Daily Archives: February 24, 2012

Whistleblower cop sues over arrest quotas


BAD MATH: Craig Matthews (above), at the 42nd Precinct yesterday, says he bucked a quota system and faced in-house retaliation.

Quota bombshell: Whistleblower cop sues over arrest ‘tally’

nypost.com | Feb 24, 2012

By BRUCE GOLDING AND LARRY CELONA

A whistleblowing cop says his Bronx precinct is ruled by an elaborate, color-coded quota system tracking the number of arrests, summonses and “stop-and-frisks” logged by each officer.

In a civil-rights suit filed yesterday, veteran cop Craig Matthews says the quota system in the 42nd Precinct “has pitted police officers against each other, straining professional relationships and diverting resources away from law-enforcement activities.”

He says cops who “comply” with the program “have had their precinct lockers dislodged and overturned, with the lockers sometimes being placed in the shower or their locks being plastered shut.”

“This practice of ‘locker flipping’ has escalated to the point where on-duty police officers are now assigned to guard the precinct’s locker room around the clock,” court papers say.

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Matthews, a 14-year veteran, made the stunning revelation in a Manhattan federal court filing that charges he’s “been subjected to a campaign of retaliation and harassment” for telling top brass in the precinct about the “highly developed quota system” employed by “mid-level supervisors” there.

The suit — which targets the city, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, precinct commander Deputy Inspector Jon Bloch and Lt. Mark Sedran — seeks a court order that they “cease all actions in retaliation for [Matthews’] protected speech,” plus unspecified damages.

The suit was filed the same day Matthews went down to defeat in an election in which he was seeking a second four-year term as the precinct’s union delegate. It also came on a day when he received a poor performance review — scoring just 2.5 out of a possible five points. His suit claims such low scores are retaliation for his complaints to precinct brass.

Matthews declined to comment outside the 42nd Precinct station house yesterday.

His suit says supervisors use color-coded computer reports to track each officer’s numbers, including those for highly controversial “stop-and-frisks” — which one supervisor allegedly described as “worth their weight in gold.”

”Current reports use black ink to identify officers who are meeting quotas, silver ink to identify officers who are meeting only some quotas and red ink to identify officers who are not meeting quotas,” according to court papers.

Matthews says cops “are constantly pressured to meet the quotas, and those who do not are subject to punishment including undesirable assignments, the loss of overtime, denial of leave, separation from partners and poor evaluations.”

NYPD spokesman Paul Browne disputed that the color codes were used to enforce quotas.

“The color codes do not specify quotas, but indicate enforcement activity ,” Browne said. “These are reasonable indicators of police officer activity.”

The city Law Department declined to comment.

Philadelphia priest: Cardinal ordered child abuse lists from secret archives shredded

“I shredded… four copies of these lists from the secret archives…”

Reuters | Feb 24, 2012

By Dave Warner

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) – The highest ranking cleric charged in a Philadelphia pedophilia scandal asked a judge on Friday to dismiss his case because his boss – the late Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua – ordered a list he made of predator priests be shredded.

Lawyers for Monsignor William Lynn, 61, filed the motion to dismiss conspiracy and child endangerment charges as jury selection in the case was underway in Common Pleas Court.

Lynn, who served the Philadelphia Catholic Archdiocese as secretary of the clergy during Bevilacqua’s time as archbishop from 1987 to 1998, would be the first church official to stand trial in a child sex abuse case if opening arguments begin as scheduled on March 26.

As clergy secretary, Lynn on his own initiative reviewed secret church archives and created a list of 35 priests who had been involved in abusive conduct or were classified with a sexual disorder, Lynn’s lawyers said in court documents.

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Monsignor: Philly cardinal shredded abuse list

He handed the list over to Bevilacqua in 1994. Bevilacqua soon afterwards, in a handwritten note, ordered the document destroyed, apparently by Lynn’s then supervisor Monsignor James Molloy, the lawyers said. Molloy died in 2006.

The motion to dismiss charges was made based on “the recent unexpected and shocking discovery of a March, 1994 memorandum” composed by Molloy, the defense lawyers said.

“I shredded… four copies of these lists from the secret archives,” Molloy said in the 1994 memorandum, according to the court documents filed on Friday.

Bevilacqua, 88, who was to have been a witness in the trial, died last month after suffering from dementia and cancer.

After Bevilacqua’s death on January 31, a locksmith was called in to open a safe and inside were copies of both the list of predator priests and the memo that it had been destroyed.

“Unbeknownst to anyone else and in violation of the cardinal’s directive, Monsignor Molloy preserved a copy of this list in a different place – a safe to which no one else had a combination,” the court documents said.

“Both documents only became available to the parties last week, a mere week after the passing of Cardinal Bevilacqua,” the court filing said.

The jury that indicted Lynn for covering up the abuse also indicted two priests, a former priest, and a former archdiocese school teacher on charges of sexually abusing children between 1996 and 1999.

Sheriff volunteers begin patrolling in new VIPR program


Paul Shaplin (left) and Martin Michaelson, both volunteers with the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office, placed a speed trailer on the shoulder of Northchase Parkway West.  Photo by Julian March

starnewsonline.com | Feb 22, 2012

By Julian March

The New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office has launched a new program that deploys volunteers to patrol the county in two marked Crown Victorias.

New Hanover County Sheriff Ed McMahon has named it the VIPR program, which stands for Volunteer Intervention Prevention Response.

“They’re going to be some extra eyes and ears for us,” McMahon said Wednesday. “I’ve always said that alone, we’re not going to be nearly as effective.”

Everyone in the VIPR program has gone through the sheriff’s citizen’s academy, a 10-week class that meets once a week to teach people about the sheriff’s office. The VIPR training is an additional 20 hours of classroom time and 24 hours of ride-along training with a field training officer.

The sheriff’s office started the volunteer program in November. Those volunteers work at the front desk of the jail. Already, McMahon said, they have collectively served 1,000 volunteer hours.

Martin Michaelson, a graduate of the citizen’s academy, said he asked the sheriff if they could start a volunteer patrol. He had been a reserve deputy in New York for 19 years before he moved to North Carolina. McMahon created the program and placed him in charge of coordinating the volunteers.

Michaelson said he wants to help keep the community safer.

“It’s important to me because both my children are down here,” he said.

There are 12 desk volunteers and six VIPR volunteers who will assist the patrol division. The sheriff’s office has two green marked patrol cars with orange lights on top.

The VIPR volunteers, clad in green polo shirts and khaki pants, are unarmed but do wear bullet-proof vests. They will operate in the daytime hours. “We prefer to pair them up,” said Sgt. Jerry Brewer, the public information officer for the sheriff’s office.

None of the volunteers will receive payment. The two Ford Crown Victorias were spare patrol vehicles before they were painted green.

“The cost is very minimal,” Brewer said. He did not have any estimates about future costs.

VIPR volunteers will perform security checks of homes and businesses, check for speeders in residential neighborhoods and control traffic or parking at special events. But that’s not to say they cannot do more.

On their first day of patrol on Monday, volunteer Paul Shaplin witnessed a rear-end collision on Market Street. The driver alledgedly at fault got out and talked with the person he hit, then got back in his car and sped off. Shaplin jumped on his radio and called in a description of the car and the driver.

The Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office also has two volunteer-led patrol cars that operate under the VOICE program, which stands for Volunteer Observers Impacting Community Efforts. That office started its Volunteer Services Program in 2011. Volunteers contributed more than 9,000 volunteer hours to the sheriff’s office in 2011, according to a report. They have helped screen visitors at the jail and the Brunswick County Courthouse and worked at the department headquarters in Bolivia and the Calabash sub-station.

The VOICE cars went on 145 patrols in 2011. They helped stranded drivers, assisted with traffic accidents and alerted dispatchers about suspicious activity.

Wilmington Police Department Detective Kevin Smith, a police spokesman, was impressed by the New Hanover VIPR program and said it would help the city of Wilmington as well as the county.

“They’re a law enforcement force multiplier,” he said.

Ron Paul Wants to Abolish the CIA; His Largest Donor Builds Toys for It


Ron Paul’s Super PAC has received nearly all of its money from a single source, billionaire Peter Thiel. So far, Thiel has contributed $2.6 million to Ron Paul’s Super PAC, Endorse Liberty, providing 76 percent of the Super PAC’s total intake.

thenation.com | Feb 23, 2012   

by Mark Ames

If there’s one thing that distinguishes Ron Paul from the rest of the GOP field, it’s his principled stand against American empire and his ardent defense of individual liberties. Paul’s opposition to wars, bloated defense budgets and government espionage of US citizens has made him a hero among some young conservatives. His seemingly rock-solid principles and radicalism has even drawn some on the left; unlike even left-wing Democrats, Paul has said he wants to abolish both the CIA and the FBI to protect individual “liberty.”

So it should come as a shock and disappointment to his followers that Ron Paul’s single largest donor—his Sheldon Adelson, as it were—founded a controversial defense contractor, Palantir Technologies, that profits from government espionage work for the CIA, FBI and other agencies, and which last year was caught organizing an illegal spy ring targeting American political opponents of the US Chamber of Commerce, including journalists, progressive activists and union leaders. (Palantir takes its name from the mystic stones used by characters in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings to spy one another.)

According to recently filed FEC disclosure documents, Ron Paul’s Super PAC has received nearly all of its money from a single source, billionaire Peter Thiel. So far, Thiel has contributed $2.6 million to Ron Paul’s Super PAC, Endorse Liberty, providing 76 percent of the Super PAC’s total intake.

Thiel, a self-described libertarian and opponent of democracy who made his fortune as the founder of PayPal, launched Palantir in 2004 to profit from what the Wall Street Journal described as “the government spy-services marketplace.” The CIA’s venture capital firm, In-Q-Tel, was brought in to back up Thiel as one of Palantir’s first outside investors. Today, Palantir’s valuation is reported to be in the billions.

A recent Businessweek profile explained how Palantir makes its money—and why Ron Paul’s followers should be bothered:

Depending where you fall on the spectrum between civil liberties absolutism and homeland security lockdown, Palantir’s technology is either creepy or heroic. Judging by the company’s growth, opinion in Washington and elsewhere has veered toward the latter. Palantir has built a customer list that includes the U.S. Defense Dept., CIA, FBI, Army, Marines, Air Force, the police departments of New York and Los Angeles, and a growing number of financial institutions trying to detect bank fraud. These deals have turned the company into one of the quietest success stories in Silicon Valley—it’s on track to hit $250 million in sales this year—and a candidate for an initial public offering. Palantir has been used to find suspects in a case involving the murder of a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agent, and to uncover bombing networks in Syria, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. “It’s like plugging into the Matrix,” says a Special Forces member stationed in Afghanistan who requested anonymity out of security concerns. “The first time I saw it, I was like, ‘Holy crap. Holy crap. Holy crap.’ ”

It gets worse: the technologies and know-how acquired over years of spying on suspected foreign terrorists and threats were turned to private, political use against US citizens. In what became known last year as the “Chamber-Gate” scandal, Palantir was outed by Anonymous as the lead outfit in a private espionage consortium with security technology companies HBGary and Berico; the groups spent months “creating electronic dossiers on political opponents of the Chamber through illicit means.”

According to ThinkProgress, Palantir “may have used techniques and technologies developed under military contracts in their pro-Chamber campaign.”

Thiel’s Palantir and its two intelligence contractor partners—collectively named “Team Themis” after the Roman goddess of law and order—proposed to the Chamber’s lawyers a plan that involved illegal cyber-espionage against the Chamber’s enemies, including targeting activists’ families and children. Among those targeted: ThinkProgress, union leaders, MoveOn, Brad Friedman and Glenn Greenwald, whose support for Wikileaks reportedly rankled Chamber member Bank of America.

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