The Hays Daily News from Hays, Kansas on September 22, 2002 · Page 10
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The Hays Daily News from Hays, Kansas · Page 10

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Hays, Kansas
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Sunday, September 22, 2002
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Page 10
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SUNDAY • SEPTEMBER 22,2002 • THE HAYS DAILY NEWS • A11 City defends photographing detainees WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — The city police department's Corner Deployment Unit is known as the "jump-out squad" for bursting, out of vehicles to question and search suspects. Its officers also are known for something else: snapping photos of suspects they stop, even those they don't arrest. City officials defend the practice as a legal and effective part of fighting drug dealing and street crime. Critics say it violates the constitutional rights of innocent people. In an era when surveillance cameras peer from buildings and parking lots, courts have ruled that people can't expect privacy in public places. Civil libertarians argue that police photographing people they don't arrest is a different matter. "There's no authority to forcibly photograph someone and enter them into a database when they have committed no crime," said Barry Steinhardt, associate director of the American Civil Liberties Union. "I'm not aware of any other municipal police department that has engaged in this type of behavior," he said. Wilmington Mayor James Baker describes such criticism as "blithering idiocy," saying police take pains to protect the rights of law-abiding citizens while targeting people "who are killing our neighborhoods, who are killing our people." City officials deny police are photographing individuals they believe are likely to commit crimes. Some media reports have compared the technique to "Minority Report," a recent science fiction movie in which police identify criminals before they commit crimes. "It's not a Gestapo technique, it's not anything other than a progressive means of policing an urban environment," said police spokesman Cpl. Stephen Martelli. Among other things, the photos can serve as proof that a person arrested for loitering received other warnings. They also are kept as "possible evidence for ongoing investigations," authorities said. Police Chief Michael Szczerba said his department has taken photographs of suspects for years without complaints. It's "highly improbable" that innocent people were caught up in the stops, he said. According to city officials, 658 people were stopped and questioned between. June, when the jump-out squad's "Operation Bold Eagle" began, and last week. Among them, 546 were arrested, and 708 charges were filed. Police believe the other 112 are involved in criminal activity, even if officers didn't find enough evidence that day to arrest them. Drewry Fennell, executive director of the ACLU's Delaware chapter, argues that shouldn't matter. "Their criminal histories are not relevant to their rights to move freely about on the street," Pennell said. The ACLU is considering a lawsuit but, so far, no one has come forward with a formal complaint, he said. City officials have met with ACLU, NAACP and Urban League representatives to hear their concerns, and another meeting is scheduled Wednesday. In crime-troubled neighborhoods, some residents have welcomed the camera-toting police. "I would rather have innocent people's pictures taken than innocent people shot," said Barbara Washam, who joined a rally last week to support the police. Mayor Baker said the photo policy doesn't violate the Constitution or the U.S. Supreme Court's 1968 decision in Terry v. Ohio that police can stop and frisk people if they have reasonable suspicion they are engaged in criminal activity. The state attorney general and chief federal prosecutor for Delaware agreed that Wilmington police appear to be acting within the law. But others disagree, saying the Terry decision allows police only to briefly detain and question suspects. "They can't use Terry as a pretext to go out and gather a photographic database of suspects," said professor Phyllis Bookspan, who teaches constitutional criminal procedure at Widener University. City officials say officers exercise discretion. On a recent Friday night at a corner reeking of alcohol, the squad frisked and questioned six men while investigating suspected drug dealing. Patrol Officer George Collins questioned one of the men, then pulled a digital camera from his pocket and asked if he could take his picture. "Can I ask why you're doing this to me?" replied the man, who showed identification and told police he just was walking to the store. "If you're not a criminal, you don't have anything to worry about," Collins answered. "It's for future reference." Satisfied with the identification, Collins pocketed his camera without snapping a photo. "He was a resident, so I gave him the option," Collins explained. Briefs Judge: Qwest violated law to block competitors MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A Minnesota administrative law judge ruled Friday that Qwest Communications deliberately, violated federal laws to block' local -telephone competitors. Qwest could face fines of $50 million if the ruling is upheld by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. The ruling could hurt its chances of approval to sell long-distance services in Minnesot».<e. '•"'•!.•• <- : The ruling by Judge Allan Klein said Qwest violated federal law 25 times through 12 secret agreements that favored some of its telephone competitors over others. The agreements provided the competitors with discounted telephone services, the ruling said. Directors Guild sues to stop editing of films LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Directors Guild of America is seeking an injunction against a dozen companies that delete scenes depicting violence, sex and profanity from Hollywood films, saying the practice violates federal copyright law. The filing Friday in U.S. District Court in Denver came as part of a counterclaim to a lawsuit filed last month by Clean- Flicks of Colorado, which is part of the Utah-based rental chain CleanFlicks. The company is seeking a legal ruling clearing the way to rent the edited movies. As part of that effort, it sued 16 directors, including Robert Redford, Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese and Robert Altaian. CleanFlicks has argued that it doesn't violate copyright law because it purchases a new copy each time it edits a film and because customers are technically owners of the videos through a cooperative arrangement. The edited tapes also carry a disclaimer that the film was edited for content, the company says. Storms, tornadoes rake parts of Indiana, Ohio MARTINSVILLE, Ind. (AP) — Severe storms and at least one tornado ravaged parts of Indiana and Ohio, destroying homes and businesses, flipping cars and blowing off rooftops. Ten people were injured at a harvestfestival "wteij ! "I'i&ffis 1 "''toflplea 0< imto a . crowd. ^. . •••• Friday's violent weather raked parts of a 150-mile stretch in the southwestern corner of Indiana, dumping 5 niches of rain in some places. "It could have been a lot worse if it had occurred in the nighttime," said Dave Barger, a city councilman who was helping organize volunteer relief efforts in Martinsville, a town about 20 miles south of Indianapolis that had some of the worst damage. Gov. Frank O'Bannon surveyed the damage aboard an Indiana National Guard helicopter Saturday, stopping in Ellettsville, about 30 miles south of Martinsville, where dozens of homes were damaged. Lights set up for a harvest festival in Crestline, Ohio, toppled in the wind and fell on a crowd. An 11-year-old girl was left in critical condition, a 64-year-old woman was in serious condition and eight others were treated at hospitals and released, police Chief Eric Condiff said. No serious injuries were reported in Indiana. FEC imposes record fines on Democratic fund-raisers WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Election Commission has. imposed record fines totaling at least $719,000 against Democrats involved in the party's 1996 fundraising scandals, according to published reports. FEC documents described how Democratic fund-raisers demanded illegal campaign contributions from foreign nationals in China and other countries in exchange for meetings with then- President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore. Among those who were penalized by the FEC were the Democratic National Committee, $115;000; the Clinton-Gp.i:e['cain-_ paign, $2,000; and the. Buddhist Progressive'Society, $120jf>6u, Tne Washington Post and The New York Tunes reported Saturday. They said the DNC also agreed to . surrender an additional $128,000 representing illegal campaign donations that were not returned. More than 20 people and corporations acting as conduits for the illegal contributions also were fined, the newspapers said, citing FEC documents. They've all agreed to pay, according to the records. SKIN SENSE Senior Residences Hays' Newest Senior Residence Offers affordable luxury with these features and benefits One and Two Bedroom' Apartments* Fully Equipped Kitchens Washer/Dryer Hook-ups Full Service Elevator In-Unit Emergency Call System Individual Climate Control Window Coverings Sprinkler System • Controlled Access Entry » Professional On-Site Manager • Community Room » Lounges located throughout building » Green Space for Resident enjoyment «.Ample Parking » Garages Available , 2734 Hall St., Hays, KS Call (?13) 248-8787 today for information And an appointment to view your new home! •Income Restrictions Apply A Farnam Group Resources, Inc. Development Neat Feet? Embarrassed by your toenails? 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