web analytics
a

Facebook

Twitter

Copyright 2015 Libero Themes.
All Rights Reserved.

8:30 - 6:00

Our Office Hours Mon. - Fri.

703-406-7616

Call For Free 15/M Consultation

Facebook

Twitter

Search
Menu
Westlake Legal Group > New York City

NY Democrats in a civil war over… pizza?

Westlake Legal Group deBlasioCuomo NY Democrats in a civil war over… pizza? The Blog pizza New York State New York City mayor governor Bill de Blasio Andrew Cuomo

There’s a battle brewing in Brooklyn and it’s shaping up to be yet another fight between New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Big Apple Mayor (and presidential candidate, for some reason) Bill de Blasio. Seeing these two mixing it up is nothing new, as the friction between them is pretty much legendary. But this dustup is a bit unusual because it involves the fate of one of New York City’s legendary pizza joints. The taxman came and shut down the Di Fara pizzeria this week, kicking everyone out and padlocking the doors. A sign was posted saying that the joint was now the property of New York State. The reason given was a matter of nearly $170,000 in unpaid state taxes. (For the record, the owner claims to have paid all taxes due.)

This prompted Mayor de Blasio to go public with demands that Di Fara be saved. The governor, on the other hand, announced that he was not about to forgive that sort of a state tax debt for anyone, no matter how good their pizza may be. (New York Post)

The war between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio just got saucy.

Cuomo threw a pie in the mayor’s face Wednesday — saying that if hizzoner wants his favorite Brooklyn pizza joint, Di Fara, open again he can pony up the $167,000 in unpaid state taxes the place owes himself.

“He has no legal authority to forgive state taxes,” Cuomo said. “Now, if he wants to pay the $200,000 on behalf of the pizza place, he can do that. That’s fine. And if he wants to get $200,000 worth of pizza, that’s his business. But he can’t forgive state taxes.”

He then added: “I’m not going to pay $200,000 for their pizza, even if it’s very good pizza.”

Cuomo probably wouldn’t have waded into this battle had de Blasio not made his demands in a very public way on Twitter.

You’ll rarely see me taking Andrew Cuomo’s side on much of anything, but he’s definitely in the right here. The Mayor has really stuck his foot in his mouth on this issue for a couple of reasons.

First of all, the government isn’t supposed to be in the business of picking winners and losers in the free market. (Yes, I know they do it all the time in Washington but that doesn’t make it right.) For the Mayor of the city to go out and declare that one particular business is superior to all the others should be an actionable offense.

And even if that were not the case, Bill de Blasio is making a very public statement encouraging some sort of forgiveness for a business that’s run up a massive tax debt and failed to pay it. If City Hall is going to start riding to the rescue of a failing pizzeria, what about everyone else who falls behind on their taxes? Why aren’t they getting special treatment in this fashion? Heck… for that matter, nobody should bother paying their state taxes if the rules don’t apply equally to everyone.

This is a touchy situation for both the Mayor and the Governor, however. New York City (another with northern New Jersey and parts of Connecticut) is the home of the best thin crust, original pizza in the world. New Yorkers take their pizza very seriously. I don’t remember ever having a pie at Di Fara (and that has nothing to do with their previous rodent infestation issues) but I have no doubt it’s good. And yet there are literally hundreds of other competing pizzerias around the area, each with their own very loyal fan base.

When politicians decide to dip a toe into the entire New York pizza scene, they do so at their own risk. Remember what happened with both Donald Trump and Sarah Palin when they ran afoul of the pizza rules? You need to be able to fold a slice and eat it properly or you quickly become persona non grata in the five boroughs. Staking a claim that one pizza place is better than all the others is nothing short of political suicide.

The post NY Democrats in a civil war over… pizza? appeared first on Hot Air.

Westlake Legal Group deBlasioCuomo-300x159 NY Democrats in a civil war over… pizza? The Blog pizza New York State New York City mayor governor Bill de Blasio Andrew Cuomo   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

NYC govt workers donating big to Democrats, with one exception…

Westlake Legal Group DeBlasioFist NYC govt workers donating big to Democrats, with one exception… The Blog New York City government workers donations campaign contributions Bill de Blasio 2020 Democratic primaries

The Big Apple is visited regularly by politicians of both parties looking to score some serious campaign cash. Small wonder, since it’s the home of Wall Street and some of the wealthiest and most politically active people in the country. But it’s not just the big-dollar donors who are of interest to politicians. Even the humble employees of the municipal government get in on the campaign contribution action and those small-dollar donations can add up quickly.

2019 is no exception and the New York Post reports that these city employees have been breaking open their piggy banks and sending in cash to many of the Democratic hopefuls. But there’s one conspicuous name almost entirely missing from the list. Almost nobody is interested in sending any of their hard-earned cash to their own mayor.

Nearly 3,000 municipal workers, including several in City Hall, have collectively coughed up more than $200,000 to White House aspirants, but almost all of it went to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s rivals, data shows.

A review of data compiled by the nonprofit Center for Public Integrity — which looked at small-dollar donations made through the ActBlue fundraising Web site between January 1 and June 30 — reveals Hizzoner’s lack of financial support in his own backyard.

Of 2,923 donors who self-identified their employer as “NYC,” “City of New York” or “New York City” on their ActBlue profiles, only 74 of them — or about 2.5 percent — gave to de Blasio.

Only 74 people out of almost three thousand New York City municipal workers bothered to send any money to de Blasio. That’s got to be depressing. He got less money than Biden, Sanders, Warren, Harris and even Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

The quotes from a few of the donors who were contacted seemed to bear out the perception that de Blasio’s approval numbers in his own city have tanked. And even the ones who do like him would prefer that he stay home and do his job rather than chasing a brass ring that he’ll never catch. In short, Hizzoner’s campaign is viewed as a joke, even on his home turf.

One nagging question does arise from this report, however. They were listing a lot of donors who gave amounts well below the threshold requiring they be reported to the FCC. According to the article, the research relied on details provided from ActBlue and included information from the donors’ profiles on that site. ActBlue is a clearinghouse for liberal donations. Did they consult all of these donors before releasing their information for this report?

Some people only give a small amount because they can’t afford any more. But others make sure to donate less than $200 precisely so their names won’t show up on such reports. If ActBlue reserves the right to publish everyone’s donations in their terms of service, then I suppose it’s fine and the blame lands on the shoulders of the donor for not reading the details. But if they don’t, somebody might want to look into this in terms of privacy violations.

The post NYC govt workers donating big to Democrats, with one exception… appeared first on Hot Air.

Westlake Legal Group DeBlasioFist-300x159 NYC govt workers donating big to Democrats, with one exception… The Blog New York City government workers donations campaign contributions Bill de Blasio 2020 Democratic primaries   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

‘The Godfather’ Actor Speaks on Chris Cuomo’s Fredo Freakout: ‘His Father Would Smack Him’

Westlake Legal Group chris-cuomo-jeff-gagliano-620x317 ‘The Godfather’ Actor Speaks on Chris Cuomo’s Fredo Freakout: ‘His Father Would Smack Him’ Uncategorized The Godfather Television New York City New York Movies mario cuomo Hollywood gianni russo Front Page Stories Fredo Featured Story Entertainment chris cuiomo Allow Media Exception

CNN correspondents Jeff Gagliano and Chris Cuomo speak on air in front of the Time Warner Building, where NYPD personnel removed an explosive device Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Kevin Hagen).

 

 

Chris Cuomo’s — brace yourself…I’m about to use a word virtually no one seems to use correctly in political writing these days — viral rant over being called “Fredo” continues to have legs.

An actor from the hit film The Godfather — in which the character Fredo is outshone by his brother, Michael Corleone — is sounding off on Chris’s stunningly expletive-filled and threatening tirade.

Speaking to TMZ, Gianni Russo (who played Michael’s wife-beating brother-in-law in Francis Ford Coppola’s 1972 masterpiece) said Chris’s late dad, former New York Governor Mario, wouldn’t be pleased:

“His father would smack him.”

His opinion isn’t exactly uninformed:

“[I] know the whole family. I know his mother. I was just with his mother recently.”

The interviewer asked, “Is [‘Fredo’] an Italian insult?”

“I can’t believe he would say that,” Gianni replied.



TMZ went for a second helping —  “His father would be ashamed of him for saying that?”

Gianni:

“Of course. I don’t understand why — first of all, it’s a classic film. You’re talking about a character that was weak.”

Back to the tabloid titan:

“[T]hat word, ‘Fredo,’ means ‘weak brother.’ It doesn’t mean anything against the Italian people.”

“I know,” the actor affirmed.

Russo explained his surprise because Chris is a smart guy:

“I couldn’t understand, because he’s such an intelligent kid — educated and everything else. I heard he’s hurt his career.”

The 75-year-old entertainer also touched on the downfall of what was once called “news”:

“All these news guys, they’re so opinionated. They’re supposed to report the news. It’s not about what you think.”

Can he get an Amen?

Gianni’s not a fan of the current Corleone controversy:

“And you’re taking Fredo, a character from a classic? It’s like spitting on the Mona Lisa.”

But he won’t be picking up the phone to tell Chris what’s what:

“I wouldn’t even call him. What are you gonna say? ‘You made a fool outta yourself.’”

In case you haven’t seen the video, I’m including it here. Beware — language:



Personally, I’ve never heard of the movie reference as an Italian slur; have you? Is “Fredo” now some sort of vulgar word?

In terms of Chris’s posturing, chest-puffed, hooliganesque harangue, it seems to me a very bad move. Especially given this self-portrayal as a paragon of virtue.

Also, if he’d done any of the things he was threatening, the other guy would’ve been able to relax on the beach for several years thanks to a robust civil suit. The intimidation factor was surely very low — I doubt the target of Chris’s attack was afraid-O.

Oops.

-ALEX

 

Relevant RedState links in this article: here.

See 3 more pieces from me:

Viral Video Provides A Lesson In Justice & Heroism – When Bullying Turns To Deep, Deep Regret

The 10 Stages Of Genocide: A Social Media Marvel Provides A Window Into America’s Growing Mental Disorder

Tucker Carlson Lambasts Demagoguing Democrats & Hits On What Men Are Missing; This Is What The World Needs – Now

Find all my RedState work here.

And please follow Alex Parker on Twitter and Facebook.

Thank you for reading! Please sound off in the Comments section below.

If you have an iPhone and want to comment, select the box with the upward arrow at the bottom of your screen; swipe left and choose “Request Desktop Site.” If it fails to automatically refresh, manually reload the page. Scroll down to the red horizontal bar that says “Show Comments.”

The post ‘The Godfather’ Actor Speaks on Chris Cuomo’s Fredo Freakout: ‘His Father Would Smack Him’ appeared first on RedState.

Westlake Legal Group chris-cuomo-jeff-gagliano-300x153 ‘The Godfather’ Actor Speaks on Chris Cuomo’s Fredo Freakout: ‘His Father Would Smack Him’ Uncategorized The Godfather Television New York City New York Movies mario cuomo Hollywood gianni russo Front Page Stories Fredo Featured Story Entertainment chris cuiomo Allow Media Exception   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Daniel Pantaleo, Officer Who Held Eric Garner in Chokehold, Is Fired

The New York City police officer whose chokehold was partly blamed for Eric Garner’s death in police custody in 2014 was fired from the Police Department on Monday, ending a bitter, five-year legal battle that had cast a shadow over the nation’s largest police force and the city it protects.

The police commissioner, James P. O’Neill, dismissed the officer, Daniel Pantaleo, just over two weeks after a police administrative judge found him guilty of violating a department ban on chokeholds.

“The unintended consequence of Mr. Garner’s death must have a consequence of its own,” Mr. O’Neill said. “Therefore I agree with the deputy commissioner of trial’s legal findings and recommendations. It is clear that Daniel Pantaleo can no longer effectively serve as a New York City police officer.”

The leader of the city’s largest police union immediately denounced the decision, saying Mr. O’Neill had bowed to “anti-police extremists” and that Mr. Pantaleo’s dismissal sent a message that the city did not stand behind its officers when they make arrests.

“We are urging all New York City police officers to proceed with the utmost caution in this new reality, in which they may be deemed ‘reckless’ just for doing their job,” the Police Benevolent Association president, Patrick J. Lynch, said in a statement. “We will uphold our oath, but we cannot and will not do so by needlessly jeopardizing our careers or personal safety.”

Mr. Garner died on July 17, 2014, after Officer Pantaleo tackled him from behind, then, along with other officers, pressed him down on the pavement. Captured on video, the arrest and Mr. Garner’s last words — “I can’t breathe” — galvanized the Black Lives Matter movement.

The case had defined the Police Department’s relationship with the public under Mayor Bill de Blasio, who campaigned for office on a promise to reverse the aggressive policing of low-level crimes — known as the “broken windows” strategy — that his predecessor had championed. The mayor had come under intense criticism for not pushing to have Officer Pantaleo fired sooner.

Some elected officials and critics of the Police Department say those policies, which affected black and Latino neighborhoods disproportionately, are partly to blame for Mr. Garner’s death.

For many people across the country, Officer Pantaleo became a symbol of longstanding problems with how the police treat people, mostly black and Latino, suspected of low-level crimes. Mr. Garner died as he was being arrested on charges of selling untaxed cigarettes on Staten Island.

After Mr. Garner’s death, the Police Department scaled back the heavy enforcement of low-level crimes. But Officer Pantaleo’s continued employment on the police force still infuriated Mr. Garner’s family and their supporters. They lobbied for the officer to be fired and stripped of his pension, and put pressure on Mr. de Blasio to make it happen.

Under the City Charter and state law, however, the decision to fire Officer Pantaleo ultimately belonged to Commissioner O’Neill, not the mayor.

Speaking to reporters at Police Headquarters, Mr. O’Neill said he had tried to be fair and impartial and to make the decision without regard to political considerations. He noted that Mr. Pantaleo had been sent to arrest Mr. Garner as part of an effort to stop drug dealing and other crime around Tompkinsville Park on Staten Island and that Mr. Garner had resisted arrest.

Mr. O’Neill said had he been in Mr. Pantaleo’s place, he might have made the same mistakes, and that Mr. Garner set the tragedy in motion by resisting arrest. Still, the commissioner said, Mr. Pantaleo did not relax his grip on Mr. Garner’s neck after the men fell to the ground, and his recklessness triggered a fatal asthma attack.

The commissioner also acknowledged many rank-and-file officers would be angered by his decision, noting he had been a police officer for decades before becoming commissioner. “If I were still a cop, I would probably be mad at me,” he said.

Daniel Pantaleo, N.Y.P.D. Officer in Eric Garner’s Death, Should Be Fired, Judge Says

Aug 2, 2019

Westlake Legal Group merlin_156087591_ada7ae1c-1c0a-4f3d-87f3-9e1079bbaea2-threeByTwoSmallAt2X Daniel Pantaleo, Officer Who Held Eric Garner in Chokehold, Is Fired Staten Island (NYC) Police Department (NYC) Police Brutality, Misconduct and Shootings Police Benevolent Assn Pantaleo, Daniel O'Neill, James P New York City Garner, Eric de Blasio, Bill Blacks
Beyond the Chokehold: The Path to Eric Garner’s Death

Jun 13, 2015

Westlake Legal Group 14GARNER1web-videoLarge Daniel Pantaleo, Officer Who Held Eric Garner in Chokehold, Is Fired Staten Island (NYC) Police Department (NYC) Police Brutality, Misconduct and Shootings Police Benevolent Assn Pantaleo, Daniel O'Neill, James P New York City Garner, Eric de Blasio, Bill Blacks

Besides Officer Pantaleo, Mr. Garner’s family has pointed out that there are at least 11 other officers who should be held accountable for their actions leading up to Mr. Garner’s death and the aftermath. Only one — Sgt. Kizzy Adonis, who was the first supervisor to arrive on the scene — faces discipline.

Officer Pantaleo’s lawyer, Stuart London, was expected to challenge the decision in court. Mr. London and the Police Benevolent Association have long accused Mr. de Blasio of sacrificing Officer Pantaleo to satisfy public anger that threatens the mayor’s political ambitions.

Officer Pantaleo had been suspended without pay since Aug. 2, when a department judge, Deputy Commissioner Rosemarie Maldonado, found him guilty of reckless assault following an administrative trial at Police Headquarters.

Perhaps more than anything, Officer Pantaleo’s departure signaled the city’s pivot from depending on aggressive enforcement of low-level offenses to fight overall crime to relying on officers’ problem-solving skills and their ability to build mutual trust with residents.

Commissioner O’Neill designed the current crime-fighting strategy, called neighborhood policing, in his previous role as chief of department and has said he wants it to be his legacy.

In 2014, police supervisors on Staten Island targeted Mr. Garner for arrest in response to orders from headquarters to address neighborhood complaints about people illegally selling untaxed, loose cigarettes.

The directive was part of an the broken-windows policy championed by Commissioner O’Neill’s predecessor, William J. Bratton, which relied on cracking down on activities that police believed diminished the quality-of-life in order to prevent serious crime.

Judge Maldonado affirmed in her 46-page decision what many people, including federal prosecutors, believe the video plainly showed: Officer Pantaleo’s initial grip on Mr. Garner slipped as the two men grappled and became a chokehold, which the department banned two decades ago.

Judge Maldonado said in her report that the video of the July 17, 2014, encounter and an autopsy that found fresh hemorrhaging in Mr. Garner’s neck muscles provided “overwhelming” evidence that Officer Pantaleo had used a chokehold in spite of being trained not to.

Officer Pantaleo’s “use of a chokehold,” she wrote, “fell so far short of objective reasonableness that this tribunal found it to be reckless — a gross deviation from the standard of conduct established for a New York City police officer.”

The judge also found Officer Pantaleo was untruthful when he later denied to Internal Affairs investigators that he had used a chokehold, saying his explanation was “implausible and self-serving.”

Read the Judge’s Opinion

Rosemarie Maldonado, a deputy commissioner for the New York Police Department, recommended after a departmental trial that Officer Daniel Pantaleo be fired for the 2014 death of Eric Garner.

Westlake Legal Group thumbnail Daniel Pantaleo, Officer Who Held Eric Garner in Chokehold, Is Fired Staten Island (NYC) Police Department (NYC) Police Brutality, Misconduct and Shootings Police Benevolent Assn Pantaleo, Daniel O'Neill, James P New York City Garner, Eric de Blasio, Bill Blacks   46 pages, 4.15 MB

But, like the local grand jury and federal prosecutors before her, she did not find evidence that the chokehold was intentional.

The city’s largest police union criticized the decision as “pure political insanity.” Patrick J. Lynch, the president of the Police Benevolent Association, said that if O’Neill adopted the judge’s recommendation, he “will lose his Police Department.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

N.Y.P.D. Detectives Gave a Boy, 12, a Soda. He Landed in a DNA Database.

New York City detectives questioning a boy facing a felony charge last year offered him a McDonald’s soda. When the boy left, they took the straw and tested it for his DNA.

Although it did not match evidence found at a crime scene, his DNA was entered into the city’s genetic database. To have it removed, the child’s family had to petition a court and file an appeal, a process that took more than a year. The boy was 12.

The city’s DNA database has grown by nearly 29 percent over the last two years, and now has 82,473 genetic profiles, becoming a potentially potent tool for law enforcement but one that operates with little if any oversight.

The New York Police Department has taken DNA samples from people convicted of crimes, as well as from people who are only arrested or sometimes simply questioned. The practice has exposed the Police Department to scrutiny over how the genetic material is collected and whether privacy rights are being violated, civil liberties lawyers said.

A growing number of law enforcement agencies throughout the country — including police departments in Connecticut, California and Maryland — have amassed genetic databases that operate by their own rules, outside of state and federal guidelines, which tend to be far more strict.

According to a 2013 survey, 30 states and the federal government permitted the analysis of DNA samples collected from individuals who are arrested or charged, but not convicted, of certain crimes. These databases generally did not include low-level offenders.

New York State law requires a conviction before someone’s DNA can be included in the state-operated DNA databank. But databases built by local authorities are not subject to the state rules.

The rapidly expanding DNA database in New York, which the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has maintained since it was established in 2009, provides another striking example of the Police Department’s ability to adopt advancing technology with little scrutiny. The department also has built a giant facial recognition database and has been loading thousands of arrest photographs of children and teenagers into it.

The Police Department’s chief of detectives, Dermot F. Shea, said in an interview that officers were engaging in legally permitted law enforcement tactics in building the database.

“We are not indiscriminately collecting DNA,” he said. “If we did, it would be a database of millions and millions.”

Police officials also point out the database has been used to capture scores of violent criminals and to exonerate the wrongly accused. About half of the profiles in the database are from evidence collected from crime scenes. “We use DNA as a truth-finding mechanism,” Deputy Chief Emanuel J. Katranakis said. “It’s unbiased.”

Still, the DNA database, known as the Local DNA Index System, has grown with the addition of DNA from cigarettes, coffee cups, water bottles and other objects touched by people during interviews, even if they are never arrested or the charges are later dismissed.

About 31,400 of the DNA profiles in the city’s database came from people who were arrested or merely questioned in connection with a crime, but may not have been convicted, according to the Legal Aid Society, which obtained details about the database through a Freedom of Information Act request.

One of those was the 12-year-old whose DNA was collected from a straw he used while talking to the police in March 2018. The felony charge against him was eventually dropped, but his DNA remained in the database for more than a year, his lawyer, Christine Bella, said.

The legal ordeal of getting it expunged has left his mother distraught with worry about how her son will view the police going forward. The boy himself has “moved on with his young life,” Ms. Bella said.

Some civil liberties lawyers assert that the methods used to add to the database can violate the Fourth Amendment’s ban on “unreasonable searches and seizures,” a core constitutional principle. They contend the police should not be allowed to take someone’s DNA without probable cause to suspect that they did something illegal.

“It’s essentially saying, ‘Give us your entire genome, even though we don’t have any reason to believe you have committed a crime,’” said Erin E. Murphy, a New York University law professor who has written about DNA databases and DNA profiling.

Terri Rosenblatt, a staff lawyer with the Legal Aid Society, said the practice of taking DNA from water bottles and cigarettes that are offered during interviews, and then loading them into the database, also has undermined public confidence in the police.

“We talk about community policing and the idea that communities should trust their police departments, but all of these kinds of actions erode that trust,” she said.

Defense lawyers have said that the database’s rapid expansion stems, in part, from an aggressive push by the Police Department to collect DNA from every firearm police recover in order to strengthen prosecutions.

The role of the DNA database in investigations became a flash point in the trial of Chanel Lewis, a Brooklyn man convicted in April of murdering Karina Vetrano, a jogger in Queens.

Mr. Lewis’s defense lawyers had argued that DNA evidence collected from the crime scene was tainted and that detectives had conducted “a race-biased dragnet.”

ImageWestlake Legal Group 00policedna2-articleLarge N.Y.P.D. Detectives Gave a Boy, 12, a Soda. He Landed in a DNA Database. Vetrano, Karina (1986-2016) Search and Seizure Sampson, Barbara A racial profiling Privacy Prisons and Prisoners Police Department (NYC) Ozone Park (Queens, NY) Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of the City of New York New York Civil Liberties Union New York City Lewis, Chanel Legal Aid Society Innocence Project Howard Beach (Queens, NY) Forensic Science False Arrests, Convictions and Imprisonments DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid) Civil Rights and Liberties Brooklyn Defender Services

Chanel Lewis, right, was convicted of killing Karina Vetrano in 2016.CreditUli Seit for The New York Times

Mr. Lewis was asked to give a DNA sample, based largely on a police lieutenant’s hunch. He was charged with murder after his profile matched DNA found on the victim’s body and cellphone.

But before his arrest, detectives had sought saliva samples from more than 360 black men who had been previously arrested or questioned in parts of Queens and Brooklyn.

‘Race-Biased Dragnet’: DNA From 360 Black Men Was Collected to Solve Vetrano Murder, Defense Lawyers Say

Mar 31, 2019

Westlake Legal Group 31JOGGER-threeByTwoSmallAt2X N.Y.P.D. Detectives Gave a Boy, 12, a Soda. He Landed in a DNA Database. Vetrano, Karina (1986-2016) Search and Seizure Sampson, Barbara A racial profiling Privacy Prisons and Prisoners Police Department (NYC) Ozone Park (Queens, NY) Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of the City of New York New York Civil Liberties Union New York City Lewis, Chanel Legal Aid Society Innocence Project Howard Beach (Queens, NY) Forensic Science False Arrests, Convictions and Imprisonments DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid) Civil Rights and Liberties Brooklyn Defender Services

Though the DNA of those men did not match a sample found on Ms. Vetrano’s body, it was still entered into the city’s database and can now be tested, indefinitely, against evidence found at crime scenes throughout the city, defense lawyers said.

The police said that, in most cases, they gained consent before taking DNA samples. But in interviews, several men contacted by the police during the Vetrano investigation said that detectives tried to cajole, bully and threaten them into giving a DNA sample. Some gave in.

Luis Ortiz, a public defender who represented one of the men, said the police arrested his client on a marijuana-related offense and kept him jailed for a day in a Queens precinct until he agreed to a saliva sample. The man, who requested that his name not be published to protect his privacy, said one detective told him, “We know it wasn’t you, but we want to make sure.”

“He felt powerless and like he didn’t have any choice,” Mr. Ortiz said.

Eric Bellamy, 39, said four detectives arrived unannounced at his home in Brooklyn in late 2016 and explained that they wanted a sample of his DNA to eliminate him as a suspect in a murder investigation. Stunned, he refused because the detectives did not have a warrant.

Mr. Bellamy recalled one of the detectives said, “If you’re innocent, what’s the problem?”

Maurice Sylla, 55, said detectives came to his home in Brooklyn in August 2016 seeking his DNA. He was not home, but he said the police asked his niece intimidating questions about the family’s immigration status. The investigators “had no reason to invade my privacy,” he said.

Others questioned during the Vetrano investigation included Amaral Bordenave, 26, who agreed to give a urine sample after the police arrested him on an unrelated gun possession charge, and Justen Henderson, who consented to have his cheek swabbed for DNA after being arrested on a misdemeanor assault charge.

Mr. Henderson said he initially declined to provide the sample, but an officer threatened to lose the paperwork on his case so that he would be in custody longer and might be sent to Rikers Island.

“I didn’t feel like fighting,” Mr. Henderson said. “I wanted to go home.”

A portrait of Ms. Vetrano in the home she shared with her parents.  As detectives were looking for her killer, they collected DNA from 360 men, and those profiles ended up in a city database. CreditSam Hodgson for The New York Times

Law enforcement officials say the database has turned out to be a powerful tool. The Brooklyn district attorney’s office, for instance, said it had solved more than 270 cases using DNA from the database, including 10 homicides, 36 sexual assaults and 77 weapons offenses.

One example is the case of a 68-year-old woman who was raped and robbed at knife point in her home in 2016. DNA left by the woman’s attacker was uploaded to the city’s database, where it matched Willie Weathers, who had been convicted of a robbery. Mr. Weathers was convicted of the rape and sentenced to 25 years in prison in 2017.

In 2014, the database also helped Brooklyn prosecutors convict another accused rapist, Avery Bovell. Two years after the attack, Mr. Bovell was arrested and questioned in connection with a commercial burglary. The police obtained a sample of his DNA from an object he touched, and it matched the DNA of one of two men the victim said had raped her. In June, Mr. Bovell pleaded guilty to first-degree criminal sexual act.

“Without having that resource, we would never have been able to identify one of the attackers in that case,” said Rachel Singer, the chief of the forensic science unit in the Brooklyn district attorney’s office.

Once a person’s genetic information has been put in the database, it can be struggle to get it removed, lawyers said. Last year, the medical examiner’s office removed only seven DNA profiles from the database.

Take, for example, the case a Bronx man, Lamar, who asked that his last name be withheld to protect his privacy. In April 2018, detectives questioned him about a firearm they believed he had discarded and surreptitiously collected his DNA from a cigarette they had offered him, video of the interrogation shows.

When the charges against him were later dismissed, Lamar petitioned a judge to expunge his DNA from city records. He said he did not learn that detectives had collected his DNA from the cigarette until it was revealed at a court hearing. “I didn’t expect nothing like that,” he said.

Genealogy Sites Have Helped Identify Suspects. Now They’ve Helped Convict One.

Jul 1, 2019

She Was Arrested at 14. Then Her Photo Went to a Facial Recognition Database.

Aug 1, 2019

Police Agencies Are Assembling Records of DNA

Jun 12, 2013

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Breaking: Epstein allegedly committed suicide last night

Westlake Legal Group Jeffrey-Epstein Breaking: Epstein allegedly committed suicide last night The Blog suicide sexual abuse New York City Jeffrey Epstein jail child abuse

Stand by tor the conspiracy theories to erupt around the net. According to multiple reports, convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein took his own life last night in a Manhattan jail. Or at least “someone who looked like Epstein” was seen being wheeled out of the facility on a gurney. (New York Post)

Convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein is dead, law enforcement sources said Saturday.

A gurney carrying a man who looked like Epstein was wheeled out of the Manhattan Correctional Center around 7:30 a.m. The ambulance went to New York Downtown Hospital.

The incident comes two weeks after Epstein, 66, was placed on suicide watch after he was found nearly unconscious in his cell with injuries to his neck.

The obvious questions about this will likely be circulating for a while. First of all, was this an actual suicide or an “assisted suicide? The last time he was found unconscious with wounds to his neck, some reports claimed that another prisoner had tried to take him out. But since they put him on suicide watch after that, it appears the authorities were convinced he’d done it himself.

And what about that suicide watch? Unless someone at the Manhattan jail mistakenly thought that meant “watching people commit suicide” this shouldn’t have been possible. Surely they removed anything he could have hung himself with. And unless someone smuggled in some lethal drugs (which also seems highly unlikely) his guards should have been able to prevent this from happening. One early report coming out of CNN is suggesting that it was hanging, though that doesn’t seem to be confirmed yet.

Either way, this requires a full investigation and the guards, along with the people in charge at the jail will have to be held accountable. All of the women that Epstein victimized over the years will never fully receive justice now and Epstein won’t face them in court.

Assuming it really was suicide, is anyone really surprised that he would try this? The mountains of evidence coming to light made it highly unlikely he would slip through the fingers of law enforcement again. His life was basically ruined and he was destined to likely spend the rest of his life in a cell, either in solitary or dodging the types of prisoners who enjoy taking down child abusers. In any event, it appears the monster has left the world stage and he can now reap whatever “reward” awaits him. We’ll update this post later if more details are confirmed.

The post Breaking: Epstein allegedly committed suicide last night appeared first on Hot Air.

Westlake Legal Group Jeffrey-Epstein-300x159 Breaking: Epstein allegedly committed suicide last night The Blog suicide sexual abuse New York City Jeffrey Epstein jail child abuse   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Bill de Blasio still racking up big polling numbers

Westlake Legal Group MayorDeBlasio Bill de Blasio still racking up big polling numbers The Blog siena polls New York City Kirsten Gillibrand Bill de Blasio 2020 Democratic primaries

Naw… I’m just kidding. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is still managing to ring up poll numbers well below those of Congress, Kim Jong-un and most sexually transmitted diseases. And we’re not just talking about the total lack of support for his presidential bid, either. He’s not even popular back home in his own city and state. As far as the POTUS nomination goes, a recent Quinnipiac poll finds that Hizzoner is not just near the back of the pack. He’s once again polling at literally zero percent. (CBS New York)

It seems like Mayor de Blasio isn’t very popular lately. Not at home in New York City and not on the presidential campaign trail either.

According to the latest Siena College poll, only 26 percent of voters in New York State had a favorable opinion of the mayor; 57 percent of New Yorkers had an unfavorable opinion.

The news got even worse for de Blasio and his potential spot in upcoming Democratic debates for president.

A Quinnipiac University poll shows that if the Democratic primary were held today, the mayor and other local candidates are at the bottom of the field.

The “other local candidates” in question are NY Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and New Jersey Senator Cory Booker. Gillibrand joins de Blasio in the zero percent support club. Somewhat embarrassingly, they are both trailing Booker who at least managed to register two percent. (For the record, that two percent showing put Booker over the finish line to qualify for the next debates, along with having received donations from more than 130,000 unique donors, including at least 400 from each of 20 or more states.)

In reality, de Blasio was never going to be the nominee, something I’ve been saying since the day he announced. The rest of the candidates aren’t even taking him seriously. If he’d begun to show any juice in this race, they would have already been attacking him for his endless string campaign finance scandals back home and the people currently sitting in jail after admitting they bribed him. But nobody is bothering to waste time on the debate stage or their various campaign stops because he’s not a threat.

What should be more disturbing for the Mayor are those Siena numbers. Carrying a 26% approval rating in New York isn’t a signal that there’s an opening for a GOP challenge, but it most certainly does open the door to a primary bid against him, if not a serious effort to remove him from office prematurely. Given the Big Apple’s crumbling infrastructure problems, disastrous metro service and an exodus of blue-collar workers who can’t afford to live there, it’s probably not all that surprising. Rather than reaching for the Oval Office, perhaps de Blasio should be investing his time in looking for a new gig in the private sector.

The post Bill de Blasio still racking up big polling numbers appeared first on Hot Air.

Westlake Legal Group MayorDeBlasio-300x159 Bill de Blasio still racking up big polling numbers The Blog siena polls New York City Kirsten Gillibrand Bill de Blasio 2020 Democratic primaries   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Trump fan: I was attacked in New York City for wearing a MAGA hat

Westlake Legal Group ma Trump fan: I was attacked in New York City for wearing a MAGA hat The Blog teens NYPD New York City make america great again Jahangir Turan gallery attack assault Art #MAGA

Caution is always in order with a claim of hit-and-run political violence, as attention-seekers have been known to fabricate such things for their own personal or ideological reasons. As I’m sure you know.

This guy, however, is clearly not fabricating his injury unless he’s a Hollywood-caliber FX artist. “Gruesome” isn’t too strong a word to describe that eye.

He says he was targeted by a group of teenagers shouting “f*** Trump” at him.

Jahangir “John” Turan, 42, says it happened Tuesday evening on Canal Street. He was wearing the MAGA hat that he had purchased earlier in the day at Trump Tower.

“I love President Trump. I think he’s doing a great job,” Turan said.

He says the group of about 15 “kids” yelled “F*** Trump” and stomped on him. One of them smashed his head into a scaffold. Turan says he suffered a fracture in his cheek and a badly swollen eye. He’s awaiting an eye specialist to determine if there is any permanent damage to his sight.

“One girl flipped my hat, and then within five, eight seconds, I got pushed from the back and my face hit the scaffolding pole,” he told reporters, adding that the teens were “chanting anti-Trump stuff.” No arrests have yet been made because, he says, everything happened so fast that he couldn’t provide a detailed description of his attackers. The most remarkable part is when and where Turan says it took place. It wasn’t at 2 a.m. in a back alley somewhere. It happened at a little before 7 p.m. on Tuesday night as Turan was walking along Canal Street near Greene Street. If you don’t know lower Manhattan, pull up a map online and see for yourself where that is. It’s two blocks away from the subway station, near the Sheraton Hotel and the post office. It would have been broad daylight, in rush hour, with people around.

Are there no witnesses or surveillance videos? Clearly the guy’s been severely injured. Also, per the Post: “Police confirmed Turan filed a police report but only said he was attacked by a man who punched him in the head and fled. He did not provide details about any statement the suspect may have made, nor that he was wearing a MAGA hat at the time, police said.” Why’d he leave out those details when reporting the incident to the cops?

I wonder if Trump’s going to pick this up and get on his nemesis, Bill de Blasio, for it. Stay tuned.

The post Trump fan: I was attacked in New York City for wearing a MAGA hat appeared first on Hot Air.

Westlake Legal Group ma-300x166 Trump fan: I was attacked in New York City for wearing a MAGA hat The Blog teens NYPD New York City make america great again Jahangir Turan gallery attack assault Art #MAGA   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

How Trump and Sharpton Became the Ultimate New York Frenemies

Westlake Legal Group 29trumpsharpton-facebookJumbo How Trump and Sharpton Became the Ultimate New York Frenemies United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Sharpton, Al Race and Ethnicity New York City National Action Network Blacks

[What you need to know to start the day: Get New York Today in your inbox.]

Both were enduring characters in New York, their names in headlines, their faces on television. Both began their lives outside Manhattan — one was born in Brownsville, Brooklyn, the other in Jamaica, Queens — and both worked their way toward its irresistibly sizzling spotlight. Both found fame on television, Donald J. Trump as a reality-show host, the Rev. Al Sharpton as a cable news commentator.

They occasionally crossed paths, drawing energy from each other even as foes, as Mr. Trump made claims that Mr. Sharpton challenged — about five black teenagers who were charged with raping a jogger in Central Park in the 1980s, and about whether Barack Obama was born in the United States.

But sometimes they were friends in the way that public figures in New York can be. Mr. Trump cut the ribbon at Mr. Sharpton’s National Action Network annual convention in 2002. And in 2006, Mr. Trump returned to the convention, standing next to Mr. Sharpton, the Rev. Jesse Jackson and the singer James Brown.

“Different tune now,” Mr. Sharpton observed on Monday.

The two have once again found themselves convenient foils, after President Trump denounced Representative Elijah E. Cummings, calling the African-American congressman, a Democrat who represents much of Baltimore, “racist,” and his district a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess.”

On Monday, the president seized on a Twitter post from Mr. Sharpton, who said he was on his way to Baltimore. Mr. Trump assailed Mr. Sharpton as “a con man” who “Hates Whites & Cops!”

The president and Mr. Sharpton agreed on at least one thing — that they had known each other for 25 years. Mr. Trump said so on Twitter, Mr. Sharpton at a news conference in Baltimore.

“Went to fights with him & Don King, always got along well,” Mr. Trump wrote. “He ‘loved Trump!’ He would ask me for favors often. Al is a con man, a troublemaker, always looking for a score. Just doing his thing. Must have intimidated Comcast/NBC. Hates Whites & Cops!”

Mr. Sharpton shrugged off the idea that he was a troublemaker. “Yes, I make trouble for bigots,” he said. “I made trouble for him in Central Park. I made trouble for him with birtherism.”

“As far as me being a con man, if he really thought I was a con man, he’d be nominating me for his cabinet,” Mr. Sharpton said, to laughter at the news conference, before noting that Mr. Trump had called him “right after he was elected.”

In earlier interviews, Mr. Sharpton has also mentioned anecdotes involving him, Mr. Trump and Mr. King, the boxing promoter.

“Don King had me fly with him and Trump to Atlantic in Trump’s helicopter, and it was one of the most memorable things in my life to sit on a helicopter, big, black Trump helicopter with Don King and Donald Trump, both of them talking nonstop, not listening to each other,” Mr. Sharpton said in a 2016 interview with Politico about a trip to Atlantic City.

“Donald Trump knows deep down in his heart that I believe in what I’m doing, and I know that he believes in what he’s doing,” Mr. Sharpton said then. “He believes in Donald Trump.”

The president, in a follow-up Twitter post on Monday, suggested that in a more recent encounter, Mr. Sharpton visited Mr. Trump at Trump Tower “during the presidential campaign to apologize for the way he was talking about me.”

Mr. Sharpton said the episode never happened.

“Him saying that I met with him during the campaign in ’16 is a lie,” he said.

Mr. Sharpton did not seem in an apologetic mood on Monday, accusing the president of “playing a race-divisive card” and saying that Mr. Trump “has a particular venom for blacks and people of color.”

“He attacks Nancy Pelosi, he attacks Chuck Schumer, he attacks other whites, but he never said that their districts or their states are places that no human being wants to live,” Mr. Sharpton said.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Mystery solved: How a fresh, pristine In-n-Out burger ended up 1,500 miles away from the nearest franchise

Westlake Legal Group i Mystery solved: How a fresh, pristine In-n-Out burger ended up 1,500 miles away from the nearest franchise Vice The Blog New York City lincoln boehm In-N-Out helen vivas burger

To cleanse the palate, I owe you closure on this after having pronounced it the most compelling minor mystery in American news yesterday. The facts are straightforward: A guy walking down the block in Jamaica, Queens (i.e. greater NYC) a few days ago spotted an In-n-Out burger lying in the street, much to his surprise. Why surprise? Because there are no In-n-Out franchises east of Texas. And this burger didn’t look old. It looked fresh. Immaculate. Not soggy and worn, as a burger with all the fixins normally quickly would. How? “It genuinely shook me to my core,” said the burger’s discoverer, Lincoln Boehm, who’s apparently easily shaken.

One theory: Rich people. New York City has a lot of ’em! If Mike Bloomberg or any of several thousand other ultra-rich New Yorkers get a hankering for In-n-Out, they can have it delivered without a problem. But if some rich eccentric had ordered out to Texas, why was there just one burger in the street? Presumably the whole order would have been lost en route.

And why the hell was it in Jamaica? The rich folk live in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Another theory kicking around the Internet as this picked up media steam was that it was a viral marketing stunt by In-n-Out itself. What if they were planning to begin operations on the east coast and this was part of a still-secret promotion? First someone would find a random burger on the street in Jamaica. Then one would turn up in Staten Island. Then a few would be discovered in the Bronx. “NEW YORK ROCKED BY UNEXPLAINED BURGER INVASION,” the tabloids would scream. Were they being carried into the City by rats somehow? Were they multiplying of their own accord, like tribbles? And then, voila — In-n-Out would spill the beans about new locations in NYC and all would be revealed.

But there were no other burgers. And In-n-Out claimed to be “surprised” by the discovery. Hmmm.

My own theory from yesterday’s post: Either Boehm took the photo in some other city and was pranking the media about finding it in NYC to show that they’ll print anything without fact-checking *or* “someone brought some In-n-Out with them on a flight home to NYC from out west and then got careless at the curb outside their apartment when they were focused on unloading their luggage from the cab.”

I almost had it right. Boehm has a piece up at Vice today with the apparent solution to the mystery: A 16-year-old girl from Queens reached out to him after the story of his burger discovery went viral to say that the burger was almost certainly hers. It was one of several she bought at an In-n-Out in Encinitas, California, on the night of July 19, before a long red-eye flight home to New York. She told the employees there that she was going to eat them on the plane and over the course of the following day so they took the produce and sauce off and put those in separate containers to keep the burgers from getting soggy. She has screenshots of the gate at the airport terminal and even of the In-n-Out receipt. She landed in NYC early on the 20th and rushed to make the bus for home — where the fateful mishap happened:

She landed at JFK a bit earlier than her 5:27 am estimated arrival time (again, props to JetBlue) and immediately made her way to the JFK-Jamaica AirTrain. She got off in Jamaica to make her transfer to the Q44 bus that would take her back to her home in Flushing, Queens when she saw the bus sitting a block away at the stop, about to leave.

This was when her badminton training came in handy. She started running down the street to try and catch the bus with the now slightly greasy bag of three In-N-Out Burgers in her hand. The good news: She caught the bus. The bad news: The bag burst open at the bottom while she made this fateful sprint.

Again, thanks to her badminton training, her reaction time was elite enough to enable her to catch two of the three burgers before they fell to the ground. But once she sat down on the bus and caught her breath, she noticed that the Double-Double was missing—and she even has text exchanges to prove it.

There are in fact screenshots of a text exchange in which she tells a friend that one of her In-n-Out burgers was lost. That was around 5:30 a.m.; Boehm came strolling along an hour or so later, when the sauce-less, veggie-less burger would have been only 10 or so hours old.

And thus was the mystery solved. It turns out that, in the age of commercial flight, people can transport things long distances in short periods of time and then misplace them. Great.

Now we need to turn to the other major mystery involving In-n-Out, which is how anyone can willingly consume the cardboard garbage they call “fries.” Good lord.

Exit question: Now that that’s over, what’s the new best mystery in the news? I think it’s “How many years in prison will Michael Avenatti spend for allegedly defrauding Stormy Daniels?”

The post Mystery solved: How a fresh, pristine In-n-Out burger ended up 1,500 miles away from the nearest franchise appeared first on Hot Air.

Westlake Legal Group i-300x153 Mystery solved: How a fresh, pristine In-n-Out burger ended up 1,500 miles away from the nearest franchise Vice The Blog New York City lincoln boehm In-N-Out helen vivas burger   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com