Russian police detain more than 400 at protest over journalist

Law enforcement officers detain a participant of a rally in support of Russian investigative journalist Ivan Golunov, who was detained by police, accused of drug offences and later freed from house arrest, in Moscow, Russia June 12, 2019. REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov

By Anton Zverev and Andrew Osborn

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian police detained more than 400 people, including opposition politician Alexei Navalny, at a protest in Moscow on Wednesday calling for punishment for police officers involved in the alleged framing of a journalist.

Police abruptly dropped drug charges a day earlier against investigative journalist Ivan Golunov, a rare U-turn by the authorities in the face of anger from his supporters who said he was targeted over his reporting.

Golunov, 36, known for exposing corruption among Moscow city officials, was detained by police last Thursday and accused of dealing drugs, an allegation he denied.

The crude way supporters said Golunov was set up and detained triggered an unusual show of media unity and an uncharacteristically swift reversal from authorities nervous about social unrest at a time when President Vladimir Putin already faces disquiet over living standards.

The authorities had hoped freeing Golunov and promising punishment for those who allegedly framed him would appease his supporters, but they decided to go ahead with a protest on Wednesday, a public holiday in Russia, regardless.

A member of Russia's National Guard detains a man during a rally in support of Russian investigative journalist Ivan Golunov, who was detained by police, accused of drug offences and later freed from house arrest, in Moscow, Russia June 12, 2019. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

A member of Russia’s National Guard detains a man during a rally in support of Russian investigative journalist Ivan Golunov, who was detained by police, accused of drug offences and later freed from house arrest, in Moscow, Russia June 12, 2019. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

Reuters witnesses said well over 1,000 people marched through central Moscow, chanting “Russia will be free”, “Russia without Putin” and “Down with the Tsar” as police warned them not to break the law and blocked access to certain streets.

Some of the protesters wore white T-shirts saying “I am/We are Ivan Golunov,” the same slogan as a front page headline carried by Russia’s three leading daily newspapers on Monday.

In an unexpected twist, a young woman wearing such a T-shirt managed to get a front-row seat at a ceremony in the Kremlin at which President Vladimir Putin was handing out state awards, official footage of the event showed. The ceremony was taking place at the same time as the protest in the city.

OVD-Info, a monitoring group, said police had detained over 400 people. It said police had started to release some of them without charge while drawing up charges against others.

Police said earlier they had detained over 200 people.

Many of the marchers and those forcefully detained by riot police were prominent Russian journalists and activists.

“We came to show the authorities that we have consolidated, that we are united,” said Vsevolod, 24. “We demand that hundreds of thousands of (criminal) cases where people are sitting in prison unfairly now be reviewed.”

The authorities had warned protesters that their demonstration would be illegal and could threaten public safety.

Under Russian law, the time and place of protests involving more than one person needs to be agreed with the authorities in advance. Organizers of Wednesday’s event had demanded that Moscow city officials negotiate those terms with them live on air during a TV broadcast, a demand they said officials refused.

A Reuters witness saw at least three police officers bundle opposition politician Alexei Navalny into a truck.

Kira Yarmysh, his spokeswoman, said on Twitter that Navalny was accused of breaking Russia’s protest laws, something he has been repeatedly found guilty of, and faced up to 30 days in jail.

Navalny, who said police had accused him of organizing the march, said on Twitter he had been glad to march “among honest people”.

One protester, Ivan, 28, explained why marchers had defied the police. “The freeing of Golunov was not a victory. It was a tactical move by the authorities to prevent disorder breaking out today. But we came here anyway.”

(Additional reporting by Andrey Kuzmin, Maxim Shemetov, Maria Vasilyeva and Dmitry Madorsky; Writing by Andrew Osborn; Editing by Christian Lowe, Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber and Frances Kerry)

One Alabama officer dead, another critical, manhunt underway for shooter

Police Lights

(Reuters) – A manhunt was underway early Monday after an Alabama police officer was shot and killed, another critically wounded and a third injured at a trailer home park, officials said.

Lee County Coroner Bill Harris said the three officers were shot around 11:30 p.m. on Sunday while on a “routine domestic call” at the trailer park in south Auburn.

“When the officers arrived they encountered gunfire,” Harris said. “One was airlifted from the scene and he later died. The other two were transported. One is critical.”

Auburn police dispatchers said that the gunman was still on the loose early Monday and the search was ongoing.

The Alabama state police issued a “Blue Alert”, issued only in the death of a law enforcement officer, and it asked for help in catching a 29-year-old man last seen wearing body armor and a helmet.

No motive for the shooting was given.

(Reporting by Rich McKay in Atlanta; Editing by Alison Williams)

Two police officers among four fatally shot in Canada: authorities

Emergency vehicles are seen at the Brookside Drive area in Fredericton, Canada August 10, 2018 in this picture obtained from social media. Kev Bourque/via REUTERS

By Anna Mehler Paperny

FREDERICTON, New Brunswick (Reuters) – Four people, including two police officers, were killed in a shooting in eastern Canada on Friday in the latest eruption of gun violence across the country that has led to calls for weapons bans in cities.

Police said a suspect was taken into custody just three weeks after a gunman walked down a busy Toronto street, killing two people and wounding 13 others before taking his own life.

Police in Fredericton, a city of about 56,000 that is the capital of the province of New Brunswick, said two of the dead were police officers but gave few details about the circumstances of the shooting and did not release names. They said the suspect was being treated for serious injuries.

Local media images showed emergency vehicles converging on a tree-lined residential street. Nearby facilities were closed and authorities imposed a lockdown for residents before issuing an all-clear message.

“It was scary,” said Marlene Weaver, who was in bed on Friday morning when she heard shots ring out in her neighborhood. “It takes you back to the shooting in Moncton.”

Three RCMP officers were killed and two more were wounded in 2014 in Moncton, New Brunswick, about 195 km (121 miles) from Fredericton, in one of the worst incidents of its kind in Canada.

Gun laws in Canada are stricter than in the United States but a proliferation of weapons has led to an increase in gun-related crimes in recent years.

Canadian Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) were assisting Fredericton authorities in the investigation.

New Brunswick had only three homicide shootings in 2016, according to Statistics Canada.

“Awful news coming out of Fredericton,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Twitter. “My heart goes out to everyone affected by this morning’s shooting. We’re following the situation closely.”

Jeff Magnussen, general manager of a golf course near the site of the shooting, said by phone he heard multiple gunshots before 8 a.m. local time.

“You hear a lot about gun violence in the United States,” he said, “but this morning when I heard those noises, what’s starting to sink in is that those noises were people losing their lives. To have it happen so close to us is shocking. Now we’re becoming the story that nobody wants to hear.”

In the wake of the Toronto bloodshed, the city council voted overwhelmingly to urge the federal government to ban the sale of handguns in the city. Gun laws are under federal jurisdiction.

“Why does anyone in this city need to have a gun at all?” Toronto Mayor John Tory said. Canada’s largest city has had 241 shooting incidents this year, resulting in 30 deaths, a 30 percent increase in fatalities.

On Thursday, Ontario pledged more money for police and to keep suspects behind bars while they await trial on gun crimes charges, as the Canadian province grapples with rising shootings involving domestically obtained weapons.

(Additional reporting by Danya Hajjaji and Allison Martell in Toronto and David Ljunggren in Ottawa; Writing by Bill Trott; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and Jeffrey Benkoe)

Two Ohio police officers shot dead responding to 911 call

Officer Anthony Morelli, 54, of Westerville Division of Police (WPD) is seen in this undated photo in Westerville, Ohio, U.S., released February 10, 2018. City of Westerville/

By Ian Simpson

Officer Eric Joering, 39, of Westerville Division of Police (WPD) is seen in this undated photo in Westerville, Ohio, U.S., released February 10, 2018. City of Westerville

Officer Eric Joering, 39, of Westerville Division of Police (WPD) is seen in this undated photo in Westerville, Ohio, U.S., released February 10, 2018. City of Westerville/Handout via REUTERS

(Reuters) – Two Ohio police officers were shot to death on Saturday while responding to a domestic disturbance in the Columbus suburb of Westerville, and a suspect was wounded and is in custody, officials said.

The two officers were immediately fired upon when they entered an apartment responding to a 911 call that had hung up, Westerville Police Chief Joe Morbitzer said at a news conference.

“These were two of the best we had. This was their calling and they did it right,” said Morbitzer, his voice halting and thick with emotion.

Officer Eric Joering, 39, died at the scene, and Officer Anthony Morelli, 54, died from his wounds at a hospital. Morbitzer said they had been responding to a “domestic situation.”

The suspect was wounded and taken to a hospital, a city spokeswoman said. The suspect’s condition and identity have not been released.

Columbus police are heading the investigation into the shooting, Morbitzer said.

Excluding Saturday’s shootings in Ohio, 12 U.S. law enforcement officers have been killed in the line of duty this year, nine in firearms-related incidents, according to the non-profit National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

The Westerville shootings came a day after a Georgia police officer was shot and killed and two sheriff’s deputies were wounded by a gunman who was then killed.

U.S. President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter, “My thoughts and prayers are with the two police officers, their families, and everybody at the @WestervillePD.”

(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by David Gregorio)

U.S. police deaths on duty spiked in 2016: FBI

New York Police officers take part in a procession carrying the body of Sergeant Paul Tuozzolo, who was fatally shot in a shootout, at the Jacobi Medical Center in the neighborhood of Bronx in New York, U.S. November 4, 2016. REUTERS

By Sarah N. Lynch

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Sixty-six police officers were killed on the job by felons in 2016, up about 61 percent from 41 deaths a year ago, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation said on Monday.

The number was the second highest since 2011, when 72 officers were killed by felons, according to the FBI report.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions in a statement called the numbers “shocking” and “unacceptable,” and said the Justice Department would work toward reducing violent crime.

The findings bolster the so-called Blue Lives Matter movement, which advocates tougher hate-crime sentences for the murder of police officers. It was launched in response to Black Lives Matter, a campaign against police brutality toward black men, and gained momentum last year after police officers were killed in both Dallas and Baton Rouge.

Forty-one officers killed last year were employed by city police departments, and 30 officers were located in the U.S. South, the annual data show.

The most common circumstances involved ambushes, followed by responses to disturbance calls.

Accidental deaths of police officers in 2016 rose to 52 from 45 in 2015, mostly involving vehicles, the data show.

Earlier this year, President Donald Trump issued an executive order directing the Justice Department to develop strategies to better protect law enforcement officials and pursue legislation to increase penalties against those who kill or injure officers in the line of duty.

 

 

(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Richard Chang)

 

Suspect in fatal ambush of two Iowa police officers captured

By Brian Frank

DES MOINES, Iowa (Reuters) – Police in Iowa said on Wednesday they have captured a man suspected of killing two police officers hours earlier as they sat in their patrol cars in what authorities called separate and unprovoked attacks.

Scott Michael Greene, who is 46 and white, was taken into custody after police named him as their suspect in the ambushes, a police spokeswoman in Urbandale, Iowa said. (For live coverage of the Iowa police shootings click here:

Police said they found the first slain officer’s body about 1:06 a.m. (2.06 a.m. ET) in Urbandale, an affluent Des Moines suburb, and the second about 20 minutes later about two miles (3 km) away, in Des Moines. Police declined to release the names of the officers awaiting notification of their families.

It was unclear what provoked Wednesday’s attacks, Des Moines police department spokesman Paul Parizek told a news conference prior to Greene’s arrest, adding that “we may never know.” But it appeared the suspect had a recent run-in with police.

A 10-minute video posted on YouTube last month by a user calling himself Scott Greene showed an interaction with officers following an incident at a sports stadium in which he described holding up a Confederate battle flag during the playing of the U.S. national anthem. He is heard claiming that he was assaulted.

Reuters was unable to immediately confirm whether the video was made by the suspect, whose face does not appear in it. It records a male voice arguing with police over the incident.

The Confederate flag is a racially charged symbol for its association with the pro-slavery South in the U.S. Civil War.

(Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee and Gina Cherelus, Dave Ingram and Michael Flaherty in New York; Writing by Scott Malone; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Will Dunham)

Charlotte officials urge calm after police shooting sparks protests

Police officers wearing riot gear block a road during protests after police fatally shot Keith Lamont Scott in the parking lot of an apartment complex in Charlotte, North Carolina

By Greg Lacour and Lenzy Krehbiel-Burton

CHARLOTTE, N.C./TULSA,Okla. (Reuters) – Charlotte, North Carolina, officials called for calm and dialogue on Wednesday after the fatal shooting of a black man by police led to a night of violent street protests that injured 16 officers.

The Charlotte violence unfolded as demonstrators in Tulsa, Oklahoma, called for the arrest of a police officer there who was seen in widely viewed videos shooting to death an unarmed black man who had his hands in clear view at the time.

The incidents were the latest to raise questions of racial bias in U.S. law enforcement.

Criminal investigations have been opened in both cities for the shootings, and the U.S. Justice Department has started a separate probe into the Oklahoma incident to see if officers’ use of force amounted to a civil rights violation.

“Our top priority is for Charlotte to remain a safe community for everyone who lives and visits here,” Mayor Jennifer Roberts said at a news conference as she called for patience with the investigation.

A Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police officer killed Keith Scott, 43, who had been seen entering a vehicle with a handgun, Chief Kerr Putney said at the same news conference. Scott was surrounded by police and was shot after he exited the car and did not obey officers’ instructions to drop his weapon, Putney said.

“He stepped out, posing a threat to the officers, and Officer Brentley Vinson subsequently fired his weapon, striking the subject,” Putney said, adding that police acted heroically in trying to stem the protests that followed the shooting.

Scott’s family says he was reading in his car and was unarmed. Police said they recovered a gun they said Scott was holding.

Putney said a handgun was seized. “I can also tell you we did not find a book,” Putney said. “We did find a weapon.”

North Carolina allows for the open carry of handguns, including having a pistol in a vehicle.

One protester was arrested, and several were injured in demonstrations that blocked an interstate highway.

Protesters set fires and stoned police cars, he said. Police deployed gas to disperse the crowd.

More protests were expected on Wednesday, and Putney said: “It is time to change the narrative.”

(Writing by Scott Malone and Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

Bikers ride through Baton Rouge in support of fallen police

Several hundred bikers gathered in Baton Rouge on Tuesday and rode in a procession to the city’s police headquarters in a show of support for the policemen shot and killed by a gunman at the weekend.

The bikers, many carrying U.S. flags and revving their engines, rode past the gas station where the policemen where killed en route to the police station.

Spectators gathered on the side of the streets to cheers them on. One woman carried a banner reading ‘cops lives matter.’

President Barack Obama has told law enforcement officials that Americans recognize, respect and depend upon the difficult and dangerous work they do, a rallying call of support following the ambush killings of eight officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge.

Three police officers were gunned down in Louisiana’s state capital on Sunday by a U.S. Marine Corps veteran with ties to an African-American anti-government group, authorities said. On July 7, another former U.S. serviceman espousing militant black nationalist views killed five Dallas officers.

Authorities identified the Baton Rouge gunman as former Sergeant Gavin Long of Kansas City, Missouri, an Iraq war veteran, and said he seemed determined to slay as many police officers as possible before a SWAT team marksman cut short his attack.

The single gunshot that killed Long, 29, was fired by an officer from about 100 yards away, police have said as they deepened their investigation into the second racially charged armed assault on U.S. law enforcement this month.