TIME Environment

Magnitude-3.9 Quake Shakes Buildings Across Los Angeles

The Los Angeles city skyline stands in front of the snow covered San Gabriel Mountains after a snowstorm hit the region
Mark Ralston—AFP/Getty Images The Los Angeles city skyline stands in front of the snow covered San Gabriel Mountains after a snowstorm hit the region on December 31, 2014.

Centered just north of Inglewood and Culver City

(LOS ANGELES) — A small earthquake has rattled the greater Los Angeles area, shaking buildings and waking residents. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

The U.S. Geological Survey says an earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 3.9 hit at 4:07 a.m. Sunday. It was centered a mile northwest of the View Park-Windsor Hills neighborhood, just north of the cities of Inglewood and Culver City.

It was the second earthquake in less than a month along the Newport-Inglewood fault. A magnitude-3.5 quake hit the same area on April 12.

The Los Angeles Fire Department said early Sunday that it briefly went into “earthquake mode.” The alert was lifted after its helicopters surveyed more than 470 square miles in the area and all 106 fire stations conducted safety checks.

TIME Crime

How Baltimore’s Police Department Avoided a Civil Rights Investigation

Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts MARSHALL PROJECT
Alex Brandon—AP Baltimore Police Department Commissioner Anthony Batts surveys the corner of North and Pennsylvania avenues during protests in the city on April 30, 2015.

The city's involvement in a Justice Department program shows the softer side of intervention

This story was written by Simone Weichselbaum for The Marshall Project , a nonprofit news organization that covers the U.S. criminal justice system. Sign up for their newsletter, or follow The Marshall Project on Facebook or Twitter.

Six months before Baltimore exploded in anger at the city’s police, Justice Department officials were already busy examining the record of brutality and misconduct that had plagued the force for years.

But unlike other cities that have come under investigation by the department’s Civil Rights Division after complaints of excessive force, Baltimore, found its way into a less-onerous and adversarial Justice program that emphasizes cooperative support for local law-enforcement agencies. In fact, Baltimore requested the intervention.

That Justice program, called the Collaborative Reform Initiative for Technical Assistance, was created in 2011 by the department’s Office of Community Oriented Police Services, or COPS. Compared to the avenging lawyers of the Civil Rights Division, the program’s consultants might be considered the good cops.

Where the Civil Rights Division is known for filing lawsuits in the federal courts to compel recalcitrant police agencies to stop discriminatory practices or the excessive use of force, the COPS plan offers expertise and training to help change-minded police departments implement new policies on their own.

“There are 18,000 police departments in this country, and the idea that we can sue our way into reform, or put every police department under a consent decree, is just not viable,” the director of the COPS office, Ronald L. Davis, said in a telephone interview with The Marshall Project.

(On Friday, Baltimore’s chief prosecutor, Marilyn J. Mosby, announced she had filed criminal charges against six police officers in the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old African-American man who was arrested on April 12 for allegedly carrying a switchblade knife and died a week later from injuries he suffered while in custody.

The Baltimore police chief, Anthony W. Batts, had known Davis for years when he telephoned him last fall to ask for the COPS program’s help. The call came just days after the Baltimore Sun reported that the city had paid out $5.7 million in court judgments and settlements to resolve more than 100 police misconduct lawsuits since 2011.

Before taking over the Baltimore department in 2012, Batts had been the police chief in Oakland, Calif. At the time, Davis – a 19-year veteran of the Oakland force – was leading the police department in East Palo Alto, a small city 31 miles across the San Francisco Bay.

Davis said he had only a professional relationship with Batts, but knew his work as a chief in Baltimore, Oakland and Long Beach, Calif. Davis also emphasized that while the Collaborative Reform program necessarily gives priority to police agencies that are eager to change, it does not offer them an end-run around the Civil Rights Division.

In Baltimore’s case, Davis said, he consulted with officials of the division’s Special Litigation section to make sure they had not begun a preliminary investigation into a “pattern or practice” of discriminatory policing there. He added that the Civil Rights Division can also step in later, if a police force fails to make good on its promises to make changes in the collaborative program.

“The COPS office is not an investigatory body,” he said. “If we don’t see the same earnest effort that you committed to, we will cease and desist our program and turn everything we have over to Civil Rights.”

Batts and the Baltimore mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, announced within days of the Sun article that they, too, had sought the Justice Department’s intervention, and they issued a 41-page reform plan that they described as a set of parameters for change. The steps in that plan included increasing accountability for rogue officers, tracking misconduct more closely, and possibly providing body cameras to record officers’ actions.

But some local officials remained unconvinced. The City Council president, Bernard C. “Jack” Young, had written to then-Attorney General Eric Holder on Oct. 1 requesting “a full review of the Baltimore City Police Department’s policies, procedures and practices.” Lester Davis, a spokesman for Young, said the councilman had specifically sought the involvement of the Civil Rights Division and would submit a new request to Holder’s successor, Loretta Lynch.

Officials of the Civil Rights Division said in recent interviews with The Marshall Project that while they have stepped up their enforcement efforts in recent years, they continue to struggle with the limitations of a Special Litigation staff of only about 50 attorneys, some of whom work on issues other than police accountability.

“Would the Civil Rights Division and the country benefit from having more people to focus in on these issues? Absolutely,” the acting assistant attorney general who heads the division, Vanita Gupta, said in an interview. “I would be an idiot to say that I don’t want more people.”

The Collaborate Reform Initiative represents what is effectively a second track on which the Justice Department can push for change with local law-enforcement agencies. But — particularly in cases like that of Baltimore, in which a force might be looking for some relief from public criticism — it requires careful vetting, current and former department officials said.

“The COPS program doesn’t have any enforcement authority,” noted William Yeomans, a former Civil Rights Division official. “So the department has to conclude that here is a police department that can take voluntary measures to improve itself. You have to have confidence in the leadership of the police department.”

Another former Justice Department official, Robert Driscoll, who served in the George W. Bush administration, said he was suspicious of how the Obama administration had decided on the less-invasive option for Baltimore, a city governed by Democrats.

“That is a nice way out of a difficult problem, when people say, `What are you going to do in response to the Baltimore Sun article?’” he said. “The difficulty of the way this is being handled is figuring out who gets the COPS approach and who gets a full-blown (Civil Rights Division) investigation.”

Baltimore is one of eight cities that have been or are being “assessed” – not investigated – by the Collaborative Reform Initiative. In Las Vegas and Philadelphia, teams of federally funded consultants have recommended dozens of reforms in such areas as use of force guidelines, internal investigations, firearms training and the recording of witnesses to shootings by the police.

“It is really an alternative,” a Justice spokesman, Kevin Lewis, said. “Before it gets to a place that it is so escalated that you need a pattern and practice (lawsuit), what the Department of Justice is doing is providing an option.”

But the department’s softer side is not always welcomed, either.

After a series of police shootings in Las Vegas, the ACLU of Nevada requested an investigation by the Civil Rights Division. When the Justice Department decided it would use the COPS program instead, ACLU lawyers wrote to the Justice Department expressing dismay. “We were very apprehensive,” said Tod Story, ACLU of Nevada’s executive director. “We thought what was happening here was worthy of a full-scale civil rights investigation.”

Ronald Davis, the COPS director, said he had no illusions about the extent of the challenges that police reformers faced in Baltimore.

“The powder keg that exploded in Baltimore has been simmering for generations,” he said. “And the idea that us starting an assessment in October somehow would have stopped that – I think I would disagree with.”

TIME People

Silicon Valley CEO David Goldberg Mourned by Friends and Colleagues

Mark Zuckerberg, Arianna Huffington and others have posted on social media about the beloved CEO

People are taking to social media to express their shock and condolences over the sudden death of David Goldberg, SurveyMonkey CEO and husband of Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg posted on the social networking site, saying Goldberg “was an amazing person and I’m glad I got to know him.”

Arianna Huffington said she was “blessed to get to know him through his beloved wife Sheryl and to see firsthand what an amazing father, son, innovator, and caring friend he was.”

Others tweeted their remembrances as well:

And many more are putting their thoughts and photos on Goldberg’s Facebook page, which is what his brother Robert requested when he confirmed news of Goldberg’s death.

TIME weather

Small Earthquake Shakes Michigan

Earthquakes are rare in the state

A small earthquake hit Michigan on Saturday.

The U.S. Geological Service reported the quake on its website at a magnitude of 4.2, centered in Galesburg in the southwestern part of the state.

“While on the low end of the scale, it is still quite rare for Michigan,” Rob Dale, from the Ingham County Sheriff’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, told the Detroit Free Press.

No injuries were immediately reported, but the effects of the small quake were felt miles away, including as far as Chicago.

TIME People

Silicon Valley CEO David Goldberg, Husband of Sheryl Sandberg, Dies Suddenly

He is survived by his wife, Sheryl Sandberg, and their two children

David Goldberg, Silicon Valley CEO and husband of Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, died suddenly Friday night.

The 47-year-old CEO of SurveyMonkey died of undetermined causes, according to reports. Goldberg’s brother, Robert Goldberg, shared the news on Facebook.

“It’s with incredible shock and sadness that I’m letting our friends and family know that my amazing brother, Dave Goldberg, beloved husband of Sheryl Sandberg, father of two wonderful children, and son of Paula Goldberg, passed away suddenly last night,” Robert Goldberg wrote Saturday afternoon.

The post details how the family would like fans and friends of Goldberg to honor him: “In lieu of donations, we want to celebrate his life in a manner that respects the family’s privacy as they cope with this tragic, life changing event: Sheryl, their children, and our family would be grateful if people would post their memories and pictures of Dave to his Facebook profile.”

TIME Sports

See the Best Hats From the Kentucky Derby

People turned out in style to watch the Kentucky Derby in Louisville, Ky.

TIME Maryland

‘Victory Rally’ Fills Baltimore’s Streets

People gather at city hall in Baltimore
Eric Thayer—Reuters People gather at city hall in Baltimore, on May 2, 2015.

The rally comes after six officers were charged in Freddie Gray's death

(BALTIMORE)—Chants of “no justice, no peace, no racist police” echoed through the streets of Baltimore Saturday during a march that organizers billed as a “victory rally” a day after a prosecutor charged six officers involved in the arrest of a man who died in police custody.

State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby on Friday charged the six with felonies ranging from assault to murder in the death of Freddie Gray. He died from spinal injuries a week after his April 12 arrest. It provoked riots on the streets of West Baltimore and quickly became a rallying cry against police brutality and social inequality in the city and elsewhere.

The planned march was to be a mass protest of Gray’s d treatment by police, but after Mosby’s announcement, the tone had changed to more celebratory.

Shortly after noon at Gilmor Homes, a group of demonstrators, both black and white, young and older, congregated.

“Are you ready to march for justice?” Kwame Rose, 20, of Baltimore, said. The crowded chanted, “Yes.”

“Are you all ready to march for peace?” Rose asked. “Yeah,” the group answered.

Black Lawyers for Justice was expecting at least 10,000 people to show up downtown. Smaller groups of what looked to be several hundred gathered all around Baltimore and made their way through the streets to join the thousands at the main rally at City Hall.

They carried homemade signs, calling for peace, as well as printed ones asking for justice. Others wore T-shirts that read, “Black Lives Matter.”

Rashid Wiggins of Upton was selling $10 shirts with the slogan, with “I matter” in red.

He said it surprised him that charges were filed quickly and that he hopes it sends a message to other officers to ensure that when someone in police custody asks for medical help, they get it.

“I just want them to be a little more careful,” he said.

Near a CVS store that was looted and burned earlier in the week, groups of policemen stood on corners and a police helicopter flew overhead. Some officers twirled wooden batons idly. Someone had used chalk to draw a peace sign and write “Freddie Gray” on the brick face of the store. Hearts and dollar signs had been drawn on the store’s boarded up windows.

Chrystal Miller, 47, and Linda Moore, 63, were joining the rally. Moore brought a sign that said “The Dream Still Lives,” a reference to the Rev. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” civil rights speech.

Miller, who was pushing her 1-year-old son in a stroller, said she hoped the march would be peaceful. And Moore said she believed it would be because of the charges.

Still, Miller said the story isn’t over.

“It’s going to be a long road,” she said, adding that the officers still need to go to court and she wasn’t sure they’d wind up with jail time as she hoped. “Nothing is going to happen overnight.”

Mosby said that after reviewing the results of a police investigation turned over to her just one day before, she had concluded Gray’s arrest was illegal and unjustified. She said his neck was broken because he was handcuffed, shackled and placed head-first into a police van, where his pleas for medical attention were repeatedly ignored as he bounced around inside a small metal compartment in the vehicle.

The officers missed five opportunities to help the injured and falsely imprisoned detainee before he arrived at the police station no longer breathing, Mosby said.

The police had no reason to stop or chase after Gray, she said. They falsely accused him of having an illegal switchblade when it was a legal pocketknife, and failed to strap him down with a seat belt, a direct violation of department policy, she said.

The six officers were scheduled to appear publicly in court for the first time at the end of the month. A lawyer hired by the police union insisted the officers did nothing wrong. Michael Davey said Mosby has committed “an egregious rush to judgment.”

Others saw Gray’s arrest and death as a reflection of Baltimore’s broad social and economic problems and the announcement of charges prompted celebrations in the streets Friday.

Walter Dorsett and Kasey Lee, both 18 of North East, Maryland, joined the crowd outside City Hall Saturday. Dorsett carried a sign that read, “Having a badge should not exclude you from the law.”

Dorsett said the charges seemed accurate, though, “it doesn’t mean they’re going to be found guilty, but it’s a start.”

Gray’s stepfather, Robert Shipley, said the family charges were “an important first step” and reiterated a plea to keep all public demonstrations peaceful.

“If you are not coming in peace, please don’t come at all,” he said.

The family lawyer, Billy Murphy, said Baltimore now has an opportunity to set an example for cities across the nation grappling with police brutality.

“The people of Philadelphia, New York, Cincinnati, and in numerous cities and towns are expressing their outrage that there are too many Freddie Grays,” Murphy said. “If Freddie Gray is not to die in vain, we must seize this opportunity to reform police departments throughout this country.”

 

TIME Crime

Why Charges in the Freddie Gray Case Came Quickly

Marilyn Mosby
Andrew Burton—Getty Images Baltimore City State's Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby announces that criminal charges will be filed against Baltimore police officers in the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore on May 1, 2015.

Experts say the swift move to charge six police officers indicates strong evidence

The charges brought against six Baltimore officers involved in the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray on Friday came just a day after police turned over their investigation to the Baltimore state’s attorney’s office. And experts say the swift nature of the charges likely reflects the strength of the case against the officers involved.

While several high-profile police-related deaths have not seen indictments—like in the cases of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and Eric Garner in Staten Island, both of whom died after confrontations with police—the charges brought against Baltimore police were extensive and came rapidly.

That’s a sign there’s likely very strong evidence to prosecute. “In my experience, prosecutors do not bring cases they plan to lose,” says Phillip Stinson, a criminal justice professor at Bowling Green State University. “It seems to me that the facts of this case are so egregious that the prosecutor has a really strong case.”

Baltimore City’s State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby on Friday announced charges including second-degree murder, manslaughter and assault against six officers involved in Gray’s April 19 death, a week after he suffered a severe spinal injury inside a police van. Baltimore’s police union accused her of acting prematurely, with Michael Davey, lawyer for Baltimore’s Fraternal Order of Police, calling Mosby’s actions an “egregious rush to judgement.”

But the speed with which the charges were brought could also reflect decisions made by some of the officers involved to become potential state’s witnesses. Candace McCoy, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, says that in many cases involving charges brought against multiple officers, there are often cops who offer to testify against their colleagues — though she emphasizes that it’s too soon to say whether that’s the case here.

McCoy praised Mosby’s decision to indict all six officers, however, instead of trying to bring charges against just one or two. She argues that the reason no charges were brought against NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo, who used an apparent chokehold against Garner that helped lead to his death, is because a grand jury was only considering one officer involved instead of several who were trying to detain Garner.

“It’s important that they’re indicting all the officers,” McCoy says. “Trying to convince a grand jury to indict just one person when the jury realizes all of them contributed is difficult. One person alone is not responsible for a death.”

It may also work in the prosecutor’s favor that a firearm wasn’t used in the Gray incident. Stinson, who tracks the number of police officers arrested and charged around the U.S., says officers are more likely to be convicted in on-duty deaths when the incident does not involve a firearm.

Of the 48 cases Stinson has tracked since 2005 involving police-related deaths without a firearm, 61% resulted in a conviction. But of the 54 officers prosecuted in a death without a firearm, only 20% have led to charges, according to data compiled and analyzed by Stinson and the Washington Post. Thirty-nine percent of officers were not convicted and 35% of cases are still pending.

The most serious charges in Gray’s death have been brought against Officer Caesar R. Goodson, Jr., who was the driver of the police van carrying Gray. Goodson has been charged with second-degree murder, second-degree assault and three counts of manslaughter. No gun was involved.

“Courts are very reluctant to second-guess split-second decisions by officers when a gun is involved,” Stinson says. “But in these other cases, it’s not as easily explainable and they’re not willing to give the benefit of the doubt because they’re oftentimes so egregious.”

TIME Crime

This ‘Toy Rifle’ Put a New Mexico Elementary School on Lockdown

A very real-looking toy sparked an emergency response.

An Albuquerque elementary school principal called police and ordered a lockdown after a woman was spotted outside with what appeared to be a high-powered rifle.

But when police arrived on the scene, they learned that it was a toy airsoft gun that shoots plastic pellets, local news station KRQE reports. The woman, Joanna Davidson, told police that she was trying to sell the toy and was at the time waiting on the street for her boyfriend.

The principal’s confusion can be better understood with a picture of the toy, shared by Albuquerque Police on Friday:

Davidson was charged with disorderly conduct, interference with the educational process and possession of drug paraphernalia (police say they found a glass pipe on her).

TIME States

Iowa Declares State of Emergency Over Bird Flu

Iowa Freedom Summit Features GOP Presidential  Hopefuls
Scott Olson—Getty Images Iowa Governor Terry Branstad speaks to guests at the Iowa Freedom Summit in Des Moines, Iowa, on Jan. 24, 2015 .

"While the avian influenza outbreak does not pose a risk to humans, we are taking the matter very seriously," the governor said on Friday.

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad declared a state of emergency in his state on Friday to confront a spiraling bird flu outbreak.

Millions of birds across the country have been infected by the highly pathogenic H5 avian flu in the most recent outbreak, which could result in the biggest death toll in U.S. history according to Reuters.

“While the avian influenza outbreak does not pose a risk to humans, we are taking the matter very seriously and believe declaring a state of emergency is the best way to make all resources available,” Branstad said in a statement. “We’ll continue our work – as we’ve been doing since the first outbreak in Buena Vista County – in hopes of stopping the virus’ aggressive spread throughout Iowa.”

In Iowa, 21 sites have presumed or confirmed cases.

 

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