Law

Living in Gangland
4:00 am
Tue April 12, 2011

Activist in tiny Outlook, Washington wants a town where people aren't afraid

A sign promoting a community meeting in Outlook, Wash. a dairy town near Yakima.
Anna King Northwest News Network

This week we're taking a look at what police say is a resurgence of gang activity - especially in rural areas. In part two of "Living in Gangland," we bring you the story of the unincorporated town of Outlook, in Eastern Washington - and one woman who is fighting to get the town back.

When "Maria" gets off Interstate 82 and heads down the off ramp for Outlook – she starts praying -  that she’ll get home safe today.

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Living in Gangland
10:37 am
Mon April 11, 2011

Rural gangs claim public lands

Washington State Department of Fish & Wildlife officer Chad McGary briefly detains a self-described gang member who was fishing with friends
Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

This week we're taking a look at what police say is a resurgence of gang activity - especially in rural areas. In part one of our series “Living In Gangland," we go on patrol with a Washington Fish and Wildlife cop. 

Gang violence is mostly a big city problem. But in parts of the rural Northwest, police are grappling with gang rivalries, graffiti and even drive-by shootings.

Just ask Darin Smith, chief of police in Royal City, Washington, population 2,000.

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Law Enforcement
7:49 am
Fri April 8, 2011

Police target Seattle's empty "Citadel" warehouse, now notorious for raves

A still from a video shot March 4, 2011 at Citadel, in South Seattle. Seattle police are cracking down on scenes such as this one.
Still image courtesy of Anzamarch (Junko) YouTube

Clean it up or close it down – that's the choice for the new owner of a vacant property in South Seattle that's become notorious for noisy raves. 

Police have declared The Citadel a chronic nuisance. The boxy warehouse building was turned into a music venue by owner Steve Rauf, who says the dance parties have brought in much-needed revenue. 

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Law & Justice
8:37 am
Wed April 6, 2011

Higher court fines imposed on Latino drug offenders in Washington state

Court fines issued to felons in Washington vary according to the criminal’s ethnicity and location. That’s the conclusion of a University of Washington study published online in American Sociological Review.

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Law
3:23 pm
Tue April 5, 2011

Pierce County Prosecutor declares victory against Hilltop Crips

Tacoma's Hilltop neighborhood at night. 1/11/2011
Flickr user Gexydaf flickr.com

A little more than a year after 36 members and associates of the Hilltop Crips were arrested and prosecuted, Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist is declaring "a victory for the community". Lindquist says the sweep has dramatically reduced incidents of gang violence. 

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John T. Williams Shooting
6:08 am
Fri April 1, 2011

Wood carver's killing subject of federal review

Tribal members gather at the Chief Seattle Club in Pioneer Square last September to call for accountability in the police shooting death of native carver John T. Williams.
Photo by Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU News

"We have nothing to hide" – those were the words of Seattle's chief of police yesterday.  The department is under fire. 

The questions stem from a federal review of the fatal shooting of a first nation's wood carver last August, as well as what many people perceive as a prior pattern of  abusive violence against minority groups.

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Law and Justice
3:03 pm
Thu March 31, 2011

Feds launch civil rights investigation of Seattle Police

A protester named Redweezil holds up a photo of John T. Williams, a Native woodcarver killed by Seattle Police officer Ian Birk in August 2010. The killing sparked protests and was among the events prompting the ACLU to call for a federal investigation.
Ted S. Warren AP

Update 2:55 p.m.

The federal Department of Justice is launching a full-scale investigation into possible discrimination and excessive use of force in the Seattle Police Department. The probe will review the department’s policies, practices and behavior.

The investigation will look for what’s called a “pattern or practice” of civil rights violations in how the Seattle police use force, especially against minorities.

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Domestic Partnership
2:26 pm
Thu March 31, 2011

Washington to recognize same-sex marriages from other states

Same-sex marriages performed in other states will be recognized as domestic partnerships in Washington State under a bill now awaiting Gov. Chris Gregoire's signature. 

House Bill 1649 passed the state senate Wednesday 28-19. It was already approved by the House of Representatives.

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Nuclear weapons
5:06 pm
Mon March 28, 2011

Anti-war protesters sentenced for breaking into Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor

Five peace activists who broke into Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor have been sentenced to prison.  The group cut through fences at the Trident submarine base on November 2, 2009 to reach an area near where nuclear warheads are stored.  Bangor is the largest nuclear weapons storehouse in the United States.

At a trial in Tacoma in December, the Bangor trespassers, also known as the "Bangor Five," were found guilty of conspiracy and destruction of federal  property. 

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Debtor’s prison
6:07 pm
Fri March 25, 2011

Debtor’s proposal: no get out of jail free card

A follow up now to a story we brought you last fall on people who are sent to jail for failing to pay their debts, like a medical bill. A proposal moving through the legislature would toughen standards for debt collection agencies. It wouldn’t ban the practice of jailing people who owe money.

Last September, we introduced you to Janelle Leslie of Newport near Spokane. She described the night she called the police for help and ended up getting arrested for a warrant she didn’t know about.

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Case Brought by Native Groups
3:17 pm
Fri March 25, 2011

Jesuits settle Northwest sex abuse claims, will pay $166 million

Updated 3:17 p.m., Friday, Mar. 25th

Northwest Jesuits have agreed to pay $166.1 million 450 American Indians and Alaska Natives who were abused at the Catholic order's schools around the region.

The Oregon Province of the Society of Jesus runs schools in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and Alaska. The claims are from victims who were students at schools in all five states.

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Afghan War Crimes
7:55 am
Thu March 24, 2011

Soldier sentenced to 24 years for war crimes

Attorney Frank Spinner, left, and other members of Spc. Jeremy Morlock’s defense team speak with reporters following Morlock’s sentencing.
Austin Jenkins N3

A Washington-based soldier has been sentenced to 24-years in prison for killing unarmed civilians in Afghanistan. Specialist Jeremy Morlock pleaded guilty to three counts of premeditated murder and other crimes.

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Law & Justice
5:44 pm
Wed March 23, 2011

Spokane backpack bomb suspect plea: not guilty

FBI evidence photo of backpack found on a downtown Spokane street corner bench.
FBI

The Colville man accused of planting a bomb along Spokane’s Martin Luther King Day parade route pleaded not guilty today.

It was Kevin Harpham’s second appearance in federal court. The 36 year old wore a tan Spokane County Jail uniform and ankle shackles. His plea means the case is now headed to trial.

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Backpack Bomb
3:14 am
Wed March 23, 2011

Grand jury issues indictment in Spokane bomb case

The man charged with planting a bomb along the route of Spokane's Martin Luther King Day parade will appear in federal court today.

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Law & Justice
12:03 pm
Tue March 22, 2011

Are drug courts working?

Magistrate Gordon M. Smith presides over drug court in Providence, Rhode Island, June 2007.
AP

Drug courts have long been viewed as a success.  The courts give drug offenders charged with non-violent crimes the option of treatment rather than prison.

The courts, including those in Washington State, have proven effective in reducing repeat offenses. But some critics say too much money is being poured into drug courts.

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