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FBI: Dozens arrested in US trash-hauling case
Jan 17, 2013, - 0 Comments

Jan. 16, 2013 Associated Pess

NEW YORK -- Federal authorities have charged 32 people, including a dozen alleged mobsters and associates, with using threats of violence and shakedowns to control garbage pickup routes in New York City's suburbs.

FBI agents arrested 30 of the defendants on Wednesday on racketeering conspiracy, extortion and other counts during morning raids around the city and its northern suburbs, as well as in New Jersey. Two more were expected to surrender later in the day.

An indictment identifies 12 of the defendants as either official members or associates of the Genovese, Gambino and Luchese organized crime families. The crime families have a long tradition of infiltrating and extorting trash collection companies at a cost partly borne by paying customers.

"In addition to the violence that often accompanies their schemes, the economic impact amounts to a mob tax on goods and services," George C. Venizelos, head of New York's FBI office, said in a statement.

Court papers allege the extortion ring controlled several trash hauling companies in Westchester, Rockland and Nassau counties in New York, and in Bergen and Passaic counties in New Jersey. The men extorted protection money from the companies and told them which routes they could use, the papers say.

Obama unveils sweeping plan to battle gun violence
Jan 16, 2013, - 0 Comments

Jan. 16, 2013 Yahoo

"I will put everything I’ve got into this,” Obama, standing alongside Vice President Joe Biden, promised an audience that included relatives of the first-graders slaughtered at Sandy Hook Elementary School, survivors of other mass shootings and elected officials.

"While there is no law, or set of laws, that can prevent every senseless act of violence completely, no piece of legislation that will prevent every tragedy, every act of evil, if there’s even one thing we can do to reduce this violence, if there’s even one life that can be saved, then we’ve got an obligation to try," Obama said in his speech. "And I’m going to do my part."

The president declared himself a firm believer in the Second Amendment and denounced those who will cast his "common-sense" approach as "a tyrannical, all-out assault on liberty." He also warned those inclined to support his strategy that passage "will be difficult."

“This will not happen unless the American people demand it. If parents and teachers, police officers and pastors, if hunters and sportsmen, if responsible gun owners, if Americans of every background stand up and say, ‘Enough, we’ve suffered too much pain and care too much about our children to allow this to continue,' then change will come," he said. "That’s what it’s going to take."

Bowing to political reality, Obama’s proposals included a wave of 23 executive actions that circumvent Congress, where most Republicans and a few Democrats have balked at sweeping new restrictions they say could trample constitutional gun rights. The potent National Rifle Association lobby has also pledged to defeat new gun control measures.

2 killed, 1 wounded in shooting at Ky. college
Jan 16, 2013, - 0 Comments

Jan. 16, 2013, Associated Press

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A gunman firing into a vehicle killed two people and wounded a juvenile Tuesday as they sat in the parking lot of an eastern Kentucky community college.

The campus was locked down for more than an hour while police searched the two buildings of Hazard Community and Technical College in Hazard, Ky., to ensure there was no further danger before allowing students to leave, police told a news conference broadcast live on WYMT-TV's website.

College President Stephen Greiner said that at the time of the shooting, there were probably about 30 students on campus, which is based 90 miles southeast of Lexington, Ky.

Police recovered the weapon, a semiautomatic pistol, at the scene, Hazard Police Chief Minor Allen said. He said a man who walked into an office of the Kentucky State Police in Hazard and said he knew something about the shooting was being questioned as a suspect. The man had not been charged with a crime and no other suspects had been identified at the time of the news conference, which was held about three hours after the shooting.

A male and female were already dead when police arrived about 6 p.m., Allen said. The wounded juvenile, a female, was taken to University of Kentucky Hospital, he said.

Gunman wounds man, himself at St. Louis school
Jan 15, 2013, - 0 Comments

Jan. 15, 2013 Associated Press

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A part-time student strode into the office of a longtime administrator at a downtown St. Louis business school Tuesday and shot the man in the chest, creating panic in the school before turning the gun on himself, police said.

Both men were in surgery Tuesday afternoon at Saint Louis University Hospital. Police Chief Sam Dotson said he was optimistic both would survive, but a hospital spokesman declined to discuss their conditions.

Police did not identify either man, but Dotson said the administrator was a longtime employee in his late 40s. He said the suspect had been attending Stevens Institute of Business & Arts off and on for four years and had no history of threats or violence.

Dotson said police arrived to find a "chaotic" scene with many students running out of the five-story historic building in the downtown loft district of St. Louis. About 40 to 50 people were in the building when gunfire broke out, and police evacuated them before starting a floor-by-floor search with tactical teams and dogs.

Emanuel seeks to settle 2 cop misconduct cases for nearly $33 million
Jan 15, 2013, - 0 Comments
January 14, 2013 Chicago Tribune

Christina Eilman, 22, now at home with her parents Rick and Kathy in a suburb of Sacramento, CA., on Tuesday, March 6, 2007. Christina spends most of the time in her bed or on the living room sofa. Eilman, a former UCLA student suffering from a severe bipolar episode, survived a fall from the 7th-floor window of the Robert Taylor Homes after police released her into a high-crime neighborhood on May 8, 2006, in Chicago. (Nancy Stone, Chicago Tribune)

Nearly seven years after Christina Eilman wandered out of a South Side police station and into a catastrophe, her tragic entanglement with the Chicago Police Department began to come to an end Monday — with a proposed $22.5 million legal settlement that may be the largest the city ever offered to a single victim of police misconduct.

Though the settlement is a staggering sum on its own, Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration has placed a second eight-figure police settlement on Tuesday's City Council Finance Committee agenda. A $10.2 million settlement is proposed for one of the victims of notorious former police Cmdr. Jon Burge, bringing to nearly $33 million the amount aldermen could vote to pay victims of police misconduct in a single day.

The latest Burge settlement would be for Alton Logan, who spent 26 years in prison for a murder he did not commit and who alleged in a federal lawsuit that Burge's team of detectives covered up evidence that would have exonerated him — a departure from previous cases that documented torture used by Burge's team to extract false confessions. The Logan case would bring the tab on Burge cases to nearly $60 million when legal fees are counted. Burge is serving 41/2 years in federal prison for lying about the torture and abuse of suspects.

20 years on, Katie Beers says kidnapping saved her
Jan 15, 2013, - 0 Comments

Jan. 15, 2013 Associated Press

OLD WESTBURY, N.Y.  — Being chained as a 10-year-old for more than two weeks in a coffin-size box in a suburban New York dungeon was, Katie Beers says 20 years later, "the best thing that happened to me" because it allowed her to escape a life of abuse.

On the 20th anniversary of her ordeal, Beers has co-written a book with a television reporter who covered her kidnapping. "Buried Memories: Katie Beers' Story" (Title Town Publishing) has a happy ending.

Beers is now a 30-year-old married mother of two who earned a degree in business management and works in insurance sales near her home in rural Pennsylvania.

Her kidnapping attracted nationwide attention in early 1993, when revelations surfaced while she was still missing that she had suffered years of neglect from her mother and had been repeatedly sexually assaulted by her godmother's husband since she was a toddler.

Beers was described in Dickensian terms back then — a louse-infested, filthy waif who had no friends and often was forced to lug the family's laundry down the block or fetch cigarettes and junk food for her elders.

After kidnapper John Esposito, a family acquaintance, admitted to detectives on Jan. 13, 1993, that he had kidnapped Beers and showed them the dungeon where she was hidden for 17 days under his Bay Shore, N.Y., home, the little girl was placed in foster care and raised in a comfortable East Hampton home with four siblings.

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