Posts tagged “Edward Flynn

Police Use of Orwellian Technology Raises Red Flag

Steve Spingola published this article at Right Wisconsin. To see the content, please use this link:

http://www.rightwisconsin.com/perspectives/Police-Use-of-Orwellian–367577431.html

In response to this post, a vigorous debate between the cops of yore and those of the job today occurred on Facebook (please see the link):

https://www.facebook.com/steve.spingola/posts/1290292374319479?pnref=story

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Steve Spingola is a retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide lieutenant, an author, and an investigator for TNT’s Cold Justice.


Murder in Milwaukee

Steve Spingola published this article at Right Wisconsin. To see the content, please use this link:

http://www.rightwisconsin.com/perspectives/366147491.html

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Steve Spingola is a retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide lieutenant, an author, and an investigator for TNT’s Cold Justice.


The Democrat Party’s War on the Police

Steve Spingola published this article at Right Wisconsin. To see the content, please use this link:

http://www.rightwisconsin.com/perspectives/The-Democratic-Partys-War-on-Law-Enforcement-365602181.html

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Steve Spingola is a retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide lieutenant, an author, and an investigator for TNT’s Cold Justice.


Memo to Mayor Barrett et al: Stop Minimizing, Start Investigating

Like many people, I have viewed the YouTube video of the so-called St. Patrick’s Day “fist fight” that occurred on N. Water Street—in the heart of Milwaukee’s downtown entertainment district. For readers who have not had a chance to watch the video, please visit the below link:

http://fox6now.com/2012/03/18/fights-break-out-on-water-st-bars-close-early/

Yesterday, Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn held a news conference chastising the media’s coverage of the Water Street hooliganism.

A “fist fight,” said Flynn, “…does not qualify as news. What is news is that we had close to 25,000 people on Water Street Saturday night without any major incidents.”[1]

However, the video shows that, while the brawl was not a “major” incident, it was much more than a simple “fish fight.” Cleary, one of the men involved receives a punch to the face and then falls to the street.  Several others surround the fallen man and deliver multiple kicks. A woman, attired in a green shirt and green afro, comes to the fallen man’s aide.  As he stands up, the man appears, at best, groggy, as if he had lost consciousness. As the badly injured man wanders into the crowd, the police quickly arrive.  In the finest traditions of the Milwaukee Police Department, the officers calmly and, without incident, restore order.

As of this writing, it is unknown what became of the suspects and the victim. Had the man who was beaten remained on the scene to pursue a complaint, this incident might have risen to the level of substantial battery—a felony, which makes this event and the large, unruly crowd that cheered it on, more than just a simple “fist fight.”

Moreover, I cannot recall the last time the Milwaukee Police Department requested that several nightclubs and taverns in an entertainment district close early due to one supposedly isolated “fist fight.”

Fortunately, the YouTube video of the St. Patrick’s brawl on Water Street does exist, which means interested parties can watch the crime in progress for themselves and then draw their own conclusions.  Unlike the widespread disorder after the July 4, 2011, fireworks near E. North Avenue and N. Humboldt Blvd., the existence of video prohibits police officials from minimizing the totality of the overall turmoil.[2]

Yet this is not the first time drunken no-goodniks have wreaked havoc in Milwaukee’s downtown.  In June 2008, gangbangers and other anti-social malcontents trashed Milwaukee’s RiverSplash, tossing bottles at police officers on horse back.

http://www.todaystmj4.com/news/local/45675967.html?t=a&brand=mkevideo&video=pop

Afterwards, RiverSplash festival officials permanently cancelled the event.

In light of the St. Patrick’s Day brawl on Water Street, one has to wonder why a police chief would take time out of his busy schedule to blame the media for making note of the incident, especially when a video graphically depicts the crime. 

Politics, some believe, may be the answer.  Standing behind Chief Flynn at his news conference was Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett—a potential candidate for governor in this summer’s recall election. 

It is not a stretch to foresee a super PAC running an anti-Barrett television ad featuring the post-2007 Juneteenth Day violence[3], the 2008 mini-riot at RiverSplash, the beatings of innocent people outside of State Fair Park[4], and now the St. Patrick’s Day brawl, with a voice proclaiming, ‘Tom Barrett: he claims he wants to do for Wisconsin what he has done for Milwaukee. And fighting crime, Barrett clams, is his number one accomplishment.’

Instead of trying to minimize the disorder, the mayor should praise the timely response of the police, who performed professionally, and then promise to investigate and seek to prosecute those involved in the brawl to the full extent of the law.  Decisive leadership, not spin, is what registered voters expect.

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His new book, Best of the Spingola Files, is now available at Amazon.com.

If your group is in need of a fascinating guest speaker, consider the Spingola Files Psychology of Homicide presentation.  For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com/the_psychology_of_homicide_presentation.html

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2012 


 


[1] Garza, J. “Flynn Criticizes News of St. Patrick’s Day Brawl.” JSOnline.com. March 19, 2012.  21 March 2012.  http://www.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/flynn-criticizes-news-coverage-of-st-patricks-day-brawl-ec4l9p2-143417206.html

[2] “Ed Flynn, Riverwest Victims, Gordon Park Beating (Video).”  Freedomeden.blogspot.com. July 7, 2011.  21 March 2012.  http://freedomeden.blogspot.com/2011/07/ed-flynn-riverwest-victims-gordon-park.html

[3] “Violence at Milwaukee Juneteenth Day.” Blnz.com. June 21, 2007.  21 March 2012.  http://www.blnz.com/news/2007/06/21/Violence_Milwaukee_Juneteenth__Day.html

[4] Walker, Don.  “State Fair Mêlées Produce 11 Injuries, 31 Arrests.” Jsonline.com. August 5, 2011. 21 March 2012. http://www.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/126828998.html


Ringing in the New Year: Murder, the Fish Wrapper, and a New Book

If city homicides continue at their current rate, Milwaukee will witness 365 slayings in 2012. Experiencing five murders in as many days is, of course, purely coincidental, although it seems the stars are aligning at an awkward time. In just a few hours, Police Chief Edward Flynn is set to take the oath of office for a second term, a day after an assistant chief retired under a shroud of secrecy.  

http://www.620wtmj.com/news/local/136784753.html

But this isn’t the first time Milwaukee began the New Year with a bang. Twenty-one years ago, three people were murdered in the early hours of January 1—two at a tavern on S. 15 and W. Mitchell Streets.  As the following link illustrates, the clatter of gunfire ushering in the New Year is a tradition, of sorts, in some Milwaukee neighborhoods.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fqDqAsq5l6o

To avoid being hit by falling lead, some officers make it a point to have a roof over their heads during the first 15 minutes of the year. Things get real ugly in the ensuing hours as drunkenness sometimes results in a run-of-the-mill argument ending with a body or two being scrapped from the pavement.

Adding to the disproportate increase in January homicides is the unseasonably warm weather. Once the frigid cold returns—and it will—armed gang members with a grudge will hunker down inside their heated drug houses. Data driven policing be damned, experience dictates that the next rash of back-to-back homicides will probably occur during the first warm days of early spring.

PAYING FOR THE FISH WRAPPER

Seasoned detectives of yore often referred to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and its predecessor, the Milwaukee Journal, as ‘the fish wrapper.’ Obviously, these old school sleuths didn’t think too highly of the crew at 333 W. State Street (although the old Milwaukee Sentinel received higher marks).

Yet I wasn’t surprised to hear that the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel—better known these days as JSOnline.com—is now charging a fee to view its Web site content. As any sound business model suggests, a company giving away its products for free will soon be out of business.

As of this morning, however, the newspaper’s home page, containing a wide variety of information—such as the popular “News Watch” section—is still accessible at no cost.

Here is some free advice for the brass at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: if you actually want people to pay for the content of your newspaper, lock down your Web site.  Do not surrender a single morsel of information unless readers pay for the content. Otherwise, tight-fisted persons, like me, will not fork over $2.35 month. Why? Residents of southeastern Wisconsin are very frugal (i.e. we’re cheap).

On the other hand, if the JS would increase the size of its staff and actually unearth some news of local import, many of us might be willing to pay $5 a month. Over the past ten years, the corruption scandals involving members of the city’s common council, Ald. Michael McGee Jr.’s shakedown of businesses in his district, and public employees using government computers to advocate on behalf of politicians, have pretty much flown under the newspaper’s radar screen.  Instead, the newspaper has three reporters investigating one of the few public institutions that actually performs reasonably well—the Milwaukee Police Department.

BEST OF THE SPINGOLA FILES COMING SOON

Recently, some readers have asked about a number of previous posts currently unavailable at SF.  To view these outstanding articles, readers will need to purchase Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. I, a Kindle only e-book debuting later this month. I personally selected top-notch pieces, like “Max [Adonnis] & the Mob” and “Serial Killer in Plain Sight for All to See,” for publication. The cost of this new book is just $3 and will be available exclusively at Amazon.com.

The proceeds from of Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. I help fund this Web site’s overall operations.

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective.

If your group is in need of a fascinating guest speaker, consider the Spingola Files Psychology of Homicide presentation.  For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com/the_psychology_of_homicide_presentation.html

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2012


Rants of a Sane Man, Part II

Bail Debacle 

Tucked inside the pending state budget is a proposal that would allow bail bondsmen to, once again, raise their ugly heads in Wisconsin. 

“Anytime you place profit-driven organizations in control of an individual’s liberty, corruption must be a major concern,” Chief Judge John Storck of the Sixth Judicial District told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “The bail [bondsmen] system unfairly penalizes low-income defendants who can’t afford the un-refundable fee. It subverts the justice system, because defendants who can afford to buy their freedom – even those that may pose a relatively greater risk – are free to go at a much lower cost than under the current system.”

Judge Storck has it half right.

In states where bail bond is lawful, a private entity, typically called ‘a bondsman,’ posts a defendant’s bail.  In most instances, the defendant is required to pay the bondsmen ten percent of the total sum of the bail.  The bondsman, in turn, posts the entire amount with the court.  When the case is closed, the total amount of bail is then refunded to the bondsman, who keeps the ten percent posted by the defendant as a fee for services.

In Illinois, for example, former police sergeant Drew Peterson is awaiting trial for the alleged slaying of this third wife. Peterson is currently in custody, although his bail is set at $2 million. If Peterson provided $200,000 to a bail bondsman, the bondsman would then post the $2 million with the court.  Regardless of the case’s outcome, however, the $200,000 would forever belong to the bail bondsman. 

In the past, the powers-that-be in state government recognized that the bail bond operation fostered an atmosphere of corruption. Like other private corporations, bail bondsmen compete against each other.  Since most bail bondsmen require a ten percent non-refundable deposit from defendants, getting a leg-up on a competitor might necessitate paying a kick back to a police officer or sheriff’s deputy recommending a certain bondsman’s services. The kick back could come in the form of free tickets to sporting events, free booze, and/or discounted vacation packages. 

Moreover, in states employing a bail bond system, bail is generally much higher.  After all, like other citizens, individual bail bondsmen can contribute to political campaigns of judges. High bail set by individual judges means a larger, ten percent premium forfeited to bondsmen.  

Back in the old days, when the mob ran a protection racket in town, the term for such a fraud was ‘one hand washing the other.’

On Tap: South Side Gang War

In late May, a Milwaukee police officer fired a shot at an armed gunman near 10th and Orchard, an area with a long history of gang related trouble.  In the immediate aftermath of the incident, Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn held roll call for his officers on the street and told the media that trouble was brewing between three street gangs in the area.

The near south side to the east of South 20th Street is known as Latin King turf, although other gangs, the Unknown Kings and La Familia operated, in the recent past, just a few blocks to the west and north respectively, while the Mexcian Posse refuses to religate its operations to recognized geographical borders.  Another street gang infamous for dealing crack to local prostitutes, the Spanish Cobras, is attempting to sneak east of S. 19th Street.

Sources say the Latin Kings are making yet another come back, of sorts, after a second round of federal indictments.

Gangs seek to control an area to reap the rewards of the drug trade. The money is big, as are the risks, and there are no courts to arbitrate disputes in the shadowy world of the narcotics traffickers. Mitchell Nevin’s Milwaukee-based crime novel, The Cozen Protocol, is an accurate depiction of the drug underworld on the city’s south side, where two, fictional south side Latino gangs–Los Dominicanos and the Latin Maniacs–slug it out.

Like La Costa Nostra crime families, street gangs seem to have little problem filling their ranks no matter how many federal indictments come down. All law enforcement can do is make life as miserable as a possible for those profiting by destroying the social fabric of entire neighborhoods. 

This link to WTMJ radio indicates that a rash of recent violence could escalate with the summer weather:

http://www.620wtmj.com/news/local/124126599.html

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective.

If your organization is in need of a fascinating guest speaker, consider the Spingola Files presentation The Psychology of Homicide. For more information, view the YouTube ad:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8TF2kAvSSyU&feature=related

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2011


A Punishing Story of Rumor and Innuendo

To read this article, purchase the Best of the Spingola Files, coming to Amazon.com’s Kindle store in January 2012.

Steven Spingola is a former Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective and the author of Predators on the Parkway: a Former Homicide Detective Explores the Colonial Parkway Murders

If your organization is in need of a fascinating guest speaker, consider Steve Spingola’s presentation The Psychology of Homicide.  For more information, visit: http://www.badgerwordsmith.com/the_psychology_of_homicide_presentation.html

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2011


Is Milwaukee Sliding Back into the Homicide Abyss?

Ringing in the New Year with a bang is, unfortunately, a tradition practiced in some of Milwaukee’s troubled -neighborhoods.  

I vividly recall the first 30 minutes of a recently ushered-in 1980s New Year, as my squad partner and I stood just outside of District Five.  Initially, some of the area’s residents celebrated with small arms fire.  Within a few minutes, the blasts grew increasingly louder, as if some sort of competition existed to see who had the largest caliber handgun. 

Nonetheless, this bizarre and extremely dangerous form of celebration is the impetus for annual reflection, especially when tallying the number of yearly homicides. 

The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) confirm that homicide is the crime most often reported, which is why media outlets tend to focus on the number of bodies that turn-up at the local morgue.   Over the last 15 years, though, many law enforcement veterans believe that significant improvements in trauma care have skewed the homicide rate as a gage for violence.  Instead, some—like retired Milwaukee Police Department Captain Glenn Frankovis—believe the number of persons shot and/or involved in gunfights are a better barometer of violent crime trends.

Locally, how violent crime is measured will once again become a heated topic of debate.  In 2010, Milwaukee’s homicide rate jumped 31 percent—the largest single year increase since 2005, when homicides increased almost 39 percent. 

Optimists note that the 91 homicides committed in 2010 are still much lower that the all-time record of 168 in 1991, the year that Jeffrey Dahmer’s murderous rampage was uncovered.   

“We understand that the dynamics and motivation of some forms of homicide are susceptible to police tactics and some are not,” Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.  “We need to find out which are and which aren’t.”

Flynn blames the significant spike in homicides to multiple-victim cases. 

http://www.jsonline.com/news/crime/112736814.html

Pessimists, however, believe that cuts to the overtime budget and changes in the detective bureau are beginning to hamper the MPD’s ability to clear violent crimes, which means offenders remain at large to victimize others. 

No doubt, journalists and politicians will likely scrutinize the MPD’s 2010 clearance rate for homicides and other serious offenses.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Jesse Garza—a reporter in-charge of a homicide related blog—notes that a database maintained by that newspaper suggests 40 of Milwaukee’s homicides from 2010 remain unsolved—a clearance rate of just 56 percent.

http://www.jsonline.com/news/crime/112734664.html

With discourse concerning local crime numbers looming, it is imperative to juxtapose Milwaukee’s homicide statistics with other cities.

Unofficial numbers show Chicago homicides fell almost 3.5 percent from 2009 to 447.

http://homicides.redeyechicago.com/

In 2010, however, Chicago’s per capita homicide rate was slightly higher than Milwaukee’s.

News accounts from the west coast suggest Los Angeles is set to record fewer than 300 homicides “for the first time in four decades.”

http://www.newspressnow.com/localnews/26055023/detail.html

If Los Angeles, a city of almost 3.9 million, had the same homicide rate as Milwaukee in 2010, the city of angles would have experienced 591 homicides.

In 2010, Philadelphia, a tough town with a reputation for violence, recorded 305 homicides. 

http://www.centredaily.com/2010/12/30/2425495/philadelphia-violent-crime-fell.html

With a population of almost 1.5 million, Philadelphia would have registered 85 fewer homicides if that city experienced the same per capita murder rate as Milwaukee.

These numbers suggest that Milwaukee’s per capita homicide rate is relatively high. More alarming, however, is the clearance rate, even though official numbers, as well as the methods used to ascertain these statistics, have yet to be reported.

No doubt, with 91 victims of homicide, Milwaukee is in need of a lead abatement program. If Los Angeles, home of the Bloods, the Crips, and Sur 13, can reduce its homicide rates to unprecedented levels, one would think a city of 600,000 could do the same.

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Steve Spingola is a former Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective and the author of Predators on the Parkway: a Former Homicide Detective Explores the Colonial Parkway Murders.

Checkout Steve Spingola’s seminar, The Psychology of Homicide, by visiting http://badgerwordsmith.com/the_psychology_of_homicide_presentation.html

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2011