Ex-cop indicted in maiming of toddler in botched SWAT raid

A federal grand jury has handed down an indictment in the case of a May 28, 2014 police raid gone wrong that left an infant critically wounded when a SWAT team blitzed the wrong house in Cornelia, Georgia.

Nikki Autry, a former deputy sheriff in Habersham County, Georgia, was indicted on charges of providing false information in a search warrant affidavit and providing false information to obtain an arrest warrant, the Department of Justice announced Wednesday.

The federal indictment alleges Autry told a magistrate judge that a known, reliable information had purchased a small amount of methamphetamine from Wanis Thonetheva at a residence in Cornelia, Georgia. However, the indictment says, it was not Autry’s informant, as she told the judge, but his roommate, who was unknown to Autry, that made the buy. And, the indictment goes on, Autry did not verify the buy before presenting an affidavit to the magistrate judge requesting a warrant.

Because Thonetheva had a previous weapons charge, the judge issued a “no-knock” warrant that allowed SWAT to enter the residence where Autry’s informant’s roommate claimed to have bought methamphetamine from Thonetheva. Instead of Thonetheva, the SWAT team found his uncle, Bounkham Phonesavanh; his aunt, Alecia Phonesavanh; and their son Bounkham Jr., 18 months old at the time. The SWAT team launched a ‘flashbang’ grenade into the house. Flashbang grenades are designed to distract but can be dangerous and even lethal in close proximity. Advocates of police reform have criticized the use of flashbang grenades by local law enforcement.

The grenade landed in Bounkham Jr.’s crib before exploding. Though now out of the hospital, the toddler was rushed to Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta with third-degree burns and extensive injuries where doctors induced a medical coma. Wanis Thonetheva was arrested later on May 28 at a different location.

“In this case, Autry is charged with making false statements to a judge in order to obtain search and arrest warrants. Without her false statements, there was no probable cause to search the premises for drugs or to make the arrest. And in this case, the consequences of the unlawful search were tragic,” said acting U.S. Attorney John Horn in a statement.

The federal indictment charges Autry with four counts of civil rights violations for the unreasonable search and seizure of the residence and for the arrest without probable cause of Wanis Thonetheva.

Previously, a federal grand jury declined to indict any of the SWAT officers involved in the raid that injured Bounkham Jr.

The lack of accountability era is starting to come to an end in Law Enforcement.

Self-destructing Gmail emails with Dmail

Last month, Google introduced an “Undo Send” option for all Gmail users, allowing anybody to recall messages up to 30 seconds after sending them. However, if 30 seconds isn’t enough time for you to spot an error (or realize that that’s actually a totally inappropriate thing to say to your boss), then you might want to try Dmail: a Chrome extension that allows Gmail users to revoke access to an email any time after sending. You can even set a self-destructing timer that automatically makes an email inaccessible an hour, a day, or a week later.

Dmail doesn’t actually delete messages from users’ inboxes

Perhaps the most useful thing about Dmail is that it works even if not installed on a recipient’s computer. This is because the service doesn’t actually delete messages from users’ inboxes, but instead encrypts and decrypts them on demand. Users who receive a Dmail and don’t have the extension installed are shown a “View Message” button that opens the email in a new tab. (If they do have Dmail installed, then the message is just shown within Gmail.) After a sender revokes access to an email — either manually or automatically — recipients are informed that “this message has been destroyed and is no longer available.”

Dmail’s Eric Kuhn explains to TechCrunchthat whenever a user sends a message with the service, it’s encrypted locally on their machine with a standard 256-bit algorithm. “An encrypted copy of that email is sent to a datastore controlled by Dmail. The recipient of the email is sent both the location of that datastore, as well as a key to view the decrypted message,” says Kuhn. “Neither Gmail nor Dmail servers ever receive both the decryption key and encrypted message. Only the recipient and sender can read the email legibly.”

If you revoke access to an embarrassing email, you’ll still have to explain why

It’s a neat trick, but it’s not quite the same as deleting a sent email remotely. This means that using Dmail as a security measure makes more sense than as a face-saving “Undo Send” option. After all, if you do revoke access to a message a few minutes after sending, you’ll still have to explain to the recipient what was so regrettable about the email in the first place. (The excuse “Oh, I’m just testing this new service out” only works the first couple of times.)

Still, Dmail is slick and easy to use, and the team responsible (part of social bookmarking service Delicious) have plans to extend its functionality, rolling out support for iOS and Android later this year, as well as hopefully adding a “self-destruct” functionality to document attachments. They also have plans to make Dmail a freemium service, with extra options for paying businesses and power users. Until then you can try the Dmail beta for free here.

Starbucks bans local man for life for harassing customers

A St. Petersburg man says Starbucks has banned him for life.

Rob Rowen got a letter from Starbucks saying he’s been disrupting business and threatening customers. He says it’s all because he’s asked people illegally parked in the handicapped spot to move.

“I regret to inform you you’ve been expelled from Starbucks,” Rowen reads from the letter.

Rowen thought Starbucks would be writing to apologize to him after the manager banned him just from the South Dale Mabry store in Tampa. Instead, the letter says he now can’t step foot in any Starbucks ever again.

“I get this letter, which shocked me,” Rowen says.

Rowen has been a customer at the Tampa store for years and says he often sees people parked in the handicapped space, when they’re capable to park farther away and walk to get a cup of coffee. He says it strikes a nerve that hits close to home.

“My son-in-law has muscular dystrophy and is in a power wheelchair. I’ve seen so many times, the issue of him trying to find a parking space,” Rowen says.

Rowen started standing up for those who couldn’t asking the law-breaking Starbucks customers to move.

“I threatened to embarrass him by telling everybody he was parked illegally,” Rowen says.

He snapped a picture of another illegal parker. “She said I’m calling the police, you’re harassing me. I said go right ahead, so she ended up getting a ticket, which felt really good,” Rowen says.

But a few months ago, another customer complained and got Rowen permanently kicked out of that store by the manager. Rowen says the Starbucks district manager didn’t have his back either.

“Their response was go back to the manager, and the manager’s bottom line was you’re harassing people,” says Rowen.

Starbucks claims that Rowen became confrontational with customers. While they share his concerns for parking and are addressing it with the strip mall landlord, they won’t tolerate him disrupting their “welcoming environment.”

“What if it was your mother, your brother, your father, yourself, how would you feel?” Rowen wonders.

Rowen will now be getting his coffee – elsewhere.

Starbucks spokeswoman Laurel Harper says, “We understand Mr. Rowen’s concerns and have been speaking with him about this. Unfortunately, he became confrontational toward other customers, and we have asked him to refrain from visiting the store. We expect all of our customers to treat each other and our partners (employees) respectfully. We have been speaking with the landlord to improve the parking situation.”

My guess is this shithead is a real pain in the ass and if it were my business I would not let him harass my customers either.

Dipshits of the day: Dad Who Took Rap For Son’s Hit-and-Run, To Leave Prison

A Milwaukee man who admitted to a fatal 2013 hit-and-run was ordered out of prison Monday after investigators discovered that he gave a false confession to protect the true suspect — his son.

Juan Silva Sr. is expected to be released later Monday or early Tuesday from the Racine County Jail, where he was serving a five-year sentence for the killing of Juan R. Zapata-Guerrero, a 39-year-old father of three, according to his lawyer, Hans Koesser.

Silva’s 22-year-old son, Juan Silva Jr., has been charged with the crime. He has waived his right to trial and jail is due in court next month, authorities said.

The twist in the case — first reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel — began to emerge about a month ago, when someone who works with Silva’s wife told authorities she had mentioned her husband’s attempt to spare their son from prison.

That turned investigators back to their files on the Sept. 28, 2013 crash in which a white GMC van killed Zapata-Guerrero and injured a friend.

The day after the crash, the elder Silva, a painting contractor, turned himself in, telling police that he panicked at the scene and drove away. He took officers back to his house, where damage on the van matched debris from the accident and his wife corroborated his account, Milwaukee County Assistant District Attorney Grant Huebner said.

Silva agreed to a plea deal in which he was sentenced to five years behind bars.

“At his plea he said he did it, and at sentencing he said he did it, and we had no reason to believe otherwise,” Huebner told NBC News.

But after receiving the recent tip, the ruse unraveled. Silva’s wife, then Silva, then their son, admitted the truth.

They told investigators that the younger Silva came home on the night of the accident very upset and said he’d just hit something, Huebner said. The father then saw on the news that someone had died, and decided to take the blame to spare his son’s life from being ruined.

Thomas R. Jones, who represented Silva, told NBC News that he had no inkling his client had been lying. While the van, registered to Silva, was clearly identifiable in footage from a nearby business’ security camera, the video wasn’t clear enough to make out the driver, Jones said.

Jones noted that the case arguably wouldn’t have been considered a crime if the driver hadn’t fled the scene.

“If the driver had stopped instead of continuing on, there may have been no criminal charges because the two victims are seen on the video coming out the tavern, they’re going between two parked cars then into the street,” Jones said. “It was in the evening, it was raining, and it was dark.”

He added, “I think a defense could have been made that this was unavoidable.”

The father, who has already served more than a year in prison, will not be charged for the false confession, Huebner said.

But the prosecutor did not sympathize with his efforts to shoulder the blame.

“I think it’s a complete manipulation of the system,” Huebner said. “What you have is, you have basically a family that decided they were going to decide amongst themselves who should pay the price, instead of a judge or a jury or the system.”

Meanwhile, Huebner said, authorities had to tell Zapata-Guerrero’s family that the man they thought had killed him was the wrong guy.

“Any limited closure they were able to get, any belief they had in the system, has been robbed from them.”

I can only imagine what else they have covered up for the son in the past………

BSA Votes to Allow Gay Scout Leaders

The governing body of the Boy Scouts of America voted Monday to end its decades-long ban on gay scout leaders.

The organization’s national executive board, meeting in Texas, concluded that the policy of excluding gay adults “was no longer legally defensible.” The decision was approved by 79 percent of the board.

While the national ban is gone, effective immediately, local scouting units retain the ability to reject gay applicants for leadership positions if hiring them would violate the unit’s religious beliefs.

The Boy Scouts national organization said it would defend any local scouting group’s “good faith refusal” to admit a scouting leader based upon the group’s religious principles

“This change allows Scouting’s members and parents to select local units, chartered by organizations with similar beliefs, that best meet the needs of their families,” said a statement from the Scouts’ leadership.

“For far too long this issue has divided and distracted us,” former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Scouting’s current president, said in a statement. “Now it’s time to unite behind our shared belief in the extraordinary power of Scouting to be a force for good in a community and in the lives of its youth members.”

The vote represents a remarkably fast turnaround for the Boy Scouts, which only two years ago voted to admit gay young people as scouts but kept the ban on adult gay scout leaders.

Since then, scouting officials have said, rapidly moving legal developments forced a reassessment.

oup’s religious principles.

Gates told the organization in May that it must brace for change.

“We must deal with the world as it is, not as we might wish it to be. The status quo in our movement’s membership standards cannot be sustained.”

Nearly half the states now have laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and almost 150 local governments have adopted similar provisions.

Gay adults rejected as scout leaders have threatened to sue, and New York’s attorney general opened an investigation of the employment policy at the Boy Scouts of America.

“It would be a losing effort,” says an internal Boy Scouts of America memo obtained by NBC News, “for the BSA to continue protecting its policy.” The memo concludes that “a protracted legal battle … is unwinnable.”

The vote allowing local units to turn away gay leaders was condemned by some former Scout leaders as a timid measure that would allow discrimination to continue.

Peter McGraith,
the gay leader of the Transatlantic Council of Boy Scouts of America, called the vote “an expedient move to preempt legal action against BSA national, rather than a genuine attempt to make BSA inclusive.”

John Stemberger, a Florida lawyer who started a breakaway organization called Trail Life USA after the 2013 vote to admit gay Scouts, said by ending the national ban on gay scout leaders, the Boy Scouts “places the churches and religious institutions who sponsor BSA troops at greater legal risk.”

Roughly 70 percent of local scouting units are sponsored by religious organizations. But some churches have been openly critical of the ban on gay scout leaders.

Fifteen years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Scouts’ right to exclude an assistant scoutmaster, James Dale, after he came out as gay. Now the Scouts have concluded they would lose a similar case.

James Dale, himself, agrees.

“Even if you don’t exclude a young person, when they become 18 years old they’re suddenly not good enough any more? That’s definitely the wrong message for the Boy Scouts of America.”

Other rights organizations also noted that Monday’s move was perhaps only a half step.

“Today’s vote by the Boy Scouts of America to allow gay, lesbian and bisexual adults to work and volunteer is a welcome step toward erasing a stain on this important organization,” said Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin in a statement after the vote. “But including an exemption for troops sponsored by religious organizations undermines and diminishes the historic nature of today’s decision.

Mr. McGraith, as you so ignorantly pointed out they did it to avoid a lawsuit and you started the lawsuit to make change I assume, you got that change and you still complain. Or was it about making money off of them? Are your lawsuits for a cause or a business venture?

Some people don’t want change they want profits…….

Retro Of the day: Whitney Houston

I Will Always Love You” is a song by American singer-songwriter Dolly Parton. The country track was released on June 6, 1974 as the second single from Parton’s thirteenth solo studio album, Jolene (1974). The singer wrote the song, which was recorded on June 13, 1973, for her one-time partner and mentor Porter Wagoner, from whom she was professionally splitting at the time.

“I Will Always Love You” received positive reviews from critics and attained commercial success, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart two times. First, in June 1974 and a 1982 rerecording of the song also reached number one October of that year. With that accomplishment, Parton became the first artist ever to earn a number one record twice with the same song as a singer, and (with the Whitney Houston version) three times as a writer. The song also won Parton Female Vocalist at the CMA Awards, in 1975. Parton’s 1982 recording of the song is from the soundtrack of the film The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.

Whitney Houston recorded a version of the song for the 1992 film The Bodyguard. It has since become one of the best-selling singles of all time.[3] Houston’s version of “I Will Always Love You” re-charted in 2012 after her death, making it the second single ever to reach the top three on the Billboard Hot 100 in separate chart runs.