Posts by Jason Sickles, Yahoo

  • From Ferguson to Minneapolis: Crisis of confidence plagues police in wake of deadly officer-involved shootings

    Jason Sickles, Yahoo at Yahoo News 5 days ago

    Authorities say 24-year-old Jamar Clark, a suspect in a domestic assault, was interfering with paramedics who were trying to treat his alleged victim early last Sunday when he scuffled with Minneapolis officers and was shot. Clark, who was unarmed, died one day later. Police have denied the accounts of some eyewitnesses who say that Clark was handcuffed before being shot once in the head.

    The hashtag #Justice4Jamar took off nearly immediately on social media. Later that afternoon, hundreds of demonstrators led by the local Black Lives Matter chapter were marching through the streets. Protesters demanded that police immediately name the officers involved, make public any video of the shooting and request a federal investigation.

    “We have been saying for a significant amount of time that Minneapolis is one bullet away from Ferguson,” Jason Sole, chair of the Minneapolis NAACP's criminal justice committee, told a reporter.

    “That bullet was fired last [Sunday]. We want justice immediately.”

    It’s the kind of discord on the minds of police chiefs across the country.

    ‘No comment’ doesn’t cut it, said Cunningham, adding that the IACP plans to develop a checklist for police departments.

  • Florida department fires officer accused of fatally shooting Corey Jones

    Jason Sickles, Yahoo at Yahoo News 14 days ago

    Corey Jones, 31, a public-housing inspector and part-time musician, was waiting for a tow truck at about 3 a.m. on Oct. 18 when he was shot multiple times by officer Nouman Raja, who could still face charges in the case.

    The shooting is the latest fatal incident across the country involving police and black men in recent years. National civil rights activists renewed calls for greater law enforcement transparency after local officials were slow to release details about Jones’ death.

    Raja, who was in his sixth month with the department, had been conducting surveillance on suspected car break-ins and was wearing plainclothes when he approached Jones on a highway off-ramp. A confrontation ensued, and Raja fired six shots, hitting Jones three times, authorities said.

    Palm Beach Gardens police chief Stephen Stepp said Raja, 38, told them he was “suddenly confronted by an armed subject” and fatally shot Jones.

    But attorneys for the Jones family say investigators told them that Raja never displayed his badge after pulling up in an unmarked white van with no police light.

    (This story has been updated since it originally published.)

  • Corey Jones death: New questions about the latest police shooting in Florida

    Jason Sickles, Yahoo at Yahoo News 29 days ago

    The victim, Corey Jones, 31, a public-housing inspector and part-time musician, was waiting for a tow truck about 3:15 a.m. on Oct. 18 when he was shot multiple times by Palm Beach Gardens officer Nouman Raja.

    Palm Beach Gardens chief Stephen Stepp said Raja, 38, told them he was “suddenly confronted by an armed subject” and fatally shot Jones.

    Jones was licensed to carry a concealed gun and likely never knew he was being confronted by a police officer, said Benjamin Crump, a civil rights attorney who has represented the families of several slain African-Americans including Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown.

    Raja, who pulled up in an unmarked van and got out wearing jeans, a T-shirt and a ball cap, never displayed his badge, Crump said last week after Florida’s 15th judicial circuit state attorney briefed him and the Jones family.

    Chief Stepp told reporters last week that Raja, who was in his sixth month with the department, had been conducting surveillance on suspected burglaries.

    According to the policy, all surveillance must be coordinated through the department’s Investigation Bureau and that Chief Stepp and other top brass be briefed when necessary.

  • Police expert: Florida undercover officer should had known to ID himself before fatal confrontation

    Jason Sickles, Yahoo at Yahoo News 1 mth ago

    Palm Beach Gardens officer Nouman Raja was working undercover trying to catch burglars when he stopped to check out what he thought was an abandoned vehicle along a dark South Florida highway entrance ramp.

    But attorneys for the family of 31-year-old Corey Jones said Thursday that Raja pulled up to the scene in an unmarked white van with tinted windows, and wore jeans, a T-shirt and a ball cap as he approached Jones, a public-house inspector and part-time musician who was waiting on a tow truck.

    “Corey never saw a badge,” said Benjamin Crump, a civil rights attorney who has represented the families of several slain African-Americans including Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown. “He doesn’t know if he’s about to be mugged, if he’s about to be robbed, if he’s about to be killed. Corey went to his grave not knowing he was killed by an officer. ”

    Palm Beach Gardens police chief Stephen Stepp didn’t immediately respond to messages on Thursday seeking a response to allegations that officer Nouman Raja didn’t display a badge as he approached Jones off Interstate 95 around 3 a.m.

    But the city did release a statement in an email Thursday afternoon:

  • Oregon community college gunman sympathized with Virginia TV shooter, shared Newtown school shooting documentary

    Jason Sickles, Yahoo at Yahoo News 1 mth ago

    On the same website, Chris Harper-Mercer, using the handle “Lithium_Love,” also expressed sympathy for Vester Flanagan, the disgruntled former television reporter who shot and killed two Virginia journalists on live TV in August.

    “People like him have nothing left to live for, and the only thing left to do is lash out at a society that has abandoned them,” Harper-Mercer wrote in a blog post on Aug. 31. “His family described him as alone, no partner/lover.

    “On an interesting note, I have noted that so many people like him are all alone and unknown, yet when they spill a little blood, the whole world knows who they are. A man who was known by no one is now known by everyone. His face splashed across every screen, his name across the lips of every person on the planet, all in the course of one day. Seems the more people you kill, the more you’re in the limelight.”

    An agitated Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin offered little detail about the gunman at a news conference Thursday evening.

    Public records show that the gunman lived with his mother, a licensed nurse, two miles from the college.


  • Delta State professor Shannon Lamb’s killing spree puzzles family, friends

    Jason Sickles, Yahoo at Yahoo News 2 mths ago

    Everything about the doting Mississippi father of two seems to contradict someone capable of a killing spree.

    Police on Tuesday admitted that they don’t know why Lamb killed live-in girlfriend Amy Prentiss with a single gunshot to the head sometime late Sunday, then drove five hours to Cleveland, Miss., where he fatally shot a colleague, Delta State assistant professor Ethan Schmidt, on Monday.

    “It’s still a pretty fluid case right now,” said Gautier, Miss., police officer Matt Hoggatt. “At this time, Gautier police have no indication of any relationship between the victim at Delta State and the victim in Gautier.”

    “We are all in shock and at a loss to explain his behavior,” Mark Bonta, Lamb’s longtime friend, told Yahoo News in an email. “As his Facebook page shows, he was a very popular guy; why he did what he did remains a great mystery to my family and to many friends and colleagues.”

    Bonta, now a professor of earth science at Penn State Altoona, first had Lamb as a student at Delta State, a public university of 4,000 students about two hours northwest of Jackson, Miss.

    Christie, the wife of Lamb’s brother Stanley, was the only family member contacted to reply to Yahoo News.

  • Harrowing evidence photos of James Holmes’ apartment offer new glimpse into Colorado theater shooting case

    Jason Sickles, Yahoo at Yahoo News 2 mths ago

    Crime scene images from one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history are providing a disturbing glimpse into Colorado theater shooter James Holmes’ frightening behavior leading up the July 2012 massacre.

    The photos were made public by the Arapahoe County District Attorney’s office in response to open-records requests. With the trial concluding last month, Colorado law allows the public to seek access to criminal justice records in the possession of a criminal justice agency.

    “This entire case is something that people can learn from,” said Karen Steinhauser, a Denver lawyer and former prosecutor. “I believe that police officers dealing with a mass shooting investigation or any type of investigation can learn from the investigation that was done, how the crime scene was investigated and documented, photographed, videoed, etc. ”

  • Charleston church shooting survivor describes the moment suspected gunman Dylann Roof began firing

    Jason Sickles, Yahoo at Yahoo News 2 mths ago

    The gunman who killed nine Charleston, S.C., churchgoers in June waited for a Bible study group to begin praying before pulling his pistol and unleashing a torrent of bullets.

    “He caught us with our eyes closed,” Felicia Sanders, one of three people who survived the massacre, told NBC News on Wednesday. “I never told nobody this.”

    Police say Dylann Roof, a 21-year-old avowed white supremacist, was bent on murdering black people when he went to the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston the evening of June 17. Autopsies on the victims revealed that each one was shot several times.

    “I would like to ask him why. I really want to ask him why he did it,” Sanders said during the tearful interview with NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt. “If we were so nice to you, why did you do it?”

    “I remember my son saying, ‘Mama, he shot me in the head,’” Sanders said Wednesday.

  • Katrina anniversary brings tears, gratitude to tiny Mississippi town

    Jason Sickles, Yahoo at Yahoo News 2 mths ago

    That feeling of being snubbed only got worse when Hurricane Katrina hit 10 years ago Saturday.

    “Every time you seen it on the news, it was ‘New Orleans, New Orleans, New Orleans,” said O.J. Mitchell, a Pearlington native. “They never mention the gulf shore.”

    While the narrative for New Orleans after a decade has become one of rebirth and renewal, the same cannot be said for this small border town that saw just as much devastation. Many here acknowledge that Pearlington may physically never be the same, but townspeople say one unexpected positive note is that the unity required for the recovery also broke a longstanding racial divide.

    The Gulf Coast hamlet 40 miles east of New Orleans was Katrina’s ground zero. The eye of the storm pushed a 30-foot-wall of water up the Pearl River, nearly wiping out the town, which pre-Katrina had a population of about 1,700 . Almost every home was reduced to rubble or deluged by water and mud.

    With attention and resources going to more densely populated areas, it took search-and-rescue teams and relief organizations several days to reach Pearlington. Some residents slept in tents for six months before being issued FEMA trailers.



  • Reporting Hurricane Katrina: How covering the story swept journalists into the drama

    Jason Sickles, Yahoo at Yahoo News 3 mths ago

    NEW ORLEANS — Journalists are observers. We are trained to help others by reporting stories, not by becoming part of them. Hurricane Katrina, however, tested those boundaries for many of us.

    A decade ago, I was a producer for the CBS Evening News when the worst natural disaster in modern U.S. history changed New Orleans forever.

    [PHOTOS: Reporter’s personal images from covering Hurricane Katrina]

    I rode out the Monday, Aug. 29, 2005, storm downtown in the Superdome — the city's “shelter of last resort" — with some 10,000 New Orleanians and 500 national guardsmen. A day later, we witnessed widespread looting as floodwaters rose. By Wednesday, I was navigating a maze of suffering souls marooned on a bridge near the Superdome.

    It was more than I could bear.

    “Sorry to bother,” said Kim, then 52. “May I use your phone?”

    Smith was on the street outside the Kims’ hotel by the time I arrived.