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Three Big Things

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  • Mobile administrators to hold police supervisors accountable in use of force cases

    MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — While protestors continued to criticize the City of Mobile’s body camera policy, a new rule was put in place that requires all use of force reports to be sent to the city’s Executive Director of Public Safety, Robert Lasky.

    “I have now asked for every use of force report to be sent to my office,” Lasky said.

    Lasky, who took the job last month, introduced the policy on Monday. The policy would allow him to review any relevant body camera footage any time a use-of-force report is filed within the Mobile Police Department.

    “There is a use of force report every time force is used,” Lasky said.

    A use-of-force report must be filed by the police department any time force was used.

    All interactions with the police department are recorded on body cameras, but not all interactions will be reviewed. Only those with reports to go along with it will land on Lasky’s desk.

    In his reviews, Lasky said he evaluates two main factors: the appropriateness of force and whether the officer attempted to de-escalate the situation before using force.

    “I will be viewing as many of those body cams, personally, as I can until we get to the bottom and figure out what’s going on,” Lasky said.

    Before the policy was put in place, supervisors reviewed the reports and took any action necessary. In an effort to hold the supervisors accountable, Lasky said he would be reviewing the reports along with the supervisors.

    “If there’s something on those videos that should’ve been reported or should’ve been acted on but was not, it’s the supervisors who are going to be held accountable,” Lasky said.

    For the past few weeks, District 1 Councilman Cory Penn called for accountability within the ranks of the police department.

    “Everyone needs to be held accountable; I think it’s just part of life,” Penn said.

    In 2023, four deadly encounters with MPD raised the eyebrows of city leaders and community members alike. Following the most recent death, Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson requested that former U.S. Attorney of the Southern District of Alabama Kenyen Brown review the police department’s policies as it relates to the use of force.

    With two of the deaths in 2023 occurring during pre-dawn raids conducted by MPD’s SWAT team, Stimpson has placed a suspension on the department’s use of pre-dawn raids until the findings of Brown’s review are made public.

    Penn said he’s taking Stimpson’s actions a step further, drafting an ordinance that would permanently ban all of MPD’s pre-dawn raids and no-knock warrants. Penn said that the ordinance should be on the agenda in the coming weeks.


    Mobile administrators to hold police supervisors accountable in use of force cases | WKRG.com

  • US, Israel Spy Chiefs Meet to Vet Lasting Truce Options

    The heads of the Central Intelligence Agency and Israel’s Mossad are meeting in Doha, Qatar, with officials from Arab intelligence services and the Qatari prime minister to vet the options of a longer term cease-fire, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

    The U.S. confirmed to the Journal and Reuters that CIA Director William Burns is in Doha "for meetings on the Israel-Hamas conflict, including discussions on hostages." Burns is joined by David Barnea, head of Israel's Mossad intelligence service, and Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman al-Thani. Their meeting comes one day after Qatar announced the two-day extension of an original four-day truce deal in Gaza.

    While talks currently center on freeing elderly male hostages and soldiers, and the retrieval of dead bodies once women and children are first freed, the focus will turn to a phase that would include concessions to advance what is currently day-to-day truce extensions, the Journal reported.

    Egyptian and Qatar officials hope the talks will end the war altogether, according to the Journal.

    Qatar, where several political leaders of Hamas are based, has been leading negotiations between the Palestinian militant group and Israel. Egyptian intelligence services are also communicating with Hamas’ leadership.

    “We are working to strengthen the Qatari mediation role in reaching a truce and then a permanent cease-fire,” Qatari Foreign Ministry spokesman Majed al-Ansari said Tuesday.

    However, the WSJ reported such a construct would come with hard concessions to Israel, which has vowed to resume its operation to eradicate the Hamas terrorist regime from Gaza.

    According to the WSJ, Israel would likely have to:

    *Trade thousands of Palestinian prisoners, likely many with ties to Hamas, in exchange for Israeli soldiers.

    *Back off its offensive in southern Gaza to kill off the rest of Hamas' leadership.

    Hamas, in turn, could be required to accept demilitarization, according to the WSJ report.

    Regardless, Arab officials are hoping to move on from the current arrangement that prolongs the truce with every 10 hostages released by Hamas.

    "We are trying to build trust and goodwill to open the door for a long-term peace," a senior Egyptian official told the Journal. "It is a longshot but so far both sides have refrained from seeking military advantage during the pause which gives us hopes that it is doable."

    Longshot indeed, as Israel's War Cabinet reiterated Tuesday that this conflict will end only when Hamas is eliminated.

    "After the cease-fire, the firing will renew. The entire war cabinet is united on this stance," said Israeli minister Benny Gantz, a member of the war cabinet. "There will not be a single place that will be a safe haven for terrorists and the heads of Hamas."

    Hamas terrorists have released 50 Israeli women and children — and one Israeli man — hostages over the first four days of the truce. In return, Israel released 150 prisoners from its jails, all women and teenagers. Seventeen Thai hostages, one Filipino, and one American child have also been released.

    READ MORE: US, Israel Spy Chiefs Meet to Vet Lasting Truce Options | Newsmax.com

  • US border overwhelmed by migrant surges in three states, closing international bridges and causing chaos

    Border Patrol forces in California, Texas and Arizona are so overwhelmed by the thousands of migrants surging into the US, they’re having to take drastic measures to deal with them.

    Crises have emerged in four areas, according to local sources and Customs and Border Protection (CBP), closing one of the two international bridges at Eagle Pass, Texas, border station to all traffic since Monday afternoon.

    Meanwhile, an international crossing at Lukeville, Arizona, was also closed down.

    The closures were undertaken “in order to redirect personnel to assist the US Border Patrol with taking migrants into custody,” CBP said.

    Elsewhere along the southern border, similar drastic measures were taken to address surges at other hotspots.

    The Tuscon Sector, which covers most of the the Arizona-Mexico border, halted its social media accounts Sunday to utilize all its personnel in addressing the “unprecedented flow” of migrants, sector chief John R. Modlin announced.

    “All available personnel are needed,” Modlin said, later adding “To be clear, it is my intention to remain transparent.”

    Modlin had previously revealed his agents had made 15,300 apprehensions across their border sector in just one week, as well as making three drug busts, capturing 117 lbs. of fentanyl headed for the US.

    CBP figures showed 52,000 people had presented themselves at border crossings along the Southwest border for entry into the US in October, a figure far eclipsed by the 189,000 who were encountered attempting to illegally cross into the country between points of entry in the same month.

    In California, new barriers are being erected along the banks of a canal north of the border in the San Ysidiro district of San Diego, where migrants have increasingly been staging stampedes into the country.

    The barriers stretch along the banks of the Tijuana River where it crosses into the US through a shallow concrete-laid canal, which masses of migrants have been using to swarm across the border in large groups.

    Half a mile of fencing is also being erected along the river banks on the Mexican side, according to Border Report.

    About 60 miles east in the barren swaths of desert around Jacumba Hot Springs, an “unofficial” border station has cropped up, according to the LA Times, where agents have begun tending an encampment that has become a temporary home for hundreds of migrants from around the world.

    At Jacumba, the border fence is interrupted by rocky terrain which leaves gaping openings for migrants to cross through.

    So many people have come through the openings CBP has begun posting agents in the area who hand out supplies and organize transfers to official processing centers.

    California has become the epicenter of the latest surge of migrants arriving at the border in recent weeks.

    Since mid-September alone, over 40,000 migrants have been processed through the San Diego sector, coming from countries as far flung as China, India, Turkey and Romania.

    Those towering numbers cap off a record-setting series of months in San Diego.

    In the 2023 fiscal year ending on September 30, more than 230,000 migrants crossed along the sector — a 20-year high in the area.

    Just two months ago, the crisis was so bad in Eagle Pass, Texas, where two bridges cross the Rio Grande into Mexico, that Bridge 1 was again closed to divert CBP resources to address the more than 10,000 migrants who were arriving in the city daily, according to Border Report.

    That closure persisted for almost a month and wrought havoc on the flow of commerce in the city.

    At least $500,000 in trade revenue during the closure in September, Eagle Pass Mayor Rolando Salinas Jr. said.

    Read the rest of the story: Border Patrol overwhelmed by migrant surges in California, Texas and Arizona (nypost.com)

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