very public platform.  

Because it is public can we really expect a reasonable amount of privacy?

Twitter reported that from January – June of this year they had received at least 2,520 requests from law enforcement in the U.S. and of that, they were able to provide law enforcement with what they wanted 82% of the time.

Facebook reported that for 2015 it received 30,000 requests and has a 81% compliance rate, which happens to be up 2.3% from the same time period the year prior.

Twitter releases its transparency report twice a year. The report shows the number of government and corporate requests it receives. California was the 3rd leading state in information requests, following Virginia and New York.

In New York it’s widely reported that NYPD officers are encouraged to join Twitter and other social media platforms, as I am sure other departments and officers nationwide are.

What that means is that law enforcement could potentially see your social media posts, follow or friend you and obtain all of the information they wanted to, without a warrant.

The Baltimore Police Department in fact had a users profile shut down during a standoff after they learned that Korryn Gains was interacting with users from her social media during her standoff with police. As it turned out, the users were encouraging her to not comply with officers as she live streamed the event.

The Baltimore Police Department of course took that very seriously, they felt that it was interfering with the job of the negotiators who were attempting to talk Gains down. Which it was.

To be fair, unofficial monitoring of social media does not have legal oversight from any judge, court or public oversight committee which in turn has started a new concern running around the web.

That concern is that racial profiling has been moved from the street and to the social media platform and that the monitoring of African Americans is a recreation of “stop and frisk.”

To take that a step further, some feel that social media companies and organizations are strengthening their relationships with law enforcement which is in turn allowing for even more monitoring.

Still the same we have to come to terms with the fact that if you are using a social media site, news site, blog, podcast or the like that you have made the choice to broadcast whatever it is you are saying or doing to the world.

In turn, because of that choice the user has chosen to forgo his or her rights to privacy with the laws that we have today.

Just remember, much like being on a stage in front of thousands, if you admit to anything illegal or choose to podcast something illegal, because it was distributed to a public forum, it does in fact become a matter of public record.

Cristal M Clark

IOS users can find The Crime Shop on Apple News

@thecrimeshop