Akai Gurley killed, New York policeman convicted


This video from the USA is called Video Shows Akai Gurley‘s Bloody Clothes in the Dim Hallway He Was Shot In.

From the Huffington Post in the USA:

NYC Cop Convicted Of Manslaughter In Death Of Akai Gurley

Officer Peter Liang fired in a dark housing complex stairwell.

02/11/2016 07:35 pm ET | Updated 14 minutes ago

Matt Ferner, National Reporter, The Huffington Post

New York City police Officer Peter Liang was convicted of manslaughter Thursday in the 2014 shooting death of an unarmed black man in a darkened Brooklyn public housing project stairwell.

Liang’s single gunshot killed Akai Gurley, 28, who was walking down the stairs on Nov. 20, 2014.

NYPD said after the jury’s verdict that Liang had been fired from the department. He faces up to 15 years in prison when he is sentenced on April 14.

Liang said he drew his pistol as he and his partner patrolled the darkened 8th floor stairwell of the Louis H. Pink Houses in Brooklyn. He said he flinched when he was startled by a noise, which he said caused the gun to fire.

The bullet ricocheted off of the stairwell wall and struck Gurley, who was on the seventh floor. Gurley, who was unarmed, died from a wound in his chest.

Liang tearfully recounted the shooting in court, claiming his finger was never on the trigger.

“I was panicking. I was in shock, in disbelief that someone was actually hit,” he told jurors.

Prosecution evidence contradicted the claim and showed pressure had to have been applied to the trigger in order for the weapon to fire. To test this notion, the judge allowed each of the 12 jurors to take turns pulling the trigger of Liang’s handgun. 

Liang and his partner testified they didn’t realize anyone had been shot for several minutes and said they didn’t try to perform CPR on Gurley because they felt untrained.

Gurley’s family was unmoved by the rookie’s tears.

“Peter Liang, my son was no accident,” Sylvia Palmer, the victim’s mother, said Monday. “You murdered my son. I need justice for my son. I need a conviction of Peter Liang.”

Convictions of police officers involved in shootings are exceedingly rare. The last time an NYPD officer was convicted in a shooting death of a civilian was 2005, when Bryan Conroy was convicted of criminally negligent homicide in the killing of Ousman Zongo, an unarmed African immigrant. 

Sanctions for the use of lethal force are also rare. A 2014 New York Daily News investigation found that out of the 179 people killed by on-duty police officers during 15 years, just three of those deaths resulted in indictments.

See also here.

Monk parakeets build nest in New York


This video from the USA says about itself:

26 January 2016

A pair of Monk Parakeets builds a stick nest in New York. It may come as a surprise to see noisy, green-and-gray parrots racing through North American cities. But Monk Parakeets, native to South America, have been long popular in the pet trade, and established wild populations in the U.S. in the 1960s.

Snowboarding in New York City, USA


This 24 January 2015 video is about snowboarding by Casey Neistat in the streets of New York City in the USA.

A big blizzard has caused many problems in New York and elsewhere in the USA. However, like with the flooding in Ireland, some people use unusual weather for sporting opportunities.

DIGGING OUT AFTER THE STORM The East Coast began the dig out process Sunday after massive blizzard Jonas paralyzed the region with several feet of snow over the weekend. At least 29 people died in the severe weather, and over 12,000 flights were canceled since Friday. And here’s what “Snowzilla” looked like from space. [Reuters]

A strong winter storm system (named “Winter Storm Jonas”) moved through the eastern United States over the weekend, burying major cities and towns from the Carolinas to New York under record-setting amounts of snow. So far, 27 people have been confirmed dead from car crashes, hypothermia and other tragedies that would have been prevented had there been fully funded safety response programs and a safe transportation infrastructure: here.

The death toll from last weekend’s blizzard in the eastern United States climbed to 49 on Wednesday, according to the latest press reports, as the region struggles to bring its decaying infrastructure, devastated by repeated budget cuts, to something like working order: here.

Shark nursery discovery off New York


This video from the USA says about itself:

27 June 2014

Another exciting Shark Academy introduces viewers to the Sand Tiger shark, an animal with a confusing name and the peculiar reproductive strategy known as “intrauterine cannibalism.”

From Blue York in the USA:

Shark Nursery Discovered Off New York

January 5, 2016

Turns out juvenile sand tiger sharks cut their (many) teeth in the New York area.

Scientists and veterinarians working for WCS‘s New York Aquarium have discovered a nursery ground for the fearsome-looking but non-aggressive fish in the near shore waters of Long Island’s Great South Bay.

“Sand tiger shark pups are not born here but migrate from down south to spend the summers as juveniles in New York’s coastal waters,” said Dr. Merry Camhi, Director of the NY Seascape program, WCS’s local marine conservation program.

The Great South Bay shark nursery provides juvenile sand tiger sharks ranging from several months to five years in age with a place to feed and grow. A nursery also gives juvenile sharks protection from predators, including other sharks.

After birth off the southeastern United States (sand tiger sharks give birth to live young as opposed to laying eggs), the juvenile sharks migrate north in the spring and spend the summer in New York waters before returning south in the fall.

Only a handful of sand tiger shark nursery grounds have been identified, one of which is in the waters of Massachusetts.

The discovery was made by researchers who have collected a wealth of information on sharks in local waters over the past four years through the use of acoustic tags, devices that enable scientists to remotely track marine animals as the animals move about.

There are still many unknowns about the nursery. Scientists are not sure how much of the bay is used by these sharks, the number of young sharks in the bay each summer, or what the sharks are eating.

Los Angeles schools closed, because of German racist’s hoax e-mail?


This video from the USA says about itself:

Los Angeles Schools Closed After Receiving Threat – Newsy

15 December 2015

All Los Angeles Unified School District schools were suddenly closed Tuesday after a possible bomb threat.

From Newsday in New York in the USA:

New York City got same threat as Los Angeles, was hoax, officials say

Updated December 15, 2015 1:19 PM

By Matthew Chayes

New York City authorities opted to keep public schools open Tuesday after receiving a bomb threat apparently identical to the one that led Los Angeles to close down schools there.

Calling the emailed threat a “hoax,” NYPD Commissioner William Bratton said Los Angeles’ decision appeared to be unnecessary.

“I think it was a significant overreaction,” said Bratton, who was chief of the Los Angeles Police Department between 2002 and 2009 before returning to New York to head the NYPD.

Bratton said his investigators believe it’s a hoax for several reasons, such as the first letter of “Allah” being uncapitalized.

From KTVL.com in the USA:

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.-27th District) told CNN’s Ashleigh Banfield that while the email threat was written by someone who claimed to be a Muslim extremist, there were some red flags concerning its credibility.

“In the whole text of the email there is a pornographic reference to a body part that … this person claims to be a devout Muslim, I don’t think that that’s consistent. There is certainly nothing in the text of the email that shows that the person who wrote it has any particular understanding of Islam,” he said. “The second issue is … [the author] claims that he’s got 32 accomplices–that’s way beyond what ISIS or even al-Qaida have been able to put together in any western city.”

The Newsday article continues:

The Los Angeles schools — the second-largest district in the nation after New York City’s — announced a systemwide closure Tuesday after receiving what was termed “a credible threat.”

“It is not credible,” de Blasio said. He added: “Our school system remains fully open.”

De Blasio said NYPD intelligence analysts scrutinized the email: “This was a very generic piece of writing,” he said, and the threatened violence “is not plausible.”

“It’s very important not to overreact in situations like this,” de Blasio said.

Bratton said the email appears to have come from overseas and was received by a superintendent of the city schools.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands today:

Authorities in Los Angeles think the email was sent from an IP address in Germany.

The Los Angeles City school district, the second-largest public school system in the United States, shut down over 1,000 schools early Tuesday morning after school board members received an email threatening an attack on multiple school locations with assault rifles and bombs in backpacks. By the afternoon, the email had been determined to be a hoax. Some 643,000 students were told at the last minute not to show up at school, undoubtedly forcing many thousands of parents to miss work and disrupting the lives of millions in the city: here.

Films about sparrows and hoopoes at Rotterdam festival


This video, recorded in the USA, says about itself:

Planet Sparrow, New York Segment

4 April 2014

Sparrows in New York City, part of the international documentary about the life of [house] sparrows, directed & produced by Kurt Mayer for ORF, Arte & NDR.

At the Wildlife Film Festival in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, there will be more films about birds. Including Planet Sparrow.

The festival organisers write about it:

A sparrow in the Souk in Cairo: bushy and tousled, he flits between crowded stalls to build his nest and attract a mate. He‘s one of the five heroes of Planet Sparrow. Small and grey-brown, sparrows may seem dull, but this first impression is deceptive; they’re extremely clever. The camera pursues these artists of flight through narrow alleys, revealing their spectacular aerial manoeuvres.

In New York, orphaned sparrow chicks are adopted by new sparrow parents. Sparrows play Russian roulette in Moscow, flying beneath the cars on the busiest roads to save winter energy. In Beijing they’re captured and then released to bring good luck. In Paris, centuries of living with humans have taught them to form teams that steal and share the food of café diners. Planet Sparrow is a documentary about these flying survival artists, their neighbours and adversaries, all filmed from the perspective of the birds!

This video, recorded in Austria, is the film Return of the Hoopoe.

There will be also the film Return of the Hoopoe at the Rotterdam festival.

The organisers write about it:

Across Europe hoopoes are struggling. But amidst the orchards and vineyards of the Wagram region near Vienna they are thriving. This documentary shows how the small bird with the spectacular crown feathers made a comeback in the heart of Europe and how it is dealing with its neighbours: Aesculapian snakes, foxes and falcons.

It is also the story of one man’s dream that came true: Manfred Eckenfellner is the Hoopoe Whisperer, and because of his passion the birds found their way back to the Wagram. Even cultivated landscapes like Wagram’s vineyards offer countless opportunities for wild animals to find new niches. Kestrels use castle towers to breed and bee-eaters live in the same layers of loess vintners grow their grapes on.

After Sandra Bland and Walter Scott, Bernard Scott in the USA


Bernard Scott, 44, pictured here with a host of tubes coming out of his mouth, ended up comatose, but has since regained consciousness, he was in hospital for three weeks following the incident

About the Walter Scott in the title of this blog post, see here.

From Daily Kos blog in the USA:

Mon Sep 14, 2015 at 06:55 AM PDT

This Guy Was Almost Sandra Bland-ed

by smoothnmellow

So a St. Louis area PD (Pine Lawn, NW of St. Louis) picked up this guy on minor traffic violations and then nearly 3 weeks later, he wakes up from a coma in the hospital.

Police said that he tried to hang himself, but oops.

He survived and corroborates an account from an EMT who pleaded with police to allow them to take the man to the emergency room:

Paramedics from Northeast Fire Protection District say that they went to the Pine Lawn jail in September on a call to check on an inmate who had abdominal pain and bleeding. He explained that he needed to go to the emergency room, but police officers and deputies working in the jail refused to listen to him.

Say his name: Bernard Scott, 44. He was being held in jail in lieu of — wait for it — $360.00 bond.

The EMTs working the case appealed once more to allow Scott to go to the hospital and a cop had changed into his off-duty clothes to accompany Scott to the emergency room.

However his police supervisor said no.

Then this happens:

Only 14 minutes after the final denial, the jail had to call another ambulance, as Scott was unconscious with stiff muscles. He was agitated, aggressive from the pain he was in, and in a posture that medical experts claim is indicative of brain damage, according to the EMT report.

Police say they found Scott hanging by his neck from a shoelace that was tied to his cell door. The story is reminding many of the Texas arrest of Sandra Bland, this summer. But in the case of Scott, there are more answers, because he survived.

He says that he didn’t hang himself.

“Why would I hang myself?” he inquired. “I was in on traffic tickets.”

Scott says he can remember the first ambulance driver “wanted to take me with him, but the guy wouldn’t let me leave.”

Then another officer “told me he wasn’t going to let me out of jail unless I bonded out.”

Source: here. …

For years, many St. Louis County municipalities have been abusing … its police as a hammer to garner revenue from its citizens, many of whom cannot really afford to pay with the threat of jail.

Or worse. I’m sure if this guy had the $360.00, he would have paid it, rather than go to jail. Now because of outrageously aggrievous actions of this police department, Mr. Scott’s hospital bills will be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars alone.

It’s money that Pine Lawn probably would have a very hard time paying if Mr. Scott decides to suit the municipality.

What in the blue hell is wrong with us in this country? Since when is it okay to allow due process to jump the snark? Where in the world is our sense of common, decent humanity? We treat dogs lying in the street better than we treat human beings.

First James Blake is mistaken for a credit card thief who turns out to be a high profile individual in his own right who had nothing to do with the crime either, except that he ‘kind of favored’ Blake in the looks department.

Then we have the same PD (NYPD in this case) arrest a woman who stopped at a light in her BMW playing loud music and enjoying it — only to be ‘arrested’ later, accused of lying about owning her own damn car, given a cocktail of psychotropic drugs, stripped down naked and taken to a psyche ward.

This is not how human beings should be treated and I wouldn’t have a problem if Amnesty International calls out the United States on human rights violation of its own citizens by domestic police.

Enough is enough.

This video from the USA says about itself:

Nutty NY~Black Woman Endures 8 Days In Psych Ward Because Cops Didn’t Believe She Owned Her BMW

12 September 2015

Woman Says She Endured 8 Days In Psych Ward Because Cops Didn’t Believe BMW Was Hers

NEW YORK — Kamilah Brock says the New York City police sent her to a mental hospital for a hellish eight days, where she was forcefully injected with powerful drugs, essentially because they couldn’t believe a black woman owned a BMW.

In her first on-camera interview about her ordeal, which aired Thursday, the 32-year-old told PIX11 that it was all a “nightmare.”

It’s a nightmare, Brock’s lawyer told The Huffington Post, that never would have happened if she weren’t African-American.

Brock sued the city earlier this year in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. She contends that her constitutional rights under the Fourth and 14th Amendments were violated and that she suffered “unwanted and unwarranted intrusion of her personal integrity, loss of liberty [and] mental anguish.”

The suit details how Brock pulled up to a traffic light in Harlem on Sept. 12, 2014, the music on her car stereo playing loudly.

See also here.

North Carolina police chief forced to resign after ‘shoot first’ anti-Black Lives Matter rant: here.

‘THE BLACK FAMILY IN THE TIME OF INCARCERATION’ As Ta-Nehisi Coates writes in his latest opus, the longest story The Atlantic has published in over a decade, “If generational peril is the pit in which all black people are born, incarceration is the trapdoor closing overhead.” [The Atlantic]

Legacies of Limited Justice and the Sandra Bland Case: here.