News October 11, 2019 Find out more RSF_en Help by sharing this information News Another journalist murdered in Haiti HaïtiAmericas Follow the news on Haïti November 14, 2019 Find out more Violence against the press in Haiti: RSF and CPJ write to Minister of Justice Receive email alerts to go further News News Organisation January 25, 2008 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Victory over impunity “within reach” in Lindor murder after seven are convicted in absentia Journalist shot dead amid anti-government protests in Haiti Reporters Without Borders hopes the authorities will quickly arrest the seven people who were convicted in absentia on 23 January of the 2001 murder of Radio Echo 2000 journalist Brignol Lindor, so that light can be shed on every aspect of this crime. Two other people were already sentenced on 12 December to life imprisonment for the murder (see 13 December release).“This particularly barbaric murder remained unpunished for many years, but justice finally began to be done at the end of 2007,” Reporters Without Borders said. “This effort must be pursued so that the case can be definitively closed. As was to be expected, the seven suspects did not surrender themselves by the deadline set by the court. The police and judicial authorities must now do everything possible to arrest them. Victory over impunity is within reach.”The guilty verdict was handed down by Emmanuel Tataye, the chief judge of Petit-Goâve, the town where Lindor was stoned and hacked to death on 3 December 2001. The seven persons convicted were Maxi Zéphyr, Bernard Désamour, Tyrésias (also known as Téré), Fritznel Duvergé, Mackenzi, Belony Colin and Fritznel Doudoute (aka Lionel and Nènèl). Originally indicted in 2002, they were all identified as members of a armed militia known as Domi nan Bwa (“Sleep in the Bush”) that supported former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Judge Tataye ordered the confiscation of all their property and assets, and the suspension of their civil and political rights.Of the four defendants who appeared in court in last month’s trial, two were convicted and given life sentences: Joubert Saint-Juste and Jean-Rémy Démosthène. On of the other two, Simon Cétoute, 56, was acquitted because it emerged that he had been arrested instead of his son, who had the same first name and who had recently died in the nearby town of Léogane. And it emerged that the fourth defendant, Fritzner Doudoute, was mistaken at the time of his arrest for Fritznel Doudoute, one of the seven who has just been convicted in absentia. Fritzner Doudoute was not named in the 2002 indictment or in the arrest warrant issued last year. Nonetheless, witnesses identified him in court on 10 December as one of the people who participated in Lindor’s murder. He has therefore remained in detention and is to be the subject of a new judicial investigation.A judicial investigation could also be opened against Bony Dumay, Petit-Goâve deputy mayor at the time of the murder, who is alleged to have incited violence against Lindor on the eve of his murder. Dumay appeared as a witness in court on 10 December. HaïtiAmericas June 11, 2019 Find out more Reporters Without Borders hopes the authorities will lose no time in tracking down the seven people who were convicted in absentia on 23 January of murdering journalist Brignol Lindor in 2001. Two other people were already sentenced last month to life imprisonment for the murder. The effort must be pursued so justice can be rendered in its entirety.
Facebook Twitter by Andrew [email protected] up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up A LIMERICK mother narrowly avoided prison for failing to ensure three of her nine children went to school after a Circuit Court judge said he struggled to find an appropriate ruling that would bring stability to the troubled family.Judge Tom O’Donnell was told that the eldest of the nine children, a boy now 16, missed every school day since September and had long periods of absence over two previous school years.The case also involved two younger siblings, a girl aged 14 and a boy aged 11, who also had long absences from school over similar periods.After eleven previous appearances, the mother was given three concurrent 14-day jail sentences for breaches of the Education (Welfare) Act 2000 at the District Court last July.This Tuesday, she appealed the severity of the sentence at Limerick Circuit Court.Solicitor for Tusla, the child and family agency, Muiris Gavin, said that despite the huge resources being deployed to the family, matters had not improved and there were fears for the other children who were not part of the prosecution.On each of the previous ten appearances at both courts, the mother had been given a chance to improve the situation.Mr Gavin told Judge O’Donnell that the eldest boy turned 16 last November and was no longer compelled to attend school. He missed 122 out of 183 school days during 2013/14 and in 2014/15 missed 95 of 182 school days.Three prosecution were brought in respect of the boy and his 14 year-old sister, who missed 59 days out of 164 in the 2014/15 school year and their younger brother, who missed 64 out of 183 days in the 2013/2014 school year.Defence solicitor Eimear Carey, said the woman was “struggling on her own” with regard to the eduction of her children. There was a “complex volatile relationship regarding her dealings with the children’s father and when things were going well, there was an improvement”.Judge O’Donnell said the dilemma he faced was that if he failed to jail the mother, the younger children would be deprived of their education.However if she was in prison, other agencies would have to be called in to deal with the family situation. The fact that she was a mother of a large family was not a defence as to her responsibilities.Addressing the woman, he said: “I don’t want to sent you to prison, I don’t believe any judge would want to send you to prison. It is your children’s future that is at stake and a lack of education will cost them in life.”Stating that he did not disagree with the sentence handed down by the District Court, he suspended the three concurrent sentences for 12 months. Linkedin Print Previous articleAttack on firefighters sparks new call for legal protectionNext articleTwo and a Half Tenors in concert Staff Reporterhttp://www.limerickpost.ie Email Advertisement NewsMother of nine avoids jail in school attendance caseBy Staff Reporter – January 15, 2016 689 WhatsApp
Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago FHFA Vows to Keep Fighting HOA Super-Priority Liens in Daily Dose, Featured, News Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago Brian Honea’s writing and editing career spans nearly two decades across many forms of media. He served as sports editor for two suburban newspaper chains in the DFW area and has freelanced for such publications as the Yahoo! Contributor Network, Dallas Home Improvement magazine, and the Dallas Morning News. He has written four non-fiction sports books, the latest of which, The Life of Coach Chuck Curtis, was published by the TCU Press in December 2014. A lifelong Texan, Brian received his master’s degree from Amberton University in Garland. FHFA HOAs Home and Economic Recovery Act Super-Priority Liens 2016-05-10 Brian Honea About Author: Brian Honea The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has reaffirmed its support of authorized servicer reliance on the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA) of 2008 in foreclosures involving homeowner associations (HOAs) and super-priority liens, saying it will “aggressively” fight any HOA that tries to extinguish a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac lien through foreclosure.The super-priority lien issue has been a contentious one since it came to prominence following a decision by the Nevada State Supreme Court in September 2014 that allowed HOAs to use super-priority liens to foreclose on homes with delinquent HOA dues—without the permission of the mortgagee.The FHFA responded in December 2014 with a warning to HOAs that loans with super-priority liens attached would not push mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into the secondary position. In June 2015, a federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada ruled that HOAs could not foreclose non-judicially on GSE-owned mortgages using a super-priority lien.In August 2015, FHFA stated its support of authorized servicers of GSE loans that rely on the HERA to prevent HOAs from foreclosing on loans insured by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The FHFA recently reiterated its position in support of the servicers.“As noted in the December 22, 2014 and April 21, 2015 statements on certain super-priority liens, the Federal Housing Finance Agency has an obligation to protect Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s property rights,” FHFA General Counsel Alfred Pollard said. “FHFA will aggressively do so by bringing or supporting actions to contest common ownership association (commonly known as HOAs) foreclosures that purport to extinguish Enterprise property interests in a manner that contravenes federal law. This statement confirms that FHFA supports the reliance on Title 12 United States Code Section 46170)(3) in litigation by authorized servicers of the Enterprises to preclude-the purported involuntary extinguishment of an Enterprise’s property interest by an HOA foreclosure sale.” Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago Previous: More Distressed Borrowers are Keeping Their Homes Next: Mortgage Fraud? Not On Your Life, Quicken CEO Says Print This Post Share Save Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago Related Articles Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago The Week Ahead: Nearing the Forbearance Exit 2 days ago May 10, 2016 1,958 Views Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago Home / Daily Dose / FHFA Vows to Keep Fighting HOA Super-Priority Liens The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago Tagged with: FHFA HOAs Home and Economic Recovery Act Super-Priority Liens Sign up for DS News Daily Subscribe
Top StoriesTata Sons v Cyrus Mistry : Live Updates From Supreme Court Hearing -Day 2 LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK8 Dec 2020 11:41 PMShare This – xSenior Advocate Harish Salve is continuing his submissions for Tata Sons Private Ltd on the day 2 of the hearing of the appeal against the NCLAT direction to reinstate Cyrus Mistry as the Executive Chairman of the company.A bench comprising Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, Justice V Ramasubramanian and AS Bopanna is hearing the case.Live Updates from the hearing available here(For updates…Your free access to Live Law has expiredTo read the article, get a premium account.Your Subscription Supports Independent JournalismSubscription starts from ₹ 599+GST (For 6 Months)View PlansPremium account gives you:Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.Subscribe NowAlready a subscriber?LoginSenior Advocate Harish Salve is continuing his submissions for Tata Sons Private Ltd on the day 2 of the hearing of the appeal against the NCLAT direction to reinstate Cyrus Mistry as the Executive Chairman of the company.A bench comprising Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, Justice V Ramasubramanian and AS Bopanna is hearing the case.Live Updates from the hearing available here(For updates from yesterday’s hearing, refer this link).Live Updates 9 Dec 2020 2:25 AMSr. Adv. Aryama Sundaram informs the Bench that there exists a provision for tribunals to take evidence. Salve responds that Tribunals mostly run on Affidavits.9 Dec 2020 2:16 AMCJI: We recommend you to read this book called “Courts of India” – a published book by the Supreme Court which contains reference to ancient law of pleadings. “Nowadays, you tend to mould the relief by moulding the pleadings”.9 Dec 2020 2:14 AMSalve: I got pulled up during a hearing when I used the term as “mofussil pleadings” and Justice Verma said that Jabalpur was not Mofussil. CJI: We want you to cite a case on the word “technical”. You can’t dismiss anything on technicality. What is that ?9 Dec 2020 2:13 AMCJI: We want you to do some research on some allied points. Technical is used to marginalise pleadings. We think it arises from the word “technique”. If you don’t adhere to the technique, then it will be get dismissed and you say it was dismissed on technical issues.9 Dec 2020 2:01 AM[COURTROOM EXCHANGE] Salve notes that due to PILs, pleadings have been done away with.CJI responds that the drafting of such petitions is terrible.In a lighter vein, he states that CPC now stands for “Cut-Paste-Copy”. 9 Dec 2020 2:01 AMSalve: Earlier there was no need to show why the company was being mismanaged. Now, you have to satisfy 242. CJI: You are very modestly saying that I’m not quibbling for that. But, these aren’t battles of quibbling, but these things matter a lot. Pleadings matter.9 Dec 2020 1:55 AMSalve: What the NCLT has done is that they’ve done away with the form. They have not given any details. CJI: Rule 1 ?Salve: Form 1. 9 Dec 2020 1:52 AMBench has reassembled and matter has resumed. Senior Advocate Harish Salve answers questions asked by the Bench before lunch. 9 Dec 2020 12:44 AM Bench has risen for lunch. Matter will resume at 2PM. 9 Dec 2020 12:37 AMCJI: You are making a nice argument. But, who has come to Court saying that Tata should be winded up ? The Court should see on evidence that the matter is so serious that it can lead to winding up under the just and equitable clause. >Load MoreSubscribe to LiveLaw, enjoy Ad free version and other unlimited features, just INR 599 Click here to Subscribe. All payment options available.loading….Next Story
Marilyn Odendahl for www.theindianalawyer.comAn Indianapolis man’s conviction for causing the death of his infant daughter will stand after the Indiana Court of Appeals rejected his argument that the evidence of him placing a pillow over the baby should not have been admitted at trial because he never affirmatively said her death was an accident.Jeffrey Fairbanks was charged with murder and Level 1 felony neglect of a dependent resulting the death of his infant daughter, Janna. He told Indianapolis police he had placed a pillow over Janna’s face because she was crying but he then quickly removed the pillow and fed her. A short time later, he said, he and the baby fell asleep but when he awoke, she was dead.The state filed notice of intent to admit 404(b) evidence that Fairbanks had placed a pillow over Janna’s face on at least two prior occasions. Also the state wanted to admit statements from Janna’s mother two other daughters, A.G. and E.M., about seeing Fairbanks place a pillow over the baby in the past and hearing “muffled cries.”However, Fairbanks filed a motion in limine seeking to prohibit the introduction of the evidence, claiming it violated Indiana Evidence Rules 404(b) and 403.The Marion Superior Court denied Fairbanks’ motion.In its closing argument, the state told the jury Fairbanks “smothered Janna with a pillow. He caused her to suffocate and die.”The jury found Fairbanks not guilty of murder but guilty of Level I felony neglect. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison.Fairbanks appealed, arguing in part the evidence that he had previously placed a pillow over Janna’s face was inadmissible pursuant to Evidence Rule 404(b). In particular, he noted the evidence of a crime, wrong, or other act is admissible to prove lack of accident only if the defendant first claims accident. He maintained he never said Janna’s death was an accident.The state countered a defendant does not need to affirmatively advance a contrary claim of accident prior to the State’s introduction of prior bad act evidence.The Court of Appeals agreed that Indiana law is not clear as to whether a defendant must affirmatively claim mistake or accident. But in its own survey of cases where evidence had been admitted under Evidence Rule 404(b), the appellate panel discovered the defendant affirmatively claimed the act was a mistake or accident.story continues below“We thus find that accident and mistake are a subset of intent, in that a defendant who claims mistake or accident is necessarily claiming that the act was not intentional,” Chief Judge Nancy Vaidik wrote for the court. “Accordingly, we conclude that, similar to intent, defendants must affirmatively claim mistake or accident before the State can admit evidence pursuant to Evidence Rules 404(b) that the act was not a mistake or accident.”As to whether Fairbanks affirmatively claimed accident, the Court of Appeals found that he got very close. Several times in his statements to police and interviews to local television stations he said he didn’t know what happened to Janna and that he didn’t do anything wrong. Also, under cross-examination by the defense, Janna’s pediatrician testified that co-sleeping was dangerous because the baby could accidentally get smothered.“While this is not overwhelming evidence that Fairbanks affirmatively claimed accident, it is sufficient,” Vaidik wrote. “If there was any doubt whether Fairbanks claimed accident during trial, that doubt was extinguished when defense counsel argued during closing that what happened to Janna was, in fact, an ‘accident.’”In his concurring opinion, Judge Rudolph Pyle took issue with the majority’s ruling that Fairbanks had preserved his request for a continuing objection to the pillow evidence.Pointing to the record, Pyle asserted the trial court never ruled on the defense’s motion. Instead the trial judge responded “okay” to the defense and then asked for the state’s response.“I do not believe the trial court’s utterance of the word, ‘Okay’ was in any way related to a ruling on the motion,” Pyle wrote. “The trial court was simply acknowledging the request had been made, it sought a response from the State, and was interrupted by the entry of the jury into the courtroom before it could make a ruling. As a result, the issue was neither ruled upon nor preserved for appeal.”The case is Jeffrey Fairbanks v. State of Indiana, 49A02-1707-CR-1675.FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmail
Invest Northern Ireland has pledged business development and marketing support to bakeries that explore export opportunities in confectionery goods, such as cakes, biscuits and buns.A new market report, commissioned by Invest Northern Ireland, has pinpointed opportunities for smaller bakeries in Britain and Ireland due to growing demand for indulgent, premium products.The report’s findings were revealed to bakeries attending special workshops last week in Belfast, Dungannon and Maghera.The rich heritage of local craft bakery products, not readily available in other parts of the British Isles, is an important advantage for Northern Irish bakers, said the report. Tradition and provenance, the small size of craft bakeries in Northern Ireland means they are “nimble and quick to respond” to market opportunities, it said. However, challenges faced by the industry include a reliance on short shelf-life products.Some of the bakeries, the report points out, are already supplying multiple retailers, including Tesco, Sainsbury and Asda, in Northern Ireland and should explore own-label opportunities by working towards BRC accreditation.
the competition opens on 18 February 2019 and the deadline for applications is at midday on 1 May 2019 UK-based businesses of any size can lead a project, working with other businesses, research organisations, public sector organisations or charities. Collaborations should involve at least one academic partner and one small or medium-sized enterprise businesses could receive up to 70% of their project costs total eligible project costs can be between £2.5 million and £4 million projects must start by 1 December 2019 and can last between 18 and 24 months projects that pass the written application stage will be invited to an interview panel between 1 and 5 July 2019 to present their ideas Find out more about this competition and apply. Read the announcement. More resilient, intelligent systemsThe competition aims to join up the UK’s research base with industry to transfer knowledge and develop new products and services that tackle cyber security in the IoT.Projects should include artificial intelligence or machine learning and have a clear plan for commercialisation.They should focus on at least 1 of the following: Connected devices and sensors in our homes and workplaces – known as the Internet of Things (IoT) – offer huge potential for improving how we live and move around.We can measure health data, travel habits and energy use, predict demand for public services and support planning and management of critical national infrastructure.But as more devices become connected, the more vulnerable they are to sophisticated cyber security threats. This becomes even more important as critical applications for the IoT emerge.Innovate UK has up to £6 million to invest in organisations with ideas that address industry-focused cyber security-related challenges.The investment forms part of the UK Research and Innovation Strategic Priorities Fund, which supports the highest priorities identified by researchers and businesses. operational resilience technologies that can protect and recover data intelligent control systems for industry, commercial and public sector buildings protection of people living in digital homes and their smart systems Find out more about the Strategic Priorities Fund. Projects could also look at complementary technologies, such as distributed ledger technologies that support the sharing of data across multiple locations, or 5G mobile networks.Competition information It is part of a set of measures by UK government to build increased security and protections into digital devices and online services. As well as this programme, this includes an up to £70 million investment through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund to tackle digital security by design.
Amazon Music has launched their new “Produced By” series, featuring Amazon Original music developed to spotlight “today’s community of producers working behind the scenes to develop the best in music.”The new series pairs producers with a collection of today’s top genre-spanning artists to create exclusive recordings for Amazon Music listeners. Today, GRAMMY Award-winning, Memphis-based producer Matt Ross-Spang is brought into the spotlight with the release of Margo Price’s new, Amazon Original song, “Leftovers”.“I wrote ‘Leftovers’ based on the kinds of people that don’t have any original ideas of their own,” explains Price in a press release. “It could be anything from stealing a song idea, to copying someone else’s style, or dating an ex of a good friend. … I also really just wanted to rhyme ‘asshole’ with ‘casserole’ and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. Matt Ross-Spang is a legendary producer and engineer in the making, who puts his blood, sweat, and tears into making some of the best sounding records of our decade. We always have a lot of fun in the studio.”“As first and foremost a music fan and now as a producer, I’ve always been drawn to artists with unique voices whose gift transcends genre and time,” said Matt Ross-Spang in a press release. “I’m excited and honored to play a role in this innovative opportunity Amazon Music is providing these extraordinary individuals. As my hero Sam Phillips said: ‘If you’re not doing something different you’re not doing anything!’”About Matt Ross-Spang, a press release details:Matt Ross-Spang began interning at Sun Studio at age 16, eventually working his way up to Chief Engineer & Operations Manager. In 2015, Ross-Spang left Sun to become an independent engineer, producer, & mixer based primarily out of the legendary 1960 time capsule studio Sam Phillips Recording Service. Recent productions by Matt include both albums by Margo Price, as well as the latest Lucero, Nicki Bluhm and Sean Rowe records. He won two GRAMMY Awards for his work on Jason Isbell’s Something More Than Free and The Nashville Sound, and has worked on several GRAMMY-Nominated Albums such as Lori McKenna’s The Bird and the Rifle, Brent Cobb’s Shine On Rainy Day and Luther Dickinson’s Blues and Ballads. He recently mixed unreleased Elvis Presley tracks for the compilation album Way Down in the Jungle Room and the Elvis documentary The Searcher . More info is available on Matt Ross-Spang’s official website.“Leftovers” was recorded in RCA’s historic Studio A with Margo Price’s touring band, which features drummer Dillon Napier, bassist Kevin Black, guitarist Jamie Davis, slide guitarist Luke Schneider, and Jeremy Ivey on acoustic guitar & piano. Listen to the new Margo Price song below:Margo Price – “Leftovers” (Amazon Original)Amazon Music’s “Produced By” series will continue with new Amazon Original releases throughout the week with GRAMMY Award-winning artists including John Prine, William Bell, and Al Green, marking his first individual effort in a decade. Future “Produced By” installments will feature acclaimed producers and artists from a variety of genres including Latin, Indie, Country, and R&B.Amazon Music listeners can simply ask, “Alexa, play the playlist Produced by Matt Ross-Spang” in the Amazon Music app for iOS and Android and on Alexa-enabled devices. In addition to the new track, Amazon Music listeners can access hundreds of Amazon Original songs and numerous albums featuring both emerging and established artists across numerous genres, available to stream and purchase on Amazon Music.
The circumstances surrounding the Aug. 9 killing of a black teenager by a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo., have sparked nightly protests by outraged citizens, drawing international attention as violent clashes erupted between residents and militarized police patrolling the suburban streets. Accusations that police were harassing people or using excessive force — firing tear gas and stun grenades and pointing rifles at peaceful protesters and journalists — have further stoked tensions. This week, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder visited Ferguson amid concern that local and state officials had mishandled both the protests and the investigation into Michael Brown’s shooting death and that efforts by county police to protect the officer from public scrutiny indicate that officials cannot conduct a thorough and fair review of Brown’s killing. Holder has ordered federal prosecutors to investigate, with dozens of FBI agents interviewing witnesses and a federal medical examiner performing an autopsy on Brown’s body. Herman B. “Dutch” Leonard, the George F. Baker Jr. Professor of Public Management at Harvard Kennedy School and the Eliot I. Snider and Family Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, teaches leadership and organizational strategy and is co-director of the Program on Crisis Leadership at HKS. Leonard spoke with the Gazette via email about the ongoing chaos in Ferguson and assessed the crisis-management response. GAZETTE: How would you characterize what’s going on in Ferguson, Mo.? Are there comparable events?LEONARD: We have seen heavy police presence in hard gear in American cities before. I recall the riots in Los Angeles, Detroit, and other cities in the 1960s, for example, and the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles in 1992, which among other things involved the deployment of federal troops. Ferguson, however — as well as the deployment of tactical teams in Watertown after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing — indicates a new level of militarization of police forces that seems to be without precedent. While this may be justifiable and a good approach in some circumstances (a terrorist attack, for example), I think Ferguson shows that if misapplied, it can also lead to an escalation rather than a resolution of civil disturbances.GAZETTE: How unusual is it for the attorney general to get involved, and what does it tell you about what’s going on behind the scenes?LEONARD: It is highly unusual for the highest-ranking law enforcement officer in the United States to intercede personally in a specific enforcement matter. I think it signals a belief in the highest circles in Washington that the events in Ferguson are of critical national importance. And it signals (and is designed to signal) to all of those involved in the ongoing event — the investigation, the peacekeeping actions, the public relations, and so on — that the significance of this event goes far beyond the local domain in which it began.GAZETTE: To what extent is the ongoing chaos a function of that original incident, and to what extent is it a result of ineffective crisis management?LEONARD: I think you have to see it as a product of both. The original incident is tragic and emotionally intense, and in the absence of definitive information about what exactly happened (which will intrinsically take time to develop), it is fraught with issues and questions and ambiguities about who we are as a nation, about the extent of racism that may still be embedded in police and other institutions, about racial justice. It thus goes to the core of identity issues for our country and for our people as a whole, and for each of us in the various subgroups with which we self-identify. Identity issues — who are we, and how are we seen, and whether we are respected by others — are among the hottest issues we ever deal with. And the precipitating incident here instantly pushes all of those buttons.Moreover, the nature of events like these is that definitive, agreed details about exactly what happened will be scant in the early days, which means that the situation will be fueled in part by rumor, innuendo, false reports, and small amounts of accurate information deeply intertwined with large amounts of misinformation. In such a setting, those so inclined — and there will be many — will be able to build their anger by selectively choosing which “facts” to believe. This, again, is not just predictable, it is a certainty. This accentuates the volatility of the event.The nature of the initial event, then, is that it is intensely hot and potentially explosive. What it desperately needs, then, is de-escalating influences. Given how obviously hot the original incident was and is, the response to the protests appears to have been grievously misguided. It was entirely predictable that there would be a major reaction in the streets of Ferguson, and that the level of intensity on the part of different demonstrators would vary widely, ranging from peaceful vigils to active, angry protest and possibly beyond, to violent and destructive looting, all of which, in fact, have taken place. Some protesters are simply more willing and better able to contain their emotions and reactions than others.Meeting that range of reactions with police officers in combat gear and armored vehicles is tantamount to further provocation, and sure enough it immediately escalated the situation by incensing some of the crowd. The situation called for calming and stabilizing influences and interventions. Confronting a crowd that is grieving the death of an unarmed teenager, whatever the exact circumstances of his death were, with a phalanx of police officers pointing military weapons and firing tear gas in the direction of the crowd from behind or within armored vehicles and wearing combat body armor is anything but calming. Trying to intimidate an angry crowd into submission by visibly threatening extreme violence is a recipe for the disaster we have been watching unfold.GAZETTE: What have been some of the biggest missteps by the various law-enforcement agencies involved, and what should they do to calm tensions?LEONARD: The initial rapid escalation in the early stages of the protest appears to have (literally) stoked the fires of those most prone to violence … and deeply angered many who would have been inclined toward being peaceful. Seeing the pictures of heavily armed police in Ferguson early in this event, I was reminded of the positive example of Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré, who commanded the U.S. Army troops that arrived in New Orleans four days after Hurricane Katrina. Seeing troops carrying their weapons at the ready, Lt. Gen. Honoré yelled at them, “Weapons down, dammit!” “Weapons down” would be a good admonition in Ferguson. For example, why are police officers pointing their weapons at or in the general direction of the protester in this photo? What deadly threat to the police or others justified the weapons-ready posture of this group of police officers?I would guess that this approach results from a mis-deployment rather than from the intentional use of an excessive threat of force (assuming there is no justification for multiple semi-automatic or possibly automatic rifles to be pointed at or in the direction of this demonstrator). This group of police officers looks to be a tactical team. SWAT teams are generally used in situations where there is a significant prospect of violent resistance (for example, in entering a residence to arrest a violent criminal who is expected to be armed). In such circumstances, weapons at the ready is appropriate, and that is how SWAT teams train. Thus, weapons-ready may just be the standard protocol for this team, but deployed here in a circumstance in which it may not be appropriate.What the situation in Ferguson now desperately needs is a weapons-down posture by police, to the maximum extent possible and in every way possible — and concerted, consistent efforts to de-escalate tensions and emotions. Much of this will inevitably have to come from the leadership inside the community. Leaders from outside may be able to help support those inside, but the community will have greatest trust in their own existing local leadership. None of this can be imposed from outside. Police and others need to do everything they can to cooperate with and support local leaders in trying to contain the rage that the initial event and the subsequent escalation have produced.GAZETTE: It took several days of violence for state and local political officials, including the Missouri governor, the mayor of Ferguson, and various congressional representatives, to get involved in trying to quell the conflict between police and protesters. Did that leadership void contribute to the unrest? What should they have done and when?LEONARD: Given that it was nearly instantly predictable that this incident could erupt, leaders at practically all levels should immediately have adopted a forward-leaning stance, and they should have formed into a group to work on the situation together. Instead, the situation evolved for several days before leaders intervened. And even then it appears that there was at best too little coordination among the various individuals and entities involved. This is both a substantive event (the shooting and death of Michael Brown, and the subsequent demonstrations, rioting, and looting) and a perceptions-based event that is driven by formal as well as social media, rumors, and formal communications. What I believe we have still not seen is the formation of a collaborative “unified command” effort involving law enforcement, investigative, political, and community leaders coherently organized and engaged in a joint effort to manage and de-escalate the situation.Decisions about what information to release have been seen by the community as attempts to blame what the community sees as the innocent victim; those decisions seem to have been clumsy and ineffective and poorly thought out. A more concerted and strategic view needs to be formed that can take account of all relevant aspects of the situation and that has control over all aspects of the public response — from the release of information to the deployment of law enforcement in the area. This should have happened, or at least begun almost immediately. Instead, different groups and organizations and leaders have joined piecemeal, and still (to my knowledge) have not formed a comprehensive collaborative group that can most effectively manage the way forward.GAZETTE: The decision to release incriminating video and medical details about the shooting victim, but not promptly release key information about his fatal shooting, like the officer’s name, the circumstances surrounding the shooting, or the results from the first autopsy, appears to have fueled much of the outrage and protests. How vital is managing the quality and flow of information in preventing a single event from growing into something much larger and more damaging?LEONARD: Managing the flow of information is crucial to the management of the overall event, because the information directly affects the emotions that are at root driving the situation (and, especially, driving the most undesirable behaviors in the situation). Again, this is one of the reasons why the formation, early in the event, of a unified command involving all of the relevant parties involved in the event — and drawing community leaders into those discussions — would have been so important.An excruciating challenge in events of this type is that a great deal of information must be protected so as not to compromise the investigation if a prosecution may eventually result from it. Haphazard or uncontrolled release of information could easily prejudice the ability to bring charges later, if that should be appropriate. This is difficult for communities to understand, and it would have been a good reason to pull together a meeting of community leaders very early on to begin a dialogue about what could and could not be released.But the necessary cloak of secrecy is also often used as an excuse not to release information that is seen as damaging to police even if it could be released without prejudice to the investigative process. And communities know this, so they are suspicious of “I’m sorry, but we can’t disclose that” as it relates to police behavior. And they are especially suspicious when, as here, selective information is released about the victim but not about police actions. In this instance, what was disclosed and what was withheld and the timing of the disclosure appeared to the community to have been very self-serving on the part of the police — when what was needed was disclosure that seemed to be an honest attempt to release everything possible that was known, so long as it would not compromise the ongoing investigation.GAZETTE: The apparent police harassment of the media, including the arrests of print, broadcast, and photo journalists who are later released without charges, seems to lend credibility to the perception that law enforcement is intent on shutting down any criticism or outside scrutiny of their actions. Is this strategy typically effective and, if not, what could be the reason for engaging in it?LEONARD: Police harassment of the media in this event has been both appalling and deeply stupid. No street-level police officer or higher-level police official in his or her right mind would imagine that harassing journalists — for example, arresting and then releasing them — is going to shut down criticism or reduce outside scrutiny. It is overwhelmingly likely to have exactly the opposite effect, increasing media attention and scrutiny and reducing any sympathy some journalists might otherwise have had for the difficult position that police find themselves in.I therefore have trouble imagining that there has been a systematic and intentional campaign to intimidate the press because such a policy would so obviously and so certainly backfire. I think it is far more likely that the incidents we have seen have been the product of a combination of poor training of police officers and deep frustration, fatigue, and anger on the part of police officers deployed for long hours in this difficult and ugly situation.During the Occupy movement, when largely peaceful protesters occupied public spaces, often for considerable periods of time and frequently in violation of local ordinances, many police departments decided that trying to enforce every ordinance (immediately pushing protesters out of public parks, for example) would escalate rather than improve the situation, and they tolerated some “criminal” behavior, judging it as the better part of valor to let things evolve more slowly and peaceably (which, for the most part, they did). During this time, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey had the First Amendment read at roll calls in police stations and occasionally over the police radio.At our best, in this country, we protect journalists in the exercise of their First Amendment duties. We do this for moral reasons. The oath of office, sworn by every police officer, is to uphold and defend the Constitution, which prominently includes the First Amendment, and if the moral reasons do not seem to some to be enough, then police should do this for the prudential reason that harassing the press will reliably create more negative coverage of the policeI think the harassment of journalists in Ferguson, like the excessive display of weapons and the too-common weapons-ready posture, mainly reflects poor training and a breakdown of discipline under pressure and frustration. Police officers don’t have to like the press, but they do need to understand that reporting on police activities is not a crime, and that they as police officers have a duty to protect journalists in the exercise of their First Amendment freedoms. A journalist should have to go a long way to get him- or herself arrested.