Crime & Justice

Austin Police
6:35 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Man Shot by Austin Police Sgt. This Week Was Armed with BB Gun

Police surrounded the scene of a sergeant-involved shooting on Berkman Drive on March 18, 2014.
Veronica Zaragovia, KUT

Update: Austin Police made clear Thursday that the weapon in the hand of man who was shot this week by an APD sergeant was a pistol that fires BBs or pellets. Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo spoke about that pistol in the hours after Tuesday’s shooting.

“When the sergeant sees it, he sees the suspect put it behind his back, allegedly, and then puts it back forward. The suspect at one point yells, ‘it’s a bb gun,’ or says, ‘it’s a bb gun, it’s a bb gun.’”

Read more
Crime & Justice
11:15 am
Thu March 20, 2014

Reprimand, $20K Fine, No Jail Time For General's Sexual Misconduct

Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair as he arrived for his court-martial case Thursday at Fort Bragg in Fayetteville, N.C.
Chris Keane Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu March 20, 2014 5:45 pm

Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair avoided jail time Thursday and instead "was reprimanded and fined a total of $20,000 for inappropriate relationships with three subordinates in a closely watched court case," The Associated Press reports from Fort Bragg, N.C.

Read more
Crime & Justice
6:00 am
Thu March 20, 2014

Questions Still Surround Decades-Old Murders at Lake Waco

The Lake Waco murders are the subject of a new story in Texas Monthly.
Texas Monthly

In 1982, a grisly triple homicide in Waco shook residents faith in their community. Three teenagers were killed, and local police struggled with the investigation. The murders were just the beginning of a story that spans decades and involves dozens of characters, many of which became obsessed with both the murders and how the case was prosecuted. Now a new story in Texas Monthly by Michael Hall raises troubling questions about how the state handles justice.

"If there's one thing for certain, it's that the Lake Waco murder case does stand on its own," Hall writes in the story, 'Murders at the Lake,' in the April issue of Texas Monthly

Read more
Mexico
1:18 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

Mexican Drug Lord Shot Dead ... For Second Time

Nazario Moreno Gonzalez, in an image from one of the quasi-religious books his cartel distributed.
Heriberto Rodriguez MCT/Landov

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 11:06 am

Nazario Moreno Gonzalez, one of Mexico's reputed drug lords, has now been killed twice.

Well, perhaps we should say that he's been declared dead for the second time.

The head of "the cultlike, pseudo-Christian La Familia cartel" was supposedly killed back in December 2010 during a two-day shootout with police.

Read more
Borderlands
4:22 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

Border Patrol To Limit Use Of Deadly Force Against Rock Throwers

A Border Patrol agent looks to the north near where the border wall ends as it separates Tijuana, Mexico, left, and San Diego.
Gregory Bull AP

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 3:17 pm

U.S. Border Patrol announced on Friday that it is changing its policy on using deadly force against moving vehicles and people who throw rocks.

The agency's chief, Michael J. Fisher, sent a memorandum to employees in which he said the policy is designed to help agents avoid dangerous situations.

This is an about-face for the agency.

Read more
Crime & Justice
4:38 am
Thu March 6, 2014

Facebook Moves To Restrict Posts About Gun Sales

Facebook is planning to roll out new restrictions on posts about gun sales on its social networking site and on Instagram.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 4:01 pm

This post was updated at 10:30 a.m. ET on March 6.

Facebook said Wednesday that it will limit minors' access to pages and posts that offer firearms for sale, along with other measures intended to curtail illegal gun trafficking.

"This is something we've been working on for a while," says Facebook spokesman Matt Steinfeld. "We want to balance the interests of people who come here to express themselves while promoting an environment that is safe and respectful."

Read more
Crime & Justice
1:14 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Austin Jaywalker Arrest Has People Asking: What is Failure to Identify?

Amanda Stephen is detained by two Austin Police officers. Her arrest was filmed, creating a social media firestorm.
Credit Chris Quintero

The controversial arrest of a jogger in Austin's West Campus neighborhood last week has made international news.

Thursday, Amanda Stephen was arrested by Austin police officers for jaywalking and a refusal to identify herself. Her arrest was caught on video. Subsequent remarks by Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo – "In other cities there's cops who are actually committing sexual assaults on duty, so I thank God that this is what passes for a controversy in Austin, Texas" – prompted more online criticism and an apology. The story was picked up by everyone from The Huffington Post to the BBC

Read more
Mexico
3:48 pm
Sun February 23, 2014

El Chapo's Arrest Punctures Drug Lord's Near-Mythical Status

Mexican Marines escort Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman to a helicopter in Mexico City on Saturday.
Marco Ugarte AP

Originally published on Sun February 23, 2014 11:18 am

One of the world's most powerful drug lords has been captured. Mexico's head of the Sinaloa drug cartel, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, was arrested in an operation that Mexican officials say involved the cooperation of U.S. authorities.

Guzman has been on the run for years and his capture puts an end to one of the longest and most profitable careers in the drug world. That capture began as the sun rose up over the hotel-lined beaches of Mazatlan early Saturday morning.

Read more
Austin Police
9:03 pm
Sat February 22, 2014

APD Chief Apologizes for Sexual Assault Comment After Jaywalking Jogger Arrest (Update)

Amanda Stephen is detained by two Austin Police officers. Her arrest was filmed, creating a social media firestorm.
Credit Chris Quintero

Update: Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo apologized Saturday for comments he made during a press conference about the arrest of a jogger for jaywalking near the UT campus. During that press conference, Acevedo said that "In other cities there's cops who are actually committing sexual assaults on duty, so I thank God that this is what passes for a controversy in Austin, Texas."

In his apology statement Saturday, Acevedo said that "the comparison was a poor analogy, and for this I apologize." You can read the full apology here.

Original Story (Feb. 21, 4:58 p.m.): Austin Police arrested a woman jogging by the UT Campus Thursday morning for not providing identification after being stopped. The incident was caught on video by a UT student, Chris Quintero, who witnessed the woman being taken into custody. 

Read more
Crime & Justice
5:35 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Report: Law Officers May Violate U.S. Constitution When They Don't Knock

Civil rights group calls for clearer policies
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

The Texas Civil Rights Project says law enforcement officers may be violating the U.S. Constitution when they execute warrants without knocking. The organization released a report Tuesday that says 70% of surveyed jurisdictions do not have written “no-knock” policies and that many other counties and cities may have inadequate policies or do not effectively implement those they have. Jim Harrington, TCRP director, says that is putting citizens and officers at risk.

“It’s dangerous both ways. We have to get away from this idea, well, we just don’t [knock]. You know any time we say it’s a narcotics warrant, we just don’t do it,” Harrington says.

Read more
Crime & Justice
1:19 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

Pregnant Inmates Find Help to Stay Out of Jail

HOUSTON — At the “pregnancy tank” at the Harris County Jail, asking a female inmate “How much longer do you have?” can get a puzzled look in response. She could answer with a due date or an anticipated date of discharge from jail.

Read more
Crime & Justice
3:14 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

Report: Texas Led Nation in Exonerations Last Year

The watchtower at Huntsville Prison. Texas lead the nation in the number of exonerees last year.
Caleb Bryant Miller for KUT News

Texas exonerated more prisoners – 13 – than any other state last year.

A report out today shows a nationwide push by prosecutors to re-examine possible wrongful convictions contributed to a record number of exonerations in 2013. The National Registry of Exonerations says 87 people were exonerated last year.

The Texas Tribune has more:

Thirteen Texans were officially absolved of wrongdoing last year for crimes ranging from murder to drug possession. Some had spent more than a decade in prison, and others a few months. The state with the second-most exonerations was Illinois, with nine, followed by New York, with eight. 

Read more
Crime & Justice
1:36 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Immigration Reform Activists Arrested During Protest

Cristina Parker gets arrested during a protest against the Secure Communities program.
Julian Aguilar/Texas Tribune

Travis County sheriff’s deputies on Monday saw firsthand what immigration-reform activists hope will be a series of civil disobedience protests across Texas.

As part of a publicity campaign, a group of six activists blocked the exit gate at the Travis County Jail; they were arrested and will likely be charged with criminal trespass. The protesters hope the actions will prompt county officials to reconsider a controversial finger-printing initiative opponents say deports non-violent undocumented immigrants.

Read more
Police
4:29 pm
Sat January 25, 2014

No Injuries in Officer-Involved Shooting in North Austin

An Austin Police officer is on paid administrative leave after using force against a suspect. There were no injuries and the suspect is in custody.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Austin police are investigating an officer-involved shooting that occurred at 1:42 p.m. Saturday near Interstate 35 and Rundberg Lane.

According to Police Chief Art Acevedo, there were no injuries and the suspect is in custody.

The shooting occurred when a police officer responded to a car accident at a Shell gas station. The suspect, whose name has not yet been released, had struck another vehicle and was allegedly leaving the scene. When the officer tried to flag the suspect down, he did not stop and drove the vehicle toward the officer. The officer, whose name has also not yet been released, got out of the way. When the suspect stopped again, the officer told him to get out of the car, but he again drove the car toward the officer. That's when the officer fired several rounds at the car.

Read more
Crime & Justice
10:56 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Mexican National Executed In Texas After Supreme Court Denies Appeal

This handout image provided by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice shows Edgar Tamayo.
AP

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 9:56 pm

Wednesday's execution of a Mexican national in Texas revived a long-running diplomatic row between the United States and its southern neighbor.

Updated at 10:50 p.m. ET: Execution Carried Out

The Associated Press reports:

"A Mexican man has been executed in Texas for killing a Houston police officer, despite pleas and diplomatic pressure from the Mexican government and the U.S. State Department to halt the punishment.

Read more
Crime & Justice
3:17 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

Amber Alert Discontinued for 16-Year-Old North Texas Girl (Update)

Police say the man suspected in the abduction of Inez Ramirez is driving a red 2006 Chevy Silverado.
Texas Department of Public Safety

The Ellis County Sheriff's Department has discontinued this Amber Alert.

Law enforcement authorities across Texas are looking for a missing 16-year-old girl. Inez Ramirez was last seen in Red Oaks, Texas – south of Dallas.

Ramirez is 5'2" and weighs about 130 pounds. She has brown shoulder-length hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing a green shirt and black shorts.

Police believe she may be with 23-year-old Edger Barron. He’s 5'9", weighs about 145 pounds and has black hair and brown eyes.

Read more
Crime & Justice
11:36 am
Tue January 14, 2014

Civil Rights Groups Say Video Jail Visits Too Costly, May Violate Civil Rights

The Travis County Jail's video-visiting system has been called into question by some alleging it serves as a pipeline for prosecutorial evidence.
flickr.com/duluoz_cats

This is an article from our Austin City Hall reporting partner, the Austin Monitor (formerly In Fact Daily).

A two-way video conferencing system that has all but replaced in-person visits by friends and family members with those incarcerated at the Travis County Jail is coming under fire  as being too expensive, too impersonal and possibly even dangerous to an inmate’s health. Critics are also concerned about the possibility that attorney-client conversations are being illegally recorded and provided to prosecutors.

Read more
Crime & Justice
6:56 am
Thu January 9, 2014

How Would You React In A Shooting? Have A Plan, Experts Say

Newtown, Conn., Dec. 20, 2012: Stuffed animals and a candle arrangement at a streetside memorial for the 20 children and six adults killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 9:28 am

The annual number of mass murders and attempted mass murders in the U.S. has tripled since 2008, to 15 last year, according to statistics that the FBI and Justice Department have been citing in recent weeks.

In a new study posted online by the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, experts make the case that "police have, generally, done an excellent job responding to active shooter events quickly."

But, they add:

Read more
Crime & Justice
2:51 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

Montopolis Residents Battle Alleged Housing Scam

A home in the Montopolis area. The Texas Civil Rights Project says a group is tricking seniors into signing over the rights to their homes.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

The Texas Civil Rights Project is calling on local authorities to investigate a string of suspicious housing deals that could cause seniors to lose their homes.

A company called Castro has been approaching Montopolis residents to see if they qualify for free home repairs paid for by the government. According to homeowners, the solicitors urged them to sign contracts granting Castro full legal rights over their homes.

Texas Civil Rights Project attorney Brian McGiverin says the Travis County District Attorney and the Texas Attorney General must investigate immediately.

Read more
Privacy
3:47 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

Intelligence Panel Recommends Limits On NSA Surveillance

The National Security Agency campus in Fort Meade, Md.
Patrick Semansky AP

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 6:31 pm

(This post was updated at 6:30 p.m. ET)

A panel looking into U.S. electronic surveillance activities in the wake of the Edward Snowden revelations has recommended removing the NSA's authority to collect and store Americans' telephone data.

The key recommendation was one of dozens that the panel put forward; however, it did not propose a wholesale scaling back of domestic spying by the National Security Agency and other intelligence branches.

Read more

Pages