DAILY NEWS: AS A NEWS video of police beating and kicking three shooting suspects is seen around the world, attorneys for the battered men are claiming that Philly cops concocted their story to cover up for a case of mistaken identity – an allegation police vehemently deny. The attorneys said their clients – Brian Hall, 23, Dwayne “Lionel” Dyches, 24, and Pete Hopkins, 19 – were not involved in a shooting. But rather, police chased down their car and beat them because they mistook Dyches, a passenger in the car, for accused cop-killer Eric DeShawn Floyd, the attorneys said.
At a news conference yesterday, Dyches’ attorney, Eldridge Suggs, showed photos of Dyches and Floyd and called the resemblance “uncanny.” “All they’ve done is make up some facts to account for the beating,” Suggs said. “And the reason why they beat this man is because he looked so much like the cop-killer.” The news conference came as thousands of cops attended the funeral of Sgt. Stephen Liczbinski, who was killed last weekend after he confronted three bank-robbery suspects, including Floyd.
On Monday at about 10 p.m., police say narcotics cops were conducting a surveillance at 4th and Ansberry streets when they saw four men get out of the Marquis and walk to the corner. One of the four men fired shots at three other men. The shooter fled on foot and his three cohorts got back into the Marquis and took off, with police in pursuit, Ramsey said. The three men, however, say they were not at the shooting scene that night; they were around the corner on Raymond Street near 4th, paying respects to the mother of a friend, Andrew Coach, who was killed the night before, according to family members and Suggs.
Sheila Coach said yesterday that Dyches, Hall and Hopkins arrived at her house at about 9 p.m. that night. She hugged them. It was just the three of them – not four, she said. Suggs said he has witnesses who will testify that Dyches, Hall and Hopkins were with them standing outside the Coach’s house when shots rang out. That’s when the three men decided it was time to leave and got in the Marquis to head home. One of the shooting victims lives a few doors away from Sheila Coach on Raymond Street. The man, 20, who was shot in the leg, said he never saw a gold Mercury Grand Marquis and does not know Dyches, Hall and Hopkins. MORE
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TANGENTIALLY RELATED: Secret Service supervisors shared crude sexual jokes and engaged in racially derogatory banter about blacks, and passed around an anecdote about a possible assassination of the Rev. Jesse Jackson, according to internal e-mail disclosed in a federal court filing on Friday by lawyers for black Secret Service agents. The filing includes 10 e-mail messages that were among documents the agency recently turned over to lawyers for the black agents as part of an increasingly bitter discrimination lawsuit. The messages were written mainly from 2003 through 2005, and were sent to and from e-mail accounts of at least 20 Secret Service supervisors. The messages offer a glimpse into the darker recesses of an agency known for protecting presidents and other dignitaries but whose culture is regarded as one of the most insular in federal law enforcement.
In some of the court documents, the senders of the e-mail messages are identified only by the jobs they currently occupy and the rank they held when the messages were sent. For example, an Oct. 9, 2003, message referring to a “Harlem Spelling Bee,” ridiculing black slang, was sent by Thomas Grupski, then assistant director for protective operations, who, according to the filing, now heads the Office of Government Liaison and Public Affairs. A March 3, 2003, message describing Mr. Jackson as the “Righteous Reverend” was passed among several Secret Service supervisors. The message, about a missile striking an airplane in which Mr. Jackson and his wife were traveling, concludes, it “certainly wouldn’t be a great loss and it probably wouldn’t be an accident either.” [via NEW YORK TIMES]
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NEW YORK TIMES: Guards for the security company were involved in a shooting in September that left at least 17 Iraqis dead at a Baghdad intersection. Outrage over the killings prompted the Iraqi government to demand Blackwater’s ouster from the country, and led to a criminal investigation by the F.B.I., a series of internal investigations by the State Department and the Pentagon, and high-profile Congressional hearings. But after an intense public and private lobbying campaign, Blackwater appears to be back to business as usual.
The State Department has just renewed its contract to provide security for American diplomats in Iraq for at least another year. Threats by the Iraqi government to strip Western contractors of their immunity from Iraqi law have gone nowhere. No charges have been brought in the United States against any Blackwater guard in the September shooting, either, and the F.B.I. agents in Baghdad charged with investigating whether Blackwater guards have committed any crimes under United States law are sometimes protected as they travel through Baghdad by Blackwater guards.
The chief reason for the company’s survival? State Department officials said Friday that they did not believe they had any alternative to Blackwater, which supplies about 800 guards to the department to provide security for diplomats in Baghdad. Officials say only three companies in the world meet their requirements for protective services in Iraq, and the other two do not have the capability to take on Blackwater’s role in Baghdad. After the shooting in September, the State Department did not even open talks with the other two companies, DynCorp International and Triple Canopy, to see if they could take over from Blackwater, which is based in North Carolina.
“We cannot operate without private security firms in Iraq,” said Patrick F. Kennedy, the under secretary of state for management. “If the contractors were removed, we would have to leave Iraq.” MORE