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December 22nd, 2014
09:52 PM ET

Timeline of events before and after NYPD shootings

"Assassination." That's the word U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder used Monday night when he called the murders of two New York City police officers on Saturday.

New York and police departments nationwide are on high alert for copycat attacks in the wake of the brutal execution. The NYPD is investigating at least 15 online threats. The NYPD released new surveillance video today that captures the shooter, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, just before he went on his murderous rampage. The video shows the 28-year-old in a New York mall, carrying what appears to be a white styrofoam box Saturday afternoon. Police say the box ilprobably holds the gun he used to kill officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos.

Investigators also discovered video on Brinsley's cellphone of a New York City protest earlier this month. They say Brinsley was a spectator on a day of nationwide protests over the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown.

Authorities are still trying to determine Brinsley's motivation as well as what he did during the crucial two-and-a-half hours before the shooting.

CNN Miguels Marquez has more on the events leading up to the shooting of two NYPD officers, and thereafter.


Filed under: Justice • Law • Law enforcement • News • NYPD Shootings • Uncategorized
November 11th, 2014
09:12 PM ET

Missouri Gov.: Ready to call National Guard to Ferguson

Plans are being finalized to prepare Ferguson for what might come from the grand jury's decision on whether to charge Officer Darren Wilson for the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

Gun sales spike as Ferguson area braces for grand jury decision

The state's governor along with leaders from Missouri's law enforcement agencies made it clear that they will not tolerate a repeat of the violence and looting that erupted in the days and weeks that followed Brown's death three months ago.

Governor Jay Nixon said he's willing to call the National Guard to Ferguson if necessary. The state is also preparing itself with new riot gear to fight back against protesters who defy the law.

Sara Sidner has more OutFront in Ferguson, Missouri.


Filed under: Ferguson • Law • Law enforcement • Michael Brown • News
August 29th, 2014
09:36 PM ET

Widower's stolen memories of his wife returned

(CNN) - Dave Lacey stood motionless in his living room, his eyes tracing the glass from his shattered porch door to the empty shelf that once held his XBox. In the home invasion, the burglars focused on the high priced items in his house - electronics and jewelry. But Dave barely paused as he cataloged them for the police. The one item he stressed in his police report was his wife's Canon camera.

"It just didn't seem fair," he recalls, "because after all that we went through, to lose those, it was like a punch in the gut."

By "those" he means the pictures on the camera's memory card that he had not yet backed up on a computer. The card held the last pictures of him and his wife, Erica Werdel. They were the pictures from her funeral.

"Even though those are hard pictures to see, they're still something I want captured and want to remember," says Dave.

Love, marriage and death

When Dave met Erica, it wasn't like being struck by lightning or seeing fireworks. That sort of schmaltz didn't have a place in their time together, a pragmatic theme that would weave through their relationship. They knew each other casually at first, through work. Dave couldn't help but notice the dark-eyed brunette who could make anyone laugh. He also noticed the petite woman was, unexpectedly, a great basketball player. And he couldn't help but pause when she spoke, her eyes kind and generous.

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Filed under: Law enforcement • News
Reporter's Notebook: Why police often favor guns over Tasers
August 22nd, 2014
10:19 PM ET

Reporter's Notebook: Why police often favor guns over Tasers

There has been a lot of discussion on social media about law enforcement's use of force. There was the officer-involved shooting death of unarmed teen Michael Brown in Ferguson on August 9. Then ten days later, Kajieme Powell was fatally gunned down by St. Louis police officers.

Many have questioned why officers pulled their guns instead of using a less lethal device like pepper spray or a Taser. Experts walked us through the 21-foot rule, which is currently taught in police academies across the United States. The average assailant can run a distance of 21 feet in two seconds. That's the same amount of time it takes an officer to remove his gun from his holster and raise his weapon.

Forensic criminologist Ron Martinelli, an expert in more than 100 shooting cases, most of them officer-involved, showed us how the drill works. It revealed how little time an officer has to decide to shoot an assailant. But it also showed how the more items you add to a duty belt, the more an officer’s response time is going to be delayed, by as much as 50%.

If the officer is in close proximity to an assailant, he will likely turn to his gun because it's more effective. A Taser must be used when the assailant is more than two feet away but not more than 20 feet away in order for the two probes to launch and hit the perpetrator. Martinelli estimates the Taser has an effectiveness rate of only 60%, much of it due to operator error.

Given how little time an officer has to make a lethal force decision and the proximity these decisions often have to be made, experts say it's the reason officers often grab their gun before their Taser.

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Filed under: Law enforcement • Michael Brown • News • Reporter's Notebook • Uncategorized
August 22nd, 2014
08:55 PM ET

How are cops trained for deadly force?

Nearly two weeks since the shooting of unarmed black teen Michael Brown, many questions remain about what happened the day Brown was killed.

Officials say a shot was fired inside the officer's police car and Brown was found dead 35 feet from Wilson's police car.

Michael Brown autopsies: Will they answer the critical questions?

But how does that distance factor into a police officer's decision to shoot?

CNN's Kyung Lah is OutFront.


Filed under: Law enforcement • Michael Brown