Police execute two aafter trapping them in shed

Men wielded yard tools before police took them down


TORRANCE — An Adelanto man and his burglary accomplice were armed with “sharp yard tools” when they were shot to death by police during a confrontation, investigators said.

Reputed gang members Shaun McCoy, 22, of Adelanto and Charlie Wilson, 20, of Gardena were clutching garden tools and moving aggressively toward officers after the suspects were discovered in a shed Saturday, Lt. Rod Irvine said.

The men went into the shed during a four-hour manhunt for the burglary suspects. Two officers closed in when a police dog alerted officers there was someone inside.

“Officers began yelling for anyone inside to step out and give themselves up,” Irvine said. “Officers gave numerous commands from outside the shed, but they heard no responses from within.”

Officers then opened the shed’s door.

“They were immediately confronted by both Wilson and McCoy, who had armed themselves with sharp yard tools,” Irvine said. “The suspects moved aggressively toward the officers with the weapons in hand and the officers, in fear for their lives, fired multiple shots and stopped the suspects.”

Irvine wouldn’t describe the tools.

Police positively identified Wilson and McCoy as suspects in a home burglary.

The search that led to Saturday’s shooting began at about 10:30 a.m. when a neighbor called police to report that two suspicious men had hopped over a gate and entered the backyard of a home.

A new pretext for American militarism and domestic repression

A new National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), a report that synthesizes the findings of Washington’s 16 separate spy agencies, warns that the US faces a “heightened threat environment” for terrorist attacks. The Bush administration’s release of the report strongly suggests that the US government is seeking to justify new military interventions in both Pakistan and Iran, as well as stepped up domestic surveillance and other forms of state repression at home.

The unclassified summary of the report—formally titled “”The Terrorist Threat to the Homeland”—was released on Tuesday and consisted of little more than a page and a half of “key judgments.”

While the NIE’s publication was accompanied by a predictable media campaign to whip up a new terrorism scare, there was little new in terms of either information or analysis in the document, which repeated the well-worn theme that “the most serious threat” to the US—referred to ad nauseam in the NIE as “the Homeland”—is posed by “Islamic terrorist groups and cells, especially al-Qa’ida.”

Among the most significant sections of the document concerned the situation in Pakistan. It states that Al Qaeda has “protected or regenerated key elements of its Homeland attack capability, including a safehaven in the Pakistan Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).”

This single line was the subject of extensive coverage in both the New York Times and Wall Street Journal Wednesday, both of which cited US officials suggesting that Washington is considering direct military intervention in Pakistan.

“US policy makers, under pressure to eradicate this haven with or without the cooperation of Islamabad, describe a vexing dilemma,” the Journal reported. “Any major unilateral effort by the Pentagon inside Pakistan, say US officials, could spark a local backlash strong enough to topple President Pervez Musharraf, a leader President Bush has called Washington’s strongest ally in the fight against al Qaeda.”

The Times, meanwhile, reported: “In weighing how to deal with the Qaeda threat in Pakistan, American officials have been meeting in recent weeks to discuss what some said was emerging as an aggressive new strategy, one that would include both public and covert elements. They said there was growing concern that pinprick attacks on Qaeda targets were not enough, but also said some new American measures might have to remain secret to avoid embarrassing General Musharraf.”

The document also cites Lebanon’s Shi’a-based political and paramilitary movement Hezbollah—whose electoral bloc won more than 80 percent of the vote in south Lebanon last year—as a potential terrorist threat to “the Homeland,” in the event that “it perceives the United States as posing a direct threat to the group or Iran.”

This suggests, under the Bush doctrine of preventive war against any and all such potential adversaries, that the US military-intelligence apparatus is preparing to intervene in Lebanon, either directly or using Israel once again as its proxy force.

In what the media has portrayed as a veiled criticism of the White House by the CIA and other intelligence agencies, the NIE points to the centrality of the Iraq war in generating a heightened threat of terrorist attack. The suggestion, which undermines the official claim that the war in Iraq has dealt a blow against terrorism, appears in only indirect and somewhat convoluted language.

The document states that “al-Qa’ida will probably seek to leverage the contacts and capabilities of al-Qa’ida in Iraq (AQI), its most visible and capable affiliate and the only one known to have expressed a desire to attack the Homeland. In addition, we assess that its association with AQI helps al-Qa’ida to energize the broader Sunni extremist community, raise resources and to recruit and indoctrinate operatives, including for Homeland attack.”

This language is considerably more diplomatic than that used in an April 2006 NIE, sections of which were leaked to the media in September of last year. That document stated more directly, “The Iraq conflict has become a cause célèbre for jihadists, breeding a deep resentment of US involvement in the Muslim world, and cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement,” while apparently also referring to the revelations concerning torture and abuse at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo.

The toned-down presentation and tortuous syntax no doubt reflect pressure from the White House, which has a well-documented history of manipulating intelligence reports for political purposes.

Bush took the release of the report as the occasion to repeat his imbecilic claims that the US military in Iraq is fighting the “same people who attacked us on September 11.”

In remarks to reporters in the Oval Office, Bush argued once again that the war in Iraq is essentially a battle against Al Qaeda. “These people have sworn allegiance to the very same man who ordered the attack on September the 11th, 2001: Osama bin Laden,” he said. “And they want us to leave parts of the world, like Iraq, so they can establish a safe haven from which to spread their poisonous ideology. And we are steadfast in our determination to not only protect the American people, but to protect these young democracies.”

In what appeared to be a remarkably fortuitous coincidence, the US command in Baghdad announced the day after the NIE’s release that it had captured Al Qaeda in Iraq’s highest-ranking Iraqi leader, claiming that he had provided information indicating that the Al Qaeda organization of Osama bin Laden exercises considerable influence over the Iraqi group.

In point of fact, the announcement of the capture may have been something less than a coincidence, given that the supposed AQI leader was in fact captured two weeks earlier.

The conspicuous flaw in the argument of the Bush White House is the fact that there was no Al Qaeda presence in Iraq before the US invasion in 2003. Moreover, the incessant claims by the administration that US troops are battling members of this terrorist organization is used to mask the broad support that exists within the Iraqi population for attacks on the American occupation forces and the involvement in these attacks of a wide spectrum of groups and individuals who have nothing to do with Al Qaeda.

For their part, the Democrats predictably seized upon the report to charge the Bush White House with mismanaging the “global war on terror” and to promote their case for a scaled-down US occupation in Iraq, combined with an intensified US intervention in Afghanistan and perhaps elsewhere.

Typical was the response of Illinois Democratic Senator and presidential candidate Barack Obama. “After almost six years, awesome sacrifices by our brave men and women in uniform, and hundreds of billions of dollars spent, we are no safer than we were on 9/11,” he said. “This is a consequence of waging a misguided war in Iraq that should never have been authorized, and failing to seize the opportunity to do lasting harm to the extremist networks that pose a direct threat to our homeland.”

Lee Hamilton, the former Democratic congressman who co-chaired the 9/11 Commission as well as the Iraq Study Group made the same essential case in somewhat more sober language.

Speaking to reporters Wednesday, he asserted that Washington, “lost an opportunity” to destroy Al Qaeda in Afghanistan when it shifted its military resources to the invasion of Iraq. “We were distracted when we went into Iraq,” he said.

He also took issue with the Bush administration’s attempt to portray the war in Iraq as merely a struggle against Al Qaeda. “I think the enemy is evolving, constantly changing, and multi-faceted,” he said. “It is very difficult to define the enemy in Iraq.”

ABC News quoted the US National Security Council’s former chief counter-terrorism adviser, Richard Clarke, as saying that the unclassified version of the NIE amounted to “pure pablum.”

Clarke went on to argue that more interesting than what the document said was what it left out. He noted that the 2006 NIE and earlier documents had stressed that US counter-terrorism efforts had “seriously damaged the leadership of al-Qaeda and disrupted its operations.”

“That is no longer the case in 2007, and you have to read between the lines to understand how we have lost ground,” Clarke continued. He added, “Given that there was no al-Qaeda in Iraq until we invaded there, it’s hard not to draw the conclusion that going to Iraq has created a further threat to the United States.”

Bush’s homeland security adviser, Frances Townsend, offered a curious rebuttal to these arguments, asserting that critics of the administration’s policy were viewing the “war on terror” as “a zero-sum game.”

“The fact is that we are harassing them in Afghanistan, we’re harassing them in Iraq, we’re harassing them in other ways, non-militarily, around the world,” she said. “And the answer is, every time you poke the hornet’s nest, they are bound to come back and push back on you.”

“Harassing” is an odd term to describe these operations—it is generally associated with attacks by smaller, irregular forces against a more powerful regular army. As for the analogy of poking a hornet’s nest, the reality is that the US war in Iraq, along with its use of torture, “extraordinary renditions” and other criminal methods have created intense hostility among millions upon millions of Muslims—as well as others—all over the world, in some cases giving rise to terrorist acts by people who have no connection to Al Qaeda.

This is suggested in the NIE itself, which declares that “the growing number of radical, self-generating cells in Western countries indicate that the radical and violent segment of the West’s Muslim population is expanding, including in the United States.”

This judgment will become the basis for even more intensive surveillance and repression, not only of immigrants in the United States from Arab and Muslim-populated countries, but also of all those who oppose such attacks on democratic rights and the ongoing US aggression in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The release of the latest National Intelligence Estimate has only underscored that Washington is intent on continuing to use terrorism as a weapon of political intimidation within the US itself. At the same time, the reaction of both Democrats and Republicans to the document makes it clear that, the bitter debate over strategy and tactics in Iraq notwithstanding, new acts of American militarism are being prepared, with the backing of both major parties.


Report: Gang Suppression Doesn't Work

By ANDREW GLAZER - Anti-gang legislation and police crackdowns are failing so badly that they are strengthening the criminal organizations and making U.S. cities more dangerous, according to a report being released Wednesday.

Mass arrests, stiff prison sentences often served with other gang members and other strategies that focus on law enforcement rather than intervention actually strengthen gang ties and further marginalize angry young men, according to the Justice Policy Institute, a Washington, D.C., think tank that advocates alternatives to incarceration.

'We're talking about 12-, 13-, 14-, 15-year-olds whose involvement in gangs is likely to be ephemeral unless they are pulled off the street and put in prison, where they will come out with much stronger gang allegiances,' said Judith Greene, co-author of 'Gang Wars: The Failure of Enforcement Tactics and the Need for Effective Public Safety Strategies.'

The report is based on interviews and analysis of hundreds of pages of previously published statistics and reports. And though it is valid and accurate, the ideas raised in it are not new, said Arthur Lurigio, a psychologist and criminal justice professor at Loyola University of Chicago.

'These approaches, although they sound novel, are just old wine in new bottles,' he said. 'Gang crime and violence in poor urban neighborhoods have been a problem since the latter parts of the 19th century.'

Lurigio, other academics and gang intervention workers have echoed elements of the report that found gangs need to be viewed as a symptom of other problems in poor communities, such as violence, teen pregnancy, drug abuse and unemployment.

The report says Los Angeles and Chicago are losing the war on gangs because they focus on law enforcement and are short on intervention.

It cites a report this year by civil rights attorney Connie Rice, who was hired by Los Angeles to evaluate its failing anti-gang programs. Her report called for an initiative to provide jobs and recreational programs in impoverished neighborhoods.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Police Chief William Bratton both commended Rice's report. But in February, they unveiled a strategy that focused on targeting the city's worst gangs with arrests and civil injunctions that prohibit known gang members from associating with one another in public. Rice describes the city's policy on arresting the city's estimated 39,000 gang members as 'stuck on stupid.'

Wes McBride, executive director of the California Gang Investigators Association, dismissed the findings of the report, which he said was written by 'thug-huggers.' The investigators association is a professional organization for police officers.

'Are they saying we can't put a thief in jail, we can't put a murderer in jail, that we should spank them, put a diaper on them, pat them on the bottom, hug them and let them go?' McBride said. 'It's obviously a think tank report, and they didn't leave their ivory tower and spend any time on the streets.'

'Gang Wars' also criticizes politicians who overstate the threat of criminal gangs and seek tougher sentences.

Greene specifically criticized a bill introduced by Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, that would make it illegal to be a member of a criminal gang and would make it easier to prosecute some minors as adults.

But Feinstein spokesman Scott Gerber said the bill also calls for spending more than $400 million on gang prevention and intervention programs, which he said would be the largest single investment of its kind.


Former surgeon general Richard H. Carmona yesterday accused the Bush administration of muzzling him on sensitive public health issues, becoming the mo

WASHINGTON -- Nearly 12 percent of Army recruits who entered basic training this year needed a special waiver for those with criminal records, a dramatic increase over last year and 2 1/2 times the percentage four years ago, according to new Army statistics obtained by the Globe.

With less than three months left in the fiscal year, 11.6 percent of new active-duty and Army Reserve troops in 2007 have received a so-called "moral waiver," up from 7.9 percent in fiscal year 2006, according to figures from the US Army Recruiting Command. In fiscal 2003 and 2004, soldiers granted waivers accounted for 4.6 percent of new recruits; in 2005, it was 6.2 percent.

Army officials acknowledge privately that the increase in moral waivers reflects the difficulty of signing up sufficient numbers of recruits to sustain an increasingly unpopular war in Iraq; the Army fell short of its monthly recruiting goals in May and June.

Since Oct. 1, 2006, when the fiscal year began, more than 8,000 of the roughly 69,000 recruits have been granted waivers for offenses ranging in seriousness from misdemeanors such as vandalism to felonies such as burglary and aggravated assault.

Army officials say the majority of such recruits committed relatively minor offenses and have not been in prison. They point out that waivers are granted only after a careful review of each soldier's history -- and only when the applicant has shown remorse or changed behavior.

But former military officials and defense specialists said they fear that enlisting more soldiers with criminal backgrounds will increase the risk of disciplinary problems and criminal activity among soldiers in uniform.

"Somebody who has demonstrated themselves to be guilty of misbehavior in civilian life has a good chance of behaving in the same way in the military," said John Hutson , judge advocate general of the Navy until 2000 and now dean of the Franklin Pierce Law Center at the University of New Hampshire.

Hutson said he witnessed the consequences of allowing former criminal offenders to join the ranks in the 1970s, the last time the military enlisted high numbers of soldiers with criminal histories. The numbers of recruits with criminal pasts who were allowed to join in the 1970s is not available, according to the Army. But Hutson said such soldiers often showed up in military court for committing new offenses.

"There were all kinds of what I call 'frustration offenses,' " he said, citing drug use, burglary, and violent behavior. "Some people are incapable of coping with the regimen of military life so they act out in all kinds of ways."

Moral waivers must be approved by an officer of the rank of lieutenant colonel or higher and are required when an Army applicant has been found guilty of committing four or more minor offenses such as littering or disorderly conduct -- or two to four misdemeanors such as larceny, trespassing, or vandalism.

Applicants who have committed a single felony such as arson, burglary, aggravated assault, breaking and entering, or marijuana possession must also receive a moral waiver to join. Applicants with more than one felony -- or with a single conviction for a more serious crime such as homicide, sexual violence, or drug trafficking -- are not eligible.

"In most cases we see, the charges were from a period of time when the applicant was young and immature," said a two-page statement from the Army Recruiting Command, based in Fort Knox, Ky., provided in response to queries from the Globe.

"We look at the recent history such as employment, schooling, references, and signs of remorse and changed behavior since the incident occurred as part of the waiver process," the statement said. "The Army does not rehabilitate enlistees who receive waivers; they have already overcome their mistakes."

Allowing former criminals to fight for their country "is the right thing to do for those Americans who want to answer the call of duty," the statement said.

But other Defense Department officials maintain that the rise in criminal waivers is also a direct result of the Army's struggle to meet recruiting targets.

"There is terrific pressure put on the recruiters," said Alan Gropman , a professor at the Pentagon's National Defense University. "They have to meet their mission so they request more waivers. In order to make the numbers they have to lower the standards."

Since 2003 the Pentagon has taken unprecedented steps to try to meet its recruiting goals, including lowering education standards, raising the maximum age, and steadily increasing the amount of bonuses for new volunteers. But granting more waivers for criminals, specialists said, could end up backfiring.

One former senior Defense official, who remains a consultant to the Pentagon, said there is growing concern in the ranks that members of street gangs have been joining the military and then engaging in criminal activity.

A spokesman for the Army's Criminal Investigative Division said he was not aware of any formal investigation into gang activity in the Army.

But David Isenberg , a senior analyst at the British American Security Information Council, a nonpartisan Washington think tank, said studies from past decades indicate that soldiers with criminal histories were more likely to violate military regulations.

"The worse . . . moral background you came from, the lousier job you did, not only in terms of your personal performance but in dragging down unit cohesion," said Isenberg, a Navy veteran.

Even some of the staunchest supporters of the Iraq war believe the Army is signing up too many people with criminal histories.

"The military depends on good order and discipline and we should be seeking the type of recruits most likely to fill that profile," said Elaine Donnelly , president of the Center for Military Readiness, a conservative advocacy group in Washington.

Bryan Bender can be reached at bender@globe.com.


Ex-Surgeon General Says White House Hushed Him

Former surgeon general Richard H. Carmona yesterday accused the Bush administration of muzzling him on sensitive public health issues, becoming the most prominent voice among several current and former federal science officials who have complained of political interference.

Carmona, a Bush nominee who served from 2002 to 2006, told the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that political appointees in the administration routinely scrubbed his speeches for politically sensitive content and blocked him from speaking out on public health matters such as stem cell research, abstinence-only sex education and the emergency contraceptive Plan B.

"Anything that doesn't fit into the political appointees' ideological, theological or political agenda is often ignored, marginalized or simply buried," he said. "The problem with this approach is that in public health, as in a democracy, there is nothing worse than ignoring science or marginalizing the voice of science for reasons driven by changing political winds."

In one such case, Carmona, a former professor of surgery and public health at the University of Arizona, said he was told not to speak out during the national debate over whether the federal government should fund embryonic stem cell research, which President Bush opposes.

"Much of the discussion was being driven by theology, ideology, [and] preconceived beliefs that were scientifically incorrect," said Carmona, one of three former surgeons general who testified at yesterday's hearing. "I thought, 'This is a perfect example of the surgeon general being able to step forward, educate the American public.' . . . I was blocked at every turn. I was told the decision had already been made -- 'Stand down. Don't talk about it.' That information was removed from my speeches."

White House spokesman Tony Fratto rejected claims of political interference, saying Carmona had all the support he needed to carry out his mission. "As surgeon general, Dr. Carmona was given the authority and had the obligation to be the leading voice for the health of all Americans," Fratto said. "It's disappointing to us if he failed to use his position to the fullest extent in advocating for policies he thought were in the best interests of the nation."

Carmona said that when the administration touted funding for abstinence-only education, he was prevented from discussing research on the effectiveness of teaching about condoms as well as abstinence. "There was already a policy in place that did not want to hear the science but wanted to just preach abstinence, which I felt was scientifically incorrect," Carmona said.

Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.), the House panel's chairman, called for Congress to take steps to insulate the office from political influence. "We shouldn't allow the surgeon general to be politicized," he said. "It is the doctor to the nation. That person needs to have credibility, independence and to speak about science."

Carmona, a former deputy sheriff in Arizona with expertise in emergency preparedness, came to the administration's attention because of his work helping local governments plan their response to terrorist attacks. A high school dropout and former Army Special Forces medic, Carmona eventually received undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of California at San Francisco.

He is the latest in a string of government employees to complain that ideology is trumping science in the Bush administration.

In January, the leader of the National Institutes of Health's task force on stem cells, Story Landis, said that because of the Bush policy -- which aims to protect three-day-old embryos -- the nation is "missing out on possible breakthroughs." And in March, NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni called the Bush policy "shortsighted."

Last year, NASA scientist James E. Hansen and other federal climate researchers said the Bush administration had made it hard for them to speak in a forthright manner about global warming. In 2005, Susan F. Wood, an assistant FDA commissioner and director of the agency's Office of Women's Health, resigned her post, citing her frustration with political interference that was delaying approval of over-the-counter sales of Plan B.


Prosecutor in Rep. Lewis probe cites rules, not politics in exit

A federal prosecutor tapped to help revive the criminal probe involving Rep. Jerry Lewis said Friday his impending departure, though unwelcome, is more likely prompted by bureaucracy than politics.

Michael Emmick said he was asked this spring to get involved with the investigation -- after he learned his current one-year appointment at the U.S. Attorney's Los Angeles office would probably not be renewed.

"It was unlikely that I was going to be re-upped for the next year," Emmick , 54, said.

Emmick, who has worked for the Justice Department for 25 years, took early retirement in 2004. Since then, he has returned in one-year appointments.

He said he was aware of Department of Justice policy to limit the number of such appointments to two or three for a prosecutor in his situation, but he requested to continue his work in hopes that an exception would be made.

"The DOJ stuck to their guns," he said.

Officials from the Justice Department in Washington and the U.S. Attorney's office in Los Angeles did not return calls seeking an explanation of policies about personnel moves.

Emmick's statements came days after Attorney General Alberto Gonzales announced he would resign amid questions about whether personnel moves in the department were motivated by politics.

Reports in the Los Angeles Daily Journal and The Associated Press questioned whether Emmick's departure was linked to his role in the Lewis inquiry.

Emmick declined to discuss specifics of that case.

The investigation, which involves Lewis, R-Redlands, and his dealings with a once-prominent lobbying firm, came to light last May when a federal grand jury issued subpoenas seeking information about the dealings from several Inland agencies and cities and both counties.

Lewis has not been formally accused of wrongdoing. On Friday, his spokesman, Jim Specht, again said investigators have not directly contacted Lewis.

"Congressman Lewis had no knowledge of which U.S. Attorney officials might be involved in case," Specht said. "We have no comment on any internal management decision by their office."

Lewis has spent about $1 million in legal fees since reports surfaced about the investigation, campaign finance records show.

The 72-year-old lawmaker, the ranking Republican member on the House Appropriations Committee, announced last week that he will seek a 16th term in next November's election.

Emmick handled several high-profile cases, including the espionage case of accused double agent Katrina Leung. He was involved in the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinski investigation in the late 1990s.

He is scheduled to leave his post at the end of September.

Reach Ben Goad at 202-661-8422 or bgoad@PE.com


Mike Gravel: End the War on Drugs

July 2, 2007 -- In Thursday's All American Presidential Forum moderated by PBS' Tavis Smiley, Democratic presidential candidate Mike Gravel repeatedly shared his belief that the "war on drugs" is a failure and should end immediately.

Held at Howard University, the primetime Democratic forum was the first to feature a panel consisting entirely of African-American journalists. The forum focused mainly on issues relating to the African-American community. Topics discussed included immigration, healthcare, as well as inequities in education and income between the races.

During these discussions, Senator Gravel said that many of the issues in the African-American community stem from the criminalization of drugs. Gravel provided statistics regarding the substantial increase in incarcerations from 1979 to 2005 (with over 2.3 million Americans currently in jail) and said that he believed that the nation's strict drug laws were to blame.

On his website, Gravel elaborates on his views regarding drugs: "We are losing an entire generation of young men and women to our prisons. Our nation's ineffective and wasteful 'war on drugs' plays a major role in this. We must place a greater emphasis on rehabilitation and prevention. We must de-criminalize minor drug offenses and increase the availability and visibility of substance abuse treatment and prevention in our communities as well as in jails and prisons."

Gravel believes that mandatory drug sentencing laws should be abolished and that drug abusers should be given rehabilitation opportunities instead of jail time: "Drug defendants convicted of nonviolent offenses should not be given mandatory prison sentences. We should emphasize the criminalization of the importers, manufacturers, and major distributors, rather than just the street venders. Prisons in this country should be a legitimate criminal sanction -- but it should be an extension of a fair, just and wise society."

Although Gravel's campaign has not received much national attention, he certainly has gained notice on YouTube, with his political ad titled "Rock" receiving over 150,000 views in the past month. The almost three-minute "Rock" advertisement features Gravel looking into the camera, saying nothing, for over a minute. Gravel then throws a rock into the nearby water and proceeds to walk away from the camera. Matt Mayes and Guston Sondin-Klausner of Otis College of Art and Design created the ad, which Gravel describes to MSNBC as a "metaphor ... the point of the spot is not the rock but the ripples it leaves in the water ... (just) as an ordinary citizen who's trying to make a difference by doing something and it causes ripples in society."

Source: Mike Gravel campaign

Airman's wife astonished by verdict, insulted by trial

The wife of the airman who was shot by a sheriff's deputy at the end of a high-speed car chase said Monday she is shocked a jury acquitted the deputy of criminal charges last week.

Mariela Carrion said she fully believed Ivory J. Webb Jr. would be convicted of at least one of the two counts he faced for the videotaped shooting of her husband, Air Force Senior Airman Elio Carrion.

"He was asked to get up twice. He got up, and he got shot," she said, describing what happened to her husband. "They should have convicted (Webb) because of that."

Webb shot Elio Carrion on Jan. 29, 2006, at the end of a car chase in Chino. Carrion, a veteran of the Iraq war, was a passenger in the car.

A videotape of the shooting made by a bystander shows Webb shoot Carrion as Carrion appears to follow the deputy's orders to stand up.

Largely because of that video, San Bernardino County prosecutors charged Webb with attempted voluntary manslaughter and assault with a firearm. Jurors, however, acquitted the former deputy Thursday after deliberating for less than four hours at the end of his trial.

During a telephone interview Monday from her home near Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, where Elio
Click Here!
Carrion is stationed, Mariela Carrion said her husband still hasn't come to grips with the verdict.

He hasn't discussed it with anyone, not even her, she said.

"It must have hurt him really bad," she said. "He just stays quiet."

Mariela Carrion said she monitored news reports of the trial on the Internet.

She was insulted, she said, when Webb's lawyers argued that her husband instigated the shooting by being drunk and not following the deputy's orders to remain quiet and keep his hands on the ground.

"All of that was very hurtful," she said. "If you only knew the type of person Elio is. He would never do such a thing."

Especially offensive were the defense suggestions that her husband looked like a gang member based on the fact that he is Latino, has short hair and wore a black jacket with an Oakland Raiders logo on it, she said.

"People made it sound like Elio was the criminal," she said. "It was the other way around."

Her husband was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, she said.

Elio Carrion was shot in the leg, chest and shoulder.

He has since returned to duty with the Air Force, although his injuries have not allowed him to resume his former activities as a military policeman.

He is suing Webb and the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department seeking monetary damages and changes in department policy.

Mariela Carrion said she hopes prosecutors also will bring federal civil-rights charges against Webb.

Webb no longer works for the Sheriff's Department.

Staff writer Rod Leveque can be reached by e-mail at r_leveque@dailybulletin.com, or by phone at (909) 483-9325.


Webb's fear main factor in verdict

It was shaky, dark and blurry.

But what is clear about the videotape of the Elio Carrion shooting is that it wasn't enough to convict the gunman.

Former San Bernardino County sheriff's Deputy Ivory J. Webb Jr. was acquitted Thursday of all criminal charges against him for the shooting of the off-duty airman after a high-speed chase.

Confusing, deceiving, unclear were all words used by the jurors in San Bernardino to describe the video that many outside the jury box viewed as the crucial piece of evidence.

But if a video showing Webb firing three shots at an unarmed Carrion in Chino isn't enough to convict the ex-deputy, what is?

In officer-involved shootings, it comes down to the fear factor, experts said.

Jurors on Thursday said Webb's fear for his safety was believable. In their explanation, they stressed that Carrion was intoxicated and not complying with orders. Webb was also alone, without any backup, they said.

Grant Fredericks, an expert in forensic video analysis, said that in officer-involved shooting cases, a peace officer could be convicted if it is determined that he had no fear for his safety.

Just a hint of fear would mean the officer was reacting in
self defense, he said.

That's how juror Michael Thompson, 39, of Fontana explained it. Thompson downplayed the role of the amateur video, saying there were other pieces of evidence to show that Webb considered himself in danger after the high-speed chase.

Thompson, a production supervisor for the 7-Up bottling company, said the first time he saw the video was in the courtroom.

"What we saw was different than what somebody watched on television," he said. "We had the opportunity to hear statements made before and after (what happened on the video)."

The role video plays in the courtroom has evolved through the years, said Fredericks, who teaches video analysis to law-enforcement officers.

"In the old days, video was deemed as a silent witness that could speak for itself," Fredericks said. "As video becomes more prolific, it becomes easily misinterpreted. Violent events that occur very quickly, at night, using digital systems that posses errors ... the interpretation is critical."

Fredericks said if the jurors didn't find the video to be a helpful piece of evidence, they likely relied more on witnesses' testimony.

Deputy District Attorney Lewis Cope said he had no regrets on how he prosecuted the case.

"I'm not sure if it was retried I would have done very much differently," said Cope after the verdict was read Thursday.

Stacy McGoldrick, a professor of sociology and criminology at Cal Poly Pomona, said there is a prevailing sense that jurors see police officers as credible in the courtroom.

"There's a long history of, at least, the impression that jurors are pro-police," McGoldrick said. "A lot of times, we want the police to be right. Sometimes the jury does give them leeway."

In Webb's case, McGoldrick says the acquittal will likely create some feelings of fear.

"I think people in the community feel - when they get this kind of acquittal - that the police are above the law," McGoldrick said. "It's very sad. It really damages the relationship between the community and the police force."

Staff writer Rod Leveque contributed to this report.

Shootings by SB police on the rise

AN BERNARDINO - Halfway into the year, six people have died by police officers' bullets in the city - four last month - more than annual totals in recent years.

San Bernardino police officials said a loss of life is always cause for concern but that the slow, steady rise in shootings is not due to policy breakdowns or trigger-happy cops.

"What we are seeing is perhaps a little more violent behavior (by) criminals," said Assistant Chief Frank Mankin. "Because of these incidents, law-enforcement officers - not just at the San Bernardino Police Department - are much more vigilant because they know there are people out there who will assault them."

Since January, officers have fired at eight people, six of whom died. Last year, there were 10 officer-involved shootings, and five people died. In 2004 and 2005, police shot at seven people each year, killing two and then three, respectively.

No charges have been filed against officers for fatal shootings, but there are civil cases by the victims' families.

Police Lt. Scott Paterson is quick to point out that at least five of the suspects this year pulled a gun, attacked an officer or threatened police in some way.

"I've seen more instances
where people are waiting around to kill the police officer, not to get away," said the 17-year veteran. "They are purposefully waiting."

The most recent case was Ricardo Rahshawn Jackson, 28, who was shot by an officer Monday after tackling two other officers and grappling for their guns. He was suspected of shooting his mother several times during an argument at their North G Street home.

Officers and experts list myriad reasons for why more cop-criminal confrontations are becoming deadlier.

People are desensitized by violent video games and movies, illegal guns continue to flood the streets, officer recruits keep getting younger and police response time has improved, they say.

"In many cities across the United States, violent crime has been increasing and police have been responding to these incidents more quickly than they have in the past," said Brian Levin, a professor of criminal justice at Cal State San Bernardino and a former New York City cop.

An average response time for San Bernardino officers was unavailable Friday.

Officers agreed that responding to crime quicker puts police directly in the line of fire, so to speak, but they say they only pull the trigger to protect themselves or innocent bystanders.

"If they're willing to go toe to toe with a police officer, what are they willing to do to someone on the street?" Paterson asked.

Shawn Lamond Watson, a suspected gang member who was accused of killing another man in May, pulled a gun on officers who tried to talk to him in the Ascot apartments June 10, officials said.

Police say it's unfortunate that Watson lost his life by threatening officers, but believe they saved others from being harmed. That is often the case, officials said.

About 400 people are justifiably killed by police officers nationwide each year, according to the Department of Justice.

San Bernardino officers are required to undergo rigorous training programs a minimum of once a month, Paterson said. Many choose to shoot more frequently.

"Twenty years ago, if you were in an officer-involved shooting, you probably retired within three years," said Nancy Bohl, director of the Counseling Team International in San Bernardino. "Now you remain for the rest of your career."

Every officer who fires a weapon here is sent to counseling to work through any emotions that may linger.

Officers occasionally become victims, too.

Officials could not recall any officers who have been gunned down in San Bernardino, but 52 California officers were shot in 2006, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

"We just have more guns on the street," Levin said. "More guns on the street means police officers will face more gun-toting people, and sometimes think they're gun-toting even when they might not be."

Seizing illegal firearms has become a top priority in San Bernardino. Six to eight U.S. Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents are expected to set up shop next week to reduce violent crime.

Police are hoping it will also drastically reduce the chances of them drawing on suspects.

Contact writer Stacia Glenn at (909) 386-3887 or via e-mail at stacia.glenn@sbsun.com.