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(Gainesville) – The Ozark County Democratic Party will have a special meeting Wednesday August 27 at 6 PM at Dennis Lawson’s home to finalize plans for the annual Hootin and Hollarin festival.
All county Democrats are encouraged to attend.
For directions or more information call Dennis Lawson at 417-712-4490.
(Ferguson) (AP) – The fatal shooting of a black 18-year-old by a white police officer has opened a debate over what level of force is appropriate when law enforcement confronts a citizen perceived to be a threat.
Here is a look at some of the issues involved when officers must decide whether to use force, deadly or otherwise:
Q: How often do police use force, or threaten to use it, against citizens?
A: A study by the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics found that 1.4 percent of the nearly 60,000 U.S. residents who had contact with police in 2008 said the officers used or threatened to use force against them. Those numbers are similar to national survey results in 2005 (1.6 percent) and 2002 (1.5 percent).
Males were more likely than females to have force used or threatened, and blacks were more likely than whites and Hispanics to be on the receiving end of force, or its threatened use. Three-quarters of the respondents said they felt the police response was excessive, and nearly one in five said they were injured from the encounter. Close to one-fourth of those surveyed said they cursed, argued with, insulted or threatened police.
Q: What are the legal standards governing police use of force?
A: A U.S. Supreme Court decision in the case of Graham vs. Connor 25 years ago remains the legal standard. In that case, the court’s majority ruled that a “reasonable” police response must be “judged from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene, rather than 20/20 vision of hindsight.” Although the ruling provides a minimum standard, law enforcement agencies still have latitude to develop tougher rules rather than rely on a national template or uniform policy.
Q: Why do police officers seemingly shoot to kill rather than try to wound or immobilize suspects?
A: Although officers aren’t technically under orders to shoot to kill, they are instructed to shoot the largest surface area on the body they can target, usually the chest or torso, to most effectively disable violent suspects, said Maria Haberfeld, professor of police science at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York.
Haberfeld, a former Israeli national police officer, and other experts added that unlike specially trained police snipers, most patrol officers lack the skill required to disable a suspect by shooting him or her in the arm.
Q. What is the use-of-force continuum?
A: Most police departments rely on what is known as a use-of-force continuum, which consists of a series of more forceful responses depending upon the severity of the perceived threat. At the low end, the continuum consists of verbal direction and calm, nonthreatening commands such as “Let me see your license and registration,” or simply, “Stop.” The continuum increases to include “soft techniques” such as grabbing or holding a suspect, to “pain compliant techniques” such as choke holds, and ultimately, guns as a means of lethal force.
Q: What about Tasers and other stun guns?
A: Known more broadly in police parlance as “conducted energy devices,” stun guns are not always carried by patrol officers. Their use can also sometimes cause further agitation in suspects, Haberfeld said. In Ferguson, the police department was sued this week by the wife and mother of a 31-year-old man who died from a heart attack in September 2011 after he was shocked while running down the street naked.
Q. What happens when police departments are deemed to have abridged citizens’ rights through excessive use of force or other constitutional violations?
A. The U.S. Justice Department has cracked down on civil rights violations in several big-city police departments over the past two decades after the federal agency received more legal power following the 1991 Rodney King beating in Los Angeles. Police departments in Cincinnati, Detroit, Las Vegas, New Orleans and Pittsburgh are among those to have entered into consent decrees with the Justice Department, which is now investigating the Ferguson Police Department.
The agreements typically spell out more stringent use-of-force procedures, such as establishing review boards to assess incidents after-the-fact as well as steps to identify possible warning signs among officers at risk of using excessive force.
(Clayton) (AP) – St. Louis County prosecutor Bob McCulloch says he has no intentions of removing himself from the Michael Brown case, and he is urging Gov. Jay Nixon to once and for all decide if he will act on calls for McCulloch’s ouster.
The Aug. 9 shooting of Brown by a Ferguson police officer has sparked nightly clashes between protesters and police. Some question McCulloch’s ability to be unbiased since his father, mother and other relatives worked for St. Louis police. His father was killed while responding to a call involving a black suspect.
Nixon said this week he is not asking McCulloch to recuse himself. But McCulloch called Thursday for a more definitive decision, saying Nixon “must settle this issue now.”
A Nixon spokesman didn’t immediately return a message seeking comment.
(Jefferson City) (AP) – Missouri’s lieutenant governor wants lawmakers to look into events related to the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer.
Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder on Thursday called for the creation of a bipartisan panel of House and Senate members to review the state’s law allowing the use of deadly force by police officers.
Kinder also wants the panel to investigate what he describes as a “failure in communication” by state, local and federal law enforcement agencies investigating the Aug. 9 shooting and response to the protests.
He says lawmakers should review the state’s open-records law for police investigations, to ensure the public has access to information.
Kinder also wants the panel to look at education reforms for the area.
(Little Rock) (AP) – Democratic attorney general hopeful Nate Steel says sex offenders should no longer be eligible for parole and should be required to carry drivers licenses with a special imprint.
The state representative from Nashville unveiled a series of proposals Thursday that he said he’ll push in the Legislature next year if elected attorney general. Steel says his proposals are aimed primarily at addressing Arkansas’ prison overcrowding.
Steel also proposed increasing funding for drug courts, establishing a veterans’ advocacy unit in the attorney general’s office and using up-to-date technology to find parents who are not paying child support.
Steel is running against Republican nominee Leslie Rutledge. The two are running to succeed Democratic Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, who is barred by term limits from seeking re-election.
(St. Louis) (AP) – The St. Louis police chief has released 911 audio, surveillance video and cellphone video of the fatal shooting of a knife-wielding man, acknowledging that tensions in nearby Ferguson have created a need for greater transparency when it comes to officer-involved shootings.
Police Chief Sam Dotson said Thursday that both officers involved remain on administrative duty pending an internal investigation. One is 25 with three years of police experience; the other, 31, has been on the force for about 2 1/2 years.
Kajieme Powell, 25, was shot Tuesday after moving toward officers with a knife while telling them, “Shoot me now. Kill me now.” Both officers fired six shots each, but it wasn’t yet known how many struck Powell. He died at the scene.
Dotson said he wanted to move quickly to make public as much information as possible.
“I think the lessons learned from Ferguson were so crystal clear,” Dotson said.
The cellphone video, taken by a bystander, shows officers with guns drawn as the man, knife at his side, walks toward them, shouting for them to kill him. He appears to be just feet away when officers open fire. The man falls to the ground and rolls at the feet of one officer.
The shooting happened about five miles from where 18-year-old Michael Brown was killed by a police officer on Aug. 9, spurring several days of unrest in Ferguson.
More than 100 people gathered after the shooting in St. Louis, some chanting “Hands up, don’t shoot,” which has become a common chant among protesters in Ferguson.
(Ferguson) (AP) – Gov. Jay Nixon says his decision to draw down the Missouri National Guard in Ferguson follows progress in stemming upheaval in the St. Louis suburb since a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black 18-year-old.
Nixon tells KMOX-AM that “the last two nights have been really good” in the suburb that had been the center of nightly racial unrest since Michael Brown was killed Aug. 9.
The white officer who shot Brown, Darren Wilson, is on administrative leave and has not been charged.
Nixon announced what he called a systematic withdrawal of Guard officers on Thursday. He says they’ve effectively protected the city while other agencies worked to restore trust between law enforcement and residents.
Authorities have arrested at least 163 people in the protest area since Brown’s death.
(West Plains) – The City of West Plains recently conducted a survey concerning the Butler House (Parkside House) in Butler Children’s Park in West Plains.
Results are below:
1. How often does your family utilize the Butler Children’s Park per year?
- a. 1-5 times………………….41.4%
- b. 6-10 times………………..26.9%
- c. More than 11 times…29.7%
850 responses online with a total of 884
2. Would your family utilize the park more, less or about the same if the house was removed and replaced with a splash pad, another pavilion or more playground equipment?
- a. More…………34.9%
- b. Less…………..18.5%
- c. Same………..46.6%
860 responses online with a total of 893
3. How likely would you be to financially support a fundraising campaign to raise approximately $800,000 needed to refurbish and maintain the house?
- a. Likely……………31.7%
- b. Not likely……..40.4%
- c. Unsure…………27.9%
858 responses online with a total of 893
4. Considering all current factors of the house, including its age, condition, historical significance and refurbishment costs, what is your preference for the future of theButler House>
- a. Keep it and refurbish it………………………..52.7%
- b. Tear it down and replace…………………….38.1%
- c. No opinion……………………………………………9.2%
858 responses online with a total of 892
(Ferguson) (AP) – Police records show that 163 arrests have been made in the Ferguson protest zone since the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, but just seven are residents of the St. Louis suburb.
Brown was killed Aug. 9 by Ferguson officer Darren Wilson, spurring widespread protests, along with some rioting and looting.
St. Louis County spokeswoman Candace Jarrett provided information to The Associated Press on Thursday with the name, address and birth year of each person arrested, and the charges against them.
It shows that 128 people have been arrested for failure to disperse, 21 for burglary-related charges, four for assaulting police officers. Others were charged with crimes such as trespassing, peace disturbance and destruction of private property.
The oldest person arrested was born in 1948.
(West Plains) – The West Plains School District has announced the Board of Education has approved an agreement with the Howell County Sheriff’s Department to provide a School Resource Officer (SRO) at South Fork Elementary for each day school is in session.
Deputy Rob Pilkington has served at the Howell County Sheriff’s office for nearly twenty years. Deputy Pilkington brings to his new role at South Fork a wealth of knowledge in a variety of area which are vital for the safety, security and well-being of our kids.
In addition to being a Deputy Sheriff, Pilkington is a also a licensed and practicing paramedic and serves as a school safety and security instructor for numerous school districts across the state.