Archive for the ‘police’ Category
Posted by Christopher Coen on November 2, 2013
One of the former Lost Boys of Sudan now living in Amarillo, Texas has filed a negligence lawsuit against a Kansas bounty hunter claiming the man wrongfully targeted him and attacked without warning. Aguer Gak claims that Donald Ray Adams, without announcing his intentions or identifying himself as a bounty hunter, and without asking Gak his name or for any identification, Tased Gak, pepper sprayed him, Tased him again, and then shackled Gak in Amarillo on Nov. 17, 2012. Adams claimed he was searching for a bail jumper. In the state of Kansas becoming a licensed bounty hunter requires only completing a two-day course and paying $200. An article at Amarillo.com has the details of the story:
An Amarillo man filed a negligence suit Wednesday against a Kansas bounty hunter, alleging the man wrongfully identified him as a bail jumper, Tasing and assaulting him in front of a north Amarillo motel last year.
The suit was filed in 320th District Court by Aguer Gak, a Sudanese immigrant who works at Tyson Fresh Meats, against Donald Ray Adams.
On Nov. 17, 2012, Adams, 66, approached Gak about 8:30 p.m. as Gak was talking on a cellphone near the Cowboy Motel, 3619. E. Amarillo Blvd., according to the suit and Amarillo police reports.
“Without announcing his intentions or identifying himself as a bounty hunter, and without asking Gak his name or for any identification, Adams Tased Gak, then pepper sprayed him, then Tased him again, then shackled Gak,” the suit states. “The quick actions of an intervening Good Samaritan with a broom allowed Gak to escape Adams’ capture, with Gak fleeing for his life, still shackled with Adams’ restraints.”
During the melee, two other witnesses called 911 and one man told police the fracas sounded like someone was being killed…
One witness, Deng Awon Kon, told police Adams left in his pickup before police arrived. Kon said he followed Adams until he stopped near some police vehicles.
Adams, according to a police report, told officers Gak, 33, was a Kansas bail jumper he was attempting to apprehend, but one investigating officer determined Adams had attempted to capture the wrong man.
Officers said they later located Gak — who still was handcuffed and had two Taser probes buried in his arm — a few blocks from the motel. Officers transported him back to the motel, where he identified Adams as the man who attacked him, Amarillo police reports said.
A Potter County jury found Adams guilty of misdemeanor assault July 17, and a judge sentenced him to serve nine days in jail and ordered him to pay a $2,000 fine…
Gak’s Amarillo attorney, Vince Nowak, said he suffered injuries to his head and his arm during the incident… Read more here
Posted in Amarillo, police, safety, Sudanese | Tagged: Aguer Gak, Amarillo, bounty hunter, immigration, Lost Boys of Sudan, refugees, resettlement, sudanese, Taser, Texas | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Christopher Coen on July 30, 2013
In light of the communication problems after the murder of two Karenni refugees at apartment complex in Phoenix in April, the police will now have access to refugee community leaders and interpreters in the communities 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Officers can also carry a card that includes contact numbers for refugee agencies and questions to ask refugees to better identify appropriate resources. An article in The Arizona Republic explains:
…Two Burmese refugees were stabbed at the Serrano Village Apartments near 28th Avenue and Camelback Road, leaving fellow refugees stunned and afraid.
Ker Reh, 54, and Kay Reh, 24, who are not related, were attacked outside an apartment unit where they were attending a prayer service for a friend who had died of natural causes….
Thousands of Burmese refugees call Phoenix home, and the homicides highlighted the struggles the community faces. Community leaders and the police department are working to overcome some of those issues, such as language barriers and fear of the police…
More than 4,100 Burmese refugees have moved to Arizona since fiscal 1999 with a majority of them — 3,858 — concentrated in apartments around Phoenix…
The main stumbling block for the refugees is their lack of English skills, leaders said. Phoenix police had to call a translator on April 28 to the murder scene to help piece together what had happened.
…many refugees don’t call 911 for help because they can’t speak English.
“The 911 ask many questions so people are scared to call,” said Ray, who taught himself English when he arrived to this country. He spent 20 years in a Thai refugee camp.
Phary Reh, 35, said many of the older refugees also fear the police because of their experiences with them in Thailand and Burma.
“When they are driving and see police, they are scared,” he said. “In their heart, it reminds them of the police in Thailand.”…
Police spokesman Steve Martos said the department also is enhancing its ability to serve the Myanmar refugees.
“This incident helped us address a deficiency as it relates to language barriers,” he said. “We have since worked with the refugee community to find ways we can have access to their community leaders and someone to translate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”…
Now, officers can carry a card that includes contact numbers for refugee agencies and questions to ask refugees to better identify appropriate resources… Read more here
Posted in Catholic Charities Phoenix, crime, dangerous neighborhoods, gangs, hate crimes, Karenni, language, Phoenix, police, safety | Tagged: Burmese, catholic charities, interpretation, karenni, murders, Phoenix, refugees, resettlement, Serrano Village Apartments, stabbings | 3 Comments »
Posted by Christopher Coen on July 8, 2013
A 2010 survey in Clarkston, GA near downtown Atlanta found that Somali refugees were more likely to claim victimization from neighborhood crime than other refugee nationalities or ethnic groups. While Somali refugees made up 21 percent of respondents, they accounted for 46 percent of respondents who claimed to have been victimized in the last year. The report has many ideas for lessening the danger of street crime against refugees. See page eight of the report Safer Clarkston Partnership:
Read more here
Posted in Atlanta, dangerous neighborhoods, police, safety, Somali | Tagged: Clarkston, georgia, refugees, resettlement, Safer Clarkston Parnership, safety, somalis, street crime | 1 Comment »
Posted by Christopher Coen on May 19, 2013
Tukwila, a suburb of Seattle is a hub of refugee resettlement in that metropolitan area. Safety for refugees is a major issue. An article in The Seattle Times discusses these issues, although only speaks to refugees who feel safe in the city. Perhaps all of those who didn’t feel safe moved out? The IRC claims it moved most of their refugee resettlement from Seattle to Tukwila ten years ago because Seattle was too expensive and unsafe. Apparently Tukwila has lower cost apartments, albeit with the same safety issues as Seattle?
…White, black and every shade in between is elbow-to-elbow, eating lunch [at the Tukwila public school]. Somali. Kenyan. Eritrean. Bosnian. Turkish. Korean. Vietnamese. Mexican. Russian. Burmese. Nepali. You need a world map to keep track.
The cultural mash-up is one of the more obvious signs of the global migration that has transformed this once sleepy Seattle suburb into an international city of the future…
…In Tukwila, 62 percent of the population is minority and more than 49 percent speak a language other than English at home, according to the 2010 census.
The New York Times named its school district the single most diverse in the country, with 71 percent minority students.
Tukwila’s diversity is a source of pride here. It’s also a source of challenges for the police, the growing school district and residents facing larger problems: nearly a quarter of the population lives in poverty, compared to 12 percent in Seattle, and Tukwila’s crime rate is the highest in King County…
…The city’s current ethnic makeup is due, in large part, to the efforts of refugee-resettlement agencies, especially the International Rescue Committee, a nonprofit agency that helps people fleeing persecution and war.
The IRC’s Seattle office used to place most of its clients in Seattle. But about 10 years ago, Seattle became too expensive and too dangerous, says the agency’s executive director in Seattle, Bob Johnson. A case worker, who lived in Tukwila and knew an apartment manager there, suggested they look south.
Borka Markovic’-Paponjak was living in a refugee camp when the IRC relocated her and her family from Bosnia to Tukwila in April 2007.
“Tukwila was a scary place then,” she says. “There was prostitution, drug dealing, gang fights. Ten days after we arrived, a guy was killed in front of the coffee shop for 20 bucks.”
But Markovic’-Paponjak and her husband both got jobs. The kids thrived at school, and the other Bosnians in the complex formed a tight bond, watching after each other’s children and holding summertime pool parties.
“Now, I don’t have a speck of fear in me,” says Markovic’-Paponjak, who these days owns a home here and helps other refugees at the IRC. “Tukwila is warmer, nicer, willing to help,” she says. “
Each year, about 500 refugees are placed in Tukwila. Once on their feet, many move on, and their foods disappear from the Trading Post’s shelves…
…People attending [police] meetings as part of the city’s strategic-planning process repeatedly cited the city’s high crime rate as one of the most pressing problems… Read more here
Posted in dangerous neighborhoods, police, safety, Seattle | Tagged: crime, refugees, resettlement, safety, seattle, Tukwila | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Christopher Coen on May 11, 2013
Five suspects are wanted in the stabbing deaths of two ethnic Karenni men in an argument at a Phoenix, Arizona apartment complex on April 27th. The safety of refugees in many communities in the U.S. where our program resettled them has been a concern of ours for over ten years now. My question is this: if the Language Line is a known tool for communicating in hundreds of languages on short notice, and police today walk with cell phones, why isn’t that method being used in these incidents? Of course refugee resettlement agencies should also issue all refugee cases with a card that lists phone numbers to call in emergencies – including interpreters. Unfortunately many agencies don’t even bother to make sure that their caseworkers give refugees their business cards. An article at The Republic covers the incident:
Police are still searching for five suspects after two people who gathered to help a family mourn the loss of a loved one were stabbed to death at a Phoenix apartment complex Sunday morning, authorities said Monday.
Phoenix police received a 911 call just after midnight of someone being stabbed at an apartment at 2828 W. Camelback Road, Phoenix Police Department spokesman Sgt. Steve Martos said. Arriving officers found two men with stab wounds. Both died at the scene.
Witnesses said the people at the apartment were attending a “Nar Ye Nyi Hmut,” which is a Burmese gathering held before a funeral during which relatives and friends stay overnight and offer grief support to a family who recently lost a loved one.
Police suspect that three teenagers on their way to attend the gathering had an altercation with four male teenagers and one female teenager, police said. The teenagers going to the funeral were able to make it to the apartment and explained what happened. The other teens followed.
Two men at the funeral went outside to try to calm down the teenagers who followed the other teens home, police said. The teenagers stabbed the men to death.
Police consulted with translators to determine what happened because of the Burmese language barrier between police and the approximately 40 to 50 people who were inside the apartment, Martos said.
Police have not identified the victims yet.
The apartment complex largely is populated by people from various Asian countries, including Burma, Nepal and Iraq… Read more here
Additional information about the victims and the suspects is found in a Channel 3 report:
…Police have identified the victims as Ker Reh, 54 and Kay Reh, 24…
…With the assistance of translators, investigators learned that three teenagers between 15 and 16 years old were walking to the apartment complex to join friends and family to mourn the loss of a community member when they were confronted by five teenagers who engaged them in an altercation. Martos said the suspects were four Hispanic males and one Hispanic female.
The three teenagers ran to the apartment where 40 to 50 people were gathered and told two men what had occurred and that they were being chased by the suspects.
Martos said the two men stepped outside of the apartment to try to calm the suspects and prevent further altercation. The suspects then began to stab both men.
All five suspects fled the scene on foot.
Witnesses described the weapon as some type of long metal crowbar-like rod. Police have not confirmed the weapon.
Investigators are asking for the public’s help in identifying and locating the suspects. Anyone with information related to this crime is encouraged to call the Phoenix Police Department’s Violent Crimes Unit at 602-262-6141 or Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS to remain anonymous. Read more here
Posted in crime, dangerous neighborhoods, housing, Karenni, language, men, Phoenix, police, safety, teenagers | Tagged: Burma, Burmese, Camelback Road, karenni, Kay Reh, Ker Reh, Myanmar, Phoenix, refugees, resettlement, stabbing | 4 Comments »
Posted by Christopher Coen on April 6, 2013
In 2010 this blog reported on a case in Abilene, Texas in which a health district employee was accused of sexual assault of IRC refugee woman, then charged and jailed. Apparently after all this time the man has still not been tried in the matter. One of the constitutional rights we supposedly enjoy in this country is the right to a speedy trail, which is a potential concern in this case. Zane Travis in a letter to the Abilene Reporter-News expresses his own concern about the case:
I wish to alert Abilenians to a perceived injustice. You may have noticed recently that the trial for Aloys Nzeyimana was postponed for the 10th time.
Aloys was employed by the Abilene Health District as an interpreter for International Rescue Committee refugees and worked under my supervision and that of the official refugee nurse. For about five years. We watched him help refugees above and beyond expected duties, with kindness and humor. He was active in his church and at local organized refugee information meetings.
In December 2010, he was arrested in a parking lot as he was leaving the health department, apparently accused of sexually assaulting several refugee women. At the time of his arrest, he was held in the parking lot for 50 minutes until the newspaper could get there and take his picture, which was on the front page the next day. His office was quickly searched and contents removed.
His fellow employees (including me) were shocked at the charges. His bail was set at $450,000 — a heroic amount for no reported injuries. Nobody ever went to the E.R. claiming they had been raped or attacked. It is believed that the original charges may have been spurred by a disgruntled stepdaughter, who had been brought here from Africa at Aloys’ expense. Apparently there was a problem finding people who were allegedly hurt by him, since a notice was placed in Swahili on the front page of the paper asking for people to come forward who had been harmed by him… Read more here
Posted in Abilene, court, IRC, police, safety, women | Tagged: Abilene, constitutional, interpreter, IRC, refugees, resettlement, sexual assault, speedy trial | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Christopher Coen on October 23, 2012
An article in the Buffalo News explains how a police officer in that city has taken the initiative to help refugees locally. Each year he joins a clothing drive for refugees, and has even traveled to Burma/Myanmar to see how the refugees from that country live. The article also mentions that refugees in Buffalo are living in code-breaking bungalows (rentals?) and that when they arrive they do not seem to get cold-weather clothing (the State Department contract supposedly requires resettlement agencies to give refugees all needed clothing).
From The Buffalo News:
He got the call a few years ago. A woman was wandering, lost, on Buffalo’s West Side. She did not speak English. The encounter sparked Mike Long’s journey from his South Buffalo roots, more deeply into the streets he patrols, and finally to the Burmese countryside.
A Google search led the Buffalo cop to Jericho Road Ministries, the refugee help center. Within minutes, the lost woman in his patrol car was flanked by translators fluent in Burundi and Swahili. They made sense of the woman’s words. Long drove her home – and knew he needed to better understand her world.
“You never want to impose your beliefs on a people, or feel like you know what is best for them,” he said Friday. “I thought I could better serve the refugees here if I saw where they came from.”
In the spirit of helping, the 37-year-old cop took a reverse-immigrant journey. A friend of a friend had started an orphanage in the Burmese countryside. A few months ago, Long joined a caravan bringing medicine, Crocs and clothes to 35 kids…
…Many refugees who resettle on the West Side – mostly Burmese and brightly garbed Somalis – live in code-busting bungalows…
[Long] also knows what he sees every winter: Recent arrivals, shoulders hunched against the freeze, wearing nothing warmer than a long-sleeved shirt. It is why Long, three years ago, jumped headlong into Jericho Road’s annual clothing drive (www.jrm-buffalo.org)… Read more here
Posted in Buffalo, Burma/Myanmar, clothes, housing, housing, substandard, police | Tagged: Buffalo, Burma, Myanmar, police, refugees, resettlement | 1 Comment »