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ATTORNEYS FOR NYPD POLICE OFFICERS CHARGED WITH RAPE FILE MOTION TO DISMISS

By JUSTICE CAMPBELL

A paid of New York City police officers were charged with raping an 18-year-old girl at the end of October. The attorney for Officer Eddie Martins said, in a 37-page notice of a motion filed recently, that he wanted the charges dismissed. They are accusing the alleged victim of lying about the brutal attack by stating that the tale told by the teen  was “patently false,” and that she “perjured herself and made numerous material consistent statements.” The young woman “gave shockingly contradictory accounts of the incident to (police), the media and under oath,” according to the papers filed in the Brooklyn Supreme Court.

In November, Martins and fellow Officer Richard Hall quit their NYPD jobs. The two ex-cops now face charges of rape and kidnapping nearly two months after the stunning Sept. 15 allegations about an alleged rape inside their police minivan. A spokesman for the Brooklyn district attorney said, “We will review the motion and respond to it in court.”

During the course of the investigation, the court papers also asked for the suppression of physical evidence from Martins’ “person, locked office, desk, locker and body.”

According to the documents, the search warrants were issued based on information from witnesses lacking in credibility — and most egregiously, the accuser. The court papers charged, “The integrity of the grand jury proceeding was impaired by … the prosecution’s presentation of false testimony by their essential witness. The prosecution’s conduct deprived the grand jury from ‘the full truthful story’ and such evidence would have materially influenced the grand jury’s determination.”

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NYPD’S SECRET USE OF CELLPHONE-SWEEPING TECHNOLOGY

By R. J. NICHOLAS

Scores of police departments across the country are quietly using a highly secretive technology developed for the military that can track the whereabouts of suspects by using the signals constantly emitted by their cellphones, including New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and Las Vegas.

Objections to the suitcase-sized devices known as StingRays or cell site simulators are increasingly growing amidst civil liberties and privacy groups. The StingRays or cell site simulators mimick cell towers and can sweep up cellphone data from an entire neighborhood. The cellphone user doesn’t even have to make a call or send a text message, the Police can still determine the location of a phone without the phone being in use. Some versions of the technology can even intercept texts and calls, or pull information stored on the phones.

Privacy experts say, that part of the problem is the devices can also collect data from anyone within a small radius of the person being tracked. In most cases, law enforcement will go to great lengths to conceal usage by offering plea deals rather than divulging details on the StingRay. Attorney Jerome Greco, of Legal Aid Society said, “We can’t even tell how frequently they’re being used.” Greco recently succeeded in blocking evidence collected with the device in a New York City murder case. “It makes it very difficult”

It has been brought to public attention that at least 72 state and local law enforcement departments in 24 states plus 13 federal agencies use the devices. The departments that use them must take the unusual step of signing nondisclosure agreements overseen by the FBI which makes further details hard to come by.

The Harris Corporation is a defense contractor that makes the devices. They are involved with the agreements that are intended to prevent the release of sensitive law enforcement information to the general public, states an FBI spokeswoman. The agreements, however, don’t prevent an officer from telling prosecutors the technology was used in a case.

The use of this technology was virtually unknown to the public in New York City until last year. The New York Civil Liberties Union forced the disclosure of records showing the NYPD used the devices more than 1,000 times since 2008. The NYPD and other police departments across the country are standing behind the continued use of this current technology saying it helped catch suspects in kidnappings, rapes, robberies, assaults and murders. It has even helped find missing people, if they even had a cell phone on them.

None-the-less, privacy experts and citizens that support the constitution say such deceptive gains come at too high a cost. Jennifer Lynch, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation said, “We have a Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.” She is referring to the protection against unreasonable search and seizure. “Our Founding Fathers decided when they wrote the Bill of Rights there had to be limits placed on government.”

Proposals to stop this invasion of privacy have been introduced by lawmakers in several states ranging from warrant requirements to an outright ban on the technology. There are a dozen states that already have laws requiring warrants. Last year, federal law enforcement said that it would be routinely required to get a search warrant before using the technology — a first effort to create a uniform legal standard for federal authorities.

As a result case law is slowly building. A Washington, D.C., appeals court overturned a conviction on a sex assault after judges ruled a violation of the Fourth Amendment because of evidence improperly collected from the simulator without a proper warrant, two months ago.

Last month, in the New York murder case argued by the Legal Aid Society, a judge in Brooklyn ruled that the NYPD must have an eavesdropping warrant signed by a judge to use the device. This is a much higher bar than the “reasonable suspicion” standard that had previously been required.

State Supreme Court Judge Martin Murphy wrote, ”By its very nature, then, the use of a cell site simulator intrudes upon an individual’s reasonable expectation of privacy, acting as an instrument of eavesdropping and requires a separate warrant supported by probable cause.”

Even though there had been a court order to use a StingRay, New York City police officials disagreed with the ruling and disputed that a StingRay was even used in the case. Police officials say they require a higher stander of probable cause when applying for the devices, but who knows what’s really happening.

Many hope the ruling will push the nation’s largest department into meeting the higher standard, and help judges better understand the intricacies of more cutting-edge surveillance, including Greco from the Legal Aid Society. Greco said, “We’re hoping we can use this decision among other decisions being made across the country to show that this logic is right. The fact that most judges don’t understand this growing technology, is what is making cell tapping a major issue. It makes it easier if another judge has sat down, learned about this new surveillance and really thought about it.”

Will American citizens continue to sacrifice their boundaries and privacy out of fear and oppression or will they stand like their forefathers did and say no more?

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MANHATTAN BIKE ATTACK WAS FUELED BY ISIS

By DEVON ST. CLAIRE

Federal officials say, that the pickup driver accused of fatally mowing down people on a Manhattan bike path on October 31st has been charged in a 22-count indictment that accuses him of murder and providing key support to the terrorist group ISIS.

According to court papers released Tuesday, Sayfullo Saipov, is 29 years old and from New Jersey. Due to a simple decision he made last month he now faces life in prison or the death penalty on eight counts of murder in aid of racketeering and 12 counts of attempted murder in aid of racketeering. These are charges often lodged against organized crime and gang members. The criminal enterprise ISIS is steeped in killings, kidnappings, suicide bombings and other intimidation tactics.

The alleged killer rented a Home Depot truck and wanted to display the ISIS flag in the front and back of it during the attack. According to the U.S. Attorney’s office in Manhattan which has the case, he decided against it because he did not want to draw attention to himself.

The indictment said, in the allegation of providing and attempting to provide material support to ISIS, Saipov knew the foreign group’s members were terrorists but still “provided services and personnel” — namely himself — when he barreled down a mile-long stretch of the West Side Highway path before hitting a school bus van. Saipov was also indicted on one count of violence and destruction of a motor vehicle.

On Tuesday night Saipov’s attorney could not be reached. However, the facts remain that Saipov killed eight people and injured 12 others while driving directly through a bicycle and pedestrian path near Houston and West streets. This murderous rampage forced nearby schools to go on lockdown just as students were leaving for the day. Saipov then allegedly waved around a weapon after ditching the pickup truck. He was then shot by an NYPD officer who later determined that the weapon was a paintball gun and a pellet gun.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement, “Sayfullo Saipov murdered eight innocent people and injured many more in a calculated act of terrorism in the heart of one of our great cities. People have a right to safety walking down a sidewalk or riding a bike, and we will not change our resolve to confront these threats both at home and abroad.”

Saipov, arrived to the states in 2010 from Uzbekistan and was a legal, permanent resident of the U.S. Prosecutors said they intend to seize all of his assets. Federal officials accused Saipov of “substantial planning and premeditation,” but the information released was largely known as was listed in court papers.

Authorities said, Saipov waived his Miranda rights after his capture and he revealed plans to continue driving on to the Brooklyn Bridge. It was apparently another soft target where he could maximize deaths. He chose to attack on Halloween because it was a day when many people were guaranteed to be on the streets.

Investigators found a stun gun, three knives and a document about 10 feet from his truck, with Arabic text saying “It will endure.” Federal officials said, this statement is commonly used to refer to ISIS, meaning the group will last forever. Prosecutors said, there were also cellphones in the truck that were key in the investigation. The cellphones contained scores of ISIS images and propaganda that inspired him to start planning his attack a year in advance. He choose the truck as his weapon after watching ISIS videos on his cellphone.

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MANHATTAN BIKE ATTACK WAS FUELED BY ISIS

By DEVON ST. CLAIRE

Federal officials say, that the pickup driver accused of fatally mowing down people on a Manhattan bike path on October 31st has been charged in a 22-count indictment that accuses him of murder and providing key support to the terrorist group ISIS.

According to court papers released Tuesday, Sayfullo Saipov, is 29 years old and from New Jersey. Due to a simple decision he made last month he now faces life in prison or the death penalty on eight counts of murder in aid of racketeering and 12 counts of attempted murder in aid of racketeering. These are charges often lodged against organized crime and gang members. The criminal enterprise ISIS is steeped in killings, kidnappings, suicide bombings and other intimidation tactics.

The alleged killer rented a Home Depot truck and wanted to display the ISIS flag in the front and back of it during the attack. According to the U.S. Attorney’s office in Manhattan which has the case, he decided against it because he did not want to draw attention to himself.

The indictment said, in the allegation of providing and attempting to provide material support to ISIS, Saipov knew the foreign group’s members were terrorists but still “provided services and personnel” — namely himself — when he barreled down a mile-long stretch of the West Side Highway path before hitting a school bus van. Saipov was also indicted on one count of violence and destruction of a motor vehicle.

On Tuesday night Saipov’s attorney could not be reached. However, the facts remain that Saipov killed eight people and injured 12 others while driving directly through a bicycle and pedestrian path near Houston and West streets. This murderous rampage forced nearby schools to go on lockdown just as students were leaving for the day. Saipov then allegedly waved around a weapon after ditching the pickup truck. He was then shot by an NYPD officer who later determined that the weapon was a paintball gun and a pellet gun.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement, “Sayfullo Saipov murdered eight innocent people and injured many more in a calculated act of terrorism in the heart of one of our great cities. People have a right to safety walking down a sidewalk or riding a bike, and we will not change our resolve to confront these threats both at home and abroad.”

Saipov, arrived to the states in 2010 from Uzbekistan and was a legal, permanent resident of the U.S. Prosecutors said they intend to seize all of his assets. Federal officials accused Saipov of “substantial planning and premeditation,” but the information released was largely known as was listed in court papers.

Authorities said, Saipov waived his Miranda rights after his capture and he revealed plans to continue driving on to the Brooklyn Bridge. It was apparently another soft target where he could maximize deaths. He chose to attack on Halloween because it was a day when many people were guaranteed to be on the streets.

Investigators found a stun gun, three knives and a document about 10 feet from his truck, with Arabic text saying “It will endure.” Federal officials said, this statement is commonly used to refer to ISIS, meaning the group will last forever. Prosecutors said, there were also cellphones in the truck that were key in the investigation. The cellphones contained scores of ISIS images and propaganda that inspired him to start planning his attack a year in advance. He choose the truck as his weapon after watching ISIS videos on his cellphone.

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THANKSGIVING WEEKEND SHOOTOUT

By JUSTICE CAMPBELL

Gunfire rang out inside the Galleria at Crystal Run Mall on Sunday afternoon. Two people were injured and the mall evacuated during one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year.

Police say a round was apparently fired into the floor when a man discharged a handgun on the second floor of the mall near the American Eagle store around 3:00 p.m.

A 49-year-old woman from Goshen and her 12-year-old son suffered minor abrasions during the incident states Chief Robert Hertman, of the Wallkill Police Department. They were both treated for their injuries and released from Orange County Regional Medical Center. The two were injured as a result of the round being discharged into the floor, believe’s Hertman. The Town of Woodbury police believe the shooting may have been an accidental discharge of a firearm, but investigators of the case have not confirmed it yet.

No arrests have been made at this time. The shooter has been described by officials as wearing a dark jacket and grey pants. Officials also state he was with a female wearing maroon pants, a dark jacket and pushing a baby stroller.

An incredibly busy time for a shooting to occur as it took place during the Black Friday weekend. This also marks the start of the holiday shopping season. The police swarmed the mall and called a complete evacuation. This caused Sunday’s holiday shopping extravaganza to be cut short and by early evening the parking lot was mostly empty except for response vehicles. That’s one way to thin the crowds at the mall during the holidays.

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COHOES WOMAN ATTEMPTS TO SMUGGLE DRUGS INTO PRISON

By DEVON ST. CLAIRE

On Saturday, a Cohoes woman was arrested and charged with two counts of promoting prison contraband. She was also charged with trying to smuggle drugs into Downstate Correctional Facility in Fishkill.

Her name was Erin Kowalewski, 39, and she was also charged with unlawful possession of marijuana, criminal possession of a controlled substance, and a misdemeanor for drug possession. She was going to visit an inmate and intended to provide him with the drugs, stated Police. Diazepam, Suboxone, hydrocodone and marijuana was found in her possession. She was sent to the Dutchess County Jail in lieu of $2,500 cash bail or $5,000 bond.

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CYCLIST & ADVOCATE KILLED BY HIT-AND-RUN DRIVER

By JUSTICE CAMPBELL

 

A 57-year-old Brooklyn man recklessly killed a 35-year-old Queens cyclist and advocate Matthew von Ohlen. He left the scene of the fatal crash and was sentenced to five to 15 years in prison.

 

“The reckless and dastardly actions of this defendant took the life of a beloved cyclist and advocate for safe streets. We cannot tolerate this kind of violent behavior by motorists and I am committed to continue doing my part in ensuring the safety of everyone who uses Brooklyn roads – drivers, cyclists and pedestrians alike,” said Acting District Attorney Gonzalez.

 

The defendant has been identified as Juan Maldonado, 57, of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Today he was sentenced to the maximum sentence of five to 15 years in prison by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Suzanne Mondo. This sentence followed last month’s conviction of second-degree manslaughter, leaving the scene of an incident without reporting and reckless driving after a jury trial. The Department of Motor Vehicles has been contacted by the judge who requested a lifetime revocation of the defendant’s driving license.

 

On July 2, 2016, at approximately 2:37 a.m., the defendant was behind the wheel of a black Chevy Camaro in the vicinity of Grand Street and Manhattan Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, states the Acting District Attorney.

 

The defendant sped through a red light at an intersection, swerved into a designated bike lane on Grand Street where the victim was riding his bike, and then struck the victim. The defendant hit the victim’s bicycle from behind causing the victim to fall according to the evidence. The defendant ran over the victim and dragged him approximately 10 to 20 feet as he continued driving and sped away. The victim was pronounced dead after he was taken to Bellevue Hospital. Blunt force trauma was the cause of death.

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JACK MARTINS FOR NASSAU COUNTY EXECUTIVE

By DEVON ST. CLAIRE

The New York State Fraternal Order of Police, Empire State Lodge, the oldest and largest national association of law enforcement professionals with over 20,000 members statewide, along with significant, deep support from law enforcement unions on Long Island and New York City endorsed Nassau County Executive candidate Jack Martins.

“We have based our endorsement upon Jack Martins’ demonstrated and continued support of police professionals. Further, as police professionals who most experience and witness the trauma and effects of criminal behavior wrecked upon our fellow citizens, we understand, all too well, the significance of dedicated public servants like Jack who possess the courage and compassion to promote the confidence in our government and courts.” said, President Michael Essig.

Jack Martins said, ”I am honored to have the endorsement of the New York State Fraternal Order of Police. The men and women of the NYS FOP put their lives on the line every day to keep New Yorkers safe. I am proud that they trust in my experience and ability to lead Nassau County forward.”

Jack Martins substantially reduced Mineola’s debt and returned the village to a sound financial footing by developing balanced fiscally responsible budgets and debt management plans. He also expanded the village’s economic base through smart growth principles and led the effort to create Mineola’s award-winning master redevelopment plan.

As a State Senator, Martins cut state taxes on middle class families to the lowest level in 50 years, enacting the state property tax cap and delivering record state funding for Nassau County schools all while enacting an historic series of balanced, on-time state budgets.

Martins has the right experience and ability to lead Nassau forward along with securing deep union support for his candidacy, in particular with law enforcement unions. His union support includes: the Nassau County Police Benevolent Association, Patrolman’s Benevolent Association of the City of New York, the Correction Officer Benevolent Association, the Superior Officers Union, Nassau Correction Officers Benevolent Association, Detectives’ Association Incorporated, Deputy Sheriff’s Benevolent Association, Inc., Police Medic Benevolent Association, Fire Marshal Benevolent Association, Local 237 Teamsters, the Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters and the NYC District Council of Carpenters, the Civil Service Employees Association. Martins has also earned the endorsement of former New York Governor George E. Pataki and Congressman Peter King.

Jack Martins is the Republican, Conservative and Reform Party nominee for Nassau County Executive. Jack is a former three-term New York State Senator, the former Mayor of Mineola, and he lives in Nassau with his wife and four daughters. Jack Martins is focused on making Nassau County a better place to live, work and raise a family. As Nassau County Executive, Jack is committed to ending the corruption that has compromised the public’s trust in government, protecting local property taxpayers and creating an economic renaissance to provide a brighter future for the middle class.  The election is November 7, 2017.

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NYPD POLICE OFFICER ENGAGES IN SEX TRAFFICKING

By JUSTICE CAMPBELL

On September 21, 2016 former New York City Police officer, Eduardo Cornejo, plead guilty to conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking of a minor. He was sentenced to 66 months in prison, five years of supervised release, and sex offender registration. Cornejo was ordered to pay $5,000 in forfeiture. United States District Judge Brian M. Cogan imposed the sentence.

Acting United States Attorney Rohde stated, “Cornejo conspired to engage in the sex trafficking of a 16-year-old girl during his off-duty time, a violation of his oath to protect the community and uphold the law. Together with our law enforcement partners, this Office will continue to address and bring to justice those who occupy positions of trust at any level and who engage in criminal conduct.”

Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney said, “The subject in this case used information he knew from being a sworn member of law enforcement to elude officers who would know he was doing something illegal. He was aware of the laws, and continued to break them even after being arrested.  We wear badges as law enforcement to serve and protect our communities, not to endanger and exploit children for financial gain.”

The then-NYPD police officer Cornejo engaged in an interstate prostitution scheme that involved at least 10 different women, according to court documents. Upon completing a tour a duty with the NYPD Cornejo transported the women to motels throughout the New York metropolitan area, including New Jersey and Long Island. The illegal purposes of his activities were confirmed by judicially authorized interceptions of communications inside Cornejo’s vehicle.  Cornejo was heard saying, “The girls is at the [a motel] so it nice and clean, it’s picking up now it was alright last night.”  Soon thereafter, he stated, “That might make it hot though, standing outside with a bunch of girls. . . . [Members of law enforcement] going to know what’s up real quick.”

At least one of the women transported by Cornejo (“Jane Doe”) appeared to be particularly young, when members of law enforcement observed this in January 2016.  Members of law enforcement interviewed Jane Doe shortly after members of law enforcement observed Cornejo transport her to a motel since they were concerned about the possibility that Cornejo might be trafficking a minor. Even though Jane Doe presented an identification document reflecting that she had turned 18 years old two months earlier, further investigation revealed that Cornejo began transporting Jane Doe to participate in prostitution activity when she was just 16 years old. It was also confirmed that she engaged in commercial sexual acts at Cornejo’s direction.  In his post-arrest statement, Cornejo confirmed that he had transported Jane Doe for numerous months with the intent that she engage in prostitution.

When Judge Cogan revoked Cornejo’s bond, Cornejo has been in custody since August 10, 2016. Cornejo had been continuing to promote prostitution by driving multiple women to motels throughout the New York metropolitan area even after his arrest and release on bond.

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BROOKLYN MAN SENTENCED TO 20 YEARS AFTER KILLING AN INNOCENT MAN

By JUSTICE CAMBELL

Four gang members were sentenced to 25 years to life in prison after being convicted of robbery and murder at trial earlier this year. Today a fifth gang member has been sentenced to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty.

“Today’s sentencing brings to justice the final defendant in this harrowing case in which an innocent young man was killed and his brother was injured. We have now held all five defendants who participated in the robbery accountable and ensured they will spend many years in prison for their actions,” says Acting District Attorney Gonzalez.

The defendant has been identified as Celestino Martinez, 25, of Prospect Park South, in Brooklyn. Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Evelyn Laporte sentenced him to 20 years in prison and five years’ post-release supervision following his guilty plea to first-degree manslaughter on August 16, 2017. Four co-defendants, Carmello Bello, 28, and Miguel Bello, 34, of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Javier Ortiz, 35, and Martin Carillo, 36 of Sunset Park, Brooklyn were convicted of second-degree murder and first-degree robbery earlier this year following a jury trial before Justice Laporte. Each of the defendants was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.

On September 7, 2014, at approximately 1:50 a.m., on Myrtle Avenue in Bedford Stuyvesant, the defendants approached and demanded money from the victims, Juan Carlos Luna-Juarez, 23, and his 27-year-old brother as they returned home from work. The defendants, repeatedly punched, kicked and stabbed the two victims, when they did not comply. According to the trial testimony the defendants stole a bike and backpack. Juan Juarez was stabbed approximately 10 times and died as the result of a puncture wound to the heart, said The Acting District Attorney.

Shortly after the attack all members of the Ninos Malos gang, were apprehended near the crime scene. Two of the defendants had blood on their clothing, which was later determined to belong to the victims, and officers found a knife in the pocket of one defendant, at the time of their arrest. Two additional knives were recovered from the crime scene. The evidence also showed that the defendant Miguel Bello subsequently admitted to being at the crime scene and stabbing someone.

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