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Just Imagine if The United States Correctional System Saw the Benefit of Working Together as One, Robert Paisola Reports Live for CNN
Just Imagine if The United States Correctional System Saw the Benefit of Working Together as One, Robert Paisola Reports Live
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CEBU, Philippines (FOR CNN) -- Amid the tropical heat of a Philippine prison, convicted murderers, rapists and drug dealers on Saturday paid tribute to Michael Jackson with a reprise of their YouTube dance hit, "Thriller."
A rendition of Jackson's 1980s smash hit by prisoners at the Cebu Detention and Rehabilitation Center in the central Philippines garnered more than 24 million views since 2007, when prison supervisor Byron Garcia first uploaded it to the video-sharing Web site.
The prison has since posted other dance videos, including performances to Van Halen's "Jump," Queen's "Radio Ga Ga," and Phil Oakey and Giorgio Moroder's "Together in Electric Dreams."
Michael Jackson, known as the "King of Pop," died Thursday in Los Angeles, less than two weeks shy of the first in a series of comeback concerts in London, England.
When he heard the news, Garcia, himself a fan of the 50-year-old pop icon, organized a free tribute performance by inmates for local people in the prison courtyard.
Dancing was introduced at the prison in 2007, as a means of rehabilitating prisoners at a facility once notorious for its gang problem.
Every able-bodied prisoner must dance. If they refuse, they lose privileges, mostly conjugal visits. According to Garcia, the dancing occupies up to five hours a day. However he rejected claims he's abusing the prisoners' rights by forcing them to dance so many hours a day.
He said it gives them a renewed sense of worth and confidence, breaking them of their violent ways. He is convinced his prison is a model for prison authorities everywhere, an example of how to crack the plague of violent prison gangs.
"It brought back their self esteem. We have happy inmates now -- we don't want to go back to the old jail where we had mad, sad inmates," he said.
In searing temperatures, 1,400 men in bright orange tracksuits performed the 15-minute "Thriller" routine perfectly. They rehearsed for 10 hours the previous day, finally stopping at 3 a.m. to rest ahead of the show.
The superbly-choreographed moves, energy and obvious enthusiasm of the prisoners had the audience -- swelled by journalists from around the world -- captivated the audience. Several inmates even invited people from the crowd to dance with them.
"I never thought I would ever find myself dancing with a prisoner," one excited local said.
A local journalist even described the performance as Asia's best way of paying tribute to Jackson.
Garcia, who says the prison has witnessed no violence in three years, paid tribute to the performers. "I'm so proud of them," he said. "They got the dance exactly right."
Although it was "probably wishful thinking," he added that he had actually wanted Michael Jackson to come to Cebu to dance and play the role himself. "Now it's not going to happen," he said mournfully.
Convicted robber Mavin Cabido, 23, said: "I feel so sad as we idolize him really. The moonwalk is my favorite -- I like that."
-Maybe it is time that we in America take time to look at OTHER POSSIBILITIES that WORK instead of putting our "Problem Children" in Prison. Do you remember the synchronicity of the 2009 Olympics. This is one of the major goals of corrections and reform, to create a new and better person.
America, take the time to repost this link and lets show the world that CHANGE IN THE AMERICAN CORRECTIONAL SYSTEM IS POSSIBLE.
Thank you, Thank you, Thank You
The Prison Partners Foundation
The Robert Paisola Innocence Project USA
Even the hearty television presence of Alan Thicke couldn't help Consolidated Resorts, Inc., a company owned by Goldman Sachs that sold timeshares, from going belly up. An anonymous tipster emailed us yesterday to say that they "just laid off most of their staff, including all collections, customers service, marketing, information technology departments." And according to this insider, this is good news for consumers.
Here's a clip from a taping of "Second Honeymoon." You can watch it and dream of the Tahiti Village timeshare you'll never own now—or just marvel at this example of the awkward scenarios people will put each other into in an attempt to sell them something.
You may know Consolidated Resorts better by the commercial with Alan Thicke trying to sell you on Tahiti Village timeshares.
They gave us a few minutes to collect our personal belongings and asked us to leave with no severance packages for those of us who held professional positions with the company for several years.
The explanation given to us this morning was that GMAC had decided not to work with us. GMAC provided most of the funding to customers wanting to finance a timeshare.
While I was one of the ones laid off, I'm not really sour about that; I expected it and am frankly surprised the company lasted as long as it did being as shady as it was.
I considered submitting the foul practices to Consumerist before, but I didn't want to lose my job over it. They did a lot of stuff that was wrong, but it doesn't really matter now if they are made public because they are filing for bankruptcy.
Of the bad things, at least the ones I knew of, I can say the ones that bothered me the most were:
- Misleading customers to think they had properly invoked their right to rescind by simply calling in within their 5 day period (when really they had to send a certified letter). The customer would think they were relieved of the horrible investment then 30 days later, they're stuck with a big fat bill.
- Using celebrities like Alan Thicke, George Wallace, and others in a game show for timeshare purchasers to win free getaways or a million dollars. The game show was called 2nd Honeymoon. The real purpose behind it was to manipulate buyers from invoking their right to rescind. It worked too.
If you are a victim of Consolidated Resorts or Tahiti Village, DO NOT PAY YOUR PAYMENTS, DO NOT PAY THE MAINTENANCE FEES and visit www.WesternCapitalVIP.com to join the Class Action Lawsuit! At this point it does not matter what you signed, as this is a pending criminal matter.
Watch for live Illegal Debt Collection Tapes from Mccarthy Burgess and Wolf in Ohio. Now Under Investigation
ATTORNEY GENERAL CUOMO SHUTS DOWN NEW YORK DEBT COLLECTION OPERATION THAT USED ILLEGAL SCARE TACTICS TO THREATEN CONSUMERS- Tobias Boyland Charged
Employees Posed as Law Enforcement Officials and Threatened to Throw Consumers in Jail if They Didn't Immediately Pay Debts
Latest Action in Cuomo's Ongoing Probe into Unlawful Debt Collection Practices
BUFFALO, NEW YORK (June 23, 2009) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that his office has shut down a New York collection operation that consisted of at least nine debt collection companies across Western New York, run by Buffalo resident Tobias Boyland. This is the latest action in Attorney General Cuomo's ongoing investigation of unlawful debt collection practices.
According to hundreds of consumer complaints filed with law enforcement agencies across the country, Boyland's employees violated state and federal law by routinely posing as law enforcement officials, threatening to arrest consumers and throw them in jail unless they made arrangements to pay the company immediately. Under the terms of the court order obtained today by Cuomo's office in Buffalo Supreme Court, Boyland's operation will shut down all of its companies in the Buffalo area. Attorney General Cuomo also announced that his Office executed search warrants on four of the operations known locations and on Boyland's residence this morning. When investigators from the Attorney General's Office arrived at the residence, they found a loaded, .380 semi-automatic pistol on Boyland's person. Boyland was taken into custody by the Erie County Sheriff and the Office of the Erie County District Attorney will handle the resulting gun-possession case.
"Plain and simple, this company was run by people who lied, bullied and preyed on vulnerable Americans struggling to resolve their financial situation," said Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. "Pretending to be a police officer, threatening to throw consumers in jail - these practices are as despicable as they are illegal. My Office will continue to relentlessly root out these kinds of tactics and shut down unscrupulous companies that violate the rights of consumers across New York and the entire nation."
According to the lawsuit filed by the Attorney Generals Office, Boyland, a convicted felon, and three other individuals ran numerous debt collecting companies that operated out of at least four locations in Western New York. The other three individuals named in the lawsuit are Kayla Pritchett, Dellian Sharp and Dorian Wills. Both Sharp and Will also have criminal records.
These debt collection agencies operated under several names across the Buffalo area, including: Central Resource Management, Final Claims Asset Locators, Final Control Asset Locators, Interchange Payment Solutions, Next Step Services, Portfolio Asset Assurance, Silverbay Services, and Teleport. Their collectors routinely made scripted telephone calls designed to intimidate consumers into paying their debts. The debt collectors pretended to be law enforcement officers and threatened consumers with arrest and incarceration if they failed to pay. These employees also falsely informed consumers that they were being sued in civil court.
Attorney General Cuomo's investigation revealed that collectors regularly demanded payment for non-existent debts, demanded payments for debts that had already passed the statute of limitations, or substantially inflated the amount owed on an actual debt. Using their false law enforcement identities, collectors coerced and cajoled terrified consumers into agreeing to make payments. Frightened at the prospect of arrest and humiliation, consumers authorized withdrawals from their checking accounts, sent Western Union moneygrams and/or money orders out of fear. Consumers were intentionally given misleading names, addresses and telephone numbers that led them to believe the businesses were located far from the Buffalo area.
Peter Dellinger of the Empire Justice Center said, The Empire Justice Center stands firmly behind Attorney General Cuomo's efforts to stamp out fraudulent and abusive debt collectors across the country. In these times of financial hardship, dishonest debt collection companies are attempting to take advantage of honest, hard-working consumers. We thank Attorney General Andrew Cuomo for his leadership and for putting a stop to these merchants of financial misery.
The federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the New York State debt collection and consumer protection laws prohibit the following conduct: posing as an attorney, threatening lawsuits or other legal action which cannot be taken, saying a consumer committed a crime or will be arrested and talking with third parties except to get location information. The law further requires collection agencies to send a written notice within five days of initial communication with the consumer explaining how he or she can dispute the debt. If properly disputed, the collection agency must stop all collection attempts and send verification.
Today's action is part of a larger investigation by Attorney General Cuomo into unlawful debt collection practices. Earlier this month, Cuomo announced settlements with three Western New York-based debt collection companies to reform their deceptive methods. Attorney General Cuomo also subpoenaed nearly twenty companies and law firms operating as debt collectors throughout the state. His office shut down two collectors for threatening and intimidating consumers into paying debts that they did not owe. In early May, Attorney General Cuomo announced a lawsuit against two debt settlement companies for fraudulent business practices and false advertising by selling misleading debt settlement plans that very rarely deliver the promised benefits to consumers dealing with debt.
Cuomo also launched a website - www.NYDebtHelp.com- that explains consumer rights, allows victims of debt collection and debt settlement companies quick access to the Attorney Generals office to file complaints, and outlines the stages of the Attorney Generals investigation.
The case was handled by Assistant Attorney General Dennis Rosen, Assistant Attorney General Nathan Reilly, Assistant Attorney General James Morrissey and Senior Consumer Fraud Representative Karen Davis, under the supervision of Special Deputy Chief of Staff Mitra Hormozi.
Coming Soon... Illegal Tactics on tape used by Cleveland Ohio based Mccarthy Burgess and Wolf collecting for Citicorp and Home Depot. Now Under Federal Investigation. Stay tuned for tapes of Abuse
When Law Enforcement Becomes Lawless Thuggery, The Harry Blausey Case, Nelsonville, Ohio, By Robert Paisola
|When Law Enforcement Becomes Lawless Thuggery, The Harry Blausey Newark, Ohio Abuse Case, Nelsonville, Ohio |
By Robert Paisola
Copyright 2009 Western Capital Multimedia for CNN
A case of a few bad apples? Not anymore...
|Robert Paisola: The Ohio Correctional System in Turmoil- The Rape and Abuse of Harry Blausey, Newark Ohio Realtor, For International Distribution for CNN I Report |
From the AP, The Associated Press has just released a story about two men who were arrested in a drug sting in New York City. The problem? The two men arrested committed no crime and the officers who falsified the report and prompted the arrest were, themselves, arrested.
|Police Departments, especially the larger departments, have routinely been shown to be infected with corrupt leaders and officers. New York City. Atlanta. Los Angeles. But, the list goes on and on, from large metropolitan departments to the small municipal departments. From municipal to federal jurisdiction level. |
The reason for this corruption is clear; power corrupts.
The higher a corrupt officer climbs the ladder, the more corrupt the department becomes. Yes, there are "bad apples" in law enforcement, but, those individuals should have been identified and removed by supervisors early into their careers. Yes, in larger departments, it is easy to "get lost", ie, for the officer to go unnoticed by anyone but their immediate supervisor and co-workers. But, these situations do not address the issue of why there are so many bad cops and so few good ones. The reason for that is longevity.
We decided to dig into the trenches of a case that we have been following at The Robert Paisola Innocence Project. Our investigation took us deep within the "circle of trust" that exists on many levels within law enforcement. In this specific case, we were actually contacted by employees of the HOCKING CORRECTIONAL CENTER in Nelsonville, Ohio and were shocked at what we heard. In order to memorialize our findings, we have established a Wikipedia Page that will clearly document the Legal Issues surrounding this abuse.
We learned very quickly that few good cops want to fight the constant battle of being a police officer.
That battle isn't on the street, it's in the department itself.
In any department, the higher you get, the more political your job becomes. It is the lower ranking officers that have to contend with the result of that political environment. Write tickets in a rich neighborhood? What were you thinking! Why weren't you patrolling this other area! The good officers apply the law equally, and, that premise in and of itself puts them at odds with most departments. Frankly, fewer and fewer good cops are putting up with the strain for any length of time and simply leave the profession.This includes jailers or what are now referred to as Correctional Officers.
Add to this situation the low salary of police officers.
If you wish to see the poverty level of any city, in any state, you merely have to look at the salary paid to a brand new police officer. That salary is right at the poverty level for that area. We were told that most police officers, especially new officers, simply have to "moonlight", ie, work two jobs, in order to make ends meet.
Working two jobs, however, isn't really viable for a police officer. You work a 12-hour shift. Your court days can, and usually are, scheduled for a day you are off work so that the shift isn't short as you spend all day in court.
Your training days are scheduled for your day off.
You still have to have "family time" in between getting sleep. So, it isn't hard to understand why some officers turn to committing crimes to make more money. "It's easy, and, you have a badge"
Yes, the war on drugs is part of this, as well.
You make a bust, you confiscate the drugs and the money.
The officers we spoke to on a condition of aninonomity after they heard our tapes of themselves in compromising situations stated "You can; a) put those drugs worth thousands and that $5,000 dollars into evidence for your case, or, b) you can pocket the cash, dump or sell the drugs, and get an extra paycheck that month.
Unfortunately, the latter is what some officers choose to do. Some departments run one-man cars, so, who is around to dispute a drug-dealer who claims you robbed him? Nobody.
For the departments that run two-man cars, it gets even worse. Yes, now we enter "Serpico" territory and that "code of silence."
It usually doesn't start out as criminal behavior.
Maybe your partner did "rough up" a drug dealer a bit. Who really cares? Let it slide. It's a war out there and if bad people get roughed up a bit, so what.
The only people we can count on are each other out here. But, with that decision, that good cop is already on the path to worse with that initial silence.
Cussing people out? So what. This isn't a playground on the street that you patrol for 12-hours, besides, you just got off a "hot call" and you're partner is still stressed out. Cut him/her a break.
By the time the real criminal activity starts, you have now covered up so much that you are as neck-deep as they are. Even if you are in one-man cars, you've probably already covered up for other officers when they've done these things.
All you want to do is provide for your family. You can't risk getting fired because you're a "trouble maker", or, worse, killed by bad officers leaving your wife/husband a widow. It's hard enough keeping your family together being a police officer.
No, this isn't about justifying the actions. It's about explaining how our police departments, and officers, have become the thugs they have been, and, still are today. You only have to watch this Oklahoma State Trooper, a veteran who recently returned from Middle East duty, attacking a paramedic to see just how thuggish cops have become.This video is Live from CNN in Atlanta. Watch it America.
Here are the facts regarding this incident:
James said Martin had a legal right to pull over the ambulance for failing to yield the right of way when the patrol unit tried to pass it moments earlier. He also said White escalated the situation by challenging the trooper.
Now, what this means is that the Trooper was responding to a call with his emergency lights and siren activated. Because the ambulance didn't pull out of the way of the Trooper, the officer called himself off of that call, and stopped the ambulance for failing to get out of his way.
James said Martin is a decorated veteran who recently returned from military service in the Middle East.
First of all, "recently returned from the Middle East" is only relevant in the fact that it is obvious this Trooper has no clue who his friends are in America and who isn't. He should not be on the streets in a symptomatic state of PTSD.
We can tell you that of all of the officers that we spoke to, they view paramedics as an officer's friend, not someone to pull over in a fit of of rage, because they didn't pull over for you while you are on a call for whatever reason they didn't do it. Much less that gives you the right to choke the paramedic because he "challenged you"!
We spoke to White's attorney, Richard O'Carroll, he he he said that "Officer Martin was out of control during the incident". He wants his client's name cleared and "significant" remedial action taken against the trooper.
This Trooper called off of a call to pull over the ambulance because he was pissed off at the ambulance driver.
We know he was pissed off, and went into it pissed off, simply because of how attacked the paramedic.
And, if this Trooper would attack a paramedic, what the hell would he do to someone who he thought was a "bad guy"???
Regardless of what he did, or how he acted, while in the Middle East, we now see exactly the mentality he is bringing to the road as a Trooper. This is not simply a "bad apple." It shows us exactly what the mentality of officers today has become.
We have shown you the case of the murder of Brian Cardall by the Hurricane, Utah Police Department with the Use of A Taser. We provided the Audio.. You decide. We provided you stories of continued abuse inside the Hocking County Correctional Center in Nelsonville, Ohio. We provided you with tapes of the Sergeants refusing to even comment on the reported injury of Newark, Ohio Inmate, Harry W. Blausey, who is now being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, because of our reports.
Why do cops run to the taser we asked?
Because they can taser or shoot, they know nothing else because they haven't been forced to learn anything else -- like taking down suspects.
They haven't been forced to learn how to do it because the departments and courts have covered for the officers time after time.
The "Use of Force Continuum", the model of what force to use in response to a situation, has become the "Continue to Use Force Continuum."
It isn't that these incidents are few and far between, as many people claim. It is that rarely these incidents get the attention of the media. You would not believe how the stories changed as the departments and officers were presented with clear and convincing evidence of police and correctional officer misconduct. We were asked not to publish the details, so we will honor that request for now.
Many people will argue that these incidents do not constitute the majority of police responses, but, it cannot be argued that this "use force continuously" mentality hasn't taken over in law enforcement. This is verified by the FBI's own investigation reports.
There was a reason that officers started putting dashboard cameras into every car; to curtail false accusations against officers.
There is a reason now why law enforcement is more concerned who is filming an incident than focusing on the incident itself; to curtail true accusations against officers. And the cases of police misconduct seem to get worse and worse as we go on.
Last weekend, we looked at the case of Bill Dillon, the Brevard County resident imprisoned for 27 years before DNA tests set him free.
No, this doesn't seem to be an "urban legend". It really happened according to the Orlando Sentinel. What is so egregious in this case is this fact:
The murder case against Dillon was full of problems.
Clearly, When the prosecution needed someone to lie for them, in court, Preston stepped up to the stand and perjured himself. Repeatedly. And you simply cannot convince a jury OR THE FBI that nobody in the district attorney's office didn't know this was happening.
They knew. They asked for that perjured testimony. And they got it.
We spoke to Police Psychologists and were told "This mentality in our law enforcement is a serious problem in America." "We see instances where the law is broken and ignored for some, while law enforcement uses excessive force on everyone else".
"Are we a classic "police state" yet, where law enforcement has no other purpose than to enforce the will of the government? No
We will be presenting you Live Audio Tapes from Victims of The Hocking Correctional Center in Nelsonville, Ohio who were raped and tortured, with no action. We will be providing you with internal reports provided by current and former employees of the institution who see this foundation as the only possibility of creating change and we will present you with evidence of Ohio Attorneys who were wanton in their duties as counsel, and one attorney who even STOLE 10,000 from his client.
As always, the contents contained in this report are the sole property of Western Capital Multimedia. No portion of this article may be reproduced without the expressed written concent of The Western Capital Foundation and The Robert Paisola Foundation.
Photo Courtesy AP
UPDATE- WE HAVE VERIFIED THAT THE OFFICER THAT WAS INVOLVED IN THE MURDER INCIDENT IS OFFICER KEN THOMPSON OF THE HURRICANE CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT. THE WEAPON WAS DEPLOYED 42 SECONDS AFTER HE ARRIVED ON THE SCENE...
SALT LAKE CITY -- In a frantic phone call to 911 from the side of a highway, Anna Cardall describes her husband Brian's mental health episode.
Anna Cardall called 911 at 1:04 p.m.
"He's freaking out. He's just freaking out," she told the emergency dispatcher. "No! Don't! Oh my gosh! No! Please! I'm afraid he's going to jump into traffic."
His wife tells emergency dispatchers he suffers from bipolar disorder.
Listen To the Official Hurricane Utah Police Department 911 Tape of the call made by Anna Cardall to Police Live.
"I need to get in the car!" he shouts at her.
The tapes provide a more complete picture of Cardall's bizarre death alongside a highway outside Hurricane last week. He died after being tased by a police officer.
Anna Cardall cries into the phone, afraid of him as well as afraid for his safety. She tells emergency dispatchers she had given him his medication, but it will take up to an hour to take effect. The dispatcher tries to assure her that help is on the way.
"Get out of the road! Get out of the road! He is going to get hit," she said. "He thinks he's directing traffic."
Here the officer can be heard being dispatched to the scene. As soon as he arrives at 1:17 p.m., he encounters Brian Cardall, who is naked.
"Get down on the ground! Get down on the ground!" the officer shouts. Cardall responds twice in what sounds as a panicked voice, "Is this a standoff, don't' shoot."
About 42 seconds after arriving on scene the officer deployed his Taser yelling, "Taser deployed! Stay on the ground! Stay on the ground!"
Listen to the official police recording of the Murder of Brian Layton Cardall by Utah Police
On the tape, Cardall can be heard screaming as the officer cycles the Taser a second time. Officers struggle to get Cardall into handcuffs. Almost immediately, they notice something wrong.
"He's not breathing," an officer said on the tape.
Cardall was pronounced dead a short time later. His death is being investigated by a task force assembled by the Washington County Sheriff's Office. An autopsy has been performed, but investigators are not releasing any preliminary results.
On the tape, one officer makes reference to "excited delirium," a controversial term used to explain the deaths of people in an agitated state often by Taser or other restraint. On the tape, the officer reveals that he tased Cardall twice.
"He went down, he tried to get up and I told him to stay down. I tased him again and then after the second time...," the officer said.
In a brief introductory statement, e-mailed to news organizations ahead of the actual media files, the family said:
The public through the media now has opportunity to analyze the recordings and learn for themselves what transpired on a highway near Hurricane City on the afternoon of June 9th.
The son of a prominent KSL employee died Tuesday in Washington County after a police officer deployed a when the man ran down a road in what authorities called an "agitated" state.
Brian Layton Cardall, 32, was traveling with his wife south on State Road 59 near on Tuesday afternoon. According to KSL.com, the vehicle pulled over to the side of the road when Cardall, who recently had been struggling with mental health issues, began having an "episode."
Cardall left the car and ran down the road, and his wife called police, said Washington County Undersheriff Jake Adams. A Hurricane police officer who responded to the scene deployed a Taser on Cardall, who lost consciousness, Adams said.
Cardall was treated at the scene but he was pronounced dead after being transported to Dixie Regional Medical Center in St.George, Adams said.
The Washington County Sheriff's Office did not immediately release further details about the incident.
Cardall is the son of Utah Television Station , KSL, Editorial Director Duane Cardall, according to KSL.com. Attempts to reach Duane Cardall for comment Tuesday afternoon were unsuccessful.
Duane Cardall's administrative assistant said he and his wife, Margaret, were traveling to St.George late Tuesday to be with his son's wife, who is six months pregnant.
Adams said the Washington County Critical Incident Task Force is investigating Cardall's death.The Hurricane Utah Police Department did not return a phone call requesting comment on the officer who deployed the Taser.
A family statement released by Paul Cardall, Brian's brother and a renowned pianist from Sandy, read, "Brian is a wonderful son, brother, father, and husband who loved being with people. He was full of personality and wanted to make a difference in this world. He was working on his Ph.D. in Molecular Ecology at Northern Arizona University. He loved being in the outdoors and with his daughter Ava and beautiful wife Anna. We will miss Brian but are comforted by our faith."
Portions Provided to Western Capital Multimedia by The Hurricane Utah Police Department, KSL, and the SL Tribune. All rights go to stated contributors.
INTERNATIONAL DISCLAIMER: We have absolutely no opinion on this matter. By posting this aggregated story, we are merely informing our world wide audience that there was a death due to the usage of a taser. We ask you to listen to the tapes, and garner your own opinion. We will be providing full transcripts of these calls and have been advised by law enforcement that we will be provided will the entire series of reports, audio files and the name of the officer that was responsible for the discharge of the taser.
The media must understand that as of this point, there is no more data to provide. The moment that we receive the data, we will be posting it for you live. In the interim, please follow our blogs, the Associated Press, The Salt Lake Tribune and KSL Television in Salt Lake City.
Further we are not going to accept any further requests from the national media for our statement. We encourage you to listen to the tapes, contact the City of Hurricane Police Department and stay tuned for further developments.
THIS is a prime example of how fast news travels around the world using Social Media and Citizen Journalism. This will be studied for years to come. Why would the BBC care?
All media inquiries should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
Western Capital Multimedia Inc.
Marking guard's slaying, activist seek changes at federal prisons
SALT LAKE CITY - Union activists are using the one-year anniversary of Atwater
prison guard Jose Rivera's slaying to amplify their demands for reform and
Stabbed to death at U.S. Penitentiary Atwater on June 20, 2008, Rivera is
now near the status of political symbol. On Thursday, his picture stood near
center stage as union leaders repeated their call for the resignation of
Bureau of Prisons Director Harley Lappin.
"We have lost all faith in the Bureau of Prisons' management," John Gage,
president of the American Federation of Government Employees, declared at
the National Press Club.
Gage previously asked Attorney General Eric Holder to fire Lappin in May, as
have, repeatedly, leaders of the affiliated Council of Prison Locals. Holder
has not responded publicly, and there's no apparent groundswell of
anti-Lappin sentiment on Capitol Hill.
A Bureau of Prisons spokesman could not be reached to comment.
But with events like the news conference Thursday, and with a newly filed
lawsuit promising to shed more light on how Rivera died, family members and
leaders of the unions that represent correctional workers are trying to
reclaim the offensive.
"We're angry," Council of Prison Locals President Bryan Lowery said
Thursday. "We're upset."
Specifically, the union leaders want more guards to handle the 206,000
inmates now in federal prison. Currently, the Bureau of Prisons employs
about 16,000 correctional officers -- guards -- in addition to about 28,000
other correctional workers. The union leaders also seek wider distribution
of stab-resistant vests.
From Congress, the activists hope for increased overall funding as well as
hearings into prison safety issues.
"Tight budgets have ... meant that we have not been able to increase our
staffing to the level necessary to keep pace with the population growth,"
Lappin acknowledged in testimony before a House panel in March, adding that
"increased crowding and an increase in the inmate-to-staff ratio result in
an increase in serious assaults."
The unions' public relations campaign includes a bit of hype, like the four
members of Congress who were said to have been invited to the National Press
Club news conference but who did not show up. The applause following some of
the presentations Thursday came not from journalists but from union
supporters filling the room. Those attending included Andy Krotik, an
Atwater Realtor and spokesman for Friends & Family of Correctional Officers.
"They're right on the mark," Krotik said of the concerns raised anew
Rivera became the first federal correctional officer in a decade to die in
the line of duty when he was stabbed. Prosecutors have charged former
Atwater inmates Jose Cabrera Sablan and James Ninete Leon Guerrero with the
The June 20 slaying occurred one day after Guerrero arrived from another
federal prison, from which he had been transferred for disciplinary reasons.
According to a Justice Department Board of Inquiry report, obtained by
attorney Mark Peacock on behalf of Rivera's family, Sablan, Guerrero and
other inmates "began consuming intoxicants" during the afternoon Rivera
The Board of Inquiry report states that Sablan first attacked the
22-year-old Rivera, who then ran. The inmates pursued him. Rivera
head-butted Guerrero and then kept running until he was tackled by Guerrero,
who reportedly held him down while Sablan stabbed the officer with an ice
"Inmate Sablan struck Officer Rivera approximately eight times in the torso
until the arrival of the first staff on the scene," the report states.
The first staffer to arrive was an unarmed female secretary, and the second
was an unarmed female unit manager. The unit manager "did not intervene or
render assistance during the assault," the report found.
The Bureau of Prisons counts secretaries and administrative unit managers,
among other non-guard correctional workers, in calculating that there's a
roughly 5:1 inmate-to-correctional staff ratio nationwide. Union officials
contend this leaves a misleadingly optimistic impression about correctional
AFGE Takes on the Bureau of Prisons
I'm at a press conference right now where the American Federation of
Government Employees is launching an all-out assault on the Bureau of
Prisons for failing to address safety issues faced by prison guards. John
Gage, AFGE's president, just said:
"We have lost all faith in the BOP management. We think their whole
understanding of the mission of the bureau is outdated, it's wrong. They
care more about public relations than they do the safety of our officers. We
are taking our case to the Attorney General; we believe it is his
responsibility to correct this situation immediately, and that would be by
removing Mr. Lappin, as well as, for heaven's sake, give us the simple tools
we have been requesting: vests for our officers to wear in dangerous posts,
as well as some non-lethal weaponry such as tasers, pepper spray, or batons.
It's incredible to us that the bureau is making this a labor dispute, that
they refuse to give these basic, common-sense tools to our officers. We
feel, in the Rivera case, if these simple things we are asking had been
granted, he would be alive today."
They're working with the lawyers for Jose Rivera, a 22-year-old prison guard
who served two deployments in Iraq as a member of the Navy, who was killed
by inmates in the prison where he worked on June 20,2008. The family wants
$100 million from the Bureau. AFGE wants officers to be able to wear
stab-proof vests and carry pepper spray, tasers, and batons in high-risk
Union criticizes prison bureau for understaffing, lack of safety equipment
The American Federation of Government Employees blasted the leadership of
the Bureau of Prisons on Thursday, saying the agency was understaffed and
jeopardized corrections officers' safety by failing to provide them with
stab-resistant vests. An agency spokeswoman said the bureau was working on
"We have lost all faith in the Bureau of Prisons management," said John
Gage, president of AFGE. "We think their whole understanding of the mission
of the bureau is outdated, it's wrong. We are taking our case to the
attorney general; we believe it is his responsibility to correct this
Between 2002 and 2006, the agency lost about 4,600 correctional officers as
the inmate population in federal prisons rose, according to Phil Glover,
legislative coordinator for AFGE's Council of Prison Locals. In 2000, there
were 145,000 people incarcerated at 115 federal prison facilities, the union
said. Today, those facilities hold 205,000 inmates.
Inadequate staffing contributed to an increase in violent incidents, AFGE
officials said. Between fiscal 2005 and 2006, inmate assaults on other
inmates rose 15.5 percent, and assaults on prison staff rose 6 percent,
according to the union's statistics.
President Obama included funding for a Bureau of Prisons staff boost in his
fiscal 2010 budget proposal, but Gage said he was concerned that the
agency's director, Harley Lappin, would spend the money on other priorities.
Felicia Ponce, a spokeswoman for the bureau, said the agency planned to make
new hires "to the maximum extent possible within the enacted resources."
Staffing is only one of the issues AFGE is targeting. Union officials said
the bureau should provide all correctional officers with stab-resistant
vests when they work in dangerous units. The vests cost about $400 each, and
must be custom-fitted to be effective.
In a November letter to Lappin and a May follow-up to Attorney General Eric
Holder, AFGE said the bureau was making vests available only to corrections
officers who asked for them. The agency then subjected those officers to
disciplinary action if they did not wear the vests at all times, even if
they were doing office work, union officials said.
Ponce said the final policy would be determined by negotiations between the
Council of Prison Locals and the bureau, echoing the agency's March 2009
response to AFGE General Counsel Mark Roth's November letter.
"Both the union and BOP management supported ordering and issuing
stab-resistant vests to staff prior to conducting bargaining," Ponce said.
"Negotiations regarding the vests are presently under way, and the parties
have successfully negotiated many proposals."
Gage said he thought the agency should not wait until bargaining is over to
give officers vests and nonlethal weapons such as pepper spray, Tasers and
Safety issues have become particularly heated as the one-year anniversary of
the murder of corrections officer Jose Rivera by two federal inmates
approaches. Rivera's family has filed a $100 million lawsuit against the
bureau, Lappin and other agency officials.
The Justice Department Board of Inquiry's report on Rivera's June 20, 2008,
stabbing found that the U.S. penitentiary in Atwater, Calif., where Rivera
worked, had 332 staffers, even though there were 389 positions available.
Thirty percent of the prison's workers had less than three years of
experience, and 80 percent had been with the bureau for less than a decade.
The report also noted that the coroner who examined Rivera determined the
cause of his death was two stab wounds that punctured his heart, though he
was stabbed many more times. AFGE and Mark Peacock, the lawyer representing
Rivera's family, contend that if Rivera had been wearing a stab-resistant
vest, he would not have died in the assault.
Ponce said that because court cases against Rivera's assailants and
Peacock's civil suit are pending, and because the bureau has not released
the Board of Inquiry's report, the bureau would not comment on the report or