NC prisons reconsider whether to strap pregnant inmates to their beds during childbirth

February 17, 2018 in Bail Bonding, Crime

North Carolina policies that call for pregnant inmates to be shackled to a hospital bed while in labor could be revised soon, after a complaint about the practice.

The review comes after SisterSong, an Atlanta-based organization that promotes reproductive rights for women of color, and groups from North Carolina sent a letter to the state Department of Public Safety questioning the treatment of two unnamed inmates.

“The North Carolina Department of Public Safety prohibits the use of shackling during delivery and yet in recent weeks at least two people from the North Carolina Correctional Institute for Women were restrained throughout their laboring process at a local medical center,” the coalition of organizations stated. “This was in spite of the concerns of medical staff and the fact that it was in violation of NC Department of Public Safety written policies and legal precedent.”

Pamela Walker, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Public Safety, said Friday that a review had been launched shortly after SisterSong notified prison officials. Prison workers sought more information, but had not identified who the inmates were nor been able to get many more details about the experiences of the women.

“The Department of Public Safety, Division of Prisons takes very seriously the health and well-being of all individuals confined within our facilities and appreciates the advocacy groups bringing to our attention their concerns regarding policies and practices specific to pregnant inmates,” Walker said in a statement earlier this week.

Last year, there were 81 inmates who delivered babies while incarcerated. Pregnant offenders housed in county jails routinely are sent to the North Carolina Correctional Institution for Women in Raleigh.

Once the child is born, the mother can bond with the baby as long as the mother is in the hospital, Walker said. Once the offender is discharged from the hospital to return to prison, the individual designated by the inmate in her “baby plan” to be the caretaker will come to the hospital and take custody of the child.

There are currently 50 pregnant offenders housed in the state prison system, Walker said.

Inmates can be restrained while in childbirth. Policy that dates back to 2015 states that inmates shall not be restrained “while in delivery,” she added. But delivery is a medical term, Walker said, and precisely when that means the restraints should come off is not spelled out in the policy.

“That will be reinforced in the new policy anticipated to be instituted soon,” she said.

Prison officials are consulting with the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the National Commission on Correctional Health Care and the American Correctional Association to help develop a revised policy that “will balance the well-being and safety of the pregnant inmate with the safety and security of our officers, medical staff and the public at large,” Walker said.

There has been a global movement in recent years to end the shackling of pregnant prisoners, and offer better treatment in general to female inmates.

Last year, the federal Bureau of Prisons announced that feminine hygiene products had to be provided to inmates free of charge. A group of Democratic senators introduced the Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act, which would ban the shackling of pregnant women.

More than 20 states have passed laws that prohibit the shackling of people in childbirth, SisterSong representative Omisade Burney-Scott said when calling attention to the North Carolina complaint. Neither the inmates nor health care workers contacted SisterSong directly so it was not clear who the inmates were or which hospitals they were in. Among the states that have restricted shackling, Burney-Scott said, none has any documented instances of people in labor escaping or causing harm to themselves, the public, security guards, or medical staff.

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has stated its opposition to using restraints during childbirth.

“Physical restraints interfere with the ability of health care providers to safely practice medicine by reducing their ability to assess and evaluate the mother and the fetus and making labor and delivery more difficult,” the group stated in a 2011 opinion. “Shackling may put the health of the woman and fetus at risk. Shackling during transportation to medical care facilities and during the receipt of health services should occur only in exceptional circumstances for pregnant women and women within 6 weeks postpartum after a strong consideration of the health effects of restraints by the clinician providing care.”

“With people of color overrepresented in the prison system, this issue falls hardest on people who already struggle with health disparities and higher rates of pregnancy complications and maternal mortality,” Burney-Scott said.

SisterSong and other representatives of the coalition praised North Carolina prison officials for reviewing the policy.

“Advocates will continue to work to ensure not only that the policy around shackling during labor is enforced, but to make sure that people are supported during postpartum recovery and that we can improve the access to adequate care and services to promote the health and dignity of people who are incarcerated,” the coalition representatives said in a statement. “We will also work to push for training of staff, so that the policies are consistently enforced.”

Walker said she did not know how long the review would take, but expected policy changes to be announced soon.

Community group aims to curb crime near Charlotte Transit Center

February 17, 2018 in Bail Bonding, Crime

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A local community group called TEAM is working to curb crime in and around the Charlotte Transit Center in uptown.

Channel 9 spoke with members of the group Saturday. They said TEAM is made up of volunteers from several agencies, including the Charlotte Area Transit System, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, G4S and several other community partners.




G4S police Officer Jefferey Outen is among the volunteers who work with the group. Outen was severely beaten Friday night outside the Charlotte Transit Center after officials said he told Reginald Alexander to leave the area because he was loitering.

[READ MORE: CMPD IDs man accused of assaulting company police officer in Charlotte]

Outen was taken to a hospital with serious injuries, but is expected to be OK.




(Jefferey Outen)

Last year, Channel 9 investigated instances of crime around the transit center, and police said loitering was one of the issues they dealt with all the time.

[RELATED: 9 Investigates rise in crime at uptown Transit Center]

[RELATED: Safety becomes issue at Charlotte transit center as complaints mount]

Volunteers with TEAM said they started working near the transit center about two years ago, mostly with young adults who hang out in the area. They said they need help to achieve their goal of curbing crime.

“That’s what’s going to make the difference. We’ve got to have people committed to do something about the problems that we’re seeing at the transit and all over Charlotte,” TEAM member Camille Stephens said.

Officials estimate about 20,000 bus riders go through the transit area every day, and CMPD has talked about expanding its transit division to help with security.

Read more top trending stories on wsoctv.com:

North Carolina unsure how many rape kits are left untested

February 17, 2018 in Bail Bonding, Crime

 

ASHEVILLE — Andrew Grady Davis will call the Avery-Mitchell Correctional Institution home until at least 2041. Were it not for a rape kit, his crime would’ve gone unpunished.

Early one morning in 2001, he broke into a UNC Asheville student’s apartment, shoved her down and raped her at knifepoint. Years later, Davis was arrested in Oklahoma after he ran a roadblock while possessing drugs. 

Police added his DNA to a Federal Bureau of Investigation database that tied him to the rape through a sample taken from his victim years ago. That led to Davis’ conviction in 2013 in what had been a cold case.

Similar stores of rape convictions — won with DNA evidence years after cases dead-ended — aren’t uncommon, but they’re not as common as they should be, crime victim advocates say.

Legislation approved in the N.C. General Assembly last year could help change that.

More: Law: NC police must inventory untested rape kits

The state Department of Justice is preparing a report to go to lawmakers next month detailing to what extent DNA evidence has been left untested in rape kits statewide. Depending on its contents, the report could eventually translate into policy reform, reshaping the way police agencies handle evidence collected from rape victims. 

DNA evidence, which medical professionals collect and file in rape kits, is one of the most powerful tools at the disposal of district attorneys prosecuting rape cases. But in spite of their utility, it’s estimated hundreds of thousands of these kits sit untested in police evidence lockers across the country.

In Asheville alone, police have 573 untested rape kits.  

“This really is about a process that isn’t being taken seriously, that’s being ignored,” said Monika Johnson Hostler, executive director of the North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault.

As technology has improved — and tolerance for sexual assault has declined — lawmakers have sought to chip away at the massive backlog of about 400,000 untested kits, according to a 2015 White House estimate. 

North Carolina last year mandated that local law enforcement agencies inventory their untested sexual assault evidence collection kits — a more formal name for rape kits. 

Police forces statewide were required to submit their findings last month to the Department of Justice, which will present them to the General Assembly no later than March 1.

The State Crime Lab hasn’t finished compiling the data, but it’s likely North Carolina’s rape kit backlog is substantial, according to state Rep. Billy Richardson, a Cumberland County Democrat behind the state legislation.

“You can’t fix something unless you know it’s broke, and the only way to do that is to take an inventory,” Richardson said. “I’m hoping that there’s not much, but my gut tells me there’s going to be a big stack, and the SBI can’t test what they don’t know is there.” 

‘It’s going to be a big number’

Rep. Jonathan Jordan, a Republican representing Ashe and Watauga counties, cosponsored Richardson’s rape kit inventory bill, which the General Assembly adopted by way of the budget during its last session. Jordan described the rape kit backlog as a nonpartisan issue.

He was more hesitant than Richardson to speculate what the State Crime Lab’s report might entail, but he acknowledged if each of the state’s hundreds of police forces have even a few untested kits, the state will have a significant backlog. 

“I’m sure that with the number of law enforcement agencies out there, if they all have a few, it’s going to be a big number,” he said.

There are at least 80 independent law enforcement agencies operating in the state’s 22 westernmost counties. And if the Asheville area is any indication, law enforcement agencies have more than a few untested kits in their care. 

The Department of Justice isn’t releasing the data it received from police until after it reports findings to the General Assembly. But several area law enforcement agencies provided their inventories to the Citizen Times.

The three agencies responding to public records requests had 830 untested rape kits. 

Big numbers

The legislative mandate requiring law enforcement agencies to inventory their untested rape kits asked that they sort the data into categories. Police had to report how many kits hadn’t been tested for each of the following reasons:

  • The victim didn’t report the assault to police.
  • The matter was already resolved in court.
  • The suspect admitted guilt.
  • The allegations were determined “unfounded.”

The Asheville Police Department reported 573 untested kits. Excluding the kits that fell into one of the four categories set forth by the legislature, the department has 352 untested kits. 

Most of those 352 kits can be explained, spokeswoman Christina Hallingse said. Some are untested because people reported assaults but didn’t want to pursue charges.

In that event, the department holds onto the rape kit in case the victim changes his or her mind.

The rest of the untested kits didn’t initially meet minimum standards for testing set forth by the State Bureau of Investigation. The bureau has since changed its standards regarding testing, prompting an ongoing review of untested kits, Hallingse said.

 “We are currently in the process of re-evaluating each of the untested kits to determine if they meet the new standards for testing,” she wrote in an email.

The Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office reported 167 untested rape kits, 93 of which fell outside the categories defined by the legislature. In an email, sheriff spokeswoman Natalie Bailey said that 18 of those haven’t been tested because the district attorney declined to prosecute and 46 weren’t tested because the “victim refused to cooperate.”

The Henderson County Sheriff’s Office reported 90 untested kits, 49 of which didn’t meet any of the four classifications set by the state. 

Between 2006 and 2016, there were 575 reported rapes in Buncombe County and 250 in Henderson County, according to SBI statistics. The two counties are the region’s most populous.

Buncombe County recorded more rapes in the last 11 years than any other in the region. 

The county’s District Attorney Todd Williams said his office hasn’t felt the effects of a rape kit backlog. He and his staff haven’t yet handled a case for which they needed a rape kit that was untested, he said. 

More: In unusual step, victims told of destroyed NC rape kits

‘Left in a box’

In the early ’80s, Rep. Richardson served as a prosecutor in Fayetteville, where he tried plenty of rape cases. For more than 35 years, one case in particular has haunted him, he said.

“It was really tragic,” Richardson said. “It broke my heart.” 

A young, severely mentally disabled man was raped and sodomized by a curtain rod. Richardson said he didn’t have access to the DNA evidence that goes into rape kits today. Instead, he relied on blood samples to convict the young man’s assailant. 

“They’re not near as good as DNA,” he said. “We’ve come so far with the testing since then. It’s crazy we’re not taking advantage of it. When you have the technology, it would be a shame not to use it.”

DNA evidence is “critically important to hold offenders accountable,” Williams said.

Charlotte police earlier this month arrested a 49-year-old man in connection with two rape cases, one of which is nearly 20 years old. Zellie Edwards was charged with raping a 16-year-old girl in 1988 and a 17-year-old girl in 1994. 

Like Andrew Grady Davis, the man who raped a UNCA student in 2001, Edwards was tied to the Charlotte cold cases by DNA from rape kits.

Edwards had attained habitual felon status, requiring that a sample of his DNA be taken. That sample was submitted to the FBI’s national database, where it matched that of his two victims, Lt. Melanie Peacock of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department told The Associated Press. 

For this reason and others, Johnson Hostler, of the North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault, said she believes that every rape kit should be tested.

The process of compiling these kits is not simple. Only specialized medical professionals are allowed to conduct rape kit examinations, which are highly invasive procedures that can take several hours.

“It’s important to the victim that we test these kits because it’s who they are,” Johnson Hostler said. “It’s their DNA being kept in these kits. Who they are is on a shelf, in a box, not being processed. A large part of protecting their safety is ensuring those kits are used and not left in a box.”  

Priorities

The State Crime Lab, which tests all North Carolina’s rape kits, acknowledged the legislature’s effort to inventory the backlog in three paragraphs of its annual report last year.

“This one-time inventory will address any (sexual assault evidence collection kits) currently in existence; however,” the report continues from here in bold lettering, “there is no statewide SAECK inventory and tracking management system to prevent unknown inventories of SAECKs reappearing in the future.”

The Crime Lab concludes that “it is imperative” that the state invest in such a tracking system if it’s goal is to make sure no future rape kits go untested.

Richardson and Jordan said it’s too early to say exactly what policy reform will be needed to address the state’s rape kit backlog. But both legislators said that the state will likely need to take steps to make sure kits aren’t being neglected in the future.

“The main thing is to see if we need to get some kind of process in place to keep track of this going forward,” Jordan said. “The best way to take care of a backlog is to make sure we take care of it each year so that there is no backlog.”

Richardson said he thinks the state will eventually need to invest in an electronic tracking system or some other mechanism to monitor the status of each rape kit. He initially wanted to include funding for such a system in the bill that started this statewide inventory. He said he pulled that for fear that the $1.5 million fiscal note would kill the measure. 

Texas has one of the nation’s largest collections of untested rape kits, about 20,000 in all. During the Legislature’s most recent session last year, lawmakers passed a bill allocating $1.5 million to a tracking system like the one that Richardson thinks North Carolina needs. 

In addition to tracking kits, Johnson Hostler said the General Assembly needs to pass legislation that ensures all rape kits make it to the crime lab for testing so that no police force finds itself sitting on hundreds of untested kits.

“Putting these kits aside feels like you’re putting the person and their case aside,” she said. “It means that you haven’t made survivors of sexual assault a priority.”

 

 

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Communalisation of minor girl rape-and-murder case deplorable: NC

February 17, 2018 in Bail Bonding, Crime

Opposition National Conference (NC) today decried “communalisation and politicisation” of a rape-and-murder of an eight-year-old girl in district, saying it was highly deplorable and against civilised behaviour.
urged the administration to take all necessary steps to instill confidence among the people to sternly dealt with criminals and their sympathisers irrespective of their religious backgrounds.
Body of the minor girl was recovered from on January 17, a week after she went missing while grazing horses in the forest area.
The government had on January 23 handed over the case to crime branch of the which arrested a (SPO) for his alleged involvement in abduction and killing of the girl.
Earlier, a Special Investigation Team (SIT) had arrested a 15-year-old boy and claimed the accused had strangulated the victim after she resisted his rape attempt.
The government ordered suspension of a on January 20 apart from ordering a magisterial probe in the case, which triggered protests in and outside state assembly.
Rana’s statement came a day after Chief Minister despised a rally by a right-wing group for using the Tricolour and demanding the release of the arrested SPO.
Mehbooba was referring to the rally taken out by the Hindu Ekta Manch on Thursday here, demanding the release of SPO Deepak Khajuria, who was arrested last week in connection with the brutal murder.
Can politics stoop such lower depths where barbaric act against a girl child falls prey to religious chauvinism, Rana asked, adding those spearheading the cause of a criminal or criminals should have vouched for the victim whose “agony and wilderness at the time of commission of the crime might have shook the heavens”.
He expressed surprise over illogical and uncalled for protests in support of a criminal.
The said the fringe elements should not be allowed to unleash communal agenda under the garb of ultra nationalism.
Those aligning or indulging with the reactionary elements to have free run from the crime are actually destroying the social fabric, which could have serious ramifications for the society at large,” he said, adding that taking sides with criminals on the basis of religion would embolden perpetrators of crime.
“If it is her today, it can be anybody tomorrow,” Rana said while invoking societal response to the dangerous trend being set by frenzy elements, hiding behind the religion.
He exuded confidence that the society ingrained with the philosophy and ethos of daughters belonging to all would isolate the perpetrators of violence and seek justice for the innocent child.
“It is moral duty to ensure that poor girl gets justice to lie in peace in the grave,” Rana said.
A criminal is a criminal and crime is a crime, the said, adding that those evoking emotions and giving communal tinge to the incident were committing a “heinous” crime against the humanity, which cannot have religious sanction.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Feb. 22 Swannanoa Valley crimes and arrests

February 17, 2018 in Bail Bonding, Crime


Black Mountain News

Published 1:42 a.m. ET Feb. 17, 2018

The Black Mountain Police Department and the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Department reported these recent incidents and arrests.

Incidents

Driving while impaired was reported on Feb. 8 at the 1900 block of U.S. 70.

Fraud was reported on Feb. 9 on the 100 block of Slow Drive.

Larceny of a motor vehicle was reported on Feb. 9 on the 100 block of Sage Circle. 

Larceny of a motor vehicle was reported on Feb. 9 on the 2300 block of U.S. 70. 

Motor vehicle theft was reported on Feb. 10 on the first block of Aqua Drive. 

Larceny of mail was reported on Feb. 10 on the first block of Vance Avenue. 

Fleeing to elude, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, driving while license revoked, reckless driving to endanger and failure to stop at a traffic light were reported on Feb. 11 on the 500 block of N.C. 9.

Larceny was reported on Feb. 11 on the 200 block of N.C. 9.

A vehicle pursuit was reported on Feb. 11 on I-40 westbound. 

Possession of a Schedule II controlled substance was reported on Feb. 15 on the 3100 block of U.S. 70. 

Arrests 

Michael Joseph Wilson, Jr., 19, of Asheville, was arrested on Feb. 3 on the 100 block of Old U.S. 70 and charged with possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia. 

Brandon Keith Morris, 22, of Nebo, was arrested on Feb. 3 on the 100 block of Old U.S. 70 and charged with possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia. 

Casey Tyler Foster, 18, of Black Mountain, was arrested on Feb. 5 on the 100 block of Rainbow Lane and charged with possession of more than one-and-a-half ounces of marijuana, possession of less than half an ounce of marijuana and possession of marijuana paraphernalia. 

Brooke Mackenzie Canaday, 18, of Black Mountain, was arrested on Feb. 5 on the 100 block of Rainbow Lane and charged with possession of more than one-and-a-half ounces of marijuana, possession of less than half an ounce of marijuana and possession of marijuana paraphernalia. 

David Scott Blankenship, 42, of Black Mountain, was arrested on Feb. 7 and charged with second-degree trespassing and injury to real property. 

Carolyn Sue Edwards, 53, of Swannanoa, was arrested on Feb. 9 at the intersection of N.C. 9 and Sutton Avenue and charged with resisting public officers. 

Carolyn Marie Carr, 44, of Black Mountain, was arrested on Feb. 9 on the first block of Neil Price Avenue and charged with simple assault and communicating threats. 

Samuel Lee Morrison, 37, of Swannanoa, was arrested on Feb. 9 at the intersection of N.C. 9 and Sutton Avenue and charged with resisting public officers. 

Randall Leon Branton, 32, of Burnsville, was arrested on Feb. 10 at the intersection of N.C. 9 and Llama Vista Court and charged with driving while impaired. 

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Winston-Salem Waffle House robbed by 2 men

February 17, 2018 in Bail Bonding, Crime

Police are searching for two people after a Waffle House was robbed Monday afternoon.

While an employee of the restaurant at 200 W. Hanes Mill Road was emptying trash outside about 1:55 p.m., he felt a gun on the side of his head, police said.

The first male robber forced the employee back into the restaurant through the rear door the employee had propped open, police said. The pair were followed by a second person.

The two robbers, armed with semi-automatic pistols forced two employees into the manager’s office, police said. They took cash in the office and made an employee take money from the cash register, as well.

No one in the restaurant, including customers in the business at the time, were injured, police said. The robbers left the store on foot.

Police ask anyone with information call Crime Stoppers at 336-727-2800.

Crime watch (Jan. 28 – Feb. 3)

February 16, 2018 in Bail Bonding, Crime

The following mug shots are taken from the top bond amounts from the week of Jan. 28- Feb. 3:

» Everett Lucius Durham III , 47, of 119 42nd Ave. Dr. NW, in Hickory, was charged with felony stalking, two misdemeanor counts of cyber stalking and one misdemeanor count of violating a domestic violence protection order. He was transported to Burke-Catawba jail and placed under a $400,000 secured bond.

» Terrel Jamaul Avery , 22, of 103 Branch St., in Morganton, was charged with two felony counts of first or second-degree forced burglary and one felony count of armed robbery. He was transported to Burke-Catawba jail and placed under a $300,000 secured bond.

» Dante Eugene Lowrance , 26, of 2075 Bristol Creek Ave., in Morganton, was charged with one felony count each of armed robbery, first or second-degree forced burglary and failure to appear on a felony charge. He was transported to Burke-Catawba jail and placed under a $200,000 secured bond. His trial date was set for May 2.

» Dante Eugene Lowrance , 26, of 2075 Bristol Creek Ave., in Morganton, was charged with felony first or second-degree forced burglary. He was issued an additional $100,000 secured bond.

» Gary Allen Hutchinson II , 33, of 4715 Tallent Road, in Morganton, was charged with one felony count each of common law robbery, assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury and breaking or entering. He was served at the Burke-Catawba jail where he was being held on previous charges. He was issued an additional $100,000 secured bond.

» Gary Allen Hutchinson II , 33, of 4715 Tallent Road, in Morganton, was charged with felony motor vehicle theft and felony possession of a stolen vehicle. He was transported to Burke-Catawba jail and placed under a total of $20,000 in secured bonds.

» Taylor Anne Penley , 20, of 121 Enemy Ave., in Morganton, was charged with two felony counts of aiding and abetting burglary and one felony count of aiding and abetting armed robbery. She was transported to Burke-Catawba jail and placed under a $75,000 secured bond.

» Cody Adam Winegardner , 26, of 611 Independence Blvd., 29, in Morganton, was charged with one count each of felony common law robbery, felony larceny of property and misdemeanor violation of domestic violence order and resist, delay or obstruct a public officer. He was transported to Burke-Catawba jail and placed under a 48 hour hold plus an additional $40,000 secured bond.

» James Weaver Casey V , 40, of 507 Conley Road, in Morganton, was charged with three misdemeanor counts of probation violation. He was transported to Burke-Catawba jail and placed under a total of $33,000 in secured bonds. His trial date was set for Feb. 19.

» Cari Rene McFall , 28, of 5741 Farris Loop, in Morganton, was charged with felony possession of a schedule II controlled substance with intent to manufacture, sell or deliver, felony failure to appear or comply, misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia and resist, delay or obstruct a public officer. She was transported to Burke-Catawba jail and placed under a $32,000 secured bond. Her trial date was set for Feb. 14.

» Joshua Phillip Steffey , 35, of 4056 Sunrise Lane, in Morganton, was charged with one misdemeanor count each of assault on a female, possession of a schedule IV controlled substance, failure to appear or comply, driving during revocation and violating registration provisions. He was transported to Burke-Catawba jail and placed under a $28,000 secured bond. His trial date was set for Feb. 19.

» Brittney Nichole Barfield , 28, of 6011 Old NC 18, in Connelly Springs, was charged with felony possession of methamphetamines. She was transported to Burke-Catawba jail and placed under a $25,000 secured bond.

» Jennifer Lee Crocker , 35, of 5109 Old NC 18, in Connelly Springs, was charged with felony habitual felon. She was transported to Burke-Catawba jail and placed under a $25,000 secured bond. Her trial date was set for March 28.

» Rebecca Jo Hensley , 34, of 3539 NC 181, in Morganton, was charged with felony embezzlement of property by employee and two misdemeanor counts of failure to appear or comply. She was issued a total of $25,000 in secured bonds. Her trial date was set for March 12.

» Emmanuel Santiago , 20, of 2337 4th St. NE, in Hickory, was charged with two counts of felony larceny by trick, one count each of felony possessing stolen goods and misdemeanor stalking. He was transported to Burke-Catawba jail and placed under a 48 hour hold plus an additional $20,000 secured bond.

» Danny Ray Castle Jr. , 37, of 1687 Zebulon Drive, in Hickory, was charged with misdemeanor failure to appear or comply. He was transported to Burke-Catawba jail and placed under a $16,834 cash bond.

» Matthew Mark Lloyd , 40, of 2520 Sigmon Road, in Granite Falls, was charged with felony probation violation, two counts of misdemeanor failure to appear or comply, one misdemeanor count each of resist, delay or obstruct a public officer and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was transported to Burke-Catawba jail and placed under a $13,500 secured bond.

» Joshua Isaiah Miller , 19, of 108 Massel Ave. SE, in Valdese, was charged with one count each of felony motor vehicle theft, misdemeanor probation violation and failure to appear or comply. He was transported to Burke-Catawba jail and placed under a total of $11,000 in secured bonds. His trial date was set for March 12.

Russian conspiracy targeted Charlotte and North Carolina, Mueller indictment says

February 16, 2018 in Bail Bonding, Crime

As the largest city in a pivotal swing state, Charlotte and North Carolina became targets of Russian operatives accused Friday of attempting to disrupt the 2016 presidential election.

Special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s 37-page indictment charges more than a dozen Russian nationalists and businesses of attempting to defraud the United States by using “fraud and deceit for the purpose of interfering with the U.S. political and electoral system, including the presidential election of 2016.”

Prosecutors say Charlotte and greater North Carolina did not escape the conspiracy. According to the indictment:

▪ @Ten_GOP, a Twitter account started by the Russian conspirators, which at one time attracted more than 100,000 online followers, started posting phony allegations in August 2016 that voter-fraud investigations had been launched in North Carolina.

▪ After Donald Trump carried the state and was the surprise winner of the November 2016 election, Russian conspirators posing as grass-roots activists helped arrange a Nov. 19 rally in Charlotte called “Charlotte Against Trump.”

The indictment says similar rallies in support of Trump were staged by the group in other U.S. cities. All were designed to foment discontent throughout the country, the indictment says.

▪ The conspirators also infiltrated community groups such as Black Lives Matter. A key player in the effort was a St. Petersburg, Russia-based troll farm called Internet Research Agency, a defendant in Mueller’s indictment.In one instance not mentioned in the document, Internet Research Agency recruited community activists in Raleigh to speak at a political rally following the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police shooting in September 2016 of Keith Lamont Scott, BuzzFeed reported. Scott’s death, two months before the presidential election, set off two days of sometimes violent demonstrations in Charlotte.

It was not immediately clear if the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s offices in Charlotte participated in the investigation that preceded Mueller’s indictment.

UNC Charlotte political scientist Eric Heberlig said the indictment proves that North Carolina and other presidential swing states were targeted by the conspirators. But, he said the impact on the election is impossible to know.

“There’s no way to know how many votes shifted, if any,” Heberlig said. “They targeted North Carolina and the other swing states because they were all expected to be close.” While Trump carried North Carolina by a more comfortable margin than what polls predicted, the Russian activity in North Carolina “certainly didn’t hurt his ability to win the state.”

Reaction to the indictment began to swell as it circulated among North Carolina leaders on Friday.

Attorney General Josh Stein described efforts to undermine the electoral process as “intolerable.”

Related stories from Charlotte Observer

“In our democracy, the right to vote and to have one’s vote be counted accurately and mean something is absolutely critical. Anyone – particularly a foreign national or foreign government – who tampers with the security of our elections not only is a criminal, but also undermines public confidence in the most essential act in our democratic system.”

State GOP Chairman Robin Hayes of Concord welcomed the development and called for further investigation of any group trying to divide the country.

“The more sunshine and the quicker the better,” the former congressman said. “Let’s clean it up. Let’s shine the light on it. Let’s create the vacuum so these kinds of operations, foreign or domestic, cannot exist.”

Mueller has been investigating the Trump campaign for signs of possible collusion with the Russian efforts, and several of the presidents former aides have pleaded to guilty to crimes and agreed to cooperator with the probe.

While that investigation appears to be However, U.S. Rep. Robert Pittenger, an ardent Trump supporter facing a tough re-election fight this year, was quick to interpret the indictment as an exoneration of the president. Based on the indictment, he said any alleged Trump-Russia election conspiracy “have been proven false.”

“While we have known for some time that Russia meddled with our election,” Pittenger said, “their efforts had no impact on the results and there was no coordination nor collusion with the Trump campaign.”

Heberlig, however, said it’s “very much a stretch” to interpret the Friday indictment as the conclusion of Mueller’s investigation. In fact, he said, it would be consistent with the prosecutor’s handling of the probe up to now to start outside the Trump campaign and work inward, if that’s where any evidence of collusion leads.

“When he says, ‘I’m done,’ you know he’s done,” Heberlig said. “I have no expectation that this is the end.”

Multiple shots fired at officer in Winston-Salem, police say

February 16, 2018 in Bail Bonding, Crime

Someone shot at a police officer several times in Winston-Salem on Thursday night, and a brief chase ended with the officer losing sight of the shooter.

Police say that shortly before 11 p.m. Thursday, patrol officer J.H. Craig tried to stop a 2015 Nissan Sentra near the 1400 block of North Cleveland Avenue. Reports say the driver of the Nissan committed a traffic violation.

Instead of stopping, the driver accelerated, and someone inside the car shot at the officer multiple times, police said. It was not clear whether more than one person was inside the car.

The officer was not injured, according to police, and no other injuries have been reported. A media release from the Winston-Salem Police Department says the officer did not return fire.

Numerous spent shell casings were recovered along the path of the pursuit, and detectives have interviewed witnesses to the incident.

The officer chased the car, but the chase lasted only for a matter of minutes, according to a media release. Investigators say the silver Nissan was found a short time later in the 2000 block of Temple Street. It had a temporary North Carolina registration plate and was unoccupied when police arrived.

Police say the car was in the North Liberty Street area prior to the assault on Craig.

Authorities ask that anyone with information regarding the identity of the person or people involved in the crime under call the Winston-Salem Police Department at 336-773-7700 or CrimeStoppers at 336-727-2800.

17-year-old girl charged with 3 armed robberies at Raleigh sweepstakes parlors

February 16, 2018 in Bail Bonding, Crime

A 17-year-old girl is charged with gunpoint robberies that netted more than $10,000 from sweepstakes parlors in the past three weeks.

Ruby Charlira Hopson, of 3819 Lupton Circle, was arrested Thursday.

Tuesday, police had sworn out arrest warrants accusing her of gunpoint robberies on Jan. 29 and Feb. 11. They added a robbery that happened on Wednesday.

According to the charges, Hopson carried a black, semiautomatic handgun in all three stickups, including one in which $6,435 was taken from Skill Masters Sweepstakes in the 3800 block of Western Boulevard on the night of Jan. 29.

The arrest warrants say $3,000 was taken from Spin City Sweepstakes in the 1600 block of North Market Street on the night of Feb. 11, and $1,400 was stolen from Hot Spot Sweepstakes on Valentine’s Day.

Hopson had been arrested on Feb. 2 on charges of misdemeanor marijuana possession and carrying a concealed weapon.

She was free on bail from those charges when she was arrested.