DOJ to investigate entire Sanford PD

Published: Wednesday, March 28, 2012 @ 5:49 AM
Updated: Wednesday, March 28, 2012 @ 5:49 AM

The Trayvon Martin case is bringing more scrutiny on the Sanford Police Department. The Department of Justice will now investigate all cases handled by the police department, after receiving complaints from Sanford citizens.

It's been more than a month since 17-year-old Martin was killed and only a week since the Department of Justice, the U.S. Attorney's Office and the FBI launched investigations into why George Zimmerman shot him. Now, the Department of Justice is launching another investigation into the entire Sanford Police Department.

"The citizens of Sanford will continue to have some idea that their concerns would be heard by an independent agency when they have issues with the Sanford Police Department," said Sanford City Manager Norton Bonaparte.

Bonaparte announced the new investigation Tuesday afternoon after receiving numerous complaints about the way officers handled other cases.

He said that so many people complained at Monday night's city commission meeting about Sanford officers, the city asked the Department of Justice to step in.

"I am now in the process of talking with the Department of Justice and instituting a mechanism whereby citizens that have concerns or complaints about the Sanford Police Department can have their concerns heard and investigated by an independent agency," said Bonaparte.

WFTV found out the investigations could pave the way for a long relationship with federal officials.

After complaints surfaced in Los Angeles and Pittsburgh, the Department of Justice found a pattern of civil rights abuse. Then, it completely took over the departments and entered into "consent decrees" to improve them. The Department of Justice took over the department in LA for eight years and in Pittsburgh for four.

"Only that we are having conversations with the Department of Justice in some of the things they have seen other cities do," said Bonaparte.

Sanford officials will not know what this will mean for its police force until the Department of Justice tells them what it found.

The Department of Justice has not announced a sweeping investigation yet.

What was supposed to be a peaceful walk-out by students at Martin's school in Miami turned into chaos, and it was all caught on video.

About 100 students can be seen on the video running into a Walgreens near the school. The walk-out was planned as a protest of Martin's death, but the group took it as an opportunity to cause trouble, knocking stuff off shelves. No one was arrested.

George Zimmerman claims he shot Martin in self-defense but now, some state lawmakers want to review Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law because of this case.

The law allows someone to use deadly force if their lives are threatened. Some question if Zimmerman's life really was in danger.

Democrats want the law re-examined, but Republicans say they want all the facts in this case to come out before moving forward.

Martin's parents used an appearance before a congressional panel to thank the people who helped them turn their son's death into a rallying cry against racial profiling.

Members of Congress accused the Sanford Police Department of not doing a real investigation.

"They have profiled so much in this case; they decided that they were already going to make the victim, the cause... and let someone walk away without even questioning," said Gregory Meeks, (D) New York.

During the trip to Washington, DC, Martin's mother told lawmakers that what happened to her son could happen to anyone.

Martin's family is making a move to trademark his name. WFTV discovered that new federal filings show the family has applied for trademarks for the phrases "I am Trayvon" and "Justice for Trayvon."

The family insists that it will not try to profit from Trayvon's name. They say they want to prevent other people from printing any merchandise.

Trailers and posters for a movie coming out this summer have been pulled out of Florida theaters in the wake of the teen's death.  (Watch the movie trailer here)

The movie "Neighborhood Watch" is a comedy starring Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, and Jonah Hill.

Twentieth Century Fox says the movie has no connection to the Trayvon Martin shooting and they stopped promotions out of respect.

Another juror in Cosby case opens up about deliberations

Published: Tuesday, June 27, 2017 @ 12:02 AM

NORRISTOWN, PA - JUNE 17:  Actor Bill Cosby is seen leaving Montgomery County Courthouse after the sexual assault case was declared a mistrial (Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/WireImage)
Gilbert Carrasquillo/WireImage

Another juror in the Bill Cosby sexual-assault case is talking about the deliberations.

>> Read more trending news 

"I flip-flopped back and forth plenty of times," said Robert Dugan, the first non-alternate juror to show his face.

Dugan said he believed Cosby was guilty after Cosby's 2005 deposition was read in court.

He said that he couldn't get past the fact that Cosby wouldn't use the word "consent" when describing his encounter a year earlier with Andrea Constand that led to charges. "I was, like, you just got caught red-handed. Like, why would you say that if you're trying to defend yourself, in my opinion," Dugan said.

Jurors deliberated for 52 hours before a judge declared a mistral.

Dugan said tensions in the jury room complicated matters.

"People were frustrated. People missed their home. People missed their kids. It was a number of things and it finally all boiled up," Dugan said.

Prosecutors are working to rebuild their case for another trial.

A different juror last week expressed concern over the prosecution's lack of evidence, and said he didn't find Cosby's accuser to be credible.

Powdered drywall mistaken for cocaine lands innocent man behind bars for 90 days

Published: Monday, June 26, 2017 @ 11:22 PM

(Getty File Photo)
DanHenson1/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Karlos Cashe thought he was facing a minor traffic ticket when he was pulled over by police in Oviedo, Florida, in March for driving without headlights.

>> Read more trending news

When an officer saw white powder on his seat and floorboard, though, the situation became much more serious.

Cashe was on probation at the time on marijuana and cocaine charges from 2015.

He was put in handcuffs when court records showed he was out past his court-ordered curfew. Hours later, police realized the system was not up to date and Cashe had not violated his curfew.

When the officer field tested the white powder, it came up positive for cocaine, officials said.

“I know for a fact (that) it’s drywall because I’m a handyman,” Cashe said. “I said that continuously during the arrest stop.”

A K-9 unit arrived at the scene and the dog alerted on Cashe’s vehicle and an Oviedo Police Department sergeant field tested substances he believed to be marijuana and more cocaine.

When those tests came back positive, Cashe was taken to the Seminole County Jail.

Because he was accused of violating probation, he was denied bond.

“I sat there 90 days knowing I was innocent,” Cashe said.

Nearly three months later, lab tests on the substances collected in Cashe’s vehicle came back with results showing there were no drugs in the car at the time of his arrest.

Cashe walked out of jail last week, and is now hoping his story might cause police to take closer looks in this type of case.

“This is what I want to stop,” he said. “I don’t want this to happen to anybody else.”

Woman searched at airport after feminine hygiene product alerts scanner

Published: Monday, June 26, 2017 @ 7:05 PM

Transportation Security Administration Security Officer looks at images created by a

A Charlotte woman said she was headed home from a work conference in Tampa Bay, Florida, but was stopped after going through a Transportation Safety Administration body scanner, according to WSOC-TV.

She said she was told by TSA agents at the airport in Tampa Bay that she needed to be searched again after part of her body lit up on the scanner's screen, the exact spot where she was wearing a typical feminine hygiene product.

>> Read more trending news 

"The ladies were like, ‘We're going to have to search your vaginal area and buttocks,’ and I'm like, ‘That makes no sense to me. You can clearly tell that that's a feminine product.’"

She refused the search and argued with TSA agents for about 20 minutes.

“(They said) ‘Ma'am, this is just standard procedure we have to do this. If you don't allow us to do this, you will not be boarding your flight,’" she said. "I'm crying the entire time because to me, this is very personal for you to search me in those areas, and I don't feel comfortable. They called in the police and everyone's standing there looking."

Eventually, she agreed to the search in a private room.

They went up my leg, down my leg, in the front, then up my leg and down my leg in the back with my arms up. The entire time I'm crying," she said. "I felt like a criminal. She's patting me down and they're holding my hands up and they're going on my waistline."

When agents found nothing, they let her go. 

Three days later, she's still confused, devastated and wants other women to know what happened.

"That's a real issue not just for myself, but for other women like that's so embarrassing to have to be stopped and searched like that," she said.

TSA Statement:

"We take reports of alleged impropriety very seriously and regret any distress the security screening process may have caused the passenger. TSA conducted a thorough review of the passenger's screening and concluded that all security protocols were followed as our officers worked to resolve an alarm. TSA officers must work to resolve all alarms at the checkpoint to ensure everyone arrives safely at their destination. However, incidents such as the one described are extremely rare and women should not be concerned about going through the security checkpoint."

Background provided by TSA:

"The advanced imaging technology scanner at the checkpoint helps TSA identify concealed metallic and nonmetallic items between the skin and clothing using millimeter-wave technology. So if an individual were to try to conceal something in the area of the groin, the machine would detect it. It is not out of the question that the machine could detect something placed inside an individual's underwear."

Republicans struggle to move forward on Senate health care bill

Published: Monday, June 26, 2017 @ 10:39 PM
Updated: Monday, June 26, 2017 @ 10:39 PM

Hours after the release of a Congressional Budget Office review of a Republican health care bill in the Senate, GOP leaders on Monday night found themselves on the defensive, as a small group of Senate Republicans indicated they might not even vote this week to start debate on the GOP health bill, let alone support the final product.

“CBO says 22 million people lose insurance,” said Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), who made clear the GOP plans to reduce Medicaid spending by $772 billion over ten years was unacceptable in her home state.

Collins was joined by several other Republicans in publicly saying that without changes, they are not ready to begin debate this week:

Also ready to vote against the “motion to proceed” to the health care bill – Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), and Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV).

Democrats meanwhile used speeches on the Senate floor – and social media outside on the steps of the Capitol – to make their argument that the GOP bill should be shelved immediately.

The original plan had been for the Senate to vote on Tuesday to begin debate on the GOP health care bill, with a final vote expected on Thursday or Friday – but that timeline seemed to be on hold for the time being.

Earlier on Monday, the Congressional Budget Office found that the plan would mean 22 million fewer people would have health insurance by 2026, not much different than the estimates for a similar bill that was approved by the House in early May.

The CBO report found that of the 22 million – 15 million would lose insurance coverage from changes to the Medicaid program, while another 7 million people would lose coverage because of changes in the nongroup and individual insurance marketplaces.

The CBO review had good news on the money front for the GOP, as the plan would save an estimated $321 billion over ten years on the federal deficit, spending $1.022 trillion less than current law, while reducing federal tax revenues by $701 billion from 2017-2026.

The White House derided the CBO report, arguing their estimates have never been close; meanwhile, the President was doing what he could do from the sidelines to try to sway Republicans to his side.

“He made several calls to multiple Senators to hear their concerns and get their ideas, and understand where they’re at and what needs to get done,” said White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer.

But with Republicans only able to lose two votes, GOP leaders were struggling to keep the GOP health bill on track in the Senate.