Islamic State Magazine Praises Couple Behind San Bernardino Terrorist Attack

Islamic State Magazine Praises Couple Behind San Bernardino Terrorist Attack

By Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times (TNS)

An Islamic State propaganda magazine praised the couple responsible for the San Bernardino terrorist attack as martyrs for killing 14 people, and suggested that the deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil since 9/11 was inspired — but not directed — by the organization.

An essay that opens the most recent issue of the English-language magazine, Dabiq, said the assailants, Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, answered the call to “terrorize crusaders in their very strongholds.” Both were killed in a gun battle with police.

Dabiq, which also serves as a recruitment tool for Islamic State (also known as ISIS), emphasized that Malik was willing to carry out an attack, unlike many men. Her participation made the attack unique, the essay said.

“How much more deserving of Allah’s blessing are a husband and wife who march out together to fight the crusaders in defense of the Khilafah!” the article said, using the Arabic term for caliphate, or a state established and guided by Islamic law.

The two attackers “did not suffice with embarking upon the noble path of jihad alone,” the essay said. Farook was praised as a “noble brother” while Malik was referred to as “his blessed wife.”

Images of San Bernardino after the attack and Farook’s bullet-riddled body accompanied the article.

The killings were described as righteous in the magazine, which didn’t mention that those shot were Farook’s co-workers at the San Bernardino County Health Department who were attending a holiday party.

Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at Cal State San Bernardino, said the magazine “seems to confirm a previous ISIS radio report that these were inspired attacks, not coordinated by ISIS.”

FBI officials have said that the couple acted on their own, not at the behest of another organization.

“This is part of (a) two-part strategy; ISIS would prefer to orchestrate massive attacks against the United States. But they are more than willing to praise an attack which they inspired that killed more than a dozen people,” Levin said.

He noted that Islamic State uses a “very derogatory term” to describe non-Muslims who are victims of attacks.

“They are a death cult,” Levin said.

The 56-page online magazine also praised the couple for putting aside their lives, including family members and other obligations.

“Not only did they leave behind their comfortable lifestyle, but prior to the operation they left their baby daughter in the care of others knowing that they likely wouldn’t see her again in this life,” the essay said.

A picture of the white crib in the couple’s Redlands home was also included in the magazine’s layout, along with a photo of a wounded man on a stretcher and law enforcement vehicles outside the Inland Regional Center, where the attack occurred.

After completing the attack, which left 22 people wounded, Malik reaffirmed her allegiance to the leader of Islamic State in an online post, the two-page essay said. Malik’s pledge was posted online shortly before the couple was killed in the shootout with police.

The essay ended by expressing hope that the San Bernardino attack would “awaken” Muslims across the United States, Europe and Australia.

Levin said the article clearly asked potential homegrown violent terrorists to heed the call to carry out attacks.

The issue also confirmed that the masked militant nicknamed “Jihadi John,” who appeared in several videos depicting the beheadings of Western hostages, was killed by a drone strike in Raqqah, Syria.

U.S. military officials had said in November that the Army was “reasonably certain” that the militant, identified as Mohammed Emwazi, was killed in a drone strike, the Associated Press reported.

©2016 Los Angeles Times. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Photo: An undated photograph of a man described as Abdelhamid Abaaoud that was published in the Islamic State’s online magazine Dabiq. REUTERS/Social Media Website via Reuters TV

A Freeway Terrorist Attack Is The ‘Nightmare We Worry About’

A Freeway Terrorist Attack Is The ‘Nightmare We Worry About’

By Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times (TNS)

There are few places where Southern Californians feel more trapped than on a freeway in standstill traffic.

One of the San Bernardino shooters and his childhood friend talked about taking advantage of this vulnerability by launching a terrorist attack on a clogged freeway using guns and pipe bombs, according to court records released last week.

Syed Rizwan Farook and Enrique Marquez Jr. mapped out the plan to attack the 91 Freeway in detail and collected weapons and explosives in 2011 and 2012, only to abort the plot, the records say.

Still, their alleged scheme has counterterrorism experts alarmed and baffled. Experts say such an attack would be feasible, but some questioned the seriousness of the plot, given that there are so many easier ways for shooters to kill large numbers of people.

Officials said they had never uncovered an alleged terrorist plot involving freeways until now. But Los Angeles Police Department Deputy Chief Michael Downing, who oversees the counterterrorism bureau, said it’s a scenario officials have discussed and tried to plan for.

It is “a nightmare that we worry about,” Downing said.

According to a criminal complaint filed against Marquez last week in federal court, he and Farook planned to target a location on the 91 Freeway during the afternoon rush hour.

The complaint does not specify the exact location but said the area lacked exits, which the two believed would increase the number of targets. Marquez admitted to authorities that he would set up a position in the hills south of the freeway as Farook would throw pipe bombs into the eastbound lanes to stop traffic, the court papers said.

Farook would then move among the stopped vehicles, shooting motorists. Marquez said his plan was to shoot at stopped vehicles from the hill and watch for approaching police and emergency workers, prosecutors alleged. His priority, he said, was to shoot at police before firing on medical personnel.

The document said Marquez stopped planning the attack in 2012 for several reasons, including the arrest of a group of men in Chino in an unrelated terrorism case.

Downing said that even staging an accident on a section of a freeway with few exits would give terrorists the ability to attack motorists stopped in traffic.

The key for law enforcement, he said, would be to send officers to the scene quickly to stop the attack.

Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, killed 14 people Dec. 2 at a holiday party in San Bernardino. They were later killed in a shootout with authorities. Both are said to have expressed support for Islamic radicalism. Marquez was charged last week with conspiring to provide material support to terrorists related to the 91 Freeway plan, and another aborted plot targeting Riverside City College. He was also charged with illegally providing some of the weapons used in the Dec. 2 shootings.

Both the San Bernardino shooting and the Islamic State attacks in Paris underscored the vulnerabilities of “soft targets.” Both attacks occurred away from landmarks that officials have often considered the most likely terrorist targets and instead hit suburban areas with much more limited security.

The alleged 91 Freeway plan is one of many plots uncovered in the United States that targeted transportation. According to the New York Police Department, plans included cutting the support cables of the Brooklyn Bridge, exploding bombs in the New York subway system and blowing up train tubes under the Hudson and East rivers.

There have been several aborted efforts to commit terrorism at transportation hubs, law enforcement authorities say:

2000: Plot uncovered to attack Los Angeles International Airport.

2003: Man plots to cut cable supports for the Brooklyn Bridge.

2006: Group talks of blowing up a train tunnel under the Hudson River, causing massive flooding.

2006: Men plot to blow up gas storage tanks and lines leading to JFK Airport.

2008: Man talked of using a suitcase bomb in river tunnel on Long Island Railroad.

2009: Men plot bombings in New York subway system.

2012: Men are accused of plot to blow up a bridge near Cleveland.

Source: Los Angeles Times reports; New York Police Department

©2015 Los Angeles Times. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Photo: Raymond Shobe via Flickr


Privacy Often Trumps Transparency With Police Shooting Videos

Privacy Often Trumps Transparency With Police Shooting Videos

By Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times (TNS)

Cameras mounted inside patrol cars captured every moment.

With their guns drawn, Gardena, Calif., police officers screamed instructions at three men on the sidewalk. The officers warned them to keep their hands above their heads, mistakenly believing that they had been involved in a robbery.

Exactly what happened next is in dispute, but what is undisputed that the men were unarmed when police opened fire, killing one and seriously wounding another.

Afterward, the Gardena Police Department allowed the officers — over the objection of a sheriff’s investigator — to review video of the incident. But the department has refused to make the videos public, even after the city agreed to pay $4.7 million to settle a civil rights lawsuit over the shooting.

Across the country, law enforcement agencies are equipping police and patrol cars with cameras to capture interactions between officers and the public. But many of those police forces, like Gardena’s, do not release the recordings to the public, citing concerns about violating the privacy of officers and others shown in the recordings and the possibility of interfering with investigations.

That approach has drawn criticism from some civil rights activists who say that the public release of recordings is crucial to holding police accountable — especially if the officers involved in the incidents are allowed to watch the videos.

Gardena Police Chief Ed Medrano defended his department’s position as consistent with that of other law enforcement organizations around the country. He said it was intended to protect the integrity of investigations and the privacy of officers and those who come into contact with police.

“The general public does not have an unfettered right to see every video that is taken by law enforcement,” Medrano said in an email. “Thus, absent a court order to the contrary, many agencies across the country, including Gardena, do not intend to release videos to the public.”

In a court filing this year, the city’s lawyers argued that the videos do “not tell the whole story” about the shooting and that making them public could endanger the officers and their families. The attorneys said the social climate since the killing of an unarmed man by police in Ferguson, Mo., last year had heightened the threat to the Gardena officers, who felt compelled to hire experts to remove personal information about them from the Internet.

In February, a U.S. District judge rejected a request by attorneys suing Gardena to lift an order preventing public release of the videos.

Attorney R. Samuel Paz, one of the lawyers representing the men who were shot and family members in the lawsuit, said he was disappointed with the judge’s decision and the Police Department’s efforts to keep the videos confidential.

“Departments speak a good game talking about transparency, but the reality is far from that,” he said.

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Whether to publicly release police videos and when to show recordings to officers have become two of the thorniest issues police departments are grappling with as many add dashboard cameras to cruisers and outfit patrol officers with body cameras.

In Seattle, the Police Department has uploaded videos from officer-worn body cameras onto YouTube after blurring the images to protect the privacy of officers and civilians.

The Los Angeles Police Department and other law enforcement agencies in California have withheld police video, citing a state law that exempts investigative records from disclosure even after an investigation has been completed. LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, whose department is purchasing 7,000 body cameras, has said he considers the recordings to be evidence and will generally not make them public.

Lindsay Miller, a senior research associate with the Police Executive Research Forum, which has issued guidelines on using police body cameras, said it is important for law enforcement to balance the privacy of people who come into police contact with the need to be transparent.

“By withholding all footage, it kind of undermines the transparency rationale,” she said.

The Gardena shooting occurred about 2:30 a.m. on June 2, 2013, after a bicycle was stolen from outside a CVS Pharmacy on Western Avenue. A police dispatcher mistakenly told officers that the crime was a robbery, which usually involves a theft using weapons or force, and officers headed to the area in search of two suspects.

Sgt. Christopher Cuff saw two men riding bicycles east on Redondo Beach Boulevard. The men were friends of the bike theft victim and were searching for the missing bicycle. Mistaking them for the thieves, Cuff ordered the men to stop and put their hands in the air, according to a district attorney’s memo written by a prosecutor who reviewed the police videos.

Ricardo Diaz Zeferino, whose brother owned the stolen bicycle, ran up to his friends as they stood before the police car. The dash camera video captured him yelling at the sergeant, who screamed in English and Spanish for Diaz Zeferino to stop advancing, the district attorney’s memo said.

Diaz Zeferino raised his hands, pounded his chest with both hands and said something that was inaudible, the memo said. One of his friends later told investigators that Diaz Zeferino was explaining that police had stopped the wrong people.

Two more police cars arrived, and three officers emerged with guns drawn.

The patrol car video showed Diaz Zeferino dropping his hands and reaching to his right waistband or rear right pocket and making a tossing motion, dropping an object on the ground, the district attorney’s memo said. He raised his hands, then repeated the move and removed something from his left rear pocket, the memo said.

“You do it again, you’re going to get shot,” yelled an officer on the video, according to the memo.

Diaz Zeferino removed his baseball hat and lowered his hands. As he began to raise his hands again, three of the officers opened fire, the district attorney’s memo said.

Diaz Zeferino, 35, died after being struck by eight hollow-point bullets fired by officers. A single round hit one of the other two men, Eutiquio Acevedo Mendez, in his back, leaving bullet fragments near his spine. In a court filing, the city said Acevedo Mendez “was inadvertently struck with a bullet.”

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The criminal investigation of the shooting was assigned to Detective Jeffrey Leslie of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, which investigates Gardena police shootings. Leslie testified that he voiced “displeasure over the idea of (the officers) watching the video prior to me interviewing them,” according to a transcript of his deposition in the civil lawsuit.

Nevertheless, following the department’s policy, Gardena police allowed the officers to watch the recordings before talking to Leslie.

The Police Executive Research Forum recently recommended that officers be allowed to review video recordings before making a statement. Such a practice helps ensure accuracy and is favored by most police executives, the organization said.

But Michael Gennaco, a law enforcement consultant who until last year worked as a civilian watchdog of the Sheriff’s Department, warned that officers who view video before giving a statement can shape their accounts based on the recording.

“Those conducting police oversight don’t favor that,” he said. The L.A. County Sheriff’s Department requires deputies to provide an initial statement about a force incident before reviewing video.

The prosecutor who reviewed the shooting, Deputy District Attorney Rosa Alarcon, concluded in her memo that Diaz Zeferino showed a complete disregard for the officers’ orders and that toxicology tests after his death were positive for alcohol and methamphetamine. The videos, she wrote, showed that the officers could not see Diaz Zeferino’s right hand as he dropped it toward his waistband and “believed he was going to reach for a weapon.”

Paz, one of the lawyers who sued the city, disagreed, saying the videos show that Diaz Zeferino’s right hand was clearly empty and in front of his body when the shots were fired. He said the videos show officers were giving confusing orders and that Acevedo Mendez was shot despite keeping his hands above his head.

Medrano said the officers who opened fire — Christopher Mendez, Christopher Sanderson and Matthew Toda — are still on patrol. He said in a recent email that the department’s internal investigation to determine whether discipline is warranted would resume once the civil litigation is complete. A judge finalized the settlement and dismissed the case last week.

Under California law, the outcome of the disciplinary investigation will remain confidential.

Acevedo Mendez, whose stomach bears a 7-inch scar from where doctors removed the bullet, said he wants the public to have access to the videos.

“They need to see what happened…. We had our hands up. We didn’t have any guns. They just shot,” he said. “They killed my friend for no reason.”

(c)2015 Los Angeles Times

Photo: Agustin De Jesus-Reynozo’s brother poses for a portrait on April 28, 2015 at his apartment in Gardena, Calif. His brother, Ricardo Diaz-Zeferino, 34, was shot and killed by Gardena Police. Zeferino called the police to report his bicycle stolen. They mistook his friends for the thieves, and the police opened fire on the group. (Barbara Davidson/Los AngelesTimes/TNS)

Police Arrest Dozens To End Ferguson Protests In Downtown L.A.

Police Arrest Dozens To End Ferguson Protests In Downtown L.A.

By Richard Winton, Kate Mather, Angel Jennings, Tre’vell Anderson, Samantha Masunaga, Marisa Gerber, Brittny Mejia, Ruben Vives, Taylor Goldenstein and Frank Shyong, Los Angeles Times (TNS)

A large demonstration against a Missouri grand jury’s decision not to indict a white police officer in the shooting death of a black teenager ended early Wednesday morning in downtown Los Angeles when police officers in riot gear surrounded a group of several dozen protesters.

At about 12:45 a.m., Los Angeles police told the group they were under arrest and ordered the crowd to sit down. Two police buses arrived near the intersection of Temple Street and Broadway. A police spokesman said the arrests were made on charges of disorderly conduct.
The LAPD also arrested 33 protesters at the intersection of Flower Street and 9th Street, according to Capt. Martin Baeza.

It was not immediately clear how many total arrests were made. Up until the late-night incident, the LAPD had arrested just four people in connection with the demonstrations. The California Highway Patrol had also arrested four people in connection with multiple attempts to block local freeways.

The crowd marked the remnants of a large rally outside LAPD headquarters that splintered into roving groups that had disrupted traffic in the area throughout the night. Tuesday’s protests began in South L.A. at about 3 p.m. and steadily moved east to the 110 Freeway. The majority of protesters were peaceful, but some became unruly as the night wore on.

After protesters caused repeated freeway, road and rail closures, they spread out throughout downtown and caused mayhem for motorists on local roads.

More than 100 protesters meandered through the streets and sidewalks near L.A. Live, briefly closing down traffic at Georgia Street and Olympic Boulevard. Nearby movie theatre Regal Cinemas locked its doors, allowing only customers with tickets inside. Police officers in riot gear formed human walls to block protesters from disrupting traffic on the freeway.

Another group outside LAPD headquarters began to march south on Main Street, then headed west on First Street toward Broadway. They left a handful of protesters behind, who drew chalk messages on the sidewalks and wrote anti-LAPD graffiti. A few gathered in a tight circle and sang freedom songs, their voices bouncing off of tall buildings.

Protesters briefly shut down the 101 Freeway in both directions after they placed barricades and metal debris on the road. Motorists trying to escape the jam flooded onto side streets in downtown Los Angeles. As cars packed Cesar Chavez Boulevard, a small group of protesters lay down where the street intersects with Grand Avenue, causing another traffic jam.

Some protesters jumped on a police cruiser near the Hall of Administration on Temple Street and posed for pictures. One of them was detained. A group of about 20 protesters sat down on Temple Street, forcing a truck to reverse and drive along Grand Avenue.

One officer was injured when a protester hurled a bottle of frozen water that struck the officer’s head, an LAPD spokeswoman said.

A small group of demonstrators seemed to be seeking confrontations with police and frequently tried to move the protests onto freeways to disrupt traffic. At least one patrol car appeared to have been defaced with graffiti.

Members of the crowd tried to stop fellow protesters from getting violent, shouting at them to stop.

Throughout the night, demonstrators clashed with each other about what form their protests should take. Some suggested heading to Beverly Hills, while another group split off and walked in a totally different direction.

Elan Lee, 27, watched a man throw a plastic bottle and asked him to stop. A group of men began to argue with her, telling her that both peaceful and violent protests are necessary.
“It was just seeing how mad he was,” Lee said, tears welling. “It made me sad to see someone so angry. … I don’t want throwing a bottle to cause the media to say protests are violent because they’re not.”

Lee, a downtown resident, said she understands the anger but she thinks there’s been enough violence.

“I just want a peaceful movement,” Lee said. “Enough is enough.”

Others felt that some protesters were simply taunting police to collect accolades on social media, where multiple demonstrators were posting pictures.

“Half of this protest I feel like is baiting cops … sort of about proving who you are against the police,” said Wilder Bunke, 21, of Hollywood, who was critical of actions by some in the crowd. “The modern-day “… the police” isn’t shooting a cop, it’s posting a picture of yourself posing with a cop car on Facebook or Twitter.”

Bunke said he felt some were demonstrating for the wrong reasons.

“I support the protest, I support this stand against police brutality and the institution of racism, but the antics of protesters are what delegitimize the protest as a whole.” he said.

Demonstrators said they were combating a sense of defeat and helplessness after the grand jury’s decision.

“Even though this might not do anything, being silent is much worse,” said Dylan Farr, 22, of Glendale.

His sister, a doctoral student at USC, was with him.

“I am angry and I feel powerless to change the way things are,” said Brittany Farr, 26. “It feels good to register my frustrations in a public way.”

Protests took a different form at Holman United Methodist Church, five miles from L.A. Live, where clergy and community groups called for peace and for collaboration.

More than 60 people from various faiths and ethnicities gathered in the church’s social hall about 7:30 p.m. to talk and pray about systematic change.

“I am disappointed, disturbed, but yet still determined … that we can display righteous anger, but do that in a constructive way,” said Kelvin Sauls, the senior pastor at the church.

“This moment and these moments we’ve had must become a movement,” he said.

In San Diego, several hundred protesters shut down a portion of Interstate 15 in the City Heights neighborhood for about 30 minutes Tuesday night. The crowd was moved off the freeway by San Diego police and CHP officers.

At least one person was arrested. There were no immediate reports of injuries or property damage.

A second protest march took place in downtown San Diego without incident.

AFP Photo/Jewel Samad

Justin Bieber Still Could Face Charges In Egg-Throwing Case

Justin Bieber Still Could Face Charges In Egg-Throwing Case

By Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES — Justin Bieber isn’t quite out of the legal woods yet.

On Monday, authorities said they would not file charges over claims the pop star snatched a woman’s cell phone at a miniature golf course and batting cages center in Sherman Oaks in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley.

But Bieber could still face a vandalism charge in connection with the January egging of a neighbor’s home in Calabasas.

The egging was considered a possible felony because damage totaled $20,000, authorities said. Through his attorney, Bieber has denied any wrongdoing in the matter.
Bieber has had a series of run-ins with law enforcement this year, in Los Angeles as well as in Florida.

In the phone-snatching case, the woman alleged she was with her 13-year-old daughter at the Sherman Oaks Castle Park miniature golf course and batting cages on May 12 when Bieber accused her of recording him with her cell phone.

She told detectives she had already put her phone in her purse after Bieber’s security guard said she could not take pictures. But she accused the pop star of reaching into her purse and trying to pull the phone out anyway.

The woman said she never let go of the phone as they struggled for control of it. After she promised to show him that she had not been recording, he allegedly released the phone and she displayed the screen.

She told police detectives that Bieber said: “Why don’t you leave, you’re embarrassing your daughter.” The woman said at that point her daughter started to cry and they left. The woman called the next day and also filed a police report.

Detectives verified the woman’s account with her daughter, who said she had been crying with excitement at seeing Bieber, according to the district attorney’s report.

Bieber refused to be interviewed by authorities. Security cameras at the miniature golf center did not capture the incident and no one has come forward with any other evidence, prosecutors wrote.

Nine employees were interviewed but none saw Bieber grab the phone or engage in any physical altercation, authorities said.

The Los Angeles city attorney’s office declined to file misdemeanor charges against the 20-year-old Canadian performer related to the incident.

The office received the case after the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office determined evidence was insufficient for a more serious felony filing.

AFP Photo/Joe Raedle

Keyshawn Johnson Arrested On Suspicion Of Battery On Ex-Girlfriend

Keyshawn Johnson Arrested On Suspicion Of Battery On Ex-Girlfriend

By Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES — Former University of Southern California and NFL football player Keyshawn Johnson was arrested early Monday at his home in the Los Angeles-area community of Calabasas on suspicion of misdemeanor domestic battery after reports of an incident involving his ex-girlfriend.

Johnson, 40, was taken into custody shortly before 1 a.m. PDT when Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies responded to a possible spousal assault call.

Deputies “determined that the resident and his ex-girlfriend were involved in a domestic dispute,” sheriff’s officials said in a statement.

Johnson was released at 9:15 a.m. in lieu of $20,000, they said.

Johnson first made his name as a USC standout receiver before playing in the NFL for the New York Jets, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Dallas Cowboys and Carolina Panthers. Since retiring, he has worked as a TV football analyst and appeared on “Dancing With the Stars.”

He gained notoriety in his Calabasas neighborhood last year for confronting singer Justin Bieber after allegedly seeing the pop star’s car speeding through their gated community while children were outside.

Photo: Scott’s View of the World via Flickr

Chris Brown Forced To Wear Orange Jail Suit To Court

Chris Brown Forced To Wear Orange Jail Suit To Court

By Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES — Singer Chris Brown appeared in court Monday in jail-issued shirt and pants.

Before cameras rolled during the hearing, in which a judge ordered the R&B singer held without bail until April 23, Brown’s attorney, Mark Geragos, argued his client should be able to wear a business suit.

Brown was in custody after being kicked out of court-ordered rehab in connection with a 2009 conviction for beating singer Rihanna.

“This will end up being filmed and shown around the world,” Geragos said, noting Brown has an assault trial next month in Washington, D.C.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James R. Brandlin agreed Brown’s handcuffs could be removed in court, but he stopped short of allowing the change of clothes.

Geragos then asked that the session not be videotaped. But the judge and prosecutor both noted the image of Brown in orange jail clothing would not prejudice his Washington case because it is scheduled to be heard only by a judge.

The Grammy-winning singer was arrested Friday at a Malibu rehab, where he was undergoing court-ordered treatment for anger and mental health issues.

The judge ordered Brown’s arrest after he was ejected from the program because of internal rule violations, including allegedly making a threatening comment, failing to take a drug test and touching a female undergoing treatment at the center.

“It is clear from reading the incident report from the program, the program was concerned about the defendant’s noncompliance and inability to follow the program’s rules,” Brandlin said.

If Brandlin finds Brown violated his probation, Brandlin could send him to prison for up to four years.

Brandlin said he was particularly troubled by Brown’s alleged statement during the “morning reflection meeting.” While reading from a card, Brown allegedly added, “I am good at using guns and knives.”

Geragos likened the comment to Brown saying, “I’m going to ask my higher power to take away my troubles.” Geragos told the court Brown passed two drug screenings and the touching of the female amounted to “rubbing elbows.”

Brown’s ejection marks the second time he has been kicked out of a rehab center. During family counseling in November, Brown walked out and threw a rock through his mother’s car window.

That led the judge to order a lengthy stay at another rehab, to complete 24 hours a week of community labor and to undergo periodic drug tests.

On Monday, Brandlin also rejected Geragos’ request that Brown be released because of his pending trial April 17 in Washington, D.C., where he faces a misdemeanor assault charge. He was accused of hitting a man trying to take a picture of him outside the W Hotel.

The judge also denied Geragos’ request to have Brown enter another program. Prosecutor Mary Murray had argued that given Brown’s repeated opportunities, he was not deserving of another chance.

AFP Photo/Alberto E. Rodriguez

Amanda Bynes Convicted Of Reckless Driving In 2012 Incident

Amanda Bynes Convicted Of Reckless Driving In 2012 Incident

By Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES — Actress Amanda Bynes was convicted Monday of reckless driving in April 2012 when she crashed into a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy’s cruiser.

Her no-contest plea was entered by her attorney, Richard Hutton, a renowned expert on driving-under-the-influence cases.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Edward Moreton sentenced the”She’s the Man” star to three years of probation and three months of alcohol education classes, said Jane Robison, an L.A. County District attorney’s spokeswoman.

The charge known as “wet reckless” is among the lowest offenses prosecutors can allow a suspect to plea in a driving-under-the-influence case.

In the wake of her 2012 arrest, Bynes had several run-ins with law enforcement in Los Angeles and New York that culminated with her setting a fire in the driveway of a Southern California home and being taken into custody on a mental health hold last year by the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department.

In the aftermath, Bynes entered a psychiatric treatment facility, and her mother, Lynn, was granted conservatorship of the 26-year-old actress. In recent months, Bynes has been attending college classes in design while continuing treatment.

Bynes was arrested April 6, 2012, on suspicion of DUI after she clipped a sheriff’s deputy’s cruiser while trying to pass it at about 3 a.m. near Robertson and Santa Monica boulevards. Bynes refused to take a sobriety test.

She is already on probation in California for driving with a suspended license and was accused in New York of throwing a glass bong out her 36th-floor Manhattan apartment.

Photo: zennie62 via Flickr

Beating Suspects Plead Guilty In Dodger Stadium Assault

Beating Suspects Plead Guilty In Dodger Stadium Assault

By Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES — Two men charged with severely beating San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow in the parking lot of Dodger Stadium in 2011, leaving him with brain damage, pleaded guilty Thursday to assault charges.

Marvin Norwood, 30, and Louie Sanchez, 31, faced charges of mayhem, assault and battery, and inflicting great bodily injury in the beating of Stow, a 44-year-old father of two.

The March 31 attack left Stow, a Northern California paramedic, with serious head trauma and a permanent disability that means he will need care for the rest of his life.

Norwood was sentenced to four years in prison after he pleaded guilty to assault causing great bodily injury in Los Angeles Superior Court. In exchange, the earlier mayhem charge was dropped.

Sanchez pleaded guilty to one count of mayhem in exchange for eight years in prison. He could have received 11 years in prison if convicted of the original charges.

Stow was attacked as he and three other Giants fans, all Bay Area paramedics, walked through the parking lot after the Dodgers’ opening day win against the Giants. Witnesses at a preliminary hearing last year described boorish, drunken and profane behavior by Sanchez against Giants fans.

According to witnesses, Stow said he hoped two men launching a verbal assault would “code,” paramedic slang for having a heart attack, and that one of the men, later identified as Sanchez, shoved Stow. The paramedics took off to avoid a confrontation but a few minutes later the two assailants accosted Stow and his friends.

Witnesses said Stow was sucker-punched, falling to the ground and fracturing his skull. Once on the ground, Stow was kicked in the ribs and head, they said.

None of the witnesses could positively identify Sanchez or Norwood as having delivered the punch, and many of those closest to the altercation were unable to pick either defendant out during police lineups.

But ultimately, the words the two men spoke in jail after their arrest in July 2011 — unaware they were being recorded — made it hard for them to deny their role in the brutal beating, officials said. Those statements, along with testimony from Dorene Sanchez, Sanchez’s sister and Norwood’s fiancee, placed them at the scene of the crime.

In a 12-minute recorded conversation, the two expressed amazement at the evidence detectives had amassed against them, with one remarking that police “know everything, bro” and the other saying, “Wow, we’re done.”

“How much time do you think we are going to get?” Norwood asked.

“A lot,” replied Sanchez.

Placed together in a holding cell as they awaited a police lineup, the men immediately began comparing notes about the evidence and discussed what Sanchez’s 10-year-old son would say.

“I socked him, jumped him and started beating him,” Sanchez said, apologizing to Norwood for getting him involved in the violence.

“That happens, bro,” Norwood replied. “I mean, what kind of man would I have been if I hadn’t jumped in?”

In another recording, Norwood told his mother that he had been arrested for “that Dodger Stadium thing” and admitted he “was involved.” In finding there was enough evidence for the two to stand trial last year, a judge noted that Norwood had tried initially to act as a peacemaker when Sanchez taunted and attacked rival fans, but that he had later joined in the violence.

But Dorene Sanchez of Rialto testified at a preliminary hearing in 2012, after being granted immunity, that she never witnessed the beating, although her statements placed the two at the scene.

She said Norwood and her brother had run after the Giants fans and returned shaken and, in Norwood’s case, with blood on his hands. Norwood is the father of her 2-year-old child.

Dorene Sanchez was originally booked with the men as an accessory after the fact, for driving them from the ballpark, but she began cooperating with prosecutors, who subsequently opted not to pursue charges against her.

Los Angeles Police Department robbery-homicide detectives first came across Sanchez’s and Norwood’s names while re-examining more than 700 tips from the public when the case was reassigned after another LAPD unit arrested the wrong man.

The incident drew national attention and calls for police, city officials and the Dodgers to tighten stadium security and better protect fans.

Photo via Wikimedia

Police: Cocaine In ‘Plain View’ At Justin Bieber Home, Friend Arrested

Police: Cocaine In ‘Plain View’ At Justin Bieber Home, Friend Arrested

Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES _ Detectives searching Justin Bieber’s Calabasas mansion Tuesday during an investigation into an egging case arrested one of the singer’s associates on felony drug charges after cocaine was found in plain view.

Los Angeles County sheriff’s investigators did not immediately identify who was arrested but said it was not Bieber. Lt. Dave Thompson said the drug they found was cocaine.

“The cocaine I believe was in plain view of the deputies when they were looking for the other evidence,” he said in a news conference following the arrest.

Labeling Bieber a suspect in Thursday’s egging incident, sheriff’s detectives served a felony search warrant looking for “video surveillance or other relevant evidence” in the case.

Sheriff’s officials said the incident had been classified as a felony because the homeowner reported the value of the damage to his house at $20,000.

“The felony comes from the dollar amount of the damage,” Thompson said. “This residence sustained a great amount of damage that easily achieved the amount. I get that the eggs don’t seem that significant, but it does rise to the level of a felony.”

A dozen detectives searched Bieber’s home beginning at 8 a.m., Thompson said. During the search, eight people, including the singer, were detained inside the home.

Thompson said the size of the search team was due to the unpredictability of what they might find. But in this case, he said, everyone was cooperative.

Bieber did not have a lawyer present but did have a security detail.

“I don’t believe Mr. Bieber answered any questions,” Thompson said.

The victim of the egg incident was Bieber’s next-door neighbor, and the incident left significant damage to the paint, wood and brick, Thompson said.

Sheriff’s officials said it is common practice to temporarily detain people while a search warrant is being served.

The egging incident marks the latest clash between the pop star and his neighbors, who have accused him of throwing loud parties and speeding through the neighborhood over the last year, including spitting at one of his neighbors.

In last Thursday’s incident, a neighbor called authorities to the 25000 block of Prado del Grandioso, saying someone was pelting his home with eggs. The neighbor was home with his daughter at the time and witnessed the incident. Authorities said they didn’t know what might have prompted the egging.

Thompson said Bieber remains a suspect in the incident.

“The investigation is ongoing. He was not arrested, nor exonerated at this time,” he said.

AFP Photo/Norberto Duarte