Tagged: NYC

New York mayor calls on pension funds to divest from coal

Koch Bros carbon wall of shame

New York’s Mayor Bill de Blasio called on the city’s five pension funds…to end their investments in coal companies, demonstrating his commitment to taking on climate change.

The pension funds – whose assets total a collective $160bn – have $33m invested in coal, according to the mayor’s office.

“New York City is a global leader when it comes to taking on climate change and reducing our environmental footprint. It’s time that our investments catch up – and divestment from coal is where we must start,” De Blasio said…

This announcement follows a continued global movement to divest from coal. In June, Norway’s parliament endorsed the selling of coal investments from its $900bn sovereign wealth fund, and on 2 September, California lawmakers passed a bill requiring the state’s two largest pension plans to divest any holdings of thermal coal within 18 months…

The mayor also proposed that the pension funds establish long-term investment strategies for all fossil fuel investments “as New York City continues to move toward renewables and away from fossil fuels”.

Now, if we would only kick the foot-draggers [knuckle-draggers?] out of Congress we might see progressive movement in the whole United States on pollution and climate change.

9/11 rescue dog celebrates her 16th birthday in NYC

Click to enlargeBretagne is the last living rescue dog who worked at the World Trade Center

A rescue dog that flew to New York for the 9/11 recovery effort returned last month to celebrate her 16th birthday.

The golden retriever named Bretagne traveled from Cypress, Texas, with her owner, Denise Corliss, after the 2001 terror attacks. They worked with dozens of other dogs and humans to find victims in the rubble of the World Trade Center.

Her Aug. 22 return for a birthday bash was sponsored by BarkPost, a New York-based website devoted to all things canine.

The daylong celebration included a dog friendly cake, a ride in a vintage taxi and a trip to a dog run.

BarkPost creative producer Lara Hartle says Bretagne’s favorite part was the cake…

Good dog.

NYC settles Eric Garner case for $5.9 Million

New York City reached a settlement with the family of Eric Garner on Monday, agreeing to pay $5.9 million to resolve a wrongful death claim over his killing by the police on Staten Island last July…

The agreement, reached just a few days before the deadline to file suit, headed off one potentially fractious legal battle over Mr. Garner’s death even as a federal inquiry into the killing and several others at the state and local level remain open and could provide a further accounting of how he died.

Still, the settlement was a pivotal moment in a case that has engulfed the city and the Police Department since the afternoon of July 17, 2014, when two officers approached Mr. Garner as he stood unarmed on a sidewalk and accused him of selling untaxed cigarettes.

The death of Mr. Garner, 43, followed by the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo., in August, set off a national debate about policing actions in minority communities and racial discrimination in the criminal justice system.

Mr. Garner’s final words — “I can’t breathe” — repeated 11 times as one officer held him in a chokehold, became a national rallying cry. A Staten Island grand jury’s decision not to indict the officer, Daniel Pantaleo, fueled weeks of demonstrations…

“The City of New York has agreed to pay $5.9 million to resolve the Garner case,” said Jonathan C. Moore, the lawyer for Mr. Garner’s family…

The resolution is among the biggest reached so far as part of a strategy by the comptroller, Scott M. Stringer, to settle major civil rights claims even before a lawsuit is filed. Mr. Stringer has said the aim is to save taxpayers the expense of a drawn-out trial and to give those bringing the suits and their families a measure of closure.

…The settlement did not provide any greater clarity on the actions of the officers that day or the policing strategies that have come under criticism in the year that has followed…

The city medical examiner ruled the death a homicide, citing the chokehold and the compression of Mr. Garner’s chest by other officers who held him down.

Several inquiries into Mr. Garner’s death were still pending, including investigations by the United States attorney’s office, the Civilian Complaint Review Board and state health officials, who are looking into the actions of emergency medical responders in treating Mr. Garner.

The Police Department has concluded its internal investigation but has yet to say whether any officers would be disciplined.

IMHO, the relationship between most American police departments and the communities they’re supposed to serve is a criminal farce. That criminality is doubled and tripled when victims are non-white and other minorities.

In general, too many coppers behave like they are above the law – they are judge, jury and executioner. And if a confrontation involves a non-white civilian the operative word is executioner.

Yes – there are good cops. I’ve known more than a few including members of my extended family. If they stand up for honest community relations, too often, they get screwed over for doing just that.

NYC coppers kill homeless man in Riker’s Island prison cell


Jerome Murdough was just looking for a warm place to sleep on a chilly night last month when he curled up in an enclosed stairwell on the roof of a Harlem public housing project where he was arrested for trespassing.

A week later, the mentally ill homeless man was found dead in a Rikers Island jail cell that four city officials say had overheated to at least 100 degrees, apparently because of malfunctioning equipment.

The officials told the Associated Press that the 56-year-old former marine was on anti-psychotic and anti-seizure medication, which may have made him more vulnerable to heat. He also apparently did not open a small vent in his cell, as other inmates did, to let in cool air.

“He basically baked to death,” said one of the officials, who all spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not permitted to discuss specifics of the case.

The medical examiner’s office said an autopsy was inconclusive and that more tests were needed to determine Murdough’s exact cause of death. But the officials, all with detailed knowledge of the case, say initial indications from the autopsy and investigation point to extreme dehydration or heat stroke.

Advocates for mentally ill inmates in New York say the death represents the failure of the city’s justice system on almost every level: by arresting Murdough instead of finding him help, by setting bail at a prohibitive $2,500 and by not supervising him closely in what is supposed to be a special observation unit for inmates with mental illnesses.

Department of correction spokesman…said…blah, blah, blah.

Murdough’s 75-year-old mother, Alma Murdough, said she did not learn of her son’s death until the AP contacted her last week, nearly a month after he died

Wanda Mehala…one of Murdough’s sisters, said the family wants an explanation.

“We want justice for what was done,” she said. “He wasn’t just some old homeless person on the street. He was loved. He had a life. He had a family. He had feelings.”

I’ll second that emotion!

NYC coppers edited Wikipedia pages trying to hide police brutality

A new report from Capital New York claims thousands of edits to Wikipedia articles related to police brutality can be traced to the NYPD headquarters.

“Computer users identified by Capital as working on the NYPD headquarters’ network have edited and attempted to delete Wikipedia entries for several well-known victims of police altercations, including entries for Eric Garner, Sean Bell, and Amadou Diallo,” the report says. “Capital identified 85 NYPD addresses that have edited Wikipedia.”

The report claims the NYPD edits also applied to pages referencing the department’s stop-and-frisk policy and certain political leaders. The edits appear to have been occurring for the past 10 years.

“Garner raised both his arms in the air” was changed to “Garner flailed his arms about as he spoke,” the report claims. “Garner, who was considerably larger than any of the officers, continued to struggle with them,” was also added to a page referencing Eric Garner’s death at one point.

All of the edits appear to be an attempt to minimize the controversy related to police killings and to improve the image of people connected to the police department.

At street level, corrupt cops are more disgusting than corrupt politicians. Protect and serve is not supposed to mean “protect bad cops – and serve your political bosses”. Yet – in New York City, Chicago, Ferguson, Confederate states beholden to racism essential to their ideology – it feels like no honest cop is ever allowed to stay honest.

Cops with computers are apparently as willing to lie about history, cover-up their bigotry with lies, as any Texas school board.

NYC subway cultures drug resistant bacteria, DNA from Anthrax, Plague

Click to enlargeHeatmap of the Pseudomonas genus

The study, published in Cell Systems, demonstrates that it is possible and useful to develop a “pathogen map” — dubbed a “PathoMap” — of a city, with the heavily traveled subway a proxy for New York’s population. It is a baseline assessment, and repeated sampling could be used for long-term, accurate disease surveillance, bioterrorism threat mitigation, and large scale health management for New York, says the study’s senior investigator, Dr. Christopher E. Mason…

The PathoMap findings are generally reassuring, indicating no need to avoid the subway system or use protective gloves, Dr. Mason says. The majority of the 637 known bacterial, viral, fungal and animal species he and his co-authors detected were non-pathogenic and represent normal bacteria present on human skin and human body. Culture experiments revealed that all subway sites tested possess live bacteria.

Strikingly, about half of the sequences of DNA they collected could not be identified — they did not match any organism known to the National Center for Biotechnology Information or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These represent organisms that New Yorkers touch every day, but were uncharacterized and undiscovered until this study. The findings underscore the vast potential for scientific exploration that is still largely untapped and yet right under scientists’ fingertips.

WTF? They’re under everyone’s fingertips.

“Our data show evidence that most bacteria in these densely populated, highly trafficked transit areas are neutral to human health, and much of it is commonly found on the skin or in the gastrointestinal tract,” Dr. Mason says. “These bacteria may even be helpful, since they can out-compete any dangerous bacteria.”

But the researchers also say that 12 percent of the bacteria species they sampled showed some association with disease. For example, live, antibiotic-resistant bacteria were present in 27 percent of the samples they collected. And they detected two samples with DNA fragments of Bacillus anthracis (anthrax), and three samples with a plasmid associated with Yersinia pestis (Bubonic plague) — both at very low levels. Notably, the presence of these DNA fragments do not indicate that they are alive, and culture experiments showed no evidence of them being alive.

RTFA to see why the researcher say we shouldn’t worry. Certainly, the diversity of microorganisms is a positive activator for our immune systems.

Interesting how they went about the research – and what this presents as a baseline for future evaluations. And an added plus is the unique – and still closed – station shuttered since Superstorm Sandy. Marine species still alive and stable in what should be an abnormal environment for them.

Thanks, Helen

40% of “resisting arrest” cases in NYC come from just 5% of the force

Photo courtesy of the Garner family

In the wake of Eric Garner’s death, the head of the NYC Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, a police interest group, blamed Garner: “You cannot resist arrest, that’s a crime.” But it’s not a crime that most police officers often file reports about.

The New York Police Department is made up of 35,000 officers, and just a minority of them have sent people into court for “resisting arrest.”

But the ones who do, according to a new report from WNYC, charge a lot of people — and that can be a “red flag” for other issues.

WNYC looked at over 51,000 cases where someone was charged with “resisting arrest” since 2009. They found that 40 percent of those cases — over 20,000 — were committed by just 5 percent of all the police officers on the force. And 15 percent of officers accounted for a majority of all “resisting arrest” charges

And that stinks on ice!

“There’s a widespread pattern in American policing where resisting arrest charges are used to sort of cover – and that phrase is used – the officer’s use of force,” said Sam Walker, the accountability expert from the University of Nebraska. “Why did the officer use force? Well, the person was resisting arrest.”

That pattern held up in the case of Donald Sadowy, a Brooklyn police officer who’s the subject of the WNYC article. Sadowy has more than 20 resisting arrest cases since 2009 — putting him in the 98th percentile, or higher, among all police. Meanwhile, over the last two years, Sadowy’s been sued 10 times for excessive force.

I know some honest cops. I have had friends over the years who were honest cops. I’ve had family members who were honest cops – in New York City as a matter of fact.

When the topic of professional policing comes up I also always recall a young guy I worked with in a metropolitan hospital who left to join the local police department. Since he had a skilled and licensed trade, I asked him why he was making the switch. After all, it would take him several years to get back up to what he was earning at the hospital.

His answer was simple. “I get drugs for free for the rest of my life.” You can substitute whatever you wish to change out from “drugs”. Hookers, a regular tax-free income on the side for being on the take. Or maybe you just enjoy being a sociopath with power.

Drunken narc shoots pals in tussle over gun

One of the two shooting victims on the way to hospital

Cops swatted a .40-caliber Glock out of a drunken state narcotics agent’s hand Friday night after he shot two drinking buddies on the Upper West Side, authorities and witnesses said.

Amsterdam Ave. erupted in gunfire and blood-curdling screams just after 9 p.m. when Victor Zambrano Jr., 49, shot a 31-year-old woman in the left foot and the woman’s 42-year-old boyfriend in the right calf during an argument over his weapon…

The three pals had been drinking together and were walking on Amsterdam Ave. near W. 82nd St. when the woman asked the New York State Bureau of Narcotics enforcement agent for his pistol, a police source said.

Zambrano handed it over, but quickly demandegd it back, cop sources said. As the argument became increasingly heated, the agent fired a round. The bullet ricocheted off the concrete and hit both the woman and her boyfriend…

As diners along Amsterdam Ave.’s restaurant row ducked for cover, the narcotics investigator bolted.

The boyfriend chased after him, and Zambrano allegedly turned to shoot but misfired — causing a live round to fall to the ground as he ran toward W. 83rd St., stunned witnesses said…

It was not entirely clear why the woman wanted Zambrano’s gun, but early reports suggested she was concerned about his intoxication level.

Someday, I hope to read a stupid tale like this and no one will try to excuse dangerous behavior by saying, “he was just drunk and things got out of hand!”

You have some sort of idea what happens when you drink – or drink too much. You have the responsibillity and supposedly enough smarts to make decisions on your own. Like should I drink or not? Should I bring my gun with me when I’m out drinking? You are responsible for your own decisions.