TIME Crime

Zimbabwe Wants to Extradite Cecil the Lion’s Killer From the U.S.

Zimbabwe's wildlife minister wants American dentist to "be made accountable."

HARARE, Zimbabwe — Zimbabwe’s wildlife minister says extradition is being sought for the American dentist who killed a lion.

Oppah Muchinguri, environment, water and climate minister, told a news conference Friday: “We want him tried in Zimbabwe because he violated our laws. … Police should take the first step to approach the prosecutor general who will approach the Americans. The processes have already started.”

“Unfortunately it was too late to apprehend the foreign poacher as he had already absconded to his country of origin,” Muchinguri said. “We are appealing to the responsible authorities for his extradition to Zimbabwe so that he be made accountable.”

On Tuesday, American hunter Walter James Palmer issued a statement saying he relied on his guides to ensure the hunt was legal.

TIME

Former University of Cincinnati Cop Pays Bond And Is Released From Jail

Ray Tensing
John Minchillo—AP Former University of Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing appears at Hamilton County Courthouse for his arraignment in the shooting death of motorist Samuel DuBose on July 30, 2015, in Cincinnati.

Former university police officer Ray Tensing reportedly left the jail Thursday evening

The former University of Cincinnati police officer charged in the shooting death of an unarmed black man is out of jail on bond.

Ray Tensing posted 10 percent of his $1 million bail—just over $100,000—on Thursday evening, according to the Hamilton County Clerk’s office, not long after pleading not guilty to murder and involuntary manslaughter in the shooting death of 43-year-old Sam DuBose.

Representatives from the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department told the Cincinnati television station WCPO that the 25-year-old officer left the jail at about 6:45 p.m. on Thursday. TIME could not immediately reach the office for comment. Tensing’s lawyer, Stewart Mathews, said Thursday that people across the United States were offering to help pay Tensing’s bond.

The former campus cop was indicted Wednesday in the shooting death of DuBose, who the officer said he was “forced to shoot” in an initial report that alleged the unarmed man had attempted to run the officer over after failing to meet the officer’s request to produce his license.

The local prosecutor, however, felt a recently released body-camera video told a different story. In it, the officer can be seen shooting DuBose in the head and then falling backward. The Hamilton County prosecutor called the shooting the “most asinine act that I’ve ever seen a police officer make.”

Tensing’s lawyer maintains that there are “two sides” to the story. “The case will be tried and decided in court,” Mathews said.

DuBose is one of 669 people who have been killed by police so far in 2015, according to a database by the Guardian newspaper, and 175 of those killed have been black.

 

TIME Crime

Why Universities Have Their Own Armed Police Forces

The arrangement has a long history

After a white University of Cincinnati police officer was charged with murder this week for shooting a local black man during a routine traffic stop, many have raised questions about why the university has an armed police force at all.

Ray Tensing, the officer who killed 43-year-old Samuel DuBose, was one of 72 gun-carrying members of the University of Cincinnati’s police department, until he was fired following his indictment on Wednesday. His fellow UC police officers have the authority to make arrests and to patrol both the university’s campus and the surrounding area—an arrangement that is common among other public universities across the country.

One of the critics of the university’s police force in the wake of DuBose’s death is Joe Deters, Cincinnati’s prosecutor, who is calling for the school’s police department to be eliminated.

“They’re not cops, and we have a great police department in Cincinnati, probably the best in Ohio,” he told reporters on Wednesday. “And I talked to the [city police] chief about it today and I said, ‘You know, you guys should be doing this stuff,’ and I think he’s in agreement with it.”

University of Cincinnati president Santa Ono said it would be “premature” to discuss shutting down the school’s police department, but the university would be “reviewing comprehensively” the “training policy and procedures of the force.”

Here’s what you need to know about campus police:

What is a university police force?

A university police force is much like any other police force, except the officers are employed by the university or a private contractor, not the city or state, and the police force’s jurisdiction that is largely campus based.

There are generally three types of campus public safety departments, says S. Daniel Carter, the director of the 32 National Campus Safety Initiative at the VTV Family Outreach Foundation, founded by families and survivors of the 20007 Virginia Tech shooting. The first type of force is composed of “sworn” officers—officers with the power to make arrests. The second type is made up of unsworn security officers, who can be employed either by the university or a private contractor. The third is a hybrid of the two. A small number of colleges and universities don’t have their own force and rely on local law enforcement agencies to do their policing.

While some were surprised to learn that Tensing, the University of Cincinnati police officer, had the authority to carry a gun and make arrests off campus, that’s actually the norm among university police forces, according to the most recent survey of campus law enforcement by the U.S. Department of Justice in 2011-2012.Three quarters of the 905 traditional four-year institutions surveyed used sworn officers—the kind that can make arrests. And three-quarters also used armed officers. Arming officers was much more common in public institutions—9 in 10 public institutions employed armed officers, compared with only 38% of private campuses.

Can a university police force patrol outside the boundaries of a campus?

That question was raised in the case of DuBose’s death, since he was stopped by a University of Cincinnati police officer close to the school’s campus but outside of it. At a press conference this week, UC president Ono told a reporter who asked about the location of the arrest that “yes, it was legal,” but the university planned to review the whole incident and potentially make policy changes.

The fact that a university police officer would stop a non-student in an area outside of campus is not unusual across the country. The vast majority of sworn campus police officers, or more than 80%, had patrol and arrest jurisdictions that extended beyond the campus boundaries, according to the Justice Department survey in 2011-2012.

What is the history of the university police force?

According to experts, the first example of a sworn university police department with arms and arresting power was at Yale in 1894, when two local New Haven, Conn. cops asked to be assigned exclusively to the school to stem tensions over a scandal in which Yale medical students were accused of stealing recently buried cadavers from local cemeteries, according to Yale’s website. University police departments became much more prevalent and important in the 1960s and 1970s after the Vietnam era protests, and the forces have continued to grow. In 2004, 68% of the four-year universities surveyed by the Justice Department used armed officers; by 2011, that number had grown to 75%.

How are university police officers recruited and trained?

The recruitment, training and rules governing university police departments vary widely depending on the state, said Dolores Stafford, executive director of the National Association of Clery Compliance Officers & Professionals. In some states, university and campus police officers go to the same police academy as the state and city officers. In other states, they go to their own academy. Campus police officers also typically go through other training in regulations like the Clery Act, which governs federal reporting requirements of campus crime, and issues particularly pertinent to campus safety, such as sexual assault. Stafford said that use of force training is common among campus police officers, even those who are not sworn.

Though it was more common 30 years ago for campus forces to be made up of former municipal police officers, said Stafford, campus law enforcement is now a career path in its own right, employing hundreds of people across the country.

TIME fire

Officials Are Looking for People Who Flew Drones Over California Wildfires

The drone operators could be prosecuted for murder if the drones caused delays that led to deaths of any firefighters or civilians

Officials want to know who flew drones near several wildfires in California’s San Bernardino mountains, causing firefighters to temporarily ground their flame-battling planes.

The reward for someone who identifies the drone operators? $75,000.

“In the most recent fire, the North Fire, we saw cars and trucks burning on the freeway, we saw homes burn, and we saw families running for their lives,” Jorge Ramos, chairman of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors, said in a statement.

“We want to know who was flying drones, and we want them punished,” he said. “Someone knows who they are, and there is $75,000 waiting…

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News

TIME animals

Petition to Extradite Cecil the Lion’s Killer Signed By 100,000

Petition to White House urges Obama administration to send Walter Palmer to Zimbabwe to face justice

A petition to the White House calling for the American dentist who killed Zimbabwe’s beloved lion Cecil has attracted over 100,000 signatures in just one day.

The petition urges Secretary of State John Kerry and Attorney General Loretta Lynch to extradite U.S. citizen Walter Palmer to Zimbabwe for him to “face justice” for illegally killing the country’s “national icon.”

According to Whitehouse.gov, any petition that reaches over 100,000 signatures within 30 days requires a response from the government. The Cecil petition had 137,648 signatures at the time of publication.

Palmer, a dentist from the Minnesota area, has become a figure of global outrage when it was revealed he killed a beloved, 13-year-old lion in Zimbabwe. Palmer has since apologized and said he will cooperate with authorities, and said he did not know the hunt was illegal.

“To my knowledge, everything about this trip was legal and properly handled and conducted,” he wrote in an apology letter to his dental patients. “I had no idea that the lion I took was a known, local favorite, was collared and part of a study until the end of the hunt.”

TIME Crime

Three-Year-Old Girl Shot By Child Playing With a Gun

The shooter was reportedly a 7-year-old boy

A three-year-old girl was shot and killed by another child who was apparently playing with a gun in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday evening.

The toddler, Dalis Cox, was shot by a child identified by neighbors as a 7-year-old boy who had found a gun in the apartment, reports the Washington Post. Cox’s father said that the girl’s mother lives in the apartment complex where Dalis was shot. It is not known who the gun belonged to, or where it was in the apartment.

When police arrived on the scene Wednesday night Dalis was unresponsive; she died at the hospital. Timothy Cox, Dalis’s father, has two other children.

“Dalis is my life and soul,” the father said. “I’m at a real loss. People need to make sure they are with their kids at all times. Tomorrow is not promised.”

[Washington Post]

TIME Crime

University of Cincinnati Cop Pleads Not Guilty to Murder

Ray Tensing's lawyer said the police officer did not intend to kill Samuel DuBose

(CINCINNATI) — A University of Cincinnati police officer who shot a motorist after stopping him over a missing front license plate pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges of murder and involuntary manslaughter.

Twenty-five-year-old Ray Tensing appeared at his arraignment wearing a striped jail suit, with his hands cuffed behind him. He was indicted Wednesday in the July 19 shooting of 43-year-old Samuel DuBose during a traffic stop.

When Common Pleas Judge Megan Shanahan set bond at $1 million, people in the courtroom audience cheered and the judge rebuked them. The judge rejected the defense attorney’s contention that Tensing wasn’t at a flight risk.

Tensing is due back in court Aug. 19.

DuBose’s family has urged the community to remain calm, as it has in a series of demonstrations since the shooting. Tensing had stopped DuBose for a missing front license plate, which is required in Ohio but not in neighboring states.

DuBose’s death comes amid months of national scrutiny of police dealings with African-Americans, especially those killed by officers. DuBose was black; Tensing is white. Authorities so far have not focused on race in the death of DuBose. City officials who viewed video footage released from Tensing’s body camera said the traffic stop shouldn’t have led to a shooting.

“This officer was wrong,” Cincinnati Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell said Wednesady, adding that officers “have to be held accountable” when they’re in the wrong.

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters scoffed at Tensing’s claim that he was dragged by DuBose’s car, saying the officer “purposely killed him.” Using words such as “asinine” and “senseless,” the veteran prosecutor known for tough stands on urban crime called it “a chicken crap” traffic stop.

“It was so unnecessary,” Deters said. He added that Tensing “should never have been a police officer.”

Tensing, who was jailed overnight Wednesday, was fired soon after the indictment was announced. He had been with the University of Cincinnati for more than a year after starting police work in 2011 in a Cincinnati suburb. He also had earned a UC degree in criminal justice.

Tensing’s attorney, Stewart Mathews, said that he was shocked that his client was indicted on a murder charge and that Tensing did not intend to kill DuBose.

Tensing, who could face up to life in prison if convicted, has said he thought he was going to be dragged under the car and “feared for his life,” Mathews said.

Mathews said a video from the body camera of a police officer who arrived right after the shooting shows Tensing lying in the street after he had gotten free of the car, but that video hasn’t been released by authorities.

“With the political climate in this country with white police officers shooting black individuals, I think they need somebody to make an example of,” Mathews said.

Authorities have said Tensing noticed the car driven by DuBose didn’t have a front license plate. They say Tensing stopped the car and a struggle ensued after DuBose failed to provide a driver’s license and refused to get out of the car.

“I didn’t even do nothing,” DuBose can be heard telling Tensing. DuBose held up what appears to be a bottle of gin.

Tensing fired once, striking DuBose in the head.

Aubrey DuBose, the victim’s brother, called the shooting “senseless” and “unprovoked.” He said the family is upset but wants any reaction to the case to be nonviolent and done in a way that honors his brother’s style.

“Sam was peaceful,” he said. “He lived peaceful. And in his death, we want to remain peaceful. Like my mom said, let God fight the battle.”

___

Associated Press writers Kantele Franko, Ann Sanner, Mitch Stacy, Julie Carr Smyth and Andrew Welsh-Huggins in Columbus and Dylan Lovan in Cincinnati contributed to this report.

TIME Crime

FBI: Child Abuse ‘Almost at an Epidemic Level’ in U.S.

The bureau rescued 600 children last year

Tens of thousands of children are being sexually exploited each year in the U.S., according to an investigation by the BBC.

Despite rescuing 600 children last year, the FBI says child sex abuse is at epidemic levels where tens of thousands of children are believed to be sexually exploited in the country each year. “The level of paedophilia is unprecedented right now,” Joseph Campbell of the FBI told the BBC.

Campbell, who works in the Criminal Investigation Division, has seen individuals from all walks of life engaged in both child pornography and child exploitation, calling it a problem “almost at an epidemic level.”

Hundreds of American children are also being sold into sex, according to the BBC, where poverty and neglect are thought to be some of the main reasons why young kids are vulnerable to sex trafficking.

Jenny Gaines, who works at Breaking Free, a Minnesotan-based advocacy group that provides support for former sex workers, says many “manipulate and take advantage of underage girls.” Half the women who visit the support group were under the age if 18 when they were first sold for sex.

 

TIME animals

U.S. Government Investigating Death of Cecil the Lion

The Department of Justice hasn't said whether they've received an extradition request

The federal agency charged with enforcing wildlife protection laws in the U.S. said Wednesday that it will investigate the highly publicized death of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe, following accusations that an American citizen killed the animal illegally.

“The Service is deeply concerned about the recent killing of Cecil the lion,”a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spokesperson said in a statement. “We are currently gathering facts about the issue and will assist Zimbabwe officials in whatever manner requested.”

The statement follows an allegation by the government of Zimbabwe that Walter James Palmer, a 55-year-old Minnesota dentist, participated in the illegal killing of the lion earlier this month. Two Zimbabwe natives have also been implicated and appeared in court on Wednesday.

Read More: Why Big Game Hunters Believe They’re the Real Conservationists

The U.S. and Zimbabwe have an extradition treaty, but it remains unclear how the U.S. would respond to a request to extradite Palmer. In a statement, a spokesperson for the Department of Justice (DOJ) said that DOJ was “aware of the situation.” The spokesperson declined to say whether the U.S. had received an extradition request.

Palmer, who could not be reached for comment Wednesday, previously said that “everything about this trip was legal and properly handled and conducted” and promised to assist any investigations by government officials.

African lions face threats as a result of habitat loss and increased conflicts with humans, among other things. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed listing lions as an endangered species last year, which would create restrictions on lion hunting by U.S. citizens. The measure has yet to be decided.

“It is up to all of us—not just the people of Africa—to ensure that healthy, wild populations of animals continue to roam the savanna for generations to come,” a spokesperson for the agency said in a statement.

TIME Drones

Kentucky Man Arrested for Shooting Down a Drone Over His Property

Drone with Camera
Getty Images

"Everyone I've spoken to, including police, have said they would have done the same thing"

Kentucky police charged a man on Sunday for shooting down a drone that was flying over his home.

William H. Meredith, 47, told police in Hillview, Kentucky that his children alerted him to a camera-mounted drone hovering around the neighborhood. Meredith says he got his shotgun and waited for the drone to fly over his property before shooting, according to WDRB Louisville.

“Within a minute or so, here it came,” Meredith told WDRB. “It was hovering over top of my property, and I shot it out of the sky.”

Police arrested and charged Meredith with two felonies, first degree criminal mischief and first degree wanton endangerment. The owner reportedly told the police the drone was worth over $1800, and was being used to take pictures of a friend’s home.

FAA guidelines say drone pilots must receive permission from property owners pre-flight when flying over a residence — but a FAA spokesperson told local media that shooting at an unmanned aerial vehicle posed a bigger threat.

Meredith, however, said he had every right to take the law into his own hands. “Everyone I’ve spoken to, including police, have said they would have done the same thing,” he said.

[WDRB]

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