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  • If America Is So Racist, ‘Why Bother Even Working On It?’: Obama Chastises Racial Critics
    Posted December 21, 2014 at 11:55 am by Zach Noble

    Comments (191)

    President Barack Obama had a message for the racial discontents of America: Don’t ignore how far we’ve come.

    Asked by CNN’s Candy Crowley about issues of race and policing in America in a Sunday morning interview, Obama acknowledged that with his mixed racial heritage, he occupies a fairly unique place in American race relations, and he said that, while he empathizes with those outraged over the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, some protesters are ignoring the real progress that has been made in the U.S. — and that omission is damaging.

    “There’s no reason for folks to be patient [on improving racial issues],” Obama said. “I’m impatient.”

    But, Obama said progress hinges on honesty:

    I think an unwillingness to acknowledge that progress has been made [in race relations] cuts off the possibility of further progress. If critics want to suggest that America is inherently and irreducibly racist, then why bother even working on it? I’ve seen change in my own life, so has this country. And those who will deny that I think actually foreclose the possibility of further progress rather than advancing it.

    He also addressed American policing, saying:

    When you look at what’s happened in law enforcement across the country over the last several years, that’s not news to African-Americans. What’s different is simply that some of it is now videotaped and people see it. And the question then becomes, you know, what practical steps can we take to solve this problem. I believe that the overwhelming majority of white americans, as well as African Americans, want to see this problem solved. So I have confidence that by surfacing these issues, we’re going to be able to make progress on them.

    Watch the clip below:

    As Mediaite noted, the interview aired Sunday but was taped on Friday, before the weekend shootings of two police officers in New York and one officer in Florida.

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  • Tarpon Springs Cop First Police Officer Shot Dead in the Town Since 1926
    Posted December 21, 2014 at 11:13 am by Zach Noble

    Comments (51)

    As details emerge about the fatal shooting of a Tarpon Springs, Florida, police officer, one thing is clear: Officers taking deadly fire in the town of 23,000 is not an everyday occurrence.

    According to the Tarpon Springs Police Department, the male officer gunned down around 3 a.m. Sunday could be the first Tarpon Springs cop to be killed in the line of duty since 1969 — and the first to die from gunfire since 1926.

    Image via Tarpon Springs Police Department

    Image via Tarpon Springs Police Department

    Below are the Tarpon Springs police officers who were killed in the line of duty prior to Sunday’s shooting:

    Police Officer Lanny Rhea Langford
    Tarpon Springs Police Department
    EOW: Tuesday, November 18, 1969
    Cause: Automobile accident

    Patrolman Everett E. Blewfield
    Tarpon Springs Police Department
    EOW: Monday, August 16, 1926
    Cause: Gunfire

    Marshal Rueben T. Jones
    Tarpon Springs Police Department
    EOW: Saturday, August 27, 1921
    Cause: Gunfire

    Marshal “Rat” Whitehurst
    Tarpon Springs Police Department
    EOW: July 4, 1893
    Cause: Gunfire

    (H/T: WFTS-TV)

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  • Fatal Sunday Shooting Claims Police Life in Florida (UPDATES)
    Posted December 21, 2014 at 10:17 am by Zach Noble

    Comments (137)

    UPDATE: The slain officer was named as Charles “Charlie K” Kondek by the Tarpon Springs Police Department Sunday morning.

    He was reportedly responding to a service call just before he was fatally shot.

    The suspect was identified as 23-year-old Marco Antonio Parilla Jr., a transient man who is facing a first-degree charge for Kondek’s killing, Bay News 9 reported.

    A police officer in Tarpon Springs, Florida, was shot and killed in the early morning hours of Sunday.

    The shooting reportedly occurred around 3 a.m. in the community 30 miles away from Tampa.

    The Associated Press reported that police have a suspect in custody.

    Both the suspect and the officer are male, Tampa’s Bay News 9 reported.

    As details of the shooting emerged, many fellow law enforcement and first responder groups showed support for the fallen officer.

    A squad car served as a memorial outside the Tarpon Springs police department building.

    The Florida shooting comes on the heels of the shooting in New York City that claimed the lives of two police officers Saturday afternoon.

    A news conference on the Tarpon Springs shooting is expected to take place Sunday afternoon.

    This is a breaking story and will be updated.

    Follow Zach Noble (@thezachnoble) on Twitter

  • You Have to Watch the Video to Believe the Way Hackers Responded After the FBI Blamed North Korea for Sony Breach
    Posted December 21, 2014 at 9:40 am by Zach Noble

    Comments (115)

    Did North Koreans hack Sony, or didn’t they?

    The hackers aren’t saying — but they did mock American investigators with an old-school internet prank video.

    On Friday, the FBI officially pinned the blame for the massive hack of Sony Pictures on North Korea.

    Here’s how the hackers, who call themselves the “Guardians of Peace” or “GOP,” responded in a message on Pastebin, the Daily Beast reported:

    By GOP

    The result of investigation by FBI is so excellent that you might have seen what we were doing with your own eyes.

    We congratulate you success.

    FBI is the BEST in the world.

    You will find the gift for FBI at the following address.

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=hiRacdl02w4

    Enjoy!

    The link directs to the video below, full of thumping techno music and a “You are an idiot” chorus:

    North Korea has bluntly denied being behind the hack, and North Korean officials have demanded that they be allowed to participate in the investigation into the hackers’ origins.

    Many have speculated that the evidence linking the hack to North Korea just doesn’t add up, with some saying it could have been a disgruntled former employee, not the Hermit Kingdom, that orchestrated the Sony hack.

    Follow Zach Noble (@thezachnoble) on Twitter

  • This Is What Happens When You Run a Russian News Channel and You Get on the Government’s Bad Side
    Posted December 21, 2014 at 9:15 am by Associated Press

    Comments (43)

    MOSCOW (AP) — Among the five TV journalists interviewing Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, the odd one out was easy to spot. Mikhail Zygar’s questions were sharper than those of the others, who headed back to spacious television studios while Zygar broadcast his piece from a Moscow living room.

    In this file photo taken on Friday, Dec. 12, 2014, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, left, speaks to Marianna Maksimovskaya of REN TV and Mikhail Zygar of Dozhd after a live nation-wide TV show at Moscow's Ostankino TV center, Russia. Russia’s only independent TV channel, Dozhd, faced all sorts of pressure this year and while the government was careful not to shut it down, a Kremlin-instigated smear campaign is causing a slow demise of this rare independent broadcaster.(AP Photo/RIA Novosti, Dmitry Astakhov, Government Press Service, file)

    In this file photo taken on Friday, Dec. 12, 2014, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, left, speaks to Marianna Maksimovskaya of REN TV and Mikhail Zygar of Dozhd after a live nation-wide TV show at Moscow’s Ostankino TV center, Russia. Russia’s only independent TV channel, Dozhd, faced all sorts of pressure this year and while the government was careful not to shut it down, a Kremlin-instigated smear campaign is causing a slow demise of this rare independent broadcaster.(AP Photo/RIA Novosti, Dmitry Astakhov, Government Press Service, file)

    The Dozhd news channel, whose editor-in-chief Zygar was given a Committee to Protect Journalists award last month, rose to prominence in 2011 with its coverage of the mass protests against Vladimir Putin, who was then prime minister but preparing to return to the presidency. State-owned television largely ignored the protests.

    As other Russian television channels have grown increasingly subservient this year, providing propaganda backing for the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula and Russia’s aggressive policy toward Ukraine, Dozhd didn’t follow the lead — and is now paying for it.

    In this photo taken on Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2014, camera assistants prepare equipment for an open air with Dozhd Channel's s anchorman Pavel Lobkov, background cenetr, in their studio-apartment in Moscow, Russia.Russia’s only independent TV channel, Dozhd, faced all sorts of pressure this year and while the government was careful not to shut it down, a Kremlin-instigated smear campaign is causing a slow demise of this rare independent broadcaster. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

    In this photo taken on Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2014, camera assistants prepare equipment for an open air with Dozhd Channel’s s anchorman Pavel Lobkov, background cenetr, in their studio-apartment in Moscow, Russia.Russia’s only independent TV channel, Dozhd, faced all sorts of pressure this year and while the government was careful not to shut it down, a Kremlin-instigated smear campaign is causing a slow demise of this rare independent broadcaster. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

    Putin’s government has been careful not to order the channel to shut down, but a Kremlin-instigated smear campaign has driven this rare independent broadcaster to the brink of demise.

    In this photo taken on Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2014, a Dozhd TV channel employee opens a door of heir studio-apartment in Moscow, Russia. Russia’s only independent TV channel, Dozhd, faced all sorts of pressure this year and while the government was careful not to shut it down, a Kremlin-instigated smear campaign is causing a slow demise of this rare independent broadcaster. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

    In this photo taken on Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2014, a Dozhd TV channel employee opens a door of heir studio-apartment in Moscow, Russia. Russia’s only independent TV channel, Dozhd, faced all sorts of pressure this year and while the government was careful not to shut it down, a Kremlin-instigated smear campaign is causing a slow demise of this rare independent broadcaster. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

    Past strollers and bicycles in the hall, a Soviet-era apartment in central Moscow now houses the studio of Dozhd, whose combined online and TV audience is about 12 million. Anchorman Pavel Lobkov sits on a chair in what was once a spacious living room.

    In this photo taken on Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2014, Dozhd Channel's s anchorman Pavel Lobkov speaks to his colleagues in their studio-apartment in Moscow, Russia. Lobkov, a legendary anchorman, says Dozhd, with a fraction of resources and funding of state television, can reach out to millions of people and provide a comprehensive coverage due to modern technology (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

    In this photo taken on Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2014, Dozhd Channel’s s anchorman Pavel Lobkov speaks to his colleagues in their studio-apartment in Moscow, Russia. Lobkov, a legendary anchorman, says Dozhd, with a fraction of resources and funding of state television, can reach out to millions of people and provide a comprehensive coverage due to modern technology (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

    The 47-year-old Lobkov shrugs off the challenges, recalling his early days in television during the Soviet Union’s perestroika era.

    “Things were probably even tougher then: We had no Internet, no Skype, no cellphones. I went live from war zones, so these comfortable surroundings of an apartment can hardly unsettle me,” he said.

    Lobkov spent most of his television career on NTV, a legendary channel taken over by state-controlled gas company Gazprom in 2001, a move that forced independent journalists to flee.

    NTV, owned by oligarch Vladimir Gusinsky, was a leading TV channel that offered a view different from the Kremlin. The government effectively wrested the channel from Gusinsky’s control and entrusted it to Gazprom to run in Putin’s first major crackdown on independent media.

    Now at Dozhd, Lobkov says he’s reliving the same pressure and harassment campaign he experienced at NTV when “all tools of the government were used.”

    Pressure on independent media intensified this year as the Kremlin sought to unify the country behind the annexation of Crimea and Russia’s involvement in eastern Ukraine.

    Since its inception in 2010, Dozhd had its studio in a former chocolate factory on the Moskva River, but its landlord broke the lease in November, forcing the channel to look for new space. Sympathizers offered Dozhd a place elsewhere, but last week they were told they can’t broadcast out of there anymore.

    Dozhd doesn’t want to make public its new temporary location.

    During Putin’s 15 years in power, the Russian television landscape has been sanitized to the point where news coverage on all channels is almost identical. State channels toe the Kremlin line and private channels, most of which are owned by Kremlin-friendly oligarchs or state-controlled conglomerates like Gazprom, are just as obedient.

    As recently as January 2014, Dozhd broadcast both online and on cable networks, expanding its reach to Russian regions that still largely get their information from state-owned television. Its troubles began when Dozhd was aggressively covering the daily anti-government protests in Ukraine, which state-owned television dismissed as a neo-Nazi coup.

    The crackdown came at the end of January, when Dozhd hosted a history program on the 1941-44 Siege of Leningrad and put a question up for a vote: Would it have been worth it to surrender Leningrad to save lives? Famine in the city, now called St. Petersburg, during that epic siege killed more than 500,000 people.

    The question caused a stir for its implication of a lack of patriotism, prompting Kremlin officials to call for a shutdown of the channel. Dozhd apologized, but that didn’t seem to help.

    Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, accused Dozhd of “crossing a moral and ethical red line,” while the State Duma condemned the channel for “neo-Nazism” and “betraying your own people.”

    Nearly all cable networks dropped Dozhd in a matter of days, and since then the channel has been treated like a leper.

    In this photo taken on Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2014, A camera assistant adjusts a microphone on Dozhd Channel's s anchorman Lev Parkhomenko, center, in their studio-apartment in Moscow, Russia .Russia’s only independent TV channel, Dozhd, faced all sorts of pressure this year and while the government was careful not to shut it down, a Kremlin-instigated smear campaign is causing a slow demise of this rare independent broadcaster. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

    In this photo taken on Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2014, A camera assistant adjusts a microphone on Dozhd Channel’s s anchorman Lev Parkhomenko, center, in their studio-apartment in Moscow, Russia .Russia’s only independent TV channel, Dozhd, faced all sorts of pressure this year and while the government was careful not to shut it down, a Kremlin-instigated smear campaign is causing a slow demise of this rare independent broadcaster. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

    Problems multiplied in summer, when the Russian parliament passed a bill that barred cable channels from running ads, according to Natalya Sindeyeva, who has led Dozhd since its interception. The channel cut its expenses in half, shed about 30 percent of its staff and reduced its monthly budget to 20 million rubles ($357,000) — just a fraction of any state TV budget — before being hit with the eviction notice.

    Talks with potential landlords have so far been futile.

    “We were told several times: ‘We’re sorry, we’ve got other business interests and we’re not prepared to take this risk,’” Sindeyeva says, adding that she believes the channel is being persecuted for political reasons.

    “If it’s not in the business interests (of cable networks) to cut off Dozhd, then what other reason can it be? There can be no explanation other than the political one,” she said.

    In this photo taken on Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014, Dozhd's director Nataliya Sindeyeva speaks to the Associated Press in her office in Moscow, Russia. Sindeyeva has been at the helm of Dozhd since its interception of 2010 and now has to rely on crowd funding for the television channel which has faced all sorts of government pressure this year. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

    In this photo taken on Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014, Dozhd’s director Nataliya Sindeyeva speaks to the Associated Press in her office in Moscow, Russia. Sindeyeva has been at the helm of Dozhd since its interception of 2010 and now has to rely on crowd funding for the television channel which has faced all sorts of government pressure this year. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

    Zygar, the editor-in-chief, insists that broadcasting out of an apartment is a temporary measure that doesn’t affect the quality of the content Dozhd is providing, and says its audience is still growing.

    Russia was ranked 148th out of the 180-country press freedom index by Reporters Without Borders this year, sandwiched between Malaysia and the Philippines. But Russians themselves are not protesting on the streets to defend media freedoms.

    Journalists at Dozhd admit the state propaganda is taking its toll, convincing Russians to believe in the supremacy of national interests. But the country’s shrinking economy and decline in living standards — the ruble has lost around half its value since January —could soon change that.

    “As the economic crisis deepens, this mood will subside. People will start asking questions (like) why life is so bad, is it really that the United States is really to blame for everything,” Lobkov said.

    Dozhd raised about $1 million in a crowd-funding campaign in March, proving that the demand for independent media in Russia is still there, Zygar said.

    “The situation that our country has gotten itself into is a lot more serious, and in this situation our audience needs our work even more, so we don’t even think about stopping,” Zygar said. “It’s our work, it’s our fight.”

  • The Disgusting Things a Palestinian Boy Said on the Hamas Kids’ Show Will Appall You
    Posted December 21, 2014 at 8:30 am by Sharona Schwartz

    Comments (163)

    Hamas’s Al-Aqsa television regularly features children’s programming that bolsters its hostile message toward Israel.

    The trend continued earlier this month when the station invited a young boy to recite a poem that included descriptions of Israelis as “barbaric apes” and “filth” which the holy city of Jerusalem “vomits.”

    The host of the show, a young girl, asked the boy to give his “message to the enemy.”

    The boy, identified by the Middle East Media Research Institute as Abd Al-Rahim al-Zarad, dramatically exclaimed, “Oh sons of Zion, Oh the most evil of creatures, Oh barbaric apes, Jerusalem rejects you and vomits your filth.”

    Image source: MEMRI

    Image source: MEMRI

    Image source: MEMRI

    Image source: MEMRI

    Along with the boy in the studio were three little girls and a giant teddy bear.

    Image source: MEMRI

    Image source: MEMRI

    A MEMRI translation of his recitation included these lines:

    You are nothing but herds of deluded idiots. […]

    Jerusalem is my land
    Jerusalem is my honor. […]

    Oh you slayers of Allah’s pious prophets. […]

    Humiliation and suffering have been decreed on you.

    The poem was called, “I Do Not Fear the Gun.”

    Image source: MEMRI

    Image source: MEMRI

    “I do not dread barbarism, as long as I have my holy book and my city in my heart, as long as my arms (can throw) stones, and as long as I am free and do not sell out the cause,” he added.

    Watch an excerpt of the show courtesy of MEMRI:

  • ‘SNL’ Toymaker Tries for a Totally Neutral ‘Asian-American Doll’…But Little Girls See Something Racist Anyway
    Posted December 21, 2014 at 7:55 am by Zach Noble

    Comments (76)

    Go through 40 focus groups and still find something racist?

    Guess it’s back to the drawing board.

    “Saturday Night Live” tackled racial sensitivity with their take on a neurotically vetted “Asian-American doll.”

    As the makers were desperately trying to avoid racial stereotypes, Asian-American doll has no academic strengths or weaknesses, an empty playhouse and no name.

    “Last Christmas we released a Native American doll named Flying Eagle and we still haven’t heard the end of it,” explained the cheery narrator.

    Two things the doll does have: a cute dog and a chef’s hat, “because anybody can be a chef, right?”

    Watch as the kids still come up with a stereotype anyway.

    “It’s Asian-American doll, we made her from a place of fear!” goes the doll’s jingle.

    Watch the clip below:

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  • Dr. Evil Roasts North Korea, Sony and the GOP
    Posted December 21, 2014 at 7:45 am by Zach Noble

    Comments (64)

    Apparently Dr. Evil is a Democrat.

    Mike Myers hijacked “Saturday Night Live” as Dr. Evil this week, conducting a mini-roast of Sony Pictures and North Korea for the roles they’ve played in the movie studio hack.

    “Sony hasn’t had a hit since the Walkman,” he quipped, while accusing the “Guardians of Peace” hacking group of ripping of the acronym of another organization he considers “evil”: the Republican Party.

    Watch the clip below(content warning: some strong language):

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  • Islamic State Is Reportedly Executing Its Own Foreign Volunteers Who Just Want to Go Home
    Posted December 21, 2014 at 7:15 am by Sharona Schwartz

    Comments (135)

    Islamic State extremists in Syria have executed some 100 foreign volunteers who tried to leave the city of Raqqa, the hardline group’s de facto capital, Britain’s Financial Times reported Saturday.

    The paper quoted an unnamed activist who opposes both the Islamist group and Syrian President Bashar Assad who said he had “verified 100 executions” of those trying to flee the service for which they volunteered.

    Agence France-Presse, quoting the British article, reported that the Islamic State has formed a military police tasked with locating foreign fighters who do not report for duty.

    This undated photo posted on Monday, Nov. 4, 2014 by the Raqqa Media Office of the Islamic State group, a militant extremist group, shows an Islamic state group fighter in Kobani, Syria. (AP Photo/Raqqa Media Office)

    This undated photo posted on Monday, Nov. 4, 2014 by the Raqqa Media Office of the Islamic State group, a militant extremist group, shows an Islamic state group fighter in Kobani, Syria. (AP Photo/Raqqa Media Office)

    According to the Financial Times, the military police unit has raided dozens of homes and arrested the accused deserters.

    Al Arabiya noted that many jihadists have become frustrated with recent developments including U.S.-led airstrikes in which the radical group aiming to establish a cross-border caliphate has lost ground.

    “Morale isn’t falling, it’s hit the ground,” an opposition activist living in an Islamic State-controlled area told the Financial Times.

    “Local fighters are frustrated. They feel they’re doing most of the work and the dying,” the unnamed activist said. “Foreign fighters who thought they were on an adventure are now exhausted.”

    AFP quoted British press reports from October which noted that a dozen European volunteers who traveled to Syria to fight alongside the Islamic State were being held prisoner after saying they wanted to travel home. Their complaint was they had been assigned to battle rival rebel groups, not Assad’s army.

    Those who do return home potentially face arrest following regulations set in place to thwart homegrown radicals from joining the terrorist group.

  • Photos: Mourners Give Final Salute to Slain NYPD Officers
    Posted December 21, 2014 at 6:59 am by Zach Noble

    Comments (32)

    New York City police, firefighters, emergency responders and ordinary citizens lined the streets they call home Saturday night as they mourned the death of two of their own: Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu.

    Mourners stand at attention as the bodies of two fallen NYPD police officers are transported from Woodhull Medical Center, Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014, in New York. An armed man walked up to two New York Police Department officers sitting inside a patrol car and opened fire Saturday afternoon, killing both officers before running into a nearby subway station and committing suicide, police said. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

    Mourners stand at attention as the bodies of two fallen NYPD police officers are transported from Woodhull Medical Center, Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014, in New York. An armed man walked up to two New York Police Department officers sitting inside a patrol car and opened fire Saturday afternoon, killing both officers before running into a nearby subway station and committing suicide, police said. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

    Ramos and Liu were shot dead while sitting in their patrol car in broad daylight on Saturday, ambushed by 28-year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley, who then reportedly turned his gun on himself.

    “I’m putting wings on pigs today,” Brinsely wrote on Instagram shortly before the shooting, city officials reported. “They take 1 of ours, let’s take 2 of theirs.”

    Mourners stand at attention as the bodies of two fallen NYPD police officers are transported from Woodhull Medical Center, Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014, in New York. An armed man walked up to two New York Police Department officers sitting inside a patrol car and opened fire Saturday afternoon, killing both officers before running into a nearby subway station and committing suicide, police said. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

    Mourners stand at attention as the bodies of two fallen NYPD police officers are transported from Woodhull Medical Center, Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

    Mourners gather before the bodies of two fallen NYPD police officers are transported from Woodhull Medical Center, Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014, in New York. An armed man walked up to two New York Police Department officers sitting inside a patrol car and opened fire Saturday afternoon, killing both officers before running into a nearby subway station and committing suicide, police said. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

    Mourners gather before the bodies of two fallen NYPD police officers are transported from Woodhull Medical Center, Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

    Ramos and Liu were shot in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn.

    “They were, quite simply, assassinated — targeted for their uniform,” a visibly shaken Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said Saturday.

    Mourners stand at attention as the bodies of two fallen NYPD police officers are transported from Woodhull Medical Center, Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014, in New York. An armed man walked up to two New York Police Department officers sitting inside a patrol car and opened fire Saturday afternoon, killing both officers before running into a nearby subway station and committing suicide, police said. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

    Mourners stand at attention as the bodies of two fallen NYPD police officers are transported from Woodhull Medical Center, Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

    Mourners stand at attention as the bodies of two fallen NYPD police officers are transported from Woodhull Medical Center, Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014, in New York. An armed man walked up to two New York Police Department officers sitting inside a patrol car and opened fire Saturday afternoon, killing both officers before running into a nearby subway station and committing suicide, police said. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

    Mourners stand at attention as the bodies of two fallen NYPD police officers are transported from Woodhull Medical Center, Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

    Mourners stand at attention as the bodies of two fallen NYPD police officers are transported from Woodhull Medical Center, Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014, in New York. An armed man walked up to two New York Police Department officers sitting inside a patrol car and opened fire Saturday afternoon, killing both officers before running into a nearby subway station and committing suicide, police said. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

    Mourners stand at attention as the bodies of two fallen NYPD police officers are transported from Woodhull Medical Center, Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

    Mourners stand at attention as the bodies of two fallen NYPD police officers are transported from Woodhull Medical Center, Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014, in New York. An armed man walked up to two New York Police Department officers sitting inside a patrol car and opened fire Saturday afternoon, killing both officers before running into a nearby subway station and committing suicide, police said. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

    Mourners stand at attention as the bodies of two fallen NYPD police officers are transported from Woodhull Medical Center, Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

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  • NYPD Police Union Head Goes Off on Mayor de Blasio, Protesters Over Murdered Cops: ‘There’s Blood on Many Hands Tonight’
    Posted December 21, 2014 at 12:38 am by Dave Urbanski

    Comments (187)

    After the fatal, ambush-style shootings of two New York City police officers Saturday, the head of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association served up sharp words as police gathered outside the hospital where the bodies of Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu had been, the New York Tines reported.

    “There’s blood on many hands tonight — those that incited violence on the street under the guise of protest that try to tear down what New York City police officers did every day,” Patrick Lynch said with a hard-as-nails tone.

    Lynch added that “blood on the hands starts on the steps of city hall in the office of the mayor” for a “cold-blooded assassination like we haven’t seen before.”

    While he acknowledged a time was needed to grieve, Lynch made sure everyone understood what would happen after the funerals.

    “We’ll raise our heads,” Lynch said, “and those that allowed this to go on will be held accountable.”

    Lynch has been feuding with de Blasio over treatment of officers since a grand jury decided to not indict a New York City officer over the chokehold death of Eric Garner. In a press conference about the grand jury non-indictment, de Blasio said he had warned his 17-year-old, mixed-race son, Dante, to be careful around police officers, the New York Post reported.

    Some New York City officers have been physically attacked during violent protests over the Garner case.

    Just days ago, Lynch suggested police officers sign a petition that demanded the mayor not attend their funerals should they die on the job.

    On Saturday cops appeared to turn their backs on de Blasio as he made his way to a press conference about the fatal shootings of Ramos and Liu.

  • New York City Cops’ Killer Angry Over Eric Garner Chokehold Death, AP Sources Say
    Posted December 20, 2014 at 11:36 pm by Dave Urbanski

    Comments (85)

    NEW YORK (TheBlaze/AP) — A gunman who announced online that he was planning to shoot two “pigs” in retaliation for the police chokehold death of Eric Garner ambushed two officers in a patrol car and shot them to death in broad daylight Saturday before running to a subway station and killing himself, authorities said.

    An investigator shines a light on the remains of a broken window at the scene where two NYPD officers were shot, Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014 in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of the Brooklyn borough of New York. Police said an armed man walked up to two officers sitting inside the patrol car and opened fire before running into a nearby subway station and committing suicide. Both police officers were killed. (Image source: AP/John Minchillo)

    An investigator shines a light on the remains of a broken window at the scene where two NYPD officers were shot, Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014 in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of the Brooklyn borough of New York. Police said an armed man walked up to two officers sitting inside the patrol car and opened fire before running into a nearby subway station and committing suicide. Both police officers were killed. (Image source: AP/John Minchillo)

    The suspect, 28-year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley, wrote on an Instagram account: “I’m putting wings on pigs today. They take 1 of ours, let’s take 2 of theirs,” officials said. He used the hashtags Shootthepolice RIPErivGardner (sic) RIPMikeBrown.

    Police said he approached the passenger window of a marked police car and opened fire, striking Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu in the head. The New York Police Department officers were on special patrol doing crime reduction work in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn.

    “They were, quite simply, assassinated — targeted for their uniform,” said Police Commissioner William Bratton, who looked pale and shaken at a hospital news conference.

    Brinsley took off running as officers pursued him down to a nearby subway station, where he shot himself in the head. A silver handgun was recovered at the scene, Bratton said.

    “This may be my final post,” he wrote in the Instagram post that included an image of a silver handgun.

    Bratton confirmed that Brinsley made very serious “anti-police” statements online but did not get into specifics of the posts. He said they were trying to figure out why he had chosen to kill the officers. Two city officials with direct knowledge of the case confirmed the posts to The Associated Press. The officials, a senior city official and a law enforcement official, were not authorized to speak publicly on the topic and spoke on condition of anonymity.

    The Rev. Al Sharpton said Garner’s family had no connection to the suspect and denounced the violence.

    “Any use of the names of Eric Garner and Michael Brown in connection with any violence or killing of police, is reprehensible and against the pursuit of justice in both cases,” Sharpton said. “We have stressed at every rally and march that anyone engaged in any violence is an enemy to the pursuit of justice for Eric Garner and Michael Brown.”

    The shootings come at a tense time. Police in New York are being criticized for their tactics following the July death of Garner, who was stopped on suspicion of selling loose, untaxed cigarettes. Amateur video captured an officer wrapping his arm around Garner’s neck and wrestling him to the ground. Garner was heard gasping, “I can’t breathe” before he lost consciousness and later died.

    Demonstrators around the country have staged die-ins and other protests since a grand jury decided Dec. 3 not to indict the officer in Garner’s death, a decision that closely followed a Missouri grand jury’s refusal to indict a white officer in the fatal shooting of Brown, an unarmed black 18-year-old. Bratton said they were investigating whether the suspect had attended any rallies or demonstrations.

    Brinsley was black; the officers were Asian and Hispanic, police said.
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    Brinsley was black; the officers were Asian and Hispanic, police said.

    Mayor Bill de Blasio said the killing of the officers in the nation’s largest department strikes at the heart of the city.

    “Our city is in mourning. Our hearts are heavy,” de Blasio said. “It is an attack on all of us.”

    Scores of officers in uniform lined up three rows deep outside the hospital to honor the fallen police officers as their bodies were taken away amid silence. The mayor ordered flags at half-staff.

    In a statement Saturday night, Attorney General Eric Holder condemned the shooting deaths as senseless and “an unspeakable act of barbarism.” President Barack Obama was also briefed on the shooting, and White House officials were monitoring the situation closely, the White House said.

    Early Saturday, Bratton said, Brinsley went to the home of a former girlfriend in the Baltimore area and shot and wounded her. Police there said they noticed Brinsley posting to the woman’s Instagram account about a threat to New York officers. Baltimore-area officials sent a warning to New York City police, who received it around the time of the shooting, Bratton said.

    Criminal records show Brinsley has a history of arrests on various charges in Georgia, including robbery, shoplifting, carrying a concealed weapon, disorderly conduct and obstruction of a law enforcement officer. Bratton said his last-known address was Georgia, but he had some ties in Brooklyn.

    A block from the shooting site, a line of about eight police officers stood with a German shepherd blocking the taped-off street. Officer Ramos was married with a 13-year-old son, police said. He had been on the job since 2012. Liu had been on the job for seven years and got married two months ago, Bratton said.

    “Both officers paid the ultimate sacrifice today while protecting the communities they serve,” he said.

    The president of the police officers union, Patrick Lynch, and de Blasio have been locked in a public battle over treatment of officers following the grand jury’s decision. Just days ago, Lynch suggested police officers sign a petition that demanded the mayor not attend their funerals should they die on the job.

    The last shooting death of an NYPD officer came in December 2011, when 22-year veteran Peter Figoski was shot in the face while responding to a report of a break-in at a Brooklyn apartment. The triggerman, Lamont Pride, was convicted of murder and sentenced in 2013 to 45 years to life in prison.

    Here’s a video of the full press conference featuring remarks from Bratton and de Blasio:

    ___

    Associated Press writers Jonathan Lemire and Tom McElroy in New York and Juliet Linderman in Baltimore contributed to this report.

  • Watch What Cops Do as New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio Walks Into Press Conference on Slain NYPD Officers
    Posted December 20, 2014 at 10:04 pm by Dave Urbanski

    Comments (301)

    Police officers appeared to turn their backs on New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio as he walked into a police press conference Saturday on the two NYPD officers fatally shot while sitting in their patrol car in Brooklyn, WPIX-TV reported.

    Relations between the mayor’s office and the police department have been quite tense.

    Police in New York are being criticized for their tactics following the chokehold death of Eric Garner, who was stopped by police on suspicion of selling loose, untaxed cigarettes. Amateur video captured an officer wrapping his arm around Garner’s neck and wrestling him to the ground. Garner was heard gasping, “I can’t breathe” before he loses consciousness and later dies.

    Demonstrators around the country have staged die-ins and other protests since a grand jury decided Dec. 3 not to indict the officer in Garner’s death, a decision that closely followed a Missouri grand jury’s refusal to indict a white officer in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black 18-year-old.

    In a press conference about the grand jury non-indictment, de Blasio said he had warned his 17-year-old, mixed-race son, Dante, to be careful around police officers, the New York Post reported.

    The president of the police officers union, Patrick Lynch, and de Blasio have been battling publicly over treatment of officers following the grand jury’s decision regarding the Garner death. Just days ago, Lynch suggested police officers sign a petition that demanded the mayor not attend their funerals should they die on the job.

    Image source: Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association website

    Image source: Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association website

    At the press conference, de Blasio said the two fallen officers are heroes.

    The Associated Press contributed to this story.

    This story has been updated.

  • Attorney General Eric Holder Condemns Fatal Shooting of NYPD Officers as ‘Unspeakable Act of Barbarism’
    Posted December 20, 2014 at 9:21 pm by Dave Urbanski

    Comments (168)

    Story by the Associated Press; curated by Dave Urbanski

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney General Eric Holder is condemning the shooting deaths of two New York City police officers as senseless and an “unspeakable act of barbarism.”

    Attorney General Eric Holder (Image source: AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

    Attorney General Eric Holder (Image source: AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

    The officers were shot Saturday in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. Authorities say the gunman later killed himself.

    In a statement Saturday night, Holder called the attack “cowardly” and said it underscores the dangers that are routinely faced by those who protect and serve their fellow citizens.

    Holder praised law enforcement officers as courageous men and women who routinely incur tremendous personal risks and place their lives on the line every day to preserve public safety.

    He said all Americans are forever in their debt.

  • NYPD Commssioner: Cop Killer Made ‘Very Anti-Police’ Online Posts
    Posted December 20, 2014 at 8:58 pm by Dave Urbanski

    Comments (57)

    NEW YORK (TheBlaze/AP) — New York City’s police commissioner said the gunman who ambushed and fatally shot two police officers had made online posts that were “very anti-police.”

    Police Commissioner William Bratton choked up at a news conference Saturday afternoon as he talked about the fatal shootings of two officers in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood.

    Bratton said the gunman shot and wounded his former girlfriend in Baltimore earlier Saturday and created posts from her Instagram account.

    Authorities didn’t get into the specifics of the contents of the posts, but two officials told The Associated Press that he posted about shooting two “pigs” in retaliation for the death of Eric Garner. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

    TheBlaze reported earlier that investigators were said to have been looking at disturbing Instagram posts to determine if the suspected shooter wrote them.

    In one post, the user wrote, “I’m Putting Wings On Pigs Today. They Take 1 Of Ours….. Let’s Take 2 of Theirs.” The user also included the hashtags, #ShootThePolice, #RIPEricGardner (sic), #RIPMikeBrown.

    The gunman fatally shot himself after killing the officers, authorities said.

    This story has been updated.

  • ‘Quite Simply, Assassinated’: NYPD Commissioner Identifies Two Slain Officers, Says Suspect Shot Ex-Girlfriend Earlier in Day
    Posted December 20, 2014 at 8:25 pm by Dave Urbanski

    Comments (81)

    NEW YORK (TheBlaze/AP) — New York City’s police commissioner said the two officers who were ambushed and killed in their cruiser “were, quite simply, assassinated.”

    NYPD Commissioner William Bratton at press conference. (Image source: YouTube)

    NYPD Commissioner William Bratton at press conference. (Image source: YouTube)

    Police Commissioner William Bratton spoke Saturday at a news conference with Mayor Bill de Blasio. He identified the two officers killed in Brooklyn as Wenjin Liu and Raphael Ramos, adding that they were shot without warning or provocation.

    Bratton also said the suspect shot his ex-girlfriend earlier Saturday in Baltimore.

    De Blasio said the two officers are heroes.

    The police officers were killed in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. Authorities say the gunman ran inside a subway station and fatally shot himself in the head.

  • Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Teenage Son Mugged Near Family Home
    Posted December 20, 2014 at 8:06 pm by Dave Urbanski

    Comments (156)

    CHICAGO (TheBlaze/AP) — Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel‘s 17-year-old son was mugged near the family’s home, a spokeswoman for the mayor said.

    Emanuel’s son Zach had “injuries that required medical treatment, but was able to join the family for a long planned trip,” spokeswoman Kelley Quinn said Saturday, adding that the mayor is focused on his son’s well-being and requested the news media respect the family’s privacy.

    Image source: WGN-Tv

    Image source: WGN-Tv

    The mayor and his family were headed for a vacation in Chile this weekend.

    Chicago Police spokesman Thomas Sweeney didn’t name the victim but says police are investigating an attack Friday night near the mayor’s home. He says two males grabbed the victim, took his cellphone and fled.

    WGN-TV’s video report noted that one of the muggers “threw him in a chokehold” while the other punched the victim, knocking him to the ground. The station added that the pair made the victim punch in his cellphone security code before they took off.

    Emanuel, a former White House chief of staff under President Barack Obama, is running for reelection in February.

  • GOP Chair Asking Republicans to Support ‘The Interview’ If Movie Ever Hits Theaters
    Posted December 20, 2014 at 7:44 pm by Dave Urbanski

    Comments (28)

    WASHINGTON (TheBlaze/AP) — The GOP is calling on supporters to buy a ticket to the movie “The Interview” if theater owners reverse their decision not to show the film amid threats of retaliation for its comedic take on assassinating North Korea’s leader.

    Image source: Screenshot  of "The Interview" trailer via New York Daily News

    Image source: Screenshot of “The Interview” trailer via New York Daily News

    Sony Pictures canceled the Dec. 25 theatrical release of “The Interview.”

    The Republican Party chairman, Reince Priebus, said in a letter to theater chain executives that he’s concerned that a foreign regime would be allowed to dictate the movies Americans can and cannot watch.

    Noting that Hollywood and the GOP have had their differences, Priebus said the situation with “The Interview” is about freedom and free enterprise.

    Priebus said he will ask Republican supporters to buy tickets “to show North Korea we cannot be bullied into giving up our freedom” and suggested part of the proceeds go to military charities.

  • ‘NYPD Gets What They Deserve’: Here’s How Some Celebrated the Shooting Deaths of Two Ambushed New York City Police Officers
    Posted December 20, 2014 at 7:01 pm by Dave Urbanski

    Comments (365)

    After word got out that a pair of New York City police officers died after being shot ambush-style while sitting in their patrol car Saturday, a number of Twitter users celebrated the double murder:

    Police in New York are being criticized for their tactics following the chokehold death of Eric Garner, who was stopped by police on suspicion of selling loose, untaxed cigarettes. Amateur video captured an officer wrapping his arm around Garner’s neck and wrestling him to the ground. Garner was heard gasping, “I can’t breathe” before he loses consciousness and later dies.

    NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 19: People demonstrate outside of City Hall against police violence at a rally that was supposed to be in support of the New York Police Department (NYPD) on December 19, 2014 in New York City. (Image source: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

    NEW YORK, NY – DECEMBER 19: People demonstrate outside of City Hall against police violence at a rally that was supposed to be in support of the New York Police Department (NYPD) on December 19, 2014 in New York City. (Image source: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

    Demonstrators around the country have staged die-ins and other protests since a grand jury decided Dec. 3 not to indict the officer in Garner’s death, a decision that closely followed a Missouri grand jury’s refusal to indict a white officer in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black 18-year-old.

    The Associated Press contributed to this story.

    (H/T: Twitchy)

  • NYPD Is Reportedly Investigating Whether This Chilling Instagram Post Was Written by Suspect in Murder of Two Officers
    Posted December 20, 2014 at 6:19 pm by Jason Howerton

    Comments (125)

    NEW YORK (TheBlaze/AP) — A gunman ambushed two New York City police officers inside their patrol car before committing suicide on Saturday. Both officers later died from their injuries, sources confirmed.

    NYPD investigators were reportedly looking into disturbing Instagram posts on Saturday to determine if they were written by the suspected shooter.

    In one post, the yet-to-be identified user wrote, “I’m Putting Wings On Pigs Today. They Take 1 Of Ours….. Let’s Take 2 of Theirs.” The user also included the hashtags, #ShootThePolice, #RIPEricGardner (sic), #RIPMikeBrown.

    “This May Be My Final Post,” he continued. “I’m Putting Pigs In A Blanket.”

    In another Instagram post, the user is seen wearing camo pants and shoes that apparently match that of the suspected shooter when he was loaded onto a gurney by police officers.

    AOL News’ Ryan Gorman cited a law enforcement source who told him the Instagram posts were from the shooting suspect. Gorman reported via Twitter, “My source has been 100% accurate in the past. I have no reason to believe otherwise in this instance.”

    Even with the reported confirmation, others cautioned against rushing to conclusions in the tragic shooting.

    The shooting took place Saturday afternoon in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. Both officers were rushed to Woodhull hospital, where officials say they were pronounced dead.

    The two officials, a senior city official and a law enforcement official, had direct knowledge of the deaths but were not authorized to speak publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

    Police say the gunman ran inside a subway station after the shooting and fatally shot himself in the head.

    Officials had yet to determine an official motive or whether mental illness may have played a role in the shooting.

  • Churchgoers Won’t Face Charges in Death of Armed Man Who Caused Violent Disturbance During Service, Prosecutor Says
    Posted December 20, 2014 at 5:40 pm by Dave Urbanski

    Comments (54)

    INDIAN LAKE, N.Y. (TheBlaze/AP) — Churchgoers won’t face any charges in the death of an armed man they restrained after he caused a violent disturbance during an upstate New York service, a prosecutor said.

    Jason Berg’s death, “although tragic, was not the result of criminal behavior,” Hamilton County District Attorney Marsha Purdue said in a statement Friday.

    Image source: WGRB-TV

    Image source: WGRB-TV

    Berg, 44, was drunk and carrying a loaded handgun in his pants waistband June 28 when he burst into St. Mary’s Church in Indian Lake near the end of an afternoon Mass with 35 people worshiping, prosecutors said.

    The Rev. Philip Allen later recalled he had just risen and said, “Let us pray.”

    “And the shout back was, ‘Pray for me!’” Allen told WRGB-TV last summer.

    Berg then threw candles and other items into the congregation, cursed at the priest and advanced menacingly down the aisle toward him, according to prosecutors. A teenage altar server tried to tackle Berg, and then several parishioners in their 60s and 70s wrestled Berg to the floor. Berg struggled with them, and a churchgoer got his gun away from him, prosecutors said.

    “He was resisting very strongly and yelling, ‘Kill me,’” Allen later told the Adirondack Daily Enterprise.

    Then Berg abruptly became unresponsive. Parishioners and paramedics tried unsuccessfully to revive him, and he died at the church.

    “Any force utilized by those who intervened to prevent Mr. Berg from injuring others clearly was within the standards” allowing the use of force to prevent harm, Purdue wrote, saying she saw no basis for bringing the case to a grand jury.

    Two churchgoers suffered cuts from objects Berg threw.

    An autopsy concluded that Berg’s cause of death was heart arrhythmia brought on by an acute stress reaction, with “acute alcohol intoxication” as a factor — his blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit for driving.

    Police found three empty, 23.5-ounce cans of a caffeine-and-alcohol drink at his home, drinks he was seen on security video buying about three hours before the church outburst, prosecutors said.

    Here’s a report that ran shortly after the incident:

  • Two NYC Police Officers Dead After Being Shot Ambush-Style While Sitting in Patrol Car
    Posted December 20, 2014 at 4:33 pm by Dave Urbanski

    Comments (280)

    NEW YORK (TheBlaze/AP) — An armed man walked up to two New York Police Department officers sitting inside a patrol car and opened fire Saturday afternoon, shooting both of them fatally before running into a nearby subway station and committing suicide, police said.

    The shooting took place in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. Both officers were rushed to Woodhull hospital, where one was pronounced dead, police said. The second officer was later pronounced dead at the hospital. That death was confirmed by two officials, a senior city official and a law enforcement official, who had direct knowledge of the shooting but were not authorized to speak publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

    Authorities say the suspect fatally shot himself inside the station. His motive wasn’t immediately clear.

    A block from the shooting site, a line of about eight police officers stood with a German shepherd blocking the taped-off street. Streets were blocked even to pedestrians for blocks around.

    Derrick Thompson, who lives nearby, said the shooting happened across from the Tompkins Houses public housing development.

    “I was watching TV, and then I heard the helicopters,” Thompson said. “I walked out, and all of a sudden — this.”

    The officers’ families arrived at Woodhull Medical Center on Saturday, CNN reported, adding that “dozens” of police officers gathered “in a show of support.”

    Nearby resident Shaniqua Pervis said she doesn’t condone the shootings.

    “We’ve got to take back our communities. This can’t happen…Now we have two families that (are) missing somebody for the holidays,” she told WABC-TV, CNN noted.

    “Where’s your humanity? I know it’s a war going on and shoutout to Eric Garner’s family and everybody else who lost somebody, but you’re not at his house on his lawn,” Pervis added. “This is two (officers). You don’t even know if (they were) good or bad. I don’t condone this, and I’m not with it.”

    The shooting comes at a tense time. Police in New York are being criticized for their tactics following the chokehold death of Eric Garner, who was stopped by police on suspicion of selling loose, untaxed cigarettes. Amateur video captured an officer wrapping his arm around Garner’s neck and wrestling him to the ground. Garner was heard gasping, “I can’t breathe” before he loses consciousness and later dies.

    Demonstrators around the country have staged die-ins and other protests since a grand jury decided Dec. 3 not to indict the officer in Garner’s death, a decision that closely followed a Missouri grand jury’s refusal to indict a white officer in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black 18-year-old.

    Tony Herbert, community activist who often speaks out on policing issues, went to the area near the shooting Saturday to express his outrage at it and support for police.

    “We’ve been denouncing violence in our community,” no matter whom it’s directed at, he said. He’s concerned that some “agitators” might seek to cast the shooting as an outcome of amid the anger over Garner’s death.

    “It sullies the opportunity for us to make inroads to build the relationships we need to build to get the trust back,” he said.

    “This hurts,” he said, shaking his head.

    The president of the police officers union, Patrick Lynch, and Mayor Bill de Blasio have been locked in a public battle over treatment of officers following the grand jury’s decision. Just days ago, Lynch suggested police officers sign a petition that demanded the mayor not attend their funerals should they die on the job.

    The last shooting death of an NYPD officer came in December 2011, when 22-year veteran Peter Figoski responded to a report of a break-in at a Brooklyn apartment. He was shot in the face and killed by one of the suspects hiding in a side room when officers arrived. The triggerman, Lamont Pride, was convicted of murder and sentenced in 2013 to 45 years to life in prison.

    ___

    Associated Press writer Jonathan Lemire contributed to this report.

  • Man Dressed as an Elf Found Passed Out Behind the Wheel of a Van With Engine Running, Music Blaring. So Cops Ran Sobriety Tests…
    Posted December 20, 2014 at 3:55 pm by Dave Urbanski

    Comments (44)

    RIVERDALE, N.J. (TheBlaze/AP) — One of Santa’s little helpers might find himself on this year’s naughty list.

    Brian Chellis, 23 — wearing an Elf on the Shelf costume — was found passed out in a van around 3:30 a.m. Friday, Riverdale police told NJ.com.

    Police with man dressed as an Elf on a Shelf outside Target. (Image source: Riverdale police)

    Police with man dressed as an Elf on the Shelf outside a New Jersey Target. (Image source: Riverdale police)

    What’s more, the engine was running, lights were on and music was blaring in the vehicle parked by a Target loading dock, Lt. James Macintosh said; Chellis was dressed in a red shirt, red pants, and white ruffled collar.

    The Cedar Grove man seemed confused about where he was, had a strong odor of alcohol on his breath, and had an open can of beer in the vehicle, Macintosh said.

    More from NJ.com:

    Following a series of field sobriety tests, Chellis was transported to police headquarters for a breath test, the lieutenant said.

    Police issued him summonses for driving while intoxicated, careless driving and possession of an open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle.

    Chellis was released to a family member pending a Jan. 6 court appearance. A message left seeking comment from Chellis wasn’t immediately returned Saturday.

  • Her Grandmother Wouldn’t ‘Friend’ Her on Facebook. Her Alleged Response: Committing a Felony.
    Posted December 20, 2014 at 2:57 pm by Zach Noble

    Comments (69)

    Respect your elders?

    Before one can offer respect, one must back up to the “Don’t slap your elders for insanely stupid reasons” stage.

    The saga of 27-year-old Rachel Anne Hayes of Clearwater, Florida, should serve as a cautionary tale for those who get wrapped up in their online personae.

    On Thursday, Hayes was arrested after allegedly slapping a 72-year-old woman in the face because the older woman wouldn’t add her as a friend on Facebook, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

    Rachel Anne Hayes. (Image via Pinellas County Sheriff's Department)

    Rachel Anne Hayes. (Image via Pinellas County Sheriff’s Department)

    The New York Daily News added a crucial piece of information to the story: the elderly woman was Hayes’ own grandmother.

    Apparently, Hayes’ Facebook name was too obscene for her grandmother’s taste, but the grandmother offered that she would add her as a Facebook friend if she changed the name.

    Hayes, who was allegedly drunk during the morning encounter, initially left her grandmother’s house before returning and slapping the woman several times in the doorway of the home.

    The grandmother was able to get inside and lock Hayes outside, the Times reported.

    Hayes, who has previously been arrested for a DUI, for probation violation and for disorderly conduct, now faces a felony charge of aggravated battery on an elderly person, the Post reported.

    (H/T: WPIX-TV)

    Follow Zach Noble (@thezachnoble) on Twitter

  • ‘Gagging Law’: When You Read the Pro-Police Fines Spain Is Considering, Your Jaw Might Drop
    Posted December 20, 2014 at 2:10 pm by Associated Press

    Comments (36)

    MADRID (AP) — Thousands of people protested in Spanish cities on Saturday against a proposed law that would set hefty fines for offenses such as burning the national flag and demonstrating outside parliament buildings or strategic installations.

    Police stop demonstrators by cordoning the street during a protest against Spanish Citizens Security Law in Madrid, Spain, Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014. Thousands of people have gathered in several Spanish cities to protest against a new law that sets hefty fines for offenses such as burning the national flag and holding demonstrations outside parliament buildings or strategic installations. Also can be fined protesters who prevent authorities from carrying out evictions, insulting a police officer and disseminating photographs of police officers that endanger them or police operations. The legislation also allows for the summary expulsion of migrants entering the country's North African enclaves illegally. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

    Police stop demonstrators by cordoning the street during a protest against Spanish Citizens Security Law in Madrid, Spain, Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014. Thousands of people have gathered in several Spanish cities to protest against a new law that sets hefty fines for offenses such as burning the national flag and holding demonstrations outside parliament buildings or strategic installations. Protesters can also be fined for preventing authorities from carrying out evictions, insulting a police officer and disseminating photographs of police officers that endanger them or police operations. The legislation also allows for the summary expulsion of migrants entering the country’s North African enclaves illegally. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

    The Public Security Law was approved by one house of parliament last week and is expected to be accepted by the other government-controlled one next month. The bill has been heavily criticized by opposition parties and human rights groups as an attempt by the conservative government to muzzle protests over its handling of Spain’s financial crisis.

    Saturday’s largest demonstrations occurred in cities such as Barcelona, Bilbao and Madrid, while smaller ones took place in Almeria, Granada and Valencia. Some protesters wore tape covering their mouths and carried placards calling the measures a “gagging law.”

    The proposed law would allow fines of up to 30,000 euros ($37,000) for disseminating photographs of police officers that are deemed to endanger them or their operations.

    Individuals participating in demonstrations outside parliament buildings or key installations would be fined up to 600,000 euros ($745,000), if they are considered to breach the peace. Those insulting police officers could be fined up 600 euros ($745). Burning a national flag could cost the perpetrator a maximum fine of 30,000 euros.

    People eat at a fast food restaurant as demonstrator march during a protest against Spanish Citizens Security Law in Madrid, Spain, Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014. Thousands of people have gathered in several Spanish cities to protest against a new law that sets hefty fines for offenses such as burning the national flag and holding demonstrations outside parliament buildings or strategic installations. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

    People eat at a fast food restaurant as demonstrators march during a protest against Spanish Citizens Security Law in Madrid, Spain, Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

    The protests — which saw demonstrators mingling with large crowds of Christmas shoppers in some cities — ended peacefully. Police in Madrid forced media photographers to produce identity papers.

    The demonstrators included groups opposed to forced evictions because the bill would levy fines of 30,000 euros for attempting to prevent home repossessions.

    Others protested an element of the legislation that would entitle police in Spain’s North African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla to summarily expel migrants caught trying to enter Europe by storming border fences.

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