The Anti News 6/3/2010

Posted on June 3, 2010


Border Patrol agents seized 230 pounds of marijuana stashed in the trunk of a sedan as the driver tried to make his way along the I-5 freeway Tuesday, authorities said.

 The driver, a 28-year-old man from Chula Vista, was taken into custody and handed over to agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration. A 28-year-old man from Chula Vista was taken into custody Tuesday after 230 pounds of marijuana were found in the trunk of his car.

The driver had stopped at a rest area near Camp Pendleton Tuesday morning and was spotted by an agent who was patrolling the area, according to a statement released by the U.S. Border Patrol. The agent “spotted some suspicious activity involving the male suspect,” and went to investigate. The agent spotted 46 tightly wrapped packages of marijuana in the trunk of the car, according to the statement. The packages weighed a total of 230 pounds and are believed to have a street value of more than $115,000, the agency said. The suspect’s name was not released.

Two men were arrested on suspicion of attempted murder after a man was stabbed and hit with a blunt object following an argument, police reported.

Police at 5:40 p.m. Monday responded to the 16700 block of Bardon Lane after neighbors called to report a fight. The victim and two other men had fled the scene by the time officers arrived, police reported. The men got into an argument and it escalated. One man stabbed the 22-year-old victim in the neck and another man hit the victim with a blunt object, police said.

Police arrested James Stephen Walls, 20, and Alan Owen Emerson, 19, both of Huntington Beach in Murdy Park shortly after the incident. The victim drove himself to Huntington Beach Hospital and police reported his injuries are serious but he is expected to survive. Emerson pleaded guilty to public intoxication charges in May 2009. Walls does not have a criminal record in Orange County, court records show. No bail has been set for the two men.

In the years after the 9/11 attacks, Los Angeles Police Department trained officers to keep a better watch  for activity that could be terrorism-related. Now, they are working to get the whole city involved. For months the LAPD has been rolling out the community-involvement phase of its counter-terrorism efforts. Named iWatch, it offers a crash course in identifying the types of activity the department deems suspicious and allows people to report questionable incidents to police. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck and community leaders are scheduled to hold a news conference at Los Angeles International Airport on Thursday to announce the expansion of the campaign into the airport with fliers and posters alerting travelers to the program.

“Everyone has a part to play when it comes to keeping this city safe,” said Deputy Chief Michael Downing, who manages the LAPD’s counter-terrorism efforts. “We felt people really needed to understand the nature of this threat and that they have a significant role.”

The iWatch program stems from an earlier revamping by the LAPD of the way its officer report suspicious activity. The department was one of the first in the country to formalize a list of red-flag activities — such as bulk purchases of fertilizer that could be used in explosives, vehicles left unattended in loading zones at high-profile buildings — and require officers to fill out forms that describe in detail any potential terrorist-related activity, whether or not a crime was committed. Counter-terrorism analysts in the department put the information into a database to find patterns and trends. The LAPD has taken the message public through a sleek, Hollywood-style public service announcement and a short video in which police are able to connect the dots that lead them to disrupt a terrorist cell after a neighbor and others report the group’s odd behavior. Information is relayed to the department’s counter-terrorism analysts through an online portal in which people are asked to provide detailed descriptions, including video or photographs if they have them, of what they saw and descriptions of the people involved.  If LAPD analysts determine the reported activity has a possible link to terrorism, it is forwarded to a multi-agency regional task force charged with investigating suspected terrorism.

Police are requiring tipsters to give their names and contact information, Downing said, because “we want solid, verifiable information to come in to the system.”  A separate, toll-free hotline allows people to call in anonymously.

Only a handful of reports have been filed through the iWatch system’s website since its launch in October, Downing said. He added that a few have been “substantial,” but declined to provide details. In putting together the iWatch program and earlier officer-training component, the department reached out to Muslim groups and civil liberties organizations. Salam Al-Marayati, executive director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, said the LAPD has been mostly receptive to concerns the groups have raised, including a request to refine the list of suspicious activities and to include a Muslim on the public service video.  He added that the council is still assessing whether the safeguards built into the system, such as outside audits and measures meant to prevent people from being falsely accused, are strong enough.  “It is a work in progress,” he said.  

Downing echoed Al-Marayati, saying the department understands “this will be a much better, stronger program if [the advocacy groups] are working with us than if they’re not.”

From the outset, police have been careful to address concerns that the program could open the door to people ethnic or religious profiling.  “This has nothing to do with the color of someone’s skin or their religious beliefs; this has everything to do with people’s behavior,” Downing said.

Los Angeles police have opened an investigation into a confrontation between a photographer and a Hollywood Division officer after video of the incident was posted this week on YouTube, sources familiar with the case said. The sources told The Times that the investigation is unrelated to another internal affairs probe launched this week in connection with a clash between four Hollywood officers and bicyclists, also caught on video. They said the department opened an investigation Wednesday after being informed about the video. The sources spoke on the condition of anonymity because the case is ongoing. The footage was taken Feb. 21 and posted Tuesday on YouTube. It lasts over five minutes.

It opens with two LAPD officers conducting a traffic stop. At first, the exchange is cordial. An officer asks if everything is OK. The officer also asks if the man shooting the video knows the woman being stopped. The photographer says he does not know the woman and continues to shoot video.

The officer tells the photographer that he is making him nervous and asks him to “move along.” The photographer tells the officer that the sidewalk is open to the public and that it’s not against the law to shoot video. When the photographer continues to say he can take video on a public street, the officer begins to get angry and tells him he can’t take a picture of him.

“I am a citizen of this country,” the officer says. “I was in the Marine Corps a few years getting shot for you, you can move along. … Start moving.” The photographer asks for the officer’s badge number. The officer tells him to “go ahead, saying he spent “two years in the desert, and I have to hear from your fruitcake ass.”

The officer tells the man he is making a legal stop and asks the photographer for his identification and that the grounds for the stop is “taking a picture of me.” The officer then tells the photographer, who is being detained and appears to be seated on the sidewalk, that he has a record of parking violations, which the man says he had paid. They continue to argue about the law, the officer telling the man that he does not have a right to take a picture and the man saying it’s not against the law to take photographs. He asks for the officer’s card, and a short time later, the video ends.

The Los Angeles Unified School District plans to eliminate 200 special education classes, close one specialized campus and order cutbacks at others. It is part of a broad plan to make up a $640 million deficit at the nation’s second largest school district. Officials also expect hundreds of layoffs, increased class sizes, closed libraries, reduced busing and fewer art and music programs.

Opponents have launched a campaign against the plan. They have enlisted the help of actor Ed Asner, whose grandson is enrolled in a special education program. Records show about 13 percent of the district’s 618,000 students have a disability.

A stay-away order was issued Wednesday against Bruce Beresford-Redman’s father on behalf of the general manager of the West Los Angeles restaurant that the “Survivor” producer’s slain wife owned.

Santa Monica Superior Court Judge Pro Tem David J. Cowan said David Beresford-Redman must stay at least 100 yards from Norma Paula De Ahlf and the Zabumba restaurant in Palms, which Monica Beresford-Redman owned until her death in April while vacationing with her husband in Cancun, Mexico. Mexican authorities on Monday issued an arrest warrant for Bruce Beresford-Redman in connection with the death of his wife. In her request for the stay-away order, De Ahlf maintains the producer’s father walked into the restaurant on Saturday and wanted to see her. She says in her court papers that she feared he had a gun and wanted to kill her because of the way he had one hand in his shirt.

“I was preparing the food in the kitchen when Bruce’s father opened the front gate of the restaurant and also opened the door to the restaurant,” De Ahlf says. “He walked into the restaurant with his right hand inside of his shirt, as if he was hiding a weapon. I honestly believed that he wanted to kill me.”

She says she called the police and believes the restraining order is necessary to reduce the chance of harm to her. De Ahlf maintains she was one of the slain woman’s closest confidantes and that David Beresford-Redman knows that to be true.

“Prior to her death, Monica was having problems in her marriage and would often confide in me the intimate details of their marital strife,” she states in a sworn declaration in support of the restraining order. “For example, Monica shared with me that Bruce had been having an ongoing extramarital relationship with another woman.”

Monica Beresford-Redman said she was monitoring her husband’s e-mails and telephone calls with the other woman, according to De Ahlf. Despite their problems, Monica Beresford-Redman wanted to save her marriage and agreed to her husband’s suggestion they travel to Mexico, De Ahlf says.

According to De Ahlf, her late friend also said her husband took $25,000 from the couple’s joint account to pay for a debt incurred by his father. A hearing on whether to extend the stay-away order is scheduled for June 22.

Santa Paula police this week arrested a man and woman on suspicion of robbing two people at knifepoint the previous day, officials said. The robbery was reported at 8:15 p.m. Tuesday. The victims told officers they were walking near the intersection of Palm Avenue and Main Street when a man and a woman approached them, and the man showed a knife, Santa Paula police said in a prepared statement.

While the woman acted as a lookout, the man held the victims at knifepoint and demanded their cell phones, police said. On Wednesday, police arrested Santa Paula residents Richard Gonzalez, 19, and Naomi Marrufo, 20, in connection with the crime, officials said. Both suspects were booked into Ventura County Jail on suspicion of robbery and street terrorism, jail records show. Gonzalez remained in custody this morning in lieu of $105,000 bail. Marrufo, who could also face a charge of misdemeanor marijuana possession, was being held in lieu of $115,000.

Posted in: The Anti News