Monthly Archives: September 2015

Mother demands answers after police shooting of wheelchair-bound son

US police shoot man in wheelchair

A YouTube video shows Delaware police officers shooting a man in a wheelchair on Friday. Warning: graphic content.

Wilmington:  The police shooting of a man in a wheelchair in Wilmington, in the US state of Delaware, was “unjust”, his mother said, but authorities described a different scenario, saying the man was pulling a handgun from his waist when officers shot him to death.

The shooting happened on a narrow street in Wilmington on Wednesday around 3pm. Officers responded to a 911 call of a man who had shot himself, and when they arrived, 28-year-old Jeremy McDole was “still armed with a handgun”, Police Chief Bobby Cummings said during a news conference.

McDole’s mother, Phyllis McDole, interrupted the briefing. “He was in a wheelchair, paralysed from the waist down. There’s video showing that he didn’t pull a weapon … I need answers,” she said.

Police shot dead a wheel-chair bound man - Jeremy McDole - in Wilmington, Delaware- image

Police shot dead a wheel-chair bound man – Jeremy McDole – in Wilmington, Delaware, on Wednesday, September 23. Screen Shot 2015-09-25 at 1.33.23 PM.png Photo: Image from YouTube video.

Mr Cummings said officers approached McDole and told him to put the weapon down. As McDole was removing the gun from his waist, officers “engaged him”.

“I assure you that not one of those officers intended to take anyone’s life that day,” Mr Cummings said.

Video of the shooting posted online, which the chief said appeared to be authentic, shows an officer approaching McDole with a gun drawn, shouting “show me your hands” and “drop the gun”. Other officers then appear in the video with their guns drawn, yelling similar commands.

Police shot dead a wheel-chair bound man - Jeremy McDole - in Wilmington, Delaware image

Police shot dead a wheel-chair bound man – Jeremy McDole – in Wilmington, Delaware, on Wednesday, September 23. Screen Shot 2015-09-25 at 1.33.40 PM.png Photo: Image from YouTube video.

In the video, McDole moves around in his wheelchair and reaches into his jeans, but it’s unclear what he is doing. The officers, who are not in the video at this point, fire multiple shots and McDole falls out of his wheelchair.

Mr Cummings said he was not aware of any attempt by officers to use non-lethal force before shooting McDole. He also would not say whether he thought the situation should have been handled differently. “Only our thorough investigation will reveal that,” he said.

The shooting is being investigated by the department’s criminal investigation and professional standards units, as well as the Delaware Department of Justice’s Office of Civil Rights and Public Trust, which will determine whether any officers will be charged. The state agency investigates all police shootings that result in injury or death.

Jeremy McDole in his wheelchair in Wilmington, Delaware, before he was shot

Jeremy McDole in his wheelchair in Wilmington, Delaware, before he was shot on Wednesday, September 23. Screen Shot 2015-09-25 at 1.33.57 PM.png Photo: Image from YouTube video.

Richard Smith, head of the Delaware chapter of the NAACP, called for a special prosecutor to investigate the shooting, and “to not have cops investigating cops”.

McDole’s uncle, Eugene Smith, was among a crowd of a couple dozen people who gathered on Thursday at the scene of the shooting. Mr Smith said he was with his nephew about 15 minutes before the shooting and he didn’t see a gun.

“He had a book bag, but I never seen a gun,” he said. “It was an execution. That’s what it was. I don’t care if he was black, white, whatever.”

McDole was black. The race of the four officers who fired was not released. All four are on administrative duty. One of the officers has been on the force for 15 or more years, and the others had been there for about five years, the police chief said.

Mayor Dennis Williams announced earlier this year that officers would have body cameras by the end of 2015. At the news conference, he said: “We want answers just like you want answers.”​

Late on Thursday, about 100 people gathered outside of Phyllis McDole’s home for a candlelight vigil and expressed their frustrations about the shooting.

A .40-calibre shell casing was found in the grass about 15 feet from where McDole was shot. Police said a .38-calibre gun was found by McDole’s side after he was shot.

Mr Smith said McDole had gotten out of jail about a year ago and was living in a nursing home.

McDole has an arrest record that dates back to 2005 and includes convictions for drug possession and disorderly conduct. He was also arrested for carrying a concealed deadly weapon and resisting arrest, but those charges were dropped. In November, McDole was found to have violated his probation.

McDole was paralysed when he was shot in the back in 2005 by a friend he had been walking around a neighbourhood with, smoking marijuana, according to court documents. McDole initially told police that his friend Randal Matoo shot him, but later testified that he didn’t know who shot him.

At Matoo’s bench trial, the judge said he didn’t know what happened, “but if either one of you expect me to believe that this wasn’t associated with some other wrongdoing, think again,” according to court documents. “There’s a horrible penalty that both of you, the victim, Mr McDole, and you the defendant, Mr. Matoo, are going to pay for whatever was behind this.”

Matoo was convicted of first-degree assault and possession of a firearm during a felony.



Henry Sapiecha

“The Alternative” puts the brakes on bullets fired from police sidearms. Pics & Video

alternative-ballistics-image www.policesearch (1)

Aiming for a leg or shooting a weapon from a criminal’s hands may be an option for cops in the movies, but real police officers are trained to shoot for the center of mass, not necessarily to kill, but to stop – although the end result can often be one and the same. “The Alternative” is designed to give officers a less lethal option in the form of a clip-on “air bag” for semiautomatic pistols that reduces the velocity of a standard round to make it less lethal.

alternative-ballistics-image www.policesearch (10)

Developed by Alternative Ballistics of Poway, California, the Alternative is designed to improve the chances of imparting a stopping force on the target without penetrating or causing lethal damage.

Based in part on feedback from law enforcement and special forces, the Alternative consists of a plastic carrier that normally sits in a belt pouch. It’s designed to fit over the muzzle of a semiautomatic pistol, with installation a one-handed operation that doesn’t require the officer to look away from the situation. The carrier is designed not to interfere with the pistol’s sights or under-barrel rail, which may carry a torch or laser sight.

alternative-ballistics-image www.policesearch (7)

At the front of the bright orange carrier is a hollow sphere made of a proprietary alloy that catches the bullet and firmly embeds it as it leaves the barrel. The ball and bullet fuse, slowing the round by 80 percent. At this speed, the ball-encased round is less likely to penetrate flesh, but it will transfer enough kinetic energy across a wide surface to knock a suspect down with less chance of a lethal outcome. Essentially, it’s like a small, powerful bean-bag round, which Alternative Ballistics claims is as accurate as a standard pistol round.

alternative-ballistics-image www.policesearch (9)

After firing, the carrier is ejected as the pistol chambers another round, which allows the police officer to immediately fire a second, lethal round if needed. If the Alternative ends up not being required, it’s easily removed and returned to its pouch.

Alternative Ballistics not only provides the less-lethal rounds, but also a two-day instructor course in the product, its use, history, and legal implications.

The video below introduces the Alternative.

Source: Alternative Ballistics


Henry Sapiecha

Your Fingerprints Are About to Reveal a Lot More About You

A new technology will allow authorities to tell whether you used drugs recently, if you’re a smoker, even what sex you are—all from your fingerprints.

fingerprint-lead analysis image

In 2010, a North Carolina woman was found on the side of a roadway, brutally murdered. At first the Guilford County Sheriff’s Department had no suspects, but they knew from witness testimony two key facts: that the victim was last seen with a man, and that a baby seat in the back of the car had been removed during a struggle.

When they found the car seat and powdered it for fingerprints, there were prints all over it. The problem? The fingerprints came from at least two different people: the person who they believed may have committed the crime and someone who had nothing to do with it. No hits for either print came up in the FBI’s national fingerprint database, called IAFIS (Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System).

But imagine if there were more to fingerprint science than running patterns of whorls through a database. Picture forensic investigators using fingerprints to find out whether the person who left them was a smoker, whether they had recently handled drugs or explosives, or even to determine their gender.

“We had a suspicion the suspect was a guy, because people had seen the victim with someone. If we knew early on how to eliminate the female prints, we could have just focused on the male prints,” said Sgt. Patricia Wisneski, crime scene investigative unit manager for the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office in Greensboro. While the man in the murder case was eventually arrested, officers might have found him a lot faster if they’d been able to analyze fingerprints this way.

Now, they are. The Guilford County Sheriff’s Department is one of several law enforcement agencies testing a new fingerprint technology that can analyze metabolites left behind in fingerprint residue for a variety of factors. The ability to eliminate certain crime scene prints from the start enables investigators to send out fewer samples to be tested for DNA, which can be a costly and time-consuming process, Wisneski said. Knowing whether the person had handled drugs or explosives doesn’t hurt, either.

“Knowing any additional information about a suspect is always helpful and can generally lead the detectives in the right direction earlier in an investigation. Obtaining information sooner is always better than later,” Wisneski said.​

What Your Fingers Tell About You

The technology, created by ArroGen Group, a forensic solutions company based in Greenville, North Carolina and Newcastle, U.K., uses a powder that contains sub-micron particles that adhere to the amino and fatty acids in fingerprint residue. While scientists have long used powders to develop fingerprints, these new materials produce images with higher contrast, better clarity, and less background staining.

The Fingerprint Molecular Identification (FMID) process, as the company calls it, works like this: Scientists sprinkle the powder on the print at the crime scene, then remove it from the crime scene using lift tape. The samples are sealed and brought to the lab, where they are put into a mass spectrometer that scans the print with a laser. As the machine pans the surface, it vaporizes and ionizes the particles in the powder and molecules in the fingerprint residue, enabling the machine to detect molecular profiles in the residue.

Depending on the level of compounds in the secretions left in the print, the machine can detect not only the sex of the person but whether whomever left the print had consumed drugs like cocaine, marijuana, heroin, or methamphetamine; smoked or chewed nicotine; or had touched a gun or explosives. What’s more, ArroGen says they can detect all this information up to a month after a fingerprint has been left—and they’re testing for the ability to read read prints left as long as a year ago.


“The engineered particle powders provide higher contrast and clarity when developing latent fingerprints, and allow for the collection of molecular information when coupled with mass spectrometry,” says Kim Sandquist, chief science officer of chemistry at ArroGen.

Prints lifted with this powder have a greater sensitivity when analyzed with the mass spectrometer, meaning that it picks up more data and smaller amounts of drugs or other biomarkers. Sensitivity can make the difference between getting a result and not getting a result, especially when you’re working with minuscule amounts of material.

Still, ArroGen is being intentionally cagey about how exactly they determine all this information from just a fingerprint, beyond saying that your fingerprints include “hundreds of molecules, including but not limited to fatty acids, amino acids, and lipids.”

Smudged Evidence

One of Sgt. Wisneski’s great frustrations is seeing prints that she knows (or strongly suspects) are from the suspect, like fingerprints left on a glass window when someone pushed it up to break into a house, yet the print is unusable because a portion is smudged. It happens a lot, especially because many substances, such as the plastic gas containers often used in arsons, are not good for capturing useful prints, she said.

“Certain plastics break up the ridge flow,” Wisneski said. “You might see finger marks were someone touched it, but there’s just no ridge detail to be collected because of the surface it was left on.”

ArroGen​ hopes it could fill the missing details in smudged fingerprints by following the chemical residue left behind and then mapping out where it is. A high-resolution image could then be reproduced. For now, ArroGen doesn’t advertise that as one of the product’s features, but it could be coming next year, Sandquist said.

What You Leave Behind

Mark Dale, ArroGen’s Chief Operations Officer, likes to cite the concept in forensic science called the Locard Principle, named after the French criminologist Edmond Locard, who said every perpetrator of a crime brings something into the crime scene and leaves with something from it. When it comes to fingerprints, they have to be identifiable and compared to fingerprints of known suspects.The idea behind ArroGen’s technology, though, is to let investigators glean far more information from what the perp leaves behind.

The French criminologist, Edmond Locard, once said every perpetrator of a crime brings something into the crime scene and leaves with something from it.


“We’ve increased very significantly the amount of data that can be taken from a crime scene to help support law enforcement’s hypothesis about how a crime occurred or did not occur,” Dale said.

This kind of fingerprint analysis opens up all kinds of new investigation avenues. Say there is a suspected meth lab operating out of someone’s home. Fingerprints from a child living in the home could be tested for the drug, possibly giving police the probable cause they need to search the house, Dale said. Likewise, a company could use the technology to replace drug testing that uses urine or hair, both of which only provide a snapshot into the past, or to replace a blood draw, which gives a snapshot of present drug levels but is an invasive test. The product would be useful in environments that have a zero tolerance policy toward drugs, such as parole or probation offices, correctional facilities, as well in the transportation field, as pilots, drivers, and passengers can be tested for drugs as well as explosives, Dale said.

“There’s a billion airline passengers a year who go through security. The technology could be used to screen those individuals for explosives, and pilots for any type of controlled substances or substances that could cause impairment,” Dale said.

Invasive Traces?

There is a cost to a test being less invasive: It doesn’t require someone’s permission to be conducted. Civil liberties advocates fear that our rights could be violated without us even realizing it – with a test whose accuracy is not yet known.

“We generally think if you’re intruding into people’s bodies, you shouldn’t be able to do that without probable cause,” said Jay Stanley, senior policy analyst for the American Civil Liberties Union.

Stanley likened ArroGen’s testing to DNA testing done when a suspect throws away a cigarette butt or can of soda or licks an envelope. It’s possible for police to test those items and obtain DNA from them without the subject’s consent, which he and his organization oppose.

“We don’t think police should be testing people’s DNA without a warrant based on probable cause. I think it’s safe to say the same should hold for other tests into bodily secretions,” he said, referring to fingerprint residue. In other words, Stanley argues, police should have probable cause before conducting the fingerprint test—not using these tests in order to create probable cause.

“We’re always concerned if companies or government agencies are trying to look into how you’re living your life when they don’t have a need or right to know,” Stanley said.

“We are a science and technology company providing advanced solutions that serve those who fight crime and terror,” said ArroGen’s Mark Dale in response. “We serve law enforcement, public safety, and government.”

How those entities ultimately use ArroGen’s technology will be for them—and the courts—to decide.


Henry Sapiecha

‘Should have kept your mouth shut Einstein’: Perth police tweet hoodie crime Australia

hoodie tagged crim idiot image

It’s the classic case of the hoodie that couldn’t hide the crim – but exposed the crime.

You would think a thief would have tried to keep a low profile.

But this one blew his cover by mouthing off to police before getting busted for a stolen hoodie.

It wasn’t exactly sophisticated detective work that nabbed the crook – the security tag was still attached to the jumper.

“Still wearing the tag on the hoodie you stole,” Perth police tweeted during Operation Sweep.

“Should have kept your mouth shut Einstein!!”

But the hood has stiff local competition if he’s to claim the title of WA’s dumbest thief.

Two men were recently filmed trying to steal a camera on the outskirts of Perth – the same camera that caught them in the act.

Then there was the dope’s things-to-do list where a bent scribe etched out plans to smoke pot and eat chips and gravy, though more an act of stupidity than a crime of the thieving kind.


Henry Sapiecha



pot smoker selfie with police image

Selfie Absorbed: Gilbert H. Phelps, 20, of Iowa City, Iowa, was pulled over for speeding, but was arrested on charges of driving under the influence. Police say Phelps admitted to smoking pot, and was “measurably impaired” in his driving. While going through sobriety testing at the station, Phelps asked if he could take a “selfie” with the officer for posting on Snapchat. “To which I happily obliged,” the officer noted in his report. Phelps added “stickers” to the photo to illustrate police cars pulling him over. (RC/Cedar Rapids Gazette) …Which is an automatic fail.


Henry Sapiecha