CMS Board Approves $19.3 Million Security Plan

From The Charlotte Observer By April Bethea, March 26, 2013

A new identification system for visitors, better equipment to communicate with law enforcement and security cameras on all campuses are part of a $19.3 million plan approved unanimously Tuesday by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board.

The plan also calls for students and staff to carry picture IDs in schools.

CMS officials said they already consider the district to be “very safe,” but the new plan is meant to enhance security already in place. They said it could help reduce crime and theft and deter bullying while making it easier to identify and manage people who enter school buildings.

Superintendent Heath Morrison said the goal is to have CMS be proactive, instead of reactive, to potential safety threats. “We hope we are preparing for things that we will never actually have to be ready for,” he said.

This is the second time in a month that the school board has voted on a security plan. In February, the board agreed to ask county commissioners for $33.7 million to pay for safety upgrades that included chain-link fences around schools.

But the plan was revised – and the fences removed – after the district learned the larger proposal could delay other construction projects.

The new proposal calls for $19.3 million for equipment, installation and planning. CMS also estimated it will cost nearly $1.2 million each year to cover ongoing maintenance and other recurring expenses.

County commissioners must give final approval to money for security upgrades. The district plans to present the new plan to the county board in mid-April. Morrison said the current plan wouldn’t cause other projects to be delayed.

The biggest chunk of money in the security plan, about $12 million, would go toward security cameras.

CMS already has about 2,500 cameras across the district, including at high schools and administrative sites. The new plan would increase that number to 6,500, including at elementary and middle schools.

The cameras would be monitored by staff at a central security office. Charlotte-Mecklenburg police also would have access to the cameras.

The proposed ID system for visitors would expand other initiatives already in place at many schools. All visitors would enter through designated areas. They would have to sign in at a computer that would check, among other things, whether the person appears on the national sex offenders registry or on a CMS “ban list.”

Morrison said the district isn’t trying to deter parents and guardians, volunteers and other people who need to be at schools. But he acknowledged the new system would take them a few minutes longer to enter schools.

“We think that those few minutes are absolutely worth it to ensure the safety of our students and staff,” he said.

Published in: on March 27, 2013 at 9:01 am  Leave a Comment  

ATF Badge, Ammunition Stolen From Agents Car in Ballantyne

From, March 27, 2013

Police are looking for the person they said stole an ATF badge and several boxes of ammunition.

Someone broke into an ATF agent’s car on Silveroak Lane in Ballantyne and took the badge and ammo.

A laptop was also taken from the car.

Police do not have any suspects.

Published in: on March 27, 2013 at 8:57 am  Leave a Comment  

Castle Doctrine Clears Brothers of Murder

From, March 14, 2013 by Rob Sneed

Two Clark County brothers acquitted of murder charges used the so-called Castle Doctrine to win their case.

Jordan and Anthony Hottenstein were found not guilty of murder Wednesday.

Their lawyer, Richard Mayhall, successfully argued that the brothers had a right to shoot Jamez Hall during an altercation in July 2011.

“They were in their car and the evidence showed that a robbery was taking place.  The judge told the jury that the defendant was acting in self defense,” Mayhall said.

The Castle Doctrine says that your home or your car is your castle and you have the legal right to defend it.

In the Hottenstein case, authorities found a semi-automatic weapon with a round in the chamber on Jamez Hall at the time of his death.

“It’s a tragedy, but there was evidence that the deceased had been talking with his associates that day about robbing the Hottensteins.  So that, combined with the gun, made it very clear that a robbery was under way,” Mayhall said.

The Castle Doctrine took effect in Ohio in 2008.  Several states use it as a defense.


Published in: on March 26, 2013 at 10:00 am  Leave a Comment  

False Solutions to Gun Violence

From The New American by William F. Jasper, March 20, 2013

President Obama ignited a major political conflagration with his January 16 address to the nation regarding the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that took 26 lives in Connecticut the month before. He proposed what he said are “common-sense steps” that would “prevent gun violence” and “protect our children and our communities from tragic mass shootings.”

President Obama’s program, entitled Now Is the Time, outlined a series of 23 executive actions he said he would take to “make our schools safer” and “enhance public safety.” Predictably, the major focus of his program is aimed at enacting more legislation and implementing more regulation through executive orders that would further restrict the rights of American citizens to keep and bear arms.

And just as predictably, the militant anti-gun lobby was quick to complain that the president’s plan didn’t go far enough. Gun rights advocates, on the other hand, immediately (and appropriately) denounced the president’s program as a blatant attack on the Second Amendment. It would, they pointed out, endanger one of the most important rights enjoyed by law-abiding Americans, while doing nothing to stem the death and mayhem wrought by violent criminals.

However, in their rush to challenge President Obama’s infringement of the Second Amendment, many of his opponents have unwittingly fallen into the trap of supporting other aspects of his program, specifically those falling under the labels of “mental health” and “school safety.” Some gun rights advocates also endorsed President Obama’s appeal for more federal funding of local police. Most appalling in this regard was the response of the National Rifle Association, which decided to practice some one-upsmanship with the president by calling on the federal government to immediately fund a vast new program “to put armed police in every school.” These proposals represent a huge assault on other parts of our Constitution, most particularly, the 10th Amendment, which emphatically restates our Republic’s key founding principle that the federal government has only those powers specifically enumerated in the Constitution.

Gun rights advocates who think they can preserve the Second Amendment while sacrificing other parts of the Constitution are sadly mistaken; it must be defended in toto or it will be lost in toto.

Among President Obama’s many proposals that are drawing the most fire from the pro-gun side of the aisle are banning so-called “military-style assault weapons,” banning high-capacity ammunition magazines holding more than 10 rounds, and requiring “criminal background checks for all firearms sales,” including between private individuals.

These direct attacks on the Second Amendment have been fully dissected and rebutted (in this magazine and elsewhere) many times, on the basis of constitutionality as well as practical effect. We won’t reprise all of those arguments here except to remind the readers of one of the most obvious practical effects, which is nevertheless one of the most important that needs repeated restating: Our nation is already planted thick with laws (federal, state, and local) prohibiting violent criminal activities and restricting firearms ownership and use. These laws — like those being proposed by President Obama — infringe on the self-defense rights of the law-abiding, while doing little to impede criminals.

Dr. Ignatius Piazza, founder and director of Front Sight Firearms Training Institute in Pahrump, Nevada, is one of the many observers who point out the obvious facts concerning Adam Lanza, the shooter in the tragic Sandy Hook incident, that the anti-gun militants prefer to ignore. “History has proven time and time again that it is dangerous to believe laws to restrict law-abiding citizens from having semi-automatic weapons will reduce violent crime,” notes Dr. Piazza. “Just the opposite occurs when you disarm the law abiding. Sandy Hook is another perfect example of the fallacy of gun control”:

• Another psych drug failure steals guns, WHICH IS AGAINST THE LAW.

• Under the influence of the psych drugs, he shoots and kills his own mother, WHICH IS AGAINST THE LAW.

• He transports these guns loaded, WHICH IS AGAINST THE LAW.

• He brings guns onto school property, WHICH IS AGAINST THE LAW.

• He breaks into the school, WHICH IS AGAINST THE LAW.

• He discharges the weapons within city limits, WHICH IS AGAINST THE LAW.

• He murders 26 people WHICH IS AGAINST THE LAW.

• He commits suicide, WHICH IS AGAINST THE LAW.

Would another law — including any of those proposed by President Obama — have stopped Adam Lanza, or any of the other mass-murdering shooters? Obviously not. Would the “armed police in every school” advocated by the NRA do the job? Maybe. But at what cost, not only to taxpayers, but more importantly, to liberty? Part of the answer to mass shootings, such as Columbine and Sandy Hook, may be armed police guards or allowing teachers and other staff to carry concealed firearms, as many people are advocating. But those are matters that must be decided at the state and local levels, not at the federal level.

Apparently, even many of the folks who claim to oppose gun control are somewhat fuzzy minded when it comes to understanding that every advance of our rapidly expanding, freedom-stripping government amounts to ever more dangerous “people control.”

Perhaps the most obviously misguided response to the Sandy Hook shooting from the “pro-gun” side came from the National Rifle Association, which we referred to earlier. At a December 21 press conference, Wayne LaPierre, the NRA’s executive vice president and primary public spokesman, said:

I call on Congress today to act immediately, to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every school ­— and to do it now, to make sure that blanket of safety is in place when our children return to school in January.

If adopted, this NRA proposal would vastly expand the federal government’s involvement in both education and law enforcement, in violation of the Constitution, and make state and local governments even more subservient to Washington, D.C., politicians for funding. Our Constitution nowhere authorizes Congress to appropriate funds for police or schools, and for very good reason: Our Founding Fathers recognized an expansion of federal powers to these areas could, and most likely would, facilitate corruption and tyranny. Moreover, they realized that no central government could fashion a one-size-fits-all plan that would meet the needs and desires of people in vastly different regions with very diverse backgrounds and cultures. One of the many benefits of our wonderful constitutional system is that it establishes a structure of 50 state laboratories and thousands of county, city, and town laboratories where various policies can be tested and proved. If these laws and policies aren’t to one’s liking in a particular jurisdiction, one is free to move to another. But once the central government usurps the power over a matter and legislates for everyone, that freedom is lost.

In addition to proposing putting federally funded armed police officers in every school, LaPierre also announced that “the NRA is going to bring all of its knowledge, dedication and resources to develop a model National School Shield Emergency Response Program for every school that wants it.” This new program, he said, will be led by former Congressman Asa Hutchinson, who was also head of the federal DEA and a former under secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

“From armed security to building design and access control to information technology to student and teacher training, this multi-faceted program will be developed by the very best experts in their fields,” boasted LaPierre at the NRA news conference. Building design, access control, information technology — it all sounds very much like the NRA is advocating that our schools adopt the federal TSA’s surveillance state/police state paradigm that we now experience at our airports.

At the same press conference, LaPierre took aim at and blasted the federally imposed Gun-Free School Zones Act:

Politicians pass laws for Gun-Free School Zones. They issue press releases bragging about them. They post signs advertising them.

And in so doing, they tell every insane killer in America that schools are their safest place to inflict maximum mayhem with minimum risk.

The politically correct (but fatally wrong-headed) gun-free school zones are an easy and appropriate target. However, in the interest of full disclosure, LaPierre should have reminded his listeners that only a few years ago he and the NRA were major backers of the gun-free school zones. Yes, it’s true, though it will shock many Americans, including many NRA members, to learn that LaPierre testified in favor of the very same gun-free school zones he now decries. He actually sided with President Clinton and Attorney General Janet Reno in this blatant attack on the Second Amendment.

Here is what LaPierre said, on behalf of the NRA, when testifying on May 27, 1999, before the Subcommittee on Crime of the House Judiciary Committee:

We think it’s reasonable to support the federal Gun-Free School Zones Act. What’s unreasonable is letting 6,000 students caught with illegal guns at school go, prosecuting only 13 of them the past two years.

In addition, at the same time, the NRA also supported a vast expansion of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF). At the time, The New American pointed out (“The NRA’s Gun Control Schizophrenia”) that the NRA’s “reasonable” so-called solution to gun violence in the schools was foolhardy on the practical level, as well as a gross violation of our Constitution’s strict limitation on the powers of the national ­government.

Now the NRA is at it again. This time it is trying to undo the evils that it helped unleash with its support of the Gun-Free School Zones Act by proposing still more unconstitutional federal intervention in state and local affairs. In this particular case, the NRA is proposing a vast expansion of federal TSA-style police-state occupation of every school, which means virtually every neighborhood as well. The NRA cannot credibly claim to be the defender of the Second Amendment while it simultaneously is trashing the most fundamental concept of our Constitution, which is that the national government in Washington, D.C., has only those “delegated” and “enumerated” powers expressly given to it by the states and the people.

That fundamental principle is most particularly expressed in the 10th Amendment of our Bill of Rights, which states: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

The NRA cannot defend the Second Amendment while trashing the 10th Amendment and the foundation on which all of the guarantees of our rights under the Constitution are based.

Mental Health Dictatorship

LaPierre and the NRA even beat President Obama to the punch in advocating the unconstitutional expansion of the federal Psychiatric State. At his December 21, 2012 press conference, LaPierre said:

The truth is, that our society is populated by an unknown number of genuine monsters…. A dozen more killers, a hundred more? How can we possibly even guess how many, given our nation’s refusal to create an active national database of the mentally ill?

Where in the Constitution did LaPierre find the authority for the federal government to create a “national database of the mentally ill”? Nowhere, because there is no such authority, which means that creating one would be an illegal and flagrant usurpation of power. In this proposal, the NRA is strangely aligned with the Obama administration, which made a number of “mental health” proposals a key feature of its Now Is the Time plan of action.

Unfortunately, a number of other gun rights proponents and sheriff organizations opposed to President Obama’s gun control measures have followed the NRA lead and jumped on board the “mental health” bandwagon, apparently not realizing that it is every bit as much about “people control” as are the proposals aimed directly at gun ownership.

Peter R. Breggin, M.D., a distinguished expert in psychiatry and psychopharmacology, warns that President Obama’s program would “vastly empower psychiatry while gutting patient rights.”

Dr. Breggin, the author of dozens of scientific articles and many professional books, including Medication Madness: The Role of Psychiatric Drugs in Cases of Violence, Suicide and Crime, is adjunct professor in the Department of Counseling and Psychological Services at State University of New York (SUNY) Oswego and has been in private counseling practice for more than four decades.

In a January 17, 2013 article for, Dr. Breggin warned:

President Obama issued a set of 23 executive orders Jan. 16, 2013 that vastly empower psychiatry. This great expansion of psychiatric authority and power will ensure that organized psychiatry and the mental health establishment will not resist other presidential executive orders that greatly impair the free and effective practice of psychiatry, psychotherapy, and all of healthcare.

Dr. Breggin, who is widely known as “the Conscience of Psychiatry,” has testified before many governmental bodies and is credited with exposing and reforming some of the most egregious psychiatric treatments and abuses.

Professor Breggin notes that President Obama’s Now Is the Time program will broaden the categories of individuals who can be investigated and whose privacy can be invaded. It orders, “Direct the Attorney General to review categories of individuals prohibited from having a gun to make sure dangerous people are not slipping through the cracks.”

“If you think that this destruction of privacy within American healthcare will end with providing information for gun ownership background checks, you are simply unrealistic,” states Dr. Breggin. “This kind of power does nothing but make itself grow at every possible opportunity.”

Two additional Obama executive orders “move us yet closer to turning the healthcare system into a spy network,” says Breggin. He and other medical experts point out that Obama says, in Now Is the Time, “Doctors and other health care providers also need to be able to ask about firearms in their patients’ homes and safe storage of those firearms.” Obama also said he will “clarify that no federal law prevents health care providers from warning law enforcement authorities about threats of violence.”

These directives, says Breggin, undermine whatever patient privacy protections remain under the federal HIPAA regulations. “What the President now permits with his orders will soon be codified into law,” Breggin warns. “Doctors and other health care providers will be burdened with spy duties, gathering information on gun possession and reporting anyone suspected by them of being potentially violent.”

As reported by Rebecca Terrell recently in The New American (“Prescription for Murder,” March 18, 2013), Dr. Breggin and other psychiatric experts have also been sounding the warning for many years on the horrendous consequences of the promiscuous prescription of psychiatric drugs to millions of Americans. Those consequences include many thousands of deaths due to suicide and homicide caused by commonly prescribed antidepressants and SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), such as Prozac, Zoloft, Celexa, Luvox, and Paxil.

In his Health & Healing Newsletter for February 2013, Julian Whitaker, M.D. reported, “Between 2004 and 2011, the FDA’s Adverse Events Reporting System for drug side effects logged 12,755 reports of psychiatric medications relating to violence. Among them were 359 homicides, 7,250 incidences of aggression, and 2,795 episodes of mania.”

Dr. Whitaker notes further:

There were also 9,310 suicides. Actually, the damage is far greater. According to the FDA, fewer than 10 percent of adverse reactions are reported. To get a truer picture of the horrors of these medications, multiply these numbers by 10!

He then lists 14 school shootings and 10 murders and murder-suicides that left a total of 102 dead and 131 wounded, all committed by individuals who have been positively identified as having been taking or withdrawing from antidepressants or other psychiatric drugs.

Dr. Whitaker also lists many additional cases of suicide, murder, or mass murder in which the perpetrators have been reported in various media stories to have been under the influence of psychiatric drugs, but in which the records have been sealed — allegedly to protect the privacy of the shooters, but more likely to protect the doctors and the drug companies. If one is seeking still additional cases to substantiate the incredible pervasiveness of this enormous medically induced epidemic, there are literally thousands of stories with links archived at

“Violence and other potentially criminal behavior caused by prescription drugs are medicine’s best kept secret,” says Dr. David Healy, a world-renowned psychiatrist who is a professor of psychiatry in Wales and a former secretary of the British Association for Psychopharmacology. Dr. Healy is a founder and chief executive officer of Data Based Medicine Limited and has written extensively on medical issues, including his latest book, Pharmageddon. “Never before in the fields of medicine and law have there been so many events with so much concealed data and so little focused expertise,” he charges. Can prescription drugs cause you to kill someone? “Absolutely,” says Dr. Healy.

And yet, the Obama administration says that we must give the psychiatric “professionals” who have unleashed the wave of psych-drug-induced mass murder even more money and power, as well as supervisory control over the “mental health” of all Americans.

“Research” or Propaganda?

In addition, we must conduct more mental health “research.” We must “end the freeze on gun violence research,” the president avers in Now Is the Time. The president laments that “for years, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and other scientific agencies have been barred by Congress from using funds to ‘advocate or promote gun control,’ and some members of Congress have claimed this prohibition also bans the CDC from conducting any research on the causes of gun violence. However, research on gun violence is not advocacy; it is critical public health research that gives all Americans information they need.”

Sounds reasonable, right? Not at all, says Timothy Wheeler, M.D., founder and director of California-based Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership. “Memories are short,” wrote Dr. Wheeler in a January 16, 2013 article for National Review. “It was only 15 years ago that Congress cut off federal funding for the Centers for Disease Control’s gun research.” Why? Dr. Wheeler explains:

Top CDC officials such as Patrick O’Carroll, M.D., had said things like “We’re going to systematically build a case that owning firearms causes deaths. We’re doing the most we can do, given the political realities.”

Nor was Congress pleased that the CDC had funded in the spring of 1995 a newsletter from the San Francisco gun-control group the Trauma Foundation. This newsletter advised “advocates” to “organize a picket at gun manufacturing sites” and to “work for campaign finance reform to weaken the gun lobby’s clout.” There’s no reason to believe the CDC will not again use taxpayer millions to pay for more anti-gun-rights pamphleteering.

The anti-gun activists at the CDC and National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH) have many militant allies at the American Psychiatric Association (APA), the American Medical Association (AMA), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR), and various university medical schools who have shown over and over again that their “research on gun violence” is indeed advocacy oriented — and always in the direction of more restricting, banning, licensing, and registering.

Leaders of gun rights organizations who support more “mental health” programs from Washington, D.C., may be in need of mental counseling themselves. Perhaps they are suffering from a self-destructive impulse. After all, a sizable percentage of the membership of most gun rights groups would fall into categories that the federal Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and other agencies have been demonizing for years. Following the lead of radical left-wing groups such as the Southern Poverty Law Center, the DHS and FBI have been promiscuously affixing the “right-wing extremist,” “anti-government,” “hate group,” and “terrorist” labels to millions of law-abiding Americans. Military veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, pro-life grandmothers, Christians who voice opposition to homosexuality, people who support states’ rights and oppose federal usurpations, opponents of the United Nations, people who express concern over illegal immigration: All of these and more have been repeatedly designated by federal agencies as dangerous “extremists.” President Obama himself, during his 2008 campaign, infamously sneered at the small-town and rural folk who “cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment.”

They are obviously in need of counseling by mental health professionals, right? And in the meantime, until (if ever) they are deemed no longer a danger to themselves or society, they must not be allowed to own any firearms or to have any firearms in their homes. That’s only sensible, right? Of course, that’s the Obama/Pelosi/Feinstein/Schumer view reinforced every day by Piers Morgan, Chris Matthews, Brian Williams, and the rest of the media choir.

The federal “mental health” agenda is one of the most dangerous attacks on the Second Amendment we face today. Tens of millions of Americans have been prescribed psychotropic drugs by “mental health professionals” for everything from ADHD to depression and insomnia. Under ObamaCare, might we see a directive categorizing all these prescription drug users (or former users) as automatically presumed to be mentally or emotionally unstable, and ordering all healthcare providers to notify law enforcement authorities of these patients who have a gun in the home? Will the millions of military veterans who have been forced to go through PTSD counseling and other psychological evaluations find themselves subjected to scrutiny by federal “mental health” bureaucrats who will be empowered to comb through their files and to decide whether they are “fit” to keep and bear arms as a private citizen? It does not take much imagination to envision a myriad of similarly realistic scenarios that could be used by the Therapeutic State for piecemeal disarmament of virtually the entire populace.

In fact it does not require any imagination at all. The recent case of Brandon J. Raub, a Marine combat veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, provides a reality-based look at the frightening direction Obama’s “mental health” agenda would take us. Raub was visited at his home in North Chesterfied, Virginia, last August 16 by agents of the FBI and Secret Service. The reason for their “visit”? Some unnamed person or persons had reported that Raub had posted “threatening” posts on the Internet on his Facebook account. Raub was taken by the FBI, Secret Service, and local police under an emergency custody order to John Randolph Medical Center in Hopewell, Virginia. From there he was transferred to a veterans hospital and held under involuntary commitment. A medical assessment described him as paranoid and delusional.

He was incarcerated for a week, and might be imprisoned still if not for the intervention of attorneys for the Rutherford Institute. What was his “crime,” or what grave danger did he pose to society? He allegedly posted statements challenging the official version of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, condemning the move toward a one-world banking system, and opposing the growing imposition of police state/surveillance state measures. The Rutherford lawyers won a release on August 23 from Circuit Judge W. Allan Sharrett, who dismissed an earlier involuntary commitment petition as invalid. “The petition is so devoid of any factual allegations that it could not be reasonably expected to give rise to a case or controversy,” Judge Sharrett stated in his release order.

John Whitehead, president of Rutherford Institute, issued a sharp condemnation of the government action, noting that “Brandon Raub is no different from the majority of Americans who use their private Facebook pages to post a variety of content, ranging from song lyrics and political hyperbole to trash talking their neighbors, friends and government leaders.”

“For government officials to not only arrest Brandon Raub for doing nothing more than exercising his First Amendment rights but to actually force him to undergo psychological evaluations and detain him against his will goes against every constitutional principle this country was founded upon,” Whitehead said. “This should be a wake-up call to Americans that the police state is here.”

Unfortunately, many other veterans are facing the same fate as Brandon Raub. In a February 26 online article for The New American, Joe Wolverton reported:

Veterans around the country are receiving letters from the federal government informing them that because of alleged physical or mental disability their financial decisions will be made by a government-appointed “fiduciary” and they will be forbidden from “purchasing, possessing, receiving or transporting a firearm or ammunition.”

The Veterans Administration, notes Wolverton, is citing the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act and warning veterans labeled as incompetent that they will be “fined and/or imprisoned” if they are found in possession of a gun or ­ammunition.

People who have allowed themselves to be stampeded into supporting “safe schools” and “mental health” programs that build the federal Surveillance State/Therapeutic State/ Police State could soon find that they have boxed themselves into a regime that strips them of all of their rights — including the right to keep and bear arms.

Published in: on March 20, 2013 at 7:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

CMPD Officers Arrest 5 Connected to Attempted Armed Robbery

From, March 19, 2013

CMPD Officers have arrested five people that they said broke into a car and then came back the next day to steal from the victim’s house.

5 people arrested in connection to attempted armed robbery gallery

Police said on the second day someone near the house on Mingus Court saw them and said one of the suspects pulled a gun.

Police said they used search dogs and a helicopter to find the five suspects.

All five face several charges.

Published in: on March 20, 2013 at 9:04 am  Leave a Comment  

Pineville Police Seek Suspect in Daylight Robbery

From The Charlotte Observer, March 19, 2013

Police in Pineville are asking the public’s help in identifying a man alleged to have robbed a beauty supply store late last week.

  • Pineville police say this man is a suspect in the strong-armed robbery of a beauty supply shop last week. (Pineville Police photo.)

The robbery occurred shortly after 5 p.m. Thursday at ABS Beauty Supply, in the 300 block of South Polk Street. Police say a man assaulted the store’s owner during a struggle inside the business.

Anyone with information in the case is asked to call police Det. R.T. Calhoun, at 704-889-2231.

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

CMPD to Test ShotSpotter in Uptown, Grier Heights

From The Charlotte Observer, March 20, 2013

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police on Wednesday plan to test specialized sensors meant to help pinpoint where shots are fired in uptown and the Grier Heights community.


Digital surveillance devices including cameras and gun shot detection devices hang overhead on traffic light poles and atop buildings in uptown Charlotte

The test will begin at 8 p.m. and last for about an hour, according to police. The department notified nearby residents of the tests.

The ShotSpotter system uses a network of microphones activated by gunfire to quickly send officers to potential shooting scenes, even if no one calls 911.

To conduct the test, CMPD said staff in its Academy Range will fire guns into steel chambers meant to catch the bullets.

“There is no danger of any bullets escaping the testing area,” police said in an e-mail alert to residents. “But we wanted to notify everyone so that the sound of gunfire didn’t catch anyone off guard.”

The ShotSpotter technology was first used in Charlotte during last September’s Democratic National Convention, when police used the system to cover two square miles in uptown as part of its security plan.

But police have said they wanted to expand the crime-fighting tool into other areas. In February, they said the system would be installed in Grier Heights, has a neighborhood with a violent crime rate at five times the city average, according to Census data.

Researchers and police in other cities say that while there are benefits to the enhanced digital surveillance, the systems aren’t fail-proof. For example, they say the systems can pick up other sounds like firecrackers or cars backfiring that can sound like gunfire.

Published in: on March 20, 2013 at 8:51 am  Leave a Comment  

Mecklenburg Jury Recommends Life Sentence for Father in Toddler’s Beating Death

From The Charlotte Observer By Gary L. Wright, March 19, 2013

A Mecklenburg judge on Tuesday sentenced Andre Hampton to life in prison without parole for beating his 23-month-old son to death in November 2008.

Andre Hampton

Hampton was convicted two weeks ago of first-degree murder in the death of Ellijah Burger.

The jury deliberated 16 hours over four days before recommending that Hampton, 27, spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Hampton confessed during a videotaped interview to beating Ellijah with a toothbrush, a hairbrush and a belt. His son wouldn’t eat his soup, he told the detective.

Hampton told jurors he loved his son and didn’t intend to kill him.

The jurors weighed one aggravating circumstance and 28 mitigating circumstances in deciding whether Hampton should be executed or spend the rest of his life in prison.

The aggravating circumstance: that the killing of Ellijah was “especially heinous, atrocious or cruel.”

Among the mitigating circumstances:

Ellijah’s killing was committed while Hampton was under the influence of a mental or emotional disturbance.

Hampton was physically abused while growing up when he was beaten by his mother and the men in her life.

Hampton had financial, transportation, housing and childcare problems during the months leading up to Ellijah’s murder.

Hampton had a positive employment history at Food Lion and Walmart.

The jurors had to decide whether the mitigating circumstances were insufficient to outweigh the aggravating circumstance, and if so, whether the aggravating circumstance was “sufficiently substantial” to call for the imposition of the death penalty.

Assistant District Attorney Bill Stetzer had urged jurors during his closing arguments to put Hampton on death row.

The prosecutor told jurors that Ellijah had suffered a “slow, agonizing death.” He said Hampton must pay for what he did.

“If he’s old enough to have children to murder, he’s old enough to face the consequences for what he has done,” the prosecutor said. “What happened was not inappropriate discipline. This was child abuse. It was torture. It was murder.”

Defense lawyer Norman Butler asked jurors to spare Hampton’s life.

“Is his life not worth something?” Butler asked. “I’m pleading for you not to kill Andre Hampton.

“Today you have an opportunity to save a life. … What good is killing him?”


Published in: on March 19, 2013 at 2:15 pm  Leave a Comment  

Charlotte Gang Prevention Group to Lose Funding

From The Charlotte Observer By Cameron Steele, March 17, 2013

Charlotte’s only gang prevention and intervention group will lose the majority of its funding and staff when federal grants run out in June.

Gang of One, an organization headed by Charlotte-Mecklenburg police, has mentored young people involved with gangs and educated family members and others about how to resist gang activity since 2004.

Just two years ago, it was instrumental in opening the Greenville Neighborhood Center near uptown, where it hosts classes on leadership, job readiness and cooking.

The group works one on one with about 70 youths who are involved in gangs or gang-related crimes.

But three federal grants totaling $300,000 that have supported seven of the group’s eight staff members and the majority of its gang prevention programming will end this June.

And the police department cannot afford to take over that funding, said Fran Cook, the CMPD employee who serves as the Gang of One director.

“We fill a unique gap in the work that we do,” Cook said. “But the blessing and curse of a grant-funded opportunity is the wonderful opportunity to build something, but you may not have the opportunity to sustain it.”

Cook estimates Gang of One affects more than 12,000 people annually – through one-on-one mentoring, group classes, informational booths at events and partnerships with other organizations.

Seven case managers work individually with about 20 teenagers to put together life plans, help them find education and job opportunities and, if needed, connect them with mental health and substance abuse services.

In addition, the group hosts classes every Thursday night at the Greenville center for families who want to keep their children out of gangs.

County budget cuts had previously shut down the center, but Gang of One was able to secure a $340,000 grant from the N.C. Department of Justice and Delinquency Prevention as part of the U.S. attorney general’s anti-violence initiative.

The Greenville center, which also hosts the Police Activities League charity, will stay open, but all Gang of One classes will cease in June.

CMPD officials don’t know yet how it will continue gang prevention and intervention efforts – something the Gang Enforcement Unit said is important in addressing gang crime in the Charlotte area.

There are about 1,700 gang members in Mecklenburg County, a number that is up from 853 known gang members in August 2005. But CMPD Sgt. Scott Sherwood said the figure has remained steady over the past couple of years.

“Intervention does help,” Sherwood said. “The younger we get them, the easier it is because we can get them resources.”

Cook, who is paid $70,000 annually by CMPD, is the only staff member currently set to stay on with the group, although department officials said there may be opportunities to contract out some of the other positions.

“I honestly don’t know what it’s going to look like when the grants dry up completely,” Sherwood said.

Read more here:
Published in: on March 18, 2013 at 11:53 am  Leave a Comment  

CMPD Officer’s Secret to Curbing DWI: Lots of Traffic Stops

From The Charlotte Observer By Cleve R. Wootson Jr., March 18, 2013

It’s 9:45 on a Thursday night, and Officer Matthew Pressley is parked on the side of a street in east Charlotte, looking for a reason to talk to people.

DWI Cop Ride-Along

CMPD officer Matthew Pressley  talks with a motorist that he pulled over for speeding in a 25 mph zone. The driver wasn’t impaired, but routine stops help Pressly make 158 DWI arrests last year, more than any other CMPD officer.

Speeders get special attention. But he’s also looking for cars with busted headlights or drivers making wide turns or following too closely.

Pressley, a 14-year Charlotte-Mecklenburg police veteran (his anniversary was St. Patrick’s Day), arrested 158 impaired drivers last year – more than any officer in Mecklenburg and the fifth-highest number of DWI arrests in the state. The number got him an award and a steak dinner from the advocacy group Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

A specialist with a knack for spotting and helping prosecute drunken drivers, Pressley has received the MADD recognition in six of the last seven years.

As he checked the speeds of drivers on Farm Pond Lane last week, he noted his training in traffic enforcement but said there’s only one secret to taking drunken drivers off the roads at his clip: find a reason to talk to people, over and over again.

“A lot of people have the understanding that to find an impaired driver, they’re weaving all over the road and driving into a ditch,” he said. “There are a thousand reasons to stop a car.”

After they’re stopped, he said, he begins looking for signs that they’ve been drinking – the odor of alcohol, glassy eyes or even open containers of alcohol.

“You’re trying to be as aware of everything as much you can,” he said later.

The driver of a green minivan he stops, for example, was going 40 mph, 15 mph over the speed limit, when Pressley clicked on his flashing blue lights.

As he walks unhurriedly to the van with his flashlight, Pressley touches the car just below the rear window.

“If anything happens to you and they have to rely on finding that car later on, at least you’ve got your prints on it.”

As he approaches the driver, he’s already taking notes in his head.

Clothes in the back of the van obscured more passengers than he realized at first – at least five people are in the back seat. He scans the inside of the car for evidence of any crime – anything from an expired registration sticker to the smell of marijuana.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives officers a list of roughly 50 signs that someone’s impaired – glassy eyes, slurred speech and a strong odor of alcohol are on the list, but so are things like a wide turning radius.

But the driver in the van isn’t exhibiting any of the signs. So Pressley returns to his car and writes a speeding ticket, which he hands to the man.

Back in the car, he uses a tuning fork to make sure his radar gun is working correctly, then starts scanning the roads, looking for other reasons to stop people.

A knack for traffic

Pressley, 37, grew up 90 minutes west of Charlotte, in Rutherford County.

After high school, he went to N.C. State, wanting to become a mechanical engineer, but winced at the thought of sitting behind a desk for the rest of his life. Halfway through college, he switched his major to criminal justice.

He wanted to be a police officer. Charlotte-Mecklenburg was the only department he applied for.

He started out in the Westover Division but had a knack for traffic enforcement and moved to the Highway Interdiction and Traffic Safety Unit.

After Police Chief Rodney Monroe took over the department in 2009, Pressley became a traffic officer in the Hickory Grove division in northeast Charlotte. He’s trained to reconstruct traffic wrecks and is certified on the radar gun and its laser equivalent, and he has racked up a lot of experience policing Charlotte’s streets.

He remembers the extreme cases: the guy going 112 mph on Interstate 77; a man who crashed into a picket fence and later blew a .36 – nearly four times the legal limit – at 3 in the afternoon. And the man who blew a .29 – twice – who asked on the way to jail “How do I keep getting these high scores?”

It’s been a while since he’s heard an original excuse for speeding. “A lot of people say they’re rushing to use the restroom,” he said. “A lot of times people say they’re going to the hospital, even if they’re not going in the direction of the hospital.”

And he’s seen just as many attempts to cheat a breath-alcohol test.

“I’ll have people that try to do pushups and jumping jacks, or try to drink a gallon of water after they’re arrested,” he said. “A lot of times, they’ll do the breathing exercises. You’ve got some folks who think they can blow all the alcohol out.”

In the courtroom

Some of the toughest parts of the job are not on the side of Charlotte roads.

Pressley believes some officers can become intimidated in court, especially while being questioned by defense attorneys.

“They have a job to do, but it can be frustrating for a lot of officers,” he said. “Especially when they’ve asked you the same question in seven ways.”

A year ago, police agencies in Mecklenburg had difficulty prosecuting DWI cases, as officers struggled to translate what they had observed on the road into convincing testimony in court.

Since then, the department has beefed up its training in an effort to make officers better on the witness stand – especially rookies and officers who transfer to CMPD from other departments.

“The court system is a completely different beast when you’re going in to fight a DWI,” said Lori Brown, with MADD. “You have to have the patience of Job.

“It’s more than just finding a drunk on the road. The officer has to follow the rules 110 percent. They have to go over and beyond on everything. If not, and you go to court, it’s going to be thrown out faster than anything. There’s a lot of officers that just don’t want to do it. Or can’t do it.”

Read more here:
Published in: on March 18, 2013 at 11:42 am  Leave a Comment  
%d bloggers like this: