TIME Crime

Witness the Aftermath of Police Shooting in Brooklyn

Two New York Police Department officers were shot and killed Saturday afternoon, unprovoked, by a gunman who later killed himself. 

TIME Crime

Colorado Movie Theater Shooter’s Parents Plead for His Life

"He is not a monster. He is a human being gripped by a severe mental illness," James Holmes' parents said

The parents of the man accused of killing 12 people when he opened fire in a Colorado movie theater in 2012 are pleading that their mentally ill son be spared the death penalty.

In a letter published Friday in the Denver Post, Robert and Arlene Holmes argued that their son James has a “serious mental illness” and should be either imprisoned for the rest of his life or placed in an institution for the mentally ill, but not executed. “We have read postings on the Internet that have likened him to a monster,” the couple wrote. “He is not a monster. He is a human being gripped by a severe mental illness.

“We believe that the death penalty is morally wrong, especially when the condemned is mentally ill,” the added.

After multiple delays, jury selection for Holmes’ trial is scheduled in January. Holmes has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

TIME Pakistan

Here’s What It Looked Like At the Scene of the Peshawar School Attack

Parents frantically search for their children while others queue to give blood

An attack on a school in Peshawar, Pakistan, early Tuesday morning has left more than 120 people dead, most of them children. The attack, which the Taliban claimed responsibility for, saw a number of militants wearing military uniforms open fire and detonate explosives at the Army Public School.

Farooq Shah, a local doctor whose 16-year-old son Mubeen was killed in the attack, spoke to TIME on Tuesday and said:

No religion sanctions the killing of children. Who are these people killing our children in the name of religion? Going to school, going to the market – these are mundane things. Now every parent in Pakistan will be scared to send out their children for such mundane activities too. But we should not give in to this fear and fight it because that’s the only option we are left with.

Resisting fear could prove difficult, as reports on social media and from local journalists have painted a horrific picture of the attack:

 

A student of Army Public School, 16-year-old Shahrukh Khan, spoke to the AFP from Peshawar’s Lady Reading Hospital, where he was being treated for his injuries. He said that he and his classmates were in the school auditorium when four gunmen wearing military uniforms entered:

Someone screamed at us to get down and hide below the desks,” he said, adding that the gunmen shouted “Allahu akbar” (God is greatest) before opening fire. Then one of them shouted: ‘There are so many children beneath the benches, go and get them’,” Khan told AFP. “I saw a pair of big black boots coming towards me, this guy was probably hunting for students hiding beneath the benches.

Khan said he felt searing pain as he was shot in both his legs just below the knee.

He decided to play dead, adding: “I folded my tie and pushed it into my mouth so that I wouldn’t scream.

“The man with big boots kept on looking for students and pumping bullets into their bodies. I lay as still as I could and closed my eyes, waiting to get shot again. My body was shivering. I saw death so close and I will never forget the black boots approaching me — I felt as though it was death that was approaching me.”

Khan said he waited until the men left, before trying to find help. “When I crawled to the next room, it was horrible. I saw the dead body of our office assistant on fire,” he told the AFP. “She was sitting on the chair with blood dripping from her body as she burned.”

The BBC reported early on Tuesday that the school was attacked because it is an army-run institution, which has been confirmed by the Pakistani arm of the Taliban:

 
The Pakistani army has been sending updates, via their chief spokesman, about their efforts to rescue children and stop the attackers:

 

As the rescue operation has been underway, many parents have been frantically searching for their children outside the school, which was sealed off with an unknown number of hostages still inside. Pakistan’s Express Tribune has this video interview with a mother and a grandmother, who’ve arrived at the school to find their sons and grandchildren

Meanwhile, nearby hospitals, which have received a number of the victims, have reportedly begun posting lists of the deceased. One doctor at the Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar told the BBC that some of the wounded and deceased who were brought in had been shot in the head and chest, while others were killed in a suicide bomb attack on the school playground.

Others have tweeted images of long lines of people at the Combined Military Hospital and at local blood banks queuing to give blood:

 

Footage from the Express Tribune reveals the chaos in the hospitals treating the injured:

 

Another video, uploaded to YouTube, shows more scenes of grief and turmoil at the Lady Reading Hospital as the injured are treated and the deceased are carried out in coffins:

The BBC’s Pakistan correspondent Shaimaa Khalil reports that traffic jams have blocked many of Peshawar’s streets:

 

In response to the attack, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has declared three days of national mourning.

-with reporting by Nilanjana Bhowmick.

TIME

Cleveland Officer Who Shot Boy Had No Choice, Cop’s Dad Says

Officer Tim Loehmann fatally shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice

(CLEVELAND) — A Cleveland policeman who fatally shot a 12-year-old thought the boy’s pellet gun was a real firearm and later said he had no choice, the officer’s father said.

The Nov. 22 shooting of Tamir Rice by 26-year-old police rookie outside a recreation center sparked protests in the area. Surveillance video shows Loehmann firing within two seconds of a patrol car stopping near Rice, who reached in his waistband for what turned out to be a pellet gun.

Loehmann’s father, Fred Loehmann, of Parma, told the Northeast Ohio Media Group that the officer didn’t know how young the boy was.

He recalled his son saying: “I was right there and he went for the gun. I had no choice.”

Through their lawyer’s spokesman, Rice’s family declined to comment on any details about Loehmann. His funeral is planned Wednesday.

The city, so far, has not released statements taken from Loehmann and his police partner or their personnel files. Loehmann, who joined Cleveland police in March after spending several months with the police department in suburban Independence, is described by others as a quiet, respectful guy who grew up in Catholic schools and tried to follow in his father’s footsteps, the publishing group said.

Fred Loehmann, who spent decades in law enforcement with New York police and the U.S. Marshals Service, said his son initially was in shock after the shooting, but is now doing “pretty well.”

“He’s living his life,” the father said. However, the family has received threats since police publicly identified the officers involved, he said.

The police department is investigating the officer’s use of deadly force, and the county prosecutor has said the case will be presented for a grand jury to decide whether any charges are merited.

Loehmann and his partner, 46-year-old Frank Garmback, have returned to work from administrative leave, but are not back on patrol.

Fred Loehmann said he understands something about the situation his son faced because of an experience he had during his own career in New York in 1972. He saw an armed robbery suspect with something silver in his hand but opted not to shoot, and it turned out to be a gun-shaped cigarette lighter, he said.

“If it would have been a real gun, I’d be dead,” he said.

New York police couldn’t verify those details, but a spokesman confirmed an F. Loehmann worked there for two decades.

TIME Crime

Suspected Shooter Dead in Downtown Austin Gunfire

Suspect shot and condition unknown

(AUSTIN, Texas) — Austin police say a gunman suspected of opening fire on several downtown buildings and police headquarters has died after being shot.

According to their verified Twitter account, Austin police say the male suspect died early Friday in what authorities call an officer-involved shooting.

Police did not immediately say who fatally shot the suspect. Police say the man had targeted “multiple downtown buildings” in the gunfire before dawn.

Austin-Travis County EMS reports the incident led to part of Interstate 35 through downtown Austin being closed as officers tried to secure the scene.

Further details weren’t immediately available.

Austin police didn’t immediately a message for comment Friday.

TIME

Cleveland to Release Video of Boy Shot by Officer

Protesters display a picture of Tamir Rice during a rally at the Cudell Recreation Center in Cleveland, Ohio, Nov. 24, 2014.
Protesters display a picture of Tamir Rice during a rally at the Cudell Recreation Center in Cleveland, Ohio, Nov. 24, 2014. David Maxwell—EPA

Tamir Rice was shot Saturday by an officer responding to a call about someone with a gun near a playground

(CLEVELAND) — Cleveland police planned to release surveillance video from an officer’s fatal shooting of a 12-year-old boy who turned out to be carrying a replica gun.

A department spokeswoman said video and audio evidence would be released Wednesday afternoon, when police Chief Calvin Williams provides an update on the investigation.

Tamir Rice was shot Saturday by an officer responding to a call about someone with a gun near a playground. Police say Tamir was told to raise his hands, then reached into his waistband for what appeared to be a firearm. Police later determined it was an airsoft gun, which typically shoots tiny plastic pellets, but it was missing an orange safety indicator.

The family’s attorneys saw the video Monday, a day after Rice died. They later called for the full footage to be released publicly.

City officials had been withholding the video, saying that it was evidence in the investigation and that they wanted to be sensitive to the family, the community and the officer, whom they described as distraught.

Police haven’t discussed details of what the video shows, but Deputy Chief Edward Tomba said the footage is “very clear” about what occurred.

The shooting has led to an investigation of the officer’s use of force and protests referencing this and other police-involved shootings.

On Tuesday evening, several hundred demonstrators marched down an exit ramp and temporarily blocked rush-hour traffic on a busy Cleveland freeway. Police diverted traffic but didn’t take action against the protesters, who chanted phrases such as “Hands up, don’t shoot” and “No justice, no peace.”

The demonstration came as protesters across the country decried a grand jury’s decision not to indict a white police officer who killed an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri.

TIME Crime

The One Battle Michael Brown’s Family Will Win

Peter Ferranti
Las Vegas police Sgt. Peter Ferranti models a body camera on Nov. 12, 2014. About 200 street officers in Las Vegas wear the cameras John Locher—AP

Body-worn cameras are poised to become standard for police around the U.S. after the tragedy in Ferguson

In the fevered moments after the grand jury’s decision not to charge Ferguson, Mo., police officer Darren Wilson in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, the family of the slain 18-year-old released a statement pleading for peace — and urging people to join their campaign to get police around the nation to wear cameras.

“We need to work together to fix the system that allowed this to happen,” the statement read. “Join with us in our campaign to ensure that every police officer working the streets in this country wears a body camera.”

The crusade is understandable. No video recordings of the Aug. 9 confrontation between Wilson and Brown exist, and eyewitness accounts of the incident were often in conflict. Some said Brown had his hands up when he was shot. Others said Brown was charging toward Wilson when he officer fired. To many, a camera on Wilson’s uniform would have ended the uncertainty and potentially avoided the subsequent tumult that engulfed the St. Louis suburb.

VOTE: Should the Ferguson Protestors Be TIME’s Person of the Year?

The lesson wasn’t lost on other police departments. In the weeks after Brown’s death, numerous law-enforcement agencies around the U.S. began experimenting with body cameras. Anaheim, Calif.; Denver; Miami Beach; Washington, D.C.; and even Ferguson have all begun outfitting officers with cameras or announced plans to start. The movement Brown’s family called for the night Wilson was cleared has actually been growing since the day their son was killed.

“Police realize that they’re under greater levels of public scrutiny,” says Art Lurigio, a professor of psychology and criminal justice at Loyola University Chicago. “And the Michael Brown case is elevating this urgency. It’s bringing this discussion of cameras to a more fevered pitch.”

For police, cameras have the potential to offer visual evidence of confrontations, which could provide a level of public transparency and potentially save law-enforcement agencies millions of dollars in legal fees spent fighting and settling suits brought by citizens.

But only a few studies have been conducted on the effects body-worn cameras. The most frequently cited came out of the police department in Rialto, Calif., which found an 88% drop in the number of complaints filed against officers and a 60% decline in use of force incidents compared with the year before officers adopted cameras.

(MORE: All the Ways Darren Wilson Described Being Afraid of Michael Brown)

Most experts say that the Brown case has accelerated a discussion about cameras that was already taking place inside many of the country’s bigger departments thanks to the ubiquity of camera-equipped phones.

“The big question is not whether or not agencies will adopt body-worn cameras but the sorts of policies that will be put into place to monitor and control the use of this new technology,” says Victor Thompson, an expert in race and crime at Rider University in New Jersey.

For instance, Thompson says a camera that can be easily turned on and off at the discretion of an officer may be of little value because it would allow that officer to control what’s ultimately being recorded and fail to provide the kind of transparency activists are calling for. Other experts advocate establishing rules about how and when the cameras are used along with clear protocols for review of video footage and sanctions against officers if they fail to comply.

Not all cops are on board. As police departments increasingly experiment with making officers a mobile surveillance pod, some police unions are pushing back. They argue that having to turn on a camera during a threatening situation could lead to deadly consequences at a time when every second is important.

Such resistance is unlikely to stop the spread of cameras. In recent weeks, police departments in cities such as Cleveland and Dallas have announced plans to put cameras on officers or expand existing wearable programs.

“In 10, 15 years,” Lurigio says, “I think we’ll be talking about the camera in the way that today we talk about the baton or the badge.”

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TIME Crime

Ferguson Cop Darren Wilson on Michael Brown’s Death: ‘I Have a Clean Conscience’

Police officer Darren Wilson breaks his silence about the shooting of Michael Brown in an interview with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos on Nov. 25, 2014.
Police officer Darren Wilson breaks his silence about the shooting of Michael Brown in an interview with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos on Nov. 25, 2014 Kevin Lowder—ABC/Getty Images

Officer speaks for the first time after the grand jury decided not to indict him

The Ferguson police officer whom a grand jury has chosen not to indict in the August shooting death of an unarmed teenager said in an interview Tuesday he would not have done anything differently because he was trying to save his own life.

In an interview that aired Tuesday evening with George Stephanopoulos of ABC News, Darren Wilson recalled the incident and said, “The reason I have a clean conscience is because I know I did my job right.” The sit-down marked his first since Monday evening’s announcement that a grand jury had declined to charge him for the killing of Michael Brown, which ignited bouts of looting and arson in Ferguson despite state efforts to prepare for the possibility of violence. Demonstrations from New York City to Los Angeles played out into the night.

MORE: Ferguson Erupts Again After Cop Cleared in Killing

On Aug. 9, Wilson said he and Brown, who was 18, got into a physical altercation after he approached him, and that Brown threw the first punch, hitting the left side of his face. “I didn’t know if I’d be able to withstand another hit like that,” he said.

Over the course of their altercation, which Wilson said involved punching and the slamming of his vehicle’s door, he said he got a sense that Brown, who was 6 ft. 4 in. and 289 lb., could easily overpower him. “I felt the immense power of this man … It was like a 5-year-old holding onto Hulk Hogan.”

Wilson said he threatened to shoot Brown, which is when he said the teen reached for his gun: “He grabbed the top of my gun, and he said, ‘You’re too much of a p—y to shoot me.’” Next, he recalled aiming his gun at Brown “thinking this has to work, otherwise I’m going to be dead.” That moment was apparently the first time he ever fired his gun in the line of duty.

After Brown started walking away, Wilson chased him, explaining “that’s what we were trained to do.” Then, he added, when Brown started to approach him, “he ignored all my commands and just kept running.” The officer said there was “no way” Brown put his hands up, as has been widely reported.

MORE: President Obama Says There Is ‘No Excuse’ for Violence in Ferguson

Wilson said at that point there was nothing he could have done to prevent Brown’s death. When asked if he thought he would have still shot Brown if he had been white, Wilson said there was “no question” he would do the same thing.

“I don’t think it’s a haunting,” he admitted. “It’s always going to be something that happened.” After the short clip, Stephanopoulos added that Wilson expressed sympathy for Brown’s family.

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TIME Crime

See 20 Key Moments From Ferguson

A deadly shooting. Months of protests. An anxiously awaited grand jury decision. These images chronicle the pivotal moments in the fatal encounter between a white police officer and an unarmed African-American teenager that ignited a national debate about race.

Should Ferguson Protestors be Person of the Year? Vote below for #TIMEPOY

TIME Crime

Photos: Tension Mounts in Ferguson as Protesters Wait for the Grand Jury

Greater St. Louis filled with protests ahead of Thanksgiving as community members, demonstrators and law enforcement waited for the grand jury to announce whether Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson would be indicted in the fatal shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown

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