Posts tagged with "law enforcement"

DeMarcus Walker illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Justice for DeMarcus Walker

DeMarcus Walker. Say his name. Say his name along with the other victims of the hate crimes that fill our society. Just over a year ago, Demarcus was going about his Saturday morning shopping just like many others. On March 7, 2020, at approximately 10:25 in the morning, Walker was run down with a Chevy Impala and then brutally beaten with a baseball bat.

DeMarcus Walker suffered life-threatening injuries and, unfortunately, was not able to pull through. He passed away April 11, 2020, from tracheal narrowing and cerebral edema and hemorrhage due to complications from blunt injuries of the head, which was noted in his autopsy. His death was ruled a homicide.

Zai’quaria Walker, DeMarcus Walker’s daughter, stated to NBC News Anchor Tom Powell “When it’s your family it’s a different kind of pain.” She desperately asked “Why that day? What was going through your head to do that then and there?”

Houston Walker, DeMarcus Walker’s father, commented during a news conference “I feel like it was a hate crime. It had to be. The way I understand in the paper, he was walking around Walmart with a ski mask on looking for people to beat up. That’s how I feel about it.”

Vaughn Lowery, President of 360 Magazine, states “Senseless violence has afflicted America throughout the weeks, and it seems that there is no end in sight. As a nation, we must unite and abandon this malevolent behavior. Once we recognize why the BIPOC and LGBTQ communities are under constant attack because they are intrinsically different, then we will begin to heal. At the end of the day, our legal system is not designed to protect them. In the case of DeMarcus Walker, justice must be served and the person who attempted to kill him must be held accountable according to the highest standards of the law. We can no longer allow malicious intent to pass unnoticed in our judicial system.”.

Police arrested 21-year-old Levi Arnold, who has recently pleaded guilty but mentally ill to charges of murder and resisting law enforcement for the cold-blooded crime he committed last year outside of the Apple Glen Walmart in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Arnold will be sentenced on April 16, 2021, and is facing 51 years in prison.

Explosion illustration by Kaelen Felix for 360 Magazine

Nashville Christmas Bombing

By Hannah DiPilato

Christmas morning had a horrific start for Nashville, Tennessee when a bomb went off at 6 a.m. Friday morning. 

Planted in an RV that was parked on the street, the bomb left excessive damage for the city; over 40 buildings were impacted. The most bizarre part was the fifteen-minute evacuation warning that played before the bomb erupted. This gave the surrounding area time to evacuate in order to prevent death and injury.

The police are currently investigating the situation and believe it was a suicide bombing. Human remains have been recovered from the scene of the incident, but no fatalities have been confirmed yet. So far, three injuries have been recorded due to the blast, but all are in stable condition. 

A tip released to law enforcement about the vehicle involved in the bombing has led agents to Antioch, a town just southeast of Nashville, to search a home. According to FBI spokesman, Jason Pack, they are conducting “court-authorized activity,” but have not reported who resides in the home. Law enforcement has received 500 leads and tips that are now being investigated. 

Douglas Korneski, FBI special agent in charge of the Memphis Field Office, was unable to identify any potential suspects at a press conference held on Saturday afternoon. However, as of now, police have identified one person of interest. 

One possible motive of the attack could be the destruction of the nearby AT&T building which caused major problems for cell service in many southern states. Korneski said the FBI is, “looking at every possible motive that could be involved,” when asked about the AT&T building being a possible target.

Mayor John Cooper has enforced a curfew in the downtown area until Sunday as a preventative measure until investigators can learn more about what occurred. The downtown area, and heart of Nashville tourism, was shut down so investigators could comb through the remains from the explosion.

Many residents of the area reported hearing gunshots at approximately 5:30 a.m. on Christmas morning. The white RV responsible for the explosion was parked directly in front of 166 Second Ave. North, which is the AT&T transmission building. 

The eerie message projecting from the van said, “This vehicle will explode in 15 minutes,” according to Betsy Williams, a resident that lived nearby the scene. The message repeated for a minute and then proceeded to count down from 15 minutes. At approximately 6:30 a.m. the recording changed as the time inched closer to the threat of an eruption. “If you can hear this message, evacuate now,” the voice boomed, minutes from when the street was blown up. 

Six police officers that were on the scene immediately began evacuating homes after hearing the message. No officials suffered serious injuries, one officer was knocked over by the force of the blast and another officer suffered from hearing loss. 

The investigation for answers continues into Saturday night and law enforcement is working hard to keep Nashville safe in the coming days. Korneski said the investigation will take time because “the investigative team is turning over every stone.” 

Kaelen Felix Illustrates a Drug Article for 360 MAGAZINE

Oregon Decriminalizes Drugs

By Justin Lyons

This year’s election will go down as a legendary one in the history of the United States of America, and for some of the bigger fights, the country still doesn’t have an answer.

Where answers do exist seem to be in propositions and measures, and the big winners are those hoping for the decriminalization of drugs. Mississippi, New Jersey, South Dakota, Montana and Arizona all approved the legalization of recreational marijuana.

The biggest victory for those in favor of drug decriminalization probably came in Oregon, where the penalty for small amounts of heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and other drugs was lessened.

According to Ballotpedia, Oregon’s Measure 110 would reclassify the possession of controlled substances such as those listed above from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class E violation, which would result in a $100 fine or the necessity of a “completed health assessment.”

The Oregon Criminal Justice Commission estimated that convictions for possession would decrease by 90.7%.

Addiction recovery centers conduct the health assessments, which will include a screening from a certified alcohol and drug counselor and must be completed within 45 days of the Class E violation.

The funds for the assessments and the recovery programs will come from the Oregon Marijuana Account and money the state of Oregon saves from reductions in arrests, incarceration and official supervision. The recovery centers will provide treatment 24 hours per day along with health assessments, intervention plans, case management services and peer support and outreach.

The possession quantity of the now decriminalized drugs to be classified as a Class E violation are as follows: one gram of heroin or less, two grams of cocaine or less, two grams of methamphetamine or less, one gram or five pills of MDMA or less, 40 or fewer user units of LSD, less than 12 grams of psilocybin, fewer than 40 user units of methadone and fewer than 40 pills, tables or capsules of oxycodone.

A person carrying more than the specified amounts may face a misdemeanor with less than a year imprisonment, a $6,250 fine or both.

According to Yes on Measure 110, more than 125 Oregon-based organizations endorsed the measure, including Oregon Chapter of the American College of Physicians, Oregon Nurses Association, Oregon School Psychologists’ Association and Law Enforcement Action Partnership.

Ballotpedia also said the Democratic Party of Oregon, Multnomah Democrats and Working Families Party of Oregon support the bill, right alongside 11-time-GRAMMY-Award-Winning artist John Legend.

The measure is to be implemented no later than Feb. 1 of 2021.

Trump Tax Findings posted by 360 MAGAZINE and illustrated by Rita Azar.

SSPBA endorses Donald Trump

Southern States Police Benevolent Association, Inc. (SSPBA) announced today that it is endorsing Donald Trump for President in the 2020 election. SSPBA board members and representatives met with Vice President Mike Pence in Raleigh today to announce the endorsement. SSPBA is composed of over 60,000 law enforcement officer members throughout the Southeast. This is the association’s first presidential endorsement in over twenty years.

“With the stakes as high as they are for the law enforcement profession today, we felt that we must speak up in support of the true law enforcement candidates,” said Chris Skinner, SSPBA president.

“President Trump has been unwavering in his support of law enforcement,” President Skinner continued.  “He has shown time and again that he stands behind the men and women who put on their uniform and badge and go to work each day,” President Skinner said.  “In these times when many are attacking the law enforcement profession, it is imperative that law enforcement officers know that they are not on their own as they face the dangers of their job.  We believe that President Trump and Vice President Pence have demonstrated that they understand and appreciate the honor and sacrifice of serving as a law enforcement officer.”

“The number one priority of government is to provide for safety and protection of the citizens. We are convinced that President Trump recognizes the fact that law enforcement and law enforcement officers are vital to the strength and stability of our communities,” President Skinner added. “We support President Trump and Vice President Pence because we know that they are the candidates who will continue to support us.”

Southern States Police Benevolent Association, Inc. is a non-profit professional organization dedicated to improving the law enforcement profession. PBA members are active or retired employees of federal, state, county and municipal law enforcement and correctional agencies. This professional association provides legal, legislative, disciplinary and other representation to member officers as well as a salary replacement death benefit to members’ beneficiaries. The PBA prohibits members from engaging in or condoning any strike by law enforcement officers, electing instead to represent members through aggressive political action. For more information, please visit our website at www.sspba.org.

Kamala Harris illustration done by Mina Tocalini of 360 MAGAZINE.

Joe Biden × Kamala Harris

Presidential candidate Joe Biden has declared California Senator Kamala Harris his Vice President running mate. Former Vice President Joe Biden’s selection of Senator Kamala Harris Harris shows Biden doubling down on his long history of excessive law enforcement and support for the war on drugs. 

In a year of national uprising against police violence, Kamala Harris who spent 25 years in law enforcement is an ironic selection. Her campaign for president ended quickly as she dropped out of the race two months before the Iowa Caucus and three days before the filing deadline to be on the ballot in her home state of California, where she was behind in the polls. Part of her decline was caused by voter dismay at her reversal on Medicare For All, when she flip-flopped to a policy that subsidized private health insurance and misleadingly continued to call it Medicare for All.

While Joe Biden was the principal legislative architect of the drug war and mass incarceration from his time on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Harris’s record as a prosecutor and Attorney General was as a foot soldier in the drug war and mass incarceration. As the San Francisco District Attorney drug-related prosecutions increased from 56 percent in 2003 to 74 percent in 2006. In 2019, she admitted smoking marijuana in college but while Attorney General of California from 2011-2017, Harris sent at least 1,560 people to prison over marijuana-related offenses. In 2014, a week after the New York Times called for legal marijuana, Harris laughed when asked if she supported it. Now, she supports ending federal laws against marijuana, a position not held by Biden.

While Biden sponsored mandatory sentencing, Harris defended one of the worst mandatory sentencing laws in the US, California’s ‘three strikes law’ that also applied to “minor” felonies. She campaigned against a voter initiative that would have reformed this to require serious or violent felonies for life sentences. Harris did not take a position on two ballot initiatives in 2012 and 2014 that would have reduced punishment for low-level crimes and given judges more flexibility at sentencing. Both initiatives passed without her support.

After the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, police accountability was on the agenda in the California legislature. Harris refused to take a position on racial profiling by police. As Attorney General she refused to investigate highly questionable police shootings in Los Angeles 2014 and in San Francisco in 2015.

Follow Kamala Harris: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Follow Joe Biden: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Andres Guardado Illustration by Mina Tocalini

Andres Guardado Killed by LASD

By Eamonn Burke

18 year old Andres Guardado was killed by a deputy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff on June 18. Guardado was spotted by a Sheriff in front of a business with a gun in his pants on the night of his death, and allegedly pulled the handgun on police when they investigated, and resisted commands. He then ran, and a chase ensued, which ended in 6 rounds being shot at the teen and him being provinces dead at the scene.

“I don’t know — it’s still not real. I close my eyes and I hope and I pray that it’s not really happening,” said Guardado’s cousin Celina Abarca as she teared up.

It is known that Guardado was a security guard, but at the time he was not wearing a uniform or safety equipment, and he was not yet 21, the age at which a security guard can be armed in Los Angeles. So far no video evidence has surfaced, but authorities have been looking for footage. According to Sheriff Alex Villanueva, this should be yet another reason for body cameras, which the department does not currently have.

The sheriff’s department has not been cooperative in the aftermath. Their “security hold” on Guardado’s autopsy has moved the family to seek an independent one, saying that there was a lack of transparency between the two parties. Miguel Vega, Guardado’s murderer, has still not spoken to investigators. However, an attorney representing the other sheriff involved, has spoken, saying the encounter was “a justified shooting at the wrong time” and that the Sheriff’s department is “very sorry for the loss of life, sorry for the (Guardado) family.”

Protests demanding justice for Guardado have added to the nationwide reckoning against police brutality, specifically against people of color.

Mina Tocalini, 360 Magazine, Fireworks

DON’T PLAY W/ FIRE

By Gabriella Scerbo

Fireworks: Usually an item associated with July 4th or any sort of celebration. Every year around the major cities hundreds of people gather to watch fireworks, and are in awe of their multicolors, and unique pulsating sounds. Another thing that many love about fireworks, is the excuse to sip a cold beer (maybe a little too much) but overall spend quality time with family. This time of celebration and positive correlation seems to be out the window when discussing fireworks in the political climate of 2020.

Fireworks are illegal in many states without a permit, and police departments across the country are cracking down on the abundant use. Law enforcement is once again restating the ordinances regarding these fireworks. In Illinois, the Police Department posted a Facebook update, once again reminding residents of the policy. In June, New York City firework complaints have more than tripled within the past year. This influx in fireworks is due to the fact that large gatherings are cancelled, such as concerts, sporting events and many other celebrations due to the spread of COVID-19.

Another theory regarding the influx of fireworks, are the protests following the death of George Floyd. In New York City and major cities around the country, thousands protest police brutality and years of systemic racism, and racial injustice faced by the Black Community. The Black Lives Matter movement have also been involved in directly using fireworks in addition to peaceful protests, and a larger national conversation about the system injustices.

Pasadena, California has seen a 400% increase of fireworks related complaints. Around 40% (2 in 5) of Americans plan on buying their own fireworks this year, due to the cancellations of many celebrations due to COVID-19. In the Big Apple, Firework complaints have rose to 13,109 compared to just 32 last year.

Not only are these fireworks having a large affect on humans, they also affect everyone’s favorite member of their families: pets.

Although the fireworks seem to glisten in the sky, used for either boredom or to reiterate an important movement, they can also cause serious physical injuries. These effects include loss of fingers, hands, and even tissue damage on the face. Fireworks should be left to people that know how to properly use them.

Not only are the fireworks causing physical injuries to many, they are also causing light pollution and air pollution, which has a direct negative effect on the environment. These fireworks put harmful chemicals and smoke in the air, these chemicals have negative implications such as coughing, shortness of breath, and even heart attacks.

The loud noises are causing concern to frontline workers during the pandemic, looking to get a good night’s rest from another stressful day in the hospital. As well as officer workers, eager to get back to some sense of normalcy during Phase 2 of reopening following COVID-19.

Not only are these fireworks having a large negative on humans, they also affect everyone’s favorite member of their families: pets. Similar to humans, the loud noise is not the most pleasing one, and can cause mental problems. Dogs specifically, when hearing these noises tend to self mutilate, due to anxiety.  Smaller dogs, such as border collies, Australian Shepherds and chihuahua’s can be especially sensitive.

Unfortunately, the amount of pets that are entered in the shelters post July 4th are around 80% higher  than normal. Imagine the potential increase in  shelters with the fireworks in 2020.

These astronomical numbers will be steadily increasing if this firework predicament is not properly taken care of. Many amazing pets lives will be destroyed, as well as there loving families.

 In the grand schemes of things, fireworks are a very small issue in the sea of large issues. However, right now they have been brought into the spotlight as yet another concern for the safety of major cities around the country.

Elizabeth Warren, presidential candidate, essence magazine, essence.com, 360 MAGAZINE

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN: ESSENCE.COM OP-ED

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) pens an exclusive op-ed for ESSENCE.com entitled, Closing the School-to-Prison Pipeline for Good. In this piece, she talks about the threat that young students of color face every day, rethinking the approach to public education and public safety and more. She states:

“In the 1990’s, hundreds of police officers were deployed to public schools across the country as a component of the war on drugs and later in response to school shootings. Today, at least fourteen million students attend schools staffed with a police officer — but without a single counselor, social worker, psychologist, or nurse.

The result is that in many cases, an infraction as simple as back talking or skipping class that should end in detention or administrative intervention can end in arrest. Over the years, the implementation of policies from Zero-Tolerance to surveillance to criminalizing lateness and absenteeism have created a system of loopholes that trap our most vulnerable students in a pipeline kept alive by the for-profit prison system. It’s a system that disproportionately hurts black and brown students and undermines their learning…As President, I will work to close the school to prison pipeline, by rethinking our approach to public education and public safety…”

In addition, she reflects on her recently revealed plan to invest $800 billion in public schools and how she would invest “an additional $100 billion in ‘Excellence Grants’—that’s equivalent to $1 million for every public school in the country—to invest in things like after school arts programs and school-based student mentoring programs…” This would be in an overall effort toreduce the impact of systemic racial and economic disadvantage on students.

For more, visit ESSENCE.com.

Mob Museum Debuts Tech at the Museum

The Mob Museum, The National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement located in downtown Las Vegas, this year launched “Organized Crime Today,” a technology-driven exhibition dedicated to present-day topics. Featuring artifacts as well as fully interactive, 17-foot-long touch screen wall, the exhibition enables Museum guests to take a deep dive into the Global Networks of organized crime operating around the world in the 21st century. This elaborate exhibition launched in February of 2018, along with three other brand-new permanent exhibitions the award-winning, American Alliance of Museums-accredited institution debuted this year.

While most of the Museum covers the intriguing history of organized crime and its battle with law enforcement through decades, Organized Crime Today addresses contemporary iterations of this illegal activity. The Global Networks touchscreen wall elaborates on contemporary crime rackets—illegal enterprises that span the globe and profit off everything from drug and human trafficking to product counterfeiting, money laundering and cybercrime. The exhibit addresses the most prominent organized crime groups active in the world today and explores the complexities of organized crime with up-to-the-minute developments pulled from the day’s headlines.

For example, a recent addition to the Global Networks interactive wall spotlights the wildlife smuggling trade in Cambodia, where customs officials recently confiscated 3.5 tons of African elephant ivory—the largest cache of the smuggled contraband ever found in the country. Smugglers have been using Cambodia as a transit hub to feed the demand for ivory in China—which banned ivory sales in 2018—and Vietnam, where it is used in carved artwork, chopsticks and jewelry.

In addition, the screen offers the ability for experts around the world to videoconference into the Museum remotely and offer their analysis and insights into organized crime around the world. These programs are included in the price of general admission and offer Museum visitors the opportunity not only to hear from these experts, but also the chance to ask questions.

Museum visitors encounter other technology-enabled, interactive experiences as well. A Use of Force Training experience uses airsoft versions of police-style handguns and responsive video scenarios to demonstrate the training law enforcement officers receive regarding the use of deadly force. Meanwhile, in the Museum’s Crime Lab, visitors can learn about cause of death investigation with the assistance of life-sized, digitally generated subjects viewed on an interactive, touch-screen “autopsy table.”

Media attending CES 2019 who wish to visit the Museum should send their request tochristina@thevoxagency.com. For more information about the Museum and its Organized Crime Today – Global Networks exhibition, click here.