The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California on May 7, 2002 · Page 13
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The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California · Page 13

Los Angeles, California
Issue Date:
Tuesday, May 7, 2002
Page 13
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ME_B_3_B3_OC_1_05-07-02_tu_1_CMYK 2002:05:06:22:14:18 Orange County LOSANGELESTIMESOCTUESDAY,MAY7,2002 B3 Subscription Services: (800) 252-9141 Orange County City Desk Phone: (714) 966-7715 Fax: (714) 966-7711 E-mail: Mailing Address: Los Angeles Times Orange County Edition City Desk 1375 Sunflower Ave. Costa Mesa, CA 92626 How to Reach Us By GREG KRIKORIAN TIMES STAFF WRITER Two Arab Americans were detained by Israeli authorities over the weekend for unspecified reasons after visiting refugee camps in the West Bank, government officials and associates of the pair said Monday. Althougha spokeswoman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry said she could not confirm the detentions, U.S. government officials and others said Dr. Riad Abdelkarim, an Anaheim physician, was taken into custody Saturday at Ben Gurion Airport as he attempted to board a plane heading home. Dalell Mohmed, director of Dallas-based charity KinderUSA— founded by Abdelkarim—was detained on Sunday morning at her hotel in Jerusalem, according to interviews. Both Abdelkarim, a Santa Monica-born Palestinian American, and Mohmed, a second-generation Lebanese American, went to Israel as part of separate humanitarian aid efforts, family members and others said. Abdelkarim and Mohmed have connections to the Holy Land Foundation, a Texas-based Islamic charity whose assets were frozen by the U.S. government in December because of the group’s alleged support for the Palestin- ianmilitant organization Hamas. Abdelkarim served on the Holy Land board for the last half of 2001 and Mohmed worked for the group foralmost two years, serving for a time as its communications director. Federal law enforcement officials said Monday they had no information indicating that the detentions of Abdelkarim and Mohmed were connected to the ongoing U.S. investigation of the Holy Land Foundation. “This is not being done in conjunction with anything we are doing” about the group, said Lori Bailey of the FBI’s Dallas office. “Whatever is going on over there [in Israel] is totally their business.” Another federal law enforcement source cautioned against any conclusion that Abdelkarim or Mohmed had any part in the charity’s allegedly questionable activities simply because they belonged to the group. In Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., American Islamic groups Monday urged U.S. officials to intervene on behalf of the two Americans. “There is a pattern of Israel blocking humanitarian aid to the Palestinians. They did so during the siege, and now they are hampering the efforts of Americans to provide aid,” said Khalid Turaani, executive director of the Washington-based advocacy group American Muslims for Jerusalem. “Unless there is a serious intervention by the U.S. government, those people are not going to be in very good shape,” Turaani said, noting that Abdelkarim has long suffered from asthma. In addition to maintaining a medical practice, Abdelkarim is an author and lecturer whohas long been openly critical of both terrorism and America’s “one- sided” support of Israel. He is in the Middle East, according to family membersand associates, as part of a fact-finding effort by the Los Angeles-based International Medical Corps, a nonprofit organization founded in 1984 by volunteer doctors and nurses in the U.S. The trip was one of many that Abdelkarim, a married father of four, has made to the region in recent years—a fact that made his current detention all the more baffling for friends and family. “At this point, the overriding emotion is one of fear, apprehension and plain confusion,” said Nidal Abrahim, a family friend. There is no evidence, Abrahim said, that Abdelkarim is “anything other than a doctor in a hu- manitarian mission.” Since his detention, family members have been pressing for answers from politicians, the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv, human rights groups and attorneys. A family friend said an attorney in Jerusalem has been hired, but so far he has been denied permission to see Abdelkarim. U.S. Rep. Christopher Cox, (R- Newport Beach), said that although details of the situation are sketchy, he has been monitoring it and has been assured that Abdelkarim has been allowed to speak with U.S. officials in Israel. “Guilty or innocent of anything, he is a U.S. citizen and it is normal for our embassy to be given access,” Cox said. “And that is what I am told has happened here.” Times staff writer William Lobdell contributed to this story. FRANCINE ORR / Los Angeles Times Dr. Riad Abdelkarim was reportedly on a fact-finding mission. Israeli Detention of Two Americans Questioned Conflict: An Anaheim physician and director of a Dallas charity are held. Muslim groups request intervention. By JACK LEONARD TIMES STAFF WRITER Huntington Beach has paid $25,000 to a man who said he was punched and kicked by an off-duty police officer during a confrontation at a local pizza restaurant. The July 2000 episode was one of two within 24 hours that brought excessive-force allegations against Officer Edmond Kennedy. A day later, a 17-year-old said Kennedy jumped on him and threw him to the ground in response to a vulgar gesture. Kennedy has denied wrongdoing but acknowledged that his supervisors disciplined him in both incidents. He said he is appealing their decision. “They made a big deal out of nothing,” he said, accusing the department of overreacting to recent police misconduct scandals in L.A. “They’re looking for things that they normally wouldn’t.” Huntington Beach police officials said the two claims were so serious that they took the unusual step of asking prosecutors to review the cases for possible criminal charges against the officer. The district attorney’s office last year rejected the cases, concluding that “there is a lack of sufficient evidence to support a filing of criminal charges against Officer Kennedy,” according to a letter prosecutors sent the Police Department. Prosecutors declined to provide more details. An Orange County Superior Court judge on Monday ordered the county to release a second letter the district attorney sent the city about the cases. But prosecutors said they will not provide the document until the office decides whether to appeal the ruling. In the latest settlement, approved last month, Kristopher Scotten, 21, accused Kennedy of attacking him while he worked at a local Pizza Hut. The two had a history of confrontation. A year earlier, Kennedy had arrested the youngster after he drove slowly past Kennedy’s home blaring rap lyrics from his car that insulted police. Police reports say the two did not speak again until Scotten drove past Kennedy’s home while the off- duty officer was in his garage. Delivering pizzas, Scotten said he honked his horn at a friend who lived nearby. The officer, however, called the Police Department, told dispatchers that Scotten had shouted an insult at him and asked for help. Kennedy chased Scotten to a Pizza Hut, where he told him he was under arrest. Scotten refused to leave. The officer grabbed at his arm several times, but Scotten pulled away, accusing Kennedy of assaulting him. The officer said Scotten pushed him hard on the shoulder. “At that point, I believe the fight was on,” Kennedy recalled. “You don’t struggle with a police officer and then push him.” Kennedy stepped back, kicked Scotten’s stomach and punched him at least twice in the face. Scotten did not strike the officer back, and the two left together after a brief struggle. Scotten was arrested on suspicion of using offensive words in a public place and resisting arrest, but the district attorney’s office declined to charge him. Kennedy said supervisors told him he should have waited for other officers before confronting Scotten. The officer would not say what discipline they imposed. A day later, according to police reports, Kennedy was on patrol when he spotted two teens walking onthe beach, one of them smoking. He cited the smoker, a 16- year-old girl, for being underage and smoking. Kennedy searched her companion, her boyfriend Adam McClain, and found a cigarette lighter in his pocket. He ordered McClain to throw it in a nearby trashcan. McClain threw it but missed. Kennedy ordered him to pick up the lighter, but McClain walked away. The teen made an obscene gesture at the officer, according to police reports. The officer said the boy also screamed obscenities at him. As the teen walked through a throng of onlookers, Kennedy ran at him and pushed him to the ground. Kennedy said the teen was unhurt and that he acted because he feared McClain was about to become violent. But McClain insisted that Kennedy struck him far harder than necessary, causing a welt and back pain that lasted weeks. Huntington’s Use-of-Force Suit Settled Courts: The city pays $25,000 to a man who says an off-duty officer punched and kicked him. The policeman denies any wrongdoing. ‘They made a big deal out of nothing. They’re looking for things that they normally wouldn’t.’ Officer Edmond Kennedy , commenting on his department’s discipline ruling IRFAN KHAN / Los Angeles Times Ancient Art, Modern Tools Roland Clark, left, and Liu Liuhone their archery skills at Mile Square Park in Fountain Valley. By JEAN O. PASCO TIMES STAFF WRITER Hundreds of parking spots will be temporarily lost over the next year at John Wayne Airport as construction crews reinforce a pair of four-story parking structures as part of a $2.9-million, earthquake- safety project. The work at the airport’s western parking garages, which began Monday, will advance in phases, with two floors at a time closed for 12 weeks. Parking will be permitted on the remaining floors, in the airport’s eastern garages and in an overflow lot just north of the airport. The parking structures were designed in 1990to withstand a major earthquake, airport manager Alan Murphy said. However, state and federal earthquake standards were changed after the 1994 Northridge earthquake. “What we’re trying to do is maintain a facility that even after a major earthquake wouldn’t collapse and still would be able to operate,” Murphy said. “Obviously, we can’t do all the work at once.” The work involves wrapping concrete columns with fiber. The first half of the work—to be completed in mid-October—affects parking for Alaska, American, Continental and Delta airline passen- gers. The second half, to be completed by next April, will affect America West, Aloha, Northwest, Southwest, United and US Airways passengers. The airport’s bridges are to be seismically upgraded after the work on the western garages is completed. The eastern parking garages were retrofitted in 1999. The terminal, itself, needs minor work, Murphy said. The parking crunch should hit heaviest during midweek, when the structures usually are full. There are 5,839 spaces along the sides of the terminal. About 800 spaces will be closed at a time. Murphy said the seismic work is unrelated to problems that surfaced in one of the western parking structures before the terminal opened in 1990, part of a $310-million expansion of the airport. Inspectors discovered hundreds of cracks in a garage, built by a contractor who was fired by supervisors after an eight-month delay and his failure to renew a required permit. The cracks—which appeared on ramps, floors and on columns supporting the four-level ga- rage—weren’t considered a structural weakness at the time. On the top deck of the garage, concrete had to be torn out and replaced because it was poured after it had partially hardened. Executives with Taylor Woodrow Inc., which built the structures, blamed the cracks on a faulty design. A second contractor completed the repair work. Lawsuits filed against Taylor Woodrow and by Taylor Woodrow against the county were settled in 1993. The county agreed to pay the company $9.6 million— about one- third the amount Taylor Woodrow and its subcontractors wanted to complete the job. Seismic Work at John Wayne Means 800 Fewer Parking Spots Airport: Two western garages are being reinforced in the yearlong project. 405 55 Floors 1 and 2 closed till late summer. Floors 3 and 4 closed mid- August through mid-October. Work Schedule Two floors of a parking structure closed Monday at John Wayne Airport. About 800 spaces will be lost until next April as work on two structures proceeds. Main Street parking lot Parking structure B1 Parking B2 Parking A2 Los Angeles Time s John Wayne Airport Terminal B Terminal A Terminal A Parking structure A1 UPPER LEVER LOWER LEVEL By DAVE McKIBBEN TIMES STAFF WRITER Rail commuters in Riverside County were greeted Mondaywith faster, more direct service to Fullerton and Los Angeles on Metro- link’s new 91 Line. Previously, Inland Empire commuters stopped at the Orange station to switch trains to continue trips to Fullerton and Los Angeles. With delays for connections and an added stop, the Riverside-Los Angeles trip often took more than two hours each way. The new 91 Line will get riders from Riverside to Los Angeles in about 90 minutes. “A lot of people have never tried [commuting by rail], perhaps because it wasn’t convenient,” said Metrolink spokeswoman Sharon Gavin. “Now this is an easier way to get in either direction.” The 91 Line is Metrolink’s first since 1995, when it opened the Inland Empire-Orange County Line. The 91 Line will have 10 trains each weekday, from Riverside Downtown and Union Station. Metrolink also announced that it is increasingservice to Oceanside and to its new station in Laguna Niguel/Mission Viejo. An afternoon train from Los Angeles that previously stopped in San Juan Capistrano will now go to Oceanside, and a morning Irvine-Union Station train will now begin in Oceanside. Also, an evening train from Los Angeles will now continue to Laguna Niguel instead of ending service in Irvine, and Laguna Niguel will add an early-morning train to Los Angeles. Los Angeles Times Direct Line LOS ANGELES CO. ORANGE COUNTY SAN BERNARDINO CO. RIVERSIDE COUNTY Orange San Bernardino Riverside Downtown L.A. Union Station Riverside La Sierra West Corona Norwalk/ Santa Fe Springs Commerce The 91 Line, a direct route between Riverside and Los Angeles, opened Monday. Metrolink riders from Riverside will no longer have to ride to the Orange station and switch trains to get to Union Station. Fullerton Source: Metrolink 91 Line Inland Empire/ O.C. Line Orange County Line Riverside-L.A. Commute by Rail Cut to 90 Minutes IN BRIEF STANTON Worker Fatally Shot at Recycling Plant A worker at a recycling plant was shot to death Monday, apparently by robbers, authorities said. The man, whose name was not immediately released, was working at CRT Inc. in the 10000 block of Knott Avenue when the shooting occurred about 3 p.m. Two men in their 20s walked into the business, “and there was some kind of confrontation with the employee there,” said Lt. Jim Amormino, a spokesman for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. The man worked in an area where money was kept, he said. The robbers fled in a car driven by a woman in her 50s, police said. Late Monday, officers had surrounded a house on Western Avenue where one of the suspects may have been hiding. ANAHEIM Firefighters Quench Small Brush Fire A slow-moving brush fire scorched a half-acre of vegetation in Anaheim Hills on Monday. Investigators were looking into the cause of the fire, which started about 3 p.m. in a field near Serrano Avenue and Canyon Rim Road. Witnesses reported seeing juveniles in the area before the fire. “Who knows what they were playing with out there?” said Maria Sabol, a spokeswoman for the Anaheim Fire Department. About 50 firefighters took 45 minutes to contain the fire, which caused only minor damage and involved no buildings. “We got a pretty good handle on it pretty quickly,” Sabol said. From Times Staff Reports For Monday, May 6, 2002 Fantasy Five: 1-4-11-12-36 Daily Three: 6-3-7 Daily Derby: (7) Eureka (5) California Classic (11) Money Bags Race Time: 1:45.02 Results on the Internet: General information: (800) 568-8379 (Results not available at this number) Lottery Results

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