NC Supreme Court Weighs Rules for Private College Police

By EMERY P. DALESIO, Associated Press, February 19, 2013

A case that started with a 19-year-old Elon University student’s 2010 arrest for underage drinking and resisting an officer is forcing North Carolina’s Supreme Court to decide whether campus police at private colleges must be as transparent as their municipal law enforcement peers.

A reporter for a campus television news program asked the university’s police chief for a copy of the arrest record. What Nick Ochsner got said nothing about whether the officer had to chase down the student or how he was alleged to resist arrest, said his mother, attorney Ann Ochsner.

The campus police said it didn’t have to produce anything more because, as part of a private university, a state law requiring government agency to turn over public records on request didn’t apply.

The Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday in a case that could define the role of officers who aren’t clearly public officials yet have arrest authority other private employees don’t have.

Ochsner filed a lawsuit contending there is nearly nothing that better describes government power than the lawful authority to arrest someone.

“If an entity or a person commissioned by statute has the power of arrest, then all the records related to that would become public records,” Ann Ochsner told the Supreme Court.

At issue is the 2005 state law empowering campus police to enforce laws and investigate crimes. A separate law allows companies to set up police departments.

Campus and company police enforce laws just like municipal law enforcement officers on school property, public hospitals, shopping centers, and office buildings. But company and campus police are also different. For example, they have to carry liability insurance coverage of at least $1 million per incident for personal injury or property damage.

“The issue here,” said Elon University’s attorney, Christopher Jones, “is unless you are a public law enforcement agency all criminal records, or records of criminal investigations, are not public.”

The Supreme Court addressed private college police in 2011, ruling that Davidson College can keep its own force because the school is not so closely aligned with a religious denomination that it mixes church and state. North Carolina has three dozen private colleges and universities educating about 87,000 students. Sixteen have campus police departments.

Other court decisions have said a community hospital or even a private company could be considered an agency of government depending on how independent it is of government supervisory authority.

Jones argued that courts delegate to lawyers the ability to subpoena witnesses and documents, but that doesn’t make him part of state government.

Justice Paul Newby countered that lawyers don’t have the power to force someone to do something they’re unwilling to do, but must ask the courts to force the issue.

“As an attorney you have some special responsibilities. But you don’t have any power,” Newby said. “We have granted Elon University police officers the power to arrest, the power to conduct searches and seizures. These are very special and unique governmental activities. I don’t see how that is the same comparison with an attorney being able to subpoena.”

Published in: on February 20, 2013 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

1 Employee Shot during Robbery at Independence Blvd. Red Lobster

From http://www.wcnc.com, February 16, 2013

An employee at the Red Lobster in Matthews was shot Saturday morning.

1 person shot during robbery at Matthews restaurant

Matthews police said employees were opening the restaurant when they were approached by two men at the back of the restaurant who attempted to rob them.

One of the employees was shot during the incident.

The victim was taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries, according to Medic.

Police are looking for two black men who were wearing black pants and shirts. Police did not say if the suspects got away on foot or in a vehicle.

If anyone has information to this crime they’re asked to call Matthews police at 704-847-5555.

Published in: on February 16, 2013 at 2:55 pm  Leave a Comment  

Jury Convicts Charlotte Man of 2011 Rape

From The Charlotte Observer, February 15, 2013 by Cameron Steele

A Charlotte man will spend 42 years in prison for attacking and raping his girlfriend two years ago.

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Doran Arthur Atkins

Doran Arthur Atkins, 46, was convicted of first-degree rape and other offenses Friday by a jury in Mecklenburg County Superior Court.

His charges stem from February 2011, when he got into an argument with his then-girlfriend. During the argument, Atkins accused the victim of cheating on him. He pulled her into alley, beat her and began strangling her.

Later, he dragged the victim under a bridge in uptown Charlotte, where he strangled her with a belt. When the belt broke, he used his hands.

Atkins then sexually assaulted and raped her.

The victim testified against Atkins in court this week, despite being fearful of him, according to the Mecklenburg County District Attorney’s Office.

After the trial, a judge sentenced Atkins to spend between 509 and 640 months in prison and, upon release, be placed on satellite-based monitoring for the rest of his life.

Published in: on February 16, 2013 at 2:52 pm  Leave a Comment  

1 Person Shot Outside East Charlotte Bar

From http://www.wcnc.com, February 15, 2013

One person was shot outside a bar in east Charlotte early Friday morning.

1 person shot outside east Charlotte bar

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said one person was shot in the parking lot of McBonie’s Bar and Grill off of Monroe Road around 3 a.m.

A argument happened in the parking lot and the victim was shot in the leg during the incident, according to police.

The victim was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Police said they do not have a suspect and people involved in the incident aren’t talking to investigators.

Published in: on February 15, 2013 at 8:33 am  Leave a Comment  

CMPD Warns of People Stealing Identities, Filing Tax Forms

From http://www.wsoctv.com, February 14, 2013

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Fraud Detectives have a warning — someone may be trying to get your tax refund.
It’s a problem they see every year at tax season, and this year is no different.

“We’ve been bombarded with these types of reports,” said Detective Kevin Jones as he looked over a handful of reports where people said someone had stolen their identity and used it to file tax forms.

That’s exactly what happened to Jay Andrews.

“They were filed with my address, my name, my children — myself. I know I didn’t file. It wasn’t me,” Andrews said Thursday as he sat in his apartment in south Charlotte.

Andrews said he did not know anything was wrong until he went to file his taxes in early February and his tax preparer called to tell him that the IRS had rejected the tax return because someone had already filed using his Social Security number.

He reported the case to police and to the IRS, and had to spend five days trying to convince them that he is the real Jay Andrews.

“I did take my identification, my license, birth certificate, ID,” Andrews said. “It’s just nerve-wracking more than anything. Just nerve-wracking that someone would actually do this.”

Police said it’s a very typical scenario, and once thieves have taken your identity, they’re very tough to track.

“Most people find out after they’ve filed their federal returns, so it could be anywhere in the United States that someone is actually filing those taxes,” said Detective Jones.

Jones said that it is important to file early, to minimize the damage if someone has stolen your identity. If you do find that your information has been compromised, he said you should start by notifying the IRS.

Even getting on it early, though, may not be enough to make a quick fix.

Andrews said he had hoped to use his refund to pay for a vacation, but now will have to wait four or five months for the IRS to undo the damage and get him his refund.

“I was bit,” he said, “I got bit.”

Published in: on February 14, 2013 at 8:33 pm  Leave a Comment  

More Arrests in Forced Prostitution RingStretching From Mexico into the Carolinas

From News 14 Carolina, February 9, 2013

SAVANNAH, GA–Officers have charged 13 more people in a sex trafficking and prostitution ring stretching from Mexico to Georgia and the Carolinas.

That brings the total number of people charged to 25 in ‘Operation Dark Knight.’

Federal agents said the suspects would lure victims to the U.S., threatened them, then force them to work as prostitutes at various places in Savannah, Georgia.

Agents are concerned some of the victims’ children may have been held hostage in Mexico to make sure the victim’s would continue working as prostitutes.

Published in: on February 9, 2013 at 3:02 pm  Leave a Comment  

Charlotte Men Indicted in Prostitution Ring

From The Charlotte Observer By Elisabeth Arriero, February 8, 2013

Two Charlotte residents have been indicted in U.S. District Court for their alleged involvement in a multi-state prostitution conspiracy.

The federal indictment filed in Savannah, Ga., identifies more than a dozen defendants, including the two men from the Charlotte area.

Claudio Sanchez-Calderon and Mayer Sanchez-Calderon are charged with transporting persons in interstate commerce for purposes of prostitution and harboring them.

According to the indictment, the women were transported from other countries into the United States to Savannah and other cities.

The defendants provided false and misleading information to the women in order to entice them to come to the country, the indictment said, and then threatened and forced the women to commit acts of prostitution.

Some children were held hostage in Mexico in order to force the women into prostitution, according to the indictment.

At varying times, one woman may have been forced to commit more than 30 sex acts in one day.

Published in: on February 9, 2013 at 2:58 pm  Leave a Comment  

Bizarre Crime From Charlotte Police Files

From Creative Loafing – Charlotte, by Ryan Pitkin, february 7, 2013

Senior Scammer: An employee at Brighton Gardens assisted-living home found a stranger roaming the halls last week. When the employee asked the man what he was doing, the suspect said he was visiting to reminisce about the time he delivered papers to the building. The man took off running so employees chased after him, but he escaped by jumping on a departing city bus. It was later found that he had stolen from clients’ rooms.

Swim with the Fishes: Police responded to a vandalism call last week after someone made a soaking-wet mess. The 32-year-old victim told police that the suspect walked into her house after an argument earlier in the day and pushed one of her aquariums. The first aquarium fell into a second aquarium, and both tumbled to the ground. The first shattered, but the second miraculously escaped damage.

Extreme Baby Sitting: A man was arrested in west Charlotte last week after a late-night drive with his daughter turned out not to be the bonding experience he had hoped for. Police received a call reporting an armed man in the area and found that the armed person in question was not actually a man. When officers approached the suspect vehicle, they found the man at the wheel, his 8-year-old daughter in the passenger seat, and a shotgun lying across her lap. An open container of alcohol was in the cup holder nearest her. The man failed a field sobriety test and was arrested for multiple charges, including endangering a child.

Magic Bus: A man crashed his car near Uptown last week, and police soon found that it was a miracle he could drive the vehicle at all. When they approached the scene, officers smelled marijuana coming from the car so they searched it. The search turned up three grams of psilocybin mushrooms, one gram of heroin, 48 doses of LSD, 20 grams of crystal meth, 127 grams of pot, a crack pipe, a weed grinder, rolling papers, and a straw laced with cocaine residue.

Loopy Logic: An east Charlotte couple decided that the police could help them last week when their plan to score some drugs went awry. The suspects told officers that they were just trying to buy some “street-level drugs” when they gave a man they had never met before $155. The man took the money and promised to come back with the drugs but — surprise, surprise — never did.

Threat of the Week: A 26-year-old man filed a police report after his neighbor gave him a rather unfriendly letter. The victim told officers that the suspect slipped a note under his door one morning saying that if the victim didn’t start turning his music down in the morning, he would “fuck him up, rob him and murder him.” The neighbor referred to the victim as the N-word multiple times in the letter.

Blotter items are chosen from the files of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.

Published in: on February 9, 2013 at 2:56 pm  Leave a Comment  

Police Rescue 27 Pit Bulls in Dogfighting Ring, 2 Men Charged

From http://www.wcnc.com, February 9, 2013

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police have arrested two men in connection to what they say is one of the largest dogfighting operations in the city.

Officials said on Friday night they received information that a home on Carelock Circle had multiple pit bulls in the backyard.  Authorities said when they arrived they heard several dogs barking.

In a detailed press release sent to media outlets about the discovery, investigators said they witnessed “several pit bulls…with large chains that were attached to spikes driven into the ground.”

Authorities rescued 27 animals many of them displaying injuries consistent with dog fighting, officials said.  Investigators believe they also found paraphernalia for dog fighting and a dog fighting arena were also found on the property.

Police arrested Melvin Smith, and Lefonze Williams. Both are facing felony training animals with the purpose of dog-fighting and baiting.

Police rescue 27 pit bulls in dogfighting ring, 2 charged

Investigators connected with the case said “based on the number of dogs and evidence seized at the scene, this location is one of the largest dog-fighting operations the CMPD and Animal Care and Control have investigated to date.”

Published in: on February 9, 2013 at 2:52 pm  Leave a Comment  

Police Seek Missing 78-Year-Old Man

From The Charlotte Observer by Steve Lyttle, February 4, 2013

Police are looking for a 78-year-old man who is missing from his south Mecklenburg home.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police say Clifford Hicks apparently drove away from his home over the weekend in a pickup truck. Police say Hicks is believed to be suffering from dementia or another type of cognitive impairment.

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Police are asking the public’s help in finding this man, 78-year-old Clifford Hicks. He is missing from his south Mecklenburg home, and police say he is believed to be suffering from dementia or another type of cognitive impairment. (Charlotte-Mecklenburg police photo.)

He was last seen at his home, in the 12000 block of Buxton Drive. That is off Lancaster Highway, near Ballantyne Commons Parkway.

Hicks is described as a white male, 5 feet 7 and 140 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes. He was wearing black sweatpants and a gray hoodie with a brown jacket over the hoodie. He was driving a white 1999 Chevrolet Silverado truck, with a ladder rack and front-end damage. The truck’s N.C. license tag number is BDT-6940.

Anyone with information in the case is asked to call police at 704-336-2340.

Published in: on February 4, 2013 at 6:15 pm  Leave a Comment  
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